Last days.

So, how’s everybody’s break going? Me, I am getting shit DONE. Basement, CONQUERED. Closets, NEXT IN LINE. Piles of paper EN ROUTE TO THE DAMN SHREDDER. When New Year’s Day dawns, that Christmas tree’s days are NUMBERED AT .5, and I’m starting 2017 fresh. Or maybe FRESH.


In between organizing/trashing chores, I’m trying to read one of my Christmas presents: Shusako Endo’s “Silence,” now a major motion picture by Marty-my-idol. As you might imagine, the contrast is sometimes jarring, but I’m determined to finish it. I now have a stack of novels, both analog and digital, to get through in the new year, and I’m determined to do so. The internet has destroyed my attention span, and I’m equally determined to get it back. Not having a dozen years’ worth of neglected basement cleaning nagging at my conscience will help.

The holiday itself was pleasant. When your family is small, your celebrations are often low-key and chill, and ours was. We did tamales on the Eve, turkey on the Day, and many leftovers remain in the fridge, which will not escape the purge, because New Year’s Day is also the first day of my second Dry January, which may or may not be part of a Whole30, haven’t decided if I’m up for the torture yet. The circus class, after a rocky, knee-wrenching start, is growing on me, and I’m wondering if losing a few pounds won’t make the upper-body job a tad easier. And as usually happens at this time of year, my waistbands are getting a little tight. I’m so sick of cookies and chocolate and gingerbread, and yet, whenever I pass a sample? I cannot help but reach.

So, a little bloggage? There’s so much, but I haven’t been making many notes; at the end of the year, many places do excellent wrap ups, so start with Longform and go from there.

And this year, of course, there are the obituaries. (You want to know why journalists are the way they are? While the rest of you were rooting for Carrie Fisher and passing along memes and so forth, a handful of grim-faced scribes were plugging away on the just-in-case obit, which it turned out was needed.)

I highly recommend, again, my colleague Bill’s great, never-before-told story of the family at the center of the 1967 Detroit riots. Long but very readable.

Leave it to Neil Steinberg to rain all over Christmas. But I can’t say he’s wrong.

I heard a long NPR thing on Rick Barry and the underhanded free throw a few months back, and I guess it’s making a comeback.

Probably the last update of 2016 here. See you next week, and everyone? Let’s take a tip from the front half of the Detroit civic motto: Speramus meliora. (We hope for better things.) But be prepared for the other direction.

Posted at 9:54 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

68 responses to “Last days.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 28, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I find myself nodding in agreement right through this whole piece, even if Anthony and I make some different word choices.

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  2. brian stouder said on December 28, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I read the first several paragraphs of our proprietress’s colleague’s Detroit riot piece, and I shall have to finish it.

    Over the holidays, for whatever reason I picked up Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book again (Between the World and Me), which I got last Christmas – and re-reading it has been….what’s the word?

    maybe ‘enthralling’.

    it seems to read differently now, then it did a year ago; my reassurance that we were in better days has taken a major hit

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  3. Icarus said on December 28, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    are they actually called Paddy Wagons?

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  4. Suzanne said on December 28, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    We have family here from out of town, which means I am enjoying myself but accomplishing nothing but eating, drinking, and sleeping, and then doing it all over again. I desperately need to tackle the basement and closets. Just getting out Christmas decorations made me want to toss stuff. Why in the world did I keep all these stupid Christmas baskets over the years? Out they went.
    I did finally manage to go out the day after Christmas and snag a 1/2 price tree. Ours is at least 20 years old and falling apart so it was well past time for a new one.

    Once everyone leaves I will be sad I don’t have another week of vacation to decompress. As the years go by, I am less and less enamored with the holiday hoopla.

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  5. brian stouder said on December 28, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Here’s an exceptionally tastey bon-bon, which I would have missed on a quiz:

    a sentence or two:

    Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, a prominent Donald Trump advisor, repeated a tired line of attack last night, telling Fox News that President Obama “dislikes American exceptionalism.”

