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Inside the 'Bubble'

Mark Mardell | 12:14 UK time, Saturday, 26 September 2009

reporters_ap595.jpgI've been inside the "Bubble", the bubble that bobs behind the "Beast", floats after Potus. Potus is, of course, President of the United States, the "Beast" his armoured car, and the "Bubble" contains the journalists who are following him.

Many live much of their lives within the bubble but for me this is a first. I suppose I've been bubbled with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, but we don't use that term at home, and it's not quite the same enclosed experience.

The bubble takes many guises.

In New York, covering the United Nations meetings, the bubble feels like an emergency schoolroom set up in a grand mansion after some natural disaster: it is, in fact, in a sideroom of the city's grandest of the grand hotels, the very place where the UK prime minister and the US president walked and talked through the kitchens.

Underneath obese chandeliers dripping with glass pendants, narrow trestle tables are set up in neat ranks, three people to a table. Amid the gilt, wires trail and cables curl between our legs, the atmosphere hushed apart from the tip-tap clatter of 30 laptops, broken occasionally by the need to file. No studios these days, just microphones.

"John, the president needs the support of the Senate on this one... In New York today the president declared that America will roll up its sleeves and get to work... matching the commitment..."

There is an attempt to recreate home: like the White House briefing room, there is a small podium backed by a blue velvet curtain. And that podium is what it is all about.

Why bother with the bubble? The buzz and the brief... In return for a pose of passes, you get through security quicker, get to stay and be where the action is. But its real worth is on stories like the revelation of the secret Iranian base under a mountain.

It didn't feel like a privilege to get a late-night email warning the buses would be leaving at 0630. It did when we were told it was for a special statement by the president. The buzz on the bus that David... which bus is David on... had the story and had filed it at 0430... officials quickly confirm... the details are all true... we can go with it.

What has amazed me as an old political hand, is the quality, frequency and variety of background briefings: senior administration officials means just that - not some bloke in the press office. I can't go into details, of course, but one recent briefing blew my socks off: five of the most important advisers on a critical policy area in the same room, earnestly explaining what they're up to.

But there's much to learn. In my first two such briefings, I unwittingly breached bubble etiquette. When I ask a question, I preface it, "Mark Mardell from the BBC". Sometimes there is an element of theatre for the cameras about this, but in Britain and Europe it is considered a discourtesy not to tell a politician who you are and where you're from; it sounds as if they should know who you are and where you are from. Here, my producer whispers afterwards, it's not the American way, it's considered rather rude grandstanding to introduce yourself.

The big question: how close to the man do you get? Well, on this trip about 20 feet away, as he made his Iran statement. On Downing Street excursions, you'll be on the same plane as the PM and - unless he's feeling grumpy - he'll wander back into steerage for a chat. Here the president and Flotus (the First Lady of the United States)are on a different plane, probably in both senses of the word. Still I live in hope.

But every footstep of the president is observed and reported for the rest of us: in the heart of the bubble there is a pool. The pool are the rotated senior correspondents who go with the president when space is too limited to admit a seething gaggle, even a pretty select seething gaggle.

Their reports, at best, are witty and pithy, quickly emailed to all our mobile devices for instant insertion into what we are writing. But they are under such intense pressure to file instantly that sometimes purple prose collides with jargon, wrapped in an eagerness to excuse shortcomings.

Sometimes the result is a mournful haiku - I dream one up that goes:

"Potus and Flotus deplaned onto a verdant lawn. He touched her shoulder. Perhaps twice, my view obscured by an unfamiliar flag..."

While it is a privilege to be in the bubble, there is a danger: while we reporters like to see ourselves as ruggedly resourceful, on a trips like this, you can be as dependant as a small child, shepherded from bus to press room... eagerly sucking on the source. As our hapless bus driver drove, utterly clueless, around the empty streets of Pittsburgh, it struck me that it's a poor fate being a sheep if the shepherd is lost.

As we made another pathetic attempt to get down to a narrow street, I looked down on the streets largely emptied of people, kept outside the security cordon. There were a few lingering along the route who looked ready to cheer or boo. I don't know which. I couldn't talk to them.

The bubble's home is Washington. DC itself is a bubble, people who have lived there a long time will tell you with some truth and some self-deprecation that, at heart, it is a small southern city. The real city is pretty relaxed, but inside what most people MEAN by Washington - it seems to me at least as a very recent newcomer - there is an emphasis on personal contact, hierarchy and formality that feels curiously old-fashioned by European or British standards, and an obsession with process and policy that sometimes finds insiders talking about "the people" as an unreal abstraction they've never met.

So I must, somehow, be in the bubble but not of the bubble. Perhaps, I should try my hand at a haiku:

Reflections of the world cover the surface of the bubble

I cannot see them from the inside, looking out.

To do that I must deplane.

Swim outside the pool.

On second thoughts, I'll stick to reporting... where the devilish instinct is to pop any bubble you come across.

If you'd prefer to listen rather than read, head over to this week's edition of From Our Own Correspondent.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:57pm on 26 Sep 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    Thanks for the excellent insight into the "BUBBLE" with The POTUS...But, in reality you have been working in a bubble for several years.....


    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 2. At 4:27pm on 26 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    Mark - what was your point? Whingeing about being with a lot of other reporters isn't of great interest. I very much doubt if the number of news folk who follow Mr Brown or his European counterparts are anything like the number who surround the President. After all, like it or not, he's more important than the rest.

    Now that you're living in and reporting from America, you might note that the time for mere mortals is not expressed in the continental or military manner, nor is electronic mail spelt email, but e-mail, with the hyphen. When in Rome . . .

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  • 3. At 4:32pm on 26 Sep 2009, TheFirstRalph wrote:

    Mark,

    If you are reporting a whole country you need to get out of the bubble. Go have a chat with some real people and you'll find things are very different.

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  • 4. At 4:36pm on 26 Sep 2009, LucyJ wrote:

    Every country's leader lives in their own bubble. Each is different, depending on their country's culture.
    As for the bubble being so large and possibly intimidating for the President of the USA, that is the way it has to be. No one can get close to him except his family, best advisors, Congressmen and women, and leaders of other countries. Occasionally, the President of the USA will stray out of his bubble, but it is somewhat rare, unless there is a vacation or an agenda about health care, or issues in the like.
    After JFK's assassination and other attempted assassinations, the USA has realized that the bubble has to be stronger than ever. We have to protect and watch out for the one that matters most.
    That is why there is so much excitement in the air, to see a President or leader in action- I am sure, for most any country. You never know what he or she is going to say. I love President Obama's personality,as well, how is relaxed and always smiling genuinely. President Obama's smile is enough to make anyone unhappy smile, because he has that kind of charm and almost a sort of humorous look in his smile, as well. To get through difficult times, it helps to have a sense of humor.
    The reporters write whatever their first notes are, without much time to reflect. Sometimes you feel differently about an issue later, but there is not much time to wait around. SO there is a kind of rushing anxiety to write down an article first, to be the one that breaks the news or to offer new insight on what is happening.
    However, the best articles are the ones that say just what they want to say, without beating around the bush. Honesty is always the best policy, as well as the most refreshing.


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  • 5. At 4:53pm on 26 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Sounds like a pretty normal day for a reporter covering the big boys and gals...

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  • 6. At 4:59pm on 26 Sep 2009, MacScroggie wrote:

    While being an effective way to get hot Obama news, you seem to be in a position of only reporting on what the US grandees wish you to report.

    Someone else, outside the bubble, has to assess the validity of the information supplied to you.

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  • 7. At 5:11pm on 26 Sep 2009, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    Congratulations! You've nailed modern Washington and its press corp on the first go round. Before the advent of air conditioning things were, of course, very different. Washington, DC was built on a swamp. This was by deliberate design. Lawmakers fled the town by summer or stayed and risked death by disease. Thomas Jefferson, who surveyed the land in his youth and picked that godawful site, wanted politicians to go home to their families and farms and be reminded of what was real and what was political illusion.

    What I find interesting is how hard Obama fought not to become trapped within the bubble. To keep his Blackberry and his access to the world beyond the bubble. To be, as you say, inside it and yet not of it. As one of "the people" I'd really like to know how that's working out for him.

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  • 8. At 5:23pm on 26 Sep 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Mark:

    My goodness, Mark, you certainly are a good writer. There's no mistaking that.

    "So I must, somehow, be in the bubble but not of the bubble."

    It's the one thing I'd fault your predecessor for (I was otherwise very pleased with the quality of Justin's reporting). He got trapped in that bubble. The People (as you suggest) are not an abstract concept. Somehow, some way, you need to take the time to visit the rest of the nation, alone. Otherwise you run the real risk of missing the story.

    I'm convinced a journalist can leave D.C. for short periods of time and still be in the loop. Indeed, I believe that that journalist may have a better feel for what's going on in D.C. if he leaves from time to time. D.C. reacts to the People. Rarely does it dictate to them.

    Again, well done. I'm looking forward to reading more of your work.

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  • 9. At 5:31pm on 26 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Mark, I have to thank you from the heart of my bottom that being merely 20 feet from POTUS you haven't thrown your shoe at him.

    [A popular gesture among some 'journalists' these days]

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  • 10. At 5:55pm on 26 Sep 2009, upstater wrote:

    Wonderful post. Well written and interesting =) I'd like to hear more on the "old-fashionedness" of DC protocol.

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  • 11. At 6:17pm on 26 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    Mark you are a journalist. It is your duty to rise above press manipulation, not take part in it and then complain.

    Though yes, so-called security has been a boon for heads of state wanting to avoid the press.

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  • 12. At 6:26pm on 26 Sep 2009, socialistlibertarian wrote:

    Mr. Mardell: I enjoyed this blog entry, particularly the haiku. Not everything has to be serious, and your musings are entertaining as well as informative and well-written.

    And despite what someone above said, "email" is acceptable here. I rarely see it with the hyphen anymore. I hope you will ignore such quibbles as that.

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  • 13. At 6:58pm on 26 Sep 2009, secondwoody1 wrote:

    Reading your letters I am reminded of the 'Letter From America' written by Alistair Cooke for 50 years and read on American Public radio once a week. Mr Cooke had uniformly excellent insights into American-British relationships. The future writers of BBC columns from America should study the quality of Alistair Cooke's writing before they attemtp their own.

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  • 14. At 7:56pm on 26 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #12. socialistlibertarian: "despite what someone above said, "email" is acceptable here. I rarely see it with the hyphen anymore. I hope you will ignore such quibbles as that."

    Next you'll be telling us that military time is the norm in the USA - and I rarely see Americans writing the word without the hyphen. And BTW, I don't mind being quoted by name although you should have used the word 'wrote' rather than 'said'. Perhaps one day we'll have audio as well as text for blogs.

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  • 15. At 8:40pm on 26 Sep 2009, socialistlibertarian wrote:

    14, David_Cunard

    Perhaps you do not read as widely as I do. Not only is "email" correct, but using the word "said" to refer to something in writing is acceptable. "What does that article say?" is as correct (and less cumbersome) as "What is written in that article?" No one, at least no one of any intelligence, would assume from the former that the article was in audio form.

    I think the issue here is that your original comment was small-minded and uncalled-for. As well as incorrect - except about military time, of which I made no mention.

    Mr. Cunard, you just can't stand to be corrected, can you? Graceless.

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  • 16. At 8:40pm on 26 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    If you are a bubble headed booby, you are "Lost In Space." Who are you?

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  • 17. At 9:24pm on 26 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #15. socialistlibertarian: "14, David_Cunard: Perhaps you do not read as widely as I do."

    Probably more than you - and for a far longer time. Just because something is "acceptable" does not make it right. Hanging and the death penalty are considered acceptable by many: does that make it any more correct? It's a matter of standards in speech and print, something which has become especially lax in the British news media.

    "you just can't stand to be corrected, can you? "

    Indeed I can - when I am wrong. I recall you debating with others the rationale for your screen name and yet you wouldn't agree with the comments about it. You can't stand to be corrected!

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  • 18. At 11:36pm on 26 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Canard;

    Re comment by Socialistlibertarian directed at you;

    "I think the issue here is that your original comment was small-minded and uncalled-for. As well as incorrect - except about military time, of which I made no mention."

    For once in my life I find that I cannot argue with a socialist. According to many Europeans, extreme leftists in America, and other anti-Americans, in America it is always "military time."

    Canard, Mardell is a newbie, a virgin here. Whether or not he's got a hyphen should be no one's business but his own.

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  • 19. At 00:18am on 27 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    Delighted though I am to see pomes become a feature of this blog (UKWles, I and a few others having done our bit in the past) I fear that Matk's is not a proper Haiku: should be 3 lines, of 5-7-5 syllables, in English.

