Monday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor 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. DK says:

    Forbes: Ukrainian Drones May Have Hit A Second Su-57 Stealth Fighter At Its Base In Russia

    The Su-57s at the Akhtubinsk State Flight Test Center are parked out in the open.

    It’s increasingly clear a Ukrainian drone badly damaged, and possibly destroyed, a Russian air force Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter in a Saturday raid on Russia’s Akhtubinsk State Flight Test Center in southern Russia 365 miles from the Russia-Ukraine border.

    And it’s possible a second Su-57—out of around two dozen Su-57s the Russian air force has acquired since the type’s first flight in 2010—was also damaged in the raid…

    …Ground crews routinely parked the radar-evading jets out in the open—eliciting a bitter protest from the Fighterbomber Telegram channel, a popular forum for Russian airmen and their boosters.

    Fighterbomber asked why, 28 months into Russia’s wider war on Ukraine, the air force hasn’t built hardened shelters for its most precious aircraft—including the Su-57 that Fighterbomber itself confirmed suffered shrapnel damage during the Saturday drone raid.

    Too little, too late, probably? Maybe Ukraine should have long ago been given the greenlight for these counterattacks.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Appeals court tells Texas it cannot ban books for mentioning ‘butt and fart’

    An appellate court has ruled that Texas cannot ban books from libraries simply because they mention “butt and fart” and other content which some state officials may dislike.

    The fifth US circuit court of appeals issued its decision on Thursday in a 76-page majority opinion, which was written by Judge Jacques Wiener Jr and opened with a quote from American poet Walt Whitman: “The dirtiest book in all the world is the expurgated book.”

    In its decision, the appellate court declared that “government actors may not remove books from a public library with the intent to deprive patrons of access to ideas with which they disagree”.

    It added: “This court has declared that officials may not ‘remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the idea contained in those books and seek by their removal to prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion.’”

    My pearls! My pearls!!! Where is mah fainting couch??? Mah little chilluns will become preverts bah the books I Broke My Butt! and Larry the Farting Leprechaun! Even worse, they will larn to hate waht people readin’ books lahk They Called Themselves the KKK!!!

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  3. DK says:

    While begging Las Vegas rally attendees not to die in the heat, Convicted Felon Trump slips up and tells the truth, for once:

    “I don’t care about you, I just want your vote.”

    Coming to a political ad near you.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    When even Surrey’s middle classes are this angry with the Tories, you know it’s all gone wrong for Sunak

    Meanwhile, voters who once saw the Tories as the party of business, stability and basic economic sense now behold something utterly different – a motley crew of reckless ideologues who will respond to defeat by moving even further to the right. Such is one of modern history’s most mind-boggling turnabouts: the self-styled heroes and buccaneers of 2019 suddenly revealed as hopeless lemmings, glorying in their own encroaching irrelevance.

    One pov.

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  5. Tony W says:

    @DK: And then, after literally saying he didn’t care about the people there to support him, he said that the media would report that he said something awful.

    Yeah. Because he did say something awful.

    Meanwhile, Paul L and JKB here think they will be the special ones that Trump really cares about and takes care of when it comes down to it.

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  6. MarkedMan says:

    Last week I fulminated against a column in the Times which basically accused Anthony Fauci of lying to cover up his incompetence during the COVID epidemic, and did so by getting basic science wrong and misrepresenting what we knew and when we knew it. Kevin Drum reacts to the same column:

    This is very misleading. Fauci didn’t say that social distancing recommendations popped up out of nowhere, only that we might have been wrong about 6 feet vs. 3 feet. Nor is there any reason to suggest scientists lied about airborne transmission. They just turned out to be wrong. They changed their recommendations quickly when new data became available.

    Drum also defends the early recommendations that said mask wearing by the general public would probably not be much help, but I think he gets the reason that advice was propagated wrong. While it is absolutely true that a fitted N95 mask mechanically stops the spread of virus particles, the real question is, “If a public health agency devotes precious time, attention and resources to a campaign encouraging the general population to wear masks, will it result in a significant reduction in spread?” And prior to COVID there was exactly one good study, during the SARS outbreak in Asia, that looked at the benefits of encouraging mask wearing among families that had an ill patient in the household. They visited the families in their homes, provided them with a generous supply of free masks and did follow up visits. The results? There was no statistical difference between those families and the control group in terms of transmission to other members.

    It’s important to remember that public health campaigns aren’t primarily about educating the public about the science of diseases, they are about picking a few behavior changes that are achievable across a wide population and promoting the hell out of them.

    And we still don’t know if the later public health campaigns promoting mask wearing had any effect. Every few months I look for studies that might answer this question but haven’t found any. One thing I can tell you, which may or may not be relevant: to an individual COVID virus, a cloth mask poses as much of an obstacle as a chain link fence does to a gnat.

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  7. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: Another COVID versus the Masks post, and I realize that interest in this at this point might be limited to me and Kathy so feel free to skip.

