Thursday Open Thread

Last week's open thread seemed fun and interesting (and drew >250 comments), so I thought I'd do it again.


Please feel free to write comments on this post on whatever topic you like!  (As usual, please avoid personal insults of each other, vulgarities aimed at each other or of third parties, or other things that are likely to poison the discussion.)

NEXT: Do Plaintiffs from Conservative Cultural/Religious Groups (e.g., Muslims) Have More Right to Proceed Pseudonymously in Sex Assault Lawsuits?

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  1. In before this descends into a cesspool of partisan infighting.

    Anyone reading anything interesting? I was going to pick up "Herself, Alone" on Margaret Thatcher, but libraries are closed.

    Also any other CS people in here? I am probably the only CS guy who thinks Oracle should win, narrowly, Oracle vs. Google, but I'm curious to hear thoughts. I think that obviously, anyone who uses method declarations to use an API should not be subject to copyright but it seems Google went way beyond simply using the method declaration to interact.

    1. I'm still reading The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History. It's short but I paused for a bit because recent events caused me to pick up The Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson which I'm pretty engrossed in right now.

    2. A I recall from the original trial Google wrote entirely new code to implement the API.

    3. I've been reading "Hand-book of Common-Law Pleading" by Benjamin J. Shipman (1895). My thoughts as of now are that code pleading should be eliminated and common-law pleading reinstated.

    4. I just finished a fascinating book called Ghettoside by Jill Leovy. It really humanizes the problem of black-on-black violence and provides a pretty original (to me at least) analysis of the root causes thereof. It also works well as a police procedural.

    5. Just finished Deus Irae by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny. Familiar with the first author, not the second, would like to know who contributed what parts...

      1. I met Zelazny a few times when he was living in Baltimore. He wrote two absolute classic SF novels, Lord of Light and This Immortal. Also the Amber series of novels is very good. His short work is well worth reading also.

    6. The two questions that the Supreme Court granted cert on in Oracle v. Google were:

      (1) Whether copyright protection extends to a software interface; and (2) whether, as the jury found, the petitioner’s use of a software interface in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use.

      It sounds like you (and like you say, everyone else who has ever written software that doesn't currently work for Oracle) agree that the answer to #1 should be "no". That actually makes #2 moot, since if you can't copyright the API in the first place you never get to the question of fair use.

      But even if we got to question #2, I don't really understand your assertion that Google went beyond using the method declaration to interact. While it's true that Oracle found nine lines of code that were a direct copy of Sun's Java implementation, other than that the entirety of the dispute is over API declarations. Can you elaborate on what you think Google did that went beyond the method declarations?

      1. Well, I'm not a copyright expert and like all programmers I routinely ignore copyright day in and day out so whatever, but I just felt that Googles actions here were just ... idk, rather brazen I suppose. The argument by Sun that, hey, we created this software, its free to use, and you pay us to put it on your platform, and Google just went ahead, while negotiating, and implemented our product themselves ... I find that compelling.

        And like you said, if position 1 cannot be supposed without completely undermining the interoperability of everything, then maybe yeah, Google should win if the second point is moot. But I don't want to set a precedent with, hey that's a great idea we are going to take it and implement it ourselves, it just rubs me the wrong way.

        Which, yeah isn't a legal argument. And if the court already adopted the paradigm of, if Oracle wins you copyright method declarations which ... how would that even work without potientially making every piece of software a copyright violation? ... then I suppose Google ought to win.

        I just don't want people coming away with the notion that what, at least from my reading of the facts which could be wrong, happened here was ok. And I certainly don't want to go down the road of, you have to open source most things.

        1. I don't think Oracle could possibly win. API word choices are functional. You can't *copyright* functional things.

          Whether or not Google's behavior was a sketchy, that doesn't make it a legal problem. (And i'd guess it's a fairly routine occurrence that a business is in talks with another business about performing some function with them, but ultimately decides to just do it themselves in-house. It's not particularly sketchy).

        2. Well, worth noting that the CEO of Sun at the time said both at the time and then at trial that he thought Google's use of the APIs were legitimate. It's only Oracle's interpretation of events after the fact that is driving the litigation in the first place.

          When Google was negotiating with Sun, it was never for the rights to the APIs--both Google and Sun thought that those weren't subject to copyright in the first place. They were negotiating for Sun's *implementation* of Java, for co-development of the platform and for licensing of Sun's trademarks and patents around Java. In the end, those negotiations fell through but the fact that Google thought about licensing Sun's Java implementation doesn't mean that they did anything sneaky by then deciding to do their own implementation of the APIs. That's just a classic build vs. buy decision that companies make all the time, and it's only Oracle's attempt to monetize Java retrospectively that makes this a controversy at all.

          Overall, it feels like the trial court and the jury handled the case pretty well and the DC Circuit has made a mess of it, just as they do with tech patent issues all the time--yet another mess for the Supreme Court to clean up, and hopefully the weird set of circumstances that led this important copyright decision to landing in the DC Circuit in the first place won't repeat.

  2. And obligatory ... the public school closures are bullshit. I don't know how I will get any work done in the fall.

    1. Yeah. I've got absurdly flexible hours, my boss pretty much doesn't care when I show up to work, as long as it gets done, so we'll manage; I'll just end up working 4-midnight on random days, instead of 7-4. "Just".

      But what this is going to do to two earner families where neither of them can randomly reschedule is going to be nightmarish. They allowed people to sign up their kids for in person classes, but they're doing everything short of sending somebody around to key your car to discourage it.

      Well, that's one way to build the case for abolishing the public school system in favor of nothing but vouchers. Man, I never realized the teachers unions were secretly in favor of that.

      1. What other policies do you propose re your strong concerns about supporting two earner families and public schools?

    2. The public school closures are distasteful.

      Many of the scientific organizations have made recommendations to reopen the schools. The AAP, National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, CDC and more. Distance learning, especially in the younger grades, simply isn't a replacement for in person learning.

      But the teacher's unions don't want to. When everyone else is going back to work, the teacher's unions don't want to. Perhaps more galling than simply arguing about the safety are some of the demands some teacher's unions have made. "Close the charter schools". The hypocrisy there is galling, because doing so would increase the density of kids in the public schools.

      1. So, Google your very first example, the AAP...

        "Public health agencies must make recommendations based on evidence, not politics. We should leave it to health experts to tell us when the time is best to open up school buildings, and listen to educators and administrators to shape how we do it....For instance, schools in areas with high levels of COVID-19 community spread should not be compelled to reopen against the judgment of local experts....Withholding funding from schools that do not open in person fulltime would be a misguided approach"

        1. I noticed you cut out the headline areas...

          "Washington, DC—The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA) and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, join together today in the following statement on the safe return of students, teachers, and staff to schools:

          “Educators and pediatricians share the goal of children returning safely to school this fall. Our organizations are committed to doing everything we can so that all students have the opportunity to safely resume in-person learning.

          “We recognize that children learn best when physically present in the classroom. But children get much more than academics at school. They also learn social and emotional skills at school, get healthy meals and exercise, mental health support and other services that cannot be easily replicated online. Schools also play a critical role in addressing racial and social inequity."

      2. How do you figure "everyone else is going back to work?" Lots of businesses are still closed or have most people working remotely and even those that are open are generally minimizing in-person contact. Where the in-person contact can't be reduced adequately, many businesses are choosing to stay closed or limit services even if they're theoretically allowed to open.

