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:

    Twitter ‘closes offices’ after Elon Musk’s loyalty oath sparks wave of resignations

    The crisis at Twitter reached new heights on Friday as hundreds of employees were reported to have rejected Elon Musk’s ultimatum to keep working for the business, threatening its ability to keep operating.

    As the company temporarily closed its offices to staff, Twitter users began saying their goodbyes and linking to accounts on other platforms.

    #RIPTwitter, #TwitterDown, Mastodon and Myspace were all trending on the platform after the deadline passed on Musk’s ultimatum for the remaining workforce to sign up for “long hours at high intensity”, or leave. It has been estimated that hundreds of the remaining staff opted to go.

    he departures include many engineers responsible for fixing bugs and preventing service outages, raising questions about the stability of the platform amid the loss of employees and prompting hurried debates among managers over who should be asked to return, current and former employees said.

    In an early sign that the number of those declining to sign was greater than anticipated, Musk eased off a return-to-office mandate he had issued a week ago, telling employees on Thursday they would be allowed to work remotely if their managers asserted they were making “an excellent contribution”.

    Twitter later announced via email that it would close “our office buildings” and disable employee badge access until Monday, the New York Times reported.

    Musk doesn’t have clue, never mind a plan. He never wanted to buy Twitter to begin with. He only went thru with the purchase after his lawyers finally got it thru his thick skull that shut up time was long past and it was now put up time. That sooner or later he was gonna put up and the longer he delayed it only meant he was gonna have to put up more and more.

    Now that he owns it, it appears the one and only rule is that the serfs should have no life outside of the office and every minute spent in the office should be spent on their knees singing praises to his indomitable genius for mere pennies.

    Who could resist such an offer?

  2. Mu Yixiao says:

    You may all refer to me, hence forth, as “Lord Mu”. For I am now a Scottish landowner.

    Established Titles

    It’s “legit”–in that it uses an obscure, centuries-old loophole where anyone owning land is deemed a “Laird” or “Lady”. I own 5 square feet of Scottish land, therefore, I’m… well… entitled!

    It’s a way to preserve Scottish green space, and each plot includes the planting of a tree.

    You are dismissed.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    New FTX boss, who worked on Enron bankruptcy, condemns ‘unprecedented failure’

    In a stinging court filing posted on Thursday, John Ray III, the new boss of the bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, said the company had suffered an “unprecedented and complete failure of corporate controls”…………..

    He wrote in a filing with the Delaware bankruptcy court: “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here. From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented.”
    Ray said a “substantial portion” of assets held by FTX may be “missing or stolen”.

    The latest court filing paints a troubling picture of FTX’s operations. Ray said he had “substantial concerns” about the company’s financial statements. “I do not have confidence in it and the information,” he wrote. He said company payments were authorized “through an online ‘chat’ platform where a disparate group of supervisors approved disbursements by responding with personalized emojis”.

    ​“In the Bahamas, I understand that corporate funds of the FTX Group were used to purchase homes and other personal items for employees and advisors. I understand that there does not appear to be documentation for certain of these transactions as loans, and that certain real estate was recorded in the personal name of these employees and advisors on the records of the Bahamas,” Ray wrote.

    Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried is another person in need of a healthy dose of STFU.

    In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Bankman-Fried tried to row back on some of his comments. He wrote: “Some of what I said was thoughtless or overly strong – I was venting and not intending that to be public. I guess at this point what I write leaks anyway.”

    Something tells me he he’ll keep singing his praises. After all, nobody else will.

  4. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: As one who spent the last 20 years as a contract worker, I made it a point of professional pride upon moving on to the next job to leave my office space as clean and neat as possible with enough notes and information to facilitate the next guy or gal.

    I would not have that attitude if I were leaving Twitter. I would not go so far as sabotage (because I’m not that guy) the success of the successor, but I would not do anything to help the company.

    Similarly, if I were working remote and got summarily dismissed, I wouldn’t go out of my way to return any laptops or equipment. Would just let them know they could make an appointment to come and pick them up. Even if it were in the middle of rural Missouri.

    As for the latest farce, I would take the 3 months severance and look for a new job. If Twitter came crawling back, you could be sure there would be a big fat raise requested along with certain working conditions.

    Musk thinks he is a hand waving monarch but it is really the employees at this point who have the leverage.

    Waiting for some disgruntled employee to delete Musk’s Twitter account.

  5. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Something tells me he he’ll keep singing his praises. After all, nobody else will.”

    Absolutely. The geniuses in the investing world and financial journalism have got to be on the hunt for the next obvious conman to throw money at.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In other financial skullduggery news:

    Sentencing is due to get under way for the Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, who faces up to 20 years in prison over her role in the blood testing firm that collapsed after its technology was revealed to be largely fraudulent.

    Experts say Holmes is likely to face substantial time behind bars, with federal sentencing guidelines suggesting additional years for larger dollar amounts of fraud. The charges for which Holmes was convicted included wire fraud totaling more than $140m.

    Federal prosecutors have suggested the judge sentence Holmes to 15 years in prison and require her to pay $800m in restitution, while the founder’s lawyers have requested a sentence of no more than 18 months to be served on house arrest.
    Throughout the trial, Holmes’s lawyers cast her as an ambitious but misguided young founder who was unaware of the extent to which Theranos’s technology was malfunctioning. In a letter to judges filed last week, they argued sending Holmes to prison was unnecessary.

