Friends when you need them.

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.

Remember when Adrianne predicted the future of the Columbus Dispatch, after it was sold? Lo, it appears it is coming to pass.

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.

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

61 responses to “Friends when you need them.”

  1. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 12:55 am

    I got a phone case with a slot for my drivers license and a couple of cards and/or some cash to avoid the problem of forgetting my wallet. I found I was less likely to forget my phone.

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  2. ROGirl said on August 18, 2016 at 5:29 am

    What will Trump do after the election? Maybe this is what he is aiming for.

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  3. adrianne said on August 18, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Very discouraged (alas, not surprised) to see the fire sale that Gatehouse is conducting on its properties, after stripping them for parts. This is serious stuff: Their strategy (if you could call it that) was to buy up state capital newspapers throughout the U.S. Thus, they picked up the Providence, R.I., Journal and the Columbus Dispatch. Latest move at the long-beleaguered Providence paper was “transferring” their well-respected statehouse reporter to parts unknown. I used to think Gannett was the last word in bad newspaper ownership. These hedge fund fuckers are leagues worst that anything Gannett has done.

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  4. Suzanne said on August 18, 2016 at 8:31 am

    As to Hillbilly Elegy, I think it’s all over the news because it’s opened the door to a world that people who grow up in comfortable, middle class or wealthy neighborhoods in cities don’t really understand. I was even surprised when I moved here to rural IN how no one batted an eye about friends/relatives/offspring being drunks, petty criminals, etc. “Oh, he’s a good guy, he just has a little drinking/stealing/philandering problem.” It’s not that unusual for people to use their trunk as an ice chest so their beer is good & cold by the time they get to the campground or lake. One family even drilled holes under the car to let the water drain out. I had never encountered this before. When a teen from our area died in a horrific car crash driving 100+ mph on a narrow country road, the reaction was a bit understated. “Well, we ALL drove that fast when we were young!” Basically, it’s too bad but it happens. I don’t think I heard one adult add that with the perspective of age, they regretted that risky behavior. They hold fast to what they consider their Christian beliefs, although many rarely go to church & couldn’t tell much about what they believe except that Jesus loves them & they won’t go to hell.
    They are mostly isolated from the bigger world and generally blame minorities & poor for poor & minorities’ problems. (Unless their is a Latino at your work. He’s probably a decent guy, because you know him). Now, with the way the economy runs, they find it’s all catching up with them. You can’t go get a decent job at the local plant when you need it but have now become like the minorities, unable to pull yourselves up by your bootstraps. And realizing that the politicians who say they love Jesus & believe in hard work & family values have scammed you, well, you can’t go there because that would put on the same level as the inner city slacker poor that you so despise.
    And now someone has written a book about them and has shown the world what they are all about. And it’s so eye opening to many, many people which is why I think it’s news.

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  5. Grant Shipley said on August 18, 2016 at 8:33 am

    auger not augur

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  6. Julie Robinson said on August 18, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Good to know there’s a proofreader around here, which is more than can be said for Nancy’s former paper. Yesterday the large type, front page headline was about a Ford Thunderird. Front page!

    And on a happier note, 37 years ago I married my sweet Dennis.

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  7. ROGirl said on August 18, 2016 at 8:42 am

    The Trump embrace of opulence and glitz is like a parody of the bad taste that some poor schnook who won the lottery would gravitate to. So it’s aspirational for the people who ignore the contradiction of his privileged background and his desire to appeal to the uneducated.

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  8. Dexter said on August 18, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Monday we returned to Las Vegas via the 15; by Tuesday it was shut down due to this Blue Cut Fire that at midnight was 0% contained. El Cajon Pass is Hell…a motel called Summit is now ashes. SoCal bound traffic is re -routed to a circuitous detour. This abnormally hot summer is finally returning to has been about an average of 107 to 110 here . Very few people outside in the residential hoods, still packed sidewalks all around The Strip. Encinitas and Oceanside and La Jolla Cove were fantastic as we drove and rode the Coaster train up and down the coast. No desire to flush my pension down any casino toilets. ..that bullshit I do not understand. Not done yet…next week we sky up for Ohio

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  9. Deborah said on August 18, 2016 at 10:16 am

    I listened to the last half of the Fresh Air interview with Vance. I thought the last bit when he talked about not voting for Clinton because she and Bill were not “relatable” was bizarre. The guy definitely has a chip on his shoulder. I was on my way back from picking up my husband at the airport in Albuquerque again when I heard the interview.

