Friday’s 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. Michael reynolds says:

    Reporting from London.

    If there was one thing you could count on Brits to do in exemplary fashion, it was all things queue. Not Q, queue, as in lines. And that extended to all forms of motion in public spaces. For example Brits – almost alone in this disorderly world – knew that if you’re on an escalator and not intending to climb, you stand to the right so that junior bankers can rush past.

    I am sorry to report that this essential part of the social fabric of Great Britain is fraying, largely IMO, under the influence of cell phones. I have in recent days seen British people – not tourists, Brits with accents saying things like, ‘innit,’ and ‘geezer’ and ‘posh’ – walking down the street at half speed while texting. I’ve seen Brits in the street, on their phones, talking as loudly as, well, Americans! Most shocking of all, I’ve seen people reaching the top or bottom of escalators pausing to check messages apparently oblivious to the fact that an endless stream of people were piling up behind them.

    But it’s not just the effect of cell phones, manners more broadly are being compromised by the effects of Yankification. This will seem shocking to many, but not two days ago I encountered a British man who struck up a conversation. . . wait for it. . . in a lift! I find this personally irritating as I used to really enjoy striking up conversations with Brits in elevators just to enjoy their looks of panic. Much as I enjoy smiling at French people for no reason so that I can warm myself in their impotent scorn.

    You can’t cheat an honest man, and you can’t provoke an Americanized Brit. Heading to Paris in a week to discover if a big, white, toothy grin can still send a Frog into a contempt spiral.

  2. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Michael reynolds:
    Michael, sounds like a reboot of The Americanization of Emily. Funny, I never before noticed your resemblance to Mr. Garner. Looking forward to further reports on your efforts in Europe.

  3. Kathy says:

    I accidentally found, and purposefully watched, The Andromeda Strain 1971 movie on HBO Max.

    I read the book decades ago, but had never seen the movie. From what I recall, it’s a very close adaptation of the book. The one big exception is the movie has one female scientists, where the book had none.

    I still find the whole premise laughable. Not the idea of an ultra-secure, cutting edge biolab, nuke failsafe included, to study potential pathogens fund in outer space. That makes sense, provided samples from moons, asteroids, comets, ring fragments, and planets were brought to Earth regularly. The problem is the idea of a satellite that would collect extraterrestrial materials in Earth orbit, and life being so prevalent that you could be sure to find some in short order (not to mention the side outrage that this life would be a dangerous pathogen ready to be weaponized).

    What I’d failed to notice in the book is the scientists never explain why the Andromeda bug is so deadly. The thing is magic. Not only does it clot blood, but it clots all the blood in seconds.

    Not to mention the problem is solved by applying the magical element handwavium.

  4. Barry says:

    @Kathy: And it eats synthetic rubber – in seconds – but can’t cope with survivable changes in blood ph level.

  5. Barry says:

    And the change to lower lethality (IIRC) would have been a population genetic effect, not something which just happened.

  6. sam says:

    Vangelis has passed away. His score for Blade Runner was a perfect pairing of music and theme.

  7. CSK says:

    Marcel Fontaine, 29, died in a fire in Worcester, Ma. on Saturday, May 14. Fontaine, an activities coordinator at a special needs facility, was suing Alex Jones. Jones had accused Fontaine of being the Communist who shot up Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018. Why was Fontaine a Communist? Jones saw a photo of him wearing a “Communist Party” t-shirt, one with an image of people carousing in silly hats. Fontaine was, thereafter, subject to a campaign of harassment by Jones’ followers.

    Hell’s too nice a place for Alex Jones.

  8. Kathy says:


    Did I not make clear handwavium is magical? 😉

    Then there’s the matter of crystal structures formed of compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. I know of none. Carbon alone can make crystals, which we know as diamond.

    The odd thing is Crichton studied medicine, so he knew how unrealistic the disease he came up with really was.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A deadly bacteria outbreak in baby formula and an ongoing formula shortage stem from issues some economists characterize as “rot” in the nation’s economic system: prioritization of shareholder wealth and consolidation.

    The embattled baby formula producer Abbott used windfall profits to enrich investors instead of replacing failing equipment that was likely injecting the dangerous bacteria into its infant nutritional products, financial records and whistleblower documents show.

    Abbott detected bacteria eight times as its net profits soared by 94% between 2019 and 2021. And just as its tainted formula allegedly began sickening a number of babies, with two deaths reported, the company increased dividends to shareholders by over 25% while announcing a stock buyback program worth $5bn.