        I think the school situation is a tough call with reasonable arguments on both side, but reflexively blaming the teacher's unions when teachers are the people who would bear the vast majority of the risk in reopening schools isn't any more insightful or helpful than blaming Trump. It's hard to figure out how to open schools in a way that's safe for the adults that need to be there, and in places where Covid is spreading rapidly you're basically asking them to take on a lot of risk on behalf of other people. If the whole mask kerfuffle has proven anything, it's that we apparently can't expect anyone to make any sort of minimal sacrifice in the name of civic duty, so I'm not sure why you'd expect teachers to have to be the one set of citizens who do.

        1. How do you figure “everyone else is going back to work?”

          Lets see..

          Hospitals are open, Grocery stores are open, hardware stores are open, Malls are open, MLB is going, the NFL is opening, Disney world is open, barbers are open, restaurants are open, daycares are open, and of course, the PRIVATE SCHOOLS are opening....

          But public schools say...uhuh. Can't do it.

          39% of Chicago public school teachers send their kids to private school. Think about that. Public School teachers are sending their kids to in-person private schools, why striking to deny the same thing for poor children in their own city.

          1. It's pretty hilarious to use MLB as an example of something that is "going". We're a week in and already two teams are out of commission, and this is with millions of dollars on the line to get as many of the health details right as possible.

            Many of the rest of your examples reemphasize what I wrote previously: in most of the places where school openings are being pushed back restaurants are not open for dine-in service and stores of all kinds are operating with significantly reduced in-person capacities. You also conveniently leave out the large swaths of white collar employees who are working remotely with no end in sight.

            Many private schools are also doing remote learning, so the claim that they're reopening is far from universal. Private schools also have the advantage of being able to limit the number of students they admit to keep class sizes to the point where they can manage reasonable social distancing.

            1. So, in your opinion, it's completely reasonable for public school teachers to send their kids to private schools for in person learning, while simultaneously refusing to offer poor city kids the same in-person opportunities?

              1. That's a nice strawman you've built there. Have fun playing with it.

    3. "public school closures are bullshit"

      No joke. We have a special needs child in high school, she is fairly independent but needs someone around to help her with on line classes and cannot be just left alone all day in any event.

      I have a job that is flexible with hours and I can work [inefficiently] at home too. So it will be hard but manageable.

      Single parents and those without such flexibility are screwed though.

      Not to mention many of these special need kids need personal contact to thrive.

      1. "We have a special needs child in high school, she is fairly independent but needs someone around to help her with on line classes and cannot be just left alone all day in any event."

        Shouldn't she pull herself up by her boostraps? Or are you one of those parents that isn't giving your children any boostraps?

        1. I'm not a fan of Bob, but don't be a dick.

          1. I don't think pointing out hypocrisy is being a dick.

            1. This was a personal thing Bob revealed; I'm not a fan of using posters' personal life to score points.

              Plenty of hypocrisy to be found elsewhere.

              1. I'm not looking to 'score points.' It's not a game to me that there are children with myriad problems struggling out there and people trying to deny them aid based on boostrap theories. People unable to think outside of their own personal experiences to empathize with the similar/equivalent/greater situations of others in the same vein is probably the largest political problem in our nation (and mind you, this can cut left or right).

            2. It's not hypocrisy. Bob is free to believe that the merely poor or inconvenienced parents should pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but that children with special needs deserve special treatment. And in any event Bob could have just been expressing frustration, not demanding money for me but not for thee or some shit.

              1. Who wears boots with straps on them anyways.

                And how do you pull yourself up by pulling on your shoes? Try it, you don't get anywhere and look silly.

                1. Plenty of people, actually; They're handy for putting the boots on, that's what they're there for.

                  1. They are for putting boots on and I have owned many pair that have them and ones that don't, but they are not for pulling yourself up. That would violate physics. Hence, "people should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps" can only really be used ironically. (Which his how NToJ used it.)

                2. Exactly. And, yet, all sorts of people use the metaphor to support policies designed to force people to try to do similarly impossible things. Some people use the phrase in earnest, which is stupid. The phrase/metaphor is useful as irony, but only if the intended target (usually right wingers) understand that it is irony.

                  1. The problem is there's "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps", which actually is an idiom for "impossible", and there's the term "bootstrapping", which I guess derived from it, but which describes something perfectly possible: Starting small, and working your way up.

    4. I wouldn't mind public school closures and lockdown orders if...there was a plan.

      What it seems to me is we are a bunch of passengers stuck on the tarmac with a pilot who keeps saying, "we've been delayed another 20 minutes" and we are now in hour 4 of sitting on the tarmac. Yet they keep saying, "just 20 more minutes."

      1. Yeah I guess that's my main problem with the whole thing. I'd be more ok if they'd just say, hey, this is happening for this long, and in that time we will do x. Instead we have nothing, and everyone is perpetually doing the "break glass in case of emergency" over and over again. It's rather frustrating.

  3. Am I the only one who thinks that there are a lot more SCOTUS leaks than in years past?

    Have there been past justices like Kagan who have acted like quasi-Chief Justices and how has that worked out in the end? How far could she (theoretically) go in challenging the CJ without getting herself in trouble, and what would trouble be?

    Other than the fact that he resigned from SCOTUS in protest of the Dred Scott decision, any scholars know anything about Benjamin Robbins Curtis' clearly tumultuous relationship with Roger Taney?
    Does that provide any insight into today's Court?

    1. Did you enjoy Woodward's The Brethren?

      Were you outraged by it?

  4. Over/under odds on the George Floyd trials -- overcharging tends to backfire, and proving (beyond a reasonable doubt) that the restraint and not a potentially-lethal level of Fentanal was the cause of Floyd's death?

    Conduct unbecoming, absolutely. But criminal liability, ummm....

    1. Hard to feel bad for the cop if he gets a bit more punishment that a cold hard reading of the law alone. Fentanyl might have been contributory though that hardly matters. George died at that moment due to the knee alone, or the knee in combination with fentanyl. If the fentanyl would have done the deed, then that would have occurred at some point later. Thus the knee was the one thing entirely under the cop's control that definitely ensured that death did occur at the time it did. Whether death by fentanyl alone would have occurred is merely speculative.

      1. Yes, and 8+ minutes is beyond comprehension, to me (IANAL) almost grounds alone for premeditation. My opinion is colored by that one picture, the cop so casually looking around, as if he's bored, waiting for a commercial to end so he can get back to his program, not a worry in the world. Meanwhile someone under his knee is dying and long since past the point of resisting.

        1. That's what does it for me as well. Even if the cop didn't initially intend to kill Floyd, he had 8+ minutes where Floyd was telling him he couldn't breathe, bystanders were begging him to get off of his back/neck, and Floyd was laying on the ground and not resisting. Floyd pretty obviously lost consciousness several minutes in as well and started bleeding out of his face onto the pavement. Once the suspect is unconscious, there's no justification for continuing to put your weight onto their upper back like that.

          In my opinion, at some point during those 8 minutes the cop made a decision that either: a) he was going to kill Floyd; or b) that he didn't care whether what he was doing was going to kill Floyd. Acts done with the intent to kill are obviously murder, but so are acts taken with an indifference to/reckless disregard for human life. In some states (not sure what the law in Minnesota is), if the indifference/reckless disregard is 'extreme', it's 1st Degree Murder, if it's not extreme, it's 2nd Degree Murder. Assuming that the law in Minn. is similar, no matter whether he intended to kill Floyd or just didn't care, that cop is (IMO) guilty of murder.

        2. The prosecutors haven't alleged even intent, so you claiming premeditation is farther than even the supposed "overcharge."

