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:

    A Florida prosecutor suspended by Ron DeSantis for defying a new 15-week abortion law says a federal judge’s decision to send his reinstatement appeal to trial means a reckoning is coming for the state’s Republican governor.

    Andrew Warren, a Democrat, was removed as Hillsborough county state attorney on 4 August after saying he would not enforce the abortion ban or prosecute providers of gender transition treatment for young people. DeSantis cited Warren’s alleged “woke agenda” in reasons for his decision.

    At a hearing in Tallahassee on Monday, Judge Robert Hinkle denied motions from DeSantis to dismiss Warren’s lawsuit, and another by Warren seeking an immediate return to office, instead requesting their differences be settled at a trial in the coming weeks.
    “The governor is entrusted by the people of Florida to utilize his constitutional powers and may suspend elected officials in Florida who refuse to enforce the law,” DeSantis’s office said in a statement following Monday’s hearing.

    Critics, however, have accused the governor of selective application of the principle. The Orlando Sentinel noted that DeSantis has taken no action against so-called “constitutional” sheriffs who say they won’t enforce certain gun laws. But he did act in 2019, suspending the Broward county sheriff, Scott Israel, a Democrat, for “neglect of duty”.
    Warren said his reinstatement was not the sole objective of his lawsuit.

    “I would have liked to be back in office already but there’s more at stake than just my job,” he said. “Regardless of what party you belong to, or who you vote for, yours always matters. No elected official has the right to throw out anyone’s vote. And the governor here has tried to throw out the votes of hundreds of thousands of Floridians and overturn an election. If he gets away with it, what’s left of our democracy? What’s the point of having elections?”

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From Profiting from poison: how the US lead industry knowingly created a water crisis

    Just ask Julius Ballanco, a longtime Chicago plumbing engineer. When he got his first taste of the plumbing industry, as a teenager working in his father’s New Jersey plumbing business in the 1960s, lead was everywhere.

    He remembers spending cold, rainy mornings sitting in a trench, breathing in the fumes from a pot of melting lead, which the plumbers of the time used for the painstaking job of soldering together lead or cast iron pipe.

    “You’d come home and your hands would be shining because the lead got into your skin, giving us lead poisoning,” said Ballanco. “I often wonder if I’d be a little smarter today if I hadn’t had to deal with lead.”

    After going to university to become a plumbing engineer, Ballanco moved to Chicago and learned just how entrenched the toxic metal had become in the city. He joined a national engineering organization trying to get lead requirements out of city building codes.

    By then, the lead industry’s sales campaign had ended and most cities had long since banned lead pipes, recognizing the danger of childhood lead poisoning. But Chicago’s plumbers, according to news articles and accounts from the time, were still championing lead for its durability and bendable nature.

    In Chicago, the city code still said in early 1986 that any pipe 2in or less in diameter connecting a home to the water system had to be lead – and plumbers fought to keep that rule in place for decades, news accounts suggest.

    I remember way back in the stone age, a couple of plumbers I worked with ended up in the hospital with lead poisoning. Kinda hard to believe they would want to keep working with it when there were safer materials available.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Specks of dust that a Japanese space probe retrieved from an asteroid about 186 million miles (300m kilometres) from Earth have revealed a surprising component: a drop of water. The discovery offers new support for the theory that life on Earth may have been seeded from outer space.

    The findings are in the latest research to be published from analysis of 5.4 grammes of stones and dust that the Hayabusa-2 probe gathered from the asteroid Ryugu.

    “This drop of water has great meaning,” the lead scientist, Tomoki Nakamura of Tohoku University, told reporters before publication of the research in the journal Science on Friday. “Many researchers believe that water was brought [from outer space], but we actually discovered water in Ryugu, an asteroid near Earth, for the first time.”

  4. Jen says:

    Hilary Mantel has died at age 70, from a stroke. Sad news.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The majority of US women have worried about harassment while in public spaces during their lifetime. According to a 2019 national study on sexual assault by Stop Street Harassment and the University of California San Diego Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH), 81% of US women have experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault.

