Saturday’s Forum

Like pen pals, time to chat.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement today on President Trump’s comments around “liberating” parts of the country.

    “The president’s statements this morning encourage illegal and dangerous acts. He is putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19. His unhinged rantings and calls for people to “liberate” states could also lead to violence. We’ve seen it before.

    “The president is fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies even while his own administration says the virus is real and is deadly, and that we have a long way to go before restrictions can be lifted.

    “Just yesterday, the president stood alongside White House officials and public health experts and said science would guide his plan for easing restrictions. The White House released a sensible plan laying out many of the guidelines that I agree are essential to follow, as we work to resume economic activity. Trump slowly read his script and said the plan was based on ‘hard, verifiable data’ and was done ‘in consultation with scientists, experts and medical professionals across government.’

    “Less than 24 hours later, the president is off the rails. He’s not quoting scientists and doctors but spewing dangerous, anti-democratic rhetoric.

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  2. Scott says:

    In Trump’s ‘LIBERATE’ tweets, extremists see a call to arms

    When President Donald Trump tweeted “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” on Friday morning, some of his most fervent supporters in far-right communities — including those who have agitated for violent insurrection — heard a call to arms.

    Trump’s tweets, however, pushed many online extremist communities to speculate whether the president was advocating for armed conflict, an event they’ve termed “the boogaloo,” for which many far-right activists have been gearing up and advocating since last year.

    The protests have been a unifier of anti-government and conspiracy-minded subcultures, bringing anti-vaccination activists, anti-government militia groups, religious fundamentalists and white supremacists together at state capitols.

    If violence occurs, can the President be charged with Incitement to Riot or some such thing? Can a state put out an arrest order on the President?

    Really, these so-called protesters against measures to prevent widespread disease and death because of “infringement” of their freedom remind me of men who refuse to wear condoms because they don’t like how they “feel” and pass the buck of the burden to their partners and have no consideration or responsibility for their feelings and safety. They care about themselves while leaving the burden to others. Societal freeloaders.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Today in WI election news:

    Matthew Yglesias
    @mattyglesias

    Oy

    Chad Cotti
    @ChadCotti
    · 15h
    Replying to @JohnMullahy
    Not looking good.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Steve Portigal@steveportigal
    Seen on neighborhood walk

    I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned

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  5. steve says:

    When states open up, or individual cities open up (you know it will happen) we want their PPE supplies. I am sure they wont mind since they don’t think Covid is a risk anymore.

    Steve

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @steve: For sure! Not like their citizens mean anything to them.

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  7. Bill says:

    The government bungling headline of the day-

    IRS sends coronavirus stimulus checks to dead people

    This happens while me and my very much alive wife are having this problem.

    Due to my ebook business, I either towed taxes or had my refund applied to next year’s taxes. So the IRS doesn’t have my direct deposit info.

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  8. beth says:

    @Bill: I received $2400 – for myself and my deceased-in-2019 husband. I assume the IRS is going to want that money back at some point – I only hope they don’t demand interest. I’m truly sorry you are having such a hard time.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @beth: As per a conversation at Balloon Juice yesterday, no, you will not have to give that money back. Give me a few minutes to find the relevant links.

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  10. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The tweet you linked has been deleted, but if you go to John Mullahy’s tweet stream you see what it was about: a huge spike in COVID-19 cases that correlates strongly with the Wisconsin election.

    https://twitter.com/Sheril_/status/1251255128113496070?s=20

    As with everything else in this GOP-enabled public health disaster, it didn’t have to be this way.

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  11. beth says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks but that was me in the conversation. It’s still not clear based on all I’ve read so far. Apparently the dead people aren’t entitled to the money but the IRS hasn’t bothered to retrieve it when this has happened in the past.

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  12. de stijl says:

    @Bill:

    You have never had to settle an estate, apparently.

    You need a certified proof of death to close accounts, and it is maddening. It is not just a phone call. It is weeks of wrangling.

    Off the top of my head: USPS, IRS, SSI, cable, phone, water, electricity, gas, HOA, charities, state tax folks, checking, savings, annuities, investments, directly owned stocks.

