Monday’s Forum

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

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:

    Hoo boy.

    PragerU Presenter Karlyn Borysenko Says Jewish People Chose To Die In Holocaust

    BY EWAN PALMER ON 12/7/21 AT 8:25 AM EST

    A presenter at academic media company PragerU has been criticized for stating that her spiritual beliefs means she thinks Jewish people chose to be killed in the Holocaust, and that Adolf Hitler went to heaven.

    In a series of tweets over the past few days, Karlyn Borysenko has been outlining her beliefs that people make decisions about their lives before they “choose to be born,” including when they die.

    While answering a number of questions on the subject, Borysenko said this includes children who “choose to be aborted” as they could “choose to be born into human form” if they wanted.

    Borysenko went on to suggest that even those who were killed in the Holocaust chose to do so spiritually for the “experience.”

    “That’s why Hitler went to Heaven.”

    Okay, let’s back up a little. Karlyn Borysenko appears in PragerU videos where she claims to be a Democrat who nonetheless voted for Trump in 2020. You’d think a point of view like the one above might not jibe so well with the propaganda company started by Dennis Prager. I guess they were so beguiled by the optics of a Democrat doing the old “the party left me” routine, they didn’t vet her quite as thoroughly as they might have.

    What did she mean by these bizarre remarks? From what I can glean, she seems to be a believer in some form of Spiritualism where the souls of dead people go through reincarnations and take on new hardships to pay off karmic debts from past lives. But I should stop there, because I know very little about Spiritualism and I have some doubts as to whether other adherents would agree with her take on the Holocaust.

    She apparently got into this discussion while arguing with anti-abortionists, and it devolved from there. Following the debacle, she put out the following tweet: “I’ve been canceled by the woke CONSERVATIVE mob who can’t handle I’m not a Christian.”

    The question I have is why she seems so intent on burning bridges with her newfound friends on the right. It sure as hell isn’t going to help her get back in the good graces of the left. I honestly don’t think she’s an opportunist like Candace Owens; I think she’s simply a lunatic. PragerU found her useful and didn’t stop to consider whether someone like her would have any tendency to stay on their script.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: The google says she’s a real piece of work.

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  3. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    That’s a very peculiar form of solipsism. everyone exists, but no one except me has agency.

    So, why did she choose to be cancelled?

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  4. Mu Yixiao says:

    Marjorie Taylor Greene banned from Twitter for life.

    “It’s a communist conspiracy” (or something).

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Webb’s sunshield is fully deployed.

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  6. Scott says:

    So I’ve been away for a couple of weeks hanging out with children and grand children. Hope everyone used the holidays to slow down and check out. Did the world change? Apparently not.

    On the downside, my brain has been marinating in Cocomelon.

    What’s Cocomelon? A children’s show on Netflix. Read about it here:

    Cocomelon: the unsettling kids show that’s breaking Netflix records

    When you think of Netflix, you might think of immovable cultural artefacts like Friends, or beloved original productions like Stranger Things, or oddly ratified lockdown staples like Tiger King. And yet one of the biggest Netflix shows, possibly ever, is a show you might not even be aware of. Ladies and gentlemen, that show is Cocomelon.

    So what is this Cocomelon? A prestigious drama that offers an authentic look at an important social issue? A deliberately trashy reality show about a shopping mall concession kiosk? A true crime documentary about a monster known only as The Cocomelon Killer?

    Well, no. It’s a kid’s show. And if anything that’s putting it loosely. In fact, Cocomelon is a just series of three hour-long nursery rhyme compilations. The first episode – Cocomelon Sing-Alongs: Playdate With JJ – begins with a song called First Day at School. Over a melody pitched nebulously between Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and This Old Man He Played One, a CGI toddler (think Pixar by way of a debilitating radiation leak) expresses nerves about starting school. His family prepares him by endlessly drilling him on what he needs to take, what he needs to do and the precise level of emotion he should be experiencing. He goes to school. It’s fine. The song ends. Three minutes have passed. Another 57 remain.

    Combined with songs from Frozen and Frozen II permanently etched in the synapses of my brain, there will be a long period of rehabilitation required to reacquire any sense of thinking ability.

