Thursday Open Thread


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  1. Well I have a question for VC Conspirators. I follow Glenn Greenwald (along with Bari Weiss) over at substack, and Greenwald wrote a rather provocative article (link below) on how the Congress may be violating(?) 1-A with regard to press freedoms, and social media. Leaving the politics aside (difficult to do, I know), I am curious on what legally minded VC Conspirators think of the following in a constitutional sense:

    If Congress compels (directly or indirectly) the appearance of corporate CEOs of corporations to testify in hearings repeatedly under oath that explicitly carries criminal penalties for ‘lying’, is this an unconstitutional attempt to influence those companies policies/operations, and/or political speech those companies might engage in?

    Why or why not?

    1. The flip side question is if, after such pressure the corporation(s) actually go ahead with the censorship, does the pressure convert the otherwise private act into state censorship, a 1st amendment violation?

    2. Leaving the politics out of it, I think it is a damn dangerous precedent to be engaging in — imagine what Ted Cruz and others could do to the NYTimes and similar publications they dislike using similar tactics when they are in the majority.

      1. Far, far less, because the Democrats are pressuring these outlets to do something they’re already ideologically inclined to do, while Cruz would be pressuring them to do the opposite of what they’re inclined to do.

        It’s not so much ‘pressure’ in the present case, as it is “permission”.

        1. Don’t trouble yourself.
          The free market will fix it.

        2. One of the key aspects of fascism was the use of large corporations to support the state (or at least one party of it), and the state
          in turn supporting the large corporations. This neatly got around the protections in the Constitution for certain rights.

          Other classic bits of fascism included the 3 negations. Anti (classic)-liberalism, anti-conservatism, and anti-communism.

          There is also the he creation of a nationalist dictatorship to regulate economic structure and to transform social relations as a key sign of fascism…

          1. But fascism is a right wing movement and the Democrats embrace everyone who isn’t a Republican or white or Christian. How are the left wingers “fascist”?

            1. Fascism was only “right wing” in comparison to communism. In today’s society, the concepts of fascism would easily be considered left wing, by combining big corporate power with state control over the economy.

              There are many elements of the “new” Democratic party that are essentially fascist.

              1. Calling it “fascism” will short circuit a liberal’s brain. Call it corporatism and you might have a better appeal to left wingers. I’ve been watching Jimmy Dore short-circuit on YouTube and it’s pretty funny. Glenn Greenwald is also kvetching up a storm about all the alliances being formed between Democratic political power groups and corporate interests.

              2. The further left one goes, the closer to socialism one gets. So I’m having a hard time understanding how big corporate power would be a leftist thing. And I’ve always understood that to be the primary practical difference between fascism and communism: The fascists empower big corporations, the socialists turn them over to the workers.

                1. *worker’s representatives (in the Communist Party)

                  1. Oh, I’m not going to claim that socialism as practiced in the former USSR was free from corruption, cronyism, and self dealing by those at the top. But note the qualifier “as practiced”.

                    In theory, under socialism, everyone has the same standard of living. Did the peasants enjoy the same standard of living Stalin did? Of course not. So to that extent, it was fallen humans failing to live up to their principles, which is not quite the same thing as the substance of the principles themselves. Kind of like the Christian pastor who has an affair with a parishioner — that, too, is failure to live up to principles and says nothing about the tenets of Christianity itself.

                    1. In theory, under a Ponzi scam, all the investors get great returns. In theory, when somebody sells you the Brooklyn bridge, you can charge people to cross it.

                      The nice features of socialism, in theory, are similar. If you think otherwise, you’re one of the marks.

                    2. I’m far more of a capitalist than a socialist though I probably support more regulation than you would. But the difference between your two examples and actual socialism is that the guy selling me the Brooklyn Bridge doesn’t own it, so the problem is with your premise. Socialism, on the other hand, would have looked a lot different in the Soviet Union if those at the top had applied it to their own lives.

                    3. But it’s not an accident they didn’t, is the point. They NEVER do.

                      The promise is a scam, and the people who believe it are marks.

                    4. A scam like a fake university or a fraudulent charity foundation? The guy behind those knew his marks, didn’t he?

                    5. Well, almost no Christian ever lives out the tenets of Christianity. Doesn’t resolve the question of what the world would look like if the tenets were lived out.

                    6. you trivialize the profound level of corruption that actually allowed the Soviet economic system to avoid collapse. Many if not most factories, maintained most of their production “offline.

                    7. By busting ass, you can get ahead. But in such a regime, you do not.

                      Note communism tries to keep up the external show fascade by aping capitalism — athletes and scientists who do good on the world stage get upgraded digs, and get to keep the blue jeans abd consumer electronics they buy overseas.

                      And in any case, this is just a surface argument to seize control so you can be the wealthy first among equals.

                      To say the problem with capitalism is pigs in control of industry, and the solution is to have centralized control, so the piggiest pig of all gets to control all is simply not logical.

                2. “So I’m having a hard time understanding how big corporate power would be a leftist thing.”

                  A “leftist thing” is increasing state control over the economy. There are a number of ways to do it. One is just to take over everything (ie, communism). But a different way to do it is to have government “cooperation” with a series of large corporations, where the corporations do what the government wants, and the government in turn ensures that just those large corporations remain, without real competition.

                  That second option is how the Democrats are currently operating. Squish small business. Have a “relationship” with large corporations that do what the government wants, and the government in turn keeps enriching them.

                  1. Well, that’s an interesting definition for “leftist thing”; I’m not sure many others would agree. The right can be just as big government as the left. Are you seriously claiming the right to life movement is leftist because it wants the state to make reproductive decisions for women?

                    1. Are you seriously claiming the right to life movement is leftist because it wants the state to make reproductive decisions for women?

                      How exactly are you getting the above from “increasing state control over the economy”?

                    2. Sounds like immigration restrictions are also a leftist thing, since labor is certainly part of the economy.

                    3. “The right can be just as big government as the left. Are you seriously claiming the right to life movement… ”

                      1. That a social issue, not economic.

                      2. From the point of view of the right to life movement, they are trying to protect the rights and lives of Americans who cannot effectively defend themselves. From their view, they are much like the abolutionists who fought for African American freedom from slavery, while the “right to choose” side is playing the role of those who believe they should have the right to choose to enslave African Americans or not. It should be their choice.

                    4. Because ultimately everything is about the economy. A decision to have children or not have children impacts the economic well being of the parties involved, but cumulatively it also impacts the economy of the state. There is good research showing that crime rates started to drop about 20 years after Roe v Wade because a lot of children who would have grown up to be abused, neglected and abandoned were instead aborted. Given the demographics of where most abortions happen, adding all those abortions to the voter rolls has probably changed some election outcomes.

                      Now, economic considerations are not generally at the forefront of the abortion debate, and if you really believe (as I do not) that it’s killing babies, then you probably don’t care about the economics of it. But there’s no escaping that banning abortion would have a significant affect on the economy, whether the partisans on either side think about it or not. Nor is there any denying that banning abortion would involve the government placing its thumb on the economic scale thanks to all those unintended consequences.

                    5. they are trying to protect the rights and lives of Americans who cannot effectively defend themselves

                      It’s hard to accept this argument when the right to life movement disowns an important logical consequence of it: a charge of first degree murder for a woman who has an abortion.

                    6. Re: Economic issue v Social issue.

                      Again, typically leftists try to increase government control over the economy. Abortion is primarily a social issue. To the extent it effects economics, it is neither additional or less government control.

                      I’ll say, the crime argument is particularly twisted, especially given the direct comparison to slavery I gave. It’s akin to arguing that the slaves should’ve never been freed, because of the resulting increase in crime 20 years later.

                    7. Armchair, the reason for most abortions is economic: The women can’t afford to have a child. And yes, it is government control over the economy.

                      I’m not going to get into the question of when life begins because that horse has already been beaten to death, but I just flat out disagree with you that it’s killing a child, so your slavery analogy is misplaced.

                    8. “I just flat out disagree with you that it’s killing a child”

                      That’s fine. People flat out disagreed that African Americans were real people too.

                    9. The African Americans had been born.

                  2. Armchair, interesting post. If there were any relevant forum for it, I would be a big advocate of small business, free-market capitalism, combined with big business regulated-market quasi-socialism. That does seem to be what some of the right-wing folks with Facebook worries are close to advocating. Would you sign on?

                    I should mention, however, that in some industries—publishing being one of them—I would insist that the small-business capitalism be the only option. I would tend to do that in other instances where non-market public policy issues were an important factor.

                3. That’s a poor understanding. Fascism allows corporations to nominally remain private, but only if they do what the state asks them to. Fascism is not above nationalizing recalcitrant businesses (see Peronism in Argentina, which is definitely Fascist and nationalized companies. You can also check the Nazi history of transferring companies into the hands of loyal party members – ‘private’ only in a nominal sense). That’s not really ownership – ownership means making decisions, and here the state is actually making the decisions. And this tolerance for nominal private ownership is mostly an issue of priorities – it wasn’t worth fighting the corporations when they could be pressured to comply voluntarily.

                  Fascists are socialists but not internationalists. Where the marxist thinks internationally, in terms of all proletariat everywhere, the fascist thinks based on national allegiance (e.g., germans) or race (e.g., aryans). There’s no appreciation for the individual as an individual, so how could there truly be philosophical support for private ownership?

                  1. Squirrelloid, you are struggling with a problem which has defeated specialists. Smart historians gave up trying to define fascist ideology and practice years ago. Fascists everywhere have been opportunists, which makes the test of fascism pretty much the same as the experience of fascism. You define fascism by what fascists did, and that’s the best anyone can really do. Naturally, that makes for a broad and varied definition.

                    But there is one generalization which you can count on. When libertarians assert fascists are socialists, they are always wrong. Everywhere, fascism has been avowedly antagonistic to socialism, and likewise in practice. Fascists recognized that and said so. Socialists recognized that and said so. Nervous libertarians do not recognize that and say so, apparently because they recognize that here and there, libertarianism skates uncomfortably close.

                    More generally, you can’t deduce history from ideology. History is 100% experience. There is no ideological method to tell anyone what bygone experience actually was. Trying to do that is just foolishness.

      2. We have just four years to turn Texas permanently blue. The border is open to all who come but I don’t know if that will be enough to kick Ted out of office and ensure a Democrat is always in the White House.

      3. Dr. Ed, what do you suppose Ted Cruz could do to the NYT? You think Cruz v. the NYT looks like a winner for the national ambitions of Cruz? I think that’s funny.

    3. Glenn is just being hysterical, as is typical of a homosexual. The threat to freedom of speech and a free, independent journalistic class has ended now that Trump has been ejected from office. Now, Americans can breathe a sigh of relief and return back to normalcy. I heard that Joe Biden was playing Mario Kart with his granddaughter last week and Barack Obama broke a man’s nose once for using a racial slur. How masculine! I’m glad I don’t have to be troubled anymore with insulting Tweets directed at noble journalists, like Jake Tapper @ CNN

    4. This does appear to be particularly insidious.

      1. Well to me, here is the actual question.

        What exactly are the boundaries of Congressional behavior that are allowable when our enumerated 1A rights are at play. Are serial hearings with testimony gathered under oath (with potential criminal penalties for ‘false’ testimony) a form of intimidation?

        No law is being made, per se. But law (or the congressional hearing process) is being used by the House in a manner I have not really seen before. But is it unconstitutional?

        1. Is it unconstitutional?

          Probably not right now.

          If you could make a consistent argument that it was designed to affect policy and not merely be questioning and obtaining information…then perhaps.

        2. Commenter_XY, the nation has seen before what you describe. It was called McCarthyism.

          That is not what is happening in congress now, except when Republicans get power, and even they really don’t do what McCarthy did. Their cynicism is alike, though.

          The Ds genuinely want to know what is going on, so they can write laws and regulate it. They are willing to make a point repeatedly, to build political support. Don’t see how that can be a 1A problem. More the opposite.

          The power to embarrass and chasten morally corrupt—but legal—business practices is more a by-product. I suppose if there were any chance the embarrassment would work on its own (there isn’t), the laws and regulations wouldn’t be needed.

          1. “The Ds genuinely want to know what is going on, so they can write laws and regulate it…Don’t see how that can be a 1A problem.”

            If you haven’t read the column you may have missed where two members of congress wrote to the heads of the major cable providers asking whether they intended to “continue to carry Fox News [and several others] both now and beyond any contract renewal date?” and “If so, why?”

            Would this change your calculation? To me this seems far worse than requiring testimony in DC…

            1. Should have read just a touch further downthread…

    5. It looks like some Democratic Senators sent a letter to cable companies demanding justification for their decision to carry Fox News and other news channels. I hope this gets more than a little pushback.

    6. “If Congress compels (directly or indirectly) the appearance of corporate CEOs of corporations to testify in hearings repeatedly under oath that explicitly carries criminal penalties for ‘lying’, is this an unconstitutional attempt to influence those companies policies/operations, and/or political speech those companies might engage in?

