Sunday Roast: The American Dream, a race to the bottom

New York Times, Bob Herbert

In his last column for the NYT, Bob Herbert hits the nail on the head regarding the American Dream — it ain’t for the ‘small people’ anymore.  We all know it, we all feel it, but Bob Herbert puts it down in words that sear into the soul.

Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living.

AP Photo

This is the America I’m leaving to my men:  A lifetime of $9-$10 per hour jobs (if they’re lucky), during which they will never realize any possible dream of a home, family, vacations, or retirement.

Nearly 14 million Americans are jobless and the outlook for many of them is grim. Since there is just one job available for every five individuals looking for work, four of the five are out of luck. Instead of a land of opportunity, the U.S. is increasingly becoming a place of limited expectations.

The youth of this country had no way of knowing that the high school summer job, or the job they held in college for extra cash, was quite likely the best they were going to have.

If we listen to the politicians in this country, we will find out that this country is “broke.”  There just isn’t any more money for job creation, schools, or public sector wages.  Sorry folks, the piggy bank is empty…or is it…?

There is plenty of economic activity in the U.S., and plenty of wealth. But like greedy children, the folks at the top are seizing virtually all the marbles. Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.

Did you read that last sentence?  Read it again…“the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007…”

Yes, you read that right.  The top 10% — the people who don’t even need a raise — received ALL of the income growth between 2000 and 2007.  All of it.

I am just…speechless.

To my men, their generation, and beyond, I give you an apology…

I am so very sorry about the condition in which you receive this country.  Even though there is no excuse for it, I must admit that I didn’t see it coming.  I really had no idea that by the time I was reaching my own age of majority, the American Dream was dead, and the looting of the corpse had commenced.  The elites had killed it stone dead, and we had no idea until recently, and now I’m truly afraid we will not be able to turn the tide before we hand over the reins to you.  I know in my heart that if we are able to mend this, even partially, we will do so.  That’s my promise to you.

I’m sorry it couldn’t be more…

Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power. So the corporations and the very wealthy continue to do well. The employment crisis never gets addressed. The wars never end. And nation-building never gets a foothold here at home.

New ideas and new leadership have seldom been more urgently needed.

We will do our best.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss amongst yourselves.

181 thoughts on “Sunday Roast: The American Dream, a race to the bottom

  1. Good Morning … Today is a special day …
    Live each and everyday as if it were on purpose …
    Because it is…

    Each one of us has a purpose, a mission …
    A reason for being here … now …

    In this present moment, all the problems above be solved.

    Just take a moment to breathe and think about that …

    Just breathe … It is the only thing that matters …
    The only thing that keeps us in this dimension …

    Just breathe … and be filled with all of the sense of wonder …
    As to why you are here …

    Just breathe …

  2. Good post, Zooey. So true and so sad. Last night, we watched “Inside Job”. This documentary presents the Wall Street Banker facts and how greed and ambition has destroyed this nation starting with the Reagan administration. Deregulation has destroyed our nation, just like it did to Iceland. I recommend watching “Inside Job”.

  3. Good morning Cats, wasn’t that an incredible documentary??? Any yet here we sit today and no one and no bank has even been questioned by the Attorney General.

    Really sad that the government isn’t doing its one and only job, to protect its citizens from harm….

  4. Thanks for the recomendation, Cats. I don’t have a tv machine or operable device like a dvd player here, but I would be interested in watching if “Inside Job” has a link, or some such thing … ?

    Also, it is good to be back here at the Zoo. My absence can only be described as a fast and furious affair with my droid; her sleek convenience rivets me, she is smart (and we all know how sexy smart is) and completes me, as far as technology is concerned … I am truly blessed we have found each other … I am still trying to recover from the intensity of “constant contact”

  5. How will I survive the new age without her “sweet talk” to keep me grounded … My prayer is that we shall be together always. Yep, I am in love, allright … where’s she at? 😉

  6. Wonderful lass, but I have to tell you I was quite taken by your description of your android love. I had a crush on an android also a while ago, his name was Data, and he lived on the starship USS Enterprise. Alas I was only one of many “girls in every port” for him….I am thrilled that you found you android to be more supportive……..

  7. ” just breathe”
    Good advice lass. Some days I have to force myself to look away from what’s happening to our country or the fear I have for my son’s future just overwhelms me.

    If any of you haven’t read “The Grapes of Wrath” since high school, now is a good time to reread it.

  8. At one point several years ago, when in the throes of deep depression, a friend at work wrote down these words of wisdom for me:

    ” The hardest thing to do is breathe.”

    I still have it pinned up on a corkboard at work. Of course, it HAD to be written on my old South Park memo pad, at the top of which is Cartman complaining “why does everything have to involve stuff going into or out of my ass?’ so the note always makes me smile.

  9. Krissy, I totally get the.”Droid Date” thingie … and to be sure, there is a difference between be 9n and off … Thank you for your kind words. How did you wind up at the Zoo? And the name Krissy has me curious as well … we shall chat soon!

