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. Bill says:
  2. Bill says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Hoarse Whisperer


    If you took the nut jobs, racists and haters out of Trump’s Republican Party, there would be nothing left but a box of hats and 100,000 unread copies of Junior’s book.

    Jeb Bush
    · Aug 19
    Why in the world would the President not kick Q’anon supporters’ butts? Nut jobs, rascists, haters have no place in either Party.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    delthia ricks

    Trump administration bars FDA from regulating some laboratory tests, including for coronavirus. Some public health experts worry defective tests could flood the market

    Trump administration bars FDA from regulating some laboratory tests, including for coronavirus
    The decision sparked concerns by some public health experts that the market could be flooded with substandard tests. But defenders of the move said it could speed up testing.

    My guess would be another fat cat MOTU grifter trump donor whispered sweet nothings in his ear.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    2020 #DemConvention

    “I’m just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me more confident about something that’s bothered me my whole life. Joe Biden cared.”
    – Brayden Harrington

    Jeebus, what a kid, more courage than the entire GOP in one 13 year old package.

    You go.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A good profile: Brilliant, Troubled Dorothy Parker

    I am a little ashamed that I did not know of her, but then I’m not sure how I would have. I certainly would have had no reason to read any of her reviews, her short stories were all published a long time ago, and her poetry was in her own words, “There is poetry and there is not,” but Damn… What a woman, and what a legacy she left. Who has not heard these quips or some version of them:

    “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”
    “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”
    “The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”
    “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.”
    “What fresh hell is this?”
    “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”
    “Brevity is the soul of lingerie.”
    “That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can’t say ‘No’ in any of them.”
    “I require three things in a man: he must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid.”
    “She was pleased to have him come and never sorry to see him go.”
    “Take me or leave me; or, as is the usual order of things, both.”
    “Constant use had not worn ragged the fabric of their friendship.”

    “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

    And that is just from page 1 of 10 on her Good Reads quote page.

  7. CSK says:

    Donald Trump will be holding a funeral for his brother Robert at the White House today. There will be 200 invited guests. The WH emphasizes that the president will cover all expenses personally.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    He didn’t look so sleepy last night, did he? Meanwhile, once again, talk about a contrast! We have one candidate who actually helps a young man with a disability while we have another candidate who mocks a reporter with a disability…so you have these two choices…pick one…

  9. Bill says:


    The WH emphasizes that the president will cover all expenses personally.

    Will food from McDonald’s be served to the guests?

  10. CSK says:

    What a good question. I have no idea. It would seem in keeping with the tenor of Trump hospitality, would it not?

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Filet o Fish and fries with lots of ketchup for everyone.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mike Pompeo sets US on collision course with UN partners over Iran

    The US secretary of state went to the UN on Thursday to set in motion a diplomatic gambit, claiming the US is still a participant in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran – from which Donald Trump explicitly withdrew two years ago – and therefore retains the right under the rules of the deal to trigger a “snapback” or resumption of full UN sanctions.

    Can you say “deluded”?

    Very few other UN member states think the US has the authority to do this. Even before he made a scheduled announcement at the UN headquarters in New York, the UK, France and Germany issued a statement saying the the US was not a participant and they would not support it.

    In response, Pompeo denounced the Europeans as having chosen to “side with the Ayatollahs”.

    “Their actions endanger the people of Iraq, of Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and indeed their own citizens as well,” he told reporters. “America won’t join in this failure of leadership. America will not appease. America will lead.”

    One cannot lead if no one will follow.

  13. Michael Cain says:

    I was in Fort Collins, CO yesterday and by chance drove through one of the bar/club/restaurant areas near the Colorado State campus. Lots of young people (classes start Monday). Little or no social distancing. Few masks, despite a statewide order to wear them in public places. If I were a faculty member, I’d have already told the administration I’m not going anywhere near the campus this semester.

  14. Bill says:


    Filet o Fish and fries with lots of ketchup for everyone.

    No tartar sauce? If not, I’m definitely not going.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: IIRC, trump is allergic to tartar sauce, won’t be in the same room with it. Mary is probably going to bring a great big tub of it for everyone.

  16. Mikey says:


    “America won’t join in this failure of leadership. America will not appease. America will lead.”

    Has he met his boss? You know, the guy who is a huge fan of Putin and who claims he and Kim Jong Un “fell in love?”

    The guy who the Senate intel committee just proved beyond all doubt welcomed, supported, and assisted in Russian interference in the 2016 election?

    The LAST thing Trump is, is a leader. But appeasement? At that, he excels.

  17. Bill says:

    Yesterday I made a rare non-medical trip outdoors. I went to BJ’s where I bought 2 cases of water, 1 gallon of milk, Coffee, disinfecting wipes*, plus sugar. In addition I renewed my BJ’s membership which was close to expiring.

    At the door I was given a disinfecting wipe for wiping. The water is located in the back left of the store. While walking there, I didn’t see one single customer. (It was about 815-830 in the morning aka over 60 year old customer hours. I’m 59 years and 7 months so I cheated. No jello ice cream for me tonight) After getting the water I saw four customers, a couple shopping together plus two others there by themselves, as I got my other purchases. There were two or three customers checking out when I got to the front end.

    Who says you can’t social distance and grocery shop right now.

    *- Disinfecting wipes weren’t on my list, but this hard to find commodity was available so I grabbed one. Dear wife and I have nine single containers (Or two packages one containing 5, and the other 4) of these now. Not exactly hoarding.

  18. Scott says:


    The WH emphasizes that the president will cover all expenses personally.

    Not possible. How many taxpayer-paid employees are going to be involved in vetting, directing, and supervising 200 people? And cleaning up? And how many of us believe anything that comes out of the mouth of anyone in the WH?

  19. Kathy says:


    I came across some of her witticisms in “Isaac Asimov’s Treasury of Humor,” but never followed up on that.

    I think Parker was credited with a very clever comeback. There are many versions of it, but it boils down to a snotty, rich lady and Parker reaching a door at the same time, whereupon the rich lady makes way and says, “Age before beauty.” Parker goes in but adds, “Not at all. Pearls before swine.”

    This falls into Sebastian Major’s classification of “It’s such a good story, it simply must be told.”

  20. CSK says:

    One of my other favorite Parker quotes is: “One more drink and I’d have been under the host.”

    When I was a young adult, one of my first stops in New York was at the Algonquin to see for myself where she and all the other Round Table wits hung out. I had a vodka martini in her honor. You rang a bell on the little table next to your chair to summon the waiter.

  21. CSK says:

    Well, of course I don’t believe it.

  22. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Everything about Iran is a massive policy failure of this Administration. Mainly because it is not driven by any rational thinking process but by far right Christian apocalyptic fanatics like Pence and Pompeo. Another reason to get rid of this Administration.

