Back in the saddle.

My, I’ve been neglecting you folks since my return, no? I plead…jet lag. I always thought it was easier to travel west than east, but my experience is the opposite. I’ve been flattened with fatigue by 8 p.m., wide awake at 3 a.m., and these are not conditions ripe for productivity. My brain was so confused that for the first couple days, I’d doze off, then wake up and think, for a few seconds, “Man, this room in Paris looks a lot like my own back home.” That’s how tired I was.

Add to that the other chores that go with returning from a month away — sorting a pile of mail, paying bills, restocking the fridge, telling 1,000 people “yeah, we had a great time, it was just great, really great,” etc. and you can maybe see why I’m a little discombobulated at the moment.

Oh, and going back to work, and having to hit the ground running because I deprived my colleagues of 20 percent of the workforce for a month.

But I seem to have handled most of that stuff now, so. Back to the grind here.

Confession: I’ve been doomscrolling again. Talk me down.

It starts with this message from you-know-who. It’s really astonishing, in that it is almost entirely untrue. I mean, all the words, except for “rally in Michigan yesterday.” It wasn’t even that big of a rally. And then he says:

Detroit, considered for many years to be one of the most corrupt places in the United States for elections (and many other things!), had large-scale irregularities so much so that two officials, at great risk to themselves and their families, refused to certify the results, and were sadly threatened.

Nope. There were no large-scale irregularities. Much hot air was puffed over “unbalanced precincts,” but in truth, all were out of balance by fewer than five votes, which totaled fewer than 500 out of more than 200K cast in the November election. (We’ve been over it and over it here, so I won’t belabor the point.) But what kills me is the fixation on Detroit, which isn’t even where Trump lost Michigan. He actually outperformed his 2016 totals in the city, by a narrow margin. But he was slaughtered in the suburbs, in Metro Detroit but also in Grand Rapids. White people, especially white women, stampeded out of the GOP in 2020, at least at the top of the ticket. You don’t hear him talking about Oakland County, because he can beat the BLACK Detroit BLACK corruption BLACK bass drum and the message comes through loud and clear.

Again, though, we know all this. And yet, to this day, I see emails and comments on stories and elsewhere, echoing this bullshit:

Wasn’t it a fact that aside from other things, there were far more votes than voters? Even the RINOs on the Senate Committee found 289,866 absentee ballots that were sent to people who never requested them, “something that would be illegal.”

Nope, it’s not a fact. None of it. But as our own Jeff Gill mentioned when I tweeted about this last week, this is how the Trumpian rhetoric is going — simply unhitched from reality.

All of which would be easier to ignore if it weren’t driving policy. In Michigan, the GOP is replacing troublesome canvassers on the county boards, with “troublesome” indicating “able to read numbers and interpret their meaning.” The canvasser in Wayne County who first refused to certify was bounced just last week for one who flatly said he wouldn’t have certified the 2020 vote count. Because, that’s why.

I wish I could find a quote from Hillary Clinton, something she said after the August 2020 primary here, when there was, again, a hoo-hah raised over unbalanced precincts. It’s true that too many were unbalanced, but again, most were by very small numbers, attributable to human error, and didn’t affect any races. Having worked the polls now for three elections, I can tell you the procedures are filled with fiddly bits and little details and detours and side roads to cover every conceivable voting situation, and when the people working the precinct are doing it once, maybe twice a year, it’s a miracle that any of them come out balanced. In August, I caught two or three errors in my own precinct that were caused by nothing more than confusion or assumptions made in error. We easily corrected them, but still. It happens.

And Hillary said something to the effect of, “You watch, this unbalanced-precincts thing was a test run. They’re going to try it again.” And what do you know, they did. I have Googled and Googled, and can’t find the source, but I clearly remember her talking about it.

So bottom line: I’m waiting on 2022 with some trepidation. The talking-down I’m giving myself is that this is a very loud minority who will not succeed. I hope. Fingers crossed. Check me after next year. I may be selling my worldly goods and investigating expat life in a pleasant climate.

But for now: Back to work! Glad to give you all a new thread.

Posted at 5:15 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |
 

61 responses to “Back in the saddle.”

