No sympathy.

People tell me I need to be empathetic, to meet people where they are, to not give up hope for our divided country. Then I read something like this, a comment Dexter left in the last thread:

When a farmer at his roadside vegetable stand began chatting small talk to me last August, he began loudly with all Trump supporters’ talk. “We all know Trump is our President”, and every other point, to the point, even, that the Covid19 is a hoax. I paid him for my goods and just wanted away from this maniac. I told him calmly of Carla Lee’s death from Covid19. “You mean she had the FLU!!!” he blurted out.

I found another place to buy my sweet corn. The gall that bastard showed, just after telling me he was a lay preacher in several little churches there.

And then I think: Nah, fuck these turd-juggling idiots.

I just read this in the NYT, which I am confident that farmer does not read. This is David Leonhardt writing here:

(The Covid vaccines) proved so powerful, and the partisan attitudes toward them so different, that a gap in Covid’s death toll quickly emerged. I have covered that gap in two newsletters — one this summer, one last month — and today’s newsletter offers an update.

The brief version: The gap in Covid’s death toll between red and blue America has grown faster over the past month than at any previous point.

In October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents of heavily Trump counties died from Covid, more than three times higher than the rate in heavily Biden counties (7.8 per 100,000). October was the fifth consecutive month that the percentage gap between the death rates in Trump counties and Biden counties widened.

And I am thinking very cruel thoughts right now, which I am not proud of, but honestly, what else can you do with people like this? A guy I know has a number of doctor friends who serve rural areas in Michigan’s Thumb, and hears this stuff all the time. “I’m sorry, but your father has Covid and we’re putting him on a ventilator.” “Daddy has the FLU, there ain’t no COVID!” You can lead a horse to water, etc.

How was everybody’s weekend? Mine was fine. Watched two movies — “Pig” and “The Green Knight,” as different as can be, but both worth watch, although I don’t recommend the second after a full meal and a couple glasses of wine. It’s…strange and contemplative. But beautiful. And “Pig” is similarly unexpected in almost every way. Good to see Alex Wolff, half of the Naked Brothers Band, which Kate used to watch on Nickelodeon. We also went out to a Detroit News farewell for one of Alan’s old colleagues, and that was nice. I also re-upped staples at Costco. Good to know we’re entering winter with all the laundry detergent we’ll ever need.

And it’s a beautiful day. What more can you ask of a Monday?

Another random France picture, below, of a volume of foot-fetish photography we spotted at a flea market, along with my own foot, which would not pass muster with Elmer Batters because I stop using nail polish after Labor Day. But it was published by Taschen, known for their outre subject matter and superior photo reproduction. The price started at 10 Euro, and immediately dropped to five. Reader, we bought it, shlepped it home and now it sits on our coffee table. It’s porny in places, but honestly, almost all the attention really is paid to feet. Foreward by Dian Hanson, described by her ex-boyfriend Robert Crumb as “sort of an Albert Schweitzer of filthy perverts.”

Posted at 9:12 am in Current events, Movies |

49 responses to “No sympathy.”

  1. Suzanne said on November 8, 2021 at 9:32 am

    We are out of town with access to HBO Max and watched Mare of Easttown. We stayed up way later than normal on Saturday night to finish it. Kate Winslet is great in it. It’s gritty and the people reminded me a lot of people I interact with every day.

    Last night, we watched Bombshell and we started watching Dopesick on Hulu. Bombshell was ok, told me what I pretty much already knew, and showed how even though people were fired, etc, nothing has changed. Dopesick is making my blood boil.

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  2. Julie Robinson said on November 8, 2021 at 10:09 am

    One downside of Florida life is needing to do those toenails year-round. But I guess I’ll struggle through.

    And indeed, it was a weekend of sun and beauty after a couple days of chill and torrential rain. The sky had a special shade of blue that one rarely sees up north. I spent quite some time chasing half a dozen butterflies around the front yard, watching in delight as they danced and flitted and never wanted to land and pose for my camera.

    Laundry, cleaning, etc. Prayed for the loved ones of those at the Houston concert. But also ate like kings and played games all Sunday afternoon.

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  3. diane said on November 8, 2021 at 10:47 am

    I binged on Mare if Easttown on flights to and from Hawaii last month. The thought of being able to finish watching was about the only thing that made the idea of getting on the plane and leaving Hawaii bearable. It is very gritty and there are many holes in plot but the acting is excellent and I found it to be compelling watching.