  23. Scott says:

    Security forces airman accused of trying to burn cop car during protests while wearing Air Force gas mask

    A security forces airman from Hill Air Force Base in Utah has been arrested by federal authorities and accused of burning a police car during a May 30 protest in downtown Salt Lake City. He was charged with one count of using fire and explosive devices to damage a Salt Lake City Police Department patrol car.

    These stories don’t have the immediacy of rioters causing damage and so will be buried in the noise but one has to wonder how common this is.

  24. Kingdaddy says:

    @Michael Cain: Your comment inspired me to look up the research on brain development in adolescents and risk-taking behavior. I remembered hearing, several years back, about some research that said the adolescent brain was wired to take stupid risks. Turns out there has been some reconsideration. Here are a couple of articles that emphasize the impulse for discovery and the power of peer relations at that age.

    The upshot is, while there isn’t a hardware problem with the adolescent brain, there are behavioral tendencies that make adolescents poor judges of risk. Just trusting them to do the right thing during a pandemic is not a good idea.

  25. CSK says:

    MSN has noted that “first Lady Melania Trump will attend” the services this afternoon for Robert Trump. Call me persnickety, but doesn’t one take for granted that one’s spouse will accompany one to the funeral of a very close relative?

    What did she demand in return for this concession? Another re-write of the pre-nup?

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I just heard that story from somebody else. The “snotty, rich lady” was U.S. Congresswoman Claire Booth Luce. (according to them anyway)

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Among her drinking quotes, I have been quoting one since my drunken High School days and didn’t even know it: “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.”

  28. Kingdaddy says:
  29. Michael Cain says:

    @Kingdaddy: Based on what I distantly recall from when I was that age, I have always blamed hormone levels. All brains misfire somewhat under those conditions.

  30. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Just curious…

    Has President Law-and-Order made a statement on Bannon et al?

    I fear it’s typical GOP: Steal a loaf of bread or protest an injustice = go to jail. Steal millions = get a book deal and invitations to speak at “conservative” events.

    So many presidential pardons to come. My money is on Friday, Dec 11th.

  31. Liberal Capitalist says:


    Among her drinking quotes, I have been quoting one since my drunken High School days and didn’t even know it: “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.”

    My favorite drinking quote:

    Every time I drank, I didn’t get into trouble.
    But every time I got into trouble, I had been drinking.

    My favorite, as that is what helped me decide to quit drinking. 🙂

  32. Kathy says:

    Following up on yesterday’s thread, IMO progress never stops in normal times, but it was very slow for a very long time. And naturally there can be retrogression due to major crises, like the Bronze Age Collapse (the Greeks lost the ability to write), or the Dark Ages (which are a real thing, just not universal).

    What detonated progress to the breakneck speeds we see today was industrialization and capitalism. The incentive to make money drove improvements and innovation. a side factor is the scientific revolution (still ongoing), which started earlier.

    IMO, there was a second detonation of progress when electricity became better understood (it was known since ancient times), and when we learned how to generate it. That’s what opened up efficient artificial light and real-time long distance communications, and later on electronics and sophisticated data manipulation for control systems and computation.

    When you look at the late XIX Century, it’s like a distorted version of the mid-20th Century. There are long distance communications, but it’s the telegraph. there is recorded music, but only things like player pianos and music boxes. There’s artificial lightning, but it’s gas lights. Three’s long distance travel, by train. There’s public transportation in cities, in horse-drawn wagons.

    But if you compare the late XIX Century to the the early XIX Century, it’s a different world. all I listed above mostly was absent earlier on. But also things like mass manufacturing of all things, and simpler things like standardized interchangeable parts for machinery.

    There’s no question technological progress drives social changes. The question is how and what kinds of changes. The answer is it depends on the technologies involved and how they are used. For instance, the shift from a majority rural population to majority urban one, is not solely due to the rise of city-based factories in the Industrial Revolution, but also of the use of farm machinery to replace farm workers.

    The latter is why people left the farms and sought jobs in the city, and why factory owners could demand such long hours for such low wages and terrible working conditions.

    Much the same as how automation has decreased factory jobs (and some service jobs as well), and why gig economy companies get away with not even employing their employees.

  33. @OzarkHillbilly: That phrase always makes me think of “The Existential Blues” which any Dr. Demento devotee from the 1980s might recall.

  34. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    Yes. Trump said that he didn’t approve of private funding for the Wall, since it was “showboating.” (Pause for horselaugh.) He also said Bannon played a small role in his administration (Bannon was Chief Strategist) and was involved in the 2016 campaign (Bannon was campaign CEO).

  35. CSK says:

    Oh, puh-leeze take me out of moderation. This is absurd.

  36. Mikey says:

    Happy to see our own Michael Reynolds’ lovely wife Katherine on GMA this morning, although I did wish she’d gotten more time.

    And very much looking forward to the movie!

  37. KM says:


    The upshot is, while there isn’t a hardware problem with the adolescent brain, there are behavioral tendencies that make adolescents poor judges of risk.

    This. This is exactly why I get cranky when I hear “young and dumb” trotted out and followed with a tracer of “undeveloped brains, what can you do?”. Yes, the young are still maturing both physically and mentally but in the end, agency is still a thing. Plenty of young people are not out drinking and spreading disease right now who are in the same “under-developed” status or have the same hard-partying friends calling them to come out and have fun. Why they’re not accounted for in the explanation of bad behavior has always irritated me – if bad decision-making is the expectation, how do you account for those who consistently don’t?

    I think in the end it comes down to that age-old human fallibility – some people need to have something bad happen before they really *get* bad things can happen. You know, good old empathy? It’s not a brain development thing since we see plenty of physically mature individuals still exhibit this flaw. Hell, the trope about conservatives not caring about X until their family gets hit by it is exactly the same kind of “logic” that young people flaunting COVID exhibit.

    Blaming being “young and dumb” belies the fact that those people often grow up to be “old and dumb”, carrying on the behavior or thought patterns well past youth. “Young and dumb” is typically said to stop when you “grow up and learn” aka something bad happened to make you realize the error of your ways. Maybe it was a job you’d risk with your partying, maybe it’s family that will fall to ruin if you don’t stop, maybe it’s a body that can’t handle many more bad decisions. Either way it’s rarely biology that factors in but the school of hard knocks requiring you to make better choices or else.

  38. CSK says:

    Am I imagining things, or has de stijl vanished?

  39. Joe says:

    Your description put me in mind of one of my favorite reads, Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which I got to read in law school. I recommend it.

  40. @CSK: I have released it. I have zero idea as to why it was moderated. The system does not always behave in ways that I find logical.

  41. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    It does seem totally arbitrary, doesn’t it? About half the time when I furnish a link I’ll get moderated. I have no idea why, since I never link to anything that isn’t legit.

    In any event, thank you.

  42. Kathy says:

    Delta banned SEAL guy who claims he killed bin Laden.

    Good for Delta, applying the rules without favoritism.

    And, past good actions do not excuse current bad actions.

  43. @CSK: I am pretty sure that three or more links get you in moderation jail or if when someone posts for the first time (so typos in names can get a regular moderated, but it is hard to have a typo in “CSK”).

