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:

    Brandon Mitchell, known as juror 52 in the courthouse in Minneapolis where Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter last week, has voluntarily spoken out in a round of media interviews. He has opened a window on the stresses of the case and the deliberations within the jury room.

    Talking to CNN, Mitchell described the emotion of repeatedly viewing multiple video recordings of the 9 minutes and 29 seconds in which Chauvin knelt on the neck of Floyd. “It was just dark. It felt like every day was a funeral and watching someone die every day.”

    Asked by ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday whether the jury felt any pressure to convict Chauvin given the huge public interest in the case, Mitchell said the atmosphere in the courtroom was so intense there was no space to worry about the outside world.

    “We weren’t watching the news so we didn’t know what was going on. We were really locked in on the case, there was so much stress,” he said.

    He added that public opinion was “so secondary because throughout the trial you are watching somebody die on a daily basis. That stress alone is enough to take your mind away from whatever’s going on outside the courtroom.”

    I hope his stepping forward doesn’t end up costing him too much.

    7
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Florida Keys will this week see the release of genetically modified, non-biting male mosquito larvae as part of a controversial program designed to curb the spread of insect-borne diseases such as dengue, Zika and yellow fever.

    The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District and British firm biotech Oxitec announced last week that 12,000 of the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito species are expected to emerge each week for twelve weeks from six locations: two on Cudjoe Key, one on Ramrod Key and three on Vaca Key. Eventually it is planned that hundreds of millions of the mosquitoes might be released.

    Oxitec’s non-biting male mosquitoes will mate with the local biting female mosquitoes and since the female offspring cannot themselves survive to reproduce, the population of Aedes aegypti is subsequently controlled.

    According to the CDC, the genetically modified mosquitoes carry two types of genes: a fluorescent marker gene that glows under a special red light, and a self-limiting gene that prevents female mosquito offspring from surviving to adulthood. Mosquitoes at the target locations will then be monitored against untreated comparison sites as part of an Environmental Protection Agency-approved project. Oxitec says an evaluation of the project will be provided by the CDC and the University of Florida’s Medical Entomology Laboratory, among others.

    According to Oxitec, Aedes aegypti makes up about 4% of the mosquito population in the Keys but is responsible for “virtually all mosquito-borne diseases transmitted to humans” and can transmit heartworm and other potentially deadly diseases to pets and animals.

    “As we are seeing development of resistance to some of our current control methods, we are in need of new tools to combat this mosquito,” said Andrea Leal, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District. “And given the unique ecosystem we live in, those tools need to be safe, environmentally friendly and targeted.”

    Not everybody is on board:

    Some environmentalists remain skeptical or outright opposed. Last year, Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety, told the Guardian the program is a “Jurassic Park experiment”.

    Barry Wray, executive director of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition added: “People here in Florida do not consent to the genetically engineered mosquitoes or to being human experiments.”

    Ummm yeah, if you ask me “Jurassic Park experiment” is a wee bit over the top.

    3
  3. Barry says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Ummm yeah, if you ask me “Jurassic Park experiment” is a wee bit over the top.”

    To be honest, disease-carrying mosquitos are far more dangerous than T-Rexes.

    8
  4. Joe Biden is bringing sanity back to American foreign policy

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/30/joe-biden-foreign-policy-first-100-days

    1
  5. CSK says:
  6. CSK says:

    A cheery headline from CNN:
    “Al Qaeda Promises ‘War on All Fronts’ Against America.”

  7. CSK says:

    L. Lin Wood appears to be clinically insane:

    http://www.rawstory.com/l-lin-wood/2652826035/

  8. Scott says:

    Top US military intelligence official says Russian military poses an ‘existential threat’ to the US

    “The Russian military is an existential threat to the United States,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about worldwide threats.

    “Moscow continues to invest in its strategic nuclear forces, in new capabilities to enhance its strategic deterrent, and that places the US homeland at risk,” Berrier said.

    Behind all the scary language is this: Russia has nukes and is upgrading its nukes and nukes are an existential threat.

    As it has been and always will be. No change.

    1
  9. Jen says:
  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A little on the long side, but a good story to start the day with:

    KWITY PAYE HAS never met the man. Never had the chance to look him in the eye, or hear his story in his own words, or even so much as thank him. For his life. For the chance to be in the United States, where Kwity became an immigrant, then a citizen; a football player, then a really good football player; a star on the defensive line at the University of Michigan, then an NFL draft hopeful earmarked for first-round glory.

    But he knows what he owes this man, Cyrus, his mother’s cousin. Agnes and Cyrus had grown up together in the same village in Liberia; they’d abandoned the country together when the country abandoned them — when civil war twisted their homeland into someplace ugly and misshapen. Cyrus had done odd jobs around the refugee camp in Sierra Leone where they’d lived — existed, survived — for seven years, then left his earnings with Agnes for safekeeping. But he’d been far on the other side of the camp when soldiers attacked their makeshift home. Agnes didn’t have time to find him, so she’d fled, using his savings to buy her way onto an army truck that ushered her to Guinea. It was another strange country, another land that wasn’t her home, but she was the lucky one.

    Soldiers had captured her cousin and taken a machete to his head, leaving a gash across his forehead and a pool of blood spilling out, then strapped a tire to his body to burn him alive. They would have completed their grisly task, if not for one soldier who’d recognized him and considered him a friend. He was a nice man, Cyrus; he’d become something of a favorite son around the camp, and that reputation was his salvation. He shouted the soldier’s name. Help me! The soldier ran to him, pleading with the other soldiers. I know this kid; he’s like my son. The soldier spared Cyrus’ life, then rushed him to the Red Cross. Kwity remembers that now, always. How the simple act of being kind, of being a friend, saved Cyrus’ life. How the simple act of Kwity being kind, of being a friend, might yet change his.

    3
  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Barry: They’ve killed far more people than T-Rexes ever will.

    1
  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I can’t imagine any one would do it for free.

  13. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I can’t imagine any woman looking at him and not shuddering. His fiancee is, ironically, surnamed “Luckey.”

  14. Teve says:

    @popehat

    It continues to vex me that society is being destroyed by the dumbest fucking people God ever made

    6
  15. Mister Bluster says:

    @Cracker(And quit trying to defend your statement.)

    I have seen the error of my ways. Please provide an appropriate address so I can submit my remarks to you for approval before I post them in these threads.
    In the future I shall attempt to kowtow to the party line.

