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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    An unvaccinated young adult from New York recently contracted polio, the first US case in nearly a decade, health officials said Thursday.

    Officials said the patient, who lives in Rockland county, had developed paralysis. The person developed symptoms a month ago and did not recently travel outside the country, county health officials said.

    It appears the patient had a vaccine-derived strain of the virus, perhaps from someone who got live vaccine – available in other countries, but not the US – and spread it, officials said.

    The person is no longer deemed contagious, but investigators are trying to figure out how the infection occurred and whether other people were exposed to the virus. Most Americans are vaccinated against polio, but this should serve as a wake-up call to the unvaccinated, said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Brown University pandemic researcher.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    An Arizona resident has shared surveillance video of a UPS driver collapsing on the doorstep of his house, in an effort to warn others about dangerously high temperatures, according to recent reports.

    The video footage, shared by Scottsdale homeowner Brian Enriquez from his doorbell device, captures a delivery person ambling slowly toward the door, seeming uncertain on his feet. When the delivery man leans over to leave the package on the doormat, he falls and slumps on the ground.

    The unnamed delivery driver lies there for a few moments before he stands and rings the doorbell. He is then pictured “staggering away,” NBC News reported.

    Enriquez was not at home during the incident, and did not see the recording from his Ring device until after the driver had departed. After Enriquez saw the video, he called police and UPS to inform them of what had occurred.

    UPS had this to say: “We appreciate the concern for our employee and can report that he is fine. UPS drivers are trained to work outdoors and for the effects of hot weather.”

    Translation: “No worries Our drivers are disposable. A new one has already taken the place of that older and obsolete model.”

    (that video is more than a bit scary)

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Republicans keep gerrymandered maps – after they were struck down by court

    Turcer is the executive director of the Ohio chapter of Common Cause, a government watchdog group, and one of the most knowledgeable people about redistricting in her state. Earlier that morning, the Ohio supreme court struck down the map for the state’s 15 congressional districts, saying they were so distorted in favor of Republicans that they violated the state constitution. It was the seventh time this year the court has struck down either a congressional or state legislative map (it has struck down the congressional map twice and state legislative districts five times).

    Despite those rulings, Republicans have maneuvered to keep both the congressional and state legislative maps in place for this fall’s election. It has set up an extraordinary circumstance in Ohio: voters will cast ballots for federal and state representation this fall in districts that are unconstitutional.

    Turcer and I have spoken several times over the last few months as the saga in Ohio has unfolded, and she is not someone who sugar-coats things. I’ve been interested in her perspective as someone who was initially optimistic about the reforms – she fought to pass them – but has seen the reality of how Republicans have brazenly ignored them this year.

    “It’s incredibly painful to participate in elections that you know are rigged,” she told me. “I’ve been encouraging folks to look at the upcoming elections as important to participate because if we do just opt out, we would have even worse representation.”

  4. wr says:

    Is it safe to say we no longer have to worry about President Hawley in 2025?

  5. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The individual is from an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community north of NYC. They are anti-vax in all things and were the epicenter of at least one recent measles outbreak.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    I wanted to expand a little on my contrarian view (at least for here) about the US response to COVID. Unlike the consensus, I don’t think it was an abject failure. Yesterday I said, “epidemics are math” by which I meant that the spread of any given disease is a combination of several factors, with the two most important being transmissibility and whether the disease is transmissible before the onset of symptoms. It was obvious from the earliest stages of the disease that COVID came down on the bad side of both of those. If you remember, the health agencies’ goal was to “flatten the curve”. What they were saying was that everyone was eventually going to get it regardless of what we did, and we were going to have a tremendous number of deaths, so our best strategy was to slow the spread so as not to overwhelm hospitals, such as what happened in the greater NYC area at the onset.

    People seemed to push that message out their minds, and it became a mantra that if only people masked or isolated or a hundred other things, this disease would have been stamped out in the early stages. In reality, given the math, that was never going to happen.