  10. If one wants to see the future of the United States, one has to look no further than the Middle East.

    Here, though, the Left will protest peacefully.

    The extreme Right, the self-professed Teabaggers, will resort to violence. They will target any scapegoat that those in power raise as the cause of all their ills: gays, Muslims, Mexicans will be their first targets. Then intellectuals and liberals and the rest of the non-white population. Lastly, anyone who does not believe in their Christ.

    Years ago, in a vision, I saw the entire east coast in flames….millions died in civil unrest. Nothing since than has changed our path from that outcome. But, after the next ice age, we will have learned to live together in peace and equality.

    Lass, you are right…breathe….live in the present moment, for the present moment is all we can experience in this frame of reference. For those who believe the spirit lives on past the existence of this body, we have lived in the past, and in the future, already. We are simply here to experience the now of things, as if looking through but one colored piece of glass in a stained glass window. Those who can step back and appreciate the entire window, step out of time…it’s almost as if we belong to a different species…and are watching the throes humans must go through in order to mature.

  11. We’ve got snow in VA lass. I know it must be colder where you are. Are you sure you want an iced coffee?

  12. Morning all. Sorry, lass but all I have is a pot of hot dark roast Sumatran that has a tendency to try and walk out of the cup.

  13. BnF, I couldn’t have stated what you said any better. Wow!!!

    And yes, it is below freezing here in NH … even so, I almost always prefer my drinks ice cold …today is no exception … 🙂

  14. Anytime lass. I got here through TP and getting to meet and read Zooey’s wonderful posts

    Now I’m curious about your curiosity about my name…..

    I have a nice hot cup of coffee for you anytime you want to drop over……

  15. Back in the early days of 2005, of Bush’s second term, I finished a fairly lengthy I had started a year or so earlier titled The Death of a Nation. I hadn’t looked at it in a long time, but today’s Roast Post reminded me of it so I gave it a peek. Here are a few paragraphs near the end which seem to suggest I wasn’t too far off in my analysis, or in my predictions for that matter.

    Emily Dickinson [once] wrote:

    When a Lover is a Beggar
    Abject is his Knee –
    When a Lover is an Owner
    Different is he –

    What he begged is then the Beggar –
    Oh disparity –
    Bread of Heaven resents bestowal
    Like an obloquy –

    In America, in December of 2000 when the US Supreme Court improperly selected George W. Bush to be the 43rd president of the United States, a new path was chosen. America’s direction and intent were no longer in the hands of those who have forever loved her Constitution and the principles outlined therein, America’s destiny was now in the hands of owners, of entities which presumed license had been granted to change forever that basic precept, entities which understood that a nation of laws stood in the way of absolute power – but that a nation of men would crumble under the threat. The nation was suddenly “Different” in that now, rule of law was supplanted by rule of men, and “We the people of the United States…” – the common folk, the masses – are no longer the “begged” but are become, instead, “the Beggar -” and ‘oh, the disparity’. The nation and the world which once begged for America’s love of truth, justice, and human rights now see an America whose “Bread of Heaven resents bestowal / Like an obloquy – ”

    America now wages war and destroys nations in the name of Greed, in the name of Power. American justice now includes murder, torture, and suspension of rights guaranteed even her own people in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Corporate power-mongers with their purchase of both Congress and the presidency nearly complete, demand and receive tribute, their “due” in the vernacular of VP Dick Cheney. And the Christian right today stands on the cusp of gaining control of the hated ‘liberal’ judiciary, including even the US Supreme Court. Once they claim ownership, their theocratic agenda will pass through already opened breaches in the fabric of the Constitution like a skunk slips under a porch.

    George W. Bush has nearly four more years to complete the work he set out to accomplish. His reward? Absolute power and privilege for the moment, riches enough to last several lifetimes – or, at least until The Rapture.

    And who knows but what from “We the people of the United States …” might one day be heard crying out Poe’s “long, loud, and final scream of despair” when ‘we’ finally realize:

    “If ever we put any other value above liberty, and above principle, we shall lose both.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower (1960)

    We get closer by the day, and the closer we get the less chance there is of correction. These are not good times.

  16. I’m not sure why the self-effacement frugal, I thought it was very well written and right on target……………kudos

  17. Some 20 or more years ago, a friend once said to me, “Gary, the problem today is that we live in an age of diminishing expectations.”

    “No, Michael,” I replied. “The trouble today is that we live in an age of diminishing realizations.”

    I got into academics with the additional thought that this was work I could do until I pulled a “Cassirer” (fall over dead while walking across campus.) But I had no concept of the depth or intensity of ageism in academia. While I expected that it would be difficult to get a permanent job, I had no idea that it would be impossible. Yet my situation would not have been much better (if at all) had I stayed in computers. I would almost certainly have been laid off in 2000 when the tech bubble imploded, and given the ageism in THAT industry it is unclear what kind of work I might have ultimately found had I gritted my teeth and continued to prostitute myself to that business.

