Friday’s Forum

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. Bill says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Unadulterated good news: The Far Side is back.

    His website.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US unemployment claims up by 1.3m as states back away from reopening plans

    So. Much. Winning.

    One man’s story:

    Antonio Diaz of Miami, Florida, filed for unemployment when he was laid off from his job as a bellman at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, where he has worked for over 15 years. He received one $275 check from the state in April once his application went through, but has not received another payment since. Attempts to contact the state department in charge of distributing unemployment insurance have failed, and Diaz is quickly running out of savings.

    On top of dealing with a halt in his income, Diaz’s grandfather and father have both died from the virus, leaving him to take care of his grandmother.

    “I feel a mix of emotion,” Diaz said in Spanish through a translator. “I feel rage with the governor, with him holding on to our unemployment checks, and then at the same time, throughout this, I feel sadness because I’m still grieving and I have to take care of my grandmother.

    “Without this help from Florida unemployment, it has made this whole process a lot more difficult and it’s made it more difficult for me to be able to support her.”

    Republican governance at it’s finest.

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  4. Kylopod says:

    One particular observation in an NYT report on the recent surge in Covid-19 cases supports something I’ve been saying:

    The numbers were especially striking in Texas, which set a record for the fourth consecutive day with more than 10,900 cases. Nearly one in 10 of them were in Hidalgo County, which consists of over a thousand square miles of scrub and urban sprawl on the Mexico border.

    Hidalgo County is one of the poorest counties in the US. It’s over 90% Hispanic and voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

    Even though the surge in Covid-19 cases is being triggered by Republican irresponsibility, it’s still concentrated in the metro areas and disproportionately affects minorities and the poor. This is why I can’t bring myself to gloat about what Republicans are doing. Their actions are causing a lot of Democratic voters to die. It isn’t just a closed loop of Darwin Award stupidity, as many liberals imagine.

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  5. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Unadulterated good news: The Far Side is back.

    The Far Side is probably my favorite comic of all time, but I understood why he ended it in the mid-1990s. It was growing stale, and he was clearly burnt out. We’ll see if he’s gotten his mojo back or not.

    I wonder if any of his new cartoons are going to address current events. His original ones generally weren’t topical or political, though I always suspected him of leaning left. There were significant environmental themes, and he often mocked religious fundamentalists. Is he going to address Covid-19, or is he just aiming to make a little harmless escapist fun that doesn’t comment on the present situation?

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  6. Jen says:

    @Kylopod:

    It isn’t just a closed loop of Darwin Award stupidity, as many liberals imagine.

    I haven’t seen that. Virtually every liberal I know personally notes that Trump seemed to stop caring about the impact of the virus when it became apparent who it was killing. And liberals and moderates alike are painfully aware that the danger is that it spreads without regard to political affiliation.

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  7. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kylopod:

    Indeed. I read a blurb earlier which indicated that the positivity rate in Miami-Dade is now approaching 40%. They could have had this under control had they stayed the course, but willfully chose to sacrifice lives for economic reasons. There’s no other way to characterize the foolhardy decisions to prematurely abandon precautions.

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Televangelists take a slice as churches accept billions in US coronavirus aid

    More than 10,600 religious organizations have taken at least $3bn in coronavirus financial aid from the US government, according to an analysis by the Guardian, raising concerns about the separation of church and state.
    ………………………….
    There is no restriction against churches – which do not pay taxes, don’t have to disclose their funding sources, and aren’t subject to all anti-discrimination laws – from receiving publicly funded forgivable PPP coronavirus relief loans.

    Rachel Laser, the chief executive of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said the situation was unprecedented and unacceptable.

    “The American government at the federal level has never before subsidized houses of worship to pay for the salaries of their clergy,” Laser said. “At Americans United we believe that the first amendment clearly forbids this. The Small Business Administration of the Trump administration may have allowed it, but the constitution forbids it.”

    But churches contacted by the Guardian said that they – just like other employers – need the money to keep paying staff, contributing to local economies and serving their communities. The Guardian attempted to contact all of the organizations in this story for comment.

    Michael McConnell, a constitutional law professor at Stanford University and a former judge, said he did not see a problem with churches taking aid.

    “The purpose of the program was to subsidize employers so that laid-off workers would not lose their jobs, and that purpose is as important when it comes to a church secretary as it is when it is a receptionist in an office,” McConnell said.
    …………………..
    Most of the thousands of churches that received aid are not mired in controversy. They range in size and denomination.

    Yeah but still, something just doesn’t feel right about organizations “which do not pay taxes, don’t have to disclose their funding sources, and aren’t subject to all anti-discrimination laws” receiving publicly funded forgivable loans, no matter how much “good” they do (let’s just say that “good” is in the eye of the beholder). Besides, there’s always the bottom feeders:

    Bakker, of Morningside Church Productions in Missouri, was defrocked by the Assemblies of God after a highly publicized sexual encounter with a church secretary; was imprisoned in the 90s on dozens of fraud and conspiracy charges surrounding his church fundraising; and now promotes emergency survival products. He has been sued by Missouri’s attorney general for allegedly selling a fake “coronavirus cure”. His representatives have defended the product. Morningside received between $350,000 and $1m.

    Popoff, of People United for Christ in California, was exposed for using an earpiece to receive radio messages from his wife so he could pretend to know personal details about his audience members during religious services. He also promotes miracle spring water and claims to be a prophet. His church received between $350,000 and $1m as well.

    Word of Faith Fellowship, which the Associated Press calls a “secretive North Carolina sect”, also received funds. The organization has been investigated for allegedly abusing congregants and its leaders have faced charges from fraud to human trafficking, according to NPR. The group’s website responds to various allegations in a section called “Response to Media Lies”.

    Pete Evans, who investigates religious fraud for the Trinity Foundation, said he had expected controversial churches would receive the aid.

    “You’re getting free money, and that’s what these guys are good at,” Evans said.
    ……………………..
    Among the top loan recipients is Joyce Meyer Ministries, a Missouri-based Christian ministry with TV shows and radio programs. It received between $5m and $10m, even though it reported having $12m cash on hand at the end of 2019, according to an annual financial report.

    Meyer’s own lavish lifestyle has come under scrutiny, including when her church was one of six of the biggest in America investigated during a Senate inquiry into the tax-exempt status of religious organizations in 2007.

    Scum sucking bottom feeders.

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  9. MarkedMan says:

    Roughly two weeks ago I noted that the death rate was not rising along with the case rate, and expressed some hope that it would last. But last week the hospitalization rate in the worst states made it clear that was not the case. And this week the death rate is starting to really ramp up in Arizona, Florida, Texas and a few other Trump states. It’s not looking good. We are starting to see shortages of masks and other protective gear, and I’m about to travel for the first time during the crises to a plant manufacturing N95 masks to help them get some new equipment online. I’m pretty darn sure that the vast majority of that production, maybe all of it, is being sold outside the US.

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  10. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    I haven’t seen that. Virtually every liberal I know personally notes that Trump seemed to stop caring about the impact of the virus when it became apparent who it was killing. And liberals and moderates alike are painfully aware that the danger is that it spreads without regard to political affiliation.

    That may be, but on these forums I’ve definitely run across a fair amount of gloating, invoking of the Darwin Award concept, and speculation that the virus will kill off more Republican voters. Now, even if that were true (and I have no doubt that it applies in individual instances like those megachurch gatherings or the Tulsa rally), I wouldn’t be joining in the gloating. These are still people. But at least I’d understand where the gloaters were coming from. But in this case I think the gloaters aren’t just being inhumane, but are also somewhat deluded about where the impact will be felt the most.