    There are some banned terms, but mostly banned users.

  44. Mu Yixiao says:


    When people talk about changes, I think about my grandfather.

    As a young man he started as a lineman for our small city. People laughed when he said “Someday every house will have electricity”–that would require wires going to every house! Ridiculous!

    And I remember sitting with him and talking about the launch of the Space Shuttle–that we’d just watched on his color TV.

    We’ve been changing at a breakneck pace over the past 150 years.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Heh. I gave up getting into trouble. 🙂

  46. Kathy says:


    Thanks. it seems interesting, and it’s even on audible.

    Don’t know when I’ll have time to read it, though. audible’s been running a non-stop 2 books for 1 credit sale, changing the available titles now and then, and I’ve fully taken advantage of it. My backlog is getting really big.

    Currently I’m on Michael Lewis’ “The Fifth Risk,” which deals largely with how the Trump so-called administration failed massively to prepare a transition.

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Dr. Demento… That’s a blast from my past.

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Vary good book, and absolutely terrifying.

  49. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Kathy: I think the quote about “pearls before swine” ranks right up there with Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s quip, “If you can’t say something good about someone, come sit by me.”

  50. @CSK: I figured it out: typo in your e-mail address and therefore the system thought you were a first-time commenter.

  51. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: @Steven L. Taylor:
    How odd. Usually if I make a typo in the email addie the system sends me right back to rewsrite the comment, which it wipes out, but it doesn’t moderate me.

  52. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I wish I still had my copy of Clarke’s “Profiles of the Future.” In one section he explains, with technical details, why mobile phones are possible, but would be limited to a few thousands of users per city at most. This is the man who first described the orbit needed by communications satellites (the Clarke Orbit, a synchronous orbit at 0 degrees to the Equator).

    He died in 2008 at age 90. I guess he took satisfaction in being proved wrong.

    Another idea he had was that the pace of progress is unsustainable and ultimately has to reach a plateau and slow down.

    He may be right about that, because nothing goes on forever. But from where I stand, it still seems to be accelerating. Consider the common cell phone today. the assumption is that it is a smart phone, and it has a lot more computing power, and RAM, than a desktop PC of earlier in this century.

    Seven years ago, a coworker told me “These aren’t phones, really. They’re computers with a phone app.” So much so, I carry one phone without a SIM chip (can’t make calls*), so I can surf the web, play games, check email, stream TV and movies, run BOINC distributed computing data (when charging), listen to books, read books, etc. etc etc.

  53. Jax says:

    @CSK: de Stijl usually checks in 2-3 days a week, but those 2-3 days are pretty random on what days they’ll be, I’ve noticed. I was wondering how his derecho cleanup was going, given last time he checked in he mentioned he had tree damage!

  54. Kathy says:


    I left an orphaned asterisk. So:

    * It can make WiFi calls. or could if I installed an app that allowed it to do so, like WhatsApp. But I deliberately did not install either my work email account or any messaging apps on it. that’s solely the province of the work-issued phone.

  55. Joe says:

    In respect of your grandfather, Mu Yixiao, I would commend the excellent song, 75 Septembers, by Cheryl Wheeler.

    The Kuhn book, Kathy, is blessedly short.

  56. CSK says:

    Thanks. It always seemed to me he was around every day.

  57. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    There are some banned terms,

    What are all the banned terms?

    When I was working on the community content team at Amazon, we dug out the potty mouth list after a problem on the site, and learned so much. For instance “furtling” — the Victorian practice of cutting holes in pictures and drawings and then positioning your hand behind it so the crease between your thumb and hand looks like a butt crack — was verboten.

    The problem on the site was that someone in customer service got fed up with all the ways people were spelling fvck, and wrote a filter that banned everything with a four letter word starting with f. Banned so the reviews were immediately rejected rather than put in the approval queue. Which caught “from”, “fork”… new review creation plummeted.

    We also let people discuss furtling after that. The only book on furtling in Amazon’s catalog had no almost reviews prior to that. Fun book.

  58. Teve says:


    USPS ordered to remove 671 mail sorting machines under DeJoy:

    59 in Florida
    58 in Texas
    34 in Ohio
    30 in Pennsylvania
    26 in Michigan
    15 in North Carolina
    12 in Virginia
    12 in Wisconsin
    11 in Georgia

    He just said removed machines won’t be reinstalled. This is major crisis

  59. Kingdaddy says:

    When I was a kid, I listened to Dr. Demento faithfully every week. Since I was living in Southern California, “Pico and Sepulveda” was one of my many favorites from his show.

  60. Kingdaddy says:

    Biden needs better speech writers.

  61. CSK says:

    Unless you’re being ironic, I thought last night’s scribes did him proud.

  62. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve: That’s a pretty suggestive list…

  63. Kingdaddy says:

    @CSK: The speech was fine, as a vehicle for Joe Biden to present himself as an experienced, dedicated, empathic leader. It hit all the important issues. It just lacked the memorable phrase or two that can help define a candidate and campaign, in the way that “the audacity of hope” did, from now to Election Day.

  64. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: And with your reference to Dr. Demento and the “Existential Blues” (“I don’t even have a little dog Toto”) I understand why I come here. All is explained.

  65. EddieInCA says:


    When I was a kid, I listened to Dr. Demento faithfully every week. Since I was living in Southern California, “Pico and Sepulveda” was one of my many favorites from his show.

    Damn. There’s a name I hadn’t heard in a long time. I was a faithful Dr. Demento listener for years. I grew up in Highland Park, so I first heard him on KPCC before he moved onto a “real” radio station at KMET, which along with KLOS, was the pre-eminent rock station on FM in Los Angeles. I actually won a Dr. Demento contest one Sunday night when I was the right numbered caller and I knew the answer to the trivia question. I won a t-shirt and a very, very early Weird Al Yakovic record. I should have kept it.

    Ah… good times. Listening to the Dr. Demento on Sunday Nights in Jesse Salazar’s basement while my buddies smoked bad weed, and drank horrible beer. Underaged, of course.

  66. Kylopod says:


    It just lacked the memorable phrase or two that can help define a candidate and campaign, in the way that “the audacity of hope” did, from now to Election Day.

    “The audacity of hope” was not a phrase from either of Obama’s convention speeches, it was the title of a book of his published in 2006 before he even entered the presidential race.

  67. Kingdaddy says:
  68. Kathy says:

    Thinking about preparations for the next pandemic, would a law giving the president(*) the authority to order a nationwide or state-by-state lockdown be constitutional?

    Looking back on the COVID-19 pandemic, there are three strategies that seem to have worked well to contain it: extensive and effective lockdown, universal masks, and extensive testing and tracing. The best results involved a mix of all. South Korea, for example, relied heavily on testing and tracing, but also closed down certain businesses like bars, and limited capacity in others. New Zealand relied on a lockdown, but also did a lot of testing and tracing.