    Regardless, I am now facing the very real prospect of never having a full-time job again for the rest of my life. This despite the fact that my background equips me with a number of useful job skills quite beyond my now outdated background in computers. (Research, analysis of data and synthesis of relations, writing and communication, public presentation, etc.) So quite the opposite of my intention to never retire, I am forcibly “retired” already.

  18. On the subject of weather: wet. With more wet in the forecast as far as the eye can see. We’ve reached that point in the season when pretty much everyone is sick to death of grey skies and rain. I have a pretty high tolerance but a stretch of four or five days of sunshine would be nice.

    On the subject of coffee: I’d love to share but am unsure about logistics. First cup of the morning is, as usual, Continental Drift blend from Cellar Door Roasters. Freshly ground and brewed. I have to travel an entire mile to get the beans, lovingly weighed by my mostest favorite inappropriately aged crush, sweet Cassie the barista.

    On the subject of dogs: I am aware you’re staring at my back, Ralphie. Oh, wait. He’s fallen asleep again. Got to love old hounds.

  19. frugal, I think that the closer we get the more likely the correction will be ugly. I think we are past the point where saner heads will prevail. The Corprocrats have the bit in their teeth and they are going to try very hard to set up their oligarchy.

  20. Well said, frugal. I am in awe once again of your ability to use the written word so well; truth be told, the only reason I haven’t ordered your book is because of my dyslexia and my difficulty in sustained reading and writing … I would be interested in someone reading it to me actually … I love story times 🙂

  21. You’re very kind, Krissy. 🙂

    My soon-to-graduate-from-college daughter, Kristin, sometimes uses “Krissy” as her moniker, btw. She doesn’t pay much attention to basketball, though, so I now know there are at least two Krissy’s in the world!

  22. frugal, oddly nobody was screaming we need to take our country back when the SCOTUS handed the throne to W the heir to his father’s throne. But the people turn out and elect a president with a very large majority and the screeching to take back America is unbearable.

    We are in complete agreement that GHWB has been complicit in all affairs since JFK was assassinated and yet he is looked on favorably by the American people. I’m pretty sure he was the Ronald Reagan’s Dick Cheney. Just that I’m pretty certain he got his son into office and installed Cheney there to continue their mission.

    It would be awesome if Wikileaks could find all the documents W sealed so that we could never learn of all his father’s misdeeds. I fear that if the people aren’t informed soon we will end up with Jed as president in 2016 and that will be the final straw.

  23. I have often wondered why, given our country’s history of playing fast and loose with establishing and supporting various dictatorships around the globe, the American people think that the people behind the shenanigans wouldn’t do the same thing to us.

    This program has been working more and more strongly since 1960 and is presently in the final stages. A big part of it has been training Americans to ignore reality, poo poo ‘conspiracies’ and just plain be exceptionally stupid.

  24. That’s awful Gary. I can’t believe their isn’t a comp sci program somewhere that wants you. I had a wonderful older prof who taught us how to use logic to prove the correctness of our code. It was difficult and time-consuming, but beat all heck out of just hoping that all variable combinations had been addressed. I don’t know how people are supposed to delay collecting social security by working longer if the jobs aren’t available.

  25. Shayne, I do highly recommend the book by Russ Baker that nwmuse recommended here earlier this year, the one called Family of Secrets. It’s extremely well-researched and documented; I suspect if/when the sealed records are finally released for view that the ONLY surprises will be those which Baker could only hint at as actually having happened.

    That truly is one totally disgusting family.

  26. Frugal, I spell my name KRISTEN. A little different then your daughter’s name. However Kristen is my middle name, my first name is Pamela. It was about 3 or 4 years of age that my friends began to call me Krissy. I asked one of them later in life why they started calling me Krissy and her response was that she had never seen me as a Pamela. Claimed Pamela was kind of vanilla and she thought Italian women were almost never vanilla.
    I’m honored to be in such wonderful company as one of two Krissy’s in your life

  27. Hi Zooey. I don’t know what you want details on, but I hope it doesn’t require thought. I’m home skipping church due to flu.

    • I’m sorry you’re feeling sick today, Outstanding. 😦

      This is what I was responding to: I don’t know how people are supposed to delay collecting social security by working longer if the jobs aren’t available.

      Just more annoying details to the wingnuts — just do it! We don’t want to figure it out for ourselves!

  28. Hooda: “poo-poo conspiracies”

    Indeed, indeed, indeed. Simply consider the assassination of JFK as a case in point. Anyone who suggests a conclusion other than that of the Warren Commission is a conspiracist! No matter the evidence they offer to the contrary.

    My thesis is that the Warren Commission was THE conspiracy, and that investigators such as Jim Garrison Mark Lane uncovered the TRUTH of the thing.

    But the poo-pooers are everywhere, and virulent. The crap Olliver Stone took for his portrayal of Jim Garrison is just the tip of the poo-poo iceberg, too.

    • You’ll notice that neither Hooda nor frugal were moderated on the Zoo for using the words “poo poo.” 😉

      Although I am considering adding “poo poo” to the naughty list, just for shits and giggles.

