Out and about.

Thursday night I was invited to sit on a panel at a local bar/restaurant, an event sponsored by the local public-radio station, ostensibly to ask the grassroots what they were thinking about ahead of the Mackinac Policy Conference next month. I know the other panelists and the radio people, so it was a good time. Here we were; pic by my Deadline Detroit editor, who attended:

With any public radio-summoned audience, I always expect a higher level of discussion than you’d get from, say, mall walkers, but you still get the full spectrum of humanity, if you know what I mean. The No. 1 issue we discussed was road funding; Michigan’s have been neglected for years, and are at a crisis stage. This means a big tax to raise the $2 billion a year they will require for the foreseeable future, and the governor has proposed a 45-cent-per-gallon levy. That’s a hard swallow even for people who believe in it, and for Republicans? Of course it’s a non-starter in the legislature. We took a show-of-hands poll and found most in favor, with a few opposed.

“The governor has said that if you oppose this, you need to state what your solution would be, so would anyone like to offer one?” I asked, calling on one of the raised hands.

“The roads aren’t that bad,” he said, to guffaws from the room. Then he explained that the problem was people not calling the state highway authorities when they came across a bad patch, and anyway, he mostly drives on I-696, recently resurfaced, so he doesn’t see a need to pay so much for all the other roads awaiting action.

And if that isn’t the truest distillation of a certain kind of voter, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, and in line with the last thread’s comments, I was approached afterward by a woman with hollowed-out, imploring eyes. She kinda looked like Andrea Riseborough in this role (“Nancy,” in a film of the same name, weirdly enough), only with more hollowing and more imploring:

Her voice was low, but I picked out “greatest threat to health in our lifetimes” and a few other phrases. Thankfully, she just wanted a few seconds of time; the handout she pressed into mine would explain.

It was all about the radiation dangers of 5G internet.

So y’know, this stuff is going around. Put a pin in that, and then consider this:

We’re hearing a lot about civility these days, here and in Michigan, but my line is drawn: If this is the sort of rhetoric you support and cheer, I’m not going to be civil to you. And there are a lot of people who do, so where are we?

I fear there will have to be a 9/11-scale event to shake all this bullshit out of our skulls. I also fear it’s way too late for that. Although some people keep trying, like this lady; I encourage you to go over to Twitter and read the whole thread:

Oh, well. At least the NRA is suffering some public embarrassment. It’s the little things.

And now it’s a chilly but sunny day. I was going to lift some weights but instead I think I’m gonna put Wendy in the car and head over to Belle Isle for a walk along the river. Hope all have a good week ahead.

Posted at 12:00 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

44 responses to “Out and about.”

  1. Deborah said on April 28, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    What more is there to say about our sad, sad excuse for a president and all of the even sadder people who swallow whole what he says.

    We’re in the thick of family events in Charlotte. My MIL is a trooper, my husband not so much, he’s climbing the walls, ready to get out of here. He loves his family but it can be too much.

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  2. LAMary said on April 28, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Among my relatives who are in their thirties, this sort of baby murder garbage is believed. One of them, a relative by marriage, shares this shit all over the internet. I thought she was one of the bright ones, but no. Her husband, who in his teens and twenties wrote lots of screamingly racist stuff all over the internet, now is a follower of Candace whatsername (I can’t be bothered to look her up) who is an African American Trump follower. He’s bright guy too. Very accomplished for his age. What the hell? I remember sitting PTA meetings twenty years ago listening to parents pushing for a curriculum that taught critical thinking skills and the teachers agreed. We tried very hard to implement this and I think we succeeded at our school, but I’m thinking this was missing from those PTA meetings in most schools. We had a very active PTA and very involved parents, thank goodness.

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  3. Sherri said on April 28, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    I’m not going to be civil to people who act in bad faith to harm other people. Making shit like that up is harmful. Cheering along like it’s a game is harmful. Tolerating it because you’re happy with your tax cut is harmful.

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  4. David C. said on April 28, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    The Rs here are complaining because Gov. Evers is proposing to raise the gas tax “nearly a dime” according to the Journal-Sentinel. In the real world, he’s proposing to raise it eight cents. Forty-five cents would probably give them a stroke, yet tRump’s douchebaggery about Iran has raised it by at least forty-five cents without any crying by them.

