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Things I Love About America

I’ve been thinking a bit about patriotism. For instance, if you see a pick-up truck with three American flags flapping in the breeze, you can say “this is a guy who wants to make America great again.” I roll my eyes and check to see if truck nuts are dangling from the back. The question is, are these ostensible displays really indicative of a more profound love for one’s country?

As I take a step back, I wonder what it means to love one’s country. Is it because of something intrinsic in the nature of the country? Because of what the country stands for, what it represents, what it means to others? Is it because the country gives you something? It is irrespective of any properties of the nation itself, but instead a function of the sacrifice made on its behalf, as though the effort used to forge it imbues value into an inherently neutral apparatus?

And why should I love my country? I love people, is that the same? I love God – is his entangled with this country above others? I love my family – but doesn’t everyone in every country? What makes this country special, and more worthy of love? Or does that miss the point? You love the country because you’re there, if you were somewhere else, it’s your duty to love that place just the same.

What is the currency that this country communicates its value to me? What aspects of the country are worth defending? What, if lost, would leave this place different, other, less lovable? What things make America itself and not something else?

When I think of America, I think fondly of the following – and probably countless more, but at least these:

  • Free Speech – simply “freedom” is too vague; define it please.
  • Freedom of the Press – no power answers to no one.
  • Freedom of Religion – that the nation provides a refuge from whatever theocracy would impose its belief system forcibly upon any people.
  • National Park Service – the crown jewels of the world, specifically the backcountry.
  • State Park System – the land of the people, for the people.
  • Interstate Highway System – the land, all of it, free to all the people.
  • Wartime Mobilization and the Ass Kicking we dealt in WWII and to a lesser extend WWI as a result – those moments of clarity, collective will, civic duty, and unshakable resolve.
  • That we didn’t start a nuclear war during the Cold War – that civilians could think of more than military goals when considering what was good, right, and smart.
  • 4th of July – freedom from tyranny, the voice of the people.
  • Tired and huddled masses – melting pot; take the best from the nations and incorporate them into our social fabric to make us more distinctive, stronger, and smarter.
  • Land of opportunity – to the extent that it exists, to the extent that it is available to certain peoples.
  • Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, FDR, and TBD – philosopher leaders, thinkers, brilliant people.
  • Martin Luther King Jr, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, and more – exceptionalism in word and deed.
  • Amber waves of grain – open spaces, majestic skies, towering mountains, rolling hills, dense forests, regal deserts, rivers, lakes, the oceans…and America the Beautiful the song.
  • That we went to the moon when we tried – that it hasn’t happened in 40 years, a testament to our ability if given focus.
  • The Postal Service – people hate the USPS, but imagine the mission they have – to provide mail to every address in the entire nation daily; daunting.
  • Public Libraries – so useful, so worth whatever we pay for them.
  • Public Radio – the vector of free speech, the press with the least motivation to skew.
  • Our engineers, scientists and soldiers – the reason why others have to steal our work rather than try to make their own.
  • The Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail – interstates for seekers who can find anything they look for within the very land itself.
  • That our Founding Fathers had such high minded ideals – they were attempting to make a different kind of nation.

I wonder what other items should be on my list. As you can probably see, I value things that are not valued by everyone. I see two thirds of these items as being threatened by forces at work in our current administration.

One thing that I would point out: this list is not a list of demands or a list of what the country owes me. It doesn’t owe me anything. I was born wherever I happened to be born, to whatever parents happened to bear me. I wasn’t owed a factory job, inherent in my DNA. That I came to a land that represents life, liberty, and a pursuit of happiness is a fortunate accident. I am grateful, and not resentful. It seems that many feel that the country, the land itself, must give something of itself to make it worthy of their adoration. That it exists to service their fancy. And maybe it does; a country is not a physical thing, it is a construct upon which people are invited to exist in a certain way. Perhaps they should expect that the country do their particular bidding. I don’t know.

Just don’t mess with my national parks, or I will come for you.

