Too close.

We started to watch “Vice” Thursday night. Not a terrible effort at all — good performances, imaginative telling of a familiar story, interesting creative choices. But I tapped out early. It was too much like current events, and felt too much like watching the president yesterday. Freshly spray-tanned, sniffing, barely able to read the Teleprompter, and then with that stupid god-bless riff at the end, which turned the exhaust-belching sedan of his brain north on I-75 instead of south, and took him to Toledo.

Easy to confuse, Dayton and Toledo. They’re both cities in Ohio, and we all look alike, anyway.

An alternative explanation:

But what if Trump’s problem was a literal lack of focus? What if, where most people saw the words Texas and Ohio on the teleprompter, the president saw a capital T, a big blur, and maybe an O somewhere? Minor Ohio city, starts with T: Toledo.

In 2014, as Donald Trump took the stand to testify in a civil case brought against him by two would-be residents (had his tower in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, ever actually opened), he asked the judge presiding over the case if he could borrow the judge’s reading glasses. According to a photo caption in the Sun-Sentinel at the time, “Trump quipped that he should wear them all the time, but he’s ‘too vain.’ ”

Another curiosity of the Trump presidency has been his approach to stairs. Almost every time he exits Air Force One, Trump can be spotted white-knuckling the guardrail as he stares intently at his feet. And in 2017, The Times of London reported that widely mocked photo in which Trump grabbed Theresa May’s hand was due explicitly to his fear of stairs. …A man with poor eyesight and perhaps poor depth perception, however, would indeed be far more cautious around stairs than most. And a man terrified of embarrassing himself in any capacity, doubly so.

I think she’s on to something. However, I still can’t watch him. Every time he holds up his hand in one of those dumb thumb-to-forefinger gestures he does, I feel a little more dead inside.

So I left “Vice” as Dick was getting the call from Dubya. I’ve literally seen this movie. I know how it turns out.

Sorry I’m so listless of late. I’m just…listless. And stuff like this depresses me. Also, for the record: I absolutely believe the story told in the last comment thread: Oh, FFS, Joe, of course that woman said that stuff about Obama. How dumb do you think we are? How dumb are you? I have heard many versions of her remark in the last few years. I walked out of my last high-school reunion after some blockhead popped off that Obama was “the most racist president ever.” And that was before the last election. I honestly don’t think I could handle that bunch now. I won’t be attending the next one.

So, some odds and ends:

I checked the Columbus Dispatch the other day, looking for fresh angles on the Dayton shootings. I was distracted by a story on the Sale of Champions at the Ohio State Fair, where the prize-winning livestock is auctioned off to the area’s markets and restaurants. It can be a sad occasion, as the 4-H kids say goodbye to the animals they helped raise, knowing they’re all going to their deaths on the altar of our carnivorous culture, but they walk away with big checks, which helps take the sting out.

The lead mentioned something about the top price going to the champion “cow.” I thought, hmm, usually the steer gets the biggest bid, but OK maybe dairy is super-hot this year, and then realized the writer was referring to a steer. She just called him a cow, because he walks on four legs and moos, I guess. A few lines down, she described the sale of “turkey’s.” The errors have been fixed now, but JFC I can’t stand it. My old pal Kirk Arnott, who ran the copy desk with both benevolence and an insistence on upholding the fucking English language, has really left the building.

Of course, the paper is owned by GateHouse now. Which just bought Gannett, which owns the Free Press here in Detroit, so.

What else? I’m doing my first swim meet this weekend. It’s the sunrise swimmers at one park against the sunrise swimmers at another. Everyone is at least 40, and a few are past 80. This should be fun. Wish me luck.

I’ll try to be back before then, though.

Posted at 9:56 am in Current events, Media |

81 responses to “Too close.”

  1. Bob (not Greene) said on August 7, 2019 at 10:28 am

    I mentioned this to Nancy on Twitter, but if you want to be sure a newspaper is going to die, have GateHouse buy it. Time was here in my corner of the near west Chicago suburbs, there was a once-family owned newspaper chain that was my pretty formidable competition. The chain was bought by an outfit called Liberty Publishing, which did a hack and slash job that weakened it and then they sold the operation to GateHouse, which sucked every dime out of it before selling the corpse to another big outfit, Shaw. The papers still exist, in a technical sense, but they’ve pretty much abandoned the Cook County titles. It’s tough to report news when your newspaper doesn’t employ any, you know, reporters.

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  2. Jeff Borden said on August 7, 2019 at 10:47 am

    There couldn’t possibly be a worse buyer for Gannett than GateHouse. I think Gordon Gekko runs GateHouse, right?

    Chicago papers today have several stories on the latest gaffe of Princess Nepotism, who while lamenting the killings in El Paso and Dayton decried the daily murders in America’s “inner cities” and got pretty much everything wrong about the violent weekend we just endured. My city plays to the ugly views of those who worship the Orange King. . .black and brown street gangs slaughtering each other and numerous innocent bystanders for some instance of “disrespect” or a feud over gang turf. . .but we sure as fuck don’t need a dimwit like Ivanka to condescend to us while dropping that “inner city” line like a depth charge. Just come out and say it, lady, Make Daddy Dearest proud of you. They’re BLACK. They’re HISPANIC.
    They’re the OTHER.

