Snow

When I was a kid, and I mean a little kid, a few things defined my expectations about life. The first, and I know this is sick, was that Twiggy was the hottest thing on two legs. Come to think of it, I saw a picture of her recently and she still looks pretty damn good to me. The second, and admittedly much more important thing, was that Bart Starr was the best GD quarterback in the NFL. Period. This proved problematic, as I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I went to every Cowboys-Packers game played in the Cotton Bowl throughout the sixties, and my father and I made the trip north to the infamous Ice Bowl championship game. He did not like the Packers. He fumed behind the yoke in his Baron all the way back to Texas. I was, on the other hand, more circumspect. I did not gloat. Much.

The third thing was snow. It snowed, on average, about one day every third winter in that part of Texas, so I loved the very idea of snow, and probably in inverse proportion to the amount of snow in my life. And what, you may ask, stoked this kid’s lust for frozen white precipitation?

Yes. A movie. I know…how typically American. Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, in White Christmas. And yes, that’s pure America.

Every Christmas Eve, WFAA Channel 8 in Dallas used to show White Christmas – at midnight – and I learned all about snow watching that movie.

Yeah. Uh-huh. Right. There’s a lesson somewhere in there if you care to take note.

It’s more likely, however, that I developed a serious fascination with girl’s legs watching that movie, and I remember thinking that Rosemary Clooney was almost as cute as Twiggy. Though Miss Clooney didn’t dance as much as Vera Ellen, her legs were some kinda good – though Vera Ellen’s legs probably ruined me for life…

So, totally enamored with all things snow, I learned to love the mountains – inferentially. For a Texan, Colorado is synonymous with mountains, and I spent more and more time up here – first in Aspen (before money ruined the place) and then Snowmass. I learned to ski, even raced competitively, and took up mountain climbing, serious climbing, as a matter of fact. All because of a Bing Crosby movie.

I bring this up today because I want to talk about snow. Goddamn, mother-fucking snow.

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I have not written a word since Sunday…because of snow.

It started snowing on Sunday night, and it stopped snowing this morning (Thursday), so let’s call it three and a half days of snow. Solid snow. Seventy four inches of snow. Four days of shoveling GD MF snow.

So, am I dreaming of a White Christmas?

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Well no, actually, I’m dreaming of Miami Beach. Hell, Iraq doesn’t sound half bad right now. Oh, that’s Heidi (below) wondering where all her favorite spots went. I tried to tell her, they’re down there, under six feet of SNOW!

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Oh, one of the extra added joys up here is getting snow not only off all your decks and walkways, but your roof, too.

Joy to the world, eh?

Oh, (p.s.) by morning’s end the shovel broke. Just gave up the ghost and died.

Happy trails, y’all. Thanks for dropping by. Oh, for some reason I decided to start work on a sequel to Predator. Whodathunkit?

 

52 thoughts on “Snow

  1. The only thing worse than snow is flatlanders who don’t know how to drive in snow. The people who think their 4 ton, 4 wheel drive will stop just like it did last August. Who don’t understand the dynamics of taking a curve coated by a layer of ice covered in fresh powder. And stopping off for a couple of pints will impact their reaction time.
    We (down here) haven’t been blessed with as much as you, we are dealing with only 15″ as of this afternoon. However, to get to my home from grocery shopping tonight I misjudged the timing. Getting into my subdivision requires a left turn across the only road to and from our local ski area. Rush hour takes on a different meaning when everyone is coming down from a day on the slopes, single file, behind the one and only rear drive vehicle, without snow tires.
    -12F, and we have a burn ban because of an inversion so I can’t curl up in front of the fireplace. ( I could, but it would seem silly without a fire) I’m going to find a book to read (the dish is frozen over) and sip a toddy.
    Be safe, stay warm, think kind thoughts.

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  2. Ah, yes. Texans in their 2WD Honda Pilots: the scourge of ski resorts everywhere. Of course, my neighbor took off across the lake today, on his snowmobile. Nice, crusty layer on top, perhaps a foot thick, then three feet of soft powder under. Mountain Rescue got to him just in time.
    We’re supposed to be around 25 below tonight. That’s getting chilly. I did a winter Outward Bound course near Lake City, CO in the 70s, camped in x-shaped snow trenches at 11k MSL, and it was 47 below in Gunnison. A night I’ll never forget. My boots were frozen solid the next morning, despite putting them by my belly – inside the sleeping bag.
    My Vermont Castings stove is roaring away tonight, and I opened a Piesporter to have with my salad, so all is well here at Chaos Manor. Musing on the reaction to ‘Customer Service’ over at Literotica. More people have read that story in one day than have read Ferris Bueller in two weeks. I don’t get it. I simply don’t understand what trips the trigger one day and not the next.
    Of course one comment left me in stitches. The chap implied I seem to have a fixation on Springer Spaniels. Holy guacamole? Really? Gee, I never knew that…
    Stay warm…

