Monday’s Forum

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

Comments

  1. Michael Cain says:

    I am awake and out of bed far too early today. Excitement, I suppose… I get my second vaccine dose at 10:00!

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Cain: I’ve been awake since 1 am. Pretty sure the vaccine I got 2 weeks ago has nothing to do with my insomnia. 🙁

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Alex Hazanov.
    @alexhazanov

    ·
    Apr 2
    Losing elections to your social and racial inferiors in November, losing baseball in March. How much heartbreak can one take?
    Quote Tweet

    Lomez
    @L0m3z
    · Apr 2
    Baseball in many respects *was* America. Teaching your son to play catch eg was a shorthand for fatherhood. Losing baseball to the culture war—which is ofc the political war—is as close to a symbolic proxy for losing the nation, as such, that you’re gonna get. twitter.com/ciceromt63/sta…

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Jason O. Gilbert
    @gilbertjasono

    Democrats: Attempting to pass a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure bill to repair roads, highways, and internet
    Republicans:

    Quote Tweet
    Ronna McDaniel
    @GOPChairwoman
    · Apr 3
    Guess what I am doing today? Not watching baseball!!!!

    Jason O. Gilbert
    @gilbertjasono
    Replying to
    @gilbertjasono
    My apologies to the GOP. I’m sure they’re working on a comprehensive bill that would defund the Home Run Derby

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Allergic reaction to US religious right’ fueling decline of religion, experts say

    Just 47% of the US population are members of a church, mosque or synagogue, according to a survey by Gallup, down from 70% two decades ago – in part a result of millennials turning away from religion but also, experts say, a reaction to the swirling mix of rightwing politics and Christianity pursued by the Republican party.

    The evidence comes as Republicans in some states have pursued extreme “Christian nationalist” policies, attempting to force their version of Christianity on an increasingly uninterested public.
    ……………………………..
    Among other groups Gallup reported, the decline in church membership stands out among self-identified Democrats and independents. The number of Democratic church members dropped by 25% over the 20 year period, with independents decreasing by 18%. Republican church members declined too, but only by 12%.

    David Campbell, professor and chair of the University of Notre Dame’s political science department and co-author of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, said a reason for the decline among those groups is political – an “allergic reaction to the religious right”.

    “Many Americans – especially young people – see religion as bound up with political conservatism, and the Republican party specifically,” Campbell said.

    “Since that is not their party, or their politics, they do not want to identify as being religious. Young people are especially allergic to the perception that many – but by no means all – American religions are hostile to LGBTQ rights.”

    Research by Campbell shows that a growing number of Americans have turned away from religion as politicians – particularly Republicans – have mixed religion with their politics. Campbell says there has always been an ebb and flow in American adherence to religion, but he thinks the current decline is likely to continue.

    “I see no sign that the religious right, and Christian nationalism, is fading. Which in turn suggests that the allergic reaction will continue to be seen – and thus more and more Americans will turn away from religion,” he said.

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  6. Teve says:
  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Teve:

    yup, the obvious solution to America’s problems is more guns and actually using them. 🙁

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  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    Scale Was the God That Failed
    To understand what went wrong with digital publishing, we need to go back to the fat years of newspaper journalism that preceded it.

    By the middle of the 2010s, the highfliers were still flying high, but their success was mostly an illusion. They were sustained by ongoing infusions of equity investment, all in the hunt for eventual dominance and lock-in. And this is where the real darlings of venture-capital investing, the emerging platform monopolies, came into the picture decisively. Scaling up quickly and wiping out competitors didn’t work in the news business, but it allowed platforms such as Google and Facebook to take control of the advertising industry, and they took an ever-mounting share of its profits for themselves.

    The TL/DR is that local newspapers lost their information monopoly and have/are failing, while the internet news organizations can’t exist on ad revenue nor attract enough subscribers and Big Tech’s model of market domination failed miserably. There are exceptions, the NYT and WaPo, for example, they have flourished because of their large and effective news gathering operations, particularly at the national and world level. Something that local papers abandoned decades ago, turning that coverage over to the wire services and Times/Post.

    By the 80’s a news geek living in an urban area received more complete coverage by subscribing to a newspaper of record and getting the local news from several of the semi-pro weekly papers that focused on neighborhoods and could be found in a rack at door of any store. State level news was often the only thing missing and that could be filled by public radio.

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  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    If You Sell a House These Days, the Buyer Might Be a Pension Fund
    Yield-chasing investors are snapping up single-family homes, competing with ordinary Americans and driving up prices

    “You now have permanent capital competing with a young couple trying to buy a house,” said John Burns, whose eponymous real estate consulting firm estimates that in many of the nation’s top markets, roughly one in every five houses sold is bought by someone who never moves in. “That’s going to make U.S. housing permanently more expensive,” he said.

    If you think the housing situation is bad now…

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  10. Teve says:

    [WV] Senate energy committee considers bill requiring power producers to stay at 2019 coal consumption levels

    The state Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee heard opposing perspectives at its meeting Thursday from coal industry and electric utility representatives on a bill it’s considering designed to keep West Virginia’s dwindling fleet of coal plants operating as long as possible by requiring in-state power producers to maintain 2019 coal consumption levels.

    Senate Bill 542 would require power producers to file compliance plans every three years with the Public Energy Authority specifying their fuel supply and how 2019 coal consumption levels would be maintained.

    West Virginia Coal Association and United Mine Workers of America representatives enthusiastically endorsed the bill to the committee, but representatives from Appalachian Power, FirstEnergy and Dominion Energy as well as state Public Service Commission Chairman Charlotte Lane all expressed reservations with the bill.

    The committee opted to hold off taking action on the bill, and Sen. Randy Smith, R-Tucker, committee chair, recommended that the stakeholders present meet with Sen. Rupie Phillips, R-Logan, committee vice chair and sole sponsor of bill, to detail concerns further with an eye toward a potential compromise.

    Chris Hamilton, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, praised the bill, arguing it was needed to support the state’s struggling coal industry.

    The legislative findings in the bill state that West Virginia coal shipments have been reduced from 162 coal plants a decade ago to only 43 plants currently and that 18 coal-fired electric units have been forced to close.

    Hamilton estimated that coal is still responsible for about 20% of the state’s economy and referenced a warning from Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power in a recent rate case that they may close the Mitchell coal-fired generating facility in Marshall County in 2028, 12 years ahead of schedule, if the companies choose to retire the plant rather than make an additional investment to ensure that the plant complies with federal guidelines limiting wastewater to continue operating beyond that year.

    The Coal Association filed a petition to intervene in the rate case last month, saying that the demand for coal mined by its members could be “radically altered by the outcome of this proceeding.”

    “This provides the Public Energy Authority with the opportunity to become a little more engaged with [utility resource planning] and use it to keep these plants open as long as we possibly can,” Hamilton said of SB 542.

    “We got a lot of members mining coal. We want to keep them here and mining coal,” UMWA representative Chad Francis said in support of the bill.

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  11. Teve says:

    @tedlieu

    Hey Mike huckabee, I asked around and Coke likes me, Delta agrees with my values, I wear Nikes and my hometown Dodgers won the world series.

    But it’s not because of my ethnicity. It’s because I’m not a sh*thead like you who is adding fuel to the anti-asian hate.

