Thursday Open Thread


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 at third parties, or other things that are likely to poison the discussion.)

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  1. Is the Senate required to hold hearings for a SCOTUS nominee, or can they just go straight to a vote?

    1. I believe hearings (as we understand the term) come under Senate rules, not a constitutional requirement. In theory, the Senate could go straight to debate and a vote. I don't think that is a good idea, though. As a citizen, I want the hearings because I want to fully understand the nominees judicial philosophy.

      What I don't want is a circus, ala Kavenaugh hearings.

      1. My understanding is that the committee would have to be discharged by a vote on the floor. That is a simple majority so it is procedural. That would extend floor debate on the confirmation, but probably not by any more than a few hours (far less then the circus that would be a multi-day hearing.)

        Will McConnell do it? Hard to say. It would not be "unprecedented" to approve even a Supreme Court nominee without a hearing (most were approved by simple voice vote in the early days of the Republic) but in modern times it would be an aberration.

        There are some strategic decisions such as keeping Senators in DC for hearings instead of campaigning. Depending on polling that could either help or hurt the Republicans keeping the chamber. Also there is the news cycle to consider. Is it worth giving the hard left a few days of free Trump bashing publicity in a tight election while early voting is now open?

        I would say "jam it through" and be done with it. But politicians in DC will do what politicians want to do.

        1. " Is it worth giving the hard left a few days of free Trump bashing publicity in a tight election while early voting is now open?"

          Kamala Harris could implode on a national stage.

          Notwithstanding that, Catholic bashing won't go over well with either Catholics or those of other Judeo-Christian faiths, and that's still the majority in this country.

          Heck, even Ed Markey could self-destruct, and he has a Republican opponent.

      2. Then the president should not nominate a clown.

        1. What does that mean? Are you saying that Kavanaugh is a clown? Or Barrett?

          The only clowns last time were the democrats, and those who falsely accused Kavanaugh. It would be laughable if it wasn't so insulting and destructive.

          1. There was a good deal of clownish behavior including Graham's Oscar worthy performance. Reminded me of no one more than Jimmy Swaggart.

            As for Kavanaugh, accusing Ford of being a tool used on behalf of the Clintons was pretty clownish:

            "This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups,"

            I think his repeated recitation of the fact that he was #1 in his class at Georgetown Prep, as if it had anything to do with the question at hand, was pretty clownish.

            I also think that Kavanaugh's dissent in the case of the immigrant teenager in Texas (Garza v Hargan) reads as if written by a clown.

            1. Also the whole perjury thing when he lied about never having been blackout drunk.

              1. You have any evidence that he had been blackout drunk?

                1. Buncha witnesses, IIRC.

                  1. That is just a straight up lie.

                    1. Several former Yalies have publicly doubted Kavanaugh’s claims about his drinking habits. Liz Swisher, chief of gynecologic oncology at University of Washington School of Medicine, called Kavanaugh a “sloppy drunk.” “There’s no medical way I can say that he was blacked out,” she told the Washington Post. “But it’s not credible for him to say that he has had no memory lapses in the nights that he drank to excess.”

                    2. "There is no medical way I could say he was blacked out..."

                      The guy used to drink. The witness statement supports he would drink, sometimes excess. That does not mean he will black out or got black out drunk. Also some people don't get black out drunk even if they drink excessively.

                      But this is your SOP. Take something and say "oh yeah it was so" when really the statement was "well I infer through some evidence that it could have happened like that but there is no way to know..." This is generally known as being a liar.

                    3. I didn't infer anything, it's directly from the source quoted.

                      There are other eyewitnesses if you want them. WaPo had like 20.

                    4. Very kind of Sarastro to post a link supporting the claim that it's a straight-up lie.

                  2. Not a very useful comment, TiP. Also see NToJ below.

                    1. I didn't think you'd find it useful, but I can always hope.

                    2. As should be obvious, you can't be an eyewitness to someone's lack of memory formation.

                2. Yes, mostly from his testimony about his drinking, and in what he wrote about drinking in high school. It's not plausible that he was never blackout drunk based on his testimony about how much he drank. So he was lying about one of the two things.

                  Also this:

                  "I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth," Chad Ludington said in a statement to CNN.

                  And also a lifetime of experience with my own excessive drinking and blacking out. If he swore under oath that he drank 10 beers in an hour but didn't get drunk, would you believe the claim? It's not possible.

                  You're probably one of those guys that thinks Bill Clinton never inhaled.

                  1. "It’s not plausible that he was never blackout drunk based on his testimony about how much he drank."

                    Why? Not everybody blacks out. It only happens to like 40% of people, even when they drink heavily.

                    1. I believe that's 40% who are particularly prone, not that it only happens to 40%.

                      Did you ever go to college?

                    2. "Did you ever go to college?"

                      I've been told that I did.

                      For some reason Reason won't let me post a link to my source, but sources are easy to find. 40% are prone, not "particularly prone." Not everybody blacks out.

                    3. This is just nonsense and it made the rounds last time as well. Everyone who drinks to excess blacks out. You've never met a person who drinks a lot who won't self-report having blacked out (or browned out). While there are certainly people who don't black out, there is no person who won't suffer some memory loss at .4 BAC.

                      The 40% (or 50% or 30%) is elusive and usually based on overall surveys of students or drinkers (as opposed to a controlled setting), or just misread the Wetherill study from 2011 (which I'll link to below).

                      It's not some mystery that clinical studies can't replicate and study
                      true prevalence of blackouts in the wild, since subjecting clinical patients to the amount of alcohol that heavy drinkers consume in the wild would be unethical. As Wetherill explained:

                      "Present findings should be considered in light of limitations. The moderate alcohol dose manipulation was not comparable to intoxication levels that frequently lead to blackouts. Nevertheless, even with the ethical restraints prohibiting the administration of alcohol to higher BACs, an average BrAC of .078% was sufficient to cause memory impairments that differentiated FB+ and FB− individuals. Further, future research should examine other memory tasks and cognitive mechanisms that may influence the occurrence of fragmentary blackouts."

                    4. Link.

                      Twelve, have you ever had a .2 BAC? Are you an excessive drinker? Are you purporting to be the miracle worker who can get bomb drunk and remember everything?

                    5. An awful lot seems to be riding here on how you define "drink to excess"; Sure, if you define it as "Drinking enough to black out", that somebody who "drinks to excess" has had blackouts is tautologically true.

                      But is this how everybody defines it? On my own scale, "drank to excess" means I woke with a headache. I've done that maybe 3 times in my life. Once in college, just to find out what getting drunk was like. Once after my first wife divorced me. And once when I had insomnia and was desperate to get some sleep no matter how obtained.

                    6. @Brett,

                      I wouldn't have to rely on a tautology if people weren't arguing that there were magic humans who had the power to resist the physical effects of alcohol. The only way to avoid those effects is not to drink.

                      Some people may believe (incorrectly in my view) that Justice Kavanaugh did not admit to being an excessive drinker. But it's apparent to those of us who are excessive drinkers that he's a fellow traveler based on his own testimony and his contemporaneous written accounts. And it is not plausible that a fellow traveler has never been black out drunk.

                    7. NToJ,

                      You do understand that alcohol tolerance is a thing, right? And some people do have remarkable abilities in regards to alcohol tolerance?


                      Here's a fun tidbit about Andre the Giant.

                      #1. Andre the Giant
                      No one in recorded history could drink as much as Andre. The pro wrestler – who stood 7’5″ and weighed over 500 pounds – routinely shocked friends and spectators with his insane tolerance for alcohol.

                      Andre the Giant consumed, on average, 7,000 calories of alcohol a day.
                      He would routinely drink a 12 pack of beer before a wrestling match.
                      On road trips to wrestling matches, Andre would average a case of beer every 90 minutes. In one case, Andre consumed sixteen bottles of plum wine before wrestling three matches shortly thereafter. The wine showed no discernable effect whatsoever.
                      Andre rarely drank enough to pass out. One of the few times he did was after consuming 119 beers in six hours. That’s roughly one beer every three minutes… nonstop… for six hours straight. Incredible.
                      When asked how much it took him to get drunk, Andre replied “It usually takes two liters of vodka just to feel warm inside.” For the record, that’s over 50% more alcohol than what killed John Bonham (which he drank over a 24 hours period).
                      I shudder to think about the day that Andre the Giant drinking records get broken. If they ever do, it’s going to be a truly freakish individual that has a talent for alcohol consumption.

                    8. "While there are certainly people who don’t black out, there is no person who won’t suffer some memory loss at .4 BAC."

                      That may or may not be true (I didn't see anything in your links to support it) but there's no evidence that he ever had a .4% BAC. And you still haven't shown that everybody whose friends say he used to drink a lot has blacked out.

                      And on a broader note, a lot of people get wrongly convicted based on much stronger cases than what you've claimed about Kavanaugh, where some expert says, "Yeah, the only way that could have happened is if the defendant committed a crime..."

                    9. "there is no person who won’t suffer some memory loss at .4 BAC."

                      I was just a "scoop & run" cowboy, but I was taught that a .4 BAC was *dead*.

                      Just sayin....

                    10. He drank to excess and per his own testimony behaved like every drunk I know. He got to .3 at least.

                      I’m not convicting him of anything. I’m allowed to rationally hold beliefs on lesser evidence than is required for criminal conviction in the US.

                    11. You're still making it a tautology.

              2. Not to mention that Ford was caught in two lies.

            2. Calling her a clown is being too nice. It was obvious to everyone that Ford was lying. And her accusations got so off the rails they were ridiculous. I mean, if you went to half a dozen parties and were gang raped at all of them -- why did you go to the second one?

              But all this has a silver lining. We now have two sitting justices who are direct victims of the false-accusation campaign known as #MeToo. Once we get three more, that movement is kaput.

              1. It was obvious to everyone that Ford was lying

                No, it wasn't. You being super sure doesn't mean everyone who disagreed with you is doing so in bad faith.

              2. "It was obvious to everyone"

                Not to me, and I'm a subset of everyone.

              3. In fairness, it's hard to say if Ford was lying, given that I haven't seen a fact check of everything on her resumee.

              4. It's obvious to everyone that you're lying.

                See how that works?

            3. Regardless of your interpretation of Kavanaugh's words, Ford was definitely, obviously a "tool," as you put it, of the democratic "resistance." Shameful.

      3. Prior to the 20th century there were no hearings on nominees of any kind. Some times relevant committees would issue recommendations (without a hearing) but the full Senate was not obligated to wait on the committee recommendations.

        Between the turn of the century and WWII, some hearings were held, but not on all nominees. It did not become routine to hold hearings for all nominees until after WWII.

        I rather doubt that the full Senate is obligated to wait on hearings now.

        "As a citizen, I want the hearings because I want to fully understand the nominees judicial philosophy."

        "What I don’t want is a circus, ala Kavenaugh hearings."

        Too bad, going all the way back to the very first hearings on nominees in the early 1900s, a circus is all the public hearings have ever been.

        1. Hearings became necessary as the Supreme court shifted from a court to a legislature, and then to being a 9 man constitutional convention. Prior to that the only real consideration was judicial competence, which was assumed of nominees as a default, and you needed special circumstances before a nominee needed extended review.

          1. 1. No the hearings were never necessary. they have always been nothing but useless political theater.

            2. My comment is not specific to Supreme Court or even judicial nominations more generally. It applies to all nominations for presidential appointments.

    2. It's my understanding that hearings as we now see them are are a fairly recent "innovation".

    3. Wouldn't it be funny if the Republicans go straight to the full Senate vote and later they grouse about her decisions (like some of Justice Kavanaugh's decisions).

      1. They unquestionably will - look at how they've turned on golden boy John Roberts. Unless they nominate a literal Q-Anon person, there's no way their judges will be able to give them the fix they crave. The reaction - like the revolution - always ends up eating its own.

    4. They're not required to do either, but they can just go straight to a vote.

      1. That's the thing about the left, no matter who they nominate as a justice they will get someone who is solidly left. Yeah they might not vote to make the death penalty unconstitutional but you can rely on them to be solidly on that "team". For whatever reason the Right is OK with defectors and those without similar loyalty. Not a bad principle to have but in high stakes like the Supreme Court you just need a guy who votes "straight party" without asking too many questions.

  2. After a thread earlier in the week I began thinking about good forum design and moderation. I want to keep this abstract, because attacks on this particular forum will go down a road to nothing we haven't seen before.

    Interface-wise, conversation threading seems a good idea. On other forums, they sometimes allow the public to upvote posts, witch has the effect of filtering out the signal-to-noise but in an underinclusive way, especially for posts made a bit later. I'm not really up on ideas beyond threading and voting, but I'm sure some of y'all are!

    Moderation wise, I've been to forums that are heavily moderated, non-moderated, and everything in between. I find heavily moderated has resulted the most rewarding conversations, but of course that requires someone with a dedication to Internet babysitting that is rare and nigh impossible to scale. But the rewards are pretty impressive.
    If given the choice, I'd choose unmoderated versus lightly moderated. Lightly moderated is like the worst of all worlds - you have refs to complain to/about which creates an everpresent conversational tumor, but it doesn't do very much to curate a community.

    1. Totally agree = If given the choice, I’d choose unmoderated versus lightly moderated.

      1. Voting moderation has the downside of encouraging people to become memeplex defense automata for their echo chambers, downvoting statements they don't like, at least when downvoting hides the post from others. And we won't even get into strategic troll accounts created and shepherded by organizations to hold in reserve to downmod posts that interfere with their power desires.