    Part of the problem in America was that lockdowns were done piecemeal by state, were not as extensive in every state, and we know the tragic results of inadequate testing and minimal tracing. A centralized order forcing all states to lock down would have worked better.

    * With safeguards and perhaps with time limitations and requiring some form of Congressional consent to prevent abuse. I haven’t thought it all the way through. and naturally the best laws are useless if not implemented or observed.

  69. JohnSF says:

    Some years since I read Profiles…
    I vaguely recall that the ceiling would be due to limits on analog multiplexing i.e. he did not anticipate digitized signals?

  70. CSK says:

    I’m not knocking the phrase “the audacity of hope” (actually a book title than part of a speech, as Kylopod points out), but it was memorable as one of those Joan Didionesque inversions of speech that are more stylistic rather than substantive. Not that such things aren’t effective; they’re meant to be memorable, and they are.

    I thought Biden’s vow to be an “ally of the light, not the darkness” was good, though it might have been slightly more striking had he said “an ally not of the darkness, but an ally of the light.” It’s always better to end on an up note.

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My all-time favorite Dorothy Parker poem.

    ETA: I also found myself reminded of the name of the production company credited at the end of Gilmore Girls episodes: “Dorothy Parker Drank Here.”

  72. EddieInCA says:

    If you want to be amused and horrified at the same time, read this article. The Right Wing Twitterati is in full meltdown because some on Fox had the nerve to give Biden kudos for his good speech.

  73. EddieInCA says:


    It just lacked the memorable phrase or two that can help define a candidate and campaign, in the way that “the audacity of hope” did, from now to Election Day.


    “Character is on the ballot, compassion is on the ballot,” Mr. Biden said. “Decency, science, democracy, they’re all on the ballot.”

  74. Kathy says:


    Something like that. I don’t think in the 60s digital compression would have been obvious or even arcane. so I’d classify it as a failure of imagination.

    But I recall some discussion of bandwidth, including something about using infrared to carry signals, with receivers posted all over a city, including inside buildings. That would mean he had a notion of cellular networks (composed of geographically delimited cells, so any number of phones can share frequencies if they’re not in the same cell). That’s why i wish I had my copy. I lost it sometime in the 90s., along with other Clarke books.

  75. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    My all-time fave:

    Razors pain you;
    Rivers are damp;
    Acids stain you;
    And drugs cause cramp.
    Guns aren’t lawful;
    Nooses give;
    Gas smells awful;
    You might as well live.

  76. @EddieInCA:


    I found Dr. D in syndication when lived in Texas, but when listened to him on KMET for years after we moved to OC in my sophomore year of HS.

  77. Kingdaddy says:

    Actually, the Manichean language of darkness and light made me cringe. I think there’s a better way to frame our current situation that doesn’t imply that, if you’re sitting on the fence about Trump, you might be the equivalent of an orc or Imperial stormtrooper. “Do you believe that democracy and the rule of law are sacred? If so, we are on your side.” Or something like that.

  78. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I read an interesting blog post some years ago which pointed out that, while Obama is unquestionably a gifted orator, if you asked people to name a memorable quote from one of his speeches, most people would come up short. Ironically, one of the most oft-quoted lines from an Obama speech is in fact a misquote–“There is no red America or blue America.” What he actually said (at the 2004 convention) was this:

    Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

    You might say I’m nitpicking here, and that “there is no red or blue America” does accurately sum up what he was trying to say–but actually I’d argue it makes it sound like he was denying the reality of the partisan divide in America, when he was simply being aspirational. In any case, he didn’t use those words. Yet it’s probably the line that comes up the most often when people attempt to quote from an Obama speech.

    And actually, I think that snappy, memorable lines are in general overrated as a barometer for judging the effectiveness of a speech. Off the top of my head, I have trouble remembering a line from a Bill Clinton speech except for “The era of big government is over.” People sometimes mention “I feel your pain”–though this is in fact even more mythical than the Obama quote from before. It’s a reference to a moment from one of the 1992 debates when he was seen as expressing empathy but didn’t say anything even close to that phrase.

    Off the top of my head I have an easier time remembering Trump speech quotes. “When Mexico sends its people, it’s not sending their best…” “Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States….” “Aaaah, I don’t know what I said, I don’t remember….” “Look at my African American over here…” “Very fine people on both sides….”

    The capacity for lines to stick in our mind doesn’t necessarily make them worthy of Oscar Wilde.

  79. CSK says:

    Trump’s been dumping on Fox for months now because Chris Wallace and Brett Baier haven’t been sufficiently obsequious.

  80. Northerner says:


    I wonder if there’s some evolutionary advantage (ie having more surviving offspring) for increased risk-taking in adolescence, given that the times and sequences of brain development must have been going on for several hundred thousand years.

  81. CSK says:

    I hate to say this, but what would strike me, and you, and practically everyone else at OTB as a good/clever/funny/memorable line would probably sail right over the heads of your average rube.

    One of the reasons Sarah Palin was so beloved was that her word salad was identical to the way her fans talked: incomprehensibly. I literally do not know what the hell Trump is saying half the time. Did he see how well blather worked for Palin and decide to emulate her?

    I sometimes wonder if George Carlin could make it as a comedian today. So much of his humor depended on word play and a broad general knowledge base.

  82. CSK says:

    It’s simple enough for most people to understand. Never underestimate what dullards a lot of people are.

    Remember the movie The Madness of King George? For this country, the title had to be changed from The Madness of George III. Studio execs feared that people would think that The Madness of George III meant The Madness of George, Part Three.

  83. Mu Yixiao says:


    A national-level lockdown order doesn’t make sense. You can’t treat NYC–with a population density of over 27k/m^2–the same way you do “Smallville Kansas”–where your closest neighbor is 2 miles away, and you only see them on Saturdays at the butcher shop.

    Treating Smallville like NYC is excessively restrictive. Treating NYC like Smallville would be a recipe for a mass extinction event. Finding a middle ground would do no good for either. The lockdowns should be handled at the state level–but based on solid, science-based, rules laid out by the CDC (not politicians).

    As for comparing New Zealand to the US: That doesn’t work either. It’s not as simple as lockdown/test/trace. NZ has 60% of the population of New York City–in an area 346 times as large. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration.

    None of this, of course, is to say that the US did things right. Just that comparisons are more complex than one or two factors.

  84. Monala says:

    @Kylopod: I found Biden’s line about how he’s a Democratic candidate, but will be “an American president” memorable – it was a promise to serve everyone, including those who didn’t vote for him, the opposite of what Trump has done.

  85. Monala says:

    @Northerner: Part of it is the ability to leave one’s clan to find a spouse, which helps ensure genetic diversity and resilience. You have to be willing to take risks to leave all that is familiar to you.

  86. Mu Yixiao says:

    For those who love numbers: Map Fight!

    Compare the sizes of countries, states, and large cities.

  87. inhumans99 says:


    McConnell has to be cringing when he see things like I love OAN and Newsmax by folks who are trashing Fox…he is a smart enough politician to know that only appealing to folks who believe everything they hear on OAN/Newsmax is a signal of the death knell of the GOP.

