Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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As I touch on over at Stubborn Facts, a presidential election is essentially about character and general philosophy. There are too many policies, in too many areas, to discern which particular policies of the candidate are being voted for or against. We are voting for the man (or woman, of course), not policy X or policy Y. Hence, character and aspects of personal judgment are important and very relevant.

Once the election is over, however, it all once again becomes about policy, because we will be evaluating each specific new policy proposal brought to us by the new President, deciding whether to support or oppose those specific proposals. In four years, we will again have a chance to evaluate the candidate himself, in toto, but until then, the fights are about specific policies.

So the thing to do is look at each policy proposed, from the horrifying "card check" proposal to reinstitution of the fairness doctrine to "universal voluntary national service," and fight for or against those policies as your principles guide you.

Bill Clinton was so skillful at manipulation and taking credit for even things that he only did because his opponents forced him to, that he got under the skin of the Republican Party and taunted them, essentially, into focusing on HIM rather than his policies. This was a major tactical error on the part of the GOP. That's why I've written so much the last couple of days urging people on the right to put aside Wright and Ayers (regardless of the fact that I believe those associations by Obama were important, relevant, and legitimate in the context of the campaign) and begin to focus on the policies.


"presidential election is essentially about character and general philosophy."

So absolutely true, and the net impact of this election swings on the "character and general philosophy" of the man from the last eight years. Like it or not, McCain didn't stand a chance of winning because of the last eight years. The essential "philosophy" of the Republican Party as we knew it "pre-Bush" was thrown by the wayside and the party resembled a "new character and philosophy" as McCain picked up the banner. He never stood a chance (although he redeemed his personal character via his excellent concession speech. IF the platforms were believable and seellable ... red would not have faded toward blue. I say that Obama deserves every opportunity to display his "character and philosophy" before being judged and the right leaning folkss should recognize that in power struggles ... there are no "do overs"


Sigh. I was all excited by this challenge to "suspend disbelief" and look at the world through different eyes. What a great exercise that would be for those of us who live in our little ideological ghettos. I remember a college simulation I once participated it about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where we all had to take on roles that were different from our personal beliefs. Extremely eye-opening to stand in someone else's shoes and really argue other points of view.

But this article didn't help me get there at all. By the time I got to the laundry list of what the crazy irresponsible fucked up liberals will soon be doing in Congress, I only wished that the author of this piece was reading your blog and could try to see the world differently for half a second.

I think Pat's response is much more reasonable: to look at each policy proposed and fight for or against those policies as your principles guide you. That makes a hell of a lot more sense than what is spewed in this National Review article.

I'm disappointed because I think I'm a good candidate for tinkering with my political immune system and trying to see things differently since I have such a low tolerance for the rabid frothing-at-the-mouth ravings of some people in my party. But this article just makes me want to renew my ACLU membership and write Nancy Pelosi a love letter.



speaking of ~the rabid frothing-at-the-mouth ravings of some people in your party~ ... did Al Franken win?


No, but with the latest automatic recount he's now trailing Coleman by only 237 votes. Yikes, those are 2000 Election Year numbers.

How many elections have actually been changed by recounts? I wonder if certain members of the GOP hope that Franken squeaks by--he's such good fodder for them.


Danny, that's your immune system kicking in. Substantively, I can agree that the welfare-state aspects of the "Great Society" were a disaster, and I can see that conservatives fear Obama could be planning a comeback. Hopefully not. Strategically, I can see that fetal life and traditional marriage are so important to large numbers of people that pushing the opposite extreme will only lead to an extreme backlash (such as wiping out civil unions along with gay marriage). I think that gay rights is a generational issue and that as gay people become more mainstream and young people more tolerant, that one will ease up in time. With abortion I think it may be the opposite -- the more science tells us the harder it's going to be for anyone to talk about "a clump of cells" in good faith -- and I think a combination of cultural and technological change will eventually come close to eliminating abortion. In the meantime, the only way to keep it legal is with strong restrictions -- that's where the center of the country is.


As for entrepreneurship -- I would rather see employee-ownership plans and other creative new forms of labor-management alignment (Tom Strong has worked on this) than renewed class warfare between entrepreneurs and working people. As someone once pointed out (maybe it was my wealthy friend), not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Non-entrepreneurs need jobs. Employers provide them. Entrepreneurs needs workers. There is certainly a tension there, but turning it into class antagonism is not going to work in the age of globalization. I hope Tom will pitch in here.

And Vietnam . . . I don't know what to think about that. I am really in between. I'm willing to consider the conservative point of view but it just leaves me stranded in the middle. No conclusions yet for me on that one.