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  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Teve:

    Brought to you by the party of free enterprise, property rights and regulation reduction.

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  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Marshall has been writing on this topic for more than a decade, which makes sense as TPM is an actual business for him. He realized early on that the Google business model simply cannot work for a special interest publication such as his. In the past, a political site such as his would attract premiums from advertisers who wanted to target the audience. But Google knows that a) I’m on the high end of political interest and b) what site I am on minute by minute. It can serve those ads to me on any site I visit. So if TPM uses Google Ads as a revenue source they don’t get any premium for their audience. They get the same rates as any other small site. That’s why he opted out and went to subscription way ahead of the curve.

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  14. KM says:

    Back on the Vax Passport thread, I got snarky and commented on how Boomers had pushed to the head of the line and how unfair it was they did it for selfish reasons like “I wanna see my grandkids in person!!”

    Sure enough, the local news this morning had a bunch of disgruntled Boomers claiming their vaxxed status was “wasted” because they still couldn’t celebrate Easter they way they wanted to. They were angry no one wanted to come over for a big dinner or visit; furious they couldn’t go out to have a big To-Do as their families declined. The reason? Turns out Jr and the kids aren’t vaxxed and thus are still staying home as per guidelines – doesn’t matter that Grandma’s got all her shots, *they* don’t so they don’t feel safe going to someone’s house who clearly isn’t giving a damn about their health. As infection rates are soaring amount the under-65 set (and skyrocketing among school-aged kids), it’s starting to sink in that now that we’re going to account for all the deaths, maybe indulging Grandma isn’t worth it.

    Grandma is now all vaxxed with nowhere to go and mad as hell about it. They pushed ahead of essential workers for this? What’s the point if they can’t go back to the way things were even if everyone else is still at risk? What’s the point if Normal is still months away and they should still be masking or staying in? We thought it was to save their lives and keep the medical system from collapsing; they thought it was so they could stop all the silly precautions and pretend the majority of unvaxxed Americans still at risk were lesser than their need to brunch. They are furious the pandemic is still a thing we’re taking seriously and life won’t be Normal for a good long while….. if it ever really is again.

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  15. When Liz Freaking Cheney starts getting called a RINO and gets a Trump Cultist primary challenger, you know that the organization once called the “Grand Old Party” no longer exists. The Trump Cult, meanwhile, just keeps spreading its poisonous non-American agenda.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/05/liz-cheney-battle-trumpworld-479021

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  16. Kathy says:

    I got my passport yesterday, and I was very favorably impressed. the whole thing, including round trip drive from home, took under 90 minutes.

    Last time I renewed it, in 2015, you had to set up an appointment, pay in advance, bring in a bunch of papers and two photographs, fill out a form while waiting in line, and then you got your passport about two hours after you went through the red tape.

    It’s been streamlined. Now all you need is the appointment and payment, expired passport, copy of same, and nothing else. They check your info, take your fingerprints and photo, and 20 minutes later your passport is ready.

    There was good social distancing, even to the extent they tell you to wait outside and come back in 20 minutes after they take your papers. I did have to take off the mask for the photo, but that only took a minute.

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  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM: From where I sit, “Normal” can only be seen in the rearview mirror. Folks better just get used to it.

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  18. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve: Might as well be

    Massachusetts Senate energy committee considers bill requiring lamp oil producers to stay at 1849 whale oil consumption levels.

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  19. Teve says:

    I just saw a guy on Facebook say that he would only take the vaccine after it’s been thoroughly tested for 10 years. You know, because “it could have hidden long-term effects.” Somebody replied to him, ‘if there are enough people like you, you might not be here in 10 years to take the vaccine.’

    I was stunned the other day when I read that of all the patients who were hospitalized for Covid and then released, 1/8 of them were dead six months later.

    What blows my mind is, there are approximately 60 vaccines in common use in the United States, and not one—not a single one—has ever had long-term side-effects that didn’t show up in the first three months. And this vaccine is a simple strand of mRNA, which we’ve understood for decades, it’s recycled and disposed of by your system within hours, and yet people are willing to risk strokes, heart disease, heart attacks, blood vessel damage, tooth loss, permanent lung damage, and, rarely, death, because of some imaginary invisible possible long-term effect. Absolutely bizarre.

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  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Absolutely bizarre.

    You misspelled American again.

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  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I’m curious about how passports work in Mexico. I got my first passport in the ’80s and since that point I’ve renewed it (by mail) every ten years. Is it different in Mexico? It sounds like you need to “get” a passport for each trip?

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  22. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    You know, because “it could have hidden long-term effects.”

    Well, there’s always the risk it will keep you alive for ten years.

    And this vaccine is a simple strand of mRNA, which we’ve understood for decades, it’s recycled and disposed of by your system within hours,

    We also know mRNA doesn’t reproduce itself like RNA or DNA do.

    It’s true mRNA vaccines are new, and that Moderna and Pfizer are the first ever approved for human use. But that’s because it took this long to be able to make the necessary mRNA, and to find the means for mass production, storage, delivery, etc.

    Aside from well-known issues like allergies and immunocompromised conditions, the biggest side effect from regular vaccines is catching the disease with the vaccine meant to prevent it. This has happened when a weakened or killed virus wasn’t weakened or killed enough. even then, it was rare. And this risk does not exist with either mRNA vaccines nor virus vector vaccines.

    There’s something about epidemics that brings the stupid out in people.

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  23. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think Normal will return, or 95% Normal. Around Saturday in a 24 hour period we vaccinated 4.08 million people. The seven day average is around 3.1 million or higher now. I think by the end of the year 90% of people are going to be past this.

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  24. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Adults, over 18, can get them for 3, 6, or 10 years. The passport is good for as many international trips as you make during that period.

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  25. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @KM:
    Link please?

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  26. Teve says:

    @burgessev

    McConnell takes aim at corporate US: “Parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government. Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.”

    McConnell threatening corporations if they don’t quietly accept white supremacy is a new low.

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  27. Kathy says:

    I looked at spoiler reviews of Wonder Woman 84, including a thread here at OTB some weeks ago. I tend to agree with many of them, especially that there’s much nitpicking that can be done on a myriad details large and small.

    What bothered me most, however, was that Steve Trevor could fly a modern jet. Al the other stuff is magic and fantasy at a comic book level. But flying is real.

    Flying is a complex business. A pilot certified to fly a B737 is not competent to fly an A320, even though the planes are very similar. They may attempt it in a very unlikely emergency (like in “Airplane!”), but they can’t just take an A320 and expect to fly it successfully without undergoing extensive training for type certification first.

    Now, take a pilot who knew how to fly literally the simple combat aircraft of WWI, he couldn’t possibly handle a modern jet, and maybe not even a modern simpler plane like a Cessna. Seriously, he couldn’t have known the setting for the flaps, how to use the flight management system, how to monitor the engines, and a dozen other things like navigation. he may have been able to get the plane off the ground, even without flaps, but to fly it and land it safely? Not a chance.

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  28. Kylopod says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Not for a second will I fall into the trap of referring to Cheney as a “principled conservative who puts country before party.” Pffffft. But I do think her public statements since the insurrection have been pretty gutsy. Wyoming was Trump’s best state in 2016 and 2020. Her wager is that being from the Cheney family protects her from being canceled by these folks. I’m interested to find out if she’s correct.

