Dry turkey.

As we head into Thanksgiving, and cast about for things to be thankful for in the midst of things we really aren’t, a few words about nothing in particular.

I have felt so tired lately, enough so that I did a little self-inventory. The older you get, the more likely tiredness can be traced to bad living. I’m still eating more or less well, maybe an excess of sugar this week (birthdays), still getting exercise, still sleeping more or less on schedule. It finally occurred to me the problem isn’t tiredness, it’s tension – the constant whipsawing between resigned long-term optimism for the future with the shrieking WE ARE DOOMED voice inside my head. It’s exhausting.

I have to relax. Current events aren’t helping.

Just a few statements of plain fact here: For the city of Detroit to recover, all agree that the woeful state of its public education must be addressed. For years now, the traditional Detroit public schools have been hemorrhaging students, not only due to population loss but also because charter schools have been allowed to grow unrestricted in Michigan, and they are draining students away. The problem is, there is no rhyme or reason to where and when they open (and close); the free market can sort out toothpaste fairly easily, but education of blameless children is another matter, who suffer when there’s market chaos. Forget also whatever you might believe about charters being inherently better than public schools, which is true in some places — where they’re tightly regulated, hmm — but not here. Detroit students in charters score only a little higher on standardized tests than their traditional-schools counterparts. Which is to say, abysmally. So, earlier this year, various city and education advocates came up with a plan to put an education commission in place that would have some braking and veto power on charters, just in the city of Detroit, so that schools could be located where they are most needed, and where the poorest children, in the poorest neighborhoods, the ones most likely to have no other choice, might be spared having to attend this terrible charter school, to cite but one example. Sort of like the certificate-of-need program for health care.

The plan was attached to a bill in Lansing to bail out the failing public system, which has been under state emergency management for 12 years and has, shall we say, failed to thrive. The governor approved, the state Senate approved, and the bill went to the House. The wealthy, powerful DeVos family did not approve, and their various policy operations went to work on it. The House gutted it, excising the commission, sent it back to the Senate, and eventually they caved, too.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet your next Secretary of Education, most likely.

I have to be careful what I write here, but as I said, these are simply facts. The Freep ran a biting column about this situation, and linked at the top is Betsy DeVos’ response, which you can read.

I think I’m going to take the rest of the week off and just read and think and try to relax. There’s no going back, after all. Here are some links you might find useful, if Sherri and Jolene haven’t already posted them all.

The WashPost fact checker offers a helpful guide on spotting fake news.

Michael Kruse visits Trump country in Pennsylvania post-election and asks the winners how they’re feeling:

So this year, as the divisive, repellent 2016 presidential campaign came to a head, Cambria County—whiter, poorer and less educated than the nation as a whole—was ripe for Trump’s blunt, populist message. The most important word in his catchphrase, for people around here, was not make or America or even great. It was again. They changed their party affiliation in droves.

And Charles Pierce, as he is wont to do, takes them apart. Both pieces are worth your while.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Posted at 6:58 pm in Current events |

53 responses to “Dry turkey.”

  1. Jolene said on November 23, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    The Michael Kruse piece is very good and very sad. It’s good to hear, I suppose, that the patience of Trump voters is limited because it might mean we’ll be stuck with him for four years rather than eight, but, in my view, the only person in the article who has a reasonable view of what’s likely to happen is the union guy who says that Trump is more likely make things worse than to make them better.

    Betting on a return to the past is just a very bad idea. Things are interwoven. Too many pieces of what once was a functional system–the workforce, the raw materials, the industrial plant, transportation–are broken, missing, or no longer operate in the same way. Better to take a look around, see what resources you have, and figure out how to use them to make a better future. But it’s not going to be people in their fifties and sixties with limited education who do that.

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  2. Sherri said on November 23, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    James Fallows talks a bit about Erie, PA, and those 50 and 60 year olds.

    Also in local good news, I’ve mentioned the stark axis of generational differences in outlook in Erie. People in their 50s and 60s and above expected to work at the big factories, and bitterly feel the loss of those jobs. People in their 20s and 30s came of age when the factories were already on the way out, and they’re very prominent in the startup, advanced-manufacturing, and civic-engagement scene in Erie.


