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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Paul Farhi
    @farhip
    · Oct 10
    “Why isn’t there a New York Times of the right,” with a large staff of reporters to turn up new facts and information, instead of primarily being commentary and opinion organs, asks @brianstelter on @cnn.

    Intriguing question.

    Jack-o-lantern Skull GHOSTLIKEHELLMACHINE Ghost Black cat
    @golikehellmachi

    the only thing intriguing about the question is that people still get paid suitcases full of money to ask it, when the answers are very obvious and have been for more than a decade.

    there’s no demand for a fact-oriented, objective news source on the right. to sincerely wonder why this doesn’t exist demonstrates a profound and voluntary ignorance of the entire purpose of the right-wing media ecosystem.

    right wing media is, itself, a *reaction to objective, fact-based journalism*. right-wing media exists, in part and in whole, as an offense and defense *against information that could otherwise harm the movement*. that was the point of it’s creation. it always has been.

    this isn’t even a spicy take. if you don’t understand what roger ailes was trying to accomplish with fox news, despite the endless scroll of work that’s been published about it — often quoting him directly — you simply do not know your subject matter well enough to hold your job.

    and if you ask questions like these to “provoke discussion”, you’re just retreading the same cartwheel paths that have been cut into the ground since i was in high school over twenty years ago. no one who knows anything about this is unclear on how or why it’s happened.

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  2. Mu Yixiao says:

    This will not end well.

    China’s Dancing Grannies Silenced

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ben Gleib
    @bengleib

    Charlie Kirk SCHOOLED on Abortion in 15 Seconds.

    Priceless.

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  4. KM says:

    COVID-Ravaged Mom of Newborn Denied Lung Transplant: ‘How Cruel Is That?’

    Get. The. Damn. Shot.
    Wear. Your. F%&%*%*. Mask.
    ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE VULNERABLE

    This woman delayed being vaxxed and it likely caused the premature birth. It definitely caused her heart to fail repeatedly and required her to be flown to out of state for a double lung transplant. Insurance denied it to her because they don’t cover lung transplants, something that’s becoming distressingly common in COVID patients. Even if they had approved it, the odds of her not having space in the hospital to be operated on and recover are ridiculous right now with others in deadly situations being turned away as well.

    This didn’t have to happen. She could have gotten the shot much early then her OBGYN “allowed” – rumors of the vaccines affecting pregnancy and fertility have been maliciously pervasive since the beginning of the pandemic and causing maternity infection and fatality rates to skyrocket. Insurance is going to keep denying these expensive extraordinary life-saving measures to the unvaxxed because they’re starting to become almost routine.

    The Hidden U.S. COVID-19 Pandemic: Orphaned Children – More than 140,000 U.S. Children Lost a Primary or Secondary Caregiver Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

    And this is the number we know of. How many are being counted because of slapdash COVID miscounts? How many lost a reliable babysitter or occasional caretaker that doesn’t meet the definitions of the study? 1 out of 500 children has now lost a loved adult to this pandemic and it’s not stopping. A whole generation is going to be scarred by this.

    To anyone unvaxxed reading this, please please PLEASE go get the shot and be masked when going out. Do whatever you can to persuade your loved ones as well. By the time you regret not doing it, it’s too damn late to stop the tragedy.

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  5. CSK says:

    A few days ago we were discussing whether any movie franchise had ever had the cultural impact of Stars Wars. I’d suggest that possibly James Bond did.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Angry Staffer
    @Angry_Staffer

    I sure heard a lot about Biden’s “plummeting approval rating” from the media and on Twitter.

    Not so much about it climbing back to 50% already, though.

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  7. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    A few days ago we were discussing whether any movie franchise had ever had the cultural impact of Stars Wars. I’d suggest that possibly James Bond did.

    To the best of my knowledge, people haven’t created a religion out of James Bond.

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  8. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    I’d mercifully forgotten Jedism.

    But see http://www.jamesbondlifestyle.com

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  9. Kathy says:

    Some random notes.

    I found a flu shot, and a shingles shot while I was at it. I’m getting them Thursday evening. Next I should look at the pneumococcus vaccines.

    I bought a peanut-flavored low fat, no added sugar gelato the other day. I was curious and skeptical. It tastes almost exactly like peanut butter, though with a different consistency (still somewhat creamy), and of course cold. The experience is close to eating peanut butter with a spoon straight out of the jar, minus it sticking to the roof of your mouth.

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  10. Dude Kembro says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    “Why isn’t there a New York Times of the right,”

    Hmmm, let’s review the New York Slimes’s “reporting” on Whitewater, Iraq’s WMD, Emailghazigatepalooza, “Clinton Cash,” How Ron DeathSentence Won The Pandemic, and Biden’s “plummeting” fortunes.

    The New York Times is the New York Times of the right.

    Its news desk’s editorial tilt is barely distinguishable from the prevailing opinions at the National Review. That so many fail to see this a) shows how easy it is to confuse the NYT’s opinion columns with its news desk and b) shows the effectiveness of the right’s fake “liberal media” howling.

