…clear enough? [DOT 14/4/21]

for government work...

…so should we start with the foreign?

What Did the U.S. Get for $2 Trillion in Afghanistan? [NYT]

Following withdrawal announcement, battle to determine Afghanistan war’s legacy begins [WaPo]

…or the domestic?

After a year where Black Lives Matter demonstrations saw Americans begin to re-address and re-think racial inequality in the nation, a pushback from predominantly Republican lawmakers is on the horizon, with 29 states in the US moving to introduce draconian anti-protest laws.


…after all (as @emmerdoesnotrepresentme has pointed out) it isn’t generally those genuinely protesting that seem to be the problem

Apologies make cynical history, but Boris Johnson has a big one to make, and fast. He must apologise to Northern Ireland’s unionists that he did not mean it last year when he pledged “no border” down the Irish Sea. As the Good Friday agreement negotiator, Jonathan Powell, wrote on Sunday, this was a lie. Johnson had just told the Irish government that the Good Friday deal held and there would be no border on the island of Ireland. Given Britain’s intention to leave the EU’s customs union, the two statements were incompatible, and Johnson knew it. Every truck on the Belfast ferry knows it, too.

The current Belfast riots have invoked the usual platitudes. The Irish taoiseach, Micheál Martin, has called for calm. Joe Biden has offered concern. Everyone is outraged that children are being encouraged to attack the police. Even Prince Philip’s death has been cited as a call for restraint. Deprivation, local political grievances, poor relationships with the police – these are all factors behind the disturbances. But every act of violence also carries the same word: exasperation. Will someone answer the question? Johnson lied, and what is Britain going to do about it?


…you might say those are more by way of being a symptom

How many Americans would die each year, on average, if the country had European mortality rates? Far fewer, suggests a new analysis, which compared mortality trends before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite spending far more than other wealthy countries on healthcare, the United States has relatively higher mortality rates and lower life expectancy – attributed to a plethora of factors including obesity, opioid overdoses, gun violence, suicides, smoking, road accidents and infant deaths.

Given the US does not have a universal healthcare system like most high-income European countries, researchers also think access to healthcare and medicines is patchwork, a problem exacerbated by pronounced racial and socioeconomic disparities and the rural-urban divide.

Study reveals alarming trend in US death rates since 2000 [Guardian]


CNN reporter Sara Sidner was reporting live on protests over the police killing of Daunte Wright in suburban Minneapolis on Monday as tear gas billowed behind her and fireworks lit up the sky when a man in a camouflage vest interrupted her.

“Y’all be twisting up the story,” he said in a video clip that has since gone viral online.

For nearly two minutes of extraordinary live television, the man berated Sidner and accused the swarm of videographers and reporters on the scene of misrepresenting the protests against the fatal shooting of Wright, an unarmed 20-year-old Black man, by an officer who claimed to mistake her gun for a Taser.

“Tell me what you think about what’s going on here,” Sidner asked the man, as protesters and police clashed in the background.

“What I think about this? It’s all the press and all the extra s— y’all do, makes this worse,” he said, later accusing the press of trying to “make people look all crazier than what the f— they are.”

The video, which has more than 640,000 views as of early Tuesday, underscores the high emotion in Minneapolis as the city watches the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin and the aftermath of Wright’s death. It also points to lingering accusations that the media overplays property destruction in the clashes between racial justice protesters and police.


…I guess it depends on how the coverage is framed

A new report by the Capitol Police’s internal watchdog found that department leaders overlooked key intelligence in the run-up to the riot on Jan. 6, including a warning that “Congress itself is the target,” and barred the force’s riot response unit from using its most powerful crowd-control measures.

The 104-page document, entitled “Review of the Events Surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Takeover of the U.S. Capitol,” is the most searing portrait yet of the lapses and miscalculations around the most violent attack on the Capitol in two centuries. It adds significant new detail not unearthed in congressional hearings and is likely to inform a coming overhaul of the agency promised by lawmakers.

Michael A. Bolton, the Capitol Police’s inspector general, classified the report as “law enforcement sensitive” and has not released it to the public. But The New York Times reviewed a copy before his testimony to the House Administration Committee, scheduled for Thursday.

