Bleak Friday.

The news was so horrible today, I took a rare break from it. I had plenty to do in other corners of the internet, and it made for a good excuse. Thanks to Jolene and others for keeping us informed of the high points of the day’s developments (and Coozledad for serving as the voice of my id Thursday); it meant I didn’t have to wade into the swamp. I’m sure there are not only alligators there, but snakes, mosquitoes and stinking mud.

These events are awful in so may ways beyond the obvious. I simply dread the weeks of bullshit, the moronic discussions on cable news, the self-promoting talking heads who simply aren’t helping in any way. How did we get to a point that this much static is simply expected? Maybe it’s time to do that thing people do and stop paying attention.

At least, stop paying attention to most of it. If anyone comes across the inevitable men’s rights advocates talking about the dangers of “low-status males,” let me know so I can go to ground for another week or so.

While we wait for a few things to settle out, and we learn more about those involved — like this roommate who apparently listened to this guy’s murder fantasies for six months without saying anything about it; talk about a piece of work — let’s look at a few other stories.

I’m not much for most newspaper think pieces, but as a swimmer, I found this one interesting:

Once a mainstay of cities nationwide, public swimming pools are becoming relics, waylaid by budget cuts, changing tastes and perception issues that touch on race and class. In the past few years alone, public pools have closed from Westland and Dearborn to Detroit and Royal Oak Township.

That’s not to say there’s nowhere to swim. There are 1,200 outdoor pools in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties that Michigan regulators define as “public.” More than 90 percent are anything but, tucked behind gates of subdivisions, marinas or swim clubs where membership fees of $2,000 aren’t uncommon.

It’s hard to imagine for me; I grew up in a bathing suit, living at the pool all summer long, along with everybody else in my neighborhood and school. Lessons were in the morning, then we came home for lunch and went back in the summer for general goofing off. The rules: No running, no horseplay on “the deck” (it was tolerated in the pool), few others. In this wildly unstructured block of summer, we all came of age. So this was interesting:

A simple swimming pool doesn’t cut it anymore, Yack said.

“If you don’t have a pool with lots of gadgets, gizmos and slides, chances are it’s going to be under-utilized and the cost of maintaining it will be difficult,” said Yack, who retired as supervisor in 2008 and is now serving as a township trustee.

We had diving boards, and that was pretty much it for gadgets, gizmos and slides. Of course, we were allowed to take floaties into the water, something verboten at our pool. We have a slide, with a million rules — no jewelry, no metal of any sort on one’s suit, only so many people allowed on the steps at a time, and so on and on and on.

I hate to see this, though. Swimming is a life skill. It shouldn’t be yet another thing divided by class and money.

GOP outreach to the younger demographic continues.

I had one more story to share, but I see it’s about Rachel Dolezal, and her 15 minutes are up.

Happy weekend, all.

Posted at 12:40 am in Current events |

113 responses to “Bleak Friday.”

  1. Crazycatlady said on June 19, 2015 at 1:16 am

    The pool at Lake St. Clair Metropark seems packed most of the time. It has a $2 fee and a huge water slide, included. It also has a squirt zone for the little ones, free with park admission. About $5 a day per car, $25 for a year’s pass but it is far from Detroit. Detroit has the Chandler Park Water Park with a wave pool, water slide and squirt zone for little ones. Not sure the price. But most beaches and such on the lake have very strict residency requirements meant to keep ‘Those Kind’ (ie Detroiters) away. Belle Isle has a water slide and riverside beach. It is now a state park, and requires a pass or per car fee. The water slide is a nominal fee, I believe. No free pools anymore. Sad.

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  2. Dexter said on June 19, 2015 at 2:26 am

    Dave K and Pilot Joe, I envied you Garrett kids who had a pool within walking or biking distance. We lived a few miles north and we only got to go to the Garrett pool a few times a summer. I learned to swim in Pretty Lake, Dad taught me. I refined my technique under the tutelage of Specialist 4 Samsel, who taught me how to really swim , in the South China Sea off Nha Trang. By God, next nice day I am going swimming.

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  3. Pam said on June 19, 2015 at 5:03 am

    If Public Pools are closing, it’s bound to be mostly in cities with no money. The suburbs are bursting with pools and not just pools, waterparks! The one here in WVille is huge and always crowded. There’s also a waterpark like pool indoors at the Community Center. It’s not very large and is usually packed with kids and very noisy. Moms bring their kids, drop them in the pool, get on their phones, and ignore the kids for a few hours. Also, you should check out the Hilliard community pool, the Dublin pool, as well as the renovations to the Dodge Park community pool in Columbus. I checked out UA but they haven’t done much to change the pool, aside from adding a small tubular water slide. Arlington has turned into a pretty cheap Republican enclave where not much changes. I guess they all swim over in Hilliard. The roads are a wreck over there and you can expect to get bounced and rutted around pretty badly when driving there. Sidewalks, same thing. I always look down when walking in UA. But then, all this pool madness could be due to something you wrote about recently – that there’s absolutely nothing going on in central Ohio in nature. No hills, no good lakes (other than Erie, meh). So we build it instead. Out of plastic.

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  4. alex said on June 19, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Dylann Storm, GOP Youth Ambassador.

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  5. Suzanne said on June 19, 2015 at 7:37 am

    I grew up out in the sticks, the boonies, whatever you could call it. I never really learned to swim because we had no where to swim on a regular basis. I took swim lessons at the public pool in the nearby town, but I am not even sure how I got there. Since we had nowhere to swim, I never practiced. I can kind of float and paddle around, but actually swim, no. I don’t think my brother or sister swim well either.

    My husband watched CNN coverage last night about the Charleston situation. He said he could not get over the lack of anger among the people interviewed from that church. He said they were all very gracious, sad, but retrospect that bad things happen in this world and you pull together and carry on in love. He was truly amazed by it.

