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. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    0330 and my brain won’t shut down. Sadnesses.

    I appreciate the ongoing discussion concerning small “d” democracy. That led me down the rabbit hole of how our society has splintered with a loss of civility, and and unwillingness on the part of so many people to compromise on the smallest of items, much less the greater societal issues.

    No, Luddite doesn’t have any solutions on this, just spinning in circles in my head.

    Questions, comments, observations?

  2. gVOR10 says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: No questions, comments, or observations, but a data point. Kevin Drum looks at the common claim that social media is to blame for our polarization and concludes the timing is wrong. He blames Newt Gingrich followed by FOX. I’d add Rush Limbaugh and the RW radio talkers. Or as I’ve put it, FOX/GOP. They want us divided, they worked hard to divide us, and they’ve had considerable success.

  3. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    I’m reminded of the James Baldwin “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist” quote. “Civility” is too often a code for an abuser’s expectation that their victims make their suffering invisible.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR10: Drum makes a good point and brings receipts. It’s hard to believe that anything to do with the internet was responsible for the start of the polarization and vituperation we see today given that the jump started in 1994. In that year McKinsey was still giving $5K an hour presentations to boardrooms telling C-Levels it was too early to tell if they needed a “web presence”, (i.e. a simple web page that listed contact information). What did happen in ’94? Newt Gingrich rose to power on a strategy of driving polarization and hostility. It was no secret – he literally sent out a press release every morning with the negative words that should be used by all Republicans. I remember it well. Suddenly a dozen different Republicans or stand ins would be describing something in exactly the same “new” and negative way. The MSM fell over themselves to highlight quotes of Republicans calling Democrats names. I know James and others continue to think Gingrich had good qualities and his tenure had good effects that outweighed the bad, but given what he started and what it grew into, I just can’t hold the same opinion.

    As a taste, here’s his 1996 election memo on how every Republican should describe their opponents:

    “Often we search hard for words to define our opponents. Sometimes we are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.

    abuse of power / anti- (issue): flag, family, child, jobs / betray / bizarre / bosses / bureaucracy / cheat / coercion / “compassion” is not enough / collapse(ing) / consequences / corrupt / corruption / criminal rights / crisis / cynicism / decay / deeper / destroy / destructive / devour / disgrace / endanger / excuses / failure (fail) / greed / hypocrisy / ideological / impose / incompetent / insecure / insensitive / intolerant / liberal / lie / limit(s) / machine / mandate(s) / obsolete / pathetic / patronage / permissive / attitude / pessimistic / punish (poor …) / radical / red tape / self-serving / selfish / sensationalists / shallow / shame / sick / spend(ing) / stagnation / status quo / steal / taxes / they/them / threaten / traitors / unionized / urgent (cy) / waste / welfare”

  5. CSK says:


    Don’t forget Pat Buchanan and Sarah Palin.

  6. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Thanks, Stormy. My belief that we treat each other with love and respect, and act towards others as we’d like to be treated, is largely due to my maternal grandmother and her brothers.

    I don’t comprehend how anyone can treat a group of people with contempt and hatred. I’ve lived in hatred, and I know what I’m capable of. Today, I simply refuse to live down to my baser nature.

    But unlike some of the judgers who see a divinity when they look in their mirror, I frequently see the abyss.

    I’m delighted to talk with you. If we ever met, first round’s on me.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi absorbed conspiracy theories, trial hears

    The defense attorney Jodi Linker said on Thursday in opening statements in court in San Francisco that she would not dispute that DePape attacked the former House speaker’s husband. Instead, she will argue that DePape believed “with every ounce of his body” he was taking action to stop corruption and the abuse of children by politicians and actors.

    “This is not a whodunit. But what the government fails to acknowledge is the ‘whydunit’ – and the ‘why’ matters in this case,” Linker said.

    IANAL, but I just can’t see this as a winning strategy.

  8. Chip Daniels says:

    People are fond of trying to discern the exact moment when the Republican Party went mad but looking at the long sweep of time from lets say, Eisenhower to Trump it becomes clear that first, the Trumpists were always there, operating under various names such as the Birchers or whatever, and second, that the fall was a long slow steady series of inflection points, where they could have chosen the path of liberal democracy, but instead chose the one turning towards authoritarianism.