      I guess I should start a naughty list…

  29. Well, Krissy, “Pamela” works equally well — ever since the first time (and all the times since) I watched the Winds of War and War and Remembrance miniseries, both of which starred Victoria Tennant as Pamela Tudsbury, the name “Pamela” has been magical! 🙂

  30. Gosh, I really can’t think straight today!

    I loved those books Frugal, I’ll have to look for the miniseries.

  31. Cheap coffee from a bulk can for me. Trying to be responsible with my food purchases on limited funds, some significant part of which are provided via Uncle Sugar. But it is coffee, and it gets things through the morning (some of those things sometimes include me … )

    In my case, OIMF, it would not be a CS dept., but they’re universe is no better off than my discipline which is Philosophy.

  32. The miniseries did justice to the books, OIMF. We own both books plus the 20+ disks of the miniseries and never tire of any of them. Wouk created something special, something filled to the brim with historical information, and something which moves the soul. An amazing piece of work.

  33. frugal, it’s sort of funny, since professionally I of course use my full name, when someone says “hey Pam”, I just stand there looking silly. I never seem to be able to respond when I don’t know who they are talking too.

    Zooey I have a request, could you also put on the naughty list the imagery about “The Grinch” that you so kindly shared with me on TP. No one should have to spend their day with that imagery in their heads, lol….

  34. frugal, I downloaded that book to my Nook. It will only take me a couple of years to read it. I’m still hoping your book will become available because I only read at night in bed with the lights off. I already don’t get much done during the day.

    • Krissy, was it the “fingering-painting” or just the straight up “fuckin’ Newt” that got to you? I want to be clear on that. 😆

      Oh! Oh! Maybe it was the edible flag panties. 😀

  35. “Kids know farts are fun!” – GC

    putting off doing taxes…. 😦

    full disclosure – just e-voted at the upcoming BP annual general shareholder’s meeting… still a shareholder, had all the dividends after Q1 cancelled.

    I voted against the board – every single thing. I bet I’m not the only one.

    • I hope you showered, Turtle. 😐

      I’m putting of studying for my Psych exam tomorrow, so I better stop doing that.

      I’ll check back laters (and my prize will be watching the Carlin video).

  36. Shayne, we’re working on both Kindle and Nook editions. The problem is to get the formatting right in the final product — not as easy as it should be. I have my daughter working on it with help from her computer-man hubby, hope we can figure it all out and get the job done. If/when, I’ll mention it here. Meanwhile, thanks for your interest! (and that goes for everyone else too, of course).

  37. I read hooda’s post above and when I saw this:

    “America now wages war and destroys nations in the name of Greed, in the name of Power.”

    I was instantly reminded of the Lexus commercial online now that extols:

    “Welcome to the darker side of greed.”

    Even though I’m not quite sure what that means, I do know I do not like a commercial selling a luxury car as a reward for greed.

  38. No one ever saw this developing – governments will learn, one day, that ‘half truths’ are still lies and don’t quell the fears of the populace.

    More obstacles impede crews in Japan nuke crisis

    Mounting problems, including badly miscalculated radiation figures and inadequate storage tanks for huge amounts of contaminated water, stymied emergency workers Sunday as they struggled to nudge Japan’s stricken nuclear complex back from the edge of disaster.

  39. America has been hard selling shallowness, greed and corruption big time since at least 1980. We have made heroes out of sociopaths and are somehow suddenly surprised that this is a bad thing. As the commercial said…”We’ve come a long ways, baby”…too bad it was in the wrong direction.

  40. Courtesy of Philip Berrigan:

    “Herein lies a riddle: How can a people so gifted by God become so seduced by naked power, so greedy for money, so addicted to violence, so slavish before mediocre and treacherous leadership, so paranoid, deluded, lunatic?”

    Amen.

  41. Hard to believe that in some polls they consider Ronald the best prez ever…I found this posting on a website about this subject and although it’s just a post it illustrates the potency of the koolaide..

    “He undid all the damage done by Jimmy Carter, restored Americans’ faith in themselves and their country, and brought down the Soviet Union, thereby freeing millions.”
    14 people rated this as good

    Asker’s Comment:
    “Amen, brotha. Even in death liberals make jokes about his mental decline late in life. RIP Mr. President.”

    Wow, not much to say after that…………..

  42. I haven’t really been commenting on TP since the new moderation kicked in – guess I’m gonna have to be careful with my comments, which almost ALWAYS include swearing in some form or another. Dammit!

  43. “Even in death liberals make jokes about his mental decline late in life. RIP Mr. President.”

    Hell, we were making jokes about Reagan’s ‘mental decline’ before he even got elected! My brother had a paper Reagan mask, which he used to use as a decoration on the Christmas tree. He would point to the mask and ask my niece (about 3-4 years old at the time), “who’s that, Emily?”, and she would respond “The Big Dope.” 😀

    • Zoosters,

      I have Wayne’s permission to let you know that he, his Mom, and Jane are dealing with the unexpected death of his brother overnight.

