The bottom below the last bottom.

Well, that was an interesting day, wasn’t it?

I took 30 minutes for lunch today. I was going to get a sandwich and bring it back to the office, but decided fuck it, I’m going to sit at this table, eat and scroll Twitter. I’m in a group chat with a couple of friends, and one of them noted that while we’re all watching Michael Cohen, India and Pakistan are on the brink of war, and both have nukes.

And damn, it’s true.

Today may have been one of those days when my brain broke, a little. Four different people in the office were watching the hearing, on four different feeds, so there was a weird echo effect, punctuated by the occasional guffaw or that’s not true or who is this clown. I was trying to get a job done that generally takes one to two hours, but today took three going on four, and finally I just turned the whole thing off. What have we done to this country? How can we recover from this? What is this going to lead to? How can we go back?

We’re so screwed. We should liquidate all our savings and just light out for the territories, spend the remainder of our time traveling from Bangkok to Vladivostok to Istanbul to Paris until this is over, then travel for a few more years until climate change really kicks in, then I don’t know what we’ll do. Volunteer at the next mega wildfire in California, maybe. Anything to blot out the knowledge we elected a president who set up a straw buyer to bid up a shitty portrait of himself, so it would get the highest price, then paid for it out of a charitable foundation.

Over the last three years, I’ve been baffled, outraged, grimly amused, frustrated – pretty much the whole gamut. But today I feel ashamed of this whole stupid country.

All of this may be exacerbated by today’s bus ride home. I got off at my stop and realized my ass was wet, because apparently I sat in something. I stripped off my clothes 30 seconds after I walked through the door and took a sniff. It might have been coffee, or it could have been anonymous transit-rider pee. So I ran a bath and sat there and the water needed to be hotter, which may be because the hot-water heater is elderly and overdue to fail. Maybe it’ll fail this week! Wouldn’t that be the cherry on top?

Also, it snowed overnight.

But just in case you think I have entirely lost my sense of humor, I have not. I don’t believe I’ve ever been to Alabama, but I wish I’d been there to see this:

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama police say a dispute over crab legs at a dinner buffet ended in a brawl that left two people facing misdemeanor charges.

Huntsville police officer Gerald Johnson …tells WHNT-TV that diners were using service tongs like fencing swords and plates were shattering, and a woman was beating a man. Johnson says diners had been waiting in line for crab legs for more than 10 minutes, and they lost their tempers once the food came out.

Right now, I think I’ll do a crossword. Have a nice evening.

Posted at 8:01 pm in Current events |

65 responses to “The bottom below the last bottom.”

  1. David C. said on February 27, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    I am SO goddamned sick of snow. I shoveled seven inches of it this morning. I have a snow blower, but most of the time I end up shoveling because I head off to work before 6:00 and I’m not an asshole who wakes up the neighbors by firing it up at 5:00. I thought I took care of snow for the rest of the season by buying snow tires, but it didn’t work. When I bought snow shoes three years ago it kept the snow away for almost two years. I guess the snow gods will not be mocked.

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  2. Suzanne said on February 27, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    I followed Twitter most of the day at work and heard the tale end of the hearings when I got home. Gym Jordan is a complete ass, the guy who brought in the black staffer who worked for Trump at one time, or something like that, to prove he isn’t racist was an ass but Elijah Cummings will go down in history for his closing statement.

    Also, it seems that our dear president told Mr Kim today that the US would not demand a full accounting of their nuclear weapon program as part of the negotiations. So, what are we negotiating? A new Trump golf course?

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  3. basset said on February 27, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    Visited one of my songwriter friends tonight and we sat there with guitars throwing songs back and forth. Somewhere in there I did an old one, “Shackles and Chains,” which as you might expect is about being in prison and pining for your sweetie at home.

    The final verse:

    “And tonight through the bars I will gaze at the stars
    And long for your kisses in vain
    Block of stone I will use for my pillow
    My companions will be shackles and chains.”

    Right about then my friend’s wife walked through and asked if that was our Michael Cohen song.

    Obvious, sure, but you take em where you can get em, right?

    Huntsville… been there many times, it’s probably the largest concentration of smart people in Alabama but somehow I don’t think the buffet fighters were NASA or Redstone Arsenal engineers.

    Mrs. B and I went to an estate sale north of Huntsville weekend before last, on the way to Florida. Saw a sign on the interstate for a goat dairy and thought we’d pull off and maybe get some cheese, on the way to it we passed an estate sale sign and of course had to stop.

