Friday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open 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

Comments

  1. MarkedMan says:

    News from your intrepid OTB Reporter (moi) on the Key Bridge Disaster: Last Sunday I walked to Fort McHenry and saw that not only is all the visible wreckage removed and the Dali (the ship that hit the bridge) off in parts unknown, but the harbor had a lot of big cargo ships docked under the cranes. A car transporter was also docked at one of the drive off docks, and those suckers are big. Didn’t see any giant container ships but those go to the big cranes farther up and out of sight, so they might be making it through too. I later read that the deep channel has been half cleared (about 400 out of 700 feet wide) and re-dredged to 50 feet.

    Tonight the Baltimore Symphony will have it’s annual free concert at Fort McHenry with our new young director (like, actually young, not classical music young) holding the conductor’s baton. The event seems to have spontaneously turned into a fundraiser for and celebration of “Baltimore Strong”, the charity that is helping the families of those who died and those whose incomes have been affected by the loss of the bridge and temporary closure of the port. My wife and I will walk out there (3 miles each way), set up the blanket, have a picnic with an illicit glass of wine or two, and enjoy it all.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:
  3. Rick DeMent says:

    The US beat Pakistan in the T20I Cricket World Cup yesterday in Dallas Texas.

    The first time the US cricket team has beat a Test nation in a world cup. It caused a meltdown in the world of cricket. The game was tied at the end of regulation and they had to play a super over. Arron Jones, who had a half century in the match scores 14 runs in the super over to win the match. They are 2 -0 in the tournament and face the #1 seed India on Wednesday.

    Very Exciting!!!

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  4. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve long suspected that the safety of big cars, big SUVs and big trucks is a myth, but based it on them being less maneuverable and having long stopping distances, so are more likely to get into an accident in the first place. But I accepted the conventional wisdom that once you get in an accident you are really safer (at least since the DOT started applying car safety standards to “passenger trucks” a decade or so ago). But it turns out, not so much.

    Full-size SUVs are popular choices due to their size and the perceived safety that comes with that size, but size alone doesn’t necessarily equate to safety in reality. The IIHS said the Expedition performed worse than 90 percent of all new vehicles in the small overlap crash tests

    When you factor in the fact that a sedan will bounce off a guardrail, whereas one of these suburban war machine pickup trucks ride so high they tend to get the rail caught under its carriage causing it to flip at speed, I feel even more justified in feeling safer in my Mini Cooper.

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  5. JohnSF says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Also, I’d think the sheer inertia of a large vehicle hitting anything solid is going to add to the impact energy.

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  6. Kathy says:

    I believe I’ve mentioned I’m planning to travel to Europe for the August 12th. 2026 total eclipse.

    I’ve been trying to price flights and hotels in August this year (can’t get prices now even for August 2025), to get an idea of how much money it will take, and what the options are (and, yes, I know prices can and will change, but one has to start somewhere).

    I’ve run across several 3-star hotels in Valencia and Rome priced between 60-80 euros a night. Does this sound right? I’d assumed European hotels would be more expensive.

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  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan: @JohnSF:
    It depends on the nature of the accident, doesn’t it? Hitting a concrete abutment is not the same as hitting another car. If I hit an SUV at speed with my convertible, I’m probably dead because the SUV will climb right over me. OTOH I’d really have to work at it to roll it over.

    My little SUV though could certainly roll over, but it has a decent chance in a head-to-head – well built, every kind of airbag and crumple zone, weighs the same two tons as the convertible but has a top. Your Morris may not climb over a rail but my 4300* pound X3 vs. your 1700 pounds is not going to work out well for you.

    I’m also interested in the different abilities of cars in terms of acceleration, handling and especially brakes. I got a light tap in the rear after braking for a light. Mercedes brakes are not 10 year old Toyota brakes – the car that hit me. There’s a 35 foot difference in stopping distance.

    *I was shocked when I looked up the weight. It’s 600 pounds heavier than my daughter’s Kia Sportage, despite being basically the same class of vehicle.

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  8. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:
    @JohnSF:

    Regardless of other considerations, there are three collisions involved in car accidents.

