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. Bill Jempty says:
  2. Bill Jempty says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A US judge has fined two lawyers and a law firm $5,000 (£3,935) after fake citations generated by ChatGPT were submitted in a court filing.

    A district judge in Manhattan ordered Steven Schwartz, Peter LoDuca and their law firm Levidow, Levidow & Oberman to pay the fine after fictitious legal research was used in an aviation injury claim.

    Schwartz had admitted that ChatGPT, a chatbot that churns out plausible text responses to human prompts, invented six cases he referred to in a legal brief in a case against the Colombian airline Avianca.

    The judge P Kevin Castel said in a written opinion there was nothing “inherently improper” about using artificial intelligence for assisting in legal work, but lawyers had to ensure their filings were accurate.

    “Technological advances are commonplace and there is nothing inherently improper about using a reliable artificial intelligence tool for assistance,” Castel wrote. “But existing rules impose a gatekeeping role on attorneys to ensure the accuracy of their filings.”

    The judge said the lawyers and their firm “abandoned their responsibilities when they submitted nonexistent judicial opinions with fake quotes and citations created by the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT, then continued to stand by the fake opinions after judicial orders called their existence into question.”
    ChatGPT had suggested several cases involving aviation mishaps that Schwartz had not been able to find through usual methods used at his law firm. Several of those cases were not real, misidentified judges or involved airlines that did not exist.
    The judge said one of the fake decisions generated by the chatbot had “some traits that are superficially consistent with actual judicial decisions” but that other portions contained “gibberish” and were “nonsensical”.

    OK, I’m done with this timeline.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US navy detected an ‘anomaly’ that was likely the Titan’s implosion

    The AP reports:

    The Navy went back and analyzed its acoustic data after the Titan submersible was reported missing Sunday. That anomaly was ‘consistent with an implosion or explosion in the general vicinity of where the Titan submersible was operating when communications were lost,’ according to the senior Navy official. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive acoustic detection system. The Navy passed on the information to the Coast Guard, which continued its search.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: My wife’s parents used to bring a Spanish ham and Mallorcan sausages whenever they visited. IIRC they only got caught once, but it hurt.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The US’s honeybee hives just staggered through the second highest death rate on record, with beekeepers losing nearly half of their managed colonies, an annual bee survey found.

    But by using costly and herculean measures to create new colonies, beekeepers are somehow keeping afloat. Thursday’s University of Maryland and Auburn University survey found that even though 48% of colonies were lost in the year that ended 1 April, the number of US honeybee colonies “remained relatively stable”.
    Last year’s 48% annual loss is up from the previous year’s loss of 39% and the 12-year average of 39.6%, but it’s not as high as 2020-2021’s 50.8% mortality rate, according to the survey, which was funded and administered by the nonprofit research group Bee Informed Partnership. Beekeepers told the surveying scientists that a 21% loss over the winter is acceptable and more than three-fifths of beekeepers surveyed said their losses were greater than that.

    “This is a very troubling loss number when we barely manage sufficient colonies to meet pollination demands in the US,” said former government bee scientist Jeff Pettis, president of the global beekeeper association Apimondia, which wasn’t part of the study. “It also highlights the hard work that beekeepers must do to rebuild their colony numbers each year.”

    The overall bee colony population is relatively steady because commercial beekeepers split and restock their hives, finding or buying new queens, or even use starter packs for colonies, said University of Maryland bee researcher Nathalie Steinhauer, the survey’s lead author. But it is an expensive and time-consuming process. The prognosis is not as bad as it was 15 years ago because beekeepers have learned how to rebound from big losses, Steinhauer said.

    “The situation is not really getting worse, but it’s also not really getting better,” she said. “It is not a bee apocalypse.”

  7. wr says:

    Yesterday I managed to lose my phone in Central Park. Still don’t know what happened, exactly — I was walking home from the gym when my airpods quit and I realized I no longer had my phone. Maybe it dropped out of my pocket. Anyway, I searched and didn’t find it, went back to the gym in case I’d left it there, nothing. And since my phone is also my wallet, all my id and credit cards were gone, too.

