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. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: a 4oz serving of Impossible burger has 370 mg of salt. The impossible whopper has about 10% more sodium than regular whopper. The people at impossible aren’t trying to make the healthiest burger for you, they’re trying to make the healthiest attractive burger for civilization.

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  2. Kathy says:
  3. Teve says:

    @krangtnelson

    generally only the worst kind of ppl feel compelled to run for political office but nyc mayor is a whole other level. in a better world merely aspiring to the job would put you on some kind of watch list

    @epiktistes

    declaring your candidacy for NYC mayor should be like a To Catch a Predator sting, you show up and they just storm the podium and make sure you can never hurt anyone ever again

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  4. Teve says:

    @joshgerstein

    Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), at House hearing, says Capitol police officer was ‘lying in wait’ for Ashli Babbitt before shooting her. Again says Babbitt was “executed” by police, demands name of officer involved in shooting

    @liz_cheney

    On January 6, as the violent mob advanced on the House chamber, I was standing near @RepGosar and helped him open his gas mask. The Capitol Police led us to safety. It is disgusting and despicable to see Gosar lie about that day and smear the men and women who defended us.

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  5. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: How is it you’re responding to a comment that doesn’t exist?

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  6. Teve says:
  7. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: I sent my reply through a time warp from yesterday’s open thread to today’s.

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  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:
    What, you didn’t see @Gustopher’s comment? All the rest of us did. Hmmm. I don’t want to say ‘psychotic break’. . .

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  9. Jen says:

    @Teve:

    The people at impossible aren’t trying to make the healthiest burger for you, they’re trying to make the healthiest attractive burger for civilization.

    Yes, and even that has merit.

    Getting Americans to eat less beef is a really difficult proposition. If it has any chance at all of being successful, it has to taste good. Animal proteins contain fat, and fat is a flavor conductor. A ground beef substitute that contains pea protein needs something–either fat or salt or both–to make it palatable.

    There was an interesting bit not so long ago on one of the NPR shows about how feeding cows a small amount of seaweed reduced their methane expulsions (which come mostly from burps, not farts) by a massive amount. Small steps everywhere can lead to big gains.

    I’m really sorry you’re dealing with high BP. My issue was high diastolic numbers and can be attributed almost entirely to stress.

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  10. Teve says:

    @Jen: yeah I’m not really worried about the systolic.

    Chalk it up to depression or laziness, I spent most of my life eating highly processed foods. Washed down with cigarettes and vodka. But after a lot of false starts I’ve finally gotten back into a routine of intense workouts, stopped smoking and drinking, and am managing to meal prep 50% of the time. So I”m optimistic.

    The chili oil I made yesterday is going on a dish of diced broccoli and pork for lunch today. 😀

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  11. Teve says:

    I Was Taught From a Young Age to Protect My Dynastic Wealth

    A common ideology underlies the practices of many ultra-wealthy people: The government can’t be trusted with money.

    By Abigail Disney

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/06/abigail-disney-rich-protect-dynastic-wealth-propublica-tax/619212/

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  12. CSK says:

    Those Jan. 6 conspiracy theories just get wilder and wilder:

    http://www.thebulwark.com/the-fbi-did-it-lol/

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  13. Teve says:

    As a proud NCSU alum, I support this message.

    mark
    @kept_simple

    when I was in high school my us history class had a guest speaker who was a history prof at nc state. he told us that the civil war was about slavery. everyone got mad & the teacher told us he was wrong the next day. this is what people are freaking out about when they say “crt”

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  14. Mimai says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Ahem, that would be ‘break with psychosis’. . .

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  15. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    What, you didn’t see @Gustopher’s comment? All the rest of us did. Hmmm. I don’t want to say ‘psychotic break’. . .

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the textbook example of “gaslighting.”

    (Which always sounded to me more like lighting one’s farts. But I digress….)

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  16. George says:

    @Kylopod:

    (Which always sounded to me more like lighting one’s farts. But I digress….)

    As documented in “Fanny and Alexandra”?

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  17. KM says:

    @Teve:
    CRT Rejection seems to stem from the concepts of “don’t blame me” and “don’t dare tell me I’m wrong”.