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  3. Back in a previous life I managed the food services for Teton Village. My office was upstairs above the galley in the cafeteria which was/is next door to the clock tower and tram station. I drove a Firebird 400 and had to have the coffee on for the plow driver and lift operators when they came in to work. I played in a basketball league who played most of it’s games on the Idaho side. Many nights I had to go around the road closed barrier after reaching the bottom of the pass after crossing back into Wyoming. (Idaho never closed the road from that direction so you didn’t know it was closed till after making the trip.)
    I later built a small restaurant on the square in Davy Jackson’s Hole. It only took one look to see who was from the Midwest and had just driven over the pass from Driggs. Face frozen, knuckles white, hands still gripping the steering wheel, eyes looking 1,000 yards past me unaware of chairs, tables, or menu boards. And that was in the summer.
    My last winter in the valley all passes were blocked by avalanches, 70 mph crosswinds closed the airport and made even air dropping food and emergency supplies impossible. Locals knew how to stock up and hunker down, the winter visitors panicked, store shelves were bare, my walk-ins were at risk after the 2nd week, a few people had to be treated at Freidman Memorial, for a few weeks it only warmed up to 60 below.
    In better times, a group of us would ride our snow machines into hot pools near a Forest Service campground, soak till the sun went down, sleep in snow caves, jump in the hot water to thaw out for breakfast and ride back out. Another group had snow sleds we would take up to Jackson Lake, crank up the gigantic fans mounted on the rear (think of similar watercrafts on the Everglades) and slide from one end of the lake to the other.
    I just took a look at Lit, you are right about the comments.

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  4. Snow. Don’t see much now that we are south of the Mason-Dixon line. One of the finest Christmas presents we ever got (as adults) a great big snow blower, back about 10 years ago when we were still in New England. We still have it, even though we only get about 6 inches of snow for the whole season here. Suppose to get 4 inches or so tomorrow, which is causing panic of epic proportions. Coldest it get here in winter is the single digits. Coldest I remember in the Upper Valley was -35. Had to be either ’81 or ’82 – I was driving a ’78 CJ5 at the time, and heat in those beasts was non existent so driving it anywhere resulted in numb fingers and toes. It did, though, have factory front disc brakes and power steering, so I could still turn and stop even with no feeling in my extremities.
    Funny how your description of flatlander driving skills sound a lot like the Massachusetts drivers who flock north to ME, NH, and VT for skiing.

    I seem to remember Golden Retrievers being in your earlier stories.

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  5. Yup, I’ve been known to include Goldens, just so people don’t accuse me of blind favoritism. And yes, drivers from Massachusetts strike fear into the heart of any New Hampshire or Vermont resident – as well they should. I first heard the descriptive ‘Massholes’ from a neighbor in Hanover – who warned me of the perils of driving in and around Boston. Careless and aggressive best describes those drivers, and I seem to remember the extreme overuse of colorful language, too.
    There, good people of Massachusetts, was that polite enough for you?

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  6. Boy, times 10 here on the front range, re drivers that didn’t learn to drive in CO. How was it that my father could drive to and from work in Denver in a 1967 v8 Mustang with one set of bias ply snows, never a wreck and that was before all the road improvements….. I begin to think that Denver sounds like Atlanta. Living in Evergreen, I skip I70 on bad snow days and use Bear Creek Canyon. Don’t have to deal with people with bald tires or over inflated egos….
    By the way, we burn through a couple of metal snow shovels every couple of years…those little buggers are getting really hard to find and the crummy plastic ones are just, well, pathetic. I feel your pain.
    On another completely unrelated note, love your writing which I first discovered on Lit. Thanks for keeping us entertained and best regards for continued recovery on the eye thing.

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    • 38 degrees and slushy rain all night, power out for four hours now. I’m hearing it rained at Tahoe most of the night too. So much for climate change denialism. 38 degrees and rain at 8500′ in mid-January just ain’t right. Walking the dogs at four a.m. it was balmy out, shorts and t-shirt weather.
      I can’t imagine driving a 68 Mustang in snow, no matter what kind of tires. With so much torque I’m surprised he didn’t spin out all the time…
      Thanks for reading along!
      Aa

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  7. 41 with rain. We’ve gone from winter storm warning to flood alert. Glad I don’t live in the lowlands.
    Why were you up at four a.m.?

