Friday’s Forum

Come back this time tomorrow.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. 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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Joe Weisenthal
    @TheStalwart

    The coronavirus is hurting super-rich people that have gotten stuck in high-tax locales, unable to travel to places where tax rates are lower.

    Pobrecitos…

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Covid-19 being used as weapon in attacks on US police and grocers

    Where there’s a will, there’s an idiot American finding a way.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    World agog as Trump flails over pandemic despite claims US leads way

    After Trump’s disinfectant comments, Beppe Severgnini, a columnist for Italy’s Corriere della Sera, said in a TV interview: “Trying to get into Donald Trump’s head is more difficult than finding a vaccine for coronavirus. First he decided on a lockdown and then he encouraged protests against the lockdown that he promoted. It’s like a Mel Brooks film.”

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    McMichael, who worked as an investigator in the Brunswick judicial circuit district attorney’s office from 1995 to 2019, lost his power of arrest in January 2006 for failing to complete the required 20 hours of training the previous year, according to personnel records obtained by the Guardian.

    He continued to be deficient in his training for the years that followed and didn’t get the waiver required to reinstate his power of arrest authority. Some of the training McMichael lacked included required courses on use of force and firearms.
    …………………….
    But McMichael didn’t alert his supervisors to the deficiency until 2014, according to the records. The problem was so severe, Post considered suspending him indefinitely. He was stripped of his gun and departmental vehicle while he applied to the state for a waiver.

    In an April 2014 memo to Johnson, Mark Melton, another investigator in her office, warned that because McMichael lost his power of arrest “any improper actions by Greg would fall on Greg, the district attorney’s office, and you personally.”

    McMichael ultimately had his certification restored. But Johnson, the district attorney, wrote to the agency responsible for overseeing the certification process that the episode was “a great embarrassment to me and Investigator McMichael”.

    “It has negatively impacted my office and I have taken measures to ensure that this doesn’t happen,” Johnson added, stating she was grateful that the state’s law enforcement standards and training [Post] director had reinstated the license after she met him in person to lobby on McMichael’s behalf.

    In February 2019, months before he retired, McMichael again lost his certification from Post for failing to complete the required training in 2018. Weeks later, his supervisors reassigned him to work as a staff liaison in the Camden county district attorney’s office and noted that he would “not engage in any activity that would be construed as being law enforcement in nature”. His supervisors noted he would not carry a badge or firearm in his new role.

    I am trying to come up with something sarcastic that would convey the full extent of my disgust, but sometimes words fail me.

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  5. Teve says:

    DeVos Funnels Coronavirus Relief Funds to Favored Private and Religious Schools

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, using discretion written into the coronavirus stabilization law, is using millions of dollars to pursue long-sought policy goals that Congress has blocked.

    So tired of being governed by the shittiest people in the country.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I cheated. Some rather rhapsodic musings happening around here.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:
  8. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I won’t be back tomorrow, I’m going Bohemian. So like yesterday, carry on.

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  9. Bill says:
  10. Scott says:

    Another example of how stupid Donald Trump is:

    Trump has questions about the F-35′s supply chain. Here are some answers.

    During a Thursday morning cable news appearance, U.S. President Donald Trump blasted the F-35’s global supply chain and hinted he might intercede to bring more work on the Lockheed Martin-made jet back to the United States.

    “It’s a great jet, and we make parts for this jet all over the world. We make them in Turkey, we make them here, we’re going to make them there. All because President [Barack] Obama and others — I’m not just blaming him — thought it was a wonderful thing,” he said. “The problem is if we have a problem with a country, you can’t make the jet. We get parts from all over the place. It’s so crazy. We should make everything in the United States.”

    Does he not know that the program was started in 2001? Of course, he blames Obama.

    Does he not know that the F-35 program is an international program being developed and built around the world and is a major defense export? No, he ignorant and stupid.

    Global participation is baked into the very foundation of the Joint Strike Fighter program.

    The Joint Strike Fighter program — which stems from efforts started in the 1990s — was structured not only to produce planes for the U.S. military but also for key allies. Nations that wanted to be “partners” on the program would help foot the bill for developing the jet in exchange for work producing components on the program.

    All those partners have invested money into the program. Is Trump planning to pay them back?

    Idiot

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  11. Bill says:

    The headline of the day-

    Coronavirus may ‘never go away,’ says WHO official

    We’re all doomed

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  12. Bill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Covid-19 being used as weapon in attacks on US police and grocers

    Where there’s a will, there’s an idiot American finding a way.

    While working yesterday, dear wife met a parishioner who thought the coronavirus pandemic is a host. DW has a sister who is an ER nurse in Manhattan and she told the parishioner about Leonette and the work she is doing right now.

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  13. Kathy says:

    Link to the post I mentioned yesterday, about which airlines got bailout money.

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  14. Teve says:

    Kroger execs get millions for “improving free cash flow” aka cutting worker pay.

    Bezos and others are right, UBI needs to get here on the double.

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  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    from Richard Burr steps down as Senate committee chair over FBI investigation

    A senior justice department official said the FBI did not conduct a raid, but paid a visit to Burr’s home to collect his cellphone. Approval of the warrant – a significant development because it was served on a sitting senator – was obtained at the “highest levels” of the justice department, the official said.

    I call bullshit. No way Barr approved this.

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  16. Teve says:

    @Bill: I’ve seen several estimates of the mortality rate as between .5 and 1%. So we are not all doomed, we’re just going to see lots of excess deaths for a few years. In Spain, France, Italy, the UK, Germany, the death rate has gone down substantially in those countries and many more. linky

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  17. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I call bullshit. No way Barr approved this.

    All you have to know is that Trump and Barr have feuded. From Politico:

    Trump allies are angry that Burr, as Senate Intelligence Committee chair, oversaw his panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Last year, he issued a subpoena to the president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., even after special counsel Robert Mueller completed his own Russian election meddling report. Later, Burr also authorized the release of a committee report that affirmed the intelligence community’s findings that Russia intended to help Trump win with its meddling.

    So no, this isn’t Barr acting with integrity. This is Barr helping Trump settle a personal score.

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  18. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Scott:
    Cute.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From the department of DUH!:

    Martin and baby Steven are caught up in a nationwide surrogacy crisis of growing proportions. Commercial surrogacy is legal in some US states, making it a hotspot for parents looking to have children through assisted reproduction. But the coronavirus travel ban has seen President Trump close the country’s borders to almost all international visitors, while a nationwide US passport office shutdown has made it impossible for parents who do manage to get into the country to obtain the necessary documentation to take their children home.

    As a result, babies are being born without their parents present at the birth (immigration authorities will only let parents in once the surrogate has given birth to the child). In at least one case, a mother flew from France to attend the birth of her child, only to be turned back by border control. Some parents aren’t being allowed in the country at all.

    Surrogates and surrogacy agencies are scrambling to look after babies themselves. “It’s unprecedented for a surrogate to be looking after the baby,” says Rich Geisler, a Californian surrogacy lawyer. “We as an industry really try to avoid that. We want to avoid the possibility of the surrogate bonding with the child.”

    Martin is adamant that she’ll be able to give Steven back to his parents when the time is right. “It will be hard to give him back, because I’ll miss him,” Martin says. “But I know he’s not mine, and that I have to give him up, which is totally OK with me.” She pauses. “But there’s definitely a bit of attachment there,” Martin says. “I care for him. When you love on a baby, you love on a baby.”