    The NY Times said tRump’s baby execution thing was “inaccurate”. If they can’t say that’s a lie, what good are they?

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  5. Brian stouder said on April 28, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    And remember, this is from the same crowd that popularized the nonsensical term “fake news”

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  6. Jeff Borden said on April 28, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    I’m over trying to reason with unreasonable people. The *president is a terrible, horrible, awful person. He is a racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamaphobic douchenozzle, a failure at everything except self promotion, a serial philanderer, a cheat, a con artist, a prick’s prick, an asshole’s asshole. If you support him, you support all that he represents.

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  7. Suzanne said on April 28, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    My sister is a nurse and gets very, very angry about the rhetoric going around about medical people killing babies. Yes, it will get some medical worker killed.
    Our ethics have never caught up with modern medicine. We can keep people alive nearly indefinitely but should we? A baby born with no brain (as happened to a friend) will not live but can be kept alive for a long time. I fear people having a reaction to stupid statements like Trump’s will help enact laws that mandate that crazy extraordinarily expensive measures will have to be done in cases like these which will ultimately help no one.

    Absolutely will be reading this book: https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/jonathan-m-metzl/dying-of-whiteness/9781541644960/

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  8. alex said on April 28, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    RIP Dick Lugar.


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  9. LAMary said on April 28, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    What Jeff Borden said. I’m just in shit mood today with the latest Trump droppings, the nineteen year old trying to shoot up a synagogue in CA, and the news that in my old hometown in NJ more of the chemicals that contaminated the water supply are surfacing from corroded underground tanks. The town is cancer cluster site and although I left there years ago I can think of an astonishing number of people I knew who died young when I lived there. The mayor and his cronies were in the chemical business. He was mayor for 40 years.

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  10. Colleen said on April 28, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    Oh Suzanne, that looks like a good one!

    I am just appalled by the President. What he is describing is murder, and it is, in fact, illegal. He and his followers just make shit up and never get called out. The NYT called his claims “inaccurate”. No, they are UNTRUE. LIES. MADE UP. It’s just chum in the water to make his base all riled up.

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  11. Little Bird said on April 28, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    Game of Thrones. Did NOT expect that! Expected some of it, but not THAT.
    And not exactly a spoiler, even still.

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  12. beb said on April 28, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    I kept watching for all the snow they forecasted and stayed inside. Appears I wasted a good weekend.

    Odd Simpson’s episode tonight. Very political. Lisa accidentally ends up in Canada, is identified as an abuse victim (because of how Trump treats people) and given asylum. Marge tries to get her home and we end up seeing accurate images of the Ambassador bridge, the Detroit skyline as seen from Canada, and jokes about trucks crashing through the ice of frozen rivers. That’s the closest thing to a positive review of Detroit I think I’ve ever seen.

    The president’s comments about abortion were so far off the wall he ought to be sued for defamation. For that matter Twitter ought to be sued for racism for refusing to take down the presidents racist and life threatening linking her to 9/11.

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  13. Deborah said on April 29, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Nancy, I wanted to say how much I like your hair in that photo you posted.

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  14. JodiP said on April 29, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Was Trump’s comment about deciding to withdraw life support from preemies? If so, add it to the very long list of reasons why he deserves a special kind of hell. My sister and her husband had to make that choice in 1995. Little Anthony hung on for a week, and they had to make the terribly difficult decision to withdraw the machines that were keeping him alive. I think he was born at 24 weeks. Even though she had two wonderful girls after that, I know they still grieve over my nephew. He is very much remembered by all the family.

    Same for so-called late-term abortions. They are for medical reasons and truly an awful experience–with the loss of hope and joy that was to have come. I have nothing but the deepest compassion for women who find themselves in that situation.

    Side note, becasue I can’t just let it go: when crazy lady mentioned the wi-fi thing, one of my teammates asked if she’d noticed it had gotten worse since the installation of the 5G network (the final 4 took place here, prompting the updgrade.) Y’all can guess what her answer was. This same guy was “stoked” about her presentation, at which time I lost all trust in his reasoning ability.

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  15. ROGirl said on April 29, 2019 at 10:25 am

    No GOT spoilers!!!

