About Media and Liberalism

Quotes from a LA Times article on editorial cartooning, all the more interesting because they are made in passing:

“I think the newspapers have taken a conservative swing — certainly to the middle of the road,” said Scheibel, 82. “You get very weak cartoons that tell you what you already know. They don’t give you a whack. I think newspapers are playing it cowardly. They don’t want the impact that will offend anybody.”

and


At his home down the hill from Scheibel, cartoonist Cagle begs to differ.

“Too conservative? Certainly most cartoonists are politically liberal. That’s because only the large papers hire cartoonists anymore, and they tend to be urban, liberal newspapers,” said Cagle, 51.

If I’m a liberal – as I claim – why does this bother me?

Because being cocooned in the warm embrace of a compliant liberal media is the last thing we need – as liberals – to succeed in actually making changes that impact the lives of those who we’re supposed to be doing something for.

What If I Told You…

…that for a million bucks you could dramatically impact a Presidential campaign?
Would you take the deal? Most likely, yes. Per Open Secrets, the total spend on the Presidential campaign through May 27 is $877,722,907. Of that, the amount spent on media was $282,796,155.

So my million-dollar spend is .3% – three-tenths of a percent – of the media spend in the campaign to date.

I noted an interesting thing when I wrote about listening to Samantha Power:

And it’s interesting to me how the media indirectly shape our discourse – Power could write the book in part because she had a deal to sell the film rights. And George was intimately involved in the process of writing the book – looking at the drafts as they came off her computer.

For very little money – in film terms – but a lot of money – in journalistic terms – he managed to have a hand in shaping the story she wrote, and indirectly, shaping the political discourse about the UN and humanitarian aid, and America and Iraq.

In business, I’m always looking at those discontinuities – where what would be a small investment in one context becomes a meaningful one in another.

And I think there is probably a very meaningful one here, as writers about events and politics may have an incentive to shape their stories – and hence our perceptions – to meet the worldview and demands of Hollywood.

Of course, I’m talking about Scott McLellan’s book, and the furor surrounding it.

From my point of view, there’s very little shocking in the book. The fact that the decision to go after Saddam was made shortly after 9/11 is consistent with my opinion on why we went after Saddampour l’ecourager les autres, with the side benefit of stopping Saddam’s thugs from nailing people’s ears to walls.

The fact that the runup to the war was accompanied by political maneuvering and publicity would only be shocking to someone who’s never read a biography of FDR, or to someone like me who is pissed off that Bush did such an inept job of politicking and public salesmanship around the war.

So I don’t doubt that McLellan saw what he wrote about, and that there is a core of truth to his stories. But I’ll also suggest that the existence of the book itself is an interesting story, and one that we ought to think about.

I can’t find the details of his book deal, but George Stephanopoulos got a $2.7 million advance for his tell-all about the Clintons, and it’s likely that McLellan got something similar.

I don’t think he lied or had words placed in his mouth. But I’m willing to bet that his publisher made it clear that unless the book was ‘sexy’ in the right ways, there would be no deal, and I don’t think it was hard for McLellan to find the tone and points he needed to make to sex the story up appropriately. And I’m willing to bet that – as a political play – searching out the people who leave an Administration and trolling them with book deals is both good politics, and potentially – if you can make the controversy big enough – good business.

It’s the perfect marketing campaign. It cuts through the clutter with vast amounts of earned media, it’s credible at levels no ad campaign costing ten times as much would be, it shapes the dialog in a deeply meaningful way – and as a bonus, it might just earn back what you invested in it!

Steering By One’s Sails…

It’s a classic sailing error among the inexperienced; you steer to keep the sails filled, instead of optimizing where you want to go. So your course shifts with the wind with little consideration of covering ground toward where you really intend to go.

I thought about that today, in reading about the Anderson Cooper story on news media coverage in the runup to the war:

Yellin: I think the press corps dropped the ball in the beginning when the lead up to war began, uh the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the President’s high approval ratings and my own experience at the White House was that the higher the President’s approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives, and I was not at this network at the time, but the more pressure I had from these executives to put on positive stories about the President. I think over time…

I don’t doubt that the press was relatively uncritical around issues of war and terrorism at that time – in no small part because the President was so popular and they were afraid of the public reaction.