      Schneider family, you are in our hearts and thoughts during this difficult time…

  44. Damn. When it rains it truly does pour. Wayne, Jane, best wishes and sending the light I have received your way. Be well, my friends.

  45. “We’re two-thirds water, after all. Our cells carry, “a concentration of that indescribably and liquid brew which is compounded in varying proportions of salt and sun and time.” And so, like water, we flow. … People, said Loren Eiseley (and, I suppose, all living things) are water’s way of escaping the seas, the air, the streams. Because human cells are little packages of moisture, of salt water, if you want a sciencey metaphor, look at Alexey Titarenko’s photos and see these crowds as blurry, wool-wearing tides of sea water, moving along streets, rolling in and out.”

    http://www.alexeytitarenko.com/index.html

  46. Wayne, Jane, wishing you strength. So sorry to hear.

    This has not been a good last few days for loved ones of special people. Still, remember there is virtue in that final peace … no more weariness.

  47. Wayne, Wayne’s Mom and Jane, heartfelt sympathies.
    We can not grasp suddenness for only time allows us to think.

    Holding you in the Light.

  48. Ronald Raygun – dreadful man.

    To echo today’s NYT post, during Raygun’s reign, not only did the debt explode, but incomes for the top what was it 10% of the population shot up 80+% and the rest got the shft ….. +3% or something…?

    Rachel Maddow was on some show (Maher?) trying to get across in front of some lying, rude Bronshirt. Check my facts there…

  49. Call me a dreamer but all the talk about Solstice 2012 doesn’t necessarily mean an end of the world. Judging by current events, that might be what will happen but it is also entirely possible that it will be an awakening, a dawning of the Age of Aquarius. A shift from the old greed and a birth of a period of humanism. With the Earth letting us know that we either learn to live together or it will clean things up without us.

  50. Thanks, guys.

    At least for now, all of the official people have come and gone, and Eddie is on his way to his final journey.

    I have to go to the store, Wayne’s gonna be resting for a bit, but we will see you later.

  51. Reagan was a butt muffin (can I say that here) from well before the moment he got into politics. California was the first to suffer under him, and unfortunately the rest of us were soon to follow.

    My favorite memory of Reagan’s days as CA governor came in the mid-seventies. I was employed by a small Arizona agricultural firm, one with a research subsidiary of sorts in Cambridge Mass. The head of the Cambridge div. was named Jack, a credentialed (PhD) researcher and one who detested Reagan. We had a company consultant, a professor of bacteriology at UC Davis whom several of us — from both Cambridge and Phoenix — once visited. After the meeting, we out-of-towners drove to Sacramento and enjoyed a decent dinner along with several bottles of very some very decent CA wine. On the drive back to Davis, we somehow found ourselves driving past the CA State Capitol, and the instant Jack (now with two sheets into the wind) noticed, he demanded our designated driver STOP! He pulled over to the dark curb and Jack jumped out and disappeared for a moment or two. Then he was back, climbed in, and off we went. Jack said, “I’ve always wanted to piss on something — anything — that has to do with that fucking Reagan. I just nailed both some of his bushes and some of his grass. I feel better than I’ve felt in years!”

    True story. 🙂

  52. Yes, indeed, Frugal St. Ronnie started all the bullshit ruining our beloved Golden State.

    I thank and congratulate Jack on observing proper etiquette in saluting the Ruinator.
    The terminator of the state was our last Repugnant Party member – Ahhhhnald.

  53. Reagan was the first, at least to my recollection, to viciously assault education. He went after the UC system big time as governor, and then as president went after all the rest. Debbie was teaching when Carter was president and said things were never better insofar as enthusiastic federal support for education. Then came Reagan, and she said things turned around literally overnight. She detests him to this day for what he did to education.

    So do I.

    But in retro view, Reagan’s anti-edu passion was simply prelude to what’s going down today where the goal seems to be either destroy it completely or privatize it, turn it into a money-maker. For someone.

    Republicans hate education and intelligence. It frightens them. Perhaps the reason for their fear is obvious and predictable.

  54. In regards to the post about the race to the bottom: I guess that is why the right has courted the religious among us…like Napolean said: Religion is what keeps the poor from killing the rich.

  55. pachydiplax PERMALINK
    March 27, 2011 10:24 am
    I read hooda’s post above and when I saw this:
    “America now wages war and destroys nations in the name of Greed, in the name of Power.”
    I was instantly reminded of the Lexus commercial online now that extols:
    “Welcome to the darker side of greed.”
    Even though I’m not quite sure what that means, I do know I do not like a commercial selling a luxury car as a reward for greed.

    I have to wonder who they are marketing that Lexus to, if the majority of the people watching TV will NEVER be able to afford one.

  56. “I have to wonder who they are marketing that Lexus to, if the majority of the people watching TV will NEVER be able to afford one.”

    On a guess, LL, I would say two groups of people: those who can afford it and want to justify their sociopathic behaviors, and that group that can’t but is willfully delusional enough to imagine someday they’ll be wealthy sociopaths themselves. The second group are a large block of the “useful idiots” who vote for the corporatists’ interests.

