the minor premise

the minor premise

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sticker Situation

My local paper has taken to sticking advertising stickers at the top of the paper, probably hoping the difference in color and texture will draw eyes to the commercial message. Sometimes these stickers obscure part of the main headline. Thus, when I picked up my paper the other day, the headline I saw was "Evans [obscured] Found Alive, 2 Arrested." This happened soon after the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping story had broken, so I wondered with alarm if there had been a local connection or if something similar had happened nearby.

Removing the sticker, I found the headline read "Evans Gator Found Alive, 2 Arrested." The real story, which I had missed entirely, had to do with the presumed killing of a revered local alligator who lived near a feed and seed store. Needless to say, the paper was happy to announce, on its front page, that said gator had not been the victim of the heinous crime, but that the mutilated gator carcass found near the store actually belonged to another unlucky member of the species. The only humans involved in the story were two folks arrested for hunting alligator out of season and possession of illegally obtained wildlife.

If I were prone to conspiracy theories, I'd think that the sticker was placed where it was to increase newspaper sales. But the following day's headline disabused me of that notion. The headline, obscured by sticker, read "Flu [obscured] Inside." I think I'll pass.


Friday, August 28, 2009

You know it's gonna be a tough day on the job when...

Your new boss says, "You'll probably want to buy yourself a ballistics vest."

(Received secondhand courtesy Hon. Son#1)

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I tip my top hat... a pretty good parody I wish I'd thought of. And well sung, never mind the singer's protestations to the contrary.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

. . . What We Need Is A Fountain of Smart.

While reading a Darwin Catholic article on "crazies" in the political debate a few days ago, I ran into a commenter who touted the upsurge of youth supporting the Democrats and President Obama. He claimed that

"the number of adherents to each party does *not* stay roughly the same over time. Right now the cohort of those 25 years old and younger - that is, those who came of age under President Bush - are the most strongly Democratic generation this country has seen since before WWII."

I countered that the youthful upsurge was not as significant as had been advertised, and that such movements did not guarantee that a political realignment had happened. The next few election cycles, starting with this years Virginia and New Jersey Gubernatorial races and moving through 2010 and 2012, will really show if the tide has turned in the Democratic Party's favor, or if the margin of the Obama victory had more to do with singular events.

So what has happened to the great wave of Obama youth ready to work for their leader? The Houston Chronicle claims that, in the health care/health insurance debate, the Obama youth are AWOL . According to the Chronicle, worries about health insurance resonate more with older voters, rather than young, heathly ones.

On occasion I look in on the site Future Majority, which seeks to capitalize on the large number of liberal youth that supported Obama in the 2008 election. If some of the articles from the blog are any indication, the youth organizers are having some trouble rallying the troops. An article laments the lack of a Facebook health care reform campaign, while another tries to start up a group called the "Young Invincibles." (I didn't make the name up, honest.) Nothing as effective as real taxpayers voicing their opinions, I'm afraid.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Early Fitting for Wings

The Parody Department was inspired by the Veterans' Administration bringing back into circulation a pamphlet titled Your life Your Choices, Authored by Robert Pearlman, MD MPH; Helene Starks, MPH; Kevin Cain, PhD; William Cole, PhD; David Rosengren, PhD; and Donald Patrick, PhD MSPH.

With the government passing out pamphlets like this, it is no wonder the phrase "death panel" was used in reference to Obamacare.

Want You to Die (to the tune of Live and Let Die)
by DMinor, with apologies to Sir Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney

When you were young, paid your tax, had a stylish look,
We used to say that you could live.
(You know we did, you know we did, you know we did)
But since your ever wors'ning health began to give in,
We don't want you to try;
We want you to die
Want you to die
Want you to die
Want you to die

What does it matter to us?
Can't hold down a job, so you
aren't worth the treatment bill.
So write D N R on your living will.

When you were young, paid your tax, had a stylish look
We used to say that you could live.
(you know we did, you know we did, you know we did)
But since your ever wors'ning health began to give in,
we don't want you to try;
We want you to die.

Hat Tip: The American Catholic.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quick Town Hall recap

Between one thing and another, the second installment of my report on the Broun Town Hall meeting in Evans is not coming together. Below are some relevant links for anyone interested in the congressman's positions or the meetings; I'll keep plugging away at my account and hopefully finish before my Oldtimer's syndrome kicks in and I forget it all.

Rep. Broun's website, which includes video of some of his public commentary regarding the health care bill.

An Augusta area TV news report on the Evans town hall meetings.

The Athens, GA paper on the North Georgia town hall, with a bit more detail on what was said.

