Thursday’s Forum

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

Comments

  1. CSK says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Oil firms knew decades ago fossil fuels posed grave health risks, files reveal

    The oil industry knew at least 50 years ago that air pollution from burning fossil fuels posed serious risks to human health, only to spend decades aggressively lobbying against clean air regulations, a trove of internal documents seen by the Guardian reveal.

    The documents, which include internal memos and reports, show the industry was long aware that it created large amounts of air pollution, that pollutants could lodge deep in the lungs and be “real villains in health effects”, and even that its own workers may be experiencing birth defects among their children.

    But these concerns did little to stop oil and gas companies, and their proxies, spreading doubt about the growing body of science linking the burning of fossil fuels to an array of health problems that kill millions of people around the world each year. Echoing the fossil-fuel industry’s history of undermining of climate science, oil and gas interests released a torrent of material aimed at raising uncertainty over the harm caused by air pollution and used this to deter US lawmakers from placing further limits on pollutants.

    “The response from fossil-fuel interests has been from the same playbook – first they know, then they scheme, then they deny and then they delay,” said Geoffrey Supran, a researcher at Harvard University who has studied the history of fossil-fuel companies and climate change. “They’ve fallen back on delay, subtle forms of propaganda and the undermining of regulation.”

    Profits > people.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Perseverance needs a lube job.

    “If I heard these sounds driving my car, I’d pull over and call for a tow,” Dave Gruel, an engineer on the rover team, said in a written Nasa statement. “But if you take a minute to consider what you’re hearing and where it was recorded, it makes perfect sense.”

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  4. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It turned out all along that the cigarette company battle was just warm-up. It’s the same playbook, with much bigger consequences.

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Yep, probably use the same lawyers.

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  6. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: some of the same PR companies, believe it or not.

    There’s a lot of bullshit that can exist in a media environment that assiduously tries to avoid calling people liars.

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  7. Teve says:

    I had an idiot relative named Rick who sincerely believed that half the scientists in biology believed in evolution, half believed in creationism, half believed in Global Warming, half didn’t, because that’s how he always saw it presented on tv.

    When i was a kid I hated him for being so stupid, but I mellowed as I got older. The guy grew up in the county immediately west of the one portrayed in Justified, Harlan. Had to drop outta high school and drive a dump truck. Woulda been a miracle if he’d somehow gotten any kinda science education.

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  8. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    I had an idiot relative named Rick who sincerely believed that half the scientists in biology believed in evolution, half believed in creationism, half believed in Global Warming, half didn’t, because that’s how he always saw it presented on tv.

    Which prompts me to wonder what TV he watched. CBN?

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  9. CSK says:

    The 25% tariff on European wines imposed back in 2019 has been lifted for 4 months.

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  10. CSK says:

    In Boise City, Oklahoma, 92% of the vote went to Trump. But, according to reporter Gary Tuchman of CNN, the folks he interviewed in a diner there are unanimous in not wanting to get the vaccine, despite the fact that Trump has promoted getting the shot.

    The reason for that, says one man, is that Trump is a New York liberal, and therefore not trustworthy.

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  11. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    The reason for that, says one man, is that Trump is a New York liberal, and therefore not trustworthy.

    There’s an episode of All in the Family where Archie is informed by a couple of teen girls from Texas that their dad would consider him to be a communist–because he believes all New Yorkers are commies.

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  12. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Oh, indeed. Everyone from the northeast is a Godless commie. California, too.

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  13. MarkedMan says:

    Years ago I gradually stopped reading the Washington Post. To many, Politics is sport and that makes the WP essentially the home town sports section. And, as someone who has followed many a bad hometown team, I recognized all the traits. They never said, “President Bush said X, but that is not correct”, but rather, “…but Democrats said that is not correct”, even for easily verified objective facts. Even worse, they are a home team paper with two teams in the same sport. They went to ridiculous extremes prior to the Trump era to have an equal number of bad and good stories for each of the two parties.

    Today’s post contains the perfect example of this. Since it’s inception the WP Fact Checker column has bent over backwards to give the benefit of the doubt to Republicans (the one exception is Trump) and to interpret Democratic speech in as negative light as possible. I don’t think they do this because they are biased against Dems, but rather in attempt to be balanced. Not fair, but balanced. Republican leaders spout a hundred blatant and outrageous lies a day, Dems, much fewer. But if the position was reversed I’m sure the Fact Checker column would also reverse. Balanced, not fair.

