Thursday’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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Michael Hobbes
    @RottenInDenmark

    Higher daily death toll than heart disease and cancer combined.

    Kyle Griffin
    @kylegriffin1
    · 10h
    Breaking. NBC News confirms: The U.S. has reported 3,046 COVID-19 deaths today, a new single-day record. @NBCNews

    Michael Hobbes
    @RottenInDenmark

    To put it another way, before the pandemic, roughly 7,800 Americans died every day *from everything*. Heart disease, guns, cars, cancer, strokes, accidents, etc.

    We’re nearing half that rate from a single cause.

    It’s just like the flu.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Max Burns
    @themaxburns

    Kudos to ABC News for hand-wringing over whether @JoeBiden
    ‘s science-based #COVID19 plan will cost more than Donald Trump’s “just let 280,000 people die” plan.

    ABC News Politics
    @ABCPolitics
    · 12h
    Joe Biden’s COVID-19 testing plans energize scientists, but lack price tag or specifics. https://abcn.ws/376t7M5

    Max Burns
    @themaxburns

    A Democrat is in the White House so it’s time for media outlets to get real concerned about BIG GOVERNMENT SPENDING

    It’s like clockwork, as soon as a DEM gets elected to the White House, the deficit scolds come crawling out of the woodwork.

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  3. sam says:

    If you have Netflix, I highly recommend the Australian series Rake. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.

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  4. CSK says:

    According to businessinsider.com, Russian state media is suggesting that Trump seek asylum in Russia to avoid prosecution for his various crimes.

    It has been suggested that he transfer all his capital and build Trump City near “the new Moscow.”

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I say we hurry up and send him before they come to their senses.

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  6. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    According to a reporter I know, this is actually true. The press emphasizes different issues according to which party occupies the WH. The reporter added that homelessness comes to the forefront when a Republican is president.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I know it’s true. How many times did we hear about the trillion dollar deficits caused by the GOP tax cuts in 2017?

    I want Biden’s press secretary to slap the piss out of any reporter who even asks that question after their silence of the past 4 years. They have zero credibility on this issue.

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  8. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    They just want to get their hands on all the money he owes them.
    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I know you know it’s true.

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  9. charon says:

    Here is a really nice graphic image:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eo06wqrWEAQu5fx?format=png&name=small

    https://twitter.com/Laurie_Garrett/status/1336789293700943881

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    To put it another way, before the pandemic, roughly 7,800 Americans died every day *from everything*. Heart disease, guns, cars, cancer, strokes, accidents, etc.

    We’re nearing half that rate from a single cause.

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  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US army fires Fort Hood officers and orders policy shift following 25 deaths

    The US army has fired or suspended 14 officers and enlisted soldiers at its Fort Hood, Texas, base and ordered policy changes to address chronic failures of leadership that contributed to a widespread pattern of violence, including murder, sexual assault and harassment.

    In a sweeping condemnation of Fort Hood’s command hierarchy, the army secretary, Ryan McCarthy, fired three top commanders and suspended two others pending a further investigation. He also ordered a separate investigation into staffing and procedures at the base’s Criminal Investigation Command unit, which is responsible for investigating crimes on Fort Hood.

    The actions come after a year that saw at least 25 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood die due to suicide, homicide or accidents, including the bludgeoning death of Vanessa Guillen. The young soldier was missing for about two months before her remains were found.

    …………………………….

    The firings include Army Maj Gen Scott Efflandt, who was left in charge of the base earlier this year when Guillen was killed, as well as Col Ralph Overland, the third cavalry regiment commander and his CSgt Maj Bradley Knapp. Among those suspended were Maj Gen Jeffery Broadwater, the first cavalry division commander, and his CSgt Maj Thomas C Kenny.

    The administrative actions are expected to trigger investigations that could lead to a wide range of punishments.

    Army leaders and members of the independent panel acknowledged that the death of Guillen, 20, earlier this year was a catalyst for a deeper look into what have been longstanding crime and other problems at the base.

    It’s not like I follow these things closely, but I don’t recall a single instance where an investigation reached so high in a command structure to hold Generals and CSgt Majors accountable, multiple Generals and CSgt Majors at that. Hopefully James will comment on this.

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  11. Scott says:

    @CSK: Russians seem to be really good at trolling.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: They just want to get their hands on all the money he owes them.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. gasp….. wheeze….. As if he had any.

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  13. charon says:

    @CSK:

    According to businessinsider.com, Russian state media is suggesting that Trump seek asylum in Russia to avoid prosecution for his various crimes.

    It has been suggested that he transfer all his capital and build Trump City near “the new Moscow.”

    Seems risky, he would be safer in some place that Putin does not control.

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  14. CSK says:

    @Scott:
    I don’t think Trump understands that.
    @charon:
    Mohammed bin Salman might welcome him with open arms.

