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. wr says:

    If you’re jonesing for a new science fiction TV show and you can’t stand the thought of waiting a month for the Benioff-Weiss eight-episode adaptation of The Three Body Problem, the Chinese 30-episode version is now streaming on Peacock.

    I gather that they have significantly toned down the parts of the book dealing with the Cultural Revolution, and from the one episode I’ve seen they seem to have the same issues with subtitle translation that dog my own HBOAsia show — Dream Raider, streaming on Max — but it’s beautifully made and well-acted.

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    @wr: Liu has walked a very fine line as science fiction is suspect to a lot of the CCP leadership. He makes it a minor plot point that democracy is just a temporary phase, which should earn him some points, but the Party position on the Cultural Revolution has shifted substantially since he wrote the book, and he is now in dangerous territory there. “Safe” writers set their books, TV shows and films well in the past, and are careful to always make it clear that even despotic rule is better than chaos.

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  3. Jen says:

    Special elections, which typically have much lower turnout, can be dramatically affected by externalities…like the weather. New York is supposed to get hammered with snow today, which will make the special election to fill George Santos’s seat interesting.

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  4. Scott says:

    The Billionaire Bully Who Wants to Turn Texas Into a Christian Theocracy

    You may not think about Tim Dunn. Indeed, unless you’re a close observer of Texas politics, it’s likely you haven’t heard of him. But Dunn thinks a lot about you.

    For two decades he has been quietly, methodically, and patiently building a political machine that has pushed Texas forcefully to the right, sending more and more members of the centrist wing of the Republican Party into exile. A 68-year-old oil billionaire, Dunn seeks to transform Texas into something resembling a theocracy. If you ever wonder why state laws and policies are more radical than most Texans would prefer, the answer has a lot to do with Dunn and his checkbook. If you question why Texas’s elected officials no longer represent the majority of Texans’ views, the reason can be traced to the tactics employed by Dunn and the many organizations and politicians he funds and influences. He has built his own caucus within the Legislature that is financially beholden to him. And despite his Sunday school pleas for comity, Dunn has deepened Texas’s political divisions: there are the Democrats and what remains of the mainstream conservative Republican Party. And then there are Dunn and his allies.

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Most idiotic headline ever written: For just a second, Travis Kelce cracked under pressure of a new world of fame

    I figure the article is every bit the shallow nonsense as the headline.

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  6. Scott says:

    This morning I called my Senators and Representative about Trump’s NATO remarks asking them to denounce him and those remarks. Not that they listen one bit to their constituents but at least I got to vent.

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  7. Kathy says:

    Mad Vlad has been paying attention.

    The headline says a lot: Russia puts Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, on wanted list

    For what? Well, “destroying monuments to Soviet soldiers.”

    That’s a transparent pretext, but it plays to the GQP’s phobias.

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  8. Joe says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I made the mistake of starting to read this article. It’s quicling got even dumber than the headline.

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  9. Modulo Myself says:

    If you’re looking for a new SF-ish read, I’d recommend Vladimir Sorokin’s Blue Lard, which was just translated and put out by NYRB. Takes place in a future where famous Russian authors are cloned and put to work writing. The product of the writing is not the texts but the blue lard which grows on them and is used to power nuclear reactors. Somehow there’s a time travel aspect, with a long-haired Hitler and Stalin involved. Not there yet. Stylistically, there’s a bit of a Clockwork Orange thing going on, with a mixture of Chinese and Russian slang being used.

    Sorokin has had some other work translated. I’ve read Telluria and the Ice Trilogy, both of which I highly recommend.

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  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: but it plays to the GQP’s phobias.

    Phobias of what? All the “suckers and losers” in the military voting against trump?

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  11. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Of the removal of monuments to southern traitors.

    Maybe phobia is not the right technical term. Neuroses, psychopathologies, paranoia?

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  12. CSK says:

    We were supposed to have a major league snow storm starting at one a.m. today, but so far…nothing here in northeastern Mass.

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  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Joe: Thank you for making the sacrifice of reading it just to confirm my instincts. It’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it and lord knows it ain’t gonna be me. 😉

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Hmmm… I didn’t think of that. It’s kind of illogical to be so sensitive about Southern suckers and losers when they throw today’s suckers and losers under the bus at every opportunity. I guess trump still has some work to do.