    I ran home, opened “find my phone” on the iPad and watched it traveling down Fifth Avenue, stopping at Gucci and Tiffany and Harry Winston while I frantically cancelled all my cards. I was trying to figure out how to deal with my cell carrier — the gentleman in India was very polite, but his script did not bring him close to a useful answer — when my wife got a message on LinkedIn.

    The message was from an Australian tourist, who had been bike riding through the park with her family, saw the phone, and then spent hours puzzling out how to reach me. I had watched the phone go a mile down Park Avenue — and didn’t realize it was heading to the address on my driver’s license where the doorman was able to give her my number (which of course did them no good) and my wife’s name. She then sent messages to her on every platform she could think of. (She also contacted me on Facebook, but I didn’t get a notification…)

    And so we met up outside Niketown, where she, her husband and four teens were waiting patiently for us to arrive so they could hand me my phone. (We did give them a generous Starbucks gift card as a thank you and made them accept it!)

    I tend to be cynical about people, but these wonderful Aussies gave up a chunk of their tourist day to help out a complete stranger. I am incredibly grateful, and wanted to share this story in their honor.

  8. wr says:

    One quick, infuriating addendum to that story:

    I was able to cancel most of my cards easily. But Bank of America would only give me access to my account if I could give them the access code they wanted to text to my phone. I told them over and over again that the whole reason I was calling was because my phone had been stolen — which is what I believed at the time — and that all they’d be doing is sending an access code to the person who had stolen the phone who was at that moment in Tiffany. But there was no way their theft prevention people could get around this, other than to tell me to go to a branch and report the theft there…


  9. CSK says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Well, at least he was faithful to his wife.

  10. Kathy says:

    On lighter topics, I decided to make goulash as my launch recipe for the cast iron pot.

    I’m making rice to mix with it, and thinking of what side I can pair with that. Possibly something I can pop in the oven.

  11. Bill Jempty says:



    I have been saying for a long time that customer service outfits don’t know what to do when there is any deviation from their carefully written scripts.

    Just recently my Office Depot business credit card was replaced. I called the CC company and was told one would be mailed to me. My office chair needed replacing and I was going to use the card.

    It was mailed to me but to my old home address (Which I moved out of in 2019) not my business PO box. I called the company and didn’t get an answer when I asked why it had to go to my home and not the PO Box. The PO box is perfectly good for the IRS, the state of Florida, and lots of other very important mail. Nor did I get a answer to my query why I wasn’t told in my first call where it was being mailed to. Further infuriation occurred when I was told I would have to be transferred to another agent to change my address.

  12. Bill Jempty says:


    Well, at least he was faithful to his wife.

    Vibrators have been mentioned at least twice in my stories (and once referred to as ‘Bob’) but their use never portrayed.

    My straightlaced Roman Catholic Filipina wife often shakes her head at some of the stuff I write but two things. I don’t do erotica (A scene or two, mostly the former, of sexual content involving adults in a 200 or more page ebook hardly qualifies) and my writing pays bills.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    I have been saying for a long time that customer service outfits don’t know what to do when there is any deviation from their carefully written scripts.

    I don’t think “know” enters into it. I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of chat interactions are with bots, and more of the phone interactions than we realize. If you do actually reach a person they literally have no authority or ability to deviate, by design.

  14. Mikey says:

    Late in yesterday’s open forum I related my diagnosis of gallstones and Jax asked what the doctor recommended, which is (drum roll please): removal. So I have to get that scheduled.

    The pain isn’t really unbearable, but the combination of the pain and the days of nausea I get from eating something fatty made me realize I needed medical attention. Last night it got really bad so to the ER I went.

    One thing I have to do is praise the staff at the ER, which is a satellite ER from our local main hospital (INOVA). I was fortunate that it was not busy and I got immediate attention from multiple nurses and the physician, a CAT scan very shortly after arrival, and a quick diagnosis. Would you believe I was in an out of an ER in an hour and 15 minutes?

  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    Someone mentioned yesterday that the Titan disaster was caused in part by the use of carbon fiber in the hull, another asked for more info. From a NYT article this AM;

    As a design weakness in the Titan submersible and a possible cautionary sign to its passengers, Mr. Cameron cited its construction with carbon-fiber composites. The materials are used widely in the aerospace industry because they weigh much less than steel or aluminum, yet pound for pound are stronger and stiffer.