    What we learned as kids was never perfect and part of becoming an adult is realizing that we give kids incomplete, flawed information for (usually not great) reasons. 1+1=2…. but only under certain conditions of reality like what number system you use. 1 + 1 = 10 in binary after all but telling that to a 4 year old is difficult and likely to not end well so we say “1+1 always equals 2”. An reasonable adult upon learning of this fact shouldn’t get pissy and claim it’s false because that’s not how they learned it. They might not like the concept or fully understand it but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a valid way of looking that world.

    CRT explains that we need to remember 1+1=2 isn’t the only way, just the most prevalent one and can cause problems as people trying to apply it in the wrong places. Try to code without understanding the relevant language and you’re not gonna have a fun time. Breaking the computer because you keep trying to input the wrong thing mindlessly and then telling IT they’re full of sh^t when they point out it’s user error. Nobody likes hearing it’s user error when it’s almost always is – nobody likes IT telling them they don’t understand something as basic as 1+1=2 because they’re “looking at it wrong”. Rather than change their knowledge base and examine why this keeps happening (that’s what the “critical” part of CRT means), they’d rather just curse IT and keep stumbling along.

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  18. Teve says:

    @KM: PEBKAC. Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.

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  19. Kathy says:

    What happens if the senate filibuster is abolished?

    Commonly, such questions are followed by a conclusion, and then by the argument leading to it. I think this exploits the priming heuristic.

    Instead let’s look at incentives, with the current Senate composition.

    Deprived of their ability to merely obstruct or whittle down to the bone all Democratic proposals, the Republicans would find it useful to negotiate as much as they can get away to include in or cut from any given bill. That is, it will pass, so all you can do is assume the brace position and hope the damage, as perceived by the GOP, won’t be too bad.

    The Democrats would have no incentive to negotiate at all. See above: it will pass. The only negotiations would be with the Static Duo of Sinema and Manchin.

    That’s as far as I’ve gotten. The Static Duo have their own incentives, likely distinct. So do several GOP senators if they take into their heads to appear bipartisan.

    You can also invert the parties in the majority and get the same result. In fact, that’s what happened with the skinny ACA repeal in 2017. The GOP failed to consider McCain, Collins, and Murkowski.

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  20. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve:

    The government can’t be trusted with money.

    I’ve often heard people say taxes are bad because it’s better for the economy if they keep their money. They seem to think money taxed away by the government simply disappears and is never seen again.

    Like government contracting, the scandal isn’t their crimes, the scandal is what’s legal.

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  21. CSK says:

    If Trump had a choice between Ivanka and Junior going to the slam, he would have preferred Junior to go, because he could “handle it” better than she could:

    http://www.rawstory.com/michael-cohen-donald-trump-jr-ivanka/

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  22. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Given that you are dealing with high blood pressure, and said you are avoiding salt like Campbell’s Soup, I would think the boatload of salt might be important — boatload compared to regular beef, not whatever they do to a Whopper.

    If saving the planet is worth that salt intake, go for it. Life is about trade offs.

    I just wanted to make sure you knew, because knowing is half the battle. (The other half is brutal violence, but the GI Joe PSAs don’t mention that)

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  23. Gustopher says:

    @Mimai:

    Ahem, that would be ‘break with psychosis’. . .

    Break-first language, to avoid stigmatizing the break?

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  24. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    Or dehumanizing it.

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  25. Mister Bluster says:

    Supreme Court throws out Trump-backed challenge to Obamacare
    The 7-2 decision may serve as the final chapter in the decade-long legal assault on Obamacare, arriving as President Joe Biden seeks to build on the law’s coverage provisions. It’s also the final blow to former President Donald Trump’s pledge to rip up his predecessor’s signature health care law, after his administration had supported the red states who brought the lawsuit.

    Good on the Supreme Court of the United States!

    United States Constitution
    Article III Sec. 1

    The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

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  26. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    What happens if the senate filibuster is abolished?

    What the GOP has control of the Senate, they will have to try to pass all the crazy shit they run on. This will either be a bit uncomfortable but teach people (well, Republican voters) to be careful what they wish for, or become a dystopian nightmare.

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  27. Mimai says:

    @Gustopher:
    @CSK:

    Yes, I am here to give voice to the breaks. When they are recognized at all, they tend to be othered:

    “Dem da breaks”

    I say ENOUGH!

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  28. CSK says:

    @Mimai:
    I believe you mean “otherized.”

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  29. Gustopher says:

    @Mimai: The problem with break-first language is that it places a stronger burden upon the listener to pay attention to the preposition.