    Thus:


    Writing on blogs, people
    Cannot see beyond their sphere,
    The bubble of their minds.

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  • 20. At 00:57am on 27 Sep 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    You certainly sound like a man trapped inside a bubble. that makes me wonder, do you have a choice?

    I have been lamenting your endless fixation with the Big O, however upon reflection I may have been a bit harsh. I figured you were studying on writing a book about the O. I might just be that you've been told to stick to the O like mess to a blanket, and to stay inside that bubble.

    The point is of interest, because if you have been told to live and report from inside that bubble, it means that your job is purely political propaganda. You are paid to report the statements of a given political operation.

    If, however, you have a choice in the matter, then what you are reporting is free journalism. You are a journalist who is hoping to get an interesting story by lining up with a squizzillion other journalists who are all reporting the same prepared statements of politicians seeking re-election.

    So, you know, it makes me wonder.

    Either journalists get crammed inside that bubble because media corporations have implicit deals with political organisations, based on truly vast government contracts for private media space......... or there are hoards and hoards of hack journalists out there, who are so unoriginal that all they can come up with are variations on the same carefully prepared and delivered press statements.

    The "bubble" is pretty clearly a death zone for free thought. You turn up, you listen, you report the news the state wants you to report. Surely you'd need a good reason to spend a lot of time in that environment. Like, you were told to do it.

    Curious.

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  • 21. At 01:14am on 27 Sep 2009, T from New Zealand wrote:

    A fascinating and entertaining read.

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  • 22. At 01:48am on 27 Sep 2009, socialistlibertarian wrote:

    17, David_Cunard

    If you had read carefully, you would have seen that I was not debating with "others" about my username. I was explaining the meaning of it to one person who rather nastily denegrated it. Why on earth would I agree with someone who was under a mistaken impression? That would be rather silly, wouldn't it?

    Grammar and spelling are not actually matters of life and death. "Acceptable use" in spelling is, well, acceptable. Understanding such uses is one of the things for which I get paid. (Normally I would say "... I get paid for" but don't wish to start an argument about "acceptable use" of ending a sentence with a preposition in casual writing.)

    19, squirrellist

    Thank you for info on the haiku. Poetry of any sort is not my area of expertise, but I still like Mr. Mardell's attempts.

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  • 23. At 02:25am on 27 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    I found this an interesting piece, Mr. Mardell, describing your experience in adapting to the American scene. What is tiresome is the commentary of our pedant-in-residence, who insists on lecturing you, a professional writer of some experience, on your subject matter, your punctuation, and other details of your writing.

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  • 24. At 03:47am on 27 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    20. At 00:57am on 27 Sep 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    "The "bubble" is pretty clearly a death zone for free thought. You turn up, you listen, you report the news the state wants you to report. Surely you'd need a good reason to spend a lot of time in that environment. Like, you were told to do it."

    Well, of course. The President of the USA is to speak at the UN; chair the Security Council; go the the G20. All in the USA this week. Where do you think a North American Editor would be sent? To admire a melting ice floe in the Arctic?

    If the President happens to take it into his head to announce to the world that the wallpaper in some old lady's front room in Peoria has roses on it, he'll get sent there too.

    But Mark's already been out and about in diners in South Carolina, hasn't he?

    "Or there are hoards and hoards of hack journalists out there, who are so unoriginal that all they can come up with are variations on the same carefully prepared and delivered press statements."

    Yes, there are. They're cheap. And it's easy. You don't need a contact book, barely even a phone, except to get a text on. They fill screens' worth of the NYT, WashPo, HuffPo, and especially CNN and CBS, by the hour. They're easy to recognise, shouldn't take much skill.

    Isn't that why the news media in the US is really losing readers and viewers so fast?








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  • 25. At 03:58am on 27 Sep 2009, iongauge wrote:

    Nice post, Mr. Mardell.

    democracythreat,

    Your description of the bubble is true, but is what governments would like it to be. I see it more like a bet: the government gets the journalists overfed with news and designs draconian schedules with the hope of numbing the journalist's instincts and transform them into mere loudspeakers. Journalists -well, at least the good ones- use being in the bubble as a way of getting more inside knowledge that eventually will lead them to a good story.

    While it is true that meeting people is the best way of knowing the us (Mr Mardell should spend some time in the midwest), I don't think that BBC is sending a journalist into the bubble to uncover conspiracies, lies, etc of a foreign government, but merely to act as a first hand witness and, to be fair, as a PR move (look how good we are, we have someone inside the loop in DC... ).

    -

    I appreciate that, at least for the moment, Mr Mardell seems more interested in describing the messenger than in delivering the message (loudspeakers are boring). And taking into account his tenure as EU correspondent, I would be very disappointed if he does not start traveling to small places and start to relate the DC news with the stories and lives of real people. That, along with the comments of the euroskeptics, were the most amusing parts of his previous blog.

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  • 26. At 04:07am on 27 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    23. GH1618

    Umm. I suppose I was being a bit pedantic too, but then a sonnet in eight lines isn't a sonnet . . . I promise not to make even the slightest implied criticism of Mr Mardell's skills in the art of poesie in future, even if he writes a post entirely in the metre of Hiawatha.


    (On second thoughts, no I don't think I can promise that. It would definitely be too much to bear. Any other metre, verse form, fine. But not that.)

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  • 27. At 05:13am on 27 Sep 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    17. At 9:24pm on 26 Sep 2009, David_Cunard wrote:

    "Hanging and the death penalty are considered acceptable by many: does that make it any more correct? It's a matter of standards in speech and print, something which has become especially lax in the British news media."

    'Hanging' is more correct, I am certain. '...the death penalty', as a euphemism, is less precise. Unless one is discussing electrocution, injection, or poisonous gas. We must maintain our standards, since sloppy speech or print reflect sloppy thinking.

    KScurmudgeon, worrying the rag, where the death penalty, by lethal injection, was recently reinstated.

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  • 28. At 05:23am on 27 Sep 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Mark,

    Thanks for another great piece, and please continue to describe not only the news that is fed you, but also your experiences and thoughts. Like you, I find it hard to judge something unless I can put it in the context of its writer.


    Though not so refined a form as squirrel's haiku, I offer this humble Limerick:

    When writing on life from the bubble
    One must take care to avoid having trouble:
    It reflects what is seen from outside of that scene
    and may cause those inside to see double.


    KScurmudgeon

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  • 29. At 05:53am on 27 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    27. KScurmudgeon:

    I find those distinctions somewhat confusing. "Hanging' (like beheading) is a form of execution. 'Death penalty' is a euphemism therefore; It implies a forfeit, a 'penalty' akin to a parking fine. not the deliberate ending of a human life by judicial means. I think 'judicial execution' should be brought back, if only to remind people that it is a process, it is one prescribed by laws, and the exercise of justice can be both unfair and flawed.

    (And if hacking away at someone's head several times in the 16th century is considered barbaric, how is it that botching a 'lethal injection' once, and then subjecting the victim to a second attempt, is not? Time was, in our uncivilised days, a failed execution resulted in a pardon. I seem to have read little in the US media relating to that. Is that another example of not wanting a prettily-coloured bubble--from the inside--burst? And vision being obscured?)

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  • 30. At 06:02am on 27 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    28: KSC

    I see the BBC Blog Poet Laureateship is up for grabs again. This time, does the blog author get to compete, or do we offer him the job of judge and jury?

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  • 31. At 07:21am on 27 Sep 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    29, squirrellist

    Wikipedia, to begin, has an interesting article on the Latin 'poena', and an ancient discussion of it's meaning by one Ulpian. There it is about retribution, but in the sense of both personal suffering and vengeance exacted to propitiate Nemesis, the goddess responsible for just retribution. Your 'judicial execution' is then closer to the ancient sense.

    I am afraid that the old custom of not attempting a second execution if a first attempt had failed, was based in the fear of divine authority that pervaded Christian society. If God frustrated so deliberate and serious an undertaking, it was at least impious to attempt to enforce the state's will over His. I expect today that such an appeal would fall on deaf ears in most jurisdictions.

    I suppose DC referred to execution because he felt that there could be no argument that it would not be acceptable by any name. Without involving my own opinion about capital punishment, my general purpose on this blog is to break down peoples assumption that their own point of view is universal. It's nice to feel that one's own values are universal values, but I think that is unfair, don't you? I meant to play with him a little.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 32. At 07:36am on 27 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #22. socialistlibertarian: "17, David_Cunard "If you had read carefully, you would have seen that I was not debating with "others" about my username."

    I stand corrected - I should have used the word 'another'.

    "Grammar and spelling are not actually matters of life and death. "Acceptable use" in spelling is, well, acceptable. Understanding such uses is one of the things for which I get paid."

    In that case, far too much I'd guess. You're not the only one on this blog who writes or who has written professionally. "Acceptable use" is, frankly, unacceptable. Why bother to have correct spelling, grammar and punctuation? One of our posters is particularly concerned about apostrophes (and rightly so) but it would appear that omitting or inserting one incorrectly is "acceptable" to yourself. Had he lived long enough, GBS would have been proud of you since he felt that English spelling required a major reform. Just as well you don't write in French, a language which has far stricter rules than our own.

    #27. KScurmudgeon: "the death penalty', as a euphemism, is less precise."

    I fail to see what is euphemistic about it. Execution can be carried out by any manner of means. In some states there is lethal injection, in others electrocution and the gas chamber. In other countries stoning is considered acceptable along with public beheading and being hanged from a crane. In America, the words "death penalty" mean judicial execution and are used particularly when a prosecutor is asking for a specific punishment. He or she would not say - or write - that hanging, electrocution &c., is suggested. The penalty could be life imprisonment - or death.

    Your comparison to a parking fine would resonate with Baroness Scotland, a woman who appears to equate her own penalty with one. Which would you prefer; dying on the scaffold or paying a fine? I think the words death penalty are self-explanatory.

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  • 33. At 10:42am on 27 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re "community organizator"



    "WEAR PROUDLY UNION LABEL!"

    Somehow I don't think the Chinese would like to see that postulate being implemented the U.S., too much.

    [Beijing being staunchly for a dictatorship of proletariat.

    ITS proletariat, that is.]

    Here's wondering what Mr. Obama, as a president, will do to protect the AMERICAN proletariat from Chinese massive dumping.

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  • 34. At 2:01pm on 27 Sep 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    squirrellist wrote:
    20. At 00:57am on 27 Sep 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    "The "bubble" is pretty clearly a death zone for free thought. You turn up, you listen, you report the news the state wants you to report. Surely you'd need a good reason to spend a lot of time in that environment. Like, you were told to do it."

    "Well, of course. The President of the USA is to speak at the UN; chair the Security Council; go the the G20. All in the USA this week. Where do you think a North American Editor would be sent? To admire a melting ice floe in the Arctic?

    If the President happens to take it into his head to announce to the world that the wallpaper in some old lady's front room in Peoria has roses on it, he'll get sent there too. "

    Yes. Yes, indeed, that is exactly my point. Mark will be "sent" to cover el presidente regardless of how inane the story.

    Or, will he actually choose to go? I doubt Mark will so eager to agree with you, that he gets "sent" here and there by a faceless editor.

    And as you say, the UN, the Security council and the G20. All of them occurring this week. All, arguably, very very important events. And because they are such important events.... do you really want a stage managed account of what goes on?

    The most striking thing about the bubble which Mark describes so well is that it is so incredibly engineered. It is a construction of careful planning and forethought. People have spent a lot of time and money making sure that "the message" ("THEIR message") is fed to the public is precisely the "right way".

    That is what the bubble is: the right way of looking at things. If you stand over here, you can see things from this perspective. If you stand over there, you see things from a new perspective. What the bubble does is allow the government to define the perspective, and therefore the impact of the news.

    We have the same thing with "embedded" reporters in war zones. By embedding the reporter with a unit from the right side, we create a perspective that is impossible to shake. I mean, no reporter who is traveling with and being protected by soldiers in uniform A are ever going to write bad things about soldiers from nation A. Everything they write will, slightly or not so slightly, favour the perspective which they endure.

    This is why I ask whether Mark Mardell chooses to be inside the bubble, or whether he has been sent into the bubble by higher authorities.

    Because when a reporter chooses a given perspective, that is the free press. That is the fourth estate.

    But when a reporter is placed inside a bubble, whether they like it or not, and fed news from a carefully engineered perspective...... well, when the russians did it we called it horrendous soviet communism and a threat the very existence of humanity. When small countries do it, we call them dictatorial and oppressive.

    And for those who think this is a small issue, and splitting hairs, ask yourself what the G20 is all about.

    Is the G20 all about political men in suits making nice speeches about progress, whilst idiot left wing radicals use the opportunity to stir up trouble in the streets?

