Sunday Forum

Have at it.

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

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Misery finally goes into lockdown tomorrow.

    1
  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    Welcome, but keep your distance.

    1
  3. CSK says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Misery loves company. It was getting kinda lonely as a holdout.

    2
  5. DrDaveT says:

    I do not understand this article. It seems to be claiming that peak hospital bed usage in NY and NJ will be within a few days, and that’s just crazy — both of those states are still showing day over day growth in new confirmed cases. It took many weeks in Italy and Spain just to achieve fewer new cases per day, starting from where NY is now, and peak hospital usage hasn’t happened yet there.

    What am I missing? Is this model assuming a level of social distancing equivalent to full quarantine?

    2
  6. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I disagree with this part of the article:

    While it wouldn’t be inaccurate to label these misleading statements as “lies,” in a way that gives Trump too much credit. In order to tell lies, one has to be playing on the field of truth and falsity. Trump isn’t. He appears to be indifferent to the commonly accepted notion of truth, not necessarily hostile to it. He is, to coin a word, a-truthful.

    If Trump was merely indifferent to truth, then we’d expect his statements to be truthful roughly 50% of the time by pure chance. That’s clearly not the case. Almost everything he ever says is a lie–and not just a lie, but the polar opposite of the truth. There is a sense that he’s engaged in a constant effort to negate reality, and all of it, no matter what the situation, has to do trying to stamp out the obvious truth that he’s a pile of human garbage–a deeply stupid, depraved man with not a shred of redeeming qualities whatsoever. He’s not just someone average or mediocre exaggerating their talents. He’s a pathetic failure of a person who spends every waking moment of his life trying to convince people he’s an awesome success, and he does it by simply declaring it to be so in the most infantile and cartoonish way imaginable.

    He isn’t even skillful at the art of deceit; his statements generally have about the same level of persuasiveness as “the dog ate my homework” or “I read Playboy for the articles.” Of course he has actually succeeded in persuading millions of people to accept his bizarre version of unreality, but it’s a fallacy to think that proves he’s a skillful liar. What he has done is nurtured a cult of personality in which his followers literally accept anything that comes out of his mouth, and even then he would never have gotten as far as he did without the support of right-wing media promoting and amplifying his lies, often in a far more sophisticated manner than he’s capable. His approach throughout his career as a public figure, since long before anyone remotely imagined that he might one day actually hold political power, is to pound people into submission, and as a leader of the government it takes on the quality of Winston Smith’s interrogator trying to force people to believe he’s holding up a different number of fingers.

    8
  7. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    If Trump was merely indifferent to truth, then we’d expect his statements to be truthful roughly 50% of the time by pure chance.

    That would only be true if roughly half of all statements that further his personal goals were true. But they aren’t — as we all know too well, nearly all statements that further Trump’s personal goals are false or misleading.

    So I think the article’s author has a reasonable point — Trump genuinely doesn’t care whether what he’s saying is true or not, he just says whatever he thinks best serves his selfish interests. The thought “what I am saying is not really true” probably never reaches his consciousness, which does make it a bit odd to call it “lying”.

    5
  8. CSK says:

    @Kylopod: @DrDaveT:
    As other people have pointed out, Trump is transactional. Additionally, he sees and hears only what’s immediately in front of him at any given moment, so he has no capacity to imagine other possibilities. He says what he thinks will serve him in any given moment. Now he’s talking about this pandemic as if it were a plague. Does he even recall that eight weeks ago he dismissed it as nothing?

    3
  9. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Well… it’s been two weeks and two days since I came down with what I guess was C-19. (no testing to verify/shelter in home).

    Didn’t have the shortness of breath / lung failure part, but there was fever, dehydration, dry cough, weakness, and quite a few other misc symptoms.

    My wife, in the same home during that time, was and continues to be completely asymptomatic… which can happen.

    In speaking with my neighbor (the doctor / anesthesiologist), he suggested that we continue to follow isolation to either insure we don’t infect others, or get infected ourselves… in case what I had was not C-19… so, yippee? Masks are now mandatory in Colorado.

