Tuesday’s Forum

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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. Bill says:
  2. Bill says:
  3. MarkedMan says:

    Yesterday I commented on how angry twenty somethings were and that many of them blamed Republicans for their woes. James asked what they had to be angry about, which I thought he meant jokingly and so didn’t respond. But I happened to reread his comment last night and realized it was a serious question. Here goes:
    – Many of them are trying to start a career at a time of epic unemployment and uncertainty and finding no jobs. My 23 year old nephew has been told they want him for his dream job but can’t hire him until they can reopen the building.
    – The backup jobs for when you are searching for long term employment are in food service, bar tending and retail sales, all of which are devasted. Two mid-twenties relatives, a young couple, were enjoying real and hard earned success, with him a salaried musician in a national touring band and a side business renting equipment to bands and her managing new openings for a chain of restaurants aimed at twenty somethings. Thankfully, for now, the band headliner is keeping him on salary but everything else is gone
    – Young people occasionally think about finding a romantic partner. (Shocking, I know) This has become extremely difficult. Stick to protocols and you are limited to dating apps and extremely awkward virtual first dates. Break the protocols and you can’t join the family at Nana’s house for Thanksgiving, because if you do and she ends up dying of The Rona (as the hep kids say) then you will be wracked with guilt for life and ostracized by family members.
    – They have been looking forward to college for years, making new friends, getting out of the house, maybe meeting “The One” and instead find themselves sitting through endless Zoom classes in their childhood bedrooms, muting the mic so no one hears the dog barking or their younger siblings arguing.

    I could go on and on, but you get the drift. And it is obvious that the entire Republican leadership have washed their hands of this. They simply don’t think government, or at least Republicans, have a part to play in the response.

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  4. Kylopod says:

    At the debate, Biden should pull the old duck season, rabbit season trick.

    BIDEN: Trump virus!

    TRUMP: China virus!

    BIDEN: Trump virus!

    TRUMP: China virus!

    BIDEN: Trump virus!

    TRUMP: China virus!

    BIDEN: China virus!

    TRUMP: Trump virus!

    BIDEN: China virus!

    TRUMP: When I say Trump virus, I mean Trump virus! Biden 2020!

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Dying Russians

    Sometime in 1993, after several trips to Russia, I noticed something bizarre and disturbing: people kept dying. I was used to losing friends to AIDS in the United States, but this was different. People in Russia were dying suddenly and violently, and their own friends and colleagues did not find these deaths shocking. Upon arriving in Moscow I called a friend with whom I had become close over the course of a year. “Vadim is no more,” said his father, who picked up the phone. “He drowned.” I showed up for a meeting with a newspaper reporter to have the receptionist say, “But he is dead, don’t you know?” I didn’t. I’d seen the man a week earlier; he was thirty and apparently healthy. The receptionist seemed to think I was being dense. “A helicopter accident,” she finally said, in a tone that seemed to indicate I had no business being surprised.

    The deaths kept piling up. People—men and women—were falling, or perhaps jumping, off trains and out of windows; asphyxiating in country houses with faulty wood stoves or in apartments with jammed front-door locks; getting hit by cars that sped through quiet courtyards or plowed down groups of people on a sidewalk; drowning as a result of diving drunk into a lake or ignoring sea-storm warnings or for no apparent reason; poisoning themselves with too much alcohol, counterfeit alcohol, alcohol substitutes, or drugs; and, finally, dropping dead at absurdly early ages from heart attacks and strokes.

    Back in the United States after a trip to Russia, I cried on a friend’s shoulder. I was finding all this death not simply painful but impossible to process. “It’s not like there is a war on,” I said.

    “But there is,” said my friend, a somewhat older and much wiser reporter than I. “This is what civil war actually looks like. “It’s not when everybody starts running around with guns. It’s when everybody starts dying.”

    My friend’s framing stood me in good stead for years. I realized the magazine stories I was writing then were the stories of destruction, casualties, survival, restoration, and the longing for peace. But useful as that way of thinking might be for a journalist, it cannot be employed by social scientists, who are still struggling to answer the question, Why are Russians dying in numbers, and at ages, and of causes never seen in any other country that is not, by any standard definition, at war?

    It is a question that defies simplistic answers, as one might expect when, “In the seventeen years between 1992 and 2009, the Russian population declined by almost seven million people, or nearly 5 percent—a rate of loss unheard of in Europe since World War II.”

    An interesting read, or at least one that piqued my curiosity.

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  6. Scott says:

    MEMBERS OF CONGRESS in both parties are peeved that critical ag funding has been left out of the stopgap funding measure, which is designed to fund the government until Dec. 11. Republicans fought for the money and Democrats resisted, suggesting President DONALD TRUMP was trying to buy off rural voters ahead of the election.

    I found this interesting because Democrats used to be very supportive of farm aid. Part of it was because of food assistance programs and part because it was part of their political heritage going back to Roosevelt.

    I’m wondering now whether they have so given up on rural America that they just are not going to try anymore. Combined with the rural/right wing monetary assault on urban American through the tax code (the SALT limits), this seems to be to be a new political development.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: The 20 somethings have plenty to be angry about. We fucked up their world with our selfishness, and I suspect it only gets worse from here.

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  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Don’t forget that the young will be left with a national debt that exceeds GDP because we weren’t willing to tax ourselves.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As rich nations struggle, Africa’s virus response is praised

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — At a lecture to peers this month, John Nkengasong showed images that once dogged Africa, with a magazine cover declaring it “The Hopeless Continent.” Then he quoted Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah: “It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems, and that this can only be found in African unity.”

    The coronavirus pandemic has fractured global relationships. But as director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nkengasong has helped to steer Africa’s 54 countries into an alliance praised as responding better than some richer countries, including the United States.

    A former U.S. CDC official, he modeled Africa’s version after his ex-employer. Nkengasong is pained to see the U.S. agency struggle. In an interview with The Associated Press, he didn’t name U.S President Donald Trump but cited “factors we all know.”

    While the U.S. nears 200,000 COVID-19 deaths and the world approaches 1 million, Africa’s surge has been leveling off. Its 1.4 million confirmed cases are far from the horrors predicted. Antibody testing is expected to show many more infections, but most cases are asymptomatic. Just over 34,000 deaths are confirmed on the continent of 1.3 billion people.

    “Africa is doing a lot of things right the rest of the world isn’t,” said Gayle Smith, a former administrator with the U.S. Agency for International Development. She’s watched in astonishment as Washington looks inward instead of leading the world. But Africa “is a great story and one that needs to be told.”

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  10. Teve says:

    Teve says:
    Monday, September 21, 2020 at 19:10

    Rather than poke a thumb in the eye of Red America and the Republicans to make up for perceived grievances,

    Conservative host Michael Knowles, a few hours ago, speaking about possible SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett:

    “We absolutely should push her through if for no other reason than to trigger the libs. It will be very, very funny”

    To editorialize here would be to gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw perfume on the violet.

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  11. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    “We absolutely should push her through if for no other reason than to trigger the libs. It will be very, very funny”

    Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you the 21st-century GOP, the party of Beavis and Butthead.

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  12. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    This is the be-all and end-all of everything: triggering the libs. Pathetic.

