Wednesday’s Forum

Don't be nervous, wondering what to do, comment away!

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. Kathy says:

    Did someone institute Super Daylight Savings Time or something?

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  2. inhumans99 says:

    Kathy, Kevin Drum reports that Latin America is experiencing a surge of Covid deaths and I know you are hyper-aware of Covid but please hunker down as best you can. I hope you continue to be well and unlike the President of the U.S. this Catholics thoughts and prayers for you and your loved ones to stay well are authentic.

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  3. Kathy says:

    @inhumans99:

    Thank you.

    Would that I could.

    I was finally working from home, when the cluster-f**k from Puebla hit, and now we’re all going to the office every day.

    What can I do? I wash my hands a lot and I wear a cloth mask I wash every day.

    To be frank, I’d be more worried in New York or Texas.

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  4. Kathy says:

    A long time ago, I visited for a few days with a cousin who had a large collection of MAD magazine. I mean hundreds of issues. I read through some of them, and thumbed through about half. One gag I recall vaguely was a book-of-the-month type club of Very Thick Books.

    One title I recall was God: The First Zillion Years.

    I think an even thicker book than that, the thickest book ever, many people say that, would be “Trump: Lies, Idiocies, and Inanities. Volume I”

    Also, does anyone remember Mel Brooks’ “History of the World Part One”? In the Roman segment, there’s a scene where the emperor, played by Dom DeLuise, asks for someone to bring him a lyre. Two soldiers bring in a man who is loudly saying “The check is in the mail! I gave at the office!” Ha ha.

    I wonder if someone could edit that scene so the soldiers bring in Trump.

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  5. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    As I recall, that was a request for a small lyre, so the soldiers brought in a small liar. Trump weighs about 325, so he’s a very big liar.

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  6. MarkedMan says:

    Psycho Killer?

    Or wait, is that “Life During Wartime”?

    [Theme guess]

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  7. Teve says:

    Doctors Without Borders is now in the US helping the Navajo

    In other news, Liz Cheney posted a tweet praising Anthony Fauci, and there are thousands of right wing replies attacking her, calling her liberal, etc.

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  8. Teve says:
  9. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: “[Theme guess]”

    I suspect Dr. Taylor is too polite to say you’re wrong. That’s why he makes us feel like when we’re with him…

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  10. Pete S says:

    I Want A New Drug?

    If that is it sure applies to life during the pandemic. Of course I could be way off.

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pete S: Damn that didn’t take very long.

    I want a new drug, one that won’t make me sick
    One that won’t make me crash my car
    Or make me feel feet, feet, feet thick
    I want a new drug, one that won’t hurt my head
    One that won’t make my mouth too dry
    Or make my eyes too red
    One that won’t make me nervous
    Wonderin’ what to do
    One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you
    When I’m alone with you

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  12. Teve says:

    Republicans Not So Sure About This Free Market Thing When It Comes to Oil

    Banks are increasingly reluctant to give loans to oil and gas companies, and some Republicans are urging Trump to use the federal government to somehow force them to.

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  13. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    But Trump is the smallest man I know.

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  14. Bill says:
  15. Teve says:

    Paul Krugman
    @paulkrugman

    Where we are now: it seems clear that the GOP’s political arm has effectively decided to give up on trying to control Covid and reopen the economy; the propaganda arm (Fox and worse) is going all in for conspiracy theorizing and virus trutherism 1/
    At one level this shouldn’t be surprising. It’s the same script the party has followed on climate change, and the virus truthers are a lot like the inflation truthers who insisted that we had runaway inflation under Obama 2/
    But what’s going on now seems to involve a new level of *political* recklessness. Climate change takes place over decades; inflation truthers paid no political or personal price for being wrong again and again. But if the virus erupts, it will happen quickly 3/
    In other words, the GOP has in effect decided to ignore the science at the clear risk of being held accountable in the near future both for killing thousands and for wrecking the economy, because that’s what a premature opening would do 4/
    Why take that risk? Partly they may be high on their own supply, no longer able to conceive that there is an objective reality that might be politically inconvenient. Partly I think it’s because they know in their hearts that they can’t actually do the job of governing 5/
    But anyway, we’re witnessing a lethal abdication of responsibility whose consequences will be quickly apparent. It’s truly awesome to watch 6/

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  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: They’ve signed a suicide pact. Unfortunately they’re gonna take all of us with them.

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  17. Bill says:

    Another time honored tradition killed by the Coronavirus Florida headline of the day-

    Escambia County not mailing home report cards, grades will be online

    How are children supposed to hide their report cards now? Or make excuses for them not being available yet? Like, the dog ate it, the report card fell out of my book bag, teacher is sick this week etc etc

    The coronavirus is just so unfair to children.

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  18. Neil Hudelson says:

    Moderators, please spring my previous comment from moderation.

    Personal news: my daughter has finally taken to potty training, and my son has started teething. And just like that, i see a future with 50% less diapers and a cupboard devoid of bottles and nipples.

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  19. Pete S says:

    @Bill
    In Ontario the kids have been told that even if they go back, there will be no final exams and their marks cannot go down from where they were on March 13. Their marks can however go up during this online portion of the year. Now my daughter cannot wait for her report card!

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  20. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: @CSK: Actually I thought you were going to mention this scene.

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  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Nice to read someone with optimism regarding the future. Now you need to start worrying about what loser boyfriends she’ll bring home. 🙂

    And in other pleasant news. A scholarship is awarded to a surprised student in a most unusual way

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  22. Tyrell says:

    “Fauci praises South Carolina’s COVID-19 response” (ABC News 4). But did the mainstream news show that? No, they were splicing together bits of Dr. Fausi’s statements to make it sound like he was warning against early re-openings: out of context, edited.
    South Carolina indeed has it right, and it hosting the NASCAR race at Darlington Raceway this Sunday. NASCAR is moving ahead while the NBA and MLB are still twiddling around. The WWE also is way out in front on this.
    Get ‘er going!

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  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’: The Oral History of a Modern Action Classic
    Production was shut down, the stars clashed and studio executives were baffled. Here’s how a difficult shoot led to an Oscar-winning masterpiece.

    “Like anything that has some worth to it, it comes with complicated feelings,” Theron said. “I feel a mixture of extreme joy that we achieved what we did, and I also get a little bit of a hole in my stomach. There’s a level of ‘the body remembers’ trauma related to the shooting of this film that’s still there for me.”

    “It was one of the wildest, most intense experiences of my life,” said the actress Riley Keough, while her co-star Rosie Huntington-Whiteley added, “You could have made another movie on the making of it.” As for Hardy? “It left me irrevocably changed,” he said.

    Here, in the cast and crew’s own words, is how a nearly impossible project managed to become an Oscar-winning action masterpiece.

    NYT and if you love that film as much as I, you will gain a lot more respect for all involved. Well worth the read.

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  24. CSK says:

    Well, Cult45 is in an uproar. They’re very, very angry at Howard Stern for telling them the unvarnished truth: that Trump absolutely despises them. Of course he does. Trump is a failed social climber who loathes anyone from the lower orders.

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  25. Teve says:

    Mitch McConnell moves to expand Bill Barr’s surveillance powers

    Days after the Justice Department controversially dropped charges against Mike Flynn, Senate GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is set to expand a highly politicized Justice Department’s surveillance authority during a vote this week to renew the 2001 PATRIOT Act.

    Under cover of redressing what President Donald Trump and his allies call the FBI’s “witch hunt” over collusion with the Kremlin, McConnell, via an amendment to the PATRIOT Act, will expressly permit the FBI to warrantlessly collect records on Americans’ web browsing and search histories. In a different amendment, McConnell also proposes giving the attorney general visibility into the “accuracy and completeness” of FBI surveillance submissions to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court. Versions of the amendments circulating Monday were shared with The Daily Beast.

    Taken together, privacy advocates consider McConnell’s moves an alarming expansion of Attorney General Bill Barr’s powers under FISA, a four-decade-old process that already places the attorney general at the center of national-security surveillance. It also doesn’t escape their notice that McConnell is increasing Barr’s oversight of surveillance on political candidates while expanding surveillance authorities on every other American. One privacy activist called McConnell’s efforts “two of the most cynical attempts to undermine surveillance reform I’ve ever seen.”

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  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US nursing homes seek legal immunity as Covid-19 spreads ‘like brushfire’

    The US nursing home industry is clamoring for legal immunity during the coronavirus pandemic, even as horror stories from hard-hit facilities enrage families, consumer advocates and the American public.

    Healthcare organizations insist liability protections are essential for under-resourced nursing homes fighting against Covid-19, while an already staggering death toll continues to climb.

    Tricia Neuman, senior vice-president of the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, said: “The liability issue is exposing a longstanding tension between consumer advocates, who want to see the standards enforced, and owners, who are worried about the financial implications of a lawsuit.”
    ……………………………
    Nearly 70% of US nursing homes are for-profit, and the industry has a reputation for lackluster performance around infection control. In all longterm care facilities, which include nursing homes, somewhere between 1m and 3m serious infections are contracted annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    ………………………….
    Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, said: “To basically take away the one area of potential accountability when residents are most vulnerable to me is dumbfounding and dangerous.”

    Nothing says “free market capitalism” like “you can’t sue me for my wholly negligent actions.”

    On the other hand:

    For some public health experts, however, the issue is not so cut and dried. They describe nursing homes as a sector in chronic need of reform that is nevertheless “the safety net of the safety net” for vulnerable people.

    Experts acknowledge that the industry is filled with deficiencies, and is based upon a broken business model (NYT) that struggles in the face of a pandemic. But they also say nursing homes have been under-prioritized by officials in a public health crisis that has disproportionately targeted their patient populations.

    Michael L Barnett, a professor at the Harvard school of public health, said: “Putting a nursing home out of business because somebody died is really punishing at the wrong level, because certainly there are nursing homes that probably did not act responsibly, or they may have ignored the threat. But so did many government agencies.”