    For some women, threats while running are so significant that they’ve turned to carrying a concealed firearm.

    Although women’s vulnerability while running or walking is clear, no one can seem to agree on the solution. Some argue the danger is low – murders of women out running are rare, although they often attract plenty of media attention. According to a 2017 Runner’s World study, for women between the ages of 16 and 44, there is only a one in 35,336 chance of being a victim of homicide at any time – and most women are killed by someone they know, rather than a random stranger. However, incidents of sexual harassment not ending in abduction, serious injury or death are common and can have serious negative affects for women. According to the GEH, sexual harassment while running or walking causes women, “to feel anxiety or depression and prompt(s) them to change their route or regular routine”. Holly Kearl, Founder of Stop Street Harassment and author of the book 50 Stories About Stopping Street Harassers, says, “Street harassment is not a joke or a compliment. [It] is a human rights violation because it prevents women from having equal access to public spaces.”

    Women who experience sexual harassment and assault while running agree that the effects are long-lasting and significant. But each woman who has been threatened while running is not identical, and neither are the stories of those who run with a gun.

    Jamie, a 40-year-old runner who prefers to withhold her last name for privacy, says, “Women who carry while running are not monolithic, but we are often characterized as such in the media. We are characterized as right-wing, aggressive, backwards-thinking and ignorant of the risks of gun ownership. I am none of these. I am educated, politically moderate and sane.”

    Jamie goes on to describe her own experiences. “I was followed around a popular lake trail by a man who exposed himself to me … about a half mile later, I heard steps behind me and it was him.” It was getting dark, and Jamie realized she was alone with the man, who she assumed was strong enough to overpower her. He came closer and closer, ignoring her entreaties to leave her alone, and backed her into some trees. Finally, “I put my hand on my [up until then concealed] pistol like I was about to draw and I told him to get away from me.” Suddenly, Jamie’s aggressor completely changed his demeanor, telling her to, “stay safe”, and running away.
    Like Hemenway, Kearl agrees that guns are not a safe option for self-defense. But she adds, “our society must do more to stop men from committing violence against us. Women and girls should not have to feel like prey and men and boys should not be socialized to be predators.”

    Life in America.

  6. de stijl says:

    About a week back I was yawning and I heard this loud hard “Pop!”. Right side of my face.

    I temporarily dislocated my jaw. Yes, from yawning.

    It hurt crazy hard for like two seconds then I heard a subtle “chuk” and it mostly went away. The knob resettled into the socket. It was incredibly disturbing and very painful for a few seconds. Hell, it’s still disturbing!

    The rest of the day it hurt, not bad, really, but noticeable. Eating, chewing hurt a bit. (I chew on the right side.) It was uncomfortable. You never notice how much you move your jaw until it hurts and feels weird to do so.

    A week on, I can still feel it. A little. It isn’t pain really, it is a .2 on the one to ten pain scale. Tiny. More of a noticeable localized feeling. Proto pain, but there constantly.

    What if it happens again? What if it doesn’t pop back in on its own next time?

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    A thought for the day. It is the 2024 primary season and TFG has not intimidated other R’s from seeking the nomination. The NH primary comes and goes, TFG is not the winner, there is a tantrum. The season continues and lo and behold, TFG is denied the nomination. Oh the impending chaos will… Bring popcorn.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Alex Jones took the stand on Thursday in the second defamation trial against him and Infowars. His testimony helped no one, least of all himself; as the day wore on, he accused the lawyer questioning him of “ambulance chasing,” and said “liberals” like him were responsible for “killing Iraqis,” comments that probably made sense to his audience but not to the jury. He also managed to get in a plug for “challenge coins” he’s selling on the site, and publicly asked whoever has been anonymously sending him large crypto donations to keep doing it.

