Adios, Rafael.

I don’t have norovirus, but I do have some reading to do for a project, so this will be short.

So Ted Cruz is out. But of course Ted Cruz is not out, will never be out. Like the original Terminator, he’ll be back, and like the second Terminator, perhaps in a different form. No one that ambitious just goes away, so we’ll have plenty of opportunities to marvel at the way his mouth, when he opens it to make a big point in a speech, makes a rectangle:


Have you noticed that? So weird. How does anyone go so far in the world, so utterly bereft of charisma? Intelligence opens doors, ambition gets you through them, but personal appeal is an important asset if you want people to put their faith and trust in you, to elect you to high office. But contempt – for almost everyone – oozes from the man. It’s behind his facial expressions, his smug sanctimony. I’d say he’s almost Shakespearean, but Shakespeare wouldn’t have written him, because he’s so utterly devoid of empathy. Even Richard III had a reason behind his menace, his deformity that led so many to reject him. What’s Rafael’s excuse? “My mouth makes a rectangle and my children seemingly shrink from my touch — vote for me!”

Doesn’t work.

I drove to Lansing today. I drove back from Lansing today. I enjoyed it as much as I could, which is to say, I noticed the unearthly green of the fields, the delicate green of the budding trees, and the fact that of all the cars that passed or I passed, a strong majority of drivers were looking at a phone. To be sure, I listened to a podcast on the way there, so I at least glanced at a phone, but still. The podcast was Marc Maron’s WTF, and it was good, because he’s a good interviewer. The subject was Garry Marshall, and it’s a testament to how good Maron is that I kept listening, because I despise Marshall’s films and even his voice gets on my nerves. Maron goes deep with his guests, deeper than Terry Gross, and my one complaint about WTF is that it’s frequently at least an hour and a half. But he turns up some good stuff. Today I learned that Marshall’s neighbor in Toluca Lake, Bob Hope, once gave out autographed photos of himself to trick-or-treaters.

In between my drives I had lunch with my old boss, who looked dapper, happy and successful, which I guess he is. Very smart guy, funny and astute. I’ve been lucky with my bosses at Bridge, and mostly lucky in Michigan. Shoulda left Indiana sooner, maybe, although I’ll be forever grateful to the Hoosier state for humbling Ted Cruz.

With that, I leave you. Discuss the events of the day, as is your wont.

Posted at 12:12 am in Current events |

56 responses to “Adios, Rafael.”

  1. Jerry said on May 4, 2016 at 2:18 am

    MichaelG yesterday: there is no controversy over here about how to pronounce controversy. Personally I’m sticking with the pronunciation from my earlier years and stress the second syllable, so conTROversy rather than CONtroversy. But there seems to a change in pronunciation for several words from my youth.

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  2. Dexter said on May 4, 2016 at 4:26 am

    My friend in Montreal alerted her Facebook friends to the horrible catastrophic wildfire that is destroying Fort McMurray, Alberta. The photos are all over the ‘net so I won’t link any. Tens of thousands running from the flames…entire city of Fort McMurray issued a mass mandatory evacuation.

    The 5,000 to one odds-beating Leicester ( North of London, isolated off the M-1 Motorway) Foxes continue to amaze the world’s hundreds of millions of football (soccer) fans. It’s been a couple days now since the Foxes won the Premier League title and shocked everyone. Soccer finally became the sport of choice for USA kids, something I’d never believe just a few years ago. Here in Bryan, they re-purposed the field in which I used to love to let my dogs romp free and made a soccer stadium with a half-dozen lesser fields, just taking over the entire area. It’s everywhere. In Leicester City it peeked with the crown.

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  3. Suzanne said on May 4, 2016 at 6:56 am

    I’m in conflict. There is joy in watching Cruz deflate but no joy that he fell so soundly to the Donald and I am having that haggling feeling that Trump could actually be the President. I feel icky. My son has several friends from other countries who have wondered to him just what the hell Americans are thinking. But then, I consider that for so many years, the GOP has run on the hatred of government and facts and education. How can they be surprised that their guy is a government outsider who spews lie laden blather and people lap it up?

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  4. Connie said on May 4, 2016 at 7:11 am

    I am relieved that Ted anointed by god and his scary father are done.

    Unfortunately Trump is far scarier. I see stories about his supporters hassling people for various things and I have dark visions of what could come from that.

    I have been in despair about the state of my world since the Syrian refugee uproar and it just keeps getting worse.

    And unfortunately I did look at Alex’s link to the Trump nude. That artist is now a target of the
    Trump thugs.

