Can’t trust that day.

On weekends, our Detroit NPR affiliate teases us all with what could be, by playing decent music for hours at a time. One of the afternoon hosts, acknowledging the events of last week, made the theme of his show protest songs, and played this Richie Havens cover of “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” I’d never heard it before, and it was a revelation — what a voice, what an interpreter. Havens isn’t with us anymore, but this wasn’t recorded all that long ago.

Maybe the coming darkness won’t be all bad. A lot of good music was made in 1968.

It was a Monday. That’s the best I can say about it. Swift commute in, pleasant atmosphere in Co-working space, a brown-bag lunch consisting of tri-tip leftovers between bread. But otherwise, the first steps in the five-day trudge to next weekend.

I like my job, I really do. But today, I watched a crew digging channels for some new utility lines or something. The backhoe dipped and scooped, the workers calling instruction to the operator, the dirt going from one place to another scoop by scoop. And thought: Now there’s a job. Beginning, middle, end, two beers on the way home.

Like I said, it was a Monday.

Just one bit of bloggage, then: Our own Heather interviews another Heather — Heather Havrilesky, essayist and advice columnist. It’s well-done, and I recommend it.

Let’s see if Tuesday goes any better. It’ll be 93, so I’m not getting my hopes up.

Posted at 12:15 am in Uncategorized |

41 responses to “Can’t trust that day.”

  1. Sherri said on July 12, 2016 at 12:43 am

    The blue wall in action:

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  2. Sherri said on July 12, 2016 at 4:43 am

    Damnit, 11 pm and we discover that our microwave has died and that there is a leak under the kitchen sink. I hate dealing with plumbing.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 12, 2016 at 7:38 am

    It’s delamination season: spent the evening with a family in the ICU waiting area, whose loved one was actually released by midnight, and who will not die until said person drinks another gallon of vodka at a set rate, but if they do so will be gone by Wednesday . . . and refuses to do in-patient, doesn’t like out-patient, and it’s not clear to me which enabler I should convince to do something they don’t want to do either.

    Meanwhile, my cell phone keeps buzzing with calls and texts from a guy who hasn’t said two words to me in four years, but now that his soon-to-be-ex is out of the house that’s about to be closed on from the sheriff’s sale he pretty much brought on all by himself (it takes two to tango? don’t tell me that about divorces, it’s just not always true… I think), he keeps violating the protection order she got and he signed, all without actually intending to. What he wants from me is to get her to contact the authorities and take back the second and third reports of CPO violations, which I can’t get through his head a) I won’t do, and b) if I was stupid enough to do so, and she was dumb enough to listen to the stupid version of me, the cops would take twice the interest in him they are now. The only way out is through.

    Drove through the neighborhood where he’s living now, and saw him smoking a Carl Spackler-sized joint on the porch Sunday afternoon. Think that’s gonna do well?

    And then the epic fail of trying to prevent evictions when you haven’t been told the full story about where all the debts are located, and how much. Wasted some church money, which is part of the program sometimes (we’re not in the efficiency business), but I hate giving cockroaches money when by all rights they were probably fifth in line for extracting blood from this particular turnip.

    I bore y’all with this to put my bile in context: then I was invited to join 14 of my peers asked by the heads of our local United Way and Children’s Services to meet with the Children’s Trust Fund state leadership to review the county needs and plans for preventing and dealing with child abuse and neglect in the coming two to five years. As an aside that may or may not mean a blasted thing, I was the only male in the room. And we discussed the cultural competency aspect of our work, where we work with low-income families, many with deep Appalachian roots, and we’re all educated middle-class females (sorry, Jeff, she smiled) mostly married, mostly once.

    But the big pink and purple elephant in the room was juvenile psychiatric services. GPs and pediatricians, themselves busy and overwhelmed, prescribing anti-psychotics and such to kids under 14, under 12, on top of anti-anxiety, ADHD, and mood stabilizers (often with different docs making prescriptions), but no psych resources in our county at. all. None. Two psychs at the county hospital, they don’t see kids. The major community mental health shop keeps “losing” their MD, currently we’re between which is the usual; Children’s Hospital in Columbus is trying to help, and the wait list to be seen? 6 to 12 months. So we can get juveniles medicated, but to get them properly diagnosed and treated is well-nigh impossible, at least impossible to get done before we have another outburst of violence in the home or criminality out among what friends and associates they find in the hallways and courtyard of the apartment complexes where they live.

