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An exchange from last night in Tampa, where, after an eternity of keeping Mitt Romney at arm’s length, the G.O.P finally nominated him as its standard-bearer against Barack Obama. As always, there was a feather-preening roll call, during which each state introduced itself and cast its votes.
Jack: Kevin, don’t you wish sometimes that when the states introduced themselves, they’d dispense with the Chamber of Commerce pablum?
Florida, “the Lightning Capital of the World,” where more people are injured by God’s wrath than all the other states combined! The state that specifically outlaws sex with porcupines, and whose governor is the World Weekly News’s Bat Boy, casts all its votes for the next President of the United States, Mitt Romney!
Kevin: Nevada, the bankruptcy state, where the mustang is not only a wild horse but a job-creating brothel, setting of more pawnshop reality-shows than any other state in the nation, the proud adopted home of Bugsy Siegel and Virginia Hill, throws all in for Mitt Romney!
Jack: Maine—the producer of 90 percent of America’s toothpicks and the home of Joshua Chamberlain, the last Civil War soldier to die of his wounds (in 1914, at the age of eighty-six), whose residents are still required by law to carry shotguns to church in the event of Indian attacks, and the state that brags it has more French speakers than any other state, lance fièrement toutes ses voix pour Mitt Romney.
Kevin: Mississippi, the birthplace of Elvis, the Confederate holdout that abolished slavery in 1995 (that’s right, 1995, look it up!). Mississippi, the home of more churches per capita than any other state, and the inventor of the soft toilet seat (like we said, look it up), proudly casts all of its votes for Jefferson Davis IV.
More from Kevin Baker:
Appreciation — June 26, 2014, 8:00 am
From Johnny Cash to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”