The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Ramona's picture

    Luke, you're too damn young for this. Give your job to someone more Mature.


     So, Luke, remember your dad, Tim Russert?  Let's say he's sitting in a press room where House minority leader Nancy Pelosi is taking questions after announcing that she's staying put and is really excited about the next term, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  Let's say he notices that she isn't alone up there on that podium; he sees there are maybe a dozen women who hold seats in the House of Representatives.  They're standing behind her.

    Your dad has a chance to ask her a question, because he is, after all, Tim Russert.  (And you are his son, which seems to be the only reason you are that close to that podium, getting ready to ask your own important question. Let's try and remember that as we spend a few minutes talking here.  It'll go down much easier if you know where I'm coming from.)

     Your dad, Tim, knows that almost nothing got done in the House for the four years Barack Obama held office, thanks to a Republican pledge to stop him in his tracks before he can ever get close to--horror of horrors--re-election.  Nancy Pelosi is now the House Minority Leader.  Two years ago, she was the House Majority Leader.  She is going into at least another two years in the minority, and she's doing it willingly. 

    Your dad's question would almost surely center on what she thinks the Democrats can accomplish, given the stubborn intransigence of the opposition.  After the President's solid win, in which more than half of the voters spoke on his behalf, will it be easier now to work with the Republicans? 

    I'm guessing that, or something close to it, would be his question.  What I KNOW he wouldn't be asking is this question.  Your question:

    "Mrs. Pelosi ... some of your colleagues privately say that your decision to stay on prohibits the party from having younger leadership. It hurts the party in the long term. What's your response?"

    Oh, my.  Luke.  Luke, Luke, Luke.  You didn't.

    You did.

     The shit has already hit the fan big time, as you know, so there's no use in my telling you what a dumb--really dumb--question that turned out to be.  Did you notice the women behind her?  They were laughing at you.  Then they were yelling at you.  Then they were laughing at you.  It was not your finest moment.

    But you persisted.  Even in the face of the laughing, the catcalls, after Ms. Pelosi suggested you wouldn't ask the same question of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, you went on:
    "No, excuse me," you said. "You, Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Clyburn, you're all over 70. Is your decision to stay on prohibiting younger members from moving forward?" 

    I didn't know until this all came about that Nancy Pelosi is 72 years old.  From my vantage point--three years her senior--that doesn't seem old, but to you, still so wet behind your ears, it must seem ancient.

    I understand that could be a problem since you are so young and inexperienced, but, honey, I'm here to tell you that your question screams "amateur".  You never, ever suggest to a woman she might be too old to do a job that men as old or older are doing or have done.  Especially a woman as smart and as vibrant as Ms. Pelosi.  Did you see any signs of incapacity up there?

    So, come on, would you ask McConnell that same question?  No, you wouldn't, and you know it. Because Mitch would first terrify you with his burning eyes and then he would eat your head.

    But even after all the fuss, you had to go on pretending you were right.  Later on, you tweeted this"While Pelosi laughed off my Q as age-ist, many House Ds will privately gripe it hurts caucus that all 3 leaders are 70+."

    Right now, Luke, there are 28 Senators who are over 70 years old and 53 members in the House. An even larger percentage are in their 60s, which, of course, then hopefully leads to their 70s.  Who's griping again?  Can you name names?

    You screwed up and it isn't the first time.  You're known in rapidly growing circles as the poster child for nepotism.

    Luke and Tim Russert

    You're not ready for this, and everybody but you and your keepers knows it.  You got this job because of your last name and that's not good enough.  You're not good enough.  You're still there because the people who look the other way in order to keep you on the payroll loved and admired your dad.

    He wouldn't have wanted this.

    Do the right thing now, Luke.  Find another line of work.  You're only 27.  There's something out there that you'll be good at.  This isn't it.


    (Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)



    This is true.

    Good point.  I have thought that from the very beginning that he was too inexperienced for the A team.  NBC needs a better Meet the Press and beltway team.  I give Rachel credit for showing the tape.  Of all the things to ask, after women voted in high numbers for the Democrats.  I sometimes think he and Chuck Todd are Republican with some of the stuff they say.  I took his question as a insult because I admire her leadership.  I hope someone sat him down and explained a few things to him after that.     