        1. There is absolutely that issue - as I said it's way underinclusive for smart posts. But the nonsense is usually consigned down there as well. And it's not like the posts are eliminated.

          I'm not sure if it's the right answer; I guess it acts to magnify whatever culture is already there, so it might enhance some other methods.

    2. Zero moderation = Free speech.

      You may like visiting websites that only allow perspectives with your biases.

      The myopic dialogue confirming yours creating a “rewarding” experience.

      But that doesn’t represent reality. People grow when faced with contradicting paradigms. Healthy debate is required for a rational community.

      1. I agree there is some loss of viewpoints with heavy moderation even if it tries to be viewpoint neutral, but that's not some free speech principle; there is no right to speak anywhere you choose.

        But don't pretend that there is no loss of viewpoints in a free-for-all.

        Being a crass combative a-hole is not a perspective, and it ends up drowning out more interesting dialogues.
        And then there are people like me who have a vice of snarkily/grumpily responding to such people and thus a cycle begins that I think most would acknowledge isn't really doing much for anyone.

        1. Across a number of fora, I regularly see anything mentioning Trump (or Biden now) infiltrated by effective neo-Nazis.

          Are these squirrely folk coming out of the woodwork? Or are they trolls working against Trump by trying to convince people how damned cool he is to them?

          Don't think this might not he happening. Look at that whole Russia/RT thing on twitter just now.

        2. "And then there are people like me who have a vice of snarkily/grumpily responding to such people..."

          I recall a time when this was true. I liked that Sarcastr0. Now, you're as likely to be the crass, combative asshole, or respond "snarkily" to anybody who doesn't agree with you.

          1. At least you don't have Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob Kirkland to kick around anymore, thanks to the Volokh Conspiracy's traditional content-controlled "moderation."

            I imagine Prof. Volokh prefers that term to "censorship" in this context.

            1. Artie is still right here, alive and bitching about conservatives incessantly. Odd that moderation of your stupid sock left you here to gleefully continue claiming to be better than everyone you disagree with.

              1. Sock puppets are used to deceive. Everyone knew who Artie Ray was . . . and some people didn't like his message enough to censor it.

                Artie Ray now lives solely as a martyr to the cause of demonstrating conservatives' hypocrisy.

                Other than that, great comment!

        3. "but that’s not some free speech principle"

          I disagree. It's not a First Amendment principle, but it absolutely is a free speech principle. Free speech has value (not uber alles) beyond as a protection from government.

          On to the point of moderation, how about this - if Volokh could find a corps of people willing to do it, make every post twice - one unmoderated, and one with moderators. Let people gravitate where they will. I'd love to winnow the chaff and see how it goes. I would spend more time engaging in these forums if I didn't have to spend so much time scrolling through garbage.

          1. No - private people or orgs curating their own group are allowed to and should associate with who they want. Insisting on the virtue of everything be a free-for-all is not a recipe for value or freedom.

            Indeed - you seem to value good moderation over nonmoderation in your second paragraph. The rub, of course, is finding and maintaining good moderation. A bit like leadership of a country, if you think of it.

            1. "No – private people or orgs curating their own group are allowed to and should associate with who they want."

              They're certainly entitled to, but it's not intellectually healthy, and there are plenty of examples where it demonstrates something like bad faith, like when the left took over Ravelry, a knitting site, and kicked out anyone who was pro-Trump. Or Reddit, advertising themselves as a free forum, and then after years becoming censorous and shutting down huge swaths of subreddits.

            2. I'm not insisting on anything, and I absolutely agree private people and orgs should be allowed to do. I am arguing that free speech has inherent value that can and should be considered and argued for - as my post stated, not to the exclusion of any other considerations. People and orgs should consider the value of free speech when making decisions about moderating, allowing free dissent, etc.

              1. OK, then I misread. I agree there's a value, but also a cost to be weighed.

                I think we're on the same page.

    3. "Heavy Moderation" often has the effect of suppressing free speech and the free exchange of ideas. "Curation of the community" is really censorship. Neither of which are really good. (Especially for a libertarian blog).

      In any given online forum, there are a mixture of viewpoints from those posting, but more often than not, in a given forum one viewpoint will have a major majority. (The VC forum tends to be fairly well balanced, by contrast). In a given forum, the moderators will tend to ALSO have the biases of the majority of the forum. This leads to a number of effects, especially from people who post in the minority

      1. Minority posters, who post something short and stupid are generally left alone. This just reinforces the biases and self-superiority complex of the majority.

      2. Minority posters who make longer, more coherent points are attacked by the Majority posters. The Majority posters feel the need to prove their point.

      3. Often a series of logical errors are made in the resulting logic (on both sides). Often some degree of decorum is lost. However, because the moderator shares the biases of the majority, what happens is the minority poster is banned. Even if a minority and majority are banned in a 1:1 ratio, it's still a loss for the minority poster.

      4. This has the effect of eliminating the EFFECTIVE minority posters from the forum, reinforcing the ideological purity of the forum. The non-effective (short, stupid) minority posters stay around, but because they are non-effective, they are ignored. Except for the moderators and forum convincing themselves that they are both inclusive and correct nonetheless.

      1. Invoking free speech is not operable here.

        I've seen forums with heavy moderation and a broad range of ideas; don't pretend that can't happen. The cycle you point to has any number of off ramps a skillful moderator can employ.

        1. "Can". The problem here is like the problem with politics: Coercive powers are only safely held by people who don't want them. And that's not the people who tend to end up with them.

          And the problem here isn't a matter of "skill", it's orthogonal to that. It's a matter of intent. You can be a clumsy or skillful censor, but if you're happy being a censor, and think censorship a good thing, not a regrettable last ditch measure, (Think of it as "curating" viewpoints.) you're going to be a bad censor.

        2. These forums happen, they just degrade as discussed. And I'm sure you have seen them. They work fine in the early stage. Then they degrade.

          Sometimes those off ramps are hit...some times they aren't. But the big issue here is, there's no real on ramp. So, maybe you go through a few cycles, and miss a few off ramps. But then on the next cycle, you hit another one. And the ideological purge continues.

          1. I don't disagree. Plenty of liberal echo chambers out there debating about minutia (if debating at all); I find them completely uninteresting.

            I spent quite a while gazing at right-wing echo chambers, but in the end those are boring as well.

            1. I don't spend any time at all in right wing echo chambers. I'd actually have to go looking for one, I don't have any bookmarked. Instapundit is about as far right as I go, and it's not an echo chamber, the moderation is limited to outright illegality or obscenity, and keeping commercial spam down.

              I visit a few of the left-wing echo chambers occasionally, to see if anything interesting is happening, or, (Crooked Timber) out of nostalgia for the days they weren't echo chambers.

      2. You can see that dynamic at Crooked Timber. They've always had a distinct left-wing tilt, but for the longest time they had a very light hand on the moderation, and the resulting conversations were amazing. You could have a real discussion of the implications of The Bell Curve, for example. Discuss how environmental remediation actually increases heritablity of traits, or what the book was actually saying.

        But then that dynamic you mentioned kicked in. First they started "disenvoweling" comments they didn't like. (Not threatening or obscene, typically there was very little of that in the first place.) In theory the comment could still be read, but the effort was absurd.

        Then they started throttling comments: Disfavored posters were only permitted to comment once a day. Naturally, once you got your one comment in, the other participants were free to misrepresent your position without contradiction.

        Finally they proceeded to banning and deleting past comment history. (Really made a hash of some conversations.) Now all new comments go straight to moderation, and only appear if they pass ideological scrutiny; It really slows down the conversation, but all the viewpoints from A to a usually do eventually get represented.

        1. I've seen that happen. The other way it can happen is with doxxing commentors that are unliked.

      3. "Moderation" in an internet forum usually falls to some internet user(s) who has lots of spare time and nothing better to do. It results in them creating an "empire of dirt" they rule over and it usually is not very well governed.

        The internet was never really designed to be a controlled media forum. Unless we implement technologies like verified sign ons (like an internet drivers license) it will never be that. Attempts to make it into something it is not will usually be unsuccessful.

        1. Yeah, you'd need to pay a professional to do it right, not just take volunteers or people already paid to do something else.

        2. And the problem with verified signons is that it interacts very badly with modern doxing culture. I started out on the internet using my own name, and at this point I'm approaching retirement, and already have an undeniable trail, so there's no point in trying to be anonymous. But I've been doxed, I've had idiots try to get me fired for criticizing BLM, (Using burner accounts, of course; Accountability is for the victim of doxing, not the aggressor.)

          1. But if I were just starting out, I'd probably be using a handle, avoid any mention of aspects of my private life, and comment through a anonymizing proxy. It's gotten dangerous to be an outspoken right-winger on public forums. And it's only going to get worse before it gets better.

            1. They want to shut up the right wing and it is working. I know quite a few people on the state policy level that have decided to quietly move into the private sector. These guys did nothing especially controversial. The "risk" is just getting too high.

              I'm sure a left winger will be glad to hear the "nazis" are feeling the heat and quitting. That is the purpose of cancel culture. But it is bad for a free society and will probably end poorly for those who are pushing censorship now.

              1. I think the hoped for end game here is that the right wing goes away as a political force because they can't find enough people willing to take the risks the left imposes on anybody who goes public as a right winger. People are actually getting killed execution style for just wearing campaign wear. Politicians have been subject to assassination attempts. Get nominated and you get death threats.

                I think some faction on the left thinks that if they turn that up high enough the right will just evaporate because nobody wants the hassle.

      4. Remember who the Roman censors were and what they did.

      5. " This has the effect of eliminating the EFFECTIVE minority posters from the forum, reinforcing the ideological purity of the forum. "

        The Ballad Of Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob Kirkland

    4. My experience has been that heavily moderated general topic forums, unless the moderators are near absolute free speech fanatics, have a tendency to decay to ideological purges. I've seen more than one site that was hosting absolutely fascinating in depth discussions of philosophical and/or political topics, then one of the moderators gets a bug up their ass, and half the comments vanish, everybody who doesn't agree with the moderator is banned, and the next thing you know they're having serious discussions about whether pro-lifers want abortion banned so that there will be more abortions, or because they want women to die in childbirth. They're playing a game of telephone with opposing views, because nobody is permitted there who actually holds them.

      It's a particularly bad sign if the forum has bothered to obtain tools such as shadow banning or disenvoweling utilities.

      Mind you, if you're largely in synch with the moderator who did this, you might regard the subsequent discussions as "productive".

      But it depends on the site's purpose: If it's a technical forum, or a special hobby forum, heavy moderation for OT comments can work.

      The best of those have essentially unmoderated sandboxes where OT conversations get relocated to instead of deleted.

      Reason, of course, is basically unmoderated. They have the tools for moderation, but lack either the interest or the manpower to actually do it, outside the very most egregious cases. The downside of this is that we end up with advertising spam. The upside is that we can actually discuss stuff without one side of the conversation being gagged.

      I think the spam is probably a price worth paying for that.

      1. Not sure I buy your inevitability thesis.

        People can have politics and be professionals. Generally not if they're just doing something for fun, but if part of a formal job description, we are not such irrational beings as all that.

        1. I say "tendency", and you don't buy my "inevitability thesis"? Are we even speaking the same language here?

          1. It looks to me like you're arguing that this tendency will inevitably result in the eventual fall of any heavily moderated forum.

            Am I incorrect in that?

            1. You're not only incorrect in that, your position flatly contradicts the meaning of the word "tendency", which carries a denial of inevitability.

              1. Not to get too semantic, but a constant tendency in any given event can add up to an inevitable result as those results add up.

                That's how I took it - like probabilistic tendencies via statistical mechanics becoming thermodynamic laws.

                1. I have a decent sized vocabulary, if I'd meant inevitably, I'd have said inevitably.

                  Heavily moderated forums have a tendency to end up with ideological purges, unless run by near free speech absolutists. Some are run by such absolutists. And tendencies are just that, not inevitable.

                  If I qualify statements, I generally mean the qualifications.

                2. Oh, and if we had a mole of internet forums to observe, over effectively infinite time, you'd have a point about statistical mechanics.

      2. The spam is 110% worth the price. Especially with mute/flag button. If it was 9 spam to 1 real post, I'd feel differently, but the current mixture doesn't even rise to the level of annoying.

      3. I agree 100%. I got banned from /r/science for this exact thing. Posting FBI statistics of crime rates in one of their hysterical BLM threads.

    5. Lots of knee-jerk free speech invocations here. I value such a place - I'm glad I've not been purged here despite my out of the mainstream point of view.

      But maximizing free speech is not indicator of a place for fruitful debate.

      I really enjoyed a pre-reparations Ta-Nehisi Coates forum at the Atlantic. It was about all sorts of things - etymology, philosophy, I recall a post about Jane Austin that made me rethink her. And the comments were pretty broad; plenty of Republicans.

      If you don't think there was value to that kind of place because no one is citing The Bell Curve, I don't think you understand the purpose of free speech.

      1. Why a "Pre-reparations" forum? Why not the same forum now? What happened?

        1. The forum ended shortly after he published that piece; first hiatus due to his media appearances and then he quit at the Atlantic and moved to France.

