Michigan has long winters, and like lots of places with fleeting, beautiful summers, people can go a little crazy with their recreation while it lasts. There’s an event — unofficial, guerrilla, no known sponsor, you get the picture — out of Port Huron called the Float Down. Port Huron is situated where Lake Huron empties into the St. Clair River, which empties into Lake St. Clair, near where I live. From there it goes into the Detroit River and on into Lake Erie, and if you remember your 6th grade geography, you know where it goes from there.

But I’m overexplaining the geography here. The Float Down, a group rafting experience down the St. Clair River, only goes from Port Huron to a park a few miles south of there. No registration, no rules, just show up with your raft or floaty and step into the river, and pull yourselves out downstream.

This is how it’s supposed to work, anyway. On Sunday, the day of the Float Down, a front was blowing in hard out of the west, and if there’s one thing that’s no match for a stiff breeze on a moving river, it’s a rubber-duck floaty with a fat, drunk Michigander in it. Or 1,500 of them, as it turns out.

That’s how many Float Down floaters found themselves in Canada on Sunday. Illegally, because of course practically no one was carrying an oar that might have kept them on course, let alone a passport or the enhanced Michigan ID that would allow them to drift across an international border in a rubber raft with — just guessing here — maybe a crumpled 12-pack in there, too.

As you can imagine, the stories are hilarious, but for pure sweet Canadian earnestness, nothing beats the CBC:

“There were people in places you’d never think something would float, but there were Americans everywhere,” Peter Garapick of the Canadian Coast Guard said. …”The people who take part in this are not mariners,” Garapick said. “They don’t look at the wind, the weather and the waves. We knew from the get-go, the winds were going to cause a problem. There’s no question they were involuntarily coming to Canada.”

Americans everywhere! And so many of them!

They had to be rescued by Sarnia police, the OPP, the Canadian Coast Guard, Canada Border Service Agency and employees from a nearby chemical company Lanxess Canada.

In the Canadian Coast Guard video below, you can hear thankful Americans praising Canada for its rescue efforts.

“God bless Canada!” shouts one floater.

“Thank you, Canada!” yells another.

The illegal immigrants were warmed up — some Canadians literally offered the shirts off their back — packed on buses and taken back across the Blue Water bridge, with a police escort, to their home country.

Talk about wetbacks.

Maybe Mr. Trudeau will be here soon to advocate building a wall, or at least a stout cable barrier, and to make us pay for it.

Speaking of that guy… Let’s get to the bloggage. Because it was a Monday here, and nothing much happened. Politico does a little pearl-clutching on what might happen when Trump loses, if he sticks to his it-was-rigged narrative:

“Among the values most necessary for a functioning democracy is the peaceful transition of power that’s gone on uninterrupted since 1797. What enables that is the acceptance of the election’s outcome by the losers,” said Steve Schmidt, the GOP operative who was McCain’s campaign strategist in 2008.

“Here you have a candidate after a terrible three weeks, which has all been self-inflicted, saying the only way we lose is if it’s ‘rigged’ or stolen — in a media culture where people increasingly don’t buy into generally accepted facts and turn to places to have their opinions validated where there’s no wall between extreme and mainstream positions. That’s an assault on some of the pillars that undergird our system. People need to understand just how radical a departure this is from the mean of American politics.”

Yes, that would be worrisome. But who made this bed, guys? We all have to lie in it.

The AP went looking at the social-media accounts of Trump staffers and contractors. You’ll never guess what they found.

Finally, because I know we have some recovery vets here, as well as teetotalers, social drinkers and friends of Bill, et al, two pieces on drinking, one short (Neil Steinberg, here) and one long (Kristi Coulter, here). Both worth your time.

On to Tuesday! Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps on at its petty pace. Try not to drift off-course.

Posted at 12:11 am in Current events |

67 responses to “Wetbacks.”

  1. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 1:22 am

    Jeff(tmmo), in the last thread, you said the emails between Huma Abedin and Doug Band made you queasy? Could you elaborate? I haven’t dug deeply into the emails, just read the WaPo article, and I’m trying to understand the issue.

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  2. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 1:33 am

    On sobriety, I’m with Mr. Steinberg. My sobriety is my responsibility, and expecting the world to adapt to me is a losing proposition. I can remember the feeling of being newly sober like in Kristi Coulter’s essay, and feeling like the world was awash in alcohol. But that was more about me than the world.