      Why or why not?”

      Short answer: No.

      Long answer- while it might be unwise, or unjust, it would not be unconstitutional. The ability of Congress to investigate (and to engage in a fact-finding enterprise) cannot, itself, be unconstitutional. As you put it in a comment later on, you think it might be … intimidation. But that’s neither a prior restraint nor a subsequent punishment. It’s not … a law.

      To be more specific- imagine Congress kept debating a law that would negatively impact Facebook. That might “intimidate” them. But it wouldn’t violate the FA.

      Long story short- we really need to stop trying to say that everything we don’t like is unconstitutional. Or we end up like the guy in the Onion.

      1. Hey…thanks for the thoughtful response, loki13.

        Is this a situation where there is ‘play in the joints’ in how a branch chooses to execute it’s power?

        1. Yes.

          Part of the issue is that, as obnoxious as Congress can be, when it comes to the hearings … it’s mostly an issue of annoyance. When was the last time you remember that a person was in serious legal jeopardy because of their testimony before Congress – sure, it does happen, famously in the Iran-Contra affair, and Michael Cohen, but when it comes to CEOs with a raft of expensive attorneys … it’s more the annoyance factor.

          Not to mention the incentives and the diminishing returns. Congress has two big issues that you have to remember- first, they care about getting elected, and calling the same people over and over has seriously diminishing returns in terms of publicity and getting re-elected (or getting contributions). Second, they have responsibilities other than these hearings (which are incredibly time-consuming). Mostly fundraising. Occasionally legislating.

          Basically, it’s a problem that solves itself.

          1. When was the last time you remember that a person was in serious legal jeopardy because of their testimony before Congress

            In addition to the ones you named, several MLB players, as a result of steroids hearings.

            1. Yes, but Clemens didn’t get convicted.

              If you take the number of times people lie to Congress, and then look at the actual ramifications, it is a non-zero number, but it’s also so close to zero given the number of people that lie that it’s effectively zero. Similar to perjury.

              The actual consequences of testifying to Congress, for a well-lawyered tech CEO, is approximately zero.

              1. Yes, but Clemens didn’t get convicted.

                Miguel Tejada did.

    7. “…is this an unconstitutional attempt to influence those companies policies/operations, and/or political speech those companies might engage in?”

      No. Compelling testimony before Congress is a core component of the Legislature. There is no way that the ratifiers intended for the 1A to prevent Congress from doing something so fundamental to legislation. Even under non-originalist, squishy 1A jurisprudence, it’s hard to see how compelling testimony from specific people would not be narrowly tailored, anyway. SCOTUS is not going to involve itself in the affairs of the legislature like that.

  2. At what point, if any, will Biden/Harris start getting pushback from the courts? With all the injunctions filed against Trump, and all the conservative jurisdictions, I honestly am surprised that we haven’t seen *any* yet.

    1. Did you miss that deportation moratorium injunction?

      Judge blocks Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations

      I’ll admit this injunction doesn’t appear to have much company.

      1. Ah, the dreaded nationwide injunction coming out of TX. The irony here is amusing. FTR, I am not a big fan of nationwide injunctions coming from a district, or circuit court level. Too prone to perceived abuse.

        Next up, an APA challenge to POTUS Biden’s abrupt immigration policy change, I am sure. I read many blog posts here praising the value and utility of APA challenges.

        But does APA actually apply in this case? Why, or why not?

      2. “Judge blocks Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations”

        This one is actually disturbing. People shouldn’t be deported under Biden’s authority if Biden says that they shouldn’t.

        1. The issue, I believe, is that the moratorium on deportations, when combined with a legal limit on how long they can be detained, translated into a practical requirement that they be released, which is the harm that gave Texas standing, since they’d be released into Texas, or be capable of traveling there if released.

          But, yes, I found the idea of an agency being enjoined from refraining from an action a bit odd; Isn’t that more like a writ of mandimus?

          I think what resolves it is that the ICE actually want to deport these people, and had already gotten deportation orders against them, and the Biden administration is enjoined from preventing them from doing their job.

          1. Brett…I thought there was a contract type issue here. Under POTUS Trump, TX entered into formal legal agreements that had specific terms with ICE and DHS. I seem to recall reading something with the aspect of, “You have to honor the deal you made’.

            1. As I previously said on that topic, it was a Trump effort at “sue and settle”, but missing the essential elements of being sued, and settling. Sue and settle works because it gives the judiciary an institutional reason to support the locking in of policy: Once they’ve agreed to the settlement, violating it is a challenge to their own authority.

              The deal Trump entered lacked that enforcement motivation.

        2. “Judge blocks Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations”

          This one is actually disturbing. People shouldn’t be deported under Biden’s authority if Biden says that they shouldn’t.

          Yes, but that’s the brave new world the left forged under Trump — stop decisions by ensuring every i is dotted or prosaic constitutional violation declarations, or, barring that, unconstitutionally elevate the judicial branches’ reasoning over that of the proper, constitutionally-assigned branch.

          It’s their world, and, as happened in the past, the Repubs are slowly learning to weaponize the left’s own weapons turned against themselves.

          Every now and then there are tweets or columns by those on the left how they are shocked…shocked! this has happened.

    2. The answer is pretty obvious, Trump’s people did a awful job at crafting ECs. How many of Trump’s EC could have passed muster in the courts if his staff had read through and edited them. I am sure the Biden Administration is doing there homework and having the lawyers proof the ECs first.

      A second point is that most of President Biden’s ECs are popular and that will mean less push back. Most of President’s Trump EC were meant to be divisive. Designed to appeal to a small radical portion of his base.

      1. I’m not entirely sure “Trump’s people” were the ones crafting the EC’s, though they should have been. To what extent is that reliant on the career bureaucracy, which were lousy with ‘resistance’ members?

        But, yes, one of the reasons I supported Trump’s run for President was that I expected him, as a private sector executive, to be good at staffing. I was rather disappointed in that regard.

        1. There are two components to being a good president: Having good ideas, and having the competence to get them carried out. Whether or not one agrees with Trump’s policies, he was pretty thoroughly incompetent. I think that’s largely a function of personal loyalty being the most important qualifications for those he hired.

          1. I think there was a component of having to rely on a political establishment opposed to him, though: They were feeding him people for jobs who could be relied upon to oppose him.

            That’s a perennial problem when you’re an insurgent who wins.

            1. Brett Bellmore : “That’s a perennial problem when you’re an insurgent who wins”

              What kind of insurgent? Trump’s cultists try to glorify their idol with talk of insurgency, as if their boy-band-hero was dedicated to high goals & concerted action against the establishment. Unfortunately, mischievous trolling & brat-child theatrics doesn’t rate high as revolutionary principals. Suppose you eliminate the huckster shill, set aside Trump’s raw contempt for the office he held, and ignore the standard Republican fare. What’s left? Mainly an empty shell, but also some scattershot cartoon actions on trade & immigration – none of which with an ounce of strategy behind them. Pretty hard to see in an “insurgency” in that.

              The only thing revolutionary about Trump was he moved reality-TV into the Oval Office. Instead of “Real Housewives from New Jersey” we had “Real President from the White House”.

              I admit that’s new. Whether it justifies Brett’s ardor, I leave to him to decide

              1. He was an insurgent against the GOP establishment. This meant that he had no real allies in the Republican power structure, even though he’d actually won the nomination.

                Republican voters were behind him, but the party establishment had barely disguised their desire that he lose the general election back in 2016.

                1. Ah, yes. A completely content-free insurgency, based on the entertainment factor alone.

                2. Republican voters were behind him, but the party establishment had barely disguised their desire that he lose the general election back in 2016.

                  That’s why they endorsed him, campaigned for him, donated money to him, turned a blind eye to his numerous failings, etc. That’s why people like Cruz and Rubio and Graham crawled to him.

                  Do you realize how ridiculous you sound?

                  Besides, why would they fight his policies? According to you, at least, his policies were standard GOP stuff, and a lot of them were – cut taxes on rich people, appoint RW judges, etc.

                3. He was an insurgent against the GOP establishment.

                  In 2015. By May 2016, he was the GOP establishment, and there was no opposition to him among the GOP.

                4. Barely disguised their desire to lose in 2016? Some loudly called for it as the only thing to teach the party rank and file to not do such stupid stuff.

        2. ‘To what extent is that reliant on the career bureaucracy, which were lousy with ‘resistance’ members?’

          Keep the engine running on the old Deep State myth

          ‘I expected him, as a private sector executive, to be good at staffing’

          Did you people do even the most cursory due diligence on the guy you decided to make the most powerful executive officer in the world? I get that most of you just didn’t care and stand charged with reckless indifference, but to claim to be ‘disappointed’ is a bit much.

          1. I’ve come to think that the deep state means all government employees whose first loyalty was to the Constitution and laws rather than to Trump, and who did their jobs accordingly.

            1. More like, their first loyalty was to established policy, not the Constitution.

              1. If you see Trump as a bull in a china shop, then maybe loyalty to established policy isn’t such a bad thing.

              2. Their first loyalty was more likely to keeping things functioning with an unfathomable idiot in charge.

              3. Brett Bellmore : More like, their first loyalty was to established policy, not the Constitution.

                Examples? I have one in mind (and a pretty extreme one at that), but it’s the only one & why do your job for you? Your problem, Brett, is that much of what was described as “deep state” dealings were about Trump’s transgressive, unethical & childish behavior, not policy or substance.

                People didn’t write scathing tell-all accounts because of policy minutiae, they did so because their boss was a abusive buffoon, idiot & jerk. They didn’t testify in the first impeachment due to disagreement over Ukrainian policy, but because Trump tried to shake-down another country for private gain. There are accounts of aides ignoring Trump’s ranting requests, but they usually concerned illegal or unethical acts.

                So where was the deep-state sabotage, Brett?

                1. Reminds me of Henry Kissinger’s famous explanation for how Watergate happened: “Some damn fool left the Oval Office with no better sense than to do as he’d been told.”

                2. Look at Jim Jeffrey, for instance. There’s no constitutional requirement for us to maintain troops in Syria, a President certainly has the full legal authority as commander in chief to order them home.

                  But Jeffrey lied to Trump about troop numbers in order to frustrate his lawful commands. Deep state sabotage to maintain established policy contrary to the lawful authority of a President.

                  1. I’m not familiar with the facts of Jim Jeffrey and Syria. Going only on what you have said, it’s entirely plausible that since Trump has a boundless supply of ignorance on every other subject, that he may have been driving us off a cliff in Syria and required an intervention. Not saying that’s what happened, just that it’s certainly plausible.

                    Of course you’re right that subordinates should not disregard presidential instructions just because they disagree with them. But that assumes a sane, rational, thinking person in the Oval Office.

                  2. Brett : “Deep state sabotage to maintain established policy contrary to the lawful authority of a President”

                    I said I had one example in mind of a serious attempt to thwart Trump’s orders. Congrats; you got it in one….

                    1. I would’ve thought you meant Sally Yates on the Muslim Ban.

                  3. But Jeffrey lied to Trump about troop numbers

                    That’s not what the article says.

                    Not to mention that Jeffrey wasn’t even in the chain of command, or in the DoD at all, and so couldn’t have kept the information from Trump if he had wanted to.

              4. How soon we forget the bizarre meeting where he had his cabinet go around the table praising him like a dear leader.

          2. “Keep the engine running on the old Deep State myth…”

            The fashionable term is “institutional integrity”.

            1. The more accurate term, yes.

            2. As Trump deadenders construct their modern equivalent of a “Lost Cause” myth, time for the rest of us consider the coda to our WWE-style president. So, three questions :

              1. Will it rain tell-all accounts, or what? Trump had significantly more than his share these past four years, despite being a vengeful petty man holding the most powerful office or earth. We surely face countless scathing/hilarious/tragic accounts of buffoonery.

              2. Speaking of which, what about his memoir? No matter who the ghost-writer, the inevitable end will be crude lies, inchoate rage, incendiary rhetoric, vainglorious boasting – and high comedy as the certain result. Pencil in some time in the distance future for a good laugh.

              3. And what about my specialty, architecture? Trump will need a library and the mind whirls at the mere thought. Presidential libraries are not a distinguished genre of the building arts, though Clinton’s wasn’t bad and Obama’s looks promising. (Also, the Norwegian firm Snøhetta has a good start on Teddy’s. See below).

              It’ll be fascinating to see Trump’s, since I’m sure he won’t disappoint his fans w/ anything less than an uglified kitsch monstrosity.


              1. Re: Trump’s presidential library
                Given Trump’s long disdain for presidential traditions, I suspect he will have little to no interest in his presidential library, and will take part as little as he can.

                Further, given that building a presidential library is an admission that he is not president, it wouldn’t surprise me if he refuses to go through with one. Particularly if he plans to run in 2024.

                If he does actually build a presidential library, expect it have a large, overt, and empty wing, labeled “second term”.

