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. Mu Yixiao says:

    Grand total of 3 hours of very interrupted sleep on a lumpy bed that vibrates in cycles. Managed to unplug the monitor twice (oops!). Contacts are dry and sticky. Can’t have breakfast. Can’t even have water.

    When I get home m writing a 1-star review on trip advisor. 😛

    4
  2. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Any diagnosis yet?

    3
  3. Mu Yixiao says:

    @CSK:

    No. Just woke up and had pills and shots and blood draws. The important doctors get to sleep in.

    1
  4. MarkedMan says:

    From a different thread yesterday where I asked Eddie for his definition of a cult:

    @EddieInCA:

    To me it means a group of people who refuse to believe objective reality in pursuit of a completely wrong and/or illogical goal defined by the group.

    I think this is a pretty useful definition, and more discriminating than the dictionary definition I shared yesterday. And I see how it describes all the examples you gave, from KKK’ers to anti-vaxxers. The one exception: trumpers. What do you think their shared delusion is, and their shared goal?

    2
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: What do you think their shared delusion is

    That trump is on their side.

    3
  6. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That makes perfect sense.

    So now I ask Steven: does your definition of cult differ, and therefore you don’t think Trumpers qualify?

    1
  7. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @MarkedMan:

    I think I may have cited this before, but in any case, this piece is interesting:

    http://www.reason.com/2021/05/16/cult-country/

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Astronomers discover mysterious pulsing object that may be new class of star

    Astronomers have discovered a mysterious object emitting a radio wave beam that pulsed every 20 minutes.

    The team behind the discovery believe the object could be a new class of slowly rotating neutron star with an ultra-powerful magnetic field. The repeating signals were detected during the first three months of 2018, but then disappeared, suggesting they were linked to a dramatic, one-off event, such as a starquake.
    ………………………..
    “It’s definitely not aliens,” said Hurley-Walker. The team briefly considered this possibility, but ruled it out after determining that the signal – one of the brightest radio sources in the sky – was detectable across a broad spectrum of frequencies, meaning that an immense amount of energy would have been required to produce it.

    The object, believed to be about 4,000 light years away in the plane of the Milky Way, also matches a predicted astronomical object called an “ultra-long period magnetar”, a class of neutron star with the most powerful magnetic field of any known object in the universe.

    “It’s a type of slowly spinning neutron star that has been predicted to exist, theoretically,” said Hurley-Walker. “But nobody expected to directly detect one like this because we didn’t expect them to be so bright.”

    Pretty cool, but as with all new discoveries, it raises more questions than it answers.

    Fast-spinning neutron stars are detectable as pulsars that flash on and off within milliseconds or seconds. Over time, the neutron star would lose energy and slow down. “But as they slow down you’d expect them to fade away,” said Prof Andrew Norton, an astrophysicist at Open University. “Once they drop below a theoretical calculation known as the death line, you shouldn’t be able to see them.”

    Astronomers are perplexed as to why the newly found object – if it is a magnetar – was still emitting enough energy to be detectable when it was observed between January and March 2018. “Somehow it’s converting magnetic energy to radio waves much more effectively than anything we’ve seen before,” said Hurley-Walker.

    Another question is why the signal then vanished. One possibility is that the signals are linked to a transient event such as a starquake, in which the neutron star’s incredibly dense crust undergoes a sudden adjustment releasing a large blast of energy into space and, potentially, repeated pulses of radio waves after the event.

    2
  9. Scott says:

    Sometimes you just stumble onto something that you just want to share.

    Yesterday, I stumbled onto a documentary on Netflix called “Bathtubs over Broadway”. It came out in 2018. It is about a staff writer, Steve Young, for Dave Letterman who had an hobby/obsession with collecting albums of Industrial musicals of the 50s/60s/70s. These are full blown private musicals funded by American corporations for sales conferences and trade shows.

