Work friends.

A former colleague of mine from Fort Wayne, Leo Morris, died Friday. He was an editorial writer, later the ed-page editor of the News-Sentinel, where I was a columnist; we had another friend in common, so he was one of the first people I got to know when I moved to Indiana, and things went on from there.

We were strictly work friends. We didn’t go to lunch, or out for drinks, but every day I’d mosey down to his glassed-in office and we’d have a chat/download, sometimes when he was eating a disgusting “breakfast” from the downstairs vending machines, or putting peanuts into an RC Cola, a snack he’d grown fond of in his Kentucky childhood. I was fond of the solitaire game on his PC, and I’d play it, or leaf through the many political publications the department subscribed to, while he read page proofs. The editorial page was overstaffed and overpaid when I started, with an editor, two writers and a secretary, a holdover from those days when newspapers enjoyed enormous profit margins. The N-S wasn’t as overstaffed as The Columbus Dispatch, but there was always time for solitaire and talking through column and editorial ideas. Also, Leo kept a candy dish in his office, and I like candy, especially those sour cherry balls and Hershey’s Miniatures.

We shared a foundational belief: That we didn’t know what we really thought about anything until we’d written about it. He liked bluegrass music more than I did, but we both loved Warren Zevon. He was a nice guy, even a sweetheart.

Politically, he was conservative, although he called himself a libertarian. In time, I would come to understand libertarians and their philosophy as…well, you know. We’ve all known a few, and it suited Leo, who’d grown up a bookish boy who liked to hold things at arm’s length, and then write about them. It ensures you’ll never have to be disappointed in your side, because your side is ridiculous and never wins elections. I used to tease him that “Being a libertarian means never having to say ‘so help me God,'” i.e. take an oath of office. Only two issues aroused real passion in him:  SCOTUS’ Kelo decision, which he seemed to consider equivalent to genocide as a moral crime, and the fact Jane Fonda wasn’t doing a life sentence for treason, treason I say. (He was a Vietnam vet. He never, ever, ever forgave her.)

I was long gone from the paper by the time Trump was elected, and the last time I’d talked to Leo was after the Goeglein affair, but if I’d have been there, I’d have teased him that he was cheated out of a Washington Post contributor’s spot. As you recall, the WP’s embarrassing Gary Abernathy, the bard of Hillsboro, Ohio, was picked to be the paper’s ed-page Reasonable MAGA voice, the Buckeye Salena Zito, after the paper he edited was one of two or three in the country to endorse Trump for president. But the N-S endorsed him, too, and Leo wrote the editorial. I know he did because he was the only one left in the department, and I recognized his arm’s-length style in the argument: They – as in, the editorial We, intoning as one – didn’t like Trump very much, but they hated Hillary and Trump would probably get bored and resign or leave office early, and then Mike Pence would be president, and they liked him very much. Maybe that was too weird for the WashPost, but whatever.

I don’t know when I soured on even being work friends with Leo; maybe it was after my year in Ann Arbor, when I was toiling on the copy desk. In my absence, Leo had started a blog on the paper’s website, which was unmistakably modeled on Glenn Reynolds’, whom you people who remember the ol’ blogosphere know as Instapundit. Fresh from nine months of vigorous intellectual discussions with smart people, I’d lost my patience with Iraq-war boosterism, and ironic conservative detachment. But the paper was circling the drain at that point, so if his heart really wasn’t in it anymore, neither was anyone else’s.

Then we moved to Michigan, the paper folded and Leo started writing for the Indiana Policy Review, a “think tank” that does no thinking, but is instead a welfare program funded by a couple of rich right-wing Hoosier families for the benefit of one man, Leo’s old boss at the N-S, Craig Ladwig. It was part of a Heritage Foundation seed-the-hinterlands project when it launched around 1990, and never did much, although Mike Pence was on the board of directors, and it was there that he wrote the pieces that gained him a fair amount of ridicule in the 2016 election, especially the one where he claimed smoking doesn’t kill. Jane Mayer found the receipts for The New Yorker:

In a 2008 speech, Pence described himself as “part of what we called the seed corn Heritage Foundation was spreading around the country in the state think-tank movement.” It isn’t fully clear whose money was behind the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, because think tanks, as nonprofits, don’t have to disclose their donors. But the early funders of the Heritage Foundation included some Fortune 500 companies, in fields such as oil, chemicals, and tobacco, that opposed health, safety, and environmental regulations.