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:
  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Top US general vows response if military confirms reports of Russian bounties

    “Well, if the president isn’t going to say anything…”

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  13. Jon says:

    @Kylopod: I’m not sure it is meaningful to extrapolate from posters/commenters at OTB to society at large.

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  14. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Roughly two weeks ago I noted that the death rate was not rising along with the case rate, and expressed some hope that it would last.

    It wasn’t clear why this was happening. Two theories that got floated around were that it was disproportionately affecting younger people who were likelier to survive, and that medical treatment for it had simply improved. These were the relatively optimistic explanations, though if there’s any truth to the former theory it’s a double-edged sword, because it means more young people are going to die or be left with debilitating long-term health problems.

    On the other hand, it may have just been that that the death rates were a lagging indicator and would soon catch up–which seems to be what’s happening now.

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  15. SKI says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Yeah but still, something just doesn’t feel right about organizations “which do not pay taxes, don’t have to disclose their funding sources, and aren’t subject to all anti-discrimination laws” receiving publicly funded forgivable loans, no matter how much “good” they do (let’s just say that “good” is in the eye of the beholder).

    Counter-point: small houses of worship can and are using those funds to keep employing the staff they would otherwise have had to furlough due to the closing of their facilities. Those staff, almost all of whom are working class, do pay taxes and would be claiming unemployment insurance without PPP.

    Yes, there are grifters and conmen and bad actors – like in every other sector. Go after the evil ones with a vengeance. Go after the grifters but don’t condemn the secretaries and custodial staff by being anti-religious.

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  16. SKI says:

    @Kylopod: All three are true.

    We have gotten better at treatment.
    Young people are getting it more and have a lower mortality rate.
    And death is a lagging indicator

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  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SKI: To repeat:

    But churches contacted by the Guardian said that they – just like other employers – need the money to keep paying staff, contributing to local economies and serving their communities. The Guardian attempted to contact all of the organizations in this story for comment.

    Michael McConnell, a constitutional law professor at Stanford University and a former judge, said he did not see a problem with churches taking aid.

    “The purpose of the program was to subsidize employers so that laid-off workers would not lose their jobs, and that purpose is as important when it comes to a church secretary as it is when it is a receptionist in an office,” McConnell said.
    …………………..
    Most of the thousands of churches that received aid are not mired in controversy. They range in size and denomination.

    And let me repeat this:

    Yeah but still, something just doesn’t feel right about organizations “which do not pay taxes, don’t have to disclose their funding sources, and aren’t subject to all anti-discrimination laws” receiving publicly funded forgivable loans, no matter how much “good” they do (let’s just say that “good” is in the eye of the beholder).

    You can rationalize it all you want, I won’t.

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  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod:

    Two theories that got floated around

    I think there was more than a little wishful thinking there, not that they were wrong to think that, just that they were wrong to get their hopes up so much because death rates have always been a lagging indicator. At this point in time there is no telling exactly how these factors effect the death rate.

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  19. SKI says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You seem to be missing the points that (a) the aid isn’t principally for organizations but for employees and (b) those employees pay taxes. It is deliberately an attempt to prevent individuals from being laid off. The workers at places of worship pay taxes and would be eligible for unemployment insurance.

    You say I’m “rationalizing”. I’m saying you aren’t being rational.

    One other point – it isn’t just churches. It is synagogues, mosques, non-religious charities, etc. What about non-profit medical facilities like FQHCs? You would deny them too?

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  20. KM says:

    @Kylopod:
    Another reason why the death rate isn’t going up is a lot of states are playing fast and loose with what “counts”. FL is particular is notorious for having fired someone for pointing out they’re fudging their numbers and not counting all COVID deaths properly. They’ve had a huge spike in “pneumonia” deaths in summer, for god’s sake and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen reporting that there are unexplained spikes in other categories. They’ve been shuffling the corpses for months now but it’s going to get to the point where even they can’t hide it all…..

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  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SKI: Haysoos crispo…

    You seem to be missing the points that (a) the aid isn’t principally for organizations* but for employees and (b) those employees pay taxes. It is deliberately an attempt to prevent individuals from being laid off. The workers at places of worship pay taxes and would be eligible for unemployment insurance.

    How in Satan’s name can I be missing a point that I have now quoted twice? Or do you just skip over those parts? And don’t tell me it also goes to “synagogues, mosques,” I read the f’n article to begin with and I don’t care. As to “non-religious charities, etc and non-profit medical facilities like FQHCs?” Your damn right I would deny them too, IF

    They do not pay taxes, don’t have to disclose their funding sources, and aren’t subject to all anti-discrimination laws”

    But, you seem to be working overly hard at missing my point. And just in case you think I am somehow or other unaware of the laws, yes, I know it is legal. And just in case you still don’t get it, yes, I have a problem with the fact that organizations can “not pay taxes, don’t have to disclose their funding sources, and aren’t subject to all anti-discrimination laws” because guess what? I have to pay taxes, I have to disclose my funding, and I am subject to anti-discrimination laws. I also don’t get to impose my religious dogma on my employees or deny people health care because of my religious dogma.

    Of course, not having any religious dogma, I am unlikely to try and make other people live as I see fit.

    *one more thing: “the aid isn’t principally for organizations” is correct, the aid isn’t, but when the likes of Jimmy Swaggert can get his hands on a million bucks, do you really think he’s not gonna skim some off the top? Maybe all of it? I don’t trust anyone who hides their books. Why would I?

    ETA: and I have to go, so I will be unable to answer for at least several hours, if at all. So if it’s just a pointless argument you are looking for, you are sure to be disappointed.

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  22. Bill says:

    @SKI:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Yeah but still, something just doesn’t feel right about organizations “which do not pay taxes, don’t have to disclose their funding sources, and aren’t subject to all anti-discrimination laws” receiving publicly funded forgivable loans, no matter how much “good” they do (let’s just say that “good” is in the eye of the beholder).

    Counter-point: small houses of worship can and are using those funds to keep employing the staff they would otherwise have had to furlough due to the closing of their facilities. Those staff, almost all of whom are working class, do pay taxes and would be claiming unemployment insurance without PPP.

    Precisely. My wife has been an employee of our local Roman Catholic Church since 1993. Our parrish, not the Diocese, pays her salary. However our health insurance comes through the Diocese.

    What good does this church do? If not for the wife’s health insurance, I’d be dead.

    The parrish is paying the employer half of the social security tax levied on my wife’s (and all other lay workers) wages. Our parrish has a used truck that maintenance people use for their work. How anyone can get around paying any tax on gasoline which is heavily taxed, Federal, state, and local, would be beyond me. So its a myth that churches don’t pay any taxes.

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  23. Bill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    They do not pay taxes,

    Yes they do. The employer portion of social security tax for any lay workers.

    Our local parrish employs my wife as a receptionist, 2 maintenance people, a bookkeeper, a religious education director, a couple of cleaning people, a cook at least. Those are all lay people.

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  24. JohnSF says:

    @MarkedMan:
    @Kylopod:
    @SKI:
    The worst will come if/when peaks overwhelm local intensive care capacity; then death rates appear to at least double.
    There is some indication that in Florida the recent surge in cases is about to show in death rates.
    New daily case passed 5,000 c. June 24.
    Deaths had daily average of around 50 roughly pretty steady over the past few months.
    On July 9 it jumped past 100, which could be expected with a 15 to 20 day lag, which seems to be the general case globally.
    Texas seems to be following a similar pattern.

    At what level IC demand overwhelms capacity and death rates step up again, I have no idea.

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  25. Kathy says:

    The churches getting PPP funds is an even better argument for a direct UBI.

    But, we come back to the same argument as “tax the churches.” If the state has a tax exempt status for non-profit organizations, then it has to apply to all non-profits that comply with the rules, secular and religious alike.