    I feel for these people.

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  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Yeah, over at Balloon Juice Immanentize made the same observation. I had all but forgotten about that. Don’t know why, it’s not like anything has happened since then.

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  21. Teve says:

    We can’t afford to lose the Postal Service

    If you want to be depressed just imagine what kind of world we could have if Republicans weren’t trying to wreck every good thing all the fucking time.

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  22. Teve says:

    Solar’s future is insanely cheap.

    This comes from a solar investor, and there is still the problem of intermittency and storage, but these numbers look very promising.

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  23. sam says:

    Maybe it’s sumthin in the water down there:

    Two NFL players accused of armed robbery at south Florida party

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  24. CSK says:

    @sam:
    I don’t know what these two guys make, but the median NFL salary is $860,000. Couldn’t they make ends meet on that?

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  25. @OzarkHillbilly: @Scott: But would you do the fandango?

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  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I call bullshit. No way Barr approved this.

    You’re missing the point. Burr has allowed the Senate Intel Committee investigation to continue and it has confirmed the Intelligence Community’s findings that Russia helped Trump.
    By removing Burr, Barr and Trump hope to prevent the Intel Committees report from ever coming out.
    This is one of the reasons that Burr is in trouble and Loeffler seems to be skating.

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  27. sam says:

    @CSK:

    I dunno. You read something like that and think, “What in the fuck was going through their minds?” The defense will probably plead CTE.

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  28. CSK says:

    @sam:
    I’m getting flashbacks to Aaron Hernandez.

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  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Not with my knees.

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  30. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Birtherism.
    Her emails.
    Biden/Ukraine.
    Obamagate.
    It’s almost like there is a pattern.

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  31. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    B-b-but but there are photos of Obama wearing the tan suit!

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  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: One wonders if certain voters will ever learn that they are being played.

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  33. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    If you’re talking about Cult45, no. Howard Stern told them quite emphatically, and every single one of them (far as I can tell) heaped scorn on Stern’s head. How could they believe that their idol despises them?

    It’s possible that a few people might be beginning to harbor some doubts, but they’ll never vocalize them for fear of being kicked out of the cult, where it’s warm and safe and comfy.

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  34. Kathy says:

    Brain teaser regarding my reference to “Sliders” yesterday:

    If there is an infinite number of parallel universes, can there a parallel universe where parallel universes don’t exist?

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  35. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @CSK:

    If you’re talking about Cult45, no. Howard Stern told them quite emphatically, and every single one of them (far as I can tell) heaped scorn on Stern’s head. How could they believe that their idol despises them?

    Stern is threatening that he has some tapes that would be devastating to Trump.
    I don’t like Stern, have barely ever listened to his show, but based on what I do know he doesn’t seem the type to make a claim without backing it up.

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  36. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kathy:
    In a multi-verse where Trump can be POTUS, absolutely anything is possible.

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  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I know.

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  38. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Bill:

    The surprise headline would be that Covid-19 will go away. Few viruses go away, some mutate to be come less deadly or infectious, but they’re always around. Small pox has been eradicated because of life time vaccine protection, near universal vaccination and it is damn hard to catch. Measles was close being eradicated in the developed world due to universal vaccination, but since the growth of the anti-vaxxer movement outbreaks of the disease have been common.

    When an effective Covid-19 vaccine becomes available (I’m an optimist), those who receive it will be immune and the anti-vaxxers, well Darwin.

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  39. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Well, if Stern really wants Trump to quit, then he should release those tapes. By the way, where did you see this? I can’t find anything.

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  40. Kit says:

    @Kathy:

    If there is an infinite number of parallel universes, can there a parallel universe where parallel universes don’t exist?

    Yes, and that’s the one we inhabit.

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  41. Kylopod says:

    One of my childhood next-door neighbors just passed away from Covid-19, at the age of 45. He was one of the kids from the other family in the semi-detached house I grew up in. I mostly lost touch with him as an adult, but I have vivid memories of playing with him and his siblings in our shared backyard as a kid, where we regularly played baseball.

    I’m not sure of the details but I know he was a 9/11 survivor; he had been working in the World Trade Center and he managed to get away after the first plane hit.

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  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Over at the Atlantic last week David Frum made a pertinent point about what made Tiny successful in 2016. While birtherism et al, kept him in the headlines, it was fear of other and perceived loss of white status that lifted his candidacy. He focused on his voters fears rather than stuff extraneous to them. Today with the pandemic and economic catastrophe prattling on about Flynn, Obamagate and his own grievance, is not what voters want. So he’s losing support among white seniors and rural constituencies. Keep it up Tiny.

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  43. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I think Trump’s apparent willingness to dispense with people aged 60 and over in favor of the economy isn’t doing him a lot of good with older people, either.

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  44. Pete S says:

    @CSK:

    He was talking about this in 2016 if I remember correctly (although sometimes I have trouble remembering as far back as Tuesday, so…).
    Nothing came of it then. And really, what would he have worse than the way Trump talked about his daughter on the show? I heard Trump being interviewed by Stern a couple of times and always came away thinking Trump was not bright enough to realize he was being mocked.

    Stern is a pretty good self promoter so I tend to suspect he is drumming up interest for his radio show.

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  45. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Stern is threatening that he has some tapes that would be devastating to Trump.

    From your lips to VALIS’s ears.

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  46. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    That’s very sad. Did he have a spouse and children?

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  47. EddieInCA says:

    From yesterday…..

    @CSK:

    @de stijl:
    Bourbon is quite nice. Do you have a favorite?

    Not directed at me, but I’m a bourbon guy.

    1. Weller Antique 107
    2. Weller Full Proof
    3. Willet Pot Still
    4. 1792 Single Barrel reserve
    5. Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Batch Proof Bourbon

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  48. Pylon says:
  49. grumpy realist says:

    One of my friends had her 60th birthday yesterday. Her husband had secretly arranged with a bunch of us (her friends and relatives) to participate in a Zoom surprise birthday party. Which we carried out with much merriment and catching up on news about each other (a lot of us haven’t seen each other for years.) No cake, but a very elegant Italian dinner and a glass of wine.

    It’s interesting how different people are reacting to the lockdown–a lot of my friends around my age have been falling into the “another disaster from the universe? Take a number and stand in line…” attitude. Some of my younger friends are starting to panic–going a bit stir-crazy. I think it might be a downtown highrise vs. suburb reaction rather than age. It’s much easier if you can go for a walk around the neighbourhood without having to worry much about social distancing.

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  50. senyorDave says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Stern is threatening that he has some tapes that would be devastating to Trump.
    As someone said earlier it may just be Stern’s usual self-promotion.
    What hasn’t gotten much play that I have seen is this:
    Judge orders ‘Apprentice’ tapes to be handed over in lawsuit against Trump
    This is from a case that is asking for damages based on Trump and his kids promoting ACN Opportunity, which is a multi-level marketing company. They failed to disclose they had a financial interest in the company. I had some brief exposure to ACN when I was treasurer of our synagogue and a congregant tried to get the synagogue to endorse the company to our congregation, and in theory the congregant would donate her “commission” back to the synagogue. The finance committee listened to a presentation put together by her bosses (those higher up in the food chain in ACN), and it would be an understatement for me to say that it was the most financial ridiculous proposition I ever heard. It ended up sounding like a bad timeshare presentation.
    Trump and his children have denied all wrongdoing. Bloomberg reports lawyers for the president have called his ACN endorsements “puffery” that no reasonable investor would have relied upon.
    That could probably apply to any financial venture that Trump has ever been part of.
    It would be interesting if the tapes were ever made public, a couple people have said Trump said some pretty explicitly racist things during the show.

