So, it looks like Jeb! has learned his lesson on Iraq, and is doubling down on the family legacy:
Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor seeking the Republican presidential nomination, issued a blistering attack on Tuesday on the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq and terrorism issues, asserting that Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, had “stood by” as secretary of state as the situation in Iraq deteriorated.
He said President Obama and Mrs. Clinton had orchestrated an early withdrawal of American troops, setting the stage for the chaos sweeping the region now and the rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Jeb Bush walked past a portrait of former President Ronald Reagan after speaking at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta on Saturday.
“That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill,” Mr. Bush declared in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library here on Tuesday night.
It’s come to this, I guess: We were right all along.
I heard this guy interviewed on NPR on the way home tonight. Fat lot of good that’ll do:
The problem with the legend of the surge is that it reproduces the very hubris that led America into Iraq in the first place. In 2003, the Bush administration believed it could shatter the Iraqi state and then quickly and cheaply construct a new one that was stable, liberal, democratic, and loyal to the United States. By 2006, many conservatives had realized that was a fantasy. They had massively overestimated America’s wisdom and power, and so they began groping for a new approach to the world. But then, in 2007 and 2008, through a series of bold innovations, the United States military bribed, cajoled, and bludgeoned Iraqis into multiple cease-fires. The Iraqi state was still broken; its new ruling elite showed little of the political magnanimity necessary to reconstruct it in an inclusive fashion. And the Band-Aids that Petraeus and his troops had courageously affixed began peeling off almost immediately. Nonetheless, Republicans today say the Iraq War was won, and would have remained won, had the U.S. left 10,000 troops in the country after 2011.
How much damage will the GOP’s revived hubris do? Inconceivable as it would have seemed a few years ago, Graham, who is now a Republican presidential hopeful, has suggested sending 10,000 American ground troops back into Iraq. (His GOP rivals generally support this idea but have not proposed exact troop numbers.) The U.S. is unlikely to send a sizable American ground force back into Iraq. But this line of thinking is troubling nonetheless, because the same wild overestimation of American power that fueled the war in Iraq now fuels the right’s opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran. To hear hawks tell it, the United States can scuttle the current deal, intensify sanctions, threaten war, and—presto—Tehran will capitulate. But Iranians have been living under the threat of attacks from America or Israel for more than a decade now. And British and German diplomats have warned that if the U.S. Congress torpedoes the agreement, sanctions pressure on Iran will go not up but down, as countries that have lost billions by limiting their trade with Tehran stop doing so.
Here’s what bothers me most about this: Jeb! will likely not be able to sell this to voters. He won’t be able to sell much else to them, either — has there ever been a presumptive GOP nominee this unimpressive in our lifetimes? (Well, yes. But never mind that.) So with Jeb! a far, far thing from a lock for the top spot, what does that leave us? I’m thinking maybe Scott Walker? Marco Rubio? One of those guys. And what happens if Hillary falls and breaks a hip, or finds a lump in her breast, or is otherwise incapacitated? President Scott Walker. Think on that for a minute. And shudder.
This is the state of our politics right now. It’s rather terrifying.
The next 16 months or so are going to be just so much fun. As for the sideshow acts leading up to the main event, well, we have this, too:
Ben Carson defended the use of fetal tissue for medical research Thursday, after a blog published excerpts of a 1992 paper describing work the neurosurgeon-turned-presidential candidate carried out using aborted fetuses. In an interview with The Washington Post, Carson called the revelation “desperate,” and ignorant of the way medical research was carried out.
“You have to look at the intent,” Carson said before beginning a campaign swing through New Hampshire. “To willfully ignore evidence that you have for some ideological reason is wrong. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it.”
Can someone please explain what that means? Because I have no idea. A month ago, he said there was “nothing that can’t be done without fetal tissue.” He also said 17-week fetuses were “definitely” human beings. Guess what Carson’s research used? Fetal cells from a 17-week fetus.
I’d have more respect for the guy if he said something about having different beliefs then, and he evolved or something.
I first learned of the vile labor practice of “on-call” shifts when Kate worked at Cold Stone Creamery. She explained that she couldn’t make plans for Saturday night because she was on call and might have to work.
“What are you paid for an on-call night?” I asked. Stupidly.
This is how it works: You’re scheduled to work, but they reserve the right call you an hour or two ahead of time and tell you not to come in, because it’s slower than expected. (In the winter, at an ice-cream shop, this happened a lot.) I told her, “Well, now you know why we had a labor movement in this country. And why we still need one.” At least one practitioner is calling it off, albeit with a nudge from the guvmint:
The office of the New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, said in April that it was investigating 13 large retailers over whether the increasingly unpredictable work schedules adopted by some retailers violated state labor laws.
Abercrombie & Fitch said in a statement on Friday that all of its brands would end the practice for workers paid by the hour. As of the end of January, the company ran 799 Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister stores in the United States.
And how did I know that somehow, “data” would be behind this?
…Retailers often rely on sophisticated software to track the flow of customers, assigning just enough employees to handle ever-changing demand, resulting in far less predictable work hours for much of their part-time work force.
When you’re a 16-year-old working your first minimum-wage job, the stakes are low. I had no idea it was as widespread as it is, but it is. And it’s horrible. I’m sure President Walker would approve.
I need a break from all this gloom. My boxing trainer sent me this today, a 40-year-old Sports Illustrated story on the Thrilla in Manila, Ali-Frazier, 1975. It was an ugly fight, but this is a beautiful piece of writing. At the end of the 14th round:
“Joe,” said his manager, Eddie Futch, “I’m going to stop it.”
“No, no, Eddie, ya can’t do that to me,” Frazier pleaded, his thick tongue barely getting the words out. He started to rise.
“You couldn’t see in the last two rounds,” said Futch. “What makes ya think ya gonna see in the 15th?”
“I want him, boss,” said Frazier.
“Sit down, son,” said Futch, pressing his hand on Frazier’s shoulder. “It’s all over. No one will ever forget what you did here today.”
And yet, we apparently have forgotten what we did in Iraq. Some people have, evidently.
Have a nice weekend! It’s gonna be sunny and hot here.
