Not interested.

So the vice president returned to his native state to address graduates at the University of Notre Dame commencement, and some students walked out.

It’s early yet – it happened this morning – and I expect the blowback is coming. It won’t be the full rank exhalation of Troll Twitter, but enough people will say enough stupid things that it’ll qualify as a skirmish. So here we are again, where an administration whose representatives admit to considering changing libel laws isn’t considered a threat to free speech, but college students protesting or declining to listen to a handful of troll speakers is.

I’ll state my bias right here: I think most speakers should be allowed to speak. I think protesting them short of shutting them down is fine. And I say that knowing the speakers we’re talking about here do not come in good faith; they’re trolls, basically, and if you don’t believe me, Google “milo on women” or “ann coulter book titles” and get back to me.

Early on in this administration, there was a certain both-sides harrumphing about “respect for the office,” i.e., that certain niceties were due to the person behind the Resolute Desk, because s/he occupies the highest elective office of the most powerful nation on the planet. This was offered as explanation for seemingly decent people taking jobs in that administration; they were Serving Their Country, not toiling for Trump. Show some respect.

Only respect wasn’t shown by the person who actually held the office. He continued to treat the place like the set of “The Apprentice” between shots, a place to be tolerated, barely, between trips to Palm Beach. In which case I think the average citizen is absolved of any need to tug his or her forelock, don’t you?

The great American value of listening respectfully to all sides is rooted in the idea that all sides approach the marketplace of ideas in the same spirit. And that’s clearly not the case with speakers like Ann Coulter or Milo Whatshisname. It might not even be the case with Charles Murray. Some opinions are expressed merely because to do so is lucrative for the speaker, or because it gives others the chance to mau-mau an authority figure.

A couple-three years ago, one of the young Republicans groups at a local high school got someone to pay Rick Santorum’s speaking fee to give a talk at the school. But, they said when they made this request of the administration, he needed to speak during school hours, because he’s such an important national figure. Single-celled organisms have more savvy and spine than the superintendent in the job at the time, and at first he said yes, then no.

Of course the No opened the floodgates of Free Speech Suppression, etc. So he had to reverse himself again, and now you can’t google the incident without wading through half a dozen pages of right-wing websites that waved that bloody flag to tatters. (And the thing is, the supe had the perfect response right in front of him – a policy that said individuals brought in by private clubs, etc., could speak all they wanted, after school. He should have said, “Sure, kids! Bring him in. I have to coach soccer practice that day, but take lots of pictures and let me know how it turns out. Oh, and turn out the lights on your way out, OK?” The guy let himself by played by a couple of 17-year-olds.

So. Change of subject: Pippa’s wedding! Love to look at the Brits in their upper-class native habitats, funny hats and all. I thought Kate looked awful, but the real revelation was the nanny, who looked like she was wearing a grown-up version of the Brownie uniform. Turns out she was, sorta. The uniform identifies her as a graduate of the prestigious (yes, really) Norland nannies’ school:

But today’s graduates are also trained in martial arts, kidnap evasion by using the pram, self-defense, and advance driving techniques; they are in all regards thoroughly modern Mary Poppins.

To answer the obvious question, i.e., why hasn’t this been in a James Bond film yet, well, I don’t know the answer.

The week ahead will be a grind. Expect light posting, unless catastrophe explodes on Air Force One, in which case, well, carry on.

Posted at 4:58 pm in Current events |

101 responses to “Not interested.”

  1. Ann said on May 21, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for the Nanny School link.

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  2. David C. said on May 21, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Trump is bigly exhausted. Low energy. Sad.

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  3. Deborah said on May 21, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    I’m back from an exhausting weekend trip down to the small town where my husband and his uncle are from. We went to see the playground mainly, to see how it’s holding up two years after completion. It’s holding up very well.

    On the way back we stopped at the Lincoln Museum in Springfield. We hadn’t been inside before, we only gave ourselves a half hour to race through it. We will be going back because there’s good stuff there that we obviously missed. It brought tears to my eyes, much of the way through. Yes, some of it is schmaltzy and not very well designed, but the nitty gritty of it was powerful. In these political times it was scarily appropriate. So much division, so much hate and many of the same issues are in play (race etc) which is extremely sad. One exhibit that stood out for me was called, The Civil War in Four Minutes. It’s basically an animated map that shows the division of the Confederacy and the Union as it started and progressed through the various battles, until the end. It’s probably on You Tube somewhere, I will try to find a link. Now I’m going to have to plan some trips to those battlefields so I can learn more.

    Trump couldn’t have been more wrong when he said he’s the politician in history who has been treated most unfairly, or whatever it was that he said. Wow, Lincoln was put through the wringer and then he was assassinated, as we all know.

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  4. Sherri said on May 21, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Since the topic is college graduations, here’s a college graduate!!Atkosto9G5MX5wGia4fBbRj3E9mA

    Whitman conferred an honorary degree on James Robart ’69, US District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington, the judge who issued a TRO against the Muslim ban back in February. He got a standing ovation. The graduation speaker warned she was going to be political, and was openly left-wing. I doubt was popular with my very conservative parents, but both were very popular with the graduating class and most of the audience. (Lots of Whitties come from the Seattle area, the Portland area, and the Bay Area.)