  16. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    He called the committee’s recommendation “expulsion in all but name.” The committee Thursday unanimously recommended suspending von Ehlinger through 2022 without pay.

    In Idaho, raping an intern only gets you suspended without pay?

    1
  17. Teve says:

    BREAKING: Biden Official Confirms Plans to Ban Fried Chicken and Grape Drink

    By Jeff Charles | Apr 29, 2021 4:30 PM ET
    Share Tweet

    AUSTIN, TX– The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing to institute more measures to safeguard black lives by banning products they like. After it was announced that the Biden administration would prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes, officials are looking at other ways the government can save the black community from itself.

    Only days after the menthol ban was announced, the FDA declared that it was pushing full steam ahead with its effort to rescue the black community through what they refer to as “strategic race-based prohibition.” An FDA official explained that the fried fowl and grape-flavored cola – also known as “grape drank” – must be banned because “these hopeless negroes don’t know how to act.”

    “Preventing black people from killing themselves by banning certain products is the least we can do given the level of oppression they have endured in this country,” said a high-ranking member of the Biden administration. “This is why fried chicken and grape soda have to go.”

    He added: “How could they possibly survive if we don’t make these decisions for them?”

    Some have raised concerns about the menthol ban, arguing that it would lead to more interactions with the police which could result in more black fatalities during these encounters. However, the FDA assures us the number of black men shot to death by police will pale in comparison to the warm fuzzy feeling white progressives will have knowing African Americans are no longer smoking Newports, eating Popeye’s, or drinking carbonated grape-flavored beverages.

    Another FDA official also noted that “dying from fried chicken consumption is proven to be more fatal than being riddled with racist police bullets.”

    “It is SO fatal. You don’t even know,” the official said.

    The new measure is expected to cause some upheaval in the fried chicken industry. Kentucky Fried Chicken and Popeye’s are both scrambling to develop new baked chicken recipes and have begun looking at plant-based options. “We need to show these blacks that fake fried chicken is better than real fried chicken,” he argued.

    The official seemed optimistic about the plan, insisting that “it won’t be nearly as hard as getting them to take that damn vaccine.”

    (Editor’s Note: Clearly, this piece was penned using the sarcasm font. Just pointing that out for those who don’t regularly partake in satire.)

    https://redstate.com/jeffc/2021/04/29/breaking-biden-official-confirms-plans-to-ban-fried-chicken-and-grape-drink-n371319

  18. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: In the words of another Idaho politician, he was a naughty boy.

  19. Kathy says:

    I went and made my own paradox 🙂

    First, I’ve just gotten through a Great Courses lecture series on Plato’s Dialogues. This very naturally says a lot about Plato’s theory of forms, which is my main beef against Plato.

    Briefly, and leaving aside a great deal of philosophical theory, Plato believes, more or less, that physical objects, as well as qualities of objects and living beings, are mere shadows or representations, and very imperfect ones at that, of ideal Forms which exist in a higher plain of existence.

    Well, he was almost right but he got it completely wrong.

    The almost right part is that such forms exist, in a way, inside the minds of sentient beings, not on some higher planes. Where he got it completely wrong, is that the forms don’t precede objects or qualities, nor are the latter shadows or representations of the former.

    What I mean is that we make abstractions and form concepts based on what we observe with our senses. these abstractions are real, although they are immaterial, and these encompass all like objects or qualities. thus we have no trouble recognizing the quality, or lack thereof, of “chairness” when we see a chair, but only because we have generalized and abstracted the attributes of “chairness” in a concept of chairs (why are chairs always the go-to example of forms?) We can also group other related objects, like stools, thrones, seats, etc.

    Older philosophers, and some modern ones, build up narratives and models they love so well, that they deem the real world as wrong when it doesn’t conform to their ideas.

    This sounds better than “Yes, the evidence is quite conclusive, but this is what’s really going on.”

    3
  20. Mikey says:

    In the least surprising news of the day, Tucker Carlson is a racist piece of shit.

    @oliverdarcy
    Tucker Carlson tonight, mocking Biden for saying the January 6 insurrection was worst attack on our country since Civil War: “Really? The worst attack on our democracy in 160 years? How about the Immigration Act of 1965?”

    From the Wiki on that, here’s what it did.

    The act removed de facto discrimination against Southern and Eastern Europeans, Asians, as well as other non-Northwestern European ethnic groups from American immigration policy.

    4
  21. Mimai says:

    @Kathy:

    I went and made my own paradox

    That would make for a great epitaph.

    Well, he was almost right but he got it completely wrong.

    This too!

    To the substance of your post……
    Have you read on modern(ish) ideas re psychological essentialism. Susan Gelman is the figurehead of this area. Lots of interesting stuff on language, -isms, etc. Likely to tickle your brain.

    1
  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Tom Nichols
    @RadioFreeTom

    ·
    11h
    Usually I tell people not to assume that the GOPers doing stuff like this are stupid. In Ron Johnson’s case, I think you can assume that he is, in fact, as stupid as he appears to be.

    Ryan Goodman
    @rgoodlaw

    Washington Post scoop:

    FBI gave #RonJohnson defensive briefing in 2020 warning he was being targeted by Russia to spread disinformation on Biden.

    What did he do?
    He considered it “completely useless and unnecessary”
    With his usual paranoia, he thought FBI briefing was a trick (1/5)

    1
  23. Mimai says:

    Types of scientific paperhttps://xkcd.com/2456/. This is too damn close! Though it’s missing a cortisol reference. Here’s my attempt:

    EurekaAlert: “Hey, look at this funky cortisol response curve.”

    2
  24. Mimai says:

    @Mimai:
    Ugh, failed to close the quote function. I offend myself. Will go into timeout now.

  25. Northerner says:

    @Barry:

    Oh sure, the plague killed a third of Europe and Asia, and Malaria’s killed a few hundred million over the years, but besides that what have you got?

    Meanwhile, T-rex’s have killed hundreds of people in gory detail in movies.

    2
  26. Scott says:

    ‘A tough call’: Biden considering mandatory Covid vaccines for U.S. troops

    President Joe Biden said he has not ruled out requiring all U.S. troops to get the coronavirus vaccine after the shots win final clearance from federal regulators, but cautioned that such a decision would be a “tough call.”