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  29. gVOR08 says:

    Over at WAPO Philip Bump has a good column on why GA pushed through their election bill. Gov. Kemp’s disapproval among Republicans went from 8% to 36%, largely because of Trump’s criticism after the election. And Kemp faces reelection in ‘22. The bill targets SoS Raffensperger, mail in voting, and IIRC tried and failed to stop Souls to the Polls, all targets of Trump’s attacks. Kemp is trying to save his ass.

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  30. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08:

    Kemp is trying to save his ass.

    Also, Kemp absolutely believes in voter suppression. It’s what got him into office in the first place.

    Just because he didn’t go along with Trump’s dumb, unworkable coup attempt doesn’t mean his support for the recent bill can only be explained as a pander to the Trumpists. He supports it because it’s exactly the sort of bill he would have supported anyway. Because he’s a fascist and has always been a fascist. He’s just a smarter fascist than Trumpists could ever comprehend.

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  31. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..(like in “Airplane!”)

    Never order the fish!

    Much as I enjoy flying I have not boarded the Silver Bird in 20+ years as I refuse to submit to the security protocols. Besides I also like to drive.
    My understanding is that airlines don’t even provide a bag of nuts anymore.
    Do they even serve coffee?

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  32. Jay L Gischer says:

    This boomer is scheduled for his first vax on Weds. Easter Sunday was quieter that most Sundays of the last year. And lonely. Do you know how lonely it gets as you get older, and the kids leave home? No, I didn’t push my way to the head of the line. In fact, I had a murderously difficult time scheduling my vax even though the state had it open for just people with health issues, like I have.

    So yeah, people are complaining about not seeing their loved ones. It sucks. Doesn’t it suck for you, too? Hasn’t a year of isolation taken a toll on you?

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  33. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    That’s an interesting statement on Mitch’s part. Let’s look deeper:

    There are two things modern corporations really care about: 1) profits, 2) stock price. Anything else is entirely incidental or necessary for these two things (there are a few exceptions, of course).

    No corporation will do anything, on purpose, that would damage their profits or share price, but sometimes they have to. After all, they are dependent on the public willing to acquire their products and/or services. Therefore they must adopt views or positions or practices that keeps the public coming back. Ergo support for minority rights, social responsibility, support for the environment, etc.

    Therefore when they side against the GOP and in favor of maintaining voting rights, or expanding them, they are on the side of the majority, which will hurt their profits and share price less, and against allowing the country to be hijacked by right-wing white supremacy mobs.

    But everyone ehre already knows this.

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  34. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I last flew a US carrier in 1991, so I’ve no point of comparison.

    Mexican carriers vary. Interjet, now defunct for all intents and purposes, served a small snack and drinks, and they were ok if you wanted two different drinks, say a beer and coffee.

    Volaris used to do the same, but they went ultra-low cost and now charge for everything, even water. The same is true of VivaAerobus.

    Aeromexico is a full service carrier. On short flights, they serve a snack and drinks. on longer flights, and most international flights, they serve a sandwich, plus a snack and drinks. For longer flights, 4 hours or more, they do serve a hot meal.

    The last may depend on the equipment available. I hear there’s no oven in coach any of their newer 737s. So all you may get on a flight MEX-JFK is a sandwich. Better book this flight on a 787 if available.

    My practice is to eat at the airport anyway, and to buy a yogurt for the flight.

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  35. Sleeping Dog says:

    Google wins big in Supreme Court clash with Oracle
    The dispute was called the “copyright case of the century.”

    This is huge.

    In a 6-2 opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court said that Google’s use of 11,000 lines of code — copied without permission from Oracle’s Java program — to create the Android smartphone operating system — constitutes fair use as a matter of law and does not require compensation.

    “We assume, for argument’s sake, that the material was copyrightable. But we hold that the copying here at issue nonetheless constituted a fair use. Hence, Google’s copying did not violate the copyright law,” Breyer wrote.

    Reportedly, Android OS has 12-15 million lines of code, the copied javascript in question are 11,000 lines. Pretty insignificant.

    For SW development companies, one of the biggest headaches are patent trolls, who have bought patents of failed companies and then sought extort money out of others who are pursuing similar ideas. This will put a dent in that practice.

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  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Interesting. Why the choice in duration? Surely it costs the government the same amount to process all three, but I assume the 3 year is cheaper?

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  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    Flying is a complex business. A pilot certified to fly a B737 is not competent to fly an A320, even though the planes are very similar.

    My second favorite thing* about the movie “Executive Decision” [SPOILER ALERT] is they come up with an entertaining way to explain how someone who hasn’t even soloed yet on a prop plane manages to “land” a large commercial airliner. It probably wouldn’t have worked (inasmuch as you could call the destruction that ensued “working”) but I give them great credit for actually dealing with the issue.

    *My first favorite thing is that the Steven Segal character dies very early in the movie.

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  38. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Yes, 3 years is cheaper. They get more expensive as duration increases.

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  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Reportedly, Android OS has 12-15 million lines of code, the copied javascript in question are 11,000 lines. Pretty insignificant.

    I’m not familiar with the case, but I hope the judge didn’t only consider the size of the excerpt. I’d be willing to be that the vast majority of most multi-million line programs are boilerplate, with only a tiny fraction representing true innovation. Heck, if you could compile and link a ten line program for Android (or any other OS) and I wouldn’t be surprised it it was megabytes in size, given all the stuff that gets thrown in automatically.

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  40. inhumans99 says:

    @Teve:

    Those poor BK workers, they are so overworked during the pandemic (so they must be utterly exhausted seeing as how we have crossed 12+ months of most folks just using a drive-thru at places like BK) that the White House should create a medal that can be bestowed upon these valiant hard working but utterly exhausted souls.

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  41. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve:

    McConnell threatening corporations if they don’t quietly accept white supremacy is a new low.

    McConnell is largely a creature of conservative foundations, the Koch Bro etc.. I’ve of late read some stuff about the conservative legal establishment. A recurring complaint is that their “intellectual entrepreneurs” can’t depend on corporate funding, they have to go to “conservative “philanthropy” foundations. Corporations for some reason seem to care more about profit, and results, than ideology.

    I’m wondering if GOP pols are becoming less dependent on corporations and more on the glibertarian billionaire donors. I see stuff from conservatives about GOPs becoming the party of working people (well, maybe white male working people). That would be antithetical to business, but consistent with the culture war faux populism of the Billionaire Boys Club. Life will become interesting, in the Chinese curse sense, if the Trumpists manage to drive the business lobbyists out of their temple and to the Democrats.

    I think it’s time to be truly conservative and take marginal personal income tax rates back to the Eisenhower era. It’s that or Piketty’s wealth tax.

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  42. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve: The people I am tempted to attack at fast food places are the ones who have been standing in line for five minutes, and when they get to the front and the counter worker asks what they want, only then start looking at the menu and thinking about it.

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  43. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan:

    #include [KitchenSink.c]

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  44. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Them, and those who make long, complex orders at Starbucks, change them, change them again, and then complain they didn’t get it right.

