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. sam says:

    Wreckage of long-lost WW II ship, sunken with its Native American skipper and half its crew, identified

    The ship is the USS Johnston, and her skipper was Cmdr. Ernest E. Evans. She, and much of her crew, including Cmdr. Evans, were lost during the Battle off Samar — to me, the most heroic unit action of WWII.

    The Battle off Samar (Filipino: Labanan sa may Samar) was the centermost action of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history, which took place in the Philippine Sea off Samar Island, in the Philippines on October 25, 1944. It was the only major action in the larger battle in which the Americans were largely unprepared. The Battle off Samar has been cited by historians as one of the greatest last stands in naval history; ultimately the Americans prevailed over a massive armada – the Japanese Imperial Navy’s Center Force under command of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita – despite their very heavy losses and overwhelming odds.

    Admiral William Halsey Jr. was lured into taking his powerful Third Fleet after a decoy fleet, taking with him every ship in the area that he had the power to command. The remaining American forces in the area were three escort carrier groups of the Seventh Fleet. The escort carriers and destroyer escorts which had been built to protect slow convoys from submarine attack had been adapted to attack ground targets and had few torpedoes, as they normally relied on Halsey’s fleet to protect them from armored warships.

    A Japanese surface force of battleships and cruisers – led by the super battleship Yamato, the largest and most-heavily gunned ship afloat – had been battered earlier in the larger battle and was thought to have been in retreat. Instead it had turned around unobserved and encountered the northernmost of the three groups, Task Unit 77.4.3 (“Taffy 3”), commanded by Rear Admiral Clifton Sprague. Taffy 3’s three destroyers and four destroyer escorts possessed neither the firepower nor the armor to oppose the 23 ships of the Japanese force capped by the Yamato’s 46 cm (18-inch) guns but attacked anyway with 5-inch (127 mm)/38 caliber guns and torpedoes to cover the retreat of their slow “jeep” carriers. Aircraft from the carriers of Taffy 1, 2, and 3, including FM-2 Wildcats, F6F Hellcats and TBM Avengers, strafed, bombed, torpedoed, rocketed, depth-charged, fired at least one .38 caliber (9 mm) handgun and made numerous “dry” runs at the Japanese force when they ran out of ammunition.[2]

    The force lost two escort carriers, two destroyers, a destroyer escort and several aircraft. Over a thousand Americans died, comparable to the combined losses of American men and ships at the Coral Sea and Midway. The Americans sank three Japanese cruisers, disabled another three and caused enough confusion to persuade Admiral Kurita to regroup and ultimately withdraw, rather than advancing to sink troop and supply ships in Leyte Gulf. Half of all Americans killed at Leyte Gulf were killed in this single battle. Although the battleship Yamato and the remaining force returned to Japan, the battles marked the final defeat of the Imperial Japanese Navy, as the ships remained in port for most of the rest of the war and ceased to be an effective naval force.

    To give some perspective, the Yamoto displaced more than the displacement of all the ships, destroyers, destroyer escorts, and jeep carriers, in Taffy 3. See, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.

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  2. Teve says:


    Almost [one] third of UK Covid hospital patients readmitted within four months

    BMJ analysis of 48,000 records also finds one in eight patients die within four months of discharge

    Nearly a third of people who have been in hospital suffering from Covid-19 are readmitted for further treatment within four months of being discharged, and one in eight of patients dies in the same period, doctors have found.

    The striking long-term impact of the disease has prompted doctors to call for ongoing tests and monitoring of former coronavirus patients to detect early signs of organ damage and other complications caused by the virus.

    While Covid is widely known to cause serious respiratory problems, the virus can also infect and damage other organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.

    Researchers at University College London, the Office for National Statistics, and the University of Leicester, compared medical records of nearly 48,000 people who had had hospital treatment for Covid and had been discharged by 31 August 2020, with records from a matched control group of people in the general population.

    The records were used to track rates of readmission, of deaths, and of diagnoses for a range of respiratory, heart, kidney, liver and metabolic diseases, such as diabetes.

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  3. Teve says:

    Seen on Facebook

    Watching the implosion of Matt Gaetz is releasing schadendorphines I never knew I had.

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  4. Teve says:

    Of course infrastructure pays for itself. It leverages the greatest resource on earth.

