Today I will be sticking close to home. Those of you who are over 50 and have decent health insurance can probably figure out why I will be sticking close to home, so I don’t need to go into details, do I? The timing of this will be tricky, as I have a car in the shop and a very nice loaner. I need to turn it in before the rocket fuel kicks in, because those are some sweet leather seats. It’s funny, how we talk of these things in code. I was buying the rocket fuel earlier this week, and pushed it over the counter to the cashier along with a giant bottle of fruit-punch Gatorade.

“If this is what I think it’s for?” the clerk said. “You can’t use the red Gatorade.”

That wasn’t on my instructions, but it made perfect sense. I went back for a bottle of lemon-lime. At times like this, we need to take care of one another.

Today I am grateful for a) health insurance; and, to a far lesser extent, b) the idle hours to get all these tests done before it runs out. The new patient reports on this particular procedure, the one they hand you at checkout, include photos. I shudder to think.

So, for the huddle today, two stories of the Albion’s Seed variety. (I’m sure Coozledad will provide an amusing, obscene footnote.) First, via Reuters:

WAYNESBURG, Pa. (Reuters) – When Mike Sylvester entered a career training center earlier this year in southwestern Pennsylvania, he found more than one hundred federally funded courses covering everything from computer programming to nursing.

He settled instead on something familiar: a coal mining course.

”I think there is a coal comeback,” said the 33-year-old son of a miner.

Despite broad consensus about coal’s bleak future, a years-long effort to diversify the economy of this hard-hit region away from mining is stumbling, with Obama-era jobs retraining classes undersubscribed and future programs at risk under President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget.

Peak Coal passed a while ago. Natural gas killed it, not the Obama administration. This is the broad consensus the story references. Yet many in coal country continue to clap for Tinkerbell, setting up this conundrum:

What many experts call false hopes for a coal resurgence have mired economic development efforts here in a catch-22: Coal miners are resisting retraining without ready jobs from new industries, but new companies are unlikely to move here without a trained workforce. The stalled diversification push leaves some of the nation’s poorest areas with no clear path to prosperity.

Ta-da! Yes. You have to be willing to change to actually change, although admittedly, I share their cynicism about the “new industries” that might move to coal country once a “trained workforce” assembles itself at whatever critical mass they require. So I sympathize, to a point. But any coal miner who can’t see the forces that took away his or her livelihood — automation and fracking, mainly — simply isn’t paying close enough attention.

Which brings us to this laughter-through-tears piece beb pointed out late in yesterday’s thread. Remember “rolling coal,” i.e., modifying exhaust systems on big-ass trucks to blow thick clouds of black smoke into the atmosphere? Sometimes with amusing rear-window stickers warning of “Prius repellant?” Some states are passing laws to ban the practice. And yeah, well:

Entire dissertations could be written about rolling coal. Even more than Trump’s ascension, it seems to perfectly capture a moment in time, an inarticulate yawp of protest from angry white men. They feel disdained and overlooked and they will blow thick black smoke in your face until you pay attention.

There’s no faux nostalgia involved. Unlike with, say, hunting, there’s no tale of rugged rural self-sufficiency to draw on. This is not some sturdy heartland tradition with which meddlesome elites want to interfere.

Rolling coal is new; it just caught on a few years ago. It does not improve the performance of a truck. It has no practical application or pragmatic purpose of any kind. It is purely aggressive, a raw expression of defiance: I can pollute your air, for no reason, and no one can stop me.

Lots of writers love Hunter Thompson, and I’m one of them, at least before he became a human cartoon and general wrecking ball. “Hell’s Angels” is a fine piece of new journalism, and there’s a long passage in there about the Angels, and the rest of California biker culture, having their roots in American Appalachian/Okie/poor-white culture. I read it when I was 16 or so, and it opened my eyes to class issues as a companion to racial ones. Their flag is the Gadsden. Their motto: “It’s a free country,” sometimes spoken through a belch while crushing a beer can against one’s forehead.

Anyway, the Vox piece is pretty good, and I recommend it.

I keep coming back to something I said often when the auto industry was collapsing, southeast Michigan was contracting and workers everywhere were on the park bench, so to speak: What are we going to do with these people? Retraining was part of the answer. But when retraining itself is resisted, then what do you do?

OK, shower time, then my final solid food for a while, and a few hours after that? Rocket fuel!

Final thing I wanted to share: This photo.

Last Saturday night was a monthly dance-party pop-up my younger friends enjoy, so I tagged along this month, mainly because of the venue, an obscure bar that sits almost literally in the shadow of the Marathon refinery in southwest Detroit. From the outside, it looks like a somewhat more upscale version of the thousands of workingmen’s bars all over Detroit’s less-glamorous districts, shot-and-a-beer places where you can prepare for, or wind down from, your shift. But step inside, and it’s the most neon-y neon lounge you ever saw.

“Oh my god, it’s ‘Miami Vice,'” I said as I showed my ID to the doorman.

“I was gonna say ‘Scarface,’ but yeah,” he replied.

Every surface that didn’t have a neon fixture had a mirror, making photography a little tricky. This welcome-to-hell glow was hard to expose for:

But it was so much fun. I saw one of my old Wayne State students. “I always knew you were a badass,” he said. Kids these days — gotta love ’em.