    The documentary is so charming, good-natured, and just made me smile throughout the whole thing. Interviews with talented people (composers, singers, dancers) some of whom actually “made” it were great. Even met up with aging album obsessives like a punk rocker named Don Bolles and Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys. A really nice piece of escapism to watch when preparing dinner or when you just can’t stand to watch one more news or reality show. I recommend it.

    BTW, the title refers to an over the top show put on by American Standard.

    5
  10. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Scott:

    I heard about those musicals on QI. They just had a few quick examples, but it looked hilariously fascinating. I may have to give that a watch.

  11. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Oxford Languages provides three definitions of a cult. The third is “a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or a thing.”

    That would certainly, to me, define the Trump Fan Club, for whom he can do no–or very little–wrong.

    3
  12. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg (who once served as an expert witness on behalf of a religious group that asked not to be called a cult, and who maintained that the term is subjective and prejudicial) said that the pejorative meaning of the term first arose around the mid-20th century, though it had previously been used to suggest extreme devotion to a particular person or thing, like the Wordsworth cult.

    1
  13. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I quoted that definition yesterday, but it’s not really useful. As an example, I admire Barack Obama. A large section of the population would call that “misplaced or excessive”. By that definition they are justified in putting me in the “cult” category, because the measurement is subjective.

    Eddie’s definition is concrete.

    To me it means a group of people who refuse to believe objective reality in pursuit of a completely wrong and/or illogical goal defined by the group

    And Ozark’s reason for why the trumpers are cultists by Eddie’s standard is also solid:

    That trump is on their side.

  14. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I don’t disagree with either of those definitions. At all. But certainly Trump’s ardent followers do have an excessive and misplaced admiration for him as well.

    I know it requires a strong stomach, but you should check out some of the sites where the MAGAs gather.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Oh, I’m well aware and agree. This discussion came up because, on another thread, the cult/not-a-cult discussion reared up again and I claimed that the debate existed only because people were using different definitions for “cult”. Eddie disagreed and said words to the effect, “everyone knows what I mean when I say cult”.

    1
  16. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I think Dean Taylor adheres to a more strict definition of what a cult is than the rest of us do, in that it’s a purely religious phenomenon.

    But in many important ways, that’s a distinction without a difference. As Ann Coulter famously titled her book, In Trump We Trust.

    She substituted Trump for God.

    3
  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    BTW, sorry I bailed out on that thread after starting the trouble – had a producer call me and ask if I could please write a movie treatment off a two word concept in like four days. And I’ve never written a treatment before, so I thought I should probably pay attention to work.

    3
  18. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Writing a treatment is hard, and not hard. The hard part is figuring out what’s going to grab their interest and attention.

    1
  19. Mu Yixiao says:

    I think I have now seen more doctors in the past 20 hours than I have in the last 20 years.

    Next up: Echo cardiogram followed by arterial catheterization.

    After that? No clue. Possibly stents, possibly meds.

    2
  20. Kathy says:

    Tot he cult discussion, the refusal to “believe objective reality in pursuit of a completely wrong and/or illogical goal defined by the group,” is pretty much all there is in common among Benito’s base.

    The election was stolen, COVID is just the flu, lockdowns don’t work, vaccines are poison (even when El Cheeto endorses them), there is some kind of deep state secretly controlling the government, etc. etc. all for the goal of perpetuating the rule of an incompetent grifter.

    2
  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: To clarify, I want to say I’m not sure they are a cult, as it’s a very amorphous term that means different things to different people and so am cautious about using it. As an atheist, at some level, I think all religions are cults. Jesus rose up from the dead 3 days after he was crucified? And then ascended into heaven? That’s delusional, dead is dead.

    I still say they are collectively deluded that trump is on their side, when the reality is the only side he’s on is his own. By Eddie’s definition that makes them a cult. I’m just undecided on how correct he is.

    2
  22. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    Tot he cult discussion, the refusal to “believe objective reality in pursuit of a completely wrong and/or illogical goal defined by the group,” is pretty much all there is in common among Benito’s base.

