Milked dry.

I see someone posted this Rebecca Solnit essay yesterday, and someone else — Pilot Joe, I believe — sneered at it. Hmm, I wonder why? It made a lot of sense to me:

The common denominator of so many of the strange and troubling cultural narratives coming our way is a set of assumptions about who matters, whose story it is, who deserves the pity and the treats and the presumptions of innocence, the kid gloves and the red carpet, and ultimately the kingdom, the power, and the glory. You already know who. It’s white people in general and white men in particular, and especially white Protestant men, some of whom are apparently dismayed to find out that there is going to be, as your mom might have put it, sharing. The history of this country has been written as their story, and the news sometimes still tells it this way—one of the battles of our time is about who the story is about, who matters and who decides.

It is this population we are constantly asked to pay more attention to and forgive even when they hate us or seek to harm us. It is toward them we are all supposed to direct our empathy. The exhortations are everywhere. PBS News Hour featured a quiz by Charles Murray in March that asked “Do You Live in a Bubble?” The questions assumed that if you didn’t know people who drank cheap beer and drove pick-up trucks and worked in factories you lived in an elitist bubble. Among the questions: “Have you ever lived for at least a year in an American community with a population under 50,000 that is not part of a metropolitan area and is not where you went to college? Have you ever walked on a factory floor? Have you ever had a close friend who was an evangelical Christian?”

The quiz is essentially about whether you are in touch with working-class small-town white Christian America, as though everyone who’s not Joe the Plumber is Maurice the Elitist. We should know them, the logic goes; they do not need to know us. Less than 20 percent of Americans are white evangelicals, only slightly more than are Latino. Most Americans are urban. The quiz delivers, yet again, the message that the 80 percent of us who live in urban areas are not America, treats non-Protestant (including the quarter of this country that is Catholic) and non-white people as not America, treats many kinds of underpaid working people (salespeople, service workers, farmworkers) who are not male industrial workers as not America. More Americans work in museums than work in coal, but coalminers are treated as sacred beings owed huge subsidies and the sacrifice of the climate, and museum workers—well, no one is talking about their jobs as a totem of our national identity.

I’m perfectly willing to step into the shoes of Real America and see the world the way they do; I lived in Indiana for 20-damn years, and think that qualifies as pretty much the capital of Real America. But when was the last time any of these country mice were exhorted to do the same, to suck it up and get an Airbnb in the big city for a week, and take a look around? As Solnit rightly points out, most people in the U.S. live in its urban areas, because that’s where the jobs are. So why is it on us to understand them, but not vice versa? I ask you.

Alan and I drove over to Ann Arbor Tuesday afternoon, to see an installation Kate did for a final project in some interactive media class. It was interesting — a two-person curtained hut with a fabric panel down the middle, separating the occupants. Each person puts one hand on a set of sensors, and one person’s circuit controls music, the other’s lights. When they join their free hands through a hole in the dividing panel, the lights change colors, and if they touch one another in a different place, like an arm or head or whatever and don’t get any filthy ideas, even though the artist’s own mother referred to the opening in the panel as a “glory hole — when they touch in a different way, the lights change colors. It was an interesting exhibit, and in walking around the music building before and after, I spotted a couple of cultural markers that reliably drive at least some of my conservative acquaintances right up the wall. Like the restroom marked “non-gendered,” and even stuff like this:

(Yes, I’ve known conservatives who simply refused to recycle. Because freedom, dammit.)

It was such a…normal interlude. I didn’t see any pervs waiting around the non-gendered toilets to molest little girls, and if you wanted to pee with your own kind, the traditional M/F pair were right down the hall. Why is this stuff so threatening? Any of us can walk into a red-state truck stop, make our way past the MAGA merch to the lunch counter and eat eggs in peace. But I have a friend with a standard-issue Fox News-watching mother. Daughter told mother she and her husband were taking a long weekend in Chicago soon, and mother reacted as though she’d declared they were going to Syria for a little R’n’R.

“Are you sure that’s safe?” mom fretted, having fully swallowed the Fox picture of Chicago as a bullet-strewn battleground from the lake to the suburbs.

On the way home, we stopped at a Culver’s — a regional fast-food chain — for a bathroom break, and I decided to allow myself one of the few milkshakes I consume in a year. There was a video loop playing on a TV behind the counter, with the founder of the chain saying his restaurants wouldn’t be what they were without “family farmers.” Oh, really? How many “family” farms are left in this country, anyway? Five’ll get you 10 that business buys its dairy products from the lowest bidder, which in this part of the country is currently? Anyone?


The mega-retailer opened a 250,000-square-foot dairy operation in Fort Wayne, and it is steadily doing to the family dairy industry what Godzilla does to Tokyo. Of course, milk is dirt-cheap in the Midwest these days, for this very reason.

Real America ™ is circling the drain in many important ways, but they don’t get that the people stripping the wealth from its people are not, by and large, city slickers who don’t turn a hair at a non-gendered bathroom, but their “friends” from Bentonville and other red-state redoubts.

Of course, Hillary was on the Walmart board for a while, so it’s probably all her fault.

Anyway, that’s a good essay. You should read it.

Not much bloggage today, but this: The Toronto van killer is a real piece of work, and of course, part of the men’s rights movement, although admittedly, on its fringes. If he hates women so much, he’s going to the right place to process those feelings.

It’s almost Wednesday. Where do these days go? See you back here in 48 hours or so.

Posted at 8:37 pm in Current events |

109 responses to “Milked dry.”

  1. Jeff said on April 24, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Real America is a complicated place. Which is what makes the rebooted “Roseanne” so interesting. And also Rebecca Solnit’s piece. And Jonah Goldberg’s new book. And “Black Panther.” And “Moonlight” and “La La Land” last year. And the county Agrarians meeting in our church basement. And our Newark Pride event making a big splash here, as the county commissioners squirm over how to light the courthouse that weekend, with rainbow colors or not. There’s plenty of room in middle America for stuff to like or loathe.