    Turns out the house, downmarket brick single story of maybe 1000 square feet, belonged to a prepper… the only house in the neighborhood with barred windows and doors. The guns and weaponry were gone but his martial-arts workout area was still out in the shed, two of the bedrooms were filled with canned goods and vacuum-packed grain, and there was a freeze-dry machine in the garage. Thought we’d grab a few cans but the newest we saw had expired in 2017 and the oldest in 2005.

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  4. alex said on February 27, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    Anonymous transit rider pee is horrific, and the mere mention of it is bringing back my PTSD from having been handed a cloth napkin with a mess of snot on it at a fancy steakhouse.

    I’m just appalled at the number of people who’ve been had by this charlatan president who ask if I’m “on board” with him and then tick off the litany of bogus talking points cribbed in Pilot Joe’s fat paragraph in the last thread if I say fuck no. It’s a fucking zombie apocalypse.

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  5. basset said on February 27, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    I want this car:

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  6. Sherri said on February 28, 2019 at 12:21 am

    My brother lives in Huntsville, and yes, it has the largest concentration of smart people in Alabama, but it’s still surrounded by Alabama. I’ve always said Alabama’s state motto should be “Better than Mississippi”.

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  7. Dexter Friend said on February 28, 2019 at 2:36 am

    Walk is the word…nothingburger is the result…2,800 miles on an armored train, just to reverse it and head back to Pyongyang. I did love the photo from Day One with Trump, who was never-ever going to be in Vietnam when Vietnam rocked the world, posed under a giant bust of Uncle Ho Chi Minh. Also ya hadda love Kim taking a smoke break on a train platform and his sister chasing cigarette ashes carrying a crystal ashtray. Fuckin’ A.

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  8. Deborah said on February 28, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Ugh, sitting in bus pee, my sympathies.

    I’m at Midway. I hate these travel days.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 28, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Our county board of health just voted without notice or reason to forbid syringe exchanges in their jurisdiction (turns out they can do this under Ohio law) after our harm reduction task force has spent a year getting us ready to safely operate one as our Hep-A rates skyrocket; my last church has a non-Disciples pastor (our denomination) who is organizing a bus tour to the Creation Museum where they can hear “the real story” and has already filled one, looking to see if she can fill a second; I had my first column in nineteen years rejected by my editor for being too hostile towards Trump (actually, I say “we have a president who” but apparently he thinks people will figure out who I mean); and we had a joyful ordination service for a woman who has been working here with me for two and a half years, a two years for free and a pittance the last six months, then last night a board meeting where I hear second hand (the parking lot lords put them into executive session for personnel reasons) that they only want to extend her part-time contract to June so they can “review the position” which is to say “figure out how we can hire a nice young man who plays guitar to organize us up a contemporary service like all the cool churches have, and not a middle aged woman.”

    Despair, anyone? I’m running out of cheerful enthusiasm. I think our well-intended but beleaguered local editor (whom we now share with two other cities in Ohio) worries that after this week’s Cohen-based revelations my piece will look like piling on. To which I said “yeah? and?” But this county did go 70% for Donald John, so . . .

    And our county emergency management agency messaged me last night, and wants to know if I’ll reopen a warming shelter in my church next Monday and Tuesday. Clearly my attempt to shame elected officials into doing their jobs has not had much impact.

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  10. FDChief said on February 28, 2019 at 8:48 am

    Here’s where I break out of my cynical-old-sergeant-mode and say that, rather, this is a reminder that the measure of true worth is the willingness to fight even when the position is hopeless if the cause is worth the fight. To despair and flee is what the Republicans WANT; you can’t have a nice, serene oligarchy if the goddamn peasants are stringing up an aristo every so often or cutting up the bishop’s procession.

    My rule of thumb is: if you’re a real bastard and you want something? I’m going to do the opposite, since your wanting something is the sign that it’s going to be something that sucks for everyone else.

    At this point it’s clear who and what Orange Foolius is, and what his pack of jackals and thieves is, and what the GOP “leadership” that is riding them and us towards a New Gilded Age is…so the choice is bluntly clear; you can be a Good Republican, or you can be a Good American.

    But you can’t be both.