Key Findings of the Inspector General’s Report on the Capitol Riot [NYT]

Rockin’ in the free world? Inside the rightwing takeover of protest music [Guardian]

…& where people look for their news

Facebook has repeatedly allowed world leaders and politicians to use its platform to deceive the public or harass opponents despite being alerted to evidence of the wrongdoing.


“Officially, I’m a low-level [data scientist] who’s being fired today for poor performance,” the post began. “In practice, in the 2.5 years I’ve spent at Facebook, I’ve … found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry, and caused international news on multiple occasions.”

Over the course of 7,800 scathing words, Zhang outlined Facebook’s failure to combat political manipulation campaigns akin to what Russia had done in the 2016 US election. “We simply didn’t care enough to stop them,” she wrote. “I know that I have blood on my hands by now.”

Zhang knew that this was not a tale that Facebook wanted her to tell, so when she hit publish, she also launched a password-protected website with a copy of the memo and provided the link and password to Facebook employees. Not only did Facebook temporarily delete the post internally, the company also contacted Zhang’s hosting service and domain registrar and forced her website offline.


…not least when it comes to the subject of vaccinations

The challenge the world faces is that the rollout of vaccines has been slow, relatively speaking. The coronavirus vaccines were developed at a lightning pace, but many parts of the world are still waiting for supplies sufficient to broadly immunize their populations. In the United States, the challenge is different: About a quarter of adult Americans say they aren’t planning on getting vaccinated against the virus, according to Economist-YouGov polling released last week.

That’s problematic in part because it means we’re less likely to get to herd immunity without millions more Americans becoming infected. Again, it’s not clear how effective natural immunity will be over the long term as new variants of the virus emerge. So we might continue to see tens of thousands of new infections each day, keeping the population at risk broadly by delaying herd immunity and continuing to add to the pandemic’s death toll in this country.

But we also see from the Economist-YouGov poll the same thing we saw in Gallup polling earlier this month: The people who are least interested in being vaccinated are also the people who are least likely to be concerned about the virus and to take other steps aimed at preventing it from spreading.
Who are they? As prior polls have shown, they’re disproportionately political conservatives. At the outset of the pandemic, there was concern that vaccine skepticism would heavily be centered in non-White populations. At the moment, though, the rate of skepticism among those who say they voted for Donald Trump in 2020 and among Republicans is substantially higher than skepticism overall.
That shows up in another way in the Economist poll. Respondents were asked whose medical advice they trusted. Among those who say they don’t plan to get the vaccine, half say they trust Trump’s advice a lot or somewhat — far more than the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the country’s top infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci.
Trump wants his legacy to be the rollout of the vaccine. His legacy will also probably include fostering skepticism about the vaccine that limits its utility in containing the pandemic.


The global coronavirus pandemic is still growing exponentially, the World Health Organization said on Monday, as it reported 4.4m cases in the last week, the seventh straight week of rising numbers.
As lockdown restrictions were eased in England, the WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said “confusion, complacency and inconsistency in public health measures” were prolonging the pandemic.
The WHO’s team leader on Covid-19, Maria van Kerkhove, told the news briefing the pandemic was still growing exponentially.

“This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic, when we have proven control measures,” she said. “We are in a critical point of the pandemic right now.”


…& it’s not as though there aren’t other things we could use some clarity about

We are in an emergency. California is on the brink of drought, prompting fears of a new wave of devastating megafires later this year. Rising temperatures could soon make the planet’s tropical regions unlivable for humans. Yet a Guardian investigation recently found that only a small number of major countries have been pumping rescue funds into a low-carbon future.

The climate emergency is here. The media needs to act like it [Guardian]

…or a better defense against


…or just some understanding of

On Friday afternoon, when nobody was watching, the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court made yet another constitutional principle appear out of thin air. In this, that majority used the Court’s so-called “shadow docket” to take a hacksaw to precedents for which the majority doesn’t care too much. At issue were restrictions on gatherings put in place by California in response to the pandemic. The Gateway City Church went to court for an injunction claiming that its “religious liberty” entitled it to an exemption from the regulations. The Ninth Circuit rejected the application. Last Friday, by the customary 5-4, the Court reversed the Ninth Circuit and granted the injunction.

This “shadow docket” began as a mechanism to control the time and traffic of cases before the Court, but the Roberts Court has come to use it as a way to rule on thorny constitutional questions without actually hearing a case in point. In The Atlantic, University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck traced the history of this procedural device and, more important, how its use has changed.

