One Goes Up, Others Go Down

Obama’s stock is rising:

President Barack Obama enters the latest budget showdown with Congress with his highest job- approval rating in three years and public support for his economic message, while his Republican opponents’ popularity stands at a record low.

Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of Obama’s performance in office, his strongest level of support since September 2009, according to a Bloomberg National poll conducted Feb. 15-18. Only 35 percent of the country has a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest rating in a survey that began in September 2009. The party’s brand slipped six percentage points in the last six months, the poll shows.

I know a number of you have been bitching about my lack of posting these days, and I confess, I am in a rut and have been since last summer. Much of it can be chalked up to the stress (and really, there is stress) involved with running a blog. I’m not very thin-skinned, which is good, because people as wrong as frequently as I am should have some pretty damned thick skin, but at the same time, the negative emails and bitching in the comments can tend to wear you down.

But a lot of the lack of posting on my part comes from two things- first, it feels like we are just fighting the same battles over and over and over again, and while the Republicans aren’t winning, it never really feels like we are, either. That’s by design- that is what the GOP wants to do. They want all of us to hate government. They love paralysis- it is the mother’s milk for the conservative cause. They don’t actually give a shit about issues, they care that the Democrats don’t win. It is wearying and just breaks you down after a while. This is a very popular President, but between the media and the Republican dead-enders, nothing seems to move forward. Why isn’t everyone else depressed?

The other thing that makes it harder to blog is how the rules of politics have just changed. I don’t understand how a President this popular is still being knee-capped by his own damned party. He has a god damned mandate, but everything he wants to do is basically knee-capped by conservadems.

It’s just the paralysis that kills me. It’s like groundhog day all over again every fucking time I watch the news. I understand institutional inertia, but criminy. For fuck’s sake, the Republicans are blocking a Republican to be Sec Def. Who the fuck do they want, Avigdor Lieberman? The bullshit and malignancy of the GOP just wears you down. Which is what they want.

Also, I just learned that a very close friend has breast cancer.

147 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    You provide a great framework and your other front pagers are great. Do what you need to do for yourself and your friend.

  2. 2
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Sorry to hear about your friend.

    On the up side of that, massive strides have been made in breast cancer treatment and survival in just the last few years. I know several women who are long term survivors.

  3. 3
    khead says:

    Don’t let the paralysis get to you.

    The last sentence of your post is more important than the previous four paragraphs.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    while the Republicans aren’t winning, it never really feels like we are, either.

    We had a chance to win in 2010. America went in another direction. We are now winning again but it’s now a war of attrition instead of a knockout punch. It will take time.

    Sorry about your friend.

  5. 5
    raven says:

    My wife is with our friend who was diagnosed with brain cancer over a year ago. She’s gone through the whole gamut of treatment and, while she seems to be cancer free, the impact of the surgery and chemo is intense. The support she has gotten has been vital. Be there, it will matter.

  6. 6
    Jay B. says:

    Sorry to hear about the breast cancer. Just be there for her. It’s treatable, but because we live in a third world country, middle-class and lower health care insurance is a fucking travesty. That’s where the stress is compounded. My friend didn’t even get her radiation covered until she got to the sixth treatment — it cost her $1500 a pop unti then. And she had Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

    But of course that ties in with a lot of the actual political problems we face. You hate boiling this shit down to the problems of our politics, but in their dysfunction and abject cruelty, they manage to even make fucking cancer worse.

  7. 7
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    So sorry about your friend – and I also have many, many friends who are surviving that cancer (and, to be real, some who haven’t). And you have captured exactly why I’m feeling so tired about politics lately. I think part of it is that I thought that, once Obama was elected, we could start to see some serious progressive progress made. Jesus, was I wrong … and it just wearies me. I say that not because I’m disappointed in Obama, but just so heartily sick of what Republican assholes insist on engaging in. But I will persevere, as we all must.

  8. 8
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:


    Be there, it will matter.

    And yes, this, this.

  9. 9
    Roger Moore says:

    For fuck’s sake, the Republicans are blocking a Republican to be Sec Def. Who the fuck do they want, Avigdor Lieberman?

    They want somebody nominated by the Romney administration. Since they can’t have that, they’re going to throw a fit and shit all over Obama as much as they can. I think this is actually hurting them in the long term, but it’s doing so very slowly, and it’s fucking painful to watch in the interim.

  10. 10
    Rosie Outlook says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend.

    If it makes you feel any better about the blog, it’s always interesting and entertaining. You have a good mix of writers.

    I disagree strongly with Obama on several issues, but overall I approve of his performance because I know from my own experience how hard it is to accomplish anything when you have to deal with a collection of assholes. I imagine a good many people know this. Maybe that’s why his approval rating is so high.

  11. 11
    taylormattd says:

    Also, I just learned that a very close friend has breast cancer.

    I’m sorry :(

  12. 12
    jl says:


    ” The last sentence of your post is more important than the previous four paragraphs. ”

    Agreed. Very sorry to hear about your friend, Cole. Good luck and I will pray you have the strength to give support they might need.

    As for blogging, it has been my understanding that this is a sports/food/pets/gardening/music/front posters bleg for household advice/booze blog was well as politics. So, Cole should write about what he wants to.

    Cole, don’t get discouraged. The reactionaries had to fight a relentless propaganda campaign for decades to get back from political oblivion. And over 90 percent of it was pure BS. The forces of sanity have started to wage the same war, except with truth on their side. And it seems to me we are making quicker progress. Changing the national CW worldview is slow, but it will happen. It has to happen.

    Only thing that worries me, really, is global warming, since there is a time limit on how long we can wait for the CW worldview to change before it makes little difference.

  13. 13
    Yutsano says:

    To quote xkcd: cancer sucks.

  14. 14

    Sorry to hear about your friend, John.

    I know it feels like we aren’t winning, but really I think we just have a skewed perspective. Who’d have thought that we’d be taking up gun control in the first months of this year? That there would be bipartisan agreement on stuff like universal background checks and limiting the size of ammo clips? I mean, we pretty much are there in the Senate, who knows what will happen in the house, but regardless if you’d told me we’d be working on this issue a year ago I’d have laughed. Seemed like back then that the Dems had conceded the issue to the loons and it wasn’t ever going to be addressed.