            1. Ta-Nehisi Coates did his own moderation; it was not the regular Atlantic.

              1. IIRC he also had deputies who did much of the moderation. And while I agree it was a great forum which attracted unusally high quality content, that was despite the curation being palpably biased. TNC had a much quicker hair trigger for opinions (typically race-related) that offended him than he did for correspondingly heterodox views he found sympathetic. Needless to say, my personal views are much closer to TNC's than they are to EV's, but IMO the old VC moderation was immeasurably more viewpoint neutral than TNC's was.

            2. I acknowledge this was pretty extraordinary - someone paid to do something else volunteering a TON of his time to curate a site and allowing views I have no doubt he had serious issues with.

              I commented about how slavery was about like having peasants working for substance. A bunch of patient, learned commenters explained why I was wrong. It was a really valuable interaction.

              You see that sometimes here when lawyers explain to non-lawyers this or that. But as often either the non-lawyer is asking in bad faith or the lawyers assume they are.

              1. Yes it is a shame that it's extremely difficult to create a forum structure (with our without automated assistance, crowd feedback, manual moderation, etc) which encourages exchanges such as the one you describe (and the many other types of positive net-based interactions capable of spreading knowledge, building consensus, and enhancing mutual understanding).

      2. But, in my experience, you can have such a forum without the ban happy heavy handed moderation. Crooked Timber was such a place not so long ago. (Well, OK, over a decade ago at this point.)

        The Bell Curve citations came up there in an actual discussion of the Bell Curve, where the left-wingers weren't actually citing the Bell Curve, they were discussing a 1 dimensional left-wing cartoon version of it. Most of them had never even read it first hand. They'd only read hostile reviews. One commentor owned up to briefly skimming it before abandoning it.

        In that context, it was very worth while having one or two people around who had actually read it, and from a sympathetic perspective. Heavy handed moderation makes sure you won't have them on hand.

        1. Fine, then Holocaust denial. You understand the general type of comment I am discussing - sober, thoughtful, but espousing a point of view that is going to make future moderation really difficult. Should such a comment stay up?
          I'm not sure; I do think there are some topics that are naturally not civil.

          1. "I’m not sure; I do think there are some topics that are naturally not civil."

            I think this is getting into "speech is violence" territory. If Bob soberly and thoughtfully expresses a view, and it causes Susan to go ballistic, why is Bob the problem?

            1. I'm not arguing for government sanction, just acknowledging the legitimacy of social sanction.

          2. Absolutely it should stay up. Never stop debating the "obvious" stuff. There is no proposition that 100% of people agree with or believe, and if we don't allow discussion of those things, it just feeds into conspiracy theory and those extreme minority, obviously wrong beliefs grow.

            1. OK, then calls for violence. Sober, reasoned arguments that conclude in gulags being good.
              Or Phrenology.
              Or blood libel.

              People are not robots; discussing this stuff is not required for intellectual rigor, and will rightfully drive some people away.

              There are some limits to what viewpoints are legitimate in a civil discussion.

              1. Yes, discussing this stuff IS required for intellectual rigor. As soon as you have a list of topics where dissent isn't permitted, it will be abused.

                And, just as importantly, people quite reasonably treat refusal to try to refute a position as a concession that they HAVE no refutation. That's literally what keeps most stupid conspiracy theories alive: The refusal to take them seriously and refute them!

                You want people to not believe that gulags are good, that there's something wrong with phrenology, or blood libel? You can't win that argument once, then retire from the field. The next time somebody brings it up and doesn't meet resistance, THEY win.

                Winning these things isn't a do once thing. Winning them requires maintenance.

                1. Maybe you can discuss such things soberly; I don't think we can or should expect everyone do so. Nor do I think the people that think those things are necessarily here for the same thing everyone else is (ref: Sartre "Anti-Semite and Jew.")

                  What keeps dumb conspiracies alive is not a lack of discussion; reason is not where they come from in human nature.

                  People trying to recruit don't seek out arenas of robust debate. Witness QAnon.

                  1. You push people into a ghetto, and then dismiss them as ghetto dwellers.

                    Dumb conspiracy theories will always be cropping up, humans are pattern identifying machines, and we literally see patterns in random things like clouds. What keeps them from growing is rational refutation.

                    As soon as you decide you're not going to refute the theory, you give it a safe space to grow. You can't deny stupid ideas space, and thank God you can't. You can deny them darkness.

                    1. Conspiracies do not crop up due to lack of people rationally engaging with them.

                      That's not the cognitive process at work.

                    2. Either we ARE speaking a different language, or you're not actually reading what I'm writing.

                      I SAID, "Dumb conspiracy theories will always be cropping up, humans are pattern identifying machines, and we literally see patterns in random things like clouds." I said nothing about them cropping up due to a lack of rational engagement.

                      I said that what keeps them from growing is rational refutation. "GROWING".

                      They originate through universal neural mechanisms looking for patterns. Rationally refuting them gets rid of them after they've already cropped up.

                      You'd short circuit what keeps them from spreading after they originate.

                    3. I don't think that's why they grow either.

                      There's a lot of human nature that remains a mystery, and it's always hard to do counterfactuals. But the efficacy of exposing and exploding conspiracy theories seems unsupported at best. I full-on think it's harmful. I hate to keep quoting Sartre but that's his thesis and I think it tracks.

                    4. Oh, it's effective, not 100%, but effective. (How many pizza parlors got attacked in Pizzagate? One.) It would be more effective if it was practiced more often, and people actually exposed and refuted the theories, instead of settling for pointing and laughing.

                    5. Here's the opportunity cost:

                      Will the number of people who fall into a given conspiracy if it's explicated and rationally debunked

                      Be greater or lesser

                      Than the number of people who fall into a given conspiracy if they need to find that rabbit hole on their own.

                    6. You're assuming the conspiracy theorists can't get their message out unless aided by people refuting them? That seems a pretty dubious notion to me.

                    7. Yeah, Brett, conspiracy theories require a platform to get people interested.

                      Platforming them has a cost. It also, as you pointed out, has a benefit. But denying oxygen remains a legit strategy.

                2. Yes, discussing this stuff IS required for intellectual rigor. As soon as you have a list of topics where dissent isn’t permitted, it will be abused.

                  I don't think so.

                  There are lots of conspiracy-minded nutbags, not to mention fools who believe in astrology, phrenology, whatever. If you spend your time refuting their views the argument just drags on forever, consuming the forum.

                  This is because those advocating those views aren't amenable to facts or reason. They make up nonsense much faster thananyone can refute it.

                  A comment section may not have a binding physical space constraint, but readers do have limited attention resources. Fill it up with idiocy and you use up that resource.

                  IOW, debating that stuff means you are not talking about serious matters. Let people post it if you want, but let it go.

                  Easier said than done, of course.

                  1. Have you never learned something interesting from a conversation you thought would be meaningless?

                  2. In other words, is it a complete waste of time for someone to play devil's advocate?

                  3. I've learned from people I disagree with.

                    I haven't learned anything from astrologers.

                    1. No interest at all in the mythology behind the stars?

              2. "There are some limits to what viewpoints are legitimate in a civil discussion."

                I will NEVER agree with that. There is always value in again explaining why something wrong is wrong.

              3. For example, I want college students in liberal arts programs debating settled questions. I want them to have to take a position they disagree with and argue the benefits of slavery, and I want them destroyed by arguments on the other side.

                1. What happens when they are not "destroyed," in their own eyes, and continue to spout nonsense?

                  And remember that there is an endless stream of crap. How much time should a biology class devote to refuting creationism?

                  I think the difficulty is that those pushing BS are not playing by the same rules of inquiry as others.

                  1. So, what you're saying is, you lack all faith in the capacity of truth to triumph over falsehood in free and open debate?

                    1. The issue is your definitions of triumph and debate.

                    2. No. That's not remotely what I said.

                      Truth will triumph in the sense that most people - the vast majority will accept it.

                      But not all. Which is fine until the few who don't make pests of themselves and continue to post discredited arguments, and make up new ones, because they are so vested in their beliefs, and so willing to accept whatever or whoever convinced them, that they just go on and on.

                      And then your forum is gone, just as surely as if dissenting viewpoints had been barred form the beginning. Resources - time, attention - are limited, and if you let someone hog them all with nonsense you don't have them for other things.

                      I'll ask you the same question I ask below. How much class time should a biology teacher devote to refuting the arguments of a creationist student?

                    3. I have never seen a forum die like that, and I've been using computers since IRC. I've seen forums die of a lot of things, but not that.

                    4. Bernard....

                      "But not all. Which is fine until the few who don’t make pests of themselves and continue to post discredited arguments, and make up new ones, because they are so vested in their beliefs, and so willing to accept whatever or whoever convinced them, that they just go on and on."

                      Nah. That would be, for example, our beloved Reverend. They post, and they get ignored. People skip it, just like they skip the pop up ads. That doesn't kill the forum.

                      What kills the forum is censorship that cuts off smart alternative viewpoints. Because then it's just a circle of people saying the same thing. to themselves. And eventually no one cares.

                    5. By "die" I mean become useless to a lot of people, not that it disappears.

                      After a while it just becomes useless.

                    6. A.L.,

                      censorship that cuts off smart alternative viewpoints. ,/i>

                      Smart, or even stupid, alternative viewpoints are fine, so long as those advocating them are prepared to accept a few rules.

                      Facts matter.
                      Evidence matters.
                      Logic matters.
                      Data matters.
                      No making shit up.
                      Anecdotes are not data.
                      Arithmetic is powerful stuff.

                      I'm sure others can add to this.

                    7. Sorry about the italics.

                      The first line was a quote from A.L. The rest is mine.

                    8. Bernard,

                      That's be a lot of rules that are required to be accepted there... Seems those rules almost always come into play when you want to shut down alternative viewpoints. Seems you conveniently ignore them when it doesn't suit you. For example, in a given Russia investigation.

                    9. "Arithmetic is powerful stuff."

                      Yeah, but a bunch of education types were just on the wrong side of an argument over whether 2+2=5.

                    10. You do love posting that.

                      The thesis ends up being

                      'When someone says 2+2 = 5, don't just call them a dumbass, ask them what the heck they're talking about.'

                      A lesson I think both you and I could learn from.

                    11. "You do love posting that."

                      I sure do.

                      "The thesis ends up being ‘When someone says 2+2 = 5, don’t just call them a dumbass, ask them what the heck they’re talking about.’"

                      No. They've explained what they're talking about. They're trying to show that math isn't objective.

                    12. I read it when you last posted it.

                      It explains that math is based on axioms. Sometimes one should be operating under different axioms for one reason or another.

                      When someone says something that seems crazy, check their axioms.

                      Maybe they are crazy, but maybe check first. That's not some 'no objective reality' thing.

                      You've spun a mountain out of a molehill.

                    13. "It explains that math is based on axioms. Sometimes one should be operating under different axioms for one reason or another."

                      They're trying to get from there to claim that you can change reality by changing the axioms. It is indeed an objective reality thing.

                    14. Not how I read it. It's got some hippy-dippy language, but they're not saying changing the axioms changes reality, they're saying sometimes you change the axioms to reflect reality, so you should check what's going on.

                    15. "Not how I read it."

                      It's hard to follow because half of the participants have each other blocked, but it was a response to comments, such as one from a teacher claiming, "Nope, the idea of 2+2 equaling 4 is cultural and because of western imperialism/colonization, we think of it as the only way of knowing."

    6. Rather than rely on moderation, which has all the pitfalls pointed out in earlier comments, I would settle for the ability to filter out comments from posters I choose to ignore. My goal is to reduce noise in what I wade through, not to control what you read, and a touch of personal blacklisting would go a long way.

      Of course if we had that ability some of you probably wouldn't be reading this now.

      1. Doesn't that just result in filter bubbles and the toxic dynamics of social media, though?

        1. Well, at least it limits the filter bubbles to the people doing the filtering, instead of everybody.

        2. It gives each reader a more convenient way to do something they can already do, and probably do already do when faced with hundreds of comments, namely to skip over those from sources they have found to be reliably uninteresting. Maybe for some "uninteresting" means "stuff I disagree with", for me it means stuff that is neither informative, nor entertaining, nor legitimately thought provoking.
          We used to have a commenter who would reliably inject into every discussion a comment about mestizos, or butt sex, or maybe it was butt sex with mestizos. He might have found it cathartic, maybe it was all that kept him from tipping over the edge to full-on postal, but reading it for the 500th time did nothing for me. He would have been on my kill list in a second, then he could happily continue to post as much as he and his analyst thought useful without burdening me with slogging through that stuff.

          1. Admittedly, towards the end I would have put Hihn on ignore if I could have.

      2. "I would settle for the ability to filter out comments from posters I choose to ignore."

        When this blog was hosted by the washington Post, there was such a filter.

        It was glorious to be able to filter one particular movie character namesake. Alas.

    7. As a "marketplace of ideas" everyone gets five likes to give to any five comments they want. The reader must then judiciously pick the most special comments to boost. That might incentivize readers to look for underappreciated comments to boost, and reduce the monoculture.

      1. Or just moderators get five likes.

      2. Or maybe 'marxist' marketplace of ideas where any comment can only have a maximum of 5 up-votes.

        1. I'm kinda wanting like a place where the rules change every week and they study the effects 😛

          1. That's FaceBook, only the AB comparisons they're doing are, "How can we best monetize this data we've convinced people to foolishly share with us?"

          2. Why not my suggestion where you set up mirror posts with different moderation rules and see how they perform? Then you don't have to try to control for interest in the content, changing users over time, etc.

