I haven’t been enrolled in Medicare for even a year, and I’ve already had my first fraudulent claim. I nearly pitched an EOB (explanation of benefits, for you healthy people) notice that arrived last week, sent by my gap-policy provider. Then I realized I hadn’t been to a doctor in months, so what could this be?

It turned out to be a claim for $4,500 worth of catheter supplies, made by a medical supply company in suburban Dallas. Sigh. Got on the phone, and ended up talking to someone in a call center that I suspect was on the other side of the Pacific. The woman, reading from a script, kept assuring me I wouldn’t be billed anything, and I kept telling her that wasn’t my concern, but rather that whether my Medicare account or identity or whatever had been compromised.

We ended it with her assuring me this was a glitch, a data-entry error, and it would be handled. Don’t worry.

Today I got another notice, this from Medicare itself, the great monolith, for the same claim, and this time, it indicated it had been paid. Another call, and I said the magic word to the phone tree: FRAUD. This time my call stayed stateside, and a report was made, and… I guess we’ll see what happens.

In other heart-stopping news at this hour, I took my old bike to a new shop for a top-to-bottom list of repairs, and had that great feeling walking out: This is the place I should have been going to all along. The guy not only knew my ancient Volkscycle, he used to sell them. He knew all about my Gatorskin tires, and why they might have failed me twice this summer. And best of all? “When do you think it’ll be ready?” “Eh, couple days.” Still plenty of time left in bike season.

And with that, I’ll cut the boring stuff and ask if you’ve ever seen anything quite as racist as Donald Trump’s new strategy to woo black voters, i.e. flaunting his arrests and mugshot and claiming a bond with them as a result:

Trump has latched on to a narrative promoted last month by Fox News commentators and others in conservative media — that his arrests could boost his standing among African Americans who believe the criminal justice system is unfair.

Trump claimed in a recent interview with conservative host Hugh Hewitt that his poll numbers among Black voters “have gone up four and five times” since his mug shot was released.

That’s not true, as CNN reported.

Gotta give it to Axios, which drives me insane many days. “That’s not true” has a note of mordant humor I appreciated.

You watch: Next month he’ll be hanging with Yeezy again. Or maybe rapping, who knows.

Back to working my way through Michael Wolff’s latest book excerpt. (I wouldn’t be caught dead buying one of his books.) The good parts are always leaked to the media, and here’s a good one:

(Tucker) Carlson put (Ron) DeSantis’s fate to a focus group of one: his wife. When they lived in Washington, Susie Carlson wouldn’t even see politicians. Carlson himself may have known everyone, dirtied himself for a paycheck, but not his wife. In her heart, it was 1985 and still a Wasp world, absent people, in Susie Carlson’s description and worldview, who were “impolite, hyperambitious, fraudulent.” She had no idea what was happening in the news and no interest in it. Her world was her children, her dogs, and the books she was reading. So the DeSantises were put to the Susie Carlson test.

They failed it miserably. They had a total inability to read the room — one with a genteel, stay-at-home woman, here in her own house. For two hours, Ron DeSantis sat at her table talking in an outdoor voice indoors, failing to observe any basics of conversational ritual or propriety, reeling off an unself-conscious list of his programs and initiatives and political accomplishments. Impersonal, cold, uninterested in anything outside of himself. The Carlsons are dog people with four spaniels, the progeny of other spaniels they have had before, who sleep in their bed. DeSantis pushed the dog under the table. Had he kicked the dog? Susie Carlson’s judgment was clear: She did not ever want to be anywhere near anybody like that ever again. Her husband agreed. DeSantis, in Carlson’s view, was a “fascist.” Forget Ron DeSantis.

Don’t really like Wolff and certainly dislike Carlson and DeSantis, but that’s pretty funny.

Posted at 12:16 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

99 responses to “Dog-kickers.”

  1. Dorothy said on September 20, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    What kind of person who is married to a prominent person employed in the ‘news’ business pays no attention to what was happening in the news? I find that incredibly hard to believe. Or is she somehow permanently sealed inside a 1954 bubble created by her husband and refuses to find a way to get out of it? If she pays no attention to the news, why then would she welcome DeSantis into their home? I’m throwing the bullshit flag on that part of the narrative.

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  2. Jeff Borden said on September 20, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    If you feel the need to throw up in your mouth a little, here’s an excerpt from a new book by Cassidy Hutchinson, a star witness in the January 6 Congressional hearings. If you’ve just eaten lunch, you might want to wait an hour or so as it describes an unbelievably pervy experience with “‘Murica’s Mayor.”

    Excerpts of Hutchinson’s book, “Enough,” were published on Wednesday by The Guardian.

    Hutchinson said Giuliani was “like a wolf closing in on its prey” when he reached his hand “under my blazer, then my skirt.” The incident was said to have occurred as Donald Trump’s team gathered in a tent before his speech to supporters who would later riot.

    “I feel his frozen fingers trail up my thigh,” she wrote in the book. “He tilts his chin up. The whites of his eyes look jaundiced. My eyes dart to [Trump adviser] John Eastman, who flashes a leering grin.”

