The state of the union is chill.

Not quite midway through the week, and I’m on my second glass of wine, watching my second state-of-the-something speech of the night. Michigan’s was a 7 p.m. — pre-empting “Jeopardy!,” I ask you — and now it’s Barry and his beautiful wife Shelley and her fabulous suit. I am going to miss her like crazy, because no one in the White House is going to look that good after the 2017 inauguration.

Oh, well. How was your MLK day? I worked. I’ll be doing some traveling next week, for work, and may have some photo posts then, but the groundwork must be laid this week, and so no holiday for this girl. I hear Dinesh D’Souza trolled the internet Monday, just doing his part; Vox put together this explainer for those who haven’t heard his schtick before. I knew almost every single incident and comment, but somehow, reading them all together was uniquely appalling. Like Agema, D’Souza prefers ever-louder dog whistles, and I’m told his Obama documentary features a scene where he travels to Africa to call on the president’s relations there, bringing a gift of goats. Really. As one blogger noted, it’s as though he feared the gift of fire would frighten them. I almost feel like I have to see this thing.

You know it’s bad when even Mean Girl Megyn can’t keep her mouth shut.

Boy, does Boehner look uncomfortable. I’m thinking he’s going to reach for the Nicorette in 3, 2, 1.

So. I’m prepping to go up north next week for some reporting, and will likely not be very present here. I’m sure there will be some photo posts here and there, and you’ll have to carry on your chatter there. I’m hoping I can peel off to the new dark-sky park up there, if only to look around a little. They have a guest house that sleeps 20 that you can rent for $250/night. ROAD TRIP.

The SOTU is deep into its 50th minute, and Boehner definitely looks like he’s having a major discomfort moment. But Obama is his usual cool self, just loose and groovin’. How long will he go? We’ll see…

Posted at 10:00 pm in Current events |

89 responses to “The state of the union is chill.”

  1. basset said on January 20, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Look west and wave to our deer camp as you pass Big Rapids. And surely you should see some northern lights from that dark-sky park.

    SOTU’s been on in the other room but I’m not paying much attention, so far he seems to be saying pretty much what we expect and the flying monkeys will do the same.

    (brief pause while I go take a look, sounds like he’s working up to the end)

    He was, they just stood up. Boehner looks constipated. Applaud, you petty fuck.

    467 chars

  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 20, 2015 at 10:21 pm


    104 chars

  3. Deborah said on January 20, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    I thought the SOTU was pretty good, as good as those things can be, I guess. I’ve never heard one that I could rave about so far. I can’t watch the rebuttals, they make me too depressed.

    186 chars

  4. brian stouder said on January 20, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Deborah – the rebuttals are the funniest part!

    I had it on msnbc (Ms Maddow ranks second only to our Proprietress, when it comes to newsie people I trust), and they had an altogether annoying graphic on their screen showing who agrees and disagrees, in realtime.

    Shelly was beautiful, indeed….and 2016 will take care of itself.

    If we get to see the spectacle of the first President of the United States delivering the SOTU while her husband sits up in the cheap seats, THAT will never not be cool….although I confess I don’t look forward to watching WJC glom onto the cameras.

    Maybe he can suddenly pass away, and she can have a First Date Guy up there next to Chelsea…

    701 chars

  5. Dexter said on January 21, 2015 at 3:20 am

    After posting how I always watch the SOTU, I had Red Wings hockey on and I was into it, and I forgot all about SOTU.
    Yahoo and I suppose all of “them” have it to go visit at our leisure…tomorrow I watch.
    Wings won over Wild in a shootout, 5-4. My man Pavel Datsyuk won it. He has his Facebook messages translated to Russian, and one day recently he left his page on Russian. I was wondering how much nance would be able to read. To me, it was all Greek. 🙂

    468 chars

  6. adrianne said on January 21, 2015 at 6:10 am

    I love how sour Mr. Orangey Face looked during Obama’s whole speech. He seems liberated by the fact that he has no more campaigns to run – because, hey, he won the last two. Michelle’s outfit was fab, of course.