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  51. CSK says:

    @EddieInCA:
    Those are all fine choices.

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  52. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Here is a fact that you may want to cut and paste for later discussions…

    We need to prepare for the possibility of Trump rejecting election results

    In 2016, when he narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton despite losing the popular vote by a historic margin, he claimed that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally. That is a lie. But it raised an obvious question: If Trump claimed that an election he won was rigged, what will he do with an election he loses? …

    It’s worth reiterating that Trump’s claims are lies. The evidence is clear. Voter fraud is a minuscule problem in the United States. One comprehensive study found 31 cases of voter fraud out of more than 1 billion ballots cast from 2000 to 2014, a rate of 0.0000031 percent of all votes. And lest you think that study was somehow biased against Republican claims, George W. Bush’s Justice Department went looking for voter fraud and basically came up empty. Indeed, as Lorraine Minnite, a political science professor at Rutgers University has noted, in 2005, more people were charged with violating migratory-bird statutes than voter fraud. And that was while Bush’s administration was actively seeking fraud cases to prosecute.

    0.0000031 percent of all votes… And those republicans likely would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids!!!

    Seriously, if you have the opportunity to use negative scientific notation to define the occurrence… maybe this is kind of a red herring. But then again, th0se who likely TRULY believe that voter fraud is an issue in this country probably don’t know what scientific notation is anyways.

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  53. CSK says:

    @Pete S:
    Yes; as I recall, Trump gave Stern permission to call Ivanka “a piece of ass,” boasted about how he could, as pageant owner, stroll around backstage while the Miss Universe contestants were nude and ogle them, and bragged about his promiscuity. You’re right; none of it hurt him. So whatever Stern had would have to be fairly horrific, I should think. Cult45 would say any tapes were fakes.

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  54. Jen says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It’s much easier if you can go for a walk around the neighbourhood without having to worry much about social distancing.

    Agreed. I’ve stated before that we’re in a recently built subdivision in a rural-ish part of NH. Lot size in our cul-de-sac is minimum one acre+, and the subdivision itself is set apart from town/other houses. We walk several times a day and see people outside, but from a distance. We have little trouble finding nearby parks and trails that have no one else on them.

    My husband and I are both fairly introverted, and as long as I have books to read I think I’ll be fine. Aside from losing track of what day it is and being really, really tired of trying to come up with dinner ideas, I haven’t had any issues.

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  55. Kylopod says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    We need to prepare for the possibility of Trump rejecting election results

    It isn’t a “possibility.” It’s a certainty. If he loses, he will never concede, and he will go to his grave claiming he was the rightful winner. There isn’t a shred of doubt on this. The man has never admitted defeat on anything in his life; I’m not even sure he’d admit to losing a game of Chutes & Ladders. Every time he lost a high-profile caucus or primary to Ted Cruz in 2016, he claimed that Cruz cheated. In the general election, he made it very clear that he wasn’t going to accept the results if Hillary won. After he won the electoral vote, he launched into conspiracy theories about the popular vote being stolen.

    The only relevant question is whether he’ll make a proactive attempt to stop his being pushed out of office, and if he does, whether he’ll find a way to make the powers-that-be (the courts, the military) support his efforts.

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  56. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I’m no philosopher, but is t his equivalent to, “given that there an infinite number of fractional numbers between 0 and 1, is it possible one of them is pi?

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  57. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I can’t imagine what people who don’t like to read do in this situation. Play video games online? Watch Netflix endlessly? Go insane?

    As for dinner, try Googling “pandemic cooking.” Some of the suggestions are interesting. Are you doing your own food shopping, or relying on Instacart?

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  58. MarkedMan says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Threatening to release tapes is just click-bait.

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  59. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    I agree that the probability of Trump calmly accepting an electoral loss is remote. I am not so sure the courts and military would back him. Cult45 has for the past few years darkly predicted civil war if anyone tries to turn Trump out of office, but given their general age and decrepitude, I doubt they’d carry through on their threats to grab their guns and start shooting.

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  60. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod:

    and if he does, whether he’ll find a way to make the powers-that-be (the courts, the military) support his efforts.

    You don’t think McConnell and the Republican elite have been packing the courts because they hate abortion, do you?

    Actually, it’s to get pro-corporate judges, but they’d do in Bush v Gore II.

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  61. Michael Reynolds says:

    A new poll has Biden up by six over Trump in Florida.

    Trump’s gonna need to find a minority woman reporter to attack. Expect rage-tweeting.

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  62. EddieInCA says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I think it might be a downtown highrise vs. suburb reaction rather than age. It’s much easier if you can go for a walk around the neighbourhood without having to worry much about social distancing.

    My wife and I were discussing this last evening. Quite frankly, other than the financial issues, which we’re fortunate to not have…. yet, the lockdown hasn’t been bad. I live in the Northwest San Fernando Valley, and I have a big yard, a nice pool, four dogs, and plenty of house projects. I’ve not received a paycheck since January (and I don’t qualify for uneployment or government SBA funds). Every day, I have something to do around the house, go for a walk/run with my wife, play with the dogs, swim or sit in the hot tub, and then watch classic movies in the evening. If this is what retirement will be like, sign me up.

    Conversely, some of the kids (under 30) from my office are going stir crazy, because they’re living four to a two-bedroom in Downtown LA, Hollywood, West Hollywood, NoHo or Silverlake with almost zero ability to truly self isolate. It’s gotta suck for them. They’re having to trust that their roommates are doing the right thing.

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  63. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    I agree that the probability of Trump calmly accepting an electoral loss is remote. I am not so sure the courts and military would back him.

    I know. That’s why I said the latter is an open question, but not the former. He definitely won’t personally concede the race, but there is also a nontrivial possibility that he’ll maneuver things so that he can stay in office. It’s not the likeliest scenario (I especially think the notion of a military coup is extremely remote), but it’s a real possibility. Last year Washington Monthly ran a piece outlining a scenario which I admit I found scarily plausible, of how Trump could remain in power after losing. The article is somewhat long, but well worth reading in full. Here are a few excerpts:

    It is Wednesday morning, November 4, 2020. At 7:15 a.m., after a stressful night of watching the returns trickle in, the Associated Press projects that the Democratic presidential candidate will win Pennsylvania, and, with it, the presidency. Sure enough, it’s a narrow victory–279 electoral votes to 258. When all is said and done, the Democrat wins Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania by only about 77,000 votes combined, the same amount Trump won those states by in 2016.

    Donald Trump, who spent the past five months warning about fraud, has been eerily silent for most of the night. But as soon as the Democrat takes the stage to give her victory speech, he unleashes a barrage of tweets claiming that over 100,000 illegal immigrants voted in Michigan and that Philadelphia kept its polls open for hours later than allowed. “Without PHONY voters, I really won!” he tweets. “This is FRAUD!” Needless to say, the president does not call to congratulate his opponent. At an afternoon press conference, Trump’s press secretary announces he will not concede….

