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October 23, 2020


1. Pre-emptive self-flagellation: I myself used the word "us" (i.e. "we") in the post. Sue me.

2. I have often wished we could have a national day of abstinence, where no one would pay the slightest bit of attention to whats-his-name or his family or his entourage of thieving murderous grifters for an entire twenty-four hours. No film, no quotes, no names mentioned. I bet he'd have a coronary. Of course, the media would never go along with it, nor would the 40+% of the country that adores him.

did i say "if"?

In the wake of protests following the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a member of the “Boogaloo Bois” opened fire on Minneapolis Police Third Precinct with an AK-47-style gun and screamed “Justice for Floyd” as he ran away, according to a federal complaint made public Friday.

A sworn affidavit by the FBI underlying the complaint reveals new details about a far-right anti-government group’s coordinated role in the violence that roiled through civil unrest over Floyd’s death while in police custody.

Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old from Boerne, Texas, is charged with one count of interstate travel to incite a riot for his alleged role in ramping up violence during the protests in Minneapolis on May 27 and 28. According to charges, Hunter, wearing a skull mask and tactical gear, shot 13 rounds at the south Minneapolis police headquarters while people were inside. He also looted and helped set the building ablaze, according to the complaint, which was filed Monday under seal.

i expect all conservatives to immediately renounce their hateful ideology and vote for Joe Biden.


goddamn gremlins borked my html

-- fixed

This is at least the 2nd time that the alt.right committed or incited violence they then blamed on "Antifa."

I don't expect the information to change any Trumpist minds. It'll just be more "fake news!" to them.

I'm not sure about any change in the reporting, either. The MSM never changes its established narrative until it doesn't matter anymore.

The three biggest wildfires in the history of Colorado all burned/are burning this year. The only good news is that the elevations where they are still burning are supposed to get 8-12 inches of snow tomorrow. I really sympathize with California, though, where so much of their fire burns at elevations where there's a lot more air.

Some experiences should just NOT be shared with friends!

This weekend, we've got cooler temps and cloud cover. Unfortunately combined with extra low** humidity and high winds. The fire warning map in Northern California is totally red, edge to edge. (Although, to be precise, there are some spots that are, and a few that aren't quite, "explosive." So, some variation.)

And big chunks of the population here (that's people, not just area) will be getting preemptive power shut offs the next three days. Golden opportunity to demonstrate empathy, for those politicians blessed with it. Or even just the ability to simulate it. I confidently predict commentary (ignorant commentary, at that) from the White House on Western states forest management instead.

** That's "extra low" as in single digits. For reference, the Sahara generally manages 20%

Although there's been an increase in the number of acres burned by wildfires in recent years, the number of acres burned each year was about four times as many as now a hundred years ago. But part of the higher count was due to the forest service including controlled burns in the southern pine forests in its wildfire counts.

I confidently predict commentary (ignorant commentary, at that) from the White House on Western states forest management instead.

I want to know why Ivanka and Don Jr. haven't been out here raking their forests, at least on some of the weekends...

But do they even know how to operate one?

But do they even know how to operate one?

If not, I'm sure the stable genius can show them how.

I'd rather burn to death than have these subhuman death-loving murderous vermin running my country:

Rake the mall of the subhuman republican debris.

They breath death in and they breath death out.


The only way to save America from genocidal EVIL is to stop the killers from breathing altogether.

Longish, but GOP killers breed even more more killers:

Thullen -- I've told you before that I don't like ObWi being used as your own private septic system, especially the death and killing talk, however cleverly, marginally indirect you've made it.

I can't tell you to stay away from ObWi in general, but I would prefer that you stay out of my threads. Thanks.

Reverting to Janie's OP, I was interested in the quote from Michael Cohen. Does he purport to have written this himself, as I seem to gather skimming on Amazon? If so, I find him more literate than I would have expected from an erstwhile buddy of Trump, and the guy we have all heard threatening journalists on recorded phone calls. It's not important of course, but it did just surprise me a bit.