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  6. Wim said on June 19, 2015 at 8:05 am

    I suspect that Dylann’s roommate didn’t take him seriously. I worked with a guy in college who was always fantasizing about race war, and I thought he was full of shit. Never shot anybody, that I know of. If he was going to shoot anyone it would probably have been me, because I called him all kinds of unkind names to his face.

    Complete change of subject. Anybody been to I answered the questions and it turns out I side with Bernie Sanders 98% of the time. I only side 86% with HRC, and just for comparison, 20% of the time with Jeb!

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  7. alex said on June 19, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Like a broken clock, Jeb Bush has to be right about something twenty percent of the time.

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  8. Jeff Borden said on June 19, 2015 at 8:24 am

    As usual, there’s a terrific overview of America’s penchant for mass-murder by guns in “The Economist.” There’s a link to it on I found this paragraph particularly sobering and, of course, maddening, as I’m sure this is how much of the world views our country.

    “The regularity of mass killings breeds familiarity. The rhythms of grief and outrage that accompany them become—for those not directly affected by tragedy—ritualised and then blend into the background noise. That normalisation makes it ever less likely that America’s political system will groan into action to take steps to reduce their frequency or deadliness. Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard them the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing. This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.”

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  9. Heather said on June 19, 2015 at 8:26 am

    My local pool in Chicago was closed for six months for major maintenance and thankfully reopened last week. No gizmos or special features, and it’s very popular, especially with families. I’ve considered joining a more private facility (if it meant there were fewer people at the lap swim times), but the convenience of this one can’t be beat, and frankly I like the sense of community.

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  10. Connie said on June 19, 2015 at 8:28 am

    In Oakland County metro Detroit Waterford Oaks County Park has a water park. My wealthy west Oakland community has no community pool, but plenty of assorted beaches. Many subdivisions at every level also have beaches or some kind of water access, including mine. We have access to a road right of way width on South Commerce Lake, maybe a two block walk from the house.

    I grew up near Lake Michigan, and while there was no public pool our parks department did summer swimming lessons at two different nearby high schools and we rode a bus to swimming lessons every summer. As a little girl I was terrified of the “big” boys on that bus.

    I was in high school when there was a bond issue campaign to expand my high school and add a swimming pool. I remember the letter to the editor in opposition to the bond vote: I learned to swim in a ditch and so can those kids.

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  11. beb said on June 19, 2015 at 8:35 am

    A long time ago in his Eddie Murphy days, SNL did a long skit about “The Man Who Killed Buckwheat.” It started with reports that the man was a loner, kept to himself, but suddenly everyone was saying how all he ever talked about was killing Buckwheat. Which no one ever did anything about. So his roommate listened to this crap for half a year. Did he ever suspect Roof would ever do anything; Probably not. People always vent and spew and friends just ignore it. Then one day you discover the crazy bastard went and did it. It’s hard to blame the roommate because until he was given that gun it was doubtful that he’d ever do anything.

    Meanwhile Fox News claimed this was another example of the “War on Christianity.” Right. A white man drives two hours to a historic Black church and shots up the black people worshiping there and race has nothing to do with it.

    Duncan Black (AKA Atrios) has mentioned from time to time that when he was going to college he was able to find summer entry-level jobs paying $8-$9/hour, which would be about $12-$15/hour today, and thus was able to pay for most of his tuition himself. Today there are no entry-level jobs that pay $12-$15/hour and here come Republicans trying to lower the minimum wage for high school grads because in a weak a economy the only think holding back full employment is excessive wages. Republicans aren’t just climate-change deniers, they’re also economic theory deniers.

    Swimming pools are expensive. There’s the daily maintenance, the need for highly qualified lifeguards, the liability issues and it always attracts the wrong kind of people. As with Midnight Basketball, the value of letting people burn off excess energy in a harmless fashion is not adequately appreciated.

    “maintenence” and “maintenance.” Is there some hard and fast rule for when words ending in “-nce” takes an “a” or an “e”?

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  12. Jeff Borden said on June 19, 2015 at 8:41 am

    There is no problem Republicans cannot make worse. None.

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  13. Dave said on June 19, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Can’t really swim, took swimming lessons for two weeks once in Lancaster, OH, but that was a long commute to do that. I’m kind of like Dexter, we had no public swimming pool but Canal Winchester did, ten miles away, Reynoldsburg did. Lucky them.

    My wife grew up in Forest Park, east of Worthington and south of 161, on the north side of Columbus and she was at the community pool every day growing up. Lucky her. She can swim.

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  14. coozledad said on June 19, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Nikki Haley, moron.

    This is a state hurt by the fact that nine people innocently were killed. We will absolutely want him to have the death penalty.

    There’s a very evil kid out there that we need to blame,” she said, per The Post and Courier. “I talked to my investigators and they looked pure evil in the eye.”

    NPR and our other failures of news organizations are fluffing the bitches Lindsey and Nikki.

    Remember thinking after 9/11 “Bushie done fucked up now. They’ll run his incompetent ass out of town”? Well this is how they started the process of making that drooling boob a hero. Chuck Todd is about to get himself a mouthful of incoherent Dixie teabag Governor muff.

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  15. Jolene said on June 19, 2015 at 9:06 am

    “maintenence” and “maintenance.” Is there some hard and fast rule for when words ending in “-nce” takes an “a” or an “e”?

    I didn’t think there was, but I googled it and did find that there are some patterns based on the form of the root word from which those nouns are formed. I think I am too old to learn those patterns, but you’re welcome to ’em.

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  16. coozledad said on June 19, 2015 at 9:06 am

    And it’ll be muff on muff!

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  17. Jolene said on June 19, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Hey, don’t pick on Chuck Todd. He’s one of the more honest and intelligent people in the TV news biz.

    I agree, though, that Nikki Haley is intolerable, as are the Fox News people pushing the idea that the Charleston killings were an attack on people of faith.

