Coolish, cloudyish, sort of an -ish day. But a good one. I spent it in shorts and a T-shirt, watching the SCOTUS reaction and reading about sexual assault at the University of Michigan. Among other things. Stirring the noodles, planning the rest of the summer.

Reading stories I find infuriating:

Marquette has been hit hard by a tactic that the country’s biggest retailers are using to slash their property taxes. Known as the “dark store” method, it exemplifies the systematic way that these chains extract money from local governments. It’s also the latest example of the way that, even as local governments across the country continue to bend over backwards to attract and accommodate big-box development, these stores are consistently a terrible deal for the towns and cities where they locate.

Marquette is one of the countless places that has bought into big-box economic development. Over the years, the township in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan spent millions extending water mains, law enforcement, and other infrastructure and services to its big-box commercial corridor along U.S. 41. When the Lowe’s opened there in 2008, local officials including the mayor turned out for a “board-cutting” ceremony—the home improvement center version of a ribbon-cutting.

Then, less than two years later, Lowe’s flipped the script. The mega-retailer, which reports annual net sales of about $50 billion, went to tax court to appeal its property tax assessment. Marquette had pegged the taxable value of the store, which had just been built for $10 million, at $5.2 million. In front of the Michigan Tax Tribunal, an administrative court whose members are appointed by the state governor, Lowe’s won assessments that were, instead, $2.4 million in 2010, $2 million in 2011, and $1.5 million in 2012.

It goes on. It gets more infuriating. Read, because it’s probably happening where you are.

Reading stories that should be news, but aren’t anymore: The Romeo Observer, a weekly newspaper, is folding. Tragedy, right? I learned about this via the Facebook page of a Republican consultant I connected with when I wrote a different story. His take:

I have never rejoiced at the demise of a newspaper, until today. Good riddance to the flea-bitten Romeo Observer and its cranky luddite Editor and Publisher Melvin Bleich. In the article proclaiming its own demise, the Observer attributed its downfall to “the internet.” Bleich hated technology. He refused my press releases releases sent via fax, and then later by email. He once told me, in the most caustic possible way, that he would only accept press releases via the postal service or by hand. So, thank you internet for righteously claiming this most worthy of victims in your relentless drive to actually inform people in a timely fashion!

There are Luddites, and there are Luddites. Hilarious. We once had a stringer in Fort Wayne, a man in his 80s, who would send in his dispatches typed on onionskin paper, in envelopes with RUSH written on them in a shaky hand. On the other hand, when there was a propane explosion down in Berne, he got out of bed, pulled on his pants and dictated a few grafs to the desk on deadline. God bless Simon Schwartz, who I assume has gone to be with the God he believed in so fiercely. (After the propane explosion, in which some victims were burned, he wrote a chatty note to an editor speculating on whether their pain might be equal to the fires of hell.)

Bristol Palin is pregnant. No comment. (She doesn’t want any lectures.)

And so we lurch into the weekend. Happy weekend to you.

Posted at 12:20 am in Current events |

92 responses to “Overcast.”

  1. Brandon said on June 26, 2015 at 12:53 am

    I had never heard of The Romeo Observer. I think there’s ample room for print and it will be so for years to come.

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  2. Brandon said on June 26, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Nancy, is this the Simon Schwartz you knew?


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  3. Julie Robinson said on June 26, 2015 at 1:55 am

    There’s nothing Bristol can’t do with God at her side, except, apparently, remember to use birth control. Sheesh, what’s the number of conceptions previous to marriage in this family up to now? Todd and Sarah, the oldest boy, and now two for Bristol. Are there others I haven’t been keeping up with?

    And is it mean spirited to suggest the The Romeo Observer’s publisher should have run his statement through spell check for the correct spelling of diminished? Okay, maybe it is.