    “Abbott chose to prioritize shareholders by issuing billions of dollars in stock buybacks instead of making productive investments,” said Rakeen Mabud, chief economist for the Groundwork Collaborative, a progressive economic advocacy group. “It’s important that we have high standards for something as vital as baby formula.”

    Abbott denies share buybacks hurt safety but the controversy has some economists calling for stricter anti-trust enforcement, bans on buybacks and limits on dividends.


    Abbott halted production at the Sturgis plant, the nation’s largest, but the company has since downplayed the controversy and claimed “there is no evidence to link our formulas to these infant illnesses”. Federal investigators said it was not clear either way. “Right from the get-go we were limited in our ability to determine with a causal link whether the product was linked to these four cases, because we only had sequences on two,” FDA’s food director Susan Mayne said in a media briefing on Monday, ABC News reported.

    But don’t worry, the free (s//) market will fix this.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    Oh the sweet irony. The PA, R, senate primary is descending into stolen election and vote fraud territory. TFG is telling his boy Oz to simply claim victory. Both sides are lawyering up. LoL

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: wouldn’t crystallised protein satisfy that condition, depending on the amino acids?

    NOT something to be found here on Earth, however. Unless the handwavium manages to do that as well.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Christian leader trying to break America’s link between faith and guns

    Cook’s message is that it’s the responsibility of white Christian denominations to challenge white America’s relationship with God and guns that is intertwined with white supremacy. According to online postings, the alleged shooter, Payton Gendron, wanted to fashion America as a white-dominated, Christian nation.

    Such extreme conservative views developed over time from President Nixon’s “southern strategy” to increase political support among white voters in the south by appealing to racism against Black people, tough-on-crime policies and anti-abortion sentiments. According to Cook, guns became ensnared in the strategy.

    “It really gave tacit cultural permission to people of faith to own guns, so they conveniently worked their way into this religious freedom argument and conflated it with Christianity itself,” Cook said on Wednesday. “It doesn’t have any theological integrity to it at all, but we use the language of faith to acquire power and to further white supremacist notions.”

    Uh huh.

    How to detach gun ownership from being a marker of Christian faithfulness, and the accompanying politicization, concerns Cook. Without knowing Gendron’s faith background, he said the accused shooter “really stepped into that political slew of white nationalists, another derivation of the southern strategy, advanced also in … looking to preserve the sense of a white, Christian nation and of the original founders being white, Christian men, being representative of what America is”.

    A couple years ago I came across a trailer in the local Wally world parking lot. IIRC, on the side of it was some scripture with the words “Machine Gun Preacher” and the silhouette of an AK-47. So, yeah.

    The effort to detach guns from faith within church leadership and congregations may need an assertive voice that links pastoral care to larger structural questions while resisting the inevitable political pushback. Cook alluded to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran pastor and theologian who opposed the Nazis.

    Good luck with that Reverend you’re gonna need it. And a bullet proof vest.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Radley Balko

    Headline of the day.

    Vandal forces Johnny Cash silhouette to take a leak on his hometown

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:
  15. senyordave says:

    Elon Musk says he’s wading into politics to stop the ‘woke mind virus’ from destroying civilization
    As he slips further down into the rabbit hole. The harassment and racism claims at Tesla plants is starting to make sense. Any complaints must be coming from a bunch of far left woke nuts, right. And remember, he’s only voting Republican because the Democrats forced him into it, having lurched too far to the left. Its not that the white nationalism might actually appeal to him. Musk is vying to become the next generation Larry Ellison (or maybe a richer Peter Thiel).

  16. Tony W says:

    @senyordave: The sad thing for me in all this is that we were probably less than 12 months from buying a Tesla.

    If Musk could have kept his mouth shut I could have buried my head in the sand on the other issues because there’s probably not a clean auto company anyway. As it stands currently though…

    Now we have to go back to the drawing board and figure out who gets our money.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    FBI failing to address white supremacist violence, warns former special agent

    Michael German, a former FBI special agent who infiltrated white supremacist groups in the 1990s, said the bureau continues to underplay the scope of the threat. As a result, communities targeted by white supremacists and far-right militia groups – such as the largely African American neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, where 10 people were killed by a suspected racist gunman this week – are left fatally exposed.

    “US law enforcement is failing, as it long has, to provide victimized communities like Buffalo’s with equal protection under the law. They are not actually investigating the crimes that occur,” said German, a fellow with the Brennan Center at NYU School of Law.
    In an interview with the Guardian, German said that US law enforcement in general, and the FBI in particular, were lagging behind. Despite a clear mandate from Congress, the bureau has yet to produce statistics revealing the scale of white supremacist crimes.

