Friday Morning Open Thread: Sometimes Small Things Are Big Enough

Teresa Vargas, in the Washington Post:

When I wrote about Alice’s Kids earlier this month, I did so with the hope of showing what child poverty in this nation looks like on a day-to-day level.

Many of the requests for short-term financial help that come into the Virginia nonprofit are for seemingly small items that make significant differences for children whose families can’t afford them. Among the things asked for are shoes that fit, instruments that soothe and new glasses for children who have relied on broken ones.

The organization has paid for band trips that wouldn’t have been attended otherwise, birthday parties that wouldn’t have been held and, in one case this month, funeral clothes for a teenager who unexpectedly lost her mother.

Most of that financial help, I noted in that column, benefited children in the D.C. region and some as far as California and Texas. But now, because of you, even more children, in states that previously had no connection to the organization, will find help.

After the column was published, so many of you contacted Alice’s Kids, offering donations, and in some cases your time, that the small nonprofit run out of an Alexandria home office is expanding its reach to other cities across the country and anticipates helping more children this year than it has ever had the capacity to do in its eight-year history…

Fitzsimmons and his sister, Laura Fitzsimmons Peters, came up with the idea for the organization based on their own childhood. Their mother was forced to go on welfare after their father left the family, and they remembered “humiliating” moments of wearing donated clothes and shoes with holes. They also remembered how their mother, Alice, at times would clean houses for extra money and, on those occasions, treat them to something new.

The way the organization works is that requests are made by teachers, counselors and social workers, people who know best which school-age children are most in need. Once that request is approved, Alice’s Kids then sends an electronic gift certificate for the needed item that can be printed and handed to a parent or other adult to take that child shopping. That way the children never know they received help from strangers

Because that work doesn’t require much more than a computer, Fitzsimmons runs the organization from his home office.

His desk overlooks his backyard, and on a windowsill, directly in front of his laptop, sits a well-worn stuffed dog, with the name “Scrappy” sewn onto its side.

“It’s my reminder,” Fitzsimmons said when I asked him about it. His mother made it for him when he was 5 years old, and he once had to rescue it when all of the family’s belongings were tossed outside their home during an eviction. He lost a box of baseball cards that day because it started to rain, he recalled. “Scrappy keeps me grounded,” he said…

In a better world, such tiny bits of decency wouldn’t require handouts from strangers. But in this one, there are so many kids (and adults) who need help right now






111 replies
  1. 1
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Thanx Anne, now I feel bad for wanting to bitch about the day I had yesterday. Blech.

  2. 2
    ola azul says:

    Prolly won’t be around much longer, but if Aleta shows this morn, wanted to pass on that fella named Joe got back re: kayak repair; he left a text message, so din’t talk to him as did John at Kittery Trading Post. Not sure if Joe’s from Portland Paddle or just affiliated with them, but said he repairs kayaks — his number if helpful: (207) 317-6192.

  3. 3
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    This’ll piss you off:

    White economic anxiety evaporated after the 2016 election. Now black economic anxiety is on the rise.

    These trends suggest that people’s perceptions of their economic experiences are shaped by who holds power as much as economic realities, Kolko said.

    I got nothing.

  4. 4
    ola azul says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    This’ll piss you off:

    White economic anxiety evaporated after the 2016 election. Now black economic anxiety is on the rise.

    The unjust justice of Just Us justice.

  5. 5
    plato says:

    So much winning that you’ll get sick of winning.

    North Korea has withdrawn from the inter-Korean liaison office which was opened amid a warming of ties last year to facilitate talks with the South.

    Seoul said it was contacted on Friday and informed that the North’s staff would be leaving later in the day.

    It has expressed its regret at the decision and is urging staff from the North to return as soon as possible.

    The pullout follows a failed summit between the US and North Korean leaders in Hanoi last month.

    The liaison office, located in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, had allowed officials from North and South Korea to communicate on a regular basis for the first time since the Korean War. It is meant to be staffed by up to 20 people from each side.

    Seoul had hoped to act as an intermediary between US President Donald Trump and Mr Kim. The fact that Pyongyang is not even willing to have staff in the same office as South Korea right now does not bode well, our correspondent says.

    Since last month’s failed summit in Vietnam between the US and North Korean leaders, Pyongyang has warned that it could resume missile and nuclear testing.

  6. 6

    @plato: So much for that Nobel Peace Prize that Trump had in the bag for peace in Korea, guess they’ll have to rely on Jared’s Mideast peace deal for it now.

  7. 7
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @plato: It’s because Democrats don’t believe in rainbow farting unicorns. I feel just terrible about my insistent fealty to reality.

  8. 8
    WereBear says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I feel just terrible about my insistent fealty to reality.

    I totally understand the pull of a dream world. But I don’t understand why they make theirs so crappy.

  9. 9
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Uh-oh

    Skeptical Democratic donors tell Joe Biden they will not raise funds for him at the start of the 2020 campaign

    Several top Democratic donors have told former Vice President Joe Biden that they won’t help him raise funds in the early stages of the party’s 2020 presidential primary, CNBC has learned. Their reason: skepticism that Biden actually can win the Democratic primary.

    ***
    However, during those calls, some high-profile donors told Biden that they will not commit to bundling for him, at least in the early stages of the primary, said the people, who declined to be named. The donors told Biden they’re not yet convinced he can overtake the younger, more diverse and progressive field, and that they are going to wait to see how he competes in the race, the people added. (link)

    It’s hard to run a big campaign without money. Compounding matters, the corporate media will use the lack of funds to trash him, which in turn will make it even harder to raise money.

