They’re coming.

OK, well, I guess we’re done now:

Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.

The day after the Feb. 13 briefing to lawmakers, the president berated Joseph Maguire, the outgoing acting director of national intelligence, for allowing it to take place, people familiar with the exchange said. Mr. Trump cited the presence in the briefing of Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, who led the impeachment proceedings against him, as a particular irritant.

During the briefing to the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Trump’s allies challenged the conclusions, arguing that he had been tough on Russia and strengthened European security. Some intelligence officials viewed the briefing as a tactical error, saying that had the official who delivered the conclusion spoken less pointedly or left it out, they would have avoided angering the Republicans.

This is just the fucking cherry on the sundae, isn’t it? What a way to start the weekend. Have a good one, all.

Posted at 9:12 pm in Current events | 52 Comments
 

Fameballs, rolling.

So Kaitlin Bennett, aka Kent State Gun Girl, went to my alma mater Monday. It was Presidents Day, so she came to campus with her crew from …:::checking:::… “Liberty Hangout,” a subsection of …:::checking:::… ah yes, InfoWars, to do one of her fun videos. You know, just fun stuff! Presidential trivia! Fun!

Soon she was surrounded by a hostile mob and driven off campus, along with her security, rolling away in a big pickup truck with a TRUMKIN license plate.

Reading the WashPost rewrite of the student-newspaper story rather steamed me. It referred to Bennett, a young woman so nakedly ambitious that she launched her “career” by posing with an assault rifle in her cap and gown, as a “conservative gun rights activist.” She is in fact what the kids would call a fameball, a rolling thirst-trap train wreck trying so hard to get a gig in some Fox-type carnival that the dollar signs actually show in her eyes. She begs on her videos for Patreon supporters while she tries to push people into video confrontations that will get the wraparound-sunglasses crowd to throw her a few bucks.

She’s working the grift hard, that she’s just another humble merchant in the Marketplace of Ideas and not a third-rate provocateur on the order of Milo’s second assistant or maybe Ann Coulter’s luggage-carrier. But this stunt got a fair amount of publicity, and yet again, the fake-news MSM has treated a terrible person with more respect than they deserve.

Go, Bobcats. We know bullshit when we see it.

Speaking of people undeserving of respect, I see we’re upending the rule of law yet again. Besides the news about Blago and Milken, et al, there was also this woman, Judith Negron of Hialeah, Fla.:

Negron, now 48 years old, was sent to prison for aiding in a $200 million fraud case in what was then the country’s biggest mental health billing racket.

Negron was the only defendant in the case to refuse a plea deal and go to trial. She was convicted by a jury in August 2011 on 24 counts of conspiracy, fraud, paying kickbacks and money laundering in collaboration with the owners of a Miami-based company.

The scheme centered around American Therapeutic Corp., a seven-clinic chain that billed Medicare for group mental-health sessions that were either unnecessary or not provided to patients. The group’s patients, meanwhile, could not feed themselves or control their own bodily waste, according to prosecutors’ filings. Many lacked the mental capacity to respond to counseling and simply stared at walls or watched TV instead, raising questions about whether they were eligible for treatment.

Such a good woman shouldn’t be behind bars, don’t you think? She should have been on a chain gang.

The week feels 10 days long and it’s still only Tuesday. Grr. And so our republic continues to delaminate.

N.

Posted at 9:39 pm in Current events | 47 Comments
 

Big night.

Big weekend here. Kate’s band’s record release party was Friday night. The event was held in a bar with two other bands, and it’s safe to say the place was packed. Because it was. You could hardly move, what with their fans and those of two other bands all smashed into a not-very-big room.

And so eventful! The opening act had barely started its set when the lights went on and the music stopped. Apparently some guy, an older one, went down. I couldn’t see anything (crowded), but fortunately there was a registered nurse in the audience. He – the nurse – plays in his own band, Caveman and Bam Bam. The nurse is the caveman, and performs in an Alley Oop getup, and Bam Bam is the drummer. Anyway, Caveman is a pretty big guy, definitely the sort of nurse you want around when a patient of some size needs to be moved, or if someone collapses at a rock ‘n’ roll-type of event. I couldn’t see over the crowd, but his voice came through loud and clear: PETER CAN YOU TELL ME WHO’S THE PRESIDENT. PETER. MOVE YOUR RIGHT LEG FOR ME. And so on.