    There are other problems with religious exemptions, such as the very bad decision made by the Supreme court earlier in the week. There are also mostly “Christian” preachers taking advantage of loopholes for personal gain. Those can be addressed without nuking the non-profit fiscal regime.

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  26. Monala says:

    @Kylopod: I looked at the changes over time charts on Worldometer. States opened up in May and June. Cases had been declining nationwide since late April. They started rising again on June 20th. Deaths started rising again this week. That tracks with what we know about how Covid progresses.

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  27. Kathy says:

    In one of his robot novels, Asimov imagined a planet, named Solaria, where the human inhabitants avoided each other’s physical presence at all times. The whole planet was inhabited by 20,000 people, and ten million robots. Each person had a vast estate and they were all very wealthy. Yet they were about as sociable as anyone, meeting frequently through elaborate, realistic holograms.

    This has been described as “nightmarish.” I bet right now it sounds great.

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  28. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI: Sure. But they don’t pay taxes. They don’t have to obey discrimination laws. To some degree they have lobbied to pull themselves out of governance. Why should they still get the benefits of that governance?

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  29. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI: Non-religious institutions are bound by anti discrimination laws. And in general, they still pay property taxes. Churches are exempt, although I’m not sure if that is a national or a local decision. And let’s be honest: the vast majority of those church related charitable deductions that reduce tax revenues go to simply maintain the church and the clergy and the staff. What percentage actually goes to the work that other non-profits do? 1%? 0.1%?

    Churches have deliberately taken themselves out of the “governed”.

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  30. Bill says:

    @MarkedMan: But they don’t pay taxes.

    Again this is bullshit.

    Yes they do. The employer portion of social security tax for any lay workers.

    Our local parrish* employs my wife as a receptionist, 2 maintenance people, a bookkeeper, a religious education director, a music director, a couple of cleaning people, a cook at least. Those are all lay people.

    Our parrish has a used truck that maintenance people use for their work. How anyone can get around paying any tax on gasoline which is heavily taxed, Federal, state, and local, would be beyond me. So its a myth that churches don’t pay any taxes.

    So its a myth that churches don’t pay any taxes.

    *- I may be wrong, but by count of parishioners, our church is the smallest in the diocese. It certainly is one of the smallest. Bigger churhes in the local diocese will employ many more workers. Don’t forget all the lay workers the diocese employs too in their main office in Palm Beach Gardens.

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  31. Bill says:

    @MarkedMan:

    What percentage actually goes to the work that other non-profits do? 1%? 0.1%?

    Not even in the ballpark. The annual diocesan appeal requires the local church to pay the diocese X amount of dollars in order to do charitable work. For our parrish, the figure is 100 grand or a little higher. Where does that money come from? From donations.

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  32. Bill says:

    More on the myth* that churches pay no taxes

    What about phone, electric, internet etc? All of these bills come with taxes.

    * My hammering this may get me called a troll again or having someone wish I’d go away again. People don’t like hearing they are wrong.

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  33. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan:

    fifth graph down

    Deaths rose significantly this week.

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  34. Kathy says:

    @Monala:

    The daily case numbers are a good illustration of trends. In the US you see cases spiking up sharply, then trending down during the lock down period, then trending back up again shortly after re-opening.

    In Mexico, in contrast, cases simply trend up non-stop. So there are worse ways of managing a pandemic. Add the nearly non-existent testing, and the numbers are rather scary. Also, I can see an irregular pattern, where new cases drop off on Mondays, then begin to rise through the week, then fall off again next Monday. This tells me fewer tests are conducted over the weekend.

    I still have some vacation time left (one thing Mexico is generous with is paid vacation days), which I plan to take in August. I’ve no illusions that the country will have peaked by then. The only thing that may work to drive down numbers will be a vaccine.

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  35. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Bill:

    I can see both points of view. On the one hand, money is fungible, so even if the payments are directed at funding salaries, they’re also unavoidably increasing the amount of money otherwise available to the church for sectarian purposes. On razor thin technical points, it could be problematic.

    That said, on the other hand, the likely outcome would be that these employees would be unemployed but for the funding, which would shift the burden of their (partial) income to unemployment, so either way the state is faced with allocating funding to essentially the same basically secular (fungibility angels and pin heads argument aside) purpose. Keeping them employed and preserving the status quo via this mechanism seems to me to be preferable to the relative chaos of unemployed persons who may or may not be able to revert back to their prior employment on the other side of this thing. All things considered, I don’t have a problem with it.

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  36. Han says:

    @Bill:

    How anyone can get around paying any tax on gasoline which is heavily taxed, Federal, state, and local, would be beyond me.

    Ask a farmer…

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  37. CSK says:

    Trump says that Anthony Fauci is a nice man, but that “he made a lot of mistakes.”

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  38. Mu Yixiao says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Yeah but still, something just doesn’t feel right about organizations “which do not pay taxes, don’t have to disclose their funding sources, and aren’t subject to all anti-discrimination laws” receiving publicly funded forgivable loans.

    Not entirely true.

    Churches are exempt from many types of tax but, depending on the state, may be required to pay other taxes. And are not exempt for “related businesses”. Churches are not required to file a financial report. However, neither are political committees or caucuses (form 990).

    Churches may only discriminate based on religious affiliation.

    Under Title VII, religious organizations are permitted to give employment preference to members of their own religion. […] The exception does not allow religious organizations otherwise to discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

    -EEOC

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  39. inhumans99 says:

    @Bill:

    Well…no worries on the getting called a troll part as am I the one who inadvertently called you this name, and I have no problem apologizing again for making that error in judgement. I am glad you are back.

    So…full disclosure, I am a Catholic (once upon a time I was even volunteered to be a lector, and I have also provided the Body of Christ to parishioners during communion, and performed a few a few other actions during my tenure being part of the mass at Mary Immaculate Church in Pacoima, CA where my parents still live when the Church was occasionally short-staffed), but having said that, I am fully aware of the sins of the Catholic Church.

    However, I have no qualms with Churches that might end up with some tax-dollar bailout funds so they can keep their doors open.

    As Bill has already pointed out, Churches are not just a man who is their own island and it takes a lot of moving parts to keep a Church functioning, which of course comes in the form of their needing a steady flow of money (whether from donations, or other sources such as us taxpayers), and warm bodies to keep the lights on, the air conditioning/heating working, the grounds clean, make sure the book-keeper and other assorted folks get paid, keep gas and oil and maintenance up on their vehicles they might use to donate meals to the elderly, and so on and so forth.

    I get that some religious folks will take their donations/taxpayer funds and blow it all on blow and hookers (well, I guess they would pre-covid, now I guess they would just hoard the funds waiting for a time to renew their relationship with their local bookie/madam/etc.) and then go on tv to cry and ask forgiveness for their sins but for the most part religious folk are well-intentioned people. That being said, as a Catholic would I prefer that the Church had less say over what a women can do with her body, yes, but that is a whole other discussion.

    During this pandemic I sincerely have no issue providing some taxpayer dollars to religious orgs, including those in the bible belt.

    Anyway, sorry about the rant everyone and telling everyone my life story…lol. Continue to have a good Friday folks and be well!

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  40. Mu Yixiao says:

    @MarkedMan:

    They don’t have to obey discrimination laws.

    Factually incorrect. The only area in which they may show “preferential treatment” is in religious affiliation. They must obey all other discrimination laws (see quote from EEOC above).

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  41. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao: They can get around some of those discrimination laws by claiming religious exemption, though. See, for example, the cases of a single woman who got fired from her teaching job at a Catholic school when she got pregnant. There are other cases too, but I need to get back to work and don’t have time to look all of them up.

