Overtaken by events.

There’s a local public affairs/talk show on our NPR affiliate that airs at 9 a.m. weekdays, and replays at 7 p.m. I was listening to it yesterday en route to dinner, and the discussion was about Monday’s Trump speech, the questions sober and serious, as befits public radio: Is this a pivot? Is this “new, sober” Trump someone you could vote for? And so on.

Of course, by 7 p.m. last night, the speech story had already been overtaken by events, the events being Trump’s speech in North Carolina. The DEC issued a statement about how the hecklers got into the meeting — it was supposed to be members and guests only, remember — and included an apology to Trump for the disruptions.

Think about it. Just 24 hours after the speech that was supposed to reset the discussion (again), get people talking about him as a potential president (again), he’d reverted to bull-in-china-shop settings, and the DEC looked silly, apologizing for rudeness to a man for whom rudeness is his Nice mode.

It’s hard to keep up, isn’t it?

So let’s just let this thing wash over us today, shall we? What might happen by 5 p.m.? You just never know. Happy Wednesday. This was my morning-swim lookout today. The gray isn’t clouds, but humidity. I’m going to look at it from time to time, and just say ommmmm.


Posted at 9:08 am in Current events |

34 responses to “Overtaken by events.”

  1. Randy said on August 10, 2016 at 9:16 am

    If Trump does anything productive, it’s his joke generation. I had to laugh seeing all the constitutional amendments that were worked into jokes. I may have learned more about the Constitution because of Big D. Go figure.

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  2. Dorothy said on August 10, 2016 at 9:43 am

    I’d like nothing better than to ignore all news for the next three months but that’s impossible. I’m a world citizen – I like to know what’s going on around me even if ‘around me’ is 3,000 miles away. I already know who I’m voting for, and I don’t think I can work up being outraged anymore than I already am with every utterance from the Walking Cheeto who’s running for President. I am telling myself to try not to worry so much – surely he can’t be elected, surely people recognize an unbalanced individual when they see one, surely reason will win out and he’ll be crying in his Cheerios come November 9. All we can do is wait. And I’m not a very patient person. It’s something else I’m working on.

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  3. brian stouder said on August 10, 2016 at 9:59 am

    I bet you’re the most patient person here, as any good quilter would be!

    On the other hand, doing lots and lots of work, and investing many hours of detailed attention – only to have some idiot with orange hair come along and barf all over things – would be upsetting

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  4. Bitter Scribe said on August 10, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Every damn time Trump opens his mouth and manages not to insult someone or say something grossly stupid, we get this “pivot” stuff. And of course, it vaporizes the next time he opens his mouth.

    Remember the wingnuts sneering about Obama being unable to function without a teleprompter? Congratulations, you now have a candidate who needs a teleprompter the way the rest of us need oxygen.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I’m going to repost this from yesterday/this am’s thread, not because many here need encouragement about Hillary but it does reaffirm for some of us why we have a positive sense of what it would mean to have her in the Oval Office. It did for me, anyhow.


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  6. brian stouder said on August 10, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Superb link, Jeff.

    I gave Uncle Rush 10 minutes on the way to lunch, and he was in full melt-down mode. He’s very far into the fever-swamps, today, blaming this whole 2nd-Amendment-remedies’ thing on “the MAINSTREAM MEEDEEUH”.

    It always kills me that, no matter how big the right-wing noise machine becomes, they never ever ever ever think that THEY are “media”, too

    (I think he’s in full bunker-mode, in his Florida hideout)

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  7. Sue said on August 10, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    John Saunders has died. “The Sports Reporters” on Sunday morning will not be the same.

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  8. FDChief said on August 10, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    I think the whole “Trump and the mainstream media” nonsense works best if you’re familiar with toddlers. The Donald is, of course, a sort of bloated preschooler, all enamored of his own penis and lacking any filter between his still-in-the-early-stages-of-development mind and his mouth. Of COURSE he’s going to blart whatever’s crossing the front of his head at the moment he opens his pinhole. And once out, he’s never gonna pull it back; contrition is for wimps and losers.

    (FWIW this is a GOPism that they’ve learned works thru the doing. It’s not Il Douche, it’s his party doing the toddler here…)

    The “media”, meanwhile, is the rest of the gang in the daycare; wrapped up in shiny objects and what happens in the potty. To expect them to act consistently and hold Little Donnie to grownup standards would be like giving a four-year-old a full catbox and expecting the little yardape not to sample the Kitty Roca.

    Throw in the media’s fear of the wingnut flying monkeys screeching “LIBRULMEEDIUH!!” and there you have it; the Perfect Shitstorm.