    “White supremacists kill far more Americans than anybody else the FBI designates as domestic terrorists, yet the bureau still doesn’t document the crimes and fatalities that occur.” He added: “I think that’s a reflection of lack of concern for the victims of that violence.”
    The invisibility of white supremacist hatred to law enforcement is reflected in those official figures that do exist. In recent years, surveys based on the experiences of crime victims themselves have recorded more than 200,000 hate crime incidents each year. Compare that with the average number of hate crime cases prosecuted by the DoJ annually – 21.

    “Racially motivated violent extremism” is also less than helpful as a designation, German said. Though it is classed as terrorism, it is a catchall in which white supremacy groups are lumped together with Black nationalists and those classified as “Black identity extremists”. The end result is that the spotlight that should be tightly focused on the growing threat of white supremacy is diffused. Federal resources are scattered between animal rights groups, native American protesters, non-violent civil disobedience movements, even pro-abortion groups designated as terrorist entities, though there is no evidence such groups exist. Meanwhile, organized criminal groups dedicated to upholding white power fly largely beneath the radar.
    In 2006 the FBI drew up an internal intelligence assessment that found that “white supremacist presence among law enforcement personnel is a concern”. It said that organized groups were infiltrating law enforcement agencies, while individuals sympathetic to “white supremacist causes” were also joining the ranks. That was 16 years ago. To this day there has been no national effort to root out the infection.

    “If there had been an internal FBI report that Isis had infiltrated US law enforcement, you’d expect a nationwide attempt to get to the bottom of it,” German said.
    What does that do to people of color who are the targets of all the hatred? “It creates a recognition for these communities that they have to solve their own problems. They know that law enforcement, the FBI included, treat them harshly when they are suspects and ignore them when they are victims.

    Hmmmm… What was it Frank Wilhoit said?

  18. Scott says:

    @senyordave: Musk is from South Africa, BTW. Acorn/Tree.

    @Tony W: Teslas are pretty unreliable according to Consumers Reports.

  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Tony W:
    We quite like our Volvo Recharge. Much more luxurious interior, good range, quick, handles well and it’s attractive IMO.

  20. EddieInCA says:

    @Tony W:

    Look at the Hundai Iquonic 5. I just ordered one.

  21. Thomm says:

    @Tony W: the Kia ev6 is a looker, the Cadillac lyriq will be a surprisingly good ride, the lucid is amazing, the rivian looks a bit odd, but is a beast. Lots of choices coming on line depending on budget and needs.

  22. becca says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Mitch McConnell buried the 2009 report on the growing threat of Republican terrorism. The press rolled over, as usual.

  23. Scott says:

    Given that this cadet will probably have to pay back his tuition, I wonder what grift he has lined up.

    Air Force Academy Cadet Submits Resignation After Refusing Vaccine on Religious Grounds

    A senior Air Force Academy cadet who faces the possibility of being kept from graduating with his classmates after refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds has begun proceedings to resign from the school, according to an academy official.

    If the resignation goes through, it will leave two senior cadets, or “firsties,” who have refused the vaccine and will not be allowed to participate in next Wednesday’s commencement ceremony, according to Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain who has been advocating for the religious rights of 13 cadets who raised faith-based objections to taking the vaccine.

    At least one cadet put personal interests over his faith.

    One senior cadet has reversed course and taken the vaccine, Klingenschmitt said, but only because he is being treated for cancer and refusal would have made him ineligible for military health care benefits.

    Ah, so it is all performative.

    “The majority of our religious accommodation requests centered on the use of stem cells in the development and/or production of the currently available vaccines. There are vaccines available that did not use stem cells in the development, testing or production, which was presented as an option. The cadets refused to commit to this vaccine.”

    Gordon Klingensmith rang a bell with this old timer. Another religious righter who was court-martialed for disobeying an order not to participate in a political rally while in uniform.

    The far right Christian fanatics continue to be a danger to the Republic.

  24. Scott says:

    @becca: I remember that. The real problem is that your basic MSM is terrified of the religious right and don’t know how to address the danger straight on. There are a lot of heads in the sand.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @Tony W: Fortunately, every month you have more choices. And Tesla build quality still remains extremely spotty

  26. Tony W says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The Volvo is tops on our list!

  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Tony W:

    Tony, as Scott said, Tesla’s have poor quality ratings add to that the lies about “full self driving.” I did see a comment from an EV shopper in France regarding Tesla’s, Lada quality at BMW prices.

    Eddie mentioned the Hundai, that and the Kia are getting great reveiws.

