Happy new year to all of us. Around here, it dawned — ha ha — so gray and overcast I had to turn on a lamp to read the paper. It’s one of my idiosyncrasies that I really dislike using electric light once the sun is up, probably a leftover from my dad, who was always adjusting the thermostat and turning off lights in empty rooms to save a few pennies on the utility bill. Anyway, when it’s that dark I am at least reminded to take my Vitamin D, and I shrug and think: Michigan. January. Whaddaya gonna do?
One-word resolution for 2023: Balance. So maybe tomorrow will be sunny.
I hope you all had a pleasant NYE. We followed our script: Cooked a better-than-usual meal, watched a movie (“White Noise,” meh), listened to the gunfire at midnight, went to bed. Today I’m scrolling through pix and videos of the Mar-a-Lago NYE party, trying to think what would be worse: Listening to a bad cover band plow through “Footloose” at M-a-L, or standing outside in Detroit, waiting for one round to come down and pierce the soft tissue at the base of my neck.
Outside in Detroit, most definitely. It’s a better, more honorable way to die.
I was thinking again — woolgathering, nothing focused — about 2022 and realized that until I saw one of those Year in Pictures roundups, I had totally spaced that it was an Olympic year. Beijing, the problematic sporting event to open the year, closed of course by the World Cup in Qatar. I recall watching the skiing thinking it would be more pleasant to travel downhill on concrete; not a flake on any of the competition slopes actually fell from a cloud, but was manufactured, and looked and felt like it. The meltdown in the ladies’ figure skating was memorable, but apparently not for more than a few weeks.
Before we put the year entirely to bed, this was an interesting story in the NYT. For those of you who can’t read it, the tl;dr: Politically skewed polls that predicted a red wave in November and the resulting panic may have deprived some candidates of funding that could put them over the finish line.
Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat, had consistently won re-election by healthy margins in her three decades representing Washington State. This year seemed no different: By midsummer, polls showed her cruising to victory over a Republican newcomer, Tiffany Smiley, by as much as 20 percentage points.
So when a survey in late September by the Republican-leaning Trafalgar Group showed Ms. Murray clinging to a lead of just two points, it seemed like an aberration. But in October, two more Republican-leaning polls put Ms. Murray barely ahead, and a third said the race was a dead heat.
As the red and blue trend lines of the closely watched RealClearPolitics average for the contest drew closer together, news organizations reported that Ms. Murray was suddenly in a fight for her political survival. Warning lights flashed in Democratic war rooms. If Ms. Murray was in trouble, no Democrat was safe.
Murray ended up winning by nearly 15 points, which other pollsters had already predicted. But she ended up spending her war chest on her own campaign, rather than spreading it to other, less fortunate candidates. A similar phenomenon happened here, where two-time U.S. Senate loser / empty suit / Trump apologist John James finally will go to Washington — as a congressman — but had a much harder time winning than all the polling indicated. How might he have been thwarted if the DCCC hadn’t written off the race as unwinnable, because Inevitable Red Wave. A little more cash for his opponent might have made the difference. I mean, he only won by half a percentage point.
Polling — good polling — runs the risk of being made irrelevant by bad actors. Trafalgar was the same firm that had GOP challenger Tudor Dixon nipping at Gretchen Whitmer’s heels just before the election, which Dixon lost by more than 10 points. It’s almost like they’re doing this…on purpose.
OK, time to move on to 2023 and greet it properly. Dry January awaits.
Joe Kobiela said on January 1, 2023 at 8:41 pm
Bed at 10:15 last night after a long day of flying so I didn’t see any of the shows but did hear that Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton ( who if I was President would assign her the job as the country’s first grandma) killed it on a couple of duets. You should check out Miley’s rendition of Jolene and man of constant sorrow some time. Guess we can forgive Billy Ray Cyrus for achey breaky heart.