          To me (IANAL also), 8+ minutes and the casual attitude definitely demonstrates a "depraved mind, without regard for human life" which is what is required for 3rd degree murder in MN, but not necessarily intent and certainly not premeditation.

          To my understanding, the officer is charged with 2nd degree without intent, which would mean that it had to occur during the course of a felony. That seems difficult to demonstrate, because to my knowledge there was no other felony besides the obvious murder.

          From my layperson reading of the MN murder statute and the video, it seems like an open and shut case of 3rd degree murder. Worst case scenario to me is that the guy gets off because they tried to elevate the charge, so that's my concern.

    2. Very broad topic you bring up, but as to the role of fentanyl as a contributing/supervening cause, in California we have a criminal jury instruction ( that covers it quite well. If MN has a similar "substantial factor" test, then the kneeling cop is good for murder of at least some degree. Probably not premeditated murder based on publicly available facts, but definitely murder. The rookie cops are overcharged, and I hope the verdicts that reflect this don't bring about more violent protesting. But there's a reason we elect our public prosecutors...

      1. I doubt there's actually any verdict short of the judge pulling out a revolver and shooting them dead at the conclusion of the trial, that won't signal more violent protesting.

        Not "bring about", mind you, because the verdict won't cause the riots any more than the starting gun causes racers to run. Its release will just be the signal.

  5. I'd like to know if there will be any fallout or consequences regarding the absolutely shameful treatment Attorney General Barr was subjected to the other day.

    1. What's shameful about asking him his role in deploying government violence, or whether he is giving Trump cronies special treatment compared to other defendants in DOJ cases? Seems like legit questions for an AG.

      1. *about his role

      2. "Seems like legit questions for an AG."

        Its not the questions, its the speeches and talking over and not letting him answer {"I return my time"}.

        They weren't even going to let a 70 year old have a short break until Barr shamed Nadler into it.

        1. Haha. Is this the first Congressional hearing you ever watched?

          Yesterday Jim Jordan yelled over Mary Gay Scanlon as she was attempting to ask questions in the tech antitrust hearing. Was that "shameful", or cool because he's on your team? In any case, political grandstanding in Congressional hearings is par for the course and hardly anything new. It's also pretty counterproductive--I think most observers from the left were also pretty disappointed because there were a bunch of worthwhile questions that never got asked much less answered. Despite being a freshman Representative, this is an area where AOC is actually really good--she uses her time to ask effective, substantive questions instead of engaging in political theater. There's plenty of time to give speeches outside the context of the hearing.

          1. Jim Jordan pretty much does nothing that isn't shameful. He's a smirking arrogant asshole, who's managed to cover up his inaction in the Ohio State scandal.

      3. Denying him a bathroom break?!?

      4. They would be, if he was actually given the opportunity to answer them....

    2. "I’d like to know if there will be any fallout or consequences regarding the absolutely shameful treatment Attorney General Barr was subjected to the other day."

      Did someone order LE to beat him away from a peaceful demonstration so they could take a picture with an upside down Bible or something?

      1. Was that before or after the fire was put out?

        1. The fire from the day before that can't be tied to the demonstration Queen A is talking about?

  6. Anyone else done research on voluntary cessation by government actors in federal courts? I recently had a chance to look into the topic in some detail and what I found was a complete mess.

    From what I've seen, the circuits seem to have explicitly split on their treatment of the issue, both with each other and with the SCOTUS. All of the circuits give some kind of 'greater solicitude' or a 'presumption of good faith' to claims by government actors that their voluntary cessation of a challenged practice has mooted a case. This is especially true when the cessation is in the form of subsequent legislation that amends a challenged law/provision. In that case, some circuits place the burden on the plaintiffs to show that reenactment of the challenged law is 'virtually certain' to overcome mootness (e.g. the 4th and 8th Circuits), others only require a showing of a 'reasonable expectation' of reenactment (e.g. the 9th), and others still have held that the mere possibility that a future event could cause reenactment was enough to keep a case live (e.g. the 6th in Leonardson v. City of E. Lansing, though the 6th has been inconsistent in its treatment).

    None of these cases (except maybe Leonardson) appear to be consistent with the SCOTUS's treatment of government cessations generally or subsequent legislation specifically. The SCOTUS has never held that government cessations receive different (better) treatment than cessations by private parties. If anything, they've held the opposite, applying the same voluntary cessation standard to both government and private defendants (e.g. Trinity Lutheran). In terms of subsequent legislation, in City of Mesquite v. Aladdin's Castle, Inc. the Court held that a city's later amendment to challenged provisions in an ordinance did not moot a claim under the prior provisions because "the city’s repeal of the objectionable language would not preclude it from reenacting precisely the same provision if the District Court’s judgment were vacated.” And the Court later quoted this language and holding with approval in a later case involving the city of Jacksonville and in Friends of the Earth.

    I admit that I'm not an expert on the subject, though I've done a fair amount of research on it, but it seems to me like the issue is both ripe for a SCOTUS case to clear up the circuit split and that the Court is likely to reject the circuits' deferential standards if/when it addresses the issue. Has anyone else looked into this subject or does anyone else agree/disagree with my analysis?

  7. I highly recommend the sorta-zombie movie One Cut For The Dead. It is not what you think. Best to watch it without any research. It will lull you, and at some point grab you and you will thank $DEITY that you did not give up and let it lull you into stopping, and you will probably want to start watching it from the beginning again when it ends. Unless seeing movie blood and movie gore distresses you, watch it, no research, just watch.

    I've already said too much. Just watch the danged thing!

  8. I've been overpaying to live in DC for quite a while now, and plan to move to Virginia within the year - both my social and professional life have moved to MD/VA.

    But being locked down in DC has had some upsides that were not there when I was commuting into VA for work.
    I've been walking the memorials after dark for exercise until the swimming pools reopen. And it's been pretty breathtaking. First, the memorials as lit up in different styles. Candles at Jefferson, spotlights at Washington, fountain lights at WW-2, soft light at Lincoln. Even digging the no light on the reflecting pool (though don't bike on the dark path - lots of gnats!).

    So far WW-2 is my favorite after dark, but I haven't biked over to FDR yet. Probably next week.

    1. Found the Supreme Court leaker!

    2. I agree, such a pretty city after dark -- notwithstanding the lechery and treachery within it.

    3. As a long-time resident; any thoughts about possible DC statehood?

      1. Doesn't the 23rd amendment really complicate that?

        1. Just shrink the Federal District, and you're good on that front.

          1. No, you're not, because no matter how small the federal district gets, it retains 3 EC votes.

            1. So? The key is most everyone will be enfranchised.

      2. I think it's pretty shabby that it hasn't happened yet.
        I actually blame the Dems for it though. But I also get the deal.

        There are plenty of compromises that could be made, but they're using it's clear example of disenfranchisement to bide their time waiting for a pure win.
        Not the tactic I would take, but it's not ridiculous either.

        1. A group that controls the House, the Senate, and the White House is required to make few, if any, compromises.

          2020 may illuminate this point vividly.

  9. Lets get nerdy - does anyone have a favorite:

    -Role playing system
    -Role playing character they've played
    -Module they've run?

    I like Pathfinder for all it's ridiculous fiddly bits. But there's also a sunk cost thing - Pathfinder 2E looks great but I can't be arsed to get over there.
    My favorite character is hard to choose. Lets go with Cayno, the kobold fighter who was always very grumpy at how squishy the party (who he called his tribe) was.
    I massively revamped Wrath of the Righteous into a Planescape Torment-like travelogue that's pretty cool. Looking at prepping Curse of Strahd now.