    I mentioned above that there were no good studies as to whether public health messaging encouraging mask wearing did any good, i.e. was worth diverting public health agencies form other initiatives. There was a meta study last year that was widely reported as showing “masks didn’t work”, but there were a whole lot of caveats. First, masks do prevent transmission, full stop, if they are worn by sick people or by well people who are around sick people. The question is whether enough people will comply after a public health campaign to make a difference. Here’s a good summary what the study found:

    The Jan. 30 review found that based on existing randomized controlled trials — which tested the effectiveness of interventions encouraging people to wear masks, rather than testing the effectiveness of masks themselves — wearing masks in the community “probably makes little or no difference” to the number of people with influenza or COVID-19-like illnesses.

    “The pooled results of RCTs did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks,” the review reads.

    The authors, however, also emphasized the “uncertainty about the effects of face masks.” And only two trials in the review assessed the effectiveness of a mask intervention for COVID-19.

    “The high risk of bias in the trials, variation in outcome measurement, and relatively low adherence with the interventions during the studies hampers drawing firm conclusions,” the authors wrote. “The low to moderate certainty of evidence means our confidence in the effect estimate is limited, and that the true effect may be different from the observed estimate of the effect.”

    In other words, there isn’t good evidence from randomized controlled trials that encouraging mask use in the community prevents the spread of respiratory diseases, but the issue also hasn’t been studied very well. So the real answer is unknown.

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:
  9. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Great pun in the title.

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  10. CSK says:

    @DK:

    Sure, but as Paul L. observed, he hates the people they hate.

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: He hates everybody.

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  12. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Who hates everybody? Trump, Paul, or both?

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  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    I think we need to hear from Paul and JKB just where they fall in the great ‘electrocuted by a battery’ vs. ‘eaten by a shark’ controversy.

    “If the boat is sinking, water goes over the battery, the boat is sinking, do I stay on top of the boat and get electrocuted?” Trump said. “Or do I jump over by the shark and not get electrocuted?”

    I’m not quite sure why Trump is worried, after all, according to him, just a little water and batteries stop dead. Or did I misunderstand the great man’s scientific theory?

    Meanwhile a real president has flown to the Middle East in an effort to bring peace, while his son is being tried in a the courts that according to Von Shitzhispants, is totally run by Biden.

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  14. Barry says:

    @MarkedMan: “One thing I can tell you, which may or may not be relevant: to an individual COVID virus, a cloth mask poses as much of an obstacle as a chain link fence does to a gnat.”

    From what little I know, this is irrelevant. Naked viruses die quickly; they have to be suspended in some sort of liquid.

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  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Both. In Paul’s case he even hates himself.

    @Michael Reynolds: while his son is being tried in a the courts that according to Von Shitzhispants, is totally run by Biden.

    That is proof of Biden’s eleventy dimensional chess manipulations of the government. Hunter will be found innocent.

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  16. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Niven’s Law: no method works if it’s not used.

    And the Maginot Principle: a single line of defense is no defense.

    So, hygiene, testing, tracing, quarantine, masking, and distancing won’t do much each by itself. But applied all together they will. I’m not even speculating. This is how several countries, including South Korea, managed to keep transmission rates low. Most relaxed these measures when vaccines were available (and vaccines are a further line in the defense in depth battling a pandemic requires).

    One may as well proclaim the battle of the Coral Sea, the battle of Midway, the Battle of Britain, the D-Day landings, etc. were completely useless, because not one of them either stopped the Axis nor won the war.

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  17. Rick DeMent says:

    I have had an email address since 1994. I used to use it here for commenting. The domain was MindSpring a mom and pop internet provider that I used when I lived in Atlanta. A few years after I got the address, EarthLink bought MindSpring out. I keep the domain but I now paid Earthlink. I had keep this address for a while due to simple inertia. Last fall I stated to go thought all my accounts to update with a new(er) email address. And wow was that a chore. But I finally did it.

    So now I go to cancel the EarthLink Subscription. The first thing I figured out is that you can’t just go to the website and unsubscribe. You have to call them. You can sign up for a subscription, but you have to call them to undo it. I have come across the same thing from time to time with subscriptions. So I call the number … I get a busy tone. I try calling for a little over a week. solid busy signal. I finally called the line for sales. That one was picked up right away. They told me they would transfer me to someone who could help … I was disconnected.

    Tried it again, same thing. Finally on the forth call I told the rep I was going to stay on the line until I was speaking with a person who could unsubscribe me. The rep comes back in line and says they contacted someone but they would have to call me back. I was frustrated but I asked how long, the Rep said 20 mins. So I bite my tongue and finally got a call back and had to deal with the pressure speech. But I finely got them to unsubscribe me.

    This is nonsense, any subscription you can sign up for on a web page can be unsubscribed on a web page. I know there have been bills to make this mandatory as in Europe, but apparently there is more campaign cash for not changing it then for making it a sane process. I blame Citizen United. That has been one of the most disastrous SCOTUS decisions in memory in terms of making the bribery of congress legal in the US. Ditto internet access, much cheaper in Europe by a long shot.

