One last story.

I’ve been pretty productive this week, by my recent, diminished standards, so I’m going to leave you with one link, of a piece with the other stuff from this week. It’s about what happened to a town I drove through approximately a million times on my way to and from college — Lancaster, Ohio.

Private equity ruined its major employer, Anchor Hocking:

There were other glass companies in Lancaster, drawn there by cheap natural gas. But following a 1937 merger with the New York-based Anchor Cap and Closure, The Hockin’, now Anchor Hocking, grew into the world’s largest manufacturer of glass tableware and the second-largest maker of glass containers such as beer bottles and peanut-butter jars. It even played a role in the invention of late-night TV, in 1950, by sponsoring the pioneering NBC show Broadway Open House. Anchor Hocking became Lancaster’s largest employer by far, the rare Fortune 500 company based in a small town. At its peak, it employed roughly 5,000 people there, including executives in the headquarters, and many more in plants around the country.

But then came the 1980s. Since the start of the Reagan administration, Anchor Hocking has undergone a series of staggering transformations as a result of the financial manipulation that has come to define the American economy in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Carl Icahn bought up shares and demanded a board seat and other changes, then agreed to leave the company alone after being allowed to sell back his ownership stake at a premium—a practice commonly referred to as “greenmailing.” Then, Anchor Hocking was purchased in a leveraged hostile takeover by Newell Corporation. After Newell’s own near-disastrous merger with Rubbermaid, Anchor Hocking was sold off in a debt-financed buyout to the huge private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. The company promptly fell into bankruptcy, out of which it was sold in another debt-financed buyout to a much smaller private-equity firm called Monomoy Capital Partners. There was a forced marriage with the silverware company Oneida, then an initial public offering after which the stock soon tanked. In quick succession came a shutdown, a notice (in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) that the place might close for good, a second bankruptcy during which the former creditors became the equity owners, and countless leadership rotations. During the past 15 years, it’s had three different corporate owners. In January the company’s name was changed from EveryWare Global to The Oneida Group.

This is one reason I couldn’t get behind the Mitt-Romney-is-a-good-man line. Imagine making your living like this, buying and selling “assets” for profit, with actual human being shaking out with every deal. What do you tell yourself at 2 a.m. when you’re staring at the ceiling? They’ll retrain and land on their feet, or maybe their knees, from which they will rise, eventually. I remember Lancaster even earlier than my college years; a friend and I used to pester her mom to drive us down on Saturdays, to a horse livery in the hills. On the way home, we’d stop at the glassworks and pick through the scrap piles for interesting pieces to take home. It was a real place, in the Hocking Hills. There was a there there.

And, of course, there is collateral damage:

“Stability has been replaced by chaos,” Shannon Monnat, a sociologist and demographer at Penn State University who researches the interplay between economics and health, says of such situations. The longer the stress lasts, whether it involves family, community, or work, the more disheartened people become and the more faith they lose in the system, until, finally, they disconnect to survive.

Monnat has recently been studying “diseases of despair”—the plague of opioid addiction, alcoholism, and suicide afflicting places like Lancaster. She’s found that instability at work is strongly correlated with the prevalence of these problems as well as with social and family breakdown. Drug abuse is not solely due to the cheap availability of heroin or meth, nor some imagined weakness of the working class. Monnat believes it’s also caused by people’s loss of faith that they each occupy an important place in the American system.

I believe that, too, but no one asked me. And now we have someone in charge who thinks even less of these folks than the private-equity firms that batted the company around like a bored cat with a mouse.

I need to perk up. Maybe I should hit my new marijuana stash! (Same story I posted yesterday, but hit it up if you didn’t already.)

Or maybe I’ll just go to bed. G’night all.

Posted at 9:20 pm in Current events |
 

70 responses to “One last story.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 14, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    “Creative destruction” is the single most disturbing thing about market capitalism in America. I’m also not sure we should just pay people to stay in West Virginia just because they’re born there, but the economic push to make labor follow capital without regard for community and human connections is not a healthy or humane force.

