The blur commences.


And so we enter the end-of-year zone, eh? Last night Alan and I went out to dinner with friends, then to two parties, one of which featured a silent auction of blighted gingerbread houses, with the money going to buy plywood sheets to board up the worst abandoned homes in the Cornerstone Village neighborhood of Detroit. The party was held in a newly purchased foreclosure, which the new owner wants to turn into her second bed-and-breakfast, or maybe a regular rental, adjacent to her urban duck farm. New name: The Quack House. (You can see, just taking apart that sentence, why I find this place so interesting.) The joke in the out-of-focus photo above is explained here.

Because I shopped like a madwoman all day yesterday, I missed most of the coverage of the cop shooting in New York. I was shocked to hear about the police turning their backs on the mayor. Every instinct in your rational brain tells you this is simply the pain of a fraternity that suffered a terrible loss yesterday. And the rest of your brain says these guys simply don’t get it. I hope this isn’t a portent of more pain ahead.

Finally, great news at this end: Young Katharine has achieved a major goal — being admitted to the college of her parents’ choice, i.e., the University of Michigan. Early decision. We’re all thrilled. She’s still waiting to hear from Oberlin and NYU, and the decision of where to go will be based on finances, but this was all of our first choice, so I’d say that unless NYU rolls out the green carpet, she’ll be going to Ann Arbor next fall. Such a relief as we head into the holidays.

Intermittent posting through New Year’s, but I’ll take lotsa pictures.

Posted at 1:09 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

162 responses to “The blur commences.”

  1. Jolene said on December 21, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Big congrats to Kate. Such a great outcome. Great school with terrific programs in so many fields of study, in-state tuition, far enough away from home, but close enough to make holiday and other visits cheap and easy. Am really happy for you all.

    Always great to hear good news about young folks, as Brian would say, making their way in the world.

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  2. Jolene said on December 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    The blighted gingerbread houses auction is definitely an OID entertainment. Kind of sad to think of boarding up houses as progress, but I see the point and appreciate the creativity.

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  3. Dexter said on December 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Congratulations on the admissions letter to UM. Not set in stone just quite yet, I understand…let the bidding begin, NYU.
    It ain’t easy getting a foot in the door at UM, so a huge hurdle has been cleared. When I was a boy, a kid one year older was nominated and accepted to join the plebe class at West Point for the fall of 1966. At least back then a kid applied through his congressman’s office and the representative then selected either one or zero kids to nominate, then the academy accepted or denied the application.
    Oh it was a big to-do…nobody from our little Podunk had ever come close to such an honor.
    Of course it was all a sham in the end. There happened to be a little “brushfire war” (as my dad called it anyway) raging in Southeast Asia and every week a couple hundred plus US GIs were getting blown away and sent home in Starter body bags. (Yep…that’s how the athletic wear company started, indeed.) Our honoree flipped a giant bird to West Point and the congressman at the last possible minute and slid down to Bloomington where he excelled, went to law school in Indianapolis and became a corporate lawyer in Texas.

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  4. coozledad said on December 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    The head of the police union needs to be shitcanned today. There’s no place in this country for that fascist nonsense.

    I was astonished how quickly the right started with the ‘Al Sharpton caused this’ bullshit, and how Putin sucker Rudy Giuliani trots it out as some kind of vindication for the criminal behavior of his fellow ghouls.

    I’ve got two words for those jumped up recent immigrants to our fair land: Cliven Bundy.

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  5. MichaelG said on December 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Congrats to Kate! It’s great to get a first choice, it’s great to end up with actual choices and it’s great to have the news this soon! A trifecta and no cliffhanger.

    Think Harbaugh will end up at Michigan? I would guess the pros somewhere. He wants a super bowl ring.

    Thank you, everybody, for your patience and for all the nice things said in the last thread.

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  6. brian stouder said on December 21, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Here’s a story which, if it WERE an OID, that would be a Good Thing. But instead, it reflects an alarmingly consistent legislative attack on publicly funded common schools

    an excerpt:

    Last week was seen as a big deal for Detroit: For one thing, the city officially emerged from municipal bankruptcy, ending an 18-month bout of financial wrangling with itself. On the same day, the owners of Little Caesars, Mike and Marian Ilitch, announced they would construct a new eight-story headquarters for the pizza empire in downtown next to their Fox Theatre. The Ilitch organization said they would be only the seventh corporate headquarters to locate in Detroit since 1950.

    It was an announcement meant to tie in with a new $450 million arena for the Ilitches’ Detroit Red Wings to be constructed a block away. Both are expected to open around the same time in 2016-2017. That wasn’t the only arena-related news last week. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette quietly issued an opinion that said state taxes for schools can legally be used to fund the arena’s construction. The opinion came in response to a request in October from state Rep. Rose Mary Robinson (D-Detroit), who asked if it was a constitutional use of the funds.

    In her request, Robinson pointed to a section of the Michigan Constitution, which says that money from the state School Aid Fund is to be used “exclusively” for public schools and colleges in Michigan.

    Not to sound too much like a cranky old guy, but this sort of story genuinely troubles me. It is not too much to say that it is an existential threat, going forward – right along with the sort of fetish-izing of armed police always being right when they kill people, and being holy martyrs when they get killed.

    Before Joe (who I generally like) jumps in again on this latest American news story about a deranged person with a gun killing people (gun control laws, anyone?), here’s the central question (I think): is it an over-reaction for Cooz (et al) to invoke the word “fascist”, when these police literally turn their back on the mayor, in the wake of this latest attack?

    Armed, uniformed, powerful agents of the state turning their backs on an elected leader seems to be the very definition of fascism.

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  7. Jolene said on December 21, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    I am really disturbed by the reactions of police union leaders and some public officials to the cop shootings in NY. Former Gov. Pataki posted a beyond-the-pale tweet last night blaming deBlasio and Eric Holder last night, and Rudy Giuliani was on TV making similar accusations this AM.

    Kevin Drum has a good piece about it.

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  8. Joe K said on December 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Ok kid with a police record assaults store owner steals merchandise and is proven by witnesses and forensic is to have assalted a police officer and gets shot not with his hands up, but shot coming at a police officer, what happened? Riots, looting, burning, arrest. Man in ny, breaking the law, resisted arrest and dies, what happens? Protest with the shouts what do we want? Dead cops. Two policemen sitting eating lunch, gunman who posted take 2 of there’s for 1 of ours, blows them away. What happens?
    Police silently turn there back on a man who has not given them any support in the last month. Which is the more powerful message?
    Pilot Joe

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  9. brian stouder said on December 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Which is the more powerful message?

    Well, first we have to look at WHAT the message is.

    You say

    Kid with a police record assaults store owner steals merchandise and is proven by witnesses and forensic is to have assalted a police officer and gets shot not with his hands up

    I highlighted the part that is of no value at all, since the Ferguson policeman couldn’t have known any of that. Leaving aside the fouled-up grand jury, you and I would likely agree on many general points about the police and what they do for us.

    One point that sticks with me, though, is I’ve never sat down with our 19 year old son and had a talk with him specifically about how to act if a cop pulls him over, or generally gits into his face when he’s out with his friends. I am sincerely convinced, though, that if we weren’t white we definitely WOULD have to have that conversation.

    The police ARE “the good guys” (and gals), and they MUST therefore be held to a higher standard. It is truly not hypocritical to simply expect more of the police than simply killing people in the streets, when they get the chance.

    And when a deranged psycho (or anyone else, for that matter) kills police who are simply out there doing their jobs, we can agree that it is a horrible thing.

    And we probably disagree completely that the police have any call to turn their backs on the elected leader of New York City, in the wake of this latest horrible thing. The mayor did nothing to warrant that, and in my opinion, a police officer who shows such blatant and unwarranted disrespect for their elected leadership show a serious lack of judgement and independent thinking.

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  10. coozledad said on December 21, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Joe’s the primary ingredient required for fascism. An assload of racist stupid.

