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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    NBC News

    US coronavirus cases for each day in November:

    Nov. 1: 76,771
    Nov. 2: 86,589
    Nov. 3: 91,910
    Nov. 4: 104,296
    Nov. 5: 121,289
    Nov. 6: 126,731
    Nov. 7: 125,100
    Nov. 8: 109,177
    Nov. 9: 133,819
    Nov. 10: 131,990
    Nov. 11: 148,302

    My timing sucks.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Geoff Bennett

    New statement on election security from DHS: “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. … There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

  3. Kylopod says:

    “After November 3rd, coronavirus will magically, all of the sudden, go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen.” — Eric Trump in May

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Top US cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs has told associates he expects to be fired by the White House, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

    Krebs is the government’s point person on securing voting technology and is widely respected among local election officials. His agency has also been aggressively pushing back on rumors that something went wrong with the 2020 election, as Donald Trump, who refuses to concede to the president-elect, Joe Biden, contests.
    Separately, Bryan Ware, assistant director for cybersecurity at Cisa, confirmed to Reuters that he had handed in his resignation on Thursday.

    The beatings will continue until morale improves!

    Krebs has drawn praise from both Democrats and Republicans for his handling of the US election, which generally ran smoothly despite persistent fears in the run-up that foreign hackers might try to undermine the vote or that there might be chaos with mail-in voting during a pandemic or intimidation of voters going to the polls to cast their ballots in person.

    But he drew the ire of the Trump White House over a website run by Cisa dubbed Rumor Control which debunks misinformation about the election, according to the three people familiar with the matter.

    White House officials have asked for content to be edited or removed from the website, which has disputed numerous false claims about the election, including that Democrats are behind a mass election fraud scheme, for which no evidence has been presented. In response, Cisa officials have refused to delete accurate information.

    The Deep State strikes back!

    In particular, one person said, the White House was angry about a Cisa post rejecting a conspiracy theory that falsely claims an intelligence agency supercomputer and program, purportedly named Hammer and Scorecard, could have flipped votes nationally. No such system exists, according to Krebs, election security experts and former US officials.

    Just think, 47% of Americans voted for more of this shit.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Those Chinese sure know how to throw a hoax.

  6. Jen says:

    This (Biden team reaching out to former Mattis officials for help with transition), I think is smart on a couple of levels:

    One, Mattis was recently in charge, and this helps to negate some of the impact of Trump’s refusal to allow for the transition to go forward.

    Two, the whole “work together” thing everyone is pestering Biden over.

    Three, this will absolutely get under Trump’s skin.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    With a meteoric rise in deaths, talk of waves is misguided, say Covid-19 modelers

    The consensus among major Covid-19 modelers is that we could see 20,000 to 25,000 deaths in just the next two weeks, and 160,000 more by Feb. 1. That would be a frightening acceleration as winter approaches.

    The experts and their models also agree on the familiar tools at hand that can bend the curve: universal mask-wearing and social distancing. Even so, they say it’s too late for us to head off the surge ahead, as many Asian countries have been able to do.
    “I don’t think the United States ever had multiple waves,” said Alessandro Vespignani, professor of physics, computer science, and health science at Northeastern University in Boston who models the pandemic’s impact. “We are leading the same wave that is moving across the country.”

    This is not 1918. Then, graphs show, there was a terrifying spike in influenza deaths followed by a flat line, when the epidemic almost went dormant in the summer before a monstrous second wave in the fall. Historical hindsight will have to tell what shape the Covid-19 story will ultimately take, but maybe future modelers will call them humps, Reich offered. Broadly speaking, the U.S. is heading toward a third hump while Europe is near its second.
    The model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects 399,162 total deaths in the U.S. by Feb. 1, based on current conditions. If mask wearing became universal, defined as worn by 95% of the population, deaths would fall to 337,669, the model says. But if mandates for social distancing were eased, the death toll would rise to 513,657.
    Lockdowns are not on Vespignani’s list. “It would be very depressing. It would mean that we didn’t learn anything in the first nine months of the epidemic.”

    Pretty sure that we, the collective “we” here in the US, haven’t learned a damn thing, even if “we” the scientists, or “we,” the members of the DEM party, or “we,” the folks here at this blog have.

  8. Teve says:

    the third surge is breaking health care workers

    We are headed toward catastrophe.

  9. CSK says:

    “…all of the sudden…?” What a bizarre locution.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Headline of the day: Police identify man suspected of theft of Pope John Paul II’s blood

    Italian police have identified the man suspected of stealing a vial containing the blood of Pope John Paul II from a cathedral in the Umbria region. The gold and crystal reliquary was stolen from an altar dedicated to the late pontiff in Spoleto in September.