Cecil Bohanon, one of two adjunct scholars at Pence’s think tank, had a history of financial ties to tobacco-company front groups, and in 2000 Pence echoed industry talking points in an essay that argued, “Smoking doesn’t kill. In fact, two out of every three smokers doesn’t die from a smoking-related illness.” A greater “scourge” than cigarettes, he argued, was “big government disguised as do-gooder, healthcare rhetoric.” Bohanon, who still writes for the think tank’s publication, also has ties to the Kochs. Last year, John Hardin, the head of university relations for the Charles Koch Foundation, told an Indiana newspaper that the Kochs had been funding Bohanon’s work as a professor of free-market economics at Ball State University “for years.”

Guess what killed Leo, a lifelong smoker? I guess he was the unlucky one out of three.

Leo’s weekly column, offered free to Hoosier newspapers, was picked up by the smaller ones, so he still had a readership. I would hit the IPR site for a little self-induced exasperation, but I always figured that if somehow we were still under the same office roof, we could shoot the shit and share some Hershey’s Miniatures, but then I read this and thought, sadly, that nope, that could never happen:

President Trump did not, in point of fact, ask Vice President Mike Pence to reject the electoral votes resulting from the November balloting, therefore Banks and the other Trump-supporting nominee (Jim Jordan of Ohio) were not supporting efforts to “overturn the election.”

The Constitution gives states the authority over the selection of electoral votes, based on state legislatures’ duly authorized procedures. In several states, notably ones Trump lost by dubious margins or under suspicious circumstances, governors or election officials ignored those procedures and made up new rules on the fly.

Legislators from some of the states asked – formally, in letters – for more time so they could determine whether the illegal conduct was enough reason to toss the existing certification of electors and submit new slates more accurately reflecting the states’ votes.

There is not a consensus among constitutional scholars over what powers the vice president might or might not have over electoral disputes, so we can have a legitimate and (we can only hope) respectful debate over the issue. But to be clear: He was being asked to give those legislatures more time. He wasn’t being asked to overturn anything.

JFC, even Mike Pence didn’t believe that. And note that leap from “suspicious circumstances” to “illegal conduct,” and how close margins in swing states are now “dubious.”

So there you go: Another relationship sundered by MAGA.

When I heard earlier this week that Leo was ill, I sent him a note wishing him well. I wasn’t aware how sick he was, and I’m sure he didn’t get to read it. But I meant every word. We all have to die sometime, but gasping for breath is a terrible way to go. This Indiana Policy Review’s appreciation of him is OK, but in the unmistakable voice of Craig, who drops eye-popping lines like “It can be said that Morris was the last real journalist left in Indiana” and uh, whu-?

Oh well. They won’t be around much longer, either. None of us will, in the earth’s time. Which reminds me that Leo was a climate-change denier, too, and I just smile sadly. You tell your young friends, though, that working at home has its advantages, but you’ll never have the unique relationships of work friends, who are some of the most memorable people I’ve known in my life, and I treasure them. Even the ones who are wrong.

Posted at 5:00 pm in Media |

56 responses to “Work friends.”

  1. Mark P said on July 9, 2023 at 5:49 pm

    How stupid do you have to be to think or say that two out of three smokers don’t die of a smoking-related disease, and that’s a good thing? That means a third of smokers do die from a smoking-related disease. That’s worse odds than playing Russian roulette with a revolver.

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    • nancy said on July 9, 2023 at 5:59 pm

      Just smart enough to count the zeros on the check from Philip Morris, I’d imagine.

