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. Teve says:

    @jason_kint

    OK, whew. I’ve now read all 130 pages of state AGs suit v Google.

    In three words, Google is royally screwed.

    Expect…
    Press headlines: Facebook and Google colluded!

    Deeper dives: Google turned open web into a walled garden of tying, exclusionary tactics, and privacy fixing.

    thread

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  2. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    I am a fan of Google, but my name ain’t Stan. They should be reigned in via regulation, but I’m skeptical of the motives behind this particular lawsuit.

    If Google had agreed to (artificially) elevate conservative outlets in its search results, I doubt this gets filed by ten Republican states.

    Axios points out:

    That’s a sharp break from decades of GOP agreement that the government should give private enterprise a wide berth and only step in with antitrust enforcement if there’s clear evidence of harm to consumers, chiefly measured by whether powerful companies raise prices.

    And from NYT

    The Republicans’ chief objections to the report are that some of the legislative proposals against the tech giants could hamper other businesses and impede economic growth, said four people with knowledge of the situation. Several Republicans were also frustrated that the report didn’t address claims of anti-conservative bias from the tech platforms.

    Democrats are better on the regulation front, if only on a limited basis. But it seems pretty clear to me that the state AGs and the Republicans on the antitrust panel are using their positions to punish Google and Facebook for not indulging the persecution complex of the GOP.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    George Pell: Trump is a barbarian, but ‘in some important ways’ he’s our barbarian

    And some people think my hatred of the Catholic Church is a bit on the extreme side.

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  4. CSK says:

    The major reason I’m posting this is that the accompanying photo of Trump is so characteristic. And so utterly repulsive:

    http://www.nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/will-trump-leave-white-house-january-20-inauguration.html

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  5. Scott says:

    @CSK: At the risk of being considered extreme, I would like to see the Ceaușescu solution to this problem.

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  6. Kathy says:

    @Scott:

    Has anyone heard any complaints from Ceaușescu?

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Not lately.

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  8. Jen says:

    Several Republicans were also frustrated that the report didn’t address claims of anti-conservative bias from the tech platforms.

    BECAUSE THERE ISN’T ANY. I am so utterly tired of this whining. Conservatives are constant, whiny, crybaby victims.

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  9. CSK says:
  10. MarkedMan says:

    The Republicans, of course, are denying that their strategy all along was to get as many people infected as quickly as possible and thereby reach herd immunity. Essentially, “Screw the dead, they are the weak ones anyway. Cull the herd, and all that”. But we didn’t need the leaked emails from the degenerates in the Trump administration to know that was the strategy, because everything the Administration did, everything the GOP controlled Senate didn’t do, and everything the “True Republican” Governors did only made sense if maximizing the infection rate was their strategy.

    Which brings me to the emotional, visceral reason I despise modern Republicans so much: they are the party of lies. They lie about everything, all the time. They lie, and we know they lie, and they know we know, but they don’t care. It is instinctive and I suspect they get a little frisson of ecstasy every time they lie to someone’s face. “We aren’t pursuing herd immunity”, “These tax cuts are for the middle class”, “We are only concerned with voter fraud”, “We aren’t trying to privatize Social Security”, “We are only concerned for the health of the mother”, “These Liberty University ads are not illegal campaign ads for Trump, but just voter education”. The list is endless. Modern Republicans are degenerate liars and, above all else, that is what makes me viscerally recoil from them.

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  11. Mu Yixiao says:

    Obligatory XKCD

    (Read the alt-text)

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  12. charon says:

    Covid data at this site:  https://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/

    7-day rolling average. new cases/100K:

    The bug seems to peak at different times different areas.

    Midwest states collectively were peaking 4 weeks ago at 93/100K, while entire US was 49/100K, CA was 25/100K, AZ at 35/100K.

    Midwest is trending down now, now at 65/100K, with CA and AZ trending up sharply, CA at 94/100K, AZ at 92/100K with entire US at 65/100K.

    Other states currently in big uptrends include TN, PA, IN and OH. Everyone gets a turn in the barrel.

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  13. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    everything the Administration did, everything the GOP controlled Senate didn’t do, and everything the “True Republican” Governors did only made sense if maximizing the infection rate was their strategy.

    I feel you give them too much credit. They didn’t do nothing because they wanted to reach herd immunity.They did nothing because they wanted to do nothing.

    First, their default is to do nothing. Their cushy jobs aren’t threatened. Their wealthy sponsors aren’t threatened. And it’s disproportionately victimizing the working poor, like any Republican program. Where’s the problem? Anyway, doing stuff is hard work. They’re Republicans, don’t do hard work.