    Americans have always worried about the crushing cost of infrastructure, and Americans have always been wrong. I don’t say this from some snooty perch of knowingness: I personally have always worried about the cost of infrastructure, and I personally have always been wrong.
    As a young man living in Denver, I thought the Denver Tech Center, Denver International Airport and light rail project were all ruinous boondoggles. Nope. All three are key parts of Denver’s robust economy over the past 30 years.
    When I lived in England, I scoffed at plans to dig a tunnel under the English Channel. Wrong. The project has been a success on both sides of the Chunnel.
    You get the idea. I’ve learned from experience what DeWitt Clinton, who later became governor of New York, knew as far back as 1810, when he began years of labor on a project widely derided as “Clinton’s Folly,” that eventually became known as the Erie Canal. Infrastructure is the connective tissue for human cooperation and communication. Bridges, roads, seaports, airports, railways, waterways, power lines, broadband — they all end up paying for themselves many times over because they leverage the greatest economic resource on earth: people.

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US fossil-fuel companies took billions in tax breaks – and then laid off thousands

    A group of 77 firms involved in the extraction of oil, gas and coal received $8.2bn under tax-code changes that formed part of a major pandemic stimulus bill passed by Congress last year. Five of these companies also got benefits from the paycheck protection program, totaling more than $30m.

    Despite this, almost every one of the fossil-fuel companies laid off workers, with a more than 58,000 people losing their jobs since the onset of the pandemic, or around 16% of the combined workforces.

    The largest beneficiary of government assistance has been Marathon Petroleum, which has got $2.1bn in tax benefits.

    However, in the year to December 2020, the Ohio-based refining company laid off 1,920 workers, or around 9% of its workforce. As a comparative ratio, Marathon has received around $1m for each worker it made redundant, according to BailoutWatch, a nonprofit advocacy group that analyzed Securities and Exchange Commission filings to compile all the data.

    Phillips 66, Vistra Corp, National Oilwell Varco and Valero were the next largest beneficiaries of the tax-code changes, with all of them shedding jobs in the past year. In the case of National Oilwell Varco, a Houston-headquartered drilling supply company, 22% of the workforce was fired, despite federal government tax assistance amounting to $591m.

    All hail the job creators destroyers

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ivanka Trump’s flagship policy program slammed by government auditors

    The Government Accountability Office has issued a damning report about the implementation of legislation supporting Ivanka Trump’s signature women’s empowerment initiative, from her time as an adviser to her father, President Donald Trump.

    As Ivanka Trump traveled the world talking up the whole-of-government Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, deep problems were developing in roll out of the bipartisan Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018 at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
    …………………………
    One of the 10 agencies involved was the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is mandated to allocate $265 million a year for support to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises under the WEEE Act. Half of the money is required to go to women, half to the very poor (some overlap between the two groups is expected).

    While Trump touted W-GDP as a cohesive program “enabling us to rigorously track the execution and the efficacy of the money that we are spending,” the GAO’s 14-month audit demonstrates that, at least at USAID, the opposite was happening.

    While USAID launched at least 19 new women’s empowerment programs in 2019 alone, there were extensive failures in both the targeting of the money, and the measurement of its impact.

    USAID was unable to say what proportion of funds went to the very poor, and women-owned and managed businesses. Shockingly, the agency couldn’t even define what actually constitutes a business owned and run by women, the GAO concluded.

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you.

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  7. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: NYU bidness professor and entrepreneur Scott Galloway is fond of saying it’s a mistake to bail out businesses, we should instead bail out employees. His reasoning is that in a capitalistic system you shouldn’t prop up poorly managed businesses, let their assets go to market and be used more efficiently, but provide help for the employees who don’t deserve to get screwed by greedy and stupid management.

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A not so “Heh” look at “Women’s History Month” 2021 from the Daily Show.

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  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Teve:

    Infrastructure does pay for itself, which is why projects should go forward even if they are paid for through debt.

    But the US has a problem, it costs 4x-10x as much to complete an infrastructure project in the US than in anywhere else in the developed world and the projects take many times as long to complete.
    An gross example is the the 2nd Ave subway extension in NY City. Conceived in 1920, it is still only half completed at a cost 6x of that of a similar subway project in Paris.

    The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth

    The recently completed Second Avenue subway on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the 2015 extension of the No. 7 line to Hudson Yards also cost far above average, at $2.5 billion and $1.5 billion per mile, respectively.