Here’s Caveman. He’s the one with the guitar:

So the paramedics were called, and they took the guy out, and I’m not sure what the outcome was, but the ambulance stayed at the curb for a while after the show started back up, so I have to assume he wasn’t in grave danger, or they’d have rushed him to the hospital.

Very exciting start to the show. The girls went on last, of course, it being their party, and they did well. They finally made a bit of money, too — a nice take at the door (did I mention how crowded it was) and about $800 worth of merch. A good night. They leave on tour in a couple weeks, and will stop at SXSW, if anyone is in the neighborhood. They’ll be at the Burger Records showcase; Shadow Show’s the name.

Oh, and the album is now streaming on all platforms. Call your local radio station and condemn it as injurious to today’s youth.

I drank two beers that night, and felt icky half of Saturday. On Saturday, however, I had an Aperol spritz, a nice glass of pinot noir and a manhattan to finish the night and feel capital today. So maybe it’s not all over between me and alcohol, it’s me and beer. Or just terrible beer.

A big week ahead, that I hope won’t be too ridiculous. I want to keep my weekends free of work, which means finishing it by 5 p.m. Friday and pushing back on any efforts to encroach on Saturday and Sunday. I have a hard enough time fitting my personal life and chores into the weekend; shouldn’t there be at least 15 minutes for recreation?

In the meantime, I leave you with two stories from our deteriorating republic.

This one is a lovely rumination on the fading star of Elizabeth Warren, by Monica Hesse, who usually has something interesting to say about gender in the early 21st century:

Loving Elizabeth Warren means planning for America to break your heart.

It means watching her tweet out an optimistic message after Iowa, and then watching how all of the early replies instruct her to defer to Sanders and drop out.

It means making sure to preface your pro-Warren statements with “I don’t have anything against the male candidates,” as if the act of supporting a female one was somehow misandrist in itself.

It means listening to people complain about her schoolmarmishness and quietly wondering what was so wrong, exactly, with sounding like a schoolmarm. What’s so wrong with sounding like a grandmother? What’s so wrong with her animated hand gestures, her cardigans, her preparedness, her laugh, her husband, her brain, her work, her femaleness, her voice?

It means hoping things will break your way but accepting that they probably wouldn’t, because America never quite seems to work that way, does it?

We’re gonna nominate Bernie and we’re gonna lose. I see it plainer every day.

Remember when Russia was our enemy, and we worried about propaganda slipping in under the door? The genius of Vladimir Putin may be that he figured it out. All you have to do to get Russian propaganda into this country’s bloodstream is write a big check:

In January, Radio Sputnik, a propaganda arm of the Russian government, started broadcasting on three Kansas City-area radio stations during prime drive times, even sharing one frequency with a station rooted in the city’s historic jazz district.

Sputnik’s American hosts follow a standard talk radio format, riffing on the day’s headlines and bantering with guests and callers. They find much to dislike in America, from the reporting on the coronavirus epidemic to the impeachment of President Trump, and they play on internal divisions as well.

On a recent show, one host started by saying he was broadcasting “live from Washington, D.C., capital of the divided states of America.”

Critics in Kansas City called Radio Sputnik’s arrival an unabashed exploitation of American values and openness. Those behind the deal defended it as a matter of free speech, as well as a simple business transaction.

Amazing.

OK, then. Off to enjoy an afternoon of soft sunshine and what’s left of my weekend.

Posted at 2:16 pm in Current events, Detroit life | 81 Comments
 

No maps here.

What a terrible day. I could have won a $100 million lottery purse today, and on the way to cash in the ticket I would have flipped on the radio and heard even part of the president’s “celebration” of his impeachment acquittal and it still would have ruined the day. It was so crazy, it was chilling. And maybe there’s something about hearing this stuff alone in the car, in winter when most people are not on the street, in the middle of the day when lots of people can’t hear it in the first place, all of this — that makes you feel incredibly alone. You think: This is it. This is the way our country ends. This and all the terrible shit, opening up national monuments to mining and sending Ivanka around the world so she can pose with pens and pretend to be important, and Don Jr. calling Mitt Romney a pussy and all the rest of it. This is it. This is the end.

I try not to get too discouraged, but what a terrible day. It’s hard not to despair.

Despair, my childhood religion tells me, is a sin. On the other hand, God must really be pissed at us. Who wouldn’t despair?

After I turned off the radio, I experimented with different animal voices for the coyote and the badger in this video. It was a way to take the pressure off.