    We know Bolton’s wrong. The more interesting question is whether Bolton realizes that the president-elect he’s been advising for months is actually the one who dislikes American exceptionalism.

    Perhaps someone should let Bolton know about this Mother Jones report from the summer.

    In late April 2015, a month before Trump officially announced his candidacy, he spoke at an event called “Celebrating the American Dream” that was hosted in Houston by the Texas Patriots PAC, a local tea party outfit. The mogul sat in an oversized leather chair and fielded questions from Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, a prominent local businessman. About an hour into the program, McIngvale posed Trump this query: “Define American exceptionalism. Does American exceptionalism still exist? And what do we do to grow American exceptionalism?”

    Trump didn’t hesitate to shoot down the premise of the question, saying he didn’t “like the term.” He questioned whether the United States was “more exceptional” and “more outstanding” than other nations. He also said that those who refer to American exceptionalism were “insulting the world” and offending people in other countries, such as Russia, China, Germany, and Japan. It is “not a nice term,” he said, maintaining it was wrong to equate patriotism with a belief in American exceptionalism. He derided politicians who use the phrase.

    Anyway – this made me chuckle!

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  6. Deborah said on December 28, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I’m back from a few days in Abiquiu, took a much enjoyed shower in Santa Fe. We leave for Tubac, AZ tomorrow morning so we’re doing chores related to that now.

    One word New Year’s resolution this year is easy: Resist. I can’t wait for 2016 to be over.

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  7. Deborah said on December 28, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    But I should add not excited at all for the Obama admin to come to a close.

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  8. Deborah said on December 28, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    One more thing, something actually good happened in the latter days of 2016. Little Bird got bumped up to the next level for Medicaid by her caseworker so it may mean that she will keep some coverage after the Republicans rape the healthcare system. We’re hoping anyway.

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  9. Sherri said on December 28, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    The main thing I disagree with is the notion that we’ve got to reach out to the Trump supporters. Reach out how? That’s the part that people saying that never follow up with. Clinton did talk about jobs and economic issues. The Dem platform was about economics. The economy improved under Obama, and they didn’t believe it, or didn’t believe he deserved any credit.

    I don’t think we should ignore Trump supporters; I think our policies and programs should help them, too. But what do people mean by reaching out to Trump voters? Not talking about abortion? Not giving Black Lives Matter a voice? Hiding the transgender people?

    It’s got to be both the economy and civil rights. You can’t have one without the other.

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  10. Sherri said on December 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    As for the granny free throw, I think i

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  11. Sherri said on December 28, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Arghh, the lack of an edit button!

    I think it’s stupid that no one in the NBA, generally the more enlightened of the professional sports leagues (admittedly a low bar), has been willing to shoot that way. Given how badly some players are at shooting free throws, you’d think they have nothing to lose, and the granny shot is easier to make. There are fewer mechanical parts to it to get right, it gives you a nice arc and a good spin, and how can it be more embarrassing than the ugly bricks those players throw up there?

    A granny shot does require both wrists to be equally flexible, though, unlike the usual shot, so a wrist injury makes it difficult to shoot. If you don’t get the same rotation from both hands, then the spin isn’t parallel to the floor, and the ball will swerve to one side.

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  12. MichaelG said on December 28, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Are you serious, Icarus? Of course they were and still are. I hope I don’t have to explain the why of it.

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  13. A. Riley said on December 28, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    The story about the granny shot was interesting, not least because of what the players said. Wilt Chamberlain: “I felt silly,” he wrote. “Like a sissy.” And this after making 28 points with the granny shot in his famous 100-point game.

    What? He’d rather look good and miss half his free throws than look silly and make two-thirds of them? What do they pay these guys for, anyway?

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  14. Sherri said on December 28, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    It is perhaps relevant that Rick Barry, the only granny shooter in the league, was also notorious for being among the least liked teammates in the league. In other words, he didn’t care what anybody thought about anything.

    Only the youngest of Barry’s five sons shoots granny free throws, though the four older sons all played professionally, three in the NBA.

