Friday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Greece becomes first Orthodox Christian country to legalise same-sex marriage

    Greece has become the world’s first Christian Orthodox nation to legalise same-sex marriage after the Athens parliament passed the landmark reform amid scenes of both jubilation and fury in the country. In a rare display of parliamentary consensus, 176 MPs from across the political spectrum voted in favour of the bill on Thursday. Another 76 rejected the reform while two abstained from the vote and 46 were not present.

    Members of the LGBTQ+ community, many unable to contain their emotion, watched from the galleries above. “We have waited years for this,” said the prominent gay activist Stella Belia of legislation that will not only allow same-sex couples to exchange vows in civil ceremonies but also to adopt children. “It’s a historic moment. A lot of us weren’t sure it would ever come,” she said.

    The vote followed two days of heated debate – and weeks of public rancour – with the reform described by supporters as “bold” and “long overdue” and decried as “antisocial’ and “unchristian” by opponents including the powerful Orthodox church.

    Despite facing formidable pushback from within his own centre-right New Democracy party, prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had championed the bill, saying it would end a “serious inequality for our democracy”.


  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A country music radio station in the US that initially refused to play a listener’s Beyoncé request has now added the artist’s new tracks to rotation after an online firestorm.

    On Tuesday, a Beyoncé fan contacted the station to request her song Texas Hold ’Em – one of two released in a surprise drop during the Super Bowl where the 32-time Grammy winner also announced the second album in her Renaissance trilogy. The station, Oklahoma’s KYKC, responded to the request with an email from the general manager, Roger Harris. “We do not play Beyoncé on KYKC as we are a country music station,” Harris wrote.

    The fan posted a screenshot of the reply on X, formally Twitter, accusing the station of “blatant racism and discrimination” in a post that urged others to “email the radio station to request the song”. The post soon went viral within Beyoncé’s fanbase, dubbed the Beyhive. Among the users to share the tweet – which has now accrued more than 3.5m views – was @BeyLegion, a fan account with close to half a million followers.
    Harris told the New York Times that the station received hundreds of emails and phone calls asking for Texas Hold ’Em. “I’ve never experienced anything in my career like the amount of communications that we received in support of the song,” he said.

    South Central Oklahoma Radio Enterprises (Score), the station’s parent company, told Entertainment Weekly that Harris was simply “removed and didn’t know otherwise” that Beyoncé had released country music.

    “Up until now, she hasn’t been a ‘country artist’,” Harris said to EW. “So we responded to the email in the same way we would have responded to someone requesting a Rolling Stones song on our country station.”

    I had in fact read of Beyonce’s latest release (still haven’t heard it), but as one who is often way behind the curve on “the latest greatest,” I can buy that. It’s happened to me so many times I no longer get embarrassed when somebody looks at me with incredulous eyes and says, “Say WHAT??? You don’t know about….?

    Not that the country music scene isn’t still racist as all F.

  3. Bill Jempty says:
  4. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: So when will we see My Big Fat Gay Greek Wedding?

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: HA! I love that movie. Makes me laugh every time.

  6. Mikey says:

    Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died in prison.

  7. Kingdaddy says:

    From The Guardian:

    Leaked emails from the organisers of the prestigious Hugo awards for science fiction and fantasy suggest several authors were excluded from shortlists last year after they were flagged for comments or works that could be viewed as sensitive in China.

    SF writer John Scalzi responds to the news.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey: Dead of natural causes, causes that are natural to incarceration in a Russian gulag.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Democracy takes a hit:

    A Republican elected official in Arizona who protected the vote and withstood a barrage of pressure and threats in 2020 from within his own party to sway the election toward Trump announced on Thursday that he will not seek re-election.

    Clint Hickman, a supervisor in Maricopa county, the state’s largest county that includes Phoenix, faced death threats for doing his job to confirm the county’s vote totals in 2020, when the state narrowly chose Joe Biden. State Republicans then initiated a sham “audit” of the county’s results, a costly hand count that took months only to conclude that Biden did indeed win.