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  3. Julie Robinson said on August 7, 2019 at 10:56 am

    You were right to turn off Vice, and you saw the best part of the movie. Somehow I had thought it was going to be a lighthearted romp (how did I get that idea in my head?), but watching it just made me angry all over again at the W administration. They paved the way for Trump.

    I’ve been so down about the shootings I had to give myself a break for a couple of days. So I picked up a book that was lauded by critics, Cemetery Road by Greg Iles. I hadn’t read anything by him but apparently he is beloved by his huge fan base.

    And oh boy was it not the right book for me. There was lots of violence and a high body count in a story about fighting the good ol’ boys in power in the south. He weaves a good, tight plot and a gripping story, I’ll give him that. But I’ve talked with a few other people and apparently the violence is SOP. I had downloaded another of his books but the delete button is looking good.

    Several of the properties in the Gannett/GateHouse takeover are former Knight Ridder papers. RIP.

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  4. Sherri said on August 7, 2019 at 11:54 am

    I understand why Republicans are clutching their pearls over Joaquin Castro putting out a list of the biggest trump donors in his district on social media. What I don’t understand is why anybody in the media is giving them any cover (like Maggie Haberman). They should be laughing at them.

    It’s not like Castro’s staff went to a lot of work to assemble the list. Anybody can easily gather this information from the FEC’s online database. It’s not a difficult search. It’s supposed to be easy to find this stuff out.

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  5. Brian stouder said on August 7, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    The fam and I were on vacation all last week, and pretty much out-of-the-loop, which was pretty marvelous. I guess in 2019, we have to look at this atrocious turn of events and conclude that this is who we are, nowadays

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  6. Icarus said on August 7, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    I don’t know if this is true or not, but OMFG, it’s a piece of cloth, get over it.

    I really want to post this on my FB and challenge my conservative friends and RWNJ family members to justify it but my wife would be unhappy with me

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  7. brian stouder said on August 7, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Et tu, USA Today?

    “Breaking News” is unclear at this moment, but it might be happening again

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  8. ninja3000 said on August 7, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    I’ve been a writer/editor/creative director/etc. for the last few decades, and recently interviewed for a well-paying copy editor slot at a glossy magazine. Instead of being hired, I was informed a couple weeks later that the mag decided they didn’t need really somebody to go through every line and make sure it was clear, legible, correct… Well, that’s exactly the kind of magazine I won’t bother reading, because I can’t stand seeing all the crappy grammar/typos/illogical sentences that I was sure I’d be seeing in future issues. Like you say, Nancy: JFC.

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  9. Dave said on August 7, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    I’ve read four or five Greg Iles books, including his trilogy which includes Mississippi Burning about white supremacists, an alternative view of the Kennedy assassination, and those who challenge them. It does have a high body count. The Tampa Bay Times book review editor, Colette Bancroft, raved about Mississippi Burning when it was released. She liked Cemetery Row, too.

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  10. Dorothy said on August 7, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Nestle was not herself this morning, and we were wondering if she was distressed because of a possible approaching storm. I left the office just after 12:00 to run home and check on her. I live right on the other side of interstate 675, so every.single.access.road to get to my house was blocked by police cars. I turned around 3 times to try and find an alternate way to get home, but to no avail. This was because the Approaching Storm was named Trump and he was down the street from my office at the hospital where the recovering victims from Sunday’s shooting are recovering. What should have taken me 15 minutes to do (the drive home) took 90 minutes. Now I know what the source of Nestle’s distress was.

    FYI she was fine when I did get home. Maybe it was barometric pressure (ever since the tornado on Memorial Day she is beyond anxious when the weather shifts) but I’m going to pretend it was because she knew the Liar in Chief was due here in town.

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  11. Rory J. Thompson said on August 7, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    “My old pal Kirk Arnott, who ran the copy desk with both benevolence and an insistence on upholding the fucking English language, has really left the building.”

    If you want to torture yourself, pick up ANY print copy of the NY Times these days. I get it at home Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are always (ALWAYS! Caps and Exclamation for emphasis) typos throughout. I’ve thought more than once that I’d take one issue, yellow-highlight all the errors and typos I find, and snail-mail it to the Managing Editor. But then I figure, “Meh.” Man, I’m getting old …

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  12. Julie Robinson said on August 7, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Iles is a good writer, no doubt. But it’s not healthy for me to be immersed in violence. Daniel Silva’s books are similar and I had to break up with him too.

    Trump has turned my mom into a flaming liberal and we no longer have political arguments. So, he’s accomplished something good!

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  13. Dorothy said on August 7, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Rory are you sure those caps and exclamation points are not just verbatim recitations of Trump’s tweets? 😉

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  14. Dexter Friend said on August 7, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    I was taken aback while watching Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone” cowboy-ranch-casino effort, Costner’s latest vehicle. While commenting on a herd of steers, the ‘boys called them cows several times. I tried to think back to my boyhood when I watched westerns and a dim light appeared, illuminating a memory of old cowpoke movies calling all bovine types “cows”.