  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 14, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    (And yes, I have driven through the heart of Lancaster now about 27 times just since August, what with our Marching 110 member and occasional OU student being in Athens this year . . . first years can’t have cars. But I see this narrative outside my windows, with Newark not much different. We’re just more Rockwell, Holophane, Dow and Owens oriented, not Anchor Hocking.)

  3. BItter Scribe said on March 14, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Fuck private equity firms in the teeth. I’ve had two jobs working for two different publishing companies owned by the same family, and they were each ruined by manipulations by PE firms. The first time, the first thing the new owners did was cut everyone’s pay 15%, then another 10% on top of that. I’ll never forget how, when they announced the second cut, they assured us that no one’s pay would be allowed to dip below minimum wage. How goddamned generous.

    It was the same thing in both cases: The PE geniuses overpaid for the company and took their bad judgment out on the workers’ paychecks. While no doubt all the time thinking of themselves as Masters of the Universe.

  4. Deborah said on March 14, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Regarding the Rachel scoop, or at least the scoop of her reporter guest who received Trump’s 2005 tax return, or portion there of over the transom, my husband’s first comment while we were watching was that it was a plant by the White House to divert attention away from the healthcare fiasco.

    We’re off to Abiquiu again tomorrow for our last few days in NM, before returning to winter in Chicago. I’ll be in Chicago for about 2 1/2 months, returning to NM in June to spend the summer. Current plans are to continue cleaning up the construction mess and planting a garden using permaculture principles. Back to a few days of no (or little) Internet service, I’ll try to catch up later.

  5. beb said on March 14, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Capitalism is like cancer — eat of die — and once you’ve eaten everything up … well, you still die. Equity firms are the worst since they exist solely to cannibalize companies. They don’t buy companies to rescue them, only to loot them.

  6. Jolene said on March 14, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    The proposed healthcare plan is designed to be most disadvantageous to the people most adversely affected by people who lose their jobs in these private equity shenanigans and other kinds of dislocation–people in their fifties and sixties who will find it harder to move to new locations, harder to find new jobs, and harder to learn new skills than younger people.

  7. Sherri said on March 14, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    The PE firms probably didn’t “overpay” for the company; they intentionally leveraged up to take advantage of favorable tax treatment of debt while they stripped the company of assets to pay back the investors and take their 2&20 and cut expenses to the bone to buff up the P&L statement to sell to the next sucker if they can’t IPO.

    Creative destruction, not so much. Financial Vampirism, more like.

  8. Sherri said on March 15, 2017 at 2:37 am

    The WSJ has a profile of Bannon that traces his economic nationalism to his now 95 year old father losing $100K selling his AT&T nest egg during the 2008 crisis after listening to Jim Cramer. Why this would make you turn to nationalism instead of turning the channel is a mystery, but I want to know, how would a man who had to have retired from AT&T 30 years ago be able to sell his employee stock purchase plan stock for less than he paid for it in 2008? You get to buy stock at a discount to market in an employee plan, plus AT&T stock has split a couple of times since he would have retired.

    Plus, I know they were still paying out pensions then. My father retired from one of the Baby Bells in the late 90s and took a pension buyout.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/steve-bannon-and-the-making-of-an-economic-nationalist-1489516113

  9. BigHank53 said on March 15, 2017 at 3:34 am

    We probably shouldn’t pay people to stay in West Virginia. But when the house you inherited is worth less than a new minivan and is impossible to sell, how are you going to move? There’s a lot of WV that looks like Detroit. It’s just more spread out.

  10. Linda said on March 15, 2017 at 6:58 am

    I read your pot article. Although I am your age, I never smoke pot in my life. However, I recently tried the CBD oil, which you can buy without a scrip in Ohio. My sister, who suffers terrible chronic pain as a result of a severe accident, swears by it. Alas, it aggravates my cardioarrythmia.