            1. Resourcing would be my main issue.

    8. I like this forum as it is, but would make one change if I could -- allow downvoting, to at least let posters know (if they care to look) that they posted something hugely unpopular.

      1. I suppose I don't really mind down voting as long as it's utterly free of any consequences. Don't really see the point of it, though: If you're going to diss somebody's opinion, you should have to explain why.

    9. Is there such a thing as an unmoderated forum? I'm not sure there is. Very lightly moderated, yes.

  3. Never mind court packing. If the Democrats sweep in November, they should pass comprehensive national abortion rights legislation that would bar the states from not just banning, but placing undue burdens in the way of, a woman's right to an abortion. That way, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned it won't matter. The so-called pro-life politicians can continue to tell their constituents that they can't do anything about it, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg can smile down from heaven on the proceedings.

    The constitutional basis for such legislation would be not just the commerce clause, but also a legislative finding that a woman's bodily integrity is one of the privileges and immunities of citizenship.

    1. If the dems sweep, they'll go even further and provide federal govt funding of abortion. Directly, not just through America's #1 abortionist planned parenthood.

    2. " but placing undue burdens in the way of, a woman’s right to an abortion."

      Until when? What stage? 8 months pregnant? Define exactly what's an undue burden? Having a clean operating room?

      Is there a reason that Canada seems to send their late term abortions to the US?

      1. An undue burden is a burden that treats abortion differently from other medical procedures or which is specifically designed to make abortions harder to get. So yes, clean operating rooms. Doctors who actually went to medical school and have medical licenses. But this crap about a waiting period or a required ultra sound; that's just harassment that serves no medical purpose.

        1. Really? "Doctors who actually went to medical school and have medical licenses."?

          You think that should be a restriction? Interesting. You may be less on the pro-choice side than you think.

          1. No, I meant clean operating rooms and licensed physicians would *not* be undue burdens.

            1. And yet, planned parenthood is suing, saying licensed physicians are an undue burden...

          2. Either you're confused or intentionally trying to conflate admitting privileges at other facilities as having a medical license. In either case, if you think there are pro-choice people who don't think abortions should be performed by unlicensed doctors, please provide an example.

              1. Eh, this is a debate about what sort of licensing should be required (nurse practitioner versus medical doctor), not whether or not unlicensed doctors should be eligible.

                But sure, lots of people are opposed to pretextual "safety" requirements like this that only apply to abortions and not to basically identical procedures that are not abortions.

                1. A lot of the "safety" requirements on non-abortion medical procedures are pretextual, too. They're only there to maintain a medical cartel, or create gate-keeping opportunities that can be exploited to generate kickbacks in return for opening the gate. Why should abortion be any different?

                  Because it's a right? Of course, that's exactly what we're arguing about. But I never see this bodily autonomy argument extended beyond sexual matters, to allowing people to use drugs the FDA hasn't approved, for instance. Indeed, a lot of things that have better arguments that they effect nobody else, and SHOULD be matters of bodily autonomy, are much more tightly regulated than abortion.

                  1. I would extend the bodily autonomy argument well beyond abortion, though as with any other right it's not absolute.

                    And I generally disapprove of pretextual regulation too, not just in the case of abortion.

                  2. I tend to agree with a lot of the libertarian positions on licensure, although I do think that with medicine there's more compelling justifications for regulation than in hair styling or even the law. But you're right that a lot of current regulations amount to gatekeeping and are a part of the reason why our health care costs are so high.

                    Separately from all of the above (which I think mostly about the scope of government regulations in general), I agree it would be interesting to have a conversation about the right to bodily autonomy in the context of medical procedures other than abortion. In general, it seems like people on the right aren't interested in the discussion because it gives credit to the pro-choice argument and people on the left are mostly happy with the status quo because abortion is legal and they're otherwise unbothered by government regulation of businesses, so there's really not much impetus for the conversation. So it's not surprising me that the conversation isn't happening, but your general point is a good one.

                    1. The pro life problem with the bodily autonomy argument, is that there's more than one body involved.

                    2. Brett: Sure, I get that. I'm just saying I don't really see any interest from the right in having the conversation you're promoting because it requires extending the conversation beyond "you can't murder babies" to having an actual discussion about the tradeoff in interests. And yes, I get that the other side has arguments that are equally one-dimensional. The abortion debate suffers more than basically any other in American society of completely disregarding the view of the other side and pretending only one set of values are relevant to the conversation.

                    3. The question, Brett, is not whether the fetus is a body, but whether it's a person, which is not quite the same thing. And even if it is a person, does it have the right to seize and hold for nine months the unwilling body of another person.

                    4. "The abortion debate suffers more than basically any other in American society of completely disregarding the view of the other side and pretending only one set of values are relevant to the conversation."

                      And that's because the Supreme court took it out of the give and take of politics, and made it an untouchable super-right. The pro-choicers don't have to persuade anybody as long as the Court has their back, and the pro-lifers don't need to persuade people in the middle because the Court won't let it gain them anything anyway.

                      "And even if it is a person, does it have the right to seize and hold for nine months the unwilling body of another person."

                      Might be an interesting SF story about a species that reproduced that way, but we're not that species.

                    5. Brett: You may be right. I think Krychek_2's suggested approach of tackling abortion through the legislative process has a lot of merit, and this is one of the reasons.

            1. What, no apology, after Sam provided excellent examples?

              1. One example. You can pretty easily use the scroll function to see that I don't think it makes this point.

        2. "An undue burden is a burden that treats abortion differently from other medical procedures"

          That already exists -- to abortion's benefit. For example, not having to have an elevator big enough for a gurney. They don't even have to meet fire code, i.e. sprinklers and 20 BC fire extinguishers in the hallways.

    3. And then the Republicans win and ban abortion nationally.

      1. Really? Let me assure you : That's the worst nightmare of a very many Republican politicians. They want to campaign against abortion, not "solve it" with the political catastrophe of a ban. Go check any survey of American opinion : Anti-Choice polls very well around the edges, like parental choice or already-rare late term procedures. But propose a total ban and the numbers swing overwhelming to the other side.

        Picture all the rage your side manufactures against abortion and quadruple it. That would be the blow-back.

        1. That's why Republicans ended up with Trump, and will end up with worse if they manage to get rid of him: If you keep running a bait and switch operation long enough, people figure it out, and start looking for somebody who might not be lying to them.

          Anyway, so don't propose a total ban. Limit elective abortion to the 1st trimester, with teeth. None of this "Mental health counts as a medical justification, so you get your late term abortion if you really don't want the baby." BS. None of this "Nobody can look at whether the justification was pretextual" crap. (Doe v Bolton) Elective 1st trimester, for good cause after that, with absolute reporting requirements and serious enforcement against people circumventing the system.

          That would be popular as all get out, if the polls are to be believed.

          1. Brett, if the pro life position were as popular as you claim, the GOP establishment would not be worried about the political fallout of reversing Roe v. Wade. The realities of the electoral college are that the presidency is decided by suburban housewives in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, who are mostly pro choice. Reversing Roe would be a disaster for the GOP for years to come.

            1. "the GOP establishment would not be worried about the political fallout of reversing Roe v. Wade."

              I don't think they are. I think they're on the other side, and lying about it.

            2. AGING suburban housewives who realize that the grandchildren they so badly wanted are dead...

          2. The trimester system is fairly arbitrary, and if we're deciding to revisit this rather than rely on Roe I'm not sure why we'd stick with it. It seems like the key demarcation point is viability, which is somewhere between 20 and 24 weeks depending on how aggressive you want to be in defining viability. That's well into the second trimester, but also probably late enough that some of the legitimate concerns around expecting abortions before some women even realize they're pregnant.

    4. "even if Roe v. Wade is overturned it won’t matter"

      Well, that only leaves left Adrian Vermule's solution of the court declaring an unborn child a person under the 14th amendment.

    5. The RFRA was an attempt to override a supreme court reversal. In Employment Division vs. Smith, the Supreme Court reversed a previous position that most religion infringement claim were subect to heightened scrutiny. Congress passed legislation designed to restore the status quo ante. The Supreme Court mostly stuck it down, holding that Congress can’t create individual rights applicable against states that the Supreme Court has said aren’t there.

      If a case analogous to Smith results in the Supreme Court reversing Roe v. Wade and Congress passes a Reproductive Freedom Restoration Act, why would/should it fare differently in the courts from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that the Supreme Court largely struck down?

  4. And I forgot to mention the best part: Anti abortion activists would no longer be able to decry activist judges since this would be a legislative solution.

    1. So, hypothetically speaking, Democratic politicians legalize a bill that makes abortion legal up to any time before birth, for any reason... And mandates doctors and nurses must perform the procedure...

      Do you think that might get a few Democratic politicians thrown out of office?

      1. Please re-read what I said. I didn't say a word about any time up until birth, or about mandating doctors and nurses to perform the procedure.

        What I said here was a broad outline and the details would have to be filled in. I'd be inclined to stick with pretty much what we have now: No restrictions during the early stages of pregnancy; once quickening has happened the states can decide.

        1. You didn't say anything against it either? You just said no undue burdens...

          Those would be definite burdens, if you said a person at 30 weeks couldn't get an abortion. And there are people on the pro-choice side who think, "Any time, any place, any where, any trimester, it's my body"

          1. There are those who think that but they're the lunatic fringe. And the lion's share of late term abortions are for medical reasons anyway, such as the discovery that a fetus is deformed. You don't have that many pregnant women sitting on the decision for weeks and then deciding, 8 1/2 months into it, that they want an abortion after all. I suppose it may happen, but not that often.

            As for what I didn't say, I didn't say a great many things. What is, and is not, an undue burden would need to be fleshed out in the legislation itself or in subsequent litigation. That's the way American politics works.

            1. "And the lion’s share of late term abortions are for medical reasons anyway, such as the discovery that a fetus is deformed."

              We literally do not know this. No good statistics are being collected, Doe v Bolton made medical determinations of necessity unreviewable, and "medical reasons" have come to include psychiatric issues, which is to say, really not wanting the baby is considered a "medical reason".

              Seriously, look at the current status of late term abortion regulation in NY. There are, nominally, regulations, but they've abolished all enforcement.

    2. This proposal has a problem similar to Court packing itself: Just as if you Court pack, the next time the other guy gains power HE can Court pack in response, if you mandate abortion rights by legislation, you can erase them by legislation.

      Public views on abortion are more complex than pro-choice or pro-life. If you look at the chart, "Americans' Support for Abortion Varies by Situation and Trimester", you'll see that pro-choicers are only in the majority for the first trimester, after that there are strong majorities in favor of heavy regulation and outright bans under most circumstances. Support for elective abortion doesn't even reach 50% in the first trimester!

      So, the inevitable, obviously inevitable, result of such legislation, is that the opposing part would sweep into power in the next election.

      This is why abortion had to be legalized by judicial fiat in the first place: Doing it legislatively would have been political suicide in most places, and doing it legislatively to the degree the Roe/Doe Court actually did would be political suicide almost everywhere.

      That would by why, for example, when NY legalized abortion right up to, (And slightly past!) the moment of birth, they did so covertly: While abortion is still theoretically regulated on the basis of medical necessity in NY after the first trimester, all penalties for violation and enforcement efforts have been completely terminated.

      So they could deny what they'd done, because doing it honestly would have been political poison even in NY.

      1. No, that's not the obviously inevitable result of such legislation. Americans may not support abortion up until the head enters the birth canal, but they don't support banning it either. Society has changed since 1973 when Roe was decided.

        1. Well, it hasn't changed that much. You lose the majority after you get past the first trimester, or even start talking elective abortion in the first trimester.

          The problem is, with the courts backing them, the pro-life movement has managed to push things WAY past where a normal democratic settlement would have arrived. Especially using bs like including mental issues in "medical" justifications.

          I'll grant you that the pro-life movement, if they could, would do the same in the other direction. But for now it's the pro-choicers doing it, because the courts have their backs.

          1. There are constitutional limits on how far democratic majorities may go, of course. My view is that a woman's right to bodily integrity is a privilege and immunity under the Fourteenth Amendment (though as with all rights it's not absolute). But that's a different discussion for another time.

            But the majority does support abortion pretty much through the end of the first trimester, so we should at least be able to get protection for that.

            1. I look at _Dred Scott v. Sanford_ and the 14th Amendment -- and the fetus' right to life. Abortion is the ultimate form of domestic violence.

      2. what's wrong with all of that? let the people decide and vote accordingly, not 5 black robes.

        1. If you reduce all issues to people voting and majority rule, you have rendered the very idea of a constitution that creates a government of limited enumerated powers null and void.

          1. ok, but we arent talking about all issues we are talking about this one particular issue.

            and ruling by 5 unelected black robes renders self-governance null and void.

            1. Self-governance is anarchy. All forms of collective government limit if not eliminate self-governance.

            2. You can't eliminate judicial review for this one issue without endangering it for all issues.

              1. I want judicial review for things that are actually in the Constitution, and the democratic process to be permitted to work for things that aren't.

                And abortion rights aren't in the Constitution.

            3. If we legislate on the other issues, we will be taking them one particular issue at a time, too.

              You are begging the question—whether abortion is a matter of right, or a matter of policy.

      3. How Libertarian of you. Because their is no penalty, it means someone will go ahead an do it?
        Why not adjust government laws and services to minimize the need (or perceived need) for abortions?

    3. That's honestly probably the best way to do it. If the people want abortions and make that want heard in the legislation, I don't see why we can stop them.