    /Rant off

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  18. steve says:

    The issue with studies of masks is not really whether or not they work to decrease the risk of spread but rather compliance. Compliance studies are difficult. We know that most spread was among families. Take a 5 person family. If 4 people, 80% compliance, wear their masks when they should that one person who is not compliant can infect the entire family. Wearing masks at home isn’t very realistic so I am not sure any such study has real value. What is needed is a large scale study with enforced 24 hour a day compliance. Very costly and who would you get to volunteer?

    If I remember my aerosol literature, we largely dont have naked viruses floating around. Everything is a droplet of some sort, though in an aerosol the droplet is smaller than the ones we classically defined as larger than 5, 20 or 100 microns depending upon who you read.

    Steve

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  19. Paul L. says:

    @CSK:
    I believe my observation was Trump upsets and is hated by the people I hate.

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  20. Eusebio says:

    DK:

    Interesting, from that piece… “But the Ukrainians strike Russian airfields more effectively than the Russians strike Ukrainian airfields—thanks in large part to Ukraine’s growing inventory of long-range strike drones and the relative sluggishness of Russian decision-making.”

    And in this case, which involved Ukrainian drones several hundred km inside Russian territory, the restrictions on U.S. weapons systems use wouldn’t apply.

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  21. Tony W says:

    @Paul L.: Do you ever stop to think “why” people of character hate Trump?

    First Hint: It’s not because he “tells it like it is”.

    Second Hint: The answer won’t be flattering to anybody who supports him.

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  22. Kathy says:

    Back on the topic of things I’ve some control over, I had a great day cooking yesterday.

    First I made use of the turkey stock I’d made last week to cook bean soup. I added a bone-in, skinless chicken breast as well. Pressure on high for 25 minutes, natural release for 15, and quick release for about five more. It came out really well, and the chicken fell apart at a touch.

    I then mixed the chicken with chilaquiles I had prepared while the soup was cooking. I used up the last of the turkey stock to 1) brown the onions per the Lan Lam method, and 2) to thin out the salsa a bit.

    Next I mixed about 1 cup of heavy cream with three cups of milk, heated it on the stove, and added a bunch of chopped mint leaves. Stirred, took it off the heat, and let it steep for a couple of hours. then I strained the mix over a large measuring cup.

    I was just going to add vanilla and sweetener, but at the store I found an atole-based chocolate drink powder. I decided to mix some in the mint-infused milk. Atole is pretty much flavored corn starch and milk. As sold in Mexico, it’s always unsweetened, which works well for me. It also thickens the milk. Anyway, I chilled it for an hour in the fridge, then put it in the ice cream maker. It came out a reasonably good mint chocolate ice cream.

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  23. CSK says:

    @Paul L.:

    Yes, it was. That’s precisely what I said: Trump hates the people you hate.

    But here’s the thing: Trump doesn’t really hate those people, or at least, not for the reasons you do. He desperately wanted to be one of them, and because he couldn’t stop being a vulgar buffoon, they spurned him.

    Believe me, Trump would shoot you on Fifth Avenue if he thought it would gain him admission to the Manhattan haut monde.

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  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    o, hygiene, testing, tracing, quarantine, masking, and distancing won’t do much each by itself.

    It’s not as simple as that. You maintained a stringent mask protocol and it prevented (prevents?) you from succumbing. But the Public Health question is, “Given that the public easily get overwhelmed if we hit them with too much and therefore tune out completely, what should we expend resources on?”

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  25. MarkedMan says:

    @steve:

    What is needed is a large scale study with enforced 24 hour a day compliance.

    What would the purpose of such a study be, given that it doesn’t represent a real world situation?

    There is a place where this essentially applies – hospitals. The thing about mask wearing in hospitals is that you can’t separate it from all the other protocols followed simultaneously (handwashing, isolating potentially infectious materials, etc)

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  26. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Kathy’s First Law states nothing is ever that simple.

    The first thing the public needs to understand, is that conclusions in science are always subject to change as new data comes along. That data is hard to obtain, and above all it takes time. Therefore the advice on what to do faced with an infectious disease outbreak will follow these lines as well.

    Lock down looked like a good idea, for example. It wasn’t a terrible measure to take, as regards spread, but 1) it was hard to sustain for more than a few weeks, and 2) there were too many necessary exemptions to be effective. So, we learned that lock down shouldn’t be the first measure.

    Masking is very much like vaccination: it’s most effective if a large majority of the population do it. By this I mean like 99% at the low end. We didn’t get close either in mask use or vaccines.

    I find myself in the position of Descartes: I can protect myself even if no one else will protect themselves.

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  27. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan:

    What would the purpose of such a study be, given that it doesn’t represent a real world situation?

    In my head, it would answer the question as to whether or not masks do prevent the spread of illness. While you’ll never have 100% compliance, knowing this is potentially relevant as it gives an understanding of how hard a governing body should advocate for or push for compliance in a future pandemic. Just my very random thought.

