Ah, the glories of September. Today I wore a scarf — around my neck and everything — and didn’t sweat. It was a perfect day for almost everything, including a baseball game, but I didn’t go to that. Worked at my bleak little desk. A Monday. Sigh.

But it was pretty productive, and here we are at the end of Monday, and it’s in the rear-view mirror. So that’s good. And some other things happened today, the biggest being the exit of Scott Walker from the scene for a while, at least until he pulls another feat of strength in Madison. Jeb Lund had his number two weeks ago:

It wasn’t supposed to be this way: one of Walker’s selling points was winning three elections in five years (the first one, the recall, then the reelection). In theory, Walker should have been the most experienced, most natural and most effortless Republican candidate. Jeb Bush hasn’t run this decade; Ted Cruz only ran once; Chris Christie is dogged by corruption allegations; Rick Perry has the mental aptitude of two dogs in an overcoat; and Rand Paul was gifted his father’s movement and all his out-of-state donors but none of his charisma at talking about basing an international currency on stuff you dig out of the ground.

Walker should have been able to campaign circles around everyone else in the race. Instead, he’s getting his rear end handed to him by a meringue-haired hotelier and a political neophyte surgeon who speaks with the dizzy wonderment of someone trying to describe their dream from last night while taking mushrooms for the first time.

I’ll say he did. By the time he brought up the idea of a border wall with Canada, I knew he was done, and done good. So thanks for playing, and what sort of consolation prize do we have for this gentleman? Time will tell.

And there’s this:

He’ll return to Madison now, to shore up his presidential bona fides at the expense of the very people most in need of a government that serves them. In four years he’ll surface again, maybe with a new pair of eyeglasses, peddling viciousness and mercilessness disguised as clear-eyed discipline, railing against a public sector that has been employing him for his entire professional life, conning support out of the common people whose dignity he sucks away like the leech he is. Fuck Scott Walker. May he fall into a manhole.

The world is full of Scott Walkers today, isn’t it? Including this guy, drug-price-gouging hedge fund jerk:

Ever since an HIV/AIDS patient advocacy group began raising questions last week about why Turing Pharmaceuticals jacked up the price for a medication from $13.50 per pill to $750 overnight, anger against the company has been boiling over.

The medicine, Daraprim, which has been on the market for 62 years, is the standard of care for a food-borne illness called called toxoplasmosis caused by a parasite that can severely affect those with compromised immune systems. Turing purchased the rights to the drug last month and almost immediately raised prices.

He has put a kick-me sign on himself, and is adding flashing neon signs to it, too:

John Carroll, the editor of Fierce Biotech, a daily newsletter about the industry, was one of the first to ask Turing chief executive Martin Shkreli directly to explain the move. In a hot-headed Twitter exchange over the weekend, Shkreli declined to provide additional information and instead launched into a series of personal attacks against Carroll — calling him “irrelevant” and someone who doesn’t “think logically.”

He also called him a moron. Boy, this is going to be fun.

Other news was even more depressing. The front-page NYT piece on the rape of young boys by our Afghan allies was stomach-turning:

KABUL, Afghanistan — In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.

“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records.

Our allies! What are we doing in these cesspools? Who threw us into this briar patch? Don’t answer that.

Posted at 12:07 am in Current events |

53 responses to “Septembering.”

  1. Sherri said on September 22, 2015 at 12:55 am

    The free market solution to health care: make sure you can’t afford to use any.

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  2. David C. said on September 22, 2015 at 6:37 am

    Word around here is that another shoe is set to drop on little Scottie very soon. One can only hope, but if he were to be swept out it would leave brainless Becky, the current lite gov and former teevee spokesmodel, in charge. Worse news.

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  3. Suzanne said on September 22, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Walker is still leading, dontchaknow. He says he’s been called to lead by dropping out of the race so that it’ll be easier for the true conservative message to be heard. You just can’t make this stuff up.