    Second, they realized they could run on doing nothing, that they could sell “freedumb” and “own the libs by not wearing a mask” to their base and ride it back into office. OK, for Trump it failed, but just barely. My Governor DeUseless still expects it to work, given enough money from Florida’s tourism industry.

    The plan didn’t derive from the analysis, the analysis was written to support the plan.

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  14. Kathy says:

    Some useful info, thoughts, and speculation on the COVID vaccine and future vaccines. No paywall.

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  15. wr says:

    @CSK: I’m sorry, but bullshit. The writer, who seems to have some bizarre obsession with Cruise, says we shouldn’t admire or agree with what he did because Cruise is a scientologist, and thus scum. I don’t have a lot of patience for scientology or its adherents, but this entire article is one long shriek of bigotry.

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  16. Sleeping Dog says:

    @charon:

    When cases and deaths begin piling up in your community, (some) people notice and take preventive actions. Unfortunately state B doesn’t learn from state A.

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  17. Slugger says:

    Have others noted a decline in the spectrum of offerings at your grocery store? We have shopped at the same store for about 35 years; it’s part of a national chain of 2700 stores. The variety and quality of their selections has been declining. Even before Covid, we noted that top end brands for things like tomato paste and specialized cleaners were being replaced by generics branded by the chain. Yesterday, we had trouble finding some cleaning products, nutmeg, certain cuts of beef, and furnace filters. Is this due to the national organization trying to herd us into their brands? We couldn’t find the furnace filters at at a Home Depot either, and we ordered from Amazon along with the silver cleaner that Grandma used. Are physical stores just shrinking their inventory? The store used to have a very good selection of wine including some high end stuff. They still have a lot of wine, but the variety is much more limited.

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  18. CSK says:

    @wr:
    No need to apologize. I agree with the author that publicly humiliating the people who work for you is never a wise tactic. A) It’s cruel. B) It’s stupid, since Cruise is dependent on his crew to make thongs go safely and smoothly for him. He could have handled this a lot better.

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  19. CSK says:

    @CSK:
    Things, not thongs. Ah, for an edit button.

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  20. dazedandconfused says:

    @Slugger:

    It’s to be expected. For damn near every item mfgs depend on a web of suppliers and their suppliers rely on their own webs. Just one outfit somewhere up the chain closing their doors can mess up the entire show. To expect everything to be just as it was takes a hell of a lot for granted. The economists pretending to be epidemiologists with their “Lets have a giant COVID party!” grand strategery aren’t (for the most part) as evil as they appear. Some are genuinely afraid of this kind if cascading breakdowns in an economy.

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  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Slugger:

    My wife, who does the grocery shopping, has had similar complaints about contracting inventory options. Don’t get me started about Home Depot, their inventory has become such a joke that I routinely drive past the one 2 miles from the house to go to an old line, hardware store/lumber yard, that has a selection of products and better quality lumber.

    @dazedandconfused:

    I can’t address the grocery store issue, but winnowing of Home Depot’s breadth of inventory has occurred over several years. It is an intentional business move on their part.

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  22. Jen says:

    On the Cruise thing…as EddieinCA noted yesterday, sometimes you have to lose your temper.

    When I worked in politics, one of the mantras was “never get mad except on purpose.” Basically, know when you need to get angry, and do so rarely and judiciously. Here’s what Eddie wrote yesterday:

    Across the entire Film and TV Industry, people are praising Cruise. He’s batshit crazy in alot of ways, but when it comes to craft and professionalism, you won’t find much better. I’m someone who has gone that ballistic on set before, so I can say in my defense (and for Mr. Cruse) that sometimes, sometimes, the only way to get a point across is to go on that kind of profane rant.

    When a multi-million dollar production, that has already been shut down once due to covid is again threatened by a few people unwilling and/or unable to follow what are fairly simple rules, the lead actor/producer is well within his rights to get a bit angry.

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  23. Teve says:

    @Kurtz:

    Axios points out:

    That’s a sharp break from decades of GOP agreement that the government should give private enterprise a wide berth and only step in with antitrust enforcement if there’s clear evidence of harm to consumers, chiefly measured by whether powerful companies raise prices.

    the GOP antitrust stance since the 70s has been terrible policy. Bork and U of Chicago free market fanatics were responsible for that nonsense.

    Democrats are better on the regulation front, if only on a limited basis. But it seems pretty clear to me that the state AGs and the Republicans on the antitrust panel are using their positions to punish Google and Facebook for not indulging the persecution complex of the GOP.

