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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Tesla ordered to pay $137m to Black former employee for racial abuse

    Owen Diaz, a former contracted elevator operator who worked at the plant between 2015 and 2016, alleged he was harassed and faced “daily racial epithets” including the “N-word”. He also said employees drew swastikas and left racist graffiti and drawings around the plant.
    …………………………
    Organ, of the California Civil Rights Law Group, said: “It’s a great thing when one of the richest corporations in America has to have a reckoning of the abhorrent conditions at its factory for Black people.”

    Diaz’s lawsuit claimed that supervisors failed to stop the racial abuse.

    Well, of course he says that. I’ll bet Tesla has a different take.

    “While we strongly believe that these facts don’t justify the verdict reached by the jury in San Francisco, we do recognize that in 2015 and 2016 we were not perfect. We’re still not perfect,” wrote Valerie Capers Workman, Tesla’s human resources vice-president.

    “But we have come a long way from five years ago. We continue to grow and improve in how we address employee concerns. Occasionally, we’ll get it wrong, and when that happens we should be held accountable.”

    That’s the long way of saying, “Guilty as charged, but we shouldn’t be punished for it.”

    In May, an arbitrator ordered Tesla to pay more than $1m over similar allegations by another former Fremont factory worker. That employee alleged co-workers called him a racial slur and supervisors ignored his complaints.

    Diaz was contracted through a staffing agency and did not have to sign an arbitration agreement.

    Something tells me Tesla won’t be making that same mistake in Texas.

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve talked about what I call Jim Crow governance, wherein people see the role of governance as primarily about maintaining the social hierarchy. Here’s a more formal description from a NYTimes article:

    Social dominance orientation is a variable that refers to the preference for society to be structured by group-based hierarchies. It’s comprised of two components: group-based dominance, and anti-egalitarianism. Group-based dominance refers to the preference for these hierarchies and the use of force/aggression to maintain them. Anti-egalitarianism refers to maintaining these sorts of hierarchies through other means, such as through systems, legislation, etc.
    Womick notes that his own study of the 2016 primaries showed that Trump voters were unique compared with supporters of other Republicans in the strength of their group-based dominance. I think group-based dominance as the distinguishing factor of this group is highly consistent with what happened at the Capitol. These individuals likely felt that the Trump administration was serving to maintain group-based hierarchies in society from which they felt they benefited. They may have perceived the 2020 election outcome as a threat to that structure. As a result, they turned to aggression in an attempt to affect our political structures in service of the maintenance of those group-based hierarchies.

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  3. CSK says:

    This is depressing:

    http://www.thebulwark.com/the-apocalypse-never-dies-it-just-gets-weirder/

    Trump as the Messiah.

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  4. Mu Yixiao says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    That’s the long way of saying, “Guilty as charged, but we shouldn’t be punished for it.”

    Have you read the complete response from Tesla? It makes things a little more grey.

    The key bullet point:

    The three times that Mr. Diaz did complain about harassment, Tesla stepped in and made sure responsive and timely action was taken by the staffing agencies: two contractors were fired and one was suspended (who had drawn a racially offensive cartoon). Mr. Diaz himself testified that he was “very satisfied” with the results of one of the investigations, and he agreed that there was follow-up on each of his complaints.

    I didn’t see all the evidence presented, so I can’t say who’s right, but… it sounds more grey than is being presented in the news.

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Their labor practices suck dd in general. They are way past receiving the benefit of a doubt.

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  6. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: It doesn’t seem reasonable to me to that the company established that it took action that remediated the situation to the satisfaction of the plaintiff and that the jury subsequently awarded $100-some million (which is bound to be arbitrated down) anyway. But it might not be the first time that a company spokesperson lied in a public statement to make the company look good either.

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  7. Kathy says:

    Replying to yesterday’s comment by @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    In my districts, we’re struggling to get students to finish taking algebra by the time they’re seniors–we start teaching it in grade 8 at most schools I’ve taught at.

    First, definitions. In Mexico we get six years of elementary school, numbered in grades 1 through six. then three years of junior high school, numbered 1 through 3, and finally 3 years of high school, again 1 through 3. People typically finish high school at age 18.

    In my time, we got pretty much just algebra in junior high school, all three years of it. In high school we got set theory, more algebra, analytic geometry, and basic calculus.

    I have to ask: what else is taught north of the Rio Grande, that leaves so little time for math? We also got civics, history, chemistry, physics, biology, geography, shop classes, physical education (waste of time), and more.