    September 17, 1992 — Thousands of off-duty police officers thronged around City Hall yesterday, swarming through police barricades to rally on the steps of the hall and blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge for nearly an hour in the most unruly and angry police demonstration in recent memory.

    The 300 uniformed officers who were supposed to control the crowd did little or nothing to stop the protesters from jumping barricades, tramping on automobiles, mobbing the steps of City Hall or taking over the bridge. In some cases, the on-duty officers encouraged the protesters.

    While the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association had called the rally to protest Mayor David N. Dinkins’s proposal to create an independent civilian agency that would look into police misconduct, the huge turnout — estimated by the Police Department at 10,000 protesters — and the harsh emotional pitch reflected widespread anger among rank-and-file officers toward the Mayor for his handling of riots against the police in Washington Heights last July, his refusal to give them semiautomatic weapons and his appointment of an outside panel to investigate corruption…

    Mayor Dinkins, who was not at City Hall during the demonstration, denounced the protest as “bordering on hooliganism” and said he held the P.B.A. president, Phil Caruso, responsible for what happened. He accused Mr. Caruso of inciting his members’ passions and suggested the union leader was motivated in part by contract negotiations.

    The Mayor also assailed Rudolph W. Giuliani, the probable Republican mayoral candidate, who spoke out against the Mayor at the union rally. Mr. Dinkins said Mr. Giuliani had egged on the protest irresponsibly for political reasons. “He’s clearly, clearly an opportunist,” Mr. Dinkins said. “He’s seizing upon a fragile circumstance in our city for his own political gain.” …

    Hey, from Guiliani’s perspective, the riot worked.

    H/T Balloon juice.

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  11. Joe K said on December 21, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    One of the things that made the nypd upset, was the mayor telling the media he had to tell his bi-racial son how to act, they took that as a slap and I have to agree with them.
    We’re not going to agree on this, but I understand your right to believe different then I do, but like I said before,2 cousins that were state troopers and teammates that were fwpd, I’ll take their side till the facts say different.
    Remember it’s a thin blue line between you and the bad guys.
    Pilot Joe

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  12. coozledad said on December 21, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    You are the bad guys, Joe. Your resentment of the poor. Your knee jerk racism. Your vilification of the president. Your flat refusal to convert yourself into a fully functional human being through the process of education. Russia is full of people who are perfectly happy to kiss authority’s ass. Go there.

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  13. Sherri said on December 21, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Congratulations to Kate! Early decision makes senior year much less stressful.

    I don’t think Harbaugh is going to Michigan, but leaking the offer helps him in negotiating for his next NFL job. He’s still under contract to the Niners for next year, so while they don’t want him, they want some compensation before letting him go to another NFL job, and he can use the leverage of the Michigan offer to get them to yield.

    I agree with you, MichaelG. Harbaugh wants a Super Bowl ring. His brother has one (he’s the head coach of the Ravens), and his big rival of the last few years (Pete Carroll, from both USC and the Seahawks) has one. This is a man who hates to lose anything to anyone. I don’t think he’ll go back to college unless he doesn’t have any options in the NFL

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  14. MichaelG said on December 21, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Well, I guess we’re just a big puddle of agreement, Sherri. I also had in mind that he would use the Michigan offer as leverage.

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  15. Wim said on December 21, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Whoever would have thought that ‘Go back to Russia!’ could be so adaptable a taunt?

    Wonderful news about Young Katherine. It must be such pleasure to have that tucked safe in the bag.

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  16. Dexter said on December 21, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    The only reason Harbaugh might go back to A2 is $49 million. He wants no part of the college circus, he feels he belongs in the NFL, and that’s his choice. That said, geez…that’s a lot of love and money being extended by UM.
    For sure he has fulfilled his mission in Santa Clara and he is moving on, and all we should do is wait and see. I want Les Miles to leave the swamp and come home to Ann Arbor SO BADLY. I really think that deal could have been worked out, but the powers in Ann Arbor just don’t seem all that keen on Miles anymore. This gave Miles the chance to say all those glowing things about his situation at LSU while to me it seemed it was all a ruse, and he really did want to come to M Stadium where he belongs, damn it. Wishful thinking. We don’t need that fucking weirdo Greg Schiano. We need a big name coach with recruiting glue on his hands. In a few years the program could be restored.

    The NYC cops really do hate de Blasio . The Brooklyn double assassination made me sick, the video of the choking murder-by-cop was awfully disturbing, and the Ferguson/Brown troubles were/are topics of intense review and discussion. Remember the talk of post-racial-distress America back in the fall of 2006?

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  17. coozledad said on December 21, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Wim: You know what they say. You can’t have a police state without the police.

    I don’t want to attribute that whole serf attitude to people of Slavic origin, though. God knows the Anglo-Scots-Irish German dreck down here would jump through a searing hoop of piss plasma to lay their lips on some cop ass.

    Like one of the Cops at the bar where I used to work was fond of saying when he was shitfaced, and believe me, he was often shitfaced, ladies like fucking a guy with a uniform and a gun. “The ladies” has come to mean anyone who has had their brains squeezed out their ass by watching Sean Hannity blow himself and learning to enjoy it.

    It’s the police who are servants. Once the fuckheads forget that, game over.

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  18. adrianne said on December 21, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    The head of the NYC PBA, Patrick Lynch, is a complete bastard. Even police supporters hesitate to back this guy. Their treatment of deBlasio is despicable. And Giuliani needs to crawl back in the hole where he’s been spending his time since his abortive presidential run and stay the hell there.

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  19. Deborah said on December 21, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Congratulations to Kate and the whole Derringer household. Good news!

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  20. basset said on December 21, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Way to go, Kate! The rest of y’all, calm down.

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  21. Jolene said on December 21, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    What Adrianne said @18. Right on every point.

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  22. Linda said on December 22, 2014 at 6:18 am

    Cooz: You can’t have a police state without the police. Indeed. My sencond amendment loving brother had a Facebook posting in which it was insinuated that American Indians lost their rights when they became disarmed by whites. You would think this mean that gun advocates would back the use of weapons by downtrodden minorities? Naw, just kidding! Apparently, that was just a hypothetical thing until we started having a real crisis with the use of police force on a downtrodden minority. Since that point, they have rediscovered their love for the evil jackbooted authority. Who could have guessed that would happen?

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  23. Linda said on December 22, 2014 at 6:27 am

    The o vious propaganda parallel is clear: just as the right turned a debate about the Iraq war into “support the troops,”burying the abuse of police power into “support the police.” It’s possible to support good cops and fight police abuse.

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  24. coozledad said on December 22, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Linda: What Fox news and their organ grinder monkeys liked about the Michael Brown killing was its extrajudicial flavor. The Dirty Harry fantasy beloved of the brotherhood of the sleeping choad.

    But like so many things the Republicans whistle out their asses, it sounds better in the original German, and in this case, it’s schutzhaft.

    Ernst Kaltenbrunner would have a good shot at heading a FOP or Police benevolent Association these days, but we hanged the murdering son of a bitch.

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  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Congrats to Kate, although I’m told that Ohio residents cannot commend anything having to do with Ann Arbor’s academic institution. Exceptions can be made.

    I’m not what anyone would call a De Blasio supporter per se (I don’t mind carriage horses in Central Park, for one thing), but I have a painfully white son who is on his learner’s permit, and part of what I’m teaching him as we put in our 50 hours of accompanied driving, along with braking and signaling and such, is how to behave when cops pull him over, as will happen to us all at some point. And I think most cops are decent, lawful persons, but I’m teaching him to behave as if any encounter with an armed, nervous, jumpy uniformed person with a baseline authority to shoot people could go bad quickly — and how to not provoke.

    So I’ve heard De Blasio’s comments a number of times, and given that his son is also biracial, I don’t hear him saying a thing that seems inappropriate to me. If those angry at the mayor think he should do that privately with his son, but as an elected official, not talk about it, that’s ridiculous; if they think the mayor explaining some of the tensions on the streets right now are because people know they have to raise their children with cautions about police behavior, and that those explanations caused or legitimized violence against cops that followed, that’s irresponsible.