Brandon said on August 14, 2015 at 2:08 am
As I’ve noted before, a Jeb-Hillary matchup will lead to a record low in voter turnout. A sizable group might vote third-party. If Trump runs as an independent, he’ll be the Perot of 2016.
Jolene said on August 14, 2015 at 2:39 am
Let’s hope that lump-in-the-breast scenario doesn’t occur at least until Hillary is elected. Then VP Joaquin Castro can take over, and will be OK. The prospect of a Scott Walker presidency is too awful to contemplate.
Inconveniently for Jeb, Gen. Odierno spoke to the press today and reminded us that it was GWB who signed the status of forces agreement promising a U.S. withdrawal in 2011. I don’t have a lot of faith in voters remembering that, but it’s still true.
Sherri said on August 14, 2015 at 2:45 am
To the Republicans, every war would have been a resounding victory but for Dolchstoßlegende.
One of the many advantages to the summer job my daughter has worked is that she’s working for a locally owned retirement community, not one of the big chains. They still treat their minimum wage workers like human beings – she knows her schedule a week in advance, and they’re very flexible about the schedule. There have been a few times when she’s come home because they had scheduled too many workers, but they left it up to the workers to choose who goes home, and she usually chooses to let someone else have the shift.
There was Scott Walker earlier this week, handing over the $250 million he cut from the education budget to the owners of the Milwaukee Bucks to build a spiffy new arena for them. When I was at Carnegie Mellon, someone did a t-shirt parodying Andrew Carnegie’s quote “My heart is in the work”, which is on the school seal. The shirt had a picture of Carnegie, and the motto “My hand is in your pocket”. Twas ever thus.
Jolene said on August 14, 2015 at 2:47 am
Another article about on-call scheduling that I can’t seem to retrieve right now mentioned the special hell of dealing with such schedules when you have a kid. You might have hired a sitter for the day, only to find out an hour before work or when you get there that you’re not needed. But you’re still on the hook for the sitter’s wages. Pretty hard to make that work out on the hourly wages of a retail employee.
David C. said on August 14, 2015 at 6:39 am
I’m working a rest stop on Sunday for Race the Lake, a ninety mile bicycle ride around Lake Winnebago here in Wisconsin. The elites will be done by 10:00 or so. The course closes at 2:30 and it’s supposed to get up to 91°. I think it’s going to get ugly for those who take 7.5 hours to finish. I hope they have lots of medical people ready. I rode and finished once on a 78° day and I was completely spent. I can’t imagine riding with the heat we are expecting and I’m glad I gave up riding anything more than 100km.
coozledad said on August 14, 2015 at 7:14 am
Republicans seem to be fond of reminding people of why they should have faced a firing squad after this country’s most grievous military disaster, especially since it followed the greatest intelligence disaster, consequent with giving away the budget surplus and ratfucking the economy,
Sociopaths are incapable of shame. In the Bush family’s world, shame is for women and the poor. It gripes a Republican’s ass that poor people have sex for fun, but don’t support their cunning plan to disappear more pallets of cash and human bodies into their horrific desert fuckup.
They’re bad people. They just don’t interface with this planet in any positive way. The research is already starting to show they’re a maladaptation, an empathy free offshoot of the species bent on destruction. Piss on them and their manifest ugliness.
basset said on August 14, 2015 at 7:58 am
In a former life I was once scheduled for four consecutive days of sliding shifts… net effect was that whenever I left work, morning, day, or night, I had to be back in five hours. I was young and relatively healthy, lasted till the fourth day when I fell asleep standing up and in mid-conversation.
Meanwhile, looks like we came back from Alaska a little too soon:
Kirk said on August 14, 2015 at 8:06 am
Unless I’m missing it, Sports Illustrated is so proud of that Ali-Frazier story that it neglects to credit the writer. Mark Kram? Gary Smith? Someone else? I should know, but I don’t recall.
brian stouder said on August 14, 2015 at 8:10 am
1. Basset, that was a cake-taker of an article.
2. I think if Jeb! spirals into the ground*, the only Republican who can win the presidency is Kasich of Ohio (because, Ohio!)
3.And – y’all shouldn’t miss Crazycatlady’s eloquent post at the end of the last thread.
*And it would take an epic spiral, at that, I think. Jeb is like Mother Russia: his opponents spent all summer pushing him back and back and back…but Jeb! has tons (and tons) of cash, and as winter descends upon the Iowa (and New Hampshire) countryside, that cash will begin to be expended to good effect.
alex said on August 14, 2015 at 8:14 am
Lest we forget, this is very early in the cycle. At this time last time, Santorum and Bachmann were neck and neck leading the polls and Romney was even less impressive than Bush. We have almost a year before things solidify, and a year is a long time in politics.
brian stouder said on August 14, 2015 at 8:45 am
What Alex said!
One other thing about the tow-path trail is that, at least this summer, walking along it at dusk one could be carried away by the mosquitos that quickly mass. Folks on bicycles have it figured out, I think.
I think I went on about this a month or two ago, but not far from where we are (off US-24/Jefferson Blvd) is a side road (South Bend road) that goes behind a small shopping/restaurant thing, and there is a mostly forgotten little cemetery. Somebldy keeps the grass mowed, but several of the markers are broken and/or weather-beaten and unreadable. Before our household sustained the water damage, the young folks and I found the place, and located (what we think is) Janice Stouder’s gravesite.
She was (or would have been) my dad’s older sister, but she died while being born – a home-birth on Home Avenue.
Aside from that, Dave’s mention of the inter-urban reminded me that my Aunt Ethel rode the inter-urban every day, back and forth from the Aboite* farm she and my Uncle Harley lived on, to work at “the GE” on Broadway, through the war years…and I think we’re talking WWI (and not II)…but we digress!
brian stouder said on August 14, 2015 at 8:49 am
*”Aboite” as in the real Aboite; a small cluster of small shops and a church, right next to a railroad track, and down the same road as where Van Hoosen eggs used to be. I think all my older brothers were first given the car keys, and control of dad’s car, on that country road
alex said on August 14, 2015 at 9:22 am
Dave, regarding Towpath Trail from the last thread, I was thinking about the abandoned railroad right-of-way along the south side of Redding Drive, somewhat elevated and still very visible. Was that where the interurban ran? Somehow my pickled brain seems to recall track there being torn up in the ’70s or ’80s.
