Blue skies, fire on the horizon.

Finally, after a week of heat and storms and blackouts, we got our ottering in. It was worth the wait, a perfect Pure Michigan day. The water was cool but refreshing, the sky a fathomless blue and there was a fairly craptastic band playing at the microbrewery across the street from the park. They were wheezing through “Live With Me” as we arrived; what makes a cover band think they can handle the Rolling Stones, anyway?

But in the river we couldn’t hear anything but the wavelets hitting the seawall and one another’s voices, catching up and taking the news of the day apart like a rotisserie chicken. It was a good time.

Then we had a couple beers at the microbrewery, just as the band was getting into “Dance to the Music,” and if there’s any band other than the Stones that a cover band shouldn’t attempt, it’s Sly & the Family Stone.

But enough about that.

Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban. A trillion dollars and in a week or so it’ll be like we weren’t there at all, except for all the weapons and vehicles and god knows what else is left behind. What a goddamn failure.

And what a way to start the week. I’m enjoying your comments in the last thread about all of this, if “enjoying” is the right word for it. It’s a grim moment. The dumbest people on my timelines are all Biden-Biden-Biden, but even their hearts don’t appear to be all the way in it. The truly dumb ones have a mendacity and cynicism that’s nearly breathtaking.

Meanwhile, in Covid news, conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke, who “expressed skepticism” about social distancing, vaccines and masks, now has the bug himself and is on a ventilator. The lord moves in mysterious ways.

Time to start Monday.

Posted at 8:00 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

34 responses to “Blue skies, fire on the horizon.”

  1. Jeff Borden said on August 16, 2021 at 9:47 am

    One thing about Afghanistan: It was mishandled by four presidents from two parties. Blaming Biden is fine, but tRump and Pompeo negotiated the pullout agreement. Obama was rolled by the Pentagon and signed off on the troop surge. And W./Cheney/Rumsfeld committed the original sin and then decided to concentrate on Iraq. All those lives lost. All the money pissed away. All for nothing.

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  2. Deborah said on August 16, 2021 at 10:26 am

    I couldn’t read that Podhoretz link after the first couple of paragraphs. He’s got it backwards, read this Heather Cox Richardson newsletter for yesterday, if you want the real scoop about what doing nothing would have meant for the US and Afghanistan It’s so disgusting how the right wing lies and lies and lies. I feel horrible for the people of Afghanistan, who doesn’t? Especially the women and girls of course and the blood will flow. I honestly think blood is going to flow here too, not by the Taliban but by the white supremacists and the insurrectionist types. Oh the humanity.

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  3. Suzanne said on August 16, 2021 at 10:38 am

    I found this somewhat darkly humorous in Ms Richardson’s as usual excellent newsletter:
    “…in February 2020 the U.S. agreed to withdraw all U.S. troops, along with NATO allies, by May 1, so long as the Taliban stopped attacking U.S. troops and cut ties with terrorists.”

    The Taliban basically are terrorists, so I don’t think that February agreement was ever going to work.

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  4. Alan Stamm said on August 16, 2021 at 11:01 am

    I bow yet again in writerly admiration, this time at “taking the news of the day apart like a rotisserie chicken.”

    Any hack could write chewing over the day’s news (yes, thinking of Mitch), but originality is what we get here. Brava!

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  5. Jeff Borden said on August 16, 2021 at 11:09 am

    The QOP is already attacking Biden for the chaos in Kabul, but there’s video of a “speech” delivered by tRump in June bragging about the exit he and Pompeo set in motion. He notes there’s nothing the new administration can do about it. So, fuck the Republicans.

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  6. Julie Robinson said on August 16, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Heather Cox Richardson is so good at presenting the facts. I read her newsletter early this morning, then had to slap down a family member who posted a picture of Kamala Harris supposedly in front of helicopters saying “We did it, Joe!” I told her that not only was it photoshopped, it was her President who negotiated with the Taliban for the pullout. Honestly.

    Last night we went to a party for our great-nephews: birthday for one, going away to college for the other. He’s a junior but hasn’t been on campus since March 2020. Everyone agreed it would likely be the last party for awhile.

    The two brothers really got into cooking over the Pandemic and the birthday boy made his own vegan chocolate cake. It was so good I’ve asked for the recipe. His source? A Depression-era cookbook.

