Thursday Open Thread, Special New Year's Eve Edition

It's special!


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.)

NEXT: "2020 Rated Worst Year Ever, Provided You Never Lived At Any Other Time In History"

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  1. Happy New Year VC Conspirators! Hope 2021 brings all of you the very best that life offers.

    1. Although I admit to not reading after I comment -my schedule is strange, what plans for 2021, XY?

      1. Hank, I am preparing to leave the People's Republic of NJ. It will take a few years, and a couple things need to go right. So Mrs. XY and I are doing a 'Swedish Death Cleaning' in 2021. Give it away, donate it, trash it. But we're leaving for certain; we know that now. We'll relocate 184 days a year in another state with no state income or inheritance tax. Now that remote working is 'in' - why not? A three bedroom, 2 bath condo can be had for reasonable prices. In 2021, I'll be traveling to Knoxville and Nashville TN (separately) as both are potential relocation destinations. The big thing is I need a strong Jewish community (Conservative, and Modern Orthodox) to connect to. That is at the top of my list as a 'must have'.

        On my bucket list, to cross off for 2021: I want to jump out of an airplane this summer. With a parachute, of course. 🙂

        1. I have IT work today, so, can do what is not my wont, and check to read replies. I have been planning on leaving the NE myself for more than a few years, am in similar straits as you, terrible taxes, shitty state and local government. The only thing holding me here is my aging mother, which is the 'right' thing to do, but the longer I stay, the worse the obvious physical decrepitude becomes. Anyhow, my situation aside, I've been, poorly, using the time to downsize, consolidate goods, property -books are so very difficult to part with, I find. TN is nice, I did some reconnaissance there in 2014, same reason. Some for Kentucky, Louisiana, Georgia. The issue, for me, is population density. To say I am not social does not begin to describe the level of solitude I require for peace of mind. I suspect North, West, and higher elevation is where I am headed. I've jumped out of airplanes and helicopters, the latter with and without parachutes. Into the water when without. A good time, but I am glad it wasn't my full-time job, my knees would likely both be artificial now.

          1. Hank, you want solitude? Find yourself a tiny Mormon community in the Intermountain West. There won't be many folks around, and some of those will shun you. I suggest Mud Lake, Idaho.

            You could also try Mackay. It's tiny too, although a bit too scenic for perfect solitude, except in winter and spring. But even Idahoans go around in T-shirts, saying, "Where the hell is Mackay."

        2. A very prevalent myth is that you need a parachute to go skydiving. But you do not need a parachute to go skydiving. You need a parachute to go skydiving *twice*.

          You see, the skydiving community is very rigid, and if you jump out of the plane without wearing your parachute they will never invite you back.

          1. Actually -- not always.

            Believe it or not, there were people who somehow fell out of the bombers the Germans were shooting down during WW-II and fell to the ground without a parachute -- and lived. There were a lot more who didn't, but some actually did.

            Here's one: -- another one taught school in Maine after the war.

        3. Commenter_XY -- I don't know the status of it, but Massachusetts has a state income tax and New Hampshire doesn't. A lot of people who work in Boston live in New Hampshire -- and have been telecommuting.

          Massachusetts wants them to STILL pay the MA tax because their companies are in Boston, even though they aren't. NH is fighting that. My guess is that NJ will try to do the same thing to you.

          1. NJ will only do that if you earn income in NJ.

            As a general rule, a state can tax you on income earned in-state. This is a problem for professional athletes, for example, who earn their income lots of places, and also for entertainers who do tours.

            Fortunately, these people can usually afford to pay accountants to sort all that out.

            1. Yup, you are correct bernard11. People's Republic NJ law states you can get out of paying state income tax as long as you live 183 days outside of the People's Progressive Paradise. At least, that is what the CPAs tell me.

              Happy New Year!

              1. Multnomah County, OR has been billing me for an "arts tax" for a couple of years now, despite the fact that I live in North Carolina. I did previously live in Oregon, but when I owned a house in Oregon, it was in Washington County. I have never owned property in Multnomah County.
                When I contacted the assessor's office to point out that they were sending bills to my home address and it isn't in Multnomah County, they claimed that I'm registered to vote in Multnomah County, and that's why they intended to keep billing me. The fact that I've never registered to vote in Multnomah County was of no importance.

                Multnomah County is physically adjacent to the state of Washington, and the tax situation is that Oregon has income tax but no sales tax, and Washington has sales tax but not income tax. A lot of people live in Washington and come across the river to do their shopping. Additionally, for many years Washington charged a tax on vehicle registrations that was related to the value of the vehicle, but Oregon had a flat fee, which meant a lot of cars were registered in Oregon but driven home to Washington every night.

        4. By all means do the jump.
          There's a good group arranging this stuff at Allaire Airport. I did it a few years ago. Great experience.

          1. No can do at is now a private jet center. They stopped the parachute jumps.

  2. Any suggestions for a diet that is fairly easy to maintain? I’ve probably gained a true “Covid 19” since March (actually, about 10 pounds), and could stand to lose a good 30 pounds. I had started keto in January 2020 but gave it up once we went into lockdown in late March. I’d like some ideas other than keto, if any of you have had good, sustained results with other diets. Thanks a lot.

    1. Only eat when you’re actually hungry and stop eating when you no longer are. I lost 20 pounds that way.

    2. I think most diets work if you stick to them. What's easy to maintain largely depends on your own tastes and food preferences, and it's also wise to avoid extremes.

      I've been on a generally low-carb - not really keto - diet for a few years, and been able, mostly, to stick to it, as I've gradually lost about 25 lbs.

      1. I managed to lose 50 lbs once on a diet where I created a nutritionally complete muffin, and just ate those for a year. Easier to do portion control with integers than real numbers...

        But the only reason I was able to pull it off was that I was living by myself at the time, I kept no other food in the house.

        The real challenge in dieting is that your body weight is actively controlled, it's not the result of random imbalances between calorie intake and expenditure. As your body weight departs from your current "setpoint", both your inclination to be active and your hunger level change to restore it.

        So staying below your setpoint long enough for it to change requires discipline on both intake AND expenditure. Diet AND exercise.

        I used to find that easier to manage before arthritis set in.

    3. “Bright Line Eating”, three elements
      * no sugar or flour
      * no snacking (only eat at breakfast, lunch, dinner)
      * no more than one serving size

    4. Get one of those pay for a meal kit things. It's dumb, but does portion control well.

      And get a treadmill or some indoor cardio thing and pretend you have a 40 minute commute to and from work.

      1. I strongly second the cardio recommendation.

        I always hated exercising, going to the gym, etc.

        A couple of years ago I bought an elliptical machine. It was torture at first but I made myself do it every day and now it's a habit and part of my routine. I have to read or watch TV or something while I do it, else I get hopelessly bored after one or two minutes - literally.

        A great motivator fro all this is to have someone explain to you the consequences of diabetes. Both my doctor and a relative who is a NP did this. I like my toes.

        1. I strongly 'third' that cardio recommendation. I have a treadmill and elliptical. Numerous studies indicate 30 minutes of brisk walking on the treadmill (nothing crazy) for 5 days a week will add years to your life (no joke). The elliptical...well, that is efficient as hell at burning calories and easy on the knees.

          As for diet, I'd need to know if you have any health conditions. If not, I would encourage Nick's Jacket to check out the Mediterranean diet. Low inflammation, very heart healthy. Pairs especially well with wine. 🙂

    5. Thanks to everyone for the good ideas. I know there’s no short cut to changing my diet and eating habits, and getting some exercise. I don’t want to yo-yo diet, but it’d be nice to have some early results as encouragement for the longer process.

      1. My big suggestion: Find a form of exercise that you actually enjoy doing. I hate the gym and can't imagine ever keeping up that routine. But I'll do active pair or team sports for hours. If you simply can't find anything that you truly enjoy, then something like Bernard, earlier, suggested. Something that you can do *every day* for at least 15-30 minutes while watching TV/listening to podcasts, etc.. I've been thinking of adding a treadmill or Pelaton-type machine, for this reason.

        1. Get a Fitbit and track steps. It helps if your neighborhood has something you can walk to on a regular basis. My daughter keeps suggesting Audible to me, but I've been reading on my own since I was a small child and am in no rush to go back to having someone read to me. YMMV.

    6. Definitely cut sugar, and if you can, alcohol. The other part you already know, burn more calories than you take in. A decent jumprope will cost less than a treadmill, and is easier to put away if and when it falls out of use.

    7. Intermittent fasting is good at weight control. It got me down to two reasonable meals a day and keeps my weight a low constant. I do not know about the other health benefits. Maybe I will see those in the long term (approaching 18 months of solid use of fasting), but for weight control restricting your eating hours to about 8 after a 16 hour rest has been solid for weight control. I eat what I want and if I am hungry during the fasting portion just drink water which usually gives me that "full" feeling.

      1. Is your intermittent fasting a few days each week, or every day? Thanks

        1. I do every day 16 -18 hours fasting and 6-8 hours of eating which usually includes two meals and one small snack. I tried the one day on, one day off and found it unsustainable. Doing it daily though has not been a problem outside of about a two week adjustment period. I'm usually not hungry until I am approaching hour 14-15 of fasting.

    8. I've found that seemingly little things like using smaller plates/bowls at home can make a significant difference in your eating habits.

      1. Yeah, this is one of the surprising things you can do to trick yourself without actually needing a lot of willpower or tougher changes in habits.

    9. I got put on a glucophage last spring and it substantially lowered my apetite. Six months later, I'm back to eating at least twice a day. Combine that with a 10,000 step per day walking habit, and I'm down a considerable amount of weight.

  3. "(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.)"

    If only. Of course, that would cut down comments by 90%.

    1. That only applies to nasty conservatives. Others are free to interject as many insults as they like. According to the libs around you, they "deserve it..."

      1. This blog routinely welcomes the use of vile racial slurs, and repeated calls for liberals to be gassed, sent to Zyklon showers, and placed face-down in landfills -- but use the term "sl_ck-j_w" or "c_p s_ccor" to describe a conservative and the Volokh Conspiracy board of censors deletes comments or bans commenters.

        Other than that . . . great comment, clinger!

        1. The funny thing is that Lil Jimmy is one of the (several) losers here that routinely threatens violence and death against people that disagree with him politically. And then goes off crying about incivility and insults. Pathetic.

          1. No that is just all gaslighting but our resident gaslighter.

            1. Readily confirmed by anyone with enough time and interest to check the record.

              1. I identify the dates and details of repeated, partisan, hypocritical, viewpoint-driven censorship by this blog -- a task made easier by having the e-mails -- and this blog's management does not not challenge my account.

                An apology -- expression of regret, acknowledgement of mistake -- would go a long way toward making this information less relevant to future discussions of this blog's criticism of others in the context of freedom of expression. Until then, the hypocrisy seems important to consideration of this blog's complaints about others.

                1. Poor, oppressed, put-upon Mr. the Dane so desperately needs his mantle of victimhood that it distorts the reality in his vicinity.

