Adios, March Forum

Until next year!

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 wonder if this forum will also become too embarrassing for the Blog lords.

  2. @OzarkHillbilly: What are the odds?

  3. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Steven L. Taylor:
    Well, I for one promise to be ultra-civilized and totally non-obstreperous.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The most distant star ever seen has been captured by the Hubble space telescope in images that appear to give a remarkable glimpse into the ancient universe. Light from the star, named Earendel, has travelled an estimated 12.9bn years to reach the Earth – a huge leap from the previous most distant star, which dates to nine billion years. The observations were possible thanks to a rare cosmic alignment, meaning that Earendel may be the only individual star from this epoch that we will ever see.

    “We almost didn’t believe it at first, it was so much farther than the previous most distant star,” said Brian Welch, an astronomy PhD student from Johns Hopkins University and lead author of the paper. “Studying Earendel will be a window into an era of the universe that we are unfamiliar with, but that led to everything we know.”
    Scientists estimate that Earendel, whose name means “morning star” in Old English, is at least 50 times the mass of the Sun and millions of times as bright, placing it among the most massive stars known. But even such a brilliant star would not normally be detectable. At such vast distances, even an entire galaxy is just a smudge of light.

    It was only thanks to natural magnification by a huge galaxy cluster, WHL0137-08, which sits between us and Earendel, that astronomers were able to make the detection. The cluster’s gravitational pull is so intense that light bends around it, creating a powerful cosmic magnifying glass that amplifies light from distant objects lying behind it.

    Scientists calculate that Earendel’s brightness is magnified by a factor of thousands – a situation that may not be repeated with other ancient stars within our lifetimes. “This might be the earliest star we will ever see since the big bang,” said Dr Guillaume Mahler, an astronomer at Durham University and co-author.

    Just in time for the James Webb telescope, now “prioritised for the first cycle of observations”

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’d say it’s odds of becoming embarrassing are all but certain. Too embarrassing for you or James? You guys seem to have pretty high tolerances.

    @CSK: Hey now, this is the internet where obstreperous behavior is required. We have standards to uphold you know.

  6. CSK says:

    Kylopod seems to believe I destroyed yesterday’s forum by raising the specter of Pauline Kael.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Whatever possessed you to do that??? You might as well have closed your eyes, spun around while clicking your heels and saying “Beetlejuice” 3 times.

    And having no doubt given JKB ideas, I am going back to bed to try and catch some of the sleep that eluded me last night.

  8. CSK says:

    In Trump news:
    1. He says he never wanted to have sex with Stormy Daniels. I guess she forced him.
    2. John Bolton further confirms that Trump not only knew what burner phones were, but that he used the phrase frequently.
    3. He’s back to screaming about Joe Scarborough and his “psycho wife” Mika because they criticized him for inquiring about the $3.5 million payment Joe and Hunter Biden got from the wife of the mayor of Moscow.

  9. Jen says:

    Madison Cawthorn is in trouble with Republican Leadership.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    Obviously there is more to the missing Forum of yesterday than fat fingering by our host. 🙂 Yesterday’s Forum contained some of the most lucid and thought provoking ideas in the history of blogging, nay the history of publishing! I had one had a couple, though I can’t remember what they were. Now lost in the digital mists, free floating electrons that could be recoverable if they’d give us ivermectin the Forum would be recovered.

    First the election is stolen and now the Forum. It’s the space lasers I tell you. Next it will be that Dems led by Hillary “her emails’ Clinton isn’t running a child abuse operation in the basement of a pizza parlor that has no basement. It’s all FAKE NEWS!


  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    I’m better now, my wife brought me my meds. 🙂

  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Or maybe not even whores will do him?

  13. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Oh, good.
    Madison now appears to be retracting some of his claims.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    That does it. I’m hiring the Cyber Ninjas to break into Steven’s place and look for bamboo fibers in his laptop.

  15. Kathy says:


    And to think most incels get to not have sex for free!

  16. CSK says:

    Don’t forget the watermarks.

