We’re in a land with no maps.

J.C. and Sammy blew through town last night, and lo there was drinking and snacking and yes, another tri-tip. I was going to take the day off, but here it is 7:30 a.m. and I’m wondering how much weirder this day can get, now that Mrs. Trump’s handlers have been caught red-handed stealing the words of Mrs. Obama. I’m not speechless, but I prefer the words of Neil Steinberg, whose comment was, “This abyss really has no bottom, does it?”

No, it doesn’t. Meanwhile, here’s a story I scrambled up yesterday, about Cleveland and a Michigan entrepreneur who is making bank on current paranoia with a product seemingly designed for crazy times — a $299 bulletproof vest.

Talk amongst yourselves. I feel like the roller coaster has left the station, we can feel the clack-clack-clack through the floor, but what’s at the top of the hill? No one knows.

Posted at 7:40 am in Current events |

64 responses to “We’re in a land with no maps.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 19, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Is this what you and Neil have in mind?

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  2. alex said on July 19, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Nardone… didn’t he used to sell dildoes?

    And speaking of vendors at the GOP convention, I wonder how many hookers have set up camp in Cleveland this week. I would imagine their presence is somewhat diminished, what with most of Congress staying away.

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    • nancy said on July 19, 2016 at 8:06 am

      He still sells dildos. And a lot of stuff you really don’t want to know about.

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  3. Suzanne said on July 19, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Abyss, indeed.
    I couldn’t watch the convention but my husband had it on in another room so I could hear some of it. Let me give you the Reader’s Digest Condensed version: Be afraid! Be very, very afraid! Everyone is coming for you [white] people and Hillary wants to watch you squirm because she’s in their [not white or Christian] clutches. We are your last & only hope.
    The little I heard was sickening.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 19, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I haven’t even gone off yet on the atrocity of having Mark Burns and Paula White doing the prayers on opening day. Gag. Choke. The most pernicious sort of prosperity “gospel” pap. Joel Osteen sounds like John Calvin next to those two.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 19, 2016 at 8:48 am

    When reading about coffee enemas seems more upright and reasonable than the political news . . .

    I had to look up the company behind the company, and for anyone else interested: http://www.priveco.com/

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  6. Heather said on July 19, 2016 at 9:07 am

    I don’t think Republicans who want to make America white again are going to give a shit about plagiarism. They probably think that’s normal.

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  7. Peter said on July 19, 2016 at 9:16 am

    At first I downplayed the plagiarism comments – c’mon, it’s a feel good about my husband speech and there’s only so much you can say – you didn’t expect Melania to say “Yes, heee’s asshole, but heee’s my asshole!” did you?

    Then you look at the clips and holy cow it’s practically word for word.

    What gets me is that this, being a culmination of eight years of non-stop Obama hating, would crib from Michelle’s speech. It’s like eight years is SO LONG AGO, people didn’t have them tee-eve’s back then…

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  8. basset said on July 19, 2016 at 9:42 am

    couldn’t stand to watch it, went with the final episode of “Wartime Farm” and to bed before the late news.

    And the tri-tip recipe works on chuck roast too, don’t know if the NYT would approve but we liked it.

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  9. Bitter Scribe said on July 19, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Meh. I detest Trump as much as anyone, but this “Melania plagiarism” stuff seems like a nothingburger. As far as I can tell, all she really “lifted” was the phrase “his word is his bond.” C’mon, that’s a cliche. If everyone who ever uttered it had been obliged to send me a dime, I could retire.

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    • nancy said on July 19, 2016 at 10:24 am

      Oh, I disagree. It goes way further than that. It almost looks to me as though the differences are the result of Melania not reading the prompter very well. I swear, this “staff” could fuck up a one-car funeral.

      Agreed on the gist of that paragraph, though: It’s pretty shallow, but that’s what we’re accustomed to in these speeches.

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  10. Deborah said on July 19, 2016 at 10:32 am

    I agree about the nothingburgerness of the Melania’s speech. It is odd how many gaffes the campaign has let happen though. You’d think they would have gone through her speech with a fine tooth comb.

