Tuesday’s Forum

Have at!

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. 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. lynn says:

    Today’s newspaper had a full page ad for Horowitz’s new book, Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America.

    Huckabee said, ““One of the most intellectually compelling and rational defenses of Christianity’s role in America.”

    That settles it for me.

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  2. Scott says:

    Four American embassies were apparently in danger of imminent attack by Iran or its proxies, according to Trump; therefore the Soleimani assassination was justified.

    Problem was, is that the embassies were never warned.

    Meaning one of two things:

    1) Trump wanted the attack to justify the assassination and was willing to sacrifice American lives, or

    2) He lied.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/us-embassies-were-never-told-of-supposed-soleimani-threat-from-iran-because-it-didnt-exist-officials?ref=home

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  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Russia hacked Burisma…the full-on smear campaign against Biden is on.
    The media isn’t smart enough to cover this accurately. They will give credence to any nonsense the GRU gins up, by not calling it the fraud it is.
    So, here we go again.
    Trump can’t win without cheating.

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  4. Mister Bluster says:

    I almost wish that there would be, like, a simultaneous telecast, and all Americans would be forced — forced at gunpoint no less — to listen to every David Barton message, and I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.
    Mike Huckabee

    Some commenters claimed this was a joke.
    Every time I read of a shooting in this country Huckabee’s edict gets more humorous.

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  5. Teve says:

    @Mister Bluster: David Barton’s publisher had to yank one of his books off the shelf because there were just too many lies in it.

    Understanding the fake historian behind America’s religious right

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  6. Teve says:

    A modest proposal to save American democracy

    Dude suggests creating 127 new states.

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  7. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    Dude, I am a Wallace Stevens freak!

    (Ported to new thread.)

    There are a handful of poets where, when I don’t understand the poem, I know the problem is me. Wallace Stevens, Dylan Thomas, T. S. Eliot… not many others.

    Stevens rocks. Peter Quince at the Clavier. The Man with the Blue Guitar. The Emperor of Ice Cream. Six Significant Landscapes. Sunday Morning. The Snow Man. No Possum, No Sop, No Taters.

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  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I believe on the other thread it was stated that there are just not many good poets nowadays. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I recommend Sherman Alexie’s poetry. He’s better known for his stories, but some of his poems have punched me right in the gut. (Unfortunately I’m not in front of my bookshelf, and I don’t remember titles well at all, or I’d recommend one or two.)

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  9. Teve says:

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the founding fathers were stupid

    Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders unwittingly called the Founding Fathers stupid. She said she can’t think of anything dumber than allowing Congress to authorize war, apparently unaware that the Constitution does precisely that. Lucky for her she was on Fox and Friends, so she wasn’t called on it.

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  10. CSK says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I would suggest the late (very prematurely so) Jane Kenyon. “Otherwise” is a gut punch.

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  11. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    The movement to retrofit the Founders into hoot ‘n’ holler fundamentalists has been around for a while. It’s ludicrous.

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  12. Slugger says:

    I recollect that there was a terror attack in Pensacola, Florida, about six weeks ago. There has been very little talk about this in the media I frequent. Did I imagine this and create a false memory? Is there another reason for the lack of illumination?

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  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @ de Stijl (brought over from yesterdays forum):@Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Judging by how you framed it, wouldn’t wellies be the best option?
    We are having a discussion about boots.

    Yeah probably. I just never got comfortable wearing them. By “wore out fairly quickly,” I also mean that they wouldn’t last more than a year in that the uppers were never able to take a resole. The other 2 important issues about our boots were that steel shanks and steel toes were important (but not essential from an OSHA-type standpoint), and my recollection of the rubber wellies of the time (almost 5o years ago since I started at 18) was that such features were hard to find in rubber wellies. We had a guy who wore them and usually went through a pair in 6 or 8 months, when one of the shanks or toes would wear through the boot and pop out.

    Fun times. And at the time I was in the industry, the Teamster’s pension was solvent enough so that I would have retired on full pension at about 50. There was a window of about 10 years where you could retire at any age as long as you had 30 years in–just like teacher’s pensions were at the time.

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  14. Jax says:

    @Slugger: Barr is asking Apple to help unlock the dude’s phone, and after review, they’ve sent 21 Saudi’s packing for extremist rhetoric, child porn, and not telling anyone about what the guy was planning, if I remember that all correctly.

    I’d find you some links but my normal news aggregator is having issues getting anything loaded today, I’ll send them along when I find them the slow way!

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/salvadorhernandez/pensacola-military-base-shooting-terrorism?bfsource=relatedmanual

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  15. Scott says:
  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT:

    There are a handful of poets where, when I don’t understand the poem, I know the problem is me. Wallace Stevens, Dylan Thomas, T. S. Eliot… not many others.

    I’ll disagree with you on Stevens. Read a fair amount of his work while I was in grad school and am convinced that his poems are about nothing.

    Then again, I’ve never been much of a poetry guy, and there’s a reason that I gravitated toward teaching writing rather than literature as my career (???) evolved. Just the other day, some students were wrestling with poetry in a class I was subbing in, and I offered them the advice to remember that poems are pretty compliant and will generally agree to be whatever you say they are. (The miracle of Reader Response theory. 😉 )

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  17. de stijl says:

    Best thread ever.

    Poetry, boots, day to day politics.

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  18. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    I estimate, then, a travel ban imposed on Saudi Arabia between when Hell freezes over and never.

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  19. Slugger says:

    @Jax: Twenty-one guys had some possible involvement and get sent away without a comprehensive investigation by American authorities after a murderous attack on American soil? Is that how we routinely handle things? We are now relying on the Saudis for the administration of justice for crimes? I am surprised. I hope that the pattern of forfeiting bail and skipping the country by Saudi nationals is not ignored much longer.