    Fortunately, I’m past that at Starbucks at least. The app now lets you order online, and then you go directly to the barista and pick up the order in your name. This also allows me to be in and out in under 30 seconds. And if there’s a line at the register, I give the tip directly to the barista.

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  45. Teve says:

    @Michael Cain: it should be legal to assault those people.

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  46. gVOR08 says:

    Our grandson got his first Pfizer shot a couple days ago. Somebody came down the aisle of their Florida Walgreens offering shots. Near the end of their day and they’d had fifteen no shows. That leaves our little pod, our immediate family, with at least one shot. Another month and we can breathe easier.

    Meanwhile, a brother in law of my wife’s is in COVID intensive care after having two clots “the size of your fists” in his lungs broken up. His brother died of COVID, so they’re really scared. He was scheduled to get his first shot this week.

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  47. Teve says:

    @gVOR08:

    Meanwhile, a brother in law of my wife’s is in COVID intensive care after having two clots “the size of your fists” in his lungs broken up. His brother died of COVID, so they’re really scared. He was scheduled to get his first shot this week.

    Tell them not to worry, it’s just the flu.

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  48. Michael Cain says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’m not familiar with the case, but I hope the judge didn’t only consider the size of the excerpt. I’d be willing to be that the vast majority of most multi-million line programs are boilerplate, with only a tiny fraction representing true innovation. Heck, if you could compile and link a ten line program for Android (or any other OS) and I wouldn’t be surprised it it was megabytes in size, given all the stuff that gets thrown in automatically.

    This was basically another “header files” type of case. Google wrote a software tool that compiled Java into byte code for a different virtual machine. Oracle said that the use of the names and typing information for functions in the Java standard libraries required licensing. TTBOMK they never asserted that Google had copied any of the code behind those names, only that the use of the same names was infringement.

    I haven’t read the opinion yet. It seems likely that at least some of the old 1980s and 1990s UNIX cases, where the courts decided that copying header files was fair use, were relevant.

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  49. Teve says:

    @DavidSirota

    NEWS: The restaurant lobby killed a $15 minimum wage by telling lawmakers it would hurt business — at the same time, restaurant execs told investors that a $15 minimum wage would not hurt their business, according to transcripts reviewed by @DailyPoster.

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  50. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..My practice is to eat at the airport anyway,..

    Back in my drinking days I was laying over from a San francisco flight to Lambert St. Louis waiting for a puddle jumper that stopped at Cape Girardeau MO and then home to the Williamson County IL Airport (today Veterans Airport). The wait was long enough to down several beers and no food.
    As soon as the small (maybe 15 seats?) prop driven plane got in the air I knew I was in trouble. I could not see any water closet but I had to get up out of my seat and ask the flight crew behind the curtain.
    No toilet.
    “Can I get off the plane at Cape and use their restroom?”
    “Yes but you will have to wait till all the Cape customers deplane and we have to escort you to the rest room and back.”
    Went back to my seat next to a woman and her crying baby and distorted every muscle in my body to hold it in.
    Finally made it to Cape. Waited till I was about the only one left on the plane and was lead to the pisser and cut loose.
    Reminded me of the time one morning when I discovered one of our tomcats, Bozo, locked in my girlfriends Gremlin overnight. As I pushed the button to open the hatchback he had already begun to leap and started pissing in mid-air as soon as he cleared the window before he hit the ground. My girlfriend had all our cats terrified of the consequences of them messing anywhere but the litterbox or Mother Earth.
    Sure worked on him.

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  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: [sigh] Mike Huckabee struggles for another 15 minutes of fame.The story goes on. Beth Moore about the tweet:

    Mike, I’ve shared a meal with you at your beautiful table [Beth Moore needs to be more circumspect about who she dines with]. I’ve heard you profess Christ as Lord. This is entirely antithetical to the gospel.

    To which the Huckster responds, “I don’t take Twitter or myself that seriously but I do take gospel seriously.” Which would be fine if he’d start living it. He’d rather get in a couple of cheap shots for his cracker audience on TBN.

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  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: “Do they even serve coffee?”

    You can call it coffee if you want to, but it’s not anything that I would drink. There’s a reason that there’s a Starbucks in every airport concourse in the world (and Starbucks coffee tastes burnt 🙁 ).

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  53. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Kathy:

    What bothered me most, however, was that Steve Trevor could fly a modern jet. All the other stuff is magic and fantasy at a comic book level. But flying is real.

    What part of “suspension of disbelief” is lost on you. 🙂

    After all, yesterday there were a shit-ton of people all over the globe that celebrated a guy that supposedly could walk on water, had a few tricks with never-ending-fish and wine, and then was supposedly a zombie.

    If people can buy off on that wackadoo stuff, and then based on that belief give some old guy in a dress at a hall money on a weekly basis… then accepting that a WWI ace can handle flap ailerons and airspeed are pretty easy.

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  54. Kathy says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    What part of “suspension of disbelief” is lost on you.

    It all got used up with the rest of the movie.

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  55. Monala says:

    @KM: slightly off-tangent, but as someone who works in social services, we are the forgotten stepchildren for a lot of things. I’ve been reading about student loan debt forgiveness, and I recall how my grad school classmates and I, receiving master’s degrees in social work and human services, realized that we were not eligible for the various loan forgiveness programs available to teachers, even though we also would be earning relatively low wages while working for the betterment of humanity.

    Likewise, we were declared essential workers at the start of the pandemic, we work with vulnerable people, and could not socially distance (although my employer made accommodations so that we could spend some days working from home to do paperwork, meetings, and phone calls, we still had other days where we had to meet with clients face to face). Yet for a long time we were no where to be found on any of the vaccine lists for essential workers. Finally, this week Washington state has opened up vaccine eligibility for us.

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  56. Teve says:

    This is an awful development.

    How PragerU Infiltrates Schools

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  57. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    It all got used up with the rest of the movie.

    For me, there’s also a real extent to which suspension of disbelief is not really voluntary. I can’t make myself not care about certain violations of physics, chemistry, biology, law, human behavior, etc. This is exacerbated in situations where the violation was not necessary to the plot.

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  58. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    OK… there is sitting around the bar (or keyboard) complaining, and there is reality.

    I refuse to submit to the security protocols.

    Personally, I think they are great… but then again, I’m more like Clooney in “Up in the Air”.

    Since I am a very frequent flier, that gets me access to the premium line. Zip to the front… and then with TSA Pre that eliminates all the unloading/loading.

    In Denver, from the time I walk in the door til the time I sit down in the American Airlines Admiral’s club is like 5 minutes… and that usually includes dropping off a bag at the premium line and chatting with an agent before I take the walk across the “A” bridge.

    My understanding is that airlines don’t even provide a bag of nuts anymore.
    Do they even serve coffee?

    Honestly, do you WANT the nuts?

    You’re an adult: Pony up for some airport sushi (particularly good in SFO) or at least Subways. You pay for the seat, and you can pay for the service, if you wish. Some do, some don’t.

    Going back to that whole top tier flier thing, either I’m in first (which, honestly, is less than business on international flights, but still the heated cashews, pistachios and almonds are nice… they remind me of Sears when I was a kid), or I’ve got a great seat in the back, and then the free food and drinks happen because they were not ABLE to get me into first.

