Question 9: “Asshole”

So, how does our new CNN contributor feel about the Census long form, the “American Community Survey”?

Erick Erickson, yesterday:

What gives the Commerce Department the right to ask me how often I flush my toilet? Or about going to work? I’m not filling out this form. I dare them to try and come throw me in jail. I dare them to. Pull out my wife’s shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door. They’re not going on my property. They can’t do that. They don’t have the legal right, and yet they’re trying.

Erick Erickson, today:

Naturally the left is out today saying I was on the air advocating killing census workers.

Nothing of the sort, of course. Erick’s only advocating threatening to kill Census workers.

[via ThinkProgress]

Don’t we want dipshits from the Dumbfuck States not to return the census forms — the hope being that their states will lose numbers in the House?

They’re not going on my property.

These types have a real property fetish. Get them talking about their property and their property rights and inevitably thats when they start fantasizing about grabbing their guns.

@Dodgerblue: Egg-zactly.

I have signed up to be a Census worker. They’re paying 22 bucks an hour – that’s more than I make at my day job!

@Dodgerblue: Erick’s trying to pitch the position that the short form — which does the actual head-counting — is cool, but the long form provokes taking out the longarms.

Unfortunately, our amusement in all this is tempered by the fact that the Census will be sending out Friendly Temp Workers three times to collect missing data.

Best they send them out in pairs: One to disarm the homeowner, the other to shoot the pig.

@SanFranLefty: I did that back in 1990. Helped pay the rent between campus gigs.

You can take the Son of Ewick out of the Red State Asshole, but you can’t take the Red State Asshole out of the Son of Ewick.

@nojo: Only three? The Daily Show (pretty much my only source of news apart from blogs) did a memorable segment about the fuss last night and gave the number as six.

@mellbell: Six…the devil’s number??

Jon Oliver’s piece last night was brilliant. And I’m still recovering from “Two Girls, One GOP” from Monday.

His WIFE’S shotgun? What a pussy.

@mellbell: It might be six — I didn’t fact-check my comment, figuring Dave would drop in to correct me.

@nojo: A squad of people have been sworn in here in Lost Angels to count the homeless. A tough proposition, I would think, because they tend to move around, being, you know, homeless.

Ugh. Boring ABA seminar is boring.

@SanFranLefty: Them’s good wages. I thought about signing up but decided it’s ultimately not worth overcoming my aversion to talking to strangers.

@homofascist: Maybe he’s a prohibited possessor?! What state does he live in?

Meanwhile, Where in the World is My Gadget?

SHENZHEN, CN 03/30/2010 9:39 A.M. ORIGIN SCAN

Ewww, it landed in Alaska. Now I have Sarah Cooties.

Anyway, screw Colbert. I’ll have mine soon enough.

@nojo: “CHEK LAP KOK” is what they’re calling it in Asia. Remember to clean your touchscreen after use.

From the “Only in NorCal” files: San Francisco Chronicle/KCBS reporter arrested for his elaborate marijuana grow house, of course he lives in the town of Weed, CA, charges have now been dropped, and the publisher of the Chronicle said that this has no affect on his ability to continue to be the outdoors editor of the “Sporting Green” section of the paper.

@SanFranLefty: Or as they now call it at the Chron, Three-Toke Journalism.

Or should they now call it the Chronic?

@nojo: It’s already called the Chronic, when it’s not called the Comical.

@SanFranLefty: Well, there you go. Last time I read it, Herb was still alive.

@nojo: Good “herb” joke.
Could you pls post a review of your new toy when it arrives? I probably need to get me onea them.

@Dodgerblue: Bloggie made me promise to make an event out of it, so yes.

@Pedonator: It’s a bit early for this, but I’ve always been amused by the concept of “property” — something that can only exist within a government system. Does the missus take her rifle to the county records office?

Ethical inquiry:
Mr. SFL presently is stuck on a plane on a runway at one of the five SoCal airports (I don’t remember where he’s flying out of) waiting to take off for rainy foggy NorCal, and he is seated next to a fat (of course) old (of course) white (of course) man (of course) wearing a “Nobama” shirt.

Would it be wrong for Mr. SFL to order several cocktails, drink them as quickly as possible, and stick his finger down his throat to induce airsickness? That was my suggestion but he thought that would be wrong.

I wouldn’t do that. If I were on the window seat I would get up and go to the bathroom often not because I have to, but just to be annoying. What is that guy going to do yell at a guy who has a (pretend) bladder inflammation?

And yes, I did that once. Guy had the aisle seat and then took the seat rest and the only laptop plug and then tried to squeeze me out of what little legroom I had. I then went to the bathroom 7 times on the four hour flight just because. I’d say excuse me and he get annoyed, move his computer, move his legs and have to get up. Steal my leg room? Not a chance.