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  5. Julie Robinson said on May 21, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Congratulations, Sherri, to your daughter and your family! What’s the next step for her?

    As a kid growing up in Illinois I got hauled to every-single-Lincoln-thing-ever, and had my fill for many years, but now it feels like time to revisit some of those sites. We have to keep relearning the lessons.

    It’s hard for me to understand why a person would want to have a career as a nanny. To raise other people’s children, without having your own? I’m just not that selfless.

    I thought Pippa looked altogether too thin. Dangerously thin.

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  6. Sherri said on May 21, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Julie, the next step is undetermined. Her degree is in chemistry, but she wasn’t really ready to head to grad school yet. For now, she’ll be moving back home and looking for a job. We are fortunate to have been able to send her to college without any debt, so there’s not that pressure to start paying off loans.

    I was very stressed for a while about her lack of a plan, but I’ve decided to let go of it. She’s a smart kid, she’ll figure it out, and I’m done. I figure I did my part getting her this far, and while I’m happy to offer any advice and help she asks for, I’m staying out of it. I’m just done with that level of stuff. I’m willing to make sure she has food, shelter, and health care, and she can figure out the rest.

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  7. basset said on May 21, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    All I know about graduations this year is that a friend who was on the periphery of Vanderbilt’s commencement planning said some university big hat asked him when the construction cranes in another part of campus, but within view of the event, would be removed – wanted them out before the ceremony because they were “unsightly.” Sorry, they’re staying.

    Vanderbilt also has no air conditioning in the basketball arena, which is where the event would have moved in case of rain. This led in past years to some conversations which ran pretty much like “We are quite uncomfortable, turn on the air conditioning.” “We don’t have any in this building.” “You don’t understand, we require that the air be turned on.” “You don’t understand, we don’t have any.”

    This is a weird gym anyway, team benches for basketball are at the ends of the floor.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on May 21, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Our daughter didn’t have a job when she graduated either, because she was hoping to get into a traveling music ministry team and wasn’t going to learn until halfway through the summer. (She did.) But she also wasn’t sure she still wanted to go into teaching, after her student teaching was ruined by the education bureaucracy. She went through some wandering in the wilderness, but she ended up in the right place, and I’m sure your daughter will too.

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  9. basset said on May 21, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Surprised that dictionary reference didn’t mention Tom Wolfe’s “Mau-Mauing thr Flak-Catchers.”

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  10. Deborah said on May 21, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Sherri, have you read Lab Girl by Hope Jehren? Your daughter might like it. Now I’ve forgotten again which commenter here recommended it, I read it then my husband read it, which was surprising because we usually don’t read the same books. And congrats to you and your daughter for the momentous event of her graduation. It seems like only yesterday you were commenting about how she was starting college.

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  11. Deborah said on May 21, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    basset, Mau Mauing the Flack Catchers, Tangerine Flake Streamlined Baby and The Electric Kool aid Acid Test were Tom Wolfe at his best. He went down hill from there.

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  12. Deborah said on May 21, 2017 at 11:24 pm


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  13. Sherri said on May 21, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    I haven’t read it yet, Deborah, though it’s on my list. I need to be reading Twitter less and books more, though the insanity of the election and the aftermath have made that difficult for me to do. I think I’m going to have to just start scheduling book reading time.

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  14. Bitter Scribe said on May 22, 2017 at 1:01 am

    Why do people like Pence and Betsy DeVos feel the need to inflict themselves on unwilling captive audiences? If they have to speak at graduations, why don’t they go someplace like Pig Poke State where they’ll be welcomed?

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  15. Deborah said on May 22, 2017 at 5:33 am

    I thought that I posted that Civil War in Four Minutes link yesterday, but I don’t see it? So I’ll try it again. I found it on You Tube, not very good resolution but you get the idea

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  16. basset said on May 22, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Deborah, my favorite Tom Wolfe piece was the one about Junior Johnson. The built-in condescension doesn’t bother me for some reason, maybe because he did that to everyone.

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  17. alex said on May 22, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Fortunately for college grads everywhere Trump is trolling the world stage rather than the commencement stage. (The folks at Fallwell U being the one exception, but they probably enjoyed for once hearing from a snake oil salesman who wasn’t the founder of a multi-level marketing outfit.)

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  18. Suzanne said on May 22, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Love Pippa’s dress. I’m glad that the reign of the strapless dress seems to be waning. I’ve seen way too many brides tugging on their dress throughout the wedding reception or having to spend the ceremony looking at the bride’s back tattoo or moles or whatever else was there (a recent bride had some kind of warts or something on her back but wore the strapless dress nonetheless).

    I say good for the students that walked out on Pence. He spoke at a small Christian college commencement as well, recently, and I read somewhere that even some of those students weren’t thrilled.

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  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 22, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Denison had as commencement speaker(s) the string quartet ETHEL, which has been artists-in-residence the last three years, wrapping up this summer — they also received honorary degrees. The four of them spoke briefly in an awkward one-at-a-time at the mike sequence, then sat down to play a piece they composed for the occasion, which was beautiful.