Posted at 10:06 am in Current events, Detroit life |

101 responses to “Coalflakes.”

  1. jcburns said on November 2, 2017 at 10:46 am

    As a Prius driver, I have a special button marked “Big-ass truck repellent” that I fire off sometimes as I blow by a ‘Friends of Coal’ F-150. But since we’re running on a mix of electricity and very little fuel, the resulting huge enveloping cloud is, sadly, quite invisible. But clean!

    286 chars

  2. brian stouder said on November 2, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Marvelous photos – and here’s hoping everything comes out OK (so to speak)

    Last night our crew visited Pot Bellies – a nice sandwich place on Coliseum Blvd that I’d never visited before – as Grant’s (our 22 year old college senior) fraternity had a fund-raiser deal there.

    Not quite as neon-y as what Nance features today, but indeed, quite a pleasant place; I’d go back.

    One thing about Prius (et al) owners that I wonder is – how will we adjust so that people who don’t buy very much gasoline (for their motor-cars) still pay a reasonable tax (to support the roads and bridges)?

    584 chars

  3. jcburns said on November 2, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Yeah, the state of Georgia ends up putting a tax on all-electric cars that supposedly goes to road repair. But our car, a plug-in hybrid, uses enough gasoline (in my opinion) that we’re covered as far as infrastructure repair is concerned. And most of our all-electric usage is within the city of Atlanta, which (as far as I know) does NOT get state money to repair potholes and the like. So, hmm.

    397 chars

  4. coozledad said on November 2, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Sam Clovis has withdrawn his nomination as AgSec to join the cast of Deliverance, the Musical.

    94 chars

  5. brian stouder said on November 2, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Well, that looks like a thread-win, early!

    42 chars

  6. coozledad said on November 2, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Fat jokes aside, Clovis was pulled because Chuck Grassley wants to sit his old mayonnaise ass on incriminating Trump/Russia emails.

    They’re all a pack of traitors. Fuck impeachment. The whole Republican party ought to be hauled before a military tribunal. We’re way overdue for a de-Nazification.

    297 chars

  7. Julie Robinson said on November 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Silent but deadly, JC?

    Hubby’s rocket fuel cost $50 and the ensuing procedure $12. Go figure.

    I’m fully immersed in settling Jeri’s estate and and will be for many months, but smiling because our daughter will be here this weekend. She hasn’t been home for four years but is piggybacking a meeting in Chicago with the opportunity to preach here in her childhood church. She’s a southerner now so we’re anticipating bumping up the furnace. Which we will, gladly.

    467 chars

  8. Peter said on November 2, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Nancy, the only piece of advice I can give is to get that liquid as cold as you can – then it’s only mildly blech, but I waited until the last minute and had to drink it warm, and you really don’t want to do that.

    213 chars

  9. alex said on November 2, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Julie, it’s supposed to be in the 70s this weekend. I know, another shock to the system just as we got used to the bone-chilling cold.

    134 chars

  10. Sherri said on November 2, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    As I’ve noted here before, I do the once yearly FIT test instead of the procedure so delicately alluded to here. Much simpler, no nasty prep, less invasive.

    156 chars

  11. Deborah said on November 2, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Oh I feel for you Nancy, as everyone says once you’re cleaned out, it’s a breeze. I’m overdue for my second one in my lifetime, my hangup is scheduling it when my husband can be there when the procedure is over, they won’t let you leave without accompaniment even if you only live 2 blocks from the hospital like we do.

    As hung up as Trump is on looks, I’m surprised he’d let Clovis anywhere near his administration. But from the photos of our president in tennis shorts I guess he doesn’t have any room to talk.

    517 chars

  12. Deborah said on November 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Tomorrow I have that other yearly procedure that only women endure. The one that Moe hilariously described years ago when she was still with us. You know the one that feels like they’re squeezing a couple of your body parts in a refrigerator door.

    247 chars

  13. susan said on November 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Sherri @10 – I don’t think that would work for those who’ve had polyps discovered in one’s in-test-tine during previous investigations. They like to go the whole nine-yards, in that case.

    187 chars

  14. Sherri said on November 2, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Susan, you’re right, if you’ve had polyps, you can’t go the less invasive route. And if you have a positive FIT, you’ll have to go the whole nine yards. But as a routine screening, it’s simpler.

    I’ve stopped getting the Katherine Graham screening. I don’t think the results have borne out the efficacy of the screening.

    322 chars

  15. nancy said on November 2, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I had to think a minute to get the Katharine Graham reference. Funny.

    178 chars

  16. Suzanne said on November 2, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Yes, Cooze @ 4. Thread win and drew a snort from me in a public place.

    70 chars

  17. Suzanne said on November 2, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Best of luck on that “procedure”. I’ve had 2. The first one, the cat sat & stared at me all night as I sat on the throne. The second one, I mixed the solution with water because I didn’t think I could gag down all that Gatorade again. Also, I did not get the extreme goofiness from the drugs that my husband (& other relatives) did. Husband was higher than a kite all the way home.

    389 chars

  18. Deborah said on November 2, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    I had not heard that Katharine Graham story before. Hilarious.

    My husband had his first colonoscopy a few years before I did and he reported that it was the most uncomfortable experience he’d ever had. In the intervening years between his and mine they made it much more comfortable through the miracles of modern science. Sorry, I used the term colonoscopy, now twice in this comment.

