Festivus Forum

Ready for the feats of strength?

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. Tony W says:

    I have no grievances to air with this group – Happy Holidays!

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I am going to air a grievance for my youngest (2 yo) STL granddaughter even if I am short on details just now. She got her hand caught between (I assume) a car door and jamb last night. Went to the ER. Apparently lost the tip of one finger and has her arm in a cast from hand to above the elbow. There was no mention of a broken arm in the text messages but it is hard not to think more than a hand was involved in the incident. Would not be surprised if she strained her wrist and elbow trying to yank her hand out, maybe broke one or the other.

    When I was 4 or so I had a similar accident, the difference being I didn’t break any bones or even have any bleeding wounds. I think maybe they build cars too well nowadays.

  3. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..2 yo

    Amster, Amster, DAM! DAM! DAM!
    That hurts!

    My sincere hope for a speedy recovery!

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Update: Reattached the tip of her finger and the cast is only to inhibit her messing with the wound.

  5. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ow! Wishing her a speedy recovery. ☹️

    ETA: Glad to hear the good news about the fingertip.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving: Hard cheese: Canada rejects British attempt to secure tariff-free exports

    A priceless opportunity to sell “more affordable high-quality cheese to Canada” was one of those many Brexit boons that Boris Johnson championed with his customary blather as prime minister.

    A bespoke UK-Canada trade deal was going to open up the Canadian market to cheddar, stilton and wensleydale in a way that had never been possible under a trading agreement struck between the EU and Canada.

    But after a meeting in recent days between Britain’s cheese makers and the UK government’s negotiating team there is a whiff to Johnson’s boasts that would put a stinking bishop to shame.

    Not only are the British negotiators getting nowhere fast on the terms of a comprehensive trade deal with Canada, but the UK’s attempts to at least extend a rollover of the EU terms of trade on cheese exports have been squarely rejected by their Canadian counterparts.
    Imports into Canada falling outside that quota will end up being slapped with a 245% duty, making them unaffordable for even the most dedicated fan of artisanal cheese. After months of reassuring words from the trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, about working on a deal, the government is now advising cheese exporters on how to prepare for the worst.

    Thanx Boris.

  7. Beth says:


    I think the technical term is that the English really “shot their own dicks off” with Brexit.

    The thing I dislike most about Conservatives is how they are so assured that everything on the left is a delusional fantasy and then they come up and never let go of the dumbest crap. See, “Trickle-Down Economics” and Brexit.

  8. Beth says:


    I think the technical term is that the English really “shot their own dicks off” with Brexit.

    The thing I dislike most about Conservatives is how they are so assured that everything on the left is a delusional fantasy and then they come up and never let go of the dumbest crap. See, “Trickle-Down Economics” and Brexit.

  9. Kathy says:

    Weird dream of the week:

    I was in a large, featureless space, watching a performance by an orchestra projected along a huge area of a curved wall, bleeding into the ceiling. A sort of robot was next to me. When the music stopped, it asked “Is the orchestra one or many?”

    I replied, “Really? Is that how you’re going to explain a collective consciousness?”

    On waking up, I decided that was a good analogy.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Hmmmm… Maybe you need your meds adjusted. 😉

  11. steve says:

    People may or may not be aware that a “documentary” (aka propaganda) was released call The Fall of Minneapolis which claims to show that George Floyd was not murdered. It does have good production values and the interviewer is an attractive blonde so many people will believe it and you will likely see it referenced if you have not already. I forced myself to watch most of it, concentrating on the no murder claims, fast forwarding through the parts about the protests. Just so people will know some of the issues.

    1) The experts interviewed were not people whom you would expect to have real expertise in what is being discussed. There are thousands of people in the US with experience treating overdoses and ordering very large doses of narcotics. They didnt use any of those people. They kind of rush through the printed copies of reports but it’s clear a lot of it was secondhand stuff and not primary. Anyway, they, unwittingly, I believe hurt their case by noting that Floyd had a history of narcotic use. An elevated fentanyl level alone is pretty meaningless unless you know the person’s drug history. People develop tolerance quickly. We routinely give people massive doses of narcs that would kill many people at once because of that tolerance. People who have overdosed on narcotics dont talk to you.

    2) They repeatedly emphasize that untreated hypertension can eventually lead to death. Sure, eventually. They also dont offer proof that his hypertension was untreated. I think they sort of offer, they dont say so as I recall, that his mild biventricular enlargement is proof, but that’s pretty common among people with treated HTN. Note that they dont ask a cardiologist. Along the same lines they note that he had coronary artery disease but fail to note that no MI was found at autopsy.