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  11. gVOR08 says:

    Eugene Robinson at WAPO on Biden’s stalled agenda and the supposedly liberal MSM’s “Democrats are Doomed” narrative:

    The context that’s missing is that the Democratic Party, for better or worse, has to represent the entirety of the sane political spectrum, from Sens. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) on the right to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and the Squad on the left. That’s because the GOP has left the building.

    Basically true, and a weird outcome of our two party system. Natural outcome of what Karl Rove (or someone like him) noted as reality based v faith based.

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  12. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy: The pneumococcus vaccine is the only one I’ve ever had that gave me more than a sore arm as a side effect. I got whichever one it is that they give just once after age 65. For roughly hours 12-60 afterwards I had chills, headache, and sore joints. Fortunately, fatigue as well so I slept half of that time. Still worth it, I think.

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  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Dude Kembro: Too true. I’ve often observed in these threads that NYT did more to elect Donald Trump than anyone else. It’s fair to describe NYT with the common phrase “socially liberal and economically conservative”, which is to say, “conservative”.

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Dude Kembro: The NYT isn’t perfect by any means, but if one can’t tell the difference between the NYT and FOX…

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  15. JohnSF says:

    Follow up to a comment from yesterday:
    @CSK:

    (Johnson) “the Donald Trump of England.”

    There are definite similarities.
    But differences also; Johnson is far more intelligent, more calculating, a much more cunning and effective politician, and capable of considerable personal charm, when he puts his mind to it. And less obsessed by personal monetary gain.
    He is an educated upper class hedonist, not a businessman, who’s currency is power and pleasure, rather than pure money as such.
    Johnson is also lazy, casual, devious, cynical, ruthless, vindictive towards opponents, utterly untrustworthy, self-serving, and wholly unconcerned with truth or principle.
    Johnson believes in almost nothing beyond what serves Johnson.

    His laziness and lack of principles lead him to be unconcerned with real policies, a tendency that repeatedly trips him up when reality based issues that were foreseeable become ctitical problems.
    His default is always to dodge issues and decisions with sound bites or jovial bluster. When an issue must be addressed, his context is polling, focus groups, and how it plays with the support, not law, economic reality or inter-state relations. He is rarely concerned with detail or implementation; those are tasks for underlings.

    Oddly enough, though, he does seem to have developed as rather fixed dislike for Russia and China.

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  16. Someone may have mentioned this, but just in case, MR’s “Animorphs” got a shoutout on this weekend’s SNL cold open.

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  17. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Actually, the MAGAs don’t any longer distinguish between the NYTimes and Fox. They’re both propaganda tools of the far left.

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  18. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    Oh, I know. But that was Donald Trump who said that of Johnson.

    I agree that Johnson is far more intelligent than Trump, though that’s a pretty low bar to scale.

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  19. JohnSF says:

    @Barry:

    Lie to their faces, make Big Noises about a Big Deal which will make their lives better, have the Brexit media support that with 24/7 headlines, then f*ck them later.

    Johnson would do that, indeed is doing so.
    And on that if nothing else he could agree with the “LiberToryians”.

    But unfortunately for them there are some things the newly acquired Conservative voters from the less well-off Brexit base demand, that come with real, upfront costs that can’t be dodged.
    The NHS and other elements of public spending.
    These have already required tax increases: corporation tax from 19% to 25%, despite the squeals of the Right.

    Any cuts in these areas and the working class vote will walk, and Johnson knows it.
    Even immigration curbs won’t counteract that.

    There are other policy areas as well e.g. the finance lobby has been shafted over “equivalence” and data protection to avoid the need to compromise with Brussels

    Main thing is, to survive in power the Conservatives must have the working class/lower middle class “Red Wall” votes next time round, especially given their likely losses in more affluent, Remain-voting areas.

    Unlike the US, Johnson knows he can’t win on tax cuts and culture war, so the tension between his populist approach and economic ultra-Cons is much harder to gloss over.

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  20. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    The first vaccine consisted in giving people a mild disease, cowpox, to protect from a devastating disease, smallpox.

    Since then things have improved, but the idea remains to get the adaptive immune system to produce a response to a pathogen. The thing is in tricking the immune system into responding, it does respond. Al of it. The innate part as well as the adaptive part.

    In some ways, you’re still getting the effects of a mild disease without an actual disease agent. Of course, that’s the whole idea.

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  21. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    What does it mean when you have no adverse reactions, even mild ones, to any kind of shot?

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Florida city sued over mural that depicted Black female firefighter as white

    Officials in a south Florida city will meet this week to discuss a lawsuit filed by the city’s first Black female firefighter, after her image was replaced with a white face in a mural meant to honor local history. Latosha Clemons, a former deputy fire chief of Boynton Beach, filed the lawsuit in April, accusing the city of defamation and negligence.