Jolene said on August 14, 2015 at 9:34 am
Encouraging viewers not to focus too much on the election just yet, John Oliver pointed out last weekend that there will be babies born before the election whose parents haven’t met yet.
brian stouder said on August 14, 2015 at 10:21 am
Kirk, I’m thinking Mark Kram is the writer.
In the SI link itself, I saw “kram” and asked Uncle Google about “Kram Sports Illustrated” (pardon the pun)…and voila!
coozledad said on August 14, 2015 at 10:27 am
Bitter Scribe said on August 14, 2015 at 10:35 am
Well, at least Jeb! got his story straight. Only took him a month and a half.
Remember the hysterical indignation on the right when Obama remarked, in defending the nuclear treaty with Iran, that the people leading the opposition were the same ones who got us into Iraq? For guys who think they’re so tough, they sure have some thin skin.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 14, 2015 at 10:37 am
Vendors, and even young staffers, are much smarter today about getting stiffed by campaigns. The endgame for a dying candidacy has changed along with so much else. We’ll see more drop faster, and then . . . I have no idea.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 14, 2015 at 10:37 am
Well, crud. Here: http://thehill.com/news-campaign/250954-gop-candidates-struggle-to-hang-on-until-iowa-caucuses
Deborah said on August 14, 2015 at 10:40 am
This may sound strange but it’s comforting to know that Santorum and Bachmann were out front at this time in the last election season. That means that Trump is probably toast for sure.
Judybusy said on August 14, 2015 at 11:25 am
Totally, completely off topic, but I am surfacing from a very busy work period to let you all know that Maggie Jochild’s 60th birthday bash was a resounding success, and all around bash! I had never met her IRL, and stayed at the Austin Motel with another FB friend I’d never met. We all had such a marvelous time, and Maggie scored with awesome presents and lots and lots of love. I wished I’d had time to post this last Friday, the day before the party, but better late than never to wish her HB!
Sherri said on August 14, 2015 at 11:29 am
Trump isn’t toast until he decides he’s toast, because he doesn’t need to raise money. It’s easier to do well in Iowa with less money as long as you have a bunch of committed crazies willing to show up to the caucuses, and New Hampshire is a small state. Super Tuesday clears out the candidates with no money, because you have to be able to run TV ads and campaign in multiple states at once, which pretty much means charter plane travel. People like Bachmann and Santorum have to win convincingly in Iowa and New Hampshire in order to attract enough money to make it to Super Tuesday.
Trump has no constraints. He doesn’t need anybody else’s money. There’s no other elected office he’s interested in, nor does he care about a position in another Republican’s administration. There’s nothing other than boredom or being distracted by something shinier to stop him from a third party run as far as I can see. Like all third party candidates, he’s probably got a ceiling of about 20% of the vote, but I’d guess his floor is about 15% no matter what insane thing he says between now and next November, short of a live boy or a dead girl.
brian stouder said on August 14, 2015 at 11:47 am
Judybusy, excellent post – and, Happy Belated Birthday, Maggie!
Sherri, I mostly agree, except that I think the Donald is topped-out (so to speak) right now – with 1/4 of half (at best) of the electorate.
If he stays in through November, I betcha he scores his 13 or 14 percent, and hands the victory to Secretary Clinton or Senator Sanders – and for the rest of our lives we’ll be hearing conspiracy stories…or at least a newer batch of conspiracy stories – wherein President Clinton-45 owes the Donald this or that or the other thing
Sherri said on August 14, 2015 at 11:56 am
Perot got almost 19% of the vote in the 1992 election, admittedly a high water mark for any modern third party candidate, but like Trump, Perot had money. I don’t see any reason why Trump can’t approach Perot’s numbers. Certainly, if he runs, he’ll hand the election to the Democrats, but such is the fate of a third party candidacy.
FDChief said on August 14, 2015 at 12:05 pm
I enjoyed the Beinart piece, Nancy – he’s an excellent writer and has done his homework on both the Iraq misadventure and the current GOP attempt to shove their Dear Leader’s idiocy down the memory hole – but in my opinion he is too optimistic about the entire Mess-o-potamia as well. The first sentence of his final paragraph gives it away: “The tragedy of post-surge Iraq has its roots in America’s failure to make the Iraqi government more inclusive—a failure that began under Bush and deepened under Obama.”
But the “tragedy of post-surge Iraq” has little to do with Bush and less to do with Obama and everything to do with Iraq. I’ve spent a part of the past eleven years writing about the damn place (http://firedirectioncenter.blogspot.com/search/label/Iraq) and I am very confident saying that once the Bushies had knocked the Saddam cork off the Iraq bottle there was no possible way – short of Saddamesque genocidal violence – to keep the genie of sectarian civil war from emerging.
The Cheney Administration lied us into war by claiming that Iraq was Iraq because Saddam was Saddam. While in truth – given the political and social makeup of the impoverished and chaotic supposed-nation-state cobbled together from mutually clannish groups then maladministered by every satrap from incompetent Ottomans to bloody-minded British colonialists to rapacious native dictators – Saddam was Saddam because Iraq was Iraq; only possible by the ruthless application of coercive violence.
So it’s not “just” the Legend of the Surge that’s so toxic. It’s the continuation of the initial lies that’s so toxic. The Third Gulf War was doomed from the moment if sprang, fully armed, from the foreheads of fatheads like Dougie Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, and George W. Bush. As I wrote back in 2008:
“(T)his damn war didn’t just have a bodyguard of lies. It had a recon and security screen of lies – lies about smoking guns and mushroom clouds and model airplanes filled with death from above. It had a main line of resistance of lies, lies about flowers and candy, lies about easy-peasy, lies about body counts, lies about Iraqi exiles and Iraqi politics, lies about reconstruction and “coalition” provisional authorities. It had reserves of lies, lies about Shiites and Sunnis, lies about weapons and where they went, lies about Al Qaeda and muj and Sadrists. It had a logistical and support base of lies, lies about no-bid contracts and mercenaries and political and diplomatic conditions. It had a no-bid contract of lies, an entire Third Shop of lies, a theatre-level of lies, an entire Base Section and CONUS-full of lies and spin and bullshit.
And all these lies, for what?