    I do admit to bit a bit weary of one thing. My daughter is going to college in Walla Walla, which is the center of wine tourism in Washington. So, whenever I mention I’m going to Walla Walla, I have to smile and nod as everyone comments about drinking some good wine. I remind myself that they’re just making conversation, they’re really not inviting me to drink a glass of wine!

    Fourteen years sober last March, which is how long my sponsor had been sober when I got sober. It seemed like an impossibly long time then; now it just seems normal.

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  3. Suzanne said on August 23, 2016 at 6:16 am

    Just trying to imagine the news from Fox or the Federalist or any other far right media source if those floaters had been drunk Mexicans who mistakenly ended up in Texas. Panic! Hand wringing! More guns needed!
    I do wish I was making stuff up.

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  4. Linda said on August 23, 2016 at 6:32 am

    As a compulsive overeater, I related to the Coulter article a lot, in that doing your compulsion ends up being a way to deal with stuff when the right response should be “fuck off.” Living abstentionously the last dozen years has made me tell a bunch of people to stick it, whereas before it would have meant a cinnamon bun.

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  5. alex said on August 23, 2016 at 7:32 am

    Drinking is such an obligatory part of my social life that I can’t see ever giving it up entirely, but I’ve done a fair job of moderating since my doctor told me I have fatty liver disease and type 2 DM. I don’t keep it around the house anymore, and confine drinking to social occasions or having one or two when dining out. Now if I could just quit smoking again and stay quit.

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  6. basset said on August 23, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Joe, you see what happens when you’re in an inflatable?

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 23, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Sherri, I don’t want to argue. So suffice it to say I’m still planning on voting for her, but the Clinton Foundation stuff . . . it’s just a good thing for the D’s that the GOP was plug-ugly-stupid-swinish enough to nominate someone who can’t tee off on all the myriad wrongnesses of how Bill and Hillary have handled what’s otherwise a perfectly honorable idea of a post-presidential foundation. And I’ve written here and elsewhere that I am even more than borderline sympathetic for how the Clintons really have been close to broke most of their adult lives, while working in the middle of privilege and power, which pushes some buttons (my wife could write a book). I’m sure Obama is watching carefully — he’s going to have the same problems that the Bush and Reagan folks didn’t (they have their own money, he doesn’t). Not everyone is a Jimmy Carter, but I hope Obama is looking to Atlanta for examples of how to do it.

    What I would like to say here, in the semi-anonymity of this corner bistro of a hangout: I so dearly wish that there was more of a middle ground out there between Kristi Coulter’s truly excellent if profanity laced essay (Neil Steinberg, let it go, it’s who I am) and what passes for motivational and inspirational essays in my own general religious tradition. Contrary to what you might have heard, it’s not — even on the evangelical side — all about submitting to husbands and making do while raising seven adorable blonde moppets (although I can find you some of those), but it is all so damn glossy and soft-focus and golden hour-ed and semi-sweetly-sappy. There are those occasional breakthroughs of how people in general and women in particular deal with the harsher, raggedier edges of live as it is, and work through their spirituality and faith and community as those edges often keep cutting you until they can be beaten back into a smoother corner for those coming behind you by hitting them repeatedly with a small sledgehammer. Metaphorically speaking, that is.

    But as a pastor and as someone who gets asked for links and hints and material for group devotionals and such, it feels like my choices are on a menu that folds out to a flap on one edge with the oozy-gauzy-then-my-baby-smiled options, or the opposite side with bloodstains and vomit and a fair number of f*cks. In between, there’s a big wide open pair of center panels with nothing on them, not even a picture, just blank space. No in between at all.

    Yes, I write my own when I can. But I wish there was more out there to choose from that was . . . well, more like what we read and say to each other here. If anyone finds any good devotional, meditational, spiritual writing that’s not all the way into Cheryl Strayed territory, I’d love to hear about it. I suggested Anne Lamott twice to two different younger (i.e., in my context, that’s “under 70”) women’s groups and noticed they never got back to me on that. I asked one group leader “did you all try the Lamott book I suggested?” (“Help, Thanks, Wow” if you’re curious, but it’s all good) and the response I got back was a nervous “um, I thumbed through it, and it was a bit, um, rough for us.” And Anne doesn’t cuss that much at all, but enough. Sigh.

    Christian culture. I do despair, sometimes. Not for long, but in moments. And the Coulter essay really is excellent.

