Four more weeks of the crazy.

My old friend Adrianne often calls me on Sundays to catch up, and she did this past week. Of course we talked about The Only Thing Anyone is Talking About These Days ™, with all its assorted craziness. I have to be stingy with Washington Post links, because they’re pretty good about enforcing the 10-articles-a-month thing, but I really must draw your attention to two of them – this one, about a disturbed woman who is Trump’s No. 1 fan, and the frankly insane appearance of the candidate himself on Saturday night in Pennsylvania (where the disturbed woman lives! Coincidence? I think not!).

I had just hung up the phone when it occurred to me that sometimes, only Bill Murray can put it into words.

I honestly feel very bad about Melanie, the woman in the first story. Life has dealt her a raw deal, and she lacks the coping skills to make it better. I don’t think she’s typical of Trump voters, but she’s certainly a rather intense concentration of their worst traits, isn’t she? And there are so many people willing to take advantage of her emotional fragility and, shall we say, tenuous grasp on reality. Get past the stuff up top, about what she believes, and read about her life. It’s hard not to feel pity.

As for Herr Trump, well, talk about a tenuous grasp on reality.

Prediction: After the election, he’ll continue to hold rallies. And people will come. I’m not sure how he’ll make them pay off, but he’ll figure something. Guys like that don’t give up the grift easily, and he seems to feed off rallies in some strange way. He really sounds like he’s about to go off the deep end, though, doesn’t he?

Halfway through the statement, Trump took a nearly 20-minute-long break to cover a range of topics, including these:

— He reflected on how his movement has “the smartest people… the sharpest people… the most amazing people.” He said the pundits — “most of them aren’t worth the ground they’re standing on, some of that ground could be fairly wealthy ground” — have never seen a phenomenon like this.

… — He recounted how the “dopes at CNN” and “phony pundits” refused to acknowledge how well he was doing during the primaries. “Then we started getting 52 percent, 58 percent, 66 percent, 78 percent, 82 percent,” Trump said, not making clear what those numbers mean. “And they just didn’t understand what was going on.”

— He said Clinton could not fight bad trade deals or Russian President Vladimir Putin because “she can’t make it 15 feet to her car,” alluding to video that showed Clinton buckling as she unexpectedly left a 9/11 memorial service early. Her doctor later said she had pneumonia. Trump then imitated Clinton by flailing his arms and jostling side to side. He walked unsteadily away from the podium as if he were about to fall over. “Folks, we need stamina,” Trump said. “We need energy.”

— He claimed that he has a “winning temperament” while Clinton has “bad temperament.” Trump continued: “She could be crazy. She could actually be crazy.”

When are the Trump endorsements going to start coming? You know they’re out there, being written by sweaty men and women who are, just this once, thanking God that editorials are, by tradition, unsigned. They hope they can get away clean. We’ll see.

Does anyone think the tax story will change anything? I don’t. It won’t change the polls, anyway, but I enjoyed reading this how-we-got-the-story story, just the same.

So, how was everyone’s weekend? Me, I got started on what I expect will be a multi-month affair — cleaning the basement. Multi-month because I can’t stand to do it all at once, and prefer to ruin an hour or two of a succession of weekends. I opened a box that was sealed and marked, in Alan’s handwriting, “Nancy’s letters.” Found this:


More from my vast collection of purloined letterhead.

There were also letters, one from my first boyfriend, after we’d broken up. He wrote that he still loved me and hoped to earn back my respect someday. (We’d split up over his drinking.) Alas, he died before we could be reconciled, in a one-car fatal. Which seems as good a transition as any to the bloggage, which starts with this great Jon Carroll remembrance of a recently deceased friend, who was also his AA sponsor. Great sponsor, difficult friend:

I found that the program worked. Not entirely, because I will always be an addict, but better. And it was Pamela who brought me that. It was Pamela who made sure I went to meetings; who framed the issues in a more useful way; who took my telephone calls at any time in the evening. I was just one of her sponsees, and her phone rang a lot, and she always had time. She was just a miracle. Her sponsees adored her. I adored her.

I didn’t drink. Stuff got better.

But things change. After 15 years or so, I slowly stopped going to meetings. Part of was the God thing; I was an atheist. “Are you drinking?,” Pamela would ask. “Then don’t worry about it. AA doesn’t care.” And, officially, it doesn’t. But then someone at a meeting says, “God never gives you more than you can handle,” and people in the metal folding chairs nod their heads and murmur, and I don’t say, “that’s demonstrably not true. Example one: death,” because even though you’re supposed to be honest, some kinds of honesty will alienate you from the group.

They were estranged in recent years, although Carroll’s wife befriended her and was, in fact, the one who found her body. There’s a nice passage in there about forgiveness, but I don’t want to give away the store. Read it yourself.

This Scott Adams takedown Alex posted over the weekend is great. What a maroon.

Finally, mankind’s battle with raccoons is not going well. The raccoons are getting smarter, as any person who’s ever taken them on knows too well.

And so another week looms ahead of us. Mine will be simultaneously fast-paced, vexatious and fun. Hope yours is, too.

Posted at 12:18 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

92 responses to “Four more weeks of the crazy.”