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  2. Dave said on July 9, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    I wish I could remember what Leo said a couple of times about raising children because that used to set me off, I’d think, what’s he know about raising children? It would remind me of myself before I ever became a father and then found I had no idea what I was talking about.

    I’ve long thought it would be easy to think like a libertarian if you had only yourself to be responsible for.

    Smoking killed my grandfather, he never thought that would happen and he lived far longer than most smokers, making it to 89 but none the less, lung cancer.

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  3. Mark P said on July 9, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    I have seen it argued from the standpoint of a rational allocation of limited resources that we spend too much on prevention and treatment of smoking-related lung cancer because on average it only cuts off a few years at the end of life. Put forward by a young(ish) person, no doubt.

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    • nancy said on July 9, 2023 at 7:08 pm

      A pulmonologist friend likes to point out that the last few years of a smoker’s life are generally spent on oxygen, struggling for breath. It’s not like the smokers get 89 years and drop dead, and the non-smokers, 92 years.

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  4. Mark P said on July 9, 2023 at 7:17 pm

    Personally, I think I would rather skip those last few years if I had to face them.

    The almost incomprehensible thing for someone not addicted is how strong the urge is to smoke, even knowing what the future holds. “Maybe I’ll be one of the lucky ones that doesn’t get cancer.” Maybe it will only be COPD, or losing a leg because of poor circulation, or pulmonary fibrosis. Or maybe it will just be your grandkids turning away when you try to kiss them because your breath stinks.

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  5. David C said on July 9, 2023 at 7:46 pm

    My great-grandparents promised to give my grandfather a pocket watch if he didn’t start smoking until he was 21. He never started and they gave him the watch. I don’t think smoking was considered a nasty habit back then, except for women. He was born in 1893. My great-grandmother had a college degree at a time when most people never attended high school so I’m quite sure she knew it was no good for your health.

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  6. LAMary said on July 9, 2023 at 8:51 pm

    The very right wing, closeted gay brother smoked and drank heavily. A few years ago he was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus, copd, heart disease. He already was on insulin for his diabetes. He and I are the only two family members who speak to each other and we have careful phone conversations. He went through chemo and radiation and the cancer was gone a few years ago. Now it’s back. He found that out when he went to the hospital after having a “minor” stroke. He also has microfractures of his vertebrae from several falls he took while drunk. There are so many life lessons to be learned from all this. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I quit drinking about 40 years ago and quit smoking 35 years ago. A month ago I went to a gastroenterologist for a pre-colonoscopy visit. He asked if I had any family members with cancers of the digestive system. Yup, my mother had colon cancer. She died from it. When I mentioned the brother first thing the doc asked was, “does he smoke and drink?” Yes he did. Not anymore but he definitely did until a few years ago. I also think there’s a life lesson about being such an uptight right winger that you stay in the closet for your entire life. He’s got a lot of anger to deal with and I guess the booze and the tobacco were his self medication.

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  7. Julie Robinson said on July 9, 2023 at 9:00 pm

    Dad started smoking as a young boy and tried repeatedly to stop, but would soon be back to three packs a day. I always figured I’d lose him to cancer, not knowing smoking also destroys the coronary artery system. After a massive heart attack he spent three years waiting for a new heart, and did not survive the surgery. 62. Even before all that he never made smoking look attractive; hacking away constantly, stinking of smoke. I’ve never smoked, not a single cigarette.

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  8. FDChief said on July 9, 2023 at 9:37 pm

    I can’t imagine that the expense and effort that go into anti-smoking measures are all that much, compared to the health care costs of treating smokers. That sounds like a tobacco-funded wingnut talking point.

    I’ve worked with some people who became good friends. And some people who were…not friends so much as entertaining, like the guy who used to turn in four page field reports that read like novels.

    Finally I sat down with him and said “Look; you watched a proof-roll of soil fill, and let’s get this clear. The client doesn’t need to know how you felt. Or how the soil felt. Or how the truck felt. Or how the moment was emblematic of existential despair. They need to know whether the soil held up the truck. Or not.”

    It didn’t help. His output continued to rival Tolstoy.