  10. 10

    @OzarkHillbilly: The person who wrote that piece is a moron.

  11. 11

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: It seems that everyone, possibly including his heart, is telling Joe not to run; who’s telling him it’d be a good idea?

  12. 12
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Meanwhile, heavy hitters have caught Beto Mania

    Former Obama bundler reaching out to top Democratic Party donors to gain support for Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 candidacy

    Obama bundler Louis Susman is actively working the donor circuit to increase support for Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 campaign for president. The former Obama backer has put together a string of senior Democratic Party donors who are willing to contribute to the former congressman’s presidential operation. In an interview with CNBC, Susman says he’s been talking with family and friends about backing O’Rourke. (link)

    Robert Wolf: “My gut tells me that the grassroots support for this guy is going to be off the charts. I think his road trip from first primary state of Iowa, to the blue wall of Michigan, to Ohio, to Pennsylvania, and then to second primary state of New Hampshire is going to really resonate with grassroots voters and the antithesis of a guy like President Trump coming in his own private plane.” (link)

    I read three other articles with like this.

    I imagine the next moves would be enlisting the deep pockets of liberal Hollywood and techies.

  13. 13
    plato says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: guardian crap should come with a public warning.

  14. 14

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:

    I imagine the next moves would be enlisting the deep pockets of liberal Hollywood and techies.

    Ain’t gonna happen, who’s the junior Senator from California?

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning,Everyone 😄😄😄

  16. 16
    plato says:

    Bribes, corruption and buying your own oversight & regulation can take you only thus far.

    Garuda Indonesia is seeking to scrap its multi-billion dollar order for 49 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets after the plane was involved in two fatal crashes.

    The move is thought to be the first formal cancellation of an order for the aircraft.

    A Garuda spokesperson said passengers had “lost trust” in the plane.

    It comes as investigators work to establish the cause of a recent crash involving a 737 Max 8, which killed 157 people.

    It was the second fatal disaster involving the jet in five months. A Lion Air flight crashed in October, killing 189 people.

    “We have sent a letter to Boeing requesting that the order be cancelled,” Garuda spokesman Ikhsan Rosan told AFP.

    “The reason is that Garuda passengers in Indonesia have lost trust and no longer have the confidence” in the plane he said, adding that the airline was awaiting a response from Boeing.

  17. 17
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I never read it. A headline blaming people who had absolutely nothing to do with it was more than enuf to tell me it was little more than an exercise in moronitude.

  18. 18
    NotMax says:

    Mentioned neither as an alert or recommendation, only because whenever the title comes up in TCM’s listings it gives one pause, this weekend includes their presenting for all to see Famous Boners. Icing on the inner seventh grader’s cake – it’s a short.

    Anyhoo, with that out of the system, a few ‘cherce’ discoveries on Amazon Prime.

    1) Fascinating history documentary, Television Under the Swastika. That the film footage shown survived, much less in usable state, is amazing. Only downside is that additional money wasn’t laid out to provide more English subtitles.

    2) Clever concept taken to fruition watched the other night is The History of Time Travel. Call it real fake news, done right. Have to commend everyone involved for, on a shoestring budget, producing a finished product akin to what Kens Burns would if he were making a documentary about time travel. There are certainly worse ways to spend an hour and change

    3) Car 54 Where Are You?. Strictly for laffs, and those aplenty. (Only season 2 is available for free, the slightly lesser of its two seasons. If you’ve never seen it before, start with season 2’s episode 22 first to get a taste of the surreality and comedy of errors flavor in full swing.) BTW, a couple of things to notice as this originally aired in the very early 1960s – there are African-American policemen in the precinct (and not just as mute set dressing) and also a sign on the wall by the front door reading Se Habla Español.

  19. 19
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: that’s a good point.

  20. 20
    WereBear says:

    @NotMax: Thanks, looks intriguing, and I long adored Car 54 Where Are You?, which I got to see when one of the NYC UHF channels ran it for a while. The team of Fred Gwynne and Joe E. Ross were hilarious, and they also painted an wonderful picture of life in the neighborhoods.

  21. 21

    @OzarkHillbilly: According to the piece, the Speaker was a fault because she cast shade on the talks by being negative towards a delegation from ROK and remarks after the summit ended early. It had nothing to do with Trump and Kim not speaking the same language(terms like de-nuclearization meaning different things), Bolton wanting to bomb DPRK yesterday, and Trump being a bad negotiator.

  22. 22
    Elizabelle says:

    Happy Friday, jackals.

  23. 23
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Some good news from the state of Misery:

    Nicholas T. McNab has a court hearing scheduled on Thursday that has been 11 years in the making. In May, 2008, McNab was 17 years old. He and some buddies stole some candy and beef jerky out of a concession stand in Polo, a tiny municipality in Caldwell County.

    He spent eight days in jail because he couldn’t afford the $10,000 bail on a misdemeanor stealing charge. Then a private probation company told the judge that he had tested positive for pot. He was sent back to jail for a probation violation. He ended up with a $2,000 bill for his time in jail. McNab still owes money on that bill. And for more than a decade, Caldwell County Associate Circuit Court Judge Jason Kanoy has scheduled him for monthly payment review hearings, holding over his head the threat of more jail time if McNab misses the hearing or doesn’t pay. Four times in the past 11 years, Kanoy has put McNab in jail because he’s poor.

    This week, that cycle should come to an end.

