Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

I just love the New Yorker cover with Rick Santorum riding in the dog carrier on top of Mitt Romney’s car. Isn’t it great? Santorum has been “dogging” Romney’s footsteps around the country, nipping at his heels, so to speak. I hope he won’t have an “accident” up there on Romney’s car roof.

I read some interesting analysis of the Super Tuesday results at The Daily Beast yesterday. You may have read the same articles already, but I still think they are worth discussing.

Michelle Goldberg explains why comparing Romney to John Kerry doesn’t quite work.

Yes, both are rich, socially maladroit, and from Massachusetts. Both have a history of being less than steadfast on important issues. But if Democrats weren’t ecstatic about Kerry in 2004, most still found him broadly acceptable. He had a history as a dashing liberal hero, returning from Vietnam to become a leading voice against that hated war. Certainly, he disappointed liberals by voting for the Iraq invasion, but he otherwise shared their values.

Romney, by contrast, is limping toward the Republican nomination despite being rejected, over and over again, by the Republican base. In this respect, he’s more like Joe Lieberman, who was despised by his party’s grassroots even before he endorsed John McCain for president….[I]t’s hard to recall the last time either party nominated someone so far out of step with its basic ethos. What this means is, should Romney lose to Obama, our politics will get even more poisonous, as activist conservatives blame their party’s perceived moderation for its failure.

Which is why I wish Rick Santorum would win the nomination. It would be a disaster of Goldwater proportions, and maybe the party would begin to understand that they are completely out of sync with most Americans.

Michael Tomasky had some advice for Mitt Romney:

Romney eked it out in Ohio, but he still managed to emerge bruised from Super Tuesday. He won Massachusetts. Big woop. Vermont, ditto. In Virginia, he won, but he won in as embarrassing a fashion as it’s possible to win something. With only him and cranky Ron Paul on the ballot, Romney managed just 59 percent of the vote to Paul’s 41. When Ron Paul is winning 41 percent of the vote, it’s time to stop and smell the rotting roses. And then Romney won some caucuses in some who-cares states that would vote red in November if Rush Limbaugh’s hamster was on the ballot, and that in any case have about as many electoral votes as Baltic Street has value in Monopoly. Who cares?

But, says Tomasky, Romney doesn’t seem to get that no one really likes him and he’s only winning because people think maybe he has a better chance in the general election than the other wingnut candidates. According to Tomasky, on Tuesday night Romney just gave his regular stump speech–which hasn’t been revised even though the economy has been improving and Obama has been doing much better in the polls.

He just seems to think that he can outspend these absurdly underfinanced opponents, bury them, these doorstep foundlings, these third-raters, pound them into submission with attack ads, and move on to the next quarry….

Romney has to do something dramatic to change the narrative, says Tomasky.

But everything we’ve seen from the guy shows that he’s completely incapable. He’ll keep grinding out just the number of wins he needs, by just the margins he needs. Remember Mario Cuomo’s famous and brilliant quote, about how a politician campaigns in poetry but governs in prose? Romney campaigns in prose. And dull prose. He’s the James Fennimore Cooper of the hustings. Makes you wonder how he’d govern, but fortunately, it seems we’ll never know.

I love that! “The James Fennimore Cooper of the hustings.” It’s so true. Romney is dull as dirt.

But the Romney camp is claiming it’s all over, despite their candidate’s weak showing in Ohio.

Mitt Romney’s campaign gathered the national press corps in their campaign war room this morning to deliver a simple message: It would take an “act of God” for any candidate not named Mitt Romney to win the Republican nomination.

The Boston-based campaign projected confidence in Romney’s ability to win the nomination given the emerging delegate math in the campaign following last night’s Super Tuesday contests. “We will get to 1,144 whether it’s on someone else’s timeline, or on our timeline,” said one top Romney aide. “We will get to 1,144 and be the Republican nominee.”

It kind of reminds me of 2008, when the Obama crowd kept yakking about “the math” and screaming “why won’t the stupid bitch quit?” Somehow I don’t think Santorum is going to quit after he trounced Romney in Tennessee and came within one percentage point of beating him in Ohio. The next few primaries will be in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kansas–not friendly territory for Romney.