    And then all the marriage equality stuff? If you’d told me 3 years ago that states would be passing marriage equality laws and it was no longer considered a taboo to voice your support for same sex marriage I’d have never believed it.

    Now even climate change is back on the front burner. I guess I’m a glass half full kind of person because I think we really are winning. I mean it’s only fucking February.

    I’m glad to see the Republicans act like crazy people. They’re going to break, they’ll have to. They are alone on an ice floe. When even the Koch Bros. are questioning why they gave all that money in the last election, you know a big change is going to come.

  15. 15
    AliceBlue says:

    I feel for your friend–I come from a family with a history of breast cancer and I’ve had a couple of scares myself. But it’s not an automatic death sentence. My mother is a 53 year survivor–had a radical mastectomy in 1960 and is still very much alive (and in good health for a 92 year old). Your friendship and support will make a difference.

  16. 16
    Emma says:

    You can not only survive it but thrive. I’m walking proof. two go arounds with the little bastard, though I will say I had the least invasive, hormone-positive form, which is a blessing I cannot even begin to describe. But it can be fought. And you can win.

  17. 17
    EriktheRed says:

    Also, I just learned that a very close friend has breast cancer.

    That alone is reason enough, not that you owe any of us an explanation anyway.

  18. 18
    Concerned Citizen says:

    Cancer does suck. Life is a fucking horror movie in slow mo. Wish I had something inspirational to say. I’d say ignore the people bitching at you, but they may have a point. Keep busy man.

  19. 19
    Mike in NC says:

    The nihilists would back Elliot Abrams or Doug Feith; you know, somebody they thought better qualified to be SecDef.

  20. 20
    Maude says:

    We have the immigration fight coming up this summer. That will be fun.
    Obama is cornering the Republicans on sequestration. It’s enjoyable to hear him talk about this.
    The Senate will have Obama nomination fights.
    It’s a great time to be alive.
    Friend is fortunate to have John.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    What everyone else said about your friend, John.

    But, hey! Zsa Zsa is there to purr and at least take the edge off that bad news. Someone is right, the survival rates are always improving on breast cancer, especially if it’s detected early enough. There will be plenty of pain, and much worry, but all is not lost.

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    That alone is reason enough, not that you owe any of us an explanation anyway.

    This, this, this.

  23. 23
    Baskaborr says:

    Don’t worry about us, we’ll be happy to berate Republicans while you attend to important business. Supporting your friend is the important thing. I can tell you that from experience. I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer six years ago. Over that time, I’ve spent nearly three years in chemotherapy. There have been many days where the love and support of my family and friends gave me the strength to face another day.

    Have your friend check out the UF/Shands Proton Therapy Institute, they’re doing amazing things treating breast cancer.

  24. 24

    Here’s some good news, I suppose:

    Hagel wins another GOP vote, others call for nomination to be pulled


    Carney pointed to the fact that another Republican, Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), has come forward indicating he is likely to back his former colleague.

    The endorsement was hardly enthusiastic, however. Shelby told an Alabama newspaper that Hagel was “probably as good as we’re going to get” to lead the Pentagon under Obama.

    A Shelby spokesman elaborated that Hagel has the senator’s vote “barring any unforeseen surprises.” Shelby had voted against ending debate over the nomination on Feb. 14 “as a courtesy to his colleagues who needed more time to examine Hagel’s record,” Jonathan Graffeo, the spokesman, said. “Having provided sufficient time, and taking all factors into consideration, he intends to support the nomination.”

    Damning with faint praise, I know. But I think Hagel will get confirmed and meanwhile the public sees the Republicans acting like little children who want to take their marbles and go home.

  25. 25
    PeakVT says:

    I confess, I am in a rut and have been since last summer.

    Cole, you shouldn’t apologize for not doing something for free for people you basically don’t know. If blogging isn’t enjoyable, don’t do it and don’t feel guilty about it.

    The paucity of pet pics, however, is inexcusable. (j/k!)

  26. 26
    pat says:

    John, John, John, you agonize about the blog??? Cripes, man, take a fuzzy shot of one or more of your menagerie and post it once a day. How long can that take, huh?? You will have a 150 comment thread before you know it, and you have done your part.

    And so sorry to hear about your friend. Best wishes..

  27. 27
    Redshirt says:

    I love Obama and don’t worry about a damn thing that he does, because I know it will be the best that can be done. I don’t watch TV news at all and I am far better for it – we all should reduce TV news.

    Life is a gift but only on loan. Enjoy it while you can.

  28. 28

    Oh, the best part about that link is this:

    t appears all but certain Hagel will have the votes next week to win confirmation.

    So it seems the Republicans are just wasting their time, grandstanding, acting like fools.

    Honesty I don’t know how I feel about Hagel, is there not a good Democrat for that position? But whatever, he’s better than a ton of people and I’m not going to second-guess Obama on this one cuz dang, I don’t know shit about this stuff.

  29. 29
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your friend, as as raven and others say, be there; it will matter. Just staying friendly is a huge help. You’d be surprised how many flee when you get a disease. I’ve quit telling people MS isn’t contagious and now just accept that some folks are just too scared of mortality to be around someone with even a chronic illness. Your friend will appreciate your active friendship now more that she may be able to articulate.

    And you don’t owe your readers any explanation. Please do keep us updated on the new lady in your life.

  30. 30
    RSR says:

    totally agree that they want to demoralize us and have us just walk away. I run into stretches where I can’t stomach reading the same old-same old and disappear for a few weeks to a couple months

  31. 31

    I tried to fix my typo but it said I didn’t have permission to edit the comment. I feel so ashamed.

  32. 32
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Sorry about your friend with breast cancer. That definitely is depressing, although I hope that she is getting the best treatment possible and her cancer goes into permanent remission.

    As to political malaise, I would advise you to just stop paying attention for a while. And I agree with you that the Democrats aren’t helping President Obama. They need to get out there more in the public eye and loudly support his policies. Stop letting the Repubs drive the agenda.