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  18. Jolene said on June 19, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Also, I hate the phrase “people of faith.” Don’t know why I said that.

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  19. coozledad said on June 19, 2015 at 9:15 am

    He’s one of the more honest and intelligent people in the TV news biz.
    That says volumes about the state of journalism in the US, but it would be more elegant to say the shit is dead.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on June 19, 2015 at 9:23 am

    I’m no fan of Chuck Todd or any of the D.C. talking heads. Nothing personal, but they all value their access to power too much to ask tough questions. The print guys who appear on those programs suffer the same malady.

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  21. nancy said on June 19, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Here’s a press release that just arrived to my personal account. I’m-a just cut and paste it:

    June 19, 2015
    Media Contact:
    Tim Young
    (443) 722-3286

    2AO Urges Churches to Receive Firearm Training
    2nd Amendment Org to Provide Resources to Houses of Worship

    (Washington, DC) – In the wake of the tragic events of Charleston, South Carolina, 2AO is asking for Americans to rise up and protect our nation’s churches through responsible gun training and ownership.

    2AO has condemned the horrible actions of shooter in Charleston and has called upon its over 160,000 members and 26 state chapters to begin aiding in comprehensive gun training and safety awareness in their church communities in order to protect themselves and their fellow parishioners from the potential of both foreign and domestic terrorist attacks.

    “I’m deeply saddened by this loss of life in South Carolina and I pray for all those affected,” said Bryan Crosswhite, President of 2AO, “but this isn’t a time for churches and Americans to give up their guns and hope that nothing will happen. This is a time to exercise our 2nd Amendment Right to protect ourselves, our families, and our religious communities.”

    2AO was developed to support business owners that support the Second Amendment and connect those businesses with like-minded persons throughout the US. 2AO believes that the principles of freedom and liberty will only stand the test of time if the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment are protected.

    To help ensure you continue to receive our emails, please add us to your whitelist.


    300 Massachusetts Ave NW Suite 912
    Washington, DC 20001

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  22. kayak woman said on June 19, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Also grew up wearing a swimsuit every day all summer but rarely swam in a pool. Our body of water was Lake Superior, where we swam *every* day whatever the weather. I can remember our lifeguards/parents sitting on the beach in winter jackets.

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  23. coozledad said on June 19, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Borden: The function of NPR and television news media is to preserve the narrative begun in the Reagan Administration, which is that Republicans are the serious people who require extra deference in matters of journalistic ballwashing. Hence NPR’s obligatory use of the holding back the tears/sotto voce when referring to Senator Lindsey Graham, former Judge Adjutant General

    The open door exchange between Fox News and outlets such as NPR and the old network news outfits shows you just how far they’ve fallen into the winger infotainment shit pit.

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  24. redoubt said on June 19, 2015 at 9:37 am

    To help ensure you continue to receive our emails, please add us to your whitelist.

    The Subconsious Cherry on top. (I wonder how many African-American reporters, etc received this.)

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  25. Jolene said on June 19, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Showing up everywhere this AM is Jon Stewart’s monologue from last night, which, as you might guess, was eloquent on the issue of racial violence.

    This link, however, goes to the full episode. After he finished talking about Charleston, he interviewed Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban. It was a remarkable antidote to the disheartening events of the day. What a spine she has!

    Watch it at lunchtime if you don’t have time now. Guaranteed to brighten your day.

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  26. Jolene said on June 19, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Cooz, I’m fascinated by your view of NPR as a Fox News co-conspirator, as it’s routinely bashed by right-wingers for sucking up to liberals. You’re the only person I’ve met who has this view.

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  27. coozledad said on June 19, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Jolene: Mara Liason. Juan Williams. Cokie Roberts. I’m sure there are more, but I stopped listening to them after they decided Hawaii wasn’t part of the US.

    The Republicans are going to have to get themselves a different flag:

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  28. Jolene said on June 19, 2015 at 10:06 am

    I stopped listening to them after they decided Hawaii wasn’t part of the US.

    When did this happen? These people weren’t in on the birther conspiracy, were they?

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    • nancy said on June 19, 2015 at 10:09 am

      I think he’s referring to Cokie Roberts’ notorious statement where she said Obama is “exotic” (or some such stupid description) because he’s from Hawaii. I really dislike Cokie, but for many other reasons. She’s Mrs. Conventional Wisdom.

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  29. coozledad said on June 19, 2015 at 10:10 am

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  30. Jolene said on June 19, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Ah yes, I do remember her saying that. Unfortunately, she was probably right. Obama does seem exotic, even foreign, to many people. Conventional wisdom is conventional for a reason. But I see your respective points.

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  31. Deborah said on June 19, 2015 at 10:28 am

    I read what Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about taking down the confederate flag and when I clicked on comments to read them it said comments were now closed. Gee I wonder why? I agree with him, it’s time to take it down.

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  32. brian stouder said on June 19, 2015 at 10:53 am

    This is a bleak Friday, in a ‘Crazy Nation, indeed.

    As Dave (I think) said – I also gave the rightwing lip-flappers a few minutes, so as to hear their spin; heard what I expected, and popped it back to Meghan Trainor and ‘All about that bass’ – which was oddly and altogether fitting and appropriate, at that moment.

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  33. adrianne said on June 19, 2015 at 11:13 am

    One of the great things about living in Syracuse (besides the fabulous whiteouts from lake-effect storms!) was the absolutely free recreation stuff for kids. My children learned to swim and ice-skate at city-owned facilities, while not paying a dime.

    I also recall endless hours spent at the pool in King of Prussia, Pa. The swim club was nominally private, but very affordable. Best of all, the swim club sponsored Friday night dances where I learned the lyrics to the best of the 1960s-70s bands.