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  7. grumpy realist says:

    @Scott: It doesn’t have songs, but Avatar: the last Airbender seems to have been similarly popular among the older set. My godson has been watching it obsessively.

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  8. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    It’s her personal account that’s been banned. She still has her official congressional account.

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  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    Just when you decide that all bosses are corrupt, narcissistic pigs, this happens.

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  10. Scott O says:

    Over the last few days I’ve been having a lot of difficulty accessing OTB on my Ipad. I keep getting this error message,

    “bad request
    Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand.
    Size of a request header field exceeds server limit.
    Apache/2.4.41 (Ubuntu) Server at http://www.outsidethebeltway.com Port 443″

    Repeatedly reloading the page usually gets me in. I have no problems with other websites. I’m posting this from my desktop computer, Windows, where everything is working fine.

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  11. Scott says:

    @grumpy realist: My kids binged that one also. They claimed it was vastly superior to the movie version.

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  12. grumpy realist says:

    @Scott: I think everyone and his dog agrees that the movie stinks.

    (Of course, what do you expect from a director who comes up with the bright idea of an alien invasion of the Earth where the aliens are vulnerable to water?!! There’s a reason why this added up on the list of “Alien empires too dumb to actually exist”.)

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  13. Kylopod says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Of course, what do you expect from a director who comes up with the bright idea of an alien invasion of the Earth where the aliens are vulnerable to water?!!

    That’s what happens when you try to cross War of the Worlds with Wizard of Oz.

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  14. Just nutha says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Still, take whatever comfort there is in knowing that this guy is an extreme outlier.

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Scott: @grumpy realist:
    The Avatar movie is often Exhibit A in the category of, ‘beloved kid’s properties Hollywood fucked up.’ The show has a devoted fan base, the movie is despised. See also Artemis Fowl, Percy Jackson, Eragon, Wrinkle in Time, and many, many others. Hollywood sucks hard at adapting YA or middle grade kid’s stuff, with some notable exceptions like Hunger Games, or even The One And Only Ivan, which we liked better than critics did.

    A key factor may be when the original creators have enough muscle to maintain a degree of control: Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer. Percy Jackson’s creator, Rick Riordan tried – there’s a whole long thing online Riordan wrote about how Hollywood butchered his story despite his efforts to stop them. What could have been half a dozen movies fizzled with two barely profitable features.

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  16. Sleeping Dog says:

    A thought experiment.

    Next time you have a chance to speak with an R, not a cult member, but an R that rolls his/her eyes at TFG, but supports and voted for him for judges, tax reductions and liberal baiting etc. Ask if (when) war breaks out in eastern Europe will they want TFG to be the R candidate in 2024?

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  17. Kathy says:

    A reminder that while Omicron is driving the latest worldwide surge, there’s plenty of Delta still circulating (and infection by both variants at once is possible).

    I mention this because there are no guarantees an infection now will be less severe. Keep your mask on.

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  18. CSK says:

    The New York AG has just subpoenaed Ivanka Trump and Donald Junior.

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  19. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Has there ever been a successful movie based on a non-episodic TV show?

    I can’t think of any. I don’t think Avatar is filmable as a movie.

    Novel adaptations are hit or miss, episodic tv show adaptations are the same, but I can’t think of anything that was successful adapting a long-form story to about 2 hours.

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  20. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kylopod:..From what I can glean, she seems to be a believer in some form of Spiritualism where the souls of dead people go through reincarnations and take on new hardships to pay off karmic debts from past lives.

    Is this the same karma that some commenters on these threads invoke to punish anti vaxxers?

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  21. Kathy says:

    Schummer is making noises about changing the filibuster rules by mid-February. This is in order to pass voting rights legislation, which passed the House two years ago.

    Even assuming Sinema and Manchin go along, it may be all for nothing if the Democrats can’t hang on to the Senate or the House in this year’s midterms.

