It’s a fool who plays it cool

I love Wegman’s. Wegman’s selection and customer service are fantastic. We shop there whenever we can afford it. We hardly ever shop there.

Right-wing “artist” Jon McNaughton paints Barack Obama as William Lloyd Garrison.

New Hampshire’s House of Representatives is still too big.

Handmaids of the Lordvs.Saints of the Roundtable

People hate those whom they fear, and they fear those whom they have wronged.”

“John Derbyshire is a racist. Declaring such does not require an act of mind-reading, it requires an act of Derbyshire-reading.”

Derbyshire fits into a tradition of a particular type of conservative who ends up a bit too far in the deep end and has to be let go lest his antediluvian views on race tarnish the whole enterprise he is associated with.”

“Since we live in a low-lying coastal region, you can thank the majority of that 100 million when the water comes lapping at your door due to climate change.”

Whatever hurts a part of the community affects the entirety of our community.”

“I find it disheartening that a man of God would refuse to extend a pastoral arm.”

“Under current U.S. immigration law, over 200,000 immigrants are imprisoned every year during their deportation hearings without any individual assessment of their risk to public safety or their vulnerability in detention.”

“In most cases the tyranny of the majority, once unconstrained by the law, proceeds to do its level best to silence all dissenting voices through threats, intimidation, violence, or simply peer pressure.”

Why is my womb attached to a transportation bill?

“Congress could easily eliminate fraud by abusive tax preparers … and save taxpayers billions of dollars annually, by simply ending mandatory filing of tax returns for most taxpayers.” (via)

It is inexplicable that the right would feel the need to tell lies about the Volt to attack the president.”

“Only 30 or so were made last year, each custom tailored to the owner’s hand.”

“There’s a whole Universe out there just waiting to be discovered, and what’s out there may be more fantastic than anyone has ever imagined.”

“Were we to honor the symbolic details of the text, that honor would always belong to a woman.”

Our visions of Hell are the product of a long process — not a neatly transmitted one — that blended Hebrew, Greek, Roman, and other mythologies.”

Eclipsed … mocked … destroyed … abolished … made captive.” (via)

“Free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

A grave is no place to live.”

(Post title for Julian Lennon on his 49th birthday.)

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  • Brent

    The link in “Only 30 or so were made last year, each custom tailored to the owner’s hand.”appears to be broken.

  • Anonymous-Sam

    What the hell is wrong with socialism? I’m so sick and tired of seeing it used as if the word itself should demonstrate exactly what’s wrong with the idea. Public schools are socialist. The US postal system is socialist. The ability to get lifesaving emergency treatment is socialist. Our police and firefighters are paid for by the general public, not out of private insurance. … Oh, wait, people are trying to get rid of all of those, too.

    But why? Every time someone brings up socialism, it leads inevitably to comparisons to the evil Russia (whom we no longer seem to think is so evil) and the even eviler China (who remains a primary trading partner and the foundation for many of our biggest businesses)… funny, but the people the government is trying to paint as Scum of the Earth nowadays use a capitalist model of their own.

    “Socialism,” they say, and spit. “Look where it got Russia.” Yes, so? Look where capitalism is getting America. Why should nearly one out of every four children be malnourished? Why are between one in seven and one in five Americans completely bereft of healthcare services every year (fluctuating based on employment and time of year)? Why are so many people so desperate for employment that they’re willing to take up paid-by-commission jobs, which are notorious for averaging less than minimum wage (my own paid an average of $1.40 an hour)?

    It seems to me that what capitalism has gotten us is a nation where corporate entities decide public policy and override democracy, where they decide who lives and who dies, who works and who thrives, who the plebs are and who the elite are, and continually lowers living standards and the average income throughout the entire country. Corruption around every corner. A police force we can’t always trust. That… actually sounds a lot like what Russia got.

  • The socialist countries we’re actually trying to emulate regularly pop up on the list of ‘best countries to live in’; Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway…

  • “Derbyshire fits into a tradition of a particular type of conservative who ends up a bit too far in the deep end and has to be let go lest his antediluvian views on race tarnish the whole enterprise he is associated with.”

    Hah, what? That’s like saying “the leader of NOM has to be let go because she’s sexist and homophobic, and we don’t want our anti-woman, anti-gay enterprise tarnished with that.” The so-called conservative movement in the United States is inherently racist. It doesn’t owe itself to Edmund Burke; it owes itself to slave owners, and to people who thought that One of the Great Truths of humankind was that people with brown skin were born to be used as workers and sex slaves by men with light pink skin. The reason it is what it is, the reason why it’s so far to the right of most conservatives in other Western countries, is because of our history of racial slavery.

