Saturday’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. EddieInCA says:

    Fraturday: A Film/TV term where you start your shooting day on late Friday afternoon and continue shooting into Saturday morning. 3pm start. 4:00am finish.

    Fraturday

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  2. EddieInCA says:

    My comment is in moderation?

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  3. Kurtz says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I don’t know what it said.

    But damn right it is.

    Damn rabble rouser.

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  4. EddieInCA says:

    @Kurtz:

    I’m going to attempt to recreate it, to see if it goes into moderation again:

    Fraturday: A term in Film/TV Production for days where you start work on Friday afternoon and finish on Saturday morning.

    Fraturday.

    Added to this post:

    Guess what I’m doing at 3:05am PST. Hint: It rhymes with twerking.

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  5. MarkedMan says:

    Interesting. The comment count at the top appears to include comments in moderation.

    Also, Eddie I hope you can relax all Sanday.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “I got out there and sat down on the toilet and immediately something bit my butt right as I sat down,” Shannon Stevens told the Associated Press. “I jumped up and I screamed when it happened.”

    Stevens, her brother Erik and his girlfriend had taken snowmobiles into the wilderness 13 February to stay at his yurt, located about 20 miles north-west of Haines, in south-east Alaska.

    Her brother heard the screaming and went out to the outhouse, about 150ft (45.72 meters) away from the yurt. There, he found Shannon tending to her wound. They at first thought she had been bitten by a squirrel or a mink, or something small.

    Erik had brought his headlamp with him to see what it was.

    “I opened the toilet seat and there’s just a bear face just right there at the level of the toilet seat, just looking right back up through the hole, right at me,” he said.

    “I just shut the lid as fast as I could. I said, ‘There’s a bear down there, we got to get out of here now,”’ he said. “And we ran back to the yurt as fast as we could.”

    Once safely inside, they treated Shannon with a first aid kit. They determined it wasn’t that serious, but they would head to Haines if it worsened.

    “It was bleeding, but it wasn’t super bad,” Shannon said.

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  7. sam says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    He’s just lucky it wasn’t him. I understand bears go after low-hanging fruit.

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Florida’s Republican governor accused of ‘playing politics’ with Covid vaccine

    Say whaaaaat? Why I never would have expected that!

    Florida Democrats have slammed the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, claiming that he is “playing politics” with Covid-19 vaccine distribution after a new pop-up vaccination site was set up in a wealthy area with predominantly white residents.

    The pop-up vaccination site in Manatee county, just south of Tampa, was set to offer additional vaccinations for residents of two zip codes covering well-off neighborhoods, rather than residents across the county.

    “You’re taking the whitest demographic and richest demographic in Manatee county and putting them before everyone else,” the county commissioner Misty Servia, a Republican, said of the location at a meeting this week.

    DeSantis defended the site, saying it had been chosen for the “high levels of seniors living in there” but following the criticism, he also threatened to send future pop-up sites to other parts of Florida.

    “Threatening retribution and less vaccine access for communities that criticize the vaccine rollout for its problems is shameful and inhumane,” said Manny Diaz, who heads Florida’s Democratic party.

    OK, that is exactly what I would have expected.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Texas, a whole ‘nother shithole country:

    Food banks in Texas have gone into disaster mode as they ramp up operations to tackle a surge in hunger after unprecedented freezing conditions disrupted almost every part of the food supply chain in the state.

    Grocery stores are empty, school meal programs suspended, and deliveries disrupted by untreated, treacherous roads that have left millions of Texans trapped in precarious living conditions with dwindling food supplies.

    Even those who did stockpile before the Arctic conditions swept in have lost refrigerated groceries due to lengthy power cuts and cannot cook what food they do have without electricity or gas.
    Millions of Texans struggle for drinking water following deadly winter storm
    Read more

    In the worst-affected areas, food banks and pantries were forced to close for several days this week as it was impossible for staff and vehicles to get to the distribution sites. Relief was limited to disaster boxes sent to people seeking refuge in warming shelters.

    On Thursday, the disruption to energy and safe water supplies had food banks scrambling to procure large quantities of bottled water and ready meals and snacks that do not require cooking.

    “This is a disaster. We are doing rapid needs assessments so we can get appropriate food to those people quickly. When everything thaws, we’re preparing for a massive spike in demand,” said Valerie Hawthorne, director of government relations at the North Texas Food Bank, based in Dallas. “This has been the longest week of all our lives.”

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  10. JohnMcC says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Makes me wonder how long it’s going to take after this crisis before we’re hearing some Texas jerk talking about SECESSION! I’m thinking a couple weeks at most. They won’t last a month after the water and power are back on.

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  11. Kathy says:

    Two interesting images of the Perseverance rover.

    I’m curious about the first. The camera is on the sky crane on the descent stage. These are discarded after putting the rover down. As far as I know, they carry no instruments or power source, and serve no further purpose. I wonder why a camera there was needed. After all, every gram used to send the camera all the way to Mars is one less gram available for instruments on the rover.

    The second image comes from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The rovers get all the attention, so it’s easy to forget there are probes orbiting Mars, and these are used to aid the rovers’ missions. I understand they are used as relays to send the rover data back to Earth.

