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. Joe says:

    Off to meet our first grandchild (daughter) in a few minutes when hospital opens to visitors (not happy that they are making us wait). Everyone doing well. We have known she is a girl for months, but will only now learn her name. (My son learned this naming trick from his mother and me.)

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Now trump compares himself to all the martyred saints (Mother Teresa is a saint now, isn’t she?):

    Right after jurors began weighing the former president’s fate, Trump railed against the proceedings and compared himself to a saint, saying in the hallway: “Mother Teresa could not beat these charges. The charges are rigged. The whole thing is rigged.”

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Joe: Great! It will be love at first sight.

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  4. MarkedMan says:

    @Joe: Congrats!

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  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Joe:

    Congrat!

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  6. DeD says:

    The horror has no depths, it seems…

    “Nikki Haley criticized for writing ‘Finish Them!’ on artillery shell in Israel”

    https://wapo.st/4bZYeqW

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  7. Kingdaddy says:

    An archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church claimed, in an interview, that Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine are being resurrected.

    I would recommend watching the video to get the full demented flavor.

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  8. DrDaveT says:

    Russian disinformation sites linked to former Florida deputy sheriff, research finds
    More than 150 fake local news websites pushing Russian propaganda to U.S. audiences are connected to John Mark Dougan, an American former law enforcement officer living in Moscow, according to a research report published Wednesday by NewsGuard, a firm that monitors misinformation.

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  9. Kingdaddy says:

    @DrDaveT: Not exactly a useful idiot, more like someone who wholeheartedly embraces lies and intimidation as a personal creed. Disgusting.

    In the same vein, it’s worth checking out this interview of Kline Preston during a Jordan Klepper piece on “Russian tools.”

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  10. Jon says:

    @Joe: Congrats!

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  11. Franklin says:

    @DrDaveT: My response to that was along the lines of: “So what’s new? There are plenty of prominent Republicans still living and working in America doing the same thing!”

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  12. Franklin says:

    @Joe: Ha, congrats!

    And I did the same name-withholding trick with my kids, much to the chagrin of my mother who was always trying to get a head start on knitting a stocking with the name.

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  13. Paul L. says:
  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Some days are all summed up by “Huh?”

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  15. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Followed by a What The Fuck?! 😉

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  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: You got it.

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  17. CSK says:

    @Joe:

    Wonderful!

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  18. Kathy says:

    Does the SCOTUS have to release their opinions of all the cases they heard in a term before the term is over? Or can they delay a release, or a ruling, for the next term?

    If they do, then I predict the opinion on Orangefuhrer’s claim of immunity will be released on the last possible day. If they don’t, they may hold it for the next term.

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  19. al Ameda says:

    @DrDaveT:

    More than 150 fake local news websites pushing Russian propaganda to U.S. audiences are connected to John Mark Dougan, an American former law enforcement officer living in Moscow, according to a research report published Wednesday by NewsGuard, a firm that monitors misinformation.

    @Kingdaddy:

    Not exactly a useful idiot, more like someone who wholeheartedly embraces lies and intimidation as a personal creed. Disgusting.
    In the same vein, it’s worth checking out this interview of Kline Preston during a Jordan Klepper piece on “Russian tools.”

    I now believe that the Republican Radical Right MAGA Movement has absolutely no problem with collaboration with Russian operatives in their effors to gain control of the White House and Congress.

    Basically, Republicans are now operating with a ‘by ANY means necessary’ approach. Most so-called ‘reasonable’ or ‘traditional Republicans are rushing to sellout.

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  20. al Ameda says:

    @Joe:
    Wishing you and your people peace and good heath.
    Congratulations to all.

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  21. Paul L. says:

    Dekulakization of a traitor CIS white man insurrectionist weak and backwards Bryan Malinowski was completely legal as the warrant included the DOJ deadly force policy. As law enforcement policy, procedure, protocol and process (PPPP) overrides and provides immunity from the actual law, no investigation, review or hearing is necessary.
    Why no mention of the BIG STORY against the arrogant Scottie Scheffler now that the charges dropped.
    Officer [Bryan] Gillis feelz were hurt by the public reaction to this misunderstanding.