  •  Great point Mark. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Do you think we’re at a disadvantage to make socialism work because of our high population? I know that one of the main reasons it works in the Scandinavian countries is because of their low populations combined with extreme abundance of oil. I wonder if being extremely “green” is detrimental to making it as a socialist country (ie it’s very unpopular in the US right now to advocate for drilling and such)? I don’t know. Just some questions.

  • P J Evans

    How many Scandinavian countries have an abundance of oil?
    How many people in the US are actually against drilling for oil?
    (Provide some evidence to back up your statements. Otherwise they’re just things you think might be true.)

  • I was thinking specifically of Norway. Sorry.

    According to, Norway is the largest exporter of oil in western Europe, the 15th largest producer in the world, and the 3rd largest exporter of oil in the world. They’re also the 2nd largest exporter of natural gas after Russia and the fifth largest producer of natural gas in the world. All with a population under 5,000,000. Pretty sweet set up.

    The other “statements” i made were actually questions. You know, with a question mark.

  • Thanks for the mention, Fred!

  • Nequam

    “Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism.”

    activist judge Earl Warren

  • I think the Greens are actually like a real party in most European countries, and tend to be the most socialist. I know they started in Germany. 

  • Anonymous

    RE: Wegman’s.  Do you comparison shopping.  There are 2 competing chains in my area and we have learned that some things are priced better at Wegman’s. House brand cheese 50 cents per pound. Large Eggs 60 cents per dozen. Their house brand coffees are unmatched by the competition.  In other areas, not so much as they move more and more to limit name brands and increase house brands that do not have the necessary quality.  Meats tend to be more expensive at Wegman’s and produce is too variable to make a consistent determination. 

    We end up making 2 stops or waiting until we’re in the right area because a $4/gal the cost of the trip to any grocery store is not something that we can ignore.

  • P J Evans

     Norway has a lot of wells (oil and gas both) in the North Sea. Which isn’t exactly part of Scandinavia (and a lot of the product goes through Scotland).

  • Anonymous

    I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though
    an even more mild and tolerant one, and those things are going to be
    illegal pretty soon, the way we are going.


  • That is sort of the social equivalent of saying “I am a moron. 2+2=fish! I don’t know whether to put my socks or shoes on first!” is it not? 

  • esmerelda ogg

    I love Wegmans too. And you know what? It just may be the cheapest place to buy food in my part of South Jersey. Recently I did some price comparison research for a food giveaway program we hope to start at my church. What startled me was that Wegmans beat out Walmart as the cheapest store for the foods – basic staples – I was investigating.

    And the employees are great.

  • Anonymous

    My father and sister both watched a BBC Documentary about the poor in the US and he said that if he were an American he would never be an republican.

    The thing that baffles us most is why there is no universal healthcare and why the people on the right are so against it.

  • Anonymous

    Barrington Republican Martin Harty told Sharon
    Omand, a Strafford resident who manages a community mental health
    program, that “the world is too populated” and there are “too many
    defective people,” according to an e-mail account of the conversation by Omand. […]

    Harty confirmed to the Monitor that he made the comments to Omand. […]
    Omand says Harty then stated, “I wish we had a Siberia so we
    could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the
    population.” Omand said Harty appeared to be serious. After Omand
    responded that his idea sounded like what Adolf Hitler did in World War
    II, Omand said Harty responded, “Hitler did something right, and I agree
    with (it).”

    I don’t even have words.

  • Rik

    On the topic of socialism and green parties: Norway does indeed export a lot of oil, but two of its largest ruling parties have an explicit environmentalist stance (although neither is, strictly speaking, a “Green party”.) The idea is to use their oil responsibly – not only due to environmentalist concerns such as global warming, but also to simply keep it from running out. They’ve got a lot of the stuff, but sooner or later every well dries up.

  • Lori


    The link in “Only 30 or so were made last year, each custom tailored to the owner’s hand.”appears to be broken. 

    When I first noticed that the link was broken I thought the story might be about Patriarch Kirill I’s watch.

    Instead it’s about a baseball glove.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Particularly if those others have black or brown skin.

  • Anonymous

     How many people in the US are actually against drilling for oil?

    More than there were before BP blew up the Gulf of Mexico, fewer than there were immediately after same.

    Whenever there’s a huge spill of solar energy, it’s called a nice day.