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  13. CSK says:

    There’s nothing we don’t know here, but it’s still very good:

    http://www.thebulwark.com/the-absentee-president/

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you, The Party of Hate.

    No matter how bad things get, they will willingly make it worse as long as their enemies suffer more than they.

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  15. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Bill Maher has gone off the deep end recently, but I thought this monologue from 2017 was really on-point.

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  16. Moosebreath says:

    @Kylopod:

    “Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you the 21st-century GOP, the party of Beavis and Butthead.”

    And on cue to prove how much like cartoonish idiots they are, we have Kelly Loeffler’s new ad in her Georgia Senate race, proudly proclaiming she is more conservative than Attila the Hun. The first time I watched the ad, I thought it was a parody.

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  17. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: That Bulwark link is all about Trump being to lazy to show up at the Oval Office. He says it like it’s a bad thing, when really Trump’s laziness is what’s saving us from total disaster.

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  18. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: This is exactly what I mean when I talk about the Mississippi-fication of the Republican Party. A majority of their base voters have put in place leaders driven by resentment and revenge-taking, not by any effort to improve people’s lot in life.

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  19. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    Yes; you can make a very good argument that the more Trump stays out of the OO, the better off we are. But it’s appalling that we’ve come to that.

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  20. MarkedMan says:

    Years ago I was attending a ceremony in Cape Coast, Ghana and one of the speakers said, (paraphrasing):

    “We Fanti, we are the crabs! (Cheers from the audience because the crab is the de facto mascot of the Fanti tribe and the name of one of their soccer teams.) But did you ever notice what happens when you put crabs in a bucket? None can ever escape, because when any crab gets a claw over the edge the rest become angry! Why should that one crab get above everyone else! Who does he think he is! And they pull him down!”

    These types of people are everywhere in the US, in fact there are many of them in every state. But the states where they have the controlling majority are the Trump states. Some have been like this for centuries, and some, like Kansas, oscillate back and forth between a level headed mid-westernism and a resentful lashing out, but today all of them are paying the price themselves and too often bring the rest of us back into the bucket which is headed for the soup pot.

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  21. Jen says:

    I guess this is exactly what we can expect when the head of government thinks the rules don’t apply to him–others who think the same thing.

    Pentagon used taxpayer money meant for masks and swabs to make jet engine parts and body armor

    I am so, so, SO sick of this administration.

    NH is now a battleground state, FYI.

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  22. Kathy says:

    I’m opting out on all speculation about the filling of the vacant Supreme Court seat.

    It’s the faithless electors to the rescue, the Mueller Report, and the impeachment battle all over again. We can all build narrative castles in the sky, and make a case for why the GOP should do the honorable thing, but in the end we know what will happen.

    It’s no use building one’s hope when you know they’re going to be squashed.

    To be sure, the Democrats should do all they can to stop it. Lobby GOP senators, hire investigators to look for dirt or scandal to use against the nominee, use any and all delaying tactics they can (if any still exist), and so on. But they should also expect the worst, and then concentrate on ways to alleviate the damage the GOP has done.

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  23. Mikey says:

    @Kathy: I agree. Trump will nominate, and the GOP majority in the Senate will confirm, a SCOTUS justice. It is going to happen, whether it’s Barrett or another judge.

    All we can do now is vote in such overwhelming numbers that there can be no challenge, elect Biden and a Democratic Senate majority, and expand SCOTUS by at least two, preferably four, justices who President Biden will nominate. And they should be very liberal and very young.

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  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: I’ve never been a big fan of Maher’s but every now and again he hits one over the wall. That one got bookmarked and is in the Republican Malfeasance file.

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  25. CSK says:

    More deathless oratory from the mouth of Donald Trump, whilst speaking of the hypersonic missile:

    “I call it super-duper. ‘Cause super-duper is easier for people to understand than hydrosonic (sic).”

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  26. Kathy says:

    @Mikey:

    Alas, I don’t think Biden will go that far. He seems set on returning to “A more civilized age. Before the dark times.” That can happen, but not just now. The GOP has stacked the deck in its favor, and un-stacking it is not an option. the Democrats need to do their own stacking.

    There’s a saying that it takes one to start a war, but two to make peace. If you’ve ever wondered what happens when one starts a war, and the second doesn’t fight back, just look at the US political landscape today. It’s time to take back the initiative and bring the battle to the other side. Peace under these conditions means surrender.

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  27. Jax says:

    My drone was attacked by a large bird last night. I suspect a hawk, but I’m not sure. It was slightly out of sight and in a draw, I saw a bird flying over the draw, I got warnings that the drone motors were suddenly overloaded and the drone was getting lower to the ground, with no response when I tried to lift it higher, and then all I could see thru the camera on the drone was sky, sagebrush, sky, sagebrush, then the drone was falling at a high rate of speed and the camera went black. The hawk was circling the entire time I was looking for it.

    RIP, Pete the Drone.

    Good thing I bought the good insurance.

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  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday introduced legislation that could remove legal repercussions for those “fleeing” from a “mob” by using their cars to run over protesters at demonstrations.

    DeSantis included the provision as part of a new law dubbed the Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Protecting Law Enforcement Act. One part of the law aims to criminalize certain protests occurring on roads, creating a third-degree felony for those who “obstruct traffic during an unpermitted protest, demonstration or violent or disorderly assembly,”

    “[The law will] require a felony if you incapacitate any of the roadways,” DeSantis said during a press conference. “We see people take over interstates. That is absolutely hazardous. It’s not fair to motorists who get caught up in that, so that will be unacceptable.”

    I wonder who wins the case of Stand Your Ground v Run Them Over in a Florida court.

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  29. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Don’t forget that the young will be left with a national debt that exceeds GDP because we weren’t willing to tax ourselves.

    And a climate disaster.

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  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: Would a flashing led on the top of the drone help to keep the hawks away? Wouldn’t need to draw a lot of current…

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  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: RIP, Pete the Drone.

    I guess Pete wasn’t a “bird of a feather.” Guano happens.

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  32. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Florida really is the Indiana of the South….

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  33. mattbernius says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    And Florida (like most states) wonders why it’s being bankrupted by its prisons.

    Also nothing like the introduction of entirely new *felonies* (which let’s also remember disenfranchise voters in FL until they can repay all punitive fines and fees). I’m also curious as to whether or not those felonies will be classified as “violent” or not.

    It’s a great too-fer–throw those liberal protesters in jail AND ensure they can’t vote for the foreseeable future.

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  34. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: They have flashing lights on each leg, but they’re not very visible during the day. If I had to guess, I’d say there’s probably some juvenile hawks down in that draw that I couldn’t see, that haven’t learned to fly yet. Kinda late in the season for them, but I’ve flown by hawks quite often and never had them get aggressive unless I got too close to the nest.

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  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I wonder who wins the case of Stand Your Ground v Run Them Over in a Florida court.

    The whitest one, who else?

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  36. mattbernius says:

    @Jax:

    If I had to guess, I’d say there’s probably some juvenile hawks down in that draw that I couldn’t see, that haven’t learned to fly yet.