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  10. Bitter Scribe said on August 18, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Walmart’s overreliance on police has been noted in Tampa, Houston and probably other cities, as well as Tulsa. At this point it seems like it’s baked into its business model.

    This Vance guy sounds like a complete fool.

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  11. nancy said on August 18, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I don’t think Vance is a fool. I think many readers who are treating this like it’s something entirely new are rather…unsophisticated, though. I guess I’d be the same with some subculture in another part of the country, so perhaps I shouldn’t judge. His hook for conservatives is that he says his people have to “take responsibility” for their plight, while oh-so-gently suggesting that maybe, juuuuust maybe, the collapsed economy in so many parts of Appalachia and the rust belt might have something to do with it.

    And yes, the chip on the shoulder is a key signifier of the breed, so much so that Bill and Hillary, who really did bootstrap themselves out of there and into the Ivy League, etc., bother him more than Donald Trump, who was born rich and stayed rich, but talks like a truck driver and lives the way a truck driver who won the lottery might.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 18, 2016 at 10:45 am

    A very half-hearted contrarian note on the Walmart piece.

    Walmart has entirely supplanted what downtown was. Downtown Newark in the ’50s and ’60s was where most of the policing was, and even by the 80s when I got here, and the mall was built out beyond the edge of town around which a faux-city was created to support the retail flight (Heath, OH), most of the police runs and arrests were in the blocks “behind” Courthouse Square, call it a four block radius.

    That radius is still seedy and struggling, but it doesn’t get many 911 calls and squad appearances until late at night, and usually on weekends, mostly for DV. Even public drunkenness isn’t much of a listing come the morning, and we’ve outsourced our prostitution issues across the county line, or more to the point our prostitutes drive or are driven over to the airport or 161 strip, and local customers know they have to follow them over there to get service — so our solicitation arrests are strikingly lower than, say, Zanesville to the east or another comparable county seat like London to the west of Columbus city.

    Arrests for conversion and theft and misrepresentation, and juvenile charges for shoplifting-unruly are focused around the two Walmart plazas, and adjoining the theater complex at the mall. The mall aggressively keeps the movie crowd away from the rest of their operation, and its managed differently. My angle on all of this is when first offense, no violence kids get a first complaint, it’s always going to go to diversion and nearly always to mediation, for a victim-offender type meeting and agreement.

    Target, when they occasionally come up, is great. Their managers will return our calls, and will do mediation. Meijer was fabulous, with professional Loss Prevention people and an obviously good relationship with their local cops (we see quickly who gets along and who doesn’t on our side of the system). The cinemas are weird, because they’ve changed hands twice in ten years, making some major changes in management procedures, and every time a new general manager comes, we wait to see how they will respond. Some have been very willing to work with us (keep in mind, as a mediator, I can take our meetings wherever the victim wants it to be; it can be in our offices downtown, but it can be at the theater, in their office even, or in a meeting space, in the lobby before opening, in the food court, in the church at the mall’s space for privacy and bigger groups, etc.), some just say at the start “I don’t want to talk to them ever again, tell ’em they’re banned and I expect $250 by next week.” Reupholstery of theater seating is common ($250), replacement of damaged screens ($800 to $2000), assorted bathroom destruction or the ever popular markers on walls here and there (it depends on how many panels, say $80 per panel of wall covering replaced).

    Walmart, you’ll be surprised to hear, is our least favorite “victim” on a mediation request sheet, because the store managers generally don’t want to do mediation. We had a store manager we loved in a city just beyond the county border, but frequented by kids from our jurisdiction addresses (Pickerington, for locals); she always liked mediation, and we would go there even though the county resists paying our mileage, but the two of us and our volunteer sidekick are all idiots, plus we wanted to encourage her. She felt as if mediation was a positive thing. But it was her call, and she got *zero* credit, timesheet wise, for doing that.