The Supreme Court’s ‘Shadow Docket’ Is Looking Increasingly Shady [Esquire]

…or things that are well past the time they ought to have been dealt with

On Thursday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson caused an uproar by promoting the racist, anti-Semitic, patriarchal and conspiratorial “white replacement theory.” Also known as the “great replacement theory,” it stands on the premise that nonwhite immigrants are being imported (sometimes the Jewish community is accused of orchestrating this) to replace white people and white voters. The theory is also an inherent chastisement of white women for having a lower birthrate than nonwhite women.
When Carlson worries about immigrants from the third world, he is talking about Hispanic, Asian and Black people who he worries will outnumber “current” voters. Current voters, in this formulation, are the white people who make up the majority of the American electorate.

Second, and revealingly, he is admitting that Republicans do not and will not appeal to new citizens who are immigrants.

But although white replacement theory is a conspiracy theory, the fact that the percentage of voters who are white in America is shrinking as a percentage of all voters is not. Neither is the fact that white supremacists are panicked about this.
The combination of Jim Crow voter suppression laws and the migration of millions of Black people out of the South during the Great Migration diluted the Black vote, distributing it across more states, and virtually guaranteed that white voters would not be outnumbered by Black ones in any state. The fear of “Black domination” dissipated.

Indeed, as extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was being debated in 1969, The New York Times made note of the fact that Attorney General John Mitchell, a proponent of a competing bill, was well aware that even if all the unregistered Black people in the South were registered, their voting power still couldn’t overcome the “present white conservative tide” in the South. As The Times added, “In fact, Mr. Mitchell is known to believe that Negro registration benefits the Republicans because it drives the Southern whites out of the Democratic Party.”
The architects of whiteness in America drew the definition so narrowly that it rendered it fragile, unsustainable, and in constant need of defense. Replacement of the white majority in this country by a more multiracial, multicultural majority is inevitable. So is white supremacist panic over it.

Tucker Carlson and White Replacement [NYT]


On CNN on Sunday morning, Greenblatt of the ADL said Carlson’s words directly reflect the “replacement theory” and added that it’s not the first time the host has invoked discriminatory ideologies to justify his arguments.

“Tucker Carlson has a history of sanitizing stereotypes and of spreading this kind of poison, but what he did on Thursday night really was indeed, as you put it, a new low,” Greenblatt said.

Greenblatt added that Carlson often makes these claims on a prime-time platform, allowing him to act as a “gateway” to “damaging and dangerous conspiracy theories.”

“There is a reason why people like Richard Spencer or David Duke praise Tucker Carlson,” Greenblatt said, referring to the white nationalist and former KKK leader. “Because indeed he’s taken their talking points and literally used his prime-time platform to mainstream them for millions of Americans.”

ADL demands Fox News fire Tucker Carlson over anti-Semitic trope: ‘This has deadly significance’ [WaPo]

On Monday night, the Fox News personality doubled down, insisting that his comments were entirely race-neutral and that they were only about defending the “voting rights” of U.S. citizens.

But if anything, Carlson’s defense reveals his worldview as the one that’s truly hostile to democracy. And that in turn unmasks the ideological underbelly of the broader right-wing populist nationalist movement that he and his defenders champion.
“Demographic change is the key to the Democratic Party’s political ambitions,” Carlson declared. “To win and maintain power, Democrats plan to change the population of the country.”
Carlson is trading on a profound but frequent distortion of the concept of national sovereignty. He simply treats it as self-evident that more immigration, even more legal immigration, undermines the character and political integrity of our nation.
As Zack Beauchamp writes in a good essay, today’s nationalist right worldview employs a kind of two-step. It speaks in a pro-democracy “idiom” while simultaneously vowing to restore a mythologized democratic past that must be defended against its “enemies,” i.e. all the legitimate U.S. voters who have a different conception of what our democracy should look like.
But this worldview is also fundamentally anti-democratic to its core. What’s most revealing is Carlson’s underlying presumption that if representatives chosen by U.S. voters allow more outsiders admission to an expanded polity, this cannot be a democratic outcome by definition. The polity must remain restricted to what he and those who agree with him say it must, regardless of what the people actually chose.
What is the basis for the democratic legitimacy of their desire to impose their conception of the nation and “the people” on the rest of us? They simply don’t say.