    “I don’t know. I’m going to leave that to the military,” Biden told NBC News’ Craig Melvin in an interview that aired Friday, in response to a question on whether he would mandate the vaccine for U.S. service members once it is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

    I don’t see this as a tough call at all. When I entered the Air Force (yes, it was all volunteer force then), no one asked me if I wanted any vaccines. You just lined up and got them.

    There are all kinds of requirements to maintain physical readiness, including weight and physical fitness. There are career fields that require mental fitness (personnel reliability programs). Even governs off duty behavior.

    Not a tough call.

    8
  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kylopod:

    I guess we’ll need to take a wide stance on that.

    1
  28. CSK says:

    I realize this isn’t a question that anyone not hopelessly infatuated with Donald Trump can answer, but why does the MAGA crowd keep insisting that Mike Pence violated the law and the Constitution when he refused to overturn the election on January 6?

  29. Scott says:

    @CSK: Because anything the MAGA crowd doesn’t like is unlawful and unconstitutional regardless of reality.

    2
  30. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t know what Schumer can do in a 50-50 Senate but I would strip Johnson of any responsibilities having to do with classified information.

    1
  31. Jen says:

    @Scott: Agreed, with this being the key:

    […] in response to a question on whether he would mandate the vaccine for U.S. service members once it is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

    Once it’s approved, they should be required.

    Question: are people allowed to serve in the military if they are allergic to a vaccine component? For some reason I’m thinking this would be a disqualifying event–that you couldn’t serve in the military–if you were, say, allergic to eggs, but I don’t know and now am curious.

  32. Kathy says:

    @Mimai:

    Likely to tickle your brain.

    Fortunately the brain is incapable of feeling anything (that’s a great paradox, too).

    No, I don’t think I have yet.

    But it strikes me that if science were not rigorous about proof, we’d be teaching string theory and/or loop quantum gravity as fact in schools these days.

    2
  33. CSK says:

    @Scott:
    Oh, quite so, but I’m wondering if they think they have any basis in fact for this belief. Where did it originate? It’s so bizarre even for them.

  34. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Where did it originate? It’s so bizarre even for them.

    I take it that you have not spent much time listening to the beliefs of MAGA-heads. You’re lucky.

  35. Kathy says:

    I got a batch of 3M N95 respirators* (aka masks).

    I expected they’d be little different from the generic KN95 masks from China. I was way off. they fit much better and breathe more comfortably. the craftsmanship overall is much better, too.

    The fit may come down to the way it’s worn. It has elastic straps that go over the neck and the back of the head, rather than hooks for the ears. If you’ve seen surgeons in an OR, you’ll notice their masks are put on that way (though with cloth strips that are tied tightly behind the head).

    That presents a problem, too. they’re not easy to put on and take off. That gets in the way of having coffee, and blowing my nose when needed. For now I’ll keep using the KN95s at work, and the N95s for occasions when I don’t need to remove the mask, like shopping and doctor’s appointments.

  36. Kurtz says:

    @Kathy:

    (why are chairs always the go-to example of forms?)

    I prefer pipes.

    @Mimai:

    Or the return of panpsychism.

    I peeped essence once; it shuddered and closed the blinds.

    And yes, Mimai too late for meta joke.

    1
  37. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    Question: are people allowed to serve in the military if they are allergic to a vaccine component? For some reason I’m thinking this would be a disqualifying event–that you couldn’t serve in the military–if you were, say, allergic to eggs, but I don’t know and now am curious.

    Unless something has changed since the 80’s, yes they are allowed to serve.

    A friend of mine joined the army. When it came time for vaccinations, he told them that there was one he couldn’t have because he’s severely allergic to poultry–and it’s make with chicken enzymes. The doc said “Tough shit” and he was ordered to take the vaccine.

    It put him in the hospital for a week.

    1
  38. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Well, I do spend a bit of time each day glancing at Lucianne.com, which is MAGA Central (it spares me having to look at The Gateway Pundit and The Conservative Tree House, since all their crap is diligently reposted at Lucianne), but I confess to never finding an explanation of why they think Pence was “legally and Constitutionally” obliged to overturn the election results.

  39. Scott says:

    @CSK: I’ve written about this before but when I drive around rural Texas there are a lot of Trump/Pence 2020 banners still up. However, Pence is cut out. Makes me laugh every time.

    I do wonder, though, how long do the MAGA crowd hold grudges and will Pence pay a price for it.

    I hope so.

  40. CSK says:

    @Scott:
    Well, again, judging by my perusal of Lucianne.com, the Trumpkins despise Pence and will never vote for him for anything. After all, he stabbed Trump in the back on January 6 and proved himself nothing more than a creature of the deep state swamp.

    2
  41. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: When you brought up “bizarre,” my mind quickly turned to the Q people, but… they’ve all had bizarre beliefs for years. I remember once meeting a fellow who informed me that Obama was both the first Muslim president and the first gay president. It’s occurred to me that these people’s worldview consists essentially of a series of tropes, where what matters to them isn’t logical consistency but dramatic consistency.

    Take Trump’s remark that his followers should boycott the companies engaged in cancel culture. I doubt he had any awareness of the irony of his statement, and certainly his followers didn’t. To them, it makes absolute sense. That’s why when I hear liberals try to fire back by talking about “right-wing cancel culture,” in a sense they’re missing the point. We’re in no position to coopt the term, since it’s inherently a term of right-wing aggrievement. Just like the term “political correctness” a generation ago, which many liberals also foolishly tried to coopt but ended up merely validating the right-wing assumptions underlying the term, there is literally no way to extract a more accurate version of the term that genuinely indicts a culture of cancellation in a fair way, regardless of the politics. What all these terms boil down to is that they reflect perceptions by groups that have traditionally been given a lot of cultural power, so that when they start to lose some of that power, it feels to them like they’re being silenced.

    With regard to their views on Mike Pence, they’ve had bizarre interpretations of the Constitution for years, but where they have (again) no awareness of that bizarreness as long as it validates the tropes they believe in. I think back to Herman Cain’s statement that Muslims aren’t protected by freedom of religion since Islam isn’t a religion. President Reagan once said that the Constitution is a tough-on-crime document–and this wasn’t an offhanded remark, but part of a speech. They worship the idea of the Constitution in their own minds, and they view liberals as Constitution-haters since liberals never look at the Constitution in that reverent way.