    Changing “I’m taking a smoking break” to “I’m taking a break with smoking” has the same meter as the more popular “I’m taking a break from smoking.”

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  30. Mister Bluster says:

    Supreme Court sides with Catholic group that turns away same-sex couples as foster parents
    Held: The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless CSS agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amend- ment. Pp. 4–15.
    Source

    What are these people thinking?

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  31. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: I had one last year just to see what it was like. I don’t have plans to eat Impossible Burgers. I’m making lots of low-sodium stir frys with diced pork and lots of veggies these days. But I like that meat substitutes are becoming, every year, more attractive to carnivores, for environmental impact reasons.

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  32. Teve says:

    @Mister Bluster: That was actually the moderate position. The three dissenters were conservatives who thought the ruling should have gone much further in restricting the government’s ability to make religious organizations abide by secular rules.

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m with my wife baby-sitting her demented mother. Or mother with dementia. But you have to admit, ‘demented mother’ sounds kind of cool.

    It’s like someone pumped her brain full of a mildly caustic chemical that eats away at the weakest parts of memory, the most recent. In fact, the extremely recent seems to be all but gone. I have to re-introduce myself frequently. Daughters become sisters or childhood friends. Various dogs switch names or lose names altogether. (The dogs seem un-concerned.) Later we’re going for a drive in our rented Mustang to search for dead people in Jackson, Michigan. (We’re in Richmond, VA.) We’ll be looking for the mother-in-law’s father who would be at least 110.

    There are sudden descents into cold rage, outward-directed. Nights are full of terrors. But most of the time she seems content. They’re playing with Duplos as I write this. Haldol helps.

    She has become a wee bit racist, yet interestingly she still knows it’s wrong. I’m both less afraid of Alzheimer’s for myself and more afraid of it for my wife. It’s the family that gets the worst of it.

    We’ve mostly handled it in our stand-offish way: we bought them a house big enough for one of the sisters, her husband and near-grown daughter to manage the patient. If you believe Zillow the house has appreciated a little over 33K in the last year, a return of about 10%, so we’ll actually end up turning a profit. Life, in case anyone was in doubt, is not fair.

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  34. Teve says:

    @lubchansky

    I think there should be a database you can punch a username into and it tells you what their fuckin deal is.

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  35. Mu Yixiao says:
  36. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    My late mother had dementia in the last few years of her life. (She died a few months before her 91st birthday.) It was briefly aggravated by a urinary tract infection, during which she forgot who my father was. But she was always capable of carrying on a fairly reasonable conversation until a few weeks before her death.

    It might be worth having your MIL checked for a UTI. They’re not painful in the very old as they are in the younger, so they can go undetected. My best to you and Katherine in dealing with this, even at a remove.

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  37. Mimai says:

    @CSK:

    I stand corrected. Hat tip to the author.

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  38. Mimai says:

    @Gustopher:

    Be kind to your reader. But don’t insult their intelligence. A difficult line to walk sometimes.

    “I’m taking a smoking break to the movies.

    “I’m taking a break with smoking, who always tells the best jokes.

    “I’m taking a break from smoking brisket – I think I’ll try tofu instead.

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  39. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I would never have imagined that playing with Duplos with an elderly relative was a thing. I will have to remember that.

    Your life sounds more than a little bit like some aspects of mine. Best to you, your wife and your MIL.

    And for the record, I quite like Richmond. Never lived there, but visited often.

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  40. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Interesting, and passed along to Katherine. Thanks.

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  41. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    You’re welcome. Here’s more info:

    http://www.agingcare.com/articles/urinary-tract-infection-dementia-in-seniors-155344.htm

    There’s a definite link.

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  42. R. Dave says:

    @CSK: Same thing happened with my grandmother. She lived with may parents for her last 5 years or so, and at one point, her dementia seemed to be getting rapidly worse. Turned out she had developed a UTI, and when that was cleared up, she returned more or less to baseline.

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  43. Kylopod says:

    @R. Dave: A great aunt of mine woke up one day in her 90s and did not remember who she was. She stayed like that for six months, then suddenly snapped back to her regular self–with no memory of the episode. She lived to 102, and apart from those six months her mind seemed fine till the end. The doctors believed it was a stroke.

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  44. CSK says:

    @R. Dave:
    From what I’ve read, this is very common in dementia patients. A friend of mine had the same experience with her much older husband. Fortunately, the antibiotics work fairly quickly and effectively.