    But I do love Culver’s. Their cole slaw is wonderful, their burgers providing what Five Guys promise but (for me) rarely deliver.

    The thing about toxic masculinity is that I do not deny it has a hold on us still, but I also think about growing up with Andy Griffith and Dick Van Dyke and Alan Alda’s TV characters, and the kinds of role models they were. It seemed like we were making progress, but somewhere around John Rambo and Al Bundy we got turned around.

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  2. Sherri said on April 24, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Chicago, St. Louis, and Baltimore are the only major areas that have not seen dramatic decreases in murder rates. Noah Smith wonders if the common denominator is a completely corrupt and brutal police force, though that doesn’t account for NYC, which also seems to have a great deal of corruption in its police force and a remarkable drop in the murder rate.

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  3. David C. said on April 24, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    The farmers I know run small farms and sell mostly at farmer’s markets. They were holding on better than most until recently. The bottom seems to have fallen out of the local meat market. One of them was recently elected as the county executive for his county which is pretty much a full time gig so he’s hiring someone to run the farm. Another has a wife working as a school teacher and is looking for work himself. The third one I know well is holding on, but he raises bison and makes quite a bit selling the skulls for people to hang on their walls. The small 40 head dairy herd is gone. Lots of the farms we see are farms in name only. They rent out the land to CAFOs to grow corn and spread the shit from their herds. The rural economy is starting its death rattle and anyone who tells you they have a solution that doesn’t involve a lot of farms going under is talking through their hat.

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  4. Joe Kobiela said on April 24, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    I don’t think that was a sneer, definitely don’t agree with them but they have a right to express themselves. For the record, I have been recycling for as long as I can remember. Young Kate’s project sound interesting, hopefully there are more like her out there vrs the tide pod eating, condom sniffers we seem to always read about.

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  5. Joe Kobiela said on April 24, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    I don’t think that was a sneer, definitely don’t agree with them but they have a right to express themselves. For the record, I have been recycling for as long as I can remember. Young Kate’s project sound interesting, hopefully there are more like her out there vrs the tide pod eating, condom sniffers we seem to always read about. Off to visit the mouse house till Monday, kid #2 the system librarian at Marquette has a conference in Orlando so the Mrs and I are flying down to meet up and have some fun.
    Smile people.
    Pilot Joe

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  6. Joe Kobiela said on April 24, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    I apologise for the double post. I’m so well liked here guess I wanted to give you a double.
    Pilot Joe

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  7. brian stouder said on April 24, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Joe – here’s wishing you and yours blue skies and pleasant tail-winds.

    My Grand Unified-Field theory is that some folks have a predisposition toward cynicism, while others lean toward optimism.

    Whatever era one lives in, there’s plenty of opportunity for either impulse to wax or to wane.

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  8. brian stouder said on April 24, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    BTW – Fort Wayne made the national news on the Today show this morning, and (for example) here –

    Not nearly as exciting as when the wildebeests made a break for it down Wells Street – but with a happy ending nonetheless!

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  9. Jeff said on April 24, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Our Columbus Zoo giraffes are lovers of the lettuce, but we did just get a couple more young manatees, if you enjoy observing such things.

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  10. alex said on April 24, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    I still get a chuckle whenever I reflect back on one of Nancy’s quips from many years ago when she was talking about Indiana, where people “like it like it used to be.”

    That was in the good old days, when toxic masculinity and white privilege were just unpleasant facts of life, not an exhortation like MAGA.

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  11. alex said on April 24, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    And Joe, your recycling redeems you, sort of, even if your favorable comparison of Nancy’s daughter versus condom sniffers falls pretty fucking flat.

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  12. Dexter said on April 25, 2018 at 1:23 am

    After high school plus one year I had a little money and a used Ford and I escaped rural Indiana for Chicago every chance I got. Airbnb was not around; I and maybe a couple pals stayed in an old tiny rooming house/hotel. Fifty years ago, $15 a week was the cost, just a few blocks from Wrigley Field. When I was in the army and small talk was in order, I just told strangers I was from Chicago after a while, because trying to explain where Waterloo, Indiana was was too complicated for a throw-away time-killing session. If you are from Indiana and tell strangers you are a Hoosier, forevermore you will be called “Hoosier” and it will be said in a derogatory tone, especially from someone from Missouri, where a hoosier is the lowest of the low…a real scumbag. But we covered this topic ten years ago.

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  13. Joe Kobiela said on April 25, 2018 at 6:47 am

    I was trying to point out, I would be nice to see more stories about kids like Kate, than stories about the other.
    Pilot Joe

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  14. Julie Robinson said on April 25, 2018 at 7:23 am

    The news has been filled with stories of great kids. They’re fighting for their future and that of this country by saying we need to control the number of guns. As a Facebook wag said, “What if these kids are the answer to your thoughts and prayers”?

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  15. Deborah said on April 25, 2018 at 7:24 am

    I have lived in St. Louis and currently Chicago, of the 3 cities that have high murder rates that Sherri mentioned, I don’t know about Baltimore but I suspect it is extremely segregated too. In St. Louis the north side is mostly the where the murders happen and in Chicago it is the south and pockets of the west, both cities have clear lines of demarcation. There doesn’t seem to be much being done in either city to change that.

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  16. basset said on April 25, 2018 at 7:44 am

    We have a few Culver’s around Nashville – they’re the only places this side of Evansville where I can get a breaded pork tenderloin without making it myself. Not quite the genuine outside-the-bun article, but they’ll do.

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  17. Deborah said on April 25, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Sherri, did you see that David Simon commented in the thread of the link you included in your comment #2 here? Simon linked to this, which pretty much explains it.