    Since moving here, my mom has been keeping up with her old town paper on their site for $8/month, which she was happy enough to pay even though it’s a horrible rag. Then they embedded the site with awful, noisy, flashing ads that could not be shut off and she pulled the plug. She would have put up with them for free but not if she was paying. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

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  4. Dexter said on June 26, 2015 at 3:03 am

    John Carlisle let us know (in The Freep) that Steve Francis passed away at age 90. This is the second and surely last story about Steve and his Detroit bar that we will read, as now it closes and Steve is shipped to Greece for his burial.
    After the first story, I vowed I’d go to Detroit and visit Steve and his wife in the bar, figuring he probably had a can of Coca-Cola or Faygo he could sell me in lieu of the main attraction, canned beer.
    I used to be a sucker for dive bars, I visited hundreds of them during that twenty-one year period of beer drinking I endured. I suppose Steve got three, maybe four bucks for a can of Miller’s…the story said that moderns who came in looking for fancy ten dollar cocktails left abruptly at the sight of the
    ambiance-lacking in Steve’s place . Wow, what difference a few hundred miles makes…I heard the cocktail price in Manhattan, for years $15, is now $17. Detroiters, you are saving a bundle.

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  5. adrianne said on June 26, 2015 at 5:56 am

    Dear old Simon Schwarz. A newsman stuck in an Amish body. I remember meeting him for tea one time, as he regaled me with tales of the Amish (he had officially left the church), with the caution that, “The bishop is going to be really mad at me for this one!” My favorite Amish scoop: an outbreak of drunken buggy driving.

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  6. alex said on June 26, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Regarding the big box property tax game, Meijer has been has been the first to test the waters locally and our county is fighting back and demanding that the legislature get involved. Meijer is suing our local tax assessor. Not only would it set a bad precedent if Meijer got what it wants but it would set off a chain reaction (no pun intended) and the loss of revenue from retailers would be devastating. No telling what our “starve the beast” Republican supermajorities will do, if anything; probably open their campaign coffers to Meijer and the whole lot of ’em.

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  7. Joe K said on June 26, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Thanks for all the good wishes, went out and had a nice dinner at Shortys in Garrett, then did what you do after 32 yrs, fell asleep on the couch. Phone rang at 12:30 and I’m now getting ready to head home from Bradley Conn.
    Pilot Joe

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  8. Suzanne said on June 26, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Adrianne, I remember the drunken buggy escapades! Drunk Amishman passed out cold but the horse knew the way home…except didn’t understand the need to stop at stop signs & red lights. As I recall, there were several nasty accidents because of that.

    Every time I read about the Palins, I have to remember a former co-worker who was positively giddy when McCain picked her for his running mate. I’d only ever seen a grown man that giddy at the birth of a child or grandchild before.

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  9. beb said on June 26, 2015 at 8:28 am

    How can you not be judgmental towards a woman who has twice gotten pregnant out of wedlock. The poors can at least argue that they can’t afford birth control; the Palin’s not so much. They are hillbilly trailer trash and everyone involved with promoting this family to the national spot light should be sunned for the rest of their lives.

    For those who found the Lowe’s story too long and didn’t read it, the nut is the “dark store” theory of property tax assessment. Normally property tax is assessed on the construction cost of a store. Lowe’s argues that it should be comparable to other similar stores in the area, and then pick shuttered stores for comparison. These abandoned (“dark”) properties often come with deed restrictions which make the building almost unsaleable. So are argument becomes that since these building are practically worthless, Lowe’s building should be assessed as practically worthless. According to the article the Indiana has passed legislation that restricts the use of “dark store” arguments in tax assessment cases.

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  10. Connie said on June 26, 2015 at 8:28 am

    I was going to say basically what Alex said. Here, Meijer did it first and biggest. And got my township good.

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  11. Connie said on June 26, 2015 at 9:18 am

    And from today’s Michigan Library Association email update:

    Tax Tribunal and Big Box Stores
    MLA and librarians from the UP to southeast Michigan have been working on a solution to the problems caused by the Michigan Tax Tribunal reducing tax obligations that allow thriving big box stores to be taxed at the same rate as closed-down, abandoned stores. In some cases, libraries have been forced to pay back thousands of dollars in tax revenue. In a recent meeting with Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), MLA discussed the huge burden this is placing on libraries. He has assured us that his four-bill package will offer some relief for those problems. We are waiting to review the language which is aimed at softening the effects of Tax Tribunal rulings.

    In another twist on the big box issue, Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), introduced his own “dark store” legislation. This bill would impose user fees on those businesses that get huge cuts in their property tax from the Tax Tribunal.