    They chose Goldwater over Rockefeller, Nixon over Rockefeller again, Reagan over Ford, Reagan over GW Bush and so on.
    They chose to welcome the Dixiecrats into the party following the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and eagerly exploited the race riots of the mid 60s to establish themselves as the party of white dominance. They embraced the Moral Majority and the ethos of reactionism against feminism and gay rights.

    They didn’t have to do any of these things. These were each decisions, choices they made to gain power. Each one a tiny inflection point, the way someone progresses from juvenile delinquent to hardened criminal and each step making the next one seem inevitable.

  9. CSK says:


    Well, DePape was caught red-handed, so to speak, and even filmed committing the assault, so the defense options are severely limited.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    They chose to welcome the Dixiecrats into the party following the 1964 Civil Rights Act

    Famously, Republican Senator and party stalwart Jacob Javits wrote a NYT OpEd warning the party against recruiting the Dixiecrats to boost Goldwater. It was the first public use of the term “Southern Strategy”. A close reading of that shows the idea amongst the Republican strategists was that they could recruit them for this one election with a bunch of vague promises and, since they were only necessary because Goldwater was such a weak candidate, the Dixiecrats could be ignored in the future when they had better candidates. Javits warned that once they were brought into the party they would stay, and eventually transform it in negative ways. I think it’s safe to say Javits was exactly right.

  11. Kylopod says:

    @Chip Daniels: My general theory is that this trend you identify began as the party’s attempt to rebrand after the Depression, using the Cold War as its hook. During the FDR years, the plutocrats who had had a good run in the ’20s became so unpopular nobody with any serious political ambition wanted to touch them with a ten-foot pole. After Hoover’s defeat, for a while the Republican nominees were all relative moderates who accepted at least parts of the New Deal.

    By the ’50s, both the Buckleyites and the Birchers (really two sides of the same coin) were fundamentally backlashes against Eisenhower’s accommodationism, and they took advantage of the wild-eyed paranoia that anticommunism produced. That became a way of breaking through the conflicts of class interests at the heart of the right’s resurgence, and it was a template for everything that followed, from the Dixiecrats to the Christian right to the War on Terror to MAGA.

  12. Rick DeMent says:


    They chose Goldwater over Rockefeller …

    Even Goldwater thought the hardcore evangelicals were beyond working with due to the notion that they were all doing it for God.

  13. Kylopod says:


    A close reading of that shows the idea amongst the Republican strategists was that they could recruit them for this one election with a bunch of vague promises and, since they were only necessary because Goldwater was such a weak candidate, the Dixiecrats could be ignored in the future when they had better candidates.

    According to what I’ve read, as early as the 1950s the conservative wing of the party was already in talks of luring in the Dixiecrats through their mutual hatred of the federal government.

    There was still tension between the two groups. One of the reasons why LBJ won Arkansas in 1964 (the only state to flip from him to Wallace four years later) was that even many segregationists were wary of Goldwater for his promise to abolish Social Security. This conflict never really went away even after the Dixiecrats got absorbed in the GOP.

  14. CSK says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    I think your reply is to what MarkedMan wrote.

    But as I recall, Goldwater was very wary of the ultra-religious.

  15. Kathy says:

    I don’t think I was satisfied with how Loki ended.

  16. Pete S says:

    I see that Ramsammy (sp?) floated the idea of building a border wall with Canada. As a Canadian I can only say please please please please.

    Of course one of my reasons is that my office overlooks the border as it follows a swift moving body of water and I would enjoy watching a construction company hired by Trump or Trump-lite trying to build there after skimming most of the funds off the top to buy a yacht.

  17. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I agree. Don’t care why. Is there an insanity finding available in the background?

  18. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    The defense atty is leading up to an insanity plea.

  19. Kathy says:


    IMO, it doesn’t matter what he believed. Even if he had been not wrong, he had no right to break into the Pelosi’s home, nor to hold Mr. Pelosi captive, and much less to assault him.

    If a cop had done what DePape did, and even had stacks of evidence for his case, he’d have been fired on the spot, and possibly arrested for pretty much what DePape was arrested and indicted for.

  20. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “IANAL, but I just can’t see this as a winning strategy.”