    I’m not even sure why you’ve got so much difficulty understanding the claim about Pence; it isn’t hard to unpack. They think there was massive voter fraud and that Trump was the rightful winner of the election. They also think the vice president has both the power and authority to name the winner of the election, even though they would scream bloody murder if a Democratic vp ever attempted anything remotely along the lines of what they wanted Pence to do. Of course these beliefs are all utter horseshit, but they do follow a certain ignorant logic–quite unlike many of the things they believe.

    3
  42. CSK says:

    Josh Duggar, the eldest spawn of that enormous family, has been arrested by federal marshals (Dept. of Homeland Security) in Arkansas.

    Hasn’t he been accused of molesting his own sisters and of cheating on his wife via Ashley Madison?

    3
  43. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    That was interesting. Thanks.

    As to why I have trouble understanding why they think Pence could have overturned the election results…it has little to do with their contention that the election was fraudulent. It’s more that they claim that Pence had a Constitutional duty to reject the votes. From where they get that, I have no idea.

    And as for Obama bring a gay Muslim, that’s also a long-term belief at Lucianne.com., along with the notion that Michelle Obama is really Michael Obama, a man posing as a woman. Malia and Sasha seem to have been supplied by another party.

  44. Kathy says:

    @Kurtz:

    I got into a shouting match with a teacher once over his interpretation of that picture. It was the cheapest sophistry I’ve ever come across.

  45. Kathy says:

    Speaking of philosophy, here’s a “philosophical” question:

    Assuming humanity doesn’t go extinct for millions of years (and assuming species which evolve from us remain at least as intelligent as we are now*), will humanity ever learn everything there is to know about the Universe?

    More philosophy of science later.

    *This is not a given. I can imagine evolutionary pressures that would select for less intelligent humans.

  46. Mu Yixiao says:
  47. Slugger says:

    @Kathy: Kurt Gödel says that no logical system is ever complete and consistent.

  48. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK:

    but I confess to never finding an explanation of why they think Pence was “legally and Constitutionally” obliged to overturn the election results.

    That’s because you’re looking at the law and the Constitution in the law books and at the National Archives. Pence’s obligation to do what they want is quite clear in the Constitution in their heads.

    1
  49. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    That must be it. I wish one of them would, at some point, quote the actual passage from the Constitution that they claim gives Pence this right. I mean, quote from the document itself.

  50. just nutha says:

    @CSK: As in Luckey she found this out before the wedding?

    1
  51. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    And as for Obama bring a gay Muslim, that’s also a long-term belief at Lucianne.com

    I’m aware of both beliefs on the right. The Muslim thing is, of course, one of the oldest smears against Obama–it goes all the way back to 2004 when he first ran for Senate. As for the gay thing, from what I remember there’s an actual man who claims to have had an affair with Obama and smoked crack with him in the ’90s. Nobody outside the right-wing ecosphere takes this man’s claims seriously, but he’s a real person (his existence has been verified by legitimate sources).

    If you or I were posed the question, is it possible to be both gay and a Muslim? we’d answer, yes, of course. But not in the way these people imagine it. I am absolutely convinced that most right-wingers don’t have a clue what a Muslim actually is, or what makes a person a Muslim. I’ve actually had the experience of asking people who claim Obama is a Muslim, do you mean he refrains from pork and alcohol? Prays five times a day? Fasts on Ramadan? And they always give me an answer like, well he’s giving support to the radical Islamic terrorists.

    It reminds me heavily of the way anti-Semites have always talked about Jews. There was an author in the 1950s named Elizabeth Dilling who claimed Eisenhower was a Jew. She referred to him as “Ike the Kike.” She based this conclusion on the idea that Eisenhower was a Communist, and all Communists are Jews.

    It’s a little like if you’ve ever taken one of those introductory logic courses, and on the first day the instructor explains that a syllogism can be logically valid while absurd, with examples like “All men are trees. Peter is a man. Therefore, Peter is a tree.”

    And this gets to the whole point I’ve been trying to make about the right: they’ve got their own internal definitions of things that make sense to them, but don’t have any correspondence to reality.

    4
  52. just nutha says:

    @Mister Bluster: Mi bad. Just keep digging instead. I don’t really care (which is why I said it as an aside in parentheses. We’re really going to have to start ignoring each other since we seem to rub each other the wrong way. That will probably fall on me to do, as you seem to be incapable of ignoring anything.)

    1
  53. CSK says:

    Johnny “The Rifleman” (his son, anyway) Crawford has died at 75. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2019, but Covid-19 and pneumonia ended his life. RIP.

  54. Kylopod says:

    As an addendum to the previous post: I wasn’t trying to imply the right’s beliefs are all logically valid while absurd. They constantly commit logical fallacies–though in fairness, that’s true to varying degrees of people from all across the political spectrum.

    2
  55. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    The equating of Jews with Communists appears to be perennial.

  56. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    As of this writing, Ms. UnLuckey appears determined to stand by her man.

  57. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I understand your point of view but suspect your astonishment and frustration are caused by vocabulary mismatch. To you or me, “truth” is something that is arrived at after research and evaluation, using “facts”, which are assertions that can be empirically proven or at least rigorously deduced. But I don’t think such people have the same world view and so the meanings of those two words are different for them. “Truth” is received. “Facts” are sentences or phrases which support “Truth”. Lies or fakes are those sentences which conflict with “Truth”.

    If you examine what they say in that context, they are behaving perfectly consistently. And, of course, there is no use arguing with them.

    3
  58. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    These are the same people who repeat, over and over, “do the research.”

    I’m pretty sure their idea of research differs radically from yours and mine.

    2
  59. inhumans99 says:

    I was reading a Trump’s first 100 days as ex-President article at Politico and the funniest line in the article is the one that says that if Trump does not have a well-defined enemy to fight he turns to the shark next him and says your the enemy, lol!!!

    Apparently, Biden’s unwillingness to respond to Trump’s now twitterless proclamations is driving him nuts. Folks always thought it was a mistake when Obama tried to show Trump his long form Birth Certificate, because Obama was warned that this would not make the issue go away, and indeed it did not.

    Giving in to Trump once is like giving in to a blackmailer once, in that the blackmailer will never stop asking you for money. Bezos certainly knew how to play the game when he went public with the reason why someone was trying to blackmail him. Bezos experienced a brief frenzy of unwanted attention by the press and then things as they often do just died down and Bezos’s issues that led to the blackmail attempt became a non-story. All without Bezos giving the schmuck who tried to blackmail him as little as one red cent.