      The current doctrine is that abortion is an unenumerated right, but stopping a legislative solution would also be based on an unenumerated right.

  5. My undergrad alma mater just gave me to okay to adjunct for a class next semester. I'm excited and look forward to the disillusionment.

    1. Two semesters with today's students and you'll become cynical.

      Thats all it took for me. Except on my case it was quarters.

      1. The wonderful and underpaid world of adjuncting hopefully means I can nope out after a semester.

        1. Edit: nope out after a semester if its awful

    2. You'll have fun. Don't resign after grading the first test; it doesn't hurt as bad the second time.

      What subject?

      1. Philosophy of Law. It should be fun! But if my memory of college and even law school is correct, I'm gonna have a hard time getting them to participate.

        1. Some people do gimmicks like clickers or round tables or whatever.

          I just single out people and insist that they say something.

        2. Keep notes while grading your assignments, quizzes and exams. It will help the next time you use them. I didn't use that in my first year, and really regretted it in year two when it came time to teach the courses again.

          1. Thank you both for the advice and encouragement!

          2. Keep notes while grading your assignments, quizzes and exams.

            Also after class, so you can remember what worked, what fell flat, what kinds of issues students are likely to raise, etc.

        3. How big is the class size? That may help things re: participation.

          1. The class is conditional on 6-7 people enrolling. They haven't let me know what the max would be.

        4. If it's under 20, put them in a circle and go around asking questions.

    3. Congrats! I've been adjuncting a law class at a local college for almost 10 years now, I love it. It's hard at first and gets easier.

    4. Don't smile before Halloween.

  6. I find a lot of the negative reaction to the first debate funny. We all saw the debates in 2016, I don't know why anyone expected 2020 to be any different.

    1. and the Biden/Ryan debate of 2012 in which Biden was a bit more lucid but just as bad about interrupting, talking over, and belittling his opponent.

      1. you think Biden was the bad one in the debate?

        1. Gah, I did watch this debate. Biden was pretty bad about interrupting, too, and the moderator was awful as well. Trump wasn't far off the truth when he said that he was debating both of them, some of those questions he posed were awfully argumentative.

          Again, my proposal: Sound proof booths, and microphones on timers, and no moderator. Just the candidates, physically unable to interrupt each other.

          1. Wallace asked pointed questions of both candidates--that seems both on brand and what a decent moderator would do. People have actually counted the interruptions, so we know that Trump objectively interrupted way more. And this is hardly some slanted left-wing perception, plenty of people on the right thought Trump behaved terribly (and counterproductively) as well:


            1. The the national review article you linked to does not support your claim that "People have actually counted the interruptions, so we know that Trump objectively interrupted way more" No such counts are presented in the article.

              1. Lifted from today's National Review :

                "Tuesday’s debate was fraught with frequent interruptions as the candidates attempted to speak over each other and moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News. According to the Post, the candidates interrupted Wallace or their opponent 90 times during the 90-minute debates. The paper attributed 71 of those interruptions to Trump."

                The article refers to the WaPo.

              2. Yes, I agree. The National Review article did not include the account, it just included the general sentiment that Trump was an unproductive bully in the debate. You can only post one link at a time, so I thought that general sentiment analysis was more useful. grb's post includes the interruption count if you don't have the Google skills to find that on your own.

            2. You say "pointed", I say "argumentative", tomato tomato.

              1. Sure, we can call them by either name. My point was that he asked "argumentative" questions of Biden too, and that should have been a reasonable expectation given both who Wallace is and the debate format.

            3. "Wallace asked pointed questions of both candidates–"

              what was biden's answer to his party's stated goal of abolishing the senate filibuster and packing the USSC?

              asking questions is one thing, but pressing for an actual responsive answer is important too

              1. Wallace was actually trying to get him to answer the question, but Trump jumped in and turned it into a bunch of crosstalk until time ran out, so he basically let him off the hook on this one.

          2. Proposed Modified Bellmore Rules

            1. Sound proof booths
            2. For discussion questions, microphones on timers.
            3. For yes/no questions, microphones are off. They have two buttons inside and the booth has three lights outside that go off after 15 seconds: Yes, No, or Failed to Answer.
            4. Two websites with hit counters tied to electrodes....well, OK, maybe not.

            1. "3. For yes/no questions, microphones are off. They have two buttons inside and the booth has three lights outside that go off after 15 seconds: Yes, No, or Failed to Answer."

              Who's asking the question? My version of the rules doesn't have a moderator. Is each side being permitted to submit questions to be asked the other? That would be a lot more sensible than letting moderators come up with them.

              The problem with requiring you to answer a question with a yes or no, is leading, argumentative question. "Are you willing to repudiate white supremacy organizations like the Aryan Nation and RNC?" "Have you stopped molesting little girls?"

              You need to be able to dispute the question itself.

              "4. Two websites with hit counters tied to electrodes….well, OK, maybe not."

              I did consider adding, "At the end of the debate the two booths would be hermetically sealed", but thought it a little harsh.

        2. Biden was the first to interrupt. Unchallenged by his teammate Chris, of course.

          1. I noticed that....

          2. He actually did the first 2 interruptions and Biden got to exceed his time uninterrupted by Wallace on his first answer.

      2. I don't remember 2012 too well, but Biden barely had an opportunity to interrupt. Trump's voice must have a higher pitch or something, it always pierces so clearly over whoever else is talking, haha.

      3. " Biden was a bit more lucid but just as bad about interrupting, talking over, and belittling his opponent."

        That's what I find infuriating -- Biden was every bit as bad (arguably worse than) Trump. Biden should never have been allowed the ad hominems.

        Biden explicitly stated that Trump was "a racist." Imagine if Trump had explicitly stated that Biden was "a rapist." Imagine the outcry if Trump had said that Biden "is a man you don't want your 10-year-old daughter near."

        1. Ed : Biden was every bit as bad (arguably worse than) Trump.

          No he wasn't.

          Ed : Biden explicitly stated that Trump was “a racist.”

          Well, he is.

          1. But YOU are a racist. How do I know? Well, you don’t have a black person handling your money, you’ve never hired a black lawyer, you didn’t use a black contractor to remodel your house or kitchen, you don’t have a black mechanic working on your car, you didn’t hire a black SAT tutor for your kids, and you don’t have a black dentist. You figure you’re a non-racist simply because you never say “N” and you vote “D,” right? At least I have a black urologist poking me once a year.

            1. What a freak you are !!!

              1. So tell me, on what basis do you consider yourself a non-racist?

        2. Except that Trump actually is a racist. And creepy enough that I wouldn't want my daughter of any age within a mile of him.

          1. Now, that's what I call chutzpah, to call Trump creepy in the context of a Trump/Biden discussion. Are you kidding? There are mountains of video evidence and victim testimony attesting to Biden's creepiness, and while there are lots of accusations, virtually NO video evidence to support Trump creepiness. Wow.

            Compilation of Joe Biden being Creepy

            1. Not sure you want to play the Trump/Biden sexual wrongdoing game.

              1. I don't think he does. He's just pointing out you don't get to play the Trump sexual wrongdoing game by itself. They're both fair game, or neither.

                1. Brett tells us "you don’t get to play the Trump sexual wrongdoing game by itself" Fair enough, but let's try and make it an even contest by restricting ourselves to Trump on the official record about his own daughter:

                  DJT on Ivanka at age sixteen, in 1997 : “Don’t you think my daughter’s hot? She’s hot, right?”

                  DJT on Ivanka in 2003 : "she’s got the best body. She made a lot money as a model—a tremendous amount"

                  DJT on Ivanka in 2004 : “Let me tell you one thing: Ivanka is a great, great beauty, Every guy in the country wants to go out with my daughter"

                  DJT on the Howard Stern show in 2004 : Stern: “By the way, your daughter…” Trump: “she’s beautiful" Stern: “Can I say this? A piece of ass” Trump: “Yeah”

                  DJT on The View in 2006 : When asked how he would react if Ivanka posed for Playboy, he replied, "It would be really disappointing — not really — but it would depend on what's inside the magazine."

                  DJT, same show : "I don't think Ivanka would do that, although she does have a very nice figure. I've said if Ivanka weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her."

                  DJT on the Howard Stern show in 2006 : Stern : “Did your daughter get breast implants?” Trump : “No, she didn’t. I mean, I would know if she did. The answer is no. Why? Did she look a little more stacked?"

                  DJT on the Wendy Williams show, 2013 : Wendy: "Ivanka, what's the favorite thing you have in common with your father" Ivanka: "Either real estate or golf" Donald: "I was going to say sex"

                  DJT on Ivanka, in an interview with Rolling Stone 2015 : “Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father . . ."


                  1. Bravo!

                    Let's not forget his bragging about grabbing women by the pussy!

    2. This debate wasn't like any of those in 2016. This one had a grossly biased moderator.

      1. Complaining about the refs is the right-wing way of saying you lost.

        1. Demanding the canceling of future debates is the left-wing way of saying you lost the first debate.

          1. Sure, but who is saying that?

              1. Pundits asking a question are not the left demanding future debates be cancelled.

            1. Actually, it looks like Trump is trying to them cancelled.

          2. Sam Gompers : Demanding the canceling of future debates is the left-wing way of saying you lost the first debate.

            All the Gomper-types in this forum said Biden wouldn't show for the first debate. They said he'd be exposed as having dementia. They said the debate would be a disaster for him..

            Well, every poll and survey has Biden winning Tuesday's fracas. He's the one climbing in the first post-debate election polls, and Republican's are the people scurrying about looking for excuses.

            Yet apparently Gomper-types aren't thru making predictions, though their every previous effort failed miserably. For the record : The Biden campaign quickly committed to the remaining debates right after the first one ended. Apparently they couldn't do so quick enough. One more debate and Biden will probably have the election wrapped-up.

  7. Appearantly someone published a review of Kate Manne's work co-authored by a "philosopher who prefers to remain anonymous". This caused a chorus of left-ling philosophy-adjacent types to claim that they can't evaluate an argument unless they know who's making it, so somehow the review was unfair or unethical.

    Color me un-shocked.

    1. My surprise levels are zero.

    2. That is because the sole argument of the left is personal attack. It violates the Fallacy of Irrelevance.

  8. Ken White decided to quit writing at his old Popehat blog and move to another service, Substack. Not due to any change in content and he didn't really explain why otherwise, but it would allow him to get paid subscriptions (rather than deal with Google ads). He already said he'll leave comments off.

    1. I've enjoyed the few things he's written on the Popehat substack. And I personally don't miss the comments, they don't really add anything. And the Popehat commentary was much better and more on topic than here.

  9. Why does President Trump have to repeatedly denounce White Supremacy (he's done so many many times) but no one has to denounce the terrorism caused by Antifa and BLM?

    It isn't White Supremacists out there burning down our cities. It's a bunch of Biden Voters. There's like 10 total White Supremacists in the country, there's at least 10 Antifa/BLM terrorists on the first floor of a single Ronald McDonald House trying to burn up the families and sick children upstairs.

    1. Because he took the affirmative step of asking them to stand by. That takes some 'splainin

      1. FYI, the question came before the answer. Not the other way around like you're suggesting.

      2. Also, the Proud Boys are not White Supremacists.

      3. I think it's pretty obvious that he was trying to repeat what Wallace wanted him to say ("stand down") but since they were all yelling over each other like idiots he forgot what exactly it was and just started vomiting words that fit.

      4. He told them to "stand back and stand by", because the Proud Boys, specifically, are NOT a white supremacist organization. They're a reaction to Antifa. Antifa started showing up and attacking people at right wing events, so Proud Boys organized to fight BACK.

        He's saying, "Back off, we've got this."

        1. I have quite a few issues of fact with your post, but even if all is true the President calling on on reactionary street gangs seems like a bad move by the President regardless of what the environment is.

          1. Did you watch his interview the next day? Its pretty clear.

          2. He said the reactionary street gang should stand back and let law enforcement do it's thing. Doesn't sound like a bad move by the President to me.

            1. That's a perfectly reasonable response were it not for the fact that, at least in Portland and Seattle, the police, mayor, governor, and state attorney general are all in the pocket of the Antifa/BLM terrorists, and thus no more willing to do their jobs honestly than Wallace himself.

              1. So it's street gang time?

                That is literally a fascist move. Like, from Italy. And Germany.

                1. Were the Guardian Angels fascist like Italy or Germany?

                  What about the patrols around CHAZ?

                  Or the Muslim Community Patrol in NY?

                  Fascist like Italy and Germany?

                  1. The President invoking them is what I'm talking about.

                2. "So it’s street gang time?

                  That is literally a fascist move. Like, from Italy. And Germany."

                  Or Portland.

            2. Stand by said by the President to street gangs is not something to be ignored.

            3. You mean, he said that after someone explained that he had stepped on his dick.

              Despite the apologists here he was plainly telling the Proud Boys to get ready to act on his behalf. There is no other reasonable explanation.

              1. He doesn't even know who the Proud Boys are.

        2. Brett Bellmore: He’s saying, “Back off, we’ve got this.”

          There are two problems with your take :

          First, that's not what most people saw - as evidenced by the horror of Republican politicians and commentators

          Second, that's not what the Proud Boys saw - as evidenced by their instantaneous & gleefully embrace of Trump's statement. They sent out gloating tweets within seconds of the comment.