We had an uneasy arrangement with Saddam for decades. It wasn’t good, it sucked for the Iraqis, it was expensive and irritating and we wanted things to be better. So in a moment of hubris and willful ignorance we kicked it to splinters and had to lie our asses off to do it and what did we get in return?
I don’t think we even know yet. I think we will have no idea what we will see there for a decade, or two, and whether it will make us long for Saddam’s mere brutality as a zek perishing in Stalin’s lead mines may have pined for the Tsar.
But this leaked pile of crap reminds us that what we do know is that whatever rough beast is slouching towards Baghdad to be born was engendered and midwived by lies, fucking lies, piles and heaps and mountains of lies upon lies.”
alex said on August 14, 2015 at 12:18 pm
People may not give Joe Biden much credit for anything, but before the Iraq invasion he argued against toppling Saddam Hussein because of the power vacuum it would create. He predicted the outcome we’re seeing now. I think it’s a shame he’s not running for president because I think he’d be a better alternative than Hillary.
brian stouder said on August 14, 2015 at 12:26 pm
I like Joe, too – but in a race between Sec Clinton and him, I cannot imagine not sticking with Hillary.
If nothing else, she came to Fort Wayne and engaged the folks, in the ’08 primary, and I like that.
Kirk said on August 14, 2015 at 12:44 pm
Good eye. Guess I should have looked at the link, but I still don’t understand why the website didn’t give him a byline. Kram wrote great boxing stories for SI for a long time. The pathos of boxing is fertile ground for those equipped to take advantage of it. Norman Mailer and A.J. Liebling are a couple of others who have done great work writing about it.
nancy said on August 14, 2015 at 12:48 pm
Right you are, Kirk. I’ve been rereading some of my fave boxing writing since I started working out at Max Box. One of my fave Pete Dexter columns is on the list, and Mailer is also a fave. Good news: “When We Were Kings” is available on YouTube, and I watched it on my big-screen the other night. What a film.
Kirk said on August 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm
One of my favorite Mailer boxing lines concerns a media pre-fight party for, I think, a Patterson-Liston fight. Can’t remember it in all its lyricism exactly, but the gist is that you know you’re at a boxing gathering because you see guys blowing their nose, and they always open up their hankie “to look at their own chop suey.”
Basset said on August 14, 2015 at 1:17 pm
Fighting, I’ll say again, is not a sport.
Jolene said on August 14, 2015 at 2:03 pm
Two things I heard on the news:
1. Through his foundation, LeBron James has arranged to pay for four years of college for 1100 kids from Akron. Pretty impressive.
2. Animal shelters throughout the country are having a special event tomorrow to place lots of animals. For one day, they’re dropping adoption fees, so, if you’re thinking about a new four-legged friend, this might be a good time to act. Not that the shelter wouldn’t appreciate a donation anyhow, but you get the idea.
brian stouder said on August 14, 2015 at 2:04 pm
Basset – boxing ain’t for me, but…certainly it’s a sport, every bit as much as football or soccer or rugby, yes?
Scout said on August 14, 2015 at 2:15 pm
I seem to be the only person here who thinks Bernie Sanders is a viable alternative to Hillary. He could very well be the spoiler for her this time that Obama was in 2008. He is my primary pick, but of course, if Hill gets the nod, she’s got my vote.
The only person on the R side that seems presidential is Kasich. The rest of them are an assortment of mixed nuts.
brian stouder said on August 14, 2015 at 2:31 pm
Scout, I will probably not vote for Vermont’s junior senator, but my 20 year old son loves that guy, and can’t wait to vote for him. Our seventeen year old daughter will also be eligible to vote in the primary, since she will be 18 by the November general election – so it will be interesting to hear what her thinking becomes, as we roll toward 2016.
By way of saying, you make a good point regarding Bernie’s excitement-factor, versus Sec Clinton’s hard-earned ‘establishment’ persona. If it is another “change” election, we could get Commander in Chief Sanders (as opposed to the colonel)
Jolene said on August 14, 2015 at 2:50 pm
David Simon was on Seth Meyers’s show last night to promo Show Me a Hero. There are three clips in which he talks about the new show, other upcoming work, and our current politics, all at this link.
Sherri said on August 14, 2015 at 2:57 pm
Sanders will not win the Democratic nomination. His only support is among white voters. That’s good enough for Republicans, but not for Democrats.
Andrea said on August 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm
Completely off topic, unless you consider the tone deafness of the chattering right to be a perennial topic: a member of the Chicago Trib’s editorial board has penned a commentary expressing her envy that New Orleans got to have Hurricane Katrina because it allowed them to tear up union contracts. She’s experiencing her own personal Katrina now.
There’s lot of other links, including this local one:
Sorry I don’t know how to embed the links, but thought you all would appreciate them.
coozledad said on August 14, 2015 at 4:14 pm
Aaaand some more Republican terrorist shite:
redoubt said on August 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm
And here I thought Colonel McCormick was dead. Otherwise it would have been “Geysers bursting thru manhole covers.”
coozledad said on August 14, 2015 at 4:32 pm
Good godbotherer stuff.
Colleen said on August 14, 2015 at 4:50 pm
Brian @ 12, that’s the very road where my dad taught me to drive stick. Brought the car to the rather steeply sloped railroad tracks and let me have at it, correctly assuming that if I could get the hang of first gear when the car wanted to roll backward, I could master first gear on flat ground in no time. And after you can do first gear, the rest are cake….
Jolene said on August 14, 2015 at 5:01 pm
Want to be sure to have something to talk about if you ever meet the Commander-in-Chief? Here’s what he’s reading on vacation. Nothing like a bit of literary chit-chat to get a conversation going.
brian stouder said on August 14, 2015 at 5:05 pm
Colleen – if you saw a famer on the right side of the road (as you head for the tracks and Aboite), that was Uncle Harley Powell. I think he had a fairly fancy Ford Fairlane, if memory serves.
I remember a pony named Julie, and another named Smokey, that milled about in the field, often as not
brian stouder said on August 14, 2015 at 5:11 pm
Jolene – I’ve never been able to finish a book about Washington. ‘Course, I suppose that says more about the quality of books on him that I’ve gotten over the years (at birthdays and holidays), then about GW.