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  20. Jax says:

    @Kathy: Nah, we’ll just keep letting them in the front door, I mean, Trump got to touch the glowing orb, I’m sure everything will be just fine!! 😉

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  21. Jax says:

    @Slugger: Could not agree more.

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  22. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I messed up my foot/ankle last year and it is paralyzed. So I walk, CLOMP, walk, CLOMP. I walk like Lurch.

    Those navy boots are heavy. Probably two pounds each, so it is a proper CLOMP when I put the right foot down.

    I have to walk every day. Well, I don’t *have* to, but it was strongly suggested by a doctor. I like it.

    You head out the door and pick a direction. Walk a mile or two, head back.

    You discover and see things differently by walking rather than driving. I know my immediate neighborhood way better now. It is a peaceful experience once you stop the noise in year head.

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  23. Teve says:

    Betty Cracker at Balloon Juice:

    Prediction: divorce proceedings will begin the moment those two leave the White House, and some GOP fat cat will pay Melania off not to have a ghost writer produce a tell-all.

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  24. Kathy says:

    I’m looking at long term savings/investment. My problem is that I understand certain financial “instruments” more than others. For example, I completely understand government debt bonds, but I still can’t quite wrap my head around stocks.

    Debt bonds get a bad wrap because the yield, after inflation and taxes/commissions, is negative. That is, it doesn’t quite keep up with inflation. true. but if you start with, say $100, add a total inflation of 10% over a period X, and wind up with $109 in cash at the end, you’re $1 behind inflation. But you’re also better off than if you do nothing and end up with $100. Or, worse, if you keep that money in a bank account that charges a commission for handling your account and pays a miserly interest, and you end up with, say $98.

    I’m looking at placing an amount in 91-day bonds, through a government operated service (it’s free), plus adding smaller monthly amounts in 28-day bonds, as well as re-investing all interest in said bonds. A hasty calculation I made of compound interest looks really good 25 years from now.

    We all know the saying about eggs and baskets(*). So I’m also looking at stocks as well. That’s far more complicated, and requires some attention. I’m thinking of simplifying somewhat by putting money into an index fund. All I’ve read about the stock market is that a highly paid pro trader has about as much of a chance of “beating” the market index as someone picking stocks at random.

    I don’t have time to randomly pick stocks, so an index fund makes better sense.

    (*) The usual meaning is that putting all items/resources in one place/thing will be disastrous if that place or thing suffers a big misfortune. But diversifying gives you a far higher chance at misfortune in a place or thing. Only the latter misfortune(s) is less likely to be catastrophic.

    And that is why people keep looking for certainty where there is none.

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  25. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Or maybe Melania’s pre-nup included an NDA.

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  26. Teve says:

    @Kathy: people whose jobs are to beat the market don’t beat the market. Index funds FTW!

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  27. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’ll disagree with you on Stevens. Read a fair amount of his work while I was in grad school and am convinced that his poems are about nothing.

    For me, that was John Ashbery. The more I read, the more I concluded that he was trolling the literary world. For example, “Alms for the Beekeeper”:

    He makes better errors that way.
    Pass it around at breakfast:
    the family and all, down there with a proximate sense of power,
    lawyering up. Less log-heavy, your text-strategy
    beat out other options, is languid.
    Duets in the dust start up,
    begin. Again.

    He entered the firm at night.
    The 26th is a Monday.

    Uh huh. Right.

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  28. CSK says:

    ABC News is reporting that an 86-year-old man robbed a bank at gunpoint in Greenville, SC. , and further, that his motive for so doing was “unclear.”

    My guess would be…desperate for money.

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  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    People act as if an NDA imposes some kind of death sentence. It’s just a financial instrument, it imposes financial penalties. We way overestimate the defiance in people. Everyone thinks they’re a maverick but the vast majority are cattle.

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  30. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy: Inflation has not been much of a factor for a while now, but if you are concerned about it in the long run one option is TIPS: Treasury Inflation Protected Securities. These are government bonds that promise to pay a specific return over and above inflation. They make a great hedge in a balanced portfolio.

    Unfortunately, they’re ridiculously hard to buy as individual bonds. You can buy into a mutual fund that trades TIPS (which is what I do), but then your return depends as much on how the market expects TIPS to perform than on the TIPS themselves.

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  31. Neil Hudelson says:

    Ever since November 2016, I’ve been thinking a lot of the John Betjeman poem “Slough.”

    Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
    It isn’t fit for humans now,
    There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
    Swarm over, Death!

    Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
    Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
    Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
    Tinned minds, tinned breath.

    Mess up the mess they call a town—
    A house for ninety-seven down
    And once a week a half a crown
    For twenty years.

    And get that man with double chin
    Who’ll always cheat and always win,
    Who washes his repulsive skin
    In women’s tears:

    And smash his desk of polished oak
    And smash his hands so used to stroke
    And stop his boring dirty joke
    And make him yell.

    But spare the bald young clerks who add
    The profits of the stinking cad;
    It’s not their fault that they are mad,
    They’ve tasted Hell.

    It’s not their fault they do not know
    The birdsong from the radio,
    It’s not their fault they often go
    To Maidenhead

    And talk of sport and makes of cars
    In various bogus-Tudor bars
    And daren’t look up and see the stars
    But belch instead.

    In labour-saving homes, with care
    Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
    And dry it in synthetic air
    And paint their nails.

    Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
    To get it ready for the plough.
    The cabbages are coming now;
    The earth exhales.

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  32. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kathy:

    I don’t have time to randomly pick stocks, so an index fund makes better sense.

