Blue collar.

God bless this nice lady, Heather Bryant for falling for, and marrying, a truck mechanic. As someone who did what lots of journalists do — marry a co-worker — I could have spared myself a lot of grief over the last 15 years if I’d done the same. As it is, our two-income household is a very fragile thing, and likely will remain so until we collapse, exhausted, into retirement like a couple of people outrunning zombies in a horror movie. A truck mechanic likely out-earns both of us, and maybe both of us together.

And of course, all journalists love a good essay, especially one that tells us how much we suck. I’d have probably given her a version of the look she describes, too:

While they didn’t explicitly say it, the person was very much thrown off by the nature of my husband’s work. I was left with a very strong feeling they were expecting a more middle-class answer than a garbage worker. Their facial reaction has been stuck in my head for a while now. Surprise. A little confusion. And just enough distaste to notice.

Face it, you just don’t meet many Stanford Fellow/truck mechanic couples these days. And lady, that’s a hell of a lot of subtext to read into one facial expression, but never mind that.

Because I agree with her: Journalism would be better if we hired more people who had the basic skills, or a trainable aptitude for the job, but no college degree. As she puts it:

That person was genuinely surprised that the spouse of a journalist had such a blue collar job. The reaction makes me wonder how badly our industry really lacks for people with more diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Our journalism would be better if we were a better representation of the backgrounds and experiences our audiences have.

From time to time during my career, I’ve heard of various programs to do just that. All collapsed, or graduated trainees into jobs at such insultingly low salaries (because that was the motivation for starting it in the first place — to snag candidates without an expectation of ever making a college graduate’s living) that they failed to sustain themselves.

I remember one at my alma mater, and can’t remember if it was for non-grads or just those with no journalism classes or experience. It was specifically for racial minorities, because the lack of diversity in the newsroom was and remains a stubborn problem. I’m not sure how it turned out, because its big splash was ruined by one of its leaders calling it a six-week journalism boot camp, and someone else informed the world that “boot” was an obscure, but definite, racial slur. (Yeah, I’d never heard it either, and I thought I’d heard them all. I think the etymology is shoeshine boy > boot black > boot.)

Another I remember was started by a chain of weeklies whose bosses simply couldn’t get people to work for the poverty-level wages they were offering, and I thought I’d seen most of those, too (the lousy salaries, that is). Many of the younger staffers in Fort Wayne had second jobs, if not to make ends meet, then at least to have a little bit of extra spending money. Fort Wayne is a cheap city to live in, and a running joke — which was actually true — was that the bosses lured potential hires by mentioning that all the grocery stores doubled coupons, and sometimes tripled them.

I don’t think that training program worked, either. Probably the chain went under, or was sold to an even more chintzy owner. Even in rural Kansas, even in double-coupon Fort Wayne, being a journalist is a hard choice these days; the pay isn’t great, the hours are long and the president rains contempt on the whole craft with every tweet. You’d think being an enemy of the people would pay better.

Michael Moore hired a guy, Ben Hamper, off the line at some GM factory to be a columnist, first for the Flint weekly he ran, then for Mother Jones. I think I read a couple of his pieces, and they were pretty good — one took aim at Bruce Springsteen, Troubadour of the Working Class — but Moore didn’t last at MJ, and neither did Hamper. I just checked, and his home page is dead. Facebook says he lives in northern Michigan now, and works for a public radio station. Talk about frying pan to fire.

There are some lucky people who can make a decent living, and I count our co-prosperity sphere among them. But as I said before, it’s a creaky arrangement and has been for a while. I’ll be honest: If Kate told me she wanted to change her major to journalism, I’d cry, then tell her to reconsider.

So yeah, sure, let’s get some blue collars in the newsroom. I knew one at WANE-TV, in the early ’90s. He’d been a union electrician in Michigan, a very smart guy who decided one day he was tired of wiring buildings, put himself through Michigan State and graduated into a sub-100 media market, i.e. Fort Wayne.

I went to his going-away party. I asked what he planned to do next.

“Get re-certified as an electrician,” he said. “I found some of my tax returns a few months ago. I was making more money in 1973 than I am today.” This was 20 years later.

God bless him, too.

So, bloggage:

Someone on Twitter remarked that she’d been trying to figure out who in the Trump family was Fredo, then realized they’re all Fredo. Yes, I’d say so:

President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.

The meeting was also attended by his campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner only recently disclosed the meeting, though not its content, in confidential government documents described to The New York Times.

The Times reported the existence of the meeting on Saturday. But in subsequent interviews, the advisers and others revealed the motivation behind it.

“Game of Thrones” fan, are you? The definitive essay on George R.R. Martin’s fondness for soup.

Happy week ahead, all.

Posted at 12:01 am in Current events, Media |

86 responses to “Blue collar.”

