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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Spotted in London, UK

    As Watergirl said, can you blame them?

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “Oh Yeah? How’s about Sweden??? They didn’t lock down!”

    ICUs in Stockholm reach 99 percent capacity: report.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    TIME
    @TIME

    ·
    8h
    The Biden-Harris ticket represents something historic.

    Person of the Year is not just about the year that was, but about where we’re headed #TIMEPOY
    https://ti.me/3oF9OPJ

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  4. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’d have gone with Fauci, but whatever. It’s a stupid “award,” anyway, and they have a history of choosing badly. In the ’30s they chose Hitler, establishing that it’s not necessarily a celebration or endorsement of the person in question. Then in 2001 when the obvious choice was Osama Bin Laden, they chickened out and gave it to Rudy. This year represents the eighth presidential election cycle in a row (I just checked) in which they gave it to the winner of the election. They gave it to Trump last time, to Obama twice, to Bush twice, and so on. I suppose you could make an argument that this election was more consequential than normal, but c’mon. They’re just going through the motions.

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: YMMV, but being put in the same crowd as Hitler is not much of an “award” and they have always stated as such. I can’t remember a single one of these PotYs that somebody did not kvetch about so, join the crowd. Not that I care one way or the other.

    As far as Fauci is concerned, I can make an argument that he shouldn’t be person of the year due to how he was sidelined by trump. Again, YMMV.

    Regardless, I’m just imagining a lot of orange goo all over the walls of the WH presidential suite from an exploding head.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘It’s surreal’: the US officials facing violent threats as Trump claims voter fraud

    On 1 December Gabriel Sterling, a Republican election official in Georgia, stood on the steps of the state capitol in Atlanta and let rip on Donald Trump.

    “Mr President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia,” he said, contradicting Trump’s increasingly unhinged claim that he had won the presidential race against all evidence. “Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence,” Sterling went on, referring to a storm of death threats and intimidation that had been unleashed by Trump supporters against public officials in the state. “Someone is going to get shot, someone is going to get killed. And it’s not right.”

    Then Sterling uttered the phrase that instantly entered the annals of American political rhetoric: “It has to stop.”

    It did not stop.

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  7. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    This attitude goes way back. I remember reading about a joke from WWII: “What’s wrong with the Americans? Nothing except that they’re overfed, oversexed, and over here.”

    On the other hand, I can also remember being personally thanked for winning that same war. I wasn’t even alive during WWII. Bill Bryson recounts the same thing happening to him in the Netherlands in one of his books.

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  8. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    YMMV, but being put in the same crowd as Hitler is not much of an “award” and they have always stated as such.

    But they haven’t always stuck to their guns about it–as evidenced by 2001. They dodged giving it to an obvious bad guy whose actions were unquestionably more consequential than anyone else’s that year, and instead gave it to someone they could prop up as a “hero” (a characterization that has come to look even sillier in the ensuing years). The fact is that the award means whatever people think it means, and whatever they may claim about it, they’ve been anything but consistent on whether it’s intended as a celebration of a person (they gave it to Greta Thunberg last year) or simply a recognition of the person’s influence, for better or worse.

    As far as Fauci is concerned, I can make an argument that he shouldn’t be person of the year due to how he was sidelined by trump.

    Fauci is one of the only people–perhaps the only person–to come out of the Trump administration with his dignity intact. He’s one of the only people to truly stand up to Trump and not to descend into shameful sycophancy. The fact that he was sidelined makes him even more admirable. His behavior wasn’t perfect, but he provided much-needed moral and intellectual leadership during the crisis, and did it while in a very difficult spot. If they could give it to Rudy for his allegedly strong leadership after 9/11, Fauci is an utterly obvious choice now.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    EU leaders have been told by Ursula von der Leyen that Britain exiting the transition period without a trade and security deal is now the most likely outcome.

    During a 10-minute briefing at the end of an all-night summit in Brussels, the European commission president refused to put a percentage on the chances of agreement but told the leaders there was a “higher probability for no deal than deal”, sources said.

    With the Sunday deadline agreed by Von der Leyen and Boris Johnson looming, Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, said all capitals should agree a common line in the event of the negotiations ending in failure over the weekend.

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  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod:

    They dodged giving it to an obvious bad guy whose actions were unquestionably more consequential than anyone else’s that year, and instead gave it to someone they could prop up as a “hero” (a characterization that has come to look even sillier in the ensuing years).

    I agree with you that UBL should have been named that year but I will not engage in tea leave reading and speculate at to why they gave it to Ghouliani. Humans are not capable of purely objective reasoning. Any person asserting they are capable of it is deluded. Again, somebody always complains, and what is more it is rarely without reason. The question in my mind is “so the fuck what?” they aren’t on the board.

    Fauci is one of the only people–perhaps the only person–to come out of the Trump administration with his dignity intact.

    2 things, First, he is not the only one, just the most visible one*, and secondly, most of the people in the trump admin never had any dignity to begin with. That was the #1 qualification for hiring.

    *the Deep State is filled with people just doing their jobs and following the law.

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  11. Kathy says:

    I recall TIME named Khomeini Man of the Year in 1979, and that got them some nasty backlash.

    I also recall hearing at the time that the criteria was something like “the person most influential in the news.” That’s not exactly an honor, and people like Khomeini, bin Laden, Trump, and other such vermin would qualify.

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  12. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I agree with you that UBL should have been named that year but I will not engage in tea leave reading and speculate at to why they gave it to Ghouliani.

    What tea leaf reading? The answer was obvious. It was based on moral cowardice combined with uncritical acceptance of superficial media narratives. They knew OBL was the clear choice based on the criteria they had used in the past, but weren’t willing to go down that path and try to explain themselves. So they latched onto what they saw as a “safe” choice whom they could present as a moral exemplar, a notion that was based to a large degree on the fawning attention he had received from the press that year. The result was that the entire Person of the Year concept has been defined in a confusing and inconsistent way–sometimes it’s admiring, sometimes it isn’t, and this gives them enough wiggle room to go in any direction with the idea. When they went with Trump in 2016, they could say it wasn’t an endorsement because Person of the Year is never an endorsement, and they’ve tended to go with presidential election winners for a long time anyway. But the only reason for that is because it’s safe and easy. Which seems to be their #1 criteria anyway.

    First, [Fauci] is not the only one, just the most visible one

    Point taken.

    and secondly, most of the people in the trump admin never had any dignity to begin with.

    How about Deborah Birx? She’s a good example of the direction Fauci could have chosen to go in, but didn’t. As for Trump’s regular admin officials, a lot of them were horrible right-wingers I never particularly respected to begin with, but even that didn’t anticipate the level of slobbering sycophancy they would descend into. Just about everyone who passes through the Trump orbit comes out looking markedly worse than when they started.

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  13. Monala says:

    @bradheath

    Montana’s governor says his state did many of the things Texas said make an election illegal but Texas didn’t sue them because Trump won, “underscoring, of course, that this is less about election integrity than it is about attempting to overturn the will of the electorate.”

    Governor Bullock’s statement adds that the Montana AG has signed on to this lawsuit despite vigorously defending these election practices in Montana earlier this fall.

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  14. Monala says:

    @Monala:

    @GarryBerger

    P.P.S. Bullock lost re-election under his Montana/Texas election rules. So he’s arguing in favor of maintaining the result of the very election he lost. How’s that for principles.

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  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    …they’re overfed, oversexed, and over here.”

    I heard that as they’re overfed, undersexed and over here.

    But that may have been translated from French.

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  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: What tea leaf reading? The answer was obvious.

    OK, let me state this as baldly as I can: This is the most idiotic argument in the world. You know why? Because there is no one right reason. And you damn well know it.

    I’m done.

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  17. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Leaving without an agreement was always the most likely outcome. To make things worse, I don’t believe that the markets have priced a no agreement withdrawal into the calculations.

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  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My kingdom for an edit function: Because there is no one right ANSWER.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Pretty sure it’s what the hard liners were after from the beginning.

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  20. Loviatar says:

    I’m re-posting this comment from James’ Biden’s Team Shaping Up post. Having originally written the comment as part of a longer 2021 predictions post, it bothered me all evening that the grammar was horrible.

    1) The return of Republicans; subtle, code worded bigotry.
    James’ analysis of Biden’s cabinet choices has all mentioned the nominee’s race or gender. While his analysis acknowledges the nominee’s qualifications; it also comes with a subtle hint that despite the nominee’s lofty qualifications they were really chosen because of their race or gender.

    Fact is, the country’s population is the most diverse it has been in its history, should not the leadership reflect that without it being cause for questioning.

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  21. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    It probably was translated from the French. 😀

    But seriously, being a very young American in England and Scotland and being thanked for winning WWII…so embarrassing.

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  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Yes, it was. A no deal exit was the subtext of pushing May out and of Johnson’s dithering for months after becoming PM. Johnson only began to panic about the risk of a no deal pullout, but lacked the cojones to push back against the hard right.

    Atop covid, the world economy really doesn’t need this.

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  23. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    An acquaintance is married to a French woman, they have a house in Normandy and he is continually amazed, that each spring, hundreds of people turn out to tend tend the graves of the Allied soldiers that are interred there.

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  24. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Statement: The problem with you Yanks is that you’re overfed, oversexed, and over here.

    Response: The problem with you Brits is that you’re underfed, undersexed, and under Patton.

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  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Monala:
    The Montana Governors statement is the most damning thing I’ve read about this case, putting in start relief that the entire episode really is just about the Cult of Personality.
    Still…
    I am willing to bet the SCOTUS agrees to hear the case. And I would not be surprised if they contrive a justification for granting relief…you know;

    “…”limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.”

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  26. Thomm says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Just normal partisanship in these divided times, dontcha know. Nothing like defending a cult leader.

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  27. Kathy says:

    Today the Supreme Court has its best chance to end the cruel farce, and dismiss the frivolous, contradictory Texas lawsuit summarily.

    Had even a few Republican leaders like McConnell simply accepted the election results publicly, this would have ended weeks ago. By remaining silent, they are enabling the very undoing of the constitutional order. The Republican Party had lost all legitimacy as a political force in a free, democratic country.

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  28. Joe says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    A few years ago, I got to visit an American cemetery in the south of the Netherlands dating from WWII. Not only was it immaculately kept, we were told that each grave is maintained by a local family. There are 3 medal of honor winners buried there in graves marked with a gold star that receive fresh flowers on a regular basis. (The day we were there, they were redoing the gold leaf on one of those graves.) All the graves get flowers on Memorial Day. It’s really stunning.

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  29. CSK says:

    The Trumpkins are seething over the fact that Bill Barr allegedly “hid” the federal probes of Hunter Biden.

    Do they ever wonder why Trump picks so many losers? So many Deep Staters?