    After forty-eight hours of silence, the Senate majority leader issues a terse press release in which he says he “recognizes the president’s serious concerns” about the election’s integrity. Some GOP representatives do break ranks and call for Trump to concede (I’m looking at you, Mitt Romney), but most stay silent or back the president’s claims. In a monumental act of gaslighting, Lindsey Graham tells reporters that Democrats are the ones undermining democracy. “They are afraid of a thorough investigation into the fairness of this election,” he declares. “They’ll stop at nothing to get this president out of office.”….

    Almost everyone I spoke with told me that, at this point, the election results would be challenged in court. The Trump campaign might sue Democratic-leaning counties for alleged “irregularities” and ask that judges toss out their results. “I can imagine the litigation in Pennsylvania taking the form of saying voting booths in Philadelphia were held open an excessively long time, an unlawfully long time, or the vote counters in some Democratic-leaning county unlawfully refused to count late-filed absentee ballots,” Tushnet said. Victory for Trump would “mean throwing out the ballots and saying that when those are thrown out, Trump gets the state’s electoral votes.” That, in turn, would allow him to remain president.

    This argument, and the many others that the Trump campaign could employ, would almost certainly be specious. But Tushnet cautioned against underestimating the power of creative attorneys and motivated reasoning. The legal justification for challenging the returns would develop, he said, “in some ways that we can’t really anticipate now but that lawyers will come up with when it matters.”

    In my view, though, what we have to worry about most isn’t the relatively outlandish scenario outlined above (“outlandish” doesn’t mean “impossible”–let’s be clear about that!), it’s the GOP’s ability to interfere with the election results before the fact. That’s been their modus operandi over the past two decades–to find ways to suppress votes before the election happens, so that by the time the results are announced the impact is already baked in and Dems are unable to challenge it. That’s exactly what happened in the Georgia gubernatorial race in 2018. And now, the entire issue of mail-in balloting is a wild card. Republicans are doing what they can to keep this option off the table as much as possible, and to make it harder when it is available. And the fact that we now have a Trump crony in charge of the Post Office gives me the heeby-jeebies; that should be getting far more attention than it already has. Beyond that, we really don’t know the effect of having Covid-deniers much likelier to visit a physical voting place, with the more reality-based Democratic voters staying home.

    This doesn’t look like the sort of election Trump has any business winning. An incumbent winning during a depression? Yet we can’t underestimate how desperate he’ll get as the prospect of becoming a private citizen (and being finally subject to the laws of which he’s currently immune), and the level of power he has to satisfy that desperation.

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  64. Jen says:

    @CSK:

    Are you doing your own food shopping, or relying on Instacart?

    Doing my own shopping, every two weeks. Supplementing with what I can find at nearby farms (so far meats, mostly, and rhubarb). It’s not that we used to eat out often (once a week)–the issue is that I’ve not been successful at meal planning 2 weeks out so that means that once I’m done with the grocery shopping, I’m dealing with what’s in the house–no running out to pick up cilantro/basil/some missing ingredient from a recipe I’ve just found. *That’s* the limiting part.

    On reading: my husband isn’t a big reader, but he does like history and science, and has been watching documentaries that he finds online. I get sick of being in front of a screen, so prefer to unplug and read.

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  65. Scott says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I think it might be a downtown highrise vs. suburb reaction rather than age. It’s much easier if you can go for a walk around the neighbourhood without having to worry much about social distancing.

    In my suburban San Antonio neighborhood, there are a lot of people walking dogs, families riding bikes, sitting in front yards, and generally socializing with select friends. A couple of observations: 1) a lot more kids are playing outside with or without parents because the activities kids were driven to are cancelled. I view this as a positive. 2) Specific families have organically decided to created an extended family of neighbors rationally deciding the risk is minimized . 3) Most are fortunate to work from home; few view mask wearing to grocery stores as onerous for short amount of times.

    So, I do think suburban environments are more amenable to social distancing and mask wearing.

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  66. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    I was reading somewhere the other day–I wish I could recall where–that Eric and Don Junior are making back-up plans for a new network in case their father loses in November. Since you can plausibly argue that Trump had no intention of winning in 2016 but was rather marketing his brand in the hope of starting Trump Television, this makes a certain amount of sense. It would simply entail a four-year delay in the original plan.

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  67. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I thought Pi > 1 😉

    There is a flaw in one of my premises about parallel universes.

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  68. sam says:

    @MarkedMan:

    “given that there an infinite number of fractional numbers between 0 and 1, is it possible one of them is pi?”

    Hmmm. Pi is greater than 1, those numbers are less than 1.

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  69. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kylopod:

    it’s the GOP’s ability to interfere with the election results before the fact.

    In deed, this is the issue. After the votes are counted the process is pretty cut and dried, the EC votes on 12/12(?) and the new prez is sworn in 1/21. The two caveats are a Florida 2000 like melt down in a close election, some state legislature deciding that they don’t like who the voters chose for president and decides to direct the EC members to vote for the legislatures preferred candidate. For either scenario to take place it would need to be an extremely close election and the state or states in question would need to have enough EC votes to tip the outcome.

    Tiny may never concede and cult45 might stamp their little feet and cry, but we’d have a new prez in January.

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  70. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Infinity, oddly enough, doesn’t necessarily imply no boundaries…

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  71. Teve says:

    In 1916 Woodrow Wilson beat Charles Hughes by 23 electoral votes. Since then, only in 2000 and 2004 could one state have changed the result, and in 2004 the only state that could have done so is California.

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  72. MarkedMan says:

    It’s easy for me to believe that all Trumpers are beyond redemption and will never concede an inch to reality, but an article at TPM has me wondering. It talks about how the virus is spreading into more and more Trump areas. A month ago the majority of locations with more than 1 case per thousand were areas that voted for Clinton in 2016 but it has turned around and now Trump areas are in the lead.

    Oddly enough, it has me thinking about the Catholic church.

    Years ago, when there was a whisper of child abuse by a priest, it was pretty much hushed up. There was a lot of pressure on those involved to keep it hidden. What made that work was the local-ness of it all. It was easy to believe that this was a rogue priest, that it was very rare, and that the church would get him treatment. But the nationalization of the news and the internet doomed that. People stopped responding to the pressure to be silent and tried to raise hell from within. But the true believers made that course very difficult, since their anger wasn’t directed at the pedophile priest but at those who made the scandal public. The Church lost a lot of parishioners over it, and even in those that remained, their willingness to listen to authority about anything is greatly reduced.

    To be a Trumper means, increasingly, to believe that there is no virus, or that it is extremely rare and only affects those at deaths door already. When a young healthy relative of theirs comes down with it and dies, they will be pressured to not talk about it, and if they do, will suffer the anger of the true believers. And now there is no local-ness. Anyone can get the national news.

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  73. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    Since then, only in 2000 and 2004 could one state have changed the result, and in 2004 the only state that could have done so is California.

    Huh? Ohio went to Bush by 2%, and if it had gone the other way Kerry would have won.

    In 2016, Texas flipping to Clinton with everything else staying the same would have given her a razor-thin 270-268 victory. That wasn’t going to happen, of course; a world in which Texas went blue in 2016 would be a world where she’d have won a bunch of other states that went to Trump in the real world.

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  74. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I am certain Trump should be thoroughly investigated and, if warranted, tried and convicted and locked away to rot as prescribed by law. I think this is not just right, but necessary.