    388 chars

  19. Dorothy said on November 2, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    I’ve had at least three of those tests, and hubby has had probably double that (he’s a colon cancer survivor), and not once has either of us had to worry about the seats in the vehicle. Still – if you’re worried – grab a beach towel. Fold it up and sit on it. Good luck. As you already know, the prep is the worst part.

    You can’t drive yourself to and from this test anyway, so be sure to put the towel on the passenger seat. Your bottom will appreciate the extra cushioning on the way there!

    499 chars

  20. Kim said on November 2, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    I think it was Heather in the previous thread (or maybe earlier) who recommended Seth Abramson’s twitter feed. I usually hate twitter but am obsessed with this guy’s take on the unspooling of this administration. He’s holding the slow-walking national press to account and it’s giving me hope. Read it. (and thanks, Heather!)

    Bonus: He has a pdf of Al Franken’s blistering letter today to Sessions. The irony of a comedy writer taking down a reality star and his entourage is almost too much.

    And if you have a half-hour to take a tour through the wasteland this administration seems determined to create from government, read Michael Lewis’ Vanity Fair piece.

    849 chars

  21. Jenine said on November 2, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    @Sherri: thank you for sharing info on the FIT kit previously. I was relieved to have that as an option and it was covered by our state plan.

    141 chars

  22. Colleen said on November 2, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Husband had the procedure last week. As the veteran of three of them, I second the advice to get the rocket fuel as cold as possible. I have the Katharine Graham scheduled for a month from now. Thank gods for health insurance.

    226 chars

  23. alex said on November 2, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Excellent Vanity Fair piece. I e-mailed it to my mom as I’m not sure she still subscribes, but it’s exactly the sort of reading that she loves. And we can both hector my dad with it because he’s always falling for the stupid agitprop about government funding for studies for bioscience things that might not make any sense if you don’t understand their purpose but make great sound bytes for demagogues.

    My dad’s not dumb, but the other day he was going off about death row inmates getting endless appeals and costing taxpayers millions. My response was why have a fucking death penalty anyway? The rest of the civilized world doesn’t and for a long time we did without it as well. The right-wingers brought it back because blood lust is such a potent political sales tool. Besides, look at how many death row inmates are being exonerated because of prosecutorial misconduct uncovered by fucking college students. And consider the vastly larger number of innocently convicted people who aren’t facing death, just hellish life sentences. Quit humoring your dumbfuck friends who watch Fox News and fill your head with this shit.

    1128 chars

  24. Charlotte said on November 2, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Firmly in the FIT club here — no family history, and after a lifetime of submitting to paps and boob tests that they now tell me were unnecessary — well, I’m not bothering my clockwork bowels.

    Speaking of potentially-icky things though! My friend Maryn McKenna was on Fresh Air today talking about her new book Big Chicken. I haven’t heard it yet (podcast queued up for my drive over the pass to teach tomorrow) but she’s a terrific writer, and did a whole chapter on my grandmother, who was an asymptomatic MRSA carrier and got stuck in solitary for 3 months while recovering from surgery. Vowed never to go back to a hospital again. Anyhow — she’s a terrific science writer and her beat is antibiotic resistance and terrifying bugs that can kill us!

    758 chars

  25. susan said on November 2, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    charlotte, I listened to that Fresh Air podcast. It was extremely interesting and fact-based and frightening. BUT, Maryn McKenna remains optimistic that things can and will improve. And…she still eats chicken.

    212 chars

  26. Deborah said on November 2, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    A friend of mine just texted me that he and his wife were having dinner in Logan Square where they live, and they got in a conversation with the guy who played Bubbles in The Wire. My friend texted me about it because I’m the one who introduced him to The Wire and loaned him our DVDs of the series. Makes me want to watch it again.

    332 chars

  27. Joe Kobiela said on November 2, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Hope the procedure went well, I still think Dave Berrys column on the night before was one of the funniest things I have read. Deborah, that procedure you mentioned saved my wifes life 20 some years ago I know it hurts but I would bet death is worse, please have it done. Flying out of Midland Texas this morning, estimate 50 square miles of nothing but oil pumps pumping away. Understand and am all for electric vehicles, just wonder where the electricity is going to come from and at what price if we don’t have coal fired electrical plants, nuclear, wind, water?
    Pilot Joe

    576 chars

  28. Sherri said on November 2, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Mammograms have created breast cancer survivors. They have not decreased the death rate from breast cancer. In other words, we’ve likely detected and treated a bunch of breast cancers that would not have killed people.

    Mammograms improve the survival rate, the number of people still alive 5 years after diagnosis. It has not improved the mortality rate, the number of people in a population who die due to breast cancer in a year.