    “It was unfortunate and disturbing to hear Steve Romines’ commentary today-claiming a “false arrest” was made and for him to challenge my honesty and integrity,

    Super-important to find a seemingly top notch and aggressive criminal lawyer who won’t give any ground until it comes out how full of crap the cops’ initial story turns out to be.

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  22. Kathy says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    If dead troops are being resurrected, why are more troops needed to replace them?

    @DeD:

    My understanding is that messages scrawled on ordnance are meant for the enemy in the receiving end. So, is Haley instructing Hamas and/or Hezbollah to finish the Israelis?

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  23. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    @Jax:

    I’m pretty sure that generative AI hallucinating gibberish is a sure sign of the Apocalypse.

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  24. DeD says:

    @al Ameda:

    As I posted on Substack in response to DrDaveT’s post, the American in Russia is just like the good White folks who filled in public swimming pools with concrete so that Black people couldn’t use it. Today’s White cohort believes if they can’t have U.S. democracy all to itself, no one will have it.

    On a not-too-unrelated item, it’s always these a**holes, isn’t it? You know, those neo-Nazi types…

    https://patch.com/rhode-island/portsmouth/portsmouth-man-charged-possessing-child-pornography

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  25. DeD says:

    @Kathy:
    As usual, you are sharper than a tack this morning.

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  26. Mister Bluster says:

    Why no mention of the BIG STORY against the arrogant Scottie Scheffler now that the charges dropped.

    You just mentioned it.
    I guess it could be that even you don’t know what you are talking about…

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  27. Paul L. says:

    Gun Lobby escapes justice.

    The Supreme Court️ upholds the NRA’s claim that New York unconstitutionally targeted it for adverse treatment in banking, stifling its First Amendment rights. Sonia Sotomayor wrote the opinion‍⚖️

    Just like arrogant Scottie Scheffler escaped justice because Officer [Bryan] Gillis made the innocent minor mistake of not turning on his body cam violating policy.

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  28. SKI says:

    @Kathy: I’m 99.9% certain that it will be released in June.

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  29. Paul L. says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    When the police narrative was believed before video showed they lied.
    Scottie Scheffler Arrested on Way to PGA

    A truly bizarre spectacle.

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  30. Kathy says:

    Speaking of hallucinating AI, one thing Copilot is really good at is parsing info on the web, then summarizing it in its answer. This helps a lot when I’m trying to find one particular fact or detail, as it spares me from having to search for the nugget in Wikipedia or other websites.

    Sometimes, though, if the detail isn’t widely known, or isn’t brought up often, it fails miserably. And that’s fine. But I’d prefer if it answered “I don’t know,” or “I can’t find that information,” rather than coming up with a short and useless answer.

    This doesn’t happen often. Yesterday I asked whether lunar EVA suits were carried on Apollo 10. It answered all Apollo missions carried lunas EVA suits, plus an explanation of what the suits were like and which parts were discarded on the Moon.

    And that’s way off. I know for a fact Apollo 7 and 8 carried no lunar EVA suits, as there’d have been no room for them on the command module.

    Apollo 10 was the “dress rehearsal” of the Moon landing. Or, rather, the final test of the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). The whole assembly went to the Moon, and the LEM descended to about 15 kilometers from the lunar surface, then returned to the command and service module. It did not land and was not meant to land.

    I can see reasons for taking lunar EVA suits anyway, and for not taking them. But I’m still uncertain whether they were carried or not.

    BTW, the crews named their LEM and command module. This pair were Snoopy and Charlie Brown (Apollo 11 were Eagle and Columbia).