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 28, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Oh, I’ve never been a good Republican. And I’m not all that good at being an American. Mostly just a Boy Scout with a brief hitch in the Marines and a generalized misplaced idealism that tries to find tangible expression from time to time, because I don’t think Christianity is just a good idea, but a working outline of a way to live.

    As an old sergeant, your point about holding the position is a good one; on a number of levels recently, I find myself wrestling with a General Order Number 5 problem — if there are roles I hold now that no one really gave me in the first place (like ecumenical standard bearer in community events), can I leave my post without relief? How far behind my position does the rear echelon get to go before I can walk away myself? In the last year, due to the general collapse of the other mainline churches in town, I’ve been asked to “save” the community Thanksgiving service, the CROP Walk, the community Lenten services, the community Holy Week services, and the community Good Friday service at noon downtown (my church is a mile north of downtown). I saved the Thanksgiving service twice, and stopped doing so this year, and have been chided repeatedly in person and by messaging for being responsible for letting drop the next three — another minister (part-time, she’s actually our United Way executive director) and I are going to pull off a Good Friday service this year and see what happens, and it may be the last to go over the side.

    As far as being one of the few semi-public figures in town willing to state that the Orange Emperor is buck naked and not wearing new designer robes, that won’t stop. I’m heartbroken at the elected and appointed officials who sidle up to me and say “thank you for speaking out” but can’t/won’t say anything for fear of getting knee-capped in the next primary.

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  12. FDChief said on February 28, 2019 at 9:51 am

    As any good sergeant will tell you; the reward for doing good work is…MORE work. No one will jump in to lend a shoulder, since you’re obviously willing to do it all. So the decision is simply “how important is this to me?” If it is, well…you’re in a bind. The mainstream churches are in a hell of a fix, and I’m not sure how they get out of it. How do you keep the spiritual solace but ditch the Bronze Age prejudicial baggage? We seem to have figured out how to get by with ham and cheese and shellfish and variegated cloths, but not misogyny and homophobia. That’s a tough one, and a big reason I’m no longer Catholic.

    Unfortunately for Republicans (and the rest of us) their party has been subsumed by the political equivalent of the folks who just forced the Methodists into schism; the American Taliban that will gleefully bring on climate disaster, oligarchy, and political collapse rather than see two boys kissing or pay for a poor kid to go to college. You can be a bad American without that sort of petty viciousness…but it’s nearly impossible to live up to the nation’s aspirations with them.

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  13. Suzanne said on February 28, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Well said, FDChief. The thing is that in talking to church people, 90% of them are completely flummoxed about why people don’t show up any more. Your question of “How do you keep the spiritual solace but ditch the Bronze Age prejudicial baggage?” isn’t even on the radar, at least among people I know. They keep trying to get people’s attention with cooler music, or more interesting programs, or more marketing. The spiritual solace thing is not a thing. It’s about who is right and who is wrong. For my children and most of their friends, the notion so prevalent in churches, especially in flyover country, that God is a Republican is a complete deal breaker but to many church goers, admitting that would, in their minds, mean you stand for nothing and have no real beliefs.
    I truly the believe the spectacle of mobster Trump in bed with the vast majority of evangelicals and others will be the end of the Christian Church as we know it in America.

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  14. Bitter Scribe said on February 28, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Minor but telling point: After years of crowing about how Obama was a loser for not cracking 3% in GDP, and promising that he could do double that, Trump is faced with a GPD of 2.9%. So of course he’s changing the rules for calculating it.

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  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 28, 2019 at 10:49 am

    In churches both conservative and progressive, at least across Protestant middle American, people are getting bamboozled by the sudden growth — and every town has at least one, we have three — of big box worship, just like big box retail. A pop-up building after the requisite year in a school cafeteria or auditorium, a rocking band and two screens (plus one in the back for the platform to see without looking behind them), and a way cool kids program. It garners a ton of young families with small kids, and shoots up to 300-600 a Sunday (or Sat/Sun sequence of four or five services), and has youth and energy and they’re brilliant at getting both general media and social media buzz.

    What’s happening is EXACTLY what Walmart and Target have done, which is crush quietly without even meaning to, sometimes, all the small businesses and mom-and-pop retail in town, as people go to the big box for the cheap and easy to access consumer commodity. Laundry soap and big bags of frozen chicken breasts in one, a surge of emotional uplift and reaffirmation of your place in the cosmos in the other, plus you don’t have to worry about your kids for ninety minutes while they’re in the KidzZone ™ during worship.