    It is absolutely the case that Republican motivations for doing this are wrong and shitty. But if bad motives lead to a beneficial outcome, I’ll take it! 😀

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  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Slugger: Yeah, I’ve noticed the same thing. It’s a bit store dependent though. I go into Shoppers and there are dozens of different brands of red sauce. I go into Wegman’s and there are many different varieties of Wegman’s red sauce and much fewer from other manufacturers.

    I guess we are just at a different point in the cycle. Wegman’s was the pioneer in creating giant stores so they could stock everything directly to their shelves and eliminate the giant storeroom in the back. Then they pioneered the policy of reserving significant shelf space only for brands that would stock the shelves themselves. Then to actually charge the brands for the shelf space. But the brands figured out how to make it work. They became bigger and bigger, with more and more variety of products sold by one entity, so they could leverage that against the demands of the grocers. You have to have Tide or Hagen Das or Suave or some other big brand, so the distributors would use that need to negotiate a better deal for all their products. I guess it’s reached the point where giving up the shelf space rental revenue is a good deal compared to keeping the profits of the actual products themselves.

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  25. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Home Depot lumber is terrible. Truly awful. In any decent lumber yard it would all be rejects.

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  26. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Which brings me to the emotional, visceral reason I despise modern Republicans so much: they are the party of lies. They lie about everything, all the time. They lie, and we know they lie, and they know we know, but they don’t care. It is instinctive and I suspect they get a little frisson of ecstasy every time they lie to someone’s face. “We aren’t pursuing herd immunity”, “These tax cuts are for the middle class”, “We are only concerned with voter fraud”, “We aren’t trying to privatize Social Security”, “We are only concerned for the health of the mother”, “These Liberty University ads are not illegal campaign ads for Trump, but just voter education”. The list is endless. Modern Republicans are degenerate liars and, above all else, that is what makes me viscerally recoil from them.

    I stopped watching the Sunday shows 20 years ago, because in an hour long show at least 30 minutes of it was Republicans like Newt Gingrich telling bald-face lies and it was infuriating.

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  27. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I go into Shoppers and there are dozens of different brands of red sauce.

    You still have Shoppers? Around me they’ve all closed and been turned into Lidl.

    Now I love Lidl but Shoppers always had a great selection of Mexican and Central American items that were hard to find elsewhere.

    And of course the donuts the size of your head. The apple fritters from Shoppers had to weigh a pound each.

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  28. dazedandconfused says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I still drop into Home Depot. When those guys decide they don’t want something on the shelf anymore they don’t pussy-foot around, they price it so it’ll be gone in a week with a total advertising investment of a sharpie and a piece of 8 1/2″ x 11 paper.

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  29. Teve says:
  30. Scott says:

    @Teve: Another Trump legacy. They are all classless pigs, always have been and always will be.

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  31. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    That’s not all, America vastly underestimates the effects its soft power has on other countries. Both in the developed world and the third world, economic policies tend to follow US ones, at least to some degree.

    This hasn’t been entirely bad. Loosening onerous regulations, allowing foreign investment, reducing excessive tax rates, privatizing government enterprises, and other things have helped the economies in several third world countries.

    But we also see the same trends towards too-low tax rates, especially for the very wealthy, along with growing income inequality. And there’s a trend towards consolidation where a handful of big companies take control of the market. Finally, we’ve seen the internet companies take over an dominate all over the world.

    A course correction won’t just be good for America. it will also benefit much of the rest of the world.

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  32. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    National Review: Jill Biden’s Doctorate Is Garbage Because Her Dissertation Is Garbage

    I suspect that many of the contributors at National Review really do not want people to start going back to assess the quality of their dissertations, or other academic products…

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  33. Sleeping Dog says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Yup, it is awful. Though, I’ve manage to get decent 1X boards by buying 2 x boards and milling them to the proper dimensions. But that requires a planer or access to one. It still can be cheaper than good lumber yard if you don’t put a cost on your time.

    True story. When I bought my first house, I needed to install a walkway to the garage. Not having any money, but still young and (somewhat) strong, I mixed and poured it myself. For forms I purchased some 2×4’s at a big box store. A few were left over and I tossed them up in the garage rafters, with a few more 2×4’s that were leftover from a different project. Those sticks came from a professional lumber yard. Go forward about 8 years and we’re selling the house. Sorting through the detritus of life, I came across this stash of lumber. The lumber yard sticks were still as straight as when I bought them, the big box store pieces, had twisted 90 degrees over their 8′ length.

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  34. Teve says:

    @HillaryClinton

    People who stood by Donald Trump for the last four years are now claiming to be offended that a Democratic campaign manager used a curse word? I don’t think so.