                1. It’ll just consist of a grift — I mean gift — shop.

            3. Not all of it is “integrity”, much of it is “institutional bias”.

    Oy vey! How did Tablet magazine come to public a white nationalist sympathizer? Unrestricted, unlimited immigration is absolutely necessary to drive the economy forward, except for Israel which has the law of return for Jews. What gives these goy the chutzpah to question their intellectual betters at the New York Times and Washington Post?

  4. Saw Merrick Garland footage this week. He looked fatigued. Also, there seemed evident more than a bit of Inspector Javert. I suspect Republican pro-insurrectionists—including maybe even some now in congress—could rue the day they decided not to put Garland on the Supreme Court.

    Impunity may be fine while it lasts, but brutal when it ends. Seems surprising more Rs are not already trying to ease up. Maybe now is not the time to be doubling down on Trumpism.

    Time and again, Mitch McConnell has cast his lot, and bet big on a future political outcome. Time and again he has won those bets. Partly, that is because McConnell has been well-positioned to affect (or even effect) the outcomes he bets on. Others have underestimated his ability to do it. They have not been let in on what exactly McConnell will do along the way.

    McConnell laid down a monster bet on a Trump fade from relevance and power. I don’t know what to make of the specifics, but it would not surprise me to discover later that it has something to do with Merrick Garland.

    1. Garland is going to be bad news, but he’d be worse on SCOTUS — and don’t forget what Bull Connor did *for* the Civil Rights Movement.

    2. Perhaps he’s fatigued because he didn’t realize the lengths he’d be required to go in repudiating basic legal principles, if he agreed to this job. He might have naively believed that the AG’s job was enforcing laws, not attacking civil liberties.

    3. Watching Garland testify, he seemed weak, very weak, and tortured with internal struggle – having to subvert his legal knowledge and even common sense to provide answers that are politically acceptable to the administration and Democrats. He came across to me as being intellectually dishonest and unprincipled.

      I don’t particularly care for McConnell, but he did the nation a huge service by keeping Garland off the SCOTUS.

      This is a moderate, by current Democratic standards? Holy cow.

      1. The nation was attacked by domestic terrorists. Now is not the time to kvetch about civil liberties when our democracy is threatened internally by white supremacists. Will you sit by while Trump and his Russian allies subvert our democracy or will you stand up so you can tell your grandchildren that you fought fascism, like your grandparents before you.

        1. I have no idea what you’re talking about, or how it may be related to what I posted. Are your replies automatically generated?

          1. My point was that Garland’s compromised legal views are acceptable given the current narrative that the nation was under an existential threat from the rioters on 6 January 2021. Democrats are making the Capitol riot another 9/11 event so they can milk a new outrage event for the next few years, similar to the kvetching surrounding the Trump-Russiagate scandal.

            1. The utility in that regard, and just how obvious that it wouldn’t advance any interests of Trump’s or the right generally, is why I suspect it may have been a Reichstag fire.

              1. It would have advanced their interests if they’d succesfully bent the system to their will, and though it might not have worked it must be assumed – there’s no reason to think otherwise – that bending or breaking systems to suit their will is going to be their central political goal moving forward.

                1. Nobody could have reasonably, or for any remotely sane value of unreasonably, thought that attack on the Capitol would redound to Trump’s benefit.

                  To strengthen the spines or intimidate Republican members into voting as he wanted, a noisy protest outside the building would have been helpful, and that’s what he was calling for, explicitly.

                  An attack would have had to have been all in, a genuine coup, to have worked.

                  A minor attack, such as actually happened, was almost perfectly calculated to make Trump’s election contest radioactive. Which is what it did. From Trump’s perspective, it would make no sense at all.

                  But it came in really handy for the Democrats.

                  1. Hey, Brett – Why not unpeel that tin foil wrap off your head? “Reichstag fire” is truly pathetic nonsense, even for you.

                    As for your comment : “Nobody could have reasonably, or for any remotely sane value of unreasonably, thought that attack on the Capitol would redound to Trump’s benefit”, have you tried extending that “analysis” to other aspects of Trump’s behavior post-election. Let’s give it a shot:

                    1. Nobody could have reasonably, or for any remotely sane value of unreasonably, thought that nonstop lying could reverse a Trump election loss.

                    But Trump lied anyway.

                    2. Nobody could have reasonably, or for any remotely sane value of unreasonably, thought that Trump’s junk lawsuits would change anything, regardless of how judges he had named or SCOTUS positions he filled.

                    But Trump filed them by the scores.

                    3. Nobody could have reasonably, or for any remotely sane value of unreasonably, thought that state election officials would change their election returns to favor Trump, regardless of party affiliation.

                    But Trump pleaded & bullied in the crudest possible way.

                    4. Nobody could have reasonably, or for any remotely sane value of unreasonably, thought that Vice President Pence could single-handedly stop the election certification.

                    But Trump demanded it anyway, then sicced a mob on him when he refused.

                    The two months between Election Day and 06 January is full of Trump actions that defy sane reasonability. I’m not sure why you think that standard works for the one action you’re desperate to excuse. The people who invaded the Capitol thought they were obeying Trump’s call and stopping the election “steal”. Maybe you should get with them to explain the phasmagorical role you’ve assigned them in your fantasy drama.

                    And Trump thought the same: Witness his “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are” call to House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy – who was trapped inside a capitol building overrun by rioters.

                    I guess you need to worshiply approach your cult god and explain to Him you’ve scientifically proved it was impossible he believed that.

                  2. How was it handy for Democrats?

                  3. ‘Nobody could have reasonably, or for any remotely sane value of unreasonably, thought that attack on the Capitol would redound to Trump’s benefit.’

                    This class does not include Trump or his supporters. For anybody in that class, Trump’s election contest was radioactive, inasmuch as its only obvious purpose was to overthrow the results with no regard for the merits of any claims made, from November the 6th. It was not handy for the Democrats, since it signalled an opposition Party willing to tell any lie, threaten, cajole, and launch physical attacks to get what they want regardless of rules or procedures or laws, an incredibly volatile and intractable group to work with in what is supposed to be a bipartisan system of government.

                  4. Hey, Brett – Why not unpeel that tin foil wrap off your head?

                    Brett’s comments on this topic strike me as a perfect example of dissonance reduction.

                    He has two ideas:

                    1. The attack on the Capitol was shameful, criminal, utterly unjustified violence.

                    2. “His” side would never do such a thing. Political violence by the right is vanishingly rare. (Remember his comments about RW’ers cleaning up after demonstrations.)

                    Somehow he has to resolve the conflict, so he does it by arriving at the conclusion that the whole thing was planned and organized by the left, and sucked in a few basically innocent but naive Trump supporters, who are now being unfairly arrested for little more than wandering around the Capitol when the doors were open.

                    1. Brett’s (sadly) a lost cause. As he gets older, he loses more and more of his ability to see and think dispassionately. So, while he used to be a far-right conservative voice I’d look forward to reading here . . . he’s now a shrill, reflexive, unthinking voice. Sort of like a slightly-kinder version of the Daily Caller. Alas.

                      I lost all interest in trying to engage him in thoughtful discussion. I instead look for his “blind squirrel finds an acorn” moments. Which come less and less often. Again, alas. YMMV.

                  5. ‘Nobody could have reasonably, or for any remotely sane value of unreasonably, thought that attack on the Capitol would redound to Trump’s benefit.’

                    Been trying to tell you for years that all Trump supporters are by definition are stupid and/or crazy. So the fact that someone did something stupid and/or crazy does not in any way undermine the notion that they were trying to help Trump.

              2. Keep in mind all ths election fraud was to provide the Republicans (well, Trump wing) with ammo to hammer Biden for the next 4 years, as the Democrats hammered Trump.

                Both sides stink. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

                1. All this election fraud claim.

                  Golly. For want of a preview button, the horse shoe was lost.

            2. Men with spears a threat to a country with nukes?

            3. ” given the current narrative that the nation was under an existential threat from the rioters on 6 January 2021. ”

              This is all the more disqualifying. When times are allegedly heated, a good jurist or prosecutor compels his/herself to be above the fray and double down on the law as written.

          2. He’s somewhat of a satirist, if you hadn’t noticed. Rather more subtle than some of that sort here.

    4. “He looked fatigued.”

      He’s just an amiable figurehead anyway. So who cares.

      1. Compared to Muller, another figurehead, no one looks fatigued. At least Garland seemed to be somewhat aware of the issues he was asked questions about; albeit with a few big exceptions where he simply dodged the question. Muller was simply not even capable of dodging question.

        Garland’s answers to questions about the “mostly peaceful riots” in the NW being examples of terrorism told me all I needed to know about him. When court houses and police stations are set on fire and police stations are breached with explosives and set ablaze with LEOs inside (not to mention areas are occupied and deemed off limits to government authority for weeks) and Garland soft peddles it I am shocked anyone thinks he is anything but a political hack.

        What ever anyone thinks about what happened on 6 Jan 2021 it is delusional to claim there was anything close to a plan involved. It amuses me to read MSM claims that one guy there threw a fire extinguisher and hit three LEOs in the head with one throw. Not only is it hard for me to envision such a throw, it is even harder to understand how this was part of any plan.

        For Garland to claim a group that took over private and public land and maintained control for weeks (claiming they were the government and excluding legit local, state and federal control) is not domestic terrorism but a group of mostly peaceful peeps wandering around the capital and making symbolic claims for an afternoon is strains his credibility.

        1. Something on which far-left liberals and far-right conservatives can agree: Mueller did not cover himself in glory when he testified. Age robs us all.

  5. Amazon has reached near monopoly status for online book sales. However, it has now declared that books it considers “hate speech” (defined only by Amazon) will not be sold.

    Does this represent abuse of its monopoly status to discourage freedom of the press?

    1. You can download all the ebooks you want at Library Genesis (*God bless Russia and their lack of respect for copyright laws). Amazon is not a monopoly – you can buy ebooks elsewhere. Hate has no place at Amazon and questioning the lived experiences and validity of transfolx is a violent assault on their gender reality. Take your bigoted views and business elsewhere.

      1. Amazon represents an effective monopoly, given its massive market share. Few publishers can do without it.

        Your argument is like arguing the electric company isn’t a monopoly…you could also just install a generator and make your own electricity.

        1. Unlike a utility company, you are not prohibited from browsing to another URL to do your shopping for goods and services. Unless you are advocating 4+ telephone poles in your yard for the various electric, phone, internet, and cable companies you wish to do business with.

          1. Right, they’re not really a monopoly as such, (I get half my books from Barnes & Noble.) but they are the dominant company in a disturbingly large part of the economy.

            I suspect they’re deliberately giving B&N room to survive just to avoid ending up a legal monopoly.

            But one measure of whether a company is a monopoly, is if they have enough market power to start indulging in activities which would be bad for business in a competitive market. That’s actually why we find monopolies bad, after all: A monopoly that ruthlessly just provides the best possible product at the lowest possible price to all customers is not a horrible thing.

            By that measure Amazon IS starting to look like a monopoly.

          2. You make a bogus point. While Amazon is not a 100% supplier in the book market, it does exercise effective monopoly power in the market.
            Try to be a bit more nuanced in your respnses if not a bit more honest.

        2. Your argument is like arguing the electric company isn’t a monopoly…you could also just install a generator and make your own electricity.

          Until social pressures against generator manufacturers mount to not sell to disfavored folk.

    2. Indie bookshops – use ’em or lose ’em.

      1. Right before the pandemic I was visiting a city and walked by an “anarchist bookstore” that was just a little hole in the wall shop. Went in to take a look out of curiosity. Apparently it had been there for 50+ years and had a history of being shut down by the local government back in the day for selling “obscene” material. Noticed a rack that featured books by Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan. As I was talking to the guy who had worked there for 30 years and remarked I was surprised to see these titles there his response was, “yeah the government used to censor all the left wing stuff, but now they censor all the right wing stuff….we sell banned books because they are banned not because of the reason they are banned…”

        1. When did Ann Coulter or Pat Buchanan get banned?

          (Secondary question – would their books getting banned in any way interfere with their primary form of distribution via bulk buying scams?)

        2. Oh hey, fiction by Jimmy.

          1. JtD stealing Dr. Ed’s act.

            1. bernard,
              (funny…I think about 75% of the VC viewership had the *exact* same reaction re Dr Ed.) 🙂

        3. And the name of the guy who worked there? Albert Einstein.

      2. Also a shout-out for libraries – pinnacles of civilsation.

    3. I’m open-minded to the complaint, but I’m skeptical of the solutions.

      Simply put, none of the four solutions offered in that linked article would help. They might have helped a decade or two ago when Amazon was establishing itself as the giant in digital book publishing, but today? I can’t imagine a scenario where I stop getting 99% of my digital books from Amazon.

      And that’s the case for most everyone. Given that Amazon is so very selective in which books it doens’t carry, the number of people affected by these rare decisions just aren’t large enough to meaningfully shift people to different platforms. More people will go to different platforms because of anti-Amazon sentiment in general then over concern that Amazon is biased in which books it carries.

