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Weekend link dump for March 24

“Flipping the bird is protected by First Amendment, federal appeals court says in cop-stop case”.

“This seems to be one of those stories involving both intentional grifters and others who were merely incompetent, unintentional, self-deceiving grifters carried away by quixotic dreams.”

If baseball allowed ties, how different would things be?

Why phone numbers stink as proof of your identity.

The roots of today’s white nationalism can be traced back a hundred years to an American whose writing influenced the Nazis in Germany.

“Partisanship shapes American politics, and, indeed, many parts of everyday life. Americans are increasingly negative about the possibility of their children marrying someone who affiliates with the opposite party. Many see the other party as a threat to the nation’s very well-being. In the 2016 election, about ninety percent of party identifiers pulled the lever for their party’s presidential nominee. Yet, despite these fierce party attachments, institutional parties play a weak and unclear role in American political life.”

“Grooming doesn’t just happen with the child, it happens with entire families and communities, and in a celebrity’s case, the entire community.”

RIP, Dick Dale, king of the surf guitar.

Devin Nunes’ Cow is my new hero.

The Spider-Man newspaper comic is slinging off into the sunset.

“The attacks that make headlines and those that do not are all rooted in the same hateful ideology. None of the attackers embraced unique or isolated ideas; they didn’t need to. The white supremacist ideology already contains all of the components needed to propel a radicalized individual to violence. And we have hard data showing the threat is regularly materializing. So why is there so much controversy over whether right-wing racially motivated violent extremism is a growing threat?”

I for one would be all in on a 20th anniversary Angel reunion.

Say what you want about MySpace, its loss of millions of songs that had been uploaded to it in its heyday is a damn tragedy.

Who knew asteroids could do that?

“Social Media Giants Have Been Promising to Stop Livestreamed Violence For Years. They Still Can’t.”

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

“What is less remarkable than the fact that such polemics about child sacrifice should continue to exist (how could they not, since they’re at least as old and as ingrained in Western culture as the Bible?) is that, in a truly gobsmacking way, they are entirely gratuitous compared with the actual, unvarnished truth.”

Abolishing the Electoral College Was a Republican Idea“.

Neil deGrasse Tyson was cleared of charges of sexual misconduct by the National Geographic network, but we have no idea how or why.

“Blake Bortles Is No Longer on the Jaguars – A Nation of Jasons Weeps”.

“It should never, ever be forgotten what a resentful, self-absorbed, petty, and insecure husk of a man is occupying the Oval Office, and it never, ever will be forgotten. As he demonstrated again on Wednesday, Donald Trump won’t allow it.”

“The National Cathedral now joins Tic Tacs and Skittles in the realm of bizarre entities that have had to publicly distance themselves from Trump and his family.”

RIP, Sydney Aiello, survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting.

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  1. Bill Daniels says:

    “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”

    I mean, Bush DID lie, people DID die, so Ari really doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The US had no business in Iraq, and sadly, it doesn’t seem like Trump is going to pull us out. I mean, goodie for the US for having military bases all over the world and everything, but maybe we could bring those troops home and enjoy the economic benefits of that base here in the US?

    Time to bring the boys back home.

  2. Ross says:

    @Bill, some of the overseas bases are useful to prevent moves by China or Russia. Like Diego Garcia, if the US leaves, China will pay as much as it takes to get in there. The troops in Korea serve to keep North Korea from coming across the border, which keeps one of Asia’s major economies from collapsing, along with a huge percentage of the supply of semiconductors.

    The US is still closing bases left over from the Cold War, three USAF bases in Britain are closing in 2024. Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar is paid for by Qatar, so isn’t a large cost to the US.

  3. Bill Daniels says:


    I feel pretty confident we could close half our overseas bases, sell the land and apply the money to our national debt, and still be the most powerful, forward based military power in the world.

    Off topic, but has anyone checked on Manny? He needs to be on suicide watch now that his big delusion has been proven false. I’m worried. His whole world view just fell apart.

  4. Manny says:

    I agree will Bill, we have way too many bases through out the world;

    We also need to cut some of the foreign aid;

  5. Ross says:

    The land the overseas bases are on generally reverts to the host government. We didn’t pay for any of the land, as far as I know. The buildings are usually just left. In Germany, some of the buildings were torn down, some used for other purposes, some used for refugee housing.

  6. Ross says:

    Manny, most of the foreign aid money goes to US companies that do the work. It’s not just grants to foreign governments. For instance, when USAID added a million+ phone lines in Cairo, the work was done by AT&T, so the bulk of the money came back to the US.

  7. Manny says:

    Ross 3.6 Billion to Iraq, while some may come to us, it sure would be nice to use it for infrastructure here in this country. How much of the 500 million to Colombia comes back to us? Israel 3.2 billion, billion here a billion there and pretty soon we are talking real money.

    We had almost $250 billion deficit last month, where is all the money coming from.

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    Now I am really worried about Manny, because he’s making a lot of sense and I agree fully with him on this. Oh, well, the money gets spent with US companies? Sweet! How about the US government give MY company a few billion, and I promise to spend it here in the US, so that money can circulate in OUR economy. Egypt can string their own phone lines. We owe $ 21T. Why are we buying telephones in Egypt? Egypt needs to be buying some phones for us, for a change, as thanks for all the money we’ve given them, when we really didn’t have it to give in the first place.