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  15. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: My family in the Philly area got dumped on

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  16. Modulo Myself says:

    @CSK:

    Snowing here in New York but it’s not very heavy. Got up early to try to get through some work in order to clear up the afternoon for post-storm surfing.

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  17. Scott says:

    Patient brought 2 spider monkeys to Wilford Hall for emotional support. It didn’t go well.

    Few people look twice these days at veterans accompanied by service dogs who help their humans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Not so with spider monkeys.

    When a female patient brought two of the small, wiry monkeys to an appointment last Wednesday at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, a military clinic on the West Side, staffers looked twice.

    And then they asked her to leave.

    “The animals were under blankets and not immediately visible, but once staff became aware, they politely informed the patient that emotional support animals, to include monkeys, are not permitted in a military medical facility.

    Adult spider monkeys weigh just 13.2 lbs. on average and are 14-26 inches in height. A spider monkey that can keep its chattering and fidgeting to a minimum might be able to avoid detection. But a medical office is probably stressful for primates.

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  18. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    New York is supposed to get hammered with snow today, which will make the special election to fill George Santos’s seat interesting.

    When I was discussing this the other day, my off-the-shelf reaction was that it would help Republicans, who usually benefit from reduced turnout. But then it was pointed out to me that the Dems have been overwhelmingly winning the early vote, meaning the election-day vote should be expected to be disproportionately Republican, so that the snowstorm may hurt Republicans more than Democrats. We’ll see.

    This is an electoral reality that has really only existed since 2020.

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  19. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    Maybe phobia is not the right technical term. Neuroses, psychopathologies, paranoia?

    The use of the -phobia suffix to denote categories of bigotry goes back more than a century–Anglophobia, Francophobia, Negrophobia, Judeophobia, all of which long predate more recent coinages like homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia. These may not be clinically correct, but nobody’s come up with a better way of coining terms for specific prejudices.

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  20. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan: @Modulo Myself:

    The forecast here went from 13″ yesterday to “a coating” this morning. The whole storm system seems to have swung south.

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  21. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Yeah, we weren’t supposed to get anything in Baltimore and then that changed to, essentially, “A lot of rain, then sleet, which might turn to snow and if it does, 2 inches”. So far it has oscillated between sleet and rain with nothing sticking, but northern MD is getting some.

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  22. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    Phobias tend to consist of disgust and panic. This is not exactly fear, but it’s related.

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  23. CSK says:

    Donald Trump wants his daughter-in-law Lara to be the next chair, or co-chair, of the RNC.

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  24. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    Phobias tend to consist of disgust and panic. This is not exactly fear, but it’s related.

    I think that’s the sense in which the suffix began being applied to bigotry, and I do think it also can be applied to the topics you bring up. Elimination of confederate monuments plays directly into fears, most notably fear of the loss of an exalted past where blacks knew their place.

    Of course politicians exploit these fears their own cynical reasons (because they know they work).

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  25. MarkedMan says:

    I really enjoy the WaPo’s Department of Data pieces, and there’s an intriguing one out today (no subscription needed). It seems that Whites are significantly more likely than other races to experience hearing loss, and Republican Whites more than Dems or Independents. Is part of the reason gun ownership?

    Americans who have fired 1,000 rounds or more face three times the rate of hearing loss as those who have never fired a weapon, according to an analysis of 2011 and 2012 observations from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It’s a bit lower once you adjust for age and other factors — probably closer to 1.8 times the rate. .

    What’s the evidence. Well, when you look at non-age related hearing loss distribution and compare it to gun ownership, it maps very well. Of course, there is no map of gun ownership, but suicide by gun data is available, and given that gun owners are so very much more likely to successfully kill themselves, it’s a good approximation of gun ownership.

    When we compare a state’s rate of firearm suicide and the rate at which its working-age residents (ages 35 to 64) lose their hearing, we see the strongest relationship of any variable we considered.

