And just like that, the weekend has flown. Two days in the car, one in the rain — it wasn’t a bad three days at all, but man, am I stiff. Have to do some legs-up-the-wall later.
It was a lovely visit with my old friends, who met my new friends, and while it rained much of the weekend, there was still shelter for this:
You UW alums should recognize those chairs, which are the signature seating on the Union Terrace, second only to my beloved alma mater in the Best Student Union Ever sweepstakes. It overlooks a lake, has a stage and a wide selection of Wisconsin beers. On a lovely day, you can watch the sailboats bobbing at their moorings. On a rainy night, it’s still not half-bad.
My friends Frank and Cindy are living the life in retirement. Cindy said Frank woke up one morning and decided he wanted to live on the lake. Cindy has a short list of things she wants in a house, one of them a window over the kitchen sink. In all of their previous homes, this simple detail has eluded her, but the latest one made her dream come true. The view from the sink:
You can see the weather was sketchy, but it cleared up that night and we were able to enjoy a rooftop deck downtown for our Saturday nightcap:
Waxing moon on the rise, capitol dome aglow, one of those gas fires to enjoy. The capitol dome was also visible from my guest bedroom, the state’s greatest nightlight. The next day the sun rose in a clear sky, and we took their pontoon boat around for a cruise and got a closer look:
That’s Monona Terrace in the foreground. A Frank Lloyd Wright project.
In between all these photos was talk-talk-talk, about everything under the sun, but mostly health-care policy. (Frank was a hospital president, and now consults with health-care startups.) He recommended this Atul Gawande dispatch from Athens, Ohio — the writer’s hometown — on the question of whether health care is a right. I think you’ll recognize the opinions within, and his treatment of them is respectful. Personally, I believe that until we start turning away the seriously sick and injured at the hospital door if they’re unable to pay, health care already is a right; all we’re arguing about it is how we will pay for it. This passage is important:
Liberals often say that conservative voters who oppose government-guaranteed health care and yet support Medicare are either hypocrites or dunces. But Monna, like almost everyone I spoke to, understood perfectly well what Medicare was and was glad to have it.
I asked her what made it different.
“We all pay in for that,” she pointed out, “and we all benefit.” That made all the difference in the world. From the moment we earn an income, we all contribute to Medicare, and, in return, when we reach sixty-five we can all count on it, regardless of our circumstances. There is genuine reciprocity. You don’t know whether you’ll need more health care than you pay for or less. Her husband thus far has needed much less than he’s paid for. Others need more. But we all get the same deal, and, she felt, that’s what makes it O.K.
“I believe one hundred per cent that Medicare needs to exist the way it does,” she said. This was how almost everyone I spoke to saw it. To them, Medicare was less about a universal right than about a universal agreement on how much we give and how much we get.
Understanding this seems key to breaking the current political impasse. The deal we each get on health care has a profound impact on our lives—on our savings, on our well-being, on our life expectancy. In the American health-care system, however, different people get astonishingly different deals. That disparity is having a corrosive effect on how we view our country, our government, and one another.
I’d rather think about beer for a while longer. But let’s get to the bloggage:
I started subscribing to Mike Allen’s daily email for Axios. This was pretty pungent: Welcome to Rex Tillerson’s life.
A handy guide to Republican presidential etiquette, from the NYT. For those of you who remember the OMG-a-tan-suit days.
God, I can’t wait until this freak show is over:
Ivana Trump says she has Pres. Trump's direct White House number: "I'm basically first Trump wife. I'm first lady." https://t.co/SiTlUUDX2S pic.twitter.com/0DQ5AMQ311
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 9, 2017
I am teetering on the edge of a Coozledad-worthy rant, so I best sign off for now. Legs up the wall! And work to do!
Julie Robinson said on October 9, 2017 at 1:32 pm
“We don’t really talk about it”. Why do I suspect that Trump isn’t interested in a wife he can talk things over with?
The lake view is gorgeous. When we were looking at houses in Orlando I wanted a pool and my hubby wanted a lake. Our fixer-upper has both, and now I understand the attraction. During my last trip, after my sister died, I’d go out at night to watch the sunset. Stepping down into the pool and seeing all the colors over the water, I’d feel the stress melting away. It’s magical.