    I’ve forgotten many more.

    Many require proof of death and proof that you are the executor. Most require you fax them that proof. A fax. Is this 1992? Some, notarized, full embossed physical copies.

    After days of bashing my head, I went to Best Buy and bought a multi-use printer.

    You need a lawyer, but do the scut work yourself – It’s way cheaper. You can get an all purpose cover letter.

    The customer service reps that deal with this are not bright, bushy-tailed up and comers.

    If there is one person in your life you despise and you want to torment them from your grave, make them your executor.

    You need to keep a bank account open in their name for months.

    That the IRS is not aware that Aunt Edna passed in January is a feature, not a bug.

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  13. Bill says:

    @beth:

    I received $2400 – for myself and my deceased-in-2019 husband.

    Could you loan me $1,200 till my brother straightens out?* He is a short bent over type of guy.

    If you can’t, please don’t do as Miles Kendig said he would.

    *- This is a joke my late father sometimes used.

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @beth: Took me a while because it was actually 3 days ago. sigh…

    You Won’t Have To Pay Back Coronavirus Relief Checks, Feds Say
    A Treasury official said the stimulus checks are not an advance and “there is absolutely no obligation to pay it back.”

    DOH! :-0

    I’ll bet you are the same beth who was part of that conversation, aren’t you? It wasn’t until I read Immanentize’s 2nd response to “beth” that I made the connection. Just in case you aren’t the same, I’ll leave the link for you. If you are the same beth, all I can say is I am nothing if not superfluous. 🙂

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  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @beth: Go ahead and laugh at me. I am.

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  16. Teve says:

    Does anybody here live/work around Portland Oregon? I’m contemplating a move.

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  17. de stijl says:

    Never forget Wisconsin.

    April 7, 2020

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  18. Bill says:

    @de stijl:

    You have never had to settle an estate, apparently.

    Yes I have. For my late father who died in 1997. SS payments to him stopped in April 1997 only 17 days after he died. It’s 23 years since that happened and I have don’t remember all the work I did (blame my cancer if you want. It is one culprit) but I do remember that detail from being an executor/Trustee

    My mother-in-law died on October 9, 2010. Her SS checks stopped in November.

    The Federal govt has a great memory for these details.

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  19. Mike in Arlington says:

    On a completely different note, has anyone listened to Fiona Apple’s new album? I started it and my impression so far is that it’s fantastic and will grow on multiple listens.

    I normally don’t post about music, but I really haven’t listened to much Fiona Apple in the past (I
    don’t have anything against her, just haven’t listened to much). Since I’m likely the only one who just hasn’t listened to much Fiona Apple, I wanted to spread the word.

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  20. Kathy says:

    Just back from the store. I still can’t quite believe I found hand sanitizer. Not much. there were a few small bottles of 180 ml of one brand, and of 90 ml of another. I took two of each.

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  21. Bill says:

    @Kathy:

    Just back from the store. I still can’t quite believe I found hand sanitizer.

    There is a Dollar General store located near my wife’s work. She has had problem getting Acti-bacterial soap there a week ago Saturday and today she could have bought more if we needed which we don’t.

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  22. de stijl says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    I have heard great things.

    Fiona is an intensely direct person. I love the anecdote of the title – Fetch the bolt cutters

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  23. de stijl says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    Top of your head, what is the vibe?

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  24. de stijl says:

    @Bill:

    Your executor experience was extremely different than mine.

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  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Jackie Speier
    @RepSpeier

    ·
    Apr 16
    I’m hard pressed not to think that this is political. Blue states like California got a pathetic number of loans issued. Nebraska got nearly 75% of loans requested. I smell a rat with orange hair.

    The Coronavirus Small-Business Rescue Plan is Leaving Some States Behind
    Analysts and politicians noticed certain states receiving money from the Paycheck Protection Program seemed to be getting far more money compared to other states like New York that got far less than…
    bloomberg.com

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That map is worth a million and a half and every other one is a curse word.

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  26. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Bill:
    @de stijl:

    How difficult it is to be an executor varies depending on the complexity of the estate and the level of disorder that the deceased finances are. Add to that differing probate processes that a state may have, which can make it easier or more difficult.

