Monday Afternoon Open Thread: The Dust Bowl, The Return of Charles Pierce, and Mittenfreude

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

If you didn’t get to see the first half of Ken Burns’ documentary on the Dust Bowl last night on PBS, please be sure to watch it when you can. It was outstanding, although very painful to watch at times. I watched it with my mom. It brought back lots of memories for her, as she grew up in North Dakota in the Dust Bowl days. Toward the end of the show last night there was film of FDR visiting North Dakota to survey the damage. Most of the archival footage is from Oklahoma and Kansas, with lesser amounts from Colorado, Kansas, and Texas.

The second part of the documentary will be on tonight. I’m guessing this part will be less agonizing because it will cover Roosevelt’s efforts to deal with the greatest man-made ecological disaster in history. I hope it will cover the creation of the CCC and how the government supervised planting of lines of trees for windbreaks. You can still see them all over the Midwest. There are lots in Indiana. There must have been other scientific improvements to farming that I don’t know about.

I highly recommend watching the second part tonight if you can. I don’t think you need to watch them in order necessarily.

I’m so happy that Charlie Pierce is back from his interminable week-long vacation! He has some great pieces up today already.

This morning he weighed in on the Susan Rice witchhunt on yesterday’s Sunday talk shows.

Then he recommended that Ross Douthat and other who missed the ’60s

drop some brown acid, listen to the first Quicksilver album, or at least read more than two books before they start telling the rest of us how everything they would have loved about America, had they been alive then, went to hell in a handbasket the first time Ken Kesey sat down at a typewriter.

He gave us a title for the Petraeus scandal and some great nicknames for John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

Well, not much happened while we were gone. The entire national-security apparatus got together and decided to produce a remake of the famous 1989 Helen Mirren vehicle, The Cook, The Thief, The Wife, Her Lover, The General, His Wife, The Other Woman, The Other Other Woman, The Other General, and The Lovesick Shirtless FBI Guy. In the other half of the double feature, we have Senator Grumpy and his sidekick, Huckleberry Closetcase, yelling about Benghazi while Harry Reid contemplates turning a garden hose on them to cool them down.

And then he beat up on Maureen Dowd for her nasty Sunday column on Susan Rice.

let’s pause for a moment and mark the return of airy dementia to the prose of one M. Dowd, of The New York Times, who decided to unlimber herself on the Bigger-Than-Watergate-Teapot Dome-Crédit Mobilier-The-Combined scandal surrounding what the gnomes in John McCain’s head think happened in Benghazi. Notably piquant is this passage in which Ms. Dowd wonders whether or not the president and his staff are as shallow and muddleheaded about politics as she is.

And MoDo will absolutely hate the photo that accompanies the post. I’m sooooo glad Pierce is back!

I have to admit, I’d like to stretch out the Mittenfreude, so I have a few Romney links for you.

TMZ caught Mitt and Ann going to see teen chick flick Breaking Dawn yesterday. I knew those two were immature, but I guess I didn’t realize how immature.

NBC News has a piece about what Romney and Ryan would have been doing this week if they hadn’t been beaten in a landslide on November 7.

If Mitt Romney had won the presidential election, insiders say, it’s not hard to imagine what he and his number two, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, would have been tackling on this very day.

An extensive preparation plan dubbed the “Romney Readiness Project,” pulled together by the GOP nominee’s team and no longer of any use, offers detailed insight into how ready he was to take the reins, the sources told NBC News.

Romney and Ryan each had office space set aside for them at a transition office in southwest Washington, D.C., where former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt led a team of hundreds of advisers tasked with crafting an ambitious agenda for the Republican’s first 200 days in office.

Insiders describe a well-prepared transition that was ready to hit the ground running on Nov. 7, and begin the work of fashioning a Romney government.

Hahahahahahahahahaha!! I’m sure glad we dodged that bullet!

Finally, Kevin Drum calls Romney “Officially the Most Hated Man in America,” and all because the articulated what most Republicans believe–that about half of the American people are worthless layabouts who don’t deserve to eat, live indoors, or have health care when they get sick.

What are you reading and/or hearing?

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19 Comments on “Monday Afternoon Open Thread: The Dust Bowl, The Return of Charles Pierce, and Mittenfreude”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    BTW, very little has changed in terms of the media and DC since the Dust Bowl days. The catastrophic dust storms got very little national attention until pieces of Oklahoma, Kansas, and North Dakota ended up in New York City and the Capital was coated with Midwestern topsoil.

    • dakinikat says:

      My dad grew up in the Dust Bowl Days in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Some of the stories that he tells are amazing. Those were tough people to live through all of that.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Just a quick comment – got lots to do tonight. I am so glad you mentioned The Dust Bowl. OM – Burns has done it again. Needless to say, I cried during some parts of the show. Next to his Suffrage show (my personal favorite), I think this is the best. I think everyone should watch it, too.

      If for no other reason (and we know there are way too many) than defunding PBS, Romney is a loser. Burns’ knows how to teach us our history. Each of his many PBS shows are so comprehensive, educational & simply wonderful.