    1) the car hitting something (tree, other car, etc.)
    2) the people in the car hitting the inside of their vehicle.
    3) the internal organs of the people hitting the bone, muscle, and skin of their bodies. This is what causes trauma and major injuries.

    Popular belief is that if the car is undamaged by a collision, or only slightly damaged, that the impact wasn’t so bad. But a car that remains nearly intact even after a high speed impact, means the second and third collisions will involve more energy. this is why modern vehicles are designed to crumple like paper in a collision: to absorbe as much of the kinetic energy of the crash as possible. This leaves less energy to be dissipated by the bodies of the occupants, thus reducing injury.

    This is also why there are air bags, collapsible steering columns, internal cushioning, and most of all seat belts.

    And yes, a larger, heavier vehicle carries more kinetic energy than a lighter one. Kinetic energy equals the square of the speed times half the mass. Thus a 2 ton vehicle will have more kinetic energy at 25 kph than a 1 ton vehicle at the same speed.

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  9. steve says:

    According to this source, heat has become the single biggest risk factor for worker safety. This has been studied by the Workers Compensation groups and as temps have increased more people are injured. It is largely being ignored by industry and government and in red states they are actively taking steps to help workers like the Texas law not allowing water breaks being required.

    https://www.joepaduda.com

    Steve

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  10. gVOR10 says:

    @steve: My beloved /s Governor DeUseless, he of the “free state of Florida” rhetoric, pushed through a similar bill preempting localities from passing worker heat protection ordinances, which Dade county had been about to do.

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  11. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Kathy: Those prices do sound low to me. Hotel prices, especially in Rome, are super dependent on location. Make sure the hotel is in a safe neighborhood in the city itself and near the locations you want to visit. I just checked out booking.com and the prices appear to be around 140-300/night (in USD, not euros), but those are in the city center. The other thing to note: most of Italy goes on vacation in August, so if you find a place you like for a good price, book sooner rather than later.

    For comparison, we stayed right by the historic district in Trapani for about 80 Euro a night, but stayed at a B&B right on via Maqueda in Palermo (right in the middle of the historic district) for about 180 euro a night. We probably paid a bit too much for the B&B in Palermo, but the location was hard to beat.

    There are deals to be found on airbnb. The airbnb we stayed in rome was in a great location, albeit a bit cramped. The airbnb we stayed in Naples was absolutely fantastic and I can’t say enough good things about it. Both were a little below the going rates of the nearby hotels at the time.

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  12. Stormy Dragon says:

    Uh Oh! Conservative Brits Take EIC Roles at Two Major US News Orgs

    Analogizing to the situation at the New York Times, it has long been surmised that the anti-trans bent the paper took starting roughly in 2022 has been driven by the desire of publisher A. G. Sulzburger, who pressed the NYT to court more readers with right-wing views. Targeting the trans community for these efforts has a certain logic to it because the trans community is quite small and most members of the public are neutral and don’t rank trans issues very high. Pivoting towards a right-wing bias on trans issues is therefore relatively safe to do, at least compared to skewing coverage on issues where more Americans understand the basic outlines of the debate and will be aware of the paper taking a sudden hard right turn.

    This logic, which takes advantage of the marginalization of the trans community to turn it into a scapegoat for a paper hoping to cultivate readership among the culture-war obsessed GOP, would seem to be equally sound for a conservative-courting Washington Post publisher, or for the CEO of the left-leaning Daily Beast. While at least one media watcher has predicted that fears of a strong right shift at the Washington Post are overblown, a more subtle shift that leans on attacking the trans community to signal a change in direction to right-wing readers, is compatible with an outlet seeking to court conservative readers by diluting the quality of the news by tainting it with an ideological skew, but only in areas where the most of public won’t notice or complain too much.

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  13. Kathy says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    Thanks.

    I mistrust Airbnb, besides what it’s been doing to rent and housing in many places. I dread finding out a major problem, double booking, and so on, in a foreign country probably late at night.

    I’ve had some bad experiences with hotels not honoring reservations, or which made mistakes, and had no room available. Not many. But in every case, the hotel staff helped me get a room at another hotel. One was at 2 in the morning.