On Tuesday, I wrote a post about the irresponsible speeches the Republican candidates made to AIPAC that morning.

Most irresponsible of all was the speech by Mitt Romney, in which he claimed in the face of strong evidence to the contrary that the Iranians “are making rapid progress” toward building nuclear weapons. He basically called the current Secretary of Defense and the President liars. He has also been going around the country claiming that if Barack Obama is reelected there will definitely be nuclear war. I can’t believe he’s been getting away with it for so long.

I’m glad to report that John Kerry has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post in which he counters Romney’s irresponsible lies. Kerry writes:

While wise Republicans stress the perils of loose war talk and the value of engagement to isolate Iran, Romney seeks to create political division with an attack on the Obama administration’s Iran policy that is as inaccurate as it is aggressive.

I join this debate because the nuclear issue with Iran is deadly serious business. It should invite sobriety and thoughtfulness, not sloganeering and sound bites. The stakes are far too high for it to become just another applause line on the stump. Idle talk of war only helps Iran by spooking the tight oil market and increasing the price of the Iranian crude that pays for its nuclear program.

Creating false differences with President Obama to score political points does nothing to move Iran off a dangerous nuclear course. Worse, Romney does not even do Americans the courtesy of describing how he would do anything different from what the Obama administration has already done.

Kerry provides specific examples of Romney’s “wrongheaded” statements, so go read the whole thing if you can. Thank goodness one senior Democrat has finally slapped Romney down.

Charlie Pierce has a post on the “respectable” pundits who are now defending Rush Limbaugh. First it was Bill Maher, and yesterday Michael Kinsley chimed in. Here’s Pierce’s takedown of former New Republic editor Kinsley:

And then there is Michael Kinsley, a man who has dedicated his life to bringing Olympian insufferability to an art form. Kinsley is what you’d get if you infused David Brooks with the madcap humor you find around the doughnut cart at The New Republic. You see, says Michael, everybody involved in this is just a big fake because nobody really believes anything anyway, and oxen are always being gored, and it’s all a silly stupid game, so suck it up, Sandra. Tell your folks about the marketplace of ideas:

Nevertheless, the self-righteous parade out the door by Limbaugh’s advertisers is hard to stomach. Had they never listened to Rush before, in all the years they had been paying for commercials on his show? His sliming of a barely known law student may be a new low — even after what he’s said about Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Obama — but it’s not a huge gap.

This is Kinsley being deliberately stupid, probably because he figures that’s the only thing the lesser orders out here understand. We can’t do the right thing now because we didn’t do the right thing then? We couldn’t criticize George Wallace for being a racist in 1963 because we didn’t criticize James Vardaman for being one in 1918? Murrow’s broadcast on Joe McCarthy was somehow illegitimate because he hadn’t been doing one a week for the previous three years? Watergate doesn’t count because LBJ bugged Nixon’s plane? The concept of critical mass is just another “insincere” function of our politics? And, I am sorry, but what he did to “a barely known law student” is the whole goddamn point. Kinsley’s imperial disdain has led him into a cul de sac of glibly arrogant misanthropy.

Go read the rest. It’s brilliant!

In other news, The New York Times has an article on a scientist who has developed a machine that will dramatically bring down the cost of gene sequencing and pave the way for medical advances.

In Silicon Valley, the line between computing and biology has begun to blur in a way that could have enormous consequences for human longevity.

Bill Banyai, an optical physicist at Complete Genomics, has helped make that happen. When he began developing a gene sequencing machine, he relied heavily on his background at two computer networking start-up companies. His digital expertise was essential in designing a factory that automated and greatly lowered the cost of mapping the three billion base pairs that form the human genome.

The promise is that low-cost gene sequencing will lead to a new era of personalized medicine, yielding new approaches for treating cancers and other serious diseases.

Pretty exciting.

There’s a scary article at Alternet on “The Religious Right’s Plot To Take Control Of Our Public Schools.” It’s a review of a book by Katherine Stewart, “The Good News Club: The Stealth Assault on America’s Children.” Here’s the teaser line:

The people who brought you “Jesus Camp” are moving into your neighborhood school. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

Yikes! Go check it out.