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  31. Kingdaddy says:

    A very good breakdown of why Alito is very bad at his job:

    https://www.thebulwark.com/p/mrs-alito-isnt-the-problem

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  32. SKI says:

    @Kathy:

    This doesn’t happen often. Yesterday I asked whether lunar EVA suits were carried on Apollo 10. It answered all Apollo missions carried lunas EVA suits, plus an explanation of what the suits were like and which parts were discarded on the Moon.

    And that’s way off. I know for a fact Apollo 7 and 8 carried no lunar EVA suits, as there’d have been no room for them on the command module.

    The key to understanding where AI is today is that all models are narrow task-oriented tools. And the task that Gen AI is designed for is NOT being accurate or knowing but being able to put words together in a way that sounds intuitively right.

    Most evocative summary I’ve heard is that Generative AI is “an eager, tireless, drunken intern that sometimes lies”. But the reality is that it is just making things up that sound plausible.

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  33. CSK says:
  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    And that’s way off

    This is what worries me about AI, not that it will give wrong answers, but that it will do so in a very competent and authoritative kind of way. A lot of my cues about bullsh*tting come from the way it is delivered, but I suspect those cues won’t apply to AI. Everything will sound solid, even if it is just hallucinations.

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  35. MarkedMan says:

    How about Congress passes a law that makes it a crime for a company to have anything but an actual human being refer to itself as “I”. Yesterday I was navigating the Fidelity website and needed to talk to a knowledgeable human being, and it kept on implying it was provide a way for me to connect to a person, but instead simply connecting to another chatbot that referred to itself as “I” as if it was an actual person. This is becoming more and more common and annoys the hell out of me, especially since I can navigate their web site and search for thing on it perfectly fine on my own, which is what chat bots are capable of providing help for. If I’m looking to talk to a knowledgeable person it’s because it’s not a FAQ type question.

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  36. just nutha says:

    @Paul L.: Sometimes, I really wish I understood what you’re banging on about in your posts here. But I realize now that understanding you, your views, and why you post what you post is never going to happen. It’s sad, in a way, because you seem to have an intense feeling for injuries to the body politic but will never be able to express them effectively. 🙁

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  37. Gustopher says:

    It’s been 8 years or so since Microsoft introduced their AI chatbot Tay. AI has really progressed a lot since then.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/microsoft-shuts-down-ai-chatbot-after-it-turned-into-racist-nazi/

    Pretty much everything under the surface has changed, and I’m sure the racism is a lot more subtle.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/advanced-ai-chatbots-perpetuate-racist-debunked-medical-ideas-research-rcna121438

    Meanwhile, Google’s AI summary recommends jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge as a way to cure depression.

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  38. just nutha says:

    @Mister Bluster: In my case on the Scheffler story, it’s because I stopped caring about it when I realized that because Scotty is really rich, his lawyer will be able to resolve the issue.

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  39. Kathy says:

    @SKI:

    The selling point for Copilot, is that it looks stuff up in the web, in addition to whatever data it was trained on. So it can answer even topical questions. It also cites sources and provides links to them. This is helpful in determining how correct it is.

    I don’t check all links, only those that are important.

    @MarkedMan:

    Copilot does provide some caveats now and then, including that some information is subject to change. When I ask about the use of certain drugs, for instance, it disclaims that it’s important to consult a doctor before starting any drug regime.

    Overall, I would prefer if it would say it can’t find certain info, as I said above. This happens rarely, even with nonsense questions.

    Sometimes it misunderstands things badly. One time I asked if there are SF stories about humans in the future finding a Voyager probe*. Instead it wrote a very short story about it.

    *The plot of Star Trek The Motion picture, involves a fictional Voyager 6 probe.

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  40. Paul L. says:

    @just nutha:
    Whataboutism. In my case when I realized that because Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein are really rich, their lawyers will be able to resolve the issues.

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  41. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Interesting, but no new ground covered for me. I understood that Trump was incompetent from day one. Also tasteless; I once described Trump’s apartment for a friend who didn’t watch the show as Louis XIV bordello.