    He (the doc) stated that it won’t be easy to know if we had it and are past until there is an antibody test available to provide results without approaching a hospital. Now, in recovery, if I go to get tested using existing methodologies requiring reagents ( without fever, etc.) they likely will not test me in Colorado.

    His opinion: coming peak will be ugly, but then it will wane come warmer weather and herd immunity stars to kick in as well for those who have had it and survived. But once people start going back to work and school in the fall, we will see another serious outbreak, as people will have forgotten to social distance/wash hands, etc. and those not infected in phase 1 will get infected then.

    So, it’s finally stopped snowing where we are, and it’s going to warm up. Living on a mountain as we do, it should be easy to go for a walk later today as it gets to a balmy 56 degrees. 🙂

    5
  10. DrDaveT says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    His opinion: coming peak will be ugly, but then it will wane come warmer weather and herd immunity stars to kick in as well for those who have had it and survived.

    My concern with discussions of “herd immunity” is that to get there we would need for at least 80% of the population to have been infected. We really, really don’t want to get there. 300 million infections would probably mean millions dead, tens of millions disabled.

    1
  11. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: I’ve heard the argument because he is a successful con man it proves he is not an absolute moron. I think this is the wrong way to look at it. Trump is successful in conning a very specific type of person. There is a certain subset of the population that seemingly has a need to become absolutely faithful believers in complete charlatans. For these people, the more blatant the lie, the more it satisfies some kind of craving. It’s no accident that his support amongst the Evangelical community, who rally around the Jim and Tammy Fay Baker types, the Paula Whites, the Pat Robertsons. But this is fairly common even among the non religious, with people losing their life savings and all their friends to obvious scams ranging from Nigerian princes to EST and the Forum to Amway. I don’t understand what is going on in the head of people who seek out this life destroying nonsense, but I’ve been around long enough to see that it is real. And to be the perpetrator of such frauds doesn’t require any intelligence at all. It just needs sociopathy and an indifference to how rational people view you. The key ingredient is an outsize personality and a complete disregard of reality, allowing you to convincingly declare two mutually exclusive things true in the same sentence. I’d make the argument that intelligence and self awareness is a disadvantage in this type of endeavor.

    2
  12. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: Absent a cure or a really effective treatment, I don’t see how we get there. I think what is most likely to happen is that in six to nine months we will have a partially tested vaccine with poorly understood side effects that will be rolled out widely. If we are lucky it will save more people than it kills. If we are really unlucky it will help breed a super variant of the virus.

    Well before that we will have an antibody test showing whether or not someone has had the virus. That will become the ticket to going back to work, going to the gym, going to have a drink with friends. This will lead to a carry on effect where people weary of the isolation will start going out and take their chances.

    2
  13. steve says:

    “I do not understand this article. It seems to be claiming that peak hospital bed usage in NY and NJ will be within a few days, and that’s just crazy”

    We are in the path of Covid heading east from NYC and NJ. Some of the NJ and NYC hospitals have been sharing data with us so we can help plan better. It does look like the rate of increase is slowing. Some of that may be from people leaving the area, but hard to see that many people leaving to affect numbers so much.

    Steve

  14. Kylopod says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Last week I told my story of having probably-C19. I live in New York. I took the subway for months until just a few weeks ago when we were all sent to work from home. Two weeks ago, little over a week after I stopped coming to the office, I started becoming sick. For the first week the symptoms were indistinguishable from a regular cold. Last week, starting Sunday night, I felt my congestion had reached a point where I wasn’t breathing comfortably. Truth be told, what I was feeling wasn’t worse than minor discomfort. But I was scared, especially after it was reported that a lawmaker in Michigan who was almost the same age as me (43) had died from the virus after neglecting to seek treatment. After making dozens of calls, I was told I wasn’t eligible to get the test (I basically have to have been in contact with a known carrier), and that I probably wasn’t going to be seeing anyone in person unless I went to an ER, which I should avoid doing unless it got really bad. I finally got a video-conference call with the hospital, and they told me that based on my symptoms, my age, and my lack of serious preexisting health problems, that I was at low risk of needing hospitalization–but that I should monitor the symptoms in the coming days to see if it worsened. My breathing problems seemed to subside after that, but I was left with a soreness and tightness in my chest that has persisted, and on Friday I felt I was experiencing a return of some of the earlier symptoms. My cough has also gotten worse. I just got off another virtual “visit” today with a hospital physician, and they’ve prescribed me something, which I’m trying to get sent to my apartment so I don’t have to go out.