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  35. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    The reason for that is that they purport not to believe that Donald Trump ever said “fuck” in his life. Fake news, you know. All those countless reports of him screaming obscenities at his hapless underlings are just invented to make him look bad.

    Donald Trump is a devout Christian, a faithful husband, a loving father, and the best prez we’ve ever had. And don’t you forget it.

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  36. Mikey says:

    @Teve: At 12:01 PM on January 21, Republicans will become very concerned about all sorts of things about which they didn’t give a flying fuck the last four years.

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  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @MarkedMan: Never buy lumber from a chain. MM is right, it’s mostly garbage, quite often too dry. I buy my lumber from a family owned lumber yard just outside of town. They’ll hand pick it for straight and true, load it up for me, deliver any larger orders, and go the extra mile when I order any specialty items I might need. If there is a problem, they won’t argue, they’ll make it right. I pay more per board foot, but there is something about dealing directly with the owners that cuts thru a lot of bullshit.

    These days I only work on my own projects, nothing big, quite often I buy out of the cull pile (rejects at 50%, because I have more time than money) so they aren’t making a whole lot of money off me and yet they still treat me like I’m a contractor who comes in 2 or 3 times a week making thousand dollar orders.

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  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Slugger: I’m noticing the same things, only I go to a big box grocer that features more Brand-X-ish stuff to begin with. Additionally, I was in the wholesale produce/grocery business for 15 years back in the 70s and 80s, and I can say that on the fresh side of the store, I’m seeing the kind of merchandise selections that used to be the rule back when I was working. There simply isn’t any product coming that we don’t grow in the US, Mexico, or in hothouses in Canada.

    My store people tell me “no, this is just seasonal shifts in supply,” but it’s seasonal shifts in supply from 25 years ago. Supplies are adequate and the products are fine, but the supply chain is under a lot of stress right now.

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  39. Mister Bluster says:

    Merry Christmas
    ‘I’m still nervous,’ says soldier who shot Nicolae Ceausescu
    Paratrooper Ionel Boyeru volunteered for a mystery mission, only to discover it was the execution of the Romanian dictator

    Ionel Boyeru’s hands tremble slightly when he talks about the day he shot dead Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena, beside a toilet block in a freezing courtyard.
    On Christmas Day, 1989 he guarded the couple’s melodramatic show trial, led them out as Ceausescu sang the Internationale and his less-composed wife screamed “fuck you” at a mocking sergeant, lined them up against a wall then strafed them with bullets from his Kalashnikov.
    It happened so quickly that a military journalist videoing the trial captured only the last round of bullets and the crumpled bodies on the floor. But those few seconds have shadowed the ageing paratrooper’s whole life.
    “I still get nervous talking about this,” he says, cradling a glass of brandy. “It’s two lives that I ended. It is a big deal. In a war it’s OK, but when you kill unarmed people it’s more difficult. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, even though my job is killing people.”

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  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Transference? That would be MY guess. 😀

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  41. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    But that is the problem, the solution should be well-crafted, enforcable anti-trust laws. The public distrust of Big Tech is an opportunity to craft legislation with teeth. By going the litigation path, the good thing that happens is at the expense of the thing that should happen.

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  42. MarkedMan says:

    Remember when Biden said “We met with the Trump officials and they didn’t have a detailed plan for vaccine distribution”, and that kind of just went away with the news cycle?

    But Pritzker said that federal officials had told him that the Trump administration would only be able to distribute 4 million doses of the vaccine per week – a drop-off of one million doses per week.

    He added that his state would receive half of what it has expected of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine over the next two weeks.

    In addition to Pritzker’s Illinois, Michigan and Florida have said that they expected to receive less vaccine than federal officials had initially promised, offering different reasons for why.

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said on Tuesday that two shipments of around 450,000 doses were “on hold.”

    “We don’t know whether we will get any or not,” DeSantis said. “And we’re just going to have to wait.”

    The Florida Republican blamed it on manufacturing issues with Pfizer, but the pharmaceutical giant issued a statement denying that it was having problems in its production or delivery to the federal government.

    “This week, we successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the U.S. Government to the locations specified by them,” the statement reads. “We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses.”

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  43. sam says:

    HBO Max made it onto the Roku, if anyone’s interested.

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  44. Teve says:

    @Mikey: Rick Scott is right now going on tv and acting horrified at “the $27 TRILLION national debt.”

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  45. Teve says:

    James hohmann

    Historic! Joe Biden has tapped Democratic Rep. Deb Haaland, a congresswoman from New Mexico, to serve as the first Native American interior secretary.

