What day is it? What are we upset about today?

You guys are the best readers in the world, continuing to show up when I don’t, and I really appreciate it. It was another fairly ridiculous week, work wise, punctuated by two weeknights out, so something had to fall by the wayside.

But it was so fun to get out two weeknights, even if it was a little exhausting. Man, how do people do it night after night? Probably not by getting up at 5:30 to work out.

And I missed today’s. Eh, no biggie.

Once again, it’s a week when the news gallops so quickly it’s hard to remember, on Thursday, what was outraging all of us on Tuesday. Today’s meeting with Kanye West, a walking case of untreated bipolar illness? I lack the shock juice to do more than point you at the annotated transcript of what he said in his 10-minute monologue, or whatever the hell it was. Me, I noticed something I’ve noticed before, in photo ops of our president meeting with people in the Oval: He always sits behind the desk.

Maybe not every time, but often enough that it made me google “trump meeting in oval office” and compare it with “obama meeting in oval office” and boy, there’s a difference. Obama favored — at least in these photo ops — putting people on the couches around that modern coffee table I never really liked, the one that always had a bowl of apples on it. Trump sits behind the Resolute Desk, while people either sit on the other side, or fan out from his elbows for photo ops. He doesn’t stand for the photo ops. He sits, visitors stand.

Some of these photos are ghastly. Have you ever seen so many miserable, doomed people in your life?

So, a quick run by the bloggage:

The president and a weary nation that raises its middle fingers in response. An interesting read.

Kara Swisher on good and bad bosses. The worst? John McLaughlin:

That asshole of a human being. I got the sense he sort of respected me because I didn’t put up with his shit. Because I wasn’t a Republican. I was a liberal, obviously. All these people were weird acolytes to him because he was a big deal during the Reagan administration. That was his power. So he used that. These people would do everything to work for one of the top Republican people, and I was like, I don’t give a fuck. My whole history is not going to depend on this. He enjoyed a smart woman in a weird, sick way.

He was awful and abusive and terrible—and as it turned out, he was like Sexual Harasser 101. He was harassing a woman on the staff who was a friend of mine. But he was abusive to the whole staff. He would line people up by height and then make them look for a dust ball under his couch. Stuff like that. This was Captain Queeg kind of behavior. He was just super crazy. Everyone had a beeper—he had to know where you were.

Once again, a Silicon Valley whale decides he knows how to do something better than people who’ve done it for years. Once again, he’s proven wrong.

Happy weekend to all, and to all a good night.

Posted at 9:17 pm in Current events |

42 responses to “What day is it? What are we upset about today?”

  1. alex said on October 11, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    That’s a perfect ripoff of Mike Pence’s pose during the signing of Indiana’s “Let’s Fuck Over the Fags” Law, although the facial expressions were more joyous.

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  2. LAMary said on October 11, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    That is a wonderful photo, Alex.

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  3. Sherri said on October 11, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    Unfortunately, the “personalized learning” model using software isn’t just being pushed by the likes of Zuck. I served on a middle school math curriculum adoption committee a couple of years ago, and the curriculum the district adopted had as a component such a beast. It was being sold by a major textbook publisher. Textbook publishers don’t want to be textbook publishers anymore, particularly in the K-12 world, because schools don’t buy textbooks often enough to keep stockholders happy or pay off investors in private equity. So, now, they sell workbooks, which have to be bought every year, and software subscriptions. I argued as hard as a could for the other finalist, which had a real textbook, but the teachers on the committee really wanted the computerized bells and whistles. The other community member with a tech background felt just like me.

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  4. Sherri said on October 11, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    And Kara Swisher is right, she is fantastic.

