Friday’s Forum

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FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. clarkontheweekend says:

    Even though it’s summer and life is relatively good, I can’t be the only one who is feeling these wholly pangs of anxiety regarding the fact that democracy in the US could be ending. Feels like a real possibility. Then I think about living with a different, short term mindset, and maybe doing things I wouldn’t ordinarly do. Anyone else kinda thinking or feeling that? Just wondering where my head is at and if I’m on an island on this.

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  2. Jen says:

    @clarkontheweekend: You are not alone in this. I have both a personal and family history of anxiety, and I have had to implement all kinds of rules for myself to keep from spiraling. E.g., take a walk if I start to overthink. Pick up a book for an hour. Shut down the computer.

    I know I have it really good compared to the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants. It doesn’t make me feel any better knowing that we’re on a razor’s edge of throwing it away because people in a handful of states don’t understand how inflation works, or don’t care, or have serious cases of myopia. It’s depressing AF.

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  3. Tony W says:

    @Jen: @clarkontheweekend: I’m torn between two extremes – just live my So Cal life in the sunshine and don’t worry about the world burning around me, or protest in the streets every day to fight for for my grandkids.

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  4. Mikey says:

    Seen yesterday re: the passing of actor Donald Sutherland:

    “Damn it, God, wrong Donald!”

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Tom Mars
    @TomMarsLaw

    Getting into an argument with your favorite stripper after inviting her back to your home and then chasing her down the street with a loaded gun is about as “on brand” as it gets for GOP elected officials. ‍♂️

    Republicans against Trump
    @RpsAgainstTrump
    NEW

    Michigan state Rep. Neil Friske (R-Charlevoix) was arrested early Thursday morning after he reportedly chased a stripper with a gun after a disagreement the two had.

    According to initial reports from the Lansing-based MIRS News, Friske was arrested by the Lansing Police Department with a gun in his possession at 2:25 a.m. near his home, after sources said he allegedly chased an adult dancer from his home.

    Michigan GOP state Rep. Neil Friske arrested after alleged altercation with a stripper involving a firearm

    Friske’s campaign released a statement on Facebook several hours after his arrest, saying that the representative “is always exercising his 2nd Amendment right.” The campaign also insinuated, without proof, that the arrest is politically motivated, calling it “highly suspect.”

    eta Today’s GOP in a nutshell.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @clarkontheweekend: @Jen:

    I don’t allow myself to get worked up over things I have no control over, which is not to say I don’t get anxious about our near future because I do. But when I do, I turn off the computer/news/whatever. I just tune out in that moment. Call it a sanity break.

    For now, I do what I can, which is precious little, and will continue to right up until the election and if necessary afterwards. I have granddaughters, giving up is not an option.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘My heart does not have any other job’: Lhakpa Sherpa, the record-breaking Nepalese climber who cleans houses in Connecticut

    When Lhakpa Sherpa was a small child growing up in a tiny village in the Himalayas, her mother warned her that if she didn’t behave herself, the yetis would come and snatch her away.

    It was a hollow threat – or so she thought. Then, one day as she played outside with her friends, she saw them: very tall, with blond hair and blue eyes, climbing up the hill in her direction. The children screamed in panic and scattered. When Sherpa’s mother heard the commotion and saw the figures reaching the village, she too screamed and ran from the yetis. It was her community’s first encounter with western tourists.

    She tells this story to illustrate how far she has come: from Makalu – a verdant, temperate and sparsely populated Nepalese region on the doorstep of Mount Everest – to the slightly less atmospheric northern English city of Sheffield, where we meet during DocFest to talk about the documentary Mountain Queen: The Summits of Lhakpa Sherpa.

    It is a film that details the extraordinary life of a 48-year-old single mother working in a supermarket in the US state of Connecticut, who also happens to be one of the best mountain climbers in the world.

    Gonna have to catch her documentary.

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  8. Stormy Dragon says:

    @clarkontheweekend:

    There was a cabaret and there was a Master of Ceremonies! And there was this city called Berlin in a country called Germany, and it was the end of the world. And I was dancing with Sally Bowles! And we were both fast asleep…

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  9. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mikey:..wrong Donald

    I never trust god to do the right thing…

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  10. Kathy says:

    It’s a lovely fully overcast day with some drizzle, not a single speck of sunlight to be seen, and temperatures down to tolerable levels.