    The problem is, that pretty much sums up American conservatism over the past 50 some years. Global warming is a myth, cigarettes don’t cause cancer, tax cuts pay for themselves, Obama wasn’t born in the US, John Kerry faked his war record, the Clintons offed Vince Foster, the system’s full of welfare queens….

    3
  23. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    The thing about that particular delusion is that it’s so painfully obvious to any rational being that Trump is only on his own side, and doesn’t give the proverbial rat’s ass about them.

    2
  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I think I have now seen more doctors in the past 20 hours

    And they all ask you the same damned questions, don’t they? When I was in ICU for blood clots I got so damned tired of repeating myself I finally asked one poor Doc why they didn’t just talk to each other and let me sleep. It kinda startled her and she didn’t know how to answer.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Yep, and that is why I just can’t have a rational discussion with them.

  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’m trying to imagine what a two word concept would be. “Jedi Animorph”? “Gone Musical”? “BZRK RomCom”?

    2
  27. My Yixiao says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’ve thought about just recording my answers. 😀

    I love that my primary nurse (a lovely young lady in several ways) said “if you hear about something new, let me know. The doctors don’t always tell us.”

    Procedures start at noon CST.

    1
  28. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    An acquaintance of mine was once asked to write a treatment involving “rich, two dogs.”

    1
  29. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’m not sure they are a cult, as it’s a very amorphous term that means different things to different people and so am cautious about using it.

    This is what I was driving at. Long, long threads were written over whether Trumpers should be categorized as cult members. Those threads became acrimonious, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth. But at no point did I get the impression that anyone disagreed about the core behaviors and beliefs of the trumpers. At the core it was based on a disagreement about what the definition of the word “cult”, and no one could see that.

    I still haven’t seen Steven’s definition, but I suspect it will either be different than those above or he will just say that “cult” is such a loaded term that bringing it into the conversation is the equivalent of bringing Nazi analogies in.

    1
  30. Mu Yixiao says:

    Going in now. See you later!

    3
  31. CSK says:

    Eastern New Hampshire, eastern Mass., and all of Rhode Island are supposed to see some major league blizzard action this weekend, starting Friday night. Twelve to 18 inches of snow nearer the coast. High winds.

    Jen and Sleeping Dog, I hope you’re all stocked up with essentials such as booze, coffee, toilet paper, and batteries.

    1
  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Actually it’s not kid’s and it’s not even my original idea. Just helping a friend out. He thinks he’s sold the idea to one of the Bigs and now we need an actual story and characters and all that fun stuff. It’s a bit like, ‘I came up with the idea of faster than light travel, now fill in the technical details.’

    @CSK:
    Might not be hard for you, but I’m famously allergic to advance planning. All my writing is ‘improv.’

    2
  33. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I was asked to provide a treatment based on one of my books, so the advance planning was already done. On the other hand, I’ve never been able to outline a book from beginning to end. Too confining. As I say, the hard part about treatments is trying to anticipate what’s going to grab the people who read them.

    I know three screenwriters. When I asked each of them on different occasions them how they were treated, they had the exact same response: They made a motion of balling up a piece of paper and tossing it aside.

    1
  34. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    Hampster is pretty good about plowing the streets. Tomorrow I’ll fill the spare gas cans for the gennie to go along with the ~ 10 gal. in the motorcycles in case the power goes out.

    I’m just hoping that this isn’t the start of a pattern like 2015(?) where we got 20″ a week beginning in January till March.

    Of course it may also drift offshore and be much ado about nothing.

    1
  35. Jen says:

    @CSK: Booze, check; coffee, check; TP, check; batteries–plenty, but the auto-on whole-house generator makes the need for batteries less likely. Although I probably should check the propane levels.

    That said, they seem to be changing the forecast every half hour. I saw one forecast that said 8-12″, another that said around 6″, and yet another that predicted 1-2 feet of snow.