    Across the Atlantic Ocean, Paris is working on a project that brings the inefficiency of New York into stark relief.

    The project, called the Line 14 extension, is similar to the Second Avenue subway. Both projects extend decades-old lines in the hopes of reducing systemwide overcrowding. Both involved digging through moderately hard soil just north of the city center to make a few miles of tunnel and a few stations about 80 feet underground. Both used tunnel-boring machines made by Herrenknecht. Both faced strict regulations, high density and demands from neighbors, which limited some construction to 12 hours per day.

    But while the Second Avenue Subway cost $2.5 billion a mile, the Line 14 extension is on track to cost $450 million a mile.

    (emphasis added)

    And it’s not just NY. The vaunted California high speed rail project linking LA and SF is all but dead and if anything gets completed it will likely be limited to a couple of hundred miles through the San Fernando Valley and never connect to LA or SF. The project is already wildly over budget.

    Pretty much every transit project, whether rail, highway or airport takes far longer and much higher cost than anticipated.

    Just think what we could do w/Joe’s $2T if the projects cost even half as much and would be completed before a good chunk of the readers here at OTB pass to the sweet by and by.

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  10. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    But the US has a problem, it costs 4x-10x as much to complete an infrastructure project in the US than in anywhere else in the developed world and the projects take many times as long to complete.

    Absolutely, and I wish I could remember who it is that I periodically read about this issue from, I want to say it’s Kevin Drum but I’m not sure. Spain or Germany can build subway platforms for 1/10 of what are we doing and there’s not an obvious answer as to why: we have environmental rules, they have environmental rules, we have unions, they have unions. I saw a proposal a few weeks ago that we simply should just send teams to countries that do it a lot cheaper and find out what the hell they’re doing differently.

    (Of course there are only some things that we do much more expensively, I doubt we are super inefficient when it comes to like lead pipe remediation or building cell towers etc.)

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  11. Teve says:

    Fortunately also there is a tent pole affect, where a really wildly successful program can pay for a dozen failures or mediocre accomplishments. The US government didn’t put very many millions into building DARPA net, but can you just imagine the amount of tax revenue collected from Internet-related business over the last 3 decades?

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  12. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    According to The Guardian, even Donald Trump is shying away from him, or at least he’s been warned to avoid Gaetz.

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  13. Teve says:

    @CSK: only two or three of his fellow Republicans have expressed any public support for him, Gym Jordan and MTG and/or Boebert. He seems to be about as well liked as Ted Cruz.

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  14. Mikey says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Teve:

    I went to the Google and asked it why the U. S. is so much more expensive than everywhere else and found this really interesting piece from New York Magazine. The long and short of it is: we don’t know and it’s frustratingly difficult to figure out why.

    Here’s Why We’ve Failed to Figure Out Why Infrastructure Costs So Much

    Last year, in a provision tucked away in an appropriations bill, Congress instructed the Government Accountability Office to produce a report comparing the construction costs for rail-transit infrastructure projects in the U.S. to those in other advanced countries.

    Turns out we’re not actually more expensive than the entire developed world. But we’re more expensive than much of Europe. Unfortunately the subject analysis didn’t uncover why, because it avoided non-English-speaking countries.

    Another problem with conducting international comparisons is that many of the people whose expertise you need are not English speakers. When Congress ordered this report, it produced a list of countries it thought might be especially good subjects for a cost comparison. The list includes Spain and Italy, which have reputations for especially cost-effective subway construction. None of the countries that Congress encouraged the GAO to look at are English-speaking.

    But when the GAO did some qualitative international comparisons in its report, it drew its examples from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. There is an obvious advantage to such comparisons: The project documents are in English and the participants in the projects speak English. Relevant press coverage is in English. But a problem is that other English-speaking countries — especially Canada — also tend to have very high transit-infrastructure costs compared to world averages. Some researchers have theorized that the common-law system we share with these countries is a driver of those high costs.

    There’s a lot more in the linked piece, which is really quite interesting.

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  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A good interview/profile:
    Minnie Driver: ‘I did not have the appetite to be a big movie star’

    We are talking over video chat, Driver from her family home in London, to which she has temporarily decamped after decades away in Los Angeles. She apologises for how nice she looks, the sort of apology that can only be made after a year in lockdown. “I’m only dolled up like this because I just did the photoshoot,” she explains. “And my fucking phone, the facial recognition thing wouldn’t recognise me. It was like, ‘Where’s the hag who usually opens the phone? Who’s this person?’ I often feel insulted by my own phone, but that was legendary.”

