A few Monday notes.

I generally avoid news about the former president these days — had to abandon the Haberman book, at least for a while, because I so disliked the feeling of having him in my head again — but a detail from the coverage of the Waco rally this weekend caught my eye. It was something about how they played a recording of the “J6 prison choir,” a choral group made up of January 6 defendants, singing the National Anthem, with spoken-word breaks by you-know-who, reading the pledge of allegiance.

Folks, they did not lie. It exists. Click and despair.

I was feeling pretty good after the election, but despair is beginning to creep in around the edges again. I saw another piece, on NPR, about the decline in American life expectancy. It’s worth a click if only for that graphic, with the United States in red, parting ways with the rest of the developed world, post-Covid. Freedumb strikes again.

But despair is a sin, as the lord reminds us. And so I will keep my sunny side up, up, even though it’s a Monday.

Bill Zehme died over the weekend. Most people wouldn’t remember the name, but in journalism circles, he was big, one of the tiny fraternity (and it was so often a fraternity) who got to profile big-time celebrities. He was good at it, and his pieces on Jay Leno, Frank Sinatra, Hugh Hefner, etc., were good enough that their subjects are providing mournful quotes in the wake of his death. The ones who survive, anyway.

As for me, the one I’ll always remember was his oddly sympathetic piece on post-downfall Bob Greene. I think someone must have asked him later why he was so nice to the guy, and he replied that when he was a struggling journalism student, or maybe just launched in his career, he’d written to Bob, and Bob had replied with just the encouragement he needed. He may have even met with him in person, and the titanic journo had bucked up the fetal one, and that meant so much, etc etc. All I could think was: Dummy, he did that to everyone, and if the supplicant was a pretty girl, the encouragement often continued at the Marriott down the street?

Ah, well. That was a different time, as we say so often.

Hope your weekend was good. Mine was fine, although I erred in eating an enormous Mexican dinner at 9 p.m. on a Friday night, which kept me up for hours past my bedtime, not with heartburn, but what I think of as Spanish Sleeplessness, because it happened multiple times when we were in Spain, where restaurants don’t even open until 8 p.m. I’m so goddamn old, my body can’t handle digestion and sleep at the same time.

Ah, well. Back to the mangle, as the work week starts.

Posted at 8:27 am in Current events, Media |

51 responses to “A few Monday notes.”

  1. Peter said on March 27, 2023 at 9:04 am

    I am not going to click on that J6 choir link because I just can’t, but I heard that the choir sang into a cell phone, so the audio quality is about what I would expect or cell phones have gotten really good at capturing audio….

    “Why can’t legislators work across the aisle?” “Why can’t the ‘elites’ understand the Real America (TM)”. Well, here’s a reason why….let’s have a bunch of people who tried to overthrow our government sing a song to show how much they love our government.

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  2. LAMary said on March 27, 2023 at 11:11 am

    Why did I listen to that? Now I’m thinking about what sort of person likes that shit. And what is at the top of the list of new emails this morning?
    Thanks, Martha. I was losing sleep over my sock folding technique,

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  3. Sherri said on March 27, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    From the article on declining life expectancy,

    “Two years difference in life expectancy probably comes from the fact that firearms are so available in the United States,” Crimmins says.

    Two years is a huge impact.

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  4. LAMary said on March 27, 2023 at 12:56 pm

    Speaking of guns, someone was shooting little kids in Nashville.

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  5. LAMary said on March 27, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    …and the shooter was a teenaged girl

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  6. brian stouder said on March 27, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    …..and now they’re saying she was 28. Rule#1 – we can not ask crazy to make sense

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  7. Sherri said on March 27, 2023 at 2:25 pm

    Crazy will never make sense, but we could create more friction between the thought and the deed. I simply don’t believe that Americans are a breed apart, uniquely more prone to shooting people. I believe that what is unique is that we have such ready access to guns, so that there is little to slow down the impulse to address any problem with a pull of the trigger.

    Yes, our mental health system is inadequate. Yes, there are systemic problems in our country that might drive a person to violence. But what is truly unique about our country is none of that, it’s how readily available guns are.

    And so many people willing to pretend the obvious isn’t true.

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  8. Little Bird said on March 27, 2023 at 2:34 pm

    The Nashville shooter was 28. Three kids dead and three adults. This shit has got to stop.