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  15. charon says:

    If you look at the integrals (areas) under the curves here, it’s pretty easy to correlate politics (red v. blue) with Covid deaths:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eo06wqrWEAQu5fx?format=png&name=small

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  16. Slugger says:

    No one and certainly no foreign government wants a powerless Donald Trump. He does not inspire personal affection. Without money, none of his three wives would have given him a look. That’s why he needs to continue the election dispute. Money flows into his PAC, and he knows, whether from his gut or studying American history, that glorious Lost Cause movements have staying power.

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  17. CSK says:

    @Slugger:
    Since he knows nothing about American history–nor anything else–I think we can attribute this to his capacious gut.

    When a reporter mentioned “western liberalism” to Trump, he thought the guy meant California liberals. No joke.

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  18. CSK says:

    Per TPM: Biden will have the White House disinfected from top to bottom before he moves into it.

    If it were me, I’d do it anyway, pandemic or no.

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  19. charon says:

    @charon:

    Another red v. blue datapoint:

    25 percent of all COVID fatalities in New York City now comes from Staten Island, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday, even as the borough’s residents make up just 5 percent of New York City’s population.

    In 2016, Trump’s share of the vote:

    Queens……….. 22%

    Brooklyn……….17%

    Bronx……………9.5%

    Manhattan…….9.7%

    Staten Island….56%

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  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    @charon:

    Perhaps they should close the bridges and cut off ferry service. Bring back the concept of leper colonies, this time being Covid Colonies, with Staten Island being the first.

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  21. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Staten Island wants to secede from NYC.

    ReplyReply
  22. Mikey says:

    @CSK:

    I know you know it’s true.

    Now this is going to be in my head all damn day.

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  23. Kathy says:

    SpaceX successfully blew up another rocket.

    Reminder: space is hard.

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  24. Mikey says:

    @Kathy:

    Reminder: space is hard.

    http://www.kerbalspaceprogram.com

    If you want to have some fun while learning just how hard space can be.

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  25. inhumans99 says:

    Politico has an article up telling us to relax and not worry about Trump being prez again in 4 years. The article may be testing the waters but I think there will be many more to come of similar type articles and the article is basically right. It highlights what I and many others have been harping on the past few weeks, that all Trump has proved the past few weeks is that he is good at raising money for himself, and he only cares about himself not the Republican Party as a whole. This helps the GOP, how???

    Between this article and Russia’s admittedly excellent trolling of our President I think the GOP will slowly (painfully slowly, seeing as how only 26 GOPers to date have admitted that Biden is our President Elect) adjust to the new reality that in 2021 Trump will not be the party’s “boss” so they can start to ignore his blather on Twitter or wherever he ends up.

    It may take them a bit of time to realize that they are free, free I tell you, of having to directly appease Trump’s ego. The Bulwark articles folks linked to yesterday even acknowledged that there is an opportunity for the GOP to break free of Trump if they have the courage to make that leap.

    Anyway, I think the GOP’s total understanding that Biden is our next President is happening right under our noses because even though they love to say no the Wash. Post when asked if they will publicly declare that Biden is our President Elect why would they start to clutch pearls and become deficit concern trolls if they did not believe Biden was our President Elect. There would be no need for them to stress about the deficit if Trump was re-elected.

    I am actually amazed that some members of the GOP did not suffer a mild to major case of whiplash considering how neck snappingly fast they pivoted to being concerned about the deficit.

    Also, while the rocket did explode on touchdown it is still amazing to think that we might be soon get to a point where my brother’s kids’ kids are part of a society that can launch a rocket with human beings in it to Mars. I am near 50 and this human trips to Mars will not be a thing during my lifetime but I see the mechanics of making this a reality happen before my very eyes and it is a bit surreal to be witnessing this if I am being honest.

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  26. Kathy says:

    @inhumans99:

    The big concern for trips to Mars is radiation. AS yet I’ve heard of no means to shield travelers from it.

    Once on Mars, shielding can be as simple as piling up dirt on top of settlements. there’s lots of dirt around. Or building settlements underground. But transit to and from mars will meana high radiation exposure which increases risks for cancer, and will definitely lead to shorter lifespans.

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  27. Kathy says:

    So, the good thing about receiving the COVID vaccine by April or May next year, is that we’ll know more about side effects and effectiveness after the vaccines have been circulating among the population in large numbers.

    The bad thing is I remain vulnerable until then.

    So I bought a second batch of 25 KN95 masks, just in case. I’m due to begin reusing the original batch I got last month this weekend, and then I’ll know how well that works out.

    I’m concerned about fit, not fomite (aka contamination on surfaces). If the virus can last from 2 to 3 weeks out in the open and exposed to sunlight, then we may as well give up.

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  28. DrDaveT says:

    @Mikey: Dammit, you beat me to it 🙂

    Since you have the Kerbals covered, I will remind everyone of the Up Goer Five.