    I have been going with Warren Buffet’s instructions, for his family after he passes, for a long time. No complaints. I do a quarterly “check-up” on all my accounts; otherwise I don’t worry about it.

    In a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, he wrote that the instructions in his will state that the trustee is to invest 90% in a low-cost S&P 500 index fund, with the remaining 10% to be invested in short-term government bonds.

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  33. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Ivana, Wife #1, had to retract a few things she said about Trump–including a credible rape accusation–in order to get her settlement. Melania probably would want an easy exit and a quick payoff.

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  34. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    I am trying to figure out what I think is most likely:

    Huckabee-Sanders doesn’t know that it’s in the Constitution; (unqualified, ignorant, possibly double digit IQ.)

    Or she knows it is, but doesn’t care, because times have changed; (hypocrisy via selective readings of law)

    Or she knows it is, but doesn’t care because it is God’s plan and that is a higher law than human constructions; (nutty eschatology)

    Or she knows it, but doesn’t care because she is paid to push certain views. (cynical politicking for a buck.)

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  35. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Kurtz: Huckabee-sanders typically goes for the cheap shot and doesn’t let facts get in her way, and I believe that’s it. That’s what she did with her crack about Comey being hated in the FBI.

    So, it’s less “a lie” and more “bulls***”. The difference is that the speaker doesn’t care if the BS is true or not, he/she only is saying it because it fills a specific need at that moment in time.

    She has that in common with Trump, he says things because he wants to feel like he’s “winning”, not whether something is true or not.

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  36. Kurtz says:
  37. Kurtz says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    Fair enough. I’ve often wondered how many politicians don’t actually have any concrete ideas, but want to be politicians so they just go with whatever ideology gets them elected where they are.

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  38. Michael Cain says:

    @CSK:

    My guess would be…desperate for money.

    Several years ago we had a bank robber who pleaded guilty and as soon as he was sentenced, announced that he had an early version of some cancer and pointed out that under state law the state was obligated to provide appropriate care. At the time, having the state pay for treatment for a prisoner was probably a better bet on getting uninterrupted care than trying to buy it with a pile of stolen cash.

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  39. Kurtz says:

    Last night during Lsu-Clemson, I was writing a post about housing costs for the other open thread. It ballooned into a long essay. So now I don’t know what to do with it.

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  40. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: That’s what fresh Open Forum’s are for, silly! Post it!

    We got like 8 inches of snow in 4 hours and the wind is starting to blow, so I am essentially a captive audience. Gonna need all the entertainment I can get.

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  41. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Well, they don’t beat the market consistently, year after year. They may ave a lucky year, and maybe even a few in a row. Long term, though, they”ll under-perform the index.

    If you had a time machine, you could see the best performers, go back one year and buy them. but then that would alter the timeline and who knows what would happen.

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  42. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Melania can get an easy 10 million minimum for a tell-all. Another couple million when it gets optioned. Then she can go on the speaking tour and pull down an easy 100k a pop. If she has any facility for public speaking (dubious, I know) she gets a gig on The View. She wouldn’t be on food stamps. And Trump can’t afford to sue her, he’d be buried in Dem lawyers working pro bono demanding disclosures Trump doesn’t want to make.

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  43. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz: I agree with @Jax, post it. Possibly wait for the start of an open thread, if you are up when those happen.

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  44. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve:

    Dude suggests creating 127 new states.

    I don’t suppose I can really criticize him, since I’m out in the lunatic fringe that believes the country is too big, is sorting itself along roughly geographic lines with incompatible views on important policies, and the inevitable Constitutional Convention will agree on a peaceful partition.

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I know what you mean. I’ve been a walker all my life–sometimes not so much, but I’ve always walked to where I was going if it was practical to do. Living in Korea made walking easy. Bus stops are 500 meters or more apart. Subway, about a click apart. Even when you take the bus or the subway, you still have a 20-30 minute walk to where you’re going most of the time.

    Now COPD is the obstacle, but the area I live in is mostly level so an hour walk is easy to access. Good luck with your continued stepping and clunking. 🙂

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  46. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I’m investing locally for the time being, and until I have a chance to look at stock offerings. The entry-level, easy investment has a nominal yield of 7.2-7.4%, while inflation last year was, overall, 2.83%, down from 4.83% in 2018 and 6.77% in 2017. So right now it looks great.

    There is an option that takes inflation into account, but I’m still researching that one.

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  47. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: yeah, I sense the evangelical vibe of, ‘I’m right and righteous and I need to win by any means necessary because it’s for the greater good.’

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  48. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    You discover and see things differently by walking rather than driving. I know my immediate neighborhood way better now. It is a peaceful experience once you stop the noise in year head.

    It’s kind of wonderful, and something people just don’t experience these days — or at least I didn’t before starting MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction, essentially CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and meditation — very effective for anxiety attacks). Just stop, do nothing and focus on it.

    Meanwhile I’m typing this, listening to a podcast and petting two cats. Middle aged cat is so much better than the kitten.

    I’m trying to decide between two jobs — one is pretty average but using technology in a weird space, while the other is walking distance from my house and boring. I might take the boring one just for the walk.

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  49. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Melania can get an easy 10 million minimum for a tell-all.

    The person in the inner Trump circle to watch is the one who can get a suspended sentence if they “tell all.”

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  50. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz: He looks like me at a party with people I don’t know.

    Why did you make me identify with Bannon? Why?

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  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Cain: Indeed. My guess was going to be he probably doesn’t have money for nursing home care, but you beat me to it.

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  52. Teve says:

    @Michael Cain: The 127 new states thing was just a clever technical way a guy figured out how you could seriously rearrange the constitution with just a Democratic majority.