    Here’s a list of current and past orbiters. Those no longer operational still orbit Mars, they just don’t work any more.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Stonekettle
    @Stonekettle

    The constant stream of hot air from Rush Limbaugh ended the same week Texas froze solid.

    Coincidence?

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  13. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @JohnMcC: The problem is that, through ERCOT, Texas has already seceded from the rest of the U.S. After the events of this week, will they rethink that position? Inquiring minds want to know.

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Late last year, as winter approached and power companies prepared for cold weather, Gov. Greg Abbott’s hand-picked utility regulators decided they no longer wanted to work with a nonprofit organization they had hired to monitor and help Texas enforce the state’s electric reliability standards.

    The multiyear contract between the Public Utility Commission and the obscure monitoring organization, the Texas Reliability Entity, was trashed. Over the next months, right up until the crippling storm that plunged millions of Texans into the dark and cold, the state agency overseeing the power industry operated without an independent monitor to make sure energy companies followed state protocols, which include weatherization guidelines.

    The Public Utility Commission’s decision in November to end its contract with the Texas Reliability Entity didn’t cause the historic grid failures that this week transformed Texas into an undeveloped country, leaving large swaths of the state without power or water as temperatures dropped and stayed below freezing. A PUC spokesman said the agency still had ample protections to ensure energy companies followed state rules and guidelines.

    On Thursday, Abbott called for a state law requiring power plants to be better weatherized. Yet over the past quarter-century, state leaders have refused to require the companies to prepare for severe weather, even as once-in-a-lifetime storms have arrived with increasing frequency.

    Critics say the utility commission’s move to strip away a regulatory layer, especially with potentially severe weather approaching, was just the latest example of the consistently light touch Texas politicians have used to oversee the complex industry that generates and distributes power.

    “It’s astonishing to me that the PUC would get rid of the independent reliability entity with no plan to replace it,” said state Rep. Rafael Anchía, D-Dallas, who sits on the Texas House Energy Resources Committee. “No staff, no oversight on reliability.”

    SNATFU.

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  15. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @EddieInCA: And not half as much fun as twerking… to do or to watch

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  16. CSK says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:
    A popular bumper sticker in Texas during the late 1970s, when there was a heating oil shortage in the northeast: LET THEM FREEZE IN THE DARK.

    And when the speed limit was lowered to 55 mph: DRIVE 80; FREEZE A YANKEE.

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  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A defamation lawsuit brought against CNN by the California Republican Devin Nunes, a leading ally of former president Donald Trump, was tossed out by a Manhattan judge on Friday.

    The lawsuit seeking more than $435m in damages was rejected by US district judge Laura Taylor Swain, who said Nunes failed to request a retraction in a timely fashion or adequately state his claims.

    Nunes alleged the cable news company intentionally published a false news article and engaged in a conspiracy to defame him and damage his personal and professional reputation. His lawsuit said CNN published a report containing false claims that Nunes was involved in efforts to get “dirt” on then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

    I find it hilarious that Nunes thinks his “personal and professional reputation” could be anymore damaged.

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  18. CSK says:

    Jonathan Chait argues we have reason to be grateful Trump was basically stupid; it rendered him less dangerous.

    http://www.nymag.com/intelligencer/article/ex-kgb-agent-trump-russian-asset-mueller-putin-kompromat-unger-book.html

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  19. Jim Brown 32 says:
  20. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy:

    The camera is on the sky crane on the descent stage. These are discarded after putting the rover down. As far as I know, they carry no instruments or power source, and serve no further purpose. I wonder why a camera there was needed.

    I have read that the software choosing the exact landing site was doing image processing to avoid setting the rover down on a big rock by accident. Because (a) they could, and (b) they weren’t landing in a huge flat-as-a-table area this time.

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  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @JohnMcC:
    @SC_Birdflyte:

    Let’s hope they secede, then we won’t need to send them Fed emergency aid.

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  22. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I’m not even remotely ashamed to plug for my local food bank, Brazos Valley Food Bank, that is working hard right now to get affected Texans fed. They do amazing work in our community and have a four-star rating on Charity Navigator. I’ve never regretted any of my donations to them.

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  23. ptfe says:

    @Michael Cain: There are a bunch of different cameras with different functions that were using during the descent phase. NASA has been getting more data about how this skycrane tech works, and they can use the images to back up received telemetry. Here’s the video from the descent stage of Curiosity. There will eventually be images (or maybe even video?) from the descent stage for the entire descent, as well as from after it cut the cord.

    @Kathy: NASA has long known the value of pictures in selling its missions. Nobody would care about these rovers if all they did was send back data. Probably 50% of the pictures during early mission phases are strictly or mostly for public consumption – they get distributed widely and NASA stays in everyone’s minds as “doing cool things”. That’s why you forget about these rovers for a long time after the first couple months: they stop sending back pictures that the public particularly cares about, instead taking photos of Those Weird Rocks that some scientist in Alberta thinks look interesting.

    The data is getting passed through MAVEN. The EDL segment data was uplinked for storage and retransmission at some future time. We’ll see that trickle through the pipeline over the coming days/weeks. Just for reference, MAVEN’s throughput is about 2 Mbps, or about 256 kB/s.