    The correlation of the maps is pretty impressive. As expected it doesn’t explain everything, since the highest firearm suicide rates (i.e. trump states) are roughly 3 times the lowest (solidly blue states), while the hearing loss rate is not quite twice as much, and given how many other loud activities there are, not surprising. But there definitely is a high correlation.

    I’d be very curious as to the reason for such a big difference between whites and non-whites. It can’t be all guns, can it?

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  26. gVOR10 says:

    Odd bit of trivia in WAPO today that turns out to have a partisan twist. Somebody made a county by county map of hearing loss. Turns out Republicans have higher rates of hearing loss. Why? Complicated, but a major factor is firearms use. People who have fired over a thousand rounds are three times as likely to have hearing loss. It’s bad enough shooters have become aware of it and are becoming more likely to wear hearing protection. It would also explain their interest in attenuators. (Republican logic: They’re not silencers you ignorant hippy nump. Silencers are bad, so they’re attenuators.)

    The article doesn’t mention it, but commenters bring up military service. Where hearing loss from small arms fire may be a minor concern compared to the concussive effect of artillery fire.

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  27. Kylopod says:

    A recent example of cynical fear-mongering on the right shows the connection between bigotry and the more traditional clinical phobias: Charlie Kirk’s attack on black pilots.

    Fear of flying in an airplane is one of the commonest phobias. It’s in itself highly irrational given that commercial planes are by far the safest mode of transportation in existence. Kirk’s claim that he doesn’t trust the qualifications of a black pilot makes no goddamn sense to anyone who bothers to think about it for longer than a millisecond, but thinking straight is not what people tend to do when consumed by panic.

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  28. Kathy says:

    I’ve been wondering these past few days whether NATO has a secondary purpose, or a consequence of its primary one. Namely that it keeps intra-European conflicts down, especially among the major powers.

    This is not to say other European institutions don’t add to this. But it’s hard to get into a fight with a country that has pledged to fight for you if you’re attacked, and that you’ve reciprocated that pledge.

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  29. gVOR10 says:

    @Scott:

    If you question why Texas’s elected officials no longer represent the majority of Texans’ views, the reason can be traced to the tactics employed by Dunn and the many organizations and politicians he funds and influences.

    So Texas is representative of the country as a whole with Chuckles Koch and his band of Merry Millionaires, stealing from the poor to give to the rich. Texas is just a bit further down the path.

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  30. gVOR10 says:

    @Kathy: Intentional or not, NATO is part of building a European and North Atlantic community. Community building being a concept completely alien to Trump.

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  31. Kathy says:

    @gVOR10:

    One begins to understand why when offered a vaccine to protect against a deadly disease, Republiqans want to know “What’s in it for me?”

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  32. Jen says:

    @Kylopod: My guess is also that it would help Democrats, who, according to the NYT, have a significant lead in early voting totals. We’ll see!

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  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Joe: I dunno, it read like a pretty typical “human interest story” to me. I got no axes to grind on any of this nonsense, though.

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  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: No, I lost my hearing the old-fashioned way–working in an environment with constant high-decibel/percussive noise. The (few) times I went shooting with Luddite, we usually wore ear protection.

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  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR10: NOT FAIR!!!! Carrying on the traditions of his father, Trump has worked long and hard at making sure that the apartment houses he owns remain WHITE communities! What better sort of community building is there for conservatives?

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  36. Beth says:

    Re: Snow

    It’s starting to really freak me out that Chicago has been virtually snow free this winter. We’ve had, what, 2 snow storms and virtually no accumulation. Plus we hit 60 for a couple of days in a row last week.

    I keep telling my kids this is the coldest winter they will experience in their lives. I hate it.

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  37. Kathy says:

    The problem in making lunch for the whole week, is some things aren’t as good when refrigerated, and then reheated in a microwave.

    Specifically I’m thinking of air fried chicken. The skin comes off brown and crispy. Once refrigerated and reheated, it turns soft (bust still brown). They taste ok, but the texture isn’t there.

    I wonder if reheating would be better in an air fryer…

    Yes, I’m going air fryer crazy. I realize that. It’s so damn easy to use and even clean.