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  18. Suzanne said on April 25, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Nancy, you explain the Hoosier mentality perfectly, especially small town & rural. The paranoia is deep. My husband mentioned to a man that lives near us that someone told him they had seen a pair of bald eagles near the man’s brush pile and maybe they were making a nest. The man’s reaction was not to think that was cool, wow, bald eagles but why are people talking about me, why are they concerned about my business. I know a number of people who do not even want to drive into Fort Wayne because it’s too scary. They bemoan that the big city “elites” don’t understand them but there is no attempt to understand the perspective of others. They are terrified of (non-European, Christian) immigrants although most have never met one. They cannot conceive of any experience beyond theirs. They do travel but almost always return with the statement that, while they saw some nice things, they could never live there because those people aren’t like us.

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  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 25, 2018 at 8:27 am

    I’d read that Marshall Project piece before, and appreciate being reminded of it, Deborah; it was time for me to re-read it.

    In my local context, which is a county-seat city with a sister city that’s maybe 55,000 in a county of 170,000, we don’t see the urban intensity of a Baltimore or Chicago. But what always strikes me as I read what David Simon is telling me about what he’s seeing is that here, drugs are mostly a probation violation (PV) thing. And honestly, most of the incarceration beyond intake and a couple of days to hearings is PV related. I don’t see or hear or find in the records much about our cops or county deputies or municipal departments picking up anyone for drug-related stuff; what’s relentlessly filling beyond capacity our local lock-up are guys who got caught after robberies or picked up for assault over a DOC or DV or have a string of DUIs who go in for their appointment with the probation officer and pee dirty, or skip enough mandatory meetings that they get a warrant on them for PV and when they get picked up driving around by a cop who catches their tags (or running their license because they pulled them over for some moving violation) they end up having five ounces in the backseat in a bag “and I don’t know who left that there, officer” but they get put in the justice center for a PV.

    We have CODE, Central Ohio Drug Enforcement task force, and they are roundly disliked for their tone and attitude when they drop into a local situation, and they do most of the working of networks and busting the distribution centers when they think they’re pretty close to a node, and even now we’re still 4 to 1 on confiscations by quantity of meth versus heroin. Cheap meth, which I’m told is coming out of Mexico but sourced in China (yay cheap Chinese goods, eh?), plus local entrepreneurs still doing the ol’ shake-and-bake in grandma’s old house where the utilities are turned off, is still flooding our market, and cheaper than Goumas’ chocolates (my drug of choice).

    But generally, the war on drugs feels to me like an aftermath, not a trigger. I assume that’s just a feature of being in a more rural small city than a big city, but I thought I’d put that out there.

    And I’d argue with you, Suzanne, only in that paranoia is a broader American reality than you might think. Rural redneck paranoia has an acrid tang to it, but the substance of it infiltrates all too much of our culture, and is deeply baked into the cake. In my opinion!

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  20. Suzanne said on April 25, 2018 at 9:12 am

    You might be right, Jeff, but my experience is rural and when I go visit relatives in more urban areas, I don’t hear the paranoia nearly as much, especially concerning immigrants. That might be because they are simply part of the landscape so the alarms don’t go off as easily.
    I heard a news piece a week or so ago before the election in Hungary which stated that the biggest supporters of Orban are rural/village dwellers. It was pointed out that there is a great fear of immigrants by people who admitted they’ve never actually met any in their area or even seen any. It’s the same here; a much greater fear of being overwhelmed by Muslim hoards than the alcohol abuser down the road with a stack of guns in his house.
    A number of years ago, guy from down the road tried to run over his ex-girlfriend with his car and was arrested. The reaction in the neighborhood was that, well, he’s known to be mean when he drinks and he screwed up. Had he been of a different race or religion I am sure the reaction would have been less benign.

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 25, 2018 at 9:31 am

    “great[er] fear of immigrants by people who admitted they’ve never actually met any in their area or even seen any” — yes, I completely agree.

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  22. Bruce Fields said on April 25, 2018 at 9:43 am

    “I would be nice to see more stories about kids like Kate, than stories about the other.”

    You can, it’s easy. Your remotes have channel selectors and power buttons….

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  23. Mark P said on April 25, 2018 at 9:45 am

    The amazing thing about the Toronto mass killing was that the driver was apprehended by a single cop who didn’t shoot him, despite the fact that the guy was pointing *something* at him and basically asking the cop to shoot him. Cops in the US would have gladly obliged. Now, some might say the driver deserved to die, but that’s not the way it’s done in a civilized country. Which leads to the obvious conclusion about this country.

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  24. Judybusy said on April 25, 2018 at 9:46 am

    I haven’t listened ot the whole thing yet, but this week’s Make Me Smart podcast from Marketplace is all about the importance of bail reform. As Jeff (TMMO) pointed out, PVs are also a significant percentage of court hearings. I used to think, “Whew, they got probation instead of prison time,” but probation is also a trap that can be hard to get out of. Think about a 6-7 day stay for a violation to be resolved. You’re missing work, whose taking care of the kids, etc. Here is good article about the issue. One point: many times, conditions are cookie-cutter and therefore counter-productive. During a presentation on the system, an activist friend of mine who was in the criminal justice system said of his conditions: “They didn’t want me drinking alcohol. I ain’t no alcoholic!”

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  25. Jolene said on April 25, 2018 at 10:18 am

    I recently saw this piece re an Arizona effort to promote successful completion of probation. It seems to have been pretty effective and has saved the state a lot of money by keeping people out of prison.

    I was surprised to see that this was taking place in AZ, as it’s not exactly known for having a progressive state government, but, even if the motivation is primarily cost reduction, it does seem to be helping people.

    Jeff, do you know how common such efforts are?

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  26. Bitter Scribe said on April 25, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Yes, I’ve known conservatives who simply refused to recycle. Because freedom, dammit.

    As Patrick Henry put it: “Give me liberty, give me death, but for God’s sake, give me the freedom to put all my trash into one bin instead of two!”

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  27. Judybusy said on April 25, 2018 at 10:38 am

    I really should be working, but….the Koch brothers are supportive of criminal justice reform. I can’t help but feel there is something nefarious about their motives. They do so much to undermine the social fabric, I just don’t believe they’re doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.

