A Forum for Friday

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’m keeping an eye on Hurricane Sam, wondering where/if it will make landfall. It’s a monster storm and will make one hell of a mess out of any place it meets, which thankfully, NOLA looks to be the last place it might hit.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Pretty cool find:

    New scientific research conducted by archaeologists has uncovered what they believe are the oldest known human footprints in North America.

    Research done at the White Sands national park in New Mexico discovered the ancient footprints, with researchers estimating that the tracks were between 21,000 and 23,000 years old, reported Science.

    The prints were buried in layers of soil in the national park, with scientists from the US Geological Survey analyzing seeds embedded in the tracks to calculate the age of the fossils. Researchers also determined that the dozen footprints found belonged to a variety of people, mostly children and teenagers.

    Previously, scientists had widely assumed that the earliest appearance of humans in the Americas was 11,000 to 13,000 years ago because of stone spears found throughout North America and associated with what is known as the Clovis culture.

    It’s been a while since anyone pushed the 11,000-13,000 years figure, too much evidence has accumulated of a 20-25,000 years ago arrival and I have seen older dates proposed.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘It’s awful. It’s exhausting’: Alaska rations care as it hits Covid nadir

    Health systems in Alaska are at a breaking point, and the Republican governor, Mike Dunleavy, has activated crisis standards of care for the entire state, joining all of Idaho and part of Montana in rationing medical care.

    Alaska now has the highest rate of Covid in America. On Wednesday the state hit its record number of cases and hospitalizations in the entire pandemic, and the numbers continue rising as its rolling seven-day average of daily cases tops 800.

    For Dr Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer and a practicing ER physician, this is the worst part of the pandemic.

    “It’s awful. It’s exhausting,” she told the Guardian. “We went in this to care for patients, and it’s heartbreaking to not be able to give the care that you know could potentially save their life.” And, she said, it’s only going to get worse.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US public health workers leaving ‘in droves’ amid pandemic burnout

    Alexandra was working in the public health emergencies unit in a major north-eastern American city when the first wave of the pandemic hit. Although her job was in public health policy research, and not treating Coovid-19 patients on the frontlines of the healthcare system, she recalls the spring of 2020 as a blur of 24-hour shifts.

    Beginning last March, Alexandra estimates that she and her colleagues worked the equivalent of three full-time years in 12 months. (Her name has been changed to protect anonymity.)

    “There was no overtime, there was no hazard pay,” Alexandra recalls. Throughout the public health department where she worked, symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress-related physical maladies were commonplace among staff.

    This summer, despite the protestations of her superiors, Alexandra quit. She says she’s one of roughly 25 staff members who have left the department since the start of the pandemic.

    Alexandra’s story is not unique. Just as the pandemic has fuelled a burnout crisis among frontline medical staff, it has been calamitous for the mental health of workers in public health – the data analysts and policy advisers whose recommendations are supposed to shape the nation’s pandemic response. Many feel stonewalled by elected officials and scapegoated for the death toll of Covid-19.

    Some, like Alexandra, are opting to leave the job for good.

  5. Scott says:

    This is not good.

    Racial Division, Troops’ Role in Protests Has Hurt Minority Recruiting, Air Force Says

    Years of racial tension, and the use of National Guard troops last June after the death of George Floyd, have hurt the military’s ability to recruit minorities, the head of Air Force recruiting said Wednesday.

    That drop is part of a worrisome long-term trend that the military is fighting against: that fewer recruitment-age youth show an interest to serve.

    The percentage of Black respondents who reported an interest in military service dropped from 20 percent in summer 2019 to 11 percent in summer 2020, according to the data. By fall 2020, the percentage of Black respondents interested in military service had dropped to 8 percent.

    The percentage of Hispanics reporting an interest in military service dropped from 18 percent to 14 percent over the same time. Interest from recruitment-eligible whites remained steady, from 8 percent in summer 2019 to 9 percent in summer 2020.

    Even though my own kids grew up as “military brats”, they are not interested. It is not disdain or dislike but more like indifference. Our military needs to avoid becoming a mono culture like the police seems to have become. As the saying goes, it needs to look like America.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    David Wessel

    Best letter to the editor I’ve seen lately.

    I know I was a different person after Kindergarten.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And IIRC, this is the same governor who is patting himself on the back for not requiring vaccines or masks and saying “hey, look at our low infection rate!”

    …..someone should explain to this idiot that hospitalisation shows up several weeks after infection.

  8. Mike in Arlington says:

    Well, we can start our Friday on a bit of hopeful news, a draft of the Arizona audit report confirms Biden won Arizona. Of course, it’s a draft, so we should wait until the final comes out.