    @KevinMKruse

    I teach a course each spring that goes deep on primary sources for three major historical moments.

    This year, one will be on how the Department of the Interior steadily dispossessed Native Americans of tribal property in the late 19th c.

    This is, uh, quite a change from that.

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  46. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    These day, all the lumber I’m buying is for furniture projects. There’s a specialty lumber yard about 15 miles from me that sells all their lumber rough and will mill as needed. Conveniently they have better pricing on shorts, that suits me well. Last month I picked up some wonderful, completely clear, white oak in 10″-13″ widths, all heartwood, for an outdoor bench. The other day, I picked up some cherry, though I haven’t milled that yet, as I have a veneer project that I need to finish for the wife.

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  47. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Teve:

    I was hoping that Biden would pick a Native American for Interior. This is a welcome change from the revolving door of corporate types and environmental group lobbyists that usually are tapped for Interior.

    Congratulations Rep. Deb Haaland.

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  48. Teve says:

    Duncan Hunter just got 11 months in the hoosegow.

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  49. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    I suppose his pardon check hasn’t cleared.

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  50. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Last month I picked up some wonderful, completely clear, white oak in 10″-13″ widths

    I have a bunch of wood left over from when my house was built–in 1920. Red and white oak, mostly 1″-true. Lengths up to 16′ and widths up to 22″ true. A slight bit of cupping, but that can be planed off. The red oak, when varnished (clear poly) is absolutely gorgeous. It’s like marble.

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  51. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    I think that happened last March, didn’t it?

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  52. Erik says:

    Yesterday I received my first dose of the Pfizer Coronavirus vaccine series. My shoulder was pretty sore for the rest of the day, about like it feels after a tetanus shot. Today it feels mildly achy, kind of like a bruise that you got a couple days ago and forgot about until you thought about it. I’ve had a lot of vaccinations (thanks US Navy!), and this one was on the easier side. Typhoid and yellow fever vaccinations made me feel far, far sicker, and even the flu shot some years made me feel worse than this one. The muscle soreness is a piece of cake compared to anthrax.

    I’m well aware that some people feel sicker with this vaccine than I have, and that some people have had life threatening reactions. Clearly safety is tremendously important and all adverse reactions should be tracked and learned from. I’m posting this to provide another data point so the negative experiences aren’t the only ones in the record as people consider getting vaccinated.

    Please: wear masks, and get vaccinated (flu too!) as soon as you can.

    ETA: I was vaccinated against coronavirus because I’m a front line healthcare worker with exposure to COVID patients.

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  53. Mikey says:

    @Erik:

    Typhoid and yellow fever vaccinations made me feel far, far sicker, and even the flu shot some years made me feel worse than this one. The muscle soreness is a piece of cake compared to anthrax.

    I hated the typhoid vaccination, that one really hurt. I got point cellulitis from the yellow fever vaccination, which sucked but was treatable with antibiotics. But the anthrax series was the worst–it started out crappy and got worse with each booster. And there were six shots total. Yuck.

    My family got flu shots a few weeks ago, and we are looking forward to the COVID-19 vaccination. No idea if my wife’s job as a school bus driver moves her up the list, but I’m just a regular office worker so I’m sure there are a couple hundred million in front of me…lol…

    Good luck to you and I’m glad with your job you were able to be among the first. You’re doing noble work.

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  54. Joe says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Lengths up to 16′ and widths up to 22″ true. A slight bit of cupping, but that can be planed off.

    So, no longer quite true.

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  55. EddieInCA says:

    @Jen: @CSK:

    Yesterday, I had several of my crew members tell me, independently of each other, and at different times, variations of “When I heard the Tom Cruise audio, I thought of you immediately.” I took it as a compliment, and they meant it that way.

    No. Cruise was 100% correct in how he handled it. It wasn’t public. It was a closed film set. Outbursts like that happen often, but rarely go viral. Someone chose to record it and release it. Given the quality of the sound, I’m guessing it came from the boom mic that was rolling when it happened. Who released it? No idea. Could have been the DIT, the Sound Mixer himself, a Post PA, the Post Producer, the Editor, etc.. More than 25 people had access to the sound recorded that day.

    Most people who have worked with me long term know I’m not the angry, yelling producer. But when I need to be for effect, I can definitely be that guy, and have been.

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  56. Teve says:

    @CSK: oh yeah, somehow i didn’t see the date. Mibad.

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  57. Jen says:

    @Erik:
    @Mikey:

    I grew up overseas and remember getting the typhoid shot. That one was NOT fun. I remember it being hard to sleep because I would roll over on that arm and the pain from the shot would wake me up, this went on for a couple of days.