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  8. Well, let’s start at 4:00a.m.; that’s when I heard all the snow on the roof let go. Kind of like a freight train, or an old 707 on climb, except a few feet above my head. Then the power went f-t-t–pow! I was right in the middle of Debbie Does Dallas and whammo, dark city. So, I was up, took the pups out, then surveyed the roof. Right outside the front door/porch there was now six feet of cement like snow, with some larger chunks of ice thrown in for good measure. I started in on that mess when a little dawn light arrived, say sixish, and kept at it til eleven, then took Erica down to the docs and lunch and came back up. Oh, it’s 40 in Steamboat midday; when I went out at four it was 38 here. Totally unheard of, but I keep forgetting that der Führer insists climate change is a hoax. Silly me.
    At least the power’s back. At 1:30. So now I’m busy looking at real estate prices in Costa Rica and Kenya…

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  9. Never had the sheer volume of snow back there that we routinely get here, but it was colder in Hanover, seemingly all the time.
    People joke about Massholes, but I never had a problem with anyone there, not even the drivers. Perhaps that’s because I always drove around in an armored personnel carrier with twin 50 cals on top.

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  10. Indeed it does. But it’s frowned upon when I’m on-site at a client. A true Masshole wouldn’t care if you are in an APC – if there is an opening showing daylight between you and the car in front of you, they are going to squeeze into it.

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  11. The characterizing of Massachusatts drivers reminds me of a lonely planets guide purchased for my first trip to and around the US in 1989 describing Bostonian drivers as either homicidal or suicidal. At that time they didn’t seem to be that bad at least for me, a german, obviously used to dangerous driving.
    Fascinated by your stories I am following them closely.
    Thank you.

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    • You need to visit when the New England Patriots are playing, and watch as they race for the stadium. It’s carnage, like an old Mad Max movie.
      I lived outside of Bonn for a while. Among the fondest memories of my life, I miss living there.

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      • You should come to Munich where I am living. Here everyday driving seems to be a race of sorts. No one cares for speed limits or other silly rules. Everybody needs to be first in line, at the next red light.
        My first and only live experience of a football game has been at Boston college homecoming weekend in the fall of 2013. What a strange scenery. Endless lines of schoolbuses transporting people to the stadium, families tailgaiting, cheerleader girls running aound, huge marching bands and a fascinating game which I didn’t understand at all. It has been wonderful.

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      • Nothing like Boston in the Fall, or football in Boston.
        Except, perhaps, for Munich in October. Or in the summer. And, actually, I like winter there, too. I visited students of mine once, and their family took me around to all their ‘special’ places in Munich, and down to the Alps. What a week that was.

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  12. Yes, nothing like Boston in the fall or football in Boston (with several injured players, lots of advertising and pathos), combined with perfect weather conditions and a heartwarming open air jazz festival.
    Except, perhaps, for touring a good part of the northeastern states of the US in the fall, together with a very much grown up daughter and having some needed quality time.
    Munich is a beautiful city. But getting there around fourty years ago it took me several years to acknowledge that, missing the people of my home area, the sea, the unobstructed view over a rather flat country and the Alps just being an obstacle to getting to Italy. But eventually I’ve grown accustomed to that.
    Sadly enough the perhaps 10 inches of snow are gone completely now after about two weeks of winter. Certainly there’s no climate change.

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    • Yes, I have it on good authority that climate change is all due to Chinese propaganda. Tonight in Steamboat Springs, normally around 10F & snow, it was 40F and raining – on the ski mountain. Nothing like ignorance to mess up the bottoms of your new Volkls.

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    • That Spiegel frontpage has gotten much attention, largely characterising it as insulting, tasteless, way beyond any journalistic standards and so on. Could be. But in my opinion it is an attempt to symbolise the protagonist of a group of people who are trying to demolish the foundations of the American Democracy and its heritage at any cost.

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      • I was reading in The Economist last week that Germany is one of four true democracies left in the world, while the US is approaching ‘failed democracy’ status, due mainly to corruption and resulting destruction of social safety net programs. I lived near Bonn – once, as a student – and recall my time there as witness to that reality. There was a joy about on campus that I rarely experienced in California, which seemed to be one encounter with police after another. Those clashes were about democracy too, but we’ve been fighting a losing battle with conservatives for 50 years. America focused on money, not freedom, and she sold her soul to that devil. Maybe that has something to do with my choice of pseudonym?