    436 chars

  29. Dexter said on November 3, 2017 at 2:30 am

    US Route 6, The Lincoln Highway, has been near me for most of my life, a truck route always. As a small boy in the early-mid-1950s, riding in Dad’s Ford, windows down, I recall the sight and smell of the old trucks, every truck belching black diesel fumes. Then for reasons I never investigated, the smoke became less intense, and towns banned jake-braking. If you don’t know what that is, you are fortunate: it’s LOUD! engine braking. When this bullshit of this black-smoke-fuck-you started, I was really mad. Complained here and there, told to fuck off, mostly. The upside is that since I am old enough to remember black smoke trucks, I am probably done with rocket fuel. The doctor in Ann Arbor V .A. Hospital said if the procedure showed OK, I could then go ten years. I would then be 76, as my test was in 2015. When you hit 75, you’re all done with that shit. Unless for some reason a doctor says go-time again.
    I was on Cloud 9 for a few hours after Houston won the World Series. Thanks to dvr-ing, I never missed a pitch the entire 7 games. I always hated Houston,the city, but Harvey and then this Astros team turned me.
    Poor Red Wings fans…beautiful new digs, shitty-as-hell hockey team. Man…I can’t even watch this shit anymore…last night it was Ottawa Senators doing the nasty beat-down of Detroit. Bad, really bad.

    1348 chars

  30. alex said on November 3, 2017 at 6:24 am

    U.S. 6 is actually called the Grand Army of the Republic Highway but gets called Lincoln Way close to Chicago where it almost merges with U.S. 30 and U.S. 20, which are called the Lincoln Highway and Lincoln Way, respectively. U.S. Route 20 is also at different junctures known as the Chicago Road, the St. Joseph Valley Parkway and the Dunes Highway.

    351 chars

  31. David C. said on November 3, 2017 at 6:40 am

    The history of cancer screening is pretty dismal. I think the first one was annual chest x-rays to check for lung cancer in smokers. That didn’t work, in fact the extra radiation load made things worse. Now we have screening for colon cancer, which seems to be defensible and the FIP, in use, is just as good as a colonoscopy. Widespread use of mammograms and PSA tests seems to be quite problematic. There are a lot of people who have been treated for cancers they would die with, not from. And a percentage of those have had their health profoundly changed for the worse from the aftereffects of the treatment. Cancer screening seems to be a bigger benefit for the healthcare industry than for patients.

    705 chars

  32. alex said on November 3, 2017 at 7:11 am

    I knew a woman who had cancer in the 1970s attributed to excessive x-raying she underwent as a child in the 1930s and ’40s. She died at age 49 in 1975, but not of cancer. She had been so weakened by cancer treatments in the previous few years that she was taken by a viral illness. Three children lost their mother and our family lost a close friend and I was deeply affected by it.

    I’m past due for my date with the rocket fuel. I have some friends who pester me about it constantly and want to take me to my appointment when I eventually make one. They took my partner to his appointment and they joke that they got a lot of interesting information out of him while he was still high on Versed, and they want to do the same with me. I’m going to ask for a different anesthesia and for different chaperones.

    811 chars

  33. Julie Robinson said on November 3, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Alex, thanks for the Lincoln Highway clarification; I only ever knew it as 30. It was the main street of my hometown, and many other small towns too.

    Apparently I chatted up the roto-rooter doctor extensively about football. I despise football.

    247 chars

  34. Mark P said on November 3, 2017 at 9:05 am

    The last time I had the procedure they used propofol. It was like going to sleep. In fact, I was in the middle of a dream when they woke me up. It was much, much better than the first time. I’m due now because they found polyps last time, and my wife has it next week. She’s a colon cancer survivor from about 18 years ago.

    327 chars

  35. Dorothy said on November 3, 2017 at 9:07 am

    If only you could work “I always knew you were a bad-ass.” into your resume somehow….

    87 chars

  36. Charlotte said on November 3, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I lost a brother to cancer in 1972, and they’re finding that even if you survive childhood cancer, there are lifelong issues — especially heart attacks from the weakened system. One of those games you play sometimes — what would Michael have been like if he’d grown up (trouble is our guess — he was a very mischevous little guy).

    I fight with my doctor every visit over FIT vs colonoscopy. And I know several older men who were treated for prostate cancers that probably wouldn’t have killed them — some are pleased, some not. On the other hand — my Beloved Stepmother, after nearly 10 years fighting off HPV-related cancers, is now 5 years cancer-free — so that’s good.

    682 chars

  37. jcburns said on November 3, 2017 at 10:56 am

    I’m a bit of a US highway numberophile, so US 6 has always been a touchstone for me. It extends out the crook of Cape Cod to Provincetown (on the eastern end) and out west we found a bunch of “historic US 6” in the Santa Clarita mountains just east of LA on a stretch that has been used for a zillion filming locations. Not far from Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, which is where many a Star Trek film crew has gone before.

    424 chars

  38. Deborah said on November 3, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Done with my Katharine Graham screening thank goodness. It’s cold in Chicago today and the room where the big horrible squeeze machine sits was freezing. You’d think they could at least get the temperature right.

    212 chars

  39. Peter said on November 3, 2017 at 11:45 am

    45 on Fox last night, responding to a question about State Department vacancies: “Let me tell you, the one that matters is me. I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be. You’ve seen that, you’ve seen it strongly.”

    Well, at least he’s made it official….

    315 chars

  40. adrianne said on November 3, 2017 at 11:45 am

    I’m all in for the Pap tests, colonoscopies (have had two so far), mammograms and other unpleasantness. Small price to pay for continued good health, I say.

    156 chars

  41. Bob (Not Greene) said on November 3, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Nance, we’re on the same schedule apparently. As you were publishing this, I was getting wheeled into the procedure room. I’m good on Gatorade for a while.

