President Lear.

Last week I posted a link to a blog post speculating on whether the president is in the early stages of dementia. This week the theory is picked up by the reputable medical news site StatNews, and I have to tell you, I think they’re on to something:

(In interviews and public statements in the ’80s and ’90s), Trump fluently peppered his answers with words and phrases such as “subsided,” “inclination,” “discredited,” “sparring session,” and “a certain innate intelligence.” He tossed off well-turned sentences such as, “It could have been a contentious route,” and, “These are the only casinos in the United States that are so rated.” He even offered thoughtful, articulate aphorisms: “If you get into what’s missing, you don’t appreciate what you have,” and, “Adversity is a very funny thing.”

Now, Trump’s vocabulary is simpler. He repeats himself over and over, and lurches from one subject to an unrelated one, as in this answer during an interview with the Associated Press last month:

“People want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall, my base really wants it — you’ve been to many of the rallies. OK, the thing they want more than anything is the wall. My base, which is a big base; I think my base is 45 percent. You know, it’s funny. The Democrats, they have a big advantage in the Electoral College. Big, big, big advantage. … The Electoral College is very difficult for a Republican to win, and I will tell you, the people want to see it. They want to see the wall.”

His mood swings, his intemperate blurting, his inability to find a story and stick to it — these are not small things. West Wing leaks describe a latter-day King Lear, alternately raging and out of it, boasting of his big ol’ TV and his double-scoop chocolate pie. His wife is batting his hand away in front of the world. This is an administration in chaos (but you knew that). And of course, none of this is new since last year; we’re only seeing in greater detail what’s been obvious all along.

Which is to say, I’m switching my exasperation from you-know-who to the people who voted for him, who watched all these speeches and said, “Yep’m that-there’s some straight talk. He’s my man.”

This guy will go to his grave believing he’s the greatest. There’s a case to be made that his brain is growing plaques. What’s 60 million voters’ excuse?

Meanwhile, Monica Lewinsky grew into a very impressive woman, and I regret every bad thing I said about her back in the day, and there were quite a few bad things to be said.

And Fox News has finally slow-walked its Seth Rich story retraction into the spotlight. But what’s Newt Gingrich’s excuse? If I were Pope Francis, I’d be tempted to … well, to do something really rude and undiplomatic.

Wednesday has been achieved, or is at least in sight. Hallelujah.

Posted at 7:48 pm in Current events |

68 responses to “President Lear.”

  1. Nancy Friedman said on May 23, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    At Language Log, the linguist Mark Liberman is skeptical of the STAT report: “[T]he evidence that they offer is anecdotal at best, without even citations or links to let readers check out the context of the anecdotes.”

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  2. Dorothy said on May 23, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Okay you posted this just about 70 minutes ago but the date on the top of the post says Monday May 22. Am I growing plaque in my head too?!

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  3. nancy said on May 23, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Granted, it’s speculative. But the decline in verbal skills, for a man who doesn’t drink or indulge in intoxicating substances, is noticeable. The mood swings, fits of anger — all of these are on the record. Could be something? Could be nothing.

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  4. Jolene said on May 23, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Twitter users: Do you use the Twitter app by itself or one of the apps that purport to offer additional features and such? If the latter, is there an app that you would recommend?

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  5. Andrea said on May 23, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Going through all of these will be a treat.

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  6. beb said on May 23, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    I find the dementia theory very persuasive.

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  7. Bitter Scribe said on May 23, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    Sean Hannity still hasn’t backed off the Sean Rich conspiracy story. That guy’s mother sure raised a fool.

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  8. Mark P said on May 23, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Mark Lieberman is notoriously skeptical of unsupported or poorly researched scientific (or would-be) scientific work. That doesn’t mean Trump is not suffering from some sort of dementia, in the general sense. Liberman complains that the data are anecdotal, which may be true, but my observations of Trump’s public speech are certainly consistent with their anecdotes.