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  42. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    But, we come back to the same argument as “tax the churches.” If the state has a tax exempt status for non-profit organizations, then it has to apply to all non-profits that comply with the rules, secular and religious alike.

    Churches should be taxed like any other social club or non-profit organization to benefit its members. 4H, for example, or a union. Which is currently the case, unless I am misinformed.

    If people want to gather together in a book club that covers only one book, the law should treat them the same whether it is the Bible or 50 Shades of Grey.

    There are other problems with religious exemptions, such as the very bad decision made by the Supreme court earlier in the week.

    Agreed.

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  43. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    That’s not a case of discrimination against a protected class. That’s a case of “breach of contract” (churches have “moral clauses” in their contracts, and if the woman signed the contract, she agreed to it). Legally it’s no different than Disney firing you for growing a beard or getting a facial piercing.

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  44. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Factually incorrect. I suggest checking recent Supreme Court decisions.

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  45. Gustopher says:

    @Bill:

    How anyone can get around paying any tax on gasoline which is heavily taxed, Federal, state, and local, would be beyond me.

    Check for rebate programs. A lot of states have them, and I’m not sure about federal.

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  46. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    In what may be its most significant religious liberty decision in two decades, the Supreme Court on Wednesday for the first time recognized a “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws, saying that churches and other religious groups must be free to choose and dismiss their leaders without government interference.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/us/supreme-court-recognizes-religious-exception-to-job-discrimination-laws.html

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  47. James Joyner says:

    @Bill:

    What about phone, electric, internet etc? All of these bills come with taxes.

    * My hammering this may get me called a troll again or having someone wish I’d go away again. People don’t like hearing they are wrong.

    This is a fair, if narrow point. It’s the same rejoinder to “46 percent of Americans pay no taxes.” People saying that mean “no income taxes” but it elides that these people still pay payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare) plus various sales and excise taxes.

    WRT churches, they’re taxed pretty much like other non-profits. I think it’s a fair question whether many/most of them should be taxed or what percentage of there work is truly educational/charitalbe, etc.

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  48. Teve says:

    If I wanted a liberal bubble I’d go somewhere else. I come here for the disputes. Because argument is how you sharpen your beliefs.

    The people who run this site are generally conservative, and the commentariat is generally liberal, and I think there’s an obvious reason for it. As a science-oriented liberal I don’t want to hear my beliefs reinforced, I want to know if I am correct or not, so I need to hear the best arguments that conservatives have, and those arguments aren’t taking place at Breitbart or Lucianne, they’re taking place here. I suspect there are other liberals here with the same attitude.

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  49. inhumans99 says:

    @Teve:

    Just wanted to pop in again on this thread to agree with you. As an example, I am always interested in seeing what Michael R has to say on a subject even if I respectfully disagree or feel his points have some major flaws in them. Also…I know he is not a fan or organized religion (lol, I just pointed out to everyone on this blog that water is wet) but I remain interested in what he and others might have to say on a certain topic.

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  50. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “he only area in which they may show “preferential treatment” is in religious affiliation. They must obey all other discrimination laws (see quote from EEOC above).”

    Not according to the Supreme Court, as of yesterday. They can now fire a woman for the sin of getting breast cancer, and thus threatening to cost their insurers money. Maybe you can justify that as a staple of religious doctrine, but to me it says the right wing in this country has decided that churches are free to discriminate as freely as they choose.

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  51. wr says:

    @James Joyner: When a church buys a Gulfstream for their pastor, do they have to pay sales taxes?

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  52. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: One thing that makes it easy to come here, though, is that there’s actually a great deal in common between the liberals here and people like James Joyner. Yes, Joyner still is more of a conservative, but he’s one who clearly rejects much of the mainstream conservative movement and the GOP today. That kind of thing can still serve as part of a person’s self-reinforcing echo chambers. There’s something similar you see on the other side, where there are these supposed liberals who spend much of their time bashing the left, such as Sam Harris or Alan Dershowitz, and they end up spending a great deal of their time in the right-wing ecosphere, where the audience probably thinks they’re getting a balanced diet of political information because “even” those liberals are confirming what the conservatives think.

    (And just to be clear–I have far more respect for James than I do for people like Harris or Dershowitz. My point is simply that the function they serve is similar one either side of the political aisle.)

    I don’t necessarily feel like I have to respect writers whom I read. For example, I’ve frequently kept up with Byron York at Washington Examiner (I haven’t read him in a long time, though), and I’ll never forget how he once dismissed Obama’s popularity on the grounds that if you removed black people from the equation, that popularity wouldn’t exist. It’s just useful to keep tabs on what right-wing pundits are saying, regardless of how I think of them on a moral or intellectual level. But there’s a reason I don’t go around watching Hannity or Ingraham or Carlson except through the brief clips I get from liberal sources: I don’t find it useful just to be assaulted by gish-galloping nonsense. My main criteria for whether I think someone is worth reading or watching has to do with whether they present their case in a relatively straightforward and articulate way.

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  53. Teve says:

    @inhumans99: I live in a county where seven out of eight white voters went for Trump in 2016. If I agree with somebody like Michael Reynolds 70% of the time, that’s about 50% more than normal for me. 😀

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  54. Kathy says:

    Dated Trump joke:

    Q: Why did Trump storm out from his own State of the Union address?
    A: Because the Speaker gave him the floor, and he wanted the wall.

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  55. Teve says:

    @Kylopod:

    I don’t necessarily feel like I have to respect writers whom I read. For example, I’ve frequently kept up Byron York at Washington Examiner (I haven’t read him in a long time, though), and I’ll never forget how he once dismissed Obama’s popularity on the grounds that if you removed black people from the equation, that popularity wouldn’t exist

    Oh God, I remember that like it was yesterday. “his high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are.”

    I grew up in a trailer park in North Florida, and I was as racist as everybody else I was around when I was young. At some point in my late teens or early 20s I realized that I was being stupid. I remembered, very clearly, some racist things I had said that I was now embarrassed by. I hope Byron had that thrown back in his face so many times that he eventually had the same realization and changed for the better.

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  56. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    As a science-oriented liberal I don’t want to hear my beliefs reinforced, I want to know if I am correct or not, so I need to hear the best arguments that conservatives have, and those arguments aren’t taking place at Breitbart or Lucianne, they’re taking place here. I suspect there are other liberals here with the same attitude.

    Exactly this. I have even (gasp) suffered the dreaded change of mind on certain topics, over the years, based on facts and arguments provided by the more conservative participants here.

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  57. Jen says:

    Wonderful news for the Granite State, the Trump rally in Portsmouth has been postponed (hopefully indefinitely).

    Also, are we going to talk about the President bragging about passing a cognitive test on Hannity’s show last night?

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  58. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: in my 44 years on the planet I have said very few things that were truly smart. But one of the things that I said a few years ago that a friend keeps reminding me of is the following: “Stupid people try to prove they’re correct. Smart people try to prove that they’re wrong.” Figuring out that you’re wrong about something and changing your belief is the way that you get smarter.

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  59. Teve says:

    @Jen: when he bragged that the doctors were surprised at his high score, I don’t think he realized what he was saying.

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  60. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    Do we know who took the test for him?

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  61. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Unfortunately, Kayleigh Whosis says it will be postponed for only a week or two. I don’t think Trump will allow himself to be cheated out of a rally, do you? Unless they got word that no one would show up for it.

    As for the cognitive test: Is this the same one he crowed proved that he was a “very stable genius” a few years ago?