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  28. Jolene said on April 25, 2018 at 10:40 am

    And here is another story about a great program helping young mothers all the way through college. This one is In Nashville, another place that doesn’t conjure ideas of progressive social welfare programs.

    What these two programs have in common is the idea that life can fall apart in myriad ways, and helpers have to be prepared to meet needs as they arise. There’s no unidimensional, one size fits all solution.

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  29. Jolene said on April 25, 2018 at 11:01 am

    This one is for you, Joe. A feel-good story about a kid who grew up in modest circumstances pursuing a big dream. Also a tribute to the power of the press.

    Short version: Poor, but massively talented aspiring opera singer wins free-ride to Juilliard after WaPo columnist tells his story.

    This kid’s voice is amazing.

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  30. Deborah said on April 25, 2018 at 11:11 am

    I got this off of Scout’s Twitter feed (is feed the right term?). The Jane Goodall quote about gorillas and then the video of Trump picking dandruff off of Macron needs to go viral if it hasn’t already

    Also, Scout retweeted a video of Melania trying not to hold Trump’s hand.

    Scout, you have one of my Favorite Twitter accounts. Where do you find all of that good stuff?

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  31. Heather said on April 25, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Mark P–note that the killer was white.

    Speaking of Real ‘Murica, did anyone see this story about Scott Pruitt wanting to cut back on “secret science”? Basically he wants all scientific findings and data to be made public before they can be used to justify EPA regulations. Can’t wait for those elite-hatin’ members of the public to start Trumpsplaining scientists’ work to them.

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  32. Suzanne said on April 25, 2018 at 11:37 am

    This just astounds me. I know it shouldn’t but it does. We live in an information age. It’s been over a year since the election but I still cannot understand how anyone who voted for Trump is surprised that he’s not helping them, how they ever bought into his BS. How can people be this blind? I cannot wrap my head around it. Neither can the commenters on the story.

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  33. basset said on April 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Louisville, Jolene, not Nashville. Dunno about Louisville, but Nashville is a lot more progressive than you’d think.

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  34. Jolene said on April 25, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Thanks for the correction, basset. You’re right, of course. I read the story yesterday and misremembered which “ville” was involved.

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  35. Jeff Borden said on April 25, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    I’m posting the link to the story I mentioned yesterday from the NYT on the grim toll nostalgia for a long gone past takes in a modern, interrelated economy. It focuses on a fishing town in England, but is applicable to coal country, too.

    Regarding bubbles in America, perhaps someone should go Mr. Bell Curve one better and create a quiz for small town ‘Murica.

    1. Do you have any friends who are not the same color as you?
    2. Have you ever met a Muslim? A gay person? A recent immigrant?
    3. Do you have a passport?
    4. Have you ever visited a country that speaks a different language? Or where the majority of the country is a different race than youy?
    5. Have you been directly affected in a negative manner by anyone who isn’t the same color as you? If so, please explain how their race was a factor.

    Everyone should be able to live wherever they want. City living isn’t for everyone. Neither is small town or rural living. I am tired of being bashed for living in a big city –which like all large cities has very large problems– while the advantages of living among a huge number of diverse people is brushed away like the Orange King dusted away Macron’s dandruff.

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  36. Joe Kobiela said on April 25, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Jeff Borden,
    #5-Yes-When I applied to the Fort Wayne Fire Department, in 1982 starting with 5-6 hundred others, took the written and passed, took the Physical agility and scored in the top 5, went for a interview and was told there would be 18 selected and 12 had to be minority, pretty slim odds, was told privately afterword, that the really would have liked to have me but well you know.
    didn’t cry whine or bitch, its just the way it was, think I have done ok anyway.
    Pilot Joe

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  37. Judybusy said on April 25, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I like the quiz, Jeff. I’d add: How many times have you been followed around in a store by security? Do you know anyone with a master’s degree, MD, or PhD? How many friends and family have ever had contact with the criminal justice system? Have you ever studied a foreign language? Who was Zora Neale Hurston? Have you ever been to a wine tasting? How many friends and family are at risk of deportation? Can you tell the difference between double- and triple-cream brie? What is your favorite opera, hip hop or jazz musician? When was the last time you had avocado toast? Have you ever been stopped for a minor driving violation, then shot? How many people do you know who have been murdered?

    This was actually a thought-provoking exercise for me. My initial questions were geared towards white, middle- to upper-middle class people, like me. Then I thought, wait, there are lots of real Americans that those questions don’t speak to. So I added some in that reflect people of color’s experience. I have had young men tell me they’ve had 3, 4, 5 friends murdered.

    What questions would you all ask to signify who is the *real* American?

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  38. annie said on April 25, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    I live in a big, diverse city in California. When I was called for jury duty last year, the attorney asked how many of us knew someone who was murdered. I was astounded to see many, many hands raised!

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  39. Little Bird said on April 25, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    This happened yesterday, quite close to both a middle school and a high school. I have an “honorary” niece that attends the high school. I don’t know how parents deal with that kind of stress.

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  40. Bob (not Greene) said on April 25, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Yeah, that Fort Wayne Fire Department — whites just can’t get hired.

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  41. Deborah said on April 25, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    I don’t know anyone who has been murdered (that I know of, maybe someone from high school or something like that). I do, however, know someone who murdered, it was a former student of mine when I taught many moons ago in Dallas. He was fresh out of high school when he did the deed, and he got tried as an adult, it was grisly.

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  42. Heather said on April 25, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Recently the columnist Richard Cohen wrote about how he was up for some newspaper job and they gave it to a woman instead of him. The woman was qualified, but, well, he wanted it. The bosses told him “we needed a woman.” Even odds that they preferred the woman but told Cohen they had to hire one to get him to shut up. He got his columnist job soon after, so yeah, he really suffered.

