Friday the 13th Forum

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. Bill Jempty says:

    The Florida headline and photo of the day- 17 Broward deputies charged in pandemic loan fraud

    You really to check out the photo that goes with this story. Read carefully what it says on the sign in it….

  2. Bill Jempty says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    You really to check out the photo that goes with this story. Read carefully what it says on the sign in it….

    Here’s the correct link.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Boy, those popcorn futures I bought last November? They are really paying off now.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: Too f’n funny.

  5. gVOR10 says:

    WAPO reports Israel has used white phosphorous in Gaza.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    That will work wonders, but it won’t bring peace.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Researchers use AI to read word on ancient scroll burned by Vesuvius

    The discovery was announced on Thursday by Prof Brent Seales, a computer scientist at the University of Kentucky, and others who launched the Vesuvius challenge in March to accelerate the reading of the texts. Backed by Silicon Valley investors, the challenge offers cash prizes to researchers who extract legible words from the carbonised scrolls.

    “This is the first recovered text from one of these rolled-up, intact scrolls,” said Stephen Parsons, a staff researcher on the digital restoration initiative at the university. Researchers have since uncovered more letters from the ancient scroll.

    To launch the Vesuvius challenge, Seales and his team released thousands of 3D X-ray images of two rolled-up scrolls and three papyrus fragments. They also released an artificial intelligence program they had trained to read letters in the scrolls based on subtle changes that the ancient ink made to the structure of the papyrus.

    The unopened scrolls belong to a collection held by the Institut de France in Paris and are among hundreds recovered from the library at the villa thought to be owned by a senior Roman statesman, possibly Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, the father-in-law of Julius Caesar.

    Two computer science students, Luke Farritor in Nebraska and Youssef Nader in Berlin, who took up the Vesuvius challenge, improved the search process and independently hit on the same ancient Greek word in one of the scrolls: “πορφύραc”, meaning “purple”. Farritor, who was first to find the word, wins $40,000 with Nader winning $10,000.

    Today, one small word, tomorrow the whole scroll. Science is amazing.

  8. DK says:

    NY Times: Biden Administration Awards $7 Billion for 7 Hydrogen Hubs Across the U.S.

    Clean hydrogen could help fight climate change, but it barely exists today. Now the administration wants to build an entire industry from scratch.

    The Biden administration announced plans on Friday to award up to $7 billion to create seven regional hubs around the country that will make and use hydrogen, a clean-burning fuel with the potential to power ships or factories without producing any planet-warming emissions.

    Hydrogen is widely seen as a promising tool to fight climate change, as long as it can be produced without creating any greenhouse gases. When burned, hydrogen releases just water vapor. But very little of this so-called clean hydrogen is used today…

    Dozens of regions competed for the money, which will be awarded to proposed hydrogen projects on the Gulf Coast (Texas and Louisiana) and in the Mid-Atlantic (Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey), Appalachia (Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio), the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana and Michigan), the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota) and the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Montana). A proposed hub in California will also receive funding.

    President Biden and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm were expected to travel to the Port of Philadelphia on Friday to discuss the announcement.

  9. Chip Daniels says:

    Full Translation:
    “We’ve been trying to reach you regarding your chariot’s extended warranty…”

  10. CSK says:

    Trump says that if the 2020 election hadn’t been rigged and “stollen” Hamas never would have attacked Israel.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    I’m always looking for well reasoned opinions that go against my thinking on some matter or another, and so I found this article interesting. I am of the view that Conservative Christian’s religion is phony, that people that are racist and/or Trump supporters can’t really believe they are Christian in any meaningful way. The article makes me question that, not the “they are not Christians in any meaningful way” part, but the “they can’t really believe they are Christians” part. It describes an Obama administration officials attempt to get Republicans on board with foreign aid for the poor. His first attempt was to show them up as hypocrits and phonies, which gave all of us liberals a thrill, but then over the next several months he met them and worked with them and found ways to reach an agreement with them, primarily by working from their Christian faith.