    1
  60. just nutha says:

    @CSK: As Sly Stone used to say, “different strokes for different folks.”

    2
  61. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I used to use a thought exercise to show my research paper students that arguments depend to a great degree on how one defines reality. I would tell them that basic arithmetic proves that the world is flat. I would start with the definition–any distance of 19 miles will be defined as having zero degrees of slope. It is generally accepted (at least this is what my sources at the time claimed) that on level land, the horizon is roughly 20 miles away. I’m sure you can see where this is going…

    1
  62. Mu Yixiao says:

    @just nutha:

    It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.

    3
  63. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kathy:

    Assuming humanity doesn’t go extinct for millions of years (and assuming species which evolve from us remain at least as intelligent as we are now*), will humanity ever learn everything there is to know about the Universe?

    As a comp sci major, I can definitively tell you the answer is “No”, because there are things that we can prove are inherently impossible to calculate:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_undecidable_problems

  64. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: There was a recent daily show bit where one of the reporters was talking to MAGAs. One of them said something to the effect “It’s important that everyone read the bill (? I think it was a bill). It’s all in there.” And then the reporter asks if he’s read the bill. “No, I haven’t”. In the space of a minute the reporter gets the guy to say three times that it’s important that everyone reads the bill and that, no, he hadn’t read the bill. The guy shows not the slightest awareness that there is a disconnect in what he is saying. If you think about what I said about “facts” being statements that support received proof, it makes sense. He is repeating a “fact” he has heard, “Everyone should read the bill”. To his mind that’s it’s only purpose. The actually content or meaning is immaterial.

    5
  65. Teve says:

    @jimsciutto

    Two separate realities – one factual, the other based on the “big lie”:

    CNN POLL CONDUTED BY SSRS

    Did Biden Legitimately
    Win Enough Votes for
    The Presidency?
     
                  Yes   No
     
    Democrats     97%    3%
    Independents  69%   27%
    Republicans   23%   70%

  66. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I suspect they base this on the oath of office where they swear to defend the constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic. We were all enemies of the constitution because we didn’t vote for the savior of Amurika, trump.

    1
  67. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Well, he didn’t have to read the bill. Rush Limbaugh read it for him and told him what was in it. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard or read a Trumpkin begin a statement with the words “Rush has taught us…”

    Taught.

  68. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    They can’t accept the fact that most people couldn’t stand Trump.

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I wonder if Limbaugh planted this notion about the Constitution in their wee little heads.

  69. Northerner says:

    @MarkedMan:

    One possibility is that they’re a mathematician or logician. The symbols in “2+3=5” are all defined in a formal system, and their truth lies solely in the context of that system. Any connection to the real world is at best coincidental (ie the long philosophical debates on the unreasonable usefulness of mathematics in describing the real world, popular in the theoretical physics community). In this case, “Everyone should read the bill.” is a statement whose truth rests in the relationship of the symbols in the sentence to each other, independent of anything to do with the real world.

    The other possibility is that they’re someone who hasn’t a clue what they’re talking about.

  70. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    It’s a good analogy. But where you and I might see the horizon 20 miles off, a Trumpkin might see…what?

  71. Mikey says:

    Our esteemed and tenured blog-runners will find this amusing, I’m sure.

    Linfield University president: I did not know there were rules for firing tenured faculty

    Apparently he believes a professor can be fired as an employee while somehow remaining a professor. Now, I’m not a professor myself, but even I know this is complete barking horseshit.

    2
  72. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’m aware of the existence of such problems. But do they relate to some description of actual phenomena or natural law at all? For instance, one may learn everything there is to know about trolleys and not be able to solve the trolley problem.

    Here’s one thing we don’t know: are natural laws universal?That is, are they really the same throughout the universe?

    They appear to be, but since there are parts of the universe we can’t even see (yet?), we cannot state this as fact. We proceed with the assumption and it has worked.

    Here’s another: are natural laws dependent on the overall condition of the universe?

    This is something that occurred to me when reading an essay by Asimov in which, I forget the reason why, he states that entropy always increases in an expanding universe. Would it still increase in a contracting universe?

  73. MarkedMan says:

    @Northerner: Here’s a link to the video. The guy shows up right around the 1:10 mark. I misremembered – it wasn’t “bill” it was “transcript”. It’s pretty obvious that “Read the transcript” is more of a mantra to him than something that has actual meaning.

    1
  74. Kurtz says:

    @Kathy:

    They appear to be, but since there are parts of the universe we can’t even see (yet?), we cannot state this as fact.

    And that what we see isn’t what is happening now, no? We are seeing what happened however many years ago.

  75. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Ha! I enjoyed how many times those zombies said: “Do the research.” Where? What research? Do they mean the ravings on some crackpot blog written by a semi-literate paranoid fantasist?

    I also notice how many people said they only trusted Trump.

    4
  76. Kurtz says:

    I like to occasionally look into the abyss of the 538 comment section. But about, I don’t know, a third of the time, the comments section just refuses to load.

    Facebook is poor at the things it is supposed to be good at, and great at the shitty things no one asked for it to do.

    (yes, I suppose it’s intention may have been to make the world worse, but I’m willing to give them some benefit of the doubt.)

  77. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kathy:

    The problems in question aren’t ones like the trolley problem where the answer is subjective. These are ones with clear yes/no answers, but which we can’t tell which it is.

    Classic example is “given a computer program, can it be determined if it will complete in a finite amount of time or run forever?” There’s no way to come up with a method for doing this for all programs (basically because if there was you could write a program that looks at itself and then does the opposite of whatever it’s supposed to do: if I finish in a finite amount of time, go into an endless loop, and if I run forever, stop immediately, creating a paradox)

  78. Kurtz says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Haha. I watched part of that the other day. Right before the two transcript dudes is Constitution dude:

    “Will you accept Joe Biden as President of the United States on the 20th?”

    “No I will not accept the President. No I will not! So look, what I–I’m educating myself on this, okay? I don’t know what all is in the Constitution.”

    “Have you read it? It’s pretty short.”

    “The Constitution of America?”

    “Yeah.”

    “I’ve not read the whole thing. You’ve read the entire thing?”

    “Yes. It’s remarkably short.”

    “I doubt that, but okay.”

    “You should read it, because you might be committing a seditious act in an hour and a half.”

    “I’m not going to comment about that.”

