Someone suggested I think about starting a Substack newsletter in my, ahem, retirement. I have thought about it, and I’m troubled by a few things:

1) Many days, I have very little to say, and would feel terrible charging anyone for it.

2) Even if I did the free thing, what if Substack goes toes-up? Another migration of content I don’t need.

3) It’s my goal to have the last surviving blog in the world.

Seriously, though, while I have no doubt at least some of you suckers lovely people might be generous enough to give me $20, $30 or $40 a year to read what I have to say, I don’t know that I could accept it, even though I firmly believe writing is work that is worth paying for. I have subscriptions to several paid Substacks (fave: Roy Edroso Breaks It Down), and several more to unpaid Substacks – a common setup is one freebie a week, and one or more bonus editions for the paying guests – and already it’s starting to annoy me; as a sales tactic, either the platform or the individual writers will send out teaser editions, with five grafs of writing, then a “want more? you gotta subscribe” pitch. There’s no easy way to know if the email you’re about to open is the complete freebie or the incomplete teaser.

I think, at least for now, this will remain a free-to-all space. I feel no pressure to produce if I’m feeling down or empty (although I usually do, unfortunately). I have a friend who uses Substack to write short fiction, with the gimmick that he does it every single day. A short story a day, going on more than two years now. Every so often he pitches for more subscribers, and he sounds almost angry that more people aren’t signing up. Writing fiction is hard work for sure, but it should also have something to say, or be entertaining, or be something other than a gimmick, which it inevitably becomes when you’ve pledged to produce it every single day.

I don’t want or need another job like that. There’s an argument to be made for taking it easy. I will write as long as I’m able, but having just finished 40 years of deadlines, I won’t take on any more right now. Now that we’re in our (gasp) third decade here, I’ll stick with dumb ol’ WordPress a little longer.

I was an early adopter of blogging, and now I’m a dead-ender of blogging. Me and Neil Steinberg, hangin’ in there. In a Laura Lippman line I’ve certainly quoted here before: She never met a rut she couldn’t love.

If a crisis hits and I have to beg for money, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I’ll tell you this: One of my goals for post-work is to raise my game here. Won’t be so busy, will have more time to think things through. Fingers crossed.

Bloggage: I don’t think this story is paywalled. It is instructive, however, about some of the candidates invited to a “Call to Action” conference hosted by Church Militant, which is a far-far-far-right Catholic outfit here. Here’s our Republican candidate for Michigan Secretary of State:

“We see the authoritarians that have taken over the Democratic Party, the traitors that exist in our own party. We understand that we the people have got to rise up, get involved,” Karamo said, sharing a couch with Arizona Republican secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem.

The two are part of the America First Secretary of State Coalition, a group of election deniers vying to serve as their states’ top election administrators that includes those campaigning on a blend of stolen election claims and evangelism. Their campaigns appear to be part of a larger Christian nationalist movement marked by radical religious and political views, according to experts.

…”Part of my passion is to get more Christians involved in government,” she said during the panel. “We’re not trying to establish a theocracy,” she emphasized later. The “justice and the truth that we are fighting for” is for everyone, not just Christians, she said. “We just hope at the end of the day, they come to Christ.”

Ai-yi-yi. She doesn’t have much of a chance, but still.

Meanwhile, the two mopes who plotted to kidnap the governor were convicted today. Good news for midweek. See you all later. Tip your waitress, but not me.

Posted at 9:28 pm in Current events, Housekeeping |

46 responses to “Unstacked.”

  1. Deborah said on August 23, 2022 at 9:57 pm

    I for one would be more than willing to pay to read your blog and comment along with your commentarium. But I admire your commitment to be free (so far). It is work and I’m amazed that you’ve stuck with it so long. I would definitely miss it if it were gone. I don’t feel this way about anything else on the internet.

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  2. BigHank53 said on August 23, 2022 at 10:07 pm

    Oh, some more Christian Dominionists. Charming. The one question that always creeps into my head when considering them is this: how long do they expect the New 100% Christian America to last once they unplug all the porn servers?

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  3. LAMary said on August 24, 2022 at 12:11 am

    The Catholic church and the Southern Baptists, the two biggest Christian groupls, have an awful lot of creepy sex crime in their histories. They did a lot of covering up of that stuff too. Why would anyone want those guys in charge? I need to mention that the most evangelical white bitch I’ve had the misfortune to work with said Catholics were not Christians and I suspect that would be the thinking of the above mentioned Christian lady as well. It’s all hateful and ugly, isn’t it?
    On a completely different topic: the roadie offspring will be in Chicago selling overpriced band tee shirts at the Metro tomorrow. The band is IDK How. I don’t know what their music is and they are one of three bands playing. Just passing this along. Say hi to Pete the merch guy if you go.