    Most of my friends try to straighten me out when I extol the improvements of a 2020 Bernie win. They really hate Bernie and Joe Biden as much as they do Trump. The “Anybody but Biden” chorus is deafening, and Bernie is looked upon as a kook. This is just an opinion of theirs, and this is a free country. I already know I am voting blue whether it’s Bernie or Biden or Mayor Pete or whomever. Kamala Harris I believe to be a phony and not fit for office, but she is the only one I despise. Biden was on fire a few minutes ago…anyone see it? He blasted Trump and really ramped up the attacks.
    Vice, well I made up my mind not to watch that shit way before it was released. I was aghast daily at that entire administration’s boldness and attitudes at thinking the regular people would believe their lies. Cheney was making millions, personally, as Country Joe McDonald sang 50+ years ago, “…supplyin’ the army with the tools of the trade.” Dick Cheney can go to hell.

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  15. Deborah said on August 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Another comment I made a day or two ago that got lost in the ether of bad service in Abiquiu: I had to get some stuff and the only place available to me was a Walmart in Espanola, a town about 20 miles away. I actually felt a little nervous because if a white supremacist was looking for a Walmart in a majority Hispanic town to shoot up, Espanola is it. Sad to say. On the other hand lots of people don’t even know NM is a state in the union, ABC news posted a location diagram of where the El Paso shooting happened and it indicated that AZ was the state that El Paso was adjacent to. Talk about editorial mistakes. I’d include a link to it here but it seems to no longer be online.

    I had to think a couple of minutes about what JFC stood for.

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  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 7, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Aw, I kinda like the Espanola WalMart.

    Jesus Freebird Christ? But I had thought for years his middle initial was H.

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  17. David C. said on August 7, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Our local paper is owned by Gannett. It’s hard to imagine it could get worse. We have a local free weekly run by refugees from the local papers and it covers local politics better than The Northwestern does.

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  18. Sherri said on August 7, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    The Seattle Times can drive me nuts sometimes, and the Blethens have their issues (especially their fixation on the evils of the inheritance tax), but I do appreciate having a locally owned newspaper.

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  19. Dexter Friend said on August 7, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    We too have a locally owned paper, The Bryan Times, behind the tallest pay-wall in the world, and like $1.75 for the printed edition; six little narrow short pages of a couple headlines and a few local stories and even the obituaries are behind that wall. The next city , south and a little east of us, has The Defiance Crescent City News, a much better effort. But my days of paying for papers is over…after being a staunch advocate of real ink and paper news, I have given up. Ha. One guy used to call me a tree killers when I’d lug in my 5 or 6 papers to work to read my favorite columnists during breaks. He’d be happy to hear that I have been shoved into just cyber news and TV reports…but, of course, he’s dead. 🙂

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  20. Deborah said on August 7, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    So I tried the olive tapenade recipe again this evening, once again not nearly as good as what I had homemade in France. The cherry pitter didn’t work at all on pitting the Cerignola olives I bought, I had to cut the pits out. This batch is better than the last batch I made with Kalamatas and tinned anchovies so there’s progress.

    We’re having company in Abiquiu tomorrow and Friday, a couple who are former students that my husband had a while ago have been in Arizona and are coming to see us and our cabin. He’s from Moldova and she’s Australian but they live in Tokyo currently. My husband has lots of students who stay in touch with him over the years. I think that’s impressive. These folks are staying at a place called the Abiquiu Inn nearby. It should be fun.

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  21. LAMary said on August 7, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    I have stayed in touch with a couple of teachers. One was the father of someone named Harry who worked with Deborah. We somehow discovered we knew Harry Jr. and Sr. when Deborah was in LA a while back. Harry senior died a month or so ago. Alzheimers. Such a shame. He had a wonderful mind.

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  22. LAMary said on August 7, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    That hand gesture thing that Trump does bugs the shit out of me too. It’s so cheesy and inappropriate.

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  23. alex said on August 7, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    Trump has turned my mom into a flaming liberal and we no longer have political arguments. So, he’s accomplished something good!

    In the same spirit, I gotta love Dubya, who my dad says “made me a sworn Democrat.” At 91 he has lost most of his friends to death and the remainder to Fox News. It’s lonely. But there’s something to be said for knowing your own mind and not giving a fuck about peer pressure anymore. I’m sure as hell feeling it. And while I may not live to be that old, I resolve that henceforth I will never again be cowed by other people into not being frank about my politics.

    I don’t plan to get in anyone’s face without provocation. I’m simply not going to put up with the tyranny of the intransigent ignorance that gets thrown in mine almost daily and will no longer hesitate to tell people when they’re crossing the line.

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  24. alex said on August 7, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    As for lamestream media, check out this piece:

    Is it my inherent bias, or does it make protesters out to look like assholes while favoring Trump’s position?