          1. Oh, give me a break about the horror of Republican politicians and commentators. The Republican party, except for the actual voters, has been treating Trump as a foreign invader from the beginning. Especially at National Review. They'd be fine with his losing this election, just like they wanted him to lose in 2016. They just don't dare say so, because Republican voters like Trump.

            Any time they see a plausible excuse, they go on the attack.

            1. Ok, but let's be clear : You apparently restrict the sub-set of people who claim Trump didn't say what he said to just his cultists alone, excluding everybody else - including Republicans and the Proud Boys themselves. You supposedly see a stern rebuke; they gleefully posted Trump's statement on their website within minutes of hearing it.

              1. Look, if you're going to define everybody who supports a major party candidate with 90% plus support within his party as a "cultist", you're stripping the world of all meaning.

                This isn't about what he said, it's about the spin you put on it. People who really dislike Trump put a negative spin on everything he says, then point to their own spin as proof they're right to despise him.

                1. No Brett.

                  It's about what he said. In very plain words.

                  The only ones spinning here are you and the other cultists.

                  You plainly accept no criticism of Trump. You rationalize everything, and you're doing it again. it makes you look really stupid.

      5. I despise Trump. But honestly I think he was just sloppy with his prepositions. He also said they should stand down. He also said they should stand back. I think it was just a run of words being taken the wrong way. Because when asked to denounce them, he LITERALLY SAID "SURE" and then repeated himself again, which no media article I've read wants to admit.

        1. If he had a marble-mouthed moment, he's doing a crap job walking it back.

          1. I don't disagree there.

        2. What do you think it means to tell someone to "stand by?" I'd say it means something like, "I may need you to act and I want you to be ready when I tell you to."

          What else?

    2. In Biden's defense, the people burning down cities are probably better characterized as unenthusiastic Biden Voters.

      1. During a local TV interview?

        1. Which then was reported on FOX NEWS and included:

          The Trump campaign has called the former vice president out for not mentioning the anarchist group by name. Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders responded to those accusations during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" this week.

    3. "There’s like 10 total White Supremacists in the country"

      Utter delusion. There's well over ten that regularly comment on this site alone.

      1. List 'em, then.

        1. Look back at the comments on pretty much any article discussing immigration. There is, without fail, a sizable contingent always ready to break out their calipers and talk about "low-IQ mestizos", or some variant thereof. Not to mention the nearly-daily circlejerk about wanting to kill liberals/BLM/leftists etc. Or the regular Confederacy hagiography.

          If it were true that there were really only ten white supremacists, it would be really easy for Trump to give a full-throated denouncement of them. But he never has, and he never will. Why? Because white supremacists and their fellow travelers make up most of his base of support.

          1. But he never has, and he never will. Why?

            Why do you believe this?

            1. I said "full-throated denouncement", not muttering pablum about being "against hate" that his advisors put in front of him.

              1. You live in a different reality.

                1. That's for sure. To say that I have no interest in sharing a "reality" (i.e. values, priors, ideological assumptions etc.) with you right wing ghouls and Trump bootlickers is an understatement.

                  1. The feelings mutual. I loathe you people.

                    1. "I loathe you people."

                      Not as much as the liberal-libertarian mainstream has enjoyed shaping American progress against the bigoted, ugly preferences of conservatives throughout our lifetimes . . . and enjoyed listening to the clingers whimper and moan about it.

                    2. I really enjoy your schtick, Kirkland, as monotone as it is. I usually get a good chuckle once or twice a week from it.

                      Keep up the good work, ma'man.

          2. If you think there are that many, you are suffering from the delusion called Critical Race Theory. In which case, get back on your meds.

          3. Why is it that some people of a particular race refuse to speak good, professional English? I mean, look at this woman. Why should anybody take those people seriously if they're going to act like that?

            1. Maybe it would be harder to guess not knowing the story. But that accent sounds completely fake.

      2. I think it depends on how you define "White supremacist" -- if you define it as anyone who has no use for the Bitchy Little Marxists, then there are a lot -- but if you define it as someone who honestly holds the values of Roger Taney (not just says them for shock value), then it would be about 10 people nationwide.

        1. Here's a homework assignment for you, Ed : Find a issue that touches on race and locate the Fox News account. Check out the comments and you'll find a lot of opinion much closer to Taney than you care to face. Then you'll need a long cleansing shower.

          PS : There are a lot more ten Marxists in this country; I'll grant you that. But your statement would be a thousand times truer if you inverted your numbers. Red-baiting three decades after the Soviet Union collapsed is just plain silly. Hell, the Chinese government is more Mafia than Marxist these days. Why you feel the need to redo BLM into Marxism is beyond me. Did you really run out of insults against them? Were that hard up? I'm convinced it must be an unconscious muscle in your brain.

          1. Marxism is not dead -- it's being taught in American universities.

            And a lot of the most extreme things on the internet are false flags.

            Do you have any idea how many of the racial hate crimes in academia are found to be hoaxes? By my count it's at least 10:1 and that's the ones that are caught.

            1. (1) Of course Marxism is taught in universities. You do understand the concept of education, don't you? A person might easily wonder.

              (2) Give us a guess : How many scary Marxists do you think are imbedded in our universities? One dozen? Maybe two? I'm sure we'd start with some absent-minded long-hair professor at City University of New York (CUNY). Don't you understand how pathetic your terror is?

              (3) So all race-baiters in Fox News comments are false flag? Well, I guess someone wacko enuff to be afraid of Marxists under his bed might think that. For the record, a lot of us don't believe you're real, Ed. Can anyone making such a bizarre spectacle of himself be an actual sincere human being?

              (4) "Hate crimes in academia" doesn't have much to do with anything we were discussing. It seems your poor brain just belched and that little gem popped out (complete with its ludicrous-but-precise ratio). Just try and work out the psychology behind that!

              1. I'm real, and I survived crap you never would.

                1. None of the crap you survived actually happened though...

                  Just like every anecdotal story you tell, there's nothing behind it but lies.

    4. Rush Limbough has an interesting point -- it makes perfect sense if their internal polling shows Black men going for Trump. The founder of BET just said he's voting for Trump. And Telemondo says their poll was that Trump won the debate 2:1.

      As an aside, the head of the Proud Boys is a Black Cuban, and their membership is about 10% minority. That's not White supremacy...

      1. Do you still think Trump is getting 40% of the Black vote?

    5. There’s like 10 total White Supremacists in the country,

      That's not what Trumps DHS thinks.

      “We judge that ideologically-motivated lone offenders and small groups will pose the greatest terrorist threat to the Homeland through 2021, with white supremacist extremists presenting the most lethal threat,” it reads.

      “Among DVE [domestic violent extremist] actors, WSEs [white supremacist extremists] conducted half of all lethal attacks (8 of 16), resulting in the majority of deaths (39 of 48),” the drafts read.

      This refers to 2019.

      1. Where and when?
        Let's see the specifics....

        1. Right, Ed. The FBI is trolling you. Demand to see their sources.

  10. I saw this ... what, two weeks ago.

    I recommend it- make sure you watch it to the 37 minute, Sarcastro. 🙂

    Last night I was on a walk with my spouse, and we were talking about a friend of ours who is a nurse. She has the misfortune of having two Trump-y parents. Anyway, she and her husband are moving away. The main reason is that they can't stand living near her parents anymore.

    Her parents constantly regale her with stories about how COVID is just a liberal myth to get at the President. You know, the typical Dr. ED bs that we see here. The problem is ... she is a nurse in a COVID ward. She has been seeing people die, day after day.

    Despite her continued attempts to tell her parents to drop the topic ("Don't you remember where I work? Can't we talk about something else?") they won't stop. And now, she's done. She's tired of the death, she's tired of the lies (shockingly, my state is doing a bang-up job of trying to undercount the numbers to prop up the Governor's attempts to keep the re-opening train going) and she's so, so tired of her parents.

    It really just kind of encapsulates so much of what I hate about the last 4 years. It's just tiring. It's tiring seeing the same lies, over and over again.

    1. Yeah, it came across my feeds 2 weeks ago as well! I do think it gets at the idea that rational engagement with conspiracists will avail naught.

      What it becomes is emotional labor.

      1. I think that there are some interesting undercurrents. For example, I don't think that a lot of people realize how much of what they see (whether it's on their social media, or youtube, or whatever) is actually curatedautomatically; it's a feedback loop.

        They think that they are "seeking out" information, instead of just getting fed more garbage that continues to radicalize them.

        It's not just emotionally laborious; it's an endless repetition that does no good.

        1. "For example, I don’t think that a lot of people realize how much of what they see (whether it’s on their social media, or youtube, or whatever) is actually curatedautomatically; it’s a feedback loop."

          That's for sure. I miss the days when Google would just do an objective search properly parsing your search string, instead of feeding you what they think you SHOULD be looking at, even if you tried to exclude it.

          I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, that they started out just meaning to provide more useful search results. But then they saw the potential... It's been down hill ever since.

          1. Brett, use -- far better.

            1. It may be less ideological, but I find the results are lee what I really do want.

              1. I find that their search algorithm is less effective than google's for non-ideological stuff. OTOH, I find that once something is political, duckduckgo is more effective, because they're not actively skewing the results.

                I use both as situation warrants.

                But even for the non-ideological stuff, google is worse than they were a few years ago, because they've tweaked their search string parsing to work better for people who don't know how to construct a proper search string, which makes it work worse for people who do.

        2. The Algorithm is a different thing from when other individuals you may be close to try and discuss crazy stuff with you.

          Yeah, that feedback loop is a whole 'nother thing that gets at another cognitive issue. And that bad tendency is incentivized by profits, since people watch a lot more once they go down a rabbit hole.

    2. She's a nurse and she can't discriminate between dying WITH COVID and dying from COVID?


      1. Ding ding ding.

        We have a winner. Not in life, mind you.

        It's funny that you didn't even read what I wrote in order to make your VERY IMPORTANT POINT, but it's even funnier that your VERY IMPORTANT POINT is exactly what I was saying.

        I'd thank you, but you are stupid to figure it out Sam, and trying to get you to understand is like working with a dull pencil; pointless.

        1. I didn't misunderstand this point "She’s tired of the death".

          The death. The death you said. It's not a stretch to infer you were referring to COVID. COVID isn't causing hardly any deaths if you look at the data with open eyes and an open mind.

          "she’s tired of the lies (shockingly, my state is doing a bang-up job of trying to undercount the numbers to prop up the Governor’s attempts to keep the re-opening train going)"

          That further supports the inference that you people somehow believe COVID is out there like some black plague.

          That is simply not true. The facts do not support your belief, nor hers.

          1. Amazing- when you are called out on your lies (and you do lie), you come back and say, "Oh, no, wait, I wasn't lying about what you said ... I was just inferring something ... I was inferring my own BS in order to make a point you didn't say because I'm a terrible person."

            Thank you for proving my point so effectively, again.

            1. I'm genuinely not following.

              Where did you call me out on a lie?

              "Despite her continued attempts to tell her parents to drop the topic (“Don’t you remember where I work? Can’t we talk about something else?”) they won’t stop. And now, she’s done. She’s tired of the death, she’s tired of the lies (shockingly, my state is doing a bang-up job of trying to undercount the numbers to prop up the Governor’s attempts to keep the re-opening train going) and she’s so, so tired of her parents."

              Are you not referring to COVID deaths in this paragraph? What deaths and numbers are you referring to here?

    3. "Her parents constantly regale her with stories about how COVID is just a liberal myth to get at the President....The problem is … she is a nurse in a COVID ward. She has been seeing people die, day after day. "

      Reality check -- lots of people die every day -- from a variety of things. According to the CDC, 2,813,503 people died in 2017.

      Heart disease: 647,457; Cancer: 599,108; Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936; Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201; Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383; Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404; Diabetes: 83,564; Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672; Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 50,633; Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173. See:

      Now only 10% of the purported COVID deaths are actually caused by COVID and not an underlying comorbidity, so that's 20,000 COVID deaths -- half the 47,173 suicide deaths. And we haven't shut down the country to prevent suicides.

      Or combine suicides and accidents and you have 217,109 deaths -- and where have we seen that number before?

      1. They do not care about facts. They really don't. They live in some constant state of existential fear of COVID. They have been in a state of constant arousal for nearly four years now and their brains are rotted from all the cortisol.

      2. Medical professionals have a problem with selection bias: They only see the people who need to see medical professionals. This causes them to see basically anything that might sometimes cause you to seek medical aid as worse than it really is.

        For instance, they see people with gunshot wounds. They don't see people who defended themselves with a gun. So their emotional reaction is, get rid of guns.

        They see people dying with or of Covid. They don't see people with Covid with a minor sniffle. So they, on an emotional level, think it's much worse than it actually is by the statistics.

        I suppose fire fighters have the same reaction to open flames.

        1. "I suppose fire fighters have the same reaction to open flames."

          No, fire hazards. I've seen it in academia.

        2. I'd expect this sort of idiocy from Sam and Dr. Ed, but Brett likes to brag about about how good he is with numbers.

          Well, we have over 200,000 excess deaths this year. Clearly, something caused that. If it's not the coronavirus what is it? And don't try "suicide." Not nearly enough. The marginal impact of the virus on mortality is large.

          Of course people who dis of Covid have comorbidities. So do those who die in car wrecks or from heart attacks. Of course those in their late 70's didn't lose as many years as younger victims. That doesn't mean they didn't die.

          It's surely the case that having heart disease makes you more likely to die if you get Covid, but that doesn't mean you ignore Covid.