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  4. Sue said on September 22, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Good gods, Walker even screwed up leaving his own campaign. I need to show all the other Republicans by example that if we all leave Trump won’t get the nomination, because God told me, or something. What?
    Now he gets to come back to Wisconsin and pick a supreme court judge. Oh shit.
    And David C, do you wonder if the other shoe dropping will make any difference, now that he’s back in Wisconsin and out of the national spotlight? This is the guy who has a pedophile and two embezzlers (or is it the other way around?) and a secret email system IT guy among his past associates and staff, the guy who set up an economic development agency that has a suspiciously high rate of granting and loaning big bucks to his pals and then losing the paperwork – and the state’s media and residents respond with big yawns.
    At this point I’ll take Becky – all she seems to do is sexualize her comments to business leaders and worry that people are going to marry their furniture.

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  5. coozledad said on September 22, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Who threw us into this briar patch?
    The short answer is Bush and the press that couldn’t get enough of the taste of his dick. A slightly longer answer is the stupidity of Americans who bought the line he was tough, even after the Chinese shipped him a US Spyplane- disassembled, crated, and addressed “Up your asshole, loser” and he went to his foreign policy bunker and took a nap until his staff had to wake him up for the next disaster. An even longer answer is the long term goals of Cheney’s energy commission (Saudi Aramco), and the position of Afghanistan relative to the Azerbaijan oilfields.

    The Armed services are a dab hand at ignoring the vices of our allies. This story will blow over about the time Americans start purchasing 8mpg highway vehicles again.

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  6. coozledad said on September 22, 2015 at 8:17 am

    And speaking of “Boy play” whatever happened to Jeff Guckert/Gannon?

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  7. brian stouder said on September 22, 2015 at 9:09 am

    With apologies to ink-stained wretches doing actual journalism, I have to say that the couple of minutes of video of this man with all the character of a pig in mud conveys more in 5 minutes than anyone could ever evoke with prose.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on September 22, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Consolation prize for Walker? There are no laws governing the use of leftover super PAC money. Of course, the Koch brothers might want it back, and it would be hard to say no to them.

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  9. beb said on September 22, 2015 at 9:14 am

    I saw a headline this morning “Remaining candidates scramble for Walker’s supporters” or something like that. Can’t remember the exact wording. I had to raise my Spockian eyebrow because I thought the reason Walker dropped out was because he had no supporters. So how could the others pick up that which does not exist. I just wonder how much longer will the other five or six candidates in the 1% or less polling will stick it out. Does Huckabee, Santorium or Graham really think they have a chance?

    I suspect that the next to drop out will be Jeb!. Like Walker he has the charisma and campaigning skills of a fencepost. Sure he has lots of money but the best he can hope for is claiming his presidency will be a third term of W. There might be some appeal to that but I think a lot of people would go for an old socialist over another Bush.

    One wonders how long Carly Fiorina will continue with her “I saw a beating heart…” claim in the absence of any known video like that (from the recent Planned Parenthood sting).

    One wonders how long Ben Carson will last after saying that no Muslim should be president?

    One wonders how long it will take before Trump is prosecuted for his Trump University scam?

    I’m reminded of Trump University because Shkreli’s attacks on his critic is so Trumpian in his personal attacks. Shkreli’s behavior is the kind of thing that makes me wish the government had some control over the prices companies can charge for medicine.

    Sad to say but Afghanistan has to be laid at Obama’s feet. He could have withdrawn troops years ago but didn’t. The problem is two-fold: there is no democratically elected national government and never will be. And there will never be a way to keep the Taliban out of Afghanistan. We ought to just wash our hands of the whole deal and let the warlords sort it out. The only other alternative would be to go full-colonial.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on September 22, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I hope Walker is out of public life forever, but who can say. In addition to the Koch Brothers, he also was the favorite of the Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs. They, apparently, were gobsmacked by the news of his departure as they had planned some kind of big event at Wrigley Field for his bundlers. I would think these allegedly smart businesspeople would look at how completely Walker choked and decide to walk away, but he is such a dependable little toad, so willing to do the bidding of his masters, that perhaps he’ll try a run for the House or Senate.

    The Ricketts are a strange clan. Big daddy, who founded T.D. Ameritrade, is a rabid conservative who came close to financing an anti-Obama film linking him to his former outspoken pastor, but the Ricketts at the time were negotiating with City Hall for changes at Wrigley, which is a designated landmark. They did not want to give Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, any reason to say no, so old Joe Ricketts was persuaded to keep his powder dry. One of the Ricketts kids is an out lesbian who was a bundler for Obama.

