Too much hot.

What a long weekend, and I am bushed. It’s the weather, which makes every step you take outside feel like 100. We ended up at a downtown park for a beer-and-wine festival, where every beer went warm in your hand and, well, bleh. It was still fun, but I’ve had enough of this miserable heat wave. It seems to be breaking, but that’s happened before. Our August cooldown is overdue.

When you start out talking about the weather, you know you don’t have anything to talk about. That said, the weather sort of is the story today, as southern Louisiana floods from truly apocalyptic rainfall, but don’t worry: Climate change isn’t happening. This is just the 500th year of the 500-year rainfall event. Don’t you feel lucky to be here and see it?

I once asked a lobbyist how his industry was handling the policy aspects of climate change, when a fair number of the people they had to deal with wouldn’t even acknowledge climate change is a thing. He said, “We’re just moving forward, because we have to.”

Man, I’ll say.

Saturday was the usual grind of errands, topped off by dinner for a friend’s birthday, which included this wine:

bandol

It was so soft and warm in your mouth it made your tastebuds do a happy dance. Remember when “wine” = Gallo? Life is better in so many ways.

As you can tell, I’m flailing a bit here. So here’s the bloggage:

Why Jamaica produces so many great runners.

This week’s Trump-campaign-as-train-wreck overview, from the New Yorker.

Starting the week at Zzzzzz. I hope I have another gear or two left.

Posted at 12:04 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |
 

51 responses to “Too much hot.”

  1. Julie Robinson said on August 15, 2016 at 7:43 am

    As I am also starting the week without gas in my tank, how about a palate cleanser in the form of some pretty clothes? http://www.goldenglobes.com/photo-gallery/style-downton-abbey-how-fashion-evolved-20th-century

    Isn’t that much better than the latest horrors on the news? Sometimes we just need a little escapism.

  2. adrianne said on August 15, 2016 at 7:49 am

    I’m all for escapism! Hosted my brother and his family Sunday for a cookout, accomplished with strategic visits to the back porch Weber grill (we ate inside, mercifully). Today we may meet up for drinks after they go around Lower Manhattan. 9/11 museum is on the list; I’ve not yet been there, but I’ve been to the memorial.

  3. brian stouder said on August 15, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Our yard wasn’t really shaggy – but those seedy-looking sprouts and the patchy-lush spots made it uneven, and I decided to mow. Finished up in a light sprinkle, which became a deluge; couldn’t have ordered the weather off of a menu any better than that!

    And today – our 18 year-old daughter begins her senior year at Wayne High School/New Tech Academy ; and our 12 year old begins 6th grade at Towles Montessori, which was Ben Geyer when I went there, 40 years ago(!) (Lots of photo opportunities)

    All in all, a great day…and it’s not even 9 am yet

  4. Bitter Scribe said on August 15, 2016 at 10:11 am

    That New Yorker piece basically says what I’ve been arguing all along: Trump’s support is rooted in racism. Period. His success is based on appealing to nothing more or less than sheer, naked racial bigotry. All of this “working class economic anxiety” stuff is piffle.

    This is also why I’m growing increasingly impatient with all of the “what’s the matter with Kansas” handwringing we see among certain liberals. Forget about attracting Reagan Democrats or Trump Democrats or whatever the hell you want to call them. They’re not Democrats and probably never were. They’re Republican bigots, and the hell with them. Let the Republicans have them.

  5. brian stouder said on August 15, 2016 at 10:17 am

    I think President Johnson must have said something very similar, back in the mid-60’s.

    All in all, the D party has done fine since then

  6. adrianne said on August 15, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I’m with Bitter Scribe. It’s not hard to tease out The Donald’s appeal: Are you a racist asshole? Yes? Then I guess I know who you’re supporting. I don’t want them in the Democratic Party.

  7. jcburns said on August 15, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Boy, Adrianne, I’m not sure the 9/11 museum is in the tri-state area of escapism. However it will somber people up in a New York minute.