    Given where we are in the season, it could even be a juvie that just learned to fly too. They tend to go after things that adults won’t bother with. Or at least that’s the case with falcons.

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  37. Mikey says:

    @Kathy: Biden has said he’s not in favor of “court-packing” but if a Democratic-majority Congress sends him a bill, will he veto it? Especially when Democratic voters are screaming for it (and they will be, of that there can be no doubt)?

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  38. dmichael says:

    @MarkedMan: Which reminds me of the Trump supporter in Florida whose business was harmed by Trump’s tariffs saying: “But he is hurting the wrong people!” Perfect encapsulation of their attitude.

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  39. Kathy says:

    @Mikey:

    That’s an interesting question. I won’t make a prediction.

    But I’ll repeat what I said the other day: it may be necessary simply to get things done. If the Democrats take the Senate, and if they eliminate the filibuster, then what are the odds their legislative accomplishments will be struck down by the Trump Court?

    That would be the complete victory by the minority party: not allowing the Democrats to legislate even when they hold Congress and the White House.

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  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Romney has indicated today that he intends to vote to confirm based on the nominee’s qualifications, which is basically the ballgame for this one. I see Murkowski and Collins, and possibly maybe Gardner, but they need four to defect to stop this. Anybody seeing a potential fourth?

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  41. CSK says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Gardner has committed to voting for Trump’s nominee, so along with Romney, Collins, and Murkowski that would be four, wouldn’t it?

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  42. CSK says:

    I see we’ve gone back to having only five minutes to edit and save now.

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  43. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Romney has indicated today that he intends to vote to confirm based on the nominee’s qualifications, which is basically the ballgame for this one.

    Pwn All The Things
    @pwnallthethings

    Although I have some reservations in doing so, having carefully considered the constitution and precedent, I believe it is my solemn duty to unconditionally vote yes to whomever the president nominates, even if it’s like his favorite tree or an actual horse or whatever
    10:55 AM · Sep 22, 2020·Twitter Web App

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  44. Sleeping Dog says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    A very long shot is Grassley. He’s retiring, he is of the old senate and in the past has stated that if an SC opening came up before a prez election it should wait till after the election. But that was a few years ago.

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  45. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Grassley and Garner have both stated they’ll confirm.

    Romney has folded like the cheap empty suit we’ve all suspected him to be.

    That’s the ballgame.

    I hate every last one of them, there isn’t an ounce of honor between them.

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  46. Jax says:

    @mattbernius: Good point, I never thought of that.

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  47. mattbernius says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I see Murkowski and Collins, and possibly maybe Gardner

    Gardner has no incentive to oppose. He’s trailing badly and going against the party on this one will get him no new voters. It would also prevent him from future political gigs.

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  48. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: I wonder if it is possible to draw a direct line from the military using this money for other purposes, to the diversion of military funding to build the Trump wall? A unified Democratic message of “nurses don’t have masks because the money was spent on Trump’s wall” would be a beautiful thing…

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  49. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    Oh well, it was the longest of shots anyway.

    I’ve avoided the SC posts so someone likely said this, Ginsberg and Breyer should have retired right after Obama’s reelection.

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  50. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: I just googled around a bit during the boring part of a meeting and it turns out that seemingly no-one has a good solution for hawks and eagles trying to eat drones. “Stay out of the way ” was the most common advice, as I’m sure you discovered long before me. But I now know there are eagles in Australia bigger than Bald Eagles.

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  51. James Joyner says:

    @CSK:

    I see we’ve gone back to having only five minutes to edit and save now.

    I replaced the old, unsupported plugin with a newer one. Its default was five but I’ve just reset it to 15. I think that’s enough, no? Otherwise we risk having multiple responses to comments that disappear or get changed to something else.

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  52. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: Yeah, I think it’s a risk that comes with the territory, so to speak. This is the first time I’ve had a close encounter that ended like this! Messed poor Pete up real good, he’s only got one leg left, lost the battery, the camera’s hanging by the wires. I honestly thought I’d be using that insurance because I was a dumbass and actually tried to land it on the reservoir with the floaties I bought last year and haven’t used yet. 😉

    Given that the insurance claim will take more than a month to get a new drone, and I need the drone NOW to get the cattle home, I bought a new one. Slight upgrade, Pete was a Mavic 2 Zoom, I bought a Mavic 2 Pro. It will be interesting to see if the camera on the Pro is really that much better! I liked the zoom so I could zoom in and clarify whether that was a cow or a bush on that faraway hillside.

    Here’s a link to the last pics I took with the Zoom. I’ll try again in this area with the new one, compare the camera quality!

    https://petesdroningadventures.com/author/tiedyejax/

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  53. EddieInCA says:

    Well, I was certainly wrong. I thought there would be more who would put up more of a fight.

    So I’m firmly on the side of pack the court with six young progressive judges. Make the court 15.

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  54. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:
    Whatever you like is fine with me; you’re the proprietor. 🙂

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  55. Jen says:

    @James Joyner: I realized I’d spelled Gardner’s name wrong right after I posted and wasn’t able to edit at all–it wasn’t an option.

    I’m using Firefox, if that’s useful to know.

    I’ll just be more careful with my proofreading! 😉

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  56. gVOR08 says:

    @mattbernius: Lagoa, on Trump’s short list for SCOTUS, voted with the appeals court majority that held not only do felons have to pay all fines and fees to have voting rights restored, the state is under no obligation to tell them what those fines and fees are. Something the state of FL is studiously refraining from being able to do.

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  57. JohnMcC says:

    @mattbernius: For some of the in-danger R-party senators like Cory Gardner this is not a vote that will gain them another term. But it is a vote that will influence their future as a GOP lobbyist.

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  58. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    I realized I’d spelled Gardner’s name wrong right after I posted and wasn’t able to edit at all–it wasn’t an option.

    Upthread I said “Ladies and Gentleman” and then when I went to correct it to “Gentlemen,” I found I could no longer edit it. Then @OzarkHillbilly copied my error. Funny how that works.

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  59. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @CSK:

    We need four Republican senators who won’t vote to confirm in order to deny him the seat. At present we have two. Romney is a yes and it looks from the above like Gardner is as well.

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  60. CSK says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I stupidly misread your comment. My apologies.

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  61. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jax:

    Personal experience / opinion – yes. The Hasselblad optics and processing on the Pro make a noticeable difference, and the CMOS is quite a bit larger as well. I think you’ll be pleased with it. I love mine

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  62. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @CSK:

    No worries and unnecessary, but appreciated. I just wish Ruth had retired when we all asked her to.

    On a brighter note the buzz around packing the court is getting loud. Whether that’s an intimidation tactic or they’re serious about it remains to be seen, but I find myself more and more amenable to the idea. At some point a line has to be drawn – hitherto shalt thou come, but no further …

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  63. Michael Reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:
    You giddy optimist.

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  64. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    It’s nice to see someone using a drone for something actually useful.

    I suppose hawks are apex predators, and thus wouldn’t have any fear of some other flying creature. If so, repelling them from drones would be difficult.

    Electrifying the drone would cost too much in battery duration, too.

