Sunday Afternoon Open Thread: Jason Kander Is Doing Well

Not so many months ago, Jason Kander was spending his life on airplanes. The picture of youth and energy, Kander was in demand from Democratic groups across the U.S., a military veteran from middle America making a powerful case for generational change in his party, possibly with an eye toward a 2020 presidential run.

But beneath the swagger, something inside Kander’s head weighed on him — nightmares, paranoia, even suicidal thoughts. Like so many veterans, he was carrying the unspoken burden of post-traumatic stress disorder, and suddenly last fall he detailed his personal struggles and dropped from public view.

Now, Kander is re-emerging with a healthier mental state and a new focus on helping other veterans, leading the national expansion of a program in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, called Veterans Community Project. At the same time he’s easing back into the fringes of politics — doing national TV interviews, appearing with Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg during the candidate’s visit to Kansas City (though he hasn’t endorsed any specific candidate), and talking candidly about his experience reconciling trauma, healing and political ambition.

“I feel the best I’ve felt in a very, very long time,” Kander told The Associated Press. “I’m really enjoying life.”…

Kander’s involvement with Veterans Community Project began as a client. Even with a law degree and years of government experience, he was “a little bit overwhelmed” by the confusing maze of paperwork and bureaucracy as he sought help through the VA. He turned to the group’s outreach center, which matches veterans with needed services at no charge.

Soon, he was volunteering there. The project’s co-founder and CEO Bryan Meyer said that when the organization decided to go national, Kander, who founded the voting rights group Let America Vote in 2017, was a natural choice…

More about Veterans Community Project here.

63 replies
  1. 1
    debbie says:

    This is great! VCP can’t expand nationwide fast enough.

  2. 2
    chris says:

    This is great and I love the tiny houses. A place to call your own is so important.

  3. 3
    smintheus says:

    Today in innumeracy: ABC insta-poll finds that 48% of Democrats say the Mueller testimony makes them more likely to support impeachment. Vox immediately posts a piece claiming the poll “find[s] few Americans have been swayed on impeachment” and “the hearings changed few minds about the report’s contents”.

    You have to make a bunch of dumb assumptions to reach that counter-intuitive conclusion. Specifically, it seems that it’s based almost entirely on the fact that nearly as many Republicans said the hearings made them support impeachment less. So, I guess, all those changes in opinion did actually happen but they cancel each other out so that means… few minds were changed?!

    The reality is that what Republicans say they think is irrelevant and almost certainly dishonest. They were almost universally opposed to holding Trump accountable in any fashion, and remain so. That group really did not change their minds.

    But the fact remains that the group that is most persuadable and therefore the most relevant, Democrats, was heavily persuaded by Mueller’s testimony to back impeachment more firmly. That makes impeachment proceedings more likely.

    At least, according to an unreliable insta-poll. If you’re going to draw any conclusions from an insta-poll, why not base those conclusions on what the poll results say rather than some muddy “both sides” bullshit.

  4. 4
    joel hanes says:


    I’m growing increasingly impatient with the narrative-pushing at Vox.
    Makes me sad, because I’ve always had some respect for Ezra, if not for big-media Matt.

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    Missouri should be ashamed for not electing him, but at least he was able to get the help he needed.

  6. 6
    MomSense says:

    It’s so frustrating. The political media like covering politics as a horse race and cannot seem to grasp the import of the crisis we are in. Mueller’s report and his testimony made it bey clear that we were attacked by the Russians and that their attacks continue to this day. Our president and every member of the GOP in Congress, except Amash, are encouraging through inaction the Russians to continue to attack the very heart of our democracy. The president takes it further by denying that the attacks are happening at all, siding with Vladimir Putin over the United States intelligence community.

    Whether the president and his disgusting children were smart enough to commit conspiracy aside, every Fucking day they acquiesce or encourage a hostile power attacking our country is a day they commit treason. They are traitors. They are criminals. They are a corrupt, self enriching cabal of racist assholes. Most of the crimes and offenses they commit are out in the fucking open and still our feckless media cannot get the story right. WTF more needs to happen before they figure it out?!?!

  7. 7
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    every member of the GOP in Congress, except Amash

    … and he is no longer a member of the GOP.

  8. 8
    smintheus says:

    @joel hanes: Vox also ignores calls for corrections. I have tried multiple times (without any response at all) to get Vox or Dara Lind to correct a false statement that she keeps repeating in different articles. This falsehood plays right into the hands of the whackos who want to eliminate birthright citizenship, but they could care less.