    In a statement on Thursday, Hickman cited his family and the desire to spend more time with them as a reason for not running again, the Washington Post first reported.

    “My family has been gracious and unselfish in supporting me as I’ve campaigned, served, held town halls and breakfasts with constituents, been part of early morning and late-night meetings about county business, made decisions that brought significant attention and had profound impact – all things that come with public service,” he wrote. “I’m proud of this period of my life, but I want more time with my family.”

    I can’t blame him, he wants to live. What is more he wants his family to live.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Did not have this on my 2024 Headline Bingo card: Man who mixed own sperm with dad’s will not have to take paternity test

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:
  12. Kingdaddy says:

    From Navalny’s 2022 WaPo editorial about Putin’s invasion of Russia:

    To avoid this, the issue of postwar Russia should become the central issue — and not just one element among others — of those who are striving for peace. No long-term goals can be achieved without a plan to ensure that the source of the problems stops creating them. Russia must cease to be an instigator of aggression and instability. That is possible, and that is what should be seen as a strategic victory in this war.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kingdaddy: I think you misspelled Ukraine in your header. 😉

  14. Kathy says:


    On the other hand, Russia is the one country Mad Vlad has managed to conquer.

  15. Kingdaddy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Doh! Sorry about that.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Kingdaddy: Well, in a way Putin did conquer Russia…

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kingdaddy: Just poking a little fun at you. I do that sort of thing so often, it’s kinda nice to see I am not alone in that.

  18. Kathy says:


    If you read a science fiction novel that does massive world building, but has a rather weak story, and a deus ex machina resolution that wasn’t even hinted at, do you feel it was worth reading?

  19. Kingdaddy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I definitely took it in that kind spirit.

  20. JohnSF says:

    Meanwhile, in the UK.
    Conservatives lose two seats in by-elections.
    Wellingborough, swing of 28.5 points.
    Kingswood 16.4 points.
    Bothe were fairly safe Tory seats, with Con vote shares of around 50 to 60 percent in recent elections.
    Conservative held Wellingborogh since 201, and for most elections since 1968.
    Kingswood a bit more prone to shifts, but held since 2005.
    The Conservatives are trussed up and ready for roasting.

  21. Kylopod says:


    If you read a science fiction novel that does massive world building, but has a rather weak story, and a deus ex machina resolution that wasn’t even hinted at, do you feel it was worth reading?

    You mean like 95% of the most beloved sci-fi that exists?

  22. wr says:

    @JohnSF: “The Conservatives are trussed up and ready for roasting.”

    And yet in the run-up, the NY Times was hyperventilating over how huge splits among Labor voters over Gaza might allow the Tories to squeak through.

    I think that’s about as likely here as it was there.

  23. Scott says:

    Joe Manchin announces he will not run for president

    I am also announcing that I will not run for President.

  24. CSK says:


    Yeah, me neither.

  25. CSK says:

    Isn’t Judge Engoron going to hand down his verdict today in Trump’s civil fraud trial?

  26. CSK says:

    I think that anyone who wishes to read this should be able to do so:

  27. Kathy says:


    More like 85%.

    But specifically I mean “A Deepness in the Sky” by Vernor Vinge.

  28. Kingdaddy says:


    Back when I played role-playing games, there were a lot of RPGs with very deep world-building. The publishers would pump out book after book of background. A lot of the ideas were really interesting (personal favorite was Runequest, a very nonconformist fantasy setting), but the books were not, by themselves, interesting reads. They existed to serve the plot — not the one that a single author created, but the one that multiple authors around the table collaboratively generated. Some people ate up these setting books, on their own. Not so much me.

    I hope that’s a useful analog to what you’re asking. I feel the same way about science fiction and fantasy. World-building by itself is not a good justification to write or read a book. Exposition dumps, whether in a book or a game, are just boring.