Since I’m headed back down in a few days I’ll be using the strategy again. This time I’ll be going through what could be salvaged from Jeri’s place and working on settling her estate. Pretty sure it will all go to medical bills, so there’s a rant for you.
Jeff Borden said on October 9, 2017 at 1:41 pm
I was cheered by the comments of Malcolm Nance this morning, who argued no matter how belligerently the Orange King acts toward North Korea, missiles will not fly. He argued even Dolt .45 would understand that clouds of radioactivity floating over friends (Japan) and foes (China) is too much. It was a rare moment of sunshine in a couple of dark days.
Since the Orange King cannot abide anyone showing him up, I fear the remarks of Sen. Corker will only encourage him to back out of the Iran deal. This, of course, will signal to the world agreements made with the United States are worthless. Fearless leader also has set the terms to allow the Dreamers a pathway and they are hideous, particularly targeting children fleeing narco wars in El Salvador and Honduras and funding his stupid fucking wall along the Southern border. Paul Krugman raised the terrifying prospect of the Orange King fucking with the Federal Reserve and putting some kind of Koch/Mercer toady in charge.
BTW, Hoosiers in attendance. How did you feel about Pence and Mother disrupting the Colts-49ers game in a stunt staged so poorly that a tiny community college theater company would look like Tony winners. This pompous homophobe distracted from the retirement of Peyton Manning’s number. . .a first for the Colts.
There is nothing this administration will not do to drive a wedge between us. . .especially if it’s at the expense of black Americans. Fuck them all.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 9, 2017 at 2:23 pm
Basic health care is already a de facto right, but we’re currently defining “basic” pretty narrowly (and not prudently, let alone ethically, leaving all dental, most vision, and a fair amount of maintenance off the roster, which means we’re incurring higher costs later under the “basic” rubric); plus, de facto rights can always be revised by fiat, so that’s well short of “keep and bear arms” in the public imagination. We’ve got a ways to go on both fronts. Gawande’s piece is a good look down the road we have yet to travel; thank you for the link.
Scout said on October 9, 2017 at 3:52 pm
Ivana’s is the worst plastic surgery I’ve seen in quite some time. God, but she looks awful and then she opens that ridiculous bee-stung mouth and out comes the trash we are accustomed to hearing from anyone associated with Trump.
I’m loving Corker’s no-fucks-left-to-give counter attacks on the Hellbeast, but I won’t forget he was instrumental in normalizing the dangerously abnormal in the first place. History is not going to look kindly on many of these opportunists.
Favorite meme of the day: “Let’s celebrate this Columbus Day by getting completely fucking lost, but insisting we’re right where we want to be and renaming the place to prove it.”
Happy Indigenous People’s Day.
Jakash said on October 9, 2017 at 4:49 pm
This may interest only the Chicagoans among the nn.cers, if even them, but gonna post it anyway, ’cause I think it’s cool. A tweet put up yesterday, the anniversary of the Chicago fire, in which a guy shares photos he’s taken of pre-fire buildings still scattered around the city…
Snarkworth said on October 9, 2017 at 4:52 pm
Thanks for the lovely pics of the state Capitol. I used to work there, in an office right under the dome, with a curved outside wall.
alex said on October 9, 2017 at 4:52 pm
At first blush I thought that was Jocelyn Wildenstein, not Ivana.
Heather said on October 9, 2017 at 5:15 pm
Wow, thanks for that link, Jakash. Can’t believe that house in Lincoln Park was demolished.
Deborah said on October 9, 2017 at 6:54 pm
I’ve walked past that house on Orchard, such a shame it’s gone.
Ivana doesn’t look good, her hair is so dated, but I guess it’s her signature now. Sad.
We’re back in Santa Fe after 4 wonderful days in Abiquiu. Saturday and Sunday were particularly spectacular, cool, sunny and quiet. My husband goes back to Chicago but I’m staying another week to work on some stuff.
coozledad said on October 9, 2017 at 8:35 pm
After the election, the NYT shot its whole fucking wad on why the Democrats lost what amounts to the marginal racist shit vote. Now that that marginal racist shit is starting to abandon Trump, they’ll resume their rightful place as a non-story, unworthy of the Habermans or Nuzzis. I would suggest the next election story feature how wealthy trustafarians climb up on the backs of dumbass white trash and fuck them in the ass so the writers can advance to the wedding pages where their creepy aunt judgments belong.
