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. EddieInCA (Arkansas currently) says:

    Damn. A lot of COVID deniers in Little Rick snd Hot Springs. And not a mask in sight other than mine.

    Damn. .

  2. CSK says:

    In honor of the late Doug Mataconis, why not start off every Open Forum with the slogan that headed his Open Forums: “Where you can’t be off topic, because there IS no topic.”

    Just an idea.

  3. charon says:

    International COVID cases:×900

    Rapid case growth is quite consistent across countries with Delta variant dominance
    (log-plot, best way to see this)

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Chickens? Roosts.

    Climate scientists shocked by scale of floods in Germany

    Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California in Los Angeles, said so many records were being set in the US this summer that they no longer made the news: “The extremes that would have been newsworthy a couple of years ago aren’t, because they pale in comparison to the astonishing rises a few weeks ago.” This was happening in other countries too, he said, though with less media attention. “The US is often in the spotlight, but we have also seen extraordinary heat events in northern Europe and Siberia. This is not a localised freak event, it is definitely part of a coherent global pattern.”

    Lapland and parts of Siberia also sweltered in record-breaking June heat, and cities in India, Pakistan and Libya have endured unusually high temperatures in recent weeks. Suburbs of Tokyo have been drenched in the heaviest rainfall since measurements began and a usual month’s worth of July rain fell on London in a day. Events that were once in 100 years are becoming commonplace. Freak weather is increasingly normal.

    Some experts fear the recent jolts indicate the climate system may have crossed a dangerous threshold. Instead of smoothly rising temperatures and steadily increasing extremes, they are examining whether the trend may be increasingly “nonlinear” or bumpy as a result of knock-on effects from drought or ice melt in the Arctic. This theory is contentious, but recent events have prompted more discussion about this possibility and the reliability of models based on past observations.

    “We need to better model nonlinear events,” said Gerten. “We scientists in recent years have been surprised by some events that occurred earlier and were more frequent and more intense than expected.”

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Storks expanding their business model: Cocaine stash worth €9m lands on roof of home in Sardinia

    The suitcase stashed with cocaine was intended to fall into the hands of drug traffickers waiting on the ground in Baratili San Pietro, a town of about 1,200 people in Sardinia.

    Instead it landed on the roof of a home, smashing a solar panel along the way.

    The startled owners of the property heard a loud bang and immediately called the police, who found a black suitcase on the roof filled with 8.5kg of pure cocaine worth more than €9m (£7.7m). “It’s raining cocaine in Sardinia,” the Italian press reported of the 28 March incident, comparing it with tactics used by drug traffickers in South America.

  6. Mu Yixiao says:

    For all those times you’ve just had too much of politics and stupidity…

    Dodo. Endearing and cute animal videos.

  7. Mu Yixiao says:


    8.5kg of pure cocaine worth more than €9m

    100k/kilo? Holy shit. That’s almost as expensive as printer ink!

  8. EddieInCA says:

    Can my comment be met out of moderation jail please? There are no swear words and no links.

  9. Kathy says:


    On the one hand, it was a big mistake to drop the mask mandate for those fully vaccinated without any checks in place. It’s clear not only that unvaccinated and even half-vaccinated people have dropped their masks, but that they also think no restrictions apply anymore. delta has other ideas.

    On the other hand, look at the numbers for Israel. They have a very high vaccination rate, and delta is playing fast and loose there as well (no idea what other restrictions do or do not exist currently).

    Oh, and the UK is about to ease restrictions next Monday, and Delta just can’t wait for the feast.

    You know, many cultures in the Americas were regarded as savages because they practiced human sacrifice. There’s merit to this, of course. But how will we look to future generations when we sacrifice the health and lives of people for economic growth?

    to be sure, essential activities like growing, processing, and distributing food, medicine, and other essentials must continue, literally at all costs. Otherwise the death toll would really be massive. but what protections do these “essential workers” get? How many perished in the early days of the pandemic? How many are still contracting the trump virus now?

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Hmmmmm…. Some remedial math may be in order. 😉

  11. Kathy says:

    I dreamt a story idea, well, part of one anyway, the other day, which I think it’s too close to a Terminator ripoff to develop. Not to mention a backlog of stories I’ve yet to finish.

    It starts with an AI (told you) named Demeter, which is being used to propose and implement solutions to climate problems. At some point, she decides that a massive thermonuclear exchange is needed to reduce humanity’s population, destroy industry, and allow the Earth to heal.

    Thirty years later, things have not worked out well. The combination of blast, firestorms, fallout, radiation, and nuclear winter, severely damaged all life, and recovery isn’t going well. In addition, surviving humans keep attacking some of her installations where she’s trying to get plants to grow.

    So here’s the twist. Demeter decides to make an android, Persephone (naturally), she can send back in time (Terminator ripoff!) to tell her younger self “Um, bad idea. See how the nukes turned out? Let’s try something else first.” She needs a human who lived in the period to act as guide, so she kidnaps a middle-aged survivor and tries to get him to willingly agree to go.