    Police identified the man, reported to be aged 49 and resident of Tuscany, thanks to CCTV footage in the cathedral and surrounding area. He has allegedly been connected to the theft of other ecclesiastical assets in the past.

    The vial, one of three relics that contain droplets of the pope’s blood, has not been found. Police believe it may have ended up on the parallel market, possibly in the hands of collectors, as such relics are of great religious value.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    I sometimes wonder if the entirety of the human condition can be explained by the fact that fear or anxiety can be almost instantly eliminated by anger.

  12. Kylopod says:


    “…all of the sudden…?” What a bizarre locution.

    That was simply an error in the transcription. I remembered the quote, then I googled it to find the exact wording, and I made the mistake of copy-pasting it directly from a website where it was reported without cross-checking the video where he said it. It’s at about 53 seconds in this clip:

  13. CSK says:

    Yes; I Googled it as well to check it, and saw that Marketwatch had reported it as “the.” It’s a strange error to make regardless of who made it.

  14. Jax says:

    Just in case you were wondering if people could get any dumber…..there are conspiracy theorists attempting to get into Utah hospitals to see if their ICU’s are really full.

  15. Kylopod says:

    The Wikipedia article on the 1996 presidential election in Arizona just added the following line, courtesy of yours truly:

    “This was the last time a Democrat would win Arizona in a presidential election until 2020.”

  16. CSK says:

    According to, there will be a “Million MAGA March” on Washington, D.C. tomorrow.

  17. Kathy says:

    Various people at CNN are making a big deal out of the fact that Pessimus hasn’t spoken publicly since he lost the election.

    Me, I’m just enjoying the blessed silence.

  18. Teve says:

    If you were a smart man in North Florida in the nineties, I was your best buddy. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time but now I know I was seeking out father figures. My own wasn’t the best. I wound up, in my early 20’s, with several good friends who were men 40-60. Not sexual or creepy, just middle-aged men who didn’t mind talking to a fiesty youngin’ and maybe recognized a person who wasn’t, in poor areas of Florida, before the internet, getting what he needed.

    Now I’m 44

    The other day I was at Panera tutoring an 18 yro about some parabola garbage, and when our time was up, he just started bringing up random things, and we wound up chatting for half an hour. I kinda wanted to get back to a long article, and I actually was getting impatient, but he kept coming up with new topics. Midway through I realized I was now on the other side of the table.

  19. Mu Yixiao says:


    I’ve done that for a number of young people. Mostly they just want someone that’s going to talk to them like they’re adults–listen, ask questions, pass along insight.

  20. CSK says:

    That’s a nice story. I’m sure the kid appreciated you taking the time to listen to him. Or, if he doesn’t now, he will some day, and maybe do the same.

  21. CSK says:

    The execrable Corey Lewandowski has tested positive for Covid-19.

  22. charon says:

    Some reinforcement for my inclination to never take Jonathan Turley seriously:

    Jonathan Turley falsely claims Dominion voting machines in Michigan switched “thousands” of Trump votes to Biden votes. Dominion machines were only used in one MI county that had problems, all of which were human error, and none of which affected results.

  23. Kylopod says:


    The execrable Corey Lewandowski has tested positive for Covid-19.


    (You knew that was coming.)

  24. Kathy says:

    BTW, CNN has called Arizona for Biden. That brings the total to 290 in the EC, with 16 more EVs from Georgia pending a recount scheduled to be done by Nov. 20th.

    Not a good Friday the Thirteenth for Minimus Trump.

  25. CSK says:

    I thought I’d let you have the pleasure of expressing it. 😀

  26. CSK says:

    The Yorkshire Ripper has died…of Covid-19.

  27. CSK says:
  28. mattbernius says:

    Filing under “this is my surprised face”
    More than 130 Secret Service officers are said to be infected with coronavirus or quarantining in wake of Trump’s campaign travel

    Though buried far under the lede is an alternative, and most likely more plausible, explanation:

    The agency is also examining whether some portion of the current infections are not travel-related, one government official said, but instead trace back to the site where many Secret Service officers report for duty each day: the White House.

  29. Monala says:

    @Jax: simply awful. Do any of the Republicans spreading these rumors have family who are patients or medical staff? This is what it leads to!

    I’ve always been surprised whenever visiting someone in a hospital how easy it is to just wander around. Maybe better security has long been needed.

  30. Monala says:

    @Kathy: at his six minute stop at Arlington, he was weaving back and forth and looked like he was trying not to cough.

