Friday’s Forum

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

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Climate crisis has shifted the Earth’s axis, study shows

    In the past, only natural factors such as ocean currents and the convection of hot rock in the deep Earth contributed to the drifting position of the poles. But the new research shows that since the 1990s, the loss of hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice a year into the oceans resulting from the climate crisis has caused the poles to move in new directions.

    The scientists found the direction of polar drift shifted from southward to eastward in 1995 and that the average speed of drift from 1995 to 2020 was 17 times faster than from 1981 to 1995. Since 1980, the position of the poles has moved about 4 metres in distance.

    “The accelerated decline [in water stored on land] resulting from glacial ice melting is the main driver of the rapid polar drift after the 1990s,” concluded the team, led by Shanshan Deng, from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
    ………………………………..
    The research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, showed glacial losses accounted for most of the shift, but it is likely that the pumping up of groundwater also contributed to the movements. Groundwater is stored under land but, once pumped up for drinking or agriculture, most eventually flows to sea, redistributing its weight around the world. In the past 50 years, humanity has removed 18tn tonnes of water from deep underground reservoirs without it being replaced.

    Vincent Humphrey, at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and not involved in the new research said it showed how human activities have redistributed huge amounts of water around the planet: “It tells you how strong this mass change is – it’s so big that it can change the axis of the Earth.” However, the movement of the Earth’s axis is not large enough to affect daily life, he said: it could change the length of a day, but only by milliseconds.

    2
  2. MarkedMan says:

    I don’t usually read David Brooks but his column today caught my eye, and it is worth a read.

    Those of us who had hoped America would calm down when we no longer had Donald Trump spewing poison from the Oval Office have been sadly disabused. There are increasing signs that the Trumpian base is radicalizing. My Republican friends report vicious divisions in their churches and families. Republican politicians who don’t toe the Trump line are speaking of death threats and menacing verbal attacks.

    It’s as if the Trump base felt some security when their man was at the top, and that’s now gone. Maybe Trump was the restraining force.

    What’s happening can only be called a venomous panic attack. Since the election, large swathes of the Trumpian right have decided America is facing a crisis like never before and they are the small army of warriors fighting with Alamo-level desperation to ensure the survival of the country as they conceive it.

    9
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A New Hampshire family’s gender reveal party was such a blast that it set off reports of an earthquake, and could be heard from across the state line, police said.

    Police in Kingston, a town not far from the Massachusetts border, received reports of a loud explosion Tuesday evening. They responded to Torromeo quarry where they found people who acknowledged holding a gender reveal party with explosives. The source of the blast was 80 pounds (36 kilograms) of Tannerite, police said. The family thought the quarry would be the safest spot to light the explosive, which is typically sold over the counter as a target for firearms practice, police said. Nearby residents said the blast rocked their homes and some reported property damage, NBC 10 Boston reported.

    “We heard this God-awful blast,” Sara Taglieri, who lives in a home that abuts the quarry, told the television station. “It knocked pictures off our walls … I’m all up for silliness and whatnot, but that was extreme.”
    ……………………….
    Police said that they had seen a video of the reveal and could confirm that the child was a boy, NBC Los Angeles reported.

    2
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Maybe Trump was the restraining force.

    Only Brooks could say something like that with a straight face.

    These people are addicted to hate and fear. They’ve been getting their daily doses for decades thru FOX and RW talk radio. And then came trump, the embodiment of everything they ever dreamed of. He was Oxycontin in a trailer park. They mainlined him for 4 years and then he was taken away. They are desperate now and will do anything for another jolt.

    So they hit the street corner and buy another $20 gellpack of SuddenDeath ™.

    19
  5. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yep. That’s about 12 miles from us, and we heard/felt the blast.

    1
  6. UiThe Crew Dragom will bring four more astronauts to the ISS making the current population of the ISS 11 people. This is the largest group on the ISS since the end of the Space Shuttle Era.

    This is only a temporary thing because four astronauts are set to return to Earth in about a month. Most likely on the Crew Dragon that will dock with the ISS early tomorrow.

    The Crew Dragon launched today is also the first reused manned vehicle to launch since the end of the Space Shuttle Era.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/astronauts-flying-reused-spacex-rocket-capsule-1st-time-rcna733

    5
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: There is a shooting range a few miles down the road from us. Hearing tannerite targets go off is not unusual and every now and again somebody will blow up something with a little more oooomph to it (I’ve had my windows rattled a few times). Personally, I wouldn’t want to experiment too much over there. It’s possible that MDC has it under video surveillance.

    3
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The bones of Black children who died in 1985 after their home was bombed by Philadelphia police in a confrontation with the Black liberation group which was raising them are being used as a “case study” in an online forensic anthropology course presented by an Ivy League professor.

    It has emerged that the physical remains of one, or possibly two, of the children who were killed in the aerial bombing of the Move organization in May 1985 have been guarded over the past 36 years in the anthropological collections of the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton.

    The institutions have held on to the heavily burned fragments, and since 2019 have been deploying them for teaching purposes without the permission of the deceased’s living parents.

    2
  9. Democratic Senstor Joe Manchin has endorsed Republican Lisa Murkowski for reelection in 2022

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/23/manchin-republican-murkowski-reelection-484282

    1
  10. Jen says:

    Scott Rudin sounds like a grade-A @sshole.*

    Scott Rudin, As Told by His Assistants A portrait of a toxic workplace.

    *I’d never heard of him until I read this article, but wow, how do these people survive in careers behaving like this?

    1
  11. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Today is the one year anniversary of the former guy telling Americans to inject bleach.

    3
  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: and shove a light bulb up their asses.

    2
  13. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Normally the loons are evenly distributed between and amongst parties and factions. The real danger for us is that the Republican Party has entered a vicious cycle, attracting more loons (and loonier loons), which in turn drives the sane people from the party. Inasmuch as Republicans still control state and federal institutions, this presents a real security risk

    4
  14. Kurtz says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

    I can’t believe you’re falling for this Chinese hoax.

    And this pole shift nonsense? When my pole shifts to the east, I just turn 180° so when it shifts again, it returns to it’s original position. Plus, some people have been saying the poles need to be unskewed. See? Global warming is good!

    I roll coal for the Earth, baby!

    5
  15. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: That was a decent column by Brooks. But I did appreciate a commenter who referred to him as David VanWinkle, who seems to have slept through the last few decades and is surprised by the Republican Party he found on waking. And being Brooks, he had to include a superfluous paragraph about wokeness and cancel culture to keep up with his bothsides quota.

    5
  16. Kurtz says:

    I tweeted at OED and Merriam-Webster requesting they both add an entry for looptid, defined as “a word that don’t mean nothin’.” With #RIPShockG and #HumptyDance

    Burger King tweeted “rip to a lyrical genius.” I saw it via retweet by Otto Von Biz Markie. Shit cracks me up.

    I wonder if there will be an increase in lewd and lascivious acts in Burger King Bathrooms today and spiking demand for crackers and licorice.

    2
  17. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: Indeed, there have always been a number of loons in both parties. But I don’t recall another time the national leadership of one of our major parties embraced the loons.

    2
  18. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I’ve known about him for ages. I never heard anything good.

    2
  19. Jen says:

    @CSK: I don’t think I’ve ever read an article where the thought “Christ, what an @sshole” is just stuck on mental repeat through the full piece.