    So far, so normal: Guy in politics says something boneheaded, grovels before people he pissed off, lives to fight another day. What’s striking, though, is his recollection of how he deepened those relationships and salvaged his budget. Rather than playing up perfectly plausible arguments about national security (desperate poverty could drive people toward al Qaeda) or the economy (winning goodwill for the U.S. in poor countries might help American firms ace out Chinese ones for natural-resource deals), he talked about religion and charity and generosity.

    “A mutual friend who cares about African development through his own faith introduced me to Jim Inhofe, who was the senator from Oklahoma,” Shah told me, referring to the conservative senator, who once famously brought a snowball onto the Senate floor in order to rebut climate change. “Senator Inhofe and I met many times. We’d talk together about our values and prayed together. And he invited me to join the Senate prayer breakfast. So I was able to join that setting on a number of occasions, not to talk about policy at all, just to get to know people and their values.

    Gave me a lot to think about.

  12. CSK says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    Funniest thing I’ve read all day.

  13. Gavin says:

    I hope nobody put any money into this nonsense.

    95% of NFT’s now worth zero

    Who would have ever thought that paying actual money to “own” something you could screenshot and save for free.. would not end well? Everybody sane, that’s who.

  14. Jen says:

    @Chip Daniels: That was perfect. Nicely done.

    @CSK: Ah, we are back to invoking German holiday pastries, I see.

  15. Kathy says:


    I hope nobody put any money into this nonsense.

    Hell, no.

    I put all my money in tulips and beanie babies. The markets have been depressed for so long, they are bound to shoot up any day now! 😀

    On serious and real notes, the Dollar is gaining against the Peso. Alas, I was unable to invest much in that currency. I could still invest some more money, though. Only I’ll get a lower return if I do. I estimate a rate of 18.20 pesos per dollar now (buy price). If I wait til it hits 20 (sell price) to sell, I’ll make 9.89%.

    That would be fine, except I can get 11% in a seven year government bond (which BTW I have been doing anyway). I’d still risk a trip to the airport exchanges this weekend, which offer the best buy price rates overall (and the worst sell price rates), and see if I can get USD for 17.9-18.05. Past that it’s not a good deal.

  16. Kevin says:

    I can’t help but think the IDF/Israel is about to make a huge mistake if/when they go into Gaza. The problem is that this is also the part of the plot of the Dark Knight Rises, but . . . Hamas has clearly been planning this attack for a long time. It’s very clear that the Israeli intelligence service had no idea anything bad was going to happen. So if they’ve had two years to prepare, and they’re a messianic death cult, who clearly don’t care about the people of the Gaza Strip . . . how many IEDs are there? How many places for ambushes? How many kamikazi drones do they have ready to go? And when you do have the bulk of the IDF mired down, what does Hezbollah do?

    I can’t help but think that a much better approach would be to step back. By all means, encircle Gaza. Don’t let anyone in or out. And then provide them with food. Provide them with water, and electricity, medical supplies, education. And then just say “We’re here, and we can and will wait.”

    And, look. Hamas leaders and people involved with the attack need to be brought to justice. No one is disputing that. But if any country has shown that they hold a (justified) grudge, and will pursue you to the ends of the Earth to find you, until the point you die, it’s Israel. Why do the leaders of Hamas need to be punished now, when that also means punishing children?

    The hostages are a problem with waiting, but . . . invading isn’t going to help them either. It just might shorten their suffering.

    Israel has the upper moral hand right now. It sadly looks like they aren’t going to keep it.

    But, this is just like a much darker version of the Republican clown show, and that there should be a unity government with Democrats. It would be possible if we lived in a better world.

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    As far as much of the world is concerned the only way Jews can hold moral high ground is by dying. We don’t play that game any more. The world can shove its moral high ground right up its ass, the penalty for killing an Israeli child is death.

    Americans who have moral qualms might want to remember that we took this country by force, using genocide and ethnic cleansing. We won WW2 in part by dropping napalm and later nukes, on Japanese cities and incinerating tens of thousands of Japanese civilians. We reacted to 9/11 by invading and occupying one country, then because why not, we invaded and occupied another country. And right now, today, there are Congresspeople demanding we invade Mexico because we can’t stop consuming meth.

