It wasn’t a great day. Nothing heinous, just the usual job-related crisis of confidence, complicated by one story after another coming out of Washington. I actually found myself feeling vaguely nauseous, but that might have been the spicy peanut stew I ate the night before. Still. As Josh Marshall has said, he’s poison.
So maybe it’s him after all.
A friend just messaged me: You could read for hours about Sessions, dead troops, Manafort, etc. and still not be caught up on today. I’d add: And if you’re trying to find a job at the same time, you could drive yourself crazy.
But now we have a pizza and a bottle of wine, and there are few things that can’t be made better with that.
Another improvement: Around 5 I closed the laptop and took Wendy to the dog park in Detroit. Unlike the one in Grosse Pointe, the admission to which is regulated more strictly than Studio 54, the one in Detroit is open to all. Not only that, people come with six-packs and marijuana and have known each other for years. Good-old-daysing is rampant in Detroit, and these folks reminisce about the time before the park was even fenced in. “You needed a better-behaved dog then,” one guy said. Well, whatever — it was fun to be out on a fine day and not talking about the president. Wendy ran and played, and there was an obese pit bull named Darla. Plus two German shepherds, a boxer and a couple of indeterminate mutts. A happy crew. Dog parks are great; why did it take so long to think of them?
So, then. I subscribe to the Poetry Foundation’s daily email, which is often the most welcome one of the day. Here is the text of “Enough Music” by Dorianne Laux, but I think of it as The Ballad of the Long-Term Couple:
Sometimes, when we’re on a long drive,
and we’ve talked enough and listened
to enough music and stopped twice,
once to eat, once to see the view,
we fall into this rhythm of silence.
It swings back and forth between us
like a rope over a lake.
Maybe it’s what we don’t say
that saves us.
Yet another Facebook page created by the Russians, this one called Heart of Texas. Secessionist, of course, and very popular, with 250,000 followers at its peak. Content? Do you even need to ask?
Posts began to follow a perceptibly hard-right course, stressing Texas’s status as a “Christian state,” or touting the Second Amendment as a “symbol of freedom … so we would forever be free from any tyranny.” Some of the page’s contributors talked about the need to “keep Texas Texan,” whatever that meant. There was also a generous dollop of conspiracy theory. There were posts about the allegedly unnatural death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the supposed federal invasion orders behind the Jade Helm military exercise. Fake Founding Father quotes mingled with anti-Muslim screeds and paeans to Sam Houston. And the number of followers steadily crept into the hundreds of thousands.
Though the site’s authors understood their audience well, there was something off about their writing. The page’s “About” section proclaimed that “Texas’s the land protected by Lord [sic].” Grammatical and spelling glitches were everywhere: “In Love With Texas Shape,” “State Fair of Texas – Has You Already Visited?,” “Always Be Ready for a Texas Size,” “No Hypoclintos in the God Blessed Texas.” (Or take this caption for a photo of country music star George Strait: “Life is not breaths you take, but the moments that take your breth [sic] away.”) Yet the typos never seemed to raise any suspicions in readers’ minds.
The #MeToo posts just keep on coming. Here’s one from Mo Ryan, the
Chicago Tribune Variety TV writer.
Back to the grind. Tomorrow, I think I’ll clean two closets.
Peter said on October 18, 2017 at 10:15 pm
Sorry I haven’t been keeping up – I was in a seminar today and am going away for the weekend – provided my standby seat doesn’t get cancelled.
Some of Cheetolini’s toadies say that he’s not a politician, and it’s moments like these that make it so true. No politician in their right mind would have done and said what this twerp has done the last couple of days.
I hope General “Iron Guts” Kelly can rest easy knowing that the Republic is being run by a psycho who loves the military and their sacrifices so much that he doesn’t think twice about throwing the general’s dead son under the bus.
I do hope we all can live long enough to see Don John throw his son in law under the bus.
alex said on October 18, 2017 at 10:16 pm
Hypoclintos. That’s gonna stay with me like covfefe.
Jakash said on October 19, 2017 at 1:43 am
Sorry to nitpick, but Maureen Ryan hasn’t been with the Chicago Tribune since 2010. After that she was the TV critic for the Huffington Post until 2015. In fall 2015 she was hired to review and write about TV for Variety.
nancy said on October 19, 2017 at 7:41 am
You’re right. Fixing.
