Wednesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    Florida undercounting COVID-19 deaths, study suggests

    Surprise, surprise surprise.

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  2. Teve says:

    Rep. Matt Gaetz faces Justice Dept. investigation over alleged relationship with teen girl

    @Angry_staffer

    Matt Gaetz is a prosecutor’s dream come true.

    He hasn’t shut up since this investigation surfaced. He thinks he’s smarter than everyone else, but he’s made this significantly worse in 12 hours.

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  3. Teve says:
  4. sam says:
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: I take the same kind of pics everywhere I go. Just as an old woman’s face is far more interesting to look at than a pretty girl’s, so do old buildings. They speak, they have character, history.

    There is one near here with a sign on the front saying “Cutthroat Sewing”. Every time I see it, I say, “Musta been a rough neighborhood, if there was a thriving business sewing up cut throats.”

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  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: It’s almost inevitable that sex scandals are going to skew Republican. It’s a powerful organization that can and does provide protection to those with something to hide, and whose members for the most part don’t want to know, and are very easily distracted. I’m not saying that the motivation of every Republican rallying the troops to nutty causes is to provide distraction for their misdeeds, but I bet that’s the motivation of a high percentage.

    Of course Democrats and non-affiliated have their own share of scandals, but if you are a child predator or someone who has a history of physical abuse towards girlfriends or a spouse, which powerful organization can best help you cover it up and provide distraction?

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  7. Scott says:

    Those filthy humans.

    Zoos, scientists working on ways to keep people from giving the coronavirus to animal

    The coughing among the western lowland gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in January was the first warning sign.

    Soon, the fears were confirmed: A troop of gorillas became the first apes known to test positive for the coronavirus.

    Around the world, scientists and veterinarians are now racing to protect animals from COVID-19, often using the same playbook for minimizing disease spread among people: That includes social distancing, health checks and, for some zoo animals, a vaccine.

    And in response:

    Russia registers world’s first COVID-19 vaccine for animals

    Russia has registered the world’s first vaccine for animals against COVID-19, its agricultural regulator said on Wednesday, after tests showed it generated antibodies against the virus in dogs, cats, foxes and mink.

    Mass production of the vaccine, called Carnivac-Cov, can start in April, regulator Rosselkhoznadzor said.

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  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    America Has a Ruling Class
    Why do members of the political elite insist that they’re not?

    America’s most powerful people have a problem. They can’t admit that they’re powerful.

    ———————-

    Examples could be multiplied, but these cases are enough to show that the problem of insiders pretending to be outsiders cuts across party, gender and field. The question is why.

    ———————-

    First, we should stop confusing consumer preferences with power. Popular culture relies on the outdated clichés of starched linens and vaguely British accents to indicate privilege. This anachronism encourages public figures to signal their outsider status with aesthetic posturing. On the left, that often means the vaguely bohemian manner cultivated by Ms. Haines, who once operated a bookstore that hosted readings of erotic literature. On the right, it tends to involve exaggerated machismo and embrace of working-class signifiers.

    ———————-

    Finally, we need to be honest: America has a de facto ruling class. Since World War II, membership in that class has opened to those with meritocratic credentials. But that should not conceal the truth that it remains heavily influenced by birth. Even if their ancestors were not in The Social Register, Mr. Cuomo, Ms. Haines and Mr. Hawley were born to families whose advantages helped propel their careers. Admitting the fact of noblesse might help encourage the ideal of oblige.

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  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    @sam:

    The best reason for taking the back roads when traveling.

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  10. Teve says:

    @nytimes

    Breaking News: A Pfizer-BioNTech trial found the vaccine extremely effective in 12- to 15-year-olds, with no coronavirus infections among children who received it.

    https://t.co/l37VNblWSE

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  11. CSK says:

    It sounds as if Gaetz wasn’t exactly beloved even in his own party–and by the Trumpkins:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/republicans-waste-no-time-burying-meanest-person-matt-gaetz-after-teen-sex-allegation

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  12. CSK says:

    It sounds as if Gaetz wasn’t exactly beloved even in his own party–and by the Trumpkins:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/republicans-waste-no-time-burying-meanest-person-matt-gaetz-after-teen-sex-allegation

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  13. Teve says:

    photos: The great vaccination campaign

    Some terrific photos from around the world.