    155 chars

  42. Sherri said on November 3, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Brr! It’s 33 degrees here right now, and we woke up to some snow on the ground. Although it took a while before I noticed it because the sun doesn’t rise until almost 8. That will change when we go off DST, until mid-December when we’ll be right back there

    The high today is only supposed to be 42. Fall was nice, what there was of it.

    344 chars

  43. Deborah said on November 3, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Bowe Berdahl doesn’t have to do jail time. I’ve been following the case for a while. He got a dishonorable discharge and he has to pay $10,000 in fines over a 10 month period. I’d say his 5 years in Taliban captivity was punishment enough for his stupid action.

    261 chars

  44. Deborah said on November 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    This guy is a real doofus he was on with Chris Hayes last night talking about the tax cut bill and he made a royal fool of himself.

    201 chars

  45. Bitter Scribe said on November 3, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    The overwhelming factor in the loss of manufacturing jobs is automation. Not only is that not likely to be reversed, it’s spreading to places like warehouses and retail stores.

    It’s another Industrial Revolution, but even more than the first one, the wealth it’s creating is overwhelmingly concentrated in the hands of very few people.

    I used to think the concept of a universal guaranteed income was a pipe dream, but if this state of affairs continues, it may be the only way to make life tolerable for the mass of citizens.

    532 chars

  46. coozledad said on November 3, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Bergdahl at least served with a combat unit. Trump and his children never darkened the door of a recruiting office.

    He’s given the Army some useful information on the location and setup of Taliban prisons. Beyond that, all I’d say is war fucks you up, one way or another. People who celebrate it and fetishize the military are insufficiently mentally developed to evaluate its effects, and they’re far too immoral to make any kind of judgement call on actual participants.

    It’s especially galling to hear old bastards who are nearly divorced from their desire to live weighing in on the youngs who’re burdened with war. Every time I hear some old shitsack go off about firing squads I think of images like this one:

    867 chars

  47. Mark P said on November 3, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    I might have mentioned this before, but I read somewhere that Bergdahl had been kicked out of the Coast Guard and should never have been accepted into the Army in the first place. He apparently had sufficient problems even before going in that he should have been politely showed the door at the recruiting office.

    314 chars

  48. Deborah said on November 3, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    There’s a whole episodes long piece on Serial of the Bergdahl incident if anyone is interested, I’ll try to find a link. He did indeed leave the Coast Guard under strange circumstances before joining the Army. He was a troubled soul trying to find a place for himself and he screwed up big time. But he paid the price for it under horrible conditions while he was a prisoner of the Taliban. Trump of course has come out against the judges decision in the military court marshall, but we all know that he got out of serving claiming “bone spurs”, so he has little room to talk.

    There are 7 chapters

    635 chars

  49. nancy said on November 3, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Test went without a hitch. Everything shipshape in the trash chute, and after a day of purging, kissing-sweet!

    Have a good weekend, all.

    140 chars

  50. Deborah said on November 3, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Good news, Nancy!

    Here’s another reason to be against the tax fiasco

    246 chars

  51. Andrea said on November 3, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Best news I have read in a while, or since Indictment Monday, at least — the way around trump’s pardon power:

    256 chars

  52. Jeff Borden said on November 3, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Has anyone looked more closely at the House GOP tax plan? In addition to adding another $1.5 trillion in debt –the black guy is gone so it’s okay to embrace heavy debt again– it fucks people who live in successful blue cities and states. By limiting the mortgage deduction to $500,000 mortgages, our little red state buddies shove it up the ass of the liberal urbanites they hate in New York, L.A., the Bay Area, Chicago, etc., where housing prices are far higher than in, say, Spencerville, Tennessee. And, of course, there is absolutely no guarantee that any of the savings derived from a tax cut will go to the workers. It rarely does. Instead, the shareholders will pocket more returns and much of the funds will joint the estimated $2.5 trillion U.S. corporations have in overseas tax shelters. These assholes have been selling the same snake oil since St. Ronald of Reagan held office. Why don’t people fucking learn?

    925 chars

  53. 4dbirds said on November 3, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I’ve had two rocket fuel procedures. Both clean. Don’t need another for 10 years. I’m even thinking why bother then? I’m lucky. If you have suspicious activity you could get them every 2-3 years.

    200 chars

  54. Andrea said on November 3, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Oh, and Jeff B., their tax plan eliminates adoption tax credits and taxes adoption benefits that employees may receive, cuz, you know, the Rs are so very “pro-life” at least until the baby is born. Forced birth and then you are on your own.

    240 chars

  55. susan said on November 3, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Bassett, be careful out there.

    161 chars

  56. basset said on November 3, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I surely will, Susan, thanks for thinking of me. I rarely use a treestand, but when I do I’m in full safety harness and clipped in as soon as I step onto the ladder. Muzzleloader season starts at dawn tomorrow, rifle on the 18th.

    231 chars

  57. Sherri said on November 3, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    The GOP tax bill would tax tuition waivers for grad students. In the middle of my time in grad school, the ‘86 tax reform bill passed, and the stipend I received as a research assistant became taxable. It wasn’t as big a deal for me, because the interpretation was that only the increase of my stipend after the bill was enacted was subject to tincome tax, so the bulk of my stipend was still tax free. My tuition was covered; I didn’t pay it, never received money that I then had to hand over, it was just waived.