    I’ve also had the yellow fever vaccination too but don’t remember it, I believe that’s a one and done so I must have had it quite young with no need for boosters.

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  58. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Nothing like old wood. When I lived in Mpls, we’d occasionally ride down to Alma for lunch. Standing at the bar one afternoon, I began looking at the bar top and realized that it was a single piece of chestnut, 24″ wide by about 20′. Pointed that out to the guy I was with and he thought it was plywood. It wasn’t.

    That lumber you have would make a nice project for you. If you don’t have the time or skill, I bet there is a woodworker in your area that could turn it into an heirloom.

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  59. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Joe:

    So, no longer quite true.

    It’s 1″ true (or more in some cases), but can be planed down to nominal (some could be planed down to 1″ true–it’s that thick). Widths are all over the place (from 4″ to 22″), but it’s important to say “22-true” so people don’t assume it’s 18.5″

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  60. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Several weeks/months ago, you proclaimed over several threads that lockdowns were much too harsh, and that your area was a perfect example of why.

    You haven’t updated us on the Covid condition of your community. Has your community be able to continue avoiding any serious numbers, given that Wisconsin had a horrible November?

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  61. Monala says:

    I had never heard of Anand Giridharadas before this week, but he is an American journalist who has written books about issues in the US and in his parents’ native India, and who made a splashy name for himself on TED Talks and speakers’ circuits challenging wealthy people to be willing to sacrifice more to address income inequality.

    Well, he made a splash on Twitter this week, criticizing (Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife) Mackensie Scott’s large donations to 300+ organizations. Specifically, since about 15 of her donations went to HBCUs, he made comments about how “Amazon workers’ wages are now going to HBCUs” and how when some student gets a scholarship they wouldn’t otherwise have received, they should know that some poor Amazon worker sacrificed getting a decent salary to make that possible.

    He has since deleted the series of tweets, saying that he was just trying to criticize a system in which private philanthropy, based on wealth made possible by vast income inequality, substitutes for taxation of the wealthy and real government investment.

    He has rightly been taken to task, with people pointing out that if that was his true point, he sure did suck in how he made it. Instead of criticizing Jeff Bezos for exploiting his workers, he criticized his ex-wife for trying to do something good, and placed the blame for struggling Amazon workers on the shoulders of poor black students trying to get an education.

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  62. Teve says:

    @Monala: Anand’s big message over the years is that billionaires do relatively puny, but highly-marketed philanthropy to whitewash the exploitation they do. Mark Zuckerburp gave $100 million to a new school initiative! What a great guy! But they don’t do anything to help the people they exploit, and the system runs such that they always wind up even richer after the philanthropy. Criticizing Mackensie was a misfire but his central thesis is an important one.

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  63. Monala says:

    @Teve: I get that. But the critics are right too: Giridharadas’ tweets never mentioned the actual exploiter, Jeff Bezos. Instead, his tweets blamed HBCU students, as if this were their fault, and Mackensie Scott for her donations.

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  64. Mister Bluster says:

    I don’t know why this is not behind a paywall for me. Maybe Santa got me a subscription.

    I Was the Homeland Security Adviser to Trump. We’re Being Hacked.
    The magnitude of this national security breach is hard to overstate.

    While the Russians did not have the time to gain complete control over every network they hacked, they most certainly did gain it over hundreds of them. It will take years to know for certain which networks the Russians control and which ones they just occupy.

    The remediation effort alone will be staggering. It will require the segregated replacement of entire enclaves of computers, network hardware and servers across vast federal and corporate networks. Somehow, the nation’s sensitive networks have to remain operational despite unknown levels of Russian access and control. A “do over” is mandatory and entire new networks need to be built — and isolated from compromised networks.

    President Trump is on the verge of leaving behind a federal government, and perhaps a large number of major industries, compromised by the Russian government. He must use whatever leverage he can muster to protect the United States and severely punish the Russians.

    President-elect Joe Biden must begin his planning to take charge of this crisis. He has to assume that communications about this matter are being read by Russia, and assume that any government data or email could be falsified.

    At this moment, the two teams must find a way to cooperate.

    President Trump must get past his grievances about the election and govern for the remainder of his term. This moment requires unity, purpose and discipline. An intrusion so brazen and of this size and scope cannot be tolerated by any sovereign nation.

    We are sick, distracted, and now under cyberattack. Leadership is essential.

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  65. EddieInCA says:

    @EddieInCA:

    @Mu Yiaiao

    My apologies if my question comes across as snarky. It’s really not my intent. Just curious if the good times continued or whether your community got hit like so many others?