I noticed two or three folks with camcorders at the meeting and have consequently been checking YouTube for home vids; this has been the only one I've found so far. The audio goes bust after a few seconds and the filmmaker deals with the problem by filling in with odd clips, but it's what we have to work with for now.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Never, ever, ever

...ever, ever, ever...
dump old Cream of Wheat (or some unidentified substance that resembles old Cream of Wheat) down the Insinkerator.


Back to the town hall meeting report once I can get the sink to drain again.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blogging the Town Hall, Part I

In the interest of maintaining a public record, the following are my observations of Rep. Paul Broun's second Evans town hall meeting 8-10-09. This post runs from our arrival to just before Rep. Broun's entrance. I will post the rest separately. (See also photos of the event at the post below.)

We were a little late to Rep. Broun's town hall meeting in Evans and quickly found ourselves in backed-up traffic leading to the event. It was amazing, really--it takes something like a high school football game to get traffic this backed up around here. We chatted about the object of our trip in the car--D mentioned having heard that certain groups were sending out email alerts to get people to show up. I really wasn't that surprised about the numbers arriving--just surprised that the schedulers hadn't gone in for a larger venue than the Board of Ed auditorium. Perhaps, we figured, they'd move the meeting to the commons or gym of the adjoining middle school if it was too crowded.

We finally got to the complex and found parking at some distance from the B of E building, on the road to the middle school's bus lot. Parking was so tight that we felt a bit smug about owning a Honda Fit. (On the other hand, with a big honkin' SUV we could have jumped the curbs.) We waded through parked cars and some more of those big honkin' SUV's still wending their way through the parking lots to the building entrance, where we were relieved to find that at least there wasn't a line out the door.

The entrance hall, however, was more than three-quarters full, with more people arriving. The crowd seemed chatty but calm; signs were not really in evidence. Most of the attendees looked to be locals; there was a fairly good mix of ages and even a kid or two. Black residents of the county didn't seem to have turned out in great numbers, which I thought odd. I guessed (and from what I heard, was right) that most of the attendees were there to oppose the health care bill. I knew Rep. Broun would be opposing it too, so I wasn't expecting too much spirited debate. I figured it would be more like a pep rally, but I was interested to hear what Rep. Broun, a practicing physician, had to say. Though for the moment, we were still stuck out in the hall.

We stood around for a bit, wondering what to do. There wan't much movement and we guessed the auditorium was full. I was crowded and warm and the folks near us didn't seem to have any more idea what was going on; at least everybody was behaving themselves. Somebody passed around a sign-in sheet; we let it go by as we weren't too sure for what we were signing in. Next, an announcement for a Stop Obama Care rally, Sharpied onto a sheet of lined looseleaf, travelled around the room. D. overheard a fellow behind him mutter something about tearing it up, so after we snapped a picture of it he made a point of sending it in another direction. Eventually, the plan for the evening found its way to us: The six o'clock meeting was in progress with a full auditorium. They would end at seven, and a second meeting would be held for those of us willing to hang around for it at seven-thirty. Stop Obama Care had a table by the auditorium door and were the proprietors of the sign-in sheets.

Only a very few people left. We snapped some pictures, people-watched, and drew rock-concert parallels to pass the time. Two county police weaved through, eventually taking refuge behind the reception counter where there was some room and an air vent. One passed a desk chair out to an attendee who couldn't stand comfortably. I noticed a youngish man wearing a Confederate kepi and a "Don't Tread on Me" T-shirt. Around here, there's always one or two of those. I hoped he wasn't planning to call for secession (he didn't). I also noticed a lady carrying a sign. She looked to be fresh from the print shop; it was still packed up in a FedEx/Kinko's pouch. I wondered what it said. On the video I'd seen of town hall meetings around the country, jazzy professional signs were almost entirely the province of Obamacare supporters.

I was impressed with the organizers when seven rolled around: they emptied the auditorium via the back doors and got the second group in with surprising speed. It was another packed house and once the chairs were filled folks spread out along the walls and edges of the dais at the front or sat cross-legged between the chairs and podium--wherever there was room. There were a few police officers, including the two from the hall and a sheriff's official was bustling around but it didn't look at all like security was going to be a problem. I wondered how many other town hall meetings around the country had residents elbow-to-elbow with officials up behind the speakers' desk. I'd seen some video of my former representative Steny Hoyer's meeting in Maryland; that degree of coziness would have done his soul good.

