Shut out.

On Monday, I took a bike ride with a friend on Belle Isle, the former city park, now a state park, negotiated as part of the city’s financial distress a while back. It being a holiday, it was a busy day, but not crazy-busy. Most of the bottleneck was at the gate, but there were fewer parking places, too, because of the Detroit Grand Prix in two weeks — they’ve been setting up the concrete barriers, barbed-wire fences and sponsor banners for a while now.

By the time we came off the island, the road coming in was blocked. Park’s full, find something else to do. But walk- and bike-ons are not limited, so people were parking on the road outside and walking half a mile or so across the bridge, then wherever the party they were seeking was.

I watched them walk by, overwhelmingly young black women dressed in the current style – waist-length braid extensions and those insane false eyelashes that look like fuzzy caterpillars. I thought about how much I despise that stupid grand prix, which squats on the island like an unwanted guest not just for three days in June, but for weeks before and after, uglying the place up and constricting park capacity. We give up so much in the name of tourism dollars, I wonder why we bother.

It was an OK after-ride, though – we got a couple beers each from the party store and sat by the sidewalk and drank them. The lady at the party store put four brown paper bags into the six-pack carton without even being asked. This town cracks me up.

And so the summer begins.

Hope your weekend was good. We cooked a little. Alan is painting the dining room, and it looks great. Let’s see what the season holds, for all of us.

Well, this isn’t great news:

…in a striking intervention, more than 100 scholars of democracy have signed a new public statement of principles that seeks to make the stakes unambiguously, jarringly clear: On the line is nothing less than the future of our democracy itself.

“Our entire democracy is now at risk,” the scholars write in the statement, which I obtained before its release. “History will judge what we do at this moment.”

And these scholars underscore the crucial point: Our democracy’s long-term viability might depend on whether Democrats reform or kill the filibuster to pass sweeping voting rights protections.

The “I” here is Greg Sargent. I have no faith we can fix this.

In other news, you might recall a story I posted last spring, by a contributor to Deadline Detroit, about a cafe owner in a little town in Myanmar who is obsessed with Eminem. It’s a great story, but bad news: The writer, Danny Fenster, was arrested by government troops last week in Yangon, on his way out of the country to visit his family in Detroit. He hasn’t been heard from since. His family is very worried, obviously. If this sort of thing concerns you, you’re welcome to call your representatives. The hashtag is #BringDannyHome.

OK, then. Into the rest of the week.

Posted at 9:26 pm in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

66 responses to “Shut out.”

  1. Deborah said on June 2, 2021 at 12:01 am

    Tonight we had our cookout for my husband’s 74th birthday, 2 of the guests didn’t show but we had a good time anyway. Our next door neighbors are terrific, he’s an artist (click around, a lot of good stuff), she’s an illustrator. We had a good time talking to them tonight, he talked a lot about how hard it is to make a living as an artist. He goes to his studio every day, early in the morning and works hard all day. We have a lot of leftover food and drink.

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  2. Dexter Friend said on June 2, 2021 at 2:10 am

    I haven’t been to Belle Isle since before the fountain was restored for a scene in the movie “Scarecrow”.
    Here in Bryan, there is an area around the town square called DORA, downtown outdoor refreshments area, so during certain events you can pretend you’re in New Orleans carrying a traveler cup of gin and tonic.
    I was mad to read the county commissioners voted unanimously to declare this county a Second Amendment Zone. Good timing, to make this Trump town appear to support the goddam insurrection and support Trump as well. That amendment has been on the books since muzzle loaders were high tech weaponry. In the local paper article , well…look at this shit:
    “Williams County is now a Second Amendment Territory County.

    County commissioners this past week unanimously passed a resolution “showing their support of the rights of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and stand film against any law or ordinance on any level of government to remove that right from any law-abiding citizen without due process,” according to language of the resolution.
    “The Williams County Commissioners wish to express its deep commitment to protecting the Williams County citizens’ Second Amendment rights,” Resolution 188 states.
    The resolution carries no legal weight, but merely “states the opinion of the Board of Commissioners,” Commission President Brian Davis said Monday.

    “We have been asked to do that and our position is reflected in the resolution,” Davis added.

    The commissioners’ action means Williams County joins a number of other counties in Ohio that have passed similar resolutions. Defiance County Commissioners also approved their county as a Second Amendment Territory County at their May 10 meeting.