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  5. Dexter Friend said on October 12, 2018 at 2:44 am

    The Oval Office desk was no barricade for that crazy fuck Kanye West, who dropped the West years ago and last week dropped the “Kan”, and at least for a day decided he was forevermore to be known as “Ye”, pronounced “Yay”. A week later he’s back to Kanye West, at least he is known as that by all media. Another huge glitch is that all media from Brian Williams on down to all field reporters in Georgia were calling Albany, Georgia “ALL-bunny” as if it was the NY capital city. Nope, just as Vienna is VIE-enna, Albany is al-BANEY. I learned that from being all over Georgia when I was a young man on a bus, packing mitt and bat, playing baseball.
    Imagine Obama in that office, inviting Kanye to hold court while banging the fuck out of that desk, which has great historical significance of which I have no idea. Kanye calling himself a motherfucker in front of a live, televised audience…Fox News would be declaring Obama unfit to serve. Trump, just another day. More weird than Trump declaring that he and Kim Jong-Un were deeply in love…Bill Maher did a great take-off on that gem of news.
    What’s this buzz about Trump declaring a victory over “Me Too” closing the gap in the upcoming mid-terms? Somehow this SCOTUS fiasco has rallied the red fringes into the base? This means people approve of the White House orders to curtail the FBI “investigation” of the charges , and are still cheering this traitor who seemingly hates the USA and is truly a Russian agent in this strangest of all presidencies.

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  6. Jolene said on October 12, 2018 at 4:18 am

    His visit to the Oval Office wasn’t the last of Kanye’s appearances in DC today. After leaving the White House, he went to the Georgetown Apple store, where, among other things, he jumped on a table and gave what he called “a keynote.” He seems to think he doesn’t have bipolar disorder. I think otherwise.


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  7. David C. said on October 12, 2018 at 6:03 am

    I listened to an episode of the podcast “Why is this Happening with Chris Hayes” the other day about how when the ruling class “helps” it doesn’t help. It’s quite good.


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  8. alex said on October 12, 2018 at 9:33 am

    Max Boot’s “Dark Side” piece is prominently featured on today’s editorial page of the Fort Wayne paper, where it’s sure to be seen by lots of Republicans in denial, including some who are sure to be in a snit.

    Should be interesting to see my dad’s take after he reads it. He has always been in denial about Goldwater because he was pissed at the U.S. for not intervening during the Hungarian uprising and Goldwater promised to lend U.S. support to any future rebellions in Soviet-occupied countries. He always said that Goldwater lost only because the Dems falsely alleged that he wanted to get rid of Social Security, but from everything I’ve read, Goldwater did indeed want to gut the New Deal; he just dog-whistled it and didn’t make it central to his campaign.

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  9. Bitter Scribe said on October 12, 2018 at 9:51 am

    One of my journalism professors, who had been a reporter for Time magazine, described interviewing Richard Nixon. While Nixon loomed above him on a throne-like armchair, he was made to sit on a sofa from which the stuffing had apparently been removed, and handed coffee in a cup made of paper-thin china, which he had to manage while trying to take notes.

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  10. Bitter Scribe said on October 12, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Hey Alex, just curious…did it ever occur to your dad that his son might have to go fight in one of the wars that that lamebrain would have so blithely started?

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  11. Jeff Borden said on October 12, 2018 at 10:21 am

    The raised middle finger directed at a tRump sign is a fixture in downtown Chicago since the Orange King installed his name in huge letters fronting our river. When you walk north on Wabash Avenue from south of the river, it looms over everything. Lots of companies have their names or logos atop their buildings. It took a certain kind of Queens asshole to put his at eye level. My hope is that someday soon, his entire “empire” will crumble in bankruptcy and the offending sign will be torn down to cheers and acclaim. For now, it serves as a target for the people’s scorn.

    Inviting Kanye West –who I heard from a friend has been bragging about not taking his meds for bipolarism– makes absolute sense when your fearless leader is a reality television performer. Both men are malignant narcissists. BTW, the gang leader West wants Trump to pardon, a lowlife gang leader named Larry Hoover, is linked to numerous murders here. He reportedly was so powerful and feared, he was still running the Gangster Disciples from federal prison. West may have been born here, but he’s as Chicago as ketchup on a hot dog. (Ketchup on a hot dog is a sacrilege here.)

