I met some friends for social-distance drinks on a patio Friday night, although “fled the house” might have better described my mood after a rocky week. I needed to go downtown to get my few belongings from our office there, as we’re giving up our lease; after three-plus months of WFH, we see no need to maintain it. I have mixed feelings. Commuting is a pain, but it gets you out of the house and forces you to engage with other human beings. Home is a nest that can easily become a fortress; many times I’ve been grateful for a random encounter on a bus, a sidewalk, a lunch spot that lights a creative spark.

But parking is expensive and it takes time, so.

Anyway, I stuffed my few personal items into a tote — the shawl I brought in case this summer’s a/c is anything like last summer’s, when it rarely rose above icebox level, a book, a water bottle — and we headed off for a patio. The police shot and killed a suspect Friday afternoon, and a demonstration had formed, this one fairly angry. We monitored it via Twitter through two rounds, told some stories, and left. I walked through the door a little after 8, and Alan told me Roger Stone had been granted clemency.

You know how it’s going to go from here on out, right? The corruption will get more and more brazen. If Trump wins, well then, there’s no governor on what can happen, none whatsoever. If he loses, the transition period will be nonstop crimes, the ramming through of pet legislation, all of it. I hope, when he leaves, someone goes through the White House silverware and artwork to make sure he hasn’t stashed any in his luggage.

Because that’s what we’re dealing with here.

Sometimes I feel like I’m on a hair trigger and go to MurderDeathKill twice a day.

I did fill out my absentee ballot for the August primary. It’s a whole lot of nothing — most seats were unopposed — but it felt like something.

Bloggage: In the summer I sometimes go swimming with my friend Bill, in the St. Clair River. He wrote a story about Great Lakes swimming yesterday.

And that’s it, I fear. Let’s see what fresh hell arrives in the next 48 hours.

Posted at 9:14 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

97 responses to “Unchained.”

  1. alex said on July 12, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    The current state of political affairs feels like a rip tide.

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  2. Linda said on July 12, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    Yup. In the 70s when Tennessee was in the waning days of the Ray Blanton administration, he had to be removed from office ahead of the official end of his term because he was cranking out pardons at the speed of light for cash on the barrelhead. Same thing only all of us are now in a corrupt criminal state.

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  3. basset said on July 12, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    Swimming in big Gitchee Gumee, huh? I used to work with a Bay Mills Chippewa from Detour Village right at the tip of the UP, he said they just called it Superior like everyone else.

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  4. LAMary said on July 12, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    I can barely stand reading the news anymore. What will happen if this thug gets reelected? I genuinely fear for the country.

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  5. Dorothy said on July 12, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    I feared for the country the day after the 2016 election. I can’t get my head wrapped around what could happen if he wins again. My biggest fear then was that he’d get us into a war, my son who is full-time Army would have to be involved and would die in that war. That was what I worried about most of all. Now of course I worry that he (45) could cause MANY of my loved ones to die because of his lack of preparation and response to the pandemic. We are all royally screwed if he wins, I have absolutely no doubt.

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  6. Mark P said on July 12, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    This is the first time in my life that I have truly worried about what will become of the country. I feel like we are on the edge of a precipice, and there is a decent chance that enough people will want to go over it that it could happen.

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  7. A. Riley said on July 12, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    I really think that the light is dawning on some people who haven’t been willing or able to see it before. The administration’s incredibly incompetent handling of TFV (that f’ing virus) has revealed these bastards for who they really are. Even my red-hot racist trumpite sister-in-law is getting it. (To a point. For now.)

    The Biden team has been putting out some *lovely* ads showing the man as a sane, empathetic human being — high road all the way. And the Lincoln Project folks are downright storming the low road, sliming 45 and all his works and all his empty promises. I hope it works. I’m with you — the American experiment is on the line this time.

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  8. Ann said on July 12, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    Thanks for the link to the Great Lakes swimming article. I’m sure I’ll make it into Lake Superior at some point this summer, but this may be the year my mother does not.

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  9. Sherri said on July 13, 2020 at 12:33 am

    Linda@2, a Democratic controlled legislature cooperated to oust a criminal Democratic governor early and install a Republican governor then. That governor who replaced Ray Blanton? Lamar Alexander, now the senior Senator from Tennessee, who voted against impeachment.

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  10. Dexter Friend said on July 13, 2020 at 4:20 am

    I splashed around in Lake Michigan as a 5 year old, family vacation, and have swum at Ludington and several other beaches there. Lake Ontario, well, I missed my chance, and only waded a bit. In the mid-70s Lake Erie had a window in time where the water was clean enough to drink, and I swam there a few times. Lake Huron, that shit was pure nasty. On a camping trip I decided to find access for a swim. Dirty, murky cesspool, wood processing waste everywhere in the water, but I got my Lake Huron swim in. Now Lake Superior, oh my. Years ago at an outdoor gallery in Ann Arbor I saw a painting of Au Train Bay in da UP. One year we went there, not much there really, but a hot day made for scorching sand and my feet nearly burnt off as I sprinted for the water, and Holy Jesus Christ, was that an awakening. So cold, coldest ever for me. I stayed in quite a while and it was a glorious day and it made for a swell memory. I also have swum in the Atlantic, Pacific, South China Sea, and the San Joaquin River in the San Joaquin Valley. A fantastic swimming hole years ago was the San Luis Reservoir in California as well. Another very special treat was swimming in the Merced River in Yosemite Valley.