    [Shrugs.]

    I have reading material, all good.

    1
  36. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I remember that year, and yes it was 2015, because we moved that year and when we looked at the house we’re in now in April, there was still snow on the ground.

    That snow was crazy. There wasn’t anywhere to put it after a while. We had so much at our old house that my husband was able to walk up the pile onto the garage roof in order to shovel the snow off of that–no roof rake needed.

    2
  37. Jay L Gischer says:

    I generally don’t like to describe groups as a cult. I have a few reasons for this.

    A friend of my, right after college graduation, joined a group I was inclined at the time, after attending a few meetings with him, to describe as a cult. I backed away, he leaned in. The group, known as The Local Church, was described in a book describing it and other groups called The Mind Benders, by Jack Sparks claiming they used brainwashing techniques similar to those used by the North Koreans and the NVA. It described them as a cult. The authors of this book lost a defamation suit brought by The Local Church. (I still own the book, though).

    Activities and groups I’ve been a part of have been described as a “cult” by outsiders. My dojo has been described as a “cult”. It is a word that appears to be deployed, and received very loosely these days.

    AND (well, I’m self-conscious about that now), I recently saw a lecture on You Tube by historian Bart Ehrman where he takes some time to describe the main features of Jewish Apocalypticism c. BCE 30 The are:

    1. Dualism: The world is held by great powers such as Death and God. Evil is a power. The struggle works itself out via the physical world – this is why we have earthquakes and hurricanes and plagues(!). There are also powers for Good, and for God, but nobody is neutral.

    2. Pessimism: No person is strong enough to counteract the Evil powers on their own or collectively. They just can’t do it. Things will always get worse and worse. There will be more floods, more disease, more crimes. People are powerless in the face of this. (Improving the welfare state is pointless, you can’t fight Evil that way)

    3. Vindication: However, the Good forces – God – will vindicate themselves and those who are on the side of Good (and have suffered for it!) In many forms, it was said that vindication would come in the form of a person imbued with great powers. The dead would rise again and face judgement.

    4. Imminence: All this will happen soon. How much worse could things get, after all?

    I saw the lecture this is contained in over Christmas and this portion made my hair stand on end precisely because it maps so well on to beliefs about Trump and also Q. There’s something about the worldview above that many find very attractive – probably the idea of vindication.

    But I hesitate to call the above the views of a cult. It lacks some of the features of a Jonestown. These ideas have been around a long time and are quite widespread, and I understand a cult to be a smaller, fringe group.

    I have no such hesitation in describing some worldviews as “apocalyptic” though. I knew people in the time of my youth that had apocalyptic world views.

    2
  38. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    But at no point did I get the impression that anyone disagreed about the core behaviors and beliefs of the trumpers. At the core it was based on a disagreement about what the definition of the word “cult”, and no one could see that.

    Exactly. We can seem to be arguing endlessly about a thing when we’re really arguing, as here, about definitions. The originator of American Pragmatism, Charles Peirce, offered a way around this,

    Consider what effects, which might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our concept to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object

    This became known as the “pragmatic maxim’. Why do we care about cults? They make people believe, and as a result do, irrational things. We argue about how to classify people thinking it will give us insight into what they’ll do. But we already know what MAGAts, and Republicans, will do because we’ve been watching what they’ve done. Would deciding they’re a cult or not add anything to our understanding?

    2
  39. Jay L Gischer says:

    Interesting followup on The Local Church. Apparently they brought a different libel suit against Harvest House in 2001 over a different book, but they lost this one.

  40. Jay L Gischer says:

    And here is a news account of the case I was thinking of.

    I am cautious in describing a group as a “cult”.

  41. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:
    @Jen:

    Just looked at the weather channel and they are now at 8-13, Saturday into Sunday. Go east winter storm go east!