          So if you want to measure the impact of Covid on mortality you look at the change in mortality over the relevant period. Numerate people understand this.

          1. Where are you getting that we have 200,000 excess deaths?

          2. I'm not saying Covid wasn't worse than your average flu, it was. Not world ending bad, not Spanish Influenza bad, but it is bad. Well, was, we're mostly past it.

            I'm saying that medical professionals have a decided tendency to exaggerate how bad (medical) things are, because they only see the cases bad enough to seek or be taken to doctors. They never see the people who get Covid 19 and barely get a minor cold from it. Which is most of the people who get it.

          3. "Well, we have over 200,000 excess deaths this year."


            Remember to include the excess suicide and opiate overdose deaths. As well as the untreated cancer and heart disease that will lead to future excess deaths. Etc...

    4. and that nurse's name .... Albert Einstein

      1. This doesn't seem believeable to you?

        It has 2 main facts posited, plus a lemma.

        1) A nurse in a COVID ward
        2) Said nurse has parents who don't think COVID is a thing, and are insistent about it.
        Lemma: Loki knows said nurse.

        I don't see that as unlikely at all.

        1. That's the kind of usual BS we have to deal with; you have the usual inanities above (which are just the internet-crazy versions of the usuals, people talking out their butts about co-morbidities, and statistics, and so on) and Bob who proudly knows nothing.

          But it's the failure to acknowledge what is in front of you; it's not that the usual brigade of morons here on the internet can't grapple with facts. It's that it extends into reality. This is her parents ... they are holding so tightly to their support for Trump that they are haranguing their daughter about her own work. It's ... not just crazy-making, it's truly bizarre.

          It's so hard for me to fathom that people haven't been touched by it (as you correctly note). I have a good friend who wasn't able to see their mom before she passed; part of a COVID outbreak in a senior facility. I have another close friend who was hospitalized for several weeks (no underlying health conditions) and now is constantly fatigued. And so on.

          I just don't get it. But, hey, there's no point in discussing it, any more than continuing to note that the Earth is not flat.

          1. I mean, you have people who have nearly died, and quotes from those about to die, and people who have lost loved ones all of whom say COVID isn't the big deal people make it out to be.

            This is the power of negative tribalism; it not only feels righteous but it disguises itself a reason when it needs to. Also keeps you angry and not thinking straight, even as you think that you are.

            It is tempting in a fish-in-a-barrel sort of way to engage, but I find I'm losing my appetite for it round here, given the switch from believing dumb things to calling for political violence. I hope that's just the election talking.

  11. Is it constitutional for a State to mandate the make-up of the sex and lifestyle choices of a corporate board like CA just did?

    1. At least that's easy to work around. When I get nominated to sit on a corporate board I will suddenly discover that I identify as female.

    2. And if so, can they mandate balances of ethnicity as well?

      1. As I'm sure you know, they just did that as well.

  12. We got a very interesting conversational thread up top about the limits of legitimate conversational viewpoints. It's somewhat well-trod ground here but I thought worth pulling out to think about here.

    Are there some topics not worth engaging with that we should instead shun and judge.
    Topics like phrenology, holocaust denial, maybe slavery was good tho, lets gulag the Trumpists, etc.

    The two arguments against any viewpoints being off limits I'm seeing are:
    1) Full engagement of all things is what's best for intellectual rigor What is an out-there idea now may become conventional wisdom later; we cut off conversations at our peril
    2) Lack of engagement is how conspiracies grow; people take the lack of rational pushback as a sign they're onto something.

    The arguments for some (broad) conversational limits are:
    1) Fighting words - not that speech is violence, but that some speech provokes an emotional response such that it's not really great to expect people to, on behalf of society, spend time engaging with people on that point
    2) Legitimizing - shunning, shaming, etc. is a legitimate social mechanism amongst all social animals. If that reaction is suppressed, it implies some legitimacy to said often antisocial views.
    3) Bad faith - some topics are out there enough the goal of the initiator may be to bait others to engage rationally, but they themselves have no such intention. (Sartre's point)

    1. If someone started a thread about how slavery was a good thing, or holocaust denial, I very much doubt I would waste any time responding to it. But that's a separate question from whether he should be precluded from posting about it in the first place.

      On a somewhat related note, I'm getting close to neither reading nor commenting on posts here relating to the confirmation process for the Supreme Court, just because at this point people are basically repeating things they've said earlier, many times over. What's to say on the subject that hasn't already been beaten to death? If someone comes up with a genuinely new take on it, I may change my mind.

      1. I'm pulling back less about a particular subject and more as the election approaches.

        I'll probably keep posting non-current events topics on these open threads but it's becoming intimidatingly melodramatic and ridic.

        The question about precluded from posting is tied up in this discussion of the effects of 'platforming' people. That tends to be more about individuals, but I think the discussion could as easily include ideas or ideologies. I buy the idea that platforming legitimizes and signal boosts stuff that it would be socially best get no oxygen. But the question I stick on is how do you draw that line?

        1. You can have content-neutral rules, like no personal insults. I'm on an e-list where being uncivil will get you kicked off the list, no matter what the subject is.

          Anything else would need to be case by case. Which means there would be some bright lines, but some stuff that's close to the line on either side.

    2. You missed one for against "off limits":
      3) Once you have a list of "not worth engaging" topics, people will game it, try to get opposing positions put on the list so that they win by default.

      I think that's actually a bigger deal that out-there ideas having the potential to become conventional wisdom.

      1. That's a fair one - I did miss the mission creep argument, which is certainly a good one.

    3. Add resource utilization.

      In a public meeting it makes sense to give speakers a time limit, otherwise one guy can destroy the meeting.

      Same here.

      1. To be clear, I'm talking about not engaging or otherwise private sanctioning certain viewpoints, not protocols or content-neutral views.

        1. Out of curiosity, how many of your own viewpoints do you think should be socially sanctioned?

          1. Lets gulag the Trumpists, of course.

    4. I love it when people act like being a dick to people that they disagree with is some sort of high-minded principle.

      1. I'm asking the philosophical question about limits to free speech in a private context, as it came up in our thread above about general philosophies of content moderation.

        1. "I’m asking the philosophical question about limits to free speech in a private context..."

          I can see that. And that question is, "When is it OK to be a dick to someone I disagree with?"

          I figure it's clearer when you frame the question in a more concise manner.

          1. I'm not thinking about individual decorum, but about things at the platform level.

            1. How do you "shun and judge" (your words) at a platform level?

              1. Hey, this may (at first) look a bit "OT", but I am the SQRLSY one, not afraid to butt in!

                What is and what is not on the list of topics that are likely to run the conversation off into the weeds, and how do you weed-whack the offenders when that happens? Without "nuking them from orbit"?

                Well, I had a guy (co-worker) at work, nice fella, but he was inclined to wander into my office, and start talking politics at great length. I am into talking politics at SOME length, but had work to do. Also, he just had a random grab-bag of stances with (if any were given at all) random reasons why. Me, if I talk about such things, I generally prefer to argue FROM PRINCIPLES; my fave principles being "individual freedom" and "small government".

                Well anyway, if y'all find yourselves in similar situations, HOW do you break the endless conversation, w/o offense? My "fix" follows: "Sorry, I gotta run; need a potty break pretty badly!"

                1. "Well anyway, if y’all find yourselves in similar situations, HOW do you break the endless conversation, w/o offense? My “fix” follows: “Sorry, I gotta run; need a potty break pretty badly!"

                  What could go wrong?

                2. Well, in an office situation, I'll just generally sit at my computer working, making encouraging noises from time to time, until he goes away. On the rare occasions that happens, anyway, I'm blessed with quite reasonable co-workers at my present job.

              2. Banning people; muting people; probating people.

                Remember this is a spinoff of my original question about moderation.

    5. The problem with ALWAYS using "shun and judge" is it weakens your own side, and after a while you end up without the ability to make principled arguments about WHY slavery is bad. This has actually happened with the left on this very topic. I wouldn't need all the fingers on my left hand to count the number of left wingers who have successfully articulated why slavery is bad.

      This carries risk because lets say you are left wing and living in a left wing country and one of your politicians comes up with a "brilliant new plan" that looks a lot like forced labor and slavery, but he calls it "puppy work". What happens? Well Sarcastr0 is probably smart enough to know puppy work is actually bad, but most people aren't as inquisitive as you, so a vast majority of those on the left won't have their alarm bells go off about puppy work because they only know that "slavery is bad."

      1. I'm also a fan of teaching history.

      2. "Shithole countries" was a great example of this. No one was making the case for why we should let people from shithole countries come to the US, despite the fact that there is a great example to be made.

        Everybody was feigning shock that Trump would suggest that some countries are shitholes, which everyone who has been to a shithole country knows is bullshit.

        1. No one was making the case for why we should let people from shithole countries come to the US

          Because that's group condemnation - prejudice based on national origin - and we don't do that around here.

    6. Being a squishy baby-splitter, of course I don't think there's a black and white answer. No topic should be off limits. Blanket taboos make everyone dumber. However, as Bernard repeatedly points out, we can't escape the cost-benefit consideration of how to allocate finite electrons, time and attention. Whether or not the Holocaust happened has to be open to discussion or eventually very few people will know that it did. They'll just know they're supposed to know that it did. Not healthy. On the other hand, the low signal/noise ratio that that discussion virtually guarantees argues for making it as occasional and brief as possible. How to define, much less enforce, the proper balance between those objectives I have no idea.

  13. So you long for the glory days of Altavista? For those who don't engage in conspiracy theories about tech companies trying to nefariously mess with half their customers, the fact that Google tries to figure out what you meant rather than whatever typo or misspelling you actually put in the search bar is a pretty big part of the reason why it's useful.

    1. Sigh, that was supposed to be a response to Brett's discussion of Google's results. I will join the chorus of people unhappy with the current forum software.

      1. Nah, I think search engine chat could deserve it's own place.

        I'm a privileged lazy sunbich who doesn't care much about my individual privacy, and I've tried bing and Goog and duckduck. The Goog is the most effective by a good amount.

        I liked Ask Jeeves for style, tho.

        1. It was kind of magical when you asked Jeeves for a question and it actually came back with a good answer.

          Any contemporary search engine is way better at question-answering than AJ ever was, so we've made some good progress on the substance if not the style. (To your point, though, Google did a much better job than Bing when I just asked both of them "where does Josh Blackman work?" to get a sense of what state of the art looks like these days. Both did a great job with more commonplace questions.)

        2. I've been using Bing exclusively for over a year now and can't tell the difference.

          I think they've caught up to Google in results. It used to not be that way.

          1. My job defaults to Bing. I can absolutely tell. I am mostly searching for squirrelly science or acronym definition stuff.

    2. I've used computers professionally since the days of punch cards and core memory, and I'm a former spelling bee champ, (But now dyslexic thanks to the side effects of chemo.) so I tend to want the search engine to just look for what I asked, thanks, if I wanted suggestions I'd ask for them.

      If google had a toggle you could set, so you could chose to have your string rigorously evaluated in the former manner, or have it be used as a loose guide to what you're looking for, as today, that would be great. But, no, they treat everybody like they're an idiot.

      You're trying to do a quote on a part, the material spec literally contains "36 DD", and adding "alloy" in quotes doesn't result in every result lacking "alloy" being omitted, it's a pain in the ass. Real life example.

      1. I can see how that's a challenging query, but this search:

        Seems to only show results with only both "36 DD" and "alloy" on the pages. I agree these results don't seem very useful, mostly because of Pinterest spam which Google definitely has a problem with. I have no idea what a "good" result would look like, though.

      2. "But now dyslexic thanks to the side effects of chemo"

        You mean as in confusing "b", "d", "p", & "q"?

        I've never heard of this. Has someone officially diagnosed it?

        1. That's not what dyslexia is...

        2. No, I get letters and numbers out of order. It's a recognized side effect of some kinds of chemo. It does a number on your brain, and you don't fully recover afterwards.

          Doesn't help that the peripheral neuropathy has messed with my typing, too. I'm not as good as I used to be at telling which keys I'm hitting, or if I hit them hard enough.

          1. That technically isn't dyslexia.

            As to keyboards, there's adaptive software that makes a noise every time you hit a key, but that may be worse than what you are dealing with now.

            There are special keyboards that have a rise between the G & H sides, Staples sells them (or did), some people find it helpful, others don't.

            Likewise Dragon Speaks software for speech recognition. Some find it helpful, others don't.

      3. Back when I worked for Madonna I searched for metal brassieres all the time and never had that problem.

      4. I work in materials science and was trying to do in-depth reading on some fundamentals (crystal momentum/energy) paired with some other keywords. Turns out Google thought I wanted bullshit healing crystal nonsense.

        I couldn't use Google Scholar because relevant papers were either too old to be available or too specific (it's not a big area of research).

        1. Web of Science is the only thing I've found for that kinda stuff. But they charge.

  14. Someone should tell the Asian, Black, and other People of Color members of Proud Boys that they are a white supremacist organization. Also someone might want to tell Proud Boys that they are supposed to be a white supremacist organization and that they should kick out all the non-whites. That will probably help them become an actual white supremacist organization instead of just an organization the Southern Poverty Libel Center told the media to label them as in the press.

    1. Wwestern chauvinists is not hard to parse.
      McInnes: “I don’t want our culture diluted. We need to close the borders now and let everyone assimilate to a Western, white, English-speaking way of life.”