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  24. Kingdaddy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think that there is a strong argument for stupid people being far more dangerous. I’d call it the Elmore Leonard Rule: stupid criminals are much less likely to assess potential self-harm and the chaos and mayhem they will create in their wake. Plus, they’re likely to be more manipulable. It’s a running theme in Leonard’s crime fiction, hence the eponymous rule.

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  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kingdaddy: I love Elmore Leonard. He creates such great characters and his dialogue is always pitch perfect.

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  26. Jay L Gischer says:

    There’s a saying that some of military guys might know better than I about what to do with a soldier…

    If they are smart and energetic, give them a field command.
    If they are smart and lazy, make them a staff officer.
    If they are dumb and lazy, make them a grunt.
    If they are dumb and energetic, shoot them.

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  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    When I lived in Minnesota there was a running joke that whenever there was a natural disaster and the Red Cross called for clothing donations, Minnesotans would open their closets and contribute; winter coats. Didn’t matter whether the event was a flood in equatorial Africa, and earthquake in Central America or a typhoon in the Philippines, golly, gosh darn it, they’re getting winter coats.

    Finally Minnesotans have a natural disaster where winter coats are needed, the failed state of Texas. Add to that, the quietly smug Minnesotan will tut-tut to himself/herself, that this would never happen here.

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  28. MarkedMan says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:Thanks for the tip. I’m headed there now.

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  29. Erik says:

    For those of you who are able to get the COVID vaccine, please consider signing up to provide post vaccination symptom data at https://vsafe.cdc.gov. They send you a text daily for a couple of days and then weekly for a few weeks with a link to a couple of questions. Basically “how do you feel overall?” “Have you had any side effects?” And if you answer “yes” it will ask you what they were. It’s easy, fast, and will really help the science

    ETA: you can also do this retrospectively, so even if you got vaccinated a while ago you can participate

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  30. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: For anyone else wanting to donate, just a heads up. When you get through the forms and click on the button you think will finish the donation, you come to a page where you have to confirm the donation. The “make donation” button is kind of small.

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  31. Sleeping Dog says:

    File under wretched excess

    A Rolls Royce is by definition wretched excess, but this goes to the extreme.

    The Starlight Headliner, with 1,420 fiber-optic lights, shows the constellation of the sky above Cleveland, Ohio, on the day Smith was born.

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  32. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Finally Minnesotans have a natural disaster where winter coats are needed, the failed state of Texas. Add to that, the quietly smug Minnesotan will tut-tut to himself/herself, that this would never happen here.

    By the time the coats get there by freight, Texas will be back to what Minnesotans think of as spring. When I lived in Austin for graduate school, the coldest it got in those two years was still spring. Austin is supposed to hit 70 °F tomorrow.

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  33. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Don’t worry, you’re getting winter coats anyway, find room in a closet. 🙂

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  34. sam says:

    How fucked up is this? Griddy customers face $5,000 electric bills for 5 freezing days in Texas


    [C]ustomers on social media expressed frustration with similar bills from Griddy, the power supplier that told its 29,000 customers on Saturday, after spot electricity prices soared, to quickly shift out of its network and find a new supplier.

    Who’re they supposed to go to? Ed’s Electric Power Company?

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  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    Has anyone read this? It’s a pretty coherent argument for pushing economic populism – raising all boats, raising the boats of minorities in the process – as opposed to using social justice arguments to buttress economic populism. It’s some guy who works for Yglesias.

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  36. CSK says:

    If you care to take a virtual stroll down Memory Lane, here’s a list of some of Trump’s shining moments in imbecility:

    http://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/davidmack/dumb-trump-moments

    Enjoy!

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  37. flat earth luddite says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    stupid criminals are much less likely to assess potential self-harm and the chaos and mayhem they will create in their wake.

    Been there, lived with them. Trust me, Mr. Leonard had to tone it down, because fiction has to make sense. Ask me sometime about the guys whose “diversion” plan involved blowing up a gas station. Or the ones who wanted to raid crack houses disguised as DEA.

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  38. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Well, there was a woman in Cambridge, Ma. who stormed into the police station to report that her boyfriend had stolen the cocaine she was planning to sell.

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  39. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @MarkedMan: Thank you! Much appreciated.

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  40. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I live in Colorado. I already have a “big coat,” as my sister calls them, stuck in the back of the closet. It only comes out occasionally. This was one of them: an upslope storm, -15 °F and 30 inches of snow. But thanks for the thought :^)

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  41. Kurtz says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I have never been a moderator, but I think the image of you twerking is worth a stern warning.

    @Teve?

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  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    linky no work

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  43. Kurtz says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I responded to Eddie before I saw your response. Now I have mental images of you two twerking. My mind’s eye is begging to be auditioned.

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  44. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    Something that might be of interest to you:

    A company called Vaxart is currently awaiting FDA approval for their COVID-19 vaccine. It’s a pill. It needs no special handling. And… a company in my small town (pop. 3k) has contracted to manufacture them. They currently have the capacity to make 1M doses per day, and they’re in the process of expanding so they can produce 1B doses per year.