    “I fight against the tension in my muscles and recoil from Rudy’s grip … filled with rage, I storm through the tent, on yet another quest for [then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows].”

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  3. Deborah said on September 20, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    OMG Jeff B, that is horrendous. Now I’ve got that in my head along with the video of Boebert and date groping, I can’t take it, knowing about these two events now. Yuck.

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  4. Mark P said on September 20, 2023 at 2:12 pm

    What’s the opposite of aspire? That’s Trump. He digs fearlessly and mindlessly through the muck and raw sewage at the bottom of the cesspit to reach ever deeper towards a bottom that doesn’t exist.

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  5. David C said on September 20, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    Susie probably hates politics but loves money. She doesn’t care how Tuckums rakes it in as long as he rakes it in. Other than that she’s a good, little, patrician’s, artsy, clubby, wifey. If she occasionally has to have dinner with pudding fingers that’s what she’s going to do. After all, there are unpleasant people at the country club too.

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  6. Julie Robinson said on September 20, 2023 at 4:37 pm

    And Dottie Sandusky never heard anything in their basement when Jerry would take his young men down there either. Adding a bs flag to Dorothy’s.

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  7. Jeff Gill said on September 20, 2023 at 6:05 pm

    Unpleasant people at the country club? Horrors.

    (Ask me after Oct. 24th why I’m chuckling.)

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  8. tajalli said on September 20, 2023 at 6:07 pm

    May I offer a mental breath mint to clear the foul imagery of today’s news by suggesting a timely viewing of The Pirates of Penzance starring Angela Lansbury and Linda Ronstadt. Just get that “I am a Major General” ear-worm running, the silly mustaches, the boys in blue with billy clubs dancing through your heads, scintillating theatre rather than the theatre of the absurd that is the GOP today.

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  9. Deborah said on September 20, 2023 at 6:22 pm

    OK here’s more to poison your minds eye. A woman jumped in to a camping outhouse toilet to retrieve her Apple watch that fell in, she got trapped and the police had to come and pull her out. This happened in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on Tuesday. Lol.

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  10. tajalli said on September 20, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    OMG, Deborah, ROFLMAO.

    This reminds me of watching a woman walk into a utility pole on a traffic island while crossing the street and fiddling with her phone.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on September 20, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    Tajalii, don’t forget Kevin Kline at the peak of his hotness in Penzance. Oh my.

    Deborah, I’m trying hard to get that image out of my mind.

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  12. tajalli said on September 20, 2023 at 9:16 pm

    Julie, he did make a pretty good pirate. And the dancing was great – the Russian style squatting jumps and those above the knee boots that never got scuffed. And the stuffed parrot.

    I watched it yesterday, which was Talk Like a Pirate Day, just a bit of synchronicity, not intentionally.

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  13. Sherri said on September 20, 2023 at 9:58 pm

    The DeSantis story fits with every other story I’ve read about DeSantis, which says that he’s just terrible with people at any scale. Seems like a bad feature for a politician, but also seems like something that ought to be able to be mitigated, at least, with a little training. His wife is a former TV anchor, you’d think she could help him with that, but he’s got to be willing to be taught, I guess.

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  14. Jeff Borden said on September 20, 2023 at 11:31 pm

    I try not to be the casually sexist asshole of years ago, but Mrs. Desantis reminds me of Priscilla Presley with Elvis, largely because of the makeup and hairstyle.

    It’s a bad comparison. Priscilla was very young and unworldly when she was swept up by the King and his posse of sycophants. Mrs. DeathSantis, by all accounts, is the chief adviser to her husband and thus far more powerful. But there’s still some weird kind of Presley vibe there.

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  15. Mark P said on September 20, 2023 at 11:46 pm

    Mrs DeSantis was reported to be behind Ron’s attempt to change the pronunciation of his last name from Dee-Santis to D’Santis. The last time I heard him say his name it was back to Dee-Santis. Something about old dogs and new tricks I guess.

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  16. Jeff Borden said on September 21, 2023 at 12:02 am

    The dark villain of my life (I’m 72) has always been Richard Nixon, who I still argue is the worst of all the presidents in my lifetime. He was also extraordinarily uncomfortable around regular people and was awkward in his interactions.

    Ron DeathSantis makes Nixon look like Tom Hanks. Jeebus, he’s creepy…like Damian in “The Omen”… creepy.

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  17. Dexter Friend said on September 21, 2023 at 5:10 am

    As Jeff B and I discussed on Facebook, I will never see a more rotten bastard in the White House than Ronald Wilson Reagan. Nixon was a sure winner of that dubious standard, and W and Trump are very close, but Reagan , geez… if you are old enough to remember all the shit he pulled, how he damaged the country, how millions of poor and working class folks suffered greatly under his watch, how he ate cake while AIDS ravaged the world…oh well, the list goes on for 10,000 words, too many for here.
    But that Melania Trump is really on top of politics, right? On one side, she says she really doesn’t give a damn and then admonishes us to Be Best. What a strong First Lady she was! Another Eleanor Roosevelt, by gawd.