    One of the biggest problems communicators face is the “couching language” that is pretty much required around anything scientific or medical. It gives the blowhards who oppose things an opening to screech about things “not working” or “not guaranteed.”

    It would be extraordinarily helpful from a communicator’s perspective to say “in a controlled study, we can confirm that XYZ works.”

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  28. Michael Cain says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Re “butt and fart”… I am reminded of the time my department head asked me about letting his eighth-grade daughter go see a particular movie. He was concerned about the language. “Eighth grade?” I asked him. “If she has not used worse language than that movie where you can’t hear her, she has certainly heard worse.”

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  29. gVOR10 says:

    @MarkedMan: I upvoted to reassure you it isn’t only Kathy who finds your detail on masks useful.

    I would note that the CDC’s question was whether pushing mask wearing would help. The question for an individual is whether I should wear a mask when I’m out in public. This is really a cost/benefit question. Given that masks are cheap, my wife and I aren’t infected with MAGA “You’re not the boss of me.”, and neither of us are much bothered by wearing a mask, the answer for us seemed clear. We wore the best masks we could get. Until we could get N95s, for her cloth masks our insurance company mailed out and for me a box of dust masks I had in the garage. We’re both still COVID virgins.

    OK, our little study with N=2 is anecdote, but I think it’s useful to distinguish the public health question from the personal question. Something the supposedly liberal MSM seem incapable of doing.

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  30. gVOR10 says:

    @Kathy:

    The first thing the public needs to understand, is that conclusions in science are always subject to change as new data comes along.

    Falsifiability. A week or so ago a couple of commenters agreed with my comment that very few people understand probability. Try explaining to the general public that science is more reliable than religion BECAUSE science is frequently proven wrong.

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  31. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “I’m not quite sure why Trump is worried, after all, according to him, just a little water and batteries stop dead. Or did I misunderstand the great man’s scientific theory?”

    I thought that was magnets…

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  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    So, we learned that lock down shouldn’t be the first measure.

    I’m not so sure. Given that we didn’t know how it was transmitted, what its R Naught value was, and that we were putting corpses into freezer trucks in NYC, lock down was a good call. It’s only a bad call based on things we found out later.

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  33. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR10:

    We wore the best masks we could get.

    As did me and my entire family. The fact that the scientific community thus far has been unable to put numbers on the effectiveness of individual mask wearing doesn’t mean it’s automatically a bad idea.

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  34. MarkedMan says:

    @wr:

    I thought that was magnets…

    magnets, batteries, what’s the difference?

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  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    One of my frustrations with writing for kids is that between humorless, ignorant scolds and busybodies of Left and Right there’s damn little space left for us to do our work effectively. To quote Mary Poppins: a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. IOW, we actually do know how to communicate with young readers, and we understand that the freedom to transgress a bit here, and a bit there, is essential to selling the humanitarian worldview just about all of us subscribe to.

    Here’s an example. I/we write an openly racist character. (Everworld.) We then spend hundreds of pages ‘teaching’ that character, evolving that character, until that character becomes enlightened. But of course the instant we create such a teaching opportunity some Lefty pinhead will accuse us of racism, because they are just too fukkin stoopid to know how writing or teaching works.

    Or, if, say, an author writes a story about a tree, and accurately explains that said tree can be monoecious, some Rightwing Karen will start shrieking that we’re tryna turn boys into girls and girls into boys. Because they’re morons.

    And every time some clueless fanatic jumps into kidlit the result is fewer kids reading.

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  36. Gustopher says:

    @DK:

    “I don’t care about you, I just want your vote.”

    We’ve got him now! We’ve finally gotten him on tape, saying what he actually believes and no one can deny it! This will be what crushes him! All of our years of breathlessly watching his every word have finally paid off!

    (Insert eye roll emoji)

    He’s joking. It’s even an uncharacteristically self-deprecating joke, poking fun at his callous, self-centered nature.

    Is he pretending to be a callous, self-centered asshole to hide the fact that he is in fact a callous, self-centered asshole?* Yes, probably. Maybe not intentionally, but yes.

    To not immediately see the humor and charm in this statement is to completely miss what makes Trump likable to so many. It’s not that he hates the same people that they hate — there are countless people who do that — but it’s that he’s fun.

    The KKK, for all their crosses and robes and fancy Dungeons and Dragons titles about wizards and dragons… they’re not fun. Ted Cruz is not fun. Tom Cotton is not fun. Kristi Noem might be fun if you like killing dogs.

    Donald Trump is fun.

    It’s what makes him so dangerous.

    And the professional, humorless Trump haters see one of his comments, can’t see the fun, and then get outraged and pass it around and try to show it to everyone in the world, and end up reminding everyone that Trump is fun, and they are not. And, for the Trumpies, that’s also fun.

    This is also something Biden has, though to a lesser degree, and certainly with a lot of help from The Onion. You never know when he’s going to tell you that his uncle was eaten by cannibals, or go into a story about Cornpop.