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  38. Kylopod says:

    @Jen: Pilip’s entire strategy seems to be to distance herself from MAGA and make an appeal to Democratic voters in the district. A registered Democrat herself, despite winning a seat in the legislature as a Republican, she’s avoided saying who she voted for in 2020 (shades of Alison Grimes) and she’s described herself as pro-life but said she wouldn’t back a national abortion ban.

    Honestly, the party’s choice to nominate her in the first place seems in a lot of ways like an attempt to exploit the elements of identity politics that Santos faked. Santos falsely claimed to be both black and Jewish; now they found a candidate who is actually both black and Jewish. Her being in the IDF is clearly an attempt to go for the pro-Israel vote in the wake of the Gaza situation.

    Will it work? I’ve noticed over the years that there is a contingent of older Jewish Democrats who have been eyeing the pro-Palestinian wing of the party warily for a long time, and most of them are outraged by coverage of the aftermath of Oct. 7, in particular the claim by portions of the party that Israel is currently engaged in a genocide against Gaza’s populace.

    I keep remembering back to the 2011 special election to replace Anthony Weiner following his resignation, when a Republican unexpectedly won in the normally very blue district. There were various explanations for the upset: the Weiner scandal itself, as well as a rather inept campaign by the Democratic nominee (David Weprin). But one factor was that Ed Koch made robocalls endorsing the Republican. He didn’t explicitly criticize Weprin (himself an Orthodox Jew), he simply stated they should vote Republican to send a message to Obama for being insufficiently pro-Israel.

    The results of tonight’s election should give us a sense how well this type of strategy works today.

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  39. senyordave says:

    If you haven’t read about Lindsay Graham yelling at a PRINTOUT of a tweet from the PM of Poland, Donald Tusk, here is part of it:
    “To the Prime Minister of Poland: I could care less what you think. To the Prime Minister of Poland: if Ronald Reagan were alive today, we wouldn’t have this broken border. To the Prime Minister of Poland: I want to help Ukraine. I want to help make a stronger NATO. But my country is on fire. We’ve had 7 million people come across a broken border. How would you feel if 7 million people came in illegally into Poland? Would you have this attitude? We’ve got to put Ukraine ahead of Poland? I am not going to put Ukraine, Israel, or anybody else ahead of America.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham, literally yelling at a printout of a tweet from Poland’s prime minister.
    I’m not sure there is a more disgusting national politician in the US right now than Lindsay Graham. What the fuck is wrong with him? It’s bad enough he sold his soul to Trump, but he is now slipping into lunatic territory. This is the sort of rant I would expect from MTG or Boebert. And to think he was once respected.

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  40. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod: I have always hated the -phobia for bigotry naming trend.

    I’m afraid of spiders, but I have no interest in restricting their rights to get married, live long happy spider lives and whatever. Same with various minority groups that I’ve barely been exposed to. Or cancer patients. Or the disabled. If I were a better person I wouldn’t feel that discomfort, but if I were a worse person I would act on it.

    I’m queer. I don’t care if someone is a little uncomfortable with that, I care whether they allow that discomfort and fear to affect their actions and beliefs.

    The -phobia naming puts no difference between a normal person who is mostly fine, but has a bit of growth to do and the bigots. And it’s good to have that distinction, and not be telling 99% of the population that they are bigots.

    Bigots are to be shunned. The afraid and uncomfortable are to be comforted, and prodded along in the right direction.

    These may not be clinically correct, but nobody’s come up with a better way of coining terms for specific prejudices.

    We have some pretty good words for specific bigotries — “racist” and “misogynist” leap to mind, and “antisemite” is a decent word. “White Supremacist” and “male chauvinist” have their place.

    But, as is often the case, the Germans have better words.

    “Judenhass” is a perfect summation of —well— Jew Hate. It’s an ugly word that describes ugly actions of ugly people. It’s a word that was so ugly that the word “antisemite” was created and/or popularized as a more scientific sounding and acceptable way to hate Jews, as hating Jews was a popular pastime in Germany.

    That would be my proposal. Either in German, or translated simply as Hatred of Jews/Blacks/Disabled/Transfolks/etc. or Jew Hate and Jew Hater, although that brings to mind the Little Rascals “He-Man Woman Hater’s Club.” Some weird multilingual middle ground could be found, like “Islamohass.”