Dexter said on October 19, 2017 at 3:03 am
Zorn and Jeff Borden do a great job with opinions and links about the world and world leaders. The story about the 25K that Trump promised a war widow, why, I knew that was a lie by Trump…he never pays anyone, especially any regular small business person and certainly no war widow. It was a nice gesture, but empty.
You know who is the one person most responsible for upping the death benefit to dead warriors’ families? Don Imus. He was so well connected to movers and shakers he urged McCain and John Kerry to take it to the Senate floor…for example, if I had been offed n Vietnam, Dad would have gotten 6K. Over the decades it went to 12K. Imus and McCain and Kerry got it bumped up to $250K. Maybe it’s more now.
alex said on October 19, 2017 at 6:32 am
If it’s that easy to set up a fake Facebook page for rubes and humor them in their stupidity, I’m surprised there aren’t a bunch of such pages run by people having fun at the expense of their audience. Then again, that’s what Steve Bannon and Alex Jones have been doing all along and they’ve figured out how to monetize it too.
adrianne said on October 19, 2017 at 6:57 am
I would like to think that the #metoo campaign is a watershed moment, but color me skeptical. I’d love to be wrong about this.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 19, 2017 at 7:13 am
Nancy’s right, it’s a great daily boost:
Suzanne said on October 19, 2017 at 7:26 am
“Yet the typos never seemed to raise any suspicions in readers’ minds.” Because most of them can’t spell either. I can’t tell you how often, out here in Real America I hear “He done that” or see signs in businesses with obvious misspellings-“Sail on Chicken brests!”
So, bad grammar or poor spelling wouldn’t bother the target audience.
coozledad said on October 19, 2017 at 9:24 am
I’m surprised anyone with an ear failed to notice J.D. Vance’s white supremacist semiotics. When they start talking about “Honest hard workin’ white folk gots it reeel bad, therefore” you either know the rest of the syllogism is “Jews done stole Pappy’s coal minin’ job and give it to the black ‘uns to vote for Hillary Clinton” or you’re a dupe, or you’re promoting the white nationalist autocracy yourself.
The NYT says Trump isn’t Hitler. No. He’s the Maitreya Hitler. The second iteration made inevitable by the US slapping itself on the back so hard for fighting Nazism when we Americans drew up the blueprints; when America’s high command was poised to intervene on behalf of Hitler or sit the war out entirely. We were ultimately going to come around to our Nazi roots, shoring up a system that placed illegitimate electoral power in the hands of white supremacist states, and a Supreme Court in the hands of babbling religious fucknuts.
Remember that the next time someone trots out their threadbare white pity party shit while excoriating Gold Star Families for being insufficiently satisfied with a realtor/president’s passive-aggressive “condolences.” Nazi-lite is still fucking Nazi.
Icarus said on October 19, 2017 at 9:33 am
Dog parks are great; why did it take so long to think of them? I think the answer comes from a shift in Pet Culture
MarkH said on October 19, 2017 at 11:01 am
Interesting take as a former Harvey-connected Hollywood screenwriter weighs in with a mea culpa (of sorts): he was there, everyone was there. He knew, everyone effing knew. No one wanted to piss in the gravy train.
coozledad said on October 19, 2017 at 11:12 am
Pussgrab in chief. He’s a flaming bucket of syph, and his party laps at his cods.
Deborah said on October 19, 2017 at 11:52 am
I have a bit of time to kill before I have to get to the train station, then the bus, then the plane, then the taxi. I hate the travel day going back to Chicago.
It just gets worse and worse with Trump, he can’t do anything right. How much longer before he quits and then we get president my pants (yikes)?
coozledad said on October 19, 2017 at 11:58 am
I want to know when Trey Gowdy and the Republicans here are going to get a stick up their ass about French contractors having to recover American dead from an ISIS ambush in Niger, and hold thirty or forty million dollars worth of hearings.
Motherfucking crickets on that one. Because it was never about Benghazi, and it’s never about the troops. There comes a point when there’s such a degree of political cynicism it should be punishable by death.