    A perfect illustration was in today’s column analyzing a Dem’s opinion that Mitch would remove the filibuster if he was back in power. My reaction was, “wait, that’s his opinion. How can you fact check it?”, and sure enough at the very end they mention they will not rate this because they don’t rate opinions while making it very clear it would get a whole bunch of Pinocchios if they did. Basically their argument boils down to, “He had the chance and he didn’t.” While technically true I think it’s pretty obvious there is an implied caveat of, “… and if it would give him advantage in something he really wanted.” And Mitch wanted Judges and he wanted to deliver tax cuts to his patrons, neither of which were subject to the filibuster, and he did actually kill the filibuster for something he wanted – Supreme Court Justices. In fact they acknowledge this in the typical WP method – quoting someone else, this time a hypothetical cynic:

    A cynic might suggest that McConnell is sitting in the catbird seat now. Two issues that especially animate him — taxes and judges — require only majority votes in the Senate. But the policy issues that animate Democrats — such as climate change and gun control — still require the elusive 60 votes to be enacted into law or end up in the legislative graveyard.

    So he didn’t end the filibuster when he had the chance because he had no interest in passing anything it interfered with, except for a Supreme Court appointment and as soon as that came up he ended the filibuster for that. But the WP Fact Checker spent a lot of column inches basically calling Representative Castro a liar for making this very point they concede in their article.

    Balanced, not fair.

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  14. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod:

    Which prompts me to wonder what TV he watched. CBN?

    He could have watched any outlet that loved controversy and practiced he-said-she-said journalism. Which is to say pretty much any element of the supposedly liberal MSM.

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  15. Mr. Prosser says:

    @MarkedMan: I agree with you about the WP fact checker. I don’t know why they do it. Even the term “Pinocchios” irritates me. It implies they’re not really serious lies just cute little fibs.

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  16. MarkedMan says:

    Good news, Kathy!

    The Biden administration has agreed to supply Mexico with excess doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and Mexico is moving to help the United States contain a migration surge along its southern border, according to senior officials from both countries involved in the conversations.

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  17. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Since it’s inception the WP Fact Checker column has bent over backwards to give the benefit of the doubt to Republicans (the one exception is Trump) and to interpret Democratic speech in as negative light as possible.

    Politifact does the same thing. ‘Hillary said 5 million but it’s really on 4.82 million, FALSE!!’ (Made up, but fair.) The alternative is to admit GOPs lie way more than Ds, and they can’t do that. They’re more worried about charges of bias from the right than than they are about actual bias. It’s of a piece with retaining mediocrities or worse like Theissen and Hewitt, or Stephens and Douthat at NYT. And, of course, the evergreen mediocrities George Will and David Brooks.

    I don’t know why they’re so fearful of criticism from the Right? But I will give WAPO due credit for tracking Trump’s lie’s. I assume they’ve stopped that now and laid off several weary interns.

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  18. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Don´t drink wine, so I´ll need to ask you–did prices drop either by category or in aggregate?

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  19. DrDaveT says:

    @gVOR08:

    Politifact does the same thing.

    I’m sorry to hear that. I saw the abstract of a technical paper today that was talking about applying neural network text analytics to the LIAR database, with the goal of automatically classifying public statements by politicians as true or false. If PolitiFact is fudging the labels, that will screw up the ability to properly train the machine learning.

    (I think it would be fascinating to train such a system, then test it for anti-conservative bias. In the same way that job recommendation engines trained on actual history can learn to offer lower-paying jobs to women, a system trained on the last 15 years of public discourse might well learn to assume conservatives are lying… which would be improper*, but hard to fix. You can remove explicit information about gender or political affiliation from the input data, but you can’t remove all of the high-level correlations. The NN will pick up on patterns in the other data that are highly-correlated with being female, or conservative.)

    *It might be accurate, given the data it was trained on, but it would be improper for e.g. providing real-time feedback to debate audiences.

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  20. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    The article didn’t make that clear, just that prices overall should drop.

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  21. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08:

    I don’t know why they’re so fearful of criticism from the Right?

    I think I understand it. Setting aside the Fact Checker column, if a WP post story says “Mitch McConnell said X, but that is not true”, then when a Republican reader gets angry they may cancel their subscription. But it it as reported as “Democrats said it is not true”, then all the WP did is report, and the reader is much less likely to cancel.

    Given that, running a fact checker column at all is a business risk, and I can easily see someone high up giving the approval only if they gored as many Republican as Democratic oxen.

    It’s true for all media, but the WP is especially exposed when it comes to politics. In the physical paper days the the percentage of readership who read political stories was relatively small. Sports was usually the widely read, followed by Business, Comics, Lifestyle. But I bet that’s not true for the Post. Politics is sports in DC.

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  22. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’m still looking for a weekend trip to Vegas to get the shot.