    So in a town like ours, 100 churches with an average 100 in each was 10,000 in worship a weekend; now, we have 80 churches with an average of 65 in each, plus three big box non-denom churches with an average of 400 in them — that’s 5,200 plus 1,200, so we actually now in a growing community have 6,400 a weekend in church, a net 36% decrease.

    But my own leadership is dogged by a desire for us to get a piece of that ostensible growth, as our peers are cratering around us (we have two services, average a net 150 some per Sunday, one of the lucky ones). If I close one service and jam guitars and a drum set into the chancel, and put a single screen in front of Jesus (big central stained glass window in our sanctuary), I will neither replicate their buzz nor grow the church we have, in fact probably losing a few dozen right off the top. But no, says Israel, we must have a king. And as God says in I Samuel 8 “then a king they shall have.” Or as H.L. Mencken said more recently: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” Well, we’re getting it.

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  16. Mark P said on February 28, 2019 at 10:58 am

    The Pakistan-India situation has the greatest potential of any place on Earth for a nuclear exchange, and Trump probably couldn’t find either on a plainly-labeled map. I hope someone, somewhere is paying attention, but I doubt that it would help since Trump already knows more than they do.

    As to Kim, he’s not playing three-dimensional chess. He’s not even playing tic-tac-toe. His plan is as clear as a route marked with bright, red ink on a map. He would love it if Trump and he can sign a peace agreement to end the Korean War. If there is peace, why should the US have troops in South Korea? I’m afraid there are quite a few South Koreans who would agree, and that would leave the Korean peninsula as close to being dominated by the north as it has been since more than 50 years ago.

    And, yeah, Huntsville, Al. I worked there for almost 30 years. It’s true that there are a lot of very smart people there, but I’m willing to bet a large percentage of them voted for Trump. I think I have mentioned this scenario before, but here it is again: I once saw a bumper sticker that said something like “The best government is the smallest government” (or “That government is best that governs least” or some other libertarian crap). It was on a car parked in a handicapped parking space in a huge lot filled with cars belonging to the thousands of people working for the government on a government installation. I think I have also mentioned a fellow I know who complains all the time about paying his taxes, despite the fact that he became what I would call rich from working on government contracts.

    All of this is just more evidence on the pile that proves god doesn’t exist. If he did, he would wipe the slate clean and start all over again. Maybe this time the dominant life form would be descendants of dogs.

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  17. Heather said on February 28, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Alex @4, maybe we need to keep a document with all of our responses on hand–just pass it out when needed and walk away. Not that it would make a difference. It really is a cult, as evidenced by the truly mind-blowing (although sadly not surprising) display of willful ignorance from the GOP reps yesterday. They wanted someone who’s not a criminal and a liar to testify? Those people don’t work for Trump, not for long anyway.

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  18. FDChief said on February 28, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Well, I am clueless on the whole Walmart Jesus thing. My affection for the mass had less to do with bells and smells than the ancient ritual timelessness of it, a kind of spiritual yoga that, at its best, let me open my mind and heart. The idea of religion as entertainment? The only reaction I can come up with is “Seriously?” Why? There’s a crap-ton of entertainment out there, perhaps more than any time in human history! But opportunities to pause and reflect on the Infinite? Not so much…

    I’m reading today that the Indo-Pakistani border is back to the business-as-usual artillery and small arms hate. So perhaps both sides are backing away. That’d be good.

    And as for Li’l Kim checking out of the Hanoi Love Hotel? Umm…duh? Everyone with a functional hindbrain gets that the new Iron Law of Dealing With Uncle Sammy is that you got nukes? We’ll talk? No? Hello, Shock and Awe! Saddam Hussein shakes his head in Hell with rueful admiration at the masterful way the Norks are playing these fucking rubes.

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  19. Little Bird said on February 28, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Anonymous bus poop is worse. I saw a woman (in flip flops) move a small pile of papers on the floor with her foot. There was poop in the papers. The whole bus was emptied and had to be cleaned. This was Chicago, about ten years ago.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on February 28, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    I think it is perfectly reasonable to be ashamed of America these days.