    211 chars

  7. David C. said on January 21, 2015 at 6:15 am

    We were up in Northern Wisconsin a couple of summers ago. We weren’t thinking too much about dark skies until we, more or less, accidentally looked up. I hadn’t seen so many stars since I was a child, before the Grand Rapids started moving out our way, and before my grandfather decided he needed a couple of mercury vapor lights. It’s just mind blowing how many stars you can see. It’s so many that it’s difficult to pick out constellations – even the familiar ones.

    467 chars

  8. 4dbirds said on January 21, 2015 at 8:15 am

    First Date Guy. Wouldn’t that be the best SOTU ever?

    54 chars

  9. coozledad said on January 21, 2015 at 8:20 am


    What’s with Joni Ernst and the breadbags/shoes story? Is she saying that all Republicans have is their pride? Someone could make some quick cash off a bunch of dumbasses if they had the Chinese prisons run off a few thousand injection-molded “Wonder Shoes”.
    Republicans are suckers for cheap symbolism and foamy, tasteless wheat product. Win win.

    469 chars

  10. alex said on January 21, 2015 at 8:22 am

    I liked the speech and its delivery, and thought it stood in wonderfully stark contrast to the rebuttal of Joni Ernst, who wore a stiff smile and an equally unflattering periwinkle pantsuit and crucifix dangly earrings and came across as the disingenuous virago that she is.

    I bet gawker or some such goes back to Bettendorf or wherever the hell she’s from and busts her on that bread bag story. She only had one pair of shoes growing up so her mother made her wear bread bags over them, but she wasn’t ashamed, nosiree, because everyone on the school bus wore bread bags over their shoes because that’s what kind of humble Real Americans they were. And with all that money they saved on shoes, they bought big veneers to cover their kids’ craggy yellow teeth, and dangly diamond crucifixes to show their devotion to the Lord.

    830 chars

  11. alex said on January 21, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Oh, and I can’t go without mentioning a local station’s coverage of a local story yesterday. The Indiana GOP wants all high schoolers to be able to pass a citizenship test. So they asked people on the street simple questions, like what are the three branches of government, and got a lot of “uhs” and “duhs” and then they asked a young black woman who is the current president. “Um, I forgot his name, what was it? … Uh… Osama bin Laden?”

    442 chars

  12. coozledad said on January 21, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Alex:They had to save that money up to buy weapons that were easily convertible to full auto. And I don’t know where she comes from, but every hog farmer I’ve ever known is into conspicuous display to try and offset the odor of shit that haunts them. Velveeta fed.

    And camo shoes? That’s some shameless ho pandering or some non-dilute white trash right there.

    362 chars

  13. Deborah said on January 21, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I love the Internet, there’s a breadbag shoes meme out now, it’s hilarious. #breadbagshoes

    90 chars

  14. Wim said on January 21, 2015 at 9:18 am

    When it was wet out, back in the enchanted Ozarks me and my people would put breadbags on over our socks but under our shoes. I call bullshit that anyone anywhere wore breadbags OVER their shoes. They’d be shredded to tatters before you even got to the bus. It sounds like maybe Joni Ernst wore breadbags over her head.

    Also? Kids grow, growing up. Shoes don’t come in one-size-fits-all. There’s no way she had just the one pair the whole time. There is nothing about this tale that makes any damned sense.

    519 chars

  15. Connie said on January 21, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Nancy you are going star gazing with a waxing moon. While it is not always possible we try to schedule as close to the new moon as possible for best star gazing.

    162 chars

  16. Julie Robinson said on January 21, 2015 at 9:41 am

    We had those boots that went over the shoes, and a bread bag helped them slide off more easily. Otherwise the teachers would have 30 little ones begging for shoe help after every recess. I don’t remember anyone having a separate pair of boots until later in grade school.

    Our household mutually decided to watch Stewart and go to bed early. He really took down Mike Huckabee; it was a thing of beauty to watch.

    413 chars

  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 21, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Kids, don’t wear breadbags over your head. #SafetyFirst

    55 chars

  18. Danny said on January 21, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Jeff, someone should have warned David Carradine

    48 chars

  19. Dorothy said on January 21, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Yes Wim, you beat me to that. It would be impossible to wear bread bags over shoes. Well, not impossible, but they would certainly be useless after walking one block in them. I am waving the bullsh** flag on her statement.

    224 chars

  20. susan said on January 21, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Deborah #13 Haw! The Eyeohway footlocker is pretty funny.

