Death to the fascist insect.

I was 16 when Patty Hearst was kidnapped, just three years younger than the victim herself — a fact I find astonishing — and was only paying a teenager’s attention to current events, so this is what I know and recall from that time:

Hearst, a wealthy heiress to the publishing fortune, was kidnapped by a radical group called the Symbionese Liberation Army. She was held for a long time, during which the SLA called not for ransom, but for her father to distribute millions of dollars’ worth of free food to the poor in California. There was a fire in Los Angeles that killed most of them, but Patty wasn’t in that group. She was later spotted on a bank security camera helping surviving SLA members rob it. Arrested later, she raised a clenched fist to news cameras. She was tried, convicted, sentenced and did prison time, after which she was released, married a cop/security/bodyguard type, submerged herself in American anonymity, wrote a memoir, received a presidential pardon and most recently owned the Best in Group winner at the Westminster Dog Show. And that’s pretty much it. Oh, and it’s where I first learned of the concept of Stockholm Syndrome, the condition where kidnapping victims are said to identify and sympathize with their captors.

And that’s probably more than most Americans know. But the story is so much richer that that, and I’m glad to be reading the current On the Nightstand book over to your right, Jeffrey Toobin’s “American Heiress,” about the case. Toobin crafts his story as a case of not ’60s counterculture America, but the ’70s post-counterculture era — with Vietnam winding down and the air rapidly leaking from the antiwar movement, leaving behind only the craziest and most dangerous radicals. The rest of youth culture was entering adulthood or grad school, starting to ask the big questions of self-discovery that led to the Me Decade. The Beatles had broken up, disco was right around the corner and serial killers with names like Zodiac and Zebra were terrorizing places like San Francisco. It was this period, February 1974, when the SLA knocked on Hearst’s apartment door and, despite being so bumbling they couldn’t even tie her hands correctly, managed to get away with their prize more or less cleanly, leaving behind Patty’s dork fiancé, Steven Weed, whom I will always remember wearing a bandage, black eye and walrus mustache.

The SLA was equal parts crazy, dangerous and inept, led by an ex-con named Donald DeFreeze, aka Cinque M’tume, and staffed mostly by whack-job women who were themselves equal parts crazy and smart. One worked in a library, and kept very good notes. Others found their way via acting (acting?) or teaching or whatever. Paranoid and deadly, they lurched from missions to safe houses to whatever. They assassinated the Oakland school superintendent, of all people, thinking it would set off a people’s revolution. (In this, they reminded me of Charles Manson, who thought slaughtering a houseful of Hollywood types would start a national race war.) When it didn’t, they thought kidnapping might be the way to go. Patty and Steven’s engagement photo, in the pages of the Hearst daily in San Francisco, gave them their target.

I’m not very far into it, and I’m noticing how many of these anecdotes mesh with other stories that broke earlier or later. Angela Atwood, one of the kidnappers, the actress, went to college in Bloomington, Ind., with Kevin Kline. When three of the group accidentally touched off some full-auto rounds at a firing range, one of the people who noticed was none other than Lance Ito, the O.J. Simpson judge. The Hearst family’s hastily thrown together food bank had its books kept by Sara Jane Moore, who would later try to assassinate Gerald Ford. Jim Jones, of the notorious mass-suicide People’s Temple cult, tried to horn in on the food giveaway. One of my old editors, Richard, covered it for the San Jose Mercury. I get the sense that California is a very big state and a very small world at the same time.

But my biggest takeaway — so far — is how insane the world was then, emerging from the cataclysmic ’60s into the burned-out ’70s. It’s somehow…familiar, the end of a period of idealism into a darker one of cynicism, full of hustlers and flatterers and a corrupt president who exposed how broken the country was. The SLA signed its communiques thusly: DEATH TO THE FASCIST INSECT THAT PREYS UPON THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE. All caps. It seemed to fit the times.

An enjoyable read. And the previous paragraph leads us into the first bit of bloggage, this essay by Rebecca Solnit on…can you guess? Can you guess? Yeah, you guessed!