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  12. Suzanne said on June 26, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Aaaand it took my former coworker exactly 1 day to post some article about how Ms Palin’s pregnancy is actually good for the abstinence movement. Reminiscent of Mr Souder’s belief that his being caught in a delicate situation with the woman in his abstinence video meant that more people saw the video! It’s all good!

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  13. alex said on June 26, 2015 at 10:08 am

    This just in: Scalia’s head explodes.

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  14. Jeff Borden said on June 26, 2015 at 10:11 am

    I just heard on the radio that Bri$tol Palin was paid $262,000 per year to be an abstinence spokesman. So, a young, poorly educated, and largely illiterate woman is pregnant outside of wedlock for the second time after pocketing more money than I will earn for the rest of my life.

    The grifter gene is strong in Wasilla, folks.

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  15. Julie Robinson said on June 26, 2015 at 10:20 am

    As grim has this week has been, and as we prepare to bury Clementa Pinckney today, this news and yesterday’s are pure joy. The voices of reason have prevailed, and give me hope for our country again.

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  16. Jeff Borden said on June 26, 2015 at 10:26 am

    You’re right, Julie, and it’s been a miserable, terrible, no-good week for the right-wingers. Marriage equality. ACA upheld. That stinking rebel rag flag under sustained attack and yanked from store shelves from coast-to-coast. Trifecta for liberals!

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  17. Bitter Scribe said on June 26, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Is it just me, or is there a certain bitter, resigned tone to Bristol’s pregnancy announcement?

    In any case, I hope we’ve heard the last from her for a while. As for her mother, even some of the faithful paid subscribers to her internet “channel” have been bitching about the lack of new content. At least now she has something new to talk about.

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  18. Connie said on June 26, 2015 at 10:52 am

    And the right-wingers have promised civil disobedience or more over same sex marriage. How far will they go? I can’t even guess. A few days ago Fox news contributor Todd Starnes Called On God To Send Hornets And Cicadas To Attack Obama. It was such an Old Testament statement I just laughed.

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  19. Connie said on June 26, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Ann Coulter Wants to Know Why She Doesn’t Make You Mad Anymore

    Because we figured out how pointless you are to the discussion.

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  20. brian stouder said on June 26, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I recall gabbing with Connie at the Taco Bell(?) near the Allen County Public Library sometime back, and I was defending WalMart’s decision to build a big brand new store where Southtown Mall used to be, specifically because that area was commercially dead, despite already having all the infrastructure (water and power and sewer and good roads in and out).

    It seemed a good deal, wherein infrastructure investment had already been made (and was no longer needed), and a new big user would step in and spur the area…hence justifying a tax-break or other similar concession.

    Indeed, Lowes followed WalMart in, as did a whole subset of stores and shops, and the usual fast food choices….

    So the idea of these big-box stores wanting to build new AND get concessions could make sense…maybe….but then again, I’ve a history of being wrong

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  21. Deborah said on June 26, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Of course I’m extremely happy about the SCOTUS equal marriage decision, but I can’t help thinking about how I would feel right now if Kennedy had sided with Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito. I would be bummed, extremely sad. And unfortunately there are a lot of people in this country right now who are feeling that way about the decision, not a majority by any means, but some of those people are relatives of mine and even friends. I wish there was a way to convince them that this is a positive step in the right direction, maybe time will heal their wounds. I hope so.

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  22. Connie said on June 26, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Yup Brian it was the Taco Bell. And the next day Alex in the other direction from the FW Convention Center. Meeting two NNc commenters was great fun.

    And I don’t remember talking about Walmart, but I am not a Walmart fan and have not been to one since at least 2002.

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  23. jcburns said on June 26, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Deborah, serious question: do you think your relatives/friends look at the decision as an attack on their religion? Do you think they see it as their happiness versus the happiness of (previously) frustrated gay couples?

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  24. Scout said on June 26, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Deborah, I appreciate your empathy for all, but my question is this: How does this decision “wound” anyone? A big part of the shifting of the tide occurred because no one could articulate, prove or otherwise provide any argument that marriage equality would have any effect on anyone else’s marriage or relationship. This is a huge win for equal justice under the law, and anyone who is butt hurt about it is selfish and completely out of touch with humanity.

