The Volokh Conspiracy

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  1. Poll of the Day:
    When I see a dirty vagrant on the street sitting on the street my general response most closely resembles....

    A: Ignore them and I feel guilty
    B: Ignore them and I don't feel guilty
    C: Help them by some token amount that helps me feel better.
    D: (LIE) I help them to the fullest of my ability.
    E: Other: Explain

    1. This is a true story, about 10 to 15 years old:
      A guy who worked around Seattle's Pioneer Square, like everyone else would be hit up by homeless for "spare change" and he felt guilty about not helping, but he didn't want to feed anyone's drug or alcohol problem. So he went and talked to the owner of a local deli, and made him a deal. He set up an account with the deli owner with an initial balance, then printed up business cards that said: "good for one sandwich at xxxxxxx deli" with the address.

      Then when someone said they needed money for food, and he wanted to help he passed out the cards, and told them, it's good for a sandwich down the street.

      Over a several month period not a single card was redeemed, because it was no good for drugs and alcohol.

      1. I remember a homeless woman who didn't want food because she didn't want to get fat. Sad case, but nothing I could do.

        She was around Harvard Square when it was transitioning from interesting place to yuppie destination. Just recently people around there mourned the loss of a Starbucks.

        1. If you've ever done soup kitchen work, homeless and those in need are really careful about their food.

          My speculation is that that's because it's something about their life they can control.

          1. "If you've ever done soup kitchen work" - I have ... and it's not just the homeless who are extremely careful about food. Homeless shelters are also extremely picky about what food they accept. It's not just a matter of control ... it's a matter of food poisoning.

            1. There is a distinction, however.

              I'm not talking about the quality and sourcing thresholds, I'm talking about menu choices regarding ingredients and calories and the like.

          2. If I had to guess, I would say she was one of the borderline mentally ill who are not sick enough to confine and not well enough to hold a decent job.

      2. "This is a true story"

        That you just made up.

        I regularly give food to homeless people asking for money for food. They eat it. Because they're hungry.

        I get it, you have to tell yourself these absurd lies because _you're a bad person_, and no-one wants to admit to themselves that they're the kind of person who'll walk past someone hungry and ignore their plight.

        Grow up. Live a little, give a little, be a better person.

        1. 100% a fake story. Not a single homeless person in Pioneer's Square, for months, redeemed a free deli sandwich - nor did they trade the coupon for a few cigarettes or a dollar. Not just one dude, but every person he gave coupons to over months of, impliedly, handing them out regularly.

          Also, what kind of deli in downtown Seattle has its own customer charge accounts these days? What, was this story set in 1957?

      3. Many of my clients are/were in the hospitality business. When I worked downtown, years ago, I had a client near the office whose business card featured (on the back) a coupon for a free draft beer or homemade soda. I arranged to get a box -- maybe 250? -- from him each year for at least 10 years that offered a free hot dog or slice of pizza instead of a beverage. Some I gave to visiting clients but most I distributed to the homeless and panhandlers. So far as I am aware, although I never tracked the figures, many or most of them were redeemed for food, whether by the homeless or by the clients paying $400 an hour.

        This reminds me -- I might still have some of them in a drawer somewhere.

    2. It's kind of a defining feature of much modern conservatism to be obsessed with tales of homeless street bilkers while shrugging at the far, far more consequential evidence of corporate welfare. Punch down, young man, punch down!

      1. Politicians of both parties live for those corporate handouts. Or to hurt companies then back off once donations roll in.

        To paraphrase the alien at the end of Contact, "It's the way it's been done for billions of years."

        You only think your* side's politicians are noble, because they tell you so, and you are no fool!

        * For various definitions of "your".

      2. Right now the biggest corporate grift going on is green energy. BBB’s $12,000 per union built electric car is just one example, Solyndra’s 460 million failed loan guarantee in 2012 is another, massive subsidies for solar and wind that needs to be backed up by conventional power plants that sit idle at great expense until the solar and wind fails is another.

        I totally agree that corporate welfare should be ended, and all subsidies that distort the marketplace should be ended.

        1. Kazinski, assuming what you say is true, do you think that what you say is in any way a reason to reject green energy?

          1. Green energy, as opposed to clean energy, is not ready for prime time. It is unusable as baseload power because it is too unreliable. So the billions being poured into solar and wind have to be matched one for one with reliable fossil fuel power generation.

          2. There is no reason to "reject" green energy, if it's not subsidized it will be used where it's most efficient.

            But it certainly is not ready to power the grid now, not anymore than making a nominal contribution.

            I live off the grid during the summer months, so I'm not hostile to solar, but I certainly know it's limitations.

      3. It's not conservatives/Republicans that pushed the subsidies that are the only reason Tesla Motors exists.

      4. " while shrugging at the far, far more consequential evidence of corporate welfare."

        Or welfare for the rich, like paid family leave.

        But you care correct, we should get rid of all of it, and focus on a simple, flat tax structure and removing regulatory obstacles that make it harder to earn a living.

        Families and extended families can handle welfare. That's where it naturally belongs, from an economic perspective.

        1. Families and extended families can handle welfare. That's where it naturally belongs, from an economic perspective.

          This is nonsense. What is this "naturally belongs" crap?

          And what happens when the family is non-existent, or the whole family needs help.

          1. “ This is nonsense. What is this "naturally belongs" crap?”

            People will generally work harder to help out a family member in need, but work less to avoid paying taxed. So the welfare state impedes the economy where direct family involvement doesn’t.

            1. This really doesn't answer the question of what to do about people who are alienated from their families, or people with abusive parents, or situations where a whole family is dysfunctional.

              People who have strong families probably aren't homeless. Also, it isn't entirely clear why people who have disabled/difficult/irresponsible/mentally ill relatives should bare the entire burden of that sort of problem and what do we do when they aren't willing to any longer?

            2. When you hoist a comment on top of a bigger-than-usual pile of tacit ideological priors, do you do that to make sure it is prominently in view?

        2. " Families and extended families can handle welfare. That's where it naturally belongs "

          You may mean well, but that's a lousy and unpersuasive argument.

      5. "while shrugging at the far, far more consequential evidence of corporate welfare."

        Oh jeez, just because twatface above is a complete knob-end doesn't justify you spreading thinly veiled neo-Nazi conspiracy theories.

        'Corporate welfare' is nothing more than a codeword for 'and this is why we need to rebuild Auschwitz'.

        1. Could you draw that line from corporate welfare to a new Holocaust a bit more, please? I'm not seeing it.

    3. Answer: E (other)
      Explanation. It depends on the context. If you're a dirty, filthy reprobate who obviously shoots up (ala Kensington in Philly), I am walking right by (which I have). OTOH, if you're a vet down on your luck, I am buying you a meal and seeing to your immediate physical needs (which I have).

      1. Not sure about the judgmentalism here. People who shoot up have addictions that they may not be able to control without some sort of help.

        And if you are condemning people for lacking self-control, I think lack of self-control is a common problem. Otherwise, we wouldn't have so many obese non-homeless people in America.

        None of that is to say that people shouldn't work to overcome their addictions. Only that many will need some sort of help/support to do so.

        That said, if you see an addict on the street, what kind of investment would it take to really make a difference in that person's life? One that is usually much higher than what I personally would be willing to make, given all the other demands and ways I can work to make the world a better place.

        I think this is why government intervention makes sense in theory (although I don't know about practice). It is perhaps useful for specialized labor to help such individuals. On the other hand, government doesn't have such a great track record either, does it? This is part of the reason I think I lean towards a universal basic income. Not that I think that will solve every problem, but it might work better than the alternatives.

        I think people disagree about what should be done because the problem is so hard and we humans have yet to devise a good solution.

        1. I agree that it's more than I'm able to do, which is why my answer is that I'll occasionally buy food for someone but otherwise I donate regularly to charities who are able to combine that with other donations and do something substantial. I don't want to give to "the government" in general because I don't have control over where that money goes. Maybe I want to support just homeless people and not the arts, maybe I think that Charity A does a horrible job of helping anybody and Charity B is lining their own pockets but Charity C is doing great work and I want to help them specifically.

    4. B.

      I know many of you think I'm some dirty, commie, leftist but when it comes to economic issues I'm quite rightish.

    5. E: Other - Ignore them. Berate myself for being in the wrong city neighborhood. Check my gun.

    6. E. Feel sorry for them as victims of conservative greed.

      1. Do you really believe that or is it sarcasm?

        1. I really believe that. Conservatives would have us return to Dickensian workhouses or incarceration. Well, that's worse. That's what we know from having tried it. Or, failing that, they'd just live with the problem (basically all your other options, A B C and even D which I agree is a lie).

          Progressives would like to actually solve the problem(s), even if it means *gasp* taxes.

          1. You have a very limited, jaded, and, sad to say, ignorant understanding of conservatism and conservatives. I realize this has become a common punching bag for progressives, but you should try a more enlightened approach.

            It is the policies of the liberal, progressive movement that has resulted in the street-people, homeless problem, in my analysis. And, the fear of going back to institutionalizing the mentally ill. Most of these homeless people are mentally ill. Rather than deal with corruption and crime in institutions, the institutions were just emptied out and closed, and the progressives under the guise of civil liberties have prevented helping many of these people.

            1. I don't think you'll find progressives pushing back on appropriate care for the mentally ill! But it costs $$$.

            2. Under the guise of civil liberties?

              You are literally talking about imprisoning a person against their will because they are subjectively judged by a professional to have a mental illness.

              The standard that we currently have is that we don't imprison/institutionalize a person against their will for a mental illness unless they are a threat of harm to themselves or others. Would you just imprison them in order to "help" them?

              And what if someone said YOU had a mental illness. Aren't false accusations here a particular danger? What if institutionalization was used against people with politically unpopular views?

              I don't think it is "conservative" to be in favor of "helping" people by taking away their liberty if they haven't committed a crime and have been shown to be a danger to themselves or others. And why is it that some "conservatives" (who I don't think a really all that conservative) are so skeptical of government interventions intended to help people, but suddenly lack similar skepticism when it comes to more coercive measures such as imprisonment/institutionalization. You can't trust government bureaucrats to regulate workplace safety, but you CAN trust them to decide who is going to be institutionalized against their will?

          2. For context, I consider the seriously addicted to be mentally ill. This includes addiction to alcohol, heroin, meth, etc.

            1. Would you be willing to spend federal money on a better treatment infrastructure?

              1. How would this relate to any of the federal government's enumerated powers?

                  1. That is not one of Congress's enumerated powers (it's not in Article 1 Section 8).

                    1. That's...a take. You don't think Congress can spend money on what it deems necessary?

                    2. Only if it's necessary to one of their enumerated powers.

                  2. That's not a power, it's a restriction on the exercise of powers.

                    1. The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States

                      Live by the text, die by the text.

                    2. Yeah, and read the text: It's a power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises. That's the power.

                      The common defense and general welfare is a limitation on the use of the money thus raised: It has to be spent for the general welfare, not aimed at benefiting just some of the people.

                      This is hardly an idiosyncratic reading.

                    3. It’s also not the plain text of what ‘and’ means.

                    4. "The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States."

                      And if there was a majority in Congress at anytime in the last hundred years thought that created a free standing general welfare power for Congress, why are all the federal entitlement programs tied to commerce clause rather than the above clause?

                    5. Not Federal appropriations, MS.

                      Your jurisprudence is pre-1937.

                      And neither of you have explained why 'provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States' doesn't include spending for the general welfare of the US.

                    6. And neither of you have explained why 'provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States' doesn't include spending for the general welfare of the US.

                      Ah, what the hey -- I haven't pounded my head against your brick wall in at least a couple of days.

                      As others have clearly explained and sourced, "the general welfare" means that when Congress spends tax dollars it collects, it spends for everyone, not just cronies.

                      It doesn't mean "any shit we make up that we can come up with a way to say is for Your Own Good," any more than "provide for the common defence" means nuking border crossers. Unless you feel that would be constitutional as well?

                    7. The constraint on Congress is political. You are all constitutionalizing your politics. And doing a bad job about it.

                      Oh this just means Congress must act like Congress. Sure, that’s a plausible waste of ink the Founders totally put in there!

                    8. "The constraint on Congress is political. "

                      'Because we have elections, we don't need a Constitution.'

                    9. Plenty of other constraints are not so. But spending is Congress. For you originalists, you need only look at the Articles of Confederation to see why,

              2. It should be left to the states.

                1. Why? Seems like homelessness and addiction are nationwide problems.

                  1. It's really not the business of the federal government. Many problems are ubiquitous, that doesn't make them the business of the federal government. I think the federal government is in to too many things as it is, and should be dramatically scaled back.

                    1. It's a nationwide problem in need of solving. Leaving it to states will 1) create a patchwork, and 2) require a level of resources many states don't have.

                      Your rule about what the federal government can do makes the problem effectively insoluble. Are you willing to accept the misery of so many for this line you've drawn?

                    2. "2) require a level of resources many states don't have."

                      This is a tangent, but I really dislike that argument. The feds don't have a secret gold mine - fed, state, and local governments pull their taxes out of the same pockets.

                      I've lost track over the years how often I've been at a community meeting where spending $20M on Project X is being discussed, and the general local sentiment is 'Project X isn't worth $5M, much less $20M'. And the response is 'OK, but $19M of that is a fed grant; that money has already gone to Washington, if we don't spend the $1M to get it back some other area will get our $19M'.

                      And that's a pretty compelling argument given the rules, but it's pretty sub optimal to have rules that result in doing projects that the people benefiting don't think are worth the cost.

                      I blame Tricky Dick.

                    3. 1) We work with the system we got.

                      2) We got there for a reason. You'd like a lot more of our spending completely federated - conceived as well as executed by the states. But this assumes each state has a tax base equal to it's issues. In reality, the revers is often the case - poorer states have more such issues. Plus, the problem is national, not idiosyncratic between the states. Finally, coordination is helpful among the states which your exhaustive federation would not allow.

                      Federation is good policy if you worry about your policy going well - the whole laboratory of democracy thing. Which is why grants are good - it gives that flexibility by allowing states to prioritize how to implement while the setting the topline with a few specifications.

                    4. I dunno. If people are spending $20M for something that is only worth $5M to them, that's just not doing them a favor.

                      There are things that are national in scope where national taxation and spending are entirely appropriate. But building a new civic center or repaving county road #234 aren't obviously some of those things.

                      Maybe the people in Peoria think spending $20M on a new civic center is worth it, while the people in Fargo don't. Both might be right. Maybe Fargo would rather spend their $20M on a new bridge, but they don't get that choice. I don't think D.C. knows better than Fargo whether the bridge or civic center is more valuable to Fargo.

            2. What about addictions to pornography, sugar, food, roller coasters, cigarettes, sex, working out, etc? Are these also "mental illness" in your mind?

              At what point do we say that behavior is less than optimal (in our opinion) versus a mental illness? In general, anything that creates a large increase in dopamine can be the cause of an addiction. People can be addicted to much more than alcohol, heroin, and meth.

              1. There IS a clinical definition of addiction, and in short, it is anything that results in an abstinence syndrome. The focus is on the physical, but I think it could be extended to the psychological as well.

            3. And you want the seriously addicted locked up, is that right, ThePublius? And just to be clear, you regard that as, "conservative."

          3. Then why are there so many more homeless in Blue areas?

            Incidentally, I'm in Turkey now, and I've been here nearly a month, haven't seen a single homeless person. I'm not sure what their secret is but I don't think it's a extensive social safety net. It may have a lot more to do with draconian drug laws, and while alcohol is legal there doesn't seem to be a problem with public drunkenness either.

            I was in North Macedonia for a few weeks before I came here, and saw maybe one or two homeless there, and it certainly is not a rich country.

            1. So we should import Erdogan's policies?

              1. I’d say if your primary concern is the welfare and wellness of the homeless then that would be the way to go. Our current codependent policies of enablement certainly are not doing the homeless any favors.

                But I don’t think we should build our entire society around policies that reduce homelessness at the cost of our society at large.

            2. Sure...if you're in Izmir or Ankara (really nice places!), then you might not see any homeless.

              Try heading down towards the south or way out east by Diyarbakır

            3. Why are there so many more homeless in blue areas?

              Imagine you live in rural Texas and your blue-collar job disappears. You go for about six months before getting evicted. Perhaps you're also a meth / opiate addict. Do you a) stick around rural Texas and turn to crime until you're arrested or b) make your way to a big blue California city that has a lot more people to panhandle, more services and shelters, and a community of homeless to live within? Probably a then b is the most typical progression.

              It's possible to live on the streets of big cities, and big cities are blue.

            4. I think you will find that the bulk of the homeless are not so much in blue areas as they are in warm areas, areas with mild winters. It's much easier to be homless and not seek help when you don't have to worry about freezing to death half the year.

              1. San Francisco warm with mild winters? I don't think so.

                1. It's relative. When I moved there I arrived in late December. Lived through the winter in a house without heat (of which there were many, by the way). Felt comfortable the whole time. I moved there from New England.