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 13, 2020 at 8:42 am

    Lake Erie’s not bad now. More trash on the beaches than in the water.

    Trump has an absolutely unbudgeable base. They’re 70+% around me in this part of Ohio, but they’re just not more than 35% nationwide. If Biden does two things right: picks a veep that’s not of Social Security age, and visits Wisconsin . . . I just don’t see how he doesn’t win in a walk.

    Says the guy who was sure Trump could neither win the primaries nor the general in 2016. But I’m reassured by the continued steady trickle of stories from within the campaign and family that confirm he didn’t expect to win, either, literally until it happened.

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  12. Dorothy Michalski said on July 13, 2020 at 9:21 am

    Dexter I’m just loving the pictures in my head of you swimming in all those bodies of water! Thank you for that this morning!

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  13. Jeff Borden said on July 13, 2020 at 9:54 am

    I put nothing past this crew of creeps including some kind of “October surprise.” And even if tRumpy is defeated at the polls, his cult will not fade away quietly and someone smoother and smarter will be in the wings to lead them. Maybe Tucker Carlson, who apparently is being talked about as a 2024 candidate?

    One other element that has been nagging at me is the sizable brain drain created by having a narcissistic moron as our fearless leader. How many quality people have fled the State Department, the Justice Department, the CDC and the NIH, the Pentagon and the military? How do we replace the experience of people like Marie Yovanovitch or
    Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman? Now, the cocksuckers are taking aim at Dr. Anthony Fauci.

    The damage done to the U.S. in less than four years is staggering, almost beyond belief. Will we recover? Can we recover?

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  14. Julie Robinson said on July 13, 2020 at 9:54 am

    I’m waiting at the dentist for a crown veneer. The old one cracked off and it was twinging when I drank something cold, so here I am. It’s a new guy, and I swear he’s Dougie/Doogie Howser, he looks so young to me. It’s making me feel old.

    Since I can’t see three feet in front of my face I will swim in lakes vicariously through the rest of you. Give me clear water and that big black line down the middle of the lane.

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  15. kayak woman said on July 13, 2020 at 10:13 am

    My employer closed our Ann Arbor office last week and we are all now permanent telecommuters. It’s a large financial tech company with offices all over the world and nine of the smaller ones are now closed. Our office has been underutilized for years and many folks already telecommuted part time. I mostly went in and also have mixed feelings.

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  16. kayak woman said on July 13, 2020 at 10:17 am

    I’ve been swimming in “gitchee gumee” my entire life as my family has owned beach property west of Sault Ste. Marie for going on 100 years. Our beach is some of the safest swimming on the great lakes. Due to the geography of our bay (shallow with an island in the middle), there are no riptides. I would be extremely cautious about swimming anywhere else on the great lakes.

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  17. Sherri said on July 13, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Jeff@13, that’s only the brain drain from the government. What about the brain drain from our companies and universities from what this administration has done and continues to visas?

    Republicans have exposed fundamental design flaws in our system of government, that a party which represents a minority of the people and whose policies are so unpopular can just do what they want and mostly ignore our so-called system of checks and balances.

    All the while thinking of themselves as victims.

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  18. JodiP said on July 13, 2020 at 11:14 am

    I appreciate the swimming story. I am heading to a camp with little cabins a short walk away from Lake Superior. The camp lit doesn’t have anything about water conditions, so I’ll ask when I get there. I will also ask around for a life jacket, as I will be alone. I plan to do lots of reading and walking/hiking.

    I worry about what Trump and his enablers will do if Biden wins. No surpirise if they contest the validity of the the election, as he is already sowing seeds of doubt about mail-in voting. I agree with what Jeff B. said about the right not going quietly. And of course Russia is doing its part. I listen to the Intelligence Matters podcast, and a recent guest is a journalist who wrote about this in The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/06/putin-american-democracy/610570/

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  19. Jakash said on July 13, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Pilot Joe doesn’t seem to comment much anymore. I wonder if there’s any chance that he’s finally seen the light, or if he’s a proud member of the 35%. I don’t wonder about that too much. (Holy crap, I wonder if he’s at Disney World!) This is a pretty clear and concise minute-long video. I wonder what he might think about it. The only self-justifying response I can even imagine at this point in the criminal’s regime is the lame, absurd and timeworn “Hillary would have been worse.” Of course, I don’t have a very good imagination.


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  20. Jakash said on July 13, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Not sure if this is in Bartlett’s or not, but the 2004 post in the Wayback Machine of nn.c history offers this nugget:

    “‘I want a form of exercise that’s like sex. You want to do it, you work a while, you get a reward, then you go to sleep. Now that’s exercise.’ — my friend Jeff Borden, who as far as I know never found this holy grail, but does ride his bike.”