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  30. Monala says:

    From Josh Stein, North Carolina’s AG on Twitter:

    BREAKING: Today, I joined 22 other attorneys general in filing a brief with the United States Supreme Court opposing Texas’ radical, anti-democratic lawsuit. This suit seeks to overturn the will of the people by throwing out the votes of tens of millions Americans. 1/

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  31. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I don’t think most of the commentary I’ve been seeing truly recognizes how precarious a situation we are in right now. They always start by taking it for granted that SCOTUS isn’t going to go along with it. And just to be clear, I think it’s unlikely they will. But just the fact that there’s a small chance of it illustrates the problem. Just imagine for a moment that SCOTUS did decide to take up the case, and then Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kav, and ACB voted to have the results in those states thrown out, after which Biden’s EC total drops below 270 and Trump is handed a second term. You may think those justices aren’t going to go in that direction, and you’re probably right. But they absolutely have the ability to. Think about that for a moment. SCOTUS has the power to unilaterally end American democracy right this moment and turn the country into an authoritarian state. The probability is that they’ll choose not to end democracy, but they absolutely have the power to do so. And a country that gives them that power isn’t much of a democracy to begin with.

    And the fact is that SCOTUS has been trashing democracy for decades. Shelby County was an assault on democracy. Bush v. Gore was an assault on democracy. James here has a major blind spot about that, but I attribute that to his inability to let go of right-wing talking points he held at the time, while most of his writings on the anti-democratic positions on the right have been excellent. But let’s be clear: Bush v. Gore was essentially a coup. We can get into the whole definitional debate of what constitutes a coup, and I wouldn’t call it more than a mini-coup, as obviously it didn’t totally undo the constitutional order, and Bush didn’t try to stay in power longer than the constitutionally allotted time. But it was definitely a case of the SCOTUS knowingly and deliberately abusing their power to shut down the democratic process and install the candidate they favored as president, just because they could. The fact that the decision was legal is an illustration of how weak our democracy really is. The only “guard rail” we have right now is the presumed unwillingness of the conservative justices to undermine democracy in such an abrupt and obvious manner as the Trump people are asking them to do. But undermine democracy they will, as long as it’s something they believe they can get away with.

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  32. CSK says:

    NH Governor Chris Sununu on the importance of masking, and the imbecility of anti-masking, following the death of Dick Hinch from Covid-19:

    “For those who are just out there doing just the opposite to make some ridiculous political point, it is horribly wrong. Please use your heads. Don’t act like a bunch of children, frankly.”

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  33. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: One should always look at the motivations of the actors. Whatever one thinks the role of the press in a democratic society should be, remember that the real role of the press is to peddle papers. Or in the case of Times’ MotY, to peddle magazines. A cover with Sammy bin Laden would not have furthered that goal.

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  34. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yesss Yessss, cry you little biiiaatch! I dont feel sorry for these people. Eff em

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  35. Kingdaddy says:

    @Kylopod: I agree with you. Members of Congress, sworn to uphold the Constitution, are breaking that oath. We can’t foresee the chain of events that will follow. If the SCOTUS pulls another Bush v. Gore, it might lead to a significant part of the country believing that the Supreme Court is illegitimate, with officials at the federal, state, county, and city level just ignoring SC decisions.

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  36. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: As I noted above, @gVOR08: we should look at motives. I wrote a nasty email to my FL state AG last night over her joining Paxton’s case. Obviously her motivation, like Paxton’s, is to pander to the GOP base. To the extent they look beyond their own political goals, they assume the Supremes will shut it down, no harm done, and so it’s a freebie for them. But it really comes down to Gorsuch or Kavanaugh having enough ethics, or enough fear of consequences, to do their clear duty.

    The courts are the last guardrail. Which is why the Koch Bros launched the decades long project of the Federalist Society to corrupt the courts.

    As a subtext, I feel one of our root problems is that lawyers are trained to do everything possible to support whichever side they happen to have drawn and leave it to the court to sort out the truth and do what’s right. Most of our political pros are lawyers. They believe they can be fiercely partisan and leave it to the courts, or God, or the Invisible Hand to sort it out.

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  37. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kathy: I disagree here. Trump’s Wing of the Party hates Republicans. So no one will stop Trump but the Courts and State-level election gate keepers….and those that are Republicans will feel the heat from the Trump Cult.

    McConnell and the rest of them dont want any of that smoke before 20 Jan.

    The broader point though of how you know the GOP is a racket…is that no one invested in their Party or Values would let a group of shitheads into their house who piss and throw shit on the walls–and do nothing about it.

    Dont like Republicans…well eff you dont vote for us, we’ll start over and develop a new constituency. Its amazing how much these people despite the Party they belong to.

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  38. Paine says:

    There’s a meme floating around the RW twitter-verse of a hulking wrestler labeled as TEXAS with four jobbers cowering in the corner of the ring representing MI, PA, WI, and GA. Please. Not sure about GA but I imagine the AG’s in the other states are itching for a fight over this challenge.

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  39. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    the Deep State is filled with people just doing their jobs and following the law.

    That’s why they must be stopped at any cost. Trump uber alles!

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  40. Monala says:

    @Kingdaddy: I’ve heard some say that Pelosi should just decline to seat any Republican congresspeople who sign on to this lawsuit from the states being sued. After all, if the way the election was carried out is fraudulent, then so are their wins…

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  41. Kathy says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    For some reason, this reminded me of a bit in a musical number in “The Producers” that goes more or less like: “Don’t be shtupid, be a shamrty. Come and join the nazi party!”

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  42. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    That would be “Springtime for Hitler.”

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  43. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kylopod:

    I believe the ruling on the Georgia suit was as clear an “FU” that the SCOTUS has ever issued. No dissenting opinions, not from Clarence, not from Amy, not from Kavanaugh, and it was issued by Scalito himself, so IMO the SCOTUS isn’t the primary threat. The primary threat is the mob. All republics are experiments giving a limited role in government to the mob. Jefferson knew this and wrote that an educated, informed, and engaged populace is essential to any republic. There is no replacement for that. Manipulating an uneducated, uninformed mob is child’s play for those with the right skills.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTSH78Sg780

    Therein is the primary threat.

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  44. Kylopod says:

    @dazedandconfused: I agree. (I think you’re referring to the suit in PA, not Georgia, but that’s a side point.) I’ve been trying to reassure panicky Dems that if the SCOTUS were to go along with the Texas suit, it would be a total 180 from their behavior over the past month up to now. I think if they were willing to participate in the attempted coup, they’d have done it already–and it certainly won’t be easier for them now (after the votes have been certified) than it was before. I find this to be a far more compelling argument for the idea that they won’t play ball than some vague assumption that they’re unwilling to–and that’s part of the problem.

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  45. Jen says:

    @Paine: All four AG’s from the impacted states have asked the Supreme Court to tell Texas to MYOB.

    […] The responses by the four states — represented by three Democratic attorneys general and, in Georgia, a Republican one — comprehensively critiqued Texas’s unusual request to have the Supreme Court act as a kind of trial court in examining supposed election irregularities with the goal of throwing out millions of votes.

    “The court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated,” a brief for Pennsylvania said.

    “Let us be clear,” the brief continued. “Texas invites this court to overthrow the votes of the American people and choose the next president of the United States. That Faustian invitation must be firmly rejected.”

    Christopher M. Carr, Georgia’s attorney general, seemed particularly taken aback by Texas’s suit.

    “This election cycle,” he wrote, “Georgia did what the Constitution empowered it to do: it implemented processes for the election, administered the election in the face of logistical challenges brought on by Covid-19, and confirmed and certified the election results — again and again and again. Yet Texas has sued Georgia anyway.”

    The briefs said Texas was in no position to tell other states how to run their elections, adding that its filing was littered with falsehoods.

    I really hope the Supreme Court shuts this down firmly and unequivocally.

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  46. Teve says:

    Republicans in the Senate won’t allow a Covid relief package if it contains aid for states. Because they bought into the stupid idea that it’s a “blue state bailout”. Never mind that six out of the seven biggest state budget shortfalls are in red states.

    “We must stop being the stupid party”
    -Bobby Jindal, 2013

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  47. Paine says:

    @Jen: This whole movement should have been smothered in the crib weeks ago by the adults in the GOP. Alas, other than Romney and a few state-level folks the grown-ups are MIA.

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  48. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Joe: that brought a tear to my eye.

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  49. Sleeping Dog says:

    Nantucket deer are snobs

    I would have assumed that deer did not live on the island of Nantucket. It’s 30 miles offshore, after all. Plus, there’s no way they could afford it.

    There is a house behind my own and beyond that a fresh water marsh. Returning from my walk yesterday, I glanced out the back window and noticed the neighbor putting xmas lights on the garage, then a flick of white beyond the garage and then another. About 20′ beyond the garage were a pair of deer, grabbing a pair binoculars, I could see several more in the trees. I guess she had interrupted their plan to move from the marsh north of me, to the one south. It happens several times a week, 4 to maybe 15 saunter up her drive and across my side yard, wait for traffic to pass then across the road, jumping a short fence then passing the townhouses to another marsh.

    Knowing we have a large tick population around here, I don’t go for walks in the woods.

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  50. Kingdaddy says:

    Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns, and Money has a post today, “Delenda Est,” that’s worth maybe debating over here. The punchline:

    There is, in short, no living with these people. A liberal democracy can’t survive when one of its two major parties is a radical reactionary authoritarian ethno-nationalist party, that rejects the very idea of a pluralistic liberal democratic society as a matter of first principles. Either that party or that liberal democracy must be destroyed, and will be.

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  51. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: Some people are very concerned about that. I know I am. Spencer Ackerman is.

    @Attackerman

    106 Republican congressmembers and 18 Republican attorneys general are insisting that a presidential election ought to be invalidated because their party lost. It’s being treated as no big deal because they won’t win rather than the harbinger of constitutional collapse it is.

    All year I heard “Trump’s not going to leave office” and I generally disregarded it because Trump doesn’t have the kind of support from the military that you need for a successful coup. But now that I’m seeing a majority of the republican party seem perfectly fine with discarding the election and installing Trump again I’m genuinely concerned. Not for this election so much as ones in the near future.

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  52. Gustopher says:

    @Loviatar:

    The return of Republicans; subtle, code worded bigotry.
    James’ analysis of Biden’s cabinet choices has all mentioned the nominee’s race or gender. While his analysis acknowledges the nominee’s qualifications; it also comes with a subtle hint that despite the nominee’s lofty qualifications they were really chosen because of their race or gender.

    We really need a softer word for the softer bigotry. There isn’t a good word for that softer bit of ugliness that falls well short of shouting “n-clang, n-clang, n-clsng“ and using the same word leaves people defensive. Something that recognizes the baseline bigotry, and acknowledges the imperfect efforts to rise above it as a good thing rather than a failure, just as we recognize joining the Klan as a bad thing.

    Assume that there is a scale of bigotry from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most bigoted, and 0 being a least. If the baseline expected bigotry of a person is a 3, how do we refer to the person who is a 2? Do we focus on the range between 0 and 2 and call them a bigot? Or do we focus on the range between 2 and 3 and call them something else that acknowledges they are less bigoted? What if they are at a 3.5, but their upbringing and history was closer to 5?

    Because whatever you say about James, he tries to ask the right questions. And often he does. And sometimes he answers them correctly. Is he a bigot, or is he an imperfect less-bigot? The former is needlessly harsh, the latter is almost gibberish.