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  11. CSK says:
  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Maybe that idiot who showed up at Kavanaugh’s house with a gun did us all a favor by demonstrating to the supercilious 6 that they are not immune to their rulings.

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  13. CSK says:

    Neil Hudelson: How did your sister’s operation go?

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  14. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    If I were Ginny Thomas I’d be a trifle perturbed.

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  15. gVOR10 says:

    From The Guardian,

    The British journalist hired to lead the Washington Post’s newsroom has backed out of the job after the US newspaper’s own reporters began digging into his past.

    Rob Winnett, the deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph, had been due to take over the Washington Post newsroom in the autumn.

    One down.

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  16. Slugger says:

    I was looking at Yahoo news and saw an interesting proposal from Trump. https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-says-wants-foreign-nationals-031421157.html
    I haven’t seen any ripples from this, but it seems rather offbrand. Aren’t immigrants something that we are supposed to shun? Other than marrying them, of course.

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  17. Beth says:

    @clarkontheweekend:

    I was in a gay dive bar last night. Seeing a bunch of friends that depression has kept me from. We started talking about what we’re all doing for Pride over the next two weeks. I said, “This might be the last Pride we ever have. We need to enjoy it with all our hearts and then prepare for the worst.” Everyone understood.

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  18. SenyorDave says:

    @gVOR10: If you ever worked at a Murdoch paper that isn’t the London Times or the WSJ that should disqualify you for future employment at any newspaper in the future (people under 30 years old are exempt from that rule).

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  19. SenyorDave says:

    @CSK: Ginny gone, Clarence locked up for murder. Where’s the down side?

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  20. Kathy says:

    @Slugger:

    How many Russians, Chinese, and North Koreans (0) are expected to graduate next year from US colleges?

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  21. CSK says:

    @Slugger:

    Trump also promises he’ll release all the JFK assassination records.

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  22. MarkedMan says:

    For those still insisting that the members of Israel’s cabinet that advocate taking over control of Gaza are just outliers and have no real influence (despite being cabinet members and vital to the governments power), there’s this little gem (no subscription needed):

    An influential member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition told settlers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank that the government is engaged in a stealthy effort to irreversibly change the way the territory is governed, to cement Israel’s control over it without being accused of formally annexing it.

    While Mr. Smotrich’s opposition to ceding control over the West Bank is no secret, the Israeli government’s official position is that the West Bank’s status remains open to negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that Israel’s rule over the territory amounts to a temporary military occupation overseen by army generals, not a permanent civilian annexation administered by Israeli civil servants.

    Mr. Smotrich’s June 9 speech at a West Bank gathering may make that posture harder to maintain. In it, he outlined a carefully orchestrated program to take authority over the West Bank out of the hands of the Israeli military and turn it over to civilians working for Mr. Smotrich in the defense ministry. Parts of the plan have already been incrementally introduced over the past 18 months, and some authorities have already been transferred to civilians.

    This just reinforces my belief: this is a fight over land, in which both sides are willing to do anything, including mass killings, to drive the other side from the territories. Contrary to what many in the US assume, the Western world is not obligated to decide which side is marginally less morally repugnant and support them without conditions. We should disengage as much as possible from Israel and treat them as another squalid ME country. We should continue to treat Hamas as a terrorist group that serves as a proxy to Iran. And we should continue to look for people on either side who would be able to steer a sane way out of this insanity (people who don’t appear to exist at the moment).

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  23. MarkedMan says:
  24. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Hey, Trump said Epstein was “a terrific guy.”

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  25. Slugger says:

    @Kathy: There are more than a million foreign students in the US with around 260,000 Chinese. Could not find numbers for Russians, but Little Nikita was a favorite movie. I have a very liberal attitude towards immigration, but I thought Trump’s statement was surprising as was the absence of a response. Image Biden passing out Green Cards.

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  26. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: … who “likes em young!”

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  27. dazedandconfused says:

    Should be scored with the theme from “Twilight Zone”.

    Yup, this passed the Snopes test.

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  28. gVOR10 says:

    I just got back from a four week driving tour from FL to the Canadian border in ND, through WY, CO, and the upper Midwest, and back to FL. Went to ND for a grand niece’s HS graduation. Made pretty much the same trip a year ago for her sister. This one took extra classes to graduate a year early so she could get out of small town ND. (It fracking snowed the Friday before Memorial Day.)