I think we've talked in the past about people with surprising combinations of talents/pastimes/etc. Like Frank Ryan, who was the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns *and* a math professor at Case when I was a kid. (There was a story within the past couple of years about a guy who quit the NFL to pursue his math PhD. He didn't want to keep risking his brain playing football.)

Well -- I suppose Cohen could be a smart guy who also decided to be a crook (I mean, they're not all as stupid as Clickbait, even if he's a savant in some way or other), or a crook who happens to be smart....

I suppose Cohen could be a smart guy who also decided to be a crook (I mean, they're not all as stupid as Clickbait

It has often been regretted that intelligence and character are not necessarily positively correlated.

The good news is that, contra the (mostly 1800s?) literary theme, lots of intelligent people are of good character. Michael Cohen simply didn't happen to be one of them.

And Brian May, of course, has a PhD in astrophysics.

Since this is an open thread, and there are at least some jazz lovers among us, and a change of tone rarely comes amiss, I thought it a good idea to give you this poem, by the poet Adrian Mitchell, late of this parish, who also wrote Oh What a Lovely War, and To Whom it May Concern (Tell me Lies about Vietnam):


He breathed in air, he breathed out light.
Charlie Parker was my delight.

He is probably most famous for another short poem, about his wife, set on an unlovely commercial road called High Holborn (the L is silent), which has probably been seen by more people than any of his other work, since it was one of the poems featured on tube trains in that fab event, Poems on the Underground:

Celia, Celia

When I am sad and weary
When I think all hope has gone
When I walk along High Holborn
I think of you with nothing on

PS I realize that it's also a kind of bias on my part to think that it's surprising if a football player is smart.

In fact, in the tiny amount of time I have spent watching pro football, I'm amazed at the things the players do beyond just their physical talent. The complexity of the playbook; the pass routes; the quarterbacks who can hit the receivers on the button after all that bobbing and weaving, and the receivers who are right where they're supposed to be at the exact right moment, with all the other guys in the way and trying to stop them -- I guess it's just not the same kind of intelligence that I imagine you need to do a PhD in math. And some people do have both, where "PhD in math" stands in for any kind of non-football talent.

With Michael Cohen, in relation to GftNC's first comment about him, there's another whole topic of people who write well and people who don't. Lots of smart (in other ways) people can't write a decently flowing paragraph to save their lives. (As I know from having edited their drafts at work.) Interestingly, I don't think those people hang out much in blog comment threads.

Have just discovered I misinformed you. Adrian Mitchell apparently did not write Oh What a Lovely War. I could have sworn he did. Maybe some of the songs? Oh well.

Also, I was revealing my bias when I reported that Brian May had a PhD in astrophysics. It looked like I thought rock stars couldn't be bright, but actually I meant that (since he abandoned it to become a rock star, and only completed it not that long ago) I was amazed he had the perseverance and stamina to finish it, when the temptations of rock star life would tend to militate against it. Not in his case, apparently.

What amazes me about the Brian May story is that he was able to take his physics studies up again so many years later. I suppose if he kept up with the subject matter to a reasonable extent in the meantime that's not so surprising, but still, it's pretty cool that he did it either way.

I wasn't ever a sports spectator, and was not in the high school or college sports crowd. But when I grew up, I followed the sportsmanship of children in my life, and realized how amazing athletic skill and knowledge is. It's like craftsmanship, but using the body as the tool of the craft. It can coexist with other kinds of knowledge, or not - like music or art.

I'm actually very partial to Michael Cohen, and believe that he's redeemed himself (or could be on the way to doing so). People are flawed, and they get caught up in things. I won't give everyone a pass, and I'm glad he's doing some time, but I don't think he's at all soulless, which I do believe some of Trump's other apparatchiks are.

I don't think he's at all soulless, which I do believe some of Trump's other apparatchiks are.

Which is why Cohen was able to recognize that he messed up. And say so. Some of the others give the impression that they think they will turn to stone (perhaps almost literally?) if they ever admit to even the possibility of error.

Horrifying as Trump is, the kind of person who is attracted to such a piece of work is perhaps worse.

