Friday’s Forum

All of the ghouls come out to play

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. de stijl says:

    Trump is going to give a speech in Tulsa on Juneteenth on race written by Stephen Miller.

    That they see that as a possible winning strategy is very sad. That they pursued it is actual evil.

    George Wallace shit live and utilized in 2020 is heartbreaking.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl: George Wallace was not subtle. There is a much more relevant analogy: Reagan’s decision to kick off his campaign in Philadelphia, MS and with a speech about State’s rights.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    While National Republicans uniformly range from feckless cowards to malignant incompetents, I’ve been careful to note that local Republicans can be better, using MD Governor Hogan as an example. It looks like I was over generous. It turns out that his administration has been undercounting C19 nursing Home deaths, removing nearly a third of them from the total. And that’s just what the Baltimore Sun invesfigative team caught them at so far.

    The Republican Party is so infused with sociopaths that it’s not worth trying to separate the good from the bad. Vote them out, every last one, at every level.

  4. Pete S says:

    @de stijl:

    Remember when Mr Arbery was murdered in Georgia the killers leaked the video because they thought it made them look better. When racists use the term silent majority I think they really believe it, Trump and Miller are no different. It is not a smart belief but I think it is genuine.

  5. Jen says:

    The Trump campaign is having people who sign up to go to his rallies say that they agree not to sue the campaign or the venues if they contract Covid-19.

    That’s a lot of legal cover for a hoax, ain’t it?

  6. de stijl says:


    Know the Reagan speach from my youth. Not the actual speech, but the subtext, the implied threat to our neighbors, the dogwhistle. Who the hell would read the actual transcript?

    The actual act of speaking there then was the message. That the text was states’ rights was the icing on the cake.

    Trump at Tulsa on Juneteenth is the message now. Blatently aggressive.

    It is an aggressively white power message. Too subtle for an imbecile like Trump to grok so I believe Stephen Miller rolled this past the gatekeepers who are too inept and culturally ignorant to put Tulsa * Juneteenth together.

    Some fool on his staff (Miller) is using Trump’s ignorance to blatantly stick a thumb in black America’s eye now.

    This is a deliberate provocation.

  7. sam says:

    Suggested mystery series for summer reading.

    Tony Hillerman’s series set in the Navajo Nation. Sgt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee are members of the Navajo Tribal Police investigating wrong-doing on the vast and beautiful Navajo reservation. Hillerman spoke with many Navajo tribal elders about Navajo beliefs and rituals, which figure prominently in the stories. He was made an honorary member of the Navajo Nation.

    Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer series. Eudora Welty thought very highly of him. She said he wrote fairy tales — tales of lost children. See especially his book, Sleeping Beauty.

  8. de stijl says:

    Rs have done this since Nixon. (Wallace)

    Appealed to white voters with fear. Strange fruit gone to seed.

  9. de stijl says:

    The Southern Strategy has come to its apotheosos and it utterly fails.

    50 years of this shit.

  10. Scott says:

    More reverberations from the St John’s Church/Lafayette Square fiasco:

    A Letter to the West Point Class of 2020, from fellow members of the Long Gray Line

    There is a lot here and I suggest reading the whole thing but here are two paragraphs,

    The abhorrent murder of George Floyd has inspired millions to protest police brutality and the persistence of racism. Sadly, the government has threatened to use the Army in which you serve as a weapon against fellow Americans engaging in these legitimate protests. Worse, military leaders, who took the same oath you take today, have participated in politically charged events. The principle of civilian control is central to the military profession. But that principle does not imply blind obedience. Politicization of the Armed Forces puts at risk the bond of trust between the American military and American society. Should this trust be ruptured, the damage to the nation would be incalculable. America needs your leadership.

    Your commitment to your oath will be tested throughout your career. Your loyalty will be questioned, and some will attempt to use it against you. Loyalty is the most abused attribute of leadership. Weak or self-serving leaders will emphasize loyalty over duty under the guise of “good order and discipline.” Unfortunately, some will make a Faustian bargain and endeavor to please their commanders and advance their own careers rather than take care of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines in combat — which is not just a problem, it is a disgrace. America needs your leadership.

  11. drj says:

    The “Official 2020 Trump vs Democrat Poll” on Trump’s personal website is a total hoot:

    1. Who would you rather see fix our Nation’s shattered immigration policies?

    President Trump
    A MS-13 Loving Democrat

    2. Who do you trust more to protect America from foreign and domestic threats?

    President Trump
    A Corrupt Democrat

    3. Who would you rather handle our Nation’s economy?

    President Trump
    A Radical Socialist Democrat

    4. Who do you believe is more transparent with the American People?

    President Trump
    A Lying Democrat


    You don’t get to see the results (of course), but at the end you’re asked for your email address and, a bit later, a campaign donation.