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  42. just nutha says:

    @Paul L.: You really didn’t know that the quality of everything in life is contingent on what you can afford? Including the justice you get? That’s very sad 🙁 , but I’m glad you’re catching up to the rest of us just the same.

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  43. reid says:

    @MarkedMan: A colleague of mine said that he asked some AI tool about a scientific topic, and the answer included details about papers that didn’t even exist!

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  44. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: Perhaps you will simply learn to believe nothing, and become a nihilist. Alternately you can believe everything, and become something so much worse.

    AI is just automating our descent into a post-truth society.

    We used to have to depend on people to make up shit. A lot of the JFK conspiracy theories came from two idiots at Playboy writing letters to themselves and publishing them (operation mindfuck, trying to get people to question what they believe). Tech can do it better.

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  45. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    Overall, I would prefer if it would say it can’t find certain info

    How would a generative AI agent “know” that it hadn’t found certain info?

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  46. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher:

    Perhaps you will simply learn to believe nothing, and become a nihilist.

    “Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.” –Walter Sobchak

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  47. Gustopher says:

    Per WaPo: Labor Department sues Hyundai to block use of illegal child labor in Alabama

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2024/05/30/hyundai-child-labor-alabama/

    The agency’s lawsuit alleges that the Korean automaker is liable for repeated child labor violations that occurred at one of its auto parts subsidiaries in Luverne, Ala. That company, SMART Alabama, is accused of working a 13-year-old up to 60 hours a week operating machinery that shapes sheet metal that was then used to make cars at a Hyundai plant.

    The case involves subcontractors, so the world of corporate veils comes into play and things may never be resolved.

    I cannot help but think that this 13 year old had a manager (probably many) that he reported to, and that if the manager was facing jail time that these situations would be a lot less common.

    Maybe the people higher up the food chain need to be punished as well, but “managed a 13 year old” seems easier to prove. And who is really willing to risk 5 years in jail for Hyundai and/or its subcontractors?

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  48. Michael Reynolds says:

    About time. Enjoy, Vlad.

    The Biden administration has decided to allow Ukraine to strike inside Russia with U.S.-made weapons with the aim of blunting Russia’s attacks in the Kharkiv area, senior American officials said on Thursday.

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  49. Scott says:

    Apparently, the Trump trial jury has reached a verdict. This is where I just shut the computer off.

    https://www.politico.com/live-updates/2024/05/30/trump-hush-money-criminal-trial/the-jury-has-reached-a-verdict-00160762

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  50. CSK says:

    @Scott:

    Guilty X 34.

    I can dream, can’t I?

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  51. Scott says:

    @CSK: One thing no one in this country ever talks about is how white collar crime is out of control, where money allows the criminals to escape the consequences, and the wealthy laugh at it.

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  52. Mikey says:

    GUILTY, MOTHERFUCKER! ALL 34 COUNTS!

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  53. Kathy says:

    Guilty of at least one count.

    These things take longer than on TV…

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  54. DeD says:

    GOT HIS ASS ON ALL COUNTS!!!

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  55. DK says:

    Lock Her Up!
    Lock Her Up!
    Lock Her Up!

    Oh wait…
    Oops.

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  56. Kathy says:

    Live blogs aren’t that lively.

    Anyway, I strongly suggest printing lots of copies of the verdict to hand out to MAGA deplorables after asking them “Have you heard the GOOD news?”

    So, did either the one woman he truly loves and desires or his wife show up to support him in this very difficult time?

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  57. CSK says:

    @Mikey:

    My dream came true.

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  58. Kathy says:

    I want to hear more about hung juries, and how the defense only needs to persuade one person, and how hard it will be to convict Orangefuhrer of anything, etc. etc.

    Actually, no, I don’t.

    I recall posting here last year, shortly after the indictments began to fall like snow on Olympus, that we heard the same thing about convicting Liz Holmes, and Balwani, and Chauvin, and yet they all languish behind bars right now.

    People are tired of letting the rich and powerful have their way, and most will take the chance to do to them what they dread most: judge them fairly by their actions and the content of their character.