  28. Slugger says:

    A new type of hepatitis and monkey pox appearing in people while Covid remains out there have made me think that some golden age of little danger from infections is over. For most of human history serious danger from infection was the norm. This manifested as acute deadly disorders mostly in childhood or chronic disabling disorders like TB, malaria, and syphilis. Reading the story of the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son of typhoid fever in the White House is heart-rendering. The post WW II world saw antibiotics and vaccines beating back infections. This lull was ended in 1981 when HIV appeared. We did not pay enough attention to the dangers of a virus combined with modern travel because it primarily affected a minority community. The SARS family of viruses can strike anyone. What I’m saying is that threats from infectious diseases are the norm for humans and that our attitude of shock when a new virus pops up demonstrates that the real victories of the 1950-1980 era have dulled our memory of the constant dangers out there. Nearly eight billion potential hosts and jet travel make future epidemics inevitable. Are we prepared?

  29. Jay L Gischer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Somebody linked an interview of the author of Jesus and John Wayne a few days back.

    The books author identifies as Christian. She teaches at an evangelical run college. She says, “I just felt I had to bear witness to this”. Her research indicates this goes a lot further back than Nixon.

    Given I came up in a pacifistic denomination, I somehow missed all this. But it makes a bigger point. Not all Protestant Christians (or Catholics for that matter) are white supremacists, or seek to intertwine their faith with politics. I think it is valuable for America to isolate those who do, and support those who aren’t and don’t. We can start by making a distinction.

    (By the way, my beliefs don’t easily match up these days with much of anyone’s creed, and I ain’t trying to convert anyone to my thing, since I’m not completely sure what that would be, but those experiences were and still are valuable to me.)

  30. Jay L Gischer says:

    Yeah, rapid innovation and high reliability are kind of hard to do at the same time. At the same time, I’m pretty sure a Tesla is more reliable than a Jaguar.

    I’m guessing that the lack of any “model year” is creating maintenance problems for them.

    Absolutely, an EV can be done better. I hope it will. And still, I remember my first ride in one, and just how amazing it was.

  31. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Eddie mentioned the Hundai, that and the Kia are getting great reveiws.


    Hyundai and Kia recall nearly 20,000 Ioniq 5s, EV6s

    Hyundai and Kia are recalling nearly 20,000 of their newest electric vehicles. The problem affects the impressive Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, a pair of EVs built using the Korean OEMs’ new E-GMP platform.

    Specifically, the issue has to do with the EVs’ parking brake function. If a voltage fluctuation occurs while the vehicle is parked and turned off, a command signal from the shifter control unit could disengage the parking pawl, potentially allowing the car to roll away.

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In my youth, which included the era of civil rights and Vietnam protests, it was a commonplace that the FBI was basically a group of proto-fascists. After many issues and reforms, I’m not confident anything has changed. They are indeed not sympathetic to the victims of RW violence, but it goes beyond that, they’re sympathetic to the perps. And to the perps causes.

    It was, though, nice of them to name their big headquarters building in DC after a known homosexual.

  33. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    IIRC, a bunch of Teslas were recalled for brake issues as well. Given the number or recalls that happen in the auto industry each year, one should anticipate that vehicles employing new tech will have teething problems.

  34. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Recalls last week alone:

    Kia – 10K
    Hundai – 10K
    Ford – Expedition – 20K
    Lincoln – Navigator – 20K
    Ford – Super Duty Trucks – 310K
    Mercedes – 292K

    Auto recalls are a not rare. Not at all.

  35. Kathy says:

    Jokes they’ll be telling in America after 2024:

    A man on the steps of Congress displays a banner that reads “Trump is a moron.” He gets arrested and eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison. 5 for insulting the president, and 20 for revealing state secrets.

    Joe shows up at the Capitol to see the Trump impeachment hearings. At the door, Capitol police asks him, “Do you have a pass?”

    “Pass? I have a season ticket.”

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I’m an atheist who was raised Catholic and had the religion beaten out of me by an abusive nun. Despite all that, I have long stated that I do not have a problem with religious beliefs of and by themselves. Life is hard. If believing that Jesus was crucified on the cross and 3 days later arose from the dead helps one to believe in a just and loving god and therefor makes life a little bit easier to navigate, I have no problem with it.

    All that being said, to paraphrase a twitterer, other people’s religions are not my burden to carry.

    @gVOR08: Same as it ever was.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA: In 2010 I bought a used 2005 1/2 ton 4wd Dodge p/u. In the 12 years since I bought it, it’s been the subject of 3 recalls.

  38. Mu Yixiao says:


    I know. I just thought the timing was funny.