  9. 9
    smintheus says:

    @MomSense: I think everybody with an ounce of sense has figured out Trump and his cronies are crooks. They just don’t care to take sides because Republicans will threaten them and political chaos is good for business and there’s no reward within modern media culture for earnestness. Also, they would have to figure out a bunch of stuff about Trump’s crimes and that would involve actual work.

  10. 10
    realbtl says:

    OT and I seldom post except for pix (though been here since the Birdzilla days) but I had to put down my 13 yo rescue Weim today. Had her 8 years but still hard. Though I encourage adoption of older dogs; They need a happy place to finish out their years.
    Thanks for letting me at least partially vent.

  11. 11
    zhena gogolia says:


    I’m so sorry.

  12. 12
    HinTN says:

    @Baud: A thousand times, this. What he’s doing represents the best of what the next generation is doing.

  13. 13
    JAFD says:

    Greetings, fellow Jackalfolk !

    The NYC meetup happened yesterday. As mentioned, I took the ferry to NY. Here are some pictures from the trip:
    The _Alexander Hamilton_ at the dock
    The lower Manhattan skyline
    The Verrazano in the distance
    Any day you see a schooner under sail is a good day
    The Jersey City skyline
    Her lamp beside the golden door

  14. 14
    Ohio Mom says:

    @realbtl: So sorry. You did all the right things — you gave Weim many good, happy years, and you gave him a peaceful end. May your memories of your time together bring you comfort.

    P.S. Stay around, don’t go back to lurking!

  15. 15
    Baud says:


    I’m sorry.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Steeplejack says:


    Thanks for your service to a good old dog.

    Obligatory (h/t raven):

    We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necesssary plan.

    – Irving Townsend, Separate Lifetimes

  18. 18
    satby says:

    @realbtl: Condolences on the loss of your girl. Sounds like her last eight years were the best for her: a loving home and people are a dog’s heaven on earth. I hope you can take some comfort in the happy life you have her when you rescued her.

  19. 19
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I’m sorry for your loss, but so glad you gave your Weim a happy place to finish out her years.

  20. 20
    satby says:

    @JAFD: great pics and some familiar faces. Except yours JAFD, were you the photographer?

  21. 21
    satby says:

    Jason Kandar was one of my favorite people to suport, so I’m delighted he’s doing and feeling well and putting his considerable talents to good use.

  22. 22
    Mart says:

    @satby: So sad Kander barely lost to the lump Blunt. (Although health wise maybe for the best.) The differences between him and the lying sack of shit Hawley are so emmense it might have swayed some R minds.

  23. 23
    Haroldo says:


    Vox has been screaming for clicks and views for a long time now. Might be a result of how they are funded; the online advertising has become more and more onerous (at least when I let it – AdBlock is pretty much the order of the day if and when I visit them).

    I dunno how much sway they have with other folks, but I pretty much immediately discount their political and economical reportage.

  24. 24
    Hoodie says:

    @MomSense: One of the predicate conditions for fascism is cynicism, as this means only power and money matter. Trump is the embodiment of cynicism, a completely unqualified bozo being elevated to the highest office in the land because it’s good for a select few, we have to have someone to other to explain away our own failings, and no one gives a shit anyway.

    Two related events this weekend. Yesterday, a friend and I stopped by a local joint frequented by students from the local university. There was a group of about 6-8 college-age guys at one of the tables. All white, looked like they all came from affluent backgrounds (although I hate to assume about anyone). Some older white dude arrives shortly thereafter, seemed like he was some sort of frat advisor or similar for these college dudes. He fit a type you often see around here, southern bullshitter with a button-down, slacks, and buckle loafers with no socks. Probably sells real estate or insurance, whatever. Guy is a loudmouth piece of work, first thing out of his mount is “you boys want to talk about the Mueller investigation? That was sure 24 million bucks down the crapper!” A few mumbles from a couple of the kids along that lines of “yeah, that was some bullshit witch hunt!,” i.e., usual FoxNews horseshit, and then the loudmouth turned to joking with the boys about who they should knock up. This asshole is not even worthy enough to carry Bob Mueller’s briefcase , he’s supposed to be a mentor to these kids but he’s just polluting them with his own cynicism.

    Next day I hear a story from an acquaintance about a dinner that a GOP bigwig had with some donors. The upshot was that the GOP bigwig whined that they should feel sorry for him because he had to deal with Trump, whom the guy described as a moron. Of course, no thought that maybe it’s not such a great thing that the president is a moron and maybe he should do something about that. It’s just something you put up with to protect your wealth because that’s all that matters. More cynicism. The press is infected with the same disease.