      Throw in that any attempt to legislate “you must carry these books” is going to have a million problems…

      To the degree that I agree it’s a problem, I don’t see the proposed solutions helping.

      1. EE,
        May I ask: Why on earth don’t you patronize your local libraries for more of your digital books? They can be an amazing resource.

        1. Short answer: “Because I want it NOW, daddy!”

          Long answer: I’m a “feast and famine” kind of reader, where I’ll binge a whole mess of books at once, often reading a book a day, and then go long periods where I read nothing. Libraries, physical or digital, don’t really work well that. There are often holds, wait lists, times you’re supposed to finish by, and so-on, which put pressure to finish and brakes on consumption.

          Throw in that a lot of the fiction I read is more niche fiction, or from small/independent publishers, and it’s just not in a lot of libraries, and certainly not my small town library†.

          Then there’s the whole “patron of the arts” angle. I know it’s not much from each purchase, but when I buy (or lease, in the case of digital) a book, that is some coin in the author’s pocket.

          All of which is to say, libraries have their use, and I fully support them (in fact, my husband, who has different reading‡ habits then I do, does use the local library for his reading‡ hobby), but they do not suit me for my leisure reading.
          †And by “my small town” I actually mean “the town next door”, as my town of 1000 people doesn’t have a library. The next town over is only marginally bigger, and mostly only exists because it’s the only public library in roughly a hundred miles each direction. The west is kinda like that in a lot of places.
          ‡And by “reading” I mean “listening”. He goes through a lot of audio books.

  6. Hi there, thanks for reading this. I’m being censored. That’s why I’m writing a piece in a major publication that you are consuming easily and for free. Because I am being absolutely and completely muzzled.

    “This is the kind of magazine you keep on your bookshelves with your favorite books.”
    — Cece Bell, author of El Deafo
    Also, I just went on a massively-watched TV show to let you know that my voice is being down-right suffocated. I basically can’t talk to anyone. Which is why I’m talking to all of you.

    And now I’m here, in this widely-read media outlet, to say that there is a giant piece of tape over my mouth and, more importantly, the mouth of America. I have the eyes and ears of the world on me, and I am just totally and entirely gagged.

    There’s no avoiding it: I am being silenced. We’re all being silenced. And it’s all any of us can talk about.

    The truth is, you can’t say anything anymore without someone else saying something about what you just said. And that’s censorship. There’s no two ways about it.

    “Gentle, playful and laced with subtle wit, these essays are a welcome balm in an insane and un-gentle time.”
    —Mary Gaitskill, author of This is Pleasure and Bad Behavior
    I weep for this country, where the media completely cancels anyone with a different point of view, like the one I’m expressing in this highly popular newspaper.

    So, what can we do about it? How do we make our voices heard when all we can do is write opinion pieces in major magazines, do interviews on popular TV shows and speak on the floor of the US Senate? Well, as you can see, we’re in a tight, quiet spot.

    But I’m not ready to give up — not yet! The media elite can do their best to silence me by letting me write and speak anywhere I want, but I won’t stop saying exactly what I believe to everyone, everywhere, through every means of communication that exists.

    And what I believe (the thing nobody will let me tell you) is this: I’m being censored, and you can read, hear, and see me talk more about it in the news, on the radio, and on TV.

    1. Yes, yes, we understand: People aren’t allowed to complain of censorship when it begins, they’re obligated to wait until it has become complete, and nobody can hear the complaints.

      It’s similar to the principle that you’re not allowed to complain about a genocide until it’s complete, and you’re dead.

      1. Birther Brett with his Holocaust analogy!

        1. Holocaust analogy

          Actually, you’re the one that Godwined the thread. Pro tip: there have been lots and lots of genocides in the history of the world. You may have even read about one or two of them in the news, if that’s your thing.

          1. Gee, it’s super-partisan Life of Brian making what he thinks is his clever pedantic point.

            Hmmm… is it clever? Is it really that clever? You and Birther Brett, you’re clever right? How is that working for you?

            I thought so.

            1. When you realize you’ve carelessly painted yourself into a corner, fling feces like mad and pray for a distraction! LOL

              1. Oh, I feel so insulted by you. And you used a LOL like a big boy!

                Such a big boy you are! Does your elbow hurt, patting yourself on the back, big boy?

                1. Keep on flinging, bully boy! Eventually your opponent will move on and you’ll feel like you’ve “won.”

          2. There are still living Uyghurs, how dare they complain of genocide!

            1. How do you know that anything bad is happening, Birther Brett?

              After all, you didn’t see it.

              1. Well, I do retain that essential quantum of doubt, obviously.

                1. Of course you do, Birther Brett! Hence the name.

      2. Not only are they allowed, they do, loudly and on massive media platforms. It’s almost as if the merits of their claims are deeply and profoundly sus.

    2. It’s a little alarming you don’t care about freedom of speech and are so willing to engage in censorship.

      1. Weird. Censorship, huh? Freedom of speech?

        See, that’s the thing. The First Amendment (and real censorship) involves government action.

        Traditionally, it was well-known that there was this thing called “The Marketplace of Ideas.” And … wait for it … the government wouldn’t interfere in that marketplace (because of the FA, etc.).

        Here’s the thing though. How do we know if the “marketplace” of ideas is working? Well, when “ideas” compete, they have consequences. For example, good ideas are rewarded (they are popular, they earn money, people like you) and bad ideas aren’t (people don’t like you, people don’t give you money for you ideas, etc.).

        Pretty simple, huh? You know what’s really weird? When people demand that other people listen to their ideas, publish their ideas, and so on, even when they don’t like them.

        You don’t want “freedom of speech.” You want to put you thumb on the scale of the marketplace of ideas.

        No thank you!

        1. I could not have said it better myself. Freedom of association is different than freedom of speech. Government coercion of private businesses to provide a platform to GOP hate speech is no better than direct government coercion of an individual’s speech. If you want to deny global warming, white privilege, or trans existence, try rambling on a street corner. Private businesses have no legal requirement to be a platform for bigoted speech. I’m just glad that the Democrats, the media, and the social media companies are all on the same page, ideologically.

        2. loki13, I am genuinely curious (I am not being facetious!) to ‘hear’ what you think on the question of whether it is possible that Congress can unconstitutionally limit political free speech by using their authority to conduct hearing and compel testimony. Is that permissible behavior in a constitutional sense wrt 1A protections of political speech?

          To me, the House compelling testimony from corporate CEOs three times in five months is something I have not really seen before. Does it cross the line? Honestly, I do not know. But I thought Greenwald asked very good questions in his article.

          You’re a lawyer. How do you see it?

          1. I replied to you, above.

            The short answer is no. It’s not a FA violation for many reasons.

        3. See, here’s the thing.

          It’s not just the government that can engage in censorship. Private industry can just as easily.

          Imagine a situation where there was only a single corporation that printed books. They printed books for everyone. They sold all the books just in their stores. Then new management came in, and they decided “We don’t like philosphophy x.” Then then banned all philosophy x books from their presses and from their stores.

          That would be censorship. Even if it was a private corporation that was doing it. And it would impede freedom of speech.

          1. Again, so what?

            The problem isn’t freedom of speech, then. Because … wait for it … it’s a market failure. If that speech is so good, then:
            1. Other publishers would spring up to publish it; or
            2. If there was some other issue preventing that, then it’s a monopoly issue, not a FA issue.

            Of course, the problem that you have is that your analogy isn’t close to correct. There isn’t just “one publisher.” There are more opportunities, now, for people to self-publish and get their voices heard than ever before. It’s just that you want to highjack publishers to do your bidding.

            No thank you.

            1. You appear to believe it is categorically impossible for non-government to engage in censorship, and ascribe any censorship to “market failure”.

              Of course, you could make the same argument about practices that forbade African Americans from many jobs and private places in the 1950’s. It’s really just “free association”. It’s a market failure, and since the government isn’t doing it, it’s not really any sort of racism.

              1. Bad analogy, again, is bad.

                What’s the difference between speech and association, or speech and conduct?

                Well, to start with … they aren’t they same thing.

                Jim Crow was many things, but it wasn’t “censorship.”

                Seriously, are you this stupid, or just playing at it?

                1. If you can’t follow an analogy, then just say so.

                  1. Armchair, I can’t follow your analogy.

              2. I wouldn’t characterize a situation where many independent providers engage in the same behavior as a market failure.

                1. Either would I. But apparently Loki would.

                  1. I think loki is arguing your hypothetical of a single publisher is a market failure. And, I agree with him.

                    1. You’re assuming what Loki is arguing.

                      The extrapolation from a “single” publisher of course, is a publisher or store which has an effective monopoly. Even if they don’t control 100% of the market, but only 99% or 98%, it still makes it an effective monopoly.

                      When a publisher or store in that context uses it’s monopoly power to engage in censorship, is it censorship? Or is it just a “market failure” that nothing can be done about?

                    2. Or is it just a “market failure” that nothing can be done about?

                      Only if you’re a libertarian or similarly fundamentalist whack-job.

                      For the rest of us, we have no problem saying that when the market fails, the government can step in.

                    3. 98% control of the market is a market failure that anti-trust law can address.

                  2. That was explicitly your hypothetical: “Imagine a situation where there was only a single corporation that printed books.”

              3. It’s a market failure, and since the government isn’t doing it, it’s not really any sort of racism.

                Huh? This is idiotic. You’re saying, without a shred of logic, that since private individuals can be guilty of racism they can also be guilty of censorship. That makes no sense.

    3. I guess if you’re allowed to complain about being censored, you’re not being censored no matter what other restrictions there are.

      1. 12″ Misogynist with the usual… what, isn’t there something you can say to degrade women?

      2. It would help the case of there were some restrictions.

  7. If we pay reparations for slavery, can those reparations be subrogated for reparations to descendants of Union war dead?

    Remember that one White man from the North *died* for every ten slaves that were freed.

    1. Under a reparations scheme, would Obama have to pay INTO the plan since his mother was white and his father, while black, was not a descendant of slaves? To answer your question about Union soldier, no, I don’t think they would be entitled to reparations because the government might open to door to reparations for all drafted military personnel. Is that what you were getting at? Men forced to serve the Union army were deprived of their liberty and deserved compensation too?

      1. Technically, only 2% of Civil war soldiers, at least on the Union side, were draftees. another 6% were paid substitutes. (At the time, if you were drafted, you could get out of it by paying somebody to take your place.) The rest were volunteers.

        1. I’d add that the Union actually found this practice quite useful, as most of the paid volunteers were existing soldiers whose terms of enlistment were ending, so the Army got trained soldiers instead of raw recruits.

        2. I would like to read a book about the Confederate soldiers’ reasons for joining up, especially poor Confederate soldiers. Why defend a system (i.e. Slavery with cheap labor) that undercuts your value on the labor market?

          1. At the time we weren’t a nation, remember, we were a federation of sovereign states. People tended to view themselves as citizens of their state, and only secondarily as citizens of the US.

            So if your state is attacked, whatever the reason, you felt obligated to defend it.

            1. Robert E Lee comes to mind in this regard.

              1. Yet,

                Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

                1. bernard11, on the other hand, there was such a thing as a state treason statute. Virginia had one. John Brown got convicted and hanged for violating it. Which strikes me as peculiar, given that Brown was not even a resident of Virginia. Maybe that suggests that even a state treason statute got interpreted in terms of war against the U.S.

                  Not sure if that law is still on the Virginia books. Might be interesting if it is, and some of the Capitol insurrectionists plotted their attack while in Virginia.

              2. I find it impossible to think of Robert E. Lee without remembering that he had no problem with his soldiers committing slave raids on Union states. His army was actively enslaving American citizens, and this did not concern him.

            2. At the time we weren’t a nation, remember, we were a federation of sovereign states.

              That’s true… if “the time” you’re referring to is 1780. Apparently you missed the replacement of the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution.

              1. He said federation, not confederation.

                1. We were a union.
                  Semantics aside, states were definitely not sovereign.

                  1. States were, and are, sovereign in the areas where they have not delegated power to the federal government. That’s why we have state sovereign immunity, the separate sovereign doctrine, etc.

                    1. Sovereignty with exceptions is not much sovereignty.

            3. Brett, a lot of Irish immigrants fought for the Union. Which state do you suppose they tended to view themselves as citizens of? My wife has one of those in her family tree. Records seem to show he enlisted from Delaware. Re-enlisted (maybe) from Pennsylvania. Fought at Gettysburg. Won the Congressional Medal of Honor there. I’ve seen his medal, because he never claimed it (he survived the war). It’s in the National Archives.

              I mention that because this is an open thread, and I want to note one little point. It was indeed, the “Congressional Medal of Honor,” not the “Medal of Honor,” as it is now styled. For some reason, the former designation strikes me as more properly honorific than does the comes-from-nowhere name used these days.

    2. Reperations were already paid for slavery. To the slave owners. How’s that for justice?

      Reperations to to the descendants of Union dead should be adressed to Confederate States, obviously.