  57. Thank you, Everyone, on behalf of Jane, my mother, and myself, for all of your support, kindness, sympathies, and well wishes for all of us. The next few days are going to be tough, but we will get through this. And I will, somehow, get through the first face-to-face meeting with my father in several years. And then we will move on.

    My brother had been estranged from the rest of the family for a number of years, and when he showed up at my house asking for a place to stay, I simply couldn’t say No. He’s my brother. Of course he could stay as long as he needed to. And not only was he very helpful in getting some things fixed around the house that I was incapable of doing myself or paying to have done, he was a daily companion and friend for my mother, who was otherwise spending her days alone until I got home from work. I was grateful for the chance to get to know my big brother again, and I think that despite being in the situation he was in (being unemployed and unable to work, with no health or unemployment insurance – he was self-employed toward the end), I think he was happy here. He also got the chance to re-connect with our mother, and they got to develop a good relationship.

    I feel worse for my Mom, since she’s lost both a child and a friend. And I lost my big brother, who was only five years older than me. And we are thankful that, by all appearances, he died peacefully in his sleep. We should all be so lucky.

    Thank you again for all of your support.

  58. In regards to nothing in particular. I heard about a wonderful small film by the director of “Ace Ventura” of all people. Ace Ventura is not really my kind of movie at all, but his latest project is a documentary called: “I am” that is playing in your smaller indie and arts theaters all over the country. Thom Hartmann has a prominent role in it. I hear that it is a really powerful movie.

    Perhaps if enough people see it, then we might be able to turn this trend around from everyone for himself to a collective “we” again.

    You can find a theater near you here: http://iamthedoc.com/

    I plan to see it when it comes to Phoenix next week.

  59. And, yes, Zooey, Bobby Franklin should be put in a straight jacket and taken away some place. And should he fall off a bridge into a river below on the way, I wouldn’t feel too bad for him. But I’m not hoping for (or counting on) that to happen. 😉

  60. Liberty, that was always the sort of embedded sales pitch in AZ for Humvee buyers, the “I’ve got mine and screw you no good losers, look at my car and weep” attitude. Maybe it’s changed, but a few years ago you could spot the ‘presumed’ elite all around the Valley by their Hummer. Until that day there was heavy rain over the New River mountains to the north and flash floods poured down Cave Creek and other washes. Where the Carefree Highway crosses Cave Creek — Hummer country up that way — a Hummer owner decided the swirling waters in the wash were no match for HIS magnificently erectile vehicle, so in he went. And then downstream he went. It took two helicopters to rescue the idiot and his passengers; the Hummer was lost. Best part, the dumbass had to pay the tab for the rescues since (a) he’d crossed an official barricade to enter the wash, and (b) he could afford the charges which, i.i.r.c., were in the neighborhood of $10K.

    Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving … ummm … (can I say this here?) asshole!

  61. Frugal… thanks for that. Hummers were still pretty big (pun intended) around here when we moved here, mostly because Bush had given such a tremendous tax rebate for them and such a paltry one for hybrids at the time, but I’m not seeing very many of them around the area where I live now.

    And I share your schadenfreude about the Hummer driver. Sometimes it is nice to see immediate Karmic justice.

  62. Zooey, I got moderated at TP for “rich white republican” — presumable for the word “White” — Can’t explain any other reason for it.

  63. Sending love and sympathy to Wayne and Jane. Your story made me cry Wayne. You opened your home to your brother and he died in a place where he was loved.

  64. Wayne, Jane & Mom, so sorry to hear of your loss. It is a blessing though that you’ve had this time to reconcile and hopefully that gives you all some comfort. Know that we’ll be thinking of you.

  65. LL, I don’t know about that Karmic justice. I bought a Saturn Aura Hybrid, paid extra for it and it’s been a target for every goofy driver and stray rock on the road. It’s had body work 5 times already. Then the first time I let my 16 year old daughter drive it she creased the side on the garbage cans in the driveway. But as long as it keeps her safe I guess we’ll call it even.

  66. Liberty, I just tested your thesis, posted this on TP:

    Thesis question: What’s more worthless than a poor, starving, minority Democrat?

    A: A rich white Republican.

    It went right through, no problem. On the London Demo thread. We’ll see if it stays there.

  67. Wayne, Jane and Wayne’s Mom, you have my sincere condolences. I’m glad for you that you were able to reestablish a relationship with your brother before he passed.

  68. My game is about to start so I’ll see you lovely folks later….
    Cletis good luck!!! It will be a hell (almost said heck due to TP) of a game!!!!!

  69. To all of the Schneiders, there just aren’t the words. I hope this does not come off as either callous or maudlin, but from Wayne’s description it sounds as though the brother at least died well, quickly and w/o fear or needless stress having regained much of the family that had previously been lost to him.