    1
  42. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Weather.gov has less than one inch for Friday night, 6-10 for Saturday, and 2-4 for Saturday night. Who knows?

  43. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: Most professions spend a great deal of time on rigorously defining terminology for exactly these reasons. The definition of a Class A amplifier or a Real Time Operating System, for examples, is very specific so there can be no doubt as to what is meant.

    On the other hand, for both of those two examples technology has advanced to the point that the reasons why it was so important whether your stereo was Class A or not, or whether Linux could be used in a real time system, have become less compelling. The crucial points of debate has shifted. Which, I suspect, implies something about the limits of even the best definitions.

    1
  44. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    had a producer call me and ask if I could please write a movie treatment off a two word concept in like four days.

    I desperately want to know what the two word concept is. If it’s “basketball dog” that’s been done, but “mob porcupine” might still be fresh.

    If the two words are “dryer lint” you may be in trouble. Good luck.

    3
  45. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Have fun! I hope you get actionable answers that are completely mild.

    1
  46. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Hope it all works out.

    1
  47. Grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: hmmm. What would be the best two-word description to receive? The best I came up with is “quantum beanstalk”.

  48. Sleeping Dog says:
  49. Sleeping Dog says:

    Well that was weird and no editing function today.

  50. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: Are evangelicals the only cohort in America that has been acquainted with the definitions of “cult” provided by sociology and, I believe, anthropology? I wouldn’t have thought so but am beginning to wonder.

    Not that I care, I’m just tired of the argument. Call whoever you want a cult. Twist the definition in whatever manner you prefer. Hate whomever you will. Lord knows evangelicals have been doing it for decades and we’re all working from a single definition.

    My experience is that my enemies almost never GAF about what I think of them. Some of them are even proud to be held in derision by me. I know that’s how I approach the issue.

    2
  51. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: Still, the most important feature is that you’re really only interacting meaningfully with people with whom you already agree. You’re signaling your membership in a clique. If that’s important to you, keep on keepin’ on.

    1
  52. just nutha says:

    @Mu Yixiao: You must have really good insurance. The last time I had the type of episode you’re describing–about 25 or so years ago, Kaiser’s ER staff sent me home as soon as they determined that I wasn’t a candidate for bypass surgery. I asked them what happened and they said, “we don’t know and aren’t going to spend additional time trying to figure it out.”

    1
  53. Kathy says:

    @Grumpy realist:

    Reticulating splines.

    Cutting blaines

    Capricorn Two

    Soylent Chartreuse

    Counting deplorables

    Casting vote

    3
  54. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Scott: The Girlfriend and I just saw that documentary ourselves. I was never a huge broadway fan, but found it interesting nonetheless. I also appreciated the small appearances by Jello Biafra.

  55. just nutha says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Yeah, I knew some people who joined The Local Church. Disconcerting, I think would be fair.

  56. just nutha says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I’m also familiar with The Spiritual Counterfeits Project. As I recall, their definition of cult was pretty much “anybody who isn’t us” including some mainline religious groups. They’d fit right into this conversation.

  57. MarkedMan says:

    @just nutha:

    Still, the most important feature is that you’re really only interacting meaningfully with people with whom you already agree.

    Not sure what you are getting at here. I don’t only interact with people who agree with me, far from it. Nor do I label many people as being in a cult. However, I DO try to avoid having debates with people who, well, are not open to debates but nevertheless willing to argue. If someone’s mind is made up and nothing is going to change that, I’m not interested in merely restating my positions. I also try to avoid getting into debates with people who are intellectually dishonest, for example people who engage only the weakest arguments against their position and try to sweep the strong arguments under the table. These people are only interested in appearing to win an argument and have no interest in better understanding.

    Of course, that’s in my personal life. In my professional life I have to make sure we are on the best path and have to get input from all kinds of people and take their views as advisement and sometimes convince them of a certain position. But that’s what I do for work, and even though I’m fine with it as part of the job, I don’t want to bring that into my down time.