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  4. Heather said on November 8, 2021 at 10:57 am

    Someone shared a great movie with me this weekend: After Life (terrible title), by the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, from 1998. Basically, after people die they end up in a sort of way-station, where they have to choose one happy memory that they’ll spend eternity in. It was so wonderfully human and touching–a great antidote to what is going on in the world today. Highly recommend.

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  5. basset said on November 8, 2021 at 11:16 am

    Been in the woods, muzzleloader deer season started Saturday. Haven’t
    “harvested” one yet but about to head out, we’ll see how this day goes.

    WW2 history has been an interest of mine for many years… ran across a picture last night of the oiler (i.e. floating fuel station for other ships) USS Maumee in harbor at Hampton Roads, Virginia in 1942.

    The site where I found the pic pointed out that several sailors can be seen peeling potatoes by the deck rail… my dad was a seventeen-year-old “messman” (kitchen worker) on that ship at that time, maybe one of em’s him.

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  6. alex said on November 8, 2021 at 11:24 am

    I probably have some Taschen titles squirreled away in my bookshelves, reviewer copies from my days at Libido magazine that got gifted instead of reviewed.

    Lovely weekend here. Worked and played in the yard. Made some meh recipes from a new America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. (They seem to want to put sugar in everything.) Prepped a jambalaya yesterday that I’m going to serve to my dad tonight for his 94th birthday, and the ingredients all go on a sheet pan.

    Sucks to be back at work this morning. It’s really much too lovely outdoors right now with blue skies and cheery sunlight, probably the last we’ll see for the next several months.

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  7. Jeff Borden said on November 8, 2021 at 12:01 pm


    Your self-restraint is beyond admirable. I fear I’d have melted down on that goober and done something terribly stupid. God, he’s an asshole.

    Can someone please tell me how we move forward in this country when a determined minority fed daily by geysers of rightwing propaganda and the lies of cynical politicians insists on trying to return us to an imaginary past? I’m stumped.

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  8. Deborah said on November 8, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    We have quite a few Taschen design/art books, always beautiful photography and pricey unless you get them used. Some of the ones we have are monographs about designers and artists who peaked out in the 80s and 90s, now when we look at them we ask what that was all about.

    I binged “Mare of Eastown” a couple of months ago and enjoyed it a lot. I always like reading comments here about good movies and series, I trust your judgements.

    I haven’t had a pedicure since the before times, my toenails are in very bad shape since I’ve been cutting them myself, no sandals for me for almost a couple of years now.

    I remember being astonished when I was a young person when strangers or even friends discussed their far right wing or racist views around me assuming I had them too. It seemed they never gave it a moments thought that I might not agree with them at all. Back then I was too shy to speak up for my own views. Now I find there are a few family members who do that, they know I disagree and do it on purpose to aggravate me.

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  9. LAMary said on November 8, 2021 at 2:26 pm

    I have never used nail polish on my toenails. I don’t think this has held me back from any opportunities. Never had a pedicure or a professional manicure for that matter. Oh well. Just an old hippie I guess. I pay good bucks for a haircut, but those are few and far between.

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  10. Jeff Gill said on November 8, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    Not to sell product, but here’s the best link I could find for the image I had in mind reading Nancy’s post.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on November 8, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    Mary, I’m an old hippy too but I already have hobbit feet with ugly toe nails so I figure it’s the least I can do. I’ve gone to a salon a couple of times but it’s awfully pricey. I have a bottle of OPI, a cuticle pusher and a pumice stone; give me an hour by myself and I feel just as pampered.

    The doctor’s office that billed me in full after saying they accepted Medicare is working my last nerve. They messaged me they would give me a 30% discount, and when I tried to pay it online, the portal wouldn’t accept that amount. So I called, was on hold forever, then finally a person came on and took my number, telling me they would call back. It’s been three hours. I’ve already cancelled my next appointment and told them I’m paying under protest, and I just want to cross them off my list.

    And then go find a new doctor.

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  12. BigHank53 said on November 8, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    The part that gets me about Dexter’s miserable experience is that the guy calls himself a lay preacher. Show me in the Bible where Jesus told someone they were lying about how their wife died. Christian my ass.

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  13. Sherri said on November 8, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    Marjorie Taylor Greene promoting her common ground with the Nation of Islam. I’ve seen everything now.

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  14. Deborah said on November 8, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    I never had a pedicure in my life until I was about 45 and then I couldn’t believe how fantastic they were. I only get 3 a year, once a month in the summer since I only wear sandals in the summer, except since the pandemic started as I said I haven’t had any. I’ll live.