    We were able to flatten the curve pretty much everywhere but the trump states. And then miracle of miracles, we got an effective vaccine in record time. And, while large number of unnecessary deaths occurred among people who refused to take basic precautions due to self induced ignorance or sheer cussedness, the people who took basic precautions fared about as well as could be expected, and the machinery of government moved mountains at the federal level to get that vaccine into as many arms as possible. We are better than 90% vaccinated in the most vulnerable sector (75 years old or older) and that rises to 98 or 99% in the non-trump states.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @wr: I wouldn’t go that far.

  9. Kathy says:

    I did finish up Picard season 2 yesterday. Overall: meh.


    You’ve been warned.

    For one thing, what’s with all the past trauma in this series? Season 1, Rios tells of watching his captain kill himself after committing and atrocity, Musiker loses her family, Jurati loses her funding and her partner (whom she later kills). Season 2, We learn Picard lost his mother in childhood, a fact kept so deeply buried we heard not a scintilla of it in seven seasons of TNG and several movies? Please.

    And where was Jean Luc’s brother (whom you may remember died in a fire right before the first TNG movie)?

    Beyond that, the twist that Q was acting in Picard’s benefit, and that Jurati turned the Borg queen, and now we’re all friends and can all get along, was rather silly. besides, it left a terrible but manipulated Adam Soong to be the real bad guy.

    Speaking of Soong, just what experiment was he actually carrying out with Kore and her dead sisters? Kore was a clone of whom? Why the autoimmune disease?

    And weren’t we past the reset button with the arc shows?

    As for Wesley showing up and retconning the Traveler and such, that was ok fan service. besides, though I never cared much for Wesley, I really like Will Wheaton. I was glad to see him visit his old TV home.

    Season 1 was much better. I’d hoped they’d follow on the lives of the androids Soong and Maddox created. No such luck.

  10. Jen says:

    @wr: I fervently hope that is the case. For today, I’ll just bathe in the jokes:

    “Missouri Dems should hold an annual ‘Josh Hawley 5K’ fundraiser”

    “When reporters ask Hawley if he’s going to run, he’ll need to clarify what they mean”

    Great compilation of some of the best here.

  11. @Kathy: I was entertained by Picard season 2, but it does not hold up to much thinking about it. Like, at all. (If anything because it didn’t fully reset the timeline).

  12. CSK says:

    Perhaps “Runaway” by Dell Shannon.

  13. Kathy says:


    We didn’t really know how the trump* virus spread or that it did so asymptomatically right at the start. Research takes time. if it had been something like the 2009 version of H1N1, lockdowns would have wiped it out in a few weeks, months at most. We learned it wasn’t something that benign.

    Now, had we known from te outset all about how it spreads, would lockdowns have happened? I think so. Isolating all sources of infection (infected people) from all likely targets of infection (uninfected people), makes so much sense it’s as obvious as a hydrogen bomb going off next door.

    But, “for every problems there’s a solution that’s obvious, simple, and wrong.”

    Taking the whole of what we’ve learned from the trump pandemic, IMO next time we should go straight to masking, distancing, capacity restrictions, mixed work (part at home part at the office), isolating whoever tests positive or displays symptoms, and such, with lockdown as an extreme and temporary measure should it prove necessary.

    Of course, this runs into the mass resistance of people who’d rather contract a disease than mask or, horrors, be limited on where they cna go and what they can do.

    so, no, looking back we could not have stopped this virus from spreading all over the world. But we could have kept the number of cases and deaths much lower than they turned out to be.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:


    You’ll notice, I hope, I said nothing about Tallinn giving up her life to save Renee (who?). That was kind of clever, and in keeping with what she explained her mission was.

    BTW, Orla Brady really nails both characters she plays. I’m amazed by her ability to calmly note deadly dangers and do something about them.

    As to the timeline, I was hoping to avoid time travel contortions, but my brain works beyond my capacity to control. So:

    The timeline did not need to be reset. It already included the brave crew of La Sirena traveling to the past and meddling.

    In ep one, the Borg (who give themselves away by the use of green lights) specifically call out for Picard and hint they want to join the Federation. This wasn’t necessary if all they wanted was to assimilate some ships.

    Then the Queen invades the Stargazer, but her face is covered for some reason. Though she appears to be hostile in taking the ships over, she doesn’t kill a single one of the people shooting at her trying to stop her. She stuns them.