    3
  20. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Hollywood is full of them in varying degrees. It really is another world.

    @gVOR08:
    And the worse they are, the more the base seems to embrace them. They adore Marjorie Taylor Greene.

    4
  21. Kurtz says:

    @MarkedMan: @gVOR08:

    It’s as if the Trump base felt some security when their man was at the top, and that’s now gone. Maybe Trump was the restraining force.

    Am I reading this incorrectly or something?

    3
  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    And the worse they are, the more the base seems to embrace them. They adore Marjorie Taylor Greene.

    It’s all about owning the libs, with the bizarre thing being that adoration of people like Taylor-Greene and Gaitz, simply digs them deeper into the hole that they are in. It can’t be dismissed though and as Brooks points out that nihilism that has now dominated the R party is already descending to authoritarianism.

    2
  23. CSK says:

    @Kurtz:
    I agree with the comment by Brooks in the sense that yes, the Trumpkins did feel safer with Trump at the helm, because he was the savior for whom they’d been longing.

    3
  24. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Normally the loons are evenly distributed between and amongst parties and factions.

    That hasn’t been true in the US in decades–not since before the Clinton-Gingrich era at least.

    6
  25. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: Brooks is an odd case. He was hired years ago to be the “Sensible Republican (TM)” columnist for the NYTimes. If he completely repudiates the party, he no longer fills that roll and he becomes redundant. So he’s spent the last decade trying to become the moral philosopher of the paper, but I just don’t think there’s much of an appetite for that.

    3
  26. Kathy says:

    I had another odd dream which was either lucid, or waking, or was only half asleep. I recall a great deal of it, too, which is very rare.

    I was somewhere debunking conspiracy theories to true believers. they were pissed. One interesting one was this guy who claimed the whole Apollo project was staged in a TV studio. When I pointed out evidence in the form of the laser reflector left by Apollo XI, or the landing sites, complete with astronaut and rover tracks, as seen from orbit by lunar probes, this is what he said:

    “Those were left later, around 1975, on a mission operated by a deaf crew.”

    Why a deaf crew, ask my subconscious. I’ve no clue

    Anyway, so he claimed Apollo was fake, but the fake evidence to prove it was actually planted only a few years later by people going to the Moon.

    I woke up laughing at the absurdity.

    3
  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kurtz:

    I believe you need to read that as the Former Guy gave his base a focus and a leader, therefore the base would only be as crazy as the leader. A better formation is that the FG gave the base both a focus for their angst that provides a totem for them and restrains them in that they will only be as crazy as he was. Since we know that with Trump it is all about him and his aggregation of wealth and adoration, he would have continued on that path and the base would follow along being the sheeple that they are. With the FG gone, they’re at a loss, hoping for a restoration while at the same time seeking the nest tin foil god.

    2
  28. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    And a lot of them don’t even realize that their primary motivation is “owning the libs”–or at least they won’t admit to it.

    3
  29. The problems with the J&J Covid vaccine are having an impact

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/22/biden-officials-johnson-vaccine-484356

    1
  30. CSK says:

    The headline on the front page of the NYPost today is that Trump is urging people to get the vaccine, adding that you don’t have to do so, because “we all have our freedoms.”

    I’m not really sure what good Trump’s words will do at this point.

    3
  31. @CSK:

    As usual Trump fails

    3
  32. This is going to be a big issue in education as we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/22/repeat-school-year-482336

    2
  33. dazedandconfused says:

    @gVOR08:

    Indeed, there have always been a number of loons in both parties. But I don’t recall another time the national leadership of one of our major parties embraced the loons.

    I do. When Obama was POTUS and running for the job pandering to the loons was in style, and bigly. We had Republican leaders talking about birth certificates, death panels, FEMA concentration camps, Sarah Palin selected to run for VP….All kinds of crazy.

    4
  34. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: One thing I’ve noticed about Trump’s fans is that they seem to hold two conflicting beliefs about him: On the one hand, they credit him with being someone unafraid to say “politically incorrect” things which others avoid saying for fear of reprisal. On the other hand, they’re always claiming he has to say certain things, but they know he secretly sympathizes with them anyway.

    4
  35. Jen says:

    I’m cranky today, I guess. This article set me off a bit. You can almost hear Texans saying “leave us alone, this is our business,” and yet, it effed people across the country.

    Minnesota gasps at the financial damage it faces from the Texas freeze

    3
  36. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Another conflict–or example of cognitive dissonance–occurs when they claim that Trump hires the best people, then turn around and insist that he got backstabbed by those very people he hired.

    He’s a tough, savvy businessman and the best president we ever had–but a babe in the woods.

    5
  37. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    We knew this was coming, as it was evident that kids, even kids from wealthy families that could afford to put together quality educational pods were falling behind their previous level of achievement. And it’s true that at certain points in a child’s education they need to have accomplished certain skills to continue learning.

    In a better world, classes would be small enough for a teacher to have more individualized learning plans and sufficient remedial learning staff to assist these kids. If this were the case, the kids would stay with their age group, which is important as well for social development and work toward catching up.

    In this somewhere, is an argument for elementary schools that are organized around achievement and not simply age.

    4
  38. Kurtz says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @CSK:

    A bunch of us have made similar arguments, so that was my initial read. I went back, because my brain started repeatedly banging the service bell as soon as I moved on.

    Something is bothering me about what Brooks is doing with it. I can’t seem to grab it, much less articulate it.

    Oh well, maybe it’s just gas.

    2
  39. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan:

    What’s happening can only be called a venomous panic attack. Since the election, large swathes of the Trumpian right have decided America is facing a crisis like never before and they are the small army of warriors fighting with Alamo-level desperation to ensure the survival of the country as they conceive it.

    I can report that the creationist blogs are freaking out. Principles Of Right Reason
    L&FP 41: George Barna helps us to understand the worldviews chaos we must address

    1
  40. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I seem to recall reading about a bumper sticker popular in Texas during the energy crisis: “Let ’em freeze in the dark.”

    Never underestimate the abiding hatred southerners and Texans have for Yankees.

    5
  41. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I imagine a Russian comedian doing the routine:

    NASA is so poor.
    How poor is it.
    NASA is so poor, it uses second-hand boosters!

    2
  42. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Police said that they had seen a video of the reveal and could confirm that the child was a boy, NBC Los Angeles reported.

    I hope the kid grows up to be trans or nonbinary.

    4
  43. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: @OzarkHillbilly:
    I’ll never forget the expression on Birx’s face when Trump was babbling on about bleach injections and internal lighting.

    2
  44. gVOR08 says:

    @dazedandconfused: I regard that as part of this same episode of R leaders embracing the loons. Down to Trump driving some of the birtherism.

    1
  45. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kurtz:

    That vague feeling of unease about Brooks column may stem from his labeling of the barkings from a small proportion of the pubic as “America”. That’s what bugs me, at least, but assuming the musings of the political junkies are “America” is a habit among the chatterazzi so that tends to go unnoticed.

    It’s sensationalism nonetheless.

    4
  46. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod:

    On the one hand, they credit him with being someone unafraid to say “politically incorrect” things which others avoid saying for fear of reprisal. On the other hand, they’re always claiming he has to say certain things, but they know he secretly sympathizes with them anyway.