    Now, this bill wants to tax that waiver, all to give more money to rich people. What a stupid, shortsighted idea.

    637 chars

  58. Sherri said on November 3, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    What would it take to convince coal miners and workers displaced by automation to move into fields traditionally considered female fields, like caregiving? More money? Different job titles and definitions of the work?

    When we were pricing out 24/7 personal care in their house for my in-laws, the cost worked out to around $16-$18/hour, in a state where the minimum wage is $7.25/hour. I don’t know how much of that was going to the actual caregiver; these were for the most part, small locally owned companies.

    There are jobs that will continue to need to be done, but many are considered lower status because they’ve been done by women. Our view of gender is harmful to men as well as women.

    705 chars

  59. Connie said on November 3, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    My husband did some caregiver work about ten years ago. He received ten dollars an hour and was treated as a subcontractor, paid his own soc security etc. we considered it to be equal to less than minimum wage. The caregiver is paid a fraction of the agency’s rate charged to the patient.

    He originally did it to help someone out, and found out he was good at it. His agency used him for hospice care for ww2 vets, as a vietnam vet he was able to connect with them. And yes it was a small locally owned company.

    512 chars

  60. alex said on November 4, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Here’s a funny piece on fake bookshelves as a backdrop to lend gravitas to fake news:

    It doesn’t mention it, but when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson launched their ersatz cable “news” shows in the 1980s they surrounded themselves with books, and I remember them being called out for the gimmick at the time.

    379 chars

  61. basset said on November 4, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Out in the woods right now near Bucksnort, Tennessee. Saw one deer and heard two while walking in before dawn but no shot yet. Susan, I’m sitting on the ground.

    163 chars

  62. Connie said on November 4, 2017 at 11:05 am

    I am waiting for a veterans 5k race to begin at 11:11, I will be able to live track my husband.

    There is an instapot on the way for his upcoming birthday. I have the library copy of the book mentioned earlier, Dinner in an Instant by Melissa Clark. Not my kind of cooking. Recipes are multi step complicated, not what I’ve been led to expect from what I’ve read about the instapot. Long lists of unfamiliar ingredients. More than one recipe calling for saffron. Wine braised oxtails with fennel. Osso buco. Many of you would love it, but I am looking for fast and simple.

    574 chars

  63. susan said on November 4, 2017 at 11:46 am

    bassett, I assume you are sitting on the ground because you intended to, not because you fell out of a tree-blind.

    114 chars

  64. Connie said on November 4, 2017 at 11:50 am


    5 chars

  65. coozledad said on November 4, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    The media is complicit in handing the US to a Russian puppet, because of the role misogyny plays in advancement in what’s become a corporate trash heap of middling shills and arse crawlers. There are too many white men peddling the prevailing narrative. And they are too easily bought off in the chain of male ass sniffing that passes for journalism.

    It’s almost as though they have the same institutional upper IQ cutoff they do for cops.

    503 chars

  66. Sherri said on November 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Ballots are out, and the election ends next Tuesday. $8.5M and counting has been spent in the state senate race in my district.

    293 chars

  67. Sherri said on November 4, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Whaddya know, the NYTimes writes about my district and I don’t cringe.

    159 chars

  68. Deborah said on November 4, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Remind me which one is your preferred candidate, Sherri.

    56 chars

  69. Sherri said on November 4, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Manka Dhingra.

    14 chars

  70. Deborah said on November 4, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    This could be a big deal for people with conditions like the one LB has If pharma companies don’t get tax credits to pursue these kind of drugs because such a small percentage of the population has the condition, they probably won’t do it. While I think big pharma is raking it in all over the place and they only seem to care about producing drugs they can make mega profits on, still it will mean something to the people who won’t be able to get possibly life saving medications.

    Also, the new tax bill purposes to get rid of tax credits for people who choose solar and other alternate energy sources, thus making people less likely to make investments in that. Too bad.

    802 chars

  71. basset said on November 4, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Susan, I was purposely sitting on the ground but I did find a high spot. Four of us out there but nobody saw anything except my one, which is pretty much what we expected, wx too warm and rainy. Just had to get out there, though.

    231 chars

  72. Deborah said on November 4, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    And another thing the new tax bill would do is make it so people can no longer deduct interest they pay on student loans.

    So they’ve pretty much screwed the old and sick, people who have to take out loans to go to college (which is pretty much everyone who goes to college these days except the one percenters), People who pay high state and local taxes (which are predominately the blue states dontcha know), and people who want to use alternate energy sources because they care about the planet. So what did I miss? Who else is getting screwed? Meanwhile the rich and the corporations are rolling in it. What a scam.

    622 chars

  73. susan said on November 4, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    This is so perfect. Ha ha ha ha! Perfect for the swaydough lazy anarchist. It’s pre-doodled for you, and only costs $375, plus shipping… No, wait, FREE shipping! Cool! Actually, the proper anarchist way to approach this item is to steal it. That’s FREE, too! Oh wait. It’s damned cotton-blend. That is NOT kosher. And dry-clean only. Oh, and imported. Deal-breaker. Never mind.