  1. Deborah said on October 2, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Today my husband and I went to the Art Institute again. We said we’d go once a week but of course we didn’t, I maybe went 3 or 4 times during the summer. I’m always astounded by the masters, over and over again they hold up over time. This time it was a Matisse that got to me, Bathers at a River 9 that guy had the best photo of it that I could find on google, color is hard to match. It’s large and the guy in the photo gives you an idea of scale (you have to scroll down a bit). Thursday night went to the symphony and it was another example of how the masters got it right, Beethoven’s 7th was amazing, the musicians we’re really in to it.

    As we sit in our aerie in the sky we’re watching what we call “The clouds of Sils Chicago”, as the fog rolls in off of Lake Michigan and proceeds down Michigan Ave. It’s very majestic. We watched the movie “The Clouds of Sils Maria” a bunch of times so that’s where we came up with it.

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  2. jcburns said on October 2, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    That Washington Post story, by Stephanie McCrummen, is so good and such sober writing (letting the crazy stand for itself) that it has affected me more than, i think, any of the journalism on the mood of our land in a campaign year has.

    It makes me wish for a Clinton victory followed by some sort of brilliant bureaucratic move on President H’Clinton’s part that frees up billions of dollars for mental health resources for these folks. All of these folks. The tired, the poor, the huddled deplorables.

    And the piece makes me just the tiniest bit wary. If it weren’t for the evocative (haunting?) photos that accompany the piece, part of my brain in these disappointing times would be waiting for a shoe to fall along the lines of “yeah, ‘Melanie’? Completely made up by the reporter.”

    But I want to believe.

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  3. Jakash said on October 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    “I have to be stingy with Washington Post links, because they’re pretty good about enforcing the 10-articles-a-month thing…”

    Is this to honor their rules, as a fellow journalist, Nancy?

    Should I feel bad, is it unethical, that I clear the cookies from the browser and read as many NYT and WaPo articles as I want? Yes, they do enforce the rule, but not in a very draconian fashion. Is there some reason they have such an easily worked-around paywall, but places like the WSJ just don’t let non-subscribers access their articles at all? Bueller? Anyone?

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  4. jcburns said on October 2, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    We’re paying for the NYT right now (digitally) and have for several years. Some of the GREAT work by the Washington Post staff in the past few months (including such old-school stalwarts as Dan Balz and Karen Tumulty) is making my hand hover over the ‘Subscribe’ button for the WP…and if the NYT doesn’t get back on its game, we MIGHT cancel them and go WaPo.

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  5. nancy said on October 2, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Yeah, if news organizations ask for a little money in return for what they provide, I generally pay it, provided it’s of good quality. I get sent to a lot of obscure papers to read one or maybe two stories, in which case I think the 10-a-month limit is reasonable. But the WashPost is something I read nearly every day, and I’m probably going to subscribe for about $10 a month or so. Reporters and editors gotta eat, too.

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  6. Deborah said on October 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    The Jon Carroll link is lovely, I encourage everyone to read it.

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  7. Sherri said on October 2, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    There’s no relationship like the one between a sponsor and a sponsee going through the steps together for the first time. Jon Carroll’s piece captures that well.

    I’m paying for the NYTimes and the WaPo these days. The WaPo has really upped its game since Bezos bought it from the Grahams. I still subscribe to the paper Seattle Times.

    You can often get around the WSJ paywall by googling the headline. There are other papers around the country that I will occasionally run up against a monthly limit because I’m following a particular story, and then I’ll just fire up a different browser to get around it, because I know I’m not likely to come back to that paper for months or years.

    BTW, I hate the web design of the Gannett papers. Every time I encounter one, I cringe.

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  8. David C. said on October 2, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Our local is a Gannett rag and the interface is truly horrible. I subscribe for $9.99/year for digital only, so I can tolerate some over aggressive advertising for that.

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  9. Julie Robinson said on October 2, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    Both the NYT and WaPo have daily email newsletters that often contain free links. Well, NYT is M-F, but they also have weeklies for theater, science, cooking, books. A lot of days I end up deleting them without doing more than reading the headlines, but there’s just not enough time.

    I worked all day around the house yesterday and today after church took my mom to see a play, Blithe Spirit, at the local university. We both agreed it needs an update for the modern attention span, but still had some good moments. We planted daffodil bulbs on her cat’s grave afterwards, and while we were gone Dennis had made meatloaf, one of her favorite meals. He even baked some apples, yum, yum. We try to make things nice for her, because, you know, she’s 84. And I guess when she’s gone I’ll have more time for reading but right now it’s neglected.

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

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  10. Jolene said on October 2, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    The McCrummen story is amazing. In past years, the Post has held online chats in which the writers of articles such as this chat with readers. I don’t think they’re doing that anymore, which is unfortunate as I’d love to know how she encountered and worked with the woman in the article.

    It’s horrifying, but is it also maybe a bit unfair in its juxtaposition of a political stance and mental illness? Not that one click on a Facebook comment thread doesn’t take you into a reality in which few of the people who’ve known the Clintons have lived to tell the tale, but still . . .

    The Jenna Johnson piece was also impressive. There were lots of ways she could have written that, but her flat, declarative style is very effective in conveying Trump’s unraveling.