    Reminds me a lot of these Nigerian email scams full of spelling errors. Anyone dumb enough to fall for this “poll,” will be dumb enough to want to donate to the Orange Embarrassment.

    I’m pretty sure that’s the thinking behind this.

  12. Northerner says:

    @de stijl:

    Know the Reagan speach from my youth. Not the actual speech, but the subtext, the implied threat to our neighbors, the dogwhistle. Who the hell would read the actual transcript?

    I’m missing something — how could you know about the subtext and implied threats (which are clearly there in the speech) without hearing or at least reading the transcript? Or at least, getting the analysis of someone who did hear or read the speech?

  13. de stijl says:


    There is analysis and reporting. We even had it back when. Have you read his speech?

    White Republican Reagan giving a speach in Philadelphia MS on states’ rights is a message.

    White Republican Trump giving a speach on racial issues in Tulsa on June-fucking-teenth is a deliberate fuck you.

    I was not there personally, yet I know the impact and importance of that speech. Were you?

    I do not need to see every important event with my own eyes to see the effect and understand the impetus.

    Google “subtext”

  14. Moosebreath says:

    The jokes write themselves:

    Former Trump Plaza Casino to be imploded

  15. Scott says:

    @drj: I get those fake surveys/fund raising letters from the Republican Party all the time. I especially like if they come with a postage paid envelope which I just seal up empty and drop in the mail. Childish of me, I know. But, hey, you get your entertainment anyway you can.

  16. sam says:

    “Strange fruit gone to seed.”


    Billy Holiday, Strange Fruit.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    Last week, half of Tiny’s staff was encouraging him to give a national address on the protests, he has consistently refused. Frankly, I’m disappointed that he won’t. Even if his bobo Stephen Miller writes the speech, Tiny could never stay on script and his wandering off script provides self defeating moments. Bleach, UV rays, how about gamma rays.

  18. Northerner says:

    @de stijl:

    Yes, I have read the transcripts of Reagan’s speech. You’ll note I said the dog whistles were clearly in it. However, I had to read it to know they were there, because I’ve found rumor to be a very inaccurate way of determining someone’s position. Unless I want to believe that say Sanders is a communist, that Obama is a Muslim, that Richard Nixon was a sleeper agent for the USSR (because of detente), and a thousand other things, then I have to distrust rumors.

    I’d say the ratio of rumor to fact is about 100 to 1. How do I know Trump is a racist? Because of what I’ve read of what he says, not because other people say he is (or isn’t).

  19. de stijl says:


    It’s probably a valuable block, but I sorta want it to be preserved as an inoculation to future generations.



  20. de stijl says:


    I don’t know what you are saying.

    It seems to be that if I have not read the full transcript I therefore cannot have understood the act. Is that where you are going?

  21. Sleeping Dog says:


    Oh please, oh please. Schedule the demolition for Tuesday, Nov. 3.

  22. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Trump giving a speech on racial issues would be hilarious and awful.

    He still hasn’t apologized for his Central Park 5 ad that he bought and advocated they be executed. All were subsequently released because they were innocent.

    Rs picked a really bad messenger. Rs picked a very bad person. Rs voted for that guy to be President. Rs chose this guy to be their de facto leader.

    This shit is all on them.

  23. Kylopod says:


    George Wallace was not subtle. There is a much more relevant analogy: Reagan’s decision to kick off his campaign in Philadelphia, MS and with a speech about State’s rights.

    While I agree that this particular episode is reminiscent of the Philly, MS speech, Trump is overall a politician much more in the tradition of Wallace than Reagan.

  24. de stijl says:


    I indicated quite clearly that Reagan’s speech there was the message.

    A message sent and heard.

    Are you reacting to the fact I had not read the transcript?

    I can recite in full the Gettysburg Address. I learned it when I was young.

    I did not understand it fully until I had the capacity and understood the where and the when.

    Even then, journalists understood that where you speak and when, can be as important and often more meaningful than the actual words.

  25. Joe says:

    On a more positive note, the Junteenth speech will bring the Tulsa story to many more people than have ever heard it.