    It also sucks because this is going to be the first Passover in my life that I don’t spend with my parents in Baltimore. I could have managed that if I’d had sufficient time to prepare, but I basically had to come up with the necessary materials on the fly, at a time when the high demand has made it hard to get food sent to my apartment, and I’m going to end up with a very stripped-down version of the Seder.

    5
  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    Trump has banned medical exports to Canada, who is now buying supplies from China instead:

    Trump’s moves to hold medical supplies tip Trudeau to China

    We’re going to come out of this with the US completely isolated and China the new world superpower.

    8
  16. Slugger says:

    I think the Surgeon General should resign. As late as March 8 he was minimizing the threat. It wasn’t until March 23 that he told us that it was going to be bad. There many out there who told us that this was just a cold, but I’m ok with them since they are just people with an opinion and an internet connection. The Surgeon General is in a responsible position; the current one should accept responsibility and resign. BTW, I have not seen any recantations from the “just a cold” crowd, and I don’t expect any. That’s just the kind of person they are.

    1
  17. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @DrDaveT:

    My concern with discussions of “herd immunity” is that to get there we would need for at least 80% of the population to have been infected. We really, really don’t want to get there. 300 million infections would probably mean millions dead, tens of millions disabled.

    You say this as if that choice is an option. It is not. We have absolutely no biological defense against C-19. We will all get it.

    From an infection perspective, he (the doc) stated that one would be better to get it by touching the virus and rubbing your eyes, as that would only be about 10,000 virus particles. Through the eye and into the bloodstream there is a better chance of the body mounting a very successful antibody battle. However breathing it in, you get 35,000+ viral particles, and it just loves warm, wet and dark. The body is overwhelmed in that manner. The impact varies by individuals.

    Having said that, that is why the “curve” conversations are so important. If we are all susceptible (and we are) then slowing the infection rate is the only way that those that are very sick get a chance to survive.

    The good news from the Doc? The C-19 virus itself is a very weak thing. Almost anything can decontaminate and kill it on surfaces. So wipes, a very weak bleach solution (a capful in water so that you can just smell it) misted on surfaces, heck, he even said Coca-Cola would do it. And sunshine. If you are concerned about anything coming to your home, or if you have a mask you want to re-use than blast it in sunshine.

    And, for those sheltering in place, going nuts cleaning surfaces in your home won’t really matter… anything there, you already have.

    So there’s that.

    2
  18. grumpy realist says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: For those who can take it, small doses of melatonin to make sure you get sufficient sleep might be just as important as the hand-washing.

  19. Kathy says:

    Too many governments took the approach that the leak is small, and it’s on the other side of the lifeboat anyway.

    7
  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    I expect that some of you are sports fans and the rest would be open to sports as a diversion. Well too bad, we should be looking forward to the 2021 baseball season as the return.

    And for those who are wondering about games being played in empty stadiums, you can stop that now.

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Before stopping here, I was reading an article on the pandemic’s effect on your governors race, this Paxton character is piece of work. As much as I enjoyed living in U-City and the CWE, I’m glad we left.

    1
  21. Scott says:

    @DrDaveT:Is there any data out there about immunity to this virus? Haven’t seen any. It presupposes that you can’t get it a second time, that there is a lasting immunity once you have it, or the second round will not be as severe. UK and Sweden dabbled in this thought but have backed off. I suspect that multiple approaches are going to tried before we find the most effective one.

    1
  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Scott:

    Scott, sometime in February, I saw an article that reported on a theory emanating from Chinese medical officials, that there were indications that someone could become infected, recover and then become sick again because the body hadn’t completely fought the virus off and it lay dormant for a time. Since then I’ve not seen another article on that subject,

    1
  23. Sleeping Dog says:

    Hell, even George recognized the possible pandemic.

    1
  24. Kit says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    You say this as if that choice is an option. It is not. We have absolutely no biological defense against C-19. We will all get it.