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  3. Heather said on November 23, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    I’ve been exhausted lately. Emotions, and tamping them down to get through the day, take up a lot of energy. I took a nap today (half day at work) and it definitely helped my mood. I recommend it.

    Also, if you need a laugh, check out these Amazon reviews of a Trump Christmas tree ornament: https://www.amazon.com/Trump-America-Great-Collectible-Ornament/dp/B01N67D8HO/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?ie=UTF8&ref_=aw_cr_t_toys-and-games

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  4. Sherri said on November 23, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Trump, though, was an easy choice over Clinton, he told me. “He was talking to us,” he said. “I felt like she was talking down to us.

    But he’s not sexist or anything.

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  5. Jolene said on November 23, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Trump’s chat with the NYT gave rise to five opinion pieces, as well as a news article. (Both the transcript and an audio recording are also online.) All of these pieces are worth a look, but I thought Frank Bruni’s piece was the best (Links to the others are at the bottom of this page.), as it focuses on what is most fundamental about Trump, his childish narcissism. It is unbelievable that the President of the United States is a 70-year-old man who wants everyone he meets to believe he is great. He has no political principles, and his only moral value, if it can be called that, is to be at the top of the heap.

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  6. Sherri said on November 23, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    He had technicians secretly install an Internet connection in his Pentagon office, even though it was forbidden. There was also the time he gave classified information to nato allies without approval, an incident which prompted an investigation, and a warning from superiors

    The incoming National Security Advisor.

    Did you hear that Hillary Clinton had a private email server? She must have been a Democrat, or. Woman, or something, rather than a maverick rule breaker who got the job done.


    Okay, I’ve got to stop. Face it, the administration is going to be a disaster. It’s just a question of scale. I’m going to get my blog up and running, and try not to freak out about the end of the world, whether my daughter is going to get a job when she graduates, my mother-in-law’s failing health, and that I’ve got to find a new psychiatrist because mine just retired, damn him, how dare he have a life!

    I’m so, so thankful for all of you, especially this year.

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  7. Peter said on November 23, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    I do hope all of you have a wonderful and stress free Thanksgiving.

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  8. Jolene said on November 23, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Charles Blow didn’t go the meeting, but he did read the transcript. He has a darker view of what was said.

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  9. adrianne said on November 24, 2016 at 7:37 am

    And what fresh hell is this from the Trump cabinet? Betsy DeVos, education secretary, about whom the NYT writes: “It is hard to find anyone more passionate about the idea of steering public dollars away from traditional public schools than Betsy DeVos, Donald J. Trump’s pick as the cabinet secretary overseeing the nation’s education system.”

    Jesus, what a horror.

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  10. Suzanne said on November 24, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
    I will be thankful if my Trump supporter brother-in-law keeps his mouth shut today. And I will be very thankful for copious amounts of alcohol.

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  11. ROGirl said on November 24, 2016 at 8:47 am

    I’m with Charles Blow.

    As for the people in Trump country, the thing that stands out for me is that they say that Trump spoke to them. Yes, they have been primed by the anti-Hillary machine to tune out her real message, but he got through to them.

    I was out of work during the recession and had to scramble and claw my way back up to a decent job (thanks to the auto bailout, which has been conveniently forgotten by many), which I consider myself lucky to have gotten at my age and with my employment history. Unlike the Trumpers, though, I’m educated and middle class, and had the resources (personal and financial) to get through it. It hasn’t been easy, and there are a lot of people out there working $9 an hour jobs because that’s all they can get.

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  12. MichaelG said on November 24, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    A happy and healthy Thanksgiving to all.

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  13. susan said on November 24, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Helpful hints for preparing and baking a turkey.

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  14. beb said on November 24, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Nancy, before you go into that big hibernation (and I really empathize with you about that) perhaps you could ask JC to launch a new thread every day or two so we don’t have any more 300 post threads.

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  15. beb said on November 24, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    It came to me today what is so mind-numbingly horrible about selecting Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education. Where Rick Perry, the empty suit from Texas, wanted to close the department of Education, DeVos will destroy it.