  8. Deborah said on August 15, 2016 at 11:50 am

    I’m at the Dr’s office in Albuquerque with Little Bird this morning. Just another follow up after her surgery. We’ve been having the most glorious weather in Santa Fe, yesterday’s high was 73 and it got down to 52. We had a fire again, that was nice. Today’s high will be 80, low of 54. Next Monday we’re leaving for our road trip in the Jeep up to Chicago to drop off some stuff and pick up some stuff to take back. I like roadtrips, at least the driving out part. The coming back part can get old.

  9. Jolene said on August 15, 2016 at 11:57 am

    The American Experience feature on GHW Bush identified him as one of the first to draw on racial resentment to build the Republican Party. Though he was a New England WASP, he was living in Texas, where, in the early 1960s, Republicans were, as they say, as scarce as hen’s teeth. He was chair of the Harris County (Houston) Republicans and, like any party chairman, wanted more members. When the Civil Rights Act was passed, Southern segregationists began to seek a new home in the GOP.

    The film mentioned, especially, longshoremen at the Port of Houston, who didn’t want to have to compete with blacks for jobs. Local Republicans warned Bush about the appearance, not to mention the morality, of taking in members primarily motivated by racism, but his party-building enthusiasm outweighed his moral impulses. One woman, a longtime Texas Republican, said that when this conversion took place, Democratic friends called to thank her for giving these racially motivated voters (these bastards, she called them) a new home.

    Of course, the story is much more complicated than what Bush did in Houston, but it was interesting to hear how one part of that transition to Rs rather than Ds as the home of white supremacists took place and to see that, as has long been the case, it began with a drive for political power–drawing on, rather than motivated by, racial fears.

  10. brian stouder said on August 15, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    mudsill

  11. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I’m back from our week at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where we saw 10 plays. Five Shakespeare – Hamlet, Timon of Athens, The Winter’s Tale, Richard II, and Twelfth Night – plus 5 more – Roe, Vietgone, Yeoman of the Guard, Great Expectations, and The Wiz. Our unanimous favorite was Vietgone, a play based on the experiences of playwright’s Qui Nguyen’s parents as South Vietnamese refugees in the US. It will be playing in Seattle this winter at Seattle Rep, and my husband and I will likely go see it again.

    Roe, about Roe v. Wade, was also strong, and is part of the OSF’s American Revolutions project, about which more here: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/american-playwrights-try-to-reinvent-the-history-play

    Yeoman was G&S with a country-western twist, and was a hoot. The Winter’s Tale was beautiful, with an Asian setting and actors and costuming.

    The weather wasn’t nearly as hot as I feared it would be when I made arrangements for this trip; the first part of the week was in the 80’s, and it wasn’t until the last couple of days that the triple-digit temps I was afraid we might see every days arrived. Yeah, it’s a dry heat, but it’s still hot!

  12. brian stouder said on August 15, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    So – not for nothing, but my good ol’ “This Day in History” calendar (which Chloe got for me for Christmas) indicates that today is the 55th anniversary of the birth of….the Berlin Wall.

    An excerpt from that entry: “For the next twenty-eight years, the heavily fortified Berlin Wall stood as the most tangible symbol of the Cold War – a literal “Iron Curtain” dividing Europe. During the rest of 1961, the grim and unsightly Berlin Wall continued to grow in size and scope, eventually consisting of a series of concrete walls up to 15 feet high. These walls were topped with barbed wire and guarded with watch towers, machine gun emplacements, and mines”

    Not that this necessarily has anything to do with 2016….

  13. Kirk said on August 15, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    I recommend “Berlin 1961,” by Frederick Kempe, a solid account of the Berlin crisis with emphasis on the Kennedy-Khrushchev relationship.

  14. Joe K said on August 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Brian,
    Not that this has anything to do with 2016, except for you reference it to Trump’s building a wall, small difference, Berlin Wall was to keep people from leaving, Trump’s wall is to keep (and
    I’ll emphasis this since the media doesn’t) illegal, not legal immigrants out.
    Pilot Joe

  15. Julie Robinson said on August 15, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Jolene, I’m not sure I agree with The American Experience. Just in my own sentient lifetime, Goldwater, Nixon, and Romney come to mind. Or, pretty much every Republican Presidential candidate.

    Deborah, you’re driving from New Mexico to Chicago and back? I don’t envy you.