    A question about succession planning isn't out of line.  But, you have to frame it that way.  "The House leadership is returning for another Congress, what are you all doing to groom a leadership that can take over when, inevitably, one of you steps down, be that in 2 years or 20?"

    Luke has no panache.

    Yeah, this question is not insane if it's actually framed honestly and represents a standard that's applied fairly.

    I would have no problem with that.  See my answer to Aunt Sam.  He wasn't questioning her ability, he was questioning her age.  Big difference.

    Yeah, see... he didn't actually have to question either her age or her ability.  It's any leader's job to devise a succession plan.  Just ask about that and let it be.

    Speaking of succession plans, one positive thing you can say about the Romney/Ryan ticket is that it represented one.  Though not a succession I would like to have seen, Obama/Biden is probably not a viable succession plan.  That's not just because of Biden's age, but it is a factor.

    True.  Though not all succession plans have to be obvious.  Obama did repair any damage (self-inflicted or not) done to Hillary Clinton in 2008 by bringing her into an important position (which she rocked, to her credit, but also to Obama's).  So, she's viable for 2016, if she wants it.  Further, he repaired his relationship with both Clintons and as a defining two termer himself, will be in a position to work with them to elevate anybody of their choosing, should Hillary not want in next time.

    One rough part about losing the White House for 8 years is that you lose a whole bunch of institutional knowledge.  But Clinton's White House was young and Obama, after 8 years will also have a new crew.  Just seems like, with the combination of Obama, Hillary and Bill atop the party and all of the credible people they know, that the succession plan is there, just not necessarily obvious yet.

    I agree.  It doesn't have to be obvious or even the traditional Prez to Vice Prez hand-off.  At least right now, it doesn't seem like Hillary would have much trouble earning the nomination, but a lot of people thought that in 2007, too.  Remember inevitability?  Right up there with unskewed polls now.

    Well, in order for her to earn the nomination, she has to actually run (doesn't she?): Hillary Clinton: Repeats 'no' for 2016, can't stand 'whining' about life choices 

    Maybe I'm just being naïve, but I believe her.

    I'd go further, and say that the GOP has too clear a succession plan, which does not allow them to adjust to changing political conditions.

    They've nominated the runner-up from the previous nominating cycle over and over, giving it to the heir apparent. But a candidate you didn't quite nominate 4 years ago isn't necessarily best suited for the challenges of this election cycle. If they had started the 2012 primaries from scratch, with no "inevitable" front-runner, I'm confident that tone-deaf multi-millionaire from the financial sector would not have emerged as the dream candidate.

    Ah, the hubris of the young. These young whippersnappers just have no respect for their elders, huh!?!  tsk. tsk. 

    Yes, he could (and should) have stated it differently, but the truth is, if we old farts turn up our hearing aids, no doubt we would hear the sounds of young people cheering and clapping in agreement with Luke's sentiment. 

    Let's take a moment, (ignore Luke's bad manners and inept approach) and step back to consider .....

    To young people who are confronting the legacy we, the older generations, are bequeathing them, their attitude is it's an ugly mess that they will have to clean up.  On this they are standing on firm ground and we deserve more than a bit of their ire.  I'm not too sure that I totally disagree with the sentiment he expressed.  There certainly are more than a few that should step aside and make way for at least the fifty year olds.

    I'm assuming that Luke has older (grandparent age) mentors - and if so, they obviously have not guided him well in many areas.  Nor are there an over abundance of senior members in our government bodies who have exhibited behaviors and actions that would serve the younger generations (or our country) well to emulate. 

    Yes, the messenger's delivery was flawed, but I do believe the message deserves due consideration.

    Let me give you one such example.  People my age were born into a Drug War regime that has cost upwards of a trillion dollars, has exploded our prison population to be the largest in the world, has precipitated the creeping militarization of police and the erosion of civil rights, maintains black market profitability for the most violent gangsters on the planet and disproportionately affects youth and minorities.  And yet, where are the people above the age of, say, 50 who are willing to do anything but snort their way through another trite pot joke?  Yeah, I'm looking at you, too, President Obama.