The Crucible

I was considering live blogging election night, and apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking I should. So, here we go. I can’t imagine this having any where near the density of calamity of the debates. I have no idea what I’ll have to say. I do know that I drank a bunch of water just now with the express purpose of not waking up dehydrated after my double shot of Talisker scotch.

2035: I’m going with George Stephanoplous (or whatever) and ABC for election coverage. They have like 14 people on their panel. Impossible to get the mike on at the right time. They need to raise their hands or pass the conch or something.

2042: I’m rooting for Clinton here, even though I myself didn’t vote for either of them. So far, VA and Florida don’t look very good. I wonder if they’ve counted Richmond or the DC suburbs yet?

2048: But NC and OH look pretty good. Those two would more or less lock it up.

2049: I’m going to blog whatever my three year old whines about when Jen or I go visit her.

2049: There is an inexhaustible supply of analysts here on ABC. They just went to a war room with a pile of people, and then a secret table.

2052: There are these strange, random interstitial messages that keep interrupting the show that we’re watching. I’m unfamiliar with these things. For instance, one involves chasing a dog, but having psoriasis. I don’t understand these strange messages.

2054: I think I sat on the remote a few minutes ago, because now we’re watching CBS. That explains why there are so many new analysts.

2056: Remind me never to go to Kentucky: 2:1 for Trump.

2100: The second the midwest polls close, the states turn red.

2104: I like NE and ME. Why would you not split your vote? We should split it at the county level. At the individual level! Get rid of the college!

2106: The way I see it, Trump will definitely arrest a few hundred dissenters in the first 6 months after he’s elected (if he’s elected). I feel like I’m maybe at the 10,000 mark? 5,000? How many people would Trump have to elect before he came for me?

2111: Sadly, my three year old is asleep already. I was wondering what she’d harass me about, and what adjective she would use to describe my whiskey breath. Because this is boring.

2119: So, the thing about Florida – Boward (or however you spell it) is half reporting. Trump has a 100,000 vote lead, but in Boward, Clinton currently has a 200,000 vote lead. If you extrapolate that difference, Clinton flips it. But, most people don’t understand thing sort of crazy addition and will instead claim that it is fixed.

2125: I don’t understand how the … no idea what I was talking about.

2136: Is this the first time Pence has been in the same place as Trump?

2140: Stephanie Rawlings Blake from Baltimore on ABC! She’s kinda foxy, was unaware.

2146: I think the late precincts are going to be the city districts. Because they make the city people sit in line for four hours, whereas I sit in line for zero seconds since I live in a place with a real infrastructure.

2201: I need some food, depressed.

2216: Nate Silver just said that betting markets have Trump as a narrow favorite. That’s not good. They don’t tend to lose money.

2232: Our ABC affiliate is covering the Baltimore mayoral elections. And the Senate elections. I need more national fear mongering.

2243: I can only hope that Republicans will impeach him in a few months. It all depends on how Michigan shakes out when the cities report.

2254: Maybe I’ll go to bed and wait for Abby to wake me up and check it then.

2303: I’m done. If this isn’t a spectacular disaster, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. The power of low expectations may define the Trump presidency.

The Government We Deserve

According to Real Clear Politics, 55% of voters find Hilary Clinton to be an unfavorable candidate. 58% say the same about He Who Shall Not Be Named (HWSNBN). We’ve put ourselves in quite the predicament. The resistible object against the movable force. I do not like either choice, but I do not believe that they are on equal footing. One is a corrupt lifelong politician. The other is a swindling demagogue with authoritarian impulses and a propensity for rash behavior that could destroy life as we know it. Interestingly, none of the 5 living presidents supports HWSNBN. They understand that he lacks the knowledge, temperament, and self-reflection to hold an office with the gravity of president. I share their greatest fear – that the republic will not stand under his rule. Clinton may be business as usual, but in four years there will be an election and another chance to get things right. Are we sure that will be the case if HWSNBN is president?

So, what’s a boy to do? First, according to 538’s Election Forecast, Maryland is the safest state in the union – with greater than a 99.9% chance that Clinton will win. In that case, my presidential vote will not sway the general election. This is freeing to me. My strident opposition to HWSNBN need not force me into the camp of a corrupt oligarch. So, I’m going to vote for Jill Stein.