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  9. Mark P said on March 27, 2023 at 2:47 pm

    I’ve said it to distraction: Whom the gods would destroy …

    We’re there. I’m afraid we aren’t regaining our sanity without a major convulsion. In a sane society, Jan 6 would have been that, but this is not a sane society.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on March 27, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    In fairness, Tennessee has been so busy protecting children from the scourge of drag queens they forgot to protect them from heavily armed nutjobs.

    Thoughts and prayers. Again.

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  11. Suzanne said on March 27, 2023 at 2:55 pm

    The shooting was also at a private, Christian school, so we can be pretty sure that it doesn’t involve drag queens or the David statue or critical race theory or taking God & prayer out of schools. Maybe, just maybe, this will convince a person or 2 that it is the guns.
    Naw, probably not.

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  12. basset said on March 27, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    I live in Nashville and attend an exercise class on the same main street as both the school and the area’s leading trauma hospital, about a mile from the hospital and not quite three miles from the school.

    Today, class started about two hours after the shooting, delayed because everyone was standing around stunned and confused. Big windows down one side of the room, facing the street so we could see ambulances and police cars going by running lights and sirens. We had a moment of silence and tried to stay focused.

    One big difference between this and some other shootings – unlike Uvalde, where police stood around with their thumbs up their butts waiting for direction while kids were getting killed inside, Nashville police got there right away, ran inside, found the shooter, and dropped her. No bureaucracy, no sliding away from responsibility, fourteen minutes from first alarm until the shooter was dead.

    One of my irregular retirement gigs occasionally involves helping with active shooter trainings for hospital personnel. Did a couple earlier this month, another is coming up next week.

    And the school had held one too, don’t know how recently. Preschool through sixth grade. Preschool through sixth expletive deleted grade.

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  13. Sherri said on March 27, 2023 at 5:48 pm

    But smartphones are why teens are so depressed.

    Not because they’ve been doing active shooter drills their entire school career.

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  14. David C said on March 27, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    Someone could shoot all of the children and/or grandchildren of Wayne LaPierre and every Republican in Congress. They wouldn’t budge an inch. They’re the ones in need of mental health evaluations.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on March 27, 2023 at 6:43 pm

    I agree with David C. Nothing will budge them.

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  16. Sherri said on March 27, 2023 at 6:49 pm

    The mass shooting situation is a clear demonstration of just how broken how our democracy is. Clear majorities want gun control, want more restrictions, want gun manufacturers to assume liability, all the things. But all the counter-majoritarian choke points built into our system to preserve slavery and white supremacy also work to make sure we live with the specter of mass shootings.

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  17. Suzanne said on March 27, 2023 at 9:09 pm

    It’s child sacrifice reincarnated. Children sacrificed to appease the God of Firearms, sacrificed by good Christians who say their Lord wants it that way. It’s disgusting.
    And churches can’t fathom why church attendance continues to decline.

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  18. Deborah said on March 27, 2023 at 9:20 pm

    I read this statement from a mother who was at the Highland Park shooting with her young son in Illinois over the 4th of July who happened to be in Nashville today to meet with a mother who lost her older son in the Waffle House shooting in Texas. That woman’s younger son was involved in a school lockdown near the Christian school where the shooting happened today in Nashville. The statement reads “What do you say? Because only in America can you survive a mass shooting and go and make a friend who is the victim of a mass shooting and then go to meet that friend for lunch … and end up in the middle of another mass shooting event.” What do you say indeed.

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  19. basset said on March 27, 2023 at 11:21 pm


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  20. Dexter Friend said on March 28, 2023 at 2:32 am

    I know that progressive women applaud trans women that compete against at-birth females in sports, but will they claim this 28 year old trans woman as one of their own as well? Or will they say she is a man? Nashville Presbyterian school killings. In Nashville, they do not fuck around Uvalde-style. They dropped her dead right quickly.

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  21. john (not mccain) said on March 28, 2023 at 7:35 am

    Either way, Dexie, transpeople have quite a ways to go before they match the carnage inflicted by straight white assholes.

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  22. Mark P said on March 28, 2023 at 8:03 am

    CNN said that authorities identified the shooter as a female-to-male trans person.

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  23. Dorothy said on March 28, 2023 at 8:46 am

    Suzanne yesterday the term ‘sacrificial lambs’ kept running through my head. That’s what all of these school shootings do – provide one after another after another after another sacrificial lamb. It’s like an assembly line now. I heard a statistic this morning that there have been 13 school shootings this year so far – that averages out to one a week. I thought I felt despair about that orange asswipe, but nothing compares to the despair about school shootings. Now I can only picture my beloved granddaughter, and in a few years my grandson – worrying and worrying every day they are in school about what might happen to them. It’s depressing, maddening, and makes me want to scream until my lungs are burnt and useless. Why can’t Republicans want to fix this?!