    “Being depicted as white was not only a false presentation of Clemons, it was also a depiction which completely disrespected all that the first female Black firefighter for the city had accomplished,” the complaint said.

    In the mural, a depiction of retired fire chief Glenn Joseph, who is Black, was also replaced with an image of a white face.

    The mural was removed the day after it was unveiled in June last year. The city manager fired the public arts manager and demoted the fire chief, who then resigned. The former arts manager, Debby Coles-Dobay, told reporters she was “pressured” to make the change.

    No racism to see here, nope, nope nope. Move along folks, move along.

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  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Yeah, I know, and it rather neatly fills in the blank at the end of my, “if one can’t tell the difference between the NYT and FOX…”

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  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: As one who hardly ever (never?) has a reaction beyond a sore arm to any vaccine, I suspect not much.

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  25. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Boris and the UK neo-libs will be in a bit of a pickle

    It’s tricky for the City.
    Who were generally anti-Brexit anyway.

    Grey money is lucrative for its managers, but it’s marginal to the real money.
    National Crime Agency estimates up to £90 billion of illicit funds are laundered through the UK; estimates of legal tax avoidance managed via the City vary wildly, but a rough guess is around $150 billion a year (much of which would NOT be ended by any deals).
    Sounds a lot; to the City it’s not that tremendous, though.
    London has a currency market turnover of $1.5 trillion daily.
    UK tradable stocks value: £4.5 trillion
    UK bond market £1.2 trillion
    Total cross-border assets and liabilities of London based banks $10 trillion.
    Fund managers in London oversee about £8.5 trillion in assets.

    The problem is, Brexit looks likely to erode the place of the City in European finance; probably not absolute drops, but a slow relative erosion as Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin increase shares of new business.

    And as I’ve mentioned before, the Conservatives have taken a marked dislike to China lately (China has been excluded from the 5G rollout, and looks likely to be booted from the nuclear projects at Sizewell) so that may not be an option.
    Johnson certainly does not want to alienate the US if he can help it.

    Hence the jubilation in Conservative circles over AUKUS and the subs.
    (Great band name 🙂 )

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  26. Sleeping Dog says:

    It’s my understanding that Critical Race Theory focuses (at least in part) on the nexus of racial attitudes and the law. Historical examples being past denial off social security and veteran’s benefits to blacks.

    Discrimination denialists protest that those examples are the past and similar discrimination no longer exists in our enlightened society. Enter research stage left.

    Racial Bias Skewed Small-Business Relief Lending, Study Says

    From the very start of the Paycheck Protection Program last year, it was clear that minority entrepreneurs, especially Black business owners, struggled more than white borrowers to find a willing lender. A new research project indicates that the problem was particularly pronounced at smaller banks — and human bias appears to be the main reason.

    The majority of Black borrowers who received aid from the $800 billion relief program got their loan from a financial technology company, not a bank, according to an economic working paper released Monday. The skew toward those so-called fintechs was far sharper among Black borrowers than any other racial group.

    Bias is easy to ID in a computer program, by reviewing the decision making criteria and the questions asked of the applicant and far more difficult when there is a human factor. Guess this is a good example of current day of what CRT examines.

    While the article points out that black owned businesses are more likely to be use online banks for their business banking. That raises a second possible research question as to why black and other minority owned business choose Fintech companies as their banking partner and on the local bank? The answer to that maybe evident to some, supporting data is desirable.

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  27. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Nothing.

    People react differently. Some are more sensitive than others.

    On the subject of vaccines, I wonder how they’ll develop further.

    Consider, the first was a mild disease. Subsequent ones were, for over a century, made with either dead pathogens or weakened ones, with some pathogen fragments for some conditions now and then. The first two posed a risk of infection, were the pathogens not treated adequately to ensure their death or attenuation.

    Currently the cutting edge is viral vector and mRNA vaccines, which work similarly, and sub-unit vaccines, which are a kind of pathogen fragment thing.

    What will come next? Better yet, what can come next?

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  28. Kylopod says:

    @JohnSF: I frankly think a lot of the reason for the comparisons has to do with their weirdly similar looks. He looks more like Trump than some Trump impersonators. There are more substantive parallels–Johnson did forge his recent career as a racist, right-wing populist–but the moment people look at him it fires up their imagination and they think he’s some kind of sci-fi doppelganger from a universe where Trump’s parents moved to England as a small child (Boris was also born in NYC!).

    I have gotten the sense that Boris may not appreciate the comparisons. He was one of the world leaders caught standing in a circle making fun of Trump like a group of high school kids laughing at the weird kid.

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  29. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I don’t even get the sore arm. There’s a little pain if I press on the injection site, but that’s usually gone in a day.

    I ask only because a vaccine is supposed to cause an exceedingly mild case of whatever illness.

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  30. sam says:

    @JohnSF:

    Per CSK: ‘(Johnson) “the Donald Trump of England.” ‘

    I once described him as the DT of the UK, with worse hair and better diction.