    So what’s the answer?

    Mildred Solomon, president of the Hastings Center, warned against the “blitzkrieg of lawsuits” that these immunity measures mean to avoid. She said: “I think we have to hold our fire, not put our energy into finger-wagging and blaming. And put more emphasis on stronger regulations, with teeth.”

    Yeah, right. Stronger regulations with teeth. Sure. After their lobbyists get done gutting them. I’ve heard that song and dance before:

    Personal responsibility for thee
    But not for mee

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  27. Teve says:

    @CSK: hahaha

    “The oddity in all of this is the people Trump despises most, love him the most,” Stern said. “The people who are voting for Trump for the most part… he wouldn’t even let them in a f—ing hotel. He’d be disgusted by them. Go to Mar-a-Lago, see if there’s any people who look like you. I’m talking to you in the audience.”

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  28. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: Trump’s much-quoted remark “I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and I wouldn’t lose any support” is a perfect illustration of what Stern said. He openly called his supporters mindless cultists, and they loved him even more for it.

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  29. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    This may be the truest thing Stern ever said. And it’s so obvious, too, that Trump despises his voters.

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  30. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    This may be the truest thing Stern ever said.

    Stern has made a lot of true and insightful remarks over the years.

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  31. Jen says:

    This is utterly unconscionable. Falsely manipulating the death toll is dangerous and stupid, so basically par for the course with this administration. Please note–this isn’t about the argument of under-reporting. The President wants actual verified cases to be discounted by manipulating the parameters. So, someone enters the hospital with covid-19, develops sepsis and dies, they want that to be counted as a sepsis death, not a covid death.

    This will lead to bad data, bad data leads to bad decision-making. All to make this vain fool look slightly less culpable for the blood on his hands.

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  32. @MarkedMan: Nope.

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  33. @Pete S:

    I Want A New Drug?

    Ding ding ding!

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  34. Kylopod says:

    @Jen: Why doesn’t he just cut to the chase?

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  35. @Kathy: No, I didn’t click the right date to schedule the forum.

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  36. mattbernius says:

    @Teve:
    I look forward to all the principled “Fear the Deep State” Conservatives rebelling against McConnell and the Trump Administration for seeking that extensions and expansion of… checking my notes… deep state power.

    Though, for the record, I’m very much willing to join with them on this one… when they show up of course.

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  37. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I didn’t remember that scene. The Roman part had hilarious moments when mixing in anachronisms, like the soldier asking the apothecary about a pack of Trojans, or Comicus’ occupation being “stand up philosopher.”

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  38. Lynn says:

    @Kathy:

    Too bad you’re not poor – I understand tht they’re immune to the virus, at least according to
    Miguel Barbosa.

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  39. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Ok. But next time this happens, I want to hear something about a flux capacitor, or a short in the time circuits 🙂

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  40. Jax says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Thanks, now I got that song stuck in my head. 😉

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  41. Neil Hudelson says:

    Trying this post again, hopefully it won’t get moderated.

    Dallas Morning News poll has Biden and Trump neck-and-neck in Texas.

    Texas Republican Party’s fundraising is down 75%. Texas Democratic Party’s fundraising is up 25% compared to 2016.

    My good friend quit her lucrative job as a VP in the largest nonprofit consulting firm in the world to take on the role of Finance chair for the Texas Dems. I think she made the right choice. Her future is now so bright she has to wear sunglasses at night.

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  42. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: You know, it never occurred to me before where the expression “cut to the chase” comes from. For some reason I was mixing it with “cut to the quick” which is an old expression and refers to cutting your fingernails down to the root bed itself. But “cut to the chase” turns out to be exactly what it sounds like – the chase scene being the most popular part of a movie even back to the silent era.

    There, I’ve learned something for today. I should just go to bed right now.

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  43. Liberal Capitalist says:

    First: You really need to subscribe to the New York Times under their $1 / week promotion. The nice thing is that I was expecting that to end after a certain number of weeks (I had marked my calendar) but they extended it at that rate into January without my asking.

    Having said that… This is one of the stories that I wanted to bring forward.

    Yes, Trump is mismanaging this crisis, but we forget what a truly horrid administration this Trump presidency is, on what we would have considered the old run-of-the-mill days that he was POTUS.

    The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.

    Air pollution and emissions
    Completed

    1. Weakened Obama-era fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for passenger cars and light trucks.

    2. Revoked California’s power to set stricter tailpipe emissions standards than the federal government.

    3. Withdrew the legal justification for an Obama-era rule that limited mercury emissions from coal power plants.

    4. Replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have set strict limits on carbon emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants, with a new version that would let states set their own rules.

    5. Canceled a requirement for oil and gas companies to report methane emissions.

    6. Revised and partially repealed an Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions on public lands, including intentional venting and flaring from drilling operations.

    7. Loosened a Clinton-era rule designed to limit toxic emissions from major industrial polluters.

    8. Revised a program designed to safeguard communities from increases in pollution from new power plants to make it easier for facilities to avoid emissions regulations.

    9. Amended rules that govern how refineries monitor pollution in surrounding communities.

    10. Weakened an Obama-era rule meant to reduce air pollution in national parks and wilderness areas.

    11. Weakened oversight of some state plans for reducing air pollution in national parks.

    12. Relaxed air pollution regulations for a handful of plants that burn waste coal for electricity.

    13. Repealed rules meant to reduce leaking and venting of powerful greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons from large refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

    14. Directed agencies to stop using an Obama-era calculation of the social cost of carbon that rulemakers used to estimate the long-term economic benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

    15. Withdrew guidance directing federal agencies to include greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews. But several district courts have ruled that emissions must be included in such reviews.

    16. Revoked an Obama executive order that set a goal of cutting the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over 10 years.

    17. Repealed a requirement that state and regional authorities track tailpipe emissions from vehicles on federal highways.

    18. Lifted a summertime ban on the use of E15, a gasoline blend made of 15 percent ethanol. (Burning gasoline with a higher concentration of ethanol in hot conditions increases smog.)

    19. Changed rules to allow states and the E.P.A. to take longer to develop and approve plans aimed at cutting methane emissions from existing landfills.

    In progress

    20. Submitted notice of intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement.

    21. Proposed relaxing Obama-era requirements that companies monitor and repair methane leaks at oil and gas facilities.

    22. Proposed eliminating Obama-era restrictions that, in effect, required newly built coal power plants to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

    23. Proposed revisions to standards for carbon dioxide emissions from new, modified and reconstructed power plants.

    24. Began a review of emissions rules for power plant start-ups, shutdowns and malfunctions. One outcome of that review: In February 2020, E.P.A. reversed a requirement that Texas follow emissions rules during certain malfunction events.

    25. Opened for comment a proposal limiting the ability of individuals and communities to challenge E.P.A.-issued pollution permits before a panel of agency judges.

    26. Delayed issuing a rule limiting greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft. (The E.P.A. acknowledged it is legally required to issue the rule, but has not done so yet. The delay is being challenged by environmental groups.)

    27. Proposed limiting pesticide application buffer zones that are intended to protect farmworkers and bystanders from accidental exposure.

    Drilling and extraction
    Completed

    28. Made significant cuts to the borders of two national monuments in Utah and recommended border and resource-management changes to several more.

    29. Lifted ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    30. Rescinded water pollution regulations for fracking on federal and Indian lands.

    31. Scrapped a proposed rule that required mines to prove they could pay to clean up future pollution.

    32. Withdrew a requirement that Gulf oil rig owners prove they can cover the costs of removing rigs once they stop producing.

    33. Approved construction of the Dakota Access pipeline less than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation after the Army Corps of Engineers had said it would explore alternative routes. (A court has since ruled the agency must investigate how the pipeline is impacting the environment and local tribes, but it can continue to operate in the meantime.)

    34. Changed how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission considers the indirect effects of greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews of pipelines.

    35. Revoked an Obama-era executive order designed to preserve ocean, coastal and Great Lakes waters in favor of a policy focused on energy production and economic growth.

    36. Permitted the use of seismic air guns for gas and oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean. The practice, which can kill marine life and disrupt fisheries, was blocked under the Obama administration.

    37. Loosened offshore drilling safety regulations implemented by the Obama after following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, including reduced testing requirements for blowout prevention systems.

    38. Lifted an Obama-era freeze on new coal leases on public lands. In April 2019, a judge ruled that the Interior Department could not begin selling new leases without completing an environmental review. In February, the agency published an assessment that concluded restarting federal coal leasing would have little environmental impact.

    In progress

    39. Proposed opening most of America’s coastal waters to offshore oil and gas drilling but delayed the plan after a federal judge ruled that Mr. Trump’s reversal of an Obama-era ban on drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans was unlawful.

    40. Repealed an Obama-era rule governing royalties for oil, gas and coal leases on federal lands, which replaced a 1980s rule that critics said allowed companies to underpay the federal government. A federal judge struck down the Trump administration’s repeal. The Interior Department is reviewing the decision.

    41. Proposed revising regulations on offshore oil and gas exploration by floating vessels in the Arctic that were developed after a 2013 accident. The Interior Department previously said it was “considering full rescission or revision of this rule.”

    42. Proposed “streamlining” the approval process for drilling for oil and gas in national forests.

    43. Recommended shrinking three marine protected areas or opening them to commercial fishing.

    44. Proposed opening more land in the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve for oil drilling. The Obama administration had designated about half of the reserve as a conservation area.

    45. Proposed lifting a Clinton-era policy that banned logging and road construction in Tongass National Forest, Alaska.

    46. Approved the Keystone XL pipeline rejected by President Barack Obama, but a federal judge blocked the project from going forward without an adequate environmental review process. Mr. Trump later attempted to sidestep the ruling by issuing a presidential permit. Initial construction has started, but the project remains tied up in court.