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  18. alex said on September 21, 2023 at 7:17 am

    A year or two ago Jennifer Rubin of the Post quite boldly asserted that DeSantis would end up right where he is right now, and his multiple cringeworthy attempts to reinvent himself certainly testify to his hollowness. MAGA is a cult of personality and it’s not about to be wooed away by someone totally devoid of it.

    Say what you will about Trump, he’s an authentic authoritarian goon and the cult loves his authenticity.

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  19. Jeff Borden said on September 21, 2023 at 10:11 am

    Man, it sucks that Ukraine may be denied American funds by a handful of stupid goobers in Congress who lack any historical context for what happens when dictators are allowed to roll over their neighbors. One thing I recall vividly from reading “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by William L. Shiner was how wary Hitler was as he began pushing forward on his plans for conquest. Time after time, other European nations looked away as he took territories. At almost any point, he might’ve backed off if there’d been a strong, united response to his aggression. There never was.

    What lessons are Putin, Kim, Xi and other dictators going to take when wealthy western nations including the wealthiest in the world refuse to stand with a struggling democracy? History holds the answer.

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  20. LAMary said on September 21, 2023 at 10:33 am

    Michael Wolff is a fine Paterson N.J. guy along with Allen Ginsburg and Lou Costello. Add Martin van Treuren to the list. He was in a production of Pirates of Penzance in NYC just before 9/11, playing the major general and the governess. I know I’ve mentioned this before but he’s a great friend and I’m very lucky to know him. The NYT had and article about his performance(s) in Pirates.

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  21. FDChief said on September 21, 2023 at 10:53 am

    Jeff: the Angry Toddler Caucus is going to shut not just Ukraine but their own country down as well for the heroic cause of…slut-shaming. And fear of ladyboys in cocktail frocks.

    These people. Honestly. Shooting them would be a good start if they weren’t less valuable than the cheapest round of Blazer ammunition…

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  22. Suzanne said on September 21, 2023 at 11:32 am

    In light of all the recent news of Republican sex issues including Boebert, Schlapp, Giuliani, etc, it is important to remember that you can’t spell “grope” without the letters g-o-p.

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  23. Jason T. said on September 21, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    Jeff B @ 19 says:

    “Man, it sucks that Ukraine may be denied American funds by a handful of stupid goobers in Congress who lack any historical context for what happens when dictators are allowed to roll over their neighbors.”

    Alternative: They know exactly what happens and they’re trying to encourage it. They may not be stupid goobers, but evil goobers. (And in some cases, they’re both stupid and evil.)

    They cosplay as Nazis. They wear paramilitary uniforms to MAGA rallies and open-carry rifles to intimidate people. They devour books about the Third Reich. They make jokes about Pinochet dropping his enemies out of helicopters.

    “When someone tells you what they are, believe them the first time.”

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  24. Julie Robinson said on September 21, 2023 at 3:49 pm

    Suzanne for the thread win! I may borrow that one.

    Casey DeSantis may give off the Priscilla vibe but she’s more like Marilyn Quayle, who famously had her labor induced and then sat the bar exam just a few days later. Casey was a TV reporter and commuted a hour each way after they’d had a baby and moved for Ronny’s work. She’s always good for hardcore MAGA quotes and is possibly more of a true believer than him.

    With her capelets and long gloves, Casey wants to give Jackie Kennedy vibe. The vibe she gives me is beauty pageant contestant who got carried away with the teasing comb and hairspray.

    I’m really uncomfortable with talk about shooting someone, no matter which side it comes from.

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  25. Sherri said on September 21, 2023 at 4:08 pm

    You know, all these right wing anti-elite guys from the finest schools in the land all seem pissed off that they aren’t being universally recognized as the smartest and bestest little boy in the land. That’s all I see when I think of DeSantis, Cruz, Hawley, Vance, Cotton, etc. “I did everything I was supposed to, and you still don’t like me!!!”

    They went to these great colleges not to learn anything, but to validate themselves as the best, and they’re resentful that not every single professor there thought they were right about everything.

    My favorite math professor in college told me that there were things I needed to learn in college that wouldn’t be reflected in my grades, and that I should worry less about my grades all the time. She was right.

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  26. LAMary said on September 21, 2023 at 4:08 pm

    Not sure why but I’m seeing lots of Burghum and Larry Elder presidential campaign commercials

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  27. Sherri said on September 21, 2023 at 5:39 pm

    What’s going on in Wisconsin:

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  28. Sherri said on September 21, 2023 at 5:41 pm

    It’s not just Ukraine the MAGAs want to defund in demanding a government shutdown. They also want to defund DOJ investigations of Trump.

    I’ve subscribed to Margaret Sullivan’s Substack podcast, which I highly recommend, and her most recent interview is with Steve Inskeep, the longtime Morning Edition host, who is not very alarmed at our current situation and thinks we just need to talk and see each other as human beings.

    I would like for Steve Inskeep, who claims he’s taking the long view informed by his deep interest in the Civil War, to expand his historical understanding outside the US, and look at other democracies, as Levitsky and Ziblatt do, in the NYTimes and their books “How Democracies Die” and “The Tyranny of the Minority”.

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  29. susan said on September 21, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    Steve Inskeep was one of the reasons I stopped listening to NPR years ago. Also, too, Scott Simon. Kokie Roberts. David Brooks.


