I see Dexter mentioned the Michigan Ball-Kicking Incident in the last thread. I haven’t checked the comments to see if it’s caught anyone’s fancy, but it certainly caught mine, so here goes the summation from ground-level Michigan: 

The state GOP is fighting. They’ve been fighting for a while, but now the rebels are fighting amongst themselves, a real People’s Front of Judea vs. the Judean People’s Front type of situation, only stupider and not funny, unless you’re a Democrat. Earlier this year, the state party chairmanship was seized by the crazier of two crazy candidates, on the basis of this argument: Crazy person #1 ran for and lost the attorney general’s seat in 2022, and crazy person #2 ran for and lost the secretary of state’s race (by a bigger margin than the AG candidate), but! The AG wannabe, Matt DePerno, conceded his race on election night, and the SoS wannabe, Kristina Karamo, did not. Why should I concede I lost a race in a corrupt system? she asked the crowd at the state convention, and that did the trick. She won on the last ballot, as the cleaning crew was poised to kick everyone out because they ran way over their allotted time in the convention hall. That’s because they had to hand-count the ballots, because tabulators = EVIL. 

So even before this started, these were the folks in charge: The nuts. 

Then, the nuts began fighting amongst themselves. Karamo’s own vice-chair was splitting with her over financial issues. The party is flat-ass broke, the big donors have closed their checkbooks, and somehow the expected tsunami of small-dollar contributions isn’t filling the gap. There was some hiring and firing and this and that, and then this Saturday happened. The story’s paywalled, but here’s the gist:

As Michigan Republicans have been openly feuding over the party’s direction and the leadership approach of new Chairwoman Kristina Karamo, some were frustrated that the beginning of Saturday’s special meeting at the Doherty Hotel was limited to only members of the state committee.

In an interview, James Chapman, a Republican from Wayne County, said he traveled to Clare for the meeting but was forced to listen to it through a locked door.

Chapman said he and others said the Pledge of Allegiance together in the lobby outside the meeting and acknowledged he wiggled the knob of one door leading to the meeting room.

And then? And thennnnn?

Eventually, Mark DeYoung, chairman of the Clare County Republican Party, heard the wiggling and walked over to the door, where he saw someone flip him off through a small window.

DeYoung opened the door.

“He kicked me in my balls as soon as I opened the door,” DeYoung said.

Not only that, Chapman then bum-rushed DeYoung across the room and slammed him into a chair, or something. (Allegedly.) DeYoung ended up in the ER with a cracked rib and presumably an ice pack on his business, and Chapman was suspended from his local GOP committee. MLive dug up a detail I hadn’t known, that snapped a lot into place for me: He was the guy who showed up at a 2020 Lansing protest of the governor’s Covid restrictions carrying a fishing rod with a nude, brunette Barbie-type doll dangling from the end, clearly meant to be Gretchen Whitmer. (Photo at the link.) The kidnapping story hadn’t broken yet, but this was too much even for the MAGA crowd, and he was asked to stash it. He’s got a criminal record, too. A real model citizen.

Bottom line: The crazies are still in charge, the checkbooks are staying closed, and I doubt we’ll see a Republican win the open U.S. Senate seat next year. 

The other major news of the week? The best possible suspect for Chicago’s Tylenol murders of 1982, James Lewis, is dead, apparently of natural causes. He never served a day for the murders themselves, although he drew a 12-year federal-prison term for trying to extort $1 million from Johnson & Johnson, in exchange for “stopping the killings,” which he never admitted to. I remember those, as should everyone who was alive and paying attention then. For those of you who weren’t, they are the reason we now have to break through multiple levels of packaging to get at an over-the-counter medicine today. The Sun-Times is “free,” but it can be a pain in the ass to get to. If you have an account, this column by a retired editor who was a reporter then is worth your time. Tom McNamee interviewed Lewis in prison: 

I felt a physical chill when, in the tone of a man who thinks he’s clever, Lewis offered to explain to me how any mope — though certainly not himself — could have safely and efficiently filled Tylenol capsules with deadly cyanide.

It was simply a matter of drilling holes in a breadboard, Lewis explained, and inserting half a Tylenol capsule shell into each hole. Then, he said, the mope — certainly not him — would brush the powdered cyanide across the board with a table knife, letting it fall into the capsules.