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  62. CSK says:

    To hear Trump tell it, medical doctors are forever telling him:
    1. How knowledgeable he is about Covid-19.
    2. How brilliant he is.
    3. How unprecedented his test results are.
    4. What great physical shape he’s in.
    5. How psychologically stable he is.

    Doctors don’t talk like this, in my experience.

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  63. Jen says:

    @CSK: If they reschedule with a firm date, the postponement was actually due to weather. If they keep having trouble “finding a suitable date,” or “availability of a good location,” it’s because their attendance numbers were bad.

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  64. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    Not according to the Supreme Court, as of yesterday. They can now fire a woman for the sin of getting breast cancer, and thus threatening to cost their insurers money. Maybe you can justify that as a staple of religious doctrine, but to me it says the right wing in this country has decided that churches are free to discriminate as freely as they choose.

    I’ll have to read up on that. However, that still doesn’t automatically mean that they can discriminate against protected classes without getting in trouble.

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  65. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    I checked. There is a tropical storm, Fay, heading into the Eastern seaboard, and the path is projected to probably hit NH on Saturday. The usual caveats for projections, plus it will make landfall quite a distance from New Hampshire.

    I’m astonished at having a truthful, or at least plausible, statement coming from anywhere near Trump.

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  66. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    Just looked at the hourly weather for the seacoast through midnight Saturday and from 6PM till midnight the temps will be in the 70’s and the sky’s mostly clear to cloudy. Chance of rain varies from 5-15% (I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a ‘0%’ of rain on the coast during the summer). Weather wasn’t the reason for the cancellation, most likely lack of interest.

    @Kathy:

    That storm is passing through the area, early Saturday morning and should be gone by 9 AM. Surf will be up 🙂

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  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill: Wa! Sad news but thank you for bringing it to my attention. I will grieve with his family at their loss. A great loss to the country, too.

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  68. Jay L Gischer says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Like you, I am not especially troubled by this program at this time.

    Though I would frame my opinion more as a matter of some times, in order to do good, you have to help bad people. I don’t think that the proposition that there are bad people running religious scam is an idea that most people in churches would dispute. (Unless you talk about their church!). These bad people are gonna bad, and they’re gonna try to suck up more than their share of the gravy. I don’t want to walk away from doing something to help people because of it, though. I just consider it included in the price tag.

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  69. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Yes, I just checked NOAA, and their forecast for the Portsmouth area on Saturday night after 8 p.m. is “a chance of showers.” Tropical Storm Faye is supposed to head on through western Mass. and up into Vermont.

    I know New Hampshire has some die-hard Trumpkins (so does Mass.), but it wouldn’t surprise me if the projected turnout for this jamboree was very poor and Team Trump decided to bail. They’d never admit publicly that it was because only seven people were going to show up.

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  70. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kathy:
    @Jen:
    This is solely about lack of interest.
    Faye isn’t going to be bad here, and it’ll be gone by Saturday morning. The storm track has it running up Vermont, with Portsmouth, NH on the eastern edge of the storm.
    Biden is up by 7 points in NH.

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  71. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    El PITO may be concerned about another storm.

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  72. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The Supreme Court just ruled that the churches are able to fire people because they are old and because they have cancer.

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  73. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I’ll have to read up on that. However, that still doesn’t automatically mean that they can discriminate against protected classes without getting in trouble.

    And on technical points, I will agree with that. The problem is that he burden of proof with regard to establishing discrimination lies with the employee alleging it, and an employer need not be scrupulously honest about their reason(s) for terminating a disfavored employee. Indeed, under the doctrine of at-will employment, they need not supply a rationale at all.

    What that ruling essentially does is place the employer’s religious beliefs on a plateau above the protected characteristics (presumably including religion) of its employees.

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  74. Michael Reynolds says:

    preceding comment was supposed to have: @Teve: But the spam filter didn’t like the edit.

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  75. MarkedMan says:

    @Bill: First, I’ll concede that Catholic Relief Services is a good organization and a representation of charities at their best. But it is a separate entity than the Catholic Church. But even if we count them into the deal does the Catholic Church as whole spend more than 1%? I sincerely doubt it. They can say anything they want to the parishioners because no one gets to see their books. They can tell you that the 100K is going to charity but you just have to take their word for it. Sure it could be true. Or 90% of it may be going to pay off the victims of child molesters.

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  76. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: Can’t say for the Gulfstream (there may be some sort of uber-riche exemption that applies to it) but according to the financial records of the congregations to which I have been a member, we paid sales tax on everything we bought. Including the foodstuffs that we provided for the food bank.

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  77. Kurtz says:

    @Kylopod:

    That may be, but on these forums I’ve definitely run across a fair amount of gloating, invoking of the Darwin Award concept, and speculation that the virus will kill off more Republican voters. Now, even if that were true (and I have no doubt that it applies in individual instances like those megachurch gatherings or the Tulsa rally), I wouldn’t be joining in the gloating. These are still people. But at least I’d understand where the gloaters were coming from.

    This. Gloating about death is terrible from a moral standpoint, not to mention the optics of it. Politics turns every one into Philadelphia Eagles fans.

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  78. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    More on this from Annie Karni of the NYT…
    Apparently NH Republicans were not happy about the rally and Gov. Sununu was not going to attend.

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  79. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Exactly this. I have even (gasp) suffered the dreaded change of mind on certain topics, over the years, based on facts and arguments provided by the more conservative participants here.

    I’ve been here for far less time and have changed my mind on a few things as well. It hasn’t changed my overall outlook for the most part, but I’ve had to adjust in a few areas.

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  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Easy to remember Mack-a-ninny–rhymes with whack-a-ninny.

    On another point we talked about earlier. I disagree about Celtic names being the most difficult to pronounce (although they can be difficult). I think Saxon names may be the worst. In a book series that I read, a family name is “Featherstonehaugh”–pronounced “Fanshaw.” 😀

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  81. Sleeping Dog says:

    While there are plenty of Trump signs and flags around here, there didn’t seem to be a lot of excitement about the rally. Unless asked, Repug office holders were pretty non-committal.

    The downside is that it lets Senator Susan off the the hook.

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  82. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Sununu has been saying for days that he wasn’t going to show up for this event, ostensibly because of the coronavirus. I wonder two things:
    1. How much this has to do with Sununu’s distaste for Trump under any circumstances.
    2. Whether New Hampshirites are taking a cue from the governor and staying away in droves.

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  83. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    The commentariat here is largely liberal in the sense that most of us vote Dem. But the we are also all over the map in terms of how far left we are.

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  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Need to recant part of my statement. Our state does not have sales tax on food any more. Until it was repealed though…

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  85. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Indeed. And Talliaferro is Tolliver. And there are a few others that slip my mind at the moment. Let’s leave it that English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh names sometimes have pronunciations totally at odds with their spellings.

    Leamhain = Leven. Please.

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  86. Han says:

    @CSK: Well there’s your problem. You can’t check out NOAA directly. You need the Sharpie-adjusted forecast.

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  87. Kurtz says:

    @Kylopod:

    There’s something similar you see on the other side, where there are these supposed liberals who spend much of their time bashing the left, such as Sam Harris or Alan Dershowitz, and they end up spending a great deal of their time in the right-wing ecosphere, where the audience probably thinks they’re getting a balanced diet of political information because “even” those liberals are confirming what the conservatives think.

    I like Harris, but loathe Dershowitz. But Harris doesn’t seem to understand enough about history or politics to see where he is on the spectrum of Left and Right. He seems to think Shapiro and Peterson argue in good faith. The former doesn’t. The latter is probably up for debate. I don’t think he does, but some may see it the other way.