  17. Jax says:

    @Jen: What kind of imbecile would waste perfectly good cocaine on Madison Cawthorn?! 😛

  18. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I suspect that most of the sex Donald Trump has gotten in his life he’s obtained through force or by paying for it. In the words of the immortal Patrick Dennis, “In America, sex is like money. Those who have it don’t talk about it.”

  19. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yet another demonstration of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Right before the post disappeared, a new poster, Mr. Xybbk jumped in and said he was from the future and to prove it he gave the winning lottery numbers. Just before I wrote them down, the whole site disappeared. Poof!! Actually disappeared in a (virtual) cloud of smoke.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:


    When Dr T is seen tooling around Troy in a new Rolls, sporting a Leica M11, we’ll know the truth.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: For some reason I’ve retained a memory of a conversation I had as a twelve year old with my best friend after we discovered his father’s stash of Playboys in the garage. I described something I claimed to have seen in some even more graphic magazine, but was really just a fevered extrapolation from a Playboy picture. This conversation came back to me a few years later and I realized that what I imagined that model doing was simply proof that I had never seen any such thing. I know now that this type of thing has a name: “Madison Cawthorning”

  23. Kathy says:


    Evidently someone who dislikes cocaine more than they dislike young Madison.

  24. CSK says:

    About thirty years ago, I think, Robert James Waller wrote a novel about him: The Bridges of Madison Cawthorn.

    Do I have the title right?

  25. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: The even more amazing thing is that it was called “madison cawthorning” even before you were born. And knowing that, Mr. and Mrs. Cawthorn named their child “Madison” anyway. What’s wrong with some people?!?

  26. EddieInCA says:

    Fox News just hired Caitlyn Jenner as a full time contributor. Right Wing heads are exploding all over the internet. I wish that didn’t bring me such schadenfreude. More than not are saying “I’m done with Fox.”

    I’m actually looking forward to Rod Dreher’s meltdown about this.

    We are living in strange times.

  27. Kathy says:


    What? They’ve never hired a token minority patsy before?

  28. Jen says:

    @EddieInCA: Oh my. This WILL be fun to watch.

  29. CSK says:

    @EddieInCA: @Kathy: @Jen:
    Jenner’s first appearance will be tonight…on Hannity’s show.

    Actually, all true MAGAs have long since quit Fox. Too left wing for them.

  30. Beth says:


    Are we in Hell? We’re in Hell right?

  31. CSK says:

    Putin says he’s going to turn off Europe’s gas supplies tomorrow if the buyers don’t open ruble accounts in Russian banks.

  32. Kathy says:


    Sometimes it feels like the world is going to Hell.

    At other times, it just feels like it’s going deeper into Hell.

  33. Kylopod says:

    @EddieInCA: Are other Fox News contributors required to use she/her when referring to Jenner? There’s so much anti-trans bullshit on the network, it would almost seem incongruous that they’d go along on this issue; misgendering seems to come with the territory for these folks. But I haven’t actually watched enough Fox to know if they do or not. I saw some clips from her interview last year on Hannity, and in none of them was he talking about her in third person, so I don’t know how he handles it. It reminded me that in languages such as Hebrew, the word you is gendered: you have to specify whether you’re addressing a man or woman. At the other extreme, there are languages such as Hungarian where there are no gender distinctions in pronouns altogether: he and she are the same word (which I actually think is kind of nice).

    And no, I have no confidence that Jenner will insist on being referred to using she/her from others on the network.

  34. just nutha says:

    @Beth: If we are, then why is it so cold. Brrrrrr!

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarkedMan:..Mr. Xybbk…

    Does he live here or there?

  36. Jen says:

    More evidence that Trump is an awful person: She Took the White House Photos. Trump Moved to Take the Profit.

    Not that it was needed, of course. He is inherently deplorable.

  37. JohnSF says:


    Putin says he’s going to turn off Europe’s gas supplies tomorrow if the buyers don’t open ruble accounts in Russian banks.

    France and Germany reply: go whistle for it..
    Germany introduces emergency regulations for control and rationing of gas use.