    As a year ago, I was struck with just how rich this country is. A million square miles of farm land, all of it looking green and fertile. The corn is knee high by the fourth of June. Farm houses and extensive outbuildings looking well kept. Massive grain storage. Miles on miles of industrial areas. A million semis, all of them on my route, hauling stuff from where it was made, grown, or imported to where it’s wanted. Miles of newish strip malls all over the place to sell a lot of that stuff. It’s hard to believe we have a housing shortage with all the new and under construction houses and apartments. There are wind farms springing up like weeds and acres upon acres of solar with high lines all over. Dr. Taylor, we drove through Troy. Waved hi. Even Alabama looks prosperous these days.

    Seems to me we can, as a country, afford to do pretty much anything we want to do, no matter how much GOPs want to poor mouth.

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  29. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Chasing a stripper down the street while wielding a firearm is “exercising his Second Amendment rights?” Well, it’s creative anyway.

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  30. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Ginny was the first person I thought of when I read the headline, too.

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  31. just nutha says:

    @SenyorDave: 😀

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  32. just nutha says:

    @CSK: If the government learned anything from Watergate, any documents worth looking at were shredded decades ago.

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  33. MarkedMan says:

    @dazedandconfused: Not as weird (more weird?) than you think: The “Trump” in the show may well have been modeled after Donalds father. After all, Woody Guthrie actually wrote an (unrecorded) song about him, so he had entered the zeitgeist. No actual evidence it was him, unfortunately. But the dialog is on the nose:

    Narrator: The people were ready to believe. Like sheep they ran to the slaughterhouse. And waiting for them was the high priest of fraud.

    Trump: I am the only one. Trust me. I can build a wall around your homes that nothing will penetrate.

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  34. dazedandconfused says:

    @MarkedMan: Raises some goose bumps, doesn’t it? I intend to dump this into the next art-imitating-life or the other way around debate I encounter, just for giggles.

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  35. Kathy says:

    It hardly seems possible it’s been three years since Severance streamed its first season

    I think that’s because according to Wikipedia, it’s been two years.

    That’s still a long time to wait.

    Remember “Firefly”? I opted not to watch it when it aired. If it were cancelled after one season, I’d be very disappointed and annoyed*. And were it renewed, I could catch the first season over the summer break reruns. We know how that turned out.

    These days, I feel more like waiting for a streaming series to get a full run before I decide to see it. Not only because many are cancelled before their time, but the wait between seasons is juts too long.

    This is worse combined with the short seasons, and especially if there is a great dela of continuity or call backs.

    Take disenchantment. It did issue one season (or part) per year, but only ten eps long. I recall having to look up ep synopses online while watching season/part 4, just to remember when X character or event first happened.

    When I watched the last season earlier this year, I decided to stream it in full from the beginning. It took me almost three weeks (fifty eps), but it was much more satisfying.

    *I made the mistake of not waiting in the case of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I’m still annoyed.

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  36. wr says:

    @CSK: “Trump also promises he’ll release all the JFK assassination records.”

    Right. He meant to in his first four years, but that darn deep state kept him from doing it.

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  37. Matt says:

    @Kathy: I didn’t watch Firefly when it was aired for some reason.

    I watched it after the show was canceled and I kind of regret it. The show started off strong and had all kinds of potential. Usually when a sci fi series starts the first season is meh but not Firefly.

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  38. Kathy says:

    @Matt:

    I streamed the movie they made some time later. That one was self-contained (and pretty good). If the show was like that, I don’t get why it was ever cancelled.

    On other matters, I’m reading “To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party*” by Heather Cox Richardson. In the parts about Eisenhower, she claims Ike faced a lot of hostility from his party, namely he was accused of being a Communist (hilarious).

    I wanted to fact check that, so I asked Copilot “Was Eisenhower ever accused of being a Communist?”

    I got the bars closing shut and the suggestion I start over with another topic. It seems it, or its gatekeeper, if any, gets really touchy about partisan matters.

    *May it rest in peace.