Murkowski shows her true colors.

I wonder what she got for it. It wasn't even necessary for the confirmation, right? Like Susan Collins's "I spit in your face" speech after Kavanaugh. She could have just voted, but no, she had to rub it in.

Bush derangement syndrome, Trump fatigue, a pegged outrage meter....these are signs of a righteous moral compass. Take two aspirin and vote in the morning.

Brian May is way better than I am at the things I’m best at. What a jerk.

Have just discovered I misinformed you. Adrian Mitchell apparently did not write Oh What a Lovely War. I could have sworn he did. Maybe some of the songs? Oh well.

I was of the opinion that the songs are all (censored*) versions of actual parodies from WW1 with only the dialogues/narration added for the stage production.

*although less so than the BBC versions (that iirc inspired the stage production). Even the film did not fully restore the original vulgarities.

Hartmut, I believe you're right. I've always been a particular fan of the neatness and jauntiness of "O death, where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling, O grave thy victory?", but it looks like I will have to relinquish any notion that Mitchell wrote it. He did write (from the translation) the Marat/Sade, which was also a hugely influential piece from the same period, so maybe that was what I was thinking of. (By the way, FWIW, in that poem about Charlie Parker, I do not find the rhyme "light/delight" satisfactory, but I find the first line "He breathed in air, he breathed out light" very beautiful.)

Further to the Cohen business, my thoughts are these. I have no idea whether he is "soulless" or not, and obviously I am extremely glad that he turned against Trump and is trying to damage him. But I differentiate between people who repent because of principle or revelation (road to damascus, if you will), and those who do so because they have lost the favour and support of their previously enabling patron. Hearing the actual threats Cohen made on Trump's behalf on the tape that journalist made, and hearing about so many others, he seems to me to be a pretty scummy character (only confirmed by his having chosen to be so closely connected to Trump for so long), and I am disinclined to think he has had a complete personality transplant. Vindictiveness at having been abandoned explains it much better to me, and while I am glad to see it because it accords with my wishes, it does not (at all) make me like or trust him.

Trump abandoned him, because Trump has no loyalty and it suited him.
Cohen turned on him like Grima Wormtongue (I think someone else made this comparison too).
The character of each is revealed by their actions.

"There is nothing I so much covet as that I should be like myself and they like themselves."

so . . . it's complicated.


Vindictiveness at having been abandoned explains it much better to me, and while I am glad to see it because it accords with my wishes, it does not (at all) make me like or trust him.

This is certainly a fair assessment.

I'm no fan at all of our criminal justice system, but the thought that people might get a comeuppance through the court system, and have a chance to find some redemption by paying their debt to society is an attractive notion (even if mostly fictional), and Cohen seems deserving of its benefit.

There's a lot of good stuff from the various writers who have contributed to bobbyp's link, and I haven't finished it yet. But for some reason I particularly liked the way this, by Daniel Dennett, was expressed, although in a way it says nothing new:

George Orwell warned us that the Ministry of Truth in a totalitarian state could brainwash the citizenry with a heavy-handed onslaught of propaganda and torture, but it turns out that even in an apparent democracy, using methods that all can see (no secret torture chambers, no burning of books and newspapers) people can be put into a dreamlike state of misinformation from which they cannot readily be aroused by the most evidence-rich and eloquently posed alarms. Wake up, wake up, my fellow Americans! Can you not see what these people are doing to our precious and fragile democracy?

Can you not see what these people are doing to our precious and fragile democracy?

problem is, everyone has their own definition of "these people".

Apparently Brian May's Ph.D. advisor said, when Mr. May had completed his dissertation, "He could have been a great astronomer. But I really like Queen, so I can't complain about the choice he made."

Swamped here, don't want to look at stuff over there. Just observe that Cohen, because of pics like the one heading this article

gave of a vibe of someone out of the Sopranos. I think that's why people are surprised by his book (to the point of 'did he really write it') It's too bad, but if he hadn't been Trump's fixer, he would have never been in this position, so I'm not inclined to feel bad.