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  30. Mark P said on September 21, 2023 at 7:26 pm

    What’s wrong with Cokie Roberts? She has a very high opinion of herself.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on September 21, 2023 at 8:39 pm

    Cokie can still opine from the grave?

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  32. Deborah said on September 21, 2023 at 8:47 pm

    Excellent link Sherri, and scary.

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  33. LAMary said on September 21, 2023 at 9:24 pm

    Steve Inskeep annoys the shit out of me. I’m ok with A. Martinez. He was with a local NPR station before he got the national gig. I’m blanking on one of the women who’s on the afternoon ATC. It’s the one who has audible inhalations all the time. Is it Mary Louise Kelly? Something like that. I try to ignore her. I’ve given up on the NPR station that’s based in Pasadena. They changed their name from KPCC to “LAist.” Ugh.

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  34. Mark P said on September 22, 2023 at 1:44 am

    Cokie’s dead? I either forgot or didn’t notice because I avoided any program where she appeared. In any case, her opinions are worth no less now than when she was alive and punditing on NPR and ABC. Her opinions were nothing if not hackneyed. Conventional wisdom was her forte. They were what passed for deep insight among the political and media elite in our real-world instantiation of the film Idiocracy.

    De mortuis nil nisi bonum to the contrary not withstanding.

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  35. MarkH said on September 22, 2023 at 3:58 am

    LAMary @33 –
    That is indeed Mary Louise Kelly with the carefully positioned deep inhales of profundity, usually capping an interview. I gave up the irritating ATC long ago but have no problem with Morning Edition including Innskeep. Cokie left us four years ago last Sunday. Not missed, along with the other “Founding Mothers” at NPR.

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  36. Deborah said on September 22, 2023 at 10:09 am

    What’s with Indiana Rep Victoria Spartz? She ranted at Garland yesterday like she was a vicious school marm. She immigrated to the US from Ukraine in the early 2000s when she was 22 and became an American citizen in 2006, now she’s a Republican congress woman. Apparently she screams at her staff to the point that she has the highest turnover. According to some that left she says one thing one minute then screams at them for not doing an opposite thing, eventually they recorded her saying the original thing and played it back to her, she of course denies she said what she said even though it is clearly in the recording. Sounds like a gem. Are any of you Indianians in her district?

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  37. Julie Robinson said on September 22, 2023 at 11:40 am

    Mark H, I’m not ready to dismiss the Founding Mothers. They persevered through long hours, low pay, and lack of respect. Apparently they still aren’t getting it. There would be no NPR without those women.

    As to what it is today, that’s another matter. I still like Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me but am rarely around to listen live and forget about the podcast.

    For some reason I can’t get into listening to podcasts even though I constantly have audiobooks going. My own daughter has been on a couple and I need to buckle down and listen.

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  38. Heather said on September 22, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Susan @29, David Brooks is quite rightly getting roasted right now for a tweet in which he took a photo of a burger, fries, and a glass of whiskey or Scotch, and wrote, “This meal just cost me $78 at Newark Airport. This is why Americans think the economy is terrible.”

    First of all, anyone who’s ever been stuck in an airport knows that meal prices are jacked up. Furthermore, some enterprising soul did some research, ID’d the restaurant, and noted that the burger is just $17 (not too bad considering that can cost $15+ in a normal restaurant these days), so the rest of that bill was booze. Now the restaurant is running a special in his honor.

    Here’s the tweet. Excuse me, the X or whatever we’re calling it these days.

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  39. Heather said on September 22, 2023 at 11:45 am

    Also, looks like Clarence Thomas has been caught with his hand in the candy jar again, having appeared at Koch Network fundraising events. I’m no expert on the ethics here, but even conservative judges are aghast. He’ll never step down and impeachment won’t work, so not sure what we are supposed to do with this piece of corrupt crap.

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  40. Sherri said on September 22, 2023 at 12:14 pm

    Come on, people, all this outrage over Clarence Thomas and Republican Congress members and poor dead Cokie, when you know the true sign of the end of civilization is that supposed Senator John Fetterman wore shorts on the hallowed Senate floor (gasp!) This is almost as bad as that terrible time when Obama wore a tan suit! Have they no respect!?!?!?

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  41. susan said on September 22, 2023 at 2:43 pm

    And Grey Poupon, fer xst’s sake! Sheesh.

    That photo of Tainted Thomas with Koch Bro…and fooking Ken Burns in the middle. I’ve always had skeevy feelings about that guy. This kind of documented it.

    Another blech.

    For the full 15-year run-down on David Brooks, you really need to listen to or read Driftglass. He’s the Brooks Specialist.

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  42. susan said on September 22, 2023 at 2:45 pm

    Driftglass’ blog

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  43. Sherri said on September 22, 2023 at 3:49 pm

    I notice that David Brooks went full Ronald Reagan ketchup is a vegetable with his burger, setting aside that silly tomato and lettuce and slathering his burger with all of his ketchup packets, leaving none for his Freedom Fries.

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  44. Jeff Borden said on September 22, 2023 at 4:04 pm

    Nice to see members of the pro-Putin wing of the QOP being featured on Russian state TV. They especially love Kevin McCarthy’s rant, bit old favorites Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky are also featured.