  9. Jax says:

    @Mike in Arlington: I, for one, am thoroughly enjoying the thought of Trump’s rage when he sees the results of this “audit”. 😛

    In fact, between the “audit” results and the news of the January 6th subpoenas, he’s probably feeling a downright…..unhealthy….amount of rage.

    But we will never get that lucky.

  10. Scott says:

    @Mike in Arlington: It will never stop.

    Texas secretary of state’s office auditing four counties’ 2020 elections months after an official called the statewide process “smooth and secure”

    The Texas secretary of state’s office announced late Thursday that it has begun a “full forensic audit” of the 2020 general election in four Texas counties: Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant. But the statement from that agency did not explain what prompted the move.

    There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Texas in 2020. And earlier this year, an official for the agency called the 2020 election in Texas “smooth and secure.”

    Sam Taylor, a spokesperson for the office, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The announcement came hours after Republican former President Donald Trump requested Gov. Greg Abbott add an election audit bill to this year’s third special session.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    China making a stink about crypto-currency transactions.

    It’s only when you get down to the end of the article that you get told China is planning to create its own national cryptocurrency. So it’s not any moral justification against cryptocurrency at all.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It turns out one of the most authoritative Covid-19 tracking sites in Australia is run by three teenagers.

    The trio, who have been running CovidbaseAU, became part of their own statistics after getting their first doses of the Moderna vaccine in Melbourne.

    The identities of the brains trust behind CovidbaseAU had not been public before Thursday afternoon, when 14-year-old Wesley with Jack and Darcy, both 15, tweeted a photograph of themselves.
    The Melbourne teenagers told ABC TV on Friday the project was initially planned in February “just for fun”. It was a means to pursue their interests in coding and the media.

    “Being really interested in data, we decided to take what we’ve been doing and create something with it. We spend a lot of time on it to try to make it as comprehensive as possible,” Jack said.
    It’s not an easy job, and CovidBaseAU requires a trio to run smoothly. Jack has always been the data guy, Darcy is the coder and Wesley is the all-rounder – keeping on top of events, making infographics and emojis.

    They’re gonna go far.

  13. Jen says:

    @Mike in Arlington: Biden’s win in the draft report actually grew, LOL.

    He won with 360 *more* votes.

    The voters of Arizona should be really, really angry about this waste of time, money, and credibility.

  14. Jen says:

    Also, Sen. Grassley who is *88* years old has announced he’s running for an 8th Senate term.

  15. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Scott: I wonder if they will continue that process in light of the Arizona results. In a just world, a bunch of republican grifters should be rethinking their strategy right about now. As Jen said above, they burned through a ton of money (and credibility), with less than nothing to show for it.

  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: I can see that. He makes it 4 years, and he’s in the record book instead of Byrd. A perfectly useful and publicly spirited goal.

  17. Mikey says:

    The CDC director has overruled her agency’s panel and recommended a Pfizer-BioNTech “booster” for front-line workers between the ages of 18-64. Why the panel had said “no” to boosters for health-care workers inundated by COVID patients when those workers were vaccinated nine months ago was a bit of a mystery–even if those workers got only mild breakthrough cases, why risk even shorter staffing?

    Of course we wouldn’t even need to be all that concerned if it weren’t for anti-vaxxers, but we have to deal with the situation we’re in.

  18. JohnSF says:

    Meanwhile in the UK the HGV (= heavy truck) driver shortage slow burn fuse has finally hit the sticks of dynamite:
    Petrol stations close due to fuel delivery delays;

    Between this and the energy price crunch, (see the Supply Chain article comments yesterday) and the a nagging problems of supermarket shelf re-stocking, the government is having an difficult time.

  19. Sleeping Dog says:


    Bring back the draft

  20. steve says:

    We need to remember that the primary purpose of the Arizona audit and all the ones that follow is to maintain outrage and keep the donations flowing. We had 8 Benghazi “investigations” for that same purpose. Expect many more investigations to follow right up until the next election. Anytime you se a report of an investigation that doesnt quite make sense like the Texas one above remember the true purpose of these investigations.


  21. KM says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Isn’t the whole point of crypto-currency that it’s NOT official or tied to any governmental structure? Who would want to use it when the purpose is to dodge various laws, rules, regulations and red tape?

  22. Sleeping Dog says:


    If I lived on the Carolina’s coast and even further north, I’d be digging the plywood out to cover the windows and bringing in a supply of sandbags.

    Then there is this.

    The Cost of Insuring Expensive Waterfront Homes Is About to Skyrocket
    New federal flood insurance rates that better reflect the real risks of climate change are coming. For some, premiums will rise sharply.

    Oh and this coastal resident fully supports the flood insurance program in basing cost on risk.