  • Anonymous

    I know that one of the main reasons it works in the Scandinavian countries is because of their low populations combined with extreme abundance of oil.

    How do you know that’s why socialism works there?  Sure, oil has helped to make Norway wealthy, and wealth can help make any economic/social system “work.”  But Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE all produce more oil per capita than Norway does, and the other Nordic economies aren’t based on oil at all.  I don’t think there’s any relationship between the amount of oil a country produces and its support for socialism.

    The USA is only a little behind Norway in per capita GDP, and ahead of any other Scandinavian country.  We could make socialism work as easily as they could, if we wanted to; we have the resources.

    I wonder if being extremely “green” is detrimental to making it as a socialist country (ie it’s very unpopular in the US right now to advocate for drilling and such)?

    The answer’s almost certainly no. The Scandinavian countries are some of the greenest in the world; Norway’s #3 on the Environmental Perfomance Index.  We’re #49.

    As for the popularity of drilling, note that Norway decided to keep the oil-rich but environmentally sensitive Lofoten archipelago off-limits, largely in response to our Gulf Coast spill.  It spends a lot more money on safe drilling procedures, and has a much better accident record than the US.  (The US also produces over three times as much oil as Norway.)

    If anything, Americans are considerably more pro-drilling than Norwegians; we’ll drill more recklessly and for smaller returns.

  • I don’t think there’s any relationship between the amount of oil a country produces and its support for socialism.

    The closest you could ever get to that assertion is that countries that have a lot of oil can afford to maintain low / non-existent tax rates and robust welfare states (like in Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE), but that’s not the same thing as socialism and doesn’t account for all of the other countries that have strong welfare states but less oil wealth.

  • P J Evans

    Most people aren’t happy with the idea of drilling in wilderness and national parks – I certainly don’t want that. And I’m not dim enough to believe that drilling now will do anything to bring down the price of gas now (or in the near future). But a lot of people do buy into those ideas, mostly I think because it’s easier to believe in quick-and-easy fixes than in the difficult reality of needing to use less oil.

  • “Toys for rich people” re electrics and hybrids.

    I have to say, that’s sort of right. An auto loan for a $40,000 car is, before interest,  $600 a month and change*. Even factoring in the tax credit you’re only looking at getting the first 6 to 10 months paid for, depending on the interest rate.

    Now, if electrics and hybrids could cost a lot less……..

    Oh, wait. They’re not a Real Man’s car.

    *rolls eyes*

    It’s like the people who could make this happen aren’t that interested in bringing it to fruition.

    * Assuming a 5 year amortization period.

  • P J Evans

    My 10-year-old hybrid was $24000, including interest. (List price was something like $20000.) That wasn’t much more than a conventional engined-car (at $15000 – $18000 list), and it uses enough less gas to make it worth the extra money.

  • Anonymous

    OK, I’m an idiot, but I couldn’t resist clicking over to the “Handmaids of the Lord/Saints of the Roundtable” site. The former was developed by Dr. and Mrs. George Alquist, the latter (the one for men, although I was personally under the impression that “saints” was a gender-neutral term) by Dr. George all by himself. The quote for the women is Mary’s agreement to become pregnant out of wedlock (“behold the handmaiden of the lord; be it unto my according to thy word”). “Brave choice,” to quote the Doctor. The quote for the men is “watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong,” which is all nice and Game-of-Thrones-y, but does require their youthful charges to be a bit more skilled in Early Modern English than most of them probably are.

    What really struck me, though, was the image for the handmaiden, a young woman in pseudo-medieval clothing (nice Victorian-style ruffle, though, although a bit low on the collarbone for Victorian) with … red nail polish. (Maybe she’s just a nice medieval girl who isn’t too good at sewing. Or a nice medieval girl who just slaughtered a pig with her bare hands and failed to really scrub those fingernails.)

    So now I’m wondering if the knight has a lumbar support thingie under his armor.

  • No, but more than few probably need King Robert’s ‘breastplate spreader’.

  • Murc

    With regard to Wegmans, I don’t know where you live in their coverage area, but I’m a Rochester native, where they started out, and the whole “well, they’re awesome, but they price their stuff out of reach” thing has had some… ugly side effects.

    Wegmans was started by Bob Wegmans in a downtown Rochester location, which eventually grew into a bunch of downtown locations, which eventually grew into what they are today.