    I don’t know why Charter Schools were not held to the same standards as Public School, or REQUIRED to out-perform the public schools in their region. If Charter schools are supposed to be the solution to the problem then they sure as hell ought to do better than the public school. Anything else is simple grifting.

    The drive to have the vote audited has be poo-pooed by the President who fears it will disrupt the smooth transition of power. Well, if the Republicans stole the election that a “smooth transition” is just whitewashing a crime. The Clinton campaign has been reluctant to having an audit but Jill Stein is asking for one. There’s no way she’ll be helped by a recount but as a presidential candidate I think she has standing to make this request. Time is running out to make the audit bur personally I’d rather delay the Electoral College vote until the vote has been audited and proved accurate. There will still be time for a Jan. 20th inauguration.

    As someone who feels drained and depressed all the time because of this election (AKA the death of America) Isympathize with Nancy’s desire to sleep the week away. I wish I could sleep four years away.

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  16. David C. said on November 24, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    DeVos is an idealogue. She doesn’t care a good god damn if what she prescribes actually works. It just feels right and pleasing to her, so it must be right. Because it’s so right, it can never fail, it can only be failed. She has the same disease as Trump. They are both ignorant but think they’re the smartest person in the room. A bubble that only billions can buy.

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  17. LAMary said on November 24, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you, Michael G for the good wishes. I’m doing Thanksgiving tomorrow. The sons are at their dad’s house today so we’ll have our turkey manana. I’ve got a couple of bottles of South African Rose someone recommended and we’re going to sit on the deck, have turkey, ginger garlic green beans, potatoes and rose. I’ll the designated sober person and stick to the sparkling apple cranberry juice. The dogs will probably get a few turkey tidbits if they’re lucky.

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  18. MichaelG said on November 24, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Sounds great, Mary.

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  19. Jolene said on November 25, 2016 at 6:15 am

    David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, has written a great article based on interviews with Obama just before and just after the election. He is a terrific writer, capturing both the events and the raw emotions of the past couple of weeks.

    The piece is heartbreaking, as it makes clear, as if we didn’t know already, that Obama is in every way a much better man than the man replacing him. But, at the end, we get some idea of what Obama is telling himself to avoid the sense that all is lost. I plan to read those parts again and again.

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  20. alex said on November 25, 2016 at 11:09 am

    The New Yorker piece leaves me a little more optimistic than I’ve been feeling. Still, I’m concerned that Trump could do the same thing Putin has done in Russia to gay people, which is to condone discrimination and violence. I still wake up with night terrors every night.

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  21. MichaelG said on November 25, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Commenting sure fell off the cliff.

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  22. LAMary said on November 25, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    It was all that tryptophan. Not sure on that spelling.

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  23. beb said on November 25, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Boston, New York and Chicago have come up with a novel way for dealing with rat infestations. They would find the borrows the rat colonies live in, throw in dry ice and block the exit holes. The dry ice (frozrn carbon dioxide) would evaporate and suffocate the colony. And darn cheaply, too.

    For some inexplicable reason the EPA is getting on their case because dry ice is not an approved pesticide. While I can see that the use of poisons to kill rats needs to be regulated least people get poisoned as well I don’t see dry ice rising to that level. Dry ice is essentially the same as flooding a rat nest with water. Since the article on Yahoo News came with several quotes from manufacturers of rat poisons I suspect the EPA is being bullied on this by people seeing their business model threatened by innovation.

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  24. beb said on November 25, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Sure, LAMary,, blame the turkey… (Ha, kidding).

    Speaking of which. Earlier this summer we were visiting my dad, probably for his 95th birthday when I happened to lookout the picture window in the living room and saw what I first took to be a peasant in the field in front of the house. That in itself would have been remarkable but it turned out to be a wild turkey, an animal I’d never seen in our area before (semi-rural). And not just a turkey. It was a mom with a brood of about ten chicks. And with her was another hen with about ten slightly older chicks. That’s a lot of turkey!!

    Well I came back from visiting Dad last week, bringing our daughter back to visit (she lives with my dad as a caregiver) and as we go up the road to the main drag I see several turkeys crossing the road. And as I pass them I glance to the open field on the side and there was the rest of the flock, 15-20 strong. Surprisingly little depleted by natural predators. It was a little treat.