A man who wished to become the most powerful man in the world, and by happenstance and intervention and a series of disasters was granted his wish. Surely he must have imagined that more power meant more flattery, a grander image, a greater hall of mirrors reflecting back his magnificence. But he misunderstood power and prominence. This man had bullied friends and acquaintances, wives and servants, and he bullied facts and truths, insistent that he was more than they were, than it is, that it too must yield to his will. It did not, but the people he bullied pretended that it did. Or perhaps it was that he was a salesman, throwing out one pitch after another, abandoning each one as soon as it left his mouth. A hungry ghost always wants the next thing, not the last thing.

This one imagined that the power would repose within him and make him great, a Midas touch that would turn all to gold. But the power of the presidency was what it had always been: a system of cooperative relationships, a power that rested on people’s willingness to carry out the orders the president gave, and a willingness that came from that president’s respect for rule of law, truth, and the people. A man who gives an order that is not followed has his powerlessness hung out like dirty laundry. One day earlier this year, one of this president’s minions announced that the president’s power would not be questioned. There are tyrants who might utter such a statement and strike fear into those beneath him, because they have installed enough fear.

And here’s the Financial Times, proclaiming the end of the American century:

Mr Trump’s impact on the very idea of the west is already significant. The western alliance is still the world’s biggest economic bloc and largest repository of scientific and business knowledge. But it is disintegrating. As Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, admitted, Europe can no longer rely on the US. It might have been unwise to say so, but she was surely right.

Mr Trump seems to prefer autocrats to today’s western Europeans. He is warm towards Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, not to mention Russia’s Vladimir Putin. He appears to care not at all about democracy or human rights. Neither does he seem committed to the mutual defence principles of Nato.

Mr Trump’s “alt- right” supporters see not a divide between the democracies and the despotisms; but rather between social progressives and globalists, whom they despise, and social traditionalists and nationalists, whom they support. For them, western Europeans are on the wrong side: they are enemies, not friends.

Depressed enough yet? The Onion is here to cheer you up.

Me, I’m out.

Posted at 8:08 pm in Current events |

72 responses to “Death to the fascist insect.”

  1. brian stouder said on May 30, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    The end of the American Century has the ring of truth.

    The ‘bright side’ is somewhat brutal – as presumably the next generation (my kids’s peeps) will reject the Trumpists and and the fascists and so on, and put us back to 1968 – but (hopefully) without all the assassinations and so on

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  2. basset said on May 30, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Off to one side and way behind as usual, my nightstand reading right now is “Hitless Wonder,” a 2012 account by one member of a Columbus rock band, Watershed, which never quite made it. Or at least it’s not looking that way about halfway through, and I never heard of em until I saw their story in a used-book store this past weekend. I think Pure Funk, later Roadmaster, was the Indiana equivalent in the 70s… some big shows, some small ones, several records out but nothing really broke.

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  3. Deborah said on May 30, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    I remember the Patty Hearst fiasco as if it happened yesterday, I’ll have to get that book.

    The Rebecca Solnit piece is excellent.

    I think my iPhone died on the trip from northern WI to Chicago. I had my phone plugged in to a cheap car charger that I bought at a roadside convenience store. Now my phone won’t charge at all. Damn. Have any of you had this happen?

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  4. Rana said on May 30, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Sadly, some of those cheap chargers are bad news. I’m sorry.

    I had the thought earlier today that on the one hand, it would be a good thing in the long run for Americans to learn how to be citizens of one country among many, to learn a bit of humility and develop the ability to learn from others’ successes, instead of being blinded by our own myths of “greatness.” This was followed by the cynical thought that, on the other hand, most Americans are not well-equipped to cope with the idea of being “second-best” in anything, and that our national mythologies and culture are very poorly suited to helping them through such a transition, at best.

    Makes me wonder, a bit, if this was what it was like being a Brit when the Empire was failing, or a Roman, when, same.

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  5. Rana said on May 30, 2017 at 10:39 pm

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  6. Rana said on May 30, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    (An old link, but I haven’t heard anything about Apple choosing to fix this problem, so…)

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  7. Sherri said on May 30, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Another fascinating book about that period of time is The Skies Belong To Us, by Brendan Koerner, and the “golden age” of hijacking, and in particular, the longest distance hijacking in June 1972, when a Western Air Lines flight was hijacked to Algeria.