  29. gVOR10 says:


    The Conservatives are trussed up and ready for roasting.

    I see what you did there.

  30. Kylopod says:

    @Kingdaddy: Orson Scott Card created a system for categorizing all stories (not just speculative fiction), called the MICE quotient: Milieu, Idea, Character, and Event. For example, classic murder mysteries are Idea stories, meaning they focus on finding the answer to a question or solution to a problem, and criticizing those stories for having paper-thin characterization is missing the point. That’s not what they’re about.

    Similarly, fantasy stories (particularly High Fantasy) are typically Milieu stories, where the focus is on the created world of the story, and these types of stories often lack not only strong characterization, but tightly constructed plots. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it’s not what the readers who come back to these stories are looking for–which is really all that matters, right?

    While I’m usually skeptical of inventing classification systems like this, I must say I’ve always liked the idea implicit in this one that we shouldn’t judge all stories according to the same measuring stick.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Poor story with a rushed ending out of nowhere seems like a lot to overcome, but I would ask whether it changed you, or whether it was merely clever?

    One of the greatest powers that science fiction has is the ability to change the fundamental assumptions of the world we live in, and get us to look at things “fresh” in a way that slips past our preconceived notions.

    If it can do that (not just try to do that, but succeed), despite the plot and resolution, then it’s a really good book.

    (Fantasy can, in theory, do the same thing, but it’s usually just wildly inaccurate Middle Ages with dragons and magic and maybe dwarves or something)

  32. Paul L. says:

    Professor Steven Taylor et al.
    What book should I read to learn about Political Science?
    Foundations of Political Science by Rodgir Cohen
    Introduction to Political Science

    However, justifying Russian aggression against Ukraine, which [Gonzalo] Lira consistently did, actually is a crime under Article 463-2 of Ukraine’s criminal code, a wartime statute enacted in early March 2022—and that’s the article under which he was charged …
    While the statute clearly targets speech, such restrictions are not unusual in wartime, even in democracies—particularly in a country under attack. It’s difficult to imagine even the most liberal democracy allowing free expression for enemy propaganda while defending itself against an invasion. [See Woodow Willson’s Palmer Raids]

  33. Gustopher says:

    A racist, a rapist and a thief walk into a fancy restaurant.

    Maître d’ says, “Party of one, Mr. Trump?”

  34. CSK says:


    If that’s a joke of your own devising, I take off my hat to you.

  35. Jen says:

    Navalny was in good shape yesterday, there’s video of him joking and smiling. He didn’t die of starvation or an illness, he was murdered. Why yesterday? My distrust of Putin runs deep, and I’m wondering why he felt this was necessary NOW. We have the issue in the US Congress–that weird “Russia is doing something” flap. We have the use of a missile in Ukraine. Russia just put Estonia’s PM on a wanted list a few days ago, and tensions have been rising between Russia and Baltic leadership. Anything else? Has Putin been seen publicly today?

  36. Paul L. says:

    Just to watch the flip flop, John Norman’s Gor books should be nominated for a Hugo award and put in school libraries.
    Treasure of Gor (Gorean Saga) to be released on March 26, 2024.

  37. Kingdaddy says:

    @Paul L.:

    By that standard, the Gor movie should win Best Picture. In other words, let’s not do these things.

  38. DrDaveT says:


    If you read a science fiction novel that does massive world building, but has a rather weak story, and a deus ex machina resolution that wasn’t even hinted at, do you feel it was worth reading?

    It depends on how weak, and how massive. I thought Clement’s Iceworld was worth reading, and will probably read it again. I thought Hardy’s Master of the Five Magics (fantasy, not science fiction) was worth reading for the cool concept and premise, but not worth re-reading. I would probably put Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep in the “relatively weak story and ending, awesomely cool world-building” category, and it’s a classic.

  39. DrDaveT says:


    But specifically I mean “A Deepness in the Sky” by Vernor Vinge.

    LOL, I had not yet seen that when I replied above.