  23. Stormy Dragon says:


    Ironically, one of the biggest obstacles to North American archeology is present day Native Americans. While their hostility to archeologists is certainly understandable, given a long history of Europeans desecrating their cultural site, the pendulum has now swung to the other extreme with Tribes basically suppressing any field research that might end up contradicting their creation mythology, particularly the idea that there may have been multiple waves of human migration from Asia to the Americas.

  24. Mikey says:


    We need to remember that the primary purpose of the Arizona audit and all the ones that follow is to maintain outrage and keep the donations flowing.

    I think it goes deeper than that–the basic objective is to destroy Americans’ confidence in the democratic process itself, and thereby benefit the authoritarians for whom Trump opened the door. Running one of these “audits” in a state Trump actually won isn’t odd at all if you understand the true “why.”

  25. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    I’d like to announce that my firm, the Tangible Pirates, is willing to conduct a full audit of the Cyber Ninjas audit for a bargain price of only $2.8 million.

  26. Stormy Dragon says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It’s only when you get down to the end of the article that you get told China is planning to create its own national cryptocurrency.

    It should be noted that digital currency and cryptocurrency are two completely different things. US banks have been using digital currency since the 1990s.

  27. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog: You should hear how my far-right “Freedom Caucus” congressman is banging on about the new requirement to register women for selective service that is in the FY22 NDAA bill. “You will not draft my daughter!”


  28. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Stormy Dragon: While I don’t know what you look like, I imagine you putting your pinky to the corner of your mouth, Dr. Evil-style.

  29. CSK says:

    According to a University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats survey, 21 million Americans agree that violence should be employed to restore Trump to the Oval Office.

  30. grumpy realist says:

    More problems with idiots in hospitals….

    Honestly, let them go home, let them poison themselves with their cow dewormer and hydrogen peroxide. Stop trying to rescue them. Stupidity should hurt, and we can use the ICU beds for patients who are willing to listen to their doctors.

  31. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    For example, Jennifer Zales, a real estate agent who lives in Tampa, pays $480 a year for flood insurance.

    The average annual premium is $739.

    Are you fucking kidding me??

    I just got a quote for flood insurance as part of a refinancing application. The absolute cheapest I can get is $1836–for structure-only on a house valued at $145k with a $10k deductible.

    I live in Wisconsin, and the water is a tiny creek that runs through town. We just had a 100-year flood–the highest on record–and it came nowhere near my house.

    I would never see a penny of payout from flood insurance. And someone living on the beach in Florida is paying $480?? Screw them!

  32. Gustopher says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It’s only when you get down to the end of the article that you get told China is planning to create its own national cryptocurrency. So it’s not any moral justification against cryptocurrency at all.

    What’s the point of a faux-communist dictatorship if you don’t use it to imprison and kill the Crypto Bros? I am disappointed. As soon as someone starts hyping etherium, dogecoin, etc, they should be sent off to the gulags because they are an insufferable douchebag.

    China’s “we want our own douchebags” policy is just sad.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist: Yes, stay at home and try every snake oil patent medicine, horse dewormer, hydrogen peroxide, Laetrile, bleach, light bulbs up the ass… Hey, Have you guys tried Carbon monoxide? I hear it clears the airways like no drug ever created, and it’s FREE!!! That’s why doctors don’t prescribe it. Nobody can make any money off of it!

  34. Mikey says:

    Well, the Marine Corps Marathon has canceled the big event and is again offering a “virtual” option, which means I will be running the whole 26.2 by myself. Again.

    I don’t see why they couldn’t run it in person, it’s entirely outdoors and we’ve been having football games in packed stadiums for weeks. Near as I can figure out, it’s due to the Pentagon’s “Health Protection Condition” prohibiting gatherings of greater than 25 people on Pentagon grounds, which would make it impossible for the MCM to use its usual runner assembly area in the Pentagon’s south parking lot.

    Thanks, anti-vaxxers! You just keep fucking things up for everyone!

  35. wr says:

    Biggest news of the week: Russell T. Davies is coming back to take over Doctor Who after this final Chris Chibnall/Jodie Whittaker season.

    Chibnall was always a terrible choice for the job, and he’s proven that time and again. Davies is the one who brought Who back in 2005, cast David Tennant and Billie Piper (and Christopher Eccelson and others). Steven Moffat is still my favorite among their writers and showrunners, but Davies is a phenomenal choice to bring the show back.

  36. Mu Yixiao says:


    Good! Can he recon out most of Chibnal’s BS?

    And… what’s the speculation mill saying about Whitaker’s replacement? I’m so disappointed in her. If she had been this doctor instead of a cross-dressing Mork from Ork, it could have been amazing.

  37. @wr: I just saw that. I have tried really hard to like Chibnall’s run, and there are some positive things to say about it, but it has clearly been lacking (to be kind). I was surprised by the RTD announcement (indeed, when I first saw I thought it be a hoax/rumor).

    Like you, Moffat was my favorite. (My favorite Doctors are Tom Baker, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi).