                  SF remains my favorite climate experience ever.

                  1. I was there one November on business. It was cold and wet. I bought a pair of insulated boots for a homeless guy, I felt so cold and miserable myself, and encountered him sitting on the sidewalk, barefoot, outside the Moscone Center.

                    It can be cold and wet and foggy and miserable. The bay is like a washing machine on the cold cycle, all year round.

                    1. SF in winter may be 'cold and wet' by California standards. It's sunbathing weather by the standards of Northern states.

                2. "San Francisco warm with mild winters? I don't think so."

                  Compared to any of the US states bordering Canada (with the possible exception of Washington), hell yes.

                  I'm in Wisconsin, born and raised in Milwaukee. Winter temperatures here get get in to negative double digits on the Fahrenheit scale, temperature so cold that exposed skin can get frostbite in a matter of minutes.

                  The record low temperature for Milwaukee is -26 °F (-32 °C), on both January 17, 1982 and February 4, 1996.

                  The record low for San Francisco is 27, and you have to go back to 1932 for that.

                  You think San Francisco gets cold in the winter?

                  You have no fucking idea what cold is.

                  1. PS: That record low temperature in Milwaukee is within my lifetime.

                    I was 12 in January 1982 and 26 in Febuary 1996. I lived through that.

                  2. In case you would rather talk about averages.

                    The average low temperature for Milwaukee in January is 20 degrees.

                    The average low temperature for San Francisco in January is 47 degrees.

                    So 12 degrees below freezing in Milwaukee vs 15 degrees above freezing for San Francisco.

                    Yes, it's a lot easier to be long term homeless in a place where the average low temperature in winter months is above freezing.

    7. E. Other: I often feel sad.

      I wish there was more that could be done but realize that as with all things there are limits. This country abounds with public and private charities to assist people. So, for those left on the streets it is often a more complicated situation, usually associated with mental illness. So, for me it is left to feel sad, support my charities, and be thankful that I and mine are not in the same situation.

      1. This country "abounds" with public and private charities to help people. And yet tens of thousands of homeless people are all over our streets. I don't know if we should talk about how "abundant" these charities are if they are incapable of actually solving the problem. And I don't know if we should be so sure that charities always aim to help people other than those who run the charity. Being a non-profit executive can be pretty lucrative, sometimes, after all.

        In any case, I believe many (or most) charities are well-meaning. And some are even efficiently run and somewhat effective. But it is kind of self-evident that charities have not succeeded in solving the problem.

        Of course, admittedly, it is a very difficult problem.

    8. My general strategy now is to usually do (B) but then on special occasions, either some day of good fortune for me, or some especially convincing pitch by the homeless guy, give him enough take the rest of the day off and go get a good meal or new clothes or a bust ticket or a bottle if that's what he really wants. Something like $40.

      And when I carry on a conversation of any length, it's almost invariably clear that it doesn't have anything to do with corporate greed; it doesn't have anything to do with housing policy; it doesn't have anything to do with laziness or immorality; it doesn't have anything to do with not enough policing. It's mental illness, period.

      1. I absolutely think it has something to do with housing policy. Public policies which cause housing to become more expensive push people who are less competitive into homelessness.

        Mental illness exists on a spectrum. As housing prices increase, those with more marginal abilities become unable to afford housing.

        1. Depends on what you mean by homeless. If you mean someone living in a government/NGO shelter or a designated camping area, I agree with you there are some people who could pay rent if it was more reasonable.

          I was talking about people literally living on the sidewalk. I won't presume to know what's going on in California or New York.
          But in the TX cities I've lived in police and volunteers try to get people into shelters and they either won't go or won't stay. The problem isn't lack of square feet to keep them out of the elements, and the shelters are literally free.

    9. E. Ignore them [but watch out they don't hit me or follow me--seen it before] and I don't feel guilty

    10. F. Soylent Green is people.

    11. A. I have a hard time understanding someone who says B. I'm sure they could give reasons, but that is a human being there in the street. I wish I could be more C or D (minus the lying).

    12. "“At this time of the rolling year,” the spectre said, “I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!”

      Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake exceedingly.

      “Hear me!” cried the Ghost. “My time is nearly gone.”

      “I will,” said Scrooge. “But don’t be hard upon me! Don’t be flowery, Jacob! Pray!”

      “How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see, I may not tell. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day.”

      It was not an agreeable idea. Scrooge shivered, and wiped the perspiration from his brow."

      Mr. D.

  2. Which will mainstream American history identify as the most important or direct precipitate of the 2020s Supreme Court enlargement?

    ___ Pandemic management
    ___ Abortion
    ___ Guns
    ___ Voting rights
    ___ Partisanship/gridlock/election results
    ___ Bigotry (racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny)
    ___ Special privilege for religion

    1. None of the above. The current Democrat Party relies on an electoral strategy wherein many of their voters don't know SCOTUS from Bumpkiss. Your constant refrain of demographic change=Democrat victory is nuts.

      1. I tend to discount observations concerning the Democratic Party's prospects, positions, inner workings, or record from those who describe it as the Democrat Party.

        I blame my experience-driven familiarity with the Democratic Party and with standard English.

        1. and with standard English.

          "If you're a Republican, this is the party for you. This party is full of Republicans. We call it the Republican party."

          "If you're a Democrat, this is the party for you. This party is full of Democrats. We call it the _________ party."

          Such a sadly bastardized definition of "standard English," dear Artie. Much like the rest of your low-thought spew.

          1. English is known for many many exceptions.

            You’re just being an asshole.

          2. The entity is the Democratic Party, you bigoted, half-educated wingnut.

            I welcome your ignorance, because it makes it easier to stomp your ugly, stale thinking into irrelevance in the American culture war -- which is not over, but has been settled.

            Open wider, clinger. Your betters will show you why.

          3. If you're a retard, this blog is for you. It's full of retards. We call it the retardED blog.

    2. Arthur, you're missing a choice.

      ___ Because Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland said so!

      Merry Christmas, Arthur. 🙂

      1. Don't do it because I said so. Do it because it is the right thing to do.

        Merry Christmas!

    3. other than Justices Sotomayor/Kagan, haven't really noticed any Enlargement on the Court

      1. Ten years from (if not less), you'll be brought up on criminal charges for a remark like that.
        As it is, you risk getting in trouble with your state bar (assuming you're a lawyer). Just the other day there was a post about someone getting suspended for (among other things) criticizing women who have tattoos.

  3. Why Isn't There More Flopping in American Football (as opposed to football-soccer)?

    Is it a cultural thing? A structural thing (having to do with the rules of each game)?

    1. Replays would insta-expose the fraud, leading to penalties?

    2. It’s because a perfectly legal hit in the NFL can cause injury, and the refs are trained to throw the flag when they see illegal play, not just the results.

      And you do see a lot of working the refs, especially in OL and DB holding, usually to no avail, but hoping to get the next call. If the flag doesn’t come within half a second of the whistle, it’s not going to come.

    3. Part of is the speed and how the hits come. Part of it is probably the macho aspect of the game (nobody wants to look soft, and you're celebrated for getting up and looking like it was no big deal).

      But it's untrue that there's no flopping. Look at QBs these days. Or WRs trying to sell pass interference. And now defensive lineman are learning to raise their hands and complain about holding every play. As the NFL has instituted more rules to protect players and, really, generate lots of offense, you see a lot of flopping and writhing around.

      1. If you want to see flopping big time, watch soccer.

        1. Don’t forget basketball.

          1. I have forgotten basketball. I noticed one day that the rules applied to some players, and not to others, and I could never figure out which were which. So I stopped watching.

        2. A highlight of my television sports viewing career was watching a European soccer team get drilled in how to flop convincingly, by a consultant. He would show the team what to do, and then they would all do it together.

    4. It has to do with differences in how penalties are assessed and the fact that soccer is continuous vs discreet plays in American Football.

    5. This does happen. It happens in pass interference calls, roughing the QB, holding calls, and quite a number of others.

      1. Watch real football (rugby) with no armor for players.

    6. There would be no point to flopping in a boxing match, and to some extent that applies to football also.

      A flop is supposed to call attention to the opposing player making contact. The more contact inherent in the sport the less attention you're going to get.

  4. At my church I say Merry Christmas at this time of year, but to strangers I say Happy Holidays. The latter seems to often hurt the fee-fees of quite a few folks, but why? Happy Holidays totally includes their preferred Holiday. Must they have their preferred holiday made prominent? Are they obtuse to other holiday traditions at this time of year? Is this indicative of much of modern conservatism (a petty, overwrought cultural outrage over not ranking their personal preferences specially)?

    1. Probably. Thankfully, as anyone who has spent two minutes on Twitter would know, the modern progressive is a model of emotional and mental stability and is rarely, if ever, offended by anything.

      What is it like to be such a good person? Do you ever find your moral and intellectual superiority to be a burden?

    2. I say, "Happy Holidays", until Christmas Eve and then "Merry Christmas". I hate the idea of diluting Christmas by constantly wishing it from Thanksgiving to Epiphany.

    3. In theory, you do this to not offend non-Christians. But why? Nobody non-Christian is offended. Only shits stirring things up in front of cameras or twitter feign offense.

      Do you get offended if someone wishes you happy whatever from their own religion? What? No?

      The idea you are offending someone by doing that is incorrect.

      The idea you should therefore hide your religion is putrid.

      Now, honestly, have a happy end of year solstice, or whatever holiday some ancient fraud overlaid it gimme money.

      1. I might occasionally have to suppress an eye roll if somebody wishes me a happy Kwanza, but suppress it I do.

        It's kind of stupid to be offended by somebody wishing you well.

        1. It's kind of stupid to be offended by somebody wishing you well.

          I agree.

          Besides, Dec. 25 is Christmas, whether it's a religious holiday to me or not.

          1. And if people were more considerate, they'd say "Happy Chinese Food Day."

        2. It's kind of stupid to be offended by somebody wishing you well.

          Well, half and half. It bothers me not a whit if a stranger wishes me Merry Christmas. It does irk me — certainly not enough to say something, but I grind my mental teeth a bit — when people who know me. That is, people who know me well enough to know I'm one of the Space Laser people.

    4. "hurt the fee-fees"? Really? Your picture should be in the dictionary under chutzpah. Who is it that goes on & on incessantly about everyone being "insensitive" and everything being "offensive" (and how they must be made to stop!)?

    5. What bugs me is the American Christians who get bent out of shape by Marry Xmas.

      Xmas isn't a secular thing. It's a Greek Orthodox Christian thing.

      The Greek letter Chi looks like an X and in the Greek Orthodox church it's used as a reference/initial for Christ.

      1. Actually, I write Xmas (like I did below), just cause I'm lazy.

      2. Thank You.
        I never new that I'll add it to my store if trivia.

    6. Take a look at the latest column on Bari Weiss's substack from a former Westboro Baptist Church congregant:

      The parallels to today's CRT warriors are there.

      1. It does evoke the right-wing zealots who disdain modern America in general and a half-century of liberal-libertarian progress in particular, preferring instead to pine for illusory good old days and to rant about 'all of this damned progress, what with the Blacks and these militant homosexuals and all of these dirty immigrants, and what's gotten into all of these uppity women . . ."

        1. You may quibble at the Westboro people's *reasoning* - but look at the *results* - denunciation of Christmas, division of the world into Us and Them, with a vast unbridgeable moral gulf between the two.

          Isn't that something for you to rejoice in?

            1. Don't be so shy, they are your valued partners in the work of separating the bad Americans from the good ones. It's people like the Phelpses and you who make this country so pleasant.

              1. The point is to make America better. Those who are not part of progress are largely irrelevant, just awaiting replacement.

                The Phelps-Westboro folks, much like the evangelicals, the snake-jugglers, the corrupt Catholic Church, and other superstitious relics are part of your team, not mine.

                1. By that "logic" (loosely so called), whose team do North Korea, antifa rioters, Evergreen College, soft-on-crime prosecutors, etc., belong to?

    7. If I anticipate that "Merry Christmas" would be offensive, I don't say it ("Merry Christmas, Rabbi, I hope you like your Christmas ham!"). If I think it will be taken in good spirits, I say it.

      For my part, I'm offended at people who are offended by the term, so in order to avoid offense, it's best to tell me "Merry Christmas."

      (Oh, /sarc, by the way. Sort of.)

  5. Why is the Christmas songs canon so hard to break into?

    I think Christmas Wrapping should be in there.

    1. I'm thinking it's because the song industry lost its innocence (Or anyway, its interest in faking it.) a few decades ago, rendering their efforts at Christmas songs kind of jarring to the Christmas song market.

      1. Couldn't wait for my local station to switch to Christmas songs, which it dutifully did right after Hallowween.

        I noticed this year it was very heavy in Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey. Whoever they purchased their playlist from had little variation.

        Go on Google and fine pseudo streams, and some are crap, but a few have much wider variation. Different songs, but also many variations of the standards.

        Sigh, here comes laffy Springsteen and Santa Claus is Coming to Town again.

        1. We're a bit down on the Elvis Christmas album, heard it too much because it was stuck in the CD player in my wife's used car, and we're too cheap to replace the radio.

          I like the old ones they were playing when I was a kid, though. "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas"; White Christmas. Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.

          I'd say my all time favorite, though, which you'll hardly ever hear on the radio anymore, is Good King Wenceslas

          1. The Canadian Brass put out a truly excellent Christmas album years ago. I believe it even had Good King Wenceslas. No singing, though.

      2. The song industry was never innocent.

        Most likely it's because Christmas songs, being seasonal and facing a lot of competition from the old standbys, tend not to be lucrative. I suspect that most new ones are in the nature of image promotion projects.

        1. That's why I said, "or lost their interest in faking it".

      3. I'm constantly amazed at the annual horror of "Baby It's Cold Outside".


      My Christmas playlist is "Christmas Wrapping", "Christmas Morning" (Lyle Lovett), "Atheist Christmas Carol" (Vienna Teng), and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I hate the classics. I hate mall music. I hate advertising. I hate the season. I hate the jealousy of atheists when people at least pretend to pay attention to Christianity. I hate what little I saw of _A Wonderful Life_ and I wish it had opened with George Bailey falling to his death so I could have stopped watching sooner.

      1. XKCD nails it. It's mostly because Baby Boomers have been listening to those songs forever. We'll finally start transitioning to songs released in the late 90s and early 2000s, as the echo boomers get their way.

        I also recall a podcast (Radiolab or Freakonomics, IIRC) that talked about how we dislike things that are just slightly off from what we want/expect. But when artists make money-grab Christmas albums, they tend to try doing things with their own spin. So you're sort of destined to dislike it. Probably why Weezer made the right move by covering Africa as close as possible to the original.

        1. Leading edge Boomer here. Basically, I hate almost all Christmas songs which are non-traditional, by which I mean old European Christian tradition. I want mostly choral music, 19th century and older. Minor key is good. Maybe it is a quirk of taste, or maybe family tradition, but if it is the latter, it is kind of inexplicable. I was raised with no religious upbringing at all, and grew up mostly in an entirely Jewish neighborhood, except for us.

          1. I am not remotely a boomer, but I agree with your taste in Christmas music completely, although the holiday itself is entirely secular to me.

    3. Best not to let new songs in:

      "John Lennon and Yoko Ono did it with their 1971 duet “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” So did Paul McCartney’s 1979 song “Wonderful Christmastime” and Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” which debuted in 1984. "

      All these are horrible.

  6. Anyone else getting the creeping feeling like the vaccines are going to go down in the history books as being largely a flop? I don't think it is some grand conspiracy, just an attempt at science and new technology that didn't seem to work all that well when it was hurried up. We went from get this one or two shots and we can all get back to normal, to now get three or maybe four shots (which by the way may have some side effects we were previously denying existed) and it ought to keep you out of the hospital...maybe.

    1. Anyone else getting the creeping feeling like the vaccines are going to go down in the history books as being largely a flop?

      No, not in the slightest. It was nothing short of miraculous that this country went from zero to needles into the arms in 6 months (Feb start, July P3 trials). Historians will write about that for a long time.

      What will go down largely as a flop is our political leadership and their policy-making.

      1. I'm not arguing that bringing the technology from largely concept to mass worldwide deployment in a short period of time was not potentially some kind of feet in of itself. Just that the vaccines as they were constructed and tested did not, in of themselves, have much of an impact. Their efficacy was overstated (perhaps out of ignorance or lack of long term data) and overall impact is going to be minimal when viewed through the lens of history.

        1. Wait Jimmy the Dane. The vaccine does not prevent infection. What it does do is prime your immune system so the severity is lessened (for most). That has a huge positive impact. I agree with your point about overstated. I would go further and say 'mis-stated'.

          To me, it is easier for a policymaker to sell the concept of 'vaccine' as opposed to 'experimental gene therapy'. People are far more willing to put the needle in an arm for a vaccine than gene therapy. They are used to vaccines. Was that a cynical manipulation of language to lie to the populace? No, I don't think so. Rather, it was a panicked response (somewhat understandable) by policymakers who want to be seen as 'doing something'.