    Then after a dramatic pause following the polite applause for the “commencement address” piece, they played the heck out of “Kashmir.” Brought down the house! It was funny up in the faculty section, though, as many of the older profs were leaning over to younger colleagues asking “what is that they’re playing?”

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  20. coozledad said on May 22, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Half the Republicans who voted for Trump say he should be able to stop any investigations,. And now there’s this:

    The 1% are consolidating power, and they’re beginning to outline their plans to strip the remaining wealth from the countries they control. Trump is going to strip medicaid and institute work requirements for welfare. Theresa May and the Tories are going to tax dementia patients by having them forward the equity in their homes to banker trash.

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  21. Peter said on May 22, 2017 at 9:12 am

    My kvetch of the week: I was visiting my dad saturday, which means I got to watch Fox News at Rock Concert Volume.

    They had a story on regarding a study from Harvard (which they repeated HARVARD) that showed the amount of negative press each president had accrued in their first 90 days, and would you believe, Donald Trump led the pack. “You see” said the news whore, “that just shows the main stream medias anti-Trump bias!”

    “What do you think about that?” my dad said, to which I replied “Of course he has the most negative press in the first 90 days – he’s done the most dumb things in his first 90 days! It’s called cause and effect!”

    I mean really – what the hell is wrong with Harvard to produce that kind of survey? If the Patriots have a 4-12 season, they’re going to get a lot more negative press than when they’re 12-4.


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  22. Suzanne said on May 22, 2017 at 9:40 am

    I was in a hotel lobby this weekend that had Fox News on. I was, quite honestly, appalled. They had a story about the Russian investigation, and the focus of it was that it’s simply the MSM Media stirring up the pot. Nothing to see here. Move on.

    If CNN & MSNBC are considered the MSM, how is Fox News not? I am starting to really grasp what an alternative universe a bunch of people inhabit.

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  23. brian stouder said on May 22, 2017 at 9:50 am

    The press ‘is what it is’ – and whatever it is, it’s certainly much (much!) more soft-edged and double-checked and believable than it was a generation ago (let alone 2 or 3 generations ago!)

    Folks that obsess about ‘main stream media’ and ‘fake news’ (Oxy-Rush leaps to mind!) and all the rest have simply never read any history

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  24. Deborah said on May 22, 2017 at 10:17 am

    LA Mary, your link about the documentary of the refugee situation in Greece (from the previous thread) was very inspiring, I’m going to keep up with the blog for it.

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  25. Judybusy said on May 22, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Congrats to you and your daughter, Sherri!

    In totally unrelated news: we adopted two cats yesterday! They are a bonded pair, 13 years old, orange and white guys. It’s been about 9 months since the last of our four passed on. We visited cat-obsessed friends on Saturday, and they gave a piece of granite to us to mark where we bury the last 2 cats’ ashes in the garden. These were my partner’s cats, and she said that in a strange way, getting that piece of granite was was she needed to consider adoption.

    We looked at the Humane Society’s website and saw the cats, went out and spent time with them, and signed off on the paperwork. One (Hadley) is friendlier, and came out from behind the couch a few times. We’ve got them separated in our finished basement, away from the dog. My partner slept in the guest room and Hadley slept with her the whole night. (Isn’t she the most adorable woman?!) The other one, Cadfael, is really shy. He hid behind the dryer all evening. Then he disappeared. There aren’t a lot of hiding places where a 12-pound cat can hide in this basement, or in the kitchen which was also accessible. We kept checking the same 6 spots over and over. Then Hadley disappeared, too! Finally, Melissa wondered if they got into a crawl space available on the back stair landing. I pulled out our recycling box, poked my head up into the space with a flashlight. Yep, there they were, sitting side by side, content as could be. Once they come out, we’ll be blocking that off. It leads all over the house. When they’re comfortable, I’ll get pics to send to Nancy. Also, really wishing we’d read the Humane Society brochure, recommending that cats stay in one room with a door the first few days.

    Did ya’ll catch the the orb picture?

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  26. Icarus said on May 22, 2017 at 10:53 am

    as a change of subject, if anyone wants to play, what are some good life hacks you have employed that improve your life? I give an example: back before online banking when we had to balance our checkbooks every month, I figured out that every month I was paying a gas, electric and phone bill (big D’uh moment). I started rounding up so a $33.78 bill got $35, a $13.08 got $15, etc. It not only made balancing the checkbook easier but it made the next month’s bills seem smaller.

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  27. Sherri said on May 22, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Since some of you remember me posting about dropping my daughter off at college (just yesterday, right?), here’s a link to the photo I posted back then, when I turned a snapped a picture of her entering her freshman dorm after we said good-bye:!Atkosto9G5MXgUR3eq2wyq9hP5T4

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  28. Mark P said on May 22, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Sherri. I think you’re right not to worry about your daughte’s apparent lack of direction. I know from personal experience that it can take a while (a long, long while) to figure out what you want to do in life. I fiddled around trying out several colleges before I settled on one, and for some reason settled on journalism as a major. I worked a total of about four years as a reporter and decided I didn’t want to do that. In my 30’s I went to graduate school at Georgia Tech and got a PhD in atmospheric science. Quite a jump from journalism.