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  39. JohnSF says:

    @MarkedMan:

    For those still insisting that the members of Israel’s cabinet that advocate taking over control of Gaza are just outliers and have no real influence…

    The situation has now changed; with the end of the War Cabinet with opposition representation, the nutcases in the coalition, led by Smotrich and BenGvir, are in a much stronger position.
    (When even Likud pols like Eisenkot think they are nuts, you can be pretty sure they are out there)

    This probably ties in to the previous Likud coalition campaign to curb the powers of Israel’s Supreme Court.

    Perhaps even more concerning in the near-term, there are increasing noises out of Israel that if Hezbollah continues its rocket attacks, Israel may mount a full-scale attack on Hezbollah, and southern Lebanon generally.
    I would further add that the probability of that conflict being “localised” is rather low.
    Expansion into Syria, at least on air war, is highly likely.

    Then of course there is the possible Iranian response, both direct and via other proxies, the Houthi in particular.

    Both stories indicate a shift in US/Israel relations: Israel now believes that, unlike in the 1980s/90s, it it can defy the US with relative impunity, due its changed economic and military capabilities.

    However, Israel is still taking a considerable risk.
    It is also now far more economically linked to Europe, which accounts for around 1/3 of both exports and imports.
    Overt annexation of the West Bank has a rather high probability of a diplomatic crisis with Europe, where Germany has been a critical source of support.

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  40. Bill Jempty says:

    Dear Wife and I are back in the United States. We’ll be back in Florida tonight. Right now we’re at DFW.

    The trip was both fun and productive. I got the research done for one of my next books. DW and I will be going to Japan next year.

    In the meantime I’m looking forward to sleeping in my bed tonight.

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  41. DrDaveT says:

    @wr:

    Right. He meant to in his first four years, but…

    This should be a recurring theme of the Biden campaign. “Whatever he’s promising, why didn’t he do it last time he was President? Either he doesn’t really want to, or he can’t. In the end, it doesn’t really matter which — electing Trump won’t get it for you.”

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  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: For what it’s worth, the innertubes tell me that, among other places, Firefly can be streamed on Hulu, Vudu, Disney+, Apple TV, and Amazon Video. I knew that it could be streamed somewhere because Luddite suggested that I try it, so I watched an episode. I didn’t care for it; I don’t even recall that I completed first episode.

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  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: My take was that the opposition members in the war cabinet were installed to be the designated blamees when (not if) the results died from a terminal case of the swirlies. But perhaps I’m too cynical.

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  44. Bill Jempty says:

    I was sad to hear Donald Sutherland passed away. His NYT obituary, which notes Sutherland’s sometimes odd portrayals, fails to make mention of the oddest of them all. Oddball in Kelly’s Heroes. I hope that Times reporter is getting some negative waves from his editor for neglecting to make note of Oddball.

    Woof woof and RIP Donald Sutherland

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  45. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:

    “Was Eisenhower ever accused of being a Communist?”

    I’d actually come across this before, when I was a history student, and one of my areas of interest was US and UK policy in the Cold War.
    This was a thing with the Birchers and the Bircher-adjacent in the Republican right, amazingly enough.
    A good recent study: D. J. Mulloy “The World of the John Birch Society: Conspiracy, Conservatism, and the Cold War”
    Eisenhower was hated because he refused to eradicate the New Deal legacy, or Truman’s reforms, not to mention deploying the 101st in support of court ordered de-segregation in Little Rock. And he despised McCarthy.

    One of their idiotic attack lines was that Eisenhower failure to occupy Bohemia and drive on Berlin was evidence of being a “communist sympathiser”.
    Ironically, recycling some British criticism of Ike for neglecting political aspects of the closing stages of WW2 in Europe; except said Brits had never been so silly as to consider Eisenhower a “pinko com-symp”.

    And also his failure to “unleash Chiang Kai-shek”
    (American Right KMT stans are one of most objectively hilariously nutty strands of US politics in the 1950’s)

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  46. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Quite possibly.
    And I think that’s why Gallant walked out when he did.

    Gallant is pretty well connected to the IDF and Israeli security establishment, who are sensible enough to see that Netanyahu’s refusal to address a post-conflict security/political framework from Gaza is folly, driven by the politics of his coalition.

    Which in turn is driven by the prime directive of keeping Bibi’s bonny behind out of jail.

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  47. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    IMO Firefly takes a while to get into, because until you get the background of the story, it doesn’t make much sense, and Mal Reynolds is just an opportunistic asshole.