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  9. Deborah said on July 9, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    Non smoker here too. occasionally at work parties back in the 80s my colleagues got a kick out of it if I smoked a cigarette, so I’d hold a lit one in my mouth for a bit until everyone got a good laugh. As Clinton said, I never inhaled, only I really never did. Smoking never appealed to me. My ex smoked like a chimney so I’ve probably inhaled enough second hand smoke to do me in, after being married to him for 15 years.

    It was 93º today in Santa Fe, our potted marigolds got all droopy and they were fine this morning. Bummer, hopefully they will perk up tonight. The degree mark has a little underline under it, which never happened before, I’m hoping when I hit submit it will go away?

    edit: The little underline is still there. What does that even mean?

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  10. alex said on July 9, 2023 at 10:49 pm

    As Leo was a libertarian, I never quite understood his argument that gay rights was a states’ rights issue and should be decided by voters, not courts, and that he had been deprived of having his say when it was none of his fucking business in the first place. Nor did I give any credence to his elaborate pretense that Mike Pence’s bill granting the right to discriminate against gays on religious grounds was something other than what it was, and that the left was somehow mischaracterizing it for political gain. (When Pence backpedaled under pressure from donors like Eli Lilly and Caterpillar and amended the bill to explicitly prohibit anti-gay discrimination, the bill’s supporters went wacko and demanded Pence’s scalp, totally deflating any argument that the bill was written for some other more altruistic purpose.) We went round and round on that subject on his ridiculous blog. But I’ll give him credit for not being facile and gratuitously nasty. His colleague Kevin Leininger’s position was, essentially, “because Scripture says so, and Scripture is the Word of God — GOD, goddammit — so nanna-nanna boo-boo.”

    He was a cantankerous old cuss, and even likable as a person. I always thought he looked and acted like a Jim Henson muppet styled after an angry old man. But I can’t really forgive him for turning his otherwise formidable talents toward bending the arc of justice backwards.

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  11. A. Riley said on July 9, 2023 at 10:53 pm

    F’ing cancer. My mom, lifelong smoker, died of lung cancer at 75, but they didn’t diagnose it until autopsy.

    She was a retired nurse and we found a clipboard with her daily blood pressure readings — she knew something wasn’t right, but her very stupid doctor was no help at all. Why she stuck with that quack I’ll never know.

    When she was in the hospital (where she had worked for a while long before this), her old friend Dr. Glendenning took her under his wing, and the nurses were so kind.

    Dr. G never billed her (us) for her final illness. Neither did the hospital. Small city, all the health care workers knew each other. And they took care of each other.

    F’ing cancer.

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  12. Dexter Friend said on July 10, 2023 at 3:07 am

    My co-worker Dewey was a generation older than I, and was a Chevy only guy, I was Ford. He loved and believed in Nixon; I hated Nixon to the point I would get nauseous talking about Nixon. Dewey loved the NY Yankees, I hated them. Dewey never ate pork products, he only ate beef and lamb; I loved bacon and ham and chops. Dewey only drank iced tea and I had coffee when our gang went for Friday breakfasts.
    I loved that old bastard, his hilarious stories of shenanigans on bowling trips (I hated bowling).
    Other friends at work once called me aside for an intervention…they said Dewey was not like us (or me) and they wanted me to stop talking to him. Yeah, for real. I just laughed them off. Dewey and I argued about every-damn-thing, and ended up laughing our asses off. We’d go to see his Yankees in Detroit and Chicago and we split a slaughtered lamb a few times over he years. In bars only a few times with him, he’d drink Southern Comfort and 7-Up mixed, and I’d drink 5 beers.
    We were so different and yet, even with the age difference, really good friends. Hell, I still don’t know how. He’s long gone now; he was a helluva character.

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  13. Alan Stamm said on July 10, 2023 at 8:15 am

    Touching tribute to a person and much more — enormous profit margins, candy dishes, shooting the breeze, bookishness and moseying down office halls.

    I even miss the vending machines.