  38. @Mu Yixiao: I preferred that outfit as well, TBH. (Although the actual costume is not out of bounds for the Doctor’s long history–I just wish, like with Capaldi, they let her have more than one uniform, so to speak). I actually like the Jo Martin costume (and Doctor-y attitude) more than Whitaker’s.

  39. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    (My favorite Doctors are Tom Baker, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi).

    Sarah Jane is my Doctor. 🙂

  40. JohnSF says:

    Kill off the Doctor, replace with Romana.

  41. Mr. Prosser says:

    @KM: I read this earlier in a Balloon Juice post, “Cryptocurrency is basically the sovereign citizen movement for money,”

  42. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I started with Davies’ first season — on Netflix, as it had already been on for a few years — so haven’t really seen any Doctors pre-Eccleson. (Or however he spells his name…)

    I’m one of the few who really hated Broadchurch, so I was negatively inclined towards Chibnall when he got the job. He just doesn’t seem to like story or understand how to plot.

    But his shows were worse than I’d expected. Having three companions meant that there was never a close relationship between the Doctor any any of them. And all three of them were so full of fire for doing good and fixing things they never felt like real human beings. Yes, Rose Tyler and (particularly) Clara Oswald did frequently project their own image of what was “right” on totally alien situations, but they were frequently proven wrong, or thrown into danger, or forced to face their own limitations. These three just show up on alien planets and give lectures about the bill of rights.

    I wish we could have seen Whittaker as the Doctor with better writing. I’ve found her seasons so disspiriting I think I’ve left several episodes unwatched.

    As for the rumor mill… I try to stay away from it. Everybody’s got an idea who it should or shouldn’t be, but that doesn’t make it real. I do know that my dream Doctor will never happen — it seems that Bill Nighy was approached (I’d guess before Peter Capaldi was hired) and declined, not wanting to play a character with that much baggage.

    I guess my own (never to happen) choice right now would be Nighy’s frequent co-star, Carey Mulligan

  43. Stormy Dragon says:


    Throw a curveball and go back to the show’s original concept of being a children’s educational show about history

  44. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Throw a curveball and go back to the show’s original concept of being a children’s educational show about history

    According to the apologists out there, that’s exactly what Chibnal did during his run–that’s why every episode of his first series felt like an After School Special.

  45. @Stormy Dragon:

    Throw a curveball and go back to the show’s original concept of being a children’s educational show about history

    Chibs kind of tried to do that. It was a mixed bag.

  46. @wr: I would have loved to have seen Whitaker with a different showrunner.

    I concur about the three companions–it just doesn’t work (and it was problematic when they did it in the classic era).

  47. @Mu Yixiao: Jinx (more or less)

  48. @JohnSF: There are some great audio-only adventures in which Romana is president of Gallifrey.

  49. Kathy says:

    I’m following Carreyrou’s Bad Blood The Final Chapter podcast, a follow-on of his bad Blood book, with new info and much rehashing of the book and the WSJ pieces as well.

    Here’s a quote from Holmes explaining how the Theranos proprietary device works:

    “A chemistry is performed so that a chemical reaction occurs and generates a signal from the chemical interaction with the sample, which is translated into a result, which is then reviewed by certified laboratory personnel.”

    This sounds like Ralph Wiggum giving an explanation. I’m amazed Theranos did not collapse right after she uttered “a chemistry.” Imagine Fauci describing a vaccine as “a medicine is performed so that a clinical reaction occurs and generates an action with the vaccine, which is then translated as immunity by the body.”

  50. @Mu Yixiao: She is my favorite all-time companion.

  51. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Have you seen The Sarah Jane Adventures?

    It’s a young-adult series, but it’s really good–and 100% Sarah Jane.

  52. @Mu Yixiao: I have–good stuff (and the best DW spin-off to date).

  53. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao: So many aspects of that article made me angry.

    How about this stupidity, from a former VP at Honeywell?

    If that happens, Ms. Dumas-Ropp, who doesn’t have a mortgage, said she and her husband may eventually decide to drop coverage. She said it’s wrong for FEMA to raise costs for people who bought homes near the coast expecting their insurance to remain affordable.

    Emphasis added by moi.

    Anyone who buys a home in *FLORIDA,* a state surrounded by water and routinely hit by hurricanes, should be able to figure this out. If they can understand a mortgage, they can understand flooding=insurance risk–>high premiums.

    I am so over paying for other people’s refusal to accept reality. So, so done.

  54. Mike in Arlington says:

    Steven L. Taylor: I was so ready to hate Matt Smith after Tennant, but then I saw his chemistry with Karen Gillan I got so angry because I thought he was a great fit.

    Caveat: I’m a huge late comer to the Doctor Who franchise, and I know that skews my perspective a lot.

