Tuesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Mu Yixiao says:

    This came from the left.

    Local and federal law enforcement officials continue to investigate after two Molotov cocktails were thrown into the office of a pro-life group on Madison’s north side over the weekend.

    Original story.

    Two Molotov cocktails, a separate fire, and graffiti that says “If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either”.

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: This is obviously very wrong. As is the thousands of cases of the members of anti-abortion groups vandalizing clinic facilities, including many, many cases of arson, and also including murder of clinic workers.

    The Supremes have thrown gasoline on this fire.

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  3. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mu Yixiao:..This came from the left.

    Please cite your source.

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  4. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    How many vehement pro-choicers do you know on the right?

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mississippi governor refuses to rule out banning contraception

    The Republican governor of Mississippi has refused to rule out attempting to ban some forms of contraception if the supreme court ruling that guarantees the right to abortion should fall.

    “That is not what we’re focused on at this time,” Tate Reeves said.

    There will be plenty of time to reign in the sluts later.

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  6. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Trumplican politicking has gotten REALLY interesting over this past weekend. I saw (on several occasions) an ad for Brian Kemp in which photos of David Perdue, Stacey Abrams, and Anthony Fauci were juxtaposed. I guess Kemp is trying (weakly) to mend his fences with TFG.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nick Cave’s son Jethro has died.

    That is the 2nd of his children to have died. I don’t know how some people keep going.

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  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    Our library announced last week that patrons get free access to the NYTimes, including the food section. That’s $120 in my taxpayer money I’m going to claw back.

    It’s slightly onerous–once a day, one has to click on a dedicated link to verify one’s library membership, and there’s a second dedicated link for the food and games section. But, once verified it works across devices.

    With the exception of an article here or there, for the most part I don’t miss the news part of the NYT. But their food section has really become quite good.

    Oh, and I see now there’s also access for the Wall Street Journal.

    Perhaps others’ local libraries have similar programs.

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  9. Scott says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Just signed on to my library account and, lo and behold, there is a new resource: The NYT, as you described. Must be an offering the NYT just rolled out.

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  10. becca says:

    @Mister Bluster: I lean to false flag operation from the right. Just as likely as not.

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  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Saw that the other day, right after reading a couple of opinions that the legal reasoning set forth in Alito’s draft opinion wouldn’t result in rescinding of other rights that grew out of Griswold.

    Anyone who doesn’t believe that we are entering a period where we will be re-litigating issues like marriage equality, interracial marriage and birth control is naive. At minimum, there are going to legislative battles over these issues and we are already seeing any number of R primary candidates latching on to issues that prior court decisions used the logic of Griswold to be decided.

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  12. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    It was a false flag operation by Benito, Tucker, mad Vlad, and the Proud Boys, using Koch money. Lots of people say that.

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  13. Beth says:

    So, I don’t know how I got so lucky. After diverticulosis, gallbladder surgery and a family history of colon cancer I was told to get a colonoscopy. Alright. I go to schedule last week and they’re like, “ok, no problem, you’re all scheduled for 10 years from now*. We’ll call you if something opens sooner.” Great.

    Last night at 5 I get a frantic call asking if I can come in today at 9. Sure! Run to get the prep stuff and hammer down. The come up on that stuff is kinda fun, but the peak is terrible 0/10, do not recommend. At least on the bright side, I get to spend a morning harassing a doctor and finding out how bad a shape everything is in.

    *I kid! It was only a year and a half.

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  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    Since a couple of you have Woke libraries that provide access to Woke NY Times, here are a couple of articles that you may find are worth your time.

    Dr T has been trying to educate we folk on the role structure plays in our political systems failure, here’s an example.

    How Trump Helped Transform Nebraska Into a Toxic Political Wasteland

    LINCOLN, Neb. — In the old days, Charles W. Herbster, a cattle baron and bull semen tycoon who used his fortune and influence to get into Donald Trump’s good graces, almost certainly would have been forced to pull out of Nebraska’s Republican primary for governor by now. In recent weeks, eight women, including a state senator, have come forward to allege that Mr. Herbster groped them at various Republican events or at beauty pageants at which he was a judge.

    ————————-

    Part of the answer is that Nebraska’s Democrats of a generation ago were never very liberal. They were usually socially moderate, pro-business, pro-military white guys, making them all but indistinguishable from old-line, Chamber of Commerce Republicans from the coasts. Senator Edward Zorinsky aggressively advocated military aid for Nicaragua during the Carter years. Senator Bob Kerrey voted for NAFTA. Senator Ben Nelson cast his vote in favor of Obamacare only after Senator Harry Reid promised him tens of millions in federal funding for Nebraska that came to be known as the Cornhusker Kickback.