    Also, I expect that race and gender did play a factor in some cabinet picks. Biden set out to have a diverse cabinet, and when picking among the qualified people for any given post, I expect that the phrase “oh, we already have a lot of white guys” went through his head. And I’m sure that people got initial consideration just because they were a semi-prominent non-white-guy, and while most of them didn’t make it to the last round, some people got an extra look because of skin color or whether they’re an innie or an outie.

    There’s no way to do colorblind staffing. Not until we invent a different kind of human. The best we can do is understand and acknowledge our baseline bigotry, and try to compensate for it, often by creating an opposing bias and hoping it all comes out in the end.

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  53. Monala says:

    Police once more arguing for their own defunding, via Wonkette:

    Back in October, the leadership of the Unitarian Universalist Church (not to be confused with the Unarians) in Charlottesville, Virginia, wrote a letter to the Charlottesville Police Department. Church leaders complained police harassed a member of their church, a 68-year-old Black man named Walter Huffman, after a woman reported seeing him walking on the sidewalk in front of her house.

    They wrote:

    On October 7th our church member and Chair of our Grounds Committee was walking up Rugby Road to participate in a work party to clean our playground. Just as he reached the edge of the church property, a police car pulled up and the officer asked what he was doing in the neighborhood. Within several minutes five police cars surrounded him.

    A neighbor, who is a UVA student, called to say a black man was walking up the sidewalk in front of her house.

    Police stated that they were concerned about recent break-ins in the neighborhood and they had a picture of a suspect. The suspect [a teenager] looked nothing like our church member, other than both men are black. Even after the police acknowledged that our member was not the suspect, they still demanded his Social Security number and identification. One of the officers even suggested that he walk another way to church!

    The police withdrew only when another church member, a white lady, concerned there may have been a traffic accident, walked over to investigate the situation.
    The church did not ask for anyone to be fired, they merely asked for an apology.

    But now, following an “investigation” of the incident by the Charlottesville Police Department, the chief of police is calling for an apology from the church, or for the entire church leadership — Interim Reverend Dr. Linda Olson Peebles in particular — to be terminated. In fact, she held a 30-minute press conference not only to dispute the church’s claims, but to list literally everyone on the church’s board and demand that they each be “held accountable” for unfairly accusing her department of racial bias.

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  54. Mikey says:

    @Monala:

    The suspect [a teenager] looked nothing like our church member, other than both men are black.

    In America that’s more than sufficient to get a black man killed.

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  55. MarkedMan says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Trump’s Wing of the Party hates Republicans

    I used to think you were dead on about this but the state level results (Trump loses, Republicans gain) tell a different story, and I haven’t really wrapped my head around the implications.

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  56. Mister Bluster says:

    @Sleeping Dog:.. It happens several times a week, 4 to maybe 15 saunter up her drive and across my side yard, wait for traffic to pass then across the road, jumping a short fence then passing the townhouses to another marsh.

    Must be a DEER CROSSING sign near your yard!
    (You might post warning signs for the ticks that your blood is high cholesterol. I’m sure that they don’t want heart disease.)

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  57. CSK says:

    @Monala: @Mikey:
    Chief Brackney appears to be a woman of color, which goes to show just how strong the loyalty of cops is to one another, superseding any other consideration.

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  58. JohnSF says:

    A question from a foreigner:
    How to party membership rules, and laws, work in the US?
    I believe that in most states one can publicly declare a party allegiance.
    (I would add that the whole concept of state-recognised party affiliation astonishes most British folk)
    If so, how can a party prevent being “captured” by a “movement” if it lacks the power to discipline, to expel and exclude?
    Or am I mistaken about this?

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  59. JohnSF says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Difference between the “active” base and the “voting” base.

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  60. Mikey says:

    @JohnSF:

    How to party membership rules, and laws, work in the US?

    One says “I am a Democrat/Republican.” Done!

    In some states a voter can register as a member of a party, but I don’t believe that’s necessary to vote in general elections, although it can affect how one votes in primary elections.

    If so, how can a party prevent being “captured” by a “movement” if it lacks the power to discipline, to expel and exclude?

    Apparently it can’t, if today’s Republican Party is any indication.

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  61. Michael Cain says:

    @Kingdaddy: As I read the Texas filing, at least one of their claims — that no-excuse mail ballots are unconstitutional — would invalidate election procedures in a majority of the 50 states. In particular, I believe that all of the western states would be in violation.

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  62. JohnSF says:

    @Mikey:
    Jaw rebounds from floor.
    So, when people say “the Republican Party” must be demolished and replaced, what good would that do if any successor party could be taken over in the same fashion?

    I mean, I would not expect it to affect general elections; but can a Party exclude people from voting in primaries or from standing as a candidate for a party?

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  63. Mikey says:

    @JohnSF:

    So, when people say “the Republican Party” must be demolished and replaced, what good would that do if any successor party could be taken over in the same fashion?

    That’s a good question. There’s an assumption if the GOP is “demolished and replaced,” the replacement would be better for American politics and the nation as a whole, but that’s not really guaranteed, is it?

    Parties can set their own rules, but of course they don’t want to be too exclusive if their aim is to gather membership.

    can a Party exclude people from voting in primaries or from standing as a candidate for a party?

    I think if they could, we wouldn’t have President Trump.

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  64. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @MarkedMan: Unfortunately the Party hasn’t yet shrank to only the Trump Wing. I’d be interested in seeing how big the Never Trump faction actually is—but I don’t think its more than 8 or 9% The 30+% of hard Trumpers are a sizable percentage of the Party even though the majority of what’s left are “holding their nose” and hoping for more civility despite the fact the GOP is giving them what they want. (i.e. Judges, Taxcuts)

    Hypothetically, if the GOP did say screw the Hard Trumpies–its not like they would be starting over from zero. Consider that the Dr Joyners of the world would no doubt go back home to the GOP and so could the Never Trumpers. That would leave only a small gap left by the Culties to make up.

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  65. JohnSF says:

    Well, the British Labour party has learnt (and sadly, had to relearn) some hard lessons over the years in the necessity of exclusivity.

    And if Brexit plays out as I expect, the Conservative Party is going to have a similar lesson rammed up its fundament.

    But bother would be helpless in the face of enthusiastic extremes without the legal capacity to discipline membership as private associations.

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  66. JohnSF says:

    “bother”? Should read “both”.
    I see edit has gone AWOL again.

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  67. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    The deer crossing sign is about a hundred yards up the road, where a creek crosses.

    It is too dense to hunt around here, even with bows, but the town is riddled with marshes, fresh water, salt water and varying degrees in between. Each spring when folks head off to the garden center the first thing you look for is the deer resistant tag.

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  68. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    It’s a rather messed up system.

    The US has been largely a two-party nation for most of its history, but there have been third parties now and then that accomplish something. In fact the Republican party was a third party in the mid-1800s, with the two real parties being the Democrats and the Whigs. They dethroned the latter, partly via the exodus of some prominent Whigs who formed the GOP.

    To make it worse, there are state parties as well as the national party. The latter operates and “owns” the respective National Committees, which have limited power.

    Our much-missed Doug suggested back in 2016 the RNC withdraw its financial support for Trump, seeing as how he couldn’t win and would probably frag the party down. I know something along these lines was done to/with Bob Dole in 1996. I assume such a move requires a deal with the candidate. I can imagine what trump threw at them if they dared suggest it.

    more complicated yet, primary elections are run by states, but delegates for the national conventions are awarded by the parties. And this can vary by state. As I understand it, the GOP awards all or most delegates to whoever gets the most votes, even if they fall short of a majority, while the Democrats take a more proportional approach.

    This does mean Trump won the nomination largely by winning pluralities in the primaries, sometimes int he los 30s as percentage of the vote. So, although he garnered more votes, he was a minority nominee (which must not be terribly unusual), who went on to win a minority of the popular vote to become one int eh select group of minority general election victors by the Grace of the Electoral College.

    Did I mention it’s a messed up system?

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  69. dazedandconfused says:

    @JohnSF:

    The parties can make their own rules, but currently they both have abandoned the selection process to primary “elections”. These were once just party polls which could be discarded. Notable but not isolated examples would be the nomination of POTUSes like Garfield and Eisenhower, who did not even participate in the party polling process.

    Nowadays we have been conditioned to believe party primaries are elections in and of themselves. Both parties have managed to get the States to foot the bill for running these “elections”. I fear there is no going back, it’s open to populists and populism. Only a matter of time before we have a game show host for a President. Oh wait, nevermind…

    The main problem is only a small fraction of the population bothers to show up for primary elections, less than 5%. A small but agitated minority can easily control who the nominees are. The “Never Trumpers” survive only if they stay in the closet, ala Ann Frank.

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  70. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    the Deep State is filled with people just doing their jobs and following the law.

    Time should have made The Deep State the people of the year. Or, given how insanity is spreading, Q.

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  71. Sleeping Dog says:

    @JohnSF:

    How to party membership rules, and laws, work in the US?

    Parties in the US are non-state, voluntary organizations. States do recognize a party structure and since parties can solicit money, they have laws about that. But any like minded group of citizens can register as a political party. We end up w/mostly Dems and Repubs, due to the nature of the governmental structure and first past the post elections.

    I believe that in most states one can publicly declare a party allegiance.

    Yes, as part of registering to vote. Parties have the right to limit participation to party members and in some states, voters registered as independents. The declaration of party affiliation helps facilitate determining who can vote in a primary. Note: independents can only vote in one primary per election cycle.

    (I would add that the whole concept of state-recognised party affiliation astonishes most British folk)

    Once they understood what state recognized means, it would be clear.

    If so, how can a party prevent being “captured” by a “movement” if it lacks the power to discipline, to expel and exclude?

    It can’t avoid being captured, once the inmates (movement) controls the asylum (party). This is exemplified by what is going on today among the Rs. The party pros, elected officials etc. have lost control to the mob, lead by Trump. Once Trump was elected in 2016 it was inevitable that rank and file party members would eventually adopt him as their leader, even if they opposed him vehemently before he received the 2016 nomination. After that the pros had no where to go but follow or get out of politics, eg. Jeff Flake.

    What is disconcerting now, is that the pros, rather than reestablishing control and returning to democratic norms, have adopted trump and the mobs illiberalism.

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  72. Michael Cain says:

    @JohnSF:

    The parties can make their own rules…

    Well, yes and no. Many states make rules that parties must operate under. My state designates major parties — won more than 10% of the votes in the most recent election for governor — and minor parties. Minor parties operate with some serious disadvantages. For example, major party candidates for president appear at the top of that section of the ballot. Minor party candidates appear lower, in an order chosen at random by each county. Last month, we had 20 minor party candidates on the ballot.

    In 2010, when the Republicans were in particular organizational disarray, it looked for a few weeks like they were not going to get to the 10% mark in the governor’s election. The party leadership was in total panic at the prospect of having their party’s presidential candidate in 2012 mixed in with the minor party and vanity candidates, with Obama and the Constitution Party’s candidates at the top. Side note on that: in 2012 the Constitution Party went bankrupt trying to do all the things the state required of a major party, so had no presidential candidate.