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  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    They should let it and then listen to the screams when the islanders find out that they will need to pay for half of the bridge maintenance and ferry service. Presently those costs are amortized over the entire 5 boroughs.

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  30. DrDaveT says:

    @inhumans99:

    It may take them a bit of time to realize that they are free, free I tell you, of having to directly appease Trump’s ego.

    They may not need to appease Trump personally, but they still need the Trumpists’ votes. Repudiating Trump or his “policies” or his behavior is not compatible with getting Trumpists to vote for you, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

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  31. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    Yet lots of rich people keep signing up for the proposed space excursions. The rocket that blows up, won’t be their’s, just like the Titanic wouldn’t kill off lots of rich folks along with lots of poor.

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  32. DrDaveT says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    They should let it and then listen to the screams when the islanders find out that they will need to pay for half of the bridge maintenance and ferry service. Presently those costs are amortized over the entire 5 boroughs.

    Of all the foundational myths of the GOP, the most persistent seems to be that they are subsidizing the rest of us, and always have been.

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  33. Teve says:

    @charon: i just looked at Worldometer cases per capita:

    1 North Dakota
    2 South Dakota
    3 Iowa
    4 Nebraska
    5 Wisconsin
    6 Utah
    7 Montana
    8 Wyoming
    9 Idaho

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  34. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    You’ll notice Richard Branson hasn’t gone up on his own Spaceship Two (or the earlier Spaceship One). Musk could schedule a ride on his own Crew Dragon, as they are not under an exclusive contract with NASA. He hasn’t done that yet. Bezos has no launch vehicle available as yet.

    BTW, Crew Dragon with a Falcon 9 Heavy is not restricted to low Earth orbit. Musk could take his to the Moon (though he could not land there*) and back easily enough.

    * Even if he could land, he couldn’t then take off, nor reduce his orbital speed enough to return to Earth.

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  35. Sleeping Dog says:

    @inhumans99:
    @DrDaveT:

    The article pretty much summarized my thoughts on the future of Trump. But the funny thing is, the timidity that R pols have in pushing him out is actually prolonging his control. Except for the handful of states that have state/local elections in off years, no one in Washington and most states for 2 years. By the time the 22 campaign season is running, Trump will be diminished and trumpism splintered. R’s should go for the jugular with him now.

    Harris’ best insight as to why trumpism will splinter is the observation that going forward Trump won’t be about the things that concern his followers and their grievances, but Trump’s personal grievances. Early in the summer David Frum had an perceptive essay on the difference between Trump grievance in 2016 and Trump grievance in 2020, the summary being Trump’s grievances of 16 mirrored that of those voters who would become his cult, while Trump’s grievances of 20 were Trump’s personal complaints.

    Looking at it that way, the continued support Trump received from the cult was not primarily related to Trump, but to protecting the gains that the cult believed that his continuation is office afforded them.

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  36. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    * Even if he could land, he couldn’t then take off, nor reduce his orbital speed enough to return to Earth.

    All the more reason for him and Bezos to be on a flight. I’ll give Branson a pass, to me he comes across as a decent sort, who likes his toys.

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  37. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    SpaceX successfully blew up another rocket.

    It did not “blow up”. It had a Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly.

    Reminder: space is hard.

    And yesterday, SpaceX made it look easy.

    A successful landing wasn’t an expected result of the test. It would have been a bonus. The test was for the flip and “belly flop” maneuver–which it accomplished perfectly. And the “aggressive touch down” happed dead-center on the target.

    What the Guardian fails to understand is how “rapid-iteration production” works. SpaceX pushes their equipment to–and past–the limits to see where any why it fails. They’re not trying to do everything perfectly, they’re trying to gather data. And they did exactly that.

    SN9 is already being prepped for the launch pad–updated based on the data they collected from yesterday. The hope is to do a test launch before the end of the month.

    SpaceX has been breaking records with the cycling of their commercial launches. They’ve sent crewed missions to the ISS twice. They’ve put almost a thousand Starlink satellites into orbit, and are already serving customers rural broadband in a beta test.

    And they’re doing it with rockets that gently touch town on a drone barge–only to be sent back up time and time again.

    SLS might have their green run by the end of the month.

    And Blue Origin is bragging about a 20-second static burn they did last week.

    “Congrats SpaceX Team. Hel yeah!!”

    (I’ll go back to lurking, now)

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  38. I see #CivilWar is trending on Twitter and I fuqing love it!!!
    1st, The Confederacy had economic power. Today almost all red states cannot operate without major funding from blue states. The biggest exception is Texas, which benefits from huge blue populations in Houston, etc. So any seceding states would probably go broke almost instantly.
    Second, in 1861 the southern states had a reason for seceding, no matter how heinous it seems today. And they were led by Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. Today’s secessionists are only about a cult of personality…and they are led by Donnie Trump and Rudy. Maybe Sheriff Arpaio?
    I say let ’em go…good riddance, and take Donnie and Rudy with you.