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  11. nancy said on October 2, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    My takeaway from the McCrummen story was about how this vast network of insane propaganda websites has enfolded this woman and assures her, multiple times daily, that she’s NOT crazy, that there IS someone just like her, etc. Mental illness is one thing, but positive affirmation of it is quite another.

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  12. Sherri said on October 2, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    The poor woman in the WaPo article, much like some of the people in the stories Jeff(tmmo) shares, are walking demonstrations of the failure of our mental health care system. Simply handing out drugs without any further support doesn’t really even put much of a bandaid on huge gaping wounds.

    I was struck by the way she thought everybody was corrupt:

    She went on disability. After a while, she tried to get a job at the local firehouse but came to believe officials were stealing money. She tried to stay on top of her anxiety medication but thought her doctor was committing Medicare fraud. She joined a motorcycle club called Bikers for Christ but found the members to be just “filthy old men.”

    There’s some deep-seated rage, and no doubt a backstory that behind what we read in the WaPo.

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  13. Sherri said on October 2, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    An unexpectedly fascinating piece about William F. Buckley and feminism:

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  14. Suzanne said on October 2, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    You know what is very, very frightening to me about the Trump fan article? What she says is nothing I have not heard from family members, people that sit next to me in church every Sunday, more than one pastor I know, and a great number of people I am connected with on Facebook. Where I live, almost none of what she says is unusual and she would not be considered anywhere near crazy.

    That’s the sad reality of where talk radio, lunatic internet sites, and FOX news has brought us.

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  15. alex said on October 2, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    I get the WaPo’s newsletter on my iPhone, but to read daily on the computer I just change between multiple browsers.

    As for raccoons, we encounter them from time to time, but lately we have an opossum who likes cat food. Fun to watch.

    This weekend went to a charity auction and snagged a vintage black-lacquered 8-panel room divider with an Asian motif, as well as an art deco vase with a theme that looks vaguely like greek hieroglyphs of people fornicating.

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  16. brian stouder said on October 2, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    What Sherri said at #12. That article was genuinely affecting – and not in a hostile way, but in human terms.

    I suppose there’s probably at least a few Clinton supporters who believe God-knows-what about the Donald. Hell, if Donald wins the presidency, that could be ME – thinking his wife is really a man, or that mass executions in the streets are part of “the plan”, and so on

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  17. Deborah said on October 2, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    We have a lot of raccoons around our place in Santa Fe, and skunks too. We’ve heard they hate each other but we’ve definitely seen them together in the back of the building. Once we were sitting out having breakfast on the side patio and a big old raccoon came out from under the garden shed and sauntered over to us. We skedaddled because of fear of rabies but it was kinda cute. They don’t seem to be able to open the garbage bins, thank goodness. We probably get these animals hanging around because we’re about a block from the river. There are occasionally bears in the area too, we haven’t seen any so far but a couple of years ago there were 13 spotted in the city. They came down from the nearby mountains because of the drought that year.

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  18. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 12:55 am

    Hey, MichaelG, have you encounter any superblocks in your visits to Barcelona?

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  19. Jakash said on October 3, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Thanks for the various replies about the newspapers, folks. I get the daily emails from the NYT and WaPo, too, and often just scroll through the headlines without even reading any articles, sometimes just deleting the email unopened. The only thing I try to look at every day is Toles’ cartoon. I certainly read more than the allotted number of articles for the month from both of them, but it’s not like I read several articles every day.

    “Reporters and editors gotta eat, too.” I realize that, and we subscribe to the Chicago Tribune, but I guess I compare the national papers to listening to NPR rarely and not paying for that, either. I didn’t subscribe to them before there was an internet, and I wouldn’t subscribe if they had a really hard paywall, either. I just consider their availability a truly swell perk of the wild west of the web, but I don’t feel like I read them enough to feel guilty about taking advantage of their being free to me. I do think that quality journalism like that is worth paying for, though, and if I spent a lot more time on the sites, I’d probably feel more like I ought to pay.

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  20. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 2:14 am

    I mentioned the newspapers I pay for, but another thing I have is a Texture subscription. I pay $15/month and get digital copies of a wide variety of magazines, including back issues. Previously I had been paying for a digital subscription to the New Yorker and Sports Illustrated and occasionally something else, but I switched to this. You can get monthly mags for $10/month, but to get the weeklies is $15. Wide variety of mags available: SI, NYer, Time, Newsweek, Wired, Consumer Reports, Rolling Stone, New York, Sunset, Smithsonian, Atlantic, Mother Jones, many more.

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  21. ROGirl said on October 3, 2016 at 5:43 am

    Suzanne, I don’t know anyone who supports Trump (I’m not on facebook), but I had the same thought regarding all the other people who support him, not just one sad, delusional woman who latched onto something that gave her an “answer” to her problems.

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  22. adrianne said on October 3, 2016 at 6:05 am

    And…I’m on the verge of canceling my New York Times subscription. Their lead political story today? A look at Bill Clinton’s infidelity. I wish I was making this up, but I can’t. The problem is aside from the insane political desk, the quality of their journalism is so good. Dean Baquet better root out the problem post-election. Luckily, Paul Krugman has declared war on his own paper’s political craziness. He’s a gem every Monday and Friday.