          I also agree we do not have long term safety data, and we really need that.

          In the end, Jimmy the Dane, people are people. They make decisions and take actions for a variety of motivations (known and unknown). That is the ultimate conclusion I think historians will draw from this: humans will act like humans in the face of ambiguity and the unknown.

          1. It is in no way gene therapy. It does not touch DNA.

            1. Semantics; mRNA absolutely does interact with DNA. That is just basic biology, not some kind of conspiracy. The point I am making is that it is much easier for policymakers to sell the concept of 'vaccine' to the public to encourage adoption.

              1. "mRNA absolutely does interact with DNA"

                Can you flesh out your view of what's happening there?

                My Bio 101 version is:
                1)In the nucleus, DNA is used as a template to produce mRNA
                2)That mRNA exits the nucleus and goes to the ribosomes where it is used as a template to make proteins. It is used up in that process, and does not reenter the nucleus.

                For mRNA vaccines, step 2 is the same, but step 1 is replaced by the mRNA being injected into your arm, from which it makes its way to the ribosomes, etc.

                But mRNA can't interact with genes - DNA - because DNA never leaves the nucleus, and mRNA never enters the nucleus.

                1. Got a better idea Absaroka...How 'bout you bust out an A&P II textbook, followed by an immunology textbook. Then come back and we can have an intelligent exchange of views about it.

                  1. Or you could just answer the question and look less like a jerk.

                  2. I think Absaroka has it right. And you don't have a counter, other than a lame diversion. The "textbooks" gambit? Really sad.

                    Point: Absaroka.

                    1. Keep in mind he's complaining about mis-use of "vaccine" as social salve to get people to take it, while trying to mis-use "DNA interaction" (probably reduced from "modifies DNA") for social itching powder.

                  3. Sorry, Mr XY, but Absaroka is absolutely right and you are not.

                    1. Yup. About the only circumstance under which an mRNA vaccine could alter your DNA code is if you had an active retroviral infection at the time. It's barely possible that a few cells might end up with vaccine genes spliced in.

                      Now, it's not entirely impossible that the mRNA vaccine might cause epigenetic changes to the cells it gets into. But that would normally be a localized problem.

                      A problem I have been seeing is the failure to use proper injection technique. You're supposed to stick the needle in, and then draw back the plunger for a moment; If you've accidentally hit a blood vessel, you'd draw blood in that case, and have to relocate the needle.

                      That safeguards against accidently injecting the vaccine into your blood stream instead of muscle tissue. Which would take that local irritation you typically get at the injection site, and relocate it to the linings of your blood vessels, not a good thing.

                      That's probably the cause of the occasional heart issues they're seeing. When I got a Moderna shot a couple weeks ago, I noticed the nurse failed to do that.

              2. It is possible to turn RNA into DNA, but that's not how the vaccines work.

                1. Good point - retroviruses being an obvious example.

                2. Reverse transcriptase?

              3. You're not completely off base - retroviruses do use RNA to interact with DNA, but that requires a special enzyme.

                mRNA vaccines do not interact with DNA at all.

      2. Agree, here. Vaccines have been one of humanities greatest achievements. Diseases that might have killed billions over history now are almost eradicated. The problem is not vaccines, it is our taking them for granted.

    2. See Jimmy, this is why you don't get it.

      It's not just the shots.

      It's the shots AND:

      Wearing masks and,
      Social distancing and,
      Avoiding travel and,
      Avoiding large groups and
      Washing your hands and,
      Testing (as appropriate).

      We need all the steps in order to defeat the virus.

      1. As I said most of the containment we had was probably do to social distancing, lack of travel, and slowing public interaction frequency way down. Viruses tend to follow people and if you don't get people into situations where viruses can transmit then you don't get spread. Pretty simple. The vaccines don't do much to stop transmission (data seems to indicate maybe they do a little, but nothing like what was promised in Spring 2021). I still stick by my main point above that the impact of the vaccines is going to be viewed as minimal and short sighted.

        1. You state things no one has confirmed. In fact, you state things most would find dubious, based on the time correlation of observed infection rates in different countries and when their lockdown policies went into effect.

          1. Sometimes I think you type just to hear yourself talk in your head. What about transmission of Covid do you not understand? Very few cases are people picking it up for inanimate objects. Transmission involves being (generally) in close proximity to someone who is shedding the virus. You separate out people, reduce contact, and impose distancing between the potential carriers and of course transmission numbers are going to fall. Pretty basic stuff there.

            1. If lockdowns were the key, you'd see case rates go down a few weeks after they were instituted. That's not what happened. Worldwide.

              On the other hand, when the vaccine rolled out worldwide, you did see that.

              Your argument from logic does not trump what was actually observed.

        2. The CDC says you are five times more likely to be infected if you are not vaccinated. But even if it that conclusion is wrong, the unmistakable reduction in the risk of dying (14 times less) is what has made it possible to ease travel and other restrictions which cut down on transmission.

      2. I take it you mean learn to "live with" the virus, not "defeat" it. Medically, you cannot defeat colds or the flu. And in the case of the variant of influenza known as COVID-19, the attack vector is water vapor, so several of the mitigations on your list won't work:

        - Unless you're using a surgical mask in a controlled environment, masks won't stop it.
        - Social distancing is obviously not very useful, water vapor spreads evenly
        - Washing hands is of limited use, since surfaces are not an important attack vector
        - Avoiding travel in places where the air is not filtered and refreshed is indeed a good idea, but that doesn't include most forms of public transit
        - And of testing, the only kind that matters is testing whether you have the right antibodies against the virus -- not testing whether you are "negative" for COVID or not. If you have the antibodies, you are protected. If you merely test that you are negative, you can still catch the virus a minute later.

        The chief mitigation is fresh, moving air, and strong sunshine. Get outside!

        1. Oh, I think we could defeat viruses, but it would take a total revolution in how we go after them.

          My best analogy is that currently the medical community deploys their seismometers when the buildings start falling down. They bring out their wind gage when the tornado strikes.

          They don't get serious about collecting data, (If ever!) until the pandemic is raging.

          What we need to do is deploy weather stations, and track the pathogen weather in real time.

          Imagine that every time you showed up at the urgent care with an infection, it got sequenced just as a matter of course. Imagine air filters in public places that subjected the filtrate to sequencing.

          Imagine noticing that there was a new virus in town before the emergency rooms started filling up.

          1. "What we need to do is deploy weather stations, and track the pathogen weather in real time."
            Brett, that might be possible if one had a leading indicator. Unfortunately all we have are are lagging indicators.

            1. There's lagging, and there's lagging. Obviously any measure is going to lag actual infections a bit, just like a wind vane lags the wind.

              But currently we use measures that amount to, "Yup, things got bad last week", and we don't even do random population testing to get uncontaminated prevalence numbers. It's like doing storm prediction by driving around afterwards to see how many homes had their roofs ripped off!

              We need to become much more proactive about data collection, so that the moment you know a virus or bacterium is likely to be a problem, you know where it's present.

              With such a system, we'd have known Covid was coming in mid 2019, probably.

              1. "With such a system, we'd have known Covid was coming in mid 2019, probably."
                I doubt is Brett. BUT we could have paid attention to the measurements in both France and Italy of COVID-19 infections in mid-November 2019

      3. Two weeks to flatten the curve, right?

    3. Our antiviral tech has improved by leaps and bounds thanks to this worldwide war footing.

      Antivirals, monclonal antibodies, this new 'super-vaccine', the rapid response mRNA vaccines allow.

      Awe inspiring.

      If there's a silver lining to this whole awful juncture, it's that. And if history in like 50 years remembers anything, that's what it'll be.

      Though I'm sure there will be some oldsters insisting none of it was effective. Like there are still some who insist FDR was a socialist.

      1. You do know antivirals and monoclonal antibody treatments have been around now for about 20 years right? What got gutted was the bureaucracy surrounding clinical trials that was keeping the technology from breaking through. The pandemic provided an opportunity to rip up that old playbook and kick start some initiatives (which I think the jury will be out on if that was a good idea for awhile).

        Perhaps some technological advancements will be celebrated, but that is going to get muddy real quick when we start talking about all the civil liberty violations and other ineffective schemes the government also used.

        1. When a tech exists, and when it is reduced to an effective practice are two very different things.

          Antivirals were there, but not so well understood and effective.
          Monclonals were understood, but not producible at scale to any but the very wealthy.

          Yes, we also learned about clinical trials procedures as well, though the idea that the playbook got ripped up is quite the exaggeration.

          But the legacy historically will be the tech. Those talking about the civil liberty violations of masks and limited public gatherings will be akin to those still calling FDR a socialist.

          1. "Antivirals were there, but not so well understood and effective.
            Monclonals were understood, but not producible at scale to any but the very wealthy."

            I think Jimmy covered that. The FDA has been seriously impeding the jump from biological knowledge to available treatment for decades now.

            The sad thing is, if the "medical autonomy" reasoning of some abortion cases had ever been applied beyond stuff that's sex related, that probably wouldn't be the case.

            1. If you think the problem with monclonals and antivirals was entirely the FDA, you should do more research than just jerking your knee.

              Medical autonomy when it comes to infections diseases makes no sense.

              1. What I mean is that the reasoning behind the abortion rulings wouldn't permit such restrictive regulation of medicine as we experience for everything but abortion. And that regulation is slowing things down dramatically.

                Going from the lab to application is insanely expensive and slow.

              2. To try to say medical autonomy and abortion only effect one person therefore is different is just a laughable stance. Now you might not think a baby is a "person" but it is hard to argue that it is not some kind of lifeform that is adversely effected by an abortion procedure.

              3. If I were a vegan, you would be right, Jimmy. Well, not even then.

                1. Are you saying you eat babies????

                    1. Which include babies!

                    2. I guess I have to walk you through your own flawed argument:

                      Now you might not think a baby is a "person" but it is hard to argue that it is not some kind of lifeform that is adversely effected

                      You set this bar hilariously low. Each of us adversely effects lifeforms regularly in our lives. That's not something worth avoiding, unless you're into that Jain thing. And even then, you gotta ignore gut bacteria etc.

          2. I don't agree with the last point, Sarcastr0 = Those talking about the civil liberty violations of masks and limited public gatherings will be akin to those still calling FDR a socialist.

            The covid craziness forced the courts to address the limits of free exercise, bodily autonomy, election law, and important questions on applied federalism (my term for the traditional division of power btwn state and fed). You lawyers and judges will have a merry old time for decades sorting it all out. I don't think we even understand the impact these cases will have, going forward; I only know that the impact will be great.

            I know that my personal understanding of the limits of federal power were completely upended (eviction moratorium, vaccine mandate, lockdowns, etc). To be 100% honest, I find it all very disquieting.

            1. This is my point - you sound like conservatives in the 1940s talking about the New Deal. Government powers upended, disquieting etc. etc. But this does not seem to me to be a relationship that will be dialed back.

              As for the interaction between the Constitution and matters of faith, that has not changed - Smith has been the standard for decades now. And absent some kind of new Great Awakening, I don't think that's what history will dwell on.

              1. Smith will be revisited, I suspect.

                1. " Smith will be revisited, I suspect. "

                  Along a bumpy road leading inexorably to a day when those who like religion-based privilege will remember the Smith eras as the "good old days."

                  The popularity and influence of religion religion -- especially organized religion -- is fading quickly in modern America and seems destined to continue. The law and culture will adjust accordingly.

              2. "But this does not seem to me to be a relationship that will be dialed back."

                Basic thermodynamics: It's hard to reverse decay, that's not the direction the universe wants to go in.

                1. Entropy is not subjective.

                  1. Whereas your declaring progressivism is the same as decay, is turning your worldview into physical laws.

          3. Monclonals are still very expensive.
            Antivarials are only so-so effective.

            1. But both made a leap in recent years.

              Computers and jet planes didn’t get perfected in world war 2 either.

              1. "But both made a leap in recent years."
                True enough, but I got 4 infusions and the hospital bill was $70,550. That is not exactly cheap.

                1. Cheap will take a while, but it's only a matter of time now. Given the broad demand, the market incentives are pretty strong to lower the price and open the market.

                  But see: insulin.

                  1. Indeed, see insulin.
                    Also drugs that must be administered in a clinical setting are never going to be really cheap.

                    1. Which is just an argument for our health insurance system to go single payer! 😛

                    2. No S_0,
                      Your comeback is just a statement of your ersatz religious faith.
                      The cost has nothing to do with single or multi-payer. The fact is that administering an infusion means 4 hours in a clinical setting. Nurses and technical support and the physicians on standby need to be paid for with and facilities need amortization.
                      While I agree that these costs are inflated by the present costs of middlemen, the cost of massive and frequently inefficient bureaucracy needs factoring into your single payer model.
                      It is abundantly clear by the practice of the present bureaucracy the administration and progressive supporters that the costs of treatment are to be lowered on the backs of trained health professionals to a level that is not consistent with the level of responsibility that we hold them by "standard of care."

      2. It didn't take long before "the unconscionable profits of drug companies" started rearing its ugly head. They've saved a lot more lives than you ever did, Mr. Pocket Lining Politician.

        1. You remain ignorant of what government can and has done. It's like you are stuck in college libertarian mode.

          How many did the government save from starvation in the New Deal? Or lifted up families permanently up from poverty into the middle class? Or brought into the light with rural electrification?

          And what about the subsidies to drug companies? The entire basic research edifice that drug development is based on is funded by the US government because private industry won't do it - too risky.

          1. "How many did the government save from starvation in the New Deal?"

            Fewer than it pushed into starvation.

            How Government Prolonged the Depression

            "The goal of the New Deal was to get Americans back to work. But the New Deal didn't restore employment. In fact, there was even less work on average during the New Deal than before FDR took office. Total hours worked per adult, including government employees, were 18% below their 1929 level between 1930-32, but were 23% lower on average during the New Deal (1933-39). Private hours worked were even lower after FDR took office, averaging 27% below their 1929 level, compared to 18% lower between in 1930-32."

            1. That is a well know, but very much minority take.

              If you want to pick and choose your narratives, you can make government the villain in everything, but that very superlative shows how pinched your reality will become.

              Nothing is superlative.

              1. What's your explanation for the economy actually declining when the New Deal went into effect, then?

                Central planning was all the rage back then, and central planning sucks.

                1. What's your explanation for the economy actually declining when the New Deal went into effect, then?

                  Here's mine:

                  Real GDP grew at about a 7% annual rate from 1933 to 1939. It was 35% higher in 1936 than in 1932.

                  1. The problem with FDR is that history has lionized the man and completely distorted the actual factual record. I'm sure part of this was politically motivated because the powers that were at the time really wanted his socialist agenda to work. They believed in it so hard that they thought all they had to do was believe a little harder and it would work. Problem is belief usually doesn't match reality. And yelling at people that their take is wrong because of some historical allegory that isn't even remote the same is just poor argumentation.

                  2. The great depression started in 1929, when the GPD per capita was $858. It hit a low in '33 of $445.

                    The New Deal was from '33 to '39; The GDP peaked in '37 at $721, and was basically static for the rest of the New Deal. It wasn't until WWII that the GDP exceeded pre-crash levels.

                    My argument is that the great depression was actually prolonged by the New Deal, not ended by it. And the cause was widespread fondness for central planning.

                    1. Sounds like you're saying that economy grew more slowly during the New Deal than it otherwise would have. Which is very different from your initial claim that it declined.

                    2. The reason GDP got static is simple. FDR and congress got persuaded to balance the budget starting in around 1937, with predictable results.

                      My argument is that the great depression was actually prolonged by the New Deal, not ended by it.

                      So GDP per capita went down almost 50% from 1929 to 1933. Then it rose 62% over the next four years - about a 13% annual rate. And from this you conclude that the New Deal made things worse. And you know the cause, of course.

                      As I've said before, you really need to learn a little - from standard sources - before you comment on economics.

                      By the way, just to illustrate, your quote nominal figures, not real ones. Real GDP grew at "only" a 9% rate during the four year period.

                    3. The many many people who got jobs in New Deal projects and agencies were very happy to have them, and not so worried about the yearly GDP.

                    4. Looks like I don't need to add much more. You're tailoring your historical scope to get the outcome you want. In political reality, non-Keynsians are pretty rare these days, when the rubber meets the road.
                      It's perhaps one of the few predictive applications of economics these days!

                      Doesn't mean Hayek doesn't have a lot of good stuff to say, nor that Keynes' analysis was spot on, but anyone trying to argue the government is always bad and using the Great Depression to say so is barking up an increasingly outmoded tree. Well, that school has always been small but it's only getting smaller.

                      Also: no one caught my joke that 'nothing is superlative' is a superlative itself. Ah well.

                    5. "Which is very different from your initial claim that it declined."

                      My initial claim was that hours worked declined.

                    6. S_0.
                      " trying to argue the government is always bad and using the Great Depression "
                      Using hyperbole as a strawman to argue against is not a logically valid method. It is just another mode of partisan propaganda.

