Had to go to Grand Rapids Wednesday, and I left early, clicking on every cylinder. Got my laptop, got my phone, got my earbuds, had my podcasts cued up. Sunglasses? Got ’em. The only thing I didn’t have was a full tank of gas, but I had enough to get well out of town, and when the light came on and the trip computer said I had 40 miles left, I pulled into a BP station in Fowlerville.
Opened my bag and found…no wallet. I mean, it just wasn’t there. Because obviously not every cylinder was clicking earlier in the morning. And I didn’t pack it.
So there I was, not enough gas to get home, not enough to get to Grand Rapids, no ID, no credit card of any sort, just my smiling face and a phone. And my old boss Derek, bless his heart, who was nice enough to meet me 10 miles down the road with $40 cash. Which was enough to gas me up and buy lunch at Steak & Shake. I hate to ask for help, but as the life coaches say, it’s selfish not to. Because people want to help you. I still felt pretty stupid.
But there’s nothing like a five-hour drive, round trip, to get you caught up on your podcasts and other audio stuff. I think we discussed this a few days or weeks ago, but I ended up subscribing to “Keeping it 1600,” with Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer, both Obama people, and “Radio Free GOP” with Mike Murphy, a #NeverTrump Republican who ran the Jeb! campaign. So it was that, plus the latest “This American Life,” which was all about summer. I only really enjoyed the first act of TAL, which was about a 66-year-old lifeguard suing New York City for age discrimination after they insisted he wear a Speedo for his speed test. It was hilarious, if only for the lengthy list of slang terms for men’s Speedos.
And on the way home, I caught J.D. Vance, author darling of the moment, discussing “Hillbilly Elegy,” his highly praised memoir about growing up po’ white in Middletown, Ohio, on “Fresh Air.” He’s an impressive guy, but I’m a little baffled by the praise this book is getting, but maybe that’s because I grew up in Ohio, and Vance’s people are hardly unknown to anyone from Columbus on south. He is quite a bit younger than I am, so I missed southern Ohio’s descent into opioid-addiction hell. He’s obviously entitled to his interpretation of his own world, but I found his explanation of hardscrabble-white fondness for Trump unconvincing. He gives his relatives too much credit for seeing an authenticity in Donald Trump that — in his opinion, anyway — Hillary Clinton lacks. Terry Gross tried to prod him a little, pointing out that Trump was born rich and got richer, but Clinton, as well as her husband, came from modest circumstances.
Yeah, he said, but Clinton surrounds herself with slick elites. Whereas Steve Bannon is jes’ folks, I guess.
Speaking of which. The hiring of Bannon suggests this campaign is going to auger all the way in, Trump-as-Trump, guns blazing. I’d start a pool on what he’ll say next, but honestly, not sure I have the imagination. Which leads us to the bloggage:
Another smart Trump take by Josh Marshall, mapping the Trump hate bubble.
You’ve probably read various cases made that Walmart actually makes for a net loss to taxpayers, because it pays so little its employees regularly qualify for food stamps, etc. Well, as this excellent Bloomberg report notes, it doesn’t end there. I’d paste a paragraph or three, but I can’t seem to copy from the site. Worth your time.