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  43. Deborah said on April 25, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    And I know 2 people who killed themselves, one of them I knew quite well, it was a shock to say the least.

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  44. Dexter said on April 25, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    I walked into a murder scene just seconds after the shots were fired, in the Auburn, Indiana Dana Corporation parking lot. My dusty army medic mentality kicked in but so many were surrounding the victim, trying to comfort him as the ambulance missed the gate and was late by several minutes, there was nothing to be done. The ambo and technicians showed up and pronounced the victim dead. There were many eye-witnesses, so I wasn’t interviewed by the cops. The killer drove calmly to the downtown cop shop and confessed, and is now still in Michigan City State Penitentiary. May 4, 1995.
    In Vietnam a South Vietnamese city cop shot an American civilian construction worker to death because the man , on a motorcycle, broke some traffic law and sped off…one pistol shot nailed the kid square in the back of the head…what were the odds? I had to go in a deuce and a half converted to a crude ambulance to retrieve the body and take it back to the construction office. This is the mildest scenario I paint; you would not want to read the worst shit.
    Pilot Joe, I believe you. My grandson’s dad , peak of his physical life, age 25, former Detroit All-City tight end on his football team, college graduate with an MBA from UT (Toledo), applied for a fireman’s job in Toledo, did well, all that, then was cut and told to leave because the quota didn’t favor his hiring. He’s OK, too, running a Q/C company now.

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  45. Little Bird said on April 25, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Deborah, do you remember Lerlene and Willy who lived across the street? She shot and killed him one day when he was beating her. He was obese, and they didn’t have a stretcher big enough for him so they used a quilt to carry him out. I don’t know how old I was at the time, but probably close to 10.

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  46. Mark P said on April 25, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Heather@31 — Yes, he was white, but I wonder if that’s as big an issue in Canada as it is here. I saw the video of the cop arresting the accused killer. I have no doubt that if it had happened the same way in almost any city in the US that the guy would have been shot. The cop was actually pointing a gun at the guy when the guy pointed something at him. The cop put his gun away and used his baton instead. Black guy in the US, dead for sure. White guy in the US, almost as certainly dead. I’ve seen videos of it happening to white guys in the US, but, yes, I agree, if you happen to be black, it’s more likely in the US.

    There are really two issues. The first is the different and more violent treatment of blacks in the US. The second is the probability that the cops will use deadly force if there is even a hint of a threat to them. The “Protect” part of the “Serve and Protect” motto some police departments use really seems to apply mainly to the cops themselves.

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  47. Snarkworth said on April 25, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    May be less there than meets the eye:

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  48. Deborah said on April 25, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    OMG, you’re right LB, I totally forgot about Willy. But it wasn’t exactly cold blooded murder, he was beating her senseless and she shot him in self defense. Lordy, these people were our neighbors in St. Louis. What a thing to have to remember as a 10 year old. What a neighborhood.

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  49. Sherri said on April 25, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    It’s kind of hard to tell where the fringe of the men’s rights movement is, there’s so much misogyny.

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  50. Joe Kobiela said on April 25, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    Thank you.
    Bob(not Greene),
    Were you there in 82?
    Pilot Joe

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  51. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 25, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    Jolene, sorting is huge these days. Risk assessment tools and such. Adult Court Services & probation officers are so highly variable — and in Ohio, we’re still separate fiefdoms, county by county. Much depends on the probation officer you draw; specialized dockets are becoming more common here, and the best POs end up working in those. The standard issue probationer is usually one of way too many per POs caseload. Budgets are the issue, and how the presiding judge chooses to allocate funds. But there are very few statewide solid guidelines, so you have creative and innovative jurisdictions, and others stuck in 1974; you can have a municipal court probation staff just a half block from common pleas court and their adult probation (and both a block from diversion and probation for juvenile court), and while we deal with significantly overlapping populations, they can and do deal very differently with their caseloads.

    So, no, not common here. In general, the energy does come as you suspected from a realization that we’re spending a fortune on incarceration, and the reaction against the for-profit corps pushing more prisons means that there are more legislators than before interested in creative and effective ways to reduce recidivism.

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  52. basset said on April 25, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Took the quiz, got a 56. Didn’t letter in anything in high school, haven’t seen any of the movies or TV shows cited. I can skin a buck and run a trot line, but they didn’t ask about those.

    Now… who am I not supposed to be qualified to talk to?

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  53. Dave said on April 25, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    I got a 46. I suspect some of it has to do with age, for example, TV shows watched and movies seen. I never worked on a factory floor but I had a blue collar job for nearly forty years but it didn’t ask a question that could honestly be answered in that manner.

    I’ve known four people who were murdered, one a former co-worker, another a girl I went through public school with, murdered by her husband, and the third and worst, my brother’s stepdaughter, who I’ve mentioned before. Also, a young man who used to be a checkout clerk at Walgreen’s in Fort Wayne at Dupont and Coldwater, who was murdered by a woman’s ex-boyfriend.

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  54. alex said on April 26, 2018 at 5:57 am

    I got a 21, and it struck me as an accurate assessment. Living where I do, I get a lot of exposure to the white working class even if I don’t share their tastes in pop culture, politics or religion. Or restaurants or beer.

    But I still don’t buy the narrative that the 2016 election was about economic insecurity. It was about racial insecurity that happens to run along socioeconomic lines. The horrible things that people around here say quite casually about President Obama leave no doubt in my mind. They can’t get past their prejudices enough to see the obvious and they find validation in bullshit media. They’re the ones living in a bubble.

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  55. Suzanne said on April 26, 2018 at 7:15 am

    I got a 56. Definitely grew up in a blue collar environment, most of my family is blue collar, but my husband’s family is all the professional class. I live around people who are definitely in the bubble.

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  56. ROGirl said on April 26, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Alex, I got a 21 too, same responses on the topics you mentioned. I have gone through phases of low income, but I never worried about not having enough to come out of it ok, I had resources to support me. I have spent time on plant floors in a management role, and the class / cultural divide is real and visible from that vantage point.