    I never got behind the histrionics of folks who believe that Trump would take over the U.S. and be a President for life, but on the other hand I was concerned at the damage he does in office and how difficult and time consuming it would be to right the ship.

    In fact, I would say that things are much more dire for the GOP than it appears at the moment and I am sure some of the GOP members who are behind the curtain are aware of this fact. That has to be a bit disconcerting, the past several days have shown some evidence (not a ton, but some evidence nonetheless) that there are some in the GOP willing to publicly admit they are happy to cross the aisle and back Biden (which means there are definitely many more who are not comfortable saying it out loud).

    They have the OAN/Newsmax folks in the bag but unlike 2016 I am not seeing evidence that they are appealing to Democratic leaning voters that crossed the aisle to vote for their guy like they did in 2016. That could turn out to be lethal for the future of the GOP.

    Of course, there are also things like Trump having no clue how wrong it is for him to be yelling at folks likes Sheldon Adelson, while Trump thinks folks like Sheldon will just chalk it up as Trump being Trump I think that Trump’s actions are rubbing some very rich GOP Mega-Donor’s the wrong way. Sheldon continued to get rich while Obama was President, and he can continue to get rich while Biden is President, that Trump has not thought about this shows how unfit he is to be President.

  88. gVOR08 says:

    All this discussion of juvenile behavior seems like a good time to mention the lead-crime hypothesis that Kevin Drum writes about often. Long story short, lead is known to cause mental problems including reduced impulse control. We used to burn leaded gasoline, pumping huge amounts of lead into the air. Crime is mostly an activity of late teen and young adult years, so it takes some time for exposed infants to grow into criminals. Then we stopped using lead in gasoline and twenty years later crime started to drop. Besides the temporal correlation, there is geographic correlation, most city freeways converge in inner city neighborhoods, which then caught the highest lead concentration and highest crime. The temporal correlation holds over many countries, leading or lagging by when they phased out leaded gasoline. We poisoned a generation of poor kids, then, as good conservatives, we blamed them for the results.

  89. gVOR08 says:

    @Kingdaddy: I think what you see as a lack of memorable phrases is partly the result of not being able to write in applause lines.

  90. Monala says:

    John Brownlow@JohnBrownlow
    Amazing fact: apparently the DNC convention was helmed from (Emmy winner) Glenn Weiss’s living room in Brentwood. He had pants on but no shoes.

    Mike Dorsey@DorseyFilm
    A monster job to take on! As a producer myself, I can’t even imagine the logistics and planning that went into this. I will be shocked if the RNC can pull off anything close to what we saw this week.

    I am beyond confident that they absolutely can not. It is going to be a clinic in awkwardness and FUBAR’d mix-minus feeds. I can feel it in my bones.

    lol, settle down spunky. there are plenty of republiCONs in tv production as well.

    their problem is that their content sucks and will suck and their producer will have to choose on the fly between multiple suckages to cut to.

    They have the talent but not the time. The Ds started planning a virtual convention 3-4 months ago. Rs just started a month ago and Trump is still weighing in on what he wants.

    Lindsey Appiah@LAppiah
    I can see why he’s Emmy winner Glenn Weiss. He directed a masterful multi-day event. So many kudos. Not sure if there’s an emmy for this type of event but he certainly deserves one!

  91. Monala says:

    @Monala: Oh, and one more:

    Biden & Harris in 2020@blueingreenemo
    Not all heroes wear capes, or shoes.

    Check out the link in my previous comment, to see Glenn Weiss’ living room setup!

  92. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The thing that makes an epidemic of a serious disease scary, is when person-to-person transmission is through casual contact, like standing 3 feet apart form someone who happens to be breathing.

    Masks helps, but in such situation is makes sense to keep large numbers of people from gathering, so be it Smallville or Metropolis, you want to close down bars, restaurants, schools, offices, places of worship, theaters, stores, etc. except for what is essential. And also to limit how many people can be at an essential place, if possible, and to institute all necessary and reasonable safeguards like PPE, acrylic dividers, good ventilation, good hygiene, etc.

    The odds of a virus being lose in a large city are far greater than it being in a small town, but in the early days of an outbreak it can’t be ruled out.

    Look at New Zealand, again, last week they had an outbreak of 4 confirmed cases. That caused a lockdown in Auckland, and heightened alerts in the rest of the country. By my count of the Johns Hopkins data, the outbreak currently stand at 96 confirmed cases. So they still haven’t contained this latest outbreak. But it hasn’t gotten out of control, either.

    I’ve said before: people are the source of infection. Therefore you have to keep these sources away from people.

  93. Monala says:

    @gVOR08: Listening to Jon Favreau (Obama’s speechwriter) on Pod Save America yesterday, he talked about how typically you write speeches to include applause lines, and without an audience (and thus no need for such lines), you are free to write a more substantive speech.

  94. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “You can’t treat NYC–with a population density of over 27k/m^2–the same way you do “Smallville Kansas”–where your closest neighbor is 2 miles away, and you only see them on Saturdays at the butcher shop.”

    Yes, that was exactly the reason given by Republican leaders for why they wouldn’t be locking down Florida or Texas or Georgia. Apparently a hideous painful death is still hideous and painful, even if you live in a state with a smaller population, as far too many people have found out.

  95. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I don’t think so. He was here a lot last week, but it’s not uncommon for him to vanish for several days at a time. I recall there being whole weeks where he doesn’t post.

    He probably simply lives a more diverse life than people like me do. (Not a high bar to jump, btw.)

  96. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao: 50 governors deciding on health policy for a pandemic hasn’t worked well.

    Uniform standards are required — not necessarily treating every county the same, but similar counties at similar levels of infection should be treated the same. New York City might not be the same as Bumfuck, AR, but Bumfuck, WA; Bumfuck, KS and Bumfuck, ME really are about the same as Bumfuck, AR.

  97. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Actually, typing extra symbols is easier than you might imagine for people who have neuromuscular issues, ticks, tremors, and such.

    The last time I was caught in moderation it was because my nym appeared as “Just nutha ignint cracker.” And I’d used an autofill function on my computer. 🙁

  98. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: lead is extremely neurotoxict the developing fetus!

    I’ve read Kevin Drum since he was Calpundit and I find the lead hypothesis extremely compelling. And extremely tragic. Disproportionately affecting people of color because there were way more lead fumes in the middle of Chicago than there was in the middle of Nebraska.

    @Monala: what an amazing set up that guy has, I’m sure Jared Kushner will be able to replicate that by Monday.

    Liberal podcasts Monday morning, earlier this week: I hope this works out. Hope the technology doesn’t get all screwed up. I hope there aren’t too many mistakes. We’ve never tried this before, hopefully it’ll mostly work out.

    Liberal podcasts later in the week: hoy shit? Did you see that? That’s how we should do it from now on!