    Speaking of which, our last three Presidents are admitted drug users.  I'm sure I don't need to explain what would have happened to young Barry Obama had he gotten pinched as a young man - especially had it been with the brothers from the gym and not the frat boys with the Mystery Machine.  And all three men were born prior to the passage of the Controlled Substances Act.  Like most older people alive today, they partook with impunity when they were young.  Now, they want to callously visit suffering that they never had to live through upon the next generation for engaging in the same behavior they did because.. why?  Because they just fucking know better now?

    Age brings wisdom, true.  But all too often it also fades the memory of what it was like to be a young person.  Most unfortunately, and among far too many, it seems to breed a dismissive contempt for youth.  That contempt has manifested far too strongly as a savage public policy that only serves to increase suffering.

    Points well made.  Let us not ignore that with the passage of time comes (hopefully) some societal evolution.  It's as that old saying goes, 'doing more of the same thing is not going to bring different results' (paraphrasing).  Too many of the oldest generations are still entrenched in the causes of yesteryear, coupled with the biases and processes of a time that's come and gone. 

    It's time for some changing of the guard to best serve the needs of those who will be here for the next few decades. Hopefully they won't spend so much time cleaning up the messes of their grandparents.

    This is not to disrespect or devalue the positive actions and sacrifices of the many who deserve our eternal gratitude and homage. 


    Auntie, he didn't say, or even hint, that she had been there too long and was no longer effective.  He specifically brought up her age--and the ages of the other two Democratic minority leaders.  In their 70s, as if that alone should disqualify them.  That's a big difference from what you're saying. 

    Being a 50 year old doesn't necessarily give you automatic admittance into the All-Wise club, either.  Age has nothing to do with ability, and, yes, that young whippersnapper needs to learn that.

    Ramona, let me try to be clearer.....

    While 50 years or any number years does not equal wisdom, my point was that I do believe there comes a time for the older members (by age) to pass the baton based on their time served. 

    Yes, I also do believe in term limits for members of Congress and SCOTUS.  I also endorse a retirement age of 72 for both.

    Most likely you disagree with my stance, but I've given it lots of consideration and stand firm on this for many good reasons.

    I cannot nor want to defend Luke's choices in how he presented the query, but I do hold his bosses more accountable for giving him this assignmeent when he has not exhibited that he has not acquired either the acumen or the experience needed. 


    Well, Auntie, considering that I'm already three years past your arbitrary retirement date, no, I don't think I can agree with that. frown   Why 72 and not 71?  Or 70?  (I might have a problem with an ancient bus driver or airline pilot, or member of a bomb squad, but that's about it.)

    I've never liked the idea of forced retirements or term limits, because date-setting has no bearing on ability or need.  Forcing someone to give up a position they still want and are still good at simply because someone younger wants it really does smack of ageism.

    How is it different from, say, forcing a woman to give up a position because a man wants it?  It's all too arbitrary and doesn't take into account the contributions of the person in question.



    I've never liked the idea of forced retirements or term limits, because date-setting has no bearing on ability or need.  Forcing someone to give up a position they still want and are still good at simply because someone younger wants it really does smack of ageism.

    Our Congress and SCOTUS are unique entities.  Almost everything they do impacts our whole country’s future for decades to come, plotting the course of the path all will travel one way or another.

    To me, it’s not an issue of someone younger who wants it, more that the younger segment of our populace will be the ones having to live and deal with the enacted legislation/decisions to a greater degree than those over 70.  I couple that with the fact that too many are entrenched in the ideology of yesteryear as well as the processes of eras long gone. 

    How is it different from, say, forcing a woman to give up a position because a man wants it?  It's all too arbitrary and doesn't take into account the contributions of the person in question.

    It’s apples/oranges I think (your example).  First off it wouldn’t be illegal…………….

    It’s unrealistic to think that there ever will be the ability to take individual performance into an equation of this type.  I think Pelosi is still relevant and extremely competent – but there are many more who have served as long or longer and/or are older whose expiration date is long past.  (i.e. Robert Byrd served over 55 years until he died in his nineties.) 