  1. Jakash said on July 10, 2017 at 1:18 am

    “When an ethics lawyer from the Bush administration uses the word ‘treason,’ you know shit’s not going well.”

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  2. Dexter said on July 10, 2017 at 1:53 am

    I was a Hamper fan and read “Rivethead” and passed it along to a few co-workers in the factory. Methods and thinking-in-general have changed so much a modern factory “team member” would not recognize Hamper’s working conditions in Flint way back when, and Hamper realizes this, and refuses politely to pass himself off as an expert on modern factory procedures or union goals or any of that. He has been gone to long, but “Rivethead” lives on in university classrooms as a history book, I guess. GM actually drove Ben nucking futs…he had his share of mental breakdowns, and it’s good to see , at least from 5 years ago, he was indeed living near Traverse City and playing music on radio.
    Working people have always had to deal with the stigma of making a living not in an air conditioned cubicle but in the grease and noise, on their feet, not in a chair. “Be a doctor or a lawyer” is the thing to tell the kids, when for many like me the die was cast early: make pretty good dough in a factory or make peanuts selling vacuum cleaners door to door. Many kids I grew up with made it through college, but more did not. My brother obtained a masters in journalism and parlayed it into a short teaching career and then sold small signs to businesses for 40 years. In high school I was the sports reporter for the town newspaper (not the school paper) and I sorta figured that some way I’d get to college and…nah…worked, drafted, worked again and retired 15 years ago, at age 53, UAW 30-and-out. Yea! ~ Finally, corporate interns are getting paid. This makes me feel good. What makes me leery is that some kids, who are really seasoned adults, are taking intern ships at uip to 30 years of age. 30? Get a real job, right? Yeah, these college students had to intern for free to get that college credit, and now they get money. And then, students with no rich kinfolk are amassing loans of over $300K (in one extreme case) and they gotta pay that back. ~ Ivanka Trump sat in at a conference for her father, the pussygrabber in charge. You get that? Critical issues being discussed I suppose, and Ivanka Trump is temporary USA President. Wow, man…but on the plus side, I heard that 7 miles from my house there may be , upon state selection board decisions, a giant hydroponic grow facility for weed! Who’d a thunk it?

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  3. Linda said on July 10, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Proof that everybody’s a Fredo? The defense by Trump Jr. for meeting a foreign agent: the information wasn’t that good. That’s like saying you went to a whorehouse, but you couldn’t get it up so no harm, no foul. When someone offered the Gore camp stolen Bush info, they went to the FBI. In the olden days, that is what honest people did.

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  4. ROGirl said on July 10, 2017 at 5:42 am

    It’s business, it’s transactional, nothing matters, they’re new to politics, they won, no do overs.

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  5. alex said on July 10, 2017 at 7:17 am

    My hubby’s a blue-collar man. He grew up working for his family’s construction company and today he’s with an engineering firm that builds industrial pollution control systems. (He tells his Trump-supporting co-workers that they may have voted themselves out of a job if the EPA gets dismantled.) Even in middle age, he remains the biggest and strongest man in his construction crew. The look of astonishment that he gets comes when people find out that he’s gay and has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

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  6. basset said on July 10, 2017 at 7:34 am

    I’d definitely buy another Ben Hamper book but it looks like he said all he had to say with the first one.

    Heard “go to college, go to college” from my parents all the way through high school, I was the first in my family tree to do that… if I’d stayed home I would have worked at the naval ordnance factory or the gypsum mine and probably made better money but at least a job in small market local tv got me out of there.

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  7. coozledad said on July 10, 2017 at 8:44 am

    All that’s missing here are the stars of David over some of the photographs.

    Per Donald Jr., I’m reminded of his college roommate’s story about Don Sr. showing up and punching his drunk spawn’s ass out in the doorway. Fredo would be a step up for any of these hideous bastards. At least he has the benefit of being fictional.

    These greasers are just bath salts night at the Ravenite Social Club. And when Grapefruit Gotti drops, it’ll be Galba, Otho and Vitellius in the space of a month.

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  8. Peter said on July 10, 2017 at 9:20 am

    I am very naive, but this latest Russian thing doesn’t bother me much, because I think this happens all the time in political campaigns.

    For me the difference is that in a normal campaign they would say “Thank you for letting us know, we’ll get back to you soon Mr. Pupkin, we’ll tell Jerry you said hello, thanks, ok, thanks, bye…”

    Trump Campaign “Reverse that ruling so adoptions can start up again? CHA-CHING”.

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  9. coozledad said on July 10, 2017 at 9:24 am

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  10. Sherri said on July 10, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Yes, you get offered dirt on your political opponents all the time. No, you do not get offered dirt on your political opponents by Russians and just accept, especially in the context of Russian attemps to disrupt the election. That is stupid, unethical, corrupt, and questionably illegal.