  99. Mu Yixiao says:


    My county published its weekly numbers yesterday. Since they began keeping records, we’ve had 307 positive tests and 2 deaths (the second was 2 weeks ago).

    We should be following social distancing, wearing masks, and engaging in proper hygiene (both of people and community surfaces). And we are. It’s not 100%, but we’re doing pretty well.

    I see no reason for us to be locked down like NYC.

    The risk here isn’t that high. With basic prophylactic measures we’ve maintained a low infection rate and a tiny fatality rate. A lockdown wouldn’t lower the numbers.

    It’s a matter of proper risk assessment. Right now, the statistical likelihood of me dying from COVID is approximately twice that of me dying from falling on the sidewalk or falling out of bed (.0015% vs .0035%).

    150 miles away in Milwaukee, different approaches need be taken. The population density and vector opportunities are significantly different, as is the infection rate.

    Florida was a hotspot and more aggressive measures should have been taken.

  100. Mu Yixiao says:


    Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Have a good set of science-based rules with clear guidelines on when which ones should be in place. Each locality (state, county, city) enacts and retracts the appropriate measures at the appropriate times–with consideration of the geographic and demographic context.

  101. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: That one was my first poem of hers. Somehow, I read in high school, but can’t imagine what anthology it would have been in.

  102. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I don’t think we need a new law authorizing the prez to order a lockdown. With a normal, functioning administration the CDC, backed up by the prez, would advise state health officials, who I believe generally have authority to order such public health measures, and they would act accordingly. Once again the failure is of norms, not laws.

  103. KM says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Treating Smallville like NYC is excessively restrictive.

    Clearly not considering the data we’re seeing. I know a lot of rural people like to pretend that the distances involved between properties would be a good mitigating factor but all of that gets lost when people refuse to comply with the few precautions in place. Being in a rural or low population place does not offer magical protection or mean that you are safer in contacts.

    It’s like someone watching a coin be flipped – it’s a 50/50 shot each flip, not an guaranteed overall trend. In NYC, you’ll encounter lots of coin flippers so you chances of seeing it land tails goes way up but in a rural area, it’s still 50/50 for that one random guy with a coin. Yes, being a lower density area means you are less likely to be around infected but it also means the infected have a limited number of places to go for services ….. where you will also be. You are also far likelier to encounter non-compliant people in terms of mask-wearing or other COVID precautions due to political affiliations so that one encounter will lean far more towards infected then in a city with high compliance. Low density is not the protection is was sold as.

    Long story short, science says lockdowns work. Everywhere – we’ve seen the data. Anyone who wants to argue why their particular location / business / area is “different” for “reasons” is trying to not having to do an unpleasant but necessary thing. Had the country just sucked it up and rural areas not act like NYC was “different” from them, we’d have this under control by now. Trying to split hairs made everyone start going bald.

  104. Kingdaddy says:

    @gVOR08: There was a good Lawfare podcast some months back in which Steve Vladeck talked about emergency powers and pandemics.

  105. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    You can have differential lock down policies based on density and trends in new cases, the issue in Texas and Florida is that they treated Dallas the same as Monahans and Miami the same as Shawnee. Here in Cow Hampshire, the state locked down the 3 counties with vast majority of the cases and had looser restrictions in other parts of the state. On reopening the northern & western part of the state opened weeks earlier than the central and eastern region. For instance, restaurants up north pretty much fully opened, with capacity restrictions, while in the southern-eastern region it was first for out door dining and a few weeks later indoor dining with restrictions.

    All decisions were being driven by reported new cases.

    If a rural area isn’t reporting cases, then you aren’t going to get the residents cooperation in locking down and only generate anger at the government.

  106. Teve says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    It’s a matter of proper risk assessment. Right now, the statistical likelihood of me dying from COVID is approximately twice that of me dying from falling on the sidewalk or falling out of bed (.0015% vs .0035%).

    I’m 44. By the numbers I have a 0.5% chance of dying if I go to the hospital with Covid. But that’s not what I’m worried about. I’m worried about the people who survived it, but have lung damage, heart damage, brain damage, etc. there are cases where people had it in the spring and still haven’t completely recuperated, and may never fully recuperate.

  107. KM says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Florida was a hotspot and more aggressive measures should have been taken.

    I’m sure Sneads, FL is wondering why they need to be treated like Miami or Orlando; after all, they only have about 2K residents. Why should they be locked down because some big cities with tourists are plague-ridden hellholes? I mean, it’s not like there’s a prison nearby that’s gonna end up a hotspot and those guards won’t bring it home……

    There was an exchange in The Day After that reminds me of that kind of thinking that being rural meant protection:

    – Bruce Gallatin: What do you really think the chances are of something like that happening way the hell out here in the middle of nowhere?

    – Joe Huxley: Nowhere? There’s no “nowhere” anymore. You’re sitting next to the Whiteman Air Force Base right now. That’s about… 150 Minuteman missile silos spread halfway down the State of Missouri. That’s… an awful lot of bullseyes.

    There’s no “nowhere” anymore, indeed. All it takes is one and an area’s a hotspot in days.

  108. Teve says:

    @Monala: I thought that was interesting. How he said without an audience you write the speech in a totally different way, conversational, not just bang applause line bang applause line bang applause line.

  109. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    As a young man he started as a lineman for our small city. People laughed when he said “Someday every house will have electricity”–that would require wires going to every house! Ridiculous!

    Joe mentioned Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (which I also heartily endorse, especially in the second edition with the better preface). I’ll throw in a plug for the autobiographical The Education of Henry Adams, which spans the period from being dragged off to school by John Quincy Adams through transatlantic flight.

    I always thought that my father’s father’s father had a lifespan optimized for wonder — he was born in the rural midwest in 1891, and lived to see men on the moon and ubiquitous cellular phones and email.

  110. Mu Yixiao says:


    Clearly not considering the data we’re seeing.


    Infection rate 2.83%
    Fatality rate .285%

    My county
    Infection rate 0.53%
    Fatality rate .003%

    My county locked down–for a couple weeks. We flattened the curve. Then we began to reopen with limitations.

    Are we different than NYC? Yes. We don’t have mass transit that’s cramming a million people into a sealed tube on a daily basis. People go to the grocery store once a week (Wednesday mornings for the old people–that’s when the new sales start). The only “large” gatherings are church services–and those shut down from the get-go (without being ordered to).

    I’m honestly trying to understand what you’re expecting us to do. Are you saying that my rural county needs to stayed locked down to the same degree that NYC needs to be… until NYC is clean?

  111. Jen says:

    @Monala: I am genuinely curious about how the RNC is going to handle this. Trump has allegedly been making changes all this week to how he wants things to go. The Dems planned this for *months.* The RNC is also planning on some live events (their roll call, for example). It will be interesting. I’m not watching (no need to bump up their numbers or my blood pressure), but will read the reviews.

    Assuming, of course, that it’s not all upstaged by the two potential hurricanes barreling into the Gulf.