    Yeah, it’s not as bad racially as it was in the Jim Crow era, but racism still animates far too many of our fellow citizens, who have expanded the roster of their loathing by adding Hispanics and Asians. Yeah, gay people in larger cities can generally live their lives openly, but even there, they will be subject to sneers, eye-rolling, etc. And they will be denied entry at many churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. Yeah, women are gaining power in both the political and corporate arenas, but they are not even close to parity with men, particularly with regards to pay and health care. And arrayed against all these groups is the Republican Party and the conservative movement and the knuckle-dragging far right religious leaders and state media Fox, etc., arguing for a return to a past that never really existed outside the gauzy story lines of 1950s television shows.

    The Orange King is, of course, making everything worse in his inimitable fashion. He humiliates our allies, sucks ass on thug dictators, pulls out of Paris and the Iran accords, moves markets up and down with his stupid fucking tweets, imprisons little children and feeds his deplorables a steady diet of the lies that give them chubbies.

    Michael Cohen was probably right. There is a strong possibility of violence during the 2016 election and beyond. A significant number of his misinformed, willfully ignorant followers would like nothing better. And we know the orange blob will be happy to orchestrate it.

    Yeah, I’m ashamed, too.

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  21. Dorothy said on February 28, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Speaking of being ashamed (as Michael Jackson should be were he still drawing breath), has anyone else read this yet?

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  22. Jakash said on February 28, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    “They wanted someone who’s not a criminal and a liar to testify? Those people don’t work for Trump, not for long anyway.” Egggzactly!

    Very strange how so many of the “best people” from the “I hire the best people” crowd have turned out to be both incompetent and crooked. Though it might be worse in the long run if Hair Furor and his minions actually *were* more competent, given their motivations.

    My general policy on the CTA is to remain standing, thank you very much. Which is not a problem during rush hour, as half the train is standing anyway. When it’s practically empty, it’s a tad embarrassing, but I rationalize it as being akin to using a stand-up desk for the purported health benefits. : )

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  23. Deborah said on February 28, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    I generally stand when riding the el in Chicago.

    I’m in NM now, it’s 60°! Yay!

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  24. Jakash said on February 28, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    Gene Weingarten of the WaPo conducted a poll for his online chat yesterday, with one of the questions being “Would you say you have some racial prejudice? Doesn’t have to be a lot, but do you think you have some?” To which 89% of respondents have replied “Yes.”

    Mr. Weingarten essentially concluded that 11% (it was 15% at the moment he wrote it) of those participating “are either liars or utterly self-delusional.”

    Uh, his readership is not what you’d consider to be a prejudiced group, but they *are* probably a self-reflective one. Also, they’re probably not very representative, age-wise, skewing toward older. I think he’s close to being right, though I really hope that things are changing, and that many younger people are growing up differently than folks did even in the relatively recent past.

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  25. LAMary said on February 28, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Suzanne, it’s not cooler music in the churches. As Hank Hill said, “Christian Rock isn’t good rock or good Christianity.”
    I used to work with a woman who described herself as a non-denominational Christian. She would sit at her desk singing awful contemporary Christian songs while she worked. She had one of those thin soprano voices. You know what I mean? Give me A Mighty Fortress is our God any day.

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  26. Mary Ann said on February 28, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Jeff (TTMO), your Mencken quote reminded me of another one:

    On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

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  27. John A. said on February 28, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    I’ve not commented in some years, but one comment in Jeff (tmmo)’s comment at 1049 stuck with me: “which is crush quietly without even meaning to, sometimes, all the small businesses and mom-and-pop retail in town, as people go to the big box for the cheap and easy to access consumer commodity.”

    Jeff, I think you’re giving the mega churches more credit than they deserve. They know exactly what they are doing, and it’s right out of Sam Walton’s guidebook.

    If you want to stop it, tax the churches. If their collected monies really go to charity, it will work out financially. But the grifters will move on the next town down the tracks.

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  28. David C. said on February 28, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    My aunt went to a mega church for a while. Once she wanted to speak to the pastor and he fobbed her off on the assistant pastor of something or other. He told my aunt that she wouldn’t expect to speak to the CEO of GM if she had a problem with her car. It seems like if you fancy yourself as the CEO of a church, you’re probably doing it wrong. Between aunt ignoring, tRump humping, and kid diddling they’re doing a better job of emptying the pews than all the atheists in the world could.

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  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 28, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    David C., did you mean MAGA church?

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  30. David C. said on February 28, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Right you are, Jeff.

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  31. Suzanne said on February 28, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    David C, oh yes. I know several mainline old school denomination pastors who have told me how often they get asked by their own members to visit family or friends who are big box church members when they are in the hospital or in hospice situations because their own pastors won’t do so. You are correct; they consider themselves CEO of, not the representative of Christ himself on earth.