    1. I was introduced to D&D/AD&D back in 1981 (summer before 6th grade). It was the perfect game at the perfect age for me. I only played it for a couple of years, because it was viewed as super-nerdy by the time I got to Junior High, and I wanted to fit in (like most Junior High kids) But nothing I have ever tried since has matched that level of fascination and enjoyment for me.

      1. Funny.

        I ran in those circles, but never really took to it until grad school

        1. I was still too busy trying to meet women in law school. It was the only environment I have ever inhabited where I was above-average athletically.

          1. This was physics grad school.

            I was definitely out to meet women in law school. D&D was still happening on Sundays.
            But my great success on that front came from joining the law school musical.

            1. The other thing (akin to RPGs ) that I have never stopped enjoying is wargaming, particularly WWII strategy. I have moved on to computer games from boardgames, but I still enjoy it.

    2. I started playing Shadowrun over lockdown and really enjoyed it. I like the blend of technology and magic and having everything taking place on (sort of) our own world instead of a purely fantasy creation.

      I also finally made the jump from clinging to 3.5 to try 5e, and I'm enjoying it. I'm playing a bard for the first time, and it's lots more fun than I expected it to be.

      1. On alternate Fridays I play Mutants & Masterminds, a superhero game. It's also a pretty fun setting.

  10. Joe Kelly did nothing wrong!

    1. On this we agree.

    2. Nice post, b*tch! 😉

    3. Leaving aside, I went cold turkey no longer paying attention to sports after being a sports junkie for roughly 41 years (I still remember Bob Gainey hoisting the cup after the Habs beat the Rangers in '79), I do find it interesting he got eight games but not a single Astros player got suspended for cheating.

      1. I still remember the blown offside call that allowed the Islanders to lift the cup against my Flyers in '80.

    4. I'm an LA guy, so I loved Kelly giving a response. But I did not love throwing at/behind their heads. Aim at their upper or lower back, sure. Or their knees. But the head could be a career-ender. (Of course, Kelly has famously-bad aim. So, maybe he actually was aiming a bit lower. But I doubt it.)

      We could do an entire 200 comment thread on the pathetic excuse for a commissioner MLB has. Manfred is an embarrassment. If we had a commissioner who had had the integrity and guts to strip the Houston Astros of their title, then there'd be almost no payback on the field. Sadly, Manfred is a gutless worm, and a sniveling coward.

      1. Agree.

        And why does he let the Astro players walk? Ridiculous.

  11. Aladdin's Carpet did reading, and Eugene did reading/watching/listening earlier this week. So this could be an interesting thread: anyone cooking or eating anything good lately?

    I made a decent chicken stir fry last night, and am looking forward to cooking some burgers and having sauteed mushrooms and onions with them this weekend.

    I know it sounds boring, but I'm a single guy who in his early thirties trying to get more into cooking good meals instead of relying on takeout so much.

    1. The key to really good burgers, in my experience, is to add a bit of oyster sauce. Really kicks up the unami. That, and just a little sugar, so that you get a good Maillard reaction going.

      And be sure to let the patties rest for at least a half hour at room temperature before cooking; The meat relaxes, so that it doesn't pull up into a ball, and the warmer the meat is before you start grilling, the less you have to overcook the outside to get it cooked to the center. In fact, I'll sometimes nuke them for a few seconds before I start grilling, just to get part way there.

      1. Regular granular white sugar? Or brown? I've seen a few recipes for other things that say oyster sauce is a good addition. Maybe I'll pick some up at the store. Do you just brush it on the meat?

        1. I use the regular white sugar; I've tried brown, but it doesn't dissolve well into the meat, and the flavor profile it adds just doesn't work.

          The oyster sauce I mix into the ground meat. The sugar you can just sprinkle onto the surface, that's where you want the Maillard reaction, anyway.

          1. After seeing it on a TV report about minor league baseball stadium foods, I tried lightly grilling a glazed doughnut sliced like a bagel, and using it for a roll for a cheeseburger with bacon. It was absolutely amazing!

            I am going to try your oyster sauce trick next time.

      2. I don't care how good it tastes. Prior to grilling a burger must be 100% pure flesh of a ruminant. Not even salt is allowed.

        But good idea on resting the meat after forming. I'll try it this weekend.

    2. Can I combine cooking and watching? Here are three Youtube series/hosts that I have found really helpful:

      Chinese Cooking Demystified -- this guy is an American expat in China, and the series is really good for learning various Chinese cooking techniques, even if some of the ingredients may be hard to source in the US.

      French Cooking Academy -- young, handsome guy cooks classic French recipes.

      Michel Dumas -- he is a crazy Quebecois chef/host. It is all in French, but you can follow along even if you don't know the language. He usually prepares a whole meal, not just a single dish, so there are lots of ideas for sides and how to compose a menu.

  12. For your reading pleasure: Conservative Judges Doing Law All the Way down are Politicians in Robes

    A taste: "Nor can the resentment wing of the GOP speak honestly about the paranoid basis of its preferences. Gun enthusiasts cannot acknowledge that they like firearms, in large part, because they fear black people. Pro-lifers cannot admit that they oppose abortion because they are afraid of what would happen if women controlled their bodies. (If they truly supported life, they would fight climate change). Anti-statists of the Ruby Ridge variety cannot admit that they oppose the public sector because they think government programs are for black people. Xenophobes cannot admit that they oppose immigration because they think brown people are dirty. (How often does one hear them oppose illegal immigration from Canada?) Religious extremists cannot admit that they oppose feminism and LGBTQ people because they are afraid of out-of-control sex."

    In short, "Everybody who disagrees with me can't admit that they are evil." THAT is teaching political science at San Francisco state University. Any questions why our universities are turning out Antifa terrorists?

    1. Sounds like you and this guy would get along.

  13. While we may disagree on the extent of the rioting - how could we not given how little honest coverage it has received - I don't suspect anyone would disagree that it has been under covered by the majority of the media. Any ideas why?

    This piece documents the effects of the riots and speculates on reasons why they weren't covered.

    1. A good part of it was that they were quite small until the Feds spun everyone back up.

      Just heard an NPR story - protests in Portland were down to 100 persons most night, and there had been no group-based violence in weeks unless you count the graffiti.

      1. I'm guessing "group based" is doing all the work there.

        Portland Riots Read-out: July 26

        "The past 24 hours:

        Initially, Portland Police Bureau’s (PPB) North Portland Police Precinct was believed to be a main target of activity last night. PPB officers appeared in front of the precinct building in protective gear early in the evening as a large crowd assembled there.

        At 9:36 p.m. local time a reported 4,000-5,000 individuals had gathered around the courthouse.

        At 10:40 p.m. local time violent actors began to try and cut the fence protecting the courthouse perimeter, as they have attempted every night since it was erected. Federal officers were forced to use pepper balls to repel the attempts and prevent further damage to federal property. Rioters initially stopped their attack on the fence but quickly returned with shields to continue.

        At 10:55 p.m. local time officers were once again forced to go outside the courthouse in order to stop the attempts to cut the fence.

        At 11:04 p.m. local time rioters began to launch the first mortar firework attacks of the evening against the courthouse and federal officers.

        At 11:08 p.m. local time an unknown chemical was sprayed on an FPS officer and other officers were assaulted with hard projectiles from the crowd.

        At 11:19 p.m. local time FPS declared an unlawful assembly.

        At 11:21 p.m. local time federal officers came under heavy laser attack from rioters. Around this time, rioters also launch a roughly 10-minute-long continuous firework attack against the courthouse. The crowd size was reported to be approximately 5,000 to 6,000 individuals around this time.