    Wild turkeys, by the way, little resemble the big breasted beasts you find frozen in grocery stores. They are a large bird but with slender, graceful shoulders. Not brightly colored but still attractive. I wish I had stopped the car to take a picture of them.

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  25. David C. said on November 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    I know you meant pheasant, beb, but I’m so glad it came out peasant. Sometimes you need a good laugh even if it’s inadvertent.

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  26. MichaelG said on November 25, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    When I lived in Auburn there were gangs of wild turkeys everywhere. They would block the road and they would tear up lawns. I don’t see how you can see them as attractive, beb, they always look ugly as hell to me.

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  27. alex said on November 25, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Wild turkeys kind of bob and weave like Guinea hens only they do it in unison like a chorus line. We’re having new infestations of them in these parts too. They were never part of the landscape when this area was rural but they’ve been proliferating the last few years. I expect them to overtake possums and deer as roadkill in the near future.

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  28. Sherri said on November 26, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Okay, boys and girls, I’ve got the blog up and running, with a post about my visit to the local Muslim community center/mosque today. You should be able to find it at http://www.sherrivotes.org.

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  29. Jerry said on November 26, 2016 at 3:11 am

    From here across the ocean can I wish you all a belated happy Thanksgiving.

    No Thanksgiving here but we have adopted Black Friday. Logistical constraints found us Christmas shopping. We avoided the large shopping centre as probably too crowded and went instead to our local large-ish town and found it surprisingly quiet when we arrived. Rather more crowded when we left three hours later. And towards the end of the time I, at least, had arrived at the stage where I was feeling “if they don’t like the present that’s just too bad.”

    So home and a quiet doze in the chair before our adopted grandchildren arrived. Gabriel and I share a birthday, just 60 years between us. So we exchanged presents and had tea and birthday cake. And I spoke to all three of our sons.

    So, a better finish to the day than the start

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  30. Dexter said on November 26, 2016 at 4:12 am

    The goddam Grim Reaper is clearing out the old folks fo-sho.
    Florence Henderson and now this attention grabber:

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  31. David C. said on November 26, 2016 at 6:42 am

    How does that work Jerry? Yesterday wasn’t a normal holiday in Britain, was it? Do people take a day off work just to go shopping? And why do the UK and the USA seem to be copying each other’s bad ideas? We’re 50% of that and I can’t answer it, maybe you can.

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  32. Jerry said on November 26, 2016 at 8:10 am

    David C,

    Speaking for myself I’m retired so having the day clear to shop wasn’t a problem. For the others I imagine the day was taken as holiday, or called in sick. Apparently much shopping was done online. But I confess I’ve never had the urge to queue for hours to get a TV at a massive discount.

    As for picking up each other’s bad habits: we often seem to believe that if America does something it must be the way we want to go. Halloween didn’t exist here when I was a child, now the shops sell cheap costumes for children to wear and packets of cheap sweets to give out when they call. I suspect partly it is the common language that entices us to copy the larger nation across the ocean.

    Does America copy us. I hope none of our bad habits – they’ll probably return to us bulked up with steroids to a horrible degree.

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  33. basset said on November 26, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Sherri, I think I posted the first response on your blog but I’m not seeing it, or any others.

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  34. alex said on November 26, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I don’t know that America copies Britain necessarily, but there’s one strange habit I’ve noted in American pop culture and advertising and it has been around for a long time: Whenever the subject is poop or farts or anything similarly low-rent, it’s redeemed or classed up with British narration. A case in point.

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  35. MichaelG said on November 26, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Hey, Dexter. Go easy on that “clearing out the old folks” business.

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  36. Little Bird said on November 26, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Florence has now been followed by Fidel Castro. 2016 has been a helluva year.

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  37. beb said on November 26, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Theyare running ads on TV for this V.I.Poo spray! God, it is so gross. Personally, I think a little bottle of Frebreeze solves a world of stink.

    DavidC @25: I’d like to blame auto-complete for the pheasant / peasant mixed up. I’d like to but I can’t.Don’t have it. Just me and my rapidly aging noggin.