    I usually ask for a second meal kit and share it with someone that looks frazzled, and since i don’t drink I ask those around me if they would like one.

    After all, if the perks are there, then take advantage of it!

    But American Airlines coffee… THE WORST. Some say it’s the water in old holding tanks, some say that it’s the altitude that affects taste buds, I say they cheap out on it. I think Delta serves Starbucks, and that’s way better. As I am American, I like my coffer strong, black and bitter, just like brewed buy the campfire, thankyouverymuch.

    It’s easy to complain about airlines, traffic, the DMV and all those other great things that make modern life fantastic… I mean, come on: You can LITERALLY be on the other side of the world in a day.. around it in two or three, if you just want to do that and depending on which connections you can make. I know, because I have during a mileage run.

    I can’t wait to get up in the air, again! Second shot: 15th !!!111!!! 🙂

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  59. dazedandconfused says:
  60. Kurtz says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    If you think the housing situation is bad now…

    What a surprise! It’s almost as if incentivizing non-productive financial activity is anathema to classical economics and free markets. Who knew?

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  61. Stormy Dragon says:

    @gVOR08:

    It’s that or Piketty’s wealth tax.

    I like the idea of a wealth tax in theory, but one thing I can never get an answer to is how it would work from a documentation standpoint. e.g. How do I prove I don’t have $100 million dollars? Do I have to go get ever single thing I own appraised every year? Anything that doesn’t have to be listed is now a new loophole for hiding wealth.

    Case in point:

    Rare Super Mario Bros. game sells for a record $660,000

    So do we let billionaires avoid the wealth tax buy buying up rare video games, or do we force everyone in their country to itemize that box of old Nintendo cartridges in the attic?

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  62. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    So do we let billionaires avoid the wealth tax buy buying up rare video games,

    a $660,000 asset is a $660,000 asset and would be taxed accordingly.

    Right now, if you can’t deduct more than some threshold of expenses x, you don’t itemize your deductions, you take the standard $12,400 deduction. I’m sure a wealth tax would work the same way. If your total assets are less than y, you don’t have to deal with a wealth tax. And y would be some number calibrated such that only people worth millions would have to deal with it.

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  63. Pete S says:

    @KM:
    In Ontario we are way behind most of the US in our vaccination rates. Mostly seniors who live in high risk seniors homes have had 2 shots. For the rest of the population we are looking at getting one shot, then the second 4 months later. Even at that we have just started 70 years old and up last week and it is projected to be late June before first shots are all done.
    So now my boomer in-laws are complaining that is is unfair for them to have to wait for a second shot while others get their first because they want to travel again. I asked them where they expected to travel so soon since people from Ontario can’t go to the US or Eastern Canada, until everyone is vaccinated? They had not even considered that.
    Our boomers in Ontario have been doing a lot of whining in the media too. The land border to the US has been closed to non-essential travel for over a year now. So to get around this they were shipping cars over the border via truck or train and flying over the border on private helicopters, then picking up their cars and driving to Florida. Now that winter is over and they are coming back there seems to be a story every couple of days about some poor senior who is feeling put out by being required to have a negative test then quarantine when they get back.

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  64. grumpy realist says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Well, this is a copyright case, so no, no patent trolls….

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  65. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Teve:

    If your total assets are less than y, you don’t have to deal with a wealth tax.

    But again, how do I know my total assets are less than y? The 20 year old Panasonic TV in my main room is probably near worthless. But how do I know that? Maybe there’s some niche antique TV community out there that would pay hundreds of thousands for it.

    Particularly if I get audited by whatever agency ends up enforcing this tax and have to prove that the TV isn’t worth hundreds of thousands?

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  66. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I’m more forgiving that way (like having X-Wings bank and climb and turn like airplanes in space*), but one thing that bothers me no end is the missing mass. This happens when some being suddenly grows larger very fast, without visibly adding any mass to do so.

    *Babylon 5 did better, sometimes, depicting space battles.

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  67. Kurtz says:

    @tubal: @mattbernius:

    [ported]

    On 2A and suffrage:

    The right to bear arms was not viewed as a fundamental right and the formation of the 2nd amendment was complicated by an adjacent, but separate issue: the standing army.

    In Blackstone’s formulation, the three fundamental (in his terms “absolute”) rights were: private property, personal liberty, and personal security. He termed the right to bear arms as “auxiliary.” But note this passage:

    The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defence, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute . . . and is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.

    The discussion in the original thread illustrates the danger posed by letting political rhetoric overwhelm philosophical foundations. Notice that Blackstone acknowledges that legal restrictions on the right to bear arms can be legitimate.

    The other issue is that suffrage was not considered a fundamental right at that point. I cannot recommend this article enough. (A free account grants 100 article views a month on JSTOR.) I can’t copy and paste, so I’ll try to give a brief summary of the salient issue.

    The important phrasing at the time was, “will of their own.” This referred to the dependencies of tenants on landlords and workers on employers. The fear of extending suffrage to the unlanded was that the very rich would coerce or bribe common voters. And of course conservatives at the time were horrified by the French Revolution and feared losing their wealth to the rabble.

    Small farmers and freeholders were viewed as key to order and liberty. I’d argue that the analogue in our political era is “the middle class.”

    Our view of suffrage as a fundamental right would puzzle the 18th century intellectual of England and America. That’s a good thing. But rooting an absolutist view of the 2A in 18th century political theory requires one to elide too much to be taken seriously.

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  68. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: [Spoilers for the Movie “Executive Decision”] I mentioned above that my favorite thing about the movie was that Steven Segal’s character died so early. It turns out there was trade gossip at the time that when Segal’s ex-wife revealed he used to beat her, Kurt Russell refused to work with him and so they wrote him out of the script. If that’s true, then good on ol’ Kurt.

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  69. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    Are you aware of a person named Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, formerly known as Jovan Philyaw?

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  70. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I see a new normal coming. As to what percentage of the old, if I had to guess I’d probably go with 85%. The thing is depending on what is now gone and not coming back (I make no predictions) the affect on any one person can be anything from, “Who cares.” to “OH MY GAWD HOW DO I LIVE WITHOUT IT???”

    I fully expect mask wearing to become commonplace tho not common practice. Not being able to see faces will probably drive some folks up the wall, just as hearing people speak in a foreign language does now.

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  71. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @inhumans99: Here’s an idea, a little bit out there in left field but something I’ve been knocking around for a while now:

    Instead of giving them a medal, maybe we could raise the minimum wage to something like, oh I don’t know, $15/hr?

    🙂 🙂 🙂

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  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Monala:

    I recall how my grad school classmates and I, receiving master’s degrees in social work and human services, realized that we were not eligible for the various loan forgiveness programs available to teachers

    Certainly true, but the devil never gives revised deals to souls he already owns and neither does capitalism. To the extent that I recall the loan forgiveness deals, they were originally set up to entice people who might decide to work in other fields to opt for teaching and even then were limited to people who would take jobs that were difficult to fill and/or had very high attrition. The teacher going to Wonder Bread upper middle class suburban district isn’t getting a loan forgiveness program as far as I know, unless the rules changed.

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  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Cain: And then ordering what they always order anyway.