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  14. Susan Gillie said on July 10, 2023 at 9:13 am

    I grew up in Ft. Wayne, and like Bill Blass, left as soon as I could. Whenever I returned for holidays, I’d take up the family tradition of reading both papers.
    Leo struck me as dour. Then I read one of his articles criticizing an Indianapolis restaurant. His complaint? Too pretentious, servings too small. Then he named a horrible Ft. Wayne restaurant as better.
    Now, food is something I know about. The restaurant? Oakleys Bistro, run and operated by Steve Oakley. One of the best, most underrated establishments in the Midwest. In an industry filled with bombastic assholes, he is quiet and kind. He’s been instrumental in supporting work programs that elevate skills levels of cooks and provides job opportunities.
    Plus, he beat Bobby Flay.

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    • nancy said on July 10, 2023 at 9:34 am

      Leo was one of those guys who wore a groove in the world. He went to the same restaurants week after week (Lebamoff’s and the Rib Room), traveled only to Indianapolis (to visit his sister) and Texas (to visit his brother). He once took a vacation week and stayed at home. He told a friend that he only allowed himself to buy single packs of cigarettes that week, no cartons, so he’d be forced to leave his house at least a few times.

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  15. JodiP said on July 10, 2023 at 9:22 am

    My mom was a life-long smoker. My father used to beat her up when he found her smoking, but she never quit. That speaks powerfully to the strength of addiction.

    They got divorced when she was 49, and she remarried to a smoker. But he was a great guy and they were very happy.

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  16. Mark P said on July 10, 2023 at 10:29 am

    I worked at the Augusta (Ga) Chronicle and Herald in the early ‘70’s. I started 50 years ago, which seems entirely unlikely. The newsroom was full of smokers. When I went home my clothes and hair stank of stale cigarette smoke. When I google the names I remember, the only ones I can find are those who have died, except for one who made it to the LA Times (Good for her!) and one who is an insurance agent. I recently looked at the Chronicle web site. The Herald, the afternoon paper, has since folded. Based on the staff list, the newsroom must be a ghost town. I wonder how many smokers there are.

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  17. Icarus said on July 10, 2023 at 10:40 am

    Never smoked cigarettes or weed. I watched as smoking was slowly eliminated from the workplace.

    swapping out capacitors on the AC didn’t work. I’m gonna have to find a pro. Sucks to be unemployed me.

    in my industry, most of the remote jobs still required living in a state the law firms had an office for tax compliance. Now there’s a shift to hybrid which rules me out even more. and being 54 doesn’t help.

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  18. David C said on July 10, 2023 at 10:57 am

    Smoking in the office was quite the thing when I started working. When it was finally banned a few people quit including the AA in our department. The woman who replaced her spent her first couple of days cleaning the cubicle. The water was disgusting. She said to me “Can you imagine what her lungs look like?”. I couldn’t. The former AA died about five years later of a heart attack before she reached age 50.

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  19. Heathr said on July 10, 2023 at 12:02 pm

    I remember when I was a kid, our neighbor in the apartment next to us, who was a serious smoker, gave us some white sliding doors she wasn’t going to need in her new place. They were literally light brown from all the cigarette smoke over the years. Ironically, she lived to an advanced age and my mother died of ovarian cancer at 42.

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  20. robert said on July 10, 2023 at 12:17 pm

    smoking – ugh. everything about tobacco and smoking is bad for humans and the environment.

    It’s well known that smoking diminishes oxygen transport to the brain. I suppose that leads to cognitive impairment, hence MAGA?

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  21. LAMary said on July 10, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    Icarus, I’m freaking 70 and I have a job offer. I’m going through the swamp of government job background checks, live scan, 50 page documents to read and sign, drug screens etc. I was getting nothing but bullshit offers before this one. Those were for jobs that were more like pyramid schemes. In any case I got more interest when I redid my resume to not have any clue to my age. I also would not complete any application I did online that asked for my high school graduation date. The applicant tracking systems that ask that question don’t give the option of skipping the question. It’s illegal for an employer to ask your age but ICIMS (an applicant tracking system) asks. Some others do too. I know the employer has the option of excluding that question but many leave it there. Only after I had an offer letter did I fill in all those questions that included my birthdate or graduation date.