    515 chars

  74. Judybusy said on November 4, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Susan, that cracked me up!

    Deborah, you know they want to raise the lowest rate from 10 to 12%, right? So evil. They also want to get rid of the mortgage deduction, which the homebuilders association is going to fight like mad. I did find out, though, that a lot of other developed countries don’t have that deduction. I heard a piece some months ago on Marketplace about how tax policy benefits mostly white people, due to our better economic status. That deduction was given as an example. Who is going to fight like hell to get the lowest tax rate back to 10%? Personally, I think anyone making less than $50,000 shouldn’t have to pay taxes because everything else is so damn expensive. Now that would stimulate the economy!

    731 chars

  75. Jolene said on November 5, 2017 at 1:25 am

    You all have mentioned many of the low-level atrocities in the current tax bill. Here is a summary that catches pretty much all of them. The one about adoption is particularly mystifying, especially for people adopting from foster care. Seems like we should support that in any way possible. Even if we didn’t care about the long-term welfare of the kids, a one-time tax benefit is less costly to the treasury than years of payments to foster parents.

    573 chars

  76. Dexter said on November 5, 2017 at 2:42 am

    That was my brain-fart, Alex…yes indeed, US 30 is Lincoln Highway, US6 is Grand Army of the Republic Highway. In “On the Road”, Jack Kerouac hitchhikes to Denver from New York City to hook up with Dean Moriarty and find Old Dean , the dad, on Larimer Street. Jack writes of picking up Route 6 in Pennsylvania, catching a ride in a new Hudson Hornet and going 70, like mad men across America, eating only apple pie ala mode in diners for sustenance on the trip. Several times I searched the local library and online to try and figure just exactly where Route 6 was laid out in 1947, and even in the small section I searched
    , NE Indiana, there were discrepancies. Hell, there about 4 different descriptions just between Kendallville and Bryan, Ohio, and a few oldtimers I asked just in Waterloo gave me three streets that each swore was the old road. Oh well…I was in high school in Waterloo, about 150 feet from Maple Street, which all my life was called “Old 6”.Good enough.

    985 chars

  77. alex said on November 5, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Feeling squicked out after seeing a mouse in the house — while we were hosting company for dinner, no less. Today going out to buy mousetraps and maybe borrow a friend’s chihuahua.

    Made a fabulous stroganoff in the Instant Pot. Bought $20 worth of sirloin for the effort and served it over some fat “homemade style” noodles from a local shop. Connie, this one’s so simple you could do it in your sleep.

    My only caveat is that a lot of these recipes are British and sometimes you need a conversion chart not just for metrics but for Britspeak. What they call stock we call broth. What they call rump steak we call sirloin.

    I doubled the ingredients, but made sure to read up on Instant Pot cooking beforehand and learned that I didn’t need to increase the cooking time and that I shouldn’t increase the amount of liquid even if increasing the other ingredients.

    Dex, I have a highway numbering question for you. Did 427 always fork off north of Waterloo and go up through Hamilton and over to Edon, Ohio? I could have sworn that 427 designated the road through Angola up to Lake George maybe 30 years ago and the road to Hamilton was something else.

    1172 chars

  78. jcburns said on November 5, 2017 at 8:45 am

    You wouldn’t think Wikipedia would have an article for nearly every Interstate, US, and State Highway, but indeed: Indiana State Road 427 (And the ‘history’ section may answer your question.) Amazing to me.

    297 chars

  79. alex said on November 5, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Thanks, JC. Looks like I was misremembering.

    44 chars

  80. Deborah said on November 5, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Speaking of mice, there’s a neighborhood cat that’s been hanging around our building in Santa Fe. The cat leaves dead mouse offerings on the walkway for the residents to admire. She’s (he?) is well taken care of by someone, she wears a flea collar. She’s skittish but spends a lot of time around our building.

    There were 3 accidents on LSD this morning. Roads are wet and our building is near a big curve that cars go flying through sometimes sideways or backwards. I watched a taxi do a 360 this morning, ended up facing the right direction and kept on going. If I had been in that taxi I would have had a heart attack.

    624 chars

  81. alex said on November 5, 2017 at 10:50 am

    It’s a fool’s errand placing traps if you don’t know where the mice are, so that’s where the chihuahua comes in. He’ll go directly to their hiding place and pitch a fit.

    We have an outdoor kitty but I don’t dare bring her inside. We did it once when the weather was sub-zero and I ended up having to tear out and throw away our carpeting because she wouldn’t use the litter box. And I’m allergic besides.

    I found an online tone generator which can reproduce any note at any frequency, so I’ve been blasting it on inaudible high frequency through my stereo system to see if it flushes out any pests. We have speakers in the ceiling throughout the house.

    660 chars

  82. Heather said on November 5, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Alex, you could always get or make an outdoor shelter for the kitty.

    This cat rescue group I follow in Canada have been doing amazing work with feral cats. While it’s generally the case that feral cats can’t be domesticated, they’ve shown that it’s not impossible. They take care of a couple feral colonies and as they get to know the cats and show that all humans are not predators, a couple of them turn in their “feral cards” every year and are adopted.

    460 chars

  83. alex said on November 5, 2017 at 11:35 am

    That’s what we did. She has a heated quonset hut.

    49 chars

  84. alex said on November 5, 2017 at 11:37 am

    And meant to mention that I found a sonic pest control youtube audio that plays for 8 hours straight. We’re leaving it on as we go out for brunch.