  4. My New Year's Eve batch of cranberry/orange mead is now in the fermenter I got for Christmas, a whole 6 gallons of it. Just waiting now to see if the yeast take, or I have to reduce the acidity a bit first. (Cranberry juice is wickedly acidic!)

    Anybody else here doing any home brewing?

    1. Anybody else here doing any home brewing?

      I used to, back before the explosive growth of microbreweries. Now there are so many brewers in the area turning out so many new and excellent craft beers so fast it's all I can do to keep up with them (truth be told, I can't even come close to keeping up with them), let alone bother brewing my own...which I would never be satisfied with now by comparison (though I was easily able to make stuff that was much better than what was readily available locally at the time).

      1. Not so many meaderies, though. I'm not fond of hops.

        1. We have a couple of those too, as well as a cider joint or two. There's never been a better time to be a lush.

          1. " There’s never been a better time to be a lush."

            Except that all the ethanol purveyers have their hours limited by pandemic, and staying home to drink is still seen as a sign of a problem.

            1. I'm just disappointed that the meadery that was, literally, within walking distance, moved to downtown. Now I'd have to drive there.

              OTOH, they're situated next to an axe throwing joint now, and I've been meaning to try that.

            2. Except that all the ethanol purveyers have their hours limited by pandemic

              Not around here. Most that didn't already offer food service have adapted by adding it, allowing them to stay open normally...which I think is actually a positive result. Hell, a few have even expanded their hours/open days to compensate for the volume restrictions.

    2. I do. I have a Robobrew and an SS Brewtech 7 gallon Conical fermenter. Have made a few batches so far, all of them good. The chocolate stout was the most popular with my family, and I got a really good ABV with that one.

      I highly recommend Beersmith software - CAD/CAM for brewing.

  5. Happy New Year! I look forward to at least six weeks of forgetting to date my checks and legal filings with the correct year. Luckily, that's why we have paralegals.

    Protip for new attorneys: always, always, always treat your paralegals with the utmost respect and kindness. They know more than you do when you start out, and they will save you bacon more than you will ever know.

    Conversation point- how long will the bowl system last? The 'Rona has accelerated something which was already self-evident. Players with any draft upside will not want to play. So unless you are one of the teams in playoffs (aka, 'Bama, Clemson, OSU, and a team to be named later), bowl games are little more than a glorified scrimmage with no real relevance for many teams.

    1. Now I know of someone who still writes checks.

      1. Well, you tend to have to do that for certain business functions, still. Although thankfully the accounting software auto-generates most of those!

        Haven't had to write a personal check in ages. But I know they still exist because people at the supermarket always have to, generally right in front of me in line.

        1. Sebastian Maniscalco has a hilarious bit on the grocery store and people still paying by check. Search YouTube for “Sebastian Maniscalco grocery store”

    2. "bowl games are little more than a glorified scrimmage with no real relevance for many teams."

      This is not a recent development. They've always been exhibition games.

      the downfall of the bowl games started with the BCS system disconnected the old bowl games from their traditional conference alliances.

  6. Cyberpunk 2077 review.

    The Good: (In roughly ascending order)
    Art Direction: While not necessarily the most technically advanced among the best executed art direction in any game. Especially in the assets and city itself. The City is beautifully designed as are the graffiti and neon signs, vending machines etc. You'll be hard pressed to find a game with better ambience. When its working correctly.

    Story: Compelling if short story. Would have preferred they cut down on the side content in favor of boosting the main course though.

    Characters: By far the best thing in the game. Up there or exceeding Rockstar's best and miles ahead of Ubisoft and Bethesda crap.

    The Bad: ( In roughly descending order)
    Minor SJW pandering: The obligatory nod to 2020 SJWism really doesn't do much except to make for a couple seconds of amusing cringe in the character creation. Its unnecessary and a distraction from the overall serious tone of the game. Sure it may just have taken a tiny bit of effort to rejigger things to try to please Twitter bluecheckmarks but its a tiny bit of effort that would have been better spent texturing a cigarette box or something.

    Art: As good as the art is there are problems. The models look kind of chunky or bat the edge of the uncanny valley, especially the female models even compared to the Witcher games somehow. (which seems suspiciously intentional) But this is a problem that plagues most modern games. The art assets while good are noticeably repetitive if you look around enough. As they obviously didn't have enough time.

    Bugs: Yes bugs are around and are a constant presence. Mostly in the form of wonky animation and crashes. Its too big an arena to cover properly so lets just say while its one of the most obvious problems its at least a fixable one.

    Features: Unfortunately this one is a lot harder to fix. The game is massively cut down in every aspect to the point where it is practically unrecognizable. The more you play and the more you dig into the history of it the more you see how much smaller the experience is. Again you could go on for days on this topic.

    Story/Characters: Yep, everything they did well they also managed to screw up to some extent. The bugs might get more attention but out of all the mistakes in this game, the ones they made here are probably the most unfixable. With a few flubs the writers turn what could have been a masterpiece and worthy successor to Blade Runner into merely a good story. Like really you have a plot revolving around mind uploading and you basically forget to tackle the core philosophical issues everyone talks about? Keanu Reeves is constantly present and serves as the marquee character yet is somehow underused with piles and piles of cut dialogue. its really just a shame.

    Overall, the game taken on its own merits though is not that bad presuming you fix all the kinks, being a fairly run of the mill open world game with some bright spots. Once you realize what it could have been though. Its hard to step away from that

    1. Yeah.....

      I bought a new PC for Cyberpunk 2077. Then when the reviews started coming out, I went....ehhh...wait for a bit. Let me finish Divinity Original Sin 2 first.

      CD Projeck Red took 3 tries to get the Witcher to be a really great game (The Witcher 3, after 1 and 2). And that's with some very solid source material, and a single character background/gender and storyline. And they didn't try releasing on multiple consoles simultaneously with the Witcher 3....

      If I've got the open world scratch to itch, there are a few games in the back catalog (GTA 5, RDR 2, Monster Hunter World, Horizon Zero Dawn, AC4) that may be better (and cheaper) than a bug-ridden Cyberpunk.

      1. Cyberpunk is one of the most compelling reasons for checking out Stadia. You don't need to spend much upgrading your hardware and it seems like the overall experience has been less problematic than on PCs in particular. Of course, you already bought your new PC this advice doesn't help you, bit for anyone curious it's a great way to dip your toe into these sorts of games with pretty low risk.

      2. "I bought a new PC for Cyberpunk 2077. "

        I got off the PC upgrade treadmill about 20 years ago, and haven't looked back since. Now the console world is pushing into the same model, and I'm resisting buying into a new console until there's something I want to play badly enough to need a new console for. I don't need a PS5 yet, and I could've held out on a PS4 except I wanted the new old Spyro games. The new Ratchet & Clank looks awesome, but I've got plenty of old R&C on PS3 to keep busy with.

        1. When I say I bought the new PC for 2077, it was more...that's the last item pushing me over the line.

          The current PC was originally purchased in 2012. It's working off its second graphics card (needed an update), second hard drive (first one failed), second power supply (first one failed). It still has a HDD (no SSD). So... I also skipped the PS4/XB1 update cycle completely.

          1. Which is why I made reference to getting off the upgrade treadmill. Upgrading a piece at a time to stay at the peak of performance, to play the same game you can play on a $200 console. Back in the old times, there were actually a lot of good games that couldn't be played on a console, because you needed to save complex save states, or resolution higher than standard definition TV, or the game wouldn't get past Nintendo's content code. Once Sony broke Nintendo's stranglehold on American console gaming, though, console gaming opened up.

  7. The cheerleader kicked out of University of Tennessee obviously has a First Amendment claim, right? Like, if she was a card carrying KKK member who distributed pamphlets on campus containing racial epithets, that is protected speech, from which state entities cannot retaliate. How is a TikTok video any different?

    1. The response would be university's have the right to discriminate in selection of students. Its a selective organization. Not in punishment, obviously, but in selection.

      Not a great argument considering affirmative action caselaw, but workable. Although I do think universities should have more leeway in selecting students. Granting rights to university students at all isnt exactly an originalist concept.

      Although the case is so ridiculous that what the university did isnt really defensible. But, of course, what NYT did isnt defensible either, and that's protected. And that the school did in Bong hits for Jesus isnt defensible either, and the school had the right to do that.

      1. It's the issue you have when the government acts in a private capacity; government as "employer" or as "educational institution" for example.

        There is no dispute that, for example, private employers or private educational institutions can act in certain ways - such as by disciplining or expelling/terminating. But because the government is bound by the constitution, there are additional issues (I know, this is all "duh").

        But when these issues go up, we end up having to strike a balance between the government getting to act as a private entity would (after all, it is a workplace/educational institution), and what the Constitution demands. So you end up with balancing decisions like Pickering, or non-sensical decisions like Bong Hits.

        1. Bong hits was K-12 and the student was a minor.
          What I see is Higher Ed increasingly trying to treat adults as children.

          1. But that was brought up in the dissent and all the concurrence, but the majority insisted on making it about drug use. Thomas wanted to limit Tinker. Breyer noted that it was a disruptive banner. Steven's dissent said much of the same. They disagreed on where to draw the line for disruptiveness / being a minor, but the main criticism of the case was that the majorities carve out for drug use made absolutely no sense.

            1. The exemption made sense -- sort of -- in that drug use is illegal and the advocacy of illegal acts is not protected speech.

              1. " drug use is illegal"

                No, it isn't. Children can buy caffeine in all 50 states.

                1. Caffeine is not an illegal drug. Now as to Adderall, which many of these children are self-medicating because of a need for, that's a Schedule II "narcotic."

                  1. "Caffeine is not an illegal drug."

                    Duh. That's what I said.

          2. "Bong hits was K-12 and the student was a minor."

            And Bong hits was across the street from the school. In this case, the speech occurred years before the student attended the school.

          3. "What I see is Higher Ed increasingly trying to treat adults as children."

            You should have seen it back when they claimed to be acting in loco parentis.

            1. Wasn't the age of majority 21 at the time, and hence they WERE legally in loco parentis, with all of the legal liabilities???

              I like to point out that in loco parentis is a legal duty, and not a privilege....

              1. What does the drinking age have to do with anything other than drinking?

        2. I agree the law here is muddled.

          How far can the university go? Not accept registered Republicans/Democrats? Require students to pledge to support a particular political party or candidate (or oppose one)?

          1. Bored Lawyer -- an increasing number of IHEs are actually doing the latter, requiring agreement with a stated political agenda.

          2. "How far can the university go? Not accept registered Republicans/Democrats? Require students to pledge to support a particular political party or candidate (or oppose one)?"

            Which university?

            Clinger universities operate censorship-shackled campuses featuring comprehensive viewpoint discrimination (in everything from hiring -- faculty and basketball coaches to janitors and landscapers -- to firing, admissions to curriculum, "research" to discipline); speech and conduct codes; and loyalty oaths. Reason and science are sacrificed at the altars of superstition and dogma.

            The Conspirators and their fans dislike acknowledging right-wing censorship, especially when the Conspiracy engages in such censorship. But ankle-nipping aimed at strong, mainstream, liberal-libertarian institutions is always popular here.

            Carry on, clingers. At as many fourth-tier, shit-rate institutions as you wish to operate.

