Out, damned spot!

This morning as I left the house, I grabbed my messenger bag out of the hall closet, and there was an Obama/Biden sign hanging in there, and I decided to take it down.  It’s odd, but the John Kerry sign that hung there for four years always kind of cheered me up; not just because it was nicer; a big sign on matte coated stock made for urban windows, whereas the Obama sign is kind of a lame plastic bag thingy  meant for lawns.  It’s a growing case of buyer’s remorse; while I have no doubt that the country would be in better shape had Kerry been elected, the Senator from Massachusetts never got the chance to piss me off, practically daily, like Obama’s doing now.  That cheesy plastic banner on the wall seemed to be saying, “Nyah, nyah, nyah, sucker, thanks for the money anyway,” almost audibly, and since I was passing the trash room on the way out, well, you get the picture.

I started wondering about this very human reaction to unpleasant reminders of choices that can’t be taken back, and how chagrined one feels to have been duped.  Which brings me, once again, to the firing of Dan Froomkin by Fred Hiatt at the WaPoo.  To Hiatt, Froomkin represented Hiatt’s Bush sign.  (Unfortunately, in this case, not just a sign, but dozens of enormous billboards and an armada of sky-writing airplanes….)  How could a guy who’d made such a credulous and public fool of himself for so long tolerate, in his own paper, not just a mute symbol, but a daily, damning barrage of “Nyah, nyah, nyah?”  Paul Krugman got it, no doubt from his own bitter experience at the NYT, where for some reason ol’ Pinch was even more cowardly than Hiatt, and just hid under the desk and hired Bill Kristol, while he kept the inconvenient Nobel Laureate around for “balance.”  Lord knows that the NYT’s credibility problems, from the ludicrous predictions of Tom Friedman and the addled irrelevancies of Maureen Dowd, to the flat-out malpractice of Judith Miller and wide-eyed cluelessness of Elisabeth Bumiller, could hardly be helped by summarily unloading one of the only columnists in his paper who was worth reading.

As luck would have it, Hiatt wasn’t similarly encumbered; pretty much all of his reporters were already widely recognized as mindless, corrupt shills, his paper’s every editorial position had been disastrously, exquisitely, and stunningly wrong for over a decade, and one could safely skip his leaden, drearily predictable op/ed page by lazily skimming Drudge.  If he fired Froomkin, who, exactly, would even notice?  Surely no one with two brain cells to rub together had really read his rag since, oh, 1993, and if they had, they’d probably be saying, “Nyah, nyah, nyah,” too, and raining down bothersome reminders in letters to the editor all the danged time.  If the Post were a restaurant, who needs the kind of customers who complain about the poor quality of the food, tacky decor, surly help, and never tip anyway?

At the WaPoo, their sign says that they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, evidently, and that includes, especially, anyone who can remember what happened last week.   Looks like Hiatt won’t have to take down that sign.


  1. timothy3 says:

    Amen to that, CH. I was musing over this matter after having read GG’s first update from today’s post. And, as I said there, what really offends me is the cowardly way that editorial board tries to skulk away from the scene of this eight-year-old-long crime of supporting Bush and Co.
    I’m something of a broken record on this matter of cowardice, I know, but–and I can’t help it–these people deserve to be called out on the carpet for their cowering posture. (Said posture involving slumped shoulders, wet eyes and running noses–that’s how I see them in my mind’s eye were I to provide a physical description to illustrate their moral cowardice).

    • cocktailhag says:

      I worked on a unit in a condo building, the famous Mushroom, which had a long, complicated, and drastically overtime and budget renovation on the building finishing up at the same time, and I was daily astonished at the amount of time the contractors spent each day blame-shifting and accountability-avoiding, when a little actual work would have been a better use of time, and made the majority of it unnecessary. During one of many such endless confabs, I said, “That was my fault. I fucked up, but it’s fixed now.” You could have heard a pin drop. I’m sure nobody in that room at heard such heresy in their whole careers. Their suspicions that I was from Mars were undoubtedly confirmed at that moment.
      “Meritocracy,” in America, means nothing more than covering your ass better than the other guy, and it’s never so apparent as when it’s done in the public eye. “Nose to the grindstone” has long been replaced by “nose to the ass.”

      • dirigo says:

        That’s an interesting point you make about causing a deafening silence on a job by actually taking blame for a problem, even if you’re not to blame.

        The operators and gamesters are rendered speechless because you’re supposed to be playing “Can you top this” all the time, 24-7.

        To them, you would appear as a sort of eunuch, a weakling not willing to engage in the non-stop pissing contest.

        I’ve done this myself. Sometimes it is very funny to watch everyone in scene go agog in a flash.

        Berlusconi would not like you, hag.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Well, in this case I actually was to blame, but since the matter was so trivial, I just said so. With this bunch, admitting to a larger error would have meant pages of back-charges and scolding memos, and I’d have thought twice about copping to something big. Fortunately, at this stage of my career, big fuckups are pretty much behind me…. knock on wood.
          I guess I can do without Berlusconi; seems like he’s pretty busy anyway.

  2. rmp says:

    Thanks for posting something today, Saturday, which is supposed to be my day for a post. Last night while my wife and I were at a Chicago Symphony concert, Naperville and my home got a fast, very windy storm. My next door neighbor lost a 3 foot diameter Linden Oak in some kind of micro burst, because I didn’t loose any trees although just across the street two more went down. The oak broke right at the base and left all the roots in the ground. The tree went down in such a perfect place that there was no damage other than the loss of the tree.

    Anyway, after manning the Lisle Dem table at a Jubilee/Carnival in the morning, I spent the afternoon helping my neighbor chain saw the tree and putting all the branches on the berm for pick up next week. He did get some good firewood, but it is too greed to use for a couple of years. As soon as I finished the tree, my two grandsons showed up for their 24 hour stay, so I don’t know whether I will get time on Father’s Day to get something written. How’s that for an elaborate excuse?

    • cocktailhag says:

      That’s okay, RMP… You posted midweek so I was giving you a day off. I have to work for a few hours tomorrow, but I had a pretty easy weekend, and an idea for a change. It’s amazingly easy to post with an idea. I guess two days of tiling gave me time to think, and listen to Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, and Randi Rhodes. I’m hoping that the CHNN Rome Bureau will come through with something for tomorrow.
      That was lucky with the tree… Horrible, death-dealing damage can be done with those pesky blowdowns. The park below me has a hundred or so huge elms, planted in the 1890′s, higher than my 13th floor deck, and one blows down almost each year. I’ve seen squished cars, blown water mains, smashed windows, etc, and never walk in the park in stormy weather. Your neighbor was very fortunate.

      • rmp says:

        Tell me about it. Everyone he saw, he told the story to. If you used a surveyor, you couldn’t have plotted a more perfect fall, I mean within a 1/4 of an inch. As we were sawing away, I remarked that he better get some pictures before we went further and he did. The micro burst was really amazing, Wayne was in his house in the family room with the sliding door wide open and he did not hear the tree fall. There was light, plastic patio furniture that didn’t move an inch, yet this giant tree fell. He looked out and saw the branches almost touching his screen and that is how he found out about the tree. It was really amazing.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Tell him to get rid of that plastic furniture. The tree was a Warning.
          Here, all the buildings are brick and stone apartments, museums, and churches, so the trees kind of bounce off, but if we had small, wood-framed houses (like we still did until recently…. my building was built in 1950 on a block with four old mansions) there would have been a lot more property damage, and human casualties.