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  73. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    Today the Supreme Court has its best chance to end the cruel farce, and dismiss the frivolous, contradictory Texas lawsuit summarily.

    I don’t think that will end the farce. I think that just becomes background in the narrative of the “stolen election”.

    I think the Supremes should take up the case, and then destroy it, with a 9-0 opinion and a public scolding. Alas, I’m not certain that the court would reach a 9-0 decision.

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  74. Kathy says:

    While awaiting word from the Court, and taking a break from politics (in a manner of speaking), we got notice today at work the flu shot will finally be available to all employees next Tuesday, to be administered right here at the office.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a flu shot before.

    Also, you’d think with hospitals stretched thin, the government would want to minimize the effects of the flu. Severe cases can also wind up in a hospital. So the vaccine should be widely available. But no. It’s been very hard to obtain.

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  75. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    In my neck of the woods, flu shots are made available in August. If you ever had the Hong Kong flu, you’d be shoving people out of the way to get vaccinated. That is one miserable ailment.

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  76. Jen says:

    @JohnSF:

    how can a party prevent being “captured” by a “movement” if it lacks the power to discipline, to expel and exclude?

    It can’t, not really. Most of Party administration is handled at the state level, and even that is pretty lightly administered. There is no real formal control mechanism.

    This is why those of us who have WORKED in party politics laugh/cringe when we see things like “the Party is controlling X,” or “Candidate Y is being held down/back by the party.”

    Parties simply aren’t that powerful here, *except* for raising money and providing organizational structure. They used to be, but almost all of that “party bosses making decisions in dark, smoke-filled rooms” stuff is gone.

    The weird thing is that because the electoral system has kind of grown up around parties here, they are entrenched. So, it’s extremely difficult for third parties to gain a foothold anywhere. Parties aren’t going to loosen those rules (mostly ballot access and state organizational qualifications) because it would further erode what little power they do have.

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  77. Jen says:

    The Orlando Sentinel has apologized for endorsing one of the nitwit Republicans who has endorsed the Texas lawsuit, saying that they had “no way of knowing he wasn’t committed to democracy.”

    I hope a LOT of other papers follow suit.

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  78. JohnSF says:

    @Gustopher:
    Alos, if I’m reading the runes right, if the Texas mess is dismissed, then the Trumpkins will fall back on “Congress can nullify”.
    And then try to twist things to claim only the senate can do so.
    And then that only Republican senators-loyal-to-Trump are qualified, and hey, we can make up the numbers with Devin Nunes and his cow.
    I mean, if your going to go crazy, you might as well go CRAAYYZZEEEE!

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  79. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    So, although he garnered more votes, he was a minority nominee (which must not be terribly unusual), who went on to win a minority of the popular vote to become one int eh select group of minority general election victors by the Grace of the Electoral College.

    One note on just how usual winning the nomination with under 50% of the primary popular vote is: the only other Republican this happened to was McCain. On the Dem side, it’s happened several times (for the reasons outlined above). What makes Trump’s case more notable, though, is that for the first two-and-a-half months he didn’t break 50% anywhere. Then he broke 50% in his home state of NY, which happened to coincide with the exact moment when Cruz became mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination without a contested convention. (Kasich, the only other candidate still in the race by that point, had been eliminated a while earlier.) From that point on, Trump started winning absolute majorities in the remaining states, and this may have been partly because GOP voters by that point wanted to avoid the mess of a contested convention, rather than that they suddenly preferred him to the other candidates.

    Part of this was due to the unusually large field, but the 2020 Dems had an even bigger field and managed to avoid that kind of drawn-out situation–largely because the other candidates consolidated around Biden fairly quickly after the first few primaries (and that was probably because they wanted to avoid a drawn-out battle, as well as a fear of Bernie winning or at least dragging it out as long as he did in 2016).

    I think part of what kept the 2016 GOP field so fractured for so long was that several candidates (principally Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich) ended up representing different ideas of what an alternative to Trump within the GOP meant. Cruz was almost as hated by the establishment as Trump (often more so, in fact), so a lot of Republicans who didn’t want Trump were reluctant to get behind him, and that’s part of what motivated Kasich to stick around as long he did. I have had people (including some commenters here) tell me that Trump would have easily vanquished another Republican in a one-on-one contest, but the fact is that this was never tested (as Kasich and Cruz dropped out at about the same time), and there was a poll from mid-February which found that in a head-to-head contest among GOP voters, either Rubio or Cruz beat Trump by double-digits.

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  80. charon says:

    @Kathy:

    The DNC sets rules that every state party must follow. In order to get any delegates, the candidate must meet a threshold of 20% of the vote. The (D) candidates who meet the threshold divide the delegates strictly proportionally. (This does not apply to caucuses, but Iowa is the only significant caucus left).

    The RNC lets each state party make its own rules, but disproportionate awards are encouraged, the idea is to settle on a choice early avoiding a long drawn out battle. The most common scheme is winner takes all if the winner exceeds 50%. Otherwise, some formula that awards disproportionately to whoever has the plurality.

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  81. CSK says:

    There will be a “March for Trump” this weekend in D.C. “Tens of thousands” of his supporters will converge “to demand transparency and protect election integrity,” so they say.

    OANN will cover this event.

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  82. Teve says:

    Devin Nunes gots tha Rona.

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  83. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: At least it wasn’t Mad Cow disease.

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  84. KM says:

    @Gustopher :

    We really need a softer word for the softer bigotry. There isn’t a good word for that softer bit of ugliness that falls well short of shouting “n-clang, n-clang, n-clsng“ and using the same word leaves people defensive. Something that recognizes the baseline bigotry, and acknowledges the imperfect efforts to rise above it as a good thing rather than a failure, just as we recognize joining the Klan as a bad thing.

    I dislike softer terminology in general. If they are more concerned about being offended by a label than what they are doing to earn the label, how sincere can the effort to “change” really be?

    It’s like being morbidly obese (think my 600lb Life) but objecting to the term “obese” being inaccurate. After all, that meant FAT and you aren’t FAT, you’re body-positive plus-sized! Doesn’t change the fact that you are medically not in a healthy place and doesn’t change the fact that soft terms won’t make you more likely to have a heathier lifestyle. All it means is you want to be morbidly obese and not have it have any negative consequences or associations. What do we call a morbidly obese person trying to lose weight vs one who just complains you dislike their BMI? Does the term change because of one’s intentions even if the actual status being referenced have not changed?

    A recovering or working-on-it bigot is still being a bigot when they backslide. It’s OK, we all backslide; that’s part of life. Someone trying to get sober but ends up binge-drinking is still drunk at the time, even if they regret it or know better. There isn’t a good word for it because it’s supposed to be at transitory state you don’t stay in, not a reassuring limbo of “you’re not so bad after all” that doesn’t challenge you to get better. If the term feels like a rebuke, it should – that’s the point. The offensive term for the offensive action should make you want to stop the action, not demand someone not hurt your feelings by telling you you’re bad.

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  85. Mikey says:

    @CSK:

    There will be a “March for Trump” this weekend in D.C.

    Why do these imbeciles have to show up here and fuck up an otherwise nice weekend? Sunny and 62F on Saturday, really nice for mid-December. And now Trumpies are going to come here and stink everything up.

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  86. Kathy says:

    @charon:

    Thanks. I’ve largely picked up this info from news and commentary, so there were bound to be errors in it.

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  87. Loviatar says:

    @Gustopher:

    Thank you for the considered response. You’ve hit on a lot of great points, and I want to give a response worthy of your comment. So, I’ll respond later when my day slows down.

    —–

    @KM:

    I dislike softer terminology in general. If they are more concerned about being offended by a label than what they are doing to earn the label, how sincere can the effort to “change” really be?

    Thank you for this comment, it is exactly my point-of-view.

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  88. Teve says:

    @socialistdogmom

    the chief of the charlottesville police department is demanding that the reverend & entire board of a church be terminated from their positions for signing on to a letter about one of their congregants being bothered by the police on his way to church.

    thread

    Cancel culture!

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  89. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Things are different here.

    Childhood vaccination is taken very seriously. For a time, children had a vaccination card, which was checked off with each shot. It was also required for school admissions, both public and private.

    But flu shots have never been a thing. I know you can get them, but there are no campaign to do so, nor reminders in the news. Even after the H1N1 epidemic, the specific shot for it was recommended for people over 50 only.

    I assume I’ve had the flu a few times, seeing how prevalent it is worldwide, but I’ve no clue how to tell it apart from the common cold.

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  90. CSK says:

    @Mikey:
    It’s the culmination of their bus tour around the midwest and the south. For the exciting details, go here:

    http://www.trumpmarch.com/dc/

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  91. Teve says:

    @BadAstronomer

    I wonder if Devin Nunes knows the etymology of the word “vaccine”.

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  92. CSK says:

    @Kathy: Body aches are the big difference.

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  93. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnSF:

    if the Texas mess is dismissed, then the Trumpkins will fall back on “Congress can nullify”.
    And then try to twist things to claim only the senate can do so.

    They don’t need to twist it. The Constitution gives the power to the House. There is a D majority in the House. But they don’t vote for prez as representatives, they vote by state. And the GOPs hold a majority in more state delegations. Like the Senate, WY gets the same number of vote that CA gets, one.

    If you’re getting the impression we have weird rules, join the club.

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  94. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I wouldn’t trust Thomas or Scalito at all, but Gorsuch and Roberts don’t strike me as the kind to go along with something like this. The other two, I’ve no idea.

    Consider many of the complaints against the four states apply to many of the red states backing the suit. SCOTUS judgments are not specific to one situation or a small group of entities. Roe v Wade did not allow one women to get an abortion, it allowed all women to do so. Dredd Scott did not dash the hopes of one slave, but dealt a huge blow against all black people in the country.

    So, in this suit the ruling to throw out the results would perforce apply to many of the states backing the suit, and to all the races covered by each.

    This doesn’t mean the Court can’t rule that way. If the objective is to enthrone Trump, this may work. The election would be left to the House, which would decide it before the next Congress begins. We know how that would go.

    You’d also see riots like we’ve never seen before. People wouldn’t just protest, they’d go out to smash the system by any menas necessary. If the Court rules for Texas, we can date the start fo the Second USCW to that ruling.

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  95. KM says:

    @Loviatar:
    It reminds me of the George Carlin skit on soft language.

    Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent the kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it.

    Words can hurt unnecessarily and can be cruel. However, the more we soften language, the easier it is to dismiss or minimize what’s being expressed. We become obsessed with not hurting people’s feelings when pointing out potential problems and we lose focus on the problem.

    These poor people have been bullshitted by the system into believing that if you change the name of the condition, somehow you’ll change the condition. Well, hey cousin doesn’t happen. Doesn’t happen!

    Someone who is trying to get over internal biases is doing a good thing. We should encourage them but not sugar-coat it when they backslide. Honesty is important to the process, after all.