  11. Linda said on March 15, 2017 at 7:04 am

    And about “creative destruction” and capitalism? The ironic thing is that its biggest boosters–the pundits and professional opinion creators of the right–never have to evolve, or develop new skills sets, or go through uncertainty. They can churn out the same crap, word for word, as they did 30 years ago and still get a fat paycheck. For them, it’s better than socialism.

  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 15, 2017 at 7:13 am

    I’m with Deborah’s husband. Betting that they went back over the last twenty years to find the year he paid the most, and leaked that one. I wouldn’t even argue he cheated on his taxes, just that he found ways to pay 0% or close to it in most of the non-2005 tax years.

  13. Suzanne said on March 15, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Ugh. Just heard a Congressman from Nebraska (Fortenberry) interviewed about the new health care law. He admitted that maybe the formulas aren’t quite right, since older, poorer people will pay more, but donchaknow, this bill will unleash the free market and bring costs down so it’ll all work out fine. Blah, blah, blah. No mention of what happens when prices don’t come down even when he was asked. I can tell him: people will die, your people, your constituents.
    At least, I now know for certain that to the GOP, I am expendable in their free market wet dream experiments as an older, not wealthy person. They aren’t trying to even hide it any more.
    And they marvel that people turn to heroin.

  14. Pam said on March 15, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Deborah, I agree with your husband about a plant to divert attention. But from what? I believe that the wire tapping nonsense was a lie to divert attention from the administration’s ties to Putin. While everyone was looking at the left hand wire tapping puppet, Trump quietly asks the NY federal prosecutor to resign, then fires him. One less honest man to investigate the Russian connection. Now this tax thing. I think it’s also part of the Russian question, because he’s showing that he did indeed have money to finance his primary campaign and did not get it from the Russians (as I believe). We are left to think that all years of his taxes are similar so why look at the rest.

    Sherri, there was a lot of “Sage Advice” over the years to sell my AT&T stock. Wall St. decided that the entire telecomm industry was over. From an insider’s perspective, that was just silly, not to mention that AT&T was one of the few stocks still paying decent dividends. With a decent block of stock, you could add a nice sum to your retirement income with the dividends alone. It’s possible that Wall St mixed up AT&T with Western Electric, Lucent, and now Avaya which were all spun off in a sink or swim manner. But to believe Jim Cramer? I would take advice from Cosmo Kramer before that guy. Apparently, they overlooked that huge asset called the Network.

    And the new healthcare plan, ha ha haaaa! John Boehner predicted this in a drive by interview as he was cutting his grass (I wondered at the time if that was for real – giant house in the background, huge lawn, regular size mower?) He said that republicans can Never agree on healthcare. The reason I go from zero to enraged at the sight of that walking smug turd Paul Ryan. It’s OK for him to live off the welfare check of the government, as long as no one else gets any benefit.

  15. Deggjr said on March 15, 2017 at 8:39 am

    “It’s not about making the product. It’s about making money appear and the 99 percent doesn’t understand that.”

    I think that’s the key statement. Quick, reach out and touch something that Mitt Romney (or Ken Griffin, or the multitudes of people like them) made.

    I don’t understand the reluctance to tax people like that. The USA has a productive economy and the fruits are not being shared.

  16. coozledad said on March 15, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Downfall.
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/trump-white-house-paranoia-236069

    No need to sweat the dumbfucks. They’re sweating themselves.

  17. Danny said on March 15, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Not all PE firms are the same. I’ve encountered two or three in my line of work that acted responsibly and altruistically on the sense that they bought troubled manufacturing companies, re-orged them, made key capital investments in upgraded machinery and processes, leaned them out and either sold them or kept them in holding as a valued part of their portfolio.