            1. Cukoo, Cukoo, Cukoo.

              Must be 3 O'clock.

              1. Get an education, clinger. Start with standard English.

                Backwater, superstition-based schooling does not count.

                1. So much for the no personal insults part of the open thread (surprised I got down this far before it happened though...)

                2. I went to two backwards, clinger schools. Both in the Ivy League.

                  So you are a complete fool. But keep talking.

                  1. Two Ivy League schools and still illiterate. No wonder you like Trump, another bigoted clinger who managed to get through the Ivy League without becoming familiar with standard English.

                    1. Once again proving the truth of scripture. Keep digging yourself down the hole. You might reach China one day.

                  2. "I went to two backwards, clinger schools. Both in the Ivy League. "

                    And neither one taught you how to spell "cuckoo" or use a dictionary, apparently.

          3. I don't know if the law is muddled, but UT's thinking sure is.

            Not only did they damage the young woman, the only lesson they taught was, "Don't get caught using the n-word," rather than, "Here is why the word is so offensive that using it is a big deal."

            1. "the only lesson they taught was, “Don’t get caught using the n-word,” rather than, “Here is why the word is so offensive that using it is a big deal.”"

              Whether or not using the n-word is a "big deal," especially in the context that she used it, is more of a moral judgement than a lesson that we want Universities to teach.

              1. Seems to me that using a word that effectively labels some people as not to be regarded as fully human is a big deal.

                What was there about the context that made it OK?

                1. Because either no one should use it, or everyone can -- and, like many words, it now has multiple meanings. Believe it or not "friend" is one of them...

                  1. Do you use this word to refer to your friends? Would you if you HAD any?

                2. "What was there about the context that made it OK?"

                  Whether you think it's OK is a moral judgement, as I said.

                  But IIUC she said it in a context where she was imitating they way many black people say it, because she thinks those black people are cool. "I can drive, Niggas!" when she got her learners permit.

                  But it seems rather ridiculous to treat a context like that as on the same moral plane as a context that "...effectively labels some people as not to be regarded as fully human...". YMMV.

            2. And she's a racist NOW, even if she hadn't been one before...

              1. The university isn't charged with making sure people aren't racist. They do choose to try to limit whether or not racists are university students at their university, however. That's all you can get by saying "go be racist somewhere else."

              2. "And she’s a racist NOW, even if she hadn’t been one before…"

                You're saying there's room for her in the Big Tent, then?

            3. " the only lesson they taught was"

              The lesson they taught was "get that shit out of here!"

      2. They have a right to discriminate...just not on things within the province of the first amendment. State institutions cannot categorically ban Muslims. This is the same, just a lesser subset. She is "suspected" of being a Muslim, or Muslim-apologist.

      3. What about breach of contract?

        1. This was just an application. The application generally has a fee, so there is some kind of contract. Not clear, though, what the terms are and whether there is a promise not to violate her free speech rights.

          1. Promissory estoppel???

            1. No, that is not what promissory estoppel means.

        2. "What about breach of contract?"

          What contract? You have a statute of frauds problem.

      4. So, here's a question for you though.

        If an African American did what this cheerleader did, the school wouldn't have blinked an eye.

        Does that lead to race-based discrimination claims? If a person of one race does it, there are no consequences. If a person of a different race does it, offers of acceptance are withdrawn.

        1. In some contexts you might be able to make an inference about the statement by the race of the speaker. A white guy in a crowded bar full of black people probably means something different when he says, "There's too many niggers in here!" than a black guy who says the same thing.

          But that doesn't seem to be the case in this context.

        2. if I were her, I would scour the social media of the Black cheerleeders on their squad and find this (even in singing a rap song) and then raise a discrimination issue.

          And the thing I don't understand about offers of acceptance is why promissory estoppel doesn't apply....

          1. Hopefully, you'd have a lawyer who understands that sometimes part of the job is telling the client, "no, you don't have a case." when they have no case, rather than one who thinks like an Internet rando.

            1. File an OCR complaint then.

              1. Sure, because if your lawyer won't press your case, it's because THEY got to him.

          2. "And the thing I don’t understand about offers of acceptance is why promissory estoppel doesn’t apply….

            This appears to be because you don't understand what promissory estoppel is or why it's legally actionable.

    2. "The cheerleader kicked out of University of Tennessee obviously has a First Amendment claim, right?"

      She might have a race discrimination claim. It's hard to imagine they would have kicked her out if she was black.

    3. The cheerleader kicked out of University of Tennessee obviously has a First Amendment claim, right?

      I would say so, except that the NYT story says that she withdrew, not that she was kicked out. (She was apparently kicked off the cheerleading squad, but that's a much tougher legal case to make.) You'd have to argue some sort of constructive expulsion, e.g. that she was harassed into withdrawing or something like that.

      1. "You’d have to argue some sort of constructive expulsion, e.g. that she was harassed into withdrawing or something like that."

        It certainly sounds like that was the case:

        " Over the next two days, Ms. Groves was removed from the university’s cheer team. She then withdrew from the school under pressure from admissions officials, who told her they had received hundreds of emails and phone calls from outraged alumni, students and the public.... 'They’re angry, and they want to see some action,' an admissions official told Ms. Groves and her family, according to a recording of the emotional call reviewed by The New York Times."

        1. I think if the cheerleader has any remedy it is going to be some kind of state law claim.

          There is probably a good argument that pure viewpoint based admissions decisions are unconstitutional, but I do not think a federal court is going to reach that far.

          The race discrimination claim is intriguing as I suspect no other race would get similar treatment in such a situation, but I think you would need a pretty close comparison for a court to bite. Either that or a 'smoking gun' where it is clear the decision was based upon an animosity toward her race. (I would think that didn't exist but people email the darnedest things.)

          I can think of some ways a state court might apply plain tort law. Assuming the application is some sort of contract and the rules of the admissions office are enforceable to some extent as one. Good faith and fair dealing seems to be a good argument if a contract applies as well as some other basics. The university was simply not acting in good faith.

          That said, this woman's life is already ruined. You just do an internet search for her name and *poof* who is going to hire her? Maybe a small family owned company that doesn't care. Probably the best she can do is sue the university and try to get her education paid for so she won't have a high debt load in her early adult life.

          1. She may or may not have been a racist before this, but I kinda suspect that she is one now...

            1. " protests were sweeping the nation after the police killing of George Floyd, Ms. Groves, in a public Instagram post, urged people to “protest, donate, sign a petition, rally, do something” in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. “You have the audacity to post this, after saying the N-word,” responded someone whom Ms. Groves said she did not know.

              Her alarm at the stranger’s comment turned to panic as friends began calling, directing her to the source of a brewing social media furor. Mr. Galligan, who had waited until Ms. Groves had chosen a college, had publicly posted the video that afternoon."

              1. If you thought your virtue signaling was going to save you, think again....

                1. You keep repeating this comment in multiple threads, as if you think it has some profound meaning.

      2. I wonder the various views of the NYT writer? Sounds like he has an axe to grind or perhaps dislikes certain groups (European American Christians)...wonder if any of his friends/classmates has any experience with his statements on "groups?" I mean if we are going to play this "gottcha game."

        1. Apparently, you couldn't find anything.

  8. Two thoughts.

    First, who has read Michael Crichton's State of Fear? Though the book's topic is Global Warming, I see disturbing parallels to COVID-19. Bad-faith actors are pushing one side of the narrative to further their own interests as they try to keep Americans in a state of never-ending panic and fear.

    Second, I'm tired of the media constantly celebrating death. Dirty laundry indeed:

    1. Regardless of the crisis the true believers always push their same agenda, they just use other excuses.

    2. Putting the population in a state of fear, so dear leader can get emergency powers, that they never give up, is the way to loss of freedom and is pervasive historically, going back to ancient Greece and Rome, amd probably further than that. 1930s Germany, Venezuela, Russia, Turkey more recently.

      George Lucas used this as the central theme of the Star Wars prequels, for good reason. The "Phantom Menace" was the engineered emergency to get those emergency powers. Then it was all over.

      For Covid, the lockdowns may be useful, but keep an eye on things. Resistance is not futile, and is useful in a larger historical context, to keep the population on its toes and ready to bolt if it gets too bad.

      1. The problem with using fictional examples to back up your socilogical claims is that they're fictional.

      2. Like the seditious attempt at a soft coup to disregard the results of the election by claiming massive election fraud, for which there is no proof?

        1. The plan now apparently is to use violence to keep Congress people from returning to Washington, thus preventing them from accepting the results of the EC. "soft" coup didn't work. I don't think (and certainly hope they don't) that the Republicans have a strong enough hold on the army to switch to the regular kind of coup.

  9. So long idiotic year. Hopefully 2021 will actually be halfway decent.

    Funniest conversation I had recently: Talking to a person complaining about US outsourcing and that Trump didn't raise tariffs enough ect ... but his job, ironically, is to outsource the design of different products. Essentially he gets government contracts to design interiors, except he doesn't actually design them, he has friends in India who does it. Allowing him to secure these contracts at a much cheaper price.

    And, he doesn't have to lower his price because he can get the contracts at a higher price because of minority owned business preference! And he pockets the difference. It's hilarious. Though he does at the very least acknowledge the absurdity and corruption of minority owned business preference rules.

    1. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a catch-22 in many respects.

      Outsourcing is cheaper. Much cheaper in many areas. And those who do the outsourcing understand that it's undermining American businesses, and how tariffs would limit that. Simultaneously, they understand that if they DIDN'T outsource, they would be at a disadvantage to those who did outsource, and they'd lose business.

      1. "Outsourcing is cheaper."

        It can be. So then you have the question, is your company competitive on any basis other than price? Do you lose anything by cheaping out?
        For example, Americans do not like outsourced customer-service or outsourced customer-support. Does your business depend on repeat business?

  10. We are on the brink of a real populist revolt.

    1. 1. Doomcasting may be your thing, but ... you know, it's kind of annoying. "If you don't do the things I think are right, blood in the street, ball goes home, yada yada."

      2. It is possible that there are many people that do not think the same way that you do. And that your conception about the number of people that share your beliefs is incorrect.

    2. I am hearing from people I would have never expected that say they are going to DC on January 6th. That is not a representative sampling by any means, but interesting.

      1. Me too...

        And as to populism (which is often misunderstood), never forget that Howard Dean was a populist, to some extent, Bernie Sanders is.

        Right v Left isn't as accurate anymore as you might think, it's more "establishment" versus "outsiders."

      2. "I am hearing from people I would have never expected that say they are going to DC on January 6th. That is not a representative sampling by any means, but interesting."

        Cool! They can stick around and see the new President get sworn in. It'll be the biggest crowd in history!

    3. "We are on the brink of a real populist revolt."

      This would be a real concern if anyone were scared of you, rather than amused.

  11. Our opponents generally are not as extreme, homogeneous, or morally inferior as people tend to think.

    1. On this site over the past few years the sides end up being different than political lines. Less ideological, and more radicals versus non-radicals.

      NToJ and Noscitur and Nieporent and I disagree on a *lot* but we're often on the same side arguing against people who have a pretty radical view of what's happening now, and what should happen in the future.