    I think I’ll get an online subscription to the Washington Post. Their political reporting has been spot-on this cycle. The articles on the deranged Trump supporter and — speaking of deranged — Trump’s insane appearance in Lancaster County, Pa., were the best reads all weekend.

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  23. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 8:05 am

    I loved Sherri’s link about superblocks. I can’t believe I never heard of it before. I’m a big reader of urban planning and walkable city initiatives, and this one slipped past me. I read a lot of what the urban planner Jeff Speck writes and I read the blog Strongtowns etc. but none of these have mentioned superblocks. Anyway, I can see the pros and cons but we really need to figure out ways that cars, buses (and other public transportation), pedestrians and bikers can share the road. It’s not all about cars. As a walker I’m all for stuff like this.

    And Michael G, how’re you doing these days?

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  24. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Also, I loved the photo in Sherri’s superblock link of a playground that’s basically paint. That’s genius. As someone who worked on the design of a playground, if you want to do something more creative it can be expensive. But paint is cheap.

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  25. brian stouder said on October 3, 2016 at 9:53 am

    I’d say there’s probably an affecting short story (if not a novel) in the one-car fatal guy.

    This week we have an honors breakfast at Wayne for our senior (who will receive her 4th academic letter), and later in the week I’m off to the Lincoln Colloquium in southern Indiana (near Dale) – so it’s all good!

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  26. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Brian, congrats to your daughter.

    I think I have some work I could do for Clinton in NM for the next 2 weeks, I leave Weds.

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  27. Charlotte said on October 3, 2016 at 10:29 am

    I cancelled my NYT subscription — which is an ORDEAL btw — and bought an annual subscrip to the Guardian for about 50 bucks I think? The NYT just pissed me off and was expensive — 20 bucks a month for online only. I do get the Billings Gazette, which can be quite good when they’re doing their own reporting, and the local Livingston paper delivered — also, I have a woodstove so, paper newspapers are handy.

    My neighborhood battle isn’t with raccoons, it’s skunks. Hank-dog got it squarely between the eyes a couple of weeks back in what looked like an attempt to protect the chickens. A few years ago, I had one come in the dog door in the middle of the night. He was surprised by a dog on the basement stairs and let go inside the mud room. That close, it smelled like an electrical fire. Lingered for weeks.

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  28. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Ugh, Charlotte, I have nightmares about skunks getting into our place in Santa Fe. I can’t imagine what that must have been like.

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  29. Jean Shaw said on October 3, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Is it time to take bets on who leaked The Donald’s tax info?

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  30. adrianne said on October 3, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Leading candidate: Marla Maples!

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  31. Heather said on October 3, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I saw something saying a WaPo reporter suggested it was Tiffany.

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  32. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 11:20 am

    At the Art Institute yesterday I heard a group of people suggesting it was Melania because they said the last thing she wants to be is First Lady because she won’t be able to sneak around and have her affairs then. And they also said when Donald loses she will leave him so fast his head will spin. They speculated that she’s got another sugar daddy waiting in the wings. It was quite a lively eaves dropping session for me. How’s that for starting a conspiracy theory.

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  33. brian stouder said on October 3, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Deborah – well done!

    Who the heck knows? – but I like your scoop the best

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  34. Bitter Scribe said on October 3, 2016 at 11:27 am

    One of things I find most annoying about Adams is the way he keeps insisting that his “personal safety” is somehow at risk if he doesn’t support Clinton. This is stupid on so many levels. For one thing, how many crazy people with guns does he think the candidates have respectively, and for another, if he’s that damn worried about his “safety,” why does he keep blogging favorably about Trump?

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  35. Jeff Borden said on October 3, 2016 at 11:43 am

    My bet is Marla Maples, who has reason to be furious at her ex for excluding their daughter from all this hoopla. And there are three signatures on the documents: Trump’s, Marla’s and the accountant’s. Occam’s Razor says it has to be her. And she has motive.

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  36. Peter said on October 3, 2016 at 11:44 am

    I’m in the same boat as Charlotte – I would do anything to bring the raccoons back, because those $*&^%$^$# skunks have chased them away – which is no small accomplishment, I must admit.

    They’ve dug up a good chunk of my lawn looking for grubs and ants, have sprayed my car when I park it on the street, and will sit on our porch and just wait for someone to spray.

    I hate them almost as much as I hate Trump, for many of the same reasons.

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  37. nancy said on October 3, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I saw two raccoons while riding to boxing class this morning. It was still dark and they are nocturnal, so makes sense.

    For the record, I sorta hate those fuckers, while accepting them in an all-God’s-creatures sense. I have noticed the ones you see in the country are half the size of their city cousins. Alan frequently fishes at night, and once saw a mama and several babies at the stream side, washing their food in their creepy little prehensile paws.

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  38. basset said on October 3, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I left a stringer of fish atttached to a dock once, went back to camp for awhile and returned to find the stringer pulled up and nothing left of the fish but scales.