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  12. Mark P said on October 12, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Let me bitch here about Trump for a change …

    Just when Michael, a historically strong hurricane, the extent of whose massive devastation is not yet fully calculated, was crossing from Florida into Georgia, Trump had to rush to a political campaign so as not to disappoint his followers. His words to the people in the path of the hurricane were, “God bless them.” This psychopath doesn’t even bother to try to remember the right words for situations like this (and, for example, mass shootings at schools), “Our thoughts and prayers are with them.” But, hey, “god bless them” does just as much good.

    Every time the TV news shows DC I expect to see smoking ruins and dead bodies everywhere.

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  13. Deggjr said on October 12, 2018 at 11:06 am

    From the Zuckerberg article Most everyone in Cheshire, which is between New Haven and Hartford, is there for the public schools, which are among the area’s best.

    Zuckerberg et al should take their help to ‘failing public schools’ rather than cherry picking the best schools.

    That will never happen. It’s too much work and the risk of failure is too great.

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  14. alex said on October 12, 2018 at 11:44 am

    You know, Bitter Scribe, I was a toddler at the time of the ’64 election so my dad probably didn’t give it much thought. In those days everyone was resigned to mandatory conscription as a fact of life except for those who could buy their way out.

    My dad’s support of Goldwater and the GOP was all about their shared antipathy for the Soviets. After the Cold War, my dad had no real reason to vote Republican anymore. He got fed up with the party’s anti-intellectualism and became a sworn Democrat.

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  15. Connie said on October 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    I was a 9 year old for the 64 election. I heard my father say that if Johnson won we were moving to Australia. I believed him and was frightened all through the election cycle. But we didn’t really move.

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  16. Bitter Scribe said on October 12, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Jeff – Kanye wants Trump to pardon Larry Hoover? Oh dear God.

    I don’t think even Trump will be stupid enough to do that, if only because it would too glaringly contradict all his slagging on bloody Chicago.

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  17. Jolene said on October 12, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Ron Charles, one of WaPo’s book critics, rhapsodizes about Susan Orlean’s new book. Sounds like it is meant for the library lovers among us, but, really, for anyone. Have read just one of her previous books, The Orchid Thief, and it was terrific.


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  18. Julie Robinson said on October 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Count me as someone who got hauled along to a Goldwater rally when I was eight or so. I still don’t understand what my parents saw in him, except for the whole Arizona Highways vibe. My grandparents had bought a lot in Arizona and planned to retire there. It never happened, but most of the family fell under the Arizona mystique.

    Jolene, I’ve had The Library Book on reserve for three weeks after reading glowing reviews. Of course it may be a long wait, but my library commitment has helped me develop patience!

    Our normally very quiet little one block long street has been covered with police cars and a swat team for the last 90 minutes. One person came out of a house down the street but they are still there, so I guess there are more still inside. I count eight police cars and officers, six swat guys, one police dog, and a sniper, I think. He keeps coming back to his car and changing out rifles, from one that looks machine-gun-like, to one with an orange muzzle and handle. I know nothing of guns; does anyone know what the orange means?

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  19. beb said on October 12, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    I thought orange tip on a gun meant that it was a toy. Obviously I have been misinformed.

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 12, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Not in my experience. Orange muzzle tip should mean inactive or toy, possibly non-lethal rounds.

    We just had a scene down the block from the church on a residential side street, turned out to be an NRO . . . “non-responsive overdose.”

    There were 5 of those yesterday. During the *day* we had 5, a Thursday. In a city of maybe 50,000.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on October 12, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    The person came out of the house and was taken away without any shots being fired. There was a news truck in front of our house for about an hour but they drove away well before the resolution, so maybe something bigger got their attention. I saw the obit for an elderly family member in the paper earlier in the week and my guess is that emotions ran high during a gathering.

    Jeff, that is heart-breaking. I weep for our country.