    It wasn’t until I was in my 60’s that I realized what I really wanted to be was retired.

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  29. brian stouder said on May 22, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Sherri – a great/terrible photo!

    On the day our oldest daughter, Shelby, gets her diploma from high school (she was #10 in her class of 400) we have to bustle down to Bloomington…which will be interesting (somewhat wrenching)

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  30. Sherri said on May 22, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Brian, as long as she was happy at college, I was happy, so it wasn’t that wrenching for me really. And she was very happy. Whitman is a wonderful little college. I have yet to meet a student or alum who didn’t absolutely love the place. I know there’s a survivorship bias there, but their retention rate is really high and even the parents of students and alums are really positive about Whitman. Just from talking with other parents, I was pretty sure my daughter would fall in love with the place immediately, and she did.

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  31. Sherri said on May 22, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Thomas?!? Clarence Thomas?!? Justice Clarence Thomas?!? Surely there must be a mistake. Siding with the liberals on the Court on a voting rights case?

    Has there ever been a decision with Kagan, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor making up a 5 vote majority? Wow. And huge voting rights win, too.

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  32. brian stouder said on May 22, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Sherri – of course, you’re right! And indeed – our fine young daughter is absolutely ready for the new challenges ahead….and as a bonus, one of her best friends will be alongside her.

    But, ol’ dad is seeing the household change – as is inevitable – and one realizes there’s no going back.

    Good heavens! At her graduation party I was getting misty-eyed seeing all the photos and so on, that Pam assembled.

    Anyway – forward we go!

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  33. Deggjr said on May 22, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Peter@21, you’re right about the negative coverage. This is the quoted study:

    One example of negative coverage, reporting on Trump’s approval ratings. Who does the talking when Trump is the story? Trump 65%, Administration Officials 11%, etc. The actual story doesn’t match the sound bite.

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  34. Sherri said on May 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    I knew it was going to be harder on my husband, which is why I planned our trip to London for right after we dropped her off four years ago! Great distraction.

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  35. Heather said on May 22, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Judybusy, congrats on the kitty adoptions, and kudos to you guys for choosing senior cats, who are often overlooked.

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  36. Peter said on May 22, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Degg Jr., of course the actual story doesn’t match the sound bite – I heard it on Fox!

    I’m old enough to remember when TASS would issue stories that were so heavy on the BS that NOBODY would believe it – like when they claimed that the Soviets invented “beezeboll” and that the Russians had donated an extra punch bowl to the NHL to be used for a trophy.

    I have to give the Fox folks credit – they say this stuff with a straight face.

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  37. Peter said on May 22, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Also, the best comment I read this month –

    regarding the news report that Reince asked John Boehner to talk Trump into signing the spending bill, which apparently did the trick:

    “FINALLY – we can compare oranges to oranges”.

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  38. Jakash said on May 22, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    I’m not one to speculate about somebody else’s relationship, but wow. As a commenter notes, it seems like he saw the Netanyahus holding hands and figured he’d better, too.

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  39. Jolene said on May 22, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Peter, that comment re Boehner is hilarious.

    On an unrelated topic, here is a notice re David Letterman appearing on a show called Apron Springs on the Outlaw Country channel of SiriusXM On Wednesday.

    Sounds like a great show. Sirius offers free trials, so you can listen online even if you are not a subscriber. Google SiriusXM for info.

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  40. Kirk said on May 22, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    It’s Apron Strings, hosted by the funny and talented Elizabeth Cook, who appeared on Letterman’s show many times.

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  41. coozledad said on May 22, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    “lasting peach” must be the name of his haircolor.

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  42. Joe K said on May 22, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Both my girls did the intensive freshman seminar at I.U. Went down early and it was the absolute best money we spent. Put them so far ahead of the Freshman coming in later.
    Good choice and good luck.
    Pilot Joe

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  43. brian stouder said on May 22, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Shelby got her mom’s brains – so all is well!

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  44. Judybusy said on May 22, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    I listened to Pod Save America walking to and fro the gym today. The guys were discussing the administration and the people who are choosing to stay. “Those guys? They’ve gone full-on Smeagol! They’re talking to themselves all the time, can’t look themselves in the mirror.” So awkward when you guffaw in public.

    Thanks, Heather for kitty kudos. Part of the reason for adopting older ones is just that–they don’t get adopted. Our last cat also lived to be 20, and we aren’t exactly spring chickens anymore…The Humane Society volunteers and staff were really happy they were going to a good home. And since I’m so excited, here they are, from the Society’s Instagram page. My partner messaged me about it, so I joined Instagram just so I could share it.

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  45. Jolene said on May 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks for the correction, Kirk. Yes, I meant Apron Strings.

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  46. alex said on May 22, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Pretty kitties, Judy B.

    Melania swatting il Douche’s hand away, now that’s priceless.

