Freaky Friday Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Floss Obama

    @FlossObama
    Trump is in several high-risk groups — elderly, obese, low-income.

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  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    This mornings headline POTUS and FLOTUS have the virus.

    I’m feeling Trumpian levels of empathy.

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  3. Jon says:

    Put Nancy in a bunker to keep her safe, cuz if Trump and Pence go down she’s our new boss.

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  4. Kylopod says:

    I’ll repeat what I wrote a few months ago. My opinion on this hasn’t changed.

    Just to be clear, I have absolutely zero personal sympathy for Agent Orange, or even for his family (whom I don’t believe truly loves him). Part of me would be delighted if he came down with Covid-19. But I’m not sure it would be a good idea if it were to happen before the election. First of all, if he gets it and survives it might even elicit sympathy from the public. (Probably not–I think it would just further shatter the alpha male image he likes to project. But you never know….) But if he dies before the election, that would throw everything up in the air. I’m used to getting flippant responses from liberals whenever I bring up this scenario (no way Pence can win; he’s got the charisma of a bowl of porridge; the Trump cult won’t show). I just don’t share that confidence, and I think people underestimate how big an impact it could have for Trump to be suddenly replaced by someone who may be awful in a lot of ways but who isn’t a raving madman.

    So in spite of everything, I’m hoping Trump makes it to Nov. 3rd. After that, he can go walk onto a crowded highway all he wants…..

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  5. BugManDan says:

    @Kylopod: I agree. This would brings never-trump Republicans back in to the Republican fold.

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  6. grumpy realist says:

    I was first of all thinking that this was a ploy put out by Trump et al. in order to gain the sympathy vote and pretend that he’s having the asymptomatic version (look how strong I am against COVID-19! Hear me roar!), but given how the WH is at present running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off it looks like Trump may have actually caught the darn thing.

    Tiny violins play in my head.

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  7. Kylopod says:

    @grumpy realist: As I wrote in the other thread, at first I thought it might be a ploy so he could get out of the remaining debates–but then I realized it also means he can’t do his precious rallies. So no, in spite of my conspiratorial instincts here, I think this is legit.

    I actually was surprised he announced it so quickly. I believed for a long time he was exactly the sort to try to hide the fact that he was sick. There’s actually a long history in the US of presidents and other politicians hiding sickness from the public, but Trump is also kind of like a tinpot dictator who tries to depict himself as godlike (such as when the late Kim Jong Il had state propaganda claiming he never had to use the toilet). I seriously considered the possibility that he already had had Covid and had kept it secret, just like the mini-strokes he insists aren’t real.

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  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kylopod:

    Over the summer, I had similar thoughts to your’s, that we wanted Trump standing for reelection not Pence or another R. Now we’ll just have to wait and see.

    I wonder what the cult is thinking this AM?

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  9. MarkedMan says:

    @grumpy realist:

    given how the WH is at present running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off it looks like Trump may have actually caught the darn thing

    I wouldn’t let that sway you. If it’s a fake, there may be only a couple of people in on it. The rest of the White House would react in its usual shambolic way.

    I’m not saying I’m sure this is fake, just that I think there is at least a 20-30% chance that it is.

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  10. BugManDan says:

    I have seen a couple of other folks saying they thought they might be faking because of a tape of Melania bad mouthing border seperations. But I haven’t found anything about it. Anybody hear of this, have a source?

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: @Sleeping Dog:
    Pence loses the election. “Mike who?” would be the response of 70% of Republicans. If he tried to do a “Mini-Me” trump it would fall so badly on the ears he’d probably drive so many GOP voter’s from the polls the DEMs might sweep the Senate races.*

    *sarcasm, but it certainly would be far worse than if he ran as his usual androgynous self.

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  12. Jen says:

    @BugManDan: CNN has the story, along with another part of the tapes where she’s heard complaining about “Christmas stuff.”

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  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Yes, if Pence lost, but Pence becoming the candidate is an excuse for a lot of R’s who are voting for Joe or staying home and excuse to return to the fold.

    For those that die, I wonder what the mean term is between contracting the virus and death?

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  14. BugManDan says:

    @Jen: Thanks.

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  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Pence becoming the candidate is an excuse for a lot of R’s who are voting for Joe or staying home and excuse to return to the fold.

    The never trump Republicans at the Lincoln Project have been so vociferous in their hatred of trump that they go so far as to say the whole of the gop needs to be burned to the ground for his sins so that a new conservatism can arise phoenix like from the ashes. I’m not sure if I wholly buy that or not but they have salted the fields so thoroughly that they will never be allowed back into the fold. Most of the never trump conservatives I personally know have stated they are done with the GOP. Again, I don’t know how much I buy that, but I really don’t think they are that much of a concern anyway.