    Poor Ukraine.

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  45. LAMARY said on September 22, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    Joyce Carol Oates outed Brooks for his claim of a 78 dollar burger and fries. The upper west side is a battlefield.

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  46. LAMary said on September 22, 2023 at 11:25 pm

    Yeah, Cokie’s insights were often the screaming obvious but stated with authority.

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  47. Dexter Friend said on September 23, 2023 at 3:35 am

    Like the late-night TV ads admonish us, gold is where we should invest our cash. Bob Menendez did…oh wait, he was simply given those gold bullion bars. And what a surprise to find Tony Soprano-like cash to the tune of a half-million stuffed in his figurative house mattress.
    But ya gotta unnerstan’…he’s a busy guy and who has time to get to the bank these days?

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  48. alex said on September 23, 2023 at 7:32 am

    More on David Brooks and folly of tweeting while drunk…

    The airport restaurant in question says his bar tab was 80 percent of the bill and just added a new menu item for $17.78 called the “D Brooks Special”: A burger, fries and a shot of whiskey.

    I suspect the guy isn’t sober when he writes his columns either.

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  49. Mark P said on September 23, 2023 at 9:51 am

    The David Brooks airport meal bit was an intentional attempt to mislead people — in other words, a lie. He’s done it before, been called out, and doesn’t care. The real question is, why doesn’t the New York Times care.

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  50. Jeff Borden said on September 23, 2023 at 11:16 am

    Re: Mark Milley profile in The Atlantic. The walrus is very, very upset and thinks Milley should be put to death.

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  51. FDChief said on September 23, 2023 at 11:55 am

    There’s a reason that “NPR” is an acronym for “Nice Polite Republicans”.

    I like the touch where Menendez was shipping actual gold bars. Gold! All we need are Nazi eagle stamps on the bars and Indiana Jones gets involved.

    The Brooks thing is 1) delightful trolling, and 2) utterly meaningless. This is a dude who wrote a whole book on humility and thoughtfulness while ditching his wife for a hot “research assistant”. Self-awareness, thy name is not Bobo, nor is it of value to his employer.

    Julie: The wingnuts know we’re at war. They’ve told us; we – the woke, the queer, the dark, the gyno-enhanced (i.e. “women”) – are their prey. We have no rights they are bound to respect.

    We can either accept that and respond appropriately now. Or face them once they’ve gained power in all the illegal ways they’ve shown us they will use and have us at their mercy…such as it is.

    The people I indict have made it clear they will harm, and are acting to harm, those of us they hate. To pretend otherwise is to disarm ourselves in the face of that harm.

    As Franklin said to his British pal: “You are a Member of Parliament, and one of that Majority which has doomed my Country to Destruction. You have begun to burn our Towns, and murder our People. Look upon your hands! They are stained with the Blood of your Relations! You and I were long Friends; You are now my Enemy, and I am, Yours.”

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  52. Julie Robinson said on September 23, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    Of course they’re evil and armed, but we don’t need to join the mindset of casually talking about shooting people. That’s what *they* do.

    My Congressman, Maxwell Frost, was a victim of gun violence and has worked tirelessly to prevent it. The new White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention is the culmination of his efforts, and is an important first step.

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  53. Joe Kobiela said on September 23, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    The $78.00 bill in an airport? Not a big deal stuff is always more expensive there, however I would like to see someone talk to a mother of 2 or 3 teenagers walking out of the grocery store and get her thoughts on the price of groceries or a farmer filling his combine with diesel that is 65% more expensive then it was a couple years ago.
    Pilot Joe

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  54. Jeff Gill said on September 23, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    Victoria Spartz is the representative for the district I spend the most time in these days, but I still vote in my home district in Ohio. My father-in-law isn’t competent to vote so it’s a moot point; I don’t think he’s voted in an election in his entire life, a worldview I cannot even begin to comprehend fully.

    She said at the end of January that she wasn’t running for re-election, as her daughters who are teens need her around more, but for whatever reason, she’s hinted around in the last week she’s reconsidering. Boebert’s public disarray may have opened up a seat in the Angry Toddler Caucus.–spartz-blasts-mccarthy-for-being–weak—speaker-attackers-her-for–quitting-

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  55. Jeff Borden said on September 23, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    This will surprise exactly no one. . .

    Russian TV teases launch of Tucker Carlson show

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  56. Sherri said on September 23, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    I don’t think anybody is in much doubt that Menedez, the indicted Democratic Senator from NJ, is corrupt. For one thing, this isn’t his first indictment; he got off the first time with a hung jury. He’s also unlikely to resign, despite the Democratic governor of New Jersey calling for him too.

    My question is, why doesn’t Chuck Schumer chuck him out of the Senate? It’s not a question of keeping the seat blue. Why not make a clear distinction: we don’t celebrate our corruption, the way the GOP does.

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  57. Deborah said on September 23, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    Today is my wedding anniversary, 23 years married, 33 years together. We’re going to the opera tonight to see Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, dinner out before with friends, they’re going to the opera too, but separate seats from us.