    This is in addition to the 100,000 reagent “lysospheres” (balls) they’re currently making every day for COVID-19 test kits.

    Right now they’re focusing on COVID-19, but the manufacturing process they have was originally developed for a wide range of tests and vaccines, and they’ll be moving back to that when COVID is under control.

    I’m working on a story for the paper about all of this–based on background info I got from the company, and notes from an associate I sent to an event they had for Rep Grothman (R-WI).*

    —-
    * According to my associate, the Rep when blank whenever the science was discussed, but perked up when they said they’ll be adding 15 new jobs next quarter, and another 50 by the end of the year.

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  45. Kurtz says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Michael Reynolds:

    Here.

    I think I’ve linked to the Drutman study here before. Or something similar. My analysis here is similar to other posts I’ve made.

    Libertarians, ~5% of the population, have outsize influence on one of the two parties. The corresponding left wing has significantly less influence on the other party.

    Either way, Michael, Jen, and a bunch of others here have made the argument contained within the link.

    I should admit that I’ve been a little inconsistent. I’ve posted the same thing, but I’ve also wondered aloud whether it might dampen turnout among minorities. That concerns me beyond short term electoral prospects. Too many people feel like the system works against their interests already.

    But I can say I think that this strategy is the best bet.

    Thanks for the link Michael. It was a good read.

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  46. dazedandconfused says:

    I imagine NASA would want to pay the weight price for a camera located in a position in order to have potentially critical information about a failure, should something have failed during that phase of the landing.

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  47. Kurtz says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    I haven’t read much Leonard, but what I have read is excellent. I think I’m just more of an Ellroy guy.

    I am a fan of Tishomingo Blues. I recall reading that Cheadle was trying to get a movie adaptation made and I was disappointed when it didn’t come to fruition. Some really excellent movies have come from his fiction.

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  48. sam says:
  49. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz: This is interesting. My impression is that libertarians have very little influence on the policies of either major party. Perhaps we have different definitions of what “libertarian” means?

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  50. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    about 150ft (45.72 meters)

    Yes, let’s get two decimal points on “about”.

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  51. sam says:

    Kevin Drum on why libertarians are mostly men:

    Hardcore libertarianism is a fantasy. It’s a fantasy where the strongest and most self-reliant folks end up at the top of the heap, and a fair number of men share the fantasy that they are these folks. They believe they’ve been held back by rules and regulations designed to help the weak, and in a libertarian culture their talents would be obvious and they’d naturally rise to positions of power and influence.

    Most of them are wrong, of course. In a truly libertarian culture, nearly all of them would be squashed like ants—mostly by the same people who are squashing them now. But the fantasy lives on regardless.

    Few women share this fantasy. I don’t know why, and I don’t really want to play amateur sociologist and guess. Perhaps it’s something as simple as the plain observation that in the more libertarian past, women were subjugated to men almost completely. Why would that seem like an appealing fantasy? [Source]

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  52. Teve says:

    Jim Hoft posted on Parler that Texas is glad that they didn’t rely on solar panels like “that nitwit AOC wanted.”

    Because he thinks solar panels work on the Sun’s heat.

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  53. Michael Cain says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    I imagine NASA would want to pay the weight price for a camera located in a position

    Especially given how small that price has gotten. I am constantly surprised by how much stuff college students manage to cram into 1U cubesats despite the weight limit of 1.33 kg.

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  54. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    @Kurtz:

    Except for the blizzard of statistics that he would have been better off providing as a footnote, he makes an excellent point. The worried whites are prickly about anything they perceive is going to the ‘others’ and paid for by them, why feed into that delusion when you can simply say program X will help all Americans.

    With the Covid vaccine roll out there has been a lot talk on the left of favoring minorities, since those communities have been hit harder. But that is a lousy frame, better to say, let’s focus vaccination efforts on the communities that have the highest infection rates. You are achieving the same result without implying a benefit based on race or ethnicity.

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  55. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Gee, isn’t AOC the one who raised 2.3 million (as of last night) for relief, and is in Texas today helping out at a food bank??????

    Jim Hoft is a jackass. No wonder the Trumpkins adore him.

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  56. Teve says:

    @CSK: It’s very entertaining though, calling someone a nitwit while fucking up an elementary science fact.

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  57. Kurtz says:

    @Mimai:

    On social policy, sure. There major differences there. Part of the coalition relies on consistent votes from white evangelicals. But economic policy? There is little space between libertarians and the GOP.

    The Kochs built a massive libertarian infrastructure, but still donated heavily Republicans. Cato and Americans for Prosperity help steer Repuplican policy.

    At its height, The Tea Party™ was somewhere around 40-50% libertarians. The Freedom Caucus is heavily indebted to the libertarian think tank network.

    Politically pragmatic libertarians made the calculation that the Reynolds link advocates for Democrats–hold your nose and ally with whom you disagree on social policy. Rothbard warned Libertarians against forming a coalition with the Right in the 60s. He failed, and was forced to choose economics or social concerns. He chose the former.

    To Libertarians, property rights are the single most important issue for a society. Without them, there is only tyranny. Because of that, they exert enormous influence on the GOP.

    I suspect that among the libertarians you know, there are several who vote Republican more than they would ever admit. More so if the election is competitive.