    Pence is as bland as a mayo and tofu on white bread sandwich. He won’t excite the base. If he had to run on his own the landslide would dwarf McGovern’s loss

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  16. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    We were both in Misery when the corpse of Mel Carnahan beat John Ashcroft. I want a live and snarling Former Reality Show Host on the ticket on Nov, 3 and not take a chance on Pence.

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  17. CSK says:

    Freaky Friday is right.

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  18. Kathy says:

    For some reason, I can’t seem to stop smiling today. I wonder why.

    On an unrelated note, I find very little compassion for one self-important, pompous COVIDIOT in DC among people at the office talking about the daily news.

    I think I’ll make a cappuccino now…

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  19. BugManDan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I think a healthy to probably recovering Trump loses. Pence probably loses a close race because he will not bring out the Proud Boy set. Trump on the edge of death might bring out the scum and the Never Trumpers for a repeat of 2016. Depends on how hopeful each group is.

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  20. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: A while back I looked into the scenario of what would happen if Trump were to die before the election. From my understanding, he’d remain on the ballot (it’s too late to make new ballots, to my knowledge), but the RNC would come together and the Trump electors would agree to cast their vote for Pence in December.

    There’s only historical example of a presidential candidate dying during the election year, and that’s Horace Greeley, the main candidate challenging Ulysses Grant in 1872. He died after Election Day but before the EC convened. His electors ended up splitting their vote among four different candidates, one of them his running mate. (According to Wikipedia, it was the last election before 2016 to feature multiple faithless electors.) Since he lost the election, it didn’t really matter how they voted. I assume that if he’d won, they’d have agreed to unify around a single candidate, possibly his running mate.

    If this scenario were to be repeated this year–Election Day happens, Trump loses, and then he dies before the EC convenes–they’d coordinate a bit more than they did with Greeley, and it’s entirely possible that all or most of them would cast their vote for Trump anyway. The Trump movement will still be alive and it could have political implications what signal they choose to make with their votes.

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  21. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    For someone who doesn’t speak English very well after 22 years residence in this country, she certainly has mastered the use of the word “fuck,” hasn’t she?

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  22. Kathy says:

    Continuing this conversation from yesterday:

    Yes, people are stupid. A 50% effective vaccine is a great help and not a panacea, but then so is one that is 75-80% effective. But it’s been well documented that people take more foolish risks when they think they are protected.

    I saw this when masks were mandated at the office. What little social distancing was observed, it went away right then. As though one layer of protection were all that’s required.

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  23. Kathy says:

    When I heard Broke Ass and his Trophy Wife were positive, this quote from Sideshow Bob came to mind: “Well, if it isn’t my arch nemesis, Bart Simpson, and his sister Lisa, to whom I’m fairly indifferent.”

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  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: You’ve got to include the possibility of Biden dying here too. Aside from normal risk, trump stood a dozen feet away and shouted for 90 minutes.

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  25. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I expect when the news networks get tired of having nothing new to report, they’ll start expounding on the possible alternative, which I assume vary by state, of what to do when there’s a dead candidate on the ballot.

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  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’m not askeered.

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  27. DrDaveT says:

    Hidden in the noise of today’s headlines: 200+ former generals and admirals, and another 200+ former senior noncoms, ambassadors, and other national security professionals, just published an open letter endorsing Biden.

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  28. BugManDan says:

    @CSK: In her defense, on that count, I have never met a person who was a non-English speaker that didn’t have that work in their vocabulary or in the case of the few who didn’t cuss at least knew it.

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  29. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    “F**k is general intensifier with no meaning, yes?”

    I’m reminded of a joke.

    A soldier back from leave regales his buddies with tales from his weekend.

    “.. and then I met this f***ing girl, who was f***ing gorgeous. We went to the f***ing movies, and then I treated her to the fanciest f***ing restaurant I could find. She wentf***ing receptive to my advances. So then we got in a f***ing cab and checked in a fancy f***ing hotel.”

    He stops to draw breath, whereupon his buddies ask “What the f**k happened then?”

    The soldier goes on “What the f**k do you think f***ing happened? We had sexual intercourse.”

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  30. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    😀

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  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: While I was teaching ESL in Korea, I found that Koreans knew how to use “fuck” just fine. Koreans don’t curse much in public though. Still, ability to swear seems to come early in the language acquisition process for SL/NN speakers. Even children.

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  32. BugManDan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: A Russian that I was in grad school with introduced me to a friend of hers at a meeting we were attending. The friend was just in the US for the meeting and could not speak English, but when we went out for drinks later, she knew plenty of English curse words. They were the only thing any of the non-Russian speakers could understand!