    Those original downtown stores? All gone. Shuttered. (Except for one, that the city basically had to give them a shit-ton of bribes not to close.) So were the downtown stores they’d opened in Buffalo. Not because they weren’t profitable (they were) but because serving an urban populace was no longer the sort of image they wanted to present. So they just pulled out.

    This is one of the many ways in which Danny Wegmans is a shadow of the man his father was. Wegmans charitable giving and employee advancement programs have taken serious hits ever since old Bob was safely in the ground and couldn’t object.

  • One of the more insulting reasons I’ve heard of why Scandinavian countries can do it and we can’t is because they’re full of white people. 

    Thankfully, nobody’s actually brought that argument up yet here, but here’s a linky to the hateful bastards: first one I found was to Stormfront, but that’s like way too out there:

    Personally, I think it must be related to why they also have all the good heavy metal. 

  • Murc

     It’s not so much that they’re full of white people. It’s because they’re culturally and ethnically homogenous, which removes a lot of potential avenues of demagoguery. That is indisputably a big factor in how they’ve managed to come to their political consensus with regard to a shared society.

    I’ve heard people clumsily try to make that point by saying “Well, everyone in Scandinavia is white…” which is technically TRUE, but sounds really awful.

  • It’s not a lie or wrong to point out that one of the biggest dividing wedges in instituting universalized benefits in the USA has been the fact of ethnic heterogeneity *and* racism against the less dominant members of the heterogeneous group.

    When people go absolutely bonkers over anything Obama does, there’s more at work than just hating on the Dems, since Clinton did some similar things and a major, mainstream political movement never really coalesced against him unlike this Tea Party thing.

    Also, given how much Santorum seems to be “slipping” (accidentally or on purpose) in his political rhetoric against blacks (as well as Sarah Palin inflaming crowds with her “You just GET IT!” rhetoric to the point where John McCain had to try and calm people), the only way that strategy could come even close is if a fair number of whites already believe that anyone who isn’t white is just leeching off the government or otherwise being a layabout good-for-nothing.

  • To be fair, few politicians in the U.S. actually object to socialism in the absolute.  Almost every country has some degree of government interference or overwatch of markets.  However, the question of how much socialism any given market should have is a contested topic. 

    Unfortunately, many politicians throw the word “socialism” around as a buzzword decoupled from its actual meaning since it makes a good sound-bite / bumpersticker / slogan for “government policies I don’t like.” 

    Whenever a politician attacks a proposal as socialism, I wish that the media would say to them, “Yes, and why do you object to this?” 

  • Nequam

    Whenever there’s a huge spill of solar energy, it’s called a nice day.

    Or a heat wave. (OTOH, if you can actually power the ACs with solar it might not be as devastating.)

  • Nequam

    The thing that baffles us most is why there is no universal healthcare and why the people on the right are so against it.

    Surely your dad has heard the term “I’m all right, Jack”?

  • P J Evans

     There are non-blonds in Scandinavia: one of my nieces had a friend from Sweden who is, IIRC, southeast Asian in ancestry. And apparently some Turks moved to Sweden when a king of Sweden was ransomed from them some centuries back. I’m sure those aren’t the only ones.

  • Karen Cox

    On that “Saints of the Roundtable” and “Handmaidens” thing — what is it with alliteration and fundies?  They will make idiotic stretches to get everything on a list to start with the same letter.  In these lists, the men get all the alliteration in the second year and the women in the third year, but still, why is it necessary to have everything on one list be alliterative?

  • Ursula L

    Re Wegmans – if you can resist the prepared food section, I’ve found the prices match other grocery stores for comparable items.  Particularly with the “WCLP” list they’ve been doing recently – you can beat those items at Aldi’s but not at Walmart.  And the store brands are, to my taste, much better than the store brands elsewhere.  A pound of spaghetti and a jar of house-brand sauce isn’t getting a spaghetti-and-meatball meal in the cafe, but it will be reliable and affordable food. 

    And if you can’t resist the prepared food section, a coffee and roll (do they have free butter and jam for the rolls in the coffee section at yours?) and a few hours with your laptop on the wifi can be a good and cheap way to get out of the house, and take the time to focus on job searching and whatever else you’re distracted from at home. 

  • I was thinking solar flare. Or nova, but we can predict those and there aren’t scheduled to be any for a little while yet. 