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  39. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I say let ’em go

    Henceforth known as The Seditious Seventeen…

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  40. Kylopod says:

    @inhumans99: @Sleeping Dog: My reaction to discussions like this is, “We’ll cross that bridge when we reach it.” I just can’t get too invested in the question of whether Trump will run again in 4 years. Not that I’m denying it’s possible. It is. Not only is it entirely possible that he’ll run again, he may even win again. Those are all real possibilities. Do I think it’s likely? No. Personally, I’m predicting he’s going to fade in influence after he leaves office. I think there’s always been an element of Stockholm Syndrome in his hold on the GOP, going all the way back to when he won the nomination in 2016. People have an exaggerated understanding of the Cult of Trump because a lot of ordinary Republicans who had not been part of that cult during the 2016 primaries seemed to join it afterward because their interests aligned. The interests of those Republicans was simply power, and Trump became the vehicle for those interests once he was the nominee and eventually president. None of this is to suggest that Trump’s influence on the party after he leaves office will disappear, but I believe there will be a gradual, subtle marginalization similar to what we saw with Sarah Palin, who was once thought to have an unbreakable grip over the party.

    Of course this is all just my intuition. Nobody knows. But the bigger question for me is, why should we concern ourselves with this right now? Don’t we have much bigger matters on our plate? I guess there are strategic questions for Dems–how much should they participate in an attempt to tie the GOP to Trump. But there’s a danger of becoming too consumed with something so far ahead and not focusing on what needs to be done now in a country where Trump is no longer president.

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  41. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Do let them go, and give them a few trillions never to return, in gold or Bitcoin, on the condition they do not use the words “United”, “States”, or “America” in the name(s) of their new nations(s). they can use “The” and “of.”

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  42. charon says:

    @Teve:

    If you look at total deaths to date, (per capita) it goes NJ, NY, MA, CT, LA, ND, RI, MS, SD …

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

    That, however, is an artifact of the high rate of death in the Northeast in April and May.

    If you look at the integrated areas after July on this graphic, the dying since July has been concentrated in the South first and Midwest next.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eo06wqrWEAQu5fx?format=png&name=small

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  43. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kathy:
    Nah…don’t give them a penny.

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  44. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Kathy:

    Even if he could land, he couldn’t then take off, nor reduce his orbital speed enough to return to Earth.

    Oh, please? Or is that too much to hope for?

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  45. Teve says:

    if you didn’t vote for Trump your vote is fraudulent

    The president’s supporters believe that the votes of rival constituencies should not count—even though they understand, on some level, that they do.

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  46. Sleeping Dog says:

    Caitlin Flanagan has an interesting article on language and the defund/reform the police movement. The word games a familiar and tiring to many who have been involved or closely observed and rooted for progressive reforms in the 70’s/80’s

    However comic, the conflict between DeVos and Eisgruber represents the country’s growing impatience with the language games of the left. The country says, “Can we take your words at face value?” And the left says, “Define word.” Naturally, a parade of college presidents raced to defend Eisgruber and Princeton, because they were dying to be the next ones to call their university racist.

    Obama says, Do you really want police reform, or do you want only to showcase your ideological purity? The left says, There is no such thing as police reform; if there were, we would have it by now. Obama says, Build the largest possible coalition. The left says, A Black man was sadistically murdered by a white cop, in broad daylight in an American city—the time to build coalitions has passed.

    Obama knows the price of getting things done—pitch a big tent, lower your sights, and get realistic. The left says no. Obama knows that to get elected to the most powerful positions, you must disown Bill Ayers. But the left cannot accept that AOC will one day have to abandon her squad if she is to fulfill her political destiny.

    Meanwhile, across many cities in the United States, violent crime is soaring. In Minneapolis, site of the sadistic killing that the whole world watched, homicides are up, police have quit the force in “droves,” and 911 calls have sometimes gone unanswered. The brunt of this chaos and misery has fallen squarely on the poor neighborhoods. But residents should take heart, because while they may not have safety, they have language, and what else do you need?

    Meanwhile in Minneapolis, the City Council cut the PD budget by $8M, with the amorphous pledge to move the funds to ‘other services.’ You would think a responsible legislative body would have a plan included in the budget to move the funding to.

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  47. Teve says:

    @Kathy: @Daryl and his brother Darryl: the Trumper states won’t secede. Somebody would show them some graphs and explain that without massive transfers from the Feds they’d go from Mississippi Poor to Uganda Poor and that’ll be the end of that.

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  48. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kylopod:

    In general we’re in agreement, but you need to admit that it will be fun to watch the process unfold.