  16. Julie Robinson said on August 15, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Joe, I’m glad there wasn’t a wall between Canada and the USA back when my own undocumented ancestors were immigrating. They wanted a better life for their families, just like every other person trying to get in today.

  17. Jakash said on August 15, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    “His success is based on appealing to nothing more or less than sheer, naked racial bigotry.”

    That’s a bold and non-negotiable summation of an article that wasn’t so clear-cut to me, to say the least. It’s fun, easy and satisfying dumping on the Republican racists, and Rumpelthinskin has certainly done about as much as he can to appeal to them. I think there’s somewhat of a difference between those who jumped on his bandwagon early in the primaries and those who are stuck with him as the R nominee now, though. Perhaps I’m naive, but I still believe that there are plenty of “cloth coat Republicans”, which my mother was, as well as the fur-coat swells, who are stuck in a party that they never realized would come to this. Though most of us here disagree heartily with their rationale, abortion has kept many on that side of the ledger. There are legitimate reasons why both small and large business owners are wary of abandoning the Republicans who they believe have their economic interests at heart. The responsible gun owners are also wary of Hillary, though I don’t see why they should be, given the wild success of 8 years of Obama rounding up every gun in America. Again, one can debate those rationales on the merits. Personally, I can’t see how anybody could vote for Rump after having witnessed what he’s said and done over the last year. (Well, I don’t see how they could have ever considered it from the get-go. He was clearly a charlatan and a joke in my mind long before this rodeo.)

    But, after finally talking with a few “Rump supporters”, I have a somewhat better understanding of what they’re thinking. To me, it’s convoluted and short-sighted, but it’s not just that they’re racist assholes. Uh — spoiler alert — they REALLY don’t want Hillary and just as we realize it’s either him or her, so do they, so they’re stuck with him. (Are the Bernie supporters who really don’t want Hillary also a bunch of racists, plain and simple? Or is there room for any nuance here at all?) I find even considering voting for Rump appalling on several levels, but it was also appalling that Rod Blagoevich got reelected governor of Illinois, even though anybody with any sense knew he’d be indicted before he served out his second term. Tribal loyalty runs deep on both sides. And let’s not forget that there is quite a healthy percentage of bitter racists among the true-blue, solid D electorate in Chicago as well. Yes, yes, “false equivalence”, but one could just as easily spend some time beating up on them, too, unless we prefer to see things only from within a much more cut and dried, “we’re right, they’re all racist shits” framework…

    “Reagan Democrats… They’re not Democrats and probably never were.” As I mentioned to Sherri a few weeks back, my dad was quite definitely a life-long Democrat who voted for Reagan because of the problems with the late ’70s economy. The suggestion that that phenomenon never existed, nor could exist aside from racism is just flat-out wishful thinking, IMHO. Ted Kennedy was no Reagan Democrat, but I’d hardly suggest he was a racist because he thought the country needed an alternative to Jimmy Carter. (Who I liked, BTW.)

    And Scribe, you know I’m a fan of your comments, but such a blanket demonization of EVERYBODY who’s thinking of voting for Rump is a bit much for me. Not that you care! ; )

  18. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Jakash, by this point, to go along with Trump is to be at least tolerant of open bigotry. His actions have been quite clear. If the Bernie dead-enders and the anti-abortioners want to stick with their Hillary is evil stance, they have to own the fact that they are partnering with bigotry.

  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 15, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    I’d add to Jakash’s comment that in this county, the most vocal, active, visible Trump supporters — who simply cannot be talked to unless you are willing to agree with them about their candidate’s necessity if not inevitability in the first 30 seconds — are small business guys and farmers. I’m sure there are more, and some who live under various racist rocks, but the red-faced vehement face of Trumpism right now around me are those who are relatively non-partisan. They don’t care about the party, a party, let alone the Grand Old Party. They have thirty years of grievance about increasing government regulation and mandates and scrutiny, and they want someone to go to Washington with a baseball bat, and they really don’t care what The Donald breaks on his way in as long as he gets close enough to start whacking at the Federal Register and every window around it.