  1. Jeff Gill said on October 20, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    Well, let’s just simplify, like Hank Thoreau said. You have to have been on this site a long time to even remember the unhinged Jeff who was neither Borden nor Gill who provoked my long-time NN moniker.

    Anyhow, my wife keeps doomscrolling, too, and asking to be talked off the ceiling (I’m glad we didn’t buy the house we looked at in 2004 with the living room cathedral-ish overhead). My historical grim reassurance comes from one D.C. Stephenson, who rode the mangy steed of the 1920s Ku Klux Klan from 1920 to the end of 1925, when his appetites, unhitched from reality and unhinged through lack of restraint from anyone around him, took him to rape & violent assault and effective murder. No, I doubt we can count on Trump to make this sort of move, but it’s the fact that the Klan of that era was a mile wide and an inch deep, and could so completely collapse in the course of the next year, that gives me hope.

    For more context: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/murder-wasnt-very-pretty-the-rise-and-fall-of-dc-stephenson-18935042/

    The situation of the GOP, whose repeated refusals to back away from its misbegotten embrace of racism after the Dixiecrat revolt of the mid-60s, is a more slow motion self-immolation. I suspect the Congressional Democrats will torpedo the filibuster, the Republicans will retake seats in the midterms and themselves overreach in ways already starting to be sketched in the dust and ashes of 2020, and the final collapse of the party will take a shape I won’t even guess at, but I’m sure the Trump Train of ’24 will play a role. That’s not predicting a win and a Grover Cleveland for Donald John & Melania, but his Colin Powell “statement” shows there’s a rhetorical D.C Stephenson moment just a stretch of the imagination away.

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  2. alex said on October 20, 2021 at 6:29 pm

    I’m back to doom scrolling too. I had great trust that by now Trump and his enablers would be facing some big fines and hard time and yet I don’t see it anywhere even on the distant horizon. So Bannon defies a subpoena and there’s chatter about how he could spend a year in prison but somehow it doesn’t seem likely or even possible that he’ll face any repercussions. Shit’s gonna drive me back to drink.

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  3. Sherri said on October 20, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    Heavy weights are no longer enough to manage my anger and anxiety. I’ve added a heavy bag and boxing gloves to my collection so I have something to hit, plus once a week, my trainer puts on the focus mitts and I hit those. Not quite as good as sparring used to be, but without the bruises.

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  4. Sherri said on October 20, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    And in the category of annoyance, I had to deal with customer support on an issue. I didn’t want to talk with anyone, so I went to the website, filled out the form, described the problem in great detail, and got a response within a couple of hours.

    The response asked for a bunch of information I had already filled out on their damn form, plus a bunch of information that I had already put in my description of the problem. There was only one new piece of information requested in the response. I can’t decide whether it’s worth bothering dealing with them, or just taking the thing apart and seeing if I can fix it myself. (My just over a year old Sodastream has started leaking CO2 in an odd place.)

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  5. Suzanne said on October 20, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    I don’t have a lot of hope. The Dems do not seem to grasp that they are up against hard knuckle players and seem to think if they just play nice, the GQP will come around. They won’t.
    Last night, Tom Nichols who is an expert on thing Russia, flat out said that Putin is a mobster and yes, Russia is doing interference with our political system and too many Americans are too bored and narcissistic to notice.

    Look at Hungary to see where we are headed. The GOP loves Orban.

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  6. Suzanne said on October 20, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    I don’t have a lot of hope. The Dems do not seem to grasp that they are up against hard knuckle players and seem to think if they just play nice, the GQP will come around. They won’t.
    Last night, Tom Nichols who is an expert on thing Russia, flat out said that Putin is a mobster and yes, Russia is doing interference with our political system and too many Americans are too bored and narcissistic to notice.

    Look at Hungary to see where we are headed. The GOP loves Orban and what he has done was all done legally.

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  7. Dexter Friend said on October 21, 2021 at 1:46 am

    …metaverse…dystopian…words of the day from yesterday… Zuckerberg’s scared of something… “Facebook”? SO 2005!