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  4. LAMary said on August 24, 2022 at 12:25 am

    Correction. The band is playing at the Metro on Thursday? I think? They’re just flying in tomorrow.

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  5. Dexter Friend said on August 24, 2022 at 3:59 am

    Craig Crawford was a contributor to MSNBC for a while, then he left and started his Trail Mix blog, which I joined as a reader and contributor immediately. In 2005, Craig tipped us off about this new thing, YouTube. At first it was difficult to link videos to our own blogs or anyone else’s; of course now Google owns it and it could not be easier.
    I use YouTube every day, and a couple months ago found this man’s station, “Shoestring”. His name is Mark Nichols and his home base is Johnson City, Tennessee but he’s a professional hobo…professional because he makes his living posting videos of himself and a small contingent of ne’er do wells as they hop cargo freight trains all over the CONUS. Of all the train-hopping videos, Shoestring’s are the best. He’s a gentle man of 52, talks of his Autism and Asperger’s diagnoses, and comments on life in general, sans politics, in a way that draws people in, by the millions. He does not get rich, but many big sponsors pushing all the products you see on TV line up to sponsor his videos. By now he’s well over 15M views with many subscribers. He now has a store selling Shoestring Hobo keychains and sweatshirts and the regular what-not. 3 weeks ago he had colorectal cancer surgery at Vanderbilt and is healing now, wanting to hit the road and make videos and a little more money.
    So…would we like to see nance in a canoe on the Au Sable, or videos of her traipsing around Europe or some dive bar in Detroit, or at a blues party like she attends in Detroit…or recording videos of big iron ore carriers on the river? Would Ford Motor Company and RAM Trucks sponsor her YouTube channel with $$ ? Yeah, probably.
    We who remember your TV and radio presence and manner in the Fort Wayne days know you could pull off a YouTube winner.

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  6. David C said on August 24, 2022 at 6:03 am

    YouTube music has told me that IDKHow is a band I’d like because they’re similar to Elvis Costello but I haven’t listened to them yet.

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  7. Jim G said on August 24, 2022 at 8:02 am

    It’s kind of a shame that micropayments never really took off.

    Back in the early days of the Internet, a lot of people (including me, for a while, though not as hard as the principal researcher probably would have liked) were working on ways that people could easily pay, say, a dime or a quarter online without a lot of overhead. The idea was that people could pay small amounts to read an individual article.

    Micropayments went nowhere when it turned out that advertising, not paying for content, would be the Internet funding model, at least for a while. Paid subscriptions are more common now, of course. But there still isn’t a good way to handle situations where I don’t want to pay for a full subscription but would cheerfully plunk down a buck (more or less) to read an individual article.

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  8. nancy said on August 24, 2022 at 9:02 am

    Big fan of micropayments here. As someone who reads news widely, I think we need some sort of rechargeable EZ pass for paywalled news sites. When news breaks in a faraway town, lots will temporarily drop the paywall in the interest of keeping the public informed about a national disaster, mass shooting, or whatever. But often I find myself wanting to read an interesting column, feature or something else, and run into the paywall. It’d be nice to be able to pay a dollar or whatever for one-day access.

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  9. LAMary said on August 24, 2022 at 9:42 am

    Love the EZ Pass idea. I pay for enough subscriptions that I read regularly and I don’t begrudge that.

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  10. Suzanne said on August 24, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    I am glad this blog is still around. It’s kept me informed and sane these past few years. Well, as sane as I can be. I would be sad if it went away, but then, I am not the one writing it, so that is easy for me to say.
    And that’s almost a bit of rhyming poetry.

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  11. Mark P said on August 24, 2022 at 12:09 pm

    I’m glad for this blog, because where else would I share the news that Marjorie Taylor Greene claims she was swatted at about 1 am Wednesday morning. I cannot in good conscience say such an event would cause me to snigger.

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  12. Jenine said on August 24, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    Agreed that the substack pitch over and over is wearying. I do want writers to get paid. Would love to be able to do a $1 payment for x number of articles or x number of hours of access on sites.