Michael Reynolds

I'm with Danny. It was a predictable rant from a tedious ideologue.

Of course the American people didn't vote for a "left wing" agenda any more than they voted for "right wing" agendas in the past. The American people don't give a shit about left wing, right wing, this con, that lib, or any of the rest of it. That's all noise.

What matters to the 70% of the people who don't have their heads shoved all the way up their rectums is their family, their job, their security. The 70% don't give a fuck what your theory is, they want to know how life can be better for themselves and their kids.

Every four years they look at the goods on offer and they think, "Jesus, let's try this one, he seems less obnoxious than the other guy."

The American people are optimists. Which is a big part of the reason we're in a ditch, but it's also a big part of the reason why we always manage to get out of ditches. That and the fact that we are as a people pathologically averse to ideology so that we generally manage to ignore people like the author of the referenced piece.


I hope Tom will pitch in here.

I hope so, too. I've been mulling over the whole "entrepreneur vs. employee" thing myself lately.

And I'll read Tom's post while listening to Michael's radio show.


Michael -- your immune system is working too well; you're not doing the exercise. The whole point is, what to you is "a tedious rant from a predictable ideologue" is to the other side, reality. What to you is soaring oratory of hope and change, is to the other side a tedious rant from a predictable ideologue. I'm not telling you to stop believing what you believe is right . . . just don't be too sure. I'd say the same to the other ideologue.


P.S. Most ideologues are predictable and tedious.

RW Rogers

How many elections have actually been changed by recounts?

Very few, Danny. And far fewer since the advent of computerized voting, so it will be interesting to see what happens in Minnesota where optical scanning is the norm. With optical scanning, a mismarked ballot is generally immediately rejected by the scanner on-site, and the voter has the option to correct the error or not at the time.

Irrelevant detail: I was involved in a recount while I was in college. A friend lost an election by 51 votes out of 101,000. After days of recounting and ballot challenging, the official result was he lost by 35. The machine-read 51 vote loss total was more accurate.

Ruth Anne

Minnesota: The Norm/Al controversy.

Is there any 'Normal' outside of Illinois?

RW Rogers

The sign on the podium for Obama's press conference reads: "Office of the President-Elect" Huh? Since when? Not in my constitution. Is it in yours? Not a good sign IMO. Not good at all.

Michael Reynolds

I don't buy soaring rhetoric on either side. Remember, I'm not the guy who thinks Obama's the messiah, I'm the guy who said he was pragmatic and a little ruthless. (See: Rahm Emanuel.)

But you're right, all ideologues are predictable. Clearly we need to teach a lot more philosophy in schools. (Hah hah hah, like that'll happen. Good, one Michael.) It would be nice if people spent at least a day or so considering epistemology. (This year we're canceling basketball so we can spend the funds on teaching epistemology!)

Very few people have ever asked themselves why they should believe this or that, or how to determine what is true. (Simplifying just a tad bit there, but you know what I mean.) The result is that even well-educated people have literally no idea why they believe the things they believe. They grab onto an ideology because it gives them a comforting set of mental walls within which they feel safe. Then, when they confront a conflict between ideology and phenomena they ignore the latter rather than question their ideology. Ideology becomes their reality and reality itself is set aside as inconvenient and troubling.

This results in otherwise not-stupid people believing stupid things. (See: Sarah Palin supporters.)


The ideology usually has some connection to their self-interest, i.e. their economic circumstances. I frequently quote the one thing I think Karl Marx got right: "the conditions of existence determine consciousness."


Well, the "Office of the President Elect" sign is a bit unorthodox, I agree, and probably not a great idea, but frankly, I'm glad he's planning for January instead of surfing in Hawaii for the next two months. Should we change Bush's press conference signs to "Office of the Lame Duck?" Gulp.

What really bothers me about the sign, as a book editor, is the lack of a hyphen. I've seen that title written every which way. Is it President-Elect or President Elect? In trying to find the official punctuation, I came across an interesting tidbit. We know that the representatives of the Electoral College still have to officially meet next month to cast their votes for the new President and Vice President. But did you know that if, GOD FORBID, the President-Elect dies after this December 15th meeting, the Vice President-Elect is automatically sworn in as President on Inauguration Day. But if the President-Elect dies BEFORE December 15, the electors can choose someone else for the job? Jesus, thank God that's never been tested although it could have been in 1872 when Horace Greeley died a few weeks after Election Day (but he had already lost the election which is a good thing on several fronts including the fact that he went nuts before he died).

(Spit three times...I'm sorry to have brought the subject up.)