    First, we know the Republicans will cry at the top fo their lungs at the injustice of having to hold fair elections, where there’s no need for anyone to endure hardship in order to vote. Next, even with fair elections, it’s likely the GOP will win the House or the Senate or both. So they will crow like little trumps that they managed to score a great victory even with the heinous law making elections fair for all. And finally, if they take both House and Senate, they will simply repeal the law.

    So for 2024, we’re all screwed.

    It’s not that Schummer should do anything differently, but rather the realization the fight may already be lost and there’s nothing to be done about it.

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  22. flat earth luddite says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Alien empires too dumb to actually exist

    .
    My first thought was, “Oh, you mean like the GOP?”
    And then reality kicked in. Sh*t.
    If only.

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  23. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yeah, Percy Jackson is another series my kids loved, not least because Rick Riordan is a local boy and that Camp Half-Blood is loosely (very loosely) modeled on Camp Capers, the church camp that they attended.

    Chris Columbus really messed up that entire series. It is time for a redo maybe in an episodic Netflix or Amazon series.

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  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Scott O: I’ve had that a couple times. It’s been OTB both times for some reason. Go to Settings>Safari>Clear History and Website Data. You’ll lose some auto logins and preferences and such, but should fix the problem. Seems to be something you need to do every now and again.

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  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: Yes. Being able to filibuster GOP voting legislation is about the only argument for retaining the filibuster. But Moscow Mitch will kill the filibuster anyway if it’s important to Chuckles Koch.

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  26. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “Has there ever been a successful movie based on a non-episodic TV show?”

    If by “non-episodic” you mean serialized, I’m going to go with House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows, both from 1971.

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  27. wr says:

    @Scott: “It is time for a redo maybe in an episodic Netflix or Amazon series.”

    Disney+ has one in development, with Rick Riordan fully involved.

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  28. Mister Bluster says:

    Richard Leakey has died
    National Geographic described Leakey as a “swashbuckling, pugnacious real-life Indiana Jones,” who “managed to cheat death many times — a childhood skull fracture, kidney and liver failures that required transplants, public beatings, and a plane crash — before passing away in his home outside Nairobi.”

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  29. Mimai says:

    My group has been doing a lot of work with people experiencing homelessness. Specifically on chronic health conditions and healthcare utilization. I am typically dismayed by the coverage of these issues (or lack thereof) in the popular press. So allow me to highlight a few recentish articles that are rather well done.

    Here’s one from 2021 that’s focused on Russia.

    Here’s one from 2020 on Alexander the Grate. See (hear) also his 2021 podcast episode with Tyler Cowen.

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  30. Sleeping Dog says:

    @gVOR08:

    The only reason that Moscow didn’t kill the filibuster under TFG is that old line R senators like Blunt, Toomey, Grassley and Thune, wanted to keep it so that they wouldn’t need to take public stands on the craziness that emanated from the House when R’s controlled it and to avoid voting on some of TFG’s loonier ideas. Those old timers are retiring and any R replacing them will be gung ho to rid the senate of the filibuster.

    Hell Moscow might not be the majority leader under the next R majority.

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  31. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The only reason that Moscow didn’t kill the filibuster under TFG is that old line R senators like Blunt, Toomey, Grassley and Thune, wanted to keep it so that they wouldn’t need to take public stands on the craziness that emanated from the House when R’s controlled it and to avoid voting on some of TFG’s loonier ideas.

    I think it’s more complicated. Most of the things Republicans seek to do legislatively–which basically amounts to tax cuts and defunding of liberal programs–can be accomplished through reconciliation. It’s based on the old idea that it’s easier to destroy than to build. Even the so-called Obamacare repeal bills–which failed to pass even the 51-vote bar–consisted mostly of slashing Medicaid and cutting more taxes. Using reconciliation gave McConnell the cover to claim he was repealing Obamacare without committing himself to something as disruptive as eliminating the entire regulatory structure of the ACA, something he knew would have been harmful to the medical and insurance industries. And even then he couldn’t get the votes.

    On the other hand, McConnell unhesitatingly ended the SCOTUS filibuster to ram Gorsuch through. Anyone who believes he wouldn’t have done so had Harry Reid in 2013 not ended the sub-SCOTUS judicial filibuster (a decision that enabled Obama to appoint many judges who are still on the bench) is really smoking something.