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  8. adrianne said on August 23, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Nance, you have the best summary of the Float Down fiasco that I’ve seen so far! Sharing for my sensible Canadian friends.

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  9. nancy said on August 23, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Thanks, Ace. Is anyone offended by today’s headline? I think it’s obvious I’m using the term ironically, but lots of people don’t get that. If I have a consensus, I’ll change it.

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  10. jcburns said on August 23, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Good headline (if you READ the post).

    My take on the Clinton Foundation: they do good work. LOTS of good work.

    They’re a 501C3. They’ve earned an A rating from charitywatch.org, who also reports that their cost to raise $100 is $2, and the percentage of cash they spend on programs vs overhead is 88%. They meet the watchdog organization’s transparency and governance benchmarks.

    All that said, if you examine emails and phone calls from the organization do you see some efforts to get things done by networking and working the political system, kind of like watching an episode of the West Wing? Why, yes, yes you do.

    Am I cool with that? Yes I am. I think that’s how the world works, via networking. Not seeing any malevolence here.

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  11. Dorothy said on August 23, 2016 at 10:15 am

    I’m not the least offended. Before I even read your narrative, I knew from the headline what you’d be writing about. That’s cuz I saw a story about the wayward floating Americans on the news this morning. Knowing they started in Michigan, I immediately thought “I’ll bet Nancy will have something to say about this today!”

    I look forward to reading the Coulter and Steinberg pieces later. My office is jumping today – classes start tomorrow!

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  12. A. Riley said on August 23, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Jeff TMMO,

    I might suggest checking out some of the resources put out by Women of the ELCA — mainline, sane, non-sappy, non-profane.

    Go take a look at boldcafe.org for a short online monthly, and Gathermagazine.org for a longer (print and electronic) monthly with regular Bible study written by women for women. Good stuff.

    (Full disclosure: I’m one of the several non-Lutherans on staff.)

    Now back to your regularly scheduled kibitzing.

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  13. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Bassett for the thread win!

    The headline isn’t offensive to me in context, but I’m not Latino, so maybe I don’t get a say.

    Alcohol and smoking don’t hold any appeal, but chocolate, I just can’t quit you. I also understand the prevalence of alcohol as someone who doesn’t drink coffee. It’s everywhere, it’s pushed on you, and the alternatives are few. Add in alcohol’s addictive properties, and I can see where everyday life is a minefield. So hats off to you, Sherri, and all the other friends of Bill.

    Jeff, we struggle with that at our church, and too often the materials from our own publishing house have an unattractive militant tone. I use daily devotionals from Luther Seminary in Minneapolis, and their Working Preacher site is great for lay people; that is if you’re using the common lectionary. My hubby uses it to prepare for our Adult Forum (we used to call it Sunday School), reviewing the lessons of the day.

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  14. Dorothy said on August 23, 2016 at 10:35 am

    jc’s post came before mine so I didn’t read it until I hit ‘submit comment’ @ 11. Just needed to say I feel the same way as jc – this is just how things work in the world. I don’t understand the public’s inability to process that idea.

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  15. basset said on August 23, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Maybe Joe and I can get out there next year, towing a cooler full of the newly revived Stroh’s.

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  16. Suzanne said on August 23, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Jeff(tmmo), I am in wholehearted agreement. I’d say the same with “Christian” lit. There is so little that isn’t either so sickly sweet and poorly written or trying-too-hard-to-be-cutting-edge raw and poorly written.
    I don’t know about other religions in this regard. Maybe they have not embraced marketing as wholeheartedly as the Christian sector that they slap their god’s name on all sorts of crap and collect the money, like my religion so often seems to.

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  17. Jean S said on August 23, 2016 at 11:27 am

    I found out about the Coulter essay from my 32-year-old niece, who describes herself as a 4th-wave feminist. We have had several conversations about the burdens of perfectionism–and the way that advertising, in all its forms, can trigger that in women.(A sign of her age: She cites Pinterest as a significant trigger). So I read the essay in that spirit.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Last week the sweetest church lady handed me a big bag of books to “read and take to your daughter’s church library.” They are Christian romance, complete with cookie cutter plots and bad theology. I’m wrestling with what to tell her; torn between hurting her feelings or saying something that will bring more bags of books headed straight for the recycle bin. I do know I’ll be telling her my suitcase was already too heavy, and have you priced shipping costs recently? But I can see the disappointment on her dear face, and she’s old and these bring her pleasure, so who am I to judge. Probably I’ll have to stop for ice cream on the way home, because no way am I telling her to eff off.