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  7. Mark P said on August 16, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Some people are calling the Afghanistan pullout a fiasco, but the fiasco happened the moment the first bomb dropped. Biden is a realist, and he knew staying longer would have the same result as not staying. Critics need to familiarize themselves with the sunk cost fallacy.

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  8. Jeff Borden said on August 16, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    The absolute failure in Afghanistan, the ugly results of the Iraq war and other enormous errors by our military, intelligence and diplomatic agencies has me wondering just what the hell we’re getting for the hundreds of billions…hell, trillions…we’ve spent. And also why no one is ever held accountable except for the grunts. The National Guard MPs who performed egregiously at Anu Ghrab were severely disciplined but why not Rumsfeld and his generals for underestimating the tasks in Iraq? Why not the CIA and NSA for their lousy performance in gathering and interpreting intelligence?

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  9. Julie Robinson said on August 16, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    The family member who posted that terrible photoshop responded that she knew it was photoshopped, and then said let’s agree to disagree. I wrote that I would also agree to call out untruths, and that I had reported it to Facebook, because I had. I hate to do this but she puts up this crap all the time, under the guise of being a good Christian, when in fact it’s the farthest thing from being Christian.

    But, how about some good news? We’ve passed all our inspections on the addition! We noticed water standing in a gutter so that needs to be fixed, and we’re waiting on screens for the back door, but we’re almost done dealing with the contractor. Hooray.

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  10. tajalli said on August 16, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    Hooray! for vegan cookery and pastries for tasty treats without eggs (lifelong allergy). College friends gave me a milk-less egg-less recipe for chocolate cake for my 21st birthday, which I refer to as Salad Dressing Chocolate Cake. It’s basically vinegar and oil instead of milk and eggs and I add chopped maraschino cherries (and sometimes walnut pieces) to the batter and decorate the chocolate frosting with additional halved cherries.

    My father’s aunt Martha gave my mother a box of handwritten recipes for my parent’s wedding so my mom could make some of my father’s favorites to ease his transplant from the South to the North with its German-style cooking (salt and pepper only for seasoning and not near enough mayo). 🙂 I toy with the idea of publishing Great Aunt Martha’s Cookbook periodically and then forget again.

    Also, congratulations, Julie Robinson, on passing those inspections. Bet you’re enjoying the light at the end of the tunnel.

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  11. linda said on August 16, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    Podhoretz defines “nothing” as the status quo, which is pouring tons of cash and American soldiers. And why not? The soldiers will be volunteers who people of Podoretz’s social set never meet, and no tax increases—just add to the National debt, in a way conservatives would object to if the money went towards food or health care. Just push the easy button.

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  12. Deborah said on August 16, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    Thank goodness, Julie, you must be so happy. We’re going to begin dealing with repairs and new work on our Chicago place hopefully soon, we got our doors fixed but we have a lot more to do. This guy we’re working with is new to us, so hopefully we won’t have any surprises like you did. He was our first choice back when we had our original work done but was too busy to take us on then. The guy we ended up using was fine but he’s been too busy to work on this new phase.

    We are having our first zoom call with a lawyer to address our window replacement project and our A-hole owner. We started with 6 possible lawyers and now we’re down to 4, we have a couple of zoom calls set up first and then in-person visits with the last 2 next week when we’re back in town. I still have my favorite but we’ll see how it all shakes out after our meetings. We have been pleasantly surprised by their rates, much lower than Chicago lawyers my husband has had to engage with regarding his uncle’s charitable trust. I’ve taken a back seat with regard to dealing with the A-hole, it’s so upsetting to me when she starts screaming and bullying, my husband is much better in those circumstances. We have a routine monthly meeting in a little over a week and I’m the secretary so I have to attend the zoom call, but I’m going to sit quietly and let my husband talk if that’s necessary. We’re not going to discuss the window replacement but we have some other issues that are going to send her off the deep end again. One of them is that we are going to have a building inspector check out the structure etc. After the debacle of the Florida condo building we’re all nervous about making sure our building is OK, it’s only a two story building but it’s over 40 years old and has never been inspected like that. The inspector is going to have to enter each unit and garage and that’s going to set her off because her unit and garage are basically uninhabitable now and who knows what they’re infested with and we will have proof of that. When her brother lived in her unit for a couple of months in 2014, there was no finished floor, only a sub floor and no working hot water heater. Then after that he completely trashed the place because he was mad she was kicking him out after he invited drug addled scum types to party with him night after night. Oh this is going to be interesting, for sure.