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  53. Teve says:

    $10 says as soon as he’s out of office Trump’s gonna be begging NBC for a new season of the apprentice.

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  54. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I’d love it if things would play out as you say. But I think Melania is too vacuous to mount a successful speaking tour or take a gig on a talk show. She can barely speak English anyway.

    And…who knows? She may like the life she has with Trump. I doubt if there’s any sex involved, nor any other kind of husband-wife intimacy. She’s paid to show up occasionally on his arm. For the rest of the time, she’s free to read fashion magazines and do Pilates. She once told People magazine that that was how she spent her days, and I see no reason to doubt her.

    And again…who knows? She may have something very satisfying going on on the side with a bodyguard.

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  55. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl: @Gustopher:
    I love walking in NYC or Paris or Edinburgh, lots of places. I used to walk a lot in DC where walking is a competitive sport. But it has to be a target-rich environment: stuff has to be happening. I hate exercise as exercise – I need to be going somewhere, seeing something new.

    My current exercise regimen is (not joking) smoke half a joint and walk my outdoor treadmill for 30 minutes looking toward the Griffith Observatory which never gets any closer. If I lived in Manhattan I’d find various coffee shops and delis a couple miles away and take a different route each day. In LA I’d have to drive to a place where I can walk which seems wrong.

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  56. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    You copy of The Camp of the Saints is in the mail.

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  57. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Yeah, I don’t think there’s some deep well of untapped brilliance in Melania. She’s essentially an escort, a high-priced hooker. But I guarantee you the pre-nup is totally one-sided so when he dumps her for the next bimbo she’ll be left with little or nothing. Gotta know when to fold ’em. She should cash in at the top of the market which would be right now. If Trump loses her book advance would be cut by 70%.

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  58. Jax says:

    @Teve: Ha! Celebrity Apprentice: SuperMax, I hope.

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  59. Kurtz says:

    Yeah, I have weird sleep habits. So there is a fair chance that I will be up when the next thread comes up. Hopefully tomorrow. I will go back through it tonight for a quick edit and add a few things.

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  60. Teve says:

    @Jax: “You both have four hours to make the most license plates you can for me. The winner will get the Shrimp-flavor Ramen packet under my mattress.”

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  61. gVOR08 says:

    @Kurtz: The answer to all headlines with a question mark is NO. The answer to all conservative dichotomies (quadchotomies?) is YES, all of the above.

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  62. Teve says:

    One downvote for Me, Slugger, Jax, CSK, Reynolds, Mr. Bluster, Darrell, and Scott.

    I wonder if that’s the work of one idiot with a grudge, or multiple sensible people who object to specific things.

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  63. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, seems uncharacteristically dumb of Obama to have not made some investments when he took the time machine back to plant his birth announcements.

    ETA – awful easy on an iPad to hit post while typing an email address.

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  64. Jax says:

    @Teve: I think we discovered the serial downvoter in that other thread last night….Meh, who wants the comments section disabled in it’s entirety. So we shouldn’t take it personally, he/she is like Oprah, down votes all around!!

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  65. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Yeah, I don’t think there’s some deep well of untapped brilliance in Melania. She’s essentially an escort, a high-priced hooker.

    That seems a little harsh to sex workers.

    I think a high-end escort would have stopped seeing a client that is as repugnant as Donald Trump is, unless they approved of Donald Trump.

    It might even be harsh to Melania, who could be staying for her kid.

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  66. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Kurtz: Honestly, I think it’s even worse: I think they’re just trying to “win”, either by throwing out a witty comeback or getting some plaudits on the appearance. It’s not even about ideology with Trump (it probably is with huck-sand, but as evangelicals have demonstrated, their ideology is pretty flexible).

    I think trump is basically a real estate salesman/hype man, and that’s it. He’ll say anything to get you to put down your earnest money or what have you and then he’ll try to put the screws to you. That’s why he always uses superlatives. If you change the subject from policy to real estate, it begins to make a lot more sense because real estate is so subjective (the trump tower has the best views, is the most luxurious, etc. etc. etc.) That’s what he knows and that’s what he brings over from his previous life.

    The problem is with real estate, he didn’t have to worry about keeping his customers, once they bought something from him, he didn’t owe them anything. Even if he did treat them well, what’s the chance of them buying another trump property? But in most other kinds of business (and politics), those customers stick around. And if he mistreated them in some way, unless they owe him or depend on him for something, they won’t work with him again. That’s part of his problem right now, he has burned his bridges with the democrats, and he spends his time on pushing around the republicans to keep them in line (because they depend on him). This is why I believe that if and when the republicans see a chance (by this I mean: he loses a significant amount of the support of his base), they’ll turn on trump because they don’t like being in that position.

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  67. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    In LA I’d have to drive to a place where I can walk which seems wrong.

    I often drive to a park to walk around a lake, which is pretty and flat. Everything in Seattle has hills, and I have a bad knee (lost 40lbs*, so the knee feels way better, but still can be a problem). It does feel a little wrong, but it’s on the way to a bunch of other places, so it’s often just a stop on my way to buy cat food.

    *: Here’s the trick for weight loss — IBS with unknown triggers, plus not enough fiber, so eating often makes you feel nauseous. Also, meditate enough that hunger is just kind of a sensation rather than a need.

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  68. Teve says:

    @Jax: My general philosophy is that there are half a dozen idiot trolls here, so six or fewer downvotes can be completely disregarded. If you’re getting more than six, then some smart people here are downvoting you, and you need to take another look at what you said.

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  69. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    As I mentioned yesterday, some people will downvote you for saying “Good morning.”

    In this case, it may be that all the names you cited, including mine, belong mostly to commenters who’ve said unusually scathing things about Trump.