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  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “Christ has called me” Former Sec. of State Pompeo

    Don’t get your hopes up like I did.

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  17. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    “And my fucking phone, the facial recognition thing wouldn’t recognise me. It was like, ‘Where’s the hag who usually opens the phone? Who’s this person?’ I often feel insulted by my own phone, but that was legendary.”

    😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛

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  18. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Gaetz seems to be even more loathsome than Cruz. I didn’t think that was possible.

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  19. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I support Mike Pompeo becoming a missionary. He should go try to convert the tribe on North Sentinel Island. They need them some Jesus real bad, Mike.

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  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Teve:
    @Mikey:

    In recent weeks there have been a number of articles from both liberal and conservative journals as to why it costs so much to build and why it is so difficult. The emphasis may differ but both identify the a similar group of reasons. An interesting one is that project opponents have weaponized environmental impact statements and other environmental reviews to tie up projects. That is what happened with the Cali high speed rail project and is happening with efforts to build housing in that state. It is happening in Mpls on the SW corridor, light rail expansion and you can go on and on.

    Another bottleneck is the number of levels of government that require buy in to get anything done, with the concept of federalism working against us. Watching the progress of light rail development in Mpls, how long and how conflicted the SW corridor line planning has taken relative to the first 2 legs of the system. The first line passed through 3 jurisdictions; the City of Mpls, MSP airport and the City of Bloomington, all of which wanted the rail line, The second line required approval of only Mpls and St. Paul and again went quickly, but the SW line runs through several communities and numerous neighborhood fiefdoms along with a freight RR right of way. The permitting process has been arduous.

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  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    Gaetz is loathsome in a different way from Cruz. Cruz is simply a sneering reptile who will step on anyone to get his way. Gaetz is smarmy, entitled frat boy who will never grow up and brags about himself incessantly.

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  22. Teve says:

    @AmandaMull (Who you should be following, if you’re on Twitter)

    Finally figured out what Matt Gaetz reminds me of, aesthetically speaking: a Dick Tracy villain

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  23. gVOR08 says:

    @sam:

    the Battle off Samar — to me, the most heroic unit action of WWII.

    Indeed.
    In Red October when Sean Connery says Halsey acted stupidly, this is what he was talking about.

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  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Mikey:

    Another problem with conducting international comparisons is that many of the people whose expertise you need are not English speakers.

    Whuut? Do our intelligence agencies only spy on Canada, the UK, and Australia?

    Besides common-law based legal systems, we have in common with the UK and Australia that Rupert Murdoch has screwed over our politics.

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  25. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08:

    Whuut? Do our intelligence agencies only spy on Canada, the UK, and Australia?

    The intel community’s linguist resources are limited and it’s doubtful they’d be farmed out to analyze why the Italians can build a subway line cheaper than we can.

    Although one could probably make a fair case as to why it would be a good idea to loan one or two out.

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  26. Joe says:

    Spring cleaning in my yard this morning which, I realize, my dog has reduced to a turd world country. (Thanks, I’ll be here all week.)

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  27. Kathy says:

    @Mikey:

    One can conclude the English language is to blame.

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  28. BugManDan says:

    @Kathy: One could conclude the English are to blame.

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  29. DrDaveT says:

    @Mikey:

    The intel community’s linguist resources are limited and it’s doubtful they’d be farmed out to analyze why the Italians can build a subway line cheaper than we can.

    Too bad there aren’t a million other fluent Italian speakers in the US that we could use instead.

    Oh, wait — there are.

    Seriously, the idea that “the information is in a foreign language” is some kind of barrier to Americans being able to access it is beyond pathetic. It turns out that the best argument for American exceptionalism is a negative example — our inability to learn more than about 0.8 languages.

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  30. DrDaveT says:

    So, I had been mildly impressed with my local jurisdictions’ handling of vaccine appointments. My wife and I both signed up at the appropriate website; we got notified of our opportunity to schedule appointments; we made appointments; we went at the designated date and time, and we got jabbed. We even got “thank you for getting vaccinated” confirmation emails when we got home.