    Or is the G20 all about a sustained effort by multinational corporations to reduce economic security for the majority in order to stimulate profits for the absolute minority of their shareholders?

    Or is the G20 really about the rise of robotics, and the way capitalism must look when machines take over all the work, and the world becomes those who own, those who fix machines..... and those who do not matter?

    How you see the G20 all depends on which perspective you decide to look at it from. Of course, the G20 is all the things listed above, and a lot more.

    I find it disturbing when journalists give only one perspective the vast majority of the time, and when that perspective is so carefully constructed by the ruling political party of the day. As I say, in russia we would call it a sign of mind control by a system of government that is fundamentally not free. We call a democracy operated in such an environment a farce, a sham.

    How can you have real democracy without free speech?

    How can you have freedom inside a bubble?

    I think most of us can agree that Mardell is a good writer, with a curious and sharp mind. That is why we like his blog. Therefore, I submit that there is a compelling question he faces from the curious public. Did he step inside the bubble to see what he could see, or was he sent inside the bubble, to see what he would see?

    After all, it was Mark who first mentioned the bubble. So tell us Mr Mardell, is it made of political and economic steel, forced upon the educated west like Weber's protestant mantel? Or is it rather a Chimera, a fictional thing of fashion, a mere creation of crowding journalists who have nothing better to do than idolize a media superstar they created from thin air?

    You can take the fifth, if you want.

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  • 35. At 2:34pm on 27 Sep 2009, Peter wrote:

    In this context, the use of military format, 0400 rather than the more familiar 24 hour civilan 04:00, conveys the impression of working inside a slightly unreal environment. However, managing the bubble has to ~be~ essentially a military operation, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the press officers actually do employ military time formats when emailing their charges with the where and when.

    So way to go there, not so much picking an unimportant nit as missing the point by a kilometre

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  • 36. At 3:29pm on 27 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 37. At 3:30pm on 27 Sep 2009, socialistlibertarian wrote:

    32, David_Cunard

    It's interesting how you copy and paste a phrase and reply or refute out of context, while ignoring the rest of a poster's comment that actually contradicts your own reply. Neat trick. But I don't think anyone is fooled by it, except perhaps yourself. I happen to be as severe as Ms. Truss when it comes to apostrophe use but because you can't understand that the word "email" is used correctly here without the hyphen, you want to attribute all sorts of grammatical/punctuational/spelling evils to me.

    Are you not aware that spelling changes over the years due to common use which becomes acceptable use? It's the same with definitions. If you don't believe me, look up the word "fulsome." It was used incorrectly for ages and now the the former incorrect meaning has become a second, correct meaning, according to the dictionary. I don't approve of this, but that's just the way it is. Your not approving of a recognized usage does not make it incorrect.

    And that's my last word on this issue. I've got emails to read.

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  • 38. At 3:33pm on 27 Sep 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    Dear Mr. Mardell, that sounds awful frustrating...I hope you get more opportunities to sneak out for a beer with the locals in future. Sorry your bus got lost, I think the saying in Pittsburgh goes "yuns can't get there from here"

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  • 39. At 3:53pm on 27 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Bubble or not, I suspect the top priorities of Mark's job include reporting anything the POTUS or Congress say or do that is relevant to world affairs, as well as any events of interest to the rest of the world.

    His insight into how the "bubble" operates is interesting, but not surprising. Regardless of how people may feel about President Obama, the Office of the Presidency of the USA wields enough power to influence global changes in ways no other nation can. Consequently, anything the POTUS says or does is of the utmost importance not only to his fellow citizens, but to the world at large. For a clear illustration of relevance, just compare President Obama's speeches and photo ops at the UN and the G20 meetings to the amused reaction to Chavez' and Gadaffi's grandiose alliance.

    Obviously, things are changing rapidly and, who knows, Mr. Mardell may still be a highly regarded journalist when the center of attention shift to China. Somehow, I suspect he may like a bubble that allows him to enjoy the cherry blossoms in DC over impromptu events in places like Tiananmen Square.

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  • 40. At 4:27pm on 27 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #37. socialistlibertarian: "And that's my last word on this issue. I've got emails to read."

    Surely that should read "I have emails to read"? No 'gots' or 'gotten' please!! :)

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  • 41. At 4:36pm on 27 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    My comments are censored for breaking the house rules...whenever they tell the truth about Europe...especially the UK and the BBC in particular.

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  • 42. At 5:07pm on 27 Sep 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Mr. Cunard, I disagree about the spelling of "e-mail". I have two email addresses. Both companies are American and both spell it as "email" quite consistently. In addition, four out of my five professors this semester spell it as "email". Anyway, Mr. Mardell is a Brit writing for a British corporation so it makes sense for him to use British spelling.

    As to that "when in Rome..." quote that you love, you don't follow that yourself. Most Americans are terrible at spelling and only worry about getting the spelling right when writing for a boss or professor. Even then, many don't sweat it too much. If you are attempting to spell as an American, you must include far fewer grammatically correct sentences in your posts. You also must include a greater number and variety of spelling errors.

    It has been my observation that in the average college English class, about half the class will fail or drop out. Some of those students will then go on to ratemyprofessors.com and complain about the terrible "proffeser" that failed them...

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  • 43. At 6:08pm on 27 Sep 2009, socialistlibertarian wrote:

    40, David_Cunard

    Knew as soon as I hit "post comment" that you'd quibble with that! Yes, "have" would have been better, though the other is not frowned upon here. And in a slight segue, I am often criticized for using the British "got" instead of "gotten," which is an atrocious Americanism. Yet I must refrain from editing it out of others' work. And now that I have got my point across ...

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  • 44. At 6:39pm on 27 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Not that it matters, but it seems that the new spelling of German ruling coalition is CDU/CSU-FDP, not CDU/CSU-SDP.


    Hopefully sociali..err.. social democrats will take notice.

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  • 45. At 6:55pm on 27 Sep 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    41. MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "My comments are censored for breaking the house rules...whenever they tell the truth about Europe...especially the UK and the BBC in particular."


    The Truth? Whose "truth" exactly? Perhaps your "truth" was libellous, or offensive .... it must have been pretty over the top considering how much of your usual invective gets past the mods.

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  • 46. At 6:59pm on 27 Sep 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    43 socialistlibertarian
    "I am often criticized for using the British "got" instead of "gotten,""


    I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that "gotten" (as with many so-called Americanisms) was actually an old usage from England that died out in the UK and thus became seen as improper sage.


    David-Cunard .... Didn't we lay this whole "grammar troll" thing to rest about 9 months ago. It seems to have gestated anew.

    With the illiterate drivel that spills from a number of posters to this blog it seems trite in the extreme to nit-pick people whose comments are at least constructive.

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  • 47. At 7:40pm on 27 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Stu . Yes it is high time to tell the grammer trolls to bugger off.
    DC you complimented me because I was doing so much better at making my posts.
    Well I wasn't but I was using a troll bot.
    A device installed on most computers to put grammer(like the er) trolls to sleep.
    The spell check you may call it.
    Big deal.
    the same comments but better spelled.;)
    (well of course you were refering to happylazes jacksforge postings not me rally;)

    but remember we can all get trolly at times.

    but then At least we don't have to heard the same old stuff about the loss of britishishness when people speak forn toung.

    Have a trolly day, and may the verbs avoid you.

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  • 48. At 8:02pm on 27 Sep 2009, socialistlibertarian wrote:

    46, RomeStu -

    For all I know, you could be right about "gotten." Whether it's old English or an Americanism, it grates on me, though I'm American. But of course I use it myself now and then. I seem to remember Frances Trollope (hesitate to use her nickname now that I know the British meaning) complaining about that word in her 1832 Domestic Manners of the Americans but could be wrong as it's several years since I read it. Excellent (and funny) book, by the way. I highly recommend it. Some things never change.

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  • 49. At 8:47pm on 27 Sep 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Oh for a bit of 'Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail'!

    Insipid and truly memorable for being.... well, inspid!

    Hunter S, where oh where is there a Hunter S when needed in this modern age?

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  • 50. At 8:47pm on 27 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    When I Rome? Rome is burning (metaphorically) while lefties and Brits worry about the correct way to spell e-mail. How very British. I wonder what they argued about when the Titanic went down. They didn't have email in those days. Maybe they argued over whether ice-berg was one word or two.

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  • 51. At 8:52pm on 27 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Roman Stew, my comments were not libelous but they were undoubtedly offense...to some who cannot bear the ugly truth.

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  • 52. At 9:06pm on 27 Sep 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    RomeStu and #45

    As the proud recipient of a 3-in-a-row censorship-removal of my Comments just this last Friday on the 'Special Relationship' topic I can assure you it is not always 'over-the-top' or 'offensive' that gets removed by the Moderators.

    No, you can also get your Comment thrown out for alluding to the inadequacy of the Author of the Article to substantiate/verify their content, or, for daring to point out that simpleton's history of world war two is not to everybody's taste, and finally, they will remove your comment if you point out BBC Journalists and Reporting is no longer the last or indeed most reliable word on any given topic.

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  • 53. At 9:23pm on 27 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #46. RomeStu: "Didn't we lay this whole "grammar troll" thing to rest about 9 months ago. It seems to have gestated anew."

    Yep, because it's more interesting than the 'bubble' topic. One of my more frequent criticisms of Justin Web was that he observed America from a privileged position - paid no mortgage, had his health insurance premiums covered and never met, if the phrase may be forgiven, "real Americans". There is so much more to the politics found in Washington DC. Neither Justin or Mark were/are billed as political editors, but North American editors. The implication is that their interests and reports will cover much more, from sea-to-shining-sea. California is the most populous State in the Union and Los Angeles the second largest metropolitan area after New York, but other than the occasional reference to "Arnie", does it get a mention? What happens in California is generally followed by others - smog regulation, automobile emissions and today, the possibility of legalising the sale and use of marijuana. If such topics of major concern are not covered, what hope do smaller states and cities have of being covered? Twice I have taken bus journeys across America and saw so much more than I could have otherwise - a more comfortable train journey from coast-to-coast might be in order for Mark, but please let's have a rest from the Beltway and all that happens on the North-East coast.

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  • 54. At 10:10pm on 27 Sep 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    In a thread about journalists "in the bubble" it seems somehow appropriate to mark the death of William Safire.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8277826.stm

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  • 55. At 10:14pm on 27 Sep 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    David_Cunard and #53.

    Agree with everything you wrote.

    Hopefully Mr Mardell will be able to branch-State out in time but presumably his BBC masters have for now directed him to stay inside the 'Washington village' rather like Mr Robinson does in England.

    Of course if Mr Robinson and the many other BBC Political-Social Editors had got out and about and met/spoken with "real English" and reported their concerns more fairly, accurately and represented the Citizens who pay the License Fee then the BBC might not now find itself in the embarrassing position of having to recind its bar on the BNP appearing in its serious Political-Documentary programmes!
    Exposure to and of the 'real' issues facing Britons everyday up and down the country might have led to some Politicians lifting their noses from the Expenses trough long enough to grasp the Nation was looking for Leadership; instead, in the void we get the worst kind of extremism. Of course we cannot entirely blame the BBC but it is a part of the cosy 'establishment' that only sees-hears what it wants to.

    Likewise, I fear in the USA where Mr Mardell is letting everyone know who he is and who he represents - - well "man from the BBC" will get a few doors opening I'm sure.
    Alas, this fear extends to Mr Mardell in the USA and your hope for him to meet the 'real Americans': E.g. his article on the 'Special Relationship' included the stunning revelation that the Citizens of the USA were 'less white' and 'less English' than when the 'relationship' first got underway! No, really!? Apparently he thought this might affect Pres Obama's attitude to the UK - - except of course, the UK is 'less white' and 'less English' than it was some decades ago!
    Only the BBC Political Editors seem to have missed this crucial social-fabric evolution.

    Thus, we have BBC Editors pronouncing on all sorts of vitally important issues according to their agenda and the Westminster-Washington 'bubbles' they inhabit: However, they totally miss the 'real English' and 'real Americans' who are both in their millions undergoing the Economic-Fiscal crisis in a 'real' and damaging manner as well as having to understand and come to terms with the 'real' effects of Global Warming, the 'real' Human cost of wars, and the 'real' meaning of being pawns in Capitalist-Globalisation.

    Those are the 'vitally important issues', but, the 'establishment's of the US and UK 'agendas' for coping with these matters is of course hugely at variance with what the 'real' Citizens of both nations expect and deserve.

    We can hope this style of non-Reporting America and UK will change and 'reality' comes a knocking at the BBC door, but, I for one will not be holding my breath in anticipation of a change anytime soon.

    NB: Finally, Nationalists please don't take offence - - I mention England for brevity but my points apply to all 4 Union Nations.