I particularly like Nuzzi’s “Who could’a knowed that Milo was a Nazi?” That’s the inbred deafness of her fundamentally shitty American pseudoclass.They’re deaf to history until it beats down their door and drags them to the scaffold.
coozledad said on October 9, 2017 at 10:42 pm
I think there is a commentary on the Upanishads that says people who do this are beneath judgment, and they will produce pet toys unto the day fire creeps up their ass.
Heather said on October 10, 2017 at 9:21 am
And to make the event in that tweet a perfect metaphor for sexism, Cooz, it was pointed out that he jumped in during the final stretch of the race.
Peter said on October 10, 2017 at 9:36 am
There’s an article in the Post where a Trump confidant likens Trump to a “pressure cooker”, who will explode if he does not blow off steam, and he hasn’t had a chance to blow off steam lately.
WAIT – the stuff we’ve seen so far is normal workaday Trump and we haven’t seen an outburst yet? HOLY CRAP!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – this guy is like every bad client I’ve ever had all rolled into one. Nobody in their right mind would ever want this guy to be their boss, yet they’re OK that he’s President.
suzanne said on October 10, 2017 at 9:37 am
The good news is that I read this morning that some poll says Trump’s approval rating as gone down in Indiana by something like 17 points and is now pretty low. Even here in Trump country. But then, we have lots of people in my area who think Pence is a demigod, so there is that.
suzanne said on October 10, 2017 at 9:50 am
Peter @13, I’ve thought that so often when people tell me that they like Trump because “he tells it like it is.” Would they want to work for someone who tells them they are stupid, asks them to do one thing one day and the opposite before the day is over, makes fun of their co-workers, and tells them constantly how great he is? I’d say no. I’ve worked for people like that and it’s hell.
I think what they really mean is he says the stuff I’d like to say to my boss or co-workers or family members but can’t or won’t. But they aren’t thinking of the effect it has on all of us.
Or to say it concisely, people are stupid.
Sherri said on October 10, 2017 at 9:53 am
I’ve said it before: trump is supported by his core because he hates all the right people.
ROGirl said on October 10, 2017 at 10:25 am
Except that he really doesn’t hate them, he just says that to keep his peeps riled up and on his side.
Jason T. said on October 10, 2017 at 10:28 am
Rex Tillerson’s estimated net worth is $300 million. His retirement payment from ExxonMobil was worth $180 million.
If he’s too stupid or arrogant to go home and enjoy his money, and would rather spend his time being one of the president’s enablers/minders, I’d have to say he deserves everything he’s getting.
Sherri said on October 10, 2017 at 11:07 am
I disagree, Rogirl, I think he hates them. I think he hates, or is at the least disgusted by, anyone he perceives as lower status, weak, or of no help to him. Or anyone who makes him feel that way.
Sherri said on October 10, 2017 at 11:16 am
The NFL makes a strong move up the standings of worst and most corrupt sports organizations.
Jolene said on October 10, 2017 at 11:19 am
I think you’re right, Sherri. I think Trump is contemptuous of pretty much everybody. Not surprisingly, he has now invented an insulting nickname for Bob Corker based on his relatively short stature. (He’s about 5’7”.) A couple of days ago, Peter Baker of the NYT said on MSNBC that Trump had considered Corker for Secretary of State, but decided that he was too short. He didn’t look enough like what he thought a SoS should look like.
Sherri said on October 10, 2017 at 11:21 am
I do believe it’s the case that some Republicans don’t hate the right people, just pretend to, but trump, Ted Cruz, Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions: these are among the true believers.
Peter said on October 10, 2017 at 11:23 am
I have no proof of this, but I thought I had read that there are some financial repercussions and tax bills if you leave a senior government position within a year, which is one reason why Rex and the gang are staying on for now.