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  15. Sherri said on December 28, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Interesting article from a Muslim reporter on the campaign trail:

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  16. Deborah said on December 28, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    From the last thread about ankle injuries: let me say about my own foot injury, I’m confused, I thought I had a stress fracture of my second metatarsal but now I think that was a misdiagnosis. I wore a walking boot for six weeks but I’m still having a bit of a problem. Now I think it’s a metatarsaphalangial joint problem, it still hurts, not horribly like it did initially but I’ll have to wait until mid Jan when I get back to Chicago to see what the deal is. In the meantime I can walk mostly normally now but I’m still taking it easy. I’ll be glad when this gets back to normal.

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  17. Sherri said on December 28, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Well, I suppose the good news is, she’s not Mark Burns, who called Clinton and Dems the enemy and called on God to defeat the Democratic Party in his prayer at the RNC. Paula White is just another prosperity gospel huckster. She and Trump go way back, because of course they do.

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  18. Colleen said on December 28, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Speaking of purging……we currently have a dumpster in our driveway, as we purge the basement (and the rest of the house) in preparation for a move to Florida. In November, I got a new job in Tampa, which starts on January 30th. More money, no snow, and 90 minutes from my parents. Looks like The Husband is going to keep his job and telecommute, which was the best of all possible news. So we are excited for 2017 and the things it will bring. The only down side will be a 16 hour drive with three cats. Yikes.

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  19. Sherri said on December 28, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Debbie Reynolds, too?


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  20. Dorothy said on December 28, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    The news these days just seems to be filled with reports of famous people dying, sometimes expectedly but more often, suddenly. This week my sister’s mother-in-law died on Christmas Day. She was 87 so it was not unexpected – she smoked like a chimney for years. Sweet lady, though, and her son who is my brother-in-law is a fabulous person. One of the best in our family. And remember my husband’s aunt who 4.5 years fell in her condo and was on the floor for four days? She’s been bedfast since and living at a succession of nursing homes, most recently the VA one in Pittsburgh. (she’s 91 now) Well she was taken to the VA hospital today and not expected to live much longer, perhaps overnight she’ll be gone. We were already planning a trip into Pittsburgh for the funeral and to see my mom after the fire; now we have to head straight to the hospital in the morning and hope we get there before she dies, so my husband doesn’t feel too much guilt. I’m not sure the stress could get ratcheted up more for us than it already is.

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 28, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    I’m hoarse as a crow with the shouting, but have spent three nights helping my wife get stories and chronologies out of her “I’m not getting deaf!” father, and it has been exhausting but highly enjoyable. He’s pulled stuff out of boxes she didn’t know he had, and told lots of stories she hadn’t heard. Her mother died a year and change ago, and there are so many things she wishes she’d asked her: so there’s been no beating around the bush, and he’s comfortable with those nods to his mortality. He’s almost 88, so it’s not like it’s a topic he’s not considered.

    The published bits and pieces that go back a ways I’m putting up on Facebook, and it’s eliciting some other family recollections . . . Carrie & Debbie aside, that’s what this period between Christmas & New Year’s is good for in families, or can be. And for all of us who’ve passed 40 or so, it’s not too soon to write it down. Even the dumb stuff. Maybe especially the dumb stuff. I suspect they’d have been amazed to learn in the 1880s that we’d be fascinated by selling “hoop poles” in New Orleans for .45 cents a bundle, or that we’d be curious about where they sat in the plank sided church during the 1930s relative to the pot-bellied stove in the middle.

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  22. MichaelG said on December 29, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Debbie Reynolds too. Shit. She was one of my early crushes. Very early. I was 13 or 14.

    There was some talk the other day about early recordings that people liked. This is one of mine:

    I just played it and I must admit that I shed a tear for Debbie and Carrie. I’m also kind of goofy since I had chemo today. My current chemo does strange things for a day or so.

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  23. MichaelG said on December 29, 2016 at 12:57 am

    Also there are thoughts of my own impending mortality. As good as I feel and as much as I want to get in a couple of more trips, I know that I am slowly getting sicker and weaker. So, maybe I can be forgiven a few tears.