    You also don’t lie about meetings with Russians, as various members of the trump campaign and administration have repeatedly done, unless you’re at least vaguely aware of this.

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  11. Mark P said on July 10, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Reporters get paid? Is that what they call it? I worked for the Augusta, Ga., newspaper back in the late 1970’s. It was basically a training camp for reporters who planned to move on in a couple of years. Anyone who stayed, and there were a very few, were considered losers. The owner, who also owned several papers around the state and some in Texas and Alaska, flew around in a helicopter and private jet. He occasionally took “business” trips to Alaska to visit his newspaper up there and, purely by coincidence, go hunting. (“Hey, here I am on business. I might as well take a few days off, right? I mean, it looks like the newspaper is doing OK. Right? IRS, do you agree? Good, good.”) I happened to go to the same private school that he did. Once when I went to an alumni meeting in Augusta, he saw me there. He was very confused. Why was one of his reporters at an alumni meeting for a private boys’ school that he attended? Cognitive dissonance. Most of the people I knew moved on to Louisville, LA, and other papers, or changed careers entirely. Some became lawyers. I went to grad school at Georgia Tech.

    However, I’m not sure what the news media need is blue collar workers per se. I suspect what they need is people who know something other than “journalism.” I keep remembering how the Atlanta newspapers covered the Y2K scare. The reporter assigned to the issue did stories that I, as a somewhat technically competent person, thought were ridiculous. Elevators would stop working and planes were going to fall out of the sky. I actually wrote her to complain about the absurd stories. Her justification was that she knew nothing other than how to read public records and ask questions. She said the top officials of big companies were afraid of Y2K, so there must be something to the threat. Did she know that the top executives didn’t know anything more about the issue than she did? No, I guess not. And did it occur to her than when you ask your IT department if they need more money to deal with Y2K issues, they’re going to look at each other and say, “More money? Sure. Y2K bad! Bad! Need more money.” I don’t recall that they did much about the total fizzle Y2K was.

    On a distantly related issue, Slate has an article about a study showing where the greatest economic problems will arise due to global warming ( The greatest impact will be in the Southeast and up into the Midwest. The blue states will fare best. So, yet another redistribution of wealth from the poor to the wealthy. I don’t need to mention how fitting it seems that the Trump states are among the worst hit.

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    • nancy said on July 10, 2017 at 10:15 am

      A story that circulated around Washington in the Bush I era was about how surprised/horrified Marilyn Quayle was to find journalists were able to send their children to the same private schools her own kids attended.

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  12. brian stouder said on July 10, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Thanks for the link to the excellent essay by the journalist married to the garbage man.

    One quibble I have is that you say

    Of course, her husband is a truck mechanic who now works for a trash company; presumably he works on garbage trucks. I don’t think that makes him a “garbage worker” in anything but the most general sense, but that’s her description, not mine. And lady, that’s a hell of a lot of subtext to read into one facial expression, but never mind that.

    and yet, clearly, the man’s job is driving a garbage truck into various neighborhoods and loading the residents’ garbage into his truck – what we used to call ‘the garbage man’. (in addition to the fact that he knows how to work on the equipmwnt)

    The crux of her article is when it notes how he gets referred to/treated differently, depending on whether the neighborhood is affluent, or more ‘working class’.

    Just sayin’

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    • nancy said on July 10, 2017 at 10:13 am

      You’re right, Brian. I edited. Because I’m the boss around this place.

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  13. Suzanne said on July 10, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Sadly, this is where we are, Mark P. How many hands on deck will go down with the ship, refusing to admit that there is a rogue wave coming simply because the first mate has told them that the captain is trying to step on them and that God wouldn’t let that happen? I’ve heard it many, many times that liberals promote climate change as a way to keep our economy down and ensure that the God fearing people like coal miners & steel workers in the Midwest & Appalachia don’t get our fair share.
    Also, that the climate does seem to be changing but that’s because God is trying to tell us something, but what he is trying to tell us is never that maybe we should seek alternative energy sources. No, never.

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  14. Suzanne said on July 10, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Alex, your story reminds me of an author interview I heard a few years ago, title of book or name of author which I cannot remember. Anyway, the author had a PhD or something in philosophy or theology or engineering or whatever and made his living repairing bicycles. It was a great discussion about using your hands, building things, and the like. I wanted to read the book but of course I can’t remember enough of the particulars to find it.
    The valedictorian of my sister’s high school class is brilliant and graduated from Harvard or Yale. He now earns a living making beautiful custom made tree houses.

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  15. coozledad said on July 10, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I can see this guy slumped over a checkered tablecloth with a few strands of fettuccine still clinging to his dewlap.

    When the Russians start sending in the sanitation crew, the Republicans are going to have to leave town.

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  16. Suzanne said on July 10, 2017 at 10:38 am

    I did find the book! It’s called Shop Class as Soul Craft by Matthew Crawford.
    Add to the ever growing reading list.