I did read that middle/lower WH staffers want to stay on for at least a year because a tenure of only a few months doesn’t look good on the resume. However, if I were to look over their resume and saw that they were part of 45’s WH staff I’d question why they’d stay so long…
ROGirl said on October 10, 2017 at 11:33 am
Yes, he’s contemptuous of everybody, but when someone serves his needs he flips a switch to suck up what he can use to gain an advantage. He will undermine and throw everyone under the bus eventually, except maybe his family and his Russian overlords. Who’s on the shit list today?
Sherri said on October 10, 2017 at 11:44 am
My point is that I don’t believe that trump does it to keep the base happy. He does it to keep himself happy. Maybe a small distinction, but I think it matters, because too many people want to label trump a genius of manipulation or believe that he doesn’t really think that way so maybe he can be negotiated with. I think the only path with trump is utter resistance, and the sooner the Democratic Party figures that out, the better.
Icarus said on October 10, 2017 at 11:56 am
Who’s on the shit list today?
A sports journalist named Jamele Hill.
Jolene said on October 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm
Not just Jemele Hill. Along with her, he’s attacked the NFL, the Democrats, Bob Corker, and Congress. No stone unturned.
Jolene said on October 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm
He does it to keep himself happy.
Exactly, he is all id, all neediness.
Here’s a piece about him wanting to extend a trip meant to be a fundraiser to include a rally because he was thirsty for applause.
brian stouder said on October 10, 2017 at 12:30 pm
As a complete non-sequitur, and possibly a palate cleanser (or at least – a substitute palate-soiler), there’s this, about a hit song (Despacito) – which is about a small sea-side village in Puerto Rico…which has since been clobbered by the hurricane
(and my daughter likes this song…)
Deborah said on October 10, 2017 at 1:11 pm
Is Trump capable of loving or hating anyone? Does he regard anyone else at all long enough to have any feeling for them one way or another? He seems to care about his family sometimes, but only when they do his bidding, or look the way he wants them to look. He is a vengeful creep but it seems to give him pleasure to be that way, not that he particularly feels one way or another about the person he is attacking. It’s all about him, no one else. He’s a sociopath for sure and probably a psychopath.
brian stouder said on October 10, 2017 at 1:55 pm
Deborah – when they do the ‘critically acclaimed’-style movie about this presidency (and this era), if it’s sympathetic it will be along the lines of Being There; and if it is more realistic, it will be along the lines of Apocalypse Now
Suzanne said on October 10, 2017 at 2:02 pm
Except, Brian, the Trump movie ends with all of us in a dark room saying, “The horror. The horror!”
Rana said on October 10, 2017 at 2:04 pm
There was a piece I read in the last month or so that advanced the argument that it’s not correct to see Trump as separate from his base. Rather, he is his base: aggrieved, racist white men who troll on the internet and follow sites like Fox and Breitbart religiously. That dude who shoots shit in comments threads and gets lots of likes and retweets from shitheads like him? That’s Trump.
brian stouder said on October 10, 2017 at 2:38 pm
Suzanne – indeed!
I’m hoping for the Being There ending, wherein we simply end up There…
…but I think this asks too much (alas)
Suzanne said on October 10, 2017 at 4:03 pm
Rana, I think that is true for the hardcore base but I think he was elected because of them and the people who weren’t paying attention, like my parents who always vote GOP no matter what, and the other people who vote only on abortion. I see some of the 2nd group becoming more and more appalled at what Trump is doing.
The thing is many of the 2nd group are like the media pundits who live in New York or Washington or some other big city. They are clueless and did not grasp just how many of the first group there were out there. Even people I know out here in the hinterlands of the Rust Belt. Many are decent people who just don’t grasp what the Trumps of the world (& Cruz and Sessions & a whole bunch of others) are all about. Sure, they may know a few angry, racist jerks, (many are unknowingly a bit racist themselves) but those are like Bob’s kid who’s not right and spends all his time playing video games or Bob, who has always been a little off, but no concept of people like the white supremacists and their rage and their willingness to sacrifice everybody to their ideology. I think many in both political parties didn’t grasp it either but the GOP was more than happy to have their votes.