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  • 56. At 10:56pm on 27 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    55. At 10:14pm on 27 Sep 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    'I mention England for brevity "

    Do you really? Have you counted the number of letters in the word 'Britain' of late? (Or 'UK', that may be easier for you.)

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  • 57. At 11:07pm on 27 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    Funny, isn't it, how one thinks a reporter isn't doing his job of he doesn't write about how wonderful Israel is; another if he doesn't spend a year in California; one more thinks he should trash Britain and the Left . . .

    So I demand MM gives equal priority to a Marxist-Leninist explanation of the inevitable decline of American capitalism. Fair's fair.

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  • 58. At 11:23pm on 27 Sep 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Squirrellist and #56


    Ooooh, get you!

    Mind you, have to agree, "..funny isn't it.." how with all that's been written in the 55 Comments all you manage is to point out everyone else's errors!

    Funny, funny , funny...

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  • 59. At 00:03am on 28 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #42. trueconservative: "Mr. Cunard, I disagree about the spelling of "e-mail". I have two email addresses. Both companies are American and both spell it as "email" quite consistently.

    Out of curiosity, I checked with my bookmarked online dictionary, Dictionary.com, to see what is generally acceptable as spelling. You might care to enter 'email' in the search box and take note of the results. The loss of the hyphen in many words makes it far more difficult to learn the language and becomes COIK: Clear Only If Known.

    And that is the end of the news.

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  • 60. At 01:32am on 28 Sep 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    #50 MarcusAureliusII wrote "When I [sic] Rome? Rome is burning (metaphorically) while lefties and Brits worry about the correct way to spell e-mail. How very British."

    Is there smoke in your palace by any chance? (metaphorically, of course)

    Anyway, I do care about correct spelling even though I'm a right-handed Yankee. Too bad if you don't like it.

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  • 61. At 01:35am on 28 Sep 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Mr. Mardell's entry was interesting, but I sincerely hope he forgets about Obama for a little while. He needs to leave the bubble for fresh air.

    Enough talk of serious subjects.

    There once was a British expatriate freshly arrived from Britain walking together with an old, veteran British expatriate on American shores. In the distance, some Yanks were having a protest, throwing tea in the harbor to protest high taxes.

    The novice, seeing this, cried out, "Blimey! What's that?"

    The veteran, with a glance and a shrug, said "Oh, that's nothing. It's just one of those colonial sceptic pranks."

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  • 62. At 02:00am on 28 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #57. squirrellist: 'Funny, isn't it, how one thinks a reporter isn't doing his job . . . if he doesn't spend a year in California'

    No-one has suggested that Mark spend a year in the Golden State, yet it is not such a bad idea. JW made a few observations at the end of his assignment but insufficient to give any insight to the state. It has been the leader in so many things: had California not introduced stringent automobile emissions standards, would the UK ever have done so? Now, years later, Britain has jumped on the "green" bandwagon, a movement which it certainly did not start. If BMC had engineered the Mini to comply with those standards, then it is not impossible that the British motor industry would have flourished rather than handing over to the Japanese who were willing - and able - to do so.

    The problems created by "undocumented workers" might bear mention as well as the financial difficulties exacerbated by the film star governor. There are plenty of stories in just this one state alone - and many more in the forty-eight others, Hawaii not being in North America. A month in each could take up an entire four year tour-of-duty without mentioning Washington once. What interesting reading that would make for British readers, the audience for which it is intended.

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  • 63. At 02:22am on 28 Sep 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Squirrelist, as a card-carrying member of the Capitalistic Ferrets
    of America, I must beg to differ. Capitalism is alive and well, it
    is the rest of us who are suffering. This entire episode with
    Lehman Brothers and AIG was just a flesh wound.

    Now, if you don't mind, I must go pick up a friend, the Black Knight,
    who has fallen down and cannot get back up...

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  • 64. At 02:43am on 28 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Anyway, I do care about correct spelling even though I'm a right-handed Yankee. Too bad if you don't like it."

    trueconservative, you and those of like mind from the left side of the aisle, the right side of the aisle, the left side of the pond and the right side of the pond would worry and argue over dog shit.

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  • 65. At 03:01am on 28 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    63. At 02:22am on 28 Sep 2009, gunsandreligion wrote

    Now, if you don't mind, I must go pick up a friend, the Black Knight,
    who has fallen down and cannot get back up...


    A white rabbit mentioned in passing (very quickly, as you would with a capitalist ferret about) another knight who might have an invention of his own that might help.

    If that fails, maybe the ferrets could just settle for a tea party?

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  • 66. At 03:17am on 28 Sep 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Sq., this invention which you have recalled is somewhat like an early
    version of a hood ornament.

    Or, we could just go and ask Alice. I always thought that the White Rabbit
    was a bit presumptuous, anyway.

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  • 67. At 03:18am on 28 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    0 64.MarcusAureliusII:

    You forgot to wipe your shoes when you came in. Auntie Blanche will be very put out. Now go out and do it properly. (Oh and wash your mouth out with soap while you're out there, that's a good boy.)

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  • 68. At 03:48am on 28 Sep 2009, elsbetheNM wrote:

    Welcome, sir, to our Country. I have lived in your Country, and found it lovely. So I do hope you fall in love with mine as well. I'll reserve my thots for what I think of your remarks for the moment. Giving you the benefit of the doubt so to speak.

    You know, I fell in love with the UK before the Beatles. :) So my affection precludes those characters :) .

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  • 69. At 04:01am on 28 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    66. gunsandreligion

    I think we can all agree that that dormouse that's woken up briefly again (see 64) should be suppressed.

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  • 70. At 04:13am on 28 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    68. At 03:48am on 28 Sep 2009, elsbetheNM wrote:

    Welcome, sir, to our Country. I have lived in your Country, and found it lovely.

    We'd like to keep it that way. We're doing our bit, but we could do with a bit of help.

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  • 71. At 04:15am on 28 Sep 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Sq., it's a contest. I could never fully trust the White Rabbit after
    I discovered that he was always a Hare Late.

    As for the doormouse, let's hope he goes back to sleep. I never did buy
    that bit about treacle.

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  • 72. At 05:08am on 28 Sep 2009, neil_a2 wrote:

    Mark, when you travel with the POTUS, can you see outside the bubble?

    During the Montana town hall meeting, the bubble was flown in and never left the airport where the town hall meeting was staged. If you got to the gate of the airport, you would have seen the locals protesting. You would have seen the SEIU disrupting the assembly.

    The bubble never saw that 900 of the 1500 town hall tickets were destroyed, and the 900 "supporters" were flown in to fill the hall. The real locals were outside the gate. The bubble never saw them. They were not allowed to take cameras out.

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  • 73. At 05:39am on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    M arc us (soft c) you used to be somewhat of a grammar troll yourself when jacksforge used to show you to be a fool.when you claimed o rings were not nessasary and c5 are the same as an airbus you yourself often found the spelling more important than the message.
    And despite my hate of grammar trolling the grammar trolling is better than the rightwing rubbish seen on here that would have us giving equal air time to hitler if he were alive.
    so though I do commend you on the comment that grammar is boring and irrelevant i would remind you hypocrisy is the same.

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  • 74. At 05:42am on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    trueconservative, you and those of like mind from the left side of the aisle, the right side of the aisle, the left side of the pond and the right side of the pond would worry and argue over dog shit.
    ------------------------------------


    they argued over you being allowed to carry on here despite continual rule breaking and a host of extremely violent and offensive remarks.

    so yes I would agree they would argue over dog shit.

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  • 75. At 09:35am on 28 Sep 2009, JohaMe wrote:

    Being inside the bubble sounds a bit like being an embedded journalist.

    Embedding nice girls is something Bill Clinton and Silvio Berlusconi liked to do - embedding journalists is far more professional.

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  • 76. At 10:03am on 28 Sep 2009, D R Murrell wrote:

    DC – As has been pointed American multinationals use email, Microsoft and Bank of America being examples and as has likewise been pointed out the reporter is British, writing for a British news agency. We British expect him to use our grammatical conventions, even if he is on the other side of the Atlantic, after all it is our licence fee that pays his wages!

    Marcus – You really are a foul mouthed little wretch at times aren’t you? I am not sure where exactly in the States you come from, but in Essex we don’t consider the inappropriate use of excrement when making a point as a sign of class. Which, considering the reputation of those coming from Essex (especially those from the Thames Estuary/Gateway), really does say a lot about your civility!

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  • 77. At 10:46am on 28 Sep 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    53 david cunard

    I agree with you about the need for more broad coverage of the USA than just politics and Washington .... but the grammar trolling just bores me.

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  • 78. At 2:08pm on 28 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Squirreliest;

    "We'd like to keep it that way. We're doing our bit, but we could do with a bit of help."

    British penchant for understatement? Hercules cleaning the Augean stables plus all the other eleven tasks would have been child's play compared to what is needed. All the kings horses, all the kings men, and every one else on that plessed blot can't put Camelot back together again. In fact there never really was a Camelot, it was pure myth and illusion. There are times when even the gods throw up their hands in disgust.

    fluff;

    When I lived in France, I visited the huge concrete bunkers at Archachon where the Nazis expected to defend the coast against a possible Allied invasion just as they had built them along the entire coastline. But compared to you they are paper thin so dense are you. There may be fluff on the inside but there is a 20 foot thick wall of concrete on the outside. So in the hope of penetrating it, I will tell you one more time (I'm sure it won't be nearly enough and won't be the last time.)

    1. In the 1960s, the US Air Force had a military air freighter the C5A about the size and lift capabilities of an Airbus A380. Google them and compare if you don't believe it. The Russians built an even bigger one. Had there been any indication at any time during those intervening decades that there was a market for a large passenger plane with that capability, it would have been relative child's play to reconfigure C5A as a commercial aircraft to meet that need. There wasn't. Boeing's analysis says that the total market for such a plane is no more than 500 which does not make it worth their while to develop it. Airbus is banking on an expected market of 1200 or more. So far around 150 have been ordered.

    2. I never said the O-Rings were not necessary. What I said was that prior to the explosion of the Challenger, there may have been only a few thousand physical chemists in the US who knew the properties of that particular molecule who could have predicted based on actual knowledge with near certainty that such an accident would happen if the shuttle were launched in freezing temperatures. Among them were the engineers at Morton Thiokol who warned against it but were ignored by NASA's project management. Six months later when it was virtually certain that the o-ring failure was the cause, there wasn't a ten year old in America who didn't know or think he knew why it failed because if you put a rubber band in a freezer it will do the same thing. But that is not the same molecule. Each material is different.

    I may have said that it didn't matter whether or not there were redundant O Rings in the design. At that temperature they all would have failed, even if there were a dozen of them at each joint.

    Do you get it yet or do you want me to explain it again in more detail?

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  • 79. At 2:41pm on 28 Sep 2009, faeyth wrote:

    We have had presidents assassinated,That's why they have that protocol.Plus a president is like your Queen and P.M. in one.He's not just head of military and passing out dollars,he's helps direct culture,not because he's that powerful but because he reflects the people who voted for him.Plus he has other things to do besides talk to Journalists.He heads many government departments that really need his attention.Jobs please.S.S. is now paying out more than it's collecting.He needs to get Millennials working there's not enough Gen X to pay for Boomers.I really don't want to see Government programs go bust and I don't want to borrow more money from over seas.

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  • 80. At 2:43pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    MA
    Old age does you no favours.
    it seems to rot your memory.
    or again you are being"conservative with the truth"


    you said" an extra o ring wouldn't have helped."
    apparently it would have.
    you spent a long time worming the words to your comment now.
    all of which was smoke for basically not comprehending well.

    That was back when you got all grammar trollish.

    Those posts are still there.
    your comments can be seen by all. so stop lying.

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  • 81. At 2:44pm on 28 Sep 2009, powbam wrote:

    Hey Mark, Enjoyed your perspective very much so far. Will continue to follow your journey. Just FYI... Haiku have only 17 syllables total, so your compositions on the "Bubble" post are not Haiku.

    Powbam.

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  • 82. At 2:44pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    I may have said that it didn't matter whether or not there were redundant O Rings in the design. At that temperature they all would have failed, even if there were a dozen of them at each joint.

    ................
    St Dom. How many O rings to keep a shuttle safe?
    Were procedures changed to make sure no cold nights were prior to launch.

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  • 83. At 2:55pm on 28 Sep 2009, D R Murrell wrote:

    Marcus – You do realise that Camelot is a myth don’t you, a bit like aliens crashing at Roswell? Even if it wasn’t Camelot would have little, that is nothing, to do with anything facing modern Britain, even less with what is facing modern Europe. I understand that sometimes Hollywood can give a glamorous view of history, but the mythical Camelot’s control did not cover the whole of England, let a lone the British Isles. In much the same vein it wasn’t the US Navy that seized the sub carrying Enigma machine, nor did Scots paint their faces like Mel Gibson.