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  5. adrianne said on May 4, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Thanks a lot, Hoosiers, for propping up Bernie for one last go-round. Oh, and anointing the Donald as Republican nominee.

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  6. alex said on May 4, 2016 at 7:45 am

    As Elizabeth Warren points out, Trump has more endorsements from KKK leaders than from the leaders of the GOP. I’m not the least bit concerned that he could win in November. He may be a hero in white trash circles, but no one should mistake their menacing presence on social media and at rallies for numerical superiority. The GOP establishment has written off the White House and is now concerned with how it’s going to distance its downballot candidates from this clown in order to protect whatever seats it can.

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  7. Connie said on May 4, 2016 at 7:56 am

    I see Stutzman really lost badly. I will put in a word for the Dem candidate, Baron Hill, who Was my state house rep many years ago, and has done at least one term in Congress. Plus our daughters were om the same 6/7 yr soccer team.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on May 4, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Good things happened; Marlin Stutzman was defeated. I would love to see him slink home to his farm, but there’s no doubt he’ll be staying in DC. Wifey has a bridal business there and some foundation will snap him up.

    Also on the upside, Pence’s already tarnished reputation has taken another hit and there’s hope for a Democratic takeover.

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  9. Connie said on May 4, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Menacing presence. Perfect description of my fear.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on May 4, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Locally, both school referenda passed by big percentages. Public schools are valued and supported by the public. I think we may look back on this primary as the beginning of the end for the Tea Party.

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  11. Heather said on May 4, 2016 at 8:55 am

    The rectangular mouth thing disturbs me because it’s all too similar to the alien’s mouth in “Predator.”

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  12. john (not mccain) said on May 4, 2016 at 9:13 am

    The teaperv majority was removed from my local school board in yesterday’s election, so there’s one small bright spot in election news.

    For 18 months I worked at the law firm founded by Tom Cruise’s grandfather and, at the time, run by his uncle. Our Christmas bonus was an autographed picture of TC with his uncle. That’s when I realized what a big, ugly nose he’s got.

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  13. Peter said on May 4, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Alex, even though you gave fair warning, that link was very very disturbing. I pray that when Herr Trump becomes our Fuhrer, his yuge security detail will not find that I opened that link. I’m too old for hard labor.

    Seriously, how sick am I that I’m going to miss Lyin’ Ted on the telly? Sure, keep telling yourself that Hillary has it in the bag; insert a different name and that’s what people have been saying for a year. I swear Trump has gone from Three Mile Island to full Chernobyl, and Hillary is the only thing stopping this from going full China Syndrome? Oy.

    Dexter: I heard on the radio what British bookmakers also had at 5,000 to 1 odds at the beginning of the football season: Elvis is found alive and goes on tour; Obama resigns and moves to England.

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  14. brian stouder said on May 4, 2016 at 9:38 am

    What Peter said about Alex’s post showing Donald’s dick goes for me, too! (at least they didn’t put the Donald-doo onto his pubic area)

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  15. alex said on May 4, 2016 at 10:11 am

    In other election news that’s both funny and sad, Fort Wayne’s homeless cross-dresser and mental-patient-off-his-meds Tommy Schrader once again ran for our district’s congressional seat and beat out a more qualified Dem candidate.

    I wish I could find a link to a newspaper interview that was done in 2011 in which the reporter described Schrader’s unkempt flophouse motel room, where the then-candidate for city council nonchalantly answered questions over the din of a hard-core porn video playing on the television in full view.

    That’s just how weak our local Democratic organization is. We get even bigger clowns than the Republicans who try to run for office in the city of Chicago.

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  16. Bitter Scribe said on May 4, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Everything you say about Cruz is true, but I’m struck by how utterly devoid of charm Trump is also. It’s very odd for someone whose appeal is based entirely on his personality, since he has no qualifications and no coherent ideas.

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  17. Deborah said on May 4, 2016 at 10:20 am

    That photo of Trump nude was on one of the art blogs I read. The artist is actually a pretty good illustrator. Here’s a good quick sketch that an illustrator who’s represented by a friend of mine did, he calls it Drumpf Hole” and put it on T-shirts

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  18. Deborah said on May 4, 2016 at 10:24 am

    And I forgot to mention that my right wing sister said she won’t vote for Trump or Hillary, because she says she has “morals”. She’s going to look for a third part candidate to vote for.

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  19. Suzanne said on May 4, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Alex, I about spit out my morning coffee when I saw that Tommy Shrader won! He’s kinda the stoner version of Pat Paulson, running every year. Think what he could accomplish with a super pac behind him!