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  11. BigHank53 said on July 19, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Melania Trump’s speech in and of itself is a nothingburger. But the fact that Trump campaign missed the rickroll and the plagarism means they don’t have a good media person/editor vetting things. In their own campaign. For an event they’ve known about for months in advance. This is not a strong indication of a group that will “make the best deals” with other countries. This is less competence than your average city council candidate.

    The media is desperately seizing on the story, of course, because the other components of RNC day #1 were too horrifying to consider: the radical Christianist “benediction” that was notably lacking in good wishes, the Benghazi obsession, the racism, Rudy Guiliani’s permanent hard-on for 9/11, etc. Those are all terrible TV, while running clips of two wives talking?–that’s the sort of thing that talking heads can’t get enough of. Much sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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  12. adrianne said on July 19, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Melania’s plagiarism (or her speechwriter because c’mon, she didn’t write that thing) is interesting only in how sloppy the entire Trump campaign has turned out to be. It’s a jerry-rigged edifice held together with fraying tape, and the edifice is crashing down.

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  13. Jolene said on July 19, 2016 at 11:37 am

    The plagiarism is bad because of what it reveals about the Trump campaign: There is no responsible adult in charge. And they are making it worse by refusing to acknowledge the error. Instead they are blaming the Clinton campaign and the media, when, in fact, the overlap with Michelle Obama’s speech was brought to light by some guy who happened to be listening.

    He recognized the “only limit of your achievement is the reach of your dreams” line, which seems plausible to me. It’s not a breathtakingly original idea, but it’s a nice turn of phrase that you might remember if it happened to strike you when you first heard it.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on July 19, 2016 at 11:52 am

    She stole the words of someone else when speaking about the value of integrity. To me, that’s not a nothingburger, it’s a double cheeseburger with all the toppings.

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  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Jolene said something very apposite on my Facebook feed, which I’d invite her to paste in as a comment here — the point here is not that Melania or anyone in the Trump campaign is trying to be a meanie thief, it’s that this event reaffirms just how utterly disorganized and chaotic the campaign is, and it’s well established that at least in the first year or two, administrations rarely are that much different from the quality and discipline of the campaign that got them there.

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  16. Bob (Not Greene) said on July 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    It’s the sheer cavalier attitude that floors me. The plagiarism is certainly one indication, but the obvious rickroll that BigHank53 referred to gives the whole thing away. It’s just a big fucking joke to these people. And how about old Rudy G. — “It’s the last election!” What the hell is that, the start of the new 1,000 Year Reich? Christ, these people.

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  17. Jakash said on July 19, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Speaking of “making the best deals”, I gotta go back to the New Yorker article that Sherri posted yesterday. Rumpelthinskin “writes” a book, “The Art of the Deal,” no less, and the “deal” he works out with the ghost-writer is that they each get 50% of the advance AND the royalties? For his own “autobiography?” “Trump, despite having a reputation as a tough negotiator, agreed on the spot.” Sheesh, I’m sure he’d have Putin shaking in his boots. Of course, given that he probably knew that he’d be doing none of the actual work at all, he probably thought that was a steal…

    I don’t much care what Melania says about anything — the fact that she said “I do” to Rump makes anything else she has to say moot, in my book — but I agree that the plagiarism and the response today says something about the fools operating the campaign machinery. Certainly lends credence to Sherri’s husband’s theory, mentioned on the thread last night, “that there’s a mole in the Trump campaign intentionally sabotaging things.”

    And, as noted throughout the Twitterverse, his third wife proclaiming that “Donald is intensely loyal” is pretty rich, indeed. Almost as loyal as Gingrich, one would presume…

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  18. MichaelG said on July 19, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    I agree that the plagiarism is serious and not a “nothingburger”. It only looks meaningless in the context of all the outrageous things being said by this campaign. Will there be consequences? Probably not. Melania’s not looking for a job nor is she in danger of being fired from one. The people who care wouldn’t vote for Trump anyway and those who will vote for Trump don’t care.