    But it wasn’t just the Democrats who were middle of the road. Even our Republican senators were sometimes so moderate that you could barely distinguish them from centrist Democrats. Chuck Hagel, for example, was a two-term Republican senator during Bill Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s presidencies but later was Mr. Obama’s secretary of defense. Likewise, our Republican governors were fiscally and socially conservative, but they generally avoided the culture wars.

    ————————–

    In Nebraska — as in the rest of the country — the polarization seemed to hasten about the time that Mr. Obama won the presidency. To be sure, much of the hardening against the Democratic Party specifically and ideals of tolerance and diversity more generally can be attributed to an unholy stew of angry commentary on Fox News, algorithmic political siloing on Facebook and the subsuming of Nebraska’s independent newspapers and television stations by Lee Enterprises and the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

    But Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, also attributes the extreme partisan vitriol to the Democratic National Committee’s decision to shift its resources away from rural red states like Nebraska, which was in part because Mr. Obama had slashed the committee’s resources.

    “Obama hated the D.N.C.,” Ms. Kleeb told me, “because he feels like they stabbed him in the back” by supporting Hillary Clinton over his upstart campaign in the 2008 presidential primary. Distrustful of the Democratic machine — and the party brand — Mr. Obama turned fund-raising efforts away from the D.N.C. and focused on building “progressive” organizations like Organizing for America, she said. But that created two problems.

    First, now cash-poor, the committee began to spend more selectively. In Nebraska, the monthly allotment went from $25,000 to $2,500. That 90 percent cut in party funding, Ms. Kleeb said, meant that Republican talking points often went unchallenged. “You’re not doing any organizing,” she said, “not because you don’t want to, not because you don’t know how to organize or create good messages, but because you don’t have the money to do it.”

    Second, Democrats were forced to push hard for bipartisan support on key issues, which often further muddled their messaging. Left-leaning state senators in Nebraska, for example, joined with conservative senators to ban the death penalty in 2015. (A subsequent ballot measure restored it.) In 2016 and 2017, the progressive environmentalist and pro-small-farm group Nebraska Communities United fought against the construction of a massive poultry-processing plant on the flood plain of the Lower Platte River by partnering with a local group that was afraid the plant would be staffed by Black Muslim immigrants from Somalia. Ms. Kleeb herself, when she was the director of Bold Nebraska, one of those progressive groups, helped to block the Keystone XL pipeline not by talking about its climate impact but by joining with conservative ranchers who were outraged that the power of eminent domain had been granted to a foreign corporation. The problem with that strategy over time, Ms. Kleeb acknowledges now, is that voters often walked away confused. “They don’t even know where the Democratic Party stands,” she said.

    Without a Democratic counterbalance, Republican primaries now determine most state races in Nebraska, so candidates are pulled further and further to the right in order to appease and appeal to an increasingly radical and angry base.

    Increasingly, I’m coming to the belief that the Obama administration was politically a disaster for the larger Dem project and that his presidency, outside of the one big huge accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act was mediocre.

    Is student loan forgiveness a political loser?

    Democrats Have an Image Problem. Please, Don’t Make It Worse.

    Most people know that not everyone who took out loans is a hardscrabble, working-class striver. And for all the debate about the exact financial profile of people who would get relief, 87 percent of Americans don’t have federal student loans.

    How did Democrats get to a place where a big election-year priority is something that this 87 percent of Americans presumably don’t care about? We might as well campaign on getting Fine Young Cannibals back together or reforming the rules of international cricket.

    ————————

    Are we trying to foment populism? Are we trying to affirm the stereotype that Democrats serve the needs of educated elites and ignore everyone else? I am completely aware that no matter what, Republicans will portray us fancy little Fauntleroys ensconced in our twee nursery of upper-middle-class desires, deaf to the needs of the struggling masses. But it’s very important to me that this caricature not be true.

    As someone who cares about the progressive project, I am begging Democrats to make means testing or a meaningful cap (or both) part of this policy. Focus the relief on low-income strivers and keep the money in the budget for other priorities, including higher education reform, which is the root cause of the loan problem. Retain the hope that maybe, possibly, something that could be called Build Back Better could be resurrected and passed and include something focused on those most in need of help with their student loans.