        At 11:28 p.m. local time an individual drove a car up to the fence perimeter and parked next to it. Rioters began to throw smoke bombs into the fence perimeter.

        At 11:53 p.m. local time at least one power tool reportedly was being used to cut through the fence.

        Around midnight local time crowds began to converge on the parks in the vicinity of the federal building, as PPB reported damage to multiple storefronts in the path of the crowds. Rioters started to throw explosive devices at the fence perimeter and, in addition to the use of saws and power tools, began to try and hammer bolts off the fence.

        At 12:26 a.m. local time a federal officer was injured after being hit by hard projectiles the rioters had thrown.

        At 12:32 a.m. local time violent actors attached ropes to the fence in yet another effort to tear it down. After that rope snapped, they brought out a bigger rope to continue the destructive effort.

        At 12:49 a.m. local time federal officers issued several warnings to the crowd to disperse.

        At 12:54 a.m. local time a rioter was able to peel back part of a fence panel that had been cut through.

        At 1:09 a.m. local time rioters managed to tear down down a section of the fence.

        At 1:11 a.m. local time PPB declared this situation to be a riot. Federal officers began to repel rioters who were inflicting on the officers heavy fire through mortar-style fireworks and to push them away from the courthouse.

        Following the riot declaration, PPB also helped federal officers clear the area as both made multiple arrests.

        At 2:05 a.m. local time two weed sprayers filled with an unidentified liquid were found in a nearby park; HAZMAT was called.

        Around 3:10 a.m. local time federal officers began to return to the courthouse. There were still a couple hundred individuals gathered in the vicinity.

        The night’s violence resulted in at least 14 new injuries to federal officers. One FPS officer was injured from a thrown hard projectile; injuries include a laceration on his arm and bruises to his arm. The officer received treatment from a medic and returned to defend the courthouse.

        DHS officers conducted 6 arrests for assaulting federal officers and 2 arrests for failure to comply with lawful orders."

      2. Portland Riots Read-out: July 27

        "The past 24 hours:

        At around 8 p.m. local time a shooting occurred in the vicinity of peaceful protest located near federal buildings, possibly involving a juvenile. The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has said it is investigating the incident.

        At 10:50 p.m. local time a rioter began to attack the fence protecting the federal courthouse with a stick. Around this time there were approximately 500-1000 individuals gathered in the vicinity of the courthouse.

        At 11:19 p.m. local time rioters launched their first laser attack of the night against federal officers. Shortly thereafter, at around 11:45 p.m. local time, rioters fired the first mortar fireworks of the evening at federal officers.

        At 11:49 p.m. local time rioters breached the courthouse fence before exiting again shortly thereafter.

        At 11:54 p.m. local time a fire was reported in the vicinity of the courthouse outside the fence perimeter. More rioters continued to climb the fence.

        As of 11:58 p.m. local time at least 4 mortars fireworks had been launched at the courthouse.

        12:03 a.m. local time federal officers announced their third warning for rioters to cease and disperse.

        At 12:04 a.m. local time a flare was thrown into the fence perimeter at the courthouse.

        At 12:06 a.m. local time reports indicate that rioters attacked officers inside the courthouse with lasers.

        At 12:07 a.m. local time federal officers were forced to use crowd control to repel attacks on them and the courthouse. Rioters responded with more mortar firework attacks.

        At 12:09 a.m. local time a Molotov cocktail was thrown over the fence.

        At 12:16 a.m. local time federal officers declared an unlawful assembly.

        At 1218 a.m. local time reports indicate that a group of rioters were shielding others attempting to breach the fence by cutting through it.

        At 12:25 a.m. local time federal officials were forced to leave the courthouse in order to defend the fence. Rioters responded with flaming projectiles.

        At 1:00 a.m. local time, a portion of the fence was set on fire.

        At 1:10 a.m. local time federal officers were forced to go outside of the fence perimeter to repel rioters’ attacks. They were immediately met with a large mortar firework attack. They also came under an intense laser attack while outside the perimeter.

        While outside the courthouse perimeter, per authority granted by federal law, officers swept a nearby park for weapons being used to damage federal property and attacks on their fellow officers. During the sweep chemical sprayers, gas cans, spike strips, and paint were found.

        DHS officers conducted a total of 10 arrests – 9 for assault of a federal officer and 1 for violating a no-fly zone with a drone."

        Note that several officers have already been permanently blinded with those lasers, before they started wearing protective goggles; We're not talking your average laser pointer here.

      3. Portland Riots Read-out: July 28

        "The Past 24 Hours:

        At 9:36 p.m. local time the first rioter jumped over the fence into the federal courthouse perimeter. Federal officers subsequently warned the crowd to stay off the fence.

        At 10:50 p.m. local time rioters launched their first mortar firework assault of the evening against federal officers and property.

        At 10:55 p.m. local time a fire was reported inside of the fence perimeter. Rioters continued to throw projectiles over the fence and launch fireworks at officers and the courthouse.

        At 11:35 p.m. local time federal officers were forced to employ crowd control measures in response to the rioters’ violent behavior and warned that if the violent activity continued it would be declared an unlawful assembly. Rioters responded by assaulting officers with projectiles. At around 11:30 p.m. local time there was a large explosion caused by a flaming object that had been thrown over the fence, that resulted in a fire along the wall of the courthouse. Shortly thereafter, federal officers responded with a firehose in order to put out the blaze, protecting the officers and the building.

        By around Midnight local time federal officers had given close to 20 warnings to the crowd.

        At 12:01 a.m. local time rioters launched yet another mortar firework attack.

        At 12:12 a.m. local time rioters threw another Molotov cocktail at the federal courthouse.

        At 12:27 a.m. local time the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) reported possible looting in the downtown area near the rioting.

        At 12:30 a.m. local time the crowd was reported to be at about 200-250 people; around this time, federal officers declared an unlawful assembly and left the fence perimeter to repel the crowd.

        At 1:42 a.m. local time another Molotov cocktail was thrown into the fence perimeter at the courthouse, in which federal officers were situated at the time of the attack.

        DHS officers conducted a total of 2 arrests – one for assault of a federal officer and one for failure to comply with a lawful order.

        During the night’s violence, two officers were attacked with unknown liquids and were decontaminated as a precaution before returning to duty."

        But, of course, throwing Molotov cocktails at an occupied building isn't really all that "violent", at least according to NPR.

      4. Portland Riots Read-out: July 29

        "The Past 24 Hours:

        At approximately 9:30 p.m. local time, rioters pelted officers with garbage in response to Officers using hoses to clear out trash and built up debris inside the perimeter, previously thrown over the fence by rioters.

        At 10:45 p.m. local time, rioters set a fire inside of the fence. Rioters reportedly were setting fires within the perimeter throughout the course of the night.

        At 11:04 p.m. local time, rioters launched their first mortar firework attacks of the night against the courthouse.

        At around 11:14 p.m. local time, with most officers inside the courthouse, rioters in the crowd pointed lasers at federal officers on the roof of the building, which can disorient and blind them.

        By 11:30 p.m. local time, the crowd size was estimated to be around 500 individuals.

        11:55 p.m. local time, another fire was set inside the fence perimeter. Media footage also captured a rioter starting a fire within the perimeter around this time.

        At around 12:34 a.m. local time, a rioter was taken into custody after entering the fence perimeter.

        At 12:42 a.m. local time, rioters brought out a flaming object from the nearby park and threw it over the fence onto federal property.