    MichaelG @26: I suppose I find it cool that we have wild turkeys in an area that never had them during me childhood there. Don’t know anything about them tearing up yards, which would be ab annoyance. I suppose in time I’ll come to see wild turkeys in the same light as I see Canada Geese, as a nuisance that needs to be exterminated.

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  38. Sherri said on November 26, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Your comment should be there now, basset. The default setting was to keep comments in moderation until the poster had an approved comment, and I just got up and approved your comment. I’ve turned that switch off for now.

    Thanks for dropping by!

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  39. Deborah said on November 26, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    I’m back on the grid. I tried to send a Happy Thanksgiving comment on Tues on our way out to Abiquiu but it wouldn’t send, I was too far out. I hope you all had a good one. Ours was fantastic, peaceful and quiet. We cooked a chicken stew on our wood burning stove. Lots to learn about heat control but it was good. Simple but tasty. I’ve got lots more to comment on but lots to do today back in civilization.

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  40. basset said on November 26, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Sheri, I realized it was probably moderation right after I sent that. I’ll check in and stop good conversations dead in their tracks from time to time.

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  41. Judybusy said on November 26, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Good to see you all. I liked the blog, Sherri; I commented, then lost it when I hit the back button to get back to NNC…..Our Thanksgiving was sweet, going over to another couples’ house with lots of food. Their beautiful, 125# Great Dane still thinks he’s a puppy, but he calmed down eventually. Last night we got together with the same couple plus two others at a quiet cozy bar in Minneapolis. One of the couples just moved to Columbus OH. Not thrilled–they’re gay and very cosmopolitan, but one of them got a promotion and the relo came with that. On the bright side, his partner is taking voice lessons and preparing for an audition with the opera. It’s funny, we’ve known the singer a long time, and when he first started going with his partner, we thought the guy awfully stuck-up and snooty. He mellowed and is very warm and wonderful.

    Ron Glass died today. I remember him in Barney Miller, and his wonderful role in Firefly/Serenity. This year can end any time!

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  42. Deborah said on November 26, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Well this happened about 60 miles south of here. At least there was a happy ending http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/11/25/1604075/-Muslim-woman-accosted-and-supported-in-Albuquerque-grocery-store?detail=facebook

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  43. Sherri said on November 26, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Your comment is there, Judybusy; I thought I had turned off moderation, but I forgot to save the change. Now, I have approved all the pending comments, turned off moderation, and put up another post!

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  44. basset said on November 26, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Forgive me once again for my cultural illiteracy, but I don’t remember anyone from Barney Miller, never saw it, much less Firefly or whatever. Fidel Castro I do remember, which I suppose dates me.

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  45. susan said on November 26, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    The kind of shit the Rancid Orange hath emboldened…

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  46. Dexter said on November 27, 2016 at 1:48 am

    Now “THEY” are trying to torture us some more, saying Wisconsin and Michigan provisional vote discards and other shenanigans will flip the board and reduce Trump’s E.C. total to 264 and make Hillary Clinton the new President. And the websites reporting these tales do not have .co in the URLs.
    I only wish this were possible.

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  47. Suzanne said on November 27, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I saw that video of the idiot on the plane on Twitter. The real loser was Delta airlines if the Twitter feedback means much. The majority of comments said that since Delta did not kick him off the plane or tell him to sit down & shut up, Delta will no longer be their airline of choice.

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  48. Heather said on November 27, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Suzanne, I couldn’t even watch that video. If that guy had stood there and insulted an ethnic group, I’ll bet he would have been kicked off. But when it’s just women, it’s no big deal and we should just develop thicker skins, I guess.

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  49. Kirk said on November 27, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Judybusy, your friends will soon learn that Columbus is a pretty gay-friendly city.

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  50. Deborah said on November 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Here’s a link to funny photos, http://www.boredpanda.com/cats-in-hats-made-from-their-own-hair/ a diversion for the end of Thanksgiving weekend.

    That Trumper on the plane video was disgusting, I hope that in going viral it doesn’t spawn imitation, but it probably will.

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  51. basset said on November 27, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Get used to it…

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  52. Jolene said on November 27, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    If you were, in any way, dissatisfied with your Thanksgiving turkey, you might want to try this method next year.

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  53. Deborah said on November 27, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Lol Jolene.

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