    My first thought when I read about the bread-bag shoes was bullshit. Can you imagine trying to walk in the show wearing plastic bags OVER your shoes? You’d slip faster than a gear with no teeth.

    350 chars

  21. nancy said on January 21, 2015 at 11:06 am

    I, too, wore bread bags on my feet, but only to make my snow boots slide over my regular shoes more easily. But I’m more distracted by those ghastly camo heels of hers.

    168 chars

  22. Deborah said on January 21, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Are there pictures of those camo heels?

    39 chars

  23. nancy said on January 21, 2015 at 11:18 am

    But of course.

    156 chars

  24. Deborah said on January 21, 2015 at 11:19 am

    OMG, I love the internet even more. Ask and you shall receive. Who would wear those ridiculous shoes?

    101 chars

  25. Kirk said on January 21, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Camo heels. How ridiculous. The lengths they’ll go to, trying to present some kind of image they think their base will identify with. She’s as phony as they come.

    On a completely different topic, today is a milestone for me. I just applied for Social Security. I did it online, and it was easy. They didn’t even ask me to mail in copies of my birth certificate or W-2.

    371 chars

  26. coozledad said on January 21, 2015 at 11:51 am

    When we were children, our parents couldn’t afford shampoo, so they sent us to school with these plastic hair helmets. I was ashamed, until I got on the bus and all the kids had plastic hair helmets. At least mine wasn’t a cheap orange piece of shit, like Robbie Hecht’s.

    I wear one to this day as a tribute to the other greats who wore plastic hair helmets. James Brown. Tom Delay. And of course, Saint Ronald Reagan.

    421 chars

  27. Charlotte said on January 21, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Didn’t watch (we were bottling the hard cider I’ve been brewing in the kitchen), but jeez oh pete — she couldn’t even get the breadbags story right? Clearly she just made it the f*ck up — because as everyone else here has pointed out — the breadbags either went between your shoes and your galoshes, or between your socked foot and the furry insides of your not-waterproof snow boots so you didn’t have to have wet socks all day at school. No one wore them *over your shoes* — they were just thin breadbags. You couldn’t have walked to the bus stop in them.
    The breadbags story is one that many of us displaced midwesterners of a certain age tell while drinking beers out west and praising our lucky stars for now living someplace where snow is dry.

    756 chars

  28. brian stouder said on January 21, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Those aren’t camo heels, doggonit!

    If you start with tan-gold heels, and take a Wonder Bread whole-wheat bread bag and melt it onto them, this is the effect you get

    167 chars

  29. brian stouder said on January 21, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    (btw – best tweet on Nancy’s linked article is:

    @RussOnPolitics tweeted: “Good Lord! Joni Ernst really wants to play her part tonight as the tough talking soldier…in sensible shoes. #SOTU.”

    201 chars

  30. Jeff Borden said on January 21, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    I believe Joni Ernst has earned the nickname “Bread Bag.” I will be unable to think of anything else when our esteemed new senator from Iowa appears on my teevee.

    It may have been Charlie Pierce, but someone did the math and it appears poor Joni was wearing bread bags over her one par of good shoes during the illustrious reign of St. Ronaldus of Reagan. Gosh, I thought the nation was swimming in nothing but good fortune in those glorious years when ‘Murica ruled the earth like badass T.Rex and the Great Communicator was personally kicking Soviet ass.

    Guess I was wrong.

    581 chars

  31. Deborah said on January 21, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    When GW was pres did the Dems make fools of themselves in thier responses to the SOTU? I don’t remember that.

    Coozledad, I liked your plastic helmet story but I’m waiting for your lyrics based on breadbagshoes and camo shoes.

    228 chars

  32. LAMary said on January 21, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Joni Ernst was definitely wearing a plastic helmet last night. Thank goodness she left out the hog castration references, or at least I think she did. I left the room to go sort socks.

    184 chars

  33. alex said on January 21, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    So she’s a Breadbagger, a new offshoot of the Teabaggers who’s bought and paid for by the Kochs but pretends she ain’t got no bread.

    Megyn, meet Misogyn. He thinks you need to go have an Afro-American experience.

    215 chars

  34. Jolene said on January 21, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    I’m starting to feel like my mother didn’t love me. A few weeks ago, one of my Midwestern cousins mentioned this breadbags-under-galoshes idea on Facebook, as if everyone did it. I had never heard of such a thing. Now, I find out everyone did do it!