    “Ms Holmes is no danger to the public,” Holmes’s lawyers said in the court documents. “She has no criminal history, has a perfect pre-trial services compliance record and is described by the people who know her repeatedly as a gentle and loving person who tries to do the right thing.”

    “No criminal history”… As long as you ignore her recent conviction for fraud. She’s just a “gentle and loving person who tries to do the right thing” by stealing $140 million from investors. But hey, she’s a pretty blond white girl who wouldn’t hurt a fly and has no business being locked up with thugs and drug dealers. That would be so unfair.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: The beauty of being a union carpenter was that I didn’t have to take shit from anybody. Walking off a job was free of consequences. Well, other than losing a paycheck. I long ago lost count of the jobs I left because of abusive behavior from superintendents, riding bosses, foremen, company owners etc etc. I wouldn’t say anything, just pick up my tools and start walking. It was funny how their voices increased in decibels with every silent step I made.

    @wr: “Sycophants are us.”

  8. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Laird is not a title of nobility. It’s a “lord” in the sense of “landlord”.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    That title and ~$3.50 will buy you a coffee.

  10. Kathy says:

    So, the Global Snooze Fest is about to get started, and at work the newest TV has been installed and the satellite TV service paid for.

    Not without problems. First the table it was to be placed on proved not wide enough. they had to get some boards to extend it. Next the picture was kind of reduced, but apparently the satellite people managed to fix it.

    Consensus at the office is that I’m the best placed to view the TV. that is, I have the best angle and don’t need to turn my head or chair.

    I’d no idea the gods had such a sense of humor 😀

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


    Being a cute blond playing the girl card will only get you so far.

  12. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I’ve seen the online ads for it now and then. I’d no idea it had anything to do with preservation, but then I’ve never clicked on the ads.

    I would pay one quarter of a cent for a snow flake from Mount Olympus, if it came with the title Olympian Goddess of The Big Idea.

  13. Scott says:

    The Musk empire is a fun place to work no matter where.


    On Tuesday, the Austin-based nonprofit Workers Defense Project announced it was filing complaints with the federal Department of Labor (DOL) alleging wage theft and falsified safety training during the construction of auto manufacturer Tesla’s so-called Gigafactory in Travis County. The 2,500-acre factory along the Colorado River opened in April following almost two years of construction. Tesla’s CEO is the centibillionaire Elon Musk, also of SpaceX and Twitter fame

    Together, the filings allege that an unspecified number of workers were not paid at all or were shorted on overtime pay during construction of the Tesla site and that a worker named Victor was provided with falsified Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certificates for training he did not actually receive. These workers were not employed directly by Tesla, but rather by an assortment of contractors and subcontractors. The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division and OSHA are empowered to investigate such claims, and the companies involved could face monetary or even criminal penalties. Workers Defense redacted the contractors’ names and the full names of workers to avoid retaliation or impeding federal investigation, a spokesperson said.

    Eight SpaceX employees say they were fired for speaking up against Elon Musk

    Eight former employees of SpaceX have filed unfair labor practice charges with a U.S. labor board against the rocket maker, alleging they were let go for speaking up against founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk.

    The employees said on Thursday they were fired for being part of a group that had drafted and circulated a letter to SpaceX executives in June criticizing Musk, the world’s richest person, and urging executives to make the firm’s culture more inclusive.

    Reuters reported in June that SpaceX fired at least five employees who were involved in drafting the letter, which called Musk a “distraction and embarrassment” to the company.

    The charges filed on Wednesday with the National Labor Relations Board allege that SpaceX fired five employees the day after the letter was revealed, and four others in the two months after.

  14. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I know it’s a gimmick. But it’s fun, and for a good cause.

    Other places you get a sticker that says “I planted a tree”. With this, I get a fancy proclamation from King Charles III saying I’m a lord. 😀

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Shush, you. 😛

  15. Tony W says:
  16. HarvardLaw92 says:


    LOL, the latest episode of the Idiotic Genius Chronicles. This was the epitome of “Fk Around and Find Out …” 😀

  17. JohnSF says:

    If I were Mr Musk, I’d be inclined to worry a bit that some of my fellow investors are somewhat testy fellows, with long memories and and a capacity to exact penalties.

  18. JohnSF says:

    Ali Hamedani reports on events in Iran:

    On Thursday, protesters set fire to the museum of Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic in his birthplace, Khomein.

  19. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Tony W:
    This poor guy was found guilty of collusion even though there was, famously, no collusion.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    I have my suspicions that the whole Musk-Twitter debacle will end up as one of those cautionary tales in MBA courses.

    There are still a lot of Musk groupies infesting the internet, absolutely convinced that this is all just one step in Musk’s 193-step super-secret genius plan to take over the world. A lot of them come off as young. VERY young. 14-year old young.

    Oh, and as for FTX and its enthusiastic founder, I apologise on behalf of my alma mater. I haven’t decided whether this guy is closer to the “smartest guys in the room” (LTCM) or Bernie Madoff. Probably somewhere in between.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’ve got my fingers crossed* but it’s worked for her before.

    * I want her to do some serious time, but I think 15 years is excessive. Somewhere between 5 and 10 years sounds right to me. That and the reparations should be plenty.

  22. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Tony W:
    @daryl and his brother darryl:
    I hadn’t seen that he was a Rand Paul staffer.
    But it figures.

  23. Sleeping Dog says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Followed a link to a paywalled article that had the intriguing lede that Musk and several other billionaires are embarking on a project of genetic matchmaking to develop a super race of leaders. They must have missed discussion of regression to the mean in statistics.


    My guess 12 years and $650M in restitution.

