Little champs.

The Larry Nassar case wrapped an important phase yesterday, when the long, long sentencing hearing finally concluded and Nassar himself received the specifics of his punishment, which guarantee he will die in prison.

But I don’t want to talk about Nassar so much right now. I want to talk about sports.

With the winter Olympics bearing down on us, we’re about to be bombarded with stories of plucky young athletes who have sacrificed nearly everything youth has to offer for the chance to compete at a world level and maybe stand on the podium, have a medal hung around their neck and, rarest of all, have their national anthem played before the world. (At least if they’re in a sport worthy of attention. Hard to get big ratings for biathlon or my fave from the summer games, modern pentathlon. That’s riding, swimming, running, fencing and shooting, which was plainly my destiny in my parallel life.)

And I’ve been seeing headlines lately. Michael Phelps contemplated suicide after the 2012 games, which he left with four golds and two silvers. Tiger Woods, derailed after the death of his infamously domineering father, briefly trained with Navy SEALs, a foolish pursuit that may have given him a career-altering injury. Play in the NFL? Prepare to suffer head injuries that will likely shorten your life, or at least make its last years miserable in unanticipated ways. And then there’s Tonya Harding, human punching bag, the evil princess of American figure skating.

Anyone who pays attention to high-school and college sports hears stories, of parents willing to harass and even bribe coaches for playing time for their children. A average-size defensive lineman at my own high school came back from summer vacation looking like the Incredible Hulk. His father was a doctor, and the stories started circulating that dad had been helpful in finding a drug cocktail that would turn his son into a behemoth just in time for football season.

And these poor gymnasts in the Nassar case. Now that the main narrative has been concluded, look for the rest of the fallout to be coming down soon – about the coaches and trainers and others who, if they didn’t look the other way, certainly were accustomed to telling these tiny girls to just sit down and shut up about what this famous doctor did to them.

The stories are already starting to come out. This guy, booted from USA Gymnastics only this week, was one of Nassar’s enablers:

Geddert’s coaching style has largely been based on fear and intimidation, according to dozens of people who spoke with Outside the Lines over the past year, a group that includes current and former gymnasts, parents of gymnasts, coaches who have worked alongside Geddert and other gym employees. Many of those contacted said they were reluctant to speak publicly about Geddert because they either have children involved in gymnastics in the Lansing area or careers in the sport and they are mindful of the power he wields.

Man, it’s like you could hardly come up with a better atmosphere for a 14-year-old to not speak up about the doctor treating her back pain with a finger up her vagina, could you?

So, my question to the athletes in the room, or the athletes’ parents, or anyone who is athlete-adjacent: We hear a lot about kids who are “obsessed” with the game they play, who have to be told to put down the sticks and take off the skates/uniform/helmet. But how do you keep a child safe in a world like this, and why would you even want them to be part of it? How do you turn them over to a coach who trains little girls with fear and intimidation? I read an interview with Michael Phelps once where he apologized for not being more interesting, because “I swim, I eat and I sleep. That’s literally all I do.” Are even 20 gold medals worth it, when the result is a grown man who had to careen through alcohol, drugs, depression and suicidal ideation before, against all odds, finding himself? I mean, what about the ones who aren’t Michael Phelps, who train every bit as hard for just as long, but don’t make the cut?

I’ve long thought this was all about parents. Anyone seen “I, Tonya” yet? Allison Janney has a big scene, playing Tonya Harding’s mother, where she spits at her daughter, “I made you a champion, knowing you’d hate me for it. That’s the sacrifice a mother makes.” But how can you encourage a kid to keep trying, to not accept defeat easily, to give their best effort, in environments like this?

I read once that Wayne Gretzky’s father would take his hockey gear away from him and lock it in a closet once the season was over. Young Wayne could do whatever he wanted in the off-season except play hockey. It strikes me that the elder Mr. Gretzky knew something too many parents have forgotten.

In the meantime, this is the effort it took for someone to finally pay attention to what Nassar was doing:

Other girls had sounded the alarm about Nassar over the previous two decades — yet no one discovered his criminal behavior.

Rachael Denhollander arrived at MSU years after Nassar assaulted her. She was an attorney, ready for a battle with a thick folder of documents.

Among them: her medical records, journals, the names of four pelvic floor specialists, a USA Gymnastics-certified coach she had told about Nassar’s conduct, an index of medical journal articles on legitimate pelvic floor techniques, a character letter reference and a memo that outlined how her complaint met every element of Michigan law defining first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

“I knew it was going to be a fight,” Denhollander, a former Kalamazoo resident living in Louisville, told The Detroit News. “I had to present the absolutely strongest case possible because it was a medically and legally complex case because a doctor and alleged medical treatment was involved. My biggest fear was I would file a report, he would win and would know he was unstoppable.”


So. Can we skip to some bloggage for the weekend?

A friend of mine works in an office where the Fox Business channel is on all day. “Think how bad Fox News is, then double it, and that’s Fox Business,” he says. After reading this piece on Lou Dobbs, I don’t doubt it.

And that’ll be it for me until after the weekend. I have a fundraiser to work on Saturday, and I appear to have blown out my knee (again), so I’m limping. Play nice and I’ll be back Sunday/Monday.

Posted at 4:38 pm in Current events |

89 responses to “Little champs.”

  1. Dexter said on January 25, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Old timers, specifically the old baseball pros I listen to on MLB Network, say kids should play all sports according to the season, to develop different muscle skills and disciplines, and not just play one sport year-round. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as a young boy and early teen, played baseball and preferred it to basketball, for instance, but as the best basketballer in all of the nation , he dropped it all except roundball.
    I’ve followed the Nassar/MSU scandal and there’s nothing I have to add, but the consensus is that the resignation of the MSU president won’t end the story, but I have no idea what that means. All I know is that Penn State is still an accredited institution of higher learning and their teams all play NCAA sports, and rarely is the Sandusky story mentioned. What the hell, anyway? What are supporters, fans, alumni, observers, supposed to do in the aftermath of the Nassar sentencing? I guess just make sure this never happens again? Good luck everyone who cares, keep trying to figure it out…it ain’t no cakewalk.