    And Lynch, the one piece I’ve seen of him speaking, sounds pretty darn irresponsible.

    May the longest night of the year be followed with some brighter days.

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  26. Suzanne said on December 22, 2014 at 8:16 am

    This police shooting is horrible, but really, what does anyone expect? We have Tea Party types consistently sounding the “taxes are bad because government is bad” alarm along with the “every body needs a gun” alarm and then people are surprised that some nut with a gun goes out and declares war on the police? Police are, after all, government workers! Law enforcement budgets have faced cuts like every other government agency, leaving officers no doubt overworked and under-resourced which leads to bad outcomes on the street. And the cycle continues.

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2014 at 8:44 am

    By the way, this is gonna leave a mark. Pope Francis opens up a can of “Whoop-Bishop” on the Roman Curia et alia, complete with footnotes and Biblical citations. And gets it done in 15 theses, doesn’t even need 95. “Spiritual Alzheimer’s…” — whoa!

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  28. Suzanne said on December 22, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Gah. No edit button & it is Monday.

    I didn’t mean to imply that the Brooklyn shooter was connected to the Tea Party, because obviously not. Nonetheless, the NRA types who seem to want everyone to own a firearm seem so surprised when something like this happens. The whole situation is sad, very sad and it seems that so many on both sides of the political spectrum seem to have trouble understanding that their words mean things.

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  29. brian stouder said on December 22, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Jeff – good stuff!

    I wonder if he’d like to do a Vatican III-style conclave.

    I read an interesting book about the Council of Trent (Vatican I, so to speak), and all the gears that turned across Europe as that unfolded

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  30. nancy said on December 22, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Yeah, I gotta say, the cops’ union rep is totally out of line here. I’m seeing more of that as the commentary piles up — that “just do what we tell you” stuff. While not advocating arguing or resistance, I’m growing very, very weary of this heroes-in-blue propaganda being ramped up at the same time cell-phone videos are turning up example after example of anything but. DiBlasio’s son is biracial — black for all intents and purposes — and *not* having The Talk with him would be parental malpractice.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2014 at 9:55 am

    This weekend I was in a bubble of throwing a last minute going away party for our son. Had to bake the cookies, clean the house, the whole nine yards. (As an aside, there was no food coloring to be found in the Fort, except neon colors, so we have contemporary cookies.)

    So I haven’t processed this horrible shooting except to think that everyone needs to dial back their rhetoric. I’d like to see the anger channeled into change, not more hate.

    And yay for Kate! It’s great to have good choices.

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  32. brian stouder said on December 22, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Julie – agreed.

    And here’s the story that affected me most this past weekend –

    and the comments section (at this writing, 4 are visible) immediately veered off into “neener neener neener” land.

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  33. Deborah said on December 22, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I liked the Pope’s line that too many have, among other things, a “funeral face”. Ha ha.

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  34. Bitter Scribe said on December 22, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Let me get this straight…Rudy Giuliani hires a dirty cop in the pockets of the Mafia to be his police commissioner, but DiBlasio is the mayor the cops are mad at. Ooooookay.

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  35. alex said on December 22, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Here’s why I hate Fox.

    She’s an acquaintance, and not a stupid person. But I can’t talk to her about anything.

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  36. LAMary said on December 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Yes, Bitter Scribe. Bernie Kerik. I have a relative who is a cop. He’s about six foot seven. He’s been cited for excessive force several times. The last conversation I had with him went like this. Me: what happened to your knuckles? Him: I’ve been up beating up niggers all night.
    He’s younger than I, by the way and lives in a place that is very white. I don’t judge all police based on his actions but I don’t doubt for a moment that he’s a rare specimen.

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  37. Connie said on December 22, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Alex, not her commentors are blaming it all on Obama who is surely about to declare marshall law. I wonder if that resembles the marshall plan.

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  38. Connie said on December 22, 2014 at 11:28 am

    NOTE her commentators are

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  39. adrianne said on December 22, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Got sidetracked on the cop shooting (needless to say, feelings are running quite hot here in Gotham), so I forgot to say, congratulations to Kate on her early admission to University of Michigan. It’s insanely competitive, even for smarties like Ms. Derringer’s daughter, so good on her.

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  40. Jolene said on December 22, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Alex, your link doesn’t work for me. Why do you hate Fox?

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  41. brian stouder said on December 22, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Jolene, one thing I occasionally do – the internet equivalent of giving Oxy-Rush one minute to say an outlandishly ridiculous thing – is pop in at just to see their headline and subheads….and it almost never fails to amaze!

    So right now, the blazing headline is:


    Murder of two NYPD officers stokes charges Bill DeBlasio fueling a hatred of cops

    and the subheads on their main page are:

    NEW YORK MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO is facing a firestorm of criticism in the wake of the execution-style murder of two city police officers, as police union officials and ex-city leaders accuse him of stoking an atmosphere that made officers a target of ‘hate.’

    Cardinal Dolan, city’s football teams honor murdered NYPD officers

    Yankees foundation will pay education costs for murdered officer’s sons

    | VIDEO: Candlelight vigil held

    Suspect questioned after NYPD issues alert of cop killer threat sent via Instagram

    Florida police officer shot, killed, authorities say

    So in racing terms, Fox is on the rev-limiter right now.

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  42. alex said on December 22, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Facebook link, Jolene. My acquaintance’s ridiculous comments have generated 25 likes in just two hours.

    It’s one of those things where I wonder do these people really believe this shit or are they just having fun trashing Obama/blacks/liberals?

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  43. brian stouder said on December 22, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    I vote B

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  44. coozledad said on December 22, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Bog Irish terrorist says what?

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  45. Jolene said on December 22, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    An impressive collection of headlines, indeed, Brian.

    Very sad to read the story of the NY shooter. In police lingo, he might have been described as armed and dangerous, which would have been accurate, but, he was, more precisely, armed and damaged. We pay a big price for living in a society in which people who can’t succeed at anything else can nonetheless succeed in getting guns.

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  46. Dexter said on December 22, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Fuck and goddam fate anyway.
    Joe Cocker is dead. I have said for years his Woodstock live cover of “A Little Help from my Friends” is the best rock and roll presentation EVER anywhere any time. This bums me out , man. At my age I read about my contemporaries kicking the bucket on a weekly basis, but the sting hurts, always, for a while. Shit. As a fan to a superstar, I freakin’ loved Joe Cocker.

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  47. Sue said on December 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

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  48. susan said on December 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Dexter @46 – And my usual refrain after learning about things like that: “And Dick ‘Dick’ Cheney still lives.” I seem to by saying that a lot these days. Fuck and dogdamn fate, indeed.

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  49. Jolene said on December 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Awww, very sad. I loved that performance too, Dexter.

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  50. Scout said on December 22, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Big congrats to Kate. What a wonderful early Christmas present.

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  51. Joe K said on December 22, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Cocker and Belushi, Saturday night live together, Classic and classy.
    Pilot Joe

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  52. Bob (not Greene) said on December 22, 2014 at 2:04 pm


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  53. coozledad said on December 22, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    When air guitar was in its infancy: Obligatory.

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  54. Dave said on December 22, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Dexter, it seems like people I know are dying left and right, in ten days, there were four people I’ve known during various times of life that passed away, then I learned of the death of a thirty year old man, who was brother-in-law to one of my son’s good high school friends, leaving a two year old daughter and young widow, no less, and now Joe Cocker.

    My youngest son got completely shafted by the Miami Police Department in the short time that he lived there. Reinforced every bad thing I ever thought about police and made me hate Miami for life. He lost a job over it and left the city, which in and of itself was not such a bad thing (in my view) but boy, do I hate Miami. Oh, his record got expunged but that wasn’t cheap, or all that easy. All over nonsense.

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  55. FDChief said on December 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    The NYPD seems to have forgotten – not exactly surprising, given the “thin blue line” mentality that seems to have infected a hell of a lot of coppers’ brains in the past couple of decades – that their supposed responsibility is to protect the public.