    So, things didn’t change when they got back. It was Jurati all along.

  15. @Kathy: MORE SPOILERS

    I take the point that it was Jurati all along.

    But my point is that if there was a Jurati Borg out there all that time the whole of the timeline should be different. No Locutus. No Wolf 359. Etc. Etc. Unless, for some unexplained reason, she was just hanging out until the early 25th Century to appear.

  16. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:


    “That’s why time travel arguments give me nose bleeds” Geordi LaForge.

  17. CSK says:

    This is quite a good summation and commentary on last night’s Jan. 6 hearing:

    Well worth reading.

  18. BugManDan says:
  19. CSK says:

    Rick Wilson observed that Hawley’s “tiny tiny testicles are now a hood ornament on Liz Cheney’s SUV.”

  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    Two dangerous temptations for the fiction writer: time travel and psychic abilities. You can get away with a one-off, but not a series. Not without a whole lot of hand-waving.

  21. Kathy says:

    This week I read Dan Carlin’s* book “The End is Always Near.” Not bad. He talks a lot about the various means by which humanity could go extinct. Well the pessimistic ones anyway**.

    Next I went with “The Light of the Stars” by astronomer Adam Frank. He also brings up some of the themes Carlin does, but the theme of the books is slightly more oriented towards the possibility of alien civilizations.

    as both deal with the notion of filters that remove or may remove civilizations from existence, and with the Fermi Paradox as well, I had a question regarding the odds of life and intelligence arising elsewhere.

    There’s much talk about orbital distances from the primary star, liquid water, atmospheric composition, etc. My question is “what about magnetic fields?”

    Earth’s magnetic field stirs much solar radiation and solar wind (charged particles) around our planet. Such fields are common, but Venus, Mars, the Moon, and Pluto lack them. Mercury has a very feeble one. The moons of the gas giants lack any, except for Ganymede. The gas giants themselves have magnetic fields.

    So, can life even arise on a world not protected from its star’s radiation by a magnetic field? If not, the odds of intelligent life, or mere life, elsewhere decrease a great deal. Such fields don’t seem to be common in rocky worlds.

    *I know he has a history podcast, but have not heard it.

  22. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Two dangerous temptations for the fiction writer: time travel and psychic abilities.

    Psychic powers have long been the primary way in allegedly science fiction works of sneaking magic in through the backdoor.

  23. Kathy says:


    In the case of Star Wars, through the front door past a red carpet.

  24. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Unless you’re Mr Peabody or Doctor Who.

  25. Kylopod says:


    In the case of Star Wars, through the front door past a red carpet.

    Well, yes. Star Wars doesn’t just have fantasy elements, but is in a very broad way rooted in the fantasy tradition. It’s Lord of the Rings in space. What’s interesting to me is when these elements are more subtle, like in Star Trek. Trekkies have always liked to think of their series as being “true science fiction,” ignoring the many times it has veered into mysticism and magic, as in the Vulcan katra business. When Obama used the phrase “Jedi mind meld” and earned snickers from the nerd community (I’ve long had the theory he was deliberately trolling them), there’s a reason it was easy for him to get the two mixed up. They’re not that different.

  26. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Two dangerous temptations for the fiction writer: time travel and psychic abilities. You can get away with a one-off, but not a series”

    That’s why Doctor Who has only lasted 59 years.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: The Guardian had an article a few days ago linking the Cambrian Explosion* to a shift in the Earth’s core that produced a dip in the magnetic field.

    * For readers not Kathy, a period over 500 million years ago in which there was a rapid (in geologic terms) proliferation of life forms.

  28. CSK says:

    TPM has the perfect headline:
    Hawlin’ Ass

  29. Mu Yixiao says:


    So, can life even arise on a world not protected from its star’s radiation by a magnetic field?

    I’m pretty sure it would result in Spontaneous Tardigrade Generation.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Not only disposable, also biodegradable.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: No, but the fist and flee moment will be good opposition advertising.

    Provided that 2024 voters remember “what all the Jan 6 fuss was about.” Even at that a Josh Hawley GQP candidacy is still worth 48% of the electorate. That might be enough to win given the Electoral College.