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  2. David C. said on January 25, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Kid’s sports are just insane. The eight-year-old daughter of the woman who cuts my hair was in travel league softball last summer. Travel ball has killed the rec leagues in town. She wanted to play softball like her mom did. The coach thought he was going to be the Vince Lombardi of the eight-year-old girl’s softball set. He was a total prick who played the girls against each other, against their parents, and played the parents against each other too. He scheduled three-hour practices every Saturday and Sunday and screamed at them when they were completely gassed at the end of the Sunday practice. By the end of the season, her daughter had insomnia and was crying all the time. Her pediatrician is in the National Guard and told Traci her daughter had all the signs of PTSD. So in one year, this jerk put her completely off sports. We have a park across the street where the youth football teams practice. You hear the coaches calling the boys pussies, wimps, girls, you name it. The parents are right there and don’t seem to mind. I don’t know how you stuff this back into the bottle, but someone’s going to have to figure out how.

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  3. FDChief said on January 25, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    In re: FAUX…rather than “bad” I’d call them “direct”; they are propaganda organs, Pravda for plutocrats. They and their bankers know that fair-and-balanced is just for the rubes. Sadly, the Left needs to stop relying on the cable and network news to offset the wingnut Wurlitzer and start up a network that will call the wingnut spades what they are. When I start seeing headlines like “Trump tweet tantrum twaddle” or “Nutty Nunes’ Tinfoil Hat” I’ll start believing my fellow lefties arr getting it.

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  4. Deborah said on January 25, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    I knew a girl in high school who was a serious swimmer, she was trying like crazy to someday be in the olympics. She swam all the time, we felt sorry for her because we thought she was being kept from a normal teenage life. She didn’t make it to the big leagues. A few years ago I worked with a woman who was in the olympics, she was a high diver and came in 4th, whatever year that was. She grew up in Cincinnati and her parents drove 200 miles every Sunday so she could practice at some pool where they pumped bubbles in to the water so it wouldn’t hurt so much when she plunged into the water.

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  5. Suzanne said on January 25, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    I began to realize how nuts kids sports was years ago when I was talking to a guy I know, nice enough guy, who coached Little League. He was coaching kindergartners and said they only practiced 5 nights a week (or maybe it was four)so it wasn’t too intense. Kindergartners. 5 & 6 year olds. Older kids practice every day, sometimes twice a day, and often have games that end at 10:00 at night.
    If you want your kid to play the big sports (basketball, football, soccer), you almost have to get on the treadmill. If they don’t play AAU sports in grade school or middle school, they won’t ever get on the high school team. Even in 3rd or 4th grade elementary school basketball, there is an expectation that they will have played on some sort of team already. And whatever sport you choose, you are expected to practice all summer, even though it often isn’t called practice but some other name like “open gym”. If you don’t, you won’t be on the team.
    I’ve known kids who had their 2nd or 3rd knee surgery before they graduated from high school. It’s nuts.

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  6. FDChief said on January 25, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    And my thoughts on sport and kids are…it’s the adults that are the problem. Get 99% of the adults involved – parents, coaches, administrators, officials – out and you remove 98% of the problems

    It’d remove the money, for one, and that’s another big problem. One reason these kids get pushed so hard is because they or, more likely, some adult around them sees them as an ATM.

    Then shut down 90% of all kid organized leagues. Pickup games? Open courts? Great! But kids should play a game because it’s fun, not so Westside United can win a tournament check or Faber College sell tickets to alums.

    Unrealistic? Sure. But so long as young people are some adult’s ticket to cash, or fame, or power this will continue

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 25, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    Interesting thought, chief, but the weird thing to me is that there’s so little money in the system. It makes me wonder what other reward-response button is getting pushed. Sure, the chance of an unlikely massive payout keeps making millions buy lottery tickets, but the whole youth sports deal feels like something else. The love of power and control? A passion for domination and the ability to compel action? Or am I being far too mordant, and it’s about the visceral reaction to the crack of bat on ball or the upwelling of joy as the rotations turn into the ideal arc, and they stick the landing?

    There’s a huge machinery of youth sports at work in my otherwise constrained community, in baseball and basketball and kids’ soccer or girls cheerleading, let alone junior wrestling and gymnastics seemingly everywhere. Clearly a hatful of adults are making a living at running the studios and programs, but the time and investment of the parents pushing the travel teams and tournaments doesn’t seem fully explained by just the hope of an outcome where in a few years they’ll be cashing endorsement checks.

    I don’t understand much about people’s motivations, though. I’m just sure I’m missing something.

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  8. alex said on January 25, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Get ready. The right-wingers are about to have a field day with this story:

    Josh Marshall is doing a bunch of handwringing over the journalistic ethics of suppressing the photo in 2008, although it indeed holds no probative value, as he states, yet could have changed the course of history.

    This is a prime example of how the the press fails its audience most of the time. Not by failing to publish the photo, but by failing to put into perspective that the left and right and black and white are being held to different standards. A meeting between the Black Caucus and Farrakhan is no more a scandal than a meeting between the Freedom Caucus and Tony Perkins. Imagine a hypothetical convention held annually by the Black Panthers and keynoted by legislators hoping to court the group’s favor. Why would it be any different than the annual Values Voter Summit?

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  9. FDChief said on January 25, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Not sure the adult payoff has to be big casino. Remove whatever the adult profits – meaning you’d remove most of the adults – and you remove most of the motive for non-pervy(I.e. most) exploitation. Whether “profits” are financial, emotional, political, or a mix, you’re not gonna get them from kids kicking a ball around in the park or shooting around the gym. It’s the organized leagues and competition that brings the adults looking for gold or glory…

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  10. Dave Kobiela said on January 25, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    Good Jim Thome story Dex. It’s pretty cool watching a young athlete becoming an all time great.
    When I was a freshman footballer at Hillsdale College, out head coach Frank “Muddy” Waters, took the freshman team on a special “road trip” to Jackson State Prison. Muddy thought it would be a good learning experience for his young players, so we played a

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  11. Suzanne said on January 25, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), parents put their kids through all these sports camps, travel teams, etc. so they get a college scholarship. Many, many parents do so. A very few do get scholarships, but most of the time it’s a couple of thousand $$ to a school they don’t really want to attend. I’ve known so many!

    When I watch the Olympics, all I can think of, as Nancy mentioned, what about the people who spent money they didn’t have, spent all their time, damaged their body,and put regular life on hold to chase a dream they didn’t achieve. What happens then?

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  12. basset said on January 25, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Youth sports aren’t about kids playing, they’re about weeding them out for the next level. If you’re twelve years old and love to play soccer but you’re not very good at it, you’re gonna be on the back side of the park kicking a ball around by yourself because you can’t help a team win. And, again, it’s about performing what I have repeatedly referred to here as highly specialized manual labor.

    Dexter, I’d be interested in hearing how youth sports were handled when you were coming up – I’m not aware that anyone else among us has actually been paid to play sports, least of all me.