…good thing he’s on such a responsible network


…I mean…how long is it before the SPLC is forced to declare Fox as a hate group that specializes in white supremacy apologia?

Donald Trump made out like a bandit when he took office. According to a recent review of his financial disclosures, he pulled in $1.6bn from outside sources during his presidency. He wasn’t the only one to have profited, however. Trump’s political career has been terrible for the world, but it has been terrific for some of the world’s worst people. Many of the Republicans who helped produce the populist forces that got Trump elected have been raking in money while rehabilitating their images by opportunistically denouncing him. And, to a large extent, liberals are not just letting these people rewrite history; they are rewarding them for it.
We should be rolling our eyes at this. But, thanks to the Trump effect, liberals have been rapidly rehabilitating Bush. Earlier this year, CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote: “Bush’s version of what it means to be a Republican is unrecognisable from where the GOP stands today.” Are you kidding me? Bush helped to pave the way for Trump. It may be comforting to think that Trump appeared out of thin air, but he did not. If we want to avoid repeating history, it is imperative that we hold his enablers to account.
I can’t stress it enough: Trump was not an aberration; he was the culmination of years of Republican extremism. A bunch of feckless Frankensteins are trying to pretend they have no responsibility for the monster they created. It is time we started to hold these people to account.


Some in the Republican Party hope that it can eventually maintain the Trump coalition without the toxic excesses of Donald Trump’s disordered personality. Already, a variety of talented and calculating figures — Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) come to mind — are trying to model populism minus the psychopathy. They are clearly imagining a day when a working-class and fundamentalist cultural revolt can be channeled into constructive public purposes. As one Republican congressional staffer has said: “Trump has changed the party forever, but that doesn’t mean he will control the party forever.”

It is a rational instinct. It also strikes me as a nearly impossible task. And Tucker Carlson illustrates why.
This is what modern, poll-tested, shrink-wrapped, mass-marketed racism looks like. Carlson is providing his audience with sophisticated rationales for their worst, most prejudicial instincts. And the brilliance of Carlson’s business model is to reinterpret moral criticism of his bigotry as an attack by elites on his viewers. Public outrage is thus recycled into fuel for MAGA victimhood. And so the Fox News machine runs on and on.


…or the Grievance/Obstructionist Party?

The right to vote is the foundation of every right we hold as a citizen. It should be simple for everyone to make their voice heard. That should be the goal of every election. We should be able to register easily, request a ballot without unnecessary complications, and cast that ballot without waiting in long lines or driving long distances. When you limit the ways in which people can vote, you are limiting the number of people who can vote. All of this is common sense. None of it should even be controversial.

The supporters of these provisions suggest that they are necessary because of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 election – a baseless assertion for which they are unable to provide any evidence. Or they suggest that they’re needed to restore faith, especially among Republicans, in the legitimacy of our elections. This is especially convoluted, since nothing has done more to damage that sense than month after month of these unfounded “fraud” allegations. It’s also hard to accept these arguments in good faith, since these new voting laws arrive so quickly after an election many of these same lawmakers refuse to admit they lost.

Yet in recent days, as Republicans race to enact similar new restrictions in Texas, Arizona, Florida and elsewhere, many conservative lawmakers have suggested that these tough laws they are so hurriedly passing won’t actually affect turnout at all. Some in the media have shrugged as well, and in a particularly egregious “both sides” framing, have criticized President Biden for being too hyperbolic in calling the Georgia law “Jim Crow on steroids”. The New York Times pointed to political science research that purports little connection between turnout and convenience, and suggests that the partisan impact of easier mail-in voting is negligible. Those who really want to vote will find a way, some suggest. Others argue that expanded absentee voting makes no real difference, and may have provided Democrats with as little as a 0.2 percentage-point increase in turnout last November.

These arguments fail to understand how voter suppression works, and how it has been used to hold back the Black vote, especially across the south, for decades.


Longstanding Census Bureau policy is to count people as residing wherever they usually eat and sleep, known as the “usual residence” rule. For prisoners, that means being counted in the legislative districts where they are incarcerated.

But that makes no sense, because virtually everyone who goes to prison comes from somewhere else, and almost all will return there after being released. While they are behind bars, they can’t vote, nor do they have any attachment to the local community or its elected officials. They are counted, even though they can’t hold their representatives accountable.