    You guys were talking about regional Broadway tickets a bit ago, these opera tickets are $250 each and they’re by no means the high priced seats. I didn’t want to go because of the cost but my husband really wants to so I relented. Plus the cost of dinner first. Ouch.

    Julie, your congress person is going places. Good for him.

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  58. David C said on September 23, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    Republicans invoking a mother and two or three teens would have a bit more salience if they hadn’t worked to hard to kill the child tax credit and throwing millions more children into poverty. Otherwise known as a huge tax increase on middle-class and poor families.

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  59. basset said on September 23, 2023 at 3:27 pm

    I am in a Noodles & Co. restaurant in Nashville right now, and it is colder than shit in here. The air is cranked up so high that my napkin and receipt are literally blowing across the table.
    Never had that happen before, just thought I’d share.

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  60. Joe Kobiela said on September 23, 2023 at 3:28 pm

    So that caused the price of food and fuel to increase?
    Pilot Joe

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  61. David C said on September 23, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    Joe, Does having less money to spend on food make it easier to afford? Inflation stinks, for sure. Just as coming out of WWI/the 1919 flu pandemic and WWII caused inflation, so did coming out of a world wide pandemic. A big enhancement of covid pandemic inflation came because 40 or more years ago, the captains of industry decided to chase lower production costs around the globe. Even if everybody in the US worked through the pandemic (and died in spectacular numbers), inflation still would have happened because we were so dependent on China for production. The loss of Chinese production caused supply problems and those same captains of industry who chased the low wages in China jacked up prices because they could. Inflation is a world wide problem but far less so in the United States. It’s coming down rather nicely, in fact.

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  62. Mark P said on September 23, 2023 at 4:53 pm

    In 2020 Trump got his good friends Putin and the Saudis to cut petroleum production, thus raising fuel prices. The Saudis and the Republicans’ bestie Putin are keeping prices up. So, yeah, let’s blame Biden for high gas and diesel prices.

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  63. brian stouder said on September 23, 2023 at 6:01 pm

    Deborah, here’s wishing your (undoubtedly very lucky!) husband and you a happy anniversary, and an excellent dinner and show. One tradition Pammy and I maintained for the last 30 anniversaries up ‘til this year was dinner at a particular favorite Fort Wayne restaurant (Cork & Cleaver, fwiw; excellent food, and the absolute best salad bar you’ll ever, ever see). This year we ‘changed our base of operations’ from my hometown (Fort Wayne) to Pam’s (Logansport), and she had a ready replacement, which was excellent (couldn’t tell you the name of the place, but it’s downtown, and was quite good!)

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  64. LAMary said on September 23, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    Joe, 60 bucks of that tab was for booze. 18 for food and tip. Not sure what Mr. Brooks drinks but it’s either expensive or he was very drunk.

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  65. Joe Kobiela said on September 23, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    I don’t think he tipped. You can argue till the cows come home on what caused the massive inflation leading to the rise in gas prices, grocery prices, and everything else , all I’m saying is when it comes to election time my belief is most independent voters are going to look at the price of gas and groceries and not care about what caused it but only who was in charged when it happened.
    Pilot Joe

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  66. LAMary said on September 23, 2023 at 8:34 pm

    Not arguing Joe. Just sharing facts. Brooks’ bill wasn’t high because of inflation. He drank a lot.

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  67. Mark P said on September 23, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    Ah, the mythical independent voter. Usually people who claim to be independents are Republicans who are ashamed of voting for Trump. However, I do agree with you, Joe, that they are too stupid to care that they’re voting for the guy who’s fucking them.

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  68. Jeff Borden said on September 23, 2023 at 8:45 pm

    The bet now is whether this country is sufficiently stupid, callous, selfish, judgmental, weak and brain addled to choose a mentally ill psycho who sold this nation down the river. I cling to the hope these fucking mopes are the distinct minority, but there are days when my faith is tested.

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  69. Julie Robinson said on September 23, 2023 at 8:57 pm

    Happy Anniversary, Deborah! Hope you enjoyed dinner and the opera. bassett, hope you’re warm by now. And Brian, when did you move? Hope you’re settling in and liking your new environment, that’s a huge change to go so rural.

    As for the expense of theatre tickets, there are always cheap nosebleed seats, but as my eyesight worsened I decided they weren’t worth it. And I don’t need to have a fancy meal out along with the experience either, in fact we rarely eat out because we like our own healthy cooking better. I don’t drink, smoke or gamble, so I think of theatre as my one vice.

    And how much does an average sporting event cost, by the way? Or rock concert?

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  70. Joe Kobiela said on September 23, 2023 at 9:09 pm

    For any one that’s not a Liberal looking in I’ll translate Jeff and Marks rant into some thing you can understand, “ Hi I’m a Liberal so I know I’m the smartest person in the room, I just can’t figure out why You don’t think I’m the smartest person in the room.”
    Pilot Joe

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  71. Brandon said on September 23, 2023 at 9:18 pm

    Though Brooks has apologized, he hasn’t yet posted an apology on Twitter/X.