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  32. beb said on March 1, 2019 at 3:19 am

    While I’m an atheist my wife was taking our daughter to church for a while but stopped when a new pastor started talking about Jesus and dinosaurs. Nonsense like that she up with she would not put. And I read this morning that the Methodists had decided they wanted nothing to do with LGBT or gay ministers. Then they wonder why young people do not come to their services. Only bigots go to bigoted churches.

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 1, 2019 at 7:16 am

    And yes, I get asked to not only go visit people in hospitals, but hospice, nursing homes, and do funerals for people who have technical membership in a MAGA church, but have a family member who loves them connected to mine. Plus we end up doing weddings for them, too. They are about a single product line, and they have the discipline to stick to it. One of our problems which I’m proud of, even as it’s a problem, is that we try to do everything. And do most of it not terribly well, nor do we leverage it into attendance. They are wonderfully focused on that one outcome and the giving that results, and it shows. To be backhandedly fair, a giant mortgage gives one focus indeed.

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  34. alex said on March 1, 2019 at 7:17 am

    Mega-churches go through their own boom/bust cycles and schisms, usually over financial and sexual misdeeds of the leadership. In our town there’s one family of grifters that has been at it for generations and no scandal has ever put them out of business. Rather, it seems like they are forever rising from disgrace to build the newest and flashiest house of entertainment-slash-worship and their sins are soon forgotten.

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  35. Connie said on March 1, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Feeling stupid. It took me until last night to get the joke about pillows and pilot.

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  36. Joe Kobiela said on March 1, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    I don’t think I have ever said I would harm someone I disagree with, so much for the compassion of the liberals, what a bunch of sad people you have become, I would have thought that our pastor in this group might have said something about threatening harm on someone was wrong, glad the God I chose to worship accepts and loves everyone. I do forgive you for your threat.
    Pilot Joe

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  37. Sherri said on March 1, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    So, Lyft has filed for IPO. They lost almost a billion dollars in 2018 on revenues on $2.2 billion, even while not employing drivers, instead treating them as contractors. Uber is even worse.

    What exactly are they disrupting?

    Too much capital in too few hands chasing returns: one of the biggest reasons I think we need higher taxes.

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  38. beb said on March 1, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    There was an interesting story about ride-sharing scooters.
    Data posted by one city indicates that scooters only last around 25-30 days while costing around $500 each. Which would indicate that the scooters need to earn $20 a day just to pay for the machine but average fares seem to run under $5/day. Leaving one to wonder if Bird and Lyme are actually making any money.

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  39. LAMary said on March 1, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    I heard that the Methodists outside of the US had a lot to do with the anti LGBTQ decision.

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  40. Julie Robinson said on March 1, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Something like 40% of Methodists are outside the US, the majority in Africa. 30% of the delegates were from Africa, and their votes are what doomed the love is love motions. It appears there’s a good chance of a split, with a new denomination formed as a result.

    Our daughter is pastor in a denomination that used to be laissez-faire but seems to have been taken over by the haters, and is considering what her options are. She has new members whose Methodist church closed, so this possible new denomination might be attractive. All she wants to do is minister to everyone who comes to her in need of ministry. Doesn’t sound unreasonable, does it?

    For all the mega churches with big budgets, there are a lot of pastors like her, earning almost poverty pay but radiantly happy about helping her congregation.

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  41. Scout said on March 1, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    I apologize if this is an ignorant question, Julie, but can she be ordained into a different denomination, one that is more in line with her progressive ideals? There are many progressive Christianity congregations that would probably be thrilled to have someone like her.

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  42. Julie Robinson said on March 1, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Scout, I’m not completely sure about that. I know that to rejoin her childhood denomination she would have to take yet another year of seminary, and given the cost and time that’s unappealing to her. Some would accept her current credentials but she would have to have lots of interviews/written essays. Others wouldn’t accept her at all, because they don’t ordain women, but she wouldn’t want to go there anyway.

    She’s already had four years of post-college study, but in some denominations they don’t seem to require any seminary at all. We have a friend who is highly educated and intelligent, but gets to call himself Pastor without benefit of a seminary degree. I guess the answer is it depends.