    If the consequences weren’t so dire it’d be kinda funny, like one of those Internet videos when the cat drygulches the toddlers and they fall down and cry.

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  9. Sherri said on August 10, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), it’s been interesting to see you move from unwilling Hillary voter only because Trump was the alternative, to having a positive view of Hillary. Thanks for taking us along your journey. You and I may disagree about some things, but I respect you a great deal.

    Charles Pierce reminds us that local races matter: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a47489/north-carolina-voter-suppression-local-level/

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  10. beb said on August 10, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    When Trump reads from a teleprompter, as he did at the DEC, it means he’s reading something prepared by the rnc, and does nor reflect the Real Donald. Talking about second amendment remedies, THAT is the Real Donald. Personally, I think that everyone who tried to defend his comment should be driving out of politics.

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  11. Sherri said on August 10, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    We saw one of Shakespeare’s rarely performed plays this afternoon, and now I know why it’s rarely performed. “Timon of Athens” doesn’t have a narrative arc, most of the characters are unlikable, and there’s not really a resolution. That said, the production was good, done by one of my favorite directors, but it was still a difficult play to get into.

    We saw Hamlet last night, though, and the challenge there is always putting aside the other productions to view this one anew.

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  12. alex said on August 10, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Got into an unpleasant spat this evening with an in-law who was trying to tell me that Michelle Obama has vested financial interests in the school lunches that are being served these days and that they’re full of saccharine and cancer-causing stuff to boot. I almost told this 400-pound asshat that the purpose of healthy lunches is “so that little kids won’t end up looking like you” but then thought better of it.

    My partner’s German relatives who are visiting are quite fun. They asked me about our weird gun laws and told me that in Germany most people don’t have guns and must go through a lot of checks and balances in order to have them, and that the recent shopping mall massacre in Munich was a very disturbing event for everyone. They also expressed some alarm about a recent rise in neo-Naziism in Germany and asked if I thought Brexit and Trump were part of the same phenomenon, and I told them that indeed I do, particularly with regard to the scaremongering about foreigners stealing jobs and menacing society.

    Tonight they got to try out waterskiing and loved it.

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  13. alex said on August 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Something about the Michael Phelps game face makes me remember Marcia Wallace from the old Bob Newhart show.

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    There’s a part of the presidential story that doesn’t get noticed enough, or at least noticed the right way: the Clintons, and the Obamas are new to wealth. Romney, McCain in terms of military rank & heritage, then by second marriage; Kerry and Gore, Bushes 41 & 43 — they all had a history of power and privilege and place.

    The Clintons took shots on their “polling for vacation sites” because they had to *pick* a place to vacation; ditto the Obamas who did not have a family compound a la Kennedy or Kennebunkport. They had to rely, as it were, on the kindnesses of strangers.

    I will admit, freely, that there was an initial delight in the Palin pick — I have some oblique Heath family connections, and thought that the idea that a family like theirs might be part of the ruling clique was a good thing. Of Edwards we will not speak. Paul Ryan, if he ever rises to the upper part of the electoral pool, would be the first real “everyday” POTUS candidate for the GOP since . . . well, Nixon, and there you have the dilemma.

    My wife and I see this in higher education; there’s a greater diversity now in the college mix, but the divisions between demographics go deep. I can heartily recommend “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance on my own terms, having just finished reading it, and his story is mine in so many ways it literally made me cry reading it, and it is even more so my spouse’s, as I had driven home again this past couple of days back doing a family funeral for one of her last paternal relatives. But there is such a huge cultural and social gap between those whose families have had money and property for a long time, or at least three generations, and those who have no cultural memory of being anything other than paid.

    Hillary and Bill both come from families where being paid was what happened when things were going well; going on vacation was a dream, and when that dream came true, you went where other people like you went. Now I live in a place, and my wife works in an institution, where we see on Facebook many of our “peers” going to Martha’s Vineyard and similar locales. Our people, and those we feel most akin to, tend to go to Disney or Myrtle Beach (Ohio’s fourth largest city in the summertime) or other tourist sites, commonly shared locations. Hillary has had to worry about money, and child care, and where to take the family this summer other than back to see Mom, and that’s a set of challenges I can understand, and I know she understands my challenges having shared those particular ones.

    The times I’ve most felt akin to and supportive of the Obamas, let alone the Clintons, is when people hack on where, or how they chose to vacation for the summer. That should be a Republican feeling, but it’s a sensation the GOP has lost nerve endings to pick up. Hillary has made some serious missteps, more coming out today which cannot be simply dismissed . . . but I sadly feel like I understand why she made them.