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  47. Deborah said on May 22, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    OMG Jakash, that video of Melania swatting Trump’s hand away is so telling. She hates him.

    Judy Busy, what a handsome pair of cats, good for you.

    I remember when LB went off to the Kansas City Art School, I was a mess. We took the train out from St. Louis and I cried my eyes out on my way back alone. She took a gap year between high school and college.

    Beautiful day in Chicago, got a lot of travel ahead for the next couple of weeks. Weds we leave for Northern Wisconsin, my husband’s uncle has a place there, we’ll be there through Memorial day weekend. Then we go to Charlotte, NC for a birthday bash for my husband’s family. Then back to Chicago for a couple of days before we head out to NM for the summer. This has been a weird stay in Chicago, what with the sciatica/foot drop then surgery. I can’t wait until it’s all behind me.

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  48. Deborah said on May 22, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    This is hilarious

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  49. Jolene said on May 22, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Deborah, how are you doing? Did the surgery solve the problems that prompted it?

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  50. Deborah said on May 22, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Jolene, thanks for asking. I still have the foot drop, but it’s much better, my foot still flops when I step down but it’s less inelegant than before. They say it can take up to a year for the nerves in my spine to “fluff” back up to let everything get back to normal. Before we leave for NM, I have my 6 wk post op check-up and will get a prescription for physical therapy which I can have done in NM, which will help get my atrophied foot muscles back in order and get my back muscles in better shape. Then I have to return to Chicago for a 12 wk post-op check up, I will return to NM after that to finish out the summer there. No shoveling or rock chucking for me though.

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  51. Deborah said on May 22, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    And speaking of how people are doing, MichaelG? Hattie?

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  52. Jolene said on May 22, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Glad to hear you are feeling better. Hope the rehab brings the expected benefits.

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  53. Heather said on May 22, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    So cute, Judybusy! I bet they will be a couple of lovebugs.

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  54. Jolene said on May 22, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    PBS is presenting a three-part series about American music. The first segment aired last week, but is available online and through OnDemand.

    Here’s a description:

    In the 1920s, as radio took over the pop music business, record companies were forced to leave their studios in major cities in search of new styles and markets. Ranging the mountains, prairies, rural villages, and urban ghettos of America, they discovered a wealth of unexpected talent. The recordings they made of all the ethnic groups of America democratized the nation and gave a voice to everyone. Country singers in the Appalachians, Blues guitarists in the Mississippi Delta, Gospel preachers across the south, Cajun fiddlers in Louisiana, Tejano groups from the Texas Mexico border, Native American drummers in Arizona, and Hawaiian musicians were all recorded. For the first time, a woman picking cotton in Mississippi, a coalminer in Virginia or a tobacco farmer in Tennessee could have their thoughts and feelings heard on records played in living rooms across the country. It was the first time America heard itself.

    Virtually no documentation of these extraordinary events survives and nearly ninety percent of the recording masters have been destroyed. A vital part of American cultural history has been lost.

    Over three episodes, narrated by Robert Redford, AMERICAN EPIC rescues this history. The remarkable lives of these seminal musicians are revealed through previously unseen film footage and photographs, and exclusive interviews with music pioneers, their families and eyewitnesses to the era.

    The next episode is tomorrow night. For more info, including a trailer, go to:

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  55. Jolene said on May 22, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Forgot to say that the name of the show is American Epic.

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  56. basset said on May 22, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Never thought of this before; getting dissolved instead of cremated:

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 23, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Slowly catching up with a variety of things, and enjoyed the Pippa wedding pictures. They both looked startlingly thin, actually, but was looking at my own wedding pictures from 32 years ago over the weekend, and my weren’t we slighter than we . . . I are now. Oh well! They look like runners to me, and if they keep that up, good on them.

    I wondered what people thought about the lady who wore red: maybe that’s not a rule in Merrie Olde?

    Speaking of what’s kept me snowed under recently, a word to you all — don’t sleep with the staff. It makes lots of work for your friends, your now former co-workers, and even your enemies. Just don’t do it. I’m stuck being a narrow-gauge Mueller these days, and it’s nasty work to muck out a couple of years’ worth of hard feelings and suspicions and confirmed speculations when employment and payments and benefits and budget allocations are all tied to “were they or weren’t they” especially after the pregnancy is announced and the engagement is shared of a piece with the resignation.

    Don’t sleep with the staff.

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  58. Suzanne said on May 23, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Our president once again proves his inner soul with his words. Horrible terrorist attack in England and he sounds like a middle schooler. The bombers are losers, big losers. Not evil, not depraved, not agents of horror, but losers. Because to Trump, being a loser is the absolute worst thing in the world, worse than evil, depraved, or horrible. Those things, I think he believes, are really ok as long as you win.

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  59. Judybusy said on May 23, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Suzanne, you said what I was shouting at my phone as I listened to the NPR One app this morning!

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  60. Deborah said on May 23, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Eeewww. Somehow getting dissolved instead of cremated seems gross to me. I realize if you choose burial you decompose slowly and that’s not pretty but still. I choose cremation, sorry for the extra carbon that creates.