    I actually thought the plot and ending were stronger in ADitS than in AFutD. Your mileage may vary. (And hexapodia is the key insight.)

  40. Kathy says:


    I’ve never played an RPG. But I’ve seen The Big Bang Theory, and read Dream Park, I gather the plot is determined by the person running the game.


    I sometimes think some writers get carried away with world building, or with characters, and realize they’ve got a very long book, so they should end it now.


    Asimov’s Robot novels are mysteries. The protagonist in the first three is a police detective, and all stories involve solving an impossible murder (ie, a murder that no one ought to have been able to commit). They also involve a fair bit of mostly sociological world building, and decent characterization.

    And this is what makes categorization difficult. The square pegs keep finding ways to fit the round holes.

  41. Kathy says:

    Today’s Good News

  42. DrDaveT says:


    For example, classic murder mysteries are Idea stories, meaning they focus on finding the answer to a question or solution to a problem, and criticizing those stories for having paper-thin characterization is missing the point. That’s not what they’re about.

    I wouldn’t go that far. I would say that a story can have value without being strong in all dimensions. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t better to be strong in all dimensions. Gaudy Night is a classic in part because it’s a fine mystery and a fine romance and an excellent exploration of feminist themes and modernization.

    The Nero Wolfe taxonomy was:

    First, I remark that with your books two of you have given me pleasure, three of you have informed me, and one of you has stimulated my mental processes.

    That’s a pretty good set of criteria, any one of which is sufficient to make a book worthwhile.

    Eric Walker’s version is (was?):

    A tale is a whole thing and all aspects of it interact. Nonetheless, we may without much intellectual savagery pick out four chief means by which tales please. A tale need not possess great strength in each of those four elements to be good or even excellent; it is simply that a weakness in any one places a proportionate demand for extra strength on the others:
    Language use […]
    Plot […]
    Characterization […]
    Setting […]

  43. DrDaveT says:


    I gather the plot [in an RPG] is determined by the person running the game.

    Not if they’re good at it. In the best RPG experiences, the setting and rules of the road are established by the GM, but the plot is a collaborative effort of the players, the GM, and the dice. When the GM drives the plot, there’s no point in playing.

    I had a friend who was a professional RPG designer. He and I had some long talks about the mechanism of collaborative storytelling, and what kinds of rules best allow creativity to flourish.

  44. CSK says:


    I wonder how long he can drag out the appeal, which is probably being filed as we speak.

  45. senyordave says:

    New York judge orders Donald Trump to pay $354 million in real estate fraud lawsuit.

    Do they take post-dated, third party checks?

  46. Kathy says:


    I’ll take your word for it.

    Come to think of it, spoiler alert, at the end of Dream Park, one player complains how hard the last level was. The guy running the game tells them they were supposed to use a tool or potion found earlier in the game to pass it, not fight a horde of zombies.

  47. Kathy says:


    I vaguely recall reading Lardass has to deposit or pay a bond while the appeal takes place or something.

    Either way, the joy I feel now cannot be defeated by anything short of a personal tragedy, or some insane Hell Week project.

    Oh, wait.

  48. Kathy says:


    You win the internet today.

  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Apparently, the NYT disagrees with you. Not to worry though, I got enough from the headline and subhead to get the point.

  50. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: What the hell, I’m also announcing that you and Joe Manchin will not run for President!

  51. CSK says:


    I think it’s five million, though I could be wrong.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Sorry about that.

  52. wr says:

    @Paul L.: “Just to watch the flip flop, John Norman’s Gor books should be nominated for a Hugo award and put in school libraries.”

    I suppose that I shouldn’t be giving you troll lessons, but honestly, if you begin a troll with “I’m saying something deliberately outrageous so you’ll get mad,” it’s rare you’ll get any kind of response at all.

  53. Kylopod says:


    I wouldn’t go that far. I would say that a story can have value without being strong in all dimensions. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t better to be strong in all dimensions.