And I equally don’t doubt that the press is wildly overcritical now, as Bush’s numbers have declined and the groupthink makes him toxic.

I do support the notion that workers in the media trend to liberal, urban highly-educated elites, and that they frame stories whenever they can according to the biases of their class. But I do also believe that they are less populist-liberal than establishmentarian (think E.U.) and less ideological than fearful of rejection from the group or by their audience.

To recycle an old quote:

The room was full of mortified silence. Everyone else had done what I did.

Czarnecki explained that his point was simple. When our eyes disagreed with what other people were telling us, we should trust our eyes.

He had a larger point, about artistic vision, which he went on to make. But his basic point – believe your eyes and don’t give in to the pressure of the group is a memory that’s pretty well rooted in me; and as I see sensible people like Kevin Drum explain that the only thing that keeps The New Republic from being the anchor point of modern liberalism is this one issue where they just won’t go along, the image I keep having is of my professor leaning into the wall, holding his light meter, and going “Oops”.

Both of these – the sailing error and the photography one – are mistakes you make when you ignore what you see, and instead see what you think you ought to.

When Bad Ideas Collide…

People ask me: “How do you come up with all those cool blog posts?” Not really.

But one surefire way is actually to do kind of a large-hadron collider (it should be the super-bozon collider, given most of what I read, but there are no bozons in physics, sadly…just bosons) and just slam one thing I read into another and see what kind of connection comes out.

With that as a preface, let me collide two things I read today: Thomas Frank’s column about the American slander on elites in the WSJ, and an article on the EU’s latest scheme to pull power away from those pesky people.Here’s Franks:

Well, now the main events of the ’60s are 40 years behind us, and still we can’t shake them. In the last national election, we redebated the Vietnam War. In the one coming up, we will be forced to debate Barack Obama’s not-even-tenuous connection to the Weathermen. (We will probably not be asked to judge the poisonous legacy of the Young Americans for Freedom, although McCain adviser Charlie Black was actually a leader of that group.)

We can also be fairly sure of the word that will be used as the demon decade is again wheeled out: elitism. In the ’60s-as-remembered, the conflict that overlays all the others from that period was between ordinary, hard-working Americans and the privileged kids who went to fancy schools where they learned to disrespect the American flag and call the police names. Like the ghost of Archie Bunker, this peculiar class war has appeared over the years whenever some well-polished liberal is in need of a comeuppance.

He ties the resentment to kind of a hollow American consumerism, and the striving driven by a kind of Babbitry which Nixon channeled so well.

Yes, this culture is elitist. Just walk down the aisles of your local, union-free organic grocery, unutterably cool but way beyond your price range. Or stroll through the most upscale shopping district of your city, where you might notice the fake-shattered windows favored by one national retailer, evidently trying for that ’60s look while not losing any stock to actual looters.

Yes, it’s offensive, too. It’s meant to be that way, to remind you always that you are not hot; that you’ve bought the wrong brand; that the vanguard is way ahead of you; that, with your organization-man craving for health benefits or job security, you probably need to be fired.

Then again, there’s this news from Europe:

The European Union assembly’s political establishment is pushing through changes that will silence dissidents by changing the rules allowing Euro-MPs to form political groupings.

Richard Corbett, a British Labour MEP, is leading the charge to cut the number of party political tendencies in the Parliament next year, a move that would dissolve UKIP’s pan-European Eurosceptic “Independence and Democracy” grouping.

Under the rule change, the largest and most pro-EU groups would tighten their grip on the Parliament’s political agenda and keep control of lavish funding.

Simply put, the elites that run Europe – where you move on an assembly line from elite school to elite college to professional school to Brussels – want to keep those messy “folks” from breaking their iron rice bowl.

I wrote about my own similar experiences back in grad school:

While I was there, there was a small controversy that I followed. It involved the effort of the student government to evict from the student union one tenant, and to replace it with another. This is to me, the perfect example of SkyBoxing, and I hope that telling the story will help define what I mean.

In the 60’s in Berkeley, there was a movement to create a series of co-ops that would allow student-radicals to both generate jobs outside the hated-but-paying-their-rent capitalist system, and provide a living example that (for all I know) Trotskyite anarcho-syndicalism could triumph in the Belly of the Beast.