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  8. Randy said on October 21, 2021 at 8:11 am

    “The Democrats, always bringing a soup ladle to a knife fight”. I heard that on one of the news channels. Here in Canada, our equivalent party – the Liberals – currently govern as a minority, again, after calling a snap election this past summer, hoping to secure a majority by capitalizing on pandemic fear, or something? At a cost of 600 million, they learned that the electorate is fatigued, and doesn’t seem to care who is in power at the moment. They do know ow to play the game though, as Parliament will re-assemble next month, with only vaxxed MPs allowed in, and no participation via video-conference. Given a large number of Conservative MPs are either not vaxxed, or won’t disclose their status, the Liberals currently have a de facto majority in the House of Commons. Will be interesting to see how they wield this.

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  9. ROGirl said on October 21, 2021 at 8:57 am

    Someone I worked for a long time ago was into falconry, and he spoke about falcons having blood lust, the instinct to kill. Republicans have blood lust, Democrats don’t.

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  10. Deborah said on October 21, 2021 at 9:14 am

    While I don’t want the Democrats to have bloodlust I do want them to have more backbone. And be better at messaging. When people know what good they’re up to they approve. The press could be less bothsiderism sure, but the Ds also need to figure out how to make their narrative understandable and ubiquitous.

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  11. JodiP said on October 21, 2021 at 9:41 am

    And as everyone likely knows by now, every Republican voted against the voting rights act.https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/voting-rights-manchin-senate/2021/10/20/caba5168-31a6-11ec-a1e5-07223c50280a_story.html

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  12. alex said on October 21, 2021 at 9:44 am

    I remember being frustrated with Obama that he wasn’t better at messaging regarding the Affordable Care Act, but came to realize over time that the amount of derp floating around, including in the mainstream media which should have known better, was creating such a loud and confusing din that there was no way he was going to reach people. And that’s exactly what’s happening to the current administration. What I find vexatious is that Trump’s messaging, uncomplicated though it was, got amplified by mainstream media captivated by his nonstop clown show.

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  13. Jenine said on October 21, 2021 at 11:14 am

    @Randy: here’s hoping the Canadian Liberals will make a little progress with their majority.

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  14. Jeff Borden said on October 21, 2021 at 11:52 am

    The key question is whether this is the last blossoming of the crazy rightwing lunacy birthed by St. Ronald of Reagan, poisoned by the antics of Newt Gingrich and taken to the next dimension by the Orange King. Or, have they really won by playing the long game of taking over elected offices as the township, county and state levels, packing the courts with Federalist Society clones and weaponizing billions in cash thanks to the Citizens United ruling.

    I’m a pessimist so I tend to go with the latter. Whatever hopes I’ve had for a national turnaround based on 15 years of working with smart, passionate undergraduates must contend with the awful and malevolent machinery erected to grind them down and keep them in their place. They’re deeply committed to addressing climate change? Too bad, kids. The courts are going to crush you. You want to change our dramatic income disparities? You dumb kids. That’s the free market working. You’re serious about making America fairer for people of all colors, all religions, all sexual preferences, etc.? Why do you hate America, you bastard kids.

    And now, to watch the Democrats fiddling and fumbling and flailing away in their typical manner. . .incapable of delivering much of anything thanks to the assholes from Arizona and West Virginia. . .I wonder if 2022 won’t be a wipeout for Dems while setting the stage for the reelection of that cancerous tumor in 2024.

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  15. Deggjr said on October 21, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    While I agree with general pessimism, I think this excerpt provides hope (from a 10/14/2021 Washington Post article on Donald Trump):

    “Unprompted, he brought up an unsubstantiated claim he had interactions with prostitutes in Moscow before he ran for president.

    “I’m not into golden showers,” he told the crowd. “You know the great thing, our great first lady — ‘That one,’ she said, ‘I don’t believe that one.’ ””

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-gop-fraud-claims/2021/10/14/f37887fe-2cfc-11ec-985d-3150f7e106b2_story.html

    At a minimum it blunts the criticism that Joe Biden is old and out of touch. Who knows what else Donald Trump will say between now and then?