    Walmart has generally operated on a silly standard of “if we catch you shoplifting, we call the cops, and once it’s a complaint, unless somehow you get it dismissed, you’re banned from all Walmarts & Sam’s Clubs anywhere, for life.” We would try to point out how generally unfeasible and unproductive that was, and they’d stare at us and shrug “company policy.” I’ve never seen that in print, but I’ve heard at least three store managers tell me that. And sheer volume and time (with all the best will in the world, I can’t conclude a mediation in less than 30-45 minutes) means that the store manager is pressed — they often, like school principals these days, get called out in the middle of our scheduled time, which makes for some enjoyable downtime, he lied, but I overhear enough about why that I get why we have to wait — and it just doesn’t fit in.

    I’d love to say here “and that’s why Walmart should have a corporate policy and management training to support mediation especially for juvenile shoplifting and vandalism” but the reality is that relatively few jurisdictions have mediation as an option, formally or informally. So managers who cycle in and out of here we train, sometimes we can talk them into it (I won’t call, I go to the store and wait at the counter for the SM and make my pitch in person, but even then if you can believe it I can’t always convince them), and sometimes they are clearly well defended against anything other than simple legal paperwork and let me out of here.

    But the kicker for me in all of this is that the Walmart plaza, even more than the mall, is the new downtown. All the things that I know from old records and newspapers that used to be downtown’s problems and pathologies are now happening in and around and behind Walmart and Cici’s Pizza and Carnival Foods and the GFS outlet and the Party Zone complex. So putting a cop on semi-fixed duty there makes a ton of sense, and we haven’t done it yet — but I may bring it up again. At what point do we blame Walmart for having created an attractive nuisance, making the profit but not paying the bills? Well, was that true of the downtown department stores and shops and restaurants and five theaters in 1962? This I can’t tell you.

    What I can say is that more of the profit stayed in the county, even in town, but now it’s going to Arkansas and from there to Puerto Vallarta and Cannes with the scattered Walton clan. We also had over a dozen whorehouses a few blocks from Courthouse Square in ’62, so . . . .

    Yeah, my 10 am didn’t show up. Could you tell? 😉

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 18, 2016 at 10:50 am

    The puzzle I had living 6 years in the heart of West Virginia and even still for many around me here — the refrain for politicians is always “and keep our children here!” Which, growing up in an upper-middle-class enclave, no one ever said or expected. And I didn’t. And my son probably won’t come back here, either. But in areas where the population has halved from 50 years ago, and the unemployment rate in actuality probably is over 25%, leaving only makes sense. The mines won’t re-open, manufacturing (as Vance actually carefully dissects with Arcelor-Mittal, whose operations near here are very similar, and he gets it right IMO) takes less workers to do three times the output, and what do you think is going to happen? GET. OUT. I want to say it more than I do, and I encourage it when I can. This area isn’t going to boom — but now Amazon and their cousin are trumpeting 2-8,000 seasonal jobs coming soon! Seriously, this is good news? What happens between seasons? But ironically I think Licking County will see a large influx of “hillbillies” again as these two distribution centers open up, and the social map will go through some interesting contortions . . . and I suspect barriers between certain communities will get higher.

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  14. Deborah said on August 18, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I don’t know Jeff, there’s something not right about the notion that since Walmart has become the “downtown” it’s OK for the cops to spend inordinate amounts of time policing Walmarts because they used to do that downtown. Small town downtowns are public spaces with multiple vendors, not just one corporate monolith that pockets all of the profits. Apples and oranges.

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  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 18, 2016 at 11:47 am

    But there’s no one downtown. If I’m a deranged shooter, downtown isn’t where I want to go. There’s no one with money to steal downtown, and there’s no stuff to steal there (unless I want to break into a coffee shop or lawyer’s office). That’s my point: the people are there, so . . .

    I did say it was half-hearted. I think Walmart should pay for more of their own security and work well with local law enforcement, just as I think Thirtyone and Limited and Amazon should support transit options since they build distributions centers out in the hinterlands but want thousands of seasonals to come when called and work only when needed — but no, they just built huge parking lots, and tell folks “miss a second time and don’t bother coming in.”