    I repeat, I find them mildly unhinged and impossible to communicate with, but they’re very consistently that group, and while I’d hate to bet money that none of them are racist, they’re very clear, loud, and specific about why they don’t want Hillary and want Trump. And as Mencken would say, they deserve to get him, good and hard . . . but that’s not gonna happen. County GOP leaders and elected officials — with the exception of two who are farmers, and are lower-key supporters of The Orangey One — were quickly darting away when the Trumpians trotted past. They’re getting tired of being yelled at, too.

  20. nancy said on August 15, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    You want tribalism? This is tribalism – the most popular ex-governor in the state, disowned by his own party for not falling in line. It so happens I interviewed the man who led the charge a few years back. It’s telling that his own father — HIS FATHER — was opposed, and spoke against it at the party meeting.

  21. Bitter Scribe said on August 15, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Jakash: Not to quibble, but when I say Trump’s success is based on nothing but racism, I didn’t mean that every single person who will vote for him is a racist. I meant that his SUCCESS, i.e. the reason he got so far and is now the Republican nominee, is due to the fact that there were enough racists among Republican primary voters to put him over the top.

    Of course it’s possible to vote for Trump for all kinds of other reasons besides racism. Although if you do, it means you can (at best) ignore an amount of racism that should gag a horse.

  22. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Both parties, but especially the GOP, has been selling the story that small business owners and farmers are Real Americans and we must do everything we can to protect them, and I’m not anti-small business owner or farmer, but the truth is, small businesses aren’t the best job creators, because small businesses fail, no matter how much help we give them. Small businesses thrive in areas with big businesses around, servicing the big businesses. Farming is just hard no matter what.

    The GOP has been handing these small business owners and farmers the line that they would be wildly successful if only government would get out of the way, and of course, it’s a lie. It’s especially a joke with regards to farming, which for all the perverse incentives and weird parts of our agricultural subsidies, those subsidies are there because an unfettered market combined with nature’s vicissitudes does not make for stable operations.

  23. nancy said on August 15, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Jeff, when these farmers and business owners talk about regulation, do they ever get specific? I’m interested in the details of what they think is holding them back. Is it having to provide health insurance past a certain employee threshold, or something else?

    Because, especially when it comes to farming, it seems we could use a little *more* regulation. Algae blooms in the Great Lakes as a result of copious fertilizer application/poor manure-treatment practices? Worker-safety issues from improperly maintained equipment and/or suicidally dangerous job duties? Bring on the damn regulation, because whatever we have now isn’t working.

  24. Jolene said on August 15, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Yes, Julie, for a long time now, Republicans have used veiled and not-so-veiled appeals to racial antipathy. But that idea had not been a part of the party ideology when Nixon was vice-president, nor was it a prominent theme when he ran against JFK in 1960. It was the Southern Democrats who were segregationists; JFK had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do anything re civil rights, out of fear of losing support in the South, as, indeed, happened when events and conscience drove LBJ to argue for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    Although Goldwater had voted for earlier civil right bills, he voted against LBJ’s 1964 legislation on grounds of federal intrusiveness and, as a result, did draw support from some Southern states. But it was in the 1968 election of Richard Nixon that the GOP Southern strategy came into play most strongly.

    Romney, of course, came along much later.

    The American Experience documentary doesn’t argue that Bush Sr. was unique in making a play for support from white supremacists, merely that, at a key moment. before there was a national move to attract Southern whites to the GOP on that basis, Bush did so knowingly, recognizing full well what sort of thinking he was inviting into the party and despite his own heritage as a Northeastern WASP with moderate positions on social issues.

    Watch the show! You’ll get a clearer sense of the sequence of shifting alliances and emphases within the GOP than I’m able to convey.

  25. Jakash said on August 15, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I appreciate the reply, Scribe, and I do think that that his xenophobia and racism were key distinguishers between him and the pack in the primaries. But, as our mild-mannered, front-line correspondent Jeff notes, there was also a pretty fair-sized “send in a non-political, super-businessman (gag!) to shake things up” contingent which was just not going to go with a guy like Jeb! this time around, whether the businessman was a goon and a featherweight of a thinker, or not.