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  43. Little Bird said on March 1, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    What Dreams May Threat……

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  44. LAMary said on March 1, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    There was an American Methodist bishop on NPR and he was unhappy with the anti LGBTQ development. He was a very reasonable man and felt that anyone who wants to come to God should be free to do so and not be turned away. I’m not a believer, but I went to a Methodist church for about six years. The pastor there was excellent. He was kind and compassionate and I’m sure he would have welcomed LGBTQ parishioners.

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  45. Sherri said on March 1, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Sexual identity is not a choice, it’s a fundamental part of who we are. Given that, then it follows that just like every straight man, every LGBTQ person is made in the image of God. To say to them that they can not be full members of the church is to say that they must deny who they are, or that they are not created in the image of God.

    Relying on Biblical authority to deny anybody a place at the table requires picking and choosing which part you’re going to consider authoritative. It feels like we’ve been watching the institutional church make the wrong choice often lately.

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  46. Deborah said on March 1, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    I don’t know this for a fact, but I seem to recall that Michelle Malkin’s mother is/was an immigrant. No?

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  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 1, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    LAMary, that was probably Will Willimon.

    Joe, when did someone threaten to hurt you? I would certainly oppose you. There’s a fair amount of rhetorical violence about conservatism and I’ve probably come to take it all in stride here. Trump has done little to reduce the general aggressiveness about language and attitudes in general, and the cycle continues. But I’d never wish you anything other than fair winds and following seas.

    Being a moderate, I’m getting unhappiness aimed at me in social media from both sides, but that’s about what the Jewish carpenter I honor told me to expect. More practically, I think there’s a need for a better path towards a sexual ethic that’s got guardrails but different lane markings, and neither “side” seems to be interested in that project. This is a good summary of my general sense of the situation as a Christian:

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  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 1, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    Meanwhile, my attempt to shame our local official and formal leadership into stepping up on this issue three weeks ago clearly hasn’t worked — they had a meeting and wrote a four page memo on how “we” should have run our shelters. And are messaging me asking “are you going to open up Monday night?”

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  49. FDChief said on March 1, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    IIRC the Christ comes down pretty hard on this sort of nasty “scriptural literalism” in Mark, where he’s taken to task because the disciples have chowed down without washing their hands. The savior says, basically, that what is “clean” and “unclean” is decided by what is in your mind and heart, not whether you fulfill every jot and tittle of the Rules.

    That said, church is like a club. If enough of the members want to be dickish about who can’t be in the club, well…that’s their privilege. I’m less worried about that – after all, you can go start another church, no? Didn’t Himself say that whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name he is with you? Okay, then.

    Nope. I’m more worried about Joe’s conservative pals getting a woody to make the Levitican crowd the boss of the rest of us. Now THAT is the kind of Old Time Religion I’ll be happy to pass on.

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  50. Dexter Friend said on March 2, 2019 at 2:31 am

    Ya know Pence called all Dems “socialists” who are ruining the country, right? Somebody posted that and I just said Social Security is sure-enough a socialist program and I am damn glad we have it. I also mentioned I do get a little bit from Uncle Sam for Agent Orange complications. So this man replies that Dexter is a leech and he’ll be laughing when my freebies go away, which he guaranteed will happen before Trump goes away for good. My wife argues with these mindless trolls but I report them for harassment and block or delete them forever. I have too much fun on Facebook to let anonymous assholes harsh my mellow.

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  51. Suzanne said on March 2, 2019 at 7:39 am

    This is what astounds me. N Korea is the top country for persecution of Christians and we hear the President over and over praising Kim as being a great guy and a great leader. So where are all those Christian leaders crying foul?? Silent. Completely silent.

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  52. David C. said on March 2, 2019 at 8:34 am

    So much winning.

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  53. alex said on March 2, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Michelle Malkin’s parents were both Filipino immigrants, but that’s of no concern to conservatives nor to her. They get a right-wing harpy in a medium shade of brown and the free pass on their racism that comes with it. She gets a fat paycheck in exchange for her worthless soul.

    As for the Christian right’s indifference to the plight of Christians in North Korea, it’s perfectly understandable, and not just because those people aren’t white. Real stories of torture and execution have a way of undercutting the Christian right’s efforts to redefine persecution as having to coexist with liberals.

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  54. Jakash said on March 2, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Perhaps a large part of the reason nobody was overly concerned about the pillow comment was because the rest of us understand the difference between a joke, even a mean one, and a “threat.” If one *is* disturbed by the difference between “threatening harm on someone” and “accepting and loving everyone,” he would do well to be more concerned with the words and actions of the guy he supports as president, rather than a joke by an anonymous blog commenter. Just a thought.