  24. Rick Smith says:

    @grumpy realist: He’s been so effective at destroying Twitter, that it’s hard to believe that it is unintentional. However, I cannot think of any way that intentionally destroying it benefits him, so I’m convinced he must really be screwing things up that badly.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rick Smith: But but but he’s a genius, people just can’t understand that he’s doing the right thing for Twitter and it’s employees. Some day they will thank him for it.

  26. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Getting into bed with Saudi princes and the government of Qatar, then losing their money for them might be a tad risky, yup.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: $650M in restitution.

    Once numbers get that big, I just can’t wrap my around them. $650M is about as meaningful to me as $650B.

  28. Kathy says:


    The thing with geniuses, and St. Elon might be one, is that when they go wrong, they employ their hefty intellect in rationalizing why they really are right, no matter what the facts are. This is especially so when they go outside their area of expertise.

    I can see Elon utterly undoing Twitter, burning large mounts of money, even reducing his considerable wealth by more than the GDP of whole countries, and he’d still be convinced he was brilliant and someone else fuc**d it up.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Biggest challenge of my life’: Kherson’s leaders toil to turn city around

    The recently appointed new head of the Kherson region, Yaroslav Yanushevych, described how he was working to rebuild the administration from scratch, with a humanitarian crisis looming and Ukrainian military intelligence reports saying Russia could level the city as an act of revenge. “This is the biggest challenge of my life,” said Yanushevych, sporting black military fatigues.
    But for Yanushevych, the mess inside his future office is fixable – his biggest challenge now is to reconnect the electricity supply. “Without electricity, the scale of the problems, like water, remains unresolvable,” he said.

    He said the Russians had purposefully destroyed all the substations and transformers surrounding the city when they left. The second power station that supplied the region is across the river in Russian-controlled territory and not functioning.

    Yanushevych hopes his administration will not have to deal with what will have to happen if it cannot provide the region with enough electricity. “[Evacuating residents] depends on whether there will be electricity. The president has said very clearly that we should throw all our resources into restoring the electricity supply,” he said. Mine clearers had to inspect each site before work could begin, which would take time, he said.

    Happy am I to not have his problems.

    Yanushevych definitively ruled out working with collaborators. But, he said, he understood that most people stayed because they did not have the means to leave or were obliged to stay, for example, because of elderly or disabled relatives.

    “They were not police officers or soldiers. No one gave them the order to leave. I’m not going to judge them.”

  30. Modulo Myself says:

    Followed a link to a paywalled article that had the intriguing lede that Musk and several other billionaires are embarking on a project of genetic matchmaking to develop a super race of leaders. They must have missed discussion of regression to the mean in statistics.

    And the fact that genetics is a relatively new science and nobody knows anything important in this way about the genome. For example, show me the genetic propensity for being extremely gullible and then we’ll talk.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: This is especially so when they go outside their area of expertise.


    I have had the pleasure of getting to know a few honest to god geniuses, and they each were smart enough to know when they were swimming in dangerous waters and therefor open to listening to more experienced voices. But Musk is the epitome of the opposite, absolutely convinced that he is the one person who can find the solution to any problem. I remember him trying to insert himself into the Thai cave rescue with his “submarine.” I saw the video of it in the lab and burst into laughter. It was obvious they had no idea of what the underground environment is like.

    And poor little Elon got his panties in a bunch when the divers told him to stuff it.

  32. Modulo Myself says:

    This interview with John Mearsheimer is great. I’m not a huge fan of Chotiner’s interviews but in this case the tactic is ideal. Mearsheimer’s views are complete gibberish based on total credulity on everything Putin does. Choice quote:

    Would Munich be an example of a leader lying?

    Munich was a single case. I mean, there’s no question that Hitler lied at Munich, and one can point to one or two other instances where Hitler lied.

    Maybe more than one or two.

  33. JohnSF says:

    Wot, the al Saud?
    I was thinking of a grizzled old Barclays guy cutting off his invites to the corporate box at Wimbledon and lunch at White’s 😉

  34. Just nutha says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Not at any coffee shops where I live. You might be able to get diner coffee for $3-something, tho.

  35. Slugger says:

    @Mu Yixiao: To those that belittle your title I say turn your back and flip up your kilt.
    All titles are pure social conventions and not based on anything real. King of England requires less talent and work than Homecoming Queen at my high school.

  36. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I received my title back in 2014. My plot is somewhere in the Highlands, I need to dig that out before our next trip there.

  37. grumpy realist says:

    @Slugger: To be cynical, what percentage of “nobility” has been due to an ancestor or two bailing out the existing monarch from some debt or other, and what percentage was due to the ancestor having been the king’s bastard?

    Sort of like how Matteo Visconti got started as the emperor’s vicar in Milan in exchange for a nice chunk of change.

  38. Mu Yixiao says:


    I just got mine last night. I haven’t looked to see where it is, yet. But if I ever head that way (and I’d like to), I’ll have to see if it’s accessible.

    I also bought a title for a friend of mine as her Christmas present. I just couldn’t resist.

  39. Kathy says:


    I remember that incident as well, and how he got out of a libel suit connected to it.

    IMO, even if a submarine of sorts would help, it’s extremely unlikely you can just develop, build, test, and deploy one in time to aid in an emergency where time is limited. No matter how Godly an Emperor of Mars and Phobos one happens to be.

    More important, if it had been anything other than a stunt to get attention, St. Elon would have kept on developing his Teslasub as well as all other equipment and techniques necessary for whatever function it was intended for (exploration, rescue, etc.)