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  70. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    inflation last year was, overall, 2.83%, down from 4.83% in 2018 and 6.77% in 2017.

    Huh? Those are way high. The CPI has been between 1.8% and 2.4% over the past 3 years. Where are you getting your numbers?

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  71. Michael Cain says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Now COPD is the obstacle, but the area I live in is mostly level so an hour walk is easy to access.

    I have always been a walker, but have developed chronic compartment syndrome that walking/running sets off. A quarter-mile is okay, but beyond that is a crap shoot. Everyone is puzzled by the fact that I can ride a bike all day without it bothering me. I’ve been working through the list of things the Kaiser PT gave me by price, unsuccessfully. The next thing on the list is significantly more expensive.

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  72. de stijl says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    That was cathartic.

    They’ve tasted Hell.

    A house for 97 down
    And once a week a half crown.
    For twenty years

    And the best:

    And daren’t look up and see the stars

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  73. de stijl says:

    Morrissey probably read that before writing Everyday Is Like Sunday.

    @Gustopher:

    I deal with anxiety, and thus avoidance, which leads to more anxiety, and intermittent agoraphobia. That hasn’t been an issue lately, but there was a spell this summer where I didn’t leave the house for three weeks. Rush out to get groceries, pray you don’t have a panic attack in the store, book home and hole up for another two weeks.

    It’s pretty spooky. You wish you were invisible.

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  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Not good enough. I want the box of raisins, too.

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  75. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    The rates paid by the bonds come from El Banco de México, the country’s central bank. The inflation figures from INEGI (loosely National Institute of Geography and Statistics).

    Though I should correct that the 28-day bond this week (today, in fact) fell to 7% and the 91-day to 7.15%. (they were both above 7.20 last week). But the inflation is right. I have the report right here in my hand (we print the bi-monthly inflation report at the office for reference).

    You can see for yourself here. It’s even in English. the word to look for is “cetes”

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  76. Fortunato says:

    I am dreadfully, despondently, lugubriously, mind-numbingly weary of the constant deluge of headlines/story’s bemoaning the “lack of diversity” in the Dem primary field.
    A back of he napkin accounting finds:
    Of their 198 Congressfolk, Republicans have one, single black man serving in the House. And he is retiring at the end of this session.
    Of their majority in the Senate, Republicans have again, one, single black man. The only black man, or woman, to hold a seat on the Republican side of the Senate aisle in the last 41 years.

    And..
    Of the 198 Republicans in the House, a whopping 15 are women.
    By comparison there are 87 women in the Democrats caucus of 232.

    Yet, nary a peep from the media, or anyone else, about GOP diversity.

    I mean, sure, past GOP primary fields have included the likes of Herman ‘9-9-9’ Cain, Ben ‘Pyramids’ Carson and Michelle ‘Reparative Therapy’ Bachmann.
    And no doubt the Snowbilly Grifter was a prominent right wing feminine fixture for several years. Why, it’s been a veritable Carnival Sideshow of.. diversity in past GOP primaries.
    All of this begging the question;
    if we Dems were to get, say Howdy Doody, Ozzy Osbourne and Hulk Hogan to run in our primary, would that be sufficient to change the narrative from, ‘but.. but.. DIVERSITY!’

    Is that how this works?

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  77. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Off-duty Secret Service agent shoots and kills dog on a leash in Brooklyn

    Some people shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun on the streets, but here in Misery you don’t even need a permit to conceal carry.

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  78. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I just down voted you for saying “Good Morning.” It hadn’t happened yet and I didn’t want you to get your feelings hurt or anything.

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  79. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Well, that makes me feel better. 😀

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  80. Jax says:

    @Fortunato: Hahahaha….Snowbilly Grifter, hadn’t heard that one yet!!!

    Even worse are the gushing headlines and angry memes from the Bernie Bros/Warren fans today. Civil war, I tell ya!

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  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I just saw this and feel the need to pass it on in case nobody else has yet: FEMA Spent a Ton Fighting California’s Fires. Now It Wants Victims to Pay It Back.

    To be clear, the federal agency is actually asking PG&E—the utility company currently in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings that is responsible for wildfires over the past several years—for a nearly $4 billion reimbursement for the cost of the federal government’s response to California fires in 2015, 2016, and 2018. The agency argues that it has a duty to hold third parties who cause a disaster accountable for the spent taxpayer dollars. Still, a former FEMA director was reportedly shocked by the agency’s request calling it “unusual” and “inappropriate.”

    Under the utility’s current bankruptcy plan, the money would have to come out of the $13.5 billion reserved primarily to compensate thousands of wildfire victims. That would effectively eat up almost a third of the relief money. Barring that, FEMA threatened to go after individual fire victims

    So, in either scenario, victims get shorted, and FEMA doesn’t seem to mind.

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  82. Jax says:

    I’m super bored and tired of shoveling snow, so I made the mistake of reading about the Royal Megxit drama. Even worse, I read the comments section.

    Do you guys realize how great this place is? It’s like we’re a bunch of happy little ducks swimming in our own happy little pond with happy little Bob Ross clouds over our heads. I feel like I need a bath after reading the filth in that other comments section.

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  83. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Bowing with great humility
    I live to serve.

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  84. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: It’s not awesome, but if you have to have a mental illness, anxiety is one of the better ones. Mine is mostly a terror of sudden impending death, which is generally fine. I haven’t locked myself in the house for weeks at a time (yet).

    I’d expect you’ve gone through the various treatment options, but if you’ve missed MBSR and meditation, or passed on it because it seems like hippy-dippy nonsense, it does work for a lot of people. (I avoided it for years because of how dumb it seems… but got desperate enough to commit to it for a while anyway, because my judgmentalness wasn’t helpful)

    Also, CBD affects my blood thinners, so I couldn’t do that.