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  34. susan said on June 19, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I stopped taking Cokie Roberts seriously (I never really did take her seriously) when she was commenting about the New York Times’ comprehensive piece on the 2000 theft of the presidency and Florida recount. She said no one would read it, indeed, she did not read the whole thing, because it was too long. Well, I suppose she’s right about “most people,” but isn’t it her job to examine stuff like that? No wait, she doesn’t have to. She is a pundit! [four to go] Their wisdom comes from the Well of Punditcy.

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  35. Connie said on June 19, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Off topic. There was a sandhill crane at the back door when I got to the library this morning. Earlier this week my husband realized there was an osprey nest on top of a cell tower a half mile north of the library. Turned out to have babies. I see egrets, and blue herons, and green herons, and “white herons” as the locals call egrets. This is metro Detroit? It is a water and wildlife wonderland.

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  36. BigHank53 said on June 19, 2015 at 11:26 am

    NPR gets money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the instrument that distributes federal money to public broadcasters. Bush’s board of directors put their thumb pretty hard on the scale, and NPR couldn’t afford to tell them to stuff it. They’ve been petrified of pissing off the hard-right Congressthings ever since; even going to far as to try to fire the dj of a classical music show because she’d contributed to the Occupy Wall Street protestors. Some of their hires have been appalling. Guy Raz was skeptical of every single climate change story he reported on. Their election coverage has degenerated into the same horse-race mush you can find anywhere; good luck finding an examination of candidates’ actual platforms…or a candidate being asked about those platforms.

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  37. coozledad said on June 19, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Charles Cotton, NRA boardmember:
    “And he voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.”

    Tywanza Sanders, 26, known as the peacemaker of the family, tried to calmly talk the man out of violence.

    “You don’t have to do this,” he told the gunman, Ms. Washington recounted.

    The gunman replied, “Yes. You are raping our women and taking over the country.”

    The gunman took aim at the oldest person present, Susie Jackson, 87, Mr. Sanders’s aunt, Ms. Washington said. Mr. Sanders told the man to point the gun at him instead, she said, but the man said, “It doesn’t matter. I’m going to shoot all of you.”

    Mr. Sanders dived in front of his aunt and the first shot struck him, Ms. Washington said, and then the gunman began shooting others. She said Mr. Sanders’s mother, Felicia, and his niece, lay motionless on the floor, playing dead, and were not shot.

    The gunman looked at one woman and told her “that she was going to live so that she can tell the story of what happened,” said City Councilman William Dudley Gregorie, a friend of the woman and a trustee of the church.

    The NRA is one of the paramilitary/ agents provocateurs arms of the Republican party.

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  38. Scout said on June 19, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Added to all the other NPR stories above, recently Diane Rehm asked Bernie Sanders about his dual citizenship with Israel. She has since apologized, but I expect so much better in terms of preparation from her. We still listen to NPR, but with the understanding that it is the lesser of many evils in the era of newsotainment.

    Dylann Roof disgusts me beyond words, and the Confederate flag flying proudly at full mast in SC post this tragedy tells you all you need to know about why shit like this happens. Don’t get me started on guns.

    On a lighter note, Nancy’s description of summer is almost exactly how mine were spent in East Petersburg, PA. I woke up early, rode my bike to the pool for swim team practice, rode home for lunch, rode back right after lunch to horse around in the water all afternoon, then rode home for supper. Then we had swim meets several nights a week, home pool and away. The whole summer revolved around the pool, and we were all nut brown, summer blonde and waterlogged.

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  39. Jeff Borden said on June 19, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    There is no sewer too low for the NRA to plumb.

    Why can’t we start framing the gun argument the way our cousins on the right frame abortion? They say they are pro life and can’t abide even the destruction of a fertilized egg. Why can’t we say it’s time to address our national gun fetishism because we are pro life and hand guns, in particular, are designed to take lives?

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  40. brian stouder said on June 19, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Jeff, the tool on our local rightwing radio came out in favor of many more people doing the ‘concealed carry’ thing – because then LIVES WOULD HAVE BEEN SAVED in that church.

    I changed the channel, rather than call the boob, but what a load of fecal matter!

    A gunfight between an excited maniac and one (or more?) excited hero-citizens is going to SAVE lives?

    I’ll take my chances with the one crazed shooter, as opposed to multiple idiots ventilating the room (and anyone in the way)

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  41. brian stouder said on June 19, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    ….*and by the way, reason #1,342 that I will never win the governorship of Indiana (for example) is that I’d be GREATLY tempted to order that we fly the ISIL flag over the statehouse until such time as South Carolina gets rid of that damned racist, hateful emblem atop their statehouse

    *I don’t know how quickly I’ll run out of my supply of exclamation points, but my supply of ellipses has also got to be going quickly!

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  42. Deborah said on June 19, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    We spent time at the beach whenever possible as kids but we had to get a parent to drive us there, which wasn’t always easy. It wasn’t that far away as the crow flies maybe 3 miles, but you had to cross the inter-coastal waterway from the mainland to the beach side and the bridge wasn’t close, maybe more like 5 or so miles away. Too far for a kid to walk or bike back in those days. We didn’t swim much just played around in the water. Later in high school we hardly ever went in the surf except to cool off while sunbathing. In my neighborhood we only had one neighbor who had a pool and it was above ground. This was blue collar North Miami.

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  43. beb said on June 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Jolene, thanks for the link to the article on “ance” vs “ence.” Alas, like you, I am too old to learn these patterns.

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  44. Suzanne said on June 19, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    You knew it would happen

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  45. Connie said on June 19, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    My husband tells me I am “noticing” impaired. I just noticed the gravatars are gone, and I only noticed because I recently changed mine and wanted to see it. They could have disappeared months ago and I didn’t notice.

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  46. Jolene said on June 19, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Cooz, what is the source for the quote your post @37? Would like to read whatever it came from. Thanks.

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  47. Julie Robinson said on June 19, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Connie, on Chrome I can see your gravatar as well as all the others.