    Not themselves. Not each other.

    The public.

    Which means that 1) when they fuck up and shoot 12-year-olds, or people who aren’t armed or dangerous that they should expect to get a shit-ton of abuse from the public, whose protection-as-their-primary-responsibility-pooch they have clearly screwed like a Johhny Holmes porn-o-thon, and 2) that they need to start grabbing a whole lot of humble when they GET that shit-ton of abuse. Because they HAVE screwed up, the worst possibly screw-up they could screw up, and they need to STFU and go on about ensuring that the copper who screwed up is paying for his screw-up.

    And, frankly, if the coppers had any sense they’d see that, too. It doesn’t help the occupiers if the occupied begin fearing the troops’ tendency for random shootings MORE than they fear the non-random consequences of defying the troops. If you’re gonna get shot anyway, why the hell NOT get shot taking a slap at one of “those bastards”, instead?

    Between the damn CIA torturers and the damn NSA spooks and the damn NYPD hooligans it seems to me like there’s a whole lot of “civil servants” that need to be taken firmly by the stacking swivel and beaten back to an acceptable level of servitude.

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  56. Sue said on December 22, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    two groups of public employees.
    One group is not responsible for what they do, can’t be criticized or questioned or you’re un-American or something.
    One group is responsible for every outcome, whether they control it or not, and is considered greedy and grasping.
    Both groups are composed for the most part of good people who went into their professions for the right reasons.
    One group is police officers, the other is teachers.
    The only common element is the contempt the people who hold these outrageous views have for the populations these public employees interact with.

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  57. coozledad said on December 23, 2014 at 1:04 am

    Sue: The right wing anti-education strain is a long term development. It’s our wahabbism. I can’t figure out the ultimate aims of such a medieval horsefucking strain of thought except to drag an elevated culture in line with Islamists.

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  58. Linda said on December 23, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Sue: Police occupy an interesting niche in conservative thought. In their role as union members and enforcers of gin laws, they are thugs. When they run up against the Wromg Kind of People (three guesses) THEN they can do no wrong.

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  59. Linda said on December 23, 2014 at 6:26 am

    I meant gun laws, not gin. Drat!

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 23, 2014 at 7:20 am

    You can have my Plymouth Gin when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

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  61. nancy said on December 23, 2014 at 8:11 am

    And feelin’ good was good enough for thee…. Good enough for thee and Travis McGee.

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  62. adrianne said on December 23, 2014 at 9:16 am

    As my old friend Chris the Cop is fond of saying, “Of course they hate us. We’re cops!” He understood very well the tension between the public and the cops and did not take any of the idiotic behavior directed his way personally. He finally retired as a Syracuse police sergeant after gang warfare made his fear for the lives of his patrol officers. And he had 22 years in, the first couple as a state trooper.

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  63. alex said on December 23, 2014 at 9:44 am

    More from Miss Reason for the Season. She was up to 51 likes before someone finally posted the inculpatory videos showing Fox’s duplicity. Her response: All media do that.

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  64. 4dbirds said on December 23, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Congratulation to Katharine and the whole family. I don’t understand the rage at the protesters either. Is the public never allowed to question them least we be blamed for a sick individual bent on death. Very few people mention that he shot his girlfriend first. Seems like a pattern with these nut cases, they always kill the women closest (although I believe the girlfriend is recovering) to them before going out and picking off their other victims.

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  65. coozledad said on December 23, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Bernie Kerik? Really?

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  66. brian stouder said on December 23, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Well, I recall – many, many years ago – I was working at a supermarket (and I had hair!) and the off-duty policeman/security guy and I were gabbing, and I said it would be neat to be a policeman. He said “you have to know how to fight”. The fellow was 6’8” and built like 4-wheel drive truck, and that was when I realized I would never, ever be a police officer.

    Aside from that, yesterday marked 28 years at my place of employment, and today marks what would have been my dad’s 84th birthday (he passed away 31 years ago)

    And aside from all that, we had a pleasant evening with my son and daughter-in-law and grand-daughters last evening. At some point, politics/police/riots came up, and we navigated around that, more or less. None of this is new stuff. If we roll back the years, police might have been pounding the heads of Irish people (paddy wagons, anyone?) or “dago”s or krauts. Of course, black people would simply be lynched outright, and if the community didn’t like it, they knew enough to keep their anger bottled up.

    And Fox News itself is actually probably a lot more civil than lots of the press was, back in the days when the press actually had to utilize a press to get their words out. (at least one had to be able to read, and get hold of a newspaper, in order to have their prejudices confirmed and validated)

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  67. nancy said on December 23, 2014 at 9:58 am

    We’re dealing with a local tragedy here today: Four teenagers shot in an apparent ambush last night in Detroit. One, a student at an expensive private school, is dead. I’m expecting the usual explosion of Detroit hatred, race hatred and all the other goodwill toward men these things arouse. Fact worth noting: The police recovered 30 — THIRTY — shell casings at the scene, and are now saying it was a rifle. Which means an assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine. The shooter was wearing fatigues and a bulletproof vest. The cops are diplomatically saying that they’re getting conflicting stories from the kids (at least, I think that’s what they’re saying), so more will be revealed. I should stay away from social media today. It won’t be good for my digestion.

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  68. crinoidgirl said on December 23, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Hi, all. This morning I learned that there is probably not much more we can do for my partner as far as treatment goes. In July 2013 she was found to have endometrial cancer and had a complete hysterectomy, plus the removal of some nodes. After a year’s round of chemo, she was found to be clear. But a couple of months later she started falling, hitting her head sometimes. In September of this year she was rediagnosed as having cancer. There is a tumor wrapped around her liver. After several more falls and attempts to keep her white blood cells and her platelets up to a more normal level, and several more hospital admits (the last one two days ago), we’re at the point where the doctors are trying to come up with ideas on what to do. She’s going to keep fighting, but I don’t think there’s much of anything to be done at this point and I’m sad and scared.

    Thanks for listening.

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  69. brian stouder said on December 23, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Crinoidgirl, I don’t have any idea what prayers from me are worth, but rest assured that we will pray for strength for you and yours.

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  70. coozledad said on December 23, 2014 at 10:35 am

    crinoidgirl: What Brian said.

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  71. Heather said on December 23, 2014 at 11:22 am

    So sorry to hear that, crinoidgirl. You and your partner are in my thoughts. Please reach out to friends and family so you won’t feel so alone.

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  72. Dorothy said on December 23, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I’m so very sorry to hear about your partner’s health problems, crinoidgirl. I know from experience how hard it is to get that kind of news around Christmas. I’ll be praying for her, and for you, and hope that you are both able to withstand whatever lies ahead.

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  73. Joe kobiels said on December 23, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Prayers to you.
    Pilot Joe

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  74. Sherri said on December 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Crinoidgirl, my heart goes out to you and your partner.

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  75. Jolene said on December 23, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Oh, crinoidgirl, I’m so sorry. I wish you peace and strength.

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  76. 4dbirds said on December 23, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    I am so sorry Crinoidgirl. I wish I had a magic wand to make everything ok for everybody. Hold on to her as long as you can.

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  77. LAMary said on December 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Crinoid Girl, so sorry to hear about your troubles. As Brian said, stay close to family and friends. They can help you stay strong.

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  78. MichaelG said on December 23, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I’m very sorry to hear about your partner, Crinoid Girl. Brian said it well. Our thoughts are with you.

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  79. alex said on December 23, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    So sorry to hear the news, Crinoidgirl. Sending cyberhugs your way.

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  80. Judybusy said on December 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Oh, Crinoidgirl, I also am so very sorry so hear of this sad news. I hope you and your partner have a good care team and good friends to surround you.

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  81. Deborah said on December 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Crinoidgirl, so so sorry. Sad news at this time of year for sure. Thinking about you.