    Some municipalities and entities are also using the term “Second Amendment Sanctuary,” rather than “Second Amendment Territory,” though the intent is the same.

    According to the Associated Press, the movement began in 2018 in Illinois, and by the end of 2019, 70 of the 102 counties in Illinois had approved resolutions.

    The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    And Article 1, Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution states: “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.”

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  3. Icarus said on June 2, 2021 at 9:50 am

    interesting comments on this Today in nn.c history*

    * actually yesterday

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  4. Suzanne said on June 2, 2021 at 10:27 am

    I am so sick of the 2nd Amendment people. Having every yahoo own a rapid fire, high powered weapon is not what the founding fathers intended. What bothers me more than anything is that I understand more and more that my life is considered collateral damage to keeping their right to bear arms, any and all arms, whether they know how to use them or why they might need to use them or not. When the Sandy Hook shooting happened, I thought gun rights advocates might change their minds, even a little bit, but no. Dead kids are the price you pay to keep those guns.

    Watching several documentaries over the week-end about the Tulsa Massacre, I learned that many of the massacre victims were armed but it ultimately did them no good. They were outnumbered and outgunned. So much for the notion, as I have been told with some frequency, that if the Jews had simply been armed, the Holocaust would never have happened.

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  5. Mark P said on June 2, 2021 at 11:40 am

    I’ve commented before with the old “whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.” I really think gun rights advocates/mass murder apologists have deep psychological problems. No sane person could look at the news of constant gun violence and not think something should be done. They are sick.

    But this is just one more thing in a long list that proves that the US Constitution is an obsolete obstacle to progress. It should be dumped onto the trash heap of history where it belongs. Unfortunately, with our current population of racist, fascist dumbshit worshipers, we would probably end up with something worse.

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  6. LAMary said on June 2, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    RIP, the 2x impeached, one term, ex president’s blog.

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  7. ROGirl said on June 2, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Darn, I thought the RIP was for the fat toad.

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  8. LAMary said on June 2, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Sorry ROGirl. The fat orange toad lives. His blog is gone. He probably gave it up because the planning for his August reinstatement is taking up so much of his time.

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  9. Scout said on June 2, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    I’m feeling the calm I experienced after the inauguration slowly seeping away as the batshit craziness seems to do nothing but escalate. The disgraced, twice impeached former guy has the R party by the short hairs, and for the life of me, I cannot understand it. His silly blog is gone, but he is still amplifying the Big Lie.

    Every time I even think about those Q-nuts touching my ballot (Maricopa County AZ (fr)audit) I get skeeved out. How is this even legal?

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  10. Deborah said on June 2, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    The special election in NM for Interior Sec Deb Haaland’s seat resulted in the Dem candidate Stansbury winning by a landslide, so that’s good. I hope that’s a harbinger of things to come in 2022. Some people were worried, but it didn’t seem to be a problem at all. Hopefully the Dems will keep fighting and not get complacent.

    Icarus, those comments from yesterday 2004 were indeed telling.

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  11. Deborah said on June 2, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    I can tell you I’m not going to spend a penny in Florida, not that I’ve wanted to for decades. This whole womens sports and trans issue is ridiculous. DeSantis is evil, as far as I can tell no women athletes are even complaining about it. It’s all trumped up. Gender is a lot more complicated than those idiot legislators in FL make it seem. As if they care about womens sports.

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  12. Dave said on June 2, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    DeSantis is evil, every time I see him, I think I can almost see his horns. I know that’s silly but I think it every time. Yet, here we are in Florida.

    I hate the way the Repugnant ones seize onto every cultural issue they can conjure up, even ones no one knew they cared about until some person, somewhere, said something along the lines of, “Hey, this’ll get them going, get Fox on the phone”.

    We’re going to leave Florida by September, not that we’re improving states but we’ve made the decision to return to Indiana because we’ve decided that being near family is better than being in the lovely winters and I really hate to give up Florida winters. Still, two of our three children are there and the other one will be closer, we could get there in one day instead of two. We’ll be north of Indy, I don’t think I’d ever go back to the Fort, but I did look up our future congresswoman and I see she’s a Tea Party-type and a Ukraine native, I don’t know why I had even the dimmest thought of hoping for something better.

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  13. Colleen said on June 2, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    Also getting nervous about all the batshittery going on. Reinstated? Really?