      RAK is, of course, on a side all his own.

      1. The problem that seems to me to have developed is a disregard of facts by some commenters.

        By no means is everyone I disagree with guilty of this, but some are, especially since the election.

        Do outright lies violate the comments policy? Should they?

        1. "The problem that seems to me to have developed is a disregard of facts by some commenters."

          I suspect that everybody agrees with this.

          1. "I suspect that everybody agrees with this."

            But a lot of them mean "disregard of MY facts" when they complain of the disregard of facts in their opponents. There are an alarming number of people who believe that if they repeat their wishful thinking often enough, it will magically become true. Combine them with the conspiratorially-oriented explanation of reality that has become quite popular. You wind up with "my political side can't have lost the election. If it looks like we lost, it's because that's what THEY want us to think." These tropes get passed from ideological groups quite freely, and each time they pass it back, it's even more divorced from objective reality.
            Choose to walk away from the crazy. If your pals expect you to be crazy to stay one of them, they're not really on your side.

        2. It's not lies, for most of them. This isn't some place where people propagandize - they are the propagandized (but see Blackman's complete recklessness with facts and law).

          It's the Colbert thing about feeling true being more important than being actually true.

          1. The ones that don't just think posters who disagree are not just wrong, but rather gaslighting in some intentional plot - those are the ones that are insincere trolls.

            1. Sarcastro complaining about gaslighting is the ultimate gaslighting every done on this forum!

              1. Wow you walked right into that one.

                1. Yeah I took the bait, but then again on the other open forum Sarcastro took my bait so I figured returning the favor was just fair play...

                  1. You mean when you lied about what you kept intimating was coming, and I believed you?

                    Yeah, I was pretty foolish to do that.

                    1. I told you what was coming and it was true. The liberals think this is their time to shine and force their agenda.

                    2. Well, the Pelosi/Schumer coalition is going to split three ways -- the ODs (Old Democrats, as in Over Age 60), the Progressives, and the Millennial Democrats.

                      An example of each is Pelosi, AOC, and Seth Moulton. It's one thing to all hate Trump, something else entirely to agree with each other -- and I doubt they can.

                    3. "Well, the Pelosi/Schumer coalition is going to split three ways"

                      Just three? They've been herding cats for years. They only things they have in common is their abject hatred of America, capitalism, and God.

                  2. Stop baiting each other, you two.

                    1. OK. I should resolve to respond to JtD less in 2021.

                    2. My posts are like crack to you...

                    3. Stop baiting each other, you two.

                      Don't make me pull this blog over!!

                    4. "My posts are like crack to you…"

                      Ass crack, maybe.

          2. I think there are twoseveral general problems: (Monty Python joke here.)

            1) Confusing opinions and facts. (You see this in a lot of 'fact' checking.)

            2) Reading into instead of reading.

            3) Nearly disjoint information bubbles.

            Both sides have these problems, in varying proportions and kinds.

            1. There are all kinds of opinions. Some are just preferences - chocolate or vanilla - some are based on alleged facts.

              It's reasonable to question the facts behind the latter type. If you want to claim that Trump actually won the popular vote by a landslide, despite there being ample evidence that he didn't, that's close enough to a lie that I don't want to play semantic games.

              1. What if you claim that the laptop story is a Russian Op, despite there being no evidence of the claim?

                1. If you just claim that, then yes.

                  If you say, " think it's a Russian op because...," then no, assuming your reasons, taken by themselves, make some sort of sense.

                  IOW, you have evidence, even if you are wrong.

                  I would consider just making shit up to fall into the category.

                  1. As I said, without evidence.

                2. "What if you claim that the laptop story is a Russian Op"

                  If you do that, you're ignoring Rudy's fingerprints all over the thing.

              2. If you want to claim that Trump actually won the popular vote by a landslide, despite there being ample evidence that he didn’t, that’s close enough to a lie that I don’t want to play semantic games

                What if one discredits the "ample evidence that he didn't"?

                1. What if one discredits the “ample evidence that he didn’t”?

                  Then one is a jackass.

                  1. "Then one is a jackass."

                    Or worse.

                  2. "What if one discredits the 'ample evidence that he didn’t'?

                    Then one is a jackass."

                    Or a Republican. to the extent there's a difference.

            2. "I think there are several general problems"

              You left out the wishful thinking. Too many people can talk themselves into anything, if they dislike the alternative enough.

              It can't possibly be true that most Americans think Donald Trump is a lying loser. So it must be true that there's a giant conspiracy that acted to keep him from winning reelection. Yeah, that's the ticket. Giant conspiracy. Yeah.

              1. Oh, I think it's true that Trump lies. What's false is that Biden doesn't. (Oh, right, 'whataboutism!', I'm not supposed to mention that, only Republican sins are ever germane.)

                And, yeah, he lost. It was a pretty close thing, of course, under a 100K votes cast differently and he'd be looking forward to the 20th. But he did lose.

                Doesn't mean there wasn't a big conspiracy against him. Not a particularly secrete one, mind you. Twitter and FB were hardly even pretending to be impartial.

                What really irks me are the election law violations, and the judiciary's indifference to them. That line has been crossed, and we're not going back to lawfully conducted elections in 2022.

                I am not looking forward to our bright future of election suggestions instead of laws, in a country where the media don't even pretend to care any more about objectivity. The fire's going to spread beyond the dumpster, that's for sure. You get more of what works.

                1. "Oh, I think it’s true that Trump lies."

                  What gave it away? The fact that he lies about everything, even things which are trivial to check on?

                  " What’s false is that Biden doesn’t."
                  Nobody claimed he doesn't/hasn't ever lied. But he doesn't have Trump's casual disregard for objective facts. You're missing the difference between "spin" and plain old lying.

                  "Doesn’t mean there wasn’t a big conspiracy against him."

                  Yeah, for his whole life, there's been a big conspiracy against the Donald. That's what happens when you routinely piss people off and turn them against you. But since his fans won't countenance the possibility that their guy has flaws, it must be a giant conspiracy working to keep the guy who inherited hundreds of millions of dollars down. Can't catch a break. Because of all those mean other people.

                  "What really irks me are the election law violations,"

                  Stop imagining them and they won't bother you any more.

          3. What is it, and why is it OK?

            If I read on some nutball site that Trump is lining up Army units to arrest Biden and Harris on Inauguration Day, and repeat that here, I think I'm damaging the discussion.

            Maybe it's not really a lie, if I actually believe it, but given the number of nutball sites running around that's a thin excuse. Do I have any obligation to subject that to a reality test before posting?

            1. You know, if January 6th gets as ugly as it could -- with Antifa & Proud Boys trying to kill each other (and the poor cops in the middle), martial law well may be declared in DC. And it will be a distinction without a difference if it is the DC Mayor who does it, or if it is Trump under the Insurrection Act because DC can ask the MD & VA Guard for help.

              I'd be very surprised (and rather upset) if the military wasn't making plans on the unit level as to what they will do and who will do it *if* they get asked. That's called prudence.

              1. I read that the hotel and restaurant where the (out and) Proud Boys like to hang out in Washington is going to close for a few days, to keep their staff out of the line of fire.

        3. Define "lies."

          If you say "Trump colluded with Russia" is that a "lie"?

          1. Lies are whatever they don't agree with.

          2. No.

            Russia clearly interfered in the campaign with the intent of helping Trump, the Trump campaign was glad to accept that help, and there were numerous contacts between the campaign and the Russians.

            That Mueller was unwilling to charge a conspiracy doesn't mean any of that didn't happen, or that the claims are a hoax.

            I suppose you could argue that Trump had no direct personal contact with Russians, but that's a slim reed. The word "Trump" in this context clearly means the campaign, just as if we said, "Trump spent $XXX on advertising in PA." Besides, he was surely aware of the contacts.

            1. "No (it wasn't a lie)"

              I view it differently, in that after a 30 million dollar investigation over 2-3 years, there was no evidence of collusion. So, saying Trump colluded with Russia, is an outright lie.

              You've got to redefine a few things in order to make it not a lie. You've got to use "contacts" and imply what Russia wanted, among other things. But none of that is really the point.

              The real point is, you've asked "Do outright lies violate the comments policy? Should they?" and by implication, these "lies" should be banned.

              But those who control the forum define the lies. By that argument, the entire series of posts about Trump colluding with Russia should've been banned.

              Is that a good thing?

              1. A.L.

                Oh stop it.

                You are the one misrepresenting the Mueller report, and also, BTW, ignoring that "collusion" is not a well-defined term.

                So Mueller says,

                “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,”

                and you read that as a declaration of innocence, despite the fact that Mueller also made clear that he felt that "Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider,” because of DOJ policy.

                I suppose you also think the report, as Barr mendaciously claimed, completely exonerated Trump of obstruction of justice, even though it explicitly said otherwise.

                This why it's often so damn frustrating to comment here. It really seems as if some of the Trumpists just live in a different reality.

                1. Presumption of innocence, Bernard. It was never Mueller's job to exonerate anybody. And nobody with any sense has any interest in whether Mueller lacks confidence that somebody didn't commit a crime, because, again, presumption of innocence. His dark suspicions and imaginings are of no significance.

                  The only interesting question is whether or not he found evidence that Trump committed a crime, and, no, he did not. Everything else was just an unethical smear.

                  1. You say the exact opposite about Hillary.

                    1. I say the opposite about Hillary because the evidence that she broke the law wasn't just found, it was public. The fix being in isn't the same thing as factual innocence.

                    2. Pity the evidence was only revealed to card-carrying Republicans.

                  2. The only interesting question is whether or not he found evidence that Trump committed a crime, and, no, he did not.

                    That's not remotely what he said.

                    And it's not what he said about obstruction either.

                    Oh. I'm still waiting for your cite about Hunter Biden's lawyer.

                    Or was that just (another) lie?

                  3. "Presumption of innocence, Bernard."

                    The thing about presumption of innocence, Brett, is that if you want to wave that stick then it applies to everyone, not just to your preferred brand of politician.
                    And even then, the government is required to stick to a presumption of innocence, but nobody else is. Richard Nixon was never convicted of having a role in Watergate, but this is not because he had no role in Watergate.
                    He got a taste of power and desperately wanted to keep his hands on it, even if voters might not have wanted him to. Does this sound in any way familiar?

                    1. And you're the one talking about delusions.

                    2. Bernie, are you saying that believing that Richard Nixon was involved in Watergate is "delusional"?
                      Or is your comment mis-located?

                  4. "The only interesting question is whether or not he found evidence that Trump committed a crime, and, no, he did not

                    If that's what you wanted to read desperately enough, that's what you came away with. But it's not what Mueller actually said.

                    1. No, I know that, to his everlasting discredit, that's not what Mueller said. Unethical SOB saw his job as smearing the President, not reporting that he'd come up empty.

                      But he still came up empty.

                    2. Unethical SOB saw his job as smearing the President, not reporting that he’d come up empty.

                      He didn't come up empty.

                      And once again it is impossible for you to ascribe good faith to someone you disagree with.