  26. Sleeping Dog says:

    On issues like police reform and racial discrimination it is interesting how far rhetorically Tiny is from most of the Rethug party. By 25-2 margin, the Senate Armed Services Committee has forwarded an amendment to force the military to drop Confederate names from military bases. McConnell has indicated that the Senate is amenable to various police reform initiatives that will soon be passed by the House.

    In Minnesota the Star Tribune reported that Repugs are prepared to vote for reforms.

    GOP Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, said last week that he thought criminal justice changes need to be vetted and should not be made too quickly. But this week he said he has had many conversations on the topic and changed his mind.

    He said he now believes Republicans could agree to ban chokeholds, eliminate binding arbitration for public employees, put the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in charge of investigating use-of-force cases and make it the duty of officers to intervene and report unauthorized use of force.

    Emphasis mine. I guess he looked at the polls over the weekend.

  27. de stijl says:


    One of the saddest songs.

  28. de stijl says:


    Most white Americans are unaware of Juneteenth.

    Most living Americans are unaware of what happened in Tulsa in 1921.

  29. Kathy says:


    Yes, that’s wasteful. You could send a nickel and ask for $0.04 in change instead. Why just cost them money when you can also irritate them? Wasteful.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: 100% agree on the personalities involve. For the most part Reagan wasn’t actually malicious, he was just an empty suit that knew how to act for a crowd. But he was deeply incurious and probably not very bright to boot. That describes Trump but I have no idea if it describes Wallace.

    But Wallace knew exactly what he was doing. In this particular case though, I don’t think Trump, who is a moron, knew anything about Tulsa or Juneteenth. Similarly, I don’t think Reagan knew the significance of Philadelphia. I think it was his campaign staff and they just told him it was important to start in the South and he was happy to do what he was told.

    Then again, I think that Reagan was basically a decent, if shallow, person, while Trump and Wallace are/were malignant sociopaths.

  31. Teve says:


    This season of Earth is just not realistic. It’s just not.


    So many plot holes. Like where did the murder hornets go? Why introduce them if they aren’t important to the story?

    Mathew Wedel

    Yeah gotta agree, this season of Earth is making the last season of Game of Thrones look like friggin Shakespeare. I just hope we’re not coming up on our species finale.

  32. Mikey says:


    Tony Hillerman’s series set in the Navajo Nation.

    An excellent recommendation. During my deployment to Saudi Arabia and Iraq for Desert Shield/Storm, those books provided a welcome escape from the monotony of hurry-up-and-wait.

  33. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I think that a lot of R leaners lost their last holdout for Trump specifically over the UV rays and bleach comments.

    That was truly ignorant, foolish, and dangerous.

    Some folks who were holding on to their support with their nose held just lost all respect for the man.

    The really weird hydroxychloroquine obsession.

    His collapse in polls is due to his performance on the daily C19 televized briefings.

    The emperor has no clothes and is in fact an idiot and prone to spout fringe ideas.

    Not a good look for someone who likes to look strong.

  34. CSK says:

    Apparently the waiver was the best Trump’s advisers could do, given that he refuses to have social distancing observed at his rallies and doesn’t want the attendees wearing masks. He also wants tens of thousands of people in the audience, not mere thousands, so attendance can’t be limited.

    Public health officials in Arizona are really worried about this, given the tremendous spike in cases there.

    It should be obvious even to the culties that Trump doesn’t give a damn about anything but getting his ego gratified.

  35. sam says:


    On the Tulsa Massacre, the series Watchmen on Amazon Prime is based this.

  36. Sleeping Dog says:


    Agreed, Tiny is much more Wallace than Reagan.

    Reagan was a person with a defined ideology through which he filtered the issues of the day and began negotiating from that point. Reagan wasn’t the brightest bulb on the the tree, but he did rely on subject matter experts that shared his ideology for input in the decision making process. Reagan was also a pragmatist.

    None of the above meant that the policies of the Reagan Adm would be anything but conservative and serve the interests of his base, but he was predictable and was glad to take a half a loaf and move forward. Though, in private, there is evidence that Reagan was a racist, but that wasn’t a large part of his public personna.