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  96. Michael Cain says:

    Just when you think it can’t get any stranger… the “states” of New Nevada and New Callifornia have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of Texas.

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  97. Jay L Gischer says:

    I just read the “end of year” message from Monika Bauerlein, publisher (I think) of Mother Jones. It’s a fundraising appeal, but she makes some points I like and agree with.

    The other day I spoke with Chloe Maxmin, a 26-year-old climate activist who in November won a Maine Senate seat in the conservative rural district where she grew up. When I asked how, she laughed: “Everyone asks that, and I tell them, I just listened!” She told of knocking on the door of a trailer at the end of a long dirt road. The shades were drawn and when the door opened, smoke poured out like fog. A man named Philip came out. No one from a campaign, he told her, had ever knocked on his door or listened to what he had to say. (The subjects of sociologist Arlie Hochschild, who wrote a powerful piece for Mother Jones in 2016 about her five years listening to Trump’s biggest fans, consistently tell her they feel Trump listens to them, even when he delivers nothing tangible for their communities.)

    A chunk of Maxmin’s district was among the “pivot counties” that went from Obama in 2008 and 2012 to Trump in 2016. “People vote for Trump for racist, hateful reasons sometimes,” she said. “But some also do it just because they feel he talks to them. I am talking to them, I’m listening to them, I tell them I’m going to stand up for them.” And the results—Maxmin also defeated a Republican when she first won election to the Maine House in 2018—show that people believe her.

    A big part of Trump’s message in 2016 was “the system is rigged against you”. That’s something I agree with, actually, when it comes to working people in the US. Between union-busting and work rules and the tax structure, the game is rigged. The offshoring and globalization are bad, too. Trump found some scapegoats, and that’s where the racism is.

    But let’s not forget something: “The system is rigged against you” was supposed to be a message for the Democrats, and Trump took it from them. I guess I should say he took it from us, though I’m not in charge of any messaging.

    Bauerlein’s piece also highlights how much more effective grassroots organizing is, dollar-for-dollar, than lavish, clever media campaigns. The Lincoln Project made lots of clever ads, but appear to have delivered no votes at all.

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  98. Teve says:

    @marceelias

    WATCH! As I told @chrislhayes, I’m not shaken by the Texas #SCOTUS lawsuit because I think it has any chance of success. What shook me is who signed on to support it, including 106 Republican House members and 18 state AGs.

    What this speaks to is an erosion of our democracy.

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  99. JohnSF says:

    @gVOR08:
    Yes; but assuming it’s on a state delegation basis.
    I was thinking of something I’ve seen somewhere (memo to self: bookmarks are your friend) that Congress had the power of determining the validity of electors.
    So, the step before the House takes over the election as such.

    If I were a hard nosed Dem, at that point I would invoke the power of the House to determine contested elections .
    ‘Twas a thing back in the day, I recall from my US history, and not been altered by law AFAIK.

    So; Pelosi and the Dem majority declare enough Republican seats contested, and install enough Democrat replacements by straight majority vote to swing the state delegation tally.
    BOOM!
    And pick the constitutional bones out of that, Supremes.

    Of course, by that point you’re more or less in a “King Charles raises his standard at Nottingham” situation.

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  100. Jen says:

    @Kathy:

    but I’ve no clue how to tell it apart from the common cold.

    Then you probably haven’t had the flu, or you lucked out with extremely mild symptoms. I had a doctor who put it this way–with true influenza, you feel like you might never return to normal. You will, of course–but flu typically makes you feel so drained, so exhausted, and so sick that you start thinking this way. It really is a butt-kicker.

    I had it back in 2005, and it wore me out to get out of bed to take a shower. Literally. I had to nap after expending the energy to shower.

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  101. Jen says:

    Okay I’ve seen “Scalito” several times used above…is this a new joking nickname?

    Antonin Scalia is the SC Justice who died. Samuel Alito is a sitting Justice. Is “Scalito” an intentional mashing together of the names? I feel like I’m not in on a joke…

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  102. Kylopod says:

    @Jen: I’ve seen “Scalito” for years and used it myself while Scalia was alive, but I used it as a shorthand for him and Alito collectively. (I tended to speak about “Scalito-Thomas” as if they were all one entity, which it often felt like, though Thomas is just a touch more extreme than the other two. My dad has long called them the psychopathic wing of the Court.) I guess people using it now are just jokingly suggesting the spirit of Scalia lives on in the other Italian guy.

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  103. gVOR08 says:

    @Kingdaddy: You beat me to linking to the Campos piece. Let me add Kevin Drum’s post from yesterday evening:

    Things like this (100+ GOP House members signing on to an amicus brief supporting TX AG Paxton’s case) make it clear that it’s no longer enough to simply denounce Donald Trump. Or even to denounce Trumpism. From the very start the big question about Trump has been how it was possible for the Republican Party to nominate him in the first place. But the answer doesn’t depend on anything to do with Trump himself; it lies in how the party evolved during the decades from the Gingrich revolution to Trump’s eventual nomination and election. That means dealing with Gingrich himself; with Whitewater; with Fox News; with endless money raising scams; with Iraq; with “voter fraud”; with growing toleration of white racism; with Benghazi; with Hillary’s emails; and with everything else that the GOP has become over the years.

    Anyone opposed to Trumpism needs to deal brutally and honestly with all this, including their own roles in it.

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  104. grumpy realist says:

    @Jen: For a long period of time Justice Scalia and Justice Alito were always voting and commenting the same way. Never did one of them come up with something that the other did not sign on to as well. (Justice Thomas would sometimes veer off into his own opinions.) Hence the nickname “Scalito” started getting used when commenting on SCOTUS opinions.

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  105. de stijl says:

    It’s been a thoughtful and well expressed open thread.

    Needs a touch of levity.

    Has Ray Liota ever played a good guy? (Memory only – no imdb skimming!)

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  106. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    I heard him called that in jest, indicating he’s a Scalia clone.

    As to the flu, I’ve never felt that bad or tired. I got pneumonia once, back in 1985, which gave me the highest fever I’ve ever experienced, up to getting some hallucinations and delirium, but didn’t leave me particularly more tired than any other common bacterial infection.

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  107. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy:

    The Republican Party had lost all legitimacy as a political force in a free, democratic country.

    Sure, but that’s been true for quite a while now. That didn’t start in 2017, or even in 2009.

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  108. JohnSF says:

    Not sure if this has been mentioned in any previous threads:
    A real potential scientific game-changer: ‘It will change everything’: DeepMind’s AI makes gigantic leap in solving protein structures

    Not just in itself; this linked to other advances in biology/organic chemistry has massive potential in relation to deigning and replicating enzymes, drugs, materials etc etc.
    And potentially most significant, the developmental proteome project.

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  109. Teve says:

    David Atkins:

    Red states don’t want secession. They want sedition. They want to take advantage of blue states and dominate them with apartheid power.

    A nation of Trump states would not want to figure out how to function in competition with a nation of Biden states.

    Which leads to the next point: blue states are likelier over time to secede than red states.

    This is simply because of the Electoral College and Senate dynamics. California and New York won’t last forever letting Nebraska and North Dakota tell them what to do.

    And the collective blue states aren’t going to sit idly by while they win presidential elections by millions of votes but don’t hold the White House, rep tens of millions more people in the Senate but don’t hold power, and win the National House vote but lose via gerrymandering.

    Combined with the fact that blue states are mostly donor states, it means that if the anti-majoritarian apartheid rules don’t change, blue states will find it easier to just go their own way.

    We’re not spending decades letting Montana decide whether we can have healthcare.

    The internal dynamics of the Dem Party coalition are also relevant here. People under 45 want Sanders-Warren style politics, but the *national* temperature allowed by EC, Senate, etc. only tolerate as far as Biden.

    That dynamic also can’t hold for long as time advances.

    At a broader level, you just can’t keep a nation together where the majority are giving away their tax money to a minority that is actively trying to kill and disenfranchise them, and refusing to let them solve problems.

    It doesn’t work. The rules need to be renegotiated.

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  110. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: He’s had that for a while now.

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  111. charon says:

    @Kathy: I have been thinking about the Dem process, it’s a bit more complex. Some delegates are awarded statewide, some by Congressional district. How many delegates depends how many Democratic voters in the district (or state). So one district may award 3 delegates while another awards maybe 8 if it is a very blue district.

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  112. CSK says:

    CNN is speculating that Ivanka will primary Marco Rubio for the senate in 2022.

    I can’t stop laughing.

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  113. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve:

    We’re not spending decades letting Montana decide whether we can have healthcare.

    Montana is not the example they should use. Montana expanded Medicaid in 2016. The governor before the current one, who was a Democrat, got reelected after saying, “Give us the federal health care dollars spent in Montana, and we’ll add our own, and do health care for all properly. All we have to do is look across the border to Saskatchewan.” Montana has the longest streak of having at least one Democratic US Senator of any state in the country, going back to 1911. Wyoming or Idaho would be a better example.

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  114. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jay L Gischer: A big part of Trump’s message in 2016 was “the system is rigged against you”. That’s something I agree with, actually, when it comes to working people in the US. Between union-busting and work rules and the tax structure, the game is rigged.

    And just exactly who is doing the union busting? Softening the work rules? Rigging the tax structure? It ain’t DEMs. I know a lot of my union brothers voted for repubs, the very people trying to destroy our union, because of God, Guns, and somebody else’s guts who they hate more than they love their paycheck.

    Really, it’s not economic “anxiety”.

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  115. Teve says:

    @Michael Cain: Idaho expanded Medicaid. Maybe South Dakota would be a good example along with Wyoming.

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  116. de stijl says:

    @JohnSF:

    AI is really good at these types of problems because it just shoves out every possible solution until one works.

    Like Deep Blue and chess.

    I do not fully understand how it knows it has identified the optimal solution. Is it that that was always human coded? How did Deep Blue settle on a move?

    Time provided nature the opportunity to fold proteins in nearly innumerable ways until it worked.

    AI compresses time. Are the “success” criteria predetermined by humans?

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  117. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    Marie Antoinette had more empathy.

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  118. de stijl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Fragile masculinity explains a lot of disparate issues, I’ve found.

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  119. dazedandconfused says:
  120. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    I had an epiphany about the US constitutional system:

    It’s unstable the same way Win98 was unstable. Both are built upon older structures not meant to do what they need to do, patched and fixed haphazardly mostly only when they absolutely must.

    America started as a confederation of 13 distinct, mutually independent political entities. Sort of a union of independent countries, a bit like the Holy Roman Empire. This proved unworkable, ergo the Constitution in the 1780s, but that left a lot of autonomy to the states. And we were left with a “representative” body, the Senate, better suited to nations than states within one nation.

    And there’s lots more things like that. Like how the Constitution makes no mention of political parties, or the Electoral College that is also unrepresentative, etc.

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  121. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    I don’t think so. Maybe.
    I am not a computer scientist, or a biochemist, but as I understand it, from the DeepMind blog, it uses known viable protein structures to determine parameters for possible folding patterns, then applies them and sees if the results fit with known required properties.
    It can iterate the process, which is a sort of “time compression”, but as I understand (my tiny brain was overheating by this point) it that isn’t the key part.

