Thursday’s Forum

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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. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Happy Friday Eve everyone.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Blecch.

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  3. Scott says:

    Surprise. Surprise.

    A GOP Texas school board member campaigned against schools indoctrinating kids. Then she read the curriculum.

    Weeks after winning a school board seat in her deeply red Texas county, Courtney Gore immersed herself in the district’s curriculum, spending her nights and weekends poring over hundreds of pages of lesson plans that she had fanned out on the coffee table in her living room and even across her bed. She was searching for evidence of the sweeping national movement she had warned on the campaign trail was indoctrinating schoolchildren.

    But after taking office and examining hundreds of pages of curriculum, Gore was shocked by what she found — and didn’t find.

    The pervasive indoctrination she had railed against simply did not exist. Children were not being sexualized, and she could find no examples of critical race theory, an advanced academic concept that examines systemic racism. She’d examined curriculum related to social-emotional learning, which has come under attack by Christian conservatives who say it encourages children to question gender roles and prioritizes feelings over biblical teachings. Instead, Gore found the materials taught children “how to be a good friend, a good human.”

    Now she faces backlash. No surprise there.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: All it took was George Soros sending her a check.

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  5. MarkedMan says:

    I was going to post a gift link to an article I read this morning in (I think) the NYT, but I simply cannot find it again. But in summary: researchers conducted an in depth group interview with a dozen or so women who had voted for Trump in 2020. My takeaways: at least half of them really, really don’t like Trump; they will all vote for him again despite that; they have been completely and totally brainwashed about Biden’s capabilities.

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  6. Not the IT Dept. says:

    @Scott:

    And to top it off, she’s a former teacher. So she should have known better in the first place.

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  7. Tony W says:

    Having solved all of the other problems in Florida, DeSantis has now outlawed climate change.

    So at least we can mark that one off our list as resolved!

    Well done sir.

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Way too much fun:

    Melissa 2024 Edition
    @Meltart

    I have no idea what’s happening here, but I am thoroughly invested in this physical expression of dance.

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  9. Kathy says:

    So, a billionaire has offered to boost Hubble’s orbit, and to conduct repairs and/or upgrades, for the low, low, low, price of $0.00. You can read about it here.

    It does sound like a good deal, for NASA, but nothing’s been agreed to. It does also sound like a no-brainer. Hubble’s orbit will decay and it will burn up on reentry sime time in 2034. Maybe spending tax money to keep it going longer is not a great idea, seeing as it might fail in other ways as well (it is over 30 years old). The money might best be applied to a newer telescope, or to other NASA projects. But taking a free repair eliminates NASA’s financial risk.

    If, as the piece notes, the billionaire’s crew find it impossible to do the work, NASA loses nothing. Except the instrument has almost a decade left, if nothing major fails between now and then. Not to mention what NASA’s legal liabilities may be. one can imagine if the mission results in the death of one or more private astronauts, survivors and the company might sue NASA for one reason or another.

    This also got me thinking about the economics of private space launches.

    As I’ve mentioned before, most of the money to be made in space right now, is in Earth’s orbit. That’s were all sorts of useful satellites live and work. In 2023, XpaceX launched 91 Xalcon 9 missions. This is quite impressive. However, over 60 of these, two thirds, were to launch Starlink satellites.

    So, is XpaceX a space launch company, or a global ISP with a launch company?

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  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Stephen A. Boyd, Ph.D.
    @StephenABoydPh1

    The control and the vicious cruelty…precisely their point. Ask yourself this: if they REALLY cared about “unborn babies”, why does the ENTIRE Bible Belt have the highest maternal/peripartum mortalities of any of the 32 most advanced countries on the planet?
    Quote

    Right Wing Watch
    @RightWingWatch
    ·
    Apr 29
    Christian nationalists Steve Cruz and Ben Zeisloft agree that any woman who gets an abortion “should be killed”: “She should be tried and convicted; dig a hole and put her down.”

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  11. Jon says:
  12. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: Thanks to Jon for the article I referenced above. Gift Link

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  13. gVOR10 says:

    From my local semi-pro newspaper, a political cartoon for Dr. Taylor, who’s occasionally commented on this silliness. However, to really appreciate it you need to have read the paper and seen the various letters to the editor stating “we’re a republic, not a democracy”.