In the past three years, the myth of the “pause” in global warming has been debunked, as we march ever forward to the desolation of our planet. The topic was barely raised. Politicians stay away from the topic, or outright deny it. I’m voting two ways: 1) against the political parties that gave us two uniformly loathed candidates and 2) for an under appreciated issue of huge importance.

Down ballot is more informative. I am voting against HWSNBN’s right to rule. If I see your sign on the same yard as a sign for him, I am voting for your opponent. I will vote against any candidate who thinks that he is a good idea for this country. I will vote against any ballot measure supported by anyone who thinks he is a good idea for this country. He is a dangerous tyrant who must be opposed, either directly or in the form of a strong bulwark to his political standing. And you thought that Obama abused his executive privilege – be ready for the hypocrite train to pull into the station.

Or maybe he won’t be so bad. Maybe he gets into office, quickly bores of it, blowing off meeting with our allies and enemies, preferring to give speeches about programs he has no authority or money to implement. Maybe he becomes increasingly tired of attempts at his life and holes up in the White House, not even delivering the State of the Union. Maybe he’s elected and the markets tank, millions lose their jobs, and the demographic that brought him to power abandons him. Maybe he does three different things worthy of impeachment in the first year of his presidency, and maybe we end up with 2 and a half years of President Pence and a Republican party split between White Nationalists and Small Government Conservatives. Maybe 3/4ths of his supporters in the aristocracy back-peddle with a sort of revisionist history that’s hard to do in the age of social media. Maybe America is resilient against the strong hand of a dictator to be. It was built to be resilient against it.

Or, maybe it’s as a 55 year old, white, retired military man at my work says – if he loses, there will be a civil war. Maybe if he loses, the rural south is inflamed with racial violence. If he wins, the violence may shift to the cities.

Who knows. Protect your family, hope for the best. I’m apprehensive in any scenario. I would rather live in no country other than America. But we are not immune to the sort of fears and strife that threatens the world as a whole. Humans are capable of all forms of evil. God created government to restrain our sin. It does so imperfectly. We will, as always, reap what we have sown.

Our National Nightmare

I’m trying to decide if I want to punish the entire Republican ticket. I’m actually kind of torn: currently, I’m planning on voting Green for president (why not), Democrat for House (because the republican’s website is only half complete and looks completely unprofessional), and Republican for Senate (because Szeliga is the most reasonable candidate I’ve seen in a while). But the Republicans nominated the Anti-Christ for president. They need to be learn that this kind of pandering does not fly. So, anyway, another debate.

Tonight: A big glass of Laphroaig 10 years. Tawny Port for Jen.

2100: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show event is tomorrow night.” I thought it was tonight!

2101: Watching with Fox today. I hate Trump so much that I want the coverage to be as friendly to him as possible. Shep Smith doing a good job here. Starting to forgive him for saying that Hurricane Matthew was going to kill all your children.

2102: Fox has a tight rope walk ahead tonight. The Trump ship is sinking, and Fox is as tied up with him as you can get. AND Trump is talking about making his own news station…which will be in direct competition with Fox (not MSNBC, I suspect). How do they treat him here tonight?

2105: Mix Trump’s skin with Clinton’s suit, and you have a creamsicle.

2106: Surprised that Clinton got right to the question rather than 45 seconds of preamble. Impressed. Hey, how about this for the Supreme Court – can they just interpret the law?

2107: Laphroaig is often described as “medicinal”. But man, it’s deep. A nice warmth. Oh, news flash, Clinton wants to push along Obama’s nominee. OK, cool.

2108: Trump subdued again. How long would 2 mg of Xanax take to wear off on a bull moose like Trump? 15 minutes? 20 minutes? We’ll check in later.

2110: 10 minutes of open arguing. This is the Fox style.

2111: Sensible gun control (background checks, terror watch list checks, storage etc). I have no idea who would argue against this. I read a good article on Newtown, CT recently.

2114: So far, Chris Wallace is owning this debate. We’ll see how this goes. He comes in with more authority than the previous moderators.