    146 chars

  85. Sherri said on November 5, 2017 at 11:42 am

    More snow here this morning. Today it’s a heavier, wetter snow, and starting to stick to the roads, unlike the other day, though it’s just slushy. The biggest problem is that the trees haven’t lost their leaves, yet, not all of them have even finished turning. So one of my birch trees is bent over with all this wet snow weighing it down. I tried shaking it off with limited success.

    390 chars

  86. Joe Kobiela said on November 5, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    I think it’s always been 427 North of Waterloo to Hamilton, and 27 to Angola didn’t 27 run thru Garrett merged with 8 at the mile corner, then met up with 427 in downtown Auburn at 7th and main? 8 went to Ohio, and 427-27 ran north together till the split North of Waterloo.
    Pilot Joe

    292 chars

  87. coozledad said on November 5, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Them traitor shoes a’ startin’ to drop faster than you can count. Bloody Sunday-Flynn, Flynn Jr., and now Willlllbur Ross.

    They’re all filthy. Every one of them a Putin dingleberry.

    333 chars

  88. Heather said on November 5, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    A heated hut! Nice.

    19 chars

  89. alex said on November 5, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    We got drenched coming out of the grocery store. Strong storms and torrential rains here today, and the damn store didn’t have any mousetraps or plastic clothes hangers, two of the items we wanted.

    We dreaded the thought of going to Walmart for those items and happened to pass by a Dollar Tree, where 4-packs of mousetraps were a dollar, and 8-packs of hangers were a dollar.

    In the checkout line, the clerk asked if we’d like to donate a dollar for the troops serving overseas, and seeing as how my bill was only a few bucks I said sure. The clerk said they were donating merchandise, took a marker to the barcode of a package and told us to place the package in a big box at the front of the store. The package contained a black baby doll. The box was full of black dolls. Slow-moving merch in Auburn, Indiana, I suppose.

    828 chars

  90. coozledad said on November 5, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Vin Weber. Asshole with deepdick connections to Newt Gingrich and Paul Ryan.

    Jailhouses gonna have to lay in a shit ton of mayonnaise.

    231 chars

  91. basset said on November 5, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Wish it’d snow here – we’re in the second day of muzzleloader deer season and it’s been over 70 both days, way too hot for the deer to move around. Of course, I’ve gone both mornings just to be outside for awhile. Passed golfers playing in shorts on the way back today.

    271 chars

  92. Deborah said on November 5, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Ok, I wasn’t paying attention when it happened but how did Russia end up with so many oligarchs? I realize when the USSR fell, no one was in charge. Then all the state owned industries were just up for grabs by the biggest baddest entity? Seriously? Is that what happened? I really want to know.

    295 chars

  93. Deborah said on November 5, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    What the fuck is wrong with this country? Another mass shooting in a church. This time in Texas. When will we do something about guns in the hands of mad men?

    158 chars

  94. Deborah said on November 5, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    And one, two, three “thoughts and prayers”, coming their way.

    61 chars

  95. alex said on November 5, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Deborah, the Russian economy has been largely taken over by organized crime since the fall of the Soviet government and it can fairly be called a “mafia state.” Putin is their puppet.

    We think we located the mouse point of entry. There’s a spot behind a door that needs new drywall and we temporarily screwed a piece of sheet metal over it a while back. Today I noted that a spot in the bottom of it was flared out and the screw holding it into the drywall was popped free and it’s close to where I saw the mouse. We screwed the bottom of the panel into a stud this time and hopefully that does the trick.

    We hadn’t seen any evidence of mice since we remodeled two years ago, when we sealed all possible points of entry from the attic and walls and meticulously caulked everything. The effort also improved our energy efficiency dramatically. We used to get ice dams on the roof because of all of the escaping heat into the attic causing constant melting and thawing. Not a problem anymore.

    Mice creep me out.

    1021 chars

  96. Deborah said on November 5, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    These shootings seem to have a shelf life of about 4 days, hardly anybody talks about Las Vegas anymore and it happened a little more than a month ago. I read that there have been 307 mass shootings this year and we’re into the 309 day of the year. What is wrong with this country? Answer: too many guns, too easy to acquire.

    325 chars

  97. susan said on November 5, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    This is what Texas Guvner Abbott said on Twitter two years ago.

    152 chars

  98. Deborah said on November 5, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Every description that I’ve read so far about the shooting tragedy in Texas has included what Trump and Abbott have said about it, which is basically “thoughts and prayer”, which makes me furious. Because who the fuck cares what those assholes think or say? It makes absolutely no difference in the lives of ordinary people who put one foot in front of the other living their lives in these circumstances. I could scream. DO SOMETHING!

    435 chars

  99. Heather said on November 5, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Those people were already praying–they were in a church. Clearly God is leaving this one to us to figure out.

    110 chars

  100. susan said on November 5, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Jeebus was there and did nothing. So much for that guy. Oh wait. He didn’t have a gun. That’s it.

    97 chars

  101. Andrea said on November 5, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Alex, I made a turkey breast in the instant pot tonight, and the gravy as well. It was pretty good, alongside cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and shredded brussel sprouts with pecans and ham. A mini-Thanksgiving dinner, just to get us excited for the season.

    260 chars