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  39. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    I’m no fan of raccoons. Our neighbors in California had a raccoon come in through the cat door, wander into their 5 year old’s bedroom, and bite the kid. Rabies shots, what fun!

    When we moved,up here, our house had a cedar shake roof, and one evening we discovered that raccoon had chewed a substantial hole in the shakes. Same thing happened to a neighbor. Raccoons make it difficult to resod a yard, because they’ll come in at night and roll up the sod to get to the insects underneath.

    I’m mostly live and let live with the suburban wildlife, even the coyotes we get but raccoons are a pain. The bear that was wandering around last spring was a step too far, but hopefully that won’t be a regular occurrence.

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  40. Joe K said on October 3, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Well as far as Trump’s taxes go, if no laws were broken, what difference does it make?
    Just like Hillary, no laws broke so what.
    Pilot Joe

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  41. MichaelG said on October 3, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I had kind of a rough month or so but I’m feeling a lot better now. Starting chemo again this week.

    No, Sherri, it seems from the story you linked to that the superblock in El Born was introduced just this September. I didn’t see it when I’ve been there. However, the Av de la Catedral, Carrer dels Arcs and the Portal de l’Angel all of which lead from the Catedral to the Placa de Catalunya, a distance of maybe a half to three quarters of a mile is all pedestrian friendly. That is, there is no auto traffic in general but taxis and delivery trucks are permitted. People just cover the street. It seems to work all right but that’s a limited area and there are lots of easy alternatives for vehicular traffic.,2.172801,3a,75y,165.16h,95.19t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s2tunRkc2WcK24yisXA72wA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

    I’m a bit leery about closing down streets. I think it should be phased in carefully and slowly and observed. Remember, places like Barcelona generally have better public transportation than US cities.

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  42. Jakash said on October 3, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    I often wish we could spend more time outside the Chicago megalopolis — even when you’re in a delightful natural area like the Arboretum or Botanic Garden, you almost always hear traffic and airplanes — but this skunks/raccoons conversation makes me appreciate the city! I don’t doubt that there are raccoons around, but I never see them. Coyotes have certainly made an impressive incursion of late, but they don’t spray folks. There seems to be a surprising number of rabbits, though; I see them pretty often and there’s no downside to me, since we don’t have a garden…


    re: your “Clouds” comment @ #1, did you happen to see that St. Bitch and I both gave shout-outs to “Sils Maria” at the end of the 9/16 thread?
    Not that it matters or that any response was necessary, but since they were directed to you, I wouldn’t want you to have missed them, and they could have easily been overlooked once the next post came up:

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  43. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Joe, you’re obviously taken with Trump. I’d love to hear your reasons why?

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  44. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    No, sorry, I missed that Jakash. Sometimes I have to remind myself to go back and read the last few comments in a thread because I go to bed early and there’s a new post by Nancy the next day.

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  45. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Jakash, I should add that I’m glad you and St. Bitch both enjoyed the movie after I wouldn’t shut up about how good I thought it was.

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  46. Jakash said on October 3, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    World-class trolling, there, Pilot Joe! Congrats!

    Uh, his ONLY supposed qualification is that he’s a genius businessman, but he lost close to a billion dollars one time? Sad!

    Also, he loved to criticize others for not paying enough in taxes. Hypocrite, much? The clueless hubris it must take to complain about other people for problems that he exemplifies to a much greater degree boggles the mind.

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  47. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Michael G, I’m with you on closing down streets, not against it just leery. It’s better to come up with a compromise, try getting cars to slow way down and be more careful so peds and bikes can share. Obviously you can’t do this to all streets, but selected ones. Also, the one thing about closing down streets is that it can be temporary, you can try it for awhile and then if it’s not working adequately just open them back up again. All you need are some buckets of paint and a few planters and signs to do these experiments.

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  48. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    There’s still nobody quite like the NYTimes when they decide to commit journalism, but they haven’t decided to commit journalism nearly enough when it comes to this election. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I think like an engineer rather than a journalist, but I don’t get the whole approach to political journalism. It seems the perfect area for linking in other topics that a newspaper has already built up resources in, like science and health and business, to do deep dives into the candidates, but instead we get endless coverage of candidate travel as the press pool waits for the candidates to make a gaffe and breathless reporting on leaks that are being fed to the press by people with an agenda.

    I’m not dismissing the importance of leaks, and Susanne Craig did good work on Trump’s taxes and her earlier story about Trump’s businesses (which is a good example of the kind of reporting I’d like to see more of.) But I’d also like to see more work like David Fahrenthold’s, work that says, okay, if what a candidate claims to be true is true, what would that look like, and digs for the evidence, and tells us even if it is true, not just if it’s false.

    We’ve seen lots of stories about potential conflicts of interests re the Clinton Foundation, but I can’t find a single Times story about the potential conflict of interest with Trump and Deutsche Bank, which seems like a pretty big deal. I know Deutsche Bank is in trouble, I know Duetsche Bank is facing a $14B fine from the DOJ, and I know Trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars to Deutsche Bank. I’d like to know more about the implications of that.

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  49. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Donald Trump (probably) broke no laws with his taxes. But is that the kind of country we want?