    DeSantis is repugnant. I gave 20 bucks to Nikki Fried, who yesterday announced her intention of taking him on. I really like living in Florida, I’m close to my parents, my depression is better with all the sun….but the governor and the Trumpers…yikes. Not to mention the reliable craziness of Florida Man. It’s kind of embarrassing to say I live here…

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  14. LAMary said on June 2, 2021 at 3:12 pm

    The whole trans sports thing is silly. It gives narrow minded twits something to get all righteous about and effing Caitlin Jenner of all people is running for governor with that as one of her issues. That and the annoying view of homeless people a friend of hers was troubled by while at his private jet hangar. So far the only republicans I’ve seen running to replace Gavin Newsom if he gets recalled are Jenner, the anti-trans trans and a guy who campaigns with a grizzly bear. I think a mayor or former mayor of San Diego is running too but he hasn’t displayed a stupid gimmick yet so he’s not getting any news coverage. Gavin Newsom isn’t perfect but he has had a real shitstorm to deal with as governor. Starting with the worst wildfires in the state’s history and followed by the pandemic. All in all he’s been pretty good, I think. From the worst of the pandemic in December to now things have turned around quickly and with amazing efficiency. If he keeps his seat, and the actual election is only a few months after the recall election, he’s going to have to focus on homelessness because it’s a massive problem here largely driven by the lack of affordable housing.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on June 2, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    Anyone else see the story out of Texass that perfectly encapsulates gun nuts? A mom, dad and 5-year-old son are riding bikes in Houston. A 6-month-old boxer puppy slips through his owner’s door and runs out. Mommy pulls a gun and fires three shots at the dog. She hits her own son in the abdomen, though the dog does suffer a graze wound to its leg. Son is hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. The dog owner deadpans, “She could have handled this better.”

    What kind of asshole immediately pulls a gun on a puppy running loose? The kind of asshole Texass loves since the state is eliminating any regulation or training while allowing anyone to open carry.

    I know Texass is growing fast, but fuck that state. It’s insane.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on June 2, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    Weeeeeell, I just spent $90 on boxes to move TO Florida, but we’re going to liberal Orlando, which is flying the rainbow flag over city hall for the entire month. I despise DeathSantis and will be working to defeat him.

    Unfortunately, it’s impossible to avoid horrible politicians no matter where you go. Now, time to go fill up those boxes.

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  17. Jim said on June 2, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Dave at #12, I feel your pain. A good friend from Fort Wayne moved to Durango Co and ended up with Lauren Boebert as a rep. My wife and I bought a townhouse in Longmont Co and now Ken Buck is our rep. AND, until I move there Jim Banks is my rep!

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  18. LAMary said on June 2, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    Get rid of Rick Scott while you’re there, Julie. He’s as bad as De Santis if not worse.

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  19. Julie Robinson said on June 2, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    You mean Voldemort? I heard plenty about him from my sister over the years. Yes, he needs to go too.

    DeathSantis actually barely won in 2018, so I think he’s vulnerable.

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  20. brian stouder said on June 2, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    This being the internet and all, I gotta argue with the Proprietress about Belle Isle.

    I love-love-love that place; it is indeed beautiful, and has a great view of the Motown profile in the near distance. Where else to hold an American car race? (Although a street race downtown would be tremendous….!)

    And indeed, once we went to the event, we had to visit the Ford Museum…and in fact could return again and again, and see other jewels there, too.

    Just sayin’…!

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 2, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    Was having a conversation just today with two gentlemen of this county, with credentials for conservatism far more impeccable than my own, one having a pseudo-calligraphic “We the people” on one forearm and an eagle rampant on the other. Their professions are neither here nor there, but when I said in line with our morning’s work “there are simply too damn many 9 millimeter handguns rattling around in cars and sofa cushions, mostly loaded and few properly stowed — too many” I was pleasantly surprised when they both unhesitatingly agreed. Whatever the Second Amendment means, it’s not a defense of any idiot who wants one should get to have a semi-automatic lead throwing device. “Well-regulated” has to mean something, too, if you want to be all inerrant and originalist about it.

    [takes a deep breath, sighs]

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  22. Deborah said on June 2, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Not to gloat or anything but for the last couple of years in both the states I live part time in, there are Dem governors, US representatives in our districts and all 4 senators. S and I vote in IL. It hasn’t always been that way, IL had a shitty GOP governor before and so did NM.