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  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    And a couple of general interest.

    Q-Anon is rearing its ugly head: As a ‘Seismic Shift’ Fractures Evangelicals, an Arkansas Pastor Leaves Home

    And now about our pals

    They’re All Good Dogs, and It Has Nothing to Do With Their Breed

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  16. becca says:

    @Kathy: Ginni Thomas should be in the mix. Sounds like a plausible tactic Groundswell would employ. Done with little damage or chance of injury… jes’ sayin’.

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  17. Beth says:

    Oh, this is fun. In the waiting room two loudmouths are going on and on. It’s a joyous conversation about how their kids hate them and they don’t know why (and then they list a whole bunch of ways that they were abusive to their kids). Oh, and one married a “prostitute” and the other’s just didn’t accept the beatings.

    Oh, and one is from the suburbs and the other is WI. They are regaling each other with how much Chicago is a terrible freak show. Glorious.

    Please goddess! Bring on the sweet relief of colonoscopy to get away from these two.

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  18. MarkedMan says:

    The subject of the filibuster came up on another thread. FWIW I believe the filibuster is already dead. The ones such as Manchin and Sinema who are publicly hailing its importance as well as the others who are doing so less publicly are only doing so in order to avoid voting on difficult topics. They have no respect for the filibuster itself and would agree to abandon it in a heartbeat if it would benefit their goals.

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  19. Beth says:

    Oh! They got quiet. But only because they are spewing all sorts of racism. First they started with how “terrifying” the areas around Wrigley and Comiskey Parks are “shitholes”. Then they started on “Asian doctors”.

    Oh! And the big reveal! They just outed themselves as Republicans. It’s amazing how deluded these two are.

    “Ohhhh yesssss! The Democrats are developing a disinformation bureau!”

    We are screwed as a country.

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  20. Just nutha says:

    @Mister Bluster: The message is supposed to be that the left is as bad as we are, both sides yada, yada, yada.

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  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @MarkedMan:

    That’s why the filibuster survived TFG’s term, a significant number of establishment R senators did not want to be voting on every cockimany Trump inspired piece of legislation that emanated from the House. Many of those senators have chosen retirement and will likely be replaced by trumpists.

    If R’s capture the senate and the WH, the filibuster is dead, Moscow Mitch’s trial balloon suggesting a nationwide ban on abortion is a leading indicator. He’s using that offer to rile up the base, knowing that this will release an irresistible force. But Moscow doesn’t care about abortion one way or the other, but a broken filibuster will allow him to pass legislation he cares about.

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  22. @MarkedMan: @Sleeping Dog: It has been obvious to me for some time that if the GOP needs it gone, it will go (and that it could be as early as 2025).

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  23. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Agreed, I was somewhat surprised that it survived TFG’s term. If the president during the 2017-2021 term had been an establishment R, it would have been gone.

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  24. CSK says:

    I don’t know why I just recalled this, but my impression of politics may have been formed by a school trip we took to Washington D.C. in eighth grade. We toured the House of Representatives There were a lot more of us there than representatives. One guy was standing at a lectern making a speech. No one of his fellow reps appeared to be listening. One of them was reading a newspaper. Another had his feet on the desk in front of him and appeared to be asleep. The majority of seats were empty.

    Democracy in action.

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  25. Jon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Since a couple of you have Woke libraries that provide access to Woke NY Times, here are a couple of articles that you may find are worth your time.

    You can just use archive.today and paste the article’s URL in the red box at the top; the archived versions it creates bypass paywalls. If the article hasn’t already been archived it’ll do it for you. They even have a Chrome extension (which I have not tried).

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  26. CSK says:

    According to Mark Esper, Trump wanted to pull U.S. troops out of So. Korea because they were ripping us off by selling us Samsung televisions.

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  27. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha:

    The message is supposed to be that the left is as bad as we are, both sides yada, yada, yada.

    No. The message is that things are getting bad and the violence is spreading to places we never saw it before.

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  28. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Yep. In my youth the left was well represented in violent extremism, although even then the right used violence much more often. It’s important to remember that those who love violence for its own sake latch on to organizations that allow them to prosper. The politics of those organizations are immaterial.

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  29. Kathy says:

    Has anyone, in particular those who can stomach wingnut sites, come across discussions or references to human population collapse, or white/American population collapse?

    It may be nothing, or it may be trending, possibly to bolster arguments, such as they are, against abortion, contraception, same sex marriage, and transgender people.