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  8. Deborah said on May 30, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    Rana, you are confirming what i have been reading online (on my laptop of course since my iPhone won’t work now). I have a 5c iPhone that I got a Target after they had that breach of security, they were offering incredible deals on iPhones, it has served me well until today when I ran out of charge on the trip so i bought a cigarette lighter charger on the road and it seems to have fried the phone. Of course this happens when I have a lot of travel in front of me and need my phone more than ever. I will try to replace it tomorrow but my husband had to wait weeks for his new phone when he absolutely had to have a new one. Irritating.

    I have 2 days in Chicago, then on to Charlotte, NC for the weekend for a family get together, then 2 days back in Chicago before heading to NM for most of the summer. I know I’ve mentioned my travel schedule before, it’s aggravating because when I travel I feel very dependent on my phone in case something happens. My husband will be with me on these trips and he has his phone so I guess I won’t be totally out of luck but still. I have had bad luck with phones before traveling but usually because I’ve dropped and smashed it not because of some electronic glitch.

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  9. Rana said on May 30, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    That sounds frustrating, Deborah – I hope the new phone comes quickly. (And I hear you on damage caused by mishap – my current phone is encased in a rather ugly “Lifeproof” case because the previous phone had a tendency to hurl itself towards concrete and water with distressing regularity.)

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  10. Dexter said on May 31, 2017 at 12:52 am

    I always believed the SLA took some cues from the 1970 botched attempted at obtaining freedom for The Soledad Brothers (George Jackson) by the actions of Jonathan Jackson, 17 year old brother of George.
    In 1974 I was 20 and Patty Hearst was big news for a long time. Pity for her turned to astonishment as nobody in my circles knew about Stockholm Syndrome. As more reports aired and were published, I began to understand Stockholm Syndrome totally.
    Back in 1970, being in a politically aware military, I knew about Bobby Seale, UCLA prof Angela Davis, and Mark Clark/Fred Hampton (Chicago Panthers). Perhaps the nutcase SLA wanted the same notoriety. I once had a beer in a Madison bowling alley and the bartender knew Karl Armstrong…that’s as close to activism as I got. ( Armstrong: Sterling Hall bomber, UW campus)

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  11. Suzanne said on May 31, 2017 at 7:06 am

    I have one of those cheapie phone chargers that I use in the car all the time. And my Apple charger chord wore out, so I bought one at Dollar General. So far, no problems, but…

    I was younger when Patty Hearst was kidnapped, but I remember it well. What an unsettled time the early-mid 70s was. Mayhem all over the place. No wonder I grew up believing there was a lunatic on every corner waiting to harm me.

    Have you all heard of the POTUS’s odd tweet last night ending with the word covfefe? It’s the top trending on Twitter #covfefe. Apparently it stayed on Twitter for quite some time before someone deleted it.
    What was I saying again about the 70s being full of mayhem?

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  12. alex said on May 31, 2017 at 7:11 am

    But the story is so much richer that that

    Indeed. She was also a bit player in several John Waters flicks.

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  13. alex said on May 31, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Even Autocorrect didn’t know what to make of covfefe.

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  14. adrianne said on May 31, 2017 at 7:45 am

    The Patty Hearst kidnapping, siege of the Symbionese Liberation Army and her eventual capture and trial were the emblematic events of the 1970s. What a weird time. Enjoy Toobin’s book; he is a good writer and journalist.

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  15. coozledad said on May 31, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Covfefe:1.An early Frankish variant of droit de seigneur (my land, my cow),2. Idiomatic in the Maquis: My penis is entangled in the livestock! Send for the friar! 3.A late medieval legalism non compos mentis, i.e. Hieronymus’ cow has walked away with his pecker.
    4.Quand l’huissier a pris Generald avec sa généreuse Catherine, il a fait preuve de covitfe.

    -Tres Riche Heurs du Larry Morton, 1271.

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  16. Deborah said on May 31, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Agree adrianne, Toobin is a very good writer, right after I found out that Trump fired Comey, I turned on the news and Toobin was speaking on CNN about it, he was brilliant. I always read what he writes for the New Yorker, and he wrote an excellent book about SCOTUS a while back.

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  17. LAMary said on May 31, 2017 at 9:11 am

    In the Patty Hearst period I was in college and working as a bartender at a Holiday Inn. Our name badges were just Dymo tape on a plastic badge and since I had a Dymo labeler I occasionally changed my name. I was Patty H. sometimes and sometimes I was Tanya.