    On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion written by Judge Mary Russell, ruled that such hearings are illegal. No longer, the court said in one voice, can judges in Missouri threaten indigent defendants with jail time for their inability to be able to afford jail “board bills” charged by most rural counties in the state.
    …………………………
    It’s a ruling that will have serious repercussions on the ability of Missouri judges to aggravate poverty by keeping poor people in jail because they simply can’t afford the ransom to set themselves free. “Judges must now come to terms with the fact that the courts can no longer play any direct role in the collection of jail board bills,” Mueller said after the ruling.

    But that’s not all.

    State Rep. Bruce DeGroot, R-Chesterfield, hopes to get rid of jail board bills entirely. Earlier this month, the Missouri House passed his bill that would have put an end to the payment review hearings by requiring all court costs, and jail board bills, in misdemeanor cases to be collected through only civil means — such as collection — if indigent defendants fell behind on payments.

    In light of the court’s clear ruling, DeGroot now wants to go even further, if Senate leaders will agree to amend his bill, which passed in the House 156-1. As a group of civil rights organizations suggested in their amicus brief in the Richey case, DeGroot thinks Missouri should ban the practice of charging for jail time altogether.

    “The jail board bill is the most visible sign of debtors prisons and abuse of the judicial system in Missouri,” DeGroot says. “I underestimated the judicial, legislative and public appetite for serious criminal justice reform. Getting rid of jail bills entirely is the morally correct thing to do.”

    Now, I don’t expect the state senate will go along with getting rid of jail board bills all together, but I applaud Sen. DeGroot’s efforts. If he wasn’t a Republican, I’d consider sending him some money. I think I’ll just send him a nice email instead..

  24. 24
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @NotMax: Oh TCM. You magnificent bastards.

  25. 25
    gene108 says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Gah…as I was going to bed, I thought last night was Friday…

    But I still have to go to work today…not what I was expecting waking up to

  26. 26
    Elizabelle says:

    @gene108: My condolences! Maybe the day will pleasantly surprise you.

  27. 27
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Unprecedented’ US flood season will imperil 200m people, experts warn

    The headline is a bit hyperbolic but it does sound like an above average flood season.

  28. 28
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gene108: I hate it when that happens! I had the opposite time confusion last weekend — thought Saturday night was Sunday, and when I realized my mistake, it felt like an unexpected three-day weekend!

    I’ll be working harder this weekend than I have this week. Got some kiddos coming up to help me tile the kitchen. The previous occupants of the swamp shack installed the most hideous dark, fake-metal panels. Can’t wait to shit-can that ugliness and put up some colorful tile.

  29. 29
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: As far as US politics is concerned, the Guardian is the Berniebro Paper of Record. Fkm!

  30. 30
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Maybe it’s a sign from God.’ Midwest floods devastate Nebraska farmers.

    Anthony Ruzicka, a fifth-generation Nebraska rancher, got the call at 6 a.m.: The nearby 90-year-old Spencer Dam was failing under pressure of a river swollen with snowmelt and rain. He got out with moments to spare — but the wall of water swallowed up many calves and all his bulls, along with his farmhouse, outbuildings, feed bins, and the original log cabin built when his family came from Czechoslovakia to homestead in the 1860s.

    Ruzicka was luckier than most caught in the historic floods across the Midwest. The day before, he and his neighbors in Verdigre, in the northeast corner of Nebraska, had chased most of his herd of 300 cattle a half mile to higher ground, just in case. He doesn’t yet know his total fatalities, but on Saturday alone he saw 15 carcasses.

    And losing so many calves and bulls? Calves represent next year’s cash (it takes 12 to 18 months to reach slaughter weight) and bulls represent genetic material that may distinguish the quality of a herd from someone else’s.

    “I’m 39 years old; I don’t have children. The cows are my children, and my farm is completely destroyed. Maybe it’s a sign from God to go and do something else,” Ruzicka said.

    ……………………….

    “We have some small towns along these rivers that are just going to be devastated. How do you identify needs beyond keeping them alive? And now all of this water is moving south. Hello, Kansas City.”

    Kyle Tubbs in Craig, Mo., about 90 miles north of Kansas City, hauled all 400 of his hogs to higher elevations on Saturday afternoon, losing only one animal in the transition. The only building on his farm not underwater is his house, which he raised nine feet after the floods of 2010 and 2011. Tubbs is four days into this flood, the third in 10 years, and he said it’s far from over.

    “There’s such a volume of water up in the Dakotas, we’ll be battling this all summer. Our rivers are managed so terribly.”

    He worries he won’t be able to bring his animals home for months, and they’ll be kept at a temporary facility with no running water and no farrowing facilities for pregnant sows to give birth — which could lead to further losses.

    He’s reduced to using his boat for transport. When he looks out to the south, all he can see is water.

    “I’m on the only oceanfront property in Missouri.”

    Well, at least he hasn’t lost his sense of humor.

    Yet.

  31. 31

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Our rivers are managed so terribly.

    Have they tried raking?

  32. 32
    NotMax says:

    Code fail. Fix. (Feel free to delete the faulty version, BC.)

    @Betty Cracker

    Oddly enough, a side road on the internet just the other day led me to look at some marvelous tiles from Italy, which no doubt cost an arm, a leg and the first born for several generations. But pretty to look at and imagine….

  33. 33
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    The US Food and Drug Administration is facing a demand from some of its own specialists to halt the approval of new narcotic painkillers because they say the agency’s “dangerously deficient oversight” is continuing to fuel the opioid epidemic.