    4. You are living in the wrong bubble. In mine, the vaccines have been a complete success. Now that everyone (and their kids!) is vaccinated, we're all pretty much anti-lockdown. A few people are afraid of Omicron, but for the most part we're done. It never would've happened without the vaccines.

      1. That is some fanciful thinking or you live in a unique area of the country. My browser was full of "news" this morning of new vaccine mandates, requirements to enter public accommodations, and limits on social gatherings. "Back to normal" was the mantra in Spring. What is happening now is far from that. But, hey, maybe we just need to give everyone one more dose of the vaccine that doesn't seem to limit transmission and probably only prevents serious illness in the very few who would have progressed to that level....

        1. Vaccine mandates and requirements are nothing to communities that are vaccinated, so they don't count as lockdowns in my world.

          My area hasn't imposed any new lockdowns beyond that kind of thing... and it wouldn't go over well. I don't see it happening.

      2. I'm sort of amazed at the main media narrative that those who aren't vaccinated are mostly Trump supporters. I think that is probably false.

        While as far as I know (and I don't follow Trump much) Trump has not been vocal in calling for vaccinations also as far as I know he hasn't been vocal about discouraging vaccination, leaving it up to the individual to decide. He was vaccinated early on and recently said he's been boosted.

        I have reviewed vaccination rates in my state (Louisiana) and find that vaccination rates in different parishes are remarkably consistent with urban parishes having higher rate that rural areas and the rates of whites and blacks in most places pretty similar. I know some white people who are refusing to be vaccinated but most whites I know are vaccinated. I find that many blacks are not getting vaccinated although that is not covered much.

        I had a meeting on a project this morning with a Contractor whose workforce is overwhelmingly black. He advised that 80% of his workers weren't vaccinated. The Owner of the project is imposing a vaccination or test mandate on anyone entering their facility. This will require the Contractor produce twice a weekly PCR tests for all of his workers. I'm hopeful many will decide to get vaccinated rather than go through constant testing for the next several months. Unfortunately the Contractor is not vaccinated, he says because he has some health issues but I've also found many claim heath issues which don't really preclude vaccination.

        I would say that the primary cause of people not getting vaccinated is distrust of government not support for Trump which also flows from distrust of government.

        1. The narrative comes from surveys. I'm not sure how trustworthy surveys are these days, but it's not fiction.

          You're citing layperson observations near you as a counternarrative. That's not gonna do it.

          Blacks have been well above Trump supporters and non-college educated for months now.

        2. "While as far as I know (and I don't follow Trump much) Trump has not been vocal in calling for vaccinations"

          Trump hails the COVID-19 vaccine as 'one of the greatest achievements of mankind' and rejects vaccine skepticism in new interview

          He's actually been very pro-vax, all along. He just doesn't confuse being pro-vax with being entitled to force people to be vaccinated.

      3. Randal,
        "A few people are afraid of Omicron, but for the most part we're done. "
        I wish you were correct Randal.
        In almost every one of the 25 countries I have looked at, the daily CFR has declined during the Omicron period. However In almost every contry the reproduction rate has risen above one. Hence, the number of infections has increased and more countries are enforcing the most restrictive measures on their populations of the entire pandemic.

        But in any case, best wishes for the New Year.

        1. That's true, but we've all got lockdown fatigue. If we're vaccinated and boostered, we've done the best we can. We can't shelter in place our whole lives.

          Things might change if hospitals get overwhelmed. But I think that's unlikely.

          1. Indeed we have lockdown fatigue, but the several EU countries are already tightening the screws. Biden's scare speech is unlikely too change the behavior or opinion of the most virulent anti-vaxers.

            And then there is the talk of changing the definition of fully immunity. That will also ratchet up the opponents my son has suffered serious neurological damage from the first two shots. For him a booster would be very risky. Is he suddenly to be labeled a leper?
            No Randal, I am afraid that the era of COVID-19 seriously impairing our lives is far from over. But I wish it were.

            1. We don't really care about the anti-vaxxers anymore. Now that our kids are vaccinated, fuck 'em.

              Which sucks for people who legitimately can't get vaccinated. They should of course be excused from mandates and requirements, but they will be at high risk of contracting covid. Us vaccinated people are totally willing to blame the (voluntarily) unvaccinated for that, though.

    5. " Anyone else getting the creeping feeling like the vaccines are going to go down in the history books as being largely a flop? "

      Vaccines a flop. Trump a great man and huge success.

      You don't get to be a clinger with sound judgment; adequate education; strong character; and respect for science, education, reality, and reason.

    6. "The vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of mankind."

      -Donald Trump

    7. Not at all Jimmy.
      The vaccine produce demonstrable benefit in case fatality rates. Unfortunately the induced immunity wanes rather rapidly and SARS-CoV-2 mutates even faster.

      1. What about the "get the shot, get back to normal" mantra we were all sold in the Spring? Did you already forget about that and just go with the new goal posts?

        1. Jimmy,
          I forgot nothing & moved no "goalpost." The line you quote was always political bullshit with no science at all behind it. The actual epidemiological data worldwide was always in cntradiction of that claim.

          1. That isn't consistent with the representations that were made to the FDA advisory panels or the original findings. The vaccines were supposed to be around 98% effective at stopping the spread of Covid and 100% at stopping progression to severe symptoms. Those have since been largely "memory holed" but you can still find them floating around on the interwebs....

            1. I can't help that senior bureaucrats are required to tow the Administration's lines. It's always been like that.

    8. All the statistics say vaccines work great yet the "waves" keep coming. I think the history books will call them successful because the kind of people who write history books have too much emotional investment in separating themselves from the unvaccinated.

      1. Yeah that is the thing. We are being told that the vaccine is effective at stopping transmission. But the numbers don't seem to indicate that. If anything it has limited efficacy when it comes to transmission. If there was a sizable effect on that the highly vaccinated populations of several countries would not be getting the "waves" that are crashing ashore right now. Instead, they are getting it just as bad as everyone else.

        Yelling at people to take a vaccine that, from all reasonable data we have so far, means it will prevent severe illness, and then yelling at them until they take more of the same ineffective drug is not really helping things.

      2. John,
        When vaccination rates exceed 60% of the total population the waves tend to be attenuated, but the mechanisms of viral propagation in space and time are not eliminated by vaccines. Nonetheless, the period of vaccinations (2021) has seen a study decline in the case fatality rates to COVID-19 to levels of 0.5% or less in many countries (though not in the US). In Denmark, it is as low as seasonal flu.
        I'd say that is quite successful and independent of "emotional investments."

      3. That something does not solve a problem completely does not mean that it doesn't solve the problem at all.

      4. " the kind of people who write history books have too much emotional investment in separating themselves from the unvaccinated "

        The culture war victors should wish to distinguish themselves from poorly educated, antisocial, superstitious, downscale, intolerant, stale-thinking, backwater losers . . . shouldn't they?

      5. No, they've been quite successful at reducing the intensity of infections when people get them.

        I've been saying this since spring 2020: You WILL get COVID-19, probably more than once. The vaccines have reduced the hospitalization and death rates, not the infection rates - because there will be seasonal variants from now until the end of time, just like every year features variants of the Russian Flu or the Spanish Flu.

        Welcome to the rest of your life! Would you rather spend it at lower or higher risk?

        1. I'd like to spend it freer rather than less free, actually. I don't try to live my life as though if I'm careful I'll never die, I figured out in my pre-teens that the grim reaper was eventually coming for us all, and I got rid of any residual fear of dying while going through chemo.

          I take what I regard as reasonable precautions, and then just aim to actually live my life while I've got it.

          1. And that's the correct process - take reasonable precautions for yourself. Don't expect everyone else in the world to cater to your fears, as certain paranoiacs here are demanding.

            But if you do feel like doing something to protect yourself, these vaccines are a great option. They're pretty effective, easy to get, widely available, at a price it's hard to argue with, and in most cases safer than the drive you'd take to get the shot.

            1. I was, early this year, planning on getting vaccinated for Covid, but happened to get infected before the vaccine became locally available for my cohort. My doctor told me to hold off a few months on getting vaccinated, and the research I subsequently read made me conclude that the vaccine really didn't have a good cost/benefit ratio for somebody who'd already been through Covid and not found it severe.

              Omicron being enough of a mutant to bypass existing immunity convinced me that it was probably worth getting a booster, and I got a shot of Moderna a few weeks ago, just as a precaution.

              Quite irritating that I had to sign up for the full dose, 2 shot sequence just to get a booster, because the government officially pretends that natural immunity isn't a thing. I'm still mulling over whether it's worth getting that second shot, the first didn't give me much of a reaction.

              Ironically, I ended up spending the past week sick anyway, thanks to some virus going around locally that wasn't mono, influenza, or Covid. No idea what it was besides unpleasant.

    9. A flop?

      Just because you aren't happy with the outcome, doesn't mean that the outcome would not be even worse without vaccines.

      1. From CNN today:
        "As the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread, some experts say it's past time to reconsider your face mask options -- especially if you're still wearing the cloth variety.
        "Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. There's no place for them in light of Omicron," said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, on CNN Newsroom Tuesday. "
        And yet the usual mandates remain in place.
        At MIT students and faculty are being issue KN95 masks.

        How are N95 masks different from KN95 masks? The main difference lies in how the masks are certified. “In general,” says Sean Kelly, founder of New Jersey-based PPE of America, “N95 is the U.S. standard, and the KN95 is the China standard. Because of this, only N95 masks are approved for health-care use in the United States, even though KN95 masks have many of the same protective properties."

        1. Or, anyway, have them if they actually should have been certified.

  7. Merry Christmas to our Christian VC Conspirators (ok, a little early, but it was on my mind at 507am)! I hope this Christmas season brings health and happiness to you and yours.

    I don't know the proper salutation for Kwanzaa. But a 'Happy Kwanzaa' to those (and their loved ones) who celebrate that holiday.

    1. Also Merry Christmas to the non-Christians who celebrate Christmas!

      1. Bingo. Christmas in modern America has become less Christian than it is reindeer, trees, wrapped gifts, religion-free carols, candy canes, time off, mall Santas, office parties, and family gatherings.

        Christmas has become a quite enjoyable American holiday for (nearly) everyone.

    2. Dear C_XY,
      Best wishes for the season and the New Year.

    3. I don't know the proper salutation for Kwanzaa.

      Chag Kwanzaa Sameach?

  8. Merry Christmas Christians. Happy New Year. Happier New Year.

    *God Jul*

  9. I'll be making bacon-egg-and-cheese-rings for brunch Xmas morning.

    Will prolly make two; one with half bacon, half sausage and the other with half chorizo and half ham.

    1. OMG! That looks amazing! I have guests coming and I have a shit ton of eggs I need to use. Don't laugh, but I also have bacon from my 'pandemic panic buy' time in 2020.

      Thanks for posting this, apedad. Merry Xmas to you, sir.

      1. You can make frittatas too.

        Easy and you can add different cheeses, veggies (leeks are my favorite), meats, etc.

        1. I make the occasional quiche for special occasions, (Always salmon and spinach, my family like that one so much they complain if I make another.) but I've never made a frittata.

          My crust: 1 cup flour, 3/4 stick butter, a pinch of Old Bay, and a chunk of cheddar to replace the butter missing from the stick. Pulse in the food processor until in pea sized chunks, then trickle in some rum while pulsing until it comes together. (The alcohol makes the crust flaky.) Should still have visible flecks of butter when you're done.

          Then I dump the food processor on to a sheet of plastic wrap, fold it around the dough, and pound the thing flat to consolidate the dough. Roll it out on a floured cutting board, line a pie pan with it, and paint the inside with egg white and stick it in the fridge while preparing the filling. This waterproofs the crust, so it stays crisp despite the wet ingredients.

          The filling is 1 can canned salmon, flaked, 1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry, some diced onion, about a quarter cup, and a half cup or so of sharp cheddar or pepperjack, shredded. Mix and set aside.

          The wet part is four eggs, (including the one you used to paint the crust.) a half cup miracle whip, a half cup half and half, half a teaspoon of sugar, and a teaspoon and a half of Old Bay. Whisk it together.

          Take out the crust, fill with the filling, pour over the wet part, and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

          This started out as a Taste of Home recipe, but I've customized it a lot.

          1. Got up early and made it for my family this morning.

        2. I already went to Acme and stocked up on the crescent rolls. 🙂

        3. apedad, I did it, and it was amazing. A huge breakfast hit. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    2. Thank you! My children and grandchildren insist on crescent rolls, and Costco sells 'em by the half-dozen tubes, so this recipe seems a magnificent refrigerator-declutterer! I wish you lived close enough for me to deliver a case of beer, apedad!

  10. Doing a Christmas of weird historical recopies after this youtube channel my Mom got into called Tasting History.

    Herb torte (c. 1570)
    Parthian Chicken (4th century)

    Beef with Garlic Harvester sauce (1580)

    Morning - candied horseradish (15th century)
    Dinner - French Duck (1700s)
    Yorkshire Parkin (1915)

    1. Share the recipes, darn it!

      I gather Garlic Harvester sauce is a sort of Béarnaise sauce with lots of garlic? At least going by this, that's my guess.

      We're going to be having roast duck on Christmas, (Part of my plot to convince my wife we should retire the chickens and switch to Muscovies.) but she wants a beef dish on the table, too.

        1. Have you tried that pre-simmering method already? When I did it, it gave the duck a very unpleasant flavor. I think you are better off just pricking and scoring the skin, and roasting away.

          1. It's the process described in my cookbook on Roasting, by Barbara Kafka. (Which I've never been disappointed by.) I've seen it many other places besides.

    2. Sorry, didn't notice the mention of that youtube channel, I'm kind of sleep deprived this morning.

      1. A few years ago we roasted a Goose for Christmas like it mentions in a lot of Christmas stories.

        1. I'd have gone with a goose, but they didn't have any at the local grocery, and I've been too sick to go far afield for ingredients.

  11. Former Defense Contractor Arrested for Attempted Espionage

    According to court documents, John Murray Rowe Jr., 63, of Lead, (South Dakota), attempted to provide classified national defense information to the Russian government. According to the complaint, Rowe, who is originally from Massachusetts, was employed for nearly 40 years as a test engineer for multiple cleared defense contractors. In connection with his employment, Rowe held various national security clearances from SECRET to TOP SECRET//SCI (Sensitive Compartmented Information) and worked on matters relating to the U.S. Air Force’s aerospace technology, among other things. After committing a number of security violations and revealing a fervent interest in Russian affairs, including whether he could obtain a security clearance from the Russian government, Rowe was identified as a potential insider threat and terminated from employment.

    Based on his conduct, FBI began an undercover operation to determine Rowe’s willingness to communicate classified information to a foreign government. In March 2020, Rowe met with an undercover FBI employee who posed as an agent of the Russian government. Over the course of the next eight months, Rowe exchanged over 300 emails with the purported Russian agent, confirming his willingness to work for the Russian government and discussing his knowledge of classified information relating to U.S. national security and military interests. In one email, Rowe explained, “If I can’t get a job here then I’ll go work for the other team.” In another email, Rowe disclosed national defense information classified as SECRET that concerned specific operating details of the electronic countermeasure systems used by U.S. military fighter jets.

    A̲ ̲c̲o̲m̲p̲l̲a̲i̲n̲t̲ ̲i̲s̲ ̲m̲e̲r̲e̲l̲y̲ ̲a̲n̲ ̲a̲l̲l̲e̲g̲a̲t̲i̲o̲n̲,̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲a̲l̲l̲ ̲d̲e̲f̲e̲n̲d̲a̲n̲t̲s̲ ̲a̲r̲e̲ ̲p̲r̲e̲s̲u̲m̲e̲d̲ ̲i̲n̲n̲o̲c̲e̲n̲t̲ ̲u̲n̲t̲i̲l̲ ̲p̲r̲o̲v̲e̲n̲ ̲g̲u̲i̲l̲t̲y̲ ̲b̲e̲y̲o̲n̲d̲ ̲a̲ ̲r̲e̲a̲s̲o̲n̲a̲b̲l̲e̲ ̲d̲o̲u̲b̲t̲ ̲i̲n̲ ̲a̲ ̲c̲o̲u̲r̲t̲ ̲o̲f̲ ̲l̲a̲w̲.̲

    I don't get it.

    Defense contractors are well paid and if he's been doing this for four decades, then he must have had a somewhat comfortable and decent life.

    1. It didn't happen when he was a contractor, it was after he got fired for being too into Russia.

      That tracks to me.

    2. The FBI has foiled another FBI plot.

      1. Yeah, that is what this looks like to me as well.

        1. If he was still cleared while trying to get a Russian security clearance, then that would be more than enough reason to fire him.

          You aren't even allowed to date or hang out with Russians (aside from investigated and approved ones) when you have a TS/SCI; going to work the Russian government is way beyond a No-No.