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I think many (most?) Republicans are so obsessed with all things sexual because being religiously conservative demands they repress their own sinful sexual urges and they gravitate towards a party of like minded individuals. It is why there appears to be so much projection by them. “I’m not ___________, you are!”

    Of course Democrats and non-affiliated have their own share of scandals,

    Yep, but they tend to be of a less prurient bend, usually simple greed.

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  15. Beth says:

    @CSK:

    It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that in addition to disliking Gaetz, other Republicans are scared of who’s attention and problems he could bring them. Here’s a nice easy way to take him down without attracting specific attention to themselves. Nice bit of cowardice they got there.

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  16. CSK says:

    @Beth:
    It sounds as if they’re quite gleeful about his problems. They probably wouldn’t mind if the same thing happened to a few others, starting with Trump.

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  17. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    That was very interesting. Thanks.

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  18. CSK says:

    According to the Cleveland Clinic, Covid-19 can cause erectile dysfunction.

    That ought to scare some men into getting the vaccine.

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  19. Teve says:

    @CSK: it can damage blood vessels, so that makes sense.

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  20. Kathy says:

    On the way to work just now, I came across an unusual sight: a line of several dozen cars standing idly by forming a very long line hugging the sidewalk..

    They were in line for vaccines at a local university. That’s good to know.

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  21. Teve says:

    We’ll be getting a lot more juicy gossip now probably

    @natashabertrand

    A federal judge has ruled that NDAs the Trump 2016 campaign required employees to sign is unenforceable, finding that the sweeping, boilerplate language of the NDAs was so vague that the agreement was invalid under New York contract law. @joshgerstein

    https://t.co/KqffbmlrkX

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  22. Will masks become more common in a post-Covid America? Personally, I don’t think so.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/03/30/981303287/should-masking-last-beyond-the-pandemic-flu-and-colds-are-down-spurring-a-debate

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  23. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I saw and commented on that column in NYT. I’ll repeat my comment – I can’t believe you wrote this whole column without mentioning Charles and the late David Koch, or the Mercers, or the Uihleins, or the late Sheldon Adelson, etc., etc.. Especially the day after NYT surfaced the tape of Koch operatives discussing how to oppose HR1.

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  24. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Of course Democrats and non-affiliated have their own share of scandals,

    Yep, but they tend to be of a less prurient bend, usually simple greed.

    Back around Watergate, before we invented memes, there was a stock line that Democratic scandals involved money or sex while Republican scandals revolved around attempts to subvert the Constitution. Republicans seem to have decided they can have it all.

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  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Damn nice to see your name…
    What do you think about their case?

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  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Speaking as someone who is far better looking with his mask on, I’m hoping it becomes a thing in the future!!!

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  27. Teve says:

    @marynmck

    Now that we’ve finally gotten Infrastructure Week, can we please get the taco trucks on every corner next? I’ve been waiting.

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  28. Jen says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Things I would like to see continue after the pandemic ends:

    * People washing their hands, thoroughly
    * People staying home when they are sick
    * People wearing masks if they have a minor illness and have to go out

    It’s a lot to hope for, I know. I’ve always been a bit squeamish about air travel, and I’ll likely continue to wear a mask on planes for quite a ways into the future. People are gross and don’t cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze.

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  29. Scott says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I hope so. It has been shown quite convincingly that flu and colds were drastically down because of mask use. I think it would keep the RSV rates down and infants that catch it out of the hospital.

    It will have to be social pressure that will make it work.

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  30. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    There was a Seinfeld ep where Jerry proposes an alternative to saying “bless you” when someone sneezes (I think it was “you’re so good-looking”).

    Taking a page from that, I think we should say “cover your mouth.”

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  31. Jax says:

    @Teve: Yesssss!!! MOAR TACO TRUCKS!!! Alllllll the trucks! 😛

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  32. Teve says:

    I want taco trucks, Phở trucks, Korean barbecue trucks, Pad Thai trucks, Jerk chicken trucks…

    I would like a variety of global foods appearing in Truck Format.

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jen:
    I’ll be happy if Covid finally sticks a knife in the kissy-kissy, cheek-cheek thing. Jesus Christ I hate that. For that matter I’d be happy to stop hand shaking.

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  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:
    You’re describing Los Angeles.

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  35. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Absolutely yes to that.