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  8. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    I don’t know if it’s changed, but my secondary education included Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Trigonometry. Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy and Physiology. Four years of history, World and U.S. Four years of a foreign language. Four years of English. Elective: Economics.

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  9. Michael Cain says:

    @CSK:
    I’m old, so had similar secondary content (in a rural state), but it was labeled “college track”. If you weren’t taking the college track, the last two years of high school looked a lot more like trade training: shop skills at multiple levels, accounting, business math, office management.

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  10. Mu Yixiao says:

    My high school curriculum included… ummm… some classes? I think?

    Damn, that was a long time ago. 😛

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  11. Kathy says:

    By far the most common question, or gripe, by students confronting a difficult subject is “When am I going to need to use this in real life?”

    This gives rise to the jokes of “another day I didn’t have to use algebra.” But come to think about it, when did you last have to balance a reaction, or calculate the trajectory of a cannon ball, or analyze a sentence, or locate a nerve in a frog, or apply Plato’s theory of forms to some issue, etc?

    What seems to me to be the problem in education, is that subjects are taught in a manner divorced from real world applications. Not in the sense that no one claims there’s no use for chemistry or biology or math, but that these subjects don’t seem to apply in the day to day lives of most people.

    What I’ve learned these past decade focusing my reading on non-fiction (largely history), is that knowledge of many of these subjects help in understanding the world at several levels, and that knowledge need not be deep to be useful for this purpose.

    For example, you can understand a pandemic even if you don’t know the difference between a virus and a bacteria. But if you do know the difference, you’ll understand how much harder it is to treat viral diseases, and how much more we depend on the immune system to defeat them. This includes understanding why a vaccine before infection is a preferable treatment than the best antiviral drugs or antibodies after infection.

    So this may be what’s lacking in schools.

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  12. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy:

    This gives rise to the jokes of “another day I didn’t have to use algebra.” But come to think about it, when did you last have to balance a reaction, or calculate the trajectory of a cannon ball…

    I have this discussion online on a regular basis, at least about the math.

    First, the standard sequence algebra, trig, pre-calc, calculus (three semesters, college pace), linear algebra, and differential equations is the bread-and-butter for all of the traditional engineering disciplines. Yes, the grunt work is all done by computers these days. Theory is still important, at least for good engineers, because it tells you, as one prof put it, “where the ice is thin.” You can’t get rid of it, you can only augment it with stuff for people who aren’t going to be engineers.

    Second, I have argued for decades that most people would be better served by studying algorithms rather than Algebra II. How complicated is the business procedure I’m putting together? Is there an alternate, better way to organize this spreadsheet? (We’ll leave the matter that spreadsheets are programs, and violate many of the known best practices for programming, for another day.) How can this process fail?

    Third, I am always torn on the matter of probability and statistics. I worry about people learning enough to be truly dangerous. I use the example of linear regression. Anyone with a spreadsheet can fit a line/plane to a pile of data. Hardly anyone ever bothers afterwards with the residual analysis necessary to verify that any of the assumptions that make a linear regression model a reasonable choice were satisfied.

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  13. gVOR08 says:

    As far as I’m aware the guns brought by the rioters to 1/6 were kept concealed or left in cars or hotel rooms. Seems to me that instead of arguing about what constitutes “armed”, we should be discussing the obvious effectiveness of DC gun laws compared to, say, Michigan.

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  14. Monala says:

    So anti-vaxxers claim they know all these people who have had bad reactions to Covid vaccines and/or died. Are they all lying? I know one person who was treated for myocarditis post-vaccine. Everyone else I know who is vaccinated has had only mild side effects, if any, the day after the shot.

    Furthermore, I think of my extended family, a group that’s probably about 40 people over age 12. Of them, 5 have had Covid. One caught it before the vaccines were developed, and fortunately recovered well.

    The other four caught Covid this summer. Three of them—all members of the same household—were the only three members of my extended family not to get vaccinated as soon as they were eligible. All three ended up hospitalized. Two have been released, and one is still recovering. The third one died.*

    The final person is a close family member of the three unvaccinated ones, and she cared for them during their Covid bouts. She caught Covid from them, but because she is vaccinated, her case was mild and she recovered quickly.

    The rest of my over-12 family? All vaccinated, and still masking in public. No one else has had Covid, even though many are elderly, some have pre-existing conditions, several work in healthcare or education, and a number of my relatives live in Covid hotspots around the South.