    3) They bring on the guys mom, of course. She claims the manual shows what Chauvin did was correct, but the picture shows someone with a knee on a shoulder, not the neck. They show one clip from Chauvin’s body cam which seems to show that part of his leg might be on the shoulder but his knee is clearly on the neck.

    They claim that there were no autopsy findings that would confirm strangulation. True, but that is not needed for asphyxia. Link goes to paper on positional asphyxia. One of the hallmarks of this kind of asphyxia is a lack of autopsy findings. It’s usually based on circumstances, among those being unable to change your position to breathe better. List follows.

    Negative autopsy or some signs of asphyxia.
    The body position must interfere with normal gas exchange.
    It must be impossible for the subject to move to another position.
    Other causes of death (natural and unnatural) must be excluded.


    The best case they could make if they solicited people with actual expertise is that his underlying issues and/or the drugs he took might have made him more vulnerable to being put in a position where he could not change to breathe better.


  12. OzarkHillbilly says:
  13. CSK says:


    Yow. I had the same thing happen when I was four, but not as badly as your grandgirl. My best to her and you.

  14. Kathy says:


    Can’t adjust what doesn’t exist.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Hmmm, maybe that’s the problem. 🙂

    Seriously, that is one weird dream. Makes me miss the Chantix.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:
  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Tesla blamed drivers for failures of parts it long knew were defective

    Wheels falling off cars at speed. Suspensions collapsing on brand-new vehicles. Axles breaking under acceleration. Tens of thousands of customers told Tesla about a host of part failures on low-mileage cars. The automaker sought to blame drivers for vehicle ‘abuse,’ but Tesla documents show it had tracked the chronic ‘flaws’ and ‘failures’ for years.

    What’s the old saying? Buyer beware?

  18. Jen says:

    This American Life was very interesting this week. An in-depth look at the bonkers state of the Michigan GOP. This was one of the links included in Dr. Taylor’s tab-o-rama the other day, but listening to the squabbling is something else entirely.

  19. gVOR10 says:

    In keeping with Festivus, a long complaint about a long complaint:

    In June 2020 the BLM protests/riots were in progress and NYT printed an op-ed column by Sen. Tom Cotton titled “Send in the Troops”. There was a huge reaction against the piece. James Bennet, the editorial page editor was fired/resigned over it. He is now Lexington at the Economist. I don’t know what that pays, but I suspect it’s quite a fall, financially and prestige wise, from being an editor, and in line for managing editor, at NYT. Bennett has a long, 17,000 words, kvetch at the Economist “When the New York Times Lost Its Way” (paywalled, but they have a free registration thing that will let you read it). I’ve long felt puzzled by NYT. They’re so good about some things, like their recent dive into the Dobb’s decision, but they’re still the FTFNYT that screamed emails and Benghazi all over 2016. So I actually read Bennet’s long, long piece, and re-read the Cotton op-ed.

    Bennet has some good points and a legitimate beef. He was widely criticized for publishing the piece without having read it himself. He says he was supposed to avoid micro-managing and not deal with the page day to day. Anything potentially controversial was supposed to be flagged to him and this piece wasn’t. But when the uproar hit, somebody had to go under the bus.

    He tells a long story about changes at the Times. He talks of his own apprenticeship on police beats and local stories learning the ropes and the culture of the Times in a pretty hierarchical management structure. He speaks respectfully of the current Sultzberger, although it sounds a bit clenched teeth at times. He allows the Times has been very successful at transitioning from an advertising based to a click based era. But to do it, they hired a lot of young people from competitors who expected to be heard and respected without coming up through the ranks. It seems to really rankle Bennet that the employee’s union was allowed to criticize him, an editor. He feels NYT was always liberal, but “fair and balanced”, and respected by conservatives. He says Marketing surveyed digital subscribers and found 95% were liberal and wanted the Times to be liberal, but also to somehow be respected and seen as independent. He feels the Times is no longer respectful of conservatives. And he feels he was cancelled by a woke mob of new employees. Both probably partly true.

    My take is that Bennet was so deeply immersed in the “voice from nowhere” he can’t see it’s flaws in the current world. He feels NYT lost conservatives because they didn’t respect conservatives and report their concerns. But that’s not what happened. FOX/GOP created a whole alternate episteme separate from the world NYT reports on. I doubt it’s possible to straddle. He points to the WSJ as an example. I’m unimpressed.

    Bennet criticizes NYT for not understanding conservatives. I would say that the failure to anticipate the outrage over the Cotton piece showed they don’t understand liberals either. On it’s face the Cotton piece was just a senator proposing the president intervene, as presidents have done before, to support local law enforcement against unrest. But to not be appalled at the idea of Trump sending the Army against largely Black protesters, you have to strip away all context around Cotton, Trump, policing, race, George Floyd, and the times. I.e. the “voice from nowhere”.