    I am not a fan of constant hugging either. My husband (the Brit) is even more adverse to these forced interactions disguised as greetings than I am. We were joking the other day about how we’ve actually enjoyed this aspect of the pandemic.

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  36. Jen says:

    Heck I might continue to wear a mask to give the impression that I’m sick, just so people will continue to give me a wide berth. I dislike having people in my personal space.

    The grocery store check-out line is the worst. I hope they keep those markers on the floor for a long time. I am also going to miss the one-way arrows in the aisles.

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  37. Mikey says:

    @Jen:

    The grocery store check-out line is the worst. I hope they keep those markers on the floor for a long time. I am also going to miss the one-way arrows in the aisles.

    Where I am people are generally very good about using the spacing markers on the floor, but the one-way arrows in the aisles are universally ignored.

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  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jen:
    My wife and I are both anti-social, dislike public displays of emotion, tend to be a bit too formal, aren’t ashamed of liking a drink, dress as non-flamboyantly as possible, like our humor dry, our emotions repressed and consider the ability to queue essential to civilization. We basically are British, but because we’re Americans we can be indifferent to, indeed unaware of, class. So, best of both worlds.

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  39. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    @Jen:

    The human hand is one of the filthiest objects in existence, carrying all kinds of dirt, bacteria, and viruses at all times. That’s one reason I’ve been keeping hand sanitizer on hand since 2007.

    As for fake kisses, I find it amazing that even telling people “Sorry, I’ve got a cold,” doesn’t stop them from doing that. Of curse, alter they blame me for their cold.

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  40. @Jen:

    Agreed. Especially on the staying home when you’re sick part

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  41. gVOR08 says:

    There’s an old thing about a conversation between an Italian and a Norwegian moving as the Italian tries to maintain his one foot comfort zone and the Norwegian three feet.

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  42. Teve says:

    Cnbc:

    The seven-day average of daily Covid-19 vaccine shots given in the U.S. reached 2.8 million on Tuesday.

    Baller.

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  43. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    The only time the one-way markers annoy me is when I forget something (despite my list) and have to go all around Robin Hood’s barn* to fetch it.

    My sixth grade teacher used the expression “all around Robin Hood’s barn” and I thought it was hysterically funny. I wonder how it originated. I should look it up.

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  44. @Kathy:

    There was also an episode where he tried to avoid the “kiss hello” that had become common among the tenants in his building

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  45. Scott says:

    When this started, I tried to adapt Japanese bowing but that was a bridge too far for people.

    Social distancing hasn’t been hard for me; it’s a preferred condition. About 15 years back I went to a church retreat where the day began where everybody greeted each other by hugging. By the time we left I was totally exhausted and like, “nobody touch me”.

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  46. Michael Cain says:

    @gVOR08:

    There’s an old thing about a conversation between an Italian and a Norwegian moving as the Italian tries to maintain his one foot comfort zone and the Norwegian three feet.

    I had a friend in college who always spent some time at parties intentionally “chasing” people around rooms by moving six inches inside their personal comfort distance.

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  47. Beth says:

    I guess I’m the outlier. I’m an extrovert and I’m dying to be able to hug and be hugged. I’ve repeatedly complained that I need people touching me.

    My wife is an introvert and if it wasn’t for being stuck with me the whole time she’d be in heaven.

    I told her my dream is to return to a sweaty, loud gay bar and be enveloped by a group of a million screaming twinks.

    She recoiled in horror.

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  48. EddieInCA says:

    @gVOR08:

    A joke told to me by a Swedish friend:

    When the CDC and WHO announced that everyone needed to keep six feet away, Swedes looked at each other in confusion and said “Why so close?”

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  49. charon says:

    The one way arrows do not make sense if the store is not crowded, e.g., at my preferred shopping times. People universally ignore them as far as I have seen.

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  50. EddieInCA says:

    @Jen:

    As someone who has flown over 200,000 miles per year, several years, I will never fly again without wearing an N 95 mask and goggles. Are used to get sick 5 to 6 times a year, and I ha ve always been convinced that it was all the airplanes and airports I was in.

    Since the pandemic, despite having been on at least 30 flights in the last 12 months, I have not been sick once.

    #science

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  51. Kathy says:

    @Beth:

    The only people I tolerate touching me are dogs.

    Cats, too, but I think they class themselves at a higher level than mere people.

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  52. Mimai says:

    For all you shoegazers out there, My Bloody Valentine has some news that might induce a dopamine burst…..about which you are ashamed, natch.