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  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:

    Disney+ has one in development, with Rick Riordan fully involved.

    ‘Fully involved’ but Rick has no more contractual rights than he did the first time. I don’t mean to be cynical but we’ve just walked away from one ‘fully involved’ thing where all the relevant decisions had already been made, and where the whole point of having us ‘fully involved’ was so that flacks could say we were ‘fully involved.’ Hollywood reassurances mean nothing if not spelled out in the contract, and sometimes not even then.

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    That is the basic problem. You’re stuffing five gallons of shit into a one gallon bucket. Sometimes it works, mostly it doesn’t. Structures are too different.

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  34. Mister Bluster says:

    Elizabeth Holmes Trial: Jury says it is deadlocked on three counts
    The jury tasked with determining the fate of Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO and founder of failed blood testing startup Theranos in her criminal trial, said that it is unable to come to a unanimous verdict on three of the eleven counts.
    A jury of eight men and four women was in its seventh day of deliberations when it returned a note indicating they are at a standstill and cannot reach a unanimous verdict on all counts. The jury did not indicate on which counts they were unable to reach a verdict.

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  35. CSK says:

    As I’m sure we all expected, Ivanka and Trump Junior have filed motions to quash the subpoenas issued against them earlier today.

    Lock them up, lock them up, lock them up…

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  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Shit. What a kill joy. Now I have to say, “Not all bosses…”

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  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: And finally, if they take both House and Senate, they will simply repeal the law.

    Something tells me Joe Biden isn’t going to sign that piece of legislation.

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  38. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I overlooked that, didn’t I? And no way three’d be the votes to override the veto.

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  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: It happens.

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  40. EddieInCA says:

    Anecdotally, this new strain is nuts…

    We had 44 people test yesterday in advance of returning to work. Everyone needs two negative PCR tests to be able to work on Tuesday.

    Of the 44 people we had test yesterday, 21 came back positive. 21.

    21 of 44.

    I’m still negative. But then again, I don’t go out in public much. And when I do, the mask never comes off, and I keep my distance. I’m paranoid.

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  41. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: That’s definitely true, and I don’t know anyone involved, but from all his tweets and other communications Riordan seems to be writing and doing a lot of the producing with his wife. Still doesn’t mean it will be any good, but I suspect it will honor the spirit of the books better than those movies did.

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  42. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Well, yes, but I’m well-rested after the weekend. It also looks like week 4 of Hell Week won’t materialize. Hell, we may even leave the office by 7 pm today.

    On other things, one good thing about having to pointlessly waste time taking photos of products, is that we had many samples left over. One was a loaf of multi-grain sliced bread. It looked just right for making grilled cheese Saturday. the problem is a whole packages is too much for me. So I made grilled cheese for breakfast (with sauteed onions and turkey), and then I dried the rest in the oven.

    Dried out bread is easy enough to make into breadcrumbs*, ergo store bought homemade breadcrumbs. the milanesas came off so well, I want to try it next with black bread.

    *One can either use a food processor, or seal it in a plastic bag and apply a rolling pin. Since I also wanted to make peanut powder, I dug the food processor out from the lower depths of the pantry.

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  43. Mister Bluster says:

    Happy Birthday to me!
    1948
    Thank’s mom. RIP

    Live long and pay more.
    The price of a small coffee at Dunkin’ went up from $2.00 to $2.57 (tax inc.) with the senior dicount. Still get a free donut every visit with my AARP card. The help told me that the prices went up because of the minimum wage increase in Illinois to $12/hour. “Classic donuts” are now $1.44 each (tax inc.).
    I figure that my $16 annual AARP membership is equal to about the cost of a dozen donuts. If I get 5 donuts a week for 50 weeks that is 250 donuts X $1.44=$360 worth of free donuts!
    I don’t begrudge the help at local retail establishments getting a raise. In this town many of them are college students trying to get by. As faded as my memory is I can still recall the days when a lid of weed (1 oz) was $20 and when Zig Zags went up from 5¢ to 10¢ a pack and just about broke me.
    I did get a free cookie with my Coffee Club coffee at the Panera Drive Up window for my birthday. Indoor dining is still closed due to no help.
    I wonder if MickeyD’s will hike their senior coffee (88¢ tax inc.) to cover the minimum wage hike?