    I had my first physical therapy session this afternoon for my shoulders and my right bicep. I learned a lot, especially how much difference it makes the way my hands are rotated when I lift my arms. If I lift my arms with my palms in the up facing position or thumbs up position it’s virtually pain free, but when my palms are facing down, ouch. I was also shown a video about muscle pain trigger points but I don’t really understand that completely yet. They gave me an elastic band to use at home to do the exercises and at the end of the session for about 20 mins or so they hooked me up to electrodes that pulsed through my muscles and boy did that feel good.

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  15. David C said on November 8, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    I tried Mary’s TENS unit when she was using one. I didn’t like it very much at all.

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  16. Deborah said on November 8, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    David C, before. I had my spine surgery when I had sciatica I got one of those tens gizmos at CVS and it didn’t do much. This procedure I had in PT was much stronger and felt great. It was a world of difference.

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  17. Deborah said on November 8, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    Didn’t mean for that period between before and I. Can’t access the edit button again.

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  18. David C said on November 8, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    Ours was from the PT too but I bet it wasn’t the same as one they would use in the office.

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  19. Icarus said on November 8, 2021 at 8:04 pm

    I can understand not believing COVID is serious, as misguided as that is. But thinking it is a hoax and/or nonexistent baffles me. Their own lord and savior Trump had it for crying out loud.

    Then again, down here people work into a conversation “well no one wants to work” any chance they get. I’m not talking natural segway; it’s like “hey nice weather” “yeah, too bad no one want to work in it”

    As a former marathon runner with beat-up toenails, I love me my pedicures.

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  20. Sherri said on November 8, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    I had the no one wants to work conversation a few months back with a friend who is a die hard liberal, just out of touch with how seriously shitty some of these jobs are. She’s a little older than me, married to a computer scientist, and her son is a mechanical engineer, so I don’t think she’s ever updated her sense of what many jobs are like from the 70s.

    She was lamenting to another friend and me about how terrible it was that this small family owned restaurant couldn’t get staffing, and we explained things like the tipped minimum wage to her, which she was unaware of, and computerized scheduling, and inconsistent hours, and just how shitty a lot of jobs are. She was clueless.

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  21. Colleen said on November 8, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    I’m a regular at the nail salon…sue me, I like to have cute feet. And the foot rub is worth it.

    If you are finding no one wants to work at your establishment, that’s a you problem, not a labor force problem. For too long employers have viewed employees as just another expense to be procured as cheaply as possible, like a case of toilet paper. But now workers are saying “no, I don’t want to work your crap job for crap wages”, and they are seen as the problem. Why is the little, powerless, guy always the problem?

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  22. Dexter Friend said on November 9, 2021 at 12:35 am

    When I got a Firestick, the first thing I binged was “Mrs. Maisel”. Now it’s been a minute and I still say it’s my fave, with “Mare of Easttown” a close second. I watch these streaming services way into the morning hours and there are so many great series and movies, I cannot recall most. I see “Stranger Things” is coming back; Eleven is now in high school and the show is set in California. I bailed after S2 as S3 was not compelling. For authenticity, the show runner did a good job…the cars were tagged with 2B (Indiana) plates. That was the old designation for West Central Fort Wayne…I had 2B plates on my black VW Bug.

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  23. Deborah said on November 9, 2021 at 5:52 am

    They’ve been filming Stranger Things in New Mexico lately. I only watched the first season, didn’t even try watching season 2.

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  24. Dorothy said on November 9, 2021 at 6:10 am

    Deborah I can’t remember if I had shared that this past summer, I had PT for my right arm/shoulder. It had been giving me some pain for a few years, and I realized I did not have the same range of motion as the left arm. My goal was to be able to put my right arm behind my back and reach my bra strap. I had been unable to do that for a long time. Therapy was wonderful – I know the exercise you mean about the arm being palm up and palm down. I did several standing face up against a wall, extending my arm high at an angle, then bringing the arm away from the wall and slowly dropping it, turning my wrist toward the ceiling. And the stretchy bands were great, too. I did therapy for two months and I reached my goal. I am not as good at remembering to continuing the exercises, but when I remember it makes my arm feel better. I need to do them regularly so that arm doesn’t start aching again. And right off the bat, at the first appointment, I was told that what I thought was arm pain was actually something off with my shoulder, which manifests itself as pain in the arm my therapist told me.

    Physical therapy is a marvel in my opinion and I was so grateful to have it. And dammit, I cannot remember the name of the condition I had. I’ll have to put my thinking cap on and try to recall the name of it.