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  74. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: no, but upon googling him I see he was the creator of the cue cat, and back in the day I had a girlfriend who was in the same physics program I was in who eagerly got a cue cat and then wrote a bunch of custom scripts to do things like database all of the books she owned.

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  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: I have the same problem with time travel. Every time they write a plot where some idiot attempts to change the past, I lose all interest. Doesn’t matter how good everything else is, that’s a deal breaker for me.

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  76. Teve says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    It’s easy to complain about airlines, traffic, the DMV

    I’ve never understood the DMV bashing. I’ve dealt with DMVs in four different states and never had any significant trouble. If you give me the choice between going to the DMV for something and calling Comcast to resolve a problem, fuck that where’s my car keys. I’ll go to town, do the DMV thing, get some takeout, and be home eating Pad Kra Pao and you’ll still be on hold.

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  77. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    Like any self-respecting con man, he has latched onto the Trump Train. He is casting himself as an expert in determining whether a ballot is legitimate in a Georgia lawsuit seeking the release of ballot scans.

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  78. @Kylopod:

    Granted, but the fact that she is considered to be not conservative enough says a lot about where “conservatism” stands today

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  79. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: So do we let billionaires avoid the wealth tax buy buying up rare video games,

    I’m all in favor of that. Maybe they will go for old Lego collections too and drive the price of them so high I can sell my sons cedar chest full of Lego parts for a cool $500K?

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  80. Kathy says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    You’re an adult: Pony up for some airport sushi (particularly good in SFO) or at least Subways. You pay for the seat, and you can pay for the service, if you wish. Some do, some don’t.

    I think younger fliers may see things that way, as they never knew any different. Those of us who remember hot meals in domestic 90 minute flights, have a bit more trouble accepting this.

    The most recent outrage is seat assignments in coach. Not that long ago, they were free for all seats, on first-come first-served basis. If you wanted the extra legroom in the exit row, you just made sure to check in online early.

    Then they started charging for those seats, and the bulkhead seats as well. I could see the point, so ok. But then they began to charge for seats closer to the front of the plane. These are not extra legroom, but they may allow you to get off the plane faster. That’s straight out robbery, IMO.

    I suppose next they’ll charge for window or aisle seats. Maybe by the next pandemic there will be clean air surcharge.

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  81. Mimai says:

    @Monala: Respect and appreciation. Yours is often a thankless position, regardless of pandemic and/or loan matters.

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  82. Jax says:

    You guys should see the yahoo threatening to primary Liz Cheney. He’s a real piece of work, I accidentally come across his Facebook crap from time to time. Anthony Bouchard is his name.

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  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: How about this? When you sell your Mario Kart cartridge or your vintage Panasonic B&W for big buks, the government recovers by taxing your capital gain and now has a valuation on that particular item to use as a base for the new owner. I await your next “but what about…” objection.

    And for the record, I don’t see wealth taxing as a particularly workable solution, so we’ll end up with ropes, entrails (not enough rope), and lampposts.

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  84. Joe says:

    While I agree with you, Teve that “I’ve never understood the DMV bashing,” the DMV is still the absolute best scene in Zootopia.

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  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz: What’s the connection between ol’ Jovan and Memphis women who shoot up Burger Kings?

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  86. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: The IRS has ways of sussing out undeclared income. It’s not perfect of course, but if you’re purporting to live on a teacher’s salary, and your daily driver is a Ferrari Enzo, and your parents didn’t leave you any money, and your yacht is 52 feet long, and you live in Bel Air, don’t expect that the government won’t find that out. Presumably they could set up a similar system for getting wealth notifications. If you transfer a few mill from your Goldman Sachs account to a hedge fund, do you think that’s Top Secret? International wire transfers are monitored by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which is probably 1 street down from the IRS. They probably have Slack chats going. If you take 20k from your checking account out the door in Ben Franklins the IRS gets notified. I’m sure the Treasury is plugged into more data streams than we know about.

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  87. KM says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    So yeah, people are complaining about not seeing their loved ones. It sucks. Doesn’t it suck for you, too? Hasn’t a year of isolation taken a toll on you?

    It did but not the point of risking my loved ones health to see them in person vs a phone call. My need to see them is less than my need for them to be safe. It’s inherently selfish to want to gather in a pandemic rather then take these sensible distance options – understandable, human but still selfish. Being lonely is not a reason to expect someone to take unnecessary risks with their health or life. You wouldn’t ask your grandchild to run across a minefield to give you a hug, no matter how lonely or isolated you are. Emotional validation can be achieved via phone call (or all grandparents in FL would be dead by now). You don’t need to physically be there to have a connection or the world wouldn’t work.

    I get it sucks being old and alone. You know what else sucks? Having to work non-stop in a thankless ill-paying job, risking your life for someone who sighs at you how unfair it is they’re still lonely after being vaxxed while there’s no shots available for you. Many also haven’t seen their family for ages and still can’t; they’ll have to wait weeks for that pleasure. That poor worker is somebody’s kid or grandkid that Grandma didn’t get to have Easter with. They deserved to see her in person too but *can’t* because they’re being good and trying to do the right thing. Getting guilt trips for not showing up is, frankly, unfair and insulting because it’s not their fault they were pushed back on the list. Keeping the family safe is more important then keeping Grandma happy. If she can’t understand that, it would have been a sucky Easter anyways,

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  88. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Asset valuation is the problem with wealth taxes. Real Estate, stocks and bonds are easy, but what of art and automobiles? For 40 years someone has been buying young talented artists with the prices on some of those works selling for only hundreds of dollars. 30 years after acquiring work of an artist, he/she is now a superstar with paintings selling in the millions. What is our collectors works worth that are still in storage? Hundreds of dollars? And what were the values during the intervening years where a wealth tax would be collected.

    Valuing non-public companies is notoriously difficult. The income is being taxed, but how is it valued to determine wealth?

    Also, wealth taxes aren’t new, they have been tried in several countries and pretty much failed to generate the expected revenue. France implemented a wealth tax and then revised it to cover only real estate as valuing other assets was too difficult.

    A better alternative is a financial transaction tax.

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  89. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: you probably know more history than I do, am I right in my recollection that in some places during the founding era, people who were in the militia were required to keep that gun in the Armory?

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  90. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think my favorite Outer Limits episode was the one where the horribly disfigured man from the future comes to the past to find the woman who gave birth to the guy who destroyed the world with nuclear weapons, leaving future guy horribly disfigured. Upon finding the woman, she falls in love with him and decides that the best way to fix the problem with the future is to go be with him in it. This works out fine until they, upon crossing the time barrier, discover that bringing her along created a world into which he had not been born. The scene closes with the space ship speeding through the void to the background of a woman’s muted sobbing.

    That’s the way to do a time travel story.-

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  91. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: A financial transaction tax would hardly affect buy and hold investors like Warren Buffett, but it would destroy high frequency trading, which would be a Good in and of itself. HFT is straight parasitism.

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  92. Kurtz says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Nothing. It was a cheap way to tag Teve, because I wanted to ask him specifically.

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  93. Teve says:

    @Joe: Flash!

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  94. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    Granted I haven’t locked down, and I’m perfectly at ease alone, I do get tired of some pandemic precautions now and then.

    What I ask myself then is whether I’m also tired of living, and whether I’m also tired of not exposing others to a grave risk. Thus far, I’m not that tired of precautions.