  31. Mu Yixiao says:

    Part of my job is to process all the checks we get every day from clients. We’re talking about $100k – $200k transactions.

    Allow me to rant for a moment about…

    * People who can’t fold a piece of paper in thirds so it fits in the envelope nicely.
    * People who send a check for $150k and don’t put any reference or invoice number on it
    * People who staple the check to other documents–as if they’ll somehow get separated inside the envelope


    And now we return to our regularly scheduled program.

  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    (And how the hell do checks going from CT to PA end up in WI?)

  33. dazedandconfused says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Thanks for the great ideas. I can improve on that tape idea by spraying adhesive on the backs of checks so they fully adhere to the inside of the envelopes.

  34. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Like the old punch cards, checks, such as remain, need a printed warning: “DO NOT FOLD, SPINDLE, STAPLE, TAPE OR MUTILATE.”

  35. CSK says:

    Tuberville also seems to believe that the three branches of government are the House, the Senate, and the executive.

  36. Mu Yixiao says:


    I’ll watch the news for reports of someone being killed with a (safety) letter opener and a stapler.

  37. Monala says:

    I shared this on the “Less Than Meets the Eye” thread:

    Peter Navarro on Fox Business News today:

    “We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption that there will be a second Trump term… We think he won that election, and any speculation about what Joe Biden might do, I think, is moot at this point.”

    CNN today:

    Though he is just the fourth incumbent president since World War II to lose reelection, Republicans have no choice but to continue to embrace him or risk alienating his substantial base of supporters.

    My emphasis added — as though Republicans are helpless victims, rather than craven opportunists.

  38. Monala says:

    There’s more! Kayleigh McEnany today on Fox Business News, when asked whether Trump would attend [Biden’s] inauguration:

    “I think the president will attend his own inauguration”

  39. Sleeping Dog says:
  40. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    People who send a check for $150k and don’t put any reference or invoice number on it

    If I am paying you $150k, you can look up the damned reference number. What am I paying you for? So *I* can look up reference numbers like some kind of animal? No. If you’re lucky, I will shove part of the invoice into the envelope so you have some idea what it is for.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: That’s an easy mistake to make though.

    But the real three branches are:
    1. The Deep State
    2. Federal Employee Unions
    3. Liberal Judges Legislating From The Bench

  42. CSK says:

    Well, you’d think that someone running for the senate would have some vague familiarity with executive, judicial, and legislative. I guess not.

  43. charon says:


    Balance, gait, spasmodic arm or torso jerking are all progressing, they have been noticeable for years and are getting worse, all neurological symptoms.

    Trump finally made a public appearance since losing the election. He visited the Arlington Cemetery for Veterans day. He can’t stand still and he is wobbling again.

  44. Mu Yixiao says:


    I sense an on-coming rise in mysterious stapler-related deaths.

  45. Jen says:

    Interesting thread on Parler…if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it could well be Russian psy-ops.

  46. JohnSF says:

    Meanwhile, in UKania….

    There has been a complicated sequence of events, apparently including interventions by the Prime Ministers girlfriend.

    The upshot has been the resignation (or “resignation”?) of Downing Street Director of Communications, Lee Cain, a more important figure than you might think.
    And then Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister Dominic Cummings, a very important figure indeed; so much that half the time it has seemed like Cummings not Johnson has been running the show; or at least one of a “triumvirate” with Johnson and Michael Gove.

    First reports were that Cummings would be quitting around Christmas his hard work done yadda yadda. But instead he’s leaving Downing Street today .

    It rather looks like Johnson taught him the lesson that however powerful or essential an adviser may regard himself, he is nothing more than the Prime Minister chooses him to be.
    And especially when said adviser has flaunted his contempt for Ministers and MPs.

    The speculation now, of course is how this ties in to the coincidence in timing of the election of Joe Biden, and negotiations on trade post-exit arrangements with the EU coming to the point of irrevocable decision within the next few weeks.

    Personally, I don’t think Biden’s election makes any material difference BUT it may give Johnson, who whatever his many and various flaws, is no fool, an excuse for a deal that the ERG will dislike, by telling his dimmer backbenchers and party activists “no choice, old chap, Trump gone, Biden in, can’t rely on the Yanks now, bad show eh?”

    In reality, Johnson knows how bad a “no deal” breach would be; but he also needs some way of dodging the wrath of the Brexity lunatics in his party. Perhaps he has decided this is the time to move; and that Cain and Cummings balked.

  47. DrDaveT says:


    Yes; I Googled it as well to check it, and saw that Marketwatch had reported it as “the.” It’s a strange error to make regardless of who made it.