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  53. Teve says:
  54. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Isn’t there a science fiction story about aliens who visit earth and discover that it’s actually dogs who rule the planet, given that they’re smarter than the humans they’ve conned into feeding them and giving them shelter because they’re so cute and playful?

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  55. Beth says:

    @Kathy:

    It’s been rather strange for me to learn how much I want to be touched by other people and as long as they are comfortable with it, touch people back. It’s been one of the worst aspects of the pandemic for me. It’s been really lonely.

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  56. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Not that I’ve read. there was a Futurama ep where cats controlled the world or something.

    In Pale Blue Dot, when Sagan tells what the Galileo probe saw of Earth, he explains that cars must to be the dominant life forms, as the most extensive engineering works, streets, freeways, and highways, are built to suit their needs. But it’s odd they don’t move unless there’s one or more biological parasite inside them.

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  57. CSK says:

    In an interview with Lara Trump on her new podcast (www.therightview.com), Mangolini informed his daughter-in-law that he might be holding a rally in the “near future.” This is in addition to traveling to the border “in the next few weeks.” I can hardly wait.

    What astounds me is that Lara claims to have 1.4 million viewers.

    Facebook took the podcast down, and the Trumpkins are irate.

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  58. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    “Man has always assumed that he is more intelligent than dolphins because he has achieved so much–the wheel, New York, wars and so on — while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But, conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.” Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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  59. Kathy says:

    Pandemic notes.

    At the hospital, everyone wore masks. Doctors, nurses, orderlies, visitors, everyone. And KN95 was a very popular choice, including some of the people in the OR and the surgical preparation and recovery areas.

    Some patients didn’t, but all patients have to get a negative CVOID PCR test before being admitted. I wore mine at first, before and after surgery, until around 7-8 pm the first day. That’s when I heard a phrase I never thought would be addressed to me: “your blood pressure is low.” My oxygen saturation was also low (between 85 and 87, which is low but not that low), so I was put on oxygen for the duration and told not to wear a mask.

    the pressure eventually went up to normal, as did the O saturation after I left the hospital. For the record, I never felt short of breath. at my first visit to the surgeon post-op, the sat was at 97 or so.

    Vaccination in mexico proceeds at a glacial pace, with just over 7 million doses and fewer than a million fully vaccinated (two doses) people.

    I’ve an appointment to get my passport next Sunday (they don’t open on Saturday but will on Sunday, go figure). I’m less ambivalent now to go north for a shot or two given that 1) it’s been opened to almost everyone, and 2) three seem to be much hesitancy and people who outright don’t want a vaccine.

    But, still, if registration for my age group opens up April 1st, as promised it would, I may rethink it again. I’m not eager tos pend a couple of thousand on travel expenses, not on top of the medical expenses, and I’m less eager to travel to a red state without a mask mandate.

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  60. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Kathy, just FYI, an oxygen saturation level below 88 can be very dangerous. I’m glad you were in the hospital at the time.

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  61. Teve says:

    @NYGovCuomo

    #BREAKING: I just signed legislation legalizing adult-use cannabis.

    The bill creates automatic expungement of previous marijuana convictions that would now be legal.

    This is a historic day.

    I thank the Leader and Speaker and the tireless advocacy of so many.

    He’s probably just doing this to distract from his horrible behavior, but I’ll take it.

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  62. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I’m glad you were in the hospital at the time.

    I don’t suppose you intended irony.

    My sat was normal before surgery, and for a few hours afterwards, as was the blood pressure. the doctor said the fall in both was an effect of the surgery, So if I hadn’t been in the hospital at the time, due to not requiring surgery, chances are they’d both have been normal, and I wouldn’t have needed to be in a hospital with an oxygen supply 🙂

    The really bad thing is that first night they wanted to monitor both the oxygen levels and pressure. The machine beeped constantly and couldn’t be turned off or turned down (because then no one would hear the alarm if values fell to dangerous levels. I managed to sleep anyway, but not through the blood pressure cuff inflating every few minutes. It’s like having your forearm put in a vise. It kept waking me up.

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  63. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I often would tell people “I’m a crazy man, I don’t shake hands,” and then wave from two feet away. It seemed to do the trick.

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  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: Was Bill Clinton the last DEM to have a sexual scandal? To me it wasn’t even the sex that was a scandal.