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  24. Dexter said on December 29, 2016 at 1:26 am

    My dad brought home this record for Christmas one year back in the early 1960s. With all the celeb-deaths, especially the Carrie-Debbie double-demise, this 1:09 little joke is apropos. It’s Pigmeat Markham…

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  25. Julie Robinson said on December 29, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Colleen, congratulations! A friend moved to Tampa and has been very happy, partly due to frequent trips to Pass-a-Grille beach.

    I think we’re all a little weepy, Michael, and now I’ve got Tammy as an earworm. Debbie Reynolds was a few months older than Mom and Carrie Fisher eight days older than me, so it really hits close to home. I see Mom slowing down and I’m just not ready. As we’ve been going through slides all kinds of new stories having been bubbling out of her, so it’s as much therapy for her as passing on information for me.

    When we digitized a batch of slides and I shared them in a family Facebook group I was unprepared for the reaction. They were old and familiar to me, but brand new to many, especially my younger cousins and more distant relatives, and they were hungry for everything I could tell them. For the first time I realized what a unique role I had as an eyewitness, and what a privilege that was. It prompted all kinds of other family stories and sharing them has been sad at times, but marvelous as a whole.

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  26. brian stouder said on December 29, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    So I went to Bridge, as Michigan IS an interesting place, and since our Proprietress shamed me for neglecting that (genuinely wonderful) sight, looking for the inside poop (so to speak) of the Fraser debacle…..and I found nut’n!

    A major supplier of ours – MP pumps – is based there, so I was extra-motivated to learn more about what’s going on.

    Anyway – I suppose it will be Indiana’s turn in the barrel, at some pointy in the near future, since we keep electing people into government who don’t believe in responsible governing

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  27. Jolene said on December 29, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    A couple of Debbie Reynolds/Carrie Fisher mementos–one very early in Carrie’s life, one much later.

    Photo of Carrie watching her mom onstage in 1963

    Debbie and Carrie singing together many years later

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  28. Sherri said on December 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Storm tips from the Bangor Maine PD:

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  29. Sherri said on December 29, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    The mistake Jonathan Chait makes here is calling Glenn Greenwald a “left-wing journalist”; I don’t regard him as either left-wing or a journalist, having read his work since his days as a blogger. It’s not that I don’t think a blogger can be a journalist, just that I don’t think Glenn Greenwald is one.

    Glenn Greenwald is an advocate for Glenn Greenwald, last pure man and holier than thou knower of truth.

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  30. Jolene said on December 29, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Reynolds/Fisher stuff on TV.

    Nothing too exciting, though I might check out the Will and Grace episodes or the HBO special.

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  31. Sherri said on December 29, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    An obituary for General Leia Organa:

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  32. Deborah said on December 29, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    On our way to Tubac, AZ, we stopped at the Very Large Array near Socorro, NM. We wanted to do this last year when we made the same trip but there was a horrible snow storm and we kept going without stopping. One of the things that made the VLA so fascinating was the mashup of technology with regard to time. The giant dishes (antenna) move around over the 100 sq mile area on rails, a technology from 19th century, then the dishes are fabricated with struts and bolts and whatnot that are from a 20th century tech. Then they have been upgraded to a 21st century computer technology. But then this all sits in an ancient, high desert landscape that has existed for eons. It’s very interesting, I recommend a visit and now I’m going to rewatch the movie Contact, sometime soon.

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  33. jerry said on December 30, 2016 at 5:27 am

    you asked about a couple of dishes I cooked for Christmas Eve. Sorry to be so long but the recipes were upstairs and I was browsing the blog downstairs. So sorry for the delay, but here eventually:


    12 large good quality pork or venison sausages
    3 tbsp grain mustard
    3 tbsp clear honey
    1 lemon, zest and juice
    2 tsp paprika

    1.Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
    2.Mix together the honey, mustard, paprika, lemon juice and zest.
    3.Prick the sausages and toss in the mustard mixture.
    4.Put in a roasting tin and bake in the oven until brown all over and cooked right through. Turn the sausages from time to time whilst they are cooking.Probably about 30 minutes.