    Melania may be a beautiful woman, but, damn, she’s the coldest, most calculating person I’ve seen lately. I don’t see an ounce of charm, compassion, warmth or appeal in the woman. She’d gut you without a second thought.

    What’s with that duck guy? Wearing an American flag to sop up his sweat? Where’s the respect for America in that?

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  19. St Bitch said on July 19, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I doubt ‘Melaniagate’ will hurt Trump’s convention bump. If anything, her exotic beauty as well as obvious victimization not only protects her from rampant derision, but could garner extra sympathy.

    But this is too, too rich! Incompetence or sabotage? No matter. The convention itself is indigestible…at least I found I didn’t have the stomach for it. However, we can now be treated to the sweet-and-salty dessert of endless replays comparing authentically dynamic Michelle vs exquisitely vacant Melania.

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  20. Jolene said on July 19, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Here’s the comment Jeff mentioned.

    I don’t think we even have to attribute intent or talk about “lifting.” Trump’s campaign is famously understaffed and ill-managed. I think whoever wrote this speech did some online research re previous speeches of this type and copied out passages that sounded appealing. Those passages got inserted in the speech draft and, without adequate review, remained in the final version without being sufficiently massaged to sound like the speaker’s own words. The crime is, very likely, one of negligence rather than ill intent, but it’s still a crime.

    And, as others have noted, the worse crime is not acknowledging the error and apologizing. Melania’s limited experience as a speech writer or public speaker is a defense here, though probably not one that would have worked for Michelle. But the campaign can’t get away with being this incompetent.

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  21. Jolene said on July 19, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    That last paragraph, obviously, was not meant to be italicized.

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  22. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    I disagree that Melania might be looking for a job. In another one of the speech gaffes that got overshadowed, she mentioned that she and Trump had been together 18 years. Trump and Marla Maples have only been divorced 17 years. I suppose that’s not really a gaffe since everybody knows Trump cheated on his wives, but after 18 years, might she be approaching her sell-by date as a Trump wife?

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  23. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    The furor over Melania has obscured the fact that numerous speakers last night called for the opposing nominee to be put in prison, with a couple leading chants of “Lock her up!” At least last night, there were no calls to hang her on the Washington Mall, as a WV legislator did a couple of days ago, but there’s still time.

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  24. Jolene said on July 19, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Have to give Trump’s flak credit for a good line in Melania’s defense. See the last line in this article and the clip at the bottom.

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  25. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Here are some more excuses the campaign and its surrogates are using: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/melania-trump-plagiarism-excuse_us_578e3759e4b0a0ae97c36435

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  26. Jakash said on July 19, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    “But the campaign can’t get away with being this incompetent.” Perhaps no previous campaign could have. With this fact-averse, “he’s saying what I’m thinking” charade, seems to me that incompetency is just added to the list of down-home, reality-show attributes by the Rump adherents. Who’d have thought that he’d get this far with his “organization”, such as it is?

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  27. john (not mccain) said on July 19, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Even if every word of her speech sprang fully-formed from her own brain, we’d still have the spectacle (I believe it used to be called a “scandal”) of a man’s 3rd wife talking about how trustworthy he is. Say what you will about Bill Clinton or JFK, at least they managed to cheat on just the one wife.

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  28. nancy said on July 19, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    James Fallows has a nice multi-tweet explanation for why this matters. I don’t have time to screw around trying to Storify it, but if you go to his Twitter page and scroll down to the one that starts 1/, you can scroll back up and see it in full.

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  29. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Fallows goes into more detail here: http://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2016/07/trump-time-capsule-45-why-melanias-speech-matters/492008/

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  30. Kath said on July 19, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Sounds like norovirus might be spreading at the convention. Soon it literally will be a shit show

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  31. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    So, just thinking out loud here, if Trump really is worth 10 billion like he claims, and 7% of a speech isn’t really plagiarism, then if I stole $700 million from him, it wouldn’t really be theft, right?

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  32. Dorothy said on July 19, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I just read about an hour ago that Wright State University (in my neighborhood!) has bowed out of hosting the first Presidential debate in September, citing security concerns and inability to raise the $8 million + to get it produced. This is kind of stunning.