      Ya’ll have a terrific evening.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Amanda Marcotte: The Catholic Church Wants Women to Die

    I’m sure you’ve all seen this horrible story about a woman in Ireland who was killed by her doctors, because they refused to abort an incomplete miscarriage that turned septic, but still had a fetal heartbeat, thus the Catholic hospital refused to do it on the grounds that they’re “killing a baby”. She died, horribly.

    Invariably when one of these situations happens, you have people who still buy the myth that it’s just shoddy ethical reasoning and not misogyny that creates these problems….

    The church did not start from a premise and argue themselves into letting women die of sepsis from principles. They started with the belief that women should die from sepsis and argued backwards to create a rationalization for it. And I can prove it. Because there’s a way to fix this situation without directly killing the fetus, but instead merely separating it from its mother on the grounds that its presence and not its life is what’s the problem here. It’s not murder, since her body had already rejected it and it was dying. It’s really just separating the two and letting the chips fall where they may.

    • dakinikat says:

      My insurance company wanted to send me to a Catholic hospital when I was pregnant with my youngest. It was a high risk pregnancy too. I had placenta previa. I absolutely refused to go there. Fortunately, my husband was a vp at Mutual of Omaha at the time and I made him march down the two flights of stairs and force them to let me deliver at Methodist hospital who had the only neo nate at the time and the neo nic unit next door at Children’s Hospital. I’d have gone to Methodist regardless even if I had to pay for it. I had heard too many horror stories coming from friends that when to Creighton for Med School and the hospital there and priests and doctors that were horrible to pregnant women. They harassed this one poor woman into carrying a fetus to term that had nothing but a brain stem. It was awful.

      • NW Luna says:

        Placenta previa? Yikes. So glad you were able to go to a proper medical facility to deal with that.

        • dakinikat says:

          Luckily they caught it on the first ultrasound so they watched me carefully … I started bleeding early in the third trimester and spent some time in the hospital before having to get an emergency C section. It really wore me out. I had developed cancer by the time I delivered and then, the didn’t find it for like 4-5 months. Fortunately, the daughter was just fine!!!

    • dakinikat says:

      More Whackos:

      Fundamentalists Admit They Prayed for Obama’s Defeat and God Said No

      http://www.politicususa.com/fundamentalists-admit-prayed-obamas-defeat-god.html

      It is amusing to me that it is news that James Dobson, the guy who founded Focus on the Family, admits that the National Day of Prayer Task Force prayed for Obama’s defeat. The headline ought to be that their prayers were completely ineffectual. Now atheists will be laughing and saying, “duh!” but there are plenty of religious people out there who do not think prayer is a completely wasted endeavor.

      We could draw any number of conclusions from the failure of their prayers. Imprecatory prayers have become very popular in right-wing religious circles and they have also been ineffectual. Obama still lives. You can’t pray the man to death.

      So either their God likes Obama, their God doesn’t care one way or another about such mundane human concerns, or their God is without any power to effect change with regard to the office of the presidency. Those seem the most obvious answers, though as we shall see, Dobson was able to find one more amenable to his belief system.

      The lesson will be lost on conservative Christians, of course. Though of seeming iron-inflexibility on moral and cultural matters, they are as flexible as can be when it comes to explaining or explaining away the actions/inactions of the divine.

      It’s the xtoban!!!

      • RalphB says:

        Fox News should be seen as much as a form of apologia as a form of propaganda, and, perhaps, as a form of public prayer, endlessly recited. A prayer that reality is exactly as it needs to be, a reality more amenable to belief than the really real, which is the domain not only of liberals, but of Satan.

        Be glad, my friends, that you are not conservatives, consigned to a nightmare of their own construction and from which there is no awaking.

        Indeed!

    • madamab says:

      Yes, that’s why I call it the “pro-death” movement.

  3. RalphB says:

    Charles is still cranking them out. What a bunch of wonderful reads!

    “Things In Politico That Make Me Want To Guzzle Antifreeze, Journamalism Edition”

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/politico-antifreeze-guzzling-salahis-14757469

  4. jawbone says:

    My mother grew up in southwestern WI and developed a life long ear fungal infection from the dust blowing though WI during the Dust Bowl. Only toward the end of her life were drugs developed which were more effective in relieving the effects, esp’ly the itching.

    Far ranging impact. It did result in new agricultural methods and ways to preserve top soil.

    I couldn’t watch last night since Cablevision hasn’t gotten its signal strength up high enough to let me get video yet. No TV since 10/29 a bit after 7PM, early in NewsHour. I got internet and phone back on Wednesday, 11/7, sometime between 9 and 10PM.

  5. janey says:

    Mitt and Ann Romney did not go to that movie to watch it. They were probably there to chaperone one of his sons and his wife so they would not smooch in the back row.

  6. RalphB says:

    Would anyone outside of the self absorbed asshats inside the beltway be surprised at this poll? I think not.

    Pew: More Americans Following ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Than David Petraeus Investigation

    • HT says:

      which tells one that “More Americans” are ignorant about what is causing that fiscal nightmare. 47% of the GDP spent on military spending? Geebus, I wonder from where the disconnect is coming. If Petraeus and other generals were living like a king, spending money like a runaway train, sending young people to fight the wars that kept them living like a king and the “more Americans” aren’t connecting the dots, what can one say?