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  65. Gustopher says:

    @Moosebreath: This has prompted Paul Krugman to pursue a Nobel Prize for Trolling:

    https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1308118930423152646

    So Kelly Loeffler is boasting that she’s to the right of Attila the Hun. Tells you something about the modern GOP; but did anyone think to ask how right-wing Attila really was? 1/

    I think he has a way to go, but it’s a good start.

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  66. Liberal Capitalist says:

    The comment on supporting a nominee for spite ws mentioned, but it gets way wierder…

    Wonkette does it justice:

    https://www.wonkette.com/if-amy-coney-barrett-writes-an-opinion-her-husband-doesnt-like-will-he-cut-off-her-finger

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  67. Jax says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Excellent. I’ve been thinking about seriously upgrading to one of the industrial ones that has a camera that can read RFID tags on my cattle, and has thermal imaging so I can see them under the trees, but I think cattle prices are gonna have to go up before I can afford THAT big of an upgrade.

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  68. KM says:

    @HarvardLaw92 :
    I think the more buzz, the better. The more people talk about it as a viable option, the more we game out what could happen /go wrong and how best to address certain issues with a decent plan. I mean, look at what we all managed to generate and we’re just a bunch of opinions on the internet!

    The Court should be apolitical as should it’s members; barring that, engineering it so that it’s not as blatantly partisan as it has been should be the goal. Increasing the number of judges decreases the value of a specific judge appointment when it comes time to replace them -it will still be important to the parties but not the mess we’ve seen for the past few appointments. Making it harder it is for either side to have a reliable partisan vote by decreasing the weight each individual vote has helps dilute the kind of crisis we’re about to face.

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  69. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    As it happens I know some things about hawks. (Animorphs.) Hawks actually do fear some other birds. They are sometimes mobbed by crows which is more annoyance than threat. But they are also preyed upon by golden and bald eagles.

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  70. Kurtz says:

    @Jen:

    I didn’t see you in the court packing discussion. Where are you on this?

    I’m coming around to it maybe being the only option. I think I’d still prefer to wait and see a bit, but I’m wavering.

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  71. Kathy says:

    An alternate Supreme Court timeline to ponder:

    When McConnell refuses to hold a vote or hearings on Garland, Ginsburg and Breyer announce their retirement, daring Mitch to leave three empty seats on the court.

    That’s a tough one, as one would literally have to manufacture suspense for the story. We know the ending. Mitch the Enabler would be delighted to have a 6 member court when only two are liberals and 4 are conservative.

    Of course, there can be a twist ending where the election is much closer and winds up in the courts, and then Justice Kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts vote against Donald the King of the Covidiots.

    Afterwards, the protagonist celebrates by buying a bridge…

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  72. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Make the court 15.

    Would a court of 15 year olds be better or worse than a 6-3 conservative court? 15 year olds can be cruel, and don’t understand constitutional law very well, and will reach decisions based on their preferred outcome rather than the law, but… is that worse?

    I’m pretty sure the 15 year olds would make sure abortion remains legal, and they are far more likely to be supportive of LGBTetc rights and environmental regulation. I would fear that they would have no interests in protecting the rights, lives and livelihoods of old people (anyone over 30), and hearing “You’re not the boss of me!” in oral arguments is likely to get tiresome.

    Still… on balance I think it might work.

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  73. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I didn’t know that.

    I wonder if a speaker broadcasting calls of such eagles would frighten off a hawk?

    All I know about repelling birds comes from the time we had a pigeon problem at home. My mom tried all she could get her hands on, from firecrackers to chemical repellents, and nothing worked. Then we got a cat, who loved roaming around the roof, and the pigeons suddenly all found more urgent business elsewhere.

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  74. mattbernius says:

    @gVOR08:

    Lagoa, on Trump’s short list for SCOTUS, voted with the appeals court majority that held not only do felons have to pay all fines and fees to have voting rights restored, the state is under no obligation to tell them what those fines and fees are.

    Yeah, I’m well aware of that. And I refrain from typing anything else because I’m really trying to cut back on the swearing or calling people evil.

    I will however say that the fact that someone like that is on a short list is another example of why Trump’s claims of being a “Criminal Justice Reformer” are–outside of one action that he almost immediately began to undercut–an absolute myth.

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  75. sam says:
  76. KM says:

    Conservatives claim Trump is target of ‘color revolution’

    Fox News and other conservative media began circulating a new talking point last week in the ongoing effort to sow doubt about the upcoming presidential election, warning that Democratic operatives and government insiders are plotting a “color revolution” to overthrow Trump in November. “Color revolutions” is the term used for popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes

    Wow. Just…. wow. It’s one thing to push BS about how the libs are going to try and take down The Best POTUS Eva but to actually use this term? One that’s I’ve now seen pop up in the National Review, Tucker Carslson and other conservative hotspots? They’re not even trying to hide that they know what Trump is and what he’s going to do if he cheats his way in again. It’s a term of people pushing back against authoritarianism and governmental overreach and they’re flat out vocally worried it’s gonna happen to Trump? Yeah – but it’s those pesky Dems who are risking civil war by court packing that are the true threat to democracy…..

    Also, way to show you guys totally aren’t in cahoots with Russia by using a term associated with them. Isn’t anybody filtering the talking points to remove the smoking gun anymore?

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  77. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You replied before I could.

    Around here, the hawks get harried by the blackbirds mostly. It’s impressive to see them dart in and out in succession, while the hawk is trying to dodge them while gliding.

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  78. EddieInCA says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Yeah….

    About that…. What’s wild to me, and it’s something I’m struggling with, is the truly inverse realities many of us are living in. After spending 10 weeks in Montana and Utah, coming back to Los Angeles has been a bit perplexing. According to locals in Utah (Salt Lake and Park Cities) and Montana (Missoula, Boseman and Stephensville), Los Angeles is a dystopian cesspool where Nancy Pelosi and AOC have created a state where people can’t go out because of the MS13 gang violence, homeless wandering the streets attacking people, wildfires caused by Antifa, and Covid out of control. The reality is very different. But watching Fox, you can understand why people feel that way. It’s what they’re fed, daily.

    The hotel I stayed in in Park City doesn’t carry CNN. MSNBC and Fox News, Fox Business and Sinclair stations are the news options. No CNBC, no BBC, no Al Jazeera, no PBS. Watching Sinclair is like watching, literally, state TV for Trump. It’s mostly in rural areas, but, damn, it’s a warped view of reality. But to many, it’s not warped, it is reality. That’s scary.

    I understand late 10930’s Germany a whole lot better now.

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  79. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: You have a beautiful place.

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  80. Jen says:

    @Kurtz: I had a number of work assignments on short turnaround times, so wasn’t able to give the court packing threads the attention they deserve.

    I’ve been back and forth on the whole idea. The way that McConnell treated Merrick Garland/Obama was so wholly unconscionable, and the 180-degree turn that they’ve now all taken, makes me lean toward a nuclear option–if we have the numbers.

    If Biden wins and Democrats keep the House and win the Senate, and Trump pushes through this nominee during lame duck, I think all bets are off.

    One of the cases before the Court after the election is the ACA. If overturned, 20 million people will lose their health coverage during a pandemic. Millions more will lose the protection of pre-existing conditions that the ACA provides. Starting with this as a legislative priority will be tough but as of right now, I’m all for a judicial reform package.