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  33. CSK says:

    @BugManDan: @Kathy: @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    But…but Melania is such a lady. So gracious. So elegant. So refined.

    That’s what Cult45 says, anyway.

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  34. Bill says:

    The regular headline of the day is obvious but I do have one for Florida-

    A one-armed monkey and her baby are missing from their South Florida colony, and foul play is suspected

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  35. Bill says:

    @BugManDan:

    A Russian that I was in grad school with introduced me to a friend of hers at a meeting we were attending. The friend was just in the US for the meeting and could not speak English, but when we went out for drinks later, she knew plenty of English curse words. They were the only thing any of the non-Russian speakers could understand!

    Brian Keith played a Soviet scientist in the disaster (In more ways than one) movie Meteor. The scientist only spoke Russian but he related through his translator (The very yummy Natalie Wood just 2-3 years before her tragic death) a little bit of English he learned (Came from a cabdriver) when on his only previous visit to New York City. What was it?

    F**k the Dodgers
    t

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  36. wr says:

    @Kylopod: “RNC would come together and the Trump electors would agree to cast their vote for Pence in December.”

    Are you sure? With Ted Cruz and several other senators seeing their moment to seize the presidency without having to be elected? It would be a knife fight like nobody’s ever seen before, as Trump would say.

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  37. wr says:

    @CSK: “For someone who doesn’t speak English very well after 22 years residence in this country, she certainly has mastered the use of the word “fuck,” hasn’t she?”

    I spent the longest year of my career running a show with a Chinese martial-arts star who could speak no English (and Arsenio, who wasn’t much better). Although his English was non-existent — he delivered his lines phonetically after they were spoken into his earpiece — he had complete mastery of the only two English words he cared about — fuck you.

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  38. JohnSF says:

    Things that might get more news time on other day, maybe:

    This Twitter thread from US Senator Chris Murphy.

    Ukrainian “politician” Andriy Derkach confirmed as a Russian agent-of-influence; Derkach one of Giuliani’s Ukrainian “sources”.

    And former National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster on Trump in the New York Times“He is aiding and abetting Putin’s efforts… “

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  39. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    @BugManDan:
    As Cracker well knows, I was largely raised by my maternal grandmother (not rabid ferrets as iswidely reported). Years later in college I discovered several of her charming “oh shoot dang-it” comments in Norwegian were, in reality, vile comments on someone’s paternity/ancestry/relations with farm animals, or so my appalled instructor informed me. Decades later, this is all the Norwegian I remember.

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  40. Scott says:

    @wr: Back in 1972 when I was 18, I spent two months backpacking through Europe. Once of my traveling companions had an uncle in Holland whom we went to visit. He learned his English in the merchant marine. To this day, I wish I could swear as profusely and elegantly as he.

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  41. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I didn’t run into much swearing in China–except for one really funny one.

    The word for “dried food” (e.g., dried apples) is “gan” with the first tone. With the 4th tone means “fuck”. Guess which comes up first in translation dictionaries?

    You’d see big signs in stores that said “FUCK APPLES”.

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  42. Bill says:

    All this discussion about non-English speakers being able to curse reminds me of some scene I wrote.

    Shortly after a television interview in China is finished, the interviewer and interviewee are kidnapped. The interviewee was Chinese but had been born in England and till just till a few years earlier had lived there. She is fluent in English and Mandarin.

    Her kidnappers aren’t being gentle. She reverts to the language of her birthplace. “You’re all a bunch of bloody animals.”

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  43. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Bill:

    I briefly dated an Irish woman who kept calling me a “bugger”. I had to inform her what it meant. 😀

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  44. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Bill:

    She reverts to the language of her birthplace.

    I think it was Goering that said that the sure way to find out if a woman is a spy is to get her pregnant. When she gives birth she’ll swear in her native language.

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  45. Gustopher says:

    On the subject of the environmental impact and opportunity costs of meat production from yesterday, where Mu seems quite convinced that plant waste can make up the food supply for cows…

    If we are raccoons, rats and insects, then we could probably get away with zero impact meat. Goats on arid land where nothing human edible will grow.

    Animals are delicious, but very resource intensive. Larger animals even more so.

    There are lots of good reasons to eat meat (bacon, pastrami, steak, tradition… all good reasons), but the environment isn’t one of them.

    The economics of vat meat aren’t there yet. And the science isn’t there yet.

    I expect the economics to turn on a dime sooner than most people suspect, as tech costs come down, and climate change affects field production, and the costs of grains and vegetables goes up — farmers make more profit, ranchers have to pay more.