    Oh well. Don’t stress yourself out. Our side is winning simply because it may be a long time before the Repubs put someone in the White House given the changing demographics and their extreme politics. All they can do is throw cogs into the machinery to slow down progress.

  33. 33
    Hal says:

    But a lot of the lack of posting on my part comes from two things- first, it feels like we are just fighting the same battles over and over and over again, and while the Republicans aren’t winning, it never really feels like we are, either.

    I’m of the feeling that we just went through what was basically a 5 year election, from Jan 2008 through the end of this year. Now that period is for me at least, over. Dems may not be winning at everything, but the right is flailing. I find every comment I read now, instead of inducing any desire to reply, just elicits a “meh, you lost” sort of feeling. Republicans aren’t going anywhere, and politics is cyclical, but right now I just feel like the right is circling the drain, and I’m trying hard to really give a shit.

  34. 34
    Schlemizel says:

    A) ask for a volunteer to read & filter your blog related email. Seriously, if you can’t say ‘fuck them’ to us, particularly to many who richly deserve to be told to fuck off then you either need to stop reading or get someone to filter for you.

    B) I worked on my first campaign back in the late 50’s. Sure we were winning back then, Republicans were sane & Dems actually fought for things that made America better but that didn’t last. And I suffer from major depression. You get used to it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Either we will succeed or life on earth will be wiped out – either way you lose nothing by trudging on.

    C) Sorry about your friends diagnosis. Having just survived cancer and still fighting several after affect I can assure you that the thing is beatable and that there is life afterwards. I’ll think good thoughts for both of you.

  35. 35


    Hell, yeah. We can’t even say the word “gay” in Tennessee any more. Well, almost.

  36. 36
    Michael G says:

    the negative emails and bitching in the comments can tend to wear you down.

    Man, ignore us, we suck. Your blog rocks.

    And fuck cancer.

  37. 37
    gogol's wife says:


    Seconded. I enjoy this blog enormously, and can always find something of interest to read every day.

    ETA: The TWIB posts look really intriguing, but I never have time to engage with them as I would like to. I’m looking forward to next vacation to devote more time to them.

  38. 38
    Roger Moore says:

    @Southern Beale:

    So it seems the Republicans are just wasting their time, grandstanding, acting like fools.

    No. They may be grandstanding and acting like fools, but they aren’t wasting their time. They’re wasting our time and showing their wingnut constituents that they’re willing to stand up to the Kenyan in Chief.

  39. 39
    Leadpipe says:

    After reading your post I was bummed on both points, political and your friend. After reading the comments, I feel better about both. Hope you feel better too.

  40. 40
    Baud says:

    I’m proud to say that I have never sent John an email, negative or otherwise.

    I will bitch on the blog, however.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    showing their wingnut constituents that they’re willing to stand up to the Kenyan in Chief.


    Do not underestimate the fear of being primaried by teatards even loonier than the gang of 15, for insufficient crazy. These guys have well paid phoney-baloney jobs. They’re taking understandable steps to keep them.

  42. 42
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    Oh, Jeebus, Ol’ John C. This blog will survive you, b’lieve it or no. I hate that shit re breast cancer, and, with 3 dotters (and 3 ex-wives, who I get along with very well), I insist on reg. exams. But it is survivable, albeit, not so nice at times during treatment.

    As far as the “wars” on the blog, I have been appalled at some of the BS, but am comforted by the realization that basically we are all on the same side. So it is not as bad as it sometimes looks. It’s a damned good group overall.

    As Meade “Lux” Lewis said on the “Boogie Woogie on the St. Louis Blues,” “Don’t quit now,Jack, don’t quit now.”

  43. 43
    Rex Everything says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I guess I’m a glass half full kind of person because I think we really are winning.

    Me too. It does get frustrating, because progress is so slow, but major things have shifted in a good way over the last couple years.

  44. 44

    Best wishes to your friend.

    Yeah, I can imagine how stressful it must be running a successful blog. Gotta be right up there with all the people struggling to get by on mid six figure incomes the NY Times love to write about.

  45. 45
    mai naem says:

    I’m burned out on politics too. I used to have MSNBC on 24/7 with breaks for Colbert and Stewart. Apart from the occasional schadenfreude, its’s just depressing to watch this. What pisses me off is that most other developed/BRIC countries have long term plans. We on the other hand, primarily because of the Republicans, just go from one crisis to another. The Republicans caused the huge deficit with their unpaid tax cuts and wars and now they won’t even let Obama take care of the fucking consequences. So, while the Republicans suck on their thumbs and stomp their two little waffen booted feet, this country falls further behind in education, research and climate change. We are wasting time we don’t have on this Petreaus sex scandal, Hagel, Benghazi,Obama’s birth certificate, secret service scandals,Shirley Sherrod garbage. All this shit just distracts from stuff that truly needs to be done.

    Also small note – everybody assumes John’s friend with cancer is female. It could be a guy.

  46. 46
    General Stuck says:

    This is a very popular President, but between the media and the Republican dead-enders, nothing seems to move forward. Why isn’t everyone else depressed?

    Policy is not the only component of our great republic. Sometimes, we reach a point to where a reckoning must occur to move on, a political reckoning and a period of political warring to wrench from the system that which is not for the betterment of most citizens. At least for the basic things people need to live and be somewhat comfortable.

    We have a country with two distinct world views, not just workable disagreements. We have already fought one very bloody civil war, that was really nothing more that a cease fire that has lasted for a while. Nothing much got done in the lead up to that civil war, but hopefully, this time, we can avert such a politics by other means. Then there was a great depression and gilded ages and the like.

    But I think it is the old question that is woven into our national fabric, and though we no longer have chattel slavery , but the prevailing aristocratic mindset is trying to install some other forms of economic servitude by playing on long held prejudices to divide us, and shake us all down as simple peasants that exist to serve the wealthy.

    That has to be confronted from time to time, and dealt with in whatever way is necessary. The fruits of thoughtful and productive policy for the masses will have to take a rain check until these passions are once again put behind us. And the betterment of the many takes the lead over the betterment of a few.