  39. gVOR08 says:


    The real problem is that your basic MSM is terrified of the religious right and don’t know how to address the danger straight on. There are a lot of heads in the sand.

    The current flap about abortion is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m not sure if it’s fear of the religious right or an attitude that religion is a private matter. For whatever reason, by ignoring it, the supposedly liberal MSM are facilitating Dominionism/Integralism.

    The Originalist (sic) Supremes ignore “well regulated militia”. They can easily find in “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” license for state legislatures, or Congress, to define “life” as beginning when God implants the soul at conception, requiring public schools to have prayers and Bible classes, anyone claiming their personal religion exempts them from public health measures, or any other religious claptrap they feel like endorsing.

    There seems to be a huge body of opinion on the right that the establishment clause only meant we wouldn’t choose one protestant Christian church over the other protestant Christian churches. The Papists better watch their arses if they help the fundies get too much power.

  40. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    And Trump is dumping David Perdue because Perdue is…losing to Brian Kemp.

    And Brian Kemp is backed by…Mike Pence.

  41. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: We’re Americans; we can weaponize anything!

  42. Tony W says:

    Thanks all – I’m unlikely to buy a Korean vehicle due to their decades-long spotty reliability record, at least in comparison to Japanese automakers.

    On that note it is surprising to me how far behind the times the big reliable auto companies like Toyota, Honda, and Subaru are on the EV front. Perhaps they have the problem Ford identified in which the corporate power rested with the internal combustion-focused executives and they are holding the company back. I believe I read where Ford spun off their EV division under separate leadership to prevent sabotage by the powerful gas-engine execs.

  43. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Turns out Musk changed parties because he knew the story about him harassing a Space-X Stewardess was about to drop. Now he can blame the story, and other attacks, on the party change. He’s the perfect Republican, always playing the victim.
    BTW – he paid off the woman with $250,000. Trump only had to pay Stormy Daniels $135,000.
    In either case it seems getting laid, when you are a rich asshole, is very expensive.

  44. MarkedMan says:

    @senyordave: And, as if on cue, the story is circulating that SpaceX paid off an employee, a flight attendant, because Musk exposed his erect penis to her. Was it you that pointed out within the last few days that Musk publicly embracing the Republican Party because the Dems were too woke was a sure sign a scandal was coming? If so, kudos.

    This is just another example of why I contend that the Republican Party has entered a death spiral and is no longer reformable. Since the dawn of the Southern Strategy, they have been attracting people with moral problems – racists, harassers, abusers. This in turn drives off decent people. Which leads to an ever higher concentration of ethically challenged and damaged Party members, which drives off more of the decent people. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

    Musk knows that Republicans will embrace him, and not just despite his sexual harassment problems, but actually because of them. The modern Republican Party is actually a safe haven for such people.

  45. Sleeping Dog says:


    The irony of Purdue is without TFG’s encouragement, he wouldn’t have taken on Kemp. Purdue knew that it could be a fool’s errand, and it was. Meanwhile in GA, R’s are beginning to panic that Herschel will be their nominee.

  46. Sleeping Dog says:


    And after TFG dumped him, Brooks is surging in AL. Look for him to regain Trump’s endorsement. Always the front runner.

  47. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Sorry, I left some spoilers out. The gimmick is the Andromeda bug has neither amino acids nor proteins.

  48. just nutha says:


    I think it’s a reflecteion…

    I think it’s a sign that Critical Race Theory is on to something, but what would I know.

  49. Kathy says:


    You know, this current stage of US capitalism reminds me a lot of Soviet communism.

    You have the massive corporations with total or near monopolies. These are largely run in a way that benefits neither customers nor employees, but rather a set of powerful people with their own separate interests. And if a portion of one fails or faces problems, the whole supply collapses or becomes scarce.

  50. Beth says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Given I came up in a pacifistic denomination, I somehow missed all this. But it makes a bigger point. Not all Protestant Christians (or Catholics for that matter) are white supremacists, or seek to intertwine their faith with politics. I think it is valuable for America to isolate those who do, and support those who aren’t and don’t. We can start by making a distinction.

    I joke that my Partner is a fundamentalist Catholic, but only because she actually went to and liked going to church. She stopped during the pandemic though. Last year I asked her when she was going back and she said as soon as she felt safe in her parish church (covidiots). Last month I asked her when she was going back and she shrugged. The gist was maybe never. The new priest is kinda opus dei like and fairly out of touch. or, in touch with the wrong stuff. It’s been kind of amazing to watch her slowly walk away from something that brought her so much.