Julie Robinson said on January 1, 2023 at 8:59 pm
The skating scandal continues. Even though it’s pretty much agreed there was doping the ruling body hasn’t made a decision and medals are still unawarded. Kamila Valieva, who claims she picked up the banned substance from her grandfather’s mug, is still skating. Her current routine relives the traumatic events through her eyes and ends with her pulling a hood up over her face as she did that night.
Oddly enough she can no longer do quadruple jumps. (Can you infer my sarcasm?)
Russia is banned from international competitions and is the pariah of the skating world. Ukrainian skaters get standing ovations just for showing up.
Jeff Gill said on January 1, 2023 at 10:48 pm
With my mother in Bloomington, IN, I listened to a half-hour of shotgun blasts across midnight & after; now back in Indy with my father-in-law, and with nightfall the fireworks have been steady since sunset. They finally dropped to zero around 10 pm, an assortment of firearms mixed with pyrotechnics, here near the intersection of Lawrence Twp., Geist, and Fishers.
Deborah said on January 1, 2023 at 11:20 pm
I watched “White Noise” tonight. Still trying to make heads or tails of it. I didn’t hate it, by any means, but it’s an enigma so far.
Dexter Friend said on January 2, 2023 at 1:39 am
Which “White Noise”? There are 2 different shows, one a dubbed film, one in English.
Not a peep from fireworks here, just assholes driving up and down the street blasting huge car systems like it’s 1977.
No family gatherings at all as everyone’s sick with Covid19 or flu. Today (Monday) , is the Rose Parade at 11:00 AM Eastern, and the Rose Bowl game is at 5:00 PM.
The Lions football season has picked up my spirits. Gotsta beat Green Bay on Sunday at Lambeau.
Did I ever tell yas about the ticket I received from the Ohio State Police 40 years ago? Rural US6, one lone house, north side of the road. I am driving easterly. School bus flashes lights, I stop. The bus just sits there for a long time. The driver motions me to just go ahead, as there is no house or mailbox on the south side of the road. No kid is getting out. The bus has no arm-sign at all. I see the driver giving me the “c’mon, go ahead!” hand sign. I slowly , slowly proceed. 30 minutes later, state police are knocking my door down. That sonofabitch driver had written down my plate numbers and reported me for passing a stopped school bus. I was outraged. I told the cop, cop said drivers have police powers in this. I got my lawyer…he would not take the case, said he could never win. He said to just pay it. I drew diagrams and told the judge…the judge tore my paper up in front of me with utter disdain. Guilty. I was broke and laid off. The night before I won $250 in the Ohio Lottery. That’s the most I ever won. The court took $183. I am still thinking about that sometimes. I never understood how a bus driver can just say shit and have power no lawyer can even touch in court.
BigHank53 said on January 2, 2023 at 10:19 am
Dexter, even just reading your account it’s pretty obvious that Mr. Bus Driver just wanted to abuse somebody. You were out $183. He still had to be a bus driver…at least until he eventually tried to mess with the wrong person. Either way: I very much doubt he was a happy guy. Messing with you gave him—what?—maybe two days of spiteful good cheer?
Robert said on January 2, 2023 at 11:12 am
Polling – untrustworthy, flawed questions, worthless. Too many polls, too many “news” sources.
re: ticket – obviously a disgruntled little @#$&* and a lazy judge – Rural ‘Murica is no more “the Heartland” than is NYC, and the people there are no better than urbanites.
Jeff Borden said on January 2, 2023 at 12:49 pm
We spent NYE with two good friends and slow-cooked pork rib tips. We made it to 11 CST. Our guests were real party animals and didn’t turn in until 11:20. Now, I’m into my annual Dry January and can already attest that my sleep last night was long, restful and restorative.
The next year begins two years of absolutely monkey poo slinging in the House as the crazies take control and run over the hapless Kevin McCarthy like the spineless snake he is, but. . .