    There are social workers and counselors, and we can get emergency assessments, and there are groups and home-based case management MSWs doing what they can, but in general, if you can private pay, I can fix you up for treatment and resolution TOMORROW, but if you are on Medicaid, and you have a kid with psychiatric issues (or more to the point, you aren’t but your kid’s on Medicaid – long story, but you won’t sign up – and you AND your kid have psychiatric issues) I got nuttin’. I can get a broke drunk whose family has written them off entirely into some kind of evidence-based treatment faster than I can get a delusional, erratic, self-harming kid into meaningful treatment. I said to the group, not caring what the reaction, “I’m sick of telling struggling moms to take their kid to the ER and say at the desk your child just made a serious threat to kill themselves” even though the reality is somewhat different . . . and the CTF reps were startled to see almost EVERY person in that room, heads of shelters and outreach programs and various councils and board, say “yep, I’ve done that too.”

    So it was a mutually supportive but very discouraging two hours. We desperately need to stop just throwing meds at kids broken by trauma and poverty and yes, often neglect and abuse. We need community mental health funded the way politicians keep claiming they are so doing, and are not; we also need a counselor in each school, and to stop demonizing anything more than a principal, a secretary, and a custodian in a school with teachers and students as “top heavy administration.” And it’s all another strong argument to vote for Hillary. I’m not entirely sure even what she’s said on the subject, and I should find out, but if we can’t support juvenile psychiatric care, then we can’t do jack. I’m pretty sure she’s in favor of that, and if she’s not, I’m not sure I can handle hearing it.

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  4. alex said on July 12, 2016 at 7:41 am

    Wow, didn’t know about Heather Havrilesky or “Ask Polly.” I’m still adjusting to the new “Ask Prudence,” Mallory Ortberg, who replaced Emily Yoffe, who replaced Margo Howard. There’s nothing like reading about other people’s First World problems to put your own in perspective. I’d bet fully half of all of the letters written to Prudence in the last fifteen years were about malicious mothers-in-law who are channeling the biggest harridans on daytime soaps. A quarter would be noncommittal boyfriends, and the remainder of the pie would belong to co-workers with bad hygiene and annoying habits, drunken uncles talking politics and people who send thanks for their wedding gifts via text messaging and Facebook.

    The current Prudence seems to get a lot of letters from self-serving assholes and she doesn’t hesitate to call them on their feigned concern and tell them to butt out of other peoples’ business.

    I’ll have to check out Polly sometime and see if my lifelong existential crisis holds a candle to anyone else’s.

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  5. adrianne said on July 12, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Jeff, the poor state of mental health services for juveniles is a problem everywhere, not just in Ohio. I have a friend who’s a mental health “intervenor” for people in crisis, and the tales she tells are hair-raising.

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  6. beb said on July 12, 2016 at 8:41 am

    The frustrating thing is that as long as the conservatives hold the House and possible the Senate nothing is going to happen. There still won’t be infrastructure investments, the social safety net will continue to be cut and the people Jeff is trying to help will continue to be consigned to the junkpile of history. It’s not enough to elect a liberal to office, we have to change the way people think in general about helping others. We need to realize that helping others helps ourselves.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 12, 2016 at 9:05 am

    “Get a dull breadknife, put it to your neck, and then walk through the ER door up to the counter.”

    It will at least get you through to the assessment, and maybe 72 hours in-patient. But if the patient starts saying “I’m fine, I just want to go home” halfway through the assessment, and denies suicidal ideation, insisting they can handle their drinking/snorting/hallucinations/depression just fine on their own, home is where they’ll go. They may take a prescription with them, and those yellow footie things with the non-skid stripes on the bottom.

    If you are dragging a kid who has taken anything resembling an actual step towards self-harm, you can get them 24-36 hours. And a scrip. And a phone number. Maybe we should give them a deck of cards, too, for the next few months to pass until they get to see a psych. Then once in while I will hear about a child getting two weeks in a facility five counties away, and I swear I listen closely, ask good questions, and simply can’t figure out why *this* kid got treatment, intensive in-patient, and this other kid didn’t . . . unless it’s just that the bed was vacant at the right moment for the particular child. Is that cynical? I am becoming quite cynical.

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  8. Heather said on July 12, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Wow, thanks Nancy! I’m honored.