    Where I was, in rural southwestern Indiana inm the late 60s and early 70s, there were four Little League teams in our town for 9-12-year-olds and one Babe Ruth League team for 13s through 15s. If you didn’t make the Babe Ruth team, and I didn’t, you were done playing baseball. And you could pretty much forget about playing high school sports anyway – if you didn’t come up through the school basketball program starting in the fifth grade, you didn’t even get a tryout.

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  13. Dave Kobiela said on January 25, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    …football game inside the walls of Jackson State. I don’t remember the score, but I do remember a young tailback and kick returner on the inmates team. I was on the punt team, and never laid a finger on him. Turned out he was a pretty good baseball player too. You probably saw him steal some bases at Detroit and Chicago. 455 according to Ron LeFlore was the fastest guy I ever tried to tackle.

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  14. Dave said on January 25, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    My sister pushed her sons into all of that, the oldest went on to play one year of football as a freshman at Otterbein but he quit it and quit school to do what he wanted. The other son has had two surgeries that I know of, he’s now attending a small college in Pittsburgh I’d never heard of (La Roche) where he’s on the baseball team. I’m waiting to see how that turns out.

    She also has a daughter who has been participating in cheerleading competitions since she could walk, I think.

    On a completely unrelated note, today marks the 40th anniversary of the Great Blizzard of 1978, which I’m sure some here remember vividly.

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  15. basset said on January 25, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Sure do, I was about five weeks out of IU and on my first TV news job in Cadillac, Michigan. Plenty of snow up there.

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  16. Rana said on January 25, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    The freaky competitive side of children’s sports is something I have a fierce eye on, as I have a small girl who is delightfully athletic. So far we’ve been able to stick to things that are a combination of functional and fun (swimming lessons that are focused on learning to be safe in the water, gymnastics that’s about play and exploring movement and getting strong with instructors who know how to guide them into developing the necessary skills for safety). But I really worry if she ends up loving gymnastics for its own sake, because the female culture of the sport is toxic. Ditto dance, unless she takes up something like hip-hop or modern dance that’s not as weirdly body-policing as, say, ballet.

    Makes rock climbing look safe by comparison.

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  17. A. Riley said on January 25, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Yeah, high-intensity youth sports is something I don’t get at all. If I had a kid, I’d want them to do sports for the fun of it, for the fun of running around in the fresh air with your friends. I guess those days are over.

    Thing is, sports isn’t permanent, no matter how good a kid is at it. And racking up medals or statistics doesn’t do much to improve the human condition. Maybe some kid who’s spending hours and hours on a soccer field would have become a great author or scientist or philosopher if he’d been encouraged in that direction instead.

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  18. Dexter said on January 26, 2018 at 2:09 am

    bassett, my town’s baseball was set up exactly as yours was. Personally, the only sports I was forced into so I could play varsity basketball were cross country and track, which I was no good at at all, winning only one ribbon for track in 4 years of indentured running. I was indeed on the varsity basketball teams but in the coach’s eye I didn’t warrant much playing time, and as Warren Zevon told us to enjoy every sandwich, I cherish the memory of every one of the 126 points I scored in my junior and senior years. Baseball was my sport, where I first drew the attention of a bird-dog scout of the Philadelphia Phillies in high school, but it was only after my two years of playing semi-pro baseball (sort of semi-paid as well…just enough cash to eat and do laundry and walk around with a few singles left over) that a different (full-time man, not a bird-dog scout) {bird-dogs track down rumors of possible “finds” and report to the full-time scout} invited me to a tryout in Florida for the next spring, which got around the wind, and within days the Montreal Expos also invited me…and you may recall all that happened was a draft notice, and I was off to Vietnam instead, with no interest by any teams when I got back home…I did get one offer…somehow the coach of the new baseball team at IU-Pu Extension, Fort Wayne, offered me a spot playing third base for him…the money I received playing semi-pro was classified as meal money and did not disqualify me from collegiate baseball, he said…but going to class and working as many hours as I could did not yield enough time to even try to play baseball at old IU-PU. I can’t even remember that first coach’s name…I had only talked with him on the phone. To re-cap, there were many I played baseball with that did get signed and performed extremely well…my roomie Adrian Kenary led the Carolina League in E.R.A. in 1973, Joe Talley led the Pacific Coast League in doubles for the Denver Bears…others did well, some only lasted a short while. Me? I’ll never know. I was just plum-done when Uncle Sam grabbed me by the …. .

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  19. Suzanne said on January 26, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Years ago, I heard the man who wrote this book give a talk on kid’s sports:
    He played in the NBA. He had never played organized basketball until high school and made the point that many athletic kids are late bloomers. Our current system of youth sports cuts those kids out, ensuring many give up on sports altogether and it ruins many of the early bloomers who are starting to fade when real competition shows up in high school. Remember that Michael Jordan was not on the varsity team until his junior year in high school.

    Did anyone else find it interesting that this story of tRump trying to fire Mueller broke when the Orange King is out of the country? Coincidence or purposeful? Timing, perhaps, is everything.

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  20. Connie said on January 26, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Pretty in pink. Because allowing women hunters to wear pink will help them feel pretty?

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 26, 2018 at 8:06 am

    I mainly lean to the “I don’t get it” side on the whole youth sports thing, but as a relatively non-sports guy I have to admit I’m impressed watching over my wife’s shoulder at what can happen with the right leadership. Denison University is a small liberal arts college (about 2,200 students) where 4 of 5 participate in at least one intramural something, Division 3 etc. And there, when the administration wanted to change the drinking culture, the athletic department led the work and is still the heart of the education and reinforcement; when it came to dealing with hazing and such, the coaches and team leadership mobilized and communicated across the student body (and sure did a better job than some public schools I’m sending money to these days, ahem); and the president can say with a straight face that when it comes to sharing and building the values that the college wants to be about, sports is one of the central ways they are getting that done for new students and as they move through their undergraduate career.

    They still have their occasional, um, incident, but in general, I’m proud to be associated with them . . . especially when a discussion like this reminds me how unusual they are.

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  22. susang said on January 26, 2018 at 8:37 am

    My niece’s son played basketball from first grade on and won a partial scholarship to a small college. It took one semester for him to realize it was a deadend.
    He dropped out of school, moved back home and paid off his debt. His uncle counseled him to leave school with a degree and zero debt. Living in a community that had a state-supported, top-notch business school, saving money by living at home and delivering chicken wings helped him achieve his goals.
    Millenials are catching on.