    Swimming is not that, for me. I’ve pretended to swim in 3 of the Great Lakes, but never purposefully made a pilgrimage dip in Huron or Ontario, as I probably should have. I’ve drunk a fair amount of Great Lakes beer and eaten Great Lakes potato chips a few times, though — does that count for anything?

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  21. Deborah said on July 13, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    I’m not a swimmer, despite growing up in Miami. I just splash around. I’ve only ever waded in Lake Michigan even though it’s across the drive from our place in Chicago.

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  22. basset said on July 13, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Nancy, did the guys on the fishing dock ever say what they were catching, or at least fishing for? Walleye, I would guess.

    Guy I fish with here sometimes sent me a pic over the weekend of a forty-inch water moccasin he shot along the creek we fish in… a nice high dock looks better all the time.

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  23. Joe Kobiela said on July 13, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Why comment when your just going to get bashed, called out on spelling or Grammer? I have been extremely happy the last four years, house paid off, great job I love,happy wife and dog, not at Disney now but wife will be in November with her sister, and both of us in February.Decided I would rather be happy than sad and bitter like you all seem to be, currently in Dallas for my 6month recurrent training, been riding the airlines and flying people right thru this. Even stopped into New Mexico last week taking “some of those people” as Deborah likes to call them from Texas. Kinda strange against building a wall but wishing there was a way to stop people from coming into your vacation area.
    Pilot Joe

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  24. LAMary said on July 13, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    When I lived in Colorado there was a very popular bumper sticker that said, “if God wanted Texans to ski he would have given them mountains.” Texans were not very popular in CO then. I suspect that hasn’t changed.

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  25. Sherri said on July 13, 2020 at 2:36 pm


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  26. Julie Robinson said on July 13, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    A health professional from Florida who was being interviewed as I drove home was asked if testing really drove the numbers up. She pointed out that women who have missed their periods for two months are almost undoubtedly pregnant, whether or not they have taken a pregnancy test.

    Dr Doogie Dentist did a great job, and was $200 less than my previous dentist. He has a machine that makes the veneers in the office while you’re there instead of having to come back a week later. I was also overdue for a cleaning so they took care of it during the wait. All kinds of precautions were taken, including waiting in my car instead of inside, taking my temp and spraying me down with sanitizer, and of course, everyone was masked and shielded. I’m glad I went, the seal around the crown had broken and I had some decay and I’m all done.

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  27. Scout said on July 13, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    People of color, women, children in cages at the border, soldiers with bounties on their heads, teachers and children being asked to sacrifice their lives for the economy, the unemployed and the families of the 3 million sick and 137,000 dead due to presidential malpractice are such whiners. But good to know some are happy with this sneering, smirking sadistic administration.

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  28. Jakash said on July 13, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    I appreciate your taking the time to reply, Joe. You continue to think we’re all sad and bitter, when there are plenty of comments here to indicate that we take pleasure in pleasurable things. We’re upset about the fact that the federal government is largely run by incompetent, dangerous and science-denying charlatans, especially in a time like this, when the federal response to the pandemic has been partly responsible for many, many people dying.

    I remember a time when you, happy-go-lucky as you claim to be, were bitter enough to vote for a criminal fool for president in order to piss us off.

    Unfortunately, you didn’t offer your opinion about the video, or the fact that that president and many of the “very best people” that he surrounds himself with, are criminals. How do you rationalize caring about “law and order,” given the blatant disrespect for legal norms and the rule of law that is ongoing? When, for instance, the guy I assume you voted for in 2012, Romney, says flatly about the most recent outrage: “Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.”

    I get the main idea, though. You’re still quite comfortable nestling in among the 35%, and evidently aren’t bothered that, rather than shooting one guy in the middle of 5th Avenue, your guy has indirectly killed thousands all over the nation.

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  29. LAMary said on July 13, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    A judge has halted the execution that was scheduled for today. It would have been the first federal execution in 17 years. The reason it was halted is that family of the two people the white supremacist killed did not want to be exposed to Covid 19 at the prison. So some guy who if he could vote would probably be a MAGA all the way is having his execution postponed, if not cancelled altogether, because the big maggot has done nothing effective to stop the virus.

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  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 13, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Texas does have Guadelupe Peak. Nice day hike, south of Carlsbad Caverns, plenty of vertical to test your legs. McKittrick Canyon also a great walk on the level, good campground.

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  31. LAMary said on July 13, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    No skiing on Guadalupe Peak I’m guessing.

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  32. Jeff Borden said on July 13, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    You wanna guess why tRumpanzees are talking about the prospect of Tucker McNear Carlson, heir to the TV dinner fortune and slimy reptile, as a presidential candidate in 2024?


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  33. Mark P said on July 13, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    Just to remind us of that of which we need no reminders, here is what Trump supporters support:
    Abysmal ignorance, extreme stupidity, tax fraud, sexual assault (possibly rape), racism, corruption, incompetence in government and business, mocking disabled people, alienating allies of decades, cozying up to dictators, ignoring a country that puts a bounty on American soldiers, undermining public education, pathological lying. This is obviously not a complete list, but EVERYONE knows these things, including the Trump supporters who do not care.

    Oh, and he is a psychopath. Do the Hare psychopathy checklist honestly for Trump. He passes. The doctors were amazed.