So. It’s been a long week. Lots of work, still another day to do it. Let’s go to the bloggage, shall we?

After reading as much as I could handle about the Iowa fiasco, I think this piece sums it up best: Welcome to the bullshit economy. And how:

But the spectacle has highlighted a much more consequential problem in America, something I have coined the bullshit economy. We’ve seen elements of it all over the place. When MoviePass offered unlimited screenings for ten bucks a month, when Uber gets an $82 billion valuation for a low-margin taxi business it has never made a dime on, when WeWork implodes after the slightest scrutiny into its numbers, that’s the bullshit economy at work. We have seen the farcical bullshit of Juicero and the consequential bullshit of Theranos.

Even at the highest levels, bullshit pervades, in fraudulent advertising metrics and fake numbers peddled to convince the world to siphon cash through Facebook and Google’s dominant platforms. So many counterfeit goods pass through Amazon that the site might get listed on the U.S. Trade Representative Office’s “Notorious Markets” list.

And:

The story of Shadow, makers of the app that utterly failed to deliver in Iowa, is a perfect example of the bullshit economy. It starts by being a tech solution to a non-existent problem. Iowa counties are compact; the largest one has a landmass of 973 square miles, and it’s close to twice the size of the average county in the state. Even there, no major city is more than a 30-minute drive from the county seat, Algona. Even with that ancient technology of the car, you could have each of the 99 counties report final results within a couple hours of the end of the caucuses.

Somehow, the Iowa Democratic Party got sold that they needed to improve upon this, to “disrupt” the caucus reporting. Already, the party had to increase what they would keep track of and tabulate, reporting the first set of results before the 15 percent viability threshold, the second set afterwards, and how that translated into delegate counts. It wasn’t clear why anyone needed to adding another layer of complexity into this with the app. But the app’s backers must have been persistent, getting $60,000—really nothing for the purposes of app development—to design a tool to forward the results to a central repository.

Yep yep yep. You know what this reminds me of? A story I read in “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” the account of how the Bush administration totally screwed post-invasion Iraq. It was about the Iraqi stock market, which ran on a paper-and-pencil system until a bunch of ambitious young Republicans swept in after the war to inflict computers on the place. Computers, in a place that had electricity only a few hours a day. Great idea.

OK, I gotta go. Big day tomorrow, with a chance of 30 percent less despair. See you on the other side.

Posted at 9:19 pm in Current events | 39 Comments
 

Get naked.

I spent the day trying not to think about the Iowa caucuses, other than what you guys were saying in the comments. Honestly, what would the point be. And now the results are in and I’m not sure what to think, other than WHOA MAYOR PETE. On the other hand, my current-events alternative is the State of the Union, and I tried, I really did. Lasted 45 seconds.

The 45 seconds I caught featured the line, “The years of economic decay are over.” It imperils the health of my TV, so I’m out.

A better alternative: The joy of cooking naked, a real story in the New York Times:

It’s one of those jokes people can’t help but make about nudists, and to Ms. McMullen, who has been cooking naked for more than two decades, it shows how misunderstood nudism is. Many people think only about the pitfalls — spattering fat, minor burns — and not the benefits.

“Embracing the nudist lifestyle has given me permission to feel my feelings,” she said one morning as she sautéed bell peppers while wearing nothing but a glittery manicure in her home kitchen at the Lake Como Family Nudist Resort in Lutz, about 20 miles north of Tampa. She lives here with her husband, Jayson McMullen.

“But if you want to know the truth,” she added with a resigned sigh, “I buy precooked bacon, and I microwave it on a paper towel.”

The pictures alone are worth one of your clicks.

Nudists v. SOTU? No contest.

Posted at 9:34 pm in Current events | 51 Comments
 

Mixed and grilled.

Boy, this really says it all about the miraculous Middle East peace plan, doesn’t it?

“My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security,” the president said at a White House ceremony that demonstrated the one-sided state of affairs as he was flanked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel but no counterpart from the Palestinian leadership, which is not on speaking terms with the Trump administration.

We are truly living in the stupidest of all possible worlds, with the exception of the one that will arrive tomorrow.

So let’s get stupider, then, shall we? Mixed grill!

If you have boobs like this, you shouldn’t wear a neckline like this. Actually, no woman should wear this neckline, ever, unless you have something underneath it. Cleavage is one thing, but these are mashed pancakes. Shudder.