  70. The posts on Eugenics seem to be staying (on the Newtie affairs thread).
    gummitch put ‘fakedr’ in his place. The fake was attempting to argue.
    I just posted a passage from ‘Safe Counsel or Practical Eugenics’.
    It was first published in 1893. (not something ‘new’ when Heinous Hitler invoked).
    Granted we’ve come a very long way (medically and intellectually speaking) since then.
    We need to place things in contemporary perspective. ‘fakedr’ has no depth so doesn’t think intellectually.
    I laugh each time he tries to one up either Gummitch or dbadass.

  71. Cletis good luck!!!

    Cletis? Did I miss something?

    ‘Blue’ teams haven’t done well in the past 24 hours (Florida and Kansas). That’s gotta change since both the Tarheels and Wildcats are ‘blue’ teams!

  72. Basketball. Isn’t that the game where they blow a whistle and ten people jump up in the air and run around? I think it started with them chasing a chicken but the ASPCA decided that was a bad idea.

  73. Obama’s NCAA tourney bracket is in the top 3% of all 5 million ESPN bracket pickers. It’s a revealing bracket.

    While going with the favorites in most cases, he picked a few underdogs in the second round – notably Gonzaga, Richmond and Florida State – who pulled upsets. I thought it encapsulated his overall personality well – clear-headed and realistic about the tendency of events to play out based on historical precedent (e.g. according to the seedings, but willing to buck conventional wisdom when his own judgment argues against it. Extending the metaphor, you get the sense that someone like John McCain’s bracket would be filled with all upsets, and that Mitch McConnell would choose all the higher seeds. Most people aren’t really able to switch back and forth between different mindsets as easily as Obama. Either the underdog is always going to pull an upset, or the favorite is always going to come out on top.

    http://games.espn.go.com/tcmen/en/entry?entryID=4267886

  74. I think it started with them chasing a chicken…

    No, that was Republican mating rituals. Almost anything involving a barnyard animal can be attributed to that.

  75. Gary,

    Thank you. That was neither callous nor maudlin, but a very apt depiction of what happened. Like me, he was estranged from our father, but we both had relationships with our mother and our sister. And while I know life wasn’t easy for him, he was serendipitous enough to have had it happen while he slept. I saw no signs of stress on his face, and I think it happened quickly for him, without apparent pain.

    He lived a great deal of his life in emotional pain. It was a comfort to see no signs of it on his face when he died. That said, I still can’t believe he’s gone.

  76. Well, I like House’s answer about the barnyard animals!

    badmoodman, how are the righties going to spin Obama’s bracket choices: ‘he spent more time thinking about basketball than he did Libya.”

  77. Wayne, with all the fun and games I am dealing with I have to say be glad you, your brother, and your mom found your common ground. My mom and dad collected mugs from all over in their years of travels, always in pairs. Except one that Mom specifically left to me. An Irish coffee mug.

    “May the road rise up to meet you.
    and the wind be always at your back.
    And may the Lord hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

    Not sure about the last line but then it never hurts to cover your bases.

  78. Thanks, Hooda. You and your family are in our thoughts, too.

    I suppose, in looking on the bright side, it gave my mother and I an excuse to cancel our colonoscopies we had scheduled for tomorrow. Eddie was supposed to drive us home. 🙂

  79. Well, Gary, you see…my mother’s doctor has been after her for years to get a colonoscopy, but my mom doesn’t want to do it. Recently, she’s been complaining of pains in her abdomen and a nauseated feeling all the time, and after her doctor pushed and prodded around (it hurt), she had her get a sonogram, and insisted that she have a colonoscopy within the next two weeks. (She did not want it put off any further.) Now, after I had my complete physical in January, my doctor said she wanted me to get a colonoscopy. So I figured if it was the only way I could convince my mother to get hers, I would get one, too. We had the pre-procedure interview with the doctor and my brother came with us, so he would know what to expect of the two patients he would be driving home later. Our procedures were scheduled for Monday afternoon. I asked Jane to call them and leave a message to cancel our procedures due to a death in the family. And if that wasn’t good enough, I was going to tell them that he was our ride home, which we had to have. We will re-schedule, in a few weeks or so.

    Right now, I don’t think having something scoped up our buttholes is going to help either of us in the grieving process. It’s possible I might be wrong, but that’s a chance I’ll just have to take.

  80. That Lexus commercial puzzled me, too, until I realized that it was “the darker side of GREEN”, not GREED. Apparently the vehicle is some kind of hybrid – I don’t know what “the darker side” of green could mean, or why it would be a selling point.

  81. Wayne, the family that scopes together…sorry, can’t come up with a catchy phrase. Last time I had one of those was before they realized one should be sedated for the procedure. You are a good son if you will submit to one to help your mom.

  82. “I don’t think having something scoped up our buttholes is going to help either of us in the grieving process.”

    It’ll take your mind off other things …

    On the other hand, cancelling a colonoscopy on account of too much sh!t has a certain amount of poetic irony to it.

  83. I hear ya, Wayne: once you’ve, er, pulled the plug on that one, you’re at one of those “in for a penny, in for a pound” thresholds.

    And indeed, “luckily” comes off ringing hollow. “Hey, we were in a train wreck, but some of our luggage is still intact!”