    I’m looking at prices for this August. Seeing it’s June, there’s still some lead time. I’m sure prices will be higher in July, getting more expensive as the month ages along.

    For my trip. I jope to have things booked by January 2026. This would even allow me to make changes should a better deal come along.

    I also wonder whether I can learn enough Italian to get along in the next two years.

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  14. becca says:

    Elmo wants to build a “gigafactory” at the old Electrolux plant here in Memphis. I hope it doesn’t happen.
    The CofC is all for it, but the Council is skeptical. They are not big on giving away the store in tax breaks and perks like, say, Nashville. Sure, Memphis needs investment, but how many jobs does a server farm generate? Besides, Elmo is not a particularly popular guy around here. Most positive commentary starts “I know Musk is an untrustworthy racist, but….”

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    One big difference between the US and UK. British voters are still capable of outrage when their veterans are disrespected.

    It was the moment when Rishi Sunak’s faltering election campaign looked like it was close to breaking. Britain’s clearly wounded prime minister was forced to admit on Friday lunchtime that he had made “a mistake” in not participating in an international commemoration for the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings – known in the UK as D-day – attended by Joe Biden and other world leaders at the American cemetery off Omaha beach.

    Instead he had travelled back across the Channel early to record a television interview, which is not due to be broadcast until next Wednesday.

    “These men made the ultimate sacrifice and you couldn’t even sacrifice a whole afternoon? Ken Hay, a 98-year-old D-day veteran, told us you let the country down. Is he right?” a television reporter asked, and Sunak’s eyes reddened. His voice became momentarily fragile and a campaign that he has tried to fight on national security was falling apart on its own terms.

    Vs. MAGA’s complete indifference:

    When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, near Paris, in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.

    Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with first hand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

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  16. Pete S says:

    @Kathy:
    Not sure about the ethics of Rome, but don’t count on a hotel reservation for the eclipse no matter when you make it. Hotels where I live (Niagara region in Ontario) were cancelling reservations during the April eclipse two weeks before the event when they realized they could get an extra thousand a night over the original reservation price.

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  17. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Can Trump get any more loathsome?

    Yes. Yes, he can.

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  18. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Kathy: Because we went to Sicily, I figured not as many people would speak English, so I tried to learn a little Italian through Duolingo. I worked on their lessons for around 3 months, and even though it was a pretty short period, I figured I could at least communicate a little bit…

    I bet you can see where this is going.

    Every time (with one exception) I tried to ask for something in Italian, they responded in English. The one time one waiter didn’t respond with english, I didn’t have any idea of what he said (in my defense, I think he used the word “pranzare” meaning “to have lunch”, and I hadn’t learned that word by that point).

    I’ve read that while Duolingo can be helpful, it does have some shortcomings and needs to be augmented by another program or lessons with another human (either remote or IRL). You are likely to have better results, especially since Spanish and Italian are pretty similar. But just in case, download google translate as well as the Italian language pack.

    Having said all of that, I was able to understand a little bit, more often in writing than when it was spoken. The problem is that native speakers (of nearly any language) tend to speak really fast, making it really hard to understand for someone still learning the language. I’ve read that one thing you might be able to do is watch the Italian equivalent of the home shopping network. They tend to use common nouns and adjectives and it’s pretty repetitious. There are also some youtube videos that were also helpful because they gave tips on how to pronounce words (and their proper usage) travelers typically need.

    ETA: That sounds like a really great trip and I hope you enjoy it!

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  19. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..2) the people in the car hitting the inside of their vehicle

    It’s been a few years now but I clearly remember a retired police officer commenting on a radio program about how in the good old days of the ’50s he would respond to minor fender benders only to find dead children impaled on the control knobs for the heater or radio on a car’s dashboard ALL THE TIME!

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  20. CSK says:
  21. Kathy says:

    @Pete S:

    Sorry. I’m so used to knowing that I omit information. For the eclipse, totality will pass through parts of Spain and Portugal* (a tiny bit of it). Italy will get at best a partial eclipse.