I will never, ever, ever understand Sandy Hook truthers. Every last one belongs behind bars. This one should be there for life:

There’s been a lot of smart stuff written about Kobe Bryant in recent days, but this is the best I’ve seen to address That Incident:

Why would we find the need to ignore a piece of Bryant’s biography that reflected and shaped our entire culture? If the argument is that we’re not ignoring it, we’re just postponing it out of respect — what are we doing to make sure the postponed discussions actually happen, and happen in a way that’s respectful not only to those who were inspired but also anyone who was harmed? How can we become more empathetic if we insist that only evil men do bad things, and thus our heroes must be perfect, and thus we must punish people who want to talk about the ways in which they were not?

Can you find Ukraine on a map? I could, but only on the second try, because I accidentally clicked the map in trying to expand it.

And now, for a second crossword of the day, followed by bed.

Posted at 9:17 pm in Current events | 84 Comments
 

And one more.

So I guess Kobe Bryant is dead. This is sad news for his family, for Lakers fans, for NBA fans. Beyond that I have little to say, other than this: I hope I never have occasion to fly in a helicopter, because those things freak me the hell out. It’ll be interesting to see who was flying the aircraft and who else was on board. Beyond that, I can only say: Condolences.

It appears his adorable teenage daughter was one of the others. How awful.

So, remember the state senator I talked about last week, the guy who was called out as handsy perv? A third woman has come forward, and said he interacted with her exactly the same way he did the second woman who reported him — hands on lower back/butt, the up-and-down body leer, etc.

And yes, the same reactions. WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE WHY DIDN’T SHE SAY SOMETHING WERE THE POLICE CALLED? NO, YOU SAY? NO? THEN SHE MUST HOLD HER TONGUE FOREVERMORE!!!!!

One day in the future, we’ll figure out how to dust a woman’s butt for fingerprints, and cross-check her story against the always-on body cameras we will all wear, Black Mirror-style. Until then, you’ll have to take our word for it. And just consider that when three separate women tell the same story, maybe there’s something to it.

(And yes, I believe the women who said Bill Clinton perved on them.)

There was a guy in Columbus, a sportswriter who was ancient 40 years ago, and is no doubt dead by now. Eddie Fisher. He was a leerer, a gross-remark maker. I don’t think he ever touched anyone that I know of, but that might be because the saliva-soaked cigar butt he kept clenched in his jaw was an effective repellant; he was hard to stand close to. But we heard what he said just fine. I think he was one of the two or three men who raced from one part of the newsroom to another to spy on a young female reporter who was committing the unspeakably erotic act of eating a banana with her lunch. Every year he would write an appreciation of Mitzi Gaynor — she passed through town in summer-stock theater — that pegged the needle for creepy old-man slavering over a woman’s legs; I think he actually typed those with his penis.

Now that we have social media, we must also not leave out an important voice from the female side of the discussion, that of the ballsy babe who insists that if anyone ever did that to her, why she would absolutely speak up, and in fact she has. (Long anecdote follows.) I just read one writer who claimed she was threatened with death — actual death — if she didn’t sleep with a male superior, and her response was to rear back and plant a high heel in the middle of his chest “so hard he probably still has the mark,” and it never came back on her and why doesn’t everyone do that? Why won’t women stand up? Etc.

OK, rant over.

All of Michigan is decidedly not like this, but I’m breaking my three-paragraph rule to bring you this anecdote from the Cletus safari to end all safaris, in Politico this weekend, datelined two counties away from me:

“It got to be so bad when Obama was in office, it felt like we were going to have a civil war,” Mike said.

In what way?

“I didn’t realize until Obama was elected that I’m supposed to be a racist,” he said, throwing up his hands.

Confused, I asked Mike to clarify.

“I’m a white man, so I must be a racist. Right?” he said. “That’s what they say about people like me. But one of my best friends is a black guy. And I’ll just say it, you know, he’s my n—–.”

I glanced around us, but Mike didn’t bother. He seemed to know what I’d already observed: There were very few black attendees to be found.

He continued, “We joke around all the time about race. We constantly tease each other. We went to a restaurant, Buffalo Wild Wings, and he asked me, ‘Mastah, can I have me some chicken wangs?’ And I said, ‘Yes, boy, you’ve been a good Toby this week.’ And the waitress, her jaw hit the floor! She’d never heard anyone joke around like that. That’s the problem. Nobody can take a joke anymore.”

Mike, by the way, is quoted by his full name: Mike Krupnek. I bet he’ll hear a few funny jokes in the next few days.