  32. Kathy says:


    In “A Short History of Nearly Everything,” Bill Bryson takes some time to talk about how the age of the Earth was determined. Early on, calculations based on the time it would take for the planet to cool, gave results at odds with theories on geological formations and biological evolution. That is, the Earth wouldn’t be anywhere near old enough for such processes to have taken place in the time required.

    The error lay in te fact that the Earth has not cooled yet (really). As I understand it, part has to do with the presence of radioactive elements in the crust, which generate heat as they decay.

    This is relevant because it’s largely the Earth’s core’s temperature that provides the magnetic field of the planet. The core is mostly molten iron, and it spins at speeds different than the planet as a whole. If it had cooled down to a solid, we’d have no magnetic field.

    It’s likely this is why the other rocky worlds overall tend to lack such amenities, while gas giants probably depend on the effects of the pressure on their cores their outsize gravities and thick atmospheres bring to bear.

    I wonder what the content of radioactive elements is in Mars, Venus, the Moon, and the satellites of the gas giants.

  33. JohnSF says:

    An explanation I read some years back re Cambrian proliferation was a massive “arms race” driven by the development of both vision and bilateral symmetry., which in turn was triggered by rising levels of oxygenation.
    Could maybe a rebooted magnetic field impact atmospheric chemistry due to charged particle impacts?
    Alternatively, could it make oceanic surface layer more suitable for algae and thus oxygen output?

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “…but it does not hold up to much thinking about it.”

    I don’t think it’s supposed to. To paraphrase Howard Hughes, “we’re making television here, not history.”

  35. JohnSF says:

    Good point.
    But OTOH, Dr Who is so densely packed of paradoxes, longer term storyline holes and continuity issues, and hasty retconning of plot structures atop earlier retcon scaffolding, it really shouldn’t have lasted this long, but have imploded into a plot singularity years ago. 🙂

  36. @Just nutha ignint cracker: I mean, sure, but some stories do a better job of it than others.

  37. @JohnSF: And at times it a sublime mess.

    Moffat mostly could pull it off.

    Chibnall, alas, did not.

    I am looking forward to what RTD does with his encore performance.

  38. Michael Reynolds says:


    That’s why Doctor Who has only lasted 59 years.

    Like I said: a lot of hand-waving. A lot.

  39. JohnSF says:

    Sure I’ve seen somewhere argument that magnetic field relates to core relates to geochemistry which relates to planetary size and orbit.

    Very simplified, and hazily recalled:
    Mars = too small to retain sufficient radioactives to balance greater relative surface area heat loss, plus loss of volatiles, lead to relative core cooling and “tectonic locking” of crust with braking and convection damping.
    Venus = slower rotation and higher insolation rather than less mass drive loss of water; this also reduces “lubrication” of incipient plate tectonics, and combination of “locked” crust and slow rotation similarly reduces rotational/convection effects in mantle and core leading to field failure.

    So, planet of Earthlike mass in orbits outward from Venus to ? who knows might be expected to have rotating and convecting cores = have magnetic fields.

    That’s the optimistic argument.
    The pessimistic is that it took the massive impact that formed the Moon to prevent the Earth’s core from stratifying and locking.
    If so, only massively impacted Earth-likes have magnetic fields.

    On the gripping hand, we need more data on how viable a non-shielded earthlike would be.
    And for that matter (I have no idea) what is the relative level of charged particle flux of different star types?

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: For me, the first episode of Picard (which I probably only watched because I had CBS All Access and nothing else particular to watch) was the final evidence that I never again needed to watch a Star Trek spinoff. So, it didn’t do a particularly good job. Even from Ep. 1.

    Then again, I lost access to the spinoffs after TNG (don’t remember why, but no money for cable/never been a buyer of movie tickets played a role), so I probably also lost interest at the same time.

  41. Kathy says:


    The thing is we know little about precursor creatures to those found at the Cambrian explosion period, because they didn’t fossilize as well (lacking internal or external skeletons). The arms race may have been going on for a long time by then.

    We just don’t her much about magnetic fields. either when considering alien life, or the ideas for terraforming or colonizing Mars.

  42. JohnSF says:


    …we know little about precursor creatures…

    Where’s a TARDIS when you really need one? 🙁

  43. JohnSF says:


    …terraforming or colonizing Mars.