    3. It is actually pretty racist to ignore the fact that America was built by people of all races, colors, and creeds. Studies show the slaves contributed only to a very small percentage of mostly regional economies. But hey “facts” are inconvenient to liberals…

      1. Yeah, them lazy slaves.

        1. Slavery was an inefficient system. Very bad for the slaves, good for the slave owners, but averaged out between them, not terribly productive. You’re not insulting the slaves by noticing that, the whole point of the system is that they weren’t given any choices, and so really didn’t bear any responsibility for the results.

          1. All slavery gives you is work good enough to get one killed. A slave would not — and should not — do more than the bare minimum since they are forced to work against their will.

            1. The bare minimum of starting at dawn, finish at sunset while overseen by men with guns and whips and dogs, from childhood till death, not a cent paid over in wages? Pretty sure the owners squeezed the value right out of them. They had plenty of practice. Squeezing labour out of slaves was their whole way of life.

          2. ‘Averaged out between them.’

            Oh, yeah. Yeah I’d say it did.

            Is the purpose of this talk of the contributions and efficiency of slavery to downplay the extent to which unpaid forced labour contributed to the creation of America? Because that’s how it’s coming across.

            1. Actually, we’re just refusing to up-play it; There’s a reason the Union won that war: Their non-slave economy was much more productive.

              1. I can see why you’d want to try for loathesome culture war reasons but wow, crass.

              2. There were also a lot more in the North around 22,000,000 vs 5,500,000 whites, 3,500,000 slaves and 250,000 free blacks in the South.

              3. I don’t think the two positions have to be at odds.

                Cotton was a hugely important industry – the most important American commodity of the time by far and a big export – in the mid-19th Century the US South produced 2/3 of the world’s cotton. And it was not just grown and sold. It was financed, stored, exported, processed in textile mills, etc. An awful lot of wealth, both North and South, was built on cotton, which was built on slaves. And a not small amount of wealth was based directly on the slave trade.

                That a slave economy was probably not the most efficient system doesn’t mitigate the importance of slave labor in the economic growth of the US, and it doesn’t mitigate the other work slaves did.

      2. Also look at the on-the-job death rates of telephone linemen (>50%), railroad workers, Gloucester fishermen, etc.

        But Jimmy, they’re leftists, not liberals…

        1. Dr. Ed, bogus number on the telephone linemen. It is indeed a dangerous job. Twice as lethal as being a cop. But the number is > 50 per 100,000 per year—not even 2%, let alone 50%.

    1. We call it “Talmudvision” and it is very effective at frying a human’s brain.

      1. Many of us will be ‘brain fried’ (e.g. inebriated) tonight when the Megillah is read. Me among them. 🙂

      2. Ed’s safe from that effect.

    2. That was just an Air Force academy science faire project, essentially. The power level was trivial, and it didn’t advance the art in any way.

  8. What becomes of Governor Cuomo now that Trump is out of office and no longer a distraction? I thought the Emmy winning Governor was loved by New Yorkers because he trusted the science and locked down every small business in the state. Now he has a sexual harassment claim against him by a former aid and people are claiming that he undercounted COVID deaths in nursing facilities to avoid a political firestorm. Was Cuomo elected because he is a competent executive or because New York goyim are braindead cattle who will vote for the first politician who’s name they recognize as long as it has a (D) next to it?

    1. Great initial question, and moronic rambling at the end of your post. I am greatly heartened by the fact that Democrats are just as interested in pursuing an investigation. I hope they continue with that level of integrity if/when facts emerge that suggest Cuomo’s intentional bad behavior. I hope Republicans show a level of integrity if the facts show that Cuomo did his best and never intentionally acted improperly. But the most important thing is to have an investigation, have a fair and full investigation, and have it as transparent as possible.

      1. RabbiHarveyWeinstein is clearly a smart guy, who spends his time adroitly taking false extreme views in whatever direction he thinks will wind people up.

        It’s a waste. Except it also reminds me of me like 10 years ago, so…

        1. Don’t get me wrong, Sarcastr0, you’re still an ornament of civilization, but you were better 10 years ago. The whole VC was better 10 years ago—better material to work with, less dead weight stupidity. Maybe the nation, too.

          1. I’m too different to objectively tell. I enjoyed different things, and had different views back then.

        2. People change over time, Sarcastr0. That is normal.

          PS: I got the Moderna vaccine this week. Gave many thanks.

          1. Nice. Still on Virginia’s waiting list over here, but holding up fine.

            1. I got to watch the MA system crash for the second week straight. Top level menus: thousands of appointments available, this site, that site, this date, that date, different numbers for each site, and all diminishing at their own rates over time. Looked very realistic.

              Follow-on menus, where you schedule your appointment: no appointments available, not one, anywhere. Every possible appointment at every site listed separately, 5 minutes apart, and all greyed out, and all inactive. My photographer friends started competing to see who could deliver the most impressive image of an endless list, saying over and over, “Appointment not available.”

              1. Me too.

                The whole MA rollout is an epic clusterfuck. Baker keeps saying the problem is not enough vaccines, which pretty much ignores his own blundering in making what vaccines there are available.

                People here, me included, have wasted untold hours on the worst-designed web site ever trying fruitlessly to get an appointment. So much for his alleged managerial skills.

                1. You only say “worst-designed” because you (quite naturally) have not tried to sign up for vaccines in any other states. Believe me; California’s was just as big a disaster. My friends in Utah, Illinois, Arizona and Washington reported similar frustrations.

                  California is now much better. Most people still don’t qualify for their shots. But at least the system seems to work properly, in terms of telling them, “No vaccines yet for the likes of you.” Seems to be almost entirely a supply problem in my state, by this point. (Plus, the usual small percentage of people who are asshats and are engaging in shenanigans re trying to jump the queue.)

  9. Two things need to happen to straighten out the craziness that’s occurring now online, both among monopolistic businesses and in internet services.

    1. Political view, or philosophy, needs to be added to the list of criteria upon which one cannot discriminate, along with race, color, religion, or national origin.

    2. Monopolistic business like Amazon online sales, and internet hosting and related services, like Amazon web services (AWS), and social media platforms like FaceBook and Twitter must be defined as places of public accommodation.

    A corollary to this is that these things can’t arbitrarily define standards of speech, such as Amazon’s undisclosed definition of hate speech, in excluding sites or works or products from its businesses.

    1. >protected political views
      Damned straight! Kahane was right!
      Gas the Arabs! Jewish only Israel NOW!

      1. It’s usually a certain, different, far-right Russian troll who posts about gassing people.

        Stay in your own lane!!!

  10. I noted in my newspaper today that my Wisconsin Legislature is planning new bills to limit voting. Limiting ballot drop boxes, who can correct information on mail-in ballots and other measures. These will likely pass but be vetoed by the Governor.

    What I see is a Republican party that will not be looking to address real issues faced by the public but will instead be focused on grievance politics. The 2022 and 2024 will party platform will not address issues by rather will be summed up by “we did not get our way in 2020”. Not a good look for anyone and certainly not for a political party.

    1. By “limiting voting”, you mean, “restoring the status quo ante, instead of perpetuating changes justified on the basis of a pandemic which is ending”?

      The proposals don’t sound that bad to me.

      “Under one bill, voters under the age of 65 who say they are confined to their homes could no longer claim the status without a medical professional’s endorsement. It would also clarify in state law that the threat of a pandemic may not be used to apply for the status — advice clerks in Dane and Milwaukee counties briefly gave to voters last spring amid voter anxiety over voting in person. The state Supreme Court later ordered the advice banned.”

      Seems reasonable to demand a doctor’s note if you’re going to claim privileges on the basis of a medical issue.

      “Another Stroebel bill would require nursing home administrators to tell relatives of their residents when clerks known as special voting deputies will be on-site to deliver ballots. The bill would also make it a felony for nursing home employees to try to influence residents’ votes.”

      Should nursing homes be influencing residents’ votes?

      “Another proposal would bar local governments from accepting private donations to help them conduct their elections. Private donations to the state would have to be distributed to local governments equally based on their populations under the bill.”

      This was used in 2020 to circumvent campaign finance reporting and limits, by making donations to local elections officials in heavily Democratic areas, to be used for get out the vote drives.

      “Under another measure, state law would be modified to allow in-state family members or a designee of absentee voters to return ballots on their behalf.”

      A limitation on ballot harvesting.

      “The bill also would allow municipalities to designate a site other than the clerk’s office as a location to collect absentee ballots. However, the sites could not be used by voters to apply for an absentee ballot or to cast an in-person ballot. ”

      In 2020 they set up remote voting sites that functioned as polling places: You’d go, apply for an absentee ballot, be handed it, fill it out, and turn it in. In all ways a polling place, except one: Election observers were barred.

      It all seems pretty reasonable to me.

      1. Then after you hand in your ballot, a nice government workers checks to make sure you voted correctly (we don’t want any hanging chads you know!) and if you didn’t just checks the boxes they are certainly you intended to mark.

      2. The pandemic measures worked extremely well in making it easier for people to vote and a lot more people voted, nobody has yet demonstrated that it resulted in any kind of fraud, blatant lies aside, so really there can be no rationale for not keeping them, and even expanding them.

        1. They “worked” so well that many voting districts reported 100% turnout without a single undervote and every vote for the democrat. That is not a bug in the system either, it is a feature.

          1. These were debunked like the day after election day. Googling for even a moment reveals this.

            Why do you lie, when it’s so obvious?

          2. They worked so well conservatives had to keep inventing torrents of lies to destroy them, and not a single lie stuck, but did provide some blatantly false pretexts to roll them back.

            1. “Debunked” yeah right….

              1. Well, provide the story you’re thinking about, and we can see if it’s been debunked.

                Or you can continue to just throw a bullshit tantrum.

                I have a guess which you’ll pick.

                1. You are able to post here, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to work the internet for you.

                  1. Quit weaseling – what districts are you talking about in your 10:09am post?

                  2. ‘You are able to post here, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to work the internet for you.’

                    I believe this quote constituted one of the items of evidence put forward in pro-Trump election court cases.

          3. Name one such district.

        2. Your point is right on. The problem with the 2020 election is that voting was easier than it had been for many years and what we saw was huge turn outs for all candidates. If we truly are democratic we should want more people to vote.

          I have no problem with making the election more secure, but at this point the election of 2020 look very secure. I can not think of an election in my lifetime that has had greatly scrutiny and the election validity has shown through.

          1. Including lots of dead people!

            1. Again with the unproven accusation. Got any evidence to support this?

            2. You were called on your lie above, and you just kept on lying a bit further down, eh?

              Evidence or GTFO.

              1. Again. I’m not going to work the internet for you. If you can post here you can do your own research. Or just continue to enjoy your ignorance.

                1. Some would say that you’re simple and unfamiliar with the philosophical burden of proof, where the one who makes the claim is the one who provides evidence for it when asked.

                  People around here know that you’re just a liar.

      3. Seems reasonable to demand a doctor’s note if you’re going to claim privileges on the basis of a medical issue.

        “You can’t leave your home? Well, go to the doctor to prove that you can’t!”

        Should nursing homes be influencing residents’ votes?

        Should Fox News hosts be influencing residents’ votes? Should coworkers? Should family members? Should editorial boards of newspapers? Should pizza delivery people? I guess that depends what “influences” means, doesn’t it?

        This was used in 2020 to circumvent campaign finance reporting and limits, by making donations to local elections officials in heavily Democratic areas, to be used for get out the vote drives.

        No, it did not “circumvent campaign finance reporting and limits.” Why do you feel the need to make shit up? Nor did they make donations to local elections officials in heavily Democratic areas per se; anyone could apply for these grants. It just happened that Republican elections officials didn’t really seem to want to try to get out the vote.

        In 2020 they set up remote voting sites that functioned as polling places: You’d go, apply for an absentee ballot, be handed it, fill it out, and turn it in. In all ways a polling place, except one: Election observers were barred.

        This is, of course, not true. This could only be a reference to “Democracy in the Park,” but all they did was collect absentee ballots; they neither accepted absentee applications nor distributed absentee ballots.

        1. Bad lawsuits happen in Philly? Pa. judge tosses Trump complaint over polling place restrictions

          “But Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Gary Glazer, in an order Friday, ruled that the satellite offices did not constitute polling places, leaving access to these locations to the discretion of the City Commissioners.”

          Wisconsin can’t bar local officials from replicating this abuse?

          1. So you weren’t talking about Wisconsin, but about a proposed law to forbid something different than what this law is about that only happened in another state that had different laws? Wisconsin law already does not provide for what you said. Under Wisconsin law, election observers are permitted at any places where ballots — including absentee ballots — can be cast.

            And that’s not what this proposed law is about; it doesn’t provide for observers at, but simply forbids the existence of, locations like the ones in Pennsylvania.

      4. It seems reasonable to me to make voting easier, not harder, especially since there seems (again) to have been no problem with fraud.

        Republicans are just full of shit on this issue. They just don’t want certain people voting. I’s blatant. Democracy be damned.