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  17. Heather said on July 10, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Not to ruin your Monday, but we’re going extinct:

    I think that’s part of the reason I’m committed to traveling as much as I can now–I want to see and enjoy this beautiful earth before it becomes unrecognizable. Also I want to do it while I’m relatively young and can walk around a lot. I was worried on this last trip that my body was starting to be unable to keep up with me, but then I bought some shoes that were way more comfortable on hilly cobblestone streets, and it was all fine.

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  18. brian stouder said on July 10, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Cooz @ 15 – that looks like the Donald’s 400 pound guy who posts on the internet from his parent’s basement!

    For once, the Donald accidentally revealed a bit of truth!

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  19. brian stouder said on July 10, 2017 at 10:56 am

    (forgot to add “ his pajamas”)

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  20. Dorothy said on July 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Heather do tell what kind of shoes helped you walk on cobblestone streets. With my arthritis I just prefer to be in thick soled tennis shoes these days when I have to walk a good deal. But if you found an alternative I’m all ears.

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  21. Deborah said on July 10, 2017 at 11:20 am

    My husband’s younger daughter has 2 graduate degrees from top notch schools (USC where she also got her undergrad degree, and one of the Claremonts, I forget which). She’s married to a guy with a high school education and drives giant earth mover equipment for construction sites. She is a stay at home mom now who became a Jesus freak and home schools their 9 year old daughter, which drives my husband nuts when he thinks about how much we paid for her education. Her husband is a great guy, loves to be in the outdoors. They camp a lot. He didn’t follow her into the Jesus obsession so you can have decent conversations with him.

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  22. Heather said on July 10, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Deborah–I bought some “flatform” sandals in Lisbon–basically they are platforms that are flat instead of wedges. The soles are about 1 inch thick. It was like walking on clouds after my thin sandals. They are by Eva Frutos, but don’t know if they are available in the U.S. These are similar:

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  23. Bitter Scribe said on July 10, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    My father worked in a GM plant about the same time Hamper did. “Rivethead” gave me a new appreciation for what my dad went through to put me through college.

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  24. Dave said on July 10, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Speaking of books you can’t remember, “Rivethead” would be one, I always wanted to read that book but could never quite come up with enough to search it out. Now I have to search it out.

    Note, I have to change my e-mail address. I know this brings me under moderation.

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  25. Deborah said on July 10, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Heather, That was Dorothy who asked about the sandals, but good to know. I still can’t really wear sandals very long, maybe a couple of hours at an event or something. I can’t walkover much in them because my foot still needs a lot of support. Speaking of comfy shoes for walking, I got a pair of Adidas after my spine surgery that are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever had. They’re like stretchy socks with thick cushy soles. They have a weird looking arch from the outside but man are they fantastic. I got them on sale too.

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  26. Jeff Borden said on July 10, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    The reason I am not a resident of South Florida is because of the cheapness of journalism. When two of my friends from the Columbus Dispatch both disembarked to work for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, they talked me up to their managing editor. When I went down for a visit/vacation, I took along a blazer and a dress shirt and tie and met with the M.E. I was the night police reporter at the Dispatch and they were looking for one in Fort Lauderdale. This would’ve been 1976.

    Here’s what they offered: I would make $25 less per week. I would be required to use my own vehicle, which entailed having radios and scanners installed and drilling through the roof for antennas. And the cherry on top was that they would not pay for my move to Florida because, the M.E. said, so many people just worked for a year or two at the Sun-Sentinel, then went to the Miami Herald, and they were tired of paying to move future Herald staffers south. When I remarked on the disparity in the pay, the M.E. said they could justify it because “you’ll only need one set of clothes down here.”

    The interview ended shortly after I responded that I had just one set of clothes in Columbus. I wore a winter coat over them in cold weather.

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  27. Charlotte said on July 10, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    A good piece on the same topic by Michigan’s Tracie McMillan in this week’s NYT Magazine:
    The comments are pretty brutal. Apparently we’re all just supposed to shut up and accept our terrible wages and not do uppity things like write books WHILE expecting to eat.

    On the blue/white collar divide — my Himself has an undergrad from Brown, where he worked his way through doing handyman jobs. He would have liked to have done historic restoration, but the summer internships even then didn’t pay anything, and he couldn’t afford to take a summer off. Because he was good at it, and because it pays, and because he’s a stubborn cuss who really doesnt’ want to work for anyone else, that’s what he’s done ever since. Clients are often surprised at his Ivy degree, and then it makes him more exotic in their eyes … I got all the way to a Phd, but in fairly middle-of-the-road schools, and talked my way into that Cisco gig with no real experience other than knowing how to write and edit. As for class status, it’s complicated for me since I grew up in the homes of the very wealthy, but with no money. Mom had that kind of social status, but there was never any cash at all — which pretty much means you’re raised to be the servant/friend — the decorator, PA, horse trainer, who can be invited to dinner if there’s an empty seat and relied upon to acquit oneself well, and generally who is so desperate to maintain that sense of being “one of them” that you’ll work for iffy wages and hand me downs.