    There’s probably staff that follow Biden everywhere and cringe every time he gets photographed with a middle aged biker chick sitting on his lap while her boyfriend looks on awkwardly, but they would be wrong to… it’s fun.

    I want to see more of this Biden:
    https://media.salon.com/2012/09/biker_biden_rect1-460×307.jpg

    ——
    *: Douglas Adams used similar phrasing to describe Zaphod Beeblebrox, and there really are a lot of similarities. Zaphod wasn’t a loathesome right winger, of course, but the entire “just winging it” and getting by on being outrageous and fun.

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  37. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I too find the discussion interesting, so there!
    @Kathy:
    As we used to say (in our small corner of the scientific world) science is constantly recalibrating.
    That’s likely also true in the medical field.

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  38. Kathy says:

    @gVOR10:

    Maybe we should change the name of the species to H. Narrare, the story teller.

    Many ancient philosophers built up lovely narratives on their pet theories, mostly internally consistent, and “explained” the whole universe or aspects of it through it. Few thought to test them against reality.

    This is how religion works, and how many think science works as well. In a narrative, finding flaws make it “wrong,” or make it lose sense or meaning. So if the data thus far indicate X, but then further observation and/or experimentation indicate Y, this is seen as “wrong.”

    @MarkedMan:

    It’s too hard to maintain, and leaks more than a colander. People may take it for a month, maybe six weeks, but then they won’t. And if it didn’t even stop a new disease we don’t understand well yet, people may later not take any other updated advice.

    In 2009 when the H1N1 Swine Flu hit Mexico, there was a sort of partial lock down. Many public spaces were closed, with some reopening a couple of weeks later with distancing and capacity restrictions. This did end the spread, but that virus seems to have suffered more from warm weather, and had a loser R0 than the trump virus does.

    My non expert view is that respiratory diseases can best be managed with capacity restrictions, closing some places down outright, masking, and testing and tracing (with quarantine for those found to be infected).

    Some countries did something like this. Many didn’t even try.

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  39. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well not everybody; he loves Ivanka, too. Not in any sort of positive meaning, but still…

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  40. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: Was the lockdown even a bad call (in NYC) based on what we found out later?

    Seems like it prevented the healthcare system from completely collapsing and a lot more people dying.

    And in places like Seattle, it lasted long enough to set up some very basic mitigation efforts — stores had time to revamp to curb side drop off, restaurants had time to set up outdoor seating — while the hospitals hovered at very busy but not in danger of collapse.

    I don’t know how well it worked elsewhere, but in the places I know about, it seemed to be a better idea than letting Covid go wild. Lockdowns are a severe and painful tool, but not a bad one.

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  41. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: You’re right. This discussion is starting to look like the same “no method/discussion will achieve outcomes I approve of” thing that you’ve gotten going on discussions with Dr. Taylor and on the subject of trolling (IMLTHO). And you’re right;the solution for me is to start tuning you out. 🙁

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  42. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:

    Good point. Although I hardly see Trump as fun, I can see that his fans do. After all, he owns the libs!

    As our dear departed Teve would say, “Shitty people with shitty values.”

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  43. just nutha says:

    @gVOR10: Science is more reliable than religion, but it’s a false comparison as facts =/= faith. And yes, evangelicals and other zealots should stop making the category error that goes “I trust God more than science.” I trust both, but to answer different questions.

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  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR10: And religion can never be proven wrong.

    @just nutha: you know he reeeeeally hates Jared.

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  45. Paul L. says:

    @CSK:
    I pointed out it does not matter who Trump hate.
    BTW, How did pushing Birtherism/Obama’s birth certificate help Trump with admission to the Manhattan haut monde?
    I suspect it was just Trump trolling the media out of pure spite.

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  46. Scott says:

    Not sure why this is not a bigger story on our side of the border given the historical economic, social, and military closeness with have with Canada.

    Canada’s Parliament rocked by allegations of treason

    The capital of one of the world’s most stable democracies is gripped by growing panic about foreign agents working in elected office. A bombshell report by Canadian lawmakers has unnerved Parliament Hill, alleging that unnamed politicians have been covertly working with foreign governments.

    The new report from the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians is the first to suggest that lawmakers in Canada’s parliament may have helped foreign actors meddle in political campaigns and leadership races.

    The all-party NSICOP said Monday that it has reviewed intelligence that suggests “semi-witting or witting” parliamentarians have worked with foreign missions to mobilize voters during a political campaign; have taken cash “knowingly or through willful blindness” from foreign missions or their proxies; and have shared privileged information with foreign diplomatic officials.

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  47. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    The problem is religious texts contain depictions and explanations about the world and the universe, which are in plain contradiction to reality. Not to mention morality-based mandates, which admit no exception and are also in direct contradiction to reality.

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  48. MarkedMan says:

    @just nutha: Feel free! Either for this discussion or for all my discussions. There are a few (3 in fact) people on here that I tune out completely, and that makes OTB much more enjoyable. And there are discussions that give a great deal of joy to the participants but that I don’t personally find interesting (cooking). For the people who like such discussions they make this site more interesting for them. My tuning those discussions out makes the site more interesting for me. Winners all around!