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  49. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Meanwhile, across many cities in the United States, violent crime is soaring. In Minneapolis, site of the sadistic killing that the whole world watched, homicides are up, police have quit the force in “droves,” and 911 calls have sometimes gone unanswered. The brunt of this chaos and misery has fallen squarely on the poor neighborhoods. But residents should take heart, because while they may not have safety, they have language, and what else do you need?

    I quit reading Flanagan many years ago. This stuff is misleading. Yeah, in 2019 and 2020 homicides in Minneapolis have blipped upwards, higher than the average of the last ten years. But they’re still below the 90’s average. In 2019 there were 48 homicides in a population of 437,000.

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  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Actually space is not hard. Rocky planets are hard, space is a void.

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  51. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    In general we’re in agreement, but you need to admit that it will be fun to watch the process unfold.

    We thought it was hilarious when Trump first announced his run for the presidency in 2015. Remember the Jon Stewart bit about jizzing at the thought of a Trump run? The problem is that it’s hard to crack a smile anymore at 300,000 dead, an attempted coup, and our country’s reputation in tatters.

    Of course at some primal level you could say it’s still awesome to watch, especially now that we know Trump’s lost. I’m not trying to be a killjoy. I faithfully watch Seth Meyers’ “Closer Look” every night and many of the other political comedians (and I know Meyers thinks he may be partly responsible for Trump’s rise, as he was the comedian making fun of Trump at the now-legendary 2011 White House dinner that many believe provoked Trump into running in 2016). We need some laughter in order to maintain our sanity. But that’s very different from saying it’s a laughing matter.

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  52. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    You said:

    What the Guardian fails to understand is how “rapid-iteration production” works.

    and then you proceeded to explain.

    My own explanation harks back to my father talking about, for instance, learning to ski: “If you aren’t falling down, you aren’t learning anything”

    It seems that a lot of people out there understand either Musk or SpaceX. It also seems that Musk doesn’t care, and people find this extra irritating. (This has little to do with SpaceX, but I’d guess that fewer than five people on the planet have done more to fight global warming than Elon Musk.)

    Thanks for describing what SpaceX is doing better than I could.

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  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: You would think a responsible legislative body would have a plan included in the budget to move the funding to.

    Not so amorphous after all:

    The plan cuts nearly $8m from Frey’s $179m policing budget and redirects it to mental health teams, violence prevention programs and other initiatives.

    from Minneapolis switches $8m from police budget to violence prevention

    As far as,

    Obama says, Do you really want police reform, or do you want only to showcase your ideological purity? The left says, There is no such thing as police reform; if there were, we would have it by now.

    I’ve been watching “police reform” for over 30 years and nothing ever changes. And people wonder why activists aren’t buying the same old warmed over bullshit again.

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  54. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Sleeping Dog: You know, that quote by Flanagan doesn’t really sit well on me.

    Politicians are not activists. Activists are not politicians.

    Politicians want to build consensus. They want majorities. They want to win elections. The tools they use are generally temperate language, broad themes, and take a generally conciliatory stance.

    Activists want attention (for their issue). They use vivid language, pointed anectdotes, and take a confrontational stance. Because these elements suit their goals.

    Both of them want change. When working well, they can be a “bad cop, good cop” routine. Some complaint from one about the other is to be expected, even useful, though I think it behooves the politicians to tone it down some.

    And yeah, some of the stuff activists do tend to repel people. And yet, that repulsion is probably more desirable than the ignorance that preceded it.

    Now, it’s the case that if AOC wants a larger-scale office or platform, she will probably have to moderate her speech. But maybe she doesn’t want that? There are lots of political roles…

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  55. Michael Cain says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I say let ’em go…

    They don’t want to go, they just want to enforce their policy choices on the blue states. They won’t favor leaving unless/until it becomes clear that the opposite is more likely to happen. Of course, the left is likely to have the same behavior. The voices in the Lawyers, Guns & Money commentariat that favor the blue states leaving, for example, are the ones that no longer believe it is possible to make Mississippi or North Dakota behave, or at least not worth the effort it would require.

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  56. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: it could have been Obama making fun of Trump at a dinner that caused him to run.

    Seth has good writers, I watch him daily. They’re the opposite of Colbert’s monologues, which for some reason I find terrible.

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  57. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I have no opinion on whether Trump will be the 2024 GOP candidate. But I think too many people are making the mistake of making a prediction against him because of how bad it would be for Republicans collectively or individually, when actually such considerations hardly matter. The only real question: will a sufficient number of senior Republicans publicly go against him? I guess there is a theoretical second question: would that be enough to prevent him from gaining the nomination. But since the first answer is “of course not”, it hardly matters.

    If Trump doesn’t run, it will be for reasons other than the GOP leadership suddenly developing spines.

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  58. Teve says:
  59. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve:

    Somebody would show them some graphs and explain that without massive transfers from the Feds they’d go from Mississippi Poor to Uganda Poor and that’ll be the end of that.