    Stories like Kander’s are uplifting, and I hope there will be more leaders like him that will come out of his generation and reverse this cynicism. However, I’m afraid that many have been so years of quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan, bailouts of criminal bankers, etc., have left us with such a overwhelming reservoir of cynicism that we may not recover.

  25. 25
    Ruckus says:

    They “both side” everything because they don’t want to lose subscribers/viewers. What counts is not the news, the truth, even being a biased lie. What matters is the money. It’s always the money. What we call great reporters don’t make money because they will always piss off someone who may not renew or someone who won’t watch regularly, diminishing their income. It’s always about money.
    We think we know what their job is but we always equate it with what they do, not why they do it. Some may do it for the fame but it’s the word that follows that, fortune, that is the driving force for the vast majority. How many cogs in the wheel are there because they wanted to be cogs? Anyone? Bueller? It’s always about the money at the end of the day. I know what I’m doing, I was great at it at one time, now I’m competent. I don’t do what I do for work because I’m competent, I do it because being competent at that makes me more money than standing in a store bagging groceries or working in a fast food joint. Money. It’s not only the root of all evil, as we see in our president and his family and supporters, it is the root of modern life for the vast majority. And really that’s better than all of us having to be farmers/ranchers because there may not be enough land for that and we can do other things. Create machines to kick cancer’s ass. A system for better, wider communications, solar/wind power, etc, etc. There are enough of us bipeds to make a better planet and money is the thing that empowers that. It also empowers greed, the need to have more than someone else, a way to quantify “better.” Right now we are in a race to see which group wins, better or greedy. Problem is that the greedy think that more makes them better. And they can’t get enough more to make them “better” without making things worse. Things being worse doesn’t make them better in any way.

  26. 26
    trollhattan says:

    So very sorry. I LOVE weimaraners (and not just because of Wegman) and the one’s I’ve met have been smart, polite and very focused on their human. Plus they’re just regal. Soon you’ll mostly remember all the happy times.

  27. 27
    Dog Mom says:

    @realbtl: So very sorry for you – I had to do the same with my old Weimaraner last week. She was a rescue also – rough beginning with no proper socialization, but mellowed to such a sweet girl. I hope your memories bring peace.

  28. 28
    Jay says:

    Among the papers that Saul, now alone, had given to the officials was a statement from his doctor, back in El Salvador. It said that Saul had the cognitive age of a four-year-old child.#FreeSaul #CloseTheCamps— Luna Lovegood ✨💥✨ (@LunaLuvgood2020) July 28, 2019

  29. 29

    @realbtl: So sorry. Losing a pet is hard.

  30. 30
    zhena gogolia says:


    this should be front-paged!

  31. 31

    @Hoodie: At lunch, I overheard a debate about whether the moon landing really happened. It was painful. I guess that counts as cynicism, though it may not be sophisticated enough.

  32. 32
    Bill Arnold says:

    Martin covered this friday in a long comment about the importance of blue-state-driven policy. Here’s another. The right is working out (stupid and hypocritical) arguments about states rights to attempt to stop or slow these efforts.
    While the planet overheats, Ohio’s coal industry gets a bailout – I have spent five years investigating state efforts to roll back clean energy laws. Ohio just passed the worst legislation yet (Leah C Stokes, 28 July 2019)

    The next time you feel that you are to blame for climate change – because you forgot to hit the light switch, or you took that flight to see your ailing mother – remember the Ohio electric utilities and their coal subsidies. Remember the politicians who gave them this billion-dollar bailout after receiving personal favors, like a flight to Trump’s inauguration on a corporate jet. And know that one day after signing this bill, Ohio Governor DeWine attended a Trump fundraiser hosted by coal baron Bob Murray.
    Fighting the climate crisis is not about purifying yourself. It’s about dismantling corporate power. Electric utilities are a great place to start.

    Vox on same, with the key bullet points near the top:
    Ohio just passed the worst energy bill of the 21st century – A corrupt bailout for dinosaur power plants that screws renewable energy in the process. (David Roberts, Jul 27, 2019)

    -Bail out two nuclear plants
    -Bail out two coal plants
    -Gut renewable energy standards
    -Gut energy efficiency standards

    Mixed; keeping the nuclear plants going is a net very good, otherwise very bad.
    (My rough estimate is 1 human life per 250 tons of carbon, and nuclear plants do not spew huge amounts of CO2. (expected weighted median reduction, across probability weighted scenarios, of human global population by 4 billion, carbon release estimates for rcp 4.5/6))

    To put it plainly: the Republicans behind HB6 are telling Ohioans that halting the shift to cheaper power sources, halting reductions in energy consumption, and (re-)subsidizing increasingly uneconomic dinosaur power plants will save ratepayers money over the long-term. Black is white, up is down.