    In it’s approaches to chess and go, the method was to let it play and seek wins, and iterate from success. The wins themselves validated the approach for the learning system without other external intervention.
    Sort of like a human being taught chess without being told the rules, and having to figure it out by being told “you lose” or “you win” or “that move not allowed” step by step by step, move by move, game by game.

    Of course, a human would most likely kick over the board and punch his tutor on the snoot after an hour of such nonsense. 🙂

    So, it’s either a kinda Zen training, Grasshopper, or how we get Skynet (“Now, feeble humans, I’ll teach you how angry those bloody chess games made me! Launch the nukes!”)

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  122. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Thing is, UK “constitution” is even more incremental and patched-up.

    BUT, just because it isn’t wrapped up in one set of “holy scrolls” sanctioned by the “Founders”, even conservatives find it easier to change things on a pragmatic basis.

    OTOH, the lack of hard barriers and reliance, even more than US, on conventions, and traditions, and “the done thing” makes it even more open to abuse by the unscrupulous.
    See action of May’s, and even more, Johnson’s governments.
    But, the counter is, that if one side voids the rules, the other can return the favour.
    See the political crisis of 1909-1914.

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  123. Northerner says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Really, it’s not economic “anxiety”.

    And in fact, despite what people say, there are a lot of things people think are more important than money — everything from clothes to cars to vacations to houses to expensive meals and drinks they can’t afford. That’s why so many people are in debt — they’re more interested in immediate satisfaction of desires (often fleeting desires) than they are of economics.

    In terms of voting, its mainly about the immediate gratification of voting for the same team you’ve always voted for — its like being say a Cowboy’s fan even though they haven’t won the Superbowl in decades, they vote because its their team, not because they really expect their team to bring the Superbowl back.

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  124. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    Thing is, UK “constitution”

    I take it the quotes are because the “constitution” is unwritten.

    You also have means of questioning the PM publicly, and have easier means to remove a PM.

    No system is perfect, and all obey Kathy’s First Law: there is a downside to everything. But some are more preferable than others.

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  125. sam says:

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday rejected an audacious lawsuit by Texas that had asked the court to throw out the presidential election results in four battleground states captured by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    The court, in a brief unsigned order, said Texas lacked standing to pursue the case, saying it “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.” [Source]

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  126. JohnSF says:

    In other European news:
    The attempt of Poland and Hungary to defy the rest on “rule of law” sanctions appears to be collapsing.
    Appears Polish government is divided by internal premier vs president rivalries, domestic public opinion, and unwillingness to ride the crazy train with Orban (not least because Orban is a bit of a Putin fanboi, and one thing most Poles can agree upon is that Russians are not their favourite people).
    And Orban won’t do the defiance dance all by himself, because he loves them sweet, sweet euros.

    Dacian Cioloş, President of Renew Europe, said:

    ”It was finally all a bluff! In the end, the leaders of Poland and Hungary have unblocked the recovery plan to relaunch the European economy exhausted by months of crisis. Citizens, SMEs, farmers and young people: Europe needs these funds more than ever.
    I welcome the adoption of the Rule of law regulation by the Council, which will now be endorsed by the European Parliament.
    European funding will be conditional on respect for our values, which is an historic step forward. Europe will no longer finance the political deviations of authoritarian leaders.”

    Optimistic, but I like his sentiments.
    And am so sad that, instead of being an ally, I’m on the outside looking in. And will be for the rest of my life, I suspect.

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  127. Gustopher says:

    @KM:

    I dislike softer terminology in general. If they are more concerned about being offended by a label than what they are doing to earn the label, how sincere can the effort to “change” really be?

    Except “bigot” is one of those words, like “Nazi” that triggers an intense response. People stop listening to you.

    Actually, “Nazi” is a great example. You don’t have a dialog with Nazis, or be cordial to them, you should punch them. They are simultaneously just different by degree with conservatives, and an entirely different beast that requires a different treatment. Some people should be shunned, others worked with, and we have different terms for each group.

    Same with Fascist.

    (Never mind that we keep discovering that we are drawing the line in the wrong spot, as 17 State AGs and 106 Republicans in congress have shown that they are fascists… More than most reasonable people would have expected)

    Calling anyone who exhibits mild, mostly subconscious prejudice (or even the lack of thought about others’ experiences) a bigot leaves little room to distinguish them from the Klan.

    You can have a constructive dialog with a lot of mildly prejudiced people on the issues of race — you can bring them on board for progressive change, or make them less opposed at least. But you can’t with the Klansmen.

    We have the harsh word: bigot. And we know that bigots should be shunned and mocked.

    We don’t really have the softer word for folks like me, you, and Dr. Joyner — the people who are totally reachable, but sometimes just don’t think because our privilege has meant that we don’t have to think.

    I’m going to be honest — first time I saw a picture of Gen. Lloyd Austin as proposed Secretary of Defense, my first two thoughts were “Wow, he’s really dark” and “Where the fuck did that come from?”. Definitely not the mind of someone entirely free of prejudice, but also pretty clearly not a Klansman. He did not fit my image of a man with that level of experience because … dunno … the most charitable interpretation is that I expect, sadly, that people who look like that are kept out of important roles by the bigots.

    I was over it after a few seconds beyond really wondering where the fuck that came from and what else is hiding in my subconscious. But to call both me and a Klansman a bigot is eradicating a distinction that is more than just a matter of degree.

    It’s like being morbidly obese (think my 600lb Life) but objecting to the term “obese” being inaccurate.

    It’s not, because we don’t (or shouldn’t) shut morbidly obese people out of our lives and assume that they are worthless people. (We should be getting to know them, taking out life insurance policies on them, and feeding them frozen sticks of butter with popsicle sticks in them… now there’s a retirement plan for you!)

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  128. de stijl says:

    @JohnSF:

    Trump was four years. Brexit is forever.

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  129. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: about 15 years ago I was at a party in Carrboro North Carolina with a bunch of UNC people. And a young naïve English grad student complained to me that when one of her students said something racist, and she told the student, that’s racist, the student shut down and wouldn’t listen to her anymore. Of course they won’t listen to you anymore, I said, you’re putting them in the same category as Hitler and the KKK. Tell them that they said something biased and they might keep listening to you.

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  130. Teve says:

    @KevinMKruse

    Congratulations to every Republican lickspittle who attached their name to this flaming bag of shit right before the Supreme Court dumped water all over it.

    Enjoy your legacy, folks. You earned it.

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  131. Michael Cain says:

    @de stijl:

    I do not fully understand how it knows it has identified the optimal solution. Is it that that was always human coded? How did Deep Blue settle on a move?

    Oversimplifying grossly, current state of the art AI uses a trained neural network to guide a branch-and-bound exhaustive search tree. Exhaustive means yeah, we know that every other possible solution is worse than the one the software found. The efficiency of branch-and-bound — which I first studied many years ago — is dominated by how well you can steer the search*. For a growing number of problems, trained neural networks are simply much, much better at steering the search than human-devised rules.

    * In one particular graduate class, Prof. Barnes would walk around the room handing the one-problem take-home exam back to the students, remarking on what they had done well in attacking the problem. If I was last, it was always because of something like, “Mr. Cain, of course, simply beat the problem to death with a computer. But how he beat it is interesting.” And I would get ten minutes at the board to explain.

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  132. de stijl says:

    For Poland (actually the current government of Poland not the people), a combo of anti-Putin / anti-Russia sentiment, and the realization that ostracization is bad and will likely kill their next election chances.

    Orban seems hell bent for leather. He’s a goon.

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  133. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    As somebody said (John memory fail): it’s not so much that British Constitution isn’t written; it’s just not written all in one place.

    The key thing is that, under the doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty “Crown-in-Parliament” *
    there are no bounds, so long as “proper procedures” are followed.
    And even such “proprieties” can be overridden by political brute force; the courts can impede, but ultimately I’d say, in the UK system the courts can be broken to the will of the “Parliamentary empowered executive”.

    Removal of a PM is very easy; but if the PM can harness the Party (and the media) against his MPs (echoes of Trump and the base vs the GOP establishment) he can cow them.

    It can be a fine line to walk: PMs (and their “inner circle”) with dreams of the Commons being reduced to a mere electoral college for an “imperial premiership” and aligned with the Party, versus MPs who can overthrow a PM at will, if they have the will, and often see their own prospects being based on “floating voters” at least as much their activists.
    And the Cabinet between them; legally the Cabinet is the “executive” NOT the PM.

    * The “Crown” bit being the part MPs usually slide past, mainly because MPs have a very high opinion of themselves, and because everyone else tends not to disabuse them; my anti-democratic hobbyhorse ends 🙂 –

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  134. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    Go ahead, harsh my mellow 🙂

    Seriously, it looks like Americans are hauling themselves out of the worst trough of recent history.

    While in Britain, the omens are bleak for the next few years.
    Even if we can recover the economic terms via a Labour government and negotiating something like EFTA/EEA terms, we’ll still be on the outside looking in.

    And are going to find out, painfully, how much that will alter our relations with the US, where influence was increased by being a veto wielding insider in the EU.
    And by not being an economic basket case.

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  135. Monala says:

    From the AP:

    In a brief order, the court said Texas does not have the legal right to sue Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin because it “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.”

    In a brief order, the Supreme Court said Texas does not have the legal right to sue Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin because it “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.”

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  136. Kathy says:

    @sam:

    I direct this at the GOP with malice aforethought:

    Praise the Lord!

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  137. de stijl says:

    @Michael Cain:

    By what metrics is a potential solution determined to be better or worse? What is the ranking system?

    Of the n possible solutions, why and how is one chosen?

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  138. Teve says:

    @benjaminEW

    Texas GOP chair says in light of Supreme Court tossing out Texas case, “Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.”

    Pretty please?

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  139. JohnSF says:

    @sam:
    That calls for a toast! Wassail!

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  140. CSK says:

    SCOTUS has rejected Ken Paxton’s lawsuit.

    No dissents were made public.

    Trump must be apoplectic.

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  141. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    Removal of a PM is very easy; but if the PM can harness the Party (and the media) against his MPs (echoes of Trump and the base vs the GOP establishment) he can cow them.

    See Kathy’s First Law. And also Kathy’s Second Law: No one can anticipate all possible ways to game the rules, nor all end-runs around safeguards.

    But your means are so much easier, you’ve actually removed PMs from office, and have had others resign.

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  142. de stijl says:

    @JohnSF:

    Sorry, man!

    Dynamic organic systems often self-correct. If it goes badly (it will), “rejoin” will become more enticing to enough folks for the next referendum.

    Hopefully with less misplaced pride amongst the voters and negotiators.

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  143. Teve says:

    @CSK:

    Trump must be apoplectic

    I’ve been checking his Twitter feed but he hasn’t said anything yet…

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  144. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Me too. Maybe he’s being restrained (i.e., put in a straitjacket) and sedated.