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  25. ROGirl said on June 26, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    FWIW, when Michigan had the gay marriage issue on the ballot 10 years ago I voted for it. The idea of gay marriage was pretty new to me at the time, and it was well before it was mainstream, so while it seemed kind of unusual, when I thought about it my feeling was, “Who am I to judge?”

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  26. Julie Robinson said on June 26, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Oh I am dreading my trip to Iowa this summer. If I don’t go, Mom doesn’t get to see her surviving sister. Husband has flat out refused to ever go again. Bigotry permeates every single conversation, and yes, they do see it as an attack on their religion. God’s will can only be done by continuing to exclude women, people of color, gays, immigrants, those of different faiths, etc. Those people have no right to exist in this country. This is the church of my youth, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and they would fit in great in Nazi Germany. There is no reasoning with them and absolutely no openness to change or even different opinions.

    Thinking about this has just harshed my mellow.

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  27. jcburns said on June 26, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I think the thing to remember there is there’s really no upside in being silent so as to “not cause a fuss.” And you can say “I hear you’re having trouble accepting change, but I know you’re smart enough to see that the world has changed, is changing, will always change.”

    Of course I didn’t get too far with this tack with my Mom, but she hasn’t been around since 1984.

    There’s a guy from college I follow on twitter who pretty much puts forth the complete Fox News party line, and I challenge him on it Every. Single. Time. For my own mental health as much as his. And I think it’s loosened him up on a thing or to, so…yay?

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  28. alex said on June 26, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Scout, the only ones who are butt hurt are bigots who now realize what it’s like to be on the receiving end of popular scorn and disdain. Fortunately for them, prejudice isn’t an immutable characteristic but a choice.

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  29. Deborah said on June 26, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Good points. I do think some of my relatives think it is against their deeply held religious beliefs. I also know that I had skin in the game of the decision about the ACA, and I feel that people who are against that are morally wrong. Period. And I was definitely celebrating that my side prevailed. I think that discriminating against marriage equality is equally morally wrong, but for some reason I seem to be more willing to show some restraint when it comes to that. It’s probably due to the fact that it doesn’t effect me personally like the ACA does, because of Little Bird. I have quite a few LGBT friends though, I will admit it’s pretty selfish of me to feel that way.

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  30. brian stouder said on June 26, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    jc – Yay indeed!

    There is simply no reason to discriminate against people who want to be married; and indeed – there is push-back (even still!) on marriage between people who appear to be of different racial heritage.

    It is NOT a “defense of religion” to allow – for example – a clerk at the courthouse to discriminate against two citizens who come in for a marriage license (as I think Virginia was doing?) because it offends their Christian beliefs; just as it would be unacceptable to have police officers shoot and kill people on the streets for adultery, as it was done in the Old Testament (albeit with stones).

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  31. jcburns said on June 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Obama this morning: “When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free.” Of course there are lots of opponents who would characterize this as socialism put to word, but I dunno, I’m feeling the freedom after both of today’s decisions. A kind of liberating “we’re all moving forward, some reluctantly, but all (except maybe Texas and part of Mississippi) together.”

    On the other hand, I seem to feel free enough to spend a lot of this day hanging out on the internet when I have real work to do. But! But! Did you see how many people were tweeting “I’m moving to Canada” in all seriousness before being not-so-kindly informed that Canadians have had marriage equality to go with their health care for a decade now?

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  32. Kirk said on June 26, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Here at the county court house in Columbus, there is a female couple that has shown up there every Valentine’s Day for the last seven years, just to make a statement; the judges perform many weddings on that day. That same couple showed up at the court house this morning, right after the decision came down, and became the first same-sex couple granted a marriage license in Franklin County. No discriminatory red-tape bullshit here.

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  33. nancy said on June 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I have some — some — sympathy for those who will find this change hard to take, because all change is hard for at least some people. Confusion/dismay may equal bigotry, and it may just be sadness for a world gone by, when things were less confusing and one’s knees weren’t so creaky. I’ll evaluate those folks on a case-by-case basis.