    So far so good; the line was fairly long but it still only took about an hour, including waiting around to see if one of us would have a bad reaction.

    Then one day later we both got emails from the state, offering us the opportunity to schedule a vaccination appointment. Oops. I suspect “failure to communicate” between the local jurisdiction and the state.

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  31. dazedandconfused says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Re: “Christ has called me” Former Sec. of State Pompeo

    I suppose asserting he was going in order to to spend more time with his family would’ve depressed the heck out of em’.

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  32. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Somebody obviously made it eminently clear to Pompeo that he didn’t have the chance of a snowball in hell of getting elected president in 2024, or of even getting the nomination.

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  33. Teve says:

    How Trump Steered Supporters Into Unwitting Donations

    Online donors were guided into weekly recurring contributions. Demands for refunds spiked. Complaints to banks and credit card companies soared. But the money helped keep Donald Trump’s struggling campaign afloat.

    By Shane Goldmacher
    April 3, 2021
    Updated 4:28 p.m. ET

    Stacy Blatt was in hospice care last September listening to Rush Limbaugh’s dire warnings about how badly Donald J. Trump’s campaign needed money when he went online and chipped in everything he could: $500.

    It was a big sum for a 63-year-old battling cancer and living in Kansas City on less than $1,000 per month. But that single contribution — federal records show it was his first ever — quickly multiplied. Another $500 was withdrawn the next day, then $500 the next week and every week through mid-October, without his knowledge — until Mr. Blatt’s bank account had been depleted and frozen. When his utility and rent payments bounced, he called his brother, Russell, for help.

    What the Blatts soon discovered was $3,000 in withdrawals by the Trump campaign in less than 30 days. They called their bank and said they thought they were victims of fraud.

    “It felt,” Russell said, “like it was a scam.”

    But what the Blatts believed was duplicity was actually an intentional scheme to boost revenues by the Trump campaign and the for-profit company that processed its online donations, WinRed. Facing a cash crunch and getting badly outspent by the Democrats, the campaign had begun last September to set up recurring donations by default for online donors, for every week until the election.
    Contributors had to wade through a fine-print disclaimer and manually uncheck a box to opt out.

    As the election neared, the Trump team made that disclaimer increasingly opaque, an investigation by The New York Times showed. It introduced a second prechecked box, known internally as a “money bomb,” that doubled a person’s contribution. Eventually its solicitations featured lines of text in bold and capital letters that overwhelmed the opt-out language.

    The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists — retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives. Soon, banks and credit card companies were inundated with fraud complaints from the president’s own supporters about donations they had not intended to make, sometimes for thousands of dollars.

    “Bandits!” said Victor Amelino, a 78-year-old Californian, who made a $990 online donation to Mr. Trump in early September via WinRed. It recurred seven more times — adding up to almost $8,000. “I’m retired. I can’t afford to pay all that damn money.”

    The sheer magnitude of the money involved is staggering for politics. In the final two and a half months of 2020, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and their shared accounts issued more than 530,000 refunds worth $64.3 million to online donors. All campaigns make refunds for various reasons, including to people who give more than the legal limit. But the sum the Trump operation refunded dwarfed that of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign and his equivalent Democratic committees, which made 37,000 online refunds totaling $5.6 million in that time.

    The recurring donations swelled Mr. Trump’s treasury in September and October, just as his finances were deteriorating. He was then able to use tens of millions of dollars he raised after the election, under the guise of fighting his unfounded fraud claims, to help cover the refunds he owed.

    In effect, the money that Mr. Trump eventually had to refund amounted to an interest-free loan from unwitting supporters at the most important juncture of the 2020 race.

    LOL. We told them he was a crook, he was a Con Man, he cheated subcontractors, he cheated on all three of his wives, he stole from a charity, and has been involved in thousands of lawsuits. They replied “Suck It, Libtards!”

    And I bet most of them are so clueless that they’ll still defend him.

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  34. Mikey says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Too bad there aren’t a million other fluent Italian speakers in the US that we could use instead.

    Well, of course there are. And French, and German (I’m married to a native speaker). And so on.

    But as the author of the NY Mag piece points out, finding the right people who both speak the assorted languages AND possess the knowledge necessary to do the necessary analyses is challenging, and would likely be expensive.