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  24. Deborah said on March 28, 2023 at 9:01 am

    After a while there’s nothing left to say. I want to register my frustration and disgust but it’s all been said over and over (and over) again. Why is this still happening?

    We leave for NYC this afternoon, I wonder if Trump will be indicted there this week? I see that now he’s bragging about his stupid recording with the J6 prisoners as though he’s a rock star.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on March 28, 2023 at 9:53 am

    Deborah’s right, what more can we say? I don’t see the gun people changing their minds. It’s hard not to feel disheartened. I spent the day yesterday looking at beautiful flowers, then heard the news on the way home. It’s so important to get those babies born, only to let them be slaughtered at school. I imagine every parent sending their kids off to school this morning in trepidation, and every child in fear.

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  26. David Cutler said on March 28, 2023 at 10:11 am

    Dexter, neutralizing the attacker immediately is the recommended protocol for mass shootings now and in this case it stopped the carnage. It makes the idea of “good guy with a gun” scary. When the cops arrive and they see someone with a gun how do they determine that’s the good guy and not the shooter?

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  27. FDChief said on March 28, 2023 at 10:21 am

    It’s pretty simple.

    If you think the problem is “too many guns that are too easy to get”, you don’t vote Republican, because the central tenet of the modern GOP is “moar gunz!”

    But white people overwhelmingly vote Republican.

    So if those people want fewer guns carried around by fewer people, as the polls claim they do, then they’re either 1) lying or 2) stupid. Because you can’t want fewer guns if you vote for more Republicans.

    And dear God, the gift this murderous asshole just gave those Republicans. Thanks in hell, dumbass. You just painted every trans person as a violent lunatic that your deadly enemies will use to murder your trans brothers and sisters. I get the whole “not being forced to be a ‘model minority’ dilemma” but…damn.

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  28. basset said on March 28, 2023 at 10:44 am

    security cam and body cam video are at https://newschannel5.com/

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  29. alex said on March 28, 2023 at 10:55 am

    they’re either 1) lying or 2) stupid

    They’re Republicans, so it goes without saying.

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  30. The Trans Person Who Knows Who She Is said on March 28, 2023 at 11:23 am

    De-lurking …

    Dexter @ 20: That’s kind of a sh-tty thing to say, but thanks.

    But to answer your question — as soon as the news broke, every trans person (or friend of a trans person) who I know on Facebook, Twitter, etc., said “oh f-ck. oh no.”

    Because we really needed more reasons for random a-holes to hate us.

    Front page of the Rupert Murdoch New York Post today: “TRANSGENDER KILLER TARGETS CHRISTIAN SCHOOL”

    On the other hand, would it surprise you to learn that I know a lot of transgender people — especially trans women — who are getting concealed carry weapon permits right now? I’m thinking about it myself.

    Because we’re terrified.

    For the record, the killer was assigned female at birth and had started using “they/them” pronouns. But … whatever. Does it really matter?

    Seven people are still dead (including the murderer) and we’re debating the murderer’s pronouns, because that’s useful.

    The problem remains too many damn guns. A problem which I’m seriously thinking about adding to, I guess, because I live in America.

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  31. The Trans Person Who Knows Who She Is said on March 28, 2023 at 11:33 am

    And to drive the point into the ground, there’s speculation that the Nashville murderer targeted that particular Christian school because they were sent there as a child, against their will, and were told how sinful and awful they were.

    I’m not making excuses for a mass murder. But if you keep telling people they’re evil and they’re going to hell and that you hate them, and then we let them have a gun, it doesn’t take The Amazing Kreskin to figure out what’s liable to happen.

    An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, or something like that.

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  32. FDChief said on March 28, 2023 at 11:56 am

    TTPWKWSI: Google “Jud Suss”. The GOP scum have just been gifted their remake only featuring their most recent hate objects to use in the pursuit of their dream; a pure het/cis Volk under the Orange Fuhrer. The Post is the giveaway; they know the value of that propaganda can do for them to hurt you the same way the Nazis used it.

    I’d be getting strapped, too.

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  33. Sherri said on March 28, 2023 at 12:17 pm

    The white people vote Republican and for more guns for the same reason: fear of the other, particularly black and brown. They may claim to be very Christian, but that whole thing about “who is my neighbor” just doesn’t penetrate. They have to be on top in the hierarchy, or they do not feel safe.