The result is one of the more persistent and pernicious distortions in the redistricting process, known as “prison gerrymandering.” Now that the 2020 census count is over, and the nation begins its decennial struggle over how to draw new congressional and other legislative district lines — and who gains or loses political power as a result — it’s a good time to talk about how we can get rid of prison gerrymandering at last.
When it comes to prisoners, the skew follows a clear pattern: Prisoners are disproportionately Black and brown people from urban areas, and prisons are disproportionately built in more rural areas. So counting people where they’re imprisoned takes political power away from racial minorities in cities and transfers it to whites in rural areas.
In Connecticut, a redistricting expert calculated that nine of the 151 state House districts are able to meet the required minimum population only thanks to prisons within their borders, and that eight of those nine districts encompass predominantly white communities. If the state stopped counting prisoners where they are locked up, the expert said, 22 districts would need to be redrawn.

For most of American history the distortions caused by prison gerrymandering didn’t make much difference. There weren’t that many people behind bars. That changed with the incarceration boom that began in the 1980s. Today, more than two million people are held in state and federal prisons and local jails, with concrete consequences for politics and policy.
Sometimes lawmakers are forthright about the benefits of exploiting prisoners for political gain. In 2015, Janet Adkins, a Republican Florida state representative, told party activists that the best way to oust a Democratic incumbent was to pack her district full of prisoners. Draw it “in such a fashion so perhaps, a majority, or maybe not a majority, but a number of them will live in the prisons, thereby not being able to vote,” Ms. Adkins said.

You’ve Heard About Gerrymandering. What Happens When It Involves Prisons? [NYT]

More than a dozen of the country’s top law firms have committed to join forces to challenge voting restrictions across the country, adding legal might to the corporate pressure campaign opposing Republican-led attempts to overhaul elections in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s loss.
The group came together from conversations among major law firms about publicly taking a stand against restrictive voting laws like the one enacted in Georgia last month, as well as bills under consideration in Texas, Arizona, Florida and other states.

“I believe it is critically important for the private bar, first, to send a powerful, unified message to government officials that it is unacceptable to make voting harder, not easier, for all eligible voters,” Karp said. “Supporting the right of all eligible voters to cast ballots for candidates of their choosing is central to our democracy and should be embraced by all Americans, regardless of their political affiliation.”


…but let’s face it…all of the above might be described as “pressing concerns” but these last few days it’s been something else that’s had me feeling like the headlines could bring on symptoms of whiplash

A man has been charged with second-degree murder after an 11-month-old girl was killed and two other children were injured in a weekend drive-by shooting in New York, authorities said.


Authorities in Washington D.C. are searching for a suspect accused of shooting three women, two of them fatally, before lighting an apartment on fire with a newborn inside, police said Monday.


Multiple people were shot, including a police officer, at a high school in Tennessee on Monday, authorities said.


Every time a major school shooting occurs in the United States, the national conversation that immediately follows recounts the number of similar incidents that have happened to date that year. The chilling statistics, broadcast over the airwaves, published in newsprint and shared on the internet, vary depending on the news organization and its definition of a school shooting.


…it’s hard to be sure you’re not confusing one story for another when there seem to be so many where the details border on being interchangeable…& of course, one in particular

The suburban Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot a 20-year-old unarmed Black man during a traffic stop Sunday apparently meant to fire a Taser but instead made an “accidental discharge” from her gun, the police chief said Monday.


Officer Kimberly A. Potter was in the midst of a routine training day on Sunday, demonstrating her decades of policing know-how to less experienced officers in the Brooklyn Center Police Department.

Police Officer Who Shot and Killed Daunte Wright Was Training Others [NYT]

Minnesota has seen more than its share of high-profile police killings, including the shootings of Philando Castile in 2016 and Jamar Clark in 2015, and the death last year of Mr. Floyd.

Minneapolis has been on edge as the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who has been charged with murdering George Floyd, is underway in a Minneapolis courtroom less than 10 miles from where Mr. Wright was shot.
“Why can’t we have Tasers that look and feel differently?” Mayor Melvin Carter of St. Paul said. “That you could never mistake for deploying a firearm, so that we can ensure that that mistake, which has happened before, can never happen again.”