    Is anyone else chomping at the bit to see the first debate between Mrs. Clinton and His Trumpiness? I sure am!

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  33. Deborah said on July 19, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Ok, well I was wrong about the nothingbugerness of Melania’s speech. I had no idea it would be that big of a deal everywhere. Not that I think plagiarism is ok, but I didn’t think the story would have such a damaging effect.

    My husband sent me a text saying that Melania also lied about her education and “body work”. I’m not sure where he read that. Have any of you heard about that as well?

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  34. alex said on July 19, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    I read earlier that Melania is a college dropout who claims to be a “university graduate,” although she never specified what university.

    In brighter news today, Megyn Kelly has come forward to confirm Gretchen Carlson’s allegations against Roger Ailes with those of her own, so his sorry ass will be history soon.

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  35. Jeff Borden said on July 19, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    The Melania plagiarism matters in the sense that the entire campaign is essentially lazy. The orange ape has had years to bone up on some basic political knowledge, world and domestic affairs, political and government leaders, etc., but he is too damned lazy to do it. As the story on the ghostwriter notes multiple times, the orange ape has the attention span of a gnat and doesn’t appear to read much that isn’t about him. Why would his wife be any different? If campaigns reflect the candidate, it seems to me the general lack of attention to detail and the absence of any discipline is easy to understand because that is how the orange ape operates.

    And damn, how I loathe Rudy Ghouliani. He’s a genuinely foul human being.

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  36. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    There are several places where Melania’s bio claims a college degree, but she dropped out after one year to pursue a modelling career: http://gawker.com/trump-campaign-lies-about-melania-trumps-nonexistant-co-1783912735

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  37. Suzanne said on July 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    And not to mention a certain Mr Goeglein lost his job due to plagiarism.

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  38. Dexter said on July 19, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Nothingburger my ass. This is egregious. msnbc commentators were in agreement early today that Manafort must be fired for this…some are spewing that Corey Lewandowski sabotaged Melania’s speech somehow.
    Manafort and crew are saying she culled some of the stolen words not from Michele, but from My Little Pony, whatever in the fuck that is. And the beat goes on.
    And Christ, I knew Giuliani was a hard knocker, but I have never seen a more Hitleresque speech than that bastard screamed out last night.
    Oh well…we have Hillary to save the day…
    “…no ways tired”

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  39. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Josh Marshall says smart things about last night: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/violence-blood-and-betrayal-inside-the-trump-potemkin-village

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  40. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    I do think that people ought to stop calling the RNC and the Trump campaign a dumpster fire or a garbage fire. I think it’s moved to a level of a tire fire: stinky, greasy, and impossible to put out.

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  41. Kirk said on July 19, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Melania probably has an honorary doctorate in real estate scamming from Trump U.

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  42. Jeff Borden said on July 19, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Or, Sherri, like that underground coal fire that has been burning in Pennsylvania for decades.

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  43. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Please, let’s not forget the contributions of Rep. Steve King (IA) to last nights conflagration, bravely defending white people: http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/gop-rep-steve-king-s-jaw-dropping-remarks-727402051814

    To remind everyone, Steve King is the guy who thinks its racist to put Harriet Tubman on US currency and has a Confederate flag on his desk. I’m not sure what part of his born in Iowa heritage that’s supposed to represent.

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  44. MichaelG said on July 19, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Deborah @33 re “bodywork”: it’s been alleged that Melania has had breast augmentation. Se the GQ article below:


    Doctor’s appointment this AM. Slight progression in spotting on my lungs but no new chemo yet. PET scan in Sept and another appointment. Probably chemo then. I’m gonna go back to Spain in the meanwhile.

    Good one, Kirk.

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  45. Hattie said on July 19, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    A big red juicy steak! That’s what I crave!

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  46. Scout said on July 19, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    The entirety of Day One was a hot mess. An angry, hateful display of fear and loathing with Melania’s plagiarized speech as the cherry on top of the whole stinking shit sundae. And it isn’t a nothingburger.