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  82. beb said on December 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    I’ve been away for four days. There’s so much catching up to do. Congratulations to Kate and bushels of well wishes to Crinoidgirl. If you feel the need to vent you will have a crowd willing to listen here.

    The events in New York were horrendous. We had just arrived at my father’s for a Xmas visit when that came on CNN and we watched for an hour or two. I have no idea what Fox’s take on the shooting was but CNN — supposedly the responsible news channel — was doing everything it could to stir up trouble. They repeated showed video of Patrick Lynch claiming that the mayor has ‘blood on his hands.’ And the small march where people were shouting about killing cops. No word on who was leading the march, how many were involved or when it happened. They really worked that nerve.

    The thing is there have been other cop ambushes, usually by white men, though, which have gone on for weeks as the police try to find the man, suspect he’s getting help from others (white cop haters) and none of this has ever gotten to the level of a CNN hissyfit.

    But this case in New York neatly fit into the newsmedia’s storyline. After weeks of protests about cops murdering black men and getting away with it, here comes a black man ready to kill cops because…

    The fact that he was crazy doesn’t detract from the theme that black protests CAUSED the murder of cops.

    Finally, God bless Pope Francis. Grant him long life because the next pope isn’t going to be given as much leeward to clear up the church.

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  83. Jolene said on December 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    There have been at least two other assassination-style killings of law enforcement personnel this year. A state trooper was killed by a white anti-government survivalist in PA, and two cops were shot at a lunch counter in Las Vegas by Cliven Bundy wannabes. Both were reported in the national news, especially the first, as it involved a lengthy hunt for the killer.

    But the NY shootings occurred in the midst of a maelstrom of demonstrations against the use of excessive force, intense conflict over contract negotiations, and general disdain for the city’s political leaders by many police officers–all in perhaps the world’s most saturated and competitive media market. Such an event could hardly in a worse set of circumstances.

    I’m hoping that a bit of a breather for funerals and the holidays will give some of the more irresponsible people who have spoken out a chance to get a grip on their worst impulses. I can’t say I’m optimistic about camerahounds like Giuliani and Lynch, but, still, we can hope.

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  84. Jolene said on December 23, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    On the other hand, there’s this–more fuel for the fire.

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  85. Deborah said on December 23, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Yikes, I just realized that tomorrow is Christmas Eve, I thought that was Thurs and Christmas Day was Friday. Now I have to get everything done a day earlier than I thought. No wonder Whole Foods and Trader Joes were absolutely crazy. That’s one of the only problems with me and retirement, time slips away from me, it takes on a whole different perspective. You’d think that I would have done everything earlier rather than later, but no, I waited until the last possible moment to do the things I wanted to do. Shit.

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  86. Jill said on December 23, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Crinoidgirl, I’m adding my prayers. They can’t hurt.

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  87. Jill said on December 23, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Congratulations to Kate. It’s got to feel terrific to know she’s in at such a good school. That relieves the pressure as she waits to hear back from others.

    This morning I had to put down my happy-go-lucky Bernese Mountain Dog. Eight days from diagnosis to euthanasia. I love having dogs but I hate this part of it. The comfort is being able to keep him from suffering.

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  88. Dexter said on December 24, 2014 at 12:24 am

    crinoidgirl, so sad to read your report about your partner. Best wishes as you go from day to day now.

    I survived a dinner party in Toledo, just got home. My daughter’s step-son’s girl friend was there, they’re sophomores and he has a car. I got to see my great granddaughter Audrey and her mom too, and the dad, JT. Daughter, my wife and my son-in-law cooked the feast, roast beef , Honey-Baked Ham, cheesy potatoes, mashed too, gravy, grilled portabellas, and that ubiquitous green bean casserole with the crunchy dried onion things on top. Jello cake, lemon meringue pie, chocolate pie . I always want coffee with sweet desserts but they just hate coffee. I almost brought a thermos full but thought that would just be gauche. It’s a rainy foggy sumbitch out there right now and a both-hands-on-the-wheel and eyes wide open drive home. New US 24 drives fast as hell and gets me back to Bryan quickly .

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  89. adrianne said on December 24, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Actually, Eric Fein, the nutcase survivalist in Northeastern Pa., killed two state troopers in his ambush. Since NE Pa. is actually in the NYC metro area, the killings and the monthlong hunt for Fein got quite a bit of coverage in the NY media, but nothing, of course, compared with the killings of Officers Liu and Ramos. And having heard the chants of protesters for well on a month, I can tell you I never heard “kill the cops” or other such nonsense. They did chant, “Jail Killer Cops,” “I Can’t Breathe” and “Black Lives Matter.”

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  90. David C. said on December 24, 2014 at 9:42 am

    That’s truly the exasperating part. Ismaaiyl Brinsley was a diagnosed schizophrenic who was off his meds. Eric Fein along with Jerad and Amanda Miller, were crazy only in that they believed the crazy shit they’re being told by other right wing nut jobs. The later are greeted with a yawn and the former is greeted with outrage at anyone who suggests that maybe the police should maybe once in a while try calming the situation instead of escalating it. But, one amps up geezer outrage and thus sales of dehydrated food, gold, and hemorrhoid cream and the other doesn’t.

    Dexter, I wouldn’t feel you were gauche for bringing your own coffee. My wife and I don’t like coffee either. We had a coffee maker for when my coffee drinking parents came to visit. Once my dad told us we need not bother making coffee, because we made it so bad and would we mind if they brought their own. We don’t make it, he brings it, and all is right with the world.

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  91. brian stouder said on December 24, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Dave C – you got me laughing!

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  92. Jolene said on December 24, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Adrianne, Frein shot two officers, but only one died.

    There was a small group of protesters who chanted, “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want ’em? Now.”

    But I agree that, as far as I’ve seen, this idea hasn’t been a central theme of any of the organized protests. It’s being used to discredit people who are seeking reforms in policing, but doesn’t represent what most protestors are saying.

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  93. brian stouder said on December 24, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I will absolutely be holding the Cliven Bundy armed-clown-convention card in reserve, for when I get an earful this holiday season.

    And why HASN’T shit-for-brains-Sean Hannity (et al) cited the brazen protesters in Nevada, with all their weapons and all their radical talk, in the death of two police officers at the hands of two wayward wing-nuts?

    He’s got one white reason

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  94. Jolene said on December 24, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Your calming down vs. amping up point is so important, David C. Instead of endless arguments re whether Michael Brown did or didn’t have his hands up, we should be asking why Officer Wilson reportedly said, “Get the fuck out of the street,” rather than getting out of the car to talk to him. That interaction started with unnecessary confrontation, escalated instantly, and was over within seconds. All over pretty much nothing.

    Learning how to avoid unnecessary confrontation is especially important as a huge percentage of encounters with police involve people who are mentally ill. Big city police departments seem to be making some progress in training their officers or providing special teams to deal with these situations, but I wouldn’t guess that Ferguson, MO was in that category.

    P.S. Where did you see that Brinsley had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic? All I saw was a rather vague report from his mother that he had been treated for something or other in the past.

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  95. Eric Zorn said on December 24, 2014 at 10:48 am

    What, Kate couldn’t have gotten into a school with good sports teams? Tsk.
    Go Blue. (and congrats!)

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  96. David C. said on December 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

    You’re right, Jolene. I saw what his mother said, and some early reports suggested that he was schizophrenic. The latest reports say he wasn’t.

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  97. Deborah said on December 24, 2014 at 11:26 am

    David C, you’re so right, especially the part about hemorrhoid cream (ha ha).

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  98. Sherri said on December 24, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Even off-duty African American cops aren’t immune from being targeted:

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  99. brian stouder said on December 24, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Sherri, an excellent article

    And indeed, I’m quickly tiring of this trope, which the article repeats –

    However, defenders of the NYPD credit its policing methods with transforming New York from the former murder capital of the world into the safest big city in the United States.