    You just can’t make this stuff up.

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  20. Bob (not Greene) said on May 4, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Alex, back in 2006 Spanky the Clown (aka Ray Wardingley) ran in a congressional primary in one of the districts we cover, so I’ve interviewed him. Also running in that GOP primary against him was a neo-Nazi — no really! — who once threw a birthday party for Hitler at a local restaurant, which ended when someone threw a smoke bomb into the private party room where it was being held. I interviewed the Nazi guy too. He pulled the full anti-Semite, too. People in the office kept walking by in the hall to eavesdrop, because they couldn’t believe what they were hearing.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on May 4, 2016 at 10:49 am

    The worst thing about Ted Cruz not being the nominee is that it will lead the GOP once again to conclude it wasn’t conservative enough if Donald Trump loses, which means there will be more calls for ideological purity as the party regroups and the race to the fringes of the right will continue unabated.

    And, unlike Marco Rubio, Cruz will slither back into his Senate seat to cause more problems for us all.

    Our only hope is that Trump dooms the down ticket races and Dems recapture Congress, though even with Trump it’s unlikely the Republics can be ousted from the House since it has been gerrymandered to hell and back.

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  22. Joe K said on May 4, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Trying to find a artical about the artist of the portrait Alax posted,
    Can’t seemed to find anything about her getting her ass kicked,
    I tried Googling it but got nothing in return,
    Pilot Joe

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  23. alex said on May 4, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Here ya go, Joe.

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  24. alex said on May 4, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Bob not Greene–

    Didn’t know anything about Hitler’s most recent birthday party, but I was around when this one reportedly took place. I loved the headline in one of the Lakeview free rags about the place “going kaput.”

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  25. Joe K said on May 4, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Ok thanks Alex,
    She did say she reported it to police, but I notice there no mention of witnesses, also she painted it back in February, not much mention of it then but she claims she got punched and suddenly the portrait is in the news? Hmm? A little self promoting perhaps? I could be wrong but I think it would take a lot of planning to find her, figure out her schedule, follow her, pick out the only place there are no witnesses, time it so she is in the proper place, and get in one punch? Call me gullible but I’m a little suspect on this one, I not saying it didn’t happen but let’s see how it plays out.
    Pilot Joe

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  26. alex said on May 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Au revoir, loser.

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  27. Charlotte said on May 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Ted Cruz takes out Heidi as he leaves the scene:

    If the Gif doesn’t paste right — here’s the link:

    It’s nearly as mesmerizing as the clip of Carly disappearing off the edge of the stage the other day.

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  28. nancy said on May 4, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Someone note the date: I’m with Pilot Joe on the punched artist. No witnesses, clear personal motivation? This is too much like the head case who in 2008 claimed she was jumped by Obama voters who carved B.O. into her flesh.

    That said, it’s an incredibly creepy picture she drew.

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  29. Joe K said on May 4, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    What would happen if in the rest of the primary’s the republicans would cross over, vote for Bernie and defeat Hill in the rest of the races?
    Probably won’t happen but sure would make it interesting.
    Pilot Joe

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  30. Joe K said on May 4, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks Nancy, made my day!!!
    I won’t get use to it though.
    Pilot Joe

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  31. Jakash said on May 4, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    In attempting to be optimistic rather than depressed about Rump’s chances in November, I’m comparing this to 2008. SheWho was the same kind of “all hat and no cattle” candidate as Rump. Her content-free blathering appealed to a certain kind of Republican voter, of which there were more than I would have imagined at the time. Plus, she was only running for Veep, so the danger of her winning was not quite as immediate. You had a Democratic primary campaign that was fairly analogous to this one. Spirited and sometimes bitter, leaving one to wonder if all the loser’s supporters would back the winner in the general election.

    In the end, though I hope Obama would have won anyway, SheWho cost more votes than she provided, didn’t she? There were enough traditional Republicans who wouldn’t vote for her that the African-American Muslim, no easy sell to much of America (as we can still see) prevailed. Here’s hoping that most of the folks on the right who have been appalled by Rump all along have the integrity to not vote for him and that Hillary, no easy sell to much of America (as we’ve seen for 25 years) prevails.

    Deborah says “my right wing sister said she won’t vote for Trump or Hillary … She’s going to look for a third party candidate to vote for.” Good! Glad to hear it! Now a big difference between 2008 and this year is that the presumptive Democratic nominee is the one that lost last time. And she lost the last time largely because there’s a significant chunk of DEMOCRATS who aren’t wild about her. I just hope that while Republicans are balking at Rump, there won’t be nearly as many Bernie supporters who’ll be looking to a third party or staying home as I fear there may be. The good thing about Rump as nominee is that I can’t imagine a candidate who could inspire a bigger Democratic turnout than he will, Lucifer-in-the-flesh included.