    For hanging out in this blog and reading the friendly conversation, I’d be willing to pay a subscription. I sent some money once to metafilter.com and also read them almost every day. Guess I need to make that an annual donation.

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  13. basset said on August 24, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    I would pay too, this community is a daily part of my life.

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  14. FDChief said on August 24, 2022 at 2:05 pm

    I’m onboard for an “EZPass” sort of payment plan.

    I get it; the whole “ad revenue will save us!” gig isn’t working, and too many good writers and good writing are going under.

    That said…like everything else, maybe 50% (to be charitable) of all online content is pretty meh. When you get to something like, say, my local “newspaper” (The Oregonian) about 90% is fishwrap.

    So a full on subscription to the O would be one thing if it was the ONLY thing. But then there’s Edroso, and Pierce, and Niewert, plus soccer at The Equalizer, and…

    All those payments (sub)stack up. I can’t afford all that.

    But if I could pay a buck to read a Linehan piece at The Athletic, and another for one of Edroso’s, and another for Pierce…I could budget ten bucks a month and get a pretty good range of news and opinions.

    I do appreciate the bloggage, tho. SOMEbody needs to stand athwart blogging history and shout “Hey! Wait just a goddamn minute..!”

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  15. alex said on August 24, 2022 at 2:23 pm

    I’d do an EZ Pass just so I could read the NYT takedown of Jared Kushner’s stupid book that I missed out on.

    Free! Free at last! Free indeed! Now that Nancy doesn’t have to kowtow to any employer she’s free to say whatever she wants to say about a great many things and that’s all for the better. And so good I’d pay for it even if she doesn’t want money.

    MTG swatted? Do tell. I’m envisioning beige-yellow guts smeared on a wall or window. One less pest in the world spreading pestilence. Call it a voodoo fantasy of mine.

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  16. Robert said on August 24, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    Dear Nancy – I really appreciate your blog – always something interesting, be it news, ideas, or personal rumination. Yours is one of the first sites I visit every day.

    These christo-fascists are scaring me – “If the first thing someone tells you about themselves is they’re a Christian, chances are they’re a lousy Christian.” (tweeted by Middle Age Riot)

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  17. Sherri said on August 24, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    I subscribe to a lot of things, but I’d love an EZPass for local newspapers in particular. There are lots of times I’d like to be able to read the local story about some event happening somewhere, but I don’t want to subscribe to every single local newspaper in the country.

    My other subscription story today concerns the NYTimes. I’ve subscribed digitally to the NYTimes for over ten years, but originally you couldn’t get an all access digital pass without also getting the print paper. Since I live on the West Coast, the print paper wouldn’t arrive until the next day, and it would just go into recycling. So I got the basic digital access, and grumbled but subscribed separately to the crossword. Then added cooking. I was already a subscriber to the Athletic when the NYTimes bought them.

    So now I’m subscribing separately to four things that are covered under one all access subscription, and you no longer have to get the print paper. Great, I’ll upgrade! I log into my account, and there’s … no option to do so. Okay, I cancel my basic account and try to start a new subscription. It keeps failing. I finally call customer service, the service guy tries, and it fails for him, too! He has to go off and get help, and eventually is able to make it all happen for me, but it was ridiculously hard!

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  18. tajalli said on August 24, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    Libraries often have the NYTimes, WaPo, WSJournal, Consumer Reports etc available to card holders. Alex, if your library doesn’t allow you to access the NYT, get an online account with the NYC public library – available to anyone in the US to counteract book banning and other attempts at erosion of free speech.

    Patreon seems to be popular, at least on Facebook, and can be set at a low cost monthly with an option for premium-type memberships.

    This is a great blog, though, and I hope it continues for a long time.

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  19. Colleen said on August 24, 2022 at 4:52 pm

    I’ve been around NN.C since almost the beginning. It’s an oasis of thoughtful conversation that I really appreciate.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on August 24, 2022 at 5:10 pm

    It’s nice to see media outlets standing up to bullying right-wingers. The Cleveland Plain Dealer refused to cover a political rally for the fauxbilly investment banker J.D. Vance, where the rules of engagement were right out of Saudi Arabia. It’s long past time to tell these obnoxious bullies to fuck off. The editorial focusing on this rally follows:


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  21. Julie Robinson said on August 24, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    My Nancy fandom goes back to the newspaper days, I think in the early or mid 80’s. All the other blogs I used to read have gone away or are now just Instagram posts, and I would pony up a little to continue.