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  28. Dorothy said on July 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Deborah and I say thanks for the shoe info, Heather! (It’s not the first time people have gotten our names confused in these parts…)

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  29. brian stouder said on July 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    College/post-secondary education is an interesting thing to ponder, at least in hindsight. (It’s a bit more intimidating, not to say over-whelming, as a parent of a student)

    Ideally, I think, advanced education is self-justifying as it teaches one to think and to plan and stay with that plan to fruition – even as you’re free to bail-out of it at any point.

    Aside from a few classes at (what used to be known as) Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne, I completed a two-year program in electronic engineering technology at ITT Institute(!), which I have never actually utilized at all.

    But, arguably, it DID help get me hired at the job I’ve had for 30 years, as the fellow who hired me had graduated from a Bell-Howell technical school, and we had something to talk about!

    Anyway, as noted in previous days around here, we have a son with a few semesters left at IPFW (aimed for a degree in marketing), and we’ve gotten our daughter well into the launch-process at IU at Bloomington – and the house has changed, and I’m feeling pretty old….and it’s all good stuff!

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  30. Icarus said on July 10, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    with undergrad I failed to be an engineer and a journalist. My first post-college job was craptastic, so much so that I went to G-school (something I swore I would never do) and picked up a computer science degree from DePaul. Do not use 90% of what they taught us, but it did open the door for me to get a job at a software company…I’m now a SME for the software which has landed me some lucrative jobs.

    Ironically, at the No-Name Software company, my bosses promoted a guy to team lead over a longer term employee because the guy had a degree. That single move lead to the hiring of some other dipshits who came in and re-organized things and, you guessed it, caused said bosses to find work somewhere else.

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  31. Jakash said on July 10, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    I like one of the responses to the tweet Cooz posted @ 9. “Who knew treason could be so complicated?”

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  32. Sherri said on July 10, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    It’s all tribal:

    That’s why I’m dubious about these ideas that Dems need to just change their message to attract the working class whites again. There are no real independent voters, only people who say they are independent voters.

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  33. Sherri said on July 10, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    I always assumed I would go to grad school and get a PhD after undergrad. I went to state school and got a degree in physics, but didn’t want to do a physics PhD, so I went to grad school in computer science. I quit on the PhD, but going to Carnegie Mellon was definitely a door-opener. It gave me instant credibility and good contacts for getting a job, and let me meet and work with some really cool, smart people.

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  34. coozledad said on July 10, 2017 at 4:44 pm

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  35. coozledad said on July 10, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    When you’re in bed with the Russian mob, and at war with the FBI, get yourself a mobbed up attorney of long standing, who’s won against the FBI.

    It was not until the summer of 1994 that, largely through the efforts of the New York attorney Alan Futerfas and his associate, Ellen Resnick, the investigation came to light. Futerfas and Resnick had been retained by a number of defendants accused of participation in the Colombo war. They immediately recognized the DeVecchio controversy as a gold mine for the defense, and they used it to formulate what might be called the “comrades in arms” theory of the war. According to this theory, the F.B.I. had deliberately fed Scarpa information, to help foment the war, and to make certain that he would emerge victorious. Futerfas argues that when DeVecchio allegedly declared, “We’re going to win this thing,” he was expressing the hope that Scarpa would end up as a boss when it was all over, with a seat on the Mafia’s ruling commission.
    The comrades-in-arms theory, whatever its merits, has been an unqualified success with juries. There have been nine trials stemming from the Colombo war, and at two of them the judges have permitted evidence of DeVecchio’s relationship with Scarpa to be introduced. At both trials, every defendant—fourteen in all, including Wild Bill Cutolo—was acquitted of all charges.

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  36. FDChief said on July 10, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    The part I love about the whole Little Donnie story is that his “defense” is “Hey, I was meeting with this Russian to get my hands on some sleaze that would ratfuck my daddy’s opponent when suddenly she went and changed the subject on me!” It’s not so much pleading not guilty because he couldn’t get it up in the whorehouse; it’s pleading not guilty because he went in to stick up a stop-n-rob and walked into a gang hit instead.

    It’s hard to tell whether it’s the stupid or the clueless with these people.

    Maybe it’s both.

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  37. Jolene said on July 10, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    The PBS NewsHour is doing a weeklong series called Inside Putin’s Russia. Starts tonight. Will be on their website, I’m sure, if you aren’t able to catch the show.

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  38. basset said on July 10, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Deborah, which Adidas are those? Sounds like Mrs. B may need a pair.

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  39. Sherri said on July 10, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Most criminals are stupid, FDChief.