@SanFranLefty: He can just start talking about how he can’t wait to get back to San Francisco so he and his boyfriend can finally take care of that lice infestation.

@homofascist: And get home to some good ol’ ass-fucking!

Speaking of the Census, the President is a ni-THONK. Right wing outrage that he’s denying his white roots in 4…3..2…1…

@SanFranLefty: If he can marginally termed “too fat to fly”, I’d complain to the flight attendant.

@SanFranLefty: He should slam down several cocktails regardless. If he’s one of those guys who can fart on command, this would be the time.

@Dodgerblue: App-review requests?

Can’t check out MLB ($15) or ESPN ($5) because the only thing I’m buying is Bento. NBA is free, but I’m probably the last person you want advising on Sport software.

On the other hand, Netflix has a new streaming-movie app. I’m so there.

@nojo: On the other hand, Netflix has a new streaming-movie app. I’m so there.

Wow. I’m gonna have some extra coin when I’m done with this gig – think the prices will get slashed any time soon?

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Ugh. Boring ABA seminar is boring.

Dr J didn’t show?

@nojo: I really don’t know how many visits the Field Division employees will attempt to get the information. The enumerators are conducting the Non-Response Follow Up which is pretty self explanatory. I do know if you fill out your census form and mail it in the number of visits is zero. You will get a telephone call if nobody can read your writing. That’s why the form asked for a phone number.

The American Community Survey is a monthly sampling of a couple of hundred thousand residences in the country. The idea is to take a detailed monthly statistical snapshot of the nation to spot trends that are developing between the 10 year (decennial) censuses. The ACS eliminated the need for millions of people to fill out the long form in the 2010 Census. I think it was one in ten residences that received the long form for the 2000 Census. I don’t recall any conservative resistance then – what could possibly be different now? Hmmmm…

The good news is it won’t be another Census Bureau enumerator who pays an idiot like Erick a visit after he threatens somebody with a shotgun. Apparently the conservatives seem to forget the federal government so recently owned and operated by the GOP has more than a few employees trained and equipped to deal with armed lunatics.

@ナビスコ: think the prices will get slashed any time soon?

Executive Summary: No.

Discussion: There’s been a lot of chatter that iPad prices will drop in a few months, just like the iPhone did. (Although these days the cost of your $200 3Gs is subsidized by AT&T.) But there’s also been chatter that Apple learned from that experience, and is “discounting” the iPad from the start.

It’s all guessing, but I’m inclined to go with the latter — the $499 iPad will always be a $499 iPad. The evidence submitted is that a 64-gig iPod touch will set you back $399, and Apple is positioning the iPad just like Jobs said: something between a iPhone/touch and a laptop.

Also, historically, Apple maintains its prices and beefs up the specs. My 2001 Powerbook G4 cost around two grand. So did my 2007 MacBook Pro. (My four previous Apple desktops followed the same pattern.)

Still, it doesn’t hurt to wait until summer and see what happens. Me, I have an immediate need for the gadget, given the amount of time I spend browsing on the iPhone.

If you can really wait, hold off until late this year or next spring, when the second versions come out. They’ll be faster, roomier, and heck, they may even have a camera.

App prices are another matter — they seem to be starting out a wee high, and will likely drop in a few weeks as the market develops. (Apple is also setting a perceptual standard with its $10 versions of the iWork suite — does your $9.95 app do as much as Pages?)

@Dave H: Hold on, this may be news to me…

There’s no long form?

I was thinking just like you say, that the pattern would be similar to 2000. But if the ACS is a completely separate project, run monthly, then CNN’s new expert analyst has his head further up his ass than I realize.

See? You did correct me.

@nojo: I’ve got it on my computer so I can watch games while at “work.” But I could prop up an IToy next to my monitor, fire up on it, and I’m gold.

@SanFranLefty: No. Because some innocent airline employee will have to clean up the chunks.

Better he talks about going back to the Mosque where his boyfriend promised he would chew the syphilitic scabs off of his asshole and join him in prayers to fucking allah to thank him for delivering the prophet Obama to establish the N American caliphate.

Then all he need do to drive this guy into apoplectic rage is to look soulfully at him and wave his tongue at him, rub his (own) crotch and say, “Jesus wants me to shit in your mouth.”

I’ll give him a dollar if he does.

@Mistress Cynica: He slammed a few cocktails down, regardless, thanks to the drink coupons. Plus it was a hellacious drive home from OAK due to rain and traffic on the Bay Bridge for the As-Giants game (now clear and rather cold for tonight’s game).