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  85. Teve says:

    The best nicknames for Palin were Caribou Barbie and Bible Spice.

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  86. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Of course you do.

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  87. Jax says:

    ROFLMAO!!!!! Ehrmagerd, you guys gotta read this!!!

    https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2020/01/13/iowa-courts-david-ostrom-requests-trial-combat-swords-settle-dispute/4456079002/

    I’m bored…..so, so bored. Go away, snow! Where’s my dang kids at, they’ll entertain me! The cats are all laser-lighted out. 😉

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  88. An Interested Party says:

    I’m curious to know what the authors and writers around here think of this…

    Stephen King On Oscars Nominees: ‘I Would Never Consider Diversity In Matters Of Art’

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  89. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: literally five minutes ago on Twitter I blocked somebody who was trashing King for this clumsy remark.

    My very long block list on social media consists of 97% Trumpers and 3% woker-than-thou jerks.

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  90. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: Ad-Block-Blocking made me go elsewhere for that important news.

    It also contained this:

    Ostrom later admitted to misspelling the word but argued that he did not have any mental health issues.

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  91. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: I would’ve loved to see the look on the court reporter’s face as they were typing that in. And the judge. And the bailiff. 😉

    Oh, since you’re a cat guy, I wish I could post pictures here of the feline reaction to the snow this morning! They’re meme-worthy, they walk out onto the shoveled path and have to stand up on their hind legs to look over the drifts. Cracking me up!

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  92. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: And King later clarified, more than we’ll enough, in my opinion. (Basically, the oscar nominees being so white is a problem of lack of opportunity for PoC creators…)

    I don’t know what is in the man’s heart (probably blood, but I just suspect), but judging from his actions and statements in the past, he’s not an enemy of diversity. Maybe not as much of an ally as some people want, but definitely not an enemy.

    His writing does contain a few “magical negros” though… So, not always perfect. But who can ever be perfect? You spend your life being marinated in stereotypes and tropes and some are going to sink in.

    I hope this infuriates people on the right that SJWs are attacking Stephen King, and they start buying his books in droves. Better than the stuff they normally read, and I’m sure Mr. King could find a use for some royalty checks.

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  93. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    I’m at work with very little to do, for a change. While that’s pleasant, it does get tedious. I’ve been researching investments, especially for low amounts…

    On a different tack, KLM joins the Boeing 747 exodus, announcing retirements of their last 747s. KLM flew a number of “combi” 747s, which carried cargo as well as passengers. Of course, all planes carry cargo often in the lower deck holds. The combi, though, uses about half the middle deck for cargo, so it carries fewer passengers.

    The Queen of the Skies will remain in service for a while yet. British airways seems in no hurry to replace theirs. Lufthansa, Korean Air, and Air China all acquired the last passenger variant, the 747-8i (Intercontinental). More of the pure cargo variant, the 747-8f were produced. Some airlines that have retired the 747 for passenger service, maintain their cargo versions. You can see these jumbo jets, delivering cargo, even in airports which see little or no passenger widebody service.

    The reason this plane is no longer popular is simple: it has 4 engines. therefore even with new, efficient engines, it uses up more fuel than the twin jets currently en-vogue, like the 777, 787, A350, A330. It’s also worth noting the bigger 777s are almost as big as a 747 would be if it had just one passenger deck rather than one and a half.

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  94. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: he gives a lot to the Dems but i doubt anti-liberal conservatives will buy his books more. Readin too much makes you talk like a fag.

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  95. Teve says:

    @Kathy: do you know, in a way that’s easy to explain to a layman, what happened over the last few decades that made jet engines so much more efficient?

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  96. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl: @Gustopher:

    I have never dealt with that level of anxiety. I never really had to worry about panic attacks. I don’t envy that. But…

    I had untreated ADD for about 25 years until recently. I’m not sure if the depression came after or before that. I was on Zoloft for several years, but it only worked for a little while.

    I take a newer one now. It blocks the reuptake of both Norepinephrine and Serotonin, and it has worked well. Hidden under those two things was relatively minor anxiety. I take a small dose of buspar for that.

    The first doctor I went to see was old school dude and wouldn’t ever give me a stimulant for ADD–he was concerned by my cannabis consumption. (In fact, he tried push some bullshit Dr. Amen SPECT scan poster.) Despite that, he knew his Psychopharmacology. He got me on the right med for me, so i can let the quacky poster slide.

    But when I got insurance, I went to a Neurologist who sent me to a Neuropsychogist for “objective” ADD testing. That was an interesting three hours. That dude was cool.

    Definitely ADD. From what I can tell, the low dose Adderall has worked so far. A higher dose of XR is most likely necessary to keep me focused throughout the day. But after a few weeks, I’ve noticed a big difference in the morning–it is definitely gone by 1 PM or so. But it seems even at night, my mind works a little better.

    Yoga has helped with the depression and anxiety. Well, the slower kind. I tried a different class that felt almost like a stretchy Tae Bo class. That was terrible. But the more tranquil version was pretty relaxing and physical enough that it seemed good for the body too.

    I haven’t made the time for meditation yet. But i may give that a go.

    Hang in there you two.

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  97. BIll says:

    @Kathy:

    On a different tack, KLM joins the Boeing 747 exodus, announcing retirements of their last 747s. KLM flew a number of “combi” 747s, which carried cargo as well as passengers. Of course, all planes carry cargo often in the lower deck holds. The combi, though, uses about half the middle deck for cargo, so it carries fewer passengers.

    I flew KLM on 747s twice. In 1997 and 2000 to Amsterdam from Detroit. First trip was to Switzerland, the second trip to Warsaw-Czech Replublic and Austria.