Rep. Broun remained in the back room until 7:30 rolled around. We figured he was taking a break, but it turned out that he was squeezing in a phone interview with Helen Blocker Adams, a local radio talk show host. He had been scheduled to meet with her after the town hall meeting, but had to cancel when the one meeting morphed into two. We continued to survey the crowd. A foursome of young men in black scrubs and Medical College badges--doctors? nurses? med techs?--sat down on the floor in front of us; members of the local press wandered around looking for interview subjects. The sign lady, who had staked out a chair along the wall to our left, unpacked her sign. I was right--it said "83% support a public option." I wondered where she got her stats; D wondered 83% of whom. Farther back along the wall stood a young man holding up a "War is not the answer" sign, also professionally printed. Did he not get the memo? Did he grab the wrong sign on the way out of his house? As we are still at war we guessed he was just in perpetual protest mode against it, but he did seem incongruous. Those two were the only signs we saw except for an occasional 8.5x11 printer sheet.*

A few folks held full-page printouts of the Obama Joker image, which I didn't think was likely to add to dialogue. (Fortunately they got tired of waving them around quickly.) A local news cameraman pulled one of the guys in scrubs off the floor for an interview; another member of the press approached those of us on the floor and asked if anybody there was for the bill. "I have to try to get both sides of the story," he explained, "but everybody I talk to here says they're against it." We pointed him in the direction of the sign lady; she soon became the most popular person in the room as far as the press was concerned. I had noticed her chatting up her neighbors, and before long she was in a heated exchange with another woman. I suspect the cameraman of stoking it because he was grinning like the cat that ate the canary as he rolled film of the exchange. "Talk to her! She knows about socialized medicine!" shouted a lady behind me, designating her neighbor. It turned out, she'd been on a mission trip in Russia. Her observations were valid, but here we are in a military community and they couldn't produce somebody that's had to deal with the British NHS? It was kinda disappointing.

The sign lady went back to holding up her sign, and soon had a trio of women chanting slogans across the room at her. An official-looking lady on the dais quickly shut the group up with a sharp glare and a brisk "cut" gesture. It was clear they weren't going to brook disorder here. The sign lady made some remark I didn't catch, and another lady behind me addressed her with "This isn't the place for that," I again failed to catch her reply, but it elicited a "Shut up" from the other lady, who proceeded to ignore her. I did catch the sign lady's parting salvo, "Kiss my ***, b****!" No points for persuasive oratory there. If there was going to be trouble here, I had a good idea where it would start.

*Correction: D pointed out that he saw one Sharpie-on-posterboard near the back of the room. Some of the film footage from local TV corroborates.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

The Green, Green Grassroots of Home

Rep. Paul Broun of our Congressional district is holding a series of townhall meetings focusing on the health care reform bill. Below are a few pictures, with links to more, that we took while attending one of those meetings in Evans, GA. Rep. Broun, a practicing physician, is a pretty staunch Constitutionalist Republican and needless to say doesn't support the bill currently up before Congress. He is involved in the drafting of an alternative bill. By and large, the audience at this meeting agreed with his views and demonstrated it with emphatic applause during his talk, A few questioners did voice opposition.

Our pictures, unfortunately, end before Rep. Broun stepped up to the podium, thanks to the camera batteries giving up the ghost. We figured we'd post some of them anyway as there's been no lack of negative press surrounding townhall meetings and these at least show one that, while crowded and at times noisy, remained basically civil and orderly. As it's late and we have to get up early in the morning, we'll hold off on a full report until we have a little time to write down our observations.

We arrived fashionably late in our Brooks Brothers apparel (not!) at shortly after the start time of 6pm. Traffic was backed up at the intersections near the Board of Ed bldg. This is the one nearest the B of E . Except for high school football games, traffic backups like this one just don't happen around here.

The Board of Educaton building, parking lot and roads leading in and out of the adjoining middle school, and road fronting the complex were parked up.

The entrance hall was pretty full. The auditorium was at capacity by this point: we weren't too sure we'd be able to get in at all. Eventually the report filtered back that a second meeting would be held after the first ended. A few folks left, but most stuck it out --and more were arriving.

Not too many signs were in evidence; a lady had one in a bag fresh from the print shop. There wasn't a whole lot to do out in the hall: a group calling itself Stop Obama Care circulated a sign-in sheet, then passed an announcement for a rally, hand-written on ruled looseleaf, around. D overheard a fellow behind him mutter something about tearing up the next one that went by, but most of the attendance was sympathetic as far as we could tell.

We didn't see any swastikas, but there was one fellow wearing a confederate kepi and “Don't Tread on Me” T-shirt. (It's Georgia, after all.)

Townhall Meeting, Phase II. Another capacity crowd.

Evidently somebody didn't read the memo.

Click here for the rest of the photo essay, with captions by C.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Fanning the Flames or Smothering Dissent?

The following from the White House Blog is reminiscent of a hot Ray Bradbury classic:

"These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to"