    Infrastructure and planning
    Completed

    47. Revoked Obama-era flood standards for federal infrastructure projects that required the government to account for sea level rise and other climate change effects.

    48. Relaxed the environmental review process for federal infrastructure projects.

    49. Revoked a directive for federal agencies to minimize impacts on water, wildlife, land and other natural resources when approving development projects.

    50. Revoked an Obama executive order promoting climate resilience in the northern Bering Sea region of Alaska, which withdrew local waters from oil and gas leasing and established a tribal advisory council to consult on local environmental issues.

    51. Reversed an update to the Bureau of Land Management’s public land-use planning process.

    52. Withdrew an Obama-era order to consider climate change in the management of natural resources in national parks.

    53. Restricted most Interior Department environmental studies to one year in length and a maximum of 150 pages, citing a need to reduce paperwork.

    54. Withdrew a number of Obama-era Interior Department climate change and conservation policies that the agency said could “burden the development or utilization of domestically produced energy resources.”

    55. Eliminated the use of an Obama-era planning system designed to minimize harm from oil and gas activity on sensitive landscapes, such as national parks.

    56. Withdrew Obama-era policies designed to maintain or, ideally, improve natural resources affected by federal projects.

    In progress

    57. Proposed plans to speed up the environmental review process for Forest Service projects.

    Animals
    Completed

    58. Changed the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, making it more difficult to protect wildlife from long-term threats posed by climate change.

    59. Relaxed environmental protections for salmon and smelt in California’s Central Valley in order to free up water for farmers.

    60. Overturned a ban on the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands.

    61. Overturned a ban on the hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges.

    62. Amended fishing regulations to loosen restrictions on the harvest of a number of species.

    63. Proposed revising limits on the number of endangered marine mammals and sea turtles that can be unintentionally killed or injured with sword-fishing nets on the West Coast. (The Obama-era rules were initially withdrawn by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but were later finalized following a court order. The agency has said it plans to revise the limits.)

    64. Loosened fishing restrictions intended to reduce bycatch of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.

    65. Rolled back a roughly 40-year-old interpretation of a policy aimed at protecting migratory birds, potentially running afoul of treaties with Canada and Mexico.

    66. Overturned a ban on using parts of migratory birds in handicrafts made by Alaskan Natives.

    In progress

    67. Opened nine million acres of Western land to oil and gas drilling by weakening habitat protections for the sage grouse, an imperiled bird. An Idaho District Court injunction temporarily blocked the measure.

    68. Proposed ending an Obama-era rule that barred using bait to lure and kill grizzly bears, among other sport hunting practices that many people consider extreme, on some public lands in Alaska.

    Toxic substances and safety
    Completed

    69. Rejected a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to developmental disabilities in children. (Several states have banned its use and the main manufacturer of the pesticide in 2020 stopped producing the product because of shrinking demand.)

    70. Narrowed the scope of a 2016 law mandating safety assessments for potentially toxic chemicals like dry-cleaning solvents. The E.P.A. said it would focus on direct exposure and exclude indirect exposure such as from air or water contamination. In November 2019, a court of appeals ruled the agency must widen its scope to consider full exposure risks.

    71. Reversed an Obama-era rule that required braking system upgrades for “high hazard” trains hauling flammable liquids like oil and ethanol.

    72. Removed copper filter cake, an electronics manufacturing byproduct comprised of heavy metals, from the “hazardous waste” list.

    73. Ended an Occupational Safety and Health Administration program to reduce risks of workers developing the lung disease silicosis. In February released guidance to include silica in OSHA’s National Emphasis Program, a worker safety program.

    74. Rolled back most of the requirements of a 2017 rule aimed at improving safety at sites that use hazardous chemicals that was instituted after a chemical plant exploded in Texas.

    In progress

    75. Proposed changing safety rules to allow for rail transport of the highly flammable liquefied natural gas.

    76. Announced a review of an Obama-era rule lowering coal dust limits in mines. The head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration said there were no immediate plans to change the dust limit but has extended a public comment period until 2022.

    Water pollution
    Completed

    77. Scaled back pollution protections for certain tributaries and wetlands that were regulated under the Clean Water Act by the Obama administration.

    78. Revoked a rule that prevented coal companies from dumping mining debris into local streams.

    79. Withdrew a proposed rule aimed at reducing pollutants, including air pollution, at sewage treatment plants.

    80. Withdrew a proposed rule requiring groundwater protections for certain uranium mines. Recently, the administration’s Nuclear Fuel Working Group proposed opening up 1,500 acres outside the Grand Canyon to nuclear production.

    In progress

    81. Attempted to weaken federal rules regulating the disposal and storage of coal ash waste from power plants, but a court determined the rules were already insufficient. Proposed a new rule to allow coal ash impoundments of a type previously deemed unsafe a pathway to proving safety.

    82. Proposed a rule exempting certain types of power plants from parts of an E.P.A. rule limiting toxic discharge from power plants into public waterways.

    83. Proposed weakening a portion of the Clean Water Act to make it easier for the E.P.A. to issue permits for federal projects over state objections if the projects don’t meet local water quality standards, including for pipelines and other fossil fuel facilities.

    84. Proposed extending the lifespan of unlined coal ash holding areas, which can spill their contents because they lack a protective underlay.

    85. Proposed a regulation limiting the scope of an Obama-era rule under which companies had to prove that large deposits of recycled coal ash would not harm the environment.

    86. Proposed a new rule allowing the federal government to issue permits for coal ash waste in Indian Country and some states without review if the disposal site is in compliance with federal regulations.

    87. Proposed doubling the time allowed to remove lead pipes from water systems with high levels of lead.

    Other
    Completed

    88. Repealed an Obama-era regulation that would have nearly doubled the number of light bulbs subject to energy-efficiency standards starting in January 2020. The Energy Department also blocked the next phase of efficiency standards for general-purpose bulbs already subject to regulation.

    89. Changed a 25-year-old policy to allow coastal replenishment projects to use sand from protected ecosystems.

    90. Limited funding of environmental and community development projects through corporate settlements of federal lawsuits.

    91. Stopped payments to the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations program to help poorer countries reduce carbon emissions.

    92. Reversed restrictions on the sale of plastic water bottles in national parks designed to cut down on litter, despite a Park Service report that the effort worked.

    In progress

    93. Proposed a sweeping overhaul of the National Environmental Policy Act that would limit the scope of environmental concerns federal agencies need to take into account when constructing public infrastructure projects, such as roads, pipelines and telecommunications networks.

    94. Proposed limiting the studies used by the E.P.A. for rulemaking to only those that make data publicly available. (Scientists widely criticized the proposal, saying it would effectively block the agency from considering landmark research that relies on confidential health data.)

    95. Proposed changes to the way cost-benefit analyses are conducted under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other environmental statutes.

    96. Proposed withdrawing efficiency standards for residential furnaces and commercial water heaters designed to reduce energy use.

    97. Created a product category that would allow some dishwashers to be exempt from energy efficiency standards.

    98. Initially withdrew, and then delayed, a proposed rule that would inform car owners about fuel-efficient replacement tires. (The Transportation Department has scheduled a new rulemaking notice for 2020.)

    Some rules were rolled back, then reinstated
    These rules were initially reversed by the Trump administration but were later reinstated, often following lawsuits and other challenges.

    1. Stopped enforcing a 2015 rule that prohibited the use of hydrofluorocarbons, powerful greenhouse gases, in air-conditioners and refrigerators. A court later restored the prohibition.

    2. Sought to repeal emissions standards for “glider” trucks — vehicles retrofitted with older, often dirtier engines — but reversed course after Andrew Wheeler took over as head of the E.P.A.

    3. Sought to lift restrictions on mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska, but later suspended the effort. (A court ruled the E.P.A. could withdraw a 2014 determination that the project was a too great a threat to the Bay’s salmon. The federal permit for the mine is pending with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.)

    4. Delayed a compliance deadline for new national ozone pollution standards by one year, but later reversed course.

    5. Delayed implementation of a rule regulating the certification and training of pesticide applicators, but a judge ruled that the E.P.A. had done so illegally and declared the rule still in effect.

    6. Initially delayed publishing efficiency standards for household appliances, but later published them after multiple states and environmental groups sued.

    7. Removed the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the Endangered Species List, but the protections were later reinstated by a federal judge. (The Trump administration appealed the ruling in May 2019.)

    8. Reissued a rule limiting the discharge of mercury by dental offices into municipal sewers after a lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group.

    9. Delayed federal building efficiency standards until Sept. 30, 2017, at which time the rules went into effect.

    10. Ordered a review of water efficiency standards in bathroom fixtures, including toilets. E.P.A. determined existing standards were sufficient.

    12. Relaxed air pollution regulations for a handful of plants that burn waste coal for electricity.

    13. Repealed rules meant to reduce leaking and venting of powerful greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons from large refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

    14. Directed agencies to stop using an Obama-era calculation of the social cost of carbon that rulemakers used to estimate the long-term economic benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

    15. Withdrew guidance directing federal agencies to include greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews. But several district courts have ruled that emissions must be included in such reviews.

    16. Revoked an Obama executive order that set a goal of cutting the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over 10 years.

    17. Repealed a requirement that state and regional authorities track tailpipe emissions from vehicles on federal highways.

    18. Lifted a summertime ban on the use of E15, a gasoline blend made of 15 percent ethanol. (Burning gasoline with a higher concentration of ethanol in hot conditions increases smog.)

    19. Changed rules to allow states and the E.P.A. to take longer to develop and approve plans aimed at cutting methane emissions from existing landfills.

    In progress

    20. Submitted notice of intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. (The process of withdrawing cannot be completed until November 2020.)

