Happy Easter 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. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Blecch.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Copernicus online portal offers terrifying view of climate emergency

    There is so much information on the newly launched Copernicus Climate Change Service atlas that my laptop started to overheat trying to process it all. As well as all the past data, it predicts where the climate is going and how soon we will breach the 1.5C “limit”, and then 2C. You can call up the region where you live, so it is specific to what is happening to you and your family – and all the more disturbing for that.

    A separate part called Climate Pulse intended particularly for journalists is easier to operate. The refreshing bit is that the maps, charts and timelines from 1850 to the present day on the main atlas are entirely factual measurements, so there can be no argument on the trends. It then follows those trends into the likely scenarios for the next few years. Examining current temperature increases, it seemed to this observer that scientists have been underestimating for some time how quickly the situation is deteriorating.

    Yeah, the CCCService atlas is not downloading for me either. The connection times out again and again (the 3rd time was not a charm). However, the Climate Pulse page came right up. Hopefully they will work out the glitches on the atlas.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Enid city councilman Judd Blevins:

    Blevins acknowledged in recent days that he participated in the Charlottesville rally, where white nationalists held a tiki torch-light parade across the University of Virginia campus chanting “Jews will not replace us” and said he had been connected to Identity Evropa.

    But he repeated that he is “opposed to all forms of racial hate and racial discrimination”.

    Because nothing says, “I’m not a racist.” like chanting “Jews will not replace us.”

    He told a community forum that his involvement in the rally and ties to Identity Evropa were to bring “attention to the same issues” that won Donald Trump the presidency in 2016. Those included, he said, “securing America’s borders, reforming our legal immigration system and, quite frankly, pushing back on … anti-white hatred”.

    Yes, the Enid city council is just the place to tackle those “issues”.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A federal appeals court in the US has killed a ban on plastic containers contaminated with highly toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” found to leach at alarming levels into food, cosmetics, household cleaners, pesticides and other products across the economy.

    Houston-based Inhance manufactures an estimated 200m containers annually with a process that creates, among other chemicals, PFOA, a toxic PFAS compound. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December prohibited Inhance from using the manufacturing process.

    But the conservative fifth circuit court of appeals court overturned the ban. The judges did not deny the containers’ health risks, but said the EPA could not regulate the buckets under the statute it used.

    The rule requires companies to alert the EPA if a new industrial process creates hazardous chemicals. Inhance has produced the containers for decades and argued that its process is not new, so it is not subject to the regulations. The EPA argued that it only became aware that Inhance’s process created PFOA in 2020, so it could be regulated as a new use, but the court disagreed.

    Uh huh, the 5th Circuit strikes again. It may be the right decision but I really hate it when an uncrossed t or undotted i is used as justification for nullifying a needed action. I love this part:

    The fifth circuit judges wrote that the EPA would have to regulate the containers under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which the judges and Inhance claim would require the EPA to take into account the economic impact on Inhance. The company has said a ban on its fluorination process would put it out of business.

    Yes, causing “cancer, high cholesterol, liver disease, kidney disease, fetal complications” is central to their business model.

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  5. Stormy Dragon says:

    Happy Transgender Day of Visibility. Another year and we’re still here!

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  6. EddieInCA says:

    Our Trump reporting upsets some readers, but there aren’t two sides to facts: Letter from the Editor

    A more-than-occasional arrival in the email these days is a question expressed two ways, one with dripping condescension and the other with courtesy:

    Why don’t our opinion platforms treat Donald Trump and other politicians exactly the same way. Some phrase it differently, asking why we demean the former president’s supporters in describing his behavior as monstrous, insurrectionist and authoritarian.

    I feel for those who write. They believe in Trump and want their local news source to recognize what they see in him.

    The angry writers denounce me for ignoring what they call the Biden family crime syndicate and criminality far beyond that of Trump. They quote news sources of no credibility as proof the mainstream media ignores evidence that Biden, not Trump, is the criminal dictator.

    The courteous writers don’t go down that road. They politely ask how we can discount the passions and beliefs of the many people who believe in Trump.

    This is a tough column to write, because I don’t want to demean or insult those who write me in good faith. I’ve started it a half dozen times since November but turned to other topics each time because this needle hard to thread. No matter how I present it, I’ll offend some thoughtful, decent people.

    The north star here is truth. We tell the truth, even when it offends some of the people who pay us for information.