    Dr Sidney Wolfe, a former member of the FDA’s drug safety committee, and Dr Raeford Brown, the present chair of the agency’s opioid advisory committee, on Thursday began a formal process to oblige the FDA to suspend opioid approvals or explain why not.

    The two specialists said the FDA failed to take account of the public health crisis and escalating death toll caused by the flood of opioid prescriptions over the past two decades even as the agency approved dozens of new narcotics. Wolfe and Brown have submitted a petition to the FDA, a move that requires the agency to respond, demanding it put in place a process that considers the impact of painkillers on the opioid epidemic before any more are approved.

    Wolfe, a founder of the Public Citizen Health Research Group, said the FDA had been given every opportunity to act but “can no longer be trusted” because it is heavily swayed by the drug industry which provides the bulk of the funding for the FDA’s drug approval division.

    In 2016, the FDA asked the National Academy of Medicine for recommendations on how to regulate opioids in light of the epidemic. A year later, the academy issued a report saying that the FDA had too narrow a view of the opioid approval process which failed to take into account issues such as addiction and the fact that large numbers of prescription narcotics end up on the black market.

    It listed a series of steps toward tightening the approval of opioids in the future and recommended that the FDA review whether those already on the market should still be sold. The academy said it was “highly unlikely that all of these products would be judged safe and effective under the new drug approval framework” being proposed.

    Two years later, the FDA has yet to implement the recommendations or to pull existing drugs off the market.
    …………………………………..
    The FDA is obliged to respond to the petition and Wolfe and Brown plan to use it to generate support from within the medical profession and Congress to put pressure on the FDA.

    Can you say “regulatory capture”?

  34. 34
  35. 35
    Chyron HR says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    Forget it, Bill. It’s BetoBroTown.

  36. 36
    debbie says:

    I spent more time than I should have last night playing around with the Bach Google Doodle. I am no musician, for sure. The Doodle is still there this morning. Good riddance, weekend errands!

  37. 37
    Betty Cracker says:

    @NotMax: Very nice, but yeah, well beyond my budget. I’ll be shopping the East Buttcrack Lowe’s collection. ;-)

    @OzarkHillbilly: Perhaps the Sackler family fortune could be confiscated and applied to opioid research and treatment…

  38. 38

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’ll be shopping the East Buttcrack Lowe’s collection. ;-)

    I hear the Lowe’s in West Buttcrack has a nicer collection.

  39. 39
    NotMax says:

    @Betty Cracker

    Always a gamble on any given day but you never know what may be lurking at the Habitat ReStore, if there’s one anywhere at all near the swamp.

  40. 40
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: Possibly, but I suspect the best we can hope for is shunning: Tate art galleries will no longer accept donations from the Sackler family

    It’s a start.

  41. 41
    WereBear says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Shunning is incredibly effective, but I suspect we don’t have sufficient control over all the spaces to make it work as it once did.

  42. 42
    SFAW says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It’s because Democrats don’t believe in rainbow farting unicorns. I feel just terrible about my insistent fealty to reality.

    Thank FSM that that moron has reminded me/us that only Demon-rats have agency for anything/everything, as necessary.

    Will no one rid us of these meddlesome morons? Where’s Villago when you need him? (Yeah, I know you’re there.)

  43. 43
    Plato says:

    BBC brexit blog comment.

    This is 90% of all Brexit conversations…

    Remainer: This isn’t going very well.

    Leaver: How dare you say 17.4m people are stupid, you’re an elite.

    Remainer 2: Begging for deals isn’t taking back control.

    Leaver: How dare you say 17.4m people are stupid, you’re an elite too.

    Remainer 3: No deal would cost jobs.

    Leaver: How dare you say 17.4m people are stupid, you’re an elite also.

  44. 44
    SFAW says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    200 Million? Do tell.

    Does Murdoch own the Guardian? Except for their BernieBro leanings, it sounds like a “worthy” sibling to Faux News and the NY Daily Post.

    In other “news”: I find it weird that our own latter-day Damon Runyon lives in or near Vacationland.

  45. 45
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @debbie:

    I spent more time than I should have last night playing around with the Bach Google Doodle. I am no musician, for sure. The Doodle is still there this morning. Good riddance, weekend errands!

    Anne Midgette, the WaPo’s classical music reviewer, wrote a column yesterday on the Bach Google Doodle which included this:

    Musicians and musicologists on Twitter had a lot of fun playing with the thing all day.

    “Throw in a chromatic melody and pump up the tempo to 100 beats per minute and you get a reasonable facsimile of Hindemith,” wrote a user named ninedragonspot.

    Would this be BJ’s own commenter? How very cool to be quoted in such a context!

    Congratulations, 9️⃣🐉🔘!

  46. 46
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @plato: It might be more accurate that the Indonesian public has “lost faith” not just in the airplane but in the airplane manufacturer. Who in the world (literally) would trust a corp that had five months to address the problems surfaced in the Lion Air crash, and failed disastrously? Who in the world would trust that same corp ever to get it right again? And it only has to get it wrong once to kill a lot of people…

  47. 47
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Baseball news: Jackpot: Cardinals, Goldschmidt finalizing club record extension for new franchise fixture

    The Cardinals and their new first baseman are finalizing a five-year, $130 million deal that will make Goldschmidt the highest-paid player in club history, two sources with direct knowledge of the negotiation told the Post-Dispatch. The deal includes a no-trade clause, no opt-outs, and will keep him with the Cardinals through 2024 and age 37.

    ……………………………………….