    I’m sorry that I followed the story so closely because it left me feeling hopeless. What group can effectively put the right kind of pressure on the NRA, Fox, and Congress? I wish I knew the answer.

    Mom would drive us in from the country for swim lessons every summer, then when I was 10 we got new neighbors who built a pool. Friendly, hospitable neighbors, who would invite us over every time we stepped outside. It was the best.

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  48. Connie said on June 19, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    And when I came back there they were. Ignore previous comment. I just wanted to see my new gravatar.

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  49. coozledad said on June 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Jolene: Here’s the quote from the NRA guy:

    And the longer quote is from a Gawker link to a New York Times article today. It should still be front page.

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  50. Snarkworth said on June 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    I like it, Connie. Is it a good likeness of you?

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  51. Jolene said on June 19, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Gov. Nikki Haley. 803-734-2100
    Sen. Lindsey Graham 202-224-5972
    Sen. Tim Scott 202-224-6121
    Rep. Mark Sanford 202-225-3176
    Rep. James Clyburn 202-225-3315

    Above are the names and phone numbers of South Carolina’s governor, senators, and two of its representatives. (You may remember Mark Sanford from his walk on the Appalachian Trail when he was the state’s governor.)

    I am seriously pissed off with the weasel words these leaders (with the exception of Clyburn) have offered in response to the Charleston shootings. In particular, they have all danced away from the issue of racism in response to this obviously racist event. Thus, I am planning to call each of their offices and urge them to stop flying the Confederate flag at the South Carolina state house. The flag is nothing more and nothing less than a symbol of a racist political and economic system. It should have no place in our society today.

    I invite you to join me and to share these numbers with your friends on social media and elsewhere. I realize this is, at best, a modest gesture, but it’s something. At least, they will have to realize that people have noticed their obfuscations.

    Note that Rep. Clyburn is a leader of the Congressional Black Caucus and a senior member of House leadership, who has a lifelong history of involvement in civil rights struggles. I haven’t heard him speak on the issue of the Confederate flag, but I suspect he would share my sentiments.

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  52. Connie said on June 19, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Snarkworth, Yup, sitting in my office this morning. Had many inches cut off my hair the other day, thus the picture.

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  53. Connie said on June 19, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    That was stupid. I just posted the picture described in 52 to my facebook page. My gravatar of course is Frida. I used to have her eyebrows, but otherwise don’t look like her at all.

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  54. Sue said on June 19, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    My folks bought all us kids pool passes every summer and by gods we had to get the worth out of them. So we went almost every day whether we wanted to or not.
    My town is in the process of doing a big public-private partnership to get a waterpark-type pool built to replace the 50+ year old outdoor pool we have. The referendum for minimal (already in place) public funds passed by a wide margin. Fundraising for the rest of the money is almost there after a slow patch. I’m giving my fellow citizens a pass on the slow fundraising – the people most likely to benefit from it (young families with kids) are the ones least able to contribute a lot.

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  55. Kirk said on June 19, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    We went to the pool most days when I was a little kid in the ’50s in south central Ohio. It was public, but you had to have a membership, as I recall. The local Rotary club ran it. And no black people could get a membership.

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  56. Sherri said on June 19, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Lindsey Graham tells CNN that the Confederate flag is “part of who we are.” You’re right, Sen. Graham, it is. Which is why you need to repent and ask forgiveness. A good first step is to take down that flag.

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  57. Snarkworth said on June 19, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Connie, I thought you looked familiar!

    I don’t resemble my grav at all. I’m not a bronze medieval philosopher from Cordova, Spain.

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  58. Kirk said on June 19, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    If Lindsey were German, he’d be just fine with waving the beloved swastika above Berlin city hall

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  59. brian stouder said on June 19, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Kirk – indeed!

    What the hell is the difference?

    Genocide is genocide is genocide; even if it occurred before that 20th century term was invented.

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  60. coozledad said on June 19, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    the Confederate flag is “part of who we are
    Then you need surgery.

    Another option is a military tribunal similar to the Nuremburg trials, minus the operation paperclip escape clause. They could call them the Sherman Has Risen From The Grave hearings.

    My ancestors were Confederates. “Heritage”-wise that flag only serves to remind me I’m genetically a cunthair from being an epic sucker and a doucheball. What really matters is it’s an emblem of murder, unspeakable cruelty, and centuries of pain for the people who actually built this country. Not the porchbound diabetic drunks, not the cutthroat speculators and buddyfuckers, but the slaves. They built it. Their descendants should own it.

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  61. brian stouder said on June 19, 2015 at 4:19 pm


    The single worst president (or at least, the worst one at the most consequential time) in our history was a Democrat – Andrew Johnson – and if you go down the Indiana toll road and get change, they give you dollar coins with his visage on them.

    We had just fought and won a war against the ‘Slave Power’ – and then President Lincoln (who was always going to be a hard act to follow, admittedly) gets murdered, and the ‘Union’ ticket they had assembled in 1864 made it’s lasting, disfiguring impact on our history.

    The one uplifting thing – a thin reed, indeed – is that the Democrat/Slave Power/Big Money ticket to power is so onerous that the parties keep trading it back and forth… and now we ‘mindlessly glorify’ the whole damned thing

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  62. jcburns said on June 19, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    This may be the only time in my life I post a link to an essay written by the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and say wholeheartedly: You must read this. Wow. Wow.

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  63. brian stouder said on June 19, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    jcburns – Thread Win!! Thread Win!!

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  64. Sherri said on June 19, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Moore’s predecessor in that post almost certainly wouldn’t have written anything like that, since Richard Land claimed that black political leaders were using Trayvon Martin’s death to “gin up the black vote.”