If anyone here had any doubts still, lol, it's been proven GOP closely resembles autocratic parties like Fidez (Hungary) and AKP (Turkey):

The trouble is that this has been going on since 2000 and Trump is the symptom as well as the cause. If Biden wins, the problem only goes away in part.

Sorry it's: Fidesz

"Rule of thumb? If nobody in any position of authority feels the need to provide information, it’s a decent bet you aren’t in a functional democracy anymore"

If Biden wins, we get a totalitarian socialist government led by the Biden crime family.

If Trump wins, we get another four years of representative democracy. Trump is actually one of the best Presidents in American history, and one of his greatest achievements is the reform of the corrupt judiciary.

welcome to Bizarro world

There is a piece in the Guardian about a radio talkshow host and how he has changed from being a kneejerk arguer, who always had to be right and had the tools to "prove" it, to a different kind of person. I gather he is a bit of a lefty, but I have never listened to his show. We have talked here about this sort of phenomenon sometimes. I thought it interesting, although his methods would certainly alienate many people who probably could benefit.

A few years ago, O’Brien noticed he often entered arguments just to win them, and that winning arguments had become more important to him than accepting what was right. On the radio he could be cruel or dismissive to callers, especially those who proved his own arguments wobbly. “I found it almost impossible to retreat from any position,” he writes in How Not To Be Wrong, his new book, “even if I’d only arrived at it five minutes ago.

welcome to Bizarro world

Yup. Talk about the lunatics have (currently) taken over the asylum.

trolling the libz is the highest holy obligation in the GOP cult.

In its majestic equality, cleek's law requires rich GOPers and poor MAGAts to catch Covid, push for ever more tax-cuts for Wall Street billionaires, and lie shamelessly in all fora, to 'own the libz'.

trolling the libz is the highest holy obligation in the GOP cult.

when will they learn that we can't handle the truth?

Just so, and thus me, graduating early from the autocracy training program, from Nigel's Lithwick link, as BOB (Bill) SYKES (Sikes) cues himself up:

"I am just here to note that the inchoate rage and despair are real, and that even the possible resounding defeat of Lindsey Graham in his race for his Senate seat may not be enough to cure it. I am also here to remind you that some of the reflexive reaction to the daily reminders of your own powerlessness—including your possible hopelessness, blame-shifting, and the ritual saying of “who cares”—really is the reaction they are trying to elicit. It is the object of the exercise. You’re now in the autocracy trainee program. Mitch McConnell’s court coup is designed not just to decrease your political power but to teach you that you should expect yet more political powerlessness. That is how they are trying to ensure that even though there are more of you than there are of them, it doesn’t matter and they still get to call the shots."

Aye, it's you, Bill Sikes, trying to sic your dog on the ham sandwich, neither of whom are having any of it:

SYKES thinks he's put the button on it:

The cult thing used to be somewhat hyperbolic. It's becoming less so and more literally true from what I can tell. This is a few months old, but describes a problem that is getting even worse rather than fading away as time goes on.

I see with increasing frequency people I know on social media discussing Illuminati-like child sex-trafficking rings run by Washington elites. It's unbelievably nuts.

"The cult thing used to be somewhat hyperbolic."

Win or lose, we ain't seen nothin' yet.

"It's unbelievably nuts."

Yeah, well just wait until they find out that that metal foil in the grocery isn't TIN foil, so is worse than useless for mad hattery.

You actually have to go to a specialty metal supplier for TIN foil, must be some sort of Derp State conspiracy.

Me, I prefer the INDIUM foil haberdashery. When I'm not just thulium-ing around, that is.

The puke funnel flooding the zone with shit narrows a bit, but won't that just increase the velocity of the shit?

Win or lose, it will be Billy Bob Sikes all the way down forever.

Troublesome Creek still gonna burn, even after the blizzard.

John Thullen, I asked you to stay out of my threads. Since you won't, and I can't block you selectively just from my threads, I'm temporarily blocking you in general, until I can consult with counsel.

until I can consult with counsel.