    Wouldn’t work. It would be the elites who would make the decisions and they would see an opportunity to, without Federal oversight, enrich themselves further and entrench themselves deeper. They’ve already shown they’re indifferent to the fate of 90% of their population. A lot of people would rather be the richest guy in Lower Hogwaller AK than just another millionaire in Manhattan.

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  60. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Did I not say “successfully”?

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  61. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    it could have been Obama making fun of Trump at a dinner that caused him to run.

    It was. That isn’t mutually exclusive with what I said. Obama and Meyers made fun of Trump together. But Meyers is definitely part of the story, and he knows it (he’s discussed it in interviews–I saw him recently on Larry Wilmore where they called it Trump’s “origin story”).

    Of course I’ve been humoring the idea that the dinner was in fact the impetus for him to run, but there are problems with that theory. I was paying close attention at the time, and I remember it distinctly. Trump was in the process of a months-long media blitz where he claimed he was considering a presidential run that very year, and polls at the time placed him at or near the top of the Republican field. Then the following events happened in rapid succession: (1) Obama releasing his long-form birth certificate (2) the White House dinner where they thoroughly humiliated Trump (3) the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

    After these events happened, Trump’s poll numbers immediately collapsed. On PPP, he went from first place to fifth place in one shot. They called it “one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of Presidential politics.” A few days later, Trump announced he wasn’t running.

    In other words, the most immediate impact of the dinner was that it led him to decide not to run. The theory that it’s what provoked his 2016 run seems based on the idea that he was biding his time, which to me doesn’t sound like a very Trumpian thing to do. He does hold grudges forever of course, but that’s not the same thing as saying that it’s part of some long-term plan. He’s still fundamentally rooted in the present. I have no doubt his being humiliated at the 2011 dinner influenced his decision to run in 2016 when he finally made that decision, and it definitely was reflected in his desire to tear down Obama’s legacy after he reached the office. But I seriously doubt he was sitting there after the 2011 dinner thinking “I’m going to wait another four years, then I’ll run for president where I can take my long-awaited revenge.” That’s just not the way he operates.

    Seth has good writers, I watch him daily.

    He’s mostly good, though his lockdown bits with the sea captain and the growing pile of books were cringe-worthy. You wouldn’t believe how big a relief it was for me when he quit it.

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  62. Jen says:

    @Teve: Yep, saw that. I posted about this last evening in the open thread, the fact that legislators were going to lengths to say that he had cold symptoms unrelated to covid. I’m actually sort of surprised the family released the results, but am glad they did.

    He never even made it to the hospital. He had “cold symptoms” and died at home within days. This is a nasty bug, and I’m tired of people downplaying it.

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  63. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: maybe. The elites in those states should be aware of how much Federal money they get, though.

    Frankly there are two main reasons not to support secession. The US would be left with an enormous, unguardable border with a third world Jesustan, and that country would have zero environmental rules and be polluting like crazy, outlawing catalytic converters, dumping heavy metals into the Mississippi, etc.

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  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It’s just like the flu.

    Yup. Exactly, the mirror image. Positively uncanny resemblance!

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  65. Teve says:

    @Jen:

    It’s just like the flu. I mean, it could cause heart attacks. And strokes. And make your teeth fall out. And cause chronic symptoms lasting 6 months or longer. And maybe erectile dysfunction. And hypoxia, and difficulty breathing. And it’s killed ten times the number of Americans the flu kills.

    But other than that… 😀

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  66. Kathy says:

    Non-Trump Trump joke of the day:

    During the pandemic, Joe was told to keep social distance.

    “No!” He declared. “I have faith. God will protect me!”

    Next he was told to wear a face mask.

    “No!” He declared. “I have faith. God will protect me!”

    Then he was told to refrain from attending gatherings of more than ten people, even church services.

    “No!” He declared. “I have faith. God will protect me!”

    Then Joe contracted COVID-19 at a church service, and unfortunately he died.

    Upon reaching Heaven, he asks God: “Why, oh, Lord, did you forsake me?”

    “Forsake you? Thundered the All-mighty. “I sent you social distancing! I sent you face masks! I sent you warnings not to gather in large groups! What the fuck more did you need, you lousy, little ingrate?”

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  67. Teve says:

    @Kathy: when I heard that joke in the 80’s the punchline was, “I sent two boats and a helicopter!” 😛

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  68. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve: My mother used to say that she had heard a variation told at the local Methodist church back in the 1950s as an illustration of how stubborn old Methodist farmers could be.

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  69. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    None of my Trump jokes are original at all. They’re all adaptations of old jokes, including some very offensive ethnic jokes from decades ago.