  112. Teve says:

    Meme I just saw on Facebook:

    Remember when you donated to have the Mexico wall built because you’re a racist?

    Those guys stole your money because you’re also stupid.


  113. DrDaveT says:


    Remember the movie The Madness of King George? For this country, the title had to be changed from The Madness of George III. Studio execs feared that people would think that The Madness of George III meant The Madness of George, Part Three.

    No need to go back that far. Publishers and movie-makers alike were certain that American audiences were too ignorant to understand that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was likely to be about magic.

    (My Bloomsbury paperback of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is sitting on the shelf over my head at the moment. It’s full of delightful British vocabulary that is wholly absent from the bowdlerized Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone US edition.)

  114. CSK says:

    I read somewhere that Trump plans to participate every single night of the convention, which will, I suppose, thrill Cult45 and no one else. Is he just asking for a substantial chunk of time each evening during which he’ll riff? Maybe show off his skills at walking down a ramp and drinking a glass of water? Talk about what a swell job he did vanquishing “the China virus”?

  115. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Yeah, that was among the stuff I looked up about her writing, I like it.

    @CSK: That could be my anthem.

  116. DrDaveT says:


    Disproportionately affecting people of color because there were way more lead fumes in the middle of Chicago than there was in the middle of Nebraska.

    It wasn’t just fumes. It was also peeling lead paint on the walls of tenements, and lead pipes carrying the drinking water, and lead in the particulate soot deposited on surfaces, and…

    Lead is particularly insidious in that sub-clinical levels can make you measurably stupider. Permanently. I’ve always suspected that the Original Star Trek episode “The Cloud Minders” was an encrypted polemic about lead poisoning, which was just beginning to be recognized in the scientific literature in 1969.

  117. CSK says:

    Yes, I recall that well. It made me embarrassed to be an American. Little did I know that come November 8, 2016, I’d be really, really embarrassed to be an American.

  118. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The piece of this that neither of you seem to be discussing is travel restrictions. The key feature of this virus is that people who get it are contagious before they are sick, if indeed they ever get sick at all. Your town is pretty safe only until a few people arrive from elsewhere and spread it to their relatives, who spread it to their friends, who… At that point, the commonsense precautions that everyone has been taking would not be enough.

    The only sure-fire way to prevent the spread of the disease from places that have lots of it to places that don’t yet is to prevent the spread of people. Local lockdowns don’t help if those locked down can climb in a car (or a plane, God help us) and be somewhere else by this evening.

  119. Northerner says:


    Good point, and one I’d never thought of.

  120. KM says:

    @Mu Yixiao :

    I’m honestly trying to understand what you’re expecting us to do. Are you saying that my rural county needs to stayed locked down to the same degree that NYC needs to be… until NYC is clean?

    Why is NYC your benchmark? NYC and NY as a whole is “cleaner” then many other areas right now. You should be using current hotspots so I’m wondering why NYC is your default.

    My point is every area that has touted a low infection rate as a reason to “go back to normal” has suffered for it. “Normal” isn’t happening right now and it’s how small towns get infected. Sturgis is about to find that out in about 5 days. That grocery store you only go to once a week? The drivers that deliver the goods to it go outside your county and can bring back infection. Somebody stopping for gas on the way through can be your patient zero. The outside world gets in unless you lock them out…. and that’s going to affect your economy as surely as a lockdown would.

    Your logic can be applied to any social breakdown – there’s no COVID in my neighborhood so why should I have the same restrictions as downtown? Viruses don’t respect lines on a map so why use county when street or school district or parish or voting district has the same meaning?I don’t think you realize it but you are projecting a very strong “it can’t happen here” vibe so why should you be inconvenienced? Just because things are good now doesn’t mean it will stay that way. We need COVID to *stop*. The world can’t go back to normal until we get a good grip on it and yes, that means making sure remote, unlikely areas don’t end up as a reservoir.

    When you are cleaning up an infestation or toxic chemical spill, you don’t neglect the corners because it’s unlikely they were touched. You get it all or it will cost you. Nobody’s saying lock-down till there’s NO cases but we need to not suffer from false confidence or doing a haphazard job.

  121. Kathy says:

    On other pandemic related musings, there is much concern about likely vaccination rates once a vaccine is available.

    the efficacy of a vaccine for a given person depends on the vaccine’s general efficacy. that is, if the vaccine is 99.99% effective, any person taking it will be fully protected. If it’s 75% effective, then any person taking it has a 1 in 4 chance of being infected.

    In the second case, the chances go down if 100% of all people take the vaccine, as the pathogen has fewer reservoirs where to hide and whence to spread. Let’s say that taking legitimate medical issues into account, as well as the difficulty of vaccinating people who are outside the social mainstream, like those who are homeless, we could expect a maximum rate of 95%. that’s still very good, and would end the pandemic soon after the majority of doses were given (and now it’s a production and distribution problem).

    But then you have anti-vaxxers, and Covidiots, and other imbeciles who will not get vaccinated. When Australia’s PM said the vaccine would be mandatory, he got a big backlash and backed down. I imagine in the US he’d spark an armed revolt.

    So here’s what I propose: set a period for vaccination commensurate with the time required to make and distribute all needed doses, for example six months. During that period, people who are vaccinated receive an inoculation certificate and are entered into a database stating they’ve been inoculated.

    After the vaccination period, a lockdown would be set and enforced, but only for those who lack an inoculation certificate. They cannot leave home, except for medical appointments. Not for school, not for grocery chopping, not for haircuts, etc.

    This is really heavy-handed and oppressive, I admit. It would be mitigated if the lockdown has an expiration date, say for six months or until the pandemic is declared over by health authorities.

    Less heavy-handed, one could levy a daily, crippling fine on those refusing to be vaccinated.

    I tend to lash out at idiots, so those were my first thoughts.

    On the theory that incentives work better than punishment, we can try other things:

    Don’t make the vaccine free. Instead pay each person who gets inoculated a nice sum, say $500-$1,000, including children. This is a one-time payment, and you’d need to set up safeguards to prevent abuse, especially as those trying to get as many inoculations as they can get away with, would drain the vaccine supply.

    There are other incentives. A one time 50% discount on income taxes (up to a certain earnings level), or double deductions for that fiscal year. Maybe enter all who take the vaccine in a drawing with big prizes.

    I think low vaccination rates will be a big problem, and not just in the US. If it is, the pandemic will drag on for months before it finally burns out.

  122. JohnSF says:

    I’ve said before, I suspect McConnell is inwardly seething with rage about the potential destruction of his project by Trump’s failure.
    It will be interesting to see what unfolds in the Republican Party after a bad defeat.

    There’s likely to be a 3-way split:
    – the full-on Trumpkins, including much of the “base”;
    – the elected and party office holders who will continue to court the Trumpkins out of fear or ambition;
    – the more rational “Conservative Project” types and the remnants of the “moderates” (if any!)