    ——
    The fine folks who grow Hass Avocados would prefer not to use the “-hass” suffix, but they can rebrand if needed. Rudolph Hass had an unfortunate name. Rudolph Baker probably had a baker somewhere in his line on his father’s side, but Rudolph Hass just had a notable bigot.

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  41. Jen says:

    @senyordave:

    I could care less what you think.

    Side issue, I know, but this is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine. It’s “I *couldn’t* care less what [one] thinks,” not “could care less.”

    For example, I couldn’t care less what Sen. Graham has to say on this issue, having completely sold his soul years ago.

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  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: It’s because only pansy assed snowflakes wear ear muffs on the shooting range.

    @gVOR10: I think you and MM are doing a mind meld today. Best stay sober.

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  43. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: I don’t necessarily disagree with anything you said, but I should clarify that–and anyone who’s familiar with my comments on language over the years probably knows this already–I’m deeply anti-prescriptivist. Whenever I see trends in language, I just try to observe what’s going on, and if I evaluate it at all, it’s mostly on grounds of utility. I tend to believe that attempts to stop linguistic trends we don’t like–justifiably or not–are rarely successful, so it’s usually best to try to make peace with them.

    When I said no one’s come up with something better than the -phobia suffix to denote specific bigotries, I didn’t mean there aren’t conceivable alternatives. I just don’t think any of them have the same capacity to catch on. In German, compound words come a lot more naturally to speakers than in English, which is why Judenhass isn’t as clunky as “Jew-hatred” sounds in English.

    It isn’t even obvious why we always need a word denoting bigotry against a specific group. Besides the obscure Negrophobia there’s no common word in English for bigotry against black people. We got through the entire civil rights era using the more generic racism. Of course we can always clarify what we mean in specific contexts by saying “anti-black racism” or “anti-Asian racism,” but it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily and doesn’t have the same impact as a word like anti-Semitism or homophobia in conveying that the specific bigotry is a phenomenon in itself, as opposed to merely a flavor of something broader.

    The anti-Xism form has potential, I admit, though I’ve heard objections on the grounds that it’s too neutral–the phobia suffix at least makes it clear that you’re talking about something undesirable. Nevertheless, I see it used on occasion today, like the term anti-Arabism which is clearly modeled on anti-Semitism but doesn’t employ the common and misleading talking point of categorizing bigotry against Arabs as a form of anti-Semitism on the grounds that Arabs are Semites, an argument that–like it or not–is something people say mostly as a way of deflecting from the issue of anti-Semitism in the Arab world.

    The -phobia suffix for bigotry may be flawed, but it remains the most useful way of coining such terms in a quick and efficient way, based on the linguistic tools available to us at present.

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  44. EddieInCA says:

    The Lincoln Project is going hard after The Donald – on immigration reform.

    The Lincoln Project just released this devastating ad

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  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: This is not to say other European institutions don’t add to this.

    Obviously the EU common market, which is why I have long felt that a shooting war between China and the US is not gonna happen, certainly not now, maybe not ever. We do too much trade with each other. A shooting war would destroy both our economies.

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  46. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Kathy: One cynical formulation of NATO’s rationale was, “NATO was formed to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” It seems to have done a good job at carrying out that mission.

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  47. Matt says:

    @Scott: Yeah but there’s no income tax so like freeedumb and shti bro!!!

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  48. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Is part of the reason gun ownership?

    I would have guessed military service. Same causal mechanism, different reason.

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  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: The idea that Kelce can’t handle the pressure that comes with dating the most popular woman in the world during a football game is ludicrous on it’s face. Who knows how many high stakes games he’s played in and the pressure is what he thrives on. I’ll bet he didn’t think of her more than once or twice during the game if even that.

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  50. matt says:

    @MarkedMan: It’s much more likely that the real driver of the hearing issue is standard conservative machismo. “I don’t need hearing protection for (activity) because I’m not a pussy!!”. Meanwhile those “pussy liberals” are protecting their ears when string trimming, mowing, hammering, grinding etcetc..