    Do I think holding on to Pelosi is worth having to keep on several others of much less competency?  No.  Do you?

    It’s important we let the next generations move up and learn as they do – for many reasons. I believe it would be a vast improvement to keep these entities 'refreshed' - not as much baggage or deep-seated leadership.

    And again referencing Pelosi, she wouldn't have to retire per se – that would be a waste.  I actually think her (and others) working with nonprofits or within education field to inform and build awareness among our residents about public service, our government's process could even provide greater benefits up close and personal.

    And that’s just one example.   They would have the opportunity to engage on a whole new level, not mandated to stay home and knit. 

    I understand your feelings, but sadly Ramona, very few of our Congressional members come even close to possessing your spirit, brain and competency.  That's just a fact!

    I understand what you're saying about wanting younger blood in the leadership.  I just don't want to see it come about at the expense of someone like Pelosi, who doesn't have a history of either incompetence or entrenchment.

    You asked:  "Do I think holding on to Pelosi is worth having to keep on several others of much less competency?  No.  Do you?"

    Again, you're talking about competency and not age.  Apples and oranges.  Keeping someone like Pelosi, a valued, proven leader, makes total sense to me.  What doesn't make sense is forcing Pelosi, a valued, proven leader, out of office because she became a certain age.

    You're suggesting that she doesn't have to "retire" but could go into some other line of work.  Nancy Pelosi is a consummate politician.  She loves what she does, she's good at it and she doesn't want to leave.  That should be her choice--and the voters', of course.  Not yours or mine or anyone else's.

    There's no question that younger people will be there to take the place of those who are older and outgoing.  It happens all the time.  Often enough so that there shouldn't be a problem with the old fogies trying to keep FDR alive forever--or whatever their way-back obsessions may be.  It all happens naturally, without the need to force someone out because that particular birthday is now upon them.

    Thanks, Auntie, for the compliment but I know many, many people my age who can dance rings around me in all those departments.  We're not any different from anyone else, just older and maybe a little slower.  There's nothing special about being old, but there's also nothing wrong with it.  Setting an arbitrary age for when our careers have to stop is, in most cases, unnecessary and in almost all cases, unfair. 

    We use the term "age discrimination" because it's real and it happens way too often.


    The Who did a tour with the Clash one year, and between acts, Townsend would hand his Fender guitar off to Joe Strummer, passing the torch. Keith Richards noted this was all bollocks - if the next generation wants it bad enough, they'll just take it - it's yours as long as you hold onto it.

    So Pelosi can hang on, or not. Let's see if someone can kick her ass - my guess is she'll hold on for a while - the alternatives are wimps and she's pretty clever.

    Alrighty then.  I have a feeling Ms. Pelosi isn't going anywhere unless it's Ms. Pelosi's idea.  Lil Luke's question gave her a chance to emote.  And laugh.  And take the boy down a peg. Seriously, it was a great moment.  So much for doddering old 70-somethings.  Ha!

    (That old guy Keith Richards would have shredded that kid to bits.  To bits.)

    if the next generation wants it bad enough, they'll just take it

    Nice riff on this meme at The Onion devil

    Touché. And then there were the Mexican avant-garde filmmakers - Amores Perros and such - who were like, "shut up about the Boom Generation and Gabriel Garcia-Marques and Borges already". Where are the post-Boomer Palestinians? Where's the post-internet "I'm so Bored with Facebook/devices/whatall"

    What this kid needs is exile to some independent station in Buffalo or some other location away from NYC & DC.

    He needs to be hit over the head, bleed a little, be openly humiliated, maybe even be fired a few times!

    Maturity comes at a price!

    No doubt he should have started out in the hinterlands to learn how to be a journalist--and to be like everybody else and not trade on his father's name.  But he went into the big time without an apprenticeship.

    His later tweets show he hasn't learned a thing from this.  He still thinks he's right and the old folks just don't get him.  Very professional.

    Luke Russert is not impressing anyone.  Let's just assert that as a given.

    However, I think you're wrong that age just isn't a factor, doesn't reflect ability, clearly wrong to even ask about it, etc.  It's wrong to slap someone with it unfairly and give others an obvious pass on it.  It's a different thing to question it fairly.