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  27. Kari Q says:

    @Bill:

    For my late father who died in 1997. SS payments to him stopped in April 1997 only 17 days after he died. …

    My mother-in-law died on October 9, 2010. Her SS checks stopped in November.

    My father-in-law died at the end of May 2019. He didn’t get his June social security or pension. The bank holding his mortgage, however, refused to believe he was dead as did the utility company and a couple other companies that had direct withdrawal payments set up. My husband’s name was on the checking account so he just closed it and held on to the money to cover necessary expenses as they came up. It was the only way to make sure those accounts were closed without unnecessary expenses.

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  28. beth says:

    @Bill: The Earth is not flat – if it was the cats would have knocked everything off the edge by now (old joke my late mom used to say).

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  29. beth says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: No I’m not laughing, I appreciate the effort so thanks. I’m not sure that article applies to payments made in error though.

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  30. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The issue is that Comcast “lost” the death certificate three times in a row conveniently and continued to bill her and she was on autopay.

    Second and third times were certified mail. Signed for and delivered. Exactly what they “required” to close out the account.

    It’s almost as if they didn’t care and wanted to juice the most revenue they could from that account because they could and perhaps they hoped I would just write it off and let it go.

    Comcast was the worst, it took months of wrangling to stop them from dinging her checking every month.

    Hard earned practical knowledge.

    You provided a very lawyerly response.

    Lived experience is very different.

    Take good notes. Document every interaction. Do not trust them to actually do what they say they will do.

    If you start reciting back dates, times, people’s names, claims made, eventually you get a resolution.

    Shockingly, it is almost as if it were intentional.

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  31. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    It’s almost as if they didn’t care and wanted to juice the most revenue they could from that account because they could and perhaps they hoped I would just write it off and let it go.

    They probably were trying to juice the account.

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  32. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Bill: I don’t know this for sure, but I’ve been told by funeral directors that the Funeral homes in many (all?) states are required to notify Social Security of a death (requires no action by the family/executor)

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  33. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    There is some manager tasked with account retention somewhere in the org chart that incentivizes that behavior.

    I resorted to informing people I was recording the interaction like a Karen. Asked to speak to the manager like a Becky.

    In retrospect, I should have just closed out that account and immediately transferred the balance to a new one.

    Now that is practical advice.

    It was ~ $100 bucks a month, but it got my dander up hard.

    I hate Comcast.

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  34. Monala says:

    @beth: no, it’s fine. The stimulus is based on your 2019 income, and for tax purposes you were still married in 2019.

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  35. Mike in Arlington says:

    @de stijl: Sorry, I stepped out for awhile.

    The vibe? jeez, I don’t know if I can quite describe it. This is a quote from the Pitchfork review (they gave it a 10, btw):
    “Fiona Apple’s fifth record is unbound. No music has ever sounded quite like it.”

    I think that’s as far as I can get to describing it, but I mean that in a very positive way.

    ETA: the link to the pitchfork review:
    https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/fiona-apple-fetch-the-bolt-cutters/

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  36. Stormy Dragon says:

    My “First World Problems” rant for the week:

    I tend to walk pretty fast RL, and one of the things that drives me nuts RL is people who lollygag in walkways…

    WHICH IS REALLY PISSING ME OFF NOW THAT THERE’S A 12 FOOT WIDE NO-GO ZONE AROUND THEM

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  37. Mike from Arlington says:

    @de stijl: I’m listening to the first several tracks again (with the intent to listen to it all the way through this time). She uses a lot of percussion. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting from her. I don’t know if I can say that I’m “enjoying” it, it’s more that I’m being affected by it or being impacted by it. But I can say that I highly recommend it. So far, I think she earned that 10 from pitchfork.

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  38. de stijl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I walk fast. Clock like a mother. Used to anyway.

    So fast that I noted both instances when people actually passed me when I was walking at proper speed and they were not jogging, running, speed walking.

    Last year I messed up my foot and ankle so bad. It was paralyzed. For five months I could not move my toes, foot, or ankle at all. Dead flesh.