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  23. Sherri said on June 2, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    There are crazy Republicans out here, but none of them can win a statewide race. The only Republican who holds statewide office in Washington is our secretary of state, who at least isn’t crazy. As a general rule of thumb, a Republican has to get at least 40% of the vote in King County to win state wide, and the crazies can’t do that.

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  24. Sherri said on June 2, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    O tempora, O mores.

    What Cicero and the decline of Rome into dictatorship can tell us about today.

    (I do disagree with the author in one point though: I found the Aeneid easier to translate than Cicero.)

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  25. LAMary said on June 3, 2021 at 12:26 am

    I can beat that Deborah. The last four states I lived in have democratic govs. NJ, NY, CO, CA.

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 3, 2021 at 7:35 am

    Ave, Vergilius.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on June 3, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Here’s another reason to vote out DeathSantis: part of the LGBTQ+ bill he vetoed would have provided funding for transitional housing for rainbow youth. As I’m sure everyone here knows, they are likely to be kicked out of their homes, or leave because of abuse, and spend time couch surfing, sleeping in cars, or outside. They are so vulnerable in these situations.

    There’s a group in Orlando that serves gay+ youth, the Zebra Coalition. They have a house where they can come and get snacks, take showers, do laundry, do homework, participate in counseling, just get support. I just learned about them and started taking them snacks the last time I was there.

    They found a building where they could house 35 youth and get them off the street. Both legislative branches passed this bill, sort of amazing for Florida. And DeathSantis vetoed it.

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  28. Jenine said on June 3, 2021 at 10:50 am

    I found out that the Dumpblog was over via this twitter account which I immediately followed: @LiZaOutlives. Go Liza!

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  29. David C said on June 3, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    Ever had a morning where you found out that your parents, for the past two days, thought that you were in jail? That’s been my morning. Someone called them and said that I’d rear ended a pregnant woman and that she’d miscarried. The next day they called and told them the woman died and that I was in jail. My sister has been talking to them all along and they didn’t tell her because the scammers told them not to tell anybody. I still don’t know the whole story but I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets worse. It sounds like my parents have them money.

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  30. Deborah said on June 3, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    David C, that is sad. I hadn’t heard of that scam before, despicable.

    I’ve spent the last 2 days mostly inside to keep from having to wear a hat and irritate my messed up forehead. My upper lip is actually improving, after going through what the call the erosion phase, looks just as bad as it sounds.

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  31. Suzanne said on June 3, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    That “grandkid” in jail scam has been around for quite a while. An elderly woman who lives down the road sent money to her “grandson” and was ready to do so a second time when her daughter stopped her. A friend who is a financial planner had a client come in wanting to take a lot of money from her retirement account to bail her “grandson” out of jail. She would have but my friend talked her in the calling the school where her grandson worked and lo & behold! He was there, teaching. Both happened several years ago.

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  32. Mark P said on June 3, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    Way back in the 1970’s someone tried that on the mother of one of the reporters I worked with. Fortunately, she called the newspaper and I assured her he was fine.

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  33. Dave said on June 3, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    We were in the the PakMail in Fort Wayne on Dupont Road one day when an old lady came in and wanted to buy an expensive money order. She was very upset and the clerk, one of the franchise owners, started questioning her. She finally told her that her grandson was in jail and she had to get him out. They talked her into calling her child, the grandson’s parent and it was all a scam. Lowlife scum.

    David C., this is awful, I hope they’ve not lost too much but losing anything to scammers is terrible. I’m guessing your parents may be 80 something? The scammers must have threatened them harshly to make them say nothing to your sister, let alone giving you a call.

    Julie, I hate to say that I strongly believe that DeSantis will be re-elected and then run for president but I fear that will be exactly what happens. Meanwhile, we’ll be in Indiana voting against Congresswoman Spatz and all the rest of the Repugnant candidates, and I know we might as well spit into the wind.

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  34. David C said on June 3, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    I’m getting more of the story. Somehow or another they thought it was me telling them not to tell anybody. My sister told me it went down something like the scammer said “hello, dad” and my dad said “Dave?”. As soon as they have a name they’re off to the races. Not that I’ve ever needed this rule, but my rule is if anyone tells me to not tell anyone or not call the police then I tell someone or call the police. I can only imagine the adrenaline jolt that you get from hearing a family member is in jail. I hope I’m never in that situation. It’s so easy to say I won’t fall for it but scams even happen to smart people. Ask Madoff’s victims. Fear makes you do foolish things that only in looking back do you see the red flags. My parents are 84 and 82 so you’re right on the money, Dave.