    Beb is right about Obama and Afghanistan. And anyone who has read much about Afghani culture, or the books by Khaled Hosseini, knows about the young party boys. It must be hell for men and women from other cultures serving in Afghanistan to see and hear these things going on and not be allowed to intervene.

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  11. Jolene said on September 22, 2015 at 10:51 am

    “I saw a headline this morning “Remaining candidates scramble for Walker’s supporters” or something like that. Can’t remember the exact wording. I had to raise my Spockian eyebrow because I thought the reason Walker dropped out was because he had no supporters. So how could the others pick up that which does not exist.”

    At this stage, it’s Walker’s staff and the people who had been funding him, both those who had given up on him and the few who’d stuck with him, that other candidates are seeking. Staffers who know the territory in Iowa, for instance, could be valuable to Rubio, Bush, or someone else. Politico has run articles about where various political operatives are going.

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  12. brian stouder said on September 22, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I think Conventional Wisdom will win out.

    Jeb! and/or Kasich, versus HRC or Biden.

    imo – if Biden jumps into the race, HRC will not be president.

    By the time he (and his nation-wide loyalists) are done in the primaries, whether she defeats him there or not, she’ll be spent

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  13. MarkH said on September 22, 2015 at 11:44 am

    beb – by your description of the candidates in question and your logic, all of them will fold up next. They’re all fenceposts, save two or three. But, Jeb is not going anywhere. What is important is for the fractured white noise to whittle itself down to no more than four, and fast. At this point, with nine months to go in the primary cycle, I suspect three of the four will be Bush, Kasich and Rubio, but I can’t for the life of me figure who might be #4. Walker is right, they need to coalesce to accelerate the extinguishing of Trump. From what I’ve read this morning, something happened or will come out about Walker revealing why he quit. Something is going on.

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  14. adrianne said on September 22, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    The New York Times has been doing a stellar job reporting on our foray into Afghanistan. Sunday’s piece was on a Marine Corps unit that had 13 members kill themselves after their service. Then the child rape by Afghan commanders being tolerated by the Army. Can it get any worse?

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  15. Pam (the sister) said on September 22, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I don’t know if it’s possible because I don’t know much about Toxoplasmosis and HIV, but I would like to see a complete nationwide boycott of Daraprim. Shkreli is such a fucking fucker! If people could just not buy his drug . . . we would see an investment hit the bricks fast. That guy has the brain and behavior of a spoiled brat toddler.

    coozledad – I really enjoy your comments.

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  16. Pam (the sister) said on September 22, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    brian stouder @ 12 – if only Biden could lend some charisma to HRC. Or borrow some from Mr. Bill who I believe is the ultimate in intellect combined with charisma. We call HRC Lisa Simpson.

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  17. Jeff Borden said on September 22, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    The rumors about a fresh scandal for Scott Walker come from his former director of social media, who was canned after she snarked on Iowans in her Twitterisms. She probably has an axe to grind. But that said, an examination of all the people around Walker who have been found guilty of various and sundry wrongs is pretty staggering. Another shoe dropping would not be a surprise.

    What’s really a shame is how Walker truly transformed Wisconsin from a “go along to get along” kind of state into a place now defined by the angry divides he and his minions created, from the anti-union rhetoric to the teachers are lazy fuckwads argument to his poor shaming by calling for drug tests for welfare recipients. He is just a truly small man, but what little there is of him is rotten.

    And he’s no small government conservative. When counties in northern Wisconsin worked together to protect their small lakes by insisting on larger lot sizes to prevent overbuilding and threatening the water source, his state government told them to go jump in the lake by passing a law that local governments cannot create their own environmental standards. It was a big win for developers looking to jam as many houses as possible around small body of water. He’s a thoroughly shitty asshole.

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  18. Jolene said on September 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Pam, the pricing strategy for Daraprim works because, as I understand it. it’s the only drug that’s effective for a rare, but life-threatening illness. The rareness of the illness means that it hasn’t been worth it for other companies to develop competing projects; the severity of the illness means that those who need it have to pay whatever they charge.

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  19. Jolene said on September 22, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Products, not projects.