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  65. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I’ve got a jerk’s truck, and a couple times a year it’s a jerk’s chicken truck. Does that count?

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  66. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Was Bill Clinton the last DEM to have a sexual scandal?

    What do you mean? Obviously he’s the last Dem president to have a sex scandal, as Obama never did, and Biden so far hasn’t as president, though you might include “hands-gate” and Tara Reade on the campaign trail as examples. But there have been plenty of Dems politicians with sex scandals–Cuomo, Weiner, Edwards.

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  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: I guess I’m the outlier. I’m an extrovert and I’m dying to be able to hug and be hugged.

    No, I am. An introvert who is also a hugger.

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  68. KM says:

    @Teve:
    Meh, itt’s been in the works for a while now so the timing’s no so suspicious. Legal weed’s good money for the state and NY’s gonna need it after COVID.

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  69. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Been there, done that. Those expanding and retracting cuffs will interrupt your sleep, no doubt about it.

    And of course it was because you were in the hospital that your osl dropped. But better than not there.

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  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: One problem: though Mr. Hawley be noblesse, he possesses none. It’s no wonder that the oblige is missing.

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  71. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Cuomo, Weiner, Edwards.

    Ah, Weiner, I’d forgotten about him. Cuomo? As far as I know, there hasn’t been any sex. How can it be a sex scandal when there is no sex? Edwards? That was a “You’re a complete and utter ASSHOLE!!!!! having an affair while your wife is dying.” scandal.

    Obviously he’s the last Dem president to have a sex scandal,

    There was nothing scandalous about Billy having an affair, at least not among anyone who wasn’t a holier than thou God bothering POS. As far as I was concerned there was nothing scandalous in his lying under oath about it either. Of course he’s gonna lie about it, what married man doesn’t? The answer to that question is, “The married man who doesn’t have affairs.”

    I see your point tho. I guess scandal is like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder.

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  72. Michael Reynolds says:

    Glad to see NY legalize weed.

    Now, when does someone with some blood on their hands over this stand up and say publicly that we ruined people’s lives, tore apart families, got people killed, militarized the police and pissed away billions of dollars, over something that we now shrug off?

    For 50 years I’ve thought it was clear beyond any reasonable doubt that we should legalize. How the fuck did it take society this long to begin to accept the blazingly obvious? And how are we going to repair the damage done?

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  73. Michael Reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Dontcha know that all sex is a scandal? It’s the tedious Puritanism that lingers in the American bloodstream.

    Did it involve two (or more) consenting adults, absent coercion? Then it’s not a scandal, it’s just sex and as such is none of our business. Fornication? Not our business. Adultery? Not our business. ‘Kinky’ sex? Also not our business. Touch a kid or use coercion or violence? Absolutely our business.

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  74. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Move along, move along. Nothing to see here Folks, nothing to see.”

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  75. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: 103 Breakout cases in 2nd vaccination subjects in Washington State over the weekend. I think you’re right, but all that will show is that Americans lean hubristic.

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  76. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Edwards? That was a “You’re a complete and utter ASSHOLE!!!!! having an affair while your wife is dying.” scandal.

    Now if you’re a Republican, that qualifies you to be a pundit and grifter a la Newt Gingrich.

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  77. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was trying to be objective in my definition of “scandal” and avoid imposing my opinion on the matter. What makes something a scandal isn’t whether you or I disapprove, but whether it gets treated as a scandal. I think the Lewinsky scandal was silly, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a scandal. That would be simply ignoring reality. It’s possible to separate our opinions on the worthiness of a scandal from whether it is in fact a scandal. And yes, it is pretty arbitrary, and there’s plenty of hypocrisy and double standards to go around. But that’s not going to make me start redefining scandal as applying only to things I personally object to.

    Technically Obama is an accused gay philanderer. It’s just that no one outside the fever swamps of the right has ever taken the accuser’s claims as remotely credible. For that matter, Reagan and Bush Sr. were accused of affairs and/or misconduct back when they were president, but these accusations were almost totally ignored by the media and political establishment at the time. Therefore, regardless of the truth of any of these accusations, they weren’t scandals. That’s simply a fact. Nor were the liaisons of Kennedy or FDR, despite what we now know. They could have become scandals if they had come to light while these men were president, but the fact is they never did.