  26. Jolene said on August 15, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I’m with you, Nancy, on the regulation issue. Although I’m not a student of regulation, it seems like most of what we have came about as a response to problems–to contaminated food and water, to polluted air, to drugs that produce unanticipated harms, to equipment that malfunctions causing injury or death. Furthermore, they aren’t so easy to enact. In most cases, there are lengthy periods for public commentary, and lobbyists that do everything they can to avoid constraints on industry activity.

    Certainly, regulations should be reviewed periodically, and agencies need to ensure that their requirements don’t conflict with those of other agencies, but I think a world where the people making the rules do not have financial interests at stake is a safer world.

  27. Suzanne said on August 15, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Jolene, that would be my take as well on regulations. They don’t come out of nowhere but as a response to something like Love Canal or the Queen of Angels fire or any number of terrible things. They probably don’t get reviewed often enough, but that’s a different matter from enacting them in the first place. Having a ridiculous amount of paperwork to fill out to prove the water you are providing a city is clean might need to be addressed but the regulations that the water should be clean should not ever be up for discussion.

    As to farmers, I know quite a few and they are always willing to take their farm subsidies. I get it. It’s a tough job and you are at the mercy of the weather and the market. But too many that I know are like are soon-to-be ex-congressman Marlin Stutzman who voted to cut things like food stamps but not his own farm subsidy. In other words, I deserve my piece of the government pie but you don’t.

  28. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    So the host for the Trump fundraiser in Seattle is a real estate developer who is chronically late in paying his bills. His company currently owes almost $2 million to Seattle Light, and it’s not the first time; clearly, it’s a business decision to slow-pay his bills.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/billionare-developer-selig-racks-up-2m-in-unpaid-seattle-city-light-bills/

    • nancy said on August 15, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      But it would be SO EXCELLENT if Seattle Light decided to cut the lights during the fundraiser, don’t you think?

  29. alex said on August 15, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    I saw the Big Bush American Experience documentary some time ago, and my takeaway was that Big Bush was uneasy about his Faustian bargain with the Birchers in Texas and detested them and resented having to suck up to them. It’s part of the reason that his career in government was largely one of appointed offices; he couldn’t stomach the kissing babies and licking assholes part of political campaigning. It’s also why his heart didn’t seem to be in it during his run for a second term as president.

  30. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Trump’s inability to open his mouth without telling blatant lies must be contagious. In just the last couple of days, we’ve heard Trump surrogate Katrina Pierson say that Obama invaded Afghanistan and that reporters were literally beating up Trump supporters. Today, Giuliani said that there were no Radical Islamic Terrorist (TM) attacks in the US prior to Obama. He also introduced Pence to a crowd in Ohio as “your governor.”

    Of course, as someone pointed out, Republicans have always tried to pretend that W’s term began on 9/12/2001 and ended the day Lehman Bros collapsed. Terrorist attack? Democrats’ fault. Wall Street bailout? Democrats’ fault.

  31. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    As for immigrants and documents, my immigrant ancestors were undocumented because there was no US government to grant documents, and the Native Americans weren’t big on documents, either. So if I can tolerate the rest of you Johnny-come-latelies without pulling up the ladder after me, stop whining.

  32. Jolene said on August 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    That “He kept us safe” claim has always galled me. As in, yeah right, except for that one day. We had had the bombing of the African embassies and if the USS Cole before Bush took office. I wouldn’t say he should have been able to prevent 9/11, but the idea that this was something that came out of nowhere is completely bogus.

  33. Jolene said on August 15, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Even when there was a US government, it was a long while before there were any restrictions on who could enter the country. Until 1870, any white person could enter the country and, after a period of years, become naturalized. So, for almost one hundred years, any European who could afford the fare could become an American, regardless of income, education, or national origin. I suspect many of our ancestors came during that period.

  34. LAMary said on August 15, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Jolene, I think all my ancestors came in before 1880 and I think the only regulations then were that you weren’t Chinese and didn’t have TB. One of my grandmothers was born in Wisconsin and no on in her family, including all the US born kids, spoke English. Their first language was German and the local schools all taught in German.

  35. Suzanne said on August 15, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Or, Jolene, if you look it at as certain people would, clearly the intent of the founding fathers was only to allow white Europeans in.