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  20. Sue said on September 22, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Jeff Borden, you may have missed this when I posted it yesterday. The latest is the DNR simply refusing to comply with a judge’s order. Tactic: plaintiffs get to spend more and more money trying to stop the polluter.
    The DNR, of course, is run by a woman who was chosen by Scott Walker himself for her ‘chamber of commerce mentality’.
    Oh, and she also killed Bambi, or Bambi’s sister I guess I should say.

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  21. MichaelG said on September 22, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Left over from yesterday. Dexter, here in California a disabled vet gets relief from property taxes and from annual auto license fees. That’s right. Free tags and no property taxes. Maybe you should check to see if Ohio also has these bennies.

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

    Remember when to criticize this particular man-strumpet was treason? Well, now that he ain’t fucking his biographer in exchange for state secrets, he’s got him a hardon for Al Qaeda. Proves they’re all switch hitters in the Republican Party:

    They were going to run him for president because he gave the pallets of all the moneys to the Sunnis the best. You know, ISIS.

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  23. brian stouder said on September 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    One small bon bon I’ve been enjoying, is watching Ben Carson walk into walls and doors, much like Maxwell Smart, battling CHAOS at the CONTROL headquarters.

    He says he wouldn’t want to see a Muslim president, and that a Muslim president would be a threat to Constitutional government (as opposed to Sharia law)

    And I have yet to hear anyone ask him something like “Dr Carson – so you condemn the voters in Kentucky who elected the Christian clerk who says her faith supercedes her duty?”

    If that isn’t Question One, certainly it should be on the list, next time Chuck Todd (or whoever) gets to talk with him

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  24. Sherri said on September 22, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Now VW is admitting to cheating on emissions in 11 millions cars, and is already setting aside $7.3 billion in anticipation of repair expenses, fines, and lawsuits. That’s likely to be just the beginning. The loss of trust is going to erode their future sales, I would think. The stock price plummet isn’t a big a deal as it seems, because only a fraction of the company is traded, but by the time all the lawsuits are filed (I would expect car dealers to begin filing lawsuits, too) and all the various regulatory agencies all over the world get done with them, will VW still exist?

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  25. brian stouder said on September 22, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Sherri, I wonder the same thing.

    Honestly – and not snarkily – I think the enterprise really is “too big to fail”; that is to say, I’d favor special dispensations to fix things, rather than let the enterprise crash and burn (so to speak)

    Some plan wherein executives get frog marched to jail (wishful thinking), and repairs are affected, and real change occurs throughout VW’s leadership….something like that

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  26. Sherri said on September 22, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    But special dispensation from whom? We’re talking world-wide here. Just in the US, you’ve got the EPA, the DOJ, and the California Air Resources Board (California has stricter standards than the US). Then there’s the EU and China. And it’s not like Chrysler, a publicly traded US company. VW is owned primarily by the Porsche holding company, the Lower Saxony state, and the Qatar sovereign wealth fund. Should the US taxpayer bail them out? Because, let’s face it, that’s what a bail out would mean. VW only has one assembly plant in the US, in Chattanooga, for which they received hundreds of millions in incentives. VW sells fewer than 500 million cars in the US annually.

    I’m not sure what the case for special dispensation is here.

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  27. brian stouder said on September 22, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Total non-sequitur:

    Our altogether marvelous Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo just recently opened a new feature called Sting Ray Bay, near the (recently refurbished) Great Barrier Reef displays, in the Australian Adventure area. (The rest of the Australian Adventure area is closed for the season, as major renovations are now occurring there). Anyway, Chloe (our 11 year old) and I first did Sting Ray Bay a week ago, and were quite taken aback. You can stand next to a thick clear wall, which rises about 48”, and reach over and submerge your hand, and touch the sting rays, as they swim by…!

    It is all quite safe (they assured me!), as their ‘stingers’ are kept clipped (they grow back)…and they whole experience is odd and sublime. When we got home and told the others about it, they mostly pooh-poohed it. So, a few days ago Chloe and I saddled up to go get gasoline and a soda pop, and Shelby (our 17 year old) came along, and I said to her we should stop at the zoo – and she objected.

    At length, after I promised (and promised again) that we would head straight for Sting Ray Bay, and that place only, and then we’d go on. And of course, she loved the whole thing as much as Chloe and I did, and it ended up that I was the one who said ‘time to go’, which was mildly humorous. So, there’s that

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  28. brian stouder said on September 22, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Sherri – it is a genuine shit sandwich, no doubt; and people need to be prosecuted and go to jail.