    * it’s a lot harder to be angry with your anti-vax relatives who you love than with strangers.

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Monala:

    it’s a lot harder to be angry with your anti-vax relatives who you love than with strangers.

    I find just the opposite. I was furious that my Dad’s wife was dragging her feet and bullied her into getting it done. If she croaks, I’m next in line to care for him. At this point anyone eligible who is still not vaxxed is doing it for political reasons and I have no objection to those people getting sick. I only object to them spreading it to immunocompromised people.

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  16. Kathy says:

    @Monala:

    Myocarditis has been reported as a rare side effect of the mRNA vaccines. It seems to strike younger people most often (though it’s still rare in that group), and in most cases it resolves on its own.

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  17. Jay L Gischer says:

    @gVOR08: It’s likely that many of the guns brought were left behind. And I endorse the idea that those people who were arrested be charged and tried according to whether they themselves were armed, and in what manner.

    AND, there’s video of people with long guns in the crowd. Lots of video. Lots of guns. Capitol police made a conscious decision not to use firearms because they thought they would be outgunned.

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  18. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Algorithms might be worth teaching, if the classes don’t degenerate into endlessly solving and making flow charts with little relation to reality.

    Statistics and probability should be included in math, along with fractions and percentages. Too many people are entirely clueless about such things.

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  19. Kylopod says:

    @Monala:

    So anti-vaxxers claim they know all these people who have had bad reactions to Covid vaccines and/or died. Are they all lying?

    Well take the Nicki Minaj fiasco, where she claimed her cousin’s friend suffered swollen balls after taking the vaccine. She may have been lying through her teeth–I wouldn’t put it past her. (Of course even if it did happen that wouldn’t prove a causal connection with the vaccine–but the evidence suggests it didn’t happen.) However, she did something I’ve seen a lot of people do over the years, which is repeat an urban legend or hoax while claiming it happened to someone they know. It’s the “friend of a friend” phenomenon. I remember my grandfather doing this once. I was also reminded a bit of an old urban legend–the one about Eddie Murphy and the white lady on the elevator. I was reading the Snopes article on it a couple weeks ago, and it included an excerpt from an interview with Murphy where he talks about people going up to him and telling the story, and he says: “Here’s the clincher: Whenever I go, ‘No, it never happened,’ they always say, ‘Yes, it did. My cousin was there.'”

    I’m convinced there’s some level of false-memory, Mandela effect going on with a lot of these incidents.

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  20. BugManDan says:

    @Monala:

    it’s a lot harder to be angry with your anti-vax relatives who you love than with strangers.

    I am furious with my brother and family because he is endangering my parents (nextdoor neighbors) and am not sure how long it will be before I get over it, even if he gets stuck tomorrow.

    If the people across the street from me finally get theirs, we will be back on friendlier terms. As in conversation, rather than a wave and a yelked hello.

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  21. just nutha says:

    @CSK:

    Madison Cawthorn, the Trumpy young first-term congressman, tweeted out a video showing himself misinterpreting the Bible and pushing theocracy.

    Just want to note that in many circles in which I have traveled, pushing theocracy DOES NOT represent a misinterpretation of the Bible. Nor do the assertions about David, Daniel, and Esther. I’ve heard his assertions several times from several sources over several decades.

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  22. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Third, I am always torn on the matter of probability and statistics. I worry about people learning enough to be truly dangerous.

    These should absolutely be taught–even if just at the basic level of being able to understand actual probabilities (e.g., risk analysis), outliers, trends, and the difference between correlation and causation (and the directionality of causation!)

    I did a quick lesson on this during a lecture on debate in a HS class.

    “Who here is wearing blue jeans?” (hands go up)
    “Who wore blue jeans in grade school?” (hands stay up)
    “Who here has every stolen anything?” (most hands stay up)

    “There you have it! Blue jeans cause people to become thieves!”

    Then go on to explain causation vs. correlation. 🙂 I saw a few eyes brighten during that.

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  23. just nutha says:

    @just nutha: On the other hand, this is new (but may depend upon one’s definition of blasphemous, but I’ll lean that way rather that just stupid):
    “an image of Trump next to a Biblical verse, “Unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulders” (Isaiah 9:6, but misattributed on the billboard to Romans).”

    And the misattribution doesn’t surprise me at all. These people know the Bible as well as they know how to make a Rolex Oyster Perpetual–from scratch using recycled aluminum cans.