    At the end of the day, self-interest rules the day among that crowd. Protest votes are not in their short term interest.

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  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: Sometimes, I have a comment that goes into moderation because my tremor makes extra keystrokes somewhere in the name and email boxes. I don’t even need to be typing; for me, it can happen while I’m clicking on an autofill choice, if I have a hand near the keyboard too.

    I hope you don’t have such an issue, but I though I’d suggest it as a possibility.

    (Just typing this, I went back to correct 7 or 8 missed/wrong/extra keystrokes.)

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  59. MarkedMan says:

    @Mimai: I suspect you are both. Libertarian principles are often cited when the Republicans are going to put the screws to the bottom 40%, but the reality is that’s just cover.

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  60. Mu Yixiao says:

    @sam:

    Another person who thinks “libertarian” and “anarchist” are the same thing.

    The fact that he starts off with “hardcore” and then applies the “hardcore” approach to everyone pretty much shows that it’s a schlock piece.

    Key Concepts of Libertariansim

    The section titled “Rule of Law” is important. And you may want to note that the section on free markets talks about minimal government intervention–which implies that government has a legitimate place in controlling markets to some extent.

    I’ll see y’all tomorrow.

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  61. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Well, yes…but in 2020, traffic to Hoft’s Gateway Pundit lunatic conspiracy site grew by 109% to 309 million visits. I assume that’s unique visits. Granted, some of the visitors probably go there for laughs, or to monitor what kind of idiocies the lunatic fringe is promulgating, but there are a lot of dipwads who believe every word out of Hoft’s mouth.

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  62. Michael Cain says:

    @CSK:

    Gee, isn’t AOC the one who raised 2.3 million (as of last night) for relief, and is in Texas today helping out at a food bank??????

    A friend in San Marcos (no power or water for three days, then intermittent power, and a boil-your-water order until at least Tuesday next week) tells me that Beto O’Rourke’s group organized and called over 800,000 Texas oldsters starting Monday to see if they needed immediate assistance. She’s 67 and says she got one of the calls.

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  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: “Ask me sometime about the guys whose “diversion” plan involved blowing up a gas station.” I remember that one. His girlfriend was so relieved when I told her that I was pretty sure that I’d talked him out of it. (Do you suppose that anyone ever told her HOW I talked him out of it?)

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  64. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    I had read about O’Rourke’s group. Kudos to them.

    I’ve a friend in Texas from whom I’ve not heard. I hope it’s simply the power outage and nothing worse. Not that the power outage isn’t quite bad enough.

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  65. CSK says:

    According to QAnon and MAGANation, Donald Trump will be inaugurated on March 4. Failing that, on May 20. Failing that…I’m sure they’ll come up with something:

    http://www.rawstory.com/march-madness/

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  66. CSK says:

    @CSK:
    Delete. Repetition of previous post.

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  67. flat earth luddite says:

    @CSK:
    I heard about her. No offense, but she’s waaaaay brighter than some of the lads I knew. For example, I got a phone call one night, asking the best way to hide bullet holes in the wings of a rented plane. “Click!”

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  68. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Uh, no, probably because (a) he went back up the river (which he did), or (b) I told him what would happen to him if he ever did tell her. Didn’t specify who would perform (b), but that was one of the last times he ever called me.

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  69. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Then there’s the guy who gave the cops a fake name. Unfortunately, his real name was tattooed on his throat.

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  70. flat earth luddite says:

    @CSK:
    There was a (probably) apocryphal story of an interview with a famous 19th century criminal who, when asked about the biggest problem with being a criminal, replied “the company you are forced to keep.” I discovered that I have more than enough karmic debt accumulated to stay in the club until closing.

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  71. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Wow, info on the Vaxart vaccine was really hard to find. Searches mostly talk about stock prices…

    It’s completed phase I and will be entering phase II. Preliminary results at the NYT says there’s T cell activity but not neutralizing antibodies. With these limited info drugs, facts are sketchy.

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  72. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    You and Michael Reynolds should write your memoirs. I for one would find them enthralling.

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  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: Some really excellent movies have come from his fiction.

    Oh Lord yeah. Especially his westerns.

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  74. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: They were probably cavers.

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  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: To Libertarians, property rights are the single most important issue for a society.

    Until property rights stand in the way of their short term goals. (trust me on this, they don’t give a rat’s ass about other peoples’ property rights, only their own).

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  76. Teve says:

    @CSK: the creationist website I lurk on, they think Jm Hoft is a genius.

    Smart people, these are not.

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  77. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: There is only one key concept of libertariansim: I got mine, fuck you.

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  78. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was a Libertarian when I was a young healthy well educated white guy. Because those are about the only people who can be libertarian. Everybody else knows we need society.

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  79. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Thank you for posting this. I’ve been trying to find an authoritative source for current mainstream libertarian principles.

    Unfortunately, if this is accurate then it’s easy to see where the problem is:

    Spontaneous Order. A great degree of order in society is necessary for individuals to survive and flourish. It’s easy to assume that order must be imposed by a central authority, the way we impose order on a stamp collection or a football team. The great insight of libertarian social analysis is that order in society arises spontaneously, out of the actions of thousands or millions of individuals who coordinate their actions with those of others in order to achieve their purposes.