    There’s just got to be a rational way to make this right again, and not simply bust things all to hell….but I agree – it looks like this could very well end badly

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  29. Linda said on September 22, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    MichaelG and Dexter:

    Yep, Ohio veterans do get benefits. These include free hunting and fishing licenses, burial benefits, free camping and boating:

    Also, downpayment assistance in home buying:


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  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    So I got an email from the head of one of our leading community agencies, with the latest Chamber of Commerce update attached talking about how workforce issues and employment are just BETTAH than evah, and everything is peaches, dontcha know, and she asked me “what am I missing? why is my lobby full? are they lying to me, or am I missing something?” Here’s what I found myself typing back to her, and I’m happy to let y’all take some pokes at it . . . we’re just trying to figure out how to help, and help in a transformative, not just an ameliorative way, but the fixes and assistance that’s coming out of official sources seems to assume everyone under that ol’ poverty line is just lacking a little information and small jar of gumption, you know, the stuff they don’t sell in the stores anymore. My answer about why unemployment is at record lows (here, that is) and yet the need seems as great or greater, is as follows:

    One thing that I always have to remind myself of, so I’ll remind you — the ones who gave up aren’t counted again by BLS until and unless they start looking. So if you’re in the “grey” economy, lots of part time krep jobs and under-the-table cash gigs . . . and “our” constituency is getting whacked by the fact that it’s harder and harder to have those in your workforce, so the fewer full-time jobs get harder, and the the former opportunities to earn a little here and a bit there aren’t as easy to string together anymore.

    And then there’s my long-term puzzle — the asocially clueless, the not-quite developmentally disabled, not diagnosably mentally ill people who are not entirely right in the head. They look and act normal-ish in a disheveled sort of way, but they just can’t string it together. Years ago, they worked a few years at the rail depot as stringers and switch-throwers, then quit or got canned, went to Pharis Tire and stirred goop a couple of months, walked off or got thrown out, went down to the Owens-Illinois bottle factory and put on leathers to mix molten glass, which lasted three years before they got in a fight with a new hire, then moved down to Styron Begg where they shoveled dyes into a vat and had multicolored hands for the next few years that they couldn’t wash clean, and didn’t care, because screw you anyhow, and would have kept that until they died except for that buddy who brought in a thermos full of gin most lunch hours, and after dumping a full load of laudanum on the plant floor, you were back sweeping bars at midnight for milk money.

    The people in and out of “agencies” used to be more in and out of plants, working, generally if sporadically, and they couldn’t starve even if their spouse or children froze (until they ran off with the coal man or the kid joined the Marines and last sent a card from Nicaragua talking about how warm it was there, haha, Dad). It sucked, but you could live that way. EVEN THAT WAY OF LIFE IS GONE. It’s the blunt end of the battle I fight on high school graduation; no parent or grandparent wants their kid to end up quite like that (like they did, like gramps did), but they do think you should still be able to drop out of 11th grade, get work with your hands, and buy a small house in the East End by the time you’re 27 and before your kid hits junior high. WHICH IS GONE, but they, those persistently stupid few, don’t want to admit it.

    Today, you find a few gigs, little cash, jammed up on taxes you don’t understand you could get back, and mostly surf your 60 months and figure that either the lottery will hit, or you’ll marry that mysterious stranger at the Dew Drop Inn who looks pretty good after five beers. They’ve got money, you can just tell.

    So the Labor Data can remain solid, and I won’t call them liars, because their numbers are true for what they measure. But to go a bit Bernie Sanders on you, 5% or less is swell, but it’s not counting at least another 5% who’ve just given up. Bernie would say 10%, I think that’s high, but he might be closer than I am. Let’s say I’m right: 5% unemployed, which as they say is 600 less than last year (yay!) is still about 4,000 officially unemployed, plus that known but quietly ignored other 4,000, for 8,000 un- or underemployed (boo!). That’s the population of Granville, all of the Denison student body, plus Hebron all looking for work . . . and income.