    That has a strongly fascist stench hanging upon it, no? (Thinking of “but he made the trains run on time”, referring to Mussolini)

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  100. beb said on December 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Blogger Kevin Drumm has been working the drop in crime angle for some months now. The drop in crime is universal and dramatic. It can’t be from stop-and-frisk because it happens in cities where they did not use that tactic. Drumm argues that it a data point regarding the use if leaded gasoline. A generation after lead was taken out of gas the crime rate across the country drops.

    Jolene mentions that the NYPD are in the middle of contract negotiations. That hasn’t been mentioned by the news channels even though it was be a big factor in any open hostility towards the city government.

    Josh Marshall at Talkingpointsmemo wrote a long and thoughtful look at the cop killings.
    he points out that the NYPD has been at odds with the city’s mayor going back decades.

    I read the link Nancy gave about the shooting of four metro Detroit teenagers. The area where they had stopped to smoke pot was, indeed, desolate. It’s just northeast of the Conner St. Chrysler plant. There’s nothing but weeds there for blocks. It’s not a place where I’d want to stop … for anything. 30 rounds fired into the car. Christ-Almighty, why do we still allow assault rifles on the street?

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  101. Jolene said on December 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Googling “causes of falling crime rates” yields several short, interesting, and readable articles. Those I looked at do credit policing, especially in New York and LA, which have relied heavily on statistics to identify areas where crime is prevalent and acted to prevent it.

    But, as beb points out, it’s complicated. Crime has dropped dramatically not only across the US but also in Japan and many parts of Europe. The demographics of developed countries have changed dramatically and security measures in homes, businesses, and cars have improved. It’s much harder to steal a modern car than an older one.

    The article linked below gives a good overview of these issues, but there are many others. And, following beb’ suggestion, it’s worth googling Kevin Drum’s work on lead, which has been published in Mother Jines. His analyses are quite detailed, but the articles are very readable.

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  102. Judybusy said on December 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Jill, I’m sorry to hear about your pup. Those BMDs are beautiful!

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  103. Dexter said on December 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Eric Zorn: very droll. You’ll have to tell Kate abut the calming effects a stroll through Burns Park can be. (That’s where I parked and then biked to Blue sports events for years.)

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  104. Deborah said on December 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Jill, I didn’t see your comment about your dog until Judy Busy commented on it. I’ve been skimming because I’ve been frantically busy. So sorry, it’s so hard to do and for me with my cat last week it was more depressing because of the time of year. The only good part of it is that you’ve stopped the suffering, and that’s a big thing.

    I’m almost done with my tasks to do before tonight. We have our to do on Christmas Eve, always have in my family. We are having some of Little Bird’s friends over who don’t have family in town, we’re having our traditional meal (Pasta Bolognese with home pasta) then we’re all walking up to Canyon Road for the Farolito Walk. Then back to our place for drinks, goodies and gift opening. For those who aren’t familiar the Santa Fe Farolito walk is pretty fabulous, with bonfires and luminarias (paper bags weighed down with sand and candles inside. People sing carols and stop for warm cider or hot chocolate at various galleries. We’re walking over there because parking is a bitch.

    Merry Christmas Eve to all y’all.

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  105. Deborah said on December 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    been not begn and homemade pasta not home pasta, but you know what I meant.

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  106. beb said on December 24, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    JC, I know you’ve said there are problems with adding an “edit” button to NN.C but what about a preview page before posting with the ability to go back to our comment form and make corrections? Or is that pretty much the same time as the ‘edit’ button.

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    • jcburns said on December 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Yeah, that is pretty much identical. Do you think there’s some sort of problem reading the text you’ve entered BEFORE hitting the submit button? I think taking a deep breath and reading it thoroughly is a pretty good way…it’s not like there’s some sort of mystery typo machine that adds errors in AFTER you’ve pressed the button…?

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  107. Jolene said on December 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Posting a few end-of-the-year lists here for your entertainment. Might be some good binge-watching material in these.

    30 Best TV Shows of 2014 (Vox)

    10 Best TV Shows of 2014 (

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  108. Jolene said on December 24, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    The Lives They Lived – Vignettes re famous people who died this year from the NYT

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  109. Jolene said on December 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Best Political Stories of 2014 – Assembled by WaPo political reporters. Political is very broadly defined here, which means that the list is more interesting than, say, a straight dose of campaign coverage.

    Best Political Sketches of 2014 – Assembled by WaPo political reporters. Includes clips from SNL, Daily Show, Colbert Report and others. Not all funny, but some are.

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  110. brian stouder said on December 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Deborah – sounds like fun!

    My nomination for The Oddest Commercial of the 2014 Christmas/New Years Holiday Season is:

    The Planters peanuts commercial where the dapper peanut who’s hosting the party deals with Richard the Nutcracker when he shows up, by jamming his walking stick into Richard’s mouth.

    I cannot quite figure out the subtext; but leaving that aside, the peanut host is serving his guests dishes of peanuts(!) – and despite his cannibalism, he’s righteously wrathful toward Richard Nutcracker..!!??

    Oh well – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!

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  111. Dexter said on December 24, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    A Visit from St. Nicholas
    ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
    Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
    The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
    In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
    The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
    While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
    And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
    Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
    When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
    I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
    Away to the window I flew like a flash,
    Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
    The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
    Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
    When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
    But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
    With a little old driver so lively and quick,
    I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
    More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
    And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
    “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
    On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
    To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
    Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
    As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
    When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
    So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
    With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
    And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
    The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
    As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
    Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
    He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
    And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
    A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
    And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
    His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
    His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
    His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
    And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
    The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
    And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
    He had a broad face and a little round belly
    That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
    He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
    And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
    A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
    Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
    And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
    And laying his finger aside of his nose,
    And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
    He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
    And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
    But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
    “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
    Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (Random House Inc., 1983)

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  112. Jerry said on December 25, 2014 at 2:48 am

    Happy Christmas from England – where there is no snow (hurrah) nor any rain and it isn’t even too cold.

    We have two of our sons here for Christmas Day itself and we spoke to our eldest in Australia yesterday. So all is well in our world.

    My thoughts and best wishes to all of you, especially Crinoidgirl.

    And a special thank you to Dexter for the poem. I don’t think I’ve ever read it before!

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  113. Dorothy said on December 25, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Happy Christmas to all! I hope everyone in nn.c world will be able to celebrate in whatever fashion time and distance allows. We had our celebration yesterday with our son and d-i-l. Daughter is home in Virginia but we’re opening gifts via FaceTime in a few hours. We got to 9 PM Mass on campus last night so we’re homebound with the pups today, except when we go out to catch one of the new movies that opens today. Cheers!

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  114. alex said on December 25, 2014 at 9:23 am

    We’re on our way to brunch on benedicts and BMs at a friend’s lake place. I take my BM with garlic-stuffed olives. (That’s bloody Mary in case anyone’s wondering.) We meet with friends at the same place every year and have a small gift exchange. Looking forward to presenting a Jesus of Nazareth Mix ‘n’ Match Magnetic Paper Doll Set to one especially naughty girl. 😉

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  115. Deborah said on December 25, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    So it turns out I had it wrong, farolitos are the brown paper bags with sand and a single candle inside, luminarias are the bonfires of rectilinear stacked wood. Seems wrong to me but that’s what they say. The walk up Canyon Rd was a bit of a bust last night, not enough bonfires and way too many people this year. It was nice to see a lot of young people though. I usually see a bunch of old people like me walking around most of the time. I wonder where the young people are the rest of the year?

    Hope you are all enjoying Christmas Day. We’re still in bed, to many goodies and drinks last night, but fun!

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  116. MichaelG said on December 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Merry Christmas to all. Sunny and 50s here.

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  117. Deborah said on December 25, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Lest you think we are complete hedonistic slobs, the time indication on my last comment about still being in bed was really two hours earlier than what’s registered. We’re in Mountain time here in Santa Fe. Not that it really matters.

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  118. David C. said on December 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    We had a duck, with potatoes roasted in the duck fat, sweet potato, and salad for our Christmas dinner and a 3 mile walk afterwards to help digest. The nice thing about not going home to do the big family Christmas is it’s a lot less stressful, so it’s been an outstanding day, so far. Now it’s time to tune up the guitar and play some carols and we’ll cap it off with “Elf” and “Christmas in Connecticut”.