    “Conservatives know all about silver and gold,” he told plaintiffs’ attorney Chris Mattei, cheerfully, during an otherwise argumentative day. Moments later, he spelled out the website where his audience can send crypto donations to him. Mattei asked incredulously if he was doing an ad; Jones responded, “We’re fighting the Deep State, we need to make money.” He then said he hoped the “big whales” sending large crypto donations keep doing it. (This is, for those keeping track, the second trial in which he’s managed to shill his products from the stand; he added product placement to his testimony in the last defamation trial against him in Texas, too.)

    I’d like to think he will get stripped of everything but this is America and having not an ounce of dignity is no barrier to riches. In fact, if Jones is proof of anything, it is that it enhances one’s ability to fleece the rubes.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: That has happened to me several times. It always pops back in. It’s not even painful anymore.

  10. JohnSF says:

    Hooray for non-televised trials, say I.
    Also, mildly surprised the judge didn’t tell him to put a sock in it.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    It happens occasionally to me as well. No big deal after the pain goes away. Being cognizant of a repeat occurrence, does take away the pleasure of a mouth stretching yawn.

  12. Scott says:

    I guess they call themselves National Conservatives because National Socialism was taken.

    The Venn Diagram of National Conservatism and Christian Nationalism must approach a circle.

    The Will to Power Was Front and Center at NatCon III

    A sample:

    It was Azerrad who, in 2020, provided an early articulation of what I’ve called “Will-to-Power Conservatism”: “The right must be comfortable wielding the levers of state power,” he wrote, and “using them to reward friends and punish enemies (within the confines of the rule of law).”

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: One of the things we learned over the decades from Trump’s many failed business deals: he inevitably turns on his partners, bigly. If he is denied the nomination he will go after whoever gets it, and anyone else he sees as aiding and abetting that person. And those won’t be democrats…

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: There is a long list of things that neither side is able to mention. To say that it has complicated the proceedings is putting it lightly.

  15. Michael Cain says:

    @de stijl:

    The human jaw joint, like several other joints, is an argument against intelligent design.

  16. Stormy Dragon says:


    The word “plumbing” literally comes from “plumbum”, the Latin word for lead.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Huh, I did not know that. It makes sense considering the Roman’s use of lead in their plumbing.

  18. Scott says:

    I just started the latest Ken Burns PBS documentary, “The US and The Holocaust”. I don’t know if it was Burns intention to draw parallels to or to echo what is now happening now in the US with its latest America First nationalist cultural moment but it does feel like that to me. I just watch the first hour which dealt with the rise of Hitler but, more interestingly, the protest movement here in the States against anti-Semitism. Interestingly, the controversy was that protests in American would only prevent Hitler from moderating his behavior. Nonsensical today, in retrospect, but real then. BTW, I think the lesson learned is that appeasement never works.

    Anyway, today in Politico pops up this article:

    ‘The God-Damnedest Thing’: The Antisemitic Plot to Thwart U.S. Aid to Europe’s Jews and the Man Who Exposed It

    Henry Morgenthau used his close ties with Roosevelt to expose rampant antisemitism in the State Department that thwarted America’s efforts to provide refuge for Jews imperiled by Hitler.

    The war in Europe would test Morgenthau in ways unlike any other member of the Roosevelt administration. In “those terrible eighteen months,” as he would later call the period after the summer of 1942, when he first learned that “the Nazis were planning to exterminate all the Jews of Europe,” Morgenthau would find himself surrounded by threats: an anti-immigrant old guard at the State Department, “America First” isolationists on Capitol Hill and enraged Zionist leaders desperate for the attention of the White House. He would face the greatest test of his 12-year tenure in Washington, risking all that he held most dear: not only his friendship with FDR, but the trust of his best men at Treasury and even the faith of his own family. In the end, Morgenthau would rely on his moral compass — “Franklin’s conscience,” Eleanor Roosevelt liked to call him — to affirm his belief in America as a sanctuary for the persecuted, and press his best friend to act, before it was too late, to save the remaining Jews of Europe. Now, as the nation finds itself once more bitterly divided over its obligations to the world’s refugees, the story of Morgenthau’s crusade serves as a poignant reminder of what can happen when government officials stand up to the misdeeds of their own administration.

