Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!!

Let’s get right to the news. I’m going to start with a couple of items that should particularly interest Dakinikat. First, Charlie Pierce wrote a post yesterday about Bobby Jindal’s campaign for VP.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wants to be your vice-president. (He may also want to be your president, too, but being your vice-president first is an easy way to do that.) His first audition for the second slot was to become the prime surrogate for the relentless juggernaut that was the Rick Perry campaign.

(This was a juggernaut only in the sense that people watched Perry speak in the debates and asked each other, “Is he hitting the jug or not?” Thank you. I’ll be back for the late show.)

Once he rode that baby straight into the ground, Jindal decided to campaign for the job on his own, all the while hoping that nobody in the country remembers his memorable “reply” to the president’s State of the Union address back in 2009, during which Jindal looked like a 12-year old wearing his grandfather’s suit, the one in which Jindal scoffed at federal spending on “volcano monitoring” a little more than a year before a big hunk of Iceland blew up and nearly destroyed the airline industry in Europe.

Pierce is reacting to Jindal’s op-ed at the WSJ: Obama’s Politicized Energy Policy

With rising energy costs making it more expensive to drive our cars, heat our homes, and fuel our sputtering economy, many Republicans are criticizing the Obama administration for a failure to adopt a comprehensive energy policy. I believe that critique lets the president off too easily. His administration does have a national energy policy—it’s just a subservient by-product of his radical environmental policy.

This administration willfully ignores rational choices that would lower energy prices and reduce U.S. reliance on foreign energy sources.

Bla, bla, bla…”rational” advice from a guy who believes in exorcism.

We all lost an hour of our lives a couple of days ago when the government made us “spring forward” into daylight savings time (DST). I love it, because it means it stays light a little longer at the end of the day here in New England, but Dak hates what it does to her down in New Orleans. Of course up here in the north, I don’t have the problem of darkness in the early morning.

The Christian Science Monitor had an interesting article on DST yesterday. CSM reports on a psychological study that found that workers are sleepy the next day after the time change (duh!) and are more likely to waste time on the internet at work. “Global productivity losses from a spike in employee cyberloafing are potentially staggering,” the researchers conclude.

CSM says that the origins of DST go way back. It was “originally proposed by a 19th century butterfly collector who wanted more time at the end of the workday to scour fields for insects,” and was first implemented “during World War I (peacetime standardization came in 1966).”

The most recent real adjustment in the US came in 2007, when the change was moved up to the second Sunday in March from the first Sunday in April to lengthen “summertime” and gauge potential energy savings. Polls showed farmers, perennial DST opponents, grumbled, and sports retailers (who benefit from the extra hour of daylight for play time after work) rejoiced.

If you’re worried about lost sleep, you might want to read this article at Alternet: The 8-Hour Sleep Myth: How I Learned That Everything I Knew About Sleep Was Wrong. Apparently it’s not really natural for humans to sleep through the night. The author read about this in a BBC article. Here’s the gist from the Alternet piece:

Turns out that psychiatrist Thomas Wehr ran an experiment back in the ‘90s in which people were thrust into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month. When their sleep regulated, a strange pattern emerged. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before drifting off again into a second four-hour sleep.

Historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech would not have been surprised by this pattern. In 2001, he published a groundbreaking paper based on 16 years of research, which revealed something quite amazing: humans did not evolve to sleep through the night in one solid chunk. Until very recently, they slept in two stages. Shazam.

In his book At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, Ekrich presents over 500 references to these two distinct sleep periods, known as the “first sleep” and the “second sleep,” culled from diaries, court records, medical manuals, anthropological studies, and literature, including The Odyssey. Like an astrolabe pointing to some forgotten star, these accounts referenced a first sleep that began two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.

This waking period, known in some cultures as the “watch,” was filled with everything from bringing in the animals to prayer. Some folks visited neighbors. Others smoked a pipe or analyzed their dreams. Often they lounged in bed to read, chat with bedfellows, or have much more refreshing sex than we modern humans have at bedtime. A 16th-century doctor’s manual prescribed sex after the first sleep as the most enjoyable variety.

That makes me feel a lot better, since I’ve rarely ever been able to sleep through the night, and in my later years, I have a terrible time falling asleep in the first place.

In political news, President Obama’s approval rating has suddenly tanked, supposedly because of gas prices.