    I walked like Lurch. Step, clomp, step, clomp.

    I could go at about 50 to 60% normal speed for months.

    Random fools I would normally breeze by passed me up. Folks trolling oxygen tanks.

    It took awhile to not get pissed at that. That sounds really petty and vain. My recommended exercise from the doc was walking.

    Back up to ~ 80% of what was normal pace before, and I have a permanent hiccup in my giddy-up, but I have become accepted to the new normal.

    (Did not mean this to be an analogy, but it sorta became one.)

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  39. Bill says:

    Sleeping Dog: How difficult it is to be an executor varies depending on the complexity of the estate and the level of disorder that the deceased finances are. Add to that differing probate processes that a state may have, which can make it easier or more difficult.

    I had a increibely long post almost ready to send when it disappeared. @#$!

    To make a long story short. Dad lived in Florida, he was a retired small businessman with good accounting knowledge, and Dad was well organized. Me and my wife lived with him and when Dad’s health slowly declined from 1994-1997 I became increasingly involved with his finances. Dad wanted to make out a new will. I got him to the attorney. Dad’s estate was worth something like 700-725,000 when we died. Estate taxes and legal fees were 50 to 70,000 but don’t quote me on that. My memories of Dad’s estate have disappeared over time partly because of my health struggles.

    An interesting mystery concerns my father’s first marriage (Starting sometime while WW2 was going on but ending before 1950) which Dad never talked about to me and I mostly heard in dribs and drabs over the years from 3rd parties. Dad didn’t leave me behind any way of contacting them. THey weren’t in the will. Dad kept secrets. Like my three older siblings being from my Mom’s first marriage. Dad adopted them but I discovered that when Dad was still alive but we never talked about it.

    Dad had a son from his first marriage, the son got in criminal trouble and went to jail where he died. The son was married and Dad supposedly stayed in contact with her. Dad did let out 2 or 3 times to me his first marriage.

    The mystery- Beginning 4 or 5 years before Dad died he had a friend named Teresa but popularly called Tee. She worked in real estate. Before Dad’s health entered its decline phase- He wrote a large check (5 to 10,000) to Tee supposedly to help her business. I liked Tee and we got along great. After Dad died, I have heard from her from time to time including her taking me and Leonita to dinner and a show once about 5 years ago.

    Could Tee be Dad’s daughter-in-law? She is about the right age. I have thought of asking Tee but haven’t.

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  40. Bill says:

    @Bill:

    Could Tee be Dad’s daughter-in-law? She is about the right age. I have thought of asking Tee but haven’t.

    A bit of this post is missing. I will fill in the blank below.

    Dad had a son from his first marriage, the son got in criminal trouble and went to jail where he died. The son was married and Dad supposedly stayed in contact with her. Dad did let out 2 or 3 times to me his first marriage.

    As I wrote above, Dad’s friend Tee might be his daughter-in-law. It is just a wild guess I have.

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  41. Jax says:

    Countdown to a COVID cluster in my county starts now.

    It all started with a funeral. A local high school boy accidentally shot himself Easter Sunday. A plan to “Cruise Main Safely” was hatched before that, but when he passed away, they decided to make it in honor of him, and a bunch of local businesses donated their drive-by/curbside food sale profits to his family. Which is all well and good, social distancing, “stay safe in your cars” was the main theme. Then they all GOT OUT OF THEIR CARS to take a large group picture under the county rival’s football scoreboard.

    Several people pointed out that the picture was probably a bad idea when it surfaced on Facebook….and I shit you not, it was a dogpile. “The Power of Prayer will Protect Us!!” was the main theme.

    I guess we’ll see how well that works, won’t we?!

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  42. Kathy says:

    @Bill:

    I had a increibely long post almost ready to send when it disappeared. @#$!

    I don’t think that’s happened to me here, but it has happened to me in other places.

    When I want to write something long(ish), or notice it’s getting long(*), I will open Notepad or Word and type it there (or copy it there and finish it), where the text can be saved. When I’m done I just copy and paste back here.

    (*) You can’t always tell how long a post will get.

