A Tuesday Forum

Welcome to September.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. 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. Bill says:

    The Florida headline of the day-

    DeSantis extends moratorium on evictions until Oct. 1

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  2. Bill says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Stonekettle
    @Stonekettle

    Guy tweeting from a bunker under the most secure building in America, surrounded by a wall, a fence, another newly installed wall, anti aircraft batteries, missile launchers, and a small army of Secret Service, federal police, and Marines, has some opinions on basements.

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump
    · Aug 30
    Rushing him out of basement after seeing some very disturbing numbers. Don’t worry, he’ll go back to basement soon! twitter.com/daveweigel/sta…

    Not that self awareness was ever a trump strong point or anything.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Julia Ioffe
    @juliaioffe

    2020 is a smiley face that’s actually lava erupting from a volcano.

    Domenico
    @AvatarDomy
    · Aug 29
    Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, one of the world’s most active, recently formed a smiley face in its over 24-metre deep crater during an ongoing eruption.

    Mick Kalber of Paradise Helicopters captured the breathtaking scene.

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  5. EddieInCA says:

    Damn. Biden is blessed that Trump is his opponent.

    Trump keeps setting a very low bar, that Biden repeatedly jumps over with ease.

    “Joe is afraid of coming out of the basement.” Joe comes out and gives a speech in public.

    “Joe is losing it. He can’t put together a sentence.” Joe comes out and gives multiple coherent, well-received speeches.

    “Joe is a leftist who won’t condemn violence” Joe comes out and forcefully condemns violence.

    “Joe is a tool of the far left”. Joe comes out and gives a center left speech that ignores the most radical of the far left points, coming across as competent and sane.

    Rinse. Repeat.

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  6. Mike in Arlington says:

    There’s a couple of reports that Michigan voter information was released on the Russian dark web.

    https://twitter.com/juliaioffe/status/1300771489847955456?s=21

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  7. Moosebreath says:

    In an interview with Laura Ingraham last night, Trump compared the police killing Jacob Blake to missing a 3 foot golf putt, in that both are choking:

    “Shooting the guy, shooting the guy in the back many times, I mean, couldn’t you have done something different? Couldn’t you have wrestled him? I mean, in the meantime, he might’ve been going for a weapon and there’s a whole big thing there. But they choke. Just like in a golf tournament, they miss a three-foot putt.”

    Of course, Blake was shot, not choked, but…

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  8. CSK says:

    This has to be read to be believed, particularly the transcript of Trump’s conversation with Laura Ingraham:
    http://www.thebulwark.com/trumps-new-conspiracy-theory/
    Words fail me.

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  9. Moosebreath says:

    @CSK:

    But of course, Trump’s supporters say it is Biden who has lost his mental capacity.

    Showing that projection is not just for movie theaters.

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  10. @EddieInCA: Trump is running the baseiest of base campaigns.

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  11. CSK says:

    @Moosebreath:
    Trump, with the business about a planeload of thugs in dark clothing, is repeating a Facebook conspiracy theory from early June.

    Also, I am not clear whether “the people in the dark shadows” who are controlling Biden are the same as the planeload of thugs.

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  12. @CSK:

    is repeating a Facebook conspiracy theory from early June.

    Trump is, frighteningly, very much the elderly dude who gets all of his news from FNC and social media.

    I know we know this. It just keeps getting worse.

    (I think, too, it explains part of why at least some of the base loves him because instead of him talking about reality, he confirms their half-understood views of the world).

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  13. MarkedMan says:

    In another thread the topic of “The Bell Curve” came up. There are many, many reasons why that book has failed the test of time (both it’s own and ours) but for a perfect analysis of it’s fundamental flaws, my go to source would be the second edition of Gould’s “The Mismeasure of Man”, where he takes it apart in two appendix essays he added in. Devastating in a “no, two plus two does not equal ‘chair'” kind of way.

    But you only need to know one flaw in the book. Gould touches on this, but it doesn’t get enough attention, because it’s a flaw repeated not just in sociology but in medicine, over and over again: the conflation of statistics with individuals. If you accept everything in the book as proven* you are left with the takeaway that dividing people up into these racial groupings that they do and accepting that there is a thing called intelligence that can be measured by one number (g) and that measurement is reflexive of your ability to obtain things like a stable and happy family and a decent living – even if you accept all that at face value, what you get is a normal distribution of intelligence for each grouping that mostly overlap. In other words the vast number of people of all “races” fall into one or two standard deviations from the overall average.

    You can make judgements on individuals because of their specific traits. You can’t make judgements on individuals because of a statistical group that they happen to be included in. The group is an arbitrary concept. The individual is real. It’s like saying that statistically, the number of men with dark skin who are 6’ 7″ or taller is vanishingly small so there is no need to look in that group for NBA players.

    *Proven at a very superficial level, because major portions of it are merely handwaving

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  14. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Do you suppose he got “dark shadows” from the vampire-themed soap opera of that name?

    I wonder who’s investigating that planeload of thugs?

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  15. Jen says:

    Trump is clearly, obviously unwell.

    I find it incredibly disturbing that his supporters don’t recognize this. Ingraham recognizes when he’s starting to say stuff that will get him in trouble (shooting someone in the back 7 times = choking on a golf putt).

    This is frightening.

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  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:

    the conflation of statistics with individuals

    This is important. People are so hung up on group stats that they don’t realize how useless and misleading they so often are.