    I am also certain Biden’s DOJ will investigate, as will the House and, hopefully, the Democratic-controlled Senate, but none of them will charge Trump with anything, nor try him, and much less give him a well-deserved stay behind bars until one day past his untimely demise(*), because if they do, then the GOP will go after any and all future Democratic leaders for whatever they do that’s disagreeable to them.

    They may get some former (so-called) administration officials, but will stop short of the Idiot in law and his relations by marriage.

    And, in fact, I expect Trump’s tantrum when he loses, to be aimed at securing leniency afterwards.

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  75. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: You’re right, I looked at numbers too hastily. Ohio, Florida, or Texas could have flipped the result.

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  76. Teve says:

    Anybody else think Trump is going to pardon himself?

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  77. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I know. But that’s not the flaw in the premise. At least not the only one.

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  78. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    This is an excellent analogy. Cult45 has been saying all along that it is the comorbidities that are causing the deaths, not Covid-19.

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  79. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:

    given that there an infinite number of fractional numbers between 0 and 1, is it possible one of them is pi?

    As others have noted, pi > 1, so no. On the other hand, there are a bunch of interesting related questions.
    1. Is it possible that one of them is (pi minus 3), the fractional part of pi?
    Answer: No. It has been proven that pi is not a rational number (fraction).
    2. If you pick a (real) number uniformly between 0 and 1, what is the probability that it’s a fraction?
    Answer: Zero, despite the fact that there are infinitely many fractions between 0 and 1
    3. If you pick a (real) number uniformly between 0 and 1, what is the probability that all of the 10^N strings of N consecutive digits occur equally frequently in its decimal expansion?
    Answer: One

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  80. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: I’m guessing MarkedMan meant w/r/t to the Sliders scenario, that the ‘parallel universe that doesn’t have parallel universes’ is necessarily outside of the set of all parallel universes and contradictory. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t saying that pi was between zero and one.

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  81. CSK says:

    This is very interesting. It poses the question of whether Trump actually wants to be re-elected.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-05-15/does-donald-trump-want-to-be-re-elected

    There’s also the possibility that he’s given up on the pandemic and the economy because he’s way, way, way out of his depth.

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  82. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @CSK:
    I saw something on Twitter…so who knows….

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  83. Jen says:

    @CSK: Trump is out of his depth in a raindrop.

    @Teve: Even if he pardons himself, that only gets him out of federal charges, IIRC. State charges depend on governors being willing to pardon.

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  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I’m sorry, but I remain unconvinced that the solution to Kroger execs ripping of their workers is to exacerbate the problem by dedicating taxes to expediting the process by paying part of those wages as a UBI. But I do get why Bezos is in favor of it.

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  85. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    This is very interesting. It poses the question of whether Trump actually wants to be re-elected.

    I read the article the other day, and I’m not buying it. He’s doing what he thinks he needs to do to win. His understanding of the situation is limited. He’s rushing to reopen the country under the delusional belief that it’ll bring back the strong economic numbers he had prior to the pandemic. He’s playing to his own base because it’s the only thing giving him the validation he desperately craves. He’s tossing out all the conspiracy theories about Obama and Biden because he thinks he can do to them what he did to Hillary four years ago. (This is actually a misconception. Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t a shred of evidence that Trump played any role in damaging Hillary’s public image; it was damaged already, before he set his sights on her. It’s doubtful his screaming about “Crooked Hillary!” persuaded a soul. He was the beneficiary of her demise, not the cause.) And, as we’ve been discussed, he’s doing whatever he can to cheat.

    All these actions are entirely consistent with someone desperate to win, but who simply doesn’t have a clue of any rational path toward that goal.

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  86. Teve says:

    @Jen: There are probably some southern states that are too poor to have computers, and are therefore not hooked in to VICAP or whatever and not equipped to do extradition. Mississippi probably doesn’t have any computers. Trump could lay low there. The FBI would be stuck driving around dirt roads looking for a gold plated shack.

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  87. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Teve:

    It’s questionable that he could pardon himself. There would be a challenge and he’d need to defend himself for years.

    Best way for him to secure a pardon would be to resign a few days before his term ends and have Pence pardon him. When the appointed time came, it would be rich of Pence to claim, God spoke to him and told him not to pardon Tiny.

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  88. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: If their existence is unknown and unknowable because they cannot be accessed, why would their existence matter? For all we know, this is the universe where parallel universes don’t exist.

    ETA: I see kit beat me, but only buy several hours.

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  89. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Oh, certainly he’s out of his depth in a raindrop. But he always has been. He may now just be realizing that, though.

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  90. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Ding! Ding! Ding! (Thank you)

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  91. Teve says:

    @Kylopod:

    I read the article the other day, and I’m not buying it. He’s doing what he thinks he needs to do to win. His understanding of the situation is limited.

    I’ve posted this before, but what you just said is basically the thesis of David Frum’s article Trump has lost the plot.

    But the most important thing to notice about the Trump-Fox blizzard of mania is how remote it is from anything that real-world voters care about. In 2015, Trump apprehended that most Republicans were talking about things that Republican voters did not then care about: deficits, taxes, productivity, and trade. In 2015, Trump apprehended that nobody was talking about things that Republican voters did care about: immigration, drugs, the declining status of less educated white men.

    That Trump is gone. Today’s Trump has lost the plot. He’s talking about things most voters could not even understand, let alone care about. Yes, Flynn lied to the FBI. But you have to see, the FBI’s interview was not properly predicated …

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  92. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Meh, in much the same way as it is better for 100 murderers to go free than to execute one innocent person, it’s better that millions of people of color be disenfranchised than to allow one illegal vote. Same principle, different scale.

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  93. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    It’s an interesting avenue of speculation. I was one of those who, after Trump won in November 2016, thought he’d get bored with the hard, hard work and the limitations on his freedom and resign after a few months. It never occurred to me that his idea of hard work would be spending most of the day in bed watching tv and rage-tweeting.

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  94. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    You know how many say, with justification, El PITO is president (in title only) for his base alone.

    Not even that. He wanted to be president (in title only) just of the Obama expansion.

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  95. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    For all we know, this is the universe where parallel universes don’t exist.

    That’s the flaw in my premise.

    If parallel universes exist, they do so, by definition, outside of other universes (whatever the hell that means). So there’s no parallel universe where parallel universes don’t exist, because their existence is independent of any given universe.

    It’s like asking if there is an infinite number of islands in an ocean, is there an island where oceans don’t exist? The ocean’s existence is independent of that of the islands.

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  96. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: I’m with you. I made it a couple of paragraphs into the column and couldn’t get past the fact that it presupposes a Trump who could make a choice as to whether to engage a difficult problem or not. Trump is simply not capable of even medium term thought. Something itches, he scratches, with whatever implement is closest to hand. That’s the extent of his ability to engage. And if the itch is a bloody, infected mess? Doesn’t matter. It itches. He scratches.

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  97. Kit says:

    I love all these single down votes, especially @DrDaveT’s fun facts about number theory! Is that you, @t?

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  98. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    I’m dealing with what’s in the house–no running out to pick up cilantro/basil/some missing ingredient from a recipe I’ve just found. *That’s* the limiting part.

    Ok. that can be a bummer. also back in normal times, when you can’t find a necessary ingredient.

    But there’s a game I play sometimes. I call it “What’s in the pantry and what’s in the fridge?” The challenge is to cook a dish with whatever’s available.

    I don’t play it often anymore. But it can be fun.