Ed Obayashi, a California-based expert on the use of force by law enforcement and a deputy sheriff, said that with appropriate training, it should be difficult for officers to confuse a gun with a Taser, “but unfortunately it does happen — this is not the first time and it won’t be the last.”

Minnesota Officer Who Shot Daunte Wright Meant to Fire Taser, Chief Says [NYT]

The Glock pistol that Potter apparently did not think she was wielding when she fired the fatal shot at Wright on Sunday as he allegedly attempted to flee is black metal and almost a pound heavier than the neon-colored Taser she believed she was brandishing as she was caught on heartbreaking video yelling, “Taser! Taser! Taser!”


Tasers look and feel different from pistols in a number of ways, and most police forces — including Brooklyn Center’s — have standard precautions and protocols in place to prevent the sort of mix-up that can be deadly.

Tasers are often produced in bright colors, or with neon accents, to distinguish them from pistols. The Brooklyn Center Police Department manual cites the Glock 17, 19 and 26 as standard-issue for the department. All three pistol models weigh significantly more than a typical Taser. Glocks also have a trigger safety that can be felt when touching the trigger. Tasers do not. Grips on Tasers are typically different from those of firearms, as well, though they may feel similar because both are usually made of a similar type of polymer.
It appears that several aspects of how Officer Potter handled her weapons may have violated the protocol laid out in the manual, even if she had drawn her Taser and not her firearm.

The manual advises that the device should not be used against people “whose position or activity may result in collateral injury” — including people who are “operating vehicles.” Mr. Wright was sitting in the driver’s seat when Officer Potter fired, and his car traveled several blocks after he was shot.

The manual also says that “reasonable efforts should be made to target lower center mass and avoid the head, neck, chest and groin” if an officer is using a Taser. Mr. Wright died of a gunshot wound to his chest, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner.
In most cases, there has been little or no jail time for officers disciplined or tried for wounding or killing someone in situations in which they said they had mistaken a gun for a Taser. In [a] Pennsylvania case, for example, the district attorney said the officer violated a policy requiring officers to wear their Tasers on the side opposite their firearms. Still, he said the officer “did not possess the criminal mental state required to be guilty of a crime under state law.”

One of the most widely known cases happened in 2009 in Oakland, Calif., when a white Bay Area transit officer shot and killed an unarmed Black man on New Year’s Day at the Fruitvale Station of the city’s BART line. The man, Oscar Grant III, was lying face-down when the officer shot him.
“Daunte Wright is another Oscar Grant,” an uncle of Mr. Grant, Cephus Johnson, tweeted on Monday. “We seen this before and know exactly how it will play out.”

How Could an Officer Mistake a Gun for a Taser?

Both Kim Potter, the white Minnesota police officer who fatally shot the Black motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop, and her chief of police, Tim Gannon, have resigned.


…which would seem like a good start…except that as I understand it…& she certainly does since she used to be head of her police union…by resigning she preserves her pension & very possibly the right to return to employment in the police force someplace else…which sounds far fetched on the face of it…except

A white police officer from Wisconsin who was investigated and cleared for shooting and injuring a black man during a domestic dispute has returned from administrative leave, officials said on Tuesday.

Officer Rusten Sheskey was not charged in the August 2020 incident that left Jacob Blake Jr paralyzed from the waist down. Sheskey shot Blake seven times while Blake was about to get into an SUV.
Kenosha’s police chief, Daniel Miskinis, said in a release that Sheskey returned to duty on 31 March. The release said Sheskey was found to have been acting within policy and will not be disciplined.



  1. This caught my ears yesterday.
    Once On The Brink Of Eradication, Syphilis is Raging Again https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/04/14/986997576/once-on-the-brink-of-eradication-syphilis-is-raging-again?sc=18&f=1001
    Mainly because unintended consequences is a subject I’m drawn to, but as soon as this kind of problem shows up at the marginalized groups of society, I know two things will happen. LGBTQ+ communities will get vilified, then the mainstream will pretend they never vilified anyone once it starts impacting suburban Karens.