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  17. Paine says:

    @Jen: It was hilarious when Ingraham said “The media will say you compared it to playing golf,” or something to that affect. Why yes, yes they would. Because that’s exactly what he frickin said…

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  18. Jen says:

    John Sipher, a former CIA station chief who is an intel expert, has written a good op-ed piece in the NYT that explains in detail why the decision to halt the Congressional in-person briefings on election security is so wrong/misguided/dangerous.

    Trump is doing everything he can to sabotage the election. This should worry everyone.

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  19. sam says:

    @CSK:

    Ben Collins
    @oneunderscore__
    President Trump tonight: “We had somebody get on a plane… it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms.”

    Viral Facebook rumor from June: “At least a dozen males got off the plane in Boise from Seattle, dressed head to toe in black.”

    See the link for the Facebook rumor referenced.

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  20. CSK says:

    @sam:
    Yes; I know. I pointed out the existence of the Facebook rumor in a later post. As Steven Taylor said, we have a president who gets his “news” from the least reliable sources.

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  21. Scott says:

    Pence was on standby to ‘take over’ during Trump’s unannounced Walter Reed visit, new book reports

    Vice President Mike Pence was put on standby to temporarily assume the powers of the presidency during President Donald Trump’s unannounced visit to Walter Reed hospital in November 2019, according to a copy of New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt’s forthcoming book obtained by CNN.

    This has been rumored for months. But I’m more concerned about this: How unethical is it for journalists not to report something important because they want to save it for a much more financially rewarding book later. If they are employed by a newspaper, magazine, or TV station, should a reporter be obligated to report in the moment? And what obligation does an employer have, in this case the NYT. It is all highly questionable to me.

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  22. KM says:

    Interesting play by Rittenhouse’s lawyer:

    Rittenhouse’s attorney, John Pierce of Pierce Bainbridge, plans to fight the underage weapons possession charge, arguing that at 17, his client could be part of the “well regulated Militia” mentioned in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    (emphasis mine)

    What militia? Militia means more then one person, a leadership structure, regulations. Even if it’s just 3 armed drunken frat guys in a garage calling themselves BadAss Company 5, militia implies a group. Sooooo…… who is Rittenhouse planning on tossing under the bus? Whomever it is gets opened up to a host of liabilities, not the least of which is letting an armed minor commit a crime. Civil claims are gonna fly and some gun nuts might find themselves held accountable for letting this kid cosplay with them. As the lawyers are also claiming the gun didn’t cross state lines, that might mean they’re planning to say he got the gun from this “militia” and setting them up for that fall too.

    I know the lawyers are just tossing things at the wall to see what sticks at this point but I wonder how pissed the right-wing circuit’s gonna get when their newest shiny idol starts pushing blame back to them to save his own ass.

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  23. CSK says:

    @Scott:
    As Donald Trump himself would say, “many people are asking” this question. It does appear to be information we should have been given at the time. The nonsense about the visit being part of a routine physical always struck me as just that–nonsense.

    A contributor for The Hill said that the visit was necessitated by the fact that Trump had experienced “chest discomfort.” That may or may not be true.

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  24. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK:

    As Steven Taylor said, we have a president who gets his “news” from the least reliable sources.

    Rather than use the world’s greatest panopticon, which is at his beck and call. Because it might not tell him what he wants to hear.

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  25. Sleeping Dog says:

    @KM:

    I would expect that an (honest) strict constructionist and texturalist would note that today’s equivalent to the well regulated Militia mentioned in the Constitution would be the National Guard.

    Don’t think Rittenhouse qualifies.

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  26. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Well, the United States Marines certainly didn’t want him.

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  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    Morning Consult polling notes.

    -Amid unrest in Kenosha, Wis., Biden leads Trump by 9 points, 52% to 43%.

    -Nationally, President Trump trails Joe Biden by 8 points among likely voters — identical to a poll conducted before the Democratic National Convention earlier this month.

    -Biden saw his favorability improve to 51% after conventions concluded, while 55% continue to view Trump unfavorably.

    Despite two weeks of party conventions and amid civil unrest prompted by the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., the state of the race between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden stands largely unchanged from its pre-convention numbers in some of the country’s most-contested states — with the notable exception of Arizona.

    While Biden was trailing the president in the Southwestern battleground by 2 percentage points in an Aug. 7-16 Morning Consult poll conducted before the Aug. 17 start of the Democratic National Convention, the former vice president has improved his margin over Trump by 12 points.

    ———–

    …Biden leads Trump in Wisconsin by 9 points, 52 percent to 43 percent, in the latest polling, up 3 points since before the conventions but inside the two surveys’ margins of error. As he does in Arizona, Biden holds an advantage over Trump among Wisconsin independents (52 percent to 32 percent), women (54 percent to 40 percent) and suburbanites (54 percent to 40 percent).

    Additionally, trend data shows Biden’s standing with white voters in the Badger State — which Trump won by less than 1 point in 2016 — is virtually unchanged since before the conventions and the unrest in Kenosha, regardless of the level of educational attainment: 44 percent of white voters without a college degree prefer Biden compared with 49 percent who said they’d vote for Trump, and Biden continues to hold a large lead over Trump among college-educated whites (59 percent to 38 percent).

    https://morningconsult.com/2020/09/01/battleground-presidential-polling-post-conventions/

    Encouraging news.

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  28. Kathy says:

    Going off on something completely irrelevant. Twice, now, I’ve bought very green bananas that fail to ripen. I usually buy them on Saturday for use through the week starting on Monday, so I get green ones that will be half ready on Monday and pretty good through the rest of the week.