    Once he’s transformed into a sandworm, God-Emperor Elon will be immune to such petty things as charged particles, so all good. 🙂

  44. Mister Bluster says:

    WTOP Radio Washington DC is reporting that a verdict has been reached in the Bannon trial.
    Stay tuned.

  45. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    That was quick. Not good news for the defense.

  46. Mister Bluster says:
  47. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster: @CSK:


  48. Kathy says:


    The pessimistic is that it took the massive impact that formed the Moon to prevent the Earth’s core from stratifying and locking.

    I’ve been wondering about that.

    The slightly less pessimistic view is a similar impact appears to have knocked Uranus on its side. Maybe then proto-planets colliding with each other is relatively common.

    On the gripping hand, we need more data on how viable a non-shielded earthlike would be.

    First we need to know how life originated. We have hypotheses galore, but no real proof.

    Past that, developed life is not the same as evolving chemicals reaching self-organizing and self-replication stage. We know some living beings can adapt to pretty strong radiation and other hostile environments, but not whether life can arise there.

  49. Mister Bluster says:

    Obviously the OTB clock needs to display fractions of seconds to determine who gets the scoop!

  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: @JohnSF:

    Dr. Who gets away with it by not really trying very hard to make sense, with heavy doses of British drollery and silliness. The newest iteration ran into the relatively recent phenomenon of treating sci fi and fantasy as inerrant scripture. See superfans of: GOT, LOTR, Star Wars, all things Marvel. It’s unfair – the Doctor was never supposed to be taken without a big pinch of salt and a few cups of sugar. It was never self-serious.

    Without having really thought much about it, Katherine and I decided on an approach to canon that makes it clear to fans that neither of us is inspired by God and we work in the medium of computer software and not stone tablets. Self-seriousness is a trap. Scholastic/PictureStart are idiots not to have found a way to engage us on Animorphs. I think they stupidly thought we’d be literalist defenders of Holy Scripture, but what we really intended – as we told them repeatedly – was to shepherd the fan base to accept the necessary changes that come with adaptation.

    Hollywood has this bizarre approach to IP. Step One: spend a fortune to acquire existing IP because with it comes with brand recognition and an existing fan base. Step Two: piss off that fan base you just bought. It’s like buying Pepsi Co. because people love Pepsi, and then adding 20% horse piss to the drink and being shocked by the results. Sometimes, to add the cherry on top of the self-destruct sundae, they antagonize the IP creators.

    YouTube is hip-deep in superfans shitting on adaptations of their beloved scriptures, all blaming ‘wokeness.’ Wokeness per se isn’t the problem, panicky over-correction paired with shitty writing, is.

  51. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    I defer to you in this case. You beat me to it.

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: No we don’t. First past the line goes on top. You win!

  53. Mister Bluster says:
  54. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnSF: We don’t need no steenking British Tardis. We have the time machine Obama used to plant those fake birth announcements in the Honolulu papers.

  55. wr says:

    @JohnSF: And its primary villains are salt shakers with a whisk for one arm and a toilet plunger for the other. Somehow it manages to embrace all the things that should doom it and make them work…

  56. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’m so thrilled that Chibnall has gone. I’ve never liked his writing, not even on the much-praised Broadchurch, a mystery so badly plotted it ends with the still-unsuspected killer confessing basically because he’s tired of hiding the secret, and never explaining why he did it. The end.

    It’s too bad about Jodie Whittaker, though. I’d like to have seen what she could do with the character if she actually had a character to play, and decent scripts to play in.

  57. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I wonder if he even waited for the verdict before filing his appeal.

  58. CSK says:

    The max sentence Bannon will get is 2 years in durance vile.

  59. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “YouTube is hip-deep in superfans shitting on adaptations of their beloved scriptures, all blaming ‘wokeness.’ Wokeness per se isn’t the problem, panicky over-correction paired with shitty writing, is.”

    Often, the fans screaming about “wokeness” are pissed off because there’s a female character who doesn’t need to be rescued or an actor who isn’t white.

