Let's say you have a child. We'll call him Billy. Because of your schedule, you and your working spouse/partner decide that it's time to hire a nanny to help with childcare.

You hire someone who seems very nice.
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She promises to do a lot of things that you think will be good for your child – no TV allowed, an hour of reading time every day, outdoor activities, healthy snacks, and so on. This sounds promising, so much so that you don't even feel as guilty about leaving Billy in the care of a virtual stranger.

After a few months you realize that not everything has gone as well as you hoped.
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The nanny isn't bad per se, but she's not following through on some of the promises. She gives him more snacks than you would like. She arranges playdates with the children of adults you don't know. Billy seems to have picked up a few four-letter words from her. It's a lot of small things, not one big thing. But Billy bonded with the nanny and you don't want to fire her.

So you hire another person to help care for your child – a 47 year old schizophrenic convicted sex offender named Rich Crenshaw who keeps three knives on his person at all times. He promises to straighten that nanny right out.

Almost immediately you realize that things are not quite right. Billy seems to have a lot of unexplained cuts and bruises. He reverts to sucking his thumb and gently sobbing himself to sleep. The nanny has stopped doing the things you disliked, but it seems like she stopped doing the things you liked as well. She's sort of a non-entity.

You have a little sit down with Rich and the nanny, letting them know that you don't want Billy to be given snacks but you don't want him to be starved.

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You don't want him playing with strangers, but that doesn't mean he should be locked in the closet. You want him to behave, but you don't want him threatened with a knife. In your mind these are reasonable demands.

Rich pulls out his knife, grabs your child, and runs into the attic. He holds the knife to Billy's throat and insists that he'll ventilate the little SOB unless you let him do whatever he wants. After a tense standoff you figure that it's better for Billy to be messed up than dead, so you negotiate.

Clearly the right thing for Billy lies somewhere between the two approaches. Neither the nanny nor Mr. Crenshaw did the right thing, so you realize that both are at fault. You work out a compromise: your child will get healthy snacks and outdoor playtime in the morning, and then in the afternoon Rich will beat him with a broken table leg, slash at him with a broken Night Train bottle, and dangle him from the roof.

Deep down you're not happy. You know that this isn't exactly "good" for your child. You feel indirectly responsible for this situation but you can't quite figure out what you did wrong. Isn't moderation good? Splitting the difference between opposing viewpoints? Finding balance? But try as you might, you just cannot understand how things went so wrong. When you hired that knife-wielding 47 year old schizophrenic convicted sex offender, you trusted that he would do the right thing. Instead he turned out to be crap-eating crazy, precipitated a hostage crisis, and acted like some kind of violent sociopath.

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It truly is an outcome that could not be foreseen.


  • Do any other liberals kinda, uh, wish they had voted in the midterms? There are millions of you out there. I hope you all (and by you, I mean we) feel ashamed of yourself.

  • Remo4Preznit says:

    Yeah, Ed forgot the part where the nanny immediately starts blaming other nannies.

    Because it's so unprecedented for low-information liberal voters to sit out a midterm election that it obviously must be Glenn Greenwald's fault.

  • Middle Seaman says:

    First, Rich should have been prevented from drinking tea.
    Second, never hire a nanny without a long referenced history. (Major omission)
    Third, your colleagues suck too.

    Finally, I knew about your stupidity since April 2008. Enough said.

  • One of the tea ass senators said he would insist on a "60 vote threshold" for the compromise legislation.

    I don't even . . . I can't . . . I wasn't there for all the Nixon stuff, or Iran – Contra, but I have to imagine that even in the presence of fairly high-proof evil it wasn't as if the world was crazy, because there were still institutions and political actors that reacted to this stuff like normal people would. There were investigations and arrests and repercussions and such.

    But now . . . it feels like everyone's playing by Calvinball rules. "We're facing hard economic times, so if you don't cut several trillion dollars from the economy in the near-term I'll nuke the living fuck out of the economy." Tell that to a twelve year old and he'll call bullshit. But everyone who counts treats that as on ok political strategy, and the media just covers it like any other story out of Washington, and some smug detriment to humanity senator can go on TV and say he'll insist on a fucking filibuster-proof vote count on the "hurt the economy but at least the sociopath doesn't nuke it" bill. And there won't be repercussions for this shit. Nothing's going to hold them accountable. Bluh.