    These, though, after six days kind of stay mostly green, the stems joining them in a bunch turn black, they are hard to peel, and black spots appear among the green. What I don’t get is yellow. They have a consistency rather like under cooked potatoes, and taste terrible.

    Both times I got the “organic”* kind at the store. Both times it was because the bunches not labeled “organic” were too ripe to keep for most of a week. So, to begin with, I’m not getting the “organic” labeled ones any more.

    I’m just curious WTF gives with these things.

    * as though there is a kind of inorganic banana in the produce section?

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  29. Jen says:

    @Kathy: That is strange. The behavior sounds more like a plantain, along with the texture, but bananas look different than plantains and I’m guessing you didn’t pick up the wrong thing even once, let alone it happening twice.

    The “inorganic” produce is a word thing one of my friends has a field day with; fun with words. 🙂

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  30. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Non-organic bananas are “gassed” with ethylene to make them ripen; organic bananas aren’t. Hence, they tend to stay green. If you have some apples, put the green bananas in a plastic bag with the apples. They should ripen up soon enough.

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  31. @Sleeping Dog: These are interesting data, especially given a back-and-forth on Sunday for which I was scolded. But the metrics do undercut the argument that the civil unrest in Wisconsin redounds to Trump.

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  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK:

    in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that. They’re on a plane…

    Sounds sort of like the guys he sent to Portland to me, but that’s just what people were saying, I don’t know.

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  33. mattbernius says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    There’s a couple of reports that Michigan voter information was released on the Russian dark web.

    https://twitter.com/juliaioffe/status/1300771489847955456?s=21

    There most likely was no hack involved. This apparently was all information that was either publicly available via FoIA and/or available for purchase direct from the State (i.e. the rolls that campaigns buy).

    Again, something most people are not well aware of is how much of the data States (counties and municipalities) collects about us through routine transactions (court data, voter rolls, etc) is being sold on a daily basis in order to finance operational costs. And much of this holds various amounts of personally identifying information.

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  34. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    The behavior sounds more like a plantain

    That might be it.

    It may also be they are not artificially ripened by exposure to ethylene, which according to Wikipedia is a common practice (and perhaps makes them inorganic??).

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  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Could they be plantains instead of bananas?

    [edit] Whoops, I see everyone beat me too it.

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  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: For a bit, I was speculating that he got it from combining the dark web with shadow government, but then I realized that’s beyond his ability to isolate, retain, and coordinate information that he hears.

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  37. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    That seems to be the explanation.

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  38. Gustopher says:

    @KM: Rittenhouse’s lawyer seems to be going for a jury nullification strategy — poisoning the jury pool ahead of time, and trying to make a folk hero out of a murdering little fat boy.

    Given how much evidence there is of the facts this may be the only way he’s got to try to keep his client out of jail.

    If the little shit was up on federal charges, they would be campaigning for a pardon. We already have our esteemed president refusing to condemn the little shit.

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  39. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Ha, I stumbled upon that while you were typing your post 🙂

    I don’t have any apples. I’m strictly PC and Android.

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  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “…an (honest) strict constructuralist and textualist…”

    Yeah, right…

    Pfui!

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  41. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    He seems to have picked the business about the planeload of thugs-in-black up from Facebook. I can’t figure out from where he got the people-in-the-dark-shadows, unless, as I said, he’s watching re-runs of 1970s vampire soap operas.

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  42. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Cute. Really cute.

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  43. wr says:

    @CSK: “I wonder who’s investigating that planeload of thugs?”

    You’d think if these conspirators were really this smart they’d instruct their thugs to wear street clothes on the plane and change into their uniforms on landing…

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  44. wr says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “Encouraging news.”

    We’re doomed. DOOOMED!!!

    Oh, sorry, just being a Democrat.

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: It doesn’t make much sense to me, because everybody knows this, but it may be that the bananas were never treated with ethylene gas at the distribution place. When I worked in produce in Washington State when I was young, I know that if we didn’t gas bananas they stayed green and only rotted.

    I’ve been told that this information doesn’t apply to the tropics, but my understanding is that bananas for sale in the tropics are harvested completely differently all around.

    @Jen: You’re right about the plantains, but I never understood plantains at all. 100% of the customers we had who would have bought plantains preferred to buy ungassed bananas instead because plantains were “too ripe” by the time they got to Seattle. I do remember though that it would have been hard to confuse plantains and bananas because plantains were always shipped as individual fruits rather than bunched on a supporting stem in hands.

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  46. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    There is also this article from the LA Times showing Trump weakening among key demographics that he’s been strong in.

    I’ve been waiting for these post convention polls to get an indication of bounce, there was none, and effect of the riots, so far that has been negligible.

    It is still too early for any definitive judgments on the attitude of voters, but another couple of weeks of polling will reveal a lot.

    President Chaos, running on law & order is a tough circle to square, particularly when he repeatedly fans the flames of violence. You can imagine him sitting in the private quarters of the WH, hoping that cops kill a few blacks in late Oct.

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  47. @Sleeping Dog:

    It is still too early for any definitive judgments on the attitude of voters, but another couple of weeks of polling will reveal a lot.

    Indeed.

    But the stability of the polling, as well as the fact that (unlike HRC) Biden is polling nationally at 50% (or higher) and is polling in the 50s in a lot the state-level polling suggests that he is doing better than his 2016 counterpart.