I'm not sure this place has counsel on staff, but FWIW I am fine with Janie's action here.

We all love you, man, but you gotta respect boundaries.

It's unbelievably nuts.

As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no upside in trying to talk people out of that stuff. If they believe it, or even willing to give it an interested hearing, they've already gone through the looking glass.

Something like a quarter to a third of the people in this country have lost their freaking minds. They've exchanged their natural capacity for basic critical thought for... I'm not sure what to call it. Some kind of Kool-aid.

I'm not sure what they get out of it, but apparently it has an appeal.

I have no solution to offer here. Just suggesting that trying to walk people back from that crap is probably not gonna be all that useful. People have to figure stuff out for themselves.

Nothing surprises me anymore.

Nothing surprises me anymore.

Somehow, I'm not buying that. For instance, suppose (as is at least possible) Biden takes Texas next week. I'll bet you will be at least mildly surprised.

It's not the likeliest scenario, I admit. But at 1 chance in 3 (see here) it is entirely within the realm of possibility.

I'd be surprised if Biden took Oklahoma or Alabama.

I'd be surprised if Trump took MA or CA.

Other than that, whatever nerve endings are usec for registering surprise have long since burned out.

would you be surprised to learn that there is water on the moon ?

Would you be surprised to see that the font of liberalism (NOT!)** that is the New Hampshire Union Leader has endorsed . . . Biden? Yet they have. Even while saying

Our policy disagreements with Joe Biden are significant. Despite our endorsement of his candidacy, we expect to spend a significant portion of the next four years disagreeing with the Biden administration on our editorial pages.

** See where they say "Trump has many admirable accomplishments from his first term in office. We can find much common ground with Trump supporters, including judicial appointments, tax policy, support for gun rights, even inroads to Middle East peace."

See the footnote where they also say:

* While Joe Biden is the clear choice for president, it would be a disservice to the country to send him to the White House without a backstop. We suggest splitting the ballot and electing a healthy dose of GOP senators and representatives. The best governance often comes through compromise. The civility of the Biden administration will help foster such compromise, but a blue wave would be nearly as disastrous for this country as four more years of Trump. It would result in a quagmire of big government programs that will take decades to overcome.

As if anything whatsoever will get done if there's still an R majority in the Senate. I suppose in this case I should be grateful for small favors. Talk about the lesser evil....

I'm not surprised - the Union Leader somewhat famously declined to support DJT in 2016, and Biden is about as middle of the road as you can get.

That said, the ghost of William Loeb may be spinning a bit in its grave.

Coming to an election race in your polity soon? Let's make it not happen, ok?

My ballot arrived the day after my County Recorder put it in the mail. I filled it out and dropped it in a conveniently located collection box. 24 hours after I dropped it I checked online and it had been received and my signature verified, so I know it will be counted.

I am already tired of reading about election screw-ups (and regard an hours-long line as a screw-up) out East. This isn't supposed to be hard.

I am already tired of reading about election screw-ups (and regard an hours-long line as a screw-up) out East


the west's time will come.

I am already tired of reading about election screw-ups (and regard an hours-long line as a screw-up) out East.

I live in eastern MA, if you went any further east, you'd get wet. My experience was the same as yours.

The screw-ups I'm aware of are largely due to deliberate attempts to keep people from voting. That, and NYC, which is just too densely populated a place for a high-turnout election to be anything other than chaotic.

What screw-ups are you reading about?

the west's time will come.

Speaking for my state rather than California, you just don't hear anyone complaining about discarding ballots from people who (a) don't understand the instructions, or (b) aren't able to follow the instructions, or (c) don't take advantage of the in-person voting option where an official will basically hold their hand all the way through. And we have a cure period: if your ballot arrives without a signature, you will be notified and given an opportunity (up to ten days after the election, IIRC) to correct the problem.

Not much to do about late. The number of late VBM ballots can be determined. We know that in-person election day voting undercounts "late" because no one has a way to count the people who put off voting and then decided they were too sick, or too tired, or couldn't stand in line that long.