    It’s of a piece with believing he’s supremely powerful, the ultimate alpha male, dominating all around him. And constantly thwarted by his subordinates in the deep state. If one wished to wax philosophical it probably has to do with Calvinist predestination. If a man is of the elect, that’s it, that’s that, no matter how many times he falls short in this life. If conservatives had a problem with cognitive dissonance, well they wouldn’t be conservatives.

    5
  47. just nutha says:

    @Doug Mataconis: We haven’t had anything even vaguely resembling “normal” school for just under 1 1/2 school years. (And anyone advocating that “normal” was anything other than barely acceptable for a lot of the most vulnerable students has been drinking the Kool-ade too long.) Considering that we may have another 10 or 12 weeks of dithering and insecurity about schools in the next academic year, I don’t see anyway out of holding students back, although I’m sure that we’ll manage to figure out a way to pass the educational cost of Covid-19 onto the backs of the poor and vulnerable. It’s the American Way.

    I believe that one of our hosts, in a more candid moment early in the pandemic, expressed the feeling as something on the order of *f&&& the kids who can’t keep up.*

    1
  48. India sets a record for the second consecutive day. More than 330,000 positive tests in one day

    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/23/indias-second-wave-country-reports-over-330000-new-cases.html

    1
  49. just nutha says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “In this somewhere, is an argument for elementary schools that are organized around achievement and not simply age…”
    …that has been consistently rejected since America became urbanized and wealthy enough to decide to abandon the “one-room schoolhouse” in favor of factory education.

    3
  50. @just nutha:

    Some states have come to the point of waivers that don’t require students to take a test near the end of a school y es and in order to advance to the next grade.

    I understand why they are doing this but on some level it is undeserving students who aren’t doing well in a remote schooling or hybrid situation.

    2
  51. flat earth luddite says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    But Doug, it doesn’t matter if we’ve underserved them or not, what matters is that MY child gets a better ed-u-ma-kation than YOUR child. Oh, and also that we empty the assembly line for the next model year.

  52. Michael Cain says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    J&J’s production problems are one of the reasons I am not optimistic about getting a fully licensed vaccine before the end of the year. TTBOMK, the FDA has never fully licensed either a viral-vector or an mRNA vaccine. My understanding is that the full license involves not just efficacy and safety, but also the full production and supply chain issues. For new tech not previously approved, those production issues may be time consuming — figuring out first what the new questions are, and then figuring out if the vendors have provided data to answer them.

    1
  53. Sleeping Dog says:

    In strange bedfellows news, Caitlyn Jenner is running for CA gov, as an R.

  54. just nutha says:

    @Kurtz: No, I see your point. The idea of Trump being a restraining force struck me as counterintuitive, too. I read the explanations as acknowledging that the loons saw Trump as the agent who would do for them what the can’t do for themselves and with him gone, the onus for change shifts to the loons themselves.

    3
  55. flat earth luddite says:

    @Teve:
    Ok, I tried to read it, Professor. I really, really did. Obviously I haven’t drunk enough Kool-Aide (or too much, IDK). But WHAT-THE-FRACKING-?????

  56. Mimai says:

    @gVOR08:

    To take your last sentence out of the political arena:

    If humans had a problem with cognitive dissonance, well there would be an even bigger suicide epidemic.

  57. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    It’s of a piece with believing he’s supremely powerful, the ultimate alpha male, dominating all around him. And constantly thwarted by his subordinates in the deep state.

    All-powerful and impotent.

    This is kind of a reversal. It’s more commonly applied to an enemy, which is depicted as exceedingly dangerous yet easy to defeat in war. We saw something like this in the rhetoric against Saddam in both Gulf Wars.

    4
  58. Michael Reynolds says:

    Republicans are in love with short-lived loser regimes: The Confederacy (4 years), the Third Reich (~12 years), Trump (4 years). Far from anticipating some great MAGA future, they expect, and are indeed courting, their own destruction. This dovetails nicely with Evangelical Christian apocalyptic thinking. The GOP is racist and fascist but also defeatist.

    Losers know they’re losers. And more often than not losers are losers because they’ve chosen to be.

    3
  59. just nutha says:

    @Teve: WA! Interesting statistical breakdown. The top chart seems heavily skewed to me, though, and the categories strike me as contrived. Beyond that, his analysis strikes me a breathtakingly consistent with what the Bible already says vis a vis the world and the followers of Christ, so I’m wondering who is the audience that didn’t already know this?

    Freaking out may not do this justice. Full moron? I dunno… don’t have vocabulary for it.

    1
  60. just nutha says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Undeserving” or “undeRserving?” May make a world of difference.

    @flat earth luddite: Yeah, that’s a problem, too. 🙁

  61. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    In strange bedfellows news, Caitlyn Jenner

    I don’t think you meant that literally, but at the risk of appearing insufficiently woke, I’ll admit that kind of jumped out at me.

    1
  62. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Another conflict–or example of cognitive dissonance–occurs when they claim that Trump hires the best people, then turn around and insist that he got backstabbed by those very people he hired.

    In that call he made to the Georgia Sec. of State, one part I found fascinating was when he said “What a schmuck I was.” It’s not the sort of thing we typically expect to hear Trump say, since it sounds like self-criticism, something he almost never engages in. But then, this was from a private conversation he didn’t expect to go public, so it provides a rare glimpse into how Trump behaves off-camera. That’s not to say he was totally removing his mask–he was still presenting himself to someone to get something he wanted. But I think it did give us a sense of the way he sees the world. He was calling himself a gullible fool, but only in the sense of being an innocent victim of those who supposedly duped him. His victimhood complex is so powerful that in this moment it overrode his desire to come off as savvy and shrewd. Even though this is a side to him he rarely displays in public, it’s something his fans fall back on all the time–he’s the greatest businessman, the greatest dealmaker, yet whenever things don’t go his way it’s because he was a neophyte tricked by all the snakes in Washington.

    2
  63. Mu Yixiao says:
  64. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Indeed. Trump called himself a schmuck for endorsing Kemp. But in the same conversation–the same sentence–he also claims that Kemp won the gubernatorial race because of him.

    Even when he’s excoriating himself, he has to take credit for achieving something not possible for anyone else.

    1
  65. flat earth luddite says:

    @gVOR08:
    Oh, I dunno, I keep hearing the theme from The Benny Hill show…

  66. CSK says:

    Shakespeare died today in 1616. (He may also have been born today in 1564, but no one knows for sure.) Let’s all raise a glass this evening to The Bard’s memory.

    5
  67. @just nutha:

    Underserving. Damn typos.

  68. Caitlyn Jenner ready to run in recall election aimed at California Governor Gavin Newsom.

    Don’t laugh.

    Remember, that’s now we got Governor Schwarzenegger.

    https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/549923-caitlyn-jenner-officially-announces-challenge-to-newsom-in-california

  69. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Yeah, it’s really something, isn’t it?

    One quote from the article I’d like to address, under the subhead that reads “Is SpaceX too dominant”:

    With the low-cost, reusable Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX has already badly damaged the commercial launch industries in Europe, Russia, and Japan.

    These programs have been “damaged” because their rockets cost about 10 times as much as a Falcon 9 launch. They will either figure out how to do something like what SpaceX does, or they will die, and someone else will figure it out.