    Here is one of many links to the checklist. https://www.cbc.ca/doczone/m/features/the-hare-psychotherapy-checklist

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  34. Deggjr said on July 13, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    So Tucker Carlson has big (Swanson) money in the family. I did not know that.

    Google, does Tucker Carlson complain about the elites? Of course he does.


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  35. Jeff Borden said on July 13, 2020 at 5:29 pm


    While they rail against the steps required to fight Covid-45, most of the Fucks News hosts are broadcasting from home. Tucker McNear Carlson is doing so from his sprawling summer home in Maine.

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  36. Dexter Friend said on July 13, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Julie Robinson: In 1993 Dad had heart bypass surgery at age 78. His surgeon was Dr. DeRita. The doctor? “Surely not this kid” I thought. He was very young with thick jet black curly hair, and I would have placed him in the 19-20 age bracket. But that doogie pulled Dad through with no problem.
    Also, back in 1987 we took a boat from Charlevoix to Beaver Island, about 32 miles out into Lake Michigan. The great Norm Cash, by then retired from a wonderful career with the Detroit Tigers, had recently drowned there when he fell out of his boat as the story went. I figured I’d take a solo sunset swim there off the boat dock in his memory. I went way the hell out and swam back, no big deal,but for some reason I felt creepy doing that.

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  37. Icarus said on July 13, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    This is interesting because it was written in 2014 by a guy who has since become a diehard Trump supporter.

    If you look at the United States as a system, or a big machine, it is lumbering along with nothing but basic maintenance. We have a political system that was designed during the age of horse-drawn carriages and it no longer fits the times. (Or at least it ignores the opportunities of the Internet age.) We need a system that occasionally rebuilds the entire engine of democracy as opposed to keeping the old system dusted and oiled for eternity.


    I wonder what he would say today

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  38. basset said on July 13, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Brilliant cartoon. The Times of London had a good one today that I don’t know how to link to, I see it in the Times app with no visible URL… anyway, 45 is standing downwind of a big US flag with corona germs or whatever they’re called instead of stars, they are blowing off the flag and surrounding him.

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  39. susan said on July 13, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    bassett, this one?

    Hee heee. His tiny hands!

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  40. David C said on July 13, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    If I hadn’t gone through insurance company fax hell last winter I would have never believed that anyone used the damned things anymore.


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  41. Bruce Fields said on July 13, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    “I just don’t see how he doesn’t win in a walk.”

    Not the ultimate authority or anything, but betting markets seem to have been about as accurate as anyone; this one: https://www.predictit.org/ has been giving Biden around a 60% chance.

    So, if we could somehow roll the dice and run the rest of this year ten times–Trump would still win in four of them.

    I’d be curious what people are doing. I can’t live with myself saying I saw this coming and didn’t do anything, but I can’t decide what’s the most effective way to spend my time or money.

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  42. alex said on July 13, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    So Tucker Carlson has big (Swanson) money in the family. I did not know that.

    And like his forebears he knows how to turn a buck from feeding people shit.

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  43. basset said on July 13, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    Susan, that’s it! Didn’t notice the hands till you mentioned them.

    And I posted that Trump coronavirus shield coin on a hunting board last week, thought it would get a few bites… nope, 113 views so far and no comments.

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  44. Deborah said on July 13, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    First of all we’re in the middle of a horrible pandemic that has killed getting close to 140,000 people. Texas and Arizona cases are spiking outrageously and have been for a couple of weeks now. If the tourists coming to NM from Texas and Arizona do what Gov. Grisham has mandated, which is self quarantine for 14 days when they get here and wear masks in public after that, fine. But that’s not what the tourists have been doing. And comparing this immediate and hopefully temporary situation of keeping people from bringing in a deadly virus to being opposed to a billions of dollars wall (which isn’t even effective) at the border is ridiculous and absurd, but given the source of making such a comparison, what did I expect.

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  45. LAMary said on July 13, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    Every job I’ve had working in healthcare has involved using fax machines. For some reason sending confidential documents by fax is considered more secure. It was a pain in the ass when I’d hire some doctor at one place I worked. There would be forty pages or so of documents about education, licenses, background check. There were lots of recruiters at the office so there was always a line at the fax machines.

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  46. Sherri said on July 13, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    Unless healthcare is using some special kind of fax machine I’m unaware of, as opposed to just standard all-in-one printer/copiers/fax machines, there’s absolutely no reason to believe fax is more secure.

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  47. LAMary said on July 14, 2020 at 12:29 am

    Some were just faxes, some combos. I have no idea why using faxes was the convention, but it definitely was. We all hated it, at the hospital, the recruiting companies, clinics, everywhere I’ve worked.

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  48. Sherri said on July 14, 2020 at 12:57 am

    If it’s an all-in-one, it’s just a special purpose computer on a network, nothing particularly secure about it. An old-fashioned fax machine sending data over copper landline isn’t really secure, either.

    There’s so much tech in the health care industry that lacks security.