    I always cook this uncovered and the glaze goes very sticky and thick. One day I'll try covering them and see if the finish is more aesthetaically pleasing.

    Red Cabbage

    1 oz fat
    1 lb red cabbage, shredded
    1 large onion, sliced
    1 large apple sliced
    2 tablespoons stock or water
    2 tablespoons vinegar
    1 teaspoon salt
    pinch pepper
    1 tablespoon brown sugar

    Melt the fat in a saucepan and add all the other ingredients. Cover with a tight-fitting lid a boil gently for ½ – ¾ hour or until the cabbage is tender. Stir occasionally, and do not cook too quickly or the pan will boil dry. There should be hardly any liquid left at the end of the cooking.

    You can make this ahead of time and reheat it.

    Hope you enjoy.

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  34. Deborah said on December 30, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Thanks to LA Mary for posting this to my FB timeline (about Abiquiu) sorry for the long link, I can never remember how to make them shorter.

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  35. Connie said on December 30, 2016 at 8:45 am

    We’ve talked about this product, St. Ives Apricot Scrub. The Reddit vendetta against this product lead to court.

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  36. brian stouder said on December 30, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Sherri – that obit was good stuff!

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  37. brian stouder said on December 30, 2016 at 9:59 am

    So Fox News’s headline writer doesn’t use quotation marks; it looks like an editorial comment, to me:

    Putin vows not to stoop to Obama’s level after US kicks out Russian intel operatives

    We are in some strange times, folks

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  38. beb said on December 30, 2016 at 11:48 am

    When it comes to fake news, never forget that fake news begins with Fox News/Rush Limbaugh.

    Interesting comment by Josh Marshall regarding Trump position regarding Russian hacking of the US election.
    the tl’dr is that maybe Trump to move on because while he wasn’t involved there are so many suspect people in his operation who might be involved that he’s rather not know.

    I’ve been reading about a “Border Tax” republicans have been promoting. It sounds like it might work —if done properly. The nut is that it would increase the tax on imports and lower taxes on exports. The rise in import taxes would push for local manufacture of items. But I can’t rely on the Republicans to do it properly.

    There’s a game where people argue over who would they kill if they could go back in time and kill one person. Most people would say they’d kill Baby Hitler. I think I’d kill Baby Grover Norquist. His campaign to prevent any new taxes for whatever reason has really damaged the country by preventing the raising of money for any needful projects including infrastructure repair.

    Growing up Sears was THE department store one went to for pretty much everything. Today people speculate how soon Sears/K-Mart will become chum. I wonder how this could happen then I read this (via eschaton)

    the tl;dr is: Another fan of Ayn Ryan is tearing this country down.

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  39. Mark P. said on December 30, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Deborah, a friend and I visited the VLA a long time ago, probably in the late ’80’s or early ’90’s. He had just bought an Acura Legend and we took it from ABQ south down I-25. When we realized where we were, we turned off and headed to the VLA. As you know, it’s a deserted, fairly straight road that was suitable for a top-speed run. I was driving, and I opened it up. We were going so fast that when we passed the VLA turnoff, it took us about a mile to slow down so we could turn around. That car was amazing. At well over 100 we had to turn up the radio slightly.

    When we got to the VLA there was no one around and no indication of where you could go and where you couldn’t. I suppose they were not used to getting visitors. We walked out among the big dishes for a while before someone came out and told us we were not supposed to be there. I guess we would be arrested today, but it was no big deal then.

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  40. Mark P. said on December 30, 2016 at 11:57 am

    beb, I think non-right-wing economists are not big fans of import taxes. Paul Krugman has had some comments regarding that. He doesn’t predict immediate catastrophe, but I think in the long run, it ends up not doing what it’s supposed to. In this case, it means Americans would almost certainly pay more for almost every durable good that they buy.