                    3. " Unethical SOB saw his job as smearing the President, not reporting that he’d come up empty."

                      You seem to be conflating Robert Mueller with Kenneth Starr.

                2. Sigh...

                  "You are the one misrepresenting the Mueller report, and also, BTW, ignoring that “collusion” is not a well-defined term."

                  Let's take the exact lines out of the Mueller report.

                  1. "The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons conspired or coordinated with the IRA. "
                  2. "Second, while the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges"
                  3 . "Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal. "
                  4. "Further, the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump Campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election"

                  That's all directly from the report. There was not evidence of "colllusion" or conspiracy or coordination between Trump (or the Trump Campaign) and Russia. There just wasn't.

                  To say "Trump colluded with Russia" is an outright lie. There simply is not evidence to support it.

                  And again, you miss the point (And try to divert to a separate item on obstruction of justice). Despite "Russian Collusion" being a lie, you can continue to post about it. Should your ability to post about it be banned?

                  1. Wanting to be admitted to a conspiracy but being snubbed by the other members is technically a defense to a charge of conspiracy, but it's not quite the same as being actually innocent.

                  2. That’s all directly from the report. There was not evidence of “colllusion” or conspiracy or coordination between Trump (or the Trump Campaign) and Russia. There just wasn’t.

                    You didn't interpret correctly. With respect to your point #1, Mueller expressly said "The investigation did not identify evidence." There was not evidence… of conspiracy with the IRA.

                    With respect to each of your points #2-4, Mueller said something very different: there wasn't sufficient evidence.

                    "There is insufficient evidence" is a very different statement than "there is no evidence." And we know that, because when Mueller meant to say "no evidence" he came out and said "no evidence."

                    And sufficient evidence of what? Sufficient evidence to criminally charge people. Which is a very high standard.

              2. "I view it differently, in that after a 30 million dollar investigation over 2-3 years, there was no evidence of collusion. So, saying Trump colluded with Russia, is an outright lie. "

                But saying "Trump wanted to collude with the Russians, if they'd been willing to take his meeting." is no kind of lie.

                1. Sure, if you believe it, it's not a lie. A supposition, fantasy, paranoid delusion, you name it, but not a lie.

                  1. Brett,

                    For you to accuse others of having paranoid delusions is laughable.

                    Your comments consistently reek of paranoid delusions.

                  2. Gosh, Brett, will you go so far as to concede that if it's true, it's not a lie?
                    You seem to be shying away from making this concession.

                    1. Sure: If it were true, it wouldn't be a lie.

                      We just happen to live in the world where you have to fantasize that it's true, 'cause you've got no evidence.

                    2. that's one step closer to reality, and away from the madness.

                      It's true, so it's not a lie.

                      "We just happen to live in the world where you have to fantasize that it’s true, ’cause you’ve got no evidence."

                      Says the guy who lives in a fantasy world where there's no evidence that Trump would ask a foreign government to help him get elected.

                2. And saying that you would have slept with some (unnamed) cute girl had she been available is grounds for divorce?!?

                  Reality is that you didn't, and Trump didn't, and there's gotta be a whole bunch of legal principles against expanding hypotheticals beyond what really happened...

                  1. Reality is that you didn’t, and Trump didn’t,

                    You don't have a clue about reality, Ed, in this matter or any other. What happened to that truckers' strike?

                    Reality is that there was plenty of contact between the campaign and the Russians, and the Russians clearly wanted Trump to win.

                  2. "And saying that you would have slept with some (unnamed) cute girl had she been available is grounds for divorce?!?"

                    That depends entirely upon your spouse's opinion. Some choose divorce in that instance, and some choose to stay married. Just the same as some react to actual infidelity.

                3. "But saying “Trump wanted to collude with the Russians, if they’d been willing to take his meeting.” is no kind of lie."

                  1. It's a lie because you're speaking to what Trump "wanted" to do, when you in know way know what he actually wanted.

                  2. For example. I could say "James Pollock wants to do this (Sexually deviant / racist / illegal) action, but he just hasn't had the opportunity to, and he would if he did."

                  Would that be a lie? I would say yes. But would you say it's a lie? Why or why not?

                  1. "when you in know way know what he actually wanted."

                    He looked directly into a television camera, and said he did it, and would do it again. Granted, he's not a very reliable witness, but still.

              3. "The real point is, you’ve asked “Do outright lies violate the comments policy? Should they?” and by implication, these “lies” should be banned."

                The fact that you inferred it doesn't mean it was implied. Management insists that it has a strong commitment to freedom of speech. That fact rather discounts a claim that an opinion should be sufficient to get a poster "banned", whether the suggestion is made by proponents or opponents.

      2. "RAK is, of course, on a side all his own."
        Actually he is not even on the same Riemann sheet

        1. Is he even on a Riemann sheet? The 2D manifold has to be orientable to be a Riemann sheet, and I'm not sure his is.

      3. "RAK is, of course, on a side all his own."


        Sorry dude, he is on your side. He and he agree completely on substance.

        You could call him out for his gross trolling and personal insults but you never do. Too busy patting yourself on the back for allegedly being reasonable, I guess.

        1. Bah, should be "You and he agree completely on substance."

        2. Bob, in a post where I said that the factions in this comentariat are not really about partisanship so much as radical or not, you're insisting it's all about partisanship as though you didn't read what I wrote.

          1. Oh, I read It.

            "Too busy patting yourself on the back for allegedly being reasonable, I guess."

            1. Nobody's going to accuse you of allegedly being reasonable, Bob. You dodged that bullet.

        3. "He and he agree completely on substance."

          What substance?

    2. Since you mention it, both sides recently seem to feel that moral inferiority and even intentional wrongdoing needs to be imputed to one's opponents.

      In my experience, incompetence and foolishness are generally the source of far more problems and damage than out and out evil.

      The flip side of that, of course, is that just because you mean well does not mean you are not a problem. A well-meaning fool can be much worse than an evil person.

      1. The "well meaning" can be the worst of all.

        "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." C. S. Lewis

        1. Mr. Lewis wrote stories about divinely-selected kings and queens. Not necessarily the best source for opinions on tyranny.

  12. I graduate next semester with a degree in chemical engineering. And ... honestly I dont know what to do from there. All jobs I've recieved an interview for have nothing to do with chemical engineering. I'm considering law school, which evidenced by my appearance on this blog is something I'm interested in, but ... honestly I don't know.

    I think the problem is whenever I apply for a job, especially an engineering job, I get instantly pegged as an "intellectual" and everyone assumes I'm the person for grad school and not the corporate world (a common joke among friends is to add a dr. in front of my name). But I despise academia and have ruled it out (though my girlfriend insists I reconsider), so doing anything with the thing I spent 4 years working on seemed to be a dead end.

    I'm more successful with coding jobs, but thats almost entirely self taught. And recently self taught too, I dont know if I have the skills to compete in that environment.

    So Idk. Im lost. The pandemic seems to have severed my ties to my major by making it impossible to continue my research position but where to go from here is just ... I thought that after 4 years of taking the hardest major it would be easier. Instead I'm constantly relying on self taught skills in completely different areas and paths ahead (like law school) I know precisely zero people considering.

    Just a new years eve vent. If anyone has any advice feel free.

    1. 1. Take a few sample LSATs. See how you score. Gives you an idea of the type of law school you would get admitted to (if you wanted to go). In addition, with a BS in Chemical Engineering, you'd probably be great for the patent bar, if that's your thing.

      2. Coding is something you do for fun; don't ruin it by turning it into your job. But if you're interested, the demand is still pretty high.

      3. Don't be quite so hard on yourself. You're still really, really young. If it makes you feel better, I had two (well, two and a half) careers before I went to law school. You don't need to have all the answers yet.

      1. Coding is fine if....

        1. You can work in a heads down environment focused on crafting a very narrow solution for hours on end.
        2. You thrive in a "agile" type work structure (Dev-ops, Scrum, etc.)
        3. You are the kind of person that can do intense amounts, but then can walk away from your job for a period of time without thinking about it until you return. If you are not that kind of person, you will get burned out with coding fast.
        4. You enjoy producing something to which you will never get any direct or indirect credit, but know that you contributed to something bigger than yourself.

        1. There are many exceptions to these points, depending on how narrowly one defines "coding". Although things like "agile" environments have certainly become more dominant over the past decade or so, I've been in the business of full life-cycle commercial software development for over 32 years now, and I've managed to completely avoid such environments. And even many of the pure coding tasks I had responsibility for were given recognition by management, both in terms of simple acknowledgement of a job well-done and more substantive things like bonuses.

          I'll certainly agree with the need to be able to walk away from your work at the end of the day, though.

          1. I was thinking more of external recognition and validation, although some (most) employers take coders for granted I'm sure you will find others that do internal recognition. Just don't expect anyone to put your name on anything or validate a coding accomplishment outside of that context.

            Coders are generally treated like crap unless you are employed by one of the few that either need to retain top talent or actually care. I remember one service manager gloating, "coders are all the same, completely replaceable..." (I'm sure his employees felt motivated to work hard...) And another place where I pulled some consulting time had a practice of letting you know that you were fired by just suspending your login with a pop up informing you that you were terminated when you tried to login. But lots of places treat employees like junk, the pay the pretty good regardless, and as long as your code is tight people leave you alone.

            1. Just don’t expect anyone to put your name on anything or validate a coding accomplishment outside of that context.

              Yeah, but I think that's true of the overwhelming vast majority of occupations.

              “coders are all the same, completely replaceable…”

              That's usually a self-reinforcing view held by those in the habit of cheaping out and hiring crappy developers...which far too many organizations are.

              1. "That’s usually a self-reinforcing view held by those in the habit of cheaping out and hiring crappy developers…which far too many organizations are."

                If your work is readily replaceable, it will be replaced by the cheapest provider, if that isn't you.

                1. If your work is readily replaceable, it will be replaced by the cheapest provider, if that isn’t you.

                  That's the point, which you seem to have missed. A good developer's work isn't readily replaceable, which is why they're able to command higher salaries.

                  1. A good developer makes money because they're amazingly rare. Just like people who are 6'8" and can hit a consistent shot from three-point range can make a lot of money. Actors who can consistently open movies that make money can make a lot of money, despite the fact that literally anybody can act.
                    I understand why you didn't recognize someone who knows the characteristics of a good developer. No experience.

    2. What are the jobs you want? That's a hard question - I switched my thinking on that fundamentally at least 3 times. And I have no advice on that part of where you're adrift. Maybe pay a career counselor? Though I'd bet most of those are less helpful than they think.

      Once you figure that out, though, I think things get easier. Get an informational interview with someone who has the job you aspire to retire from and figure out with them what you need to do to get there - what subsidiary jobs or education you would need. Make sure you ask about paths other than the one they took. And keep up that relationship if you can - mentors opening doors is really the silver bullet of job searches.

      On a similar note, if you go to law school, make sure you have a job in mind, and hustle like hell to get internships and associateships and clerkships at wherever you target.

      Note that this is not advice I took - I'm more Goofus than Gallant, be not like me.
      I went to way more school than I needed, built up very few mentorship relationships, interned without rhyme or reason, sent out hundreds of resume/cover letter packages with very little response, and happened to fall into a great job through a happy accident followed by a science policy job postings twitter account.