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  35. alex said on June 3, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    That’s Spartz. Rhymes with sharts and just as undesirable.

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  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 3, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    That scam got $8,000 out of my tight-fisted father-in-law before he finally called his daughter and confirmed his grandson was neither in New York nor in jail. Could easily have been more. And I know of half a dozen more stories like that, pastorally.

    When my wife contacted his local law enforcement & gave them the phone number that had been calling him, it was the fax number of a hotel in Montreal, and the weary detective she worked her way up to said “they’re likely in Kiev or thereabouts, and there’s not a blessed thing we can do, ma’am.” And this was five years ago — it’s clearly gotten worse since.

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  37. Julie Robinson said on June 3, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    A friend’s elderly aunt fell for one of those scams, and when she went to the bank, the teller called my friend. She said she wasn’t supposed to be making the call, but could she please come to the bank immediately? She could, did, and disaster was averted.

    My mom is so suspicious of anyone who calls her I don’t think she would fall for a scam. Soon it won’t matter anyway, because by her own choice she’s not going to have a phone in Orlando. No landline there either.

    Dave, that’s our PakMail! We could walk there if we weren’t usually carrying stuff. They take Amazon returns without having to box them up or print labels.

    There’s no doubt that DeathSantis wants to run for President, but my good news for the day is the insulation inspection passed, drywall delivered, and stucco going up. We’re down to 26 days now, which includes the final occupancy permit. Our son asked what Plan B is, and I said there is no Plan B. The lease is up and the plane tickets are bought.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 3, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    Two titles I’ve had in the back of my head for a long time that just don’t have many pages behind them: “There is no Plan B” and “No True Bill.”

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  39. Jerrie in MidMD said on June 3, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    Today the Washington Post ran an article about Danny Fenster’s detention by the Myanmar junta. Embassy officials have been denied all access to him. Thanks, Nancy, as I might have missed the story without reading it here first:

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  40. Dave said on June 3, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Julie, if the same couple is still running it, along with their daughter, they’re good folks. I know where you live from your descriptions, we only lived a couple of miles from there in the Perry Lake subdivision, across Coldwater Road from the Perry Hill school. We moved away from there 5 1/2 years ago now, when all three of our children had moved out of Indiana. Today, two of the three are back but north of Indy.

    Oh, Alex, thanks, I got her name wrong. From what I’ve read about her, I don’t much care. OTOH, our congressman here, Bilirakis, is supposed to be so willing to work across the aisle. But not so much that he could vote in favor of a commission to investigate January 6, or favor impeachment (s). He has supported that Orange trash without coming right out and saying it, the couple of e-mails I sent him got much less that satisfactory answers, not that I expected anything else.

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  41. David C said on June 3, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    OMFG. It was $30,000. I know it’s stupid but I feel like it’s my fault for moving away from Michigan. It feels like someone’s died. My mom has a problem forming short term memories and is going over and over it. She doesn’t know for sure if I’m OK. I just don’t know what to do. What do you tell your parishioners, Jeff? I feel as helpless as a fish flopping on the beach.

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  42. Julie Robinson said on June 3, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    That’s absolutely horrifying. I’m so sorry.

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  43. Dexter Friend said on June 4, 2021 at 1:41 am

    We are all being warned of an onslaught of hacking. We are paying for the Russian hackings of the meat supply line industry , the NYC Subways (in April), a pipeline a few weeks ago, and many more are sure to come. We are told to frequently change all passwords and basically to complicate the shit out of them.
    In September, 50 years ago, I had been out of the army a few weeks and was a college student. I had taken Labor Day weekend to drive to St. Louis to party with my old army bunky Bill and his friends. I was living in Fort Wayne. A Black man went to my parents’ home wanting to see me. He told the folks his name, and he knew all about my army time, what posts I had served at, that I was a medic based in Nha Trang, RVN…but funny…he said his name was J.S. The J.S. I was in the army with in basic training was from central Indiana and was a freckle-faced white man. The guy was adamant, he wanted to see me. I never knew that guy ever, at all. What would this fraud have wanted with me? How did he access all my information? Nobody had home computers 50 years ago, as far as I know. That’s still the closest I eve came to being hacked. David C., your story is chillingly horrifying. And it’s being played out in industry and people’s homes constantly.