    For instance:

    One day Fred Trump calls in his doctor, his lawyer, and his son to see him. He tells them “I know I’m not long for this world. But I do intend to take part of my vast fortune with me. People say it’s the vastest fortune ever. So, gentlemen, and Donald, here’s an envelope for each of you with $100,000. At my funeral, I want you to place the envelopes in my coffin.”

    Days, weeks, or months later, walking out of the cemetery, the lawyer confesses, “I tried to do as Mr. Trump asked. And I probably shouldn’t say this in front of his son, but I had some pressing debts involving the mob, and so I took $10,000 from the envelope.”

    “Who am I to judge,” the doctor says. “There’s this patient who needed surgery and had no insurance. I took $20,000 to help her pay most of the expenses. I didn’t dare take more.”

    “Well,” Donnie says, “I am shocked.”

    “What,” the lawyer asks, “did you really leave all the hundred grand in the envelope?”

    “Damn right I did!! And I had better things to use that money for, not debts or charity for some loser! In fact, I left more money, a whole lot more! Want to dig up the corpse and check? I took the full amount, and wrote a check for one million!”

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  70. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    I won’t remember this tomorrow (which would probably be just as well), so at the risk of telling three bad jokes in one thread:

    One day a common cold virus happens upon a flu virus reading about the COVID-19 epidemic in the trumpy press.

    “Why are you reading that crap for?” asks common cold.

    Flu answers, “I like to read about how powerful they think I am.”

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  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve:

    …polluting like crazy, outlawing catalytic converters, dumping heavy metals into the Mississippi, etc.

    The fact that the Mississippi flows Southward into the Gulf makes me a touch ambivalent about the heavy metals issue (don’t think I’d miss Gulf coast seafood, for example, though others might). The fact that wind blows both ways is some cause for concern though. Secession might cause problems for those who will need Social Security for their survival, though. Short term–say the next decade or so–I don’t see it happening.

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  72. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The fact that the Mississippi flows Southward into the Gulf makes me a touch ambivalent about the heavy metals issue

    what???

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  73. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Rocky planets are hard, space is a void.

    It’s a hard vacuum, I’m told.

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  74. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    We thought it was hilarious when Trump first announced his run for the presidency in 2015. […] The problem is that it’s hard to crack a smile anymore at 300,000 dead, an attempted coup, and our country’s reputation in tatters.

    My only consolation is that we’ve learned so much about America in the process. Not good things; not things anyone would want to be true. But things we needed to know. Discovering that you have liver cancer is terrible, but not as terrible as having liver cancer and not knowing it.

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  75. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I kind of recall reading El Cheeto ran earlier, trying to get the nomination of the Reform party in 2000.

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  76. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    He’s been blathering about running ever since 1987-88.

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  77. CSK says:

    Hannukah sameach!

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  78. inhumans99 says:

    @Teve:

    I love the joke because it is timeless. Also, it was awesome when many years back a priest at a weekend mass I was a congregant at told the joke. Folks who are not willing to meet the big guy half-way are just cruising for a bruising. I find it disturbing that so many priests fight so hard against social distancing, etc., especially because multiple priests and other folks of the cloth have become a statistic when it comes to Covid.

    Priests should be all in on social distancing and masks as it behooves them to make sure there is still a healthy flock to preach too when Covid starts to wind down in this country.

    The fact that studies show more and more young uns are not going to church means it is mostly folks who are middle-aged to elderly who attend and those are the most vulnerable to Covid so for Pete’s sake…priests should bend over backwards to want to see that they remain healthy and able to attend Church again maybe sometime in 2022, that Priests often times lash out at the rules just like the MAGA crowd is to use a word I usually apply frequently to GOP politicians, shameful.

    A priest should first and foremost do no harm.

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  79. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    See, if he had kept just blathering, he could have built up an image of a great statesman, and never revealed the ugly reality of how lousy, incompetent, lazy, cruel, stupid, ignorant, criminal, abusive, and plain uninterested he was about the position.

    He really cannot be let off without consequences or at least an accounting of his actions. if he grants himself a pardon, as he surely will, the House should call him in to testify about all the malfeasance he no longer could be prosecuted for, along with other witnesses no longer protected by executive privilege.

    Not to mention all state investigations about him should procede unimpeded.

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  80. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: Trump’s been teasing presidential runs since the 1980s. His 2000 Reform Party run might be the first time he was a candidate in an official sense. I’m inclined to say it wasn’t a serious run, but then it was only two years after the election of Jesse Ventura in MN on the Reform Party ticket, and we said the same thing in 2016 anyway. Needless to say, his 2000 campaign did not, in fact, go anywhere.

    It was apparently his 2000 run that inspired a line in The Simpsons around that time, in which an adult Lisa Simpson becomes president and there’s an offhanded reference to a past Trump Administration. This led to an urban legend later on that the show “predicted” Trump’s rise to the presidency, because around 2015 or later there was a viral cartoon screenshot of a Simpson-ized Trump coming down an escalator just like in the real world, but it was incorrectly identified as having been from that much older episode–which would have been freaky if true, but was not.