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  24. Michael Cain says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    No problem with that. Where I’m concerned is when the proposal is to teach a semester as a “math” class in high school. I’m thinking in terms of the quarter of “statistics” I had to take when I went back to graduate school to study public policy. When it was clear that they were done with the chapter on linear regression, I asked, “What about residual analysis? What about anything to verify that the model is appropriate and a good place to stop?” The faculty member looked at me blankly.

    I worry that a high-school semester will give the kids tools, but no idea how to appropriately use them.

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  25. CSK says:

    @just nutha: @just nutha:
    Do you mean they don’t read the Bible at all, or they read it and misunderstand it, or they read it and interpret it according to their own wishes?

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  26. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    Some years ago I engaged in many arguments at an online message board with a Catholic priest (nice guy overall).

    He claimed that the Christian trinity figure is present not only in the Old Testament, but in every other religion that preceded either Christianity or Judaism. The claim is that Jehovah did reveal himself countless times to all humans, but in different guises (creepy to think Aphrodite is an old guy with a beard, eh?).

    I suppose seen that way, religion=Christianity, always has and always will.

    Of course, it’s pure trump-grade b******t

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  27. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: My schooling looked amazingly like yours–I would guess roughly 15-20 years earlier (but I might be completely wrong about your age)–but I attended school in a fairly large city with (at the time) 3 universities (including the flagship state U) and was on a “college-prep” track.

    My take on what’s changed regarding math is that first, smaller school districts (the large high school in my area has roughly the same attendance as my junior high did–and we fed 2 and a part jr. highs into my high school) struggle with offering higher level math to enough students (needing a minimum of 25 students to make a section). Moreover in the past, students were more easily classified as (in the words of our host) “ill-suited” to math and could be left at the side of the road (or thrown under the bus if you will) in order to free up math teachers for higher level course teaching, whereas these days, everyone must clear the algebra bar or be declared innumerate to be exempted. Most parents are not going to accept having their child declared innumerate (with the mental retardation issues that must be quantified for that status) just to get out of passing algebra (even if they disagree with the requirement).

    Add shortages of able math teachers and student less than thrilled with taking “required” classes at all (lower in number in my town, but that’s because the kids know the town is dying and they have to get out)… Well, I hope we all see my point.

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  28. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    And gods having sexual congress with mortal women is an endlessly recurring myth, i.e. Leda and the swan.

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  29. just nutha says:

    @Kathy:

    What I’ve learned these past decade focusing my reading on non-fiction (largely history), is that knowledge of many of these subjects help in understanding the world at several levels, and that knowledge need not be deep to be useful for this purpose.

    True. Then again, for every Kathy I’ve met in 25 years of teaching, I’ve met about 10 “nobody needs a book in the fields” (a key line in a movie about teaching the children of migrants I’ve been showing to students this week). And I won’t even go into how many similar attitudes I saw in 15 years of warehousing. And we made big bucks, so I could see their point. (I never again made the kind of money I made working for the produce warehouse. My mom never stopped telling me how stupid I was to leave that “good job.”)

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  30. just nutha says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I agree with you, but I’m also assuming that Monala is a nicer person than either of us–well me for sure anyway (I don’t really know you other than from here, of course).

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  31. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I think in the Iliad Hera has to keep Zeus from helping one of his bastard sons in the battlefield, lest all other gods meddle in the war under the same excuse.

    So, yeah.

    Not to mention engaging mortal men, too. Aeneas was the son of Aphrodite.

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  32. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Some of all three. Some smaller segments will do two of three or all three simultaneously. Selective reading/understanding is about as common among evangelicals as it is in any other subset.

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  33. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    I’m still not clear on why anyone would think Daniel, David, and Esther were promoting Christian principles. Or do they just think that if it’s in the Bible, it’s Christian?

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  34. Jen says:

    @Monala:

    So anti-vaxxers claim they know all these people who have had bad reactions to Covid vaccines and/or died. Are they all lying?

    My parents and my sister all had horrible reactions to Moderna, particularly the second shot. We’re talking days of joint pain, bad headaches, etc. They still would all do it again, because vaccines sometimes have side effects.

    My father routinely feels lousy the day after his flu shot, every year. I had no problem with my Pfizer shots, but was exhausted to the point of non-functional after my Shingrix vaccine.

    I think that anti-vaxxers are taking examples of people like my family and using those reactions as a way to avoid getting vaccinated, whereas those of us who are pro-vaccination just see even the nasty side effects as part of the process.