    The only National League player to appear in the previous six consecutive All-Star Games, Goldschmidt hit .290 with a .533 slugging percentage and 26 home runs last season for Arizona. He has rivaled Joey Votto as the leading first baseman in the National League since Pujols’ departure, and Goldschmidt has won two consecutive Silver Slugger awards as the best hitter at the position he shares with elites like Votto and Anthony Rizzo. Goldschmidt has twice finished runner-up in the National League MVP vote, finished sixth in it this previous season, and is one of the top five players in any significant offensive category, new or traditional.

    His .534 slugging percentage since 2012 leads all first basemen in baseball, and he’s won three Gold Glove awards at the position. His .934 OPS in that span ranks fourth among active players with at least 3,000 plate appearances.

    Mike Trout tops the list at 1.000.

    Stanton is fifth, at .915, just ahead of Bryce Harper’s .900.

    Joe madden is not a happy man this morning.

  48. 48
    SFAW says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    And it only has to get it wrong once to kill a lot of people…

    You are SUCH a Debbie Downer.

    Plus, I’m sure Boeing will find some junior engineer on which to blame things.

  49. 49
    SFAW says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    He has rivaled Joey Votto as the leading first baseman in the National League since Pujols’ departure

    Maybe, but can he double as a blocking back, like Pete Alonso?

  50. 50
    Betty Cracker says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I believe that same commenter mentioned playing Rachmaninoff the other day, so it must be the same person. How cool is that? :)

    @OzarkHillbilly: Poor Joe.

  51. 51
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SFAW: If you read the article they are speaking of coastal flooding too:

    Noaa has also warned of flooding in coastal areas, caused by high tides. In its coastal forecast, the agency said the east and west coasts of the US can expect a slightly higher than normal chance of flooding this spring.

    When they say “200 million imperiled” what they really mean is “200 million affected”. The flooding on the Missouri will affect me if I have to go to Dutzow for tractor parts, it might even “imperil” me if I’m stupid enough to drive around the barricades to cross the underwater flood plain. Like I said, hyperbolic.

  52. 52
    SFAW says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    it might even “imperil” me if I’m stupid enough to drive around the barricades to cross the underwater flood plain.

    Wouldn’t it be better if you just nosed up to the barricades, stood on the roof of your car/truck, surveyed the area, and said “Blech”? And then go back, of course.

    PS/ETA: And I’m too lazy illiterit to rede the hole article.

  53. 53
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SFAW: Goldschmidt- 6-3, 225. I would be willing to bet he could do a fair job of it.

  54. 54
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SFAW:

    And I’m too lazy illiterit to rede the hole artacle.

    Gawd dammed rednicks cin’t spall fer shet.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    Baud says:

    I’m going to be away for a little while. I don’t want all you moms to worry about my absence.

  57. 57
    Elizabelle says:

    @Baud: Come to Germany. It’s Springtime for … Germany.

  58. 58
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: You needn’t worry, they will revel in it.

  59. 59
    germy says:

    Trump accidentally hit his head with a golf glub, asked if caddy did it: report https://t.co/Yb24eBV6p6 pic.twitter.com/LE9juKGKTh— Newsweek (@Newsweek) March 22, 2019

  60. 60
    MattF says:

    Welp, I’m doing a first pass on my taxes, and it’s bad news. Combine inadequate withholding– taxes changed last year, but withholding rules didn’t– with a high tax state like MD and you end up owing significant bucks.

    The basic problsm is that itemized deductions scale with income, but the fixed standard deduction does not. The new regime is that, despite my high real estate taxes, high state income tax, and mortgage interest, I have to take the standard deduction– and it’s just not enough to get back to the 2017 level.

    So, taxpayers beware. I’ll note here that the silly Politico article that predicts a Trump landslide (no link) because of the economy says nothing about the increased taxes for us biue-staters.

  61. 61
    germy says:

    For the second day in a row #Charlottesville schools are closed because of a credible terrorist threat by white supremacists. So things are not so fine here right now.— Siva Vaidhyanathan🗽🤘🏽 (@sivavaid) March 22, 2019

  62. 62
    Lapassionara says:

    @Baud: Hope you are going some place nice, where Trump doesn’t harsh your mellow.

  63. 63
    raven says:

    @MattF: We got more back than were did last year.

  64. 64

    @MattF: We owe big time. Partly we’re still adjusting to sources of income other than a paycheck.

    The only time I really flinched over taxes was back when I was a student working minimum wage jobs and needed every dollar.

  65. 65

    @Baud: I was already worried, and I’m not a mom.

  66. 66
    NotMax says:

    @Baud

    Quick sojourn to Moscow and back?

    “Just say nyet.”

    :)

  67. 67
    germy says:

    And this time of year, when I’m expecting important tax statements in the mail, is when the substitute letter carriers go on duty. Every day a different postal employee. Three days with no mail, followed by two days with my neighbors’ mail.

    Our regular carrier does a great job, but for some reason disappears in March.

  68. 68
    ruemara says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: God’s message was stop fucking voting for conservatives. But that came in 2016. This is just follow up reading of what hath been sown.

  69. 69
    satby says:

    @Baud: we worry even when you’re here, but I hope it’s a trip for enjoyment. Safe travels Baud.

  70. 70
    Immanentize says:

    @Betty Cracker: It’s a shame, I have some very nice blue, black and white tile left over from a previous job. Very nice stuff (American Tile) but you are out of my delivery zone. Even though I went with white subway tiles on my current kitchen, I do like colored glasses tiles….

    Is it just backsplash, under cabinet? Or more? In any case, enjoy the project.