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  18. Deborah said on May 31, 2017 at 9:29 am

    “My penis is entangled in the livestock! Send for the friar!” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

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  19. Julie Robinson said on May 31, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Toobin is a good writer and researcher, but the Hearst book is a bit of a puff piece. He was obviously completely taken in by Patricia, as he calls her all through the book. She can do no wrong in his eyes. Although she was brainwashed, I still feel she bore responsibility for her actions. I followed her case obsessively, maybe because she was only a year older than me, maybe because it was one of the first white-girl-goes-missing cases followed obsessively by the media.

    Something Hearst had in common with so many other little rich girls; she was woefully undereducated and ill-prepared for making decisions and judgments. Parents can’t protect their children from the real world but hers thought they could, so didn’t help her develop the kind of skills she needed.

    I was also struck by similarities to today in Toobin’s book–social unrest, a group of people who don’t see that they can ever get ahead. I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar happens in our country. Remember the Getty kidnapping, where they mailed part of his ear as a ransom demand? Like the SLA, they saw ho hope for themselves so were ready to commit the American equivalent of jihad.

    Anyway, Deborah, once you get your new phone and car charger, you should also look into an auxiliary charger for when you aren’t near any kind of plug. My phone is old with a battery that runs down pretty quickly, and I’ve used mine quite a bit when traveling.

    I was even able to offer a charge to a dear old thing in a wheelchair at the airport who was by herself and had forgotten to charge her phone. She was obsessing over whether she’d have enough charge to call her family to pick her up. I told her I could call them but she didn’t think they’d answer an unknown number (I don’t myself), so I offered her the charger. We got plenty of power on her phone before we boarded, and after the flight I checked and she was able to make the call.

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  20. Mark P said on May 31, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Brian @1 – It’s over. Leader of the free world, beacon of democracy, reliable friend and ally — as Springsteen said, “These jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back.”

    Once you have demonstrated that you are not reliable, you not reliable. Ever. We can replace Trump, but Trump didn’t make the US unreliable. He just ripped the curtain away to reveal the small-handed, orange yahoo that was always back there, waiting. The leader of any other country would be insane to think they can actually rely on the US after this. The US may help, or the US may not. Isn’t that pretty much the definition of unreliable?

    It’s sad, but I’m afraid we have just been fooling ourselves about who we really are.

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  21. coozledad said on May 31, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Mark P:The press is going to keep pushing that noble white savage meme until the white savages are standing on their fucking chicken necks. They don’t have any idea of the violence in potentia of your average stupid white schlub, and they won’t even process it when the abscess ruptures and innocent people die. There’s a huge cross section of Americans who are perfectly represented by Republicans, and they aren’t worth a good god damn. We’re a pariah state. A shithead caliphate.

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  22. Deborah said on May 31, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Julie, I do have one of those auxiliary chargers but I didn’t have it with me on the trip. It’s also a third party deal so I’m getting rid of it now. I have a third party car charger in the Jeep in NM, getting rid of that too. I’m never using third party devices again. I used to buy third party regular chargers at CVS but I realized they didn’t last very long and were a waste of money even though they were cheap, so I stopped doing that years ago. What I didn’t know until yesterday is that those kind of things can do damage.

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  23. Judybusy said on May 31, 2017 at 10:07 am

    And we’re out of the Paris Climate Accord.

    In the initial silhouette, Trump is doing that super annoying thumb and first finger symbol. In the US, it means OK. In Brazil, it’s an obscene gesture meaning “f— you.” It fits.

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  24. coozledad said on May 31, 2017 at 10:14 am

    At the town hall yesterday, Mark Walker said “I’m not a climate denier, I jes don’t believe it’s caused by humans.” He also said he doesn’t believe the CBO scoring of Trumpcare.

    I’ll just go out on a limb here and suggest he doesn’t know much beyond how to get his youth flock in the sack, and he’s out of his depth when he’s not around dumb white motherfuckers.

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  25. Andrea said on May 31, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Mark P, I agree with you, with a caveat. If someone wants to recover their reputation for reliability, it takes enormous amounts of dedicated time and focus, with no slip ups and plenty of accountability measures put into place. Not easy to do, and memories are long. But I would not say it is impossible. The fact that Germany is a leader in Europe is a testament to that.