    Like Cooz, my ancestors were Confederates. My great-grandfather was named for his father’s captain in the Confederate army. I don’t regard a heritage of fighting on the wrong side of history as something to be proud of. I also know that the Confederate flag isn’t really about honoring Confederate ancestors, because it wasn’t until Brown v. Board that Confederate symbols were suddenly necessary reminders of our heritage all over the south.

    Nikki Haley is either a despicable human being or a gutless coward for not taking down that flag. It’s not even her heritage.

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  65. Connie said on June 19, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Brian, change? You need an i-pass ez pass doodad. And it has truly improved my feelings about the thought of driving through Illinois on 90.

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  66. Sherri said on June 19, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Rick Perry, as stupid as ever:

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  67. alex said on June 19, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Quite a moving post by Mr. Moore. Too bad his own choir is likely too deaf and too dumb to have any use for his preaching. No doubt there will be those who dismiss it just like the rank GOP partisans of the Catholic persuasion who diss the pope when it suits them but otherwise consider his word infallible when they interpret it as supporting their own bugaboos.

    I really thought Rick Perry and Fox News and a whole lot of people making conservative political hay out of Charleston today couldn’t possibly be any more crass than they already were, but they’ve certainly proven me wrong.

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  68. Brandon said on June 19, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Learn and know the name of Charleston County Magistrate James B. Gosnell:

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  69. Deborah said on June 19, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    I put J.C.’s fabulous link on my Facebook timeline and the photo that came up with it had absolutely nothing to do with the article, which was disappointing. It’s a fuzzy picture of Caitlyn Jenner of all things. I have lots of gay friends on Facebook (I realize that’s different from transgenderism but still) and I don’t want them to think that’s what it’s about. Oh well, live and learn.

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  70. coozledad said on June 19, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Brandon: That’s that. That trial will have to be moved out of SC. It’s a complete shithole.

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  71. Wim said on June 19, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    The problem with that ‘heritage, not hate’ bullshit concerning the Confederate battle jack is that the heritage *is* hate. It was conceived in hate and born in hate and every fat-ass cracker flying that rag is proud of his hatred. They would have you believe that Southern history began in 1861 and ended in 1865.

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  72. Dexter said on June 19, 2015 at 10:20 pm…/files/2013/08/0820_john-lewis1.jpg

    John Lewis
    I grew up in the rural South. Every Wednesday night as a child we went to Bible study prayer meetings. I’ve been to Charleston many, many times. I have spoken in many of these churches, and this makes my heart hurt. I feel like crying.
    How many more shootings must we endure? How many more human beings must be murdered before we speak up and speak out, before we say we must put an end to gun violence.
    It is not just one person pulling the trigger, it is what’s in our environment, in our makeup, that drives someone to a point where they are willing to murder innocent people, of all places in the house of the Lord, studying the holy word, praying prayers of peace, love, and forgiveness.
    If you cannot go to a church, or a mosque, or a temple, to study and pray, where can we turn as a nation and as a people?

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  73. Deborah said on June 19, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Amen Dexter.

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  74. Basset said on June 20, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    34 to 1:

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  75. alex said on June 20, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    73 to 1:

    What the NRA spent lobbying the 112th Congress versus the Brady Campaign.

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  76. brian stouder said on June 20, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Aside from the terrible national news, it has also been an unpleasant week on the old home-front.

    It is no exaggeration – at all – to say that I married way, way up.

    Pam has been a tower of strength (and a very organized tower, at that!), literally from the first seconds of our broken-water pipe catastrophe.

    For now, we’re living in two rooms at the Residence Inn (so we have a fridge and a stove), and may be able to be home again Monday (right now, a number of hot-air blowers are operating there, and the temp within the house is about 125 degrees)

    Onward and upward, eh?

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  77. Deborah said on June 20, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Holy cow Brian, sorry to hear what you and your family are having to endure.

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  78. alex said on June 20, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Sorry to hear about your tribulations, Brian.

    As for Charleston, I’m curious how the right-wing press is going to spin Dylann Roof’s newly discovered manifesto. Obviously he bought into Fox News’ race-baiting tropes while at the same time considering their brand of white aggrievement too candy-assed for his tastes.

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  79. Sherri said on June 20, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    At least Mitt has been clear and straightforward in calling for the removal of the Confederate flag. Too bad nobody actually running for the Republican nomination has managed to do the same. Jeb!’s statement about being sure the leaders of South Carolina will have a discussion after a period of mourning and do the right thing is the height of gutless cowardice. A period of mourning for the people or for the flag?

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  80. Jolene said on June 20, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    All the Republicans have been gutless on this situation, but, as more and more details about what Roof said to the victims, what he said to his friends, and, now, what he said on his horrible website are revealed, it’s become impossible to argue that race wasn’t at the core of his motives.

    Except for hearing about the website, I’ve been away from the news today, but I’m looking forward to hearing what the GOP candidates, who generally want to deny that racism exists or that they have an obligation to do anything about it, will have to say. I expect there’ll be a lot of squirming on the Sunday talk shows.

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  81. Jolene said on June 20, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    By the way, a Republican state senator announced last night that, when the South Carolina legislature meets again, which won’t be for several months, he will introduce a bill to have the Confederate flag removed from the statehouse grounds. So, there’s that.

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  82. coozledad said on June 20, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    It’s odd to see Republicans lining up to piss on the flag of movement conservatism, but even their core values of racism, division and neo-feudalism take a backseat to the ability to fundraise from corporations whose headquarters are not located in Shagsister, SC.

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  83. coozledad said on June 20, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Dylann Roof, stepchild of Trent Lott’s beloved CCC:

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  84. Jolene said on June 20, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Here’s a piece from The New Yorker by David Remnickabout what it’s like to be Obama when events that deal with race in significant ways occur. Posting particularly because it raises questions about what we can expect from Obama’s memoirs, which is something that both Nancy and I have wondered about–or, more accurately, something we’ve both said we are looking forward to.