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: @Teve: I’m not at skilled as Teve, so the way I do it is to hit reply on the post, cut the link off the comment box and paste it to the new comment box in the new thread. But using a time warp is really cool. I wish I had the technology/skills to do make one.

    I had intended to reply to Gus’ post by noting that meat is the thing with the most naturally occurring sodium that I eat other than some cheeses. But I realized it was yesterday’s link, so I didn’t.

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  46. CSK says:

    Noor bin Laden, Osama’s niece, sailed around Lake Geneva yesterday waving a “Trump Won” banner.

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  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: Maybe. But is a person who is having a break with psychosis having a break from or to psychosis? (See “break with reality,” “break with tradition,” “break with a relationship,” and other similar.)

    [And yes, that is the question that I used to ask my students in the margin notes of their essays.]

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  48. Mimai says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Excellent question. And I commend you for asking it to your students. Well done! I’d love to hear any clever responses you received.

    Also, this.

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  49. Jen says:

    @CSK: So, the bin Laden family are Trump supporters*?

    *I know this was not her objective but this is 100% how this story should be presented.

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  50. flat earth luddite says:

    Signs that no, indeed, we’re still in a handbasket (riding a greased flume) and it’s getting warmer:

    While many of the coronavirus-related emergency measures have been lifted across the country, shopping malls are still struggling despite the increased demand and foot traffic. Washington Prime Group, one of the nation’s largest mall owners, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing the temporary closures and reduction in rent payments from tenants.

    Washington Prime Group owns over 100 shopping malls across the United States but has amassed nearly $1 billion in debt.

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  51. Joe says:

    @CSK and Michael Reynolds:
    It does not even require dementia. This UTI-dementia happened to my dad several times during the last year of his life. The first time I was convinced he had stroke until the assisted living director suggested the UTI cause (which made no sense to me) and was proved right. After that I twice had to insist to a doctor or staff person that they run a UTI test when he was acting suddenly loopy and I was twice proved correct.

    @Jay L Gischer and @Michael Reynolds:

    I would never have imagined that playing with Duplos with an elderly relative was a thing.

    My mother used to tell a story about helping out a the grade school when an elderly woman brought my mom out to the trunk of her car because she had something for the children. She opened it to several boxes full of lovingly completed children’s coloring books that she had generated over the last few years. The woman proudly suggested they would be fun for the children. My mother, of course, accepted the books and thanked the old woman. Mom could never decide whether to laugh or cry at that story and I have always felt the same way.

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  52. CSK says:

    @Joe:
    My friend’s husband didn’t have dementia, either, but the UTI caused him to act as if he did. As I mentioned, it aggravated my mother’s dementia.

    @Jen:
    I was wondering how the MAGAs would react to this nugget, but so far they appear to be studiedly ignoring it.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if they decided that the bin Ladens weren’t so bad after all.

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  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: If gay people had their own religion it would even up the playing field.

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  54. Teve says:

    Teve says:
    Thursday, 17 June 2021 at 11:46
    @Mister Bluster: That was actually the moderate position. The three dissenters were conservatives who thought the ruling should have gone much further in restricting the government’s ability to make religious organizations abide by secular rules.

    i’m at work and can’t sort this out right now but I’m confused–I’ve seen articles saying the decision was 6-3 and ones saying it was unanimous. What’s going on?

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  55. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: There are sudden descents into cold rage, outward-directed.

    My father had Alzheimers and the bursts of rage were like violent thunderstorms. I learned early on that the easiest way to keep him on an even keel was to tell him comfortable lies.

    “Where’s Mother?”
    “She’s at the grocery store, Pop. She’ll be home soon.” (actually in ICU, again)
    “Oh, OK.”
    15 mins later: “Where’s Mother?”
    “She’s at the grocery store, Pop. She’ll be home soon.”
    “Oh, OK.”

    One morning my little sis told him the truth and he exploded: “WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME???!!!???”. It lasted a good 10 minutes, but after the first 30 seconds or so he had no idea why he was so angry. I however, knew exactly why I wanted to throttle little sis.

    A day came when I was suddenly his cousin, Brunch. He was so happy to be talking with Brunch again, I went with it. I was always cousin Brunch after that. He loved talking to Brunch.