    21. Proposed relaxing Obama-era requirements that companies monitor and repair methane leaks at oil and gas facilities.

    22. Proposed eliminating Obama-era restrictions that, in effect, required newly built coal power plants to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

    23. Proposed revisions to standards for carbon dioxide emissions from new, modified and reconstructed power plants.

    24. Began a review of emissions rules for power plant start-ups, shutdowns and malfunctions. One outcome of that review: In February 2020, E.P.A. reversed a requirement that Texas follow emissions rules during certain malfunction events.

    25. Opened for comment a proposal limiting the ability of individuals and communities to challenge E.P.A.-issued pollution permits before a panel of agency judges.

    26. Delayed issuing a rule limiting greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft. (The E.P.A. acknowledged it is legally required to issue the rule, but has not done so yet. The delay is being challenged by environmental groups.)

    27. Proposed limiting pesticide application buffer zones that are intended to protect farmworkers and bystanders from accidental exposure.

    Drilling and extraction
    Completed

    28. Made significant cuts to the borders of two national monuments in Utah and recommended border and resource-management changes to several more.

    29. Lifted ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    30. Rescinded water pollution regulations for fracking on federal and Indian lands.

    31. Scrapped a proposed rule that required mines to prove they could pay to clean up future pollution.

    32. Withdrew a requirement that Gulf oil rig owners prove they can cover the costs of removing rigs once they stop producing.

    33. Approved construction of the Dakota Access pipeline less than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation after the Army Corps of Engineers had said it would explore alternative routes. (A court has since ruled the agency must investigate how the pipeline is impacting the environment and local tribes, but it can continue to operate in the meantime.)

    34. Changed how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission considers the indirect effects of greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews of pipelines.

    35. Revoked an Obama-era executive order designed to preserve ocean, coastal and Great Lakes waters in favor of a policy focused on energy production and economic growth.

    36. Permitted the use of seismic air guns for gas and oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean. The practice, which can kill marine life and disrupt fisheries, was blocked under the Obama administration.

    37. Loosened offshore drilling safety regulations implemented by the Obama after following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, including reduced testing requirements for blowout prevention systems.

    38. Lifted an Obama-era freeze on new coal leases on public lands. In April 2019, a judge ruled that the Interior Department could not begin selling new leases without completing an environmental review. In February, the agency published an assessment that concluded restarting federal coal leasing would have little environmental impact.

    In progress

    39. Proposed opening most of America’s coastal waters to offshore oil and gas drilling but
    delayed the plan after a federal judge ruled that Mr. Trump’s reversal of an Obama-era ban on drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans was unlawful.

    40. Repealed an Obama-era rule governing royalties for oil, gas and coal leases on federal lands, which replaced a 1980s rule that critics said allowed companies to underpay the federal government. A federal judge struck down the Trump administration’s repeal. The Interior Department is reviewing the decision.

    41. Proposed revising regulations on offshore oil and gas exploration by floating vessels in the Arctic that were developed after a 2013 accident. The Interior Department previously said it was “considering full rescission or revision of this rule.”

    42. Proposed “streamlining” the approval process for drilling for oil and gas in national forests.

    43. Recommended shrinking three marine protected areas or opening them to commercial fishing.

    44. Proposed opening more land in the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve for oil drilling. The Obama administration had designated about half of the reserve as a conservation area.

    45. Proposed lifting a Clinton-era policy that banned logging and road construction in Tongass National Forest, Alaska.

    46. Approved the Keystone XL pipeline rejected by President Barack Obama, but a federal judge blocked the project from going forward without an adequate environmental review process. Mr. Trump later attempted to sidestep the ruling by issuing a presidential permit. Initial construction has started, but the project remains tied up in court.

    Infrastructure and planning
    Completed

    47. Revoked Obama-era flood standards for federal infrastructure projects that required the government to account for sea level rise and other climate change effects.

    48. Relaxed the environmental review process for federal infrastructure projects.

    49. Revoked a directive for federal agencies to minimize impacts on water, wildlife, land and other natural resources when approving development projects.

    50. Revoked an Obama executive order promoting climate resilience in the northern Bering Sea region of Alaska, which withdrew local waters from oil and gas leasing and established a tribal advisory council to consult on local environmental issues.

    51. Reversed an update to the Bureau of Land Management’s public land-use planning process.

    52. Withdrew an Obama-era order to consider climate change in the management of natural resources in national parks.

    53. Restricted most Interior Department environmental studies to one year in length and a maximum of 150 pages, citing a need to reduce paperwork.

    54. Withdrew a number of Obama-era Interior Department climate change and conservation policies that the agency said could “burden the development or utilization of domestically produced energy resources.”

    55. Eliminated the use of an Obama-era planning system designed to minimize harm from oil and gas activity on sensitive landscapes, such as national parks.

    56. Withdrew Obama-era policies designed to maintain or, ideally, improve natural resources affected by federal projects.

    In progress

    57. Proposed plans to speed up the environmental review process for Forest Service projects.

    Animals
    Completed

    58. Changed the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, making it more difficult to protect wildlife from long-term threats posed by climate change.

    59. Relaxed environmental protections for salmon and smelt in California’s Central Valley in order to free up water for farmers.

    60. Overturned a ban on the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands.

    61. Overturned a ban on the hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges.

    62. Amended fishing regulations to loosen restrictions on the harvest of a number of species.

    63. Proposed revising limits on the number of endangered marine mammals and sea turtles that can be unintentionally killed or injured with sword-fishing nets on the West Coast. (The Obama-era rules were initially withdrawn by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but were later finalized following a court order. The agency has said it plans to revise the limits.)

    64. Loosened fishing restrictions intended to reduce bycatch of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.

    65. Rolled back a roughly 40-year-old interpretation of a policy aimed at protecting migratory birds, potentially running afoul of treaties with Canada and Mexico.

    66. Overturned a ban on using parts of migratory birds in handicrafts made by Alaskan Natives.

    In progress

    67. Opened nine million acres of Western land to oil and gas drilling by weakening habitat protections for the sage grouse, an imperiled bird. An Idaho District Court injunction temporarily blocked the measure.

    68. Proposed ending an Obama-era rule that barred using bait to lure and kill grizzly bears, among other sport hunting practices that many people consider extreme, on some public lands in Alaska.

    Toxic substances and safety
    Completed

    69. Rejected a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to developmental disabilities in children. (Several states have banned its use and the main manufacturer of the pesticide in 2020 stopped producing the product because of shrinking demand.)

    70. Narrowed the scope of a 2016 law mandating safety assessments for potentially toxic chemicals like dry-cleaning solvents. The E.P.A. said it would focus on direct exposure and exclude indirect exposure such as from air or water contamination. In November 2019, a court of appeals ruled the agency must widen its scope to consider full exposure risks.

    71. Reversed an Obama-era rule that required braking system upgrades for “high hazard” trains hauling flammable liquids like oil and ethanol.

    72. Removed copper filter cake, an electronics manufacturing byproduct comprised of heavy metals, from the “hazardous waste” list.

    73. Ended an Occupational Safety and Health Administration program to reduce risks of workers developing the lung disease silicosis. In February released guidance to include silica in OSHA’s National Emphasis Program, a worker safety program.

    74. Rolled back most of the requirements of a 2017 rule aimed at improving safety at sites that use hazardous chemicals that was instituted after a chemical plant exploded in Texas.

    In progress

    75. Proposed changing safety rules to allow for rail transport of the highly flammable liquefied natural gas.

    76. Announced a review of an Obama-era rule lowering coal dust limits in mines. The head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration said there were no immediate plans to change the dust limit but has extended a public comment period until 2022.

    Water pollution
    Completed

    77. Scaled back pollution protections for certain tributaries and wetlands that were regulated under the Clean Water Act by the Obama administration.

    78. Revoked a rule that prevented coal companies from dumping mining debris into local streams.

    79. Withdrew a proposed rule aimed at reducing pollutants, including air pollution, at sewage treatment plants.

    80. Withdrew a proposed rule requiring groundwater protections for certain uranium mines. Recently, the administration’s Nuclear Fuel Working Group proposed opening up 1,500 acres outside the Grand Canyon to nuclear production.

    In progress

    81. Attempted to weaken federal rules regulating the disposal and storage of coal ash waste from power plants, but a court determined the rules were already insufficient. Proposed a new rule to allow coal ash impoundments of a type previously deemed unsafe a pathway to proving safety.

    82. Proposed a rule exempting certain types of power plants from parts of an E.P.A. rule limiting toxic discharge from power plants into public waterways.

    83. Proposed weakenning a portion of the Clean Water Act to make it easier for the E.P.A. to issue permits for federal projects over state objections if the projects don’t meet local water quality standards, including for pipelines and other fossil fuel facilities.

    84. Proposed extending the lifespan of unlined coal ash holding areas, which can spill their contents because they lack a protective underlay.

    85. Proposed a regulation limiting the scope of an Obama-era rule under which companies had to prove that large deposits of recycled coal ash would not harm the environment.

    86. Proposed a new rule allowing the federal government to issue permits for coal ash waste in Indian Country and some states without review if the disposal site is in compliance with federal regulations.

    87. Proposed doubling the time allowed to remove lead pipes from water systems with high levels of lead.

    Other
    Completed

    88. Repealed an Obama-era regulation that would have nearly doubled the number of light bulbs subject to energy-efficiency standards starting in January 2020. The Energy Department also blocked the next phase of efficiency standards for general-purpose bulbs already subject to regulation.

    89. Changed a 25-year-old policy to allow coastal replenishment projects to use sand from protected ecosystems.

    90. Limited funding of environmental and community development projects through corporate settlements of federal lawsuits.

    91. Stopped payments to the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations program to help poorer countries reduce carbon emissions.

    92. Reversed restrictions on the sale of plastic water bottles in national parks designed to cut down on litter, despite a Park Service report that the effort worked.