    Tack onto that my main church based reality — everyone over 30-something has sort of settled into a resigned “this is as good as it gets” since 2008. They ain’t worse off, but nothing is getting better. They’re on disability or a couple of semi-stable krep jobs that add up to barely or they’re waiting for retirement that they can’t afford, but can’t imagine working one day past . . . they’ve spent over the last eight years every reserve, every pot of cash they can get at, you see them all over Newark on sunny Saturdays selling accumulated krep at “Yard Sales” hoping to make enough to pay last month’s gas bill (words I just heard on Sunday from a family), and the reality is — they’re employed, they’re almost keeping up, but there’s no path up anymore, and the least little shock to the system is an iceberg below the waterline. They’re hulled and filling with water fast, just like that. A few hundred here or there is literally the difference between horrible and tolerable.

    Add those folks to the 8,000 resigned and hopeless; another 30,000 nervous and anxious. The other 60,000 of us working are 90% holding tight to our wallets wondering what OUR retirement will look like by the time the markets get done with our saving accounts where we have .003% interest, so giving to United Way and non-profits is TITANICALLY bad, because even Granvillians don’t want to hand over much right now, even if we’re all luckier than we can imagine.

    Which leaves about 5,000 of us running around keeping the balls in the air, running the boards and foundations, and paying people’s repo fees because they really need to keep going to their work-for-hire 28 hour a week job or they really will be in a fix.

    Solutions? I can describe the problem, I guess, but the solutions are somewhere up on the slopes of the Big Rock Candy Mountain. If a revolution would fix this, I’d at least hang around long enough to hear what the people’s vanguard had in mind, but I don’t see it. These aren’t restive troops waiting for a commander to lead them into Dublin for some forcible redistribution, they’re the baggage train just hoping for payday to come for them after the front line troops get their first dibs. The industrial-techno-global economy is just not holding any seats on the transport for people who don’t have it in them to shove forward to the head of the line, and the end of the line is out of luck. Which may just mean we have to redouble our efforts to pick pockets up at the front and nonchalantly walk the take back to the tail, and share what we can swipe. Bernie’s no Robin Hood, either: he’s got plans to move the lines further than anyone else will call for, but they’re mostly the same lines, and most of the folks we work alongside of are still going to be on the far side of them. He promises to have some spectacle for the masses of the malefactors of great wealth getting their comeuppance, but it’s just an unlucky few who will draw the short straw, and the rest will continue to pillage the good folk of Nottingham.

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  31. Linda said on September 22, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Jeff TMMO:

    Yep, a lot of patrons in my library fit in with your people in the grey area. In fat and sassy times, they were along for the ride and could get over, and now they are nowhere. The current age is for the fittest and most agile, and those that aren’t get washed out. Your assessment of things looks spot on.

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  32. brian stouder said on September 22, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Jeff – evocative and engaging and elucidating – as always.

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  33. beb said on September 22, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Marvel has hired Ta Nehisi-Coates to write their upcoming Black Panther comic. That will be interesting. I predict it will be a critical hit and a commercial bomb.

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  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    It’s like what we say about pastoral care and hospitals: the hospital beds are filled with the people who used to be in the ICUs, the ICUs are full of people who used to be dead, and the people who used to be in the hospital beds are at home (or in a rehab facility). Likewise, the middle class path is what used to be the path to managerial security, which too many in our community culture have a lasting bias against (“You don’t wanna be one of those office drones, Johnny!”). The path to poverty, willful poverty a la Huck Finn? Is now a path to prison (see Ta-Nehisis Coates’ piece in the new Atlantic magazine). And the path to wealth is narrow and sharp as a razor’s edge.

    Too many in Newark and Licking County still resent college even as they send their kids to it, and they dislike the information age even when it’s been part of their final phase of employment. I agree that we need to honor work with your hands and promote the trades, but there’s also a reverse snobbery in that push, which is the enduring bitterness about “management” that’s creating obstacles for programs like “Call to College” or “ReadFor20” and so on. I don’t think it’s helping anyone to make every kid master algebra to get out of high school, nor do I think everyone should go to college (I went too soon, and paid for it, but had room and “privilege” to bounce and recover), at least at 18, but around here I see way too many families activity discouraging smart kids from pursing post-secondary achievement.