    But of course it was one of history’s most ill-timed cheap attention stunts

  40. Mu Yixiao says:

    @grumpy realist:

    To be cynical, what percentage of “nobility” has been due to an ancestor or two bailing out the existing monarch from some debt or other, and what percentage was due to the ancestor having been the king’s bastard?

    My family tree is peasants all the back, so… 🙂

  41. Mister Bluster says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Just nutha:..mud madness
    Senior Coffee at the local MickeyD’s: 88¢. All you can drink. Free reliable internet WiFi.

  42. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Hey, I’ve got a little piece of land in Ireland — Islay, actually. Laphroaig gave it to me for signing up with their affinity club. Maybe we could do a vacation swap one day.

  43. wr says:

    @Mister Bluster: “Senior Coffee at the local MickeyD’s: 88¢”

    Is “senior coffee” what they call what’s left in the pot after a couple of hours?

  44. grumpy realist says:

    @wr: Way back when, MIT had a “24 hr coffeehouse” which was notorious for what was left in the coffee pots at 4 AM. It was, however, quite useful if you were trying to pull an all-nighter.

  45. Jen says:

    @wr: IIRC, Islay is in Scotland. Famous wee island, home of Laphroaig and Lagavaulin.

  46. CSK says:

    Islay isn’t so wee; it’s the 8th largest island of the British Isles. It’s off the west coast of Scotland.

  47. Mu Yixiao says:

    @grumpy realist:

    When I was touring, we had what I referred to as “Crew coffee”. The performers’ concession stand would start coffee in a big urn at about 8:00 in the morning. During intermission of the 8:00pm show, I’d often go back and get a cup. The joke was to bring your knife so you could slice off how much you wanted. 🙂

  48. Jen says:


    Yeah, I know…was just trying to be genteel 🙂

  49. CSK says:


    On OTB???? Nonsense!!! 😀

  50. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That whole episode was around the time I started wondering if Musk was losing it mentally, and if it was drug related.

  51. Mimai says:

    Politicians, charities, universities, etc. solicit and receive donations, especially from the wealthy.

    Occasionally, we later learn that donors do bad things.

    In these circumstances, do the receiving entities have any social “obligations”?

    If so, how are we to think about these obligations? Does it depend on the receiving entity? The donor’s bad thing? The amount of the donation? The time period? etc…

  52. Michael Reynolds says:

    Well, it’s official, Trump will get away with everything. Garland wimped out and will appoint a special counsel. Coward.

  53. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: if he was going to do that, the time to do that was February 2021. So, worse than coward — ineffective coward.

  54. CSK says:

    And, to add to the joy about the news concerning Garland, Adam Frisch has conceded to Lauren Boebert, says the Denver Post.

  55. Gustopher says:

    @Mimai: I’m mostly of the opinion that accepting money from awful people leaves them less money to do awful things with.

    It’s why I have a fondness for the right wing grifters who stick to the grifting lane. Say what you will about Palin — she’s an awful human being — but she spent a decade after losing the 2008 election just grifting, with no interest in actually being involved in politics or promoting anything other than herself. She’s screwed up her legacy of grift by running for Congress, but I hope she loses and goes back to full time grift.

  56. Mu Yixiao says:

    Farewell, good citizens. I am off to abuse the peasants.

    See you Monday.

  57. Jay L Gischer says:

    I dunno it seems like the appropriate response to a forthcoming Republican-controlled House, as well as to Trump’s announcement of candidacy.

    You know who I would love to see named for this job? James Comey. That won’t happen, it’s too in the face for Garland. I expect someone with very long Republican credentials to get the job, though.

  58. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Gustopher: @Jay L Gischer:

    It’s Jack Smith.

  59. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Is it too late to set up a pitchfork store in your Lordship’s land?

    Have a good weekend.

  60. Jamie says:

    @Kathy: As I noted in Thursday’s forum, Elon doesn’t actually have an area of expertise as far as we can tell. He lied about his credentials over and over again in order to farm reputation with the nerderati, but it’s all hot air.

    So everything Elon does is outside his area of expertise.

  61. Kathy says:


    My first reaction was “Who the hell is Jack Smith?

    CNN has this. I’m too swamped with work to find out more.

  62. Stormy Dragon says:

    @grumpy realist:

    A lot of them come off as young. VERY young. 14-year old young.

    To me they come off more as 40-50 somethings with no real accomplishments who think the only reason they aren’t as rich as Musk is that the libs have being conspiring to keep their genius from the world. (Which is in one sense true, since daddy’s blood emerald mine is the only reason Musk isn’t just like them)

  63. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Mmhmm. Al Waleed bin Talal was a heavy participant in the deal, as was a segment of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

  64. Jay L Gischer says:

    There are people here in the Valley – some of whom I count as friends – who believe that the best way to do heavy software development is with small teams who work crazy hours.

    I am not one of them. If I worked for Twitter, I would have taken the package. If I hadn’t been laid off already, that is.

    This is a totally anticipated response. Musk is not surprised by this. Investors (the private equity people, not The Street, remember) are also not surprised.

    If you’re a heavy Twitter user, you are probably really alarmed and angry, and I don’t blame you.

  65. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Even if that were the best way to develop software, people only agree to do it because they get a share of equity in a company they expect to be worth much more in a few years. Elon does not seem to be offering that and I don’t think a lot of people expect Twitter to be solvent, much less far more valuable, in a few years. So why would they work crazy hours for Elon Musk instead of someone else?