    2. I saw that the GOP in Georgia wants to ban early voting on Sundays. Black churches do a “Souls to the Polls” voting drives after Sunday church. It’s hard not to see this as the GOP trying to prevent the “wrong people” from voting.

      1. Those rascals! Obviously it could have nothing to do with anything else other than stopping black people from voting!!!!

        1. What else does it have to do with?

          1. Maybe just giving poll workers off on Sunday. Maybe, just maybe, that could be it. But if your only tool is a hammer…

            1. One of the tools here is called “Jimmy the Dane.”

              And it’s the most useless tool around.

              1. I find people that call names are the tools…

                That is some standard gaslighting by gaslightro though. Anything republican and voting – racccciiiiissttt!!!!!! and suspect. Everything Republicans do is of course bad faith to a liberal. But, anything liberals do is of course in good faith.

                1. You can’t come up with a good, non-racial justification for this policy change, so you turn up the bluster.

                  1. I did. Not everyone wants to work on Sunday. Closing polls to give workers a uniform day off is fine. Companies do it all the time. Chick-Fil-A is closed Sundays and it has nothing to do with some racist plan to not sell chicken to black people. Maybe what you should do is stop using your jump to conclusions mat to come up with your justifications.

                    1. The bang of Jim Crow off this lazy pretext is pure rank.

                    2. No the bang of your own stupidity is showing and pure rank. Assuming everything is racist is not only what idiots do, it isn’t healthy for any society. I realize it helps you achieve your political ends, but accusing everyone and everything of racism is just not acceptable behavior.

                    3. There’s a difference between assuming everything is racist and assuming inventing stupid pretexts for making it difficult for black people to vote is not only racist but part of a tradition of racism that can be traced back over a hundred years.

                    4. I will give you there is nothing “sexy” about thinking poll workers should have a uniform day off or being concerned about their well being. But there you have it. There is also nothing racist about it either.

                    5. I should hope it’s not sexy, because it’s your fantasy, and if it was a sexual one it would be odd indeed.

                    6. And you prove my point that are you not serious about any of this and just doing the knee jerk liberal thing of screaming “razzzisssmsss!!!!!”

                    7. I don’t take your pretext serously. I do take seriously that your reaction to voter suppression is to justify it, and that this impulse is currently driving Republicans and Republican supporters – suppress votes to win, say any old thing to justify it.

                    8. You should have just written “I am a tool” all over your face.

                    9. You should have just stood on your head and counted backwards from fifty in Latin while drinking a glass of water.

            2. Your really stretching here for an alternative explanation. Just admit that it is an attempt to suppress black votes, it just so much easier.

              1. It isn’t and if you want to make bald accusation of racism you should come to the table with more than just a basic assertion with no facts to support it.

                1. Then come up with a better explanation for why people can’t vote on Sundays.

                2. Easy. Poll workers would like a uniform day off. Now maybe there is a better public policy reason to keep polls open on Sundays as well. I’m open to that. But just stop with the lazy accusations of racism…please…

                  1. But this is a pretext you just made up out of whole cloth. It’s pure invention. If there was an actual good reason you wouldn’t need to do that.

                    1. It is not a “pretext” it is called a “justification”. You are not very good with the words of the English language. Try looking them up before talking. It will make you look like less of a fool.

                    2. I chose the word I meant to choose. It’s a -pretext- and you made it up to -justify- the supression of black votes.

                    3. No you are just lazy and can’t come up with any real reason so you just decided to scream “racism” because you figured people would listen and do something.

                    4. The real reason is to stop black people from voting so Republicans can win elections.

                    5. That is such a tired trope it is not even worth addressing. If you want to have a serious conversation let me know….

                    6. If only it being a tired trope would stop Republicans from doing it, the world would be a better place indeed.

                    7. Or just stop with the tired old tropes that aren’t true and make you look like an idiot whenever you use them.

    3. Yup.

      The Republican take-away from 2020 isn’t “we need more people to vote for us”, it’s “we need to stop people from voting for them”.

      It’s the exact sort of thing the Voting Rights Act was supposed to stop, but thanks to Roberts, and his decades-long crusade against democracy, that’s basically a dead letter.

      1. “that’s basically a dead letter”

        Oh, that is a lie. Roberts’ opinion just eliminated the pre-clearance section because Congress was to lazy to update their factual findings.

        Fun fact, the original comment was about Wisconsin, which was never subject to pre-clearance,

        DOJ or private parties can still sue to stop laws that are claimed to be counter to the VRA.

        1. Roberts’ opinion just eliminated the pre-clearance section because Congress was to lazy to update their factual findings.

          Roberts’ opinion was that since no cars had run off the road for a while it was fine to take down the guard rails. Fucking brilliant.

  11. Apparently some anti-racist teachers now think that focusing on getting the right answer in math is white supremacy.

    As is requiring students to show their work.

    It’s going to be difficult to root this stuff out of schools.

    1. I remember in the early 90’s when this stuff was all the rage and many teachers used the line that “success is white supremacy…” apparently this garbage is back.

    2. That’s quite a bizarre document.

  12. Remember the “eating while black” incident at Smith College back in 2018. Sounded suspicious back then, but after a 2 year external investigation comes back the student made it all up. No talk of reparations for the four people who had their lives ruined by these lies. What a shame for multiple reasons.

  13. I have a Modest Proposal: to rename this blog to “TDS Today” or “The Somin Swamp”, since those seem to be the focus of the blog of late.

  14. Here is an interesting one for discussion that came across a colleagues desk.

    Question: When does “anti-racism” training at a company, which is required as a condition of employment, violate federal, state, and/or local non-discrimination laws, when the content focuses almost exclusively as “casting all white people as bad actors,” “arguing that white people have to engage in a certain pattern of behavior or their conduct is ‘racist’,” and “leaving the impression it is acceptable within the company for non-white employees to target white employee for criticism based upon their perceived actions being ‘white’.”

    The question came up because a company he consults for did an “anti-racism” training that apparently went “too far” and now some white employees filed an internal complaint alleging racial discrimination.

    I assume that it employers have a lot of leeway to engage their employees in required diversity or even some kind of “anti-racism” training, but I am certain there is a limit. This sounds like it might be getting there, but curious if others had any similar experiences.

    1. Anti-racist training is about destroying the concept of whiteness, not people with light skin complexion. Whiteness, the conceptual identity, is an ideology that permanently oppressed BIPOCs and must be destroyed if we are ever to have racial equity in this nation. As an example, a Barbie doll is an expression of conceptual white supremacy. The blonde hair, the blue eyes, the svelte figure are all derived from white concepts of female beauty. They set up Black hair, Black eyes, and Black booties as their conceptual counterpart of what is NOT attraction. Destroying whiteness is about racial equity in America.

      1. Barbie is an unrealistic body type. She is estimated to be 5’9″ tall. Her measurements would be 36-18-33. She would weight 110 lbs for a BMI of 16.2 – below what is considered healthy.

        1. No kidding; My wife is 5′ even and about 80 lbs, with a slim build, and her waist is over 20 inches. If Barbie weren’t plastic, where would she keep her intestines?

          1. In her purse?

    2. Every case I’ve looked into was more a case of “butthurt snowflakes” then the training actually going “too far” and the parade of horribles you list.

      That said… the distinction would obviously be a nuanced one that would never get a bright-line test. A case would get to the SCOTUS, they would give out some horrible new test, things would fester for years, a new case would get to the SCOTUS, a new horrible test, and so-on. A lot like how the SCOTUS can’t agree (or clearly communicate) on when Affirmative Action becomes Discrimination at colleges, ya know?

      But given the precedent, I’m skeptical of all new claims that such “anti-racism” training is actually “anti-white” training.

      1. The counterfactual where you stick a bunch of black people in a room and lecture them about the supposed negative traits of their community as “blackness” is an obvious no go. I get it the law does not treat the classes equally here and probably never will, but still…

        1. That’s not a counterfactual to anti-racism training. That’s just a weird Republican fantasy of how black people should be dealt with.

          1. Did I say “gees I wish we could really do that with black people and tell them to just stop committing crimes and doing drugs…” No of course I didn’t. I applied similar facts and changed up the race classification. What would happen are disparate results. What is strange is how liberals addicted to identity politics view the world.

            1. And you thought you were being clever. God help us.

              1. So you think lecturing people on their race, making negative stereotypes on people because of their race, and compelling attendance as a condition of employment is a just fine practice?

                1. That sounds like terrible practice, I wouldn’t hire those guys to do your anti-racism training.

                  1. Well there ya go.

        2. Cool frothing rant.

          Do you actually disagree with my answer to the question though, regarding how messy (and inconsistent) such cases would be?

          1. The courts have made a dog’s dinner of race and non-discrimination. Really the question is an easy one if you take away all the static and liberal policy wonkery. I suspect we will probably get there in the next 10 years, but are clearly not there yet.

            1. So easy, that not even conservative justices have been able to answer it.

  15. Looks like Mike Pesca was fired from Slate for saying that there is nothing wrong with people mentioning the word nigger. Can we trust news from an outlet where it is forbidden to even discuss certain topics?

    1. I think you start by recognizing most media is entertainment for the masses which includes pushing opinions that makes the parent for-profit company money.

      1. YAAY! Jimmy got something right for once.

        Absolutely 100% agree.

        And TV/cable “news” (yes, including CNN, etc), are absolutely garbage – just flashy diagrams and tits.

        At least with print (even online), the media has to have some standards and things can easily be verified, refuted, commented on, etc.

        1. I have a perfect record of being right around these parts. Just sometimes people don’t notice the greatness.

    2. Can we trust freedom of speech concerns from people who obsessively link them with the vital importance of saying that word?

      1. Yes. But if it helps, I comment about free speech concerns that aren’t linked to the word as well.

        1. It doesn’t really. All variation s on ‘PC gone mad.’

      2. It’s kind of a canary in the coal mine, Nige. You can’t measure freedom of speech by seeing if people are allowed to say things nobody minds.

        1. We’re becoming like Europe. In Europe it’s illegal to say certain things, particularly about the Holocaust, and it’s strongly frowned upon to argue that it should be legal.

          1. You know what legal means. So you know we’re not becoming like Europe.

            1. With more and more colleges turning out more and more students who disagree…a judge finding these restrictions legal is just a matter of time.

            2. Sigh. I also know what “like” means.

              Criminal prosecutions in the US for saying the word “nigger” are rare, but it seems fairly common for people to be denied public benefits like access to education.

              Did you notice that the Mimi Groves incident sparked conversions about how we handle youthful “misconduct”?

              1. Well in terms of non-legal consequences, usage of the term outside of black communities and rap songs tends to indicate an incredbly low character. Not sure how you ‘freedom of speech’ away social and professional consequences of having a low character.

                1. usage of the term inside of black communities and rap songs tends to indicate an incredbly [sic] low character as well

                  1. It does not surprise me that you think so.

                    1. It does not surprise me that you don’t.

                      If the word is that bad, it should not be used by any decent person. You don’t see Jews throwing “kike” around.

                    2. You seem to think black people using that word is a special privelege rather than an act of defiance by the people who have been subjected to it as a term of abuse. I wouldn’t be surprised if some Jewish people did use that word amongst themsleves (since only a Jewish person could have made The Producers, and furthermore a Jewish person did make The Producers) and if they did I wouldn’t feel an irrational pang of rage and jealousy that they got to use it and I didn’t such that I would wage an endless culture war hidden behind a transparently bad faith evocation of freedom of speech over it driven by that irrational envy.

                2. Judging someone’s character by narrow criteria indicates, well, narrowmindedness. That’s why the people stoning the guy who said that his piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah were portrayed as such simpletons.

                  How would you like to read a newspaper written by the guys who were stoning the dude for saying that his piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah?

                  1. I can only judge people by what they say and what they do. I’m shocked you would think that someone can’t hold a low opinion of someone who uses that word, and an even lower opinion of people who stone people for saying that piece of halibut etc.

                    1. ” I’m shocked you would think that someone can’t hold a low opinion of someone who uses that word,”

                      You are free to hold a low opinion of someone who reads MLK’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” aloud if you wish, but that’s an example of an “indicator of an extremely low character” you were mentioning above.

                    2. I made my caveats clear above, so clear, in fact that your comment confirms the proposition that your problem is that you’re incredbly bad at debating issues, controversial or otherwise, and that’s why nobody wants to debate you, not because of an erosion of freedom of speech.

                    3. “I made my caveats clear above,”

                      Yes, your caveats were:
                      “…usage of the term outside of black communities and rap songs…”
                      Did you think I was referring to some who reads MLK’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” aloud in a black community, or who rapped it?

                    4. I also used the qualifier ‘tends to’ though the immediate example I had in mind for that was Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn. But seriously this kind of twisting for a gotcha is fun for a comment section but suggests your ideas for why the word should be ‘allowed’ or even why using the word should be discussed (all the time, apparently -has it occurred to you people have other things to talk about?) are operating at a pretty basic level and you also do not or will not understand what is a fairly easily grasped point of view about why its usage is fraught, which is why you’re incapable of arguing effectively against it.