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  23. basset said on January 26, 2018 at 9:22 am

    As the only hunter here as far as I know, and having hunted in Michigan on several occasions, I think pink camo is a brilliant idea – gotta encourage the little lady to do more than just fix breakfast during deer season.
    And while we’re at it, let’s stop wasting taxpayers’ money on deer crossing signs – even urban millennial libtards know deer can’t read.

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  24. Charlotte said on January 26, 2018 at 9:40 am

    My buddy Elwood Reid’s first book is about trying to get an actual education while playing football for Michigan (If I Don’t Six). Reads like a prisoner of war novel …

    I’ve had a couple of women friends whose daughters got sucked into the “competitive cheer” scene, which is pretty horrific. My sense from all the travel team type sports is that it’s just yet another way for bougie parents to show off — you can’t play those sports if you don’t have parents with money.

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  25. Dave said on January 26, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Charlotte, that’s the saddest part of it, my sister doesn’t have any real money and she and her husband have spent a whole lot of money they didn’t have on their children’s athletic adventures and I suspect they’ve spent the most on the cheerleading. I should stop there and say no more.

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  26. Sherri said on January 26, 2018 at 10:38 am

    If you want to understand why the US men’s soccer team isn’t world class, learning about the cost of youth sports will explain much. Soccer is a huge deal around here. There are not only travel teams, there are multiple levels of travel teams. But it’s such a big deal that rec soccer doesn’t wither away because of the travel teams. My daughter played rec soccer all the way through high school, and if she wanted to, there are adult leagues, both outdoor and indoor, she could play in now.

    One of my best friends has been in the travel soccer world for about 7 years now. Her youngest daughter is an intense soccer player, and wants to play in college (and is good enough to play somewhere.) For them, it’s not been about reliving past glories through the kid, or conspicuous consumption, or even seeking a college scholarship. This is really driven by the kid, whom I’ve known since she was a preschooler. When she was younger, she did some other sports, but by the time she was 11 or so, she only did soccer.

    There are a lot of toxic adults in kid sports, but yes, it really is possible for kids to want to train intensely. I have another friend whose daughters are juniors in high school and just recently gave up gymnastics, for which they had been training 20 hours a week for years. Again, not a parent trying to create Olympic medalist, just a parent with the means to let their child explore a passion deeply.

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  27. Peter said on January 26, 2018 at 11:23 am

    I have to put my two cents in on the Mueller issue.

    Maybe it’s my Captain Renault side, but I am shocked, shocked that this president would attempt to fire a special prosecutor and then his administration would lie about it.

    I mean really, these piles of crap would lie to you about the day of the week, and Fox News and Devin Nunes would back them up.

    How bad is this administration? There was a statement from Betty DeVos this morning regarding Larry Nassar, and I thought we have got one heck of a f’ed up government when you realize that yahoos like Betty DeVos are the saner ones around.

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  28. Jenine said on January 26, 2018 at 11:24 am

    @Rana: My daughter is very physically able as well and I also feared competitive gymnastics and injuries. Luckily she found a circus arts studio. Aerial silks and lyra (stationary trapeze) give her a focus for skills and conditioning. She gets to perform occasionally and has a great time working on extending what she can do. Good luck finding your kid an outlet that works for her.

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  29. Jenine said on January 26, 2018 at 11:29 am

    I am not hearing anyone talk about the feeling of participating in a team to achieve something. That’s a powerful positive draw for kids (and even olds). Some people just love the team environment and will seek it out all through their lives.
    I agree that kids’ sports in the US are way distorted and probably destructive in many ways. But there are good reasons humans are drawn to group activities.

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  30. FDChief said on January 26, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    To amplify Sherri’s point re: soccer and the U.S.; most people who end up playing sports for a living are…if not genuinely poor at least “not-well-off”. Sport as a living is pretty brutal, and if you have other options and don’t have a mad passion for the sport why not be a lawyer or accountant?

    So the effect of the organized kid leagues is to seine out the kind of kids most likely to have the drive to want to be a pro soccer player.

    Throw in the fact that things like “workrate” and “technique” are coachable but genius and creativity are not and you wind up with American players who are known internationally as mediocre drayhorses; lots of running around with zero gift for the sort of transformative instincts that take a craft to a higher level.

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  31. Deborah said on January 26, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Rana, I loved your term”delightfully athletic”, something I always wished I was, that and a good dancer. I’ve definitely never been either.

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  32. Deborah said on January 26, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Can I say this about this recent design trend: in our hotel in NY and now this one in LA had/have a clear glass wall between the bathroom and the bedroom and I hate it. I mean I’m here with my husband granted, but there are some things I like to do in private, like #2. Also when you get up in the middle of the night to pee you have to do it in the dark or it lights up the bedroom where your partner is sleeping. Not cool. It’s definitely not my cup of tea.

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  33. Jolene said on January 26, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Wow, that seems like a remarkably stupid design idea, Deborah. Hard to imagine that anyone sharing a room—friend, lover, whatever—would find such an arrangement appealing.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on January 26, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Eww, I love my hubby but that’s taking it too far. Design fail!

    We managed to avoid the sports-industrial-complex by not having kids that were delightfully athletic; one that was average and one that was delightfully unathletic. Our small school had a no cuts policy so they both played all the sports through 8th grade, on teams that rarely won but provided exercise, lessons in listening and working together, and yes, being good losers.

    Our daughter participated pretty much just to be with her friends. Our son played tennis his last two years of high school, but again it was mostly to be part of the team and I’m not sure he ever won a match, if that’s the right term. Most importantly, they both had fun. Today neither has much interest in spectator sports.

    Even if one of them had been supremely and delightfully athletic, I doubt we would have pursued it. To us, childhood was about exploring all their interests, and that meant not emphasizing one to the exclusion of all others.

    Oh, and our lad never asked to play football. Good thing, because it would have been the one activity I’d wouldn’t have allowed.

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  35. Jakash said on January 26, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Yeah, that seems amazingly stupid. Even with a significant other, I’d think most would find it off-putting, but what about if you’re with a friend, or your child? (Perhaps it’s only in rooms with only one bed?) But, yeah, the “lights on for the whole room” in the middle of the night is a deal-breaker, regardless. “…not my cup of tea.” I assume that whomever’s cup of tea it *is* only gets one cup of tea and shares it with their spouse. ; ) Really, how does an idea like that get green-lighted?

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  36. beb said on January 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    The idea of a clear glass wall in a hotel bathroom is so idiotic I’d have to call it Trumpianly stupid.