    An insight on reliability that a former colleague made has stuck with me for decades. At the time, we were talking about a co-worker who discovered her husband was cheating while she was pregnant with her first child. She made the decision to leave him when he brought his mistress to meet their 3-week-old baby while she was at the doctor. I was myself overwhelmed with parenting two children under age 3 and working full time, and I simply could not imagine doing it alone as a single mother. My colleague, who had been divorced twice, remarked to me that being alone was infinitely better than relying on an unreliable person. Since then, I have had many occasions to reflect on that insight and believe it to be true.

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  26. Deborah said on May 31, 2017 at 10:28 am

    “I’m afraid we have just been fooling ourselves about who we really are.” You can say that again, Mark P.

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  27. Sherri said on May 31, 2017 at 11:14 am

    There are some third party chargers and battery packs that are okay and some that are not. I use a collection of Anker wall USB chargers that accept multiple devices along with Apple certified Amazon Basics Lightning Cables. I also have an Amazon Basics portable charging pack capable of charging an iPad and an Amazon Basics car charger, though my car has a USB connection. All of those are in a bag that lives in a backpack that always goes with me when I travel.

    Once upon a time, the bag contained things like a spare laptop charger and an Ethernet cable, but I tend not to travel with my laptop as much anymore, and Ethernet cables are seldom relevant.

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  28. Sherri said on May 31, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Oh, and a good source for finding information about chargers and battery packs and things is

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  29. Bitter Scribe said on May 31, 2017 at 11:16 am

    The prosecutor in the Patty Hearst case came to talk to our journalism class. As I recall, he was perfectly genial, even likable, but utterly dismissive of any idea that Hearst’s circumstances might have merited mercy.

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  30. Jolene said on May 31, 2017 at 11:23 am

    And we’re out of the Paris Climate Accord.

    He hasn’t actually said so yet. I’m hoping for divine intervention. So many people have argued against leaving: his own secretaries of state and energy, Republican senators (though not all, of course), tons of Fortune 590 CEOS (including the head of ExxonMobil and other energy companies). It’s just insane, even as an economic proposition, quite apart from climate effects. The innovation and jobs are in renewable energy.

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  31. Jolene said on May 31, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Fortune 500, not Fortune 590.

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  32. ROGirl said on May 31, 2017 at 11:41 am

    It wasn’t just Patty Hearst who was kidnapped. That was also the era of the b. Meinhoff gang and the kidnap and killing of the Italian prime minister.

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  33. Judybusy said on May 31, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Jolene, I’d like to share your hope, and I really hope I am wrong. But then there’s this:

    They are so craven.

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  34. Connie said on May 31, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    It is Jeff(tmmo)’s fault. I just bought a year’s online sub to the Washington Post. I’d been thinking about it due to all of the cool articles I’ve been unable to read, and then I got the Mem Day special offer and sprung. I know you journalists think I should have long ago.

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  35. Jolene said on May 31, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I know, Judybusy, it’s beyond awful. I mean, when utilities in West Virginia are moving toward renewable energy, it should be clear that sustainability should be a policy goal.

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  36. Suzanne said on May 31, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Judybusy,that link really tells me nothing surprising. I feel like we are watching a cult grow. I still think that many of the media experts do not grasp the number of people who 100% believe that climate change is a liberal conspiracy, that they don’t claim that it is with a wink and a nudge but truly believe it deep down in their core. And they vote. And then support whatever “their people” propose because they are true believers and to not follow along would bring doom.
    The few GOP leaders that are speaking out remind me of the few insiders of the People’s Temple who stayed with it because there were some good things being accomplished by the group, stayed even though they could see Jim Jones careening off the rails into madness, stayed until it was too late.

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  37. Jeff Borden said on May 31, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Perhaps the end of American empire is an illustration of the old saw about going out with a bang or a whimper. When I was a kid (I’m now 66), I honestly believed the world would end in nuclear conflict and that I would never reach the age of 30. It seemed logical at the time. Men had always eventually used the weapons they stockpiled and dog knows the US and the USSR had enough nukes to destroy the world many times over. Surely, whether it was a mistake (like in the film “Fail Safe”) or a small incident escalating into nuclear confrontation, I figured to be a radioactive pile of ash.