  36. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    My ancestors are the Scots-Irish that James Webb is so fond of (remember him? He ran for President this cycle, too!) They were in Pennsylvania by the mid-1700s, migrated down to the Carolinas, and then to Tennessee by about 1800. Theyve been in that section of Tennessee ever since. Nothing special about getting here first; I’m descended from a bunch of hillbillies.

  37. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 15, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    I think I’m repeating myself to answer the question, but I’m in my usual straddle on this issue about regulation and governmental intrusion. I’m pastor of a church I was associate at in ’89, and the change in how many and how aggressively our medium-ish size congregation is inspected, certified, and threatened with closure or restriction if we don’t update our record keeping for this or post properly our certificate for that is truly striking.

    Now, you could — and Jolene and Sherri have! — go with me thru each one and say “why don’t you think that’s important?” and I have no good answer. It’s all well intended, and potentially prevents all manner of bad things possibly happening. The other side of that coin is, to sound like the Republican I can still be from time to time, when does the total weight of such oversight actually choke the goose that lays the eggs which feeds the regulatory beast in the first place? Three elevator inspections a year where there was one, and every other inspection finds “something” which produces a flurry of letters from a state office telling us what will happen (all bad) if we “do not come into compliance” with record keeping guidelines. Boiler inspections are now full property reviews with pointed instructions to spend more on various infrastructure items that may or may not be clearly their problem; fire code inspectors come twice annually, and they *always* find something . . . even as buildings are more and more fireproof to start with.

    Health department checks our fridges and dish machines and supply storage as if we were a restaurant, and I suspect they’d love to order churches to just stop serving meals altogether. We do congregational dinners four or five times a year, a big community meal, two neighborhood meals for the association, and 12-20 post-funeral dinners for anywhere from 15 people to 150 . . . and we get basically the same treatment as the KFC down the road.

    We’re inspected for backflow valve compliance and we have to produce a pricey certificate which is only provided by a list of approved persons, then pay another fee to the city for having done so — I remember when that began, and it’s doubtless good for the watershed. But now it’s annual, and I can’t help wondering what plumber’s union had a hand in pushing that through. And we have watershed assessments on a property tax ticket that used to not even be sent to churches & non-profits, but they now send us those with zeros in all the other categories . . . for now.

    And now the city/county wants us to require that each service have trained persons in mass casualty events designated for each “open to the public” service, with active shooter training offered to all our leadership. I am paddling frequently in puddles of paperwork sent to us for our 17 hour a week custodian, 20 hour a week secretary, and contract music minister, let alone the fun and games for my Social Security each quarter as “self-employed.” We let go of a custodian four years ago who threatened people for putting trash in trash cans, and for chewing out visitors for tracking in mud right before the 10:30 service (after having been warned that this was not his call, nor his place), and he kept us tied up in various hearings for two flippin’ years until the state got tired of wasting time on him. I won’t say how we were feeling about him, but it wasn’t as Christian as it should have been. He got 60 days pay from us when contract said 30, but he certainly got another 600 days worth of our time and trouble through frivolous claims. I don’t know a pastor in the area who doesn’t have a similar story, and why most are contracting out their cleaning and even secretarial services, and closing office hours entirely.

    Do I want to void any element of law or regulation all that represents (and that’s just on the sofa off the top of my head)? NO, I do NOT. But I can attest to the fact that there are lots more people, many rather officious, with laminated lanyards who come to our 250 member church and seem to enjoy ending sentences with “or we will close you down until you’ve met the requirements.” I think it is demonstrably true that government is more involved in mundane stuff than they used to be, and it’s always done in the name of saving lives, safety, or children, but when you step back, it’s not always so clear. I can also attest that this is as much a problem of heinie-covering for insurance & legal purposes by other groups we work with, but it feels like it all traces back to a more activist, intrusive government wanting life to be governed more by litigation than by dialogue. And that has people on a ragged edge of irritability that isn’t hard for a Trump to rub the right way.