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  48. CSK says:

    @wr:
    Indeed. I realize that Trump was being “interviewed” by Laura Ingraham, who’s going to bend over backward not to make him look bad, but it really is irritating me more and more that responsible reporters let Trump get away with spouting this kind of crap. Even if he refuses to answer a question, that should go on the record. And the news agencies shouldn’t clean up–if they do–any of his responses. Put them out there for everyone to hear or read in all their witless, babbling glory. The man can’t speak a coherent sentence.

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  49. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Ok. We have a consensus on lack of ethylene, though there is no solid evidence to back it up 😉

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen plantains for sale in the produce section. They have the regular bananas, the dwarf ones, purple bananas (I’ve never tried them), and an extra large variety with many black spots used for making fried bananas (which are awful IMO).

    In the snack area, sometimes you find banana chips. My understanding is these are actually fried plantain slices.

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  50. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    If the debates were right now, Biden should ask:

    Ok, Donnie, if you’re the only one who can end the “chaos and violence” in the streets, why haven’t you done so?

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  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: One more thing I found out just now on the interwebs thingie, it is possible for organic bananas to be harvested before they are mature enough to ripen naturally according to an article I found on The Packer (a news magazine for the fresh food distribution industry). If a customer buys organic bananas that have not started to “break”–turn color from green–they are not likely to be mature enough to ripen according to the article I read.

    The other pieces of information from the article were that naturally ripened bananas should be stored in the refrigerator when they become ripe, won’t ever turn yellow, only brown, and that when they go in the fridge, the skins will turn black, but that won’t mean anything about the banana’s condition for some time.

    The article also talked about peeling the banana from the blossom end, but I’ve never been able to make that work without smashing the banana. I have low fine-motor control.

    Fifty years ago when I started in the produce business (my God, when did I become that old!), there were no “organic” bananas in the marketplace. Allowing bananas to ripen naturally hadn’t become a thing yet even when I left the business when I was 35.

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  52. CSK says:

    @wr:
    Yes. By the way, I haven’t yet stumbled across anyone from Cult45 who’s willing to defend Trump’s performance with Ingraham. I guess it takes longer and longer to come up with a spin that isn’t totally laughable.

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  53. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    But aren’t plantains grown in Mexico? I can buy them almost anywhere here in New England.

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  54. Teve says:

    I could go into the biological reasons why racism is bullshit. But I won’t bother. I’ve got a few lily white relatives who are dumb as shit, and I’ve been in advanced math classes with Black people. Racism is pathetic tribalism.

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  55. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I agree that the stability of the numbers and Joe over 50% are huge.

    If the voter response to the riots doesn’t change the numbers during the next couple of weeks, it would be safe to assume that Trump’s law and order gambit is failing.

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  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: When I was working in Seattle, the extra large ones with the black spots were sold as plantains, but again, most of our plantain customers wouldn’t buy them if anything else was available. Supermarkets used to buy them, though.

    And you’re right about fried bananas. Ick!

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  57. DrDaveT says:

    @wr:

    You’d think if these conspirators were really this smart they’d instruct their thugs to wear street clothes on the plane and change into their uniforms on landing…

    You just can’t get good minions these days, much less henchmen.

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  58. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    Absolutely, Biden should ask it. If a moderator has already and Trump didn’t answer, he should ask it again and again till either Trump answers or it is apparent to even the cult that he doesn’t have an answer.

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  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: You’d be able to if you paid a decent wage, but the prevailing attitude among owners of capital in America is that working class people don’t need to be paid for their skills since those skills are considered ubiquitous.

    Eventually we’ll see that you get what you pay for, but I think it’s a long ways off still.

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  60. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    One more thing I found out just now on the interwebs thingie, it is possible for organic bananas to be harvested before they are mature enough to ripen naturally according to an article I found on The Packer

    That’s the consensus here at the office. Again without any evidence to back it up.

    And you’re right about fried bananas. Ick!

    We used to have them at home growing up. The mere stench when they were cooking turned me off.

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  61. wr says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “If the voter response to the riots doesn’t change the numbers during the next couple of weeks, it would be safe to assume that Trump’s law and order gambit is failing.”

    Yes, but always when one of his gambits fails, Trump has the foolproof fix — double down on it!

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  62. Mister Bluster says:

    Before he left for Kenosha, Wisconsin this morning Donald Trump said of Kenosha’s Mayor John Antaramian “…poor foolish very stupid mayor…he’s a fool…”

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  63. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Oh, that ought to ensure him a warm and hearty welcome in Kenosha. Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats insulting your host to guarantee you hosannas.

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  64. R. Dave says:

    @MarkedMan: even if you accept [The Bell Curve’s claims] at face value, what you get is a normal distribution of intelligence for each grouping that mostly overlap. In other words the vast number of people of all “races” fall into one or two standard deviations from the overall average.

    You can make judgements on individuals because of their specific traits. You can’t make judgements on individuals because of a statistical group that they happen to be included in. The group is an arbitrary concept.

    This is basically my view of the whole thing. Sure, it’s theoretically possible that the genes that give rise to the physical characteristics we currently use to assign racial groupings happen to correlate, on the level of a population average, with various genes that affect general intelligence. Hell, when you take epigenetics into account, there might even be an actual, heritable, causal mechanism at play. But even if that’s the case, the effect seems to be so small that it’s at best an interesting bit of scientific trivia with little policy relevance and absolutely no relevance to individual assessments.