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  16. Suzanne said on April 29, 2019 at 10:50 am

    Oh, yeah. That 5G thing is big right now with conspiracy people.
    Thing of it is, every so often, the conspiracy crowd is right about something (Lewinsky’s dress) which just gives fuel to the conspiracy crowd.

    This book has been on my reading list for a long time. https://www.amazon.com/United-States-Paranoia-Conspiracy-Theory/dp/0062135562
    Maybe it’s time I delved in. It seems to be getting worse.

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  17. Jill said on April 29, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    LAMary – exactly what you said – it seems like a failure of the schools that so many people believe Drumpf and his crowd. Critical thinking has gone neanderthal. I mean, anyone who can pick apart an advertisement on TV should be able to pick apart the lies and half truths on BOTH sides of the divide. My brain wants to explode.

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  18. alex said on April 29, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    The only thing “inaccurate” about Trump’s speech was the NYT’s gutless, spineless assessment of it.

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  19. Scout said on April 29, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    This has to be THE most entertaining take on the NRA implosion. The whole hot mess couldn’t be happening to a more deserving group of garbage people.

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  20. Bitter Scribe said on April 29, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    When, not if, a doctor, nurse or other health care worker gets kills because of this, what do you think Trump will do?

    1) Tweet that it was the act of a deranged lone individual
    2) Tweet about what a “wonderful, fantastic job” the “first responders” did
    3) Ignore it entirely

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  21. Sherri said on April 29, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    4) Suggest that we should arm doctors and nurses.
    5) Blame Obamacare.

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  22. ROGirl said on April 29, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    6. There are good people on both sides

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  23. Suzanne said on April 29, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    7. Blame it on Rep Omar

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  24. Sherri said on April 30, 2019 at 12:18 am

    Dahlia. Enough said.


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  25. Jakash said on April 30, 2019 at 2:22 am

    “I do think Joe Biden can beat Trump. I do not think he’s the only one who can.”

    “I’ve said (in hindsight) that Biden was probably the only one who could’ve beaten Trump in 2016. Different field now.”


    Whether or not he could have beaten Trump in 2016 has always been a moot point, to me. I’ve never believed that Biden could’ve beaten Hillary.

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 30, 2019 at 7:08 am

    Going from a long night with a family ending with the death of a fragile week old baby to a funeral today for an 89 year old with a family at odds with each other right to the graveside and no doubt beyond . . . Nancy, we need some recipes. Just sayin’!

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  27. Deborah said on April 30, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Families can be complex. My husband’s younger daughter has been in Charlotte with us and it has been a saga. One day I’ll tell you guys all about it, I’ve told you snippets of it before, it’s a fricken soap opera that doesn’t stop.

    Yesterday morning we witnessed a mother/daughter drama at the next table over in Starbucks. Complete strangers but so typical of the human condition. My husband is so thankful that his relationship with his mom and siblings is solid. We are about to head to the airport to go back to Chicago, then Thursday back to NM. Hallelujah!

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  28. Diane said on April 30, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Sherri’s link @24 is great and worth clicking if you haven’t.

    Biden is pretty close to the bottom of my list of the Democratic candidates.

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  29. Deborah said on April 30, 2019 at 9:10 am

    At the Charlotte airport where I saw my first MAGA hat in person, ever. I would worry that the brown baristas would spit in my coffee if I were him.

    If Biden gets the nomination the least he could do is pick Kamala Harris as his running mate.

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  30. LAMary said on April 30, 2019 at 9:43 am

    I was in Knoxville this time last year and MAGA hats were all over the place. That and NRA.

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  31. Heather said on April 30, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Oof. In Chicago we don’t see too many MAGA hats, but my cousin who lives in the suburbs said a guy in the dog park was wearing one and they started chatting. She is anti-Trump but said, “Well, he was a nice guy.” But would he have been so nice or even talked to her if she weren’t white? That’s the problem.

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  32. Joe Kobiela said on April 30, 2019 at 10:55 am

    I passed thru Charlotte today about 10:15 heading to Wilmington NC I was on American, different gates than South West, would have offered to buy you a coffee.
    Pilot Joe

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  33. Sherri said on April 30, 2019 at 11:34 am

    The Dahlia article is a warmup for this Rebecca Solnit one: https://lithub.com/rebecca-solnit-unconscious-bias-is-running-for-president/

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  34. Jakash said on April 30, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    “A nice guy?” I guess that means he didn’t grab her ***** when he had the chance. Out of all the misguided reasons to wear a MAGA hat, that seems like about the most delusional one I’ve heard. I suppose he can *pretend* to be a nice guy when it suits his purposes and can offer a facsimile of niceness in the clubhouse or at the omelet station at his golf courses, but there’s been plenty of evidence of what a creep he is since long before he ever ran for president. Heck, I doubt that even Mitch freaking McConnell tries to convince himself that Il Douche is a nice guy.