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  85. Sherri said on June 21, 2015 at 2:58 am

    I don’t know if Obama will ever let us see the feelings that have to be there. I wonder if he was really prepared for the depth of the vitriol he faced. I’m angry for him. I’m angry and sick over these murders, and I’m so angry over the people who try to make this about something other than race. The Confederate flag makes me feel ill every time I see it, because it reminds me of how much I feel betrayed and lied to by my people, who never said the n-word in polite company and didn’t believe they were racists but also didn’t believe that the races should really mix much. I’m angry because I know that when they talk of the fear of black men raping white women, they don’t mean that white women should be protected, they mean that white women are their property.

    Southerners think they are more patriotic than anyone else, yet they venerate a symbol of treason against the country they claim to love. I grew up in a church that split apart over slavery, but that was never mentioned. I left the South as soon as I could, because there was too much cognitive dissonance required for me to live there.

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  86. coozledad said on June 21, 2015 at 11:39 am

    He’s a tool. A racist tool.

    The Republicans had no other way to spin this, and no more unctuous tool to do it for them.

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  87. coozledad said on June 21, 2015 at 11:51 am

    That’s journalistic malfeasance. He should be sacked right now.

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  88. MichaelG said on June 21, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Two things strike me this weekend about the shootings in Charleston. One is the quiet and peaceful dignity exhibited by the Black Community in Charleston and the other is the tone deaf idiocy of the South Carolina Governor forcing a tear while demanding the death penalty as she stood in the shadow of the traitor flag.

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  89. MichaelG said on June 21, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    That Chuck Todd thing is absolutely jaw dropping.

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  90. beb said on June 21, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Geez-Louise!!!!!!* Chuck Todd is an ass! And this answers alex’s question @78, they’ll make the story be about something else. Black prisoners, black-on-black crime, gay marriage, or “that man” in the White House. (“…he wrecked the place and it wasn’t his to wreck…”) But seriously, Chuck Todd, you make me pine for the days of ‘Dancin’ Dave Gregory.

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  91. beb said on June 21, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    ps – don’t tell me ow many exclamation marks I can use!!

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  92. beb said on June 21, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    An interesting note on the origins of the 2nd amendment.

    Since Patrick Henry flat out says it was about suppressing slave revolts I’m surprise how this is never brought up in discussions about gun control.

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  93. alex said on June 21, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    I briefly watched Face the Nation which had Karl Rove, Hugh Hewitt, Gwen Ifill and some dweeb from the Washington Post and some others I didn’t recognize, and of course the conservatives danced around the questions 1) why conservatives were at first trying to frame the Charleston incident as something else and 2) what Obama was getting at when he said other advanced nations don’t have this problem.

    Hewitt pretended that the conservative hedging was all about refraining from passing judgment on what was only a “developing story” at the time. Regarding Obama’s pointed reference to gun violence, they ducked the issue entirely by blaming the internet for radicalizing youth.

    Glad I didn’t see Chuck Todd’s circus sideshow on NBC as the one on CBS was irritating enough. To Gwen Ifill’s credit, she pointed out that those pictures on Dylann Roof’s web page weren’t selfies so he wasn’t the loner living in the shadows that some would make him out to be.

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  94. brian stouder said on June 21, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    The Chuck Todd thing is (at best) incoherent; and indeed, Cooz’s reaction makes it coherent (racist, straight up).

    I did get to see the sermon from the church (uninterrupted) on CNN, and it was (terribly) wonderful.

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  95. coozledad said on June 21, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Chucky was all set to go with the “It’s an attack on Christianity” while they were drafting the segment. and they did a slack rewrite to keep the ooga booga in, because there is no fucking ooga booga that doesn’t get Chuck and his bosses’ cocks hard.

    He’s pissed in the shooting victims and their family members’ faces. He needs someone to punch his fucking lights out.

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  96. coozledad said on June 21, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Cunting bullshit.

    We’ve gotten a lot of feedback about the gun video we showed on Meet the Press today. Some were upset it only featured African-American men talking about their regrets of pulling a trigger. All of the men in the piece volunteered to be a part of the video and the larger project it is a part of.
    Which project would that be be Chuck? Project for a new white American century?

    But the last thing we wanted was to cloud the discussion of the topic.

    Which topic? What in the fuck is it with these vague references?

    The original decision to air this segment was made before Wednesday’s massacre. However, the staff and I had an internal debate about whether to show it at all this week. When we discussed putting it off, that conversation centered around race and perception – not the conversation we wanted the segment to invoke.

    The conversation about race and perception we were going to have about the church massacre before the church massacre occurred and we wanted some ooga booga and then the church massacre happened and -OOGA BOOGA!”

    We decided against delaying the segment because we wanted to show multiple sides of what gun violence does in this country. We thought the issue of gun violence in our culture and society was an important conversation to continue — too important to put off for another week. The consequences of gun violence should not be hidden.

    Unless they are the consequences of police gun violence, or Republican policies, or Fox News shit stirring, or mediocrities like Chuck Todd sucking dick for a paycheck.

    As I say to all audiences, Meet the Press should make all viewers uncomfortable at some point or we are not doing our job.

    Why don’t you just put on the sheet, you disingenuous both sides do it ass crawler. You dead soul. You cipher.

    I hope folks view the gun video as a part of the conversation we should all be having and not the totality of it.

    Here’s the totality of the conversation you jackass. Nine people are dead because fucks like you will always bend yourself into a moebius strip to lick the asshole of zombie Reagan.
    Fuck you.

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  97. Judybusy said on June 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Just popping in quickly–Brian, what a mess. It sounds as if you and Pam are great together, a true partnership and I hope this all gets resolved as soon as it can. If I lived in the same city, you’d be coming to live and cook with us.

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  98. MichaelG said on June 21, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    France and Korea are playing in the Women’s World Cup. When they played the French National Anthem the whole stadium sang along. Then the cheer at the end. Wow. You’d have thought France was the home team. Well, the match is in Montreal.