    And the standards of what constitutes scandal changes over time. It was a scandal when Grover Cleveland was found to have non-adulterously fathered a child out of wedlock; nowadays that wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow. But he was virtually given a pass when he married a 21-year-old whom he’d been legal guardian to, and it’s almost impossible to imagine it getting that reaction today.

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  78. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: It’s my understanding that the breakout cases have all been asymptomatic or mild. Nobody’s had to be hospitalized. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong

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  79. Teve says:

    Atul Gawande, surgeon and excellent medical communicator, has made a decision.

    After much deliberation, he now believes that we should delay everyone’s second vaccination dose for three months in order to get everyone at least one shot. On the basis that one shot gives you 80% protection and two gives you 95%, and it’s more important to get everybody up to the 80% level first.

    Logically, he’s correct. But my primate brain knows I’m due for the second shot in 20 days and it’s just yelling SHUT UP at him.

    He fully explains his reasoning at that link.

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  80. liberal capitalist says:

    @Teve:

    I want taco trucks, Phở trucks, Korean barbecue trucks, Pad Thai trucks, Jerk chicken trucks…

    And if you can’t get that, then here is a tip: Golden Island Korean BBQ pork jerky at Costco.

    https://www.costco.com/golden-island-korean-barbecue-pork-jerky%2c-14.5-oz.product.100377137.html

    Never consider overpriced beef jerkey again.

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  81. Mikey says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Glad to see NY legalize weed.

    After having been in NYC for a few days at the beginning of this month, my first question upon hearing this news was “you mean it wasn’t already?”

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  82. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Glad to see NY legalize weed.

    Wag the bong!

    (And yes, I approve.)

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  83. Teve says:

    @liberal capitalist: I just put that in my favorites. I might have to order several pounds. 😀

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  84. KM says:

    Clicking around Yahoo News brought me to this article on a murder and custody dispute involving grandparent’s rights. Which got me thinking: why exactly is “grandparent’s rights” a thing and not say “uncle’s rights” or “cousin’s rights”? Even the article itself notes:

    Also, any measure addressing grandparents’ rights would have to be expanded to include other family members such as uncles and aunts, to satisfy constitutional equal-protection guarantees, Beebe said.

    I get that grandparents really want to see their grandkids and that there’s some lingering sense of ownership that what’s their child’s belongs to them. It’s very odd though that the assumption would be custody would go to an elderly set of people instead of someone around the same age group as the parents aka siblings or perhaps cousins. It’s even odder to assume that someone thinks they have a right to demand constant access to your child based on their relationship to *you* (not all grandchildren are biologically related after all) but it only extends up, not side to side on the family tree. You never hear about cousins or childless great-aunts suing to be able to see their great-niblings or whatever. Why is it always grandparents?

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  85. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    That kind of experiment may well wind up happening in mid and low income countries, which can’t get enough doses for everyone.

    I think I mentioned a coworker was supposed to get his second dose last Monday, and no doses were available. He still hasn’t gotten it. Other figures I’ve seen suggest there’s no reserve for second doses.

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  86. CSK says:

    @KM:
    A good question. Another issue is that, if both parents die at the same time, custody of their children is given to the mother’s parents or parents, not the father’s. (In the absence of other arrangements.) I assume this doesn’t happen if the mother’s parent or parents are blatantly unfit.

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  87. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’ve got a jerk’s truck, and a couple times a year it’s a jerk’s chicken truck. Does that count?

    So… yer jerkin yer chicken in a truck?

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  88. Mister Bluster says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:..jerkin yer chicken…

    I always heard it was called “chokin’ the chicken” but I never lived on a farm.

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  89. Kathy says:

    My fear when the first results of phase 3 vaccine trials were announced, was that people would deem themselves invulnerable the moment the needle withdrew from their arms, and then get COVID because they thought precautions no longer apply to them.

    No doubt there’s been some of that, but overall it doesn’t seem to be a big problem. Instead we got the double-whammy of more contagious variants and people lowering their guard (like states dropping mask mandates), which are causing a new surge of infections as vaccination proceeds.

    You know, an answer to the Fermi Paradox is that there are “filters” that civilizations go through and are often stopped by. One is that a technological civilization finds ways to destroy itself, be it through war, pollution, resource depletion, climate change, etc.