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  35. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    I’m still not clear on why anyone would think Daniel, David, and Esther were promoting Christian principles.

    For the same reason people think Darth Vader and Luke’s kinship was telegraphed in the movie that later got labeled A New Hope.

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  36. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    You’ll have to refresh me on the Stars Wars connection.

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  37. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Lucas didn’t come up with the idea that Vader was Luke’s dad until he made Empire. Yet it’s since become so canonical to the series that a lot of viewers assume it’s foreshadowed in the first film. When people believe an earlier work anticipates the events in a later one, it predisposes them to see what they want to see.

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  38. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:
    And some goddesses (and the odd god) were not averse to mortal man on the side either.
    cf Adonis, Tithonus, Orion, Hyakinthos.
    Seldom ended well, for the mortal.

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  39. KM says:

    @CSK:
    People see connections in lucky circumstance. For instance, Vater is German for father so fans think Vader was intentional foreshadowing. Sith choose their names so why not something as on the nose evil as Grievous or Maul to show his bonna fides (yes, I know they’re later arrivals to cannon)? Must be plot relevant so it was planned!! However, those fans never seem to be able to explain why an evil tyrant would publically name himself Daddy, especially since he didn’t know he had living offspring to obliquely hint to.

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  40. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:
    @KM:

    Lucas either did not make Leia and Luke siblings until the third film, or he is one sick puppy who gets off on incest.

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  41. JohnSF says:

    Speaking of things seldom ending well.
    Building materials and components statistics: September 2021
    Some selected year on year price increase:
    Imported plywood 78.4%
    Fabricated structural steel 74.8%
    Imported sawn or planed wood 75%
    Aggregated contruction materials index 23.5%

    Also seeing tweets speculating that UK economy is not solid enough to hold more than small interest rate increases, and that some in govt. arguing for interest to lag inflation to erode debt value and push capital away from static assets to productive.
    Worries that if that does become obvious policy its going to be “hello basement” time for sterling.

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  42. JohnSF says:

    @KM:
    Still waiting for the Sith lords Darth Tidiot and Darth Tasabrush. 🙂

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  43. KM says:

    Hospital system says it will deny transplants to the unvaccinated in ‘almost all situations’

    Conditions on organ transplants are not new. Weaver noted that transplant centers around the country may require patients to get other vaccinations, stop smoking, avoid alcohol or demonstrate that they will take crucial medications, in an effort to ensure that people do well post-surgery and do not “reject” organs for which there is fierce competition.

    I’ve been saying this for a while now as the loved one of a recent transplant patient. They have to go through so much to even get on the list, only lately to see COVID patients jump to the head of the line since they are often urgent cases. A person who’s waited years for lungs but “can live for a while more without them” shouldn’t have to see an unvaxxed idiot get the organ they need to live; if the only reason you need the organ is your refusal to take the pandemic seriously, you don’t deserve to have your “critical state” place you ahead of everyone else. Are you lungs ruined because you refused the shot for months now? TS, get in line behind the people with cystic fibrosis who’ve done the right thing and followed the rules. Get the shot and wear your damn mask – if you want an organ, you need to understand your life is going be very different and you’ll be immunocompromised for likely the rest of your life. The rules aren’t there to punish you but to protect you.

    Organs are a gift, a second chance at life someone may have died to give you. Don’t dishonor their memory by dying of COVID shortly afterwards and wasting that organ that could have saved someone reasonable.

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  44. Kylopod says:

    @KM:

    Sith choose their names so why not something as on the nose evil as Grievous or Maul to show his bonna fides (yes, I know they’re later arrivals to cannon)?

    Additionally, there’s nothing in the original film suggesting Vader chose his name. There’s even one moment where Obi-Wan calls him “Darth.” Now it’s true that people sometimes address another person by their title, such as Admiral. But Obi-Wan is the only character in the film–hell, the entire series as far as I remember–who addresses him in this way. Most likely, when Lucas originally wrote the film, he intended that “Darth” was literally the character’s first name, and since he’s Obi-Wan’s former pupil, it makes sense Obi-Wan is the only one to use that name when speaking with him, since all Vader’s other relationships in the film are to other imperial officers, where the address would be more formal (though his relationship with Tarkin does seem like a friendship).

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  45. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    They are absolutely right, and get it all wrong.

    The mistake is thinking education serves only for employment, with no purpose or use past it. As if education or knowledge are of no use for living.