    And regarding Andrew Sullivan’s stubbornness on the issue, I think it’s mostly driven by what he views as the Left’s equally stubborn unwillingness to permit discussion of, let alone concede, even the possibility of a genetic / epigenetic difference rather than any belief on his part that such a difference, if it exists, really matters all that much. He’s always been the kind of guy who never really cared about pushing that big, red button over there until he was told he wasn’t allowed to, at which point, pushing the button, or at least asserting his God-given right to push it, became an unending obsession. If the general reaction to The Bell Curve article he published had been a collective shrug, he likely wouldn’t have continued to care about it much one way or the other.

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  65. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I truly don’t know what’s grown in Mexico, except for coffee in Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Veracruz.

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  66. @Mister Bluster:

    Before he left for Kenosha, Wisconsin this morning Donald Trump said of Kenosha’s Mayor John Antaramian “…poor foolish very stupid mayor…he’s a fool…”

    He called Portland’s mayor a “fool” (sorry, “FOOL”) as well.

    So very presidential and leaderly, dontcha know.

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  67. keef says:

    wow. Just wow.

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  68. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Well, I know Mexico produces plantains. Perhaps purely for export. Maybe they send ’em all up my way.

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  69. keef says:

    Lots of talk about honesty on this thread.

    https://twitter.com/JFNYC1/status/1300628078415294464t

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  70. ImProPer says:

    @CSK:

    Do you suppose he got “dark shadows” from the vampire-themed soap opera of that name?

    That was my first thought. Barnabas Collins pulling Biden’s strings, ayfkm? Oddly enough, this would not even crack the top 100 of stupid things he has suggested. For him, this actually might be progress.

    I wonder who’s investigating that planeload of thugs?

    It appears he got confused, and went off script for a moment. I’m sure someone whispered in his ear that those; “thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear”, were actually his guys.

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  71. Mister Bluster says:

    @keef:..Lots of talk about honesty on this thread.
    Clicked on your link:

    Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!
    Why not try a search to find something else?

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  72. Monala says:

    In his interview with Laura Ingraham, Trump repeated his claim that Biden would destroy the suburbs, scaring all the [white] suburban women, and would appoint Cory Booker to lead the charge. This has led to a lot of humorous responses on Twitter, especially about how suburban women somehow won’t enjoy having in their neighborhood a handsome, well-built man who is cheerful, vegan, does yoga, and rescues people and dogs from burning buildings.

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  73. Mister Bluster says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:..“FOOL”

    I have been listening to the only local talk/news station I can find for Kenosha, Wisconsin, WLIP 1050 AM via their website WLIP.com.
    (Had to check. WLIP was founded by William LIPman.)
    Their morning show LennyLand featured Trump’s assertions before he left Washington this morning where I heard the remarks I posted at 13:37 today. There was some talk on the program as to whether or not Trump referred to Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan as “he”. I can’t find another recording of Trump’s statement to check this.

    Per WLIP Live Blog: President Trump says he will meet with Blake family pastor, but not family members.

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  74. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy:

    I truly don’t know what’s grown in Mexico, except for coffee in Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Veracruz.

    Lettuce and tomatoes, particularly in the winter. A couple of years ago there was an unusually hard frost across some of the border states and starting fairly soon after that there was a sharp increase in the price of lettuce and tomatoes here in Denver. Some of the burger places started charging for tomato. At one point, at least one of the chains had little signs up at the order counter saying that tomato wasn’t available.

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  75. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    Up here in New England, the groceries carry an astonishing variety of produce from Mexico.

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  76. Jen says:

    Pelosi, Schiff, and Visclosky have released a jointly signed letter that basically threatens the ODNI’s budget if they don’t resume in-person briefings on election security.

    I really, really hope they follow through on this threat. This idiot (DNI Ratcliffe) needs to be brought to heel.

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  77. Monala says:

    @Monala: Some of these Twitter responses are hilarious, from warning “watch out for Cory Booker, he might shovel your driveway!” to this one:

    Cory Booker is gonna come to your suburban town, get your populace all centered and then he’ll just go about promoting well-being and ensuring we get restful, restorative sleep. It’s gonna be a hellscape of meaningful affirmations and growth through gentle humor and self-reflection.

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  78. Jen says:

    @Monala: It’s how completely clueless Trump is…I mean really. Cory Booker is adorable.

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  79. gVOR08 says:

    Robert Farley at LGM links to James’ occassional home. War on the Rocks, for a review of a new book by Robert Draper on the W. Bush administrations process leading to the invasion of Iraq. Draper did a deep reportorial dive. It wasn’t as bad as we thought, it was worse.

    Nothing illustrates Tenet’s destructive impact on the intelligence process better than the infamous meeting on Dec. 21, 2002. This is when Tenet and Deputy Director John McLaughlin presented the CIA’s strongest case on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to Bush. The standard account we hear about this meeting holds that Bush expressed surprise about the weakness of the case and Tenet reassured him by saying the intelligence was a “slam dunk.”

    But is that really what happened? Using eyewitness testimony, Draper shows that Bush was indeed skeptical, but not about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction or links to al-Qaeda. Rather, he was worried about his ability to sell a dry, nuanced presentation to the American people. “Maybe someone with Madison Avenue experience should look at the presentation,” Bush mused. Tenet’s subsequent “slam dunk” comment was actually reassurance that the case could be sold and that the CIA could assemble more damning evidence to help.