  33. 33
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Facts don’t matter to fascists.

  34. 34
    realbtl says:

    To all of you who commented, thank you. Like I said I mostly lurk but I knew this was something I could trust to the BJ community. It truly is a special place.

  35. 35
    realbtl says:

    The reason I’ve been here since forever (Hi John’s seeing the light) is the strange sense of community with people of whom I know exactly one. Thanks to John and all the jackals.

  36. 36
    Jay says:

    I'm looking through Plain View Project's database of Facebook posts made by current & former police officers, and I typed in the keyword "antifa", which pulled up a bunch of posts from officers gleefully talking about mowing down antifascists and anti-Trump protesters.— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) June 1, 2019

  37. 37
    debbie says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    They are so worried about saving jobs in the nuclear industry, but apparently not the estimated 100,000 jobs in the renewable/green industry.

    And one of the nuclear plants is in Indiana!

    Bonus Idiocy: In an interview while attending the Ohio State Fair, DeWine said he decided to support the nuclear bailout because he didn’t want Ohio to become dependent on fossil fuels!

  38. 38
    rikyrah says:

    @joel hanes:

    Had very little respect for. Ezra.

  39. 39
    rikyrah says:

    Sorry for your loss 😢 😢

  40. 40
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: I wonder if he would have reached out for the help he needed if he had won. He could very well have decided that he needed to power through in order to do the job. In any case, I really was impressed by him when he first came to public prominence, and I am glad that he is ready to come back to the fight.

  41. 41
    debbie says:

    Seven tweets so far today (three in the past hour), all about Cummings. Someone’s ticked he’s not gotten any thanks. Well, other than Milo’s mom, it seems.

  42. 42
    Sab says:

    @realbtl: That’s so sad.

    We had to put down our rescue St Bernard cross only two years after we took her in due to cancer. Loved that girl. I know her history and we gave her the two best years of her life with a safe home and a dog best friend, so there is that.

  43. 43
    Sab says:

    @debbie: Weren’t the Ohio plants shut down by the NRC because FirstEnergy couldn’t be trusted to operate them safely? Same guys that caused the 2003 massive power outage across the northeast, midwest and Ontario.

  44. 44
    Jay says:

    Immigrant families' worst fears are coming true: For the past year, ICE has been taking the names of relatives that migrant children give at the border, and rounding those people up for deportation.— Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) July 26, 2019

  45. 45
    debbie says:


    Yes, that was First Energy causing the blackout, but I don’t remember hearing about any shutdowns. I could easily be wrong though.

  46. 46
    Sab says:

    @debbie: Davis-besse plant up near Lake Erie. They didn’t notice a corroding hole in the roof for quite a while. Shut down 2002-2004.

    I was thinking Perry plant was also shut down, but apparently not.

  47. 47
    Jay says:


    The 2003 North American blackout was attributed partly to FirstEnergy’s failure to trim the trees around its high voltage lines in a certain sector of Ohio; heat and extreme power needs caused the lines to sag, coming into contact with the trees and causing flashover.[45]

    On Friday, January 20, 2006, FirstEnergy acknowledged a cover-up of serious safety violations by former workers at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, and accepted a plea bargain with the U.S. Department of Justice in lieu of possible federal criminal prosecution. The plea bargain relates to the March 2002 discovery of severe corrosion in the pressure vessel of the nuclear reactor, contained within the plant’s containment building. In the agreement, the company agreed to pay fines of $23 million, with an additional $5 million to be contributed toward research on alternative energy sources and to Habitat for Humanity as well as to pay for costs related to the Federal investigation. In addition, two former employees and one former contractor were indicted for purposely deceiving Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) inspectors in multiple documents (including one videotape) over several years, hiding evidence that the reactor pressure vessel was being seriously corroded by boric acid. The maximum penalty for the three is 25 years in prison. The indictment also cites other employees as providing false information to inspectors, but does not name them.

    In 2005, the NRC identified two earlier incidents at Davis-Besse as being among the top five events (excluding the actual disaster at Three Mile Island) most likely to have resulted in a nuclear disaster in the event of a subsequent failure.[46][47]

    Gotta love Corporate Welfare.