          1. Not the firing, the FBI following up and pretending to be Russia soliciting him.

  12. So the DC, where I work, has now declared that certain classes of businesses must require their patrons to show proof of vaccination, while other classes do not. The dictates reportedly extend to elementary schools as well, both public and private.

    I am utterly uninterested in whether or not this is a good idea. What interests me as a citizen are the following questions of law:

    1. I understand that these are executive dictates, not laws voted on by any legislature. In that case, how are they ultimately to be prosecuted? The executive can just issue the rules by fiat, can they also set the penalties by fiat? Is there any legal limit to what penalties they can decide will apply? How does one seek relief from a court of law for actions that aren't laws in the first place?

    2. Which law authorizes a city executive to commandeer businesses and schools to enforce these dictates?

    3. Does requiring that one reveal personal health care details in order to enter a public building not run afoul of multiple Constitutional protections as well as current regulatory schemes such as HIPPA?

    1. 1. Actually four questions: the normal way, yes, yes, the normal way.

      2. DC is a bit of a special case, but I expect it has executive departments in charge of regulating and licensing businesses and schools much like any city. So in short, the normal ones.

      3. Vaccination status has always been a matter of public concern, especially for schools.

      1. Hm. Thanks for the quick response, but I was hoping for a bit more than "no problemo".

        Can you point to any examples in US history where ordinary citizens have had to show medical papers to enter a public building? I can't.

        Doesn't the way this is being done give you any pause or raise any questions about how this is all supposed to work? A country of "laws, not men"?

        1. Every school I've ever attended, public and private, has required a physical, including and especially vaccine status. So, yes. It's not even rare. It's ubiquitous.

          What, exactly, is your concern?

          1. Hunch: Precious bodily fluids.

            And tyranny.

            1. I forgot the broccoli.

          2. Schools are not public buildings, Rachel. You are being wildly disingenuous.

            1. True, but DM was talking about schools when he said "public buildings" so blame him.

              1. In the initial comment, not in the follow-up question, if we are to understand his words by their plain meaning.

                1. Yes but then my reply would've been "you switched from 'schools' to 'public buildings' which means you're not a serious person." I decided instead to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    2. But all that aside, you're missing the bigger picture. The businesses and schools - especially in a place like DC - absolutely love this rule! Businesses and schools undoubtedly have the right to require vaccinations. And they'll lose way more customers if they don't than if they do. But it's still politically dicey for a business to enact such a policy on its own... it'll still lose *some* customers. Much better to be able to blame the government for "forcing" them to have the policy that they anyways want. This is just local government covering for local busines.

      1. Aside from the merits of policy, do you really have strong evidence this is true:

        "And they'll lose way more customers if they don't than if they do."

        I'm not sure most people even know what a businesses' vax policy when deciding where to do business. Do you check vaccination policies before you decide to buy stuff? And if so, do you just take their word for it, or is there some official document you can look at?

        It's not that I disbelieve your own experience. It's more that it's becoming obvious that Covid culture varies widely from state to state. It's unlikely that any of my acquaintances would research the vax policy of their grocery store and doing boycotts and stuff. The few that might possibly do a boycott would be on the other side of the issue.

        1. I'm talking specifically about DC.

    3. In Massachusetts COVID orders mostly come from two sources:

      1. The governor can declare an emergency and rule by decree. A violation of the governor's emergency order is a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail. You do get a jury trial for six month misdemeanors in Massachusetts. Last year's mask order resulted in extremely few prosecutions, possibly none that went to trial. It also preempted local action.

      2. The local board of health can issue an order, which is what happened in my town after the governor's order expired. I don't think police normally enforce these but I could be wrong.

      In Missouri it was determined that emergency orders from local executive authorities could not be extended past 30 days and longer term measures required legislative action

    4. 3. Does requiring that one reveal personal health care details in order to enter a public building not run afoul of multiple Constitutional protections as well as current regulatory schemes such as HIPPA?

      1) There is no such thing as "HIPPA."

      2) If there were, it would in absolutely no way apply to anything like this. (HIPAA — note the spelling — forbids covered entities (essentially medical providers and insurance companies) from revealing your medical information without your consent. It does not forbid anyone from asking about your medical information, and does not forbid anyone except those covered entities from providing it.)

      3) No, there's no constitutional right to keep secret whether you've been vaccinated.

      1. I wonder what law is most referenced and also most misunderstood: HIPAA or RICO? Any other choices?

      2. 3) Yes there is. The Constitution does not delegate the power to Congress to inquire as to citizens' vaccination statuses, and DC is a Congressional fief.

        1. "To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District "

          1. Yes, and? Therefore, Congress cannot confer upon the government or officials of DC any powers which it itself does not possess.

            1. It's generally understood, right from the start, that in DC the federal government governs as though it were a state. If not, DC could never have worked, because the enumerated powers of Congress are not sufficient for a complete government, nor were they intended to be.

            2. Yes, and?

              And therefore Congress possesses the power to govern in DC and can confer those powers on the government or officials of DC.

    5. Every state and municipal authority has its own laws and rules that come into play here. I'm not familiar with the landscape in DC, but here's how things worked in NY and NYC:

      Early on in the pandemic, the NYS Assembly passed some emergency laws that empowered Cuomo to declare an "emergency" due to the pandemic, and gave him emergency powers to suspend laws and issue directives. He used the power to suspend laws to regulate indoor eating and drinking establishments, since those were largely subject to state-level liquor licensing authorities. He also issued various "directives," such as masking and social distancing directives. A lot of his executive actions would probably be susceptible to state and federal constitutional challenges (as, indeed, at least once prominent case showed). But that authority expired in spring of this year. Cuomo was pretty unpopular by then, so rather than extending his authority, the Assembly set up some other regime where the legislature would have more involvement in pandemic management.

      After that authority expired, the state government quietly implemented regulations under the health department that would allow it to impose mask mandates. The health department's authority is more limited, however; while it's clear they can attempt to prevent the spread of disease, their authority is by statute limited to certain types of places that pose a special concern for public health. So, while they can clearly regulate places like hospitals, food establishments, and schools, it's less clear that they can directly regulate any type of retail establishment or commercial or residential building. Of course, that hasn't stopped them; Hochul's recent "order," mandating wearing masks in all indoor public areas unless proof of vaccination is provided to enter, invokes a regulatory finding by the department of health that stretches the authority it has under the relevant rules or statutes. Well, I say "stretch" - I think they're actually without authority to issue this mask mandate. But the order has a one-month expiration date, which I believe was calculated to prevent judicial challenges - by the time any business got its day in court, the issue would be moot.

      Meanwhile, on the NYC level, we have our own overlay of mandates and restrictions. The mayor has stepped back from announcing anything that would be broadly unpopular, so there haven't been anything more than "recommendations" so far. But one "authority" they invented for themselves was the ability to "order" people to self-quarantine. In fact there is no municipal authority to do this. What happens, when they "order" you to self-quarantine, is they give you a document to sign, which acknowledges that you're protected from adverse employment action for self-quarantining (a protection that actually exists under local ordinance) and that states that you promise to self-quarantine for the requisite period of time. You violate that, you don't violate a "quarantine" ordinance; you violate a law relating to falsifying public documents.

      That seems pretty obnoxious, but NYC does have mandatory quarantine powers under its existing ordinances. The problem (from NYC government perspective) is that these powers tend to involve taking a person into custody, controlling their movements, and even giving them certain due process rights. The period of mandatory quarantine also has some strict time limits. So the fake "orders" their contact tracers want you to sign are backed by this threat that, if you don't cooperate, they can do something far more burdensome to you. Which no one wants, so you sign the stupid things.

      That seems to be the story across the country - you have a lot of mayors and governors trying to move fast to address the pandemic. They don't have the actual authorities they need to do what they want to do. So a lot of what they're doing is signaling or imposing unlawful "mandates" that will expire so quickly that no one musters a real challenge to them.

      (It's worth noting, in this context, that this isn't a uniquely Democratic innovation. Republicans (including Trump) take advantage of the same kind of dynamic, as Trump did repeatedly by imposing tariffs in the name of "national security," and as Republican governors are doing to try to limit access to abortion or the ballot box in their states. It is not a good development, and it's not encouraging to see how many people view the precise legality of executive dictates to be irrelevant, when they agree with the outcomes.)

  13. It's 3:43 am in California, and there are already 30+ comments in today's Thursday Open Thread. Do people stay up until 12:01 am to get in first? My excuse is that I am awake now because I'm an insomniac, and I have work to do.

    1. Get back to work! We need your taxes here in the east so we can continue to spend your money to buy our happiness. 😉

      1. It isn't their money as it is taxed on sales they make to the rest of the country. It is our money! ????

        1. Interesting, an emoji turned into four question marks.

    2. Being very much a morning person, and in the Eastern time zone, I'd normally be up about 1:30 am your time.

      But for the last week I've had an unidentified (After too many nasal swabs!) viral infection that makes it really hard to sleep thanks to the coughing. Thank goodness I'm on vacation now, I've got plenty of time to take long naps during the day.

      Pro tip, by the way: If you've got a bad cough, and wake up with a bad sore throat? Try taking an antacid before going to bed: It may be the result of acid reflux, not the virus.

      1. I'm a 4am EST person. I like to sleep in, but as a luxury - I get no additional clarity of mind from it so I might as well not waste those hours.

        1. I am afflicted with the same = eyes fly open at 0400.

          1. I started out having trouble getting up in the morning, but as a child I hooked up a stepup transformer to an output jack on my clock radio, ran wires under my sheet, and woke to high voltage every morning.

            A week of that and I've been a morning person ever since.

            1. If I didn't already know you were an engineer this would have made me think so.

              1. This was when I was about 14, as I recall.

                1. I understood this wasn't when you were an adult.

                  But the engineer was already there.

                  1. Oh, yeah. Watching Star Trek, I never wanted to be Kirk, I wanted to be Scotty. I was born to be an engineer, and figured that out at a very early age. Only question was ever which branch of engineering.

            2. Sounds more like bedwetting aversion therapy.

              1. No, I was just sleeping in on school mornings, and wanted to stop. The voltage was high enough it didn't require any electrolytes to get through the sheets.

  14. Is anyone willing to stick up for Josh Blackman?

    1. Yes, I will. Professor Blackman's work in the area of religious liberty is something I have come to appreciate and admire. That was particularly true last year when NYC promulgated regulations last year targeted against Orthodox Jews.

      The inside baseball stuff I can live without (but it is fun to watch the comments go wild).

      1. The inside baseball annoys me less than the podcast advertisements. If the poetry readings were more frequent, they would be up there in the annoyance list as well. Written posts about Supreme Court inside baseball are at least "on-topic" and demand no more of my time than I wish to spend reading them.

        1. Michael P, I'll say this. I really appreciated Professor Blackman's posts on his WFH tech. I adopted some of his ideas (on a smaller scale). His zoom law classes were great. Seriously, I learned a lot. It was a nice diversion during a stressful time.

          I just thought of something else. The humblebrags on elite status are something else I can live without. But I guess you take the good with the....stuff that is not called good. 🙂

        2. The problem is that they're not about Supreme Court inside baseball. Blackman is sitting in the Bob Uecker seats and guessing about what's going on in the clubhouse.

          1. I think it's part of a larger problem of complete self-absorption.

            Imagine writing a blog post about his favorite seat on an airplane.

            Or advising SCOTUS on the best way to hand out tickets for hearings.

            Or telling Roberts he has to resign if he won't do something Blackman thinks he should.

            1. Prof. Blackman is the future of conservative legal academia.

              I am content.

        3. Aren't the poetry readings from Ilya?

          I actually like some of them very much.

          1. Eugene V's brother, Sasha.

      2. Professor Blackman's work in the area of religious liberty is something I have come to appreciate and admire.

        What work is that, exactly? His comically bloated CV doesn't seem to indicate anything substantive on the subject:

        1. He whines about it periodically at a White, male, right-wing blog.

    2. His near constant self-promotion is what does it for me. Ruins what is often solid insight

      1. Huh. I don't mind the self-promotion, it's the shoddy analysis and clearly outcome-oriented and petty non-insights that do it for me.

        1. I won't argue with you on that either. His hyperpartisan take is frustrating. But as a citizen he's certainly allowed to be that way. My concern is he takes that into the classroom or, god forbid, gets a judgeship.

          1. Forget it, Hobie. It's South Texas.

        2. Amen. And the relentless Red team- Blue team analysis of the Supreme Court (and stuff in general). He is definitely setting out to be a leading voice in The Movement.

          1. Prof. Blackman being a leading voice of movement conservatism might have been one of my holiday wishes, had I thought of it in time.

            I like my ideological opponents -- and culture war casualties -- strident, arrogant, disaffected, vainglorious, and brittle.

        3. I mind the self-promotion. I've snarked about it in the comments before, but almost every one of his posts — even the ones that are ostensibly substantive comments about the law — have a hugely disproportionate use of the word "I."

      2. what is often solid insight

        Citation needed.

        1. I was being charitable!

          1. Haha.
            Blackman being awful is just another way the libs are getting owned!

            Noscitur, of course, being a notorious libby lib.

          2. Open wider, XD . . . you betters will be imposing plenty more progress against the wishes of right-wingers, and you will be swallowing obediently, as always.

            You get to continue to whimper and rant about it as much as you like, of course. But you will comply with the preferences of better Americans, clinger.

  15. Today is Festivus. A holiday for the modern Republican with its "airing of grievances". Among their favorite activities. I sure the grievance list will be long this year.

    1. Feats of strength, wrestle me! >:(

    2. Republican air their grievances. Democrats loot and riot to justify their grievances.

      1. Except on January 6th. Then Republicans riot and loot.

        1. There was definitely no looting then and mostly just peaceful tourists who took some pictures of a public building then left.

          1. One guy took a franked envelope. Looting!

            1. Really, guys? No looting?

              You are really avoiding reading any actual facts about this case, I guess.

          2. ¨There was definitely no looting then and mostly just peaceful tourists who took some pictures of a public building then left.¨

            Is that as true as everything else you have said?

      2. " Republican air their grievances. Democrats loot and riot to justify their grievances. "

        Republicans air their grievances. Democrats shape American progress against the wishes and works of Republicans, providing more for the Republicans to whine about.

  16. I have a semi-interesting issue that demonstrates the frequent inability of the legal system to achieve truly just results.

    In Florida, if you are suing an insurance company, by statute the registered agent for service of process is the Florida Department of Financial Services. The way it works in practice is that you electronically transmit your service documents to DFS, which then transmits them to the insurance company and sends you a notice of acceptance of service.

    So, my office sued an insurance company and got the Notice of Acceptance of Service back from DFS. The response period comes and goes with no response, so we get a default judgment for roughly 150k. We find out where they bank and garnish their account. At which point we get an outraged email from their attorney claiming they never received the service documents. It seems that due to an internal error, DFS failed to transmit the service docs to the insurance company and sent us a notice of acceptance of service in error.

    OK, mistakes happen; the defendant now wants to set aside the judgment and vacate the writ of garnishment. We are agreeable to both of those on the condition that the insurance company reimburse us $162 in costs for recording the judgment, having the clerk issue the writ of garnishment, and having the writ served on the bank. Our theory is that by statute DFS is their agent and they are responsible for the negligence of their agent. The applicable rule of civil procedure states a judgment may be set aside on "terms that are just," and we think terms that are just means compensating us for costs incurred by their agent's negligence. We would be justified in asking for fees on the same theory but we're trying to be reasonable.

    Of course, in a fair and just world, DFS would pay those costs, but good luck with that. And no matter what happens, it will be unfair to somebody: It's not our fault that we incurred costs when we relied in good faith on a notice from DFS, and it's not the insurance company's fault that their agent failed to transmit the service papers to them. So somebody is unjustly going to be left holding the bag.

    Where it now stands is that the judge's first availability for a hearing is March, we're not agreeing to vacate the judgment in the meantime, so the insurance company is apparently going to allow 150k of their funds to remain frozen until March over a $162 costs dispute. Our court filings make it clear that we're not opposing having the judgment set aside; the sole issue is costs. Ain't litigation grand? Bleak House comes to mind.

    1. When suing over a car accident in Massachusetts one can serve documents on the RMV (our spelling of DMV) as long as you have the license plate number. I have never heard of this being done. Most of the time the insurance companies handle everything and the insurance companies can run plates too. But there is a so-called "confidential" plate given out by the RMV to VIPs and you can't look up the address of the owner. So maybe one day a drunk VIP will hit and run and I'll get a default judgment against a license plate number.

    2. Gawd what a nightmare for all involved

    3. Why are you going to a hearing over $162?

      I assume its contingency but your time is worth more than that.

      1. Same reason they're going to a hearing over $162.

        1. If they jumped off a bridge ...

          1. It would depend on what was at the bottom of the bridge.

            We have a tactical reason that I can't discuss publicly.

            1. The Ins Co's position makes no sense to me. Won't it cost them a helluva lot more than $162 to draft and prosecute the motion to vacate/overturn the default? Maybe this happens to them a lot, and they just have to change the names on the motion....