Maybe if Jon Meacham* writes one, I’ll make it to the end
*I liked his books on TJ and on Andrew Jackson
Suzanne said on August 14, 2015 at 5:19 pm
I’ve already read All the Light We Cannot See, so I could have a nice literary conversation with the Prez. It’s a very, very good book.
I’m already weary of the presidential election. I’d vote for Joe Biden in a Hoosier minute if he was running just because he seems like a guy who has great character, unlike most everybody else who are just characters. I am utterly amazed that The Donald is doing so well in polling, but he does appeal to the goober element who feel they’ve lost any means of control in this world & by gum, he’s telling it like it is to those people out there. They are great supporters for Mr T, too, because they don’t grasp they’re being used by him to gain power for himself. Haters gonna hate and goobers gonna goob.
nancy said on August 14, 2015 at 5:39 pm
I have often noted here how dispiriting it is to read my alma mater, which is hollowed-out and frankly, an embarrassment to my resumé, but as so many people here are wondering about the GOP primary field and its possible appeal to sane voters, let me just share this, a guest column by the former sheriff of Allen County, which appeared today in that rag. Headlined, “What is happening to America?” I defy you to find a more self-pitying cliché stew in print today, tomorrow or the next day. Here’s the opener, to tease you:
How many times have you asked yourself: What’s happening to America?
Two high school classmates in recent emails asked me that question out of the blue. Both had successful careers, one in the music industry the other as a military officer. Although we had never discussed politics, they were asking me the same question on the same day.
I wondered what event had prompted my old buddies to ask me this question. Was it the economics of Greece, the computer crash on Wall Street, the chaos in the Middle East or perhaps the political turmoil in Baltimore?
My answer is simple and straightforward: We may be better educated and own the latest smartphones, but our fathers were smarter and wiser than we’ll ever be. They had their priorities straight. They knew the true meaning of family. They weren’t fooled by politicians who swore on the Bible that they had the answers to all the world’s ills.
It goes on from there, a parade of pap, smarm and bumper stickers that I suspect covers the truth: I’m old and I’m going to die soon and I’m disappointed. And there’s something like this on that page at least once a week, the same writers beating the same drums, over and over and over.
You want to know who’s intrigued by Donald Trump, et al? Say hi to these folks.
Bob (not Greene) said on August 14, 2015 at 6:06 pm
Nancy, that’s a good one. Here’s what’s wrong with America buddy; it’s at the end of your dumb column: “Joseph M. Squadrito, an adjunct scholar of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation.” You’re a right-wing propaganda pusher. We all can see what your “priorities” are.
Jolene said on August 14, 2015 at 6:34 pm
Scout, I’m posting this article about your senator, Jeff Flake, to encourage you to call his office and urge him to support the Iran deal. Here, it sounds as if he is persuadable, which puts him in a class by himself–that is, Republicans who did not reject it before it was printed.
It’s not too soon to be calling your reps about this. People are announcing their intentions every day, so let them know what you think. There’s a mighty machine pressing them in the other direction. And, just so you know, I’ll nag you again in September.
Dave said on August 14, 2015 at 9:22 pm
Yes, Alex, that’s the interurban, the Fort Wayne and Wabash Valley Traction Company. I don’t think that tracks were still in place in the 1980’s but perhaps. The only tracks that come to mind that were still in place and unused in this area were the ones that went up across Coliseum just to the west of Glenbrook Mall.
Every day, there’s some guest column in that paper. Most recently, one was in there the extremely right wing person who resurrected the building in Cedarville, IN. He’s going to have his own TV show now, which he announced in the last paragraph of his most recent doom and gloom column.
My wife wonders why we’re still subscribing. Because we’re going to leave Northeast Indiana soon, I’m sticking it out until we move or the paper goes under, a rumor my carrier tells me keeps cropping back up.
Jolene said on August 15, 2015 at 12:12 am
Hank Stuever, WaPo TV critic, thinks Show Me a Hero is brilliant.
Deborah said on August 15, 2015 at 2:14 am
We are back from an evening at the Santa Fe Opera. We saw Cold Mountain, a new opera composed by Jennifer Higdon and unfortunately it was miserably bad. I was so looking forward to it, I love Higdon’s work usually. This was her first opera. Well, better luck next time.
Sherri said on August 15, 2015 at 3:14 am
On copy-editing Shirley Jackson: http://the-toast.net/2015/08/04/shirley-jackson-and-me/
Diane said on August 15, 2015 at 5:58 am
Deborah, we heard Higdon’s violin concerto performed in Colorado last month and thought it was very good- I’m sorry to hear that her opera was bad.
alex said on August 15, 2015 at 9:38 am
I wouldn’t write off Bernie just yet. The same lazy media that fail to take him seriously are indulging Carly Fiorina as credible. And it’s very early, so anything’s possible.
The Black Lives Matter movement is shaping up to be the Tea Party of the left, and will likely extract the same sort of fealty from Dem pols as its counterpart of aggrieved whites has done with regard to the GOP. Just you wait. Much as I sympathize with BLM, it’s likely to get drunk on its own power just like the Tea Party and make life uncomfortable for all Democratic candidates, not just Bernie. I can see Hillary on the stump being confronted by hyper-agitated people booing her down just the same as McCain faced in 2008 when he dared to challenge overheated rhetoric. If she’s smart, she’ll learn how to convey the same sort of rage about racial injustice that her black constituents are feeling and make it a prime staple of her appearances. And the same advice goes for Bernie.
basset said on August 15, 2015 at 9:51 am
Brian@33, I don’t think so. More than any other organized entertainment activity, which is basically what all sports are, boxing is just raw violence, and this MMA stuff is even worse. I have read enough of this crap about boxing being “the sweet science” to know it’s BS… it’s not a game and it’s certainly not a science.
Two people hit each other till one of them quits, can’t get up, or is too damaged to continue, and I can’t understand why anyone would want to watch that.
Jolene said on August 15, 2015 at 10:26 am
Here in the DC media market, we are getting lots of TV commercials opposing the Iran deal. Most are expensively produced statements of opposition, but, last night, I saw one sponsored by a veterans’ organization that was particularly brutal in that it featured an individual senator, Mark Warner, a moderate Democrat from Virginia, and asked viewers to call him and ask him to oppose the deal. The speaker in the ad was a veteran who said that he had been injured in Iraq by a bomb made in Iran, and his face still showed the effects of his injury.