    Let's take driving privilege as an example.  We restrict driving until a certain age because of a set of very pragmatic reasons, but primarily because of the lack of experience and the lack of judgment.  Older people like to tout both, but as they get older many will lose their claim to the latter.  To put it in actuarial terms: Young people end up involved in far more fatal accidents.  Older drivers are also at a statistically higher risk for being involved in fatal car crashes - just like young people or people who are inebriated.  There is an obvious reason for this: diminishing senses, particularly eyesight and hearing, and diminished motor skills that come naturally with age.  Yet, they still demand the privilege to drive until a disproportionate number of the elderly are involved in fatal accidents.  This reflects another diminished capacity: judgment.

    Extend this analogy to government: How many of our leaders are beyond their prime in terms of their ability to make sound political judgments?  To assimilate new information?  New technology?  I can't tell you how many old, ignorant, out of touch fools I've seen in charge of important issues like technology in government.  Ted Stevens anyone?  Let me know when someone who actually grew up with the Internet and understands it gets to head the committee that governs it, please.

    Point being: Russert is an asshat, but age is a relevant question.  Human beings simply do not retain all of their faculties up until the moment of their natural death.  This doesn't mean that older people should be dismissed out of hand simply for being older, but it also doesn't mean that the question itself has no relevance or should be off limits.

    DF, all that you've said.  I'm living proof that capacities do diminish as we age.  I hate that about aging! angry  But come on, suddenly at 70 it's time to reel it in and put it away?  Who decides?  You?  Me? The nitwit down the street?

    You ask, "How many of our leaders are beyond their prime in terms of their ability to make sound political judgments?"  Seriously?  Ever heard of George W. Bush?  Michelle Bachmann?  Rush Limbaugh?

    By the way, I've built three websites, including my current one, know enough html to get myself in trouble, and am called upon often to troubleshoot my daughters' and my grandchildrens' computers.  Should I give it up now that I'm 75?

    I got my first computer when dos was king and my third when Windows first came out.  I'm no expert by any means, but I do have to laugh at people who think just because we're old we couldn't possibly understand new technology.

    I know dozens of people many decades younger than me who can't figure out their cell phones, let alone a computer.  That argument is just silly.


    Ramona, what is silly is to deny the tendency.  You're making a straw man of my argument.  I explicitly said age should not lead inexorably to disqualification, but now you're acting like I did.  I did not say that older people can't learn about technology or master cell phones or the web.  I do think there's a difference in the potential comprehension between a 75 year old who was already beyond middle age when these technologies emerged and younger people who were steeped in it.  Do you know any young kids?  Do you doubt the assertion that the average ten year old knows more about these things than the average 50 year old?  If you do, I suspect you do not know many young people.  They are already far more savvy than I was at their age, but no flies on the 75 year olds?

    Also, George W. Bush, Michelle Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh are not exactly stellar examples of young people with poor judgment.  Limbaugh and Bush are in their 60s.  Bachmann is almost there.  They're all in the last quintile of their lives according to average life expectancy.  Beyond that, I explicitly said that I do not think age alone should disqualify anyone from anything or that youth automatically bestows awesome judgment.  Quite the opposite.  Again, this is a point against a straw man, not me.

    Honestly, it seems like you're just taking this age thing personally.  I'm trying to discuss in slightly more objective terms.  I mean no personal offense, but you yourself admit that age leads inexorably to diminished capacity for most people.  When and how this manifests varies, but it will happen to all of us who are able to live on into old age.  Do you really want to argue that Ted Stevens' age had absolutely nothing to do with his ignorance?  Nothing at all?

    Do the aged hold a monopoly on bad judgment?  Of course not.  Are they beyond reproach?  Nope.  Is it relevant to ask whether someone's age can affect their abilities?  Um, absolutely.  This is relevant in every single field, profession and endeavor.  Politics and leadership are no exception.

    Russert's formulation sounds particularly dumb because it sounds like an affirmative action program for the youth or something.  However, imagine that there was a younger, promising leader waiting in the ranks who looked like she could potentially do a better job than Pelosi and that Russert had been asking about this particular person, rather than just jawing about the general notion.  In that case, his question would be highly relevant.