    BTW, Joe, I wonder what aspects of acceptance and love were demonstrated by voting for Trump in order to piss people like us off, as you said you did.

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  55. Deborah said on March 2, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    Good points Jakash.

    My husband is on his way from the Albuquerque airport right now on the shuttle. We’re going out to Abiquiu this afternoon, will stay for 3 days then he goes back to Chicago for 3 days then back here. I don’t exactly know his schedule after that but it’s going to be back and forth until the end of April when the plumbing business is done in our Chicago building (for our place anyway).

    We took the big step of ordering a portable Goal Zero solar panel and a Yeti battery so we will have power in the cabin now which will be nice. They will power phones and laptops, our lights are all battery powered or oil lamps. The solar panel folds into what they call a brief case for moving it around but folded it’s about 30” x 24” and it’s heavier than it seemed like it would be from the info on line. So the big experiment commences soon.

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  56. LAMary said on March 2, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks for that, JTMMO. Rev. Willimon impressed me. I know too many Christians who use their faith as a way to reinforce their own prejudices. Luckily I know quite a few who apply their faith to how they conduct their lives, or at least them make a serious effort to do that and it shows.

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  57. Sherri said on March 2, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. Anne Lamott

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  58. LAMary said on March 2, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    That’s it, Sherri. And again, I’m an atheist and I don’t hate anybody. I come close but I feel like I’m failing if I let myself hate someone. This is particularly difficult in the current political situation.

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  59. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 2, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    My son, now twenty, insists my most annoying habit is to look pained any time he or anyone else uses the word “hate.”

    “It’s not that big a deal, Dad. People hate, okay? Let it go.”

    (But if I died today, I know he will always know when people casually say they “hate” someone or something that “Dad wouldn’t have liked that.” I’ll call that a small victory.)

    LAMary, there’s one more place atheists and believers can agree. Hate is not a family value. Or of any value at all.

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  60. Deborah said on March 2, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    It would be very hard for me to say that I don’t hate Trump. He is such a vile human being, I can’t find any redeeming qualities in him. And I worry about what’s happening to our country and our world because of people like him. I feel sorry for his wife and kids. As much as Jr is an asshole, I can’t say I hate him.

    I guess that makes me an awful person. So be it.

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  61. LAMary said on March 2, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    It doesn’t Deborah. He’s eminently hateworthy. I can go from micro to macro on a list of reasons to hate him. My former employer was put out of business by Trump not paying his bill. I liked that former employer a lot. It was a great small company. My tax refund was seriously anemic this year. A lot of my neighbors and friends are possibly going to be deported. Go from that all the way to global wreckage and everything in between. If you’re going to hate someone, he’s a serious contender.

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  62. beb said on March 3, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Apparently Trump’s CPAC speech found new depths in the bottom of the bottom of his mendacity.

    And I think we should all take Michael Cohen’s comment that should Trump lose in 2020 there will not be a peaceful transition of power to heart.

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  63. Suzanne said on March 3, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Beb, I took that to heart as soon as heard Cohen say it. Chilling to the bone, especially because you not one person in the GOP will do anything to stop it. They will encourage it. It’s why they have been stockpiling weapons for years.

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  64. David C. said on March 3, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    I think it was Malcolm Nance I heard say that a President who refused to leave the White House when his term was up would be thrown out by the Secret Service. I believe that. Can you imagine that tRump treats his Secret Service agents as anything but servants? Does he treat anybody as anything but servants? I imagine it would be their great pleasure to toss Cheeotlini to the curb on Pennsylvania Ave.

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  65. Deborah said on March 3, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    I’m more often than not a pessimist about things, but surprisingly domestically I have hope that we in the US will eventually turn around the cravenness of the Trump admin and the Republicans in general. I think that the rule of law will prevail. I don’t think there will be a “civil war” involving guns and violence, that will amount to much, if anything. What I worry about more regarding our basic survival is the foreign policy that is happening now with Trump and his minions at the helm. I don’t trust them for a minute with our global economic standing, nuclear treaties, NATO, terrorism or the like. I think they are digging a deep and dangerous hole that they know nothing about. That’s what scares me more. Maybe I’m just naive about what will happen within this country in the near future but I’m hearing more and more from the young movers and shakers that gives me hope.

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