But you didn’t do it, James?

“No,” he said. With a smile.

Neil Steinberg detailed how the killings went on his blog today, too, in an excerpt from his book. 

And that’s about all I have for the day, which is slipping by. Better get some real work done.

Posted at 12:52 pm in Current events |

27 responses to “Fisticuffs.”

  1. David C said on July 11, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    The rubes have no money left after giving it all to TFG for him to spend so wisely saving America from the scourge of leaving office when you loose.

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  2. Jeff Borden said on July 11, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    Every time I nearly rip off a finger opening an OTC package rigged to defeat Houdini, I curse that asshole. Ditto for the asshole who tried to light a shoe bomb, requiring us all to shed our shoes.

    The QOP is in a weird and dangerous place. The leading preznit candidate is an incoherent sack of shit who’s also a traitor of the first order, in addition to every single ugly personality trait known to science.

    The putative second choice is a greasy little fascist punk who mistakes performative cruelty for toughness and is intent on returning Floriduh to the ’50s.
    Tim Scott? Nimirata Haley? Doug Fucking Burgum? Idiots, all, pushing a ludicrous vision of a never real nostalgia instead of concrete proposals.

    The QOP in its current state needs to die. Something more normal needs to rise from the ash.

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  3. ROGirl said on July 11, 2023 at 1:55 pm

    The Doherty Hotel in Clare. Not exactly the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids.

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  4. Sherri said on July 11, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    What would a more normal party look like? For most of our life, the animating purposes of the Republican Party have been get rid of Communism, get rid of the New Deal, and get rid of civil rights progress. The Never Trumpers would like to turn the Republican Party back into a more “normal” party, but they’d just be the same old anti-New Deal, anti-civil rights people as before, right? John Roberts, Sam Alito, and Clarence Thomas weren’t appointed by Trump, after all, and the Federalist Society predates Trump.

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  5. alex said on July 11, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    What would a more normal party look like? Like it did before St. Ronnie gave the Birchers and the Bible-thumpers seats at the table instead of the crumbs on the floor. Much as we might detest Richard Nixon, we have him to thank for the EPA and FDA and other things that by today’s standards would be considered progressive. And when he got busted for wrongdoing he had the decency to step down for the good of the country rather than doubling down in defense of the indefensible.

    Speaking of which, Tommy Tuberville doesn’t seem to know which side of his ass he’s talking out of. When he swears he’s “110 percent not racist” does he mean by the Newsmax definition (i.e., that he’s not Black nor Brown)? I’m glad to see CNN still has a journalist with gumption enough to pin down that oily slimebag and call him out on his bullshit.

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  6. Jeff Borden said on July 11, 2023 at 2:50 pm


    The fall of the Soviet Union left Republicans without a natural enemy, so it turned to other boogeymen. St. Ronald of Reagan and his allies on the evangelical right found gays and the AIDS epidemic, which that corpulent bigot Jerry Falwell described as a gay plague sent by god.

    Bush I, who looks like an Olympian figure these days despite his meddling in Iran-Contra and his demonization of urban black crime (Willie Horton), did a good job of building the coalition to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait and managed the disintegration of the USSR pretty well, so he might be a partial model.

    Bush II was a stone cold dolt, an impetuous idiot with the Pentagon to play with and taxes for the wealthy to slash.

    What Republicans would you trust today? Mitt Romney is an honorable man. Larry Hogan ran a blue state very well and was extremely popular with voters. Adam Kinziger is a decent man, though he is very, very conservative.

    None of these folks are what the QOP wants. Like fentanyl, tRump is its addictive drug and they want another dose.

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  7. Deborah said on July 11, 2023 at 2:56 pm

    Yeah the Republican party is a mess, how they can win any election is a mystery. But there are lots of folks who like messes so I guess that’s how.