    I wonder how many technological civilizations have been filtered out from not taking a pandemic seriously

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  90. Jen says:
  91. Mister Bluster says:

    Two versions of the same story:

    Hollywood
    Liddy is referenced — but his character did not appear — in the 1976 Watergate film All the President’s Men, when Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) tells his source Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook), “We’re beginning to hear a lot about a lawyer, crazy, Gordon Liddy. Gordon Liddy was fired by [John Mitchell] because he wouldn’t talk to the FBI.” After a few beats, Deep Throat replies: “I was at a party once and, uh, Liddy put his hand over a candle and he kept it there. He kept it right in the flame until his flesh was burned. Somebody said, ‘What’s the trick?’ and Liddy said, ‘The trick is not minding.’”

    Journalism
    As part of a program he followed to develop his willpower — to make himself into a kind of machine, free of emotion and fear — Liddy literally tested himself by fire. He learned to hold his hand over a candle flame and watch without flinching as his flesh burned. “Suffering. That was the key,” to achieving his goals, he writes.
    Gordon Liddy Spills His Guts
    Bob Woodward

    I wonder if he will be cremated?

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  92. Teve says:

    @Kathy: That’s been my position on the Fermi paradox for years. In the second half of the 20th century we nearly nuked the planet multiple times. Climate change is going to cause drastic upheaval because it’s not the kind of problem that can motivate people sufficiently. In the last 12 months we’ve seen people in the ICU on respirators still denying that Covid was real.

    It’s just a matter of time before something rings down the curtain.

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  93. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: I have no doubt that Gawande is correct in terms of medicine and epidemiology. But in terms of messaging and politics and project management he’s completely wrong. We have announced plan A, almost everybody’s on board with plan A, and while perhaps not optimal, plan A will work. Changing in midstream to plan B will just confuse everybody. And drive more vaccine skepticism, “Oh, now they’re saying I don’t really need the second shot. Those pointy headed eggheads have no idea what they’re doing.” Might make sense for countries that aren’t yet well along with plan A, but not here.

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  94. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    The thing is neither a nuclear war nor climate change should end our species. Civilization, yes, easily*. But the survivors should be able to out-compete other species for scarce resources, based on two qualities: 1) we can make weapons out of almost anything, and 2) we can eat almost anything as well.

    A disease might be different. It need not even be fatal. Suppose a disease caused loss of fertility or merely a decline (something, BTW, that pollution might be doing right now). Or that it caused fatal deformities in fetuses (see Zika).

    That worries me more as to the survival of our species than war, pollution, asteroid impacts, or very large volcanic eruptions.

    * Of course if civilization collapses repeatedly once it reaches a certain level of technology, communicating with or even being detected by other civilizations elsewhere in the galaxy becomes a slim proposition.

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  95. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Here’s a hint: Fuck objectivity. That’s for better people than me. I see things as I see them and if somebody else sees them differently? That’s their problem. 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉

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  96. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: @Mister Bluster: Heh, whatever floats yer boat.

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  97. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: IGMFEBE.

    Just putting on my Republican cape.

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  98. Teve says:

    @Kathy: yeah I wouldn’t rule out small bands of humans surviving in some places, but no more global civilization, at least for a long time.

    There is another good answer to the Fermi paradox, and it is that space is extraordinarily hostile to biological life and the distances between star systems are extraordinarily large. The closest star to our sun is Proxima Centauri and it’s 40,000,000,000,000 km away. The fastest spacecraft we’ve ever gotten moving, Voyager 1, is moving at 38,000 mph. If we had pointed that thing toward Proxima Centauri it would arrive in 74,000 years. Given that there are dust and molecules between here and there, I can’t imagine anything surviving the trip.

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  99. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Kathy:

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  100. Jax says:

    @Kathy: My daughter got her first Pfizer shot today at that town with the airport. It wasn’t a drive-thru clinic like ours is, but it was easy peasy. At the stores we went to, all required masks, compliance was probably 60%. It sounds like they’re going to be scaling down the operation in a couple weeks, her second shot will be at the public health office instead of the event complex like today. If you decide to come this way, our hosts have my permission to share my email address with you.

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  101. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    I firmly intend to go to my grave believing FTL travel may be plausible. Unless, that is, someone achieves it in my lifetime 🙂

    That aside, I don’t expect it’s really possible, so we’re left in the position of an ant trying to circumnavigate the globe, but with fewer advantages.