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  46. inhumans99 says:

    You know who would have loved that this open thread has turned into a Star Wars discussion, our dearly departed and beloved Doug Mataconis. I started seeing folks talking about Start Wars and it had me thinking about Doug M who totally would have gotten into the discussion going on right now.

    I love that folks on this thread have tied a discussion involving the Bible into one involving Star Wars. One of many reasons why I love this under-rated blog.

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  47. CSK says:

    @KM: @Kylopod:
    To the extent I thought about it, I figured “Darth Vader” was supposed to suggest “Dark Invader.”

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  48. CSK says:

    @inhumans99:
    I was thinking the same thing about Doug.

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  49. Sleeping Dog says:

    We’ve seen this film before…

    Another school shooting.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/10/06/nation/texas-high-school-lockdown-amid-reports-shooting/

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  50. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    In my time, the last year of high school was divided into “areas”, I think four, which were focused on science, math, humanities, and engineering, if memory serves. I went to a school that didn’t do that, though.

    Good teachers have always been scarce. All my math teachers studied engineering.

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  51. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    This one seems to have been a fight that erupted into gunfire, not a planned massacre. Still awful.

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  52. Jay L Gischer says:

    I remember living through the theatrical release of The Empire Strikes Back and all the pushback from fandom over “I am your father”. The main argument against was, “Would Obiwan lie to Luke?” And the main argument for was “His friggin name is Darth Vader, which is Dutch for Dark Father!”

    (This has become a character thing for Obiwan, who is maybe not as faithful to the truth as some other Jedi.)

    And yet I can see Lucas, as deeply immersed as he was in Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey, calling him Dark Father just because that’s always who is there at the end of the journey, in the heart of the darkness.

    However, it works spectacularly well. As does the siblinghood of Luke and Leia. Maybe he didn’t have this in mind, but his subconscious did.

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  53. keef says:

    Mathematics is dangerous. It requires reasoning and quantification; there is a real objective answer. It disqualifies the most important thing in woke society: the concept of “my truth.”

    But seriously, folks:

    https://www.mathunion.org/icmi/role-mathematics-overall-curriculum

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  54. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy:
    Just another “Whew, close one!” plot feature.

    On the topic of Death Stars and such, looks like AT&T is a major funder of OAN.

    https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-oneamerica-att/

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  55. Joe says:

    @KM: Apropos of all these Star Wars not-actual-connections, I spend a little time wondering just how far Rowland had the Potter series planned out or how much she just looked back and connected up along the way. It comes off looking like the entire series was mapped out before the first manuscript was submitted to the publisher, but that seems a little counterintuitive for a first-time novelist.

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  56. Kylopod says:

    @Joe: I’m sure there was some retconning and making stuff up as she went–there always is–but she did a much better job than Lucas of making it seem elaborately planned from the start; there just aren’t the same massive plot holes you find in the Star Wars saga, and there’s a lot of clever apparent foreshadowing in the early books to stuff that gets revealed later. It was only after she finished the Potter books that she started getting weird, first with Dumbledore-is-gay and then with the Fantastic Beast films which have already made a mess of the continuity.

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  57. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Cain:
    A more recent example. Early in the first logistic wave of the pandemic in the US, people who should have known far better fit a cubic to the time-series data for cases. Then they extrapolated it six weeks and said, “Look! New cases will have plateaued and be declining!” They got a ton of positive publicity. Some of us extrapolated it twelve weeks and said, “Look! -15,000 new cases per week! What’s up with that?”

    People should have lost their jobs.

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  58. EddieInCA says:

    @Monala:

    * it’s a lot harder to be angry with your anti-vax relatives who you love than with strangers.

    Nope. I’m just the opposite. I don’t give any quarter or relevance to whether someone is related to me when it comes to my reaction to their decisions. I’ve cut off more family members than friends for crappy behavior. Why? Because life is too short. I don’t have the time or energy to deal with toxic people – doesn’t matter if they’re related to me. Life is too short.

    I’m closer with many friends than I am with most of my relatives. My friends are closer to me than many of my relatives. I’d have no issue blocking a family member from my life if he/she was an anti-vaxxer. I don’t care the excuse.

    BUT… there is a huge difference between someone who can’t get a shot, and someone who won’t get a shot.

    I have zero tolerance for people choosing not to get a shot, relative or not. Fortunately, my entire family is pretty logical and pragmatic, so all are vaxxed, including my 86 year old mother.

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  59. Mister Bluster says:

    the concept of “my truth.”