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  16. nancy said on August 18, 2016 at 11:52 am

    When I lived in Columbus, there was a “Y-town is my town” party for all the Youngstown ex-pats who ended up there. Always a lot of fun (so many people!) and a little bit sad, too. It turns out you can feel like a refugee in your own state, after all.

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  17. AndreaJ said on August 18, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    An anecdote: Earlier this year in the spring, the pharmacy in our local Walmart was robbed by a guy with a gun demanding painkillers. Local police shot him inside the store as he was trying to leave. Since that incident, I haven’t seen any changes inside the store.

    At the end of July while we were away on vacation, our local Rite Aid pharmacy was also robbed by someone demanding painkillers. When we returned from vacation, I stopped in the Rite Aid and was greeted by an armed security guard now on duty inside the store.

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  18. LAMary said on August 18, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    My son was walking down Hollywood Boulevard a few weeks ago and he saw a guy trying to steal the rear tire of a bike someone had locked to a post. My son yelled at the guy and the guy came at him with a broken lumiton. What did my son do? He ran into a CVS drug store because he knows that in Hollywood, all drug stores have security guards. The tire thief took off.

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  19. nancy said on August 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Well, since y’all are talking painkillers and associated miseries, I have two stories on the topic in Bridge today — about the state’s electronic database and its associated issues, and about a CDC warning to rural counties ripe for an HIV outbreak.

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  20. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Hillbillies don’t leave. For one thing, hillbillies are proud, and they don’t like feeling stupid, which they do in an unfamiliar place. But most important, they don’t leave family.

    Of my 30 or so first cousins on both sides, 2/3 still live in Tennessee, and of the ones who don’t, three didn’t grow up there, one is in the Navy, one lives in Alabama, one in Texas, and me, the black sheep.

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  21. adrianne said on August 18, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Walmart is the worst corporate citizen going: paying their employees such subpar wages (and limiting hours) so that they are going on welfare/getting food stamps. So you and I are subsidizing the cheapness of the Walton family. And the Bloomberg story and others on their horrible lack of security makes the point that other big-box retailers (hello, Target) have better control of their shoplifting problem because they, umm, hire people to patrol. Zero sympathy for these grifters.

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  22. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Don’t forget, Adrianne, that the Walton family then uses that wealth through the Walton foundation to undermine public schools by being a big promoter of charter schools. The Walton Family Foundation is also the biggest private donor for Teach for America.

    Leech off the public on one end, undermine the public on the other. Hey, that sounds familiar…

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  23. adrianne said on August 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Sherri, thanks for reminding me of their charter school support. One more reason to hate them and to NEVER patronize their stores.

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  24. beb said on August 18, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Holy Matrimony, Julie, I married Denice 37 years ago, today, too!

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  25. beb said on August 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Nancy @19. This seems like a good place to mention that opoid abuse in states with medical maijuana is less than in states without. Getting stoned is chehaper and safer than taking pills.

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  26. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I have one last puzzle from the Dem primary. We know Bernie wouldn’t disclose his tax returns. He also never filed the routine Public Financial Disclosure statement, asking for a 45 day extension and then a second 45 day extension to run out the clock to the point he was no longer a candidate. Why didn’t he file? The excuse given in asking for the delay was “campaign schedule and officeholder duties”, or in other words, the same bullshit excuse for not releasing his taxes.

    Sure feels like he was hiding something, like more wealth than he felt seemly for his message. I don’t begrudge him his wealth, but I do have a problem with the lack of disclosure.

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  27. beb said on August 18, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Speaking of the Waltons, I’m reading David Jay Johnson’s The Making of Donald Trump. God, what a grifter. His father was a war profiteer and his grandfather wasn’t clean either. The book’s depressing (so was Johnson’s earlier book Perfectly Legal. it really shows you that if you’re a little person the law is all over you likes flies on a hog but if you’re rick the law kisses your ass and turns a blind eye to your many picadillos.

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 18, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Sherri, I think Time pretty much covered it, plus there’s an open question about Jane’s closing settlement with Burlington College, which they didn’t want to have to open up (but may have some pending litigation tied to it).

    Nothing to be ashamed of, I’d say, but the kind of stuff that oppo guys enjoy making mountains out of from your fiscal molehills.