    Despite these strengths, well-versed readers on the Iraq War will encounter familiar themes that are covered in other journalistic accounts: the transformational shock of 9/11, the efforts of Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Wolfowitz to shift the U.S. response to 9/11 from Afghanistan to Iraq, the manipulation of intelligence, the silencing of dissenting voices, and the inadequate planning for the postwar situation. Draper’s work reaffirms that these things did indeed happen and are critical to any explanation of the decision to go to war.

    But does the book leave us with a deeper understanding of that decision? Draper occasionally hints at a larger interpretation by suggesting that Bush conceived of the struggle with Iraq as a cosmic moral showdown, but for the most part the book punts on the “why” and focuses on the “how,” in keeping with its title.

    In looking for the “why” I hope people will look at the obvious reason that no one seems to want to mention – nobody was making any money off Iraqi oil while it was embargoed.

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  80. Monala says:

    @Mister Bluster: The family says they don’t have a pastor. Link

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  81. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Booker is the polar opposite of Trump, that’s why. In addition to all the sterling qualities Monala listed, Booker obviously has a good sense of humor. Trump has no humor, unless you count the sadistic glee he takes in bullying.

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  82. Scott says:

    @Jen: I would welcome some hardball on the Congress’ part. Cutting off funding to any agency who refuses subpoenas, requests for info or testimony should be the going in position these days. Holding up the appropriations ($700M or so) for the Executive Office of the President would make my day.

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  83. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: As someone who spent two years eating real plantains with virtually every dinner, I can tell you these things about them:
    – Green. They have no sweetness and don’t taste like bananas. The can be cut up into sections and then quartered and served boiled with a variety of sauces (peanut, spinach, Palaver) or pounded along with giant white yam or coco yam to make fufu.
    – Ripe. They get sweet and can be cut into thick circles and fried in palm oil.
    – A sure way to entertain yourself is to ask two farmers who have harvested bananas and plantains their whole lives, “How do you tell the difference between a banana tree and a plantain tree?” Once they are done laughing at the naïveté of city boys and your inability to see what is so obvious, you can sit back and watch them argue for an hour about those “obvious “ differences

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  84. Mister Bluster says:

    @Monala:..The family says they don’t have a pastor.
    Somehow I am not surprised.

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  85. keef says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    No worries. You gotta love the honesty of Twitter. It was just a film clip of Biden absolutely, positively guaranteeing in Pittsburgh that he wasn’t going to eliminate fracking. Its a Trump lie, you see.

    Followed by 5-6 clips of him, and Harris, claiming they absolutely, positively would eliminate fracking.

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  86. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Once they are done laughing at the naïveté of city boys and your inability to see what is so obvious, you can sit back and watch them argue for an hour about those “obvious “ differences

    Like how the banana “tree” is not a tree? 🙂

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  87. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “The family’s primary objectives are to support Jacob’s recovery and to ensure justice for him,” the statement continued. “If the call had occurred, Ms. Jackson was prepared to ask President Trump to watch the video of Mr. Blake’s shooting and to do what she has asked all of America to do — examine your heart.” [emphasis added]

    Rookie move. Trump never examines his heart, only his ego. You might as well ask a rattlesnake or a scorpion to consider the consequences of his actions.

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  88. inhumans99 says:

    @keef:

    Instead of directing people to Twitter, do your own research and you will find you are not pointing out that Biden was caught in a lie. He has indicated that he would allow fracking as we transition to more green energy sources and is not a fan of fracking projects that take place on public land and in certain waterways (I was surprised to learn that a lot of fracking is actually happening on private lands which Biden is okay with).

    He also called out Trump’s claims that over half a million folks would be out of a job in PA if fracking is banned (worst case scenario is 20,000…a lot to be sure, but we can agree 20,000 is not 600,000, yes?).

    Again dude, or dudette…do your own research, it took me less than 30 seconds to get this information from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    Thanks for playing, but please try again.

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  89. Michael Cain says:

    @Monala:

    Trump repeated his claim that Biden would destroy the suburbs, scaring all the [white] suburban women, and would appoint Cory Booker to lead the charge.

    At least from my distance, there are all sorts of reasons to find Trump’s tirades on this amusing. One of them is that Biden and Booker were/are both Senators from states that, from here, appear to be almost nothing but suburbs.

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  90. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Rookie move. Trump never examines his heart

    Well, to be fair, it would be a lot of work. First, he’d have to remember where he buried the box. Then he’d have to find some tools, dig it up, clean it off…

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  91. MarkedMan says:

    @R. Dave:

    the Left’s equally stubborn unwillingness to permit discussion of, let alone concede, even the possibility of a genetic / epigenetic difference

    Andrew Sullivan has a tendency to put up straw men, and most certainly has difficulty seeing the difference between a fringe attention seeking crank and people with actual power. But I’ve followed this discussion for decades and feel safe saying I’ve never heard a single person say that IQ is completely unrelated to genetics. Just as I’ve never heard anyone say that environment has nothing to do with it.

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  92. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: @Kathy: I was introduced to plantains in a Mexican market, as well as nopales and really good ripe avocados. Never came back without coffee and the tortillas are far superior to anything one buys up here, not to mention the tequilas are mui especial. And when it comes to pineapples…. Oh My Frickin’ Dawg…

    IF… when I die I get to heaven, the “Pearly Gates” will be two halves of a *Mexican Pineapple*. And I get to eat my way in. Hell will be 2 halves of a Mexican pineapple forever just out of reach.

    **I suspect Hawaiian pineapple is just as good, but I’ve never been there.

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  93. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: Well, to be fair, it would be a lot of work. First, he’d have to remember where he buried the box…..