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  22. Jeff Borden said on July 10, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    Yusef Salaam, who was one of the Central Park Five railroaded in the wake of a horrible rape and assault case, was recently elected to an NYC City Council seat representing Harlem.

    The Orange Cancer, demonstrating his bone-deep racism well before his political career, had called in a full page advertisement in the NYT for the return of the death penalty so it could be used against Salaam and the other four. All were exonerated, of course, and as usual, tRump never offered an apology or retraction.

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  23. Deborah said on July 10, 2023 at 1:34 pm

    Ah yes, the smoking in the office years. It seemed like everyone smoked but me, one more nail in my coffin, not only did my ex smoke at home but all of my adjacent cubicle work colleagues did too. It’s so rare to see people hovering around an outside door smoking now, compared to a few years ago. And lordy the expense, what do cigarettes even cost now? My ex and his wife still smoke, LB hasn’t been to their house in years but when she did go, she’d come back reeking.

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  24. Jason T. said on July 10, 2023 at 2:01 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss, Nancy — though in some ways, it seems like he was lost a long time ago.

    There’s a certain kind of “newspaper lifer” — characters that were found in every newsroom, big and small. I wonder where they work now.

    It reminds me of an old anecdote from some old-time reporter — it might have been Bob Considine, but I don’t think so. Whoever it was said that people would always remark, “Oh, a newspaperman! You must meet such interesting people.” He would respond, “Yes, but most of them also work for newspapers.”

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  25. Joe Kobiela said on July 10, 2023 at 2:11 pm

    Obama is a smoker, explains a lot.
    Pilot Joe

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  26. Jeff Gill said on July 10, 2023 at 2:48 pm

    Joe, if you don’t want to be called a troll, don’t be a troll.

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  27. Icarus said on July 10, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    LAMary, I rarely apply directly. Typically a recruiter finds me through LinkedIn, we have a call. She sends my resume to the Hiring Manager and often interviews are scheduled. Even though I use to look young for my age, time catches up. And I have screwed the pooch on some interviews.

    Unfortunately, I’m between a rock and hard place. The last two contract gigs didn’t really add any value to my Skills, Abilities, and Knowledge, but I have to have them listed to show I’m “hirable”.

    Moving to the armpit of the South didn’t do me any favors.

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  28. Mark P said on July 10, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    I see a lot of people saying Obama only got into school because of affirmative action. I would love to see a one-to-one comparison between them and Obama on any measure of intelligence.

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  29. tajalli said on July 10, 2023 at 3:06 pm

    Well, Obama used to smoke, although intermittently. I love how he jokes about the power dynamics between himself and Michelle but then he says that he finally quit because he couldn’t ask his daughters to refrain from something he continued to do himself. I really miss his and Michelle’s demonstration of decency and culture on a daily basis from the days of his presidency.

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  30. LAMary said on July 10, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    I’m lucky. I’m told I don’t look my age all the time. Having done a shitload of zoom meetings I know how to adjust the lighting to not show that whole neck situation. Rather than letting recruiters find you check out Indeed. You’ve probably done that already but keep looking. If you see something at a company where your skills might be wanted but the job they’ve posted on Indeed or Linkedin or Ziprecruiter isn’t right for you go to the company’s website. Look at what else they’re looking for. Sometimes their recruiting team has a budget and can’t advertise on those sites but they do post on the company website. Indeed also has a cheaper level of job posting available so they might have more jobs that aren’t as urgent to fill than the other sites.