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  16. Dorothy said on October 21, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    I’m trying very hard to remain optimistic that Trump will have his day in court (well, several days and several courts) and he’s not going to be able to legally run for office ever again. On Maddow last night she referenced a NYTimes article from yesterday (see below). His organization says the Westchester golf club he owns was valued at $1.4 million in 2015 so they could avoid paying higher taxes on it. The town of Ossining says it was worth more like $15 million. Then when Trump filed paperwork to run for office he had to tally his property values, and the same place he said was worth $1.4 mil was suddenly, in his eyes, worth $50 million. It can’t be both! Here’s the article – between this and his trying to illegally change the voting numbers in Georgia, I’m convinced his fat ass is going to be in legal jeopardy for many years to come. I have faith.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/20/nyregion/trump-westchester-golf-club-investigation.html?searchResultPosition=1

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  17. Suzanne said on October 21, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    Here’s the thing. None of Trump’s law breaking matters. If the GOP has control of Congress they will simply change the laws to make whatever he did no longer illegal. Biden can veto but if they can override, they can do whatever they want. Vote them out, you say? How? How many states are enacting voter repression laws and gerrymandering the Dems into a very few districts. They are also enacting laws that give the legislature the power to change an election outcome that they don’t like.
    So red states can keep their super majorities and do whatever they want.
    And it’s all legal.

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  18. David C said on October 21, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    I allow myself fifteen minutes of Twitter doom scrolling and then I block it for the rest of the day. I have hope but it comes in waves with despair. I guess that’s better than a year ago when it was all despair.

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  19. Julie Robinson said on October 21, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    This should cheer a few up: just hours after the cheeto king’s new social media site, Truth Social, was launched, it has already been pulled down. Poor security allowed a defecating pig posted under the donaldjtrump account, and a Washington Post reporter was able to make an account for mikepence.

    I mean, really, this is quite amusing as well as showing incompetence. Can’t wait for the streaming service he says is coming soon!

    Okay, resume your doom scrolling.

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  20. Sherri said on October 21, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Here’s a piece of good news: my friend and predecessor as president of the board was finally confirmed by the Senate today as a federal judge!

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/attorney-who-helped-fight-trump-travel-ban-appointed-to-federal-bench-in-washington-state/

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  21. Little Bird said on October 22, 2021 at 10:03 am

    https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/sheriffs-office-alec-baldwin-discharged-prop-gun-that-killed-crew-member-wounded-director/article_9612afc6-32c5-11ec-9e2e-e3cc47b69ce5.html

    Sad news from New Mexico.

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  22. Sherri said on October 22, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    I think it’s funny that there are still people talking about how “Defund the police” was such an awful slogan when the right wing noise machine has managed to make “Critical Race Theory” a boogeyman out of nothing. Can’t you see, it doesn’t matter what you call anything, it’s the existence of the noise machine that’s the problem, not the words you use.

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  23. Sherri said on October 22, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    After I complained about Sodastream customer support, I did give them all the info they asked for, and they’re sending me a new machine! (I also took it apart, and found that the machines are not really repairable. Too much plastic which would break if you tried to get to the key parts.)

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  24. Julie Robinson said on October 22, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    Hallelujah, Sherri! I finally pried my mom’s refund for her landline out of Comcast after almost four months and six different calls/online chats. She told me I had earned it and gave me the check.

    We’ve also had very negative experiences with AT&T around our fiber line. It took three months and eight visits for them to get it installed and buried. They kept bumping us from the queue for repairs; a person would do the outside work but say they weren’t allowed inside; a guy fixed it then it went out six hours later. One of the women we talked to gave us her direct number to call if there were any problems rather than calling the 800 number again. You guessed it, the call went straight to voicemail and was never returned. The guy that came yesterday to fix also gave us his number and said he’s usually in the neighborhood so just text him if we have any other problems. Giving our experience so far, I’m pretty sure we’ll need to.

    Too bad for them, I’m at the end of my phone contract and was considering switching.

    Our daughter is on another trip and her dog is punishing us. Yesterday we couldn’t get her to potty no matter what and woke up to messes everywhere. I haven’t had a pet for many many years and I’m just so over it.