  47. 47
    Schlemizel says:


    I have a xkcd cartoon on the cover of my cancer journal. Man in Dr. Office with Dr. “The test results you have been waiting for are in” Man: “Great! I have a lump in my throat!” Dr: “Oh! You know the results”
    – – – –
    That came out the day I got the official diagnosis.

    “And whether you can hear it or not
    The universe is laughing behind your back.”

  48. 48
    Chris says:

    @Southern Beale:

    And then all the marriage equality stuff? If you’d told me 3 years ago that states would be passing marriage equality laws and it was no longer considered a taboo to voice your support for same sex marriage I’d have never believed it.

    This. I’ve been amazed at how quickly public opinion’s turned around and that’s gone from negative to positive. I didn’t even think I’d see DADT ending again for a good long while. Of course winning isn’t the same as having won and winning on one front doesn’t mean they won’t double down on the others when they have a chance.

    The only comfort I can give myself is to figure that progress is incremental and that you can only see big changes in retrospect. I think even coming off of the New Deal or Great Society victories would’ve left me exhausted at how grueling the work was and aghast at how much work was still left to be done.

  49. 49
    jackmac says:

    John, be there for your friend. Your stable of contributors are more than capable of keeping balloon-juice afloat.

  50. 50
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Ancient Randonneur:

    The irony here is that those six figure jobs can be really stressful even though they’re not all that physically demanding, because they might just poof on you tomorrow.

    That’s stress.

  51. 51
    gene108 says:

    Why isn’t everyone else depressed?

    Raised the dosage on my mood stabilizer. It helps. I was being under medicated for a few years.

    Also, I just learned that a very close friend has breast cancer.

    Really, really scary how temporary our state in this world is. A coworker’s father died. He was taking a walk at night and got hit by a car.

    Another coworker’s cousin – mid-40’s – died of a heart attack in December. Crazy thing is the guy was very much into fitness and exercise and is the last guy you’d think of to die of a heart attack.

    I just learned from my mom tonight that one of my cousin’s – about 9 to 10 months younger than my older brother (she’d be 41 y.o.) – has breast cancer and is under going treatment and surgery.

    Coupled with the meteor over Russia and if I could afford it, I’d never leave home except to go to the grocery store.

    I think the whole notion of growing old, without Life taking a dump on your well being is a youthful fantasy.

  52. 52
    Baud says:

    By the way, commenting on this blog is no walk in the park. This is a tough crowd.

  53. 53
    raven says:

    @mai naem: Small indeed. You don’t think John would have jumped in and corrected such a horrible injustice to prevail??? Sheesh.

  54. 54
    MikeJ says:


    I’m proud to say that I have never sent John an email, negative or otherwise.

    I’ve sent code patches for the next version of the blog, but I only cc’ed Cole cause I thought it was polite to keep him in the loop.

  55. 55
    One time post says:

    I’m probably breaking a rule of web etiquette or something, and I’m not sure if this has already been noted, but this news story was a surprise. Or maybe not.

  56. 56
    rikyrah says:

    sorry to hear about your friend. my sister’s fought the bastard twice and is still here. pray for her and just support her through this time.

  57. 57
    Tim C. says:

    I can only offer a quote:

    “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.”

    -MLK Jr.

  58. 58


    I’m surprised some bright bulb in the leg hasn’t tried to get your isp to shut down your blog.

    My state tax returns were audited this year. I’m choosing to believe that this is coincidental.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I’m choosing to believe that this is coincidental.

    Once is happenstance.

    Twice is coincidence.

    Three times is enemy action.

  60. 60
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Schlemizel: Yes, the universe is definitely laughing in my face. Just stopped here a minute ago for a little distraction, six days after my mastectomy, and the topic isn’t distracting at all. Very helpful to read the comments of survivors though.

    So far I have to say that one of the most helpful things people are doing for me is cooking. In that, John’s friend should be in good hands.

  61. 61
    TriassicSands says:

    …but everything he wants to do is basically knee-capped by conservadems.

    I’m sorry, John, but this is a ridiculous statement. Where are the Republicans in your view of what is thwarting Obama?

    The Republicans control the House. That means that virtually all worthwhile legislation is doomed from the start. In the Senate, we now have the 60-vote rule, which doesn’t depend on conservadems, but rather a handful of Republicans expressing independence from their party, and that virtually never happens.

    Right now conservadems, while maddening, are the least of Obama’s problems. Blaming things on conservadems is a waste of time and a distraction from the real problem — the lunatic Republican Party.

  62. 62
    Schlemizel says:


    Me neither & I am wondering what would cause someone to write to him to whine.

    He has mentioned people whining to him to ban some of the more inflamed assholes around here, thats pretty stupid. Even when she-who-will-not-be-named said my kid should have died in Afghanistan I didn’t go running to JC. JAY-Zeus people, group up, grow a pair and move on.

    Whats left? Whine about site problems? Like you assume JC doesn’t know that already? WTF are YOU doing to make it better, or even to provide a nice place like this to get together? This is not his fucking job, he is not making money off the place. Back the fuck off & learn to put up with a few minor inconveniences.

  63. 63

    I think John needs to read some of my Good News Friday posts, that’s all.


  64. 64
    General Stuck says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I think John needs to quit trying to please everyone under the sun.

  65. 65


    Berea, Ky., is now offering domestic partner benefits for GLBT employees. Berea is a pretty tiny town in Kentucky. It’s not marriage equality but it’s a pretty significant first step.

  66. 66

    @General Stuck:

    Good advice for ALL of us.

  67. 67
    Ted & Hellen says:


    Your stable of contributors are more than capable of keeping balloon-juice afloat.

    Pffftttt…when John isn’t posting regularly, it’s not Balloon Juice. He’s the voice, the glue.

    We all know this. Why pretend otherwise?

  68. 68
    22over7 says:

    I’m with Southern Beale. I’m more optimistic than I’ve been in years. The kids are overwhelmingly pro-choice, pro-love, pro-society, and anti-stupid. We just re-elected a black man to the Presidency. The right is so far right that they’re swallowing their own tail. The schadenfreude cocktails have been restorative.

    Our country has survived much worse than this.

    Also, really sorry about your friend. And still waiting with impatient foot-tapping for family pics.