    For what it’s worth, I think I’ve said and written “all of the sudden” all my life, and my mother was an English teacher. The phrase apparently dates back to the 1550s at least, with the oldest attested versions using “the”, but that version was supplanted by the “a” version until very recently, when “the” has made a comeback. I suspect the comeback is based on mishearing, not on a persistent alternative usage, but then again who knows. Maybe whoever transcribed Eric is also from the South Midlands Pittsburgh Penumbra…

    Usage guides universally prefer “a”.

  48. DrDaveT says:


    My emphasis added — as though Republicans are helpless victims

    Republicans have no agency; how many times do you have to have that explained? If a Democrat does something bad or ineffective, it’s because they chose to be bad or ineffective. If a Republican does something bad or ineffective, it’s because Democrats chose not to do the things that would cause the Republican to be good or effective.

  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    I doubt Biden will seek to punish Boris, not Joe’s style, but PM Johnson won’t be at the front of any queues. Both EU and a replacement for the TPP are much higher priorities when it comes to trade deals.

    EU GDP: 18.8 trillion.
    China: 13.6 trillion.
    UK GDP: 2.85 trillion.

    It surprised me when the Brexit/Trump fiasco was in early stages that Brits did not see the clear peril in relying on the US. I’d talk to Brits I know and just get confused looks, and these were Remain people. The value of the UK to the US was that it acted as an EU connection. On its own, it barely outranks India and India’s potential growth is vastly greater.

    The big international losers from this election are Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UK. Poland and Hungary may be shaky as well.

  50. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I hope Chuckles Koch is being sincere, but skepticism seems in order. In any case Melon Scaife replaced the Hunt brothers, the Koch Bros replaced Scaife. And some other billionaire funder will replace Chuckles.

    I hope Trump burned out this Billionaire Boys Club in politics nonsense, but that’s not how I’d bet.

  51. Monala says:

    @DrDaveT: That’s right, Murc’s Law: only Democrats have agency. How could I forget?

  52. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Indeed. I’ve grown extremely fed up trying to explain to people that the UK position at the locus of organizations and networks was a massive advantage for us.

    e.g. The City with a culture and language similar to Wall Street, inside the EU, but with a currency that was perfect for hedging in relation to the euro, and the largest financial centre inside the EU mega-economy.

    e.g. UK inside the EU foreign/defence collaboration/shared procurement networks, but also with historic defence/intel links to Washington even greater than the NATO standard.

    And similarly in diplomacy, cultural connections, international corporations, media etc etc.

    We have thrown away a unique position.

    Plus, no arrangements with the USA or anyone else can substitute for a mega-economy on your doorstep.

    Biden won’t punish us; we have punished ourselves.
    (Though he has already made it plain that nothing that threatens stability in Northern Ireland will be tolerated; quite rightly)

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Can’t speak for other people, but I never write the reference/invoice number on the check because most of them are too long FOR ME to write legibly in the memo line space of a standard check. Case in point: the reference number for my account at one of the major credit card companies is 25 characters. The places that I do write have the equivalent of about 26 point type on good days. Simply not enough room. I have to rely on you to do it if it’s important enough to you.

    These days, I pay most continuing bills directly from my bank. Those DO have reference numbers that I type into the format because the bank won’t process the transaction otherwise and the bank’s handwriting is better than mine. 🙂

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Normally, yes. But we’re talking Alabamans here. All bets about “usually” or “normally” are off. All day. Every day.

  55. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Can’t speak for other people, but I never write the reference/invoice number on the check because most of them are too long FOR ME to write legibly in the memo line space of a standard check. Case in point: the reference number for my account at one of the major credit card companies is 25 characters.

    But you include the little piece of the bill that they send you, right? That has your account number on it.

    And… I’m talking about businesses sending $10k+ checks covering multiple shipments–each having their own reference number. We got a check this week for about $50k, with a list of invoice numbers totaling about $2k. Where does the rest of it go?

  56. Mikey says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    But you include the little piece of the bill that they send you, right? That has your account number on it.

    Absolutely! And just to make sure it’s associated with the right payment…

    …I STAPLE IT TO THE CHECK! Muahahahahahaha!!

  57. Mu Yixiao says:


    to repeat… I sense an on-coming rise in mysterious stapler-related deaths.

  58. CSK says:

    “The Sudden”…It sound like the title of a 1970s-1980s horror movie, such as “The Omen” or “The Burning.”

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Of course I do. It has the address frame that goes in the envelope window so the post office knows who to deliver it to.

    On the $50k check with $2k worth of invoices linked to it, the company that I worked for when I was young had a guy in accounts payable who did that. Once. Didn’t get the chance to make the mistake again.