    I worry about the further revelations out of the Clinton Foundation, I really do . . . not out of fear and loathing of Hillary, but because I think I understand what has driven her all too well. A nest egg, a provision for grandchildren, a check which someone was going to cash, and why not me instead of a frickin’ Bush? Yet the optics, in the current phrase, are giving Mr. Plutocrat l’orange a picture to post that redefines her entirely out of recognition.

    Anyhow, read that link I posted just above if you haven’t already. Can Trump understand me and my community and congregation the same way Hillary does? Only insofar as the KFC gravy holds out. Once it’s gone, he’s back into his gated understanding of everyday life in America, with armed security keeping uncomfortable realizations at bay.

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  15. Suzanne said on August 11, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Jeff, I had the Same feelings reading Sonia Sotomoyor’s memoir, especially when she writes about how out of place she felt a Princeton. The episode that stood out was her hearing some women discussing where to register for wedding gifts. She didn’t know what that was because in her poverty stricken neighborhood, you just got cash for wedding gifts because that’s what you needed, It’s a great book that I highly recommend.

    Growing up, my family never talked about careers, but about getting a job. I can still hear my father as soon as I or my siblings were old enough exhorting us to “get a job!”. After school activities? No, other than a part time job. My friends who are 2nd or 3rd generation college families almost all tell me about the career talk they got from parents. In my family, we were the first generation to go to college, so my parents had not a clue how to guide me.

    I really want to read Hillbilly Elegy as I see it everyday in my area. It’s intriguing to me that the so-called hillbilly problems seem very much similar to inner city minority problems, but those have been categorized by much of the white community as cultural or personal flaws. Now that the same problems are swamping white communities, white people are taking notice.

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  16. Sue said on August 11, 2016 at 7:51 am


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  17. brian stouder said on August 11, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Excellent post, Jeff – and I’ll just tell you that I’ll surely be borrowing the term “gated understanding”, going forward!

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  18. Julie Robinson said on August 11, 2016 at 9:41 am

    The Sotomayor memoir is an amazing book by an amazing lady, who overcame so much, not the least of which is childhood diabetes. She is clearly smart as a whip and a very hard worker. But I was also struck by the network of teachers who watched out for her and found special opportunities for her to advance. Like HRC says, it takes a village.

    My family is four or five generations from peasant farming in the old country, but the value of education is a common theme on both sides. Both my grandmas had a bit of higher education–normal school for one, who became a one-room schoolteacher before her marriage. Though they were still farmers, both sets of grandparents sent all their kids off to college. There was never any discussion for my generation; education was how you bettered yourself. Though personally we haven’t made it to Martha’s Vineyard!

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  19. Peter said on August 11, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Jeff, I do have a little disagreement on your excellent post – Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama certainly weren’t well off by any means, but Hillary’s upbringing was more comfortable. Certainly not at Bush, Gore, or Trump, but Park Ridge, Illinois, then and now, is upper middle class. I’d say her upbringing and Merrick Garland’s is very similar – in both cases, if they missed a paycheck it wouldn’t be total financial ruin.

    And it pains me to say it – but Ronald Reagan didn’t come from wealth either. He certainly wasn’t broke when he ran for President, but he didn’t have family wealth to rely on.

    Looking at this year’s Republican Clown Car Crash, it kills me to think that I actively worked against Reagan’s election in 1980 because I thought he didn’t have enough experience to run Washington – yet he was a governor – of California – for two terms. Compare that to Lyin Ted, Little Marco, and The Donald, who one reporter calls “the melting orange dreamsicle”.

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  20. brian stouder said on August 11, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    ‘Melting Orange Dreamsicle’ looks like today’s winner!

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  21. Deborah said on August 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Tonight is the peak of the perseid meteor shower. Little Bird and I are going to camp out in our not quite finished cabin in Abiquiu, my husband is leaving NM today so he won’t be joining us. It’s supposed to be partly cloudy until midnight and then clear up, hopefully. They say you can possibly see 200 meteors an hour which is flabbergasting. The roof of the cabin is going to be the perfect spot to scope it out. Can’t wait.

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  22. basset said on August 11, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Suzanne, my family was the same way – I was the first to go to college and neither of my brothers did, one didn’t even finish high school. Out of place at Princeton? Hell, I went to IU Bloomington and felt like I was drowning for most of freshman year.