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  23. flat earth luddite says:

    @CSK:
    Not sure why she (a resident of Grants Pass, OR) picked Galveston as her vacation/Last Stand destination, but it does remind me of something I’ve commented on here before. Oregon’s unofficial motto remains “Things sure are different here.”

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  24. flat earth luddite says:

    Although sucky, and self-inflicted, our Grants Pass heroine is still having a better week than this pilot:

    No matter what mistakes you’ve made recently, they probably don’t compare to this Ukrainian captain who rammed a MiG-29 fighter with his Volkswagen Touran while drunk.

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  25. Kathy says:

    I’ve an update.

    I had the follow up visit with the surgeon. Things seem well, but there’s some inflammation in the groin area. So he gave me a second antibiotic, and an anti-inflammatory.

    That’s the good news.

    The bad news is the insurance just got more complicated. Long story short, I need to pay the surgeon and then request reimbursement. Which leaves me wandering WTF the authorization from the insurer for the surgery was all about.

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  26. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Yeah, that struck me as odd. Maybe she was visiting relatives?

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  27. Kathy says:

    Amazon Prime video in Mexico has the much talked about Zack Snyder “cut” of the Justice League movie available for rental.

    I may see it later today.

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  28. Jax says:

    @Kathy: Our county has opened up to 18+. No ID required. If we’ve got more shots than arms willing to take them, you can come be my cousin. Ozark, you too.

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  29. Jax says:

    I finally got my vaccine-hesitant Mom to sign up. Sigh of relief!!

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  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Thanx for the offer. My son is climbing Devil’s Tower in May and I intend to be there to see him do a thing I long wanted to do but never quite got around to. If I ain’t vaccinated by then, I may well take you up on the offer.

    Oh yeah, my wife too. It would look really bad if some Wyoming cowgirl got me a vaccination but didn’t have one for her too.

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  31. Mimai says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Do you know what route your son is climbing?

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  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mimai: No. One of his buddies got a bug up his ass and hired a guide. They are going to do some preliminary climbing to gauge their skills at which point I suspect they will pick from the routes available/climbers (my son has misgivings about one individual)

    Way back in ’88 or ’89 my ex and I passed thru (for my 3rd of 4th time) and I saw all the climbers and thought, “I want to do that.” Even bought a book with all the routes. Shit happened, but it never did. 🙁

    So now I am old and decrepit, and my son is going to try to do something I always wanted to but never quite managed. I want to see him accomplish it. It’s not Everest (as I understand it it’s actually a fairly easy climb) but he has done many things I never quite managed.

    Even if I haven’t witnessed those accomplishments, he makes me proud.

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  33. Mimai says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In that case, they’ll probably do Durrance. It’s a classic and reasonably approachable for the otherwise fit non-expert (5.6/5.7 rating). Glad they’ve connected with a guide.

    “I want to do that” + “Shit happened” = “never did” ……this simple equation is a never-ending source of pain for me.

    “I did that” + “Shit happened” = “never gonna do that again”……and this simple equation is a never-ending source of amusement.

    I hope you’ve got enough of the later to balance out the former.

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  34. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Mrs. Ozark is also welcome to come be my long-lost aunt. 😉

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  35. Jax says:

    Oh, just so you all know, I sent my DNA test in to Ancestry.com the day before I got the Moderna shot. I figured it might be useful someday to the “it’ll change your DNA!!!” folks. 🙂

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  36. Kathy says:

    @Kathy:

    Well, it is a better movie this way, but essentially we get the same plot.

    BTW, allegedly only around 5 minutes of new footage were shot for the Snyder cut. But you can expect much more footage you hadn’t seen before. This is because Whedon replaced a great deal of footage with new shots. Simply put, this movie is 4 hours long, while the theatrical release was 2 hours. There are many new visual effects shots, but not two hours worth.

    Back on point, a reboot might have been a better idea. That would be hard, given the success of the Gal Gadot Wonder Woman movies and the Jason Momoa Aquaman movie.

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  37. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    Thanks. I might just take you up on it.

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  38. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: If they made a new Justice League where Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Shazam carried over, but everything else changed (and was keeping with the tone of those good movies) I would see it.

    I would nominate Starro as the main villain.

    I would also accept a complete reboot. Or a passing the torch movie based around the evil Justice League from Earth 2 invades — the evil Justice League being the current one.

    Sorry about your insurance and your groin. Glad things are working out otherwise.

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  39. Teve says:

    @gVOR08:

    They’re more worried about charges of bias from the right than than they are about actual bias. It’s of a piece with retaining mediocrities or worse like Theissen and Hewitt, or Stephens and Douthat at NYT. And, of course, the evergreen mediocrities George Will and David Brooks.

    The worst thing about my WaPo subscription is the fraction of a penny that went to the amoral cretin Megan McArdle.

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