    If I correctly understood the article I read on the plea, the idea here is to get him out of federal charges assault on an immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. The idea is that he was targeting Pelosi not because she was Speaker, but because she was part of a Democratic pedophilia conspiracy involving Hunter Biden, George Soros and Tom Hanks, and since conspiring to molest children is not part of her official duties, that would just leave the state charges.

    Yeah, good luck on that one…

  21. just nutha says:

    @Rick DeMent: At that time, Evangelicals were the “squishy liberals” of non- denominational Christianity and the Fundies were a fringe element in the conversation. Merging Fundamentalists and Evangelicals into one block was the master stroke and took 20 more years.

  22. SenyorDave says:

    I was thinking about one of the by products of the Hamas terrorist attack. I found something called Google trends which looks at how search terms trend over time. Type in “Palestinian state” and you can see that prior to October 7th there was virtually no interest, it spiked for a few weeks after the attack, and now is lower, but still about ten times higher than before the attack. Nobody GAF until the attack.
    I have no illusions that Hamas’ attacks has any motivation other than killing and destruction of Israel and in particular Israeli Jews. But it is sad that there is no interest in even pressuring Israel to alter their strategy until something like this happens.

  23. Kathy says:

    So, El Cheeto says he’ll have his political opponents indicted if he wins in 24.

    You know, were it not for the literal megatons of epic harm Benito can do if he wins, it would almost be worth it to see the tantrums he’ll throw when the FBI and DOJ can’t produce evidence of wrongdoing, the grand juries maybe don’t produce indictments, and the courts throw them out if they somehow manage.

    What The Orange Ass envisions, let us be clear, is an old fashioned political terror, like those carried out during the French Revolution, or in nazi Germany and soviet Russia and Red China. That’s his end goal, to be a mix of Robespierre, hitler, stalin, and mao.

    Even if he has no cue that’s what he’s proposing.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: For a long time, I’ve viewed small “c” conservatism as a tool to be used in certain circumstances, while small “l” liberalism applies in others. I define conservatism like this: unless there is a crisis or a large injustice we should think long and hard before making major changes, and favor not making changes. I’m a small “c” by default – I’ve spent my whole engineering career cleaning up messes caused by over-enthusiasm for getting rid of Horrible Irredeemable Systems and replacing them with the One System that will solve all our problems.

    In contrast, I’ve more recently come to see capital “C” Conservatism as principally about maintaining the existing power structure and wealth distribution. This has probably been true since caveman days, but it has certainly been true since there has been a named Conservative movement. There are all kinds of academic and intellectual arguments that justify maintaining and strengthening the existing power structure, but those are post facto efforts. They will always come out in favor of the powerful.

  25. Rick DeMent says:

    @CSK: I think you are right 🙂

  26. Kathy says:

    I think when/if we develop the propulsion technology, we’ll find time dilation something of a disappointment.

    Let’s say you want to travel to Proxima Centauri, spend five years exploring, and come back home. At 10% of lightspeed, the trip would take around 90 years. Ok, but that’s from Earth’s frame of reference. How about yours.

    Eighty nine and one half years.

    That’s to get there and back. Add five more years of looking around.

    10% the speed of light is insanely fast, compared to what we’ve been able to achieve with chemical rockets and gravitational assists from helpful planets. Rounding, it’s 30,000 kilometers per second. At that speed, you’d circle the Earth in 1.3 seconds, or reach the Moon in ten.

    It just doesn’t dilate time much.

  27. Mike in Arlington says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You’re right. I’m a bit surprised that it went to trial. That’s a case that’s ripe for a plea.

  28. Kylopod says:


    I think when/if we develop the propulsion technology, we’ll find time dilation something of a disappointment.

    Is that a good or bad thing? Time-dilation stories are fun, but I’m not sure what advantage they offer, apart from the possibility of a handful of humans being able to travel thousands of years into the future without ever being able to come back to tell anyone about it.

  29. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, same. Part of it is that I liked Loki more than some of the other series, so my expectations were a bit higher.

    I suspect that another part of it is that the actor portraying Kang was arrested for assault earlier this year, so disney/marvel need to adjust their plans for their future films.