    Seriously, I see a pretense of objectivity here but no objectivity at all.

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  25. beb said on August 8, 2019 at 12:15 am

    Nancy’s opening comments reminded me of this Washington Monthly article, and more specifically the twitter posting by presidential candidate Michael Bennett.
    Namely to not to be in the news everyday. Doesn’t seem like much to ask, does it.

    Jeff(TMMO) wrote “Jesus Freebird Christ? But I had thought for years his middle initial was H.”

    Don’t forget “Tapdancing” as in Jesus Freebird tapdancing Christ.

    Trump’s finger circle thing always annoyed me, then one day I read that that thumb and forefinger gesture is a white supremacist sign. Some people say that’s not true, but if it is he has been telling us who he is for a long time.

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  26. Deborah said on August 8, 2019 at 1:06 am

    LA Mary, sorry to hear about Harry Sr. Since Uncle J has Alzheimer’s I’m always cognizant of people who are currently struggling with it. Uncle J recently turned 89, is obviously degenerating but holding his own considering.

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  27. Mark P said on August 8, 2019 at 1:10 am

    My hometown newpaper in Rome Ga used to have local owners but they drove it into the ground and had to sell to a local chaIn. I don’t buy it. I started to write “read it” but there isn’t enough news in it to read.

    It would be just like some of these idiot Trump supporters not to have a clue that “Hispanics” have lived in NM for far longer than those god damned white invaders.

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  28. Suzanne said on August 8, 2019 at 8:58 am

    My favorite is my father-in-laws often quoted “JC on a bicycle!”

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  29. Suzanne said on August 8, 2019 at 9:31 am

    Also, have you seen the photos from Trump’s visit to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton? It’s appalling. Nurses & other staff smiling and taking selfies with Trump while victims try to live. Awful. Simply awful. If I lived in the area, I would vow never to go there.

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  30. brian stouder said on August 8, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Suzanne – agreed!

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  31. john not mccain said on August 8, 2019 at 11:54 am

    “It can be a sad occasion, as the 4-H kids say goodbye to the animals they helped raise, knowing they’re all going to their deaths on the altar of our carnivorous culture, but they walk away with big checks, which helps take the sting out.”

    An excellent illustration of basic conservative philosophy.

    The best movie I’ve seen recently to provide respite from our ongoing national nightmare is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It’s Tarantino firing on all cylinders, not the desperately needs a tuneup version of Inglorious Basterds or Hateful 8.

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  32. Sherri said on August 8, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    In the they’re so stupid you have to laugh category, trump is reportedly considering commuting Rod Blagovich’s sentence because his wife has been going on Fox and attacking the FBI and because Jared thinks it will attract Dem votes…

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  33. Sherri said on August 8, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    The man who fractured a kid’s skull because the kid didn’t remove his hat during the anthem is going to use the trump defense.—4842efed-7f34-5855-81fb-92ad2dc0c64f.html

    A different point: this case demonstrates exactly why we need to eliminate cash bail in this country. Despite a prior conviction and the state’s request for $100K bail, the judge let him out with house arrest and ankle monitoring. Does anyone believe a person of color would have received the same treatment?

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  34. Dorothy said on August 8, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Next up:

    And Suzanne – that is the same hospital where my husband was rushed to in September last year the day after his thyroid cancer surgery. He developed a blood clot at the incision site, and they saved his life. I was appalled at the pictures too – and found myself wondering how many of the medical personnel refused to be anywhere near the parasitic person(s) when they arrived. I work just a few blocks away from the hospital.

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  35. Sherri said on August 8, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    This twitter thread lays out precisely how trump has destroyed all the Republican and conservative myths, simply because he’s such a terrible liar and says the quiet parts out loud.

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  36. JodiP said on August 8, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Re: Trump’s hand gesture: In Brazil, it’s considered obscene. “Sometimes nonverbal communication can be very different than what is expected in other countries. One example is the “O.K.” symbol one can make with their hands. It is regarded as just meaning “O.K.” in the American culture. In Brazil however, this is seen as a very obscene gesture. It is equivalent to giving the middle finger in America. This is seen as one of the rudest gestures you can make in Brazil and should always be avoided.” I learned this when I visited as a tean. So, Trump is telling us to f— off All. The. Time.

    Sherri, that thread is great, but I bet I’m not the only one here who’s known all this for at least 25 years. The fiscal responsibility falsehood was proven by Clinton leaving a balanced budget, only for it to be exploded by Bush 2.

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  37. Sherri said on August 8, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Absolutely, JodiP. And having grown up in the conservative, evangelical world, the myth about them is not a shock, either.

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  38. beb said on August 8, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Which worse, being a “white nationalist” or being a “white supremaist”? I ask because journalists seem to be using “white nationalist” a lot in accounts but I’m used to them being called “white supremacists” Are reporters using “nationalist” to suggest that these racists are sort of OK because they are patriots as well?