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  44. Just nutha says:

    @Mister Bluster: I guess that there IS something to that “if I have one life to live, let me live it as a blonde” pitch from Clairol all those years ago. Who new?

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  45. flat earth luddite says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    @Just nutha:

    Oh, and I’m sure Cracker remembers coming into the store after work and listening to the drunks b***chin because their smokes went up from $0.35/pack to $0.50. Scandalous! And in our neck of the woods, $20/lid was for the good stuff, IIRC. Good times indeed…

    Don’t have a Dunkin close enough to Casa Luddite to bother going for the donut, but you keep enjoying them. Happy Natal Day, and enjoy!!

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  46. dazedandconfused says:

    @Scott:

    The power of music…

    Reminds me of my uncle’s story of going to a theater for the Beatles Hard Days Night and Help matinee with his pals and staying to see both of them a couple times though. All day. He was 9 at the time. In those days parents thought nothing of letting the kids go the theater nearby by themselves, so the thing was filled with mostly kids, and they would sing along sometimes, en mass.

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  47. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha:..“if I have one life to live, let me live it as a blonde”

    Goodbye, Baby

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  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    Don’t have a Dunkin close enough to Casa Luddite to bother going for the donut

    Well sure, but only because the Dunkin shops all went banko in the 90s because the donuts were always stale. The greatest shock of my life came while I was in Korea and discovered that the place to get a good donut and a ‘spro was Dunkin Donuts.

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  49. Mister Bluster says:

    @flat earth luddite:..Don’t have a Dunkin close enough to Casa Luddite to bother going for the donut, but you keep enjoying them. Happy Natal Day, and enjoy!!

    Thanks for the greetings!
    Donuts are my destiny!
    Back when I was in Jr.High School my daddy bought a donut franchise and thought he was going to strike it rich. He wanted a Mister Donut or a Dunkin’ Donut shop but for whatever reason he settled for a regional outfit in central Illinois called Bakers Dozen Donuts. You ordered 12 donuts and got 13. I ended up working there for no pay and a roof over my head. The most memorable shift that I recall was in October 1962 when the news came over the radio that we had on in the store that Russian ships on the way to Cuba were about to be blockaded by the United States Navy and that missles were out of their silos at bases in the American west. At 14 I knew what that meant and that all I could do was wait to see what happened.
    Six years later my first job when I moved to Sleepytown to finish college was at the local Spudnuts. The franchise that used potato flour in their donut dough. (SPUD nuts). I worked the overnight shift from 11pm to 7am Friday night and Saturday night. The bars in town closed at 2am and the place lit up. Just about when things would settle down the bars out in the county closed at 4am and everyone came to Spudnuts and partied till the sun came up. Good Times!

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  50. Scott O says:

    @gVOR08: Thanks. That seems to have solved the problem.

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  51. Sleeping Dog says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    Don’t worry, it’s only a matter of time before there is a Dunkins within sight of your house. They’re the rabbits of fast food.

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  52. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    I hope so. I don’t know Rick aside from the occasional green room drive-by, but he has a good reputation in the community as a good dude. And his fans, like ours, are basically toxin-free, sweet kids who just like a good adventure story. I get where he’s coming from. Those kids made people like Rick or Katherine or me. We owe them some effort to make sure their love affair with a book series isn’t shit on.

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  53. Jax says:

    @Mister Bluster: I always loved the graveyard shifts when I was waiting tables. Let the freak flags fly! 😛

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  54. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Update: guilty on four counts of defrauding investors.

    That’s all well and good, but she was found not guilty of defrauding patients, which I find inexplicable. Many of the tests run on the hacked Siemens equipment were wildly inaccurate, and the lab never passed proficiency tests. If that’s not fraud, I don’t know what is.

    There are also three counts where the jury deadlocked. Holmes can be tried on those again.

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