    Now, I see the end as a whimper. A nation blessed with enormous resources, human and natural, but blinded by its own mythology slowly succumbing to rot from within. A glance at our crumbling infrastructure, at the ludicrous disparities in educational funding, the ongoing echoes of slavery and Jim Crow, our fetishism toward our military might always being the solution, our collective terror about an uncertain future suggest a selfish and fearful nation that is a far cry from the mythos of “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” A cheap con artist with a massive ego who can’t string together a single coherent sentence much less a vision of the future is the logical result. As the Jack Nicholson character says in “Easy Rider,” “This used to be a helluva country.”

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  38. Joe Kobiela said on May 31, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    If anyone needs a place to eat in Ypsilanti, I can highly recommend, sidetrack bar and grill.
    Pet friendly
    Pilot Joe

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  39. Jolene said on May 31, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    A glance at our crumbling infrastructure, at the ludicrous disparities in educational funding, the ongoing echoes of slavery and Jim Crow, our fetishism toward our military might always being the solution, our collective terror about an uncertain future suggest a selfish and fearful nation that is a far cry from the mythos of “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

    You left out our disdain for refugees and immigrants and our costly, but inequitable and inefficient healthcare system.

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  40. Jolene said on May 31, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    I’m afraid we have just been fooling ourselves about who we really are.

    For me, this has been the takeaway point from the 2016 campaign and Trump’s election. Before the election, I could not believe that what I was seeing on social media and at Trump’s rallies represented more than a small minority of the population. I believe it now.

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  41. nancy said on May 31, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Sidetrack is the bar of choice for The Center for Michigan/Bridge. At least when we’re at the A2 office.

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  42. Sherri said on May 31, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Liz Spayd has been a disaster as the public editor of the NYTimes. Getting rid of the position is a bad choice, though.

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  43. Scout said on May 31, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    The Rebecca Solnit piece is brilliant. I’m so grateful to have been directed to it. Thanks.

    I remember the Patty Hearst crisis well, so, I’m definitely interested and will reserve the book at the library.

    The most amazing thing about the covfefe tweet is that it stayed up all night. I could just imagine the staffers trying to figure out what to do about it, like some scene from VEEP. Donnie is obviously NOT one of those senior citizens who is vital, sharp and still on their game. The overseas trip and now this are evidence of how completely the opposite of good health he is.

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  44. Heather said on May 31, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    I have come to believe that this country has always been this cruel–most of us here have just been lucky enough not to be exposed to it on a regular basis.

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  45. Jolene said on May 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    The most amazing thing about the covfefe tweet is that it stayed up all night.

    Would be interesting to know, actually, just out of curiosity, what mechanisms are in place to monitor events during the night. Who, if anyone, stays awake at the White House? I think the National Security Advisor is the person who gets called before the president is awakened, but who calls the NSA?

    That said, I don’t think there’s any great mystery re that tweet. I think he just fell asleep in the middle of it. Easy to believe given jet lag and his terrible sleep habits.

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  46. Scout said on May 31, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Jolene – yes, it was obvious that is what happened. But Twitter was right on as to how it would be handled by Spicey today. These goobers are so inept it would be hilarious if nuclear codes were not involved.

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  47. Deborah said on May 31, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I got a new iPhone, it’s so much nicer than my old one. The sound is infinitely better, I called my husband after I bought it and I was astounded that it actually sounded like he was right there next to me. Not that it really matters, but my guess is that music sounds much better on it too, haven’t tried that yet. I had the most amazing guy helping me at the Apple store on Michigan Ave, I have never had anyone help me in any store in my entire life that I can think of that was better than that guy. He was super patient and articulate, could explain everything to me in plain english instead of tech talk. I was impressed. I had a few glitches because my old phone can’t be charged so I’m going to have to go through some gyrations to get my photos that for whatever reason didn’t get to the iCloud. But it’s not the end of the world.

    Sherri, thanks for the advice about third party accessories.

    I got a pedicure today, can’t stoop or bend to do my own toes yet. I usually get pedicures in the summer anyway so I was due, even though I won’t be wearing sandals for a while because i need a lot of support around my left foot still.