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  13. A choice I’ve been wondering for some time and didn’t dare to ask.
    In the sixties german university campuses got vibrant, ‘Generation ’64’. Students mostly of liberal arts – not so much us physicians to be – began challenging every institution, understandably so in view of our then recent glorious history. After graduation a lot of them began a march through those institutions with the goal to change the system but gradually becoming an integral part of it at last. Who would have thought.
    In Germany money rules too, shareholder value is predominant, the gap between the small group of rich people and the non rich ones is getting wider continuously. But at this time our democratic institutions seem to be solid and thankfully there is a largely functional social security system. You may rest assured that it isn’t Socialism at all.

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  14. I spent a semester living with a family outside of Bad Godesberg, and an odd time it was, too. The father was number two in the foreign ministry, and as I was a History major, most interested in Weimar, we talked all the time about the 20s and 30s. I wish I could sit and talk with him now; he was a wise man, very gentlemanly, and we corresponded regularly until his death, but I wonder, now that his view, and those of his generation is fading fast, how long such a tempered view of the world will hold. With both real and imagined threats posed by waves of dislocated immigrants, with rising inequality no longer an abstract issue debated in academic halls, with resources growing scarce in many parts of the world – and lets not even mention climate change, because that’s just a Chinese hoax – the level of anxiety – globally – was already a ticking bomb. Adding Trump to the mix was, is, just unimaginably hilarious. It’s bad karma, on steroids.

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    • Perhaps ist’s just symptomatic.
      There are a lot of people being dissatisfied for different but often valid reasons or struggling for survival and there are pied pipers crawling out of every hole getting attention by making a lot of noise and presenting all too simple solutions. Expressing tempered views, being or acting reasonable won’t be covered by the media. Yes, there is an explosive development worldwide and yes, adding Trump – the Trump/Brannon Combo – to that mixture tops it all.
      The atrocities of WW2 the Third Reich and the way to all this seem to be forgotten. There aren’t many left able to bear witness to those. End of last year a former head of the department where I have been working for almost all of my professional life passed away at the age of well over ninety. Consequential to his experience he had developed a deep interest in history and a wide perspective of the world. He’d had a lucid mind until last. You would have found an interesting diskussion partner.
      Perhaps you’d like to listen sometime to the tear-jerking ‘Amara Terra Mia’ sung by Domenico Modugno painting the state of mind of someone leaving his country for economic reasons.

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      • I have heard it said that the task going forward will be to manage an epic contraction in human affairs, as population pressure and resource depletion collide, so the problem for governance going forward is to manage that process while producing as little collateral damage as possible. Reducing chaos, or the perception of chaos, can not be achieved through opening the floodgates of delusion and dishonesty. I suspect the feedback loops being created will cause a cascade of failure, and only more chaos as the Haves try to protect themselves from inrushing Have-nots. Obama’s pragmatism might have worked for a while longer with broader support internally here, and I think Merkel understood that. I wonder what she thinks of Herr Trump, and what her chances are going forward without Obama. They were a good team, I think. Like Reagan and Thatcher were a good team. It might be a while before History arrives at that conclusion, however. The collision of worldviews taking place now might not allow for such niceties as History in the future, but time will tell, I imagine.

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  15. Those are some heavy thoughts. On a lighter note snow related note, it’s snowing in Boston for the Patriots victory parade – our daughter and a bunch of her Genzyme co-workers are skipping out to watch the parade and she just sent us some pictures of the crowd, and the falling snow (The DUKWs they use in the parade are actual WWII vehicles. They only get used for ceremonies such as victory parades now. The DUKWs used daily in the Duck Tours are modern Repos). And despite the weather, the Red Sox equipment truck left yesterday for Florida, so spring, in theory, is just around the corner.

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    • We are forecast to get 2-4 feet next 48 hours, and this after a week of sunshine, but the temps are still too warm. We may get an epic rainstorm if this keeps up.
      Gosh, what a game that was. What a comeback, and Trump left at half time, failed to stand up for his team. He’s an odd little man, I think. Like Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp, dancing to a tune only he can hear. Good day for a parade.

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  16. I’m sure there were a few heart attacks because of that game. I heard that Trump left his own party early, and the video clips that were being shown of the party, well, it didn’t look like anyone wanted to be there. He also doesn’t strike me as the type to watch losing game like that to the end.

    Two to four more feet of snow? You are never going to see that Suburban of yours until August at that rate.

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    • I watched the Packers-Cowboys Ice Bowl game from the Cowboys side, forty yard line. Remember every minute of that game like it was yesterday. It’s amazing what events like that mean to us, how they ride with us through time.
      Yes, I think I’ll turn the Suburban into an ice sculpture, open year round. I think a family of marmots has taken it over. Hope they’re enjoying it.