Ideology becomes their reality and reality itself is set aside as inconvenient and troubling.

Me, I've never met a reality I've ignored.

That's why I'm on anti-depressants.

Michael Reynolds

Does whiskey count as an anti-depressant?

RW Rogers

Obama's gratuitous insult of the recently hospitalized widow of a previous President of the United States does not lend credence to the proposition that he wants to tone down the partisan rhetoric rampant in Washington, D.C.


Kenobi's point six wheels out a predictable parade of horribles; one that's included is gay marriage and one that isn't is illegal immigration. I want to float the suggestion that the GOP should consider walking away from both these issues.

I suggest this with heavy heart, because I am not suggesting that the GOP simply adopt my positions on those issues - quite the contrary. Although I'm somewhat ambivalent about gay marriage, I loathe the idea of amnesty. Rather, I suggest it because I conclude that we have lost the battle on these issues, and I don't know any general who would advise sacrificing scarce men and materiel to continue fighting an unwinnable battle when those resources could be better deployed elsewhere. It was not for dislike of Brooklyn Heights that General Washington decided that he would rather abandon it than lose his entire army fighting for it.

On gay marriage, the Supreme Court is going to rule - probably sooner rather than later - that DOMA and the various state constitutional amendments violate the equal protection clause. It seems absolutely obvious to me that there is a straight line running directly through the Roemer and Lawrence decisions that goes straight through the heart of gay marriage. If the court has been unwilling, in the four years that this has been an issue, to take a case and so rule because the liberals feared that the backlash would prevent their retiring under a Democratic President, that brake is now gone. There is absolutely nothing we can do about this; any chance of stopping gay marriage evaporated on Tuesday. Get over it. Ditto immigration: it strikes me as being entirely predictable that the Obama administration is going to push an amnesty bill that is if anything even more liberal than the one Bush advanced. There simply are not the votes in the House to stop this from advancing, and while our capital in the Senate will be sufficient to throw spanners in the works from time to time (refusing consent to unanimous consent motions and calendering, for example), we are for all intents and purposes now out of the game. To paraphrase Thomas Brackett Reed, they are going to govern and we are going to watch.

There is much to be said for the honor of going down with your ship. There's nothing at all to be said for doing so when disembarking will advance the cause. If conservatives drop opposition to gay marriage and amnesty - two issues that, as I've said, we have lost on already - we may find it easier to attract moderates and latinos to the party. As absurd and frustrating as I find it, it seems clear to me that most latinos have concluded that our opposition to illegal immigration amounts to hostility to latinos, or at very least a dealbreaker. We cannot win this naturally conservative, pro-life constituency unless we remedy this. Thus, I propose that the GOP should bow to reality. It should propose an approach that focusses on dramatically liberalizing and making more efficient the legal immigration process, while still insisting on closing the border for security reasons. And -- I swallow hard writing this, because it is the very amnesty that I have myself been intractably hostile to before Tuesday -- we should accept a path to citizenship for those illegals already here.

A party that is in denial of basic political reality cannot efficiently allocate resources. The basic political reality is that in the next four years, two things that we can do nothing about are going to happen regardless of what we do. Our choices are to continue fighting, or bow to the inevitable and look for ways to profit from it.


I thought the sign was a little odd, myself. I think we're in a for a very grandiose period stylistically. That, coupled with Joe Biden, should be entertainment enough.

As for the Republicans...I read somewhere that 59% of all Americans define themselves as fiscally conservative, and socially liberal. I'm hoping that the GOP focuses on getting the social agenda pushed to more of a state/local level instead of trying to duke it out on the national stage. I don't want them to come out and think "we just need to be like we have been, but harder."


It wasn't as grandiose as that "presidential seal" of his during the campaign. Nor do I see any automatic implication or unwarranted assumption that his status has any Constitutional standing. Presuming you had to call his current operation anything at all, what would you call it that would not trigger that perception of hubris? "Presidential Transition Team"?


Randy- what did he say now?


I posted something, but maybe it went into moderation... here it is without the links.

"President elect" is most certainly in the Constitution. The 20th Amendment:

If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

Karen... I'm still looking for the exact quote, but apparently he made some crack about Nancy Reagan holding seances, while talking about how he's spoken already to all of the (living) former Presidents.

Ruth Anne

Video here at Tammy Bruce's blog.

RW Rogers

"Presidential Transition Team" is the commonly used phrase in recent decades. While it is true that the Constitution mentions the fact that a President Elect may exist, it makes no provision for the Office of President of President Elect. As Obama said today, we have one President at a time. His time will come in January.