Those are my recommendations for today. What are you reading and blogging about?


47 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    The GOP candidates pandering to the AIPAC crowd are also sending signals to the fundies who believe the Rapture is on the horizon in the mideast. Few have given consideration to the aftermath of dropping bombs on Iran that will only lead to a world wide conflagration that can only invite more chaos and mayhen the likes of which will never be contained.

    The “Jesus Camp” infiltration should be enough to scare the hell out of anyone who ever saw that film. These people are what is driving the legislation in many states to make a zygote a person and prevent women from accessing medical treatment. This is what they are referring to in some cases when they tout “state’s rights” which is their intent to return prayer to schools and bring about the teaching of Creationism in the curriculum. The proposal of a “Christian nation” is not far behind.

    Many of these “Christianists” are members of the Tea Party. The effect they have had on congress shows how far they are willing to go to insert their way into the public sphere.

    I don’t think it is too far fetched to suggest that we are in the grip of a religious frenzy that has invaded this nation while the majority slept.

  2. janicen says:

    I ran smack dab into the religionists inserting themselves into a public school when my daughter was in middle school. From the link…

    The religious right’s big break was a 2001 Supreme Court case, The Good News Club v. Milford Central School, which unleashed a new wave of school evangelization. This decision essentially told schools they could not say no to church groups that wanted to use their facilities for after-school gatherings. Stewart describes “the new legal juggernaut of the Christian Right” —an army of legal advocacy groups, including the Alliance Defense Fund, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Liberty Counsel, and others — that raise hundred of millions of dollars each year for the common goal of injecting stealth evangelism into public schools. They’ve spent the last 10 years figuring out how to use this decision as a wedge to maximize church control over school curricula, personnel and even the physical campus.

    Those lunatics took that Supreme Court ruling and ran with it. You have to remember that many of the teachers and administrators in the schools go to the churches that are setting up shop in the schools, so they are coconspirators. They are not just using the public school facilities for their functions, they are setting up recruiting outposts in the schools. What almost happened to my daughter is too long a story to tell in this comment, but trust me, they are sneaky, stealthy, and it took my contacting the ACLU to drive them out of the school. Although, I’ve always suspected that they never actually left, just moved further underground.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      But if you listen to current crop of candidates who have run for public office over the last 10 years, they are not underground but right out in the open.

      Sharron Angle wants us to consider a child conceived by rape or incest is a “blessing”. Rick Santorum wants to ban contraception. Other pols aer calling for the jailing of physicians who perform medical abortions. The VA legistlature condones “probing”. Conferring “personhood” on a zygote has been put up for passage in numerous states.

      Saintorum and Perry want gays out of the military. The new members of congress elected as Tea Party candidates are pushing their agenda through legislation by making “religious rights” the foundation of their attacks against Planned Parenthood. People like Tony Perkins and James Dodson have joined the mainstream in being invited onto t.v. shows to discuss their discrimination against targeted groups in an open forum.

      The last round of presidential candidates were asked to pay homage to Rick Warren in discussing their religious beliefs before millions. This stuff is no longer considered as a personal belief but one that has risen to dominate the culture in advancing their theories by way of law.

      People like Bachmann and Saintorum act as enforcers to these groups since they have the forum to propose this stuff and make it an acceptable part of the dialogue. The votes they have all garnered speak as much.

      Difficult to ignore the agenda when it is being slammed into our consciousness whether we like it or not.

      • janicen says:

        Oh, I didn’t mean the entire movement went underground. I meant the outpost in my daughter’s school. It disappeared after I raised a stink but I’m not naive enough to think they left for good.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      I have a vision of us somehow bringing Orwell’s “1984” to life.

      Unable to turn off our tv’s we will be forced to listen nonstop sermons delivered by some fool from a megachurch while “bulletins” of war interrupt long enough to advise us that we are no longer at war with Country X but have turned our attention to Country Y who used to be an ally but no longer is.

      As “Christians” we will be performing “god’s will” by slaughtering everybody in sight who disagrees along with the daily executions of women who miscarried are carried out by way of “justice” as Nancy Grace leads the condemned to the gallows.