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  25. LAMary said on November 9, 2021 at 9:59 am

    I’m not judgy about anyone else getting pedicures or whatever. I just never had any interest in painting my toenails. For a few years I was doing my fingernails but got tired of the maintaining them. When I worked in an office I wore makeup every day, but it’s been a year and a half since I worked in an office. I’m not looking like some wild woman or anything and haven’t had any zoom meetings with my current employer so no makeup, no moving the desk lamp around for more flattering lighting. It’s just me and the cats and the dog in my office and they love me even with naked toenails.

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  26. Deborah said on November 9, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    I’ve been researching online how the arm and shoulder work and I’m finding it fascinating. I found a website that is mostly meant to help medical students in their studies but anyone can access it and learn basic anatomy. There’s free content and more advanced content that you have to pay for. I’m learning a lot from the free content, where there are videos, illustrations and text that explain things in clear, simple language. It’s kind of a rabbit hole actually. The human body is an amazing miracle.

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  27. Sherri said on November 9, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Jennifer Rubin gets it. It was never about abortion, that was just convenient. Racism has motivated them long before abortion was ever a topic of debate.

    And it’s why the people saying Dems should softpedal the racism talk to save democracy are wrong. Democracy is under threat *because* of racism. There’s no saving it while ignoring racism.

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  28. LAMary said on November 9, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    The enthusiasm I see for normalizing racism is depressing. The previous occupant of the White House really gave that movement two pudgy, white thumbs up. It was always out there but now it’s ok to actively support things like making it harder for minorities to vote, among other things.

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  29. brian stouder said on November 9, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    Indeed. You’d think America would have it MORE out of its system by now, after our catastrophic, self-destructive war two centuries ago….but THAT would indeed be “wishful thinking”, apparently

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  30. Deborah said on November 9, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    Another thing I learned in PT yesterday is that my body is out of alignment vertically. The dr had me stand in front of a mirror and he pointed out that my upper body tilts to the left and my lower body juts out to the right. I had never noticed that before but it was obvious when I finally saw it. I don’t know what caused that, the dr speculated that it might have been a result of the spine surgery I had 3 years ago. More proof, I’m a mess physically.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on November 9, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Most of our bodies are different from right to left, even in our faces. One of my legs is longer by 3/4″ and it’s caused all kinds of foot, knee and hip issues. I also learned how interrelated our body parts are, like poor posture affecting shoulder and arm pain, and posture being supported by core strength. It really is amazing and I too am grateful for the wonderful physical therapists I’ve had.

    For truly understanding how deeply racism affects every single part of our society, I can’t recommend highly enough Ibram X Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist. He explores racism from its roots in other countries and how it was baked into the USA from day one. It’s one of the most difficult books I’ve ever read, and one of the most enlightening. I see everything differently now. It’s become a cliché term, but it woke me up. It’s helpful to read it in a group or at least with someone else because you will want and need to talk to process it.

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  32. Brandon said on November 9, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    Dr. Oz prepares to run in Pennsylvania Senate race.

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  33. Jeff Gill said on November 9, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    Amen to Sherri @ #20 above, and “I don’t think she’s ever updated her sense of what many jobs are like from the 70s.”

    This is what has been so frustrating to me for many years about older people, including my late lamented father, who just could NOT wrap their/his head around how work, especially entry level work, has changed — structurally, economically, or in terms of what represents a path forward. And it’s been a toxic solvent in church life both about how the old guard looks at younger (and even not so much younger) still working families, and yes, at clergy compensation. I said at a regional church gathering on Saturday that I honestly feel that no one who retired before about 2005 should be allowed anywhere near a search committee, for custodian or office admin/secretary, let alone clergy. All the ministers in the room, my age and younger, nodded vigorously; the two retired ministers looked puzzled.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on November 9, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    Retired before 2005? How about have a millennial or Gen Z they’re close to, and have witnessed their issues. If we didn’t have kids going through this I don’t know how sympathetic we’d be. But we do and we have and we are.

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  35. Sherri said on November 9, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Absolutely, Julie. The other friend in the conversation might have been in the same boat except that her two millennial sons with music degrees have had to deal with those shitty jobs, especially the older one who graduated into the teeth of the financial crash of 2008. I know lots of kids who graduated then who have struggled.

    (All of us in the conversation are lucky enough to have put our kids through college without debt, too, thanks to tech stock, but at least we know what college costs and how different it is now than it was for us.)

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  36. Sherri said on November 9, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    On a different note, I hope Powell’s survives. I was there a few months ago, and did my share, but Portland was a sad shell of its usual self, like many downtowns during this pandemic, and we cut our trip short because the Proud Boys were coming into town.