  55. grumpy realist says:
  56. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Yes, that proves the point that the flood insurance market is a mess. It should be noted that the Fed agency managing program says that a large number of property owners will see their premiums reduced.

    A few years ago, I had a conversation with a guy who lived outside of Galveston, he was complaining about his flood insurance cost. I asked him how far he lived from the ocean and how far above sea level. He told me about 3/4 of a mile and about 10′, I told him it was a good deal.

  57. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Yes, that proves the point that the flood insurance market is a mess.

    More than that, it’s a scam. Less than 2% of contributors account for about 30% of the claims. There’s a homeowner in Texas that has had his house rebuilt 20 times since 1979.

    Honestly? If my town floods enough that it could damage my house, I’d be better off burning it down.

  58. Scott says:

    I wanted to like the Jodie Whitaker Doctor Who also. Watched the first season and figured they would work out the kinks in the character and the show would get into a rhythm. Unfortunately, it never did. Didn’t mind the three companions either. What it needed was a compelling story arc which never really happened until last season. I’m a sucker, in general, with big, sweeping stories. Alas.

  59. Mu Yixiao says:

    The House passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes a requirement for women to register for the draft.

    {gets popcorn and waits for the feminist outcry}

  60. Mu Yixiao says:


    My issue with the Whittaker stories (I barely made it through her first series, and have seen zero of the most recent)–besides the steady rain of anvils–was that it was too much of everyone [i]saying[/i] she is the smart one and in control, and no [i]showing[/i] it.

    This is not the Doctor that stepped out on a hospital roof dressed like a dweeby young English professor, looked at a fleet of giant eye-ball ships and said. “I’m the Doctor. This planet is under my protection”.

  61. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Obviously, there’s a split. Some feminists support women being included in the draft, some oppose it. Israel seems to do just fine with mandatory military service for both men and women.

  62. Scott says:

    @grumpy realist: @Mr. Prosser: @KM:

    So I have a question: What is the Venn diagram between gold bugs and crypto currency advocates? Is it one circle or two separate circles? I don’t know any people of either type so I can’t figure it out.

  63. @Scott:

    Didn’t mind the three companions either.

    I didn’t mind the characters themselves. It is just that more than two compansions means too much splitting up the story.

    @Mu Yixiao:

    it was too much of everyone [i]saying[/i] she is the smart one and in control, and no [i]showing[/i] it.

    I largely concur with this.

  64. flat earth luddite says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I got in a lot of trouble in HS and College for suggesting that being a registered, voting citizen be directly tied to 2-3 years mandatory service between 15-21. Not necessarily military, but some public service – road work, nursing homes, litter patrol, parks and forests, Job Corps, Peace Corps, Vista, etc. I didn’t care, just something demonstrating a willingness to serve the greater community. If you wanted to immigrate to USA and took part, cool, you were in!

    People to the left and right both mocked and reviled me, so I figured I must be on to something. Or maybe just smoking something funny…

  65. Stormy Dragon says:

    While I realize “The Curse of Fatal Death” was a parody, I still think Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Grant, and Joanna Lumley would all be good choices for the actual Doctor.

  66. Scott says:


    DOJ recommends four-month jail term for Air Force veteran who joined Jan. 6 riot

    Prosecutors are recommending a four-month jail term for the first military veteran set to be sentenced for participating in the Capitol riot, citing his service as a factor warranting stiffer punishment.

    “While Jancart’s military service is laudable, it renders his conduct on January 6 all the more egregious,” Justice Department attorneys wrote in a sentencing memo. “As a former military member, Jancart was well aware that taxpayer status does not bestow upon a person the right to enter restricted government buildings. His voluntary decision to storm a guarded government building is nothing short of shocking in light of his former military service and training.”

    It’s a notable marker for the Justice Department as it prosecutes hundreds of defendants who breached the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection. The mob included dozens of military veterans and retired service members, current and retired police officers, and even a few security-clearance holders. The Justice Department is making clear that it will consider military service an aggravating factor when it comes to recommending the sentence convicted rioters should receive.

  67. Mister Bluster says:

    @flat earth luddite:..a registered, voting citizen be directly tied to 2-3 years mandatory service between 15-21…

    During the Cold War when the Eastern Bloc countries did this we called it forced labor.

  68. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    This makes it a good time to eliminate the draft once and for all.

  69. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Scam wouldn’t be the term I’d use to describe it, but definitely an example of what can go wrong with government run programs. Once the flood insurance program was set up, the rates barely changed to reflect risk and loss history. Plus newer properties that were added to the program have higher than comparable rates.

    The changes to the program that the Times article references should have gone into effect under TFG, but politics got them deferred (along with TFG’s self interest) and now that they are going into effect grifters like Menendez and Charlie Crist are pushing for them to be shelved again.