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  13. Brandon said on August 17, 2021 at 3:14 am

    Madonna has just celebrated her 63rd birthday.

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  14. Deborah said on August 17, 2021 at 8:43 am

    My 102 year old mother-in-law passed away at 3 this morning. It’s a relief to her offspring that she only had to exist in the memory care unit of her home for a few months. She was able to stay in her own apartment with round the clock care for not even a year (I think) and before that she was able to care for herself which was amazing. My husband’s sister who lives in Charlotte is of course sad but the most relieved of all because she watched daily as her mother deteriorated after being so sharp and full of life for so long. What a great lady.

    Edit: my husband just told me his mother was only in the memory care unit for 6 weeks, so better for her.

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  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 17, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Grace and peace on her memories; every day I’m reminded of how many of us are quietly dealing with parental aging and limitations. And further motivated to make my own decisions with restrictions ahead in mind! (Like getting rid of stuff I’ve held onto for too long already…)

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  16. Jeff Borden said on August 17, 2021 at 10:03 am

    Remember when the Orange King and Mike Pompeo touted their historic peace deal with the Taliban? Remember how the OK floated the idea of inviting Taliban leaders to Camp David? Remember when the OK freed 5,000 Taliban prisoners as part of the deal…one of which will apparently be running Afghanistan now?

    So the QOP can STFU about Biden. This entire sequence of tragic events was authored by Republicans from the initial Invasion

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  17. Jeff Borden said on August 17, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Remember when the Orange King and Mike Pompeo touted their historic peace deal with the Taliban? Remember how the OK floated the idea of inviting Taliban leaders to Camp David? Remember when the OK freed 5,000 Taliban prisoners as part of the deal…one of which will apparently be running Afghanistan now?

    So the QOP can STFU about Biden. This entire sequence of tragic events was authored by Republicans from the initial invasion to tRump’s deal with the bad guys.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on August 17, 2021 at 11:01 am

    Deborah, grace and peace is what I wish too. At 102 and especially if in memory care, death can be a blessed release. But even so I’m sure there will be a lot to do, and maybe extra travel, on top of dealing with your whacked out fellow condo owner. The inspection sounds like a good idea on so many levels.

    I wish we could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we just have so much digging out to do. Plus I’m realizing that the system we put together to identify what was in boxes had a lot of flaws. Right now I can’t find hanging files, and D just suggested we go buy more. We had so many we were throwing them away, and I really think we have some, but in what box? This is the road to hoarding.

    I’m calling it the fog of moving. It’s been so long since the early boxes were packed that they are a mystery in our heads. Ugh.

    Yesterday I was so depressed by what’s happening in Afghanistan that I found myself crying off and on. I’m with Jeff B when it comes to the R’s.

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  19. David C said on August 17, 2021 at 11:16 am

    I just head a clip of Miz Lindsey blaming Biden for releasing the 5000 Taliban prisoners. He knows damned well that tRump did that but the Fox twits don’t know that and will never hear it. It’s now going to be gospel truth to them. I don’t know how you have a country with that many deluded people running around without supervision.

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  20. JodiP said on August 17, 2021 at 11:34 am

    The situation in Afghanistan is heart-breaking. After a trillion dollars, their army couldn’t hold the country for more than a week or two?

    I remember reading The Wind Blows Away our Words, by Doris Lessing, about the aftermath and civil war after the war with Russia. It was written in 1987.

    Because of that book, I have never thought the outcome would be different than what has happened. Interestingly, it got a scathing review from the LA Times for romantisizing the situation and lauding the moujahedeen. The excerpts are pretty cringe-worthy now, but elided my 22-year-old brain. I just remember the hopelessness of the ordinary people who just wanted peace.

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  21. Sherri said on August 17, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    It didn’t matter how much time, money, and effort we spent propping up an Afghan army. The soldiers never shared the same purpose we did, so the minute we left, they were going to melt away.

    We came in and tried to impose a solution on Afghanistan. Whether it was a better solution or not is irrelevant. It was an American solution, never an Afghan solution. It would never outlast our presence.

    This is true whether you’re a superpower coming in with an army, an NGO coming in with money and do-gooders, or the local charity trying to solve homelessness. If you aren’t including the people with the problem in the decision making about the solution, you don’t have a solution.