    The problem, Mr. Cameron said, is that a carbon-fiber composite has “no strength in compression”— which happens as an undersea vehicle plunges ever deeper into the abyss and faces soaring increases in water pressure. “It’s not what it’s designed for.”

    The company, he added, used sensors in the hull of the Titan to assess the status of the carbon-fiber composite hull. In its promotional material, OceanGate pointed to the sensors as an innovative feature for “hull health monitoring.” Early this year, an academic expert described the system as providing the pilot “with enough time to arrest the descent and safely return to surface.”

    In contrast to the company, Mr. Cameron called it “a warning system” to let the submersible’s pilot know if “the hull is getting ready to implode.”

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Keir Starmer was caught as a student illegally selling ice-creams on French Riviera

    First Boris was drummed out of the House because he lied and now this? The Brits just don’t have what it takes to keep up with the GOP in the corruption meets.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey: Would you believe I was in an out of an ER in an hour and 15 minutes?

    Who did you bribe and how much was it?

    It’s always been hours for me. One relatively recent trip was 5-6 hrs. Just to be seen, never mind being sown back together. My all time championship time was 10+ hours and ended with me being admitted after emergency surgery.

  18. BugManDan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: There are plenty of problems out there for bees, but the biggest killer in the US is moving the bees throughout the year to pollinate ag fields. I would bet that almost all of the high losses were from commercial beekeepers.

    Completely anecdotal, but my Dad has actually doubled his hive count over the past 2 years just by collecting swarms. He had to give a couple away, because he didn’t have enough boxes to put them in.

  19. Mikey says:


    Who did you bribe and how much was it?

    It was my privilege of living in a wealthy suburb served by an extensive network of hospitals and clinics, where I could go into an ER and be literally the only patient for the first 15 minutes. I think the staff were just excited to have someone who needed attention.

    Also, there wasn’t anything they could do once the diagnosis was made, I have to follow up with the surgeon. I got a prescription for Zofran for the nausea, but haven’t needed it this morning.

  20. Stormy Dragon says:


    Hungarian or American goulash?

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @BugManDan: A buddy of mine lost all 3 of his hives a few years ago. After doing some extensive world travels with his family the past couple years, I’m not sure if he intends to start any more any time soon.

  22. Joe says:

    @wr: Glad for your happy ending. My Chase app and my bank app allow me to toggle the cards off and on. Of course, that requires a device to access the apps, but it is way easier than trying to cancel the cards.

  23. CSK says:


    No doubt JohnSF will be along with a few pungent observations.

  24. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’ve no idea.

    After reading several recipes online, I came up with one using onions, garlic, beef, paprika, tomato puree, and beef broth.

    For the side I’m thinking kasha with onions, bell pepper, soybean sprouts, and mushrooms.

  25. CSK says:


    No sour cream?

  26. Stormy Dragon says:


    That’s Hungarian goulash. For some reason there is a dish in the US made mostly from ground beef, macaroni, and tomato soup that’s called goulash despite having almost no discernible connection to actual goulash.

  27. Jen says:

    A 2-year-old boy fatally shot his pregnant mother in Ohio, police say

    […] The Norwalk Police Department’s detective bureau executed a search warrant and found a number of child safety features in the home, including safety gates at almost every doorway and child locks on all drawers, the release said.

    During their search, detectives seized an additional 12-round magazine for the pistol that the 2-year-old had gotten hold of in a nightstand in the master bedroom. […]

    Tons of toddler safety features, everywhere except where the firearm was stored.

  28. steve says:

    Mikey- The satellite ER’s and surgicenters are quite popular. They tend to mostly see less sick people and move them through quickly. If it’s not attached to a hospital most ambulances wont take pts to one which helps cut down on complicated patients. Our inner city and rural ones tend to be busy but the suburban ones a bit slower.


  29. CSK says:

    The husband of a descendant of a couple who died on the Titanic in 1912 died in the implosion of the Titan. He was Stockton Rush.