    How could she have let us out of the house without this important protection?

    330 chars

  35. Bitter Scribe said on January 21, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    So to “Senator Castrada” and “Senator Chickenshit” we can now add “Senator Breadbags.”

    86 chars

  36. David C. said on January 21, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    You had bread? Our parents made us sandwiches using dried leaves and told us it was bread.

    90 chars

  37. Connie said on January 21, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    So guys I’m in the hospital (I’ll live)and it has been an interesting day. My neighbor in the next cubicle in the e-room was a clearly demented older lady of poverty who had climbed up in her attic to make sure there wasn’t anyone living there and fell through the living room ceiling and broke her ankle. It was clear she was a medicaid patient. Her son made it patiently clear he would support her but not be her caretaker and he didn’t want to go into that disgusting house. At this point my husband with his mental health experience is muttering psych eval. They wanted to splint her and send her home until next week’s surgery. Then the ER PA called for the psych eval. She was admitted mostly against her well for surgery.

    Then she screamed for five minutes while they splinted her.

    At the other end of the hospital I am in a large private room in the new wing and it is quite lovely. I have a remote control for my shades and lights and many other amenities.

    972 chars

  38. Deborah said on January 21, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Connie, Goodness, hope everything is OK.

    40 chars

  39. MichaelG said on January 21, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Connie, I hope everything is all right. Get well soon.

    55 chars

  40. Dexter said on January 22, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Kirk, I too found it easy and my money posted when it was supposed to.
    And it’s been many, many years that the San Diego Padres wear camo uniform tops, and it’s their way support the local Marine base I suppose, but it’s time to drop that bit and wear baseball tops once again. And if veterans and active duty can’t get in for free every game, it’s just phony anyway. Charlie Finley always let us in for free in Oakland, and the rest of the clubs should remember that.
    Now lets go and castrate some hogs. These camo shoes can take us anywhere.

    549 chars

  41. Connie said on January 22, 2015 at 6:25 am

    I’m fine guys. Should be out of here tomorrow. I had a rare skin disease ljast year and when I got better my foot did not quit swelling. I’ve been working with my doc and 2 specialists on figuring this out. For a couple of weeks I have not been able to get a shoe on. For the last week i’ve barely been able to walk.

    So while a small emergency made my doctor send me to the ER this time it has brought us to the drain fluids from my body project. Hope for regular shoes again!

    481 chars

  42. brian stouder said on January 22, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Well Dorothy – I’d say we’re all on your side, wishing you well, like it or not!

    80 chars

  43. beb said on January 22, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Connie, if the shoes won’t fit I’m sure we can find some bread bags that’ll work. It’s Joni Earst approved! (LOL)

    Even though I was a farm boy in northern Indiana I have never heard of using bread bags that way. Of course dad worked for the Red Ball corp. and had access to employee discount four-buckle galoshes. Even so none of the other kids in school ever used bread bags either to keep their shoes dry or to slip on their boots easier. If so many of you hadn’t mentioned knowing about this I would have considered her story about the bread bags some kind of uber-hick fable.

    582 chars

  44. Dorothy said on January 22, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Dang it, but beb beat me to it! I was going to tell you, Connie, to be sure to tell your doctor that your friends at nn.c are all in favor of him prescribing some (clean, unused) bread bags to help you get your shoe on!

    Growing up (in the 60’s) I do not recall ever having to put bread bags over my socked feet in order to slide on galoshes more easily. What I do remember is we used to put on our galoshes over our shoes – and when we got to school, took off the galoshes and then walked around in our street shoes. However I do remember using plastic grocery store bags over socked feet going into snow boots for my kids in the late 80’s in order to insulate them a little, and keep their feet dryer, in case some snow slipped into the boot while we played in the snow.

    Connie I hope you are on your way home soon!! Home has magical healing powers that hospitals will never have.

    890 chars

  45. brian stouder said on January 22, 2015 at 9:05 am

    …and I meant to address Connie and not Dorothy, in post 42.

    I’m gettin’ old, and the ol’ brain needs a breadbag over it to limit the slush-effect

    150 chars

  46. Dorothy said on January 22, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Well wishes are never inappropriate, Brian! We all knew you meant Connie – but I appreciated them nonetheless.