My guess is the QOP will overplay its hand with all its bullshit investigations and revenge seeking even as many of the initiatives pushed through Congress by Biden and the Dems begin to pay off in 2023. The”party” has no governing principles beyond being as cruel as possible to as many non-donor class people as possible and “owning the libs.” You will look in vain for any plans to address infrastructure, health care costs, inflation, supply chain problems, etc. Oh, right. Immigration. No solutions, but much demonization. Tucker McNear Swanson Carlson will be getting a chubby every night commenting on how well goes the war against those dirty, smelly, foreigners. The dolts who live and die by right-wing media will love it, but those tactics will continue to drain away support from all but the true tRumpanzees. And if the orange tumor mounts a third-party campaign in 2024? Boy howdy!
David C said on January 2, 2023 at 1:49 pm
My wife got a ticket from the Midland County, MI Sheriff’s Department for driving past a bus with its blinkers on. Only trouble was the bus driver described the car as a white Pontiac Grand Am and at that time Mary owned a blue Ford Escort and she’d never been to Midland and she was working at that date and time. So it was obvious that the bus driver got the license number wrong. They wouldn’t let us fix it over the phone so we had to go to court in Midland. It took about ten minutes for her to show the descriptions didn’t match and that she was at work that day. The judge dismissed the ticket. When we asked why it couldn’t have been handled over the phone he did a little head shake and said “Sorry, it just can’t”.
alex said on January 2, 2023 at 4:05 pm
I remember fighting a big parking ticket that I received by mail. The cop scrawled what appeared to be my license plate number on it but described a completely different vehicle and an unfamiliar location. I happened to know where I was on the date and time of the ticket. I called and wrote to dispute it but the City of Chicago kept upping the fine the longer I fought it. So I went to my alderwoman and she fixed it for me.
I hope Nate Silver keeps Trafalgar and other similar pollsters out of future prognostications as they are obviously bad-faith actors trying to fuck things up.
David C said on January 2, 2023 at 4:51 pm
I think Nate Silver knew they were BS polls. He’s no different than corporate media. A horse race makes him more money. Honesty and what’s best for the country is for the poors.
Sherri said on January 2, 2023 at 5:41 pm
The dirty little secret of polling is that even the best polling isn’t as good as it used to be, because nobody has land lines and nobody answers phones. Nobody has found a way to do polling that makes up for that.
Deborah said on January 2, 2023 at 5:55 pm
I’ve thought polling is inaccurate for a while now, ditto what Sherri said about landlines and many pollsters seem like quacks, for example Kellyanne Conway. Campaign operatives are raking in dough for themselves as much as for their candidates. Too much money in politics. When I read about how many millions (billions) are spent every election cycle, it makes me wonder where it all goes?
Julie Robinson said on January 2, 2023 at 6:25 pm
Unknown numbers to my phone don’t get anwered either, but even when I still had a landline I stopped talking to pollsters. They were always 20 minutes when they said they’d be five, or the questions were so biased that you couldn’t tell them what you really thought. Not worth my time.
I’m still testing positive. At least we had a warm sunny day and I could sit in the sun for half an hour. I’ve read five books during this Covid bout.
Heather said on January 2, 2023 at 6:54 pm
Happy New Year all! Didn’t do anything for the eve, except for watching an Italian movie that’s been in my queue forever, Lost and Beautiful, and bawled the whole way through. Had a small crowd of good friends over for brunch on the first. A good way to start the year (the friends, not the bawling).
Boyfriend is finally testing negative after 17 days.
Julie Robinson said on January 2, 2023 at 7:53 pm
17 days? Holy crap. I have to go to an appointment with D next Monday and I figured it would be okay if I was negative today. Oy veh.
Sherri said on January 2, 2023 at 8:25 pm
My headache-inducing virus finally cleared up, so I was able to join a group of friends for NYE. Fun mostly, but the group was too small for me to avoid one person I usually make a point of avoiding. This guy always wants to talk politics whenever he sees me, and he’s very tiresome, because even though he considers himself a liberal, he always wants to argue with me. This time he wanted to have a fight about taking down Confederate statues, which he wanted to frame as “would you take down a statue of Lee and put up a statue of Sherman?” When I rejected that framing, he pivoted to an argument that Lee was more honorable than Sherman because Sherman committed atrocities against civilians.
