Friday’s Forum

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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

Comments

  1. Bill Jempty says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season will be “above normal” amid very warm ocean temperatures, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted, prompting some scientists to warn of a summer of natural disasters caused by the powerful storms.

    Hurricane season, which takes place from 1 June to 30 November this year could be an “85% chance of an above-normal season”, the federal weather agency said on Thursday.

    Reasons for the unusual season include “near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, development of La Niña conditions in the Pacific, reduced Atlantic trade winds and less wind shear, all of which tend to favor tropical storm formation”.
    ……………………..
    Noaa predicts between 17 and 25 total named storms, with winds of 39mph or higher. Of these, eight to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes, with winds of 74mph or higher, “including four to seven major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111mph or higher)”.

    How long… can… you… tread water?

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A real estate mogul bought her way into the New York mayor’s inner circle – and then the favors started

    An ambitious hotel developer held multiple, previously unreported fundraisers with the New York City mayor, Eric Adams, and provided benefits to several of the mayor’s longtime associates. She then scored behind-the-scenes favors and millions more in city contract dollars from his administration, a new investigation by the Guardian US, the City and Documented has found.

    That fundraiser, Weihong Hu, was previously the subject of a February investigation by this reporting partnership which unearthed allegations that Hu’s family secretly bankrolled illegal donations to Adams’s re-election campaign.

    Now a review of thousands of pages of city and business records and interviews with more than 20 sources – including Hu’s former associates and current and former government officials – demonstrates that the businesswoman went beyond suspect campaign donations: she bought her way into Adams’s inner circle and leveraged her newfound political pull with his administration.

    Not that anyone will be surprised that he’s a corrupt pos, but it’s kind of amazing how deep it goes and the innumerable tentacles it has.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Texas doctor who said nine-year-olds can safely give birth appointed to maternal mortality committee

    Skop serves as vice-president and director of medical affairs for the national anti-abortion research group Charlotte Lozier Institute and is a member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She is also a plaintiff in a US supreme court lawsuit seeking to revoke the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the key abortion drug mifepristone, which she argues is “dangerous” despite years of evidence showing the drug is safe. She has authored a number of research papers that were ultimately retracted for misleading errors.

    Skop – who has called the supreme court’s overturning of Roe v Wade “a victory in the battle but not the end of the war” – has argued in favor of forcing rape and incest victims as young as nine or 10 to carry pregnancies to term. “If she is developed enough to be menstruating and become pregnant and reach sexual maturity, she can safely give birth to a baby,” Skop told the House oversight committee in 2021. Pregnancy at such a young age is shown to carry significant health risks, including pre-eclampsia and infections.

    Forget it Jake, it’s Texas.

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  5. Scott says:

    Competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi feels body is ‘broken,’ retires due to health issues

    Japanese competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi, the six-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest champion, has announced his retirement from the sport due to rising health concerns.

    “I’ve decided to retire from competitive eating. It’s all I’ve done for the last 20 years,” Kobayashi, 46, announced in Netflix’s “Hack Your Health – The Secrets of Your Gut,” a documentary film that explores how food, the digestive system and gut health relates to overall well-being.

    Kobayashi said decades of overeating for sport has left him with no appetite or no sensation of fullness, which his wife Maggie James said has caused Kobayashi to go days without eating anything at all.

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  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    So. FLA is already complaining about the heat. Recently a heat index in Miami of 112 and 115 in Key West.

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  7. Bill Jempty says:

    The big day has arrived. My first trip outside Florida in over 20 years.

    Dear Wife and I already brought our cat to Maria. Misay is scared to death of course but I know she will be fine. Maria’s front door has a window, unlike out condo door, so I bet Misay spends lots of her watching the comings and goings upstairs.

    Maria and DW are talking and I’m back downstairs after excusing myself. My teeth were in urgent need of flossing. Not really but when DW and Maria get together they can talk just about non-stop and I’m like a 5th wheel when that’s happening.

    Everything is packed. Three suitcases, one roller bag, one laptop bag. We have medicines for over a month.

    Interesting thing- The same limo service I used sometimes 25 years ago will be taking us to Miami Airport. It is operated by a husband & wife. Her name is Abbi, he’s Egyptian with a name I can’t spell or say but he also goes by John. These days John and Abbi’s oldest son also works for them. Abbi will be taking us to the airport.

    I’m carefully monitoring the status of our Miami flight because it was severely late yesterday. It originates in the Turks and Caicos before going on to DFW. All of you say it at once- I worry too much.

    DW and I arrive in Sydney on Sunday morning and naturally about the first place she will want to go to will be- Church. You have to love your Roman Catholic Filipina wife.

    Our time in Sydney will mostly be spent sight-seeing. Only a small bit of my Yakuza epic takes place there but the scenes are important.