    Yeah, but his heart has never been in the right place to begin with.

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  94. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Andrew Sullivan has a tendency to put up straw men, and most certainly has difficulty seeing the difference between a fringe attention seeking crank and people with actual power.

    His comrade Sam Harris is like that too. Whines about how his critics are always strawmanning him, then in the next breath claims that anyone with “concerns about immigration” is automatically called a racist.

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  95. keef says:

    @inhumans99:

    And exactly what is the difference, Mr Pedant?

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  96. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I was introduced to plantains in a Mexican market, as well as nopales and really good ripe avocados.

    A Mexican market where? Some things are consumed regionally.

    “Avocados” and “good” do not belong in the same sentence. As to nopales, I’m pretty sure I’ve never tried them, and completely sure I don’t want to. Something about their color gives me a wave of nausea if I imagine eating them.

    I agree about pineapples and tortillas. it may be in other places they’re made with yellow corn rather than white, though blue corn works just as well (except the tortillas do come out blue).

    I’ve never tasted Hawaiian pineapples either. But I’ve tried Hawaiian coffee. If there’s any correlation, then their pineapples should be very good indeed.

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  97. Grewgills says:

    @Kathy: @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    When we cut down the ‘tree’ to harvest bananas we leave them hanging on the stalk to ripen and only remove the hands (what you buy in the store) when the bananas on the hand are turning yellow.
    https://www.attainable-sustainable.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/bananas-hanging-on-porch.jpg

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  98. inhumans99 says:

    @keef:

    I am not playing your game…quoting from a well-written newspaper article based in the state that the subject is regarding is not being pendantic.

    You want to turn to your sources of info for comfort and that is fine, just be prepared to accept that Biden will most likely be our next President, just saying. Seriously, I am done conversing with you because you are not making a good faith effort to have a discussion and only want to throw what you think are gotchas at folks on this site. I throw the gotcha right back at you and you claim I am being a pendant…okay, whatever makes you happy.

    To end on a happy note, I do hope you have a nice Labor Day weekend…me, I have a birthday coming up and took PTO so I have a 5 day weekend coming up.

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  99. Monala says:

    @Kylopod: Speaking of Andrew Sullivan, his female counterpart has been railing on Twitter the last few days. I’ve never heard of Claire Berlinski, but she is a blue check, an American ex-pat living in France, and the author of a laudatory book about Margaret Thatcher and a book warning about the “Menace in Europe” – primarily meaning Muslims but also atheists, leftists, etc.

    But she is an anti-Trumper, and also Jewish, so understandably fears Trump’s fascist tendencies. So she has been writing about what needs to happen to ensure that Trump doesn’t get re-elected. To wit:

    1. Black people need to get out of the streets, stop rioting and looting and acting like the “mindless and impulsive … animals” (that’s a quote) the right thinks we are. (And I could swear that in the recent shootings in Portland and Kenosha, both perpetrators and victims were white…)

    2. Black people need to vote! We need to vote at the same percentages or higher than we did for Obama! Which, if she had stopped there (and hadn’t tweeted her first point), might not have been so bad, but she continued — because it’s black people’s fault that Trump got elected, since 11% of 2012 Obama black voters didn’t vote in 2016! And it will be our fault if he is re-elected!

    To say that this didn’t go over well with Black Twitter, and many white folks as well, would be an understatement. When people told her she has no right to tell black people what to do, she argues that she has every right, since how US Black voters vote or not vote determines what happens to the rest of the world. Yet when people tell her she needs to address the millions more white voters who actually put Trump into office, including the 12% of 2012 white Obama voters who swung to Trump in 2016 (and btw, given their population size, 12% of white voters is a much larger number of people than 11% of black voters), she takes offense — how dare anyone tell her what to do!

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  100. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: A Mexican market where?

    Mostly SLP and Veracruz, and some Zacatecas with points north thrown in, brief visits to Guanajuato, Hidalgo, and Querétaro, so I may or may not have visited markets there.

    I love avocados, to each their own. Nopales aren’t bad. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are good, but as with a lot of things, I suspect it has to do with what and how you cook them. I don’t recall eating many blue tortillas tho I know I ate them down there. My memory is not so sharp on how good they are. And the tequila…. Iiie yah yeiiii…

    I have WY and MO tequila stories, and then I have Mexican tequila stories, and they are wildly different.

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  101. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I love avocados

    Better you than me 🙂

    Tequila has an origin designation. So if it wasn’t made in Jalisco, it’s not tequila.

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  102. Kylopod says:

    @Monala:

    I’ve never heard of Claire Berlinski

    Neither have I. Looking her up on Wikipedia, she’s a journalist who’s published two spy novels as well as an “admiring but critical” biography of Thatcher. She’s from a prominent family. Her grandfather was a noted musician, and her father is an Intelligent Design advocate who nonetheless claims to be a secular Jew with no religious motivation.

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  103. Monala says:

    CNN explores the use of ketamine, the drug that killed Elijah McClain in Aurora, CO, by police in conjunction with EMT’s. They interviewed a former EMT near Minneapolis:

    Baker says he had to quit after suffering retaliation and being disciplined for exposing falsified EMS training attendance documents that allowed people to get or keep their certifications to be paramedics, and disciplinary action for refusing to bow to police pressure to use ketamine when he thought it was not medically necessary.