    It’s official – I signed my job offer letter and just walked it over to HR. Now I just want to go home and have a half a bottle of wine to celebrate. Even at 10 AM.

    281 chars

  47. Kirk said on January 22, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Go ahead and make it the second half of the bottle, Dorothy.

    And add this 63-year-old to the list of people who never had heard of putting bread bags on feet until I read about it here yesterday.

    198 chars

  48. derwood said on January 22, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I missed the SOTU as I was at the Seger concert in Toledo. Not a huge Bob fan but he puts on a great show. Catching up watching CSpan reruns. I live on the edge.


    171 chars

  49. coozledad said on January 22, 2015 at 10:43 am

    A Molotov-Ribbentrop pact for the new century.
    Who’s gonna take it up the ass: The white guy, or the whiter guy?

    186 chars

  50. coozledad said on January 22, 2015 at 11:10 am

    How’s that petroleum aftertaste?
    You can talk a Republican into selling both his kidneys.
    Child’s play, even.

    174 chars

  51. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 22, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Bread bags went over the socks, into the boots. This is where senators and anyone making public statements need staffers who can and will say “um, that’s just not sounding right.” I remember lots of kids in the 60s on the school bus with breadbags sticking up out of their boot tops, and I’m betting Ernst is just letting memory tell her what she now thinks makes the better story, but it’s just silly in her telling. A moment’s reflection would tell a reasonable person “that just wouldn’t work, and didn’t happen.”

    Maybe Romney is working to convert Bush to LDS. I can just see the headline: “BREAKING: Jeb baptized by Mitt in Salt Lake Temple.”

    650 chars

  52. brian stouder said on January 22, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Rachel did an informative report on that spill last night.

    If we needed Keystone, we’d build it.

    But I’ll ask the selfish question: why do I need this pipeline?

    And the answer is, I don’t.

    And Cooz – I would only add that Republigoons really, really love to shit the bed when they’re in someone else’s house

    327 chars

  53. Deborah said on January 22, 2015 at 11:51 am

    It snowed last night, actually all day yesterday too. There may be 5″ on the ground and they closed the schools. Seriously. That’s because all the kids get driven to school, nobody walks anymore so no need for breadbags.

    220 chars

  54. adrianne said on January 22, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Man, what a day for news – Sheldon Silver, longtime New York State Assembly speaker, is indicted on corruption charges by the tough-as-nails U.S. Prosecutor Preet Bharara. He does not give a flying fuck what politicians in New York state think of him. But in other shocking news: Who you gonna call to rescue Atlantic City? Kelvyn Orr, of course!

    384 chars

  55. LAMary said on January 22, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    I wasn’t aware of the breadbag thing until someone brought it up on facebook about a week ago. It was one of those “do you remember these?” things. I did not use breadbags, ever.

    178 chars

  56. Charlotte said on January 22, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Ed Markey proposed a rider earlier this week to require Keystone to use US Steel, and to prohibit export of oil moved through the pipeline. The GOP killed both, of course — they’ve been lying the whole time about the project. It has *always* been designed to ship oil offshore — so all their blather about oil independence is just #breadbags. It’s not a jobs bill, it’s a giveaway to rich oil companies. You know, the sort that have made North Dakota such a terrifying boom state that my friends fly one parent out to drive “my” Audrey back from Beloit — last thing we want is a beautiful 20 year old girl driving alone through North Dakota these days.

    655 chars

  57. adrianne said on January 22, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Mandatory correction on my previous post: As NN points out, and as the Law360 reporter got right in the story, Kevyn Orr is not the emergency manager for Atlantic City. He’s a consultant to the new emergency manager, another Kevin, Kevin Lavin.

    244 chars

  58. beb said on January 22, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    So Kevyn Orr is going to do for Atlantic City what he did for Detroit. God have mercy on their poor souls. But seriously, why is Christie bailing out Atlantic City when the Republican mantra has always been that welfare hurts people?

    233 chars

  59. nancy said on January 22, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Charlotte, tell us more about North Dakota and why it’s unsafe for young women to drive through alone.

    And beb, come on — do you really believe Detroit would be better off with a different EM, or without having gone through bankruptcy at all?