    Sports. Two thoughts come to mind, one is that the phrase “stage Mom” seems applicable to many parents. They either want to live through their child’s success or reap the (financial) benefits of their child’s success. The other thought is how much this country is obsessed with being Number One. It’s not enough to plays sports one has to be the best in the sport. And this leads to self-destructive, obsessive behavior.

    I was never good at any sport so I’m OK with all of them (professional sports) being banned.

    Detroit dodged a bullet when it didn’t make the short-list for the Amazon headquarters. While much has been said about how many people would be hired that has rarely happened. In the meantime Amazon (or any corporation/ Sports franchise, etc.) will be making great demands on tax abatements, infrastructure improvements, and welfare (this is Amazon, people, they never pay workers a living wage) that it will beggar the community.

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  37. Sherri said on January 26, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Amazon may not pay warehouse workers a living wage, but they most assuredly pay the engineers and people who work at the first HQ in Seattle a competitive salary. That is the workforce Amazon is talking about with HQ2, which is why a research university was one of the criteria.

    I have friends who work or have worked at Amazon, and some love it and some hated it, but compensation was not the issue.

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  38. Jolene said on January 26, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    I’m not sure I’m curious enough to do the research, but some social scientist must have studied youth sports and identified factors that make it a more or less successful experience.

    Obviously, the situation in gymnastics is horrendous, and we’ve all seen examples of parents who are over-invested and behave badly. But there are plenty of kids who have lots of fun, form connections to other kids, learn to take on responsibility in a group, and so on.

    At what we might say is an intermediate level of accomplishment, there are people like the niece I wrote about yesterday. At the elite level, there are people like Katy Ledecky, who exudes joy.

    Are there guidelines for parents in helping their kids have a good experience that’s compatible with their interests and talents?

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  39. LAMary said on January 26, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Both my sons did AYSO for a few years and they weren’t spectacular players. They had a good time, though. Older son is now in his late 20s and plays pick up soccer games in a park on Sundays. Younger son bicycles all over the place and has recently discovered stand up boarding. I’m glad they like being physically active and grateful it hasn’t been expensive for me or all consuming for them.

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  40. Icarus said on January 26, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Deborah, I had to google clear glass wall between bathroom and bedroom and wow. Was there any option to flick a switch and create a fog as some sites indicated?

    so my garage door opener woes continue. Was told that if I wanted all the bells and whistles (phone app, security 2.0+, etc) I had to go with a 3/4 HP which is a little more money than a 1/2 HP. Not gaming changing but when you are buying two it adds up. I was told “they don’t really make 1/2 HP openers with all those features.”

    Anyway, the guy comes over to install them. He installed a 1/2 HP opener which has all the features but of course I’ve been charge the 3/4 price. do I bother complaining?

    Also, while this guy was very polite, and did a seemingly good job of installing the stuff, he threw the components of the old GDO and other items into my neighbors garbage bins, with no regard for recycle versus trash designation.

    What Would Jebus do?

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  41. Scout said on January 26, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    When my daughters were growing up they danced, both in a studio competition company and at school on the spirit line. It was their main activity inside and outside of school and it kept them focused and too busy to get into the trouble many of their classmates were getting into. Neither of my girls went on to become professional dancers, but they tell me all the time how glad they are that I never let them just quit whenever they got into those inevitable teenage moods. They recognize the fitness, team building and work ethic helped to make them the well adjusted adults they are today. Like anything else in life, it is about balance, positive reinforcement and vigilance on the parents’ part that things don’t get out of hand.

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  42. Dexter said on January 26, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    To steal the intro from a Rolling Stones song, “Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes…” wow, that didn’t take long…Michigan State University’s A.D. resigned, and with that news of all sorts of shit is rolling downhill: 16 cases of sexual assault/battery/rape have been now reported to authorities regarding Mark D’antonio’s MSU football program, and even “sainted” basketball coach Tom Izzo is being accused of hush-hushing accusations of rape and gawd-knows what else by some of his players over the years, as people are talking, and talking loudly now. In this environment, since the Briles case a while back, how can D’antonio survive this revelation of 16 covered-up sexual assaults by his footballers? Izzo, maybe he survives, but ya gotta believe he feels the fire down his back.
    MSU has (probably “had” is appropriate now) an in-house policy regarding criminal conduct, and got away with it…until today when the dam burst and the goddam plane has crashed into the mountain, to paraphrase The Big Lebowski.

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  43. Deborah said on January 26, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    So here’s another bad bathroom/bedroom design I’ve seen. One of our neighbors in Abiquiu is the famous artist Richard Tuttle, he and his wife Mei-mei Berssenbrugge a poet, hired a renowned NY architect Stephen Holl to design a guest house for them there. It is cool to look at but not very functional. There is a bedroom in it with an accompanying bathroom that has no walls between whatsoever. So you not only get the views of your pooping partner, but the smells! Here’s an article in the NYT magazine a few years back about the project. They don’t mention the bathroom/bedroom issue in it but there were plenty more problems. We got a tour of this place a while ago and Tuttle and Mei-mei were embarrassed about the article

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  44. Deborah said on January 26, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    And dare I say, sounds.

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  45. susan said on January 26, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    deborah – When I was in high school, I went on an outing with some pals to the Miami River. One of the highlights of that day was seeing a indigo bunting fly across the river in the dappled sunlight. I’ll never forget that flash of blue. The other highlight was when some of us had to pee really badly and happened to be near a farmstead. We knocked on the door of the house, asked if they had an outhouse that we could use. The woman said we could use their indoor toilet. Terrific! Thanks! It was right there in the middle of the room. No walls. I suddenly didn’t have to pee anymore.

    I’ve always wondered how common that was. Was it a midwestern farm thing? I’ve seen old tenement apartments in NYC that had a bathtub in the middle of the kitchen, but not a loo.

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  46. David C. said on January 26, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Obviously, the famous architect’s shit didn’t stink. I’m sure he’d tell you so.

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  47. Jolene said on January 26, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Susan, my grandparents’ house did not have a real bathroom, nor did my parents’ house until I was about 10 years old. My grandparents had what was called a chemical toilet in an upstairs bedroom (vented to the outside).

    We had one at home too. It was in the basement—not enclosed in any way, but not in a part of the house where people lived or slept. In addition, there was an outhouse that we used in the summer and chamberpots for the kids to use at night. Sounds primitive, but it wasn’t uncommon in ND in the 1950s.

    Things changed fast, though. My parents first remodeled their house to put in a full bath, then built a new house with three baths, and, when they retired, built another new house with four baths.