        At 12:45 a.m. local time, a rioter wearing an orange jumpsuit jumped over the fence and then threw a Molotov cocktail at the federal courthouse. Shortly thereafter rioters launched a firework attack on the front door of the courthouse.

        1:32 a.m. local time, law enforcement officers announced an unlawful assembly after issuing several warnings to not tamper with the fence or vandalize federal property. Shortly thereafter, federal officers left the courthouse in order to repel the rioters outside.

        At 1:40 a.m. local time, officers used a hose to put out a fire that had started inside the fence and to dampen the trash thrown over the fence as a precautionary measure to prevent another fire later.

        1:44 a.m. local time, federal officers moved back inside the Hatfield Courthouse, while rioters threw hard projectiles and commercial-grade fireworks at them.

        DHS Officers conducted three (3) arrests, one (1) for failure to comply with a lawful order and two (2) for destruction of federal property. "

      5. In short, NPR is lying.

        1. All of that is post-Feds, Brett.
          Try before July 16th.

          But I'm sure you had a nice time angrily pasting!

          1. Are you saying lawless activity is OK because it is protesting the presence of legitimate federal law enforcement assets? That is, to be honest, ass backwards if so.

            1. I'm saying that there was very little rioting or violence or even protesting in Portland before the Federal presence began.

              Dunno where you got that I thought the post-Fed violence was cool.

                1. Yeah, things were violent in May, because Floyd was killed May 25th.

                  Are you trying to deceive?

          2. Ah, I see: You meant lies about the riots being peaceful prior to some unspecified date, not lies about them being peaceful prior to today. My bad.

            July 5th: More than a dozen people arrested during riot in downtown Portland

            1. there had been no group-based violence in weeks unless you count the graffiti.

              Your single example is outside the NPR story's scope.

          3. June 3rd: Protests and Riots Fill the Streets of Portland. Four Black Leaders Are Trying to Bring Meaning to the Anguish.

            "Many were peaceful. But others set fires inside the Multnomah County Justice Center. Rioters looted shops—corporate giants and mom-and-pop storefronts. Teenagers ran up and down the escalators of an empty Target and cleaned out the Apple Store. On May 31, vandals tagged the federal courthouse until the building looked like an anguished Picasso."

            1. Your monthly scattered reports of graffiti and theft only underscore how Portland was very much not under siege by violent protesters before the Feds showed up.

              1. I think it's pretty clear that you're simply not going to admit that rioting, looting, and arson are "violent".

                1. I think it's pretty clear you have some imaginary Sarcastr0 in your head that you'd prefer to respond to.

                2. you’re simply not going to admit that rioting, looting, and arson are “violent”.

                  And you're not going to admit that the feds made the situation worse, not better, which was after all the purpose of sending them in.

                  150,000 dead from covid? Hey, look at that guy throwing a rock.

                  1. Look, I don't really give a shit if the rioters got mad because the feds didn't let them torch the court building. Criminals getting mad because their victims put up some resistance is hardly a novel thing, and has never justified the criminals' subsequent actions.

                    The fact is, there has been continual nightly rioting in Portland since May. It didn't disappear and then magically come back when the feds showed up. And sympathetic media outlets can recite "peaceful protest" lies in front of fires and broken windows all they like, it doesn't change the fact that the rioters ARE criminals.

                    As I've said, the only mistake the feds made in my opinion is not sending enough people in to capture the rioters, instead of just fending them off.

                    1. there has been continual nightly rioting in Portland since May

                      Not continual. Not nightly. And a pretty poor excuse for rioting, as your pasted examples above show.

          4. May 30th: Portland leaders condemn damage, violence from overnight riots


            Along the way, businesses and property in Northeast Portland, and then across downtown, were heavily damaged as police and protesters violently clashed again and again. Numerous store windows were broken, and fires were set inside multiple locations, including the Justice Center.

            Portland police say as of 5 a.m. Saturday, 13 people were arrested, and two officers suffered minor injuries."

            There have been riots in Portland for literally months.

            1. You had to reach back to May.

              I think my point has been made. Thanks!

              1. Published July 14 FOX TV Digital Team
                PORTLAND, Ore. -- A federal officer in Portland, Ore., was struck in the head and shoulder with a hammer during protests outside a courthouse Friday night that resulted in several arrests, authorities said.

                Friday would have been July 10.

                July 15 was the day of the first excited report of "stormtroopers" etc.

                1. Yes, Bob, we all know about the hammer. Because it is one of the 2 causa belli y'all have.

                  NPR mentioned isolated incidents; this would likely be that.

                  Do you think that Portland was under a siege of riots before the Feds showed up? Because I'm quite sure at this point that that's nonsense.

              2. I suppose that's one way of dismissing me proving that the riots have been violent from the start. Breather than only becoming violent when the feds didn't let them burn the Court building down.

                1. You've said that Portland was under violent siege before the Feds showed up.

                  That's BS. And your weak examples have thus far only shown it was BS.

                  1. So you're arguing, what? That there's some minimum number of arsons of occupied buildings per night to qualify as a 'state of violent siege'? And it wasn't met? Portland has suffered from nightly violent riots since May, but they would have stopped if the feds had just let them burn down the court building?

                    No, you don't get to burn down buildings just because you'll get mad and riot worse if you're thwarted. The only mistake the feds made in Portland was not bringing in enough people to capture the rioters. Letting them walk away after committing their nightly felonies.

                    1. My thesis: A good part of it was that they [the riots] were quite small until the Feds spun everyone back up.

                      This quite well puts to rest your narrative of Portland under siege.
                      Partially helped by your own work in finding how anemic police reports about 'riots' beforehand were.

                      Portland has suffered from nightly violent riots since May is bullshit. As you yourself demonstrated!

              3. Here's a timeline for you sarcastro

                Lots of violence in early June too. Arson, fireworks shot at police, glass bottles thrown at them, arson, security officers brought in for injuries suffered.....


                1. Yeah, I've read that.

                  What you list is basically everything that's happened in May.

                  You said arson twice because arson occurred twice.

                  It's not a siege. And it calmed down in June/July.

                  Until Trump did his fascism theatre.

                  1. "You said arson twice."
                    "I like arson."

        2. What I have read, from people actually on the scene, is that things are peaceful until late in the evening, more or less, and that's when the trouble starts.

          Despite being headlined "24-hour readout" the DHS summaries start at around 9:30PM ( except for one apparently unrelated shooting at 8PM) and end by about 2AM.

          I've also read that things were calming down until the feds arrived. Of course Trump and Barr couldn't have that.

      6. "A good part of it was that they were quite small until the Feds spun everyone back up."

        See what they made us do!!!!!

        1. Once again, TiP. I offer this not to defend the violence, but to indict the Feds.

          Which I know you saw me say in a previous thread.

      7. This piece wasn't even about the Portland riots. It was about Minneapolis/St Paul, Chicago, Milwaukee and other cities. A lot of the stores and communities affected by rioting and looting were minority and immigrant owned and they received very little attention from the media.

        Why did the media avoid these stories?

        1. Thanks for posting Tracey's article. That's interesting.
          I think part of the reason the MSM is avoiding the situation is this. There are a lot of moving parts. Unfortunately the whole "does Russia try to influence our elections?" debacle made the MSM less able to discuss provocateurs and informers, rather than more able. It can't be melted down easily to "we're the good guys" for any given "we." However, the primary "civil rights narrative" is that there is a group of good guys who are nonviolent and who are deserving of redress of grievances. In fact (thank you public education) that may be the only narrative many people are familiar with.