    Two other tweets that add to the story:

    Virginia Heffernan
    @page88 · Sep 22
    When my dad discovered a bread & butter plate on David Brooks’s 2017 wedding registry cost…SEVENTY-EIGHT DOLLARS

    Aunt Jacqui
    @jacquibrooks · 21h
    David Brooks complained about the price for a meal at this Black-owned restaurant. He forgot to include that most of the $78 was the cost of his alcoholic drinks. Don’t drink and tweet.

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  72. Sherri said on September 23, 2023 at 9:25 pm

    Ah yes, David Brooks’ 2017 wedding, the one where he married his research assistant, 23 years younger than he was, after divorcing his wife of 27 years.

    All so he could lecture the rest of us about morals.

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  73. Mark P said on September 23, 2023 at 9:54 pm

    I don’t understand, Joe. Why are you taking offense? I was just agreeing with you. You’re the one who said you expect your “independent voters” to do something stupid.

    But I do disagree that there is anything such as an independent voter today. I think in the past, decades ago, there could be an independent voter. But that was then, when Republicans could nominate a moderate like Eisenhower. This is today, when the choice is between those who support democracy and those who would destroy it. You can’t be independent now; if you’re not for democracy, then you are against it. There is no fence straddling. You have to make a choice.

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  74. brian stouder said on September 23, 2023 at 10:18 pm

    Joe – take a breath. I know you’re an intelligent person, and you know that the folks around here are all pretty intelligent, too. As Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle teaches us, it is baked into our quantum existence that fully engaged, unbiased observers can (and will) truly (and correctly) perceive the same event differently – irreconcilably differently – and both can be ‘correct’. It is the nature of the quantum universe we inhabit.

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  75. Jeff Borden said on September 23, 2023 at 10:20 pm

    Thanks, aviator, for proving my point so eloquently. I went to a land grant college, unlike your man crush Ron DeathSantis, who attended Yale and Harvard. But, absolutely, I am certain I am smarter than you. So is 99% of the population. Knob.

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  76. Sherri said on September 23, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    Yep, the guy flying rich people around in chartered jets definitely has a pulse on how regular people think.

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  77. basset said on September 23, 2023 at 10:37 pm

    Yet another no response post here. Just spent most of a week roaming around South Carolina looking for family history sites, chief among them a pottery founded by one of my ancestors around 1850 which closed in 1940, more or less.

    We found it, and picking up potsherds from the ground was truly memorable. Would be good to share that with you all, but nobody cares to hear that story and nobody will respond. Just watch.

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  78. Dave said on September 23, 2023 at 11:13 pm

    I don’t know, Basset, I understand what you’re writing but I’ll respond. We’ve not any pottery remnants to pick up anywhere but we’ve walked through a good many cemeteries, spend one day in Addison, NY, hunting for a great X4 aunt and uncle’s grave, where my direct lineage family lived before leaving for Southern Ohio. The rest of his family left but he, the oldest son, stayed behind with his wife.

    Spent another day looking for my wife’s fourth great-grandparents graves near Greensburg, PA, found it, and learned later that a friend of mine went to elementary school immediately across the road.

    Yep, boring stuff but fascinating to some. The political discussion will continue, I’m sure, both set in stone.

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  79. basset said on September 23, 2023 at 11:30 pm

    Borrr-ing, borrr-ing, it’s the most effective thread killer I know. Still trying to figure out how to be one of the cool kids… here and in the rest of my world. About to run out of time, too.

    Been watching Farm Aid for much of the day and evening… Willie looks like hell but Mellencamp rocked it.

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  80. susan said on September 23, 2023 at 11:54 pm

    basset, but jeezo, Willie is 90 years old. I’m sure he looks lived in at that point.

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  81. Deborah said on September 24, 2023 at 12:32 am

    basset, What’s the name of the Pottery, I’m quite interested in stuff like that.

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  82. Dexter Friend said on September 24, 2023 at 1:55 am

    Football on the first day of Fall was the big thing here.
    This season, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Ohio State all have chances to make the 4 team playoffs. M is 4-0 but not playing like a #1 team. Notre Dame lost to Ohio State at game’s end.
    Brooks’s $60 bar tab, big fucking deal. 10 cent beer night is long gone. Now a standard cocktail is $20 I heard from a New Yorker on the radio.
    I visit McDonald’s for breakfast a couple times a week. 2 weeks ago my biscuit was $4.99, then it jumped a dime. A week later, another dime. Small fries jumped 40 cents in a couple months. Coffee went up 20 cents. Small, little actual nickel and diming us, but a perfect illustration as to how inflation has not ceased.

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  83. basset said on September 24, 2023 at 7:55 am

    Deborah, it’s the Boyle pottery outside Gaffney, SC. Pics and details offline, ask the Proprietress for my address.

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  84. basset said on September 24, 2023 at 7:59 am

    And Willie is probably pretty well preserved for someone who’s lived the life he has, still looking worn out but what do you expect?

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  85. Deborah said on September 24, 2023 at 8:47 am

    Basset, in this obituary they called it the Boyle Jug Plant

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  86. LAMary said on September 24, 2023 at 10:22 am

    Deborah, my ex’s great grandfather created Lotus Ware pottery which was produced by KTK in East Liverpool, OH. It’s an interesting story. Wikipedia has a good account.