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  22. Jeff Borden said on August 17, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    One of the reasons the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal wanted to leave Afghanistan is there was nothing there to exploit. Iraq, in comparison, has all that lovely oil. So, on to Baghdad! But even a full scale effort would have failed. Everything I’ve ever read about Afghanistan has stressed the power of family, clan and tribe over any notion of national unity.

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  23. LAMary said on August 17, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    Our recall vote is less than a month away and Gov Newsom said yesterday that Afghan refugees are welcome in California. What was the social media response? “He wants them here to vote for him.” The stupid runs deep.

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  24. Deborah said on August 17, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    A while ago my mother-in-law told us that she wanted her memorial service to be held in her lovely church that she attended in Sarasota, FL. This was at the time she moved to Charlotte, NC to be near her daughter. So we all decided of course that’s where we would have it, where she wanted it and she was always happy about that. Well of course no one wants to travel to FL now or any time soon. She is being cremated and everyone has decided there’s no hurry for a memorial service. So maybe it won’t be for a year. Who knows? But it will be at her church in Sarasota, whenever.

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  25. FDChief said on August 17, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    The truly tragic part of this Afghanistan fiasco – tragic in the classic meaning of the word – is that I see no way that the poor Afghan devils who worked with and for the occupation could be saved.

    To do that would have meant 1) preparing an evacuation program months ahead of time. That would have been an immediate signal to the ANA and the Kabul government that the occupiers believed they were hopeless. We’d have gotten this collapse in February rather than August, and 2) it would have meant slamming down something like one of the full airborne/air assault divisions complete with artillery and air fire support down in Kabul to hold for weeks or months, taking fire from the Taliban the whole time. It would have been exceptionally bloody.

    IMO it’d have been my call; regardless of the fate of the land itself, the people who trusted in and hoped for a future from us deserved better. But I can also see how it would have been both difficult to organize and politically fraught. I’m glad it wasn’t my call.

    So thousands of these wretched people are simply doomed. There’s no other description for that other than heartbreaking.

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  26. brian stouder said on August 17, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    Holy Maloley!

    I just read that Mayor Henry (of good ol’ Fort Wayne) has tested positive for Covid-19.

    He has been vaccinated… it will be more mild?

    I didn’t realize we can still get it despite vaccinations (albeit milder)

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  27. susan said on August 17, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    jeff b @22- Everything I’ve ever read about Afghanistan has stressed the power of family, clan and tribe over any notion of national unity.

    All that, with extreme patriarchy and misogyny. A friend of my brother toured around Afghanistan in the early 1960s. He said how scary it was/is there for women, that he discouraged any travelling, wide-eyed, the world-is-one women not to travel there. It didn’t matter if you were a female from Afghanistan or from out-of-country. The Taliban are really going to crack down, now. Wonderful. And so sad. It’s such a beautiful landscape, and forbidden.

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  28. Deborah said on August 17, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    I’m a lover of deserts but I’ve not seen images of Afghanistan landscapes that look particularly beautiful. I’m going to have to Google it. The cities are particularly bleak looking. But they have such a long history of war, how can they not be. The people of Afghanistan are stunningly beautiful IMHO.

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  29. linda said on August 17, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    Brian, my niece got it after being fully vaccinated. She is a home health aide to a woman who refuses to be vaccinated or wear a mask, and insists on going to high risk areas—even crossed state lines to dine out when her state had a tight lockdown. Several of this woman’s other aides are infected too but they all need their jobs.

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  30. Deborah said on August 17, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    Brian, there’s lots of info out there about breakthrough cases of Covid. Look it up on the CDC website. It’s because of the highly, highly contagious delta variant and other people not getting vaccinated or wearing masks and social distancing now.

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  31. susan said on August 17, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    Deborah, here’s a page with some photos of Afghanistan. I love that kind of landscape—semi-arid, mountainous, geologically, fractured, deep valleys.

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  32. Suzanne said on August 17, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    I had a cab driver in New York once who told me he was from Afghanistan. He said they are the gateway between the East & West so someone else is always trying to control them and always has been. I have to agree.

    FDChief, that’s probably the best explanation of why things went down like they did. Sure, the Taliban supposedly told Trump that they would leave people be until the US left, but sure, we can trust the Taliban.

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  33. Deborah said on August 17, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    Wow, yes Susan, beautiful landscapes. That makes it even more heartbreaking.

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  34. susan said on August 18, 2021 at 12:57 am

    Yeah, and I’ll never get to go there and see it.

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