    After we put him in a facility, he would beg me to take him back home (so he could be with his mother). If I said I was leaving he would grab a hold of my arm with a deathgrip and tears would be running down his cheeks as he pleaded with me not to leave him there. (it was a very nice place)

    I learned to say, “I’m going to the bathroom, I’ll be right back.” and then I would slip into the elevator and leave. I always felt a little guilty but I could comfort myself with the knowledge that by the time I hit the first floor he had already forgotten I had even been there.

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  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: The ACA decision was unanimous.

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  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Apparently I am confused too. The ACA decision was 7-2. sigh

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  58. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..even up the playing field.

    That and Biden packing the Court with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+* Justices.

    *LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA+

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  59. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    According to Scotusblog, the court decided 9-0 that the city violated free exercise.
    The decison on whether the SC should reevaluate Employment Division vs Smith in this case was yes, 6-3. The dissenters were Thomas, Gorsuch, and Alito.

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  60. flat earth luddite says:

    @gVOR08:

    I’ve often heard people say taxes are bad because it’s better for the economy if they keep their money. They seem to think money taxed away by the government simply disappears and is never seen again.

    This is why, when I want to enrage associated wealthy individuals I interact with, I remind them that the reason the wealthy should gleefully pay their taxes, is that taxation is the ONLY thing preventing them from being piñatas decorating nearby trees and lampposts.

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  61. Gustopher says:

    @flat earth luddite: Do you offer to let them pay their taxes directly to you, and are you currently carrying the equipment to hang them from a nearby tree or lamppost?

    Because, if so, I think that’s called “robbery”.

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  62. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA+

    LGBTQIAMNOTANUMBER+

    (I usually go with LGBTetc, and figure I am either bi or pan, and fit in the B or the etc… I’ve never been clear on the precise distinction between bisexual and pansexual, or the need for precise labels)

    (I feel like as a cisgender man of broad attractions and an interest in politics, I should start identifying as pansexual, in hopes that the right opportunity for a cis-pan/C-SPAN pun arrives — it’s going to be a very niche pun, but excellent)

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  63. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’ve never been clear on the precise distinction between bisexual and pansexual

    Presumably it means that bi means being attracted exclusively to cis men and cis women, while not being attracted to trans men or trans women. But I have my doubts any such “orientation” exists. My impression is that “pan” was just a new way of saying bi while acknowledging more than two genders, and then some people decided to overthink it.

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  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: Seeing as I’m not dating anymore, I don’t really need to know all the details. Just tell me how you want me to refer to you and I’ll try not to screw it up more than once or twice.

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  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was much luckier than you. I was able to manage staying long enough for my dad to get tired and need to take a nap. By that time, though, his overall health was pretty poor. I wish my mom had been willing to just let him go, but she couldn’t and kept calling the paramedics to resuscitate him. Even when he was in a care facility, that was still on his final orders page. Oh well.

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  66. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kylopod:

    Presumably it means that bi means being attracted exclusively to cis men and cis women, while not being attracted to trans men or trans women.

    Close, bi is attracted to men and women (whether cis only or cis and trans), pan is attracted to men/women/non-binary

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  67. Michael Reynolds says:

    So, the MIL used to be a big Doris Day fan. Here’s watching a movie then a TV show with a demented mother-in-law:

    Who’s that woman?
    Doris Day.

    Who’s the mother?
    Doris Day.

    Who’s that blond woman?
    Doris Day.

    I’d say on average once every five minutes. For two hours. So far. I’m doing this for 48 hours, all-in. My sister-in-law lives it day in, day out. I freely admit there are a lot of people better than me.

    On the plus side we can tell my MIL it turned out Rock Hudson was gay, and it’s always fresh gossip.

    Me in 20 years:
    Who’s that?
    Mr. Spock.

    Over and over again. I’m honestly tempted to try it now, just to fuck with my wife.

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  68. Teve says:

    @kevinmkruse

    Me: (explains at length how there’s so much more to MLK’s worldview than the “content of their character” quote)

    A hundred trolls in the replies: MARTIN LUTHER KING SAID HE WANTED US TO JUDGE PEOPLE ON THE CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTER, IDIOT

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  69. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Please don’t. Have a drink. A cigar. Sit on the patio and bask in the late afternoon sun.

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  70. Teve says:

    This story is from tastefullyoffensive.com. I have no verification that it’s true, but given just how petty and stupid “Fred”’s behavior is in the story, I suspect it is in fact true.