    This “great insight of libertarian social analysis” is simply wrong. Provably, empirically wrong. The society that arises spontaneously is wholly antithetical to all of the other principles listed in this article.

    It would be interesting to see a political philosophy based on designing a government most likely to maximize the stated principles for the most people into the future. Libertarianism clearly isn’t that philosophy; it (explicitly!) cares more about the means than the outcomes.

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  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I remember being young, and healthy and I’ve always been white, but well educated was never in the cards. I like to think I was relatively intelligent and somewhat knowledgeable but mostly I was just resilient. Or as my wife would say, stubborn. At any rate, I have come to this point in my life relatively OK, due to a number of reasons not the least of which is that I was blessed with an inordinate amount of dumb luck. Oh yeah, hard working too, but that really doesn’t count for much. Truth be told, it never did.

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  81. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Yeah, they don’t mention it there, but that’s Hayek applying it to society and economics.

    I understand the confusion for a lot of people. The taxation is theft crowd go beyond the Cato crowd. Michael Huemer is an example of that–a step beyond the minarchist, aka the night-watchman state of Nozick.

    Rothbard argued that the State violates natural rights by its mere existence. An interesting note here is that Rothbard co-founded Cato. He later had a falling out with a other co-founder over minimal taxation, because he believed taxation is theft.

    Some argue that minarchism is inevitable in some form, even if defense, courts, and civil law enforcement were privatized. Nozick, I think, makes that argument.

    Chomsky’s perspective on the libertarians is sort of a variation on the State is inevitable minarchist argument. That privatizing civil police and courts would just be a bunch of mini-states, but without a means to curtail excess.

    I’m curious what the split among libertarians is currently. I suspect there are a lot more taxation is theft types running around than people realize.

    Also, our dialog on Tuesday was interesting because you offered an alternative way to approach the libertarian view of markets. I think they view it as external to society. Your reply was to put it a bit differently.

    I should probably clarify what I meant by that comment. I didn’t put spontaneous order in there–I actually recast the post without that specific term. But that’s what I was trying to get at. I probably put it somewhat poorly.

    In the end, Libertarianism doesn’t make a ton of sense, even from the perspective of the Cato link. It lacks a theoretical basis for property as a natural right–it’s characteristics just aren’t the same as the other rights the West considers intrinsic to being a human.

    Jim Brown put it another way in the Tuesday thread–libertarians don’t see economics as human behavior. That’s why I put it the way I did–they’re viewing the spontaneous order of the market as the historical arc toward more freedom, but seem to ignore that the market is just mass human behavior.

    They ignore that it’s trading one form of coercion for another. Their only out is arguing that the State is compulsory, but market participation is voluntary. That’s bullshit.

    If Edgar Allen Poe or countless other artists had been born in 1990 and their career trajectory ahd stayed the same as it was–recognition only posthumously–they wouldn’t have made it far enough master their art.

    Meaning, if the value of any particular type of production is determined by the market, it’s a an exercise of power and not nearly as distributed as they assume. The Spice Girls sold lots of records, but nobody would confuse them with Matchbox 20, much less The Beatles or Mozart. McDonald’s sells a lot of burgers, but it isn’t the best example of a fucking hamburger.

    Their fear of a leviathan government blinds them to the notion that it’s replacing representative government with another form of leviathan. One that doesn’t have any restrictions on behavior and no hope for remediation beyond competing in a marketplace, natural barriers to entry be damned.

    Cato mentions:

    The great insight of libertarian social analysis is that order in society arises spontaneously, out of the actions of thousands or millions of individuals who coordinate their actions with those of others in order to achieve their purposes.

    To me, representative government is coordination of millions of people to achieve their purposes. Some people just want to take the ball and go home, even though the court, hoop, and ball were purchased by everyone.

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  82. Mu Yixiao says:

    @DrDaveT:

    It’s late on Saturday, and I’ve been drinking but I’ll quickly respond to this:

    This “great insight of libertarian social analysis” is simply wrong. Provably, empirically wrong. The society that arises spontaneously is wholly antithetical to all of the other principles listed in this article.

    Acceptance of homosexuality arose spontaneously–it was not imposed from above, it rose from below. The same goes for legalization of marijuana. The former finally got codified by SCOTUS, while the latter exists–to some degree–in 48 states while remaining illegal at the federal level.

    The phrasing isn’t the best, but “arising spontaneously” means “society decides that this is right” rather than “the government tells us what to do”. While there have been times that the government has stepped in to enforce changes (e.g., in civil rights), the societal change came first and the government was agreeing with it.

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  83. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    Also, our dialog on Tuesday was interesting because you offered an alternative way to approach the libertarian view of markets. I think they view it as external to society. Your reply was to put it a bit differently. I should probably clarify what I meant by that comment. I didn’t put spontaneous order in there–I actually recast the post without that specific term. But that’s what I was trying to get at.

    Yeah, I figured that out eventually. It takes a particularly gymnastic doublethink to simultaneously believe that productive cooperation structures among free agents — including rule of law! — spontaneously arise if you leave people alone, but that government is something different and separate, rather than simply being one of those structures.