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  61. coozledad said on May 23, 2017 at 8:58 am

    The Trumps are a family of slumlords and mobsters. The very damn definition of losers. For these people, the deaths of innocents can only be a lever for power, a possible route of escape from the courtroom.

    Trump is an overgrown child who just compromised Jordanian and Israeli intelligence assets. He doesn’t know how this stuff works, because it’s not just dicking somebody over, or shaking them down, or refusing to pay bills. Putin does, however, and he’s got a ring in that hog’s nose.

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  62. coozledad said on May 23, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Trump just sold billions of dollars worth of military hardware to a Wahabbist state. ISIS is one of the tools the Saudis use to extend the paramilitaries of Iran. It’s a war of devil’s alliances, and Trump just landed us squarely on the side of the Saudis and ISIS.

    The Saudi religion was slowly forgotten by the international community as a correlative issue with Al-Qaeda due to the political focus toward ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it has since subtly entered back into the international spotlight since the Syrian civil war outbreak in 2011. With the uprising against Bashar Al-Assad, many Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia in particular, have used the conflict as a proxy war for Sunni vs Shia supremacy by funneling millions of dollars to Wahhabi militant factions to assist in the overthrow. In 2012, Saudi Arabia’s own intelligence chief Bandar Bin Sultan was formally sent to Syria to round up and organize Sunni militants for the opposition movement. Initially, financial support and arms were transferred to Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, and Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), before it formally partitioned itself as ISIS.

    The plan for the Saudi-backed AQI to enter Syria became botched when Hezbollah and Iran began funneling cash, arms, and personnel into Syria to combat the overthrow, creating a rift between AQI, Al-Qaeda leadership, and Saudi leadership on a plan of action. The leader of AQI, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, after months of ideological conflict with Al-Qaeda leadership decided to defect, thus creating the present-day Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. What is important in this transformation is the amount of Wahhabi influence on the ideology of Al-Baghdadi and subsequently ISIS. The biographies of Al-Baghdadi and others in ISIS leadership positions show how they’ve absorbed the Wahhabi doctrine and mastered its details. Documents reveal the groups explicitly stated goals of, “establishing the religion and dissemination monotheism, which is the purpose and calling of Islam,” — this is the same rhetoric in Abdul-Wahab’s interpretations of Islam. Their main goal is nothing more than to create a Wahhabi state that is inherently identical to the theology of Abdul-Wahhab, and Al-Baghdadi has resorted to the teachings of Abdul-Wahhab for his arguments to support the means of creating that state.

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  63. Suzanne said on May 23, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Coozledad, do you have a source for that long (I assume) quote? Very interesting. This is all more complex that Trump can understand, which is exactly what the Saudis and Russians are banking on.

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  64. coozledad said on May 23, 2017 at 10:03 am

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  65. Deborah said on May 23, 2017 at 10:11 am

    The architecture firm I worked for in St. Louis did a lot of work in Saudi Arabia. When they were going after a university job there we in the graphics group designed and produced an elaborate book that was covered in unborn calf skin and we had some falcon hoods made for some prince or another over there. We were all disgusted that it seemed necessary to bribe with elaborate gifts for people who had more money than god. Then when the Saudi’s came over to our office, all the women were cleared out for a “special luncheon”, wink, wink. One of the higher ups in the architecture firm was jewish and his name sounded jewish, so they never mentioned him in any printed material they showed the Saudi’s even though he was involved in the project. It was all very smarmy. When architects had to go over to Saudi Arabia to work, they hated it mainly because they couldn’t drink alcohol. Rarely were women sent over there, but if they were they had to wear long sleeved clothing and scarves over their heads (could be loosely worn though). Their skirts had to cover their knees. This was back in the 80s so I don’t know if it’s the same or worse now.

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  66. Danny said on May 23, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Deborah, it has changed. We have a gentleman from Saudi Aramco embedding with various organizations within our company right now. Currently he is in Design Engineering and we have no problem assigning him mentors from the female leadership within our organizations.

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  67. Bitter Scribe said on May 23, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Deborah: What kills me is if they didn’t have huge pools of flammable goo underneath their lands, no one would care about those camel jockeys.

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  68. coozledad said on May 23, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Hilary Mantel writes about the prison atmosphere for women who had to relocate to the Saud, and the way some male Westerners easily settled into the rhythm of misogyny.

    When she told a guest at a party (at the home she was mostly unable to leave) that she had just published a novel, the response was “That must have been very expensive for your husband.”

    Wahabbism is grounded in Abrahamic assumptions that differ little from those of the snake handlers and prayer handkerchief asswipes here.
    That’s why Trump’s pussy grabbing comments didn’t phase them. They ought to just call our version Wahabbaptism. We’ve set up our own toothless sisterboning clowns with a multibillion dollar arsenal that periodically erupts in mass slaughter in public spaces, and Republicans fully endorse that shit, too.

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  69. Danny said on May 23, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I think I almost counted to three before Christians and Republicans were obliquely tied to the Manchester bombing. You’re slacking.

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  70. coozledad said on May 23, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Blow it out your ass, Pepe.