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  43. Bill says:

    As I have said before I write non-erotic* LGBT fiction with a touch of sci-fi or magic in them.

    While doing so, I have researched topics for inclusion in my stories. Topics have included

    Japanese Yakusa and how they are organized
    How somebody converts to Judaism.
    Competitive figure skating
    Triplet pregnancies

    For my latest story what I am at this minute researching

    How a mare gives birth and the website I’ve gone to has photos

    I was behind a screen when my wife delivered our son via c section. When invited to take a look when Daniel was born, I declined.

    Maybe I should write another dung beetle story.

    *- My stories revolving around adults sometimes have adult activity my peculiar subgenre just about requires it. Otherwise a reviewer might write ‘Where’s the sex?’ like one did for my best seller. So I have one short scene (or sometimes two) in my ebooks which are on average 200 pages in length. So they aren’t erotica in my opinion or that of my thoughtful followers.

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  44. de stijl says:

    @Mike from Arlington:

    Just listened to first few tracks.

    My take is a very manic Aimee Mann.

    Extraordinarily vulnerable and so proud.

    Proud is the wrong word. Between open and proud.

    She is a fierce person.

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  45. de stijl says:

    @Jax:

    Viruses don’t care about prayers. Or boundries on a map or color or gender.

    Viruses do what they do. Find a host. Replicate.

    You cannot pray away a cold front.

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  46. de stijl says:

    @Mike from Arlington:

    I get where you’re coming from on the percussion.

    Almost hard jazz.

    Really personal and observational.

    It’s not an easy listen.

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  47. Monala says:

    I shared yesterday about an interview in Politico with a progressive activist with some important words of wisdom for people on the left. One such point was this:

    3) Progressive policy ideas are very popular with Democratic voters, but primarily it’s the ones that are close to their day to day lives, not the more abstract leftist ideas. Thus, many Democrats support and will respond to appeals about universal health care, paid leave, affordable college, universal preschool, etc. but tune you out when you start railing against Big Pharma and banksters.

    More evidence of this point: I was listening to the podcast “Pod Save America,” and they were interviewing a political marketer who does focus groups with various groups of the electorate about which messages might be most winning for Democrats. Her findings: keep it as personal as possible. Don’t just talk about Trump’s irresponsible tweets and rhetoric. Tie those irresponsible tweets and rhetoric to specific consequences for people (e.g., people have died because Trump did… or didn’t…). Don’t talk about how the current crisis exacerbates income inequality. Talk about how the Republicans are cutting food stamps and not letting people access healthcare at a time when people need it most.

    The marketer pointed out that the listeners of various messages themselves, or people they know, are those who are dying or losing food stamps or their healthcare. Messages that specifically highlight that are what resonates with people.

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  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl:

    You need a certified proof of death to close accounts, and it is maddening. It is not just a phone call. It is weeks of wrangling.

    Most of a year in the case of my mom’s estate–the investment brokerage became disinterested in expediting the closing of the account as soon as they realized it was a closure and not a transfer to a new name. And everyone wants a death certificate that has been issued by the state during the most recent 30 days time (I never quite figured out that part other than being a stalling tactic and raising the settlement cost for poorer heirs). I rejected the most recent claim on the estate last year–roughly 1000 days after the state declared the estate closed.

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  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: If you are considering transferring with your current company, make sure that your salary will cover about $1500/month average for rent. If you can buy, the median price is ~$450k.

    If you’re job shopping, I’d advise against it. The job market looks tight to me, based on what friends in the area tell me. Unless, of course, you’re a barista or part-time retail clerk.

    The area is nice. Public transportation is good but not very user friendly in terms of being able to figure out how to get to places if you don’t already know. I’d like to live there, but I don’t have a thou a month for a studio apartment. Very blue with streaks of red in the burbs. Roughly 4 million people spread out over a 3 or 4 county area in the metro zone.

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  50. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I can’t recall if it was Maricopa County folks or the state of Arizona, but whoever issues death certificates there deserves gold stars. Five stars highly recommended.

    They were basically the only folks who were actually competent.