    It’s wonderful to visit some of these companies that have been turned around. I’ve seen first hand the excitement and pride on the office and factory workers faces as I’ve toured their upgraded facilities that are now turning a profit for the first time in forever.

    One such company was a plant in the rust belt region of France that I visited in July 2016 and again in January of this year. Tens of millions of Euros in capital upgrades has taken this hundred-plus-year-old facility with a storied history into the 21st century. And the locals are better off for it.

    So though we have all heard of the cases that Nancy points out, there are many PE firms that operate on different principles.

  18. Peter said on March 15, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Cooz, there’s a paragraph in the story you linked that really speaks volumes about the idiots being installed – namely Sid Bowdidge over at energy, who was removed when it was found that a year ago he tweeted that Obama’s relatives are terrorists among other witticisms.

    Bowdidge says that he was removed because of a witch hunt conducted by Obama loyalists who despise Trump. Talk about your alternate reality.

  19. coozledad said on March 15, 2017 at 9:42 am

    My wife and I decided to forego our annual trip to Papeete and instead drove up to Potemkin WVA to look at the fall colors. Everyone was so friendly. Six guys from the Pittston group showed us some people who weren’t addicted to painkillers, and a retired miner who still didn’t have black lung. The array of consumer choices at the Zip mart was astonishing.

    As we left, we were presented with a complimentary bottle of Mateus and a foot tall statue of Mitt Romney the two kids still in high school carved from a chunk of bitumen they pulled out of “Pyzon crick.”

  20. ROGirl said on March 15, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Cerberus bought and sold Chrysler, too. Left it for dead until it was rescued by fiat,

  21. coozledad said on March 15, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Oh, and here’s the tax policy behind the ACA repeal. Top 400 families get a tax cut “worth more than premium credits for 20 smallest states plus DC.”
    http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/aca-repeal-is-a-key-trump-tax-policy

    Bastards are flat out jacking the fillings out of peoples’ teeth now.

  22. coozledad said on March 15, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    All them teen boys a’ wearin their pants around their ass is just disgustin’. Smokin’ that weed and boybanging the Okie state senator who’s head of the Trump campaign. Wait, what?
    http://www.joemygod.com/2017/03/15/oklahoma-cops-find-gop-state-senator-trump-campaign-chair-hotel-room-teen-boy/

  23. Jakash said on March 15, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Pam’s “But to believe Jim Cramer? I would take advice from Cosmo Kramer before that guy.” seems like a thread-win nominee to me!

    Coozledad @ 19: Nice!

    I finally got around to the Bridge marijuana story — interesting, funny and well-done, indeed, Nancy… Somebody referred to the swell Pink Floyd line yesterday, but I marveled at the casual “Marcus Welby” reference. What the hell demographic are you shooting for, anyway? ; )

  24. Jenine said on March 15, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I really enjoyed the marijuana story. Lots of curiosity…

  25. Sherri said on March 15, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Who names an investment company Cereberus anyway?

    Come on out here and I’ll give you a tour of Redmond’s cannabis store, soon to be two. You can’t take any product home with you legally, though.

    When I was researching marijuana and its impacts last year, I also discovered a whole infrastructure dedicated to the business of cannabis, including sites covering industry news, like http://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/, and more sociopolitical news, like http://www.thecannabist.co/, which spun out of the Denver Post. It was all fascinating.

  26. brian stouder said on March 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    First, I second Jakash’s nomination at 23!

    And then – leaving aside wacky-tobacky – here’s the most mentally impaired thing I’ve read today, from the Indiana state house:

    http://wane.com/2017/03/15/panel-backs-letting-staffers-have-guns-in-indiana-statehouse/

  27. Danny said on March 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Okay, this is funny and irrelevant to any discussion topic today. I heard about this short video driving in to work this morning. The kids and wife are hilarious.

    https://youtu.be/Mh4f9AYRCZY

  28. Sherri said on March 15, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Poor and old people, die already: http://www.startribune.com/mayo-to-pick-privately-insured-patients-amid-medicaid-pressures/416185134/

  29. Jakash said on March 15, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Danny,

    I love that video a lot. Repeated viewings don’t dim the appeal. (Of course, if you weren’t so negligent in your comment-reading duties, you could have seen it when I posted it to the ole nn.c board on Friday.) ; )

    I submit that had Charlie Chaplin or Sid Caesar taken a couple hours to produce such a performance on purpose, it could not have been done any better. The finality of the mother reaching up from the floor and closing the door to end the scene is priceless!