              I'd be falling over myself to write the $162 check if it meant getting a consensual withdrawal of a default.

    4. In a fair and just--and civilized--world, you would have tried to make contact with someone from the insurance company before moving for default judgment.

      1. Why? If we believe them to have been properly served, why is it our job to babysit them?

  17. Elon Musk has been on a roll. I have oscillated between thinking him an unhinged billionaire to a genius. I'm tending more towards the latter lately.

    I particularly loved his recent twitter spat with my Senator Warren. She accused him of being a freeloader, at which point he informed her that he is paying more tax than anyone in history (true: he's paying $11 Billion this year, due to his stock sale). (I'll start another thread on her.)

    His interview with the Babylon Bee was great:

    1. I get the impression that Musk would be a fun guy to hang out with, so long as you didn't mind getting your hands dirty working on something.

      1. I agree, he seemed to be a lot of fun, and funny, in the interview.

        1. A load of laughs, for an autistic, vainglorious, reckless, hypocritical sociopath, and a role model for the selfish, the antisocial, the disaffected, and the unstable.

    2. Been a Musk hater for a long time. He chases the subsidies. Tesla sucks. SpaceX seems to be working, but I've posted earlier about my skepticism about private space flight as any kind of market-viable option for a while yet.

      Also hate Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and his exclusive/elitist take on scientists.

      1. That's an interesting take. You know, he made a lot of money before Tesla and SpaceX, founding Zip2, which was acquired by Compaq, and which merged with Confinity to form PayPal. And then there's Neuralink, OpenAI, the Boring Company.

        "Chasing subsidies" is a quite cynical and dismissive characterization. You can say the same about the milk industry in the US, the auto industry, the aircraft industry, the energy industry, the education 'industry,' the scientific industry, and every politician. It's also not a very thoughtful or reflective characterization of an obviously brilliant, hardworking, and productive person. Regardless of what you may think of him, he's at least created a lot of jobs, and lot of stockholder value.

        Why do you think Tesla sucks?

        1. He holds himself out as a great innovator, when really he chases areas the government has focused on, and is a great publicist with enough bank to get the subsidies rolling.

          He has yet to really bring a tech to a marketable place.

          Unlike the commercial subsidies you cite, innovation subsidies have the function of making something commercializeable. So far he's taken a lot of money and not brought a lot back.

          Stockholder value is not really a metric I care much about. And jobs that come from direct spending of government cash could be him or anyone.

          1. "He has yet to really bring a tech to a marketable place."

            Really? I guess you have a different definition of marketable than I. Zip2 was acquire for $302 Million. merged with Confinity and was acquired for $1.5 Billion. And there's SpaceX.

            I guess you meant it literally when you said you were a "hater," a position that is not rational.

            From wikipedia:

            "SpaceX's achievements include the first privately funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit (Falcon 1 in 2008), the first private company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft (Dragon in 2010), the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (Dragon in 2012), the first vertical take-off and vertical propulsive landing for an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2015), the first reuse of an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2017), and the first private company to send astronauts to orbit and to the International Space Station (SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 in 2020). SpaceX has flown and reflown the Falcon 9 series of rockets over one hundred times.

            SpaceX is developing a satellite mega constellation named Starlink to provide commercial internet service. In January 2020, the Starlink constellation became the largest satellite constellation ever launched. SpaceX is also developing Starship, a privately funded, fully reusable, super heavy-lift launch system for interplanetary spaceflight. Starship is intended to become the primary SpaceX orbital vehicle once operational, supplanting the existing Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon fleet. Starship is planned to be fully reusable and will have the highest payload capacity of any orbital rocket ever on its debut, scheduled for the early 2020s."

            1. The SpaceX market has one customer so far.

              Acquisition is not tantamount to marketability of a product.

              We'll see what happens with Starlink, but that's not manifest yet either.

              1. "The SpaceX market has one customer so far."

                LOL! That would come as a surprise to all his other customers, I expect.

              2. You're way, way off on this one.


                Look at the customer column. Orbcomm, MDA, SES, Thaicom, AsiaSat, Eutelsay, TNSA, Sky Perfect JSAT, Spacecom, Iridium, Echostar, Inmarsat, Bulsatcom, Intelsat, NSPO, KT, hispasat, Novaworks, Thales-Alenia, Telesat, Telkom Indonesia, CONAE, Es'hailsat, Spaceflight Industries, PSN, Arabsat, CSA, Kacific, Tyvak, Sirius XM, Turksat, stopped counting after that.

                Can I suggest what happened here? Commercial launches are now so routine they don't make the news, and thus you were not aware they were happening.

                1. I stand corrected.

                  But the bulk of the development costs are still not privately backed - the US government is essentially a backer of the company. I don't even know if the operational costs are privately covered.

                  As I've said previously the technological risk of space flight isn't yet ripe for the long-term viability of private space, even if Congress is super enthusiastic about getting there.

                  Plus you always have the DoD fucking up the supply-demand curve with their contract pricing structure of essentially 'pay any price.'

                  1. Yeah, that 'pay any price' policy is the only reason ULA is still on life support. SpaceX, on the other hand, is making a profit putting commercial payloads into orbit.

                    "I don't even know if the operational costs are privately covered."

                    Right, you don't know. You're making it clear that you actually know very little about SpaceX, but have many (negative) assumptions.

                    1. You keep comparing to the rest of the degenerate market. But him being king of the degenerate market is not actually being successful.

                      I do know the space launch market is degenerate. What happens to that neat supply-demand meet at price when your demand curve turns into a parabola? You get incentives to keep the price high regardless of underlying demand.

                    2. Sarcastro, for manned flights and Mars landers I would concede it's not even close to being profitable in a "pure" free market, and won't be for decades or maybe even centuries.

                      Commercial satellite launch is real business, however. It's not like DirectV and Dish TV are really complex schemes to milk federal subsidies.

          2. "He has yet to really bring a tech to a marketable place."

            You must have a really weird definition of "marketable place", considering that he's dominating at least 2-3 markets by my count.

            You want somebody who's chasing subsidies, try the United Launch Alliance. At least Musk is putting things into orbit.

            1. Marketability means to consumers. Like, actual tech advances that effect normal people.

              Space launch is a mess everywhere. That does not absolve Musk.

            2. Until 2021, the only profitability Tesla ever had was on government credits. It didn't make any money selling cars to car buyers. (It might've been Q4 2020; it's so hard to keep track of time in the pandemic era.)

              1. Did Tesla sell those credits to generate the cash that made it a "success?"

                What a hypocrite and fraud.

              2. This doesn't particularly distinguish Tesla from other electric car manufacturers. I'd gladly get rid of all subsidies for electric cars, and other 'green energy' products. But it's hardly reasonable to expect a company to refuse subsidies if they're made available.

                1. That’s not the goalpost. One among the competitors is not what peoplemclaim about him.

    3. When them two booster rockets landed simultaneously, I was hooked on the man

      1. I felt much like Sarcastr0. (It hurts to read that back to myself.) But then I saw a landing, and with total amazement, I stopped feeling so much like Satcastr0. That's a real HOLY SH_T feat there.

        1. It was awesome to see. But we still got a ways to go on the domestic space launch front before it’s a viable private market.

          1. I don't know whether SpaceX turns a net profit on their commercial launches. But I'm pretty sure many of their customers do.

            1. Which is not the right question.

              1. Then what exactly IS "the right question", in your opinion?

                1. Marketability means to consumers. Like, actual tech advances that effect normal people.

                  'Stock number go up' is not that, as many crashes have failed to teach us.

                  1. Landing boosters for reuse is pretty cool.

                    Innovation and commercial success are correlated, but the coefficient isn't 1.0. SpaceX may end up the next General Motors, or the next Wright Brothers, but either way it will have been a great step forward.

                    Musk ain't a saint - the cave rescue pedo chapter is pretty bad - but we will all benefit from what SpaceX is doing, whether or not SpaceX succeeds or craters.

    4. Musk has proved to be a great visionary who has taken considerable personal risk to change industries. TELSA, foolishness? Nope. It has revolutionized the industry. Space X, delusional? Nope, a great commercial success.
      EW is just another partisan hack who would not recognize economic greatness if it bit her on the ass.

      1. " TELSA, foolishness? Nope. It has revolutionized the industry. "

        Perhaps, but it is the "collecting and selling government subsidies" industry.

      2. The proof is in the pudding. Musk keeps talking about his delicious pudding, but so far no one has really eaten any. People just point to his awesome pudding factories and how much he's changed the pudding industry.

        I'll be quite happy to eat my words if I get some pudding. So far, nothing.

        1. "Musk keeps talking about his delicious pudding, but so far no one has really eaten any."

          I literally see people driving his cars every day.

          Well over half the satellites in orbit were put there by him.

          I'm really confused about what it would take for you to admit his companies actually deliver.

          1. When a Tesla is competitive with gas cars, we can talk.

            When his space launch market recoups his development and operation costs without subsidy, we can talk.

            1. I'm not hung up on Musk spending government money, Sarcastr0. Better him than the government. At least I see rockets and cars being produced out of the bargain. Besides, soon he'll have more money than the government.

            2. Nonsense S_0,
              He has advanced battery technology, reinvented the production line. And SpaceX is a huge success,
              Your just jealous that you cannot afford a Model S.

    5. At least this time he didn't call anyone a pedo.

  18. Has anyone seen this? I just found the circumstances rather interesting and the judge’s poor judgement (failing to recuse himself) extremely troubling.

    “An Oklahoma man had his murder conviction thrown out Monday after it was revealed that the judge who had presided over his jury trial was involved in a sexual relationship with the prosecutor.”

    1. Well, Jack Ruby's murder conviction was thrown out -- despite the entire country having watched him do it on television -- because it came to light that the judge had signed a book deal before the trial.

      1. Good memory!! I forgot about that entirely.

      2. That's not entirely so. He appealed and was granted a new trial, but died in prison before a new trial date was set.

        From wikipedia:
        "Ruby's conviction was later appealed, and he was granted a new trial. However, as the date for his new trial was being set, Ruby became ill in prison and died of a pulmonary embolism from lung cancer on January 3, 1967."

        1. Did I say anything contrary to that?

          1. Maybe I didn't understand what having a conviction "thrown out"meant. I thought you meant he was essentially acquitted.

            I understood that a conviction being vacated and a new trial granted were two separate things.

            Can't a "thrown out conviction" result in the defendant just being freed?

            1. A “thrown out conviction” means nothing more than that the court of appeals reversed the conviction. Sometimes the defendant gets retried (which of course can result in an acquittal or another conviction). Sometimes the prosecutor decides not to retry him and he walks. Sometimes the parties reach a plea agreement. But all I meant by the conviction was thrown out is that it was reversed by the court of appeals.

              I have no doubt that had Ruby lived he would have been tried again and convicted again.

    2. The affair was over by the time of trial. He may have thought that made it all right. He may have thought it too embarrassing to be asked to explain why he recused sua sponte.

      In 2013 the First Circuit ordered recusal of the judge assigned to Whitey Bulger's trial because of the judge's long-ago connection to the prosecutor's office: "it is clear that a reasonable person would question the capacity for impartiality of any judicial officer with the judge's particular background in the federal prosecutorial apparatus in Boston during the period covered by the accusations."

    3. "An Oklahoma man had his murder conviction thrown out Monday after it was revealed that the judge who had presided over his jury trial was involved in a sexual relationship with the prosecutor."

      Well let's see, do I exclude the evidence or do I get laid tonight?

      Sounds like both the judge and the prosecutor should be in jail.

      1. The affair was over. She called it sexual abuse, after the fact, yet she was willing to let him preside over the trial.

        1. "She called it sexual abuse,"

          I'm not even sure what that means nowadays. But it's not an excuse to prosecute a case knowing that the judge is compromised.

          1. It's bad, but it's not quite as bad as the prosecutor simultaneously clerking for the judge presiding over the trial.

          2. And I notice the coverage named the judge, but not the prosecutor.

            1. When she called it sexual abuse she got anonymity from the press.

  19. Senator Warren has shown in the last week or two what a cynical politician and grifter she is. I presume all of her letters and op-eds lately are designed for fund rising purposes.

    First, she blames "big oil" for the higher energy prices, saying they are somehow colluding and price gouging. She was taken down brilliantly by Toby Rice, CEO of EQT. [1]

    Then, she blames high food prices on "big grocery," or something, saying they are somehow colluding and price gouging. "It is wild that all these grocery chains, which have been competing — and precipitously dropping prices — for decades, decided to collude at the very moment supply-chain problems hit, inflation spiked to a 30-year high, and Washington’s Covid-19 spending spree was needlessly swamping the economy." [2]

    She has similarly gone after the auto industry [3], the poultry industry [4], and the semiconductor industry. [5]

    "It’s even weirder that, according to Warren, virtually every boogeyman industry suddenly engaged in this dastardly behavior at the same time." [2]

    She is a shameless train-wreck of a Senator.

    1. She can't possibly be as stupid as she acts. Some of the junior progressives are genuinely ignorant and innumerate.

      1. I agree with that, in a sense. I just can't come up with the proper words to describe how I view her. It's this: she's playing to her base, feigning sincerity in what she says and does and writes, and really doesn't care how those not in her base view her.

        I also meant to mention in the post the spat between her and Elon Musk, where she accuses him of being a freeloader while he's paying more taxes this year than anyone in history - $11 Billion! In his interview with the Babylon Bee he quips that if one could die of irony, Warren would be dead.

        1. She's a liar and a fraud. Always has been going back to her dishonest "scholarship" about medical bankruptcies.

    2. Attacking "wreckers and hoarders" is a classic left wing play.

    3. ThePublius, it would be fun to see you debate Warren on consumer economics. My guess is that if there were a rule that you could not invoke any economic principles you could not prove, you would have almost nothing to say.

      1. And my guess I that if ThePublius won the debate, you'd invent some fake principle about why such debates aren't protected by the first amendment.

      2. So you agree with Warren blaming just about every industry for inflation?

    4. How could you criticize our only Native American Senator?

    5. "First, she blames "big oil" for the higher energy prices, saying they are somehow colluding and price gouging. She was taken down brilliantly by Toby Rice, CEO of EQT. [1]

      Then, she blames high food prices on "big grocery,"

      All of this is obviously the fault of the commerce department, for tracking useless things like demand and fluctuations in interest rates, instead of fluctuations in corporate greed.

      1. Yes, it's fascinating how all of this corporate greed came on at the same time, almost as if they coordinated it - big poultry, big oil, big grocery, big auto, big silicon. And, for some reason, they didn't feel like doing it when Trump was in office.

  20. Why are folks like Fauci and CNN so eager to cede the moral high ground to people like Joe Rogan and Jesse Watters?

    The claim that Jesse Watters called for the assassination of Fauci or engaged in violent rhetoric was an absolute lie.

    What Watters actually said was stupid enough, but Fauci and CNN have to make the issue about how we can't trust the people who are supposed to inform us about the pandemic.

    And they did a similar thing with Joe Rogan.

    1. Because they cannot help themselves. They follow the Big Lie theory of politicking. It is not enough to say your opponent is mistaken or poorly reasoned. He must be painted as an evil, racist, fascist Nazi.

      1. Here lately, I've seen both things to be broadly true of a lot of the most vocal "hard right". Old style politicking. Nuance has no place.
        "Lyndon, nobody is going to believe he has unnatural relations with his pigs."
        "I know. I just want to see him deny it in public."

    2. Because taking the high road and not engaging has proven not to work in these days of distributed signal boosting.

      See: the effectiveness of Trump.

      1. “ Because taking the high road and not engaging has proven not to work in these days of distributed signal boosting.”

        Huh? So they have to lie?

        1. Using the rhetoric of an assassination when talking about a man your party's media apparatus has made hated by much of the country is absolutely something worth objecting to.

          There was no lie.

          Dunno the Rogan issue, but I suspect I don't care.

          1. I like Joe Rogan. He helps to keep the knuckle-draggers occupied with silliness as better Americans forge progress against the clingers' efforts and wishes.

          2. "Using the rhetoric of an assassination when talking about a man your party's media apparatus has made hated by much of the country is absolutely something worth objecting to."

            So if you criticize someone it's you can't use metaphors? This is bizarre logic that that the left seems to be adopting.

            Our speech is violence, our violence is speech.

            And it's a shame you're willing to excuse the lying by your side.

      2. "Distributed signal boosting" = "Our censorship isn't as comprehensive as we'd like."

    3. Cede the moral high ground you say?!?

      Seems like Donny Jr, is going in the other direction.

      "Speaking at a Turning Point USA event this Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. said that adhering to the peaceful teachings of the Bible is a dead-end tactic.

      'And if we band together, we can take on these institutions,' he insisted. 'That’s where we’ve gone wrong for a long time.'

      'They cannot cancel us all,' Don Jr. said. 'This will be contrary to a lot of our beliefs because I’d love not to have to participate in cancel culture. I’d love that it didn’t exist. But as long as it does, folks, we better be playing the same game.'