    I admit a bit of incredulity about whether that guy is a plant. But even if he was, I’m confident that he’s representative of at least one actual person’s approach to politics.

  79. Michael Reynolds says:

    Of course right-wingers imagine that whatever they wish were true is in the Constitution. For them Bible and Constitution are effectively the same thing: documents sufficiently vague or misunderstood that they add a patina of authority to whatever nonsense they choose to believe.

    Again I’ll note the absence of a commitment to evidence and truth, and a total absence of any thought whatsoever to epistemology. You cannot believe in invisible sky daddies and be committed to truth. You cannot teach epistemology without running into the intellectual brick wall of religion.

    Teach people from the cradle to believe in things which do not exist, and guess what? They don’t grow up to be skeptical, independent thinkers.

    1
  80. Joe Manchin saying no to D.C. statehood.

    This means the Democrats won’t have enough votes to pass the bill.

    Time to start thinking about retrocession to Maryland

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/manchin-dc-statehood-amendment/2021/04/30/39fab2ae-a9dd-11eb-8d25-7b30e74923ea_story.html

    1
  81. CSK says:

    @Kurtz:
    Despite the fact that the guy admitted never reading the Constitution, I’m sure he’ll be able to assure us one and all that the Constitution directed Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election.

  82. Kylopod says:

    @Doug Mataconis: A surprise to no one.

  83. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: I’ve commented before that for conservatives “true” means “true to the faith”.

    1
  84. Teve says:

    @Kurtz:

    Facebook is poor at the things it is supposed to be good at, and great at the shitty things no one asked for it to do.

    (yes, I suppose it’s intention may have been to make the world worse, but I’m willing to give them some benefit of the doubt.)

    Internally Facebook did an experiment in the last few years, to give people a Good News feed, instead of being dominated by negative depressing horrible shit news. The algorithm functioned successfully, but the engineers determined that the users who were given a Good News feed used the site less, generating less ad revenue, and the program was scrapped.

    When I consider the question Is Facebook Bad, the answer in my head is Woody Harrelson in No Country for Old Men, “…compared to what? The bubonic plague?”

    1
  85. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    If I had a bot army at my disposal, the number of upvotes you would receive for the quote alone would triple the number of known prime numbers.

    Question: what’s your favorite Coen Brothers movie?

    1
  86. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: there’s no one right answer, sometimes it just depends on the mood you’re in. A Lebowski mood is different than a no country for old men mood.

    Rollie! You take that diaper off your head and you put it back on your sister!

  87. Mimai says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You frequently make the point about Rs and epistemology. You seem to assume that epistemology = empiricism = science (or something along those lines). And then conclude that because Rs frequently reject science or display unscientific thinking, they are necessarily deficient wrt epistemology. You may not be saying any such thing, so please correct me if I misunderstand.

    The reason I bring this up is because there are many different ways of knowing – empiricism, rationalism, etc. Knowledge from authority is another way. And it seems to me that many of the behaviors you take Rs to task for might be better explained by a “knowledge from authority” framework than an epistemic deficit framework.

    Of course, you and I may reject the authority. And the specific authority may change over time and/or across topics of consideration. But that strikes me as a consistent epistemology nonetheless. And that’s to say nothing of epistemic constructivism or relativism, which also seems at play here.

    But again, I may be misinterpreting you…

    1
  88. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    I thought that might be your answer. Their body of work is so diverse that it’s like Costanza choosing what to wear for the day.

    I’m partial to No Country, and I think it would have been my answer at several points. But for me, Fargo and Barton Fink strike a certain balance that No Country does not.

    The one I think people often forget about is The Man Who Wasn’t There. I love the casting. Jon Polito makes any movie better. Gandolfini in a non-heavy role. Tony Shaloub is perfect.

  89. Josh Dughar arrested and charged with receipt and possess of child porn.

    He could face up to 20 years in Federal prison if convicted.

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/30/us/joshua-duggar-arrest-child-pornography/index.html

    1
  90. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: I love the casting partly because I love Tony Shaloub, but I didn’t really like the movie overall. Fargo was wonderful.

    I love, love, love that Walter kept telling Donnie to shut the fuck up because in the previous movie, Fargo, Buscemi talked too much.

    1
  91. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Teve:

    The problem with social media is that right now what’s best for their business model is in conflict with what’s best for their users.

    I remain convinced the best fix is to mandate federation, so that it becomes something like e-mail where anyone can set up an e-mail server and communicate with everyone else’s e-mail servers. That way Facebook can no longer rely on Metcalfe’s law to hold everyone hostage to their anti-consumer behavior (in your example, you could move to some other system that provides the “good news feed” and still communicate with all your friends and family on Facebook).

    This would likely make social media a commodity service that doesn’t provide much revenue instead of one that earns billions of dollars a year, but I see that as a plus rather than a negative.

    2
  92. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz:

    You are a monster for asking such a question. Because I feel compelled to answer. And no matter the answer, I will hate myself. A Serious Man. (you idiot) I mean Blood Simple. (stop trying so hard you wanker) Actually it’s No Country.

    Ugh.

    2
  93. Kylopod says:

    Here’s how I rate the Coen films I’ve seen, from most favorite to least favorite:

    Big Lebowski
    Fargo
    O Brother Where Art Thou
    No Country For Old Men
    Raising Arizona
    True Grit
    Ballad of Buster Scruggs
    Barton Fink
    Blood Simple
    A Serious Man
    Hail Caesar
    Man Who Wasn’t There
    Ladykillers
    Intolerable Cruelty
    Hudsucker Proxy

    I should mention that I like almost all of these films, including most of the ones near the bottom. Lebowski and Fargo are among my top favorite films of all time.

  94. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kurtz:

    My current favorite is actually “Hail, Caesar!”. I know a lot of people don’t like it, but it’s one of those movies that seems really shallow on first view, but starts revealing deeper meanings the more you watch it.

    I also really like “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”

    2
  95. flat earth luddite says:

    @Jen:

    GOP not sending their best…

    Or more frightening, is that they are sending their best…

    4
  96. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: make FB open up the APIs. So my friend Jimmy can post on Facebook, and my social media network of choice Geekstr can display his post, and vice versa. Easy peasy. Woukd massively increase competition. And may never happen because it would destroy a software monopoly, and software monopolies create billionaires.

    At some point around the 70s crackhead conservatives like Robert Bork reformulated antitrust law theory so that you had to demonstrate a direct immediate financial harm from a monopoly, ignoring the obvious fact that capitalism only works well when there’s competition.