  71. 71
    MattF says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Me too. I retired at the start of April 2018, so I’m getting income from new sources. The distributions from retirement accounts include automatic withholding, but it’s evidently not enough.

  72. 72
    MomSense says:

    @Baud:

    Iowa or perhaps New Hampshire?

  73. 73
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Baud: Campaign matters call. We understand. Enjoy the 2020 Goat Rodeo.

  74. 74
    raven says:

    @MattF: I’m retiring Sept 1 and I’m dumping almost all of my paycheck into a 403b till then.

  75. 75
    Immanentize says:

    @Baud:
    I hope you are travelling and that it is not just to visit family. That kind of a trip is never vacation….

    Then again, maybe you are finally heading to New Hampshire and Iowa?

    ETA MomSense is a Mom and got to the primary states first….

  76. 76
    rikyrah says:

    skeptical brotha 🌈 (@skepticalbrotha) Tweeted:
    the Governor of Kentucky is a lunatic for deliberately infecting his children with chicken pox. MSNBC is galactically irresponsible for their “both sides” bullshit covering this story. #MattBevin https://twitter.com/skepticalbrotha/status/1109078602468024320?s=17

  77. 77
    MattF says:

    @raven: Probably the right thing to do, considering the microscopic interest rates you get from banks.

  78. 78
    Immanentize says:

    @raven:
    Sadly, I won’t be able to use a 403b because I work at a private University, not a public one. That’s a good retirement tool. I guess I could become a minister over the next decade….

  79. 79
    zhena gogolia says:

    @germy:

    That thread is hilarious! I had no idea there were so many funny golf gifs.

  80. 80
    rikyrah says:

    Tynisa the Wakandan Shaman Walker (@Kalarigamerchic) Tweeted:
    Folks just aren’t getting it. You telling me that a woman like Stacey Abrams “wont” be elected without Biden says more about your internal misogyny and bigotry.

    Do better, Vote better. And stay the fuck out my mentions. https://twitter.com/Kalarigamerchic/status/1109080937856409601?s=17

  81. 81
    plato says:

    People who think I'm leading them shouldn't be leading others.— God (@TheTweetOfGod) March 20, 2019

  82. 82
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: Thanks for letting us know. Now we’ll miss you, but at least we won’t worry so much.

    Hope you are not hitting up the big donors; you know we’ve got you with millions of small donations.

  83. 83
    SFAW says:

    @Lapassionara:

    Hope you are going some place nice, where Trump doesn’t harsh your mellow.

    For that to happen, Baud would have to visit another planet

  84. 84
    NotMax says:

    @WaterGirl

    Any news yet on hiring site magicians?

  85. 85
    germy says:

    2020 Democrats who have confirmed to me they WON'T attend @AIPAC (per the candidate or an aide):
    Bernie Sanders
    Kamala Harris
    Elizabeth Warren
    Beto O'Rourke
    Pete Buttigieg
    John Delaney (scheduling conflict)

    — Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) March 21, 2019

  86. 86
    artem1s says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:

    Meanwhile, heavy hitters have caught Beto Mania

    Man, I have a bad feeling about this. They are trying to sell him like he’s the second coming of Obama but it’s reminding me way too much of John Edwards arc.

  87. 87
    germy says:

    @rikyrah:

    If you, like me, are deeply skeptical of this Joe Biden-Stacey Abrams thing, consider that when @MarieClaire asked if Abrams had a #MeToo story, she mentioned Anita Hill and watching "those men in power [i.e. Biden] deny her humanity." https://t.co/hyoHWcDFfW pic.twitter.com/ynyizroQdw— Jamilah King (@jamilahking) March 21, 2019

  88. 88
    JPL says:

    @Baud: But the Mueller report might be released in your absence. How will we manage without you….
    ah never mind. I hope you enjoy your time away.

  89. 89
    J R in WV says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    The US Food and Drug Administration is facing a demand from some of its own specialists to halt the approval of new narcotic painkillers because they say the agency’s “dangerously deficient oversight” is continuing to fuel the opioid epidemic.

    Dr Sidney Wolfe, a former member of the FDA’s drug safety committee, and Dr Raeford Brown, the present chair of the agency’s opioid advisory committee, on Thursday began a formal process to oblige the FDA to suspend opioid approvals or explain why not.

    I have to say I’m a little disappointed by the exclusive focus on the tiny minority of people who have problems with addictive substances, to the total exclusion of folks with long-term chronic illnesses that cause them to live in agony in the absence of strong pain-relief from medication.

    Last data I recall seeing indicated that only around 5% of people wind up in trouble with opioids. Yet this small minority of people is driving the entire discussion, and others with horrible and incurable health problems that can only be helped with the strongest pain killers are never mentioned in the discussion of opioid drugs.

    What about people with cancer, degenerative joint diseases, or nervous system diseases, who suffer horribly to the point where they commit suicide rather than continue to live with constant pain? Do those people not count for anything! Not to someone appalled at addiction problems. This is just wrong!

  90. 90
    WaterGirl says:

    @NotMax: The developer has been chosen and Cole has a contract in hand, though not yet signed. We’re almost there.

    I’m sure John will make some sort of official announcement on BJ when he’s ready, but I don’t think he would mind my answering your question. I hope not, anyway!

  91. 91
    Aleta says:

    @ola azul: Thanks for this! Very kind of you.

  92. 92
    tobie says:

    @Elizabelle: You know what pisses me off…the cherry trees are evidently in full bloom in the Rhine Valley and they’ve yet to open on the Mall in DC. Damn…I want our spring blossoms to come first.