    AKA Alternative Facts
    Kellyanne Conway Defends White House’s Falsehoods as ‘Alternative Facts’

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  60. Monala says:

    Grammar nerds: Joyce Carol Oates tweeted today (in response to a paywalled NYT article on pronouns by John McWhorter) the following:

    “they” will not become a part of general usage, not for political reasons but because there would be no pronoun to distinguish between a singular subject (“they”) & a plural subject (“they”). language seeks to communicate w/ clarity, not to obfuscate; that is its purpose.

    She is getting ratioed by folks pointing out that singular “they” predates singular “you;” that we already must distinguish between singular and plural you, and we meaning “you and I,” and we meaning “others and I but not you;”’ that we no longer use thee and thou; and most telling, people pulling up old tweets of Oates in which she uses singular they, sometimes in reference to a generic person, but sometimes in reference to someone specific.

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  61. Sleeping Dog says:

    @JohnSF:

    …its going to be “hello basement” time for sterling.

    That’ll take care of any import problems, you won’t be able to afford anything. Boris will likely claim it as promoting jobs as products will need to be made in England.

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  62. Kathy says:

    BTW, the latest news on waning vaccine protection, suggest the Pfizer/BioNTech shot drops from over 90% protection against disease to 45% or so after six months, although protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death remains high.

    What this means is 1) keep masking, distancing, and taking all other precautions, and 2) take a booster when/if it’s offered.

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  63. Jay L Gischer says:

    I think that in order to have a productive discussion of the “my truth” thing, we would need some context – a specific example. The phrase gets used a lot, and means a lot of different things. Some are a problem, some are not.

    Sometimes “my truth” doesn’t dispute facts so much as the meaning of those facts, and it protests when some other person insists that their meaning is universal. Meaning is never universal. But, like I said, this would be better dealing with a specific example.

    And you know, what math means to me (it’s super interesting and makes me feel powerful) is not at all universal.

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  64. sam says:

    @keef:

    Mathematics is dangerous. It requires reasoning and quantification; there is a real objective answer.

    Godel would disagree if by “real objective answer” you mean proof.

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  65. Mike in Arlington says:

    @CSK: Especially King David and his whole deal with Bathsheba and having her husband killed … just seems not terribly christian.

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  66. Kathy says:

    Hm. Apparently Mitch doesn’t hate America that much.

    I wholeheartedly support passage of the Donald trump Short-Term Debt Limit Raise Act, as expeditiously as possible.

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  67. Kylopod says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Kellyanne Conway Defends White House’s Falsehoods as ‘Alternative Facts’

    That actually maps onto math quite well. Donald Trump won 537,120,412,642,904,123,448i votes.

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  68. KM says:

    @Monala:
    Honestly, you can pick out the intention of “they” in any reasonably constructed sentence. You either need to be deliberately obscuring it (which is noticable) or so bad at phrasing it would be unclear anyways. Small children can do this so it’s rather infantilizing of her to assume an adult can’t figure it out regularly.

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  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK:

    Or do they just think that if it’s in the Bible, it’s Christian?

    Yeah. That’s the one. A strong notion that predates the rise of evangelicalism is that the New Testament “completes the story,” if you will allow, that the Old Testament started. Some will go so far as to say the some of the teachings in the letters of St. Paul clearly reveal that idea whereas others will only go with Paul alluding to such an idea. It’s also tied up in some Jews who convert to Christianity identifying themselves as “completed Jews,” but I don’t remember the details of how that term came to be anymore.

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  70. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I think Ann Coulter once referred to Jews as “imperfected Christians.”

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  71. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Early in the first logistic wave of the pandemic in the US, people who should have known far better fit a cubic to the time-series data for cases. Then they extrapolated it six weeks and said, “Look! New cases will have plateaued and be declining!”

    Did they not know better or were they minions or hired guns who, like the famous accountant, had asked what the answer should be?

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  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: And yet, the discussion of how education aids in making a person employable is a hinge issue in discussions of education policy in the US. I’ve heard many people object that students taking “unimportant” classes should do it “on their own nickel (and on their own time–as in outside of the curriculum requirements). While I was working at the produce company, nobody objected to the idea that I was studying music history because I was doing it at a private university* so no state money was involved. Some even said as much and in so many words. Fun times!

    *And yes, when I was in college working part time (~10 hours/week except in the summer) in a union job paid the tuition for a private school (currently ~$42k). Don’t see THAT anymore, do ya?