    Wow Boeing made a decision about planes in the 1960’s or 70’s! Must still be true, after all that prediction that the world would only ever need about 5 computers was right, just like those aeronautical experts who said we couldn’t break the sound barrier (let a lone a commercial aircraft which could). That’s the thing about progress, sometimes you have to ignore the predictions made in the past. Sure sometimes you don’t get them right, but sometimes you get a man to walk on the moon. I would have thought a true blooded yank would have got that.

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  • 84. At 3:09pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    kitty where did you go in that time during the elections when you had ben shown up as a racist.
    You must be very pleased that they blog forgot your previous comments.

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  • 85. At 3:19pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Dom maybe I should ask that question.

    did the extra O ring make it safer?
    ;) sorry folks but you see the best way to deal with MA is to ask him a question. then question his answers. because he makes so many wrong assumptions it can be amazing. but more so it is the same conversation repeated as last year. so while we are discussing old rubbish why not rehasdh more old rubbish.

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  • 86. At 3:31pm on 28 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Fluffy;

    You are so impenetrable it's almost enough to make a fully grown man cry. Now pay close attention. It is the elasticity that seals the O-rings against the joint making it gas tight. As the temperature decreases, that elasticity decreases until the point where they undergo plastic deformation. That means there is no tension between the o-rings and the joint. This is why the oxygen-hydrogen gas fuel mixture escaped. This is why it doesn't matter how many of them there are. Once it did, ignition was virtually guaranteed just the way it was when the gas tank in the wing of the Concorde was penetrated probably by the metal hardware that fell off the Continental airline plane that took off before it did in Paris. The Concorde's tire kicked it up and it penetrated the fuel tank. The leaking air fuel mixture was inevitably going to ignite the same way, the plane was doomed as soon as it took off just the way the shuttle was. All it took was the least little spark or flame and the whole shebang went with it.

    I think in a way you Brits should be grateful for the end of the USSR's empire. If your knowledge is typical of those in Britain, it explains why up to the discovery of cars like the Yugo and the Tribant, the Brits had the reputation for being the world's worst automotive engineers. The carburator of an MG was described by one US automotive magazine as a controlled drip while it was well known that before Ford Motor Company took over the company, Jaguars had to have their engines retuned every time they went around the block. Rolls Royce was largely built from parts designed by others. The suspension was Citroen while the automatic transmission was Borg Warner. Well at least you invented Radar. We can be grateful for that.

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  • 87. At 3:33pm on 28 Sep 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Wow, Mark.
    You nailed that one.
    Don't blow out the bubble too soon, you might loose your security clearance!

    Okay - about The Bubble:
    Personally, I'm third generation bubble affiliate. While I've wiped the dust off my feet, left DC and accepted my fate as a mere citizen, I have had family 'working for the government' since the 40's. From them, I've heard much back-stage-frustration about how insular, closed and out-of-touch our government has become. Having heard stories about how kindly, positive, cooperative and proactive our lovely Capitol Hill USED to be...

    I wonder, what's your impression:

    A) Has the bubble lost touch with it's own brother and sisters in gov., unable to function because the Potus and the Hill don't talk? That is, where is the balance of power right now? On the Hill? With the Pres? His Bubble? It it Balanced? Tipping... tilting... gradually... where?

    B) And, Has the bubble (with the hill & it's insiders) become so totally insulated as to truly have 'forgotten Main Street'? That is -- Does the bubble take it's cues entirely from the upper echelon of wealthy & corporate-owned power-brokers... or is there some voice of reason up there who actually has a clue what the greater population (nationally and globally) is dealing with? or... are we po'folk jus members of the unwashed masses... huddled poor, yearning to breathe free...?


    -- Some of our founding fathers thought we should have a revolution every other generation. Maybe we're overdue - or maybe our revolutions are less bloody these days. I'm praying for the latter.

    Your lookin' good Honey -- Keep it up!


    PS: Your 'breach of etiquette was very funny. I chuckle in your general direction. You're in America now, where titles aren't supposed to matter -- no matter how important they are. hee hee...

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  • 88. At 4:02pm on 28 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 85, fluffy

    I agree with MAII's conclusion in post Nr. 78.

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  • 89. At 4:06pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    lol Ma well back to Euro tech versus ameritech eh.

    But I'll wait for st dom.


    I believe that though material selection may have been wrong( because I saw the same nova show as you) (insider knowledge my arc). the extra ring was added and kept because it provided a cheap form of insurance as we here say.

    I suppose now that extra ring has been removed and a better plastic put in.

    Well actually I don't but I would if I believed you;)

    "it would have helped" ( was my origional comment).

    carry on denying it.but they still have it.
    as for c5 you said they were the same plane.
    One with a wing over the plane and the other with a wing under. One gets way better milage ,less noise (so you can sleep in your NJ trailer) .And is not the most uncomfortable plane to travel in.
    Hell I wouldn't be surprised to see the US air

    but really like back then I really don't care about the topics .they are"dogshit" as you put it.
    but then they are the same dogshit that shows you are not as bright as you pretend.



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  • 90. At 4:33pm on 28 Sep 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Mark-

    You may find it interesting to take a trip outside the D.C. "bubble" and recognize the North in North America. There are some interesting events taking place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canda. A minority government is being rattled to the bone. An election looms. Another conservative v. liberal battleground.

    Those who do not think that what happens with our neighbors to the north has little, if no bearing, on the United States economy need only spend a day watching commercial traffic crossing the Blue Water and Ambassador Bridges crossing the border at Port Huron/Sarnia and Detroit/Windsor, respectively. Said to be the two busiest border crossings in the world. The amount of commercial traffic gives a pulse reading on the state of both, interdependent economies.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is heading for the ropes. Canadian politics are a lively arena. You may find it worthy of a few lines of text; once you take a peek north, Mark.

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  • 91. At 4:33pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    St dom so do I except the use of the extra ring bit.

    but I do remember you said this last time;)
    I was just checking you were paying attention;)

    So to ask you another question.
    why did they not remove that extra ring? Surely it costs more to produce.

    After changing the material of the ring (which is what I assume they did given the conclusions) did they just feel that the extra was worthwhile insurance?

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  • 92. At 4:39pm on 28 Sep 2009, dceilar wrote:

    Another very good post Mark!

    socialistlibertarian: don't let the grammar trolls get to you (squirrelist's dictionary is bigger than theirs anyway)! The worst ones are the racist-but-pretend-they're-not trolls, and of course, the cut'n'paste Zionist trolls. They can really get under your skin.

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  • 93. At 4:42pm on 28 Sep 2009, dceilar wrote:

    I see that Marcus is talking out of his O ring again!

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  • 94. At 4:56pm on 28 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #77. RomeStu: "the grammar trolling just bores me."

    No worse than Boeing, 'O' rings &c. At least it can do some good, since people are frequently judged by the way they write. Sloppy spelling and grammar may indicate sloppy thinking - or simply poor education.

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  • 95. At 5:04pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Pub . concentrate on the lefties leave the right in canada to swing the world that little bit more right.

    (as they all seem to be doing).

    Talk about the right rise enough and they will get very angry.
    better let them sign the 52 state treaty with the states and see how it messes up.

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  • 96. At 5:14pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    dCeilar

    " racist-but-pretend-they're-not trolls"
    What here!!!!????
    Nooo.
    ;)
    (sorry we have been told by many here that there are none of these people )
    lucky I don't believe everything I read.

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  • 97. At 5:32pm on 28 Sep 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    MA2 41

    "My comments are censored for breaking house rules"
    Its me who is right & you who are fools.
    I'll tell you my truth,as oft as I can,
    Descartes like Marcus,
    I drink,for I am...hic...

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  • 98. At 5:40pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    UK wales another blast from the past.
    good to see you. Have you brought us some rhythm to enjoy .

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  • 99. At 5:45pm on 28 Sep 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    My Goodness.

    As I peruse some of the above comments, it truly seems like the idea of 'The Bubble' is bothersome for some folks.

    May I remind everyone that All the World is a Stage, and Mr Mardell is merely a light flickering upon it. His role is to report on the Big Show, and from the perspective of the Bubble he gets a direct feed regarding all the latest "Official" (read: publicly available) "News".
    -- don't knock it folks, it's an important perspective.

    But:
    - does this mean that everything he sees/hears is 'real'? Well... define 'real,' won't you?
    - and, does this mean that he might just become part of our insular borg-like pseudo-propagandistic gov-machine? well... that depends upon whether he trusts what is 'real'.


    So Mark - My advice:

    Report from the Bubble, but in order to avoid becoming one with the Borg... visit Chinatown, the DC Gay District, eat middle-eastern with the local folks (there used to be this little place in Georgetown... best falafel EVER), drive up to Baltimore's waterfront, come up to Philadelphia and eat a hoagie, take the train to NYNY and see something off-Broadway... you know... meet some real Americans who aren't part of the Big Show.

    Remember, American Politics is a Three Ring Circus. Your Bubble is simply where the man in the top hat hangs out. But, if you want an American perspective, you need to hang out in the peanut gallery from time to time.


    Love from Philadelphia, Home of the Nutters.

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  • 100. At 5:51pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    94 agreed but then all is better than rehashing ww2 and Israel at their behest when not relevant;)

    Though I am curious to see if a line of 20 o rings wouldn't help.
    still waiting for St dom (who I will read )

    The original phrase was more specific. but also leads to MA claiming he was one of the few that knew.

    But now I am curious as to the link that that reagan was pushing for take off for political reasons.
    Surely that couldn't be true he was a hero to america, he wouldn't do that.



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  • 101. At 5:55pm on 28 Sep 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 95 fluffytale-

    "Pub . concentrate on the lefties leave the right in canada to swing the world that little bit more right."

    Fluffy-

    Whether the Conservatives can maintain control of Canadian Parliment, or if a coalition of the Liberal/NDP parties can bring about a majority coalition government is of interest to the Canadians. Important to the U.S., and many other nations, a well-functioning government in Canada is vitally needed to recover their economy, thus contributing soundly to the international economic recovery. Our quiet neighbor to the north holds a great deal of natural, and economic, resources. They also have a large manufactoring infrastructure that needs attention. They should not be ignored.

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  • 102. At 5:58pm on 28 Sep 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    BTW - what is up with all the Challenger Explosion crap in the above thread?

    Mr. Fluffy et al: What happened back in '86 happened. It was an accident. A fatal one. They happen all the time. Deal with it and move on. Trying to nail blame for that one would be like nailing jell-o to a wall.

    ... of course, if you FREEZE the Jell-O, had multiple blocks of Jell-O, ensured that the Jell-o Safety Committee examined the molecular composition of the Jello-o via double-blind analysis in light of differences with and without mixed fruit... oh... nevermind.

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  • 103. At 6:07pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    philly mom. I'd agree that Mark mardel has done a fine job so far.

    When you consider the last year of blogs before he got here.
    then the only problem is the usual "dogshit" that is all over the blog.

    stepping in it . smelling it on the wind.

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  • 104. At 6:24pm on 28 Sep 2009, aynwasright wrote:

    Wow, you actually got to go on a news junket on official business? Amazing the POTUS can fit in some official business between guest starring on talk shows, giving 600 press conferences a week, playing golf, campaigning for Chicago with the IOC......

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  • 105. At 6:42pm on 28 Sep 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    The bubble sounds like mind control. The only information you get is what they give you. You have no opportunity to investigate on your own.

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  • 106. At 6:48pm on 28 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 100, fluffytale

    As I am sure you already know, a number of independent investigations were conducted to determine the root cause (s) of the Challenger disaster. The results range from management and political perspectives of the causes of the disaster to the more accurate and relevant analyses provided by engineers, chemists, and physicists.

    While management focused mostly on saving their skins and pointing fingers at others with excuses such as emphasis on adhering to an unrealistic schedule, budget issues, political pressures, scheduling backlogs and inadequate communication between the technical and management teams (Morton Thiokol engineers voiced concern about the integrity of the O-rings long before the explosion, but their concerns were ignored or dismissed by management).

    The technical team concluded that the O-ring failure was caused by several factors including faulty design of the solid rocket boosters (SRB), and inadequate or insufficient low-temperature testing of the O-ring material and its effect on the joints sealed by the O-ring.