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  57. Deborah said on April 26, 2018 at 8:15 am

    I got a 40, definitely had a blue collar upbringing.

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  58. Suzanne said on April 26, 2018 at 8:55 am

    So now that Ronny Johnson has withdrawn his name for consideration for the VA chief, do you think that we’ll finally discover how much Trump really weighs?

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  59. Sherri said on April 26, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Murray’s premise that if you don’t drink domestic canned beer and know that Jimmie Johnson is the NASCAR driver, you live in a bubble is exactly Rebecca Solnit’s point, of course. Who lives in a bubble is a matter of perception, and what Murray and his like are complaining about is that their perception should be centered, that their experience should be the default and everyone else the other.

    Even worse, it’s a very particular experience at that: a white, blue-collar male of certain age southern/midwestern experience. NASCAR’s audience is aging, and half the restaurants on his list aren’t common in the west. I’d guess that Branson’s audience mostly drives there, and I wonder if Murray realizes how long it would take to get to Branson, MO from the PNW by car and if he’s ever taken a car trip that long.

    There’s a lot of America west of the Mississippi. I’ve driven cross country twice; I was surprised the first time by how far Denver is from California!

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  60. Julie Robinson said on April 26, 2018 at 10:02 am

    He’s still at the White House, but you have to wonder for how long.

    Quiz score: 44. I grew up in a rural area and have lived where most people didn’t go to college as an adult. But here’s my problem with quizzes like this–it asked if you won a letter in high school. Those weren’t available to girls in my high school back in mumblety-mumblety. I played basketball as a junior and senior, the first years girls’ sports were played, but no one was giving us any letters.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 26, 2018 at 10:08 am

    We all live in bubbles. The question is how permeable the membranes are we put up, and how often (and how far) we push ourselves outside of them from time to time. But call it a cave, a house, a co-op, a gated community, a collection of commenters — we all live in bubbles.

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  62. Suzanne said on April 26, 2018 at 10:19 am

    I agree, Jeff, that we all live in bubbles. I live in the rural midwest so that is my experience, but what I notice every day is how many people here are completely and totally oblivious to their bubble. They know, in some sense, that others live differently than they do, but the attitude is that those other people are not living the correct way.

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  63. Sherri said on April 26, 2018 at 10:56 am

    The question is also whether we expect our bubbles to be centered, to be privileged.

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  64. Sherri said on April 26, 2018 at 11:28 am

    BTW, I scored 44 points on Murray’s quiz, I knew 2 murder victims and their murderers, I have friends who are of different races, Muslim, gay, immigrants, transgender, I have a passport, have traveled in a country where I didn’t know the language, studied a foreign language, married to a PhD, have read Zora Neale Hurston, have friends who have had contact with the criminal justice system (and not just as victims), have attended opera, though I don’t care for it so I don’t have a favorite, favorite jazz artist is Maynard Ferguson, current favorite hip hop artists are Eminem and T.I., prefer camembert and cambozola to brie, and have never been shot during a minor traffic stop.

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  65. Suzanne said on April 26, 2018 at 11:38 am

    “The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced legislation Thursday that would protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III from being fired by President Trump after the panel’s Republican chairman backed off changes that threatened bipartisan support for the bill.”

    And Trump called into Fox & Friends today and admitted that Cohen helped him with the Stormy Daniels case.

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  66. beb said on April 26, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    I was looking at this checklist from Charles Murray and realized it was talking about me:

    Do I know anyone who drinks cheap beer? I drink cheap beer. (But then I’m just cheap.)

    Do I know anyone who drives a pick up truck or works in a factory? I Dad did. The factory was his day job and the truck was for his farming side-line

    Have I ever lived in a community of less than 50,000 people? I did not grow up in a town, village or city at all. I was out in the country. Of course the village line was our back fence but — hey — country boy here.

    Have I ever “walked” on a factory floor. I put walked in quotes because most people work on a factory floor. A tour of a factory could count as walking on a factory floor. But, yes, I worked in a factory for a couple years.

    Have I ever had a friend who was an evangelical Christian? I was raised Methodist but my mother was very active in the church. Went every week, sing in the choir, worked on most every activity the church was involved in. My parents did not smoke, drink or swear because of church. I’m not sure how far apart from evangelicalism that puts me.

    Oh, and we had unisex bathrooms back when I was a kid. They were called outhouses. One seat or two.

    So I guess I’m a real American, only I prefer to live in a city, prefer not to be bothered by religion. Am not disturbed by living next to black people (worked with them most of my life) know many several gay people but I will never vote for a Republican.

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  67. Scout said on April 26, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    I got 47 on the quiz. My favorite beer is only available in cans, so does that count as ‘domestic’?

    Today and tomorrow teachers are walking out here in AZ. On my way to work I passed hundreds of people wearing red and carrying signs on their way to light rail stations that will take them to the march. Here is what one local writer has to say about teachers. Hard to believe it, but there are parents who are complaining on FB about having to deal with their kids today.

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  68. Deborah said on April 26, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Trump is such a pig, he’s too busy to get his wife a birthday present. Says he got her a beautiful card and flowers which you know is a lie. How humiliating for her, along with the sex with porn stars and Playboy bunnies that he’s indulged in, it almost makes you feel sorry for her. She’s no doubt been the prettiest girl in the room for much of her life, this has got to be hard for her.

    I’m at uncle J’s house for a few days, it’s much greener here than Chicago, even though it’s 2 hours north. I guess that’s because it’s further from the lake?

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  69. beb said on April 26, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Scored a 44 on the PBS quiz. Dpn’t recall a question about knowing anyone murdered.

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  70. Jenine said on April 26, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Why do we read Tom & Lorenzo spout off on celebrity outfits? This is why:

    “We know flares are back, but these foot-swallowing fabric trumpets are never going to be embraced by us.” From today’s post featuring Saoirse Ronan.