    The truth is that Donald Trump undermined faith in our elections in his false bid to retain the presidency. He sparked an insurrection intended to overthrow our government and keep himself in power. No president in our history has done worse.

    This is not subjective. We all saw it. Plenty of leaders today try to convince the masses we did not see what we saw, but our eyes don’t deceive. (If leaders began a yearslong campaign today to convince us that the Baltimore bridge did not collapse Tuesday morning, would you ever believe them?) Trust your eyes. Trump on Jan. 6 launched the most serious threat to our system of government since the Civil War. You know that. You saw it.

    The facts involving Trump are crystal clear, and as news people, we cannot pretend otherwise, as unpopular as that might be with a segment of our readers. There aren’t two sides to facts. People who say the earth is flat don’t get space on our platforms. If that offends them, so be it.

    As for those who equate Trump and Joe Biden, that’s false equivalency. Biden has done nothing remotely close to the egregious, anti-American acts of Trump. We can debate the success and mindset of our current president, as we have about most presidents in our lifetimes, but Biden was never a threat to our democracy. Trump is. He is unique among all American presidents for his efforts to keep power at any cost.

    Personally, I find it hard to understand how Americans who take pride in our system of government support Trump. All those soldiers who died in World War II were fighting against the kind of regime Trump wants to create on our soil. How do they not see it?

    The March 25 edition of the New Yorker magazine offers some insight. It includes a detailed review of a new book about Adolf Hitler, focused on the year 1932. It’s called “Takeover: Hitler’s Final Rise to Power” and is by historian Timothy W. Ryback. It explains how German leaders – including some in the media — thought they could use Hitler as a means to get power for themselves and were willing to look past his obvious deficiencies to get where they wanted. In tolerating and using Hitler as a means to an end, they helped create the monstrous dictator responsible for millions of deaths.

    How are those German leaders different from people in Congress saying the election was stolen or that Jan. 6 was not an insurrection aimed at destroying our government? They know the truth, but they deny it. They see Trump as a means to an end – power for themselves and their “team” – even if it means repeatedly telling lies.

    Sadly, many believe the lies. They trust people in authority, without questioning the obvious discrepancies or relying on their own eyes. These are the people who take offense to the truths we tell about Trump. No one in our newsroom gets up in the morning wanting to make a segment of readers feel bad. No one seeks to demean anyone. We understand what a privilege it is to be welcomed into the lives of the millions of people who visit our platforms each month for news, sports and entertainment. But our duty is to the truth.

    Our nation does seem to be slipping down the same slide that Germany did in the 1930s. Maybe the collapse of government in the hands of a madman is inevitable, given how the media landscape has been corrupted by partisans, as it was in 1930s Germany.

    I hope not.

    In our newsroom, we’ll do our part. Much as it offends some who read us, we will continue to tell the truth about Trump.

    I’m at cq****@cl*******.com

    Thanks for reading.

    This needs to be spread around as much as possible. I’m doing my part. I’ve already sent it to my SIX followers on twitter.

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  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    The Easter story leads any intelligent, open-minded person to the conclusion that God is a psychopath. The ‘Almighty’ cannot quite bring himself to forgive his ‘children’ for doing what he designed them to do, unless his ‘son’ is tortured to death. Worst father ever.

    But chocolate is good. So there’s that.

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  8. MarkedMan says:

    I found this Atlantic piece on DEI legislation in Utah (no subscription required) to be quite interesting. I’ve followed Friedersdorf for a long time and he is an honest broker. He has his opinions and he states them and then he portrays the best arguments against his position, as well as tangential or perpendicular viewpoints. And he does not feel the need to a strong conclusion on every issue. He is willing to give things time. Here’s someone he quoted in the piece, but I feel it represents his own viewpoint:

    He worries that faculty and students have over time become less willing to engage rigorously with complex subjects. After 18 years at the institution, “I have never seen anything like this,” he said. “If you do not adopt a particular viewpoint that you haven’t even had time to think about, you’re a pariah. I’ve never been so put off by anything as this way of looking at the world. I hope proponents of DEI take some responsibility for the backlash.” He supported the legislation, publishing an op-ed defending it in The Salt Lake Tribune. He told me he hopes the new law will free faculty and students “to shed the activist mentality and get back to an academic mentality, where you’re cooperating to study hard problems with nuance.”