    The Originalist (sic) Supremes ignore “well regulated militia”. They can easily find in “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” license for state legislatures, or Congress, to define “life” as beginning when God implants the soul at conception, requiring public schools to have prayers and Bible classes, anyone claiming their personal religion exempts them from public health measures, or any other religious claptrap they feel like endorsing.

    And forget about having a religious belief that is not within their defined window of Christianity. They can decide what happens to women, what people can read, how people can define their existence and relationships, because, hey, that’s religious freedom. They wouldn’t accept my sincerely held religious belief that my Goddess wants me to take psychedelics and dance under the moon. That’s just jail time.


    I watched the Andromeda Strain when I was a kid, it scared the hell out of me.

  51. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Oh, it’s hilarious. Trump pulls his endorsement from Brooks, and Brooks’ popularity promptly goes up.


  52. Drew says:


    You make a good point. The alliance between the Democrat Party and large corporations is truly unholy.

  53. Kathy says:


    Nearly eight billion potential hosts and jet travel make future epidemics inevitable. Are we prepared?

    Of course not.

    We can even predict how the next pandemic will go:

    First there will be fear, maybe verging on panic, about the new easily transmissible, highly deadly disease. Second we’ll find out we have no plans, no supplies, and not enough hospital capacity to deal with it. Third it will be downplayed. Fourth there will be resistance to mitigation and containment measures. Fifth there will be resistance to vaccines, if any, by a large part of the population. Sixth, we’ll declare it over before it ends.

    I recommend Descartes advise: you can keep your house in good repair even if the whole city is falling apart. Stock up on masks and hand sanitizer, and use them from the start.

  54. Kathy says:


    I watched the Andromeda Strain when I was a kid, it scared the hell out of me.

    I did find the animal experiments disturbing.

    Otherwise I kept wondering how much of the technology on display actually existed in 1971.

  55. Beth says:


    I don’t remember the technology much, but I was young enough to think it was plausible. I just have a really strong sense of being freaked out and scared by it. I know I watched the whole thing and all those memories hold is a sense of creepy foreboding.

    I should probably watch it again.

  56. Mu Yixiao says:


    Andromeda Strain isn’t about the pathogen. It’s about how we deal with such situations (e.g., dangerous unknown). So I’m willing to overlook the fact that some of the science isn’t exactly… “real”. 🙂

  57. CSK says:

    Madison Cawthorn says that the time has come for “gentile” politics to end, and is calling for the rise of a “Dark Maga to truly take command.”

    I assume he meant “gentle,” but who knows?

    As for “Dark Maga”…?

  58. senyordave says:

    Maybe there is no connection, but Tesla is down almost 11% today. maybe not a great idea o insult your potential customers,

  59. Kylopod says:


    Madison Cawthorn says that the time has come for “gentile” politics to end

    He means everyone should convert to either Judaism or Mormonism.

    At least he didn’t say “genital.”

  60. CSK says:

    Judging by a few of the videos and stills I’ve seen of Madison, he appears to be an aficionado of genital politics.

  61. MarkedMan says:


    but Tesla is down almost 11% today

    There is like a perfect storm going after Tesla stock right now:
    – Market is full on Bear
    – Musk is insisting he will buy Twitter. You would think he has enough money with a couple hundred billion dollars of Tesla stock, but it’s been report that he has already pledged most of that for loans for his other interests. That stock is worth less, which means he might have to pledge more to keep those existing loans from being called, which means people will be less willing to loan him money against what unleveraged shares remain, which means he may have to sell what Tesla stock that isn’t leveraged to finance the Twitter deal, so investors are concerned a substantial selloff by a principle will have people running to the doors
    – Every month there are newer, fancier electric cars out there in all price ranges and Tesla hasn’t introduced a new product in several years
    – Elon Musk has just been outed as a sexual harasser who has had his company pay off a woman he allegedly harassed.

    Yeah, not the stock I would be holding right now.

  62. Mu Yixiao says:

    Holy hell.

    I just got “chastised” by a cold-call sales person because I said “not without a name” when she asked to speak to “a manager or supervisor” (in a company of 1500 employees on 4 continents), and hung up.

    She redialed half a dozen times so she could tell me I was being rude.

    Cold-calls are getting to be really bad lately.

  63. Jen says:

    @Tony W: Toyota and Honda were out in front with hybrids (the Prius and Honda Fit, respectively). I think they felt hybrid was going to be the way to go, and essentially put all of their eggs in those baskets. It likely held them back a bit in switching to all-EV models. Just a guess.

  64. dazedandconfused says:


    Clarence Thomas??