    Nothing stands out from either trip other than KLM leaving our bags behind in AMS as we traveled to Warsaw. I was pissed about that. I was a NW platinum FF at the time and KLM and NW had a codeshare and we were flying business class.

    Another experience with KLM- On the way back from Zurich, and after I had reconfirmed my reservation 2 or 3 days earlier, somebody at KLM cancelled my return reservation. My wife’s reservation was fine. I got home but the KLM people in Zurich had us at the counter for about an hour as they figured out what to do.

    Who can forget that it was a KLM 747 that was part of the Tenerife disaster. Their senior Captain, featured in the March 77 in flight magazine, and the crash was partly due to his taking off without clearance.

    I have traveled on 747s with Northwest, Philippine Airlines, Singapore, and KLM. Singapore was a great experience.

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  98. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    This is a tough one. I agree with King that talent should be the primary consideration. But I also know from experience that it’s tougher for many women and POC to get a fair hearing.

    The romance genre is overwhelmingly female in terms of readers and authors. It is, in fact, currently the most successful category in publishing, as I read just today. But it’s a very limited category, and not one for which I have any desire to write.

    It’s true that some men do not take anything written by a woman seriously. Andre Norton, an esteemed sci/fi author, published under a male pseudonym for that reason.

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  99. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:

    I have great respect for Stephen King. When he started out, he was living in a trailer with a wife and two small children, teaching by day and working in a laundry at night to support his family. And he wrote. Never gave up. He deserves his success.

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  100. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    A little, considering I don’t exactly know all the story.

    To begin with, turbojets were largely replaced by turbofans. Briefly the former push out thin streams of hot exhaust at high speed, while the later push out large volumes of compressed air at high speeds (though lower than turbojet exhaust). Think of the turbojet as an air-breathing rocket, and the turbofan as a jet-powered set of propellers.

    I think the first major design with turbofan engines was, coincidentally, the 747. Eventually later versions of older jets, like the DC-9 and 727, changed to turbofans.

    The rest is demand by the airlines, fuel prices, R&D, lighter materials, better knowledge of the workings of engines, etc.

    And it’s not all in the engines. Aircraft design counts, too. Take the little fins common on the tips of wings these days. they prevent air vortices from creating some drag. Not much, but it’s noticeable. The 787 and A350 make extensive use of composite sin the fuselage, which are lighter than aluminum. A lighter plane uses up less fuel.

    Much the same mix of factors have made for more efficient auto engines as well. Though here we can add government regulations.

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  101. Michael Cain says:

    @Gustopher:

    Ad-Block-Blocking made me go elsewhere for that important news.

    Reek’s Anti-Adblock Killer gets around a surprising amount of that stuff, but requires enough expertise to install Greasemonkey or equivalent software first. That can be a significant hurdle. For me, this has become a moral imperative sort of thing: I insist that I am in control of what data and code my browser downloads, runs, and displays. I’m enough of a nut that I insist on much greater control over fonts/sizes than browsers provide, and have a sizeable chunk of my own JavaScript that runs against almost every page I download. Occasionally I look over my wife’s shoulder when she’s browsing through stuff — my experience of the Web is very different than hers.

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  102. Gustopher says:

    @CSK:

    This is a tough one. I agree with King that talent should be the primary consideration. But I also know from experience that it’s tougher for many women and POC to get a fair hearing.

    At the point of casting a ballot for the oscars though (the context of his statement), you either have to vote for a nominee or abstain.

    And there’s almost always a great performance or two among the nominees, even in a bad year. Do you refuse to recognize someone’s excellent work because other people didn’t get the opportunity? Maybe? Sometimes?

    If Watchmen doesn’t get some Emmy nominations this year, I will be appalled. It is so much better than it has any right or reason to be.

    I also think TV is better than movies these days — a 10 hour episodic story can do a lot more than a movie, and the production quality is often on par.

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  103. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @lynn: Whenever I see or hear anything related to the Huckabee’s, I’m reminded of a saying attributed to the evangelist Earnest Aingley:

    Jesus can change your heart, but stupid will stay with you.

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  104. Kurtz says:

    @Fortunato:
    @Teve:

    I like Bible Spice, myself. All three are new to me. And delightful. Yup. Definitely delightful.

    One of the recent recurring themes from a couple of the conservative commenters on 538 has been the allegedly sexist treatment of Palin by Dems. Others have countered that Dems defended her against any sexist attacks. I don’t really remember either of those things.

    What I do remember was criticism from both sides of the Bachmann Newsweek cover. So, my guess is the Palin claim is BS. Palin was clearly out of her depth. Bachmann was just a reactionary.

    Fun fact I just found: when Bachmann’s staff first saw the cover photo, they approached her with it. Before they could show her, she thought their facial expressions that she had been indicted.

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  105. Kurtz says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I just think of that line in I Heart Huckabees when Naomi Watts character says, “Fuckabees.”

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  106. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz: At least from the MBSR perspective, yoga is basically the same as sitting meditation. You’re aware of your body, and the movements and your breath as you move.

    You might not see a difference in results.

    MBSR classes tend to throw a bunch of these things at people (yoga, sitting meditation, walking meditation, qi gong, etc) and whichever works for them hopefully sticks and becomes a habit.

    (And then you begin to wonder about the traditions that created these tools, and start learning about Buddhism on your own…)

    MBSR is *almost* scientifically based. There are studies of its effectiveness (very significant, and now used to treat PTSD in VA hospitals), but not enough studies of the effectiveness of its various components.

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  107. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    Nope. I always recognize excellence. Is that what you’re asking?