    Probably see something similar in lung related injuries/damage. Since respirators tend to be viewed the same way.

    @DrDaveT: That too. Not much you can do to lessen the damage to hearing via nearby explosions.

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  51. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    I’m deeply anti-prescriptivist. Whenever I see trends in language, I just try to observe what’s going on, and if I evaluate it at all, it’s mostly on grounds of utility.

    Allow me to recommend to you the works of Michigan linguist and English professor (and dean) Ann Curzan. She has published extensively on the effects of prescriptivism on language change, and gives fantastic seminars at the Smithsonian every now and then that (gently) poke the prescriptivists and grammar nazis in the eye. Repeatedly.

    One of her favorite observations is (paraphrased) “It doesn’t matter how much you hate they way young people are using the language; they are going to win.”

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  52. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I literally gave up on prescriptivism when I realized using the word “literally” to mean its exact opposite was so entrenched, that when I used the word “figuratively,” I was met with blank stares.

    I tried briefly to distinguish asymptomatic from presymptomatic during the trump pandemic, because that’s a specialized use, and the distinction was important. I had no measurable success.

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  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: “It doesn’t matter how much you hate they way young people are using the language; they are going to win.”

    Agreed, the future belongs to them.

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  54. Modulo Myself says:

    @Kathy:

    But it’s clear that people mean to extend the power of the figurative element of the metaphor by using ‘literally’. I’m not confused if someone says, “If I ate another bite I would literally explode.” It’s a heightening of the figurative element of exploding.

    On the other hand, using the word ‘nonplussed’ is a crapshoot. Does it mean, per definition, surprised? Or does it mean unimpressed, which is how it seems to be used by professional writers more and more?

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  55. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Okay, but “can’t handle the pressure of…” wasn’t a feature of the article to my notice. White privilege might have been, but my reaction to WP is to realize that I can’t fix that* and move on.

    *And, yes, this IS very white on my part.

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  56. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: @Modulo Myself: When people apply the word literally to figurative expressions, I still don’t think the word is being used as a synonym for “figuratively.” I think what’s going on is that people are treating it as an intensifier, not that far from the word really. So when someone says “I literally exploded,” I think what this is meant to signal is, basically, “I had a really, really strong reaction.”

    I also think it comes from there being a lot of dead metaphors that people stop noticing are metaphors. It’s related to why people use mixed metaphors.

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  57. Kylopod says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Allow me to recommend to you the works of Michigan linguist and English professor (and dean) Ann Curzan.

    Thanks.

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  58. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Recently Mexico passed China as the biggest exporter to the US.

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    I’ve heard that one before. Does anyone worry about Germany being hostile any more? I mean, besides Mad Vlad.

    Beyond that, European history reads a lot like early Roman history. A mix of foreign wars, coups, power struggles, rebellions, and in the latter eras colonization and colonial wars. That seems unimaginable now.

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  59. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    The thing is there are literally thousands of other words one could choose as an intensifier, none of which mean the opposite of what is being said.

    Not that it’s the only misused word, by a long shot. One that amuses me is “decimated.” Literally, it means to kill 10% of a legion or squad. Less literally it means to kill or destroy one tenth of something. The way it’s used, it means something just short of complete annihilation.

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  60. Matt says:

    @Kathy: I have the same issue with people using decimated in that manner. IT’s like bro it even has DECI in it for frack’s sake..

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  61. steve says:

    Kathy- We use the air fryer to reheat lots of fried stuff. Sometimes it works well sometimes not but always better than microwave. On the local cooking front wife wanted Hot and sour soup but didnt want to go out. I had never made it before so gave it a try. Wife and son are Asian food fanatics so we happened to have both lily buds and wood ears around so tossed some of those in, daughter insisted, and came out very well. Had never cooked lily buds but youtube came through. Red beans and rice today for Mardi Gras along with cornbread. I love cornbread.