    Here’s something creepy that happened last night: LB woke me up a bit after midnight screaming that she had a bug in her ear. I stumbled into the bathroom where she was frantically punching around on her ear and sure enough a dark black bug about a 3/8″ long, and about 1/8″ wide, came crawling out. I was astounded but stumbled back to bed and this morning when I awakened I wasn’t sure if I dreamed it or it really happened. Today we inspected the dead bug that she squished in a kleenex and threw in the trash. We have no idea what it is, it grossed us out, she took a couple of photos of it and sent it to a couple of her friends who might know. She had taken her bedding to the dog sit where she had been when she found out she had shingles because she didn’t want to infect anyone, even though that’s not how one “catches” shingles. We don’t know if something got into her bedding there? Believe me she is washing her pillows and all of her bedding today.

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  8. Icarus said on July 11, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    Yeah the Republican party is a mess, how they can win any election is a mystery.

    Gerrymandering and the Electoral College are literally the Power Ups of the American Election Games.

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  9. FDChief said on July 11, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    Nixon had nothing to do with either of those valuable agencies other than to sign the bills the overwhelming Democratic Congressional majorities handed him knowing full well that they’d override his veto if he cared enough to try it. He was scum but not stupid.

    And the problem we’re faced with is that there’s no reason for the GQP to want the Rockefeller wing back. The plutocrats still get their tax cuts and the former Dixiecrats fill the electoral void left by the moderates enough to win enough without having to hide that delicious racism and queer-bashing.

    Short of a Whig-level electoral extinction event we will not see a sane “conservative” party in our lifetimes.

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  10. Scout said on July 11, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    In the last thread Deborah asked about the heat here in Phx. At this point it is still a dry heat, which makes it bearable. Not pleasant but bearable. The monsoons should be starting up here any day now which will raise the humidity but not actually lower the temps, so joy. We will be gone when it hits 117 this coming weekend because we fly out tonight to Lake Placid NY where the highs are in the 70s. Apparently the flooding in New England isn’t near where we’re going according to the friends we’re going there to visit.

    The GQP is a hot mess and needs to be euthanized so a functioning party can arise out of the swamp of corruption, hypocrisy and dysfunction. The AZ GOP is nearly broke thanks to the MAGAts who have been running it into the ground.

    From Newsweek:

    “In Arizona, Jim Click, from a family of longstanding GOP donors, told Reuters that “it’s too bad we let the right wing of our party take over the operations,” and said he would switch to backing individual candidates rather than the state Republican party.

    According to campaign finance filings the Arizona GOP had just $50,000 in its state and federal bank accounts on March 31, down from nearly $770,000 four years ago. Filings also show the Michigan GOP had around $116,000 in its federal account on March 31, compared to almost $867,000 on the same date in 2021.”

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  11. Sherri said on July 11, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    Nixon didn’t resign out of any sense of decency, he resigned because he had lost the support of the party. And what the party learned from that was to always support their leader, no matter what.

    The modern Republican Party was created before Reagan, when civil rights laws began to be passed and broke up the Democratic hold on the South. FDR had acquiesced to the racist Dems in the South in order to get the New Deal through, but after FDR, that coalition started breaking down. Strom Thurmond was a Democrat, ran for president as a Dixiecrat in 1948, filibustered civil rights legislation in 1957, and finally became a Republican and endorsed Goldwater in 1964. Goldwater opposed civil rights legislation, and most of his votes came from the previously Democratic south. Nixon rode the Southern Strategy to victory in 1968.

    Reagan was just the fulfillment of the realignment, not the instigation of it. Those Bible thumpers used to be Democrats and didn’t give a shit about abortion before civil rights. They cared about keeping N-words in their place, which is why Reagan began his campaign in Neshoba County, Mississippi.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on July 11, 2023 at 7:15 pm

    Tuberville has walked back his earlier statements under pressure from party leadership. Presumably his fingers were crossed behind his back though.

    Deborah, Little Bird, that is the stuff of nightmares.

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  13. alex said on July 11, 2023 at 10:44 pm

    Tubby doesn’t have to cross his fingers behind his back. FOX et al. have saved him the trouble by redefining “up” as “down” and “batshit” as “sane” and turned 1984 from a cautionary tale into an instruction manual for dummies.

    His followers will look upon his recantation as if it were forced by a liberal boot heel on his neck.

    He hasn’t apologized and he never will.