    Meanwhile, UK defence secretary Wallace announced that the International Defence Donor Conference for Ukraine he had convened has approved additional assistance.

    The aid will include the provision of air and coastal defence systems, longer-range artillery and counter battery capabilities, armoured vehicles as well as wider training and logistical support.

  38. JohnSF says:

    @just nutha:
    Been snowing here in England today!
    After we had really nice weather last week, it comes as a shock.
    Had hoped to not to need the heating on again. £ 🙁

  39. Kathy says:


    Ah, but Russia has expanded its sanctions on EU officials. Poor things won’t be able to visit the Hermitage, maybe for years!

    It’s nice that in this case the sanctions imposed by democratic countries, as well as the aid given to Ukraine, is having more of a tangible effect than what Mad Vlad can do to these countries.

    He could cut off oil and gas supplies, not just demand they be paid in rubles. He wont. Other than that, the one thing actually hurting European and some Asian countries is closing off Russian airspace to commercial air traffic from these countries. This does add time and sometimes refueling stops to some flights.

    Curiously, though, Cathay Pacific is routing flights from Hong Kong to NYC through central Asia and Europe and thence across the Atlantic, rather than the Pacific route over Russia. It adds a couple of hours*, but needs no stops to refuel. It’s odd, because neither China nor Hong Kong are barred from Russia’s airspace.

    *It also lays a plausible claim for the world’s longest flight.

  40. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Has anyone else seen that Ginni Thomas was previously a member of a cult? Yes – a different cult than the MAGA cult. So she is an emotionally damaged woman who escaped one cult only to join another cult, AND she is married to a SC Justice. I mean, how could that possibly be a problem??? FFS.

  41. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: When I was still in Korea, there were flights from Incheon that flew West across Europe rather than East across the Pacific. What was interesting to me was that these flights usually had several stops–a typical route was Incheon to Vladivostok to Moscow to Munich to another couple of places finally terminating in New York or Boston. The other interesting thing was that the flight time was typically in the neighborhood of 27 hours. I never figured out why someone would take that route. Incheon to Seattle to New York, another choice, via United was typically 22 though, so maybe it’s 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.

  42. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    Qantas’ flights to London using propeller planes took two days.

    Today’s jets are far more efficient. CP is using an A350-1000 or -900, the same as Singapore uses for the world’s longest flight, Singapore to JFK. It’s between 17 and 19 hours long.

  43. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Yes, I mentioned this a few days ago. I give her some grudging credit for deciding/acknowledging it was a cult and leaving it. But she may well be prone to that sort of thing.

  44. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    CSK brought GT cult history up the other day and we had some fun with it. It explains a lot though.

  45. Jay L Gischer says:

    I have one thought, and this is utterly wild speculation: We’ve seen a peaceful flight shot down over Ukraine already once, with highly conflicting narratives about who did it and why.

    So, would you find it reasonable to rule out the possibility that the Russians would shoot down one of your civilian aircraft and try to blame it on the enemy in order to draw you more closely aligned to them? Can you say for sure that Putin wouldn’t do that? And, assuming you’re in the Chinese leadership, can you say that Zelensky and/or Biden wouldn’t do something similar that was designed to drive a wedge between you and Russia. Avoiding the whole thing seems like a reasonable response to me.

    After all the Tao Te Ching says, “Solve large problems while they are still small”

  46. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    We’ve seen a peaceful flight shot down over Ukraine already once, with highly conflicting narratives about who did it and why.

    It was the Russian separatists, most likely by accident. That is, they took the Malaysian jet for a hostile rather than a neutral.

    So, would you find it reasonable to rule out the possibility that the Russians would shoot down one of your civilian aircraft and try to blame it on the enemy in order to draw you more closely aligned to them?

    Yes, that’s a possibility, albeit a desperate one. It would fit Mad Vlad’s delusions that other world leaders and their citizens (subjects?) look up to him.

    And, assuming you’re in the Chinese leadership, can you say that Zelensky and/or Biden wouldn’t do something similar that was designed to drive a wedge between you and Russia.