  19. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yup, that’s why it will be so entertaining. What’s that line about face eating leopards?

  20. JohnSF says:

    @Stormy Dragon:


    I always though that it was the Latin word for a fat a.. behind.

  21. Mikey says:

    @Scott: Chris Hayes interviewed Burns and his co-director Lynn Novick on “All In” this week, and Burns was very clear that he had actually accelerated the production and release of the documentary based on current events in America.

    From my experience, in 2019 while visiting my wife’s family in Nuremberg we went to the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds. The parallels to the propaganda of Trumpism and the MAGA movement were striking and frightening.

    There’s actually an app you can download with recordings of the audio tour of the museum so you can judge for yourself without having to fly to Nuremberg (although I would always recommend that as it’s a lovely city).

  22. Kathy says:

    This year’s hurricane season in the Atlantic has been subdued. Until Fiona hit Puerto Rico, there wasn’t much news about any hurricanes.

    Now Fiona is projected to move farther north and make landfall in, of all places, Canada.

    BTW, this has also made this season warmer than previous summers in central Mexico. there’s been rain and many cloudy days, but not as much as we’re used to. Drier, too.

  23. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The Romans pretty much invented municipal plumbing. Sewage was big business. Waste was collected for fertilizer and ammonia.

    I’ve read Romans also often added lead salts to wine, as it made it sweet. I do recall from chemistry class that lead compounds often taste sweet. And, yes, they are poison.

  24. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: Yes–Romans would boil down grape juice in lead-lined pots over hours. The resultant syrup would be used as flavouring in roughly everything.

    (I learned this from a historian who was tracing the use of Roman recipes down through history.)

  25. Liberal Capitalist says:

    re: lead

    My father was a craftsman metal finisher in an automotive factory in Detroit. Building Cadillacs in the late 50’s and into the 70’s

    If a Cadillac came down the line and a panel was damaged, lead would be used to correct the flaw.

    I still have his leadworking tools. He passed away at 52 years of age.

    We have a generation that was lost to industrialization of all sorts.

  26. Kathy says:

    I’m currently reading short stories by Philip K. Dick.

    It seems odd, but he has had a lot of his work turned into movies. Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Minority Report, Total Recall (We Can Remember it for You Wholesale), Paycheck, Screamers (Second Variety).

    Inevitably one tries to compare how the movies measure up against the stories, and viceversa. I did read Do Androids Dream etc? back in the 80s, but I recall little about it.

    Minority Report is rather different from the movie, but it keeps the same theme. I rank both as disappointing, as neither explores the ethics of punishing people for things they have not yet done. In the story it does get brought up, but is dismissed at least twice.

    Total recall is completely different. Or, rather, the first third of the movie is very much like the first half of the story, then it takes a left turn and becomes a Schwarzenegger SciFi action movie.

    I didn’t see Paycheck, and I’m in the middle of Second Variety.

  27. Jen says:

    I do recall from chemistry class that lead compounds often taste sweet.

    Yes. This is why lead paint in older housing is such a problem–kids put damn near anything in their mouths, including paint chips that flake off of windows. When they taste good, guess what, kids keep munching on them.

  28. grumpy realist says:

    Looks like England is going the way of Kansas with its attempt to implement the Laffer Curve with their “cut taxes for the rich”. The pound has gone into a swan dive.

  29. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Tell me about it.
    See’s headlines.
    Read budget statement key points.
    Think’s “Oh, …sugar it
    Looks at markets.
    “Double sugar”
    Oh, come swiftly, sweet meteor of Doom.

    (Incidental Brit tip: don’t say “England” for “UK” within hearing of Scots, Norns, or Welsh!)

  30. Franklin says:

    @Scott: Yup. See first post by Ozark

  31. Franklin says:

    @Kathy: The sweet taste is why small kids would eat paint chips.

  32. Franklin says:

    @Franklin: …which is what Jen already said.