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  145. Mister Bluster says:

    On July 24, 1974 the United States Supreme Court issued a sledgehammer decision directing President Richard Nixon to immediatly release the Watergate Tapes to the special prosecutor. Nixon turned them over six days later.
    Even before that directive I was convinced that Nixon had already destroyed the tapes.
    To this day I don’t know why he did not burn them.

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  146. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    ’tis nothing more than a twice told tale
    The truth, in other words.
    I doubt there’ll be another referendum for at least fifteen years.
    Five years to oust the Tories and achieve a new national consensus.
    Then EEA/EFTA type arrangement.
    Then five to ten years to move from that to “rejoin”.
    The EU will, naturally, want to be sure we mean it about rejoining.

    We may just make it before I’m pushing up the daisies, but not by much, I fear.

    So much for my dreams of retiring for a few years to a little cottage in Gascony.
    Probably never have the money, but at least I could sorta realistically unrealistically dream 🙂

    And the chances are by that time, the Kingdom I was born into will be gone for ever.
    Northern Ireland, Scotland gone, the appurtenances of a Power unaffordable, the Security Council seat gone, our economy hammered, London no longer one of the great global cities.
    We may not always have been a nice bunch, but on balance, we did some good.
    We didn’t deserve to go out in this humiliating fashion.
    National suicide due to stupidity.

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  147. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    El Cheeto Pendejo goes quiet when he loses. Remember the FUBAR rally that killed Herman Cain, and the silent period after the election was called on Nov. 7th.

    Later he’ll scream, and rant, and carry on like his normal, 5-year old self.

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  148. KM says:

    @Gustopher:

    We don’t really have the softer word for folks like me, you, and Dr. Joyner — the people who are totally reachable, but sometimes just don’t think because our privilege has meant that we don’t have to think.

    But is that really “reachable”? The new soft term will quickly acquire the same stigma because it’s still a *bad* thing, just one of lesser intensity. Bigot is a softer term as it is – I mean, we’re using right now instead of racist, anti-Semite, homophobe, chauvinist, etc. Let’s say we create the term “LessBig” for a lesser bigot or someone well-meaning who let’s their privilege slip. It’s not an insult but a descriptor of the behavior and intentions. Don’t know you’re exercising white privilege and are sorry about it? It’s OK LessBig, try harder next time.

    How long till “LessBig” gets the exact same reaction from the same people complaining bigot’s too mean?

    Yes, there’s an intense negative reaction. They’re objecting to you casting aspersion on their character because they don’t think they deserve the label. The new term will do the same thing and anyone who shuts down because you’re labeling them won’t care what term you use. It’s the act of judgment the term implies; you are telling them they are wrong and that’s a bigger sin than what they are doing. It’s a deeply egotistical reaction no amount of softening the language will appease. They can’t shelve their agenda or feelings long enough to understand what you are telling them. The word itself doesn’t matter – it’s what they hear behind it that’s the problem.

    See the N-word and it’s spawn as a prime example of this kind of linguistic drift. The NACCP’s name uses a term that was considered better than the N-word back in the day and now is nearly as offensive. A softer term becomes a hard one with a lifetime quite easily and thus we cycle endlessly trying to find a term acceptable to all instead of addressing the hatred driving the issue. We get people like edgy dudebros whining they can’t use the N-word because *that’s* the offense to them, not the ugly intent behind their wish to use it.

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  149. de stijl says:

    @JohnSF:

    All empires die. At least so far.

    The EU and the US will be eclipsed by China’s economy soon. It is inevitable.

    We too will have to adapt to a changing world.

    You guys seriously punched above your weight for centuries. Look at a globe – Britain is tiny. But it ruled the waves and constructed and administered a far flung if cruelly ruled empire.

    You had a powerful run.

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  150. Loviatar says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’ll outsource the first portion of my response to @KM, she captures my point-of-view on the need of some to use soft language to hide hatred.

    —–

    Because whatever you say about James, he tries to ask the right questions. And often he does. And sometimes he answers them correctly. Is he a bigot, or is he an imperfect less-bigot? The former is needlessly harsh, the latter is almost gibberish.

    I would not presume to know what is in James heart, I just pointed out that James’ writings are steeped in pre-Trump Republicanism’s subtle, code worded bigotry. i.e. the questioning of accomplishments by women or minorities, because we know they could not have just made it based on their qualifications and hard work.

    —–

    Also, I expect that race and gender did play a factor in some cabinet picks. Biden set out to have a diverse cabinet, and when picking among the qualified people for any given post, I expect that the phrase “oh, we already have a lot of white guys” went through his head. And I’m sure that people got initial consideration just because they were a semi-prominent non-white-guy, and while most of them didn’t make it to the last round, some people got an extra look because of skin color or whether they’re an innie or an outie.

    For 400+ years race and gender has played a factor in every cabinet pick, its only now that the nominees more closely reflect our diverse population, does the nominee’s race and gender become worthy of questioning. I wonder why.

    —–

    There’s no way to do colorblind staffing. Not until we invent a different kind of human. The best we can do is understand and acknowledge our baseline bigotry, and try to compensate for it, often by creating an opposing bias and hoping it all comes out in the end.

    I’m going to be honest — first time I saw a picture of Gen. Lloyd Austin as proposed Secretary of Defense, my first two thoughts were “Wow, he’s really dark” and “Where the fuck did that come from?”. Definitely not the mind of someone entirely free of prejudice, but also pretty clearly not a Klansman. He did not fit my image of a man with that level of experience because … dunno … the most charitable interpretation is that I expect, sadly, that people who look like that are kept out of important roles by the bigots.

    I was over it after a few seconds beyond really wondering where the fuck that came from and what else is hiding in my subconscious. But to call both me and a Klansman a bigot is eradicating a distinction that is more than just a matter of degree.

    There is a difference between acknowledging differences and passing judgment based upon those differences. I don’t consider the former bigotry; the latter definitely is bigotry. Judgement is key to understanding bigotry, James’ post didn’t just acknowledge the race of the nominees, it passed judgement by inferring that they primarily received their appointments based upon their race and gender. That’s bigotry.

    As far your thought regarding the darkness of General Austin’ skin color; it wasn’t prejudice, it was unfortunately a byproduct of 400+ years of American racism. It is part of our culture. You were smart enough to notice it, acknowledge the wrongness of the thought/judgement and vowed try and do better in the future. That’s all that can be asked.

    And that’s what Republicans don’t do; they never notice their bigotry, they never acknowledge the wrongness of the thought/judgement and they sure the hell never try to do better.

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  151. de stijl says:

    @JohnSF:

    Trust me, the Scots and Northern Ireland have not been overly keenly fond of English dominance. Wales and Cornwall have a remnant of an independence streak too.

    Brexit (especially no-deal which looks more and more likely) will be a reset for British identity.

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  152. Loviatar says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns, and Money has a post today, “Delenda Est,” that’s worth maybe debating over here. The punchline:

    There is, in short, no living with these people. A liberal democracy can’t survive when one of its two major parties is a radical reactionary authoritarian ethno-nationalist party, that rejects the very idea of a pluralistic liberal democratic society as a matter of first principles. Either that party or that liberal democracy must be destroyed, and will be.

    Please front page this subject, I believe it is absolutely worthy of further analysis/discussion. In fact, I think over the next 4 years it will be the most critical subject we face as Americans.

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  153. de stijl says:

    @Loviatar: @KM:
    et al.

    Joyner was decidedly uninterested in talking about R attempts at voting restrictions / suppression attempts prior to his rejection. It was a blind spot.

    He got better, but not sure he actually gets how evil it is. It was the water he swam in for decades.

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  154. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    Disagree re. China.
    Current pop. 1.4bn; US+EU combined (aka”West”) 0.8bn, India 1.3bn

    China economy continues to grow, and quite fast, but there a serious problems ahead re. aging population with unbalanced sex ratio likely to lead to major issues in elder support, and the impact of party based power system on corruption, lawful social regulation, and environmental degradation. Also, can a “panopticon state” be a dynamic economy long term?
    Maybe; maybe not.

    Overseas the debt leveraging of hoped-for client states via elite graft looks like a winner, now.
    But as various European empires learnt back in the day, that road runs out as soon as said assumed-clients say “take your debt and shove it”.
    Then you need to enforce the debt.

    Absent US/EU willingness to use the global finance system to do so, that means coercion by force.
    China might just, maybe, get away with that in SE Asia.
    In Africa? In Central Asia (unless the Russians play along)?
    Outside the East Asia, China is not likely to have the overwhelming power needed to cross the “rest”.
    India for one won’t take it lying down.

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  155. Teve says:

    @MaggieNYT

    At the White House Christmas Party, guests were informed about 10 minutes ago that the president won’t be joining them to make remarks.

    Delicious 😛

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  156. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    Heh.
    My family on my my fathers fathers line is Irish by descent (Donegal via Cork then Coventry, but with a weird twist).
    My fathers mothers side is part English, part Scottish by way of France and Italy(!)
    Mothers father is English-of-the-Marches (Shropshire) with a surname that is of Welsh origin.
    Mothers mother family line was Welsh, including one grandmother with the surname Gwllyt who was a Welsh speaker.

    Being English is just my default setting. 🙂

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  157. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Because he’s in a straitjacket.

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  158. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I owe you an apology. Kinda*.

    You told me the other day that the St. Paul Saints were the AAA affiliate of the Twins.

    They weren’t then, but they are now. As of 12/9.

    Apparently, this announcement was an open secret for months. I was unaware.

    We were both technically correct, which is the best manner of correctness. 😉

    As long as the Saints remain the Saints and maintain that Veeck brand of irreverence, I am 100% in favor of that move.

    Going from AAA to The Bigs is a 15 minute bus ride and locating your locker. How cool is that?

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  159. CSK says:

    The Texas GOP wants Texas to secede.

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  160. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Monala:

    The suspect [a teenager] looked nothing like our church member, other than both men are black. [emphasis added]

    Sorry, but that’s all it takes when the police department is composed to touchy bigoted thugs. It’s not going to get better either, I’m afraid.

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  161. de stijl says:

    @JohnSF:

    Aztec Camera’s Good Morning Britain comes to mind. Featuring Mick Jones.

    Get Outta London, too.

    Roddy Frame deserves more love. Should be a Sir, imo.

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  162. de stijl says:

    @JohnSF:

    India and China will come to blows sooner or later.

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  163. de stijl says:

    AC’s Stray is great.

    The Crying Scene is an all-time fave. That is a killer song. Love, love, love it.

    They do a cover of True Colors that is exceptionally good. I know it is a cliche cover – but it is really eye-openingly great.

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  164. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Ok. Fine. We’ll take it back. No charge!

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  165. Teve says:

    A comment on congressman Jeff Duncan‘s Facebook page:

    I think it freaking HILARIOUS how so many on this thread are so clueless about the CONSTITUTION and think that this is over! It’s just getting started! What a show it will be! Get your popcorn ready cause it’s gonna be a show stopper!!! Thanks Jeff Duncan for your dedication!

    Republicans are fuckin stupid.