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  40. Heather said on July 10, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Dorothy and Deborah: Sorry about the mixup! I blame the jet lag.

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  41. susan said on July 10, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Dorothy, Deborah, Heather – these are my very favorite walking shoes. Favorite shoes, actually. Great support, so very comfortable, and it comes in lots of different widths (wide!). I walk 3-5 miles most days, even wear them trail-hiking; to heck with boots. (I usually buy the men’s brown nubuck version because they they look neat.) I don’t need to dress for success (as a former archaeologist), so if they appear functional, that’s just dandy and cool, and who cares.

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  42. Colleen said on July 10, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    When my parents relocated to the Fort in the early 70s, my mom interviewed at FWN. She decided not to take a job with them when they offered her less money than she was making at the Dayton Daily News when she left to have me years earlier. She ended her career an AVP at Lincoln under the Rolland regime. But she got in at LNC because of an OU connection. Ya never know when that networking thing will kick in…

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  43. Deborah said on July 10, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    basset, these are the Adidas I got. Seriously they are super comfortable Mine are navy blue.

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  44. Deborah said on July 10, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Wow, somebody fixed my long URL, thanks.

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    • jcburns said on July 11, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Seems magical!

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  45. beb said on July 10, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Yeah, as I near retirement I find that I feel like Nancy said, near to “collapse, exhausted, into retirement like a couple of people outrunning zombies in a horror movie.”

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  46. alex said on July 11, 2017 at 7:06 am

    Colleen, it’s true that Lincoln was a great place to work at one time. During my dad’s tenure there, he always preferred to hire people with liberal arts backgrounds and then train them in business. They were interesting, well-rounded people and made for a good, cohesive team. He didn’t think much of people with business degrees and white-hot ambition.

    With that kind of a corporate culture, Lincoln was always very generous with the community and advanced what were at the time progressive ideals like desegregating the schools and providing same-sex partner benefits. I was reminded of all of this with the passing of Ian Rolland, who nonetheless voted his pocketbook in later life and couldn’t talk politics with my parents anymore after they made it known that they were Obama supporters and had lost all respect for the GOP.

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  47. coozledad said on July 11, 2017 at 8:20 am

    So Republicans and their enablers practice a kind of gooey, molluscoid signalling whereby they determine the depths of each others’ saturation in poison. Some of them were flaunting that odor of complicity so hard their receptors overloaded, and they didn’t notice they’d left their slimy ass fingerprints all over everything.

    Dunning Krueger isn’t enough to explain this: these hookworms were fed on their own shit; they’ve set themselves up as a whole new species of stupid.

    Take a look at that fucking gray heap of guts. That’s the flak who helped the Russians take your country. I’m betting his pay was a child prostitute and a suitcase full of blow.

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  48. coozledad said on July 11, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Sorry, here’s “Cunty”:

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  49. susan said on July 11, 2017 at 9:03 am

    And here’s a comment on Goldstone’s visage/presence:

    holy lord. he looks like he smells like old chicken soup, axe body spray, a wet ashtray, a dash of urine and the floor of a dive bar.

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  50. nancy said on July 11, 2017 at 9:06 am


    So Rolland wasn’t an Obama supporter? Weird he should regress at the end of his life. His pocketbook was certainly full enough by that point.

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  51. coozledad said on July 11, 2017 at 9:21 am

    “a dash of urine” is his Russian techno act. They enter to “Don’t you want me baby” while clubbing seals.

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  52. Suzanne said on July 11, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Rolland disliked Obama? That would be odd because I just had a conversation with my mother-in-law a week ago in which she mentioned how much friends disliked Rolland because his daughter married a black guy and they moved into their friend’s until then very white neighborhood. Blamed him for leading the fight for desegregating Ft Wayne schools. So I am surprised he would be a hard core GOPer.

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  53. Connie said on July 11, 2017 at 9:33 am

    I wish I could wear any of your shoes! I am wearing prescription shoes, one on my good foot, one on my artificial foot. I wanted to change into sandals but my fake foot is truly a fake foot. A pink plastic fake foot. Over the high tech blade foot. Why? Because the fake pink foot holds your shoe on.

    I grew up in a culture that never wore shoes in the house and now I can no longer walk around my own house barefoot.

    Current learning projects: walking with cane indoors, walking with walker on lawn and bumpy surfaces. This learning to walk again stuff is very very hard. Coming next: another new orthopedic surgeon. I want help with my knee pain, not iffy therapies like cold laser treatments.

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  54. coozledad said on July 11, 2017 at 9:54 am

    “Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. I insensitively led her to the Restaurant of foreign sounding things. A kid with a neckbeard held her down and painted her face with chalk because she couldn’t pronounce the soup of the day.
    We left and ate some Mexicans.”

    David Brooks: “In the shadow of Oswald Spengler and Junior Samples”NYT.