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  50. Peter said on October 3, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    1. Pilot Joe: I’m not nearly as upset about Trump’s lack of tax as others – it is true that he broke no laws, and if the loss is on the up and up (and THAT I doubt…) he’s certainly entitled to the deductions.
    I think the interesting item is that in a year when the stock market went up 37%, and in an industry (gambling) where you only need to be breathing in order to make money, our Donald lost a boatload of money.
    As a pilot, you can appreciate how Donald ran Trump Express (or didn’t, as the case may be). He had no clue on how to run an airline (although in fairness, you could say that for a lot of airline executives) and it showed. How’s he going to run something far more complex and alien to him?

    2. The lady in Pennsylvania: Not to make too much fun of a person who has a lot of problems, but if I was her neighbor I think I would be going on vacation as soon as the election results are announced.

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  51. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Who are the extremists?

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  52. Julie Robinson said on October 3, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Trump Foundation ordered to stop fundraising. I think someday Trump will look back at his decision to run for President and realize it was the beginning of the end of his grifting days.

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  53. nancy said on October 3, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Sherri, I think you nailed it at #57, above. The horserace narrative is familiar, and it practically screams out for both-sides-ism. It keeps nailing eyeballs, because you can always get ’em to step right up when a poll changes by a point or two. A wise editor would direct reporting about politics the way you suggest, but “today on the trail” has the greatest of all characteristics: Familiarity.

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  54. Judybusy said on October 3, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Wow, Sherri, that’s really disturbing. I am always a little weirded out when I’ve voted in a church, because I see it as a religious place, not for politics. But I figured the precinct only had so many places, so shrugged and cast my vote. I love that the mosque rep wanted to have a food truck outside the mosque for voters, and had to be reminded “it wasn’t a party.” I want this guy running my local voting place!

    I know this is a super small thing, but we have a lot of Muslims in Minneapolis. I go out of my way to say hi and smile. After reading in this article about the woman who doesn’t make eye contact while driving, I’m keeping that up. I also make a point of doing the same with people of color. Just a very small way of correcting the crap they deal with most days. I’ve read so many stories by black men who get white women acting fearful around them–crossing the street, clutching their purse, etc.

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  55. Sue said on October 3, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    When I had had enough of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, I let my subscription expire and made an equivalent donation to the Center for Media and Democracy.
    And after the Guardian did the expose of Scott Walker, I subscribed online. I think there’s a reason that stuff was leaked to a non-Wisconsin publication.

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  56. LAMary said on October 3, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Marla sounds like a good bet to me.

    I’m not too fond of raccoons, skunks or coyotes and we have all three in abundance. The raccoons are huge around here. They look like small bears. The thing that is creepy about urban wildlife is they are not at all afraid of people. They just stand there and look at you when you come across them. A week ago Friday I went out the front gate and there were two good sized coyotes standing not five feet away from me. I threw a rock and they moved about ten feet. Then a neighbor in an SUV came barreling down the street and they ran away just enough. I considered going inside for my wrist rocket dinging them a few times but I had to get to work.

    About two years ago a raccoon got into my garage and just tore the crap out of everything. I don’t mind them outside, but if they get in your house it’s not good.

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  57. Sue said on October 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Not so interested in what Trump did or did not pay in taxes, but I’d sure like to know what the budget line is for tax lawyers. How much did he have to spend to save all that tax money?

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  58. Sue said on October 3, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    See 17, 18 and 19:

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  59. Hank Stuever said on October 3, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Sorry, but I’m compelled to put in a plug for a Washington Post subscription, especially with some of the deeply discounted offers going around — 99 cents for access for the next four weeks; less than $9 a month if you buy a year’s worth. It’s the right thing to do if you’re reading more than 10 articles a month. I wouldn’t try to take stuff from your employer, beyond the free sample.

    Some of you who have local newspaper subscriptions should check and see if that doesn’t also entitle you to digital access to the Washington Post. For example, I know that Dallas Morning News subscribers get Post access with their subscription.

    Also, if you haven’t already, see if your Amazon Prime account offers access or discounts. I know that it’s been offering six free months to Prime members.

    The Post is doing a lot of great stuff, especially on the campaign, but also in a lot of other areas. It’s not like we’re done on Nov. 8. I highly recommend a series we’re doing right now on the dreadful impact of cobalt mining in Africa and graphite refineries in China. You’ll never look at your iPhone the same guilt-free way again.

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  60. adrianne said on October 3, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Hank, you sold me!

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 3, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    WaPo is a much, much better deal than the NYT online. I feel compelled to continue with my Times subscription which probably has more to do with their cultural coverage than anything, but I feel the tie unraveling. WaPo though has kept on impressing me more and more this year. I second Hank’s recommendation, and I write for a Gannett ra . . . paper.

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  62. Jolene said on October 3, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Hillary looking good and giving a good speech in Toledo this afternoon. Being ahead in polls again and the negative stories re Trump are giving her confidence.

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  63. susan said on October 3, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    People with skunk problems need to encourage great horned owls to hang around. They are one of the only, if not the only, predator of skunks. They have a poor sense of smell.

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  64. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    The WaPo is definitely doing good work beyond the election coverage, and the Amazon Prime rate is $3.99/month for digital access, much cheaper than the $3.75/week that I pay for the NYTimes.

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  65. alex said on October 3, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    And I’ll give the Post this…

    Jennifer Rubin has stopped being a moron, even if she’s not worth reading on her best day.

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  66. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I’m definitely going to check out the WaPo deals on Amazon Prime. Thanks for the tip Hank.

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  67. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    And Sherri.

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  68. FDChief said on October 3, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Count me in the minority that has little sympathy for the Trumpnoia woman. Does her life suck? Sure, no argument there. Has she chosen to react to the suckage by becoming a rage-filled bigot looking for a Fuhrer? Yep.

    Whatever sympathy I might have developed was pretty quickly quashed by the fact that this woman’s vote is as valid as mine. My sympathies end where her ability to foist a gibbering autocratic loon into a position of authority over me begins…

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  69. basset said on October 3, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Another take on the Spanish “superblocks”:

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  70. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    As good as Susanne Craig’s piece was, there were pieces missing from it. One question I had was how? How do you accumulate $900M in debt,how does it relate to his bankruptcies and the other details we know about his businesses, and how do you use the tax law to game the system? This article dives deeper into those issues:

    The other piece I want is context. Is this typical of real estate developers? Is this a case, like the carried interest loophole, where the system is just broken, or did Trump stretch it beyond what is normal?

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  71. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Does anyone know how you encourage great horned owls to hang around? Seriously want to know. We have a neighbor who lives closer to the Santa Fe river than we do who we found out has been trapping skunks and releasing them way far away. Bless him. We haven’t had as many skunks as we’d been having and we were wondering why.

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  72. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Basset, interesting. Actually cars parked curbside can save the lives of pedestrians walking on narrow sidewalks close to the street. When a car goes out of control and jumps the curb it’s a deadly projectile. I’m a fan of curbside parking because it gives a perception of safety to the pedestrian even though the possibility of an out of control car is rare. They form a barrier between you and the speeding cars which is comforting. Many cities are putting bike lanes on the inside of cars parked curbside for the same reason. It feels safer which is huge.

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  73. Judybusy said on October 3, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Deborah, Minneapolis tried the bike lane like that on a very small area a few years ago. It was so counterintuitive that I parked by the sidewalk, and got ticketed and towed. I was with a friend and we discussed what to do for a few minutes before I parked. As a bicyclist, I would feel so trapped and feel afraid passengers would swing open the door and hit me. It’s a hazard with parked drivers now, but at least I have a few feet to dodge them. I think the street design was changed pretty quickly. Perhaps with more public education, this design could work but it felt wonky. I felt that if I parked where I supposed to, other drivers wouldn’t get that it was a parking lane, and would drive into me.

    What we’re doing now is really wide bike lanes–as wide as a vehicle lane of traffic in some areas–and I think this is the way to go. They are also very well-marked.

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  74. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Whether there is on street parking and where the bike lanes are are not factors in isolation. You have to look at the design of the entire system, or network, which is what makes the superblocks concept fascinating. The critical aspect, and the politically difficult one, is to get away from the idea that the car is the most important user of the street. As mentioned in the article basset pointed to, people in Barcelona are used to their free on street parking. Donald Shoup, who is quoted in the article, has a book called The High Cost of Free Parking. Parking isn’t free, even if isn’t being charged for.

    Redmond has a Complete Streets ordinance, which requires that all transportation projects make accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as cars,with a few exceptions. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this, even in situations you wouldn’t think possible (a bike trail runs alongside but separated from a limited access freeway, for example.) Sometimes it means slowing the cars down via various methods, or reducing lanes so that pedestrians don’t have as many lanes to cross. We’re in the middle of a major change, years in the planning, to tow of the major streets in downtown that should make them friendlier for pedestrians, though at a cost to throughput for cars. There will be benefit for cars for navigability in that we’re converting one way streets into two way streets.

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  75. Heather said on October 3, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    I love those protected bike lanes. About a half-dozen cyclists have been killed here in Chicago already this year.

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  76. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Judy Busy, I’ve heard that. I don’t know what the answer is. In Chicago in the loop area on Dearborn they have those protected bike lanes, and by protected I mean that they’re on the inside of parked cars, between the sidewalk and the parked cars. It’s been well received by the bikers of course. It may take awhile for everyone to get used to it, like most things.

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  77. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Sherri, Shoup is getting a lot of play in urban planning these days. He really knows what he’s talking about. And you are so right about having a comprehensive plan, the bike lanes can’t be in isolation or it’s meaningless.

    Heather, there was a bike fatality a couple of blocks from here on Michigan and Oak, a young man tried to cross Oak before a bus turned onto it from Michigan. the bus couldn’t stop in time. So sad. That has been the biggest problem I read recently with bikers being killed by commercial vehicle.

    They put up these ghost bike memorials when a biker gets killed in traffic. They paint a bike white and put flowers on it, some of them have been up for years and some are gone immediately. I think they’re effective in making people stop and think. I’ve seen them in other cities too.

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  78. Heather said on October 3, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Yes, riding in this city can require nerves of steel. I’m always scanning parked cars ahead for anyone who might swing open a door without checking first, and trying to keep an eye out for cars that might do a right turn right in front of me.

    I read a website for Chicago cyclists and people are concerned that the spate of recent deaths is desensitizing people to them. It doesn’t help that the victim is usually blamed, even if it’s not his or her fault.

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  79. beb said on October 3, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Sherri @48: Newsweek did a long piece on the conflicts between Trumps business interest and American foreign policy.

    And #49: Wapo’s Allen Sloan suggests that Trumps billion dollar lose could be some kind of illegal tax sheltering. Which goes back to Joe K’s question if Trump’s done nothing illegal… but we will never know if he’s honest until he releases all his taxes.

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  80. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Beb, Kurt Eichenwald has done a number of good pieces about Trump’s businesses and debts. He’s got another out today, about Trump using Chinese steel and aluminum companies to build his buildings:

    I’m just also interested in the Deutsche Bank story. I can find stories about DB’s problems, and stories about how DB is the only major bank that will still lend to Trump, but I would like to understand better the implications of regulating a bank that is a major creditor of the President.

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  81. Joseph Kobiela said on October 3, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Pete at #50,
    Historically airlines have never made money, they have years when they show huge profits but tend to have many more years when they lose tons more, in order to make any money you would have to say so long to flying to Fla from Dtw for $120.00. Hopefully Mr Trump if elected will do what every smart business man does when he doesn’t know about something you hire someone who does, hopefully he will, we will see.
    By the by in 2014 Warren Buffett lost 875,000,000, and I believe George Soris has loss over 1.5 billion.
    Pilot Joe

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  82. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Deborah, unsurprisingly, I’ve taken a bigger interest in urban planning lately!

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  83. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    This addresses the context part of the Trump tax story to a degree:

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  84. David C. said on October 3, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Deborah, according to my farmer friend, the best way to attract owls is to raise pastured chickens. Owls are his biggest predator problem. This probably isn’t the most practical suggestion you’ll get, but the way to attract any bird is to give them food or water.

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  85. alex said on October 3, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    The other piece I want is context. Is this typical of real estate developers? Is this a case, like the carried interest loophole, where the system is just broken, or did Trump stretch it beyond what is normal?

    Just got an earful from my dad, who managed a corporate real estate portfolio and retired in 1991 because the tax laws created under Reagan pretty much put him out of business — and enabled people like Trump to get a billion-dollar break in 1995.

    As my dad explained it, real estate developers stopped relying on lenders in the late ’80s and early ’90s because the wealthy began forming partnerships to create tax shelters under Reagan’s scheme. They’d build buildings — office towers, office parks, shopping centers, etc., — without any prospective tenants or any kind of real plan. The partners could take losses on these things sitting empty, which a lot of them did. They were worth more empty than if they were fully occupied by paying tenants. The shareholders could also take depreciation on the property in ridiculous amounts. A lot of people parked their money in these things as a tax shelter until it became such a scandal that the law was rolled back to curb the ridiculous excesses.

    So Trump’s 1995 returns probably reflect his partnership in a yuge batch of money-losing commercial properties intended as tax shelters to create losses (and thus tax loopholes) for the investors. Legal at the time, perhaps, but that doesn’t mean that those who profited from it were acting in good faith, any more than the pols who snuck the law into existence while the rest of us were sleeping.

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  86. Deborah said on October 3, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Yeah Chinese steel was a huge no no when my husband designed a federal courthouse in St. Louis. There was a big brouhaha when the contractor tried to get away with using it. It had a very poor reputation of being structurally sound. It sounds like that’s still the case.

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  87. Julie Robinson said on October 3, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Alex, what a helpful explanation. I had suspected as much.

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  88. Jakash said on October 3, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Ah, yes, Mr. Trump “hires the best people,” as he loves to say. Odd how he’s represented by the most pathetic team of talking heads anybody’s ever seen and is on his third campaign manager. You’d think the “best people” would be keepers.

    Are Warren Buffett and George Soros running for President, saying “Only I can fix it” when it comes to a myriad of problems, based on their business acumen? I must have missed that.

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  89. alex said on October 3, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Julie, remember all of the half-assed shopping centers that went up in the ’90s? The ones that are still poorly occupied and have marginal tenants that come and go? Used to be that investors wouldn’t commit to such a project without first having signed leases in hand. It’s pretty much that way again, but the landscape is littered with a lot of crap that should never have been built.

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  90. joel hanes said on October 3, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    raccoons are getting smarter

    Obligatory reference : “King Of The Hill”, a short story by Chad Oliver in one of Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions anthologies.

    If you’ve ever read it, you know exactly what kind of science fiction story it is.

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  91. Sherri said on October 3, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    The reason we need the NYTimes to be better: the NYDailyNews also got the tax returns, but they weren’t able to verify them before the Times. The Times has the resources almost nobody else has; I just wished they used them better. It makes me wonder what a Marty Baron led Times would look like.

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  92. Deggjr said on October 3, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    C’mon Pilot Joe, I thought Republicans cared about the national debt. How can a President Trump speak to the debt as a problem when he’s placed himself outside the solution? To make the money he makes and not pay any Federal taxes at all, he has no moral standing.

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