Heather said on October 10, 2017 at 4:31 pm
Don’t forget the denial of the “patriotic,” who continue to insist that the U.S. is the Best Country Ever despite mounting evidence to the contrary. I got in an argument on Facebook with a friend of a friend who insisted that only immigrants with a criminal record were being deported. I linked to a couple articles showing this wasn’t the case and she said those instances were “mistakes.”
brian stouder said on October 10, 2017 at 4:47 pm
Heather, I’d bet you a million Diet Pepsi’s that what we have here is (what the racist would coyly call) a ‘paradox’
See – I ain’t a racist – but anyone here who can’t prove they’re native-born, and/or who don’t ‘have papers’ – is by definition a “criminal”….
so load ’em up wholesale, haul em to the border, and dump ’em.
It’s the Christian thing to do, doncha’ know? – since we’re not advocating arrest/conviction/detention etc etc etc
Deborah said on October 10, 2017 at 7:06 pm
The good news about Trump’s outrageous behavior is that he is making himself much weaker in his ability to get his campaign promises passed. Thank goodness, the more he acts like a fifth grade bully it lowers the chance of my daughter losing health care. Thank you, Jesus.
Deborah said on October 10, 2017 at 7:12 pm
We got a big bag of Roma tomatoes cheap at the end of the farmers market today, we’re making a batch of oven dried tomatoes and a batch of tomatoe sauce for freezing. We still have quite a few pints of our canned tomatoes with green chilies left from this summer’s canning project. Good eats.
Rana said on October 10, 2017 at 10:04 pm
I didn’t mean to say that all of his base is that way. My emphasis is on him being part of his base, not someone outside it. He comes across as authentic to them, because he is one of them.
As to people not in that particular segment of his base who voted for him anyway, I still have nothing good to say. They voted for him, for whatever reason, and if that now appalls them, well, it damn well should. Most of us knew he was a dumpster fire well before the election, so their ignorance was either a form of willful blindness, or the manifestation of an incuriosity bordering on the malicious.
Sherri said on October 11, 2017 at 11:56 am
This is what the Russians are doing to undermine the West and democracy, all without firing a shot, and it was effective here. Just a little aikido, amplifying what’s already happening and using it against us.
One final insight from Albright’s research: To the extent there is a discernible political motive in them, the goal seemed less to inspire enthusiasm for one candidate than to dampen support for voting at all. This fits with what many other researchers and investigators have said about the Russian disinformation campaign, that it drove directly at the fractures in American society and sought to widen them.
Jolene said on October 11, 2017 at 12:07 pm
Today is Deborah’s birthday. Happy birthday, Deborah. Love hearing from you here on nn.com.
brian stouder said on October 11, 2017 at 12:18 pm
“This fits with what many other researchers and investigators have said about the Russian disinformation campaign, that it drove directly at the fractures in American society and sought to widen them.”
The whole concept of “fake news” carries a sour irony, coming from the Russians, and ignoramuses like our new president, afterall.
What is “real” news? Big wild fires?; hundreds of country music fans getting mowed down by a lunatic?; hurricanes?
If one tries to affix the word “real” (or “fake”) onto the concept of “news” – and then apply it to politics and policy debates, then we have to accept that the word “real” cannot mean “unitary” or agreeable; in fact – two (or more) totally contradictory narratives can both be “real”/legitimate/honest/true.
If this was a darkly humorous satire of the 21st century, they couldn’t have come up with a better twist than having our ‘moron’ president parroting this concept of ‘fake news’ – thanks to our Russian overlords’ indefatigable efforts to embody the (Lennin?) line about hanging us with the rope we sold them (Thanks Google/Facebook et al)
PS – love the edit button – and Jolene’s on-the-ball tip; Happy Birthday Deborah!
brian stouder said on October 11, 2017 at 12:29 pm
(and it’s genuinely low-brow comedy that Trump wants to actually attack the free press, in the name of fighting “fake news”):
President Trump openly threatened Wednesday to go after the licenses of “NBC and the Networks,” as he ratcheted up his complaints about “Fake News.”
“With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!” Trump tweeted.
nancy said on October 11, 2017 at 12:48 pm
I’m sketchy on this, but do networks even have licenses? Individual stations do, but the network is just an aggregation of their affiliates, with a handful of O-and-Os (owned and operated) thrown in. This seems like the sort of question anyone in the west wing could answer, but of course he never asked.