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  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Jon: Thanks! I’m playing with different browsers today and didn’t realize that you were linking to the article I mentioned above, as Chrome crashed the tab when I clicked it. Then, when it “magically” opened up in the DuckDuckGo browser I opened a few minutes later I didn’t connect it to your link.

    I think I’m going to just go with the DDG browser on all my devices. Sites are just getting overwhelmed with ads and trackers.

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  15. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: I use Opera, but I’m on a laptop 90% of the time. It’s pretty good at blocking ads and trackers.

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  16. Jen says:

    This is a week old, so apologies if it’s already been shared, but John Oliver on public libraries deserves to be watched by everyone.

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  17. Mister Bluster says:

    @Tony W:..climate change

    The subject of the NPR radio broadcast 1-A this morning is carbon capture.
    Now that REPUBLICAN Governor of Florida DeSantis has fixed climate change. May I suggest that all carbon emissions from industry in the United States be captured and sent in a pipeline to the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee so Ron can wave his hands and make it all disappear.

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  18. Slugger says:

    Two thoughts:
    Republicans have been attending Trump’s trial to show support since his wife and children can’t be bothered. Some Democrats should show up at the trial to point fingers and laugh at the defendant.
    A couple of days ago a Kansas City football player gave an address telling women that they should forego other ambitions and accept their biological destiny to become wives and mothers. The culture wars must be over since the best they could do was to have a kicker make these remarks not a real player. It’s like having Kid Rock as your guy.

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  19. CSK says:

    With friends like Boebert and Gaetz, who needs enemies?

    http://www.rawstory.com/trump-trial-boebert-conway-gaetz/

    Doesn’t this just emphasize the fact that Melania, Ivanka, Donnie Junior, and Eric can’t be bothered to show up for him?

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  20. gVOR10 says:

    You may remember that back in 1980 David Koch ran for veep on the Libertarian ticket. It was their resounding defeat in that election that persuaded the Koch Bros. to abandon electoral politics and focus on buying the government behind the scenes. Why did David run? Because he and his family were then exempt from campaign donation limits.

    Shift to 20204. RFK Jr. has named Nicole Shanahan as his running mate. Who is Shanahan? A very rich silicon valley entrepreneur. Her form of entrepreneurism? Serially marrying and successfully divorcing a wealthy investor named Kranz and then Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google. Paul Campos has the entertaining deets at LGM. She must be really good at … what she does.

    So like David Koch, she can pump unlimited money into Jr.’s campaign. Hopefully they’re using her’s as seed money to fund-raise off potential Trump donors.

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  21. JKB says:

    The military is winning the war against white males in the ranks.

    The Sorry State of the American Military | Victor Davis Hanson

    There is a soul to an army as well as to the individual man, and no general can accomplish the full work of his army unless he commands the soul of his men, as well as their bodies and legs.

    Memoir of General William T. Sherman, Vol II

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  22. mattbernius says:

    @JKB: ah yes Victor Dean Hanson who left (or was asked to leave) the National Review because… *checks notes* the publication had become too woke and progressive on issues of race.

    I can’t believe he thinks the military is too woke. That said I totally believe you would find him a reliable authority on White grievances.

    [Edit: Upon reflection, VDH is of course an expert on White grievances… the problem is he mistakes them for actual problems.]

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  23. Kathy says:

    Here’s an old video about the idea of using Xtarship for carrying passengers between points on Earth.

    It’s old enough that the name Xtarship wasn’t in use yet. So instead he talks about the BFR, which is so not Big Falcon Rocket. Also, one needs to smile how he glosses over the fact that such a rocket might be taken for an ICBM.

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  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Dummy, there aren’t enough young, White males interested in joining the military. The average age of Hispanics is 30. Blacks 35. The average age of Whites is 44. Do the math. If you want recruits, guess where they’re coming from.

    We don’t recruit women, Blacks and Hispanics for DEI, we do it because otherwise we don’t have enough warm bodies. Blacks make up 21% of the active duty Army. Shall we fire them? What if we get into a hot war and need to find a million new soldiers? Are we getting them from old White men, or from young Hispanic men and women? Do you know enough history to understand that even the Confederacy was driven to try and recruit Blacks? Do you understand that Blacks and Latinos will not join a racist military?