Worth adding... PA has been (and still is, I think) in court trying to decide what "late" means. CA has a clear definition, no one is trying to change it, the courts aren't futzing with it. PA has a screw-up by my standard; CA doesn't.

No, in Massachusetts, even this year, what they automatically sent all registered voters was an application for a mail ballot. I didn't get an application; I got a ballot. At least as I understand it, you had to go through an added step that I didn't. Am I reading the descriptions wrong?

As if anything whatsoever will get done if there's still an R majority in the Senate

Exactly. What f*cking planet are these people living on? How pathetic and limited an understanding of what is actually wrong, and is necessary to put it right.

If only we had some data to go on, rather than just anecdata! Lo and behold, the OP links to an article about election-related lawsuits:

Election-related lawsuits have proliferated this election cycle. According to the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project, which tracks Covid-19-related election litigation, almost 400 lawsuits have already been filed this election cycle. There are more than 35 lawsuits in the battleground state of Michigan, about 28 lawsuits in Texas in both the federal and state courts, almost 20 in Pennsylvania (which could be the state that decides the election) and 10 lawsuits in North Carolina, which President Donald Trump most likely also needs to win if he is to have any shot at re-election.

The Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project, mentioned in the article with a link which I have copied in this sentence, lists all of the lawsuits collected by the project and links to information about them. Some of the suits involve several states, and I don't know how the author of the article I quoted did his counting, but in terms of the "state" column, my tally is 16 rows for California (whether any of them have to do with "late" ballots I don't know). Also 23 for Arizona (some from before this year), ten from CO, 34 from TX, 8 from NV, 10 from MT.

I'm not going to dig deeper to see what all these suits are about. But they are certainly not confined to the degenerate "east."

A lot of litigation is being initiated by guess who.

I am already tired of reading about election screw-ups (and regard an hours-long line as a screw-up) out East.

Then don't read about them.

Also, just so we're clear, Texas, which adorns that lawsuit list almost three dozen times, is not "out East." ;-)

Reminds me of a time when I was hiking in the Olympics, and we encountered a bear that circled the clearing where there where we were camping all afternoon. Some local guys were also camping there, and everyone was speculating about what kind of bear it was. Someone said what if it's a grizzly, and someone else said, "Can't be, the grizzlies are all back east."

In my parlance, we were from "back east." This kid meant Colorado.

Argh. Typos, sorry.

I am already tired of reading about election screw-ups (and regard an hours-long line as a screw-up) out East. This isn't supposed to be hard.

Where are you living now, Michael Cain (sorry - forgot)? I have to admit to being completely intrigued by your experience with the state legislature, and also glass-eyed at the details of some of the things you talk about.

Anyway, maybe the fact that you're tired of Eastern bs is payback for the latter?

Just kidding (or just being the horrible me). I really would like to know more about your culture shock, if any.

Okay, time for my part of CA to burn now. Miles away and not much danger to us, but the smoke is damned annoying.

Stay safe, nous. It's scary stuff.

but the smoke is damned annoying

I wish Hillary had won.

If Hilary had won:
1) a lot fewer people would have died on this mess.
2) McConnell et al would be loudly proclaiming that the high death rates were all her fault.
3) Someone better than Trump (but not much) would be the favorite to win next week, as covid-19 put paid to Clinton's term in office.
4) the result of 3 would not be pretty.

4) the result of 3 would not be pretty.

Not a bad take on what would've been. No proof, of course.

Also, there'd be a few hundred thousand more to talk about it.

Also (not that I'm AT ALL immune from egregious misspelling errors) but Hillary Clinton spells her name with two ls. I do the same thing constantly with many people's names, but for some reason this bugs me greatly because of her being in the public conversation for thirty years.

Let's try harder. Me especially.

Actually, that was a simple finger check, rather than straight ignorance. (So many ways to accomplish the same erroneous end....)

All good, wj. Today, October 26, Hillary Clinton's birthday. Happy Birthday, Madame President!

I am not a lawyer but this sounds bad. I would like to think it is just someone on Twitter overreacting, but I can’t tell.