  69. 69
    raven says:

    @Southern Beale: Berea College is very progressive.

  70. 70
    gene108 says:

    while the Republicans aren’t winning, it never really feels like we are, either.

    On social issues the long march of Liberal face-crushing-ass-kicking-total-anhilation-of-conservatives continues unabated.

    From women’s lib to integration to interracial marriage to same sex marriage to consenting adults “living in sin” liberals keep winning whatever “culture war” the Right dreams up.

    On the economic front, victory is a lot harder.

    I think the biggest problem for liberals is differences in the liberal coalition on economic issues, which leads to an inability to agree on what the problems are with the economy.

    There’s a common rejection of the IGMFY philosophy of conservatives, but some liberals are more corporate friendly with regards to how the economy should function, while others wouldn’t mind doing away with profits.

    On social issues, there’s a straightforward agenda, like gays should be able to marry and have the legal rights given to married couples.

    I just don’t see as straight forward a theme that liberals can rally around on the economic front.

  71. 71
    Wayne t says:

    I sympathize with your condition, but something happen after the election.
    I realized we have a mother fucking Ninja president and I stopped worrying so much and turned off the non stop cable news. The Republican Party seems to be seriously cracking up. I dont’ get too riled up about their shenanigans anymore because it seems like the Ninja in the oval office is playing a long ball game that’s causing their implosion. Yes, there are depressing setbacks and annoyances but overall I’m starting to enjoy the shit show. It can’t go on forever. We are living through a major turning point in history.

    The funny thing about this blog is I know exactly where and when you acquired each of your pets (except that fat boy who preceded me). So I’m equally excited to hear about the pets as any political snark. But please learn to take pictures in focus, dude. And best of luck to your friend,

  72. 72
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    I think you need to unplug, enjoy the new kitteh, be there for your friend, don’t turn into a Jim Robinson, remember lot of the politics is just kubuki theatre, it will pass. Check out some of the stuff on Netflix or other shows. Watching The Protectors, a show from Denmark about unit called the PET, the Danish equivalent to the Secret Service, a good thriller.

  73. 73
    Yutsano says:

    @Schlemizel: This this this this this!!

    @Southern Beale: Suddenly Senator Judd just rolled off the tongue a bit easier. :)

  74. 74
    Schlemizel says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    That has to be a real low point for you. I remember my worst days when I just wanted to die & get it over with, I would think it has to be harder with what your have to endure.

    Its become something of a cliche but it bears repeating, hang in there it does get better. In a year or two you will be able to laugh about some of it. I’m still working on forgetting the rest.

    BTW – there are some awfully kind folks here who offered encouragement and sympathy often when I needed it most. Maybe the whiners dominate communications sometimes but over all this is a great place to be

  75. 75


    Yeah it surprised me, too. We don’t really have a state income tax, but we do have a 6% tax on dividend and interest income, called the Hall tax. I don’t have a lot of that stuff but a small amount and of course my accountant screwed up and forgot to count one piece of it one year and we didn’t notice. I got a lovely letter from the state department of revenue in January. But there’s a movement in the state government to get rid of the Hall Tax completely.

  76. 76
    Baud says:


    Even when she-who-will-not-be-named said my kid should have died in Afghanistan I didn’t go running to JC.

    Jesus, that’s one of the most disgusting things I’ve heard of, and I pay attention to the GOP.

  77. 77
    Roger Moore says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Berea is a pretty tiny town in Kentucky.

    It’s also home to one of the most liberal schools in the state, Berea College. It should remind people that even in very red states, there are still some beacons of blue.

  78. 78


    I saw she’s been meeting with Gov. Beshear to discuss the possibility. I think she has a shot. My Kentucky relatives seem to think so. She’s really well-spoken and smart.

  79. 79
    General Stuck says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I know Berea very well. And have spent much time there. It is my favorite town in all of Kentucky my home state. With a college that is Christian affiliated and also a liberal arts mecca. not many of those around.

    Berea College is distinctive among institutions of higher learning. Founded in 1855 as the first interracial and coeducational college in the South,

    edit – and what Roger Moore said.

  80. 80

    @Roger Moore:

    We couldn’t remember if Berea College was a Christian school or not. I’m guessing not.

  81. 81
    raven says:

    @General Stuck: You didn’t happen to know the Sowell’s?

  82. 82
    peej says:

    Take a break and be there for your friend. The only thing we really demand from you is pet pictures on a regular basis. If you could learn how to take decent pictures with your phone (I assume that’s what you’re using), that would be a plus .

  83. 83
    Wayne t says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Berea is my hometown/college. It was founded by abolitionists and has an amazingly progressive record. Also it’s a free college for families under a certain income level that doesn’t charge tuition, the student work on Campus instead. I’ve often wondered why there aren’t more of them but I guess we had a pretty big endowment. I hear all the freshman get laptops now.

  84. 84

    Wow I was not familiar with Berea College v Kentucky. This is fascinating. It’s sorta like what the state of Tennessee is trying to do now with some pending all-comers legislation.

  85. 85
    raven says:

    @Wayne t: How about you?

  86. 86
    General Stuck says:


    Nope. Had a girlfriend from there, and spent a lot of time in Berea for that reason.

  87. 87
  88. 88
    Wayne t says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Berea is a non denominational Christian school. There used to be a required religious class but it covered all the worlds religion. I think the curriculum has changed to less liberal arts and more major centered, but yes it’s pretty religious just not the rigid in your face kind. Lots of outreach to poor communities etc. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to go there until I left. It’s called the poor mans Havard.

  89. 89
    raven says:

    @General Stuck: My high school girlfriend went to UK and she and her husband were there for years.

  90. 90
    raven says:

    @Wayne t: Did you take econ?

  91. 91

    Well, thanks y’all for educating me about Berea! Husband went to UK and his brother went to Georgetown, but he didn’t know anything about Berea.

    I really love Kentucky. Probably more so than Tennessee. I’ve lived there twice, both times in rural areas. But we love Louisville, too.

  92. 92
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Schlemizel: Thanks for the words of encouragement. I’m going to bed now, getting over surgery is exhausting.