Most of these communal businesses failed mercifully quickly, as far as I know (this is all ancient history to me, so if I’m getting part of it wrong, drop a note). By the time I got there, there were two survivors ‘ Leopold’s Records (‘Boycott Tower Records, keep Berkeley Free’) and the Missing Link bicycle shop.

Leopold’s was off-campus somewhere near Telegraph, but the bicycle store was a part of the mini-shopping area that was in the ASUC building.

The student government decided that they were going to evict it to make room for a small-electronics (Walkmen, stereo, calculators, etc.) annex to the Student Store. Why?

The small-electronics store could pay as much as $50,000 more in rent every year.

Now this is an appropriately cold-hearted landlord kind of decision to make. But the people making the decision weren’t sweater wearing conservative Young Republicans, driven by their vision of the purity of the market.

They were a bunch of New Left, ethnic-identity, progressive communitarian kind of kids.

Why did they want to make this decision? Because it would mean $50K a year more for their organizing budgets; $50K more in pork they could carve up in the hopes of building their perfect communitarian future.

Now I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time imagining anything more keyed to a progressive communitarian future than a cooperatively owned bicycle store. I mean, how much better does it get? Nonprofit. Cooperatively employee owned. Bicycles, for chrissakes. If you really wanted to educate people in alternatives to the ‘mass consumerist repressive capitalist paradigm’ (I think I got the buzzwords right), wouldn’t that be a good way to do it?

But reality couldn’t stand a chance against the cold need for this elected group to make sure that they and their friends were rewarded.

If that’s the face of future liberalism, count me out. It doesn’t have to be, and it’s my intention to try and make sure that’s the case. I wonder if we can contribute to Irish election campaigns? From the story on the EU:

The row over the new EU Treaty meanwhile took a new turn yesterday after José Manuel Barroso, the Commission President, warned Irish voters that they will “pay” if they reject the document in a referendum next month.

Speaking in Brussels on Monday night, Mr Barroso attempted to head off growing opposition to the Treaty by threatening outcast status for Ireland.

“If there was a ‘No’ in Ireland or in another country, it would have a very negative effect for the EU. We will all pay a price for it, Ireland included, if this is not done in a proper way,” he said.

Officials fear that advanced plans to create a new EU President, Foreign Minister and European diplomatic service will be sunk by an Irish referendum rejection on June 12.

The new Lisbon Treaty replaces the old EU Constitution that was rejected by French and Dutch voters three years ago. While the other EU member states, such as Britain, have successfully evaded popular votes, Ireland is constitutionally required to hold a referendum and Brussels dreads a repeat of the 2001 Irish rejection of the Nice Treaty.

Yesterday, Paddy Power Plc, Ireland’s biggest bookmaker, rung alarm bells by following the opinion polls to cut the odds of a referendum rejection by half – from 4-1 to 2-1.

Looking For What One Expects

Longtime sparring partner Eric Martin, over at Democracy Arsenal, echoed super-Iraq-expert Juan Cole in pointing to the AP story on Al-Sistani moving closer to Al-Sadr by legitimizing attacks on Alliance troops – back on May 23.

Reacting to the story that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is beginning to take a more militant stand in opposition to the US occupation, Kevin Drum asks, “Why now?” I briefly mentioned some of the possible motivations in my post on the Sistani story (as did Cernig and Matt Duss), but Juan Cole offers a good summary of some of the more compelling speculation.

To reiterate (as Cole himself does), this is only plausible speculation and there is no way to know Sistani’s motivations for sure. What is known for sure, however, is that Sistani’s shift on this topic (or, perhaps, willingness to vocalize an unchanged position) is a severe setback to those that envision a 100 year presence in Iraq – complete with massive permanent bases, theme parks and luxury hotels:

I saw the story and started chasing it down with some concern. Here’s what I found:

A close source to grand ayatollah Ali Sistani’s office on Friday denied news agencies’ reports the Shiite cleric issued a fatwa permiting taking up weapons to drive the foreign occupation forces out of Iraq.

“The reports of issuing fatwa by the Shiite cleric Sistani permiting taking up arms to drive foreign troops out of Iraq were baseless”.

International news agencies reported Sistani issued a fatwa, an edict, legalizing Iraqis to hold up arms to drive US troops out of Iraq.