    We need to cut ALL foreign aid, except maybe in the case of natural disaster, where humanitarian aid is of the essence. Even then, we should be partnering with other countries on that, like maybe Mexico or Canada provides the MRE’s tents, and medicines, and we provide the shipping and handling via our world wide naval presence?

  9. Ross says:

    The phone project in Cairo was early 90’s, and was just an example I was familiar with. Foreign aid is one way we offset Chinese and Russian influence. Sure, the US could drop all foreign aid and become totally irrelevant to much of the developing world, but I don’t see much benefit to that. Cutting military aid to Iraq and Afghanistan would reduce the total by about 20 percent, or $10 billion. Military sid to Egypt and Israel is another $5 billion, but that’s one reason there hasn’t been a major conflict between those 2. So it probably stays. The rest is economic development aid and health care initiatives. Those could be eliminated, but at the cost of losing influence. The concept of returning to Fortress America might look attractive, but it’s impractical.

    If deficits bother you, lobby Trump to roll back the more egregious parts of his tax bill that make people like him richer while doing very little for the rest of us.

  10. Manny says:

    Ross while I agree with you in principle, we should always take care of our own first. I don’t lose sleep over people in other countries killing each other, I doubt many Americans do. If Democracy is such a great vehicle, why do we have to pay so many people to push it? Besides with as many nukes as we have no one is going to invade us, perfect example North Korea who is going to invade and risk them nuking them back or their neighbors?

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    Holy cow! Manny is on a roll. Absolutely right. Why do I have to forgo buying a new big screen TV so we can pay two violent children not to fight each other? That’s the question you as a taxpayer should be asking yourself. Israel and Egypt need to work out their own problems without the US paying them to keep the peace.

    Israel is a particular sore point for me, and probably the only thing I agree with Ilhan about. Our government has been bought off by them since forever. Not a bad return on investment….get billions of US taxpayer dollars and US taxpayer funded stuff, donate what, less than $ 100M to our politicians in return? Sweet ROI!

    Afghanistan WILL go back to the Taliban the minute we leave, and you know what? That’s OK. Leave with a message that another attack will be met with a few nukes being dropped.

    So China and Russia are going to start taking over our positions, paying off the countries we formerly paid off? Let them have it. Remember when the USSR went broke and couldn’t pay off Cuba anymore?

    If our allies are interested in picking up where we left off, THEY can take over our positions paying off countries throughout the world.

    Time for the world to get off the teat of America. America first, for a change. Build some roads, schools and hospitals here for a change. Let America get the economic benefit of military bases on American soil for a change.

  12. Manny says:

    Bill let me give you one more talking point. What friends spy on the persons that sustains them?

    That is but one example, they have recently been caught spying on Americans here in the United States. I won’t put a link as the comment may not show up.

  13. C.L. says:

    Re: “Military sid to Egypt and Israel is another $5 billion, but that’s one reason there hasn’t been a major conflict between those 2.”

    So my tax dollars are being give to Egypt and Israel so they WON’T fight ? ‘F’ that, stop the flow of dollars and let them have at it. What’s the worse that could happen, they collapse THEIR own economies with crazy, out of control military spending ? Bring it !

  14. Bill Daniels says:


    Your inner libertarian/fiscal conservative is showing. You should let it out more. Feels good, doesn’t it?

  15. C.L. says:

    @Bill… I’ve been a Federal employee for over three decades, I’ve also been a fiscal conservative for a very long time.

  16. Joel says:

    $5B is approx 0.1% of the federal budget and about 0.4% of the deficit. Eliminating it would change absolutely nothing about the national finances.

  17. Bill Daniels says:

    We shut the government down for the longest period in history over $ 5B, so that’s apparently a lot of money to both Pubs and Dems.

  18. Manny says:

    Joel the US gives about 50 billion a year at present, about 1% of the budget. $50 Billion dollars is a lot of money, could probably build walls in both the south and north border of our country, which should make people like Bill happy.

    But then Trump wants to cut medicare, and other health insurance because of the money involved. So those 50 billion sound good.

  19. Joel says:

    I’m still not sure your point. Whether it is 1% or a tenth that is immaterial. If your household spent 150% of your income every month, would you first response be to consider dropping Showtime from your cable? Or for such a large gap, might you need instead to look at where you live, or maybe a career move, etc?

    It seems off topic to me, but in response to your concerns about Trump and Medicare, etc, the response to ur-Republican desire to cut spending somewhere (everywhere) should not be to preemptively cut spending somewhere else. (Watch out, or I’ll hurt myself some more!) It should be to challenge the paradigm that always calls for spending cuts as the solution in the first place.

  20. Bill Daniels says:


    You’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem in D.C. is, Congress gets together in a case of, you vote for mine, I’ll vote for yours. What we need instead is a cage match….you cut mine, I’ll cut yours in retaliation.

    Thanks to the tax cuts and the resultant roaring economy, the treasury is actually collecting more money, yet the deficit is increasing. We have a spending problem.

    Solution: Say we have a $100 deficit. We let the Dems offer up $ 50 of stuff they want cut, and let the Pubs offer up $ 50 of stuff THEY want cut. Then let the negotiating begin, but the bottom line is, each side will be able to cut $ 50 worth of spending.

    Alternate solution: Cut each department by 5%, or whatever it takes to balance the budget, then let each department figure out how to do it. That includes the biggies, including the untouchable SS, Medicare, Medicaid, the military, etc.