      1. In general I would advise someone younger to:

        1. Think hard about jumping right into college. it will be there for you any time during your 20's and you will appreciate the education after a few years of work experience.

        2. Find a job where you can work outdoors and do it for at least two years. You will either find that you really enjoy it and keep it up or you will look back and appreciate the fact you did.

        3. Take a shot at a good old fashion trade. Even if you don't do it as your profession you will always be able to use the skills you develop.

        4. "Working for yourself" can be fun, but sometimes you will wish you worked for someone else. Give it a shot, but being an independent contractor is not everything it is cracked up to be. Neither is owning your own business.

    3. "I’m more successful with coding jobs, but that's almost entirely self taught."

      Everybody's self-taught. Technology changes too fast for it to work any other way.

      1. True that. The most useless software engineers (or even just "coders") I've worked with over the course of my career were those who relied on whatever they learned in school, rather than using that simply as a foundation and forging off on their own and acquiring new knowledge and skills as that constantly became necessary.

        1. Naw, the most useless software engineers are the ones who refuse to believe that they can be taught anything useful in school, and then proceed to spend years re-inventing wheels. And these are the ones who don't put any security into their work, because they haven't been taught that security has to be built-in from go or you won't have any security. The thinking goes along the lines of "get it working first, then go back and add security features".

          1. In 32+ years in this occupation I don't think I've ever encountered anyone who thought nothing they learned in school was useful. But then the companies I've opted to work for weren't generally in the habit of hiring people that dumb.

            1. How did you go 32 years without encountering a mirror?

    4. Aladdin's Carpet...Let me give you some timeless advice that has served me well my entire professional and personal life. Whatever you choose, be sure you enjoy doing it. Then it is really not a job. I have said it this way to my children: Do what you love and the money will follow.

      Don't worry about the degree. The education you got, you will carry with you forever. It is yours, and l congratulate you on attaining that. It is a big deal. I have degrees is psychology and biology, and my job is in statistics, operations management and people management. My point to you is that my degrees did not translate directly to my vocation. Or my ultimate interests.

      Things for you to think about, short term. You may have student loan debt. Make a plan to address it. Maybe a gap year working might help to clarify the kinds of things you like and don't like. Start a Roth IRA when you get a job. Invest in passive, low-cost index funds.

      Please, do not be anxious. It sounds like you have an incredibly bright future ahead of you. You'll be fine.

      1. I found knowing what I loved to do was hard.

        For the first 22 years of my life I was basically physics all the way. No doubts; knowing myself was easy. I loved physics. But I was crap at it, which made me not really enjoy it as much as the idea of doing it.

        So then I went off to do something I was good at - systems of rules but less math and more talking. Who cares if I had wandered from my original understanding of myself?
        But while I loved law school, practice left me really cold. And I was uninterested in academia.

        And now I'm loving being a mangerial-type in science policy - managing people, dealing with meaty policy questions, facilitating the latest in science breakthroughs.
        But until 4 years ago that wasn't on my radar.

        I think this is part of why you see a lot of millennial move back home and try and hack it in some artistic biz; or even law school for that matter; we have gotten rid of past generations' jobs suck do them because it's your duty, but knowing your passion remains a challenging quest.

        1. Sarcastr0, I have been extremely fortunate in that respect. I discovered what I liked early in my career, and have been doing it ever since. My work requires insane hours at times, but I never minded it all that much. It has not 'felt' like a job. That matters to your health, well-being and self-esteem.

          That is what I hope for Aladdin's Carpet....That the path he chooses professionally is something he loves doing, and not just to collect a paycheck. All the other stuff will rapidly sort itself out if he is happy at work (whatever that is).

          Student loan debt, OTOH, is something I do worry about for young people.

    5. (a common joke among friends is to add a dr. in front of my name).

      Are you Jill Biden?

      Seriously, I can't speak to your situation, but I can give you some general law school advice. Do not go to law school, unless you're really sure you want to be a lawyer. I (mostly) really like being a lawyer, so I wouldn't try to dissuade someone who knew what they were getting into and wanted to do so. But I will put up big red flashing lights in front of anyone who does it for lack of better direction or who thinks legal discussions online are fun. Those are bad reasons.

      I don't know the current economy for new grads in ChemE, so I can't speak to what your best short term option is, but it's a good idea to work for a few years before going to law school. It's also a good idea to get some experience at a law firm before going to law school; you will not learn what the actual practice of law is like from (a) TV; (b) movies; or (c) reading legal discussions online.

      If you want to mix ChemE and a law degree, patent law is a good option. Very few lawyers have any math or science skills, so the ones who do are typically in high demand for specialized work.

      The legal job market is tough unless you go to a top school and/or do very well in law school. Law school admissions have traditionally been almost entirely about grades and LSATs, so you should be able to easily figure out what kind of law school you can get into.

      1. "Are you Jill Biden?"

        With an engineering degree I hope he knows how many quarters there are.

      2. "The legal job market is tough unless you go to a top school and/or do very well in law school. Law school admissions have traditionally been almost entirely about grades and LSATs, so you should be able to easily figure out what kind of law school you can get into."

        Revise to "the legal job market is tough unless you already have good contacts and have personal relationships which can be leveraged."

    6. ChemE is a decent and related to a pure chemistry degree. There's a few flavors of where to go into it with a BS...there's the oil industry, materials industries, fine chemicals and a few more. Consider this in your choices.

      It sounds like you like the research aspect and don't want to immediately move into marketing or other business areas. If that's the case, graduate school isn't necessarily "just" academia. Many, many people go into graduate school to obtain the education and training necessary to further themselves on the research side in the industrial world. Whether that be a masters or Ph.D.

      It also sounds like, you're not quite sure what to do. In that case, I may make a recommendation. Apply for graduate school, ideally the Ph.D. programs. There's a reason for this. Ph.D. studies in the hard sciences are "free" (the university typically covers the cost) and typically pays a modest stipend. You can also "master out" in 2 years typically with a masters. If you choose to do this, that masters can help you get a more research-oriented position within industry. Or you can go to law school then. Or business school. Or continue with the Ph.D. program. I know people who have done all of these.

      If you go to law school, the biggest problem there are the law school loans. If you're rich, that's not a problem. But if not, then you're pretty much locked into Law in order to pay off those loans.

      Just my two cents.

    7. Take the MCAT, enter medicine. While the MCAT is mostly objective science, it's got a more bullshit in it now, social 'science' stuff, but any reasonable person can guess where their answers should lie. I too majored in Chem E ('liberal science' as was described by my Dean then, because it encompassed all of engineering) because pre-med students were insufferable, and the soft curriculum designed to pad the GPA with easy A's was an affront to one who wished to actually master something.
      Medicine has been a rewarding career. Medicine needs more people with 'the knack'.

      1. I went to law school with a surgeon who was dabbling. AFAIK, he graduated and didn't bother with the bar.

    8. Do not go to law school. It's not a happy way to make a living.

    9. Aladdin,
      Before switching paths you had better understand why interviewers think that you will go to grad school. In most areas of engineering an MS is the most common terminal degree and may be preferred for the higher impact jobs or for "fast track candidates." Otherwise you could be pegged as just a designer or an "operations man."

      You've invested a lot in your engineering training. Don't toss it for a pig in the poke.

      1. I'll second Don's opinion here. My understanding is that for much of engineering, the MS is most common for higher impact/ "engineering" jobs.

        1. An MS in engineering is common for people who lead teams of engineers, but you don't need more than a BS in engineering to find suitable employment in the field, unless you're targeting jobs your background doesn't support. The key question you have to be able to answer is "what have you done (lately) that's similar to what we need someone to do?" and if you have a good answer to that question, the other questions aren't very important.

    10. To reiterate what others have suggested: don't go to law school unless you know what you want to do. If you know you want to be a prosecutor, a criminal defense attorney, a divorce lawyer, a bankruptcy lawyer, a medical malpractice lawyer, an employment lawyer, an intellectual property lawyer, or a real estate lawyer, go for it. But it can be a waste of three or four years to suddenly find out that you don't know what you want to do with a degree you just spent a lot of money for.

    11. Don't rule out Federal & State government. A lot of outfits such as the EPA, OSHA, NTSB and others may be interested in hiring you as a CE -- and usually they will pay for grad school.

      What about BioTech? Some of the stuff they are doing probably needs CEs along with the Bio folk.

      You can also do what my dad did -- take your CE degree and transfer to teaching high school chemistry or physics. (Physics teachers are very hard to find.)

      1. "You can also do what my dad did — take your CE degree and transfer to teaching high school chemistry or physics. (Physics teachers are very hard to find.)"

        Way, way back, shrouded in the mists of time, during my original undergraduate work, I took a class from the School of Education in "Science, Math, and Computer Science Education" and encountered first hand the severe lack of expertise in any of these fields among the College of Education faculty. It wasn't until ten years later that I encountered an Ed.D. candidate who had any business teaching in one of those fields, he was running the IT programs at a private vocational college at the time.

    12. "I graduate next semester with a degree in chemical engineering. And … honestly I dont know what to do from there. All jobs I’ve recieved an interview for have nothing to do with chemical engineering."

      Apply to more chemical engineer jobs.

      "I’m considering law school, which evidenced by my appearance on this blog is something I’m interested in, but … honestly I don’t know."

      Free advice: Don't spend money on law school unless you actually believe you will either practice law or practice your own field in a way that's adjacent to law. All you'll get is huge loan payments.

    13. "In addition, with a BS in Chemical Engineering, you’d probably be great for the patent bar, if that’s your thing."

      Or skip law school and go directly to the patent agent exam.

      1. Indeed. If you're interested in patent law in particular (or combining your interest in the law with your science background), getting a job in the field and then getting your employer to pay for law school is a smart way to go, and seems quite commonplace.

        1. " getting a job in the field and then getting your employer to pay for law school is a smart way to go, and seems quite commonplace."

          My employer at the time I started law school had a policy of paying 50% of costs to pursue higher education, a benefit that evaporated when I earned an MS in my field, and starting law school saw me marginalized at work and separated after just the first year.

          1. You seem kind of bitter, dude.

            Sorry you had a bad experience, but it's quite common for law firms and the USPTO to pay for law school for agents or examiners looking to become attorneys.

            1. "You seem kind of bitter, dude. "

              Earned it.

    14. I'm potentially the opposite of you--I went through college fully expecting to go to law school, but then made the pivot to tech at the last minute. So I'll write a few things about tech and let the lawyers give advice on that front:

      Mostly, don't worry about the lack of formal training. More than many fields, tech is a place where you can build a career based on what you can do rather than what your pedigree looks like. If you're having success already, there's no reason this is likely to stop. A CS grad is going to know some formal data structures and algorithms better than you and potentially be more likely to pass a Big Tech interview, but once you're in the door that stuff is rarely more than about 10% of the job. You can read Knuth in your spare time--you can learn from others. Fundamentally, though, you're very unlikely to hit some sort of wall in your career because of the lack of formal training.