    After yesterday’s 14 hour day at the polls, I had to take a nap today, as well as a long physical therapy in session in the pool. Our precinct was super busy, logging 560 voters, while the other side of the room had 510 for a larger population. I don’t know the percentage, but the last 90 minutes the line was always at least 10 people, and they were willing to wait. We constantly thanked them for their patience and kept upbeat throughout, cheering for each first-time voter.

    I swapped out masks mid-day because I couldn’t stand my stanky breath anymore and the second one was a little too small so my ears started to hurt. When I went to bed I realized my face was numb from the mask pressure. I salute everyone who wears them all day every single day.

    There were some snafus with the election board and we were missing some vital equipment at the beginning of the day, as well as three workers. Despite all that we were ready when the polls opened and we had to beg patience frequently when equipment slowed down or had to be rebooted.

    When the system works, it’s fast. You scan their driver’s license and all their voter info pops up on the screen. Occasionally there were problems and we sent those people to a help desk person, who could do deeper research. We gave them the appropriate ballot to fill out–Orange County uses scantrons, which is a big change for me as Indiana was using machines when I moved there in 1979, so I’ve barely voted any other way.

    One person tried to take a picture and our daughter, the poll clerk, shut him down immediately. She has a big voice and is not afraid to use it for democracy. There was a poll observer there, and after a couple of hours he left after telling her our location was run so well he was going to volunteer as a poll worker for the next election.

    On the Democratic side I’m happy enough with who won. Mostly I’m happy with the number of candidates and number of voters. Can’t wait until the general election!

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  22. LAMary said on August 24, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    Imagine a world where DeSantis and Abbot are not governors trying to out pander each other. Or just not governors.

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  23. Deborah said on August 24, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    5’9” DeSantis called 5’7” Fauci an elf and that someone needed to chuck Fauci in the face. Imagine saying that about a man in his 80s retiring from public service that has saved many lives from aids and Covid. DeSantis can never be president and let’s hope to god he loses his 2nd term as Governor.

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  24. Julie Robinson said on August 25, 2022 at 11:55 am

    It’ll be hard to unseat DeSantis. Four years ago the state had more Democrats than Republicans; now that’s reversed. The Republicans vote in higher numbers. DeSantis has buckets of money. And Crist is a meh candidate if ever there were one. It’s hard to work up any enthusiasm for him.

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  25. Bob (not Greene) said on August 25, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    Julie, maybe Crist can work that description into a slogan “Meh — better than Mussolini!”

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  26. brian stouder said on August 25, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    What Julie said, regarding this refreshing website

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  27. FDChief said on August 25, 2022 at 3:50 pm

    When I was a GI I went to Mass because, frankly, the military priests (very often Jesuits, spawning a lifelong respect for the Society…) were 1) better people than the Prots, who were usually god-bothering hayseeds who just wanted to poke their nose in your sex life, and 2) better at working the Army system when you needed help than the Prots, who were…(see above).

    So these bizarre sede vacante loons were like running across a tribe of mutant medieval revenants. I had been told by the cradle Catholics not to trust converts; if you converted as an adult you probably had a very weird authority or smells-and-bells fetish.

    Still, the Roman church may well be the best example in human history of “why theocracy is shitty”; in less than a century it goes from the religion of slaves to the religion of slave owners. Were the average bible-banger either aware of or instructed by history that might give them pause. Since they are, instead, driven by a relentless fear of the complex world outside their simplistic views, well…here we are.

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  28. jcburns said on August 25, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    I think it’s the colors, textures, and typography that keep drawing me back to nancynall.com…

    …but that’s just me.

    Hey, the words are good too.

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  29. Jeff Gill said on August 25, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    Plus, that sweet sweet edit button.

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  30. Icarus said on August 25, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    FDChief: I’m a recovering Catholic now, but I converted in 2000 (when I was 31) for reasons I cannot really remember. That is I remember them, but they feel like they belong to another person now.

    Anyway, a lot of people convert for the marriage thing too. They just stop practicing until children arrive and even then it’s 50-50

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  31. Roy Edroso said on August 25, 2022 at 10:45 pm

    Kind of you! But if you don’t have to Substack, then don’t. One can either labor manfully, like me and your fiction-writing friend (poor suffering bastard), or half-ass it. I endorse your plan to float down the river and see where you touch land.

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  32. Brandon said on August 26, 2022 at 1:58 am

    Another millennial musician with quite the debut.