  • HoosierPoli says:

    So the "low-information voters" are the reliable democrats? Really? REALLY?

    I'm with Ed. Elections aren't about swaying opinion, they're about driving turnout. The "low information" voters are the REPUBLICAN voters, and they'll turn out to vote because they're the only ones who will fall for what the Republicans are selling.

  • There was something oddly satisfying, going into the final stretch of this hostage crisis, about imagining what would happen if the tea partiers in Congress had really managed to hamstring the whole process–if they had prevented Boehner from pulling together any kind of majority.

    So that when the default deadline rolled past, and the folks (overwhelmingly old and white) who voted said tea partiers into office found out that actually, this month they would not be receiving their Social Security Checks.

    Or their government farm subsidy checks.

    And that their doctors and pharmacists would no longer be accepting Medicare.

    Just flat out told "Sorry, but this month you get nothing. Nada. Rien. Next month, too. And the month after that, most likely. Oh, and FYI, we just told a shitload of poor people that their children would starve because we can't pay for food stamps, Welfare, or subsidized housing, so when the riots start–and they *will*–don't bother sending for the National Guard, because they also just lost their funding. Welcome to Thunderdome, bitches!"

    Yeah, the look on those pink-cheeked, bejowled faces would have been priceless.

  • Grumpygradstudent says:

    They start with a philosophy that says the baby is shit. They hate the baby. They were willing to blow up the whole house just to make the baby suffer. That's how much they hate the baby. I mean, why should there be a house in the first place if it's occupied by such a lazy, ugly, bureaucratic, inefficient baby anyway.

    They were willing to blow it up. The other side wasn't. Everybody knew it. Credible commitment…they had it, the dems didn't.

  • @Middle Seaman – "Enough said"

    Really? Either I'm an idiot (possible) or that was pretty obtuse. I think I get the tea thing, and the reference to Obama's "lack of experience", but the colleagues and the April 2008 thing – Who are you addressing? Ed? Obama? Democrats in general?

  • Comrade Luke says:

    The Democrats have to somehow convince the non-rich to vote for them, while at the same time becoming beholden to the rich in order to finance their careers. So they legislate for the rich, and run for re-election as "Vote for us, because otherwise those scary Republicans will win".

    None of the actions of Democrats since 2008 are confusing in the least if you consider who has benefitted from the actions. Literally every decision has been either in outright favor of the rich, or with the thought of minimizing the impact on the rich.

    Extend tax cuts, health care "reform" that minimizes the impact on insurers at the expense of everyone else, bailing out Wall Street, making the stimulus as small as possible, and now this fiasco.

    Why do you think they're not talking about jobs? Because the corporate overlords couldn't give two shits about the job situation. They're rolling in profits in the middle of a recession. Why would they be interested in taking on the added overhead of…you know, people…when they're making money hand over fist without have to hire anyone now? Democrats aren't talking about jobs because their financial backers aren't talking about jobs, and those are the people they listen to.

    I'm a Democrat. These people are not Democrats. They run as Democrats and legislate as Republicans, because if they ran as Republicans they couldn't get elected.

    Turns out the nice nanny is a cross-dressing sex offender, so you're doubly fucked.

  • I knew this was a debt ceiling metaphor as soon as you said, "Let's say you have a child."

    Also, @Comrade Luke, I could really do with less "cross dressers are all sex offenders" bullshit from you.

  • Natalie: Comrade Luke never claimed " cross dressers are all sex offenders". Don't get your indentity politics PC undies in a bind.
    Comrade Luke: 100% on target, though you would never convince an Obambot of the bloody obvious.

  • anotherbozo says:

    "Deep down you're not happy."

    I love it! Jonathan Swift is in hysterics. But a sad, world-weary kind of hysterics.

  • I'm w Dryden. I'd rather see Billy go up the house in one huge cataclysmic fire ball, than die this death of a 1000 paper cuts.