    I was not close with my mother. We barely spoke for two decades. In her twilight she became a Fox News loony. She was very challenging to engage with. Very, very challenging. At the end was dementia.

    Why she left that job to me is baffling. Maybe I was the only person she had an actual conversation with.

    Perhaps one of the reasons that I deemed that experience as so negative is that I really did not like her.

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  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: In Washington, as I recall, the system for notifying the SSA has built in redundancies–our family lawyer notified them, as did the funeral director, and the county when the death certificate and notice of probate were issued.

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  52. Stormy Dragon says:

    @de stijl:

    You do realize you don’t have to serve as executor if you don’t want to, right?

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  53. de stijl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I felt sad for her.

    Our prickly relationship was the best she had at the end.

    Obligation.

    The was some degree of closure.

    Complicated stuff not fully processed.

    I was an easy mark. Her last jab.

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  54. de stijl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Cleaning out her place was sad. Ended up sobbing.

    An old hutch. Some photos.

    Crying now and I can’t explain why. Over could have beens likely.

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  55. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Funny you mention Maricopa County. I had a much different experience. They issued a warrant for my late husband’s arrest….five years after his death….for failure to appear. Despite the fact that their own M.E and their own state had his death certificate on record, I was required to send them a certified copy of their own death certificate.

    I am sorry about your Mom. It will be the same way with my Dad. The bars will open again May 1st, he thinks Corona is a hoax….his mind has been poisoned.

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  56. Gustopher says:

    @Jax:

    They issued a warrant for my late husband’s arrest….five years after his death….for failure to appear. Despite the fact that their own M.E and their own state had his death certificate on record, I was required to send them a certified copy of their own death certificate.

    That seems like work.

    What were the consequences of just letting the state continue to believe that he was on the lam?

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  57. DrDaveT says:

    @Bill:

    How a mare gives birth and the website I’ve gone to has photos

    When I was in 5th grade, my elementary school library had a very small number of plastic-encased “film loops”, and a weird device to play them on. Unlike the ubiquitous “film strips” of that era, these were actual video. One of that small number was a loop called “Birth of a Bison”, which I learned later was a clip from Disney’s 1954 documentary The Vanishing Prairie. It was graphic enough that it was banned in NY state for a time. It certainly made an impression on my 10-year-old self.

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  58. DrDaveT says:

    @Jax:

    They issued a warrant for my late husband’s arrest….five years after his death….for failure to appear. Despite the fact that their own M.E and their own state had his death certificate on record, I was required to send them a certified copy of their own death certificate.

    While I sympathize, you have to remember that there’s no such thing as “the government”. There is no entity that you can reasonably apply the pronouns “they” and “their” to here.

    This is even more true at the federal level, where people are always surprised that (for example) the IRS doesn’t know everything the Social Security Administration knows, and vice versa. In fact, there are lots of laws that prevent various agencies from sharing information, except where explicitly authorized for specific purposes. For example, Republicans have been pissed off for years that ICE cannot simply ask the IRS for names and addresses of all the undocumented aliens who are filing tax returns. (The IRS would prefer that they pay their taxes, which is much less likely to happen if their tax returns can be used to deport them…)

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  59. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: It was a lot of work. I couldn’t believe it was faster for me to order a certified copy of his death certificate from a private company and send it to the state of Arizona than for them to find their own damn copy.

    It did lead to some further investigative work on my part about what ELSE my late husband’s family had been failing to do with his estate, though. I mean, they were supposed to handle that shit. THAT, however, is a long story. 😉

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  60. Jax says:

    @DrDaveT: Yes. It was my first time dealing with a death, and I was just the wife he married in Vegas, so when he died, I split, the family (one of those “wealthy Arizona families who never liked me to begin with”) said they’d handle it. Then I get tracked down, later, by all these government entities wondering where the hell my husband is, who’s gonna pay all these back taxes, who’s gonna pay that speeding ticket….

    *Paul Harvey voice*
    And now you know…..the REST of the story.

    Nah, man, it was crazy. They hadn’t settled the estate at all, they took the money from his life insurance (I will confess to not caring about his life insurance policy when I married him, that was not the reason I married him 😉 ) and ran. I had to take them to court.