    As you rightly note, there’s a close parallel with thinking that free markets are what you have before governments get involved at all, and that thus any government intervention in markets is “interference”. We all know what markets look like when governments leave them alone, and the result is only “free” for the monopolists, the cartel leaders, and the guilds*. (All of which spontaneously organize in the absence of government as obvious social structures to the benefit of the free agents participating in them.)

    *Hypothetically, you could add labor unions to this list, but I am not aware of any historical precedent for labor unions organizing to an extent that would allow them to function on an ongoing basis as labor unions in an unregulated economy without actual armed revolution.

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  84. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Acceptance of homosexuality arose spontaneously–it was not imposed from above, it rose from below. The same goes for legalization of marijuana.

    These things happened in the context of a society governed in a way that is anathema to the libertarian principles at the Cato site you linked to. We get credit for them; libertarians do not. There is no evidence that these good things would have happened in a society with libertarian-approved amounts of government.

    (I distinguish that from “a society governed on the principles asserted at that site” because I do not think such a think is any more possible than “a society governed by telepathic unicorns”.)

    The phrasing isn’t the best, but “arising spontaneously” means “society decides that this is right” rather than “the government tells us what to do”.

    So what’s the difference between people spontaneously deciding what counts as “rule of law” and people creating a government?

    As best I can tell, “government” is just the name we give to whatever system society has decided is the right way to impose rule of law. You clearly think there is some important difference between government and all of the other mechanisms of social coordination — i.e. society deciding what is right. Can you explain that difference to me?

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  85. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz: I say there is a difference between Libertarian policy and those who might describe themselves as libertarian. You say “There is little space between libertarians and the GOP” and I suspect you are correct in as much as those who self-describe as L tend to vote GOP. But that doesn’t mean that L policy has a major influence of GOP policy. And when you say that “self-interest rules the day among that crowd” I can only say, again, that I agree with you. But would you not also agree that most people – L, R, D, etc. – vote according to their self interest? So that hardly seems an indictment of self-described Libertarians.

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  86. Mimai says:

    @MarkedMan: I don’t understand what you mean by your reply. Can you please clarify.

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  87. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Hypothetically, you could add labor unions to this list, but I am not aware of any historical precedent for labor unions organizing to an extent that would allow them to function on an ongoing basis as labor unions in an unregulated economy without actual armed revolution.

    It’s interesting you raise the labor union point. I know Adam Smith has that passage about never seeing economic elites organize, but a spotlight gets shined on regular people who organize.

    I don’t know much about the history of labor unions other than the general stuff learned years ago. I wonder if part of the initial mafia hook in the unions was protection from violent strikebreaking tactics that used government entities and powerful private firms like Pinkerton.

    It seems to me that people with more money can buy much better protection than workers with less money.

    In a minarchist structure, it seems obvious that business interests would pay whatever it took to draw from the ranks from the State-run police and military ranks to keep workers from demanding better treatment. Or more likely they would just buy police protection straight up and use the public good for their private ends. Hired goon squads or official goons get the same result.

    In an anarchic structure they would likely buy a controlling stake in a Pinkerton like firm that specializes in union busting or start one of their own.

    From the view of workers, a world of at-will employment is a dystopia.

    As a side note, there is some truth to the weird obsession libertarians have with mandated credentialing. Some licensing schemes are probably akin to protection rackets.

    But they like to refer to organizations like the AMA as cartels. But the Smith point about organizing exposes that as a distinction without a difference in a world where a few wealthy people are able to control enough different parts of the economy to engineer whatever outcome they like. That should also be labeled a cartel. The Rand Paul Ophthalmology certification board fiasco should probably give any thoughtful person pause.

    Side side note: Hell, drug cartels are trying to control avocados. I’m waiting for a ban on imports and no knock warrants for guacamole dens.

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  88. Kurtz says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Acceptance of homosexuality arose spontaneously–it was not imposed from above, it rose from below. The same goes for legalization of marijuana. The former finally got codified by SCOTUS, while the latter exists–to some degree–in 48 states while remaining illegal at the federal level.

    The phrasing isn’t the best, but “arising spontaneously” means “society decides that this is right” rather than “the government tells us what to do”. While there have been times that the government has stepped in to enforce changes (e.g., in civil rights), the societal change came first and the government was agreeing with it.

    All due respect, your argument here has serious flaws.

    -Laws aren’t sui generis. Miscegenation laws, anti-sodomy laws, drug laws, prohibition all resulted from movements from below.

    -The government stepped in during the various civil rights eras, because enough of society resisted change violently.

    In short, you don’t get to claim both things here. If society at large spontaneously decided that previous cultural practices were wrong, the government would have never needed to step in. The laws would never have needed enactment.

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  89. Kurtz says:

    <a href="@Mimai:

    Voting choice isn’t as straightforward as explaining it as self-interest. Plenty of salient policy issues have almost no impact on the people who make decisions based on their position.

    Most anti-abortion advocates have little personal basis for their anger at Roe v. Wade. But it drives plenty of people.

    How about NAFTA or Brexit? You can call it self interest if you want, but it’s hard to really call it that when almost nobody knows how it will impact them personally.