    And here’s someone with a well stated view coming to the opposite conclusion on the legislation:

    Opponents of the bill think DEI’s emphasis on identity is worth keeping. Karen Kwan, a Democrat in the Utah Senate, holds a doctorate in education from the University of Utah. While citing various provisions in the law that she dislikes, she mentioned one that prohibits asserting in an administrative program or mandatory training that “meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist” or that “socio-political structures are inherently a series of power relationships and struggles among racial groups.”

    Decades of research “show that meritocracy is a myth, especially for people of color” and that “we have systems that have institutional racism and sexism,” she argued. “I don’t know how we can legislate against facts.” She appreciated that Utah’s professors will remain free to teach students about meritocracy and power relationships. But she fretted that students will now feel a disconnect between facts that they learn in the classroom and what their institution communicates to the world.

    Kwan also worries the law might stop vital instruction. She favors mandatory diversity training for medical students, citing racial disparities in health outcomes and conditions like sickle cell anemia that disproportionately affect Black Americans.

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  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    DEI is both a laudable goal, and a dumb mistake. I’ve paid less attention to its effects in academia than in entertainment/publishing, where it has been so badly implemented that it ended up destroying itself. Identity politics is obviously self-harming for minorities, a half-baked, ill-considered ideology that abandoned principle in an effort to accelerate change. It is the tool of Nazis and Klansmen, it necessarily, inevitably favors the majority, because: math. And how people couldn’t see that is a mystery. Now, in state after state right-wingers are scoring victories against DEI, and why? Because in the game of identity politics the identity with the numbers is White people. Duh.

    Identity divides, ideals unite.

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  10. Mimai says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Thanks for the link. There’s a lot going on here. I’ll highlight one thing that is a particular hobbyhorse of mine.

    Kwan also worries the law might stop vital instruction. She favors mandatory diversity training for medical students, citing racial disparities in health outcomes and conditions like sickle cell anemia that disproportionately affect Black Americans.

    “Diversity trainings” are usually well-intentioned. And they are almost entirely lacking in supportive data.

    This bothers me so much — as a scientist who works in and around this space and as a human with shared values on this topic.

    It astonishes and frustrates me that we continue to invest resources in these trainings and fail to actually test them.

    The evaluation forms that are completed after the trainings ask questions like: “How satisfied are you with the instructor?” “Are you more aware of your own implicit bias?”

    Are these the outcomes we care about? How about things like, I don’t know, provider behavior? Patient outcomes? Disparate morbidity?

    Again, I assume these are well-intentioned. I just rarely see anyone make use of them in any meaningful way.

    I’m a bit of a broken record in saying that this topic is too important to exempt it from scientific rigour.

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Don’t engage in any white male hatred!

    On the more serious side, hoping you and Beth are able to enjoy your day.

    eta: and Michael’s daughter is able to as well.

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  12. Gustopher says:

    After seeing all the complaints about Baltimore’s DEI Mayor, I have to say that I’m really impressed that the right wing has managed to spell “nigger” without the letters N, G or R.

    DEI can be poorly implemented, but let’s not pretend that the current wave is a backlash to the methods, rather than a backlash to the ideals.

    And part of why DEI initiatives are poorly implemented is that they are always tap dancing around the fragile egos of mediocre white people — mostly men, but there are a lot of super-racist, super-offended white women too.

    These are the people who will say that since they personally haven’t enslaved any black folks, the fact that they live in a society with the lasting effects of that is not their responsibility. All while simultaneously gleefully saying that Republicans are the ones who ended slavery 150 years ago, so they personally should get a cookie for being a Republican, despite their party welcoming the White supremacists from the 1960s onwards.

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  13. SenyorDave says:

    @Gustopher: 1,000 times over. At this point any policy that doesn’t specifically favor white males will be unacceptable to most Republicans. Many of them think the moment the Civil War ended the playing field either became equal or actually favored minorities. The civil rights battles of the 50’5 and 60’s were just wokeism gone wild.

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  14. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Because in the game of identity politics the identity with the numbers is White people.

    Fun fact: the notion of Whiteness — as opposed to English, French, German, Dutch etc — is very recent, and came about at the same time as chattel slavery in the Americas, as a rationale for why it was ok to treat these other people so much worse.

    It’s just a fun fact, not a refutation of your argument. And that’s not to say that before then everyone was preaching about infinite diversity in infinite combinations, just that they hated the French too.