  • Anonymous

    For foreigners confused by Americans: one of our primary national myths is the notion that the USA was built by self-reliant pioneers. We love to idealize people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps with no help, no matter how inaccurate that picture may be. It’s extremely common for individual Americans to point to one or more immigrant ancestors and say, “They came here with nothing but the clothes on their backs, but they worked hard and became successful, and they didn’t need any government assistance.” – which is all too often followed by, “If Great-Grandma could do it, why can’t black people? They must be lazy.” (see also: the mistaken but common assumption that most people on government assistance are black, racist lies about “welfare queens” buying fur coats and fancy cars, etc.)

    Many of us also still believe that healthcare is an individual responsibility like food and shelter – something you provide for yourself unless you’re so poor you can’t, at which point you get charity. Combine that with the common belief among US conservatives that the government is inherently incompetent and oppressive*, and you can see how a system where the government provides healthcare to all would run into opposition here. 

    *Example: I was recently working for a company that sold Medicare supplements (people need these, you see, because Medicare only pays 80% of most medical bills and also has various other copays and deductibles) – and since most people who have Medicare are elderly, the government strictly regulates supplement sales to make sure shysters don’t pressure senile old people into buying plans that won’t benefit them. A co-worker of mine who was nearing Medicare age herself started telling me one day that this regulation was an example of government overreach, and that she should have the right to buy any plan she wanted, even 2 plans at once in a situation where one of them would then be guaranteed to provide no benefits whatsoever, which is currently illegal. The government, she said, needed to “get out of her face” and allow that.

  •  People like that know that they’re allowed to just set their money on fire in a pit in the backyard, right? Or they could just put the money into Bernie Madoff’s commissary account at the federal prison. If they actually want to get fleeced, why go through all the trouble of buying fake health insurance when there are so many faster, more efficient methods?

  • Matri

    Hi, I’ve got a bridge for sale that’s taking up stock. Know any buyers?

  • Anonymous

    Well, it’s not fake health insurance she wanted the right to buy. It’s two totally different types of health insurance plans, either of which will pay your medical bills if it’s your only plan, but which refuse to work together if you get both at once. There are virtually no circumstances where it’d be a good idea to have both at once, so the government doesn’t allow insurance companies to sell you one if you already have the other and plan to keep it. 

    Otherwise, your point stands. I think it’s just one of those “The government has no business protecting people from their own bad decisions!” things.

  • Porlockjr

    What I want to know is, which anti-Catholic propagandist hired that actor who plays “Cardinal Dolan” for the news media? A better stereoptype for the look of the Inquisitor grown fat and self-satisfied on the labor of the masses could hardly be found. A brilliant job.

    However, his lines are sort of tiresome. All the predictable venom against the LGBTensian heretics. Maybe if the propagandist took some lines from Monty Python so that people would be led to laugh at the church rather than just depise, the Vatican would get so upset that it would sue to suppress this libelous caricature.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    When I was at uni, more than a few debates with US exchange students ended like this:

    US student (in response to some principle I or my compatriots had articulated): That sounds like socialism!

    Local: OK. So?

    US student is lost for words at the failure of his trump card

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I want to know which anti-Catholic propagandist came up with Rick Santorum. I’ve been following his arseholishness for years and he continues to astound me. I’ve just been informed by a friend that Santorum has decided it’s OK to deviate from the church’s stance on war and capital punishment. FFS, he got rid of the one upside of Catholic fundamentalism!

  • Anonymous

    Funny, Denmark is on that Awesome Socialist Countries list, and they use so little oil that they have a negative CO2 footprint.

  • Anonymous

    How exactly are you a “mild” racist? Or is that saying “I hate blacks and all, but I don’t LYNCH ’em!!”

  • Anonymous

    Because COMMUNISM!!

    Also, they heard that Canada had long waiting lists back when their system first started, and decided to ignore that WE HAVE REALLY LONG WAIING LISTS HERE. NOW. And we pay WAY more for health care than any other country.

  • Anonymous

     A while back my boyfriend recommended Kim Stanly Robinson’s Mars trilogy. The whole thing was excellent, I very highly recommend it (and am in the process of rereading), but there’s this bit (garbled from memory and paraphrased, here) somewhat towards the end, which I am thinking will get copied and put on my wall when I get there again:

    “We’re having debates about how to do this thing, and your argument on why the solution everyone is agreeing to won’t work is that it’s socialism/communism and failed in Russia. This isn’t Russia, and for some reason, politics is the only field where combining sound pieces from failed attempts has been taboo. Shut up, sit down, and let the grown-ups talk; nobody is fooled by you screaming “Socialism! Socialism!” every time something doesn’t go your way. That’s not an argument.”