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  71. Scout said on April 26, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Meanwhile, outside of the ‘Rill American’ bubble:

    I felt physically ill reading that thread. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be considered suspicious because of your skin. To suffer the indignity and disrespect and disregard for your rights and your possessions. The other night I was leaving my Mom’s apartment at 10:30 and there were three squad cars in her parking lot and several officers standing on the sidewalk. My Dad is in Washington DC for a Veteran Honor Flight trip, so I walked up to one of the officers before getting into my car to ask if I should stay with my Mom. The officer looked really annoyed that I approached him and dismissively said, “Everything’s fine.” As he turned away from me, I realized I had my hand in my purse because I was fishing for keys. I had the thought that it’s a good thing I’m a 60 y/o white lady because if I was young and black or Mexican, who knows? I recognize my white privilege and wish there was a way to use it to effect change.

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  72. LAMary said on April 26, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Puddin Pops Cosby got found guilty.

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  73. Jeff Borden said on April 26, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Just how big a dick is Lyin’ Paul Ryan? This big. No wonder he keeps that mirthless smirk on his face while the dumpster fire in the White House burns our country down.

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  74. Sheryl Prentice said on April 26, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    Dexter at 44. I remember that murder, too. I was working at the Evening Star then and the victim was my neighbor. I remember it as one of those Big Crimes That Never Happen in Auburn.

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  75. Sherri said on April 26, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Ford seems to be betting that gas prices will never rise and Americans will drive pickups and SUVs forever. Isn’t that the kind of thinking that got Detroit in trouble in the 70s?

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  76. alex said on April 26, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Cosby Cosby Puddin’ Pops
    Puts ‘em under, gets on tops
    Puts ‘em under, gets on tops
    Puts ‘em under, gets on tops

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  77. David C. said on April 26, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    I thought the same thing, Sherri. What was it ten years ago they all went down the tubes because the economy tanked and nobody could afford trucks and SUVs? When tRump, Bolton, and Pompeo start their fun little war with Iran and Iran sinks a few tankers in the Straits of Hormuz they’ll wish they had a better mix of vehicles. They’ll leave all that to Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia.

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  78. Dexter said on April 26, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    My grandson Anthony lives in Alexandria, Virginia and is in fireman’s academy or whatever they call it. It was looking promising for him until he missed the cut-off on the time it took to carry a nozzle & hose up a tall ladder. He was so close they scheduled him for one more chance. I guess becoming a fireman just ain’t that easy.

    Over or under: Cosby, facing 10 x 3 , will eventually have a court date for sentencing. He’s nearly 81 now; does he deserve compassion, does he deserve a little time in a country club atmosphere? How much time will he be sentenced to? I heard the judge refused all bail requests and ordered Cosby hauled off to jail immediately. Should he be sentenced to three terms consecutively, 30 years, a life sentence?

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  79. susan said on April 26, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    jeff borden @73 – All damned fu¢kin chaplins/clerics should be forced out of Congress. They have no place in our government.

    But I bet Lyin Ryan doesn’t believe that.

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  80. LAMary said on April 26, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Of all the guys who have been accused of groping, raping, flashing and everything else, are any of them a surprise to anyone? Are you shocked by Cosby or Garrsion Keillor or Roger Ailes? Matt Lauer or Louis CK? I’m surprised more guys haven’t been ratted out.

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  81. Julie Robinson said on April 26, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Still waiting for Woody Allen’s turn.

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  82. Joe Kobiela said on April 26, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    took the quiz,
    pilot Joe

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  83. Dexter said on April 27, 2018 at 1:51 am

    Man I done-got some bum info, did I not? Fuckin’ Cosby is resting AT HOME. What the shit is that all about? He should be on a hard bunk in a 4′ X 8′ cell.

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  84. Dexter said on April 27, 2018 at 2:16 am

    This is more down Alan D.’s alley, but I was startled to just now find out Ford is about to kill the car and sell only the Mustang, a new-breed Focus, and shift to more and more SUVs & trucks. To me anyway, I thought the day might come but only way after my lifetime ended. Nope. Now. I wonder if they will make a small pickup again. I doubt it.

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  85. Deborah said on April 27, 2018 at 3:39 am

    I’m surprised about Tom Brokaw.

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  86. Deborah said on April 27, 2018 at 4:01 am

    Speaking of murders St. Louis is #1. You have to scroll down to the end to see the chart

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  87. Jolene said on April 27, 2018 at 11:30 am

    The NYT has published a collection of “found photos”—unposed photos taken in the city’s parks during the summer of 1978. They were stuck away in a box and recently discovered. Enjoy.

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  88. Bitter Scribe said on April 27, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    LAMary: I know your question was rhetorical, but I’d like to answer:

    Are you shocked by…

    Cosby? A little, because of his wholesome image. But it was built in large part on sucking up to white people. Suckups are by definition hypocrites, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that hypocrites are capable of anything.

    Garrison Keillor? Not really, but only because I remember when Spy magazine trolled a bunch of celebrities by sending them pictures of a 16-year-old model with a note saying she’d like to meet them (phony, of course). Keillor and Wilt Chamberlain were the only ones who fell for it.

    Roger Ailes? Of course not. The man always was a pig.

    Louis CK? Actually, yes. I’d never heard that he’d been overbearingly sexist in his comedy act. Plus he has daughters whom he dotes on (in his own way). Naive of me, probably.

    I left out Lauer because I never watch the Today show and had no idea who he is.

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  89. Peter said on April 27, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    OK, I have to kvetch. With the Korean news this morning now comes word that Trump is the frontrunner to win the Nobel Prize.

    I know Obama won it for flimsy reasons, and don’t get me started on Henry Kissinger, but if that mope wins it my head is going to explode.

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  90. Deborah said on April 27, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Peter, nooooooooo. If Trump wins the peace prize that’s crazy. I have more faith in the Nobel people, surely they wouldn’t do that.