    Hope you’re having a swell time in all your travels!!! {hugs}

  93. 93
    germy says:

    Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) demanded that President Donald Trump present the nation with X-rays of his feet to prove once and for all the bone spurs in his heels he claimed for a medical exemption from the Vietnam War draft.

    Kerrey, a former Navy SEAL who lost part of his right leg during the war, said on Wednesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360°” that “you don’t grow out of bone spurs.” If Trump had them in the 1960s, Kerrey said, he’d still have them now (unless he underwent surgery, which Trump has never mentioned).

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/donald-trump-john-mccain-bob-kerrey-vietnam-x-ray-bone-spurs_n_5c933db2e4b0d952b223753a

  94. 94
    Fair Economist says:

    @debbie:

    I spent more time than I should have last night playing around with the Bach Google Doodle.

    That thing is amazing. And frightening.

  95. 95
    Fair Economist says:

    @J R in WV:

    Last data I recall seeing indicated that only around 5% of people wind up in trouble with opioids. Yet this small minority of people is driving the entire discussion, and others with horrible and incurable health problems that can only be helped with the strongest pain killers are never mentioned in the discussion of opioid drugs.

    What about people with cancer, degenerative joint diseases, or nervous system diseases, who suffer horribly to the point where they commit suicide rather than continue to live with constant pain?

    It depends on what you mean by “trouble”. That 5% is about the percentage that *die* eventually. There appears to be a lot more going on. Wider opiate use results in substantial drops in labor market participation, and may account for most of the unexplained drop in labor market participation over the past 20 years.

    The problem for opiates for long term pain is that the randomized trials are showing it doesn’t work past a couple of months. Taking opiates long-term increases pain by disturbing the body’s natural ability to handle it and after a few months it looks like the increased pain from damage to those systems equals the temporary relief from the dose, so the patients are taking opiates just to be where they would be if they’d never taken anything.

    Endorphins are also critical to motivation, comfort, and dealing with stress. There are strong epidemiological associations between opiate use rates and suicide, motivational issues, and general misery. The general explanation is that the opiates are being used to self-treat the “disease of misery” but based on the long-term pain studies and the labor force studies I think the causality runs in the other direction – it’s the marked increase in opiates that’s damaging people’s ability to choose, to enjoy, and to withstand, just as they damage the ability to ignore/suppress pain.

  96. 96
    SFAW says:

    @germy:

    Hot damn.

    Incoming rage tweet in 3 … 2 … .

  97. 97
    Barbara says:

    @J R in WV: @Fair Economist: Every study that has ever been done shows that the use of opiates to treat chronic pain is ineffective or much less effective than alternatives. But long term exposure to opiates can lower pain sensitivity thresholds, so discontinuing opioids results in greater pain. People who use opiates for long term pain, even if they are not participating in the unregulated market for such drugs or their alternatives, are driving, operating heavy machinery, and engaging in other activities in a way that might be detrimental to them and those around them, like babysitting or parenting. It’s a hard problem, but minimizing the extent of the impact of opioid addiction on communities, families and ultimately all of us by calling it the problem of a tiny minority doesn’t seem useful to me. There are whole counties that literally can’t place children in foster care because so many parents of young children have been rendered unfit. Even if I don’t care about the parents because they made stupid choices, surely the kids deserve some amount of compassion.

    ETA: Not only might it account for reduced labor participation, it is almost certainly a material contributing factor in recent declines in longevity for U.S. men in particular.

  98. 98
    Miss Bianca says:

    @NotMax: @Betty Cracker: Check out my friend Nawal Motawi’s tile at Motawi Tileworks! She set out to recreate an old Detroit firm’s signature tiles – Pewabic Pottery – and has since branched out.

  99. 99
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @artem1s: Broken record here, but –

    I’m still trying to figure out why I should support Beto when, as the Democratic candidate for US Senate last fall, he couldn’t be arsed to endorse Gina Ortiz Jones, the Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in TX-23 – because the incumbent Thuglican (Will Hurd) is a buddy of his.

    When questioned about this he said “Country before party.” Really? How so? The GOP is doing its level best to destroy this country. Will Hurd votes with his party more often than not – certainly more often than a good Democrat would in his seat. How is keeping Hurd there supporting your “country?”

    BETO 2020
    Buddy before Country!
    Join the “Hurd”!

    If Beto really prefers a Republican to a Democrat in a Congressional race (by declining to endorse Hurd’s Democratic opponent) he ought to do the ethical thing (as should Wilmer): Withdraw from the Democratic primaries & run as an independent.

  100. 100
    Barbara says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: I felt the same way about Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who basically refused by omission to support any Democrat in Florida running against her good friend Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Yeah, sure, I understand that for a Republican she was pretty moderate, but still, Wasserman Schultz was the head of the DNC. And good old Joe Biden somehow found it within himself to give a speech in support of Fred Upton that was at a non-campaign event, but was used shamelessly by Upton’s campaign. Upton voted to repeal the ACA. Joe’s pining for yesteryear is so strong that he seems to think he can create it just by wishing hard enough, that seems clear enough, I don’t know what Beto’s problem is. But agreed: it’s a strike against him.