Despite improving job growth and an extended Republican primary fight dividing his would-be opponents, President Obama is heading into the general election season on treacherous political ground, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

At a time of rising gas prices, heightened talk of war with Iran and setbacks in Afghanistan, Mr. Obama’s approval rating dropped substantially in recent weeks, the poll found, with 41 percent of respondents expressing approval of the job he is doing and 47 percent saying they disapprove — a dangerous position for any incumbent seeking re-election.

Which is kind of scary because of the horrifying Republican presidential candidates. It’s still early, so I’m not panicking just yet. Speaking of the clown car crew, there are four primaries today–in Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii, and American Samoa. I’m not sure if we’ll have a live blog, because the last one was a bit of dud. If you’d like to have one, please say so in the comments to this post. We’ll definitely post the results tonight though.

As of last night, Romney was in the running in both Alabama and Mississippi, where the polls show Romney Gingrich, and Santorum all running neck and neck. The worst news is that Romney is now leading Obama by 5 points nationally.

The next item drew a {heavy sigh} from me. A new PPP poll found that a whole lot of voters in Alabama and Mississippi think President Obama is a Muslim. {{Heavy sigh….}}

The poll of Mississippi Republicans found that 52% said they believed Obama is a Muslim, 36% weren’t sure and only 12% said they believed he is a Christian. He fared slightly better in Alabama, where 45% said he is a Muslim, 41% weren’t sure, and 14% said he is a Christian.

Some folks in these two deep South state don’t care for interracial marriages like the one that produced Barack Obama.

67% of Alabama Republicans saying they believe interracial marriage should be legal, though 21% said it still should be against the law. In Mississippi, 54% said it should be allowed, while 29% said it should remain illegal.

The preferred Republican candidate of those opposed to interracial marriage? Newt Gingrich. In Mississippi, Gingrich led Romney among that group 40% to 27%, and held a 38%-27% advantage in Alabama.

I am soooooo glad I don’t live in Alabama or Mississippi! Alexandra Petri of the WaPo calls it “the time traveler vote.” She says that voters must have just arrived from the 1920s.

I don’t know why it didn’t strike me sooner. So many of the issues at stake this year are Issues I Thought We Resolved Several Decades Ago. This is 2012, with lots of economic distress and voter unrest to go around. Why are we suddenly prioritizing Taking Back Control Of Women’s Bodies For The State?

But if you consider the Time Traveling Vote, it all makes sense.

I am not sure how big the vote is. But if the recent actions of many state legislatures are to be taken into account, it is surely substantial.

To visitors from the past, these issues are still pressing and vital. They don’t care about jobs! Once the election’s over, they’re headed back to 1926, where the economy is still roaring and everyone is flapping and doing the Charleston.

It certainly makes more sense than the assumption that they’ve simply been ignoring all the headlines, most of the textbooks, the entire women’s rights movement and the scientific consensus for decades.

Some love letters between the young Richard Nixon and his future wife Pat will be displayed at the Nixon Library. They are said to show Nixon’s “sensitive side.” A sample:

“Every day and every night I want to see you and be with you. Yet I have no feeling of selfish ownership or jealousy. In fact I should always want you to live just as you wanted – because if you didn’t then you would change and wouldn’t be you,” Nixon wrote in one of the letters, part of a rotating display at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

“Let’s go for a long ride Sundays; let’s go to the mountains weekends; let’s read books in front of fires; most of all let’s really grow together and find the happiness we know is ours,” he continued.

Whatever happened to that guy?

Finally, have you heard that Arlen Specter has a memoir coming out? Naturally, it’s full of complaints. Harry Reid stabbed him in the back after promising to give Specter seniority as a Democrat if he switched parties. Obama and Biden didn’t help him in his primary campaign against Joe Sestak. The most interesting revelation in the article in The Hill is that Bob Dole told Specter he (Dole) would have switched parties too.

“Dole told me I had done the right thing, that I had done a terrific job as a senator, been involved in a lot of projects, been very active, and hadn’t gotten credit for a lot of the stuff I had done,” he wrote.

“I said, ‘Bob, I think that it’s very meaningful when you say that I did the right thing, in the party change.’

“He said, ‘Well,’ and then paused and thought for a few seconds. Then he said, ‘I probably would have done the same thing.’ ”

Never mind all that. I want to read about Specter’s role in the Warren Commission and how he dreamed up the “single bullet theory.”

That’s all I’ve got for now. What are you reading and blogging about today?