  • Elder Futhark says:

    Clearly, the answer to this particular fable is "Term limits".


    (And no, you sillies, that was fucking sarcasm. Jesus.)

  • Elder Futhark says:


    The thing I like about Rand Paul is he looks like his head is made of solid wood. Old Woodenhead,

    In fact, I got to wonder if the Blue Fairie visited Ron Paul's workshop one night? Does Rand Paul wish he was a Real Boy?

    At any rate the Kentucky Stupid cocksucking motherfucker looks like a character from "Thunderbirds", or "Team America, World Police" if that's your partticular shit and giggle.

  • That dysfunctional family needs a balanced budget amendment. That'll fix all the problems. Knife-wielding psychos love balanced budget amendments.

  • You're forgetting the part that both babysitters work for the same agency which has a monopoly on baby sitters. If you don't work for that agency, you don't get a job. Oh, and the agency pays their wages, you don't. When they get tired of babysitting, if they've done a good job, they get a well paid position behind a desk somewhere.

    For whatever reason, that agency wants to fuck with your child. Or more likely, doesn't really give a shit.

  • Comrade Luke says:

    Natalie, the story is about a female nanny and a male sex offender. My point was that it turns out they're both the same, so that would imply the nanny is a male sex offender. Hence the cross dressing. Are you really that obtuse?

  • Sigh… been describing the situation for months now as the old fable about the cake and the two kids, with the reasonable kid saying "let's each get half" and the unreasonable asshole kid saying "no, I want it all!" and the great "compromiser" coming in and saying "OK, *you* will get 1/4 of the cake, and *you* will get 3/4 – that would be a reasonable compromise!" Of course, the second kid is going to beat up the first kid and take away even his undersized portion of the cake, because the compromiser is trying to be reasonable. You don't try to get compromise between one reasonable person and one insane mofo – you set up two crazy mofos with extreme positions and work it out between them! "OK, *you* want to make it so that rich people pay nothing in taxes, and get to run their companies without oversight and regulation, and get to influence the course of legislation unduly through unscrupulously accumulated power… well, this other person wants to take all the money from your benefactors, use their ill-gotten gains to balance everything out and make government work to serve the needs of people, and guillotine your friends in the public square on television. Now… do you think maybe we can reach a COMPROMISE?

  • Rich Crenshaw. Nice SNL reference.

    Its amazing how much I just don't care about politics anymore and how totally liberating it feels.

    That is all.

  • Actually, the Dems are starting to remind me of a weak mother with an atrociously bratty child.

    The child screams, throws itself on the floor, and yells "No! NO! I won't do it! You can't make me!" But instead of taking firm action with the kid, Mommy Dem moans and wrings her hands, saying "Please don't do that, it's not very nice," but gives in to the kid every time–apparently not realizing this will encourage even worse behavior down the line….

    Yes, our country is now ruled by the minority party throwing temper tantrums, because Obama and the Dems can't summon even one-tenth of the balls Bill Clinton showed in standing up to Newt Gingrich in a similar situation. And if they think caving in (again) will make things better in the future, they 're as delusional as Neville Chamberlain at Munich.

    Really, to steal from Theodore Roosevelt, "We could carve a better President–and Democratic Party–out of a banana"….

  • "By the way: it seems to me the Democratic Party, on Sunday night, July 31, 2011, committed suicide. Someone reassure me that this isn't so."

    Yeah, I think so, too. But they did it by drinking a moderate overdose of Mercury, so it gets to be long, drawn-out and horrible. On the other hand, if Bachmann wins the primary (and I think she's the odds-on favorite), maybe it won't matter. If she gets elected, all bets are off. That would be so close to a German Chancellor 1933 result as makes no difference for us (yaaaaay Godwin!). On the good side, I don't think anybody who's Jewish would have to worry, at least not at first.

  • Also, I'm sure Obama will have much more leverage over the GOP in 2013, when he's a lame duck president.