The source, a cleric from Karbala associated with Sistani office,pointed out “Sistani’s stance is clear since toppling the former regime(of Saddam Hussein) by calling for sticking to civil resistence to drive foreign troops out of Iraq”.

Ali Sistani, living in Najaf, is the top cleric and hold a strong sway over Shiites in Iraq and a number muslim countries.

The article – dated May 23. On Democracy Arsenal – or Kevin Drum’s site, where Eric is guest-blogging? Crickets. At least Juan Cole had the candor to acknowledge (even if he’s dismissive) the updated information.

The reality of Arab politics is close to the definition of ‘obscure’. Paying close attention is a good thing. But it’d be nice to see Martin acknowledge how easy it is to look into the obscurity and see what you want – and expect – to see.

On Negotiation – and on Vacation

Before I head off into the mountains for a weekend of lean angles and contributing to global warming by converting gasoline into relaxation, let me point you to an oped in today’s NYT:

In his inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy expressed in two eloquent sentences, often invoked by Barack Obama, a policy that turned out to be one of his presidency’s – indeed one of the cold war’s – most consequential: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Kennedy’s special assistant, called those sentences “the distinctive note” of the inaugural.

They have also been a distinctive note in Senator Obama’s campaign, and were made even more prominent last week when President Bush, in a speech to Israel’s Parliament, disparaged a willingness to negotiate with America’s adversaries as appeasement. Senator Obama defended his position by again enlisting Kennedy’s legacy: “If George Bush and John McCain have a problem with direct diplomacy led by the president of the United States, then they can explain why they have a problem with John F. Kennedy, because that’s what he did with Khrushchev.”

But Kennedy’s one presidential meeting with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier, suggests that there are legitimate reasons to fear negotiating with one’s adversaries. Although Kennedy was keenly aware of some of the risks of such meetings – his Harvard thesis was titled “Appeasement at Munich” – he embarked on a summit meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961, a move that would be recorded as one of the more self-destructive American actions of the cold war, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age.

Now, I’m on record as saying we should be talking to Iran. And I think Israel is right to talk to Syria.

But there are two things that must be kept in mind if we decide to do so: 1) it matters – a lot – what we say; and 2) it is important to understand that talking is not an end in itself, even though for some institutions, it is.

As David Blue put it well in the comments below, the danger is that we will “…fight to settle not win…” Settling is a good thing – when we get enough out of it to make the settlement worthwhile. If we decide we’ll settle for anything – well, then we will.

And it is critical that the other side sees that they have something to gain from settling – and something to lose from not settling – as well. When we talk about “Nixon in China”, we’re talking about the fact that only an extreme anti-Communitst hawk like Nixon could have made the rapproachment with China work – both because he needed to have the trust of suspicious Americans, and because China believed that settling was better than the alternatives – which include continued inconclusive negotiation.

If Obama is going to talk to Iran, or to Chavez, or to anyone whose interests and beliefs place them in strong conflict with us, he’d better keep those things in mind. Because the outcomes of a failed meeting can be quite concrete:

A little more than two months later, Khrushchev gave the go-ahead to begin erecting what would become the Berlin Wall. Kennedy had resigned himself to it, telling his aides in private that “a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.” The following spring, Khrushchev made plans to “throw a hedgehog at Uncle Sam’s pants”: nuclear missiles in Cuba. And while there were many factors that led to the missile crisis, it is no exaggeration to say that the impression Khrushchev formed at Vienna – of Kennedy as ineffective – was among them.

I’ll try and get something up for Memorial Day. But in case I don’t please take a quiet moment to thank those who died in the name of our country. And if you see someone abusing a soldier, kick them in the shins for me, will you?

The Three Laws of Counterinsurgency

As seen by Brian Ulrich, at Democracy Arsenal, citing Michael Scheuer:

It also is clear that Islamist leaders have little or no fear that news of the death or capture of senior operatives will undermine the morale of their fighters or curtail funding or other forms of aid from their supporters. Neither al-Qaeda, the Chechen insurgents, nor al-Qaeda in Iraq nor Saudi Arabia has tried to hide the death of prominent members. The Islamist leaders appear to believe that “martyrs are recruiters, too,” and at times have used the death of a leader to make light of the success of their foes. When al-Muqrin was killed in a gunfight with Saudi police, for example, al-Qaeda quickly used the internet to announce his death, name his successor, and describe the successor’s qualifications.