    1
  58. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Most professions spend a great deal of time on rigorously defining terminology for exactly these reasons.

    Indeed. And for your two examples WIKI says:

    – In a class-A amplifier, 100% of the input signal is used (conduction angle Θ = 360°). The active element remains conducting all of the time.
    – A real-time operating system (RTOS) is an operating system (OS) for real-time applications that processes data and events that have critically defined time constraints.

    Both are defined in terms on their “effects” having “practical bearing”, per the pragmatic maxim. The actual technical specifications would, I expect, be longer and more specific, but still focused on outputs, i.e. effects. Any disagreement as to whether a circuit was a Class A Amp, or whether an operating system is real time would be decided by testing whether outputs met spec. Very pragmatic, in both the small p and capital P senses. (I suppose one could create edge cases, but would anyone except for rhetorical purposes?)

    1
  59. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    2. Pessimism: No person is strong enough to counteract the Evil powers on their own or collectively. They just can’t do it. Things will always get worse and worse. There will be more floods, more disease, more crimes. People are powerless in the face of this. (Improving the welfare state is pointless, you can’t fight Evil that way)

    I just want to point to Umberto Ecco’s “Ur-Fascism” essay here, as this feeds very directly into the “the world existed in some perfected state in the past that has been corrupted by modernity and which can only be regained by purging the people who created that corruption from society” worldview that is core to proto-fascism. That is, not everyone with this worldview eventually becomes a fascist, but its a necessary precondition to it.

    2
  60. Stormy Dragon says:

    @gVOR08:

    A real-time operating system (RTOS) is an operating system (OS) for real-time applications that processes data and events that have critically defined time constraints.

    Particularly there’s a known worst case for how long a request can take. The OS is suddenly going to intermittently decide to garbage collect memory for 30 seconds before responding, which isn’t a problem for a word processor, but would be catastrophic for an airplane’s flight controls.

  61. Mu Yixiao says:

    Just came to of “surgery”. Test was negative. No heart found. 😀

    Three problem areas. Stent in one with 95% block. Two more at 50% to treat with meds and watch. Feeling better already.

    7
  62. Mu Yixiao says:

    @just nutha:

    You must have really good insurance

    Very good. We self insure. ETC takes very good care of their people.

    And UW hospital is a highly rated teaching hospital. One of the top in the nation.

    1
  63. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Glad to hear it! Cardiac definitely falls into the “ounce of catching it early is worth about a ton of trying to repair damage after a major event” category.

    2
  64. Richard Gardner says:

    The policing for money scandal in Brookdale AL is getting worse. They were “patrolling” social media and threatening folks who said anything bad about them. Intimidation, and an obvious racketeering case. https://www.al.com/news/2022/01/brookside-police-patrolled-social-media-threatening-towns-critics.html

    1
  65. Mister Bluster says:
  66. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Good news.

    1
  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Long, long threads were written over whether Trumpers should be categorized as cult members. Those threads became acrimonious, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    Yeah, I saw (some of) them and checked out. It’s not a winnable argument.

  68. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: Switch from “you” personal to “you” generic if you wish. My point is that individuals droning on about cults and demanding clarification from others seems mostly about marking metaphysical territory and identifying members off one’s clique. If you feel slighted by my response to your comment, my apologies. Reading your comment triggered that observation is all.

  69. just nutha says:

    @Mu Yixiao: You don’t have a heart? That doesn’t seem like it would be a positive development, but if it’s good news, WOO HOO!

  70. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: A doctor once told me mine was in the wrong place.

  71. MarkedMan says:

    @just nutha: No offense taken. FWIW, my interest is in how many arguments actually turn out to be based on different definitions of words. I don’t really have a dog in this fight about “cult”.

    1
  72. Kathy says:

    You know, it doesn’t take much for people to believe in what they’re told rather than the evidence.