  • You people are all silly. All concerned about this supposed turning point in the history of American politics, where suddenly one group can blackmail another into doing its bidding through threats to obliterate everything there is if they don't get their way. Like that hasn't been happening all the time, secretly, under the hood, for decades, perhaps longer. The only change is that it's now visible. Transparency. We get to see it. And we discover… that doesn't make a difference. All it does is scare us. Not motivate us into doing some obliterating ourselves…

  • ChalupasAndVodka says:

    This story ignores the fact that the orignal nanny, and all nannies hired before her, likes to give the child a six shooter with one chamber loaded to play russian roullette. Sure, Billy may not kill himself today, but he inevitably will lose the odds and end up dead, if left to continue doing what he's doing, with no clearly defined new direction with his daily activities.

  • Well said, Comrades Luke and x. I'm surrounded by Obamabots. I also understand the alternative is a lot worse than a fake Democrat. Maybe I'm young and foolish, but I still have hope that our party leaders will stop being such pushovers and stand up for the party's ideals–in words and actions.

  • I just want to say that was an epic rant. I actually saved that one as a way to introduce you to some friends who I think will enjoy your musings.

    Well played, sir. Well, played, indeed.

  • @Natalie: you have a strange sense of self righteousness. I call double hypocritical bull… on your self-righteous PC bull…!

    If anything Ed should be maligned for making his bad person a male "shit-eating schizophrenic" with a penchant for knives and small children. Shame on you Ed!

    As a male I'm offended that the molester is automatically male. Why the he'll can't the nanny be trying to roger Billy with a strap on?
    The only schizophrenics that I know of who as a matter of course carry a knife are those living on the streets, where they're preyed upon by everyone else (just 'cause you're paranoid doesn't mean ppl aren't going to beat the crap out of you). Are all schizophrenics "shit eaters", violent and child molesters (most of whom were abused themselves). So Natalie, get off your PC high-horse and deal.

    @Elder: the thought that Papa Paul reproduced sexually >shudder<
    Though to Puppy's credit he's always recognised that the huge hole in the ship's hull has been Shrub's playing soldiers. Still agree with your other summations though.

  • This is a really superior treatise in favor of libertarianism and its emphasis on self-reliance, congrats. It also doesn't do a bad job in pointing out the danger of relying on employees – remember, trust is good but control is better!

  • I love analogies and allegories, but in politics this kind of "personal anecdote" simplification is usually the realm of conservatives and libertarians. It shouldn't be overused. That's why you get people like that idiot who wrote an article proudly describing how she upbraided a nanny and two little girls who were giving away free lemonade.

  • Abolish babysitting! Infant Carrstone requires no nanny! He will tend to his own diaper, fetch his own bottle, use the stovetop as he sees fit! What could possibly in wrong?

  • I'm surrounded by Obamabots.

    Please, if we must label our fellows to make ourselves feel intellectually superior, use "Obots"; it just rolls off the tongue so much better. It's got zazz…like "firebagger".

    Maybe I'm young and foolish, but I still have hope that our party leaders will stop being such pushovers and stand up for the party's ideals–in words and actions.

    Oh, Pollyanna.

  • You forgot the part where the reporters from every station came by the house hoping for blood to lead the newscast and asking why don't you just give Rich Crenshaw everything he wants because this is how you babysit now.

  • I loved the story about the parents who couldn't control their child before take off being ejected from the plane. Their kid was running up and down the aisle and they apparently couldn't or wouldn't control the brat. Removing the threesome from the plane was a damn good analogy for what the tea poisoned should be confronted with.

    "We want a truly civilized society, and you obviously don't. Please leave. Now!" Maybe they can find another population less inclined to let them live their fantasies on everyone else.

  • So this is a political analogy? I guess dressing up points in fiction is a good way of avoiding stating them baldly, which would expose their fatuous nature. I'll respond without recourse to analogy.

    What's striking about the Washington debt ceiling face-off is that both sides are apparently insane: not just the tea-baggers who think they can cut federal spending by something like 40% in one fell swoop, but the more "reasonable" GOPers and Democrats, who literally cannot imagine the federal government functioning without running a 10% GDP deficit. None of these people are insane (contra your silly story) – they are being driven to take insane positions due to an untenable situation.

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