    A headline on Google news took me to a Politico morning update which was appalling. It appears that in the time it took Trump to fly from Dayton to El Paso he made a half dozen or more tweets attacking people, including the Mayor or Dayton and Senator Brown, who had been complimentary of him. Doesn’t behavior like this violate Twitter’s terms of service? Honestly, I don’t know; I’m not on Twitter. It would certainly calm the nation a lot of Twitter would close his account.

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  39. alex said on August 8, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    I think substituting “nationalist” for “supremacist” is part of the right’s new “political correctness” whereby we are supposed to regard bigotry as just another point of view and not a grievous moral failing.

    The press, always fearful of being accused of liberal bias, is still afraid to call Trump’s lies “lies” and I think there’s a similar unease about calling racism and white supremacism what they are. Consider all the hemming and hawing when the question is posed whether Trump or anyone else is a racist.

    Hey, if it looks, walks and quacks like a duck… Although Cheech & Chong’s three-pronged test for excrement would be more appropriate in this case.

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 8, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    Something I’m watching play out in my “adjoining” independent Christian Church/Church of Christ family, paralleled in the Southern Baptist Convention right now, is a push to reaffirm “traditional values” which are usually front-loaded as “Biblical inerrancy,” but are quickly shown to focus in practice on complementarianism and/or “male headship,” from the home to the pulpit. This is part of where the Beth Moore controversy has come from, in asking whether LifeWay and other speaking platforms are allowing a woman to preach to and over men.

    Which is where increasingly I’m thinking the heart of the evangelical support of Trump is coming from. So many issues are thrown up like chaff in these church debates, but when the chaff and the dust settles, the main specific and concrete issue isn’t immigration or who uses which bathroom, it’s whether or not you allow women to speak, let alone preach, or even to teach when men are simply listening. And reaffirming family and traditional values keeps coming back to women’s roles, in the church even more than in the home (where even in those churches most of the women work and often are making as much or even more than the man of the house), as the key identifier. If your church holds that the Bible is inspired, you preach Christ crucified, you affirm baptism by immersion . . . but if you have women elders, let alone preachers, you are immediately read as on the other side.

    Ironically, the Catholic Church, which some have said has some issues with women in leadership themselves, is moving away from Trump in most polls. I think it’s mostly because while the male priesthood is strongly held practice (if not doctrine), even fairly conservative Catholics don’t tend beyond the priesthood to have the same sort of “complementarian” bias towards women in a variety of roles, and see men and women as having a great deal of gifts in common more than being largely different and complementary.

    Add in the fact that for hundreds of years Catholic teaching and culture has tended to see the immigrant not as other but as “us” in their community life and political perspective, and you’ve got a place where you might think Catholics and Evangelicals might be on the same page, but with Trump they’re heading into different chapters, if not a different book.

    Trump, even with his philandering and fornication and grotesquery in general, manages to reassure male headship advocates, even more than anti-immigrant forces, that he’s on their side. He communicates that he believes in making sure the husband is in charge, even if he has to marry three women to get there. It’s the one place where evangelical support of Trump makes the most . . . sense.

    I’m still amazed that after a decade of steadily quieting male headship/complementarian debates the “keep the women out of the pulpit” faction has found a second wind in those church groups; that resurgence alongside of Trump has me confused about correlation or causation, but it’s clear that they’re somehow linked.

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  41. Scout said on August 8, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Anyone who isn’t appalled by this cruelty is not human.

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  42. Sherri said on August 8, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), Southern Baptists have, of course, always been complementarian, which was just a nice way of saying that they were authoritarian and, despite their distrust for such structures in their church, hierarchical. They may not want a Pope running their church, but they do very much believe that some people (white men) should be in charge, and others have their place and shouldn’t challenge that place. Social media gives Beth Moore (and some others) an opportunity to challenge that authority in new ways, though she’s hardly the first. Sue Monk Kidd, before she wrote The Secret Life of Bees, wrote The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, when she came to terms with the ways in which this tradition was stifling her spiritual direction.

    Whenever I check out a church, I look for any reference to Biblical inerrancy, because I can pretty reliably use that as a proxy for misogyny.

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  43. Julie Robinson said on August 8, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    I grew up in a church like that, but when I became an adult I put away childish things (h/t St. Paul). Today I’m proud to be an ELCA Lutheran, celebrating our 10th anniversary of ordaining queer people, and in convention this week, declaring the church as a sanctuary church and apologizing for white supremacy.

    On this day in 1974 I stood outside the Stage Coach Theatre in DeKalb, Illinois, watching Richard Nixon’s resignation speech on a tiny B&W TV, the curtain having been held for the event. I had taken government class that year as a senior, but would have followed it closely anyway given my family’s interest in politics. Strange to think that Tricky Dick would probably be too liberal to get elected today.

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 9, 2019 at 8:24 am

    Sherri, I think you’re right, I’m just surprised by how firmly some groups are moving towards stripping the former evasions away and making that equivalence: Biblical inerrancy means at core that women stay out of leadership in the church. It just seems like an odd cultural moment to double down on that.