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  49. Mark P said on July 14, 2020 at 12:57 am

    My hometown of Rome, Ga, just passed an ordinance mandating masks in any public place where you can’t social distance. It will be interesting to see how well it is observed. I learned about it on a Facebook post where most people were saying things like, “Anyone who will give up his freedom for safety deserves neither.”

    FREEEEEDOMMM!! America, Fuck Yeah!!

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  50. A.Riley said on July 14, 2020 at 5:32 am

    I gotta admit, the whole masks=tyranny, maskers=sheep, anti-maskers=freedom fighters thing completely baffles me. Where the F did that even come from?

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  51. David C said on July 14, 2020 at 6:13 am

    Like everything that’s plaguing us now. It comes from the right wing fever swamp.

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  52. Connie said on July 14, 2020 at 6:19 am

    It was my understanding that you could fax signatures, scanned signatures were not acceptable. That was a couple of years ago. Seems odd, since those are just two different ways of taking a picture of your sig.

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  53. Suzanne said on July 14, 2020 at 6:44 am

    I am equally flummoxed by the anti-mask crowd and their notion that once “they” get you to wear a mask, the next step is making you wear a burqa. Right.
    One thing this pandemic has exposed is the number of unhinged people that are out there, functioning well in the world; people like your nurse, your banker, your financial planner. Seemingly fine but harboring some deep seated weird crap like that the nose swabs used for COVID testing secretly put microchips up your nose.
    It’s truly scary.

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  54. Julie Robinson said on July 14, 2020 at 6:49 am

    So far everyone on our addition project has been happy with a scanned and emailed signature. Realtors have their own online systems where you sign in with a password, then sign electronically. They love not having to run contracts around to everyone for signatures.

    The medical profession still loves their fax machines. Government agencies who only accepted faxes were the bane of my existence when I was settling my sister’s estate. What a PIA that was.

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  55. Mark P said on July 14, 2020 at 8:40 am

    Let’s try a thought experiment. Pretend Donald Trump has said it was very important for everyone to wear a mask, and that it was the patriotic thing to do. How many of the anti-maskers do you think would be in favor of wearing a mask? If you, like me, think it would be all of them, then there’s your answer as to why these dumbasses oppose wearing a mask.

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  56. Deborah said on July 14, 2020 at 8:58 am

    Some people will do anything their fearless leader tells them to do, like even drink poisoned kool-aid. If their leader tells them not to wear a mask, then they wont wear one come hell or high water. What is it about some people that they’re prone to a cult? And would rather believe all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories like politicians running a pedophile ring in the basement of a pizza shop, and many other weird and whacky things. It feels like there are a lot of people out there with mental health issues, and I had no idea there were so many of them.

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  57. Suzanne said on July 14, 2020 at 9:07 am

    “It feels like there are a lot of people out there with mental health issues, and I had no idea there were so many of them.”
    I am in total agreement, Deborah, but what I can’t grasp at all is how many of these are otherwise seemingly normal, well functioning people like my former co-worker who was pleasant, competent, college graduate who told me without any sense that anyone might think he’s crazy, that the plane landing on the Hudson was staged or that the Sandy Hook shooting was done with crisis actors. Or the successful financial planner I know who told me completely straight faced that Bill Gates plans on microchipping us all with a COVID vaccine. How can this level of delusional function so well in society??

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  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 14, 2020 at 9:37 am

    The memes I keep saying ask in a variety of ways if mask mandates are not simply a test to see who will comply . . . and many go on to assert “the next step is a mandatory vaccine.”

    I just think for those who are already anxious, while most of the “they build up CO2/they lower blood oxygen” stuff if fallacious, the real problem is that many people just start to feel panicky as they wear a mask — I’m working through some panic attack issues these days myself, and I’ll admit the mask doesn’t help, but I know enough to know it’s not the cause — they can’t admit they feel panic, so you get these elaborate and furious arguments as to why they shouldn’t and can’t be forced to wear them. In my opinion . . .

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  59. JodiP said on July 14, 2020 at 10:26 am

    Bruce at #41: Vote Save America has an adopt-a-state program. You can sign up to do text and phone calls to flip key states blue.


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  60. diane said on July 14, 2020 at 10:48 am

    There are still government offices that only accept faxes. I stupidly tried to get rid of the faxes in our libraries (and the landline bills) and staff told me no way should I do that to our patrons! I said but we can teach them to scan and email-it will help their tech skills! Duh, the many government offices that only accept faxes were gently pointed out to me. Now why is that barrier there? Who has a fax machine anymore? People who are already in need of some government service then have to run around and find a place to send a fax!

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  61. Jakash said on July 14, 2020 at 11:35 am

    July 13 and the town leaders are already grudgingly on board with masks? That’s cutting edge, Mark P!

    “Anyone who will give up his freedom for safety deserves neither.”

    Evidently, those people haven’t flown since 9/11. Or entered a government building. Or worn a seat belt. Which, I realize, is a possibility.

    “Where the F did that even come from?” Hair Furor, his minions, and the deeply misguided idea that if we just ignored the pandemic, that would be better for the economy. +1 to #55.

    I’m not discounting your experience, JTMMO, and there may be some who are anxious about it, but I surely don’t believe that most of the “elaborate and furious arguments” about masks have to do with anxiety any more than I believe that voting for David Duke’s preferred candidate was about economic anxiety.