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  99. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    But there’s a game I play sometimes. I call it “What’s in the pantry and what’s in the fridge?” The challenge is to cook a dish with whatever’s available.

    Chopped, Home Edition

    My wife has said for years that the software she wants is the app that lets you tell it what you have in the house, and it proposes a recipe that uses up the stuff that will go bad soonest if you don’t do something with it.

    The upside of minimizing leaving the house: I used to only have time to bake bread or sous-vide meats on the weekends, which were already busy. The downside: when you’re out of tomato paste, you’re out of tomato paste for a while.

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  100. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve:

    Mississippi probably doesn’t have any computers.

    They’ve got at least some. The public assistance programs that the federal government is involved in — at least Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and food stamps — have to have all of the data on computers. The computers must provide the required audit interfaces for the feds to use on an ongoing basis. Conforming Medicaid software is quite expensive, and states are required to purchase new systems periodically. When I was working for my (non-Mississippi) state legislature some years back, the low bid for a new Medicaid system was something north of $400M.

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  101. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Yes, I read somewhere (Twitter, maybe?) that the few days prior to a big grocery store run/delivery is like a strange episode of Chopped. Contestant needs to make a meal–here are your ingredients: four limp carrots, a container of yogurt, half a can of tomatoes, a stalk of celery and a frozen chicken breast…

    ETA: ha, I see Dr. Dave T beat me to the comparison!

    I used to actually like challenges like that, basically it’s all about having a well-stocked pantry. But dang if I’m just tired of doing it now.

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  102. Jax says:

    Did you guys see this? 42 million dollars or they’re gonna release dirt on Trump.

    https://pagesix.com/2020/05/14/la-law-firm-hackers-double-ransom-demand-threaten-donald-trump/

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  103. Michael Reynolds says:

    I call the jury’s attention to this:

    Reade had spoken highly of Biden, the former boss who employed her as a staff assistant from late 1992 to August 1993, and never made a mention of assault or harassment, Wrye recalls. But what Wrye remembers most is that by the time Reade left their property and moved on, Wrye felt burned.

    After her husband suffered a brain injury that forced the couple to sell the property, Wrye said, Reade turned on them.

    “She became really difficult,” Wrye said. “She said, ‘you’re going to have to pay me to get me to leave.’”

    “She was manipulative,” said Wrye, a self-described feminist and social activist. “She was always saying she was going to get it together, but she couldn’t. And ‘could you help her’?”

    Wrye’s distressing experience with Reade wasn’t an isolated case. Over the past decade, Reade has left a trail of aggrieved acquaintances in California’s Central Coast region, who say they remember two things about her — she spoke favorably about her time working for Biden, and she left them feeling duped.

    As part of an investigation into Reade’s allegations against Biden — charges that are already shaping the contours of his campaign against a president who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by multiple women — POLITICO interviewed more than a dozen people, many of whom interacted with Reade through her involvement in the animal rescue community.

    A number of those in close contact with Reade over the past 12 years, a period in which she went by the names Tara Reade, Tara McCabe or Alexandra McCabe, laid out a familiar pattern: Reade ingratiated herself, explained she was down on her luck and needed help, and eventually took advantage of their goodwill to extract money, skip rent payments or walk out on other bills.

    The people quoted in this article provided copies of past emails, screenshots of Facebook messenger or text exchanges with Reade, copies of billing invoices or court records detailing their grievances or correspondence. POLITICO also reviewed dozens of public records, including court documents, divorce filings and Reade’s 2012 bankruptcy records.

    The accounts paint a picture of Reade’s life in the years leading up to her allegations, in which she spoke often of her connection to Biden but also of troubles in her personal life and a need for money. Sexual abuse victims sometimes offer contradictory information about their alleged abusers, so her comments do not necessarily refute her claims against the former vice president. But they add weight to the evidence that she spoke positively about him in the years before she accused him of digitally penetrating her in the early ‘90s.
    [ ]
    “She has a problem,” said Lynn Hummer, who owns a horse sanctuary where Reade volunteered for two years, beginning in 2014.

    She described Reade as “very clever, manipulative…I do think she’s a liar.”

    Hummer provided an email from an exchange where, within weeks of starting at the ranch, Reade asked if she could bring her car on Hummer’s property to hide it from “the repo man.” Hummer declined.

    In another instance, Reade came by the ranch desperately seeking $200 to pay the rent, Hummer said. On the way to Reade’s house, Hummer said she didn’t notice that Reade texted her and upped her request from $200 to $350.

    Hummer also alleged Reade called a veterinarian to the ranch to service her personal horse, leaving Hummer to pay a $1,400 bill.

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  104. CSK says:

    @Jax:
    If it were me, my response would be: “Please do.”

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  105. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    Got mono in 7th grade. […] I felt fine, but couldn’t go to school for ten days which sounds awesome, but it gets boring. Kinda like today. I read so many books.

    For me it was 11th grade. I missed about the same amount of time, but I envy your books. I was so weak I couldn’t hold a book up to read it. Couldn’t hold my arms over my head long enough to wash my hair.

    Then again, I shouldn’t brag — my dad had mono in college and it put him in the hospital.

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  106. Mikey says:

    My younger brother tested positive today for COVID-19. He’d been feeling crappy for about a week, but last night and this morning he started having a bit more difficulty breathing so he went to the VA clinic for a test. Since he wasn’t coughing and his temperature was only 99F they weren’t sure but went ahead with the test.

    Since he’s been having mild symptoms for a week already, they think today may be the “peak” and he’ll get better from here, but…well, it’s COVID-19 so who can say?

    He lives in Michigan. Go figure. Fucking morons. If he gets worse I’m driving to Lansing and shoving someone’s Confederate flag up their own ass.

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  107. CSK says:

    @Mikey:
    Sorry to hear this.

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  108. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jax:

    It’s my understanding the law firm in question has never had Trump as a client, so it’s not clear to me why that threat would make them more likely to pay the ransom?

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  109. Michael Cain says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Have they ever been on the opposing side? Still sitting on a bunch of stuff uncovered by investigators or during discovery?

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  110. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: From the hacked files of a guy who claims never to have had Trump as a client. Hmmmm…

    In any event, since it is policy to not submit to the demands of terrorists, and the Obama administration was roundly criticized by Republicans in the Bowie Bergdahl matter, I guess Trump will just have to take the hit. (But I also believe neither that they’ve got dirt on Trump, nor that Republicans would care what it is.)

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  111. inhumans99 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Could have saved myself a click or two and used your link as I decided to hit up Politico and noticed the story you linked too, and wow…when that is the front page story on a site like Politico you know they have read the writing on the wall and are using this article to tell the GOP to walk away slowly…wait no, on second thought run as fast you can from becoming known as someone who has gone all in on believing her story.

    The irony is that Tara Reade was supposed to be hung around Biden’s neck like an albatross and an accuser that the GOP would keep in the spotlight through the summer to slowly erode the public’s faith in Biden being a good candidate for President, instead she may indeed still be an albatross that helps erode the public’s support in a major political party, but that party’s name is the GOP, heh (or was I supposed to say indeed, that is conservative blogger thing to do right?).

    Seriously, yikes…explains why the President started to pivot and rant about Obamagate, which as another OTB member noted in this open forum has been masterfully laid out by David Frum as something that makes the President sound a bit unmoored from reality, even amongst his base (or as Frum put it, he has lost the plot and as a writer you must have smiled when you read that).