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  87. basset said on September 24, 2023 at 2:33 pm

    I’ve seen it called by several names… a commemorative jug in the county museum says “jug factory,” most seem to call it the “pottery.” Several of em around there.

    Really surprised to get even one response to my original post on this.

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  88. Sherri said on September 24, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    I know it’s difficult to write a twice-weekly column. I know the sell-by date on Pulitzer Prize winner Kathleen Parker passed long, long ago. But, really, Washington Post, do you have to keep inflicting her on us? Of course, her latest column is on the demise of the Senate dress code, the single most important issue in DC. But, worse, in discussing this all important issue, she says

    “As little as I have loved Republicans the past few years, coinciding with the rise of our own little autocrat, at least Donald Trump knows how to dress. I can’t imagine that even he would demean his office or his country by dressing down, as is now the “code” for senators.”

    Really? The same Ill-fitting suit and ridiculously long tie is “knowing how to dress?”

    I have a suggestion for Kathleen Parker, if she wants to see large men who really were nice suits well, that are well-tailored for their size: watch football pregame shows. Look at Michael Strahan, a large man who wears very nice suits that are immaculately tailored. Compare that to Donald Trump, then tell me that Donald Trump knows how to dress.

    Donald Trump does not know how to dress because he refuses to accept the reality that he is not a 25 year old Adonis. He has blue suits, khaki pants, and polo shirts, none of which fit him well. That they resemble a facsimile of appropriate clothing in Kathleen Parker’s eyes does not mean that he knows how to dress. John Fetterman can look better in his cargo shorts than Trump in his suit.

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  89. David C said on September 24, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    Trump punched his kid (allegedly) for trying to wear a Yankees jersey to a Yankees game instead of a suit. I’d rather laws be made by a thoughtful and decent person wearing shorts and a hoodie than an asshole in an ill fitting suit.

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  90. Deborah said on September 24, 2023 at 5:22 pm

    I would never think of Trump as someone who knows how to dress. Because he wears his ridiculous costume with his ridiculous hair and makeup doesn’t make him respectful at all. Because it’s a “suit” doesn’t make it respectful if it is ill fitting and silly with his long red ties. It’s a costume and how is that different as Sherri says of Fetterman’s hoodies and shorts?

    Also I saw a post on Post where someone said Fetterman should agree to stop wearing hoodies and shorts when they stop wearing those abominable AR15 pins on their lapels. How is that respectful of anything but death and destruction? I think Fetterman did say that he’ll wear suits again when the Republicans show respect for the things that really matter like not shutting down the government again etc.

    There was an interesting article either on the NYT or WaPo about Gisele Fetterman. What a great lady.

    LAMary, I haven’t looked up your pottery connection on Wikipedia yet, that’s next on my list.

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  91. Joe Kobiela said on September 24, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    On the subject of dress, how would you feel if you got on a plane and looked in the cockpit and the crew was dressed in ripped jeans dirty t shirt and old gym shoes, or the same dress on your heart surgeon? My company requires black pants white shirt, tie and captain epaulettes, look like a pro, fly like a pro. I think it’s showing respect for the office more than anything else.
    Pilot Joe

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  92. Deborah said on September 24, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    LAMary, so that would be your sons’ great, great grandfather. Very cool.

    Off topic: there’s an excellent article in the Sept 18th New Yorker, by Jill Lepore about Elon Musk. I’d include a link but even though I have a subscription to the print version, I can’t seem to access the online version. I’ve called and emailed them to no avail. I gave up years ago.

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  93. tajalli said on September 24, 2023 at 8:53 pm

    Deborah, I found a book review by Jill Lepore on Walter Isaacson’s book that comments on Musk:

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  94. tajalli said on September 24, 2023 at 8:56 pm

    Deborah, I found Jill Lepore’s review of Isaacson’s book containing info on Musk:

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  95. tajalli said on September 24, 2023 at 9:00 pm

    Sorry about the duplication, I’m using an antique Asus eee with ubuntu. I’m typing with all 10 thumbs and the edit feature doesn’t activate with this old system. I award myself a few points for being more suscinct in the second iteration. :-p

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  96. alex said on September 24, 2023 at 10:23 pm

    Basset, don’t take it so personally. I post things all the time that I think are interesting but nobody else seems to.

    In reading the archives, I’m always fascinated by what a beehive of activity this used to be, so much more congenial and spirited and lively it was before the Trump era broke everyone’s spirit. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been living in a fog since the summer of 2016. I was questioning whether I was falling into dementia but more and more I realize that I am simply paralyzed with terror and it affects every aspect of my life. I think that I may just have to limit my screen time in order to snap myself out of it.

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  97. Sherri said on September 25, 2023 at 12:27 am

    Hey, Jeff Gill, weren’t you involved with this?

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  98. basset said on September 25, 2023 at 6:00 am

    But it is personal, Alex. If you use the analogy, as we have here before, of a bar with conversation, it’s like saying something and getting ignored… or watching the group turn their backs on you.

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  99. Dexter Friend said on September 25, 2023 at 7:55 am
    Baron Trump is now 7’4″ and is only 3 feet shorter than his daddy’s goddam Pinocchio nose.

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