  84. Wayne, one of my rels came up with a very good idea. Don’t do anything major or important for three days. Just let the shift settle in. I’ve spent today cleaning the house and making a shepherd’s pie. Give yourself some space.

    • Shit. I’m not studying anymore, cuz it’s boring. If I can’t ace a 25 question, multiple choice, Psych exam in 50 minutes, then I should be ashamed.

  85. My condolences to the Schneiders and thank you Jane for hearing “green”, though that doesn’t make sense either.

    I had a Sigmoidoscopy (it only examines the last two feet of the colon) in 1984 and drove myself home. I went into a dressing room and came out wearing a hospital gown, the kind that leaves your ass exposed. A nurse instructed me to lay on my side on a padded table. She sat in a chair next to me with her faces was close to mine. She reached out with one hand to pat me on my shoulder and in a dulcet tone said, “You just relax now honey. You just keep looking at me and relax, I’m gonna be your friend when the doctor comes in”.

    The most uncomfortable aspect of the procedure was the compressed air used to “clear” the way. The feeling of having the world’s biggest fart about to occur was reflected in my face and prompted the nurse to ask if anything was the matter. When I explained the feeling of a big release of gas about to happen she smiled, patted me again and said, “That’s okay honey, let it go, the doctor’s used to it”!

  86. “When I explained the feeling of a big release of gas about to happen she smiled, patted me again and said, “That’s okay honey, let it go, the doctor’s used to it”!”

    My “exit” physical for the army involved the usual “unnatural” entrance with latex gloved fingers. I had no intention of doing so, but the result was a release of gas I had no idea was stored in such proximity to ultimate freedom at that moment. The physician performing the exam gave off his own “expression” of gas in the form of a choking cough.

    Young as I was in the world back then, I had enough sense of manners and composure to say nothing and — more importantly — suppress the urge to laugh.

  87. Just remember anybody who has ever been in close proximity to a really large dog has smelled worse. And I’m getting a lot of that experience tonight. 🙂

  88. Luckily our cats aren’t major farters. But I once knew a cat who would climb up to my shoulder, then wrap himself around my neck – cute, but apparently the effort of climbing made him release a miasma of gas that followed him…

  89. Experts in Japan have estimated the daily dosage of radiation at the Fukushima site is only equivalent to that normally received in 255 years. Workers there can rest assured because that is lower than the previous estimate of 25,500 years.

  90. I love that all the cats (whose faces are at least partially visible) have a serious “WTF?” expression going on. For those whose face is not visible, well, further commentary would be superfluous …

  91. Jane, years ago my housemates and I had a black kitten named Bogus who was the sweetest, most affectionate cat you could ask for. Except for, well, the fact that settling in on someone’s lap always resulted in her cutting a huge piece of cheese. It never failed.

  92. Ebb PERMALINK
    March 27, 2011 1:56 pm
    The posts on Eugenics seem to be staying (on the Newtie affairs thread).
    gummitch put ‘fakedr’ in his place. The fake was attempting to argue.
    I just posted a passage from ‘Safe Counsel or Practical Eugenics’.
    It was first published in 1893. (not something ‘new’ when Heinous Hitler invoked).
    Granted we’ve come a very long way (medically and intellectually speaking) since then.
    We need to place things in contemporary perspective. ‘fakedr’ has no depth so doesn’t think intellectually.
    I laugh each time he tries to one up either Gummitch or dbadass.

    Notice everything on his blog relates to his arguments with us on TP…

  93. fakedrhunt has a blog? Say it ain’t so. I’ll not go there.
    He irritates me to no end! Most trolls I can just flag & forget – that numb-nuts, when he spews dis-information about subjects dealing with medical situation – need to call him on it.
    He has no depth – the ‘arguments’ flat as a cake without leavening.

  94. Early night for me. I have to be at the courthouse before 0800. This is the sixth time I’ve been summoned for jury duty. If I can get through tomorrow without being seated on a jury, I’m done. Otherwise, who knows? Please, FSM, protect me from Grand Jury duty — once is enough.

    • Jury duty sucks. The one time I was called, I was chosen for the most stupid PI case ever.

      That was over 10 years ago, and I’ve never even been called again, which is totally weird.

  95. Just got this in my inbox. 🙂

    John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) is now following your tweets (@zxbe) on Twitter.

    What’s cool is I wasn’t following him, so this is just out of the blue. And it’s not as if I tweet much. I guess it’s quality, not quantity – lol

    Sort of made my day. 🙂

  96. Jane, be sure to note:

    Personal
    Fugelsang is the son of a former nun and Franciscan Brother, and attended New York University (NYU) School of Film & Television. He worked in special education for several years. He lives with designer Charmien La Framenta in Greenwich Village, NYC, and Hollywood, CA.

  97. Thanks for the info – unfortunately I never listen to the radio. Wayne probably would have recognized the name.

    Regardless: congrats, zxbe! 😀

    I’m off to bed, it’s been a long and draining day, and the next coupla days are going to be busy.

    G’night, my friends. Thanks for being here for Wayne and I.

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