  33. gVOR08 says:

    The Guardian reports,

    A top official with AFP Action told Politico after the January 6 insurrection by Donald Trump supporters that it planned to “weigh heavily” future spending and back “policy makers who reject the politics of division”.

    AFP is Chuckles Koch’s Americans for Prosperity (sic). And having said that publicly they are now backing numerous election deniers. While I agree with Dr. T on pretty much everything, the root of our problems is not first-past-the-post elections and partisan primaries or the anti-democratic Senate, but money, which exploits all those things.

  34. Kathy says:


    I never ate paint chips. My house had wallpaper, not painted walls. But the school I attended did have an ugly, shiny shade of yellow paint, which chipped easily. I recall picking at the wall to remove even bigger pieces of paint, but not eating it.

  35. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: It is perhaps not inconsistent with your evaluation that I see Minority Report as one of the best films Steven Spielberg has directed, and Tom Cruise has acted in. (Cruise is kind of a strange duck and works on a lot of not-so-good stuff, but he’s a really good actor, when it comes to what gets on the screen.)

    Really, I like the thing that is set up in the conclusion. I don’t think I need more than that from the filmmakers to question the whole idea.

    In your inventory, you didn’t mention The Man In the High Castle, which is a streaming series based on (a novel I think?) something of Dick’s. In general, his work always deals with someone who isn’t sure exactly what is “real” (whatever that is) or not. This mirrors Dick’s struggle with mental illness coupled with drug experimentation. But the ideas are very visual, and appeal to filmmakers, who understand themselves, from what I can tell, to be constantly “lying” to the camera.

    I quite like Blade Runner, though I recognize some flaws. Rutger Hauer makes that thing work, though, with that closing speech. Man, so good. The concept takes the Turing Test and turns it on its ear. But Minority Report is also my favorite film/series based on Philip K. Dick.

  36. Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon and JohnSF: This is why our national motto is “Out of lead one”! Or maybe “Out of fat one”! Latin is so tricky. Confidunt aliis minus quam maxime!

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I don’t know if it was true, but way back in the 80’s I heard that Dick plotted “The Man in the High Castle” with the Tao Te Ching and whenever he came to potential plot branch he would cast yarrow sticks and decide based on what he found at the indicated location.

  38. Mster Bluster says:

    One of my college room mates was quite the radical tree hugger. I remember him writing me about how he was kicked out of a graduate program (wood products, forestry? I don’t remember) at Oregon State University in Corvallis. I suspect that it might have had to do with his advocacy for spiking trees to prevent their harvest.
    However he had no problem with lead based paint as he claimed it applied much better to the indoor trim on the windows and doors of his home. He said he had to search high and low to find it. This was maybe 30 years ago. He claimed that he could keep his kids from eating the paint chips.
    Not sure what it means but the last I heard from him he said his kids wouldn’t talk to him after he was divorced.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Paycheck is… OK. Not as good as it could have been but entertaining at least. I never read the story so I can’t compare it.

  40. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I’ve read a lot of stuff of his over the years (though interestingly I still haven’t read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), and one thing I’ve noticed about the movie adaptations is that they focus a lot more on the design of the futuristic settings than he ever did. He always focused on the central ideas, which usually boiled down to old philosophical questions like: What makes a person a person? How can you know what’s real and what isn’t? How can you trust the people around you? How can you trust your own memories? And so on. It’s sci-fi mixed with epistemology.

    What’s also interesting to me is that there are movies that are not direct adaptations of any of his works but which show a strong influence–two notable examples are Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Inception.

    As for Minority Report, while I can’t remember whether this was a problem in the short story or not, I always had a problem with the first storyline in the film showing a guy being arrested using the precog technology. They predict a man is going to walk in on his wife cheating, and on the spur of the moment grab scissors and stab one of them (or so I think–it’s been years since I saw the film). But the police burst in before he has a chance to complete the act.