    Having said that, that is why the “curve” conversations are so important. If we are all susceptible (and we are) then slowing the infection rate is the only way that those that are very sick get a chance to survive.

    Ok, but if hospitals are brought to their knees for a couple of months when 1% of the population catches the virus, just how are we ever supposed to get to the end of this?

    1
  25. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kylopod:

    If Trump was merely indifferent to truth, then we’d expect his statements to be truthful roughly 50% of the time by pure chance.

    Not so. Because that ignores selfishness and obliviousness.

    Everyone keeps saying “Trump is a sociopath. He’s a psychopath.” I disagree. He’s a 6-year-old. He doesn’t comprehend causality. He thinks if he says it, it must be true. Not out of malice or arrogance, but out of ignorance.

    his statements generally have about the same level of persuasiveness as “the dog ate my homework” or “I read Playboy for the articles.”

    For what it’s worth: The number of naked pics in a Playboy are tiny compared to the articles*. If you want porn-on-paper, go for Penthouse, Oui, etc. Playboy not only had (has?) solid staff writers, they’ve published fiction by top-ranked authors, given excellent advice on fashion for men, and had excellent interviews with celebrities of all stripes (there was a great interview with Stephen Hawking in the early 90s).

    These days, if you’re buying Playboy, you’re doing it for the articles–the internet is for porn.

    * At least that was so in the 90s when I had a subscription.

    1
  26. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT:

    It seems to be claiming that peak hospital bed usage in NY and NJ will be within a few days, and that’s just crazy — both of those states are still showing day over day growth in new confirmed cases. … What am I missing? Is this model assuming a level of social distancing equivalent to full quarantine?

    My first thought: The number of people is hospital beds is limited by the number of hospital beds, while the number of cases is not.

    2
  27. Kit says:

    Trying to get a little bit ahead of the curve, what do people think if and when a vaccine is rushed out? The anti-vaxers will go wild, of course. Then again, just who would feel completely comfortable? And what would it even mean if the vaccine were, say, 50% effective? Assuming that those most at risk would not receive the it, wouldn’t we still be facing the very real possibility of millions dead? Or am I missing something?

  28. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kit:

    Assuming that those most at risk would not receive the it

    Why would you assume that? The vaccine will almost certainly be inert (not a “live vaccine”), so there’s no chance of catching COVID-19. Those most at risk would be the first to get it–which would decrease the burden on healthcare significantly.

    2
  29. Gustopher says:

    I keep seeing stories about the federal government actively intercepting shipments of PPE to states from basically untrustworthy sites and twitter chatter.

    Here is the governor of Massachusetts not explaining what happened to 3 million n95 masks in the port of New York, but explaining how he used a Patriots plane to bypass all of that.

    https://www.wcvb.com/article/3-million-masks-ordered-by-massachusetts-were-confiscated-in-port-of-new-york/32021700

    Anyone have reputable links to what is going on? Who confiscated, why, is this common, etc.?

    2
  30. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Absent a cure or a really effective treatment, I don’t see how we get there.

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    You say this as if that choice is an option. It is not. We have absolutely no biological defense against C-19. We will all get it.

    The one approach I’ve seen proposed that seems like it might have a chance to limit exposure is a period of full quarantine (e.g. 3 weeks) to knock the number of active cases down, while we focus efforts on developing and deploying fast tests for infection and for antibodies. When the pandemic starts to take off again (which it will), lather rinse repeat until the tests are available, then pursue a South Korea-style program of intensive tracking and isolation of infected individuals.

    This could, in theory, both allow a survival level of economic activity to continue AND flatten the curve enough to avoid overwhelming the medical system (with the corresponding huge increase in mortality rate that would cause). It would require near-total compliance (which means enforcement) in the quarantine phase, though.

    I hope we at least try that.

    2
  31. Kit says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Why would you assume that?

    I saw this at cdc.gov:

    Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?
    Different influenza vaccines are approved for use in different age groups. In addition, some vaccines are not recommended for certain groups of people. Factors that can determine a person’s suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a person’s age, health (current and past) and any allergies to influenza vaccine or its components.

    I’m not claiming anything beyond that! I’m asking honest questions without any hidden agenda, knowing that there are a lot of bright people on this site who might have some answers.