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  46. Joe says:

    When I was in high school in the ’70s, there was a well-known story in my town about a track athlete at the local university who came from I can’t-remember-where in Africa and was just learning English at school and with his fellow athletes. Seated at some formal occasion next to the university president, the track star was reported to have to turned to the president as politely as possible and asked, “please pass the butter, mother f–ker.”

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  47. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: “intercourse” is such an ugly word. It almost never appears in a love song.

    Almost never.

    Behold John Wesley Harding’s song “For An Actress”, a not very good song.

    When he would perform it live, he had a little story about how you get all excited writing and then when you think it’s great, and then a few days later you listen to it again and realize it is awful.

    https://youtu.be/KP0-KNgcEhc

    Also, when he refers to the remake of “Rear Window”, that is because he did not check IMDB and just assumed no one would ever make a remake of “Rear Window”. It was not intended to be about Daryl Hannah.

    ETA: I kind of unironically love this song. It started as ironically loving it, but after seeing him perform it live, it so perfectly captures the “failed to create something good” experience, and I appreciate that.

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  48. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Gustopher:

    Beef cows can be fed on grass and hay only.

    Dairy cows are 50% forage, 50% grains

    (Side note: Mu is the surname, Yixiao is the given name)

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  49. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The land that the grass and hay is grown on can also grow wheat. And then there are the water requirements.

    And when discussing cows, I will refer to you as Mu for the pun. Mooooooo!

    (Otherwise, sure, Yixiao)

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  50. de stijl says:

    Texas Governor Abbott limits counties to one mail-in drop box per. As Steven says: land does not vote, people do. Harris County with one drop off box is insulting and obvious.

    That is not depraved indifference it is absolute aggressive voter suppression.

    Addressable under the VRA until the SC trashed it.

    Active, aggressive vote suppression is part and parcel of current R tactics.

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  51. Jen says:

    If we’re talking swearing, I dearly wish I could master Scottish swearing. They have the BEST insults.

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  52. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    There are two Youtube channels that might interest you. Expat ESL teachers in SK sharing experiences, vocab, slang, etc.

    Pagoda One and BillieEnglish.

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  53. inhumans99 says:

    @JohnSF:

    I could not find that bit in the link but I found another piece of good news. The Census count prematurely ending at the beginning of this month has been blocked by the courts and will continue until the 31st. So many fails in the White House’s war against an accurate Census count.

    Also, Texans, both folks who say they are Republicans or Democrats should be hoping angry at the Governor’s attempts to screw over folks who want voting to be something that should be safe and easy to accomplish this year. I suspect the courts will be involved shortly in that decision.

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  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: Imagine one drop box in Hudspeth County. Or Brewster. Or Presidio. Or Culberson. Or Pecos. Or Reeves. Or….

    Why does Abbot hate West Texans so much?

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  55. OzarkHillbilly says:
  56. de stijl says:

    @Jen:

    Some UK folks toss out the C word and looks like “twit” in casual conversations. In situ, no prob. Their culture.

    If you are an expat worker in the US those are taboo words. Do not use!

    I worked with an older Irish guy who referred to my colleague as both words. First time I blew it off. Second time I warned him that continued use brings HR involvement. Third time I told him if you use that word again, I will kick your scrawny, arrogant ass hardcore. You are line-stepping hard and I mark every instance.

    Dude was such an arrogant dick.

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  57. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Most of what the cows eat has zero nutritional value for humans.

    This is untrue on several levels. Let’s discuss.

    Especially if you’re talking about grazing beef cattle. They’re eating grass.

    A tiny fraction of the beef produced in the US and Canada comes from grass-fed cattle, grazing or otherwise. The vast majority of it comes from feedlots where the cows are fed a diet that shifts steadily from grasses and hays to grains legumes over the life of the cow. The Beef Cattle Research Council, about as far from PETA as you can get, notes that

    The expenses of purchasing a calf and the feed needed to finish it are the two largest variable costs facing the cattle feeding sector. […] Feed costs are high due to poor growing conditions in major grain producing countries, because of the use of feed grains in ethanol production, and because of increasing competition of land for crop production versus urban development.

    The grains and legumes fed to beef cattle include corn, wheat, barley, and soybeans — all grains with human-edible varieties. (It’s important not to omit the opportunity costs of not growing human food when looking at the cost of edible meat, even if the animals are currently fed on non-human varieties. Land that can produce feed corn could produce sweet corn instead.)

    Also, each cow consumes ~50 liters of water per day for the year it is getting fattened up. The opportunity cost of that much potable water will be increasingly high as the effects of climate change ramp up.