    Following Mark, if the unbelievable political component to this were reversed, Cult 45 members, the anxious ones included, would be competing against each other to see how elaborate and MAGAish they could make the masks that they proudly wore everywhere. IMHO.

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  62. Jeff Borden said on July 14, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Along with a wide streak of anti-intellectualism, ‘Murica also suffers from a an overdose of hubris. When Obama was pushing stricter environmental standards including automobile mileage, some of our lesser lights invented something called “blowing coal,” where they purposely fueled up on the nastiest, dirtiest fuel possible to produce clouds of thick black smoke from the exhaust pipes of their (always) large trucks and SUVs. Some of them even posed for pictures breathing in all that smoke. The anti-mask crowd fits right in.

    And now we have ancient game show host Chuck Woolery pontificating about medical issues, which is then retweeted by the ignoramus in the Oval Office. We’re going to choke to death as a nation on our own stupidity.

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  63. Mark P said on July 14, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Language Log today (https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=47651) has a post about obsolete communication technology. Mark Liberman says, “the excuse that this “complies with digital privacy standards for health information” is an increasingly feeble one, given the existence of various modern HIPAA-compliant storage and transfer technologies, which have been technically feasible for many years, but are well documented and easy to use now.” Commenters say that fax machines are not susceptible to certain types of cyber attacks like computers and computer networks are.

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 14, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    Jakash, not making a comprehensive case, just noting that the anti-maskers I end up having to talk to strike me as having some pretty hair-trigger anxiety issues. So it would fit. YMMV!

    I don’t say this proudly, but I end up with a fair amount of cable news on through the day, and I feel like I’m seeing real-time vindication of my theory about Trump and DeVos and the push for 5 day a week school. The for-profit schools like Connections Academy and K-12 are flooding the ad space — I think the plan is to push schools to insist on 5 day attendance, and with the expense of doing that right, they’ll limit online (as they disingenuously call for schools to offer both 5 day schedules and online provided to any for any reason), pushing a cohort of parents to say “I’m taking my kid out” and signing up for the private, for-profit or “non-profit” but linked to profit-driven schemes (they pay rent to a company for their space that’s owned by the same holding company that owns non- and for-profit arms, or get their data services from them). Just a 5% surge is millions, billions of dollars. #DefundPublicEd is their plan.

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  65. Little Bird said on July 14, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Hey Pilot Joe, do your passengers wear face masks while on board?Do you? If not, why not?

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  66. Mark P said on July 14, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Another Language Log reference — you all must have heard where the maroon in chief raised the possibility of selling Puerto Rico rather than actually helping them out after the hurricane. This is what you get when you elect a “businessman” to “run” the country, as so many conservatives say we should do. An incompetent businessman, to be sure, but with gold-plated toilets he must appear successful to the average virus denier.

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  67. Sherri said on July 14, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Who isn’t anxious these days? I’m barely keeping my anxiety from spiraling out of control. I’m claustrophobic, am the kind of person who needs the air vents in the car blowing on my face, and feel like I can’t breathe the instant my face is covered, always have felt that way. Yet on the days I train in person with my trainer, I’m wearing a fucking mask when I work out. Because I care about my trainer.

    I think that too many of the anti-maskers are not used to being asked to do something uncomfortable for other people that doesn’t also directly benefit them.

    And also many of them have the emotional development of a two year old.

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  68. Suzanne said on July 14, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Sherri, low emotional development is right. Take a gander at the Twitter feed of Mike Huckabee or Ted Cruz or Ben Shapiro or my own fav, Jim Banks, and you soon see that they read like a middle schooler’s feed. I may have shared this thread before, from Tom Nichols, who I sometimes disagree with, but I think he’s correct about this immaturity thing.


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  69. Bruce Fields said on July 14, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    “Vote Save America has an adopt-a-state program.”

    I don’t think I’d seen that yet, thanks!

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  70. JodiP said on July 14, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Remember that crazy couple in St.Louis who pointed guns at protestors? They are deeply weird and litigious. Surprise! Here’s one example:

    “In 2013, he destroyed bee hives placed just outside of the mansion’s northern wall by the neighboring Jewish Central Reform Congregation and left a note saying he did it, and if the mess wasn’t cleaned up quickly he would seek a restraining order and attorneys fees. The congregation had planned to harvest the honey and pick apples from trees on its property for Rosh Hashanah.

    ‘The children were crying in school,” Rabbi Susan Talve said. “It was part of our curriculum.'”


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  71. Sherri said on July 14, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    The lawyer for that St Louis couple is something else, too.


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  72. Colleen said on July 14, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    We use faxes all the time in the cancer registry. It’s the best way for us to do follow up on patients and get updated medical records.

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  73. jcburns said on July 14, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    Colleen, by “best way,” do you mean “the odds are good they have the machine, so least hassle,” or “wow, there’s nothing like the quality of 200dpi bitmap graphics on thermal paper!”…?