    K-Mart and Sears both closed in our town (Rome, Ga, a community with near 100,000 in the city and surrounding county). It was obvious for years that both were doomed. On the busiest shopping days, the K-Mart parking lot had about what the Walmart store had at 2 am on a slow day, and K-Mart was far more conveniently located. Of course they hastened their own demise by stocking less and less so there was no real reason even to go into the store.

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  41. Mark P. said on December 30, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Also, many of the jobs an import tax might bring back would be done by robots controlled by a small number of well-educated IT people, not former coal miners.

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  42. David C. said on December 30, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    The border tax also assumes the other countries wouldn’t react in kind. I work for a company that exports a pretty good percentage of what we make. It would probably screw those divisions over, but good.

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  43. basset said on December 30, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Sounds like the Amtrak model for Sears/Kmart… “improve” service by providing less.

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  44. Sherri said on December 30, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    If it walks like a tariff and quacks like a tariff, I suspect the WTO will think a border tax is a tariff in sheep’s clothing. I somehow doubt the rest of the world is going to stand idly by while the richest country in the world decides that the best way to solve its inequality problems is to make the rest of the world poorer.

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  45. MichaelG said on December 30, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks for the recipes, Jerry. They both look yummy.

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  46. Jolene said on December 30, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Not to mention that a border tax would be passed on to consumers, thus making Americans poorer too.

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  47. Sherri said on December 30, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    This guy complains that Democrats won’t reach out to white evangelicals, won’t even extend a symbolic branch to pro-life Christians. I’d argue that Democrats have spent decades extending olive branches to pro-life Christians, and it has accomplished nothing but a stronger pushback. At some point, you remain open, but you stop extending a hand that keeps getting smacked.

    And white evangelicals aren’t the only religious people in the country.

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  48. beb said on December 30, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    The Border Tax is an interesting idea and if done right might work but the Republicans in Congress will never implement it right so it will remain an interesting idea. As for the tax being illegal under World Trade Organization rules….what do Republicans care about international bodies? They are opposed to the whole idea of the US being limited by rules. So the Border Tax as a finger in the eye of the WTO would sound good. Now the article I read about the Border Tax suggested that it was kind of – sort of like a VAT, which is legal under WTO. so I suppose if they did make it into a VAT all would be fine tradewise. As for the Border tax increasing the cost of imported products … that’s sort of the whole idea. By raising the cost of imports it opens the door to domestic products, which is the goal of border tax. But the argument that increasing taxes on an item gets passed along to consumers 100% is partially naive. Because it’s also true that as prices go up people stop buying that item. So the retailers have to balance raising prices with reduced sales. The likelihood is that retailers will decide to absorb some of the increase.

    I’m not wedded to a Border Tax. I’m just intrigued that someone has an idea might possible bring jobs back to the US. And if if the jobs created as few, the manufacturing would be subject to local taxes which would still increase the nation’s bottom line.

    Basset, Sears is experiencing what is called a “death spiral.” to save money less is buy, leading to shortages, which lead to reduced sales requiring more reducing in expenditures. Amtrak’s problem is that it’s supposed to be a self-supporting service but there’s no way it charge enough per ticket to be self-supporting. And since it doesn’t own any of the tracks it uses it can’t improve service. This is another program designed to fail by edict of Congress.

    We need to push back on the idea that Evangelical Christians are the only Christians in this country. Later on we can work on the idea that Evangelical Christians aren’t Christian because they support ideas like murdering abortion doctors, GLBT, and anyone not like them.

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  49. alex said on December 30, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Sherri at 47–

    Mr. Wear and his ilk of white evangelicals don’t acknowledge the olive branches because they aren’t really interested in olive branches. Even though they are paid greater deference than any other faith group (because they’re so damned tetchy about it), they regard having to live in a pluralistic, multiracial, secular society as nothing less than persecution. And they refuse to vote for Democrats because the Democrats refuse to promise them the authoritarian theocracy of their dreams, while the GOP has been dangling this carrot for the last thirty-some-odd years.