    Make some real noise, and let the other side know they are serious because hey, we’ve learned our lesson: their word means nothing. Nothing at all. Pack the Court.

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  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: I been saying ever since he announced his $100 million media blitz that if he really wants to make a difference in Florida, this is what he would do.

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  82. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: Just beautiful. Being able to roam all over that land with a drone must be a revelation.

    Out of curiosity, did I see dying conifers in one of the pictures? If so, do you know what’s getting them? The woolly adelgid got an awful lot of trees across the whole Northeast over the past couple of decades.

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  83. Michael Cain says:

    Here’s a hypothetical… It’s Jan 3 and the Dems have a net gain of five seats in the Senate, so a majority of 52. Most of the online world seems to think that it would be all about overturning the filibuster and passing the progressive bills the House starts sending over (with HB 1 probably the same election-oriented bill it was last time).

    In all of the reasonable scenarios with a five-seat gain, there will be two Dem Senators from CA, two from OR, two from WA, two from NV, two from AZ, two from NM, two from CO, and one or two from MT. None of those states have particular voting rights or gerrymandering issues, and all will most likely have finished up smoothly-run elections with 70-100% mail ballots in all of them (and a voter-weighted average over 90%). What those members’ constituencies do have a problem with is the national forests have been burning down, everyone choked on smoke for months, and a ton of local water supplies are threatened by the runoff from the burns.

    Their priorities may be rather different.

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  84. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08:

    not only do felons have to pay all fines and fees to have voting rights restored, the state is under no obligation to tell them what those fines and fees are

    I’m actually a little impressed with the evilness of this.

    It’s dark comedy stuff. And by dark, I mean brown people. And by comedy I mean tragedy.

    I applaud the restraint of the attorneys for not just punching her in the face after she made this ruling. And by applaud, I secretly mean lament.

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  85. flat earth luddite says:

    @Moosebreath:
    Attila was bleeding heart liberal. Perhaps she should have looked to Calcagus, as attributed by Tacitus in Agricola (c. 98)

    Translation: To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.

    Sounds like the GOP agenda to me.

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  86. CSK says:

    CNN is reporting that Amy Coney Barrett is Trump’s overwhelming favorite” to replace RBG, but that he hasn’t yet finalized his decision.

    Knowing Trump, that could mean anything. I find it difficult to believe that yesterday he sat through what’s being described as a “lengthy meeting” to discuss Barrett’s qualifications. Given how erratic and impulse-driven he is, he may go with his gut (according to him, his most reliable decision-making tool) and nominate J. Snerdley Hickenlooper.

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  87. CSK says:

    The edit function seems to have vanished.

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  88. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’ve been meaning to ask you something the last couple days.

    I have the sneaking suspicion that there is a sort of agreement between Roberts and Kavanaugh and/or Gorsuch to keep an anchor toward the center.

    I’m pretty sure the analysis is correct that says Roberts cares very much about positive perception and legitimacy of the Court. I see it as plausible that Kavanaugh and Gorsuch are willing to provide a bit of counter-balance to Thomas and Alito.

    Does this strike you as plausible?

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  89. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Well, yes. Biden’s first priority is to get a handle on the Trump Pandemic and bring both cases and deaths down. This will not be easy, and by 2022 the GOP will be blaming him for all deaths and cases, especially those that happened in trump’s last year in office.

    Next come the wildfires.

    Any ideas? Reversing global warming trends, never mind actual average temperature increases, is the work of many years. But perhaps something can be done to prevent or lessen the impact of wildfires.

    How?

    The problem is Biden has two years, if the Democrats take the Senate, to pursue his agenda. If they don’t, then he has pretty much zero chance of accomplishing anything. Current rhetoric form the right indicates every effort must be made to stymie Biden.

    So, he’d best be good at multitasking.

    Pandemic and wildfires aside, consider all the other major problems: patching up relationships with allies and neutral countries (and even with some adversareis like China); immigration reform (including a clean DACA bill); wage stagnation; economic stimulus post-pandemic; widespread police brutality and systemic racism (not much the feds can do, though); the nuclear threat from Iran (no way to go back to the nuclear deal there); the nuclear threat from North Korea (I recommend semi-MAD*, even if it’s crazy); expanding or maybe even restoring ACA; packing the court; fix the post office; fix what can be fixed in electoral matters; and so on.

    It’s also the work of many years, but a beginning can be made.

    Besides, keep in mind Biden will at least try to govern for the whole country, not only his base.

    *MAD stand for Mutually Assured Destruction. No question Kim, if he does have working ICBMs, can badly damage the US, on a scale never seen before. But no doubt the US has the arsenal, and working delivery systems, to turn all of North Korea into a bad memory.

    The problem is that surrounding countries will get hit with fallout. By this I mean China and Russia will get hit with fallout, and they may threaten reprisals.

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  90. flat earth luddite says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I suspect the “Stand Your Ground” person who remembers to put the first 3 rounds through the engine block/radiator, and the rest of the clip through the windshield as you move to the side. But that’s just my opinion. As always, your mileage may vary.

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  91. Jen says:

    @Kathy:

    The problem is Biden has two years, if the Democrats take the Senate, to pursue his agenda. If they don’t, then he has pretty much zero chance of accomplishing anything. Current rhetoric form the right indicates every effort must be made to stymie Biden.

    So, he’d best be good at multitasking.

    If I were Biden, I’d be looking to deploy Harris as the most active VP in our nation’s history. She needs to be practically a co-president–divide the work and go get ’em.

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  92. Jen says:

    @Kathy:

    The problem is Biden has two years, if the Democrats take the Senate, to pursue his agenda. If they don’t, then he has pretty much zero chance of accomplishing anything. Current rhetoric form the right indicates every effort must be made to stymie Biden.

    So, he’d best be good at multitasking.

    Agreed.

    If I were Biden, I’d be looking to deploy Harris as the most active VP in our nation’s history. She needs to be practically a co-president–divide the work and go get ’em.

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  93. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m actually a little impressed with the evilness of this.

    Yeah. And the chutzpah. Restoring the vote to felons who’ve served their time is an amendment to the state constitution, passed in a referendum in 2018 with 64% of the vote.

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  94. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: Thank you. It depends on which picture it was….one end of the forest allotment was destroyed by a 65,000 acre wildfire in 2012, the Fontenelle Fire. The other end, any dead trees are generally caused by pine beetles. When beetle kill meets fire, it really explodes. 🙁

    It was definitely a hawk, a male harrier hawk, from the looks of it. I’ve been watching the draw all day, and a bald eagle had the temerity to cruise over it right where the drone went down, and that hawk had the eagle on his back mid-air!

    How odd. I don’t think I can ever recall hawks going after an eagle like that.

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  95. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jax: Simply Breath-taking photos, Thanks

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  96. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Trump’s latest ploy is to threaten his fan club that Harris will be the true president.

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  97. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Would a court of 15 year olds be better or worse than a 6-3 conservative court? 15 year olds can be cruel, and don’t understand constitutional law very well, and will reach decisions based on their preferred outcome rather than the law, but… is that worse?