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  49. MarkedMan says:

    @just nutha: I always liked Steven Jay Gould’s “Non-overlapping Magesterium”. From Wiki:

    Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) is the view, advocated by paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, that science and religion each represent different areas of inquiry, fact vs. values, so there is a difference between the “nets”[1] over which they have “a legitimate magisterium, or domain of teaching authority”, and the two domains do not overlap

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  50. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    The problem is religious texts contain depictions and explanations about the world and the universe, which are in plain contradiction to reality.

    But that’s not a question of science vs. religion, but instead one of reality vs. some specific religion. You can’t really say that science disproved the proto-Seventh Day Adventist belief that the world would end and Jesus would appear on Oct 22, 1844. It was Oct 23, 1844 that did that…

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  51. CSK says:

    @Paul L.:

    You explicitly said that Trump hates the people you do. Now you’re saying it doesn’t matter who Trump hates. Which is it?

    As for Trump himself–he spent the seventies, eighties, and early nineties trying desperately to crash the Manhattan aristocracy. He failed miserably. Then he realized that he could exploit the love of the rubes. He began pushing birtherism in March 2011, long, long after he’d been vanquished by high society.

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  52. CSK says:

    Speaking of Trump, I wonder how his probationary hearing went today.

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  53. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Evolution. Life begins at conception. God created them male and female. Etc.

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  54. steve says:

    MarkedMan- I was trying to imply that you really cant do such a study. You can come closest to it, probably, in hospitals but even there we had outbreaks when we found that there were individual groups who decided that the masking and distancing stuff was nonsense and decided to have group get together sin their offices and then all came down with covid. There are small studies like we did at my hospital where we tried to track how and where health care workers got infected and we found it was largely away from the hospital and not from the covid pts for whom they cared.

    Until someone proves me wrong and finds a way to do such a meaningful study the best we can do is know that we have proof that masks can work if you wear them. The more infectious the virus the more you need higher level masks.

    Steve

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  55. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Evolution is a provable concept, i.e. it is reality. If one Bishop/Imam/Rabbi or another decides to make anti-evolutionism an article of faith, then they are just wrong. They doesn’t make them against science, it makes them against reality. Just like the Catholic Church making it an article of faith that the sun revolves around the earth. They were wrong, realized it, and created an astronomical observatory 250 years ago so they wouldn’t get on the wrong side of such arguments again. And it is no slouch, either.

    In 2008, the Templeton Prize was awarded to cosmologist Fr. Michał Heller, a Vatican Observatory Adjunct Scholar. In 2010, the George Van Biesbroeck Prize was awarded to former observatory director, the American Jesuit, Fr. George Coyne.[2]

    Standing at the pulpit and mandating that the sun moves west to east doesn’t make you anti-science, it makes you an ignorant fool.

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  56. MarkedMan says:

    @steve:

    Until someone … finds a way to do such a meaningful study the best we can do is know that we have proof that masks can work if you wear them. The more infectious the virus the more you need higher level masks.

    Agree 100%. Well put.

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  57. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    Life begins at conception.

    This is an interesting one. First, they gotta define life. If what they actually mean is “A soul is created at conception, giving this cell a unique place in god’s kingdom”, then that’s a religious assertion and science doesn’t really have anything to do with it. But for any other, they would have to assert what they define as “life”. I suspect it boils down to “life = conception”, and then yes, given that definition, life begins at conception. But it’s not 99.99% of the population’s definition of life, though.

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  58. Kingdaddy says:

    In case you haven’t caught the recording of Alito opining on polarization, the Left, and the media:

    https://x.com/lawindsor/status/1800201783945683120

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  59. DK says:

    @Gustopher:

    To not immediately see the humor and charm in this statement is to completely miss what makes Trump likable to so many.

    Um…wut??? Nobody is unaware that some losers lives are so empty they need dumb Trump comments for titillation. We’re not trying to convert or win incels and deplorables.

    I’m not aware of anyone out screaming “OMG THIS CLIP WILL BE THE THING THAT FINALLY BRINGS DOWN TRUMP!!11!!” Your commentary on it is the most wound up I’ve read. I just posted the clip. You wrote a big long screed about humorlessness and fun and charm and this and that and blah blah blah.

    It’s not that deep. It’s a gaffe and it will be shared and put in ads like so many gaffes before it. Big whoop. The super complicated charming 3D chess comedy routine stuff is… whatever.

    Donald Trump is fun.

    It’s what makes him so dangerous.

    We been knew many find white supremacist entertainment fun. Thankfully, people find fascist buffoonery un-fun enough that Convicted Felon Trump lost in 2020 by 8 million votes. So.

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  60. Joe says:

    @Gustopher:

    Zaphod wasn’t a loathesome right winger, of course, but the entire “just winging it” and getting by on being outrageous and fun.