  93. 93
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Damning Praising with faint praise, damns, I know. But I think Hagel will get confirmed and meanwhile the public sees the Republicans acting like little children who want to take their marbles and go home.

    Unimportant stuff fixed. Important part of your comment left intact for truth.

  94. 94
    raven says:

    @Southern Beale: “Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, world statesman and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, will be the speaker and receive an honorary degree at Berea College’s 133rd Commencement in its 150th year, on Sunday, May 22, 2005.”

  95. 95
    Wayne t says:

    Alice Borden College is also in Kentucky and I think has the same financial set up as Berea but not as we’ll known. It think there is a college in Georgia that work instead of tuition as well.

    One thing to remember though is Berea is DRY town. It’s hard to get people to believe that still exists so I described it as like Footloose except liquor instead of dancing. Although there was a crazy old bootlegger named Floyd in the hollers that resold wine coolers for an insane profit margin.

  96. 96
    Wayne t says:


    No, I was a freaking theatre major!
    Plus I’m really a girl so don’t go by my name. That’s my alter Internet identity so I don’t get hassle as much.

  97. 97
    raven says:

    @Wayne t: Berry College’s Work Experience Program is like no other in the country. Full-time students, regardless of family income, are guaranteed on-campus jobs during fall and spring semesters. Most students choose to take advantage of this unique opportunity; more than 95 percent work at some time during their four years with more than 85 percent working during any given year.

  98. 98

    @Wayne t:

    I love their motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.”

  99. 99
    mothra1 says:

    Best wishes to your friend.

  100. 100
    Anne Laurie says:

    Keeping positive thoughts for your friend, John.

    As for the blog, Schlemizel has the right idea — dump/ignore your current blog-email, and give your new address only to a couple trusted accomplices. Let the rest of us whiners circulate our plaints to some of the other FPers — if it’s that important, worst comes to worst it’ll end up as a front-page bleg.

    And don’t forget that exercise is an anti-depressant. If you can’t get a human ‘buddy’ to hit the gym with you, remember that Lily and Rosie will always be up for a walk. And as the days get longer (they are, really) getting more sunlight on your pineal gland can’t hurt, either.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Wayne t:

    It’s odd where you find little pockets of “dry” sometimes. My friend’s sister did a summer course in Oregon about 20 years ago and they were in a dry county.

    (I think it must have been Western Oregon University. Not sure if they’re still dry.)

  102. 102
    raven says:

    @Wayne t: My friend was actually the news manager for the school, her hubby taught econ.

  103. 103
    mvr says:

    Hey Cole, this blog has been a nice place to hang out for a long time now, and it will be here you even if you didn’t post for a while. Which is not to say that your posts aren’t among the attractions. And who wouldn’t be down with news like that? Even if things can get better.

    As for winning or not, sometimes preserving stuff from attack is winning, and it really does seem like we did that for the safety net, holey as it is, with the past several elections. That’s not nothing.

  104. 104
    dance around in your bones says:

    John. you have created a wonderful community here that has helped me through some hard times. I’m sure it gets burdensome (I told a friend the other day that it must be like dragging a ball and chain around with you wherever you go) but we all appreciate the hard work and dedication you have put into maintaining this blog.

    I remember in the past when you said you had something like 6000 emails in your inbox and you just fucking deleted them all and told anybody who had something important to say to email you again.

    Perhaps you should do that again!

    Your front pagers additions have been pretty stellar and you should just ignore the Republican fools. They just want to piss us off and Obama, too – who seems to be doing pretty well in doing end runs around their baloney.

    All hail Obama!

  105. 105
  106. 106
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I’m proud to say that I have never sent John an email, negative or otherwise.

    I did, once, a long long time ago. I sent him an email requesting a picture of Tunch. He delivered, and sent me an email back saying the pic he put up was because I asked for it.

    Hey, all I’m saying is, it worked for me.

    John, I secondthirdfourth what everyone else has said. This is a great blog and you have assembled an amazing group of front-pagers to carry on. Cancer sucks and your friend is lucky to have you there for her.

    Now I can haz picture of Tunch and Zsa Zsa?

  107. 107
    danielx says:

    Hang in there, John – nothing to do but go ahead, and go on, but thoughts from many are with you and your friend.

  108. 108
    Yutsano says:

    @Southern Beale: I might just squee if that happened. Plus I have a feeling a lot of younger males might just pay a bit more attention to politics should she win. The death of the political career or Yertle is just gravy.

  109. 109
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I’m a Democratic optimist living in Texas who works for a Defense contracting company full of Republicans. Having come from where I started to where I am now – though a few too many bills right now to be completely safe – I have to remain optimistic. I guess I could be more pessimistic, but I wouldn’t know how to handle it.

    If you want something to do, help me figure out how to get Hispanics to vote next year in the same percentage they do in California, and get other Democrats out to vote. We could easily replace Governor Goodhair and probably a number of state congressmen if we did that.

  110. 110
    jamick6000 says:

    Things are very frustrating. Like that last piece from DDay you posted, even a reform that gets 64 votes in the Senate somehow gets stalled when no one is looking.

    I hope your friend beats the cancer.

  111. 111
    danielx says:

    Who the fuck do they want, Avigdor Lieberman?

    Well, yes.

    …it feels like we are just fighting the same battles over and over and over again, and while the Republicans aren’t winning, it never really feels like we are, either.

    All too true. The legislature of my beloved state strikes again. These people do not give up, and unless the women of the state get up and get on them this horseshit is very likely to pass – the Rs have a supermajority.

    I believe the translation of the military verbiage Mike Foxtrot Alpha is Mother Fucking Assholes.

  112. 112
    Gilmore says:

    A friend is a friend and cancer is cancer.

    STOP. Take a deep breath. Relax for just a second. It doesn’t matter what cure rates are or any major advances made in the last 20 years.

    It’s cancer. Give your friend all the support you can. Take a day or 3 off here. Ask some of your more “trusted” posters to whip up a column for you. I’ll write one too. Pre-approve them and let another front pager post them.

    The Republican machine is meant to try and wear us down. Right now some dickweed at Redstate is squeezing one off because of your reported impending downfall (made that last bit up).