  30. Sherri said on March 15, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Okay, nothing related to politics or health care or any of that: TV shows. Well, The Americans is back, and you can’t help but think of current events when watching it, but it’s not related, and it’s still as tense as ever. But the new show that has me captivated is Legion. If you avoided it because you thought it was yet another comic book show, it’s not really. It’s far trippier than that. For one thing, it’s done by Noah Hawley, the guy who’s done the Fargo TV series. For another, Dan Stevens is great in it as the lead, a guy who is schizophrenic maybe/mutant with powers still revealing yes/ possessed by some evil something maybe? Needless to say, our protagonist is an unreliable narrator, and reality is pretty fluid. I find it fascinating.

    The other show waiting for me is Sneaky Pete, on Amazon, about a con man who assumes his prison cell mate’s life upon release to avoid his loan shark. The first episode was quite good.

    American Crime has also started back up, and it’s ensemble cast is back with their new story line. Looks like human trafficking is involved this year. Not a cheery show, but excellent actors.

  31. jcburns said on March 15, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    In The Atlantic: “Trump does best among evangelicals with one key trait: They don’t really go to church.” That makes sense, especially when folded in with the whole “diseases of despair” thing.

    I had been going out of my way to buy Anchor Hocking glassware when my home needs went in that direction…out of loyalty to the folks in Lancaster that I too commuted past in undergradland. Sounds like that really hasn’t been to their benefit of late.

  32. brian stouder said on March 15, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Regarding Nancy’s superb article on medical marijuana – the two things that made me laugh out loud were, first:

    A doctor has sent me to the dispensary, but beyond a brief discussion about types of marijuana and one of its key extracts I have to figure this stuff out for myself. The guy behind the counter at the dispensary is a “caregiver,” but he doesn’t know me and hasn’t seen me in a paper gown. He’s sort of like a pharmacist, but I didn’t arrive with a prescription, only permission.

    (I’m wating patiently for the photos of the paper gown!)

    and –

    The existing statute is such a mess, he said, that it’s perfectly legal for a caregiver to light a joint and pass it to a patient, but illegal for the patient to pass it back.

    “The legal term for that,” Abel said, “is bullshit.”

    See, now THAT guy sounds like friend-of-NN.c Mark the Shark (aka – GQ); which is as high (so to speak) a compliment as I can pay

  33. susan said on March 15, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Danny @27, here’s another version of that video.

  34. Danny said on March 15, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Jackash, agreed and sorry I did not see your original post.

    Susan, too funny. I wish they could have extended that to have Kellyanne as “mother” pulling the “kids” back through the door.

  35. Little Bird said on March 15, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    https://youtu.be/Ub5GkBtIjhc

    I found this and didn’t know if it had been shared here yet….

  36. JohnCarp said on March 15, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Here in Illinois we have a private equity governor. He looks at our disastrous fiscal situation and thinks, how can I suck value out of this to balance the books? The answer, of course, is by crushing unions, cutting wages, and reneging on pension promises. He promises to grow the economy with his business-friendly agenda. No one seems to be asking a rather basic question. How does one grow an economy by cutting wages?

  37. David C. said on March 15, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    I was talking about health care to a couple of guys at work who I know voted for tRump. One said, “just do it like Canada”. The other nodded in agreement. I nearly fainted.