    Having that said, I'm off to lunch.  I'm getting quite hungry and grandma won't process herself into Soylent Green! ;)

    Wait a minute, DF, wasn't it you who said this?

     I can't tell you how many old, ignorant, out of touch fools I've seen in charge of important issues like technology in government.  Ted Stevens anyone?  Let me know when someone who actually grew up with the Internet and understands it gets to head the committee that governs it, please.

    Do young kids know more about technology than most adults?  I doubt it.  Do they know how to use their devices?  Sure.  But most of them don't care how it works, they only care that it works.

    What you're suggesting is age discrimination and you're trying to back it up by bringing Ted Stevens' age into it.  How much you want to bet Ted Stevens was an idiot always and forever? 

    You've suggested that I don't know any young people (please, DF, I'm not in the nursing home yet), but I have to wonder how many older people you know.  Aren't any of them smart, vibrant, and full of life?  Or has old age made them all pathetic dullards?  I'll bet there's a middle ground there somewhere.

    But you said this, too:

    Is it relevant to ask whether someone's age can affect their abilities?  Um, absolutely.  This is relevant in every single field, profession and endeavor.  Politics and leadership are no exception.

    Sure it's relevant to ask.  But when you cross the line and consider forcing someone out because of their age and not their abilities, you're discriminating against them.

    (About those diminished capacities:  I can't run, jump or skip anymore (at least I don't think I can), and sometimes I forget where I put something and have to walk out of the room and back into it again before I remember. And names and dates go completely out of my head. (Thank god for Google.)  It's terrible.  But I just found out I have cataracts, which have actually made my eyesight better!  Go figure.)

    No, you just can't seem to hear what I'm saying and reconcile it what you seem to want to hear.  I am in no way advocating age discrimination.  However, if you don't think Ted Stevens age had anything to do with his ignorance, you're not willing to admit the truth.  You already admit with age comes diminished capacity, but for some reason a line has been crossed if we actually ask whether this has occurred?

    I raised the issue of technology because I thought it would be obvious, not because I have interest in arguing over anecdotes.  The maximum capacities of the human being occur relatively early in life.  Physical capacity, memory, cognition, mathematical aptitude all peak before age 30 and then decline.  That's the relevant point, not whether you or I can name an older person we know that we'd describe as "vibrant" or not.

    Vibrant is a personality trait.  We're talking about the question of who is best suited for leadership, which requires far more consideration.  You're talking about people being "forced out" like GOPers talk about having their speech censored when they reap the whirlwind from saying something dumb.  No one is being forced out.  Luke Russert asked a question which was poorly conceived and perhaps poorly presented and timed, but the question itself is highly relevant.  Older people shouldn't be forced out any more then their seniority should insure their positions beyond the point when someone else could do a better job.  This isn't a "who decides?" issue any more than any other judgment call.

    Let me raise another example that's been on my mind recently: climate change.  People above 50 pull the levers of power in this country and in many others.  None of them seem willing to do anything serious about this problem, one that won't affect their lives nearly as heavily as it will affect mine or the lives of the future generations.  To the extent that this is an incentive problem, because older people simply have less incentive to change their lives in order to solve a problem that won't really affect them, this is bad, bad medicine.  Younger people just plain have more skin in this game.  That doesn't mean that younger people would automatically fix it, but the incentive to come up with plausible, actionable ways to do that is much, much greater.

    Now, you can come back and say their motivation is kids and grandkids or something like this, but it's not evident.  Please, don't respond with a straw man again.  I don't want to see you portray me as saying something like "older people don't care about climate change" and then refute the argument I didn't make by pointing to one who does.  That's not what's happening here.

    Sorry, DF, you've put way too many restrictions on how I can answer you.  I just don't feel like doing it your way. 

    But I will say this:  My motivation, is, in fact, my kids, my grandkids, and everyone else's. It's the future generations who will benefit if we fight and win.  That's why we keep fighting.

    Your arguments about climate change are nonsense.  Do you really think older people don't have the incentive to fight that battle because they won't be around to benefit?  That's just plain nuts.  Every generation fights to keep the next generation going.  That's what societies are constantly doing.  Ours is no exception.