    So, if you want a strong military, we need to be able to recruit from the entire population, which, simple demographic reality suggests is going to be more Hispanic, Black and female. Right?

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  25. Gustopher says:

    @JKB: If you’re going to get into White Supremacy, may I recommend not doing the whole White Grievance thing? It sounds tiring and just kind of pathetic. Just skip it, and be positive.

    Extoll the virtues of Whiteness. The many fine White cultures. The slightly higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA that is White genetic heritage.

    Don’t wallow in misery and grievance. Put on a happy White face.

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  26. Jen says:

    @Slugger:

    The culture wars must be over since the best they could do was to have a kicker make these remarks not a real player.

    Not just any kicker, though. The kicker with these words of wisdom has a mother who is a physicist who has published a number of papers and works at a leading cancer research center.

    So many levels of WTF going on with that.

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  27. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher:

    Put on a happy White face.

    Normally, given who you are responding to, this is a post I would skip, but I was scrolling up and happened to see this last line first and thought, “What the heck is this about!”

    Well done!

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  28. Jen says:

    @JKB:

    The military is winning the war against white males in the ranks.

    You have the depth of a puddle in the Sahara. We have a volunteer army, you nitwit. White males are choosing to do other things. Also, the military gets a decent percentage of its recruits from poor communities. GUESS WHAT. A lot of those poor communities are predominantly black and brown.

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  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    Vegas news.

    I’m on my balcony, looking out over a vast empty lot that various groups have tried, or are currently trying, to turn into a basketball arena for an NBA team we don’t have. Incidentally, a completely different group is doing the same thing at the other end of the strip for that same not-yet-real NBA team.

    As I looked away I heard a loud crash. A forklift had dropped a large load of boards. My first thought was, “Oooh, I should back that up and see what happened.’ Reality, sadly, does not rewind.

    We are also apparently planning a Sydney Opera House look-alike for the Oakland A’s. And the Mirage is shutting down to make way for a 660 foot-tall Hard Rock hotel-casino in the shape of a guitar. A vertical, LED-lit, guitar that will be the tallest hotel in Vegas. And The Sphere is adding music to its exosphere.

    Must be great for the building trades.

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  30. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    And you’re about to be swarmed with drugged up lunatics in very little clothing. I’m jealous I can’t be there.

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  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Beth:
    Oh? Who’s coming? I can never keep track. I missed an entire half marathon that marooned me in traffic for hours.

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  32. Jack says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I think we can all agree that we will sleep best at night with an all-tranny Army.

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jack:
    I think we sleep best with an educated, competent, well-trained military that has very little in common with the kind of person who’d refer to ‘trannys.’ You may have missed it, but the US military is not the Proud Boys.

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  34. DK says:

    @Beth: I don’t get EDCLV. It’s typically scorching during the day, cold at night, and there’s no way to do it without spending thousande (unless you’re cute and young enough to get some daddy to comp you — noting that nothing is free). One can save a little money by not camping, but that requires the expensive and sucking nightmare of getting out to the event from Vegas proper.

    Why spend all that money for one rave, when you can just go party in Europe or S. America multiple times for less? The fun of EDC is bonding with your tribe to music and psychedelics, but there’s ways to that with less cost and headache. I can afford it and still wouldn’t do it again without arm-twisting and exasperated sighs.

    But. I know many who swear EDC is the greatest thing since sliced bread. So. I guess everyone has their scene. I don’t rain on their parade, I just secretly think they need to get out of the US more.

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  35. Mister Bluster says:

    @Gustopher:..Put on a happy White face.

    Like this…

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  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DK:
    It’s going to be 97 in the shade. And there is no shade. When I take the dogs out for the mid-day pee, we scurry from shadow to shadow.

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  37. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    I think we can all agree that we will sleep best at night with an all-tranny Army.

    It’s funny, I’m old enough to remember the moral panics that happened during the “don’t ask, don’t tell” years and all the conservatives proclaiming that our all-gay armed services would never win a war again. And yet, that didn’t seem to be an issue post-911.