    Can you imagine secularists bitching that the Republicans never extend an olive branch? What would they do with such an olive branch anyway? It’s not like Republicans are going to get religion where science is concerned.

    Abortion and homosexuality are simply facts of life and it’s inhumane to criminalize them for all at the behest of a religious minority.

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  50. Sherri said on December 30, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Alex, the funny thing is, unlike the young Mr. Wear, I’m old enough to remember when abortion wasn’t a totemic issue for conservative white evangelicals. If you grew up in an evangelical church before 1980, like I did, abortion was something the Catholics got all bothered about, and Catholics weren’t really Christian, anyway.

    Abortion became a matter of identity. There is no olive branch that can be extended that could be accepted. The conservative white evangelical church is as tribal as it gets; its very existence is based on who is in (saved) and who is out (not saved). Their duty is to convert people, which is probably why they are so violently Islamophobic. They regard Islam as a religion determined to convert everybody, too. And why they were always so suspicious of Mormons and Catholics, until it became politically expedient to make common cause.

    They want Roe v. Wade overturned. But the decision the people funding the lawsuits really want overturned, though the people in the pews probably couldn’t name it, is Bob Jones University v. United States. That’s what all the religious liberty cases are really about at heart. Incidentally, Rehnquist was the lone dissenter in the Bob Jones case, but that was before Scalia had been named to the Court. The Court has completely turned over since then, and after the Republicans fill the seat they stole, they’ll have a Court that would likely have ruled for Bob Jones University.

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  51. Hattie said on December 30, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Nancy, I admire your drive and stamina so much! Sounds like you will be kicking major ass in the New Year.

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  52. alex said on December 31, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Sherri, one of the things I remember about the evangelical arguments in the early days of the gay rights struggle is that they ascribed to gay people their own motives — that we were trying to “recruit” and “convert” people who otherwise weren’t gay. Recruitment and conversion is their only frame of reference.

    I remember in college meeting a gregarious woman from Georgia at a party and she asked me out for lunch at a nice restaurant and offered to treat. I had made no secret of the fact that I was gay; so were about half the people at the party. She was there with a boyfriend who was either Indian or middle-eastern, I forget which. Anyway, at lunch she didn’t waste any time cutting to the chase. She wanted to save my soul and her boyfriend’s as well. I think she realized pretty quickly that she wasn’t getting anywhere with me and that’s the last I ever saw of her.

    Even Barry Goldwater, who ran on a quasi white nationalist platform in 1964, cautioned the Republican party about giving evangelicals a place at the table because he recognized that there is no mollifying them short of being completely subjugated.

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  53. Jakash said on December 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Well, Alex, on the upside, at least your experience of being treated to a nice free lunch beats the daylights out of the Pencification of state legislation that’s rolling out all over the place…

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  54. Dexter said on December 31, 2016 at 12:54 pm

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  55. MichaelG said on December 31, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I sure agree with you about the Barry Goldwater observation, Alex. Also, don’t forget that the evangelicals and their ilk have always associated being gay with automatically being a sexual predator.

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  56. David C. said on December 31, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I know a woman whose fundy family did a ham-handed intervention because they found out she started going to a UU church. It sounded like quite a show and had absolutely no effect other than she sees her family only for funerals she doesn’t feel she can avoid.

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  57. alex said on December 31, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Indeed, Michael. They claimed we were out to recruit their children. Jerry Falwell railed against various children’s shows that he believed were subverting masculinity. James Dobson cautioned parents not to let boys do any cooking or using the vacuum sweeper because it would make girls out of them.

    I remember a Dear Abby letter from the period. A woman was distraught because her husband was an excellent cook and prepared most of the meals in their household. Then she read one of Dr. James Dobson’s books and was horrified to learn that her husband was modeling behavior that would make their son gay. Abby assured her quite decorously that “Doctor” Dobson was full of shit.

    I used to find it outrageous that on talk shows like Phil Donohue, the subject of homosexuality couldn’t be discussed without giving equal time to people like Dobson and Falwell, who had nothing to contribute but disparagement of the other guests.