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  31. Scout said on July 10, 2023 at 3:52 pm

    A dear friend of mine was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago and had a portion of her right lung removed. She quit smoking when she was diagnosed and never took it back up after her surgery and treatments. Her scans stayed clean until a couple months ago when they weren’t. She is terminal, has weeks or months to live and is homebound and on oxygen. I visited her on Saturday and she is quite serene about what’s coming, now that the initial shock has worn off. She says she is happy she had a great life and said that dying at 70 isn’t a great tragedy, at least she’s not 50. Hard to believe that just two months ago we were bouncing around together in our cardio dance class, going out to lunch, and making plans to volunteer for the ballet company together. She had just booked a tour of Italy she will not get to go on. Cancer is a fucking tragedy and tobacco companies are evil.

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  32. Joe Kobiela said on July 10, 2023 at 4:15 pm

    Robert made the accusation, or is that statement only true about people you don’t agree with?
    Pilot Joe

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  33. Icarus said on July 10, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    I was 13 when this happened and I remember watching the reports on the evening news. I don’t think we feared for our lives but we obviously avoided Tylenol and other pills.

    Because 7 people died, tamper-proof packaging was created for pretty much anything that could be consumed.

    But hey, let’s not do anything about guns.

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  34. Sherri said on July 10, 2023 at 5:56 pm

    I grew up in tobacco growing country. The local newspaper was (is, though Gannett now) called the Leaf Chronicle, leaf being tobacco leaf. My grandfather had a tobacco farm. Every adult male relative I knew smoked. My high school had a designated smoking area.

    By the time I was grown, many of them had quit. The tobacco farm was now raising soybeans. Eventually even restaurants went from smoking allowed to smoking sections to no smoking. I knew some people who died from lung cancer, but many more who had emphysema, an advanced form of COPD.

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  35. Jeff Borden said on July 10, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    We just hosted our weather-delayed July 4th gathering on Saturday with 30-plus guests. Not one smoked. We still know a one or two hardcore smokers, but virtally everyone else has stubbed out their last butt. I don’t even enjoy the occasional cigar any more.

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  36. Deborah said on July 10, 2023 at 6:19 pm

    Oh, I forgot about cigars, back in the day when smoking was still allowed in offices, when someone’s wife had a baby, the new dad would hand out cigars, to everybody (even the women) and there was stink everywhere, and a hovering smoke cloud over all.

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  37. alex said on July 10, 2023 at 7:47 pm

    Smoking in the office was still a thing when I first joined the work force. Then it went to smokeless ashtrays, which didn’t make for a smokeless environment but those things would suck down a cigarette for you if you set it down for a moment and would ooze tar out the vents. Then they went to smoking lounges which were so god-awful and nasty that it was preferable to just go outside, which is what soon became compulsory anyway.

    I’ve managed to quit tobacco but replaced it with vaping. The vape companies evade regulation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms because their product delivers nicotine that is not derived from tobacco plants but is produced in a laboratory.

    Don’t know what the future holds for me healthwise. I smoked a lot and for a long time. And I don’t really know what I’m putting into my body now, but at least it’s not leaving residues of combustion all over the place. The non-smoking public is anti-vaping as much as it is anti-smoking but the nice thing about vapes is that you can buy relatively odorless and flavorless ones that don’t emit much of a plume and you can toke on them discreetly anywhere you please.

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  38. jcburns said on July 10, 2023 at 8:48 pm

    “And I don’t really know what I’m putting into my body now, but at least it’s not leaving residues of combustion all over the place.”

    Yeah, but Alex, what’s it leaving inside of you? I guess I’m part of the anti-vaping, non-smoking public. PLEASE consider stopping this addictive chemical. For your health and well-being. Please.

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  39. Julie Robinson said on July 10, 2023 at 9:05 pm

    As much as I loathe smoking and vaping, I have compassion after watching my dad try to kick it. Also, I’m overweight. No fingers available to point.

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  40. Joe Kobiela said on July 10, 2023 at 9:23 pm

    Don’t kid yourself it’s never discrete and you look like a fool trying to hide it. Please stop.
    Pilot Joe

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  41. alex said on July 10, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    Go fuck yourself.