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  • 107. At 6:48pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    phillymom.
    too right about it being irrelevant. But having called MA a fibber I am curious to see if St dom agrees that no amount of rings would help.
    because then the extra wouldn't and I would have to say to MA. You got me there.
    I still suspect I will have to say "you got me there after all"

    but either way it was a long time ago discussion that was brought to the present times along with the c% discussion to illustrate the lack of comprehension in MA readings of data.
    This time he seems to have watched one more nova than most and is ahead. but most of the time he is really very bad at it.
    still it does give St dom the chance to agree with MA.
    which is always fun.;)

    You're right though Ronnie is dead so it does no good accusing him.
    but then this bubble has been as much about grammar as anything and it has most surprisingly not been about ISrael.
    for once.
    these tactics you don't understand are based in a desire to not see that subject creep into every discussion.



    Pub Sorry I do know that Canada is important. ( i wish I were there) but it is just that as France is run by the most right wing (penn excluded) and Britain has the BNP , Holland more racists. America is already so far to the right they still think health care is socialist commie propaganda . the system in place these days doesn't really like it is we discuss the rise of the evil right in the world.

    there is no balance.
    and the press will always attack a commie before a capitalist .

    even this press.

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  • 108. At 7:00pm on 28 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    cheers st dom. thank you.
    I just was trying to test the comment that an extra ring would have helped.

    still can't tell if it would.
    I have seen some to say it would have helped and nothing to say it wouldn't but Marcus and you assure me that "an extra o ring would not have helped."





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  • 109. At 7:13pm on 28 Sep 2009, easterngreen wrote:

    Mark,

    Really well written blog. I'm enjoying your entries on American political life a great deal. I find them entertaining, insightful and quite informative.

    I think most of your critics on here have little grounds for complaint, to be honest.

    Oh, and to David_Cunard, in one of your previous posts you refer to a criticism of someone called Justin Web. Hmmm. I remember a Justin WEBB who reported from North America, but not this guy you're speaking/writing about. I'm afraid I have no idea what you're on about.

    Grammar trolling really is annoying. About half the comments on here are just pedantic wastes of time. This is a blog! I don't care if anyone mispells something unless, a) It genuinely confuses the meaning of what someone is trying to say, or b) It's somehow really funny.

    E-mail or email? Who cares?!

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  • 110. At 7:37pm on 28 Sep 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #105 Ms Marbles

    That's the impression I get. It's all about information control based on hacks being lazy sods. I think it was John Pilger who said that journalists need to understand the hidden agendas and myths behind the story and not just to focus on the message itself.

    Mark will have to go out of the bubble mind-set to get the 'real' news.

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  • 111. At 7:45pm on 28 Sep 2009, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Mark. . .

    "The real city is pretty relaxed, but inside what most people MEAN by Washington - it seems to me at least as a very recent newcomer - there is an emphasis on personal contact, hierarchy and formality that feels curiously old-fashioned by European or British standards, and an obsession with process and policy that sometimes finds insiders talking about "the people" as an unreal abstraction they've never met."


    "Curiously old-fashoned by European and British standards?" Oh please!! Your observations regarding Washington are right on, but don't fool yourself, Britain's and the rest of the European countries's governmental centers are just as out of touch with the average citizen's struggles and desires as Washington is! For proof, you need look no further than your colleague Nick Robinson's blog, on which "Westminster" is often refered to with the utmost disdain and frustration. All governments, whether democratic or authoritarian, struggle with understanding the plight and meeting the needs of their people. Surely you recognized this throughout your travels as Europe editor?



    allmymarbles #105: Yes, but that is why he is supposed to ask questions and investigate suspicious happenings. If reporters don't do that, then we essentially are, and may as well be a totalitarian regime.


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  • 112. At 7:54pm on 28 Sep 2009, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    Based on previous comments here I am a little surprised that a rollicking discussion of Mark's use of the spelling 'dependant' (dependent) was not engaged in. US vs British English, and all that.

    Re the Bubble, it certainly sounds like an orchestrated circus and we're all very grateful that the president and his team drag reporters around giving them access and keeping us all in the loop. The hassles are certainly more than made up by with substantial remuneration, Mark!

    Re Haiku:

    Summer wanes, leaves fall
    Spelling errors and hyphens
    Now, let us boogie


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  • 113. At 7:57pm on 28 Sep 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    101. Publius

    Thank you.




    As for electoral prospects, it is pretty grim.
    The governing party in in flat-out election campaign mode, and has been using public funds to do it, too. There is a depressingly significant chance that the obsessive guy may get the majority he so craves.

    If we could only get the Australian single transferable vote, we wouldn't have a government that at least 65 % of Canadians don't want, led by a man whose negatives are in the stratosphere. The first-past-the-post system was never designed for the vote-splitting quirks of a Parliament of five parties.

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  • 114. At 8:45pm on 28 Sep 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    easterngreen and #109

    Yes, it is a Blog.

    It is a Blog by an extremely well paid Journalist representing an extremely prestigious Media organisation that purports to represent the British Citizen (admittedly by default as payment of the License Fee is compulsory) across the World.

    I am one of the critics of Mr Mardell and BBC Journalism in general: It is my right to agree or disagree and make my point of view known as the BBC belongs to me and millions of other License Fee payers (though I have not paid these last 3 years as I am curently living overseas).

    That this Blog's Moderators are wholly unresponsive to any challenge or comment made about their abuse of their power is indicative of how little the BBC respects those who contribute the funds for its existence.

    On the subject of Mr Mardell's American sojourn I have yet to read one Article that in any way suggested he has yet grasped any real in-depth knowledge or understanding of the USA and its multi-cultural Citizens and Politics. His constant references to the frailties of the UK are symptomatic of a mind-set that further illustrates the BBC's penchant for neglecting/dismissing those who pay the piper!

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  • 115. At 9:07pm on 28 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #109. easterngreen: "David_Cunard, in one of your previous posts you refer to a criticism of someone called Justin Web. Hmmm. I remember a Justin WEBB who reported from North America, but not this guy you're speaking/writing about. I'm afraid I have no idea what you're on about."

    In that case, you're duller than your post would indicate.

    "E-mail or email? Who cares?!"

    You might take a look at the story on the front page of one of America's great newspapers, The Los Angeles Times, and then see who cares. Not an "email" in sight.

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  • 116. At 9:08pm on 28 Sep 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Dear Fluffy Tale,

    If you seriously think that trolling through here for information regarding the Challenger Explosion is at all productive, useful, or even relevant, then you are a rather messed-up conspiracy theory git.

    The only crime committed was that people making decisions weren't adequately informed about all the possible variables affecting the situation.

    It was an accident. Accidents happen.


    NOW (to try and bring the corn-flakes back... er... full circle) where misinformation IS a crime is when people in positions of knowledge intentionally MISLEAD people in positions of authority. This is especially unethical when lives are lost because of bad decisions made from intentionally fraudulent data.

    Of course, that surely never ever ever happens in our grand ole' USA. right?
    *cough*WMD*cough*IRAQ*cough*


    BUT - the Challenger???? PUH-LEASE!!!!
    Stop desecrating those honorable lives lost by bludgeoning us with your paranoid rantings!!!
    *huffs w/frustration*

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  • 117. At 9:09pm on 28 Sep 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Gosh, you Brits are a bunch of complainers! MM has just been swallowed
    up by a whale. Let's see where he winds up.

    (Of course, I'm not paying for this, so my vote doesn't count...)

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  • 118. At 9:27pm on 28 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 116, Philly-Mom

    "It was an accident. Accidents happen."

    The possibility of an accident, particularly when it involves a high risk endeavor such as the space program, is always there; but that doesn't mean tragedies like that should not be investigated or that people should not express interest in what went wrong and what corrective action was taken to minimize the possibility of reccurrences.

    Perhaps I missed something, I admit I don't read all entries, but the little I read on the subject in this thread does not suggest anyone is placing blame on anyone or trying to divert attention from more pertinent examples of flaws in leadership. Clearly, there are no parallels between what caused the Challenger disaster and the despicable campaign of lies and intimidation used to justify the invasion and destruction of a Third World country.

    In any case, this matter was investigated exhaustively, results of the investigations and detailed information regarding corrective actions are readily available on the Internet for anyone to read.

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  • 119. At 9:33pm on 28 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 107, fluffytale

    "You're right though Ronnie is dead so it does no good accusing him.
    but then this bubble has been as much about grammar as anything and it has most surprisingly not been about ISrael.
    for once.
    these tactics you don't understand are based in a desire to not see that subject creep into every discussion."

    Thanks for a desperately needed diversion from bubbles, grammar, and Israel. May I suggest a bit of attention on the first vote the Senate is planning to have tomorrow on the healthcare public option? Any bets?

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  • 120. At 9:34pm on 28 Sep 2009, PARRISIA_GREECE wrote:

    Mark,
    I understand you being fascinated by life in DC and around POTUS but, PLEASE, try to keep your posts shorter i.e. not more than 2 paragraphs

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  • 121. At 9:43pm on 28 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    What business is it of anyone ("PARRISA_GREECE") to tell Mr. Mardell how much he should write?

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  • 122. At 10:45pm on 28 Sep 2009, socialistlibertarian wrote:

    I have an idea. Those who want short posts (PARRISA_GREECE) can read just the first two paragraphs, and the rest of us can enjoy the more lengthy and informative posts, relative to the previous correspondent's, that Mr. Mardell seems to prefer writing.

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  • 123. At 00:10am on 29 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    122. socialistlibertarian:

    A paragraph is as long a a piece of string. . .

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  • 124. At 00:18am on 29 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #114. ikamaskeip: "On the subject of Mr Mardell's American sojourn I have yet to read one Article that in any way suggested he has yet grasped any real in-depth knowledge or understanding of the USA and its multi-cultural Citizens and Politics."

    The same could be said of his immediate predecessor; he too was bubble-wrapped.

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  • 125. At 01:08am on 29 Sep 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    120 If you really love things short, you could have abbrev. your name to PG and left us to figure out what it means. (I used to think short=better but I've changed my mind. Now I just look for quality.)

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  • 126. At 01:16am on 29 Sep 2009, David wrote:

    I just read Here that there is a poll on Facebook that was removed that asked people whether they thought Obama "should be killed."

    Knowing I seem fixated on Obama and the hope I have for him, I still say that is horrible, (especially since most Facebook users are young people...seems horrible to try to "turn" young people towards evil violence...obviously).

    But, I realize this blog is about the bubble Mark is in...I dare think he will burst out of the bubble to see America and maybe its national parks ...(at least that is what I would want to see)

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  • 127. At 01:18am on 29 Sep 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    The protests against grammar trolls have changed from a dull roar to a thundering tempest so I suppose I shall apologize for my part in the matter. It seems that comments on spelling are no more welcome here than "Iggy" is welcome in North America's coolest country.

    Considering that I had essentially promised not to be a pedant early on, I guess I deserve some sort of discipline.

    I wonder what my sentence will be. Perhaps I'll be forced by the anti-grammar trolls into that dreadful institution called the "Pedents Penitensheairee". Who knows what horrors await me there? Mayhap I'll be forced to read a newspaper without a pen or pencil in my hand! Oh, what a cruel and unusual punishment that would be!

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  • 128. At 01:42am on 29 Sep 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    38 FrayedCat

    In the true Pittsburghese, that should be "yinz," not "yuns."

    Very, very odd dialect, and one that I'm still trying to fathom after 40+ years in (Mr. Rogers') Neighborhood.

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  • 129. At 01:52am on 29 Sep 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    For those who haven't noticed, the BBC seems to have a pretty good system for covering Stateside news. Just for the G20, I counted at least 4-5 reports on the scene by at least 3 reporters. So between Mark in the Bubble, observing and reporting on the "official take," and the reporters on the outside reporting on the local events, the city, the people, etc., they seem to have all the bases covered.

    And just because he's inside the Bubble doesn't mean that Mark or any other reporter has to take the official line at face value; the ones who don't get sucked in by the lights and glitter and keep their heads can offer valid interpretations of the subtle nuances of the big show.

    111 PursuitofLove
    To which Washington do you refer? The world of the politicians and politican appointees? The lobbyists? The contractors? Or the world of the average civil servant, who often hails from outside the beltway, and continues having close ties with home?

    The only "bubble" in Washington would be around the political class in general.

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  • 130. At 02:09am on 29 Sep 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    Thank yinz via-media

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  • 131. At 02:13am on 29 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    All Fluff and no stuff;

    Still preoccupied with the O-Rings I see. It's clear you're no engineer. It doesn't matter how many links there are in a chain if they are all linked one to the next, it's still only as strong as the weakest link. The way backup systems work is in parallel. The only way additional O-Rings would prevent a catastrophic fuel leak if the primary one faild is to be large enough to surround it forming a secondary seal around the primary O ring itself. But if it were made of the same material which failed because the limits of the properties that made it a seal were exceeded meaning the temperature was below the point where it remained elastic, the secondary seal would fail too.