          There appear to be a very wide range of individuals showing up at sites for individual and group purposes. But there are also a mess of competing social motivations, some of which Tracey describes, but I'll go all in here and add a few more. The Cointelpro situation is (still) not as widely known as it should be; as far as I've read all the later stages of the identity-based civil rights movements had significant FBI presence within them. So for starters we should admit that BLM probably has their share of FBI, but so also will "antifa" in any given city, and the FBI would just not be doing their job if they didn't have individuals out there playing the part of the arson/looting white radicals who are not explicitly antifa.

          This goes without mentioning if there are any agents of any foreign powers on the ground in any cities. A few years back a bigwig from the Internet Research Agency literally moved to Seattle (either Guardian or NYT, I don't recall which). Of course that could have been utterly innocent; of course that organization can also be quite busy without an explicit invitation from the Trump campaign.

          It seems to me that the nascent support for police reform and re-evalution of policies which perpetuate racial injustice - that support is there, and more than one group would like to take advantage and hide under that umbrella. People use destabilization for their own purposes. It's possible that in previous decades, the rioting that happened actually was for different reasons than most of the rioting the last few months. Enough journalists have pointed out the divergences. Yes, past riots have occurred where predominantly black rioters burned down and looted predominantly black- and minority-owned businesses. Some of that appears to have gone on in some cities after George Floyd's murder. However, there are also other things going on, and since the media has not been on top of tracking subsets of protest movements before now, I think the mainstream is utterly at a loss in terms of where to look. I doubt they have many sources in the protest crowds, so they are going around interviewing the people who they can find who will talk to them, who probably skew a) unaffiliated and b) not busy looting and burning, so having the time to be interviewed.

          The bit about whether the Feds going to Portland is/was a mistake or not does look like it's being used as a distraction. It is an important issue in itself, but "why are there so many white youth with skateboards attacking minority businesses?" is also a very good question. Are they overzealous BLM allies? (I doubt it.) Are they antifa? Maybe. Are they with an organization at all? If so, which one(s)? They weren't a major feature of historical civil rights protests. We can say that and try to figure it out. Even the NYT had an opinion article on the "naked Athena" who did yoga in front of the feds in Portland, and that's the first proof I'd seen that black BLM supporters were not 100% in support of actions taken at the priots (or whatever, there should be another word.)

          How many foreign powers benefit from US destabilization? Enough. I remember where I used to live, there were ads on Craigslist for troll positions - "write posts on politics and lifestyle issues!" There seem to be a lot of idiots running around and deciphering to whom they are useful at any given moment can be daunting. Someone should start though. How many domestic powers benefit from US destabilization? Also enough. I am prepared to believe there's a core left which would like to undermine the success of the reform movements, and is eager to blame the right, influenced by domestic and international groups who just want to undermine US functioning. I'm also prepared to believe there's a core right which would like to undermine the success of the reform and is eager to blame the left. We are so used to thinking the narrative has to be simple.
          If the white arsonists decide not to let up, rightwing media continues to blame BLM/antifa, leftwing media blames the feds, yes, absolutely the police reform movement and the recognition of the violence Black people can face, will be hindered. If not destroyed. I fully expect the white arsonists to continue, a) because enough of them are probably paid to be out there, b) the rest think they're doing the right thing and c) they can use "racism!" as a cover. It appears they are practicing and developing their skills, too, I see signs of learning in the approaches taken in Portland and that disturbs me.
          I've spent enough time on center-left and left media to know how people get attacked for questioning. Massive trolling leading up to the 2016 election and, I think, prior to that. Again, who are they working for, probably more than one group. Asking questions means you admit to not knowing something and are then kicked down the metaphorical stairs. It eventually led to me looking to the dreaded right for additional coverage of the news, starting with the WSJ and branching out from there, because there are situations which the MSM has not seen fit to explain, but there are answers to it. These riots, I think there are also answers, but no one has the breadth of sources to paint the picture right now.

          Our society has to wise up in terms of the complex composition of protests.

        2. I saw at least 3 separate pieces (on 3 completely different shows, with different hosts) on MSNBC, emphasizing the harm done to minority business owners. Plus, at least 50 stories back when there was widespread looting for a few days. But, recently, those 3 newer stories. If you add some MSNBC to your news mix, you'll see that topic covered. (It's also been discussed on Morning Joe another 5-10 times, but usually in passing, so I'm not including that as really 'covered by the news.' But I watch MJ about a total of 4 hours out of the 15 hours it's on each week, so the show might have discussed it much much more, for all I know.)

  14. What do people here think of the NFAC Black militia?
    Their purported leader has some out of the mainstream Black Nationalist opinions.

    1. I'm not terribly concerned about them, except that they seem a bit careless handling firearms. Back in the 90's the Michigan Militia had a black chapter in Detroit, and they were great people.

      Mind you, invisible great people going by the media coverage.

  15. Google, Facebook, etc. control most online information and they are engaging in political campaigns and election interference. What are the implications for campaign finance laws?

    "A few days after the 2016 election, at an internal meeting later leaked to Breitbart News, top Google executives, including Sundar Pichai, Sergey Brin, and Kent Walker, lamented President Trump’s victory, comparing Trump voters to “extremists” and discussing their desire to make Trump’s election and the populist movement a “blip” in history.

    True to their word, four years later, Google is deliberately working to interfere with the reelection of Trump in 2020.

    There are several ways in which Google is interfering in the 2020 election, but this article will focus primarily on one of them: political search bias.

    Google Has Been Purging Breitbart Content from Search Results Since the 2016 Election

    Search visibility is a key industry measure of how findable a publisher’s content is in Google search. New data shows that Google has suppressed Breitbart’s search visibility by 99.7 percent since 2016..."

      1. Seems to be quote from this article:

        Which has some data, although most of it is Breitbart-specific and probably reflective of a decline in quality or influence or Google having caught them doing something nefarious in their SEO practices. The graph at the end of various media sources is kind of interesting, but easy to misinterpret. It shows the percent of traffic to that site coming via Google, but that number could be low because (as in the case of, e.g., Fox News) they're really good at generating traffic through Facebook or other channels as opposed to because Google is disfavoring them somehow. (In fact, an equally valid way to read the graph is "conservative news websites prefer to generate traffic by avoiding Google".)

        1. Actually, Breitbart said their Google traffic has been shut down almost completely, with that 9% coming from searches that include the word "Breitbart," basically they are shut off from search completely otherwise.

          "After Google’s May core search update on or about May 5, 2020, Google search impressions and search traffic to Breitbart for “Joe Biden” and other Biden-related search terms has gone to zero. Zero. The following graph clearly illustrates the foregoing."

          Daily Caller confirmed they saw the same effect on May 5.

          A bunch of internal leaks showed that Google has all sorts of curated whitelists and blacklists, and manually curates YouTube search results with pre-approved top results for politically sensitive queries such as, in the past, "Abortion" "Maxine Waters" and "David Hogg."

          As for social media traffic, Facebook crushed that with their changes in advance of the 2018 elections.

          1. "As for social media traffic, Facebook crushed that with their changes in advance of the 2018 elections."

            Maybe you should tell Fox News ( ):

            "For the 67 consecutive month, FOX News remained the number one most engaged news brand on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) among the news competitive set, driving 53.8 million total interactions, according to Socialbakers. FOX News was also number one in Facebook and Instagram interactions among news competitors for the month, amounting over 32.6 million and 21.1 million respectively, while also coming out on top in coronavirus-related post engagement among the competitive set on both platforms. FOX News also topped the competition for the quarter as the most engaged brand in the news competitive set."