    When DW are in and around Melbourne and go to Alice Springs, my book research will be more time consuming. My Australian character is from Alice and has family down in Victoria. All of which is important.

    This book when finished will be my pride and joy of everything I’ve written. I want to get it as right as possible.

    My laptop is 7 years old. I can get a voltage converter but I can’t forget that crashed laptop of mine when DW and I went to Singapore.

    We were talking editors the other day, mine suggested part of the ending to my yakuza epic and I’m going with it. My main character is in love with both a man and a woman and they love her too. How do I resolve that? Leeanne gave me an idea.

    I don’t mind an editor who can improve my wording in books I have written. For I consider myself better at forming a story than putting into words sometimes.

    I’m a little nervous but overall I am really looking forward to the trip.

    One last thing. My main character is co-operating with law enforcement. If an ally approaches her, there is a recognition code

    “Do you know the way to San Jose?”
    “Just follow the yellow brick road.”
    “We may end up wasting away in Margaritaville.”

    You don’t have to tell me. I’m an insane writer.

    DW is home. So bye.

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: Enjoy yourslves.

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  9. Kathy says:

    I asked Google assistant to remind me to look up how the half lives of elements are determined.

    It reminded me to look up how the hot wives of elements are determined.

    Reminder: the Simpsons were making fun of how machines make a hash out of such things all the way back in 1995

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  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Bill Jempty: Bill, I hope you mirror your hard drive online somewhere? If not, and you use an online email account like gmail, you can send your latest draft to yourself everyday. If none of that, I would recommend copying critical documents to a USB key every night, not overwriting the old versions but making a new folder with that days date. Keep the USB completely separate from your computer.

    I am one of the most cautious, backup intensive people I know and I discovered that despite all my efforts, I lost a good half days work somehow somehow. So you can never be too backed up as far as I’m concerned.

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  11. Bill Jempty says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Bill, I hope you mirror your hard drive online somewhere?

    I use one drive. All my unfinished stories are saved there, plus books I have finished and published. My book covers are also stored there.

    When working on a new story, I save to OD daily. Sometimes more than once a day.

    My baseball stuff are also backed up there. This stuff I save again about every two weeks but since I’m going out of town I saved everything again today.

    Then I have folders for my book business documents and personal files. Anything important gets saved to OD as quickly as possible.

    If my laptop crashed, I’d suffer very little harm.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Potentially habitable planet size of Earth discovered 40 light years away

    An Australian university student has co-led the discovery of an Earth-sized, potentially habitable planet just 40 light years away. Shishir Dholakia, a PhD candidate in astrophysics at the University of Southern Queensland, is part of an international team that published the discovery in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    He described the “Eureka moment” of finding the planet, which has been named Gliese 12b. “We did the back-of-the envelope calculations,” he said. “We worked out it’s probably Earth-sized, it’s probably temperate, and that it’s really, really nearby. In the span of a day we were like, ‘Oh, we have to write this up. This is something really cool.’

    Also, at the end of the article comes this little teaser:

    A prominent US astronomer has said he is certain there’s a new planet lurking even closer to home. The ABC reported on Friday that a California Institute of Technology planetary astronomy professor, Michael Brown, said he did not see how we could have a solar system “without Planet Nine”.

    For years he has said the peculiar paths of various objects around Neptune show the gravitational pull of another planet – but no one has been able to find it.

    In a new study – not yet peer-reviewed – Brown and his team ran simulations and concluded there was a one-in-a-million chance that Planet Nine was not out there.

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  13. Tony W says:

    I’ll just leave this here for your amusement.

    (translation: he had trouble putting on his pants that morning)

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  14. CSK says:

    @Tony W:

    Hey, it’s a legit question.

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  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Let’s send Musk to explore it.

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  16. EddieinCA says:

    Trump had a rally in the Bronx yesterday.

    This is why we can’t have nice things…

    25,000 supporters of the former president descended on Crotona Park, Trump’s campaign said

    Bullshit!

    ‘That’s it?!’ Police at Trump rally express surprise at small size of crowd, estimated at 3500

    They have drone and helicopter visual evidence. It was not a big crowd. Less people than concerts at that place on a regular basis.

    CNN Data Reporter Raises Alarm on Why Trump’s Bronx Rally Could Spell Trouble for Biden

    What a stupid take. Seriously. You’ll be more stupid reading it.

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  17. Stormy Dragon says:

    TIL: most of the agricultural irrigation canals in the Phoenix area were originally dug by the Hokoham tribe between the fifth and fifteenth centuries.

    They hand dug 500 miles of irrigation canals up to 15 feet deep and 45 feet wide.

    Then the Europeans showed up and stole them, and they’re still in use today.

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  18. Gustopher says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    My main character is in love with both a man and a woman and they love her too. How do I resolve that? Leeanne gave me an idea.