    Tiny is none of these things, add to that his malicious bullying and lying… He is like Wallace in that he intentionally stokes divisiveness and uses racial bigotry to do so. But like Wallace the racial haters love them some Trump

  37. sam says:


    “Then again, I think that Reagan was basically a decent, if shallow, person”

    To Reagan’s everlasting credit, in my book, when he found out that the Russians were truly terrified that the West would attack them with nuclear weapons, he changed his posture towards them and began working toward nuclear disarmament :

    In his memoirs, Reagan, without specifically mentioning Able Archer 83, wrote of a 1983 realization:

    Three years had taught me something surprising about the Russians: Many people at the top of the Soviet hierarchy were genuinely afraid of America and Americans. Perhaps this shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did…During my first years in Washington, I think many of us in the administration took it for granted that the Russians, like ourselves, considered it unthinkable that the United States would launch a first strike against them. But the more experience I had with Soviet leaders and other heads of state who knew them, the more I began to realize that many Soviet officials feared us not only as adversaries but as potential aggressors who might hurl nuclear weapons at them in a first strike…Well, if that was the case, I was even more anxious to get a top Soviet leader in a room alone and try to convince him we had no designs on the Soviet Union and Russians had nothing to fear from us.”

    For Able Archer 83, which precipitated his change of view, see, Able Archer 83.

  38. de stijl says:


    I have a strong feeling that clever people in Stephen Miller’s crowd thought that a Juneteenth speech in Tulsa would be cheeky and send the correct message to the receptive audience.

    Not provable, but I believe it to be true just as I believe clever folk in Reagan’s circle exploited Reagan’s ignorance for the states’ rights speech in Killthejews, MS.

    Trump is a moron who thought that getting his picture taken with a Chipotle bowl was an Hispanic outreach.

    Trump is easily lead by the right sort of sychophant.

    I look forward to a true accounting of this.

    Historians are licking their chops.

    One of the things that keeps me sane is that we are living through interesting times that future bright people will analyze.

  39. de stijl says:


    The first episode is the one that most focused on the Tulsa 1921 riot.

    It is brutal.

  40. de stijl says:


    Also on HBO and services.

  41. Northerner says:

    @de stijl:

    I’m reacting to the idea that the location of the speech is the message. Do you think every speech in those fairgrounds is automatically racist? Presumably there were other people giving speeches there on any range of topics (probably most about agriculture) — were they all automatically racist?

    Reagan was racist. If you argued that you didn’t need to hear his speech to know he was a racist then no argument from me, he’d shown that in other speeches and actions. But you seem to be arguing that the act of giving a speech there, independent of the speaker and the topic, was automatically racist. I think that’s simply wrong.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @drj: I get similar messages and donation pitches from all the various RWNJ organizations and PACs. Not only is it about fooling the rubes, it’s also about reinforcing the message that said rubes want to hear–that they are keeping ‘Murka safe from “the enemy”–be it socialism, Satan, immigrant hoards, whatever… lots of enemies to choose from.

    They’re good at staying on message.

  43. Teve says:

    @sam: in 1986 there were 70,000 nuclear bombs in the world. Today, there are 3700 active nuclear bombs. It’s great progress in a sense, and still completely insane in another sense. If the first hundred nukes don’t take out your enemy, who the fuck are you fighting? The Klingons?

  44. Monala says:

    @sam: PBS did a series of movies (directed by Robert Redford) based on Hillerman’s Navajo nation novels, in the early ‘00s I think. They’re excellent.

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Apparently, he just needed the right venue.

    President Trump praised the use of tear gas and other force to disperse Minneapolis protesters, calling it a “beautiful scene” and describing the National Guard’s actions “like a knife cutting butter.”
    Trump’s event at a conservative, evangelical and predominantly white church in Dallas on Thursday afternoon came as the White House has yet to announce what new measures it might support in response to the protests against racial injustice that have gripped the nation since the killing of George Floyd by a police officer.

    For what it’s worth, I’m confident that whatever decision they make will be wise and prudent because someone here said a while back that they’re confident in the GOP leadership to do the right thing. (Just like the Senate did on impeachment, IIRC.)

  46. Jen says:

    @CSK: I’m sort of aghast at all of it. The holding of the rallies in the first place. Lack of masks. Holding rallies in places where numbers are just about to tip into out of control (my parents are in AZ, and hospitals there are warning that their ICU bed capacity is nearly at its limit). The President’s own refusal to wear a mask or permit the optics of mask-wearing.

    It’s incredible to me that he–a lifelong germaphobe–is willing to stand in an enclosed space with thousands of people when a pandemic that has proven to be transmitted through circulated air is raging. It’s all so…strange.

  47. de stijl says:


    It was the kick-off speech for his campaign.

    Coulda been anywhere. Topic coulda been anything.

    The topic was states’ rights in Philadelphia, MS.

    Context matters.