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  44. David C said on June 4, 2021 at 7:02 am

    I finally was able to talk to my dad last night. He sounded pretty chipper for someone who has just been scammed for such a large packet. I still stewed half of the night about it. At every turn, everyone throws up their hands and says there’s nothing that can be done. I’m sure the reality is there’s nothing that anyone wants to do. It’s either too inconvenient to do (costs money) or it kills off a revenue stream (costs money). We’ve spent trillions of dollars on security we spend billions a year on police and things like this effect far more people than WMD ever did and nobody cares. It seems like just about an annual ritual that I have to have a credit or debit card cancelled because they detect funky transactions and shut it down. The banks would like you to think that they do this because of their good customer service but that’s BS. They’re on the hook for fraudulent transactions. If you make telecoms and banks financially responsible for fraud over their networks it may not stop but it should be greatly reduced. So much of it originates in Russia and the other former Soviet Republics. You have countries with so many highly educated people but there’s not many outlets for them to use their skills in a legitimate way. They’re trailer parks with nukes because Putin and the rest of the oligarchs hoover up all the resources for themselves. It’s weird feeling sympathy for someone who just knocked over my parents for $30K. But I do. They deserve better but nobody bothers because the oligarchs prop up the real estate markets in large cities all over the world. There’s no reason Russia couldn’t be a manufacturing powerhouse. They have natural resources and an educated workforce. The only things I own that were made in Russia are my Nokian (designed in Finland manufactured in Russia) snow tires and a set of really good guitar pickups (Alexander Pribora)in one of my guitars. Sorry for the stream of semi-consciousness, I just don’t know what else to do.

    In a stupid way it’s a good feeling. I always knew my parents would do anything they could to help me. They showed they would and it turned out to be a scam. Funny old world.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 4, 2021 at 8:06 am

    David C., I’m hurting for you. It’s a horrible feeling, and not just because that money is gone. I have told quite a few older people to simply not answer their landline phone if they aren’t expecting a call, and help them set up a Jitterbug or Flip phone where their outside contact person can text them to tell them they’re going to call . . . and pretty soon they don’t even need to use the phone for that. The barrier is often “I can’t text” or “I can’t hear on those little phones” so the maneuver is to get them to see it just as a simple tool to warn them to expect a call on the phone on the wall they’re comfortable with, and almost immediately they find they can use texting or cell phones (with big enough buttons) just fine. You just have to resist the temptation to say “see, this works just as well” let alone “I was right, wasn’t I?” or they might stop out of sheer cussedness.

    One way Scout camp staff prepared me for this stage of life was spending five years every summer talking each Sunday night and every Monday and most Tuesdays to kids who wanted to go home. I had no idea I was learning pastoral skills that would be invaluable in working with elderly people intent on paths that weren’t in their best interests, as well as with juvenile delinquents (so called by the system). The parallels and overlaps are many and amusing. But however you sort it out, you have to figure out how to get people whose hearing is fading and where the cognitive function is not quite all together off of landlines as much as possible. Landlines are, between conservative grift and Russian fraud, literally a dark alley in a bad neighborhood. One old guy I was asked to speak to I told just that to, and said “Harry, are there alleys in this town you used to walk down that you wouldn’t today by daylight, let alone after dark?” “Hell yeah!” he replied, and we reached agreement immediately. There’s just a fear of cell phones and little buttons that’s also strong, and you’ve got to help them navigate between the two anxieties to the safer path.

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  46. Mark P said on June 4, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Jeff TMMO, sheer cussedness is spot on. About 20 years ago a woman called my mother and established a kind of relationship with her as she set my mother up for the sting. I don’t remember exactly what the scam was was, maybe that she was a member of class action and she needed to send money to get her settlement. My wife and I told her it was a scam, my uncle told her, and I think we even got the police to tell her. She sent $500 anyway. Sheer cussedness.

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  47. Suzanne said on June 4, 2021 at 9:05 am

    My 86 year old mother is surprisingly astute about phone scams. She won’t answer the phone, cell or landline, if she doesn’t recognize the number. Several years ago, a woman called claiming to be her oldest granddaughter who said she’d been arrested for weed possession. Since her oldest granddaughter lives in Denver, mom remembered pot was legal there & smelled a rat. She asked the woman for her birthdate and the scammer hung up.
    My mom isn’t always the most astute person, so it surprised me, but hooray for mom!