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  34. Jolene said on June 26, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Anybody watching Rev. Pinckney’s funeral? On CSPAN now. Obama to take the stage shortly. There are thousands of people there, including a large flock of reverends in robes, mostly of purple and black. very eloquent pastor speaking right now.

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  35. nancy said on June 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I just heard he sang “Amazing Grace”! Are you kidding me? WHEN WILL WE EVER GET A PRESIDENT LIKE THIS AGAIN?

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  36. Jerri said on June 26, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Never, Nancy.

    He sang it just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love him more than I did at that very moment. Amazing Grace.

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  37. alex said on June 26, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Fun for the whole family! Argle-bargle! Jiggery-pokery! The Scalia Insult Generator.

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  38. Kirk said on June 26, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    and Scalia sez …

    “One would think that Kirk Arnott’s vision is a profoundly incoherent Kulturkampf. Ask the nearest hippie.”

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  39. brian stouder said on June 26, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    I nominate Alex for Thread Win!*

    “One would think that brian stouder’s thoughts are black-robed fortune cookies. Whatever that means.”

    *I think the words “Thread Win” have an exclamation-point-exemption

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  40. Scout said on June 26, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that individual churches still have the autonomy to perform or not perform weddings based on their ideology. I couldn’t even get “straight married” in certain churches unless I took classes or had counseling or whatever. Separation of church and state still exists even if there are many folks who don’t think it should.

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  41. Colleen said on June 26, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Scout, you’re absolutely right. I was married in the LCMS (The church of Julie’s youth, and she’s right…they’re so conservative they make the Catholics look like crazy hippies), and my husband had to join the church (for a year prior) and we had to have meetings with the pastor, the whole bit. We couldn’t just walk in and say “wow, you have a pretty church, we’re getting married here”. The churches still get to make their own rules, no one is going to force them to marry gay couples unless that’s what that denomination decided to do. I know in FW, Plymouth Church is “open and affirming”, as well as the UUs.

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  42. Suzanne said on June 26, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    i think you are right, scout. I have a cousin who got married by a friend with a mail order clergy license because their church required pre-marital classes and a wedding fee. So they got married in a park but a buddy. I know my church doesn’t marry anybody or everybody who calls up and wants to get married there because the building is pretty.

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  43. Jolene said on June 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    I just heard he sang “Amazing Grace”! Are you kidding me? WHEN WILL WE EVER GET A PRESIDENT LIKE THIS AGAIN?

    It was a brilliant eulogy, all the way through. Both graceful and powerful. If you missed it, you’ll want to find a video online. Hillary Clinton will be a good president, I think, but she will never be this cool.

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  44. Dexter said on June 26, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Got him. One down, one to go. State Police. Dead.

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  45. Dexter said on June 26, 2015 at 5:00 pm


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  46. Sue said on June 26, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    ‘Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved.’
    Clarence Thomas actually wrote this in his marriage equality dissent.
    Practically from the start in the US, slaves lost at minimum 2/5ths of their humanity, by government action. And it’s hard to be dignified when you’re being raped or beaten, or threatened with the loss of what little you have by being sold to someone worse.
    Good gods this is appalling. He really believes this.

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  47. jcburns said on June 26, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    That’s a powerful edit, but do yourself a favor and watch more of the whole service. Obama starts at 1 hour, 25 minutes in. And there’s a LONG silence at about 1:52:10. And then he starts singing, just like the clip you see there. I kept thinking of the State of the Union, for some reason, and how I basically wanted this to be that.

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  48. susan said on June 26, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    “One would think that susan’s showy profundities are a Cheop’s pyramid. I dissent.”

    (What does that even mean? What a weirdo in a black robe, with, as it happens, too much power.)

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  49. Jolene said on June 26, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    CSPAN is replaying the whole service now and replaying the president’s eulogy at 8 PM EDT tonight. As JC said, watch as much as you can.

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  50. Sherri said on June 26, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    The only reason slaves had 3/5 of their humanity is so that the southern states could insure that their census numbers didn’t fall too far behind and therefore lose power in the House of Representatives. In other words, it was all about protecting slavery, not granting a shred of humanity.