    There are lots of reasons to be unhappy with lots of adaptations, but if the list starts with “woke,” it’s generally coming from some adolescent white-supremacist loser who’s pissed off because the whole purpose of genre fiction is to let him masturbate while he dreams of what that princess is going to do for him after he rescues her.

  60. grumpy realist says:

    …as one vlogger quipped in his video essay on why the Daleks are too stupid to ever be the Biggest Baddies, “Why, it’s like Doctor Who isn’t taking itself seriously!” (shows Matt Smith’s Doctor gleefully shouting “dinosaurs on a spaceship!” with a T-Rex rampaging towards him.)

    I have to admit that the older I get, the less respect can I pay to epic fantasy.

  61. Gustopher says:

    @wr: Doctor Who seldom uses time travel except to get to a new setting for an adventure.

    The Doctor, the Master, the Daleks… all seem to move forward in their timelines as the show progresses, no matter what time period they are in.

    There are some exceptions here and there, Genesis of the Daleks and a few others, but it’s generally just the background that changes.

    Stories that have time travel within the adventure are very rare in Doctor Who. (Becoming less rare, we will see how that pans out).

    And Classic Who tended to have less of a continuity and more of a premise — it was episodic adventures (each over a few episodes) with almost no connective tissue. New Who is far more concerned with continuity, but even there less than most franchises.

  62. Gustopher says:

    @wr: Recently rewatched Spyfall (Jodie Whittiker’s second season opener) and it wasn’t bad. Her parts were quite good — you can see a character there, rather than a frantic pastiche of previous Doctors.

    (Remove the laser shoe, or cut it down to a brief gag, and the two episodes might have gotten to decent.)

    I’m hoping her final outing is good, because she really deserves at least one good to great story.

  63. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Picard Season 2 is a shaggy dog story. The destination is clearly going to disappoint, but if you just enjoy the details you’ll enjoy the show.

    Lots of subplots that didn’t need to be there, but they had the characters and wanted to give them something to do. Lots of characters that didn’t need to be there, but they had the actors and wanted to give them something to do.

    Lots of episodes that didn’t need to be there, but they had the budget…

    I wanted more scenes with Rios in a tuxedo. He looked great in a tuxedo, and given the near aimless nature of the show, that would have been as good a thing to prioritize as anything else.

    And keep Elnor around, because he was fun. That was a big loss for the show.

  64. dazedandconfused says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    That was quick. I was told there would be medieval.

  65. Kathy says:


    The trailer was better than the show.

    And keep Elnor around, because he was fun. That was a big loss for the show.

    I think they ran into the good Romulan character exclusion principle. That is, you can have only one good Romulan character that moves or helps to move the plot along at a time. So in Season 1 Laris could exist on Earth, but not on latter eps in space, that was Elnor’s time (Laris’ husband Zhaban, did not help to move the plot). This time you had Tallinn in latter eps (also a Romulan), therefore Elnor had to be moved out of the way.

    Otherwise you risk a tear in the plot-theme contínuum.

  66. @Gustopher: She had unrealized potential. And I tried really, really hard to like her run. There are some good bits, but I think it does boil down to the showrunner just not being the right fit.

    I love Doctor Who and I can’t make myself want to watch the last two specials (the Dalek one and the Sea Devil one).

  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Assign him to the right population and the problem can be fixed permanently. Just sayin’.

  68. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    His personal hygiene might be improved.

  69. Jen says:

    And…another one:

    Colorado Man Pleads Guilty to Casting Missing Wife’s Ballot for Trump

    “I just thought, give him another vote,” he said, referring to Mr. Trump. “I figured all these other guys are cheating. I know she was going to vote for Trump anyway.”

    What these idiots seem to miss, over and over and over again, is that it’s fairly easy to get caught doing this.

    Which is why it is NONSENSICAL to allege that the election was stolen or rigged or…whatever.

    Put another way, if prosecutors can suss out one false vote amongst millions cast in a state, how on earth do they think that someone could get away with throwing an election, which would require thousands and thousands of illegal votes???

    It is so maddening to me that this is such a straightforward thing, and yet people are still dumb/gullible enough to believe it.