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  48. Andrea said on January 26, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Re kid sports. Our three are/have been engaged at various levels. Our oldest took up competitive sailing and sailed all 4 years for his high school, after having initially been taught through some amazing and affordable park district programs. However, and no surprise here, sailing is enormously expensive, mostly because the most successful sailors compete all summer in races around the country (mostly on the coasts), instead of having a summer job like my son did. But no regrets here — he loved it, got to see some parts of the US that he might not otherwise, and even got to compete in a national championship (they did horribly, but still!). Now that he is in college, competitive sailing is out of the question, but this is a sport he can participate in for life, and I am fairly certain that he will find ways to sail in the future. His summer job through out high school and this coming summer is teaching sailing at the Chicago Yacht Club, so it is paying off a little in that way as well.

    Our middle daughter was coaxed into running cross country in 7th grade and she started out mostly doing it because her friends were. Now a junior, she is one of the top three varsity runners on her team, and is considering running in college, most likely D3. She has gotten letters from a few coaches. We will see how that turns out, but again, here is a sport she can engage in for life, and it is one in which people tend to peak at later ages. She told me this summer that she feels better when she is running than when she takes breaks from it.

    Our youngest plays seasonal sports with her middle school — volleyball, basketball, soccer — but is no candidate for a traveling team, etc. She and her teammates have a great time, and that is mostly what matters to me, along with the exercise. I hope she finds something that she likes to do recreationally for her life.

    I am a very sedentary person and have to force myself to exercise. I don’t like it and never did. My hope is that all my kids will stay active as adults. I should probably be a better role model for them in that way. My husband runs, so there’s that. He loves it, and it is part of his treatment for bipolar disorder (along with therapy and medication.)

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  49. Andrea said on January 26, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Deborah, many years ago (10?) we stayed at the Citizen M hotel in Amsterdam. The rooms there were extremely small and had small glass tubes for the shower and toilet. They had colored lights that lit up the tubes to provide privacy. The kids loved them. They called it the Shower Tower and the Toilet Tube.

    See if this link works?

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  50. alex said on January 26, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    You’ll notice a lot of older homes have little bump-outs that aren’t particularly harmonious with the rest of the architecture. Those were for the new indoor shitters that weren’t part of the original design.

    What a day it has been. My work e-mail got hacked and all of my work contacts received e-mails with my signature along with an attachment that wiped at least one person’s hard drive who called our office manager to complain about it. My phone rang off the hook all morning and the receptionist was overwhelmed too. Most people were observant enough to realize that although my signature and business logo looked real, the attached “invoice” and message demanding payment wasn’t characteristic of my communications at all and the sender’s e-mail address was quite different than mine. Not sure how this stuff happens, but it does. Occasionally I receive patently bogus e-mails purporting to be from familiar people, but never anything quite like this one.

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  51. Diane said on January 26, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    When we were in Vietnam last year, our hotel in Hanoi had a glass wall between the bathroom and bedroom. I had never seen that before and thought it might be some eastern design thing that I just didn’t get. But it at least had a shade on the bedroom side that you could pull down. We promptly pulled it down and left it down.

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  52. Diane said on January 26, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    This is the room (scroll past the pool).

    The shower actually has a tiled wall but the toilet is just hanging out there on the other side of the glass wall.

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  53. Deborah said on January 26, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    As I’ve said here before we have no electricity or running water in our cabin in Abiquiu, but we do have a private bathroom area, with a door. We will eventually have a bathhouse that will have a full functioning bathroom and solar power. We originally wanted to install a composting toilet in our cabin restroom, it’s made to go on sailboats but it turns out you have to run a fan for it. We tried to figure out how to rig up a small solar panel for the fan, but have yet to work it out. In the meantime we have a 3 bucket system. One bucket is for #1 and one bucket is for #2, and the third bucket is for sawdust. You put a couple of scoops of sawdust in the #2 bucket before and after. We have a privy, which is a deep hole in the ground with an animal proof lid. You have to haul the buckets out there to dispose of the contents and then clean them out with disposable gloves, cleaners and wipes. I will say that the sawdust works wonders, there is no muss or fuss. My friends in. Chicago can’t believe I do this, but it really is no big deal. Honest.

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  54. Jakash said on January 26, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    “My friends in Chicago can’t believe I do this…” Well, I’m only an electronic version of a friend, if that, but I’m in Chicago! I can’t believe you do that. ; )

    And I’ll send out a thread-win nomination to David C. @ 46…

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  55. Deborah said on January 27, 2018 at 1:24 am

    I agree David C for the win.

    It’s funny how the attitude of my husband’s class can be so different from one year to the next. Last year’s students were so much more engaging. We went to a crappy Korean BBQ place in Koreatown for dinner tonight, the kids picked it, there are 5 Koreans in the bunch, I sat next to the “hot plate”, so I reek right now. I was really looking forward to it but it was very disappointing. Most of my husband’s students are from all over the world usually. This year he has 2 Americans, the Koreans I mentioned, a few from Spain, a guy from Saudi Arabia, a woman from India, another from Bulgaria and a few more that I can’t remember where they’re from. It’s just interesting how the overall social dynamics can be so different from one year to the next even though they’re always very diverse.

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  56. nancy said on January 27, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Years ago, I did a story on the Herman Miller company, in Holland Zeeland, Mich. Makers of the Aeron chair and lots of cool mid-mod furniture. (My first purchase upon winning the lottery? An Eames lounge and ottoman from the very same.) Anyway, their offices are wonderful, and very democratic — the cubicles and boss spaces are in the interior of the floor, with the windowed perimeter a common area where people can sit, relax, have informal meetings or just look out at the lovely landscaping. This is important for creatives, the PR rep said. Anyway, the glass-walled offices in the interior had one singular design touch — the glass was double-pane, and would “fog” to be opaque at the touch of a switch. Took about 10 seconds for privacy to envelop the room. Again, my tour guide said it was a way not only to have a private meeting, but also to let your colleagues know you shouldn’t be disturbed.

    Some time later, I read about a trendy restaurant in some large city that had it installed in the bathrooms, which opened directly onto a waiting area, or maybe even the dining room. You went in, locked the door, and the lock was the switch to fog the glass. But most people didn’t know that, and were understandably reluctant to even enter what looked to be a glass-walled toilet. I don’t think it lasted long; that’s pretty obnoxious.