    In progress

    93. Proposed a sweeping overhaul of the National Environmental Policy Act that would limit the scope of environmental concerns federal agencies need to take into account when constructing public infrastructure projects, such as roads, pipelines and telecommunications networks.

    94. Proposed limiting the studies used by the E.P.A. for rulemaking to only those that make data publicly available. (Scientists widely criticized the proposal, saying it would effectively block the agency from considering landmark research that relies on confidential health data.)

    95. Proposed changes to the way cost-benefit analyses are conducted under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other environmental statutes.

    96. Proposed withdrawing efficiency standards for residential furnaces and commercial water heaters designed to reduce energy use.

    97. Created a product category that would allow some dishwashers to be exempt from energy efficiency standards.

    98. Initially withdrew, and then delayed, a proposed rule that would inform car owners about fuel-efficient replacement tires. (The Transportation Department has scheduled a new rulemaking notice for 2020.)

    If you have a subscription to teh NYT, they go into detail on how each was passed, and a link to more detail on each.

    The GOP had SUCH a useful idiot.

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  44. Teve says:
  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: TL;DR 😉

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  46. @Jax: I come to serve.

    ReplyReply
  47. Kathy says:

    The last inflation report, for the close of April 2020, shows inflation of -1% or so. Partly this was driven by lower gas prices, but also some staples fell in price (odd, given current conditions).

    The inflation-protected bonds I invest in, rose in market value after that report.

    What gives?

    ReplyReply
  48. Kathy says:

    @Lynn:

    Immune can be a vague term. What it means is your immune system can mount a decisive response before the pathogen settles in and causes damage, or a bit less strict you don’t get sick after being infected.

    Well and good. Now, if you catch SARS-CoV2 and don’t ever develop symptoms, were you immune? Maybe the initial infection was small and by barely viable viruses. A virus recently shed from a person is not the same as one that has languished on an elevator button over the weekend.

    A dead (ie non-viable) virus still has some of the surface proteins used to infect cells. So maybe if you are infected with such, your body’s immune system reacts to it. you test positive, but as no or few of the viruses ever reproduce, you don’t get symptoms.

    Damn narratives, they can be very convincing. I’ve no idea if any of this is even possible, it just makes logical sense to me based on what little I know about biology.

    ReplyReply
  49. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    I think if you get infected, even though the symptoms are mild to unnoticeable, you’re not immune at the time you are infected, nor were you before that. You may well be immune afterward.

    ReplyReply
  50. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    TL;DR

    The GOP fully expects that. You get numb reading something like that… after all who could possibly drive all that in just 3 short years, right?

    For those that turn to OTB for lighter entertainment…

    Jimmy Kimmel just completely firebombed Trump, Pence and the MAGA folk. Even if you do not usually watch Kimmel, this May 11th clip is a must see:
    https://youtu.be/VSkDF0erIso

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  51. Mister Bluster says:

    95 South says:
    Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 07:48
    @Mister Bluster: I was writing about impeachment. Democrats put party over country. Republicans put country over party.

    95 South says:
    Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 21:34
    Wasn’t I just saying: Nixon. Clinton. Unlike Democrats, Republicans have a history of putting country before party.

    95 South says:
    Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 22:34
    @MarkedMan: How about this reason: Republicans ignored the nonsense partisan arguments of the last two years, and now they’re considering an accusation that might be credible. You only have to make two assumptions, both backed up by the impeachment attempts against Nixon and Clinton. Democrats will do anything to hold power or take away an opponent’s power. Republicans will do what is morally right without regard to party. Any other theory ignores history.

    Therfore we do not have to apply these pronouncements to anything else that Republicans, including the leader of the Republican Party, do.

    ReplyReply
  52. Teve says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: LOL “Apologizing to the Trump administration for lying is like apologizing to Barry Bonds for using steroids“

    ReplyReply
  53. Mister Bluster says:

    Democrats will do anything to hold power or take away an opponent’s power. Republicans will do what is morally right blah blah blah.

    …our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office.
    Republican Mitch McConnell

    ReplyReply
  54. Bill says:

    I want to share a quote from something I am reading right now.

    One of the things candidates don’t discuss much and voters don’t consider carefully in races for governor or President is crisis management.

    Oh boy did this country fail that four years ago and we’re living with the consequences right now and into the indeterminate future.

    Who wrote that quote? William Jefferson Clinton in his autobiography ‘My Life’ published in 2004.

    ReplyReply
  55. Teve says:

    @Mister Bluster: 95 IQ will just define anything Republicans do as “for the good of the country”.

    ReplyReply
  56. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Personal news: my daughter has finally taken to potty training, and my son has started teething. And just like that, i see a future with 50% less diapers and a cupboard devoid of bottles and nipples.

    Should I tell Neil that it only gets harder? Nah. He’ll find out in due time.

    ReplyReply
  57. 95 South says:

    @Teve: See the ongoing discussion on yesterday’s forum.

    ReplyReply
  58. senyorDave says:

    @Kathy: The inflation-protected bonds I invest in, rose in market value after that report.

    Are you buying the bonds directly or are you in mutual funds or ETFs that invest in the bonds? We talked to our advisor last week and I mentioned that I was concerned about inflation and inquired what they (he works for Schwab) thought about TIPs. After first telling us that Schwab sees deflation as a bigger threat and they would not recommend TIPs, he did say that if we were to invest in them he would recommend buying the bonds directly. He said the mutual funds and ETFs do not always respond in a way that makes sense. Since they are traded by ordinary folk sometimes panic has been known to set in and in the short run their behavior is not consistent with “what should happen”.

    ReplyReply
  59. Mister Bluster says:

    95 South says:
    Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 13:13
    @Steven L. Taylor: Someone once said we should drop the debate about whether I support Trump.

    95 South says:
    Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 13:12
    @Teve: See the ongoing discussion on yesterday’s forum.

    It certainly wasn’t you.

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  60. Jen says:

    @Bill:

    One of the things candidates don’t discuss much and voters don’t consider carefully in races for governor or President is crisis management.

    As a PR professional I can say with a high degree of certainty that no one–not individuals, not corporations, not governments–considers crisis management carefully enough.

    I’m not sure if it’s too overwhelming or if people just don’t think bad things are ever going to happen, but humans are lousy at preparing for crises, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that voters don’t consider it and candidates don’t mention it.

    As a nation, we’re staring down a multitude of coming crises. In addition to our current pandemic crisis, on the horizon we have a retirement savings crisis, an ongoing health care crisis (in two parts: one, funding, and two, access), and higher education cost crisis, at the very least.

    ReplyReply
  61. 95 South says:

    @Mister Bluster: I didn’t raise the issue, nor did Teve. Steven did. I was talking about something else.

    ReplyReply
  62. Mikey says:

    Here’s an interesting Tweet thread on how genetic sequencing of the various outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 informs us about where these outbreaks originated.

    Interestingly, it seems New York’s horrible outbreak didn’t even originate in China–it came from Europe.

    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1260281079732166656.html

    ReplyReply
  63. gVOR08 says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, and for the lobbyists.

    ReplyReply
  64. Bill says:

    @Jen:

    As a PR professional I can say with a high degree of certainty that no one–not individuals, not corporations, not governments–considers crisis management carefully enough.

    There are people who deal with crisis management as many as 162 days a year. They are baseball managers.

    Another activity of mine besides reading*, is Strat-O-Matic baseball. I am doing a replay of the 1955 baseball season and currently playing a late August doubleheader between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Redlegs** at Brooklyn Ebbets Field. It is Game 1 and Brooklyn is the home team.

    The Redlegs up 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth, see the Dodgers come back and tie the game and put 2 runners on base with one out. The Redlegs starting pitcher, Johnny Klippstein is tired, so does SuperHal*** the computer manager go to the bullpen or leave Klippstein in? SuperHal chooses to stay with Klippstein. The next batter makes an out, then Jackie Robinson hits a grounder back to Klippstein. Who makes an error which loads the bases. Gil Hodges then walks to put the Dodgers up 2-1. Finally SuperHal goes to the bullpen and brings Rudy Minarcin in to pitch. He strikes out Johnny Podres to end the inning.

    Crisis management evaluation- If not for the error by Klippstein, the Redlegs would have gotten out of the inning but that doesn’t let SuperHal off the hook. The choice to leave Klippstein led to the Dodgers taking the lead.

    Don’t say it- I have too much time on my hands to write posts like this. You’re right but would you rather have me mention dung beetle fiction again?

    *- I was reading ‘My life’ at lunch time today when I came across that very quote from Clinton. At this point in his autobiography he is writing about the challenges he faced as Arkansas Governor in 1979 and 1980.
    **- Because of the Red scare of the late 1940’s and 1950’s, the Cincinnati Reds temporarily changed their name to the Cincinnati Redlegs.
    ***- SuperHal, named after game creator Hal Richman, is the game’s computer manager. I roll the dice but allow the computer to sometimes make game decisions.

    ReplyReply
  65. Teve says:

    @White House

    President @realDonaldTrump has launched Operation Warp Speed: an historic push to bring Coronavirus vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to the American people in record time.

    Today. This was posted today, in case you’re wondering.

    ReplyReply
  66. Mikey says:

    @Teve: If we’d started “warp speed” three fucking months ago it would have been nice. But the captain hasn’t even been on the bridge.

    But, as they say, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second-best time is now. If this is actually something approaching a plan, good for them.

    Still, given this administration’s complete failure up to this point, I have very little expectation “Operation Warp Speed” will even achieve minimum impulse power.

    ReplyReply
  67. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    If there’s a briefing today, he’ll be bragging about this, I assume. And Cult45 will be praising him to the skies even as they’re denying the pandemic exists.

    ReplyReply
  68. Kathy says:

    @senyorDave:

    Are you buying the bonds directly or are you in mutual funds or ETFs that invest in the bonds?