    Thomas is just strange. Scalia needs to put his head in a bag, because it’s exploding all over the place. Now I’m feeling optimistic about the Arizona re districting case, too, but that’s probably asking for too much.

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  51. LAMary said on June 26, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    I think when Obama speaks from the heart about race he is especially moving. The Philadelphia Speech, and now this. Beyond the words he uses he expresses such a deep understanding and shares it with everyone. He assumes everyone is not only intelligent enough to understand, but has a heart open enough to understand.

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  52. Sue said on June 26, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Deborah, Nancy and others discussing the sympathy/empathy you might be feeling towards those who are feeling hurt by today’s ruling:
    Hold off on that until we see how bad this gets. I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks this will get ugly and dangerous. Your relatives and friends might be nice people, but when things hit the fan you’ll find your nice friends and relatives are still going to be more sympathetic to the people doing the damage than the ones who, as before this ruling, are just trying to live their lives.

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  53. Jolene said on June 26, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I think when Obama speaks from the heart about race he is especially moving. The Philadelphia Speech, and now this. Beyond the words he uses he expresses such a deep understanding and shares it with everyone. He assumes everyone is not only intelligent enough to understand, but has a heart open enough to understand.

    I agree with all this. Of the many profound things he said today, he was especially impressive on the issue of what churches have meant to black people over time–a safe and empowering place in a hostile world.

    And the rhetorical move of treating the Christian idea of grace as a force enabling us to see what must be changed in the world was so great. Who could object to the idea that God has given us the sight to see that too many are hungry, that too many die by guns? A very political speech in the language of the heart, rather than the language of political conflict. As Nancy has said, the man is a writer.

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  54. Jolene said on June 26, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Oh damn, only the first paragraph above was meant to be italicized.

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  55. alex said on June 26, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Amen, Sue. Prejudice is prejudice, and people can be prejudiced whether they know it or not. Granted many are simply ignorant by dint of their sheltered experience, and the thought of such people having a forced reckoning even evokes my sympathy to a degree. But those who are still strident in their malice and feel as if the world has just sucker-punched them are getting their just deserts.

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  56. coozledad said on June 26, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Obama gave that speech over the the coffin of his dead friend. He spoke from a place of experience and authority that comes from walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and learning that evil sucks a lot of air, but it’s ultimately craven, stupid and weak.

    It’s that simple courage that was palpable. And no, you won’t see another President like this in your lifetime.

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  57. Deborah said on June 26, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    I hear you Sue. I will be watching like a hawk. If my relatives start getting ugly I will cut them off.

    I agree about not seeing another president like this in my lifetime. I’m just so thankful that we got to have him at all and for two terms no less.

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  58. Dorothy said on June 26, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    I took some sick time this afternoon because I’ve had a sore throat much of the week, then that became a deep hoarse voice, and last night I had a little trouble sleeping due to some coughing. I mainly wanted to be home because my son and d-i-l were coming for dinner, but to be truly honest, I wanted to see Obama’s eulogy of Reverend Pinckney. I’m SO GLAD I did! It was the most stirring and amazing thing to see and hear. I only missed the last 10 minutes or so because my daughter-in-law came in. I will find a video of it somewhere when I’m home alone and fast forward to the last part. I DID see/hear him sing, and it was thrilling. My husband said “After he’s done being President, he would have no problem becoming a preacher!”

    My joy today at the Supreme Court’s ruling was palpable. So many actors I’ve done shows with are gay, and I have several nieces and cousins who are lesbian. It is for those closest to me that I”m the happiest about, but of course the whole nation being able to marry if they want is just the icing on the cake. What a monumental day, and week (ACA also) this has been. What a great time to be alive! My friend Robert, a retired classics professor from Kenyon, used to be married to a woman but left her eventually and acknowledged he was gay. His first partner died about 3 years ago – they’d been together for 30 some years. Now he has Larry in his life – they are joyful together. Robert said on Facebook today “Never in my lifetime did I think I would see this happen!” I’m happy for all the Roberts and Larrys, the Juliannes and the Allies!