    247 chars

  60. alex said on January 22, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    So a belligerent asshat who made the news here a few days ago when he led police on a chase and then got tased at a gas station parking lot is now fighting back with a video posted to Youtube by his wife. Turns out he’s well known in the mixed martial arts world as a former UFC heavyweight. Per this report, he was pretending that he could not accept at face value that the uniformed arresting officers were in fact police officers and that it was his right to demand three forms of ID from each of the officers. Lucky for this dimwitted jerk he only got tased.

    749 chars

  61. coozledad said on January 22, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    They should have shot his roid raging ass.

    42 chars

    • nancy said on January 22, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      The video is fascinating. This woman keeps saying “three forms of ID, as required by law.” To his enormous credit, the cop actually shows her his badge/ID wallet, after which she requests a driver’s license. “I’m not going to do that.” I’m not normally overly impressed by cops, but I thought the one I could see exercised admirable restraint in dealing with her.

      363 chars

  62. coozledad said on January 22, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    “three forms of ID, as required by law.”
    If I were a cop, my hairy ass would be all over youtube.

    100 chars

  63. LAMary said on January 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I think Boehner sounded drunk when he introduced the president and he looked drunk the whole time he was sitting behind the president. He still maintains that weird color too. What the hell.

    190 chars

  64. brian stouder said on January 22, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Remember a few years ago, when some (seemingly) serious Republigoons suggested repealing that pesky 22nd Amendment?

    Remember how they thought ol’ RWR should stay in office, right up ’til his dementia might prevent him from asking Nancy what to do or say?

    If they’d have actually gotten away with that, back then….

    President Obama would be nowhere near done, right now

    385 chars

  65. brian stouder said on January 22, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    And on a completely unrelated matter, and with apologies in advance to all the people who actually know what they’re talking about, when it comes to professional football, let me say: how can the NFL not fire Roger Goodell, today?

    The man is paid $44,000,000 per year (or $850,000 per week…or $21,250 per hour) – and he lets his sport take one black eye after another (so to speak). The run-up to their premier event is off into the weeds, because (apparently) cheating only draws a fine? How many teams wouldn’t readily grab any advantage they could, if in doing so you gain a spot in the Super Bowl – and you only risk a fine that doesn’t amount to 1 day’s wages for the commissioner, or a draft pick or two?

    But on the other hand, I’ve never been much of an NFL guy, and I don’t think I ever will be.

    841 chars

  66. Dexter said on January 22, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Breadbags? Passed me right on by. Now I did have black buckle-up boots of course. I missed by one generation of using corncobs in the outhouse. My first two childhood residences had outhouses. And…our two-room schoolhouse had outhouses until the glorious fall of 1958…we had indoor plumbing. We always had toilet tissue but Dad used old dry corncobs when he was a kid about 95 years ago. One other thing to remark about the old days of about 1955…men over 40 fell from heart attacks at an alarming rate. My dad lost several friends, many more survived a heart attack or two. Statins changed that, a miracle drug.
    I am sure the fact that nobody uses lard out of a huge can anymore means a lot too. Who uses anything stronger than canola oil anymore? Twenty years ago we were told coconut oil was killing us; now the coconut oil people have convinced the world that it a healthy thing. Believe what you may.

    923 chars

  67. Jolene said on January 22, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Nancy: Here is a recently published, multi-part story on sex-trafficking in ND. I haven’t read it all yet, so can’t vouch for its quality.

    There have been several articles in the NYT and elsewhere on the downside of the ND oil boom. Essentially, what’s happening is that large numbers of men, who are working and living rough, have come into a region that was barely populated. They work long hours, but, aside from work, there is not much to do other than drink and take drugs. Women can make lots of money in strip clubs, but it’s a risky enterprise. (In fact, they can make, relative to other places, a lot of money at McDonald’s, as the demand for labor has driven up wages.) I don’t know that it’s so dangerous that I would be afraid to have a young woman drive through the state, but I wouldn’t encourage her to stop overnight by herself in Williston. Will see what other articles I can find.

    936 chars

  68. nancy said on January 22, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    I remember talking to someone in Williston years and years ago, for a story on Daylight Saving Time. (Don’t ask.) I got the impression of a prairie city with acres and acres of sugar beets and lots of hard-working people. Well, they’re getting the local economy they asked for. If I had mineral rights there, I’d have sold them and decamped to a warmer climate long ago.