    I mean, the usual government contractor doesn’t really have a lot of incentive to reduce costs, do they? Competition is very limited and faces the same incentive structure. Except the thing is that Musk, whatever else you might say about him, is motivated primarily by actually exploring space rather than by “make lots of money while playing with rockets”, and knows that the costs must be reduced for that to happen.

    Musk is not a god, though. Any ideas they have come up with can be replicated. There may be systems that can be patented, but at a guess, SpaceX is every bit as open to cross-licensing agreements as Tesla is.

    This is the kind of situation where I am an unabashed capitalist. Competition will improve things, and make things I want to see more likely to happen. So good. Let the creative destruction commence.

    4
  70. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kylopod:

    On the one hand, they credit him with being someone unafraid to say “politically incorrect” things which others avoid saying for fear of reprisal. On the other hand, they’re always claiming he has to say certain things, but they know he secretly sympathizes with them anyway.

    This is standard human behavior: when strangers do something we don’t like, we tend to attribute it to internal causes (“that guy did X because he’s cruel!”) and when people we know well do something we don’t like, we tend to attribute it to external causes (“John did X because his boss made him!”).

    The Republican base has developed a strong parasocial relationship with Trump, so when he does things they don’t like, they’re more likely to attribute it to external forces making him do it.

    1
  71. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    When I talk about giving freer rein to “the market”, this is the sort of thing I’m talking about. There absolutely needs to be government programs for a lot of things, but SpaceX compared to the SLS money pit shows what a strong market-driven approach can do.

    Make SpaceX follow appropriate government-written rules and regs regarding safety (of many kinds), but also… let them build shit and blow it up–so they can build it better and cheaper the next time.

    SLS has been in the works for what? A decade? It’s never flown. SpaceX has been to the ISS with crew twice, has launched about 100 rockets in the past year, and has an operational satellite constellation.

  72. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Doug Mataconis: No, we got The Governator in a recall election which was first driven by Darryl Issa. But this meant that Arnold did not have to make it through a Republican primary in the state – which it is highly doubtful that he would have.

    I see Jenner as having no chance in the primary, though it is an “open” primary. However, I see her candidacy as an excellent opportunity for advancing trans acceptance and trans rights. In fact, I’d guess that’s a consideration for her. So good for her.

    I think I’m unlikely to vote for her, but we’ll see. Newsom is ok, but I’m not in love with him.

    1
  73. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Yes to all of that.

    AND, SpaceX has another advantage in that Musk can’t be fired or replaced by the board. At a guess, there’s not a single idea they’ve used that some other engineer somewhere hasn’t had at some time. But with SpaceX there’s nobody say, “That won’t work!” or “That’s too risky” or “We’ll look stupid” or whatever people say when they are covering their butts and protecting their jobs. And just scared.

    He’s not even really using Other People’s Money, so he doesn’t have to deal with angry investors or shorter and hedge fundies (like he did with Tesla). Sometimes this sort of thing can go off the rails very badly, but it hasn’t and it’s now in a phase where that’s less likely.

  74. CSK says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    I doubt if she’ll be asking for Trump’s endorsement.

    1
  75. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    @Mu Yixiao:

    The big advantage Musk has over NASA, is that he can’t be forced to change his launch program and rockets every four to eight years when administrations change their priorities.

    3
  76. Kylopod says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I think in theory Republicans can win just about anywhere if sufficiently motivated and if Dems take their eye off the ball–this was proven by Scott Brown in 2010. And we know some very blue states regularly elect R governors (Senators are a taller order as a rule).

    That said, we need to keep in mind that California is a lot bluer than it was in 2003. In 2004, Bush lost it by just 9.95 points–technically single digits. In every presidential election since then, it’s gone Dem by 20-30 points–and it’s one of the few states where both Hillary and Biden improved on Obama.

  77. Gustopher says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Question about the California recall process.

    My understanding it is a two part thing: need 50% on recall, and then the top vote getter of the replacements gets in.

    Could that mean recall passes with 52%, and then the vote gets split, and someone with 40% gets the governorship? Could it result in more people voting to keep the current governor than whatever schmuck they end up with?

  78. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Gustopher:

    I believe that is correct; it also advantages the out of power party because “X for Governor” is way simpler messaging than “Keep Y, but if we don’t then Z for Governor”

  79. Kathy says:

    Speaking of launch systems, and the recent discussion on certainty, there was a study about what people remembered about the Challenger disaster. This involved students writing down where they were when they heard the news, and how they heard about it, only a few days after it had happened. Two years later many memories had changed.

    I didn’t take notes back then, but I asked myself what I remembered. Here goes:

    It was a Tuesday or Thursday, because those days I only had two classes, with a long free period in between. One teacher didn’t show up, and I went home early.

    On the drive home I probably listened to music. arriving home I turned on the TV, and it was tuned to a local channel. The news was on, and they were talking about the Shuttle. I recall the news person was saying something like “We don’t know what happened or whether anyone survived.”

    Back then we got CBS, ABC, and NBC network affiliates on cable. I changed to one of them, possibly NBC, and they were showing video of the explosion.

    Ok, so how much of that did happen?

    There’s really no way to tell, but it did happen on a Tuesday.

    What suggests to me this happened more or less as I recall, is that there’s no drama at all. No breathless announcement by some stranger, no sudden disruption to my day, not even anyone else around to share my feelings with.

  80. Mimai says:

    Silly question based on a not-silly discussion I had today. Given the random assortment of characters around here, I thought it’d be interesting to hear your thoughts.

    What word triggers your “disgust” reflex?

    [request: please don’t respond with Trump/Cruz/etc. or with a slur….I’m looking for words like “moist” and such]

  81. Mimai says:

    @Kathy:

    Great reference of a classic study. One of my favorite findings was when the researcher later presented the handwritten accounts to the various participants, some of them actually argued against their previous written accounts. Something along the lines of “I know I wrote that, it’s in my handwriting, but it’s not accurate….here’s what really happened.”

    Incredible! So delightfully incredible!

    2
  82. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kathy:

    I was in the third grade at the time and the launch happened during recess. The thing I remember was when we came back from recess, our teacher (who had seen it happen live) was behind her desk crying and I think it was the first time I ever saw an adult full on cry about something.

    I didn’t personally witness the disaster until hours later when I got home, so I think I was a lot less traumatized by the disaster itself then a lot of people because I wasn’t surprised by it. I think she was a big part of saving us from that trauma because she had to tell us about it and discuss it with us.

    But I also remember in some ways that the ensuing discussion was as much about the students trying to provide her comfort as her trying to reassure us, so in some ways it was also an unexpected opportunity to teach about empathy.

    1
  83. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Gustopher: You appear to have it correct. According to Wikipedia, 55.4% voted to remove Gray Davis, but only 48.6% voted for Arnold. The closest competitor, then Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamente, got only 31% of the vote, so it really seemed like a solid victory for Arnold.

    I am of the opinion that in a straight-up contest with Gray Davis, Arnold would have won. Gray Davis was really not that good on media, he was far more of a inside player, which he was good at. Arnold, of course, is fantastic in media, which is super important in such a big state. However, there is no way that Arnold could pass all the litmus tests that would have been applied to him in a Republican primary. For instance, Arnold (bless him for this!) was very, very strongly opposed to the anti-immigration stuff coming out of Republicans in the Pete Wilson era. Being an immigrant himself. He wasn’t that into gay-bashing either. He was very much a “lower taxes, less regulation” kind of Republican. So that’s pretty much doom in an R primary.