    It was an explicitly political statement. A white supremecy statement. An “I am with you” statement.

    Reagan started his run there. It could have been anywhere. His hometown. Sioux Falls. New York. Washington. Anywhere. He chose Philadelphia, MS for a reason. Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner. This wasn’t some dim, dusty history. It was 15 years ago.

    Trump is restarting his campaign for re-election in Tulsa on Juneteenth.

    For a reason.

    It is almost as if there were a pattern.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I used to fill out the polls, giving the answer they didn’t want, but I realized that it was probably being handled by a direct mail company, so the people who contracted the polling/begging only see the total take–minus commissions, of course.

    It’s one of the few situations where I actually hope that the solicitation revenue only covers the cost of the solicitation. 😉 (And, in fact, I’m okay with it not covering the solicitation company’s profit margin.)

  49. Jay L Gischer says:

    So. There is an important event in Tulsa’s history that people should know about. It is what produces the subtext for Trump’s speech. Since I didn’t know about this until maybe 5-10 years ago, I’m gonna assume that other people don’t. It’s not that hard to live in the US as a white person, even an educated white person with good intentions – and not hear about this stuff.

    I scanned through today’s comments to see if anyone had already linked to info on the Tulsa massacre. I didn’t see any, but I might have missed it. I would think that people not knowing this would work in Trump’s favor, and that would make most of our regular commenters eager to spread the word about it. Evidently I’m wrong about that.

  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Phobias are complex. The fact of Trump being a germaphobe may be overruled by his almost manic need to be adored thereby cancelling the fear. As to the danger to others, since he is clearly a sociopath, why would their peril trouble him.

    Sadly, I’m just a sociopathic as he is, so I’m inclined to look at the danger of outbreak as a you-can’t-fix-stupid event. I’m just grateful that my section of Red State America is in a pretty reliably blue state and that my little town does not have the sizes of venues necessary to attract a Trump rally. I’m pretty safe, over all. (insert relieved emoticon here)

    ETA: On the other hand, we added another 5 Covid cases to our total since Tuesday, so Phase 2 opening wasn’t a wise a choice as it could have been. We’re still under 0.1% total infection rate at 99 out of 105,000 population, but it’s a little under doubled from when the county started planning the grand reopening. We’ve tested just under 4% of our population.

  51. CSK says:

    I’ve been wondering about that myself. We know he doesn’t give a damn about anyone else, and another 100,000 deaths bothers him only as it adversely affects his re-election chances. But how does he plan to protect himself? Is he going to stand on a platform well-elevated above the adoring masses? The BOK Center, where this will be held, is a huge enclosed space–a giant Petri dish, if you will.

    Trump is obese and old, which makes him a prime risk for a mortal Covid-19 infection. He also may be harboring who knows how many other comorbidities we haven’t been told about. I suppose it’s possible he doesn’t believe he’s high risk–that would, after all, be showing weakness. And Donald Trump is never weak.

  52. Kingdaddy says:

    @sam: My favorite regional mystery writer is James Lee Burke. His Dave Robicheaux novels, all set in Louisiana, are terrific thrillers, full of evocative regional details and interesting characters. Skip the movie adaptations, they do a disservice to these excellent books.

  53. Kylopod says:


    Do you think every speech in those fairgrounds is automatically racist?

    If you set the bar at what is or isn’t “automatically racist,” you’re going to be overlooking a great deal of stealth or dogwhistle racism. The phrase “states’ rights” isn’t automatically racist. “Welfare queen” isn’t automatically racist. Criticizing Dukakis’s furlough program (as Al Gore did) isn’t automatically racist. Bush visiting Bob Jones wasn’t automatically racist, nor was Newt Gingrich referring to Obama as the “food stamp president.” Even Trump-era rhetoric like “shithole countries” isn’t automatically racist.

    That’s the way these things work: you find something that potentially has an innocent explanation even though, in context, it almost certainly doesn’t. It’s naive to suggest otherwise.

  54. de stijl says:


    Gotta represent for John Sanford’s Prey series.

    Are they great? No. Sometimes kinda almost.

  55. DrDaveT says:


    My favorite regional mystery writer is James Lee Burke.

    I haven’t read them in a while, but I was extremely fond of John D. MacDonald’s Ft. Lauderdale boat bum and “salvage consultant”, Travis McGee.

    If you open up the scope, I think by far the best location-dependent mystery series of all time is the Yellowthread Street mysteries of William L. Marshall, set in Hong Kong before (and leading up to) the return. The first one* is mediocre and skippable, the second one** is OK, and after that they’re awesome. Funny, moving, surreal ensemble police procedurals.