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  31. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Discrimination denialists protest that those examples are the past and similar discrimination no longer exists in our enlightened society.

    I think humanity will die of delusion and rationalization.

    The way I see it, laws incorporated outright discrimination, racial and otherwise, until this attitude fell out of fashion. Then they moved to incorporate disguised discrimination, and these persist to this day out of habit and inertia.

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  32. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Kathy:
    Thanks. I had begun to wonder, because so many people seem to be really debilitated for a few days by injections.

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  33. Kingdaddy says:

    @gVOR08: Years ago, I went to a talk by then-NYT editor in chief Arthur Sulzburger, who smugly proclaimed that, because of the criticism the paper got from both the right and the left, “We must be doing our job just about right.” Of course, he didn’t explore the other potential explanation, that they weren’t doing their jobs all that well.

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  34. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: Do you have any incite into the effects of the crackdown on Hong Kong’s place as the pre-eminent Asian banking center?

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  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    We appreciated the particular choice of cover as it likely revealed a real Animorphs fan on the SNL staff. It was the concluding book of the ‘David trilogy’ (Books 20, 21, 22) widely seen as traumatizing. Grown adult humans still lower their voices and look shifty when they talk about David.

    The plot involved a new member of the Animorphs who goes rogue and has to be killed before he can reveal everything to the bad guys. But one member of the team does not want to commit murder so she cooks up a work-around: they trick David into morphing into a rat, then lock him in a box for two hours – after two hours in morph you’re stuck permanently. They maroon David-rat on some off-shore rocks.

    Yep. For nine year-olds.

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  36. Kylopod says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    because of the criticism the paper got from both the right and the left, “We must be doing our job just about right.”

    That’s a logical fallacy that goes by different names, but I’d call it the middle-ground fallacy (Wikipedia calls it the Argument to moderation, or argumentum ad temperantiam). But it’s more than a fallacy–it’s also a widespread belief among people in the American elite, and it leads to sloppy thinking because it prioritizes the image of reasonableness over actually being reasonable.

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  37. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    …vaccines, I wonder how they’ll develop further.

    This touches on that w/regard to Covid 19, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/12/health/coronavirus-mutation-variants.html

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  38. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Think about symptoms when you catch a cold.

    Good. Now, the AstraZeneca and J&J shots use an adenovirus variety that causes common cold. The virus is modified to carry genes for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which it releases once it penetrates your cells. It does not reproduce, nor does it have any viral DNA or RNA left. But the immune system reacts to it as it would to the common cold virus.

    Except unlike the common cold, this virus did not infect your airway and reproduce there. Instead it was injected into the arm muscles and spread from there without reproducing. So you don’t get a stuffy nose or cough, but you may get the other reactions. You may feel sick, but not with the symptoms that are usual for the common cold.

    There’s speculation, which really ought to have been confirmed by now, that the adaptive immune system makes antibodies for the virus used as a vector, as well as to the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins it gets the cells to make. This could cause the second dose to be less effective, as many of the vectors would be stopped by antibodies before they infiltrate cells to get them to make more spike proteins.

    The Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, tries to get around this by using a different virus vector for the second dose.

    Anecdotally among coworkers and others I know, I’ve heard of more reactions to the AstraZeneca shot than the Pfizer shot. The latter uses mRNA encased in lipid nanoparticles, which may not ellicit the same level of immune response themselves as a virus does.

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  39. Jen says:

    @CSK: I’ve wondered about this myself. I rarely have reactions to vaccinations. Annual flu shot? Nothing. Barely injection-site soreness.

    I had no substantive reaction to either Pfizer shot. There was one shot we used to get periodically (living abroad=lots of injections) that used to cause substantial soreness (DPT, maybe?). However, my first Shingrix shot knocked me on my butt. I was incredibly sleepy the day after the first shot (as in, I’d sit down and then wake up an hour later). My arm hurt for days. Second Shingrix shot was days of feeling “off” as well. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not, but I had a horrible case of chicken pox as a kid. Made me wonder if there was a connection between that/the Shingrix vaccination/my chances of having a nasty case of shingles. Hopefully that’s been averted.

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  40. Kathy says:

    Sometimes what happens in interesting times can be really interesting.

    Like a brewery in Wisconsin funding lawsuits against schools that don’t protect children from COVID.

    Money quote from the link: “Wisconsin communities have exploded with the Delta variant because many school districts have dropped all forms of Covid mitigation that were in place last year due to the shrieking hordes of Tucker Carlson-watching zombies separated from their cerebrums and driven only by their lizard brains.”

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  41. Kylopod says:

    @Jen: Prior to Covid, the only vaccines I remember offhand getting as an adult were flu shots, and I’ve never had any reaction to those. The two doses of Moderna I got in the spring felt like getting hit by a ton of bricks.

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  42. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I’ve read that Shingrix is 97% effective in preventing shingles, so you should be fine.