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  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Trump’s dad was also arrested and released at a Klan march in the 20s — he may have been violently protesting the Klan’s presence in the community, but Occam’s Razor leaves me pretty sure that he was in the parade, punching anyone in his way, rather than vice versa.

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  30. Suzanne said on August 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Interesting letter to the editor in the morning newspaper

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  31. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Not releasing the taxes is one thing; it’s customary, but not legally required. The public disclosure form is legally required, and he deliberately ran out the clock on it. That I have a problem with. It’s not nearly as detailed as the tax returns are, and even people who run for city council and school boards have to file them (not federal ones, of course, but state.) He has to file them as a senator, so what was different this time?

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  32. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    This is in the news now because his second extension just expired, and he’s not going to file, and now he’s no longer required to file. He filed in June for last year as a senator, and he’ll have to file next year for this year.

    I believe in transparency about money in politics. If Bernies didn’t want his money to get in the way of his message, maybe he shouldn’t have kept harping about the content of Clinton’s speeches to Goldman Sachs. They’re less important. SuperPACs don’t even bother me that much, as long as I can see where the money comes from. I dislike the ones where I have to trace through several PACs to see the actual donors, but I really hate the 501c(4)’s, who hide their donors.

    My real hobbyhorse about money in politics isn’t about elections, it’s about legislation. The War on Taxes gutted congressional staffs, so the only people who work there are young people whose parents can afford to subsidize them for a few years until they get their lobbying job or are ready to run for office. That means all the institutional knowledge is held by lobbying orgs, and they’re the ones capable of writing legislation. ALEC, the Koch brothers org, has been writing state legislation for years. That’s the real money in politics problem.

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  33. adrianne said on August 18, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Bernie’s failure to file his public disclosure form is one more reason why I’m happy that Hillary ended up as the Democratic nominee.

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  34. brian stouder said on August 18, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Congratulations and best wishes to beb and his spouse, and Julie and hers!

    Forget thread-wins; that’s a world championship – period!

    Speaking of which – what the heck is going on with the US Olympic swimmers, and destroying a public bathroom? And then concocting an ‘armed robbery’ story?

    Huh? – Wha?

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  35. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Ryan Lochte happened. He’s always been, well:

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  36. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Here’s the info from Sanders’ 2015 disclosure, filed 6/6. The one for the campaign was originally due on May 15.

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  37. Jolene said on August 18, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    New statues of Trump have gone up in five American cities.

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  38. Deborah said on August 18, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Sherri, I have hillbilly ancestors too. Mine came from Virginia, Scots Irish people, one guy fought in the Revolutionary war so they’re real proud of that. My aunt did some genealogy research and likes to claim someone who came over on the Mayflower, but if everyone who claims an ancestor who really did that there would have been millions who came over on that ship. At least that’s what I’ve come to realize. My ancestors on my dad’s side ended up in rural Iowa, long story. Most of my dad’s family were/are democrats, except my aunt who did the genealogy study, she became a rabid Republican at some point (60s/70s). I’ve lost contact with most of my dad’s relatives over the years so I have no idea where they are politically now. My mother’s family came over from Germany when my grandfather was 2, settled in Northwestern Missouri, were stridently Lutheran people. My mother spoke mostly German in her childhood, yadda yadda, yadda. My mother was a staunch Republican and so is my sister, but she says she’s not voting for Trump.

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  39. brian stouder said on August 18, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Jolene – now that’s a Thread Winner!!

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  40. Suzanne said on August 18, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I think these swimmers are the typical very good athlete types who are fawned over the minute they start competing and rarely held responsible for their bad behavior. The NFL seems to be full of them. They grow up and expect they will always be given a pass because they are athletes. Usually they are.

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  41. brian stouder said on August 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    …or a thread-wiener!

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  42. Jolene said on August 18, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    What’s the logic of making up the robbery story? I’m not expecting much in the way of logic, but I don’t see that there was any advantage to be gained.

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  43. Deborah said on August 18, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Yeah Jolene, that’s my question too. I don’t get the motivation? Why?

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  44. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Ryan Lochte isn’t very smart, is the only logic I can come up with. He’s also always wanted to be a celebrity, and has had the bad luck to swim during Michael Phelps’ tenure, which has made it difficult for him to make it to even D-list level. Maybe he thought he could get by with slandering Brazil to make himself look badass and leverage that.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 18, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Sherri, I’d only add in [brackets]: “That means all the institutional knowledge is held by lobbying orgs, and they’re the [only] ones capable of writing legislation.”