    1
  97. Teve says:

    @flat earth luddite: the conservative media complex is creating Gaetzes. Policy is for fags, the important thing is to get on Fox and be Outraged.

    When I say I do not know if America will survive conservative media, I’m not exaggerating.

    2
  98. wr says:

    @Kurtz: “what’s your favorite Coen Brothers movie?”

    I’m going with A Serious Man. But I’ve got a lot of love for Inside Llewen Davis, too.

    1
  99. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “My current favorite is actually “Hail, Caesar!””

    I have mixed feelings about the film, but I laughed harder at the scene where the priest, the minister and the rabbi were giving notes on the religious film than I can remember at any other recent movie…

  100. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Ok. But aside from such problems?

  101. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Another one I want to mention: the Coen brothers were apparently at one point working on writing and directing an adaptation of “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” that I’m real upset never got finished.

    It’s a noir detective story set in modern day Sitka, Alaska. In the real world, there was a proposed plan in the 1940’s to establish a settlement for Jewish refugees from the Third Reich, and the novel is set in an alternate universe where this plan actually went through and resulted in Alaska becoming the new Jewish homeland instead of a reestablished Israel, but right as the novel is starting the settlement’s 60 year “lease” is running out.

    The combination of the neo-noir setting and the focus cultural Judaism seemed perfect for the Coen Brother’s style.

  102. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Top 5 in no particular order because as Teve said, it depends on the mood:

    O Brother Where Art Thou
    No Country For Old Men
    Big Lebowski
    Fargo
    Miller’s Crossing

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad Coen brother’s movie, tho some aren’t as good as other’s. And of course I haven’t seen them all. I like Burn After Reading quite a bit, tho it seems most hate it. Raising Arizona always leaves me a little flat but most seem to love it.

  103. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kathy:

    Knowing such problems would be a part of knowing “everything”. =)

  104. Kathy says:

    A quick thought experiment:

    What if the Bill of Rights lacked two specific words, so the second amendment read “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep Arms shall not be infringed.”

    The excised words are “and bear,2 as in “..the right of the people to keep and bear Arms…”

    Would things be any different?

  105. Stormy Dragon says:

    Another amusing Coen Brothers trivia:

    If anyone remembers the horrible “Garfield: The Movie”, Bill Murray only agreed to do it because his agent told him the screenplay was written by “Joel Cohen” and Murray thought he means “Joel Coen” and he had always wanted to work with the Coen brothers.

  106. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signs bill barring transgender students from playing sports for the gender that matched his identity.

    Republicans continue to be oddly obsessed with children’s genitals.

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/30/us/joshua-duggar-arrest-child-pornography/index.html

    2
  107. Stormy Dragon says:

    Also, does “Bridge of Spies” count as a Coen Brothers movie? They wrote it, but did not direct.

  108. JohnSF says:

    @Kurtz:
    I meta joke.
    But I lost it.

    2
  109. Michael Cain says:

    Took a bicycle spill this morning. I haven’t done that for years. Road rash here and there that looks worse than it feels. Cracked my helmet liner, so I guess a “Well done, Bell Sports” is in order.

    5
  110. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Speaking as a history oriented type: no, because too much information is lost in the irreversible erosion of time.

    And from what little I know of physics, too much of that has indeterminate or arbitrarily variant relations between starting conditions and outcomes to be even theoretically recoverable from available evidence.
    Which evidence is itself being blurred out by thermodynamics.

    OTOH, you may be able to guess close enough for government work.
    🙂

  111. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: i fucking Love Burn After Reading.

    the last scene.

    1
  112. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Douglas Adams, by any chance?

  113. JohnSF says:

    @Northerner:
    And thus Kathy’s post on Plato’s annoying formalism collides with post-modern American conservatism.
    Yay!

  114. Jen says:

    @Kylopod: I’d forgotten about The Hudsucker Proxy! I loved that movie. Raising Arizona is one of my all-time favorite movies, and of course The Big Lebowski is a classic.

  115. JohnSF says:

    @Kurtz:
    Possibly a plant.
    Possibly a vegetable.

  116. Teve says:

    Where is the treasury guy Pfarrer?
    He is in a detention room at Washington Dulles,
    Why?
    He was trying to board a flight to Venezuela, we had his name on a hot list, CPB pulled him in. Don’t know why he was trying to go to Venezuela.
    You don’t know.
    No sir.
    We have no extradition with Venezuela.
    Ooh.
    So what should we do with him?
    For fuck’s sake, put him on the next flight to Venezuela.

  117. JohnSF says:

    Just to reassure American that UK politicians can be equally “what? what the F*ck?” as some of your lot: Edwin Poots *snigger* is a leading canditate for the next leader of the Democatic Unionist Party, and thus possibly First Minister of Northern Ireland, following the resignation of Arlene Foster (a long story in itself).

    He is also a young earth creationist.

    Oh dear.

  118. Kylopod says:

    @JohnSF: One of the leading YECs in the United States for decades is Australian-born Ken Ham. Maybe he thought marsupials are too weird to have evolved by chance.

  119. Kathy says:

    @Kurtz:
    @JohnSF:

    Those are good points.

    I read an article years ago which stated a species arising I don’t recall how many billions of years from now, would be incapable of deducing the Big Bang from observation, because much of the evidence will have disappeared by then (like the ration of hydrogen to helium and such).

    I often wonder whether some evidence of the early universe has disappeared already and we’ll never figure out aspects of that era.

    1
  120. just nutha says:

    @CSK: The Trumpkin equivalents in my classes never got the point. They’d just keep insisting that I was wrong.

  121. Mimai says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Yikes! Glad to hear you’re ok. Such spills become ever more painful (and destructive) as the years go by. As you likely know, there are 2 types of cyclists….those who have endoed, and those who will.

    1
  122. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I often wonder whether Manchin is a GOP plant.

  123. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    I often wonder whether Manchin is a GOP plant.

    There really is no need to get conspiratorial when the situation is not that hard to understand on its face. He represents one of the most Republican states in the country, which voted for Trump by massive margins both times. Obama had a lot of difficulty getting the “Democrats” from Arkansas and Nebraska on board with a much more centrist agenda than Biden is pushing now. Were they plants too? The only Senator he had trouble with who didn’t quite fit in that mold was Joe Lieberman, who represented a blue state but had a particular history that led him to be increasingly a thorn in the party’s side.