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  91. Deborah said on April 27, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Uh, in my neighborhood… I was out of town yesterday when this happened. The alderman meet and greet they had in our building last week, said that car jackings were up in Chicago. Glad we don’t have a car here any more. Still feel safe though, I’ve never felt afraid to walk the streets in my neighborhood or others, except for lousy drivers making careless turns in pedestrian crossings.

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  92. Sherri said on April 27, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Hey basset, is Nashville going to vote for transit?

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  93. basset said on April 27, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Sure hope so, but I am not optimistic. The antis are putting out a lot of misinformation and genuine lies, the worst example being a claim that transit will “bring more crime” like the recent Waffle House shooting. Lots of low-information voters here.

    We have a pro-transit sign in our yard, the first political yard sign we’ve ever had.

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  94. beb said on April 28, 2018 at 2:12 am

    Am I surprised by all the men accused of sexual abuse? Weinstein, no. The cliche of the Hollywood casting couch was too well embedded in our psyche. Cosby? When the first allegations came out it was a surprised because he had been so wholesome for so long. By the time 60+ woman had accused him, no I wasn’t. Alies, O’Reilly, and others at Fox? No, Those were pigs all along. Louis CK? He’s a comedian, there seems to be a lot of shock stuff going on there so, that’s a no. A lot of the other guys? A lot of the rest, yeah, I was surprised. In many cases I thought they had busy schedules and lacked the time to extra-marital activities.

    I think Ford is getting too far out in front with their announcement that they’re discontinuing all sedan production except for one. The thing, of course, is that people are buying trucks and SUVs more than they are sedans. And SUV no longer means Expeditions, etc. There are medium and compact SUVs out there. Also SUV have a higher mark-up than sedans

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  95. Suzanne said on April 28, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Cosby surprised me; married to the same woman for years, comedy routines that were not filled with curse words and sex talk, and philanthropic. But, yes, when all those women came forward with the same story…
    The rest really didn’t surprise me. Garrison Kiellor a bit, but I still don’t see him as a perve really but more of a strange, socially inept guy who just does not get it. I think he could well be on the autism spectrum. Doesn’t excuse his behavior but may explain it.
    Ailes and O’Reilly no surprise. One only needs to look at the difference in the appearances between the men & women on Fox to understand that the women are there for the men’s enjoyment.

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  96. Deborah said on April 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    I’ve been trying to get up to speed with local politics so I was researching Ward 2 which we live in. I met the alderman a couple of weeks ago at a building meet and greet as I mentioned here before. It turns out our’s is the most gerrymandered ward in Chicago with extremely disparate constituent issues, from Ukranian Village in the west to LSD on the east and it made a bizarre move north since 1927

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  97. brian stouder said on April 28, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Suzanne – agreed about Cosby; he had always been something of an icon to me.

    Decades ago, our family had old-fashioned vinyl albums from Bill Cosby (and George Carlin, for that matter; although Cosby could make my mom and dad laugh without all the obscenity) of his comedic routines, and we would laugh uproariously (Chicken Heart! etc).

    Now he’s as obsolete as those vinyl albums

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  98. brian stouder said on April 28, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Just read this –

    which prompted me to mutter “huh”

    Social Media is an interesting damned thing, indeed. We all change over time; and with any luck we improve…but (as the article says) the internet never forgets.

    When I was more of a kiddo – back when Nance was still an ink-stained wretch at the News-Sentinel – I was an idiot. I remember when I believed our then-mayor, Win Moses, had something to do with the murder of a community activist – because….well, because, dammit! I don’t think I wrote a letter-to-the-editor on that, but if it had been 2006, instead of the 1980’s, who knows how many stupid things I might have posted!

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  99. Brandon said on April 28, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    @brian stouder:

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  100. Deborah said on April 28, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Dorothy, NYT books Twitter feed said “Today is Independent Bookstore Day. What’s your favorite indie bookshop—and why?” One of the commenters mentioned your niece’s Avid Books in GA, and the same person also mentioned one of my faves, it’s in St. Louis, West Bank Books.

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  101. brian stouder said on April 28, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    Brandon, interesting link indeed!

    Aside from that, I just watched the White House Correspondent’s Dinner spiral into the ground.

    I’ve no use for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, but the closing “comedy” routine succeeded in placing me on her side versus the foul-mouthed, non-clever, mean-spirited verbal assault thrown at her (amongst others)

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  102. alex said on April 29, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Brian, I didn’t watch the White House Correspondents’ Dinner but I read the best burns of the night and have to say I heartily disagree. Huckabee Sanders (and Conway and the rest) don’t deserve any kid glove treatment.

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  103. Sherri said on April 29, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Brian, I’m curious, what did you find out of line about the roast?

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  104. Deborah said on April 29, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Nancy, I’m interested in hearing your take on the WHCD. I watched it but kept falling asleep. I wonder if those same jokes had been delivered by a man would have been criticized as much? Seriously, a lot of people don’t like women to be snarky and blunt.

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  105. Dave said on April 29, 2018 at 10:30 am

    She gets up and lies and deflects every day for that man. There’s nothing nice to be said for any of them.

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  106. Sherri said on April 29, 2018 at 11:12 am

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  107. Sherri said on April 29, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    David Futrelle, who has been following and writing about the men’s rights movement for quite a while, has some thoughts on what to do about the violent incel movement:

    I just want to stop a moment and consider what the reaction would be if this weren’t a movement of primarily young white men. It would probably be illegal for a young black man to own a computer by now were violent incels primarily young black men killing white women.

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  108. Sherri said on April 29, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about privilege and what it is and how to explain it. In light of the complaints over the WHCD, I thought I’d share my latest working definition.

    If you’re more upset over the form of a protest than what is being protested, you might be privileged.

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  109. basset said on May 1, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Bad night for transit in Nashville – the plan got shot down hard, vote roughly two to one against.

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