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  22. Connie said on October 12, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Help! I can’t get my wine bottle open! Removed the foil. Twisted off the wire thing. What’s left? A white plastic bottle top with attached cork shaped bottle insert.
    I just heard a pop from the kitchen.!
    Anyway it didn’t twist out, it didn’t pull out, the cork screw wouldn’t poke it. I have my own strong man and he couldn’t pull it out. So, channel locks.
    It is a several year old bottle of Tabor Hill spumanti I don’t even remember having. And is not what I was after. Wrong Tabor Hill, I wanted the semidec. But that explains the champagne like packaging. And it is open now so I guess
    I will drink it.
    If you like to visit wineries Tabor Hill is not far from the South Haven beaches and almost across the street from another winery, something barn winery which I remember for their fruit brandies.

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  23. David C. said on October 12, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Life is good. A trans woman I follow and I just got into a twitter fight with an unreconstructed Stalinist. He called us idiot liberals with a gusto that I usually only hear from unreconstructed Confederates. Only in America.

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  24. basset said on October 12, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    Connie, I’m not familiar with the Tabor Hill wine but everything I’ve had made in Paw Paw just a few miles away was almost enough to induce diabetic seizure just from smelling it.

    Been retired just over a month now, still doing some freelance and just finished a project I’d been wrestling with for awhile. Which means that, for the first time since late 1977, I don’t have school or work Monday, or a project hanging over me, or much of anything happening. Almost doesn’t seem real.

    David, I don’t believe I know any trans women or Stalinists. You live an interesting life.

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  25. Dexter Friend said on October 13, 2018 at 2:07 am

    This is mostly for Jeff B., but any Chicagoan will enjoy this 12 year old hilarious video…the ingredients of the Chicago hot dog are discussed in Bucktown. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-RbAUeD08s&t=87s

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  26. LAMary said on October 13, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    It’s been 12 years since I had shingles. They’re baaaaack.

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  27. Deborah said on October 13, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    LA Mary, I didn’t know shingles can reoccur. Ouch.

    Tonight is our last night in Abiquiu until around Thanksgiving. My husband leaves NM on Monday, I leave Thursday. It’s supposed to snow in Santa Fe and Abiquiu on Monday, lows in the 20s! Yay, I love it, and it’s so good for the land.

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  28. Sherri said on October 13, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    LAMary, I’m so sorry. Acyclovir, stat! Having had a really bad case before, as soon as I felt that same feeling again about 15 years later on a weekend, I didn’t wait until I could see my doctor, I went to urgent care right then. That kept the case mild, as shingles go, but I still felt pretty wiped out for the week, just didn’t have the awful pain.

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  29. Dexter Friend said on October 14, 2018 at 3:00 am

    Sherri, Mary in LA: Will my shingles vaccine work in preventing this scourge? I get shot #2 in a few months, just got shot #1 a week ago.

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  30. Dexter Friend said on October 14, 2018 at 3:11 am

    My wife spent a few weeks in Las Vegas with my daughter’s family at the end of August, then when Vanessa had her cancer surgery , she helped with Vanessa’s daughter for a few more weeks in Columbus. Then the middle daughter, Sandi in Miami, came down with acute stomach lining inflammation, her husband had to go fly airplanes, so Saturday I drove Carla Lee (wife) to Toledo Express from where she flew to Charlotte and on to Miami to stay with Sandi and help, especially with the 2 huge Weimaraners. On the way back, I stopped at Johnson’s Orchard for a sack of Jonathan apples and a bag of donuts. Damn good apples and the apple pie donuts were fantastic. I couldn’t wait to get home even though the Toledo airport and that orchard are just 45 minutes from my door…I drove through a little coffee house and got a couple coffees and tore the hell into those donuts.

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  31. Jolene said on October 14, 2018 at 4:11 am

    Dexter, didn’t your wife just recover from surgery herself. Sounds like a lot of helping for a person who was recently in need of help herself.

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  32. ROGirl said on October 14, 2018 at 6:29 am

    I got the shingles vaccine earlier this year. My doctor asked me if I wanted the vaccine, and when I was kind of reluctant, he asked me if I wanted to get shingles again.

    And I’m disgusted to report that sexual harrassment is still alive and well in the workplace. Along with the harrassment have come the protests of the instigator that it was just innocent joking that shouldn’t have been taken so seriously, and the instigator didn’t deserve being called on those actions.