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  14. Deborah said on July 11, 2023 at 11:26 pm

    So the ear bug has been maybe identified as a thripe, which infests house plants, the woman who owns the dogs and house where LB sat, has 91 house plants, they were meticulously counted by LB and one of her friends who visited her there. The other possibility is a grain beetle, which was a guess by a local person who knows bugs. In any case LB has cleaned out her ear with hydrogen peroxide, and put in some debrox and then did a flush out with an ear bulb. Still creepy to think about.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on July 12, 2023 at 11:14 am

    You know the QOP is following the will of the people when they do something like Iowa, which convened a special one-day session to ram through an abortion ban at the six week mark. More than 60% of self-proclaimed QOPers favor legal abortion, but the forced birthers will not stop. Luckily for those in Eeastern Iowa , the procedure remains legal in Illinois.

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  16. David C said on July 12, 2023 at 11:39 am

    Covid Kim doesn’t care what anyone wants other than she wants to be TFG’s running mate. Why anyone would want that is far beyond my ability to reason but there you are.

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  17. Sherri said on July 12, 2023 at 4:09 pm

    I’ve been reading/listening to Dahlia Lithwick’s book Lady Justice, and in the chapter on Anita Hill, came across this story which resonated really hard with me.

    Hill spoke for so many women lawyers I have interviewed when she told me about giving a talk, “probably in the ‘90s,” about the court system and civil rights and how the Supreme Court was procedurally making access to class-action suits and punitive damages less and less accessible. “And this young white man,” she said, “on a college campus stepped up and he said, ‘Aren’t you just being a little paranoid? You act as though the sky is falling.’ I thought about it. I said, ‘Well, here’s the list. You can tell me when the sky is falling.’ She said she thought about that for a couple of days until she realized, as she told me, “it wasn’t just that the sky wasn’t falling for him. It was because we don’t live under the same sky.” For Hill, that was when she came to understand that she wasn’t paranoid; she simply resided in another world.

    We don’t live under the same sky.

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  18. Little Bird said on July 12, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Nightmare inducing indeed. The sucker bit me at least twice, which I not only could feel, but hear. Deborah has ordered a full on headband Bluetooth sleep mask that covers eyes and ears for me so that I don’t have to deal with this again. The Bluetooth part is just a bonus. I’ll sleep better when it arrives.

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  19. Deborah said on July 12, 2023 at 4:38 pm

    So LB and I are at the house/pet sit of the neighbors in Abiquiu and I can say that their place is filthy and they have ants galore in their kitchen. Obviously because it doesn’t look like they’ve seriously cleaned their kitchen counters since they’ve lived here (for 10 years now). They seem to do a cursory cleaning of the counters but don’t move stuff around to get all the way in the back where stuff accumulates. It is gross and we have our work cut out for us if we want to make food for ourselves while here. We’ve had dinner with these people many times, and I had no idea. I will have to empty every drawer and cabinet and put the contents in the dishwasher , as well as figure out where we can store the foodstuff we’ve brought with us for the duration of our stay. We’re going to have to go out and get a bunch of tupperware type containers to store pasta etc that we brought. I keep trying to tell myself there are no mice in here, but I know that can’t be true. This is going to be interesting. at least they have a dog and a cat so maybe they keep the critters at bay. I hope so. Lots to do to keep me busy this month. Yikes.

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  20. JodiP said on July 12, 2023 at 4:51 pm

    Deborah, I would decline to house sit in a place that’s filthy. We have very nice neighbors who are poor housekeepers. I agreed to feed their cat once while they were away. I couldn’t bring myself to empty the litter box because there was a plastic bag in it and it was very full. I felt bad for the cat, but it was too gross. The whole house was just cluttered and dirty. I said I was busy the next copule times and they stopped asking. It’s illogical, but extreme untidiness gives me the creeps.

    We always clean the house for pet sitters–we’re spending this weekend away, and it’s on my to-do list. It’s gotten pretty bad, as I have chosen to garden and read instead of doing housework. I mean, the kitchen is tidied up every day but all else needs dusting, vacuuming, mopping.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on July 12, 2023 at 5:45 pm

    Eww, eww, eww. Between my mom and my sister I’ve had more than my fill of dealing with filthy, bug-infested dwellings. Oh, and cars too. On one visit I took Jeri to work so I could run errands for her. I noticed the tires were low, pulled into a gas station, and since the tire pressure wasn’t listed on the door, opened the glove compartment.