  48. 48
    Jay says:

    -A 15-year-old girl reported being sexually assaulted during a routine pat-down.-A 17-year-old boy witnessed an officer punching another boy in the stomach-The mother of a 12-year-old was forced to watch an agent perform sexual acts.And now this…— RAICES (@RAICESTEXAS) July 26, 2019

  49. 49
    Miss Bianca says:

    @realbtl: I’m sitting with my two rescues (one a stray, one a rehome) snoozing beside me. I feel for your loss. Comfort yourself with knowing that you gave a good dog a great home.

  50. 50
    Scamp Dog says:

    @realbtl: I adopted a 10 year old Husky last summer, after TaMara posted that she needed a new home. Thanks for helping out a good dog who needed a home!

  51. 51
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @smintheus: Argh! I am sorry to be pedantic but it is “COULDN’T care less” not “could care less” that term make absolutely no sense whatsoever. (Sorry but it is one of my pet peeves).

  52. 52
    J R in WV says:


    We too have adopted many dogs, starting with rehomeing an elderly German Shepherd my Grandma could no longer care for. All of our dogs have been rescued, one was living on hot dog ends at a DQ, one from our Vet clinic, one from a road side in Mingo county, one dropped off on the farm, etc.

    They were all so grateful for their new home, space to run in the woods, other dogs both at home and next door, every one of them knew the reality of being abandoned, rescued, being happy with their people and fellow dogs.

    Thanks for your rescue, too.

  53. 53
    debbie says:


    I can’t find a clip, but DeWine had his sincere face on when he said he didn’t want Ohio to be dependent solely on fossil fuels, even though the bill he had just signed that morning removed the standards which have allowed renewables to grow significantly. Sheer stupid.

  54. 54
    Jay says:

    In 2016, reporters from mainstream outlets took umbrage at the very suggestion racism was at the core of Trump’s appeal. Now it’s conventional wisdom, but they insist on describing it as a insurmountable tactic of staggering political genius.— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) July 28, 2019

  55. 55
    Jay says:


    Naw, they are playing dumb, to get away with short term grift.

  56. 56
    Jay says:

    Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs, who is under U.S. sanctions, said that Rand Paul "has access to the top U.S. leadership, is close to Donald Trump, and we expect that we will be able to convey our signals through him."— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) August 6, 2018

  57. 57
    debbie says:


    I predict Rand Paul will develop a “severe allergy” before long.

  58. 58
    stinger says:

    @realbtl: My heart goes out to you. I have a Yorkie that was rescued from a puppy mill when she was 8. I’ve had her for 5 yrs, and she is starting to have elderly dog issues, so I know our time of parting isn’t all that far away. Thank you for giving your girl a happy life.

  59. 59
    Jay says:

    Coats is getting ousted for taking steps to prevent foreign attacks on American elections if you want to know how things are going— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) July 28, 2019

  60. 60
    zhena gogolia says:


    and being replaced by Ratcliffe, the most delusional inquisitor of Mueller at the hearings. His qualifications: mayor of Heath, TX (pop. 8000).

  61. 61
    Jay says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Devin Nune’s Cow didn’t want the job.

    Ratfliffe has been a go too Defender of Dolt45 since day one embracing and deploying every Conspiracy Theory available.

    Putin is laughing his ass off.

  62. 62
    Bill Arnold says:


    They are so worried about saving jobs in the nuclear industry, but apparently not the estimated 100,000 jobs in the renewable/green industry.

    I’m willing to give the “rational right” the framing on keeping existing nuclear power plants in operation. (It’s out there if you look.) Nothing to do with jobs. Here’s why:
    A 1 gigawatt (to make arithmetic easier) coal power plant burns about 3 million tons of coal per year (at say 35 percent efficiency[0]). Coal is say 78% carbon. Its contribution to global warming that removes half the worlds human population (the current average scenario IMO) is roughly 10000 human deaths per year, globally, in the fullness of time. No credible LWR accident would kill even an order of magnitude fewer, if that, and probably wouldn’t happen, so the expected value of deaths from that reactor (averaged over failures) is even lower. So the utilitarian calculation is to keep them operating, keep the regulators un-bribed and well-armed, and cross fingers. Serious about climate change means keeping existing nuclear plants running, in other words. (Also forging common ground with the less-loony right.) Building new ones is an entirely different argument; solar and wind installs are faster, and improvements in storage and long distance transmission would reduce the need for baseline production. (These are among the active arguments; my summary is typical but others argue the details differently.)

    [0] Convert Tons Of Coal Equivalent to Gigawatt Hours

  63. 63
    debbie says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    That may be, but my point was jobs. How can DeWine be so concerned about losing jobs in the nuclear industry, yet he’s endangering just as many jobs in the green industry?

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