Post-Trial Forum

On to the next big story.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. 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. MarkedMan says:

    In another thread, Steven is feeling besieged over comments about his reaction to Pelosi tearing up Trump’s speech. I’m not trying to re-litigate that here, but rather point out something I think led to us arguing past each other: people agree that Trump’s behavior shouldn’t be normalized, but mean two different things by “normalized”.

    On one hand, I think Stephen is primarily worried about Trump’s behavior becoming the standard emulated by other politicians.

    On the other hand there are those among us most worried about politicians and the media treating Trump’s outrageous actions in a normal fashion. The main concern here is that Trump has already coopted that “normal reaction” and to continue to treat Trumps lies and racism as if they were merely intellectual disagreements lends them a legitimacy that guarantees their acceptance into society. They become “normal”.

    These two views aren’t mutually exclusive. I agree 100% with Stephen on the first one. “Kill the moderates” is a sure sign that any revolution is going to go very very wrong. I think he is right to warn against this.

    But I am also just as concerned about the second definition. I would challenge Stephen that bemoaning the use of new tactics is fine but alternatives should be presented. In this vein I think Pelosi’s reaction was perfect. The question isn’t “is it normal for a Speaker to demonstrate disgust with a President after the SOTU?”, but rather “What is an appropriate reaction when Trump shows up at the SOTU and trashes all norms and conventions and makes a mockery of it?”

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  2. Kari Q says:

    I have been thinking about that as well. I understand bemoaning the loss of decorum; I have similar feelings. But I am trying to figure out what the advantage of upholding norms is for those opposed to undermining democracy? What’s in it for us if Pelosi acts as if nothing has changed? We know the Republicans aren’t going to change, so what’s the upside to holding on to norms that the other side scoffs at?

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    10 US oil refineries exceeding limits for cancer-causing benzene, report finds

    At least 10 US oil refineries have been emitting cancer-causing benzene above the federal government’s limits, according to a new report from the Environmental Integrity Project. The group reviewed a year of air monitoring data recorded at the fence lines of 114 refineries, as reported to the Environmental Protection Agency. The facilities are not breaking the law, but they are required by EPA to analyze the causes of the emissions and try to reduce them.

    Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project, said while some refineries have made improvements, others are still releasing benzene at harmful rates. “Benzene comes with elevated cancer risk but also lots of non-cancer issues that are harder to quantify,” Schaeffer said. People can get sick from low levels in the long term or high levels in the short term.

    One of these is not like the other:

    5 of the 10 are in TX
    2 in LA
    1 each in MS, NM, and PA.

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  4. Kit says:

    In another thread, I equated norms with traditions, but I also think they could be equated with politeness. Politeness is primarily about how we signal good will, and its opposite is how we signal indifference or ill will. Norms express both how we play a game in the absence of all-encompassing rules, and especially how we signal our desire to play the game in good faith. Obviously, in the political sphere, good faith has long since disappeared from one side. And now the other side, twenty five years late, is coming round to the conclusion that continuing to tip your hat to the neighbor while he flips you the bird is unlikely to bring back the good old days of when the two of you would ensure that the fence remained in good repair and the sidewalk free of dog shit.

    The goal now is not merely to tear up a speech but to strike forcefully and repeatedly such that the other side begs for civility.

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  5. drj says:

    @Kari Q:

    But I am trying to figure out what the advantage of upholding norms is for those opposed to undermining democracy?

    One could even argue that upholding traditional norms while the other side is undermining democracy amounts to normalizing the undermining of democracy.

    I didn’t follow the earlier discussion very closely, but I suspect that part of the disagreement was caused by Steven condemning Pelosi’s move as too extreme – without suggesting a different course of action that would clearly signal that what Trump and his GOP enablers are doing is not normal.

    Thus seeming to imply that Democrats should continue to act as if nothing extraordinary is happening right in front of their faces.

    I can imagine that this got a lot of people riled up.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @drj:

    I can imagine that this got a lot of people riled up.

    The proof of that is this re litigation of it. I almost weighed in here but I already said all I had to say about it then. I see no need to repeat myself.