    The good state legislators are embarrassed about it, but they don’t know what to do about it. There are like three people in Columbus, I swear, who can write a piece of legislation without calling the pertinent lobbying shop, and they’re all busy, and committed. Even Jefferson Smith needs a Saunders.

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  46. basset said on August 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Walmarts and tax revenue… this guy is an expert on it and gave us some interesting advice when we were doing a new citywide plan a couple of years ago, Walmart’s his example here:

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  47. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    As we’ve discussed, writing legislation is hard, and no legislator can possibly have subject-matter expertise broad enough to cover everything needed, nor hire enough staff. That was the value of the Office of Technology Assessment, for example, before Gingrich and friends killed it. And lobbyists do have a role to play. But we’ve decided that government is best done by amateurs, without any annoying technocrats offsetting the lobbyists.

    Maybe the tide will turn again soon, and we’ll stop equating rich with smart, and value reality again.

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  48. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Nice article, basset.

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 18, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Or — equating rich with skilled. I live and work out of a context that greatly distrusts “smart,” and goes to great lengths to make that clear, and to make smart people be very cautious about things like erudition and articulation in general settings. But the same folks who will mock and deride the “college boys” who come into the plant and think they understand how the mill works (and I know degree-holding managers have done some amazingly stupid and thoughtless things in the name of their supposed educational superiority), but will react to a wealthy guy who can play the jes-folks card as if he’s an example of skill, cunning, acumen.

    Those of us who have had to professionally spend significant time around clumps of wealthy people (I know there are some college development staffers who read this, likewise non-profit fundraising pros) know just how untrue that is. The rich are not like you and me, because they know certain things, but they also can be stupid on such amazing levels and never learn from their mistakes because most around them are afraid to let them know it, or to tell them what they just dodged.

    Trump is an exemplar of this, in my reading of his appeal around here. Those who “admire” him with such fervor are convinced he has the alchemical secret of his signature element, when he just knows a guy who will sell him gold-colored veneer in bulk at a discount. See, Trump does know something, but not what or as much as people think. But don’t tell all my working-class, no college or fiercely proud that they didn’t really need college guys who think that Trump, by being rich, has access to some level of wisdom that will out, one way or another.

    And indeed the truth will out.

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  50. adrianne said on August 18, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Our mutual friend (with Nance), Bob Caylor, summarized this thusly: “From the Whiskey Rebellion to the Dukes of Hazzard, the history of the Scotch-Irish in America has been dodging the revenooers.” ‘Nuff said!

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  51. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    It’s really hard for smart to make dumb feel good, but rich can make dumb feel like it’s going to rub off on them.

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  52. basset said on August 18, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks, Sherri. The presentation he did for us is still online:

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  53. Sherri said on August 18, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Sally Jenkins explains the dumb that is Ryan Lochte:

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  54. Dave said on August 18, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    My hillbilly forebears all left, thank goodness, and my parents left Scioto County, OH, when they married, moving to Columbus and never going back. My father’s paternal family had been in the same area of Scioto County for several generations, dating back to the early 1800’s, Dad having grown up surrounded by aunts and uncles and attending school with many cousins and distant cousins but today, in the same area, there are but a handful of distant relatives remaining in the area. Almost all of the younger generations left and are now widely scattered. Count me as one who has always been grateful my parents left.

    Jeff TMMO, my father started working at the Newark Air Force Station in 1961, when they started expanding the facility and I remember my parents hauling us around looking at real estate, when they considered moving closer to Dad’s job. However, they never liked anything they found in Licking County and Dad made the roughly 30 mile one way trip every day until he retired. He told me Licking County never felt quite right to he and Mom and so we remained in what was rural Pickerington. My brother still works and will retire from, next spring, the now Boeing facility but I’m guessing it’s not the big employer it once was.

    Deborah, my father always claimed we had Mayflower ancestors, too, but I’ve a distant cousin who has done extensive genealogical research and with whom I share not only two, but four great-grandparents, and he says it isn’t true. Dad, I’m sure, would be disappointed. I’m sure, however, that there are thousands upon thousands of Mayflower descendants today, nearly four hundred years after the fact.