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  57. David C. said on January 27, 2018 at 11:27 am

    It seems like the best architects would be equal parts engineer and artist. The worst would seem to be the overly artistic ones who don’t much care for practical function, only about their vision (and if your vision is to put the crapper in the open, you’re hopeless). I’m sure there’s a spectrum. I’d probably throw Frank Lloyd Wright maybe 10% into the artist category. No matter how brilliant his designs were, if you can’t figure out how to keep the roof from leaking because your vision tells you a flat roof looks nicer, even in snow country, you’re not doing right by your clients. Of course, this comes from an engineer who doesn’t know jack about architecture, but worked in home construction and heard plenty of builders cursing architects.

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  58. Deborah said on January 27, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Yes there are many who blame the architect when sometimes problems are the result of crappy contractors. Large contracting firms can be a racket, they often do the least they can get away with, always cutting corners to lower their costs.

    Here’s a twitter thread I read today that I found disappointing, basically saying that Mueller doesn’t have near the power as Starr had. Starr was an “independent council” and Mueller is merely a “special council”. Not sure if this link will work

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  59. Connie said on January 27, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Herman Miller is located in my home town, Zeeland, Michigan. Not in Holland. I remember going to their outdoor summer sales and buying all kinds of things. I own eight Charles Eames fiberglass chairs, royal blue with black matte legs, and one white and chrome Eames table. The chairs spent many years in my father’s dental office waiting room.

    Many of my school friends have workd there over the years, and many of them have been downsized, including from very high level positions. I was interested to learn some years ago that a grade school classmate was their technical illustrator, wonder if he is still there. And a high school classmate’s family farm is now the Herman Miller chair seating plant.

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  60. Deborah said on January 27, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    I never made it to the Herman Miller places in Zeeland but I did go to Steelcase’s around there when I worked on a showroom for them in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Steelcase office furniture, it isn’t as high quality as HM or Knoll. It was a fun project though. As a designer where I worked before I retired I got a 70% discount on HM products, which was nice. My husband’s class goes to visit the Eames house in Palisades Park (LA) as part of their trip. It’s pretty interesting

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  61. beb said on January 27, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Deborah it’s true, Starr could not be fired by the President, only by an independent panel of judges. Mueller works for the FBI, can be fired by the FBI as the request of the President. The Independent Counsel law was passed after the Saturday Night Massacre event of Watergate.

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  62. David C. said on January 27, 2018 at 4:57 pm


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  63. Dexter said on January 28, 2018 at 2:29 am

    The survivors are calling for a clean sweep with a very new broom of all the MSU faculty and admins and coaches and any other participants of the decades-long policy of abuse knowledge which they covered up or passed the buck. If you hate sports and perhaps don’t know espn radio exists, find your local espn radio and listen for one cycle of updates and news…espn recently fired a huge percentage of the staff there and the ones left on the mics are really letting MSU have it, both barrels and air attacks and artillery strikes…no let up in sight. Shit WILL change in East Lansing, I bet much more than changed in Happy Valley PA. This blow-back/feed-back towards MSU is remarkable…the support for the abused gymnasts and players and the players’ victims of sexual assault has been astounding.

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  64. Deborah said on January 28, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    I’m sitting outside having breakfast in LA where it’s supposed to get up to 83 today! Previously I walked to Whole Foods for breakfast. Yes, there’s a WF in downtown LA, and a Target. Who-da thunk it. This evening we have to ourselves, no students. We’re going to my husband’s sister’s in Pasedena.

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  65. Jakash said on January 28, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    In responding to some of Cooz’s more sweeping attacks on them, I’ve expressed the very unpopular viewpoint that “not all Republicans” are on board with the nonsense going on in Washington. And I still think that’s the case, but I *do* wonder what the 18% of them who evidently are willing to admit that our Maximum Leader does not “share their values” think about the 82% who evidently are happy to state that he does.

    “Two-thirds of Americans say Trump is not a good role model for children. Every component of society feels that way — men and women, old and young, black and white, highly educated or not — except for one: Republicans.”

    “72 percent of Republicans say Trump is a good role model… 82 percent of Republicans also say that Trump shares their values… 80 percent of Republicans say Trump ‘provides the United States with moral leadership'”

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  66. alex said on January 28, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Jakash, a fair number of Republicans of my acquaintance are well-educated and well-heeled but pay no attention whatsoever to politics or news. They’re simply too preoccupied in their careers as lawyers or doctors to be bothered with any of it, and have always assumed that the GOP is the party that best serves their interests. Their consumption of news is so superficial that their intelligence never gets insulted by Republican politics, nor do their sensibilities ever get offended, and they seem to believe that both parties play to uneducated bases who are easily animated by issues that they would consider peripheral. For instance, they don’t care one way or another about abortion because they aren’t personally affected by it. To them, time is money and their habits of mind don’t permit them to invest time in worrying about anything that doesn’t threaten the upper-middle-class cocoon they inhabit.

    I can see how they would think that Trump is the very personification of their values.

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  67. basset said on January 28, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    A significant fraction of the Republicans I know are more vengeful about it, they inhabit a blue-collar cocoon and Trump is gonna take care of all those experts and professors that they’re sure hate them and want to take advantage of them. Trump is the very personification of their values as well – their problems are the fault of that bunch over there and Trump is gonna punish them and set things right.

    Enough of that for awhile. Interesting comments on a totally different topic:

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  68. alex said on January 28, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    I know plenty of vengeful voters too. I was just speculating about the 18 percent of Republicans who apparently weren’t paying attention.

    Great article, Basset, and it called to mind this lame-ass, condescending attempt to sell cars to women in the 1950s:

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  69. Dexter said on January 28, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Same here, alex. Williams County, Ohio, is red as fresh blood, and repuggs pull between 70% to 85% of the vote here, so obviously I know a shit-load of repuggs. I also worked with many at the Auburn plant, so I am used to them and I know them well. The only way to exist with them is to avoid policy and politics totally because I will talk down to them as if I am a know-it-all and they are all fucking dumb asses…which ain’t a good thing. The reason is, as you know, I come off like that because they just grab some backwards thinking party line and stick with it. Even now, it’s “emails!!” “Benghazi” “Let this man DO HIS JOB!” and the killer, “FAKE NEWS!” That their President is a goddam crooked whore-fucking (and lying about it) colluder and basically a Russian agent does not faze these morons. (See what I mean…I can’t help myself.) These people who are good parents, great housekeepers, have great jobs, are married to wonderful spouses, pay taxes, are very community and church-activity oriented, well…they are great people but…forgive them Lord, for they do not know a fucking thing about politics and what a shit-show is going on at Donald and Melania’s happy horseshit palace, the fucks.