  30. gVOR10 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: It was Matt who raised the issue of carbon fiber yesterday and I asked for any further information. I very much appreciate the NTY link you provided.

    I also commented yesterday that reporting on the Titan wasn’t very good. That reporters were just repeating stuff they only half understood. To make any sense of NYT’s interview with Cameron I have to make assumptions and guesses. Carbon fiber is routinely used in compression, the upper surfaces of airplane wings for instance, so there has to be more to the statement that it is inherently unusable in a bathysphere (“bathycylinder” in this case). And I have no idea from the article what those sensors he mentions might have been doing. I suspect something to do with creep in the epoxy matrix under load, but that’s just a wild ass guess.

    Piling up WAGs, I wonder if they weren’t trying to go for inherent safety by having a buoyant “bathycylinder”. WIKI has a nice page “bathyscaphe” that explains why the first bathyscaphes looked like dirigibles. A small pressure sphere (much easier than a cylinder) under a large tank filled with gasoline. Gasoline because it a cheap, readily available, incompressible liquid lighter than water. It provided enough buoyancy to support the heavy sphere. If these guys were going for a buoyant chamber, it wouldn’t be the first case of an amateur inventor sticking to his brilliant concept in the face of mounting practical difficulties.

  31. Sleeping Dog says:


    Tragedy, the kid should be tried as an adult… 🙁

  32. gVOR10 says:

    @Jen: In the 70s I went to a party in TX. The host, father of small children in the house, showed off the loaded 9mm he had under a couch cushion. Left me slack jawed. No one else seemed the least bit surprised. He said he sometimes went through the house at night, in the dark, practicing shooting stances behind various door frames and furniture in case of an intruder. Pointing out they have paranoid fantasies is a waste of time.

  33. gVOR10 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: She was pregnant. Double homicide. That seems to be where OH has gone since I left only a few years ago. What will really happen is nothing, as the father, presumably responsible for the gun, “has suffered enough”.

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    It has come at last, our first undeniably age-related surgery. My wife had a posterior hip replacement three days ago. We now own a walker. Currently sitting in an AirBnB in LA because although we’ve moved to Vegas, she seemed to think Cedars of Sinai might be better than the Vegas equivalent, Cacti of Circus Circus.

    How do you do to find a good surgeon in Vegas? Head to the airport.

    On day 3 when the pain is supposed to peak and she hasn’t even touched a tramadol or an oxy so far. But the depressing if not unexpected start of the replacement period of life, has begun. That’s a hip. I’ve got a knee joining the queue.

  35. Mike in Arlington says:

    @gVOR10: There’s a reddit thread about this question.

    It seems informative, but that’s coming from someone who is generally uninformed on such matters.

  36. steve says:

    MR- Knees hurt a lot more. Good luck. (We do a lot of hips as outpatients, especially the anterior hips since there is so much less pain.)


  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR10: Once when returning my sons to my ex I found a loaded 9mm on the kitchen table. While unloading it I gave her a thorough dressing down about gun safety and watched as she put it up where the boys couldn’t get to it.

    Years later, her husband went after her and my eldest got involved, the upshot of which was he almost got run over by her husband. My son called and I went to pick them up. She argued they should stay and when my son made clear he was done with the shit, she finally gave up. While packing his stuff, he pointed to his shotgun at the foot of his bed and said, “It’s loaded if you need it.” and she nodded with this look on her face that said, “He really loves me.”

    How does one allow their children to live in an environment where they think they need to keep a loaded gun handy? Sometimes I think I should get a Nobel Peace Prize for all the times I didn’t kill her.

  38. Kathy says:


    None. I know it’s common in eastern European cooking, but I never warmed up to it.

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Does it at least have oodles of paprika?

  39. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.

    My mom had knee replacement surgery a few months ago. It takes weeks to recover, but she’s better able to walk now.

    As to Vegas, there was Rita Rudner’s joke about how the heart surgeon wasn’t available, but they had a heart surgeon impersonator.

  40. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: Two summers ago I had two instances of what I thought were really bad cases of indigestion. Second time I decided to head over to the acute care clinic, started feeling a bit better but thought “no, I better have them check this out”–they whisked me under the ultrasound and immediately diagnosed gallstones and inflammation. They kept me around one day for observation and MRI testing, then popped me into surgery that evening. I spent another half-day recovering, then they let me go home.