    Now, it is possible Manchin was always essentially a conservative who launched his career in WV as a Dem in order to get elected in what was then a very Democratic state, and simply never found it convenient to switch over to the GOP the way a lot of Southern Dems eventually did over the past generation.

    I don’t know whether he’s going to run again, but it’s clear he cares about his brand in the state, and after barely surviving in a Democratic wave year, I’m sure he realizes he’s got no chance if he’s seen as a rubber-stamp to Biden’s agenda.

    1
  124. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    Damn. I forgot the sarcastic font.

    Seriously, though, I find his outright rejection of Democratic proposals a bit odd. Like the filibuster. He doesn’t even want to change or reform it? Or even discuss it?

  125. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Well, the initial ideas of the Big Bang IIRC popped out of Einstein’s theories (and caused a lot of argument) but had little evidence.
    Then Hubble’s shift data chimed with that; but people could still argue reasonably for Steady State until the microwave background evidence came in from Holmdel.

    So time based erosion of evidence might obscure things, but basic physics would still point in the right direction.

  126. JohnSF says:

    And as evidence the universe may ultimately be both rational and benign: the edit function is back!

    2
  127. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnSF: Maybe I’m decades behind the facts about the Ulster Calvinists but young-earth-creationism is (or was some time ago) the standard position on the question of origins.

    Want to bet about their interpretation of predestination? Or who is among the Elect?

    1
  128. flat earth luddite says:

    @Teve: As Cracker (and any number of my classmates at the State Home For Wayward Boys) can testify, I’ve noted for years that, while I’ve always known the Republic would die, I didn’t REALLY expect it to happen in my lifetime. I haven’t held that expectation for quite some time.

    1
  129. flat earth luddite says:

    Ted Nugent didn’t think he ‘was gonna make it’ while battling COVID-19

    Uh, wasn’t this the guy who told us it wasn’t any worse than COVID 1-18? And not as bad as the flu? Asking for a friend.

  130. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    Yes and no.

    All hypotheses must be falsifiable, else they qualify as “not even wrong.” Einstein’s theories have withstood every test and fulfilled every prediction (including gravitational waves very recently). I can imagine some frustrated far future astrophysicist, certain that the Universe must have been a single dimensionless point eons ago, but lacking the evidence to prove it.

  131. Mimai says:

    @JohnSF:
    @JohnMcC:

    Your exchange gives me an opportunity to post on the Journal of Controversial Ideas, which just published their first volume (long time coming). There’s an article titled Cognitive Creationism Compared to Young-Earth Creationism.

    There’s another titled Punishment and the Body that’s relevant to ongoing discussions about the criminal justice system. Plus articles on gender, self-sacrificing altruism, and more.

  132. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Burn After Reading is the perfect response for those who think Clooney and Pitt are pretty boys who can’t act.

    1
  133. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: To paraphrase the song from my youth

    Everything is relative, in its own way.

    Hence the question “do I exist,” and the answer “who wants to know?”

    1
  134. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: I don’t believe you are. He just likes mocking people whose beliefs he doesn’t share.

  135. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: Easier for me. I’ve only seen two–Fargo and Oh Brother Where Art Thou–and I don’t remember either one. My favorite? Don’t have one.

  136. Mimai says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    You said: “…I don’t remember either one. My favorite? Don’t have one.”

    My brain reacted: “Are we talking about movies or children?”

  137. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: endoed?

  138. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: End over end, or as my grandma liked to put it, ass over teakettle. 😉

    1
  139. Mimai says:

    @Jax: What she said. Which is better than what I would have said (h/t grandma).

  140. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @Kathy:

    What if the Bill of Rights lacked two specific words, so the second amendment read “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep Arms shall not be infringed.”

    The excised words are “and bear,2 as in “..the right of the people to keep and bear Arms…”

    Would things be any different?

    I doubt it. Like many other things the problem isn’t with what the Founders wrote, it’s with our modern interpretations of it. The 2nd is actually a perfectly logical and practical amendment. Today we tend to forget that the founders thought we would not have a standing army, and no one had even heard of the idea of a police force yet (well, Bow Street Runners in London were JUST forming). So how do you protect your new nation against everything from Indians to criminals to the Brits coming back (as they did in 1812)? You have militias. To have a militia, people have to have weapons. It’s really not that complicated or profound. We’ve just forgotten. We’ve only had a powerful standing army for around 75 years (post WW2). Prior to that the army was either non-existent or cut to the bone after every major war (there’s a reason Custer was so outnumbered by the Indians 😉 ).

    If you really want to watch a modern gun rights advocates head explode, point out that the founders were not only perfectly fine with gun registration they considered it necessary. After all, how are officials supposed to call out the militia if they don’t know who to call? Many towns had laws requiring regular militia musters for practice and where their guns could be inspected by town leaders to make sure they were being properly maintained.

    Even as late as the Wild West (which wasn’t very wild), gun laws could be far more restrictive than today. Tombstone (of the OK Corral and Wyatt Earp fame) had a law that said no guns in town. Why? Because they were smart enough to understand that a bunch of cowboys coming into town for drinking and gambling and whoring, combined with weapons, was not a good idea (especially the guns with drinking and gambling bit). The argument it was a violation of the 2nd amendment would have been laughed at. Pity we aren’t so smart today.

    I honestly don’t know when or why this country turned guns into a fetish object instead of a tool with a practical purpose but we certainly have, and sometime in the last 50 years too. And thus I don’t think removing “and bear” from the 2nd would make a bit of difference. I am pretty confident that the modern arguments we have about gun rights and gun control would honestly baffle the founders. I wish people would stop trying to twist their words to support modern causes though.

    2
  141. Mimai says:

    McSweeney’s on Rush as birth control. A taste:

    …imagine taking the most annoying parts of science fiction and Libertarianism, isolating them, and then somehow blending them up into a cursed musical slurry. Then, infuse that slurry with a distinctive incel vibe, and presto!”

    1
  142. a country lawyer says:

    @Kurtz: Blood Simple

    1
  143. Mikey says:

    @Mimai: I have loved Rush for 40 years and that piece still cracked me up.

    And for the record I do have children, although I am certain neither was conceived during a Rush song…hahaha…

    1
  144. Kathy says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    I wonder if there was any serious debate about having a standing army, paid for by the federal government.

  145. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I love it.