                    5. “I also used the qualifier ‘tends to’”

                      OK, but you seem to be unaware that reading MLK’s ‘Letter From a Birmingham Jail’ has similar “social and professional consequences” to saying, “I can drive, niggas”, so you are still incapable of making any point, which might be why you are incapable of refuting any argument.

                    6. Well, it had one fairly mild social and professional consequence, and while it seems likely from that precis that the complainer and the authorities were in the wrong, the constant need to make the usage of that word a major issue is just so petty. It’s like if you were the ACLU but you only ever wanted to defend Spokane Nazis, but nobody actually wants to be the Spokane Nazis of the n-word and all you’re left with are minor academic storms in teacups. Nobody’s going to treat your defence of a lecturer caught in an stupid adminitrative over-reaction as an heroically principled Spokane Nazilevel freedom of speech defence of an extreme and unlivable outlier. It’s sad and it’s dumb and its driven by ugly resentment, not principle.

                      The ugliest, though perhaps not the worst, anti-freedom-of-speech moment I remember from the last four years was Trump, president of the US, boasting that thanks to him Colin Kapaernick couldn’t get a job.

                    7. apols for typos.

                    8. “The ugliest, though perhaps not the worst, anti-freedom-of-speech moment I remember from the last four years was Trump, president of the US, boasting that thanks to him Colin Kapaernick couldn’t get a job.”

                      I would have thought you would have called this the “social and professional consequences” of Kapaernick kneeling during the anthem, sure, Trump’s an asshole, and government officials trying to suppress anthem protests are certainly worthy of condemnation, although the ones threatening state action to suppress them are worse.

                      But Kaepernick is getting millions of dollars, so I’m not sure Trump’s cancellation of Kaepernick is “uglier” than, say, a teenager getting expelled from a public university for saying, “I can drive, niggas” when she got her learner’s permit three years prior, or journalists getting fired for merely discussing the issue.

                      But these issues are all certainly in the same category.

                    9. I know it wasn’t effective, I just thought it was ugly, mean and petty and showed contempt for free speech.

              2. Criminal sanction is not the same as civil sanction is not the same as market sanction is not the same as social sanction.

                I think it’s a very good conversation to have about what good norms of free speech should be.

                Conflating private action with government action is just adding drama and blowing up that conversation.

                1. “Criminal sanction is not the same as civil sanction is not the same as market sanction is not the same as social sanction.”

                  Sure, paying, say, a $1000 dollar fine is not the same as being expelled from a public university. Who said they were? You’re attacking a strawman, Sarcastro.

                  “I think it’s a very good conversation to have about what good norms of free speech should be.
                  Conflating private action with government action is just adding drama and blowing up that conversation.”

                  Who’s conflating anything, Sarcastro? A conversation about the norms of free speech includes discussing both public and private action. Another strawman.

                  1. OK, government action and private action are the same.

                    This makes small government a useless concept.
                    No difference between insurance companies making policies and the government doing so.
                    If you can ban guns from private property, seems the government should do the same thing.
                    If private charity is good, wait till you see when the government gets involved!

                    Your argument proves way, way, too much.

                    1. “OK, government action and private action are the same.”

                      Lol my comment criticizing you for attacking an strawman was not an invitation to construct an even more egregious one.

                      “Your argument proves way, way, too much.”

                      Which argument? The comment on this thread that you appears to have set you off was an observation, not an argument.

          2. In Germany it’s illegal to say certain things about the Holocaust. As the country responsible for it, I guess they prioritise curating the truth of it over letting modern admirers of the perpetrators diminish it.

            1. Sure, let the country responsible for the Holocaust “curate” the truth. What could go wrong?

            2. “curating the truth”

              Its then no longer the “truth”, its an opinion on the truth

              Banning words doesn’t make the people who think such thoughts change their minds.

              1. No, it’s pretty much the truth. Weird how feeedom of speech arguments centre around devaluing the idea of truth. I think it’s something we’re going to have to start valuing as much as we value freedom of speech.

                Their minds are their own and not really anyone else’s concern.

                1. Who determines “truth”?

                  On huge historic issues like the Shoah, truth may be clear cut.

                  Most issues are not.

                  1. We’d better sort out some way of determining it or we’re screwed. We have a hugely interconnected world and everybody spends more and more time online. Online is subject to spam and bots, both delivery systems for lies and propaganda, often carefully targeted, that can overwhelm truth and fact. Any theory of freedom of speech in the modern age that does not account for this phenomenon and its potential to completely destroy any sense of shared reality is a useless one.

                    1. “We’d better sort out some way of determining it or we’re screwed.”

                      How about we let people present facts, arguments, and evidence to try and convince others of the truth?

                    2. I think those simple heady days are gone.

                  2. “How about we let people present facts, arguments, and evidence to try and convince others of the truth?”

                    He wants to determine it. Himself and other like thinking people, who know the “truth” on all matters.

                    Look how he policies language here. A can use a word, but B can’t. Anyone who defends B just wants the freedom to use the word.

                    So B and his defenders can be fired or even [inevitably] imprisoned because they are not approved users of the magic word.

                    Already happens in the UK, where all these pesky freedoms started. He wants it here.

                    1. On the contrary I want the process of determining truth to be less fraught than having to endlessly, exhaustingly contend with organisations spending billions to promote lies. Disagreement in good faith, minor or major, over truth derived from the same authentic source information is pretty much the way of things – now we also have to contend with monies and ideoligies and idiot-child mischief makers sabotaging that to a massive degree.

                      And my objections here to use of language is no different than if we were sitting around a table or in a pub – my objections are as much an exercise of free speech as the use of such language.

        2. it’s a canary in the coal mine for people who notice a rising tide of people mad that they ‘can’t’ say words like that, certainly.

          1. Apparently they “can’t” even argue that people should be allowed to say words like that.

            1. They can’t even say words somebody would stupidly mistake for words like that. Or accurately quote somebody in a classroom.

              1. It’s a pretty unique word, though, with an incredible amount of baggage and therefore, arguably, an outlier, which makes it an ‘interesting’ choice to champion, and no amount of arguing that you should be allowed to say it is going to remove it from that context.

                1. No, I don’t think it’s a unique word. It’s a rather plebeian word that’s being treated in a unique fashion as part of a moral panic. It’s just a word, after all, not a magical incantation. There are plenty of nasty ethnic slurs out there that don’t get the same treatment.

                  1. That treatement is what makes it unique. Sorry you can’t just handwave it away by being sniffy about it. You can pretend it’s plebian, but that’s an act of rather plebian intellectual dishonesty.

                    1. We treat it differently because it’s unique.

                      It’s unique because we treat it differently.

                      Isn’t that kind of circular?

                    2. Just different ways of saying the same thing. It isn’t as if the coining, usage and changing attitudes towards the word can’t be historically traced.

                2. “It’s a pretty unique word, though, with an incredible amount of baggage and therefore, arguably, an outlier, which makes it an ‘interesting’ choice to champion,”

                  It’s not anybody’s “choice” to champion that word. Defenders of free speech are “championing” the word because people are being criminally prosecuted, expelled, and fired for mentioning the word even in innocuous contexts. I don’t see any reason why people wouldn’t behave similarly for any word.

                  1. If you can’t, or won’t, see the reason, you might not be qualified to discuss its use, or at least, you might actually be not very good at discussing its use, which may explain a good deal of your frustration.

                    1. Huh? I said I don’t see a reason that free speech defenders wouldn’t “champion” any other word whose utterance caused people to be criminally prosecuted, expelled from public school, or fired.

                      What’s the “reason” that you see that I don’t that causes me to not be qualified to discuss these issues?

                    2. There’s a reason why the word leads to those things. I’ve never seen any of you free speech ‘that word’ defenders address those reasons.

                    3. “There’s a reason why the word leads to those things.”

                      There are “reasons” for any violation of free speech. So what?

                    4. So you’re obsessed with the issue but can’t engage with the reasons why the word is fraught.

                    5. “So you’re obsessed with the issue but can’t engage with the reasons why the word is fraught.”

                      Well, I’m not obsessed with the issue, and I’m saying it doesn’t matter if, or why, the word if fraught. But other than that, great comment.

                    6. Except that it clearly does matter.

                    7. “Except that it clearly does matter.”

                      It matters to censors why they censor.

                      It doesn’t matter to free speech defenders why censors censor.

                      So, sure, it clearly matters to YOU. We’re the ones who don’t care.

                    8. But you can’t explain why it doesn’t matter.

            2. No-one’s stopping you.

    3. Two little girls get it while you guys come on the VC and whine about how unfair things are.

      1. Do you think we can trust news from news outlets were people aren’t even allowed to discuss certain topics, apedad?

        1. Sure – with a whopping grain of salt.

          Just because you can’t deny the Holocaust in Germany (or Israel and other countries too), or use a particular term (nigger, etc.), doesn’t mean other topics have to be found untrustworthy.

          As a retired federal agent, I learned very quickly you really can’t trust anyone or anything and – if it’s important to you – then to follow up with additional sources and research.

          The media is a for-profit enterprise and they’re going to do whatever it takes to make money.

          Stop whining and deal with it.

          1. “Stop whining and deal with it.”

            Can I deal with it by criticizing the fact that they won’t allow people to discuss certain topics, or is that whining?

            Apedad, do you think that news organizations, who supposedly seek the truth, should be criticized for putting contemporary, controversial topics off-limits for discussion?

            1. Cranks writing letters to newspapers castigating them for failing to discuss their pet contemporary controversial topic are in no way a new phenomenon, please partake of the tradition to your heart’s content, but nobody owes you a debate about anything, anywhere.

              1. We’re talking about a news organization firing someone for saying that it should be acceptable for white people to mention the word “nigger” in the manner that apedad just did.

                I’ve asked if we should trust news organizations who forbid their employs from discussing the issues of the day.

                Nobody seems to want to defend Slate, but nobody seems willing to criticize them either.

                1. You obviously can’t trust them because their stance on the matter is so diametrically opposed to your own and you won;t get to read the word plastered all over its pages or endless wrangling about it as a free speech issue long past the point where everybody but you is bored to goddamn death with it. Anybody who isn’t obsessed about the issue, however, probably won’t use it as the sole benchmark of trustworthiness.

                  1. “You obviously can’t trust them because their stance on the matter is so diametrically opposed to your own and you won;t get to read the word plastered all over its pages…”

                    The word is plastered all over its pages. Their search results say that they’ve used it 377 times.

                    Do you think being able to discuss issues openly is important to being able to report the news, or not?

                    1. Wow, sounds like your kind of mag, then. Of course it’s important. But just because you always want it discussed or to see it discussed doesn’t mean anyone else could or should or has to.

                    2. “Of course it’s important.”

                      So a news organization that fires employees for discussing the issues of the say is forgoing an important aspect of being able to report the news?

                    3. It’s not really an issue of the day or an important aspect of being able to report the news.

                    4. “It’s not really an issue of the day or an important aspect of being able to report the news.”

                      He was fired for discussing a news story that was reported a few weeks ago in just about every major news outlet, including Slate.

                    5. So clearly they can be trusted to report news stories. Perhaps people who constantly argue that they should be allowed to use that word and constantly use that word while constantly arguing it are not a good fit for a work environment.

      2. When they get expelled, they will know differently.

        BTW, “little girls”?

        1. Yes Bob, little girls.

          I purposely used that term to juxtapose their ages/experience against the supposedly learned and wise commenters here.

          Grow up.

          1. “I purposely used that term to juxtapose their ages/experience against the supposedly learned and wise commenters here.”

            “Young women” wouldn’t have achieved the juxtaposition you were looking for?

    4. Perhaps some of you should consult someone who is not poorly educated, roundly bigoted, anti-social, autistic, disaffected, and/or obsolete with respect to the issue of whether to use a vile racial slur in modern America.

      1. It has been plainly established that you are free — indeed, encouraged — to use that word at the Volokh Conspiracy, however.

        And for most of you, no worries about being reprimanded by the dean!

        1. “And for most of you, no worries about being reprimanded by the dean!”

          Yup, cuz we’re not professors. Professors have to be careful about what they say. Is this the progressive future we’re supposed to open wide and accept, Arthur?

      2. Excuse me, do not class ‘autistic’ with those other terms.

        1. Why not? That issue underlies plenty of the ugly commentary at this blog, in my judgment.

          1. It should not be used as a term of abuse, opprobrium or denigration.

            1. Kirkland is just re-claiming it as an act of defiance.

              1. No, he’s using it as a term of abuse.

                1. Don’t you get it? You can use “autistic” as a term of abuse, but you can’t mention the word “nigger” in a discussion about racial slurs.

                  Them’s the rules, clinger. Open wide and accept the preference of your betters.

                  1. Because one word does not have the baggage the other has, and beacuse one is not a term of abuse or a slur at all but a diagnosis, which is why I objected to it being deployed a a slur or term of abuse. Your argument really never rises above the level of ‘Aha! So you can say ‘word’ but can’t say ‘n-word!’ does it?