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  42. Joe Kobiela said on July 10, 2023 at 10:51 pm

    Bless your little old heart Alex can’t you do better than that?
    Try harder sweetie and use big boy words.
    Pilot Joe

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  43. Dexter Friend said on July 11, 2023 at 4:14 am

    oh Jesus help them…you GOTSTA read this from nance’s former employer Bridge:

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  44. ROGirl said on July 11, 2023 at 4:52 am

    I can’t stand it when people smoking in their cars dangle their cigarettes out of an open window, letting the smoke waft out to all the other cars with open windows.

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  45. David C said on July 11, 2023 at 6:05 am

    That and flicking their cigarette butts wherever. A friend in college drove to school, went to class, and went back to find her car a charred mess surrounded by fire trucks. She drove with her windows open and someone’s butt landed in her back seat.

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  46. alex said on July 11, 2023 at 6:39 am

    I don’t smell cigarettes in traffic very often, but I smell skunk quite a bit more these days and I know it’s not skunk.

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  47. Deborah said on July 11, 2023 at 8:52 am

    Scout, how are you folks doing in the extreme heat? We’re over 90º for the next 10 days, unless miraculously the monsoons start up unexpectedly, probably won’t happen. Santa Fe is setting records for the most warm days in a row, it’s not getting below 60º anymore at night either. In a couple of days we will all be in Abiquiu where it’s always a bit warmer than Santa Fe, it will be near 100 for a while. Thankfully we will be house/pet sitting for some neighbors out there who have air conditioning.

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  48. Jeff Borden said on July 11, 2023 at 9:37 am

    Oh, my. Conservatives will have to avoid the Netherlands, I guess, though most MAGAts don’t seen to travel beyond the borders of ‘Murica. The new Miss Netherlands beauty pageant winner is transgender. The horror! The horror!

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  49. Jenine said on July 11, 2023 at 10:49 am

    Reporting from further south in NM, we’re in ABQ and last night was fairly terrible with heat. Our new-old house has two swamp coolers. The older one is the one close to our bedroom and isn’t cutting it. I slept in a different room last night. The newer swamp cooler is quieter and seems to cool better, it’s away from the bedrooms of course. I may have to move into the library to sleep.

    No break in the 100’s visible in the forecast yet. C’mon monsoon storms.

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  50. Heather said on July 11, 2023 at 11:23 am

    Scout, I’m sorry to hear about your friend.

    On the looking for a job when you are older front, a friend of mine–a fellow freelance writer who I had bimonthly calls with for support and information sharing–got a job this spring and she’s 70. She said it was the most money she’d ever made in her life too. And she doesn’t look particularly younger than her age, FWIW. Her employer was a freelance client, so networking is key, I think.

    I think my boyfriend is one of those newspaper lifers. He has been at the Chicago Reader for about 25 years, first as a typesetter and proofreader and now as the music editor. I think he is one of two people still there when I worked there in the 90s. The other one is an ex-boyfriend, ha.

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  51. LAMary said on July 11, 2023 at 11:26 am

    The temperatures here didn’t break 70 until June and didn’t hit 80 until July. I think the hottest it’s been here is 83 which is very bearable with no humidity. Towards the end of this week we may get a run of low 90s for five or six days. I’m assuming all the nightmare triple digit weather will hit mid August and continue into September. The nice weather of the spring and summer was nature’s way apologizing for the floods of January, February and into early March.

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  52. Jeff Borden said on July 11, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    I kind of regret leaving teaching at age 71 last year. The interactions with smart young people from around the world–I taught students from every continent except Antarctica– was bracing and life affirming. But I couldn’t in good conscience not admit I’d lost a step and wasn’t teaching at the same level as before the coronavirus.

    I need to find another way to be of service, but just for a few hours per week. Time to get serious about finding a rewarding volunteer job. I’d like to help people become citizens, for example. Just have to get my ass in gear.

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  53. Dorothy said on July 11, 2023 at 5:10 pm

    Jeff Borden – a friend of ours who will be 66 next month has been substitute teaching and finds it very rewarding. And he was never a teacher before, but he has a college degree. His wife does it, too, and sometimes they are working in the same school on the same day. Maybe that might keep you engaged a bit?

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