Ulrich then throatclears, without making any judgments:

He emphasizes, though, that the killing of such figures is still useful.

The plain reading being, of course, that if we fight them we only make them mad. (think Mongo)

From CNN, a non-Islamist terrorist’s view:

Nelly Avila Moreno, 45, whose nom de guerre was Karina, said she and her longtime male companion made the decision jointly to abandon the FARC group, based in the jungle, at 5 a.m. Sunday.

She said pressure from Colombian soldiers had been key to their decision, and she called on her fellow rebels to follow her example.

“I invite them to change the sensibility that is among the guerrillas,” she said, seated by her companion, who said nothing during the news conference.

She also had a message for the Colombian people: “It is important to do something for peace in Colombia, and that need to do something is precisely one of my motivations.”

After 24 years with the FARC, Karina said she wants to reintegrate with society. “At this moment, what I am thinking about is reuniting with my family and with all of society,” she said.

Karina said she had had no contact with the group’s leaders for the past two years. During that time, she said, “I was trying to stay alive.”

Now, FARC isn’t Al Quaeda or one of its offshoots, and the values of Islam certainly matter (there’s my throatclearing). But I’d love to hear from Scheuer or from Ulrich that they are serious that military pressure and constant fear of death or capture don’t demoralize – rather than incent – terrorists as much as they would, say hero-worshipping Kentucky residents.

We have our own hero-myths as well, and one of the great cultural schisms is between those who honor them and those who don’t. I tend to think that those who don’t tend to be of the “you’ll just make them angry/bold/whatever” school of thought.

I’m reminded of someone who restated the Three Laws of Thermodynamics:

You can’t win…
You can’t break even…
You have to play…

Ted Kennedy & Orestes

I read the story of this family – of greatness, human failure, tragedy – as though Euripides got to write his grand, tragic take on American history. Spare me the reflexive disdain – and the reflexive hagiography – for him, his brothers and his parents. But it would be out of his family’s character somehow for him to come to his end quietly and without suffering.

I’m sorry for him – I can only imagine the horror at a diagnosis like this – and for his family, whose love I hope will comfort him.

He may not have been the greatest Senator we’ve had in the nation, but he has been a notable one, and he has dedicated his life to service. So here’s an appreciation of him, and a thank you from me and my family.

Update: For a very human response and a crushing personal story, go see Steve Smith’s blog.

One Sign That Markets Are At Bottom…

…is pundits who declare how far they really have left to fall, and calling for immediate government action. Like this NYT editorial:

The housing bust is feeding on itself: price declines provoke foreclosures, which provoke more price declines. And the problem is not limited to subprime mortgages. There is an entirely different category of risky loans whose impact has yet to be felt — loans made to creditworthy borrowers but with tricky terms and interest rates that will start climbing next year.

Yet the Senate Banking Committee goes on talking. It has failed as yet to produce a bill to aid borrowers at risk of foreclosure, with the panel’s ranking Republican, Richard Shelby of Alabama, raising objections. In the House, a foreclosure aid measure passed recently, but with the support of only 39 Republicans. The White House has yet to articulate a coherent way forward, sowing confusion and delay.

And then there is how people in the market react in reality (via Calculated Risk, an indispensable blog on the topic):

Southern California home sales surged last month to the highest level since August as bargain shoppers took advantage of price slashing. Although some higher-end costal markets also posted gains, the swell in transactions mainly reflects more sales of homes under $500,000 in inland areas where depreciation and foreclosures have been greatest, a real estate information service reported.

Ouch.

Random Personal Notes

I tend to talk about my wife Tenacious G, and Biggest Guy – who is doing just fine, thanks – and not enough about my other equally wonderful and bragworthy sons. So I thought I’d be a doting parent for a moment and share this.