    Third, feeding cows non-grass diets screws up their digestion and immune systems, so that such cows must be fed a steady diet of antibiotics to keep them functioning. This is not only costly, and a diversion of expensive medical supplies that humans could use, but it also contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

    For dairy cows, a major part of their diet is silage–corn silage up here–which is both of no nutritional value to humans, and is a waste product of the corn and peas that are actually of some value to humans.

    A quick google suggests that up to 60% of a (Canadian) dairy cow’s diet is forage, but the remainder is “concentrate”, made of mostly human-edible (or adjacent) foods like

    barley, corn, oats, wheat, molasses, beet pulp, and soyhulls. […C]anola meal, distillers grains, soybean meal, and corn gluten meal. […V]egetable oil, tallow

    (Feeding tallow to cattle seems unnecessarily macabre.)
    And the point about antibiotics from above still applies, though feedlots are worse than dairy farms in this regard.

    I don’t want to clutter up the comment with links, but the University of Illinois website suggests about 25 pounds of concentrate per cow per day, to produce 6 or 7 gallons of milk. That does not sound like a nutritional win, even before factoring in the antibiotics and the opportunity costs.

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  58. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    At that time that arrogant Irish asshole was my titular boss. I was TDY assigned to him.

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  59. de stijl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Imagine one drop-box in Harris County. 4.7 million pop.

    It is nakedly ludicrous.

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  60. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I don’t want to clutter up the comment with links, but the University of Illinois website suggests about 25 pounds of concentrate per cow per day, to produce 6 or 7 gallons of milk. That does not sound like a nutritional win, even before factoring in the antibiotics and the opportunity costs.

    No edit button, so adding: for meat the equation is worse, because you pay the feed and water every day (with a diet skewed more toward grains and legumes and antibiotics) for a year, in order to get ~500 lbs of retail cuts. As you note, the rest of the carcase is not without value, but that’s the nutritional balance (and most of the dollar value).

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  61. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Lab grown meat right now involves multiplying muscle cells. That’s technically meat, but a far cry from muscle and associated tissues taken from a once-living animal. There is research in growing body parts, which is focused more on growing replacement organs for people, but would work just as well for producing flesh and bone.

    While I get it that most of a cow gets eaten or otherwise used, growing selected parts would allow for growing more of the popular portions and less of the rest. Consider chicken, and growing more breast and wings than thighs and legs, and not having to use up nutrients or other resources in growing a heart, gut, kidneys, etc.

    That’s far in the future, if it can be done at all.

    What I’ve rarely hear mentioned, though, is the same technique might work for plants. Imagine growing tons of olives, apples, bananas, pears, etc.without any resources used to grow wood and leaves as well, or cereals without stalks, rice without the need for paddies, etc.

    I grant this is more science fiction than science speculation, but the potential is there.

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  62. Jen says:

    @de stijl: I’ve mentioned my husband is a Brit (citizen here now). We were over in the UK and I said that I’d best get my fanny in gear. He looked like he was going to pass out.

    It means something very different there than here….

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  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: That is cute. 🙂 In Korea, the only English-language signage that I ever would see was on labels the manufacturer/packer supplied, even in large variety stores like Tesco (Home Plus in Korea) and Shinsegae/E-mart. Public markets and small stores had little signage at all. Of course, even a large local food mart in Korea is only about the size of a 7/11 store here, so there’s little risk of getting lost, not finding what you want (unless it’s not there at all).

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  64. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Gustopher:

    The land that the grass and hay is grown on can also grow wheat.

    Not really. A lot of the land is untillable for several reasons.

    Practical
    * A lot of the land is thin topsoil over bedrock or scree. Grass only needs an inch or so to grow, where as wheat needs 10-20″
    * A lot of grazing land is inaccessible or unnavigable by the machinery needed. In Wisconsin it’s because of steep hills (on the way home I passed a small herd grazing on a hill with slope between 30 and 40 degrees), in other areas it’s because of mountains, canyons, etc.

    Legal
    * Cattle and sheep graze on 155 million acres of public lands (including national and state parks). That land can’t be tilled.

    Ecological
    * A lot of grazing land technically could be tilled, but it would require clear-cutting lightly-wooded areas and bringing in heavy machinery to till up the tree roots. This would be a major setback in terms of carbon sequestering and oxygen production.
    * Tilling soil that has been “locked” by complex root structures opens the area up to significant erosion and runoff into streams and lakes.
    * Tilling land creates a biological mono-culture. Grazing lands are home to incredibly diverse and complex ecosystems. Turning a complex grass/scrub/wood biome with an intricate web of flora and fauna into wheat fields that get sprayed with pesticides and herbicides is… problematic.
    * A lot of the grazing land (particularly in the south/south-west) is arid. Growing wheat would require irrigation (there’s a reason Texas is known for cattle and not for wheat).