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  95. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    How about this? When you sell your Mario Kart cartridge or your vintage Panasonic B&W for big buks, the government recovers by taxing your capital gain and now has a valuation on that particular item to use as a base for the new owner. I await your next “but what about…” objection.

    Because then it’s not a wealth tax anymore, it’s an income tax again. The goal of the wealth tax is to get some revenue on a billionaire’s unrealized gains without having to wait for them to liquidate it. You’re basically making the wealth tax pointless because billionaires can just buy a bunch of cars, art, etc. and not pay any taxes most of the time.

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  96. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Teve:

    I’ve never understood the DMV bashing. I’ve dealt with DMVs in four different states and never had any significant trouble. If you give me the choice between going to the DMV for something and calling Comcast to resolve a problem, fuck that where’s my car keys. I’ll go to town, do the DMV thing, get some takeout, and be home eating Pad Kra Pao and you’ll still be on hold.

    I think DMV’s are a lot better than the used to be because 99% of people can do whatever it is they need to do over the internet or via mail, so there’s not many people actually at the DMV. It’s also usually worse in major urban areas where, like for voting, something that would be a 10 minute wait in the suburbs takes hours in the city because the volume of officials doesn’t scale with the volume of citizens seeking access to the officials.

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  97. Teve says:

    Pt 1

    @drdrew

    These vaccine passports segregate people and strip them of their freedom to travel internationally. Vaccinations are important, and I encourage everyone to get the Covid vaccine, but how would you feel if international travel also required other vaccinations?

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  98. Teve says:

    Pt 2

    Ed Burmilla (a.k.a. Gin and Tacos):

    everyone is dunking on how stupid it is, but he isn’t actually this stupid. He has attended conferences, performances, and events in many countries as part of his doctor Drew media personality. Even discounting that, he knows that international travel often requires proof of vaccination.

    but now that he’s pivoting to the right-wing grift economy, this is just smart business. These people feign stupidity all the time – Stanford-educated Megyn Kelly pretending she doesn’t know how to pronounce big words on Fox, Yale-educated Josh Hawley doing his bullshit Man of the People stuff – because they are aiming at a deep-pocketed audience of people who really ARE this stupid. Dr Drew isn’t this dumb, but the people he thinks will give him money probably are. And he’s right. Look at what these people earn on substack, patreon, podcast advertising, etc. In some cases it’s seven figures.

    It’s easy, all it costs is your dignity. How badly do you want the money?

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  99. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    A better alternative is a financial transaction tax.

    Agreed, although there’s a still a risk there that billionaires start storing money in weird things that generally don’t clear through a central counterparty and thus are invisible to the financial system (there’s some speculation that this is what the recent NFT fad is really about).

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  100. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: that would explain why they’ve been good for the last decade or so but I haven’t had any problems ever, going back to my first DMV experience in probably 1992.

    I think maybe it’s just that the stereotype formed before monopolistic companies like Comcast, to use one example, realized that they were regional monopolies and didn’t have to spend real money on customer service.

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  101. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Teve:

    The closest thing I had RL to the stereotypical “DMV” experience was when RealID came out in Pennsylvania. Basically, my birth certificate, my social security, and my driver’s license had slightly different versions of my middle name (birth certificate had two middle names, social security had just one, and my driver’s license was just the middle initial). This wasn’t a problem during the “analog” first 40 years of my life, but Real ID is really insistence all three have to match EXACTLY, so I had to go through the process of getting them all the match up.

    Getting the social security changed to match the birth certificate took only 10 minutes of time with the SSA worker, but I had to wait in line three hours to get to see that worker.

    But again, that’s probably because everyone was trying to get RealID at that time so they were probably seem many times the normal level of traffic.

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  102. flat earth luddite says:

    @Kurtz: Many thanks for this sourcing. During my 3+ year vacation from society, I was able to read Blackstone twice, and most of the rest of the law library. This resource looks way more interesting than my collection of silly cat videos.

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  103. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    All I know about the DMV is what I see on TV and movies. It does seem to own its own circle in Hell, as portrayed. Come, Homer Simpson’s evil sisters in law work there! 😉

    That said, I’ve some experience with US bureaucracy, having obtained a visa in in 2012. That one required filling out a very extensive questionnaire online (fortunately the answers to some questions could be approximations), then setting up an appointment to get my biometric data taken, then another for the paperwork and interview.

    All told, including the online bit, I estimate the process took between four and six hours. This does not count the requirement to let the US embassy visa section take my passport, which was returned with the visa glued to one page some days later.

    I also recall many more hours spent in crowded government offices in Mexico obtaining a license, passport, voter registration card, etc. That, too, has improved substantially. My last license renewal took under an hour. Still, back in the 70s, getting a passport could take the whole morning, and then you had to return late in the afternoon to receive it.

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  104. Teve says:

    Senator Roy Blunt (Missouri, no surprise) says he might be open to an infrastructure bill if Biden cuts it from $2 trillion to $615 billion.

    “How much is that cheeseburger?”
    “Our cheeseburgers are seven dollars.”
    “I’ll give you $2.10. How’s that sound?”

    Where do they find these halfwits?

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  105. gVOR08 says:

    @DrDaveT: @Kathy: @OzarkHillbilly: Count me in. Suspension of belief is an odd thing. For me, one of the best examples is a little known movie Babe about a talking pig. Before modern CGI they had realistic sheep doing close order drill. It wasn’t until I left the theatre that I went, “Wait, how the hell did they do that?” However, I think I find it worse when they do something unrealistic because the plot requires it. I can’t do Zombie movies and shows. Zombies just don’t make any sense. I agree with Kathy on variable mass shapeshifters. How does that work? Time travel does seem to take away all the rules, I even dislike the time travel Harry Potter movie, which was better done than most time travel plots. And don’t get me started on Star Trek holodeck plots.

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  106. Stormy Dragon says:

    @gVOR08:

    Zombies just don’t make any sense.

    As one thing I saw put it: making your only means of sustenance and reproduction be your primary predator is not a good evolutionary survival strategy

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  107. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I can see that causing trouble. Fortunately those three documents all exactly match for me. When the Real ID thing happened, I didn’t have to take them anything, they just issued me a new license that was Real ID compliant.

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  108. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Teve:

    Prior to RealID, PA licenses didn’t require proof of citizenship (in fact, you can still get a non-RealID PA license that doesn’t), so they couldn’t just issue new RealID licenses, they had to get every single person with a PA license bring in their documents and verify it.

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  109. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: that explains it!

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  110. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    I can’t do Zombie movies and shows. Zombies just don’t make any sense.

    I don’t find zombies even slightly interesting.

    I think suspension of disbelief is something we are all trained for early on. How many children’s books and cartoons have talking, anthropomorphized animals? I think a majority of them. Not to mention wizards, witches, fairies, spells, charms, etc.

    And don’t get me started on religion.

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  111. Teve says:

    538: why being anti-media is now part of the GOP identity

    You know, one feature of a cult is that you only trust information from the leaders of the cult. All external information is fake news.

    Sound familiar?

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  112. Teve says:

    I am not a law-talking guy, but if I’m reading some people on Twitter correctly, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled today that reconciliation can be used for two more bills this year.