46 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. boogieman7167 says:

    i do hope you decide to have a live blog tonight . i will be looking foward to it if you do. very intersting story about sleep it remindeed me of when years ago when i worked the graveyard shift . i slept in shifts during the day just to keep fresh for the night

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hi Boogieman,

      We’ll probably put up a thread in the early evening. Maybe it will be more interesting tonight since the polls in both of the big states are too close to call.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Maybe we can make it a funny thread? Y’all heard that Jeff Foxworthy has endorsed Romney? Jon Stewart Cringes Through Romney’s Painful Southern Pandering | Mediaite

        “Everything Mitt Romney learned about the South,” Stewart continued, “he learned from a Jeff Foxworthy routine.” The comedian did, of course, recently throw his support behind the former governor of Massachusetts. And because Foxworthy’s routine had been ruined by satellite issues over at Fox News that morning, Stewart stepped in and covered for him.

        “If you have a car on your front lawn,” said Stewart, impressive Foxworthian mustache firmly in place, “’cause your garage only holds five cars… if you go to the diner and order your eggs ‘Fabergé’… if you think Cloverfield was a movie about your butler… You might be a Romney.”

      • bostonboomer says:

        Yes, I heard. I’m kind of afraid to read about it. {shudder}

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Haley Barbour as governor of Mississippi recently pardoned 200 inmates, 4 of whom were doing time for murder, because he felt it was “the Christian thing to do”. Gives more credence to the argument that Mississippi and Alabama are backward states whose membership in the Union should be questioned.

    The ignorance of those polls in each state validates as much. It makes you question the idea that these people can actually read and write when over 50% do not believe in evolution and another large percentage are “just not sure”. Incredible.

    The irony of the Right is that when gas prices spiked under Bush they found real reasons to excuse his involvement but today they are “making hay” by blaming Obama entirely for the same thing. The hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    But by all means let’s bomb the hell out of Iran which will make gas prices soar through the roof and cripple the economy even more so because who can resist the drumbeat of war as we flex our muscles once again with a “we’ll show them” attitude.

    The saddest thing about today’s toxic political environment is that we don’t trust one person involved to figure this stuff out. Our destiny is in the hands of idiots.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    BB, I see that Romney stuck his foot in his mouth again, The Maddow Blog – Romney fumbles with NFL answer

    Mitt Romney called in to a popular sports talk show in Alabama yesterday, a day ahead of the state’s Republican presidential primary. As interviews go, this seemed like a fairly easy one — it was unlikely the host, Paul Finebaum, would press the former governor for an explanation about his support for health care mandates.

    Indeed, it’s not like Romney would go on the show, repeat his mistake from two weeks ago, and talk about being friends with millionaire team owners again, right? Wrong.

    [A]t one point, Mr. Finebaum asked Mr. Romney, as a New England Patriots fan, where he thought Peyton Manning should go as a free agent, and the candidate highlighted his friendship with football team owners — echoing comments in which he explained his affinity for Nascar by noting he knew the owners of Nascar teams.

    “I’m surprised to hear that Denver’s thinking about him,” Mr. Romney said. “I don’t want him in our neck of the woods, let’s put it that way.”

    “I’ve got a lot of good friends, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, both owners are friends of mine,” he added. “But let’s keep him away from New England.”

    Romney really is approaching self-parody here. Just two weeks ago, Romney was in Florida for the Daytona 500, and was asked whether he follows car racing. “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans,” he responded, “but I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    What this nation needs right now is to revive the ERA Amendment and I can think of no one better suited to lead this charge than Hillary Clinton.

    Should she decide to step down as SoS after the elections, this is an area that I believe she is more than qualified to lead in finally seeking passage.

    There is not better spokesperson and champion of women’s rights than Hillary Clinton and she has made inroads in the opposition of women in the GOP camp as well.

    She has become an global icon for women and this would be one area where her stamp could be imprinted forever.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    bb, it will be interesting to see the outcome of the plea deal today offered by Catherine Greig who may only have to serve a 3 year sentence for aiding and abetting Whitey Bulger.

    Her stance now is that she was “dependent” upon him for the basics during their time on the run.

    A fugitive sought for 19 cold blooded murders and his willing accompice may just walk away from punishment by cutting deals with the court is montrous. She is attempting to make herself a “victim” when she was running around loose having her hair done and her teeth fixed as they traveled the world in style.

    Unbelievable since it also appears that she “fronted” their lifestyle while he remained in the background during their transactions.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Thanks for mentioning this Pat, I was wondering about that myself.