      History books will begin with our First President Ronald Reagan and Creationism will replace science. Everyone will be required at one time in their life to make a pilgrimage to the Reagan Library and his birthday will be celebrated as a national holiday.

      Book burning will become a staple of neighborhood gatherings and compulsary. Voting will be outlawed since most of us won’t be able to read or write anyway.

      Outlandish? Stay tuned.

      • Pilgrim says:

        not outlandish at all

        also, Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a pretty good description — terrifying but all-too-likely — of where that sex-obsessed nation is heading….I mean obsessed with the control of women’s bodies

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    In my best Cartman voice…Right wing Jesus Freaks really piss me off…

    In Alabama, Santorum is in the lead, New poll shows Rick Santorum leading in Alabama GOP primary |

    Thanks BB for putting the Kerry op/ed in your post, I would have missed it. (Just an aside, I think Kerry is really bucking for the SOS job when Hillary leaves.) This Iran nuke stuff worries me. That is not just some Doritos loving dictator in a gaudy uniform. Iran is a touchy situation.

    @ CPac the anti-woman, anti-poor, anti-gay slam fest was in full swing, now @AIPAC we heard the bomb Iran message. What is next on the list?

    • bostonboomer says:

      I think Kerry would be fine as SOS–certainly a lot better than Biden would be. But it would be another Dem lost from the Senate–although I must admit I’d be glad to have someone else as my senator!

  4. peggysue22 says:

    What a great front cover! Certainly proves the old saw: a picture is worth a thousand words. Perfect!

    As for the apologists for Limbaugh? Bill Maher jumping on the Rush wagon makes sense; Maher is one of biggest sexists on two feet. He makes a gazillion bucks sliming and sexualizing women for sport and profit. In fact, I think the older he gets, the worse he gets. I’ll have to read the dish on Kinsley [who can be insufferable].

    As for the fundies taking over the education system? It’s the quickest way to take that ‘race to the bottom.’ My kids were educated through the NJ public school system. My youngest was just graduating HS when we were transferred south. I would never want to rely on the educational system down here. Frankly? It’s subpar. Now at this stage in our lives, my husband and I enjoy the ‘low taxes.’ But, if you want decent schools, good teachers and a high-level curriculum, it costs money. Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Our taxes in NJ were ridiculous but at least the services were decent. Plus, I’m absolutely against the whole religion/creationism nonsense in the classroom. We cannot conpete on a global scale if we’re teaching myth as opposed to science. People in this area want to replay the Scopes trial. It makes no sense; regressing into the past will get us nowhere [except left on the side of the road].

    Great roundup, BB!

    • janicen says:

      Totally agree about the New Yorker cover and Bill Maher.

      About the school systems, what really shocked me about the religious infiltration in my daughter’s public school, is that we lived in the Seattle metropolitan area. Washington State ranks in the top 5 and occasionally in first place as the least religious state in the nation. North or South, you can’t let your guard down. They’re everywhere.

      • peggysue22 says:

        I agree, janicen. It’s pretty scary the way these religious whacks wheedle their way in. It’s usually through the school boards. Or at least that’s the way they tried pushing the creationism stunt in Delaware. Once it became public, parents were up in arms. The board members backed off, were actually humiliated by the exposure. But in the South, a huge swath of the public believes in this nonsense. If my kids had been younger when we moved, I would probably have been forced to send them to private school. And go broke in the process.

        It’s never ending!

      • peggysue22 says:

        Dak, I loved reading some of the comments on that link you provided. As for Jindal as your Governor? What can I say except ‘gee, I’m really sorry’ :0).

        Even worse, Jindal’s name is always brought up as a Republican ‘rising star.’


    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, Peggy Sue. I’ve never been able to take Bill Maher. Knowing he’s friends with Ann Coulter was enough for me, but he is one of the worst misogynists out there. I can’t stand him!

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Limbaugh has now removed the “slut” and “sex tapes” comments from the show transcript on his website.

    • peggysue22 says:

      I suspect enough people recorded that segment that scrubbing won’t really work. He said it and the foulness is on tape for anyone to pull up. The very fact they’re erasing the website, however, means they know how much trouble the man is in.