    My whole point has been, from the start, that you can’t just replace beef with brussel sprouts in a 1:1 transaction.

    Cows get fed corn silage. That’s waste that would otherwise go… I’m not sure where. Sweet corn (the kind used to feed people) typically produces 1 ear per stalk. Field corn (used to feed animals) typically produces 2 ears per stalk. If you convert from feeding animals to feeding humans, the corn harvest drops in half, and there’s a whole bunch of stalks and cobs to dispose of.

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  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Wa! Not only is it a terrible song, he’s got the most ordinary voice I’ve heard since I heard Meryl Steep singing The Winner Takes It All on that ABBA-fest musical. Ow!

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  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Yeah, I stumble across them occasionally. Not much of a YouTube fan though. I try to limit my TV-type watching to an hour or two a day, so YouTube almost never finds a space in the schedule.

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  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Among some Korean English speakers, the vowel “oh” is routinely flattened to short “aw/ah” for reasons I never was able to figure out (they also think we pronounce the round crunchy red fruit that goes in pie as “epple,” and I don’t know why that’s the case either other than it has to do with Korean spelling and stores selling “aepples” rather than “sa guail”). One of my students wondered why the (male) counterperson at a Mickey D’s in the states got so angry at him when he ordered “a Big Mac and a Cock.”

    For some reason, no one had ever been willing to explain his faux pas to him before, but I guess he might never have asked before either.

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  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT:

    For dairy cows, a major part of their diet is silage–corn silage up here–which is both of no nutritional value to humans, and is a waste product of the corn and peas that are actually of some value to humans.

    Thanks for that info. I worked at a frozen food plant during the sweet corn season a couple of summers while I was in grad school and always wondered who was buying the husks and cobs and such because I knew that it was being reserved–the plant had a bunker outside of town where it was dumped and a skip loader to shovel it into other trucks. I knew it was being sold, I asked, but never figured out why anyone would buy it, but noticed that it wasn’t going to the feed lot in town. (Ellensburg had a big Washington Beef Company feedlot.)

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  69. Mu Yixiao says:

    @DrDaveT:

    It’s Friday night and I’m going to relax and watch the (apparently very disappointing) final episode of “Raised by Wolves”, but one quick reply:

    A quick google suggests that up to 60% of a (Canadian) dairy cow’s diet is forage, but the remainder is “concentrate”, made of mostly human-edible (or adjacent) foods like

    barley, corn, oats, wheat, molasses, beet pulp, and soyhulls. […C]anola meal, distillers grains, soybean meal, and corn gluten meal. […V]egetable oil, tallow

    Beet pulp, soyhulls, and distillers grains are waste products from other food-producing processes. They’re fed to cows as a simple and efficient way to get rid of them (and get something of value in return).

    The corn is field corn–technically edible, but not something you’d want to eat (and transitioning that crop to sweet corn would halve the output (see my comment above)). And, let’s be honest: We over-produce corn in the US. We over-produce it so much that we have to think up new ways to use it, create massive subsidies to keep it profitable, and force it into the fuel supply (ethanol does bad things to engines).

    Soy? We don’t eat soy in the US. 31% of US soy is exported. 70% of what we use is for animal feed (primarily poultry). Only 15% of soy consumed by the US is for “people food”–primarily oil*.

    Vegetable oil is so non-specific I can’t comment on it. Molasses… not really a “food stuff” that we should be encouraging more people to consume.

    Of the 40% concentrate, what’s the proportion of “waste” to “human food”? I’m going to bet it’s quite high (molasses and oils are supplements, not primary components).

    And… “A quick google” says that “dry cows” (beef, not dairy) should be fed a minimum of 90% forage.

    And that’s the issue: Everyone is basing arguments on “a quick google” (though I’m basing a lot of mine on spending the majority of my life in farming communities–both in the north and in the south) and statistics without context (“a cow drinks X gallons of water per day!”–which gets turned into milk and/or pissed right back out into the water table, adding nitrogen into the soil. Are those people also bitching about growing almonds in California?)

    If I win the lottery, I’ll put together a team of experts and statisticians to figure out the exact numbers.

    * Which is really good for frying thin-sliced beef.

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  70. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    One of my students wondered why the (male) counterperson at a Mickey D’s in the states got so angry at him when he ordered “a Big Mac and a Cock.”

    I spent many hours telling my colleagues that 2017 was the year of the rooster. ROOSTER.

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  71. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    You incorrectly attributed that quote. It was me, not DaveT.

    I knew it was being sold, I asked, but never figured out why anyone would buy it, but noticed that it wasn’t going to the feed lot in town.