Heather said on October 19, 2017 at 12:06 pm
Trump will never quit. If he’s not impeached, I think we have to demand his resignation by marching and occupying public spaces in DC.
Jolene said on October 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm
Because most of them can’t spell either.
Exactly. Occasionally, if I am feeling vicious, I will reply to an egregiously misspelled or ungrammatical Facebook comment from a Trump supporter saying that I have yet to see a comment from such a person that is both spelled correctly and grammatically correct. Based on my observations so far, it will be a long wait until one appears.
john (not mccain) said on October 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm
A white hot rage may be felt on Twitter early tomorrow:
Deborah said on October 19, 2017 at 6:00 pm
The thing about the latest Trump fiasco, the phone call of consolation to the soldiers widow is that he’s soooo inept at everything. He probably meant well, but he obviously didn’t know how to go about it or know what to say, he has no capability to put himself in the place of someone else. His tone deafness is stunning.
I’m at the airport finally after a crappy train ride. There were some sketchy characters on the train this time. LB walked with me to the train depot, when she left a guy who was waiting for the train told me that she dressed like shit and so did I. I walked away from him as quickly as possible. Then when the train made a stop later a falling down drunk guy got on and sat near me. I moved up to another level so I wouldn’t have to observe him puke or worse. I’ll be glad when this day is over.
St Bitch said on October 19, 2017 at 7:26 pm
Deborah @18, you’ve expressed my (sickened) thoughts about the presidential consolation call…up to a point. I also believe he probably meant well, but that his ‘stunning’ ineptness in conveying sympathy backfired. In this case, what disturbs me the most is the ratcheting up of the outrage machine where it doesn’t need to go, and only makes things worse. It’s no surprise that this man stumbled in attempting to perform a duty that’s simply not in his frame of reference, let alone toolkit. But there he is, sitting in a position of power where he can wreck havoc when lashing back, after being piled upon once again for doing everything wrong. Well, of course, from my point of view, (and most posters here), he DOES do everything wrong. However, on the the rare occasion when he at least means well, why rip him to shreds for bad execution, when it only escalates a perpetual spiral of his fighting back with more and more damaging salvos from his well-stocked mean-spirited arsenal, while continuing to contribute to our already overloaded outrage fatigue?
I’d rather spend my outrage (and sympathy for the grieving Gold Star families) on finding out what went down in Niger, and why has there been no outcry (yet), as Coozledad@14 so succinctly deplores.
Connie said on October 19, 2017 at 8:36 pm
I was coming back to the Radisson from the Lansing Convention Center only to see an Indiana State Police car in the dropoff space. Checked the football schedule. Yup.
Then I pondered the likelihood of using valet parking. Then I imagined the joy of the valet who gets to drive it. And then I wondered what features he would want to try out, or whether he would go for speed?
Today I learned that my walker and I can not cross six lanes of traffic within the 14 second countdown. Close but no.
Julie Robinson said on October 19, 2017 at 8:47 pm
Connie, you’re doing pretty well if you could almost cross that fast. Jeri never could have.
I’m feeling a little melancholy tonight as I came across two unfinished quilt projects of Jeri’s, where she made the squares but never got them stitched together. One was to be a memory quilt for our daughter and the other is somewhere around 50 Christmas trees. I don’t think she had sewn in 15 years so they really go back.
I also spent the day worrying about a niece who teaches at Florida State two days a week. Haven’t heard back from her yet.
Connie said on October 19, 2017 at 9:11 pm
Julie, I was really determined. It was my fourth try and I was focussed and on my mark. It was like a challenge.
So maybe the Indiana State Police car is an escort or even security for some VIPs. This is a nice hotel in a great downtown location.
alex said on October 19, 2017 at 9:20 pm
St. Bitch and Deborah, I’m not willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt that he “means well.” He also means well when he promises money to people with no intention of ever following through. He didn’t even rise to the occasion of consoling the bereaved until he got called out for neglecting it, and then he defended himself by maligning President Obama’s record with outright lies. He’s a despicable piece of shit through and through and I have yet to see the tiniest scintilla of evidence to the contrary.
Deborah said on October 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm
Trump means well only to the extent that he thinks it makes him look good. He seems incapable of seeing himself as others see him. Unless they are praising him of course. How people can see him as capable as a leader in the free world is beyond me.