    I know a lot of folks will insist that things can change as there is plenty of time between now and the election but I am not so sure. I remember years ago reading a sharp article that pointed out that oftentimes voters have made up their minds about who to vote for about 6 months prior to an election and with June coming up November will be upon us faster than people think and we are at that 6 months out point.

    I think this is why McConnell sounds slightly more worried about keeping the Senate majority intact in the fall because President Trump just continues to embrace the conspiracy minded loons around him and this is hardening in folks minds as to who they do or do not want to vote for President in November.

    Again, I do not think McConnell is faking his worries for the cameras or to “trick” the libs into thinking we are safe, as it sounds like he should be worried about his and a whole lot of other Senators future political careers. Love him or hate him, that makes McConnell a smart man to see he should be worried and it is telling that it seems he does not want to spend a lot of energy convincing Trump to get his act together or else. I am guessing McConnell is just as much of a fan of the saying Don’t try to teach a pig to sing as the next person.

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  112. sam says:

    @Kit:
    “I love all these single down votes”

    I got downvoted for pointing out the pi is greater than 1.

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  113. Michael Cain says:

    @DrDaveT: Outside the Beltway — come for the politics, stay for the measure theory :^)

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  114. Stormy Dragon says:

    Good news: it looks like previous exposure to other coronaviruses offers partial protection against COVID 19

    https://twitter.com/profshanecrotty/status/1261052353773363200?s=20

    50% of unexposed people have antibodies that try to attack the spikes on a COVID19 virus.

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  115. Stormy Dragon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’m no philosopher, but is t his equivalent to, “given that there an infinite number of fractional numbers between 0 and 1, is it possible one of them is pi?

    There’s two types of infinite sets: countably infinite sets and uncountably infinite sets. Uncountably infinite sets are “even more infinitie” than countably infinite sets. Fractions are a countably infinite set, real numbers are an uncountably infinite set.

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  116. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    So maybe the antibody tests are detecting antibodies to related viruses, as I’ve speculated with little basis in fact, rather than the Trump virus. And if so, big if, the tests need to be refined, or they’d be of limited to no use.

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  117. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kathy:

    That’s possible, but then they may not be of no use, because they antibodies they are testing would still seem to help protect you. It could be the “asymptomatic carriers” everyone keeps talking about are all the people who previously had a “common cold” coronavirus

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  118. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: That was my thought, too. They could have dirt on 30 women who’ve aborted a Trump baby, and the base wouldn’t care, they’d find some way to justify it.

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  119. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: that’s just what the Continuum Hypothesis Wants you to think. 😀

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  120. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Teve:

    Hush, or I’ll cut you into a finite number of pieces that can be assembled into two copies of yourself!

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  121. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    By asymptomatic, or presymptomatic, carriers, I take it to mean people infected with the trump virus who’ve yet to show symptoms, or who’ve recovered with light or no symptoms at all.

    If the antibody tests are picking up these related coronaviruses, that would mean there aren’t that many people infected with SARS-CoV2 who didn’t get sick. This would drive the mortality rate upwards, too.

    It’s really hard to get solid rates with incomplete data.

    BTW, a coworker felt ill yesterday. She went to the doctor, and reported it didn’t seem to be COVID-19, but rather vertigo (beats me, I got this third hand). In any case, the boss arranged for the whole department to be tested Monday. the test is made by the lab that does much of our food safety and personnel clinical analyses; they’re solid (and named after Alexander Fleming).

    What bugs me is the boss isn’t concerned enough to arrange for more of us to work from home, or to enforce the company policy to wear masks at work (he doesn’t wear one), nor to stagger lunch hours so not everyone eats shoulder to shoulder at the same table at the office.

    That’s why this thing keeps spreading: people don’t take it seriously enough to take precautions.

    I get it, the precautions are major pain in the a**. But dying is a little bit worse, and getting sick isn’t any better.

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  122. Teve says:

    @Jax:
    Reporter: “President Trump, how do you respond to the documented evidence that you pressured 30 women into getting abortions?”
    Trump: “That was back when I was a Democrat. Democrats are always doing terrible things like killing innocent unborn babies. That’s why Democrats are evil.”
    MAGAs: “WOOOOHOOOOO! TAKE THAT LIBTARDS!” (shoot rifles in the air)

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  123. Teve says:

    @clintsmithIII

    I would like to see a venn diagram of the people who are saying that making people wear masks is akin to taking away their freedom, and the people who said the 1619 project didn’t give white people enough credit.

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  124. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kathy:

    No, what I’m saying that if Jack gets exposed to COVID19 and dies, and John gets exposed to COVID19 and nothing happens, the difference may be that three years ago John got another coronavirus, so his body is able to fight off COVID19 better than Jack, who wasn’t.

    If that is the case, then an antibody test picking up John’s old coronavirus antibodies is still useful because we now know he’s at less risk for COVID19 complications than Jack (keeping in mind this is speculation on my part, not the person who wrote the original paper).

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  125. Michael Cain says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I have been reading papers that looked into the differences in fatality rates for urban vs rural settings for the 1918 flu. Speaking broadly, that flu was much more lethal in rural areas. (Even though as most of the authors note, the images associated with the history of the pandemic are almost all urban.) The most common hypothesis on why is that urban folks, living in a more crowded area, were regularly exposed to other flu variants and acquired a certain degree of resistance to the 1918 version.

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  126. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I rate that as limited use. It would be good to know, yes, but some people might take it as license to ditch all precautions because, after all, they’ll be fine. it will be just like the flu, or maybe not even that bad. But, of course, they may spread it to those who are vulnerable even as they don’t fare too badly.

    On the epidemiology front, a positive result may not tell you anything about the spread of the disease.

    So, the use is real, but limited. It’s almost as though this is happening in the real world.

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  127. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @Teve:

    That Trump is gone. Today’s Trump has lost the plot. He’s talking about things most voters could not even understand, let alone care about. Yes, Flynn lied to the FBI. But you have to see, the FBI’s interview was not properly predicated …

    I would like to believe you (and Frum) that this is true. But Trump isn’t approaching it from a legalistic or nuanced manner like that. He’s not even saying Flynn lied. He’s shouting to the heavens that it was a plot and frame-up by the Deep State and those nasty Obama people, and much of his base seems to care about that very deeply. Being angry seems to be a requirement for many of them.

    In other words, for him to be talking about things his base doesn’t care about, he’d have to be talking about actual reality. But he (and they) live in their (probably parallel) universe of reality, not ours.

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  128. al Ameda says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Conversely, some of the kids (under 30) from my office are going stir crazy, because they’re living four to a two-bedroom in Downtown LA, Hollywood, West Hollywood, NoHo or Silverlake with almost zero ability to truly self isolate. It’s gotta suck for them. They’re having to trust that their roommates are doing the right thing.

    Pretty much dead on. I have a 30+ daughter who lives in the city and she complain about how hard it is to take simple walks with the appropriate distancing. I however live in the country suburbs 60 miles north of San Francisco and it is easy to get out and walk with distancing easily accomplished.

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  129. Teve says:

    I downloaded the Eric Schmidt book How Google Works, and it’s really just self aggrandizing pap. Most business books are garbage and this one is too. Narconomics, analyzing the entire drug trade with simple economic theory, is really interesting and insightful. Scott Galloway’s book The Four, about Amazon Apple Facebook and Google, was really pretty good.