    I understand how vaccines work; I was slightly concerned that my lack of reaction to them might mean I wasn’t getting the full benefits of them. Apparently not.

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  43. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I got no reaction from a flu shot last December, nor from the first dose of Pfizer in May. The second dose gave me a sore arm for a few days.

    I didn’t get flu last winter, but apparently neither did anyone else in the Northern Hemisphere.

    I haven’t come down with COVID, but I didn’t either between March 2020 and June 2021 (from when cases were first reported in Mexico until I was fully vaccinated).

    I wonder, though, if I caught an asymptomatic case, would I even know it?

    Some time lat year we had an antibody test at work, I forget when exactly. Other than that, I got two PCR tests and one antigen test at work, plus another PCR test just before my hernia surgery in March this year. All negative.

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  44. Kingdaddy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Briefly waving a picture of a mammalian fetus doesn’t strike me as “schooling” anyone. Particularly since human fetuses, in the early stages of development, look very much like other species’ fetuses. Especially when flashed for a few seconds in front of someone who didn’t expect that you’re testing that person’s ability to discern among fetuses. So, no, this clip doesn’t rise above the level of a prank.

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  45. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Does he maintain human level intelligence as a rat, or does he revert to rat level intelligence? What keeps him from getting eaten by a pelican on these off shore rocks?

    Seems like he was effectively murdered anyway, just in a much more drawn out, agonizing way. People who deliberately inflict out-of-sight suffering to maintain an illusion of kindness set off all sorts of red flags for me.

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  46. Joe says:

    Then they moved to incorporate disguised discrimination, and these persist to this day out of habit and inertia.

    I see this a little differently, @Kathy. I think people viewed discriminatory laws as following, rather than creating and enforcing, cultural norms. It did not occur to them that changing the laws would actually allow for or even require new cultural norms and they are confused or offended by this.

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  47. Dude Kembro says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    …if one can’t tell the difference between the NYT and FOX…

    I compared the New York Slimes’s news desk to the National Review, not FOX News. I know the diffrences between them: their audiences.

    The NYT news desk wraps its right wing narratives in a veneer of liberal respectability to hang onto its subscriber base.

    Fox News doesn’t have to bother: it’s selling the sheep the slime they want, unfiltered from the tap.

    Of the three, I find the National Review’s boilerplate conservative intellectualism for boilerplate conservatives the least dangerous. Because its the most honest. Mostly wrong, but honest about what they’re doing and who for.

    The NYT news desk selling GOP poison to people who still don’t realize what they’re ingesting is a major hindrance to American progress. Especially since those unwitting people include journalists at CNN, NBC, CBS, and WaPo who then spread the poison as conventional wisdom.

    Diffrences aside, “minimizing Trump’s white supremacist fascism while pushing a sleazy, sexist anti-Hillary smear campaign” by any other name is still “minimizing Trump’s white supremacist fascism while pushing a sleazy, sexist anti-Hillary smear campaign.” And the NYT still won’t admit and take responsibility for they what they did to the world.

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  48. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    In morph you retain all your human faculties, but often have to battle to control the animal’s instincts. So, yes, he was aware throughout. Don’t know if a Pelican would have got him, but the natural lifespan of a rat is somewhat abbreviated.

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  49. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    I’ve wondered too if I’ve had asymptomatic Covid? How would you know unless you tested yourself every day?

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  50. Joe says:

    @Kingdaddy: I think it is more an issue of showing that Charlie Kirk is a careless witness. The proper response is that “I have not seen this picture before. Are you representing that it is a human fetus?”

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  51. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: Neither is a franchise, but I would say that Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will both had more impact then Star Wars.

    The idiots with their Jedi religion just seem quaint now, don’t they?

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  52. CSK says:

    Leave it to W. Shakespeare to come up with the perfect description of Trump:

    “That trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that cloak-bag of guts…” Henry IV, Part One, Act 2, Scene 4

    Hat tip to Charlie Sykes.

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  53. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    Well, Jedism still appears to be chugging merrily along its way.

    http://www.templeofthejediorder.org

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  54. JohnSF says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Not really insights; a few guesses.

    It could be related insofar as
    – Quite a few City types feel an affinity for HK; quite a lot of linkage there.
    – Xi’s “turn to the Dark Side” has spiked a lot of investment plans developed during the Blair and Cameron eras; losing money upsets people.
    – Beijing has treated the UK with contempt on the matter, claiming the Hong Kong Treaty is essentially void; this also annoys some.
    – Related, there is actually genuine sympathy for the people of Hong Kong; hence the offer of residence and fast-track citizenship to 3 million HK residents (which has offended Beijing)

    Regarding both Russia and subsequently China, there is generally a sense of baffled frustration that, having been offered a place in the “Western” system on equal term, they are both intent instead on securing autocratic systems, defaulting to coercion not cooperation, and lack of respect for property and law.
    It’s difficult to do business with such people.