    I don’t know how you can legislatively force Bob Evans or Sears to go back to having more fulltime employees, but that’s the heart of it. Our nearby busy Bob Evans has ONE fulltime, full benefits employee. ONE. Everyone else is working 28 hours a week. Sears at the mall, barely holding one? ONE fulltime manager. The three assistant managers are all 30-max no benefits people, and everyone else is seasonal, variable, 10 and 20 hour employees. A guy my age who’s a successful businessman was talking about his life and his peer group, and they all started out in assistant manager jobs at Donatos and Dominos and Bob Evans and Damons while getting their business rolling, and having a family — NONE of the jobs any of them had (and we’re both 54, he and I and I assume his friends) exist anymore. The WORK is there, but the JOB is not. It’s a McJob, as the saying goes . . . and I don’t know the local McD manager well enough to ask, but my impression of her shop is that for all the millions that go through her drive-thru, she and maybe two other people there are fulltimers. The rest are all 28> employees.

    Heck, even scrapping ain’t what it was.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    And for something completely different, and necessary:

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  36. Sherri said on September 22, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), I don’t know how to change things. In my mind, what you’re describing, the VW fraud, and the ratfuckers buying up old drugs to jack up the prices are all part of the same problem: the “I got mine, Jack, you’re on your own” attitude that seems to be all too prevalent. There’s no sense that we owe anybody else anything.

    Maybe I’m feeling especially discouraged these days because one of the issues of the opposition in the mayoral race concerns money spent “downtown” on all those “transients” in those new, “ugly” apartments. Like the only people who count are the people who have lived here in their single family home for 25 years. (I am not putting words in their mouth; they really have called people living in the apartments downtown transients.)

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  37. ROGirl said on September 22, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    I have no doubt that VW upper management thought they could fool the Americans with their software programmed to produce false performance results. Unlike GM, there will be traceability of the whole process, from concept to production: design documents, test results, design reviews, all with approvals and dates.

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  38. MichaelG said on September 22, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks, Linda. What you have linked to appear to be general veterans’ benefits. I was suggesting that there may be additional disabled veterans’ benefits which might be available to Dexter.

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  39. alex said on September 22, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    The gloating Chamber of Commerce woman was probably hoping to mine you for anecdotes about scheming loafers and beggars with Cartier watches barely concealed under their sleeves and maybe even Cadillacs parked around the corner. I’d say you gave her a good dose of reality if she has the wherewithal to read anything longer than a cartoon with a one-sentence sermonette rebuking the poor on Facebook. Preach it, brother.

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  40. Sherri said on September 22, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Another thing to keep in mind about the VW fraud is that it was done in software and it was discovered by researchers. That’s important because car companies (as well are many other companies involved in the Internet of Shit) are increasingly using the DMCA to try to keep researchers from accessing the software in cars. The EFF has been proposing car-related exemptions to the DMCA to allow researchers to investigate car software and to allow car owners to repair their cars. Car companies are opposed to this, unsurprisingly. The greatest irony of all is that the car lobby persuaded the EPA to write a letter to the Copyright Office opposing the exemption, raising the specter of sleazy mechanics modifying cars to defeat emissions controls.

    Sort of like voter fraud; do everything to make sure that (vanishingly small) retail fraud is stopped, but ignore wholesale fraud.

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  41. Julie Robinson said on September 22, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Jefftmmo, your reporting from the frontlines is dead accurate. We see this all the time at our church, folks who are scraping along and rely heavily on every social service agency there is. Until even that fails.

    I had a lengthy conversation with one such woman who is on relief right now from the township, and has to have receipts for every single purchase over $1. She’s looking forward to ending that with the full time job she found, except the pay will be less than what she receives right now. Also, it’s overnight, and she doesn’t drive, so will have to pay a friend to get back and forth, ‘cos the bus doesn’t run at night. Etc.

    Your frustration is palpable and I pray you don’t burn out. But, dear Jeff, you sure don’t sound like a Republican.

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  42. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Oh, some days I don’t even sound like much of a Christian. Just a Marine with a bad attitude, half a cup of cold coffee, and an objective only someone in an air-conditioned office could have designated.

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  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Yeah, capitalism is not having a good day. VW cheating on the Internet of Sh7t (that’s good, and useful), pharmaceutical speculation by a gormless greedhead, the market tanking after the Fed gave ’em what they wanted, and this guy in a white cape flies into DC. I feel a preferential option coming on . . .