    It’s not just his guests though. Harris has said some odd things about several subjects that simply aren’t logical. He uses differing standards when comparing groups sometimes. We all have moments of illogic, and ideas we hold too tightly. But for someone that can come across as fair and logical as he often does, he certainly makes some mistakes that should be obvious. If he recorded live, it would be one thing. But he doesn’t. Maybe he needs a better editor.

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  88. CSK says:

    @Han:
    Of course. Silly me to have forgotten the all-important Sharpie intervention.
    It still astounds me that Trump seems to have no idea what a consummate horse’s ass that whole episode made him look like. For someone whom hates being laughed at, he sure invites it.

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  89. JohnMcC says:

    Several posts and a bit of commentary has occurred here on the subject of the Iran nuclear program and it’s enemies. Just this morning a 3rd explosion shook Tehran from the direction of a missile base; there’s been no explanation so far.
    Four Greek-flagged tankers with Iranian petroleum are enroute to Venezuela and it seems the U.S. has obtained a U.S. court order to seize the oil and is working with the Greek government about plans to meet the tankers at sea and transfer the cargo. Iran calls this piracy.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/10/world/middleeast/iran-nuclear-trump.html

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  90. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    My thoughts on Sununu from yesterday

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/tulsa-covid-outbreak/#comment-2527195

    There are just over a million registered voters in NH, with party alignment of about 323K Dems, 302K Reps and 378K undeclared. It doesn’t pay for any state politician to be seen a too close to an unpopular Federal pol. The state is very purple and very swingy.

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  91. Kylopod says:

    @Kurtz:

    I like Harris, but loathe Dershowitz.

    I wouldn’t quarrel with that. Dershowitz is a dishonest hack. I’m not convinced Harris is insincere about his views, and I usually give him the benefit of the doubt. I think he’s got a lot of blind spots. My point in using both of them as examples is not that they’re equally dishonest, but that they fall into a certain category of “lefties who bash the left” which makes them useful in right-wing media, whether they understand the role they’re playing or not.

    For that matter, I don’t think the equivalent on our side–conservatives who bash the right–are automatically being genuine. I give Jen Rubin a lot of credit for her anti-Trump commentary which has generally been excellent, but I don’t trust her and still view her as somewhat of a hack latching onto the Never-Trump movement because she sees it as a convenient path to take in her career. I know her history, and her turning against the current GOP was unconvincingly abrupt. She basically became a GOP critic overnight as soon as Trump was elected, and immediately began attacking the party for things that long predated Trump’s rise, and which she’d previously either been silent on (such as global warming denial) or had participated in herself (such as her dishonest attacks on Obamacare).

    On the other hand, I’m well aware there are conservatives who genuinely recognize that their movement has gone off the deep end.

    My point in all this is that both sides play this game to some degree–“See, even so-and-so says their own party stinks”–as a validation of their beliefs, and people who fall into this category (lefties who bash the left, righties who bash the right), whatever their personal motivations for taking that position, become useful to the other side because they provide them with that validation. So when I read someone like James Joyner, as much as I respect him, I realize it’s a fallacy to think it means I’ve truly gone outside my echo chamber.

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  92. MarkedMan says:

    @Bill: I certainly don’t wish you would go away, as I enjoy your perspective.

    In this case while I accept what you are saying, I don’t think we agree on it’s importance. Churches are exempt from certain taxes. They have to pay other taxes, or find the record keeping necessary to having them refunded too burdensome. In particular they have to pay the tax that directly funds their lay employees pensions (i. e. SS and Medicare). If they object to that, I bet they could get politicians willing to exempt them but then, of course, those employees wouldn’t be eligible for SS or Medicare.

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  93. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks. I needed some good news today. My wife cracked up at “Give me potatoes or give me death.”

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  94. Kurtz says:

    @Kylopod:

    Oh, yes. We are on the same page here.

    I think at least some of it can be traced back to market forces–the most valuable commentators for information merchants are those who don’t fit the stereotypical mold for the viewpoint.

    I do wonder sometimes how many commentators and journalists aren’t necessarily ideologically inclined until they take a job offer that calls for a particular slant.

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  95. JohnMcC says:

    Something else hashed out pretty thoroughly here is the equivalence between fascism and the current administration. George Will weighed in on that today (because — of course he did!). And he didn’t seem completely hack-ish.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-difference-between-Trumpism-and-fascism/2020/07/09

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  96. Sleeping Dog says:

    @JohnMcC: bad link

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  97. CSK says:

    @JohnMcC:
    The link doesn’t work for me.

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Thanks; I missed that when you first posted it.
    I wish I could remember where, but I read yesterday that Trump has some weird fixation with trying to win over New Hampshire. I don’t know to what this can be attributed. Other than making periodic stabs at running for the presidency prior to 2015, he has no history with the state.

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  98. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker
    @CSK:
    Brit joke:
    “Cholmondley, pronouced Chumley
    “Bottomley, pronounced Bumley
    (Didn’t say it was a good joke 🙂 )

    Also, not just surnames.
    Former LibDem leader Menzies; pronounced ming
    Known as “Ming the Merciless”, inevitably.

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  99. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    See if this link for John’s cite works better:

    link

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  100. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    Oh, Lord, I lived in Scotland for four years and had totally forgotten Menzies. Only I think the way I heard it pronounced was “Mingies,” rhymes with “thingies.” And “Mairi” appears to be pronounced “Mahree.”

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  101. CSK says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Works for me. God, what a picture of Trump accompanies the piece: ugly, hostile, surly, churlish.

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  102. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The Federal Judge in NY handling the Trump Tax Case has directed both sides to outline how they expect to proceed.
    The American people may not see Trumps tax returns before the election…but that doesn’t mean there won’t be an impact from the SCOTUS ruling.
    Frankly, I don’t need to see the returns…an indictment would be satisfactory.

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  103. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Expect a Roger Stone pardon/commutation any time now.

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  104. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:
    As an English Brit I’m not even begin to go there on how Gaelic is transcribed.

    Some English nurse a quiet suspicion that it all started with some Greek monks having a laugh after a few mugs of uisce beatha.

    But the Irish and (Gaelic) Scots insist it’s completely logical; and I’m surely not going to start a fight over it. Seeing as I’m an inhabitant of Worcestershire ( wooste’sheer )

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  105. Jen says:

    @CSK: The NH primary in 2016 was Trump’s first electoral win (Cruz won Iowa caucuses that year). Since then, he hasn’t been able to separate out that the primary and general election are different pools of voters, and I think he truly believes the gibberish about voters being bussed in from MA in the 2016 general election. Lewandowski probably filled his head full of fluff about the state too. Trump gets fixated on weird stuff.

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  106. Jen says:

    @JohnSF: The extent of my Gaelic goes to correctly pronouncing the single malts that I enjoy. Beyond that, it’s a total mystery, no matter how often I go to Scotland (I adore Scotland).

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  107. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnMcC: Saw that this morning. I commented on it, as did many readers, that it’s a nice essay on the differences between Trump and fascism except for Will not actually identifying any differences.

    I thought it might be tongue in cheek, but I’ve been reading Will since the mid seventies and, as Kay said of the FBI, I’m unaware Will has a sense of humor.

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  108. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    Clinton won NH by 0.4 %, fewer than 3000 votes. It is not unreasonable that Tiny believed he could flip the state and a year ago he named a few Clinton states that he was looking to flip, another being Minnesota. At the time, depending on how charitable you are, he was either aspirational or delusional, he’s been pretty much -10% in approval all along. But under the right circumstances, enough disapproving voters might have chosen him in 2020, but he’s blown that opportunity.