    Better or worse? I’m not even sure that it would be different, but I fully expect a couple of years of decisions that look like they come from the rules committee for Calvinball, so I may not be the guy to ask. (And, no, I’ma have to wait until I see it to believe in court packing. The only thing at stake is the lives of citizens, not donors,)

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  98. Michael Cain says:

    @Jen:

    If I were Biden, I’d be looking to deploy Harris as the most active VP in our nation’s history. She needs to be practically a co-president–divide the work and go get ’em.

    Needs a list of department and agency appointments ready to send to the Senate on day one. They’re the ones who are going to have to do the heavy lifting.

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  99. Kurtz says:

    @Jen:

    Thanks. I’ve been ambivalent. I’m coming around to packing.

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  100. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kurtz:

    Plausible, but improbable I think. We have a situation where Roberts is just a wonk where the law is concerned (he’s easily the most brilliant, and the most impenetrable, man I have ever met), and that can lead him to some places in the law that you wouldn’t expect. Gorsuch is exactly what he was advertised to be – a textualist / originalist (as opposed to the ones who are neither in practice – Scalia – but use those terms as window dressing for unpopular viewpoints about the law), and that can lead him to some places that you wouldn’t expect either. The dealmaking comes into play when the slip opinions start flying around the building, but even that isn’t what you’d expect. People have this viewpoint of the court as being this congenial bunch of people who spend all day together talking, when in reality justices often go for long periods of time without speaking directly to each other outside of conference. They still communicate largely by memo if that tells you anything. The persuasion is very subtle.

    IMO Brett is busy playing nice in an effort to salvage his reputation at the moment. We haven’t really seen him come into his own yet and truly flex his beliefs. When he does, it will be problematic.

    The key to this particular court, going forward especially if that woman gets confirmed, will be how the appellants frame their questions.

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  101. Jen says:

    @Kurtz: I keep thinking what a horrible precedent it sets, but if there’s one thing that I’m struggling to internalize is that setting precedent doesn’t matter at all to Republicans, they just laugh and do whatever is most politically expedient.

    Democrats need to do that now.

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  102. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    IMO, all presidents should have a second-in-command kept always in the loop, who can take over at a moment’s notice.

    I think in some administrations, this is done by the Chief of Staff, minus the take over part (yes, I know that’s what Leo did in The West Wing).

    I’ve read Truman had to be briefed on the atomic bomb when he took over for FDR. I don’t know if this was a special secret tightly held (which seems impossible given the many thousands working on it), or whether FDR simply told Truman little. I’ve this vision of Truman not being up to speed not just on the A-bomb, but on the general conduct of the war.

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  103. Bill says:

    @Kathy:

    I’ve read Truman had to be briefed on the atomic bomb when he took over for FDR. I don’t know if this was a special secret tightly held (which seems impossible given the many thousands working on it), or whether FDR simply told Truman little.

    In Merle Miller’s oral biography* of Harry Truman, Truman said he wasn’t told about the bomb till the evening of the day FDR died.

    *- Published in the early 1960’s and which I just finished reading about two weeks ago.

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  104. flat earth luddite says:

    Shifting gears just a skosh west (or east, depending on your orientation), h/t to Axios China for this news, with a hint of foreboding background music:

    Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping announced last week that the party must strengthen its leadership over private companies, and that entrepreneurs must meet the party’s needs.

    • Chinese law states that companies and individuals are required to hand over data and provide assistance to the government and its intelligence agencies upon request, and that they must keep any such requests a secret.
    • The new memo adds in a strong political element, suggesting some companies may now be required to assist in political goals and activities — though the specifics remain unclear.

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  105. Kathy says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    A bad case of Mao envy.

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  106. Mu Yixiao says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    This has been building for a while.

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  107. Mu Yixiao says:

    On the way home I heard an ad on the radio. Madison is putting poll staffers in 200 city parts for 2 Saturdays in October. Anyone who wants can come and get answers about mail-in voting, get assistance filling out ballots (same as at a polling station), get their ballots witnessed by a staff member, and hand in their ballots.

    “This year, voting is a walk in the park”

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  108. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Of course, but that’s not really what I’m talking about. Typically the VP has a whole slate of ceremonial/second tier duties (this is the joke about VPs attending funerals). If Biden wins, her plate should be loaded up with the same legislative initiatives that would normally be the President’s. I’m talking about job sharing, on an extremely active level.

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  109. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Thank you. I knew it wasn’t the…collegial?… atmosphere that people picture, but I didn’t know how the behind-the-scenes politicking played out. The picture in my head was similar to your description, but I wasn’t sure of the mechanics of it.

    From my limited understanding, I’m not a fan of textualism or originalism, but I get its allure. I think it is philosophically naive and limiting given the nature of cultural and political changes. But, like many people of the Left, I’m suspicious for the reason you pointed out–it always seemed like way to find the desired result. But Gorsuch does seem consistent and fair to me.

    I’m curious how Kavanaugh turns out. I’m not as cynical as you are. I wouldn’t be surprised if you turn out to be correct. But I can also see that the process for GOP nominees puts pressure on ambitious judges to decide cases a certain way. I just wonder if he may be different from expectations.

    Thanks for the response, it’s nice to get information and insight from someone plugged into that world. Plus, it gave my plenty of ammo for my next round of typical pedantry 😉

    Be well.

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  110. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    Ok. That sounds a bit like the Consuls of the Roman republic, except only one has the authority instead of sharing it.

    Or are you thinking of a meatier split, where Harris gets some actual authority, or is at least responsible for developing policy initiatives or managing actual policies?

    I’ve often thought the job of head os tate grew too large for one person to handle, even with an army of advisors, helpers, assistants, cabinet officials, etc. etc. Yet we persist with single heads of state.

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  111. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @CSK:
    “hydrosonic jet” -asked my wife what that was. Her reply: a waterpik !

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  112. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kurtz:

    From my limited understanding, I’m not a fan of textualism or originalism, but I get its allure. I think it is philosophically naive and limiting given the nature of cultural and political changes.

    That’s a feature, not a bug.

    Philosophically, I like the ideas of orginalism and textualism specifically because they are limiting. I think it should be very very hard for any branch of the government to expand its power or scope. We’ve shifted too much from “Only what’s specifically granted” to “Anything that’s not forbidden”–which, if I recall my HS civic classes, was one of the concerns about the Bill of Rights.

    When a farmer is forbidden from keeping the grain he raised to feed the cows he raised because “it affects interstate commerce (by removing it from interstate commerce), therefore falls under the commerce clause”, things have gone a bit off-base.

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  113. EddieinCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    When a farmer is forbidden from keeping the grain he raised to feed the cows he raised because “it affects interstate commerce (by removing it from interstate commerce), therefore falls under the commerce clause”, things have gone a bit off-base.

    Can you help out a city slicker like myself please? How would anyone know where he got his grain?

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  114. Kathy says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    Just wait until you see the hydroponic submarine.

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  115. CSK says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: @Kathy:

    It’s astonishing how the Trumpkins never seem to acknowledge these verbal slips.

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  116. Kurtz says:

    @CSK:

    Isn’t that a line from “Greased Lightning?”