    Remember that scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the Nazis have opened the ark and creatures stream out and cover everyone? It was like that, only with insects. I danced out of the car and screamed for a good minute, called my husband and bawled for another. As always, he was calm and sensibly suggested renting a car for the rest of the stay. And so I did.

    That was the trip I made after she fell asleep with food on the stove and caused a house fire. The layers of filth and junk were so deep I had to clean her floors with a shovel. Among other treasures I found several sets of plates and silverware. Apparently she just let them fall to the floor after eating and never picked them up. I tried so hard to help her time after time, cleaning and organizing and setting up easy systems to follow, but the holder of a master’s in home economics just couldn’t do it.

    I’m like the character in Arsenic and Old Lace who proclaims insanity doesn’t just run in the family, it gallops.

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  22. Deborah said on July 12, 2023 at 6:23 pm

    The Abiquiu neighbors are really nice and professional, he’s a violist who has played for many major musical groups in NY and she’s super intelligent etc, but I had no idea they were such poor house keepers. They’re in their mid 80s so maybe it’s just because they don’t have the energy to keep up. We made the commitment to do this so I will put on my rubber gloves and clean, clean, clean. I don’t think we’ll be doing it again though. It won’t be hard to come up with an excuse next time either. They have air conditioning so we can be near our cabin in this heat and not have to suffer which is a plus. There is also some satisfaction in leaving a place cleaner than we found it, but I don’t necessarily think our neighbors will notice and in some ways I hope they don’t because I don’t want them to feel bad. It is what it is and we’ll get through it.

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  23. Peter said on July 12, 2023 at 7:04 pm

    Years ago the Illinois GOP went through a similar transformation – back in the ’80’s and ’90’s it was the majority party in the State, but bit by bit the litmus test crazies took over, to the point where they had to bring in Alan Keyes to run for US Senator against this Obama character because Mike Ditka turned them down.

    Even with all of the corruption from Blagojevich and Madigan, no sane person would even think of voting for an Illinois Republican candidate, and that’s not going to change for the foreseeable future, as the local GOP doesn’t have anyone who can speak in complete sentences.

    Think of how Republican California used to be; now they write that state off. Minnesota and Michigan will be that way by 2024; other states will follow.

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  24. David C said on July 12, 2023 at 9:29 pm

    I’m hoping that Wisconsin is written off by the Rs too. Our new Supreme Court justice starts work August 1st. She was elected in April. I don’t know why there’s so much time in between. Anyway, I fully expect the gerrymander will fall so, fingers crossed, a new state lege and Governor Evers can do what Michigan has done over the past year.

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  25. alex said on July 12, 2023 at 10:34 pm

    Peter, not only did Ditka turn them down but so did Ted Nugent. And the Illinois GOP was really stupid enough and racist enough to believe that Alan Keyes would siphon off the Black vote and hand Keyes a victory. Keyes’ loss was one of the most lopsided ever in the history of elections.

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  26. Dexter Friend said on July 13, 2023 at 1:04 am

    My bug story: In 1978 I bought another hoopdee, a 1970 Dodge mid size sedan. It was a grandpa’s car; the geezer had gotten too old to drive safely and the family took his privilege away. The car was just $300, and the family didn’t clean it or do anything. I got it home and opened the trunk for the first time. It was full of shitty tighty-whitey old man underwear briefs. Easy to figure; the old guy had lost control of his bowels and when he soiled himself, into the trunk went the undies. My 10 year old step daughter helped me remove the disgusting stuff. Well, the car was a REAL piece of shit and the linkage was so worn out I got disgusted and junked the car, but even today the memory lives on of “the cootie bug car”. Daughter and I were laughing about it just yesterday.

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  27. basset said on July 13, 2023 at 8:55 am

    My first car was a 63 Chevy Ii, bought it from a neighbor’s estate in 71. He split his time between Indiana and Florida, and license tags from both states were under the front seat, some of em unused and still in the wrapper. Great car, though, base version with rubber floor mats, single barrel small 6 cylinder, and three on the tree, built at the GM plant in Norwood, Ohio.

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