  70. JohnSF says:

    Ah, it’s just one more sign of the conspiracy.
    Accusing poor little MAGAt’s who were only fighting the Power, in order to cover up the massive crimes of the Soros led Illuminati alumni of Deep State U.
    Also, emails! chemtrails! cocktails! BENGHAZI!
    (Am I doing this right?)

  71. CSK says:

    You forgot Bill Gates, but excellent nonetheless.

  72. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “I love Doctor Who and I can’t make myself want to watch the last two specials (the Dalek one and the Sea Devil one).”

    The Dalek one is actually good — mostly because guest star Aisling Bea is really funny and abrasive. If she’d been the companion all along, the show might have worked. I’d recommend checking this one out. But the sea monsters I made it through maybe ten minutes of…

  73. Michael Reynolds says:


    There are lots of reasons to be unhappy with lots of adaptations, but if the list starts with “woke,” it’s generally coming from some adolescent white-supremacist loser who’s pissed off because the whole purpose of genre fiction is to let him masturbate while he dreams of what that princess is going to do for him after he rescues her.

    Most, yeah, but there are better and worse ways to manage that. For all the misogyny you’ll notice very few if any complaints about Ripley (Aliens) and she was no damsel in distress. Ditto Leia, who was a princess but not a wimp. And fanboys loved them some Arya Stark and Black Widow. Similarly I have not seen racist reaction to Nick Fury as played by Sam Jackson, or Lando Calrissian played by Billy Dee Williams originally and soon (or already?) played by Donald Glover.

    The trouble generally comes when an established character is altered – by race or sex. Or when a badly-written new character appears and seems to be more statement than character. And to be fair the outrage is not just about sex and race. The uproar over Boba Fett – a white guy – is about subversion of the character. Some of this again goes back to the Holy Writ approach a lot of these guys are stuck into. Other times they have legit problems with shitty writing and production.

    An example from my IP. I hear that one of the established male characters in Ani***phs is going to be trans. Here’s the thing: there’s already a character beloved by transgender fans who rather more subtly makes the point. Making this change will be seen as unnecessary meddling for the sole purpose of delivering a message – a message we already delivered, just without stomping around in big boots. Fans, including trans fans, will hate it as crude pandering. But the producers will pat themselves on the back and think they’re heroes of the revolution.

    My beef is not with the political agenda, an agenda I share, but with the galumphing clumsiness and self-congratulation with which it’s done. I genuinely admire a lot of Hollywood writers, it’s a long list (I bow in the general direction of Vince Gilligan, Tina Fey, Ianucci, Lisa McGee and dozens more) but you cannot produce 500 scripted shows a year plus a couple hundred features with good writers. There aren’t that many. There are maybe 50 writers in the English speaking world who could make Amazon’s LOTR spin-off work*. Maybe Payne and McKay are two of them, but I don’t have high hopes.

    *I’m not one.

  74. Michael Reynolds says:

    BTW, a note about OTB. Today we reading and discussing excellent posts on politics and law and economics, enjoying a haunting photo, and also dealing with the much more important topic of Dr. Who.

    No other blog I’ve ever seen does this. The doctors (Who? No, PhDs) have done something impressive here. Kudos.

  75. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    In the immortal words of that 17th Century badass Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, on the attainder of Lord Strafford after impeachment on charges of attempting to subvert the constitution:

    “stone dead hath no fellow”

    (Act of Attainder = condemnation by vote of Parliament without the need for any messy trial business)

  76. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Similarly I have not seen racist reaction to Nick Fury as played by Sam Jackson, or Lando Calrissian played by Billy Dee Williams

    If social media had existed in 1980, I suspect we’d have seen a racist reaction to Lando–especially since his casting came after the first film was criticized for the lily-whiteness of its cast (aside from James Earl Jones’ uncredited voice). Lucas denied he cast BDW in reaction to those criticisms, but it was commonly perceived that was why he did it.

    Also, there’s a clear difference between casting minorities in supporting roles vs. lead ones. If Luke, Han, or Leia had been black, that would have been a much bigger deal.

  77. @wr: I had seen some pretty brutal reviews of the Sea Devil episode, but will probably watch the Dalek ep at some point.

    @Michael Reynolds: This can be a pretty cool place now and again 🙂