    * Yellowthread Street
    ** The Hatchet Man

  56. de stijl says:


    One of my faves was Steve King who called Obama “very, very urban”.

    Dude is less urban than I am.

    Of course by “urban” King actually meant black.

    Obama has me beat there.

  57. de stijl says:


    It’s almost as if there were a discernable pattern.

  58. Mister Bluster says:

    @Scott:..I get those fake surveys/fund raising letters from the Republican Party all the time. I especially like if they come with a postage paid envelope which I just seal up empty and drop in the mail. Childish of me, I know. But, hey, you get your entertainment anyway you can.

    Fifty years ago when I was (allegedly) in college, one of my roommates had a summer job with the United States Post Office. He said that we should tape those Postage Paid envelopes to a brick and drop them in nearest mailbox.

  59. Kingdaddy says:

    For anyone who lived in Southern California a few decades ago, the early T. Jefferson Parker novels, starting with Laguna Heat, does the best job of depicting Orange County and some neighboring areas better than anything I’ve read. His later works go off the deep end, too silly to recommend.

    I haven’t read the Walt Longmire novels, but I love the TV show. I wish there were a real Absaroka County, Wyoming, because then I would visit it, now that I live in northern Colorado, just a reasonably short drive away.

  60. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’ve read that taping a postage paid envelope to heavy objects became so common that the post office basically filters those out and throws them in the trash. (warning: autoplay video)

  61. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarkedMan:..For the most part Reagan wasn’t actually malicious,..

    …for the most part…

    (in 1970, then California Governor) Reagan responded to questions about campus protest movements saying, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.” When the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped Patty Hearst in Berkeley and demanded the distribution of food to the poor, Reagan joked to a group of political aides about a botulism outbreak contaminating the food…

  62. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    Ya know @Northerner, @de stijl is right.

  63. sam says:


    Yeah, I really enjoyed the James Lee Burke novels. I’d add to my list, John D. MacDonald’s Travis Magee novels (read them all, but the last, which I refuse to read). Someone said of those books, you learn things you’d rather you hadn’t. Also, James Ellroy’s books, especially the L.A. Quartet. And, of course, all of Raymond Chandler.

  64. sam says:
  65. MarkedMan says:

    @Northerner: I’m with de Stijl on this. For Tulsa, the location and timing IS the message. In Reagan’s case the location and subject matter WAS the message.

  66. Mikey says:

    There really are no words. Good God.

    Kyle Griffin
    Trump on Fox: “I think the concept of chokehold sounds so innocent, so perfect.”

  67. CSK says:

    “Perfect” is one of his favorite words, but he never seems to use it properly. I wonder what he thinks it means.

  68. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer: We’ve actually been talking about it in this thread, but basically assuming that everyone knew why we were saying “Tulsa on Juneteenth IS the message”. You are correct to point out that maybe 1% of the population knows that Tulsa whites, resentful that some blacks lived in nicer houses than them, rioted and killed hundreds of innocent people, and the Oklahoma officials covered it up.

  69. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: When Trump does something counter-intuitive it’s usually best to remember that Trump is an utter moron and go from there. In this case Trump might be a germophobe, but he seems to have convinced himself that since everyone he comes in contact with gets a rapid-test, that he will never be exposed to anyone with the virus. Does it make sense? No. But Trump is a moron.

  70. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: Ah, yes. Urban, inner-city, ghetto. Nothing racial about those terms at all, boy.

    Speaking of which, did you hear how the Grammys have decided to change the term “urban contemporary” to “Progressive R&B”?

  71. Jen says:

    @sam: That will have to be one I borrow from the library. I want to read it, but don’t want my money to go directly *to* Bolton. Yes, authors receive a small amount from library borrows, but at least it won’t be in my Amazon history, messing up the recommendation algorithm. 😀

  72. wr says:

    @de stijl: “Most living Americans are unaware of what happened in Tulsa in 1921”

    Although a lot more are now thanks to HBO’s Watchmen…

  73. gVOR08 says:

    We’ve had a lot of discussion about how voters are split and who Biden should go after. Should he persuade the undecided, should he motivate the left, should he demotivate the right, …? I started reading Rick Perlstein’s book on Goldwater and the birth of movement conservatism, Before the Storm. I found this bit, about the campaign manager who won Goldwater’s first senate election, insightful, and apt to the present moment.