    I was presenting Card’s taxonomy quickly, so I definitely oversimplified; his essay is more nuanced. He acknowledges that a story of one type can be strong in terms of those other elements. He argues, however, that it doesn’t have to be in order to have value, and that in some cases can even be a hindrance.

  54. Michael Reynolds says:


    The short version is that eligible people and works were kept off the Hugo ballot, not because the Chinese government or the Chinese principals of the Chengdu Worldcon overtly demanded it, but because American and Canadian Hugo administrators made the censorship decisions themselves, often on grounds that were (to put it politely) misinformed.

    This is the biggest reason we have refused multiple invitations to participate in UAE (and IIRC the wife had an invite to the PRC) literary events is precisely this. We don’t want to feel obligated, or encourage others to see the Emiratis, or any other oppressive regime, as more advanced than they are. Don’t make nice with thugs, not even when they offer first class on Emirates Air.

  55. JohnSF says:

    In all honesty, it was unintentional, though accurate
    Only realised the horrid pun after posting.

  56. Michael Reynolds says:


    He acknowledges that a story of one type can be strong in terms of those other elements. He argues, however, that it doesn’t have to be in order to have value, and that in some cases can even be a hindrance.

    He would.

    Lots of authors have no problem squaring that circle. China Mieville and Daniel Kraus come to mind.

  57. Kathy says:


    I think it’s five million,

    I wonder how Eric is going to come up with that much.

    I suppose he could ask his wife.

  58. Jen says:


    Via the NYT:

    Mr. Trump will appeal the financial penalty — which could climb to $400 million or more once interest is added — but will have to either come up with the money or secure a bond within 30 days. The ruling will not render him bankrupt, because most of his wealth is tied up in real estate.

    And, the best part:

    But there might be little Mr. Trump can do to thwart one of the judge’s most consequential punishments: extending for three years the appointment of an independent monitor who will be the court’s eyes and ears at the Trump Organization, and strengthening her powers to watch for fraud and second-guess transactions that look suspicious.

    LOL. They cannot stand her:

    Mr. Trump’s lawyers have railed against the monitor, Barbara Jones, saying that her work has already cost the business more than $2.5 million; the decision to extend her oversight of the privately held family company could enrage the Trumps, who see her presence as an irritant and an insult.

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: No problemo. I was reading something this past week on the same theme. The thought isn’t new to me.

  60. Skookum says:

    Asking for a friend who has an annual investment portfolio strategy meeting with her advisor about tolerance of risk over the next year.

    Any suggestions within the context of political turmoil over the next few years? For example, stay the course (balanced between stocks & bonds, shoot for the moon in terms of returns, or put her money under the mattress?

  61. Kathy says:


    Does this work like a bail bond? That is, if they skedaddle, does that leave the bond issuer with a $350+ million debt to NY?

    As to the monitor, I’m confident Judge Engoron would consider appointing someone else. For instance, I hear Hillary Clinton is available.

  62. Paul L. says:

    No Hercules, Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever won Best Picture and they had a larger budget.
    I want see those here protesting “Book Ban” scream how damn you compare Gor to Books like Gender Queer and All Boys Aren’t Blue.

  63. Kingdaddy says:

    @Kathy: If the idea of playing a story telling game with other people isn’t your fancy, there are solo “RPGs” as well. Just think of them as creative writing tools. Here’s a review of them:

    I haven’t played it, but I hear good things.

  64. Kathy says:


    Spoiler alert.

    I found most of the Spider plot interesting. The rest, Pham keeps plotting without letting us, or Ezr, in on his plans, Nau plots and plans and grows more disgusting in every page. The one really intriguing character was Anne, and we got only a little from her when she confronts Pham in the attic.

    BTW, I just read it, so it’s all still fresh. I think if I read the above paragraph a year from now, I’d have little idea what it meant.