    “Hey, I’m just some guy.”

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  61. Kazzy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The irony of this is that if it were a liberal/Democratic state trying to ban books over content, all we’d hear about is how they’re being snowflakes who are too easily offended. Sigh.

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  62. Paul L. says:

    @MarkedMan:
    What scientific and modern advancements should the Science Deniers be forbidden to use such as life science & biology as they are based on the paradigm of evolution?
    The Covid mRNA vaccines?
    Bill Nye :”Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology.”
    @CSK:
    Don’t gaslight.
    Where is my quote I hate people because Trump hates them?
    Of course maybe that comment got deleted so I can be taken out of context.
    I don’t care who Trump hates. I lay odds Trump hates people who do not respect and obey police. Trump has condemned people and media who use “rare instances” of police misconduct to smear hero cops. Maybe Trump will bootlick less now that the NYPD took away his pistol permit and guns.

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  63. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Consider lysenkoism. Not only did it grind genetics research in the USR to a halt, but it got people imprisoned and killed. Or the bad agricultural practices implemented in the Great Leap “Forward”. Those are two examples of what may happen when ideology or faith are in contradiction to reality.

    @MarkedMan:

    Yes, but what about the execrable Dobbs decision?

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  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kingdaddy: Actually, I won’t disagree in principle with what either Alito or Windsor say. In practice, I will make 2 observations:
    1) God is not looking for countriesto return to him. Individuals either believe or disbelieve regarding their relationship (or lack thereof), so the actions and beliefs of individuals are generally the only interests that God holds.
    2) Even in cases where nations have declared allegiance to specific Gods–and the US is specifically not one of those–in most religions with which I am familiar the actions of individuals still count for more than public declarations of national fealty. If you want a nation of people who are “returning to the Lord,” convince more people to “return to the Lord.” Passing laws punishing people for doing things you believe God disapproves of will not cause the nation to “return to the Lord.” The nation never left God to begin with, nor was it ever one with God for that matter.

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  65. Beth says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    I think every left leaning lawyer for every left leaning cause and every death penalty defendant that appears before SCOTUS should file a motion to recuse for Alito and add in that quote. They will all fail but everyone should make him respond each time.

    It will drive him absolutely nuts. Like foaming at the mouth nuts. I mean, if he’s going to put his thumb in the scales, we might as well make him work for it.

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  66. ptfe says:

    @CSK: Actually, he explicitly said Trump pisses off the people he hates – and apparently (per this thread) he doesn’t care who Trump hates, as long as he pisses off the right (or rather wrong) people. [Leans in: “You know…those people.”]

    Critically, Paul L appears to have no firm ethics or morality, just some personal beefs (mostly to do with encounters with police) and a sense that whatever he believes in the moment about anything is, by definition, correct. That aligns with Donald Trump’s persona, so even though they can’t both be right – which Paul L will happily admit – he feels a great kinship with this soulless and near-brainless shart, since showing off breezy arrogance in spite of actually possessing the mental capacity of a splatter of meconium makes him, as Gustopher notes, fun.

    Paul L’s idea of “reasoning” is to throw a bunch of OANN/Newsmax buzzwords on a page, then drop a link to a right-wing nutter who’s been paid by the griftosphere for so long they either have fully replaced their blood with the appropriate Flavor-Aid (tastes like RFK brainworm and bile!) or they’re just happily profiting off the full Reuben sandwich. In his line of work, “relevant facts” are naughty things that need not be engaged, only countered by dropping “factual flak”: whataboutism, conspiracy theories, distracting tangents, and assertions so bizarre they often can barely be parsed, let alone countered. The discussion will inevitably not return to the point of origin, which is exactly the purpose of this attack. It’s also exactly why he wouldn’t answer any of my questions the other day except to tell us that he likes how Trump pisses off the right people – because otherwise you have to justify supporting a criminal, corrupt, serially-begging cheapskate conman who sympathizes with Nazis, and really, no good will come of that.

    If there’s a lesson to be learned from Paul L, it’s that trying to back-and-forth with someone whose brain is made of starved weevils does not make for engaging discussion, but it can make for a really nasty smear across a comments section.

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  67. JKB says:

    It’s back, baby. The flag is back for Democrats to fly according to this Biden/Harris ad

    Freedom to abort babies
    Freedom from the 2nd amendment (no word on actually prosecuting criminals though)

    Also, “the sun will not set on this flag”….so a global empire? American soldiers based no more than 15 degrees of longitude apart encircling the globe maybe

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  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JKB: Actually, I liked that ad. And I would like to remind you of the dangers of encouraging disengaged former voters such as myself to register to vote simply out of spite towards you. Troll better. Be Best!

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  69. CSK says:

    @ptfe:

    You have my everlasting thanks for explaining this.

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  70. Kathy says:

    This is classic Apple: take something some other company, or many companies, worked years to develop, then brand it as though it didn’t exist until Apple made it so.

    It sounds to me as thought they’re copying the latest Samsung flagship phone, and some features Microsoft’s been testing on Windows and Office*.