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  34. Sherri said on March 28, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    Of course the right wing noise machine will seize upon the shooter being transgender; they need something to distract from the obvious problem of too many guns and how most mass murders are committed by white men.

    Of course this interferes with JK Rowing’s contention that FTM transgender people carry their male criminality with them through transition.

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  35. Jeff Borden said on March 28, 2023 at 1:35 pm

    Mass shootings almost always are carried out by white males. . .but maybe the sickness is spreading? The mass murderers in two separate California slaughters were Asian men. And now this. . .

    I certainly cannot blame TTPWKWSI for seriously considering a gun for protection from the violent haters. But every time one of us decides maybe it’s better to just arm ourselves rather than wait for American society to sort its shit out, we’re just adding to volume of weapons out there.

    One of my friends from the dog park is a Jewish attorney with two young children and a very liberal outlook on the world, but he confided to me has purchased several guns because he truly believes the tRumpanzees will eventually start a shooting war and he isn’t going down without a fight. At least he has invested in a gun safe, where his weapons are stored, but it still saddens me this bright young man believes he has no choice but to arm himself. He has considered moving to Israel, but believes it is still more dangerous than the U.S. because of the frequent terrorist attacks there. I’m not sure I agree with him on this country being safer.

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  36. FDChief said on March 28, 2023 at 1:40 pm

    From “Considerably less than 1,000 Word” at the Lawyers Guns & Money site:

    “Any “system” (1) only works when a critical mass of people want it to work; (2) is going to reflect the underlying currents and divisions among the population.

    Our system was broken as soon as the GOP polled their own voters a month or so after the insurrection and decided to jump on the bandwagon—and if they hadn’t, they would have been primaried by people who would. The fact that Trump is going to be the nominee even though he cost the GOP the midterms and is demonstrably more likely to lose than a guy who does exactly the same shit but is younger and less visibly unhinged seals the deal.

    Southernized white people and their fellow travelers do not want a secular multi-racial democracy, have never wanted one, cannot live in one, full-stop. The system is and will continue to evolve to reflect that, one way or another. The only question is how much longer the rest of the country will live in denial.”


    And I should add that we’ve been headed here since the Civil Rights Era. It’s no surprise that the “Reagan Democrat” backlash began in the Seventies and has culminated in the current open fascist GOP.

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  37. Sherri said on March 28, 2023 at 1:55 pm

    Israel’s democracy is failing faster than ours, believe it or not, and it’s not about terrorism or Palestine, really. It’s much the same problem as here. Netanyahu, in order to hold onto power, has turned to ever more right wing parties, and as a result, the government is much more right wing than the country. Netanyahu is trying to “reform” the judiciary, to consolidate his hold on power, and massive protests have caused him to delay, but he is beholden to parties who won’t tolerate him not doing it. Unclear how it works out.

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  38. David C said on March 28, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    No matter how bad things get I’m not going to arm myself. I’m not going to let anyone make me believe that killing someone will solve any problem I may think I have.

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  39. Mark P said on March 28, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    As soon as I heard that the shooter was a former student and was trans, I thought “Christian haters made them what they are today.”

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  40. FDChief said on March 28, 2023 at 9:03 pm

    David: that’s a deeply human and decent response.

    However, the 8th Air Force is over there with their hand up wanting a word.

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  41. FDChief said on March 28, 2023 at 9:15 pm

    Sherri; seems pretty binary. Either Netanyahu folds and risks conviction on the (obviously genuine) corruption charges, or he stands fast and becomes an autocrat.

    The GQP is working on that here; proposing that ex-presidents (hint! hint!) cannot be charged.

    If they succeed that’s the end of the American Experiment. If a president is de jure immune from legal consequences then he is de facto “Le loi, c’est moi.” and we have a king.

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  42. Dexter Friend said on March 29, 2023 at 12:00 am

    Ozzy Osbourne has moved from LA to England because the USA is “too shooty”. This was about 20 mass shootings ago.

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  43. Suzanne said on March 29, 2023 at 8:24 am

    This thread is perfect. How men can protect their families…without firearms.