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  48. Jax says:

    @Bill Jempty: Glad you made it back! Ozark’s been working double-time giving us headlines of the day, cuz someone’s got to!!!

    Enjoy your bed!

    Now if only de Stijl would check in, I’d feel like my OTB family is ok.

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  49. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I don’t think I should take it up now, but thanks for the tip.

    @JohnSF:

    I thought the use of “communist” and/or “socialist” as a general scare word term was of more recent vintage. Apparently it goes way, way back. Not to the mid-20th century, either, but to the late 1800s; long before anyone had implemented any form of communism anywhere.

    You know in Hitchhiker’s Guide Ford thinks when humans star talking, their brains stop working? I swear many Americans’ brains stop working the moment they hear either communism or socialism.

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  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Taking today’s conversations a completely different direction:
    I had trouble tracking an order I placed last week. The tracking number I was given reported that the package was delivered 4 months ago to someone in a completely different state.

    The company filling my order reports that the carrier has started recycling tracking numbers. This caused me to wonder how many quadrillion packages a company needs to have shipped to need to recycle a 26-digit number. Yow! (And WA-aaa! too)

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  51. CSK says:

    @Jax:

    Wherever De Stihl is, I hope he’s okay.

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  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: I didn’t have trouble with the background of the story. I just didn’t care for/about it. On the other hand, I’ve been enjoying watching both TV versions of La Femme Nikita. They’re hilariously ridiculous. Almost like watching Coburn as Secret Agent Flint or Dean Martin as Matt Helm.

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  53. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    They might not have all the digits available.

    Take credit cards. Here’s a good explanation of the structure of the numbers.

    No idea how this works with shipping, which may not have the interoperability credit cards have. But groups of digits used by the same courier service may indicate fixed things, like origin, destination, shipper account, type of shipping (ground, air, next day, same day, etc.), and who knows what all else.

    I suppose computers play a large part. Maybe a computer spotting a, for example, “7485” as the 16th trough 19th digits, for example, knows the package goes on the plane to LA, without having to look up the waybill number in a database. This might be slightly faster, and multiplied by thousands of packages handled daily, it may be a substantial time savings. Especially if other digit groups help route the item as well.

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  54. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Brings to mind an anecdote re. UK Labour minister on a visit to US around 1948 canvassing support for the North Atlantic Treaty.
    On after being introduced to a largely Republican audience in the Mid–West as “anti-Communists” and cheered to the rafters, he asked an aide: “Do you think we should tell them we are socialists?”

    The US conservative Right seldom seems to have understood how much European democratic socialist/social democrats loathed the Bolsheviki Communists.

    That the majority of the European signatories of the North Atlantic Treaty were from Left parties might have served as a clue.

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  55. JohnSF says:

    @gVOR10:
    I recall a British TV series from a few years back, that looked at US transport. The figures on the shipping on the Mississippi were jaw dropping.
    And there was a fascinating bit on the BRC Clearing Yard near Chicago. The workers there were so skilled in using gravity lines and switching to route wagons and assemble trains.
    I do love the working class making the real stuff work.

    A similarly European experience: driving to southern France on holiday from Britain, going west of Paris, you go through the region known as the Beauce.
    Mile after mile after hundreds of miles of wheatfields, cornfields, silos, food processing plants, machine hire yards, wind turbines (even then) on the ridges, rather dusty, but evidently prosperous villages.
    One of the breadbaskets of Europe (along with Poland, and East Anglia).
    What European agricultural policy has helped produce, in a region once known for rural poverty.
    And euro-sceptic fools willfully cannot see what has been achieved.

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  56. Mimai says:

    @Jax:
    I hope this isn’t him.

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  57. Beth says:

    @Mimai:

    Oh no.

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  58. Beth says:

    @Mimai:

    Oh no.

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  59. James Joyner says:

    @Mimai: @Beth: If the email address associated with the comments over the years is real, it’s not him. It’s an old AOL address with a first initial and last name that I’m finding used on lots of message boards going back to at least 1998. None of the names are Ronald or Edward or Yarbrough.

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  60. Jax says:

    @James Joyner: Well, that’s a relief. Maybe he’ll show back up after the election.

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  61. Mimai says:

    @James Joyner: Thanks James, appreciate you following up on this.

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