    I’d also note there’s two types of companies: ones that see their workforce as a capital investment and ones that see their workforce as a production resource. Crazy hours is part of the latter, as they feel free to destroy their employees and just replace them with new people when they inevitably burn out.

  66. Matt says:

    @MarkedMan: Musk has been like that since well before the whole public pot stuff. Musk is a bit of a pet peeve of mine because too many “common people” think he’s utterly brilliant. That Musk through shear willpower built tesla and spaceX from the ground up all on his own.

    I will give props to Musk though because he actually managed to build both Tesla and SpaceX up. He was smart enough to accept the government’s money and expertise.

  67. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Rumor has it that more than a few of the now departed employees only didn’t resign because they were hoping to be laid off / terminated instead, in order to receive severance. The company as it now stands seems to define toxic workplace.

  68. JohnSF says:

    An observation by The Hoarse Whisperer@TheRealHoarse:

    Oil prices have suddenly fallen $10 a barrel since the election.
    My goodness. What a coincidence!
    I’m sure no foreign actors were manipulating oil to drive up gas prices and impact our election.

    If it were to happen, so please the the goddesses, that the Iranian mullahocracy were to fall, a particularly nice cherry on the cake would be enabling the West to tell the Arabian princelings to go take a long stroll in the desert.

  69. Kathy says:


    Credentials are not all there is to an area of expertise. One can learn enough to become an expert outside of formal education settings.

    I’m not claiming this is so for Elon The Destroyer of Twitter.


    I first heard of Elon The Unfocused in connection with SpaceX in the mid-2000s. He struck me as someone who wanted to do something with his, then, millions other than accumulate more millions.

    BTW, he “wasn’t smart enough to accept the government’s money and expertise,” as though these were offered to him and he might not known better than to accept. He went looking for them. Early in SpaceX’s history, the company sued NASA to be considered for contracting space launches and other related services. This was before even the first launch of a Falcon 1, never mind a successful one.

    This is just common sense. The US government is one of the largest customers for space launch services.

  70. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I don’t see how he had a choice after Trump announced his candidacy.
    I guess we will see if some people are just too big to jail.

    Pool idea…how long before the Crazy Caucus impeaches Garland? Biden?

  71. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    According to CNN, Trump’s lawyers were dreading that Garland would appoint a Special Master.

  72. gVOR08 says:

    JohnSF, I wanted to respond to this yesterday, but it got late before I could get back to it. just nutha replied to you yesterday with a fair summary of my intent. And I’m not entirely sure where you and I are disagreeing. But let me elaborate on what I would like to see. (Want, not predict.)

    We will almost certainly continue to have two and only two parties. Even if we go authoritarian, it will be electoral autocracy with the out party providing a façade of legitimacy. And our two parties will likely be called Republicans and Democrats, whatever they evolve into. But historically the normal configuration of our two parties has been a sun and moon relationship. In the last century Republicans dominated up to the Great Depression, then Ds dominated into the 70s and maintained an edge into the 90s. Since then, we’ve had rough parity. Through the W. Bush years, it very much felt like Rs were gaining dominance and Democrats were becoming the Washington Generals to the GOP Harlem Globetrotters, included in the game only because the rules require two teams.

    I fear I’m not sure what you mean by “right wing liberalism”. Are you seeing their brand of populism as liberal? Is it a reference to classical liberalism, which many conservatives claim for themselves? Fiscally conservative, socially liberal? Sorry, I’m missing something here. GOPs might be able to find their way back to the center (~= median voter) by being a “conservative” rather than a reactionary party. (With caveats around how ill defined “conservative” is.)

    What is driving my comments is a fear that much of the MSM, and perhaps the electorate, seem determined to see DeSantis as a return to respectable conservatism. As a Floridian, let me assure you he is not. And if DeSantis implodes or fizzles they’ll cast someone else in the role. WAPO recently did a list of who they see as the top ten GOP prez candidates. Bottom to top: Rick Scott, Sununnu, Pompeo, Haley, Cruz, Tim Scott, Youngkin, Pence, Trump, DeSantis. A couple of them haven’t been as bad as the rest, but good? Would you really vote for any of them over Biden, Harris, or any replacement level national Democrat?

    Right now a vote for any GOP is a vote for McConnell’s agenda, McCarthy’s witch hunts, and MAGA. So no one should vote for any of them. But no, I don’t expect, or even want, no one to ever again vote for a GOP. But they’ve gone pretty far right, leaving the left and center open. And Dems have pretty much taken the center. What I would like to see is Ds become dominant for a while, forcing Republicans to wander in the wilderness, perhaps as a rural rump party, until they make themselves respectable again. But that won’t happen unless they play as the Washington Generals for a while. In your phrase a “placeholder party”.

  73. Jay L Gischer says:


    Rumor has it that more than a few of the now departed employees only didn’t resign because they were hoping to be laid off / terminated instead, in order to receive severance.

    I don’t know anyone who works at Twitter, and know nothing specific about that situation. However, the strategy and idea you describe is common here when there are layoffs: Why just quit when you might get a package. I’ve been through a couple myself. I personally regard this cynicism as what emerges when your intentions to make cool things that lots of people see and like, and maybe make the world a little better get smashed to pieces. Which happens, too. I’ve been through that. I don’t necessarily disagree with the decisions that resulted in the smashing, in fact. It’s still wrenching. And well, “At least maybe I can get a package” is a thing that crosses your mind.

    There’s another thing that happens here: retention bonuses. Again, I know nothing about Twitter in specific.