    Talk of morality is pointless. Israel is going to slaughter Hamas, and yes, just as Hamas planned, a lot of Gazan civilians will die as well.

  18. JKB says:

    $40,000 to fix a dent in the bed of the Rivian (EV) pickup. Not due to EV, but because of idiot designers that made a single panel of aluminum from below the tailgate to the windshield on each side.

    But then new Ford F-150s cost $5,600 to fix a tail light.

    It appears the car companies really don’t want viable products on the market. Or is it Woke engineers are a nightmare?

  19. Scott says:

    @JKB: No, it’s a function of basic economics. Small volume vehicles don’t support a large logistics system with lots of repair parts in stock. It is a growing problem with these small, EV start ups like Rivian. Auto insurance companies will be charging huge amounts to insure small volume EVs like Rivian because the repair costs are so high.

  20. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Honest question, at what point do you look at what Israel is currently doing and say, “that was too much.” What’s the end game here, kill everyone in Gaza, either though bombs or starvation or cholera? I suspect the effort to push civilians out of northern Gaza is just a pretext to annexing that area. I could be wrong, but I’m expecting the Palestinian dead to reach over a million. Is that acceptable?

    And what about the West Bank? Do we think that isn’t next? To me it’s starting to feel like Israel has sold it’s soul, the only question is how much death they are going to get for it.

  21. CSK says:


    I sometimes wonder if Trump now misspells the word because his fans think it’s cute.

  22. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Talk of morality is pointless.

    According to people with no morals.

    But glad to know in the future you’ll be silent about criticizing the amorality, inhumanity, bigotry, and indecency of Trump and the Republican Party.

    This descendant of victims of genocidal American chattel slavery will never, ever be silent about inhumanity directed against innocents — or about they who enable it with their silence. Shame on them.

  23. DK says:


    What’s the end game here, kill everyone in Gaza, either though bombs or starvation or cholera?

    A question better directed to those who understand morality and humanity still matter. It’s a waste of time asking those who are proudly and belligerently amoral and nilihistic to care about others.

  24. DK says:


    Or is it Woke engineers are a nightmare?

    You don’t even know what “woke” means.

  25. charontwo says:


    A question better directed to those who understand morality and humanity still matter.

    As if there would be some point to engaging with the self-congratulated moral superiority circle jerk.

  26. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..I sometimes wonder if Trump now misspells the word because his fans think it’s cute.

    You are assuming that his fans know that the word is misspelled.
    Kittens are cute. Trump is ugly.

  27. DK says:


    As if there would be some point to engaging with the self-congratulated moral superiority circle jerk.

    Don’t worry about it, it’s not for you. Stick to the selfish-interested, amoral, endless cycle death cult you prefer.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Chip Daniels: Sounds like a message on my voicemail.

  29. Grumpy realist says:

    @Gavin: I wonder whether anyone with a legal background got caught up in it? All of my textbook on property law flew before my mind’s eye when I was first introduced to the concept (as well as WARNING WARNING WARNING in huge non-friendly letters)

  30. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    You’re right; I assumed way too much.

  31. Beth says:

    @Grumpy realist:

    But, just hear me out, what if the bundle of sticks was all digital. /mindblown

  32. Beth says:


    BTW, have you happened to come across this:

    Heads up, its a cannabis ad. One of my absolute favorite things is the idea of White Nonsense. This ad, is 10000% the Whitest Nonsense. Lets take a substance we’ve been demonizing in the most racist ways for a hundred years and figure out a way to sell it to White Suburban Woman who think that wine coolers are hard liqueur. Every single bit of this ad was more bonkers than the next. I can’t wait till the legalize mushrooms enough that we get ads for psychedelic mushrooms like this one.

    Oh, and my favorite part of the ad is when she’s like “oh yeah! 50 MG!” I’m a big girl and I like, lets just say heavy doses, 50mg is a good time, but it’s an evening eraser. There’s nothing doing after that 50 other than enjoying the ride to annoying your spouse town.

  33. DK says:


    Every single bit of this ad was more bonkers than the next.