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  9. Danny said on July 12, 2016 at 9:11 am

    My introduction to Richie Havens was his rendition of “Freedom” in the Woodstock video. I will definitely have to check out his version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

    My best friend from junior high is a VP of operations for a major international construction management firm. Our paths crossed a few years back when we were both passing through Nashville on business. While we were having a beer and constantly being interrupted by our work on our phones, he confided that his dream job was to mow highway median strips. “Danny, I’d get in that mower, mow all day, turn it off, then go home.”

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  10. nancy said on July 12, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Jeff, a friend of mine is trying to get help for his critically depressed son — who’s also a recovering heroin addict, which complicates things considerably — and went in circles for weeks. He finally got him into U-M’s depression center over the weekend. I haven’t heard any updates. Fingers crossed for him, and everybody else who struggles with this.

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  11. Dorothy said on July 12, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Oh Jeff, I know of whom you speak in your comment @3. She private messaged me and a lot of other folks at 5:30 or so this morning. My heart aches for her and the kids. I assumed you were in on the issues but didn’t realize how deeply. It’s very sad.

    My morning went from bad to worse very quickly this morning. One of our dogs got sprayed by a skunk at about 5:10am; we put him in the garage to isolate him. My windows were down in my car so now my car smells strongly of skunk stink, as does much of the rest of the house. While we were mixing up the scrubbing solution for the dog, we realized the washing machine had been on all night (started it at 9:30 last night). Appliance repair is coming on Thursday. And finally, I have a reddish spot that is warm and sore to the touch on my right calf and I’m seeing the doctor at 10:30 this morning. Praying it’s not a blood clot but all signs seem to point in that direction. To those of you I’m friends with on Facebook, please no mention of the health issue there. If there’s anything to tell my family I’ll tell them privately.

    I have always loved Richie Havens’ voice. Yes, Danny, “Freedom” from the Woodstock era is great. This is a good reminder to buy some of his songs on iTunes and get them on my iPod.

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  12. susan said on July 12, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Here’s another recording with Richie Havens’ unmistakable voice, at its prime, with Cliff Eberhardt…

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  13. ROGirl said on July 12, 2016 at 10:10 am

    There are skunks around my house and it’s just awful when they spray. I have had an animal control guy place traps in my yard, but so far no skunks have been caught, only raccoons after the cat food in the traps.

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  14. Michael Einheuser said on July 12, 2016 at 10:45 am

    In my humble opinion the most soulful and simply sweet song ever recorded is Richie Haven covering Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman”

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  15. MarkH said on July 12, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Saw Havens live at U. of Cincinnati 45 years ago. He was the opening concert act and was so good I forget who he opened for.

    Perfect day in store for the Tetons: 32 this morning, 70 this afternoon, not a cloud in the sky. Won’t last; hotter and return of T-storms by the weekend.

    Danny, I have one of those ‘retirement jobs’ now. After 18 years in the banking/lending industry, as of last Feb. I now work transporting critical medical samples, information and supplies throughout NW Wyoming. I drive through some pretty spectacular country for nine hours a day Mon-Fri, visit/work with terrific people and go home. Beats herding kittens with an iphone leash and losing sleep on a regular basis. The pay is surprisingly good and indicative of increasing medical costs.

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  16. Charlotte said on July 12, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    COngrats on the interview Heather — it’s terrific!

    Jeff — Livingston is dealing with all the crises you just described — 2 boys killed themselves this winter, 3 grown men as well — mental illness and drug abuse rife among our unemployed/unemployable population who used to be able to limp along paying 3-400 bucks a month for rent, but those days are gone, and there’s a whole segment of our population reeling in the face of vacation rentals and gentrification. These are not folks who can work customer-facing jobs, or guide rich folks fishing, or much of anything. And no mental health care …

    Mark H — did you get the couple of socked-in days of rain we did? It was lovely, cooled everything off, we got almost an inch of rain. Unheard of midsummer … today, cool and blue skies and green trees and about as gorgeous as it gets.

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  17. MichaelG said on July 12, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    I think that story to which Sherri linked may be the most disheartening thing I’ve read all week. It’s all over the net now but I haven’t seen comments on it yet. It puts paid to the idea that there are a few bad apples in the cop shop who are the beaters, killers and racists. These guys are as mainstream as it goes and have the full support and even the praise of their union head. There needs to be a major cultural shift in the police. They need to get off the militarist and us against them mind sets. They need to stop acting like an occupying power. They need to stop remembering that they live in the community and start remembering that they are part of the community – for good or bad. FDChief – here:
    and gin and tacos – here: have excellent takes.