    And the fact that in a lot interactions with Russians and Chinese in the UK, a disproportionate number are corrupt officials, criminals and swindlers, who their British interlocutors privately regard with contempt, probably doesn’t help.

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  55. Stormy Dragon says:

    @CSK:

    Comparing Falstaff, one of Shakespeare’s most likeable and friendly characters, to Trump seems a really low blow. It should also be noted the quote in question is supposed to reflect more poorly on the person saying it (Prince Hal, later to be Henry V) than the person it is being said about as it’s a reflection of his decision to betray a life long friend for political approval.

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  56. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I haven’t watched the SNL cold-open yet, but as the original target audience for Animorphs (I was 12/13 and in 7th grade when the first one was published), I can very much attest that I’ve thought about that closing scene often. There are three moments from that series that still come to mind on a fairly regular basis:

    1. An early book (maybe the one dealing with rabies, maybe a few books compressed in my mind) from Marco’s viewpoint, where he talks about his mother’s death and it’s impact on him and his father. While Marco wasn’t a bully in the books, I read that one while dealing with a junior high school bully myself, one whose mother had passed. Accidentally taught me a lot about empathy and why people act out.
    2. Tobias choosing to stay a hawk.
    3. David’s death sentence. I mean, Jesus dude. IIRC, they could still hear him yelling through mind-speak long after they had lost sight of the island.

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  57. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    As said elsewhere in that exact same scene: “There lives not three good men unhanged in England, and one of them is fat and grows old.” and “Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.”

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  58. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Yeah, so it seems like they wanted the convenience of having him dead, but not the responsibility of having to do the act, so they did something even worse but which they didn’t have to be around for. The death may have been warranted, but still seems a cowardly way of handling it.

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  59. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JohnSF:
    I think Xi jumped the gun. He’s torn off the mask and shown the world that China is intent on bribing and bullying as its modus operandi going forward. Practically an open letter to the region suggesting they increase arms purchases and cozy up to the Americans and our various alphabet alliances. If the Chinese real estate market implodes, as seems likely now, there will be more eyes open to the CCP’s economic incompetence – a nation with four times our population struggles to achieve GDP parity.

    I’d have waited ten years til the Belt and Road was further along and I had the military muscle to impose Chinese hegemony on Asia. I wonder if Vietnam has the balls to give us basing rights at Da Nang?

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  60. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    The operating theory in Animorphs was that our heroes did not kill humans. Aliens, sure, but not humans. Besides, your concern strikes me as blatantly ratist. Are you saying life as a rat isn’t worth living?

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  61. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Quite. There’s nothing endearing about Trump.

    But I do like “that cloak-bag of guts” as a descriptor of The Former Guy.

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  62. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    To paraphrase another critic on the Henriad: Prince Hal is essentially caught between two father figures, Henry IV, whom he idolizes but cannot love, and Falstaff, whom he loves but cannot idolize, and the fact he ends up choosing to betray the one out of a sense of duty to the other is the central tragedy of his character arc.

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  63. flat earth luddite says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    @Michael Reynolds:
    Good thing for me that your books weren’t available in my childhood. We already hated all the city folks who’d drive out past the farm and drop off their dogs and cats to find “a good home in the country.” Note: that home was usually in a coyote’s belly.

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  64. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Before there were COVID vaccines, an accurate antibody test would let you know if you’d had asymptomatic COVID.

    After the vaccines, naturally you’d have antibodies. Looking for them then would not be conclusive.

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  65. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kylopod:..To the best of my knowledge, people haven’t created a religion out of James Bond.
    “Shaken not stirred” was the creed I followed in my drinking days.

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  66. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    As I’ve mentioned before, Vietnam has signed a defence agreement with France.
    Periodic French visits to Cam Ranh might be useful steps on that path.
    Similarly, if I was the administration I’d be looking at ways of facilitating sales of Skorpenes and Rafales to Vietnam.
    (Despite all the screeching that might provoke in the US weapons biz: I’d suggest UK stuff but we haven’t got anything that fits the bill, currently.)

    Doing things indirectly can pay off, sometimes.

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  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Usually I don’t get the sore arm either, but my last pneumonia vaccine (just last week so fresh in my memory) did give me a sore arm. The flu shot in the other arm did not. As Kathy said above, reactions vary person to person. I don’t put much meaning behind my lack of reaction.

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  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kingdaddy: Briefly waving a picture of a mammalian fetus doesn’t strike me as “schooling” anyone. Particularly since human fetuses, in the early stages of development, look very much like other species’ fetuses.

    That was the whole point. If somebody who insists a fetus is a baby from the moment of conception can’t identify it as human, maybe they should (they won’t but they should) reexamine their preconceptions.

    So no, it’s NOT just a prank.

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  69. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Dude Kembro: You are a fish complaining about the water. I understand it, but I’m quite tired of hearing about it from the left as well as the right.