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  25. LAMary said on October 22, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    That is a very neurotic dog, Julie. I’ve had seven dogs and while they all had their quirks, none of them did what your daughter’s dog does. Trade it in for a pair of guppies.

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  26. David C said on October 22, 2021 at 2:55 pm

    We’ve been getting quotes for a new furnace. Boy howdy, are they ever pushing web connected furnaces. So I can be half way around the world and turn up my thermostat a couple of degrees, or someone else half way around the world can email me on a -20° day and tell me they’ll turn my furnace back on for $1000 in bitcoin. Nope.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on October 22, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    Oh yes, I think doggy needs therapy. Or drugs. Or something. She’s very closely bonded to her mama and goes into depression when she’s away. Plus she’s getting old. My mom threw a big hissy fit and demanded I board her for the rest of the trip. Um, I don’t know local kennels. Let me tell you, it’s good times at our house right now.

    David C, I would distrust that type of furnace too. I think the google speakers are bad enough as well as frustrating. While the internet was out we had to use light switches instead of directing google to turn on/off the lights. Some of us preferred that.

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  28. LAMary said on October 22, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    No smart appliances or entertainment items here. Well, the dog is smart and entertaining but she isn’t controlled by Jeff Bezos as far as I know.

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  29. Dorothy said on October 22, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    Off topic but I have something I need to ask: Have any of you ever had to pre-pay for a surgery? We ran into troubles this week which I won’t go into in great detail. Suffice to say my husband had his cataract surgery cancelled because he refused to pay the co-pay before the surgery was done. Well, he’s not able to see very well so the doctor won this battle for now. He had no choice – he NEEDS the surgery. He paid $200 and now he’s rescheduled for next Tuesday for surgery. But he got ANOTHER call asking for an additional $180, which he reluctantly paid, and now he’s unsure how they are applying it. He spent 45 minutes on the phone talking to a United Healthcare rep who said they are not big fans of patients paying ahead of time. Sometimes it creates situations where patients overpay and have to be reimbursed. Why doctors/corporations demand it and cancel surgeries if you don’t pay it is not clear. I’m just curious to know if anyone else here has ever had to deal with a situation like this.

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  30. David C said on October 22, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Our doctor’s office has a sign that co-pays are due at time of service. I’ve never heard of paying before. I’m not sure how it works in practice because we don’t have co-pays, just a big deductible.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on October 22, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    Maybe this is a thing with eye surgeons, because Mom had to pay before she had a cataract correction surgery. It was dumb, because we had a letter from her Medicare supplement insurance showing they would cover it 100%, but the ladies at the front desk would not let her get the surgery without that check. She was agitated to begin with so she paid, but not everyone would be able to come up with that much money. About two months later she got a refund check for the same amount down to the penny.

    There was a lot I didn’t care for about the place, including a cold and dirty waiting room. When I was told I needed eye surgery I asked for a referral elsewhere.

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  32. tajalli said on October 22, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    Julie, the comments to a post by an author on FB re: AT&T and OANN had many good things to say about Mint Mobile, which uses T-Mobile’s extensive network. $15 for unlimited talk and text + 4Gb data per phone, $50 to put it up to 50Gb data, Florida MMV. Apparently wonderful service and available in Florida.

    Thanks to everyone sharing their cataract and medicare experiences – most certainly helpful for when I progress past the halo phase. Have requested the 2021 Medicare for Dummies for potential decisions during this November’s open enrollment. Currently I just have Medicare B and am exploring Kaiser’s various plans.

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  33. Suzanne said on October 22, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    My husband had to have some minor surgery (not eye, the other end) a few weeks ago and he had to pre-pay for the surgery room! He had everything scheduled and then got a call that while the doctors were cleared by insurance, the surgery center was not covered. How idiotic. It was at the same hospital that we had both had colonoscopies at in the last six months for which insurance paid, it this time, no. It’s such a scam.
    I guess he could have had the surgery out on the parking lot and saved money…

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  34. Deborah said on October 22, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    We’ve never had to pay for any medical costs up front. Ever. I hope this isn’t a new thing now.