Sherri said on October 11, 2017 at 1:06 pm
Networks do not have licenses. A license is granted for a particular frequency on the spectrum; that’s the limited resource the government controls and allocates. Different chunks of the spectrum are assigned to different sectors: VHF and UHF television, AM radio, FM radio, emergency radio, cell phones, consumer devices like baby monitors, etc. within those chunks, the government sells licenses to use a particular frequency.
Sherri said on October 11, 2017 at 1:14 pm
Happy birthday, Deborah!
Jeff Borden said on October 11, 2017 at 1:21 pm
President Richard M. Nixon tried to yank the licenses of TV stations owned by the Washington Post at the height of the paper’s Watergate coverage, but failed. Even so, if you are NOT a rightwing true believer, you ought to be scared shitless about the $4 billion merger of Sinclair Broadcasting and Tribune Broadcasting, which would give the wanna-be Fox News Channel network a presence in three out of four American households. Folks, that is scary. The whole deal is being greased by Trump’s man at the FCC, Ajit Pai, who also is the same scum seeking to torpedo net neutrality. PBS had a good story on Sinclair, noting how it hired an appartchik of the Orange King, whose commentaries invariable paper over the *president’s problems.
On a more pleasant note, Frank Rich reminds people about the long game on the Orange King. . .
Scout said on October 11, 2017 at 3:18 pm
Thank you for the Frank Rich piece, Jeff. It’s good to remind ourselves that the wheels of justice are likely slowly grinding away; that just because we don’t know what’s happening, it doesn’t mean nothing is. I keep hoping that in a few years we will look back on all this and think Twitler went down rather quickly, as compared to how interminable his reign of terror feels right now.
Julie Robinson said on October 11, 2017 at 4:17 pm
Deborah, hope you’re having a good birthday!
Deborah said on October 11, 2017 at 5:01 pm
Thanks for the bday wishes, it’s number 67, so I can no longer say I’m in my mid 60s, I’m officially in my late 60s now. Oh well, big deal, I’m enjoying my life immensely.
LB is making pasta for pasta Bolognese this evening and the Bolognese part is simmering on the stove. I’m making a key lime pie totally out of season but my favorite. Some young people are coming over for dinner tonight, should be fun. My husband went back to Chicago yesterday since he had to be back today for classes. We celebrated over the weekend at Ojo Caliente (Scout knows what that is, a natural hot springs spa) and we got an excellent bottle of French wine for after that in Abiquiu.
My friend who lives in Paris now with his husband (who’s French) and their two kids called me today and we had a nice long conversation about new and old times, he relayed some juicy gossip about a mutual friend of ours, he’s good for gossip, we often joke about the quote “if you can’t say something good about someone, sit here next to me”. And another favorite quote of ours is a Bette Davis one, “What a dump” which you have to say with a spitting Davis impersonation.
All in all, a good day so far.
Deborah said on October 11, 2017 at 5:06 pm
I forgot to mention, that when we went to Whole Foods this morning LB happened to mention to one of the guys who works there that we have gotten to know, that we were buying items for a special birthday dinner for me. He disappeared for a minute or two and came back with a couple of stickers which he put on some items in our cart that said “it’s on us” and I didn’t have to pay for them in the checkout line, and they weren’t inexpensive items either. So, good for them, since I’ve spent a fortune there over the years.
Dexter said on October 11, 2017 at 5:45 pm
I always stayed at The Edgewater Hotel in my Let’s-Go-To-Madison-And-Raise-Hell-This-Weekend days. Always racking bicycles and riding until overcome by thirst and heading to find some Point Lager. Once to the La Follette mansion for a big celebration of The Progressive’s 75th anniversary…lawn picnic, best brats, best sides, coldest keg of Point, met Studs Terkel and had a long chat with him…favorite memories, top 3 .
Deborah said on October 11, 2017 at 6:41 pm
Why is this guy still in office after all of this mayhem https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/08/opinion/editorials/republican-etiquette-guide.html?
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 11, 2017 at 10:02 pm
Happy birthday, Deborah! Inhale some piñon scents for us all back here in the Midwest.
brian stouder said on October 12, 2017 at 10:11 am
Deborah – that link has got to be the Thread-Winner, unless crooked Nancy (et al) hit us with a fake-thread-winner!