    I had thought early on it was an older male thing, making a last gasp attempt to hold onto the levers of power, but there’s a significant contingent of younger men (think Mark Driscoll) who are happy to pick up the banner. The big buzz word now is “Calvinist” which is the supposed theology they pick apart to distraction, but its application is almost entirely on male headship and those men’s ability to kick people out, aka “respecting the importance of church membership.” I honestly don’t think John Calvin would approve.

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  45. Suzanne said on August 9, 2019 at 9:20 am

    I don’t think it’s at all surprising that religious beliefs veer towards male supremacy. When most religions were born, that’s how things were so that’s what was written down.
    People embrace religion to connect to something outside themselves and they want their god to provide an anchor in an ever changing world. Women in leadership positions challenges that because that’s not how the ancient scripture writers saw it. I can’t count the number of conversations I have had over the years with people who have said that they must believe, for example, that the Noah’s ark story is absolutely true because if it’s not, they would question all of scripture and that would crumble the foundation they’ve built their lives on. So, they refuse to question.
    Honestly, I think most people want to believe there is more to life than what we see, that there is something more out there that orders our days and provides us with love and comfort when we can’t find it elsewhere, but they don’t want to think about it too hard. They see God, or whatever they call it, as more of a math equation that is solved once and settled on than a story that is read and reread to grasp the themes and nuances and deep meanings as you move through the seasons and changes of life.

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  46. Sherri said on August 9, 2019 at 9:41 am

    The appeal of authoritarianism is its certainty. “The Bible said it, I believe it, that settles it.” Believe this, and have eternal life, that’s the deal.

    Why double down now? They’re being challenged like never before, and what else do they have to respond with? It is a rigid system, not one that adapts to change easily. Those people who fear that if they stop believing that the Noah’s Ark story is 100% real their entire foundation will crumble are right, it will. Family and other relationships will be damaged, and they will have to rebuild on a different, less rigid foundation.

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  47. Sherri said on August 9, 2019 at 10:20 am

    I feel the need to say this again. There are more of us than there are of them. Yes, I know that the electoral college and gerrymandering and all the veto points in our system give them undue power, but there really are more of us, and it can be easy to forget that.

    Last week, in our campaign for mayor, some of our team were fretting over our opponent’s messaging and whether his simplistic negative message was making an impact. Someone was comparing his style to trump, and said we should find a different way to counter it than Hillary did, since that didn’t work. I had to remind them that, since there was no electoral college system involved in our race, actually winning the popular vote was sufficient, and that we were fine. (We were; votes are still being counted, but we got 54% in a three person primary.)

    It’s hard sometimes, because the loudest voices on the local FB groups and Nextdoor are generally of a particular type, and not representative of the community as a whole (though they certainly think they are!) There are still plenty of people wanting to look forward to a more inclusive, more equitable community.

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  48. Heather said on August 9, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Excellent points, Suzanne and Sherri. This is also why it is so hard for some people to leave abusive partners, to recognize certain situations as abusive/toxic/harassment, etc. Your whole life is tangled up in that narrative–and blowing up your life is not fun.

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  49. Sherri said on August 9, 2019 at 10:28 am

    The Kochs own a poultry processing plant in Mississippi. The plant was sued and ordered to pay $3.5 million to workers in a sexual harassment lawsuit. I’m sure it was just coincidence that their plant was raided by ICE.

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  50. Julie Robinson said on August 9, 2019 at 11:41 am

    Some people find thinking and discerning too difficult, and it’s much easier to listen to someone who tells them the answers are all black or white. Just do what I say.

    I feel very fortunate to come from a long line of women who resisted obedience and chose to think for themselves. Not coincidentally, education was valued, even though it came only with great effort. My grandmother had to board in town in order to attend high school; my mother’s folks taught her to drive at 14 so she could. Most Iowa farm kids were quitting after eighth grade, and indeed, my grandfather had to stop after sixth.

    On the paternal side every other woman was a teacher. My Dad and all his siblings went to college. Then Dad became a journalist and Mom a librarian, and my sister and I learned to research everything and form our own opinions. It’s been difficult to understand why anyone would choose to raise their children any other way. Yep, I’m very lucky.

    Regarding women in the church, I might mention that our church is also celebrating the 50th anniversary of ordaining women. When we had the “troubles” a decade or so ago about our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, I predicted that women would be next, since the anti-queer arguments were the same as had been used against the ordination of women. We shall see.

    Sherri, glad your candidate is advancing!

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  51. Scout said on August 9, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    A couple of days ago some of us were sharing our favorite Twitter follows. I completely forgot to include one of my absolute favorites, Rex the TV Terrier. He has the most impressive vocabulary of any dog I know.

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  52. Jakash said on August 9, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    “Women in leadership positions challenges that because that’s not how the ancient scripture writers saw it.”

    Yes, because the ancient scripture writers were so forward-thinking when it came to the world that we live in today. What did they think about cell phones and nuclear weapons, I wonder. If evangelicals were living in the 3rd-century, I could understand their looking to the Bible for answers to every question. In 2019, I wonder how they wrap their heads around going to the doctor and availing themselves of hundreds of years worth of scientific knowledge of the world.