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  70. Deborah said on January 28, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    In my liberal bubble, I do not know these people. I’m never around them. Yes I have a relative or two, but the little we talk or email it doesn’t come up anymore. I tried talking about politics with them, but I’ve given up. If I had to be around Trump supporters a lot I don’t think I would like it, they seem evil and mean spirited, I’d find that hard to get over.

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  71. Deborah said on January 28, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Ok, no more Home Depot for us (says someone who has been known to go there 3 times in one day).

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  72. David C. said on January 28, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    You just can’t argue with crazy. Say “It looks like tRump obstructed justice”, and hear “Are you a lawyer?”. If they come up with some crazy statistic on how wonderful things are and how bad things were under “Obummer” and you ask “Where did you hear that”, they say “I’m not going to do your research for you.”. They’ve all been taught how to Gish Gallop everything and short of reprogramming, we’re stuck with them for a long time.

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  73. Deborah said on January 28, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Giving bonuses is a way companies can keep your wages low yet keep you slaving away. They are often sad little bonuses except for the top tier. Architecture firms do this all the time.

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  74. David C. said on January 28, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    It’s also disgustingly condescending. When all they have to say is $200 is a lot of money to them, it just proves they need to get out more. More likely what they’re going to do is to do as Pfizer did. They cancelled research on Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and are going to use the money to buy back stock which just happens to line the CEO’s pocket very nicely. Funny how that works.

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  75. Dave said on January 28, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Wow. What Dexter said.

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  76. beb said on January 28, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    That Hemmings post is interesting reading. Synchronistically, there was a report on NBC news this week about a girl who is helping design cars. The wow fact was that she doesn’t drive. Her contributions are all passenger related. This is a benefit for passengers who have been ignored by driver-oriented designers all these years.

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  77. Rana said on January 28, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    @jenine – that’s a really good suggestion. I think there are some circus schools near us, so I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you!

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  78. Rana said on January 28, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    As to the glass-walled toilet thing… I was once with my husband and in-laws in NYC for a wedding, and the hotel we stayed in had some of those. Not in every room, just some. I still remember us sitting awkwardly together on a bed staring diligently at a wall so that my poor mother-in-law could finish her ablutions with some illusion of privacy.

    Actually, now that I think of it, that same toilet _also_ had an exterior window that went below waist height. Granted, we were multiple stories up, but this is NYC, and the hotel was surrounded by other multi-storied buildings, so it was hard to maintain the fiction that no one would see your business.

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  79. basset said on January 28, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Yet another reason to avoid Home Depot. We do have a Lowe’s just a little further, in my experience (with a few exceptions) you have to be pretty much out of it to work at either.

    Went out in the front yard with Mrs. B tonight to watch the space station go over, maybe I am easily impressed but I thought that was really something.

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  80. Deborah said on January 29, 2018 at 1:08 am

    Basset, I think that would be very impressive to see. How do you know when it’s passing above you? I would love to see that.

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  81. Dexter said on January 29, 2018 at 3:03 am

    Once again, I forgot The Grammys. I watched a movie, 227 minutes long, “Once Upon a Time in America” (Sergio Leone). It was good but damn, the rape scenes, in this age of post-Nassar and the MSU rapes by their athletes, well, I cringed but stayed with this 1984 movie. I am thinking this is right up there with “Raging Bull” as DeNiro’s best work. The last rape scene was just horrific, so violent. I hate that stuff on screen. I wouldn’t have watched if I knew this before.

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  82. David C. said on January 29, 2018 at 6:03 am

    Deborah, you can use this to find the ISS.

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  83. alex said on January 29, 2018 at 7:01 am

    I’m surprised the NN.C commentariat is only just now taking notice of the fact that the founder of Home Depot is a fucking lunatic. I’ve been aware of it for some time — in addition to being aware that the owners/founders of Lowe’s and Menard’s are also right-wing crackpots. Nancy linked to a story about the Menard’s people here a couple of years ago, and they make the Home Depot guy seem relatively sane. Home Depot has actually been pro-gay in its marketing efforts, for what that’s worth, while Lowe’s takes its marching orders from the American Family Association.

    Because there aren’t any other choices when it comes to home repair, we’re just resigned to spending our money in these places. Besides, even our overpriced local hardware store that seldom has what we need is owned by extreme right-wingers.

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  84. basset said on January 29, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Deborah and David C, that’s the site I used. Someone on our neighborhood’s Nextdoor mentioned it, and last night we remembered about four minutes before the flyover was due. It was a moving bright spot as seen by the naked eye or through binoculars, couldn’t get our telescope lined up on it but we’ll try again.

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  85. Dorothy said on January 29, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Basset I wouldn’t necessarily lump all Lowes workers (or other hardware stores) into the same group. My husband went to night school and worked full time, struggled to get all the credits he needed after graduating high school in 1975. We got married in 1979, had two kids (1983 and 1985), his mother died in 1984, he broke his leg one year and had to drop those classes that semester and pick them up later – all in all he busted his ass to get his degree in summer 1990. Ten years later after being off work for a few months due to a diagnosis of severe depression, he went back to work, but a few months later lost his job (he’d worked there for 13 years at that point). His seven months of severance got us by, but then he took a job at Lowes. Almost immediately he got an engineering job offer which meant we had to move to Cincinnati. So the Lowes job was about all he could get, and we think about that sometimes when we’re being waited on there. You never know someone’s history so we try not to be judgmental about workers in stores like that.

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  86. Suzanne said on January 29, 2018 at 10:02 am

    I knew the founder of Menard’s was a nutjob, but didn’t know Home Depot guy was until now. I rarely shop at either, so I guess they won’t miss me if I boycott.

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  87. susan said on January 29, 2018 at 10:15 am

    The CEO of Home Despot was a huge supporter of Bush II and the Republican party. Seeing GWBush embracing that guy during his elections, and that guy smarming around GW…that’s when I stopped going to Home Despot.

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  88. basset said on January 29, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Dorothy, I thought I qualified my Lowe’s comments but maybe not enough… of course not everyone in either place is lost in space but it does happen often enough to be an expected frustration. My favorite example was the kid at HD who, when I asked for a plastic ceiling panel to fit inside a fluorescent light fixture, said he’d never heard of it and there was “no such thing” in the store. Finally found it on my own and showed him one, maybe they don’t exist on his planet.

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  89. Dorothy said on January 29, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    I’m sorry, Basset. OF course you did. I just get a little sensitive once in awhile. Hubby felt quite lucky to get hired there because he was worried we were going to lose the house. Seems that it brought him good luck cuz right after he started that job, he had the interview in Cincinnati. And you’re right – space cadets are in every conceivable job for sure!

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