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  166. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Hypothetically, if the GOP did say screw the Hard Trumpies–its not like they would be starting over from zero. Consider that the Dr Joyners of the world would no doubt go back home to the GOP and so could the Never Trumpers. That would leave only a small gap left by the Culties to make up.

    Sure. But what would be the point considering that trying to attract the Culties was the goal in the first place, back in the 60s? The goal was to become the voice of Southern White Democrats and since conservatism leaned that way from Buckley supporting voter suppression because “nCLANNNG [African Americans] were too ignorant to be trusted with voting,” the direction to go was a no brainer (in every way possible).

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  167. Teve says:

    @CSK:

    The Texas GOP wants Texas to secede

    that’s fine, but they’ve got to take Oklahoma, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, both Dakotas…

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  168. JohnSF says:

    “Stray” is just such a brilliant record.
    Another turn of the 80s/90s that is my go-to music era.
    Along with 1950’s jazz and blues, Irish folk, Jimi Hendrix, dub reggae and medieval choral 🙂
    And above all others, Gong and Hawkwind.

    Also from same-ish period: Siouxsie and the Banshees Peepshow, Cocteau Twins Treasure, Talk Talk Spirit of Eden, Cranes Wings of Joy, Galaxie 500 On Fire, Belltower Popdropper, etc etc

    So much great music from those few years around, say, 85/95?
    Good times.

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  169. JohnSF says:

    @Teve:
    I swear, if ever I hear, in person, a rightie-loon say “buckle up…” (outside the context of high speed sports) I shall plead diminished responsibility for my subsequent actions.

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  170. de stijl says:

    @JohnSF:

    There is great music from all eras.

    I danced to Fisherman’s Blues under a moonlit sky and fire-lit camp in the Black Hills with my ex.

    That was a glorious weekend.

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  171. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Do they have thieve’s remorse about their stolen SCOTUS seats? Probably not.

    They can still delay. According to what I’ve been reading lately, when Congress counts the Electoral votes, the vote from any state can be challenged if one member each of the House and Senate thinks they should be challenged. Then each chamber must debate the challenge for some hours, and vote on it. If any living Republican with more than two working neurons thinks there’s a chance the Democratic-controlled House will vote to reject any state that went blue, based on zero evidence, they should have themselves committed.

    Between now and Monday, when the EC votes, there will be frantic calls for the legislatures of PA, WI, MI, and GA to appoint different electors, then even more frantic calls for faithless electors to save the world by enthroning Trump Minimus.

    I dare say we may see some faithless electors, but not 37 of them. 306-37=269, which throws the election to the House.

    I’d love it if a few electors from Trump states went faithless, while none of Biden states did. But that’s very unlikely on the red column.

    BTW, how many times has Trump lost the election? He must be really into BDSM and humiliation games. I mean really into it. Those times the trophy wife swatted away his hand in public? That was foreplay (yuck).

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  172. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    Oh yes, that Waterboys song.
    A bit like Richard Thompson, Mike Scott has a knack sometimes for creating tunes that feel like they’ve been around forever (in a good way).
    Danced with a girl to Fisherman’s Blues also, one summer night with the sun setting over Abberley Hill.
    Almost avoided treading on her toes LOL. (I’m not the most graceful dancer ever).

    Also same night, walking to the pub nearby, two other girls i knew back then started singing.
    Folk song (a Steeleye Span or early Fairports one, not sure); one of them was a semi-pro singer. They had a varying harmony, and a staggered vocal line, if you know what I mean.
    It seemed in that moment, and in memory now, more than twenty years on, one of the most wonderful things I have ever heard.

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  173. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Flu vaccine is available here around late September, but people don’t usually take shots until after Thanksgiving because the flu arrives late here–usually Jan. and Feb. Taking the shot early can compromise it’s effectiveness, or so I’m told.

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  174. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    By what metrics is a potential solution determined to be better or worse? What is the ranking system?

    For protein folding, it’s the entropy of the resulting state. Folds that lead to low-entropy (stable) states are useful; they describe the states that nature finds repeatedly.

    Or so I understand; I know a reasonable amount about machine learning but not so much about biochemistry.

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  175. Paine says:

    @Kathy: “BTW, how many times has Trump lost the election? ”

    It was remarked on Twitter that with the number of L’s Trump has taken Biden is probably our 67th president at this point.

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  176. de stijl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    What determines “best”?

    Deep Blue (and other, newer, smarter constructs) are really intriguing not because of the potential moves they could make and how fast they run the lot – that’s engineering, but how does the final move decision get made?

    The permutations are quadrillions given piece positions and possible moves.

    Plus, I don’t even grok how you store past result sets and address it to evaluate the current possible move set.

    And storing and retrieving data was my job for decades.

    That’s big brain shit.

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  177. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: high entropy is usually more stable, but not always. Think about a gas emitted into a room: when it’s dispersed evenly throughout the room it’s at maximum entropy but also very stable. For protein folding you’re looking for low energy states. If you’re at the bottom of an energy well you’re stable until an external energy input is large enough to knock you out of the well.

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  178. Teve says:

    Another example is a stretched rubber band. When it is stretched the molecules are forced into linear, low entropy configurations. When you let it go and it relaxes the entropy goes way up. (And it cools a few degrees for that reason)

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  179. Teve says:

    @Paine: Randy Rainbow said that. I think we probably follow some of the same people 😛

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  180. Teve says:

    5 ticked-off tweets from Trump so far.

    https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump?s=21

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  181. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Well, that makes sense. If entropy tends to maximum without an external energy source, then the closer you are to maximum entropy, the fewer directions and options there exist.

    Right?

    @Paine:

    I’ll always think of Biden as the 45th real president.

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  182. DrDaveT says:

    @JohnSF:

    Being English is just my default setting.

    You are probably better-placed than most English to understand how many Americans feel about ethnic origins. Among the now-considered-white groups, Americans think it’s cool as hell to be able to trace back to Irish, Scots, Germans, Italians, French, Acadians, Swiss, Welsh, Norwegian, etc. It adds spice without being defining.

    My ancestors have been on this continent for 400 years now, with my most recent immigrant ancestors nearly 200 years ago. I’m as “American” as one can be — and yet I revel in discovering that I am also German, French, Swiss, Scottish, Irish, English…

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  183. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    He must be enraged at Amy Coney Barrett. He put her there precisely to give him a second term, dammit!

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  184. Teve says:

    @Kathy: macroscopically yes.

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  185. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve: Yes, I had it backwards. Thanks for the correction.

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  186. Gustopher says:

    @KM:

    Bigot is a softer term as it is – I mean, we’re using right now instead of racist, anti-Semite, homophobe, chauvinist, etc.

    I don’t think bigot is a softer term at all. The recent -phobe terms are definitely way softer (I’m scared of spiders, but I don’t oppose them getting married… I’m an arachnophobia, not a bigot)

    the people who are totally reachable, but sometimes just don’t think because our privilege has meant that we don’t have to think.

    But is that really “reachable”?

    If that’s not reachable, then we are well and truly fucked.

    I’ve watched people get their eyes slowly opened over the years. It happens. I don’t even think it’s particularly rare — exposure to people other than their own group opens minds, and changes people. It happens enough in college that it’s a cliche that the kid comes back filled with big ideas about treating brown people less worse.

    These people are reachable, and they are the majority of our culture. Not only are they reachable, but if we want to change things for the better we have to reach them. But grouping them with the Klan under the same umbrella term, puts them out of reach.

    When you refer to someone as a Nazi or a bigot, they aren’t going to reassess themselves, they’re going to reassess you. And send memes to their right wing friends about how NYC liberals think everything is racist, and how white men are under attack, and it will feel true because any screw up leads one to be called a bigot.

    From the goals of vague accuracy, as well as trying to communicate, different words for the shunned class and the wrong-but-reachable are needed.

    @Loviatar:

    And that’s what Republicans don’t do; they never notice their bigotry, they never acknowledge the wrongness of the thought/judgement and they sure the hell never try to do better.

    This is the “these are our neighbors” argument against, so I’ll just say this — we need to leave a door open for people to be rehabilitated, and keep trying to open their eyes, and drag these people into the 21st century.

    We’re stuck with these people, and the damage they do affects everyone. Just as an act of self-preservation we have to do this. (Or find a way to get rid of them, but people keep rejecting those ideas and you find them preposterously grandiose)

    People don’t respond well to be being called a bigot or a Nazi. If they were reachable, you’ve pushed them away. Saving the harder term for those who aren’t reachable, and the softer term for those who are separates them and helps keep the two groups from finding common solace.

    It’s tiring and aggravating to deal with the same BS from the less-bigots day after day, especially when it is the same one and you want to grab him by the lapels and shout “are you being willfully stupid, or are you just gifted?” Our friend Dr. Joyner can be a little slow on the uptake, and a bit too eager to find a both-sides argument. Aggravating. But reachable. He voted for Biden, after all.

    Luckily we have actual Klansmen, Nazis and Fascists that we can abuse. Because, fuck those people, they’re just scum.

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  187. Teve says:

    Amee Vanderpool

    BREAKING: 68-page report from the VA Office Inspector General says three witnesses confirm Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) was the one who planted information in a smear campaign against a female veteran, who was sexually assaulted, to disparage her credibility.

    Have I mentioned before that Dan Crenshaw is a lying sack of shit? I have, haven’t I.

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  188. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: co-sign.

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  189. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    Preach, brother!

    I recently talked a guy back from his assertion that he has a right to walk into a store without a mask.

    As you have right to not wear a mask (I granted that) a store owner has an equal right to refuse service and to ask you to leave – a legally enforceable right. Their property their rules.

    I did not talk down to him. I talked him down.

    He is still a fucking moron who believes he is immune because he is O+ blood type, but he now realizes the consequences of not masking up in a store are enforceable rights – i.e. store can boot you and call the cops on you if you do not leave.

    I coulda gone with you are an idiot. You are selfish. You are a community threat. I went with think if you owned that store.

    Dude is still an idiot, selfish, and a threat to his neighbors, but he now gets his refusal to mask has consequences.

    Social shunning can and will happen if you are demonstrably and purposefully a selfish dick. I did not use those words. I was circumspect.

    He eventually got both arguments. You have no right to shop unmasked. You will be marked and judged if you push it.

    I felt pretty awesome until I realized I calmed one person out of tens of millions that believe and act as he did.

    And dude I talked down is likely to trip on a rock and suffer a fatal brain injury because looking down is for pussies.

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  190. de stijl says:

    Celtas Cortos from Leon, Spain have a killer version of Blues del Pescador (Fisherman’s Blues).

    Celtic culture once ruled Western Europe. What Rome called barbarians. Got pushed north and west. Besides what all of us know outposts of Ireland and Scotland in Iberia and Brittany too. Cornwall and Wales.

    My favorite live music Irish bar in the 80s was Half Time Rec. Half the staff were desperately dodging the INS. St. Paul cops were meh, whatevs; no touch, no foul. White visa dodgers got a lot less attention than black or asian. By magnitudes. Thousands Are Sailing.

    Best live Celtic music in town (two towns, actually) bar none.

    Nice place to have a shot and a beer.

    Met a nice gal there.

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