    Steve

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  62. JKB says:

    Even back before Joe Biden entered politics, the government was always the blame for higher food prices

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  63. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: I’m firmly in the “language is whatever it becomes” camp, but I mourn the loss of truly useful words. “Literally” is truly useful, but now it’s gone and there is no equivalent substitute. There isn’t even a phase that can substitute. Another is “semi-monthly” and “bi-monthly” (substitute weekly and yearly as desired). It is really useful in a business context to describe a meeting that is held twice a month, and also useful to describe one that is held every other month, and in the past we had words for that. But now if you look those up in the dictionary you will find they both have both meanings. The only way to describe it now is to say “every other month” or “twice a month”. Not the end of the world, but annoying.

    And finally, the complete mish mosh that is “next Thursday”. To some people it means the next day that is a Thursday, 2 days from now, and to more it means what used to be called “Thursday’s week”, meaning one week from the Thursday that is about to happen. And what about “this coming”? Quick, if it’s Sunday, what does “this coming Friday” mean? What if it’s Saturday? Thursday?

    So I never mourn or rail against changes in language, but I do mourn the loss of concise ways to say what you mean.

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  64. Kathy says:

    @steve:

    I plan to try it at home. If it works, I may get a cheap air fryer for the office. I’m thinking a combo air fryer/toaster oven, as that would be useful to more of the people here.

    I gather hot & sour soup is whatever soup one calls hot and sour soup. I’ve made various iterations of it, with plain brown mushrooms. Also corn starch slurry for viscosity, and egg ribbons just because I can.

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  65. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Agreed. It’s not that I object to language changing (that would be dumb and futile, and PR people love to make up words 😀 ). I have a problem when words become less precise.

    I about died when “irregardless” was deemed acceptable. It’s a double negative! The prefix “ir” means not, and “regardless” means having no regard; heedless. So…”irregardless” means…exactly what? Not having no regard? Not being heedless?

    Same with “dethaw.” I hear this one fairly regularly. “De” as a prefix means reverse, or opposite. “Thaw” is to melt. So “dethaw” means…to freeze something? That’s not how it’s being used!

    Le sigh.

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  66. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    The thing is there are literally thousands of other words one could choose as an intensifier, none of which mean the opposite of what is being said.

    But literally does the job better than any of those other words precisely because of its, well, literal meaning.

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  67. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    “Literally” is truly useful, but now it’s gone and there is no equivalent substitute.

    It isn’t gone. It coexists with the looser meaning.

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  68. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jen:

    “de-” means “below” or “down from” (e.g. “descend” means “to move down from” and “depend” means “to hang down from”), although this still leaves a question of in what sense is a room temperature object lower than a frozen one.

    @Kathy:

    The real irony is that “literally” originally meant “as written” and the word that meant “non-metaphorically” was “really”. So “literally” already shifted meaning once because of people using “really” as an intensifier, and now is shifting again in a repeat of the exact same process that befell “really”.

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  69. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I think the best answer to that is: yeah, no 🙂

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Even so, the original “literally” is close to “really” or at least somewhat related. Besides, the earlier meaning can be substituted by “textually.”

    But in the first place, we’re used to word meanings as we find them, and get upset when they change to something else.

    @Jen:

    Do you want me to get you started on “inflammable”?

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  70. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    I just discovered that flammable and inflammable DO mean different things.

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  71. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    I think some people got “irrespective” confused with “regardless.”

    Then there are people who say “infer” when they mean “imply.”

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  72. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Recently Mexico passed China as the biggest exporter to the US.

    Yes, and as far as I’m concerned, that is a good thing (having spent so much time there, I like Mexico) But China as #3 still means neither of us can afford a shooting war.

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  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB: And??? You’re saying??? That people are stupid???

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  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JKB: Yup, conservatives have blamed government for rising food prices since before I was born. It’s a fairly big leap from conservatives blaming government to government actually being responsible though.

    ETA: In a shocking development, romaine lettuce from California is selling for less than local romaine was selling for last summer. Proof positive that our inflation worries are over, and eggs will drop to 19 cents a dozen in mere days.