  38. coozledad said on March 15, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    The only cohesive ideological argument, their not-secret- anymore handshake, is racism and ethnic cleansing.
    http://www.salon.com/2017/01/28/slave-driver-and-ethnic-cleanser-but-populist-most-vicious-president-in-u-s-history-is-trumps-new-role-model_partner/

    If you aren’t terrified of what they will do, you are either a dumbass, or you are an early collaborator. Nearly everybody collaborates in the middle to late stages of Fascism, trying to save their own sad bag of flesh, but it takes a special asswipe to pitch in from the beginning.
    https://twitter.com/AP/status/842138059281973249

  39. Suzanne said on March 15, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    David C, since a great many tRump supporters didn’t realize that the ACA & Obamacare are the same thing, it isn’t really surprising that they wouldn’t grasp that what they have in Canada is the dreaded and derided Socialist Medicine.

  40. basset said on March 15, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    I’m thinking that if the weed was THAT strong, there has to be some left… which suggests further research and reporting are in order.

    Our so-called president showed up here this afternoon; I work about a mile away, most of our building closed early due to impending street shutdowns and traffic. His first stop was at Andrew Jackson’s grave, on the 250th anniversary of Old Hickory’s birth, and our local alternative paper has an interesting take on how the two of them might get along:

    http://www.nashvillescene.com/news/pith-in-the-wind/article/20854937/would-andrew-jackson-and-donald-trump-even-like-each-other

  41. Rana said on March 15, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    Here’s a follow-up interview with the Kelly family about The Interview. Seeing how wiggly both children are, I understand why he didn’t attempt to hold his daughter on his lap, like many people thought he should. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39274662

    Regarding Trump’s taxes, I’ve never really cared about either his income or his taxes per se. What I want to know is the sources of his income, what he deducts, etc. That’s where the useful information really lies.

  42. Jakash said on March 16, 2017 at 12:42 am

    That was interesting, Rana. Glad you posted it, thanks. Wiggly, indeed!

    I’ve never cared about ole Rumpy’s income, but the possibility that he often pays no tax on it, whether through legal maneuvers or not, when he’s so interested in things to supposedly MAGA that’ll cost a lot of money is one of the most infuriating aspects of his hypocrisy, IMHO…

  43. Sherri said on March 16, 2017 at 1:40 am

    One of my fellow commissioners grew up in Spokane, and has family and friends there. She told me that everybody is pretty annoyed about this article from the Guardian about her former hometown, which paints it as a trump-loving hellhole where the only ray of hope anyone has to cling to is Gonzaga basketball.

    A columnist from the Spokane newspaper responded thusly.

    Oh, and it was a good night on the commission for me. A huge package involving long term zoning and comp plan and infrastructure changes for an area to transition from industrial to mixed use as light rail comes finally cleared The commission tonight. I’ve been shepherding this proposal since late last May, and running the seven, count ’em seven, study sessions we had on this package. It was a complex plan, with lots of moving parts and stakeholders and competing interests, and I’m very happy to be handing it off to council!

  44. Jolene said on March 16, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Another version of the wiggly kids: http://68.media.tumblr.com/a1bb5b18d6da477b3b5bd32d823b6998/tumblr_omtsjjT39r1qjobupo1_1280.gif

  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 16, 2017 at 8:18 am

    And then council starts to . . . oh well, good luck, Sherri! Hope you’ve got some good advocates on the elected panel.

  46. brian stouder said on March 16, 2017 at 8:50 am

    well, and speaking of that – there’s this –

    http://www.journalgazette.net/news/local/schools/Candidates-pared-to-6-for-FWCS-board-seat-18278553

    so we shall see

  47. Julie Robinson said on March 16, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I was just coming here to say congratulations to Brian for surviving the first cut, and good luck!

  48. coozledad said on March 16, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Remember this the next time you feel a need to gush over a Republican and his white pity porn.
    https://twitter.com/StephLauren/status/842178674036219905

    This is what they are, this is what they always were.