    The main pain recovering from surgery was discovering how much I use my core for everything because now I had quite a few holes poked in it. You can’t lift much and will be exhausted holding your arms up for anything–even making pot-stickers. Took about two weeks to get back to near-normal.

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    In contrast to the company, Mr. Cameron called it “a warning system” to let the submersible’s pilot know if “the hull is getting ready to implode.”

    I may be wrong, but it doesn’t strike me that this particular factoid is all that useful in a real-world setting. But being as cynical as I am, I would have been likely to equate “hull health monitoring” and “the hull is about to implode” to begin with. Either way, the theory upon which the vessel was designed seems like (in the lyrics of a country song) “a heartache looking for a place to happen.” It’s too bad that the company believed in itself that much.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Nonsense. “Goulash” simply means stew made in the style of herdsmen. Other than herdsman being unlikely to have carried macaroni* around with them, the recipe that Americans use is as “authentic” as any other.

    *And tomato soup for that matter, but did Dark Ages herdsmen have tomatoes to begin with? The Aztecs eating tomatoes only goes back to 700 CE.

  43. dazedandconfused says:


    The upper skin of airplane wings isn’t what’s taking the load, it’s the wing spar.

    Perhaps a good demonstration of why carbon fiber (fiberglass) is not real swift for compression. Go nine minutes in.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Additionally, there’s this dish that my Italian grandmother used to make when we’d come for dinner sometimes. She’d leave out the beef, paprika (didn’t care for the flavor) and basil (she substituted oregano).

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: It’s too bad that the company believed in itself that much.

    I’m a gonna have to disagree to some extant. If they really truly believed in themselves they wouldn’t have had their customers sign liability waivers.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Try a two-year-old as an adult? Mind you, I’m open to considering what function the act would serve.

  47. JohnSF says:

    This was a scoop.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Nah. Even if you believe, you make people sign liability waivers. It’s just business as usual. ETA: Fiduciary responsibility, yada yada.

  49. Bill Jempty says:

    Last night I discovered Amazon Prime is the Barnaby Jones television series. Being a fan of the original Hawaii Five-0 and Columbo, I have decided to give it a try. Before last night I had only seen parts* of a couple of episodes.

    Why do I watch so little current or recent police dramas? Most of them are littered with Days of our lives subplots. Law & Order** SVU and the Hawaii Five-0 reboot being just two examples.

    I watched the first two seasons of the latter. The stuff about Danno and his ex-wife drove me up the wall. THe rest of the show’s writing wasn’t any good either. Somebody hides beneath their house in a hidden compartment but how did a rug get on top of its trap door?

    The show was fantasy superhero in its plots too. People running around pursuing a suspect after being shot in the abdomen like a day before. No to mention McGarret skydiving to save some Seal who’s been dumped out of an airplane.

    Finally, the giant claw that picked up the van with Wo Fat in it that was the Season 3 opener. I decided not to watch the last eight years of this nonsense.

    Star Trek Picard was an abomination IMHO for some of the same reasons. I won’t give a long rundown of them. Was Dr. Soong a scientist or a warlord? He of the army of mercenaries. Oh and the show’s writers seemed to forgot how season 2 ended with the Borg when Season 3 began.

    Back to Barnaby. The first episode didn’t impress me. A killer has a gun pointed at him but doesn’t react when BJ pulls a gun out of a bag. Bradford Dillman meekly surrenders too.

    Lee Meriweather is easy on the eyes. Will I make it through the whole series? Time will tell. I have made it through Picard, Benson, The Flying Nun, Perry Mason and Murder She Wrote.

    *- While I was at Naval Lakes Great Lakes for my schooling, there was another student who was a BJ fan and would turn the lone television set to the show if he had the chance.

    **- The original L&O for the most part, has stayed away from soap opera plots (Long ago there was Lenny’s daughter who died, Detective Curtis wife having MS, Van Buren challenging her being passed over for a promotion) but the latest season showed signs of sinking to the Days of Lives stuff and I stopped watching.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: Ouch.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: In my caving years I signed a lot of liability waivers, it made land owners breath a little easier.