  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kit:

    First of all: every medicine–including vaccines–play on the side of (extreme) caution with their disclaimers. That’s a liability issue.

    Secondly: (I am not a doctor–but I did once play one on stage) Any time you mess with biology, there’s a chance of something going wrong. The “age groups” listed in your post may be referring to very young people (who haven’t yet built up strong immune systems) or very old people (for whom ramping up the immune system may have side effects). The “past health” qualifier may refer to people with immune-system issues where a sudden ramp-up of white cells may cause other problems. And, of course, allergies.

    If the age groups listed are “very young”, then it’s not a significant issue with COVID–as the very young seems to weather the disease extremely well. “Past health” is a catch-all, and is taken into consideration with any medicine. Since any COVID-19 vaccine is almost certainly inert, the “past health” qualifier most likely refers to people with sensitive immune systems–the rare few who can’t handle a vaccine of any sort.

    With an inert vaccine, the “most vulnerable” are almost certainly going to be the first wave to get it. They’re the ones who need it most. From there it will spread down the line, with the least vulnerable getting it last–unless it can be produced in sufficient quantities for a broad roll-out.

  33. Kit says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    With an inert vaccine, the “most vulnerable” are almost certainly going to be the first wave to get it.

    If 1% of the population has been exposed, then there is still a huge number of people in the most-vulnerable group, right?

    every medicine–including vaccines–play on the side of (extreme) caution with their disclaimers. That’s a liability issue.

    Sure, but isn’t that because we require all drugs to go through a lengthy period of study?

  34. Monala says:

    @DrDaveT: I also wonder if work is being done on anti-viral medications that would make the disease less deadly if you do get it.

  35. Jax says:
  36. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Kit:

    Ok, but if hospitals are brought to their knees for a couple of months when 1% of the population catches the virus, just how are we ever supposed to get to the end of this?

    If you are a realist, there are a few options:

    1) There could be a rapid anti-viral inoculation developed. People are looking, but there is not one so far. So that is likely out, until that happens. If it happens.

    2) We continue to try to slow the infection rate. Like we have heard, the next few weeks will be horrible, as the numbers will go up and go from tragedy to numbing statistics. No one wants to admit that, but a virus doesn’t care. And we humans suck at real common sense, so we continue to expose ourselves and others. But the upside is that getting C-19 is not a death sentence in itself, for most. The large majority will survive. Areas that tried to slow the rate will not be overwhelmed but still some will die. Those that didn’t slow the effect will have worse results and their hospitals will become morgues as they will not be able to treat the statistical bulge.

    3) An antibody test is already in the works, one has already been approved by the FDA. The more rapid the test results and available at low cost, the more that those who have had C-19 will be allowed to go back out. Of course, “back out” means that the majority of the population will, by that time, need to be C-19 survivors.

    4) Going back out will be like 1918 pandemic. almost everyone will have had it, many will have died, and then life goes back out.

    It’s attributed to Stalin: “The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic”. We may come to see what this means.

    Yeah, not upbeat right? But statistics and epidemiology are not very upbeat when people try to close teh barn door after the horses are gone. And the barn burned down. Two months late.

    2
  37. Teve says:


    We Can Finally See the Real Source of Washington Gridlock

    America’s political dysfunction is rooted not in ideological polarization, but in the Republican Party’s conviction that it alone should be allowed to govern.

    1
  38. Mikey says:

    Probably no big surprise, the NYT is reporting Capt Brett Crozier has tested positive for COVID-19.

    1
  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    And for those who are wondering about games being played in empty stadiums, you can stop that now.

    Is no one beyond Tyrell impressed with the spectacular success Vince McMahon has been having with WWE since moving the broadcasts to the empty Performance Center? I mean, I know that I’m not, but I thought I was just an outlier.

  40. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:
    @Jax:

    What’s interesting is Massachusetts initial order got confiscated at the port of NY. So Charlie Baker, who’s a former health system CEO, did an end around. He recruited Bob Kraft and worked with a an ambassador who has an Asian name, but I’m not sure if it is the US ambassador to China or the Chinese ambassador to the US. Kraft supplied the transportation. What intrigues me, is how did this shipment clear customs?