RW Rogers

"I have spoken to all of them [former Presidents] who are living," he says. "I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any séances," he says.

He wasn't even factually accurate in the process. Reagan consulted astrologers. Lincoln's wife is the one who conducted seances.

Tom Strong

Hi amba,

It's an interesting question. I don't know as much as I want to know about what might be called "entrepreneurship policy"; it might be that I'll get a chance to learn in the next couple of years.

I'm still a big proponent of employee stock ownership programs, but they can have their risks. For instance: did you know Enron had an ESOP?

That's one reason (of several) why I'm leery of government subsidizing ESOPs or otherwise trying to build on them through policy. Companies have a market incentive to develop ESOPs anyway, as they have been shown to be slightly more resilient and durable over time.

What's more important, in my opinion, is getting financial education into high schools. Considering how capitalistic our society is supposed to be, this is a major gap in most people's educations. I think that one measure would do a lot to increase economic equality in our society.

Tom Strong


Completely agree about the Reagan crack, which was both tasteless and stupid.

I'll say it again: if Obama wants to have a failed presidency, the single most effective thing he can do is continually anger the opposition base. That tendency was Bush's undoing, and (very nearly) Clinton's as well.

RW Rogers

What's more important, in my opinion, is getting financial education into high schools. Considering how capitalistic our society is supposed to be, this is a major gap in most people's educations. I think that one measure would do a lot to increase economic equality in our society.

I agree, Tom. (Explaining why its not a good idea to pay $2 to take $20 out of an ATM would be helpful, too.)

As to the ESOPs, I agree, too. IIRC, United Airlines was 55% owned by an ESOP from 1994 until its bankruptcy in 2002.


The Nancy Reagan comment was dumb but rather than accusing Obama of horribly insulting the former First Lady, which I think is overstating it, what it reveals to me is potentially more grave. As much as I admire Barack Obama and think he will be one of the most articulate Presidents this country has ever seen, he doesn't seem so gifted in the levity department. He's so serious, so deadpan, that many of his jokes tend to fall flat, except when they are part of that deadpan self-deprecation he's great at, like the wonderful "mutt like me" line from this morning. I'm happy for our country but worried for our comedians and impersonators. He's a tricky one to get right, as our friend Fred Armisen on SNL would tell you. McCain was much easier--even my eight-year-old nephew does a killer John McCain ("My friends..."). Obama had a few good zingers at the Al Smith dinner last month but McCain was funnier. Let's face it--no politician today has the delivery of Ronald Reagan. (Hey, I'm bipartisan!)

RW Rogers

Fine, Danny. I'll retract insult. It wasn't just dumb, however, it was unexpectedly incredibly insensitive. The mortality rate for people her age who suffer a hip fracture is extremely high. If Reagan passes away within the next few months he's going to look bad for making fun of her as she lay dying. Not an auspicious start to a new age of cooperation. The press in attendance thoroughly enjoyed his of-the-cuff joke so I imagine Obama thinks his little joke was a winner.

RW Rogers

“President-elect Barack Obama called Nancy Reagan today to apologize for the careless and off handed remark he made during today’s press conference," said transition spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter. "The President-elect expressed his admiration and affection for Mrs. Reagan that so many Americans share and they had a warm conversation."

Good for President-Elect Obama. Full credit to him for promptly correcting his mistake.


Randy, he should never have made in it the first place. He insists that everyone lay off his wife, but he's willing to go after an old woman whose husband is dead. He insists that everyone ELSE needs to stop being partisan, but makes cheap jokes against the other party. This is why I say we shouldn't give him an inch, for game theoretic reasons if nothing else.


"If Reagan passes away within the next few months he's going to look bad for making fun of her as she lay dying."

Interesting timing considering HIS current lose of a beloved relative.

Isn't that account slightly suspect since no one really knows how warm a conversation it was? The press is already covering- calling it a slight mis-step on Washington Week.

~sigh~ ... and i thought the last two yrs were long.


Help. "Willing to go after an old woman whose husband is dead?" Good lord. If that kind of hysterical response comes on Day 2 about an admittedly dumb and misguided attempt at humor that was HARDLY a vicious attack (Nancy Reagan may not have held seances but she does consult psychics and other New Age folks which is no big deal--who doesn't these days?), then I feel sick to my stomach about the next four years. Can I place my vote for Randy's gracious response to Obama's quick and eloquent apology to Nancy Reagan over Outis's nitpicky bile? And Karen, you're not seriously suggesting that they're lying about the call to Mrs. Reagan, are you? No one would be that stupid. I'm sure it happened, I'm sure it was genuine, and I'm sure she graciously accepted his apology--she recently said in an interview that she likes the guy. You'll find no Nancy-bashing from this Democrat, I admire her.