    I never said the A380 was a clone of the C5A. Today's C5As only superficially resemble the C5A of 45 years ago just the way B52s today don't resemble the B52 of the 1950s except superficially. They have been altered in most or all all conceivable ways over the decades time and again as technology has improved. However, were it to be designed from scratch today for the same purpose, I would be different than it is because the technology of aerodynamic analysis as well as computer simulation has improved so the shape would be somewhat different although probably not radically so. Even then, wind tunnels were used skillfully to optimize air frame design for lift, drag, and strength to weight ratio. But it would be different. Internally, the systems would be state of the art but there is every likelihood that they may be that way already due to upgrades. In any event, it is the capabilities and the market for those capabilities that were the determining factor not to build a commercial version. For France especially the decision to build it may well have been more a matter of ego than anything else. France has always been jealous of the 747. What was the millenium dome if not pure ego. Just one more useless expensive European monument at enormous taxpayer expense. Too bad they can't move it inside the British Museum. Perhaps one day it will become the British Museum, the very building itself being its largest artifact on exhibit.

    Speaking of Euro-tech, do you think there is anyone still around listening for a signal from the Beagle II. The EU Space Agency was going to show NASA how to land on Mars for one eighth the price it cost the US Space Agency to do it. It had only one minor drawback....it was a crash landing. Other than that, things went "swimmingly" as you Brits would say. What else would one expect from a nation of people who often describe themselves as "muddlers."

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  • 132. At 02:26am on 29 Sep 2009, socialistlibertarian wrote:

    There are an awful lot of people in Washington, D.C., whose work and home lives have absolutely nothing to do with national politics. I used to be one of them. Most of the time it seems just like any other city, except for the occasional motorcade, which you get used to after a while. Oh, and except for no skyscrapers.

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  • 133. At 03:07am on 29 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    127. At 01:18am on 29 Sep 2009, trueconservative wrote:

    "I wonder what my sentence will be."

    Short?

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  • 134. At 03:17am on 29 Sep 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    Mr. Mardell, you have written one of the best descriptions of the media environment today in D.C. that I have seen in a long while, and thanks for the entertaining poetry. You've illustrated how difficult it is to navigate in and out of that press bubble surrounding the Pres. So now that you are armed with such inside information, please use it to your advantage for us and try not to trap yourself inside that bubble.

    As for the issue over whether "e-mail" or "email" is the correct or accepted spelling of the word, I have to say that I agree with socialistlibertarian believe it or not. The spelling of words often changes over time, and I think you're very likely to see email lose the hyphen in many places out of sheer convenience.

    Marcus # 131, While I believe America to be on the cutting edge of world technology, I have to say that I disagree with your assessment that Euro-tech is somehow inferior to ours; it's just that our research teams often have more resources available to them when they can get the funding. Think of it this way, I have a feeling that the Euro Space agency has the minds to build their own version of an Ares rocket that can reach Mars, but they lack the resources and traditional political influence that NASA enjoys even in these lean times.

    And lastly, # 128, I can still remember Mr. Roger's theme song from my childhood. It brings back wonderful memories and yet, I had no idea the show took place in Philadelphia.

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  • 135. At 05:05am on 29 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Philly Mom;

    "The only crime committed was that people making decisions weren't adequately informed about all the possible variables affecting the situation."

    That's not right. They were informed by those who knew, the experts at Morton Thiokol according to the investigation. And those who insisted there could be a failure were fired for their obstinacy. The crime wasn't a conspiracy, it was stupidity on the part of the project management. They chose to ignore a warning by technically informed people and took the risk anyway. Many times, even most times they get away with things like that but this time they didn't. Nobody's luck holds out forever. It's hard enough to make the right decision when it is an informed one. But when politics supervenes, there will be sure trouble as a result.

    It's happening over and over everywhere in our society and eventually it will catch up with us. Global warming is one example. 40,000 bridges and overpasses in the US rusting away through neglect is another. Failure to build an electrical power grid that has the generating capacity and redundancy we need for the kind of reliable energy source our technological society demands. Remember the power blackout that took out the entire Northeast quadrant of North America in 2004, I think around August? That was the result of the failure of a single electrical feeder in Ohio. It was a result of refusal to make critical massive capital investments our society sorely needs.

    BienvenueEnLouisiana;

    There is no question that American technology is by far the most advanced in the world. There are specific examples where more advanced technologies have been implimented on a large scale we haven't adopted here yet such as TV on your cell phone in Europe and Japan. In other areas, there may be places where there are more advanced aspects to certain technologies such as robotics in Japan but overall, there really is no competition from Europe. Japan is number two. Even where breakthroughs come via foreigners, they often make them working in the US at American universities, corporations, and the government. Americans are also by far the world's best engineers. Don't lament the loss of certain industries like steelmaking, consumer electronics, or even manufacturing cars beyond the loss of American jobs (not something to be ignored or go unaddressed but not an important technological loss.) These are by and large ancient technologies by our standards. Look to the cutting edge like nanotechnology, deep space exploration, medical breakthroughs including biomolecular engineering, newer faster better computers and semiconductor CPU chips etc. Most of the major advances are all stamped Made In America.

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  • 136. At 05:29am on 29 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    "That's not right. They were informed by those who knew, the experts at Morton Thiokol acco ---- generating capacity and redundancy we need for the kind of reliable energy source our technological society demands."


    ma the bit I quote here and the words between are bloody spot on. and the reason I think you are somewhat fake.
    I can see you get most of it. this stuff is good.

    but then you get into the rest of it.

    St Dom. cheers I do prefer any topic to the repeated regulars, even old hat like the O ring.

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  • 137. At 05:43am on 29 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    see ma it's good to see you accept global warming is going on.
    your comments that you ignore it are why you are so foolish.

    some think the world is really not going south so to speak.

    you care not because you care only for your self.

    you complained that your parents would give your old cloths away.Why you even spoke as if their health was on no concern to you because they were so generous.
    is that it. God gives your life , a finite life and you resent the lack of eternity so much you wish the world to suffer if you can't have it.
    is it all about those old issues of jealousy that other will enjoy it even when you are not allowed to.
    is that the issue why you attack so many others. or why you claim proudly to be a Euro hater.
    Why you so often say damn the world the best thing for most is death?

    A lot is becoming apparent.

    ;) lol As st dom says it is all there to read and there was a design flaw about a lack of o rings that was considered to contribute to the accident.
    your assumption is to say that the Only thing that woudl effect the outcome was the material design.
    Like I said " another o ring would have helped".
    ;)


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  • 138. At 05:49am on 29 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    lol so is america gong to mimic the grids in europe? ;)

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  • 139. At 05:56am on 29 Sep 2009, pciii wrote:

    #86 "The carburator of an MG " Bang up to date as usual, old thing!

    Of course, these days it's the US cars that are known to be among the worst in the world!

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  • 140. At 06:18am on 29 Sep 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #86. MarcusAureliusII: "it was well known that before Ford Motor Company took over the company, Jaguars had to have their engines retuned every time they went around the block."

    Nonsense! I drove a pre-Ford Jag and never had any problems with it - not even the electrics which always received derisive but inaccurate remarks. As for Rolls, the motor, the most important part, was of all-British design, as was the standard body, designed by Graham Hull. Both the Jag and the pre-German Rolls and Bentleys had an immediate presence on the road and did not look or drive like some more ordinary vehicle. It will be interesting to see what the Chinese will do (or have done) with the MG.

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  • 141. At 08:03am on 29 Sep 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    123. squirrellist wrote:
    "122. socialistlibertarian:
    A paragraph is as long a a piece of string. . ."


    Yes my squirrelly friend, but we should encourage short(ish) paragraphs. Many a time I have given up on a long rambling paragraph due to its length.

    Parrisia_Greece may have a short attention span, but I think we'd all suffer if Mark posted one or two "mega-paragraphs".

    For the record I think Mark Mardell is doing very well - I'd like to see more "outside the beltway" stuff, but in general he is informative and eloquent. Bravo.

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  • 142. At 09:15am on 29 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    141. At 08:03am on 29 Sep 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    "Yes my squirrelly friend, but we should encourage short(ish) paragraphs. Many a time I have given up on a long rambling paragraph due to its length."

    True. But I doubt if we'll suffer that from a pro. I thought of suggesting our Graeco-Parisian friend might be happier with Reuters, where each report is written so it can be cut, as we say, 'from the bottom up'.

    In other words, the essence is in the first para, and the succeeding ones add to the basics. So if you want, you only have to read the first half-dozen lines, or that plus the next half-dozen, and so on.

    But we want stories here, not straight reports. At least I do.

    (How are my paragraph lengths?)

    Oh, and Parrisia_Greece can cut this from the bottom up, too, if it looks a bit long to him/her.

    :-D

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  • 143. At 10:04am on 29 Sep 2009, _marko wrote:

    RE: Grammar Trolls and famous last words

    When you're on your death bed,
    with family at the bedside,
    looking back at your life,
    are you likely to say...

    and one of the things I am proudest of in my life is...(sigh) ...is...
    how good I was at spelling"?

    Any suggestions for MAII's last words?

    "I loved O-rings, nukes and weapons...(wheeze)...and hated Europe til the end...(slump and exhale)"


    To fluffytale #137: Maybe someone has asked MAII to continuously "stimulate" debate and provide "balance" so that blog user contributions can't be criticised for being too left and coherent?

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  • 144. At 10:25am on 29 Sep 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    134 Bienvenue,

    Mr. Roger's Neighborhood was a generic everytown, and was never named so that children across the country could relate. But it was made and broadcast from WQED in Pittsburgh, not Philadelphia.

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  • 145. At 10:42am on 29 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    143. At 10:04am on 29 Sep 2009, _marko wrote:

    "Any suggestions for MAII's last words?"

    I like the idea of this new game. Better get in quick before it gets quashed.

    "Nobody told me" gasp, hair falls out in clumps on the pillow, "they'd fire back!"

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  • 146. At 10:51am on 29 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    143. At 10:04am on 29 Sep 2009, _marko wrote:

    "Any suggestions for MAII's last words?"

    May I add how much I look forward to that happy event?

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  • 147. At 11:01am on 29 Sep 2009, Seraphim wrote:

    Funny as soon as a technology happens to be dominated by a country other than America it is not important anymore. Well though cars may not be the cutting edge they will preserve many jobs here for many years while nanotech will at best create a handful of jobs.

    I am actually quite thankful that my tax payers money is spend for useful things such as health care instead of blowing it up into space via NASA. In which way does it help to solve the problems on earth to land on Mars?

    One area of tech you seem to ignore is green technology, but does that word even exist in American? ;-)

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  • 148. At 11:38am on 29 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    143. At 10:04am on 29 Sep 2009, _marko wrote:

    "To fluffytale #137: Maybe someone has asked MAII to continuously "stimulate" debate and provide "balance" so that blog user contributions can't be criticised for being too left and coherent?"

    That has occurred to more than one contributor in the past history of this (and other) BBC blogs. It has certainly sometimes looked like a full-time occupation. I've tended to put that down to an impoverished and lonely life, myself, but maybe I was wrong there.

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  • 149. At 11:39am on 29 Sep 2009, D R Murrell wrote:

    Ahhh in some ways I feel sorry for MAII, I mean he detests Europe and Europeans, yet his pseudonym is a Roman Emperor. He has special vitriol for the British but seems compelled to release his fury on the British Broadcasting Corporations website. It strikes me that he is slightly confused and not just on that matter, email is the official standard spelling as used by IEFT (internet Engineering Task Force) currently headed by the US NSA.

    He also seems slightly off kilter regarding NASA’s superiority as well, apart from being one of the most blatant government backed monopolies in the world, it constantly under estimates its missions to prevent privately owned competition, it also sub-contracts a lot of its work to European (mainly British) contractors. Many of the companies currently competing for the European Space Agency Mars explorer have gained their experience working for NASA (it pays more, one of the reasons it is constantly over budget).

    As for rubbish European technologies, large numbers of mobile (cell) phone manufacturers are based in Europe. As well as that the World Wide Web (rather than internet for clarification) was invented by an Englishman working at CERN, which brings us nice round to CERN itself, which outstrips anything being done in the rest of the world.

    Personally I have little issue with the USA or its technologies, the US government and its foreign policies are another matter. I think it is a bit sad when certain individuals bleat on about European anti-Americanism, while being rabidly anti-European themselves. Maybe these individuals don’t understand the mean of either irony or hypocrisy!?!

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  • 150. At 11:55am on 29 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I test drove a Rolls Royce once. Now I recall it was a 1982 Silver Seraph, not an 85. Yes the body and engine were British designs. 8700 pounds made heavier by using lead weights. Smooth ride but it seemed more like piloting the Queen Mary than driving an automobile. Not practical on an American road where the nearest repair may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away...unless you live in Beverly Hills among the stars who can afford to throw away money on say 8 mpg cars as they are chauffeur driven to events where they decry global warming.