    I had my routine physical today and my dr checked my range of motion in my left arm, she suspects a rotator cuff problem with my left shoulder. I’ve been noticing some pain when I reach back to put my arm in a jacket now that it’s getting cooler. I’m supposed to go to physical therapy but it will have to wait until I get to NM because I won’t be in Chicago long enough to go through the whole routine. More medical crap, jeez.

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  35. Deggjr said on October 22, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    My sister-in-law had to pay her $5,000 deductible before bariatric surgery. A Facebook friend said he needed to pay his $5,000 deductible before cancer surgery.

    Seems cold. The pre-pay policy seems similar to veterinary surgery pre-pay policies we experienced; the dog lives or dies, the vet doc gets paid either way.

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  36. Dexter Friend said on October 23, 2021 at 2:49 am

    Years ago when I was discharged from the US Army I received a government form I was to give to my dentist for a one-time check-up and cleaning to launch me into the civilian world with adequate chompers. The dentist’s receptionist just had to mail it in for payment. I took it to a local dentist where I lived and the dentist barged into the waiting room and read me the riot act like I was a bum, and kicked me to the curb. I was a bit shocked…anyway, earlier this year, this dentist died, 90-something by now, and his obit reported he had been in war and was a decorated veteran. But , also a goddam asshole, as I found out.
    When I retired and forfeited my dental plan, and went in for some dental work that was estimated to be $700, I was not allowed in to the chair until I had paid the whole amount as a deposit. The bank was 2 minutes away and I withdrew 7 benjamins and paid the nasty woman the money. I say nasty woman because she was pretty damn nasty. I had been going to this dentist for 34 years at the time. Now he is retired too. I am waiting for Medicare to give us a dental plan, as has been proposed. I hope this trimming of the new budgeting leaves in the dental plan.

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  37. Suzanne said on October 23, 2021 at 7:54 am

    NE Indiana’s own Jim Banks, once again proves his utter lack of morality or intelligence.

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/prime/where-things-stand-october-21-2021-goper-jim-banks-tries-to-cosplay-as-jan-6-committee-member

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  38. Deborah said on October 23, 2021 at 11:10 am

    I keep reading about this, and lately more and more: what the heck is bitcoin/crypto about? I barely understand currencies, stocks & bonds as it is. And for heaven’s sake, what’s a block chain?

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  39. David C said on October 23, 2021 at 11:47 am

    Crypto currencies are money for people who think fiat currencies (all money in the world) are bad because they’re not backed by GOLD!!!! only by the full faith and credit of the issuing government. So they invented something that’s backed by nothing and got mostly libertarian nutbags to buy in. It’ll come crashing down some day. Blockchain, as I understand it, is just a very secure and energy intensive ledger.

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  40. Sherri said on October 23, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    David C is correct, I’d just add that cryptocurrencies are basically Ponzi schemes – get in early, you might make lots of money, get in late, you’ll probably be left holding the bag. Oh, and someone might hack the exchange holding your wallet, and steal all your money, or the exchange itself could steal your money.

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  41. David C said on October 23, 2021 at 3:12 pm

    I saw that you can convert your spare change collection into bitcoin at the Coinstar machine at our grocery store. When you try to get the rubes to buy in with their pennies it’s probably near the end.

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  42. Deborah said on October 23, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    “ Blockchain, as I understand it, is just a very secure and energy intensive ledger.” what does that even mean? What’s a ledger and how is it energy intensive. I googled it, but it’s Greek to me.

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  43. Julie Robinson said on October 23, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    Cryptocurrencies catch up people who think there’s a way around earning money through hard work. See also: lotteries, mid level marketing, any company that forces you to buy a sample kit for hundreds of dollars, and on and on. I’ve also read of schlubs losing all their money because they forgot their password. We had to keep talking our nephew out of these kinds of “investments” and for all I know he’s still falling for them. He stopped asking when he realized we weren’t going to be part of the investment team.

    Suzanne, I just read that Banks has had his congressional twitter account frozen for hateful comments about transgender Biden administration member Rachel Levine. But I honestly don’t have enough time or space to write about all the crooked and horrible Florida politicians I learn about every day when I pick up the newspaper. They’re everywhere.