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  17. I have game 4 & 5 of the 2004 ALCS. We had Red Sox season tickets, back when they offered less than full season packages, and we were able to get tickets to both of those games. I won’t claim to be able to remember every play or minute of back to back 5 hour plus baseball games, but I do remember after the game 4 victory walking out of the park, and having an overwhelming feeling of being at the turning of a tide. Game five I remember our daughter, barely able to keeping her eyes open, begging “just one more inning daddy! My teachers will understand!”

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  18. Do I have to apologize for somehow moving from the primary topics of snow, bad drivers and football to more mundane ones like politics?
    In view of the actual disruptive social and political forces all over the world the chances of peaceful ways to handle the rising problems of inequality and diminishing resources seem to be minimal. It would need the mutual thorough and consistent effort of a lot of people now. I can’t see that happening. Yes, time will tell.
    Frau Merkel’s appreciation of Trump won’t be particularly high, but she is too good a politician to mention that openly. There may have been some kind of mutual understanding between Obama and Merkel but there’s a lot of water between the US and Europe.
    For now I’ll try to read and comprehend ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ to get impressions of a part of the US unfamiliar to me.
    Back to snow. I love the picture of Marmots enlivening your Suburban.

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  19. The news is endlessly depressing. Yet the response I see and read about, locally and globally, is uplifting. People care. They give a damn. More people are protesting than ever did during the W tenure, and the human wave of resistance is just ramping up. There’s a lot of illness and willful ignorance behind the rise of fascism, and that just means brighter lights need to be shined into the darkest corners.

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    • Politicians have lost connection to a great part of the population not only in the US. Extremely right wing activists especially are exploiting this vacuum successfully in Germany for example. And a relevant part of their success is resting on deliberate use of untruthful informations / fake news addressing those neglected feeling people. How can you counter that to get through to these dark corners? They seem to be out of reach of serious publications by newspapers or other traditional media.
      I’ve grown up in an environment where meeting other people with an at least formal respect had been a basic ingredient of living in a community. For some people this seems to be completely out of time.
      By the way, am I correctly locating you somewhere in Colorado?

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      • Yes, in Colorado, near Steamboat Springs.
        I suppose all one can do is look for opportunities to listen and learn, share an opinion if one is warranted, offer suggestions for further dialogue. Hard to say, but in a hopeful sense it’s like throwing a rock into a pond. A ripple forms and spreads, and knowledge is the same. I understand most people on the far right are, in essence, bullies. Bullies get strength from numbers, from working in packs, and I think that may be a key going forward. One-on-one dialogue, when possible, might work. The other option is unchecked ignorance taking the world back to the dark ages, which could happen, I suppose. Like turning the fire up under a kettle, then tossing in a frog. If the water is hot, the frog jumps out. If the water is warm, the frog stays put even while the temperature is increased. Freedoms not taken away overnight, but over a few years. People of good conscience have to resist. It’s as simple as that, and as painful.

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    • We do know climate change to be a hoax, don’t we?
      Have you ever been at The Flagstaff House restaurant of Boulder? Every time visiting a sort of aunt of mine who emigrated to Denver after WW2, a beautiful vivid and very lovely lady, she loved being taken there. I loved that combination of the spectacular view on Boulder, sometimes grazing deer and me hanging on every word of her. I am missing her very much.

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    • That illustrates the problem quite well. My facts are better than your facts. PERIOD! One-on-One discussions would be wonderful, but that would also require listening and actually hearing.
      ALEC sent out a new handbook after the latest seminars and “education” workshops. The new playbook for legislators has cut and paste Bills on prevention of voter fraud (read as restrictions), defunding of health clinics (no access for abortion), phrases to delete from textbooks (evolution, climate change), eminent (sp?) domain, transfer of public lands to private (how to establish “best use”), oil and gas development sample leases, State agencies to eliminate or defund (DEQ/EPA, Health Exchange, EBT), and how to promote tax cuts as necessary for economic growth and job creation.
      State by State, Bills are popping up all around the country that are word-for-word identical.
      It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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      • That’s the big difference between Republicans and Democrats. The Rs stay on message, rarely bicker over the details. They are effective. Democrats bicker, can’t agree on much, and are generally a whole lot less effective. That’s the real issue going forward. The Dems need to put forth a coherent vision and stick to it. Reading about their retreat in Baltimore gives me no reason to hope for improvement. It was a gathering of narcissists, establishmentarians vs Sanders acolytes. They can not learn, it seems, from their lessons. Getting beat of the head with a carrot made no difference.

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