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  117. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: The movie XXX (2002, staring Vin Diesel) has a solar powered submarine. On a river. In Prague. Once it submerges, it could be anywhere*.

    The movie is surprisingly fun, despite literally everything about it.

    *: For certain, narrow and unexplored definitions of anywhere. It can travel between the two nearest locks, and will eventually have to surface to recharge.

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  118. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Back during the H1N1 epidemic, there was a viral video of a much disliked leader of a teacher’s union stumbling over the word “influenza.” She kept stammering and saying “influencia” (influence), which is a natural slip considering that’s a common word while influenza isn’t (we don’t have a handy abbrev. like “flu”).

    But, hey, maybe the hydroponic submarine can produce its own oxygen!

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  119. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: Everyone stumbles over their words on occasion. Everyone. It’s the frequency that matters.

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  120. flat earth luddite says:

    @Kathy:
    @Mu Yixiao:

    Thank you both. This is about where my brain was pointing. Been trying to find a comparable read on former Soviet region of influence, if anyone here can offer one. Continuing effort to stay in touch with the real world outside of OAN and Sinclair world, if only so I recognize how ignorant I really am.

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  121. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Not to spoil your fun, though I agree a solar-powered submarine, is a stupid idea, with suspension of disbelief (and a construction crane to suspend it from), one can argue it’s not too disimilar from a Diesel submarine.

    The latter burns fuel to power its propeller, like any ocean-going ship, and to charge large banks of batteries. It can then submerge, shut its engines down, and run on batteries for a while. It can also deploy a snorkel to draw in air and restart the engines, but then it’s very easy to detect. There are some Diesel subs still in use by smaller countries.

    That’s actually how subs in WWI and WWII operated. Given the limitations of batteries, they submerged for relatively brief periods, mostly when they needed to hide or when they were actively trying to sink another ship.

    With nuclear power, a sub can run submerged all the time.

    Back to the solar powered sub, unless it were exceedingly light and didn’t need to run lights, heat, sensors, ventilation, etc., I’d bet on it taking several hours to recharge per hour submerged. It would need to be light and BIG, or have folding solar panels it can unfold to gain more energy with a bigger gathering surface.

    So, yes, it’s absurd.

    And rivers are poor areas for submarines. Most aren’t deep enough

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  122. inhumans99 says:

    So…I go to Politico and see all these stories that seems to imply we have a horse race with Trump vs. Biden (union folks breaking against Biden to vote for Trump, that sort of thing) but then as I look at all the highlighted stories on the left side of the page I get to a story that notes a Poll shows Biden tied with Trump in GA, I had to do a double-take…a Democrat tied with a beloved Republican in GA, really, no…seriously, that is proof that cats and dogs are starting to live together in harmony.

    Any Republican, generic or well known, should be destroying their opponent in the polls in a state like GA, we live in crazy times.

    I also noticed a story that Trump is raging at Republicans for the umpteenth time for not falling for his tar baby Obamagate allegations he wanted them to run with, that is not a trap the GOP wanted to stick their hands in.

    The article does note that Ron Johnson (he is the guy, right?) is still claiming he will have game changing info on Hunter Biden that he releases close to the election to influence how people vote, but here is the thing…my spidey-sense says that he is trying to hard to hype his impending story/investigation results, trying to get people to think it is a Comey sized announcement that was basically the final nail in the coffin for Clinton’s election efforts when I feel it will be a rather anti-climactic revelation that just puts a GOP hype-spin on what is already know about Hunter Biden.

    Also, if you have to time your announcement that close to the election so people do not “forget” about your announcement before they go to the polls you are doing it wrong, that just tells me the GOP is beyond desperate to define Biden and wow…they have still not succeeded in doing so and an announcement 2-3 weeks before the election (when many will have already sent in their ballots) is not going to move the needle against Biden. There are less than 50 days before the elections and the GOP is running out of time to destroy Biden’s standing in the publics minds.

    Finally, a lot of people will go Hunter who??? His son is not on the ballot so even some hardcore GOPers will probably roll their eyes at the idea that going after Biden’s son is what takes him down, in fact even if they do not admit out loud they are probably a bit annoyed that Trump is going after his opponents family member as that is just not very sporting of Trump and will leave a bad taste in some voter’s mouths.

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  123. Kurtz says:

    @EddieinCA:

    Wickard v. Filburn (1942)

    Congress limited the amount of wheat that farmers could grow to stabilize prices. Filburn was assessed a fine, because he grew too much. Filburn argued that because he didn’t sell his wheat, Congress couldn’t regulate it because it isn’t commerce.

    The unanimous decision found that in the aggregate, farmers exceeding specified limits would effect the market and was thus included as commerce.

    That’s the basic thing, I’m sure there are more nuances.

    I reiterate, that decision was unanimous.

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  124. Kathy says:

    I’ve been meaning to post this all day.

    Andrew Weissmann, a senior member of Mueller’s team, claims in a book that Mueller was too timid in investigating Trump.

    Money quotes:

    “Repeatedly during our 22 months in operation, we would reach some critical juncture in our investigation, only to have [Mueller’s top deputy] Aaron say that we could not take a particular action because it risked aggravating the president beyond some undefined breaking point.”

    And:

    “Had we used all available tools to uncover the truth, undeterred by the onslaught of the president’s unique powers to undermine our efforts? I know the hard answer to that simple question: we could have done more.”

    So all the time the investigation was going on, we expected it to be thorough and, more important, to get to the truth of what happened as regards Trump’s actions. Instead Mueller was cooking a sort-of-not-really-a-nothingburger.

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  125. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kurtz:

    Sorry about that. Wasn’t my best day …

    I try not to be cynical about Brett. I’m just seeing a lot of behavior that really isn’t like him (or how he was prior to joining the court anyway). He’s running around writing flowing concurrences here, there, and everywhere (instead of just concurring with the darn majority opinion) with a suspicious centering on middle ground aspects. That’s totally unlike him. As much as we do not get along and as much as I don’t care for him, he’s always been remarkably consistent – until now.

    Maybe it’s a change of heart, but time will tell. It’s a little late in life for him to be having an epiphany on the road to Damascus, but who really knows?

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  126. Mu Yixiao says:

    @EddieinCA:

    I found the reference: Wickard v. Filburn

    This was during a time when the federal government put limits on wheat production to stabilize the prices.

    The Court decided that Filburn’s wheat-growing activities reduced the amount of wheat he would buy for animal feed on the open market, which is traded nationally, is thus interstate, and is therefore within the scope of the Commerce Clause.

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  127. Jen says:

    @inhumans99:

    So…I go to Politico and see all these stories that seems to imply we have a horse race with Trump vs. Biden (union folks breaking against Biden to vote for Trump, that sort of thing) but then as I look at all the highlighted stories on the left side of the page I get to a story that notes a Poll shows Biden tied with Trump in GA, I had to do a double-take…a Democrat tied with a beloved Republican in GA, really, no…seriously, that is proof that cats and dogs are starting to live together in harmony.

    As I’ve been blathering on about for the past few days, Biden is only 3 points ahead of Trump in NH in the latest round of polls–that’s pretty much within the MOE. I have no idea what is going on, but I get the feeling that unless state polling becomes far more frequent, it quite possibly IS a horse race.