    So the plan is to arrive in Valencia late in the 11th of August, then find something to do until the eclipse near sunset on the 12th. I’d get to Rome no sooner than the 13th. The idea then is to see as much of Rome as possible, then travel to visit Pompeii. Or maybe a reverse: fly to Naples and then travel to Pompeii, and only then go to Rome. From there I’d fly back home.

    @Mike in Arlington:

    I think I took less than 14 months of actual English lessons. The teacher was really good, and the best lesson he imparted was to read and listen to the language from native speakers. Sources for publications, TV, and movies in English are inexhaustible. Italian somewhat less so.

    I suppose I can access publications in Italian online, and maybe some video content as well.

    The similarities with Spanish can get tricky due to differences of pronunciation. take a common term, “macchiato.” In Spanish this sounds like machine (maquina), rather than stained or spotted (manchado).

    When I moved 13 years ago, I found among the general household excess stuff, a set of CDs for an Italian language course. I’ve no idea where it came from or whom it belonged to. On a whim, I kept it. The box has been gathering dust in my bookshelf since then. I guess I’ll dust it off.

    *The path of totality will also pass through Iceland earlier in the day. And of course across the sea on the way to the Iberian peninsula.

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  22. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Much of my reading regarding car crashes, as well as some of airplane crashes, mentions such things about 1950s cars. But things didn’t get much better until the 80s or so. That’s when we started seeing airbags, 3 point seat belts, cushioning, etc. mostly as a result of federal government studies.

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  23. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Kathy: I can’t tell you how much I loved Naples. Although, it’s a lot. Sure, there are roads marked one way, but you’re taking your life into your hands if you don’t look both ways. After experiencing Naples, Rome seemed orderly in comparison.

    And if you have time, make sure you go to Herculaneum.

    The Girlfriend said that she found her background with Spanish helped more with the structure and grammar and less with the vocabulary or pronunciation.

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  24. Kathy says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    I’m used to always looking both ways in all streets.

    Some Mexican drivers are convinced it they back up half a block the wrong way, they’re not going the wrong way because the car still points the right way. Police may miss such tings, because the car points the right way, but it’s still illegal.

    BTW, here’s some info on the Aug 12th 2026 eclipse, and where totality will be.

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  25. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..But things didn’t get much better until the 80s or so.

    The first vehicle that I bought new was a 1979 Datsun regular cab pick up truck with an 8 ft bed. It was also the first ride I owned that had seat belts. The first thing I did was tuck them behind the seat to get them out of the way. “Who needs ’em?” I said to myself.
    Several years later as I was returning home from a weeks work in Indiana I was listening to some talk show on the radio when an ER doctor related how he could always tell if a car accident victim was wearing their seat belt or not. The drivers and passengers in an auto accident who were not wearing their seat belts were ripped up far worse than those who used the seat belts.
    It was an epiphany!
    I pulled off the road, got the seatbelt from behind the seat, buckled up and I have been using them ever since.
    If any one is riding with me (not often) I won’t even put the car in gear till they buckle up too!

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  26. Jen says:

    @Mister Bluster: A few weeks ago I pulled into the parking lot at the local library and saw a van, which had its entire dashboard absolutely covered in enormous seashells. All I could think was how bad that would be in an accident.

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  27. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I started using the seat belts around the late 80s. It became compulsory by the early 90s.

    I try not to get going if anyone’s not buckled up, but some people are really stubborn, and many get stupid and aggressive (not a good combination). Especially idiots in the back seat who think they don’t need one.

    It’s particularly stupid, because they not only are going to get badly hurt in a crash, but will also inflict damage on the people seating up front.

    So unless they are seating right behind me, I’ll just tell them “Fine. Just don’t expect any sympathy when you wind up dead or crippled and I walk away.”

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  28. Joe says:

    @Kathy: I would commend for anyone’s language learning Slow News in [Language], where you can listen to current news in many languages and control the speed of the delivery. I should be using it. I have in the past and it will really help [expose] your language comprehension skills.

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  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I was looking for a different video showing an old car crashing into a more modern one when I came across this one. Nothing within the last ten years but what struck me was that even late 90’s cars with airbags are death traps compared to their more modern cousins.