    My problem there is that that isn’t an example of preventative detention or “pre-crime,” since even in our world it’s considered a crime to raise a weapon to someone, even if you’re stopped before the assault can take place. So the film wasn’t really exploring the topic of preventative detention in a serious way, but only pretending to. Was that your complaint as well?

  41. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    In your inventory, you didn’t mention The Man In the High Castle, which is a streaming series based on (a novel I think?) something of Dick’s.

    The TV version of The Man in the High Castle is basically just WW2 Red Dawn and actually had very little to do with the original story it’s “adapting”. Particularly thematically, the TV show is almost 180 from the original.

    The original was written in the middle of the red scare and Jim Crow, and the horrifying thing about the story was not “The Nazis won and everything’s worse” but rather “The Nazis won and everything is mostly the same” and indeed once you got out into rural areas even got to the point of “how would you even know who won WW2 other than someone once told you that we won”.

  42. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Minority Report is both a fine story and movie*. I was just disappointed the big ethical question therein simply gets glossed over when it’s not ignored.

    The movie came out around the time of the build up to Gulf War II. I remember a lot of discussion about preemptive punitive action in law and foreign policy. I did not expect that from the movie, but later wondered why it hadn’t touched on it. I did expect it from the story (I only read it yesterday).

    *With a hefty dose of suspension of nitpicking.

  43. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mster Bluster:..Just noticed that a misspelling in the Name field in my post of 13:18 in this thread was not snagged by moderation.

  44. Kathy says:


    Was that your complaint as well?

    No, not at all.

    My complaint is that there’s no discussion on whether it’s ethical to imprison someone for murder if they never commit murder.

  45. Mikey says:

    We’ve finished the first three episodes of Andor.

    Everything that made Rogue One great is there. No Skywalkers, no fan service, no Force (yet, anyway–I certainly remember “I am with the Force, and the Force is with me” from Rogue One), just a dark and gritty and very real world where Cassian Andor is as morally-gray a hero as we’ve seen in the Star Wars universe.

    We all know how Cassian Andor grows, and how he ends, although of course in this new series he doesn’t. Which makes it a bit more poignant, I think.

    Anyway, we enjoyed it and would recommend it.

  46. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: Everybody has their own level of expectation, I guess.

    For instance, I quite like Saving Private Ryan, except for the (to me) heavy-handed frame, particularly at the end. But I’m kind of a, ahem, minority report on that I think.

    Whereas, I think Minority Report did bring down the hammer, but perhaps more subtly? I guess? I feel the film had a definitive answer that “no, this doesn’t work, because it denies the existence of free will”.

    Of course, it’s framed in a very all-or-nothing way, and meanwhile, I tend to advocate for something that might look like what’s done in MR. I think that we could train a neural net to look at someone’s Facebook Feed and predict crime. Maybe predict shooting sprees. Or at least do better than the needle-in-a-haystack approach we have now.

    But I don’t say “arrest those people”, just “hey, talk to them”.

  47. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnSF: The reason I specifically wrote “England” is because half of the Guardian article I read was banging on the fact that Wales and Scotland have different taxation systems from England and were pretty pissed at what’s been passed. This seems to be an England-and-maybe-NI shindig only.

    (Don’t know anything about Northern Ireland. However the DUP seem to be so damned insistent that they’re part of “England” they probably would hate me for mentioned them as a different entity. )

  48. grumpy realist says:

    Comments from the peanut gallery about what Trussonomics is doing to the dollar/pound exchange rate.

    (I may not like Larry S., but he’s at least got a good head on his shoulders.)

  49. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist:
    It’s complicated.
    Scottish government can set income tax rates and band separately.
    Wales is slightly different.
    NI also.

    But the UK budget still affects all other taxes and duties.
    And the English economy is the dog, as it were.
    National parties always make a play of their distinctness when they can.
    But it’s still the UK government budget.