2115: Roe v Wade was passed by a conservative court, I’m told. Abortion is the worst. Gross. A sobering topic, unlike scotch.

2119: Abortion is an evil evil.

2120: Trump doesn’t actually know how birth works; not on a schedule. But so far, I am not mad with him.

2121: Xanax hasn’t worn off yet, and yet he remains coherent. Still sniffing though. He is backpedaling on a full deportation, focusing instead on the hombres.

2125: Andrew Miller, how about him. Cleveland in the World Series. Sorry, zoned out.

2126: If Chris Wallace alienates Trump and Trump starts boycotting Fox News…will he just hang out in his house until the election?

2127: This is why I don’t like it when my 3.5 year old takes a nap. Isn’t it good that Obama deported millions of people?

2129: It is interesting that the Russian government wants Trump to be president. Do we trust them?

2130: Chris Wallace scolds the audience again. I am enjoying this guy. While I was typing that sentence, we got on to Radical Islamic Terrorism. I’m not following his train of thought anymore.

2131: You’re the puppet! Wow, she struck a nerve there. 23 minutes, he’s starting to come off the rails. What was it last time? To the tape!

2132: It was 22 minutes last time. Off the rails. Chris Wallace. Woooo.

2134: Putin’s not my BFF!

2135: He’s sniffing still, but less.

2136: At least Trump can pronounce Nuclear.

2137: I’m digging Chris Wallace.

2137: Abby, who has no soccer ball, has decided that she want’s to be a soccer ball for halloween. She has wanted this for a month. But she wants to be a soccer ball with red patches rather than black. All right. Whatever.

2138: I’ll be honest, I’ve got the bottle right here with me. I’m not really following this baloney anymore. I keep hearing about this “free school” thing, but I’m skeptical.

2140: No one gives Donald more credit than Donald.

2143: Just watched the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. Just saying. By the way, I agree – Obama did inherit a tremendous catastrophe economically. Dude’s one of the better presidents we’ve had, as people will acknowledge in a decade or two. Especially in comparison with these dopes.

2146: India is growing at 8% but their per capita income is like $4000 a year or something. It’s really not a fair comparison.

2147: Totally lied, and fact checkers actually said I was right. He was very surprised about that. It’s maybe the first time that he’s ever said something true.

2149: Condescending. Bad experience. He’s doing a good job this time. Less incoherent.

2151: That was a powerful Clinton set piece on experience. She rehearsed that well.

2152: By the way, we would be interested in hosting refugees. These are families feeling terrible situations to keep their kids alive. If Trump actually raised his kids, he would have a little more compassion.

2154: Not attractive enough to be assaulted. Yes, that’s a good point. Chris Wallace, still keeping things under control Another strong Clinton set piece by Clinton here, on women.

2156: Nobody in the whole world has more respect for women than Trump. Not even one. There are 3.5 billion men in the world, and Trump is literally the number one respecter of women.

2159: Third powerful set piece of Clinton, this time about all the people he has belittled.

2200: I’m getting sleepy.

2203: Something something something; someone just sent me to Edible Arrangements Facebook page.

2204: Rather than paying a lawsuit, Trump put up an American flag. OK. Good zing on tax returns.

2205: Chris Wallace, please come back.

2206: Rigged election. This is the scariest part of this whole thing. This is terrifying. Peaceful transition of power from Chris Wallace.

2209: Here we are, a fourth Clinton set piece, this on rigging.

2210: Trump as a human is completely off the rails, but he has gotten better at the debates as he’s gone. Less incoherent stories this time. But he’s letting Clinton dominate. She sounds so much smarter than he does.

2214: Trump’s theories on warfare – the element of surprise – a little naive. The Iraqis are in on the Clinton fix too…

2216: Who cares if Trump was for Iraq in 2003, when he was a blubbering idiot who was not running for president.

2217: I hate the look Clinton gets on her face when she thinks she’s said something funny.

2220: Putin, Assad…let’s see if Clinton does a set piece on the axis of evil world leaders that Trump admires.

2221: Lots of luck Hilary. So, did Trump just concede the election to her?