    I buy them directly from the government, on their website.

    They show what was invested, for how long, and at what rate. That sheet also carries a market value, which is what you’d get, minus tax withholding, should you choose to sell early. That value has been rising in all three tranches(*) I have money in since the lock down began in earnest in April. and a bit more so since the inflation report.

    I think as the price of oil goes down and he dollar goes up against the peso, people expect inflation.

    (*) I don’t know if that’s the right word, but I like using it.

    ReplyReply
  69. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    A tranche is a portion of something, so I’d say you used the word properly.

    ReplyReply
  70. Kathy says:

    Literal headline: “New US coronavirus hotspots appear in Republican heartlands” Link

    OMFG! WHOCOULDANODE?

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  71. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    It also sounds French-derived and obscure/specialized jargon.

    You know, the word “Beef” derived from the old French “boef.” Beef led to terms like Beefsteak, which was then adopted in French as “Bifteck.”

    So it’s a francized term of an anglicized old French word. Languages seem to revel in irony sometimes.

    ReplyReply
  72. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Yes, and Samuel Johnson, along with his Augustinian cohorts, referred to cows as “beeves,” as in, “There were beeves grazing in the field.” I like the word. It seems to get right to the point.

    I’m fond of the word “asperge,” which is late Middle English for “asparagus.”

    ReplyReply
  73. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: In the days of yore, the nobles spoke French while the peasants spoke the local language. In Britannia, that was English. The Nobles saw cattle and chickens and sheep, but their only direct dealing with them was to eat them. The peasants raised them and dealt with them in 100 different ways but not often for eating. So it came to pass that for food, we use the French words for that animal (beef, poultry, mutton, veal) but in animal husbandry we use the English words (Cattle, chicken, sheep, calve).

    And there you have it.

    ReplyReply
  74. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    another old French-derived word, porkers, is used for pigs.

    But I imagine an example more like “Arr! There be beeves grazin’ off the port bow, matey!”

    One rule for meat names is: English for the beast and French for the feast. Thus Cow, pig, lamb in English, and beef, pork, mutton in French.

    Hm. The sell check didn’t mind “beeves.” The dictionary says it’s the plural form of beef.

    I wonder if any translation of the Odyssey uses the word “beeves” when describing what happens after Odysseus’ sailors desecrate the Sun god’s cattle.

    ReplyReply
  75. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: @Kathy: I find it interesting that we only do this with mammals. When we eat chicken, it’s still called chicken; there are no special words for the meat of birds.

    It isn’t like that in all other languages. One time when I was in a restaurant in Israel, I asked for tarnegol, which I knew was the Hebrew word for chicken. Nobody said anything at the time, and I got what I ordered, but I later found out that that isn’t what you say when talking about chicken as food; it was roughly the equivalent of someone in America ordering “cow.” You’re supposed to call it oaf, which in classical Hebrew translates as “fowl,” but in Modern Hebrew is used for chicken meat.

    (Incidentally, there are a lot of stories of American Jews going to Israel and getting into trouble using archaic Hebrew they learned in American-Jewish schools. Even those of us who have studied Modern Hebrew often end up reaching for older forms when we aren’t careful.)

    ReplyReply
  76. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I know. My specialty was medieval English lit.

    ReplyReply
  77. Mikey says:

    Germans just put “-fleisch” (meat) on the end of whatever the animal is. So a cow is “Rind” and beef “Rindfleisch,” pig is “Schwein” and pork “Schweinefleisch,” a calf is “Kalb” and veal “Kalbfleisch.”

    Mutton is different, an adult sheep is “Schaf” but mutton is “Hammel” oder “Hammelfleisch.”

    ReplyReply
  78. Jax says:

    I cannot believe I raise beef cattle and did not know the plural was beeves. I’m so gonna use that and make a note of people’s reactions!! Got a branding tomorrow, I’ll make a point of telling the owner what fine herd of beeves he’s got. 😉

    ReplyReply
  79. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Jax:
    https://culinarylore.com/food-history:is-the-plural-of-beef-beeves/

    Yes, but it is damned confusing. It relates to plural meats of beef.

    So, a banquet could have an array of beeves, And you could say that the herd would result in a bevy of beeves… but to call a herd of cows beeves… I don’t think that right.

    (… Inconceivable!)

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  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    In Korean, rice is the big example of the transformation. You buy “mi” in the store but what you eat is “bap.” The other thing that happens in Korean is there seems to be a difference in marking between the animal itself and the food item. It showed up when I would ask older students about what they eat or don’t eat and they would say note that they eat chicken food or fish food, but that they didn’t like eating dog food. (Children and teens don’t have that language quirk for some reason.)

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  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: I recall “beeves” as being what the boss called the cattle on the show Rawhide back in the early 60s. It stuck in my mind because it was so unusual to me.

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  82. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mikey: Does that mean that Fleischmann’s yeast is made by cannibals?

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  83. Mikey says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: No, the “Fleischmann” would be the guy you buy meat from, like a butcher (although the common word for that is Metzger).

    Now Mannfleisch, that’s a wholly different…er…animal…

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  84. Mikey says:

    In today’s edition of “It Ain’t Over Until the Fat Lady Sings, And Judge Sullivan Just Pulled Her Off the Stage:”

    Judge Appoints Outsider to Take On Justice Dept. in Flynn Case

    The federal judge overseeing the criminal case of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn appointed an outsider on Wednesday to argue against the Justice Department in its effort to drop the case and investigate whether Mr. Flynn committed perjury, an extraordinary move in a case with acute political overtones.

    Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia said in a brief order that he had appointed John Gleeson, a retired judge, “to present arguments in opposition to” the department’s request to withdraw the charge against Mr. Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to investigators as part of a larger inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

    Judge Sullivan also asked Judge Gleeson to address whether the court should explore the possibility that Mr. Flynn opened himself up to perjury charges by pleading guilty under oath to a felony charge of making false statements to federal authorities. Mr. Flynn entered guilty pleas twice in front of two judges but later sought to withdraw his plea.

    And if you don’t know who Judge Gleeson is, he’s a co-author of this piece, published just two days ago in the Washington Post:

    The Flynn case isn’t over until the judge says it’s over

    Prosecutors deserve a “presumption of regularity” — the benefit of the doubt that they are acting honestly and following the rules. But when the facts suggest they have abused their power, that presumption fades. If prosecutors attempt to dismiss a well-founded prosecution for impermissible or corrupt reasons, the people would be ill-served if a court blindly approved their dismissal request. The independence of the court protects us all when executive-branch decisions smack of impropriety; it also protects the judiciary itself from becoming a party to corruption.

    There has been nothing regular about the department’s effort to dismiss the Flynn case. The record reeks of improper political influence.

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  85. Teve says:

    If you want to know why Apple has a 60% profit margin on iPhones and Samsung has about a 10 to 15% profit margin on their phones, compare the specs on the new iPhone SE and on the exact same price Samsung a51.

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  86. Kathy says:

    While it feels like large swaths of the world have, and are, responding to the Trump Pandemic with a deathwish, I’m relived, to a point, we haven’t seen large numbers of healthcare workers just up and quit, even on the face of great danger, and official indifference to their situation.

    On the “warp speed” thing, we won’t see a captain on the bridge until January 2021. I truly hope Biden will be up to the challenge. It looks we will have the second wave of Trump Virus even before the first wave passes.

    El PITO is promising 100 million doses of a non-existent vaccine by the fall. I wonder how he intends to get it, and whether he’ll dare ship out saline solution and call it a vaccine.

    At the forefront of development are DNA/RNA vaccines. These use genetic engineering to produce virus proteins, pieces (very simplistic explanation), or harmless viruses that carry the SARS-CoV2 markers. Development on these is supposed to be faster, but they have never been used in people, only in animals.

    Vaccine development can only be rushed so much. Even on a human challenge model, where volunteers are expose on purpose to the pathogen after receiving the vaccine, must wait results of safety studies.

    Likewise treatments. Remdesivir is available for testing now because ti had been developed against Ebola (didn’t work). It looks promising, but keep in mind viral diseases often are never cured. Not like you can cure a bacterial disease with antibiotics. They may aid recovery, or they may keep the virus at bay enough to stave off death and the worst symptoms (see AIDS treatments).

    So it may be a life saver, for some, and it may shorten the course fo the disease, for some, but it’s not a silver bullet.

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  87. de stijl says:

    Love linguistics threads.

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  88. de stijl says:

    Happened upon a weird but awesome food combo this evening.

    Often do breakfast for dinner and I wanted bacon, egg and cheese on toast.

    I’d diced the bacon and renderered it before I figured out I was flat out of eggs.

    But I did have red curry leftovers.

    Do some rice, warm up the curry, dish, sprinkle rendered bacon on top.

    Extremely complimentary flavors. It was weirdly yummy. I am going to garnish red curry on rice with bacon again.

    That was an unexpected meal that worked out great.

    Most national / regional signature dishes are syncretic.

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  89. Teve says:

    Twitter says the FBI went to Senator Burr’s crib tonight and jacked his cell phone.

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  90. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @Mikey: I wouldn’t get too excited. Didn’t the Supreme Court just slap down the 9th Circuit for soliciting outside briefs when one side didn’t want them?

    I wonder if Sullivan could be hoping to tie it up in arguments and appeals till January and a new Justice team comes in and decides to prosecute again.

    We’ve become a farce.

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  91. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I’m particularly fond of this moment:

    https://youtu.be/n0quUM-Nr2c

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  92. de stijl says:

    I have been feeling first wave punk bands hard recently.

    I am pissed.

    I have no agency.

    Reverting to formative emotions.

    Listening to Buzzcocks and The Clash really loud centers me. The Damned. DKs, Black Flag.

    It cools me out.

    Identifying as an outsider has benefits. Distance, pity, contempt.

    Utterly fooling myself. We are in this together, but it feels selfishly right to be a toldya so for a little bit.