    Years later Shadegg penned a primer called How to Win an Election. There were three types of voters, he theorized: Committeds, Undecideds, and Indifferents. The first step to victory was identifying the Indifferents—“those who don’t vote at all, or vote only in response to an emotional appeal, or as a result of some carefully planned campaign technique which makes it easy for them to reach a decision.” Indifferents were the kind of suckers another master of persuasion said were born every minute.

  74. wr says:

    @Mikey: “Tony Hillerman’s series set in the Navajo Nation.”

    If you’ve read all the Hillermans, you might want to check out Aimee and David Thurlo’s Ella Clah novels about a Navajo FBI agent who goes back to the rez to work with the tribal police. Got to know the Thurlos well twenty years ago when I wrote a pilot based on their books for CBS.

    (The pilot just missed getting shot, but the script has been published and is available at Amazon…)

  75. wr says:

    @de stijl: “Trump is a moron who thought that getting his picture taken with a Chipotle bowl was an Hispanic outreach.”

    If if had been a Chipotle bowl, it might have worked better. It was the taco salad from the Trump Grill in the Trump Tower.

  76. Northerner says:


    That’s the way these things work: you find something that potentially has an innocent explanation even though, in context, it almost certainly doesn’t. It’s naive to suggest otherwise.

    And then everything is dog whistle. For the right, anything a left winger says is a communist dog-whistle. For the left, anything a right winger says is a Nazi dog-whistle. Its like dream interpretation, anything can mean anything at that point.

    The thing is, you don’t need to look for dog whistles to see that Reagan or Trump were racists, they make it very clear by what they directly say and do. Suppose Reagan had started his campaign somewhere else — would that mean he wasn’t a racist? ((And that’s ignoring the fact that no matter where he started there’d be some racist context — its America, a land born by stealing a continent, killing 95% of its original inhabitants, and then running a significant part of its economy on slavery — is there a square mile which doesn’t have a racist context?) You don’t have to look for dog-whistles, they’re showing it directly.

    Or as Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Reagan was a racist. Trump is a racist. They’re not subtle about it, you don’t need to look for hidden meanings in otherwise innocuous things, because its already explicit.

  77. CSK says:

    So…Trump’s people intend to rapid-test all 19,000 people fitting into the arena, do they? Should work beautifully.

    Which is reputed to be lousy.

  78. CSK says:

    Susan Glasser over at the New Yorker poses a good question: If Trump hates losers so much, why is he defending the symbols of the Confederacy? The Confederates were big-time losers. Right?

  79. Kylopod says:


    And then everything is dog whistle.

    No–that’s a logical fallacy. I’m curious, though, about your statement that Reagan was “clearly” a racist. How do you know? Apart from the very recent revelation that he once referred to African diplomats as apes, the only way you’re going to reach that conclusion is through the very kinds of inferences you’re now pooh-poohing. And frankly, even the ape thing can be dismissed if you’re intent on doing so: Why is it racist to call a black person an ape? Liberals have compared white politicians like Trump and Dubya to apes.

    The fact is, your criteria for seeing something as racist is so narrow it basically would exclude anything beyond someone coming out and saying “I hate black people.”

    For the right, anything a left winger says is a communist dog-whistle.

    That’s a poor analogy. There’s no history of overt Communist politicians in the United States. There’s a long history of overt white supremacist politicians, some of whom served into the 21st century. White supremacy runs deep in US history; Communism does not. When politicians stopped being overtly racist in the 1970s, the racist voters did not suddenly disappear. The politicians just had to find subtler ways of appealing to them. The dogwhistle strategy isn’t some conspiracy theory liberals dreamed up, it’s thoroughly well-documented that Republicans adopted that strategy and even admitted it outright on occasion.

  80. Kathy says:

    A very interesting piece on Fiona Hill at The Guardian.

    Choice quote:

    In her view populist governments are useless at handling complex problems of governance, almost by definition. If leaders are fit to govern, they generally don’t need populism to get elected.

    “It’s all about style and swagger and atmospherics, with superficial solutions to things, with lots of sloganeering, and obviously dealing with a pandemic is pretty methodical and boring. It requires an awful lot of planning and logistical organization and you can’t just sort of do it on the fly with an ad hoc coalition.”

  81. de stijl says:


    That’s 10x lamer. Trump Tower is known for their taco salad in a big ass tortilla bowl.

    Taco Bell’s Dorito taco is more authentic.

    Mexicans and Mexican Americans and Tejanos hate us so much.