  51. gVOR10 says:

    @Mike in Arlington: @dazedandconfused: Thanks for the additional info. The failure mode for carbon fiber, or glass, in the weird East European guys press is different than steel or aluminum. Carbon fiber is brittle. But he conclude that pound for pound the carbon fiber was stronger than steel in his test. But I had a business acquaintance who put the last six inches of a carbon fiber arrow shaft through his left hand when it shattered on release. Race cars used a lot of carbon fiber. Originally they went to the aerospace people for advice. Now I understand the aerospace people come to them. I had a business acquaintance who put the last six inches of a carbon fiber arrow shaft through his left hand when it shattered on release. On modern airplanes they talk of the “wing box”. The box is the spars, often multiple, and skins. The whole box is stressed, including the skins. Given a choice, I take a seat over the wing box. At the fuselage the box is a big, heavy thing and t’s more likely to survive a crash, along with the seats near it.

    Racers, I believe, largely stopped using carbon, going to other fibers, because of the failure mode. A break generates tiny, airborne, carcinogenic fibers. Think asbestos. And the broken edges were scalpel sharp, big hazard to any following cars tire. But those considerations would be irrelevant on a submersible.

    The sound effects on the weird guys video make me wonder if the sensors on the sub were looking for the ping of fiber breakage. One wonders why they thought there would be time to surface after the first break.

    The upshot seems to be that carbon fiber is great stuff in many applications. I’ve never worked with it. Wanted to once, but we had neither the time or the money to hire the necessary expertise, and aluminum was sufficient, albeit heavier. Carbon fiber is way less forgiving, in many ways, than steel (which we have centuries of experience with) or aluminum (which we have a century with). It requires specific expertise, not only in design and analysis, but in fabrication, inspection, and testing. One doesn’t get the impression these guys necessarily had the expertise and the discipline.

    I’ve still got way more questions than answers.

  52. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    And yet, there it sits in blasphemous defiance of both history and logic:

    American goulash

  53. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: … the question is what the ABA of the State of New York is going to say about these idiots, which is a totally different arena. (They’ve managed to break quite a few professional responsibility rules and I suspect the reason the judge didn’t come down harder on them is that he realises the ABA is likely to come down on them like a ton of rectangular building things.)

  54. JohnSF says:

    Heads up, looks like some internal shit may be going down in Russia.

    Multiple Russian sources report that the “fortress” plan has been implemented in Moscow.
    “The fortress plan implies an emergency gathering of police personnel & provides readiness to repel an external attack”

  55. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If you have a knee done, do the physical therapy, regardless of how painful. I’ve known a couple of guys that had knees done and didn’t, they had trouble climbing stairs afterward. Not mention riding bikes and even throwing their leg over a motorcycle.

  56. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    sarcasm is difficult on the internet

  57. CSK says:

    We don’t do much royal news here, but this is hilarious. Prince Harry wanted to interview for Spotify–I swear I’m telling you true–Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, and Elon Musk about any childhood trauma they suffered.

    He also wanted to interview…the pope. About religion.

  58. Gustopher says:

    The teens had, about 10 minutes earlier, told the dispatcher they had turned around in someone’s driveway, prompting the man and another driver — later identified as Townville Fire Chief Billy McAdams and his son — to pursue them, according to the audio. Over the next several minutes, the teenagers said they’d almost been chased off the road and blocked — and by 7:20 p.m., were face down in the middle of a road with a pistol pointing at them.

    That Aug. 29 encounter is now at the center of an investigation South Carolina authorities reopened last week. It’s also the basis of a lawsuit filed earlier this year against McAdams and his son, Wyatt, by the mothers of two 17-year-olds identified in court documents as “John Doe” and “Richard Roe.”

    The suit accuses the McAdamses of falsely imprisoning the two teens, assaulting them and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. In a court filing, McAdams admitted to chasing the car and pointing his pistol at the boys but denied the charges set forth in the lawsuit.

    I have to admit, I kind of like the “I did everything I am accused of” defense. It should make prosecutor’s lives easier.