2223: I want some food. This is silly. He didn’t implode. She continued to only say smart things. That is the standard against which the two of them are judged.

2224: Vast swatches of land. I remember swatches!

2225: Trump is delusional. But he believes it. I guess that’s the definition of delusional.

2227: I think the talking point from this debate will be the part where Trump said he was still considering whether he’d stage a coup against a democratically elected government.

2230: I thought it was going to be over at 10:30, yet here we are. I’m going to get something and go to bed.

On Your Left

I spent the summer of 2001 in Pittsburgh working doing an undergraduate research project. Most days, I ran in Schenley Park; both close to the Towers of Ignorance and a pretty great place for running. I had a ~10.5 mile loop out the park and into Squirrel Hill that I did most days. One day, another runner darted out 50 yards in front of me from another trail. Having patrolled those woods for a few weeks already, I considered it my duty to follow this runner and eventually crush his will. But he was fast. Faster than me. After fruitlessly chasing him at 5:45 pace for 3 miles, as he slowly pulled away from me, he turned and I continued my loop, relieved that my pursuit was over.

Why this story? I have never been passed on a run and that was the closest I had come. Several years ago, I took a swag – I think I’ve run between 22,000 and 25,000 miles since I was in 7th grade. While fast by most standards, I was sub-elite when compared to national elite runners. But 12 years ago, if you drew a 30 mile circle centered on Baltimore, you’d probably grab 2.5 million people, only maybe 5 of which could beat me. The chances of one of them running the same route as me at the same time was next to nil. I knew that every time I stepped on the road or track or trail that I was the fastest person. I knew when I walked in a room, I was the fastest person in the room. Whatever else was going on in my life, I always had that to fall back on, and, as a matter of principle, I wasn’t interested in letting anyone take my scalp, even on an easy run through the woods.

Now, I’ve probably only run 500-1000 miles in the last 9 ish years since my Achilles finally went south. I run between 3-6 miles a week these days. I’m out of shape and slow. But when I was 15 seconds into my run today, legs creaking from disuse, and someone passed me, I knew had a streak to maintain. He was pretty decent – a halting stride but defined legs and runner approved clothing. He was a runner, and comfortable on the trails. Another tidbit though – I was superlative in the woods. My bulky, short legs may not have been ideal for a tempo run on a flat road, but they were perfect for grinding through the woods. The trail from Landing to the waterfall in Patapsco is not very hilly, but it is quite technical. I decided that in these conditions, even if the guy that passed me could put two minutes on old man me in a 5K, I could still give it a go. So, I gave him 40 meters so that he wouldn’t hear me, then latched on to see what was what. Eventually, he did hear me, eventually, I started closing, eventually I decided, yes, today was not the day that someone was going to break my streak. And then he stopped, right in the middle of the trail. And I passed him. And then a minute later, I started hearing footfalls behind me. I had turned the right past the waterfall by then, entering an even more technical and hillier section of the park. I started pressing the hills where I could induce more pain on him, started hearing the footfalls fade until a turn off when he took a hard left for the road. I decided that he was either annoyed that I was following him, or that he was doing some kind of weird fartlek run, or who knows, maybe he was just a Sunday jogger too. Regardless, this unofficial victory over a stranger was satisfying.

All of this took roughly 11 minutes. By 12 minutes, the adrenaline had worn off. A metallic burn filled my throat. My legs got heavy. I started seeing a halo in my eyes. The bounding skip up the hills from 2 minutes earlier became a slogging plod as my body ceased to respond to even modest demands. In my mind, I maintain a truism, a mantra…that there is old magic in my legs. That if I need to run a 60 second quarter or if I need to grind out a couple of fast miles on the trails, muscle memory will take over, 4 mile weeks be damned. But whereas I might have chased an elite runner for 3 miles as a rising junior in college, I have very limited supply of this residual potency left. Enough to wear down some shlub who was probably 7 miles into an easy day and not interested in ruining his upcoming speed workout on some Sunday jogger, but not enough to actually walk the walk in any real capacity. But by then I was in a more remote part of the woods, occasionally passing 50 year olds on nature walks, with no more sub-elites in sight. I trudged back to my car – a mere 27:00 and surely less than 4 miles – after I had started, red faced with lungs burning. Maybe back in the day I’d have to run 9 miles at 6:00 pace to feel like that. Now, 12 minutes at probably 6:30 pace followed by a 7:30 pace death march for another 2 miles was sufficient. But I still felt the same burn, the same flush, the same ache…and man, do I miss it.