OK, then. Monday awaits, and more impeachment. But please no more helicopter crashes.

Posted at 4:53 pm in Current events | 52 Comments
 

The script, followed.

We’ve been having some drama here in Michigan. A state senator made an incredibly ill-advised comment to a 22-year-old female reporter. She wrote about it, and the story took off like a rocket – national, maybe international by now, I dunno.

Then today, a female state rep filed a complaint against him too, for an incident that happened after the 2018 elections. He made a creepy remark, she said, and let his hand linger on her lower back – standard stuff. She explained that she was moved to step forward by the first woman’s complaint. So without saying anything about the parties involved, you know what happens now, right?

The usual suspects came forward on the internet to say one of the following:

1) She’s lying.
2) She’s doing it for the attention.
3) Her claim is invalid, because she didn’t call the police immediately.
4) Her claim is invalid, because she didn’t shriek and say, “Stop that immediately, sir!”
5) Where is the evidence? Let’s see the evidence. Or is there any evidence? There’s probably no evidence.

And so on.

I’m so, so tired of this crap. I know you guys are woke on this subject (mostly), but is it really so hard to figure out how this stuff works? I have no idea who might be guilty here, but isn’t it possible to understand how these things happen? With all we’ve learned in the past two years, does the knee-jerk response from the wraparound-sunglasses crowd always have to be that she’s a lying bitch? This is why I cannot abide the alas-if-only-we-had-civility hand-wringing we’ve been subjected to these past months. These things have been happening in civil workplaces as long as I’ve been breathing, and for years before and even likely for years after I’m gone. All I want is for people to acknowledge it’s happening, and stop tolerating it.

This is so irritating.

But I guess that tracks, because it’s January, it’s cold and I usually spend this month waiting for the apocalyptic auto-insurance premium notices to arrive. The highest in the country, or the second-highest, after New Jersey. It’s insane.

So, impeachment is under way. I heard the opening statements. What a bizarre spectacle. So many lies. What did you think?

Posted at 9:31 pm in Current events | 79 Comments
 

Soup month.

Overnight snowfall Friday night, a big heavy one, which meant Saturday was pretty much going to be full-on hygge. Made stock from a pile of chicken parts. Made tomato soup from scratch. Made grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, and we were able to eat together because Kate rolled in from her gig in Chicago just in time.

This miracle of family togetherness repeated itself at breakfast. Then there was a long Sunday Funday brunch with some nice ladies — virgin Marys for the January teetotaler and no one tried to get me to add the vodka — and now I’m lolling around in my long janes, er, base layers and Mister Rogers cardigan. Because I can. Winter sucks, but it has its charms.

And on cold nights when you simply do not feel like cooking, you can have a bowl of Honey-Nut Cheerios for dinner, along with two clementines, because you’re committed to eating healthy.

In the meantime, feel free to check out Kate’s band’s new video and single, which dropped Friday. Featuring Moxi Skates, their first corporate sponsor. Much Detroit, shot on Super8, too.

So. Topic A. Impeachment.

I am tired of talking about it, we all know the issues well enough, but this cannot be emphasized enough: This may be the biggest display of wide-scale cowardice of our lifetimes. Neil Steinberg:

I am certain that opposing Donald Trump is a patriotic duty, almost sacred in its alignment with all concepts of democracy, freedom, morals, human decency. I have no doubt whatsoever that no matter what occurs in this country, it is something I will look back on with pride, or my children will look back on with pride, and if that is in conflict with the general consensus, it will mean that Trump has triumphed—as he might—and we are still in the dark age that follows. But that dark age will end because all dark ages do. The story can’t end with Trump winning. It can’t it can’t it can’t. Enough people will stand up, vote, resist. It has to happen.

I can’t understand it. I love my job, but if my bosses told me I had to ballyhoo Trump, I would give it up. Go do something else. Greet people at Home Depot. At least I hope I would. You can’t predict your own courage with absolute certainty. Nobody expects himself to be hiding in the pickle barrel when the bugle sounds. But I like to think I would stand tall. People do such things all the time, leap into rivers to save drowning people, walk the point on patrol in Afghanistan. Run into burning buildings, charge up dark staircases, guns drawn. Not that I’m comparing rhetoric to actual physical heroism. But putting yourself at risk for a cause. Why is heroism so common in some professions, and so rare in others? So scarce in the United States Senate? This could have been their moment to shine. Instead it is their moment of shame.