    But the branding is “Apple Intelligence.” (question: how do I make my eyes stop rolling? I think I can see my cortex).

    They even partnered with Open AI, which is by now Microsoft’s stepchild.

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  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I wish my mad psychic mind control skilz could fix this, but alas… One of the (many and sad) money quotes:

    But earlier this year, The New York Times calculated that since 2021, when his career as president ended and his career as defendant was about to begin, “Mr. Trump has averaged more than $90,000 a day in legal-related costs for more than three years—none of it paid for with his own money.” The newspaper found that of the $104.2 million donated directly to various efforts to reelect him in 2023, $59.3 million—more than half—went to legal expenses.

    “The small donors are paying for this,” Eisen said. It’s one thing to run a grift on people who can afford a $10 million condominium; quite another to bilk ordinary Americans who believe that MAGA is their way out of economic and social despair. Yet he keeps doing it—and they keep sending him their money.

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  72. Paul L. says:

    @ptfe:
    Thank you for that long bit of Ad hominem projection. It was truly a masterpiece.
    What exactly are OANN/Newsmax/Fox News|Faux Noise buzzwords/dog whistles/talking points and who are the paymasters of the griftosphere?
    Maybe your enlightenment will feed the weevils of my brain.

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  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Paul L.: I lay odds Trump hates people who do not respect and obey police

    Or lawful court orders?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. gasp…. wheeze… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. gasp…. wheeze… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

    10,000 unemployed comedians and here you are giving it away for free.

    Give it up Paul. You aren’t even funny anymore.

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  74. al Ameda says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    In case you haven’t caught the recording of Alito opining on polarization, the Left, and the media:

    It’s quite clear that Justice Alito is a Christian Radical, and that his religious beliefs completely inform his view of the law, The Constitution.

    Parenthetically, like Justice Thomas, Alito is holding a longstanding grudge against Democratic Liberals based on the incendiary quality of their respective confirmation hearings. The resentment is palpable.

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  75. Paul L. says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    “We’re going to give our police their power back,”…”and we are going to give them immunity from prosecution.”
    @al Ameda:
    No incendiary quality to the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Democrats just called him a credibly accused rapist.

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  76. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The question is whether enough people will comply after a public health campaign to make a difference.

    TL;DR: “The masks would work, if you actually used them. Oh well.”

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  77. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    And every time some clueless fanatic jumps into kidlit the result is fewer kids reading.

    …which is a win for the GOP. This is not coincidence.

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  78. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    This is classic Apple: take something some other company, or many companies, worked years to develop, then brand it as though it didn’t exist until Apple made it so.

    Absolutely fair and, except for the last part, something Apple views and promotes as a strength. They have said from the very first Macintosh that they wait until things work the way they want before release. When the original Mac was introduced Jobs famously replied to an interviewer who hit him with a gotcha, or wat the reporter thought was a gotcha: “Isn’t it true that the mouse, the desktop interface, the postscript based rendering was all done first y Xerox?”, to which Jobs replied, “Of course! Somebody had to use it – lord knows they weren’t.”

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  79. JKB says:

    Trump will be a dictator with devoted support from the state security agencies

    “FBI officials conducting a top-secret security clearance review for a longtime employee asked witnesses whether that employee was known to support former President Donald Trump, if he had expressed concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine or had attended a Second Amendment rally, according to internal memos that prompted a complaint to the Justice Department’s internal watchdog alleging political bias inside the bureau.

    The employee’s security clearance was revoked months after the interviews, which confirmed his support for Trump and gun rights and his concerns about the COVID vaccine, according to the documents obtained by Just the News.”

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  80. Jax says:

    He’s mad, gonna add more buzzwords, he ROAR!

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  81. Kingdaddy says:

    @al Ameda: I feel he’s somewhat Opus Dei-adjacent, much like Barr and Scalia. For them, the modern world has taken many wrong turns, and it’s hard for people like them to imagine why other people don’t understand modernity the same way.

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  82. Michael Reynolds says:

    The Russians are pulling the families of air defense units out of Crimea. It’s worrying me, but I don’t know why, so it’s probably nothing.

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  83. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @JKB:

    Uh, as I’ve said before, it’d be really awesome if you’d actually, you know, cite your sources on these quotes. Tried finding this one, but my Google-fu is that of the ancient, decrepit Luddite that I am.

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  84. JohnSF says:

    @DK:
    @Eusebio:
    @Michael Reynolds:

    Ukrainian Drones May Have Hit A Second Su-57

    Russians are pulling the families of air defense units out of Crimea.

    Combine this with the recent UAF strikes on Russian radar installations and C3 posts, I’d guess Ukraine is preparing the battle environment for a plan based on the arrival of F-16’s later this summer and increasing use of ATACMS and air launched cruise missiles.

    Crimea in particular is an obvious target; from “Russia’s unsinkable aircraft carrier” threatening Odesa and Ukraine’s sea links, to a liability haemorrhaging equipment and resources..

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