    1. Fred’s Framing Story.

    “Quite some time ago, my girlfriend and I (now my wife of more than 15 years) moved in together, and had to set up all the things. Cable, internet, phone, etc. We got our home phone number, our 2 cell phones, and we were off to the races.

    Almost immediately, we start getting calls for an establishment that does custom framing and various other art-related things. Let’s call them “Expo for Art.” Of course, we had caller ID, and we had friends that would call us, but inevitably if we didn’t recognize the number it was someone wanting to find out if their order was complete, or their frame was done, of what their hours were, or any of a thousand other questions.

    “I’m sure anyone else who had had this happen will recognize this exchange.”

    “Sorry, that’s no longer their number, this is a residence.”

    “Yes, I’m sure.”

    “No I’m not giving you my address.”

    “No I don’t know their new number.”

    “Yes I have a phone book, but so do you.”

    Eventually, after a thousand of these, and changing the message on our answering machine to say “This is not, I repeat not, Expo for Art. If you are trying to reach Expo for Art, please hang up, look up their number, and try that, because we aren’t them.”

    Eventually, I got my gazillionth call, and I asked the person on the other end of the line where they keep getting this number.

    “Well it’s printed on my receipt. I guess I’ll just call this other number.” Any chance you can give me that one? Thanks.

    I call it.

    “Hello, Expo for Art.”

    “You guys are still giving out my home phone number on your receipts.”

    “Yeah. So?”

    “Well, fucking stop it. It’s been at least a year since you haven’t had that number. At least cross it out or something.”

    “That’s a pain in the ass, I’m not making my employees do that.”

    “So you’re the manager?”

    “I’m the owner.”

    “So let me see if I have this right. You, what was your name again?”

    Let’s call him Fred.

    “You, Fred have decided that it’s too inconvenient to cross my home phone number off of your receipts, so you’re just going to keep giving it out?”

    “Yup. What are you gonna do? Sue me?”

    “Maybe.”

    “Whatever. I’ve got shit to do. Bye.”

    I called a lawyer. Didn’t really have a leg to stand on.

    I went to the store and asked for Fred. “Fred’s not here. He’s hardly ever here, really. You want me to call him?”

    “No, I’m fine. I know this is going to sound odd, but is there any chance I can see one of your receipts?”

    She picks up a receipt book, and shows it to me. Sure enough, it’s got my phone number at the top, above another one. I say “I thought so. I couldn’t get you at the other number, some guy yelled at me, and I didn’t have my old receipt, so I had to come down here.”

    “We’ve been having that happen a lot. Ever since Fred decided we didn’t need two phone lines. But he had just bought like 20 boxes of these receipt books and business cards, and he’s too cheap to buy more until they run out. I’d hate to be that guy.”

    “Yeah, that’s gotta suck.”

    So I went home and hatched my evil plan.

    Next phone number I didn’t recognize: “Hello, Expo for Art.”

    “Hi, this is Mary Smith, I dropped off a thing last week to be framed. Is it ready?”

    “Let me check. Yup. We finished it this morning. I hope you don’t mind, but we decided to upgrade the matting because of the weight of the piece. It’s the same color, and won’t be charging you for it, since it was my decision.”

    “Oh, thank you. I’ll be down to pick it up later today. What time do you close?” I look down at the business card, with my number and the hours clearly marked 11-4. “Take your time, we’ll be here until 7.”

    “Thank you so much, can you tell me how much that was?”

    “$19.99 ma’am, plus tax so $21.39”

    “Wow that’s cheap. Are you sure?”

    “Of course. If anyone has a problem, tell them you talked to Fred.”

    “OK, see you around 6.”

    “See you then. Thank you for calling Expo for Art.”

    For WEEKS I kept giving out completely random information.

    How much is a 36″x48″ matted frame? Let’s say $24.99. Wow that’s cheap, how much to have it done custom, how they want it? Custom is an extra $10, so $34.99. Wow that’s cheap, I’ll be right down, what was your name? Fred. See you in 10 Fred. How much to have the entire front page of the New York Times from 9/11 mounted and framed? $33.99, unless you want our special, proprietary newspaper frame and mat service, only $49.99 and guaranteed for life, only at Expo for Art, tell them Fred sent you.

    I can only imagine the number of pissed off people who showed up to pick up orders that weren’t ready, and when they finally were, were given a price WAAAAY higher than what Fred had told them over the phone.