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  113. Teve says:
  114. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Any financial transaction over $10k that runs through a bank needs to be reported. No one is going to be buying or selling a vintage Ferrari or a Basquiat with multiple suitcases full of $20s.

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  115. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I heard that ‘anything $10,000 and up’ number so many times on TV and in the movies that I assume that information was planted by the government, and the real number is $9000 or so. 😛

    Side Note: Young earth creationist Kent Hovind got up to all kinds of tax shenanigans, for which he went to prison, and 45 of the charges were related to him making numerous withdrawals of $9500 to avoid IRS reporting.

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  116. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    I’m not sure about that. I’ll poke around.

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  117. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Aha. We differ on goal. I see a wealth tax as a simple redistribution thing with no “unrealized recapture” features. But again, I don’t think a wealth tax is practical in the first place, so we’re still stuck with ropes and entrails.

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  118. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I think the DMV possibly has a bad reputation because 1) people don’t like queueing up in lines and 2) because of the way that it works in areas where the population may not be very large. When I was living in the mill towns zone of Oregon, I needed to get an Oregon license. My building principal told me that I would need to use one of my discretionary leave days for getting it done. City kid me said, “Wait a second, St. Helens is only 20 minutes away, how is it going to take me 8 hours to do this? And why do I have to do it during the week anyway?” Turns out, the DMV is only open for 4 hours a day and only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So, if you’re not at the DMV within 10 minutes of opening time (10:30 on Tuesday and some other time on Thursday), you won’t be able to get an appointment for that day. I got there at 10:15–I don’t like risking being late–and was still only able to get one of the later slots to take my written exam for the license. Fun stuff. Additionally, in some places in Washington, the DMV is in the next county.

    This is also why Republicans like using the DMV as the source of picture ID for voters.

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  119. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Also, wealth taxes aren’t new, they have been tried in several countries and pretty much failed to generate the expected revenue. …
    A better alternative is a financial transaction tax.

    Revenue generation is nice, but not really the point. For Piketty the point was to prevent extreme wealth accumulation. For me, the point is to keep the Kochs, Uihleins, DeVoses, Mercers, Adelsons, etc., etc. from screwing up the country. I’m not sure what Elizabeth Warren has in mind. I think a wealth tax works a lot better if it’s by some miracle worldwide. Then you go to a bank in the Bahamas, ask how much money they have in accounts over X dollars, and take 1% of it. Let the bank sort it out with the account holders.

    A transaction tax also makes a lot of sense. Again, revenue is nice, but it would damp down computerized trading and incentivize holding assets. Why not do both? And tax capital gains and inheritances as income. And get rid of the ridiculous carried interest thing. John Galbraith wanted a VAT or something similar. He had three reasons: we need the money, economists prefer consumption taxes, and eliminating resentment over the supposedly progressive personal income tax would largely defund the Republican Party.

    Rather than define and defend any particular plan, I’ll leave it that I’d love to see Dems run on doing real, major tax reform. I don’t care about the details, almost anything would be an improvement.

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  120. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Our local DMV is only open on Wednesday’s from 10-4. We can drive 35 miles to the other one Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday.

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  121. Kurtz says:

    @gVOR08:

    For me, one of the best examples is a little known movie Babe about a talking pig.

    It was nominated for best picture.

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  122. reid says:

    @Kathy: I’m sure I’ve seen flights where nearly every seat had some charge associated with it as part of the ticket-buying process. I don’t remember the airline, unfortunately, but likely one in the USA. (I have flown Interjet and Volaris, though.)

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  123. Teve says:

    Yesterday Trump released a statement saying everyone should boycott Coca-Cola. Steven Miller just released a new photo of him with Trump today, and on Trump’s desk an open bottle of Diet Coke has been poorly hidden behind his phone.

    And so it goes.

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  124. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Don’t you wish Republicans would boycott America?

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  125. DrDaveT says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Asset valuation is the problem with wealth taxes. Real Estate, stocks and bonds are easy, but what of art and automobiles?

    Let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. There are only so many Vermeers and Bugattis in the world, and their total value isn’t enough to dent the wealth problem.

    A better alternative is a financial transaction tax.

    We already have one, although it is usually mislabeled as an “income tax”.

    Note: if you trade your vintage Rolls Royce Silver Shadow to your neighbor for his Van Gogh, both of you need to report that to the IRS, and one of you is probably going to owe some serious income tax as a result.

    While it is true that much wealth is hard to spot and hard to value, the vast majority of wealth is not. This will remain true even if a significant wealth tax were to be passed, and even if we go strictly by most recent purchase price to value assets that are not traded on open markets.

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  126. Teve says:

    @Kathy: maybe we can work out a deal with Putin, where he sets aside some fairly uninhabited land for American expatriates to go start Jesus Libertaristan. Then we pull a Trump and have a box on the application form autochecked that says they renounce their US citizenship, so when the whole thing goes catastrophically tits-up in four months they can’t come back. 😛

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  127. Mister Bluster says:

    In Illinois there is no DMV (Dept./Div. of Motor Vehicles). To get your tags renewed or take a drivers license test or pick up a copy of The Rules of the Road you visit the Driver Service Facility, Secretary of State, Jesse White. The one here in town is open Tue-Sat 9hrs/day weekdays, 7:30-noon on Saturday. It’s been like that for as long as I can remember.
    For years I would take my check and renewal form into the office to pick up a new sticker for my license plate. Never took more than 10 minutes if that. When I drove by the building a few months ago and saw the line out the door I decided to use the web site. No extra charge if you used a debit card. New sticker came in the mail four days later. Thanks Jesse!

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  128. Mister Bluster says:

    The harder they come, the harder they fall

    Undefeated Gonzaga goes down in flames 70-86 to Baylor!

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  129. Jax says:

    @Mister Bluster: We have to get our vehicle registrations from the County Treasurer, which has no office in my town at all, you have to drive 35 miles to get it. DMV is strictly for licensing of people, not vehicles.

    It’s really kind of amazing how each state has it’s own structure for all that. There really could be….a better, more uniform way. A person moving in from out of state would have no clue how much is different if they didn’t really pay attention to all that stuff.

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  130. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jax:..It’s really kind of amazing how each state has it’s own structure for all that.

    I know that the first time I heard the Beach Boys Little Deuce Coupe was when it came out in ’63-’64(?). For years I wondered what the line “Theres one more thing, I got the pink slip daddy” meant. Only when I moved to San Francisco in 1974 and had to get California license plates for my
    1960 Ford F-100 did I discover that in California the pink slip is the title to the vehicle. The document at that time was printed on a pink slip of paper. May still be.
    To get the plates I had to modify the 6 cylinder motor to pass the California emissions test. There were two parts that vented to the outside one off the valve cover which I believe was the oil filler cap and one off the engine block as I recall. Both had to be modified so the fumes were recycled back into the combustion chamber.
    Couldn’t have been too complex because I know I did the work myself and passed the test and got my Pink Slip and my California plates.

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  131. wr says:

    @Mister Bluster: ” The document at that time was printed on a pink slip of paper. May still be.”

    It’s not. But it’s still called that.

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  132. Mister Bluster says:

    @wr:..It’s not. But it’s still called that.

    California Dreamin’

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