I just kept telling him that treason in defense of slavery was not honorable. I could tell he was struggling with the notion that Lee committed treason. To be fair, this guy grew up in Texas, and was taught the same Lost Cause bullshit mythology that I was in school, but on the other hand, he’s in his 50’s and has had plenty of opportunity to educate himself, like I have done.
Deborah said on January 2, 2023 at 11:40 pm
We’re having one last social gathering on Weds afternoon, odd time for one thing and this group are not my favorite people to be with. Oh well, we’ve made it clear that we won’t be staying for long so it’ll probably be fine. I’m glad that between now and then we don’t have to meet up with anyone. It’s not that most of these social events are not fun, because they often turn out to be lots of fun, it’s just too many events all crammed in to a few days.
Dexter Friend said on January 3, 2023 at 1:29 am
Alex, (following from a random search at Google)
The Field Museum was one of six institutions in the United States chosen to host an incredible traveling exhibition in 1977. Its 55 objects once belonged to the young King Tutankhamun whose tomb was discovered 100 years ago this November.
And so, I loaded up the two grade school daughters and my wife into my 1968 VW Microbus and drove to see the thing.
I parked on Navy Pier as I recall, no signage preventing it; many vehicles there. I got a ticket, just a $10 one, big for those days. I was about to send in a check and my Chicago-area brother told me to just throw it away, as they weren’t going to come to Ohio to get me arrested. I normally do not do stuff like that, but I burned the ticket. Nobody came after me. In subsequent trips, no cop stopped me about it. Today they would, I betcha. King Tut exhibit was mind-blowing, by the way.
Jeff Gill said on January 3, 2023 at 7:39 am
Sherman committed atrocities? That’s simply classic “Lost Cause” rhtetoric. I was challenged with this when I taught American history in West Virginia, and learned I needed to be ready with a simple, clear response. Sherman did report to Gen. Thomas at the start of the “March to the Sea” from Atlanta to Savannah: “Gen. Sherman writing to U.S. Major George H. Thomas on November 1, 1864: “I propose…to sally forth and make a hole in Georgia that will be hard to mend.”
In his report to Lincoln after the “March to the Sea,” Sherman stated his army destroyed railroads for more than 100 miles, confiscated corn and fodder in the region of country 30 miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah, along with sweet potatoes, cattle, hogs, & other stock animals, carrying away more than 10,000 horses and mules, and a number of former enslaved persons in the thousands. “I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia and its military resources at $100,000,000; at least $20,000,000 of which has inured to our advantage, and the remainder is simply waste and destruction.”
The Sons of Confederate Veterans reported these statements as “atrocities” and called it “genocide” against the “Southern people.” But in fact, in 1930 a New York Times article “Rethinking Sherman’s March” by W. Todd Groce followed the line of march, and found that while the popular memory was “Sherman ordered his troops to indiscriminately burn homes & churches along the way” almost none were, in fact burned and still stood. A few courthouses and indeed some homes were burnt by troops after being used to fire upon approaching Union forces. In terms of soldiers committing offenses against civilians, when the record and history is consulted, the “atrocities” and “genocide” turns out to be almost entirely the fact that nearly every slave along their path left their plantations with Sherman’s army, creating challenges for him when they reached Savannah and were ordered to embark on ships to head north for Virginia and the siege at Petersburg. The amount of civilian harm during the Siege of Atlanta & “March to the Sea” was remarkably small; the problem and the grievance against Sherman is the hunger that was common among Georgians after their departure. There’s little indication anyone died even from that, simply that in the Atlanta area people were fairly short on food for months afterwards.
Atrocities, it ain’t. Sorry, but Sherman deserves better than he usually gets! Born and raised just south of me in Lancaster, Ohio.