    1
  84. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy:

    I think that may have been a demonstration of a feature of memory, nearly everyone retains a sharp, detailed, and permanent recollection of the moment they received shocking news.

  85. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Brilliant. I was really hoping I wasn’t understanding it. Someone should fix that.

    Can Newsome run in the recall against himself?

  86. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mimai:

    What word triggers your “disgust” reflex?

    Not a word, but I think I have misophonia because the sound of other people chewing is like having someone jab an icepick in my ear and wiggling it around levels of discomfort for me.

    1
  87. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Two things about Scott Brown:
    1. He’s a New England Republican, which is a totally different order of being from a southern or midwestern Republican.
    2. He was running against Martha Coakley, whom no one could stand at that point.

    Fun fact about Coakley: She’s now vice-president for government at Juul, the e-cigarette company she campaigned against when she was Mass. A.G.

    3
  88. Sleeping Dog says:

    @gVOR08:

    With all the hating that R’s are doing on trans-sexual’s, her running as an R seems incongruent.

    1
  89. @Kathy:

    This is why NASA’s long-term deal with SpaceX matters SpaceX doesn’t depend on the vissicatudes and whims of a Congress that can change every two years and a POTUZS that can change every four yearsm

  90. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Republican Tokenism is hardly unusual. They love to find “loyal soldier” minorities who they can point to in the specific as excusing their terrible attitudes toward minorities in the general.

  91. Mimai says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Ha! I mean sorry, that sucks. Are you similarly reactive to people who smack when they speak?

  92. just nutha says:

    @Mimai: Within the conditions you described, I can’t think of a word that does. But “disgust” strikes me as a pretty sophisticated emotion/effect/reaction, and I may be more primal–or more context driven (no specific word, but rather effect of the word chosen in the conditions used).

  93. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Two things about Scott Brown:
    1. He’s a New England Republican, which is a totally different order of being from a southern or midwestern Republican.

    But not so different from someone like Schwarzenegger.

    2. He was running against Martha Coakley, whom no one could stand at that point.

    It was a perfect storm. Dems were not paying any attention until it was too late, Repubs were super-motivated, and Coakley began making one blunder after the next.

    One thing I must say–and anyone who can fill me in on this, feel free–is that I have no idea about Jenner’s political views other than her being trans and a Republican, and having been disappointed with Trump on LGBT rights after he claimed to support them in 2016. She could be far right on everything but trans issues.

  94. Mimai says:

    @just nutha:

    That’s interesting, because disgust is typically considered to be a primary emotion…which isn’t to say that it’s divorced from context. Perhaps your disgust reaction is more visually triggered?

  95. Kathy says:

    @Mimai:
    @Stormy Dragon:
    @dazedandconfused:

    There’s the notion that people accurately recall momentous events like Challenger, 9/11, the Kennedy assassination, etc. It’s known informally as “flash-bulb memories.”

    The Challenger study disproves it.

    Memories change over time. People may unconsciously embellish or edit memories of momentous events to match the occasion, too.

    1
  96. just nutha says:

    @Mimai: That’s certainly possible. Also, maybe 20 years teaching English and writing has made language more neutral and context dependent.

  97. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mimai:

    Something along the lines of “I know I wrote that, it’s in my handwriting, but it’s not accurate….here’s what really happened.”

    Have you ever played the game where two people sit back to back and one of the people is given a pen and blank paper and the other is given a drawing and has to give the other person instructions on how to recreate the drawing without them being able to see it?

    That’s how human memory actually works: we don’t keep video tape style recordings of what happens to us, we keep a high level associational abstract of it and when we recall the memory, our brains recreate the experience of it from that abstract.

    And this abstract is not fixed. It gets updated based on later information, which in turn will change your memory. This is how a lot of misidentifications happen in trials: you get mugged by a stranger and you brain’s version just has “random guy with beard” as the attacker, but then two days later you see “Police arrest Joe Doe for mugging” on the news, and your brain will add that in. Now you see Joe Doe in your memory of the mugging, not because you’re being untruthful, but because your brain is including that in the reconstruction.

    The very worst part is that the experience of remembering something can cause stuff the brain made up as part of the reconstruction but that catches your attention can get added, so the more often you recall some specific memory, the less accurate it is likely to be.

    As T. S. Eliot put it, “We had the experience but missed the meaning. And approach to the meaning restores the experience in a different form.”

    1
  98. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Gustopher: The way you have phrased things makes me think that you think that there’s a snowball’s chance in that place for the recall attempt of Newsom to succeed. There isn’t.

    In effect, Newsom *is* running in the recall. If you vote “No”, you are voting for Newsom in the recall. He cannot appear in the list of alternate candidates, though. Because they are alternates.

    The whole thing seems dumb, though. He’s a lot more popular than Gray Davis was. The signature requirement for holding a recall is way too low.

  99. Mu Yixiao says:

    There is little that is more frustrating than setting up a new phone with all the apps, settings, and tweaks you had on your old one.

    {sigh}

    At least this time I’m going from a functional phone rather than a dead one. I’m hoping the “transfer your shit to your new phone” app works.

  100. Mimai says:

    @Kathy:

    You nailed it. Memory is constructive. What I love about that study is that it shows just how wedded we are to our current view of reality, even to the point of suggesting our prior self was delusional!

    1
  101. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mimai:
    Disgust triggers:

    Appletini
    Family Drama
    Brussels Sprouts
    Coach seats
    Skim milk
    Problematic
    A very special episode
    Influencer
    Vegan cookie
    Precious
    Viral
    Fashion
    Cute
    Needle
    The suffix ‘archy’
    The prefix ‘pre’

    Great, now I’m disgusted.

    3
  102. Michael Cain says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    SpaceX has already badly damaged the commercial launch industries in Europe, Russia, and Japan.

    Not done the ULA any favors, either. The US Space Force seems determined to keep ULA going, though. A billion dollars in development money and 60% of their flights through 2027(?) committed to a rocket that has never flown.

  103. Jay L Gischer says:

    FWIW, I don’t think “tokenism” will work with Caitlin Jenner. She will insist on female pronouns, and they will insist on male, and her pre-transition name. This is a war, not tokenism. Or, if she does well, they might bend and use her current legal name and female pronouns. But that’s game, set and match for the cause. She is braced for it, I guess. I wish her well on that level.

    Honestly, I would probably be willing to trade that scenario for having a D in the governor’s mansion. That doesn’t mean I’d vote for her, but it would still be a positive step. Besides, I don’t expect the R voters to change their minds on this quite so quickly.

  104. Mimai says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Ha! Well played. Appletini is unexpected and yet spot-on. Problematic, precious, and cute hit home for me. How do you feel about the -gate suffix? I find that one especially noxious.

    2
  105. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    There’s the notion that people accurately recall momentous events like Challenger, 9/11, the Kennedy assassination, etc. It’s known informally as “flash-bulb memories.”

    While I can’t paint you a complete picture of 9/11, I can remember quite a few details very distinctly. And they haven’t changed (perhaps because I’ve recounted them many times?)