Are you seeing these ads in your media markets as well? Sometimes, policy-focused ads are played mainly in DC, but that wouldn’t make much sense right now, as Congress is not in session.
Here, by the way, is a whip list that shows what’s known so far about each senator will vote. In my view, it’s valuable to call your reps no matter what they’ve said about how they’ll vote. Because there is so much highly organized opposition, it’s especially important to let them know that there are citizens who support it.
coozledad said on August 15, 2015 at 10:52 am
Sherri: That was a lovely appreciation of Shirley. I followed an almost identical path to the discovery of her work. What’s always stood out for me, in addition to her hypnotic style, is her acerbic take on the latent cruelty of dumb motherfuckers. The brutality beneath all that foamy sentiment.
Her husband was right. She practiced a kind of witchcraft in writing.
Julie Robinson said on August 15, 2015 at 2:12 pm
basset, I’m in total agreement with you on boxing.
As if ruining HP wasn’t enough for met to dislike her, Carly Fiorina has now come out as an anti-vaccer. Sheesh.
But apart from all the rest of the news, here is the head-scratcher for me: http://www.journalgazette.net/news/local/Dwenger-teacher-to-be-consecrated-virgin-today-8238298. A Catholic teacher is putting on a wedding dress and veil to proclaim that she will never, ever have sex. She’s not going to be a nun, either, just a consecrated virgin. One of about 200 here in the US of A. I just don’t get it.
Sherri said on August 15, 2015 at 2:30 pm
It’s not the two BLM activists in Seattle that is Sanders’ problem, it’s the fact that he polls dramatically behind Clinton among all non-white voters. Iowa and New Hampshire are very white states, but Super Tuesday requires that he expand his base. Clinton already has a strong base among African American voters. Obama was able to negate that; Sanders won’t be able to.
I want Sanders to keep running, to keep Clinton honest on the left. I’m not that big a Clinton fan, though obviously I will vote for her over any of the Republicans. Realistically, though, Sanders is not Obama.
(Though if we start hearing Mark Penn’s name around Clinton’s campaign again, I reserve the right to change my mind about everything.)
Basset said on August 15, 2015 at 2:51 pm
thanks, Julie. i should say all *spectator* sports… bread and circuses…
Deborah said on August 15, 2015 at 4:55 pm
Every time I see BLM I think Bureau of Land Management not Black Lives Matter. But that’s just because in this neck of the woods (NM) that’s the way it is.
Diane, yes, I love the work of Jennifer Higdon (except for that opera) and I might meet her tomorrow. We have season tickets to a chamber music deal in Abiquiu, they have 6 concerts every summer at this house http://www.dwell.com/my-house/article/abiquiu-debut. At every concert this summer they’ve had a Higdon piece and they have been fabulous. Then when I was back in Chicago a Higdon piece was one that was played at a Millenium Park concert, it was terrific. Anyway tomorrow is the last Abiquiu concert and there’s a social occaision afterwards and Higdon is supposed to be there.
Jolene said on August 15, 2015 at 7:25 pm
Quite a place, Deborah. Enjoy the concert.
Basset said on August 15, 2015 at 7:32 pm
just saw my first “confederate lives matter” t-shirt.
Dexter said on August 15, 2015 at 9:14 pm
Basset, as I predicted, the flap over the confederate flag has riled the bees…in this little city in which I reside, there are at least four pickup trucks ramming around at all hours blaring hillbilly crappy music and in the top-side holes of the truck beds are stuck poles supporting huge stars and bars on both sides. Two of the trucks always contain three occupants and I could see the one in the seat by the window…stars and bars do-rag and of course the flag tee shirt. It’s like these guys are on some sort of mission. They seem to have plenny-o-gas money because they are out on the streets constantly…I see them every day, more than a few times. For the record, I love the good kind of hillbilly music. If that’s confusing, I mean the kind played on XM 60 Outlaw Country by DJ Hillbilly Jim. http://i.ytimg.com/vi/NVXHPFZrZH8/maxresdefault.jpg
Basset said on August 15, 2015 at 9:39 pm
Willie’s Roadhouse on Sirius for me, button 4 on the car radio but i forget the actual channel. sent our proprietress a pic of the shirt, it was on a wall display of several rebel shirts for sale.
Dave said on August 15, 2015 at 9:52 pm
You can see a interview with the consecrated virgin here: http://wane.com/2015/08/15/fort-wayne-woman-marries-god/
Diane said on August 15, 2015 at 10:13 pm
Deborah, enjoy the concert!
brian stouder said on August 15, 2015 at 10:32 pm
Julie, I read that article twice this morning, and I just didn’t get it. But, whatever.
And Basset – couldn’t agree more about the revolting ‘spectacle’ of one-on-one violence as in boxing or mma or whatever else; it ain’t for me.
TV coverage of college or NFL football is all about big-hits, and ditto for NASCAR races…so it’s more ‘dressed up’ than boxing, but the dynamic is quite similar (strategies, tactics, overall plans, lucky breaks and opportunities – but it’s still all about the inherent violence)
Dexter said on August 16, 2015 at 12:28 am
Well folks, as the summer winds down, let me offer a plan for Labor Day. I walked the bridge four or five times back in the 1980s and 1990s. Five miles across and another 3/4 mile to the Keyhole Bar for reviving, refreshing Labatt’s Blue.
Dexter said on August 16, 2015 at 12:32 am
The Key Hole Bar, Mackinaw City, Michigan
Deborah said on August 16, 2015 at 5:13 am
I see that triple digit temps are happening in Phoenix and LA this weekend. Scout and LA Mary, take it easy. Phoenix got up to 117 Friday!
David C. said on August 16, 2015 at 6:42 am
I hate being on tall structures, so I would never do the bridge walk. Even driving across the Mackinac Bridge is a white knuckle experience for me. I like to fly though which makes no damned sense in the world, but there you are.
coozledad said on August 16, 2015 at 8:17 am
Sorry-ass frauding Republican bitch. Ought to eat his last cookies in Central Prison.