I’m actually not sure where my non-surgically repaired Achilles will crap out these days, because my home life precludes me from running enough to stress it. It holds together pretty well at 3-6 miles a week. A couple years ago – when Abby was a baby, two months of 30 miles a week jacked it up for a few months. But before it could, I was able to patrol the woods at a decent pace, like the old days. I hope to patrol once again. One of these days, some youngster is going to pass me, and my old magic will run out. But not today.

Presidential Debate Two

Another live blog. I think this time I’m going to stop paying attention and riff longer on things that strike my fancy. We shall see.

2057: I’m watching on Fox to be more fair and balanced. Currently, an animated HeMan of some sort is killing an bird in a suburban driveway. I think I can expect some hard hitting analysis.

2100: Hey, it’s the guy that told us that Hurricane Matthew was going to kill our children. Have all the other Fox News people distanced themselves from this cancer?

2102: We’ll be using this debate stage to find out who has raped more women, Donald Trump or the Clinton family. We’re reaping what we’ve sown.

2103: Shep Smith: In the mud, as deep as a really deep thing in the mud.

2106: Are you modeling appropriate and positive behavior for today’s youth!? HA! ZAP. Children. Any chance this question will keep them being behaving like children in 15 minutes? Start the timer.

2107: Unrelated, we just found a box with a bunch of shoes appropriate for a 18-24 month old. Emily will have shoes. Trump has come out as measured and calm.

2110: More than calm, he would appear to be actually sedated. He’s going to grab ISIS by the p****!

2112: Clinton making a nice point here – Trump not fit to serve, other Republicans are. “We’ve seen him rape women” is what both Jen and I heard. Rate. Rate. Phew. By the way, it’s awkward that they’re both standing up and walking around. I feel like Trump is going to cram that mike into her skull at some point. By the way, Trump is absolutely calm right now. Last time, he would have interrupted 5 times by now. He has a better strategy this time. Can he do it?

2116: Semi-related, breath right strips are awesome. Really opens up the nasal passages.

2117: I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms – high school, college and so on. I’ve never encountered any distance runner who had any sort of leverage over any women whatsoever. The difference between Trump and people in locker rooms is that Trump thinks he’s allowed to do whatever he wants because of who he is. We might joke about bombing North Korea too, but, yeah, we’re not the damn president.

2122: Bernie Sanders “signed on with the devil”. It’s like they are competing for the souls of the damned over there. They both are collecting souls.

2124: I wonder what Pence’s first name is.

2125: Audience: if they can’t talk or clap, why are they there? Whose fault is that?

2127: For laymen. If you see a “C” on a document, it means “Confidential”, one step lower than “Secret” and two steps lower than “Top Secret”. One thing that Trump has never dealt with is anything associated with anything that a president might do.

2128: The sedation is wearing off. 22 minutes. He did bring up the emails Donald. Actually she might have. He doesn’t listen to anyone who speaks other than himself.

2133: Trump doing better on health insurance. I think he has a self-regulated ativan drip in his pants pocket or something.

2135: Steve Pence?

2136: I want to hear what the woman that looks like a 62 year old Terry Hatcher (behind Trump) is going to ask. She’s trying not to give the stink eye, but failing.

2138: Recently, a Muslim reported another Muslim for using the Arabic term for ISIS on a flight. Witch hunts tend to be a problem.

2140: Donald Trump prefers troops who don’t die in combat (or get captures, or have PTSD).

2141: I don’t think that’s how you pronounce Demagogic. Then again, that is not how you pronounce “terror” either.

2143: Extreme vetting = enhanced interrogation

2145: Someone should give Sean Hannity a call to sort this whole Iraq war thing out.