  16. I picked up World War Z which is now a bit old now, but darn is it good. I won't give away some of the themes, but give it a read. If you can get past the zombie aspect it is a really good, and fair, take on the human condition.

    1. Is it slow moving or fast moving zombies? Never cared much for the former, as I just don't think they'd be much of a threat to humankind.

      1. You'll change your tune when the odds are 10,000 SZ/1LH and they have you surounded.

      2. World War Z is a strange book. It is sort of a 'found footage' tale centering on a woman survivor. There are few actual zombie incidents described so zombie speed is not really posited. It is nothing like the movie (fast-moving).
        Superior reading imho is the earlier Zombie Survival Guide. Brilliant.

        1. The tales in World War Z are more like an oral history of the zombie war. They are not recounted solely through a woman survivor (although a few chapters do feature the same woman.)

          Zombie Survival Guide is a good companion read, but I really found World War Z to be more enlightening.

    2. I love that book! It seems to be the most realistic view of how humanity worldwide would actually handle a zombie apocalypse. The differences between the various countries' responses was really interesting.

  17. DC Circuit will rehear Michael Flynn case as full court.

  18. Whats the best gemstone?

  19. Obama went low today at the funeral of John Lewis. Called for radical easing of voting laws, federal takeover of elections, auto registration, etc. Compared Trump to George Wallace. Called for end to filibuster when Dems take over. Statehood for DC and PR. Parroted the lie of "peaceful demonstrators."

    1. None of that is much different than the stuff he spewed for 8 years while in office

      1. Or at least how the right-wing spun it.

    2. Sounds accurate to me.

  20. I was banned from Facebook today. My crime: writing "girls are weird"

    1. I once got a three day ban for pointing out that the statement "All Jews must die" is objectively true.

      1. Good that you got away with only 3 days. Glad to read that Facebook cut you a break.

        1. Besides being a Jew, I personally know quite a few, and none of them have been immortal so far.

  21. First it was face masks, now they’re advocating eye-shields. Next year we’ll all be wearing Burqa and suffering Sharia.

    The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense.

    1. I'm getting ahead of the curve, and looking for a space suit.

      1. I wore Anti-Contamination PPE as a career work requirement, occasionally waterproof doubles with breathing apparatus. It might take most of an 8-hour shift to dress out for an hour’s engineering observation, and most of another shift to undress and survey clean not-contaminated. Good ALARA money but TEDIOUS.

        Is seppuku allowed under Sharia?

  22. Corona starves where people live in their own houses, and drive their own cars.

  23. Currently listening to Max Tegmark’s book Life 3.0, an examination of the prospects and impacts of AI. I am interested in reactions to the book by those who have read it, especially to those parts relating to the law.

  24. Any virus minimizers still around?

    1. Yo! While California and Florida, and soon Texas, have passed New York's case total, they have about 1/4 the deaths New York had. Now all 3 of those states are starting to see declining numbers of cases, although deaths lag the case numbers by a couple of weeks so the number of deaths should soon start going down adding good news to their already low death rates.

      1. That's evidence that doctors have gotten much better at treating Covid, which I suppose is minimizing. Let's just hope that this doesn't follow the example of the 1918 epidemic, when a much deadlier strain of the virus surfaced in the fall.

        1. I think it's more likely evidence that younger people are less concerned about catching the virus, so their infection rates are rising while the elderly are maintaining their precautions.

          It is also interesting the case study between Wisconsin and Minnesota, where you have two states of equal population, similar demographics, and completely different approaches to shutting down, Wisconsin's statewide shutdown was declared illegal by the State Supreme Court, and it's probably the easiest state in the union to find an open bar. They have had the same number of cases as Minnesota, but substantially fewer deaths, although that might just mean they are at a different point in the cycle than MN, but it's unlikely at the current rates that Wisconsin will catch up.

  25. I've always been concerned that the President has the authority to control the delivery of registered mail (a statutory element of the election process), can close interstate post roads (likewise), and can limit interstate travel due to health concerns (effectively blocking the alternative "4th Wednesday in December" messenger process). It's interesting that the Mayor of DC can block -- and has at this point blocked -- certain elements of the electoral process. It's also interesting to consider what would happen if "the District constituting the seat of Government of the United States" moved.

  26. I see the DC circuit granted Sullivan's petition to rehear the Mandamus order from the 3 judge panel. I think it's a little bizarre to even entertain his petition let alone grant it because while Sullivan thinks he is a party to the case, he actually is not. If they wanted to rehear it it should have been via a sua sponte motion from one of the judges.

    But it's not all good news for Sullivan, since the court said "the parties should be prepared to address whether there are no other adequate means to obtain the desired relief". So it doesn't look like there will be any arguments on whether Sullivan has other options besides ultimately dismissing the case, only whether issuing the Mandamus was the proper way to get there. It's also not clear whether Sullivan's attorney will be one of the "parties" making the arguments.

  27. Has anyone heard if there is a schedule for restarting the chess candidates tournament to determine the challenger to face Magnus Carlsen? They've held other tournaments now since they halted the candidates.

    1. All I know is that the wine tasting I entered my meads in has been delayed 3 times now. I'll be shocked if it takes place this year.

      Well, more bottle aging, anyway.

      1. I hope they hold both events soon, and that both Fabi Caruana and you emerge victorious.

  28. Steven Calabresi, co-founder of the Federalist Society, renowned conservative law professor, law clerk to Rober Bork and Antonin Scalia, finally admits what a jackass he has been, and how his political opinions should never be trusted again, in calling for the impeachment of fascist Trump.

  29. What is the over/under on the amount of days until Dershowitz is indicted (assuming Maxwell lives)? I'm going with 180.

  30. For anyone interested in spy fiction, here's an interesting read:
    Some pretty good sleuthing...

  31. Monmouth Poll: Nearly 70% of voters in Georgia believe that voter fraud is a problem.

    1. Trump isn't trying to fix or secure the infrastructure. He hasn't cared about this for his whole term.

      Instead he wants to postpone the election.

      We have a killing your parents and pleading you're an orphan situation here.

    2. I would believe it too, if one of the major party candidates for governor was also serving as the state official responsible for overseeing elections.

  32. The solution to concerns about mail-in ballots seems obvious: require them to be notarized. Some might raise "poll tax" issues which could be addressed by requiring notaries to provide the service (in this one circumstance) for free. State legislatures could choose to reimburse the notaries a nominal fee of, say, $5 or so.

    1. The "concern" is that any ballot anywhere might be disqualified for any reason whatsoever. You can't solve that by any way except adopting the honor system.

  33. James Murdoch has resigned from the board of News Corp. Per the company "Mr. Murdoch informed the Company that his resignation was due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions."

    1. FOX has been transitioning to being part of the MSM, instead of a conservative outlet. But the younger Murdock may none the less not be onboard with the level of partisan insanity the WaPo exhibits.

      1. I don't think that's the direction James leans.
        This is not a sign of FOX becoming mainstream.

        Though for you everything is a sign of liberal takeover. Everything.

  34. As of tomorrow at 6 am, I will officially be disobeying a mandatory evacuation order for residents of Hatteras Island, NC. Wish me luck in my lawlessness! I have lots of company, people here don't even think about evacuating until the approaching storm is at least a Category 4.

  35. @AwD:

    "Wish me luck in my lawlessness!"

    What would be a lucky outcome for you? Survival without significant physical or economic injuries? Avoidance of civil and/or criminal penalties? (What are the possibilities in that regard?) No untoward consequences for others who you might imperil? Does the "lawlessness" aspect bring with it a frisson for you?

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