    And the third factor is that people who work for Musk share his sense of mission. It isn’t about the money with Musk, it isn’t about the money for Tesla employees (not the ones here I know, anyway) and it probably isn’t that way with SpaceX.

    I say these things because I am quite interested in understanding people as they understand themselves. That’s quite a different question than “would I do that?”.

    I also write about this because “greedy techbros” is such a meme, and also a slander. There are greedy people here, for sure. Not all of them are male, either. And there are so many that are the most altruistic, and well, naive people you have probably ever met. Very smart, very good intentions, sometimes tools. I love these people, and want to protect them.

  74. Mimai says:


    I may be misreading between the lines, but you seem to be talking about “bad receivers” of donations from “bad donors” — yes?

    If so, that makes me wonder about the relative “badness” of what is done with the donated money. In this case, both the receivers and the donors are bad. So who’s to say which side will do the most bad with the money?

    Or maybe that question is key to understanding the social obligations I mentioned in my initial post?

  75. Mimai says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I say these things because I am quite interested in understanding people as they understand themselves. That’s quite a different question than “would I do that?”

    Indeed. Self perspective-taking vs. Other perspective-taking. Both can be difficult to marshal, but in different ways. Especially difficult when other, um, considerations are at play.

  76. Mister Bluster says:

    @wr:..senior coffee
    When I was making my regular west coast drives to visit my brother and his family in Southern California, usually Thanksgiving or Christmas (one year I did both) Mickey D’s was a regular stop for coffee and comfort. Many times when I ordered the Senior Coffee (there were at least two Golden Arches that sold it for 25¢. Guymon in the Oklahoma panhandle on US Route 54 was one if memory serves.) they would say it was old and they would brew me new coffee.
    “Did you make it today?” I’d ask “I’ll take whatever is left in the pot.”
    They would give it to me gratis. I’d put my change in the bucket for the Ronald McDonald House.
    It was better than the swill dispensed from the coffee vending machine in the old Illinois Central RR passenger depot for 25¢ at 3am in 1970 when I was waiting in my Carbondale Yellow Cab for the Panama Limited to arrive from New Orleans. That same vending machine sold tea, hot chocolate and potato soup. One night my curiousity got the best of me and I pushed the button for the potato soup. It was about what you would expect. Pulverised cardboard and chalk dust in warm water. It was a big deal for me and the other hacks when Denny’s came to town in 1971(?) The “Always Open” banner on their signpost meant we could get a decent cup of coffee at 4am. That same Denny’s was a victim of the disease. They tried to hold on over the last two years. The building was torn down last month.

  77. Kathy says:

    Assorted questions on the current political landscape:

    1) Can Jack Smith compel testimony from Cheeto Benito, and/or seize materials in his possession relevant to the investigation? Not sitting in the oval office makes a great deal of difference.

    2) How should Democrats and people like Hunter Biden and Dr. Fauci handle the inevitable GQP House investigations?

    2.1) Do Democrats sit on the committees or not?
    2.2) Do the targets and witnesses testify when requested or subpoenaed, or should they obstruct, delay, and so on using the same arguments the Jan 6 conspirators employed?

  78. CSK says:

    Donald Trump told Fox that the appointment of the Special Master is “so unfair,” and he’s urging all Republicans to fight it.

  79. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I started wondering if Musk was losing it mentally, and if it was drug related.

    Twitter provides plenty more evidence for those theories.

  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “There’s some lovely muck over here.”

  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “He must be a laird.”
    “How do you know?”
    He doesn’t have shit all over him.”

  82. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In a justice department statement issued on Friday afternoon, (Jack) Smith said: “I intend to conduct the assigned investigations, and any prosecutions that may result from them, independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice. The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch. I will exercise independent judgment and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate.”

  83. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “If a special counsel was to be appointed, I can think of no-one better suited than Jack Smith. Vast experience prosecuting public corruption cases, treacherous national security violations, and crimes against humanity. Absorbs complex facts instantly. Perfect for Donald Trump.”

    -Laurence Tribe

  84. JohnSF says:


    I fear I’m not sure what you mean by “right wing liberalism”.

    It’s that, from UK and European perspectives, the political antecedents of the Republican make them a very odd duck indeed.

    They have a “liberal” ancestry in political theory, though not necessarily practice.
    Regarding constitutionalism, equal citizenship (albeit for a sometimes restrictive value of “citizen”), free markets, equality of religious denominations, hereditary privilege.
    In Europe their closest parallels are the German Free Democrats, Italian Liberals, and some “free marketeer” UK Conservatives.

    This has changed, due first to the Spencerian/Sumnerian “social darwinist” influence in 19th century, and post-1950 growth of populism which became exponential with Trump.
    But they still have a different feel to most European conservative, either Centrist or Right.
    See e.g. German or Italian or Spanish Christian Democrats, French “Macronists”, UK both traditionalist and “One Nation” Conservatives.

    Euro-Cons are often far more sceptical of markets, more open to countervailing action to correct wealth imbalances, more concerned for social stability, much more supportive of welfare state policies.
    In some ways closer to the Jeffersonian right Democrat tradition maybe?

    Anyway, the basic thing is, in the US, you are going to have people in the Republican tradition whose politics you are going to profoundly disagree with.
    But I’d argue as long as they are prepared to operate within the bounds of recognising election result, and not overturning elections by violence, they can be acceptable actors and possibly open to at least some levels of co-operation and agreement on system management etc.