  38. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    One quick response, Jeff: back flow testing is not about protecting the watershed, it’s about protecting the immediate water supply for your neighbors. A back flow device prevents low pressure in your system siphoning water that could be contaminated into the common water supply. i would guess that you have an automatic fire sprinkler system and that is why you have to have an annual back flow inspection. Any kind of automatic system like that requires such a device and inspection. I have an irrigation system for my yard, and so I have a back flow device and have to get an annual inspection as well.

  39. David C. said on August 15, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    The family of a guy I went to college with was dead set against regulation. His family ran a small chain of restaurant/bars. I asked him if he was OK with anyone hanging out a shingle saying they were a bar and well, no that’s not good at all. You see, they paid a lot of money for their liquor licenses and it would be unfair to let just anyone open a bar. So regulations that limit competition are good. Who would have guessed that.

  40. alex said on August 15, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Jeff, if I didn’t know you were in Newark, Ohio, I’d swear you were talking about Chicago.

  41. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    When I started grad school, the CS department at CMU was run on what it called the “Reasonable Person Principle”. That is, we assumed we are all reasonable people, and we should all behave accordingly. That was already starting to fray at the edges when I got there, when the whole department, students, faculty, administration, etc., was about 150 people. In other words, at a size when you could know everybody. As the department grew larger, and eventually turned into multiple departments in a separate School of Computer Science, that principle alone was no longer sufficient.

    I think the same thing is true in governments, in regulations and in communication. When towns are small, and people don’t move around, it’s easier to have fewer regulations. It’s not as big a deal to require that church kitchens meet restaurant caliber requirements, because most the time, it’s not a problem, and even if it is a problem, and this is the key, the problem will be contained quickly. It’s also one thing for your medium-ish well-established stable church to have fewer regulations, and quite another for that fast-growing “disruptive” model church that suddenly has thousands showing up and is meeting in an industrial space because that’s where the cost is cheaper and now containing problems from food safety and fire safety are much harder. You have to be careful treating one church differently than another. You could make regulations based on size, but who’s going to monitor that, and now a city government is going to have to tell a church “you’re too big?” Ouch.

    I’m sympathetic about the paperwork, Jeff(tmmo). I’m on the audit committee for our church, so once a year, I go through the mounds of paperwork to make sure our church is in compliance with requirements and regulations. To reel things back around to the documentation discussion, one of the things I have to check is to make sure all of the employees of the church have I-9’s on file to show that they are eligible to be employed in the US.

    On watersheds, Redmond takes its watershed extremely seriously. About a third of our water supply comes from a shallow aquifer, and because of that, stormwater runoff is a big deal. If you wander around Redmond, you’ll see a lot of stormwater catch basins, which are designed to catch runoff and let it slowly soak into the ground, rather than letting stormater run into street sewers. More modern developments have more sophisticated means of accomplishing the same task. The point is, when we recently built an expansion to our church, it cost about twice what we originally thought, because we had to build an enormous vault under the parking lot for stormwater runoff. People don’t normally think about where their drinking water comes from, and so a lot of people in the church were pretty unhappy to find out we had to do this, and were unhappy at the city of Redmond. But keeping that aquifer clean and recharged is a big deal; I found out a lot more about just how big a deal from a great presentation from a staff member not too long ago. Maintaining compliance with the Clean Water Act drives certain things, because we are dependent on a shallow aquifer. When I first moved here, I noticed all the stormwater catch basins, but just thought it was because it rained all the time here. It’s not so much about the rain, it’s about the aquifer.

  42. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 15, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    No sprinkler system, it’s a city department of works thing, just about our drains, or so I’m told. We definitely don’t have sprinklers — the 1951 structure is an after-a-fire church building, all US Steel girders, steel chickenwire and four inches of plaster construction. Don’t even start me about trying to get new lines or vents in this building! Backflow valves were first required in 1990, was originally checked every five years by a city guy. Now is annual, but contracted out (we have to hire someone to come in, get certified by them, then hie the cert down to the city and pay them the inspection fee — and someone has to make those calls, be here to let them in, and take it downtown at the end: you can say that’s not the pastor’s job, but I’m the only fulltimer, so as with elevator/fire extinguisher/boiler/fire code/watershed/insurance company visits, these all become marks on my calendar, and of course if they miss or are late, too bad for me).