    That sounds terrible, Brian. I hope the insurance covers everything and that you are back in the house quickly. It’s probably lucky that school is out.

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  99. brian stouder said on June 21, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    It is indeed quite fortunate that school is out; the household is – if not ‘upside-down’ – literally sideways, as we have moved essentially everything away from walls and/or into the garage. Monday we’ll have a much better idea of what needs done going forward. Really, all I want is to go home!

    I think Cooz couldn’t be more right about Todd; ol’ Chuckie would have been much, much better to have ditched that piece, which – at best – is a complete non-sequitur, or else a straight-up racist repackaging of what the hell happened.

    After all, how many years will it be – if EVER – that the young racist who conducted the slaughter in the church will have “regrets” about what he did? (as in Some were upset it only featured African-American men talking about their regrets of pulling a trigger. All of the men in the piece volunteered to be a part of the video and the larger project it is a part of.)

    Really, truly, and honestly – I find this statement from Chuck Todd as pretty much a permanent disqualification for any trust I could ever invest in anything he ever reports again.

    (Maybe next week ol’ Chuck can offer some apologia for the rebel battle flag over the South Carolina state capitol, or for the old Nazi they caught in Canada, or whatever ISIL guy is currently at the top of the dung heap)

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  100. Jolene said on June 21, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Am curious about whether the Chuck Todd critics here watched the segment in question or, more important, the whole show. Hands?

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  101. coozledad said on June 21, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I’ve seen Chuck’s show today described as corporatist propaganda in support of white privilege.

    On a day of mourning.

    Remember, when they talk about freedom of religion, it’s freedom for a special class of religion. When they talk about freedom, it’s about freedom to do unto others. And when they talk about the bygone America they love, it’s the Confederacy.

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  102. brian stouder said on June 21, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Jolene, I watched the whole enchilada right here:

    as you are free to, also, at

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  103. Jolene said on June 21, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    I saw the show too, Brian. I agree that presenting only black people as examples of people who had used guns in regrettable ways was a bad choice given the overriding concern about the shootings in Charleston. Moreover, I think presenting a two-minute clip followed by a very brief conversation on such a charged topic was a bad idea.

    That topic–the idea that you can ruin your life and somebody else’s in the impulsive act of a moment–is an important one that needs to be discussed as part of efforts to deter young guys from picking up guns, but, today, the primary concern should have been–and was for most of the show–racism and racial violence.

    I didn’t see anything that took place on that show as an effort to back away from the horror of Dylann Roof’s actions or an effort to weaken the link between racism and the shootings. As I said a couple days ago, I was initially very frustrated by the unwillingness of, especially, GOP leaders to decry the racism underlying this crime. As the days have passed, more and more of them have spoken about racism, for which I give them very little credit. From the first reports, the real nature of what had happened was obvious.

    Still and all, I think the lambasting you and Cooz have laid on Chuck Todd goes way beyond the sin he committed. I don’t, of course, know how he votes or whether he votes, but I’ve never seen any evidence that he is bending over for Republicans. He has to, after all, be polite to them. If he weren’t, they wouldn’t come on his show, and NBC would turn into MSNBC, where almost no Republicans will appear. He is married to a Democratic political operative; he is a Reform Jew. These are not affiliations typical of a Reaganite.

    It was only one TV show among many that he has done and one among many choices. Take a breath. Spare yourselves a heart attack.

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  104. Jill said on June 21, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    Ugh, Brian. I hope you can get back into your house soon.

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  105. coozledad said on June 21, 2015 at 9:26 pm

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  106. alex said on June 21, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Whatever the case, Jolene, it was pretty effing tone-deaf. The least he could have done was preface the piece with the caveat that it had been prepared before the Charleston massacre but goes to the heart of the issue that no one wants to confront, which is guns.

    I misremembered Karl Rove being on Face the Nation this morning in my earlier post. I had stopped on Fox momentarily before moving on to CBS and that’s where he was.

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  107. Jolene said on June 21, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Cooz, I’m not going to argue that television news is a great way to learn about the world. It isn’t, for the reasons you mentioned in the article you linked. My point was that Chuck Todd’s performance on today’s Meet the Press was not the product of the nefarious intentions you attribute to him. He is no worse as an interviewer than most TV hosts, and he is quite a bit better than some.

    TV news is just part of the general stupidification of America.

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  108. Jolene said on June 21, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Yup, I’ll give you tone-deaf, as I tried to say above, but not worse than that.

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  109. beb said on June 22, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Jolene, I think you give Chuck Todd far more credit than he deserved. While I didn’t watch today’s Meet The Press I have seen him on other episodes. Dave Gregory was let go because his bootlicking was dragging down the show. Todd was supposed to be the smarter alternative but how smart is it to air a clip on black violence when you were supposed to be talking about white on black violence. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that that was not the time to show that clip. Was Todd tone-deaf or was he buying into the conservative talking point about changing the subject from white-on-black crime to black on black crime. If it wasn’t hard for Jon Stewart to say this was a racist attack why should it be so hard for Todd to say so as well?

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  110. Jolene said on June 22, 2015 at 12:05 am

    He did say so, beb. Watch the show. You can find it online.

    The show is an hour long. The clip that started this controversy is two minutes. Most of the show was about Charleston, and I think most viewers would see most of the discussion as dealing with the racism that drove the attack.

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  111. Jolene said on June 22, 2015 at 12:13 am

    Something to look forward to: Barack Obama is going to appear on Marc Maron’s podcast. Maron is a comic, who in most episodes of his podcast interviews other comics. Am very interested to hear his chat with the prez. You can find it here

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  112. Jolene said on June 22, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Something less fun, but possibly valuable: An HBO documentary on guns, reviewed here by Hank Stuever. Tomorrow evening at 9 PM EDT.

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