    Tomorrow is my husband’s 70th birthday, I have been at a loss about what to get him. He’s really particular about clothing and he hasn’t given me any hints about books or anything. I think my last resort will be to get him a massage at Ojo Caliente in NM when we’re there in a little more than a week. Scout you remember Ojo? It’s a cool place. Uncle J, and a friend are taking my husband and me out for dinner tomorrow night at a place we all like, so that will be nice.

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  48. Charlotte said on May 31, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Patty Hearst! I was 10 and my brother was 8 in 1974 when our mother decided to rent out our house and take us to Sun Valley for the summer. It was 2 years after our youngest brother died of cancer (at 2) and our dad had decamped, and it had been a long 2 years of them fighting about money and my father’s essential cowardice. It had been ugly. So off we went to Sun Valley, where one of the rumors was that Patty Hearst was holed up somewhere nearby. My brother Patrick and I and our band of unsupervised 1970s kid friends were CONVINCED we were going to find her (I’m beginning to sense a YA novel plot here). And that level of un-education was the norm for rich families then — you might be lucky enough to get to Stephens or Sweet Briar, but the general sense was, as one of my mother’s men friends said about me “It’s too bad she’s so smart. It’s hard for those smart girls to find husbands.”

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  49. Scout said on May 31, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Deborah – oh yes, of course, I remember Ojo! We loved it so much we went twice during a four day visit to SantaFe!

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  50. Heather said on May 31, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Charlotte, you’ve got to write that novel! It doesn’t have to be YA.

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  51. Jolene said on May 31, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Deborah, I don’t know your husband’s taste, of course, but there’s a new book out that might interest him. I’m looking forward to it myself. Tom Ricks is a very smart and very good writer. Formerly worked as the WaPo Pentagon reporter and is deeply knowledgeable about many aspects of history. A good book for someone whose life unfolded mainly in the twentieth century and a good book for our tines in that it focuses on the struggle to find and tell the truth in the public arena.

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  52. Heather said on May 31, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Deborah, I noticed at the Art Institute that they have a whole section devoted to Taschen books in the gift shop–might be worth checking out. Lots of fascinating options.

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  53. Judybusy said on May 31, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Jolene, great recommendation–added to my library requests. The May issue of Smithsonian Mag created a Twitter exchange between the two of them using acutal material from their writings. It was smart and a bit funny. I tried to find it online, but no dice.

    Charlotte, your story made me think of the movie Stand by Me. I agree the novel needs to be written!

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  54. Deborah said on May 31, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Charlotte, I would read it. Please write it, and I agree it doesn’t have to be a YA novel.

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  55. Jolene said on May 31, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Just busy, as an alternative to the Smithsonian piece, you might be interested in

    this short play
    , in whif Ricks inagines a conversation between Churchill and Orwell.

    Also, Ricks is on book tour right now. Even if you can’t arrange to see him, it’s worth checking his Twitter feed (He is @tomricks1.) for links to reviews and interviews that he is doing along the way. Or, just search Twitter for his name.

    He was just interviewed on MSNBC. Will see if I can find a link.

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  56. Jolene said on May 31, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    I see I have inadvertently given you a new name, Judybusy. Sorry about that.

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  57. Deborah said on May 31, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    We’ll see what trump decides to do about climate change (if he hasn’t already, news happens so fast these days). I have a theory that one of reasons he would pull the US out of the Paris climate accords is because European leaders dissed him at the G7. It’s his “fuck you” to them. That and because he’s just a dumbs shit who thinks that what he “believes” in his gut is fact.

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  58. Rana said on May 31, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Plus, also, he seems determined to undo anything that Obama might have gotten credit for.

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  59. Jolene said on May 31, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    The Obamas have bought the house that they’ve been renting in DC. Click to see interior and exterior photos. Picture yourself having a drink with Barack and Michelle in one of these lovely rooms.

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  60. Jolene said on May 31, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Also Franken has written a new book. He’s going to be talking about it on Charlie Rose later tonight.

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  61. Sherri said on May 31, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    As someone who takes Ambien on a regular basis thanks to the insomnia caused by my anti-depressant, trump’s covfefe tweet is very characteristic of Ambien. I know better than to send email or tweet after taking Ambien, but I have written after taking it, and everything’s going fine until suddenly, you’re out.