    The fight over ketamine was one of the final straws, he said. In 2019, he says he was called to assist with someone having a mental health crisis. Before he even arrived, dispatch was telling him and his crew to “get the ketamine ready,” he said.

    “I was met by multiple officers who asked, ‘Do you have your ketamine ready, do you have it drawn up?’ And I said, ‘No. I have it available, but I’d like to evaluate this patient,'” Baker told CNN.

    That angered the police officers, he said. But, in the end, he said, talking to the patient worked and no drugs were required.

    “The most powerful medication that we have on the ambulance is our ability to speak with patients. Ketamine takes that away.” Baker said. “I don’t believe it should be requested by police. I don’t tell them when to use their mace. They should not tell me to administer drugs.”

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  104. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Huh. You learn something new every day. FWIW, in Twi it was called a tree

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  105. Grewgills says:

    @MarkedMan:
    It is very wet and grassy. You can easily cut a foot or more thick trunk down with a few well placed swings of a machete.

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  106. R. Dave says:

    @MarkedMan: Agreed, but there is a lot of “motte and bailey” argumentation on both sides, and I do think there are plenty of people on the left who consider any discussion of genetic factors linked to IQ differences between groups rather than individuals to be anathema. I mean, that’s more or less exactly what Sullivan gets excoriated for, no?

    As a thought experiment, for example, imagine it were definitively shown that the IQ distribution among African Americans does skew slightly lower than among white Americans due to (a) greater exposure to environmental pollutants in childhood impacting general health, (b) greater exposure to environmental pollutants in childhood directly impacting brain development, (c) greater exposure to environmental pollutants in vitro resulting in epigenetic changes indirectly impacting brain development, or (d) greater exposure to environmental pollutants by the parents and grandparents, resulting in heritable epigenetic changes indirectly impacting brain development. I’m confident the level of discomfort and resistance to those conclusions would increase Dramatically from (a) to (d), even though they’re all still based in environmental justice issues.

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  107. Mister Bluster says:

    Welcome to September
    (in the rain)

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  108. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Fried, no. OTOH, gently sautéed in lots of butter, covered with brown sugar, and liberally doused with brandy, they’re ok. Especially with ice cream. Of course, that’s way more trouble than I normally go to.

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  109. MarkedMan says:

    @R. Dave: Well, speaking for myself, I wouldn’t have much of a problem with any of it, with the following (huge) caveats:
    1) I think we both agree that the wider you cast your net, the less meaningful it is to talk about “genetic differences”. If we talk about heritable genetic traits it is quite significant to talk about your mother and father and fairly significant to go to the four people that are your grandparents. By the time you get to your great-great-greats and 32 ancestors you are stretching pretty thin. Considering that African-Americans are defined as people with dark skin living in America and are descended from a gene pool numbering in the billions (not just Africa) I’m willing to bet my last nickel that the melanin has little to do with it. And even if you just limit it to people descended from Africa, continental Africa has a significantly higher genetic diversity then all of the light skinned people from everywhere. Continent of origin may have a slight predictive ability on whether you have a single gene condition such as sickle cell anemia, but only slight. And for something like intelligence which would be tied to many many different genes, well, it’s a losers bet. All in all, the idea that people with darker skin are also less blessed with a very wide spectrum of specific genes (and by the way, no one is claiming to know what those genes are) is a huge, huge claim, and as someone once said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. Instead, we get piffle involving arbitrary definitions of who fits in the category (often with circular reasoning, “this group doesn’t fit into the category despite darker skin because they aren’t economically depressed”), and the statistics out to the second or third decimal place.

    My second point was to be that “IQ” is quite literally defined as “how well you score on IQ tests” and the Bell Curve proponents make little serious effort to describing how that corresponds to “better”, but this post has gone on long enough. Suffice it to say that Binet, the literal pioneer of IQ tests, railed his whole life against the lazy thinking that correlated them with innate worth. And Darwin held off for decades publishing his theory of evolution at least in part because he spent those years marshaling evidence against the lazy and convenient thinking he knew would follow. As he once said, and to our shame as a people now forgotten:

    If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.

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  110. R. Dave says:

    @MarkedMan: Agreed on all those points. I just don’t think most of Sullivan’s critics are quite so reasonable.

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  111. Kylopod says:

    @R. Dave: Can you point me to an example of a prominent Sullivan critic being unreasonable in the way you suggest?

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  112. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: Yeah, but it’s ice cream. All you have to do is put it in a bowl and it’s fine the way it is. It doesn’t need anything else.

    You have cake and ice cream on your birthday because it’s your birthday and you deserve both. Same with pie ala mode. Now if you want both ice cream and gloppy fried bananas, by all means, knock yourself out. For me… meh…

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  113. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Tequila has an origin designation. So if it wasn’t made in Jalisco, it’s not tequila

    Yes.

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  114. R. Dave says:

    @Kylopod: Honestly – and I say this without any snark – that request feels a bit like being asked to link sources to support a claim that the sky is blue. A quick search on Sullivan’s name on Twitter right now produces any number of blue-check journalists and academics dunking on Sullivan as a racist and a fascist. The OTB post that kicked off this discussion is based on a NYT article calling him out for holding “views on race that most of his peers find abhorrent” and includes a quote from Ta-Nehisi Coates mocking a caricature of Sullivan’s view as being that “black people are genetically predisposed to being dumber than white people” while implying that TNC didn’t feel like Sullivan “saw [him] completely as a human being“. And, of course, Sullivan was recently fired from NY Magazine in no small part because his colleagues object to his views on race.

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