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  9. Dexter said on May 24, 2017 at 2:08 am

    Trump in Israel and thereabouts has been appearing to be very tired and when he speaks it’s about half-speed compared to his campaign voice. He has never once tried distilled spirits…maybe his doc will order him to drink wine to keep his carotids flowing.
    Oh…new warning: alcohol drinking in women causes breast cancer. (NBC Nightly News, Tuesday)

    well…off to Toledo in 7 hours where daughter SD will take Carla Lee to Clevelan d Clinic for a stich-removal and follow-up post-surgical (knee repl) exam. I’ll have to skedaddle back to Bryan to care for our aging Jack Russell Terrier…can’t take the dog anywhere because she shits the crate. Disgusting.

    John G. Wallace is now living/staying (?) in a motel somewhere enjoying the bathtub, he reports on FBook.

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  10. Deborah said on May 24, 2017 at 2:36 am

    Andrea, the Onion leaked documents are brilliant.

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  11. ROGirl said on May 24, 2017 at 5:18 am

    Signs of dementia, or maybe profound ignorance and inability to get his own way 100% of the time. Being president is harder than anyone knew, bigly.

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  12. adrianne said on May 24, 2017 at 6:45 am

    I think the dementia evidence is pretty strong for el Trumpo. Something is seriously wrong with the man.

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  13. coozledad said on May 24, 2017 at 7:10 am

    W was the most ignorant son of a bitch the Republicans could cough up in his day, and with the tea party expansion of the Republican voter franchise into the meth kitchens and Klaverns, an even emptier vessel was inevitable.

    The rollback of civil rights ain’t going to stop with black folk, no matter how you wish it. That isn’t the plan. They’re coming for services for the disabled and elderly now. The Republicans are already beginning to make noises about further restrictions to voting, and it’s now that people need to get up of their asses and start throwing things at them.

    In 2008, Person county residents overwhelmingly approved a bond referendum for a senior recreation center. The Republican County commissioners decided the election was invalid, and stonewalled the center until one of their own had a failing business to dump. The county purchased his workout facility, valued at 1.1 million dollars, for TWO MILLION. Now they’ve cut funding for operations entirely, as a gesture of retribution for their failure to enact a landfill expansion that would have turned the southern half of the county into a garbage receptacle for up to a hundred mile radius, not counting garbage shipped to transfer stations within that radius.

    A few of the services the senior center provides are blood pressure screenings, meals on wheels, diabetes monitoring, physical rehabilitation services…

    They tried to gut volunteer fire and ambulance staff, but state law kept them from understaffing as much as they wanted.

    Republicans are going to starve the elderly and burn your goddamn house down. You’d better wake the fuck up and get ready to fight them.Trump is their goddamn essence.

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  14. coozledad said on May 24, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Gross incompetence, and a direct threat to international security. Bush pulled this same shit after the London bombings. They can’t help themselves.

    people are likely to see some more military on the streets which I hope will give them the reassurance they must be seeking,” she said. Under Operation Temperer “up to 3,800 troops” would be under the command of the police.

    Ms Rudd also expressed “irritation” that Abedi’s identity was released by US security officials, which, she said, could hamper investigations. Asked by the BBC if she was reviewing the sharing of intelligence information with the US as a result of the release, she said: “Yes, quite frankly.”

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  15. Bob (Not Greene) said on May 24, 2017 at 10:05 am

    What is it about the Trump family that makes them inevitably the Clampetts every time they go somewhere new? These photos from the Vatican? What was the conversation that led to the outfits worn by Melania and Ivanka? Catholic women haven’t worn veils in churches for the past half century, unless they are insane Catholics. Ivanka looks like she’s going to the funeral of a first communicant. And, of course, ol’ Don wears his standard uniform of a baggy blazer to cover his corpulence. They are clueless on every level.

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  16. Suzanne said on May 24, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Funny story regarding Trump haute-couture. My daughter knows someone who was working at an office in NYC some years ago when Mr T entered. What she remembered most about him was that his suit was rumpled and fit him very poorly. She told my daughter that she thought that very odd because one would expect someone as rich as he supposedly is to be able to buy a decent fitting suit. Guess not!