    I realize that you’re just the messenger, Suzanne, and I appreciate your perspective. But I’ve never understood how somebody can claim to believe in Biblical inerrancy when the Bible is so littered with contradictions. You can’t find a verse for *everything*, but you can sure enough find plenty to show that these folks don’t actually believe in enacting all the proscriptions and prescriptions in the Bible.

    “In April 1976 the Pontifical Biblical Commission … voted 12-5 in favor of the view that Scripture alone does not exclude the ordination of women, and 12-5 in favor of the view that the church could ordain women to the priesthood without going against Christ’s original intentions.”

    That’s with regard to the Catholic priesthood. Of course, there are a number of Protestant denominations that have managed to see their way clear to ordaining women, as referred to by Julie. I would imagine that there are folks that know the Bible pretty well among those denominations.

    Growing up Catholic, I always thought it was odd that we, as a group, were kinda known for *not* reading the Bible. For actually being *encouraged* for centuries to not read the Bible, because the Church was reading it for you and telling you everything you needed to know. Having read the Bible and having seen the preposterous ways in which it has been misused in my lifetime, I now pretty much understand why they wanted to keep a lid on it for as long as they could.

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  53. David C. said on August 9, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    “The Bible said it, I believe it, that settles it.” So maybe they need to get their dead asses out there give the hungry food, the thirsty drink, and welcoming strangers. If not, this eternal life they sell for ten percent of your income looks pretty bleak.

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  54. JodiP said on August 9, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Scout, the Rex twitter feed is great! This was a great video he retweeted.

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  55. beb said on August 9, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Chuck Todd, who can do no wrong (cough) says that the Koch Brothers do no own the Koch Food Co. plants ICE raided. Wikipedia seems to agree. In fact, they very specifically say that. But yes, the owner did pay out a largr fine for harassment sexual and otherwise, last year. Whether the owner were trying to SLAPP their workers or if the suit just brought the company to ICE’s attention is a good question. In politics I think we have to assume the worst of people because so often that’s’ what they’re doing.

    Not much is being said about it but there is a huge sexual abuse scandal going on in the Boy Scouts. I can’t understand why grown men feel the need to sexually abuse young boys but I’m not surprised that it’s as much a problem for the BSA as it is for the Catholic church, Perhaps its time to stop organized activities for children,

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  56. alex said on August 9, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Growing up Catholic, I always thought it was odd that we, as a group, were kinda known for *not* reading the Bible. For actually being *encouraged* for centuries to not read the Bible, because the Church was reading it for you and telling you everything you needed to know. Having read the Bible and having seen the preposterous ways in which it has been misused in my lifetime, I now pretty much understand why they wanted to keep a lid on it for as long as they could.

    Amen, hallelujah!

    The Latin mass was all about maintaining the church’s mystique as well. The growth of literacy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries caused the church quite a panic, but its fears were overblown. Today even the dumbest people can read and they’re still suckers for snake oil.

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  57. alex said on August 9, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Yay Dahlia.

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  58. Scout said on August 9, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    alex, that photo epitomizes the complete lack of awareness, empathy and decency possessed by those two grinning ghouls. Dahlia totally nailed it.

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  59. Suzanne said on August 10, 2019 at 7:19 am

    Apparently, that baby’s uncle, brother of the dead father and who was interviewed on NPR the other day and discussed how tragic it all is, was the one who brought the baby in for the Trump photo. I have no words.

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  60. Joe Kobiela said on August 10, 2019 at 9:19 am

    So I guess Epstein won’t be talking.
    Pilot Joe

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  61. Suzanne said on August 10, 2019 at 9:39 am

    No way this was suicide. He was on suicide watch.

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  62. alex said on August 10, 2019 at 10:18 am

    The Post item left out Alan Douchowitz.

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  63. Sherri said on August 10, 2019 at 10:51 am

    The cruelty is the point, and his supporters cheer.

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  64. Sherri said on August 10, 2019 at 11:13 am

    After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, what happened on August 10, 1945 set the course for the future of nuclear war.

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  65. Jakash said on August 10, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Well that was quite the rabbit-hole, Sherri. I read the Wellerstein thread that you linked to and then went back to his Aug. 9 and Aug. 6 threads, along with the tweets in-between. Uh, thanks? : )

    A couple days ago he focused on the fact that the idea that “we warned them of the A-bomb attacks with leaflets” is completely untrue. Either I didn’t know that, or I’d forgotten it.

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  66. beb said on August 10, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Apparently Epstein was not on suicide watch. But that only raises the question why he had been taken off suicide watch? Suzanne’s suggestion that this was not suicide seems reasonable. A lot of rich men, princes and so on are breathing easier because without Epstein’s testimony all the allegations that they had sex with underage girls remain just allagations.