Frank Bruni:

(Martha McSally is) terrified. Her state, Arizona, is increasingly purple. She lost her 2018 race for the Senate and ended up in the chamber only by appointment following John McCain’s death. She has to run again this year, against Mark Kelly, the former astronaut, who’s a popular figure. She’s vulnerable, and standing with Trump is almost as much of a gamble as standing up to him would be.

But she once did stand up to him. She used to have guts. Before going into politics, she blazed trails as an Air Force pilot and even sued the secretary of defense when she detected discrimination against women. During her successful campaign for the House in 2016, she pointedly didn’t endorse Trump and just as pointedly spoke out against the behavior that he copped to — no, bragged about — in that infamous “Access Hollywood” tape. McSally had a moral compass then.

Now she just has a hunger to hold onto her suite of offices in the Capitol. She has wagered that emulating Trump is her best bet. At the conclusion of this pathetic excuse for a trial, she’ll vote to acquit him — impartially, of course.

Steinberg points out, in his blog, that while being a U.S. Senator is a big deal, absolutely none of those risking not being re-elected have that much to worry about, materially. They’ll land on their feet in some well-paid post, somewhere. It’s not like they won’t be able to put bread on the table, and they’ll have the peace of mind that comes with being on the right side of history. “Who opposes Trump and wonders if they are doing the right thing? And worries how the future will look back on us? Anyone? I don’t,” he writes. Yep. I don’t, either. They have to know, these senators, what is coming for them, for Trump, and for anyone who stands with him now. They have to. But stand they will.

This is so wearying. Make Twitter silly again — that’s my pointless wish these days.

Ah, Monday awaits. Such a busy week ahead. I hope I have the energy to cook.

Posted at 8:12 pm in Current events | 32 Comments
 

Supplemental reading.

Yeesh, what a week, although now we’re over the hump, so to speak. Less of it after today than there was this morning.

There certainly was a lot of news today. Let’s get to it:

A friend of mine is making progress persuading his father not to vote for Trump in November. He read some verbatim passages from a recent rally, then asked whether this man should have the nuclear codes. Good thing dad doesn’t listen to NPR, because he might beg to differ:

By almost any standard, President Donald Trump’s rally on Tuesday evening in Milwaukee was a bizarre affair. The president went on a lengthy tirade about lightbulbs, toilets, and showers; touted war crimes; joked about a former president being in hell; and said he’d like to see one of his domestic political foes locked up.

…But for media outlets that view themselves as above taking sides, attempts to provide a sober, “balanced” look at presidential speeches often end up normalizing things that are decidedly not normal.

A brief report about Trump’s Milwaukee speech that aired Wednesday morning on NPR illustrates this phenomenon. The anchor’s intro framed Trump’s at times disjointed ramblings as a normal political speech that “ranged widely,” and the ensuing report (which originated from member station WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio) characterized his delivery as one in which he “snapped back at Democrats for bringing impeachment proceedings.”

My sustaining pledge to my local station lapsed when my credit card expired. I’ve been dragging my feet restarting it. This is one reason.

A few days ago, I posted a photo from the meeting described in this story. It was an amazing pic, in black-and-white, by a Minneapolis Star-Tribune shooter. It was actually of many of the same people in the picture with this story, actually, just better composed and in black-and-white. A few of my friends shared it, and the usual comments started, about liberal disdain for the honest working class, etc. etc. But how are you supposed to feel about this:

Reed Olson knew some members of his community would actively oppose his attempt as a Beltrami County commissioner to tell the world the county is a welcoming place for refugees.

But he didn’t anticipate the level of misinformation that would spread ahead of the vote last week rejecting refugee resettlement — an action that has led some to associate Bemidji and the rest of the county with racism and intolerance.

It isn’t clear who started the spread of misinformation about refugees in Beltrami County. One piece included a text message framed as a prayer and call to action.

“Prayer @ Action needed,” the message read, adding, “Possibly 100’s of Muslims!!”

I looked up Bemidji on a map. It’s way, way, way the hell up north in Minnesota. The idea of hundreds of Muslims relocating there is ludicrous, and even if it weren’t — how could the place not be improved by a few hundred new residents? It’s not like the ones there are reproducing.

Also, what the hell: Was someone stalking the Ukrainian ambassador with evil intent? This stupid country.

On to Thursday.

Posted at 9:10 pm in Current events | 78 Comments