2147: He’s getting time info from people in the audience. It’s a good idea. I’m not sure the times are equitable either. Someone could do an analysis on it.

2150: Google tells me that it’s Mike Pence. I wonder who Steve Pence is.

2152: I stopped paying attention for a second and now he’s talking about building a post office?

2153: Trump is good on tax here. People like the both of them take advantage of all the loop holes. I think that his tax plan is absolute malarkey, but it would be helpful if these super rich people paid some taxes.

2156: I wonder which of them is more corrupt.

2157: How long is this debate? I think I want to go to bed soon.

2158: I feel like Trump is strong on the tax thing and he probably does understand the tax code better than any other candidate. I have no idea what a carried interest deduction is. By the way, that last thing on Hilary having 30 years to do something about all this and not is probably his best set of debate shots so far.

2202: Aleppo? What’s an Aleppo?

2206: Trump is doing much, much better this time. He may have lost the election a few days ago, but he’s not losing it here.

2207: I’m bored, let’s talk about me. I use breath right strips maybe 4 times a week. I can’t say I’ve ever worn one during a televised debate, but I would consider it under some circumstances.

2210: I like Steve Pence’s stance on Russia in Syria, but Trump just repudiated it. But…do we really want a proxy war against Russia in Syria? Frankly, I don’t think it’s a good idea to show them our tech. At least the stuff they haven’t already stolen.

2210: Anderson, you need to poke your co-moderator and remind her that she’s not running for president. She’s getting hostile. Trump is handling her though.

2215: Trump, for what it’s worth, is going over on this question as well. He keeps complaining, but sometimes he gets to go over too.

2216: Clinton’s getting too laughy and snarky recently. People don’t like that.

2217: Trump’s doing much better in this debate. If not for his enormous disaster this week, he’d be grabbing the American public by the p*ssy and giving them a big wet kiss.

2219: The basket of deplorables thing was kind of accurate. Trump could have gotten away with saying something like that, no problem.

2221: You know what Barack Obama has that Trump doesn’t? Dignity. I like the guy. I have very little beef with him.

2223: Just had to go bring my big ole nose to sniff around for smoke. What’d I miss?

2224: We should just cut the mikes. Can they cut the mikes? Why not?!

2225: I was thinking about the Supreme Court justice thing while on my run today. I’d want smart Supreme Court justices. People that know the law backwards and forwards. People that understand the constitution. I don’t think we should be able to cook the books when it comes to the court, and appoint people that will fight for our political agendas. As a result, somehow, I think we need to change the way that the Supreme Court is selected, taking away from both the President and Congress. How about some kind of election among the bar…or something.

2229: Under absolute, literal siege by the Obama administration. Obama and his cabinet are absolutely camped out outside of coal plants, literally bombarding the coal plants with cannonballs and molten oil.

2231: That fly is absolutely feasting on these literal piles of steaming….I actually don’t believe that, I just thought it was funny.

2233: Climate change, poor, marginalized, climate change.

2234: Karl Becker for the win. Clinton was struggling, but pulled it out. She’s no longer talking about the question, however. Waiting for Trump’s answer, but jabber jabber jabber. Hilary doesn’t quit, doesn’t give up. That’s a good compliment. That was a good question. I’m writing in Karl Becker.

2238: I don’t get Fox’s strategy here. They are submarining the entire political process, talking about how ugly this election is. I mean, I agree with them. Actually, try to put your finger on why people hate Clinton, based on the debates at least. She hasn’t been an awful person in the debates. Nor was Trump this debate. This wasn’t that bad.

Rock and the Hard Place

Full disclosure: I loath Donald Trump and only dislike Hilary Clinton. I find it unlikely that these opinions will change. That said, I will do my best to impartially judge the one liners and ranting lunacy.

2055: Why is Kevin James’ TV wife so good looking? What is it about Kevin James?

2100: I’m watching on CBS. I don’t think it makes a difference.

2101: Why did we do this to ourselves? Yuck.

2102: I’m not impressed by these people on CBS.

2104: They just showed up – more undecided? I don’t know anyone who might possibly like the Don that does not already.