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  19. nancy said on August 23, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Pinterest, yes, and Instagram. I know lovely people who post lovely photos, almost daily, of their lovely lives and their many lovely moments. I have unfollowed a few simply because instead of thinking, “what a lovely picture of your lovely family in this lovely moment,” I found myself thinking: BITCH. (I think that’s an important divider for many social-media friends — whether the photographic evidence of their perfect lives makes you think “good for you” or BITCH. If the latter, they get downgraded to “acquaintance.”)

    I think there’s a remake of the Robin Williams thriller “One Hour Photo” to be made about the Instagram era. So many narcissists, so little time…

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  20. nancy said on August 23, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Oh, and Julie, you haven’t lived until you’ve perused an AMISH romance novel. Yes, they exists. Yes, there’s a market, and it’s not the Amish. I opened one on the freebie table at work to the scene where an older brother is explaining to a younger sibling how he knows Mother is expecting another baby: “She’s drinking more milch.”

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  21. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2016 at 11:46 am


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  22. Suzanne said on August 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Oh yes! The Amish Christian novels. They are yuuuge around my neck of the woods. The public library has an entire Christian fiction section filled with them. My 81 yr old mother loves them. I read one once just to see what it was like and it was awful. Pretty sweet Amish girl falls for an Englisher. But her parents won’t approve, so let’s ask God what he wants us to do and bake some pies. In the end, a nice, young Amish man will come by proving that God does want pretty sweet Amish girl to remain Amish.
    Our church library is full of them. I try to sneak in some Kathleen Norris, which I’m pretty sure nobody reads…

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  23. Heather said on August 23, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    I really hope “bake some pies” is a euphemism for masturbation.

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  24. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), I wasn’t trying to provoke an argument, really. I was just trying to understand what about those emails made you queasy, because I didn’t see anything different than networking, either. Nobody as asking for anybody to break or even bend the law that I saw, just for a meeting, which they didn’t even get unless they were also other reasons for the meeting. I don’t see it as any different than my sending an email to the mayor, whose campaign I’ve worked on and donated to, because I’m having trouble with a permit for my deck. He doesn’t tell them to give me the permit, but he got someone higher involved and we were able to figure out the disconnect. Is that corruption? Through one lens, you could see it that way: campaign donor and friend of mayor gets special treatment on permit. But the permit was legal, there was just confusion over the previous homeowner not getting a permit for a deck expansion.

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  25. beb said on August 23, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Heather @23: you had me laughing out loud.

    Isn’t there an Amazon category of dinosaur romance novels?

    I see reports that since The Donald started accepting campaign donation the rent he pays himself for his office in the Trump Tower has gone up 5-fold. All part of his plan to make a profit as a presidential candidate.

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  26. Jeff (TMMO on the run) said on August 23, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Shortest possible answer: Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi money is sooner or later going to be regretted. And yes, by everyone who’s taken it. I don’t lose as much sleep over the Norks or Iran as I do trying to figure out what the world looks like when the House of Saud goes House of Usher.

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  27. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Spiritual writers who are less earthy than Strayed and Lamott that I read include Kathleen Norris, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, Grace Flinders, Joan Chittister, and Sue Monk Kidd. There are some more that might be a little too far out there for your congregation, like Rumi, but the poetry of Mary Oliver is another.

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 23, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    A. Riley: I grew up around ELCAs, will definitely look at your suggestions. Yes, our church library is plagued with Amish Romances, and they have a waiting list. But I can’t say enough good things about Anne Lamott’s writings (and Twitter feed).

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  29. Heather said on August 23, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I’m a respectful agnostic, but I always enjoyed Madeleine L’Engle’s nonfiction. Her essays often have a Christian basis.

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  30. nancy said on August 23, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    That’s a good one, Heather. I usually call myself a “hopeful agnostic,” but wonder if that’s not calling down Job-like tribulation upon my head. Respectful is a better adjective, because that’s what I am, in 99 out of 100 cases.

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  31. jcburns said on August 23, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Saudi money, Jeff? The question is not so much their money but what behind-the-scenes their money buys, right?