    “First and foremost, Mr. McAdams is extremely concerned about the situation and is committed to addressing any allegations with the utmost sincerity and cooperation,” Amanda Bradley, the McAdamses’ attorney, said in a statement to The Post. “We believe a complete picture of all the facts will validate our client’s position and are confident in the ability of the legal system to deliver justice.”

    Oh, all the facts. I assume this means the kids are Black. Maybe Latino. Was it MS-13? Black Panthers? Maybe they looked trans.

    So many white people (the lunatic is definitely white, there are pictures) are so fucked up and acting out of fear of everything. And they feel completely justified in doing it. Another consequence of all-fear-all-the-time right-wing media.

    Can we just start putting MDMA in the water supply?

  59. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: So many white people….. are so fucked up and acting out of fear of everything.

    I wonder what happened to their balls. They. are. afraid. of. everything.

  60. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t know, but I think the lunatic Fire Chief and his son should be charged as adults.

  61. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ok, I think I do know…

    They are fed a media diet of fear, resentment and an imminent need to “fight back.” It rots the brain

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: It good to have you to tell us what we can eat and what we can call it. Personally, I think “slumgullion” is a better name, but I don’t eat it at all. Sometimes I make zucchini goulash per my grandmother’s recipe, but not often. Cooking for one does things to what one chooses to eat.

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Twice in one day for me. 🙁

    ETA: @Gustopher: It seems that sarcasm is difficult to do in real life, too. 🙁

  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I am writing a letter to my congress critters about what pansy snowflake afraid of everything people they are in the next few days/weeks. When it is done (assuming I actually follow thru) I’ll post it here.

  65. Mike in Arlington says:

    Is anybody watching what’s happening I. Russia right now?

    Wagner is preparing to mobilize against Putin?

    Is that right?

  66. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Grandma was born and raised in Modra (1890) now a town in Slovakia. Many the times she made goulash for us. Never, never had any form of tomato in it. Beside the spices, she insisted that flouring the beef and sautéed, before adding other ingredients was key.
    She died in 1970, but the flavor of her goulash remains with me today.

  67. becca says:

    @JohnSF: I’ve been following this all afternoon. Prigozhin is seriously off the reservation and Putin is letting him have center stage. Doesn’t come off as 9 dimensional chess on Vlad’s part. I’m not saying he’s going down yet, but he is definitely wounded.

  68. Kathy says:


    I’m so reminded of the many times some Roman general would march his legions to Rome and stage a coup.

    Prigozhin’s advantage is there aren’t a plethora of other Russian generals who control armies loyal to them. So a Year of Four Dictators might be averted.

  69. DK says:

    @Mike in Arlington: All I want for Christmas is Putin’s head on a pike. But Prigozhin’s will do in a pinch.

    In the Russian military civil war, may both these scumbags win. Or lose.

  70. becca says:

    @Mike in Arlington: Prigozhin is making lots of threats and accusations. He is threatening war with the Russian Defense Ministry. The “elites” all lied to Putin so they could plunder the rest of Ukraine after wringing Crimea and all occupied areas dry. Denazification and ethnic Russian genocide were just made-up covers for their greed. Some truth, some bullish!t, all crazy AF.

  71. Mike in Arlington says:

    @becca: I told a friend of mine about a month ago that Putin wanted to be the next Peter the Great but he may end up as tsar Nicholas II after the failures in the Russian-Japanese war and then WWI.

  72. Mike in Arlington says:

    @DK: what concerns me is that while they both deserve that (and worse), the breakdown of central control of Russia should fill us all with dread. That will bring misery to so many people and may not stop at the boarders of Russia.

  73. dazedandconfused says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    Looks like it.

    Caveat: These guys have been subject to Soviet WW2 era discipline. You obey orders or get shot on the spot, so they will likely march to whatever place they are ordered to. However, such discipline does not produce a great deal of affection and loyalty for their leadership, so the Wagner troops obeying an order to open fire on other Russians is anything but assured.

    If I had to bet, it would be they will go someplace but ultimately balk at firing. Most of them, anyway.

  74. JohnSF says:


    Prince Harry wanted to interview for Spotify–I swear I’m telling you true–Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, and Elon Musk

    Maybe should have scheduled Putin for an early interview?