  70. grumpy realist says:

    @Mu Yixiao: If men have to register for the draft, I think women should register for the draft as well. At least it will withdraw the sneering “women don’t deserve equal rights because they haven’t registered for the draft” argument.

    (In fact, if I were running the system, the first people who have to get registered and called up would be the children of politicians and ridiculously rich people. Maybe if their own kids are on the line they’d be a little more hesitant about getting the US into things like Afghanistan.)

  71. Sleeping Dog says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    I’ve long liked the idea of some sort of mandatory national service as well. It could go along way toward breaking down the barriers that have developed around economic class and geography.

  72. Mister Bluster says:

    mandatory national service=forced labor

    so why did this comment get sent to moderation?

  73. JohnSF says:

    Well, it seems there has been some amelioration of the row between the US and France regarding the Australian submarine deal and associated matters.
    The US has actually made a (limited) apology. (In diplomatese)
    Joint statement on the telephone call between President Biden and President Macron:

    The two leaders agreed that the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France…
    President Biden conveyed his ongoing commitment in that regard.

    …leaders have decided to open a process of in-depth consultations, aimed … ensuring confidence and proposing concrete measures…
    They will meet in Europe at the end of October
    President Biden reaffirms the strategic importance of French and European engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, including in the framework of the European Union’s recently published strategy for the Indo-Pacific.

    The United States also recognizes the importance of a stronger and more capable European defense… and is complementary to NATO.

    The United States commits to reinforcing its support to counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel conducted by European states.

    These are actually some significant gains for France (Indo-Pacific; “complemetary”; Sahel) if the US follows through.
    Even if they don’t make up for the lost deal; there may be some other things that might, to be discussed privately.

    However, there are still a lot of aspects to it that don’t quite add up.
    (And why is Boris Johnson so peeved?)

    These articles by John Lichfield in The Local and UnHerd are very interesting and informative.

    I’m going to post some more on this, and the delusions and confusions surrounding it.
    (And why it may still end up a net win for the President Biden’s policy and the US despite some people in the State/NSC/Pentagon network screwing up badly)

    But possibly not this evening as now going to watch Gardeners’ World Chelsea Flower Show Special on BBC.

    But a quick quiz to leave you with:
    1)Which country is Australia’s closest neighbour to the east?
    2)Which country is Australia’s second closest neighbour to the west?
    3)Which country is Australia’s closest neighbour to the south-west?

  74. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Honestly, I hope they postpone Jodie Whitaker’s departure by a season. I’d really like to see what she could do with a better show runner.

    I don’t love her Doctor’s style, and her character seems all over the map, but she’s a good actor, and with the right material she could be good.

    I don’t like the idea of the first female Doctor’s run being a failure and that becoming a reason to not do it in the future, as there are a lot of women in the fan base who deserve better than that, and there are a lot of misogynistic assholes in the fan base who deserve worse.

    Also, I’d like her to get a few good stories. Every Doctor has one or two great stories, with the exception of her.

    (Even Paul McGann has the short 50th anniversary thing where he regenerates into John Hurt)

  75. Mister Bluster says:

    @grumpy realist:..the first people who have to get registered and called up would be the children of politicians and ridiculously rich people.

    Fortunate Son

  76. JohnSF says:

    Best Doctor? Peter Cushing!

  77. Jen says:

    @JohnSF: Not trying to be cute, but east of Australia from what point? It could be New Zealand, or Papua New Guinea. Same issue with second-closest neighbor to the west–it could be Malaysia.

    I lived in Indonesia for three years, so am curious as to where you’re going with this…

  78. Sleeping Dog says:


    (And why is Boris Johnson so peeved?)

    Hmm, Paris withdrew the ambassadors to Washington and Canberra, but not London? Boris got dissed by Marcon, who is treating him like a minor partner (he is) in this affair.

  79. Mimai says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    2-3 years mandatory service

    demonstrating a willingness to serve

    These seem to be in conflict. Perhaps your qualifier of “being a registered, voting citizen” reconciles them?

  80. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Good! Can he recon out most of Chibnal’s BS?

    My issue with the Whittaker stories (I barely made it through her first series, and have seen zero of the most recent)

    Was there anything in the first Chibnal series that would be worth retconning? Do you also want “Delta and the Bannermen” and “Kill The Moon” removed from continuity? The bad episodes just kind of sit there, unloved, and forgotten.

    Or… do you know of the second Chibnal series?

    The big concern I would have with Russell T. Davies taking over again is that Chibnal put things back to how Davies set them up in his first series, so I kind of don’t see Davies doing anything to get rid of it.

    I’d like it to be revealed that the Master was just gaslighting the Doctor — it would make for a much better story for the Master, if nothing else — but if we are going to get anything like that it is going to be from Chibnal himself.