    370 chars

  69. MarkH said on January 22, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    You can indeed isolate the problem to the western part of ND, thanks to the Bakken field oil boom, as Jolene’s article intones. Classic boomtown fallout. Maybe Nancy knows that as well and wondered how the whole state could be tainted by this. Here is another more succinct NYT article on boomtown effects.

    I worked geophysical exploration, a prelude to finding what is now Bakken, in this area almost 30 years ago. Dickinson, Killdeer, Watford City were just merely Fargo-ish back then, but no more. The further east you go from Bismarck, more boring and as safe as anywhere else. Let’s wait and see the fallout from the oil price bust. Layoffs are mounting and a worker exodus of sorts is in the offing.

    820 chars

  70. MarkH said on January 22, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Nancy, you are correct about the acres and acres of agriculture and the hard working folks. Having to secure permits for our work up there meant I had a lot of contact with the farmers. But, also knowing what I know from all the areas where I worked, much of the mineral interests were sold or, mostly, leased off years ago as the mineral activity there goes way back.

    On another note, it was also striking how many Gordon Kahl were and likely still there that I met. I worked there three years to the day after these incidents:

    575 chars

  71. MarkH said on January 22, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    I should say, Gordon Kahl ‘types’.

    34 chars

  72. susan said on January 22, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Oh of course. Joni Ernst’s breadbags actually contained baloney. Republicants. Phony and mean as ever. As are those who fall for their claptrap.

    288 chars

    • nancy said on January 22, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      You know, on this one thing I would grant her a bit of slack. I don’t know much about farming economics, but I do know that vast subsidies received don’t necessarily translate to money in the pocket — the sums involved with just getting a crop in the ground are pretty jaw-dropping. It might account for why so many farmers seem pissed off all the time and are rarely happy with any crop; too much, and the price is too low, too little and OMG we’re gonna starve.

      I’ve seen farmers in Allen County collect six-figure sums every year, but I don’t think many of them were terribly rich.

      Now, this one night I was sitting in the swankiest restaurant outside of Fort Wayne proper — and it was one swanky joint, I’m not speaking sarcastically here — and seeing a young guy in a navy blazer walk in. The bartender told me he was richer than Midas, mainly because he was pouring money into South American farmland, which was being burned/bulldozed out of the rain forest. That was the first I’d heard of the soybean boom down there, but not the last.

      1049 chars

  73. Sherri said on January 22, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Brian, Roger Goodell works for the owners, period. He doesn’t work for the players, the fans, or “the game.” As long as he protects the owners and keeps the money flowing in, he’ll have a job. I question whether he’s doing a good job of protecting the owners, but the money is still flowing in. Even if they decide they no longer want him, there’s no way they’ll fire him. Rich people don’t like being seen to be forced to do anything. At some point in the future, he’ll “explore other opportunities” or “spend more time with his family” or be given some job by one of the owners to get him out of the way. But it’s not that easy to find a puppet that all the owners can agree on; selecting a new commissioner is fraught with power struggles among the owners. Goodell was an internal candidate groomed from the beginning to be the puppet.

    838 chars

  74. brian stouder said on January 22, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Sherri – I was hoping you’d elucidate that situation a bit.

    NFL truly doesn’t make a lot of sense to me…but then again, I love Formula One, and – while Bernie Eccelstone CAN (and occasionally does) go head-to-head with other very rich scumbags (thinking Flavio Briatore, here) he’s still and always the biggest scumbag in the pile.

    Nance – my inlaws are big in ag, so I get what you’re saying.

    I would only add – it burns my ass when these folks bitch and moan that food stamps ought not be part of the Farm Bill.

    Why the hell not?

    545 chars

  75. beb said on January 22, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Nancy @59: All I know is that the EM blow a big hole in mr retirement plans so I’m not feeling charitable, or even rational about it.

    133 chars

  76. Connie said on January 22, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    A story abour daylight savings time? Only in Indiana.

    My Indiana facebook friends have two topics that get them whining and moaning: daylight savings time and class basketball.

    179 chars

  77. David C. said on January 22, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    I don’t think it’s about the crop subsidies, as such. It’s Senator Breadbag’s BS blather about free markets and freeloaders. She can’t have it both ways.