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  55. Julie Robinson said on July 11, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Oh Connie, I’m so sorry. I thought I had it hard when I got plantar fasciitis and had to give away all my pretty shoes. But at least I can wear Birkenstock sandals. I still haven’t met a woman who doesn’t love shoes. Are you out there, ladies?

    Of course I can only speculate on Ian Rolland’s politics, but I wonder if he was like my mom, who grew up in a family of Republicans and has a knee jerk reaction of distaste to any Democrat. Yet she is socially liberal and believes in abortion and gay rights. These days she doesn’t know who to vote for anymore. She went 3rd party last election.

    Just bought my first local sweet corn of the summer. Will be blissed out after dinner tonight.

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  56. Charlotte said on July 11, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Oh i miss real midwestern sweet corn! All we can get out here is week-old supersweet cultivars out of California which don’t even taste like corn …

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  57. Julie Robinson said on July 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

    We do have a few perks for living in the midwest. My sister kept bringing me the old stuff from the grocery store when I visited her in Florida. Finally I had to tell her I had become a sweet corn snob and if it wasn’t picked this morning I didn’t want it.

    My first sweet corn dealer was Dad, who would put the water on to boil, then walk out to pick the corn. He would have been 85 today, so I’ll butter an extra piece for him tonight.

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  58. Deborah said on July 11, 2017 at 10:36 am

    I’m getting our Jeep serviced (oil change and tune-up). Why is the TV always tuned to the most inane channel in possible in the waiting room? There’s no escaping it. People sitting in way to plush furniture staring mindlessly at the screen. At least there are free donuts.

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  59. alex said on July 11, 2017 at 10:40 am

    It’s twoo, it’s twoo. The Rollands are hard-core Republicans. So are a lot of people in the retired Lincoln executive circle. My parents find it bewildering as these aren’t stupid or heartless people by any stretch, just old farts who’ve fallen susceptible to the Wall Street Journal and Fox News.

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  60. Deborah said on July 11, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Sorry about all the typos in #58. My mind is being turned to mush in this waiting room.

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  61. LAMary said on July 11, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Charlotte, we Californians usually keep the best stuff for ourselves. We get very nice corn. Several varieties. Our ethnically diverse state likes diverse corn varieties. We also get more varieties of melon than I’ve seen in the other places I’ve lived. We had a Hama melon on Sunday and it was fabulous.

    Even lame corn can be helped by slathering it in butter that’s mixed with some miso paste and sprinkled with scallions. Try it. Trust me.

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  62. LAMary said on July 11, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Deborah, as someone who spent several months unemployed and bummed out, I can tell you there is no daytime TV that is not inane.

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  63. Connie said on July 11, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Bought some blueberries at Kroger yesterday and was delighted to see they were from West Olive Michigan! Almost my home town! We celebrated with blueberry pancakes for supper.

    I have been so blissed out on local strawberries, moving on to raspberries and blueberries, and soon, the queen of Michigan summer fruit, PEACHES!!! I can hardly wait.

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  64. coozledad said on July 11, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Let Gary unpack it for you.

    I’m glad he’s on at IJR. Good writer. The NYT ought to get their shit together and replace Bobo and Douthat with some of the old Wonkette graduates. Kaili Joy Gray would be a good start.

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  65. Jeff Borden said on July 11, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    I read that David Brooks column with my mouth agape. I had no idea my preference for German beers, Asian cuisine and Jo Nesbo was keeping the masses down. Well, I for one want to do my part. I will drink a Budweiser. I will eat at a chain restaurant. I will read Danielle Steele.

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  66. coozledad said on July 11, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Sarah Kendzior should replace Dean Baquet.

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  67. coozledad said on July 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Trump asks junior to take the fall. Republicans applaud, make show of grilling junior in senate hearings, shoot for a convoluted exoneration of Senior. Senior pardons junior. Republicans, meanwhile, strip Americans of healthcare and finish giving the country to Russian oligarchs.

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  68. Peter said on July 11, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    You know, you would think the ONE thing the Trumps could do well is lie, but no, they can’t even do that right.

    I’m starting to think that they need assistance when they go pee pee and poo poo.

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  69. ROGirl said on July 11, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Joe McCarthy must be spinning over in his booze soaked grave.

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  70. Suzanne said on July 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    The Brooks column made some good points, but did he really need to throw in the sandwhich story? And not ever mention income inequality? Does he have any clue that there are families trying to live on $30-40k a year with no health insurance? They live in areas like mine that have no restaurants or grocery stores that even sell meats & cheeses like he mentions? I found it funny that Mexican food is mainstream & low class in his world, but sopressata is considered foreign.

    Brooks means well, I believe, but has no idea that he is one of those dream hoarders he’s dissing.