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Mr. SFL was on Southwest, he should have reported the fatty.

@nojo: The whole concept of private property just blows my mind. Not to get too commie-hippy, but we’re all here on a finite earth, none of us chose to be here, we’re all just recycling each others’ stuff in one form or another, beyond the bit of space dust that might be counted as an “input”.

I don’t even need to resort to a concept of God to observe that any claims of property are purely ephemeral. And if people insist on breeding, where do they expect the extra land and resources to come from to support that?

This is where I’m really more socialist than libertarian in the end, because I just don’t get the idea of property, it makes no sense to me, other than in a purely childish “my toy not yours!” manner. There are so many things that really need to be respected as the commons.

@Mistress Cynica: If only I were on that flight!

@SanFranLefty: Hope that wasn’t Kevin Smith he was sitting next to. You know how that turns out.

@Pedonator: I don’t even need to resort to a concept of God to observe that any claims of property are purely ephemeral.

Yes, no need to risk invoking metaphysics. Property is a garden-variety social construct. Just like money.

Nothing wrong with social constructs. We’re social critters, after all, and social constructs help keep us from bumping into each other too much.

What amuses me are folks who think property and ownership are fundamental forces of nature. (Or acts of God.) They’re merely part of a very complex bureaucratic system, the same system that protects those who would prefer to live without it. I don’t need to pry your gun out of your cold, dead hands. I collectively employ people to do that for me.

As to the Big Questions, I try not to declare myself a partisan of one particular system over another. They’re all still staffed by humans. And they all require somebody to milk the cows.

Capitalism has an answer for that, but we don’t live in a capitalist system. We live in a corporatist system. And as Galbraith stressed back in the Sixties, corporations are scared shitless by competition, and will do anything they can to avoid it.

Via Greenwald, an obit that may interest three or four of us — Ford’s short-term flack Jerry terHorst died Wednesday:

In 1974, terHorst became press secretary after Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal and Ford succeeded him as president on August 9, 1974.

On September 8, Ford granted Nixon an unconditional pardon, and terHorst tendered his resignation the same day.

“As your spokesman, I do not know how I could credibly defend that action in the absence of a like decision to grant absolute pardon to the young men who evaded Vietnam military service as a matter of conscience and the absence of pardons for former aides and associates of Mr. Nixon who have been charged with crimes — and imprisoned — stemming from the same Watergate situation,” terHorst wrote in his resignation letter, dated September 8, 1974.

“These are also men whose reputations and families have been grievously injured,” the letter continued. “Try as I can, it is impossible to conclude that the former president is more deserving of mercy than persons of lesser station in life whose offenses have had far less effect on our national wellbeing.”

Greenwald is playing it as something you’d never see Gibbs do. But it actually cuts a lot broader and deeper than that — it’s a window into another time.

@nojo: Property is a garden-variety social construct.

Like so much else. I don’t advocate for any particular political/economic system we’ve seen put into practice so far. I do have some ideas about how things could be differently better, not original ideas, there are plenty of people out there who have great ideas that I’d like to see given a chance.

The fact that all of this is of our own making just makes me surprised at the lack of imagination demonstrated by everyone who accepts the given system(s) as indelible. I have no doubt that it will all be radically different, it’s just a matter of when. Not in my lifetime, I expect.

The terrorists oligarchs have stolen our imagination!

@nojo: Saw that this morning. Don’t know about the window into another time, as I was too young to pay attention to anything more than Brady Bunch and Bewitched.

But he’s right, Gibbs would never do such a thing. And Greg Craig needs to speak up. The only actors on the stage who’ve shown some spine and integrity so far are the JAGs who’ve spoken up about the atrocities that continue under this sleazy administration.

Yes, sleazy: dishonest or corrupt; disreputable.

@Pedonator: Not in my lifetime, I expect.

Not in my lifetime — I’ll be safely in the ground when climate change really sucks. Your actuarial mileage may vary.

But in terms of the “given system,” I need to zoom out first.

One of the things that impressed me when I read the Federalist Papers a very long time ago was how the Founding Farts understood human nature: Instead of designing an ideal system that would be doomed to failure, they ginned up something that accounted for our very petty natures. Contra Broder, it’s not supposed to be bipartisan — because we certainly aren’t.

Ever since, that’s been my takeaway, and my standard: Any system has to account for human nature. It’s not a lack of imagination, but it does constrain it.

An important thing to know about human nature: We are inertial beings, creatures of habit. Maybe small Pacific islands can change lanes overnight, but just try to implement a metric system in the U.S. We did. It wasn’t pretty. It went away. Except for soda bottles.