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  59. Dorothy said on June 26, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Oh my gosh- right after I posted the above comment, I read on Facebook that Robert asked Larry to marry him and he said yes! They are in their 70’s. Yee-haw!!! (And that last name should have said Allis – as in a female named Alli, my 2nd cousin who is lesbian),

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  60. Jolene said on June 26, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    Just saw that Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new book will be published early, due to popular demand. Nothing like having David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, refer to your book as extraordinary to attract the attention of the masses. And, for the younger masses, John Legend said flattering things on Twitter. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m a great admirer of his work. Hope he sells a million copies.

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  61. Jolene said on June 26, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Dorothy: The whole service is online at CSPAN. Wouldn’t be surprised if they replay it on TV over the weekend. Also, JC’s link above has much of it.

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  62. Deborah said on June 26, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Amen, Jolene. Ta-Nehisi Coates read a chapter of his book at his lecture in Santa Fe a few months ago. I can’t wait to read it. I’ll recommend it to all my friends too.

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  63. brian stouder said on June 27, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Caught the president’s superb eulogy, structured around the Christian concept of grace, and then his rendition of Amazing Grace…

    and indeed, this is a “we won’t see his like again” moment.

    I’m in the home-stretch of Heather Cox Richardson’s history of the Republican Party (she’s up to Ike), and small minded/small agenda political operators and their wealthy benefactors are as American as apple pie.

    As the news folks at Ms Maddow’s show pointed out, think of just this week – wherein the president’s signature accomplishment – the affordable health care act – was again affirmed, and now becomes a lasting bit of American bedrock; and the nation’s embrace of genuine equal rights for all Americans who want to marry who they love has been affirmed*; and our eloquent president hit one out of the park in his thoughtful, reflective, thoroughly American eulogy in Charleston.

    A bit of crystallized history, indeed

    *and if you asked me, I’d have bet 6-3 for marriage equality, and 5-4 for affordable care – not the other way around!

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  64. David C. said on June 27, 2015 at 10:08 am

    With Republicans, nothing they hate is ever bedrock. They are masters of death by a thousand cuts – abortion rights, for example. We’re going to have to fight to preserve the ACA for years to come.

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  65. alex said on June 27, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Gotta love that Alito. He makes the strict constructionist argument that nowhere does the constitution say anything about gay marriage. No shit. It also doesn’t say anything about corporations being people or that they have a right to financial ownership of elected officials, but that’s no problem for Alito. Because “money talks” it follows that money must have its own First Amendment protections as he sees it. And Thomas evidently has a Whitney Houston earworm: “They can’t take away my dignity.” No they can’t, so who gives a shit if they fuck you over. The triumph of your human spirit makes your sufferings meaningless and a waste of the court’s time.

    Sure must suck to be a right-winger right now.

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  66. coozledad said on June 27, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Give this young woman a medal:

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  67. coozledad said on June 27, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Aaand South Carolina put it right back up. Republican pro-traitor garbage.

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  68. brian stouder said on June 27, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    You know – seriously – Governor Haley should honor that woman, indeed. Certainly the arrest needs expunged; and she should be invited to visit the governor; and indeed, if she got invited to the State of the Union address, that would be altogether fitting and proper.

    Fort Wayne has had a really stormy morning – and the weather terrorists totally missed its approach, as well as its reality as it raged – and is only now catching up with what happened


    and in an unrelated, cheerier note: I believe that Nancy was again right; it appears that we will be essentially getting a fairly extensive refurbishment/update of the house, end to end

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  69. MichaelG said on June 27, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I saw this and thought to post it here and saw that Cooz had already posted a video. However, this one is much better. It’s longer, clearer and the sound is better.


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  70. Sue said on June 27, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    On a lighter note:
    Finished picking out our dwarf north star cherry tree today. Holy moly. When all is said and done – 4 quart bags of pitted cherries in the freezer, 8 cups of cherry jam, enough juice tucked in the freezer for a batch of cherry jelly later on, and a final big bowl of cherries waiting to be made into a pie.
    From one dwarf tree, over a two week picking span.

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  71. alex said on June 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Judge Posner, who wrote the most eloquent decision of any Court of Appeals judge with regard to gay marriage, weighs in on John Roberts’ heartlessness and Antonin Scalia’s inanity.