    I honestly can’t say what the Chinese would think. The odds don’t favor such a scenario, because Biden isn’t the Little Cheeto, and Zelensky would risk losing all the support he has managed to gather if he did something half that insane.

    There’s also the matter of where such an incident would take place. If a Chinese airliner goes down in the Asian parts of Russia, then it’s not likely the Ukrainians did it. Would they be able to sneak a missile battery and radar* deep into Russia?

    It would have to be over Ukraine or close to it. The problem with that is twofold: 1) a lot of people are constantly observing that area with satellites and other assets, 2) having learned the lesson of the earlier incident, most airliners are steering clear of this war zone.

    *Portable missiles like the Stinger are too short range to bring down an airliner at cruising altitude. they could possibly take on out on takeoff, climb out, descent, and landing, but that would have to be deep inside China.

  47. CSK says:

    JFC. Just when you think Trump can’t get any sleazier, cheaper, lower, and scummier than he already is…

    My compliments to Ms. Craighead on being far more gracious than I could have been in the circumstances.

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: You had me worried for a second or 3.

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I described something I claimed to have seen in some even more graphic magazine, but was really just a fevered extrapolation from a Playboy picture.

    Trust me. If your 12 yo self could imagine it, there is a magazine/web site out there that specializes in it.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: If it was December, that threat might actually have some teeth. Seeing as tomorrow is April Fools day, he might gum a few ankles.

  51. Beth says:

    @just nutha:

    Lol, as far as I’m concerned Hell is cold. I hate hate hate being cold. And you have to wear all sorts of clothes. Bleh. Awful.

  52. Kathy says:


    Some interpretations of Christian myths hold that a portion of Hell, the lowest circle, is frozen.

  53. Kylopod says:

    @Beth: Elton John in “Rocket Man” uses the phrase “cold as hell.”


    Some interpretations of Christian myths hold that a portion of Hell, the lowest circle, is frozen.

    The book What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson (which I think is based on Theosophy) depicts Hell as cold.

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Hell is torture. In my case, that means it would be full of Christians. What than is Heaven full of?

  55. Kathy says:


    My view as an atheist is that made-up places are full of made-up people.

    That said, if there is a Heaven, it should be full of dogs 😉

  56. CSK says:

    Someone once said that heaven is where all the dogs you ever knew come running to meet you when you get there. I don’t know to which lil doggie I’d give an ear scratch to first. Probably my Lucy, a Choc lab-Weimaraner cross.

  57. Scott O says:

    @Kylopod: I can’t speak for Elton or Bernie but back then I recall the expression “blank as hell” being fairly common in my locale. I’m sick as hell, it’s raining like hell, that car is fast as hell, etc. Were they saying hell is cold? Maybe.

  58. Kylopod says:

    @Scott O:

    Were they saying hell is cold?

    No, I think it’s just the way idioms sometimes clash with their literal meaning. One of my favorite examples is the line from Jackie Brown, “You came here to strangle my ass.” That line always made me chuckle.

  59. Scott O says:

    See also “my ass” , Etymology 2, on Wiki.

    Language is funny. I love chuckling at it.

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I was living in Korea 6 years ago. The only propeller-driven planes that I’ve ever flown on were short hops between SeaTac and Portland or Vancouver BC. As to the length of the flights I’m talking about, part of the time had to do with having several (as many as 6 or 7) stops from hub to hub. I discovered how many stops they were taking because one day I opened an itinerary on the flight because I wondered “why is this plane taking 20-some hours to do what Korea Air or Asianad does in 10.”

    But my flight times shortened significantly when Seattle became a Delta hub and flew non-stop to Incheon and back because my connecting flight to PDX was shortened to 20 minutes and flights by Alaska or Horizon departed every 20 minutes. Normally though, if I landed in Seattle, I visited my parents first and took the train to Portland a few days later.

  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: So your hell is more along the CS Lewis model of a rainy resort town with thousands of people queued up for busses that aren’t coming. Fair enough.