Is this a surprise or something? We're f'd with the courts, Donald.

I got a ballot. At least as I understand it, you had to go through an added step that I didn't.

Yes. I got an application. I sent it back, postage pre-paid. They sent a ballot. I filled it out and dropped it in the ballot drop-off in my town.

Or, my wife did, actually. It was all of about 2 miles away, because we live in a dreaded overbuilt East Coast metropolitan area, and pretty much everything we need to do is 5 miles or less away. Plus, it's MA, and we aren't into the whole one-drop-off-box-per-country BS.

A couple of days later, I checked the status. Accepted. I.e., received, signature verified via the yeomanlike services of our town clerk, and vote counted.

So, I mis-spoke. Our experiences differed, by the single step of mailing in my ballot application. To be honest, I didn't really experience that as an impediment to voting.

Also, too, Coney Barrett has been confirmed as a SCOTUS justice.

If the (D)'s win a majority in both the House and the Senate, I look forward to an expansion of the SCOTUS bench. Mitch McConnell has richly earned the enmity of more than half the nation, and (R)'s and conservatives in general will get to pay the price.

What was it that Kavanaugh said about reaping the whirlwind?

I am not a lawyer but this sounds bad.

Kavanaugh is not a jurist. He is a partisan tool. By that, I do not mean I disagree with his judicial findings, I mean his career has largely been spent not on the bench, but as a (R) partisan tool.

The SCOTUS is diminished by his presence there.

A lot of you read Balloon-Juice already, but for those who don't, they have morning and evening weekday picture threads that are usually travel-focused, and always fun. WaterGirl, who took over posting them when Alain died, recently asked people to submit sets of photos that might help folks stay chill over the next couple of weeks.

Tonight is the first set, and they are beautiful pictures and a lovely way to offset the breathless panic at Donald's link.

I'm done with breathless panic.

The SCOTUS is diminished by his presence there.

He recently wrote an opinion citing Bush v Gore as precedent.

Hard to top that as pure unadulterated hackery.

We need a plan B.

Plan A is to win the Presidency and the Senate. Reform the courts, save healthcare, do something about the pandemic (although we'll be blamed for all of the no inevitable deaths), save the economy (although we'll be blamed for the fact that the help didn't come soon enough).

But there is a huge likelihood that it won't happen that way, that we'll lose the Presidency, Senate, or both. We need to figure out what we'll do then.

For those of you seeking less deeply unhinged positions than mine, there's this.

bobbyp: Did someone say you're unhinged? Certainly not me.

Travel pics? Okay. Here's one from our trip to Iceland three years ago.

Oh for a time machine...

I am not a lawyer but this sounds bad. I would like to think it is just someone on Twitter overreacting, but I can’t tell.

No, it’s not.
The Rehnquist concurrence (which was not adopted by the court in Bush v Gore), effectively declares the Supreme Court as having veto power over states’ election rules. Which is to put it mildly, not what the Constitution says.

Slates article sets it out:

Which article, as Stern point out, was kind of prescient, being published immediately before the decision.

Personally, I feel that vote-by-mail is not a good way to conduct elections. After all, there is no way to verify who has filled the ballot, nor that the voter has not acted under duress, or for payment. The vote is really free only when it is secret so that you can't show it to anyone even if you want.

In Finland, we have advance balloting instead of vote-by-mail: every municipality has polling stations open for about two weeks prior to election day. When you go to vote, they check your ID, and give you the ballot. You vote in a booth, get your folded ballot stamped, and put seal it into an envelope. After this, you sign a form that you have voted, and seal the form and the ballot into a second envelope that is then mailed by the poll workers (or, if you are voting in your home community, taken directly to the polling place). Your use of suffrage is recorded into a national on-line database, preventing you from voting again, while allowing you to vote in advance anywhere in the country. This means that your vote is secret.

But then again, we don't have voter registration, either. That is done via the national population registry: you are always registered to vote where you live.

Presidents have even more dictatorial powers than we realized. Cool.

Might be a good idea to rein in this crap if we ever get the chance, even if a “ good” President is in office. We probably won’t.