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  93. de stijl says:

    So much Joy Division and New Order.

    I’d argue Ceremony may be the song of the 20th.

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  94. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    When we eat chicken, it’s still called chicken; there are no special words for the meat of birds.

    On the contrary — poultry (the meat of birds) is from the French poulet, whence also pullet (now obsolescent in English).

    Sheep -> Mouton -> Mutton
    Ox -> Boeuf -> Beef
    Pig -> Porc -> Pork
    Chicken -> Poulet -> Poultry
    Calf -> Veel -> Veal
    Game -> Venouson -> Venison

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  95. de stijl says:

    I am sick of and effing hate ads saying “We are here for you”.

    You aren’t.

    You are here to make money off us and will use any wrinkle to your advantage.

    Save your fake sanctimonious, C-19 serious minded bs. I declare shenanigans. You want our sympathy dollars because late stage capitalism cuts margins so short you cannot afford three months of cessation of business.

    Just in time supply chains. Anti-unionization. Wage suppression.

    I used to work with risk management folks. No one ever listened.

    You all should be ashamed. You created and bought into a system that cannot withstand two months of hardship. Brittle. Shameful.

    House of cards built on a base of sand.

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  96. de stijl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    The Normans had a massive influence on English. You know this; many don’t.

    A large proportion of English is French and Norse. And the base of Old English is Germanic.

    All of the latinate manifestations in English are attributable to successful invasions some Frankish, some Nordic that occupied Normandy that adopted to the local culture.

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  97. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    When this this thing backs off, go for the aviation related job.

    Life has taught us to not wait.

    Go for it.

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  98. de stijl says:

    @Jen:

    Please contribute with your career insight. Your input will be vital and interesting.

    We can gas about stuff we care about, but professionals can give us true insights.

    This is a PR disaster the WH assiduously pretends does not exist. That is fascinating.

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  99. de stijl says:

    There was a person last week who offered up a reason that excess deaths were not necessarily attributable to C-19 and I cannot recollect what assertion was offered.

    It pissed me off and determined to refute, so I just passed by the offered alternate hypothesis. In these folks minds, what explains excess mortality?

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  100. Kylopod says:

    @DrDaveT:

    @Kylopod:

    When we eat chicken, it’s still called chicken; there are no special words for the meat of birds.

    On the contrary — poultry (the meat of birds) is from the French poulet

    I should have added the word specific. I was talking about words for the meat of particular species. “Poultry” is used generically for the meat of any domestic fowl; it could just as easily apply to chicken, turkey, or duck. And it certainly hasn’t replaced the names of those specific birds when talking about food: you say “We’re having chicken tonight,” whereas you wouldn’t say “We’re having cow tonight.”

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  101. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    For chicken, in Spanish, as used in Mexico, the animals are gallo (rooster) and gallina (hen), and the meat is chicken. A chick is called pollito (little chicken).

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  102. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Would that I were qualified for any.

    I want to focus on writing. I made a fair start while working from home, but that ended quickly. Hopefully we’ll go back by next Tuesday.

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  103. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, living in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood I hear “el pollo” quite a lot. Since it’s obviously related to the English poultry, it suggests it underwent the same process as the Hebrew oaf, generic to specific. It’s happened in English with other words. Deer originally referred to any animal–as the German cognate Tier still does.

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  104. Jen says:

    @de stijl:

    In these folks minds, what explains excess mortality?

    So-called “despair deaths” and people who would have survived if they’d gone to the hospital for treatment but were too scared because “the media” has “overhyped” C-19. In other words, people committing suicide because they are at home alone/lost jobs, and thousands and thousands of heart attack and stroke victims who in normal times would have gone to the ER, been treated and discharged.

    @de stijl:

    This is a PR disaster the WH assiduously pretends does not exist. That is fascinating.

    Indeed, it is fascinating. Everything the WH does runs counter to both effective disaster planning (that is what the entire “Pandemic Playbook” training exercise was about, and it was tossed/ignored) and effective crisis management. Crisis clients are counseled to tell the truth quickly, communicate frequently, be empathetic, radiate concern, only relate verified, knowable information from expert sources, empower experts and get out of their way…absolutely none of this is being done.

    It is truly mind-blowing.

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  105. de stijl says:

    @Jax:

    Brand those beeves, babe!

    Another cultural weirdness: boys get bull metaphors and girls get chicken metaphors. Beefcake vs chick or chica.

    My hypothesis is this arose in Texico and slowly seeped into the rest of of the US via cultural osmosis. As they are fond of telling us Texas is big with a large pop and is proportionally influential.

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  106. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    Deer is both the singular and plural. There are gender specific words, yes, but you could say “Look at the deer” and that could mean twenty deer or one.

    Like moose.

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  107. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    Any big industry or any big company needs writers.

    I used to work with technical writers a lot.

    Obviously, be you and mind your business first, but it can’t hurt to research it a bit.

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  108. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: I had to look that one up. This was the explanation I found on a language discussion board:

    It’s a matter of historical origin and subsequent development.

    In the oldest recorded English deer belonged to the neuter declension, which did not have a distinct plural ending in the nominative and accusative cases. (It is believed that this declension did have plurals in Proto-Germanic, but they disappeared before English or any immediate ancestor was written down.) At that time there was no ambiguity, since the determiners accompanying these nouns did change in the plural.

    Later, when the Old English endings were mostly lost, the majority of these neuter nouns acquired ‘regular’ plural endings in -n, eventually superseded by endings in -s: wīf, for instance, became wives in the plural. A few, however did not, and deer is one of these.

    It is often remarked that all these nouns with invariant plurals denote animals, deer, sheep, fish, swine, which are either herded or hunted; and it has been suggested that both the ‘mass noun’ sense with herd animals and the custom of referring to all hunted animals in the singular (we hunt bear, lion, and elephant as well as deer) helped inhibit plural regularization.

    Some years back I read a good book on the subject of irregularity in language, Steven Pinker’s Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. While I couldn’t remember off the top of my head if he dealt with this particular example, I just did a search of the book through Google preview, and he does indeed mention it, albeit very briefly, and he also suggests it may come from the way we use singular form when talking about hunting animals.

    Basically, even the linguists and etymologists aren’t sure. It could also be just something arbitrary and fortuitous.

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  109. de stijl says:

    @Jen:

    Thanks!

    You have specific skills, training, and experience that directly applies to many issues we discuss here.

    That makes you a highly valuable contributor. Glad you are here.

    A ton of politics is messaging. And acts send a message.

    Things a layman would miss you note.

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  110. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    I am keeping “arbitrary and fortuitous”. Very useful. Cool cite. I enjoyed that.

    Another cool word: fowl

    Germanic fugol or vogel which means bird or fly.

    In English fowl became specified to relate to birds that provide meat, eggs, feathers: generally to domesticated birds. Chickens, ducks, geese.

    It would be nonsensical in English to call a sparrow fowl. A sparrow is a bird. Entirely different class. Fowl is specific.

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  111. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    It seems generally true that animals that herd and birds that flock are much more likely to have distinctly unusual pluralizations.

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  112. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    There are gender specific words, yes, but you could say “Look at the deer”

    there was the time Homer Simpson ran over an ornamental hedge trimmed to the shape of a deer. We got these lines:

    Homer: D’oh!
    Lisa: A deer!
    Marge: A female deer.

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  113. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    The Normans had a massive influence on English. You know this; many don’t. A large proportion of English is French and Norse. And the base of Old English is Germanic.

    Sounds like you would very much enjoy John McWhorter’s book Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: the Untold Story of English, which is a general readership book by an actual linguist who specializes in creolization.

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  114. de stijl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I may own that already. [Checks bookshelf. Nope, that was The Story Of English by McCrum et al.]

    Cool! I will buy that. Thanks!

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  115. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    Classic!

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  116. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    “geese”

    Goose plurilizes oddly.

    Related to to tooth-teeth, foot-feet, louse-lice, foul-filth where a shifted vowel indicated plural. Old English remnant.

    ESL students hate us so much.

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  117. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: Back when I was a college tutor, one time a Russian student came to me for help on an essay. The paper was describing a dancer, and then it said “She was the good dancer.” I told her that it needs to use the indefinite article there: “She was a good dancer.” She objected that she’d been taught you use the indefinite article when introducing something, the definite article when referring back to it. I had to think about this for a moment, and then I told her that by adding the adjective “good,” she’d created a new concept in the paragraph–“good dancer,” and therefore had to use the indefinite article to modify it.

    It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment how complicated the article distinctions in English are, for people whose first language doesn’t have them. Yet native English speakers never have to be taught these distinctions in school; we process them intuitively. And it’s not like there’s always a perfectly logical explanation for them, either. Sometimes it’s just a matter of idiom, and it can vary from one dialect to the next: Americans say they’re going to the hospital, but the British say they’re going to hospital. Yet Americans do say they’re going to school, not the school. We go to bed, not to the bed. In Moonstruck, Nicolas Cage tells Cher he’s taking her “to the bed,” but the very oddness of the phrase is the point.

    English’s complexity is deceptive, since it lacks all those massive tables of conjugations and declensions you see in most European languages, or the tones in the Chinese languages. But its grammatical nuances can be a minefield for ESL speakers. My grandmother, whose native tongue was Polish, said that German was much harder to learn in the beginning, but English was harder to master in the later stages. I’m not sure how accurate that is (McWhorter disputes that general claim), but it’s what she said, and she was pretty adept at languages.

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  118. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: Also, have you read Leo Rosten’s The Education of Hyman Kaplan? It’s a novel–or series of novels–written in the 1930s, about a European immigrant to the US (it’s implied but not stated directly that he, like Rosten himself, is a Jew whose native tongue is Yiddish), and the basic plot is that he can never pass a remedial course in English, not because he’s stupid, but because he keeps questioning all of English’s illogical rules. It’s told from the standpoint of the instructor. For example, he argues with the instructor that since the past tense of write is wrote, the past tense of bite should be bote. And he can never get comparatives and superlatives right: he says “good, better, magnificent!” He refers to flowers as “bloomers” (probably on analogy of the Yiddish/German blumen as well as the English word bloom). And so on.