    Cloning herself, and then she and the clone secretly swap places on a regular basis in a zany madcap adventure that reads like a science fiction version of “I Love Lucy”? All while keeping everyone in the dark about the existence of the clone, and making sure the man and the woman never meet?

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  19. Matt Bernius says:

    @EddieinCA:
    Yeah, people don’t get a sense of how densely populated the NYC area is. There are a lot of people there. A LOT! Across the 5 Boroughs, Trump got approximately 700,000 votes. Which is a big number. However, Biden got 3.2 million votes.

    So pulling in (liberally) 4,000ish people to a rally isn’t that hard.

    I know folks were posting the long waiting line. The issue was that there weren’t many entry points and they required people to go in single file–so that’s going to create a line.

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  20. Stormy Dragon says:

    My main character is in love with both a man and a woman and they love her too. How do I resolve that?

    Throuple! Then everyone wins!

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  21. EddieInCA says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    People are ignorant of their own country.

    If I asked you which state, California or Texas, had more Trump voters in 2020, what would your answer be? Texas, right?

    Nope. California had 6.0 million Trump voters in 2020 presidential election.
    Texas had 5.8M Trump voters.

    Interestingly enough, California is more blue than Texas is red. California went 63-34 Biden. Texas went 52.46.5 Trump.

    Did you know more Californians voted for Trump than Texans? (#1 and #2 most populous states respectively)

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieinCA: I saw a pic of the crowd. 3,000 at best.

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  23. Kathy says:

    Singapore airlines will suspend meal services when the seat belt sign is on.

    That’s good, but the seat belt sign wasn’t on when the turbulence hit the plane, while a meal service was underway.

    The problem is people unfasten their seat belts when the sign goes off. I’ve explained why this is not right, but as long as the seat belt sign is the seat belt sign, the problem will remain.

    Now, there are several reasons to leave one’s seat, especially in a long haul flight. You may need to use the lavatory. Or you may want to get a snack form the galley (many long haul flights leave snacks and drinks by or at the galley between meal services). Or you may want to walk around a bit, ro visit with someone at another seat. It’s even recommended to move around on long flights, to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis due to sluggish blood flow from prolonged seating.

    So that’s ok, but ti needs to be separated from the seat belt sign.

    Long ago, airlines allowed smoking in the cabin. But this was not allowed at all times. The no-smoking sign was on on the ground, and during take off and climb out to 10,000 feet. That’s mostly when the seat belt sign is on as well, unless there’s turbulence. These days there’s still a no-smoking sign. Either it’s on at all times, or there’s a sticker of it.

    So how about a permanent seat belt sign, coupled with a sign that indicates “it’s ok now to move around the cabin”?

    If it gets more people to keep their seat belts on through the flight, it would reduce injuries from sudden, severe turbulence. If you’re up and around, or are cabin crew during a meal service, you’d still be at risk.

    It may work, or it may work as well as telling people to leave their belongings behind in an evacuation.

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  24. Stormy Dragon says:

    This seems like an unforced error on the part of the Biden Administration:

    Park rangers are now banned from wearing uniforms to Pride because it’s political issue

    The National Park Service (NPS) has confirmed that it is banning rangers from wearing their uniforms to attend or march in Pride events. NPS rangers have marched in Pride Parades such as those in New York, Seattle, and San Francisco in the past.

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  25. Matt Bernius says:

    @EddieInCA:
    100% on so many levels. Just ask them to estimate the size of different ethnic groups within the country.

    California had 6.0 million Trump voters in 2020 presidential election.
    Texas had 5.8M Trump voters.

    And wouldn’t it be great to live under an electoral system where those California votes counted?

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  26. Bill Jempty says:

    @Gustopher: My books are clone and clown free .

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  27. Bill Jempty says:

    I’m at Miami airport now. Flight to DFW is on time. Being lazy and drinking water in American airlines club.

    Great news before I left.
    Someone wants to buy the rights to a 3rd book of mine.

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  28. Bill Jempty says:

    @Kathy: all good advice, Kathy. My DFW to Sydney flight is 15 hours long. I’ll stay buckled in except for when I get up which I’ll have to. I take diuretics and deep vein thrombosis is a threat with me

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  29. Scott says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I disagree. Like uniformed military, all uniformed government employees, including law enforcement and border patrol, should be banned from wearing their uniforms to political events.

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  30. EddIeInCA says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Take advantage of the empanadas and cuban coffee at Versailles at any terminal. Grab a few empanadas or potato balls for the flight. You’ll thank me when you land.

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  31. EddIeInCA says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Nope. I agree with Scott. No government employee should be wearing a uniform during political events.

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  32. Kathy says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Enjoy the flight, and don’t worry too much about sudden turbulence. It’s very rare.