    (Carlos Alazraqui, stand up comic and actor from Reno 911, was the voice actor for the Yo Quiero Taco Bell ads and has a great bit about that.)

  82. de stijl says:


    Reagan’s Chicago welfare queen and the strapping young bucks buying a T-bone steak when you have to buy hamburger.

    It’s almost as if there is some sort a pattern of behavior.

  83. de stijl says:


    Google Lee Atwater.

  84. DrDaveT says:


    John D. MacDonald’s Travis Magee novels (read them all, but the last, which I refuse to read)

    Some were better than others, but the only one I will never read again is The Green Ripper. I don’t know what was happening in MacDonald’s life at that point, but that one was way too grim for me — and I liked the Martin Beck novels…

  85. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    You and Jen are much nicer than I am. I tend to put a piece of lead foil in the envelope to increase their postage costs. When the Moral Majority sent me stuff, I used a brick, in a box, with the envelope taped to the outside.

  86. de stijl says:


    To be very clear on my message:

    Trump is too stupid and ignorant to have thought this up himself.

    But the place and the date are not a coincidence. It’s not a dog whistle. It’s a whistle whistle.

    Some staffers (looks at Stephen Miller) thought this up.

  87. de stijl says:


    The early Travis McGee books have not aged well in regards to women.

    This is not a now take. I remember reading one bit in the early 80s and being quite disturbed. I was barely woke back then and it was super creepy.

  88. Jen says:

    I hate this administration with every fiber of my being.

    They just reversed transgender health protections. DURING PRIDE MONTH.

    Do they think this sh!t is going to save them with Evangelical voters? That this type of crap alone can push him over the finish line?

    America, your soul is on the line at this point.

  89. de stijl says:


    @Northerner is correct. Reagan was indeed very racist; notably so for his era.

    Not the point being made by them, but demonstrably true.

  90. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    @Northerner is correct. Reagan was indeed very racist; notably so for his era.

    What gave you the impression I was arguing otherwise?

  91. de stijl says:

    Took a taxi earlier today.

    It was the driver’s first day and I was his very first customer ever.

    Gave him a twenty for a 8 and change trip.

  92. de stijl says:


    You were cleverly oblique.

    I wanted to spike the ball Gronkowski style.

  93. Northerner says:


    No–that’s a logical fallacy. I’m curious, though, about your statement that Reagan was “clearly” a racist. How do you know?

    He supported a state ballot initiative to allow racial discrimination in housing, saying “If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, it is his right to do so.”

    He opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    No dog whistle necessary, he came right out and was openly racist.

  94. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    The first episode is the one that most focused on the Tulsa 1921 riot.

    It was more like a massacre or a pogrom than a riot. Although the insurance companies classified it as a riot, apparently, as they routinely didn’t cover riot damage.

    I watched that series with friends and they thought the biplane dropping bombs was a bit over the top, so I made them stop and we all enjoyed a few articles on the Tulsa Massacre.

    I’m not sure what I was expecting from the Watchmen TV show, but it wasn’t that.

    I do expect Tucker Carlson to be claiming that liberals are upset about Trump visiting a place that was the scene of a race riot in a TV show with superheroes…

    Autocorrect thought I wanted superhombre, and honestly, I do, but the most compelling characters were women.

  95. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @sam: The late Tony Hillerman’s books provided me with an extra special appeal. Hillerman took great pains to incorporate Navajo traditions, and importantly insight for non-native to understand the “why” of those traditions.
    As an example, when a Navajo is being introduced to another native, it is expected that each will declare the dine from which they are born. Sort of a shorthand announcement of their respective lineages. To decline to declare their family is very discourteous, and insulting.
    So, woven into a mystery story are these explanations to allow a non-native, like myself, to better understand the traditional Navajo customs.
    Really miss Tony’s writing.

  96. de stijl says:


    Pogrom is a better descriptor than riot. It was intentional and there was a goal.

    I like Tim Blake Nelson a lot. He’s a talented guy. Plus, he’s from Tulsa.

    In the first ep Don Johnson is having a nice sit down family dinner with his daughter in law and the grandkids and joshing with his wife and everybody. Goes back to the kitchen to freshen up drinks and does a quick bump.

    It’s a nice touch and a cool call-back.

    Jeremy Irons rocks hard.

  97. de stijl says:


    I am so stealing “superhombre”

    YouTube thinks I am a Spanish speaker. One ad I know and quote all the time features estrella and super estrella and mega estrella with a cool hand gesture.