  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 15, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    I clearly need a Sherri in my congregation! That all ends up back on my desk. We have eleven employees in a $240,000 a year budget for a 250 member church, but they’re all odd little contracts (accompanist, financial secretary, nursery attendant, etc.).

    Bless you for doing that in your church, and I really mean that. Hope your pastor appreciates it!

  44. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Oh, he does, and our admin appreciates it even more, as does our treasurer. There are a group of about 5-7 of us who have been doing an annual audit for the last 10 years or so, 4 in any given year. We’ve gone it down to a pretty efficient process now, so we can get it done in about 3 hours. Then one of the parishioners feeds us a great meal – the key to keeping happy committee members! The Episcopal Church actually provides a format for doing an audit, and our audit gets submitted to the diocese. I wasn’t part of the group that got the audit started, I was asked to join later, but I guess earlier they just weren’t doing one.

    The next task is to convince the preschool that is actually operating under our auspices rather than just renting space from us that they need to do an annual audit, too, or let us do one. I’m not worried that anyone is embezzling money or anything, and the preschool pays for itself, but I think it would be better for both the preschool and the church if they were audited annually. Nobody has been able to explain to me adequately exactly where the boundaries are, and that worries me. Our priest is conflict-averse, and the preschool director has successfully exploited that so far.

  45. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    BTW, Peter Thiel, angel investor and board member of Facebook, funder of James O’Keefe, and the person who tried to secretly fund suing Gawker, Nick Denton, and AJ Daulerio into oblivion, is sharing his thoughts on the importance of privacy and a free press on the NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/16/opinion/peter-thiel-the-online-privacy-debate-wont-end-with-gawker.html

  46. Suzanne said on August 15, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Wow, Sherri, thanks for the explanation.
    It makes sense. I live rural, small town nearby, rural church. Everybody knows everybody, so if Ethel brings rancid potato salad to the church potluck, someone will quickly take her aside, explain, and she won’t likely do it again. If she can’t be convinced to bring cake next time, everyone will know to not eat her potato salad so there won’t be a bigger problem. No one is likely to sue the church, or Ethel, for causing a bad bout of diarrhea because, well, she’s our lawyer’s mother, and our cousin is married to her son, and everybody knows she’s a lousy cook, and suing would just be bad form.
    But, you take that pot of bad salad to the big church in the big city, which is run like a corporation and has its congregents broken down into small groups because it’s so large, and most of the people have never met most of the other people, then that bad salad is a complete different beast.

  47. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    The first several years of my career as a software engineer were spent basically working on issues of scale, and it had a profound impact on my thinking. Now, I just automatically think “does this need to scale?” “What will break when this does scale?”

  48. Sue said on August 15, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Jerry, if you’re around, I have a question for you:
    I was watching DCI Banks last Friday night and the episode had a very worried mother going to Banks about something she had found in her daughter’s bedroom. A gun, wrapped as a gift with a note that suggested a boyfriend might have been hiding it through the (unsuspecting) daughter. As far as I can tell (because I still have trouble understanding the accents sometimes), they did not know if the gun had been used in a crime or who the boyfriend was.
    Next thing I know there’s a SWAT team (or British equivalent), lots of armed cops, breaking down the door and tasering the dad, causing all sorts of havoc. Shame on me, I started laughing.
    So, is it unusual for someone to have a handgun in England? What am I missing?

  49. Sherri said on August 15, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Remember that $2 million owed by a host of the Donald Trump fundraiser? He delivered a check to Seattle Light today, and disavowed Trump, and said he’s no longer a host of the fundraiser. That’s at least 4 co-hosts who have said, no, not me.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/developer-pays-14m-on-overdue-city-light-bill/

    According to the Elway poll released today (the best poll in Washington), Trump is at 24 percent. That evidently forced Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant to pick a side, and say that he was not supporting Trump. He had refused to answer the question up until now. He’s polling at 36% to the incumbent Jay Inslee’s 48%.

  50. basset said on August 16, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Never been a churchgoer, but from the outside it looks to me like community and belonging are very important. Never have understood why someone would join one of those megachurches where the pastor doesn’t know your name.

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