      'We’ve turned the other cheek and I understand sort of the biblical reference, I understand the mentality but it’s gotten us nothing,' he continued. 'Okay? It’s gotten us nothing while we’ve ceded ground in every major institution.'”

      1. 'They cannot cancel us all,' Don Jr. said.

        'Hold our beer,' his betters said.

  21. I have been watching the second season of Witcher on Netflix.

    At the beginning of each episode, they flash a rating (TV-MA, which means 'mature audiences') and then a warning that the show contains the following:

    "language, violence, sex, nudity, gore, smoking"

    I was a bit shocked that the last one made the list, and that some consider it a thing not to let their children watch a movie that contains smoking. I guess what is considered scandalous or harmful to children changes over time.

    1. Bored Lawyer, it could have something to do with former commercial relationships between the movie industry and the tobacco industry. Move producers got paid to show everyone smoking, as much as possible. Aspiring movie stars got trained to smoke, so they could do that. Audiences used to smoke in movie theaters. Pretty much every time a tobacco addict sees someone else light up, the addict reaches for a cigarette. Cigarette commercials on TV were some of the most effective advertising ever sold, because each time one of them ran, a whole smoking-trained audience reached for another cigarette. Every commercial resulted in direct sales, right away.

      That whole dynamic is still worth some concern. The warning helps modern audiences who were not exposed to that commercial dynamic understand that what they are seeing is worth special critical attention.

    2. Unless the TV-MA rating is only for smoking there is no harm in adding one more word to the list.

      1. I didn't say there is a harm. I am just surprised that anyone thinks that is something they need to be warned about.

        1. As long as it doesn't cause the overall rating to change it appeases anti-smoking groups without doing any harm.

          1. Is there a more reliable marker for stupidity or ignorance in our society than smoking?

  22. Putin Loses His Cool When Confronted Over Ukraine, Claims It Belongs to Lenin Anyway

    (Putin) accused NATO of being the true aggressor, appearing to briefly seethe as he suggested the West has always sought to destroy Russia.

    “They tricked us. Just cheated us. Five waves of NATO enlargement,” he said.

    “And on top of that—no matter what we did, you always expressed ‘concerns.’ Get out of here with your ‘concerns.’ We will do what we consider necessary. We want to ensure our safety,” he said.

    “Our actions will depend on the situation in the sphere of security. We made clear that the further expansion of NATO in the East is not acceptable. We’re not the ones who came to the States with missiles. They’re the ones setting up missiles right on our doorstep,” he said.

    “And what if we set up missiles on the border of the U.S. and Canada? Or Mexico?”

    Visibly angry, he went on to vent frustration over the idea of a sovereign Ukraine, suggesting the country actually belongs to Vladimir Lenin.

    “And who did California belong to?” he asked, apparently referring to California being part of Mexico prior to the Mexican-American War.

    “And Texas? Did they forget that or something? Well okay, everyone has forgotten, and they don’t remember the way they now remember about Crimea. We also don’t remember who created Ukraine–Lenin Vladimir Ilyich, when he created the Soviet Union.”


    Putin needs to chill a little.

    Maybe take a picture while riding shirtless on a donkey again.

    It's amazing to think that not that long ago, Europe was devasted by war (although quickly recovered).

    I simply cannot image a continent-wide war in Europe now.

    1. "I simply cannot image a continent-wide war in Europe now."

      No chance. Ukraine is not a NATO member. The Brits, Poles and French are not intervening, no other military in Europe is worth spit, the Germans are a Russian subsidiary.

      Though the Russian military might be a paper tiger. So many years in Syria, still no final victory.

      1. I am not so sanguine, Bob from Ohio. I'd be very concerned for Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia right now. I cannot help but wonder how much the Soviets Russians are cooperating (massing on Ukraine) with the CCP (massing on Taiwan).

        1. The Baltics are NATO members and there are NATO troops/planes in place.

          Putin is a bully but not suicidal.

          1. Bob,
            NATO will do exactly nothing or risk a very cold winter, thanks to German energy policies.

            1. And American pipeline policies, it should be mentioned.

            2. I'm only speaking about Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They are NATO members, can invoke Article 5.

              The US, Brits, Poles and French at least will live up to the obligation. German military can't fight so who needs them.

              Ukraine is different, they are on their own.

              1. They are not presently under threat, Bob.
                Old White Joe will space out, not go to war. And the Disunited Kingdom without the US alongside is doing nada.

        2. Good point C_XY.
          Bullies in unison is a dangerous ploy. If anything could turn Japan into an overnight nuclear power, this "alliance" of Putin and Xi can.

      2. I have no confidence in either country's military.

      3. " Though the Russian military might be a paper tiger. "

        The American military has not won a war in 75 years. Instead, the United States has settled for a series of vague draws with ragtag irregulars across the globe, despite staggering resources advantages provided by the American taxpayer.

        The events of Jan. 6 and associated developments spotlight the point that we need to find a way to attract a better class of person to our military . . . and to exclude the type of downscale, bigoted losers who become anti-American extremists, mercenaries, and war criminals.

    2. Unfortunately of the EU and US, Putin is far smarter and craftier than our near brain-dead POTUS.
      And energy-wise he has the EU by the cojones.

      1. Don Nico: ".... Putin is far smarter and craftier ... "

        If there's anything more bizarre than the Right's worship of Trump, it's their adoration of Putin. Newsflash: the Russian leader is hardly smart or crafty - he's just desperate to be relevant.

        If you're Putin, this is your story: You destroyed your political foes and the last vestiges of a free state to consolidate your position. You oversaw the political takeover of judiciary to eliminate the law as threat. You institutionalized corruption throughout the economy to enrich yourself and your cronies.

        Therefore, you - Putin - are now completely entrenched in power. So what can you do for the Russian state and people? Well, almost nothing, it turns out. You have a third-world economy propped-up by oil. Your country is rotted-thru with corruption, most of which you supported. Your allies are the trash regimes of the world.

        So you peddle Great Russia fairy tales, because talk is cheap. Then you look for inexpensive opportunities to do mischief around the world. Putin is like a loser brat teenager who flunked out of school and now does petty crimes - more to make himself feel better than any real return benefit. It's amazing how right-types see his complete failure as brilliance.

        1. Do you think Putin is dumb?
          Do you think Xi is an idiot?
          Do you think Rouhani is a moron?

          Recognizing that people who are bad people also can be good at things, or have virtues independent of their vices, does not mean you "worship" or "adore" them.

          You also severely underestimate Russia, economically, diplomatically, and militarily. The US government (and our European allies) take Russia quite seriously for good reasons.
          Your childish insults no more reflect reality than Xi-as-Pooh memes mean China is impotent.

          1. 1. I think China is the biggest long-term threat to the U.S.
            2. I think Iran is dangerous, particularly given Trump's bungling.
            3. I think Russia is a failed state in decline.

            Now, can Russia still do a lot of mischief? Sure. That's all they've been doing the past two decades - petty vandalism while their country slowly rots. You can see that in Putin's "big" initiatives: rat-fucking western elections, being one of the only states in the world to embrace Bashar al-Assad, picking on one of the few country so weak his bluster and muscle-flexing can be done safely: Ukraine.

            Also: Putin is NOT going to invade Ukraine because (a) his own people prefer words to action, and Putin is still afraid of his own people, (b) it would cost Russia massive amounts of western oil revenues, (c) Putin is full of shit more than otherwise.

            Remember Toranth, it's your clownish tribe that insist Putin is some great mastermind. I think he's failed Russia in every way.

            1. Russia reminds me of the Republican Party . . . losing the war, making plenty of mischief along the disaffected, loud, downscale, looking-backward decline.

            2. When have I ever insisted that Putin is some great mastermind? Are you jousting with strawmen again?
              Pointing out that bad people can be good at something is not a point that should be argued, unless you live in a elementary schooler's fantasy world, where all villains are comically dumb caricatures.

              What's your expertise to judge Russia and Putin, anyway? Are you an international political analyst? Maybe a Russian economist? Do you work in international finance? Maybe you are a member of the Intelligence Community in the US or a NATO ally?

              Again, the US government and NATO governments take Russia and Putin seriously. They actually have experts and information from places other than Vox and Reddit, so I'm going to go with their analysis over your opinions.

        2. You don't have to be smart or crafty. You just need to be smarter or craftier than Biden.

          That's a very, very, very low bar.

          1. Armchair Lawyer : "That's a very, very, very low bar"

            Says a person perfectly willing to polish Trump's shoe leather with his tongue ...

            1. Shoe leather? Maybe. But not before the scrotum.

        3. GRB,
          I dare you to watch the 4 hour Oliver Stone interviews of Putin and then spout off about delusions of the US right. They're is your go to boogeymen.
          Then you blah,blah on and on about great Russia fairy tales... and meanwhile Mr. Putin has found a new friend in Mr. Xi.
          Do you really think Old White Joe is a match either in intelligence or energy? How about you name the EU leader who will stand up to either one. Let's hear it.
          Yes, I see your BS and double.

          1. Geez Don - slow down and try to make sense.

            Five points :

            1. I don't care about Putin with Oliver Stone, Larry King or Oprah. The man has been a total failure for the state of Russia. If you calm down and then go back up & look - you'll see that was my original point. And it won't change even if he gives really, really good interview with Tucker Himself.

            2. Why does the Right idolize such an obvious failure anyway?

            3. Perhaps it's because he has (your word) "energy", huh? Guess what: It doesn't make the slightest difference how much "energy" he has - or even his manly looks shirtless. Biden told him the repercussions of an Ukrainian invasion and Putin WON'T invade

            4. I feel as comfortable with that prediction as saying Biden won't admit "defeat" to covid or claim "perpetual powers"

            5. For someone who tries admirably hard to be sensible, you sure say a lot of damn fool silliness...

            1. "2. Why does the Right idolize such an obvious failure anyway?"

              2a. Why does the left think the right idolizes Putin, anyway?

              I'm of the right, and I can't off hand think of anybody who thinks highly of Putin. He's a murderous strongman, why would we?

              I've noticed a lot of people on the left aren't content with disliking Trump, they have to insist that he has absolutely no virtues at all; That he's a bad businessman, ugly, stupid, has BO, is in poor health... It's like they can't fit in their heads the idea of not liking somebody and at the same time conceding that they're NOT just a collection of bad points.

              Is that what's going on here? We must "idolize" Putin because we don't assume he's a worthless incompetent who isn't good at anything?

              1. "I'm of the right, and I can't off hand think of anybody who thinks highly of Putin. He's a murderous strongman, why would we?"

                I think that your opinion is a general view of Mr Putin on the right.
                He has been a sly manipulator of the Russian oligarchy that has cemented his place in power for as long as he wants it.

              2. I'm of the right, and I can't off hand think of anybody who thinks highly of Putin.

                You missed Tucker Carlson this month, I guess.

                He's a murderous strongman, why would we?

                I dunno, but you supported Trump, so…

                1. If Trump had been a murderous strongman, you'd have seen more people afraid to insult him. It's pathetic watching people play acting at being the courageous 'resistance' to a dictator who gets attacked for failing to dictate. Trump was our least dictatorial President in decades.

            2. grb,
              1) You say that you don't care about Putin or Stone, yet you want to persist in your opinion without seeing in depth evidence. BTW, who cares about Tucker; that is just your usual mode of hunting for boogeymen.
              2) "Why does the Right idolize" Y that has nothing to do with anything.our claim
              3) "Perhaps it's because he has (your word) "energy", huh? " I guess that your powers of observation are sorely lacking. Too bad. Putin will have his way with the Ukraine regardless of what Ole White Joe (the paper tiger says.
              4) Biden's scare show this week is an admission of defeat about covid. Wake up.
              5) Silliness seems to be your modus operandus whenever anything political comes up. I concede not a single point to you.

            3. I should add that the decline of US status in the world, begun under the Orange Clown, has not been reversed and in many ways its continues if not accelerates under Mr Biden (Ole White Joe of the Stephan Foster song).

              1. LOL! If you think the US's decline in the world started under Trump, you haven't been paying attention.

              2. Oh sure, refer to Trump with a derogatory nickname, but Joe is "Mr Biden"

                Lets be fair. Orange Clown vs Senile Old Fool

        4. Saying that Putin is smarter and craftier than Biden is not "adoration." That, in fact, is a very low bar.

          And the fact that Putin is heading what is essentially a third-world country with nukes does not diminish his personal abilities. He certainly has managed to give his country more influence than it should have. That is a sign of ability. The fact that Russia has serious problems long pre-dates Putin.

    3. Just curious apedad. Which among those complaints by Putin do you think lack historical basis? Is it obviously justifiable to have an international norm that the U.S. gets to keep missiles far from its borders, but Russia does not? Do you think it is historically obvious that eastern Ukraine ought to be part of an independent sovereignty, instead of part of a Russian sovereignty? If so, on what basis? What would you say if the folks in eastern Ukraine preferred to re-establish a status-quo-ante that goes back centuries? What makes the present arrangement more legitimate than the previous one? Is there some reason to suppose any of those questions are critically important to U.S. interests?

      1. Not an expert here but it does depend on the type of missiles, e.g. anti-aircraft, anti-tank, etc, so defensive type missiles which the US mainly has.

        And it might be historical since we have had some semblance of a strategic ring of bases all around the former USSR, (Europe, Turkey, Iran [good ol' Shah days and is one reason we stayed in Iraq/Afghanistan so long - to keep an eye on Russia up close], Pakistan, (one reason we needed Vietnam), Korea, Japan, and Alaska since the 50s.

        "What would you say if the folks in eastern Ukraine preferred to re-establish a status-quo-ante that goes back centuries?"

        Well that's the age-old question of when a minority group wishes to secede from an established nation-state; truly a difficult question and is (mostly?) the reason we have enduring problems in the Middle East.

      2. " What would you say if the folks in eastern Ukraine preferred to re-establish a status-quo-ante that goes back centuries?"

        I'd say that they wouldn't need Russian troops to do that, if they really wanted it.

        1. Yup. We don't have a good info about how people in Eastern Ukraine truly feel. My sense is that they are more pro-Ukraine than we are led to believe.

          You've got a much better chance of being part of the EU if you're a part of Ukraine. And you really, really want to be a part of the EU and not Russia.

    4. Anticipating the abuse my previous comment may attract, I should mention that those questions I put to apedad are questions which trouble me, because I do not know what the answers should be.

      1. The relationship between Ukraine & Russia is ancient. With Russia mostly trying to dominate Ukraine, mostly. And of course, the big Famine that the Soviets brought to Ukraine. The Crimea is one of those places that is always been fought over. Vladamir Putin is a very serious & accomplished global power player, who came up through the post-Soviet power breakdown from the KGB.
        This is pure regional power play, & jacking with us to see what happens. Hitler didn't care about the Germans in the Sudetanland.

  23. Anyone think the New York gun case opinion is going to drop before June? It was argued earlier in the term then most cases which are historically held till the end of that term.

    Anyone willing to scrye the crystal ball and predict what might happen?

    Personally, I don't think it is going to be a complete punt but my guess is some wishy washy opinion, close to unanimous, kicking it back to the Second Circuit to try again saying something like "seriously it is a right least craft your opinions that pay it lip take another swipe at upholding that gun law...."

    1. The Court, or rather some squishy members, may want a better idea of how the 2022 elections are going to turn out, before they decide that one.

  24. Journalists to Potter jury:
    They said you was hung!

    Potter jury:
    They was right!

  25. Potter verdict in ... if I were a police officer, I would do anything possible to avoid apprehending violent criminals going forward.

    1. Me, I'd just make sure I was deploying my taser if that's what I intended to deploy.

      I'm surprised that people who feel that you can't do police work without the risk of mistaking their gun for their taser permit themselves to use power tools or kitchen utensils.

      1. I don't use power tools in life-or-death scenarios ... people under significant pressure will make mistakes. This is not an aberration, it is human nature.

        1. AtR, on what basis do you conclude this was a life-or-death scenario—before the guy got shot, I mean. Wasn't he just trying to escape?

          1. Well, life-or-death for the other cop that was stuck hanging out the other window. It seems unlikely things would have turned out well for him if he'd departed the vehicle after it resumed travel.

            1. I haven't followed this case closely, but did those two officers stop someone for a dangling air freshener most for jollies?

              We need to find a way to attract a far better class of person to law enforcement. Better judgment, better education, better temperament, better character. Also, we need to arrange better training, better equipment, better supervision, and better accountability.

              I am optimistic this will occur. The people who oppose it have lost the culture war and are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

    2. Potter verdict in ... if I were a police officer, I would do anything possible to avoid apprehending violent criminals going forward.

      You mean like by shooting them instead? Because that's what she did, and it didn't work out so well for her.

      Perhaps she should have, instead, tried to apprehend him.

      1. This is pretty much the opposite of what happened.

        I think a case could be made for using deadly force (i.e. shooting) Daunte Wright in these circumstances: certainly I think it would be . But the evidence is also very clear that Potter wasn't trying to do that: rather, she was trying to use her taser and inadvertently used her gun instead. (To be clear, I have no qualms about holding someone liable for that kind of negligence.)