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  18. Heather said on July 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Here’s a juicy read in Crain’s for us Chicagoans,
    about a local entrepreneur who has spent a lot of money and made a lot of enemies due to his questionable finance “management.” I’ve been reading about this guy for years and I interviewed him once for a story–I definitely got the “fast talker” vibe. He could give Trump a run for his money.

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  19. Peter said on July 12, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    I guy I worked with said that he wanted to give up architecture and become a ditch digger. He said that at the end of the shift, he wouldn’t be staying up at night wondering “did I dig that ditch long enough?” “is that ditch deep enough?” “did I put the dirt back just right?”

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  20. Jolene said on July 12, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Just heard that Ted Cruz flew with President Obama and Michelle, VP Joe Biden and Jill Biden, and Nancy Pelosi to Dallas on Air Force One. Sounds awkward.

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  21. Deborah said on July 12, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Heather, great interview.

    Jeff tmmo, hats off to you for dealing with those depressing issues day after day.

    I’m typing this at Bode’s in Abiquiu while having a bean, cheese and green chili burrito. They’re installing half of the lower level doors on our cabin, that’s 6 doors and the last 6 come later. I left the construction site and came here because I hadn’t eaten anything before we left Santa Fe.

    Little Bird has to report for her surgery in Albuquerque at 7:15am, tomorrow which means we have to leave Santa Fe at 5:30am. The good news is we’ll probably be back home before noon. She won’t be able to bend her knee for awhile so she’s planning on doing a lot of cross stitching and reading.

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  22. adrianne said on July 12, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Much as I detest the Tedster, he at least is capable of behaving like a human being on occasion. The Donald, never.

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  23. Deborah said on July 12, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Right after I left Bode’s I got pulled over for speeding by a state police officer. What a coincidence after all this talk about cops. The guy looked about 12 years old and couldn’t have been more polite. Once again I didn’t get a ticket, even though he said I was going 53 in a 40 mph zone. And I couldn’t find the registration and insurance papers in the stack of stuff in the glove compartment. It’s there I just couldn’t get my hands on it quickly enough.

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  24. annie said on July 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Back in the 1970’s, my then boyfriend took me to a Richie Havens concert. I’d never heard of him but I was blown away by his singing & presence. My boyfriend’s stock rose considerably because of this & it contributed to our getting married — we’re still going strong 40 years later.

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  25. Dexter said on July 12, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Richie Havens was a mesmerizing entertainer and Gil Scott-Heron was the political one…still, I always think of these two as very important icons of the movement of the 1960’s. Loved them both to death.

    Sounds like JMMO can use a long vacation in a cool tropical resort sipping pineapple juice and watching the surf and the tall palms swaying. Seriously, I can only imagine the frustration, disappointment, and grief of your job.

    When I was a kid, heroin was a drug jazz musicians in big cities used, hardcore junkies in cities also. I suppose I doubted I’d ever see it…then in the army, two bunks away, soldiers were tying off and shooting brown heroin (LA dudes, Fort Ord) . When I got to Vietnam, the first time I walked the mile from my work-station to my hootch, I was offered “cocaine”, whkch was really 97% pure heroin about ten times…it was everywhere. I never tried it, but plenty did, then for three months I ran a re-hab ward on night shift…no training, dealing with junkies who were always sneaking around getting MORE.

    Now, 2016 , and heroin is a major problem and no doubt, Ohio seems to be the central spot. Our 23 year old grandson in Toledo is so torn…wants to be a good dad to his three year old daughter, but his life is a mess of relapses and being booted out by his GF who also smokes weed as well. So this horrid drug (heroin), which I vowed to never touch when I was 15 (a movie convinced me) and rejected when it was offered all te time, still is wreaking havoc to my family all these years later. Of all the problems we have (like everyone else…no worse, don’t misunderstand me) heroin’s effects on my family are the most vexing.

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  26. Deborah said on July 12, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    90 degrees with 5% humidity today where we are in NM. That’s about as dry as I’ve ever experienced.

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  27. Jolene said on July 12, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Unsurprisingly, Obama gave a great speech at the memorial in Dallas today. The whole service is online and worth listening to–some terrific music, good speeches by the Dallas mayor and GWB, and the chief of police introducing the president. His speech begins at about 47:00.