    DUP seem to be so damned insistent that they’re part of “England”

    Treading right in it right there!
    I’ve never, ever met a Unionist who would say they were English!
    British, yes; but that’s a different thing.
    (Have I mentioned UK national identities are complicated?)
    There are also Northern Irish Unionists who, if asked their nationality, might say Northern Irish; or just Irish.
    For that matter you can meet people born in England, with British citizenship, who consider themselves Irish and definitely not Unionists (complicated, see 🙂 )

  50. Jon says:


    I certainly remember “I am with the Force, and the Force is with me”

    Donnie Yen is great in almost everything.

  51. Gustopher says:

    @Mikey: I’m still waiting for Rogue Two, with the Bothans.

    I want many Bothans to die to bring the rebellion the plans of the second Death Star, and have that information be planted by the Empire as a trap.

    Rogue One, but darker. Preferably with Palpatine cackling loudly that “it’s a trap,” or perhaps one of the Bothans, just before his death.

    Give me my fan service!

  52. Sleeping Dog says:


    The truly insidious thing about lead paint in older houses is that it is not just the chips that are an issue, it’s dust. Because windows are opened and closed they will grind away paint and exposed the older layers of lead paint and drop that as dust around the window. It is not uncommon to test for lead paint contamination and find it in the areas around windows, even if the rest of the house shows no contamination.

  53. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Before I saw the movie, I was expecting some technology that would either see or predict the future, not enslaved magical mutants.

    There’s en ep of The Simpsons, of all things, where Lisa develops an app that can predict consequences from one’s actions in social media. Things like Bart will get two weeks detention for mocking Skinner on Fakebook.

    There’s also an ep of Futurama that satirizes the movie version of Minority Report. It required even more suspension of disbelief. I mean, Fry was largely competent throughout.

  54. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    See? it’s working! The Pound has already trickled down.

  55. Mister Bluster says:

    This image is a crosssection of an 1800 pair, lead sheath, telephone cable. Circa 1922. I’m not sure when the last lead cable was placed in service however when I began my career as a construction cable splicer in the land line telephone industry in 1973 there was alot of it still in use. Lead cable was placed in aerial, direct buried and conduit applications. While it is noted in the text that the copper conductors are insulated with paper tape I don’t see where it is mentioned that these cables are under constant air preassure supplied by air preassure generators in telephone central offices. In my 35 years of splicing wires I worked with many old lead cables. Mostly splicing new plastic insulated telephone cable that was replacing sections of old lead sheath to existing lead cable that was being retained.

    Lead-sheathed cables were also used for telephone cables, as the lead outer sheath lasted well buried in wet ground. Jointing such cables could also require wiped lead joints. A typical such joint would involve a joint or tee junction between cables, with the copper pairs inside joined by fine soldering and insulating, then the overall joint wrapped in lead sheet and soldered. Such jointing continued until the 1960s and the availability of polyethylene sheathed cables.

    Since open flames were not allowed in man holes I did have to wipe lead sleeves with hot solder that had been heated outside the hole and lowered in a lead pot.
    Some of the terminals and loading coils and capacitors that I installed had new lead stubs that were configured to attach to existing plastic sheath telephone cable however most of the lead cable that I worked with was old and corroded and very nasty stuff.

  56. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Oh, do I ever know about that! A good friend of mine had an older home in Nashua. Both of her littles, during routine blood work, tested off the charts for lead, and the doctor said it didn’t need to be chip-chewing, just the presence of lead paint was bad.

  57. JohnSF says:

    £ now $1.087
    Down 3% in one day!

    A Conservative win because, in the words of Dmitry Grozoubinski:

    Pretty soon the libs will be about the only thing British people can afford to own.

    Nick Macpherson:

    I worked on some 60 fiscal events over 31 years. I can’t remember any generating as strong a market reaction as to today’s. The £ is currently down over 3% v $, 1.8% v € and 2.5% v ¥. And the cost of borrowing up 40bp at short end and 20bp at long end.

    Ian Dunt:

    Kwarteng’s Budget was the political equivalent of watching someone strip naked, dowse themselves in petrol and tell you they’re about to ascend to heaven.

    And this chart.