  101. 101
    tobie says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: I am loathe to disagree with you because you are most often right in what you say, and you are a fellow Marylander to boot, but I think the outrage over this one episode is misplaced. It is disappointing? Yes indeed. Is it disqualifying? No. A few days ago I posted the figures on increases in Dem representation in the Texas state legislature and the Texas caucus in the House after the 2018 midterms. The increases in the TX state house were substantial and I think one of the reasons for it was that Beto’s campaign and his multiple stops in every Texas county had long coattails. Like David Merry Christmas Koch, I’m leaning Beto at the moment, though it’s early and I could still change my mind. He’s thoughtful, and I appreciate candid and self-aware responses like this today in South Carolina:

    @PatrickSvitek
    2h2 hours ago
    More
    In SC, O’Rourke gets what I believe is 1st audience Q about arrest record of 8-day-old presidential campaign (asking during event). He repeats answer from Senate race, owning up & noting how “exceptional” his experience was compared to those less privileged before pivoting to CJR

    On another note, I’m sorry to see Baltimore is once again in the national news and not in a good light.

  102. 102
    Barbara says:

    @Miss Bianca: I think I might own some of these — but anyway, thanks for the link. It is my fantasy to do a fireplace surround in art tile, and my house is the right era.

  103. 103
    Ruckus says:

    @WereBear:

    But I don’t understand why they make theirs so crappy.

    Dreams – nightmares, some days who can tell the difference?
    We think they are angry all the time, they are, what they want is not to make their world better, they don’t know how to do that, so what they want is to make everyone else’s world worse than theirs. They are mad that the world hasn’t given them their unicorns and they think that everyone else is getting theirs. It isn’t that they are horrible people it’s that their vision of the world is and they have no idea how to change that.

  104. 104
    Ruckus says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    Someone who does not see the democratic side of the aisle in a positive manner?
    Joe has friends from decades of making friends to get things he wants done. Those friends are not necessarily looking our for democratic success. And yet, telling Joe what he thinks he wants to hear is friend’s advice. Not good advice for sure but most of us like hearing what we think we want to hear, rather than the truth.

  105. 105
    Miss Bianca says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: oh, ffs. I used to love reading the Guardian, but I realize that part of it is nostalgia – back in the 80s, when I used to index it for a living, it really did open my eyes to a lot of world news and reporting that I didn’t see in any US media, even progressive media like Mother Jones or The Nation. But now I find their coverage of the US is really terribly anti-Democratic. The BBC has also gone downhill. WTF? Has Murdochization just taken over every decent news outlet? “Nature and Nurture both agree – it’s all the Democrats’ fault!” Fuck that shit.

  106. 106
    Fair Economist says:

    @Barbara:

    But long term exposure to opiates can lower pain sensitivity thresholds, so discontinuing opioids results in greater pain.

    Yes, how to deal with the currently addicted is a monstrous problem. Long-term much stricter opiate prescribing guidelines will be a huge boon, but it doesn’t de-addict current users, and they will turn to even more unsafe illegal alternatives. I saw one paper estimating that major restrictions on opiate prescriptions would result in increases in death rates from the already horrific levels for over a decade. My personal idea is to have opiate addiction treated as a medical disease, and allow fairly generous prescribing of less euphoric opiates like buprenorphine and methadone for that diagnosis only. Buprenorphine would be particularly good as it has a substantially lower mortality rate from overdose.

  107. 107
    Ruckus says:

    @Barbara:
    To me it’s the ineffectiveness of opiates for long term pain management that is a major issue. I’ve been put on opiates for consistent pain and while at first it lessens the effects, it does nothing for actual pain relief. The pain finds a way around the opiate blocking and not only are you right back where you started, your world is just a gray soup. Might be great for temporary pain, say from an operation like open heart surgery but long term, consistent/constant pains it is far worse than useless.
    Now if you want your world to turn gray and silent and you don’t mind you being dangerous to you and the world around you…….

  108. 108
    Barbara says:

    @Ruckus: All of these drugs were originally intended to address acute pain such as post-operative pain, or the escalating pain of terminal cancer, where increasing the dose does not have long term effects. It’s outrageous that they ever morphed into a all purpose treatment for pain associated with chronic conditions.

    It’s also the case that people’s brains seem to respond very differently. I’m with you, the few times I have taken these drugs (post dental or cesarean surgery) I felt slow and stupid and pushed myself to stop and turn to Ibuprofen. But very clearly, other people’s brains react differently and keep craving what must be a sort of euphoria or feeling that nothing around you matters, which could be a good feeling if your life is going to pieces.

  109. 109
    Brachiator says:

    @Ruckus:

    To me it’s the ineffectiveness of opiates for long term pain management that is a major issue.

    Something Barbara noted is very intriguing:

    Every study that has ever been done shows that the use of opiates to treat chronic pain is ineffective or much less effective than alternatives.

    This suggests that there are good medications for chronic pain. I don’t understand why these are not offered or considered. From comments like this and some stuff I’ve read before, some doctors don’t understand pain management issues very well. Some years ago, I remember reading some survey of doctors where some even felt that suffering pain was a good thing, for some dumb ass reason.

  110. 110
    Barbara says:

    @Brachiator: This is the problem. Basically, studies show that non-opioids are as good as opioids in a lot of cases, but alternatives can also include things like physical therapy that are not meaningfully available to many people, or alternatives such as losing weight or surgery which can be viewed as inferior to opiates on an individual basis. The research that has been done on medical marijuana did not yield particularly promising results, but I am sure more will be forthcoming.

  111. 111
    StringOnAStick says:

    @J R in WV: I agree, and that Gillibrand partnered with my states odious Senator Gardner to force all opioid prescription s to be for 7 days only permanently put her at the same desirability level as Tulsi. We watched my BIL die in hideous pain because his oncologist refused to prescribe anything stronger than v1codin to a terminal cancer patient, I suppose because their area had a lot of addiction to prescription pain drugs.

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