    If group 3 have any sense they will realise that recovery of their ambitions requires taking the knife to Trump as hard and fast as possible after defeat.
    They must kill his ambitions for a post-defeat media/politics platform.
    They must undermine his appeal to the base as much as possible, and be prepared to use whatever means necessary to cow or expel Trump-loyal electeds and part officials.

    4 November: Let the games commence!

  123. JohnSF says:

    Regarding covid/coronavirus control, most countries seem to be going for local lockdowns and flexible local restictions (but mandated centrally) in response to variation in local infection levels.

    In the UK we have already seen considerable easing, but local re-locks in several areas.
    Public healt authorities are also publishing surveillance reports and watchlists of areas where cases are increasing but below lockdown thresholds.

    places are categorised as either “areas of concern”, “areas of enhanced support” or “areas of intervention”, and measures range from increased testing to stricter lockdowns.

    In parts of the country in “intervention”, such as Greater Manchester, restrictions have had to be imposed that are different to the rest of England, such as banning households from meeting indoors.

    One rung down from this is an “area of enhanced support”. Councils in this category are given more resources such as epidemiological experts or mobile testing stations, but there are no additional restrictions to people’s day-to-day lives.

    The lowest rung is an “area of concern”, which involves taking “targeted” action to reduce the spread, such as more testing in care homes or more communication with at-risk groups.

    The main thing that will make tackling CV easier to balance with semi-normality. apart from wearing the damn masks, will be mass produced testing kits capable of returning results in a matter of hours.
    Combine that with scaled lockdowns and tracing protocols, and this pandemic CAN be controlled until a vaccine become available.

  124. Moosebreath says:

    Earlier this week, there was a discussion of the Pennsylvania case where the Trump Administration was ordered last week to specifically state whether there was any proof of voter fraud due to mail-in voting. I noted that only a few local papers had followed up, and they said only that the deadline passed, without a filing.

    According to TPM, the Trump Administration filed a response admitting they had no proof it had occurred, but arguing that since it possible could occur in the future, that was sufficient:

    ““The claims asserted by the plaintiffs do not hinge on evidence of voter fraud actually occurring,” [the attorneys for the Trump Administration] added. The campaign argued that though it has no proof that fraud of this type has happened, it could — and that’s grounds enough for barring the boxes.”

  125. Kathy says:


    The piece of this that neither of you seem to be discussing is travel restrictions. The key feature of this virus is that people who get it are contagious before they are sick, if indeed they ever get sick at all.


    Banning domestic travel would be difficult, likewise even international travel.

    There’d be need of a 9/11 type response, to ground all aircraft and ban all travel, while measures are put in place to safeguard against infection. Means to screen travelers, tests, quarantine faculties, PPE distribution, etc.

    Quarantine facilities, IMO, will be essential. At the dawn of the pandemic, the phrase “self-isolate,” was quite common before the lockdowns began. I wonder how many diagnosed with COVID-19 or who just came in contact with an infected person, actually quarantined themselves.

    And there’s another thing. Suppose you test positive for the new virus. What do you do then? If you go home, you risk everyone in your household. If you’re not showing symptoms, a hospital won’t take you. That’s when quarantine facilities would come in very handy. Some countries have implemented such things, commonly taking over hotels to do so.

    There also needs to be a paid sick leave policy. Perhaps some people can work from quarantine, but not everyone can (wait staff, sales clerks, factory workers, airline pilots, etc). early in the pandemic, before we knew pre- and a-symptomatic people could spread SARS-CoV-2, there was an impression of contagion due to sick individual coming in to work. No doubt there was some of that. Still, quarantine would have to count for paid sick leave. otherwise people won’t want to do it.

    Ad for me, next I hear of some deadly virus, even if it’s detected in Antarctica, I’m breaking out masks and hand sanitizer at once, and stop going out to any place but work and grocery shopping.

  126. flat earth luddite says:

    Verily. Growing up, I was frequently reminded by my maternal grandmother that:

    Passion is fleeting. Love can be forever. Child support is 21 years

    Thus, I was one of the guys in HS (circa early 70’s) who wasn’t having unprotected sex. Just saying.

    OTOH, it took 3-1/2 years out of my life to convince me that firearms and I are not a good mix.

    So yes, some of us can learn, and some can be taught. Sometimes. Some things.

  127. JohnSF says:

    Definitely, the early to mid 19th century was THE step change towards the modern cultural-social-economic system.

    Additional to the impact of labour saving techniques on rural employment, in a lot of European areas (I’d assume same in America?) a lot of agriculture was made uneconomic by from US plains, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Ukraine etc. enabled by railways, refrigerated steamships, and global investments and markets. Driving mass migration from the land to cities and to the New World

    Also cities with water supply and sewage systems (plus cheap soap!) that reduced previous horrendous urban mortality rates; plus rail suburbs growing, and better urban food supply.

    Lot’s of political side effects from the farms crisis too, beside just urban/industrial growth.

    The “grain junkers” and agricultural protectionism in Germany; compared to large parts of the British aristocracy shifting to more diversified investment.
    In France the support of peasant landowners for protection, and defence of their financial independence, but at the cost of serious economic drags.
    Massive long term effects (arguably part of origins of First World War).

  128. Roger says:


    I’m sure Sneads, FL is wondering why they need to be treated like Miami

    I don’t know why you chose Sneads, but it was the perfect choice for me. I had an uncle who retired to Sneads after a career spent on the Atlantic coast working for NASA. He was brilliant and funny and outstanding in every way. Then in his old age he became what old people in Sneads who watch Fox become. I have no doubt that folks in Sneads believe they should not be treated like those people in Miami.

  129. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Each locality (state, county, city) enacts and retracts the appropriate measures at the appropriate times–with consideration of the geographic and demographic context.

    Unfortunately, localities tend to do very stupid things because of wishful thinking and business pressures. And that’s before we start talking about the politicization of masks and washing your hands.

    The CDC, for all its flaws, has people who study epidemiology for their entire lives, and way more expertise that the County Health Commissioner in Doodleyfuck County, OR (home to both East and West Doodleyfuck, separated by the Doodleyfuck River). The Health Commissioner is over his head, while the CDC folks know their shit, and can set standards for testing and positives and how that falls into the phases for closing-down the economy for exurbs of cities of N thousand with an average density of M people per square mile.

    So long as people can cross borders, we need cross-border coordination.

  130. Christopher Osborne says:

    @CSK: I think that was one of her poems:
    I love to have a martini
    Two at the very most
    Three and I’m under the table
    Four and I’m under the host

    Another one by her is supposedly in the guest book at San Simeon where she was Hearst’s guest and slept in Marion Davies’ bedroom:

    I saw a silver Madonna
    Set in a golden niche
    Over the door
    Of the room of a whore
    In the house of a son of a bitch

  131. CSk says:

    @Christopher Osborne:
    Thanks. They are marvelous pieces.

  132. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: Isn’t it longer than 21 now? I recall something about if your kid gets into grad school, you’re on the hook for another 4 years.