    I’m more comfortable what the Clinton Foundation has done with it than, say:

    “According to Seymour Hersh the power of Prince Bandar and the Saudi lobby was so great that Bandar effectively joined the Bush administration as a virtual member of the cabinet.” — John MacArthur, “The Vast Power of the Saudi Lobby”, April 2007, Harper’s Magazine

    The problem people have with the Clintons is that they’re the Clintons.

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  32. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    The challenge with the Saudis at al is not their money is that their our allies, but problematic ones. We know there is going to come a point when they won’t be able to keep the lid on their country, but until then, what do we do? They are a countervailing force to Iran in the ME, and we can work with them. As long as we continue to support Israel (and we can discuss how much we should be doing that), having the Saudis, Bahrainis, Qataris, and Jordanians as allies is necessary for some kind of stability. We’re allies with Pakistan despite all kinds of problems because they’ve got nukes nod we’d like to keep India and Pakistan on speaking terms. It’s a messy world.

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  33. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Sigh. Et al, not at al, and they’re not their. And, not nod. I’m on my iPad.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Jeff, I wouldn’t dare suggest Nadia Bolz-Weber to your congregation, but how about Wendell Berry?

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 23, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    They’ve gotten every ounce of Berry I can fit into the IV drip! Nadia Bolz-Weber is a name they’ve heard; I think I got one person to read “Pastrix.” Grace Flinders is in our library (I put her there!) but almost as unread as Colossians or Philemon.

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  36. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    One of the people I follow on Twitter pointed to the Coulter essay with the comment that somehow “girls can do anything!” has morphed into “women must do everything!”

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  37. Jakash said on August 23, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Dorothy, @14: “I don’t understand the public’s inability to process that idea.”

    jcburns, @31: “The problem people have with the Clintons is that they’re the Clintons.”

    About as succinct an explanation as possible. Why does Hillary get hammered over and over for the same kinds of things that other folks get a complete pass on? Because obstructionist Republicans have baked irrational, largely bullshit, anti-Clinton hysteria into the system for 24 years.

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  38. Jolene said on August 23, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I haven’t done much reading in the meditative/spiritual domain, but one of my sisters has encouraged me to look into Rebecca Solnit’s writing and also Thich Nhat Hanh. Thich Nhat Hanh is, of course, a Buddhist; I think his central theme is about mindful living. Solnit seems to be somewhere at the intersection of politics, spiritually, environmentalism, and social justice, if, indeed, there is such a place.

    And, by the way, the WaPo writers with the new book on Donald Trump are to be on Fresh Air today. In an appearance on Morning Joe this AM, they said they spent 20 hours interviewing him. Kind of amazing that he would commit that much time to them and then slam the book without reading it, but, hey, we know Donald is nothing if cool and measured in his reactions.

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  39. Jolene said on August 23, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    A good comment on why the latest Clinton emails are not a scandal.

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  40. Jakash said on August 23, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned here, or not, but FWIW, Neil Steinberg’s new book is out.

    “With ‘Out of the Wreck I Rise,’ Neil Steinberg and Sara Bader have created a resource like no other — one that harnesses the power of literature, poetry, and creativity to illuminate what alcoholism and addiction are all about, while forging change, deepening understanding, and even saving lives.”

    Great blurb from WaPo columnist Gene Weingarten:

    “This book is terrific. A recovery plan that summons not a Higher Power but a higher intellectual power. The sort of book I’ve been waiting for all my life: rational help for the writer, the reader, the skeptic, the thinker.”

    And Alexandra Styron writes: “Brimming with wisdom, humor, and compassion, ‘Out of the Wreck I Rise’ will offer the curious bibliophile a satisfying dip into the literature of overindulgence.”


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  41. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Let’s also note for the record that the Clinton Foundation is organized as a 501(c)3, and as such, is not even required to disclose the names of its donors to the public. They are required to list large donors on their tax returns, but that part of the return is not public.

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  42. Scout said on August 23, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    It’s time to begin calling bullshit on the term “scandal”. Repeated lies and manufactured controversies are not scandals. The story that Hillary murdered Vince Foster is not a scandal, it’s a lie. The slavish devotion of Republicans to Hillary’s emails are not a scandal, they are manufactured controversy trying to create a difference between how she handled communications as SoS compared to everyone else who has held it when there isn’t one. Bill’s screwing around with an intern was a scandal. Pretty much everything else is a whole lot of right wing noise, but it’s not scandal.

