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The threat to liberal values (liberal in the philosophical sense) coming from right-wing populism is pretty unconvincing considering that the self-appointed gatekeepers of those values, from EU technocrats to Thomas Friedman to Emmanuel Macron, have pretty well opposed all secularism and republicanism in the Middle East for decades while simultaneously championing the Gulf monarchies. If you compare human rights abuses between places like Iran and Syria (pre civil war) on the one hand, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the other, it’s a wash. Sure Iran is a theocracy, but it’s a republican theocracy, meaning they’ve fundamentally adopted western thought into their state. Doesn’t that count for anything Mr. Friedman? Nothing the monarchs do seems to matter, but the world is close to over because Hungary, Poland, and Italy embrace some mild illiberalism. Trump can be a mixed bag. Those liberal thought leaders love him when he passes tax cuts, bombs Syria and threatens Iran, but we also have the ongoing Russia freakout, NATO skepticism, tariffs, etc. I’m not one of those edgy leftists who poo-poos liberal values, I think they very much need to be defended, we just need better people defending them.

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Putting North Dakota's Economy in Context...

"Revenge of the Squares"?

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First off, the oil. North Dakota has oil. Now this point is almost certainly mentioned by the glorymongerers, as it is in the above piece, but this key fact has little to do with culture and lots to do with luck and new technology that allows access to oil that was once unprofitable to be refined. A quick look through history tells us oil is, at most, a finite mixed blessing. Oil, unlike the infamous North Dakota weather, tends to keep the "riff-raff" in.

Next, we have the State bank. North Dakota is the only state in the…

Someone get the CDC a thesaurus!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/cdc-gets-list-of-forbidden-words-fetus-transgender-diversity/2017/12/15/f503837a-e1cf-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html?utm_term=.9280df07ab70

I feel like this may be one of those stories that is quietly walked back in a week or so. Government bureaucracies are nothing if not committed to absolutely staying the same, and they can get around a word ban with little change in intent. Trump is hilariously committed to breaking brains of the liberal pundit class and his half-wit base loves it. It’s really all he has, as he hasn’t been able to get much else done. (Please don’t remind me of the tax bill that is all but certain to become law.)

The Piss Test

I find some perverse solace in knowing someone has to handle my piss, right there in front of me, in order to tell if I've been a good clean boy, or whether I've been dirty and bad.

I hope there's at least a brief moment of " good god, what the fuck am I doing"

(now she's tipping the capped piss container on its side in order to write something I assume is highly technical medical jargon on it.)

Is it warm enough?

Like baby formula, you have to warm up fake piss in the microwave before you can pass it off as your own. (The microwave wattage is important. I don't think altitude matters though.)

I don't even know of any gods who care about piss temperature. 

I know it's not her fault. It's a job.

But holding piss, even if you label it a "specimen," is still a depressing way to sustenance. It's only slightly better than being a bill collector, a stock broker, or the President.

We do share a bond. An unspoken understanding that it&#…