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Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Feb 09, 2024 10:34 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included the Supreme Court hearing about keeping Donald Trump on the ballot, the Special Counsel report into Joe Biden, stay-at-home-moms, and a Montgomery County Council hearing about MCPS.

Yesterday's most active threads had a distinctly political slant with three of the four top threads dealing with political topics. The first of those was titled, "Supreme Court Hearing on 14th Amendment and Trump" and posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. As the title makes clear, this thread is focused on yesterday's oral arguments before the Supreme Court as it reviewed the Colorado Supreme Court's decision to remove former President Donald Trump from the presidential primary ballot. Several of the posters were listening to a live stream of the proceedings and then posting their immediate reactions. Mixed in with those posts were questions, statements, and opinions from other posters. Almost everyone was pessimistic that the Court would keep Trump off the ballot, they only disagreed about why the justices would make such a decision. Explanations ran the gamut from such a decision being legally and morally justified to it being the result of a corrupt and bought-off court. One of the issues that both the justices and and posters debated was whether removing Trump from the ballot would result in Republican states removing Democratic candidates in the future. While many posters saw this as a realistic possibility, they were frustrated by the suggestion that removing Trump for a real reason — provoking an insurrection — would result in Democrats being removed for manufactured reasons. One poster responded to this discussion by writing, "If Trump murdered someone and we sent him to jail for it, would that open the floodgates to accusations that Democrats committed murder even if they never killed anyone?" Both the justices and DCUM posters agreed that potential problems could be avoided if the Court defined what is or is not an "insurrection", but justices made their reluctance to do such a thing clear. Posters also critiqued a distinction that some justices attempted to make between an officer vs an office. Ironically, given that this case hinges squarely on Trump's involvement in an insurrection, the Court mostly stayed away from addressing the insurrection or Trump's involvement. Not only did the Court shy away from suggestions that it define "insurrection", but despite the wish of many posters that the Court decide whether or not Trump engaged in an insurrection, that is not the role of the Court in this instance and there were no attempts to address that question. Several posters expressed consternation that Justice Clarence Thomas had not recused himself from this case due to his wife's involvement in the January 6 insurrection. To them this exemplified both Thomas' corruption and the larger Court's illegitimacy.

The next most active thread was also posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. Titled, "Special Counsel Report on Classified Documents", the original poster was upset by descriptions of President Joe Biden as a forgetful old man in the report issued in conclusion of an investigation into Biden's mishandling of classified documents. The investigation did not find reason to prosecute Biden and essentially cleared him of any crimes. Several posters compared the report to statements made by former FBI Director James Comey when he announced that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted due to her email controversy. In both cases, an announcement of a decision not to prosecute was accompanied by statements critical of the subject of the investigation. Robert Hur's description of Biden as an "elderly man with a poor memory" struck a particularly strong chord with many posters. Biden's critics jumped at this opportunity to further deride Biden and even some Biden supporters agreed the description was accurate. This led to a dispute about how the perception of Biden as old and forgetful might affect his reelection prospects. Biden has been famous for gaffes throughout his life. But now that his age has become a concern among many voters, every misstatement is being portrayed as an indication of senility. Therefore, Hur's description collaborates a common perception. But, as many posters argued, Biden was being questioned about minor events that occurred many years in the past. Who wouldn't have trouble remembering? Moreover, several posters pointed out that former President Donald Trump routinely makes similar errors that demonstrate a similarly bad memory. Trump also came up in this thread many times because his supporters felt that Hur's decision not to prosecute Biden was inconsistent with the ongoing prosecution of Trump for his mishandling of classified documents. Much of the support for Trump is fueled by resentment and, to Trump supporters, this is yet another example of the unfair treatment given Trump, and by extension, his supporters. It was of no use for other posters to try to explain the differences in the two cases and any attempt to do so fell on deaf ears. But, for other posters, it was Biden that was actually harmed by any double standard that might exist. They pointed out that Democrats constantly seem to be investigated by Republicans who have political agendas rather than neutral appointees. For instance, former President Bill Clinton was investigated by Republican activist Kenneth Starr, Republican Comey led the Hillary Clinton investigation, Republican John Durham led an investigation into the FBI's investigation of Russian election interference, spending millions of dollars pursuing unfounded conspiracy theories and losing two high-profile prosecutions. Now Republican Hur has done his best to detract from his decision not to prosecute Biden by enflaming questions about Biden's fitness. That is simply not the role of a special prosecutor and, frankly, is shameful.

The third most active thread yesterday was titled, "If women could go back in time" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. Essentially, this is a reframing of the perennial stay-at-home vs work-out-of-the-house mom debate. The original poster asks whether women would accept that being a stay-at-home-mom is better than working in a full time job and, if they could go back in time, would not fight for workplace equality. As one of the first posters to respond points out, this question has a lot of assumptions. Primarily, it assumes that the stay-at-home mom has a reliable husband or other partner who is employed in a job capable of supporting their family. It also assumes that all working moms miss out on seeing their children grow up as the original poster suggests they do. Several posters argue that is not the case and that they have been able to both hold a fulltime job and enjoy raising their children. One of the most common points made in the thread is that struggling for equality in the workplace has given women choices. They can choose to work or choose not to, though realistically the choice to work is often forced upon them. But, in that case, workplace equality is even more important. As one poster put it:

It’s a choice in theory, for women who marry high earning men that support them staying home. That’s a very small portion of men, and most women have to work whether they want to or not.

Other women were offended by the original poster's implication that all women must want the same things. One poster addressed that point by saying:

Some of us women folk are meant to be doctors and lawyers, judges, architects, generals, admirals, teachers. How bizarre to think that all of us are somehow supposed to stay home.

Multiple posters described the original post as a "dumb question". Several argued that the original poster's perception of motherhood in the past was distorted. The original poster's understanding only applying to a certain segment of the female population and, even in those cases, did not involve as much "quality time" with kids as assumed. For a woman employed in an unrewarding job that she does not enjoy, the idea of being free to stay home and raise kids is probably appealing. For that matter, many men might find that idea attractive. But, for those who find their jobs fulfilling and enjoyable, the idea of giving that up for what they see as a much less stimulating existence is not desirable.

The final thread that I will discuss today was posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum. While political in nature, the politics involved are at a much lower level then the previous examples. Titled, "Council hearing on MCPS", the thread was started in anticipation of a Montgomery County Council hearing on the topic of Montgomery County Public Schools. The original poster is upset that a Council staff member involved with the hearing is a former MCPS administrator which the original poster apparently believes will bias the proceedings. The specific purpose of the hearing was to review a report from the inspector general into the handling by MCPS of the harassment scandal involving former principal Joel Beidleman. Most of the first several pages of the thread were devoted to arguing about the staff member referred to by the original poster. Before assuming her current role which she has held for the last four years, the individual had worked at MCPS for 3 1/2 years. But, prior to that, she had worked at the County Council for 17 years. It is not clear why this employment record is evidence that the individual is a MCPS puppet. Following this discussion, the thread turned to an argument about whether County Council members can or should contact MCPS staff members. After reaching the 5th page of the thread and not seeing anything more significant that these two topics being discussed, I decided that life is too short to spend anymore time on this thread. It is possible that something interesting occurred during the Council meeting, but if so, you will have to read it for yourself.

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