The plane has landed early in Chicago, but we’re stuck waiting for our gate to be available. It was freezing on the flight, even though I’m wearing a turtleneck, a vest and a jacket. The poor guy next to me is wearing shorts, a T shirt and flip flops, he didn’t seem to be uncomfortable though.
Sherri said on October 19, 2017 at 10:12 pm
2016 was the first presidential election with widespread strict voter ID laws. The Russians, Comey, the media all played their part in the disaster we have now, but the degree to which Republicans have succeeded in their long term project of suppressing the vote should not be ignored, and should be fought vigorously. It should not be easier to buy a gun than to vote!
Suzanne said on October 19, 2017 at 10:18 pm
Gen. Kelley seems to have gone to the dark side.
I think we are doomed.
Sherri said on October 19, 2017 at 10:50 pm
Kelly was always on the dark side. Remember, he was at DHS before becoming CoS, and he’s a pro-Gitmo, pro-drug war, national security hawk.
basset said on October 19, 2017 at 11:09 pm
On a happier note… one of Mrs B’s doctors told her today she needed to put some weight on and suggested ice cream. Stopped on the way home and got some Moose Tracks, I suspect it won’t last long.
Deborah said on October 20, 2017 at 12:57 am
I really didn’t like what Kelly said about women, that they should be revered, that their sacred or some such shit. Isn’t that just more objectification? Women aren’t saints, they’re humans for god’s sake. That mumbo jumbo just makes it worse for women.
ROGirl said on October 20, 2017 at 4:51 am
After my father died, someone said to me something to the effect of, “it’s a good thing he went when he did, at least he didn’t linger.” I didn’t say anything about it at the time, but she said it again the next time I saw her several months later, and I told her it was an awful thing to say after I had just lost my father.
I’m not excusing what Trump said, he’s not capable of empathy, but people say stupid and insensitive things.
Deborah said on October 20, 2017 at 6:01 am
I see that I made one of the dreaded they’re/their/there mistakes in my comment #29. I hate it when I do that. I’m using the excuse that it was the end of a long travel day and now I’m getting a cold.
David C. said on October 20, 2017 at 6:06 am
People do say stupid things, but he’s not people. He’s the President. He’s supposed to have a staff who writes down the names of the people he’s calling. They should know he’s bad at this stuff and they should write what he has to say verbatim. But he has no staff who knows how to do anything except fluff him. It’s just one more indication that he’s bad at his job.
Suzanne said on October 20, 2017 at 7:17 am
Even if the president has staff to tell him what to say, he can’t focus long enough to do it. When he reads from a TelePrompTer you can almost see him physically straining to stay on task. And why would he follow the script some lackey writes when he knows everything anyway?
coozledad said on October 20, 2017 at 8:14 am
Kelly said we need to revere women on the same day Dubya said white nationalism is a curse. Kelly works for a sex offender, Dubs was working to try and elect racist hatemonger Ed Gillespie.
These are just smirking fratboy pranks, pitched to the racists who are all that’s left in the Republican party. They get to laugh today as the NYT and NPR attack a black congresswoman on Trump’s behalf. This in turn will fuel the day’s bullshit scripted white news until Trump steps on his dick again, and they’ll have to invent some other reason to suck it off.
Press eats shit in this country. It’s designed to eat shit.
coozledad said on October 20, 2017 at 9:34 am
Kelly’s and Bush’s remarks placed in the context of the broader assault on the poor:
It’s a given that the Republicans are immoral trash, but their enablers are even worse.
Mark P said on October 20, 2017 at 9:35 am
Sociopaths know how to seem empathetic and manipulate people. Donald Trump is just an incompetent sociopath.
Heather said on October 20, 2017 at 9:44 am
The whole “women are sacred” concept is part of the problem. Put us up on a pedestal like that and the women who are perceived as falling off are whores or “damaged goods”–which is exactly what happens in that mindset. Women don’t want to be sacred or to be protected. We don’t want to *have* to be protected. We want to be considered equals. We want agency over our own bodies. We want our words to be heard and respected.