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  47. Charlotte said on July 19, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Because I know the Proprietress is a fan — here’s Awesomely Luvvie on Day One: http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com/2016/07/day-1-republican-national-convention.html

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  48. Scout said on July 19, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Charlotte – I Luv Luvvie too – thanks for that!

    And Ed at G&T had this to say.

    I must admit, I’m feeling less gloomy today.

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  49. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    My problem with this whole mess is, I want there to be an opposition party that cares about governance, even though it disagrees about how to govern. There should be a useful friction between taking care of businesses and taking care of people. There are always tradeoffs and compromises that have to be made, because some of the goals we want to accomplish are in natural conflict. When one party devolves into a anti-government mess that trades on white resentment to turn out the base, the only path forward is to reduce that party to powerlessness, because they’ve demonstrated their unwillingness to engage in the social compact.

    I hope that soon a party emerges from the ashes that is willing to participate in the governing process. I hope that a party emerges that I can respect, and that doesn’t regard me as an enemy just because I disagree with them. But I will continue to do everything I can to crush the current incarnation of the Republican party, not just Trump, because any party that tolerates (or welcomes) racists and bigots, threatens the full faith and credit of the US government, and talks about watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants and refuses to do anything about restricting guns is not a party that fits in a two-party system.

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  50. Charlotte said on July 19, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Yes! What Sherri said!

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  51. David C. said on July 19, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Trump is doing what generals often do, fighting the last war. He won by out assholing the rest of the cast of characters running in the primaries. They were at least smart enough to know that you have to turn over the Etch-a-Sketch. So Trump will do his usual bluster and bullshit and, I hope, go down by a near historic margin. Melanoma (thanks spell check, I’ll leave it alone) is just another symptom of the disease.

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  52. alex said on July 19, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Right now dining in restaurant. Overheard: It’s an inside job pulled off by Hillary sabotaging the teleprompters.

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  53. Suzanne said on July 19, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    This is the thing, Alex. The Trump supporters live in a parallel universe completely, where they think Hillary has magical powers to do something like sabotaging the teleprompters. This is what scares me. They have made such an imaginary world to fit into how they want things to be.

    I keep hoping my gut instinct is correct. That Trump will go nearly all the way to the end and say “Gotcha!” leaving a whole bunch of people with their pants down around their ankles.

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  54. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Ailes appears to be on his way out at Fox, I’ve read that Limbaugh’s contract is up and his current radio partner isn’t too healthy, and Trump has made noises about a TV network. Seems inevitable, doesn’t it?

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  55. Colleen said on July 19, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    I agree with Suzanne. Parallel universe, indeed. Their willingness to believe bizarre conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and her magical powers would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high.

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  56. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    My favorite of the reactions to the Melania plagiarism is “well, Joe Biden did it, too!” Yes, yes, he did. And he dropped out of the 1988 Presidential race because of it.

    The modern Republican Party thinks that actions only have consequences for other people.

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  57. basset said on July 19, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Just got back from Walmart. Hardly anyone there. Then again, our annual back to school no sales tax weekend is imminent, maybe they’re saving up.

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  58. alex said on July 19, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Tiffany Trump’s quite the curiosity. Nose job but no evident boob implants. And happy to sing the praises of a man who paid for her privileged childhood without her having to suffer his company very often.

    McConnell and Ryan and Christie have papered over their contempt for Trump so well you’d expect them tell you his boot heel is as delicious as Mike Pence thinks it is.

    I’ve had my fill for the night and remain optimistic that only a small handful of morons could possibly buy what these people are selling.

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  59. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 19, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    If you had “Saul Alinsky” in the corner of your #RNCinCLE Bingo card, you were a winner!

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  60. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    You’ve got to be kidding me! Trump, Jr cribbed his speech from the Intertoobs, too?


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  61. Sherri said on July 19, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Oh, now the author of the article says he was one of the speechwriters, so it was recycled rather than plagiarized. Any competent campaign would have rewritten after last night’s debacle, of course.

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