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  17. Jolene said on May 24, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Bob, this CNN article says that dressing in black and covering the head is part of Vatican protocol and that Michelle Obama did the same. The latter, at least, is correct.

    On the other hand, this article from The Telegraph says that the Trump women made this conservative choice despite a recent trend toward liberalization of Vatican protocol.

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  18. Jolene said on May 24, 2017 at 10:30 am

    I actually think Ivanka looks fine, but the scarf (or, perhaps it’s a mantilla) doesn’t work with whatever Melania did with her hair.

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  19. Heather said on May 24, 2017 at 10:40 am

    I was listening to our local NPR station this AM, where the morning host was interviewing people about the effect of Trump’s budget on Illinois. The budget severely cuts SNAP funding (basically food stamps), which just in Cook County (where Chicago is located) is relied on by 900K people out of a total population of five million. States and nonprofits are supposed to make up the difference, but Illinois is broke, and as for nonprofits, the Chicago Food Depository said it would have to triple its output, which it is just not equipped to do.

    Then they want to completely slash an environmental program for the Great Lakes that has been running since 2010. The lakes supply water for 30 million people in the Midwest, and the program also has created a lot of jobs. The experts they talked to said this was unlikely to get past even Republicans, but jeez. I agree with Cooz–they just want to kill off the poor and elderly, and the rest of us can just suffer in our polluted wastelands, kept alive so we can continue to toil for the crumbs that are thrown our way.

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  20. Jolene said on May 24, 2017 at 10:40 am

    More pictures of famous women meeting the pope.

    And, while we’re on the lifestyles of the rich and famous, check out the flowers for Pippa Middleton’s wedding. Note that the glass marquee was constructed for the occasion.

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  21. Mark P. said on May 24, 2017 at 10:54 am

    It’s hard not to start thinking that we are on the cusp of monumental changes in the US. They (whoever they is) say that people who live in times of great change often (usually? never?) recognize the changes that are taking place for what they really are. Did anyone imagine what the future held when the first few people died of the black plague? Did anyone have an inkling of what would happen when Hitler began his expansion of the German military? I look at what Trump or his evil puppet masters plan and can see only darkness. Their proposed budget really is one of death and destruction.

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  22. Bob (Not Greene) said on May 24, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Jolene, thanks, although it seems based on the photos you’ve linked to that color of clothing and head coverings are rules of thumb and not requirements. Interesting given the clear choice not to follow the Saudi Arabian guidelines.

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  23. Heather said on May 24, 2017 at 11:07 am

    That veil Ivanka is wearing looks weirdly goth-bridal.

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  24. Sherri said on May 24, 2017 at 11:26 am

    The trump budget would also destroy the system of research universities in the US by limiting the percentage of overhead costs in a research grant to 10%. That’s the part of the grant that pays for the costs of the infrastructure necessary for the researcher to be able to do work, like libraries, buildings, electricity, all those boring maintenance and operations stuff.

    The specific numbers of the trump budget aren’t really the important part; they demonstrated they don’t even care about the details of the numbers when the double-counted $2 trillion. The important part is the set of values that it shows, or more accurately, the absence of values. There is no moral core to these people, and the rot extends beyond trump, unless you think trump’s input went beyond “I want a beautiful budget with yuuuge tax cuts (and special treatment for, whaddya call it, what are those corporations I have? S corporations?”)

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  25. Kim said on May 24, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Ivanka looks like something out of a Tim Burton movie. As much fun as it is to comment on the Clampetts, as BobNG called ’em, it’s another distraction to the number they are trying to pull on this country.

    Cooz@13 – What. The. Hell. You would think the folks who voted for the rec center nine years ago would have taken up their dispute by voting out their “representatives” who refused to recognize the election results.

    I’m with the proprietress. It’s past time for explainin’.

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  26. Peter said on May 24, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Heather #19 – the elimination of funds for the Great Lakes has been talked about since day 1 of the Trumpian Era – but what gets men is that it’s gutting the water standards for people in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania – once again screwing over the people who elected him.

    What a guy.

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  27. Sherri said on May 24, 2017 at 11:50 am

    I love Anthony Romero. When I first met him, he seemed like such a quiet, mild-mannered guy; he doesn’t dominate a room. When he talks to you, he’s totally engaged with you. I was so touched and honored to hear from him a few weeks later about going to SCOTUS.

    But it turns out, he’s pretty charismatic, too, as a speaker, as he demonstrated last week at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, and as he shows in the TED talk, where he uses an Italian Renaissance fresco to highlight our current challenges:

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  28. brian stouder said on May 24, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Here’s the stupidest thing I’ve read today:

    ‘self-made wealth’???

    and for a semi-non-sequitur, I now heartily believe that our primary elections should be open; that is to say, you don’t declare your party first, but instead approach the ballot and choose candidates for each party, for each office, for Federal elections

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  29. MichaelG said on May 24, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Thank you for expressing your concern. After three surgeries, two rounds of radiation and countless rounds of chemo, here we are. My surgeon recently said there would be no more surgery as the crap had become too invasive. The radiation lady said a couple of weeks ago that there would be no more radiation. Yesterday we had a meeting with my wonderful oncologist who informed me that there was no chemo left to try.

    The radiation earlier this spring did squat and the chemo just made me sick without doing any good. Last week I canceled my trip to Mexico because I didn’t feel well enough to go. So. Here I am. Only one lung is functioning and my leg is rather messed up so I don’t get around as well as I used to. I can, however, still go to lunch and I can drink. I haven’t been drinking but it’s time for a few glasses of wine, my favorite Straight Line Zinfandel and a few hits of Jacopo Poli’s Vespaiolo Grappa.

    I had lunch at Biba’s the other day with an old pal, lunch yesterday with the lovely and giving T at Mulvaney’s and tomorrow with another old pal at a new place that has just opened.

    I’ll try to comment a little more instead of just lurking. So there’s the update.

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  30. Sherri said on May 24, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks for checking in, MichaelG. Enjoy your Zin, Zin was always a favorite of mine. I was a fan of Ridge and Ravenswood Zins. (I was never a cheap drunk!)

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  31. brian stouder said on May 24, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Michael – thanks very much for the update. We’re all thinking of you, whether you post or not

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  32. Jolene said on May 24, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    MichaelG, I’m sorry the news isn’t better, but am grateful that you are able to enjoy lunch with pals and, especially, for your relationship with “the lovely and giving T.” Lovely and giving is pretty hard to beat.

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  33. Judybusy said on May 24, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    MichaelG, I wish the news were better. Like Jolene, I’m glad you have loving people around you and you are getting out for lunch. I will look for the Straight Line Zin later today. I’m having folks over for patio time, and that sounds like it will be a good wine!

    Sherri, one of my local wineshops sells the Ravenswood Zin for $6.99 for some bizarre reason. Love that stuff!

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  34. Jeff Borden said on May 24, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I still find it hard to understand the conservative game plan. Okay, I get that they want to give their plutocratic campaign donors even more money and are willing to grind the underclass under their heels to free up the revenue. But if they are serious about wanting America to thrive and grow, what the fuck is the point in slashing research funding? Where do they think so many innovations originate? Who knows that amazing products or drugs or processes are waiting to be discovered? And gutting the Great Lakes Restoration Act? Folks, we have masses of Asian carp in Illinois rivers being kept out of Lake Michigan by this money. If they were to enter the Great Lakes, the result would be catastrophic for the environment.

    I just want to cry when I see and hear the very people who are going to get royally rogered still touting the Orange King as their savior. Check out an average rightwing website and you’ll see them all defending their man and expressing their furious anger at the Dems, the libs and, most of all, the evil American media who are thwarting the Orange King at every turn. It’s beyond discouraging.

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  35. Suzanne said on May 24, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks for the update, MichaelG. Virtual hugs. Going out to lunch with wine is a wonderful tonic for the soul. Even better when it involves good wine.

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  36. Deborah said on May 24, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    MichaelG, good to hear from you. Hang in there. We got a bottle of grappa for a dinner party a couple of weeks ago, it was a hit, our guests loved it.

    I’m on the car trip up to northern Wisconsin for a stay at my husband’s uncle’s place in a town called Minong. We will be there until Tuesday. My husband’s uncle is with us, I’m going to start referring to him here as Uncle J because it’s too long to keep typing “my husband’s uncle”.

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  37. nancy said on May 24, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Me too, MichaelG.

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  38. Scout said on May 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    MichaelG, I wish the news was better, but I’m glad you shared. Collective good thoughts coming your way can never hurt. Enjoy those fabulous wine lunches with T.

    No matter what is written about any subject there will always be someone who feels the need to play devil’s advocate. That Trump is becoming increasingly unhinged and confused is evident daily. Like the Proprietress, I no longer blame BigBaby for his inadequacies. The blame can be shared by the GOP who didn’t do enough to stop him and who are now enabling him in his smash and grab policies, the racist morons and selfish greedheads who voted for him, and the countless jerks who voted third party or not at all. It was as obvious then as it is now he was equipped with neither the skill set or temperament for the job.

    Going forward, there should be standards set for anyone running for high office: Passing basic competence testing, knowledge of the Constitution, independent medical and mental health exams, and the release of all financial records. This hot mess would all have been avoided had there been some common sense rules for candidates. We’ve learned the hard way that we can’t trust Roger Rube to give a shit about these things.

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  39. Scout said on May 24, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I laughed out loud.

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  40. Sherri said on May 24, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    The trump budget doesn’t want to waste any money on weather forecasting, either:

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  41. Mark P. said on May 24, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    I know it’s a pointless exercise, but I just emailed my US representative, Tom Graves (R-NRA). This is what I said:

    “I was disappointed to read that you apparently support President Trump’s budget proposal, which cuts hundreds of billions of dollars for programs that help the sick, the poor, the hungry, and the disabled, those among us who are the least able to defend themselves. I don’t know whether you are a Christian, but if you are, you might want to start thinking about how you will answer if Jesus accuses you: “I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me… inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”

    I sincerely hope you will rethink your position on this most unchristian proposal.”

    I don’t believe in god, but I know what Christians are supposed to believe. Of course most modern examples emphatically do not believe crap like that. They believe that if Jesus were alive today, he would be deeply into real estate. You might think I’m being funny, but the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention actually said just that in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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  42. susan said on May 24, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Scout @39 –

    That is hilarious. So are the comments. I like this one:
    this is what happens when you answer the door on weekday afternoons

    The contrast of that photo with the one of dear Obama with the Pope is very striking.

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  43. Dexter said on May 24, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Thoughts: 1) Flynn is a scumbag who filled Trump’s head full of lies and hate.
    2) One of my FBook friends who is civil but a Trump/Bannon disciple, called me a snowflake on Sunday. If anyone calls me that again, but in person, I’m gonna punch him in the goddam nose .
    3) Never had to make two trips to Toledo in one day, but the little woman is on her way back from her doctor visit in Cleveland. The little dog went out and HOORAY!—did NOT poop the crate. She ate and is calm…time to head back to The Glass City to fetch Carla Lee, as the old folks useta say…
    4) Glad to hear from you MichaelG.

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  44. Deborah said on May 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Scout, here’s another good one

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  45. Jerrie said on May 24, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Sherri @40, about the steep cuts to NOAA, where the US forecasting model already lags behind the European.

    One of the comments,by BK-Fairfax, probably has the reason: “Am I missing something? With the rumored new NOAA Administrator, Barry Myers, being CEO of a large private-sector competitor to NWS, is it any wonder that the Administration would want to put NWS at a further competitive disadvantage?”

    MichaelG, you’re in my thoughts.

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  46. basset said on May 24, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    MarkP@41, was that Richard Land? Been googling various combinations trying to find that quote. I’m about two blocks from SBC world headquarters right now, can almost see it out the bus window.

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  47. David C. said on May 24, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    The halfwits who want to cut NOAA think we can just get weather from The Weather Channel or your local Action Eyewitness News, Weather and car crashes, without knowing that both just repackage information from NOAA and put a spokesmodel/pointer in front of a green screen.

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  48. Sherri said on May 24, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    From what Cliff Mass has said in his blog, The Weather Channel no longer uses NOAA and the NWS for its forecasts, instead using multiple models including the European one. As Jerrie says, the US already lags behind Europe in forecasting. (

    Note that the trump budget would do severe damage to the areas where NOAA does well, though, like the Storm Prediction Center. And people like Harold Brooks, a friend of mine who works at the National Severe Storms Lab:

    But I suppose we can just privatize all that expertise. I’m sure that dealing with rare catastrophic events is a real money-maker.

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  49. Sherri said on May 24, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    I can relate to so much in this essay, from the dressing invisibly to the signaling phrases to let people know that yes, I am capable of understanding the details of what you’re doing technically and you don’t have to talk down to me.

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  50. Deborah said on May 24, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Charlotte, ?

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  51. Charlotte said on May 24, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Deborah! My twitter is blowing up! Here’s the Guardian link with the audio:

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  52. coozledad said on May 24, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    I think we should ask Mark H if assault is bad.

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  53. Deborah said on May 24, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Well Charlotte, that’s either going to win him more votes with the cowboys or it’s going to turn people off. Hard to say. Hopefully it will effect him negatively. Fingers crossed.

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  54. coozledad said on May 24, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    You know, you dumb Yankees who are aiming to crawl up some Confederate ass for dollars, ought to take some shit into account. 1. We hate you. You ain’t us. 2. I’m one of them bitches and I know. And if the weather permits, you’ll hang from a hardwood tree.

    You yankee cocksuckers can stop trolling me right now, cause you is fucking aliens.

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  55. Diane said on May 24, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Good to hear from you Michael G. So sorry about your bad news but glad you are enjoying your lunches and wine. And thanks for the wine recommendations.

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 24, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    MichaelG, I’m lifting a bourbon to you, even if it’s not grappa. Go with what works for you.

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  57. coozledad said on May 24, 2017 at 10:55 pm

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  58. Mark P said on May 24, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Basset it was Charles Stanley, still a pastor at First Baptist Church in Atlanta. It was in the context of the church selling its downtown church property for lots of money and moving to the suburbs.

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  59. MarkH said on May 25, 2017 at 12:14 am

    Um…why me, coozledad.

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  60. del said on May 25, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Michael G, thanks for the news. Thinking of you.

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  61. basset said on May 25, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Mark P, still looking for the real estate comment but I did run across this one:

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  62. Suzanne said on May 25, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Wow on the big church link, although that doesn’t really surprise me. Mega churches do good things because they have the money, but it’s mostly marketing. It spills over even to smaller churches. People don’t want to keep doing charitable things if those things don’t help fill the pews. Charity because God asks his people to do it, but if the Data doesn’t show a return on your investment, there are cries to stop.
    Plus, this mega church guy’s comments say to me that he is concerned. The church people pool is shrinking and he is concerned about his market share. “Don’t shop at that little mom & pop store over there, come here to Walmart!” Same mentality.

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  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 25, 2017 at 7:59 am

    MarkP and Basset, I can’t find anything close to that quote, either; I assumed it was probably Robert Jeffress, who evokes some interestingly mixed responses from Southern Baptist leaders but is often quoted as one (he pastors a huge Dallas church, and was one of Trump’s biggest religious right supporters).

    On the more positive side, a colleague of mine has been well written up recently, right here:

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 25, 2017 at 8:17 am

    The hook for mega-churches, and for the mini-megas who are always somewhere on the edge of towns like mine, is a one-two punch of a rockin’ praise band in worship, and a high-energy youth program broken out into age brackets that echo the local schools (HS, MS, intermediate, etc.). And I and friends in ministry have lost no small number of young families who will sheepishly say “actually, I don’t like the contemporary music every Sunday, and I like your sermons better, but the kids love the youth activities, and we . . . ” (trails off sadly).

    And we don’t. Our congregation has 300 some members, averages 160 or so a Sunday in worship, but a quarter are over 75, the families with kids are irregular in attendance for a catalog of reasons I can repeat before I hear them (work schedules, practice at noon for baseball/hockey/ballet, quick weekend getaway to the Hocking Hills or Put-In-Bay, etc.), and when we put high school and middle schoolers together both ends of the spectrum hate it, but we only have five or six at any one time even when you gather up 6th grade to 12th graders. Children’s church is anywhere from two to twelve, and you never know, and that’s all the K through 5th grade kids.

    That’s where the Andy Stanleys of the church world have us dead-cold. We can’t turn our backs on the seniors who got us here, and still want to worship and feel part of church life, but it’s incredibly hard to keep intergenerational fellowship balanced. If you do something too active and loud, you get anguish and angst over excluding Great-Aunt Millie; if you do “Old Rugged Cross” and a table activity, the kids get itchy and slide out of the room. We do lots of intergenerational stuff, and I’m proud of it, but it’s not an automatic attraction . . . a separate youth building on the “campus” stuffed with air hockey tables, bean-bag chairs, a band of its own stocked with youth players and a cool t-shirted youth pastor leading rehearsals and preaching with full video back-up on Sunday nights, and a visit by the shy 9th grade daughter becomes the whole family moving their membership in a month. But they’ll be back for our candlelight Christmas Eve service . . . and when that daughter wants to get married, because we have a center aisle and stained glass, and they have a black box with two giant screens at the place in three towns my wife just always calls “the Giant Barn and Tabernacle” so she doesn’t have to remember the name.

    Their preachers always do fear-mongering preaching, and that’s another overlong post/complaint/rant. But it’s incredibly effective in their early days at GBT to get attendance up, and their early members go back out to their old churches and whisper “Pastor Bart really tells it like it is, he’s not afraid to upset the powers of this world, he’s telling the truth when other preachers just talk like everything’s okay.” Bart’s stock in trade, even today, is about hidden messages in rock music, secret conspiracies in government, demonic influences in the supermarket. There’s not infrequently a gentle link to what becomes a hard sell on the way out to sign up for whatever the latest version of Amway or Shaklee or MLM is for that church. You can see the roots of most right-wing media in what the GBTs have been marketing for decades.

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  65. coozledad said on May 25, 2017 at 8:48 am

    I’m just wondering how many people will be motivated to vote For Gianforte because he’s a sociopath. It worked for the Trumpkins.

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  66. Mark P said on May 25, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I’m not sure when I read the quote by Charles Stanley about Jesus the real estate wheeler-dealer but it was some years ago. I tried to find when the First Baptist Church of Atlanta moved and found something from 20 years ago, so it was at least that long ago. Probably even more since they apparently had trouble selling the property.

    In my search I did find more evidence of hypocrisy though. Stanley got a divorce and despite an “unwritten” rule that a divorced man could not be the pastor, and Stanley’s own promise that if he divorced that he would resign, he remains a senior pastor. Those Baptists! So flexible!

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  67. Sherri said on May 25, 2017 at 9:15 am

    The only thing you left out of the the wonderful description of GBT, Jeff(tmmo), is the thinly-veiled (or not so thinly veiled, as the case may be coughMarkDriscollcough) misogyny. For a famously unchurched area like the PNW, we have our fair share of the mega-churches, though because of real-estate prices, few can pursue the GBT model and tend more towards the warehouse and rented space in high schools models.

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  68. Crazycatlady said on May 26, 2017 at 3:11 am

    I was a nursing home nurse for many years. He displays some word loss and volatility. Those can be signs of dementia. Or, they may be signs of just being a narcissistic asshole. Who knows??

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