Re Trump, I agree it’s not enough to have good intentions, or at least it’s not enough when you refuse to learn from your mistakes. I feel like a lot of people are able to tell themselves and convince others they’re good people for this very reason–that they had good intentions. Unless you back that up with action, it’s meaningless.
Deborah said on October 20, 2017 at 9:54 am
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
I just watched a clip of Trump with his arms fold like a toddler claiming that he didn’t say what rep. Wilson said he said. For about a half second as the camera zeroes in on Trump, you can see Kelly a couple of seats over looking away and down, probably thinking, “here we go again”. Why didn’t Trump just apologize and then it would be over, at least that incident. Such a baby. The fact that Kelly keeps working for Trump after he screws up again and again, tells you something.
Sherri said on October 20, 2017 at 10:00 am
I can’t see your good intentions, I can only see your actions. When my actions cause hurt or damage, even if my intentions were good, I’m still responsible for making amends. Good intentions are not absolution from responsibility.
I saw someone on Twitter make the same point about trump being poorly staffed. Everyone knows he’s incapable of making a phone call like a human being, so a competent staff would have handled the situation some other way, quickly, before a phone call became a political necessity. But we routinely see work from this staff with spelling mistakes, so what do you expect?
Heather said on October 20, 2017 at 10:36 am
Clearly the WH is poorly staffed, but there’s also the issue of having to manage a big fecking narcissistic baby-man. This whole administration is a case study in codependency.
Deborah said on October 20, 2017 at 11:27 am
I find myself saying the same things over and over about Trump and his ilk, like I’m wailing in the wilderness, preaching to the choir. It goes on and on and on. So depressing, with full winter barreling down, lack of light coming, bad news everywhere, I’m bracing myself for the onslaught.
Connie said on October 20, 2017 at 11:35 am
I am waiting to see Jack Lessenberry. Nancy, I assume you know him?
nancy said on October 20, 2017 at 11:39 am
Yep! Tell him hi for me.
Connie said on October 20, 2017 at 11:49 am
I told someone I was going to see Jack Lessesberry’s voice. Meaning until this morning I only knew him as a voice on the radio.
alex said on October 20, 2017 at 12:14 pm
Sociopaths know how to seem empathetic and manipulate people. Donald Trump is just an incompetent sociopath.
I’m sure he knows how to turn it on when he wants something. He just doesn’t see anything to be gained sexually or financially from military families.
Sherri said on October 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm
I’ve been mulling over a couple of conversations I had recently. The first was a couple of weeks ago, with a woman whom I disagree with on almost everything. She’s active locally, usually working in the opposite direction from me. As part of a project with my Leadership Eastside class, I set up an interview with her to her her views on a particular topic. A classmate (who didn’t know her) and I interviewed her.
I listened, asked questions that weren’t about trying to get her to think through the implications of what she was saying, just to give her the chance to say it. I guess here’s where I’m supposed to say I came away with a better understanding of her or more empathy for her, but I didn’t. I already understood her pretty well, and what motivated her. I don’t think she’s evil, I think she does care about the community, but her idea of what that looks like is so different than mine.
The second conversation was with a Democratic woman who is in the race to fill Dave Reichert’s seat in Congress. We were talking about her priorities (health care and climate change), and she asked me what I thought was the best way to talk about climate change, since “climate change” was such a politically loaded term. She was thinking that maybe focusing on clean air and water and stopping pollution might be more effective. (WA-08 went slightly for Hillary, but was drawn to protect a Republican incumbent and is at best a swing district, probably still a R-leaning one.) I told her that so much had moved beyond partisanship into identity that I wasn’t sure there was a way to talk about climate change that would reach people on the other side.
Everybody’s saying we need to talk and listen to people on the other side, but I’m not sure what magic they think is going to happen. We’ve reached the point where my moral lines are set; I can compromise, but not beyond this. I can understand, I can listen, but I will not sell someone else out to make you feel comfortable. I will not sacrifice black lives because you think police are always right, I will not accept discrimination against LGBTQ people because you find them icky, I will not treat undocumented people like criminals because you want them to just go away.
Would talking and listening more have prevented the Civil War and ended slavery? Not saying we’re on the brink of armed conflict, but I do fear we’ve moved beyond the talking and listening point.
coozledad said on October 20, 2017 at 1:22 pm
White trash. Need to start deporting them: