Last Day of June Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Cue up the queue for the latest rightwing grievance: Jill Biden makes cover of Vogue after Melania Trump was snubbed, The rending of garments begins in 3… 2… 1…

    Ooo ooo ooo… an edit function, must change something! Dawg forbid I waste it!

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    How bad is the rise in US homicides? Factchecking the ‘crime wave’ narrative police are pushing

    The homicide increase appears to be primarily driven by rising gun violence, with the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive reporting nearly 4,000 additional gun killings nationwide in 2020 compared with the year before.

    But what’s happening with homicides is not part of some broader “crime wave.” In fact, many crimes, from larcenies to robberies to rape, dropped during the pandemic, and continued to fall during the first few months of 2021. “Crime” is not surging. Even the broader category of “violent crime” only increased about 3% last year, according to the preliminary FBI data from a large subset of cities. It’s homicide in particular that has increased, even as other crimes fell.
    ……………………………….
    Many of the political claims about the homicide increase focus on pro- and anti-police sentiment, and about the future of the controversial effort to shift public dollars away from police departments and towards community violence prevention programs.

    Some police officials and their allies have asserted that last summer’s big, volatile protests against police violence diverted police resources and attention away from their normal patrols, and have suggested that demoralized, angry police officers might be less proactive or effective in dealing with violent crime.

    But Jeff Asher, a crime analyst who writes extensively about homicide trends, examined 60 cities and found no correlation between the number of Black Lives Matter protests, and the size of a city’s homicide increase.

    Rosenfeld cautioned that any policing-focused explanation for the homicide increase needed to explain why the change would have only affected serious and deadly violence. “Most crime is down, including most felony, serious crime,” he said. “If the de-policing argument is correct, why did it only affect an uptick in violence and not other street crime?”

    Attempting to link changes in how police operated to the political protests after George Floyd’s murder also made less sense than looking at the sweeping disruptions in operations due to Covid-19, he argued. “If there has been substantial de-policing, suspect number one is the pandemic,” he said.

    While elevated homicide rates had continued into early 2021 in some cities, Rosenfeld added, the increase already appeared to be slowing. “I do not expect homicide rates to reach the levels this coming summer that they were at last summer,” he said.

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  3. Scott says:

    South Dakota governor sending National Guard to Mexico border on mission funded by GOP megadonor

    South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) will deploy up to 50 National Guard troops to the southern U.S. border, her office said Tuesday, with a highly unusual caveat — the mission will be funded by a “private donation” from an out-of-state GOP megadonor billionaire.

    So many questions:

    Does the Republican Governor view the National Guard as a mercenary force for hire?

    Do National Guard members have the right of refusal to be mercenaries?

    What is the ramification if a Guardsman refuses to participate?

    How will the National Guard Bureau respond?

    How is this even legal, never mind being a stunt?

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Cynfulfan@Cynfulfan
    ·
    21h
    Replying to
    @Scout_Finch
    They’re hanging a framed fake cover in her bedroom right now.

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  5. steve says:

    On the homicide issue while there are some conservatives who actually care about the issue itself it seems to be mostly something they only care about when they can use it to bash liberals. The thing is that they are so consistent with it and repeat the same stuff over and over that you can start to just accept it and not question some of their claims. So when I went back and looked at homicide rates and found out that Chicago was 28th on the list for homicide rates I was actually surprised. I had unknowingly internalized the conservative claims about Chicago. Mind you being anywhere in the top 50 isn’t good, OK no homicides are good, but Chicago has whole websites devoted to following their homicides. Not true for a lot of cities higher on that list since it doesnt advance the political narrative of the right.

    Steve

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    America’s evangelical church is being torn apart by culture wars

    Many conservative members of the denomination seem to have seen in Donald Trump’s populist authoritarianism a last-gasp chance to save white Christian America – theology, and, for Trump, Christian morality, be damned.

    I am a historian of evangelical Christianity and have written extensively on Southern Baptists. Although not Southern Baptist myself, over the past two decades I have often defended them as being serious about theology, even as that theology is often shaped in part by cultural concerns. By 2020, I had come to believe that conservatives of the right wing of the SBC were not just subordinating theology to the cultural concerns of white Christian identity politics, but had in fact lost their way as Baptists.

    The whole is worth reading, and not very long, but here’s the nut:

    Unfortunately for evangelical Christianity, the future of the SBC probably relies more on the future of the Republican party than on theology or matters internal to the denomination. Having bound themselves to the Party in the 1980s, the SBC is finding it difficult to extricate itself from the clutches of rightwing culture war – the efforts of outgoing president Greear and incoming president Litton notwithstanding. As Greear put it in his outgoing address: “When the church gets in bed with politics, the church gets pregnant, and the offspring does not look like our Father in heaven.” This should be a cautionary tale for other evangelicals.

    Should be, but zealots of all stripes tend to be a bit hard of hearing.

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  7. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    For someone whom Trump always touted as the supermodel of supermodels (would he marry a lesser being?), Melania was far from being the most successful at her profession. I recall some photographer saying that she was rather wooden. That comports with her public presentation while she was in the White House. She was certainly the dullest and most vapid of any First Lady I can recall. And yes, the Trumpkins are outraged by this slight of her.

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  8. Scott says:

    @CSK: @OzarkHillbilly: I’m totally conflicted by this. Melania didn’t really want to be in this position nor should she have to. This country needs to get over the First Lady as a position and allow them to be invisible if that’s what they want.

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  9. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I really don’t care. Do U?

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  10. Michael Cain says:

    @Scott:

    How is this even legal, never mind being a stunt?

    Almost all of the states have a pair of laws on the books: one that allows the governor to issue a request for assistance from other states, and one that allows the governor to use Guard troops to respond to such a request. Abbott asked; Noem responded. The private citizen funding may be a more serious issue. Certainly from my time on a state legislative staff, it strikes me that there’s a question about spending money that hasn’t been properly appropriated.

    In practice, these troops will do the same things that the regular troops deployed previously do: support on technical issues like helicopter flights and drones and sensor installation. They won’t come anywhere close to the people crossing the border.

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  11. Kylopod says:

    @Scott: My sympathies have their limits for a lady who defended birtherism and didn’t want to use a bathroom previously used by the Obamas.

    She didn’t want to be in this position, but like everyone else in Donald’s orbit, she’s still a piece of trash.

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  12. CSK says:

    @Scott:
    A lot of FLs probably weren’t looking forward to being in the spotlight. (I recall that Michelle Obama expressed some trepidation, and I can’t blame her.) But they rose to the occasion. Remember that Melania didn’t move into the White House for six months, using her son’s schooling as an excuse, and took that time to renegotiate her pre-nup. Thiswas a woman who put herself first.

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  13. Teve says:

    @Kylopod:

    didn’t want to use a bathroom previously used by the Obamas.

    Wut?

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  14. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Seven year old kid who somehow got slammed to the ground 27 times during a judo practice has died.

    How does this even happen? Floored…

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  15. Teve says:

    @Kylopod:

    didn’t want to use a bathroom previously used by the Obamas.

    what was she going to contract? Blackulosis? What an idiot. I’m currently sitting in a Panera. What examinations should I perform on people heading to the men’s bathroom. Should I be worried about Senagalese? Kenyans? Welsh? Thais?

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  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: My personal philosophy on Melania is that she did the absolute minimum she needed to and offered nothing but the most token of support to TFG. So I put her in the category of “politicians family members” and more or less think of her as off liimts. I know very little about her, don’t really want to change that, and therefore don’t have a right or a desire to pass judgement on her.

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  17. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    According to Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania’s ex-bff, Melanis found the Obamas’ bathroom “shabby,” and had the toilet removed. I suppose it wasn’t golden.

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  18. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: This is according to one of the tell-alls.

    Now, I need to add the caveat that, while I’m perfectly willing to believe this story, and I have no doubt that anyone who once worked for the Trumps has a lot of unsavory details to share, I can’t say with certainty that everything reported by disgruntled former employees is accurate.

    what was she going to contract? Blackulosis?

    By any chance have you seen the movie The Help?

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  19. Teve says:

    @HarvardLaw92: i used to be a black belt in a Korean martial art. I was thinking about picking up Jiu-Jitsu, which is all the rage these days, til one day when I heard a podcaster say, “yeah. Got my third back surgery yesterday. Seems to be pretty common in Jiu-Jitsu.” NOPE.

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  20. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    The article notes that Melania didn’t want to use a bathroom used by anyone else, even the queen of England.

    She must have a very hard time when traveling and visiting.

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  21. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: I have not seen The Help. I blame tech for destroying my attention span.

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Melania didn’t really want to be in this position nor should she have to.

    According to some folks at least, once she was in this position she tried to get on the cover but Vogue just wanted to do an inside spread/interview. Melania got her panties in a bunch and refused to do it.

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  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: No I don’t, but the RWNJs do, because every slight, no matter how minor, is a personal insult to them..

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  24. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Can you imagine interviewing her? When has she ever said anything worth listening to? It would be a giant snorefest.

    Melania is probably just sufficiently shrewd enough to know that she has absolutely nothing interesting to say.

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  25. mattbernius says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Seven year old kid who somehow got slammed to the ground 27 times during a judo practice has died.

    How does this even happen? Floored

    Judo , even done easily with a crash pad, is hard on the body. I’ve made peace with the fact that at 47 I’m not going to be able to pick it up (even though it would definitely help my takedowns in Brazilian Jui Jistu).

    It also is highly competitive and definitely is known for creating school environments not dissimilar to Football or High School Wrestling. Partially that’s because it’s a highly competitive sport. But also, it’s roots go back to it’s founder, Jingaro Kano, adopting a lot of western ideas about sports as a tool to “make men.”

    Unfortunately, that can definitely lead to toxic environments and (unlicensed) meat head coaches like this one.

    The seven-year old boy had attended judo class on 21 April under the supervision of his uncle, who reportedly filmed him in class to show his mother that judo was potentially unsuitable for him.

    The video shows him being thrown several times by an older classmate during practice. He is heard screaming in the video but his coach orders him to stand up and tells the older boy to continue throwing him, before proceeding to pick him up and throw him to the ground himself.

    He eventually passes out, though his family says his coach accused him of faking unconsciousness.

    It was later found that the coach was unlicensed.

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  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I suspect she is smart enough to know that English being her 2nd/3rd/4th* language the possibilities for misunderstandings was pretty high and Vogue was probably not going to allow backsies.

    * I have no idea how many languages she speaks, but being from Europe I would be a little surprised if she hadn’t picked up a few more than Slovenian.

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  27. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Trump claims his wife is fluent in French, Italian, and German as well as English and Slovenian. She may know a smattering of each.

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  28. Scott says:

    Disney delays test cruise on ‘inconsistent’ COVID-19 test results

    The Disney Dream ship was scheduled to set sail with about 300 volunteers on Tuesday, but the cruise was cancelled as a small number of employees showed inconsistent COVID-19 test results that were considered positive by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    I thought crew members are required to be vaccinated. Is this a case of false positives? Or breakthroughs?

    I like cruises in general but healthwise, they are pretty sketchy. I’m going to have to see more public health results before I would book one.

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  29. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: Well, let’s just say the film takes place in the ’60s Deep South, and one of the characters is a white woman with a pathological terror at the idea of sharing a bathroom with her colored maids. It seems to consume her more than any other issue. That’s immediately what I thought of when I first saw this story about Melania.

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  30. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @CSK:

    She just needs Darnettes Disposable Toilets.

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  31. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Many foreigners are amused that Americans find bilingualism exotic, especially as it shades into outright astonishment when Americans encounter people who speak more than two languages. For example, if you meet East Africans, you will presumably communicate with them in English; meanwhile, they more than likely also speak not only Swahili, East Africa’s linguistic coin of the realm, but also the local language of the area where they were born–and often, yet another local language. Finally, if they are from a country once colonized by a power other than England, they probably speak that power’s official language as well–French if from Burundi, Portuguese if from Mozambique, etc. East Africans think nothing of this, yet they have to get used to being treated as if they glowed in the dark or could breathe underwater because they are multilingual. One East African I know from Mozambique speaks English, Portuguese, Swahili, and the local languages Yao and Nyanja and thinks no more of this than I do of my ability to boil water.” — John McWhorter

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  32. Jen says:

    @Scott: I’ve been wondering about this too, since I’ve seen a number of these types of reports.

    First, of course a person who is vaccinated can contract covid–and a lot of those cases are asymptomatic. IIRC, this was the case for the Yankee’s covid outbreak–one person had a symptomatic case so they tested everyone and several players who had been vaccinated tested positive with breakthrough cases.

    Second, I would think that with virus still circulating, it’s entirely possible that people who are vaccinated are taking in/breathing enough virus to be detected on a swab test, even if the body subsequently fights it off successfully.

    In short, timing of the tests is everything.

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  33. Kathy says:

    @Scott:

    The PCR test detects the viral RNA from SARS-CoV-2. I don’t know how this translates to false positives, say from related remains of other coronavirus strains.I suppose also doing the test wrong, with faulty equipment, etc. can yield false positives.

    Some tests run at work turned out to be false positives, as determined by negative antigen tests, antibody tests, and PCR tests from a different lab.

    the mRNA vaccines don’t have viral RNA, except for the piece that codes for the spike protein. Ditto the virus vector vaccines. I don’t suppose those could yield a positive PCR. at least one Chinese vaccine, I forget which one (there are many) uses inactivated SARS-CoV-2. That one could yield a positive PCR for weeks after vaccination.

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  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Yep. My wife was fluent in Mallorcan, Spanish, and French before she got over here and now English too. She has lost a step or 3 with the French due to lack of use. An interesting thing: Because she grew up in Franco’s Spain where only Spanish was allowed, she can speak Mallorcan (a dialect of Catalan) and read it, but can not write it.

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  35. CSK says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:
    😀

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  36. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My grandparents from Poland were like this. Like many Jews in that region at the time, they spoke both Yiddish and Polish. My grandfather also could speak Russian. My grandmother could speak Hungarian, because that was where her family fled initially to escape the Nazis. Of course they both eventually learned English. My grandfather learned German, because that was where he got his medical degree, though it’s debatable that counts as a separate language from Yiddish. He also learned Hebrew at some point.

    One way to better understand the situation is to imagine the US if different states had different dominant languages. Let’s say you come from a state that speaks English–but the state immediately north speaks French, to the south it’s Spanish, to the west it’s Italian and to the east it’s Russian. If you grew up in those circumstances, it wouldn’t be surprising if you picked up multiple languages as a kid. Europe is kind of like that–even though it’s separate countries, most of them aren’t bigger than US states and they’re all packed together with loose geographical boundaries separating one from the next. There are several reasons for American monolingualism, but a key contributing factor is that the country fills the entire continent from west to east, with only eight states bordering a country or part of a country where the dominant language isn’t English. It just isn’t something we’re regularly exposed to.

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  37. Mu Yixiao says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    My father grew up speaking Croatian at home and school, and English outside of the neighborhood. Inside the neighborhood he picked up Slovenian, Czech, Polish, and one other that I can’t remember. During WWII, he picked up enough Sicilian and Italian to be conversational.

    The one thing I can never forgive him for is that he didn’t teach me Croatian. I asked. He bought the textbook, and would help with a word here or there, but I could have been natively fluent if he’d spoken to me in it since birth.

    But he grew up in a time when immigrants came to America and outside of their homes they only spoke English. Because Americans speak English, and we’re Americans now!

    What’s even stranger is that when Grandpa would come visit, he’d speak Croatian to Dad, and it would take Dad a few days to remember how to speak his native tongue.

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  38. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    What’s even stranger is that when Grandpa would come visit, he’d speak Croatian to Dad, and it would take Dad a few days to remember how to speak his native tongue.

    One time my grandfather fell and suffered a head injury, and when he woke up in the hospital he found he’d temporarily forgotten how to speak English. Every time he tried to say something in English, it would come out in Polish. Fortunately, this didn’t last very long and my mother (who understands Polish) was there for almost the entire episode.

    The thing is, I’m pretty sure Polish wasn’t my grandfather’s first language–Yiddish was. But his wife came from a Polish-speaking home, so that’s the language they used to speak with each other. I heard them speaking Polish a lot when I was growing up, and I only rarely heard him use Yiddish. So when he had the head injury, he “reverted” to a language that may not have been his native tongue but was still a language he first started speaking in childhood, and which was his dominant language for a significant portion of his adult years. Certainly it was more natural to him than English, which he didn’t start to learn until his late 30s.

    Of course, defining “native tongue” can get complicated. I’ve encountered people who came to the US when they were, say, 2 years old, so they may have started learning a different language but never mastered it, and therefore speak English better than they speak their “native tongue.” It’s quite common.

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  39. CSK says:

    An Alabama park official has canceled Trump’s rally planned for July 3, stating that partisan events can’t be held on public land.

    The Trumpkins are ready to cancel Alabama.

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  40. KM says:

    @Scott:

    This country needs to get over the First Lady as a position and allow them to be invisible if that’s what they want.

    But that’s not what she wanted, not based on how she’s acted. She wanted the glamour, respect and attention the First Lady gets without putting in any of the work. She may not have chosen the position but she certainly didn’t shy away from any of the perks and sought out fluff pieces and coverage to make her look good. She had no intention of having an agenda or doing the traditional work of the First Lady (a self-proclaimed designer who doesn’t want to make their mark on the most famous home in America? WTF?) but still wanted to be the new Jackie-O.

    I honestly think she saw it as her due and more akin to a noble title than a job description. The wife of the Lord is the Lady of the manor after all and she thought she could just delegate out all piddling work while she has tea with the Queen. Being expected to do something probably irked the hell out of her and what she did produced (remember the Hall of Blood Trees?) was just so basic or phoned in it border on trolling. I’m not gonna slag her for cutting down the WH trees that were sick but she absolutely could have them replaced and made it a diplomatic win at the same time. A garden full of plants and trees from our allies would have been a nice gesture and easy press victory for the admin but nope, couldn’t be bothered with the outreach. Just pave it over and stick some hedgerows to make it look vague European.

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  41. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    She wanted the glamour, respect and attention the First Lady gets without putting in any of the work.

    Well, in fairness, that was her hubby did. And, you know, monkey see monkey do…

    BTW, had Clinton been elected, I wondered who’d have taken the First Lady role. I don’t suppose Bill would have been willing to be First Gentleman, so I’d assumed their daughter would do it. I never asked myself whether Chelsea would want to.

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  42. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    I don’t suppose Bill would have been willing to be First Gentleman

    Why the hell not? And he’d have been placed in that role whether he wanted it or not. I’m sure he was prepared for it (and willing to milk it for what it was worth).

    The title of First Gentleman is by now pretty standard for the husbands of governors (including gay male governors like Jared Polis). It just isn’t that big a deal anymore. And it’s not like First Lady is some rigid role where you just have to be elegant and stick to relatively noncontroversial issues; Hillary herself defied that precedent (though it certainly contributed to the right’s hatred of her).

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  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: (Asking for a friend) Are events like Derrick Chauvin kneeling on the neck of Floyd George, the guy, on his knees in the hallway with his hands raised, shot by police, and other similar events classified as “homicides?” Is it possible that there are causes beyond “the usual suspects” that could account for the increase?

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  44. Jen says:

    @Kathy:

    BTW, had Clinton been elected, I wondered who’d have taken the First Lady role. I don’t suppose Bill would have been willing to be First Gentleman,

    I think he absolutely would have done it, and likely had a few chapters of his book about the experience already mentally mapped out. Conservatives like to denigrate the Clintons–it’s morphed into a pastime for the GOP–but bottom line they are a team and would have carved out a role that suited him.

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: ” By 2020, I had come to believe that conservatives of the right wing of the SBC were not just subordinating theology to the cultural concerns of white Christian identity politics, but had in fact lost their way as Baptists.”

    Wa! I would have pegged it closer to 1845.

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  46. Mikey says:

    @CSK:

    Trump claims his wife is fluent in French, Italian, and German as well as English and Slovenian. She may know a smattering of each.

    There’s no evidence of her knowing any French, Italian, or German beyond how to say “hello, my name is Melania.” There is video of her meeting people who actually speak those languages, and given the opportunity to converse with them, she defaulted to English. Donald’s assertions of her fluency in those languages are simply more of his bullshit and puffery.

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  47. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:
    @Jen:

    Sexually insecure men tend not to want to take a position inferior to one they’d already held.

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  48. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey: I’d say that as a general rule–and I’m not just talking about famous families with a habit of lying about themselves–it’s good to take any claim about a person knowing a lot of languages with a grain of salt. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen (as I mentioned it isn’t even uncommon), it’s just that many people take these claims at face value without verification, which is something that’s hard to do anyway–especially since “knowing a language” can mean different things to different people; even fluency is hard to pin down precisely. At minimum you have to get someone who definitely speaks the language fluently to converse with the person in question for enough time to verify that they do, in fact, “know” the language. Unfortunately, I’ve seen plenty of examples where the press claims a particular individual “knows a language” without this level of verification.

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  49. Gustopher says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Seven year old kid who somehow got slammed to the ground 27 times during a judo practice has died.

    How does this even happen? Floored…

    I am probably a bad person for laughing at the unexpected (and likely unintentional) pun.

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  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: It wouldn’t be unrealistic that she has “survival level” fluency in most/all of those languages–can tell the taxi driver where she wants to go, where to pull over when arriving, ask a salesperson where something can be found, ask where something/someplace is (which never gets you and an answer other than “I don’t know” in Korea, btw), and other similar transactions. One can learn that level being virtually unable to have a conversation with a 3 year old. “Fluency” is a sliding scale–as you well know. A lot of people are “fluent” in a language in their own minds. I had euigook friends in Korea who were convinced that because I could read the sign at the bus stop that tells you which busses stop at which stops that I must speak Korean like a native. Meh… not so much.

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  51. Mister Bluster says:

    Cosby Conviction Overturned
    He’s (almost) out.

    Why is There Air?

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  52. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I’m not fond of the practical outcome, but tbh they’re correct. The trial court grievously erred. I argued that point here back in the day when the trial was going on and speculated that it would be the reason he later walked. (Not that I’m some sort of savant or legal genius. The error was just legitimately that bad.)

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  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gustopher:

    OMG, I just noticed that. Yikes. Totally unintentional. *facepalm*

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  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Yeah. One thing that American schools have been really good at is extinguishing foreign native languages of students. I sometimes wonder whether the skill at language extinguishing or hard headed white American jingoism is has the larger factor in the weakness of bi-lingual education efforts here.

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  55. sam says:

    We were in a restaurant in Florence, and our waitress spoke English with a very slight accent. I said, “Your English is perfect.” She said, “Well, I’m from Minneapolis.” She’d lived in Florence for a couple of years going to school there.

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  56. Kylopod says:

    I never tire of telling the story of the Louisiana judge who refused to grant a marriage license to an interracial couple, and when confronted on it he told the press he isn’t a racist because he’s got “piles and piles of black friends” and that he lets them into his home to use his bathroom. This became a running joke among the commenting section to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ blog; thereafter anytime there was a racist who denied being a racist, we’d say “he lets them use his bathroom.”

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  57. Mikey says:

    @Mu Yixiao: My wife is from Germany, but her English has always been better than my German, so we have always spoken English at home. Consequently our son speaks worse German than I do. This wasn’t intentional, just laziness on our part. I think my mother-in-law will never forgive us, though…LOL…

    My wife remains fluent in German since she still speaks to her mother and siblings fairly often. I maintain a basic proficiency by watching “Achtung, Kontrolle!” on the German cable channel we get. As a bonus, I am now very familiar with the German regulations governing long-haul trucking on the Autobahn.

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  58. JohnSF says:

    @Mikey:
    Depending on whereabouts in Slovenia Melania or family come from, speaking German and/or Italian as well as Slovenian wouldn’t necessarily be unusual.
    Slovenia was formerly part of Austria-Hungary, and the Austrian part at that; and acquired a slice of former Italian territory after WW2.
    French rather less likely though.

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  59. Mikey says:

    @JohnSF: It wouldn’t necessarily be unusual, no. But we’ve never been presented with any evidence (beyond what came out of Donald’s festering gob) that she has any more than a passing familiarity with languages beyond Slovenian and English.

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  60. Joe says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    it would take Dad a few days to remember how to speak his native tongue.

    When I was living in Japan, I spent a week traveling around where Japanese was all I heard and spoke for several days. At some tourist location, I came across some other white people and overheard their conversation, wondering what guttural Germanic language they were speaking when it dawned on me that they were speaking English. It was a fascinating experience for a flash second of hearing what English sounds like” to a non-speaker.

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  61. JohnSF says:

    @Mikey:
    Lets face it, she could have recited pig-latin backslang, told Trump she was speaking Sanskrit and he’d never have twigged.
    Ostmay yeliklay 🙂

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  62. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: My parents went to visit friends in Belgium. My mother was amazed at easily the children flipped thru the various TV stations they could receive. German, French, English, Flemish, Spanish, they understood it all without even the slightest blip.

    @Mu Yixiao: My wife regularly beats herself up for not teaching her daughter Mallorcan.

    ReplyReply
  63. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    What? English spoken loudly and slowly is no longer a universal language?

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  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: and other similar events classified as “homicides?”

    Yes, they are. Any time a human being is killed by another human being it is a homicide. The only question is what kind of homicide.

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  65. Kylopod says:

    @Joe:

    It was a fascinating experience for a flash second of hearing what English sounds like” to a non-speaker.

    The Italian singer Adriano Celentano once attempted something of this sort.

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  66. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Mikey:

    My mother’s mother was German (born in the US). They all spoke German at home…. Until December of 1941. Then it was English only.

    By rights, I should have been learning German from her as a child, also. But the only things she said in German were the swear words. 😀

    ReplyReply
  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I gave it a snort. Am I a bad person too?

    ReplyReply
  68. JohnSF says:

    @Kylopod:
    In contemporary UK, large numbers of British South Asians are multilingual; it’s not that uncommon for an well educated South Asian to speak English, often better than many natives, a “classical” Asian language i.e. Sanskrit or Persian, one of the “demotics” i.e. Hindi or Urdu, a fair slice of Arabic if Muslim, and a local language such as Punjabi, Bengali etc.

    For that matter, in Wales about a fifth of the population speak Welsh, as a second or first language, and are universally fluent in English as well. (A great-grandmother of mine spoke both Welsh and English).

    LOL, wouldn’t be surprised if South Asians in Wales add Welsh to their repertoire as well.

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  69. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    Oh I think Bill would have reveled in being FG. He’d love the attention and would have had fun undertaking the typical first lady activities that he’d be expected to do. It would be a wink and a smile followed by a mildly off color remark.

    By 2016, he had nothing to prove, so why not enjoy the role.

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  70. flat earth luddite says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Funny, that’s most of the Norwegian I learned from my Grandmother and her brothers.

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  71. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kylopod:

    I think I saw a remake (or later version) of that on QI. I just remember a man on a kids tricycle singing.

    There’s also fake English drama.

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  72. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The song first came out in 1972. Several decades later he released a version with actual Italian lyrics, and its title translated as “The origin of rap.” That struck me as a pretty ballsy thing for a European white guy to say, but I suppose I’m looking at it through an American lens. I think the song’s musical style at the time (and it is pretty catchy) was aiming for funk, which was itself kind of a precursor to hip hop.

    (Random fact of the day: Celentano’s daughter played Satan in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ.)

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  73. dazedandconfused says:

    @mattbernius:

    Quite agree. For a natural bully being an instructor in such arts is a natural draw. It’s unfortunately a simple matter for even the stupidest of the bastards to start their own gym from scratch, all one needs is a roof a mat and a shingle to hang out.

    Using a 7 year old for a tackling dummy…jesus…

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  74. JohnSF says:

    @JohnSF:
    I say “natives” because that level of multilingualism is most common in older South Asians who were educated in outside the UK; younger British/English Asians born in the UK tend to speak only a “home” tongue, plus a smattering of other South Asian, unless they especially learn a “classical” language.
    In addition to English of course.

    According to teachers I’ve spoken to they are also formidably quick at picking up European languages in school; especially if native speakers of northern Indic languages, which tend to have a grammar system more similar to the general run of European languages than English is.

    I recall hearing that the nature of English makes it fairly easy to lean, but makes it more difficult for native Anglophones to adapt to other languages.
    Whether there’s any truth in that, dunno.

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  75. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    The late Prince Philip could probably have given him some helpful tips in how to play that role.

    “I declare this thing open, whatever it is.”

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  76. Scott says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The two world wars drove a lot of the English only push in this country. Here in Texas, the Hill Country German is pretty much a dead dialect, even though it was still spoken just a couple generations ago. So is their “Free Thinker” philosophy gone also.

    WWI was bad for the Germans in this country. They were a large proportion of the immigrant population and tended to be isolationist. Wilson sicced the pro-War crowd on them which was manifested in a lot of tar and feathering and forced draft registration. Another reason Wilson should be reevaluated.

    One branch of my own family had settled in Berlin, Ontario. It is now called Kitchener. Very little German survived (maybe saying Gesunheit!) except for the family bible which has a picture of Kaiser Wilhelm and family in the front.

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  77. Mu Yixiao says:

    @JohnSF:

    I recall hearing that the nature of English makes it fairly easy to lean, but makes it more difficult for native Anglophones to adapt to other languages.
    Whether there’s any truth in that, dunno.

    Based on my experience, English is “easy” to learn because it’s so amazingly forgiving of mistakes–this is especially true when the listener is American (or British). Being a country of immigrants, we’re used to hearing so many variations that we can “understand past the mistakes”.

    So….

    “I am to be going to the doctor tomorrow”
    “Am going to doctor”
    “I was fixin’ ta go to the doc t’morrah.”

    We know what you mean.

    And, for many speakers of romance languages (or germanic/slavic) English is like a “baby language”. No genders, limited conjugations, etc.

    However, getting English right is often very difficult–because our “rules” are so fucked up. *

    The reason Anglophones have trouble with a lot of other languages is that their rules are so complex that we just can’t fathom it. What do you mean there are 7 genders?!

    ===========
    One of the most common answers I had to give to students when they asked “Why do you say it that way?” was “Because it’s English.” 🙂

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  78. Mikey says:

    Donald Rumsfeld has died. He was 88.

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  79. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao: A lot of people think of English as relatively “simple” because of its relative lack of conjugations and declensions, but certainly there are complexities that trip up non-native speakers (that’s true of any language): for instance, English has a fairly complex tense/aspect system, compared with many other languages.

    I tend to think of English’s dominance as more geopolitical than reflective of the language’s intrinsic properties–but there could be some elements of the latter.

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  80. Kurtz says:

    @Mikey:

    The ultimate unknown unknown

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  81. MarkedMan says:

    Okay, this is really inside-baseball type stuff and probably of interest only to those in the medical device field and, peripherally, fans of the Apple Watch, but I gotta vent.

    Masimo is suing to have the Apple Watch removed from the market. Masimo is a company that years ago developed a perfectly fine pulse oximetry (SpO2) algorithm, and some corresponding hardware, that they then convinced clinicians was better than anything else out there. In addition to selling their own monitors, they sold modules that could be intergrated into multi-parameter modules, which is where I came into contact with them. In my personal opinion, this is one obnoxious company, who sues everyone, all the time. They sue their competitors, their suppliers, and even their customers. They sued the company I worked for (a customer) and have sued individual hospitals who have bought their equipment (no recollection of what they could have possibly sued them for).

    I hope Apple crushes them in this lawsuit and in the process shreds their IP.

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  82. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kylopod:

    I tend to think of English’s dominance as more geopolitical than reflective of the language’s intrinsic properties–but there could be some elements of the latter.

    The dominance of English is definitely because of the geopolitical factors–reinforced by mass media and now the internet–not it’s ease of learning.

    English has a fairly complex tense/aspect system, compared with many other languages.

    I have a worksheet explaining the 16 most common. 😀

    Chinese (and this boggles me) doesn’t have tense. They either state a time or use one of two modifiers. “le” means “in the past” and “guo” means “in the past and completed”*.

    Ni chi fan le ma? = You eat rice (in the past)(question modifier)?
    Ni chi guo le ma? = You eat (completed)(in the past)(question modifier)?

    My favorites are “I had been doing (until something made me stop)” and “I have done (before)”–which has an implied “uncommon” aspect to it. I can say “I have been to Shanghai”–because it’s not common for an American. The people I know who live just outside of SH wouldn’t say that–because it’s common.

    =========
    *That’s not exactly it, but the best that I can understand.

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  83. Kylopod says:

    Chinese (and this boggles me) doesn’t have tense.

    It doesn’t have conjugations or declensions either. It’s the system of tones that intimidate new learners (from what I’ve heard–I don’t want to make it sound like I’ve ever tried to learn any of the Chinese languages, because I haven’t, but I know people who have).

    They either state a time or use one of two modifiers. “le” means “in the past” and “guo” means “in the past and completed”

    For that matter, a lot of people don’t realize this, but strictly speaking English doesn’t have a future tense. We simply add the word will (or the contraction particle ‘ll). Yet much of the time we don’t even do that. Sometimes we use going to or gonna: I’m going visit the doctor tomorrow. Or sometimes we don’t do any of that, we simply use a bare present-tense or present-progressive: Tomorrow I visit the doctor; tomorrow I’m visiting the doctor.

    And that brings up another point: what’s called the simple present tense is rarely used for describing present action. Instead we use the present-progressive: I’ll say “I’m typing on a computer” to describe what I’m doing at this moment, but if I were to say “I type on a computer,” what this usually indicates is that I’m describing some habitual action, something I’m in the habit of doing in general, not something I’m necessarily doing at the present moment.

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  84. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kylopod:

    And that brings up another point: what’s called the simple present tense is rarely used for describing present action. Instead we use the present-progressive: I’ll say “I’m typing on a computer” to describe what I’m doing at this moment, but if I were to say “I type on a computer,” what this usually indicates is that I’m describing some habitual action, something I’m in the habit of doing in general, not something I’m necessarily doing at the present moment.

    That’s exactly how I explained it to the students. “I do” is a habit–frequently joined with an adverb” (I type frequently). 🙂

    The looks on their faces when I handed them the sheet was always fun. And watching them try to do some of the more complicated ones (I will have been doing) became comedic at times.

    But the thing is… I can say “tomorrow I go to store” and everyone knows what I mean. That’s part of why I love English. It “forgives”–and so we can have a conversation between people speaking 7 different pidgins and still understand each other (we can’t, however, understand the Aussies. That stuff is just weird.) 😀

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  85. George says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    That is insane. Its well known that children’s necks are relatively weak compared to their head weight, and in many (if not most) regions hard throws (like for instance osoto-gari) are banned for anyone under the age of 12. I’ve done judo most of my life. That is not how children are normally trained.

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  86. George says:

    @Teve:

    Knee injuries are the most common judo injury. A standard joke is that part of your black belt grading is providing proof of at least one fairly serious knee injury (torn ACL etc). A certain level of toughness is expected of participants.

    But children are normally taught very differently in judo. No armlocks or chokes until over the age of 12 (or 16 in many places), no hard backwards throws such as osoto-gari. I don’t understand how the coach was allowed to teach that way.

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  87. JohnSF says:

    @Kylopod:
    I read somewhere that English is relatively easy to pick up the basics because it started that way: a merger between the Anglian/Danish admixture that was the “trade tongue” of London and the Danelaw, the Norman-French of the Conquest aristocracy, and Old Saxon.
    It was made to be easy to understand, between different groups speaking different languages.

    But then it got re-complicated in the evolution of Middle English; so it has “levels” of complexity: basic converse is relatively easy, deep fluency a lot trickier.
    And dialectical forms can be very different e.g. Lallans or “Doric Scots”

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  88. sam says:

    One thing about English that we are, blissfully, unaware of in our use of the language is the number of vowel sounds. I’ve read that the number is between 18 and 24. And then there’s the schwa. These things are why we have spelling bees and the Italians don’t.

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  89. Kylopod says:

    @JohnSF:

    I read somewhere that English is relatively easy to pick up the basics because it started that way: a merger between the Anglian/Danish admixture that was the “trade tongue” of London and the Danelaw, the Norman-French of the Conquest aristocracy, and Old Saxon.

    From my knowledge of the history of English, the big thing that led to its simplification was the Norse invasion. In the centuries that followed, it lost almost all of its conjugations and declensions, to a greater degree than any other Indo-European language. As far as I know, there is no agreement among linguists as to why this happened. I’ve mentioned John McWhorter’s position that Middle English is a semicreole arising from contact between the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse; however, this is a minority position among linguists.

    (I’m not a linguist, just an amateur who’s been reading about this stuff for years, so it’s quite possible I’m making errors and you’re free to disregard what I’m saying.)

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  90. Kylopod says:

    @sam:

    These things are why we have spelling bees and the Italians don’t.

    It’s a contributing factor; however, the reason English has by far the messiest, most chaotic spelling system in the world is extremely complicated. I did a paper on it in college. It’s partly a reflection of the peculiar history: the loose fit between the Roman alphabet and a Germanic language, the infusion of French after the Norman Conquest and Latin later on, the inconsistent decisions after the invention of the printing press and the attempts to find a uniform standard from a mass of local dialects, the Great Vowel Shift and further shifts in pronunciation while the spelling remained fixed. (In fact the way we spell English today is more reflective of the way it was pronounced over 600 years ago.) We’re so conservative about spelling conventions that we’ve retained letters in words centuries after they became silent in speech, accounting for words like knee or night or the silent-e in words like love and face. To compound the problem, some silent letters were actually added to the language just because some hoity-toity scholars thought English speakers needed to be constantly reminded of a word’s Latin roots: the b in debt was never pronounced, it was originally spelled dette.

    Another thing is that it’s not just that the English language is unique in having spelling bees; it’s also almost purely an American phenomenon.

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  91. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    I tend to think of English’s dominance as more geopolitical than reflective of the language’s intrinsic properties–but there could be some elements of the latter.

    I strongly recommend John McWhorter’s “Great Courses” lecture series Language Families of the World. It puts English into global context wonderfully.

    My summary:
    1. The distinctive features of Indo-European languages are not typical of human languages
    2. English is weird even by I-E standards
    3. English has also been radically simplified through creolization, at least twice*
    4. English has amassed an absurdly large working vocabulary (due to geopolitical history)
    5. That makes English easy to become functional at, but really hard to become fluent in
    6. How hard you find English to learn depends a lot on where you’re coming from. English is also a terrible starting place if you want to learn most languages, because it lacks so many features (tones, clicks, cases, gender, no regular verbs, etc.) that are common in other languages.

    *The Danish invasion of the north of England was the first wave; the Norman invasion of the south of England was the second. There is also strong evidence of Celtic features rubbing off onto English — in particular the replacement of first person present forms (e.g. “I eat”) with progressive forms (“I am eating”) for the simple present tense, and the use of “do” in forming questions (e.g. “Do you have a brother” in place of the original “Have you a brother?”).

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  92. Mu Yixiao says:

    In other threads, we’ve been arguing about American history and roles of the founding fathers.

    I leave you today with a clip from the upcoming definitive documetary:

    America: The Motion Picture
    (Warning: contains strong language and scenes of historically accurate violence)

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  93. DrDaveT says:

    @sam:

    These things are why we have spelling bees and the Italians don’t.

    Nor the Spanish, nor the Germans, nor…

    Most alphabetic or syllabic written languages are essentially phonetic, because that’s the whole point of writing — to capture in written characters the sounds you wish to speak. (Pictograph languages, where you have to memorize which word(s) each symbol stands for, make spelling bees pointless for a different reason.)

    In order for the spelling of a word to be something you might well get wrong, you need a language where the association between sounds and symbols-representing-sounds is broken. In the case of English, you get that because there was a major sound shift in the language that happened just after standardization of spelling. Written English was pretty phonetic in 1300.

    (It also didn’t help that English then borrowed a bunch of words from languages with different phonologies, and coined a bunch of others from dead languages with spelling intended to reflect the source alphabet. We spell “phonetics” and “psychology” instead of “fonetiks” and “saikoloji” because the pedants who coined those terms wanted the Greek to show through.)

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  94. Kathy says:

    The good news is registration for the COVID vaccines has opened for the 30 to 40 group. That is the largest group of people who work at the office (at least where I spend most of my time). they may begin to get the first dose next week.

    The 40-50 group have all received a first dose, and some get the second this week. the issue here is some got AstraZeneca, and the interval between doses is indicated as 8 to 12 weeks.

    As far as I know, there’s been at most one holdout among those eligible. I don’t hope she gets COVID, but I won’t have any sympathy if she does. Prior to the vaccine we could argue about the effectiveness, as far as self-protection goes, of masks and distancing. There’s no argument about the effectiveness of vaccines.

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  95. Kylopod says:

    Pew just released a study of the 2020 election, and some of what it reports is in line with what we already knew: relative to 2016, Biden showed improvements in the suburban vote, but Trump showed improvements in the Hispanic vote. However, buried in the article it reports something that goes a bit against what we’ve previously heard:

    Black voters remained overwhelmingly loyal to the Democratic Party, voting 92%-8% for Biden.

    This is pretty much identical to Hillary’s share of the black vote in 2016. Previously some of the exit polls indicated Trump showed dramatic improvements among black voters not only compared with 2016, but with most recent cycles: according to at least one of the exit polling organizations, the Democratic margin of victory among blacks was the smallest since 1980 (though almost identical to John Kerry in 2004). This helped fuel a larger media narrative that “Trump showed vast improvements among minority voters.” If this Pew study is accurate, then Trump did show improvements among Hispanics (albeit significantly worse than Dubya in 2004), but no appreciable movement among blacks.

    Another point that often gets lost (and I’ve made this point before) is that turnout among these groups was much higher than in 2016, and so even when Trump’s share of the vote among these groups was higher, the fact that they were still majority-Democrat had the net effect of giving Biden an improved vote share compared with Hillary. This wasn’t true everywhere (definitely not in Florida) but it was a factor in Biden’s victory in states like Arizona and Georgia.

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  96. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I agree with you as to factuality. I was wondering whether it was possible that they were classified as “use of self-defense” or “miscellaneous happenstances” or some other jargonese euphemism.

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  97. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I don’t know that it would matter to the authors of this study. I suspect they are looking at just the gross numbers. Of course, if it is the police that report these numbers, and I’m pretty sure it is, they might well put police shootings in a separate box.

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  98. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: What’s most interesting to deaf in one ear and uses a hearing aid in the other me was that I could recognize it as English, but didn’t know what they were saying (couldn’t decode) without the captions. After I turned on the captions, both what they were saying and the intent of the inflections, tonal variations, tempo and the rest made sense (more or less) even though the words were nonsensical. Without the captions, both the words themselves and the verbal cues were lost to me. I could tell that it was English, but that was all. It didn’t even particularly sound nonsensical to me–just blurry.

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  99. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Also want to point out that the #s the police report are raw, the FBI/Bureau of Justice Statistics sort and analyze them. Seeing as these are the numbers for 2020, I doubt either of them have had time to do much more than copy/paste/tally them up.

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  100. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: Well, the old saying IS “everything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” The unspoken is that everything that DOES kill you makes you dead, but that’s on you for being weak.

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  101. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: “everything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

    Yeah, what a load of horseshit that is. The idiot who said that never hung drywall for a living.

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  102. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The little research that I’ve read–which conforms to my experience with English, French, some west of Ireland and Ulster dialects, and Korean–is that cognates play the biggest role in “ease” of language acquisition. My Korean students used to say that Mandarin was easier to learn than English or Japanese, but only easier than Japanese because Chinese calligraphy is still important in some Korean schools (to the point that some cities have city-wide calligraphy contests with pretty significant cash prizes/scholarships.)

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  103. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The more interesting thing to me was what one of my professors called the “dummy” (as in silent) do. You used it in your example: “I (do) type frequently.” The “do” becomes vocalized when the action is negated: “no, I DO not type frequently,” when the action is elided: “Yes, I DO (type), frequently.” or when emphasis is required: A: “Do you type?” B: “Yes, I DO type. And very well, I would add–120 wpm.” One thing I tried never to correct when students were trying to figure out how “do” works was using do when it would normally be silent. Partially because it’s not incorrect and partially because it’s considered a natural step in the progression of the acquisition of oral grammar conventions.

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  104. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @George:

    I was frankly just horrified reading it. A seven year old gets repeatedly slammed to the ground, hard enough to cause a brain hemorrhage, and nobody even notices that something is wrong? Nevermind that you’ve got a much bigger kid and a fricking adult doing it, which is evil enough in itself, but nobody cared enough to notice the kid was in danger / distress? I’m admittedly at times an overprotective father, but this just blows my mind.

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  105. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Oops, I forgot spoken “do” in questions. My bad.

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  106. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The little research that I’ve read–which conforms to my experience with English, French, some west of Ireland and Ulster dialects, and Korean–is that cognates play the biggest role in “ease” of language acquisition.

    I would think that goes without saying. It’s obviously easier to learn something new when it’s very similar to what you already know. And I would say that it’s more than just vocabulary similarities, it’s (as I frequently put it) “how the language thinks”.

    That was one of my biggest struggles with Chinese. The grammar is simple (more on this below), and I built up a fairly good vocabulary list (a couple hundred of the most common words), but I couldn’t put it into coherent sentences, because I didn’t know how the Chinese language “thinks”.

    The example that I use is:

    English: There’s a pen on the table.
    Chinese: The table, on top, has a pen.

    And then, little things.

    We go over a bridge. They go through a bridge.
    We cook. They do rice.
    We like things very much. They very like things.

    But there’s also places where Chinese has entered English and we didn’t realize it.

    “Long time, no see” is a literal transliteration of a Chinese greeting (hao jiu bu jian).

    “Delicious” in Chinese is hao chi–literally “Good eat”. I can only think that all those restaurants with signs saying “Good Eats” were inspired by early Chinese restaurants trying to write in English.

    Man…. all of us re-pats need to sit down over drinks some day and swap war stories. 🙂

    ===========
    I have next week off, and my big plan is to record a shit-load of YouTube videos talking about my adventures in China (supplemented with some of the bazillion photos I took). It’s going to be called “The Sino-Cheddar Wars: A cheesehead’s battles with Chinese culture”

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  107. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “How the language thinks” is a good way of putting that. I’m so stealing it if I ever need to explain this stuff to anyone.

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  108. Mikey says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I leave you today with a clip from the upcoming definitive documetary:

    America: The Motion Picture

    I am 10 minutes into this and I have already said “what the actual fuck is happening?” at least 18 times.

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  109. flat earth luddite says:

    Ugh. Just ugh.

    After Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a bipartisan investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the House on Wednesday narrowly passed a bill creating a 13-member committee to investigate the deadly assault by Trump followers, which killed five and injured scores of law enforcement officers. Only two Republicans joined Democrats in the 222-190 vote.

    Although I will admit to being somewhat surprised that 2 Repudicants found a cervical disc. Not even a vertebra, much less a whole spine, but a disc.

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  110. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    One thing I tried never to correct when students were trying to figure out how “do” works was using do when it would normally be silent.

    If I remember correctly, you were working with school-age students, yes?*

    This is one area where I had an advantage. My students were all adults, many of whom had very good English skills, but needed more insight into understanding how we actually speak in the US and UK. This involved a lot of “how engineers say things” and “how sales people say things” and–most importantly–“how to talk to western customers”.

    I was helping them to refine their speech to sound more western. So with regard to the silent “do”, I would say “Yes, that’s technically correct, but that’s not how we say it.”

    One of the classes I taught was on how to say numbers, so they would be able to understand “Unit price on that is two twenty five thirty nine.” And that $150 and $1.50 are both “one fifty”.

    =======
    * Tangent: The Chinese have a speech pattern where they say, for example, “Want, no want, a beer?” I pointed out that we have a similar speech pattern in Wisconsin. “You want a beer, or no?”

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  111. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Mikey:

    Wait! The entire movie is already out??

    {puts on his eye patch and goes a-huntin’}

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  112. Mister Bluster says:

    My first visit to Estados Unidos Mexicanos was in 1974 to Ensenada, Baja California. Me, my quadriplegic friend Joe and a former college roomate Stephen who had relocated to San Diego. At the time the routine at the border entering Mexico was to stop and buy auto insurance. No passports needed.
    Stephen is fluent in Spanish. My understanding is that the Spanish that is used in Mexico is different than the Spanish that is used in Spain. He could speak both.
    He visited Spain before Franco died. I remember him saying that when Franco was gone there would be a bloodbath. I also remember him relating a time when he and three other tourists met and carried on a conversation in their native tongues. Apparently some of the tourists were bilingual. German and Spanish? Greek and English? Italian was in there somewhere as I recall. In any event they were able to translate their conversation among themselves and talked for some time even though there was not one language common to all of them.
    When we arrived in Ensenada the only restaurant we could find that was open was a Chinese place. The entrance was up several steps and Stephen used his Spanish and asked some men who were there to help us lift Joe in his heavy electric wheelchair up the stairs to the entrance.
    The workers in the restaurant were very accommodating. They were all Chinese and spoke to us in English with a Mexican accent.

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  113. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    “How the language thinks” is a good way of putting that. I’m so stealing it if I ever need to explain this stuff to anyone.

    Thanks

    It’s the best way I could think to explain it, and it seemed to make sense to everyone who heard it.

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  114. flat earth luddite says:

    Ugh, Missery, hold our Northwest IPA beers:

    chapter Washington (state)

    A Washington state lawmaker critical of COVID-19 vaccine mandates wore a yellow Star of David at a speech over the weekend — a symbol the Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Holocaust.
    State Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, had the star affixed to his pink shirt during a speech to conservative activists at a Lacey church basketball gym on Saturday.
    “It’s an echo from history,” Walsh wrote on a Facebook page where a video of the event was posted. “In the current context, we’re all Jews.”

    In the Oregon chapter,

    Republican lawmakers voted with majority Democrats in the Oregon House of Representatives to take the historic step of expelling a Republican member who let violent, far-right protesters into the state Capitol on Dec. 21.
    Legislators said on the House floor that this could be the most important vote they ever cast. They then proceeded Thursday night to expel an unapologetic Representative Mike Nearman with a 59-1 vote, marking the first time a member has been expelled by the House in its 160-year history. The only vote against the resolution for expulsion was Nearman’s own.

    But the real shocker is that yesterday the state GOP presented a slate of 5 GOP candidates to replace Rep. Nearman. First on the list of proposed replacements? Mike Nearman hissownself.

    Sigh.

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  115. flat earth luddite says:

    @Mikey:
    Easy peasy… this is a bad parody of Team America?

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  116. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    That’s a great story!

    I have a little tag I use when I try to explain how cosmopolitan Hong Kong is.

    So… I was in Hong Kong, in an Irish pub owned by Filipinos, drinking Belgian beer and talking to a German couple about Russian politics… when the US Marines walked in.

    And yes, that actually happened. 😀

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  117. Mikey says:

    @flat earth luddite: Very different, actually. From everything.

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  118. Kurtz says:

    @Kylopod:

    That’s interesting. Question, how does the pronunciation rule with the silent e come about?

    I guess I always kind of intuited, without thinking it through, that the silent e at the end of words was kept for clarity of pronunciation.

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  119. Kylopod says:

    @Kurtz:

    Question, how does the pronunciation rule with the silent e come about?

    Listening to reconstructions of Chaucer online, it seems that final-e was once a schwa. So the word love was pronounced something like luh-vuh. The final vowel sound dropped out of speech but the letter was retained in writing.

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  120. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mu Yixiao:..great story!
    Thank’s. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  121. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I can only think that all those restaurants with signs saying “Good Eats” were inspired by early Chinese restaurants trying to write in English.

    Alternatively, it could be a paraphrase of German “delicat essen”, which also persists in untranslated/borrowed form…

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  122. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    Listening to reconstructions of Chaucer online, it seems that final-e was once a schwa. So the word love was pronounced something like luh-vuh. The final vowel sound dropped out of speech but the letter was retained in writing.

    That’s close.

    In Middle English, pronunciation was nearly phonetic and like the rest of the continent (because Latin). So “love” would have been a 2-syllable word pronounced /lohv@/ (where the @ indicates a schwa) and rhymed with “move” and “rove”.

    Importantly, the vowel in the first syllable of those words had a longer duration than the same vowel in the same syllable standing alone as a word. So “mat” was pronounced /maht/ and “mate” was pronounced /maht@/, but the “ah” part was longer in “mate”. That terminology persists today to confuse school kids who are told that the ‘a’ in “mat” is a short ‘a’, but the ‘a’ in “mate” is a long ‘a’. Today, that means they are different vowels entirely, with the same duration — making it a really stupid terminology.

    Over time, people stopped bothering to say the second syllable, sort of like the way we stopped saying the second syllable in words like “blessed”. So /maht@/ became /maht/, but still with the elongated vowel. At the same time, the Great Vowel Shift was happening, and all of those /ah/ vowels modified — but they modified differently depending on whether the original word had been /maht/ or /maht@/. The former lifted to the nasty vowel that only English speakers use, the vowel in “mat” and “cat” and “pat” and “bat”. The latter (and the name of the letter, for that matter) morphed into the diphthong that everyone else in Europe would spell “ei” — the vowel in “mate” and “pate” and “rate”. Which we now call a “long a”, sigh.

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  123. Jax says:

    @DrDaveT: My 4-6th grade teacher (Mr. Randy Brown) thanks you, nobody’s ever put it down quite like he taught us, quite like you did right there!

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  124. JohnSF says:

    @DrDaveT:
    I can think of one other language where spelling and pronunciation are misaligned: French.

    IIRC spelling and pronunciation were much closer in medieval French.

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