“There are stories of wanton, unnecessary destruction on the part of Union soldiers, but they fall far short of war crimes, unless pianos are considered victims of war.”
Jeff Gill said on January 3, 2023 at 7:45 am
Excellent newer article by one of Sherman’s more recent biographers, whose book I commend highly:
“When Joe Wheeler’s horsemen also began destroying property and looting, the psychological shock of Confederates abusing their own people was hard for the Georgia civilians to take. Perhaps in denial of this reality, they came to accuse Sherman of carrying out countless grim acts. He seemed to be everywhere at once, and as he grew ever-larger in the Southern imagination, rumors about where he was and what he did to white women and slaves came to be accepted as fact. Since spreading terror farther afield only intensified the impact of his March to the Sea, all of this suited Sherman’s purposes perfectly.”
Mark P said on January 3, 2023 at 9:15 am
Dexter, my late uncle was an Akron city cop for years. Once when he and my aunt were visiting us here in Georgia, he parked illegally downtown. He told us not to worry because they don’t extradite for parking tickets.
I’m a native of Georgia and I would be fine if every Confederate statue were replaced with a statue of Grant, Sherman, or Lincoln. I admire all of them. Georgians don’t like Sherman because he beat the hell out of them.
ROGirl said on January 3, 2023 at 9:44 am
I got a ticket somewhere north of Flint once, on my way home from Big Rapids. I had to go all the way back for court, couldn’t send a payment. The courtroom was full of people who had gotten tickets from the same cop, and he didn’t show up. They were all dismissed, subject to reinstatement if authorities decided to take action. They didn’t.
JodiP said on January 3, 2023 at 9:54 am
Our NYE was pretty mellow–our niece and new beau came for a visit and we had Moet-Chandon champagne (a freebie from a friend who for some reason was given cases of champagne) good cheese, and pate. We really like the new guy–they both do water quality work for some federal agency in MT. They were here for a few hours before heading off to hang out with people their own age. After 2 hours, our very shy dog crept over to my niece and snuggled with her, which made us all very happy.
We watched a couple episodes of Jack Ryan and tottered off to bed by 9:00.
On New Year’s Day we visited friends and learned how to make rosettes, the delicious Norwegian treat. Not as hard as I thought, and we all just hung around in the kitchen taking turns holding the iron in the oil.
Icarus said on January 3, 2023 at 11:12 am
Our New Year’s eve was sitting around the TV watching the Michigan football game. My family was acting like they were losing by 40 points and I’m like, you were in it until the very end. I generally don’t have any interest in college football but was very entertained.
I know most of you aren’t interested in the NFL but on MNF yesterday, a player had a heart attack and they eventually decided to postpone the game. It’s still too early to determine the order of events but in a nutshell, NFL games are not designed to be delayed unless very dire circumstances occur.
Joe Kobiela said on January 3, 2023 at 12:04 pm
In 1971 Chuck Hughes a receiver for Detroit dropped going back to the huddle,he was declared dead at the hospital but realistically died on the field,there was about 4 minutes left in the game, they finished it. I think they made the correct decision last night. It’s a different time now.
Jeff Borden said on January 3, 2023 at 12:08 pm
When has any war not created atrocities to noncombatants? Defeated peoples were often enslaved. Women of defeated nations were raped. The stories of Greek wars are awash in these kinds of events. The Romans weren’t any better. The horrors visited upon civilians during the Crusades are difficult to catalog. And as the modes of modern warfare evolved, the destruction of civilians was raised to an entirely new level. Gen. Curtis LeMay, who commanded the U.S. Army Air Force in the Pacific, admitted he would be tried as a war criminal were Japan to emerge victorious for his use of incendiary bombs on the mostly wooden cities of Japan. The use of napalm incinerated countless Southeast Asians in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. And look at what Putin’s army of thugs are doing to the people of Ukraine.