  75. JohnSF says:

    On events in Russia, Max Seddon makes a good point on the problem of information sources:

    For those of you new to this media environment. The main sources of info are an army that lies about everything; a warlord who owns an infamous troll factory and lied about it for years; and the Kremlin. And Russia destroyed the media, so there aren’t any good independent sources

  76. DK says:

    @Mike in Arlington: There’s all sorts of things going on in the world that should fill us with dread. A Russian empire has disintegrated before in my lifetime, and I’m a millennial.

    We’ll see what happens (this could all be some grand KGB-style psych ops, for example). But the unknown devils will not stop me from hoping Putin dies the slow, painful death he so richly deserves.

  77. JohnSF says:

    Unless Prigozhin has allies in the army officer corps in command of key units, I suspect he’s going to get stomped.
    And then there’s the FSB and other “security troops” in the Moscow area, who Putin will presumably have made very sure are loyalists.
    But this is not going to look good for Putin as a pillar of internal stability and security, and the arbiter of elite disputes.

  78. Michael Reynolds says:


    But this is not going to look good for Putin

    I have no idea how this will turn out, but the sure loser regardless, is Putin. Can the intelligence arm arrest Prigozhin? Do they have the muscle? And will they be loyal if they decide they’ve sensed a change in the wind? Who might back this play if it is an attempted coup? And above all, if Prigozhin takes over, will Trump kiss his ass, too?

  79. dazedandconfused says:

    Pretty sure this is real.

    Not as sure about this, but it appears it’s in the fan at Rostov.

  80. Mike in Arlington says:

    @DK: the thing about the fall of the Soviet’s union is that there was a continuity of centralized control from Gorbachev to Yeltsin to Putin.

    If Putin dies and Prigozhin takes control, I can’t see him lasting for too long. Putin is evil scum, but he was able to maintain control over what must be a difficult place to control. He has put together a structure to keep his allies and enemies in line. Prigozhin will have a small window to establish control and if he doesn’t the proverbial feces will hit the fan. And when that happens every oligarch will vie for power.

  81. dazedandconfused says:

    Can’t picture what Prigo is thinking. He recruited his boys with a load of strident Russian nationalistical BS and now he expects them to go to war against Russia? I hear he had about a week left before he was bound to turn control of Wagner over to the MOD. Maybe he thought it was now or never.

  82. gVOR10 says:

    Over at LGM Adam Silverman has applied all his expertise and considerable experience to events in Ukraine and Russia and decided he trusts nothing he’s seeing, none of it makes any sense, and he has no idea what’s actually going on. Seems sensible to me. His “da fuck they doin over der” cat graphic seems apt.

  83. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    he had about a week left before he was bound to turn control of Wagner over to the MOD

    That looks very likely to be the trigger.
    Prigozhin was likely trying to get his patronage network to overrule the General Staff clipping his wings, failed, and decided to roll the dice.
    OTOH, interesting that the Kadyrovites went silent about a hour before the faecal intersection began.
    So they may be waiting on results before shouting loudly they were behind the winner all along.
    What Putin has to worry about is that if the army stomp Wagner, what’s to stop them stomping the FSB, and making him their puppet?
    OTOH, if the FSB do in Prig.does that put them on top of the dunghill, after reports Putin made them the scapegoats for the failure to decapitate Kyiv last February.
    The old problem of “coup proofed” security systems: they are not optimal for military operations, nor are they stable arrangements under stress.

    …will Trump kiss his ass, too?

    So long as the sucessor feeds the Christian nationalists the same bullshit about Russia as a the bulwark of “traditional values” and an ankle-showing tease about how they might be available as an ally re. China: most likely.
    Claremont Institute (et al): a bigger bunch of delusional wishful thinkers have seldom staggered about without a carer on hand.

  84. JohnSF says:

    Caveated re lack of confirmation, but some indication that Wagner forces have taken control of the city of Rostov, and fighting is occurring between Wagner formations and either Russian Army or FSB units (unclear) on the Rostov to Moscow highway.
    (That’s a rather long highway, bear in mind)
    Well now.