    But no, I don't think the young are necessarily better qualified for leadership, any more than I think everyone who's old is automatically qualified.  As I've said many times already, age really has nothing to do with it.  Some are qualified and some aren't.  Some were always qualified;  some never will be.  That's the way it works.

    Jesus DF. Sure, there are lots of old fools who should be hurled from office, but WTF is this argument? About how "the maximum capacities of the human being occur relatively early in life. Physical capacity, memory, cognition, mathematical aptitude?" Holy shit. 

    Here. Try this, from an old guy. 

    Memory. Yessss, people can probably remember a longer list if items when they're younger than when they're older. However, having a capability is more like having an empty vessel. That is, there's fuck all IN young people's memories. "Gee guys, this economic crash reminds me of the big one - back in 2000." My actual working memory is - unless you are an exceptionally unusual individual - deeper and using more working parts than yours. Now, you can argue that that makes me hidebound, and it might. But memory? I win. Another name for it might be experience. But yeah, you might beat me on remembering more random items thrown at you by a researcher.

    Cognition? Same deal. A person might be faster at running through a logic chain I guess. I was when I was younger. But. I can also detect way more patterns now. I've seen more. I can also remain open and flexible when the dynamics of change go outside their usual bounds far more easily than when I was younger. 

    And as for climate change, well... that's where I work. And actually, IMHO, it's not so much age and its accoutrements. i.e. Less skin in the game. I mean, look. If a college kid goes on about how we HAVE to spend trillions, and HAVE to do it their way, and they're not too worried about pensions and such, because they're 21.... do I still have to pretend there's no self-interest involved on their end? 

    See, I've had to listen to young people's grand ideas about how we HAVE to tackle this crisis, exact ways which THEY know so well, ways which are almost always accompanied by really bad economics - young people that matched up pretty well against the loud-mouthed Right-Wing media freaks we all get to hear so often. I get to hear the holier-than-thou views of young greens who sound and feel - a lot of the time - less like true revolutionaries, and more like.... kids driven by ego who insist their ideas should blow those of the oldies away. "Recycling.... blah blah blah... it's such a sop to the middle classes.... blah blah blah... we need to TOTALLY REDUCE waste in the first place... so why bother with recycling." You'd seriously be hard-pressed to convince me that their ideas were better than the 50 and 60 year olds I also get to deal with in these debates.

    Climate change is a world full of bad ideas. I ranted for years against the Kyoto mechanisms, said they'd fail. They did. Same with carbon trading systems, an idea I started working on back in the late 80's. This shit just got way too complicated. And was really really really bad politics. And yes, was way too expensive for the good it was doing. 

    In sum, the ideas weren't strategic. Weren't... very good.

    And as a result, it opened the door to the RW big money boys and media bullies to hammer us. And thing is.... we activists deliberately decided to target our resources on convincing the YOUNG, not the old. Because.... they're gonna someday come to power. But the fact that they poll a bit saner than old people, in some countries, does this mean anything grand on the scale of old versus young? Not that I see. It's the old goats from the 60's that usually knock me over with how smart they are on this shit.

    Still.... should  you be pissed off at the assholes blocking progress on climate change, financial reform, race/sex, education, etc.? Yeah, sure. Just.... it's a dead-end, turning it into a generational battle. Seriously. There are a lot of kids out there today that'd eat their young, and their parents, to get what they want. And it's that hunger - not the age of the person with the hunger - that's the key thing to beat.

    Now... where was I? I seem to have lost my train of thought.... Maybe it's over here, under my slippers.... right next to the strippers.... oops. Bye.

    Damn, Q, that was good.  For an old guy.


    I need to take more notes....

    Don't trust anyone over 30, unless it's Jack Weinberg

    The Berkeley Daily Planet Staff
    Thursday April 06, 2000

    The man who coined the phrase “Don’t trust anyone over 30” turned 60 years old Tuesday.

    Jack Weinberg uttered the phrase – which became one of the most memorable expressions of the turbulent 1960s era – during the height of the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley. The Free Speech Movement was a struggle by students over the right to engage in political speech on campus, which helped to catalyze broader political activism on campuses around the country over student rights, civil rights and the Vietnam War. 