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  61. de stijl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    You would be stunned at how cows are artificially inseminated.

    It involves an arm condom.

    My job was to hold Bessie’s tail out of way.

    That was highly disturbing. And the bellows! (Can you hear the lambs, Clarice?)

    Surprised I’m not asexual after that.

    They probably have better tech now and don’t need the arm condom. Advances in plastics and flexible probes. Snake cameras. This was almost 50 years ago.

    Witnessed a few calvings too. Most went smooth as silk. One time we had to pull – the cow equivalent of a breech baby or something.

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  62. de stijl says:

    @Jax:
    @DrDaveT:

    It was the funeral home, not Maricopa County. I remember know.

    They did all of the local, county, state stuff.

    When I cleaned out her place, there were needles everywhere. She remembered to inject herself for awhile until she forgot.

    The floors, the sink, the nightstand, coffee table. Dozens.

    Months of unopened mail.

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  63. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Most people would be stunned that how female cattle get bred “naturally” is technically “rape”, if it happened to a person. One cow gets banged by every horny bull who can smell her. I can’t guarantee the neighbor’s bulls, but I can guarantee that I buy mine for “calving ease”. So I keep my fences and gates tight. 😉

    We only pull them if we have to. Most times, they have a leg or head back, and the cow AND calf would die if I did not help them. Sometimes, they want to kill their calves, so I tie them up and put hobbles on them.

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  64. de stijl says:

    @Jax:

    The whole concept of animal husbandry (now that is a word that needs revision) is predicated on what we would call rape and eugenics. Controlled breeding.

    More milk, more wool, more meat, more eggs, more docile, more live births.

    It’s pretty creepy when you think it through.

    Why do calves get stuck and we have to pull them out sometimes? My experience is fairly limited to a few summers when I was pretty young.

    I will never be able to unsee the arm condom. Never unhear the bellows.

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  65. de stijl says:

    @Mike from Arlington:

    I listened through twice. It’s quite intense. Really unfiltered.

    Not sure it’s my thing. Which has been my take on her whole body of work until now.

    It is stunning and admirable and not my speed. If it is yours, go for it. Speed on.

    I’m glad I gave it a hard listen.

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  66. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Well…you’re not a woman, and you’ve never given birth. You cannot ever understand, from a human or cattle perspective, why they bellow, except that it hurts like hell.

    All animals have “problems” giving birth, I suspect. Sometimes the baby isn’t in the right position. Instead of “diving” out, head first with front legs or arms forward, a front leg/arm gets stuck back. That makes getting the shoulders past the birth canal that much more difficult, and a lot of times both the mom and baby die without intervention. Sometimes they come out feet first, which is worse, because the calf asphyxiates as he’s born if you can’t do it fast enough.

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  67. Jax says:

    @Jax: If you cannot unsee the arm condom, be glad you never saw a prolapse.

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  68. de stijl says:

    @Jax:

    Oi!

    There is a fake clothing company in the Grand Theft Auto universe called Prolapse that specializes in athletic and sports leisure wear.

    I like Oi!. I use it a lot. Either as surprised interjection, or as “Hey! Pay attention to me, and look where I am pointing!”

    My second favorite Christmas album is Oi! To The World by The Vandals.

    My fave by far is A Christmas Gift For You and it is Xmas music by Phil Spector girl groups: Darlene Love, The Ronettes, The Crystals and it so amazing. I know Phil Spector is a garbage human being and a murderer but The Ronettes were sooo great.

    Prolapse. Oi! You play rough.

    I was talking bellows from the arm condom insemination process, but cows bellow during calving too like you said.

    To city folk and anyone who had a old school See And Say, cows vocalize more than moo. A bellow is pain or distress or fear, or getting a human arm in your hoohaw with bull juice in a syringe.

    It’s loud. Cows have big lungs, big creatures half a ton or more easy.

    (Can you hear the lambs, Clarice? The screaming of the lambs?)

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  69. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Sometimes they sound like dragons. It’s a little nerve-wracking holding onto this tiny calf to tag it while a dragon breathes down your neck. 😉

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