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  48. David C said on June 4, 2021 at 9:30 am

    I checked my parent’s phone provider it’s Spectrum VOIP. They offer a function that we have from our VOIP provider that only allows calls from approved phone numbers. They do have cell phones so they can use that number for more everyday things people call for but they know every call on the landline is legit. It might be something you can suggest for the people you counsel, Jeff. My brother is taking dad to talk to his banker to see what can be done to lock down his accounts and to put my brother’s name on them so he can help them out. I’ve heard people who have been victims get put on sucker lists that are widely shared between scammers. So the really need to get their financial lives locked down as much as possible.

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  49. Jenine said on June 4, 2021 at 10:15 am

    “Landlines are, between conservative grift and Russian fraud, literally a dark alley in a bad neighborhood.”
    I will be sharing this phrasing with my mother and mother-in-law.

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  50. Julie Robinson said on June 4, 2021 at 10:20 am

    We’re being bombarded by junk calls. I three or four every day, and that’s not counting all the numbers I’ve reported as scams and blocked. If I don’t recognize the number, I don’t answer, and if they don’t leave me a message, they’re blocked.

    Then there’s the texts, don’t even get me started on those.

    On a different topic, my mom is taking a new cholesterol medicine that has to be injected every two weeks. It’s super pricey but between her great insurance and a hospital grant it isn’t costing her a penny. It comes in a pen that’s already filled with the medicine, so easy to use, right?

    The first injection went smoothly, but yesterday it didn’t work. We kept on trying and trying and it wouldn’t release. Did I mention it has to be kept refrigerated? After the tenth try I called the nurse who had helped us and given us her direct line. Voicemail.

    Next up the pharmacy we hate but is literally half a block away. When I finally got through to the pharmacist she said she couldn’t help me because they didn’t dispense that drug. Umm, well, we did pick it up there on X/X/XXXX date. Oh, let me look that up, hold, yeah, I don’t know anything about it but here’s the number for the manufacturer. That was a wasted 40 minutes.

    By now I realize she isn’t going to get this injection today as it’s been out of the refrigerator too long, but I call the manufacturer. Another hour and they tell me they will send her a replacement. After they fax the doctor’s office. In approximately seven business days. How helpful. So much for getting it every two weeks.

    This morning the nice nurse said they have a sample at the office and we can pick it up and give it to her today so she will stay on schedule. Which I will do.

    This is the state of health care in our country even when you have good doctors and good insurance. There’s no way she could have negotiated all this on her own. Again, without her great insurance this one injectable pen would be about $500, and apparently they have a high failure rate.

    So we carry on.

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  51. Deborah said on June 4, 2021 at 11:49 am

    Julie, what a frustrating story. How sad that elderly people who can’t manage so much on their own are being scammed or left in complex healthcare lurches. I’ve been reading a lot about dementia, because of what Uncle J went through, and my MIL is going through now, and a design project that I’m working on. Caregivers are so essential, it’s a demanding and depressing job that mostly falls on family. To those of you out there going through this experience now, I hope you get the care YOU need too.

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  52. LAMary said on June 4, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    I get at least ten scam calls a day. Car warranty, Medicare benefits, solar panels, car insurance. And then there are the recruiting scam calls. Fifteen yesterday. All from India. Northern NJ, NY, Texas or FL area codes. They call after seeing my LinkedIn profile and tell me about jobs, usually not a good fit for me, and they email a form to me asking me to confirm their exclusive representation for that job. If I don’t sign they call again and again until I block the number.

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  53. Sherri said on June 4, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    It’s local campaign season again, and I’m advising a couple of city council candidates. The thing I have to remind candidates over and over again is “don’t be reactive.” Your opponent is going to say things, they’re going to try to create a narrative about you, they’re going to twist what you say into an unrecognizable pretzel. Don’t go there, don’t fall for the trap, don’t talk to their voters, talk to your voters and stick to your message!

    I have the advantage of working with candidates who are attuned to what the majority of the city wants. There’s a vocal minority who wants to turn back the clock, and it’s easy to get sucked into arguing with them.

    I wish the Dems at the national level, and those advising them, understood the same thing. Stop worrying about how Republicans will twist your words, because it doesn’t matter what you say or do, they will create a narrative out of whole cloth if necessary. Stop being afraid to say what is true, that our democracy is under attack from Republicans. The pearl clutchers are going to clutch those pearls whether you say it or not, so at least do the right thing. Progressive ideas are aligned with what the country wants – just run on them, and stop hiding from them.