    3. I would do anything possible to avoid apprehending violent criminals going forward.

      What are your thoughts on whether someone who can't tell whether they're pointing a gun at someone or not until they pull the trigger continuing to work as a police officer?

      1. "What are your thoughts on whether someone who can't tell whether they're pointing a gun at someone or not until they pull the trigger continuing to work as a police officer?"

        When you're focused on a target under pressure, you often don't perceive your surroundings as well ... this is a well-known physiological effect. The bigger failing is that the taser and gun were on different sides ... my bet is that while she was saying "Taser", she was actually quite terrified and her brain was screaming "Gun".

        It's really impossible to tell who will have the presence of mind to act according to their training in such matters ... but I agree that those who prove incapable of maintaining their composure need to find alternate employment.

  26. An insurrection is generally a violent overthrow of the government. Is there any evidence that Trump incited any of the violence?

    1. Like Brandenburg or like normal ways people speak?

      1. "Like Brandenburg or like normal ways people speak?"

        You're the lawyer. If they want to charge him with something, then Brandenburg, right?

    2. The dictionary will just change the definition of any commonly understood word to match the sensibilities of the media and modern leftists. This is well known.

      Trump did nothing wrong.

      1. Quit whining, you bigoted right-wing rube.

          1. I will settle for continuing to shove progress down the throats of whiny, obsolete, powerless right-wing bigots, XD.

            Carry on, clinger . . . but only so far and so long as your betters permit, as always in glorious, modern, improving, liberal-libertarian America.

    3. You mean, besides video of him speaking and the digital record of his twitter feed?

      Is there any evidence that Tom Brady played in Super Bowl LV?

      1. You mean where he said "march peacefully"?

        1. I was thinking more about the 21 times he used the word "fight," and said things like, "Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong." After two months of saying that the election was being stolen by crooked people.

          I mean, this argument is so pathetic on your part and the part of the rest of you Trumpkins. If Trump weren't lying about what had happened, if the election were stolen by fraud and the courts were refusing to do anything about it, then the attack on the capitol would've been justified. You can't spend two months inciting and justifying an attack and then say, "Well, he used the word peacefully once, so that negates everything else he said."

          Trumpkins pull this sort of crap all the time. Trump says just enough on each side of an issue for implausible deniability, and you pretend that the one little thing is meaningful. Go back to Charlottesville, when he eventually kinda sorta denounced Nazis, just barely sufficiently to give Trumpkins cover to claim Trump did that. But when he discussed Andrew McCabe or Jim Comey or Peter Strzok, he would vociferously and viciously attack them dozens of times, daily, rather than once, halfheartedly saying something negative. It wasn't hard to figure out which ones he actually didn't like.

          Now there's vaccines. Now, indeed, he never actually criticized vaccines, and occasionally perfunctorily said nice things about them. But he personally got vaccinated in secret. And contrast his low key endorsement of vaccination to, say, his passionate denunciation of the 2020 election. It again wasn't difficult to discern which cause he truly believed in.

          1. I just did a quick news search to see how many anti-Trump articles featured the word "fight" in them. The hits were literally in the tens of thousands. So try again....

            1. What the heck irrelevant metric are you choosing here? Either he used the word fight 21 times or he didn't.

              1. Yea that's it. You got it! I mean when someone says "fight" they always mean riot or commit an act of violence. So when I say "I'm going to fight that traffic ticket" I am threatening the traffic court and police officer and should be arrested.

                Also , following it up with the words "protest peacefully" doesn't work. No take backs.

                You've outdone your usual level of stupid. Congrats

                1. Trump lathered a crowd of poorly educated, backwater-inhabiting, bigoted, disaffected, desperate, can't-keep-up, itching-for-a-fight, 'Mission From God' losers. His defenders at this White, male, right-wing blog are generally no better than most of the clingers who disgraced themselves on Jan. 6 at the Capitol. But they are precisely the audience this blog attracts, and seems to want to attract.

              2. "What the heck irrelevant metric are you choosing here? Either he used the word fight 21 times or he didn't."

                1. Everybody's used the word fight 21 times.

          2. "I was thinking more about the 21 times he used the word "fight," and said things like, "Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong." After two months of saying that the election was being stolen by crooked people."

            If that's all you've got, that Trump used the word "fight" 21 times and his political opponents just know, in their heart of hearts, that he meant for people to violently overthrow the government, then indicting Trump will prove to be extremely divisive and Garland would be wise to avoid doing so. But he's been an extremely political AG thus fare, siccing the FBI on parents whose political views he disagrees with, so I guess we'll see.

    4. TwelveInch, I do not think the public knows enough yet to answer your question—so long as everyone agrees insurrection must involve violence. I think there is no question at all that Trump tried to overthrow the government. It is the link to violence that is still in question.

      A bunch of people Trump was addressing got violent right afterward. Probably the airtight case that Trump intended violence to overthrow the government awaits proof about ongoing communication links between Trump, his lieutenants, his congressional boosters, and links to violent people those others may have had. A lot depends on exactly what the record shows people said, to whom, and when.

      Another question, of course, is what you mean by, "evidence." If by that you are talking about courtroom evidence, for criminal conviction, that may be very hard to come by. Apparently, the House is okay letting Trump's lieutenants run out the clock, or take the 5th.

      If you are talking about what anyone can reasonably infer, then if everyone who communicated with Trump is not cooperating, dodging subpoenas, or taking the 5th, then that is its own kind of evidence. In my view that is adequate to show for practical purposes that Trump is guilty of conspiring to commit violent insurrection. I could be convinced otherwise if we ever got a forthright-looking view of all the evidence, and it seemed to put Trump out of the loop.

      Leave things as they are now, and I think history concludes Trump bungled an attempt at a coup. It was predicated in part on inciting enough violence to meaningfully delay the vote count, and then using quasi-legal and illegal political tactics to get Biden's victory re-examined and overturned, either in Congress or by the SCOTUS.

      1. There was no coup and Trump did nothing wrong.

        1. You're like the kid trying to sneak cookies who's caught when he accidentally knocks over the cookie jar and it smashes on the ground at his feet, and when his parents call him on it he says, "What cookie jar?"

            1. I prefer to mock right-wing bigots, and watch them try to perform their own research.

          1. So says the guy that blindly squeals "INSURRECTION!!!!!" because the media told him to and then fails to provide any kind of proof whatsoever that what happened was anything remotely close to that.

            There was no insurrection.

            Trump did nothing wrong.

            The left fomented an entire summer of rioting and looting without the media even batting an eye.

            The people can see through your banal attempts to cover up the truth. The reckoning is coming soon.

            1. "The reckoning is coming soon."

              No it's already here and you lost.

            2. How long you been saying soon, Jimmy? Seems like since you started posting here.


        2. " Trump did nothing wrong. "

          The remarkable part is not that you write something so profoundly stupid. The remarkable part is that you can type anything at all with your tongue so firmly affixed to Trump's scrotum.

          Congratulations . . . I guess?

    5. Trump and the other Republicans who are suing the committee are sure working hard to make sure there is no evidence. We'll see what happens.

  27. Watched the FX/BBC 2019 version of A Christmas Carol for the initial time last night.
    In the US it airs as a 173 minute movie.
    Very dark cinematography and very dark story-wise. Quite different from any others I've seen, but glad to have a new edition to my 'collection'. Big Guy Pierce fan, but Alistair Sim remains champ.

  28. I have recently read former President Trump´s federal district court complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against New York Attorney General Letitia James. I am at a loss to discern what federal cause of action is attempted to be pled.

    There is a lengthy recitation of statements Ms. James has made which are critical of Mr. Trump, both before and since taking office as Attorney General. In short, she promised to investigate Mr. Trump, and she is conducting the promised investigation.

    Mr. Trump makes conclusory allegations that Ms. James has deprived him of Fourteenth Amendment due process rights and First Amendment free speech rights. Supporting facts are remarkably absent. Mr. Trump is alive, so he has not been deprived of life. The complaint describes no deprivation of property. The complaint identifies no deprivation of any liberty interest. (I am unaware of any federal authority indicating that having an impartial adversary counsel in civil or criminal litigation is a protected liberty interest.) The complaint particularizes no exercise of protected speech by Mr. Trump which has triggered any adverse action by Ms. James. What am I missing?

    If I were the judge presiding over that lawsuit, I would be sorely tempted to schedule a speedy, full blown evidentiary hearing on the application for preliminary injunction. Let Plaintiff´s counsel know that it is time to quit singing it and start bringing it.

    1. I am at a loss to discern what federal cause of action is attempted to be pled.

      So was Trump's lawyer.

    2. There is a lengthy recitation of statements Ms. James has made which are critical of Mr. Trump, both before and since taking office as Attorney General. In short, she promised to investigate Mr. Trump, and she is conducting the promised investigation.

      Trump's lawyer had the poor judgment to mention Trump v. Hawaii in passing in the complaint. While not directly relevant, it stands for the proposition that a government official's otherwise-valid policies can't be rendered invalid merely by impugning the official's motives by citing statements made by the official on the campaign trail. And this case… relies upon impugning Letitia James's motives by citing statements made by James on the campaign trail.

  29. I wish everyone would realize that Congress has no power to challenge or set aside votes of the Electoral College. That would avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 nonsense and whatever shenanigans went on around it, if there were any. Clearly a good many Republicans thought and still seem to think Congress has that power.

    I also wish everyone here a merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new year. Good yom tov to you all!

    1. Maybe it would be good if they didn't have that power. But there's a long and bipartisan history (back to 1876 at least) of Congress doing exactly what you say they can't.

      And on occasion somebody has to do it, if not Congress. It's happened that a state submitted two conflicting sets of electoral votes.

      1. It's happened that a state submitted two conflicting sets of electoral votes.

        But contrary to John Eastman's lies, not in 2020.

        1. Is that the John Eastman who was endorsed by Prof. Eugene Volokh?

          Was that before or after Prof. Volokh endorsed Ted Cruz.

          Before or after Prof. Volokh claimed to be "often libertarian?"

          Carry on, clingers.

      2. You're going to have to give me an example in US history where a presidential candidate won a majority of electoral college votes, but Congress set aside some of them and changed the outcome.

        1. That isn't really what happened in that crazy 1876 election, but I would still argue that Congress exceeded their authority with the actions they took. It's just a terrible, ill-defined system.

          1. The problem was that there really was no clear answer in 1876. And the constitution really doesn't explain what to do in that case. (And so they passed the Electoral Count Act, which reads like someone who pulled several all nighters in a row and was wired on amphetamines wrote it. They really need to rewrite it. Have its rewriting take effect in 2028, so that there can be bipartisan agreement without having people having to look over their shoulder at the next campaign.)

            1. I completely agree.

    2. If the ECA is constitutional then Congress rather obviously does have that power.

      1. I'm not sure what you are referring to by ECA. The 12th amendment certainly doesn't confer that power. It only says that Congress shall count the ballots.

        1. He means the Electoral Count Act.

          1. Aha, thank you. I do believe the Electoral Count Act is unconstitutional, as well as very poorly drafted. I don't think anything in the Constitution gives Congress the power they assume in that act. I guess I could cite Marbury, where the ruling was that Congress couldn't add to the court's original jurisdiction past what the Constitution enumerated.

            It seems to be a pretty limited pool of people who would ever have standing to challenge the act in court.

  30. ..and this week in Dispatches from Portland; I just filed for court help because at a certain point the city simply decided that because homelessness is a crisis, land use laws don't apply to new homeless shelters and insisting on due process is NIMBYism.

    "The City of Portland is obligated but failing to enforce City Code Title 33 Planning and Zoning upon itself.
    (ORS 197.175): “(2) …each city and county in this state shall:…(a) Prepare, adopt, amend and revise
    comprehensive plans in compliance with goals approved by the commission; (b) Enact land use regulations
    to implement their comprehensive plans; …(d) …make land use decisions and limited land use decisions in
    compliance with the acknowledged plan and land use regulations; and…”
    3. I respectfully request the court intercede on an emergency basis ordering; the City of Portland delay
    establishing the proposed Safe Rest Village at 2730 SW Multnomah Blvd until such time as either the City
    provide an appealable response to my request that land use regulations be applied to the Proposed Safe Rest
    Village, or 60 days have elapsed in order to allow the Department of Land Conservation and Development
    (DCLD) to intercede if they so choose.
    4. The City of Portland has announced that a new outdoor homeless shelter will be established at 2730 SW
    Multnomah Blvd, Portland in the very near future with current estimates of establishment ranging from end
    of 2021 to early spring of 2022 with a planned lifespan of 3 years.
    5. The property’s base zone is EG2- General Employment 2 and the establishment of a new community
    service use such as a new outdoor homeless shelter is not allowed by right (33.140 Table 140-1), which
    demands land use review (33.700.020: “Requests for uses and development which are not allowed by right
    require a land use review”).
    6. The City Safe Rest Villages Project Office has stated that imposition of this conditional use in this zone
    will not be subject to public input or approval as to its imposition. "Safe Rest Villages (SRV) Program
    Public Engagement Plan, Public Involvement Overview : Selecting locations for shelters (indoors or
    outdoors) is a complicated process—there are many technical needs for outdoor shelters, ranging from
    ground surfacing, access to transit, and nearby utilities to zoning considerations and physical space to
    accommodate shelter operations. In addition to these technical requirements, the Safe Rest Villages team is
    working to ensure villages are equitably distributed around the city and close to Portlanders currently
    living on the streets, so we meet unhoused Portlanders where they are and support integration with
    surrounding communities. Given the urgency of the need and the limited timeframe of the project funding
    (3 years with American Rescue Plan funding), the SRV team and our partners at the JOHS have solicited
    community input since preliminary options were announced in June 2021. Together, the SRV and JOHS
    teams are doing the initial site selections. Once sites are announced, community engagement coordinators
    will work with neighbors and stakeholders to discuss possible concerns, anticipated impacts and
    opportunities, and how we can best integrate the Safe Rest Villages into their respective communities.”
    7. I requested in writing that the City consider this new conditional use under land use
    regulations and requested the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) Commission
    use their authority (ORS 197.320) to issue an order on an emergency basis to the City to comply with the
    City’s Comprehensive Plan. The DLCD Commission declined noting they lack authority to issue an order
    on an emergency basis; “In response to your request for an emergency enforcement order against the City
    of Portland, the Land Conservation and Development Commission has no authority to issue such an order.
    ORS 197.319 to ORS 197.335 provide the exclusive process for Land Conservation and Development
    Commission enforcement orders.” (email response from Gordon Howard, Community Services Division
    Manager, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development).

    8. In the same response Mr. Howard advised that; “As an alternative for your consideration, ORS 197.825(3)
    provides: (3) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, the circuit courts of this state retain
    jurisdiction: (a) To grant declaratory, injunctive or mandatory relief in proceedings arising from decisions
    described in ORS 197.015 (10)(b) or proceedings brought to enforce the provisions of an adopted
    comprehensive plan or land use regulations; …”
    9. I am requesting the courts intercession on an emergency basis as;
    a. This is a basic civil rights matter. “(c) It would be virtually impossible to apply a "personal liberties"
    limitation on § 1343(3) as there is no real dichotomy between personal liberties and property rights. It
    has long been recognized that rights in property are basic civil rights. Pp. 550-552.” Lynch v.
    Household Finance Corp., 405 U.S. 538, (1972).
    b. I have exhausted all lesser remedies available to me.
    c. Failure to act will allow irreparable harm. If allowed and choosing to proceed prior to land use
    consideration or consideration by the DLCD Commission the City creates a situation in which either
    the community will suffer the irreparable harm of having an unreviewed new conditional use imposed
    upon them without their consent, or campers being referred to the site by the City, getting established,
    and then being forced to move on again.
    10. In consideration of all the above I respectfully request the court intercede on an emergency basis ordering;
    the City of Portland delay establishing the proposed Safe Rest Village at 2730 SW Multnomah Blvd until
    such time as either the City provide an appealable response to my request or 60 days have elapsed in order
    to allow the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DCLD) to intercede if they so choose.
    Dated this 24th of December, 2021.

  31. Where's the discussion on Kim Potter?

    Guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter.

    Seems appropriate.

      1. According to reports, they got her on (1) for the 1st degree charge.

        (1) intentionally causes the death of another person in the heat of passion provoked by such words or acts of another as would provoke a person of ordinary self-control under like circumstances. . . .

        Apparently the jury was (unanimously) convinced she should have known she wasn't holding a Taser and therefore either intentionally used her weapon, and "a person of ordinary self-control under like circumstances" would not have fired a weapon.

        Reading the media reports, the jury asked if they could cut the straps that secured the weapon in the evidence box which the judge allowed. The reports don't say why the jury asked this but it's safe to assume they wanted to feel the difference between a Taser and a weapon themselves.

  32. Wow, lets discuss stupid stuff. Not like there was a big verdict or anything today. Yawn

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