    But that’s the concluding point of his piece: we can’t get the analysis we need on the cheap. Unfortunately, that seems to be how Congress wanted it, so we’re stuck with in-house analysts doing what they could with who they had.

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  35. Mikey says:

    @Teve:

    “It felt,” Russell said, “like it was a scam.”

    You mean a carnival-barking con man who’s never made an honest buck in his miserable excuse for a life engaged in scam tactics to fleece the people who love him the most? Shocking, if true!

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  36. Teve says:

    @timfullerton

    The United States has administered 8,000,000 shots in the last 48 hours. Absolutely amazing.

    Government can do big things when we put the right people in charge.

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  37. Teve says:

    Daniela Andrade – La Vie En Rose

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  38. CSK says:

    @Mikey:
    Oh, it’s true.

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  39. Teve says:

    Why McConnell Dumped Trump

    Ho-Ly Shit:

    Christopher Browning, a historian of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany, told me that McConnell has been almost “Houdini-like at escaping his own devil’s pact” with Trump. In a widely admired essay in The New York Review of Books, from 2018, Browning called McConnell “the gravedigger of American democracy,” and likened him to elected officials in Weimar Germany who struck early deals with Hitler, mistakenly believing that they could contain him and his followers. When I asked Browning if he still regarded McConnell in this way, he said that the new Minority Leader had “cut a better deal than most.” McConnell was “lucky that Trump was so lazy, feckless, and undisciplined.” Hitler didn’t go golfing, Browning pointed out. But Browning found little to celebrate in McConnell’s performance. “If Trump had won the election, Mitch would not be jumping ship,” he noted. “But the fact is Trump lost, and his coup failed. And that opened an escape hatch for Mitch.” Browning warned, however, that “the McConnell wing was ready to embrace Trump’s usurping of democracy—if Trump could pull it off.”

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  40. Teve says:
  41. Teve says:

    @bluestein

    Some Georgia Republican state legislators are removing @CocaCola products from their statehouse offices after the Atlanta-based beverage giant criticized the new elections law. #gapol

    @DavidOAtkins

    The entire GOP has come down to apartheid laws, tax cuts for the rich, and useless culture war grunts.

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  42. Mikey says:

    @Teve:

    @DavidOAtkins

    The entire GOP has come down to apartheid laws, tax cuts for the rich, and useless culture war grunts.

    This has been true for 30 years.

    At least.

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  43. Teve says:

    @Mikey: freedom fries!

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  44. Jax says:

    @Teve: Dude….the philly cheese steak truck in front of NAPA on Friday’s has Freedom fries, and I have never loved philly cheese steak fixings over hot, crispy hand-cut french fries as much as I did yesterday. Honestly, I never even thought about it. 😛

    I am now, though!

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  45. Mister Bluster says:

    Zig-ZAG!

    UCLA ties game with 3.3 sec left in OT. Gonzaga runs back down the court and hits a 3pt as the buzzer sounds! Zags win 90-93 and are still undefeated this season. They will face Baylor for the Men’s Championship Monday night.
    Charles Barkley just said it was the best College Basketball game he’s ever seen!
    The Championship game will have to go at least 2 OT to match the excitement of this game!

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  46. Mister Bluster says:

    Just tuned in to The Ten Commandments. Dathan (Edward G. Robinson) just convinced the heathens to melt down all their jewelry and create a Golden Calf to worship since Moses is taking too long to come down from the mountain. Looks like an orgy will commence! CPAC before it’s time.
    Maybe Republicans will now wander around in the desert for 40 years!

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  47. Teve says:

    @Jax: fries are surprisingly complicated. America’s test kitchen has a recipe where they make a corn starch gel to dip the fries in before roasting them in the oven. The Michelin starred chefs make some of the best fries in the world by frying twice at two different temperatures for some reason. Fries are a whole cooking subculture.

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  48. Teve says:

    Hand-cut is good, but the geek in me enjoys how McDonald’s cuts their fries uniformly. The taters go into a tube and are air-propelled at 65 mph towards a razor sharp grid.The potato hits the grid and shoots out the other side as two dozen french fry shapes. 😛

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  49. Teve says:

    This comment intentionally left blank

    (The edit button finally appeared so I can fix the post above instead of correcting it here)

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  50. Jax says:

    @Teve: My inner nerd now wants to launch potatoes at a sharp grid and see what happens.Thanks 😛

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