    Whereas Trumpist MAGA insurrectionists are in violation of the base ground-rules of the system.
    You can’t make deals with such; you can only defeat them.
    Like the difference between an opponent in a card game and someone who pulls a weapon, overturns the table, and tries to leg it with the cash.

  85. JohnSF says:


    Rick Scott, Sununnu, Pompeo, Haley, Cruz, Tim Scott, Youngkin, Pence, Trump, DeSantis. A couple of them haven’t been as bad as the rest, but good? Would you really vote for any of them over Biden, Harris, or any replacement level national Democrat?

    No way would I vote for any.
    All are IMO complicit in violating the norms of the system, in failing to condemn the Jan 6 outrages and election denialist antics.

    And especially not Ted Cruz, on account of even slimy, slithery slugs, who live in a slimy, smelly pond, think Ted Cruz is a bit too slimy. 🙂

    As regards Biden, I’d vote for him in a heartbeat. I like Biden.
    But he is a bit right wing for me. 🙂
    Even AOC is probably bit rightish from my perspective, in some respects, LOL
    Like nationalisation of some key industries, and a single national health service?
    Have to admit, am guessing here: not really up on what left-Dem policy platforms are lately.

    OTOH, I’m way off to the right in other respects: monarchy, established Church, House of Lords including hereditary element, I’m all happy with.
    Basically, I’m a 1945 Labour Party throwback. 🙂

  86. charon says:

    Atty General in AZ still not called:

    Only four counties have outstanding ballots. About 10.6k remain.

    Apache 510
    Graham 11
    Maricopa 8,059
    Pima 2,083

    A reminder that a lot of these are provisionals, and may not be counted.

    Lots of (D) ballots in Apache:

    Apache just tallied 102 ballots in the AZAG race. It was an 86/16 split in favor of
    . These are Navajo Nation ballots so this tracks historically.

    net 68 off the batch and leads
    by 304.

    Apache has about 352 ballots remaining.

    Pima (Tucson) will likely be around 60%D/40%R.

    So the big question: Does Hamadeh(R) do well enough in Maricopa to catch up?

  87. Matt says:

    @Kathy: I said he was smart enough to say yes. I”m not sure how you got “wasn’t” out of that.

    I didn’t have my first contacts with SpaceX employees until after 2009. So I missed the fun of the 2005 lawsuit over Kistler Aerspace and NASA. In hindsight Musk and spacex had a good point with that lawsuit. The dismissal of the 2006 lawsuit was easily predicted even though SpaceX was right about the monopoly of Boeing and Lockheed-Martin. It’s just funny that they brought the lawsuit before they even launched anything so any potential damages were all theoretical. The company would of died by 2008 if not for DARPA and NASA stepping in to help. After the third rocket explosion NASA basically solved the problems while continuing to develop checklists and procedures for SpaceX. I’m pretty Tesla and the solar venture were also on the verge of bankruptcy during that era too.

    So it kind of irritates me when people proclaim that Musk is a self made billionaire whose brilliance disrupted the markets without government “handouts”….

  88. Kathy says:

    Holmes got 11 years, restitution to be determined.

    Would that this were the end. I won’t be surprised if Princess Liz gets to wait out a long series of appeals at home with an ankle bracelet, just like all those poor people convicted, or sometimes even just indicted, of far lesser crimes get to do.

    BTW, does anyone think it’s a coincidence Holmes was pregnant around the time her trial was supposed to start in 2020 (got delayed by COVID), and now again when it’s time for sentencing?

  89. Kathy says:


    Basic misunderstanding, probably. I got the impression you said Elon was offered help and money and wasn’t a pig-headed libertarian business-first type who’d take no stinking money from the government.

    That’s a lot of between the lines reading, I know. I’ve an overactive imagination 🙂

  90. CSK says:

    Well, two Republicans have answered Trump’s call to arms.” That would be Marjorie Taylor Greene and Andy Biggs.

  91. JohnSF says:

    More on Iran from Iran International English@IranIntl_En

    A video shared by @1500tasvir shows protesters have torched parts of the Shia Seminary of Qom..

    If the mullahs and the IRG can’t control Qom they have really serious problems.
    See also Farzad Seifikaran@FSeifikaran
    As Alex Clarkson note, the Khamenei regime seems to be descending into the same sort of cycle as the collapse of the Shah:

    cycle of protest, regime killings, funerals, funeral protests, protests, regime killings…was one that went on and on between January 1978 and February 1979

    And the increasing solidarity of young streetfighters, striking workers, ethnic minorities and middle class discontent and money.
    Only absent group being the clerics; but actually some clerics have criticised the regime; some (variously described as liberals OR conservatives by Western media, actually more just old-fashioned) have never much liked being mired in governance.
    And interesting that the Army (as opposed to IRG internal, religious police etc) seem to be still unwilling to intervene.
    Key thing to watch for: any signs of IRG vs Army clashes.

  92. Sleeping Dog says:

    For you MSM cynics, Politico has a Dems in array post up

    Someone in the headline dept has a sense of humor.

  93. Gustopher says:

    @Mimai: Taking money from bad people to do good things is an unalloyed good. Money is power, so you’re limiting the power of bad people.

    Taking money from bad people to do petty, selfish or even less evil things is also good. There’s a right wing grift industry that ultimately acts like this. Selling gold to folks who watch Fox and would otherwise use that money to support Trump? Icky, but better than not doing so.

    Unfortunately, the most prominent examples have tried to use the money to do evil. Palin running for office again, and the MyPillow guy advising the former President. Both spent years just slurping down the money, and I wish they kept at it.