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  7. grumpy realist says:

    Kirk Douglas has just died, at 103. Here’s an interview with him, after he turned 100.

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  8. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The Dems should drum beat this every day. “Republicans believe our air is too clean and are rolling back protections, even near schools and retirement homes.”

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  9. Scott says:

    Tactics going forward? To me the key to Trump is that he is a bully. And like all bullies, he is a coward. Politeness doesn’t work. Pelosi understands this. That is why she is in his face. I see Bloomberg doing the same thing.

    What should the various media do? Understand that if they are cowed by Trump, he will just bully them more. Think of it as Battered Wife syndrome. There was an example on Tuesday when he invited the media for lunch but not CNN. By attending, those people just gave him a permission structure to go further. Pompeo is trying the same thing.

    I also want to suggest that Trump supporters like this behavior. Trump is their surrogate and he is doing the things they wish they could. As some point there will be a tipping point and then we will have a public insanity which will result in a Rwanda, a Cambodia like other human rages that have occurred in history.

    Don’t think it could happen here? Check out the most civilized country in the world and what happened to them in the 20s and 30s.

    And it will happen slowly. I invite you to read this long twitter thread by Jim Wright.

    https://twitter.com/stonekettle/status/1008502343594373120?lang=en

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  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: The article goes on to note:

    Benzene is just one of multiple dangerous pollutants emitted by refineries – which turn oil into gasoline and other products. Studies have shown the populations living around refineries – often people of color and low-income families – to have worse asthma and other respiratory problems.

    which I didn’t quote because Duuuuh! It’s not like they are going to put one in the Hamptons. These things get situated where they are because those people have little to no political power and all anyone else cares about is NIMBY.

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  11. KM says:

    Trump’s already retaliating. DHS just issued a statement that NYers are banned from Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry and Nexus. They claim it’s due to the Green light law but they aren’t the only state to issue drivers licenses to illegals. NY has several international airports with HUGE volumes of travelers and borders Canada at places like Niagara Falls. This is going to cause MAJOR disruptions and piss of a ton of people. Hell, it won’t even effect just the “elites” since average folks along the Canadian border think nothing of going to another country to get decent Chinese food and many have passport cards or enhanced licences.

    This is disgustingly blatant retribution against NY for daring to investigate the King and serve to try and “disuade” them for pursuing things after he’s out of office. Trump’s only going to get worse now that he’s been informed he will never be held accountable.

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  12. Kathy says:

    IMO the key to the new Cheeto politics involves two things: 1) A complete lack of shame, 2) An absolute refusal to admit any mistake, misstep, error, miscalculation, etc. The corollary is never to apologize or to show contrition.

    That’s not to say there aren’t mistakes. It does mean they’re made by others: Mattis, Bolton, Comey, whoever is handy and not submissive enough to Dennison and his whims.

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  13. Jen says:

    @KM:

    DHS just issued a statement that NYers are banned from Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry and Nexus.

    Yikes. That is going to be a mess.

    Any of the lawyers around care to opine on the constitutionality of such a move? I’m guessing that it might be considered okay based on wide latitude offered in determining criteria for such programs, but it really feels like this is singling out citizens from participating in a program that isn’t really connected to the reason that the government is giving. The DHS process for granting trusted traveler status runs a person’s info through a bunch of government databases. It’s not dependent on the driver’s license database for a state.

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  14. Kathy says:

    On other things, I’m trying to cut down a bit on caffeine later in the day. the latest I’ve heard, caffeine takes away from deep sleep.

    So I’m trading diet coke for something else, and it’s now just one cup of coffee at 3 pm after the mid-day meal.

    After one day, I can report no difference 🙂

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  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: I’m guessing that it might be considered okay based on wide latitude offered in determining criteria for such programs, but it really feels like this is singling out citizens from participating in a program that isn’t really connected to the reason that the government is giving.