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  108. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, engine efficiency gains have been primarily high-bypass turbofans. High-bypass engines have, by definition, a larger diameter. Worth noting that the fundamental 737 MAX decision that cascaded into all the problems was selecting higher-bypass larger-diameter more-efficient engines than could be easily accommodated.

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  109. Teve says:

    @CSK: I do think King worded the tweet poorly and I can see how some people thought it was wrong and even clueless. But some people were jumping on it like it was a New York Times editorial he worked on for three days. It was a 72-year-old’s tweet and and he has a good history on these things and he just fucked this one up. A small number of extremely online people should save the How Dare Yous and pick their battles a little better.

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  110. Teve says:

    @Kathy:

    To begin with, turbojets were largely replaced by turbofans. Briefly the former push out thin streams of hot exhaust at high speed, while the later push out large volumes of compressed air at high speeds (though lower than turbojet exhaust). Think of the turbojet as an air-breathing rocket, and the turbofan as a jet-powered set of propellers.

    That’s an excellent explanation. Thanks!

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  111. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    I also think TV is better than movies these days — a 10 hour episodic story can do a lot more than a movie, and the production quality is often on par.

    Yeah, outside of a few huge directors, TV is typically better. Then again, there are a lot of wildly popular shows, that I am pretty meh on. Though I didn’t understand the initial lukewarm reception for Succession. I thought it was fantastic the moment I started watching it.

    Though as good as some recent shows have been, The Wire, The Sopranos and Deadwood are still better.

    Interestingly, some people mark the dawn of the great TV era with those shows or maybe Oz. But before that, there were some heavy hitters on broadcast networks too.

    I’ve been watching ER from the beginning. Not only was the cast for the first several seasons incredible, the documentary style, the steadicam shots and realistic jargon were pretty different for TV. It certainly was a little melodramatic at times, and increasingly so as it went on, but the production values remained pretty high.

    ER, along with Homicide: Life on the Street were really groundbreaking in their day. Hell, even the first few seasons of Law and Order, before they tried to match the glitz of Giuliani’s Manhattan, really captured the grittier days of the City.

    The editing and some of the set pieces of Homicide were particularly good. Having an entire episode set largely in a claustrophobic interview room during a grueling, intense interrogation pushed the medium in a way that still feels fresh.

    In a lot of ways, those shows prefigured the near future of premium channels.

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  112. Teve says:

    @Michael Cain: for at least the last 20 years the Internet has been unusable for me without ad blocking. I don’t understand how anyone tolerates it. It’s like trying to read a book while somebody holds a strobe light in your face. If ad blockers didn’t exist I‘d have to try to read webpages from the View Source option or something. For the iPad I now have, Adblock Focus seems to be the best option.

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  113. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    The inflation figures from INEGI (loosely National Institute of Geography and Statistics).

    My apologies — I had somehow forgotten that you are in Mexico, and that US inflation rates aren’t really relevant.

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  114. Jax says:

    You guys saw ads on the Des Moines Register link? I didn’t see any, or have to click out of any……curious.

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  115. Kit says:

    @Teve:

    for at least the last 20 years the Internet has been unusable for me without ad blocking

    In case you don’t already know about it, Reader View is perhaps greatest built-in iOS functionality that people don’t know about. Load a web page, and with two taps: ads disappear, popups disappear (whether already on screen or waiting to be triggered), cookie requests are gone, dark mode is enabled, and all that in your preferred font style and size. Indispensable, even if it doesn’t work for the OTB comment section.

    ETA: And if you are willing to spend a buck, the app ReaderView (no space) is the same functionality on steroids: works on sites that standard Reader View chocks on, allows markup, saves everything, lets you organize it, and let’s you find it again via search. And top-notch support.

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  116. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: IIRC bigger engines are more efficient. Makes sense, as bigger propellers and rotors are more efficient. Read a book years ago on Boeing’s development of the 777. Said a big factor was that engine reliability had gotten so good the regulators were allowing twin engines on over water flights. That allowed two bigger engines instead of three or four.

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  117. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Mike in Arlington: A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was on the program committee for an conference of professional association executives. We held our planning meetings in the Grand Hyatt, adjacent to Grand Central. This was Trump’s first big project and we asked the committee chairman if the conference was to be held there. He said, “No, Donald Trump won’t give us a break from rack rates.” Which is how I got to stay in the Waldorf Astoria, a place I was sure only millionaires could afford.

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  118. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @BIll: We recently flew KLM World Business class on a 777 from Amsterdam to Atlanta and we’ve done American Airlines International Business on a 787 from LAX to Sydney. I loved the few 747 flights I took because they seemed more spacious, but I’ve come to recognize it’s the class of seating much more than the aircraft.

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  119. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    Ah, that gets you into ETOPS, Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards.

    Essentially it’s a rating with a number of minutes. The minutes are how far, in flight time, a twin jet can be from a suitable airport in case a diversion is necessary due to the loss of one engine. A plane with three engines or with four, does not need to divert if one engine fails (though most will).

    By the mid-70s, this was 90 minutes. It allowed the A300, the first widebody twin jet, to fly some transatlantic routes. Now the usual ETOPS for a modern twin jet widebody is 180 minutes, with the latest models getting 240.

    This applies only to overwater flights, as flights over land have many more airports in range.

    It was the expansion of ETOPS rules by regulatory bodies that allowed development of ultra-long haul twin jets. Airbus developed the 4-engine A340 just before it became unnecessary (it still sold rather well).

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  120. Kathy says:

    @BIll:

    I’ve never flown KLM. I think the only European airlines I’ve ever flown were air France and a small operation called Dan-Air.

    About KLM, though, I love their powder blue livery. It’s one of my favorites. And the Delft Houses are cute.

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