  94. JohnSF says:

    This made me giggle. New York Times Pitch-bot:

    The Basque language has always been surrounded by mystery with regards to its origin. Here’s why that’s bad news for Joe Biden.

  95. Mimai says:


    Thanks, I appreciate the engagement. Especially because I don’t agree with (all of) the content of it.

  96. JohnSF says:

    If the average person can be assumed to be inclined to be at least somewhat bad, and I’m pretty sure I’m quite good, usually, albeit a bit selfish, does this mean it’s OK to take their stuff?
    Asking for a friend.
    Also, DYK if this line works with average magistrate? Thanx.

  97. JohnSF says:

    Cannot help having a mental picture of Mike Lindell in meetings with Trump, and ending every one trying to sell him, and the rest of the crew, a pillow.

  98. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Welp…

    A federal judge has sentenced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to more than 11 years in prison over her role in the blood testing firm that collapsed after its technology was revealed to be largely fraudulent.

    Your prediction was more right than mine.

    “I am devastated by my failings,” she said. “Every day for the past years I have felt deep pain for what people went through because I failed them. I regret my failings with every cell of my body.”

    “Especially my inability to get out of hard time in Club Fed.”

    Davila said the court had calculated the total loss as $384m in investments and a $121m loss in share value that can be attributed directly to Holmes’s fraud. He also found that Holmes, through Theranos, defrauded more than ten investors – listing big name victims such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the family of former government official and investor Betsy DeVos.

    Ah yes…. The real victims, Rupert Murdoch and Betsy DeVos… Not pension funds and 401Ks.

    Davila ordered Holmes to three years of supervised released once she’s out of prison. He will set a hearing date to determine the amount of restitution Holmes must pay at a later time. Holmes has been ordered to surrender into custody in April 2023.

    My ex got sentenced to 7 years for DUI with all but 4 mos shock time suspended, than she fucked up and almost killed 2 people in a cross the median DWI accident. Her husband pulled some Crawford County local boy strings and managed to keep her parole officer from bringing the hammer down. Bad move. Really pissed off the Franklin County DA who got a hard on for her and she ended up doing the whole 7 years in Chillicothe.

    In other words, Holmes had better mind her Ps and Qs.

  99. JohnSF says:

    OTOH, if she defrauded Betsy DeVos, surely that’s grounds for a smidgeon of clemency?

  100. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: In my book? She should be rewarded with a lesser sentence. But we all know that, “s/he who has the gold makes the rules.”

  101. Mu Yixiao says:


    Local zoning laws require a 10–foot set-back from the lot line. My land is 2.23 on each side.

    If you can get zoning permission, and build a shop that has a width and length that are each negative 7.2 feet… go for it.

    You will, of course, need the permission of the lord of the land in order to build any structures. That would be {looks it up in the land registry….} Me. Ummm… permission denied.

  102. Gustopher says:

    @JohnSF: Grift isn’t theft, it’s appealing to people’s worst qualities to get then to give you their money.

    If the Proud Boys want to try to whitewash their image by donating to an animal shelter, I would have no concerns with the animal shelter taking the money. They will keep animals fed and doctored, and the Proud Boys have less money to spend on organizing, and you can avoid promoting the Proud Boys. It’s good.

    If they are donating to PETA, which is annoying as hell, that’s less good, but still a net positive.

    @Mimai: The only problem I see is when the grifters don’t stay in their lane, start believing their own story, and start acting on it — Palin and Lindell. I may be overestimating the cynical nature of the grifters, perhaps they are doomed to become true believers.

  103. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    And you nobles wonder why you end up with revolutions 😉

    I thought that combining phlogiston and Pym particles should work. Now I won’t bother.

  104. Gustopher says:

    Back in 1996, Michael Moore’s TV Nation show wanted to see what candidates would accept donations from what ridiculous groups.

    Everyone refused most of the donations… except Bob Dole. Bob Dole’s campaign accepted checks from groups like “Satanists For Dole,” “Republican Fear Mongers,” “Abortionists For Clinton” etc. When confronted, if memory serves, most campaigns returned what checks had slipped through… except Bob Dole.

    The Dole campaign gave them a statement of something like “we’re keeping your money, and spending it on things you oppose.” I’m a little bit of a conservative at heart, because I liked that.

  105. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    You may all refer to me, hence forth, as “Lord Mu”

    Lord Moo rules the cows.

  106. EddieInCA says:


    Rick Scott, Sununnu, Pompeo, Haley, Cruz, Tim Scott, Youngkin, Pence, Trump, DeSantis. A couple of them haven’t been as bad as the rest, but good? Would you really vote for any of them over Biden, Harris, or any replacement level national Democrat?

    Harris would lose to all of the above. Every one of them.

  107. Jen says:

    @EddieInCA: Agreed.

    So, what happens next?

  108. EddieInCA says:


    If Trump is the nominee, Biden would beat him again. If someone else is the nominee on the GOP side, I’d be pushing a Newsom/Demmings ticket, or maybe Newsom/Whitmer. Trump would still beat many Dem candidates (Warren, Bernie, Klobuchar, Harris, Mayor Pete) even with all the BS surrounding him.

  109. a country lawyer says:

    @JohnSF: So you don’t agree with Viscount Northcliffe, Alfred Harmsworth, who it is claimed said, “When I want a peerage I shall buy it like an honest man”?

  110. CSK says:

    Trump is really, really frightened of the new Special Master.

  111. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: I would happily rule allllll the Highland coo’s. 😛