    Happy anniversary to the two couples, gosh, our next one will be our thirty-ninth.

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  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 18, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Boeing has been a pleasant surprise, actually, but no, not anywhere near what the base had employed. The one I can’t not remember is the employment profile just across the road at the Kaiser aluminum plant: they had 3,000 employees 50 years ago, and today they produce three times as much product by weight with only 300 employees. But it’s still going.

    And the whole “port authority” legal fiction is working beautifully, I have to admit, with the old air force base still employing hundreds where most communities with similar histories have empty buildings. Boeing does the metrology that your dad was involved with, Dave, but there are six or seven other companies making materials and measurements in the park built around the old base.

    But locals all know: the Newark Air Force Base was created as a holding site for the former Area 51 subjects that had been stored at Wright-Patterson until a proper facility could be carved into the deep stable sediments here. It’s all a scam to keep us from knowing that an alien presence is right here in Licking County, Ohio. Boeing is run by the Cigarette Smoking Man as part of the ongoing conspiracy. The truth is out there.

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  56. jcburns said on August 18, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Well, I find this scary. From reports on Twitter (so, ok, consider that source): “[a]…man at the Trump [Charlotte, this evening] rally is very carefully taking individual pictures of all the reporters in the media pen.”

    From another (@JYSexton): “They’ve got Trump on a short leash. All teleprompter no ad-lib.[…] I’ve covered the Trump campaign for over a year now and have seen this worsen. The anger changes, grows. It’s going to boil over. […] Trump wasn’t Trump tonight. He was a megaphone spouting off Breitbart copy. It was organized and structured. Nuanced. That’s terrible news. […] It started with Muslims and moved to BLM. Then it was Clinton and calling for her death. Now it’s media. It won’t stop spreading. […] He kept crowd’s attention, which he’s never been able to do. He crafted a very dangerous narrative and they swallowed it whole.”

    Good night and good luck.

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  57. Linda said on August 18, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Jeff @15: Amazon and Walmart aren’t the only ones to socialize costs and privatize profits. I am a public librarian, and we spend a lot of time giving bibliographic instruction and computer tech assistance to the students of for-profit online colleges located a long way off, who don’t support us with their tax dollars. Often we have to explain the software, website, even lessons, and provide info sources the way a real college would.

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  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 19, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Linda — this makes you an adjunct professor, right? (That, and a buck sixty-five will get you a cup of coffee…)

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  59. Linda said on August 19, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Yes. I’ll add it to the position of job counselor (writing resumes). And life manager (ordering stuff online for patrons, talking them through puking cat issues, etc)

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  60. Dave said on August 19, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Guess it should be noted that my brother, with little education beyond high school, was able to get a job there sometime around 1974, I think, and stay until his pending retirement, starting out as a civil service employee and staying through the privatization. He probably couldn’t do that starting out today.

    Dad kept secrets apparently, Jeff, I didn’t know that the facility had a “true” purpose as a holding facility for aliens. I’ve been in that building a few times, I wonder where they kept them.

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  61. Julie Robinson said on August 19, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Linda, our daughter tried to help a roommate who had enrolled in Phoenix, one of those on your shit list, I’m sure. She was working as a low-level med tech and wanted to move up, but she needed math for a degree. Phoenix enrolled her without a placement test and she promptly flunked the first class, so couldn’t use the financial aid and had to pony up to pay for the class. Unbelievably, she re-enrolled, this time in the remediation class. One of the big draws was being able to study on her own time, because her work schedule varied from week to week and they wouldn’t give her consistent time off to attend class in person.

    Sarah met her halfway through remediation and started tutoring her, as she has successfully done with many other math students. She felt the course material was horrible, and the “university” gave zero support. They worked long and hard to get her through, but without Sarah she would have failed remediation too.

    This young woman had grown up speaking Spanish and was the first in her family to attempt college. No one in the family had the life experience to give advice and for whatever reason no one at her high school gave her any guidance either. She came from a bootstrap family and was trying to better herself. Instead she felt like a failure. There should have been better options available.

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