Of course, no system is indelible. But it would take a catastrophic event (see “climate change,” above) to yank ours out and replace it with something else. No Depression, no Social Security.

Given those constraints — which as a practical matter are very real — I’ve made my peace with capitalism and private ownership. They’re not indelible or inevitable, but they’re the world we live in.

But they’re not “pure,” either. American capitalism mixes a lot of corporatism here, a little socialism there. We’re not constrained to that particular mix. We don’t have to allow pollution as an untaxed benefit. We don’t have to have public services run by private corporations.

(Local note: Coming from public-power Eugene, the new California commercials warning against government-owned utilities are hilarious.)

If there is a lack of imagination — which there is — it’s about what’s possible within the system we’re saddled with, not what benefits (and unknown consequences) a putative alternative system would offer. There was a lot of interesting shit going on in the late Seventies. And then Reagan was elected.

@Pedonator: Don’t know about the window into another time

Very vague way of expressing something I can’t put more clearly. But there have been very deep shifts between then and now, not just in the behavior of press secretaries.

It’s something you start noticing when you round 40: There are 20-year-olds — grown adults — who live in a different world than the one you’ve known. The world starts fresh for everyone — what I could take for granted is a lot different than somebody popping out in 1990.

So I see the terHorst obit, haven’t heard that name since, well, when he resigned (how’s Ron Nessen doing?), and a host of associations flood in.

Greenwald’s not wrong, but it’s just a sliver of what you could say. For one thing, we still had Rockefeller Republicans. Including Oregon’s governor.

@Pedonator: Oh, and I can’t let that go without the old joke…

Nixon’s heading toward the helicopter, inadvertently bumps Ford.

Nixon: “Pardon me.”

Ford: “Certainly.”

@Pedonator: Another howler from back in the day, which Frum mentioned to Colbert: “Republicans are the party of ideas.”

I remember people I know saying that. It had no more credibility then, but it was easier to peddle without being tested by reality.

@nojo: And the douchenozzles (not to be confused with the “doucheoisie”, that Cyn and her friends have revived on FB) keep trying to pretend that is a truism, instead of a rediculism.

@Noj: so, what’s the inevitable product review going to be titled, “Bernie loves Gadgets”?

@ナビスコ: Well, I’ve had two of tomorrow’s posts planned all week…

I’m not sure I’ll do a formal review — probably just scatter stuff in comments. Some reviews I’ve read are over the top with adulation, where all I really need is a faster, larger iPhone. Without the phone.

Then again, if the box comes with an embedded sound chip playing Zarathustra when it opens, I may dive in with something more formal.

Meanwhile, breaking news: a Netflix iPhone app is also in the works.

@nojo: Yes, there’s a huge lack of imagination about what’s possible even within the current regime of cargo-cult something-for-nothing infinite-growth cancernomics.

That even that lack goes mostly unacknowledged is what makes me a Sad Panda about the prospects for anything substantive getting done to put humans on a path to sustainability.

It’s really just a matter of your time perspective. If we’re speaking about what will happen in our own lifetimes, well, not much. In geological terms, humans are as doomed as any other species. Between those extremes, there’s some elasticity. Maybe we’ll evolve to the point where we can mate with the dolphins or whales and give birth to something shiny and new.

@nojo: I want one, I think. But I’ve wanted a netbook for a couple of years now and I survived without it. I’m gonna wait and see a bit, and with any luck a 2G will be out by the time I’m ready to plunk down for one.

@nojo: Meanwhile, breaking news: a Netflix iPhone app is also in the works. The apps will, as they did with the iPhone, make the product. Kindle this, Amazon overlords.

I just tried JNOV’s free tv linque. First I got some tranny vids (whoops! oh..whoops!), then I got an episode of House that took three minutes to show the opening scene. Frackin overseas broadband…

Speaking of Apple gadgets and WI-FI (weren’t we?), I can’t seem to get my iPhone to glom on to my local wi-fi signal. It detects the signal, allows me to put in the password and shows good signal strength, but no browsing, no nothing. I’ve had it in airplane mode since I arrived (no desire to pay the outrageous data fees they’d charge me if I even temporarily take it out of a.m.), wonder if that has something to do with it?

@ナビスコ: Kindle this, Amazon overlords.

Kindle app available now.

As it’s already available for the iPhone, Windows, and so on.

Some folks are suggesting that the device has always been a loss-leader for Amazon, something to prime the ebook market. They just want to sell the bits — they don’t care which pixels they activate.

If true (and it does make sense of Amazon’s actions), it would be the opposite approach of Apple — which, contrary to geek suspicions, doesn’t make that much coin off iTunes or apps. Apple exists to sell hardware; everything else is just to give folks something to run on it.