    Of course Baker is a rethug and Tiny may have chosen not to confront him.

  41. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Baker didn’t vote for Trump. He’s pretty open about the fact that he has no use for Trump.

  42. mattbernius says:

    @Kylopod:
    First, I hope that this medication works and you start feeling better.

    It also sucks because this is going to be the first Passover in my life that I don’t spend with my parents in Baltimore. I could have managed that if I’d had sufficient time to prepare, but I basically had to come up with the necessary materials on the fly, at a time when the high demand has made it hard to get food sent to my apartment, and I’m going to end up with a very stripped-down version of the Seder.

    My family was just discussing how to do Easter via Zoom. And that’s far less material reliant than a Passover. The best of luck pulling everything together for the plate.

    I wonder if there are any services in NYC that can help with that. Given the size and vibrancy of the Jewish community in the Tri-State area there must be something (although I could also see how that’s also part of your problem too). I’ll be thinking of you on Wednesday.

    Gut yontif.

    1
  43. DrDaveT says:

    @Monala:

    I also wonder if work is being done on anti-viral medications that would make the disease less deadly if you do get it.

    There was that paper out of China last week that suggested the mechanism of the disease is that it interferes with hemoglobin metabolism. If that’s true, it suggests a line of research into drugs that would inhibit the virus’s worst effects.

  44. Liberal Capitalist says:

    My family was just discussing how to do Easter via Zoom.

    Awwww.. fer cripes sake, doesn’t anyone READ about all the security risks and product shortcomings of Zoom? “zoom bombing”(posting porn) and having people barge into meetings, giving raw data to Facebook, routing calls/videos through China… Hell, the FBI has posted warnings that it is malware.

    Do this: https://www.avaya.com/en/products/unified-communications/spaces-trial/

    60 day free trial of a business class product, solid security. Longer if it is for Education or first responders.

    2
  45. Teve says:
  46. Mikey says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Spaces is a cool offering. I saw a demo at this year’s Avaya user group conference in Phoenix. Definitely a lot more secure than Zoom.

  47. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I misspoke about the FBI. Theirs was only a specific warning about security releasing the notice: FBI Warns of Teleconferencing and Online Classroom Hijacking During COVID-19 Pandemic

    This article goes into all the other gaps that ended up getting it called malware: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/apr/02/zoom-technology-security-coronavirus-video-conferencing

  48. Teve says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: i would rather use the webex cisco product my company uses. Zoom has questionable issues w/r/t Security, China, encryption.

  49. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Teve:

    America’s political dysfunction is rooted not in ideological polarization, but in the Republican Party’s conviction that it alone should be allowed to govern.

    And you think the Democratic Party is any different?

  50. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:
    He’s still a rethug and regarding C19 and the federal response, he’s kept his head down and not attacked Tiny. Baker also supported impeachment.

  51. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kylopod:

    It also sucks because this is going to be the first Passover in my life that I don’t spend with my parents in Baltimore. I could have managed that if I’d had sufficient time to prepare, but I basically had to come up with the necessary materials on the fly, at a time when the high demand has made it hard to get food sent to my apartment, and I’m going to end up with a very stripped-down version of the Seder.

    If you sit down for Seder with a box of Twinkies, a 6-pack of wine coolers, and God in your heart, I’m pretty sure you’re going to be okay.

    Passover is the celebration of a great affliction “passing over” your house. I was raised Catholic. I understand the need for ceremony and tradition. But… if your family has been spared: order out for gyros, crack open a bottle of wine, and thank God for his mercy.

    If your family complains, just tell them the “Slavic agnostic with a Chinese name said it was okay.” I’ll take the heat. 🙂

    4
  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  53. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    And you think the Democratic Party is any different?

    Well, it has been every time it was actually in power. I’m an empiricist.

    Seriously, this is not a “both sides do it” case. The Democrats have never, ever implemented anything like the “Obama must have no accomplishments and no legacy” policy of the GOP.

    8
  54. Teve says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Read the article since you obviously don’t understand that.

    2
  55. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Yes. Not because of its philosophy but because for 30+ years the Repubs have berm more attractive to sociopaths than Dems.

    2