  30. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Limbaugh, Ailes, Gingrich, and McConnell: The 4 horsemen of the American Apocalypse. The first two are the parents of every one of the loud grifters since, Gingrich broke the House with his 50%+1 and divisive drama, and McConnell broke the Senate by forcing everything to require 60 votes.

    Social media is an accelerant on the flames, but not the root cause. Even more than radio and TV were.

  31. Kathy says:


    It’s a bad thing.

    If you could travel at 99% lightspeed, your time in transit to and from Proxima would be about 1 year and three months. Add five years exploration, and you’d be easily able to live long enough to do it. On Earth 14 years would pass, so people would remember you left. You may even get a hero’s welcome if you don’t die on the trip.

    That’s pretty much what many people envision when they think about time dilation.

    Of course, to achieve such speeds would require a lot of energy. And the penetrating power of stray atoms in space would be like that of cosmic rays. So you’re not likely to survive the trip. And Xelon Xusk hasn’t said a word about radiation shielding yet.

    IMO, with a very shallow, basic, and totally inadequate understanding of physics and technology, I’d be amazed if we managed more than 20% lightspeed. Maybe way higher if we can develop some exotic forms of energy, like synthetic black holes, cheap antimatter, zero point energy, or some radical new discovery we don’t even suspect now.

    The last doesn’t seem likely. Still, I can’t help but think there was an explosion of advancement in physics between Newton and the late 19th century. A lot was learned and discovered during that time, from mechanics to thermodynamics. And yet, no one suspected how much more energy could be had from the atomic nucleus.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Given the risk to the ship at high speeds, along with cosmic rays, etc, the idea of converting an asteroid to a space ship makes a lot of sense.

  33. Kathy says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    Disney’s problem seems to be an incredibly strong allergy against recasting roles.

    Trek has already recast Kirk and Spock twice each.

  34. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    IANAL, but I suspect that’s true, but only if he’s interested in taking a plea. As bat shirt crazy as he seems, he probably insists on this forum to decry the pedophilic conspiracy that he is fighting against with the orange Cheeto

  35. Kathy says:


    That’s a SciFi trope in good, long standing.

    But it runs against the energy requirements. An interstellar ark type of vessel, with a self-contained ecosystem and large crew, is totally doable but would take thousands of years to even reach Proxima. The crew would reproduce and their many-time-great-great-great-grandchildren would reach the destination.

    But then time dilation would be so trivial as to not even be perceptible.

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Given that we are positing being able to accelerate a ship capable of sustaining a handful of people for two decades to 99% of the speed of light, I have no problem extending that imagining to an ability to accelerate an entire small asteroid to the same speed. In for a penny, in for a pound…

  37. Kathy says:


    If we’re dreaming big, why not move the whole Solar System at high relativistic speeds?

    We’ll need a new star eventually, anyway. May as well bring everyone along before the Sun grows too hot for Earth to support life.

    By then H. Sapiens will have been replaced by G. Sapiens, though 😀

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Then there’s the next step: Is

    unless there is a crisis or a large injustice we should think long and hard before making major changes, and favor not making changes.


    maintaining the existing power structure and wealth distribution.

    And if so, and your further comments here and at the Tabs/Takes post would seem to indicate that you might say “yes,” then does staying with small “c” conservative lead where you want to go?

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: BTW, something has been bothering me. You’ve been talking about the high speed of the “away” ship as being the reason for time dilation. But the earth and the ship are at the same speed relative to each other, i.e. you could just as easily say that the ship is stationary and it’s the earth moving at relativistic speed in the opposite direction. Isn’t the fact that it was the ship that accelerated while the earth remained on it’s path the important thing? At least, that’s how I remember it finally making sense to me all those years ago. If it turns out to be incorrect I’ll have to relearn it all…

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Do G. Sapiens eventually get replaced by F. Sapiens in this case? I would have thought that H. Sapiens would be replaced by I. Sapiens, but these types of theoreticals are usually beyond my Barbie.

  41. Kathy says:


    I think the solution lies in how other bodies in the universe appear in reference to both Earth and ship.

    For instance, while the ship is moving away from Earth at, say, 90% c, Proxima Centauri would seem to be moving towards the ship at that speed, but not towards the Earth, nor Earth away from Proxima.