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  71. Sherri said on May 23, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Danny, I’ve read your comment three times, and Cooz’s comment three times, and I think you’re projecting. I don’t see an oblique reference to Manchester, I see a very direct reference to the gun culture mixed with domestic violence that is our own special home brew.

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  72. nancy said on May 23, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Did I ever tell you guys the story about the Canadian couple we knew briefly in Ann Arbor? Alan met them; they were students at the B-school at U-M when I was a Fellow and Alan was auditing courses there. They both worked for Bell Canada, and had done time in Saudi.

    One of the other women in the compound where they lived needed milk one night, and knew the shop just outside the walls would have it. Rather than put on the full abaya, she thought she could duck in and out in a couple minutes in western clothes. The shop owner knew her, and wouldn’t mind that she wasn’t covered.

    When she didn’t come back, they called the police. They said, “Oh, don’t worry, the religious police have her. They’ll release her in a day or two. She’s safe.”

    They did release her the following day, after shaving her head. She walked in, told her husband, “I am getting on the next plane out of this shitty country, and you can come with me or not.” He came with her.

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  73. basset said on May 23, 2017 at 11:02 am

    JeffTMMO, who/what is a “Mueller”?

    Meanwhile, I am renewing my challenge to Cooz to produce his birth certificate and prove he’s older than fifteen. “Blow it out your ass,” now, that’s eloquence on a Churchillian level.

    Probably a good thing that I ended up not taking that psycho cat to NC, I have not forgotten “fuck you, old man” from awhile back and it would have come up in the conversation.

    On a happier note, the local hockey team won a big game last night and the town seems quite excited about it – someone I didn’t even know stopped by my cube this morning to ask if I’d been there.

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  74. coozledad said on May 23, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Brennan, on contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians:

    “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign,” he said. “I was concerned because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. And it raised questions in my mind again whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

    Republican = traitor. Own that shit.

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  75. coozledad said on May 23, 2017 at 11:08 am

    basset, that’s no way to whine for attention. I prefer your bathetic self-pitying mode. You must not have been able to gun anything down for awhile.

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  76. coozledad said on May 23, 2017 at 11:14 am

    I didn’t make the offer to take that animal out of any concern or consideration for you, or any desire to meet you. It’s more that doing the right thing can be, and often is, excruciating. Our rescue groups avoided placing animals in hostile environments, and while I’m currently not involved in animal rescue, I strongly dislike seeing that pattern broken.

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  77. Jakash said on May 23, 2017 at 11:40 am


    The hockey game happened to be on at the place where we were eating last night, which was the first I was aware that the Predators were that close to playing for the Stanley Cup. They swept Chicago in the first round, though I’d forgotten that, as I pay about as much attention to it as you seem to. I was kinda wondering how involved you might be in the excitement, as I couldn’t *believe* how ramped up things got around here when the Blackhawks made their first recent S. C. run in 2010. Either there were always a lot more hockey fans than I realized, or the bandwagon was freaking huge and people were climbing aboard like it could hold the whole town. If it’s anything like that was, hold onto your hat! ; )

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  78. Sherri said on May 23, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Meanwhile, if you boys can stop rehashing old fights and slights, we still haven’t heard from MichaelG and Hattie, have we? Everything okay out there?

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  79. coozledad said on May 23, 2017 at 11:48 am

    I’m just going to have to go with David Simon here:”Every time an American hesitates before calling some pompous arbiter of decorum a fucstick, the terrorists win”

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  80. Peter said on May 23, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Deborah, I did a project in Jakarta some time back.

    I always wondered what would happen if a tall blonde good looking lady visited Jakarta – would she be:

    a. Stoned to death?
    b. Kidnapped and made part of the president’s concubine?
    c. Worshipped as a goddess?
    d. Thrown into a volcano?

    Still haven’t decided.

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  81. kath said on May 23, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    My brother went to Saudi Arabia for work a few years ago. He was installing a piece of equipment in an oil facility. One of his male coworkers was walking through a market and smiled at a Filipino woman who was wearing a hijab. The religious police saw this and beat both of them with sticks right there in the middle of the market.

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  82. basset said on May 23, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Jakash, hockey is pretty hard to miss here – I work downtown almost within sight of the arena. Never have cared much for spectator sports, though, and I don’t feel any connection to the Predators or any other team. As I’ve said here before, it’s a bunch of strangers getting paid really well to practice a highly specialized form of manual labor, nothing to do with me. I’d like to see them do well since it’s good for the city, I’m just not interested in watching.

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  83. Scout said on May 23, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    The Humiliation to America Tour continues… just waiting for all the right wing heads to explode over Natasha’s bare arms. Speaking of whom, the video of her batting away President Tinyhands when he suddenly realized the Netanyahus were holding hands was rewarding.

    I enjoyed the wedding pics and thought the bride looked lovely. She’s tiny but not anorexic looking. The little boys in their little ivory and gold outfits were so cute and Charlotte is adorable. She looks like a fun tiny human.

    Complete change of subject here. We went to see Book of Mormon at Gammage (of Frank Lloyd Wright design fame) on Sunday Night. Performed by an excellent Broadway touring cast, it was absolutely the funniest show I’ve ever seen.