    You are going to have good days and bad days. Worse days too and not in that order. Be strong and don’t let the (-) energy of the few idiots who show up on this nice doorstep of yours get you down.

    Recharge, revitalize and peace brother.

  113. 113
    WaynersT says:


    Funny story from when I was at Berea. Richmond was the next town over (EKU massive party school) and students were going to the bars there and coming back. So the campus and local police tried charging students with ‘internal possession’. Lasted a couple of weeks. There used to be no coed dorms ( I think they have one now) and when there was open house visitation you had to have at least one foot on the floor. It was a funny school but I didn’t realize how different until I went to Grad school with a bunch of morons.

    One of the jobs I had at Berea was as a tour guide during the summer so I am pretty familiar with it’s history. First to educated blacks, women etc. Kentucky passed the Day law to stop them So they had to stop a while. There was always a rumor there were tunnels under the campus where they would hide black students from prosecution – never found out if that were true. It was founded by John G Fee a big abolitionist and funded byt Cassius Clay (yep Ali’s namesake), cousin of Henry .

    It only accepts families UNDER a certain income – (local kids all got to go) – and only a certain percentage is allowed outside the Appalachian region and only 7% foreign.

  114. 114
    Pam says:

    I feel your pain. It is so frustrating to watch the wasted opportunity that we libs should be able to use to progress. Friends – liberal & conservative – are sick of my ongoing nagging & efforts to remind them that we have to keep moving forward for equality & gun safety. You’re exactly right. The right wants us to be lulled into complacency and acceptance of the status quo. Your friend is lucky to have you. You are lucky to have lots of us out here standing with you.

  115. 115
    raven says:

    @WaynersT: Nice info.

  116. 116
    Redshirt says:

    I’ve never sent John an email and can’t imagine I ever would. I assume there are many others like me. So who’s sending you all these emails? And if it is indeed overwhelming, fuck it. Take off and nuke it from orbit – it’s the only way to be sure.

  117. 117
    WaynersT says:

    Also Berea was picked by the Today Show to be the best place to survive the apocalypse.
    Ha! No Booze but a thousand Dulcimers.

  118. 118

    Let us know if there’s something we can do.

    It’s ironic, tho, because this morning’s BJ was full of good schadenfreudie news about a permanent Repub minority, etc. Seems to me that things are moving in a positive direction, in large part due to the blogosphere.

  119. 119
    waynski says:

    Sorry about your friend. I hope she gets well soon. Perhaps the country will too. Stay strong and fight for both. Its all we can do.

  120. 120
    Jane2 says:

    Sorry to hear about your friend. On the upside, my personal anecdotal study consisting of my friends indicates that the survival rate is very good. Best of luck to her.

    As far as politics, you are right. Give it a rest and let it play out…the American people seem to be catching on (and the Beltway denizens tagging behind as usual), and this can only end better than we think.

  121. 121
    Schlemizel says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Man did TDS ever take apart the goopers, particularly grandpa, over their BS on Hagel. About the only thing left out was McCain’s clip from 08 saying Hagle would be his SecDef.

    They took him to task with a “country first” clip fro 08 & ended with the still, having modified the banner in front of grandpa to read COUNTRY FIRST. The GOP just can’t die fast enough

  122. 122
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    the negative emails

    God, yes. Just forget the password to that acct, John. That’s fucking bananas. Anyone who takes the time to give you grief about the nice little thing you do for free? Total nutjob.

  123. 123
    LT says:

    I was actually thinking earlier today John that running this site must really suck sometimes. First world problems and all, but I do feel for you. I’m not crazy about the direction over the last year or more, but oh well. I still check in nearly every day.

    Keep on. Love on those critters.

    EDIT: Just finished reading the post – sorry about your friend.

  124. 124
    Schlemizel says:


    I was having dinner in a Dallas restaurant & was told I couldn’t buy wine. But the waiter pointed literally across the street and said, “Thats a different county, if you go over there you can have a drink with dinner” Americans a freekin weird

  125. 125
    Redshirt says:

    For hilarious reference, the website apparently costs 360K a year to operate. Big time Freedom.

  126. 126
    Genine says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your friend, John. And we all need a break from time to time. There is only so much swimming upstream in bullshit infested waters one can do without taking a break and resting on the shore for a while. I keep myself motivated by the fact that what’s up there is better than what’s down here. How much better? Don’t know. But any improvement is good and sets the stage for even better things.

    In other words: No worries! It’s all good. Chill for a bit and enjoy the growing furry family.

  127. 127
    Yutsano says:

    @Schlemizel: I didn’t think there were any further dry counties in Texas anymore. I could be wrong however.

    I did see your earlier comment. I decided to not rub in the irony. I’m just glad you’re doing better now.

  128. 128
    CaseyL says:

    John, my best wishes and hopes to you and your friend.

    When I think on how long you’ve been running this madhouse – and keeping it the madhouse we all love so much – my mind boggles. I go through periods when it seems the last thing I want to do is talk about politics, and I’m not running a blog populated by a demanding community. You’re a great guy to keep at it so long.

    If you need some time off, take it. BJ has enough front pagers to keep us off the streets and out of trouble now and then.

    But don’t go too far or for too long. You’re family, and we love you.

  129. 129
    SatanicPanic says:

    Damn that sucks about your friend.

    I love your blog John. My company is getting on people’s cases about using our computers for fun stuff and I was going nuts missing this place all day at work. Ignore the idiots emailing you nasty stuff man.

  130. 130

    Cole, sorry to hear about your friend.

    As others said above, take a break or post less and tell us to pound sand if we don’t like it. People will understand.

    Or it may be time to film that buddy comedy of you and TBogg (who has also been talking about his funk) on some sort of madcap adventure to regain your blawginess. With pets.

  131. 131
    angler says:

    The signs were there during the DNC road trip. It was prime Cole material and John posted very little. Get well my man. In the meantime even if it is bullshit, you can spin this as the birth pangs of a new order. The gears keep grinding but the public is moving farther left. Ultimately the gears have to unlock. BJ is part of that.

  132. 132
    Violet says:

    Very sorry to hear about your friend, John. I hope they caught it early and treatment goes well.