    In Shelby County v Holder John Roberts said it was unfair to treat jurisdictions differently on a presumption of illegality. I’m sure he will uphold that principle again here. s//

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  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I like my wine, a little too much. Such that I no longer drink it during the week, only on the wkend. But I feel the need for something and the nonalcoholic options available to me are mostly lacking. (i hate soda, tea does nothing for me, etc etc) so I am now drinking a couple cups of 1/2 caff coffee in the evening (5-6 pm) again. I sleep just fine.

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  17. KM says:

    @Jen:

    Yikes. That is going to be a mess.

    Yep. I had to contact Jetblue today regarding a flight I need to take later this year. Wait time – still on hold as I type, 40 minutes later. “Higher then expected call volume” indeed. I cannot imagine the mess this is going to cause once it really starts to sink in and the wait times at security build up.

    Also, can someone sue to get their money back? You pay for NEXUS access and other amenities. To be so unceremoniously cut off has to be a breach of service of some kind. Except lawsuits to be file shortly and the US taxpayer to have to foot the bill for Trump’s petulant revenge.

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  18. Bill says:
  19. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    There was a time during my late teens when I spent a lot of the day drinking coffee with friends, til around 7 or 8 pm. At home I had a glass of coke, too. and I claimed I had no trouble sleeping. I went to bed every night at 12 am.

    But it’s not so much falling asleep as the quality of the sleep you get. There are several sleep states, which we cycle through over the course of a night. Allegedly caffeine may not keep you awake, but may reduce your time in deep sleep.

    I’m not telling you to change your routine. Half-caff is less caffeine, after all. the half-life of caffeine is about 5 hours. So whatever you take may be down to half by the time you go to bed.

    What I’d like to know is how many sleep researchers regularly imbibe caffeine (which, BTW, is also found in black and green tea).

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  20. DrDaveT says:

    @Bill: Speaking of which…

    Does anyone know of any resources or organizations that can help with trying to get incompetent elderly drivers off the road? I had naively expected insurance companies to be eager to help with this, given the costs to them of bad driving, but apparently not. I’m thinking specifically of parents here, where the situation is complicated by having to live with the fallout of any confrontational actions.

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  21. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: It seems to depend state by state. Some states allow doctors to kick up a fuss at the DMV to get licenses yanked, others allow family members to do so (reporting to the DMV). More states are starting to test more frequently at higher ages (and requiring actual testing of vision, etc.) AAA has a “mature driver” program for people to test their own reactions and exercises to improve. And of course there’s a lot of discussion everywhere on how to have “the talk”, which sometimes turns into “how to make sure Mom’s car engine won’t turn over” and “how to sabotage the spark plugs.”

    I suspect with the increasing number of elderly drivers on the road it’s just going to get worse. Maybe that’s going to become the acceptable way to go–wrapped around a tree and with a lawsuit hanging over your estate because you managed to kill a pedestrian as well.

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  22. Kit says:

    @Kathy: I got an Apple Watch and it has confirmed what I long suspected, but feared was just laziness: any deep sleep I get will fall between 5AM and 8AM. And drinking will elevate my heart rate most of the night and result in poor sleep.

    But I didn’t need that watch to realize that Evening Kit is the sworn enemy of Morning Kit.

    With age, sleep becomes one of the finer arts, and mastering it requires constant endeavor.

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  23. Scott says:

    @DrDaveT: You mean if their children won’t do it? My brother and I took Mom’s keys away. She was deeply pissed but it had to be done. Of course that means you have to work out other arrangements for getting around.

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  24. Kari Q says:

    @Kathy:

    I decided to reduce my caffeine consumption once and developed insomnia. For days I had the worst time getting to sleep. Finally I went back to drinking caffeinated beverages in the afternoons and the insomnia disappeared.

    I’m not fully convinced that the caffeine was the cause – it could have been just a coincidence. But I’ve decided not to take chances and have maintained my afternoon caffeine consumption ever since.

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  25. Jen says:

    I discovered years ago that I’m very sensitive to caffeine. After my morning coffee–two cups, with milk–I avoid caffeine for the rest of the day.