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  74. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 14, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    I am told that the HIPAA guidelines make fax transfer preferred for security of information, hence the continued use of them. That’s what our court admin said, not that I couldn’t be convinced they’re just not wanting to pay for an upgrade, he said while typing on a seven year old Dell. (Hey, it works.)

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  75. Dorothy said on July 14, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    Our spiffy 18 month old copy machine in my office is able to scan documents and then you can email them to someone. However, it has to be someone whose email address is from our University. I can’t scan a document and email it to myself at my personal email account. So – the work around is – send it to yourself, and then you can forward that to whomever you want to. We still have a fax machine but it’s not heavily in use. I did use it two weeks ago when I needed to send a document to the Unemployment office. They give you no email addresses to send documents to – just a fax number. In my mind’s eye I see this mountain of paper piling up at the Unemployment office’s fax machine. That might explain why I haven’t gotten any payments yet and I filed 8 weeks and one day ago.

    It might be cruel, but I’m looking at people who refuse to wear masks as being on the path to eventually getting the virus. It just seems to be inevitable. And since many of the interactions I’ve seen video of, or read about online, appear to have them shouting pro-Trump drivel, I think “Well, if that maskless dummy gets sick and (sadly) passes away, that’s one less vote for their leader!” If anything, you’d think Donnie would use some logic (not his strong point) and say “I need my ‘base’ to be healthy come November. I need them to wear masks so they cannot get sick and vote for me!” But as we all known, he’s not really much of a thinker. He’s not much of anything, really, except a giant putz who deserves to be in jail for all of the illegal and corrupt actions he’s done in his lifetime. I can hardly wait to hear about charges being filed against him from the state of New York concerning his tax returns.

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  76. Jakash said on July 14, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    From your link @68, Suzanne. “I think of these men as chafing under the constraints of adult manhood.”

    Particularly funny to see that thread with an embedded ad for “Manscaping,” declaring that “Women love a manscaped man.”

    That aside, “What I’ve puzzled over for years is that these men have inflated the behavior of this effete, mincy old guy with the weird hand gestures into Rambo and Rocky and Amos Moses the Alligator Killer. Normally, this is the kind of man they hate on sheer principle.” Indeed.

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  77. LAMary said on July 14, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Jared, body servant of Princess Nepotism, probably does manscaping. He does a lot of metrosexual stuff to his face, obviously. His weird eyebrows and strangely shiny, tight skin attest to that.

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  78. beb said on July 14, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Fax machines: I suspect that it continues to be used in hospitals because they don’t want to up-date technology. But also Fax machines leave a paper copy of a message with the sender and a paper copy of the message with the receiver so documentation is complete at both ends. Using computer tablets to document all patient information is all well and good …. until the server goes down. So in some respects paper, being permanent, is better.

    It’s fascinating to see how many posts each thread here is getting. We all seem to have a need to vent.

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  79. Dorothy said on July 14, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Beb I was thinking the same thing – about how many comments each post is getting lately. (FYI spell check wanted to change your name to Bevy and then Ben)

    Another thing about fax vs. emailing documents. I tried to email a doc to myself at the office 10 days ago and it kept getting pushed back, would not send. Our IT department uses programs to prevent anyone from sending a social security number out in a document via email. So that’s another layer of protection I hadn’t thought of. You can fax whatever you want – so social security numbers, maiden names, addresses, etc. will all go through on a fax, whereas on an email, it might not get past the censors.

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  80. jcburns said on July 14, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    (Have you looked at 3-4 year old faxes printed on thermal paper?)

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  81. Icarus said on July 14, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    question for everyone…I often over-estimate ordinary people’s tech sophistication. While I don’t expect everyone to know all the tips and tricks, I do expect a certain base level of ability, especially with regard to industry best practices.

    is it wrong to expect someone to know how to 1) figure out time zones and 2) send a meeting invite via outlook?

    faxes versus scanned copy: they seem the same to me but the only thing I can think of is the medium makes it easier to sniff for text on an email versus a fax sent over older phone lines.

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  82. jcburns said on July 14, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Well, especially if you type ‘4pm eastern in hawaii’ into Google and get:

    4:00 PM Tuesday, Eastern Time (ET) is
    10:00 AM Tuesday, in Hawaii

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  83. LAMary said on July 14, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    My futility exercise of watching LA’s mayor and CA’s governor give daily updates online and allowing people to comment is getting old. Today someone asked, “why can he go to work when I can’t.” Pointlessly, I asked if she thought he should not work during a crisis in the city he leads. I was called an atheist, a criminal and a homosexual and homeless person supporter. Interesting combination of accusations. I told her to stay safe, wear her mask, wash her hands and socially distance.

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  84. Sherri said on July 14, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    Icarus, the answer to your questions is 1) yes and 2) yes. I say that as the recipient of too many phone calls from people in the Eastern time zone who don’t seem to be able to figure out that 8 am their time is only 5 am my time!

    And random people can’t figure out Outlook meeting invites, sometimes even if they’ve been taught multiple times and have a cheat sheet.

    I don’t doubt that HIPAA guidelines specify that fax is more secure. That’s not the same thing as *being* more secure. And as for sniffing on the line, what line? How many faxes are actually being sent over a copper wire as opposed to over the Internet, once you press the send button? Even if you have an old fashioned fax machine, there’s no guarantee that it’s being sent over any different medium than an email, depending on how the phone service is provided.