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  43. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Judicial Watch, the org responsible for this latest dump,of emails, is a creation of the VRWC. It was founded in the early 90s for the express purpose of going after the Clintons, armed with money from Richard Mellon Scaife. The media pretty much picked up the tone and spin of the Judicial Watch press release.

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  44. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    If I ever wanted to nationalize an industry, it would be the pharmaceutical industry. Their execs are definitely the first against the wall when the revolution comes.



    If you ever found yourself needing to explain the economic concept of rent-seeking, here’s your example. Price-gouging too.

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  45. Jolene said on August 23, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    There’s a discussion emerging on Twitter (or, at least, an interesting tweet stream) re how stories re Clinton’s emails are being treated in news reports. To follow it, search for user @johnastoehr and scroll down to the beginning of the numbered tweets.

    Also, Clinton was on Jimmy Kimmel last night and was quite charming. Here’s a link to the interview.

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  46. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Digby does a good roundup on the history of Judicial Watch. BTW, if you were a West Wing fan, Judicial Watch found Larry Klayman was rather thinly disguised as the character “Claypool” whose organization was constantly deposing Josh about White House drug use.


    I have no problem with looking into the Clinton Foundation. I have a problem with lazy media narratives.

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  47. Scout said on August 23, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Jolene – that is indeed an interesting tweet stream. I’m now following John Stoehr. Politics vs Truth – tweet # 23 “…as we saw today, the press does not do the basic job of prioritizing evidence that casts doubts on political accusations.” This expands on my post above about so-called scandals, which are actually political accusations.

    Listening to NPR this morning, we listened to this exact phenomenon for the final time. We were so angry after the Sherrod Brown interview we cancelled our monthly donation. It’s been a long time coming. We shall now listen to Stephanie Miller in the mornings instead. I’d rather hear left leaning political commentary (and fart jokes) than the false equivalence exercises that comprises NPR’s political coverage these days. It will be much better for my blood pressure.

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  48. Jolene said on August 23, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Scout, I missed the story re Sherrod Brown and NPR. Fill me in.

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  49. Scout said on August 23, 2016 at 5:26 pm




    The tone difference between these two pieces sums up what we have been upset about for months now. Hillary’s surrogates are expected to explain themselves to infinity, while coverage of Trump pretends his is a normal candidacy.

    We’re just done.

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  50. Jolene said on August 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Two more new books of possible interest—

    The Terror Years: From Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State by Lawrence Wright, who wrote The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, which won a Pulitzer Prize.

    Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White by Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld.

    Heard both discussed on the tube this AM and they sounded,respectively, informative and insightful. The talk about the Wright book began with a paragraph claiming that the decision to invade Iraq was pretty much the worst decision a modern political leader ever made, an observation that fits the facts as I see them and thus should provide a good jumping off point for what’s happened since.

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  51. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Like this: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/08/secretary-clinton-met-with-a-lot-of-foundation-donors.html

    Clinton tried to help out a Nobel Peace Prize winner (Yunus, the microfinance guy) who was having trouble with the Bangledeshi government, whom the Clintons had known for decades, whom her husband had advocated for the Peace Prize back when he was President, but because the Grameen Bank was working with the Clinton Foundation, there must be something fishy going on. That’s the big smoking gun in the article.

    The media seems devoted to a “both sides do it” narrative, but doesn’t seem able to consider that maybe there is more than one side to a given story. They pick a narrative and run.

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  52. Deborah said on August 23, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    So many links to read in today’s comments.

    I called it quits driving today a lot earlier than yesterday. After leaving Tulsa this morning and heading across Missouri, it rained the whole way. Exhausting. We’re spending the night in the small town in Illinois across the river from St. Louis where my husband grew up. We visited the playground this afternoon, that we designed last year. It’s holding up well, the plantings around it that were very scraggly at the grand opening are looking much better. We’re off to Ruby Tuesday’s for dinner. Believe me that’s the best place in town and it’s next to our motel.

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  53. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    So, I have a question for the pearl-clutchers. I’ve donated to Hillary’s campaign. In fact, I’ve maxed out my donation (to the campaign, not the Victory Fund). If I send email asking for a meeting about something important to me, is that an ethical scandal? We’ve already seen that a donor doesn’t have to actually get a meeting for it to be a “concern.” How large does the donation have to be to become a concern? Is the threshold the money, or the person the email is directed to? If I could leverage my contacts to get to someone close to her (conceivable), would that make it scandalous? Does it matter what topic I want her to address?