    At work we use a government acquisitions portal, where we upload proposals and government agencies upload documents with requirements and results.

    Often the boss or a manager gets a call from an agency letting them know a request for proposals has been published (I check the portal every day anyway). this can mean it’s up, or it can mean they told their assistant to publish it.

    In any case I’m told to check, and about, of, 78% of the time there’s nothing. I tell them this, and they reply “But they said it’s up!”

    “I believe they said that,” I answer. “But the system shows nothing.”

    “But they said it’s up!”

    “I know. Look at the screen. See? It’s not there.”

    “But they said it’s up!”

    An hour ro two later they’ll tell me “they say it will be another hour before it’s up.”

    I do often reply, “I’m sorry. I thought they said it’s up.”

    “In about an hour.”

    “But they said it’s up!”

    3
  73. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    No heart, no heart disease 🙂

    Did they let you eat yet?

  74. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Thanks to The Bulwark’s email this morning, my usual giggling has gone to full-blown maniacal cackling…

    In Pennsylvania, David McCormick- who is the husband of Trump official Dena Powell and was the CEO, until this month, of the world’s largest hedge fund has decided to run for Senate, starting with a race against Dr. Oz for the Republican nomination

    Seriously, this has got to be true, because fiction has to make sense. But I’m giggling about watching PA’s GOPers try to pick a “winner” from these two numbskulls.

    1
  75. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    Did they let you eat yet?

    If you can call it that. The linguine with shrimp scampi was noodles and steamed shrimp with a drop of olive oil. Not a single spice.

    I ordered meatloaf for dinner. We’ll see how it goes.

    1
  76. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Ugh, and hopes for a speedy release.

    My memory of hospital food during cancer days was that the nausea meant I wasn’t expected to actually EAT the food they brought me.

    Seriously, hope everything goes well and that you’re released back to the wild soon.

    1
  77. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I found the food at the hospital earlier this year nicely edible. That is, I’d eat at a restaurant that served something like that if no known better choices were available.

    Meat loaf is hard to eff up. So you either should have a decent dinner, or be impressed with the magnitude of the skill it took to screw it up. Win-win 😉

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  78. Jax says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: I laughed pretty hard at that, too, I really enjoy Tim Miller’s writing, you can tell it’s sprinkled with unsaid WTF’s, aside from the actual WTF’s he writes out. That’s how I feel every time I go to town and have to deal with people. 😛

    1
  79. Kathy says:

    Booster shots become available for my age group in my municipality tomorrow, starting at 9 am (I’ll get there when I get there*) until Sunday.

    I wonder if limiting the time opportunity to get a vaccine drives uptake up, as regards procrastinators and others who just don’t find the perfect time to swing by the local drugstore to get one.

    Anyway, the notice says I get AstraZeneca, which I’ve said a number of times I’m fine with. I haven’t found much data about AZ as a booster following two of Pfizer, but all vaccines do provoke immune response.

    Oh, and again it will be at Anahuac University, which is both very close to my apartment and on my way to work. Best of all, you don’t even need to get out of your car for the shot.

    *I’m kind of expecting lower turnout for boosters. I hope to be disappointed.

  80. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    I’ve read that the Astra-Zeneca booster provides a stronger immune response to the Covid variants.

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  81. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    The problem with heterologous vaccination, is you need to try all possible permutations. there are many, many COVID vaccines. In Mexico there are 7 in use by my count. I doubt there are studies or follow up for all possible combinations.

    I wonder what comes after the booster. Some countries are trying or offering a 4th dose. Pfizer and BioNTech are trying an Omicron shot. The US Army is supposed to be developing the ultimate polyvalent vaccine.

    Whatever it is, I’ll take it.

    BTW, when it looked like the government was dragging its feet on boosters, I’d planned the second or third week of February for traveling either to San Antonio or San Diego for a booster. So I’m saved one trip.

  82. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao: 95% is impressive! Also, many hospitals have really good milk shakes.