                    1. “Your argument really never rises above the level of ‘Aha! So you can say ‘word’ but can’t say ‘n-word!’ does it?”

                      That’s not my argument, that’s Arthur’s position. That you it’s OK use “autistic” as a term of abuse, but it’s bigoted to mention the word “nigger” innocuously. Is that right, Arthur?

                    2. Well I hope Arthur rehinks the former, and as for the latter, your repeated use of the word is pretty performative, in fairness.

            2. In this case, it is an explanation.

              1. An explanation of what, Arthur?

                1. It explains that some of the anti-social, awkward right-wing drivel that stains the world at this blog derives from autism.

                  Describe might be better than explain in this context.

                  I shall await the lame parry of a bigoted clinger.

                  1. So left wing progressives (except for Nige, fortunately) think that disagreement with their views is necessarily caused by autism?

                    Gee Arthur, I’m not prepared to debate you there. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

                    1. One of your fellow misogynistic, racist right-wingers attributed his views to autism. His statement, not my inference or accusation. Your bigoted thinking founders again.

  16. The new head of DHS is going to straighten out those evil White Supremacists, per his editorial in the Post.

      1. “I mean, do you think white supremecists are good?”

        I think it’s good to focus on getting the right answer in math.

        “Or somehow not a security problem?”

        I think they’re a security problem in the same sense that Muslims are a security problem. So no, in a free society they’re not a security problem.

        1. I think you like readings stuff you don’t understand and then getting absurd results you take as true.

          Muslims are not the same level of threat as as white supremacists. One has no agenda, the other has an explicitly violent and anti-American one.

          1. “I think you like readings stuff you don’t understand and then getting absurd results you take as true.”

            The stuff’s not hard to understand, Sarcastro. “White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when… The focus is on getting the “right” answer.”

            How can you defend something like that, even to the point of saying that it’s not absurd?

            “Muslims are not the same level of threat as as white supremacists. One has no agenda, the other has an explicitly violent and anti-American one.”

            Now there’s something both sides can agree on.

            And how is getting the right answer explicitly violent? Oh, wait, you must mean epistemic violence, right?

            1. You think the head of DHS is talking about that concept? Or maybe a pretty different one, and you’re being purposefully obtuse?

              1. Who says it’s a different concept?

                1. I mean, if teachers were going to refer to a concept other than what we usually refer to as white supremacy, like what you say the DHS is referring to, then you’d think that they’d call it something different, right? You know, to avoid confusion with the other concept.

                  1. I mean, if you’re a disingenuous wanker, sure.

                    1. I accept your surrender.

          2. That is awfully bigoted of you. Some Muslims interpret jihad as a personal, inner struggle — not all of them hold it as an explicitly violent and anti-American agenda.

        2. (A) Why are you expecting the DHS to teach your kids math? I think you might need schooling more then your kids do.

          (B) the FBI and other government agencies have, under multiple administrations, been warning of the increasing danger of white supremacists and right-wing terrorists, particularly regarding white supremacists infiltrating our law enforcement agencies.

          So I’ll have to get pardon, but they’re more credible then you.

          1. “been warning of the increasing danger of white supremacists and right-wing terrorists”

            They’ve been warning about the danger of Muslim terrorists too. That doesn’t make Muslims a security threat. But it has led to religiously-based harassment of Muslims.

            1. You know what “religiously-based harassment” of white supremacists is called?


              Be a hero: punch a Nazi today.

              1. Just white supremacists and “Nazis”? Are there any other viewpoints that deserve to get people punched, or just those?

                And are you punching just self-identifying Nazis, or anybody whose viewpoint earns them the title “Nazi” in your view?

              2. “You know what “religiously-based harassment” of white supremacists is called?


                OK, so now we know that left wingers would never use national security as an excuse to harass people with an unpopular viewpoint, just like right wingers would never use it to harass members of an unpopular religion. Good to know.

                1. If you try to extrapolate from one rando on a right-leaning comment section to “left wingers” in general, that says more about your critical thinking skills then anything you think it does.

                  So go off I guess.

                  1. “Not all left wingers…Just me!”

        3. Hey Sarcastro, do you think left wing violence, like the “Nazi punching” stuff in this thread, or the URI professor who thinks it’s morally defensible to kill Trump supporters, is a national security problem?

      2. Stop using your dog whistle of “white supremacist” because it just shows how lazy you are when it comes to the whole public discourse thing. Stick to the gaslighting.

        1. Jerry brought up white supremacists…or should I say White Supremacists.

          1. Well, the AP & NYT say to capitalize Black but not white. The Wapo says to capitalize Black and White, but not when being used to promote racist ideologies like white supremacy.

  17. I hope rilldrive and NOVA Lawyer contact me soon — by replying to this message — to arrange delivery of the prizes they earned in the fantasy election contest. I would prefer to send the prizes to them instead of making donations to the American Constitution Society, Planned Parenthood, and the Brady Campaign . . . but I am close to pulling that trigger.

    Please, let’s arrange delivery of the prizes to those who earned them.

    Thank you.

    1. I guess if you give your name and address to AK voluntarily you then can’t accuse him of doxxing you later.

      1. Why would I need a name to deliver an Amazon gift card? I would expect even half-educated, bigoted, anti-social, vanquished right-wing clingers to apprehend that point.

        1. I mean hell, you could even create a burner e-mail if you’re that worried.

  18. I think we need to have a national parade on March 1st.


    This “often libertarian”
    blog has operated for
    ZERO (0) DAYS
    without gratuitous use
    of a vile racial slur and for
    671 DAYS
    without imposing partisan,
    viewpoint-driven censorship.

    The Volokh Conspiracy record assures those who have been using a vile racial slur at this blog at least weekly for at least a month that their incessant bigotry is entirely compliant with this blog’s civility standards.

  20. Ultrean 4.2 qt. air-fryer for $59 on Amazon.
    Any thoughts? I have never used an air-fryer before.

  21. Back by popular demand, I will be running the Excellence in Commenting (“The Jimmies”) awards once again.

    The rules are simple:
    -Any comment can be nominated by any commenter including self-nominations.
    -The nomination period opens at 6PM EST for each Thursday thread and will close sometime that evening whenever I get around to it.
    -Awards are virtual trophies. Winners may display the honor as they see fit.

    The categories are:

    The Lantern – best comment using traits of the rhetoric tactic commonly referred to as “gaslighting”. (Note – Sarcastro is NOT eligible for this award as it is for amateurs only).

    The Kirkland – best comment responding to your typical screed by our very own irreverent Reverend.

    The Player Hater – commenter who has a clear disdain for a successful contributor here.

    The Weekender – best comment of the Thursday Open Thread (no particular reasoning necessary other then it is spectacular in some definable manner).

    The Consolation – worst comment of the week, but still gets an award for trying.

    Nominations open at 6PM EST. Any comment is eligible (except as noted for The Coleman). Nominate away. Winners will be announced later tonight.

    1. This sounds like what happens when right-wingers try to emulate creative, mainstream people with respect to movies, television, music, comedy, etc.

      You get the Left Behind series, Trace Adkins, Greg Gutfeld, Scott Baio, ‘rasslin, rattlesnake jugglers, Christian rock, Blue Bloods, NASCAR, and faith healers.

      1. We all know you have never watched the Left Behind series…

        1. But enough people have to let the rest of us know how pathetic it is.

          Not the worst ever — and Motel Hell demonstrated bad reviews aren’t everything — but more than enough to scare off all but the truest believers.


    Apple gets to demand confidential information from a 3rd party for a lawsuit not involving Valve?

    I think not. I hope Valve refuses and tells the Judge to fuck off.

    1. I don’t think you grasp the concept of a court order. Valve can of course file an appeal to quash the subpoena. Or it can comply. Or its executives can go to jail for contempt.

      1. I understand that they’re supposed to abide by it. However I’ve also learned over the last several years that court orders can routinely be ignored if you have enough money.

        The judge’s rationale is absurd. Valve is not a party to the lawsuit at all, and should never be instructed to hand over confidential business information to a third party.

        1. However I’ve also learned over the last several years that court orders can routinely be ignored if you have enough money.

          You mean, like, in Central America or something? Because otherwise, no. You’ll notice that as awful as Donald Trump was, even he didn’t defy any actual court orders as president. (It’s more like the other way around: it’s people with no money who can sometimes get away with ignoring court orders, because most of the time the issue isn’t worth other people’s trouble when there’s no money at stake.)

          The judge’s rationale is absurd. Valve is not a party to the lawsuit at all,

          I don’t know why you think this is relevant. Non party subpoenas are common in litigation.

          and should never be instructed to hand over confidential business information to a third party.

          Every business thinks it’s a special snowflake in which every piece of data related to its operations is confidential highly valuable proprietary information. It’s rarely the case. But regardless, if it’s relevant to a lawsuit, it has no choice. There’s a protective order in place here requiring the information be kept confidential.

  23. A couple of months ago, a public community college professor wrote approvingly of teenages facing “consequences” for their speech.

    Now, it appears that she was fired for criticizing Mike Pence.

    Should we condemn the firing, or respect her view that speech deserves consequences?

      1. She said on twitter that her contract wasn’t renewed.

  24. Way back in ~June of last year, i made a wager against someone about the excess deaths from Covid-19 in New York State (stakes: public apology).

    I predicted there would be 0-25 excess deaths per 1000 people in New York State. He predicted far higher. (There were some qualifications about which deaths count, but it doesn’t matter in the slightest for evaluating this claim).

    It’s been long enough since the end of 2020 that reasonable data exists from the CDC. I downloaded that data today and did the math.

    The CDC gives data by week. It lists New York City separately from New York State (I have added the two together to get joint figures).

    Two different numbers provided by CDC are potentially representative of what qualifies as the threshhold for ‘excess death’. They give both an Upper Bound and an Average of the expectation of deaths. Arguably, the Upper Bound Threshold is the best threshold, since excess deaths are a statistical claim, and only by exceeding the upper bound are they statistically confident to be excess. But I’ll give numbers for both below.

    For all weeks of 2020, the total observed deaths in New York State were 199,629. The total Upper Bound Threshold for the year is 163,836, meaning there were 35,793 Upper Bound excess deaths. The total average expected deaths were 154,878, meaning there were 44,751 average excess deaths.

    New York State has a population of 19.45 million as of 2019. That results in 1.84 Upper Bound Excess Deaths per 1000 people, or 2.30 Average Excess Deaths per 1000 people. Both of these numbers are significantly less than 25 per 1000.

    I thereby claim victory in the bet, and if the other party who wagered would care to step forward, will accept their apology

    1. Method addendum: CDC gives data by week using the date of the last day of that week. I used the first week dated 2020, even though it included a few days from December 2019, and ended in the last week dated 2020, even though that left off a few days at the end of 2020. The effect of this isn’t going to make a significant difference in the numbers.

      1. I am not so sure of your police work there, Lou.

        The way I would have interpreted your wager was to say that the total NY deaths would not exceed average deaths by more than 2.5%. In fact, the excess was 28.9%, per your numbers.

        You are interpreting your wager as saying that not more than 641,128 people in NYS would die (i.e. 2.5% of the entire population of the state plus the 154k who would die on average). That would have been something indeed, and not in a good way.

        1. Search function, of course, doesn’t work with comments, but i remember it being phrased as per 1000 people, which is exactly what i’ve estimated.

          Remember the wager was made during the height of alarmism about the pandemic, and people were claiming truly crazy things.

  25. Vermont legislature considers bill to restrict defense available to defendants in cases in which the alleged victim’s claimed gender at the time played was a motive. From an article at VTDigger on the subject: “Only one witness testified against the bill: Rebecca Turner, an attorney in the Office of the Defender General. She said the limit on what a defendant could use as a defense would be a violation of the right to due process under the 14th Amendment. She said she was concerned about the “sweeping nature” of the bill.
    However, legislative counsel Brynn Hare told the committee that her reading is that the bill wouldn’t interfere with due process at all, and states in fact have the right to limit certain types of evidence from being brought forward — an explanation that satisfied the committee.”

    From H.128
    9 (a) In a prosecution for any criminal offense, evidence of the defendant’s
    10 discovery of, knowledge about, or the potential disclosure of the crime victim’s
    11 actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity shall not be used:
    12 (1) as a defense to defendant’s criminal conduct;
    13 (2) to establish a finding that defendant suffered from diminished
    14 capacity; or
    15 (3) to justify defendant’s use of force against another.
    16 (b) The following shall not be used to mitigate the severity of an offense:
    17 (1) evidence of a nonviolent romantic or sexual advance by a crime
    18 victim towards the defendant; or
    19 (2) evidence of defendant’s perception or belief, even if inaccurate, of
    20 the gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation of a crime victim.

    1. In plain language, the law would ban the “gay panic” defense.

  26. So, uh, anyone want to defend the CPAC stage design being a variant of the Odal rune that only Nazis and Neonazis use?

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