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  44. Deborah said on March 29, 2023 at 10:21 am

    Suzanne, Design Mom (Gabriel Blair) also has a great tweet thread about abortion, and she’s written a book called “Ejaculate Responsibly”. I love her, she’s a Mormon, has 6 kids and lives in France. She and her husband have renovated their house and are in the midst of doing another one, I follow them on Instagram, they’re amazing,

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  45. 4dbirds said on March 29, 2023 at 4:15 pm

    My husband informed me today that he bought four weapons. After that announcement, I stared at him with my mouth open and asked if he was feeling aggressive or depressed and why would he do that? We are extremely liberal and although we are both veterans and know how to safely use weapons, we have never had one in the house. He stated that he was not depressed or aggrieved but felt that something is happening to our democracy and will not allow fascists to come into our neighborhood and harass our neighbors. We live in one of the still affordable places in Northern Virginia and are surrounded by hard working immigrants and minorities. He bought two 9mms, one for me another for him. He also bought a shotgun and a “AR-15”. I am still processing this and don’t know how I feel about it. Are we as a country “there” yet, where I have to think how I’m going to protect/hide my Muslim neighbors? My husband seems to think so. I won’t touch the long guns, but I may go to a range and get retrained on the pistol. I always enjoyed target practice and now that I don’t have any littles in my house, having a gun doesn’t scare me anymore. Truthfully, outside of imminent and real danger, I don’t think I could shoot anyone, maybe not even then.

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  46. Icarus said on March 29, 2023 at 4:37 pm

    4dbirds @ 45: hope he bought a gun safe as well.

    I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with owning a firearm as long as you are a responsible, trained owner. I don’t think one needs a collection and some people shouldn’t have any.

    Technically out here, I should have one because the police would not arrive in time. But I prefer a crossbow myself.

    And if you believe either the zombie or financial apocalypse is coming, guns will be needed just to keep raiders from stealing your stuff.

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  47. Sherri said on March 29, 2023 at 5:04 pm

    My question about stocking guns for the apocalypse is, and then what? What comes after the point where you have chosen to shoot and kill people? What’s that world look like?

    I don’t know. I’m not really a pacifist, but I’m not sure I want to live in a dystopia where I feel the need to shoot people coming into my neighborhood.

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  48. alex said on March 29, 2023 at 6:35 pm

    I still cling to the old-fashioned notion that you’re more apt to be harmed by your own gun if you have one so I don’t have one. And I’m protecting others by not having one. I refuse to reward the gun industry by capitulating to its campaign of fear.

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  49. LAMary said on March 29, 2023 at 7:43 pm

    I don’t want or need a gun. I know lots of people who have guns. None of them need guns either. I could not shoot to kill anyone anyway and don’t own anything worth stealing. I will generalize and say that the people I know who have guns are also racists and/or xenophobic. They have all mentioned Hispanics and African Americans as threats when talking about why they need their guns.

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  50. Deborah said on March 29, 2023 at 8:56 pm

    We’re in Manhattan staying at a swanky hotel, out of our normal price range but because this is also a family gathering of my husband’s siblings we’re biting the bullet. Our room is on the 51st floor, with a fabulous view but alas hardly any storage space for the clothes we brought, and we travel incredibly light. It must be mostly for business people who only stay one night or something (?). We went to MOMA today and had lunch at The Modern which was delicious. Then my husband and I walked, first we had to buy him a tie, because tomorrow night we’re having dinner at the Metropolitan Club where jackets and ties are required. Then we walked up through Central Park to the Met, then back down to 5th Ave and located the Monkey Bar a quintessential Manhattan bar that hasn’t changed probably since the 40s.

    Tomorrow night we go to the private opening at the Guggenheim for the exhibit that my art collector sister in law has 2 pieces from her collection in, which is the reason we’re all here. I’m wearing heels to that, and I haven’t worn heels for years because I never go anywhere anymore where I need to. I hope I don’t fall on my face.

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  51. FDChief said on March 29, 2023 at 9:02 pm

    I generally don’t advise people to have firearms in the house. They’re a dangerous tool that far too many people don’t respect or fear enough, or store and use safely. Unless you live in Mogadishu, no, you don’t NEED a personal weapon.

    But I’m also not going to pretend to be pacifist. If the wingnuts want to turn this country back to 1899, they’ll have to fight me for it, from the public square to the ballot box to – if they continue to pick the fights they’re choosing – the rifle pit and the bayonet.

    And don’t kid yourself. That’s the whole point of the Threepers and Oathkeepers and Proud Boys and groypers and all the rest of the modern-day freikorps. They may not be actual “Nazis” but they work from the same basic outlook. All of this noise is meant to frighten out non-sis/non-het/non-binary/non-Christian/non-wingnut people back into the closet or into hiding.

    But if they can’t do that? They’ll settle for killing you. They say it out loud. Believe them.

    Once you’ve done that?

    You can decide what level of armament – if any – you feel you need to deal with that if it comes down to cases.

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