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  119. Kirk said on December 25, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    No kids or picky eaters for Christmas dinner at my sister’s house this year, so we had an “adult” meal of salmon baked with lemon and fresh rosemary, sweet corn from last summer, asparagus, Irish mashed potatoes and pinot noir.

    Now, as usual on Christmas, I’m at work.

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  120. Dexter said on December 25, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    I guess Germans and Brits do it differently…polar bear plunges happen on New year’s Day here in the colonies. This link tells of the dip in Germany, and I saw on TV that the Brits also take a Christmas icy swim.

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  121. Deborah said on December 25, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Holy cow, David C, potatoes roasted in duck fat, wow, that sounds good. I’m going to have trouble sleeping tonight thinking about how good that would taste.

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  122. Sherri said on December 26, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Just got back from our Christmas dinner with friends, where we had our usual fish chowder, which has salmon, Dungeness crab, shrimp, and sweet potatoes. Add a nice salad and homemade rolls, some nice wine for the wine drinkers, and it was another delicious Christmas meal, followed by games and puzzles.


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  123. Jerry said on December 26, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Dexter, some Brits may take an icy dip on Christmas Day – but not me! Quite chilly enough doing my Tai Chi practice in the garden this morning.

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  124. Sue said on December 26, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Jerry, is that poem not common over your way? I think I can recite it from memory.

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  125. coozledad said on December 26, 2014 at 11:46 am

    The Bush family has lost the backing of the military industrial complex. This report is essentially a fuck you to the Bush brother that inherited his momma’s jowls, in addition to her corrosive character traits.

    I’ve heard some folks say they’re going to run Kasich, because he’s the last smug idiot Christianist douchebag that America doesn’t know anything about. The options are certainly narrowing that way.

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  126. jerry said on December 26, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Sue, don’t know how familiar the poem is over here generally but while I was aware of it I’m not sure ever read it before. The same applies to my wife. And we both read poetry on occasion.

    For me it was a new pleasure, and at my age that is surely to be welcomed.

    We are now down to one sone – the youngest has flown to Stockholm for a swing dance camp. And my brother-in-law and his wife have lunched with us and returned home stuffed.

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  127. Sue said on December 26, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Oh, and happy Boxing Day, Jerry, whatever that is. When I was a kid I actually thought it was about boxing. What do you do on Boxing Day?
    Advice needed: I have four Meyer Lemons on a tree I got last spring, turning yellow (about halfway there). How will I know when they’re ripe, and what can I do with four of them?

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  128. brian stouder said on December 26, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Cooz, I’ve thought Kasich of Ohio was their best chance, because – Ohio!

    A bonus – of he gets the Republigoon nomination – is that the implosion of Ohio’s public school system (in favor of shoddy for-profit voucher mills) will become the front-of-mind national issue that it should be

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  129. Deborah said on December 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Coozledad, that Raw Story link was a good synopsis.

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  130. Jolene said on December 26, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Sue, Google has the answer to everything. To get advice about judging ripeness, google “Meyer lemon ripeness”. To find recipes, you got it . . . google “Meyer lemon recipes “. There are tons of them. A quick glance at a few suggests that there are many baking recipes that don’t require a great deal of juice. Lots of poundcake recipes, for instance. Simple, but heavenly.

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  131. Jolene said on December 26, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Have you always meant to watch A Mighty Heart or Hotel Rwanda on Netflix? Better do so soon. According to this list, they and lots of other movies are being pulled by the end of the month.

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  132. Sue said on December 26, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Ok so I think I need some help from the group here; we include a lot of people with depression and I’m rather badly stuck right now.
    A trigger for me is sad animal stuff. I have to avoid Disney movies even. It sounds flighty and facetious but it’s real; I have to avoid this kind of stuff because it triggers every frantic helpless incident with animals or small humans I’ve ever seen or been involved in, and somehow, ‘you can’t save them all’ has never comforted me.
    Three days ago I clicked on the wrong video and accidentally viewed a clip of a dog trying to protect a dead friend on a busy street, and the trigger hit. Thank gods the sound was off, and I got out as soon as I realized what it was but too late.
    You learn defense mechanisms and one of the things that helps me is to know that there was some level of happy ending, because surprisingly there often is, people step up, someone adopts the dog, etc. etc. Focus focus focus on that.
    So I waited a few days and googled keywords that included ‘update’. Turns out instead of happy news I got lots of hits on dogs staying by dead friends, all over the world. So apparently this shit happens ALL THE TIME. And I’ve just made things worse for myself and my chest hurts and I won’t be sleeping much tonight. And I can’t tell my family and make them feel bad although chances are they know something’s wrong.
    Someone talk some sense into me, it’s not going to go away on its own I don’t think.

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  133. Deborah said on December 26, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Sue it sounds like your trigger for depression has been pulled and now you need to find an answer to claw your way out of it. I wish I had a better answer but here’s what helps me: light and humor. As much as possible. Sometimes I get so down in the dumps that I can’t read, which is unusual but happens from time to time. Conversations help me, especially with people I know are witty and quick. I find being in New Mexico in the winter the best thing since it’s almost always sunny. Except for today, but it’s snowing, so still beautiful. Music is good too.

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  134. Sherri said on December 26, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Sue, tell your family. Do not worry about making them feel bad. When you are in a depressive spiral, you massively overestimate how bad you’ll make everybody around you feel by telling them the truth about how you are feeling, and keeping it in your head just makes everything worse. You can’t fight depression by hiding it – it must be exposed to be defeated. Depression warps your perceptions, and you need someone on the outside to help remind you of that.

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  135. Kirk said on December 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Brian@128: Maybe that’s why Kasich recently fired a pre-emptive strike, vowing to at last scrutinize the woeful charter-school system in this state.

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  136. Judybusy said on December 26, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Sue, I very much agree with what Sherri said. If you can’t talk to your family, do you have a former therapist? That’s for the weeks ahead. Is there a crisis line in your area? They of course can help more immediately, and it’s not just for acute emergencies. What has helped in the past?

    Get out those Meyer lemons and make something! It sounds like distracting yourself might be a very good thing to do. Please let us know how you’re doing. These cookies look easy and sound wonderful: (When one is depressed, choosing from the million recipes online can be pretty impossible, so I picked this.) Maybe invite a friend over to make them together or just share the finished cookies? If we lived closer, I’d totally be inviting myself over. I’d even bring coffee.

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  137. Jolene said on December 26, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Also, Sue, you can reinterpret the experience. I’m not sure whether the friends you were referring to are canine or human, but it doesn’t really matter. Either way, the dog remaining with the departed is a sign of love and loyalty. All creatures have to die one way or another. Even if those left behind suffer from the loss, the idea that they are missed even by four-footed creatures is a sign of their importance and the importance of the relationship between those who are gone and those who remain. Right?

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  138. Deborah said on December 26, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Little Bird says cooking helps depression. We’re making Cubano sandwiches later, after watching the movie Chef a few nights ago we’ve been craving that. LB got a crock pot from Santa for Christmas, one of the few kitchen gadgets she didn’t already have. Well, she had one previously but took it to a bar in Ukrainian Village in Chicago where she worked to make some food for customers and never got it back after she quit, this was years ago. It smells fantastic in our place right now.

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  139. Sue said on December 26, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Thank you folks, I will see if I can find someone to talk to.

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  140. Jerri said on December 26, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Sue, just before I saw your note, a friend emailed me about Sane New World by Ruby Wax, which is about depression and the workings of the brain. I read the reviews and the sample on Amazon and it’s funny in that British way (she’s an actress and comedian) but looked very good. If you’re in the mood for reading, it might be helpful, in addition to the great suggestions above. I’m sending you my best wishes.