(Note that we had a successful surprise birthday party for TG Saturday night)

[13:48] {Middle Guy}: hey pops
[13:48] {Middle Guy}: how was the party?
[13:49] MARCDnzgr: huuuuge success
[13:49] {Middle Guy}: nice!
[13:49] MARCDnzgr: Debra’s husband Mark got video of Grace walking through the door
[13:49] MARCDnzgr: priceless
[13:50] {Middle Guy}: hahaha
[13:50] {Middle Guy}: do you have a copy?
[13:50] MARCDnzgr: I can’t believe I managed to surprise her
[13:50] MARCDnzgr: getting it – will be on YouTube
[13:51] {Middle Guy}: haha
[13:51] {Middle Guy}: that’s awesome
[13:51] MARCDnzgr: she totally busted me

[13:51] MARCDnzgr: found the cc charge for liquor from the Wine House
[13:51] MARCDnzgr: I lied like a rug
[13:52] {Middle Guy}: oooh wow
[13:52] {Middle Guy}: what did you say?
[13:52] {Middle Guy}: and how much booze did you buy?
[13:52] MARCDnzgr: too much
[13:52] MARCDnzgr: 1 case champagne (drank 3 bottles)
[13:52] MARCDnzgr: 1 case white (drank 6 bottles)
[13:52] MARCDnzgr: 1 case red (none)
[13:54] {Middle Guy}: wow
[13:54] {Middle Guy}: so yeah, what story did you sell her?
[13:54] MARCDnzgr: yeah, we’re liquor-heavy (dont get any ideas!!)
[13:54] MARCDnzgr: on the booze? That I bought a case of wine for us and that some friends at work wanted some too, so I bought for them
[13:56] {Middle Guy}: haha yeah I was like I was thinking of not coming up anymore, but i might have to make an exception
[13:57] MARCDnzgr: be nice to see you – we’re gone this weekend but will be the weekend after
[13:57] {Middle Guy}: … you’re gone this weekend and there’s a ton of booze in the house… hm….
[13:57] MARCDnzgr: roh-roh…
[13:58] {Middle Guy}: heh it’s cool i think i’m stuck down here hosting a beer and brat shindig
[13:58] {Middle Guy}: you got lucky
[13:58] MARCDnzgr: sounds nice
[13:58] MARCDnzgr: I need to get down and see your digs
[13:58] MARCDnzgr: maybe next weekend?
[13:58] {Middle Guy}: sure
[13:58] {Middle Guy}: oh i have a fun story for you
[13:59] MARCDnzgr: shoot
[13:59] {Middle Guy}: I was pretty damn pleased with myself
[13:59] {Middle Guy}: So I went to my game theory prof’s office hours today
[13:59] {Middle Guy}: and I asked him out to lunch as part of the dine with the professor deal marshall has
[13:59] {Middle Guy}: and we were talking etc
[14:00] {Middle Guy}: and i was like oh btw I’m {name}
[14:00] {Middle Guy}: and he was like Danziger?
[14:00] MARCDnzgr: ??
[14:00] {Middle Guy}: Me: wow, uh, yeah
[14:00] {Middle Guy}: him: yeah I see your name on the top of the scores chart all the time
[14:00] MARCDnzgr: nice!!!
[14:00] {Middle Guy}: me: *Huge smile*
[14:01] MARCDnzgr: way to go!!
[14:01] {Middle Guy}: and it’s a pretty damn big class
[14:01] {Middle Guy}: so i was pretty f**king pleased with myself walking out that door
[14:01] MARCDnzgr: no kidding
[14:01] MARCDnzgr: now you hit him up for any interesting projects he needs help on…
[14:01] {Middle Guy}: hah exactly
[14:01] MARCDnzgr: seriously, congrats
[14:02] {Middle Guy}: yeah thanks pops
[14:02] MARCDnzgr: deserved glory, methinks
[14:02] {Middle Guy}: I’m doing pretty well for myself this quarter
[14:02] MARCDnzgr: you feel damn good
[14:02] MARCDnzgr: can’t articulate exactly what it is
[14:02] MARCDnzgr: your ‘aura’
[14:02] {Middle Guy}: haha yeah
[14:02] {Middle Guy}: thanks
[14:02] MARCDnzgr: meant what I said about proud
[14:02] MARCDnzgr: was just thinking how cool it is to be learning something with you
[14:03] {Middle Guy}: thanks pops
[14:03] {Middle Guy}: :-)
[14:03] MARCDnzgr: right back
[14:03] {Middle Guy}: k
[14:03] MARCDnzgr: go work
[14:03] MARCDnzgr: I’m going downstairs and inventorying the booze
[14:03] {Middle Guy}: hahahahahah