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  71. coozledad said on July 11, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    This one’s for Joko:

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  72. Charlotte said on July 11, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    LA Mary — yeah, that’s not the corn being shipped out here. We get horrible, pale, sweet, insipid corn that’s not worth bothering with.
    However, I am now tapping my toes waiting for the Utah fruit guys to start showing up with the delicious farm stand fruits. (My strawberries were delicious, but it got hot, and they’re done until fall.)

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  73. Peter said on July 11, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Who knew collusion would be so difficult?

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  74. Sherri said on July 11, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    The SecDef, whose cell phone number was accidentally leaked, returned one of the phone calls to the number..

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  75. beb said on July 11, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Speaking of jobs thatpay next to nothing, there’s the USA Today story about port drivers being forced into economic peonage but truck company. First they loan money to drivers to buy their own truckers, then pay them so little that drivers have to work 20 hour days to keep up with the juice.

    Then there’s the Pew poll which suggests that Republicans think higher education is harming the country…
    To me I think people are misreading the polling data, possible people taking the poll aren’t reading the question correctly either. Rather than thinking that college harms thecountry I think a lot of working class people have decided that getting a degree doesn’t help them that much and the costs have become so great that there’s no point to going to college.

    But your mileage may vary.

    Julie @57: That was how we had sweet corn, too. Mom would put a kettle on to boil while went out and pulled the corn off the stalks. Fresh, lightly blanched and covered in butter. I hink I could live on corn on the cob all summer. Alas, corn is on the forbidden list for low-carbo diets.

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  76. Deborah said on July 11, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Just to whet my chops since my retirement I agreed to help a friend of LB’s design a logo for her business. I had fun doing it and her friend has an interesting business of making sauces etc for local restaurants (this business isn’t in Santa Fe or in NM for that matter). But as the process continued her friend seemed to forget that I was doing it pro bono (she has some health issues). It’s just a fact that the wind goes out of your sails when during the design process the “client” makes requests that are clearly not design savvy, or even PR savvy for her business. I hate to get intimidating and press my experience, but on the other hand I can’t let the “client” push me around and keep my design integrity. I am not a believer in ‘the customer is always right” when it comes to design. I’m sure you writer types can relate.

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  77. alex said on July 11, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    It’s quite possible David Brooks’ friend simply has food issues. I’ve known some people like that, and their social class has nothing to do with it. They’re as hyper-finicky as four-year-olds (which may be unfair to say because not all tykes are that picky) and they won’t eat anything that’s unfamiliar. Parsley was the bugaboo of one woman I knew and she used to pitch a fit if her dinner plate came out garnished with it, a dinner that was also required to contain no onion, mushroom or pepper of any sort, and abide by numerous other restrictions I no longer remember. At home she existed on bonbons and an obscure brand of orange-flavored fizzy water. God rest her soul.

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  78. Jolene said on July 11, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    I think your interpretation of those Pew poll results is too generous, beb. The devaluation of higher education comes, I believe, from the same place as disparagement of “the media” and “Hollywood liberals.” People are contemptuous of colleges and universities because they believe that the professors are liberal pinheads and the students are progressive crybabies, seeking safe spaces where they can avoid microaggressions while they earn their degrees in gender studies rather than getting practical degrees that lead to jobs in engineering and business.

    That interpretation is supported by the Pew data, which shows that, while Republicans, in general, view college negatively, that view is stronger among more conservative Rs than among those who are more moderate.

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  79. Deborah said on July 11, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Whatever happened to liberal arts for god’s sake? I got a major in Education and English Lit and a minor in art. I ended up being an art teacher for a few years but then became a graphic designer for the built environment for most of my career, who-da thunk that would have been the case back when I started. I took basic math and science classes, poetry and music too. I think I ended up with a decent education even if it was from a two horse college. mainly I think I educated myself. But still education is important. who the hell doesn’t get that?

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  80. Heather said on July 11, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Alex, I thought something similar. And did Brooks just assume she was intimidated? It seems like he did. Maybe she just didn’t like cured meats.

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  81. Mark P. said on July 11, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    David Brooks is a pretentious, condescending, ignorant asshole. What a load of utter nonsense. All the lower economic classes need to do is take a course on ordering from a sandwich shop where pretentious, condescending, ignorant assholes eat and all of our inequality problems will be solved. Oh, he has a friend who only finished high school? How very egalitarian of him. Did he take a shower when he got home from lunch with her?

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  82. Diane said on July 11, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    The Brooks column read like a superficial nothing he had to dash off to not miss a deadline.

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  83. James Moehrke said on July 12, 2017 at 12:47 am

    Deborah, in a similar vein as your “client” is designing when a committee is involved. Too many cooks, etc. I’m on the board of a local literacy nonprofit, and handle the design of the print materials for our fundraising events. My 30 years as a designer don’t count for much when the committee gets involved, grrrr. Enthusiasm for our mission is great, but, gee, enough is enough.

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