    I mistakenly picked up caffeinated green tea once, and one cup of that mid-afternoon was enough to disrupt my sleep until I figured out what I’d done wrong. My husband, on the other hand, can have a cup of (regular) coffee with dessert at a restaurant and sleep just fine.

    I think a lot has to do with personal tolerance levels.

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  26. Kari Q says:

    @Jen:

    I think you’re right about that. My husband has always been very sensitive to caffeine and can’t sleep if he has it in the afternoon, just like you. He is also sensitive to a lot of medications, so he’s always very cautious when trying a new medication, because if there’s a common side effect he’s almost certain to have it.

    In addition to caffeine apparently not causing me to lose sleep, I almost never have side effects to medications. I suspect genetic predisposition combined with the a developed tolerance.

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  27. DrDaveT says:

    @Scott:

    You mean if their children won’t do it?

    I mean to help their children do it without getting kicked out of the house, physically and/or emotionally attacked, disinherited, slandered around town, etc. (The situation in this particular case is complicated by the fact that the child who lives with them drives the same car…)

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  28. Jen says:

    Hahaha…on another topic, I was curious as to why “Satan” was trending on Twitter. Apparently Don Jr. made some quip about Pelosi that added a line about the “likelihood of Satan running around quoting the Scriptures.”

    Which, of course, Satan actually did do, and Don Jr. is being roasted–can I say to high Heaven?–about this.

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  29. Teve says:

    @Jen: Don Junior is not the sharpest lightbulb in the drawer.

    Part of what makes Trump so potent in harnessing his base is that he genuinely feels bitterly aggrieved all the time, for his whole life, despite his immense privilege and power. It’s the molten core of Trumpism.

    -chris hayes

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  30. Kathy says:

    Here’s something odd.

    My bank sends an email and an instant message to notify me of money transfers, withdrawals from the ATM, and cash deposits to my account. I appreciate these may not be things I did, though that has yet to happen.

    But last month I signed up with a financial service, not the bank’s, that allows them to withdraw an amount from my account once a month (for investment purposes). I get no notification of that.

    You’d think a third party dipping in your account would be worth mentioning, no?

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  31. Sleeping Dog says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Dave, your family members physician can and will evaluate the individual for competency. Or it can happen like my father-in-law, he got in a minor bumper thumper and the responding LEO put the license in his pocket never to be seen again.

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  32. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Teve: “… to high heaven” … nice.

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  33. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I never ever ever set up automatic withdrawal with any company, no matter which company it is, for that reason. Plus I’ve had some bad experiences with never being able to STOP the automatic withdrawal easily, or in a separate incident, the company got bought out and the new company raised the fees with very little notice. I don’t carry a checkbook anymore, either, I just have the bank send out the checks and save myself the postage and cost of checks. They do that for free, I might add, both on my business account and personal checking! It’s not often you hear people say they like their bank, but I’ve been pretty happy with this one.

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  34. Teve says:

    @Mike in Arlington: I think you mean Jen. 😀

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  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: From what I recall, if your caffeine levels are above some set level, it can take several days for the residual to metabolize out of your system. Give it a week before you decide.

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  36. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kathy:
    The only automatic withdrawal I authorize is my Insurance…that way I never flake and miss it.
    But THEY notify before every single withdrawal.
    Not my bank.

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  37. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I was in a meeting during this…but I understand Trumps speech was completely bonkers.

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  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: It took the terror of realizing that he couldn’t figure out how to back out of a 10-car parking lot at a local restaurant for my dad to accept that he couldn’t drive anymore. His grand niece asked if I could get his license pulled but in my state, the complaining party needs to be able to testify in court if challenged, and I lived far enough away that I would not have been able to validate the complaint with testimony. Grand niece was too far removed family wise (or at least said she was) to make the complaint IIRC.

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  39. Jen says:

    @Kari Q:

    […] He is also sensitive to a lot of medications, so he’s always very cautious when trying a new medication, […]

    Yep, same with me.