    I was working in a “warehouse shop” that makes the hot dog stands, coffee kiosks, etc., for gas stations. We had a couple tables pulled together in the corner nearest the entrance to the front offices. We were cutting bead-chain for coffee vacuum-pot tags (the little signs that hang around the pot telling you what coffee is inside).

    One of the guys (I can remember his face, not his name), came in and said “A plane hit the World Trade Center”. There was a bit of discussion to clarify “passenger jet, not Cessna”. Someone from the front offices turned on the news (no idea what station) in the conference room.

    I went into the conference room and stood watching the news. The shop manager came in, annoyed, and told me to get back to work because (paraphrasing) “it’s not that important”. I told him I was taking my break, and he backed down and apologized.

    Other interesting facts I remember from that day: My watch band broke before I heard about the attacks. Because I was so used to having something on my wrist, I measured and cut a length of bead-chain to go around my wrist 4 or 5 times. Until I got my “smart watch”* in China (circa… 2017?) that was the last time I wore a wrist watch.

    ===

    * It’s more of a “a little better than stupid” watch, but it meets my needs.

    ETA: OMG! I got an edit button! I have nothing to actually, edit, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to use it while it’s here. 😀

  106. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: When reading about the Mandela effect, there was just one example that blew me away. It concerned “the Berenstein Bears.” I was informed that no such children’s book series exists; it’s actually called the Berenstain Bears. Note the spelling difference.

    The Mandela effect is actually kind of a conspiracy theory–a claim that these false memories exist because our mind is accessing a parallel universe. And I have to admit, with the Berenstein Bears example, it kind of felt like that to me. A couple years ago there was a movie called Yesterday about a young musician who wakes up one day and discovers he’s in a parallel universe in which the Beatles never existed. His friends keep acting like he’s nuts, he at first thinks they’re playing some weird prank on him, then he opens his computer and types the name into Google and goes to Wikipedia–and it keeps sending him to articles about the insect. I had a similar experience after reading about the supposed nonexistence of the Berenstein Bears.

    Of course I realize the truth is more mundane. Whenever we “remember” the past, it’s not like we’re downloading a file, complete in all its details. We’re basically just accessing fragments, and then piecing them together using general patterns also taken from memory. There are far more names ending in -stein than -stain. We have a vague, general recollection of the name “Berenst–n” and then we fill it in with a pattern we’re used to. And since this is all done subconsciously, we think it represents the memory in its entirety. Patterns that are more common in our experience tend to blot out memories that don’t follow those patterns. Among other things, I believe this is part of the reason for stereotypes.

  107. Michael Reynolds says:

    Oh, and any use of possessives applied to the word, ‘truth.’ Your truth, my truth, his truth.

    Fuck off. Truth exists. 1 + 1 = 2. That’s not your, mine or our truth, it’s just truth. Now, one certainly has opinions, one certainly has a sense of the world, but that isn’t truth, so call it what it is.

    If one means to use the possessive to acknowledge the subjectivity of one’s relationship to the truth, one’s perception of the truth, that is redundant and misleading as we are always a subjectivity, we cannot escape our subjectivity, and we are incapable of objectivity though we can approach it by careful mental discipline.

    Truth……..vast fields of gray ignorance stretching across the 93 billion lightyears of our universe…….Lies. That’s my diagram.

  108. wr says:

    @Jay L Gischer: “However, I see her candidacy as an excellent opportunity for advancing trans acceptance and trans rights. In fact, I’d guess that’s a consideration for her. So good for her.”

    You’re a lot more generous than I am. I’d guess her only consideration is the chance to grab at being famous for a little longer.

    1
  109. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mimai:
    I can understand your reaction, but I have a personal connection to ‘-gate’ having been in DC for the original gate.

  110. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Jenner describes herself as “very socially liberal and fiscally conservative.”

  111. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “I’m hoping the “transfer your shit to your new phone” app works.”

    If it’s an iPhone, it does astonishingly well. Otherwise — well, let us know!

  112. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Oh, and any use of possessives applied to the word, ‘truth.’ Your truth, my truth, his truth.

    “The truth is a three-edged sword”
    –Kosh

  113. inhumans99 says:

    Do not know if this has been brought up already but Biden is apparently proposing a Cap Gains tax increase that would be about 44% for those who are wealthy (million+ dollars). I am sure Joe Manchin just said to himself hells to the no when he saw the news but I am so proud of Biden for swinging for the fences and going high knowing full well he will not get the full cap gains tax increase he is asking for.

    Trump did this when he asked for a tax amount reduction bringing rates down to as low as 16% but ended up with a rate in the low 20s. I bet he is still stewing that he did not get his 16%.

    Republicans do this all the time, propose a crazy low tax rate for the uber-wealthy, and when most folks balk they then can say see, we listened to you and increased the rate (which is in reality still a massive tax break for the wealthy), making them able to spin things so they look good in the eyes of Wall Street.

    Biden seems to be wise to this tactic so he is starting with a number that will make most even semi-wealthy Americans go whoa, that is a high tax rate and unfair but might actually be able to increase the rate from the going rate of 23% to 27 or 29 percent, which will make most folks go oh that is not so bad, especially because the “rich” can afford to pay more.

    My parents are far from “wealthy” (even further away from CA wealthy) but did well enough in the markets last year that I know my Dad saw the amount Biden proposed and probably said that is nuts. As a starting negotiating number perhaps not so nuts and more like crazy like a fox since the goal is to get an amount in the range of 26-29 percent pushed through Congress.

    2
  114. Kathy says:

    @Mimai:

    The malleability of human memory strongly suggests to me Unintelligent Design 😉

    3
  115. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I was working on my boss’s house that day. I forget what I was doing but he had the TV on. I remember watching the footage and being very depressed. That’s all I remember.

  116. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    They’re both Android devices from Xiaomi. I’ve never had the opportunity to use the “MiMove” tool before. My last 2 moves have been because I destroyed the phone*. and the tool wasn’t available in the previous move.

    Between MiMove, MiCloud, Google, and what’s stored on the SIM, I expect to have most (if not all) of the data moved. It’s all the settings and tweaks I’ll be missing that are going to annoy the piss out of me for several weeks.

    ======

    * It’s amazing how many times I dropped my Mi5 on concrete without any damage. But… that final one? Shattered like a Ming vase in a cheap detective drama. The last phone, however… did not live up to it’s “water resistant” definition. 2 seconds in the toilet and it was dead forever.

  117. Mimai says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That’s so very conservative of you. Make -Gate Great Again!

    +1 on your truth possessive. Just say “my perspective” and stop trying so hard. This makes me think of people who say “this [insert food] eats [insert descriptor]”….and how I want very bad things to happen to them.

    2
  118. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    It concerned “the Berenstein Bears.” I was informed that no such children’s book series exists; it’s actually called the Berenstain Bears. Note the spelling difference.

    I’ve read about that.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why the author didn’t call them the BEARenstain Bears.

    Anyway, fun as parallel universes are, I don’t think we regularly shift between them, if they exist at all. The explanation probably has more to do with the limitations of human memory, and the peculiarities of the human brain.

    I know I’ve constructed false memories, accidentally, a number of times. I’ve also felt completely, utterly, absolutely, 100% certain of some recollection where I later found I was wrong.