    Bonkers! It’s scripted like an SNL short lol

    50mg??? Hahahaha

  34. Grumpy realist says:

    @Beth: I’m already having fun with the definitions in IP and IP rights in cyberspace. Plus overlapping/conflicting definitions in AI. (Half of my work can be described as “AI + vehicle = new invention, ???, Patentable!” To which I say: “nice try but no cigar”)

  35. Beth says:


    Lol, “50mg darling is perfect, I won’t have to put up with you or the kids shit tonight!”

    Like, I enjoy bombing out a 50 every now and then. I like it cause I end up with two music tracks playing in my head along with three conversations, a car alarm and the weird part of my brain who’s sole job is to keep me alive at all costs freaking out. I thoroughly enjoy that. Oh, and my skin feels like I’m in a very humid microwave. glorious.

    My partner, however, hates it. I mean, on one hand, I can’t talk so that’s always a bonus, but on the other hand, I’m a twitchy little goblin out to annoy the shit out of everyone.

    I can’t imagine some bougie suburban housewife enjoying that. Hell, I made a joke about edibles to a parent at my kids school. I thought she might be a fun mom. She looked at me like I had offered her heroin and said, “Well, maybe we should just have METH!” She’s not doing a 50.

  36. Mister Bluster says:

    Number Please

    US House Republicans Had Their Phones Confiscated to Stop Leaks
    All week long, unidentified Republican Party puppet masters have muzzled House members, scrambling to portray unity in the face of the disarray emanating from today’s leaderless House GOP. This includes the rare step of confiscating Republican’s electronic devices in an attempt to prevent leaks in the midst of their secret meetings to pick McCarthy’s replacement.

    It’s still unclear who is running things among House Republicans. WIRED reached out to a slew of Republican leaders—former speaker McCarthy, speaker pro tem Patrick McHenry, former speaker-designate Scalise, majority whip Tom Emmer, and GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik—asking who made the call to temporarily confiscate member’s phones this week. None responded.

    When I worked in the landline telephone industry the trouble code for this was
    NDT (No Dial Tone).

  37. charontwo says:

    Former Ohio Legislator Candice Keller is excited about the war in Israel because she believes it will induce the Rapture.

    Wouldn’t mind if they take her, tbh.

  38. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    You need to consider, is this part of the Hamas plan?
    Remember these are, in many cases, not merely Islamists, but heretical ones.
    “Immanentize the Eschaton.”
    Whose heresy is becoming populist-Islamist common coin across a large part of the world.
    For a variety of reasons.
    See France, where Muslim youth movement that is largely not even Arab (more Berber or African) has become pro-Palestinian as a a badge of protest. Similar in UK re. Muslims of Pakistani or Bangladeshi descent (and, believe me, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are not best friends).
    Israel is compelled to extirpate Hamas.
    The question is, achieving that in such a way as not to fatally undermine Israel’s international political position.
    This may not be the first thought of Israelis right now (tbh, it’s not mine, given a free choice)
    But Israel must plan for the longer term, as well as annihilating Hamas.
    Which they must, and will.

  39. Kathy says:


    The question is, achieving that in such a way as not to fatally undermine Israel’s international political position.

    I’d go all snarky and paraphrase Tom Clancy: “You need to be alive to be pariah.” But the truth is Israel should be very conscious of the fact that Hamas is not an existential threat.

  40. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I’ve not been commenting very much last week out of sheer sick sadness, but as I said about this atrocity some days ago:

    Hamas has screwed itself.

    Hamas may be miscalculating here.
    Things could get a lot, lot worse for Gaza.
    Catastrophically worse.

    I think back to what my father and uncles (once) spoke about spending days digging dead families out of the rubble of a burning city, Coventry.
    As both Churchill and Harris said:
    “They have sown the wind; they shall reap the whirlwind.”
    There were are lot of Coventrians of my fathers generation who had the whirlwind tattoo.
    Remonstrations of liberal Americans about their various unpleasantness re. Germany would, I suspect, have availed little.

    And what Hamas have done is far, far worse.

  41. al Ameda says:


    It appears the car companies really don’t want viable products on the market. Or is it Woke engineers are a nightmare?

    Good work.
    This fits right in with the new meme that ‘woke is anything conservatives don’t like.’