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  15. steve says:

    Nice article on DEI. I think the goals are good but there is little evidence that existing DEI programs are doing anything to achieve them. When I researched plans I came away feeling as though at least half of them are money making scams. My former corporation from which I retired has decided to add a DEI plan. It cost over $50,000 and people from my former corporation had to do all of the work setting it up. On the other side of the issue I haven’t really found much in the way of metrics to show that DEI is harmful, just hurt feelings, but if you are going to spend money on programs you ought to be able to have some metrics to show you are getting something of value from the money spent.

    Steve

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  16. CSK says:

    Remember when John Lennon said that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus? Well, Donald Trump is BETTER than Jesus. He’s the Chosen One!

    http://www.rawstory.com/trumps-the-chosen-one/

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  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I was hoping for a little detail as to what Trump was chosen for. The Bible speaks in various places of people as vessels chosen for glorification and ones chosen for destruction, so the fact that Trump is “chosen of God” is not automatically a salutary detail. It may be really bad news for him (and for the nation, if the dispensationalists are right).

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  18. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I took a deep breath and read the GP article. The author claims that Trump is “chosen by God and blessed by God.”

    The author further claims that a “miracle” proved this to him. The “miracle” was that everyone in his nephew’s office, according to his nephew, is a declared Trumpkin.

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  19. Stormy Dragon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It was awful. Normally the best part of Trangender Day of Visibility is that trans people are allowed to walk into stores and just take whatever we want, but this year all the best stores are closed for Easter, which is putting a serious damper on my ability to celebrate…

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  20. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I’m finding it difficult to see the supernatural component that makes his observation proof of a miracle. It could just as easily be the case that all the people in his nephew’s office are “vessels prepared for destruction.” Really a tough call here.

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  21. Jax says:

    I really like Rod. He is one of the few unabashedly Republican people in Wyoming who has no problem calling out the Trumpkins. I may not necessarily agree with his small c conservative wish list on policy, but I do admire the balls of steel he must carry to write columns like this making fun of the Wyoming GOP on a weekly basis. 😛 😛

    https://cowboystatedaily.com/2024/03/31/rod-miller-we-the-people-and-our-marching-orders/

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  22. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    Yeah, I know. If Root thinks this is a miracle, he has a truly low bar for what constitutes a miracle.

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  23. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Happy Trans Visibility Day to all the visible trans folks. Visibility is important, and does great things with changing culture.

    And for those who aren’t visible, I hope that it will be safe to be visible soon. In the meantime, chocolate bunnies and the like are delicious, give yourself a little something.

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  24. Beth says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I saw that article and when I finally clicked on it and saw Friederdorf’s name I backed out with out reading. I find him to be one of those slimy “I’m just asking questions” guys. I’m sure he supports torturing trans kinds in the name of “making sure”.

    I’m not going to go looking. I vowed to not start fights on the internet for TDOV.

    I’m only sad that this is the last TDOV/Easter cage match until like 2086.

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  25. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Normally the best part of Trangender Day of Visibility is that trans people are allowed to walk into stores and just take whatever we want, ”

    Doesn’t that happen on the Transgender Day of INvisibility?

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  26. dazedandconfused says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    True, being the Chosen One is not always a good thing.

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  27. Gustopher says:

    @Beth:

    I vowed to not start fights on the internet for TDOV

    But it’s The Day Of Violence!

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  28. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    the fact that Trump is “chosen of God” is not automatically a salutary detail

    Sounds like a job for Job!

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  29. steve says:

    Jax- Read a bunch of his pieces. Encouraging to se that he still has a job.

    Steve

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  30. Stormy Dragon says:

    @wr:

    Doesn’t that happen on the Transgender Day of INvisibility?

    Well obviously we don’t need to be ALLOWED to take things that day, because we’re invisible!

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  31. Jax says:

    @steve: Actual journalism, and balls of steel. The way he calls out the Freedom Caucus, as an actual Republican…..chef’s kiss. He probably deals with threats every day and again….balls of steel.

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  32. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    DEI can be poorly implemented, but let’s not pretend that the current wave is a backlash to the methods, rather than a backlash to the ideals.

    This.

    That doesn’t really avoid the question, though — what is the best tactic to eventually undo the injustice? When is it time to rub people’s noses in their own shittiness, rather than nudging them along toward self-awareness? At what point in time does Going Gandhi work, versus just entrenching the bigotry?

    I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that you need a combination of both, pushed by different groups simultaneously. In what proportions? Damned if I know.

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