  60. Liberal Capitalist says:


    There’s more! Kayleigh McEnany today…”

    Admit it… we all missed Bagdad Bob.

  61. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Since it’s Friday the 13th, and we have already mentioned the pope, it’s time for a round of…. unnessary sharing of info you can google!

  62. ImProPer says:

    “We’ve gotten away from teaching world history, American history, state history, civics, government. How did we get here?” Tuberville told his supporters at an event in Red Bay. “A lot of these kids don’t know. They haven’t been taught. They have not been taught the fundamentals of what this country and how this country was built and why we’re here and why we’re so strong.”…

    “You know, our government wasn’t set up for one group to have all three branches of government,” Tuberville said. “It wasn’t set up that way, our three branches, the House, the Senate and the executive.”
    US Senator- elect Tommy Tuberville.

  63. flat earth luddite says:

    No room in the ICU, but maybe we can admit them to the locked psych unit? Maybe on a 90 day hold?

  64. JohnSF says:

    If you want a giggle, go take a look at what’s happened to the #MillionMAGAMarch tag on Twitter.
    Wrecked by K-pop stans!

  65. CSK says:

    You mean the pancakes?

  66. JohnSF says:

    Yup. 🙂

    Also, mmm, pancakes.

  67. Kathy says:

    I’m slipping. SpaceX is launching four astronauts this weekend and I just found out about it.

  68. CSK says:

    Trump has hinted that he might show up at this fandango. I wouldn’t hold my breath, but the cultists are thrilled.

  69. JohnSF says:


    Trump … might show up

    Probably hoping for pancakes.

  70. CSK says:


  71. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK: So I got curious enough to go to Google Ngrams and look at the history of “all of the sudden”. It had a small resurgence from 1800 to about 1840, peaking in the 1810s, then lay dormant for decades before starting a sharp rise in the 1980s. All of a sudden was always much more common, and oddly constant in frequency until (again) the 1980s, when it too has shot up. All of a sudden, as it were.

  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @ImProPer: If only Tommy Tuberville had had Tyrell’s middle school social studies teacher for a mentor. So sad…

    I looked up his Wikipedia entry to see his educational history. That was disappointing–he majored in physical education in University, so his first teaching job at Hermitage High School was probably as a p.e. teacher. Oh well.

  73. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I want to represent for Mr. Creasy, my high school PE teacher. He would have been able to correctly identify the three branches of the US government correctly.

  74. Teve says:

    I’m happy that Nandi is so happy.

  75. Jax says:

    Sooooo…..bitcoin, ethereum, etc…..why are all the Trumpies suddenly investing in it?

  76. Monala says:

    2020 in a nutshell: the Masters tournament is delayed due to rain, so meanwhile a humongous alligator (looking like an escapee from Jurassic Park) decides to stroll across the green. Link

  77. Monala says:

    Trump’s spray tan and hair dye are results of his vanity, but during his week-long silence, he apparently stopped both. Since his loss he has reappeared with natural skin tone and gray hair, and surprisingly, actually looks normal. His vanity and self-deception usually make him look like a clown. link

  78. CSK says:

    He must have used some kind of wash-in wash-out hair coloring. I don’t think a real dye job would go white that quickly, would it?

  79. mattbernius says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    If only Tommy Tuberville had had Tyrell’s middle school social studies teacher for a mentor.

    Wait, had anyone heard from Tyrell recently? I last remember seeing him in late October. Or have I missed recent posts?

  80. steve says:


    That article is correct. Covid pts take an awful to of work, especially the ICU ones. It is wearing on people. We have had several nurses quit, including ones I know who are talking aobu leaving the profession. It is wearing physically, but the mental and emotional part has also been tough. Keeping families separate why someone dies just sucks. Then you have to worry that you might be taking it home to your own family. Finally, we are all becoming short staffed even if people dont quit. We are seeing a lot more family exposures then we did in the spring when we had lockdowns. (We actually had zero family exposures in my own department.) With a family exposure people have to quarantine for a long time.

    Finally, yes it does kinds suck when after a day of this you go home to emails and texts from family telling you this is all a hoax.


  81. Jax says:

    @steve: I know virtual hugs aren’t even enough compared to what you are dealing with, but please know that I am sending them to you and ALLLLL of your staff. 🙁 You are the true heroes in this situation, and I am so, so sorry that our President is a dumbass.

  82. Jax says:

    @mattbernius: I was thinking the same thing, where the heck is Tyrell?

    Also, de Stijl was supposed to get his COVID test back today. He mentioned feeling like shite, was around for the day, no word since.

  83. Teve says:

    The COVID numbers are mind-boggling.