      McInnes has some very strong VDare cred:
      "It’s such a rape culture with these immigrants, I don’t even think these women see it as rape. They see it as just like having a teeth [sic] pulled. ‘It’s a Monday. I don’t really enjoy it,’ but that’s what you do. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t have the same trauma as it would for a middle-class white girl in the suburbs because it’s so entrenched into their culture.” Gavin McInnes, Get Off My Lawn, June 19, 2018

      “I just realized something. Cory Booker is kind of like Sambo. He’s kind of shucking and jiving for the white man. Cory Booker grew up rich in an all-white suburb. He’s basically a white guy. His parents were very wealthy executives at IBM… .But he wants to be a black dude, so he pretends that he’s down with the brothers and he acts outraged about racism all the time — for white people. That gets him votes from whites.”
      —Gavin McInnes on his CRTV show “Get Off My Lawn,” January 17, 2018

      The war against whites, and Europeans and Western society is very real and it’s time we all started talking about it and stopped worrying about political correctness and optics.”
      —Kyle Chapman, who formed the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, a wing of the Proud Boys, Unite America First Peace Rally, Sacramento, California, July 8, 2017

      1. Is that the best you could find? Some general statements about not liking unrestricted immigration, acknowledging the left hates white people, and that a black Senator acts a certain way to get white voters. Pretty lame.

        Also didn't even address my point that many Proud Boys are people of color.

        1. We're going to have to agree to disagree on what white supremacist is.

          People of color are not a blanket cover immunizing you from saying stuff like the above.

          1. Seems weird you would have a so-called "white supremacist" organization that seems to have lots of non-whites. Especially when that designation is only supported by the Southern Policy Libel Center.

          2. We’re going to have to agree to disagree on what white supremacist is.

            As well as what confirmation bias is, clearly.

          3. When is Joe Biden going to denounce Joe Biden?

            “Unless we do something about this, my children are going to grow up in a jungle, the jungle being a racial jungle."

            Joe Biden

            1. Joe Biden is also the purveyor of determining who is black and who is not black.

          1. Again is that the best you can do?

            There is more damning racist crap from anti-fa and the left wing. Of course that stuff gets no press but just go online to find your rank and file BLM "protester" telling you what they think of white people, jews, and asians.

            1. We may never know the best the American mainstream could do.
              But we know it did enough to win the culture war and make the clingers fading losers.

              How you guys want to spend the time between today and your replacement -- individually and generally -- is your call.

              Just remember to continue to toe the line established by your betters. You can complaint all you want, but you must comply.

      2. Sarcastro, I read your first quote. It says "assimilate." Do you understand what assimilate means?

        It seems to you that "parse" means "reinterpret to confirm my bias."

        Weirdly, I somehow thought that "chauvinist" meant something like sexist. But apparently it's "a person displaying aggressive or exaggerated patriotism."

        So, as far as I can tell, this seems to boil down to a sort of relatively benign, non-racial nationalism and cultural pride.

        The leader of this organization is named "Enrique Tarrio." LOL. That's quite an interesting white supremacist organization you have there.

        Meanwhile Biden's dear friend and mentor was a KKK leader. Biden heaps praise on him and eulogizes him at his funeral. But while that is hush hush, the deranged Chris Wallace shockingly parroted the debunked Charlottesville lie at the presidential debate. That was incredible.

        1. "assimilate to a Western, white, English-speaking way of life" is white supremecy.

          1. So when China seeks to assimilate people it an Asian, Eastern-centric, Chinese speaking culture, what would you call that?

          2. Explain this to me. The statement clearly contemplates that millions of members of all races are going to assimilate into this Western/white/English culture, here in the most racially diverse nation on the planet. You may, of course, disagree with this idea or with the preference for more assimilation and homogeneity.

            But what is the part you perceive as racist? Is it (a) the preference for a culture that just so happened to develop in geographic regions that were historically mostly white, or is it (b) the particular language used here to describe this as, in part, a "white" culture?

            If (b), I can understand how you may parse this and conclude that the tone comes off as a bit exclusionary, or that it places undue emphasis on the fact that this culture developed in a geographic area that happened to be mostly white.

            But the statement seems contradictory to a specific racist principle of "white supremacy." Instead, it posits the supremacy of (or at least a personal preference for) a very broadly defined Western culture that just so happened to develop in mostly white areas, but since has come to be embraced by millions or billions of non-white people around the world.

            What you really need to do now is apply your lens to the top 10 worst cherry-picked quotes you can find from Biden. I'd love to see that. But you will just continue to ignore that.

  15. Federal cases take too long to get decisions from judges, for example years. This is because these federal employees are lazy and shiftless.

    We need productivity standards, such as, one decision a day. Judges have lifetime appointments. However, their paychecks should be contingent on their meeting a productivity standard.

    1. Do you have any evidence for your proposition that the problem is that the federal employees are lazy as opposed to other potential causes. This is quite an old paper, but it says you're wrong and court delays have very little to do with judge productivity and a lot to do with case load:

      ("court delay was found to be consistently related to pending workload per judge but only weakly related to output per judge. Output per judge (productivity) was found to be strongly related to demand pressure (total available workload) and size of court")

      1. The study was authored by the DOJ. Those are federal employees who spend all day slurping coffee, and chatting up the secretaries, as billions of federal crimes are allowed to devastate our nation each year.

        If the judge work load is too high, replace them with algorithms. These algorithms should be written and owned by the Congress. The algorithms should reflect the intent of those elected officials. They can then be held accountable in elections for any failures. End all sovereign immunity, and compensate any victims of wrongful decisions. Let these judges buy liability insurance.

        An algorithm beat top combat jet pilots in a dog fight. Technology is always 100 times better than the living being. Compare a car to a horse for commuting to work in a snow storm. Long ago, an algorithm beat the best human at chess with 37 possibilities for each move. Another beat the best Go player with a billion possibilities for each move. One can even include off beat decisions based on human compassion, to override any harsh and unjust outcome.

        The worst, most toxic, most worthless people in the country are immune from accountability. That cannot be a coincidence. Many leave government. They instantly become top notch performers. Their incomes often quadruple. Sovereign immunity is toxic to the government enterprise.

        1. Woah, woah. I didn't realize I was dealing with a bot. I guess algorithms are indeed getting pretty good!

          1. I am a Russian automated bot trying to undermine confidence in the US judicial system. In case, the election has to be decided by the Supreme Court, the voter should understand their stupidity and laziness.

            1. Are you suggesting something like QAnon is being supported by Russia?

                1. Hey, wankers, the subject is withholding the pay checks of the lazy, shiftless, worthless rent seekers sitting in the federal bench, if they do not start to do a little work.

            2. What Russians don't appreciate is how long and hard Americans have worked to be stupid and lazy.

              1. Not all Americans.

                Plenty of Americans are educated, reasoning, science-respecting, modern, skilled, inclusive, industrious, decent people. They tend to reside in modern, successful, educated communities.

                We still have too many vestigial ignorant, backward, bigoted, science-disdaining, reason-rejecting, indolent, insular citizens -- who tend to live in poorly educated, economically inadequate, stale, declining communities -- but they are dying off and being replaced by better Americans.

                1. Hi, Rev. We do not appreciate your thinly veiled racist comment. I don't know if I am allowed to use the D word here. Nearly all of the people you deride are the D word, like 95%.

    1. Something something Deep State Bush appointee.

    2. It would be nice if the media would not encourage people to violate the law and illegally acquire tax returns for the sole purpose of performing a political hit job.

      1. Hey, that's a twofer! Not only does that "reply" have nothing to do with the original comment, but there is as yet no evidence that anything like that actually happened.

    3. Did you link to the Washington Post? Dismissed.

      That is a hate speech propaganda outlet for our national enemy, and China collaborator, Jeff Bezos. His assets should be seized in civil forfeiture and auctioned off like the Ferrari of a drug dealer. This tech billionaire orchestrated the prank shutdown of our economy by Democrat governors to defeat Trump.

  16. If the Suopreme Court reverse Roe v Wade and a Democratic-controlled Congress passes a Reproductive Freedom Restoration Act to try to overturn it, why would/should it fare differently in the courts from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act? The RFRA was also an attempt by Congress to override a Supreme Court reversal resulted in sharply narrowing previously-affirmed rights. The Supreme Court mostly struck it down.

    Is there a reason the out ome would/should be different?

    1. The Defense of Marriage Act is an even better example.

    2. Depends on the basis of the decision. If the Court overturned Roe by creating a new fetal right to full term pregnancy, then Congress probably can't legislate around that. On the other hand, if the ruling is just "our bad, that privacy penumbra thing made no sense and things should go back to how they were in 1973" then it seems like such a law legalizing abortion nationwide would be fine since it was already legal in many places at the time of Roe.

      1. Would would be the basis for Congress to claim to have a say on abortion?

        1. Yeah, most I could imagine would be constitutional is to federalize the abortion industry.

        2. Seems like pretty straightforward regulation of interstate commerce combined with the supremacy clause. Health care is commerce, the federal government wants a consistent national standard for how abortions are made available in commerce, so they prohibit states from banning it just like states can't have laws banning airline frequent flier programs.

          1. Yeah, like the Court that reverses Roe v Wade is going to endorse that reading of interstate commerce.

            1. It would be a remarkable departure from precedent for the Court that reverses Roe v Wade to also reverse Wickard.

              1. But there’s an obvious distinction from Wickard. Abortion is not a commodity in interstste commerce. If it were, Congress could have easily banned it years ago.

                That which is private and that which is interstate commerce are two separate things. Interstate commerce necessarily affects the public.

                The Supreme Court could easily reverse the ruling the holding that states can’t ban it without going so far as to say it’s just interstate commerce.

                Otherwise, Congress could regulate marriage. People lay for sex, right, so it’s just a form of commerce, therefore Congress can regulate it as commerce. But it can’t. What’s the difference?

                Congress could regulate abortion drugs and instruments, interstate travel for abortions, abortions in federal territory, and much else. But why can it regulate abortion itself?

                1. Regulating abortion substantially affects interstate commerce and thus can be regulated under the Necessary and Proper clause.

                  1. Yeah, a Court that wouldn't overturn Roe might reason that way. A Court that would overturn Roe wouldn't.

                    The legal justification for overturning Roe isn't that abortion is evil. It's that Roe was bad law, the former Court just pulling a non-existent 'right' out of its nether orifice. The Court that would care about that, wouldn't care to extend the reach of the interstate commerce clause.

                    1. Not permitting the National Choice Act would require reversing Wickard, which is far different than extending the reach of the Commerce clause.

                2. Congress can't ban abortion right now because the Supreme Court held in Roe that there's a right to abortion, just like it can't use the Commerce Clause as a backdoor to shutting down newspapers or forcing AirBNB owners to house soldiers.

                  You don't even need to go back to Wickard to see why Supreme Court precedent allows Congress to regulate abortion--Raich made clear that the government can regulate purely intrastate private marijuana cultivation and consumption for medical purposes. If you don't think that the commerce clause extends to abortion, please explain how you think it's different from medical marijuana. Raich and Wickard are actually harder cases, because the consumption was private and there was no actual commerce involved, with a paid-for service like abortion I'm having a hard time understanding why you think this would even be a close call other than falling back on some notion that conservative justices apparently will just do what social conservatives want rather than something principled and based in the law.

    3. Judicial review is prohibited by Article I Section 1, giving "all" lawmaking power to the Congress. If you want judicial review, pass an amendment.

      Judicial review comes from a self dealing Supreme Court decision. Much corruption and criminality was involved, and it should be void for criminality. Congress has yet to assert its constitutional prerogative, because judicial review addresses controversial issues the Congress prefers to avoid.

      Someone with some injury in fact should sue the Supreme Court itself and have it rule on the constitutionality of judicial review.

      1. Lol. Ok.

        Congress has all lawmaking powers ... but amendments supersede Article 1. And the first amendment says "Congress shall make no law prohibiting the freedom of speech"

        Meaning if Congress uses its lawmaking power to enact such a law, said law cannot be enforced because otherwise amendment 1 is violated. Judicial review has to exist in other for any of the amendments to make sense.

        And they have to supersede Congress because the constitution was only agreed to because the anti-federalists demanded that they do supersede Congress.

        Also, enjoined a law doesn't remove the law from its books. It simply limits an executive power ... the enforcement of the provision, declaring the provision unenforceable.

        A more reasonable argument is that per the 11th amendment judical review over state decisions is illegal, and ex parte young is wrong. I do happen to think Ex Parte Young is wrong, but thats not the argument you gave.

  17. OK, this is *so* a couple of months ago, but remember when we had a National Conversation about removing statues, renaming stuff, etc?

    Well, for a long time - certainly since before 2017 - the feds have honored cops (two of them) who died defending the Fugitive Slave Act:

    It seems these guys survived the Renaming/Toppling wars, but why?

    1. I don't know if "conversation" is the write descriptor for what happened. It was mostly lawless vandalism, destruction of public and private property, and in some cases abuse of governmental authority (violating laws about historical preservation just because they could get away with it.)

      But of course we shouldn't be concerned about any of this or violent protests or left wing radicals establishing a lawless zone in the middle of a big American city. There "white supremacist" boggie men lurking behind every corner (one of which is an organization with many hispanic, asian, black, and other people of color members which makes for a really odd "white supremacist" group, but whatever...) to worry about.

  18. Trump and Melania test positive for COVID.

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