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  109. Sleeping Dog says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Works, thanks

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  110. gVOR08 says:

    George Lakoff talks about the “natural order” of things being basic to the Strict Father framing through which conservatives see the world. There’s been some discussion on these threads about the contradiction between Evangelical support for Trump and their professed support for “family values”. Sean Illing at VOX has another of his always interesting interviews, Is evangelical support for Trump a contradiction? He interviews one Kristin Kobes Du Mez who has a new book out, Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. She describes herself as Evangelical adjacent. She talks about the idea that Evangelicals held their noses and voted for Justices. She says she sees no evidence of anything but enthusiasm.

    What I look to as a historian is this critical period in the post-World War II era when these gender ideals fuse with anti-communist ideology and this overarching desire to defend Christian America. The idea that takes root during this period is that Christian masculinity, Christian men, are the only thing that can protect America from godless communism.

    At the same time, you have the civil rights movement destabilizing white evangelicalism and conceptions of white masculinity. Then you have feminism destabilizing traditional masculinity. And all of this comes together for evangelicals, who see their place in the culture slipping away, and they see their political power starting to erode because of this cultural displacement. That’s the moment when you see Christian nationalism linking together with a very militant conception of Christian manhood, because it’s up to the Christian man to defend his family against all sorts of domestic dangers in the culture wars, and also to defend Christian America against communists and against military threats.

    Exactly. If you understand what family values evangelicalism has always entailed — and at the very heart of it is white patriarchy, and often a militant white patriarchy — then suddenly, all sorts of evangelical political positions and cultural positions fall into place.

    So evangelicals are not acting against their deeply held values when they elect Trump; they’re affirming them. Their actual views on immigration policy, on torture, on gun control, on Black Lives Matter and police brutality — they all line up pretty closely with Trump’s. These are their values, and Trump represents them.

    For many he’s not, but he is their great protector. He’s their strongman that God has given them to protect them. So, again, the ends justify the means here. But I think it’s important to understand that the appeal of Trump to evangelicals isn’t surprising at all, because their own faith tradition has long embraced this idea of a ruthless masculine protector.

    This is just the way that God works and the way that God has designed men. He filled them with testosterone so that they can fight. So there’s just much less of a conflict there. The most common thing that I hear from white evangelicals defending Trump is that they just wish he would tweet less. I don’t find a lot of concern about his actual policies or what’s in his heart.

    The whole piece is worth reading. As Lakoff said it’s Strict Father and “natural order” that’s driving Evangelical support.

    Oops, ETA link https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/7/9/21291493/donald-trump-evangelical-christians-kristin-kobes-du-mez

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  111. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    The commentariat here is largely liberal in the sense that most of us vote Dem.

    That’s a bit like saying that we’re largely vegetarian, in the sense that most of us don’t eat live babies.

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  112. JohnSF says:

    @Jen:
    I also adore Scotland (well, the Highlands; not familiar enough with other parts); trouble is, in Summertime the midges adore me.
    As to the malt, I think my pronunciation improves the more I drink. Osmosis?
    🙂

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  113. CSK says:

    @Jen: @Sleeping Dog:
    Thanks for these replies. They both make a great deal of sense.

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  114. Jen says:

    @JohnSF: The Highlands for me too, I fell in love with it when we visited years ago and we keep going back.

    Gaelic just *feels* like the right language after a dram or three… 😀

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  115. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    And there are a few others that slip my mind at the moment.

    Ruthven = /rivven/
    Cockburn = /coburn/
    St. John = /sinjin/
    Clerk = /clark/
    Magdalen = /maudlin/

    Place names:
    Beaulieu = /byoolee/ (rhymes with Julie)
    Hunstanton = /hunston/
    Leominster = /lemster/
    Leicester = /lester/
    Godmanchester = /gumster/

    I’m always amused to find American families that have undone this disconnect in both directions: for example, there are families that spell it Cockburn and pronounce it phonetically, as well as families that spell it Coburn.

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  116. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    This is fascinating, and it shows just how delusional evangelicals and culties are, because Trump is anything but “a ruthless masculine protector.” He’s a draft dodger. He wears make-up. He spends more time sculpting his coiffeur than do most women. He bullies people weaker than he is. He whines.

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  117. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT:
    Yep, you caught most of them.

    I’m reminded of one of my favorite marriage announcements in the Brit press: “Cockburns Off on Wedding Trip.”

    Ouch.

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  118. sam says:

    Speaking of things Gaelic and such. I was in Galway last year, and the place looks and feels like Cambridge, MA is the 70s. Loved every minute I was there.

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  119. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    We are certainly not ideologically homogenous. In an environment with more than two parties, some of us would go center-left, other would go left. Some of us may even go with the center-right party.

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  120. reid says:

    @CSK: These are big, rough, very strong doctors, too, and they’re usually telling him these things through uncontrollable tears.

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  121. CSK says:

    @reid:
    Are they weeping with adoration?

    @sam:
    Cambridge doesn’t look like Cambridge any more.

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  122. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Pretty much male white Evangelicals were on top, and felt superior, because they were men, white, and Evangelical. Now that they can’t have that feeling of superiority just for existing, they are desperate to get it back. Desperate people make terrible choices, especially when the things they’re desperate for keeps fading.

    Imagine a world where people are judged by their character, their actions, their accomplishments, rather than by the color of their skin, their genitals, and the religion they claim to profess. Clearly they judge Trump by the latter criteria, and delude themselves that he represents the former.

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  123. reid says:

    @CSK: Of course! (I never tire of mocking that meme. One of the more ridiculous Trumpisms.)

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  124. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve:

    “Stupid people try to prove they’re correct. Smart people try to prove that they’re wrong.” Figuring out that you’re wrong about something and changing your belief is the way that you get smarter.

    If I’m wrong about something trivial I get no joy finding out, but at this stage of my life if I find I was wrong about something substantial there’s a little frisson of excitement that comes with the revelation. That same thing happens when I think I have successfully sussed out another’s point of view and find that I hadn’t considered it before. I doubt I felt that way when I was 20.

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  125. Bill says:

    It isn’t too late for….

    The Florida headline of the day-

    DeSantis says he doesn’t think Florida rushed to reopen

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  126. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    . However, that still doesn’t automatically mean that they can discriminate against protected classes without getting in trouble.

    Actually, that’s exactly what it means.

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  127. MarkedMan says:

    @Kurtz: FWIW, I think I’m pretty solidly in the “Progressive” camp and am happy to use either liberal or conservative policies to reach progressive ends, as circumstances dictate.

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  128. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Isn’t most of the problem involving Welsh pronunciation centered on mismatch between alphabet symbols and assigned sounds between the languages? I’m not a linguist, and I expect that Dr. Dave T or someone else will be happy to rush in and correct me, but in the situations for which I am familiar, the expectations based on spelling and what happens phonetically simply don’t match. Best (?) example being “Cymru” which I understand is pronounced “Koomry.” A significant departure from any of the examples we’ve bandied about so far. Way further down the road–provided my understanding of the pronunciation is correct.

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  129. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Yes. That’s true of Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic as well. The spellings, at least to an English speaker, don’t seem to bear any relation to the pronunciation. I cited the example of Leamhain, which is pronounced Leven.

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  130. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    People who live in glass houses….

    Take two English words:

    Woman, pronounced “wooman.”
    Women, pronounced “weemen.”

    Proof that it’s easier to spot the mote in your neighbor’s eye. I also concede a difference in degree. And for proof that I can see the beam in my eye:

    Takes these Spanish words (well, names):

    Xochimilco, pronounced “sotcheemeelco.”
    Xola, pronounced “shola”
    Mexico, pronounced “meheeco”

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  131. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Welsh or native Cornish (both Celtic) is nigh unpronounceable.

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  132. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    The spellings, at least to an English speaker, don’t seem to bear any relation to the pronunciation. I cited the example of Leamhain, which is pronounced Leven.