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  119. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment how complicated the article distinctions in English are, for people whose first language doesn’t have them. Yet native English speakers never have to be taught these distinctions in school; we process them intuitively.

    And yet, fewer than half of my highly-educated friends and colleagues can consistently choose correctly between “I” and “me” in sentences that refer to themselves and one other person…

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  120. Kylopod says:

    @DrDaveT:

    And yet, fewer than half of my highly-educated friends and colleagues can consistently choose correctly between “I” and “me” in sentences that refer to themselves and one other person…

    But that gets into the differences between prescriptivist and descriptivist grammar. Prescriptivism is something imposed on the language, whereas descriptivism refers to the rules that arise naturally. Native English speakers have to be taught not to say “Me and John are going to the store,” but they don’t have to be taught not to say “Me is going to the store.” There are still many rules being processed unconsciously. To take another example: the word gonna. We all know it’s an informal contraction of “going to.” But you can’t say “I’m gonna the store.” Those are distinctions that ESL speakers have to learn formally (I even remember reading a guide for ESL speakers in which they had a section on how to use gonna properly), but native speakers never have to be taught them formally at all; they’re processed purely unconsciously.

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  121. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    A lot of native Russian speakers I’ve known drop indefinite articles completely when speaking English declarative sentences.

    “She is dancer.”

    No “the” or “a”.

    I assume it is a Russian construct with English words substituted.

    It sounds abrupt, but I find it quite charming.

    When I was trying to pick up French, I would use Spanish sentence structure and swap in the French words because that was a ruleset I’d already internalized.

    Drove my professor bonkers. Apparently, she did not find it charming.

    Also, we had to sing Frere Jacques at 8 am when I was hungover. You learn many things as a first term freshman. Not signing up for the 8 am class is top five.

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  122. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    Had Yiddish been offered as a language option I would have signed on in a second.

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  123. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: I he she they are subject pronouns. Me him her them are object pronouns.

    I was tremendous, he was tremendous, she was tremendous, they were tremendous. The chinavirus hurt me, hurt her, hurt him, hurt them.

    It’s just confusing because some people make mistakes by trying to sound too formal, so they say things like the chinavirus hurt she and I.

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  124. de stijl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    When I write I get it right.

    When I speak I get it right most of the time.

    If the message sent is the message heard, it’s good.

    It’s like who and whom. There is a rule. It’s quite obscure so very few have internalized it.

    If what you say is heard correctly, all is good.

    Many rules are complete bullshit. Never end a sentence with a preposition. Utter nonsense that was made up by a rando with an axe to grind.

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  125. Kylopod says:

    This misconception of how English pronouns work is also behind what is seen as one of today’s most widespread “mistakes,” the sentence Billy and me went to the story. From an early age, we are told by relatives and teachers that this is “wrong” because the pronoun should be a subject pronoun, being, after all, part of the subject of the sentence. “Who went to the story? Billy went, and, well, you don’t say ‘Me went,’ do you? Well, then, it should be ‘Billy and I went to the store,’ shouldn’t it?”

    The question that arises here is why, if this makes so much sense, does Billy and me went to the store feel so natural to us? To be sure, many of us have probably internalized the correction Billy and I went to the store so thoroughly that we don’t have to think much about it anymore. However, we learned this secondarily, as we learn new languages. No child starts out by saying Billy and I went to the store, which is why we all had to be corrected into it, and very few of us could claim to never say Billy and me went to the store, especially at off-guard times among family and friends, after a drink, early in the morning, late at night. One might object that no matter how prevalent it is, Billy and me went to the store is still a mistake of “logic,” and that we cannot always excuse something based on its prevalence (adultery and tax fraud come to mind).

    In this case, however, we are once again dealing with an attempt to apply Latin grammatical rules to a different language….

    — John McWhorter, Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of “Pure” Standard English

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  126. Teve says:

    Prescriptivism is understandably out of fashion, especially among people who have bad memories of middle school and high school. But it does have its place. Over at Language Log, Bill Poser wrote this in an essay called On Prescriptivism:

    Finally, let me point out that there are situations in which prescription of language use is entirely appropriate. One is where it is very important that the intended audience fully understand the material and there is significant risk of misunderstanding. An example arises in the airline industry. Large commercial aircraft are complex machines with thousands of parts that are in constant use. They require regular and careful maintenance. The consequences of doing something wrong can be devastating. As a result, manufacturers such as Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas, Airbus and Embraer produce voluminous, detailed service manuals.

    The problem is, these manuals must be comprehensible to mechanics who are not native speakers of English. Such aircraft are serviced in too many countries for it to be economical to translate the manuals into all of the languages that the mechanics may speak. Furthermore, even a mechanic reading a manual in his or her own first language may be confused if the language is excessively complex or uses unfamiliar vocabulary. Boeing addresses this problem by requiring all of its manuals to be written in a precisely specified subset of English, one that allows only certain words and certain constructions to be used. (Other manufacturers may well do this too. I happen to know about Boeing because I once visited their natural language processing group.) This ensures that mechanics with a certain level of proficiency in reading English will be able to understand the manuals without confusion. It also makes it easier to automate the translation of manuals into other languages if so desired.

    One could argue that prescriptivism is what made Italy a real country.

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  127. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    Prescriptivism is something imposed on the language, whereas descriptivism refers to the rules that arise naturally.

    It’s a little more complicated than that, because prescriptivism is one of those natural processes that affect how people speak. You would never ever have sportscasters saying “Tom gave it to Joe and I” if it weren’t for prescriptivism — it’s a hypercorrection by people trying not to sound uneducated, but it changes how ordinary people speak.

    You might enjoy the work of Dr. Anne Curzan of U. Michigan, who studies the effects of prescriptivism on language, descriptively.

    All of that said, the question still remains why conflation between “a” and “the” does not arise naturally, but other distinctions are lost. I am not at all a prescriptivist, but I am sincerely puzzled why the I/me thing is so hard even for people who are trying to follow the prescriptive standard. They would never say “Tom gave it to I”; why does adding Joe to the sentence mess them up?

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  128. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    I like this McWhorter guy you’re hyping.

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  129. Kylopod says:

    @DrDaveT:

    It’s a little more complicated than that, because prescriptivism is one of those natural processes that affect how people speak.

    But that observation is still descriptivist. You’re observing the effects that prescriptivist grammar has had on the language. Descriptivism doesn’t imply ignoring the existence of prescriptivism. But to be truly prescriptivist you have to actually make a normative argument: you have to say this is how it ought to be. Prescriptivism is at bottom a kind of moral philosophy–it’s predicated on the idea that if people continue to use the language “incorrectly,” bad things will happen.

    And it isn’t either-or. Even McWhorter makes a few points that could be described as modestly prescriptivist–for instance, he argues that it’s worth trying to maintain certain distinctions that people tend to ignore, such as imply vs. infer. But he rejects the sky-is-falling mentality by which prescriptivism is usually expressed.

    I’d say the two “schools” exist more on a spectrum than just being polar, incompatible opposites. There are works like John Simon’s Paradigms Lost that begin to verge on unintentional self-parody, where the misuse of English is taken to be an absolute travesty (Simon unironically compares it to the Holocaust and slavery). Most of the time, though, you see prescriptivist arguments pop up in semi-humorous pieces such as the book Eats Shoots and Leaves or Gene Weingarten’s columns on misuse of literally. Beyond that, it’s an attitude you find among educators, writers, or just people getting old and bellyaching about the way kids these days are speaking.

    All of that said, the question still remains why conflation between “a” and “the” does not arise naturally, but other distinctions are lost.

    I’m not sure what the question is here. Most languages do not contain article distinctions. It isn’t the “original,” natural state of language. It’s just like anything in grammar, including singular vs. plural, or gender markings on nouns, or case endings, where some languages have them while others get along just fine without them. One of the essential elements to grammar is redundancy. Let’s return to the earlier example of nouns that are the same in singular and plural, such as sheep. The vast majority of the time, it’s clear from context whether you’re talking about one or more than one, and in case there’s any ambiguity you always have the option of making it explicit by saying “one sheep” or “two sheep” or “many sheep” or whatever modifier you want. So there really is no need for a singular/plural distinction, when you get down to it, and plenty of languages don’t have one at all. Of course you just might find yourself in a situation where you end up saying something like “Help! The sheep escaped!” and the person who hears you has no idea if they’re going to be facing a single animal or an entire herd. But that hardly seems like a good reason to force speakers to add a plural ending all the time when there’s more than one of something. It’s almost OCD. And that’s actually the case with a lot of these so-called grammar rules that exist in some languages but not others. If it’s a feature of our own language, then we have trouble imagining how anyone could manage without it. But it’s really just something that was grafted onto the language at some point hundreds or thousands of years ago, and continued out of habit. I do know that the indefinite article in both English and the Romance languages evolved from the word for “one” in those languages. People just started using it voluntarily, until it came to be seen as necessary.

    I am not at all a prescriptivist, but I am sincerely puzzled why the I/me thing is so hard even for people who are trying to follow the prescriptive standard. They would never say “Tom gave it to I”; why does adding Joe to the sentence mess them up?

    McWhorter goes into more detail about this after the passage I quoted. He argues that the notion that I is intrinsically a subject pronoun while me is intrinsically an object pronoun is a misconception arising from a faulty comparison between English and Latin grammar. He questions the entire traditional framework and comes up with a different system for understanding why English speakers naturally prefer me to I in certain constructions despite centuries of schoolroom indoctrination that they’re speaking “wrong.”

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