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  54. Jakash said on August 23, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    On the lighter side, THIS is the kind of ingenuity that will surely make America great again. As is often the case with such nonsense, many of the comments on this piece are swell:

    “Karen Pence, wife of GOP VP pick Gov. Mike Pence… is the proud founder of ‘That’s My Towel!’ Charm, Inc.
    What are towel charms? I’m so glad you asked.
    Imagine a set of wine charms. Then imagine if those wine charms were designed for something even less important. That is a Towel Charm.”


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  55. David C. said on August 23, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Amity removed Caleb’s straw hat and loosened the kerchief from around his neck all twelve fingers trembling with excitement…

    Well, it’s a start. I’ve never written romance before, let alone Amish romance.

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  56. Deborah said on August 23, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Heather and DavidC, completely different comments but you both made my day. Baking pies and 12 fingers, still chuckling.

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  57. beb said on August 23, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Apparently in Florida employers are off the hook for psychological problems, even when they are job related.

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  58. alex said on August 23, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Twelve fingers? That’s one I haven’t heard before and I grew up in the lewdest cesspool of right-wing self-righteousness in America.

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  59. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 23, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    If I wasn’t all about the NPS on Facebook this week, I’d have a jar of pickles as my profile pic. Hillary Rodham Clinton did herself proud on Kimmel’s show last night.

    But seriously, you can’t look at the Carter Center and compare it to the Clinton Foundation and not feel queasy. You just can’t. And it’s not really helping to keep defending what they’re doing as just standard practice, justified by “they’re helping many people” or “it’s just because they’re Clintons they’re getting hammered.” Not without insulting Jimmy and Rosalynn.

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 23, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Pearl-clutchers. I mean, c’mon.

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  61. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    I have no intention of insulting Jimmy or Roslyn, but looking at the list of donors to the Carter Center, why, I see Saudi Fund for Development and the Sultanate of Oman. I really would like something specific as to why you feel queasy about the Clinton Foundation and not the Carter Center. What is it that bothers you? You said it was the Saudi money, but the Carter Center takes Saudi money too, and has taken heat for it.

    I’m really trying to understand what the issue is, where the good government problem is.

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  62. Jolene said on August 23, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Same question: I just looked at the list of Carter Center donors in last year’s annual report. Sixty-five percent corporate donations, seven percent governments (foreign and domestic). So it does seem like, in terms of running the foundation m they’re playing the same game as the Clintons.

    The difference, of course, is that they’re no longer in government and, thus, have no favors to bestow. That’s obviously an important difference, but only if the Clintons are mixing their governmental and philanthropic roles in problematic ways. Right?

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  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 23, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    I can’t tell. And if you tell me you can, I’m not sure I believe you. (But in a friendly way!)

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 23, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Money buys access. I know that’s true, but I don’t have to like it, and I don’t like being told to like it. I’m having a series of very uncomfortable conversations with GOP folk in the Ohio Statehouse, and it’s the same thing in miniature. But it feels pretty macro to me. And I do. Not. Like it. Not in either party.

    Waaah. Poor me. Deflowered of my innocence I am, and left bereft of all my illusions. Oh well.

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  65. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    You don’t have to like anything or anybody, Jeff. Money does buy access. It’s not the only thing that buys access, and frankly, from the emails we’ve seen, I don’t see the donations to the CF buying much access at all. There were quids, but not much quo, other than things that would have happened normally. I’d certainly argue that a 25 year relationship with the Clintons and a Nobel Peace Prize bought more access for Yunus than any donation to the Clinton Foundation did, for example.

    I get that you’re queasy about Clinton. A lot of people are. But having spent many decades reading sports journalism, and a number of years doing sabrmetrics, I’m an automatic skeptic of media narratives and allergic to access journalism. So, I’m really trying to look past all the smoke to see if there’s any fire there, and it’s really hard to see much of anything there.

    I’m not invested in convincing you, honest. I’m just looking for places to dig.

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  66. Sherri said on August 23, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    BTW, as long as we’re looking at emails, here’s the memo of understanding outlining the terms for how the CF would operate while Hillary was SoS: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/understanding.pdf

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  67. Sherri said on August 24, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Meanwhile, in the ongoing reminder that downticket races matter, the latest Koch Bros nonsense is to try to get 2/3 of the state legislatures to demand a Constitutional Convention, so they can get their pet amendment, aka the stupidest idea for government ever, a balanced budget amendment.


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