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  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: My wife still has a fondness for AirBnB, probably due to finding truly incredible places when she was an early adapter, but lately I find they are just a pain. The fees end up totaling as much as the “rent” and you have to take the damn garbage out to the alley out back. OTOH, we’ve stayed in a couple of Sonders in Montreal and I quite like them. Basically they buy an entire building and outfit each as the equivalent of an AirBnB. Automated, keyless check in and check out but no hidden fees and professionally run.

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  31. CSK says:

    @CSK:

    A question arises as to how the professor would even know the student had had an abortion, or that she was indeed pregnant? Or is it mandatory at U of T for female students to surrender their medical records after every absence from class? Perhaps it’s required for them to bring a note from their doctors detailing the reason for the absence.

    Professors flunking students for getting abortions. Sweet Jesus.

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  32. Franklin says:

    @CSK: Not sure. Does Texas require female student-athletes to register their period information like Florida tried to do? Or something similar that applies to all females at state universities? I have no idea what depth these people will go to, and I’m sorry to all who are anguished by this.

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  33. CSK says:

    @Franklin:

    Never, ever at any university where I’ve been a student or a professor has anyone ever asked me for my personal medical information. All they were interested in were my grades and my credentials.

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  34. DrDaveT says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    The one time one waiter didn’t respond with english, I didn’t have any idea of what he said (in my defense, I think he used the word “pranzare” meaning “to have lunch”, and I hadn’t learned that word by that point).

    He was probably speaking Sicilian, not Italian. There are significant differences.

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  35. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    British voters are still capable of outrage when their veterans are disrespected

    Sunak has seriously screwed himself doing this.
    I’m bloody annoyed.
    A lot of the Conservative base are absolutely livid, being heavily skewed towards the over-50s, and traditionalist patriotic types.
    Who look at the few remaining veterans and see the generation of their parents or grandparents, uncles or elder cousins or siblings, mostly gone to their graves, in whose bright shadow they grew up, and whose memory they generally revere.

    It’s difficult to overstate how much they are of near legendary status to the post-war generation, both remembered as persons and somehow embodying perhaps the culminating point of national history. How they look at the Second World War, the defiance and the victory, and feel: “This is our historical vindication as a country, as a people”

    What on earth prompted the silly man to do it, heaven knows. His advisers must be a total pack of sycophantic fools.
    Had he any of the old Tory grandees of the past in his entourage, men like Whitelaw or Heseltine, Clarke or Major, they’d have fronted him the second they heard the suggestions of sodding off back to Britain halfway-through, and bluntly told him not to be so fucking stupid.

    Sunak is very smart, as a numbers guy, but appears to lack empathy and “emotional intelligence”.
    Which is fine for a Treasury Minister, but a serious flaw in a PM unless they have a trusted consigliere to “do human”; as Thatcher had in Whitelaw.

    The latest YouGov poll, taken yesterday, before this storm broke, had Conservatives on 19% Reform on 16%.
    That is, within the margin of error for parity.
    The Conservative polling fall-off appears to be switching direct to Reform.
    Meanwhile, Labour are on 41%; down 3 points, with change mainly to LibDem, a bit to Green.

    YouGov predicted outcome now Labour 422, Conservative 140, LibDem 48.

    The Tories were already in trouble, over various matters, particularly over accusations of lying over Treasury costings of Labour spending plans.
    This has holed them below the waterline.
    They’re done.

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  36. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    Can Sunak resign or be booted off with a no-confidence vote before the elections? Or isn’t it worth the effort?

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  37. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    As for “voncing”:
    Parliament is in recess; the Conservative no-con procedure is a Party matter, not a Parliamentary one, but very difficult to organise.
    Most standing for re-election are busy with that; and many Tory MP’s are standing down, so determining who gets to vote might be tricky.
    They really don’t have the time, and the party would probably go into meltdown.

    IF Sunak were to resign, and there was an obvious caretaker willing to drink from the poisoned chalice (there isn’t) it might be possible; otherwise they are stuck with him.

    Though I’d rather like to see them re-appoint Liz Truss, for sheer comedy value 🙂
    (Not happening though.)