    Then, too, when something or someone falls off the radar for whatever reason, we tend to forget about it. in 1982 I was on a school-sponsored trip that took weeks during the Summer. We had little chance to watch TV or get newspapers. On some occasion when one classmate got a paper, they began to talk about developments in the Iran-Iraq War. My reaction, along with that of many others, was “Is that still going on?”

    It seems a short leap to believing, for some reason, that war ended sometime in 1981, rather than 1988.

  119. Mu Yixiao says:

    I simply don’t confuse “truth” with “facts” or “current knowledge”.

    They’re all different.

    What color is the dress?

    Either answer is true–because that is what the person is actually seeing. Truth vs. Fact.

    The science text books we had when I was in grade school said that Mercury is tidally locked. Almost anywhere you looked, it would say the same thing. The best information available at the time* said that was true. Later observations corrected the observed data. Truth vs. Current Knowledge
    ==========

    * Just before we studied this in 5th grade science, I had gotten a National Geographic book for Christmas. It specifically said “We used to believe it was tidally locked, but more recent observations have provided us with better data” (or something to that effect; I still have the book, I can look it up if anyone insists).

  120. It looks like the J&J vaccine will be back with a warning about the risk of blood clots for certain people

    https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/u-s-should-resume-j-j-vaccinations-warning-notice-cdc-n1265073

  121. Jay L Gischer says:

    I just saw a Fox News headline that reads:

    California Governor Gavin Newsom raising money by tying Caitlin Jenner to Trump

    I’m giggling every time I read it. I love that headline. That one headline wrecks multiple narratives that they themselves have been pushing.

    1
  122. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: The Mandela effect is about particular false memories that are widespread in the general populace–not just individually. And I think when that happens, it’s not just a matter of how memory works, it also speaks to the power of suggestion. Another Beatles example: there’s a story where a friend of theirs spiked their tea with LSD, they all got into an elevator together and they all became convinced the elevator was on fire. How did they all get to hallucinating the same thing simultaneously? Presumably one of them “saw” the fire, he reported it to the others, and the delusion spread.

    A lot of common false beliefs about the past work this way. Some years back Snopes investigated the popular story about Groucho Marx saying that line about the cigar on TV, and concluded it was false. But it’s impossible to disprove, because the show wasn’t fully recorded and preserved, and there are people who swear to this day they remember watching the show when he said it.

    Another example: The most famous line from Empire Strikes Back, “Luke, I am your father,” isn’t accurate. It’s actually “No, I am your father.” There are a lot of famous lines from movies that have gotten distorted in popular culture like this–“Play it again, Sam” from Casablanca is another example. Yet I recently saw a Youtube comment by someone who insisted they remember hearing the supposedly false version of that line in the theater. And the fact is that Lucas has altered the Star Wars films so many times it’s hard to completely refute these claims.

  123. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Jenner describes herself as “very socially liberal and fiscally conservative.”

    So… She’s a DEM? Because there sure as sht are no fiscal conservatives in the GOP.

    2
  124. CSK says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Well, Jenner is being helped by Brad Parscale and several other Trump leftovers.

  125. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I hate the “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” line. It’s such a lazy, superficial cliche used by people who think it makes them sound sophisticated.

  126. Jay L Gischer says:

    @CSK: I mean, yeah, sure, but shouldn’t Fox News be all “Yeah, sure she’s tied to Trump and THAT’S GREAT!!! MAGA!!!”

    Or maybe they might try to ignore her because she’s trans and well, our viewers don’t want to hear about that because bathrooms and sports(!) and stuff.

    The Rs are setting up to drive turnout in the midterms by hitting the trans issue hard. Jenner’s candidacy may throw a giant spanner into those works, just by muddying the issue in exactly the way this headline shows.

  127. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    The most famous line from Empire Strikes Back, “Luke, I am your father,” isn’t accurate. It’s actually “No, I am your father.”

    Going from memory:

    Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.

    Luke: He told me enough. He told me you killed him.

    Vader: No, I am your father.

    I got the VHS tapes of the digitally altered edition, but I also have the original VHS sold in 1981. I no longer have a VHS player, though. Our last expired sometime after 2012.

    Anyway, Lucas should have known that line would be quoted over and over, and the three other lines to put it in context are too much to quote. he should have gone with “Luke, I am your father.”

    At the time, I thought he was lying, but Luke admits it later in the movie.

  128. New York Hovernor Andrew Cuomo I’d blocking the release of a rep out report on Covif deaths in nursing homes

    Cover up?

    https://nypost.com/2021/04/23/cuomo-blocks-release-of-covid-nursing-home-data-sent-to-feds/

  129. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: People like labels. It’s easier if one can just file a person in an existing box rather than come up with a whole new one. I doubt very much that Caitlyn Jenner is anywhere near *socially liberal* but she pretends she is for reasons of marketability.

    ** Way too many GOP pols think they are the exception to all the rules. Would not surprise me in the least if she thinks Trans rights are for her and those few she considers worthy but not the hordes.

  130. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    I got the VHS tapes of the digitally altered edition, but I also have the original VHS sold in 1981.

    Not a lot of people know this, but the original VHS of the first Star Wars wasn’t exactly the same as what audiences saw in theaters in 1977. It wasn’t originally called “A New Hope.” It wasn’t “Episode IV.” It was simply “Star Wars.” Lucas added all that to the opening crawl of the VHS version after he began working on Empire. And thereafter began feeding everyone baloney about having always conceived the first film as a fourth chapter in a 9-episode story. You can see why this would lead some fans to be a little skeptical of some of the claims commonly made about what was “originally” in the films.

    2
  131. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: New York Hovernor Andrew Cuomo I’d blocking the release of a rep out report on Covif deaths in nursing homes

    Somebody is suffering through a bad case of fatthumbitis. 😉

  132. CSK says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    I think they’ll just try to ignore it the way they do any inconvenient truth about Trump.

    And if you’re a hardcore Trumpkin, you swore off Fox months ago. After all, they called Arizona for Biden.

  133. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Texas GOPers Vote To Debate Secession At State Convention

    A group that advocates for Texas seceding from the United States says at least 22 local Republican conventions passed resolutions last month that called for a vote on secession at the state convention, The Houston Chronicle reported Friday.

    Ten of the counties confirmed to the newspaper that the resolutions passed at their conventions, but an official count is not expected until May. That goes to show the Texas Nationalist Movement has gained some momentum since 2012, when a secession resolution passed at just one county convention, according to the Chronicle.

    A party committee will consider introducing the resolutions at the state GOP convention, which is scheduled to take place May 12-14 in Dallas. But secession is expected to be shot down at the convention, the newspaper reported.

    The secession issue has cropped up time and time again in the Lone Star State. In December, Texas Republicans failed to pass a measure that would’ve asked residents whether they wanted to secede on a ballot in the state’s primary.

    The Supreme Court ruled in 1869 that states don’t have the right to secede, the report noted.

    Well, this Supreme Court doesn’t seem to think much of precedent so maybe we’ll get lucky.

    2
  134. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kylopod:

    I hate the “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” line. It’s such a lazy, superficial cliche used by people who think it makes them sound sophisticated.

    Call and raise.

    Gods forbid that anyone support the idea that everyone should be treated with equality and respect, and those who need help get it, while simultaneously insisting that the US government have the fiscal skills of an 80-year-old on Social Security.

    2
  135. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    And that the middle trilogy was the one most likely to succeed commercially.

    Naturally there would be a sequel when the original was a massive hit.