2104: I think I’m going to get some scotch if there’s a commercial break.

2105: It’s sexist to talk about Clinton’s hideous red pant suit so I’m not going to.

2106: Income inequality is bad, economy is good – I smell a tax cut for the rich.

2108: I think we have a child out of bed and wandering around.

2109: Trump is hilarious. Mexico and China; bang that drum. Forget the job report, forget the economic data.

2111: Trickle down economics. “Trumped up Trickle down”. That’s the fourth time she’s spat some hokey pre-planned comment.

2113: Very small $14 million dollar loan. Very very few maids and butlers, a minimal fleet of cars.

2114: That’s Administrative Assistant Clinton, thank you.

2115: Bring them back by not letting them leave. Someone points out he’s sniffely, he is. Ironic that he’s sick.

2117: Trump cannot not bud in. In 12 minutes, he’ll be interrupting and talking over her every 20 seconds.

2119: Thesaurus: Semi-Exact –> approximate. “Pseudo-Precise” thinks Jen.

2119: I mean 2 minutes, not 12 minutes.

2121: She may never get another word in edgewise.

2122: “Donald, I know you live in your own reality.” Zing!

2123: He cannot help himself. The meds are already wearing off.

2124: “Lester, I tell you this”…Who is Lester? Wait, doesn’t someone normally ask questions in these debates?

2125: HilaryClinton.com is a fact checker. Good idea. Side note: Neither of your plans are going to be implemented.

2126: Cut the mike.

2128: Guys, I’m not going to make it another 20 minutes.

2129: Shut up!

2131: I hope Obama does golf the rest of his life. He keeps saying he’s under audit and cannot release. That’s not a thing.

2133: He’s been under audit for 15 years – I doubt he’ll be done in the next month.

2134: Yeah Lester, tough guy on the audience. Can’t get Trump to shut his mouth for 20 seconds in a row, pick on the faceless peons.

2135: “That makes me smart.”

2136: Something he’s hiding…kinda like those emails. Both of you, ugh.

2138: Braggadocios. That’s how spell check renders it.

2139: Or maybe because you haven’t paid any income tax! Zing! Big hit.

2142: I’m getting bored with this. Also, I don’t really blame him for taking advantage of the laws. I also think he’ll tailor the laws to suit his interests.

2143: If he thinks he’s going to confine the defense industry into a fixed price box…that ain’t gonna fly.

2146: The problem for Clinton. She’s talking right now, saying, blah blah blah. Straightforward, what everyone always says. I want to hear Trump blow hot air again. But then he doesn’t say anything that means anything. I just want him to talk so that he can implode. Surely he will soon.

2148: He’s about to say he doesn’t like guns. Say it, say it!

2149: Note: if you want to build a relationship with me, feel free to stop and frisk.

2151: Let’s talk about black people, a topic on which we are both experts.

2153: I also loath the gun lobby as much as I loath the Donald.

2154: Agree on implicit bias. No one else will that doesn’t already believe it.

2155: The Donald and the no fly list, good for you.

2156: I think Trumps people have a way to taser him. He’s calmed down a lot in the last 20 minutes.

2158: Trump and the manipulation of black voters for temporary gains.

2200: Trump is telling a very confusing story about Maclachi.

2204: Holier than though barb is decent.

2206: One of those things…one of those things you know about if you make $649 million a year.

2208: Private sector hacking is probably worse.

2210: He just lost the obese vote.

2211: Donald wants to cyber.

2214: Whenever she goes off script she says something awkward.

2216: “Longest military alliance in the history of the world…” Fact checkers!? Get on that one. NATO is like 65 years old. No.

2218: Donald is very focused on Donald.

2221: I think Lester is about to ask Donald when he stopped beating his wife, if Lester ever gets to speak again.

2222: Trump’s temperament.

2225: I almost want him to be president to prove him wrong.

2227: They’ve both dropped “cavalier” in 3 minutes.

2228: I’m going to bed. This is paining me. I’m depressed. Clinton was far less of a obnoxious blowhard, but no one changed their mind.

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