    One thing I found out living in Europe was that most cars made for the domesitic European Market were simply not adequately built to meet American standards to make them legal to be driven on American roads. You couldn't export them to the US if you wanted to except as museum pieces or to be driven on your own private property. Those that were exported were heavily modified and were only superficially similar to domestic versions of the same car. Among the worst were French and Italian cars. Renault was awful. So were Fiat and Simca. American domestic manufacturers didn't take Japanese imports seriously because European imports had proven so unreliable and difficult to get service for. While it was true that Mercedes was a reliable car once upon a time, when you did need service, it was very expensive and parts were not easily available. You had to wait, often a month. That is why we had to get rid of the second of two Peugeot 304s my father drove. In the early 1980s, Honda Accord became a very popular car in America. BMW 318 quality and performance at half the price, that's how people felt. Personally I would never buy or own a European car. I'd sooner own a Japanese car but I still prefer American mid and full size cars with big V-8 engines. That Rolls was no better than a Lincoln Town Car for which service was available anywhere in America.

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  • 151. At 11:59am on 29 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 147, Seraphim

    "I am actually quite thankful that my tax payers money is spend for useful things such as health care instead of blowing it up into space via NASA. In which way does it help to solve the problems on earth to land on Mars?"

    I suspect that is the way many Spaniards felt when Queen Isabella sold some of her jewels to finance Columbus' expedition.

    NASA's accomplishments go well beyong the astronauts antics the media loves cover. In addition to learning more about the universe in a few decades than throughout the history of mankind, NASA's probes have studied our own planet and have made tremendous contributions in gaining a better underestanding of our environment and the dangers we face.

    Its greatest contribution, however, may be the impetus it provided to the development of new technologies. Things that we take for granted today, from satellite communication, electronic transactions, to weather prediction came to fruition, at least in part, due to the technological advances made by the space program.

    I would be remiss if I didn't remind you that the interest we have shown in learning more about the universe, our own planet, and the advancement of technology is not exclusive to the USA and NASA, foreign agencies such as ESA, CSA, NASDA, CNES, the Russian space program and others have played a similar role.

    Confining ourselves to the comforts of living in caves. awaiting divine intervention to solve our problems, or the viability of smoke signals and pigeons as a mode of communication are not goals worth pursuing.

    Personally, I would rather see a decline in military adventurism and a greater focus on social programs at home than the abandonment of tools that allow us to learn more about ourselves and continue to grow as a society.

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  • 152. At 12:24pm on 29 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    147. At 11:01am on 29 Sep 2009, Seraphim85 wrote:

    "I am actually quite thankful that my tax payers money is spend for useful things such as health care instead of blowing it up into space via NASA. In which way does it help to solve the problems on earth to land on Mars?"

    Well. when the Americans have finally finished this planet off for good, those of us who are left and can afford the ticket (one-way, obviously, no point in buying a return) are all going to go and live on the moon. So they can polish that off, and then the ones...(see above)... all go to live on Mars. So they can make that absolutely uninhabitable, by which time they'll have invented the technology to move those of us . . (as before). . . to another system altogether. So. . .

    (Seems to be the plan. Worth every cent that's not spent on universal healthcare, greening the planet. stopping pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and silly trivialities like that, if you ask me. I mean them.)

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  • 153. At 12:53pm on 29 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    151. At 11:59am on 29 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 147, Seraphim

    "I am actually quite thankful that my tax payers money is spend for useful things such as health care instead of blowing it up into space via NASA. In which way does it help to solve the problems on earth to land on Mars?"

    I suspect that is the way many Spaniards felt when Queen Isabella sold some of her jewels to finance Columbus' expedition.

    That was meant to be purely for increased trade and profit. To get some of what the Portuguese had already. (And which they thought was potentially easier and more profitable to get in the future by sea than overland.) We are hardly likely to be making a trading profit out of either the moon or Mars.

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  • 154. At 12:59pm on 29 Sep 2009, dceilar wrote:

    Marcus, American cars are rubbish and you know it. They are inefficient, ugly, have terrible steering (I don't think they are designed to go round corners), and utterly unreliable. I agree about Rolls-Royces though - there are just as bad as American cars. They are for people with too much money and too little sense. Get yourself a Jag!

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  • 155. At 1:12pm on 29 Sep 2009, pciii wrote:

    #150 MAII "blah, blah, blah, 1970's examples that I've used a million times before"

    All we learnt from that post was that his Dad had a Peugeot. Now either he was Columbo, or some kind of Francophile. Strange how kids often rebel.

    The Honda Accord, didn't Victor Meldrew drive one of those?

    Now, just one more thing....

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  • 156. At 4:21pm on 29 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Squirreliest;

    "Well. when the Americans have finally finished this planet off for good, those of us who are left and can afford the ticket (one-way, obviously, no point in buying a return) are all going to go and live on the moon."

    Considering how out of touch you are with what is happing on earth, it seems to me you must be more than halfway there already.

    "So they can polish that off, and then the ones...(see above)... all go to live on Mars. So they can make that absolutely uninhabitable"

    I hate to break it to you Squirrel but since you seem to be contemplating going to those places for temporary refuge...they already are uninhabitable...at least by humans. I don't think squirrels would fare much better. Aren't you going to blame the moon and Mars being uninhabitable on Americans too?

    decellar;

    "Marcus, American cars are rubbish and you know it."

    Funny, in our vast country, most Americans like American cars. When they look for economy, they think Japanese, not European. I'm not impressed by anthing I've seen come out of Europe...unless you count the exodus of emigrees looking to flee to places like the US.

    "Get yourself a Jag!"

    Why bother? Since Ford took it over and rescued it technologically, some Jags are built in the same platforms as some Lincolns. The body styling is different but the cars are the same...except the Lincolns cost much less. I think if I were going to buy a foreign car it would be an Accura or a Lexus. But since I'm happy with the car I have and I'm not really into cars, I'll stick with what I've got. It seems to drive very well. What did you say you drive decellar, a Vauxhall?

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  • 157. At 4:24pm on 29 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    155. At 1:12pm on 29 Sep 2009, paulcrossleyiii wrote:

    "#150 MAII "blah, blah, blah, 1970's examples"

    Leave him alone. Let him live in the past. Can't exactly say he was happier then, but it seems to keep him out of the way of the 21st century where the rest of us are, so that can't be such a bad thing, can it? (For us I mean.)

    One day I'll work out the logic, or maybe even the geography, behind 'unreliable European cars meant Americans wouldn't buy Japanese ones'. Or was 1970's logic/geography different?

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  • 158. At 5:39pm on 29 Sep 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    MAII, there you go again... Yes, in the latter half of the 20th century,
    we yanks had an advantage in technology, but that lead has vanished.
    Technology is international today, and cannot be dominated by any one
    society.

    We invented internetworking out of military necessity, but the whole world
    is benefiting from it, not just us. And, that's a good thing. If we are
    to rescue the planet, it's going to take everyone's participation.

    So, plueeeze, let's dispense with the Euro-bashing. Enough, already.


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  • 159. At 6:26pm on 29 Sep 2009, cdnviewernews wrote:

    I welcome you to N. America. I have watched your reports over the years from Europe. I particularly enjoy learning about the trials and tribulations of the reporter's lot behind the camera. Thank-you for your humour and comments. Most viewers have little appreciation of the life of a reporter for one of the quality news outfits. Can you enlighten us on how reporters get posted to different parts of the world--is it your request or is it purgatory for misbehaving?

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  • 160. At 6:58pm on 29 Sep 2009, easterngreen wrote:

    To Whoever it concerned,

    I was referring earlier about my frustration with people grammar trolling other posts not with posters criticising the main blog, although I am more forgiving over 'mistakes' in blogs than the printed word. Why? Blogs are best used used to capture thoughts and events during and soon after the moment rather than recording them forever. I will often overlook proofing errors for this added perspective.

    I hope that clears up any confusion.

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  • 161. At 8:32pm on 29 Sep 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    I have to fess up. I misspelled "dormouse" as "doormouse."

    However, I have an excuse. Here in the States our doors are
    wider than British doors. Hence, we have room for two occurrences
    of the letter 'o' whereas our overseas cousins only have room
    for one.

    I'm not sure why we spell the word elevator the same way,
    as yours are quite a bit narrower. Perhaps that's why
    you use the word, "lift."

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  • 162. At 9:03pm on 29 Sep 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    161 guns
    "I'm not sure why we spell the word elevator the same way,
    as yours are quite a bit narrower.Perhaps that's why you use the word lift."


    Our lifts are narrower than your elevators because our people are also narrower!

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  • 163. At 11:09pm on 29 Sep 2009, pciii wrote:

    #156: "I'm not really into cars" It shows, both in your rantings and current choice of wheels!

    So was your father a cigar smoking Detective or Francophile? I can't imagine Peugeot ownership has ever been high in the USA.

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  • 164. At 01:58am on 30 Sep 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    162, RomeStu, your observation is quite correct. This is why we can't send
    any Americans to the moon anymore - it would take twice as much fuel as it
    did 40 years ago.

    The upside is that now we have an easy way to identify terrorists - they're
    the ones not taking up two entire seats in economy class on an airliner.

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  • 165. At 08:09am on 30 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Assigned American beat, our roaming correspondent is obviosly flying to American Samoa as we speak, right Mark?

    From California, where he covered an unprecedented financial crisis the over-extanted government of the Golden State faces.

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  • 166. At 09:05am on 30 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 167. At 09:29am on 30 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    165. At 08:09am on 30 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Assigned American beat, our roaming correspondent is obviosly flying to American Samoa as we speak, right Mark?

    See my post in the newer thread and stop being ridiculous. Look at an Atlas.

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  • 168. At 10:46am on 30 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    #165 Don't have to. It sufices that you don't seem to know where California is.

    You know the place where where our Border Patrol had a major shoot out couple of days ago with Mexian human smugglers? You know, the ones smuggling huddled masses to the American fascist/rasist state?

    P.S. Still now answer how do you and yours feels after the election in Germany.

    And when Britons are going to have a referendum on their membership in EUSSR.

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  • 169. At 11:54am on 30 Sep 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    164 guns
    "The upside is that now we have an easy way to identify terrorists - they're the ones not taking up two entire seats in economy class on an airliner."


    Dont joke - that'll end up in the "Air Marshall's Guide to Spotting Evil-Doers".

    Anyway, did I read a few years back that SouthWest Air was trying to charge the "double-seaters" for both the seats they occupy? Or perhaps I just imagined it. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

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  • 170. At 12:20pm on 30 Sep 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    easterngreen and #160.

    re, "...more forgiving.."

    Phew, that's a relief: For awhile I thought you were setting yourself up as arbiter of what constitutes correct use of a Blog!

    You are still not getting it, are you!?

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  • 171. At 3:31pm on 30 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    last words " help one ring isn't keeping me afloat."

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  • 172. At 3:44pm on 30 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    165. At 08:09am on 30 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Assigned American beat, our roaming correspondent is obviosly flying to American Samoa as we speak, right Mark?

    From California, where he covered an unprecedented financial crisis the over-extanted government of the Golden State faces.
    -----------------
    168. At 10:46am on 30 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    #165 Don't have to. It sufices that you don't seem to know where California is.

    You know the place where where our Border Patrol had a major shoot out couple of days ago with Mexian human smugglers? You know, the ones smuggling huddled masses to the American fascist/rasist state?

    P.S. Still now answer how do you and yours feels after the election in Germany.

    And when Britons are going to have a referendum on their membership in EUSSR.
    ----------------------
    sorry to ask but do you always talk to yourself?


    If america was so accepting the people would not be being smuggled.
    Thats pretty simple. maybe you will get it.

    As for the election in germany.

    Why do you guys think the right of Europe begins to be as racist as the right here.
    The politics of the tories is meant to be akin to the republicans except they all have the sense to accept health care(well the one that didn't won't be going far;)

    then on to the ussr.
    which is a different place these days. just look that euro report saying how the georgians went to war and though provoked did start it. but then you do know better.

    Can I ask why you get any post of mine that asks you to say if you have served in the military refered.
    Just a few make it, you never answer.
    When and in who's military did you serve in.
    Just so I can pay proper respect to your courage and duty.

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  • 173. At 3:49pm on 30 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    stu rome they did try and charge double for those that were double.
    Can't think that that policy still exists.

    Paul. from what I have read on ma his parents were lovely people. MA own hatred for them( expressed in previous posts if the mods wish to check up) is all the proof I need.
    Like I say A liberal family that according to MA weren't zionist enough to follow his dream to Israel.
    Instead they focused on helping people in their local community, Again this did upset their little emperor.
    Grand parents were "good people" which I presume means baby eaters, but obviously not their own kids.

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