    I do prefer the Classic series take on the Time Lords. They were just mostly shifting between isolationist and ineffective, and would occasionally make their presence known, but were almost never a source of drama in and of themselves. They were just there, a little annoyed that the Doctor was out galavanting about and interfering with things, but put up with it if they could nudge him to do what they want every few years.

  81. just nutha says:

    @Jen: My recollection of just post-Vietnam feminists that I knew was that the 2 major categories were supported women registering and opposed the draft for everybody on principal. I don’t recall too many oppose drafting women who were also pro feminist. Still, I was mostly interacting with slightly pre-Moral Majority evangelicals living in the plastic suburbs where (amount adjusted for inflation) the poor people made $100k a year, so my sample is probably skewed some.

  82. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Throw a curveball and go back to the show’s original concept of being a children’s educational show about history”

    That’s what the Chibnall shows feel like to me!

  83. Sleeping Dog says:
  84. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: ” If my town floods enough that it could damage my house, I’d be better off burning it down.”

    Sure, but then the flood would just put out the fire, and what would you do then?

  85. Gustopher says:

    @JohnSF: Totally fine with Peter Cushing. I basically like all the Doctors, canon or not, with the exception of John Pertwee. Richard E. Grant was great in “Scream of the Shalka”, for instance.

    Try as I might, I can just not get through the Pertwee years.

  86. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “This is not the Doctor that stepped out on a hospital roof dressed like a dweeby young English professor, looked at a fleet of giant eye-ball ships and said. “I’m the Doctor. This planet is under my protection”.

    Or my all time favorite moment: “I’m the Doctor and you’re in the biggest library in the universe. Look me up!”

  87. just nutha says:

    @Mister Bluster: One man’s government service obligation is another’s forced labor. Kind of like “mandatory volunteer service” in the districts I substitute teach in. (Especially considering that volunteering at agencies that have religious connections is not allowed as a non-establishment issue.)

  88. Mister Bluster says:

    government service obligation…forced labor

    I have been called for jury duty several times. I have sat on a grand jury (one true bill and two no true bills) and sat for one trial on a petit jury. (Found defendant guilty)
    Had I not appeared when called to be a juror I could have been arrested and fined or thrown in jail.
    I was paid and had pizza for lunch.
    Civic duty?

  89. just nutha says:

    @JohnSF: New Caledonia. Mozambique. Antarctica. (But I cheated and used a map. Didn’t remember which African nation was due West of Madagascar and didn’t realize that New Caledonia was due East–thought it was more Northeast. For East, I was torn between NZ and Chile, but realized that NZ was slightly South also.)

  90. flat earth luddite says:

    Just in the interests of contrarianism, anyone besides me voting for River Phoenix’s version of the Doctor?

  91. JohnSF says:

    Hah! You are correct! It’s actually Papua New Guinea’s S.E. island chain, from the north end of the Cape York Peninsula!
    But generally PNG is taken as Australia’s northern neighbour.

    The answers I was teasing for were:
    France (New Caledonia), France (Reunion) and France (Kerguelen)

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Yup. (Except that the independent state of Mauritius is a tad closer than Reunion; so second closest)

    Point is, France is a S. Indian Ocean/S. Pacific party, with 2 million citizens in the region, and significant (varying) military strength. The only European country really active in the region.

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Boris got dissed by Marcon, who is treating him like a minor partner

    Spot on, IMO.
    More, I suspect Johnson was deliberately, (possibly in concert with Morrison, but that may be just me over-connecting) trying to lob a turd in the punch bowl.

    And both Macron and Biden (despite someone screwing up in the State/NSC chain) saw the play in time to negate it.

    Hence Macron “dead bat” (cricketing term) and Biden gining Johnson a flea in his ear over UK/USA trade talks and Northern Ireland Protocol.
    And the reports now coming that the UK will get sweet FA re. the sub contract if Washington has anything to do with it.

    President Biden still pocketing the SSN deal though.
    (Warning: Aussie politics could still detonate under that: there’s reason why they didn’t go SSN in the first place)

  92. flat earth luddite says:


    In my defense, IIRC, the first time I said this in HS I was maybe 16, and the voting age was still 21. I asked the teacher why I’d get to go to SE Asia before I could vote or drink, and the conversation went downhill rapidly from there. I’d bring it up again from time to time, just to watch everyone’s heads blow up.

    @grumpy realist:

    That was the other part of my idea. Children of the wealthy get to go first, followed by the wealthy, followed by the muddle class, etc., etc. That way the poor inherit the earth (or something like that).

  93. JohnSF says:

    @just nutha:
    Mauritius (independent) and Reunion (French) both before you hit Madagascar.