      No pity party for Rush. He deserves what he gets.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      BB, over at newsbusters there is mention of the war on Rush, and a site set up for pigs who support him: War on Rush Update: NB Publisher Bozell Addresses Hypocrisy In Letters to Quicken Loans, Carbonite Chiefs |

      You can also sign our pro-Rush petition at

      I bet all of the Georgia Legislature (except the dem women) will be signing that petition.
      Georgia Senate Passes Abortion Ban In State Insurance Plan to “Make a Statement” | RH Reality Check

      If there was any doubt that most of today’s state bills are more about proving how “pro-life” the politicians are than the anything to do actually reducing the number of abortions, one Georgia senator has made this abundantly clear with a bill to eliminate abortion coverage for state employees.


      Senate Bill 438 was debated for more than an hour before it passed by a vote of 33-18. Amendments to the bill were not allowed. Sen. Mike Crane, the bill’s sponsor, urged support of the legislation as a vote to save taxpayer dollars and make a pro-life statement. He emphasized that the bill does not prevent abortions.

      The Democratic women of the senate walked out in protest of the vote.

  6. ralphb says:

    International Slutty Women’s Day: A Story in GIFs

    Heh 🙂

  7. ralphb says:

    Angry Black Lady: Won’t Be Long Now, Folks!

    And the odds that we’ll get to somebody dropping the ni-CLANG word on President Obama took a really big step forward today, along with bonus misogyny to boot. They say a picture’s worth a thousands words, and judging from the latest Mike Lester political cartoon from the Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune, none of those words are fit to print in a gorram family blog like this one.

    The racism may be working it’s way to the surface.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      I has, subtly but it has.

      There’s a judge in some western state that sent an e-mail “joke” to a colleague suggesting that Obama’s mother mated with a dog that produced Obama. Funny huh?

      Those Tea Partier’s carried signs with his face superimposed over a Mau Mau and the “N” word just hovers beneath the surface just waiting to be heard. After all, in listening to Rush’s apologizers this is the “right” guaranteed by the First Amendment.

      I never thought I would ever see the day when I would ;be “defending” Barack Obama but this stuff has gone much too far to ignore.

    • northwestrain says:

      Mrs. obama has already started HER version of demonstrating that she is a racist. Angry black woman — is another racist. So since these women are the “takes one to know one” . . . we can expect the white racists to put on their KKK outfits and start marching.

      Mrs. 0 will never get a pass from me — I remember her words and using her claws to demonstrate what she would do to President Clinton’s face. She played the race card first in 2008. She also played the race card when she wrote her senior thesis. She ended her thesis with words about working for her own people. I never saw much evidence of her commitment during her “career”.

      Anyway — the racists keep trying to paint 0bowma into a corner — but they don’t realize the world and culture that he came from. In Hawaii 0bowma was part of the majority — in terms of wealth and the fact that his is mixed race.

      I was hoping that Mrs. 0bama would be a leader — like FDR’s wife, Ford’s wife and Senator Clinton.

      Today is International Women’s Day — and Mrs 0 could have made a powerful speech with all the speech writers on her husband’s staff or her own bloated staff. But no Mrs. 0’s role models seem to be or Raygun’s wife. Both chose superficial “public” project.

      Anyone remember Mrs. 0’s first demand as first lady? She wanted a salary.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I thought Obama was one of only a couple of black students at his prep school. I believe he was a scholarship student.

  8. ralphb says:

    WSJ: U.S. Warns Apple, Publishers

    The Justice Department has warned Apple Inc. and five of the biggest U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter.

    OMG, actual anti-trust enforcement. We need a ton more of this!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Amazon will be pleased and so will all Kindle owners. The price of e-books went way up after Steve Jobs made his deal with publishers.

  9. Pat Johnson says:

    As far as the “N” word being openly expressed, let’ not forget “Dr. Laura” chanting it over and over again that led to her dismissal off the airwaves.

    But she too found “defenders” who used the First Amendment as a right to express the deepest, darkest hatreds of the soul.

  10. Pat Johnson says:

    And right on topic for this conversation:

  11. Minkoff Minx says:

    Have you all seen this link: E-mails show White House involvement in USDA’s ouster of Shirley Sherrod in 2010 – The Washington Post

    Newly released Obama administration e-mails show the White House was more active than believed in the Agriculture Department’s decision in 2010 to seek the resignation of federal employee Shirley Sherrod.