  65. dazedandconfused says:

    Re: Musk

    Musk needs investors to help him raise the money his mouth has spent…and the MAGAs are the most gullible suckers on the planet. The mating dance of the Red-Plumed Cuckoo Nutters begins.

  66. CSK says:

    Here’s Madison’s list of “honorable men and women,” whom I assume are the leading faces of Dark Maga:
    1. Donald Trump
    2. Tucker Carlson
    3. Marjorie Taylor Greene
    4. Paul Gosar
    5. Matt Gaetz

    Clarence Thomas appears not to have made the cut.

  67. dazedandconfused says:

    I wouldn’t expect Clarence to be riding in the front of that bus.

  68. just nutha says:


    The alliance…truly unholy…

    I must admit that your statement caught me off guard. I would never have imagined that you would oppose alliances between businesses of any size and government. What happened? Betrayed by the lizard people?

  69. just nutha says:

    @Kylopod: Gentle, gentile, genital. Could be any of the three.

  70. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    The gentle gentile’s genitals…

  71. Kathy says:


    Oh, it wasn’t even the flu! And most of the victims really died with Andromeda!

    Seriously, I’ve an eye for technology when I see either period pieces or movies made decades ago, even when technology isn’t a part of the plot.

    For example, when I saw The Post (about the publication of the Pentagon Papers), I marveled at the single sheet copiers, rotary phones, not a single computer in sight in a big, big office, etc.

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The parts where the scientists are looking at the pathogen are the best. Though it takes a long, long detour through decontamination and sterilization to get there.

  72. JohnSF says:

    @Tony W:
    On EV’s this side of the Big Pond:
    I don’t know if these are available in the States, but som EV’s on sale in UK that I’ve heard good things about from people I know or from reputable reviewers:
    Porsche Taycan (amazing, but as might be expected, not cheap)
    Audi e-tron GT (drool!)
    Skoda Enyaq iV
    Audi Q4 e-tron
    Volvo XC40
    Volkswagen ID.4 & ID.3
    BMW i4
    Citroen e-C4
    Vauxhall Corse-e
    Jaguar I-Pace
    Cupra Born
    Mercedes EQC
    Peugeot e-208
    Mini E, VW e-UP, Fiat 500-E (if you only need a shortish range urban car)

    General message to Mr Musk: the Europeans are comin’ fer yer lunch, matey!

  73. JohnSF says:

    Incidentally Jag I-Pace is reckoned about a par to Tesla for reliability.
    Though at present track records and survey base is a bit statistically iffy.

  74. JohnSF says:

    As Josh Marshall said:

    I guess it’s lucky for Musk he was able to liquidate a decent chunk of his Tesla stock before the price cratered. He can’t help it if he’s lucky.


    See also Alex Hern in The Guardian

    “…the incredible power of getting away with shit.”

    Well, it’s all cool so long as you get to be God-Emperor of Dune Mars.

    “My name is Elonmuskias, King of Kings;
    Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

  75. JohnSF says:

    @Michael reynolds:
    Oddly enough the “Bagehot” column in The Economist is a lament on the British political classes obsession with American politics, and why it results in short-circuits in an entirely different polity.

    And you kids can just stop it with the “high school prom” right now, dammit! And Santa Claus. And Halloween pumpkins for that matter. And get off my lawn!

  76. JohnSF says:

    @just nutha:
    The gentle gentile’s generals genitals…

  77. JohnSF says:


    …not the stock I would be holding right now.

    Sound like ol’ Elon was holding a different stock himself.

  78. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: You know, I’m rewatching The Rockford Files, and I just noticed that within the show, there’s no such thing as dialing 911 for emergencies. People actually called the operator and said “get me the police”. Or “get me the number of the police”, and then called the police themselves.

  79. CSK says:

    Does the “S” in your screen name stand for “Shelley”?

  80. Kurtz says:

    In my corner of Florida:

    Temp: 87°
    AccuWeather’s RealFeel: 97°

    Beads of sweat form immediately upon my eye meeting window.

  81. CSK says:

    It’s supposed to be 96 degrees in northeastern Mass. tomorrow.

  82. Sleeping Dog says:

    Regarding Tesla stock. The shorts are finally rejoicing.

  83. JohnSF says:

    I really liked Vangelis’ stuff even before Blade Runner.
    First heard of him in connection to a now (largely) forgotten group, Aphrodite’s Child, who had an amazing and really weird album in 1972: 666

    Killer track,also released as a single was Four Horsemen
    (Extra special bonus points if you can guess who the singer is!)