    Plenty of voters elect representatives who reduce services the voter uses and give tax cuts that don’t help them at all.

    Human behavior, political or otherwise, is much less based on rational contemplation than commonly thought. Advertising, propaganda, and messaging all work by manipulating that space.

    Republican pols are most definitely influenced by libertarian think tanks.

    “>Mimai, meet Alec. Alec, allow me to introduce my new friend Mimai.

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  90. DrDaveT says:

    @Mimai:

    But would you not also agree that most people – L, R, D, etc. – vote according to their self interest?

    I would not.

    I vote against my own self-interest all the time. I’m rich, no kids to worry about… my “self-interest” would push for minimum taxes, minimum educational investment, head-breaking policing, ignoring global warming, leaving “health care” the way it is… but that’s not how I vote. And that’s not how millions of affluent Dems like me vote. Because we’re not sociopaths.

    Conversely, there are hordes (that’s a technical term) of Trump voters who persistently vote against their own economic interests, and even more so against their children and grandchildren. For some, it’s because they care more about abortion or immigration or taxes than they do about their descendants. For others, it’s because they’ve been sold a Big Lie about how the world works.

    If everyone voted their own best economic interests, taking heirs into account, 10% would vote for R’s and 90% would vote for D’s. (Voting for anything else is never in one’s best interest.)

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  91. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    I wonder if part of the initial mafia hook in the unions was protection from violent strikebreaking tactics that used government entities and powerful private firms like Pinkerton.

    Exactly. The reaction of capital to the United Mine Workers is the Pinkertons and Matawan. As you say, Adam Smith called out the asymmetry pretty explicitly, but modern conservatives and libertarians don’t seem to read those chapters of The Wealth of Nations.

    From the view of workers, a world of at-will employment is a dystopia.

    Indeed. I think it would be hard to get the Cato Institute to recognize labor unions as one of those spontaneous social orders that arise without central direction, though. When owners collude and co-opt government, that’s natural and spontaneous. When workers collude, that’s an appalling interference with free markets. [Insert eye roll here.]

    As a side note, there is some truth to the weird obsession libertarians have with mandated credentialing. Some licensing schemes are probably akin to protection rackets.

    Yes! And so the natural reaction to that is to ask, who should decide which credentialing schemes are appropriate (e.g. surgeons) and which are not (e.g. hairstylists)? And the answer has to eventually come down on one of three options, as I see it: (1) “Spontaneous” rule of law, per Cato; (2) Representative government acting on behalf of the people; or (3) the Autocrat. I know which solution I prefer…

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  92. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    IT Friday.

    Go to work 8 AM Friday morning. Go home 4 PM Sunday afternoon.

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  93. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz: I think we talk past each other because of different definitions of self interest. Your definition seems to be narrower than mine, based mostly on policy. Mine includes, nay is based mostly on, self-identity and team identity. Politics isn’t about policy. As you rightly note, voting is hardly a rational behavior. But rationality != self interest.
    ps, I am familiar with ALEC.

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  94. Mimai says:

    @DrDaveT: You and Kurtz seem to have similar definitions of self-interest. As I noted in my comment to them, mine is broader. Your examples are enlightening here. As you note, you vote against your economic self-interest, in the narrow sense. But I suspect you do so because there are things that are more important to you than personal economics. Would you not say that in prioritizing these non-economic things, and voting accordingly, that you are indeed voting in your self interest?

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  95. DrDaveT says:

    @Mimai:

    Would you not say that in prioritizing these non-economic things, and voting accordingly, that you are indeed voting in your self interest?

    I see where you are going with that, but I think it strains the meaning of “self-interest” to the breaking point. If you define self-interest as “whatever it is that I want”, then it’s just a tautology that I vote for the things I want. If you include values, you will eventually get to the point of saying that a soldier who deliberately falls on a hand grenade to save others was acting in his own self-interest, which is just silly.

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  96. Mimai says:

    @DrDaveT: That’s fair. I accept that it may strain the meaning. I also suggest that, in citing the example of a soldier on the battle field, you might be straining the application of this point. 🙂

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  97. DrDaveT says:

    @Mimai:

    I also suggest that, in citing the example of a soldier on the battle field, you might be straining the application of this point.

    It does seem like too far down the slippery slope — except that there’s a long history of serious philosophers and psychologists arguing that there’s no such thing as altruism, really, because everyone always does whatever it is that they think will make them happiest (or least unhappy) in the long run, and so all action is essentially selfish. In that context, I’m pushing back and suggesting that no, there really is a difference worth preserving between selfish and unselfish behaviors.

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  98. flat earth luddite says:

    @CSK:
    Been working on the memories of nearly 30 years of herding attorneys. 3rd redraft in progress. Not sure about the times before that. Although my daughter will tell you that my conversations with her and her friends in high school included why I was living proof that 1/2 oz weed + 1/2 bottle tequila + riding motorcycle home was a bad idea. Mostly because I had to drive back out to Snohomish the next morning, hungover, in the rain, because I’d ridden home in shirtsleeves without my helmet (late October). Similarly bad experiences with LSD and peyote. Seemed like values of normal for my friends and family.

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