    A better one is that we can see galaxies at the far side of the universe moving away from us at such high speeds. anyone in that galaxy would see us moving away from them at high speed. Whose time is dilated?

    I concluded neither galaxy is moving much with respect to the other, but rather space is expanding between them. I’m sure I’m wrong, but this lets me sleep at night.

  42. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Yes, both small “c” and large “C” conservatism maintains the initial power structure, at least initially. Here’s the difference. In large “C” the entire goal is to maintain the power structure, and its philosophers create words and theories towards that end. Small “c” conservatism is a tool or a method or a rule of thumb in achieving whatever your goal is, and simply states that we must be very careful of making big changes because there are always unanticipated consequences. It doesn’t say we shouldn’t make those changes, i.e. shouldn’t try to disrupt the power structure, simply that we must be very careful when we do, and tread slowly.

    The most liberal (small “l”) thing I can think to say is “It’s so bad now we should just tear it all down! Whatever we build after has to be better”. Another: “We are dissatisfied with our student outcomes. Let’s throw away our entire curriculum away immediately and for all our students and put this new system in place because it sounds good and we have a few anecdotal cases of schools that did well with it.” I’m amazed at how often that last one is initiated by “Capitals”, either Liberal or Conservative. The conservative position is “carefully define success, plan carefully, and move slowly based on evidence.” Put another way, “Party Pooper”.

    For an example of where conservatism is a bad response try, “The house is on fire!” which necessitates a very liberal response, “Drop everything immediately and get the family the hell out by the shortest safest route!” On a larger scale, something like global climate change has gotten to the point where a liberal response is required.

  43. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Of course not.

    Gyno Sapiens is the highest possible form of human development 😉

  44. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: FWIW, from wiki:

    The reciprocity of the phenomenon also leads to the so-called twin paradox where the aging of twins, one staying on Earth and the other embarking on space travel, is compared, and where the reciprocity suggests that both persons should have the same age when they reunite. On the contrary, at the end of the round-trip, the traveling twin will be younger than the sibling on Earth. The dilemma posed by the paradox can be explained by the fact that situation is not symmetric. The twin staying on Earth is in a single inertial frame, and the traveling twin is in two different inertial frames: one on the way out and another on the way back. See also Twin paradox#Role of acceleration.

  45. JohnSF says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    I always tend to follow my fathers advice (I paraphrase):
    “Be polite. Cultivate good manners, and remember that tolerance is a virtue. Consider you may be mistaken. Debate reasonably, aim for a reasonable agreement, or else agree to disagree. Until you encounter a bully. Then let them know you will fight back. Preferably within civilised and legal means. If necessary, with extreme violence.”

  46. Kathy says:


    Not too long ago I began a thought experiment. Suppose the universe consists of nothing but two ships, each controlled by sullen AIs that don’t tell their passengers much. They’re equipped with some form of reactionless drive, so the passengers have no way even of knowing whether they are accelerating or not. They also have clocks that measure time, from seconds to centuries.

    Suppose these ships are laid end to end, and both begin to accelerate in opposite directions. The passengers have no idea how fast either ship is moving. They can see the other ship, and maybe determine their relative speed by measuring the red shift of the light from the other ship.

    Then both ships turn around and accelerate towards each other. Again, passengers may determine the speeds now by measuring the blue shift. Eventually the ships come to relative rest side by side, and the AIs extend a bridge between them. now both sets of passengers can again mix.

    Would they all have aged at the same rate or not?

    There were no other reference points. no planets, stars, or even single atoms floating in empty space. Remember, the universe only contains the two ships (how they survive is unimportant, in the manner of contrived thought experiments everywhere).

    I don’t have a clue.

    If both ships traveled at the same rate of acceleration, on identical but opposite courses, and achieved the same speeds, than all should continue to be equal. If one was faster, or traveled a shorter distance, then I’ve no idea.