  49. alex said on March 16, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Congrats Brian!

  50. Peter said on March 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

    A comment on the Tribune website about the budget made my day: “I take back a lot of what I said about President Trump – I’m impressed that with all of the stupid tweets, picking fights with imaginary foes, gutting the government, obsessing about vote totals and inauguration crowds, discovering that e’s been “wiretapped”, leaking tax returns, and countless hours of watching Fox News, he still found time to release a totally stupid budget. What stamina!!”

  51. brian stouder said on March 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Entre nous – in looking at the finalists, there’s one guy (aside from me, of course!) who – if I was a board member – I’d instantly vote for. (he’s not yet 30, a lawyer, and active in international human rights – !!!)

    But, if nothing else, I’m a credible base-line

  52. coozledad said on March 16, 2017 at 11:49 am

    http://www.joemygod.com/2017/03/16/report-hungarian-nazi-group-claims-trump-advisor-sebastian-gorka-pledged-lifelong-loyalty/

  53. Sherri said on March 16, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    trump’s first budget is coming out, and while it won’t pass in anything like this form, a president’s budget demonstrates his priorities more. Kearny than anything else. For Shadow President Bannon, the priorities are screw the poor, screw the arts, screw science (that can be done by corporations, screw safety, yeah! keeping other people out, yeah! military, and if I don’t know what it does or it pisses me of, get rid of it.

  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 16, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    From the Washington Post last Friday, an account of “an exchange in February about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. During a White House meeting, Trump complained that the anti-bribery statute cost the United States billions of dollars in lost sales overseas and millions of jobs. According to one insider, Tillerson dissented and described how he had walked away from an oil deal in the Middle East after a leader there demanded a payoff — but later was invited back.

    “You’re Exxon!” Trump countered, but the former chief executive dissented again. “No, people want to do business with America.””

  55. alex said on March 16, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Crean your jeams, IU fans.

  56. brian stouder said on March 16, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Alex – the thing that leaped out at me is that they could have waited 12 weeks, and then fired him, and then SAVED $3,000,000

    but by firing him now, he gets a $4,000,000 buyout rather than the $1,000,000 buyout he’d otherwise get….!!!!

    And we cannot provide a more affordable (I won’t say “free” – as Bernie does) state college edication??

  57. basset said on March 16, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Started to forward that & realized I didn’t know anyone who would care… least of all me. Quoting that excellent Gonzaga story upthread: “the lack of logic inherent in turning over your feelings of self-worth and happiness to strangers dribbling and shooting an orange ball.”

  58. basset said on March 16, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Forward the Crean link, I mean. Brian makes perfect sense there & I agree with him. Demote the coach to some support function, wait awhile to run him off, save big.

  59. Charlotte said on March 16, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    All I can say about Spokane is that like a lot of places with decent scenery, a university, reasonably cheap housing stock — it’s got a great writer scene. Last fall at an academic conference at Big Sky, an old friend from my Utah PhD days asked “Do *all* the writers out here know each other?” To which the four or five of us sitting around the table said, “pretty much, yeah.” And in some weird way, Spokane counts as almost Montana …

  60. Deborah said on March 16, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Taking a break from chucking rocks and shoveling dirt in Abiquiu, taking advantage of having cell service, if i can keep it until I finish typing.

    Congrats Brian, you were made for that job.

    Sherri, I’d love to see the recommendations for your city council. If you could email me a copy I’d love it. I think you have my email from your blog. If it’s not possible, no biggie, but I find that stuff extremely interesting.

    Cutting meals on wheels funding?!?! I have delivered those before and I can say the people who got them really needed them. Desperately.

  61. Suzanne said on March 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I think Crean got IU basketball as far as he could but, man, I want my next employment contract to include a clause that I get paid a $hitlaod of money to go away. You’d think somebody would get a clue, wouldn’t you?