    E-mails obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act don’t contradict Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s assertion that he alone made the decision to oust Sherrod over a speech initially determined to have been racist. But they do show that White House officials were closely involved in the process from the first minutes the scandal began to emerge, offering advice and counsel to Agriculture officials.

    Nothing really substantial in this article, I will try to find more for this evenings post.

  12. janicen says:

    Governor McDonnell and Republican state legislators claimed that the ultrasound bill was enacted in order to provide more information to women and their physicians before the abortion was performed. It was in no way an attempt to make it more difficult for women to obtain abortions.

    Hmmmm. That’s curious because I was out of the house for a couple of hours and I came home to two voice mails from National Right To Life asking me to call my state representatives (and phone numbers were provided) and Governor McDonnell and thank them for passing the ultrasound bill. According to the voice mails, they need to hear from pro-life people thanking them for their support. If the measure were not anti-abortion, why would National Right To Life be calling?

  13. Minkoff Minx says:

    Okay, so Obama has a new ad coming out, it is a mini movie narrated by Tom Hanks.

    BBC News – Obama campaign to release campaign documentary

    The campaign has released a trailer for the film, directed by Oscar-winner Davis Guggenheim and narrated by Tom Hanks, over a dramatic soundtrack

    In the Simpson Movie, Tom Hanks does a PSA for the Government…he actually says this:

    Tom Hanks: Hello, I’m Tom Hanks. The US Government has lost its credibility so it’s borrowing some of mine.

    Life imitating art?

  14. ralphb says:

    WAPO: Rush Limbaugh’s show targets jerks, judging from the latest ads

    Advertisers learned something about Rush Limbaugh’s demographic this week.

    “Here we thought lots of pleasant, upstanding people were listening to and enjoying the rational things Rush had to say,” dozens of companies said. “Apparently not.”

    It turns out that people who really, truly still enjoy Rush Limbaugh’s show are — how do I put this? — jerks.

    At least that’s what the new advertisements moving into the vast empty lot of Rush Limbaugh, Inc., implies. “Ah,” you say, as a rat runs over your foot and several people offer payday loans and try to sell you watches from their trench coats. “This place seems to have gone downhill somewhat.”

    Alexandra Petri is just hilarious.

  15. ralphb says:

    The war on contraception is not hyperbole, because there has been a dramatic shift on contraception in the GOP

    Kay at Balloon Juice has a good piece on Title X funding and the cuts to PP, with the effects specially bad in TX.

  16. ralphb says:

    Chatological Humor: Why ‘fair comment’ is not a defense for Rush Limbaugh

    Gene Weingarten :

    Greetings, update readers.

    Were you as gratified as I was when Rush Limbaugh finally admitted on the air yesterday that he has gotten rich and famous by “pandering to the prejudices and insecurities of marginally literate, unfathomably ignorant jackasses who have to be told what to hate”?

    This whole piece just knocked my socks off!

  17. bostonboomer says:

    Rush Limbaugh broke the law when he spewed hatred at Sandra Fluke. The FCC has the power to take away his license. Why aren’t they doing anything?

    • ralphb says:

      Wasn’t Howard Stern and the people carrying his show fined a lot to money for the use of obscene language finally? I thought that was why he went to Satellite radio.

      I’ve been wondering about the FCC for awhile now. Maybe they need an official complaint?

  18. ralphb says:

    Today in hyperbole: If it’s Sandra Fluke and liberals, Sharia law must be at hand

    So, just to recap, Georgetown law school student Sandra Fluke testified before Congress on behalf of a gay friend who required prescription birth control to halt the growth of ovarian cysts. As a result, radio host Rush Limbaugh branded Fluke a slut and a prostitute on national radio and said she should be required to make sex tapes so that he could watch.

    Surely this is as bad as it gets, yes? Oh no.

    Today, we get an editorial from the American Thinker, written, shockingly, by a man. Compared to this, Alice in Wonderland was a gritty, POV documentary.

    These wing nuts have really gone stark raving mad!!