  65. Kingdaddy says:

    @Paul L.: I don’t think that any Hercules movie deserves the Oscar…But I think the MST3K episode with “Hercules Against the Moon Men” does.

  66. clarkontheweekend says:

    Regarding the death of Navalny, that’s the exact thing tfg argued in court that he could legally do as president. Funny that. Coincidence? I bet he says nothing about it.

  67. wr says:

    @Paul L.: “I want see those here protesting “Book Ban” scream how damn you compare Gor to Books like Gender Queer and All Boys Aren’t Blue.”

    Why? Would that make you happy somehow?

    Is that really all you’ve got in your life?

  68. anjin-san says:


    I don’t generally watch the Grammys, but we were at my mother-in-law’s that night, and she wanted to watch them. So, I caught Jay Z’s comments, which more or less stated that Beyonce – the top Grammy winner of all time – has not won enough Grammys.

    Between them, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors, The Who and The Grateful Dead have won 26 Grammys.

    You can make a very, very strong argument that The Beatles’ recorded body of work is both the best and most consequential in the history of recorded music. Their cultural impact is absolutely unmatched. And they won only 7 Grammys.

    Beyonce has won 32 Grammys. I have trouble with the concept that she has somehow not received the recognition she is due.

    That being said, I can’t see any good reason for a country station to refuse to take a request for a country song by Beyonce. I can’t name a single song she has done, but she has a solid reputation for being able to work successfully across different genres.

  69. Kathy says:

    The Guardian has some info on what financial travails await Lardass A. Drumpf.

    This link is provided for sheer enjoyment.

  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Skookum: In my seventies. My primary goal is asset preservation but I’m also looking for moderate growth. I’m mostly in bonds, bond funds, and have some mutual funds with modest equity components. My adviser is optimistic that bonds will start to be better income producing investments now that interest rates are creeping up.

    Ultimately, your friend’s decisions depend on degree to which he or she is risk accepting or risk averse and when and what the money is needed for. Being candid with the advisor will help in coming to the best decision. Hope this helped.

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Paul L.: I’m wondering who here has been advocating banning Gor books. Don’t recall it coming up, and most of us seem to oppose banning books. Perhaps you should be asking this question to the people the Wikipedia article I read claimed were advocating restricting access to these books.

    @wr: Your answer is probably better than mine on many levels.

  72. Kathy says:

    Question and a rosy scenario:

    During the trial, either Lardass or his lawyers made a point that the banks and insurers they defrauded had no complaints. Now, I assume banks and insurers are supposed to perform due diligence, but one thing I’ve learned lately is how eagerly institutions like these will throw money around without much thought or scrutiny.

    So, can a bank or insurer claim they just realized how badly the Drumpfs screwed them, and then file suit for damages?

    I suppose a bank can’t legally complain if their loans were repaid.

    But lately lawsuits against Lardass A. Drumpf are paying off big time.

    BTW, regardless of what campaign finance laws and state laws say, I think Lardass should spend all the campaign money and superpac money he wants on legal matters. he should even take campaign money to pay off the judgments arising from lawsuits.

    Why? Well, that’s the more less money he’ll have available to actually campaign. And if he breaks dozens of laws in the process, he’ll have more chances to go to prison. Win-win.

  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It’s being drawn up but it won’t be filed until the last possible minute,

  74. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Paul L.: Gor who?

  75. Michael J Reynolds says:

    I think @Paul L should write up a treatment. You know people, I know people, Eddie knows people, I think if Paul wrote up, say, a brief 40 page treatment, and of course agreed to any necessary revisions, we could reach out to our respective agents.

    No, never mind, I shouldn’t even joke about it. He’d write 40 pages of gibberish, as a goof we’d circulate it and the fucking thing would be picked up and become career-defining. All that would be left then is whiskey.

  76. Beth says:


    That’s what I was wondering.

  77. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @anjin-san: So, I caught Jay Z’s comments, which more or less stated that Beyonce – the top Grammy winner of all time – has not won enough Grammys.