    Of course, seeing we are nearly 8 billion and the population is till increasing, albeit more slowly than it used to, makes the notion of collapse, absent imminent environmental disaster or a nuclear war, quite ludicrous.

    But whites are a smaller share of the population than they used to be, particularly in the US.

    Longer term, if the global population stabilizes and then decreases, which seems to be the current trend, the same thing would happen to economic growth. And if that happens, then how are billionaires supposed to grow up to be trillionaires?

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  30. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    I know the white supremacists aren’t happy about the possibility of Roe being overturned, because more Black and Hispanic women have abortions than do white.

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  31. Kathy says:

    I think I posted a few months ago about dreaming I was trying to stop my calf from cramping, only to be awoken by a cramp there.

    Well, last night the same kind of dream happened, only it was a cramp in my thigh, which hurts a lot more. I’m not sure I woke up, but I recall trying to kind of twist my thigh inward, and the cramps just stopped.

    On the one hand that memory is vivid and I felt awake. On the other hand, I’ve never been able to stop a cramp in my thigh.

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  32. Rick DeMent says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I lived in Atlanta in the 90’s. I’ll see your two Molotov cocktails and raise you half a dozen abortion clinics bombed, a few gay bars, and an Olympic park.

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  33. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Another aspect of declining economic growth is that among the better off sections of richer countries, we have already hit the limits of “old fashioned” material production growth.
    A family may want one car, two cars, three, even four.
    But they are never going to want ten.
    Same with a lot of both durable and consumable goods.

    Of course, there’s a lot of unsatisfied demand, among the less well off.
    Including just for basic provision; not to mention health care.

    But expanding the benefits of an advanced industrial-informational economy to those currently excluded may be rather difficult within the existing income allocation mode, especially given the slowing upper incomes consumption.

    Political embarrassments may arise re. those doing (or at least thinking they are doing) well out of current reward patterns.
    Not to mention the surliness of some ethnic or cultural groups over the possible necessity of policies that seem to them to benefit other groups, even if they are beneficiaries as well.

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  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    What we have learned so far on this trip.

    1) If you need an emergency passport you can’t beat the Honolulu passport office. Government bureaucrats? Maybe, but cheerful, efficient, helpful and fast.

    2) The Halekulani Hotel is beautiful. We had a balcony with a full-on Diamond Head view, and tons of little house finches showed up to clean any croissant crumbs. Their bathrooms could use a re-imagining as the showers are cramped. Excellent service, but their top-line restaurant, Le Mer, is not as good as it thinks it is.

    3) Qatar airline’s Business Class Q-suites on an A-350, are a bit better than their British Airways, American Airlines or Virgin counterparts and on-par with Emirates. The food is pretty good but just pretty good, the service is excellent, and the on-board entertainment options the best I’ve ever seen.

    4) There is in-airport security screening right after you disembark. Weird, but very thorough, very quick what with no one being here.

    5) Doha airport is gorgeous and as empty as a Trump rally in West Hollywood. It reminds me of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, if LHR only handled 5% of its current traffic.

    6) The Business lounge is the size of a football field, no exaggeration. The lounge food on offer sucks balls – a roast beef sandwich that was just awful and lettuce that was born limp – but again the service is top notch and there’s a coffee machine every five feet. They have two set-aside areas where you can grab a leather reclining couch in a cubicle, prop your laptop on your belly and write comments on OTB. The only drawback being grim overhead lighting.

    Thanks to the panicky last-minute re-jiggering of plans we have an 18 hour layover. Hoping to grab an in-airport hotel room if any clear up, otherwise it’s gonna be a long night, and then a long morning, and then a short afternoon before we move on to Istanbul, the real start of this trip.

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  35. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I don’t know. It took me under 90 minutes to get my latest passport, including travel time to and from the passport office at the mall. I guess it’s a third-world kind of thing.

    As to the Q-suites, are these the ones with the double bed on the center seats?

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  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: So far, so good.

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  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JohnSF:

    Another aspect of declining economic growth is that among the better off sections of richer countries, we have already hit the limits of “old fashioned” material production growth.

    I was feeling around the edges of this a few years ago when I realized I didn’t want anything. We are not rich by LA standards – maybe a bit by Arkansas standards – but we have the cars we want, the house we want, the ‘puters and phones and whatnot, I drink the booze I want and smoke the finest green*. I am all out of things to lust after.