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  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Also it has to do with what’s already in your system–medications, supplements, whatnot. When I used to take combinations of theophylline, ephedra, hydroxyzine, phenobarbital, and “11 tasty herbs and spices” for treating asthma, caffeine was simply the medium that permitted the other agents to enter my system efficiently. Having not used those sorts of chemical cocktails for 30 or so years, if I drink caffeinated coffee, I start to vibrate (the caffeine triggers a tremor that I’ve had most of my life–probably from taking theophylline, ephedra, etc.).

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  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy:

    But it’s not so much falling asleep as the quality of the sleep you get. There are several sleep states, which we cycle through over the course of a night.

    I get 2 sleep states: Falling asleep and waking up. Neither coffee nor any other thing I may imbibe has anything to do with it. It’s chronic pain, which due to pain med allergies I can do nothing more than wake up, roll over and go back to sleep.

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  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: For as long as I can remember, I’ve used “sharpest little spoon,” but your mixed metaphor is a lot better. 😀 😛

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  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: Here in Misery there is. IIRC it’s the Dept of Revenue (which issues driver’s licenses) There is also the Division of Aging. Can’t say for certain about your state but I’m sure you can call and ask.

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  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: The financial agency in question has provided some sort of verified authentication, so the bank probably declines to notify you to avoid having you angrily say to yourself “I already KNEW that!!!” The bank treads a fine line between NEI and TMI.

    ETA: @ Jax: Yeah, I run all my auto-pays from my side, too. And for that exact reason–potential problems stopping them. From my side, I press a button at bill pay.

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  45. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    I don’t like them, either, but transferring money to this service (which is government-owned, BTW) is chancy.

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  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I pay my insurance once a year and allowed them to do a direct withdrawal in return for a 10% discount on the premium. In my case, each withdrawal is a separate authorization, but I need to opt out by notifying both the bank and the insurer by a specific date. I agree that it’s very convenient and my company keeps its pencil really sharp–no other company has come within 20% of its rate for the past 4 years.

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  47. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Teve: dammit. you’re right. Sorry.

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  48. Pete S says:

    @KM:

    I looked at a few articles as I live in Niagara Falls (Canadian side) and have Nexus, I was scared the special Nexus only bridge was going to close. But it looks like only new enrollments are being ended.

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  49. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’d like a caffeine half life calculator which took inputs through the day…

    BTW, here’s an odd fact:

    Some plants which produce caffeine (more than you probably think) manifest it only in their nectar. apparently coffee plants do this, though their caffeine also goes into the seeds, but also some species of orange trees (mind blown).

    It turns out bees, and other insects, prefer that nectar to the decaffeinated kind.

    One time I was at an outdoor restaurant, and this bee kept orbiting my place. It wouldn’t leave no matter what I did to drive it off. I had no sweets on my table, nor flowers. Now I wonder if it was attracted to the coffee.

    Anyway, oranges have no caffeine, but some orange blossoms do. and apparently bees are addicted to it.

    It makes me wonder what other animals like caffeine. Is there enough of it in the coffee cherry for civet monkeys to prefer it over other food?

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  50. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    What I’d like to know is how many sleep researchers regularly imbibe caffeine (which, BTW, is also found in black and green tea).

    Don’t go by what researchers do. For instance, I’m pretty sure that the Thoracic Surgeons (lung cancer) were more likely to smoke than other surgeons.

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  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Good point! When I was a child, the doctor who treated my asthma (as an asthma and allergy specialist) was a smoker. And so was his nurse.

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  52. An Interested Party says:

    I was in a meeting during this…but I understand Trumps speech was completely bonkers.

    You got that right…this loon needs a dementia test, stat…

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  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy:

    One time I was at an outdoor restaurant, and this bee kept orbiting my place. It wouldn’t leave no matter what I did to drive it off. I had no sweets on my table, nor flowers. Now I wonder if it was attracted to the coffee.

    Oh c’mon Kathy, the answer is looking right at you from the mirror: It was you. You were just the sweetness it needed. 😉

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  54. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I hope not. Bees scare me. Not at a distance, but close in who knows what they’ll perceive as a threat and get them to sting. It really hurts.

    But if she wanted coffee, I could have ordered her a cup.

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