    Lucas engaged in some retroactive myth making, which is appropriate given the amount of retroactive continuity (retcon) in the movies:

    1) I’m sure Vader wasn’t meant to be Luke’s father in ep. IV
    2) Nor was Leia meant to be Luke’s sister in Ep. V. Not with that kiss scene.
    3) Vader was meant to be the main villain, but then the redemption thing wouldn’t work. No path for it. Enter the Emperor in ep. V, he was barely even mentioned in ep. IV. there had to be a bigger villain for Vader to redeem himself by vanquishing. he also had to save Luke in the process, and he needed a reason for that, ergo he became Luke’s deadbeat dad (what? you think he sent Owen and Beru child support checks every month?)

    I’m sure there’s more.

    At that, Vader was handled better, retcon and all, than Ben Solo in the Abrams movie. Solo didn’t kill Snoke to save Rey, but to seize power. Rey was important as an ally if she joined him, and as an enemy if she didn’t. So again the uber-villain had to be resurrected to make Ren/Solo the lesser evil.

    1
  136. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy:

    The big advantage Musk has over NASA, is that he can’t be forced to change his launch program and rockets every four to eight years when administrations change their priorities.

    Well, within reason. SpaceX has always been dependent on US government contracts to fund their development program, and still is. Eg, Mr. Musk seems to generally regard Falcon Heavy as a red-headed stepchild. But he needed at least the 40% of the US Space Force contract, and that meant Heavy has to fly at least a couple of times per year. And once he had committed to that, there were other people with payloads that needed Falcon Heavy.

    The lunar lander contract seems to me — if I understand it, an often suspect assumption — completely bizarre. NASA will use SLS and Orion to deliver astronauts to lunar orbit. There they will transfer to Starship for the landing and return to orbit. Nothing about how Starship got there. That’s SpaceX’s problem. This has to be a bet, at least on Mr. Musk’s part, that SLS is going to fail. At that point NASA (and Congress) will give up on the “no refueling” restriction for Artemis. It is, IMO, a bet-the-company gamble. I admire Mr. Musk’s ability to make those. I could never do it.

  137. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Cain:

    SpaceX has always been dependent on US government contracts to fund their development program, and still is.

    Nope.

    They’ve applied for government funding when it has been available, and they’ve won it based on the merits of their program. Their defense contracts are worth under $400M. They’ve raised several billion in private funding and stock valuations. A small part of that government funding was for Starlink–which is actually providing what telecoms have been taking billions for for decades and not providing.

    Everything else? Like Space Force launches? They bid and got the job just like anyone else. And they’ll provide services for the money they get–just like they would for any other customer. And if Space Force hadn’t bought those launches, you can be sure someone else would have.

    Unlike Boeing et. al., who have been taking in billions for years and have nothing but a static-fire test to show for it.

  138. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy:

    Definitely memory does not equal truth, but memories are not all equal. One accurately recalls where one was when told something momentous. “We all remember where we were when we heard…”

  139. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Unlike Boeing et. al., who have been taking in billions for years and have nothing but a static-fire test to show for it.

    41 Delta IV launches says what?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_IV#Delta_IV_launches_in_chronological_order

  140. DrDaveT says:

    @Mimai:

    What word triggers your “disgust” reflex?

    “Ooze”

  141. Mimai says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Good one!

    “Milky” has always kinda gotten to me too. Pointless to try and discern why. In any event, I dig the mystery of it all.

  142. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    @Mimai:

    Problematic and possessive truths annoy me as well.

    Along the ‘my truth’ line: Journey

    Virtue signaling
    Canard
    Leech
    Statist
    Listicle
    Spiritual
    Alveolar (I don’t really know why)
    Frick
    Rape
    Gizzard
    Fixin’ (as in fixin’ to [verb])

  143. Kurtz says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    Interesting angle. Hmmm.

  144. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz:

    Possessive journey is very good (bad). Listicle too.

    “A listicle of your fave appletini recipes!” might make me ooze with milky disgust.

    1
  145. Kurtz says:

    @just nutha:

    That’s also an interesting perspective. I don’t assign malicious intent to a portion of his base. I’m more of the mind that the less malicious ones really felt a connection when Trump said they had been forgotten. It’s like all they wanted was to feel like they were being directly addressed by a politician.

    Whenever I hear smart people push back against the idea on the Left that people vote against their own interests, I recoil twice.

    The first is because GOP economic policy is squarely against their interests, and when I express the sentiment, I’m talking about that not guns or whatever. That’d why I almost always phrase it as, “voting against their economic interests.”

    The second is because if you do value your firearms or pro-life causes more than financial security, that’s fine…but don’t bitch about your inability to make ends meet, because you prioritized that below your other interests.

    1
  146. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: It’s kinda interesting what’s happening around here in oil/gas country the last couple weeks. We’ve been receiving loads of oil field pipe, and everybody’s been laid off, but there’s a hush-hush “new boom” coming on capping and reclaiming the oil/gas wells that aren’t producing.

    1
  147. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: Most high-dollar crews have been laid off….history says the same companies will hire new crews for $10-$20 less/hour than the recently laid off crews.

    2
  148. Kurtz says:

    The NFL loosened their positional restrictions on jersey numbers. They did not alter the policy that forces a player who changes their number to purchase all the unsold jerseys with their old number.

    Mike Florio reported that he knows of a player who expressed interest in changing to a newly allowed single digit, but was told that it would cost him $170k. Because not only do they force the player to purchase any unsold jerseys, they have to pay retail rather than cost.

  149. Kurtz says:

    @Jax:

    Ah yes, the oil and gas industry. The companies that espouse laissez faire economics and operate under thin profit margins. But receive eye-watering subsidies, establish and fund FUD tanks, and exploit people and resources at multiple levels.

    I’m shocked and chagrined; mortified and stupefied that they would do that. Moral hazards are only a problem if created by government and workers, I guess.

    2
  150. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    2) Nor was Leia meant to be Luke’s sister in Ep. V. Not with that kiss scene.

    But then, who was the other hope, when Obiwan and Yoda were talking? Would they hint at another hero in the waiting who we had never met? Is it Chewbacca?

    No, I think we just have to reconcile ourselves to Lucas wanting some incest.

  151. Gustopher says:

    @Mimai:

    What word triggers your “disgust” reflex?

    Any of the following three, when preceded by the other two earlier in the day: falafel, farfel, farfalle. I can only keep two of them in my brain at once, and dragging out the third makes me almost nauseous.

    And now far flung.

  152. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: Biden gets the “whole blame” for why they were laid off, but nobody thinks back to 4-5 years ago when gas prices also went way higher. These same people were bitchin back when gas was $4.40 and dipped.

    Capitalism, baby. They’re not gonna drill those wells until gas at the pump makes it worth it.

  153. Jax says:

    @Mimai: Donald J. Trump, in his entirety, from hearing his voice to watching him speak, triggers my disgust reflex. I had the misfortune of being a lowly bus-girl at a golf course back in the 90’s, and watching Trump….be Trump.

    I’ve never been able to get over that gag reflex when I see his face or hear him speak.

    1
  154. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    Is it Chewbacca?

    Regardless of lucasintent, this is my hope for the hope. The three things that are great about Star Wars are: world building, Han and Chewie, and cast chemistry in the original trilogy.