    Polish spelling is weird. My grandmother came from a town called Przemyśl, roughly pronounced “pshemishul.” Figure that one out.

    @Kathy: It’s definitely true that English has the most inconsistent and nonsensical spelling of any language in the world. I once did a term paper on it in college. (French is a distant second.) But it’s still strange when other languages that use the Roman alphabet use letters that don’t seem to correspond at all to their classical sound.

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  133. Mikey says:

    In yet another act of open and shameless corruption, Trump just commuted Roger Stone’s prison sentence.

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  134. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    Those are Spanish approximations of indigenous words. Both spelling and pronunciation. Although a lot of the pronunciation is quite accurate.

    When capital C civilizations collapse the people don’t leave (generally). They farm and raise animals and marry and have kids. The Aztec and Mayan civilization may have lost their capital C Civilization status, but the folk remain. Continuing on as before speaking the same, behaving the same.

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  135. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    English got Latin and Greek words quite late and none of the structure.

    English is a local variant of West Germanic with boat loads incorporated features from Old Norse and French. (Very basic description)

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  136. dazedandconfused says:

    All phonetic writing winds up differing from contemporary pronunciations over time. A lot of those extra letters in French words represent sounds which are no longer pronounced but once were, so French spellings are as weird as they are because French is an old language. The one advantage character based writing has: Ancient Chinese is fairly easily deciphered by modern Chinese of today, and nobody has or needs a clue as to how it was pronounced at the time.

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  137. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Elision plays an oversized role too. Many of the names and words we’ve been discussing are perfectly cromulent elisions of their spellings and the process of reducing 4 and 5 syllable words to more easily managed 2 and 3 syllable ones.

    The examples I most often experienced studying Korean involved greetings such as anyanghasupnigga (pronounced an yang ha sum ni ka [because p and n are difficult to pronounce unstopped but adjacent) which becomes anyanghaseyo informally but is pronounced an ne ha se yo or even uh ne uh se yo as it reduces to minimal syllable count, and yabuseyo (hello when you are on the phone) which reduces all the way to yup syo in some places.

    Fun stuff, language. 😛

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  138. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    We are certainly not ideologically homogenous. In an environment with more than two parties, some of us would go center-left, other would go left. Some of us may even go with the center-right party.

    I don’t think I said anything to contradict that take. Given a choice between eating live babies and siding with the Party of Vegans, sane people will vote for a lot of vegans, no matter how much they enjoy ribs and burgers.

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  139. Mikey says:

    Great thing about German: it’s spelled exactly as it sounds.

    Bad thing about German: EIGHT ways to say “the?” Seriously? Der, die das, den, dem, deren, denen, dessen.

    Although to be fair the last three aren’t used very much.

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  140. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT: but… baby back ribs.

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  141. de stijl says:

    @Mikey:

    Spelled exactly as it sounds only if you know the pronunciation rules intimately.

    You might be over-stating that.

    Sentence structure is a black box.

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  142. de stijl says:

    @Mikey:

    There is a layperson’s discussion of the utility and ingenuity of the English “the” on BBC culture.

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  143. gVOR08 says:

    @Mikey:

    Trump just commuted Roger Stone’s prison sentence.

    And Barr just replaced the US Atty for the Eastern District of NY. The political cases go to SDNY, EDNY, or DC. Barr has recently removed the US Attorneys of all three.

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  144. Mikey says:

    @de stijl: My problem, as someone who basically learned German on my own, isn’t pronunciation rules or sentence structure. Those have always been pretty straightforward to me. But I made a huge mistake: I learned nouns without paying attention to the corresponding gender of the article. I can tell you hundreds of nouns, but only a few with the proper der/die/das.

    This makes proper German a challenge.

    Fortunately my wife and her family are pretty forgiving, but strangers will look at me a bit puzzled…

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  145. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Dammit you’re contradicting me you pugalistic punk.

    I know, I have a compulsive worry that I wasn’t clear.

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  146. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    First, do you have a link to that BBC discussion… Nevermind. I’ll find it myself.

    Second, have you seen any of the reaction videos of youngish black kids hearing Rage Against the Machine for the first time?

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  147. de stijl says:

    @Kurtz:

    I have been fascinated all day by an extremely talented young woman named Nandi Bushell from Ipswich.

    She’s 10. She learned about punk on Tuesday and posted a video on Wednesday were she bashed Anarchy In The UK to death.

    Earlier she had posted her version of Guerilla Radio by RATM where she did all the bits as her contribution to BLM. (Young lady is Black.) Morello heard it and sent a guitar.

    She tweets as @Nandi_Bushell and @afropunk.

    She drums really well. Not for a 10 year old good, but good good. She rocks hard.

    More of a Sex Pistols person myself so that is what I have been listening to.

    Shared her with a buddy of mine who is a Black Flag guy and he was impressed. “She is so fucking cool!” was the exact quote.

    Black youth will find a lot of solidarity and radicalism in some white oriented music. They are not alone and have allies.

    Do you have clips of Black kids listening to RATM? I would definitely watch that.

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  148. de stijl says:

    @Mikey:

    I am trying to pick up Shanghainese Mandarin.

    Crikey, it makes my brain hurt. It’s fun though. Tonality so far utterly humbles me.

    If your brain hurts, you are learning. Even if slowly.

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  149. de stijl says:

    @Mikey:

    I speak Swedish or an approximation thereof.

    In Sweden, once a colleague and friend said I spoke as if I were 5, was drunk, a decent vocabulary, but random grammar.

    I take that as a badge of honor.

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  150. de stijl says:

    @JohnSF:

    My favorite YouTube gamer dude cannot fathom that Kansas and Arkansas are pronounced differently. It utterly baffles him.

    He is originally from East Midlands.

    Baffled? Just look at English place names! Compare the spelling to the pronunciation.

    And he says coyote so oddly my brain cannot accept it. (He’s a big Fallout: New Vegas guy.)

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  151. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    Nandi is incredibly talented. My dad started sending me links to her videos a while back. Morello sending her the guitar was awesome.

    This kid is a little annoying at first. But he ends up dumbfounded that Rage was saying this “15 years ago” not realizing it was close to 30.

    This couple does reactions as well. I stumbled upon them looking for the first link.

    There are others… this guy is interesting in general. His first listen to “Bulls on Parade” is worth a watch.

    The woman in the second video seems to be only one I’ve seen that doesn’t assume Morello’s guitar work is scratching. She is just trying to figure out how it’s being done.

    It seems like they all end up going on a binge. Waiting for someone to discover Rage – de la Rocha + Chuck D + B Real = Prophets of Rage is a thing.

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  152. de stijl says:

    @Kurtz:

    I just watched the first vid you linked. I kinda like TheRealMrVideo. Quarantine hair.

    I really loved how adrenalized he became as it went on. Trying not to curse, then just going with it. He got the timeline wrong, but he figured the intent superquick.

    I then went on to watch his take on The Deftones.

    I like his schtick. Trying to do anthropology to fathom whiteness through listening to music. I honestly respect that.

    I promise to watch the rest. I just get easily distracted.

    You may also want to watch… often shunts me into new areas.

    There are also opposite vids of white guys getting pissed because RATM is too political. They liked it until they understood the lyrics. Fascinating. It’s right there on the tin. Rage against the machine.

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  153. de stijl says:

    @Kurtz:

    One thing I find comforting, really comforting in fact, is that when confronted with head banging music everybody head bangs.

    Thank you! I really liked that. I appreciate that you did that. I actually subscribed to the first guy.

    You made my day way better!

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  154. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Forgot.

    New Chuck D!

    You rock hard!

    ReplyReply

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