    That is not what he was complaining about. He was very specific about the fact that she had never won “Album of the Year” which, as you yourself noted, she is “the top Grammy winner of all time.” Seems to me a rather egregious oversight, and I am a person who really doesn’t pay much attention to new music one way or the other.

    Still, it does seem rather negligent on their part to me and I certainly can’t blame the man for pointing out the obvious slight to his wife.

    FTR, I come at this issue as a person who may very well have never heard a Beyonce song and has no knowledge of the level of her talent outside of the accolades the music industry has laid at her feet in grateful appreciation of the billions she has made them.

    All that being said, country music appreciator that I am, I think I’ll go listen to “Texas Hold ‘Em”, just for the hell of it.

  78. anjin-san says:


    That is not what he was complaining about. He was very specific about the fact that she had never won “Album of the Year”

    Yeah, I got that; I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek. The fact that she has a truckload of other Grammys does not necessarily mean she deserves one for Album of the Year. The knock on her albums is that they have 2/3 outstanding singles, but are not strong end to end. That was very common before the rise of AOR, but since then quite a few artists have made albums where every track is a winner.

    I’m not seeing the slight. What’s Going On, arguably the greatest album of all time did not even get nominated for AOY, much less win. Abbey Road, another strong GOAT candidate, did not win. Neither did Crosby, Stills & Nash, another, no doubt about it all-time classic in the same year. The Rolling Stones had an insanely great run from Beggars Banquet to Exile on Main St. Not an AOR to show for it. Or even a nomination.

    The staff at the record store I frequent are all 20-30 year olds, and much more plugged into what is happening today than I am. The consensus among them seems to be that Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Adele, Harry Styles, et al are badly overrated, and that the best music is being made by people most of us will never hear of.

  79. anjin-san says:

    Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do

    If we are going to talk about real greatness…

  80. Kathy says:

    This is rich. Air Canada claims the chatbot on its website is “a “separate legal entity” and thus was responsible for its actions.”

    Given we often hear that developers of AI “deep learning” software don’t know how their own creations actually accomplish their tasks, I can see this defense, such as it is, may be brought up a great deal in the near future.

    I can also envision some judge or jury agreeing with it. Or some legislature passing a law declaring AI to be “separate legal entities.”

    Wonder what happens then?

  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: Wikipedia knows stuff, even if the stuff is unimportant. I’d never heard of Gor either until I looked it up today. Apparently, it’s a series of SF/Fantasy books written by a pronouncedly misogynistic philosophy professor (???–can’t remember whether it’s professor or just philosophy degree holder).

  82. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @anjin-san: And unless Wikipedia is wrong (which is certainly possible), she’s never won AOR either.

  83. anjin-san says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    AOR? My AOR reference is to “album oriented rock”.

  84. Richard Gardner says:

    Vanity Affair reporter given huge access to folks in the nuclear deterrence world. Real decent article as one who used to work in the field. But the question is, who is the intended audience? There is a message being sent. Twenty minute read.

  85. Richard Gardner says:

    There are some folks that are just good writers. Twenty years ago my daily newspaper had one such covering the local art world. I would read her articles on stuff I normally would not care about. Ditto with Sci-Fi writers. Of late the field has turned into making points about today rather than being somewhat independent of the current world, or at least that was what is being promoted – the year 2500AD is all about Trump – or escaping Global Warming. Tedious, and not going to last in the long term. As for Vernor Vinge, his Rainbow’s End is prescient. I like CJ Cherryh but her Cyteen books have you cheering for the enslavers (= great writing). Huge world building, but by the 15th “-er” (Destroy-er) book the stories are lagging. Meanwhile there is the SCI-FI Hugo scandal, can’t offend the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mentioned above Scalzi (self-censoring, for fear of something).

  86. wr says:

    @anjin-san: ” and that the best music is being made by people most of us will never hear of.”

    That is the consensus of every music store employee in the history of recorded music.