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  44. Heather said on October 23, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    I just landed a gig writing B2B content for a healthcare system directed toward insurance companies. I’ll report back if I find out anything interesting. They did say that insurance companies are aware people don’t trust them. Well, they’d have to be truly living in another reality not to know that.

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  45. Jim said on October 23, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    Deborah: think of ledger in the bookkeeping sense for an analogy (sort of?). Each record is a “block”, and the blocks are all connected in a “chain”. It originated as concept in computer science (cryptography research specifically) in the early 80s to be a recording of messages with time stamps that couldn’t be monkeyed with by the receivers and senders, usually two correspondents who did not trust each other.

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  46. Sherri said on October 23, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    A blockchain is a transaction log. There are a lot of instances where you want a transaction log, and transaction logs have been used for decades. A blockchain is a distributed (think “in the cloud”) immutable (once an entry is made, it can’t be changed) log, and is energy intensive because they require “proof of work” to add an entry, like solving some equation, also known as “Bitcoin mining”.

    The result is, for all the hype, blockchain still isn’t used outside of cryptocurriencies that I can find, because it doesn’t really solve a problem and it doesn’t scale. Transaction times and overhead costs to buy and sell Bitcoin are really high, and have only gotten worse as there are more Bitcoin, which is why even though there were some early experiments in actually using Bitcoin as a currency, i.e. to buy things, now it’s just pure speculation, an asset backed by nothing.

    It’s tulips all the way down.

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  47. Suzanne said on October 23, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    I know a guy who is all about Bitcoin. He took out a loan to buy Bitcoin. Meanwhile, his car limps along on a wing and a prayer because he can’t afford to fix it. He tried to get the company he works for to let him quit and then rehire him so he could cash out his 401(k) to invest in Bitcoin. They said no.
    He works as a financial planner, which I find humorous.

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  48. Julie Robinson said on October 23, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    SO many idiot red flags there. Doesn’t he know that if he cashes out his 401K before he hits 65 he has to pay all the taxes plus a penalty? He’d lose over half his stake. He’s exactly the kind of person I was talking about in my earlier comment.

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  49. David C said on October 24, 2021 at 5:49 am

    The Muskmobile fans are having a hissy fit. The Biden Administration has hired Missy Cummings who is an expert on human factors and self-driving technologies to an NHTSA advisory board. I guess forking out an extra $10 grand for “Full self driving” and being told by someone who knows it’s all BS that it’s BS is triggering for them. Snowflakes.

    https://slate.com/technology/2021/10/tesla-missy-cummings-nhtsa-elon-musk.html

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  50. FDChief said on October 24, 2021 at 6:39 am

    I’m going to make a call here, and remember it in three years;

    The GQP is going to steal the 2024 election for Tubby, using all the bullshit gimmicks they’re working on now.

    It will be up to those of us not thrilled with the idea of being ruled by a gang of grifters, thieves, gun humpers, and religious nutbags to decide whether to roll over or to fight, and by “fight” I mean, literally, “fight”.

    This nation is already a house divided against itself. Whether it can stand the open realization that it has become a house ruled by redneck fascisti is an open question.

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  51. alex said on October 24, 2021 at 9:55 am

    Dorothy, I had to pay my copays up front for my recent septoplasty, and now I’m getting surprise bills in the mail from radiologists, anesthesiologists, pathologists, etc.

    My employer changed our health insurance to United Health Care AllSavers. I’m not sure who the “savers” are but it’s not those of us insured under the policy.

    Suzanne, there seems to be no shortage of nutters in the financial planner racket. I used to think they were just cynically looking for marks when they’d peddle wacko shit about George Soros and the Rothschilds and the UN secretly controlling everything but I think they may very well believe their own bullshit.

    FDChief, I don’t think my nerves can take a redneck coup d’etat. Either it’ll kill me or I’ll take my own life.