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  23. Jolene said on August 11, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    So many nicknames: Cinnamon Hitler, Mango Mussolini, the Orange Toddler. We should hold a contest. Not sure what the prize should be, but we can surely think of something good. A week in a country where no one has heard of Trump might be good.

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  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 11, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Peter – fair points, but Hillary didn’t have a “family vacation home” or other assets to fall back on. I come from a place physically and socially similar to Park Ridge, and that’s probably why I can feel the rumbling anxiety about not-quite-fitting-in and worrying about money in a way that those with secure fiscal heritage never do. Park Ridge has plenty of those folks around, and Hillary fit in, but from the bottom. Small example: I remember going on HS trips where the other kids all always had $20s, and I always had a $5. It was plenty, but it put me on guard, comments got made, and I got really good at covering and hiding. And wanted to make sure someday my kid got $20s . . . which he has, and other kids all have $50s! Ah well.

    As for Reagan, a very fair point, and part of where he did touch a chord that other conservatives couldn’t as to his background — but by the time he got into politics, he owned a ranch in the mountains and a place in Palm Springs and certainly hit the presidency with a “Western White House” ready to order. So he’s a bridge figure, and had they been in a place to do so, I suspect Ronnie and Nancy and Hillary would have had much to say to each other about that kind of background, then trying to walk down the corridors of Yale as if you belonged there.

    The much discussed recent “Hillbilly Elegy” didn’t make me tear up as much as wince, until he got by a circuitous path to Yale Law, and the stuff that happened to him there brought back old anxieties and hurts I’d forgotten, or thought I had. J.D. Vance, and I recommend the book he’s written heartily. He goes easy on what’s to be done, because he doesn’t know. And neither do I. But it’s an angle of view that should be in sight.

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  25. Sherri said on August 11, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    From PR people to speech writers to poll-unskewers, there sure are a lot of apparently fictitious people associated with Trump: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/whos-behind-a-mysterious-website-saying-polls-are-skewed-against-trump/

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  26. Jakash said on August 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    You may have seen this, Jeff, but there’s a review of “Hillbilly Elegy” in the NYT today. Sounds compelling, indeed.

    “Now, along comes Mr. Vance, offering a compassionate, discerning sociological analysis of the white underclass that has helped drive the politics of rebellion, particularly the ascent of Donald J. Trump. Combining thoughtful inquiry with firsthand experience, Mr. Vance has inadvertently provided a civilized reference guide for an uncivilized election, and he’s done so in a vocabulary intelligible to both Democrats and Republicans.

    Imagine that.”


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  27. Jolene said on August 11, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    FYI: PBS is showing presidential biographies made as part of its American Experience series. This week, they’re showing pieces on Kennedy, Nixon, and Johnson. Haven’t seen them all yet, but they’re very good. Presumably there’ll be shows about more recent presidents in the coming weeks.

    They also had, by the way, a well-made feature on the White House. Learned an interesting detail re 9/11 that I hadn’t heard before. A BBQ for members of Congress and their families had been scheduled to take place that night. Tables and such for several hundred people had already been set up on the South Lawn before the attack took place. Despite fears of additional attacks, all had to be rapidly disassembled so that the president’s helicopter could land there when he returned to Washington.

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  28. Jolene said on August 11, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Jeff, it doesn’t sound grand, but Hillary’s family did have a vacation place. It was a cabin owned by her paternal grandfather on Lake Winola near Scranton, PA. Not clear whether it’s still in the family.

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  29. Jolene said on August 11, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Some pictures here.

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  30. jcburns said on August 11, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    You didn’t attach a URL to that link, Jolene…?

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  31. Jolene said on August 11, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Not sure why that didn’t work. Here it is.


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  32. Hattie said on August 11, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Oh, this reminds me that the Clintons were once considered to be hicks and upstarts.

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  33. Sherri said on August 11, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    I believe I said here before that one of the sources of resentment towards the Clintons seem to be that they didn’t get their money the old-fashioned way, they didn’t inherit it.

    I haven’t read Hillbilly Elegy, but from the NYTimes article, anyone who can blame cellphones for the South turning from solid Democrat to solid Republican is willfully ignorant about the South. Ignoring the minor factors that the Appalachian parts of the South were already Republican, and that the change in the rest of the South happened at least a decade before anybody had cellphones, it’s completely disingenuous to say anything about the South flipping and not mention race.

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  34. sue manion said on August 11, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    If you enjoyed Calvin and Hobbes, you’ll enjoy this. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-in-calvin-and-hobbes-comic-strips-is-frighteningly-accurate_us_5783bbc1e4b01edea78eb57a

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