    I have some relatives in rural Missouri whose town, Dexter, avoided the worst of the pandemic for a long, long time. But now, almost 32% of the population has gotten it. They’ve had 2504 cases out of a total town population of about 7864.

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  66. Mikey says:

    This is FireEye’s report on the likely Russian intrusion into American governmental and infrastructure networks. It’s extensive and somewhat technical but written clearly enough that even a non-tech layman should be able to get the gist.

    I have to say it’s impressively done, if a bit terrifying. Consider this: if you’re a nation-state (which is the only organization with the resources to accomplish this) going through the time and expense to create a hack this deep and detailed, you’re going to make damn sure it’s survivable. I have zero doubt they are still in our networks.

    Read it and weep: Highly Evasive Attacker Leverages SolarWinds Supply Chain to Compromise Multiple Global Victims With SUNBURST Backdoor

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  67. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    I have tried to figure out how I would feel if dime store Lex Luthor stood up and said “we should make severe cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, because I am no longer in a position to commit massive fraud to get rich. It has served its purpose.”

    On one hand, I may respect him a little more for telling the truth. On the other hand, it would just be used as an argument against ‘big government.’

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  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Well of course he’s horrified at the $27 trillion National Debt. Democrats hold the Presidency and the House; it’s time to become a deficit hawk again. Austerity is our newborn king, uh huh.

    [and the beat goes on…]

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  69. DrDaveT says:

    @Mikey:
    @Erik:
    The worst vaccine experience I’ve had was the shingles vaccine. Two doses (like COVID-19), and both of them gave me headache, body aches, fever, and occasional chills for 2-3 days, in addition to the sore arm. (My wife had almost no side effects from the same vaccine at the same time.)

    On the other hand, I’ve also had shingles, and I would endure something a lot worse than a week of flu-like symptoms to make sure I never have it again.

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  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    New stuff on Jenna Ellis, member of the Trump Elite Strike Force
    The money passage:

    “Doctor” Ellis, a self-described constitutional law attorney who represents the president on his Elite Strike Force, began her legal career in the Weld County Colorado District Attorney’s Office in August of 2012. The 2011 graduate of University of Richmond Law School spent her time prosecuting low-level misdemeanors until she was fired after just six months “because she refused to bring a case to trial that she believed was an unethical prosecution,” according the Wall Street Journal.

    But the Colorado Sun went looking and found a slightly different version of the story in Ellis’s unemployment claim. Because you can’t bullsh*t a local reporter, so don’t even try.

    In Colorado, government employees can’t collect unemployment insurance if they’ve been fired for cause. Apparently Ellis’s bosses, who terminated her for “unsatisfactory performance,” deemed her conduct sufficiently lousy that it should disqualify her from collecting unemployment. And they felt strongly enough to argue it twice before the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

    But Jenna Ellis prevailed in the end because she was just too incompetent to be blamed for screwing up. Elite Strike Force, FTW! [emphasis added]

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  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Forgot to h/t Flat Earth Luddite for the article link. Sorry, zeeb.

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  72. Teve says:

    @Monala:

    Instead, his tweets blamed HBCU students, as if this were their fault

    i read the tweets, I follow him on Twitter, I thought he was attacking the wrong Bezos, but I didn’t perceive it as blaming the HBCU students. Did I miss something?

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  73. Teve says:

    Post so’s I can fix the previous post.

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  74. Teve says:

    @mikel_jollet

    The deepest irony of this whole “I’m a Republican so I only respect doctors who are medical doctors,” thing is that 300,000 Americans are dead because Republicans didn’t respect medical doctors.

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  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Sounds beautiful. I am looking forward to getting back into such artisanal projects, (my son tells me of a hardwood lumber shop up in St Charles that I have to get to) but between my gardening, the house, and projects for the young ‘uns…

    I do miss engaging in true craftsmanship.

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  76. Kathy says:

    The FDA may issue emergency use authorization for Moderna’s vaccine soon.

    As the vaccines roll out, more info is being made available. Moderna’s 94% effectiveness is measured around 14 days after the second dose, or 6 weeks after the first. That’s a long time for immunity, during most of which one is still vulnerable to infection.

    Given the time it will take to vaccinate everyone, we’re still in for a long final stage of the pandemic. If the schedule published in Mexico last week holds, and I received a vaccine on April 1st (the earliest possible), ti would be mid-May before I might possibly be protected.

    And that schedule puts my age bracket rather early. The younger people won’t all be vaccinated until late 2021 or early 2022. In the meantime, I have to keep wearing a mask because even a 95% efficacy leaves a 5% chance of infection, with undefined odds on severity and long haul syndrome. The mask lowers the odds of infection.