    I posited on another blog that this might mean economic trouble down the line. And I said I suspected that while there is no doubt great demand in the 90%, a lot of that is shifting as well to non-economic rewards. We are in a world where 1000 Instagram followers may be more rewarding to people than a cool car.

    Naturally I was ridiculed with much bwah hah hawing by people much better informed.

    *Everlast, What It’s Like.

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  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    Yeah, the two center seats can be made (sort of) into one full-size bed. And you don’t lose the view because the massive screen offers views from three external cameras. Also super plush blankets and high end White Company pajamas.

    Oh, and far and away the greatest airplane bathrooms – I’m 6’2″ and I can actually stand up.

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  39. Sleeping Dog says:

    The QAnon Queen Told Followers They Didn’t Need to Pay Bills. It Didn’t End Well.

    Followers of a QAnon influencer who’s convinced some Canadians she’s the true Queen of Canada are saying their utilities are being cut off because they were told by their sovereign that they no longer had to pay bills.

    ———————

    “Dear (Queen Romana), when will the service companies stop shutting off our services for nonpayment?” one follower asked Didulo recently. “I just had my water supply shut off today in Stratford, Ontario.”

    ———————-

    Didulo has issued several “royal decrees” on her Telegram page, some regarding utility bills. The critical ones are “Decree 24,” claiming that electricity is now free in Canada; “Decree 15,” which abolishes income tax; and “Decree 23,” which makes water bills illegal. Another decree, number 79, reverts the price of rent, housing, and propane back to 1955 levels. Other decrees issued by Didulo are that critical race theory is illegal in Canada (this was her very first decree, in fact) and that the age of consent was changed to 24—which sparked an outcry from her followers.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

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  40. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Followers of a QAnon influencer who’s convinced some Canadians she’s the true Queen of Canada..

    I’m sure there’s someone in Buckingham who is not amused.

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  41. mattbernius says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Glad to hear the lounge is comfortable.

    My airport experiences in that region have been decidedly mixed. That said, I might be overly sour on them due to it involving my worst experience ever in an airport (there was a mess-up with my paperwork and I wasn’t allowed past customs at Istambul for hours. This was after a night flight from Riyad where the AC was broken and they did not serve alcohol out of respect for the Kingdom. The flight got into Istambul at 2 am and the Customs help window didn’t open until around 8 am.

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  42. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Thanks.

    BTW, for your next long layover, I think Emirates first class “lounge*” at its hub has a cigar lounge.

    * As I understand, it’s the entire upper floor of the terminal gate area.

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  43. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Didulo

    Never follow the advice of anyone whose name is a poor anagram of “u dildo”

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  44. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    Has anyone, in particular those who can stomach wingnut sites, come across discussions or references to human population collapse, or white/American population collapse?

    At the end of David Tenant’s run on Doctor Who, the Master unleashed his grand plan that overwrites the genetics of humans with his own, thus creating … (dramatic pause) … The Master Race!

    I like to think that he started with the pun and worked backwards, as otherwise it’s a pretty dumb plan.

    I think white supremacists genetically engineering the population to make everyone Scandinavian would be a really interesting sci fi plot, along with the inevitable careful checks of lineage, etc.

    This could either be a terrifying dystopian story, OR… it could be marketed to white supremacists as a utopia.

    The whiteness could be caused by a genetically engineered coronavirus, and those brown people are trying to get everyone to wear masks. Tap into the whole antivax pro-Covid crowd.

    There’s a market there. An awful market made up of awful people, but a market.

    ——
    Aside: Did the great painter John Mallard William Turner leave behind any diaries? They would be public domain, so it would be entirely possible to start listing his diaries on Amazon as The Turner Diaries and just take in bits of money from confused neo Nazis.

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  45. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    it could be marketed to white supremacists as a utopia.

    I think this was attempted. It was called Oregon.

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  46. Mister Bluster says:


    ‘This is censorship’: Florida high school’s yearbook on hold over photos protesting so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law

    The next time there is a rainbow over the Florida sky Governor DeUseless is going to have the weatherman arrested.

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  47. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    What? You can’t take the rainbow out with a nuke?

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  48. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Late comment, but I’d note that if I were an agent provocator working to inflame my people to stay the course, this is what I’d do. Fortunately, I’m not, but this is a “valid” tool often used in the past.

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  49. Jax says:

    There’s a huge amount of irony in the baby formula shortage, while forcing women to have babies, ALSO while encouraging everyone to get back to work. (mad emoji)

    Democrats need to hit this hard.

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