    I also have seen, in recent years, conservatives salivating* over Russian Army videos and proclaiming how our “woke” military forces would never survive a confrontation with that army of real (White) men. And yet, those Elite White Hetero Chad forces are having a real problem in Ukraine (or is just that the Ukrainians are more Hetero and Whiter than the Russians… asking for a friend).

    * – on that salivating note, has anyone done any serious writing on the deep homoeroticism of the MAGA movement? I mean reading the way folks in the movement salivate over how “Alpha” Trump and other key figures are is… well… something. Ditto things like the manliness of Russian forces or… well… pretty much anything related to manliness that Tucker Carlson covers. The entire thing has real Will Farrel from “The Ladies Man” gay panic vibes.

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  38. Beth says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    I know there is some research into why Trans porn is incredibly popular in the reddest of counties.

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  39. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    @DK:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f-xarogbT4

    EDCLV.

    I wanted to go this year, but the personal economy is in shambles. I mean, I’m not in any danger of actual suffering, I’ve just had to scale down from two festivals (travel and local) with super VIP down to one local with super VIP. Woah is me.

    I do want to do it, it’s a lot and I’m into a lot. On the other hand, being cold while on psychedelics sounds absolutely miserable. But that’s a me issue.

    The one festival I am going to is ARC here in Chicago. It’s all House and Techno and tends to draw a bit of an older crowd. It’s over labor day weekend and North Coast is out in the suburbs. The beauty of both festivals is there isn’t a huge overlap and the company* that puts on ARC owns a bunch of clubs in the city. So when the city shuts everything down at 10pm, the clubs open and go hard until 4-5am. Plus North Coast has it’s afters and the independent clubs have joined on side or the other. It’s like the whole city is one big ass festival. This year I have a whole big ass tribe of freaks to go with.

    *May or may not be a subsidiary of Live Nation. Puke

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  40. gVOR10 says:

    @Jen: I recently ran across a bit of trivia I had been unaware of.

    Applebaum (Binyamin Applebaum, The economist’s hour; False prophets, free markets, and the fracture of society) tells how (Milton) Friedman and his ex-pupil Walter Oi waged an ultimately successful campaign, despite the wishes of the generals, to replace the military draft with volunteers. It is unclear how much of Nixon’s acquiescence was due to Friedman’s undoubtedly extraordinary powers of persuasion, and how much to Nixon’s using the arguments as a prop for something he wanted to do on other grounds. Either way, this was the achievement of which Friedman himself was reputably most proud, bringing the market to the military, something that I suspect most economists still favor.

    That’s from Angus Deaton, Economics in America. Deaton is a Nobel Laureate in Econ. He goes on to add,

    But is it really a good idea to draw our military from those with less education and fewer opportunities? In 2015, only 8 percent of enlisted troops had a bachelor’s degree, compared with 84 percent of officers. In an America where those without a college degree are suffering and are increasingly suspicious of democracy, we may have to rely on the military to help preserve it. There is evidence, too, that inequality in the population undermining solidarity, can spill over into the military and compromise battlefield success.

    Deaton partnered with his wife, Anne Case, a distinguished economist in her own right, to do the foundational study on the divergence between college educated and not in this country, linking economic differences with health differences. She originated the phrase “deaths of despair”.

    I’m driving next week from SW FL to the Canadian border in ND for the HS graduation of a niece. She took accelerated classes to graduate a year early because she wants to get out of small town ND and go to college. We attended her sister’s graduation last year. It was a small class, maybe 50. About a quarter of them were wearing cammo sashes indicating they were going into the military. The volunteer military is the way out for the kids who don’t go to college.

    One of Deaton’s themes is that after being a “science” for a hundred years or more, there’s a noteworthy lack of consensus on many major issues. Uncle Milty Friedman made major contributions to the volunteer military, Augusto Pinochet, and monetary theory that doesn’t seem to work very well. But he’s still widely respected in economics and government. Go figure.

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  41. Beth says:

    @Jack:

    The really funny part of this for me is, historically, the military has long been a destination for trans women who couldn’t deal with themselves to prove they’re men (they aren’t) or commit suicide (which is what I narrowly avoided). My gut says that closeted trans women are waaaay over represented in the military, relative to their percent of the population.