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  32. alex said on May 4, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Take that to the bank.

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  33. Brandon said on May 4, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Downturned expressions usually signal disagreeableness or disgust. But I honestly don’t know because such an expression is rare in the context of public presentations meant to win people over. Cruz may well be unaware that the message of his body language is incongruent with his words.

    And then there is that open “O” of the Senator’s mouth that photos capture over and over. I don’t know what to make of it. But he makes it when he overtly emotes—he shows us as well as tells us that he is determined, irritated, or above it all—whereas speakers who are angry, indignant, or rhetorically displeased push their mouth forward in a pout. He doesn’t. Google “Ted Cruz smiling,” and judge for yourself. For the record I am not a Democrat. I’m at a loss to verbalize what unsettles me so when I watch the freshman senator. But it leaves me cold.

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  34. Scout said on May 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Ed at Gin and Tacos has a very good post-mortem on the debacle that was the Republican primary.

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  35. Sherri said on May 4, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    John Scalzi, with a suggestion for Republicans who don’t want to vote for either Trump or Clinton:

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  36. Jakash said on May 4, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    I’d LOVE to take that to the bank, Alex.

    But… “No, Romney wasn’t favored, but he also had a better shot than most candidates who run against a sitting president. If you believe that Trump can win — absent an exogenous shock like a terrorist attack or recession — you need to show how he beats Romney.” For starters, he won’t be running against the sitting president who was a uniquely inspiring national political figure; he’ll likely be running against the prohibitive early favorite from 2008 who LOST the nomination to that president.

    The rest of it is encouraging, though. Thanks! : )

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  37. Brandon said on May 4, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Many voters will opt for third parties this November.

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  38. alex said on May 4, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Here’s Dahlia on Herr Cruz. A good read.

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  39. Jolene said on May 4, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    President Obama is speaking in Flint. Streaming at this link:

    Just saw this, so not sure where in the speech he is.

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  40. Jeff Borden said on May 4, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Big news out of North Carolina. The DOJ is calling bullshit on the GOP’s silly bathroom bill, saying it violates the Civil Rights Act. The governor has until Monday to assure the DOJ the law will be changed, which will be a heavy lift as the Republican G.A. is solidly behind the bill and has openly sneered at the exodus of business meetings, corporate expansions, concerts and even the possibility of no NBA All-Star game in Charlotte next year or no NCAA tourneys of any kind.

    It will be fascinating to watch what happens from here on out.

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  41. Peter said on May 4, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Bob (not Greene) and Alex, I think the topper was the 1975 Chicago Mayoral election (Richard J’s last).

    WGN ran an hour long program that they were told was produced for Chicago tourism. It was 60 minutes of Daley commercials ran back to back, to back, to back.

    John Hoellen, Daley’s Republican opponent, filed suit, and WGN was forced to provide free air time to ALL of the candidates for the election, including those that were signed up as write-in candidates.

    As a result, the Black Panther candidate got free air time – that was quite a show; but the Nazi candidate got air time as well.

    I don’t think it was Frank Collins, but I do remember that they had an 8-1/2″ x 11″ map of Chicago that had the “L” lines on it. Their campaign promise was that if they were elected, they would put fences on both sides of the “L” tracks to divide Chicago into various “compounds”, which they showed on the map: “ARYAN” “N—–“, “MEXICANS”, and Midway Airport would be closed and used for – well, you can guess.

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  42. LAMary said on May 4, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    I don’t find it at all hard to believe that Bob Hope gave out signed photos.

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  43. adrianne said on May 4, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Really, Brandon? When has that ever happened in the history of the Republic?

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  44. Brandon said on May 4, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I’m not saying an independent candidate will win the presidency this year, but I see an increase in turnout for third-party races.

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  45. alex said on May 4, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    And just who is making a third party run? Nader? Fulani? If they are it isn’t on my radar.

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  46. Brandon said on May 4, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    The Greens, for instance, haven’t yet decided on a nominee, but most likely it will be Jill Stein. The Politics1 link above shows all the presidential candidates.

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  47. Scout said on May 4, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    All my Berner friends are threatening to either vote for Jill Stein or write Bernie in. They say that now. I’m hoping that once the spectre of a Trump presidency becomes more tangible they’ll come to their senses.