    Silage is used in the winter months when fresh grass/hay/etc., isn’t available. It was almost certainly ending up at the feed lot, but going into silos until it was needed.

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  72. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    When I was living in Edinburgh, the Pakistani greengrocer up the street from me advertied a shipment of “Cocking Apples.”

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  73. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    One last comment before I leave for the weekend.

    I spent many hours telling my colleagues that 2017 was the year of the rooster. ROOSTER.

    2015 was the year of the “ovine animal”.

    There was a general survey on various media asking if it was the year of the sheep, ram, or goat. In Chinese, they’re all the same (羊 yang). The locals said “sheep”, the expats said “ram”. Nobody said “goat”.

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  74. Mu Yixiao says:

    @CSK:

    When I was living in Edinburgh, the Pakistani greengrocer up the street from me advertied a shipment of “Cocking Apples.”

    And the mistranslation was…..?

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  75. de stijl says:

    @Jen:

    Next time your husband is wearing attractive trousers tell him “Nice pants, babe!”

    The bum bag vs. fanny pack debate is funny.

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  76. Kathy says:

    The grand jury recordings on the Breonna Taylor murder indicate the police did not even search her home.

    So, the police killed her for NOTHING.

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  77. de stijl says:

    @Jen:

    There is a guy on YT I like – channel goes by Lost In The Pond.

    A guy from Grimsby, UK who moved to Indiana (and later to Chicago) 12 years ago.

    He details differences, likes, dislikes, and culture shocks of a Brit in the US.

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  78. JohnSF says:

    Re. Cattle and dairying.
    I remember year ago reading a very interesting book on patterns of culture, agriculture and geography.
    Damned if I can recall the author or title though.
    Anyway, it went in to considerable detail about the value of dairying, and specifically cheese, in Alpine regions of Europe, as a way of storing high-protein food over winter, and of using higher land that was fit for pasturage rich enough for high milk production in summer (and for sufficient hay/silage for winter) but virtually useless for arable. Transhumance pasturage is the technical term IIRC.

    There was also something about using valley lowlands for a combination of oats plus vegetables plus fruit, and winter pasturage.
    And use of pigs fed on dairying and other waste products.

    Absent the transhumance, similar patterns of farming were pretty general in the the upland fringes of NW Europe.

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  79. de stijl says:

    @JohnSF:

    A really interesting map is the prevalence of the gene(s) needed to consume dairy without intestinal distress.

    It is a really interesting distribution geographically.

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  80. JohnSF says:

    More comment weirdness: just posted a comment, no sign of it on the page, refreshed still absent, tried reposting, got message “looks like a duplicate comment”.
    Huh?

    Trying to post again here:
    @de stijl:
    Yes, come across that before.

    Thing is, I’ve never seen (honestly, never seriously looked) for why mixed dairy based agriculture wouldn’t make sense in China if the agriculture potential drives gene prevalence. That is, China is largely outside the tropical regions where cattle are subject to a lot of disease load, and grass does not grow as lush as in cleared-forest temperate zones.

    But if gene prevalence drove the agriculture, why should it pop up in NW Europe in the first place and NOT in China?
    Maybe from pre-agricultural herding like the Sami (deprecated use: Lapplanders)?
    Others calculate gene emergence among the Beaker People of W. Europe c. 6000 b.p.
    (I always tend to giggle at references to the “Beeker People”)

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  81. Mister Bluster says:
  82. de stijl says:

    Beeker was my fave of the second tier muppets.

    Traditionally, in China, dairy consumption is what uncivilized outlanders substitute for “normal” foods. Cheese, butter, milk, yoghurt are associated with barbarians.

    Cattle are used as plow pullers and as meat.

    It is odd the Silk Road runs both ways. Cattle, sheep, goats were domesticated in Anatolia and camels in between, but China did not adapt as strongly and as widely as did the western end and the points between.

    Chinese culture is still insular today.

    In no way am I an authority. My knowledge is an inch deep. I’ve read a few books.

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  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I just linked to the block of text that was on his page. I didn’t remember having seen it before, but I’ve come to the point that I no longer read all the minutiae that you argue with people about.

    In any event, the paragraph that I cut and pasted provided me with information I had always wondered about and whoever wants it can take credit for enlightening me. Thank you, whoever you may be.

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  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: For some reason, you seem surprised that the police would kill someone for no reason other than malice and having the weapons to do so. That’s very kind of you.

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  85. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Are those people also bitching about growing almonds in California?

    Um, yes? What do I win?

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  86. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Beet pulp, soyhulls, and distillers grains are waste products from other food-producing processes. They’re fed to cows as a simple and efficient way to get rid of them (and get something of value in return).