Regarding airplane mode, I’ve never used it, but it would make sense — no wifi signals throwing off the navigation. Then again, if you’re able to log into your wifi, there might be a router problem.

@Pedonator: anything substantive getting done to put humans on a path to sustainability

Wait for the oil to run out.

I was 13 or 14 when the gas crisis hit. That leaves more than 35 years for the U.S. to have done little or nothing about it. We’ll live in denial until it’s physically impossible to do otherwise. And then we’ll figure out a way to blame the gays.

@Pedonator: I want one, I think.

And unlike everyone else here, you’re one pub away from a hands-on demonstration.

Me, I’ve never seen the appeal of a netbook. I don’t want a mini-me laptop. I want a flat slab with shiny stuff I can coo over.

@nojo: Or maybe a different pub. I don’t remember whether Shakespeare’s has wifi.


1. I don’t have a 3G model, and I haven’t taken it out of the country, but can you turn off roaming or something?

2. The Stinque Remote Office (which masquerades as a local coffeehouse) has also had wifi problems of late, much as you describe — you’ll be logged into the wifi, but the wifi itself doesn’t play well with the cable modem. (I think they’re on a cable modem now; used to be DSL.) Rebooting one or both devices usually solves their problem, at least for a few minutes.

So, quick troubleshooting question: Do you use anything else with that wifi? Does it work when the iPhone doesn’t?

@nojo: I have the kindle app on my phone, and like it a lot, but would be much better on that flat slab/monolith you speak of.

@nojo: Yeah, I’m using this DELL piece of shite on the same wi-fi network. And the phone picked up the airport signal just fine when I was in transit over here, even as it was in airplane mode, so I think you’re right, there’s something wonky about the local network. The router came with the place I’m staying, not sure if they even have someone to help me figure it out.

@ナビスコ: I did most of my intense reading in the Eighties (special trips to Powells in Portland to bring back an armload of books), so I haven’t felt compelled about ebooks.

Oh, except iBooks comes with Winnie the Pooh, which is just cute.

And tonight, I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have a fresh look at the Federalist Papers. Plus, I never did get around to Wealth of Nations. And iBooks will be stocked with free Project Gutenberg titles or something.

So I’m thinking I’ll discover some pleasant uses I wasn’t planning on.

It’s a great day for America! And CBS will be iPad-compatible! No excuses not to watch Craig the next day!

Meanwhile, back at UPS…


I swear, we need NORAD Santa Claus tracking for this.

@nojo: Long before the name changed to Louisville International Airport, SDF billed itself as an international hub, to which the reply ran, “Yeah, if you’re a UPS package.”

@nojo: There’s an app for that.

Update: I just watched Colbert’s flaunting of his new iFad, and yes, I likee. And WTF with CNN hiring Erik Erickson, is that for real?

@mellbell: Sunrise service, Mell? (Got my time zone shift off there)

@mellbell: Did you see the April Fools edition of the LEO? It had a brief article about the international airport scam:

Louisville airport now officially international after emergency landing

A Toronto jet bound for Dallas made an emergency landing at Louisville “International” Airport yesterday, allowing officials to finally remove the quotation marks from its name. The pilot diverted the jet to Louisville after a flight attendant observed a man apparently trying to ignite his groin area with a butane lighter. On the ground in Louisville, TSA officials determined the man – Chub Bacon of Backrib, Texas – was in fact a morbidly obese passenger using his iPhone to frantically retrieve some renegade Reese’s Pieces from the folds of his groin fat. After a search of the plane, the flight continued to Dallas without incident.

Before the mishap, the only way to fly directly into Louisville from another country was to wrap oneself inside a UPS package. Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear rushed to the scene to console traumatized passengers, celebrate the historic occasion and do a little campaigning. “It’s a great day for Louisville and a great day for Kentucky,” said Beshear, while brushing some lint off the mayor’s lapel and giving it a couple of gentle pats.

Canadian passengers seemed surprised but pleased with the fanfare before boarding the jet and continuing to Dallas. “I don’t really know what all the fuss is a-boot, but Lewisburg has a real nice bunch of hosers there,” said Zed Drunkard, of Moosegas, Ontario. In an unrelated development, 34 urban areas in the United States mysteriously vanished on Sunday, making Louisville the nation’s 16th-largest city.

@nojo: I think it’s funny they had to fly it to Louisville from TalibunnyLand instead of just popping it down the west coast to you. The carbon footprint of that iPad just went up exponentially.

@SanFranLefty: My five-year-old Civic has 16,000 miles. I could earn a living just selling carbon credits.

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