    153 chars

  78. Deborah said on January 22, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    When I was in college in Nebraska, there were a lot of farm kids attending my school. This was in the late 60s early 70s and those kids were definitely not poor, they had the best stereos and accessories money could buy. They had crappy clothes but I attributed that more to taste than ability to pay for better looking stuff. My freshman year roommate was a farm girl from Iowa and her parents were always sending her money for this and that. Meanwhile I was scrimping and scrapping to get by, I made most of my clothes then.

    526 chars

  79. Charlotte said on January 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Dark sky story — got to the cabin last night and it was dead clear, temps in the 20s, and dead calm (which is very rare for winter here). Himself was building a fire in the firepit. We spent a lovely couple of hours outside with a fire looking at stars. Milky way right overhead, tiny sliver of a moon and Venus setting to the west. It was stupendous.

    352 chars

  80. Suzanne said on January 22, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Yep, here in Indiana, DST is still big news. This year seemed worse than normal. There is the usual whining about sleep schedules being disrupted for months (MONTHS!!), and the horrors of setting ALL the clocks in your house back, but this year I had two different people complain that this stupid DST was causing it to be dark so darn early and it just wasn’t right! I hated to tell them that it got dark at the same time in the winter before Indiana adopted DST, but I’ve learned to just smile and nod. Haters gonna hate and ignorants gonna be ignorant.

    I used to work with a woman who had lived just across the state border from Williston and said it was a pretty wild and rather scary place.

    701 chars

  81. Joe K said on January 22, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    One night I was airborne over Lake Huron above a solid cloud deck, pitch black no light from below, turned the cockpit lights off, truly amazing how many stars there really are.
    Waiting for Basketball fans down here in Bloomington went to see American Sniper to kill some time. Really a great movie, anyone else see it?
    Pilot Joe

    333 chars

  82. MichaelG said on January 22, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    No bags when I was a kid. Those were cellophane days.

    I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Keystone pipeline but my understanding is that it’s intended to transport Canadian oil to the Gulf for export. $$ to Canadian producers. Oil to Asia. Some bucks to refinery operators near the Gulf.

    Speaking of pipelines, anybody here live near the new Montana spill? Still believe these guys are going to construct a safe pipeline? I can just see the Keystone disaster coming.

    481 chars

  83. Sherri said on January 22, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    I was with friends during the SOTU so I missed the whole breadbag thing, which just would have been puzzling to me since I’d never heard of such of thing. But I encountered a different Midwestern quirk, from my friend who grew up in Milwaukee: she used the phrase “a horse a piece”, to mean something like six of one, half dozen of another, and the rest of us were baffled by the expression. Is this a common expression among Midwesterners?

    440 chars

  84. Sue said on January 22, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Charlotte @56, when the mining company – I’m sorry, the Wisconsin Republicans – were writing the mining bill, Dems tried to insert a provision requiring a certain amount of the jobs created go to Wisconsin residents. Nothing doing.
    I’m surprised no one here mentioned the downside of using plastic bags to protect your feet or make it easier to get boots on: losing your boots in any measurable amount of snow because the foot that slipped in so easily slips out just as easily.
    I wonder if Joni Ernst’s dad bought everyone their shoes from a mail-order catalog, and if he sold a hog to pay for them, and if her mom’s hands bled from washing the clothes but she smiled anyway, and if they worked hard and then slept because they were tired. Has no one in the country noticed that Joni’s speech was basically a slam poetry version, Republican style, of Coal Miner’s Daughter? So poor but so happy.
    And, I didn’t realize a horse apiece (one word) was regional.

    966 chars

  85. Jolene said on January 22, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Several discussions of the etymology and usage of “a horse apiece” on Google. New to me too. Never made it to my corner of the Midwest.

    135 chars

  86. Kirk said on January 22, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Never heard of “a horse apiece,” either.

    40 chars

  87. basset said on January 23, 2015 at 12:22 am

    Me neither, till I had to go work in Milwaukee for a few days awhile back. Way I understood it, if it’s some distance to where you want to go it’s “horse a piece” to get there.

    They also call a water fountain a “bubbler” and an ice-cream store a “custard stand.” Fun work time though, never saw/seen a Mr. Norm’s Dart 440 before or since. Not this exact car, but one like it:

    494 chars