    The lunatics have taken over the asylum.
    Johnson the lazy cynic replaced by Truss the (convenient convert to being) True Believer in in the Grand Cause of the ERG.
    (Note that Cummings’ Vote Leave crew always despised the ERG as stupid fanatics who had no connection with the voter base)

    One relief: Truss is in polling showing all the cliche “new leader bounce of the proverbial dead cat.
    Also, that the majority of Conservative MP’s voted against her as leader.
    If we get a full-on 1970’s-stylee IMF sterling crisis, she’ll sacrifice Kwarteng first, but that won’t save her, IMO

    Problem: Johnson remains on back benches.
    If he can get to a membership poll he’d be odds-on to win.
    Because a plurality of the party membership are off their trolley..
    Heigh ho.

  58. Sleeping Dog says:


    When we were in StL, a neighbors child tested high for lead in a house where there any lead paint was sealed under non-lead paints. Normally this is considered adequate, but it was the windows. Given that the house was of character, so simply replacing the windows wasn’t desirable, they disassembled and removed all the windows and had them chemically stripped. Later everything was reinstalled and painted.

  59. Kathy says:

    I don’t know, does anyone else interpret this statement by Meta something like “We’ll see who wins what in the midterm elections and what they threaten us with”?

  60. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnSF: How do you see this all working out? Honestly, the U.K. is starting to look like it’s on a trajectory to become Brazil….

  61. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist:

    …on a trajectory to become Brazil…

    Oh, more like Argentina in the 1970’s. 🙁

    Seriously, I think we could be in for a nasty collision with the markets.
    But, as I said: the majority of the Parliamentary Party are not fans of la Truss.
    If she pokes the pooch they will take her out.
    There are a lot of serious Cons. right now sitting down and thinking: WTF?
    I don’t know how active the gilts (did I mention the bond yield action today? EEK!) and currency markets are likely to be over the weekend.
    But come Monday. high prob. one of three:
    – markets go to hell in a handbasket
    – govt. does abrupt U-turn
    – Bank of England does an emergency rate rise of gawd-knows-how-much to stabilise £ and bonds

    If the third, cue ERG lunatics screaming “Bring me the head of Andrew Bailey!”

    But, as I say, IF the unlovers of Truss and the opposition connive, she falls.
    And Party loyalty may count for a lot; but quite a few Tory MP’s are serious people with serious UK assets who don’t like the idea of pound at parity, or hyperinflation, or mobs, pitchforks, torches, heads on pikes.

    So: Truss position, not secure.
    Given polling: high probability of Lab/Lib win at an election, which could get forced.
    Then the route to recovery is clear: sensible fiscal policy, use debt for investment not “sugar rush” tax cuts, various other obvs. reforms, align with EFTA/EEA/CUC etc.

    I don’t think we are in the position, yet, of Latin American states that were polarised between populists vs plutocrats (with the military as the “swing vote”).
    Labour remain sane (except Corbynites, who are being purged), as do LibDems, as does (IMOO) about half of the Conservative Party establishment and 30/40% of membership.

    Situation overall: bad, not catastrophic.

  62. JohnSF says:

    Also, can’t ever underestimate the possibility of the fourth option:
    Just muddling through.
    Pound stabilises just above dollar parity;
    BoE indicate rate rises will gradually rise to intersect bond yield indications;
    Gov. throws some sorts of bones to the markets re. med. term fiscal stabilisation.

    Outcome: sustained inflation over 5%, recession: mild (?) stagflation
    Effect: slowly rising unemployment, slowly eroding living standards, renewed govt. spending cuts.
    Politics: Truss survives, but constraints on finance and politics mean ERG agenda drains in to sand, Con. party still like bunch of weasels in sack (Johnson comeback attempt?), all miserably but tolerably drags on till election autumn 2024, Labour then become largest party without majority.

    Who knows?
    Place your bets.

  63. Jax says:

    @JohnSF: It blows my mind that you guys in the UK can just declare “no confidence” in their current leader and schedule a new election on the fly.


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