    Take advantage of the flat bed as well. Vein flow is driven largely by muscle contractions. You can exercise the leg muscles while lying flat or in a deep recline. And make sure you keep the seat belt on when lying flat, too.

    But I’m sure you know better than I what you need to guard against deep vein problems.

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  33. Mikey says:

    @EddieInCA:

    If I asked you which state, California or Texas, had more Trump voters in 2020, what would your answer be? Texas, right?

    Nope. California had 6.0 million Trump voters in 2020 presidential election.
    Texas had 5.8M Trump voters.

    And neither state will get more than one, maybe two, campaign stops, because the Electoral College system ensures a Republican’s vote in California or a Democrat’s vote in Texas is essentially worthless.

    Meanwhile the nine “battleground states” will total over 200 campaign stops.

    The other 41 states, comprising 80% of the US population? They’ll be ignored.

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  34. wr says:

    @EddieinCA: “It was not a big crowd. Less people than concerts at that place on a regular basis.”

    I was in the Bronx yesterday, too — at Yankee Stadium. And I suspect that there were far more people in that 3/4 empty stadium than there were for Trump…

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  35. wr says:

    @Kathy: “And make sure you keep the seat belt on when lying flat, too.”

    The flight attendants usually insist on that. Part of the pre-flight announcement is that if you’re going to sleep you should buckle your seatbelt outside your blanket so they won’t have to wake you up to remind you…

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  36. EddIeInCA says:

    @wr:

    The local Pride Festival in that park on June 20th will have more people than were at the Trump rally.

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  37. just nutha says:

    @wr: Well yes, but 3/4 empty Yankee stadium still has about 12-15,000 people in it. No comparison to 3/4 empty Crotona Park.

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  38. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy:

    That’s good, but the seat belt sign wasn’t on when the turbulence hit the plane, while a meal service was underway.

    The second-worst turbulence I was ever in was while the cabin crew was collecting trash before we began the final descent. You knew it was going to be bad when the captain came on and said, “Cabin crew, take your seats and strap in immediately.” The crew dropped whatever they had in their hands and ran for their seats. The only person who got seriously hurt was the idiot in the last row who had ignored the earlier order for passengers to fasten their seat belts. He got bounced off the cabin ceiling and then off the floor.

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  39. Michael Cain says:

    @Mikey:

    And neither state will get more than one, maybe two, campaign stops…

    California always gets more small stops than that because of the amount of money that can be raised there. I will be surprised if Harris is not there several times on her own, although doing private fund-raising gatherings rather than campaign rallies. I may be misremembering, but I believe Trump made multiple CA stops in both 2016 and 2020 to hit up the techbros for money. Texas doesn’t seem to have the same sort of spigots that California does.

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  40. Kathy says:

    @wr:

    I’ve read lots of reviews of premium class flights, and not one ever mentions using the seat belt in connection with the lie flat bed mode. Not even in first class products that have a bed separate from the seat, like the new Singapore A380 first class.

    @Michael Cain:

    I’ve never had bad turbulence.

    In 2009, though, flying Mexicana (RIP) to Las Vegas, there was turbulence through much of the flight, and it didn’t let up until well into the descent. To cap it off, we had a crosswind landing.

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  41. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    The FAs do remind you to buckle in a lie-flat, outside of your blankets.

    My biggest turbulence concern is the bathrooms. My head is already touching the curved ceiling.

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  42. EddIeInCA says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    My head is already touching the curved ceiling.

    And it’s not because of your height.

    (Couldn’t resist.)

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  43. Joe says:

    @Mikey: It is a happy part of my life that I live in a non-competitive state vis presidential elections. I was thrown last fall watching my college football team playing in Iowa and in Wisconsin when political issue ads came on. That was annoying.

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  44. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Scott:
    @EddIeInCA:

    Cool. You’re going to ban uniforms in, say, St. Patrick’s Day parades?

    Because saying that’s okay but Pride is forbidden is itself a pretty extreme political position.

    Also, don’t forget that Stonewall is an NPS facility, so Biden announcing “no Pride at Stonewall” the week before Pride Month in an election year is certainly… a choice…

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  45. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds

    If your head actually touches the ceiling, you could bring a folded blanket or a pillow into the lavatory, and place it between head and ceiling. Yes, it looks ridiculous, but who’s gonna see? A little cushioning has a disproportionate effect on the severity of injury. That’s why cars today have more padding all over than they used to.

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  46. EddIeInCA says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Yes. Unless you’re working the event or appearing as a sanctioned group in the event, I don’t think any government official should be wearing a uniform to any political event.

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  47. Stormy Dragon says:

    Follow up to the park Rangers at Pride:

    Apparently someone at the NPS got way out over their skis and the Secretary of the Interior is not happy…

    https://x.com/MSchwartz3/status/1794142967894032554

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