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  58. Deborah said on December 31, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Pencification, good one Jakash.

    Dobson was a favorite of my ex-in-laws. They loved to talk about “tough love”. They were very adept at the tough part, not so much the love.

    We’re enjoying ourselves at my husband’s uncle’s ranch in Tubac, AZ. I spent about an hour in the hot tub this afternoon, feeling like a wet noodle. LB and I went into town earlier and got some great deals on Talavera wear, it costs so much more in Santa Fe.

    Happy New Year all, here’s hoping for the best in 2017, but preparing for less than the best given what we have to work with.

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  59. Sherri said on December 31, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    It’s snowing here, so instead of a White Christmas, it looks like we’re going to have a White New Year. Despite that, we’re going to brave the weather to join friends for our annual New Year’s Eve gaming party. Be safe all, and Happy New Year!

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  60. alex said on December 31, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    We just came in from dinner out with another couple and we’re going to have a nightcap and call it a night. Old fartitude.

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  61. Joe K said on January 1, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Happy new year to all.
    Pilot Joe

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  62. Judybusy said on January 1, 2017 at 9:05 am

    We had a last-minute invite to an early college football party from my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. It was nice to see them again, because the other in-laws’ dog had spoiled Christmas. We hung out for a couple hours, then home. I fell asleep by 8:15 watching the PBS mystery show Lewis. Exciting times!

    We had an absolutely great meal and good times with a couple on Friday. There is a neighborhood place, Rincon 38 which serves tapas. OMG, we can’t wait to return.

    Like many of my friends–including all here–I am finding myself having difficulty about cheering in the new year. I’m just so very anxious about what the new political operatives will bring.

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  63. beb said on January 1, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Last night was scarier than most Around 11:30 we heard what sounded like a rapid-fire cannon. My wife looked out the dining room window and saw across the street and about six houses down a series of flashes. Fireworks? No. Someone was driving away their demons with a large-caliber semi-automatic weapon. And they went throw clip after clip. Ilike Chris Rock’s suggestion that there should a $50 apiece taxon bullet so before people bust a cap they have to think if what they’re shooting at is worth it.

    Christmas rains (!!!) and unseasonably warm temps has melted away all the snow so the local kids have gotten out their four-wheelers and have been racing up and down the street. Filling me with the desire to yell “Hey yourse kids, get off my street…” and uncharitably hoping they’ll kill themselves with their antics.

    Horrible realization: the house where someone was popping off their gun is probably the house where the four-wheelers come from. Oh, for joy.

    Happy New Years to every. I’ve got my grump on for the year.

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  64. Deborah said on January 1, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Raining madly in Tubac, AZ. Who would have thought?

    Not much going on today except trying to rid our systems of alcohol. Not that it was so much, but different kinds in the same evening, like bourbon before dinner, wine with dinner and then champagne too, a no no for sure.

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  65. Jakash said on January 1, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    But, but, he took all their guns away, right?

    Agreed, Judybusy, kinda hard to be very optimistic at this point. But Happy New Year, anyway, nn.cers! And thanks for the mention @ 58, Deborah.

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  66. susan said on January 1, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Here’s a cool 2017 calendar. Numbers 27 and 33 are particularly apt this year. Shit hasn’t changed much since the early ’40s. I guess we are reverting back to those halcyon days. One thing we can look forward to, I surmise, is revitalizing of the arts, which seem to thrive in dire times.

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  67. David C. said on January 1, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    The new year is off to a cracking start for us. We had to have Gus, our older cat, put to sleep this morning. He hadn’t been doing well for quite a long time. He had feline herpes when he was a kitten and that often makes a mess of their immune system. This morning it was clear that he was suffering. We lost his sister 5 years ago when the same virus attacked her kidneys, so every extra year with Gus, we knew, was a bonus. We’re going to miss hem so much though, he was such a sweet-tempered little guy.

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  68. MichaelG said on January 1, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    My condolences, David.

    Happy New Year, everyone!

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