    He’s reportedly driven his golf cart on greens on courses more than once. Even as a single telling example, that’s not the behavior of “a nice guy.” Nor one whom you’d trust with the keys to a golf cart, let alone the nuclear codes. A smug, entitled, utterly self-centered a-hole of a guy gets somewhere closer to the mark.

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  35. Deborah said on April 30, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Jakash, I could be wrong but I think Heather meant that her friend said the MAGA hat wearing guy at the dog park was a nice guy not Trump.

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  36. JodiP said on April 30, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Both links provided by Sherri are excellent reads.

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  37. Deborah said on April 30, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    I’m back in Chicago where we’re having lousy weather, cold and rainy, better than snow as it was doing when we left on Saturday though. The nice thing about flying from east to west is you gain time, left at 10:30 got back at 11.

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  38. Dorothy said on April 30, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    Deborah that’s how I understood Heather as well.

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  39. Jakash said on April 30, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Oof! D’oh! I hate when that happens! Uh, upon further review, I’d have to agree that I misread that comment, D & D. Well, that’s embarrassing. My apologies to Heather, or whomever I should be apologizing to. : )

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  40. brian stouder said on April 30, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Late to the party, but wow! – great photo of our Proprietress! Thanks for sharing it

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  41. Suzanne said on April 30, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    Mueller speaks. And he isn’t very happy

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  42. Colleen said on April 30, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    At the airport yesterday, I was seated in the crowded waiting area two days away from a totally stereotypical MAGA man. Long hair, tshirt and shorts, covered in tats. Listening to some gawdawful death metal. Without earbuds, so we all got to share that. We all also got to share his fragrance, which was a cross between day old cigarette smoke and dirty clothes. How do I know he is a MAGA man? Because he was sitting there watching something or other after the death metal concert was over, and I heard him snort and sneer “liberals”. When someone calls me a “libtard”, he is who I picture. And lo and behold,he exists.

    Why do I share this? I think because I despair that there seem to be so many of them. And this guy wasn’t theoretical, he was there in all his stinky glory.

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  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 30, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    Wow. I last met with this family in 2003; since then, one of the five adult children cleaned out the estate, got caught by his sisters, was sent to prison for six years, got out five years ago, and was present today for his mother’s funeral. I’ve never looked across a tenser, more stiff and frozen room, than the hundred or so we had together today.

    Funeral in a simple graveside form for a ten day old on Saturday. Words are not going to be anywhere near useful then. But I suspect it will be easier in a sense than today was.

    After the graveside ended, the doves were released, and most everyone left, the “special friend” of the deceased stayed behind with me and the funeral director. He had a coffee can full of soil from the old home place in Virginia that he’d gone to get last year, and had promised her he’d put on her vault before they filled in the grave. It was very congenial and mellow — everyone had left, except the vault crew, and a light rain started, so we were under the canopy by the casket — and then he mentioned the “home place” was about twenty miles west of Lexington, VA. I said that I’d taken my son past the Washington & Lee campus on our way home last summer, and visited Lee Chapel . . . and got twenty minutes of severe discomfort, as he absolutely raged about the disrespect and desecration of Lee statues in Virginia. He went from a nice sad old man to a violently angry, spasmodically stomping the soil, spitting out his words, bitter elderly MAGA-ite, clearly beyond angry over the insult of putting a curtain in front of the recumbent Lee statue in the front of the campus chapel, let alone the other monuments disassembled around the state. I did not even think about trying to reason with him, just waited for my first moment to leave. But it reminded me of the roots of this sentiment, and the intensity of the fear and anger felt over losing the markers of ascendancy and social privilege that some feel. He was somewhere in the neighborhood of 89 if that makes you feel any better about the future of that stance.

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  44. Sherri said on May 1, 2019 at 1:19 am

    Because it worked so well last time…


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