    Bennet talks a lot about “truth”, but he never clarifies what he means by it. He seems to feel it’s impossible, as NYT marketing says the readers want, to be liberal and to be respected and seen as independent. I don’t know about “seen”, but there is a way to square the circle, “… know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “He said – she said” journalism doesn’t work when “he” has some minimal attachment to truth and public service and “she” is attached only to power and lies like a rug.

    I hope Bennet’s criticism of NYT is true and means they will pursue the truth, recognizing that concedes the MAGA audience to FOX et al. They should be fine with the left and whatever center there is. I do feel NYT has been better lately. Less eager to dive down conservative rabbit holes and less eager than WAPO to beat inflation and Biden’s age to death. On the other hand, they ran a real FTFNYT Guest Essay Friday arguing the liberal justices should support a 9-0 decision to overturn the CO Supreme Court decision. (Note – my objection is not to them running a contrary opinion, but it presents a crap argment.) I suspect they knew the reaction in comments would be as critical as it is. Burnishing their “independent” rep I guess. I’ll keep subscribing and hoping for the best. WAPO is clearly moving right.

  20. SenyorDave says:

    UN Security Council votes to increase Gaza aid, US and Russia abstain.
    I gather that abstain is as far as the US dares to go. If we went further, Israel might hurt our feelings by refusing to take the almost $4 billion annually we give them in aid so they can build settlements.
    I don’t think its smart for Arabs in Michigan to not vote for Biden against Trump, but I can understand why.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    Fingertips Part II
    Little Stevie Wonder

  22. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Even at age 12, he was an incredible showman.

  23. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Mister Bluster: @CSK: I saw Stevie Wonder perform in Sydney, Australia in 1970. Our ship, the carrier USS Coral Sea was in port on the goodwill visit after a 9-month deployment in the Tonkin Gulf. He was playing in a medium sized club in a hotel in King’s Cross. He had a small group behind him and he was playing a Clavinet. He played a long solo which included a lot of bass work on the instrument which sounded amazing; I’d never heard anything like it. A few years later I heard his hit, “Superstition” and that bass sound was very close to what I’d heard in Sydney. What a creative musician.

  24. Gustopher says:


    When the music stopped, it asked “Is the orchestra one or many?”

    The more I learn about gut biomes, mitochondria (the power house of the cell!), and the very different modes of thought we all have… the more I ask this about people. Is you one or many, Kathy?

  25. CSK says:

    We all know that Donald Trump stinks metaphorically. I wasn’t aware he stank literally as well:


  26. gVOR10 says:

    @gVOR10: I criticized a NYT “Guest Essay” by one Samuel Moyn in my long Festivus rant above. I see it also caught the eye of Dan Nexon at LGM who remembered this isn’t Moyn’s first appearance in NYT. NYT printed a column by Moyn and a co-author six months into Trump’s term. Professor Moyn observed Trump had not become a dictator by then and was concerned that “tyrannophobia” about Trump would be a problem preventing him from reforming the economy. Subsequent events would seem to show he was quite wrong.

    Giving Moyn a second bite at the apple apparently express NYT’s felt duty to publish both sides, reasonable and wrong.

  27. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Gustopher: @<a href="#comment-2849191" rel="nofollow ugc"If mitochondrial DNA is the oldest DNA, the first energy processor and able to reproduce, then are all our cells, organs, bodies, or leaves or stems simply evolutionarily added to protect mitochondrial DNA and pass it on? Hmm. Do we take our mitochondrial DNA for a walk or vice versa?

  28. Kylopod says:


    People may or may not be aware that a “documentary” (aka propaganda) was released call The Fall of Minneapolis which claims to show that George Floyd was not murdered.

    It’s not the first “documentary” to make this claim. Candace Owens released one last year.

  29. CSK says:

    Founding member of the Dixie Chicks, Laura Lynch, was killed in an auto accident in Texas today. RIP.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    Here in NYC with the nuclear family celebrating Christmas at our daughter’s and her girlfriends place in Brooklyn and just got back from a) Rockefeller Center and the tree (which came from my wife’s hometown this year!) and b) Christmas Village at Bryant Park. I know you will all be shocked but the Fox News was not correct in their reporting that NYC is a Hell Hole and is being abandoned by everyone. When we got out of the subway it took 15 minutes to walk 100 feet to the corner and then get around that. 13 years ago we walked right up to the tree and took pictures. Now you can’t get within 100 feet.

  31. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: So things have deteriorated to the point that they need to post guards around the tree? I may be wrong, but that sounds pretty dire to me. 😉