    It’s not a huge security risk, simply because the payoff for the trouble isn’t that great, but that’s security by obscurity, not actually security.

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  85. Julie Robinson said on July 14, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    Not to defend faxes, jc, but I don’t think today’s machines use thermal paper. Back in the day, though, we used to get many where we had to guess at most of what was on the page. And our office did have to have a landline dedicated to that one stupid machine, as Diane mentions.

    Dorothy, I’m quite sure there are big piles of paper sliding off tables next to fax machines in a lot of offices. Working on Jeri’s estate, it was inevitable that people I spoke to wanted a fax sent right now. If I had sent it the day before, no bueno. This was more than a little inconvenient, because I had to ask the hubs to send faxes from his office. I feel my blood pressure going up just thinking about that experience. Ack.

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  86. Sherri said on July 14, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    What an interesting re-election strategy the orange one is running.

    -Destroy the government.

    -Kill as many people as possible.

    -Brag about how great the resulting economy is!

    -Come up with a really killer nickname for Joe Biden.

    Short of calling him Donald Trump, hard to see how a nickname is going to turn the tide.

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  87. Colleen said on July 14, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    JC at 73…it’s the medium that gives us the best chance of getting a response. Calling is impractical and not at all efficient, since you end up in endless games of phone tag.

    Our faxes are all electronic and come and go from our computers. No trees are harmed.

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  88. alex said on July 14, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    My office still does a lot of faxing and let me assure you that your medical records are safe. Nine times out of ten the call will be dropped, the transmission will be incomplete and no one will ever get to see your records.

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  89. jcburns said on July 14, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Heh. Yeah, I had modems attached to my computers (still have a couple in the back) that were ‘fax modem capable’, which meant that they brought the image in as a TIFF file (.tif).

    I hesitate to mention that those built-in systems (as well as 3rd party services that, surprise! take the fax in and send it to you as an email attachment) are really quite easily hackable, and it’s not a big deal to OCR a TIFF file to extract SSNs and so on.

    But anyway! Enough technology! RBG, get well soon.

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  90. Joe Kobiela said on July 14, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    Little bird,
    We wear a mask when we greet our passengers,it’s up to the passenger discretion if they want to wear one. We can not wear one in the cockpit it would interfere with putting on our quickdon oxygen mask in a emergency and it interferes with our microphones talking to atc.
    Pilot Joe

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  91. Sherri said on July 14, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Being apolitical means you have no political capital.


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  92. Dorothy said on July 14, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Anyone have a tip on how to get a fax machine to stop calling my landline? Yes we still have one. Once a week I’ll get a call and when I answer, a fax tone is playing. I hang up, wait two minutes and it always calls one more time.

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  93. Little Bird said on July 14, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Follow up question: why do you not enforce mask wearing for the passengers? Because it’s YOUR life being put at risk if they don’t and are symptomatic. Particularly if you as pilot can’t wear an easily tearawayable mask.

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  94. Joe Kobiela said on July 14, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    Most passengers wear them, I’m ok if they don’t, not one to shoot dagger eyes at them or anything, at the altitudes I fly if we depressurize I have less than a minute to get my mask on so tearaways don’t work. I wear a mask if it’s required. I have been airling every week put my mask on to get on the airline, but stop and think if I take it off to eat or drink, what good was it to have on anyway? Does it lower my risk? Maybe maybe not.
    Pilot Joe

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  95. LAMary said on July 14, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Dorothy, I had that issue for weeks a couple of years ago. I finally faxed the sender back and told them to knock it off. It stopped. A few years before that we used to get a phone call every day at 6am for a yacht brokerage in Chicago. We had a 213 area code then, the reverse of the Chicago area code. I called the yacht brokerage and asked them to please inform the guy who calls them at 8 am their time every day that he’s got the wrong number.

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  96. Maria said on July 14, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    I worked in a large office that had several fax machines, two of which never functioned when it rained. All sorts of technical people tried to figure out the problem, but nothing worked. Finally someone put up signs on them, “Doesn’t work in the rain.”

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  97. Mark P said on July 14, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    Joe, your cavalier attitude is pretty common among conservatives. Have you asked yourself why you feel that way? Has it occurred to you that you are taking your lead from a man who has been *consistently* wrong about the corona virus instead of people whose professions involve dealing with viruses and pandemics? When you’re preparing for a flight, do you check the weather by calling a farmer? Do you get investment advice from a guy mowing lawns in the neighborhood? Of course not.

    There is a lot that is unknown about the corona virus. It is known, however, that it is more easily transmitted than the flu, and it is more deadly. It is known that some people who recover suffer long-term health problems, from heart damage to lung damage to kidney damage. There is some indication that recovered patients do not have long-term immunity, which leads some experts to wonder whether a vaccine will provide long-term immunity or not. It’s really not a thing to tempt fate about.

    What is known is that wearing a mask and social distancing can reduce the transmission of the virus. Not wearing a mask is not a statement of independence, it’s a big, fat fuck-you to everyone around you.

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