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  75. Michael Reynolds says:

    I know, I know, it’s Thomas Friedman, but despite that, this may be the first actual, could be done in the real world, way to move the ball on Gaza:

    M.B.S., if you want to defeat both Netanyahu and Hamas, you have to pick up where your uncle Abdullah left off. You need to declare that you are ready to go to Jerusalem, to first pray in Al Aqsa Mosque and then speak to the Israeli people from the podium of the Knesset in order to tell them directly: If you embark on a pathway of two states for two people, Saudi Arabia will normalize relations with Israel and recognize West Jerusalem as its capital — as long as Israel recognizes Arab East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. You can also pledge that Saudi Arabia will support the rebuilding of Gaza.

    A Sadat moment. Nixon to China. Sweep all the pieces from the board, and go KSA to Knesset. Interesting. I have no idea what the rules are on foreign potentates in the Knesset, but in theory at least, it works. Offer peace not to Netanyahu but to the Israeli people. Offer a demilitarized Palestinian state in WB and Gaza. Put up the money. Cut Netanyahu out of the game and throw American weight behind hit. Price in the reality that Hamas will do its best to undermine it, as will the settlers. Arab militaries with UN watching go into Gaza to protect people from Hamas and support rebuilding. Maybe the EU throws a few Euros at turning the PA into a government. If MBS actually had the balls to do it, and he could reach the actual people of Israel, long shot, sure, but not stupid. I can’t think of anyone else who could get the Israelis to believe. And Bibi would hate it.

    Is it a good or stupid thing to have any hope for the ME?

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  76. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Really? Both Webster’s and Oxford list them as synonyms.

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    We’ll have to see how long and far the trend for nearshoring goes, and what it does.

    That said, the best argument for not having China and the US throw a war, is the nukes and ICBMs on both sides.

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  77. Jen says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I know what “de” means…yes, down, but also “a prefix signifying separation, cessation, intensification, or contraction” and “a prefix occurring in loanwords from Latin (decide); also used to indicate privation, removal, and separation (dehumidify), negation ( demerit; derange), descent ( degrade; deduce), reversal (detract), or intensity (decompound).” So, I don’t think you were correcting me, but “down”–while accurate–is also too narrow for the broad use of the prefix. My point stands, “dethaw” makes no sense.

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  78. gVOR10 says:

    @Scott: I finally had time to read all the way through that Texas Monthly piece you linked to. It is really scary, and quite detailed. As I commented above, this is a state level example of what GOPs are trying to do on a national level. This guy, Dunn, is hard core holy roller, as are many national funders and pols (cough*Johnson*cough), but there are also a lot of just money people.

    There’s a great deal of detail in the piece because a volunteer activist, one Chris Tackett, who put huge effort into examining financial reports and making massive spreadsheets of who’s buying who. I’m aware of Open Secrets, but I don’t know of anyone at the national level who does this in the depth that this guy does in Texas. NYT is one of the few organizations with the resources, but apparently not the inclination.

    This is what Chuckles Koch and his buddies have spent decades preparing for at the national level. Jane Mayer says in Dark Money that back in 1980 when David Koch ran for veep on the Libertarian ticket they realized their politics couldn’t succeed at the ballot box, so they set out to just buy what they want. They’ve spent the intervening decades, largely through the Federalist Society, creating the conditions in which money, particularly dark money, can buy their preferred policies. The Koch gang aren’t religious, but if theocracy works, they’re OK with it. Or with Trump. Whatever gets them the power to gut regulation and cut their own taxes. The only reason they, and the whack job in TX, haven’t succeeded is the utter repugnance of their policy preferences.

    Scott’s link is well worth a read for detail on what these people want and how they operate.

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  79. Mister Bluster says:

    CNN calls NY Dist. 3 election for Democrat Suozzi.

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  80. Jen says:

    @gVOR10:

    The Koch gang aren’t religious, but if theocracy works, they’re OK with it. Or with Trump.

    They were okay with Trump until they figured out he was serious about all that protectionist/anti free trade stuff he talks about. They are now the driving force behind Nikki Haley’s flailing campaign.

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  81. gVOR10 says:

    @Jen: Yup, and when Haley sinks the Kochtopus will reluctantly back Trump, as in 2016 and 2020. In 2016 they even succeeded in infiltrating their wholly owned tool, Mike Pence, into Trump’s administration where they got him in charge of staffing so he could seed the Trump administration with Koch apparatchiks.

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