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  44. David C. said on September 22, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    I see God told Walker to quit. A few weeks ago God told him to run. Who is this God person anyway and why can’t he make up his mind.

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  45. Jolene said on September 22, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    FYI: Donald Trump is going to be on Colbert (CBS 11:30 EDT) this evening, as will Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. I watched some of the Congressional hearings on the Iran deal and was really impressed with Moniz, both his expertise and his calm, convincing demeanor.

    Colbert did a pretty good job of getting Ted Cruz to reveal the contradictions of his positions last night, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he handles Trump. Having Moniz and Trump on the same show is, I feel sure, Colbert’s effort to illustrate what “from the sublime to the ridiculous” means.

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  46. Sue said on September 22, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    David C, I was thinking of my earlier comment about Becky Kleefisch and I think I have to change my opinion. I forgot she’s a good Christian woman and therefore, if Scott is gone (for whatever reason – pulls a Palin, gets indicted by the Feds cuz it’s not going to happen ‘locally’ since he’s protected by the supreme court here in WI), Becky won’t be governor, her husband, Rep. Joel Kleefisch, will. And I absolutely do not want Mr. shoot-at-anything-with-anything-in-the-vicinity-of-everyone Kleefisch bringing all his good ideas to the Governor’s office.

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  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Sherri: secret code, eh?

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  48. Sherri said on September 22, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    You got it, Jeff. Internet of Shit. It’s not new, and that guy isn’t the only one who’s been screaming about it. People have been raising this issue about voting machines, for example, for quite a while. It’s just becoming more high profile not that more and more things have software dependent.

    The other reason the car companies are fighting code transparency so hard is because they’ve done a piss-poor job of building any security into their systems, and they don’t like researchers pointing it out. Researchers tried to get cooperation with car companies before demoing that it was possible to remotely take over a car, but no dice.

    There’s no shortage of stories like this. One of my favorites is the Internet connected Brinks safe that has a USB port on the outside and is running Windows XP. The point of the safe is for POS operations to protect against internal theft, but it turns out to be almost trivially easy to crack with physical access to the safe, and easy to cover your tracks.

    And that’s just about the Internet of Shit. Let’s not even talk about the Web, where the ad based economy has filled your browsers with so many trackers and crap that you’re loading more code for that stuff than for the content you visit, and you don’t even know where the data is going or whether it’s a vector for malware.

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    And I have to update every blasted app on my relatively ignorant phone, just so they can bludgeon me into “agreeing” to provide my location so they can make more with ad sales, on the utterly deceitful blandishment of “updating” my app so it can “work” better. For whom? No need to answer. Yet I did…

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  50. Suzanne said on September 22, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Jeff, very eloquent discussion of a depressing reality.
    I talked to a guy just tonight who lost his job 7 or 8 years ago (after which he discovered the company owner had neglected to pay payroll taxes, ever). Anyway, a while later he saw a posting for a job using the same software his former company had been selling so he applies. Natural fit. He knew the software backwards & forwards, knew how to service it, knew everything about it. He goes to the first interview, after which the interviewer told him that this was probably the most interesting interview he’d ever done. Did he get hired? Nope. Not another word from the company. This is another part of the employment problem. He is a guy who is exactly what this company needs but he’s been laid off and is over 50, so nyet! No job for you! Unbridled capitalism means you no longer hire the best person for the job, you hire the person who will be the cheapest, even if it costs you money later to fix all the problems. But before that happens, somebody higher up will probably get rid of you, so it really won’t be anybody’s fault.

    How do we fix this?

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  51. Charlotte said on September 22, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    My answer to “the poor shall always be with us” is that we need a guaranteed minimum income. WTF? Everyone gets a subsistence income (let’s skim it by taxing financial market trades) and centralized health care. You want better? You get a job/build a business etc and you can buy fancy private health care and all the other bells and whistles. But no one starves. No one is homeless. We could do it, and it wouldn’t cost the (shrinking) middle class anything. We just don’t want to.

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  52. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Weirdly, Nixon was for this.

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  53. Sherri said on September 22, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Well, here’s a good, if somewhat trivial, piece of copyright news. A judge has ruled against the Happy Birthday copyright!

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