If I were being simple-minded I would say that the internet is ruining us

nothing simple about that. it's perfectly true.

the internet provides more information and pseudo-information than any person can handle; it makes lies as easy to find as truth; and it holds nobody accountable for any of it.

if you want to believe something, the internet will assist you. if you want to avoid critics and nay-sayers, it will help you. if you want to join a bubble, it will find one for you; if you want your own bubble, it will inflate one for you.

it's a choose-your-own-reality machine.

another reason to hate football.

The players from Platt High and Maloney High had their temperatures checked as they entered a mostly empty stadium, and they were not wearing their traditional school uniforms as they warmed up.

They instead wore nondescript jerseys and kicked off under the new team names “Eastsiders” and “Westsiders” — representing their ends of town as part of the newly formed Connecticut Independent High School Football League, which was privately launched this month after the state’s high school athletic association canceled the fall season because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.


Nearly a dozen players opted not to play for Frederick’s team because of the pandemic, but most of his players have had parents sign off on the season and pay a $20 fee for a six-game schedule.

“The bottom line is, I understand there is a virus, but we can’t live in this bubble,” said Amy Fitzgerald, the president of Maloney High’s football booster club and the mother of a junior player on the Eastsiders team. “It wasn’t an easy decision [to play], but I feel that it was the right decision for us.”

The Rehnquist concurrence

Rehnquist made his bones by keeping brown people from voting.

We've been fighting the same bullsh*t battles in this country for 250 years, and we're not done yet.

nous -- great picture.


"We can't live in this bubble" was the theme of a protest outside the Maine CDC a couple of weeks ago. The newspaper online linked a video, which I couldn't bring myself to watch until yesterday, and even then I could only stand about 1 minute of the 6 or 7. "It's gone on too long!" a woman ranted.

I wonder how people like this handled rationing in WWII. I know there were black markets, and people traded and gave away ration cards (an old guy my mother worked with gave her his ration tickets for shoes; she had a thing about shoes...) But surely yelling "Wah wah wah wah wah it's hard we can't keep going it" only works in some kinds of difficulties.

If "We can't live in a bubble" means you're choosing to die outside it, go for it. Unfortunately, it means "We can't live in a bubble and you can die for it for all we care.

Maine is the last green state on the COVID Exit Strategy map. My county has gone from 16 active cases on 9/30 to 69 today. A lot of Maine's spread has been seeded from churches.

God said so, I guess. If I were going to believe in a deity, I think I'd want one who wasn't such a dumbass.

“It wasn’t an easy decision [to play], but I feel that it was the right decision for us.”

said the mother.

Yeah, the Maine CDC protest had a mother, quoted in the newspaper article, lamenting the fact that masks were teaching her children to be afraid, and that "We have a right to choose."

(One of the most destructive thought trains being fed to people in certain bubbles is that they can declare what their "rights" are. Separate topic.)

I wrote a letter to the editor asking, among other things, if she thought she had a "right to choose" which side of the road she drove on, or which red lights she had to stop for. I proposed that we do things to take care of ourselves and each other that are so habitual as to be invisible, and that masks are just a new, minor, and temporary one of those things. I suggested that she teach her kids not that masks are about fear, but that they're about generosity and taking care of each other.

I doubt it will change anyone's mind.

And yes, what cleek said. A lot of the agitation about kids' sports in Maine is coming from parents. Kids too, mind you, but a lot of parents are pushing hard.

Lurker: while allowing you to vote in advance anywhere in the country

So do you vote separately for local elections? Or can every town have a ballot for every other town, on demand?

A lot of places in the US have something like what you're describing (early voting, or absentee-in-person voting, they're not exactly the same thing in terms of when votes are counted), in addition to in-person-on-election-day and/or mail-only voting.

Don't forget, you live in a country of less than six million people. The US has 330 million, with 50 semi-separable state entities complicating the picture. I think the challenges are a little different in each place.

Maybe we should have a cage match between Lurker and Michael Cain. Vote by mail! Don't vote by mail! Etc.

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