      For someone who is self-taught, though, it may be worth thinking about some of the "coding-adjacent" disciplines like SRE, release engineering, etc.. There's not much of a college curriculum for these disciplines, so practical experience almost always wins the day. As a result, they tend to be populated by people with interesting, less-traditional CS backgrounds.

      Most importantly, take that instinct that has led you to your self-taught skills and keep applying it once you get a job. Everything changes SO FAST. You need to keep learning all the time. People who have the curiosity to want to just figure things out and don't need someone to hold their hand through the learning process can really thrive as a result. Just make sure not to give up on that curiosity.

      1. "tech is a place where you can build a career based on what you can do rather than what your pedigree looks like."

        Meh. All anyone in tech cares about is what your job has been for the last year. "what have you done lately" is the tech-recruiter mating call. Make one mis-step in a tech career, favor work-life balance even once, and watch that career falter. Combine that with a more-or-less open hostility to gyno-Americans taking on a tech job, and there's a lot of non-optimal aspects to tech as a career path.

    15. Thanks all, this was very helpful. I didn't expect to get so many responses.

      1. You're welcome. Most people, across the spectrum came down about the same. Hold off on law school until you're sure.

        The biggest issue is, you've passed the grad school application deadlines for many schools and the rest are fast approaching (If it's a dedicated master's program, it'll cost money usually). The LSAT deadline is fast approaching as is the law school deadlines.

        Realistically, you've probably got at least 1 "gap" year in front of you, whatever schooling option you pick (or choose not to). Timelines are a little too short now.

        1. For some people, stepping away from school for just a "gap" turns into a lifetime, because other things get in the way of going back.

          For some people, going back to school is a convenient cover for not having a clear idea of what the hell you want to do.

          The advice I'd give is figure out which, if any, category applies to you and adjust accordingly. Which scares you more? Waking up at 45 and realizing that you never pulled the trigger on something you really wanted to do, or waking up at 45 with ten years of student loans still ahead of you and having spent more time in school than actually doing anything?

  13. There's a meme picture floating around, ostensibly of a guy not Heil Hitlering in a large group of the population doing so. Instead, he stands with his arms crossed in defiance. (We'll skip whether he is actually just sleepy or thinking about the girl in the sky blue dress.)

    So many people see this and think how brave he is, and fancy they'd to the same. Then they get back to enjoying their cancel culture of slamming people who won't Heil Hitler this or that movement.

    And it's gone beyone simple acknowledgement, with the building of attacks those for sitting on the sidelines doing nothing. Memes that if you are not with us, you shall be treated as against us.

    It has never been brave to join the dominant political philosophy, when it has become so dominant companies and the press join in in fear, too.

    "But it's the right thing to do, this time." As opposed to all those other times in history. Maybe it's not about any particular subject, but about the artful use of mass hysteria to gain power.

    "Oh, boy! What beautiful clothes the emperor has! Only the crude and the mentally deficient cannot see it!"


    The Volokh Conspiracy
    has operated for
    ZERO (0) DAYS
    without gratuitous use
    of a vile racial slur
    and for
    615 DAYS
    without engaging in partisan,
    viewpoint-driven censorship.

    (This site had reached 20 days without using a vile racial slur before today.)

    Let's hope 2021 is a better year.

    1. Well Arthur...Here is to a great 2021. Happy New Year. 🙂

      1. Happy New Year.

  15. I'm amazed by the people who keep calling Trump and authoritarian or worse then turn around and demand centralized control of every thing or in the case of a number of governors and mayors actually take control.

    My own mayor has on a number of occasions referred to being elected to a "position of authority", rather that a "position of responsibility"

    1. Cuomo in NY is fitting the model of "dictator" more than Trump ever did. But, he gets a pass from the media because he is a D.

      1. Trump was a 'wannabe dictator'. Actual dictators are capable and effective, which ruled Trump out.

    2. We were laughing about that last night, while watching the evening news. Massive complaints about his not taking charge of things that are, constitutionally, state responsibilities. And yet he's supposedly a fascist dictator? If he were a fascist dictator, wouldn't calling him one be a little dangerous?

      The Babylon Bee has run a lot of gags on that basis.

      "Media Announces Brief Moratorium On Calling Trump A Brutal Dictator To Praise Kim Jong Un's Sister"

      1. "We were laughing about that last night, while watching the evening news. Massive complaints about his not taking charge of things that are, constitutionally, state responsibilities."

        That's glib, but not actually what people are complaining about. There's plenty of things the federal government could have done and failed to do, like pivoting industrial capacity towards the crisis, helping to create protocols to re-open schools that the states could model and adopt, or even just using the bully pulpit to encourage a unified national response. It's staggering to me how much stupid debate, loss of life and loss of economic opportunity has occurred because Trump decided to politicize mask wearing. I don't think that the federal government has a role in providing a mask mandate, but despite that Trump has managed to be actively harmful in somehow managing to discourage the simplest, lowest-cost preventative measure against the virus.

        1. And who can forget President Trump's carefully worded explanations as to the basis for his decision not to act based on Constitutional restrictions. The white paper he provided illuminated his actions in a clear and concise manner.
          It wasn't that he thought wearing a mask on TV made him look like a twit, because he kept painting himself like an Oompa-Loompa through the whole thing.

      2. "If he were a fascist dictator, wouldn’t calling him one be a little dangerous?"

        If he were effective, which he is NOT. Some of the entourage, however, have dreams of succeeding to the throne.

    3. I witnessed one of the funnier examples of this sort of thing just today in an online group dedicated to craft beer...a group populated primarily by twenty-somethings who are almost 100% "progressive" of the sort constantly clamoring for more federal legislation pertaining to things like food, drugs, etc. When one of them posted Reason's piece from today on distilleries facing $14K fees for going into the hand sanitizer business nearly all of them immediately began decrying the FDA's "corruption and stupidity" and blaming it on the Trump admin (of course), expressing certainty that this was all his doing. Not one of them understood that the issue was due not to any malice (or even incompetence) on the part of the FDA, but was a (presumably unintended) consequence of a provision of the CARES Act...a bit of legislation pertaining to the regulation of drugs...and the fact that hand sanitizer falls under the agency's definition of "drugs" that was established in 1938.

      1. Yeah, here's some "both sides now".

        Any number of people rushed to impute their own explanations for why President Obama didn't deport all the illegal immigrants. It's not like they're hard to find, just drive down the Home Depot with a pickup truck and circle the lot a couple of times. Just "ENFORCE THE LAW!" (funny how so many political diatribes boil down to just three words in all-caps.) The thing is, Obama had the same problem every President from Reagan through to him faced. A requirement that people to be deported get due process rights to make a showing that some aspect of US law allows them to stay. So what, says the critic, just have more deportation hearings and kick 'em all out. Thing is, Congress limits the number of people who can hold deportation hearings, and they're already doing as many as they can. So they all did the same thing, the said OK, there's a long line of people waiting to get deportation hearings, and what we're going to do is pick and choose some of the illegals to go right to the front of the line. People convicted of felonies go to the front of the line and get a deportation hearing right away, and people who've been deported before, and then recent arrivals go to the front of the line. With all those people being rushed to the front of the line, the rest of the people in line weren't getting any closer to the front of the line. We could choose to detain them (at taxpayer expense) or we could let them feed, clothe, and house themselves (at their own expense) until they get to their deportation hearing.

        We had two things in conflict with each other... a law that said the illegal immigrants were supposed to be detected, identified, an removed, and another one that says "due process first" and a limit on the amount of due process available. But a substantial portion of the population decided that Mr. Obama wasn't deporting people because he didn't wanna. True in the case of the DREAM kids, but not generally. In fact, at one point, Obama went to the Congress and asked "please sir, can we deport some more?" and the Republicans running the Congress didn't even bother to get together to consider the request, they just ignored it. "Our base already blames you for this problem, we're not going to help you resolve it."

        We took money that was supposed to build schools for military dependents and diverted it to building the Trumpfenwall that couldn't stand up to home-improvement-store saws, and that satisfied those same people that we were "finally doing something" about the problem.

    4. "My own mayor has on a number of occasions referred to being elected to a 'position of authority', rather that a 'position of responsibility'"

      In a free society, these are two ways of saying the same thing. Either is preferable to "leadership" that needs to check first to see which way the wind is blowing before making any kind of meaningful decision.

      1. “My own mayor has on a number of occasions referred to being elected to a ‘position of authority’, rather that a ‘position of responsibility'”

        In a free society, these are two ways of saying the same thing.

        And yet far too often the speaker proceeds to demonstrate that they recognize the former but not the latter.

        1. As your language preferences reveal a desire to not live in a free society.

          1. As your language preferences reveal a desire to not live in a free society.

            I have no idea what you're babbling about. I suspect you don't either.

            1. Sorry, did I use words with too many syllables?

  16. I'm curious about the legal circumstances of the inspection of the contents of Hunter Biden's laptop. Not the "hacking" issue, but how access was obtained in the first place. As I understand it, the story is that Biden left his laptop at a shop to be repaired but never picked it up. The shop owner eventually gave it to someone else, who looked at Biden's emails.

    My first question is, did the shop owner have the right to dispose of the laptop? Other things being equal, for a bailee to dispose of the bailor's property is conversion. Did the shop act lawfully under the Delaware law of bailment?

    My second question is, even if the person who read the emails had lawful possession of the laptop, did that entitle him to read the emails? If the emails had been downloaded to the laptop, the answer is probably yes, but most email systems keep the email on a server. Having the laptop would only provide access to them insofar as the laptop contained the password needed to access them. In this case, using the laptop to access the emails was arguably a crime (unauthorized access to a computer system) and very likely also some kind of tort of invasion of privacy.

    1. Most of these questions would be answered by the terms of service in any work scope document. If they had the "standard" boilerplate one outsourced IT uses it would have given them the right to inspect any portion of the system, test any applications, and even make a clone of the hard disk (usually for backup purposes, but also have a right to keep that copy.) The scope would usually include a duty to collect hardware within a certain amount of time and after that is considered to be abandoned. In practice, that usually means it sits on a shelf until someone feels like either recycling it, using it for their own purposes, or maybe selling it as used hardware for a few bucks.

      I'm sure any agreement would read in some form of state law that might augment or override some terms. Or in the alternative, at least provide additional protections before disposing of abandoned equipment. Also if the agreement limited the scope of inspection maybe some "unauthorized access" statue might apply. But if the agreement was even one of the free examples on the internet it should have provided for pretty much the right to access any and all systems without limitation.

      1. You don't need to speculate as to the repair agreement when you can read it.

        1. The repair agreement doesn't answer any of the questions. The person who dropped off the laptop can only transfer the rights he actually had, regardless of the contract between the alleged "Hunter" and the shop owner.

    2. Here's an analysis of Delaware law on the topic.

      Bottom line, the shop did act lawfully in taking ownership of computer, whether they had lawful possession of locally stored data is a bit more fraught. Delaware law DOES require computer technicians who come across child porn to report it to the authorities, and the shop owner found some on it and reported it.

      I haven't heard of any legal action against him, which would tend to indicate he acted lawfully, but might have just been due to authorities avoiding making the whole thing impossible to sweep under the rug.