    Yes, I know. I acknowledged that from that start. Those are also the last ingredients in the “concentrate” recipe, not the first.

    The corn is field corn–technically edible, but not something you’d want to eat (and transitioning that crop to sweet corn would halve the output (see my comment above)).

    Halving the output would produce vastly more human-food than feeding it to cows does. That’s part of the point you seem to be missing here.

    Soy? We don’t eat soy in the US. 31% of US soy is exported. 70% of what we use is for animal feed (primarily poultry). Only 15% of soy consumed by the US is for “people food”–primarily oil*.

    Contingent, not necessary. People can eat soy just fine — that exported volume doesn’t go for animal feed. Feeding soy to animals, in order to eat the animals, wastes most of the food value of the soy. There’s no way around that fact.

    Vegetable oil is so non-specific I can’t comment on it.

    The point was that feeding vegetable oil to cows, in order to eat the cow, is necessarily less efficient than feeding vegetable oil to people. Similarly for molasses, which is a perfectly good source of calories in those parts of the world where people routinely don’t get enough calories. Which is most of them.

    Of the 40% concentrate, what’s the proportion of “waste” to “human food”? I’m going to bet it’s quite high

    Yes, I know you are. But that’s the wrong question. Of the 40% (actually usually more like 50%) concentrate, what’s the proportion that could have been human food? 80%? 90%? You ignored the opportunity costs in your reply.

    And… “A quick google” says that “dry cows” (beef, not dairy) should be fed a minimum of 90% forage.

    “Should”? What percent are they actually fed in the US? I’ll bet you it is closer to 50% than to 90%… if you don’t count as “forage” grains and legumes.

    This is not rocket science — animals are not efficient mechanisms for turning food into nutritious flesh. Dairy is at least a process industry, turning inputs into outputs on an ongoing basis. Meat is much less efficient — you waste most of the animal’s life cycle when you harvest what it happens to have on it at slaughter time.

    Don’t get me wrong — I love meat, and I eat it all the time, and I’m not on the verge of going vegetarian on ethical or economic grounds. But I’m doing it with my eyes open. When climate change makes worldwide famine a physical necessity, rather than merely the current political reality, I may reconsider.

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  87. Jax says:

    @DrDaveT: The “sweet feed” fed at feedlots is to make them gain weight faster. Feed lot operators have been known to feed their cattle candy like skittles and M&M’s that couldn’t be used for human consumption (for whatever reason) because it was cheaper and easier than hay or forage.

    Cows will try anything once, and usually die from it. Trust me, I have learned to never be surprised at all the ways a cow can die.

    It blows me away how worried people are about antibiotics in their meat. I’m not allowed to send anything into the food chain that’s had antibiotics in the last 30 days. My cattle do not live in confined spaces, though, where pathogens can run rampant.

    Just wait til COVID-19 hits the cattle industry. Shit will literally hit the proverbial fan when all these cattle start coughing and dying. My dad experienced a cattle coronavirus outbreak when he was a kid, and he said half the herd died within a week.

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  88. Jax says:

    It’s about to be the time of year when we actually come into close, personal contact with all of our cattle, too, shipping calves and preg testing and whatnot…if it can jump from humans to tigers, minks, cats, dogs, etc, our cattle are certainly susceptible.

    With a normal administration, I would have some hope that this would’ve been considered already, and an animal vaccine was in the works right there along with human vaccines.

    This is not, however, a normal administration.

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  89. DrDaveT says:

    @Jax:

    It blows me away how worried people are about antibiotics in their meat.

    I don’t care at all about antibiotics in my meat. I do, however, care about antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the rest of my life.

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  90. de stijl says:

    @JohnSF:

    That was a cool article about lactose tolerance. I enjoyed that.

    Having that gene switched on after infancy offers tremendous advantage. A steady supply of protein and minerals as long as you can maintain a herd.

    Amongst the modern day Maasai, cow blood as well.

    Maintaining a cattle herd requires constancy and stability. Forage. Water. Goats and sheep are a bit more free range still to this day.

    Domestication of crops enabled domestication of animals.

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  91. Jax says:

    @DrDaveT: The new thing is lice, just so you know. They’re also becoming resistant to what we put on our cattle to keep them from rubbing down every standing item in a pasture….and to keep them from being miserable from lice. 🙁

    We cannot win, as producers. Everything we do to try to keep them alive and healthy has ripple effects elsewhere. I see the end of my lifestyle, and vat-grown meat, but I don’t like it.

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  92. de stijl says:

    @Jax:

    Careful so you don’t get the buggers in your house.

    Strict protocol on clothes.

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