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  141. Jill said on December 26, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Sue, I agree about talking with someone. You can ask a friend/relative if he or she is in a state to be able to be that person; that way if the person’s feeling fragile herself, she can say so. If not, she may feel complimented that you credit her with being a good enough listener to be able to help.
    Fortunately I don’t deal with actual clinical depression, but when I’m feeling bad, I pick up a particularly absorbing novel. It has to be a real page-turner to work. It takes me out of my own thoughts for a while and that helps a lot. I do know, though, that there’s a world of difference between depression and being down in the dumps.

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  142. Little Bird said on December 26, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Cooking does help. So does eating the fruits of your labor. But the best thing I’ve found is talking to someone who gets you. If that means going to therapy, do it. It helped me immensely.

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  143. LAMary said on December 26, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    I know that being in California makes this possible for me and maybe not for you, but I find that a long walk in a nice place like a park or a beach really helps me. Talking too, as Little Bird said, with someone who gets you. I talk to my oldest friend who knows me well enough to recognize my state of mind and have some context to frame it. Don’t be afraid to talk. I went a very long time knowing I was in a bad place and it only got worse and worse because I hid it, or thought I did.

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  144. Deborah said on December 26, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    There have been two times in my life so far that I’ve been clinically depressed so I know what it’s like. The book Darkness Visible by William Styron was probably the best description I’ve found of what it’s like. I wouldn’t recommend reading it when you’re in the throes of it though. Reading it afterwards is illuminating.

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  145. Laurie said on December 26, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Sue, I have chronic depression, have had it lifelong. What I’ve learned is that, since I must live in the world, there are going to be triggers, possibly daily, that upset me. I control as much as I can what I expose myself to, including media, but that’s not always possible. I feel it’s important that we not blame ourselves for our personal triggers or when we have a reaction—e.g., it might be an image we see, a song we hear, a movie, or what they remind us of. Some things that have helped me: a cognitively based free self-help program called Recovery International; a therapist; a lightbox in darker months (and I’m not even in the Way North, like you); creature comforts like a good meal; and knowing ahead of time that Nov. through Feb. are ALWAYS difficult—so I try to keep things simple then, demands minimal, and sad stuff minimized. All the best, Fellow Traveler.

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  146. Dexter said on December 27, 2014 at 2:18 am

    The grim reaper is at it again, noteworthy to jazz and pop aficionados like me…Buddy de Franco.

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  147. Jerry said on December 27, 2014 at 2:50 am

    Sue, what do we do on Boxing Day? In our house, not very much. We had our traditional Boxing Day meal – cold turkey, mashed potato, wedges, red cabbage, sprouts with bacon and baked beans. Followed by cold Christmas pudding, mince pies and the remains of an almond and orange torte. Then more sitting round talking, drinking (but only a little) and some TV. Myra watched the recorded Christmas Day Call the Midwife (fairly weak) and Downton Abbey followed by Victoria Wood musical which was undemanding and enjoyable.

    For much of England Boxing Day means THE SALES – I couldn stand the massive crowds.

    So sorry to hear you are feeling depressed. Christmas seems to be a bad time for many people!

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  148. adrianne said on December 27, 2014 at 7:09 am

    Sue, my advice is talk, talk, talk and walk, walk, walk. Both are effective mood boosters.

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  149. coozledad said on December 27, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I’m old enough to remember when “politicizing funerals” was a Republican bugaboo. Remember the Paul Wellstone funeral?
    Well you know what? Every one of these cops ought to be fired and have to resubmit an application for their fucking job, because gestures like these reinforce the idea they don’t even know what their job is. Fuck them, and fuck creeping authoritarians everywhere up the ass with a rusty chainsaw.

    Shit-eating unamerican wastes of oxygen. China and Russia would be more to your liking.

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  150. Jolene said on December 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I agree, cooz. I think this disrespect for the elected leader of the city stinks. But police forces are highly conformist organizations. Once this sort of thing gets started, it’s very hard for individual officers to resist.

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  151. LAMary said on December 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Sue, I first heard this poem on On Being, the podcast some of us mentioned the other day. Somehow it makes me feel a little better.

    Quiet friend who has come so far

    Rilke Favorites

    Part Two, Sonnet XXIX

    Quiet friend who has come so far,
    feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
    Let this darkness be a bell tower
    and you the bell. As you ring,

    what batters you becomes your strength.
    Move back and forth into the change.
    What is it like, such intensity of pain?
    If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

    In this uncontainable night,
    be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
    the meaning discovered there.

    And if the world has ceased to hear you,
    say to the silent Earth: I flow.
    To the rushing water, speak: I am.

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  152. coozledad said on December 27, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Reagan fired PATCO. There’s a precedent.

    And PATCO were skilled workers, not glorified criminals.

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  153. Deborah said on December 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    LA Mary, that’s a beautiful poem by Rilke, one of my favorite poets. I used one of his poems for the World Food Prize projects about Norman Borlaug, it goes like this:

    Again and again in history

    Some special people wake up

    They have no ground in the crowd

    They move to broader laws

    They carry strange customs with them

    And demand room for bold and

    Audacious actions

    The future speaks ruthlessly through them

    They change the world

    Rainer Maria Rilke

    I used it on a stone slab at the entrance to the place. In my research I went through a lot of texts to use for that spot and this poem just seemed the right thing. It actually took a while for me to convince the people at the WFP to let us use that, they didn’t know who Rilke was and didn’t want to ruffle any feathers.

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  154. Sherri said on December 28, 2014 at 2:28 am

    It looks like my previous speculation that Jim Harbaugh was just using Michigan as negotiating leverage was wrong; numerous sources indicate that he is going to follow in his idol Schembechler’s footsteps and take the Michigan coaching job. Dexter, at the very least, you should find Harbaugh entertaining. The man is certifiably insane. As a Seahawks fan, I’m sad to see him leave the Niners; it was so much fun to watch his sideline histrionics.

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  155. Sue said on December 28, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Thanks folks, the worst has passed. I think I’m going to look into some biofeedback options, the brain is a powerful enemy.

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  156. brian stouder said on December 28, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Sue – good to hear it!

    and as a complete non-sequitur, these article made me smile very widely:–Wendy-Robinson–Mark-GiaQuinta-4184160

    And since, in addition to this well-earned honor, a good friend of my lovely wife got herself elected to the Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of Trustees, I have set about writing a 300 word public comment, for the next board meeting (next year).

    I’ll probably chicken out between now and then, but we’ll see

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  157. MichaelG said on December 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Sherri, I’ve seen several sources saying that it’s a done deal that Harbaugh will go to Michigan. I am a bit surprised that he would leave the NFL. I was kinda thinking that he might go to Oakland.

    You calling Pete Carroll’s best pal insane? I must say, Pete sure knows how to needle him but insane? Well, he certainly is a tad quirky. I hope he does well at Michigan. There was something going on between he and 49er’s mgmt and there was tension between him and the players but I’m not sure what it’s all about.

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  158. Jolene said on December 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Brian: Nancy posted the article re Robinson and GiaQuinta, and I knew immediately that you’d be delighted. They both sound like terrific people. You’re lucky to have them.

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  159. Dexter said on December 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Harbaugh wanted to stay in the NFL but at a guaranteed $49 million, how could he refuse Michigan’s desire to have him? Harbaugh is a recruiter, the best at it there is; he took Stanford to the top of the heap in a short time and he’ll bring Michigan back in record time. I was in the stands for every start Harbaugh played at M and I am a big fan. I’ll feel better when the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed. Go Blue.

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  160. MichaelG said on December 28, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I hope he does well, Dexter. Remember though, it’s not 49M vs. nothing. It’s 49M vs. whatever fortune some NFL team would have offered.

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  161. Sherri said on December 28, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    The only thing I can figure about Harbaugh and the Niners management and players is that Harbaugh wears on people. There were evidently people at Stanford happy to see him move on when he did. He’s extremely intense and competitive about everything. There’s a story floating around about his bachelor party, where he won at laser tag by repeatedly attacking a ten year old boy. That’s what I mean by certifiably insane. He has no off switch, not even a dial to turn it down.

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