Sherman was most certainly not a war criminal, but the statement attributed to him has been true since the first cave dweller killed another with a club: War is hell.
tajalli said on January 3, 2023 at 12:16 pm
NYE was quiet, very little explosives. Watched the BBC version of PD Wodehouse’s Blandings and finished the usual early evening reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls. Looking forward to another year of great book and movie suggestions from all y’all.
We also had rain. Five inches of rain.
These three youtubies give a good idea of the situation. Magnificent gutter-flooder due to clogged culverts. Most of what’s shown is normally grassy park meadow and paths. The second is the longest, but the first and third give great context.
The neighborhood has a a well organized volunteer group that manages the creek’s watershed and they’ve already gone into action with plans for remediation and support for changes to gardens and yards to retain more water using bioswales, native plantings and reduced pavement coverage.
1. youtube . com/watch?v=qylS1OUAN8E&t=2s
3. youtube . com/watch?v=cQE2gmd3kLY&t=6s
ROGirl said on January 3, 2023 at 12:18 pm
There’s a wonderful novel by Pat Barker called “The Silence of the Girls” about the Trojan War from the perspective of the women who were abducted and taken prisoner by the Greeks.
Jeff Borden said on January 3, 2023 at 12:49 pm
Even the Greeks knew it was bad. Euripides wrote “The Trojan Women” in 415 B.C. And there’s the famous painting, “The Rape of the Sabine Women,” from the Renaissance. And, again, there were numerous stories of Russian soldiers raping and killing women in Ukraine. It’s sickening in any century.
Sherri said on January 3, 2023 at 1:09 pm
I totally recognized the “Sherman committed atrocities” thing as Lost Cause nonsense, along with the Bobby Lee was an honorable man. But then this guy had only recently learned that the war between Texas and Mexico was over slavery, and had no idea that FDR was able to accomplish what he did by throwing black people under the bus to appease Southern Democrats. He still thinks that if Democrats would just change their messaging to counter the propaganda of the right, we could activate the better nature of those people following them instead of their being afraid of a multi-racial pluralistic democracy.
Like say “women’s rights” instead of “abortion”. Eyeroll. They hate women’s rights as much as they hate abortion.
Jeff Gill said on January 3, 2023 at 1:45 pm
McCarthy has lost the first vote for Speaker of the House; 19 votes peeled off for Biggs & Jordan. Jeffries got more than him, in fact, but not enough to take the chair. Now there’s scrambling on the floor as we set a new House precedent after a hundred years of first ballot Speakerships.
susan said on January 3, 2023 at 2:18 pm
jeff gill– Bring on the beeeeg bags o’ popcorn! Republicans in disarray! Woooot!
Mark P said on January 3, 2023 at 3:11 pm
There was a story on the Atlanta news about Republican efforts to pass a bill prohibiting women from receiving the morning after pill by mail. It seems like the federal government might have something to say about that, but with radical right-wingers in charge at the Supreme Court, who knows. What I noticed in particular was that one of the proponents of the bill that they interviewed was a middle-aged white man. What a surprise. My guess is that he’s not getting any, and he hates the idea that some woman, somewhere is having sex with someone who is not him. So she should be punished by having a baby that no one wants and that he plans on preventing adequate pre- and postnatal care for.
Jeff Gill said on January 3, 2023 at 4:06 pm
Second batch of popcorn . . . McCarthy goes down a second time, just as hard. 19 votes for fire & destruction, more votes for Hakeem Jeffries than Kevin “I left my [blank] at Mar-a-lago” McCarthy once again. Not sure what Plan B is for the GOP here, Scalise caucus or Bombthrower’s schismatics. On to round three.
As an old FFA & student government parliamentarian, I’m waiting for the motion to adjourn . . . cannot be debated, must be voted upon.
Julie Robinson said on January 3, 2023 at 7:13 pm
Third time was not a charm. ABC reported McCarthy had already moved into the Speaker’s office. Whoa. That’s going to be humiliating.