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  52. diane said on October 24, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Thank you Sherri@46. That is what I thought but I am not knowledgeable about financial systems or investing at all. I know a very wealthy couple who are very gungho on bit coin and are telling all their friends to invest in it. They were particularly big on it around the election. If Joe Biden won, he was going to destroy the economy and investing in bitcoin was how to protect yourself. The more I read about bitcoin the less I understood it, there didn’t seem to be much you could do with it (though I admit blockchain sounded interesting to me). I couldn’t figure out what, if anything, backed bitcoin. And I really couldn’t understand how the same people who are all in about bitcoin also think the dollar is worthless because it is not backed 100% by gold.

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  53. susan said on October 24, 2021 at 10:12 am

    United Health Care and AARP are too cozy with each other for my suspicious way of thinking. I avoid both.

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  54. Suzanne said on October 24, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Alex, the guy I am talking about 100% believes the conspiracy bs. He’s bought freeze dried food (just add water!) for when the electric grid goes down attacked by terrorists, I am sure has gold hidden away somewhere, and really think Bitcoin is the wave of the future.
    Which is really pretty funny because if the electric grid goes down, how are you going to prepare that freeze dried food and how are you going to access your Bitcoin and who are you going to sell your gold to?

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  55. Deborah said on October 24, 2021 at 11:58 am

    I’ve been reading more about Bitcoin and block chains not because we have any desire to invest in them but it bugs me that I still don’t understand it much at all. It seems very opaque on purpose if you ask me. I was flabbergasted to learn that there are currently 6,000 crypto currencies globally. How is that helpful? And Bitcoin has a finite size of 21 million entities (in other words there are only 21 million bitcoins to purchase) and currently their worth is approx $500,000 each. 50% of the bitcoins are controlled (owned?) by the founder(s). So buying Bitcoin at a Coinstar machine gets you the tiniest fraction of an investment, such as to be ridiculous. How you cash in your investments is something I haven’t learned yet and probably won’t continue my research because it’s boring and pointless.

    A mutual friend of Nancy’s and mine who lives in San Francisco has been trying to convince the city to put traffic calming bumps on the road his property is along and is having a heck of a time. The city is now saying it will take 30 months for them to first study the matter and then schedule an installation. So our friend ordered a traffic calming bump on Amazon for $140 and is threatening to bolt it in place himself. He did a test to see if it would work to slow down the traffic by just placing it out on the street without fastening it down and he reported on Twitter that it is somewhat successful, I forget the percentage, maybe 40-60%. The car is king in so many places, it’s hard to carve out areas safe for pedestrians and bikers, it’s too bad because walking and biking help local business and citizen health among other things. Sad.

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  56. David C said on October 24, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    I’m always amazed that it never clicks with gold bugs and now probably bitcoin bugs that those who now have them are perfectly happy to sell you have gold or bitcoin in exchange for good old US Dollars. It’s almost as if they find the dollar more useful

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  57. Jeff Gill said on October 24, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    “I’m William Devane, and most of you are too young to remember ‘Knots Landing’ but you do recall when I promoted buying gold. Well forget that, because now I’m going to convince you to purchase Bitcoins as your next great opportunity! More about Bitcoin, but first a few words from my good friend Tom Selleck, who wants to tell you about a financial tool that’s absolutely not about someone trying to take your house.”

    (“Not while you’re alive, anyhow” Devane mutters inaudibly to himself as the screen fades over to a nice level trail and a bench with Tom Selleck on it.)

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  58. Jim said on October 24, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    I think this is a true fact. If you buy enough tiny bits of bitcoin, you can Lego them together and get a picture of the true President. William/Tom/Rudy/Steve/DonJr. told me, so it must be true.

    Or maybe not.

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  59. David Smith said on October 24, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    After the complete collapse of the Biden’s handlers presidency this fast—-and the glaring problems of liberalism on display in California—that there are still people on here rooting for Dems—SHAME ON YOU

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  60. Deborah said on October 24, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    Well then, shame on me, but I’m rooting for democracy. You?

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  61. Suzanne said on October 25, 2021 at 9:03 am

    We watched Apocalypse Now last night on Netflix. I hadn’t seen it in 40 some years when I saw it in the theater with a sort of friend sitting next to me who wouldn’t stop talking, so I didn’t really get the full force of it. Seems a bit prophetic now. Brando looked much younger than I remembered. Such an intense movie, I had trouble sleeping.

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