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  38. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    A question arises as to how the professor would even know the student had had an abortion, or that she was indeed pregnant?

    Reading between the lines, it sounds like these professors are the type that fail people for non-attendance, regardless of performance, and so anyone who misses class needs a good excuse. I can imagine “I was having a medical procedure” escalating as a conversation, especially given the obvious dickheadedness of the two professors involved.

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  39. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    I wouldn’t appoint Truss if her lettuce were available.

    The way you explain it, Sunak is the captain of the sinking ship and he should go down with it.

    If so, can he take along Truss, Boris and all the other colorful characters down with him?

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  40. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT:

    This is so alien to my own experience teaching college students (admittedly not outside Massachusetts) that I can’t even imagine it happening. In the name of God, how would any professor find out about a student’s abortion? Even if he rigorously interrogated her? He can’t do that.

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  41. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Yep, Sunak is in bridge of the Titanic, having set full speed ahead direct for the obvious iceberg.

    As for Truss, she’s in a ultra-safe seat.
    70% of the vote at the last election, and Tory held since 1959.
    But “Independent Conservative” James Bagge is standing against her, as is a Reform candidate, so she just might be scalped by Bagge, according to some local straw polls.
    (Oh hear my prayer, sweet Eris!)

    Johnson resigned as an MP, and is not standing.
    Nor is Gove.

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  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @steve: Speaking as a union carpenter who worked in the heat and humidity of Misery summers for over 35 years…

    No shit Sherlock.

    (not directed at you personally)

    Seriously, I hope what they are doing down in TX results in serious repercussions for the ones responsible.

    And no, I’m not holding my breath.

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  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: A cop buddy of mine once reported to an accident. The woman had gotten out of her car to check a flat tire while stopped next to a guardrail. You guessed it, somebody hit her car. My buddy had to climb under her car and grab hold of her ankles, as other cops explained she was going to die as soon as they pulled the car off of her and asked if she she had any special messages.

    He never recovered from that and a year later he was a gardener. (or some such).

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  44. Jax says:

    I need some advice.

    My least favorite aunt is in hospice. They’re hoping she holds on until June 21st, the date of their 50th wedding anniversary. I have been invited by her children to the celebration.

    I have nightmare visions of this aunt showing up in my bed when I was 13 years old at 3 am, drunk out of her mind and telling me she wanted to kill me. My entire adult life has been spent avoiding her.

    Do I go? My cousins were here for me when Dad died, I feel like I should show up, for their sake….but goddamn….not gonna miss her family drama. There were times she showed up and all the aunties and cousins were beating each other’s asses on the lawn in front of my house, all because of shit she instigated.

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  45. Mister Bluster says:

    Fifty or so years ago my roommate and I were walking home on a Saturday afternoon when we heard a faint sound of screams of horror and fear. As we kept walking the sobs and screams grew louder and more anguished and desperate. When we got to the corner of the block there was a young child in the street lying face down motionless. Sitting on the curb was a man with his face buried in his hands. There was a car stopped in the middle of the road just half a block away. The terrible wailing and cries of utter despair now deafening were coming out of the drivers window from the woman who had just killed the child.
    As we had not witnessed this tragedy there was nothing we could do.
    We heard sirens approaching as we walked way.

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  46. just nutha says:

    @Jax: If you’re strong enough to be there for your cousins and concentrate on their grief and be sad with them, then going would be a kindness to them apart from the black hole your aunt was. If you’re not that strong, you should apologize to them and explain why you can’t be there. They’ll either understand or they won’t, but neither of us can fix it if your pain is the problem.

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  47. Franklin says:

    @Jax: Ugh, that’s difficult. And if you had these shitty experiences with her, I can’t imagine your poor cousins’ childhoods. I don’t feel I know enough to understand if yoir aunt will be triggering to you in her current state. But if you choose not to go, I would try to reach out to each cousin on the phone and give them some support. Whether you need to come up with a solid excuse, or can tell them the truth of your absence, you’ll have to make that decision. But getting in touch at a more intimate level than texting would be appropriate and touching.

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  48. Franklin says:

    @Mister Bluster: And that makes me almost physically ill to even think about.

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