      BTW I liked your post this morning. Did you see Palin’s facebook response to the Obama ad?

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Thanks, Mink.

        No I haven’t. Is it worthwhile bothering with?

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          What do you think? 😉 I had made a comment on your post, but spammy must have gotten it. She plays the victim again and says something about not having a “title” to make a difference. My comment was a bit snarky…I said it seems like not having a brain works too.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        She is now offering to “debate” Obama. Yeah, like that is about to happen.

        Only if Sean Hannity can moderate the “debate” by framing the answer by slipping it into the question itself. This way she can agree without having to think.

        The really sad part of her selection is that she truly understood what she did not know – which was just about everything – resigns midway through an elected term as governor,and is held up as someone who offers “enlightenment” in the political process.

        Had she simply just gone back to Alaska and continued to manage the state I would be somewhat sympathetic. But instead she continued to thrust herself upon the scene via tweets and Facebook that the press deemed “important” enough to cover, resigned office, and became a “celebrity” owing much to a flawed process that catipulted her to fame.

        Impossible, but true nevertheless, that she made Michele Bachmann look almost like a Mensa candidate. No small feat.

        Palin, Perry, and Bachmann alone support the belief that “just about anyone” can be president since there seems to be enough people out there willing to cast votes on their behalf.

      • ralphb says:

        Palin says he took her remarks out of context but it really didn’t. It was first class race baiting all around on her and Hannity’s part. That she’s whining about it just proves the ad hit it’s mark.

      • peggysue22 says:

        Why would the President of the United States debate a Sarah Palin??? She’s not even running for office, for God’s sake. Talk about shameless self-promotion.

        This is the problem of running a film about someone like Palin–it just puts her name back into the conversation.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I saw that, Pat. I read one article but it didn’t say whether she was going to testify for the prosecution or not.

      • bostonboomer says:


        I just finished reading a wonderful new book. It’s called “The Snow Child.” It’s a first novel by an Alaskan woman, and it’s beautifully written. I couldn’t put it down.

      • Pilgrim says:

        Seeing Boomer’s enthusiastic assessment of The Snow Child, I went to my library web site and put in a request for the book. It had eleven ahead of me. I’ll look forward to reading it when it becomes available.

      • bostonboomer says:


        It made me cry. It could have just been the mood I was in, but make sure you have some kleenex nearby just in case.

  6. jackyt says:

    “Palin, Perry, and Bachmann alone support the belief that “just about anyone” can be president…”

    and Obama proves the point!

    • ralphb says:

      Thank Dog one of those buffoons didn’t prove the point!

    • Pat Johnson says:

      He may be shallow, pretentious, opporuntistic and spineless but I seriously doubt anyone would consider him stupid.

      Stupid is campaigning for high office and not possessing a clue about history, geograpy, current events or coherence.

      He may be able to match her in the “personality cult” league of politicians but he is not ignorant.

      A superior candidate was and is Hillary Clinton for which neither one of these two could ever hope to match for brainpower or knowledge.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The amazing thing is that in the past four years Palin doesn’t seem to have tried to learn anything about domestic or foreign policy. She’s willfully ignorant.

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    bb: Honest to god I almost ordered it last week! But I will now that you have recommended it.

    Loving my Kindle so much these days and never thought I would. Having the book within seconds of ordering is fantastic.

    I’ll let you know when I finish it.

    Been doing some cleaning with the windows open. So refreshing.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I hope you like it. I can’t wait until this woman writes another novel. I love reading books on kindle too. I actually ordered this one in hardcover though so I could have a first printing for my bookselling business.

  8. ralphb says:

    National Journal: Poll Shows Public Supports Obama on Gas Prices

    More Americans trust President Obama than congressional Republicans to make the right decisions to bring down the price of gasoline, according to a new poll, although neither side commands a majority.
    Forty-four percent of respondents trust Obama more “to make the right decisions to help bring down the price of gasoline,” versus 32 percent for Republicans in Congress, according to the poll. Only 1 percent said both; 16 percent said neither and 7 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.

    This flies in the face of polls yesterday by WaPo and NYT that Obama has lost support due to gas prices. That would seem to mean the he lost the contraception mandate debate. With women being the majority of voters, how did that happen? I really want to know.

    Assuming these polls are valid, a very big assumption, he lost support among women while supporting their needs. Does that mean that for a politician supporting women’s health care is a losing proposition? What the hell does that say about the electorate?