  47. JohnSF says:

    @Chip Daniels:
    This is true.
    However I’m reminded of P. M. H. Bell on the politics of western Europe in the 1930’s:

    “There was a strong tendency to simplify the issues, and lump all one’s enemies together under one label. To the Left, everyone on the Right was a fascist…
    To the Right, everyone on the Left was a Bolshevik…”

    It was precisely this politics of polarity that enabled the fascists to wedge their way to dominance in some countries.
    It was the British resistance to such “my opponents are evil” stances that enabled a Conservative/Labour/Liberal coalition to fight the war, and marginalise both fascists and Bolshevik communists.
    A politics of the left cannot reasonably be based on the delegitimization of the centre-right.
    There will ALWAYS be a constituency for such.

    The problem in the US right now, it seems to me, from outside, is the temptation of the Right to deny constitutional propriety, based on the reliance of primary votes of a minority of nutcases.
    This seems unlikely to be resolved by shouting at the shy pro-Constitutional right “You are evil too! Bastards!”

    But of course, that’s easy for me to say.
    Because in the UK, where public primaries are not a thing, I can happily shout at Tories “you ARE a bunch of bastards!”
    Apart from my cousins, of course.
    I’m polite like that.

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @wr: Yah. I rest my case.

  49. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: Interesting! I think your “typical” small-“l” liberal conclusion/reaction is a touch reductive, but whatever.

  50. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I’m pretty sure the answer would be that the ship that accelerated more would age the slowest. I mean, it’s a straightforward extrapolation: if one ship doesn’t accelerate and the other does everything, then the accelerating shift ages slowest. If they both do the same amount it would be equal. You can extrapolate the middle of the cases.

    But hey, isn’t one of the commenters a physicist?

  51. Jax says:
  52. Kathy says:


    Ok, now here’s where I broke down:

    What if only one ship moves?

    My instinct is to say those on the moving ship will be younger when the ships reunite, regardless of the passengers’ expectations, guesses, notions, etc.

  53. Kathy says:


    I’d say humanity’s capacity for depravity might surpass that for stupidity.

  54. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I read it and I was like….the cop’s not only still employed, but people are down with what he did?!

    And then I keep seeing the polls that say more and more Americans seem to be ok with authoritarianism, as long as it’s hurting the right people….

  55. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Until you encounter a bully. Then let them know you will fight back. Preferably within civilised and legal means. If necessary, with extreme violence.”

    Grandma and her brothers advocated similar thoughts and way of living. She’d raised 7 kids and one grand after contracting polio at 17 (& preggers) and brothers entered AEF at 15/17. Way tougher than I’ll ever be, one and all.

    OTOH, my inner abyss’s answer has always defaulted to a variation of, “naw, fwk it. If he’s dead I don’t have to worry about ’em, and his followers/friends/etc will know better than to try anything”

    But then again, I am the monster. Accept no substitutes.

  56. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    My small-town LEO experiences have always been closer to thuggish bully than Andy of Mayberry, but I suppose….

    ETA, I note the complaints seem largely a. Anonymous, b. Outsiders (not towonies) who have enough $$/power to not worry about getting on his bad side. But again, see my answer to JohnSF above.

  57. JohnSF says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    The acceptable violence limitations of societies vary.
    The “lower middle class/upper working class” Britain of my background tended (much caveating) to be extremely polite and pacific.
    Which is rather ironic, considering almost every adult male in that milleu had been involved in extreme violence.
    Maternal grandfather: KSLI assault infantry at the Battle of the Somme; paternal grandfather at Megiddo (“Armageddon? Been there. Done that.”)
    Father, uncles, neighbours, etc: it was just normal.
    The point being: it was often unwise for a would-be local hard man to try to push things with people who might turn out to be a hard nut to chew.
    eg: “Uncle” Fred: quiet, shortish, rather plump, very genial, but incidentally a Lee Enfield carbine in the cupboard, and had slaughtered a battalion of SS in Belgium.

  58. Han says:

    @Kathy: It was my understanding that there would be no Bistromath.

  59. just nutha says:

    @Jax: Yeah. Hurting the right people is very important in Murka.

  60. Jax says:

    I’m struggling pretty hard right now. All these motherfuckers want me to run the ranch, but they all want their piece of it. It apparently never occurred to them that I would fuck right off, cuz my Dad’s cows are gonna get pretty hungry about December 1st.

  61. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: So sorry to hear. Are they co-inheritors?

  62. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: No. They are my Mom’s siblings.

  63. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: You might want to talk to a lawyer