    Though if you were sailing you might miss them (which the Malays did; which is why Madagascans are ethically a mix of African and Malay plus a bit of Arab, Somali and Andamanese IIRC)

    Kerguelen is where I was thinking of SW; though I suppose it’s closer to WSW compass wise, looking at a map now.
    (Also Kerguelen bit of a cheat as only inhabitants are a few score French scientists and military, and sparse wildlife, mostly seals and penguins who decided Antarctica was too damn cold; and feral cats chasing feral rabbits and rats)

  94. Mimai says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    Youth = Rock solid defense

  95. JohnSF says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    ‘Cept in those circumstances, you can bet the wealthy would suddenly become poor.
    But still, mysteriously enough, in control of the company x or foundation y.

    e.g. the nomenklatura of the USSR.
    Technically they owned little beyond the shirts on their backs, and had only “sufficient” salaries.
    And if anyone believes that, there’s a nice ocean front property in Idaho I may be able to interest them in…

  96. Mu Yixiao says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    People to the left and right both mocked and reviled me, so I figured I must be on to something. Or maybe just smoking something funny…

    You were reading too much Heinlein (is there such a thing?).

  97. JohnSF says:
  98. Mu Yixiao says:


    This makes it a good time to eliminate the draft once and for all.

    The US doesn’t have a draft. The draft ended in the 70s

    It has “Selective Service registration”. Young men–and only men–have to register with the government within 30 days of their 18th birthday so they’re on the list if we ever do have a draft. The likelihood of that happening is tiny. But, for the past 40 years, young men have been required to sign up–while women haven’t–or lose the “privilege” of getting government jobs, student loans, or a driver’s license.

    Yes, registration should be gotten rid of. But… A less-than-small part of me wants at least a decade of women having to go through the same thing. Equality isn’t just about the same benefits, it’s about the same responsibilities.

    And I can only laugh at southern Republicans who are outraged at “sending our daughters to war”, when they’ve been happily sending our sons to war for half a century. If the risk of “darling Savannah” having to drive a HMMV through IED-infested roads makes the war-hawks think twice about military intervention, I’m all for it.

  99. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: I clearly needed to cheat off a better map. The one I used didn’t show PNG extending that far or show Reunion or the other island at all.

  100. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I have weird mental facility for remembering small scale maps.
    Less than some, more than most.
    OTOH anything numeric just drips slowly out of my ears.

  101. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “You were reading too much Heinlein (is there such a thing?).”

    There is for me. As slog reads go he’s only above Ayn Rand. Then again, I stopped reading Sci Fi in middle school (except for the uni class I took where I only did the lectures but mostly didn’t read the books–and I don’t recall the teacher’s noticing). There was a long stretch (~20 years) where I only read short stories and magazine essays, too. I really only started reading novels again when I lived in Korea.

  102. Mu Yixiao says:

    Supreme Court Review Sought By Christian Wedding Website Designer

    Business owners who oppose gay marriage are stupid.

    They should accept any and all businesses from gay marriages–and then do an absolute shit job of it.

    I have zero sympathy for gay couples who go into a Christian bakery (or any other business) and expect them to make the “most amazing wedding cake” for people the business owners despise. They’re doing it to stir up shit. There have got to be dozens of businesses in the area that will happily create amazing cakes/dresses/floral arrangements/photos/music/whatever with zero fuss.

    99.44% of the time “don’t push your gay agenda in my face” is complete bullshit. Instances like this are the remaining 0.56%

  103. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Depends on the period, I think.
    Early Heinlein was interesting.
    Later on (post 1960’s), he really needed an editor who would say “No, Bob. Just NO. Cut it by half.” 🙂

    I always preferred Andre Norton anyway.

  104. CSK says:

    My father enjoyed Andre Norton. My brother still does.

  105. DrDaveT says:


    Though if you were sailing you might miss them (which the Malays did; which is why Madagascans are ethically a mix of African and Malay plus a bit of Arab, Somali and Andamanese IIRC)

    Linguistically, Malagasy (the native language of Madagascar) is a member of the Austronesian family, along with Malay, the Micronesian and Polynesian languages, and several sub-families on the island of Taiwan, where the family is deduced to have originated. It is much more closely related to Hawai’ian, Tagalog, and Maori than it is to any language on the mainland of Africa or non-Malay Asia.

  106. JohnSF says:

    Yes, surprised me when I first learnt that Madagascans were linguistically linkable to Indonesian/Malay.
    Though my line about “missed them” re. Mauritius and Reunion was a throwaway joke.
    In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if they were originally Malagasy peopled also; I’ve not a clue offhand.

    I recall seeing somewhere a speculation that the Austronesians were encouraged to become sea-oriented cultures, and spread outward, by the flooding of their central range of occupation in the areas from S. China to Java, where a massive extent of lowland was flooded at the end of the last Ice Age.
    How true, no idea.