    Also, I have to be cautious in order to mentally prepare myself. 2016 led to ugly crying for three days straight here.

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  128. Kylopod says:

    @inhumans99:

    The article does note that Ron Johnson (he is the guy, right?) is still claiming he will have game changing info on Hunter Biden that he releases close to the election to influence how people vote

    Here’s the thing that they’re forgetting about the Comey Letter. It simply reinforced a perception that was already there. The public really was pissed at Clinton for the email story, going back to when it first broke in 2015. It was apparently the main thing that drove her favorability numbers down. Her polling against Trump briefly cratered following the release of the initial FBI report in spring 2016. Personally I think the whole controversy was overblown and stupid, but there’s no question it resonated to some degree. So when Comey said he was reopening the investigation in October, the reason it had an impact was that it was building on preexisting perceptions about Clinton. The fact that there was nothing there didn’t matter–what mattered was that it reminded the public why they disliked her in the first place, at exactly the wrong moment. It was almost Pavlovian: the media said “pussy grabbing!” and the public turned against Trump; they said “emails!” and it shifted against Clinton.

    A “new” revelation about Hunter Biden isn’t likely to have that impact because it isn’t standing on anything that was ever previously a serious vulnerability for Joe. The whole Burisma business has never resonated with anyone outside the right-wing echo chamber, quite unlike Hillary’s emails. Joe does have vulnerabilities, but that simply isn’t among them. I also think part of what enabled the Comey Letter to resonate was that Comey was widely seen–rightly or not–as a fair and neutral actor. I don’t think there’s a single person in Trump’s orbit who has that kind of gravitas right now.

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  129. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Gustopher:

    The movie XXX (2002, staring Vin Diesel) has a solar powered submarine. On a river. In Prague. Once it submerges, it could be anywhere*.

    The movie is surprisingly fun, despite literally everything about it.

    Have you seen 3? (Why they didn’t make a 2, I don’t know.)

    It’s basically Vin saying “Okay… let’s embrace this shit and turn it up to 11.” Just watch the opening sequence that starts with him on the radio tower. The whole movie is basically that-with all the tropes checked of in a fun way.

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  130. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    Agreed.

    To paraphrase Solon’s advice to Croesus, Count no one happy until Trump leaves office.

    (Okay. I plan to be happy if Trump loses the election. But I’ll still worry until I see him out of office for good*)

    * I’d be willing to lay a bet that Trump will try to run again in 2024 if he loses this year, and if he’s still alive and unconsumed by dementia (have to cover the possibilities of losing through no possible action).

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  131. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz:

    farmers exceeding specified limits would effect the market

    To some degree, that does make sense in that by growing grain to feed to his cattle (however many their were–I’m picturing many fewer than the claimed biggest cattle spread in Korea where the owner is raising 25 IIRC), he was not entering the market to buy food for them, not sending them to a feed lot, and so on. How much effect that would have on the market overall would be a different question, buy every change in the supply/demand matrix changes the market.

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  132. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: And I see that Mu beat me to it and that the editing function is indeed gone. Oh well…

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  133. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    That case dramatically expanded the regulatory power of Congress via the Commerce Clause. Post Wickard, pretty much everything can be seen to affect interstate commerce in some convoluted way, which has probably been taken too far if we’re honest with ourselves.

    Indeed, the court utilized the reasoning in Wickard (along with a few statutes) to criminalize state permitted marijuana sales (Gonzales v. Raich, an opinion with which our friend the supposed originalist Scalia concurred 🙄 ) because said sales affect the interstate market for marijuana. In effect – “you can’t permit this because it will have an effect on the market for something that’s illegal to sell under federal law to begin with”. If that’s not a bridge too far, I’m not sure what would be.

    We thought that the court was on a kick of rolling that broad regulatory grant back in the wake of United States v. Lopez and United States v. Morrison, but then it flipped right back with Raich.

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  134. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    FWIW, editing appeared after I refreshed the page soon after posting.

    Edited to add: Yup. Just did it again.

    Desktop PC, running Chrome on Win10.

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  135. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: There was a xXx 2. It was Subtitled State of the Union and starred Ice Cube as the new agent sought because Vin’s character “retired” (in the Mafia manner) in a short movie filmed to be part of the promotion for the sequel after the first movie.

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  136. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Just tried it on Edge w/Win 10. Doesn’t happen but the buttons for bold, italics, hot link, and blockquote came back. I didn’t see them for my previous post. Not concerned either as I can remember a lot of the code to make the one’s I use happen.

    ETA: AHA! you have to actually have posted a comment before you reload in order for it to work. Good to know!

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  137. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    There was a xXx 2

    Nope. Urban legend based on a joke started on Reddit.

    Never happened.

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  138. JohnMcC says:

    Possibly of interest here: The Maine Supreme Court has cleared the state to use ‘ranked choice voting’ in the presidential election.

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  139. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao: That sounds like the old “Spaceballs 3: The Search for Spaceballs 2.”

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  140. Kurtz says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    How much effect that would have on the market overall would be a different question, buy every change in the supply/demand matrix changes the market.

    The reasoning, if I’m not mistaken wasn’t what Filburn did as much as what Filburn and other farmers would do in the aggregate.

    It makes sense. But in terms of regulation, it’s a potentially boundless standard without some sort of test. It’s not wrong-headed, but without a rubric, it has been abused. See, HL’s comment above.

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  141. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    No worries, dude. Hope you’ve had better days since.

    So your distaste for Kavanaugh sounds at least partially personal. Interesting to me for an unknown reason.

    He was portrayed as an idealogue, and from what I understand, his lower court decisions matched up with someone endorsed by FedSoc.

    I mean, after his hearing I saw so many people who had known him stunned by his demeanor when questioned. It seemed performative to me.

    FedSoc has essentially created a template to get on the list, and an ambitious person can certainly exploit that. So I wonder if it’s less a case of a road to Damascus moment than who he actually is.

    But you’re probably right.

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  142. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kurtz:

    The distaste is entirely personal, to be honest about it. We just do not mesh well on a personal level and never have. Professionally, I disagree with his viewpoint about the law but respected his clarity and consistency in applying it, which is why this newfound predilection for waxing poetic about the middle ground in cases where it’s more or less engaging in dicta is curious. It makes me wonder why he’s going to the trouble I suppose. It’s out of joint with the judge he’s been for a good part of his life.

    That said, I don’t loathe the man. He’s just someone, as an example, who I would avoid being corralled into sitting with at dinner if it could be avoided. I do respect his intellect. He’s not in the league of John Roberts, but to be fair neither am I. Only a rare few are.

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  143. An Interested Party says:

    Their priorities may be rather different.

    Without doing much to make voting easier and more accessible to more people (in other words, electing more Democrats), those priorities will not be addressed, as the GOP certainly doesn’t seem interested in them and so will need to be kicked out of power for a period of time for them to be addressed…

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  144. Matt says:

    @MarkedMan: Wedge-tailed eagles are kind of insane but it’s Australia everything including the plants will try to kill you….

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  145. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao: @Mu Yixiao:

    That makes zero sense. Can’t wrap my brain around that.

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