      1. Thanks. The law is now clearer, though evidently much depends on who did what with regard to abandonment, and on whether there were locally stored copies of the emails, about which there doesn't seem to be much information.

        1. The law is clear, Rudy no longer owns that device. The legal questions then turn to whether or not he had legal access to any of things he had his stooges salt onto the system before abandoning it.

          1. Nice try, but Hunter's lawyer already conceded it was his. He'd just forgotten where he'd left it to be fixed because, well, drug addled crack head, what would you expect?

            1. Why did Hunter hire a drug addled crack head to be his lawyer? You used to be able to imagine stories that at least were internally consistent.

      2. Curiously, that agreement provides for abandonment but doesn't say anything about giving access to user data. If data recovery was Biden's request, that does seem odd. If "Hardware 1" was something else, access to user data might not be needed.

        1. The real question about the user data is who actually owned it and whether the person who took it to the shop had any legal authority over it, because if they did not, then no contract formed with that person can delegate any authority over it.

          1. The real question about the user data is who actually owned it

            With common computing devices, the "data" stored on it is nothing more than collections of particle or semiconductor element (depending on the storage technology in use) states that are abstractly interpreted as representing the values "1" or "0". Whoever owns the hardware containing those elements owns the "data" their states represent.

            1. The old "there's no such thing as "intellectual property" argument? Good luck with that.

              1. The old “there’s no such thing as “intellectual property” argument? Good luck with that.

                That's not even close to what my argument was. Go back and try again. If you know anyone who isn't technology illiterate see if you can have them help you understand what I said.

                1. "That’s not even close to what my argument was."

                  You didn't even recognize your own argument, how sad. Have them adjust the dosages on your dementia meds.

                  You claimed that owning the device means you own the data on it, which is not how it works. Your claim would only be true if intellectual property law didn't exist.

    3. Even if the emails were on a server, don't rule out the local laptop writing copies of them in some sort of temp file. You'd be amazed at the extent (and number) of temp files written.

    4. "I’m curious about the legal circumstances of the inspection of the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop. Not the 'hacking' issue, but how access was obtained in the first place."

      If you are interested in Hunter Biden's laptop, first you'll have to obtain a warrant, then seize the laptop from Hunter Biden. In the meantime stop pretending that there is such a thing as a "Hunter Biden's laptop" which does not have Hunter Biden's fingerprints on it.

      1. Yeah, more fantasies. It's already been conceded to have been his laptop. The child porn on it was of his niece.

        It's amazing the way people will fantasize these defenses even the accused don't try.

        1. "It’s already been conceded to have been his laptop."

          Your concession on this point is useless, Brett.

          "It’s amazing the way people will fantasize these defenses even the accused don’t try."

          but your fantasizing is perfectly fine, I bet.

    5. "My second question is, even if the person who read the emails had lawful possession of the laptop, did that entitle him to read the emails?"

      That's a complicated question with a lot of "it depends"s in the answer. Start with the copyrights. Reading the materials on the laptop that were/are copyrighted is very likely privileged, but circumventing the technological protections of the copyrighted materials is not legal thanks to the DMCA.

      Now, some people claim the device had child porn images on it. That creates some problems because of what the shop owner did (copying the hard drive data and distributing it to Mr. Giuliani)

  17. This is the TRUTH about Covid. You owe it to your kids to watch this interview...and then SHARE it:

    1. "Concerned about the record Covid case Numbers? Here’s why they happen:"

      That's a lot of URL for "the virus spreads really, really easily among people who aren't vigilant about suppressing it.", which has been known for over a year and isn't a big reveal.

  18. In February I officially leave New York State for the Great State of Tennessee. Goodbye Cuomo..goodbye NYC bolsheviks once and for all. And real libertarians not cosmo types like in NY.

    Freedom...liberty..2021 is a big the accelerating downfall of statism and central banking...can't wait!

    1. Watch out for exploding RVs in your utopia.

      1. Safer than NYC, Buffalo, Rochester, Utica, Albany....Syracuse

        nuff said

        1. Well, the lame media aren't covering RV explosions in any of the cities you mention, so it's hard to compare directly. How are you comparing the rates of RV explosions between Nashville and Buffalo? Is it related to the NFL season? Buffalo had a long run of poor NFL outcomes after a peak of success in the early 90's, whereas Nashville's team more recently disappointed its fans by over-achieving a bit the past two seasons (without reaching the NFL championship game)

          1. The less said about NYC's pro football teams, the better.


      High school diploma
      Tennessee 38

      Undergraduate degree
      Tennessee 42

      Graduate degree
      Tennessee 37

      If you like half-educated bigots, Tennessee appears to be a dreamboat.

      1. Oh I don't think you want to go there. Let's look Tennessee by demographics...versus New York for example and degrees by meaning. Engineering, Hard Science, Business...the State does very well. FedEx is HQ there...ALL major car firms have production facilities there. It is a high growth state unlike say NY or Cali. Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, Florida is the future...Illinois is the for intelligence...any state which embraces bolshevikism like my home state of NY is by definition mentally deficient.

        1. New York is ranked sixth with respect to graduate degrees.

          Tennesee: Half-educated. Superstitious. Bigots.

          You seem to belong there, with the rest of the Confederate flag-fondling, racist, stale-thinking Republicans.

          1. You got a lot of wedgies when you were a kid, right?

            1. Not one. I was on a wrestling team that didn't haze -- which, I have learned, may have been regrettably rare.

              You figure fledgling incels and conservative malcontents were the popular kids?

              1. You just seem exactly like the type of kid who got a lot of wedgies, that is all.

                1. You'd know all about kids who got lots of wedgies, wouldn't you?

        2. " Let’s look Tennessee by demographics…versus New York for example and degrees by meaning. Engineering, Hard Science, Business…the State does very well."

          But are the sports teams any good?

      2. "If you like half-educated bigots, Tennessee appears to be a dreamboat."

        But do their doctoral degree achievers expect to be addressed as "doctor"? Because that's the only thing educational attainment is good for.

  19. Has anyone here developed an effective method of wearing a face mask that does not cause one's eyeglasses to fog up?

    1. I wear my contact lenses.

      You're welcome.

      1. I saw one person recommend Rain X on their glasses. Don't know if that is advisable with every type of lens but they swore by it (and have a job that requires wearing a mask about 12 hours a day.)

      2. I'm not sure wearing your contact lenses is the best option for me. But I'd be willing to try.

    2. "Has anyone here developed an effective method of wearing a face mask that does not cause one’s eyeglasses to fog up?"


      1. Yes, you're probably right. Or cataract surgery.

      2. Probably different on every face. For me, bending the wire to my nose, and keeping the top of the mask inside and above the bottom of the glasses seems to do the trick.

        1. I got LASIK and stopped wearing glasses. Extremely effective at keeping glasses from fogging up due to wearing a mask or any other reason.

    3. Sure. Inhale normally, purse your lips and exhale through the mask. Works for me when I need to wear sunglasses, or put on my reading glasses at work.

      Also, most good masks have this bendable wire thing in the top middle. You're supposed to bend it to conform to your nose, for a better seal. But the pursed lips trick works even on masks without it.

      1. And with the mask on, nobody can accuse you of making a Trump face.

      2. The nose wire doesn't help at all for me. I'll have to try the pursed lips thing.

        I find breathing gently through the mouth and adjusting the mask so there's a downward outlet works best, but "best" is still not great, unfortunately.

      3. Brett, that's interesting, I'll give it a try. I am very conscious of the bendable wire, and am constantly trying to make the shape better around my nose, but it doesn't seem to prevent the fogging for me.

  20. I figure some of the Conspirators know Sen. Josh Hawley from Federalist Society events, or right-wing Supreme Court clerk gatherings. I'm trying to gauge what to expect next week when the opportunity to challenge electors develops.

    When Josh Hawley is ass-kissing, is he a tongue-forward, enthusiastic guy, or should we expect an endless series of frequent, light pecks? Will he bring any evidence to the party, or is he likely to just launch hollow, embarrassing, partisan polemics? Will he start begging baby Jesus to help him, or maybe even start speaking in tongues on the Senate floor?

    If you guys want to keep what happens at the Federalist Society to yourselves, I'll understand. Misfits need to stick together, and we will all observe whether Josh Hawley has any evidence or scruples soon enough. I'm betting "neither."

    1. Here's what will happen. A small number of politicians will go on record as opposing the idea that the guy who got the highest number of votes wins the election.
      Surprisingly, this is not a career-ending position to take, but neither is it the majority position, and so objecting to the EC results will not carry the day.
      Rep. Hawley's pardon will be in the mail, possibly before we find out why he needs one.

      1. I understand that, in football, they oppose the idea that the team that got the most yards running won the game, too.

        1. In football, the team that scores the highest number of goals wins. You don't get any points for running around.

          But sure, explain how the guy with 232 votes is really the winner of the election instead of the guy with 304.

    2. ha ha ha. Oh boy I'm not the only one bored with woke net flix offerings tonight. Josh Hawley is doing great work...continuing the crap the dems started four years ago with the "Russia" election hoax. Keep it going and perhaps we will so discredit the Federal Government we can shrink it back to what the Constitution intended...a small compact of the States with very limited power. Democracy isn't the solution by the way...republicanism with a week central govt is the path to freedom..

      1. And, if we succeed in making the US more like Mexico, maybe the Mexicans won't want to come here so much. Dirt streets, dirty water, acid rain, more black lung disease. That's what we need.

        1. What is not clear is why these people who want a powerless government don't simply relocate themselves to a country that has one. Somalia is lovely this time of year. Plenty of guns and no taxation... Utopian liberty for everyone.

          1. What a tired cliche. Somalia isn't an anarchy, it has an excess of governments fighting over who gets the monopoly.

            1. Sounds like a great opportunity for a freedom-loving gun owner to step into.

  21. I am skeptical with respect to current polling, and Georgia still seems an uphill climb for Democrats for a few more years (until more of the old bigots die off and are replaced by younger, better, less rural, less religious, less backward, more diverse voters), but some recent numbers from Georgia have inclined me to have an extra beer this New Year's Eve . . . two Democratic senators from Georgia would be quite a nice start to a promising year.

    1. You must be really fun at parties.

      1. I was elected president of the largest fraternity on campus a couple of months after I was initiated. We averaged 24 kegs a week (14 delivered each Thursday, 10 each Saturday) during the school year. I recall having fun at parties.

        Keep trying, Jimmy. You're bound to get something right one of these days.

        1. So you were President of a rape factory that served alcohol to ply young women....OK, now things make a little more sense...

          1. Were your rapes independent, then?

    2. " (until more of the old bigots die off and are replaced by younger, better, less rural, less religious, less backward, more diverse voters)"

      The Republicans did their best to hurry things along, holding super-spreader events to get everyone sick with a disease that mostly kills old people.

      1. Yeah, it's easy to pretend the left didn't hold any superspreader events, when you order the contact tracers not to ask about them. A policy not limited to NYC.

        1. Yeah, it's easier to win arguments when you attack the arguments the other guy didn't make.

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