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  33. alex said on August 26, 2022 at 3:59 pm

    Smells and bells…

    It reminds me of the time I attended midnight mass with a college friend, both of us roaring drunk, and as the priest passed by she blurted out “Nice dress, honey, but your purse is on fire.”

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  34. LAMary said on August 26, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    I think Trump is really in trouble. Heh heh.

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  35. tajalli said on August 26, 2022 at 4:42 pm

    Top secret documents interleaved into less sensitive file folders – Dobby did it!

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  36. Deborah said on August 26, 2022 at 10:01 pm

    Much as I think Trump is guilty as hell, and he might even get indicted, maybe even convicted but he’s not going to spend one minute in jail. Which is a crying shame.

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  37. brian stouder said on August 26, 2022 at 10:57 pm

    To the extent that it is possible to love a person from afar, I love Nance; always have. In days gone by, I was infatuated by WF Buckley and PJ Buchanan (et al)- both also via the News-Sentinal (and then National Review, and the Conservative Book Club!) … Good God! Talk about your ‘mis-spent youth!! But the point was – they expressed themselves in particularly incisive ways (and still do), and affected my viewpoints, at that time. Fast-Forward several decades, and my political perspective leans heavily to (for example) Rachel Maddow (who I only get to see once a week, now) and Lawrence O’Donnel (et al)……by way of saying that, whatever you do going forward, it’s all good! We’re all the better, here and now and going forward, thanks in part to what you have added

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  38. Cheez Whiz said on August 26, 2022 at 11:43 pm

    I always wanted to marry you, but now that I know Edroso reads you (and hell, Lance Mannion gave you a link on his blog) you are fucking royalty and I want to bear your child. And I’d pay for your random musings.

    The failure of micropayments is some kind of story. The infrastructure of PayPal has been around forever, and it would be no big deal to set up a dedicated system for per-article subscriptions. But there’s no big sexy payoff, so no one with the money wants to bother. I wonders why, I does.

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  39. Deborah said on August 27, 2022 at 11:30 am

    Today’s Wordle word is stupid. I got it in 3 because there was no other choice but I question if it is actually a real word that people use.

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  40. Suzanne said on August 27, 2022 at 11:40 am

    Good to know about Wordle. I am stuck. I have 4 of the letters and can’t figure out how to configure them into a word.

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  41. Suzanne said on August 27, 2022 at 11:59 am

    Got the Wordle! Yeah, a word but not one I use often.

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  42. Deborah said on August 27, 2022 at 12:46 pm

    I looked the Wordle word up on Google and yes it is officially a word but it seems wrong and I don’t think I’ve ever used it. I too got 4 letters on the second try, and the last 3 letters in the correct place.

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  43. Dave said on August 27, 2022 at 3:58 pm

    A most unmannerly answer that I managed to solve in only three attempts. Quordle took all nine but when I get it right it’s almost always eight or nine attempts.

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  44. Julie Robinson said on August 27, 2022 at 4:38 pm

    Our mail today was quite interesting, with a $650 check from the state of Indiana. I had read that Governor Holcomb was pandering to the residents, I mean returning excess government monies to the taxpayers. But surely we wouldn’t get one, since we no longer live there, though we did pay for the first half of 2021.

    So I did a little research, and indeed we do qualify. $250 ($125 each) is because we filed 2020 taxes, and $400 is because each of us received Social Security benefits in 2022. A residency requirement isn’t mentioned anywhere on the page. It does say “in order to better serve our customers” the Department of Revenue will not be accepting phone calls until Nov. 1.

    Alrighty then, I’m cashing it!

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  45. Deborah said on August 27, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    Is it just me not getting emails or Twitter or texts from the democrats like I remember from The Democratic Party previously like Donna Brazile or Tom Perez or Howard Dean. I’m getting little to nothing from Jamie Harrison the current chairman of the party. I get texts supposedly from James Carville but almost everything I get now is from individual candidates who I’ve already pledged to give to monthly. What is going on with the party? Is this the new strategy now? To have all messages come from individual candidates or the Biden administration? Where is the party? I’m giving to candidates for the Senate. Do they have a rigorous campaign for the house? If they do I’m not hearing about it. What’s going on here?

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  46. beb said on August 28, 2022 at 12:23 am

    If Indiana has enough money to hand out large amounts to each resident it ought to have used that money to buy back the Indiana Toll Road.

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