    We won’t get back to normal until late 2021 in most places. I don’t even think the Tokyo Olympics will proceed in the summer of 21, more likely in the fall, or even 2022, if they want the public to attend the sporting events.

    When the Olympics were postponed, it seemed like a Really Big Deal. Thinking they may be further postponed seems small against the backdrop of the pandemic.

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  77. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On the “Tom Cruise rant”: I’ve seen a lot of shit on job sites, most of which I would never tolerate. Walked off several because I was looking for a job when I found this one and no, you don’t get to abuse me like this. Haven’t watched his because to be quite honest, I don’t need to to say what I got to say. Abusing people is never OK. If you have something to say to someone, say it in private. If you can’t say it in private, STFU. If you need to say it to all, say it to all without singling one out in particular.

    In 35+ years I only jumped down somebody’s throat once and that was because he was jumping down my laborer’s throat. I told him to back the fuck off and never talk to my laborer like that again or I would rip his head off and shit down the hole.

    And you know what? When he got back to the jobsite trailer? He bragged about “finally pissing Tom off.” That’s the kind of people who engage in that kind of behavior. They enjoy pissing people off. Life is way too short to tolerate that kind of crap.

    And FTR? He never fucked with my laborer again.

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  78. Jax says:

    So these dumb fuckers are STILL betting on Trump?

    “It took most of the bookmakers weeks to settle bets on the election. Mason and Morrow heard frequently from Biden bettors impatiently waiting on their payouts and from Trump bettors thanking them for not rushing to rash decisions. When they did eventually settle state and national bets, waiting until contested states certified results, the public faces of the big offshore sportsbooks got a different response from Trump bettors.

    ‘You’re gonna regret this,’ ” Morrow recalls hearing from angry Trump bettors. “ ‘You’re gonna rue the day. This is gonna be the end of you. You’re gonna be working at McDonald’s.’

    ”The sportsbooks won untold millions off a political movement’s refusal to accept reality.”

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/12/trump-betting-markets-sportsbooks-offshore-2020-election-gambling.html?scrolla=5eb6d68b7fedc32c19ef33b4

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  79. Teve says:

    Zero free ICU beds in Los Angeles county.

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  80. Teve says:

    Mike Flynn went on Newsmax and said that Trump should declare martial law and send the military to occupy the swing states and re-run the elections there.

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  81. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    IMO, it was precisely because he didn’t quite realize what he was doing, but Trump’s best decision over the past four years was to fire Flynn.

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  82. Teve says:

    @2Alarm

    Former top Postal Service official testifies Mnuchin and White House were involved in slowing mail. CBS News.

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  83. Teve says:

    @davidoatkins

    The only genuine, authentic Republican belief is that white christian men should have all the money and power.

    Everything else, from federalism to deficits to nationalism to trade, is just a temporary argument of convenience, taken up or discarded depending on circumstance.

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  84. Gustopher says:

    What’s with the dueling Teves?

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  85. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: I’ve spent 4 hours tonight installing, configuring, uninstalling, various browsers apps adblockers etc and had to make a new Gravatar for my new Protonmail account.

    Google has quietly done little things to increase spam and pop-ups because they make marginally more money making the internet a little shittier. I’m tying to overcome some of it.

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  86. Teve says:

    What I have settled on right now is using Firefox Focus as a content blocker for Safari.

    Part of why ads are re-shittifying the web:
    https://www.cjr.org/first_person/the-infinite-scroll.php

    I’m going to have to sell this iPad soon. Apple voice recognition barely works when it does at all. Very frustrating. Google transcription is two orders of magnitude better. With Apple I have to repeat clauses several times and then fix 1/3rd of the words.

    https://www.cultofmac.com/712390/iphones-voice-to-text-transcription-sucks-compared-to-pixels/

    That’s from Apple fans.

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  87. Mikey says:

    @Teve:

    Mike Flynn went on Newsmax and said that Trump should declare martial law and send the military to occupy the swing states and re-run the elections there.

    And when Trump loses again, then what? Will they have soldiers standing next to the voting booths to ensure the “correct” candidate is chosen?

    These people are America’s domestic enemies, full stop.

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  88. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I don’t have the technical know how to protect myself from the types of content intrusions the article describes. I simply stop visiting sites where the levels of intrusion outweigh the utility of the content. Since large quantities of internet content are high interest, but low utility (to my mind at least), my policy doesn’t impact me that much. So far, the worst offenders have also been the least useful/interesting sites. Win-win.

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