    On another note, it is kind of fun watching Paul Ryan & Trump jockey for power. Ryan’s health bill includes little that Trump said he wanted on the campaign trail, the GOPers are fighting themselves, and now Ryan makes statements basically saying that Trump’s assumption that Trump Tower was bugged was BS. Not sure what games they are playing, but I am pretty sure we will all lose.

  62. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 16, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Newark OH police tell me that crime, measured either by calls and reports or their own incidents encountered, goes down significantly during March Madness evenings. They love those “strangers dribbling and shooting an orange ball.”

  63. Sherri said on March 16, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Deborah, the final report won’t be ready for another week, but when it is, it will go up here under the heading “Marymoor Subarea Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code Amendments & Local Center Designation”: http://www.redmond.gov/Government/BoardsCommissions/PlanningCommission/finalplanningcommissionreports/

  64. Sherri said on March 16, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Operation London Bridge: the plan for the Queen’s death.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/16/what-happens-when-queen-elizabeth-dies-london-bridge

  65. Joe K said on March 16, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Brian, first congratulation you would be a good choice,
    On the I.U. Firing I would imagine some of the big buck boosters are writing the buy out check and it will cost the university zero, and before anyone jumps all over this, it’s really no different then someone writing a check for a building, dorm, or scholarship.
    Pilot Joe

  66. Sherri said on March 16, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Pilot Joe, you’re probably mostly correct on the boosters. Athletic department donations are separate from university donations (which raises the question of whether they deserve the university’s nonprofit tax status, but that’s a different issue.) However, many athletic departments run a deficit, which is often made up for by general university funds, and many schools charge students a fee that sends a chunk of money to the athletic department. So, it’s seldom simple when talking about how college athletics are run.

    They probably wanted to fire him now because the Final Four is like a big job fair. There’s a coaches convention associated with it, and most of the current head coaches and hot young assistants will be there, even if their teams aren’t. If they wait until after that, their top options might not be available. This is hiring season.

  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 16, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Wow, my bracket is holding up awfully well. Too bad I don’t have any money in the game!

    The view from a college president’s office as to alumns and coaching and team records: it’s enough to make you despair of higher education’s promise. What’s funny is that, at a Div III school, even the monied alumns do not understand what is and isn’t on the table, scholarship-wise. But the flip side is that the retention rate (first to second year) and grad rates of Div III athletics are phenomenal, way above the student body in general, and one of the highest subgroups when it comes to successfully completing a degree.

    In related news, my son’s roommate is flaming out and leaving for home this weekend, which my kid is taking well, but it’s just heartbreaking all around. It’s been like watching someone pour gasoline over their head, then kerosene, then some motor oil, and start striking Ohio Blue Tip matches one at a time . . . while you’re bound hand and foot. As I said, my son’s handling this better than his parents are; the roommate’s parents are basically pouring some of their own avgas on top of the situation. He’s a first gen, and they seem to be relieved he’s not going to continue and come home to (wait for it) work at the McDs down the road from them.

  68. Jolene said on March 16, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Jeff, that is so sad. People too young to imagine what the future might hold make bad decisions every day, I know, but it’s still hard to see it happening. Your note makes me want to leap up and say, “No, stop. You can get through this. I’ll help you.” Is there anyone in his life who tried?

  69. Jill said on March 16, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Congratulations for being considered, Brian. You’ve paid a lot of attention to the schools so it seems like you’re a strong candidate.

  70. Sherri said on March 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    It can be so hard for first-gen students to make the leap of faith and imagination necessary to succeed, especially if the family is ambivalent about the student succeeding.

    Brian, congratulations, and good luck!

    The trump proposed budget is cruel to a degree beyond caricature, but it’s also incredibly stupid. The proposed cuts in science are devastating, not just in climate science, but in pretty much everything not involved in building nuclear weapons. Was there no one involved in this process in the WH who understands what government funding of science does, directly and indirectly?

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