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  72. alex said on June 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Er, rather, Alito’s inanity. Scalia he doesn’t even find worth bothering with.

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  73. brian stouder said on June 27, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Excellent article by Mr Posner, indeed.

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  74. Sherri said on June 27, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    The whole “Breakfast Club” sequence of articles, of which Judge Posner’s is one, is good. The incomparable Dahlia Lithwick has several contributions. Slate runs this every year at the end of the term.

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  75. Deborah said on June 27, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    I thought this was interesting, about Bernie Sanders wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-05-12/getting-to-know-jane-sanders-wife-of-bernie

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  76. Dexter said on June 28, 2015 at 1:27 am

    Dale Jr., he the darling of so many in the official sport of the Confederacy, said what? I guess this shocked me; I did not expect him to speak out against “the flag”. Before Dale Jr.’s statement , NASCAR “officially” backed the guv in her quest to take that flag down.

    On a lighter matter, to get into the spirit of Pride Day, I watched the old Brit film “Withnail and I”, which is sort of a spoof on homophobia, and is the weirdest buddy movie you’ll ever see.

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  77. Kirk said on June 28, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Those who follow NASCAR, including me, know that Dale Jr. is not a dumb-ass redneck and is, in fact, a quite thoughtful guy.

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  78. basset said on June 28, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Used to follow NASCAR pretty closely, till it got to be more about marketing strategies and storylines than racing. It was a lot more fun when being a redneck was acceptable, on the track and in the stands.

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  79. Jolene said on June 28, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Rod Dreher is very, very worried about the legalization of same-sex marriage. He writes:

    For another, LGBT activists and their fellow travelers really will be coming after social conservatives. . . . The next goal of activists will be a long-term campaign to remove tax-exempt status from dissenting religious institutions. The more immediate goal will be the shunning and persecution of dissenters within civil society.

    Dreher is the only person I have ever heard suggest anything of the sort. My sense is that gays and lesbians want to be left alone to live their life like anybody else.

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  80. Jolene said on June 28, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Here is a brilliant rhetorical analysis of Obama’s eulogy for Rev. Pinckney by James Fallows, who, in a former incarnation, was a presidential speechwriter. Especially for all the writers and editors here, it should be interesting to think about how this very powerful speech was built.

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  81. Jolene said on June 28, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Damn, I forgot to close my link. Nevertheless, it works.

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  82. Jolene said on June 28, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    One more piece–a comment by David Remnick of The New Yorker on the current state of the Obama presidency, with a long quote from a previous interview about how Obama sees himself. Posting particularly because it connects with the idea of Obama as a writer that Nancy has talked about. I especially love the last sentence in which, after acknowledging that we are all part of a long-running story, he says that what we can do is “just try to get our paragraph right.”

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  83. Sherri said on June 28, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    I hope this wasn’t Jeff(tmmo)’s group: http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/boy-scout-dies-in-flash-flood-while-camping-in-new-mexico/

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  84. coozledad said on June 28, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Rod Dreher’s schtick is mainlining the full measure of Christian het persecution while he eats his way across Lyons with a male “companion”. He’s married, sure, but only in the way that Lindsey Graham is a bachelor.

    The fraud runs bone deep in that joker.

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  85. beb said on June 28, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Sherri, I was going to link to Raw Story’s about the flooding and the missing scout. I hope this wasn’t Jeff’s group but it’s a terrible thing all around.

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    • nancy said on June 28, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      It’s not their group. Jeff is home now.

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  86. Basset said on June 28, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Chris Squire has died:


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  87. brian stouder said on June 28, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    Basset – have you caught CNN’s Glen Campbell show?

    It is very good; a worthwhile investment of an hour or two

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  88. basset said on June 28, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    just finished watching it and was very impressed. definitely would recommend it.

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  89. beb said on June 28, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    I’m thankful that Jeff did not have to deal with that, but it’s still a terrible thing.

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  90. susan said on June 28, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Oh too bad, so sad. Sam’s Morning Glory Diner in Philly sold out of their special “Antonin Scalia is a Douche” scramble lickity split. Or would that be jiggery-pokery? Should have been served with pure applesauce.

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