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  70. flat earth luddite says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Kathy: , et al

    I got 2 doses of Pfizer, with no real noticeable reaction to either. But I wonder how much my not noticing anything is a result of systemic poisoning with years of chemo, combined with a generally misspent youth in the since the late 60’s on. (insert snark emoji)

    OTOH, SWMBO and daughter both complained of soreness and nausea day after theirs, and didn’t go for 2nd dose. The fact that there’s a concert next year they’re both jonesing to see is a guarantee that they’ll do something before the end of the year.

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  71. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It’s also worth noting the noticeable reactions to a vaccine come from the innate immune system. The adaptive part is the one that confers long-term protection or immunity to disease. that one takes longer, which is why you’re not fully vaccinated until two weeks after your second dose.

    BTW, when we got the antibody tests, several coworkers thought they’d test positive. It seems they thought a case of sniffles they had in March or April, when COVID cases were low, in their minds qualified as the mild form of COVID.

    Maybe that happens, but experience tells us “mild COVID” is like several days, or weeks, of utter hell, pain, brain fog, cough, fever, which don’t require hospitalization and don’t lower one’s blood oxygen levels too much, not a few days of a runny nose or a short bout of unexplained cough.

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  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: In the case of pneumonia vaccine, it might indicate that you’ve had pneumonia before. It the cases of other vaccines, it might indicate a higher basic threshold of resistance to infection. It’s not important, but it’s also not quite nothing.

    And in the cases of people who’ve been immunized a lot (allergy patients come to mind), no reaction may indicate that the body no longer sees having antigens injected into it is a cause for concern. “Okay, I’ll file this one in the appropriate slot and move on.”

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  73. dazedandconfused says:

    @CSK:
    Jedism: “…use The Cosplay, marketing!”

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  74. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF:

    Xi’s “turn to the Dark Side” has spiked a lot of investment plans developed during the Blair and Cameron eras; losing money upsets people.

    Interesting. Investments in HK or China? Or elsewhere in Asia?

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  75. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    But I do like “that cloak-bag of guts” as a descriptor of The Former Guy.

    Somewhere I heard an Iranian phrase I like with respect to Trump, and others, “A waste of skin.”

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  76. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I think it’s still a bit early to say that China can’t recover their footing. FWIW I think their biggest negative is the unbelievable degree to which government officials extract money from the economy. I don’t think it is Xi that is directly sabotaging Belt and Road, but rather that so much money is extracted by every official at every level, and the people they are dealing with don’t have the same skill in extracting the last yuan yet still getting the project across the finish line. And of course can’t cover up the shortfalls with endless loans.

    Xi is desperately trying to limit corruption to his inner circle, but that never works.

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  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: As I’ve been listening to this discussion, it reminds me of the line from Batman Begins where Batman notes that he won’t kill Raj al Ghul, but he won’t rescue him either. A distinction without a difference in my mind. Much like abandoning your family pet to become feral in the country–that doesn’t work out the way people imagine it either.

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  78. dazedandconfused says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    A case which support CRT, big time.

    Black children jailed for a crime that doesn’t exist.

    It’s a long read but worth it. It’s not just about race, it’s also about how some small rural communities have keyed into the fact that about the only thing their state will fork over cash for is incarceration, and they fork it over in a hurry, bigly. A small town can easily make themselves desperate for someone to incarcerate. This example is what happens when the people running the show are very stupid, but the smart ones will go for adults and are unlikely to get caught.

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  79. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    The fact that there’s a concert next year they’re both jonesing to see is a guarantee that they’ll do something before the end of the year.

    I wouldn’t put any money on that proposition. As I recall, you wife was saying on Sunday that there tickets are on the first level of the auditorium “so there won’t be any particular Covid danger.” I just caught myself before saying WTF!!!! I simply KNEW that would not be well received.

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  80. JohnSF says:

    In Brussels:

    Moscow’s EU envoy urges Europe to fix ties to avoid gas shortages
    Supply crisis would be resolved more quickly if bloc stopped treating Russia as ‘adversary’, says ambassador

    10,000 troll bonus points to Vladimir Chizhov!
    Trolling level Galactic Overlord unlocked!

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  81. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:
    It’s been really cool (and a huge relief) that Animorphs fans turned out to be the nicest fandom ever. We don’t seem to have acquired any (maybe one or two) of the toxic variety, just smart, kind, open-minded people. In fact, they find nice things we didn’t intend – trans folks have identified a lot. We make a point of dismissing credit for that since it wasn’t intentional, but it’s very cool nevertheless. The big surprise (relief) is that no one seems to have discovered anything cancelable.

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  82. JohnSF says:

    @MarkedMan:
    British investments in China, Chinese in UK, and joint ventures elsewhere, general trade, all mooted.
    And in each the finance guys, accountants and lawyers all get a fat payday.
    *poof* Up in smoke and away on the breeze go those prospective pounds sterling.