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  42. mattbernius says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    * – on that salivating note, has anyone done any serious writing on the deep homoeroticism of the MAGA movement? I mean reading the way folks in the movement salivate over how “Alpha” Trump and other key figures are is… well… something. Ditto things like the manliness of Russian forces or… well… pretty much anything related to manliness that Tucker Carlson covers. The entire thing has real Will Farrel from “The Ladies Man” gay panic vibes.

    Just in case there is any confusion, this isn’t intended in any sort of “luz, u the gayz” way. It’s more a question about the weird embrace of seemingly homoerotic framings while being so concerned about it (and “grooming”) at the same time (see the initial queer fear “tranny army” post).

    I don’t think it’s just closeted behavior for the record, but it seems like something is definitely happening there around “strong daddy” ideas… And yes Gustopher, DK, and others, I know what I just did there).

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  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR10: Given that even State U is likely to cost $50k total, it might be wiser to consider the students you’re talking about as can’ts as well as don’ts.

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  44. Franklin says:

    In 2015, only 8 percent of enlisted troops had a bachelor’s degree, compared with 84 percent of officers

    This doesn’t honestly tell me a ton, since there’s an age difference and many of those enlisted will presumably take advantage of the GI Bill at a later date.

    And I think that’s the key point – yes we’re drawing in the less privileged, but with the potential benefit of them being able to afford college when they otherwise couldn’t. Is it effective compared to working at McDonald’s for a few years? Beats me.

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  45. Gustopher says:

    @mattbernius:

    Just in case there is any confusion, this isn’t intended in any sort of “luz, u the gayz” way.

    I’ll say it.

    A lot of conservatives think that kids will turn queer if you let them know that queer people exist, and that it’s fine to be queer. They think that being queer is a choice.

    I think this says something rather particular about these conservatives. Their choice was to walk into a closet and shut the door most of the way.

    Either there are a whole lot of gay conservatives, or there are a whole lot of bi/pan conservatives who have decided to live straight-acting lives. And for bi/pan people, it may not even be such a painful choice — marry someone you’re attracted to, fit in and gaze at the pool boy at the country club.

    I doubt a lot of straight people spend a lot of time thinking about the time they chose to be straight.

    Remember Michele Bachman and her creepy husband who was into praying away the gay? He said several times that he had successfully done it himself.

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  46. Gustopher says:

    @mattbernius:

    has anyone done any serious writing on the deep homoeroticism of the MAGA movement?

    Also, I’m betting Chuck Tingle has done a bit of writing about that. Here’s one.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26493627-president-domald-loch-ness-tromp-pounds-america-s-butt

    Chuck Tingle has a book about everything (pounding him in the butt)

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  47. steve says:

    Abbott has pardoned the guy who murdered a BLM protestor. I had read this and then it was mentioned on the news. Interesting that they mentioned the killer was a former Army Sgt but didnt mention that they who was killed was in the Air Force.

    https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/4668940-texas-greg-abbott-pardons-army-sergeant-who-sentenced-25-years-after-murdering-blm-protester/

    Steve

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  48. Gustopher says:

    @steve: Given that the dude he shot brought a gun to a protest, I have conflicted feelings on the matter. I’m not willing to say he got what was coming to him, but no good comes from carrying a visible gun in public — it’s done to intimidate. Sad that the guy who killed him isn’t getting what is coming to him tho.

    Gun-owner on gun-owner violence. It’s unfortunate, but these people are animals.

    An armed society is a polite society only when all the armed people kill each other.

    ETA: This might be a case when not all thoughts need to be shared. Also, maybe we should arm the homeless in Texas — just because you don’t have a fixed address doesn’t mean you don’t have second amendment rights to be a gun-toting lunatic.

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  49. just nutha says:

    @Franklin: Given that many McDonald’s are in places where McD wages=/=rent, I’d go with “Yes” on that question. YMMV.

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  50. just nutha says:

    @steve: Completely different! The USAF guy became a BLM protester. Clearly, the Air Force taught him nothing about patriotism or knowing one’s place.

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  51. steve says:

    Gustopher- Sure, but carrying guns is pretty much standard at right wing gatherings. Also it’s Texas where open carry is legal. I am OK with outlawing them at protests and public gatherings. However, if they are going to be legal it shouldn’t be OK for people on the right to shoot people on the left just because they are also carrying a gun.

    Steve

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