    Of course, the worst part is, I can carry on a perfectly coherent conversation with my husband and have absolutely no memory of it the next morning.

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  62. coozledad said on May 31, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Russians got ol Hooveround by the balls. He can’t even pretend to do anything but squeak.

    I guess it’s fine with Republicans, as long as their new daddies are white.

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  63. Suzanne said on May 31, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    I would live in that house. But I’d need more color. Everything is white and grey.
    What I always want to see is a house like that with people’s stuff everywhere. Mail piled up on the counter, clothes tossed on the chairs in the bedroom, shoes in the bathroom. Like my house always is.

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  64. Charlotte said on May 31, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Well thanks all — I’m within 10k words of finishing this book I’ve been working on (please everyone think kind thoughts that my editor from all those years ago takes it). But now that I’m thinking about it, a 1970s novel of that summer would be fun … Patty Hearst, grownups smoking dope, near-death tubing incidents …

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  65. Shelley said on June 1, 2017 at 12:15 am

    San Francisco is a geographically small city, and in the 70s it still had many aspects of a small town. Herb Caen (the Nancy Nall of SF) kept us all amused by the local gossip. The FBI thought I might be Patty Hearst shortly after the LA conflagration. I had moved to a new flat with the aid of a young, interracial cohort in a red van (the supposed escape vehicle of Patty with Bill and Emily Harris). In fact, my previous roommate had known Bill and Emily Harris in Louisville, where they came from. They questioned me; I spoke to them on my doorstep, because I remembered from police procedurals that I did not have to let them into my house. They questioned my neighbors, too, but decided I was who I said I was. Later, Patty was captured in a small house about four blocks from where I now live. And P.S., I like the Rebecca Solnit essay. Back in smallish-town land, I’ve met her a couple of times. Admire her intelligence and talent.

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  66. David C. said on June 1, 2017 at 6:26 am

    I guess I missed something. Covfefe? I saw on the Detroit Tigers game yesterday someone with a Duck Dynasty beard was holding up a sign that said “Covfefe the Tigers”. It must be the latest RW think like calling everyone a cuck?

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  67. Deborah said on June 1, 2017 at 7:08 am

    No David, it’s a meme based on a nonsensical tweet that Trump made. Google covfefe, you’ll see some pretty hilarious takes on it.

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  68. coozledad said on June 1, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Nunes is trying to do an end run around Mueller. I hope the CIA and FBI are preserving documents.

    You always knew it would be the flag draped little Republican pissers who’d sell their country and their neighbors out. It’s their crab-bucket nature.

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  69. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 1, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Connie @ #34 – I am unrepentant! Other than that juvenile tagline they’ve saddled their header with, it’s consistently better coverage than the NYT in the last few years. Arts & culture coverage is wider and deeper in the Times, but the Post is working on that.

    Sherri @ #61 – bless you for noting that. Woods doesn’t need any of us to defend him, poor gormless fellow that he is in the midst of all his wealth and talent*, but Ambien does that to people, and it’s worth making sure potential casual users learn how it impacts one, and not just piling on with mocking coverage of his arrest video.


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  70. Julie Robinson said on June 1, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Suzanne, I agree about the lack of color in the Obama house but I’m thinking these are realtor photos from before they moved in. From what I saw at the White House they favored large and colorful art pieces.

    And anyway, gray depresses me. It’s touted as a restful, calming color, but when I walk into a gray room I immediately feel down. It’s visceral.

    And now Hillary Clinton is tweeting, “People in covfefe houses shouldn’t throw covfefe”. And Trump has taken the bait and is calling her crooked Hillary again. Because, you know, he doesn’t have anything better to do.

    Shelley, what a weird 15 minutes of fame.

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  71. coozledad said on June 1, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Mosleyite sac of pus Nigel Nigel Hyphen Stroke Farage/Berk-Woolpecker is under FBI investigation for collusion with the Trump Campaign and its Russian paymasters.

    And here I thought he washed out of the upper class twit of the year competition when he couldn’t get the bra off the debutante.

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  72. coozledad said on June 1, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Putin is pretty much crowing that he took the US down. We lost to the Russians.

    Always remember who handed our superpower status away, while screaming “Support the troops!” Traitor Republican trash. The hangings can’t start soon enough.

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