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  48. Deborah said on May 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    One of my former bosses gave 8×10 autographed photos of himself to interns when they had their last day at the end of the summer. We were all so embarrassed.

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  49. Julie Robinson said on May 4, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    My son says no way will he vote for Hillary, but I am trying to soften him up by frequent mentions of the importance of Supreme Court nominations. We’ll see. He’s in a capitalism is a failed strategy phase as of late, and he’s a stubborn son of a gun.

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  50. Deborah said on May 4, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    I think in the end Bernie will persuade his followers to vote blue no matter who. I sure hope so anyway. He has to.

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  51. Jolene said on May 4, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    I dunno. I am worried about Bernie. I think he has done better than he ever expected to, and it’s gone to his head. He is forcing Clinton to spend time and money on primaries that would be better spent in the general. He should realize how truly awful Trump is and get on board. Today, I heard that he wants to force floor votes at the convention that will push Clinton to the left. That’s far from the full-throated endorsement Clinton gave Obama in 2008.

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  52. alex said on May 4, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Well, Jolene, it’s probably time the Dems dusted off their platform and got a little more progressive instead of playing all candy-ass for the benefit of angry old white frumps who won’t vote for them anyway.

    Funny, the talk about Cruz’ body language, his visceral repulsiveness, what Dahlia Lithwick had to say about him as a young debater and also the Psychology Today article linked at 33. When I look at the photo of the face above, I see the the expression of a willful four-year-old throwing a tantrum and acting butt hurt. Unconsciously, like most adults confronted with such a visage, I don’t take it seriously and want to ignore it in the hopes he’ll either tire of the game and shut up, or that his caretakers will take him outside and give him something real to cry about.

    Ah, the gif that keeps on giving.

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 4, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Well, the heck with national politics: on the state level, where some real impacts can also be made (maybe even more meaningful ones), here’s what I’ve been working on this past session, and it passed the Ohio House today . . . we’ll see what the Senate does with it. I really enjoyed getting to spend an afternoon watching the final stages of making sausage, and it was less awful than Bismarck or Twain seem to think. There are lots of good, decent, thoughtful public servants in state level House & Senate chambers, even if the political games are a feature and not a bug. Anyhow, my own two cents:

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  54. Suzanne said on May 4, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Interesting articles on Cruz. I get the impression that nothing he does, not one thing, is not practiced. He never seems real; not his speech patterns, not his words, not his gestures, nothing. It’s so odd.

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  55. Sherri said on May 4, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Yay, Jeff(tmmo)! The national races suck up all the oxygen in the room, but it’s at the state and local level where you can have a direct impact. Jeff is right; there are a lot of thoughtful public servants (even in Congress) who really ae interested in making things work.

    It’s going to be a long, noisy, ugly national election though. Some thoughts:

    -In the end, I expect most Republicans to vote for Trump, and most Democrats to vote for Clinton, regardless of what they’re saying now. The #NeverTrumpers will find some excuse to salve their consciences, and the #Bernieorbusters will eventually actually listen to Trump, and recognize that no, he’s not less of a hawk than Hillary, and no, he won’t bring the revolution sooner, and no, he won’t appoint better Supreme Court justices, or whatever nonsense they’re currently spouting in their currently delusional states.

    -That said, it will be a certainty that Clinton will be held to a harsher standard than Trump. Trump will make up 15 things a day, contradict himself every other sentence, and yet it will be Clinton that is not to be trusted. Trump will be racist, misogynistic, vulgar, and obnoxious, yet Clinton will be pilloried for something she said 25 years ago one time. Trump has been married three times, but the Clinton marriage will be dissected ad nauseum, again.

    -There will be endless talk about the white working class and how Clinton needs to reach out to them. No, she doesn’t. They’ll never vote for her. She’s a woman. Give it up already. The white working class does not vote. That’s not Trump’s base of support, that’s not Sander’s base of support. There is a group of voters that Clinton has lost since 2008: the people who voted for her in the primary because Obama was, well, you know…

    -Elections are not about convincing people of the rightness of your position, they are about convincing people who already share your position to vote.

    -Here’s the most frightening thought of all: Trump will soon start receiving regular classified intelligence briefings.

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  56. Sherri said on May 4, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    The Seattle City Council switched from at-large to district elections for the last cycles. The result was a council that has a majority of women. Those women just voted 5-4 against selling a street to Chris Hanson, a hedge fund manager who wants to build an arena (with $200 million of taxpayer funds) to attract an NBA team. That vote throws a significant wrench into his plans, and probably derails them completely.

    You can imagine how the boys reacted at the news that the girls were taking away their toys:

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