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  28. Sherri said on July 12, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    After driving to three stores to find one that had a GE microwave in stock, I now have a new microwave, though it’s bigger than I really wanted. Every store carries different microwaves, so that you can’t price shop, but I wanted one that was about 1100-1200 watts in the 1.6-1.8 cu ft range. To get one in stock, I ended up with a 2.0 cu ft and 1200 watts.

    I was also able to make a temporary plumbing fix to stop my leak at least for now. I hate working on plumbing, and to really fix the problem, I need to replace several PVC pipes under the sink, and I’m trying to decide whether I want to do that or call a plumber. Or push it off on my husband, who could deal with it Thursday. I’ve bought some time, anyway.

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  29. Jolene said on July 12, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Just found a transcript of the president’s speech. I recommend listening, though, as you’ll miss the passion in his voice.

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  30. alex said on July 12, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    What the hell is this shit:

    Where was the outrage about the unseemliness of Scalia making overtly political statements every time he opened his fucking mouth?

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  31. David C. said on July 12, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    IOKIYAR, Alex.

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  32. MichaelG said on July 12, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    David C.: HUH?

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  33. beb said on July 12, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    IOKIYAR – It’s OK if you are a Republican.

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  34. basset said on July 12, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Having had just my second Detroit coney dog recently, just hours aftet meeting our proprietress, I thought this NPR story was particularly timely:

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  35. alex said on July 12, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    And no blowback if everyone already thinks you’re a dick, evidently.

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  36. Dave said on July 12, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    All the rotten things that Trump has said and HE wants an apology?

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  37. Jill said on July 12, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Dorothy, I hope you’re OK, and speaking of health, good wishes to Little Bird for tomorrow.

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  38. Deborah said on July 12, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    On our way back from a reading by a poet/author friend of a friend this evening at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, I saw a group of people playing PokemonGo. I have been reading about it and I have to say I’m kind of intrigued by it. I’m not big on computer games but this one sounds kinda fun. And yes I’ve also read how some people found themselves in remote places where they were robbed while playing. I doubt that I’ll ever actually play it, but who knows?

    Thanks for the good wishes for Little Bird for her surgery tomorrow.

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  39. Jolene said on July 12, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Man, there is nothing like the combination of a national tragedy and the Internet to let you know who is really living in this world. After the death of the police officers in Dallas, I couldn’t decide who was crazier–right-wingers who blamed Obama or black kids who thought the idea that the cops had been killed by a lone African American shooter was a conspiracy to discredit people protesting police brutality.

    Now, after Obama’s passionate, but evenhanded, speech today, there are voices on the right criticizing him for, at least, politicizing a public memorial or, at worst, attacking the police and calling every white person in America a racist.

    What happened to rationality? Makes me want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. Hard to imagine anything constructive happening when so many people have taken leave of their senses.

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 12, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    I am a pastor, a Christian preacher, and let me tell you — yes, including the mild error of saying “John’s Gospel” when he was actually citing the epistle I John — that was a fine sermon President Barack Hussein Obama preached today. And it preached, and it was a sermon . . . and I’ve got parishioners who are still struggling with whether or not one can actually like anything the current POTUS says and not be a cultural wrecker. Jolene already posted the link to the full transcript (Ezekiel with a Jeremiah overlay, I John, and Romans 5:3 & 4, to start and to finish), which I can’t commend highly enough.

    My protection and incitement is that they can’t threaten to fire me, because I don’t care, and I’m not going anywhere (fire me, and you’re still reading me in the paper every Saturday), but it’s heartbreaking to me just how deep the Hillary hating and Obama despising goes, even among fairly decent and upright people. I still am not thrilled to be a Clinton supporter (I do believe there are aspects of Bill & Hillary’s entitlement that rivals even the narcissism of The Donald, and a willfulness that I trust no more than I did that of Mitt’s or McCain’s, plus a willingness to edit reality with the worst of the Nixonian transgressions), but the corkscrewingly deep hostility to Hillary just can’t compete with my concrete and tangible anxiety over having a monumentally self-absorbed narcissistic idiot like Donald Trump in the commander-in-chief role, let alone Ivanka and Donny with hands on the tiller of state.

    Which seems right now to be sailing down Lethe, with unstructured rivers.

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  41. Deborah said on July 13, 2016 at 12:13 am

    When you’ve got a steel trap for a mind and you’ve long ago decided what the world is about, then you can watch a fabulous speech like the one Obama made today and find fault with it. Sad.

    Thanks for the link Jolene, and I would agree watching it is much better than reading the transcript. So much is lost when you miss the expressions on his face and the inflection in his voice.

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