    It has always been a war like this where moving forward and doing the right thing is concerned. Slow steps forward are how things get done. The important thing is, we’re moving forward.

    Maybe make a point to post good news once a week or so. The act of looking for it and posting about it may help your perspective.

    Hang in there.

  133. 133
    liberal says:

    @mai naem:

    Also small note – everybody assumes John’s friend with cancer is female. It could be a guy.

    My uncle had breast cancer. Survived, too—it can be nasty in men because no one is looking for it.

    He said some woman on his ward was outraged that a man was there, and told some joke about telling her to calm down. The delivery was made funnier being delivered by one of those voice synthesizer things. Had throat cancer, too—smoker with nine lives.

  134. 134
    ruemara says:

    My best to your friend, John. The energy you have should be spent caring for your family and friends. The blog and it’s denizens can be handled by the capable crew you’ve attracted here. And please, take care of yourself.

  135. 135
    Seanly says:

    I’m not depressed about the politics because on the Seanly pyramid of shit to be depressed about my job is on a lower plane than the political stuff over which I only have 1 vote.

    Sorry to hear about your friend that has cancer. In this crappy time, the best thing you can do for your friend is to be there for her and also for her family. Even when things go well & there is no money drama as was the case with my wife’s non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, there is a major amount of stress. We thought we were tough & had put down a beloved dog a month before my wife started treatment. She came through with flying colors but it took the wind out of our sails. I lost my mojo at work & 6 months after her treatment ended I was let go.

  136. 136
    wasabi gasp says:

    The prizes found in Cracker Jack have gradually declined to a state of what can be described as an insulting disappointment in every box. May the young dig sticky with determination searching for their insulting disappointment. I’ll just surprisingly delight on the occasional crunch of nut cluster. It’s all poppycock to me.

    I wish the best for your friend. And you.

  137. 137
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    So sorry you are feeling ‘blue’. Hopefully Zsa Zsa will help relieve some of the stress.
    This a great place, with interesting front pagers and a wonderful commenting community.
    Please take care of yourself and be there for your friend( I can’t imagine you being anything but ‘there’ for those you care about). & because they really can make a difference {{{{{hugs}}}}}

  138. 138
    cusorial says:

    JC: a) Best wishes to your friend. All the political BS pales in comparison …


    b) the main reason I stop by to read your blog is, despite being a dyed-in-the-wool liberal from way back, I hold out some hope that as Americans we can find some common ground on issues, even if it takes a Lockheed Martin drone with a f**king dowsing rod to find it. The people who post and comment on this blog give me some hope on that score. So regardless of how seldom or often you post, you’ve created that space.

  139. 139
    FlipYrWhig says:


    @Southern Beale: Suddenly Senator Judd just rolled off the tongue a bit easier. :)

    I know this is like a serious encounter-group kind of thread, but I can’t believe I’m the first one to get all silly about having Ashley Judd on my tongue.

  140. 140
    BC says:

    @Southern Beale: Wish they would take their marbles and go home. Then we could get a functioning government. But they’re like those whiny kids who keep changing the rules on how to play marbles.

  141. 141
    Denali says:

    Well, hang in there, John.

    LIfe isn’t easy sometimes. I am so sorry about your friend.

  142. 142
    LAC says:

    @Maude: I agree! The bastards are not going to roll over and play dead, but then you got carte blanche to kick them every chance you get. There are going to be more battles to come, but since November 2012, I am a lot more optimistic and watching the Republicans fart all over their rebranding attempts is funny, in a grim black comedy sort of way.

    John: This blog is informative and entertaining, even with the trolls. Just take of yourself and your friend. Having experienced it with my boss this last year, it is an emotional and physically challenging experience. You have created a vibrant community here – we do feel your presence here, whether you post daily or not.

  143. 143
    JR (now) in AZ says:


    A good friend of ours was diagnosed with stage-4 breast cancer some years ago, and the local (WV) doctors told her there was nothing they could do. So theNEXT day her husband took her to the UVA med school hospital in Charlottesville, VA where she had major surgery and was enrolled in their most severe chemo/radiation program.

    She is not as strong as she was (she was very strong!) but she still goes to work most days, and has been able to enjoy being a grandmother, which means a whole lot to her.

    So wish her luck from all the BJ hangers on.

    Best to you, too, you lazy bum! ;-)


  144. 144
    Richard Bottoms says:

    As one of the old-timers I can safely say things are getting much better actually. I used to needle you mercilessly to the point of being told to go fuck myself back when you were still drinking the GOP Kool Aid. Times changed and so did you.

    I hated the results of Reagan’s election but a massive political shift had occurred and it has reverberated for more than 30 years.

    A similar earthquake is occurring right now and a long view of the results are required. Latinos, gays and young people will continue to desert the insane clown car party. Things will get better over the next couple of decades as the pendulum continues to swing to the left.

    The current GOP freakout and tears are like an ice cold Coke on a blisteringly hot day.


    BTW, my wife and her sister have survived breast cancer as did the wife of my best friend.

    Early detection!!!!

  145. 145
    noabsolutes says:

    Cancer fucking sucks.

    Also, this is the politics that kept black people out of Congress from Reconstruction until like the Voting Rights Act. And still out of the Senate. America refuses to be governed by the Negro.

  146. 146
    PNW_WarriorWoman says:

    Thank you for all you do John. I love your site and your fellow bloggers. I can’t tell you how many times you have written things that are my thoughts exactly but you do it better than I ever could. Thank you for caring about your friends, your pets and the women you know.

    When spring comes to my area I’ll send you some blooming flowering garden porn. You’ll love it.

    Here’s a post for you that I thought you might appreciate reading if you haven’t already.

    Why I Am Considering Getting Rid of Comments . . .

    (via The Big Picture)

  147. 147
    Lex says:

    Hey, John, we’re grownups here (most of us). We can take care of ourselves, and I’m speaking not only for those of us who live in your comments box but also, if I may, the other front-pagers, of whom even my least favorite (no, I’m not naming) is quite competent.

    So we’ll take care of ourselves, for as long as need be. You go look after your friend, as long and as much as she needs.

Comments are closed.