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  54. ROGirl said on June 4, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    I hung on to my landline for way too long and finally got rid of it a few months ago. No more robocalls from spoofed numbers that appear to be local. Also got a much better cell phone.

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  55. LAMary said on June 4, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    I hang onto the landline only because I live in a hilly area and reception on the cell phone can be terrible here. Working remotely I had company cell phone from Verizon. My own cell is ATT. Both companies suck at serving this neighborhood. It’s tons better than it was couple of years ago but still iffy at times. The Nextdoor group is always full of people asking which mobile carrier works in this area.
    Since my last posting here I’ve had three calls from India and one legitimate recruiting company call from KForce.

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  56. Mark P said on June 4, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    Sherri, you reminded me of the pro-voter suppression law ads I have seen lately here in Georgia. They are attacking Coca-Cola because of their weak opposition to the law. They say, “Tell Coke to stop poisoning our children.” They are also saying Biden will spend something like $80 billion to hire IRS agents to come and take your money away. The ads are so ridiculous it’s hard to believe they are for real.

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  57. susan said on June 4, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Here is a podcast episode I highly recommend: Preet interviews the two wonderful historians of American (political) history, Heather Cox Richardson (19th C) and Joanne Freeman (18th C). What’s happening now in this country isn’t exactly unprecedented, but is extremely dangerous for our putative democracy. They put things in perspective. And, as have many others, take our current perilous road back to Reagan and the continuing trashing of elective government by the Republican party. Somehow they are hopeful. Changes are afoot that give them/us promises of transformation. I sure hope so.

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  58. LAMary said on June 4, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    If you want to see a ridiculous ad check out Rudi Giuliani hustling My Pillows on his podcast.

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  59. Deborah said on June 4, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    I’ll have to go back and listen to Preet’s interview with HCR and Joanne Freeman. I did listen to the first podcast of Then and Now. I love learning about what’s happening now through the perspective of history.

    Things are getting wackier and wackier as time goes by. I worry that we’re headed for some major violence before the summer is over.

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 5, 2021 at 8:03 am

    Sherri, it’s like school levy or children services campaigns. There’s a certain number of “no” votes that are coming, hell or high water. You can look back over ten elections and know that figure pretty quickly. And you can’t waste ten minutes trying to flip those votes. They’re gonna vote “no.” And some of them will try to rattle, move, or distract you with a sign campaign or a few “open letters” in whatever venue they can find. Your job is to simply get more “yes” votes, and get them to vote. If you get more than they have, you win. And the good part of this is that the “no” pool rarely grows. The losses are when the other side gets complacent, or loses the thread and goes down rabbit trails that don’t move your potential “yes” voters to show up and close the deal. Lose track of what gets your “yes” to the polls, and you lose the election. Keep them motivated to show up and not assume someone else will vote “for them,” and remembering their vote is needed, and you win every time.

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  61. Joe Kobiela said on June 5, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    We need to take a moment and put our differences aside and remember a bunch of young scared paratroopers that jumped into immortality 77yrs ago right about now over the skies of France and opened the invasion of Europe.
    Pilot Joe

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  62. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 6, 2021 at 8:47 am

    My local touchstone on this date:

    It’s hard for me to believe all the men I’ve known over the years who walked that beach in 1944 are all gone. To their memory, and to peace that endures . . .

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  63. Suzanne said on June 6, 2021 at 11:41 am

    I have listened to this podcast often over the past few years. They have almost always been correct in their predictions and their understanding of the situation.Take a listen to this episode. Terrifying.

    I have been trying to warn people for years that the apocalyptic segment of Christianity and other religions as well is dangerous. Almost no one ever believes me.

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  64. Deborah said on June 6, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    Lotsa funny comments going around the internet today about TIFG’s pants last night. People are saying his pants were backwards which isn’t true of course but they sure were wrinkled near the crotch which made them appear to be on backwards. Bad tailoring or something like that probably didn’t help. His gut is quite pouchy making it look even worse.

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  65. basset said on June 6, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    Been at the beach the last few days, stopped at a roadside convenience store on the way back which was about the size of a Home Depot and had a hundred and twenty gas pumps.

    Hesitant to say it here, but I was impressed.

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  66. LAMary said on June 6, 2021 at 6:55 pm

    The whole crotchal area was weird on those pants. He also looked like he was wearing a diaper.

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