    The leading horse is white
    The second horse is red
    The third one is a black
    The last one is a green

  84. CSK says:

    Didn’t Vangelis win the Oscar for the theme to Chariots of Fire?

  85. JohnSF says:


    Didn’t Vangelis win the Oscar for the theme to Chariots of Fire?

    Think so.
    Oddly enough (or not, me being the twisted sort that I am), I never thought Chariots… was one of his better compositions.

  86. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: Total speculation on my part, but for the past couple, maybe three years Musk has given me the vibe of a slow motion avalanche. The inability to focus, the reckless tweets riffed off while apparently stoned on something, the accelerating pace at which he brings his personal life to the forefront, and the ever more public display of his grandiose view of his own brilliance as he expands it from what he inarguably does incredibly well into, well, every facet of human existence. Nowadays he has an opinion about everything and he has to let the whole world know about each and every one.

    If I were a betting man I would guess he’s one step away from convincing himself that he is brighter than any low paid fed and so he can pledge the same assets for multiple loans or commit some other type of fraud because he’ll always be one step ahead.

  87. dazedandconfused says:


    The genteel General’s gentle genitals?

  88. JohnSF says:

    It’s all the lulz until you cause some serious people to lose serious money.
    And/or attract the attentions of a sufficiently terrier-like investigator.

    At which point chattin’ comedy may stop being a good strategy.

  89. JohnSF says:

    Though I for one would pay unserious money to see him make an announcement on Tesla share prices while wearing shorts.

  90. Kurtz says:


    he expands it from what he inarguably does incredibly well into, well, every facet of human existence. Nowadays he has an opinion about everything and he has to let the whole world know about each and every one.

    I made a similar point a couple weeks ago.

  91. MarkedMan says:

    @Kurtz: Good thing we people in this comments section don’t similarly have an opinion about everything! 😉

  92. Gustopher says:

    Having the words “Elon” and “Musk” blocked on twitter has been a godsend these days — although things keep slipping through. Apparently a horse is involved, and he wants everyone to know there is something weird and distinctive about his penis?

    Anyway, I stand by my initial assessment: middle aged man feels impotent when his girlfriend leaves him for a trans woman, lashes out. Midlife crisis with extra random texture.

  93. Gustopher says:

    @dazedandconfused: gentle gentile genitals, in general.

  94. CSK says:

    Possibly Madison meant to say “genteel,” in which case we would have “the genteel gentile general’s genitals.”

  95. Kathy says:


    He also did the soundtrack for the original Carl Sagan TV show “Cosmos.”

  96. Gustopher says:

    I’ve got an update on Operation Fly Formula: We’re flying in the first shipment from Switzerland over the weekend.

    That means up to 1.5 million bottles of safe Nestlé infant formula will be coming to U.S. shelves as soon as possible.

    Operation Fly Formula

    This administration needs a new Director Of Naming Thingies.

  97. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: It’s 31 degrees and snowing, here. I-80’s been closed off and on all day. 😛

  98. JohnSF says:


    He also did the soundtrack for the original Carl Sagan TV show “Cosmos.”

    Pretty sure that Cosmos used a variety of stuff in the soundtracks.
    And the Vangelis music was taken from his albums Heaven and Hell, Albedo 0.39, Spiral, Beaubourg, and China.

    I know this because teenage me bought those LP on first release (still got them), and recognised the music when used in Cosmos.

    Which was (and is) one of my favourite TV series ever; up there with Civilisation, Ascent of Man, Life on Earth and Living Planet.

  99. JohnSF says:

    Anyway: has nobody yet bothered to venture a guess as to who the singer was with Vangelis in Aphrodite’s Child?

  100. CSK says:

    Demis Roussos.

  101. CSK says:

    Baseball writer Roger Angell has died. He was 101.

  102. JohnSF says:

    Winner winner, chicken dinner!
    Usually amazes people when I point out this little bit of musical trivia.

    It’s an interesting sidelight on Greek history as well: Roussos and Papathanasiou were both self-exiles (in Paris IIRC) during the regime of the colonels in Athens (67-74) and highly popular, I understand, with young Greeks in that period.

    Also on the diasporic nature of Greek culture (like the Jews, Armenians etc) in the “Levant” before the 1950’s: Roussos was born in Alexandria, Egypt. At that time about a quarter of the population of that city was Greek.

  103. Kurtz says:


    Ha. I only posted today because I got some push back on it. I thought the specific criticism was unfair at the time. I still do.

  104. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: Jon Anderson?

  105. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: whoops. I see I was already wrong when I posted. But my wife was a big fan of the Jon Anderson (Yes, from the creative era) and Vangelis collaboration