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  37. David C said on November 9, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    I heard a podcast recently, I don’t remember which one, that made the same point Sherri does about abortion. Before the Justice Department stopped the segregation academies from getting non-profit tax free status the fundies didn’t care two hoots about abortion. That was mostly a Catholic thing. Jerry Falwell Sr. and the Southern Baptist Convention both supported abortion rights before they didn’t. Abortion became the nod and wink stand in for for racism and segregation.

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  38. Sherri said on November 9, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    I was going to Southern Baptist churches when Roe v. Wade was decided, and it was not a thing. It wasn’t even a thing for the conservative takeover of the denomination, which happened in the late 70’s. I didn’t notice abortion as a topic of regular discussion when I would visit my parents’ church until the 90’s, which is when I got fed up and stopped visiting their church on trips home.

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  39. Dexter Friend said on November 10, 2021 at 2:07 am

    A little late to the game, I can’t find the Gosar Tweet anywhere. Altered animated video it is. Rep. Paul Gosar is a sick demented Republican, and no Republican leader is saying a goddam thing. Beheading a Congresswoman and then taking up swords against the President is A-OK with Trump’s loyalists.

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  40. Deborah said on November 10, 2021 at 2:48 am

    When Kathy Griffin did that photo with Trump’s severed head it tanked her career. The right wing went ape shit, so did a lot of others. It was an appalling misjudgment on her part and she got lambasted for it. In these days where violence is just below the surface and hate is simmering, Gosar should pay some consequence, he’s a congressman for heaven’s sake. But his Republican buddies could not care less.

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  41. Jeff Gill said on November 10, 2021 at 7:19 am

    I’ve posted this before, but since the subject has come up again, it’s interesting to see how the Southern Baptist Convention views shifted from their 1971 resolution (which always makes people spit coffee when they first read it, and then check to see if it’s actually true, which it is) to the later developments to the present position:

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  42. Suzanne said on November 10, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Oh, yes, the SBC was fine with abortion back in the day. I don’t doubt their thought process were like my now departed grandmother who told me that she thought abortion was a good thing because it meant fewer black babies.

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  43. Jeff Borden said on November 10, 2021 at 9:34 am

    It has always fascinated me that those most passionate about banning abortions –up to and including victims of rape and incest– also are often passionately opposed to sex education and birth control products. Logically, fewer unwanted pregnancies would mean fewer abortions, right?

    Abortion already is trending steeply downward, dropping 20% between 2011 and 2017, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

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  44. Sherri said on November 10, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    I think that the people searching for a more palatable message are searching for a way to hide the fact that when the status quo changes, someone loses. In the case of a move to a multiracial, multicultural democracy, it is white people who lose some degree of status and power. That is necessarily true, because white people have held disproportionate status and power.

    I don’t think anyone is fooled by messaging into believing that they don’t lose something when the status quo changes. Especially not in an adversarial environment, where a massive propaganda machine dedicated to maintaining the status quo is feeding the fears and insecurities of the loss of status and power.

    Change is hard. People tend to want change without change, change as long as it doesn’t impact them. They want affordable housing, but not near their house. They want better schools for other kids, but not at a cost to their kids. They want better for others, as long as they don’t lose their place in line.

    Not talking about race just preserves the status quo, and is increasingly untenable.

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  45. alex said on November 10, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    The right’s faux outrage about Kathy Griffin isn’t much different than when a certain troll drops by to tell us How Dare You Take the Low Road as if such behavior is a privilege to which only he is entitled and we aren’t.

    Regarding Rubin’s column, it comes as no surprise that no one really gives a shit about abortion and never did. The term “pro life” has become more or less just a proxy or code word for “authoritarian to the bone” and it’s how right-wing fellow travelers used to identify themselves to one another before Trump normalized hate speech and made such kabuki unnecessary.

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  46. Deborah said on November 11, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Heather Cox Richardson had a very helpful letter today (out today but written yesterday so dated Nov 10) where she explained really clearly what’s happening now with Ukraine and Russia. She’s always so good explaining things simply and clearly.

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  47. LAMary said on November 11, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    Gosar is a Q follower I believe. Arizona seems to be the mothership of those types.

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  48. Deborah said on November 11, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    What is the deal with Arizona? How did it get to be so Republican? I know Barry Golwater came from there, but it must have started before that? Cowboy individualism? There are a lot of Mormons there too. Scout, can you enlighten USA?

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  49. Deborah said on November 11, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    Enlighten us not USA, damn autocorrect and the edit button doesn’t work on my ancient iPad.

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