They’re the ones who always pull this shit:
susan said on August 16, 2015 at 12:16 pm
Nancy, I have often wondered why you support a company like this. Does it really support you? I don’t think so. At what cost? I would rather give you the bucks you would like (if you posted such a want) than to send anything Bezos’ way. I never shop at that place, go out of my way not to, and so what if I pay a few cents more for some crap made in China. Gads, what an Orwellian nightmare work environment. Remember a few years back the articles revealing the horrors of Amazon’s “fullfillment” (or however the hell you spell that awful word/concept) centers? It’s all the same ideology.
basset said on August 16, 2015 at 12:21 pm
First time I crossed the Mackinac Bridge, in a VW Beetle about 1978, I didn’t know the inside lane was open gridwork and it scared the living shit out of me… sailing along then this horrible noise and I can see water way below, that’ll wake you right up.
David C. said on August 16, 2015 at 1:18 pm
I thought the same thing, Susan but didn’t quite know how to put it. Bezos must be the world’s biggest sociopath. How else could someone think combining the dark satanic mills with Stasi is a good business plan. I hope one day the slap-headed git gets the union he so richly deserves. I am done with them.
Sherri said on August 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm
I don’t doubt that the stories in the NYTimes are true. I don’t doubt that Bezos is a sociopath, though that hardl makes him unique in tech (I think Steve Jobs still tops Bezos, and Larry Ellison of oracle may top them both, and that’s before you even get into the computer gaming industry.) However, I do have friends who work at Amazon, and the NYTimes doesn’t give the whole story. If you wanted to, you could write a story like that about most companies I know in tech, because they are always groups in the company that are like this. I worked for a company whose CEO was not a sociopath, whose company culture was quite reasonable, and was regarded as a good place to work, and yet, there were parts of the company that made unreasonable demands and treated their employees badly.
The culture of tearing apart ideas (which too often tears apart people instead) is very common in tech. Amazon may be out towards the end of the spectrum, but they’re not off the charts. The major difference between Amazon and other tech places like Google and Facebook is that Amazon is aggressive about not giving perks to employees.
My husband’s reaction to the story is that Amazon can get by with a lot of this as long as the stock price is going up. Once the stock price stops climbing, and those white collar employees aren’t making significant money in addition to their salary, they’ll leave, and Amazon will have to change.
Certainly, if you don’t want to shop at Amazon because you don’t like how they treat their employees, I can understand that. I’ve just never figured out the union retail shop that treats their employees well where I can shop instead.
Dexter said on August 16, 2015 at 4:18 pm
Another fun way to cross Mackinac Bridge, one I never did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5e7aUZc7X0A
Suzanne said on August 16, 2015 at 5:04 pm
I know someone who worked,more tried to, at one of the Amazon fulfillment centers (outside of Indy). He was working 10 hour days, 6 days per week as a temp. When he fell & wrenched his knee and couldn’t go up & down the stairs necessary for 60 hours a week, they didn’t put him in another area, just said “Too bad. See ya!”
I worked in a similar environment a few years ago. Miss a day due to miscarriage? Too bad. You didn’t have a day coming to you, so now you have an incident on your record. Too many incidents and you are history. It happened to a co-worker. I don’t work well under those conditions.
I try to avoid Amazon if at all possible. I know a young man who was hired in at Amazon 6 months before he graduated. I figured they must have lots of turnover. He’s just starting this month so it’ll be interesting to see how long he lasts.
Sherri said on August 16, 2015 at 6:28 pm
If you want to get the feeling that tech is nothing but sociopaths, read this article about “effective altruism.”
David C. said on August 16, 2015 at 7:10 pm
Jesus H. Christ what a bunch of nuts. It sounds like the most dangerous words in the world are “if current trends hold”. That is especially true if you’re planning out 50 million years. If mankind goes extinct and takes them with it, I’m on board. Right now, I’m reading “The World Without Us”, and it’s not sounding too bad.
Hattie said on August 16, 2015 at 7:43 pm
Walker petrifies me.
Sherri said on August 16, 2015 at 11:35 pm
Another thing to keep in mind on the Amazon workers in the NYTimes article: unlike the workers in the fulfillment centers, these workers have other options. Not that any workers should be abused, but there is a robust market for software engineers, both in Seattle and in Silicon Valley.
There’s so much to be outraged about in the world, I have conserve my outrage. I save it for people without options.
Brandon said on August 17, 2015 at 3:45 am
(It’s still the 16th in Hawaii as I type this, but the timestamp will show the 17th.)
Today is Madonna’s birthday.
David C. said on August 17, 2015 at 6:43 am
Silicon Valley is the crucible of bad ideas that actually get implemented. The software engineers may have options, but other white and pink collar workers who work at companies that see this as a terrific idea likely don’t. We don’t have much of it here, but my understanding is tech companies use H-1B or the threat of visas to keep their workers in their control. So in my opinion, bad ideas have to be stamped out at the source, no matter the perceived ability of the victims to fight back.
beb said on August 17, 2015 at 8:23 am
Too many tech geniuses grew up reading Ayn Rand. To them sociopathy is a good thing. Then again employers have never cared about their workers.
It sounds like people are already flipping through their rolodex looking for a savior for the Republican party. Jeb was supposed to be it but he’s turned out to be dumber than Rick Perry and gaffe prone. Scott Walker is widely detested outside the base. So gov. Kaisch is getting a fresh look. He’s moderate on some points (medicare) but is still a hard-liner.
I’m a fan of Bernie Sanders. Arguments about his electability seem like kneecaps efforts from the Hillary camp. I mean Hillary will be beset with one scandal after another, Lewinsky revisited, Vince Foster revisited, Benghazi, Benghazi Benghazi… Those are pretty high huddles for her to get elected. The biggest sin against Sanders is that he’s a socialist but that doesn’t hold the terror that it used to. He’s easily as electable as Hillary.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 17, 2015 at 8:36 am
Interesting cross-cutting analysis from Politico’s morning e-mail:
PLAY OF THE DAY: Amazon, secretive and unorthodox even for the tech world, is using a very transparent and conventional approach to crapping on the N.Y. Times story that we linked to Saturday, and that was splashed across Sunday’s front page (“Amazon’s Bruising, Thrilling Workplace: Giant Retailer Tests How Far It Can Push White-Collar Staff,” by Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld): http://nyti.ms/1gPPnfB
1) Have a top employee rebut on social media, let it go viral http://bit.ly/1Nd9zpo … 2) Follow with note from Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO … 3) Top off with a “CBS This Morning” appearance by Jay Carney, now Amazon’s senior vice president for Worldwide Corporate Affairs, with Jodi Kantor, co-author of the piece.