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  84. Dorothy said on May 23, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    My daughter did her spring 2004 semester abroad in Manchester so last night’s news was riveting to her. One of her flatmates, who is a midwife in London, happened to be at that concert last night. She got out safely, thank goodness. My daughter also shared that the expected bomber’s address was not far from the flat she shared with 7 other students that year. The stretch between his place and where she lived is called ‘curry mile’ – about 50 southeast Asian or Indian restaurants side to side. I visited her in Manchester at the end of her semester, May 2004, and then we spent a few days in Ireland before coming back to Manchester, and then we flew back to the US. It’s the only international traveling I’ve done.

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  85. Deborah said on May 23, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Today filming is happening in our building complex for that movie called “Widows”. Liam Neeson and Viola Davis are supposed to be here today. Filming starts at 2pm, the place is swarming with crew and lots of trucks are parked up and down the side streets. I will definitely be going down to the lobby around 2 to see if I can spot any celebrities walking by. We’re leaving for northern Wisconsin tomorrow so I will miss the rest of the filming action.

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  86. Deborah said on May 23, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    So embarrassing

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  87. Jolene said on May 23, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Deborah, apparently Trump’s note has attracted attention in Israel as well. Somewhere, I read that an Israeli had said, “He forgot to add see you next summer.”

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  88. Jolene said on May 23, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, gave what I thought was an impressive speech re the removal of Confederate memorials. This article about him gives a bit of a view of the issues he has taken on as mayor and contains links to the speech and a podcast interview with him by the WaPo’s Jonathan Capehart. The link to the speech is just under the big red SoundCloud block that links to the podcast. Worth your time, if only because it’s encouraging on a sad day to hear a political leader speak straightforwardly about our toughest issues.

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  89. Deborah said on May 23, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Melania did it again she goes for her hair expertly.

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  90. Deborah said on May 23, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Good old Charlie I especially like how he refers to Gowdy as lopheaded.

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  91. Hattie said on May 23, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Sherri: Thanks for asking after me; I am now going through the slog of chemotherapy. It is working well for me, but I am avoiding optimism in my case. After this round of five or six infusions I’ll be put on a palliative regimen. If I am healthy enough I may have radiation and surgery. I prize every day now.

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  92. coozledad said on May 23, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I keep hoping someone will erect statues as an antidote to the Dunning School and its white supremacist horseshit, but as long as there are Republicans vying to dredge up votes from the prolapsed ass of the outerborough south, it won’t happen. Lee supervising the whipping of his slaves, and advising the dousing of them afterwards with brine, Georgia Men raping twelve year old girls and returning them to the coffle, or the coffle itself, in bronze relief over the portico of the State house in Alabama. A replica of a whipping machine to tour the country any time there’s an outburst of ofay violence, to remind pink fuckery of their abysmal “heritage”.

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  93. Deborah said on May 23, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Here are what others have written at Yad Vashem, including W and Laura, also Hillary. While Bush’s note was simple they report that he had tears in his eyes when he placed it. It seems more appropriate than Trump’s.

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  94. Deborah said on May 23, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Of course when I went down to the lobby the doorman told me I just missed seeing Viola Davis and this guy who I had never heard of, Liam Neeson won’t be showing up until later in the day.

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  95. coozledad said on May 23, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Fox finally retracted the Seth Rich story. They must have been faced with another hemorrhage of cash.

    I’m surprised we didn’t get an earful of that trash from the usual guppies here.

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  96. Suzanne said on May 23, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Yad Vashem and Trump’s guest book dribble doubles down on my belief that he’s a 70 year old middle schooler. I bet he talks about his farts a lot, too.

    Can anyone grow up to be president of the USA? Trump proves you don’t even have to grow up.

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  97. brian stouder said on May 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    So – would ya believe it if I said that a local group of doctors (the article says 10 of them) offered $2.4 billion for the hospital(s)/network…and they were rejected as being a billion dollars too low?

    I mean – what?

    How can 10 doctors cough up $2 billion??!! No, wait – forget that I said that!!

    If there’s anything more screwed-around than American healthcare – to benefit a very few, at the vast expense of many, many Americans, I dunno what that would be. It’s only surprising that Dolt-45 isn’t actively involved in hospital building & finance

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  98. Bitter Scribe said on May 23, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Fox News may have retracted the Seth Rich “story,” but Sean Hannity is still humping it for all it’s worth. GOD but that guy is dumb.

    Good news: Fox is slipping in the ratings and is now behind MSNBC in the 25-49 demographic (the most valuable). Apparently Fox’s refusal to cover the Trump-Russia scandal is driving viewers away.

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  99. Jeff Borden said on May 23, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    I can’t imagine why anyone is surprised the Orange King would leave a note as empty as his soul. As was discussed on this premises a few days ago, this is a soulless creature without a scintilla of common humanity in his DNA.

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  100. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 23, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Just wanted to quickly claim #100.

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  101. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 23, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    If Suzanne’s at #96 isn’t original to her, it’s still a great line. Hat tip, ma’am!

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