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  59. Mikey says:

    Every Biden campaign ad from now to Election Day should start with “Convicted felon Donald Trump…”

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  60. Kingdaddy says:

    @Kathy:

    *The plot of Star Trek The Motion picture, involves a fictional Voyager 6 probe.

    There was a plot? I thought it was 2 hours of flying around the Enterprise, then flying around V’Ger…

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  61. Mikey says:

    Trump is blathering about everything being rigged blah blah blah shut the fuck up you fucking crook.

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  62. DeD says:

    Next one who needs to get got is Sam Alito. He hates that America wants to do better by its professed ideals.

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  63. Kathy says:

    @Mikey:

    I’m almost tempted to subscribe to Pravda Social, just to post a congratulatory post on Orangefuhrer’s conviction.

    @Kingdaddy:

    Well, it would have been thin and required a B story for a 45 minute ep on TV, but there surely was one.

    What I find hard to believe, is there was a second Trek movie after the first one was so bad. The other two movies made (what?) are unsurprising given Trek II The Wrath of Khan.

    SPOILER ALERT

    V’ger was formerly Voyager 6

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  64. dazedandconfused says:

    If one must follow Trump’s ramblings it can be helpful to transpose his comments into the voice of Gollum.

    Andy Serkis, about 4 minutes in.

    I wonder if an AI app could be created to do this properly.

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  65. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: There was clearly plot! It got used for Star Trek IV, too. And in “The Changeling” where the probe was named Nomad.

    Star Trek was surprisingly against space probes.

    Also, at least two captains of the Enterprise had kids they didn’t know about, who also came back to create problems.

    Keep track of your space probes and your sperm — either could come back sentient years later after encountering another life form.

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  66. wr says:

    @Kathy: “What I find hard to believe, is there was a second Trek movie after the first one was so bad. The other two movies made (what?) are unsurprising given Trek II The Wrath of Khan.”

    The first film apparently made a little money, not nearly enough to justify its huge budget, but in one of the rare wise studio decisions, Paramount saw the enormous gross on its opening weekend and realized there was a real audience there… as long as the next one was substantially cheaper. Oh, and didn’t have Gene Roddenberry involved, since a lot of the first movie’s ponderous boredom was blamed on him…

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  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I was in town picking up a spark plug and some gear oil when I heard the news that a verdict had been reached. After 15 or 20 mins when they still hadn’t announced, I said “fuck it” and headed for the parts store. When I came out, they announced, “Guilty guilty guilty guilty Guilty guilty guilty guilty Guilty guilty guilty guilty Guilty guilty guilty guilty Guilty guilty guilty guilty Guilty guilty guilty guilty Guilty guilty guilty guilty Guilty guilty!

    I bought popcorn (4 me) and drumsticks (4 my wife).

    He’ll never see a day in prison but it is a small measure of justice.

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  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: A song to celebrate with. As for me, I’m hoping the justice system can keep surprising me when sentencing comes.

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  69. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Probes get attention for a few months and then are forgotten. The big exception are the Voyagers, and only because they are still reporting esoteric and unique data on the edge of the Solar System and beyond.

    But you’ll never see a million or more spectators gather at Kennedy to see the launch of a probe, the way they did for Apollo 11.

    @wr:

    I recall reading there was a Start Trek Phase II TV show in development, but that fell through. Eventually the sets and uniforms were used in the first movie, and I think the plot of the pilot episode as well.

    And also that the success of Star Wars is what motivated Paramount to do its own big budget SciFi movie.

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  70. DrDaveT says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    There was a plot? I thought it was 2 hours of flying around the Enterprise

    Hey, you thought you had it bad — I was working as a theater usher (remember those) at the time, and I had to stand through the whole interminable thing… As an avid Trekkie, my teenage self could not have been more disappointed in that film.

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  71. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    He’ll never see a day in prison

    My money is on “doesn’t outlive the appeal process”.

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