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s interesting.

      • ralphb says:

        It’s interesting and may also be completely wrong. I simply refuse to believe a politician could lose support from women while opening supporting their health care needs against neanderthals.

        Steve Kornacki: Obama’s sudden polling crash

        It may be that each poll simply began reaching voters at the worst possible time for Obama, just as the news was dominated by critical commentary of his handling of a potential foreign policy crisis and before a fresh dose of positive economic data was added to the mix.

        Some other polling released Monday suggests this is possible. Gallup’s daily tracking survey, which spans the three previous days, actually showed Obama’s approval jumping to 49 percent, as high as it’s been in months, and a clear improvement from the middle of last week, when Gallup had the president at 43 percent. And Rasmussen Reports’ daily tally gave Obama a three-point boost, from 44 to 47 percent, between Sunday and Monday.

      • northwestrain says:

        Many reasons why 0bama is mistrusted. Women have a long memory (ask my husband) — in 2008 0bama acted and spoke like a MCP. 0bama is all talk and rarely does more than talk. Stupak — he supported Stupak and rarely seemed to take a real interest in the misogynistic crap coming from Congress.

        0bama’s big job stimulus — very little for women — it was all about jobs for men. Women have lost ground — Laura what’s her name on either Mother Jones or the Nation has a long detailed article about women losing jobs and NOT being able to find jobs.

        0bama is with few exceptions like any other male politician who only thinks about women when he is campaigning — he makes promises but rarely ever delivers. He’s sort of like the guy who says the next time he makes love he’ll be sure to let his partner have an orgasm — but that never happens — it is too involved in his own ego.

        0bama just doesn’t like women — his wife hasn’t done anything of any significance to gain the confidence of women. His wife is a party girl — period.

        Given a choice between women’s human right and the religious right — 0bama will chose the religious right.

        This is what women are telling me in the fly over states — I listen and am completely neutral because I want to hear the opinions of what women concerns are. 0bama isn’t listening. The jobs issue seems to be number one — women have lost jobs and the stimulus he brags about has done very little for women.

  9. peggysue22 says:

    Good round up, BB. Interesting article you mentioned on sleep patterns. I suffer from bouts of insomnia, so the piece definitely resonated.

    So Jindal wants to be our Veep? Oh gag! Mr. Creationist, I-don’t-believe-in-science. Personally? I think that alone disqualifies anyone for high office in the 21st Century.

    And exactly what ‘radical’ environmental plan does the President have? Seems to me BP was left in charge after they destroyed the Gulf of Mexico–the shrimp and oyster industries and life as a lot of people knew it along the Gulf coast. That kind of radical? Or was it that ‘radical’ decision to block uranium mining in the Grand Canyon? Or was it just mentioning the word ‘environment?’

    Obama is a lot of things but radical isn’t one of them.

    I mentioned this over at John Smart last night. Did anyone catch the Piers Morgan video with Guggenheim, the director of the Obama movie/campaign ad coming out? Too much. Talk about swilling the kool-aide. Link here:

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Some people just acknowledge that there are as many idiots in both parties with statements like this prize package of idiocy.

    • northwestrain says:

      That guy is an idiot — 0bama “too many accomplishments”? BS alert.

      Like the play boy who believes he is a great lover — he gets off every time.

      That clip needs a warning — vomit inducing BS. I stopped it at 24 sec. in.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Allergy season comes early this year because of mild winter. I didn’t need experts to tell me that, unfortunately.


    • ralphb says:

      The experts don’t need to tell me either, unfortunately. 🙂

    • dakinikat says:

      The Oak pollen here has been killing me for about 2 weeks. I’ve actually had problems with being dizzy from it.

      • ralphb says:

        There are oaks everywhere around me. It’s been difficult.

        • dakinikat says:

          I live on an Oak lined avenue. My mail box, garbage can, and car are all coated yellow with pollen. I’m hoping the last two days of thunderstorms have reduced it. Right now, I’m miserable with it and I’ve been taking Allegra daily.

  11. ralphb says:

    Finally one of these cases may be handled the correct way.

    Officer tackles Ohio woman for not coming to a complete stop

    Prosecutors in Ohio are considering pressing assault charges against an Addyston police officer after he slammed a woman on the ground for not coming to a complete stop at an intersection.

    • northwestrain says:

      The military police rarely have to answer for their actions.

      We shall see how the “considering assault charges” turns out.