    There are still some possibilities, like multi generation interstellar arks, way faster ships with some sort of shielding against radiation (easier on an ark holding thousands of people), or perhaps much longer life expediencies in the future, or that old SF standby suspended animation.

    We can certainly build a spaceship that can travel much faster than the Voyagers or New Horizons. We even know how. There are problems at appreciable fractions of light speed, though, like collisions with stray atoms and even dust in interstellar space. But we could build probes that can travel reasonably fast, say so they reach Alpha Centauri in decades or centuries rather than millennia.

    We might be able to make probes that can land on a planet, build other probes, and launch them on to other stars where they’d repeat the process. That’s the von Neuman probe idea. I’m not saying this is easy, and it would likely require a fleet of probes rather than one probe, but it’s possible. You’d think other civilizations would think of it.

    Finally, there’s radio and lasers. We could intercept and perhaps decode transmissions from other civilizations, unless, as noted before, technological civilizations collapse every time they reach a certain level of technology.

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  102. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Kathy:
    First – O2 saturation of 85 is very significant, particularly if confirmed by PAO2.
    Your Doc is correct, a post operative drop in BP is a fairly commonly occurring complication of surgery/anesthesia. In short, it’s called shock.
    The depression of saturation level is a consequence of shock and attendant depression of BP.

    One might read your comment as a demonstration that wearing a mask caused your seats to drop, I hope that that was not the message you intended to convey.

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  103. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @liberal capitalist: I swear I’m addicted to that pork jerky.

    Being available at Costco has it’s good and bad sides. I won’t go as bankrupt buying it (good), but it makes me fatter because I can buy so much of it (bad).

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  104. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    Thanks, that’s very kind of you and I appreciate it, but it won’t be necessary. Some close relatives are scheduled to go mid April, and I’ll tag along.

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  105. Kathy says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    Oh, no, that wasn’t my intention at all. I didn’t mention it, but it was well above 90 the first two times they took my vital signs with the mask on.

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  106. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve:

    However, at least eight people with breakthrough cases have been hospitalized. The Washington State Department of Health is also investigating two potential breakthrough cases where the individuals died. Both patients were over 80 years old and suffered from underlying health issues.

    Link

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  107. Jax says:

    Does anybody else ever look at Roger Stone and wonder every. damn. time how it’s even possible that he’s a real human? Are we sure he’s not an animatronic Disney villain that escaped from the park?

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  108. Teve says:

    @Kathy:

    We might be able to make probes that can land on a planet, build other probes, and launch them on to other stars where they’d repeat the process. That’s the von Neuman probe idea. I’m not saying this is easy, and it would likely require a fleet of probes rather than one probe, but it’s possible. You’d think other civilizations would think of it.

    I’m sure they would have, but…they’re not here.

    Keep in mind, too, the rocket equation—the faster you want to go, the more fuel you have to bring along to slow you down when you get there.

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  109. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    However, at least eight people with breakthrough cases have been hospitalized. The Washington State Department of Health is also investigating two potential breakthrough cases where the individuals died.

    GODDAMMIT

    Both patients were over 80 years old and suffered from underlying health issues.

    ok not such bad news. 80-yros can have trouble forming cellular immunity to begin with

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  110. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    I’ve seen the absence of von Neuman probes on Earth as proof there’s no intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy.

    It isn’t proof. Perhaps they are impossible, or so expensive no one has built them, or any of a large number of other reasons. But if even one civilization built any, and they kept on reproducing endlessly, we’d have picked up some radio transmissions by now, IMO.

    as for fuel, I like the hydrogen ramscoop idea.

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  111. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    I think animatronics display more warmth.

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  112. Jax says:

    @Kathy: The early cartoon Pinocchio has more warmth than that guy. Has anybody ever seen him bleed?!

    Maybe he’s straight outta Westworld, Disney villain version.

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  113. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “when does someone with some blood on their hands over this stand up and say publicly that we ruined people’s lives, tore apart families, got people killed, militarized the police and pissed away billions of dollars, over something that we now shrug off?

    Right after someone who fought for prohibition does.

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  114. wr says:

    @Mister Bluster: “He kept it right in the flame until his flesh was burned. Somebody said, ‘What’s the trick?’ and Liddy said, ‘The trick is not minding.’””

    Whether or not Liddy ever said this, it comes directly from Lawrence of Arabia…

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