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  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

    I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

    In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn’t this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn’t this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn’t this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God’s will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: “All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth.” Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

    You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of “somebodiness” that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad’s Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro’s frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible “devil.”

    I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the “do nothingism” of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as “rabble rousers” and “outside agitators” those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies–a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.

    Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained.

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  82. Teve says:

    Biden nominating Susan Rice for the White House Domestic Policy Council means we’re going to get how many new Senate investigations into Benghazi? Six? Eight? An even dozen?

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  83. Teve says:

    Trumpers are passing around a meme purporting to show an excerpt of the Nuremburg Code saying that making people wear masks against their will is a War Crime.

    Trumpers are fuckin stupid.

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  84. Slugger says:

    @Kathy: Living in a hole on Mars with dirt piled on top? Sounds great. Do you recommend Can-D or Chew-Z?

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  85. Jax says:

    It’s interesting how little we’ve heard about Hunter Biden today. I figured they’d be running with it on all channels, but so far it’s just the usual suspects. Maybe they’ve accepted that if they continue to call attention to it, it opens up the Trump kids for post-Presidency tax and “favors from foreign countries” investigations, as well.

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  86. Jax says:

    @Teve: We’ve got a local guy passing a petition around to get rid of our County Public Health Officer for “war crimes”. If it weren’t for Facebook he’d be “on the street corner” crazy, now he’s just flooding all the garage sale pages with his misspelled “petition”.

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  87. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Well, some of us knew back in the 1980s what a lousy, incompetent, lazy, cruel, etc. s.o.b. he was.

    Now the world does.

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  88. Teve says:

    @Slugger: I’m a pkd nut and that was even a little obscure for Me. 😛

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  89. Mikey says:

    @Teve: For anyone interested, here is the Nuremberg Code.

    Not surprisingly, it contains nothing the Trumpist morons say it does. Shocking, I know.

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  90. charon says:

    @Teve:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eo69ZHXVoAE5tpY?format=png&name=120×120

    Palmer Eldritch

    (Which I have as a profile image on my old email)

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  91. charon says:

    @charon:

    Note the three stigmata – steel teeth, artificial eyes, mechanical hand.

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  92. Teve says:

    @charon: yeah. I’m familiar. The only ones I haven’t read much are the VALIS trilogy, because Dick had gone disturbingly insane by that point.

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  93. Teve says:

    @Teve: I’ve even read VALIS, but not the two sequels.

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  94. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Alas, the world also knows that about 47% or so of America is ok with Trump’s cruelty and incompetence, and many if not most of those are actively supporting and enthusiastic of it.

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  95. Teve says:

    @RadleyBalko

    These executions were a conscious choice. Barr, presumably with Trump’s approval, ordered them. They didn’t have to. This isn’t some required duty they had no choice but to carry out. They made executing people a priority. They made it their legacy. They’re proud of it.

    @KailiJoy

    The government is gleefully executing people. Another quarter of a million Americans are going to die in the next few months.

    And the supposedly “pro-life” party does not give an eighth of a fuck.

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  96. Teve says:

    @TIME

    Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are TIME’s 2020 Person of the Year #TIMEPOY  ti.me/2W6Zkfy

    I’m sure Trump will handle this news in a calm and measured way.

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  97. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kylopod: Ahhh yes, I remember it well. In front of the world—Obama made that sunnuva bitz look like a used condom lying next to an empty heroin needle. Felt good—damn good.

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  98. Teve says:

    @SecPompeo

    The United States is a longstanding partner of Uganda. We expect our partners to live up to their obligations to hold free and fair elections. We are paying close attention to the actions of individuals who seek to impede the ongoing democratic process.

    100% of the comments tear him a new ass.

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  99. Jax says:

    From the Facebook COVID….whateverists, I guess…..

    “I guess my view on Covid is too simple…
    Live your life. Wear a mask if you want or don’t, your choice.
    Don’t be scared of people. Shake hands and give hugs, or don’t.
    If you get sick, you just get sick.
    If you die, well that’s just the unpleasant part of life we all have to deal with. God knew your expiration date when he made you.
    Live!
    Enjoy life!
    People need other people!
    This life is only a flash in time and this place is not our final destination ‍♂️

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  100. DrDaveT says:

    @Jax:

    If you get sick, you just get sick.
    If you die, well that’s just the unpleasant part of life we all have to deal with. God knew your expiration date when he made you.

    And if you kill a few people with your carelessness, well, God knew their expiration dates, too, and you are His chosen instrument. Right?

    …And the same goes for driving. Drive fast! Have fun! If you wrap yourself around a tree, well, God knew your expiration date when he made the tree. And if you wrap yourself around a young family of five, well, see above.

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