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  83. JohnSF says:

    Oh, dear…
    Fecal matter now on a fan intersecting trajectory.
    Brexit Minister Lord Frost proposes plans for entirely new protocol to replace existing Northern Ireland Protocol

    That will be received in Brussels and Dublin with approximately the same enthusiasm usually reserved for a rat sandwich.
    This could get very nasty, very quickly.
    See commentary by Rafael Behr

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  84. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    Oy vey.

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  85. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnSF: Certainly does seem as if a malevolent cloud has descended on our planet! UK spiraling, US circling the drain so many ways, China unable to keep the lights on.

    One could imagine a future that includes Xi Jenping facing an angry population and spinning a nationalist tale and heading off to ‘restore’ Taiwan to China and the entire 20th century worth of blood spilled is dwarfed by the nearly present.

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  86. Gustopher says:

    The new three percenters:

    The number of people quitting their jobs has surged to record highs, pushed by a combination of factors that include Americans sensing ample opportunity and better pay elsewhere.

    Some 4.3 million people quit jobs in August — about 2.9 percent of the workforce, according to new data released Tuesday from the Labor Department.

    Most of my friends are baffled that I have not quite my job, but they enjoy my regular reports from the War On Productivity.

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  87. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    In fact, they find nice things we didn’t intend – trans folks have identified a lot. We make a point of dismissing credit for that since it wasn’t intentional, but it’s very cool nevertheless. The big surprise (relief) is that no one seems to have discovered anything cancelable.

    Should we try? I mean, that seems like a challenge somehow…

    The kids morph into animals… are you saying trans folks are animals? And what does it say that they keep going back to human?

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  88. EddieInCA says:

    @CSK: @Kathy:

    I’m still getting tested 3 times per week. Since July 5th of 2020, I’ve been tested once a week for a few weeks, five times per week for several months, and three times per week since October of last year. Tomorrow will be my 260th Covid PCR test since July 5th of 2020.

    All negative, fortunately. So if I get an asymptomatic case (and we’ve had serveral vaxxed people who have gotten it), I’ll know pretty much right away.

    260 Nasal swabs. By the end of the year, I’ll be close to 300.

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  89. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: You always find a way. It’s amazing. 😛

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  90. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    In my endless and thankless job of stirring up controversy, I find myself asking whether news items like this one are why some of us don’t really see that big a difference in policies–even when comparing FG’s. The quote:

    Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas doubled down this week on the Biden administration’s use of a controversial Trump-era policy known as Title 42, dismissing recent criticism from a former senior State Department official who called the policy “illegal” and “inhumane.”

    In a Tuesday interview aired at an international security conference hosted by the nonprofit Soufan Center in Doha, Qatar, Mayorkas told Yahoo News Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff that Title 42 “is not an immigration policy that we in this administration would embrace.” Rather, he insisted, the policy is seen as a “public health imperative.”

    Isn’t that what all the Red State Whackos have been claiming?

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  91. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Yes, but they’ll HAVE to get the shots… a completed vaccine/COVID card is a requirement to get in. Hey, I don’t care what the mechanism is, as long as they get off of top-dead-center.

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  92. Mu Yixiao says:

    Elsewhere in the world:

    A young man in Georgia* who owns a lawn care business spends every Tuesday tackling out-of-control yards. For free. On YouTube.

    100,000 subscribers.

    Lawns like the ones he’s featuring are used by cities as excuses to condemn properties. This, pretty much exclusively, hits minority and low-income people. This kid is doing more than just mowing people’s lawns.

    Though… I suspect that anyone who is actually sitting down and watching 30-60 minutes of someone mowing lawns probably has a weird fetish.

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  93. Kurtz says:

    @Kylopod:

    But it’s more than a fallacy–it’s also a widespread belief among people in the American elite, and it leads to sloppy thinking because it prioritizes the image of reasonableness over actually being reasonable.

    I’d argue it also affects the thinking of moderate voters as well.

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  94. Beth says:

    @Gustopher:

    The kids morph into animals… are you saying trans folks are animals? And what does it say that they keep going back to human?

    Lol, cat girls are a huge trope in the community for some reason I can’t fathom (too old). I did, however, use a free Amazon gift card to buy a “fox girl” headband as part of an overly thought out joke. No one but me will find it more than slightly humorous. I, however, will be laughing my tail off.

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  95. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    Ah, but then you would run into the animal lovers. Are you denigrating our fellow non-plant living things? Are you suggesting that humans are somehow superior to kittens? Specesist.

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  96. Dude Kembro says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    You are a fish complaining about the water. I understand it, but I’m quite tired of hearing about it from the left as well as the right.

    I am not perfect by any means, but if one cannot tell the difference between the left’s legitimate, good faith criticism and the right wing gaslighting to work the refs…

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  97. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: Yeah. That’s different. And will probably work.

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  98. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “I think Xi jumped the gun”

    I suspect he’s gotten so used to being able to order his own people what to think — and punishing them if they speak wrongly — he doesn’t understand he can’t do this to everyone else.

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