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  33. Connie said on October 14, 2018 at 6:41 am

    I had shingles so many times starting in 03 that I finally went on daily Valtrex to sort of permanently knock it down. Who knew Herpes meds would work on shingles. I was told that once you’ve had it it is too late for the vaccine. It would be nice to know thats wrong. It is a miserably painful disease. You’ve been warned.

    So my thoughts with you LAMary.

    In other vaccine news word is there are three cases of mumps on the U Mich campus. And if you never had chicken pox you won’t get shingles.

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  34. Suzanne said on October 14, 2018 at 7:35 am

    I had the shingles vaccine a few years ago but now there is a new one the doc is recommending, so I probably need to get that, too.
    There is also apparently a new HPV vaccine which is good news. Our daughter didn’t get the other in time and her doctor told her she was too old. The new one is recommended for older ages.

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  35. basset said on October 14, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Had part one at our grocery store pharmacy, due for part two when they get the vaccine in.
    This is at a Publix which also offers a $10 gift certificate if you get a free flu shot, such a deal.

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  36. Jessica Weissman said on October 14, 2018 at 9:01 am

    These idiotic computerized curricula bug the heck out of me, because I know what computers can actually do in education. I worked on the PLATO system, which produced truly interactive elementary math and reading lessons, and countless truly interactive college-level lessons including simulations of standard science experiments. They were intended to be used as part of a teacher-led curriculum, providing drill and practice or means to demonstrate math concepts vividly and interactively. You could carry out the standard fruit fly crossing experiments electronically, doing several generations in 15 minutes.

    Data was kept on students to validate and improve the curriculum and to ensure that difficulty levels adjusted to the kid’s level. NOBODY outside the researchers saw the raw data.

    The catch is that it was expensive to produce and expensive to distribute, not to mention hard to get right. You can read about PLATO in Brian Dear’s The Friendly Orange Glow.

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  37. Sherri said on October 14, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Jessica, cool! I have a friend who worked on PLATO back in the day. Nobody wants to hear the lessons. Tech as an augmentation tool is incredible, but, as you say, expensive to produce and hard to get right. Khan Academy is not a counter-example of that, despite what some people claim.

    If we’d start actually investing money in teaching instead of technology to replace teaching, we’d get better results, but little sign of that happening yet.

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  38. The Garden Fairy said on October 14, 2018 at 9:37 am

    @Connie, #33 — The “chickenpox naive” can’t develop shingles ’cause they don’t have the virus lurking deep in nerve roots. But this means they are at risk of contracting chickenpox as adults. The course is generally worse than in childhood and side effects more likely. If the adult is pregnant, on chemo or steroids, the situation becomes more complicated, sometimes tragic.

    This “worse in adulthood” scenario is true for most of the childhood diseases that we can now vaccinate for — mumps, measles, rubella, ‘pox. I’m waiting for the children of anti-vaxxers to reach adulthood, catch one or two of these diseases, lose a pregnancy, have their balls swell up, develop encephalitis, etc. Then will be interested in what they have to say to their parents for inflicting this on them.

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  39. Jessica Weissman said on October 14, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Thanks, Sherri. Who was your friend? Most PLATO people, especially those working at universities, knew each other by name and reputation.

    – Jessica

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  40. basset said on October 14, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Friend who does some work for a PBS station in a large Southwestern city says they were unable to get one Republican candidate to participate in a debate… candidate said the RNC had told him he could only do debates on Sinclair stations. Might have just been an excuse, but still…

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  41. David C. said on October 14, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Connie, my wife’s doctor recommended Mary get the shingles vaccine after she had a thankfully mild outbreak. She said it doesn’t give the same level of protection as getting it before the outbreak, but it’s still effective. She did have to wait, I think, six weeks after the episode was over.

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  42. Diane said on October 14, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    My husband had the same experience as David C.’s wife. He had a fairly mild case and his doctor did recommend that he get the vaccine when it was over.

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