Given my proclivity to deplore political correctness, perhaps I should remain silent. That said...

The remark from Obama has nothing whatsoever to do with insulting Nancy Reagan or Ronald Reagan. It is a bit of dry humor, something actually chuckle-worthy if you see with less partisan eyes. I'm sad so many wearing their politics and emotions on their sleeves are pulling the Palin act by reading something into it that simply doesn't exist.

And let me add this: I watched--on FOX News, no less--the "lie in state" display of Reagan's body, and I watched it for many hours. And I cried repeatedly, especially when Nancy came in and again when Gorbachev came in. Other times, I simply cried looking at the outpouring of emotions, hearing the history retold, seeing the respect offered to someone who changed our world, IMHO, for the better.

I liked Reagan. I believed in him. I have no political leanings against him.

Yet still I found this remark from Obama to be anything but offensive to either Ronald or Nancy. I find the response unfortunate, though.


I should clarify: By "Palin act," I mean those reading more into rumors about Palin than should be given credit, like whether or not she knows what Africa is.


"And Karen, you're not seriously suggesting that they're lying about the call to Mrs. Reagan, are you?"

No, Danny. Just noticing that the Press is glossing over something for him, again.

I just wondered about the ~warmth~. And, i think- being ~funny~ when your Grandmother passed away on Monday by way of an injured older woman... is insensitive sounding. BWDIK.

Ah well, not my dog and no longer my fight. Just my 2 cents. :0)- old habits, and all.


Nancy Reagan is a public figure. Joan Rivers makes fun of public figures. Unfortunately, Barack Obama is no Joan Rivers.


this is a major gap in most people's educations.

Sure was in mine. (I was a girl in the 1950s, but still.)


I didn't say "vicious". It was off-handedly snide. And just minutes after calling for the other guys to stop being partisan. Again. After appointing one of the most partisan men in Washington to be his transition chief, and THE most partisan man in Washington as his new Chief of Staff. His highly charged appointments followed by his snide comments means he gets no benefit of the doubt on this partisan matter.

You guys want us to play nice NOW? Where was that call eight years ago? We've had years of "BUSH LIED, PEOPLE DIED!" No possibility of an honest disagreement over policy was ever allowed. More recently, your side has called Palin a c*nt, McCain a traitor and a coward, and implied that anyone not voting for Obama is a racist. (And let's not forget threats of riots if Obama lost.)

So tell me, is calling Obama out for being a prick on this better or worse than all of that? Before you answer, remember that Obama has already acknowledged that he was a prick, and is working to cover his ass now.

As for the next four years, I hope you enjoy receiving as much as you enjoyed giving.


Wow. Your bitterness, anger, and hatred is depressing and scary. I wish you'd try Annie's exercise and try to spend one second not seeing half of this country as the enemy. For the record, never in a million years would I have ever called Sarah Palin a c*nt or John McCain a traitor and a coward. Do I think Bush was a horrible President? Yes I do. There are extremists on both "sides." I thought this blog offered the possibility of actual dialogue that went past tit-for-tat revenge. Your choice, of course. Over and out.


Danny, it's not a question of "tit-for-tat revenge." Your side fought hard, dirty and freestyle for eight years. If we decline to respond in kind, that's our own decision, and I happen to think it would be the better one. But don't ever demand that we follow the rulebook you people through out. No lefty who wasn't on record as castigating the "Palin is a cunt" t-shirt has any standing to crticize the "Obama is a cunt" t-shirt when it appears.

The difference between the right and the left is that while there are extremists on both sides, the extremists appear to be the mainstream on the left.


The difference between the right and the left is that while there are extremists on both sides, the extremists appear to be the mainstream on the left.

Well yeah, coming from Simon who hasn't figure out where the political middle is, one who thinks anyone to the left of Attila The Hun, is a liberal. In that sense, your statement makes perfect sense.


If we decline to respond in kind, that's our own decision, and I happen to think it would be the better one. [emphasis added]



Spud, anyone who pays even cursorary attention to what I write here and elsewhere would find it very hard to make a serious case for your comment's accuracy. It falls to the level of bad comedy coming, as it does, only a few comments below one in which I proposed that conservatives compromise with political reality on two issues that are very important to many of us.


Spud, anyone who pays even cursorary attention to what I write here and elsewhere would find it very hard to make a serious case for your comment's accuracy.

Bullshit! And LOL.

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