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Anyone know how Nancy did on the swimming competition?

    beb, I’ve posted on Facebook about the Scouting lawsuit, and obviously you should check sources other than someone like me (not kidding), but I can say that this is almost entirely a rehashing of how BSA handled cases in the 1970s and even earlier — and I can tell you we needed to have our own “ineligible volunteer list” not as a secretive pervert roll call but because we found local law enforcement and prosecutors incredibly resistant to accepting charges based on a child’s word vs. an adult. Not until the 90s did that change for good nationwide, and even then . . . sigh.

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  68. Deborah said on August 10, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    I just read that they’re saying the security camera on Epstein’s cell was broken so they have no video!!!! I can’t get the link to work. Is this true? How stupid do they think we are if this is a real explanation they’re trying to use? I don’t know who “they” are. DOJ?

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  69. LAMary said on August 10, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Trump is spreading the conspiracy theory that the Clintons killed Epstein. The photo accompanying the story in facebook shows Trump doing the thumb and finger thing that I find annoying. It looks like the picture of a chef on a pizza box.

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  70. Sherri said on August 10, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Like Anthony Weiner would still be walking around alive if the Clintons were so good at killing people.

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  71. Deborah said on August 10, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Good one Sherri.

    I see that more comments I made from Abiquiu didn’t make it. What’s weird is that when I submit, it shows up graphically that it made it on the site, then when I go back to check a few hours later it’s nowhere in sight. I’m sure it has to do with the bad service on my end.

    The whole Epstein thing is a mystery to me, as it is to many people, although I don’t put any credence into the conspiracy theories that the clintons did it or any of the wealthy people connected to Epstein, but it sure is weird. Can it be spun to either party’s favor? I doubt it.

    I can’t find any corroboration that the prison video camera was broken, so I think that was not accurate.

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  72. alex said on August 10, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    Of course Epstein was on suicide watch. Bookies were placing bets on it. Need I say more?

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  73. Dexter Friend said on August 11, 2019 at 1:34 am

    It ain’t Clinton that the Epstein investigators are turning up, now is it, Trump? You goddam pussy-grabber…it’s you. When “they” want Lee Harvey Oswald, or Epstein, or JFK dead…they will be dead. I’ll throw in RFK and Marilyn too.

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  74. LAMary said on August 11, 2019 at 3:11 am

    There were a few prosecutors and law enforcement types who are happy he’s dead, I bet.

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  75. Suzanne said on August 11, 2019 at 7:35 am

    People will believe it was the Clintons. The well has been so thoroughly poisoned on them.
    Just yesterday, I had someone tell me that polio is making a comeback. When I said it’s unfortunate that people refuse to have their kids vaccinated, I was told that no, it’s because of the people bringing it over the border.

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  76. Deborah said on August 11, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Here’s something that I’m not reading much about that seems positively clear about Epstein’s suicide, that the DOJ really screwed up to have allowed it to happen. Here they had this immensely notoriously important person under Federal custody who had already attempted suicide and they didn’t have the absolutely most competent watchers/guards making sure that he would make it to his trial, whether it be keeping him from suicide or keeping a murderer from getting to him. The DOJ is very much at fault here and Billy Barr knows it. Trump knows it too. This whole conspiracy theory retweeting that Trump is doing is distraction from the horrible incompetency of the DOJ, which has the added benefit for the Republicans of implicating the Clintons once again.

    I’ve told this story here before about my only involvement with the criminal justice system was when the design firm I worked for was hired to design a juvenile detention facility. I was assigned the task of designing the architectural signage for the facility. The first meeting I attended was taken up with a huge discussion about the size and location of the windows in the doors to the cells. I thought it was important to be able to see in the cells to make sure there was no hanky panky going on but it turns out it was critical to see every square inch inside the room to make sure the kid detainees weren’t committing suicide. It’s a big deal in prisons.

    And of course the DOJ knows this and yet they let it happen, or something much more nefarious. THEY LET IT HAPPEN.

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  77. LAMary said on August 11, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    I’ve realized it’s not just the pizza chef gesture Trump does that annoys me. The way he walks annoys me. Even a still photo of him walking annoys me.

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  78. ROGirl said on August 11, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    The sound of his Queens honk, betraying his outerborough, declasse origins, plus his stand-up comedian delivery schtick, AND the hand gestures, are nauseating. I mute the sound as soon as I can when he speaks.

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  79. Sherri said on August 11, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Once you read this, you can’t see that photo any other way.

    Smiling emptily above this wounded little boy, whose life was shattered before he could take his first step, the president and his wife call to mind those famous safari photos taken by Trump’s sons, Eric and Don Jr. — in which they, like their father, smile brightly over the victims of their own heedless cruelty and violence.

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  80. LAMary said on August 11, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    The outerboroughness of this guy it undeniable. I’m from NJ so I have no claims to a higher level of class and sophistication and an accent that is definitely not from some Manhattan prep school, but Trump still acts like some kid from Queens who needs to have “classier” stuff and has to win everything. Even things that are not competitions. He needs the flashy trashy girls and the gold toilets.

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  81. LAMary said on August 11, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Sherri, you’re right. I can’t unsee it. I just shared that photo and quote on facebook.

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