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  73. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Monala: “…and most telling, people pulling up old tweets of Oates in which she uses singular they, sometimes in reference to a generic person, but sometimes in reference to someone specific.”

    I love it when grammar snobs get caught not doing what they say. (And I say that as a grammar snob.)

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  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: That could be. I stopped reading Ann Coulter early on because I realized that her writing was unserious. I still find it hard to believe that anyone with the skills necessary to string words together into ideas would believe the crap that she writes. She’s gotta be zoomin people.

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  75. Kylopod says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I love it when grammar snobs get caught not doing what they say.

    This happened a while back with Ben Shapiro. He was railing against terminology for trans/nonbinary people, which is indeed fairly new, but he made the blanket statement that they had never been used as a singular in “all of human history.” So naturally people had a field day digging up old tweets and remarks of his where he used singular they.

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  76. Monala says:

    @Monala: if anyone has a subscription to the NYT, I’m interested to know what John McWhorter said about pronouns. He’s a curious example of excellent linguistics but mixed bag politics.

    Here’s the link.

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  77. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    There’s an anecdote from ancient Greece that a student once asked a philosopher, allegedly Plato, what his teachings were good for. The philosopher expelled the student, and gave him a coin so he’d profit from his studies.

    So, it’s an old story.

    Education should prepare students for life. This includes a job or vocation, but that’s not all it includes.

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  78. Mu Yixiao says:

    Wisconsin Fair Maps (proposed)

    I asked permission to post the 9 maps as individual links, but didn’t get a response. So… here’s the Op-Ed that includes all the links.

    None of you will get the reference to Coach, but… just imagine the best teacher you’ve ever had–then make him a 5′-nothing wrestler who made the 1980 Olympic team at the end of his amateur career.

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  79. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    I was a substitute teacher for 3 years (the extent of the “emergency” license at the time*). I taught a few math classes, and would frequently get the “When will I ever use this?” question.

    For trigonometry, it was easy. My response was: I spent the last 15 years as a carpenter. Half a dozen times a week I need to figure out an angle based on the sides, or the length of a side based on the angles. It’s how you build a house.

    For physics, I would point out that the students (16+) did convergent vector problems in their head every day–it’s how you merge into traffic from an on-ramp.

    The best one was (I don’t remember the math class) when the problem involved chords on a circle. I laid out a scenario where (in theatre) we might have a turntable stage (a circle) and a set length of fence. We need that fence to extend entirely across the circle as a chord. What’s the math?** Being a farming community, I put it in the context of fencing off a section of pasture: you have 600 feet of fencing, and you need to section off the biggest part of the pasture you can for the calves. How do you do it without wasting days of labor on trial-and-error?

    Suddenly it became relevant, and they dug into the math.

    Calculus: Area under the curve and rate of fill are entirely relevant to farmers with dome/circular/cylindrical tanks for fresh water or liquid manure.

    A good teacher should have a real-world example prepped for every new concept. Give me 2 minutes and I’ll tell you how algebra is used figuring out the tip when you have singles, couples, and couples with kids at a buffet.

    ======
    * I was able to get a license, but I was not certified (or credentialed, or…. something). I didn’t have a degree in education, but I had a BA and the school needed subs–which then allowed me to sub at any school in the state.

    ** I complete ignored the fact that we’d just pull out the fence and put it wherever it made a chord–no math required.

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  80. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I don’t think even the site admins can give you permission. The anti-spam filters are probably not editable, and almost certainly not editable to the individual level

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  81. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Before I bother looking at these maps, were any authored by Republicans? Because it’s actually a negative to think about stuff offered by pathological liars whose only goal is to con you.

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  82. @Mu Yixiao: @MarkedMan: If you ever want to post more links than the spam filter allows, just post the post, it will go into moderation and eventually James or I will release it. Some days we will be really fast, others very slow 😉

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  83. Michael Reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I don’t give any quarter or relevance to whether someone is related to me when it comes to my reaction to their decisions. I’ve cut off more family members than friends for crappy behavior. Why? Because life is too short. I don’t have the time or energy to deal with toxic people – doesn’t matter if they’re related to me. Life is too short.

    You and I really need to work together some day.

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  84. Kylopod says:

    @Monala:

    He’s a curious example of excellent linguistics but mixed bag politics.

    I agree–but he’s pretty consistently progressive when it comes to pronoun use. He’s a long-time advocate of singular they, and he’s even shown an openness to neologisms like ze (though he’s skeptical it will catch on).

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