    • And just convincing people to get tested can be difficult. I’m a 37 yr old woman and when I saw my new primary care physician last fall, she was awkwardly explaining that they now recommend syphilis, AIDS, and hepatitis screening for all sexually active people because it’s all on the rise in Missouri. I knew we had long been a bastion of high chlamydia rates, but this was news. I’d been tested since my last partner because that asshole stealthed me, so I was like “hey I’m good, check with my obgyn!” but I guarantee a lot of people will balk at requests to be screened for some of the “really bad” STIs. 

  2. Restrain yourself around the white people and whatever happens to the others we got your back. It is all so blatant and still people try to say it isn’t racism. And still there are people sitting around saying, why didn’t he just…[I dunno, not be, the list is too long at this point].

    • YES YES YES, the reason for the terror over changing demographics is because they are afraid they will be treated the way they treat minorities. There is an obvious and logical solution, but logic, that there is one of those sciency things ain’t it?

      • ” Due Process Is No More In Brooklyn Center, Minnesota”
        That appears to be complaining about a cop getting fired, nevermind that the cop fucking killed Wright over a  damned traffic stop.
        If I made an egregious fuck-up at my job, I could be fired, and I wouldn’t even have harmed someone with my fuck-up.  That’s not a violation of due process.  Like these assholes always like to point out when employment programs or anti-discrimination bills are brought up,  “nobody has a constitutional right to a job”
        This isn’t going to get better without serious bloodshed, is it?

  3. Well, I’m shocked:
    Women who say they attended Matt Gaetz parties detail ‘drug use, sex and payments’
    No, of course I’m not. But somebody asked me the other day why Gaetz hasn’t been arrested yet. A few years back I read a blog post made by a former federal investigator (FBI). The post was in reference to someone asking if he should get a lawyer if the FBI wanted to question him. The answer is obviously yes. 
    But the context was interesting. Typically the FBI investigates in an extremely deliberative fashion (as long as there is no imminent threat to the public). They line up all the facts LONG before they ever question suspects. This is rather different than most law enforcement agencies. But his point was “When federal investigators start asking you questions, they already know the answers.” They don’t engage in fishing expeditions for information. They’ll let you lie and implicate yourself or your associates further, but they already know what you did. 
    When they do finally bring Gaetz in, it will be because they have an unshakeable evidence chain that proves he’s guilty of what they suspect he’s guilty of. This is of course made easier by the fact that Gaetz is an idiot. But that’s why Greenberg’s plea deal is so important. He’s giving up his criminal associates. 

  4. It’s sort of amazing, 6 years in, that the Republicans still don’t seem to understand why Trump worked for them.

    You can’t have a charmless nobody like Hawley or Cotton make the same pitch; the entire point is that it was coming from a swaggering celebrity! That’s what the base wants! They’re not mad at Hollywood for making movies and stars; they’re mad because they DESPERATELY WANT those stars to nod along with them on the regressive politics they substitute for an actual personality. 

    If Dwayne Johnson said “I have some questions about Trump’s loss” at noon today, he would be the GOP front-runner by 1 p.m. 

    • I’ve said it before: Trump appeals to people who drink beer and watch TV in their garages with the garage door open. That’s it. You won’t be able to duplicate that weird combination of shitty celebrity asshole again. 
      A big chunk of it is due to The Apprentice‘s scripting. As with every “reality” show, Trump’s image and behavior were massaged and retouched until the ignorant actually believed he knew what he was doing. Tucker Carlson can try, but he doesn’t have the Mark Burnett machine creating a fictional persona for him. 

      • I actually think Tucker has the best chance of re-creating the general Trump outline — he basically already does that for a living — but he’s only popular among the people who are already bought in, so there’s a built-in cap on him.

        Lots of people who knew nothing (or cared nothing) about politics knew who Trump was long before he got into the game. And as I think we’ve seen, people generally struggle to separate fact and fiction to begin with. Give them something called “reality TV” that’s supposed to be true to life and we can’t be shocked that many of them can’t discern the difference.

        • Don’t discount “billionaire” status. Most idiots who watched Trump believed he actually was a billionaire (though I read today that he enriched himself by about $1.9 billion during his presidency. That’s a big part of it — We’uns need a biznessman in charge of this hyar mess. 
          Carlson doesn’t have that “certification” to win over the simple-minded. 

      • Wait they do need to be racists, too. Like I know people who drink beer and hang out in their garages and hate Trump. Need that extra sprinkle of racism to really get that trifecta of dedicated supporters. 

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