    Eventually, someone let slip that “they called the number on the receipt, and that’s what Fred had told them.” Fred was NOT happy.

    “Hello, thank you calling Expo for Art, this is Fred.”

    “YOU’RE NOT FRED, I’M FRED!!! ARE YOU TRYING TO PUT ME OUT OF BUSINESS?!?!?!?!?!‽”

    “Why Fred, whatever do you mean?”

    “Someone has been giving prices to my customers, and telling them their orders are in when they’re not due for weeks.”

    “Well, Fred, who called them?”

    “Nobody called them, they called us.”

    “Then what’s the problem. If someone called you, and got pricing information, that would seem to be your problem.”

    “They didn’t call me, they called you.”

    “Well, how would that happen?”

    “Your number is on my receipts and business cards.”

    “My my. It seems to me there’s a very simple solution here. Take my number off of your receipts and business cards.”

    “Do you have any idea how much promotional materials cost?”

    “Is it MORE than it costs to do these jobs for the prices you’re quoting? Is it more than it costs to lose customers, or less than that?”

    “This is extortion!!!”

    “Call it what you want Fred. The choices, and consequences, are entirely up to you.”

    A week later “Hello, Expo for Art, this is Fred.”

    “I’VE ORDERED NEW RECEIPT BOOKS AND CARDS. CAN YOU PLEASE STOP THIS BULLSHIT!?!?!?!?!”

    “Sure. Bye Fred!” –u/Billiam201

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  71. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: My mother was an ICU nurse.

    Her 4th or 5th stint in ICU in less then 3 months, I asked her, “Ma? Do you wanna go home?”
    “Sure, when I’m better.”
    “What if you don’t get better?”
    She didn’t answer, just got this real thoughtful look on her face.

    The next day when I went in, she said, “I’m ready to go home.”

    I’ll always feel a little guilty, but as my nurse SiL said after Ma’s funeral (when I finally broke down) she’d always depended on me to give her the truth, straight up and blunt. That I hadn’t made the decision, just told her what I saw.

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  72. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: My father and mother had this favorite hole in the wall bar and grill close to their house. They treated him very well long after he he had forgotten all their names, so I took him there as long as he was able to walk and follow directions long enough for me to get the truck afterwards. We always had the same conversation:

    “Wow, this place is big.” (not really)
    “Yep.”
    “How big is it?”
    (pulling some number out of my ass) “3000 sq feet.”
    “Wow.”

    5 mins later: “This place is really big.”
    ….

    I got used to it. To amuse myself, sometimes I changed the numbers up but it didn’t matter. The conversation was set in stone.

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  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I love it. I never would have thought of that. My brain would have stopped at “Fires happen.”

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  74. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Gustopher:
    I thought that was extortion. And no, I’m reformed and rehabilitated. Says so on my paperwork.

    But history tells me that the wealthy usually take it in the neck in revolutions. Of course YMMV

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  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I think that’s called “robbery”

    And here I thought it was “gettin’ mine”, but I guess when you do it with a pen and a stable of lawyers, it’s just “business”.

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  76. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Over and over again. I’m honestly tempted to try it now, just to fuck with my wife.

    Please don’t. I’ve been married for 40 years and am watching my wife’s memory slowly disappear. It’s agonizing.

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  77. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    That’s awful. You feel so helpless.

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  78. Teve says:
  79. Jax says:

    @Teve: I used to think “we need a good plague, to get rid of the stupid people”, but now that we’ve had the plague, it appears we just need the internet to go out. I don’t see how we survive, as a species.

    Opposable thumbs gave us the way out. Our “big brains” will do us in.

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  80. Jax says:

    In case anybody’s wondering how the Trump wing of the SBC is feeling about all this. 😐

    https://founders.org/2021/06/17/the-2021-southern-baptist-convention-what-just-happened/?fbclid=IwAR1RzgJyJYpHomeWxIX_J3WbsbyBBlfWxOFV6yr1hXbjGTZyJdWpYfu5InM

    Shared from my brother’s page.

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  81. Jax says:

    I say….let them pay taxes, since they are so obviously willing to to get involved with politics.

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  82. Scott O says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    “Me in 20 years:
    Who’s that?
    Mr. Spock.”

    Look at the bright side. You’ll be able to experience meeting your wife for the first time again, everyday.

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