    In a news release recently distributed by a Chicago public relations agency – owned by his wife, it should be noted – Weinberg says he made the statement primarily to get rid of a reporter who was bothering him. He doesn’t even regard the statement as the most important thing he’s ever said. 

    “I was being interviewed by a newspaper reporter and he kept asking me who was ‘really’ behind the actions of students, implying that we were being directed behind the scenes by the Communists or some other sinister group,” Weinberg recalled. 

    “I told him we had a saying in the movement that we don’t trust anybody over 30. It was a way of telling the guy to back off, that nobody was pulling our strings.” [....]

    My bold, for the irony. devil

    That thought crossed my mind too.

    I recall in Don't Look Back or the revision of that film recently.

    Dylan is high on uppers; I mean that is my guess throughout the films.

    He is at this press conference and the reporters are asking him inane questions (why do reporters spend their time asking inane questions all the time? And we are supposed to think that journalism is a profession?) and Dylan starts ranting:

    Why do only bald old men ask me questions?

    And Bobby keeps laughing and laughing.

    The younger Russet has no aplomb, he has no talents, he has no strategy...

    I was thinking that he was in a bar and some drunk just kept ranting about how old our leaders are. hahahahah

    Or someone fed the kid the line in an attempt to take him down a notch!

    I recall during that era thinking:

    These guys yelling that we should not trust anyone over 30 are sure the hell getting close to 30! hahahah

    As is suggested in the Daily Planet article, and what you are reminding me of rock n'roll star press conferences of the era (throw in others like Warhol,) the "don't trust anyone over 30" thing from counterculture boomers in their youth was really just what we call snark and trolling now! wink They were just trying to get a rise out of old farts with snark. Didn't know how else to respond to earnest cluelessness on the reporter end, except maybe by rolling eyes. Luke Russert is playing the same earnest cluelessness role here, that's the thing, he's not teasing, he's earnest. The best response you can have to that is tease back, like Pelosi did, and Ramona is doing here?

    I have to agree.  I appreciate that the people at MSNBC want to support him but he I am appalled when they let him guest host Chuck Todd's show and use him as a congressional correspondent.  He is not his father and it feels like they have given him too much too soon.  It feels yucky and the press conference yesterday... well he looked like a stupid, young man...

    I saw the kid again this morning--which explains your allusion!

    I have said it before, but he attempts to emulate 'grace' and 'gravitas' and ends up expressing gravy. hahahahah

    He has probs reading his teleprompter.

    The guests feign attention. hahhahah

    I am watching Marty Bashir again. You compare talents between these two...hahahaha

    Oh well.

    I agree, Dick, I saw Luke this AM on Todd's show and he's just dreadful.  I mean, really.  Without that last name he never would have made it inside the door.  There must be hundreds of others far more talented than he is who are waiting for their chance and may never get it.  Yet there he is. . .

    Missed Martin (Maahtin) today and I hate that!  He's terrific.  Makes me laugh out loud nearly every day.

    As a geezette I just HAVE to chime in!  Luke is a little snip who doesn't have enough life experience to write a good short story never mind TRYING to function as a journalist. BTW, in my humble opinion (IMHO), his father wasn't all he was cracked up to be either. He just found an old obscure quote from his interviewee and threw it at him/her with the idea that he was "doing journalism."  All he got back was pap and he never asked good follow-ups. 


    That said, if Nancy Pelosi had a little prep time for the question, I think she might have said,


    "Why yes, Luke, I am mentoring several of our brilliant House Members and I have no doubt that they will be ready to take over when my job is done.  Luke, you might consider finding a mentor for yourself. It would do you a world of good."

    Thanks for coming in, CVille.  I guess nothing has happened to Luke, considering he was filling in for Chuck Todd soon afterward--and again, doing it badly. 

    But at least here, it started a conversation about age vs. ability, which from the looks of things, isn't over yet.

    Your "Nancy" response would have been perfect.  I'm sure she thought of a few more later, as she was fuming over the insolence of that snot-nosed kid.  Ha!

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