    But I’m out of ideas and I need suggestions for non-fiction.

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  130. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Off the top of my head:

    If you have an Audible subscription, look through their catalog of The Great Courses lecture series. They cover a wide range of topics.

    From Egyptologist Kara Cooney, “The Woman Who Would Be King,” about the life of Hatshepsut, a woman who ruled as pharaoh in the Middle Kingdom; and “When Women Ruled the World*” about the lives of six women who ruled Egypt (Hatshepsut is one).

    Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly everything” does a great job explaining biology, physics, chemistry, etc. Also from Bryson “Made in America,” tackles some terms and their histories in context.

    Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short” and from Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera “All the Devils Are Here,” cover the 2008 financial meltdown.

    “The Internationalists” by Oona A Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro, legal scholars, a history claiming war was outlawed through the Pact of Paris after WWI, and how that came to be. IMO, they make a good case, but they aren’t fully right, as Bush the younger went and showed.

    “The March of Folly” by barbara Tuchman looks at eras/events she deems pure folly. The first chapter is on the Trojans taking in the Horse. The rest deals with history, she includes Vietnam, the Renaissance Popes, and more.

    “Lies My Teacher Told Me” and “Lies Across America” by James W. Loewen look at the reality behind the myths in US history, and how such myths get commemorated in monuments and markers.

    Carl Sagan’s “The Demon Hunted World,” looks at critical thinking, and how things like witch hunts, alien abduction “experiences” and more take place.

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  131. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @sam: And you also got downvoted for noting what you said that got a downvote. That’s cold.

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  132. Teve says:

    @Kathy: Thanks! I just put ‘all the devils are here’ on the list, and I can’t find it at a nearby library. Sagan and Lewis and Bryson I’ve read nearly everything. By the way, if science is your thing, ‘she has her mothers laugh’ is one of the best pop science books I’ve ever read.

    I just put a hold on when women ruled the world.

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  133. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Cain:

    come for the politics, stay for the measure theory

    Hey, I stopped short of talking about the Cantor set. It was hard, but I resisted temptation.

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  134. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    I just put a hold on when women ruled the world.

    And I left an asterisk dangling. So:

    *Spoiler alert: they didn’t.

    But it’s worth it. Dr. Cooney’s book contains the first, albeit, short history of Cleopatra I’ve read that doesn’t give equal or greater billing to Caesar and Mark Anthony.

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  135. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    But I’m out of ideas and I need suggestions for non-fiction.

    A few recent favorites:

    Through the Language Glass, Guy Deutscher. Picks the kernels of truth out of the crazy old Whorf hypothesis, with solid experimental evidence. Includes a fascinating discussion of the different way various cultures parse colors, including the mystery of the missing colors in Homer.

    Prime Obsession, John Derbyshire. Half biographies of key mathematicians in the history of number theory, half very accessible (no calculus required) proof of the Prime Number theorem and discussion of the Riemann Hypothesis. The closest a non-mathematician can get to understanding why the Riemann Hypothesis is the most important open problem in math.

    Fixing English, Anne Curzan. A linguist’s take on the history of prescriptivism in English, and how it has affected how the language evolves.

    The Archimedes Codex, Reviel Netz and William Noel. Subtitled “How a medieval prayer book is revealing the true genius of antiquity’s greatest scientist.” Good mix of math geekery and imaging technology geekery.

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  136. Stormy Dragon says:

    @DrDaveT:

    If you liked Prime Obsession, he wrote another book on the history of algebra called Unknown Quantity that’s even better. The downside is the author became a white supremacist about 10 years later, so even though he wrote two good books, you may not want him getting your book buying dollars.

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  137. Stormy Dragon says:

    My favorite non-fiction book of all time:

    Goedel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter. Which is one of those books that’s really hard to describe. The tag line was “A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll” which is probably the closest thing to an accurate description I’ve ever seen.

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  138. MarkedMan says:

    @sam: Ok, I hope this time the downvoted was just someone with a sense of humor.

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  139. MarkedMan says:

    Don’t know if it’s still in print but Gould’s “The Mismeasure of Man” is fantastic.

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  140. MarkedMan says:

    And I would also recommend Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel”

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  141. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve: If you haven’t read Sobel’s Longitude, I recommend it. I also suggest it for any first-year engineering student since it includes so much that they’re going to run up against: problems that take years to solve, competing solutions, politics, etc. It motivated me to spend way too much spare time one summer reading all kinds of odd things (bless my local library, part of a network that provides access to the stacks at a dozen different research universities) in order to figure out how you go from hand-carved wooden screws in 100 BCE to Jesse Ramsden’s accurate 125 threads per inch steel screws for surveying and scientific instruments by 1800 CE.

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  142. Teve says:

    I’ve read Hofstetter, read Gould, read Diamond. One of the reasons I turned to business books is that I’ve pretty much exhausted all of pop science.

    I just wish Theodore Sturgeon‘s rule didn’t apply to business books. So many of them are sooooooo terrible.

    ETA read Longitude. Good book. Been interested in watches ever since. 😀

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  143. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: I am all too familiar with Derbyshire. Got fired from national review for being too racist if I recall correctly. What is it about the history of math books and terrible people? If you ever see anything written by David Berlinski, set it on fire and run the other way.

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  144. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Yeah. I read GEB, for the first time, decades ago. My wife and I were reading one afternoon, and I started laughing. She asked what was so funny. I said it was hard to explain. So she demanded I show her. So I showed her a page of symbolic logic. It would have taken half the book to explain it. But it really was funny.

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  145. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: I read GEB because I saw a review in Scientific American. Their reviewer normally reviewed a handful of books, but he devoted his whole couple page column to GEB. And sounded like a man who’d just seen the Second Coming. So I thought I’d better read it, but book reviews come out well ahead of the book, and it sounded pretty weird, I didn’t even know what section to look for it in. Well, a month later I walked into my local bookstore and they had a carton of them lying by the front door. I lived in Ann Arbor at the time and my local bookstore was Borders. The original, and at the time only, Borders. And they knew their market.

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  146. DrDaveT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The downside is the author became a white supremacist about 10 years later

    Well, that sucks. Thanks for telling me. Sounds like a good reason to only read his books via the library.

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  147. DrDaveT says:

    @gVOR08:

    I read GEB because I saw a review in Scientific American.

    The irony there is that Hofstadter eventually replaced Martin Gardner as the Mathematical Games columnist at SciAm, which he renamed Metamagical Themas.

    I dearly loved GEB in 1980 when I first read it. I haven’t touched it in decades; I wonder how well it has worn. I will say that Hofstadter’s later book Le Ton Beau de Marot is simultaneously one of the most fascinating and most infuriating books I’ve ever read. The actual content that isn’t about Hofstadter is amazing, but the author is so full of himself that I could only ever read about 10 pages at a time. (And the less said about his collaborations with Doug Dennett, the better…)

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  148. Stormy Dragon says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Well, that sucks. Thanks for telling me. Sounds like a good reason to only read his books via the library.

    Unfortunately, if we got rid of all the great books written by authors who are terrible people, we’d have precious little left to read.

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  149. Stormy Dragon says:

    @DrDaveT:

    And the less said about his collaborations with Doug Dennett, the better…

    I really liked The Mind’s I

    I am a Strange Loop, on the other hand, is one of the worst books I ever read.

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