–FROM THE BEZOS EMAIL: “Dear Amazonians, If you haven’t already, I encourage you to give this (very long) New York Times article a careful read [link]. I also encourage you to read this very different take by a current Amazonian [link]. Here’s why I’m writing you. The NYT article prominently features anecdotes describing shockingly callous management practices, including people being treated without empathy while enduring family tragedies and serious health problems.
“The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know … But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR. You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero. … I don’t think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market. …
“I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company. But hopefully, you don’t recognize the company described. Hopefully, you’re having fun working with a bunch of brilliant teammates, helping invent the future, and laughing along the way. Thank you, Jeff.”
brian stouder said on August 17, 2015 at 8:36 am
I think that, at the end of the day, the inescapable scent of “waif” wafts through the air from Walker and Rubio…they’re practically hurricanes of hubris and unimaginative inability.
Jeb! has money and has been forced into a more realistic humbleness, and if he stumbles irretrievably, I still think the money then shifts to Kasich of Ohio, because – Ohio.
HRC has to find her voice, and her footing, which I think she will do. Summer-15 is Trump’s, and in the winter of ’16, he’ll be a postcard on the bulletin board
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 17, 2015 at 8:44 am
A brighter side note: here in Newark, Ohio, we’ve got a hive of fulfillment centers and light assembly plants on the border between Licking County and Franklin County (that’s Columbus, the state capital). They’re constantly hiring, and expanding, Thirtyone Products and The Limited and Abercrombie & Fitch, et cetera, but here in our county seat, we have lots of low skill workers who would love to get there, but don’t have vehicles. We have no real public transit, and even Franklin County’s doesn’t seem to access it well, though we’d heard of people hitching rides 30 miles to one employment hub from Newark to Reynoldsburg with friends, then trying to catch COTA buses up 15-20 miles to the New Albany/Jersey businesses.
So we finally figured out how to put together a partnership of our county United Way and a bunch of churches and the county planning department, and there’s a bus running from Newark’s east end the nearly 30 miles to the jobs, for second shift. The churches, aside from writing eloquent grant support letters, are making sack lunches for the 40-45 people who are coming to the job center here and making the long ride to their 4 pm to midnight shifts picking and packing; a different church takes a week, and we’re trying to get five to jump in (three so far) to rotate the work.
It would be great if we could have the interurban back; we’ve got a lovely car in the local museum, and street workers still bang into the rails from time to time repairing potholes. It was a great system until the 20s; we’ve tried umpteen approaches to public transit, and can’t make ’em work, but this service looks like it’s going somewhere positive. Now, when the start-up grants run out in a year . . . but one thing at a time.
brian stouder said on August 17, 2015 at 9:13 am
Jeff – you go!
Today’s only-in-Detroit story might be this one:
Officials say a Chevrolet Camaro used in promotions for pizza chain Papa John’s was among three vehicles stolen during a Detroit-area event showcasing classic cars.
Police Sgt. Cassandra Lewis tells the Detroit News authorities are investigating after the 1971 Camaro Z28 owned by the Louisville, Kentucky-based pizza company was reported missing Sunday morning from the Woodward Dream Cruise event in Oakland County.
Deborah said on August 17, 2015 at 9:33 am
So I met Jennifer Higdon at the concert yesterday, she was there with her long time partner Cheryl, they met in high school in Tennessee, I think. Higdon is 53 but she looks a lot younger. She’s very down to earth and gracious. They played another terrific piece of hers at the concert.
Sherri said on August 17, 2015 at 12:10 pm
There are worse places than Amazon to be an H1B worker, like the big IT consulting firms that hire mostly H1Bs because they can underpay them and keep them effectively as indentured servants. Infosys and Tata are the biggest H1B hirers in the country, and treat these workers the worst: http://www.epi.org/blog/new-data-infosys-tata-abuse-h-1b-program/. The big tech firms are quite a bit better: http://techcrunch.com/2015/03/29/how-google-facebook-and-others-pay-their-h-1b-employees.
Would I want to work at Amazon? If all I knew was this article, of course not. But I have do have friends who work at Amazon, who have families and and interests outside of work, and seem happy and even excited working at Amazon. My husband works with people who have worked at Amazon, and he’s not hearing the horror stories from this article. Note that I’m not saying they aren’t true. I believe they are true. I believe that if you wanted to, you could write a story like that at Google or Facebook or Apple. I know you could write a story like that about Microsoft, because it’s been done in the past. But for some reason, stories about Apple employees being afraid to get on an elevator with Steve Jobs were more about the quirks of his genius than about him being an abusive sociopath.
It’s true that I don’t know any pink collar workers at Amazon, but I disagree that they don’t have options. Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are all growing in Seattle, and more support staff are needed there, too. The unemployment rate in Seattle is about 3.5%; the problem in Seattle is coping with growth and housing affordability, not lack of jobs.
Amazon isn’t a nail salon.
Deborah said on August 17, 2015 at 2:28 pm
What is a pink collar worker? Forgive my ignorance.
Brandon said on August 17, 2015 at 2:38 pm
@Deborah: Secretaries, for instance.
jeff borden said on August 17, 2015 at 5:14 pm
The legion of loathers of Mitch Albom would’ve smiled knowingly had they been listening to WSCR radio in Chicago this afternoon, as I was while driving to a meeting of adjunct faculty downtown. One of the sports yakkers just eviscerated Mitch for his lazy and boring column on sportsmanship or the lack thereof including Albom’s use of an anecdote involving Gilbert Arenas, who once brought guns into the locker room of the Washington Wizards. In 2009! It was a three or four-minute smackdown that had me wishing I could share it with the habitues of NN.C.
Bill said on August 17, 2015 at 5:48 pm
Jeff: Here’s the url for the Albom column.
Bill said on August 17, 2015 at 5:48 pm
Jeff: Now here’s the link: http://www.freep.com/sports/mitch-albom/