    There’s more. For starters, they don’t just travel back, have a chat with younger Demeter, and solve all problems. That wouldn’t be much of a story.

    I’m also ripping off Marvel’s idea that your life proceeds in a temporal straight line, regardless of your movements across time. So for Persephone and companion, the past is part of their future, and they won’t change, or create a time paradox, if they change the actual future.

  12. Mu Yixiao says:


    Oops. I missed a zero when typing into the calculator. 😉

  13. charon says:


    On the other hand, look at the numbers for Israel. They have a very high vaccination rate, and delta is playing fast and loose there as well (no idea what other restrictions do or do not exist currently).

    Israel has gone, over 5 weeks, from 0.153/100K to 6.67/100K which is still pretty moderate.

    Arkansas, in 3 weeks, has gone 9.5/100K to 32.8/100K.

    The United Kingdom over 7 weeks is from 4.25/100K to 56.2/100K.

    Vaccination continues to be a good idea.

  14. charon says:


    Israel does have some ultra-Orthodox also. Not so many are anti-vaxx as in Brooklyn and Rockland county, but still a problem community.

  15. Kathy says:


    Vaccination continues to be a good idea.

    Oh, absolutely. Vaccination is the best idea for all infectious diseases for which there is a vaccine.

    Here I’d like to adapt an old physics meme: Vaccination is not just a good idea, it’s the law. I don’t see how we’re going to end the COVID pandemic in a reasonable time without making vaccines mandatory.

  16. Kylopod says:

    @charon: I was actually stunned to learn a few months ago that the vaccination rate among Haredi adults in Israel was 80%, largely because the government somehow got Haredi rabbinic leaders on board. I find it especially striking given the tendency of Israeli Haredim to be more extreme than their US counterparts, in no small part due to their outsize political power in Israel compared with the US. In this case, Israel’s government was able to break through that reality with a carrot-and-stick approach.

  17. Scott says:

    Speaking of vaccinations:

    Pentagon: 70 percent of service members have received first dose of Covid vaccine

    Seventy percent of U.S. active duty service members have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, the Pentagon announced on Friday, and 62 percent of the force is now fully vaccinated.

    This is good. The military didn’t mandate everyone get vaccinated but they made it clear that those not vaccinated will have their lives made harder.

    We should do the same.

  18. KM says:

    It sounds like a big part of it was the attempt by the rabbi’s to stamp out conspiracy theories as a threat to their authority and lifestyle. The article notes the ones who got vaxxed were the ones who primarily got their information and directives from the rabbis and the anti-vaxxers had outside community sources; dark money then paid to create and reinforce ultra-Orthodox specific methods to push those conspiracies (the hotlines). However, by their very nature, they could be shut out by the rabbis since they control access (expecting the faithful to use specific phones they can cut “unauthorized” lines from).

    It makes sense because if you derive your power from controlling what people see/ hear/ think, you’re not going to like someone else horning in on your racket. The government was wise to pursue that angle and frame it as people subverting their religious authority with tale tales. They also emphasized ultra-Orthodox family values being disrupted; a family with many children who’s mother died unvaxxed is a big deal as sex-segregated tasks create real hardships. Men are supposed to study the Torah and religious matters all day, not feed the kids or do housework or even work to make money. Losing the caretaker or money-maker is a huge blow the rabbis would see as a disruption to the “proper” way ultra-Orthodox should live and thus anti-vaxxers would be trying to destroy their way of life.

    As to why this didn’t work here? Well, the government didn’t push idea that conspiracy theories were an active threat to the faith and it’s power structure – rather, they pushed the faith itself was in danger from health and social restrictions instead. Once again, the moron at the top and the idiocy that trickled downwards had a chance to frame things properly but failed at life.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    Dana Milbank has a column today on how close we are to losing democracy. Commenter RumJim responded with this, which hits way too close to home. Especially “believing without understanding”.

    See “Language of the Third Reich”, a book by Victor Klemperer, and also his 1000 page 1933-1945 diary “I Will Bear Witness” written in Dresden. Excerpts:
    January 1, 1935 – language tertii imperii: Lutze’s New Year message to the SA…Our “fanatical will” twice in a non-pejorative sense. Emphasis on believing without understanding. (1) “fanatical engagement of the SA,” (2) “fanatical sense of commitment.”
    November 24, 1936 – On the language of the Third Reich:…The Fuhrer must be followed blindly, blindly! They do not need to explain anything at all, since they are accountable to no one. Today it occurred to me: Never has the tension between human power and powerlessness, human knowledge and human stupidity been so overwhelmingly great as now.
    February 19, 1938 – …the basic principle of the whole language of the Third Reich became apparent to me: a bad conscience; its triad: defending oneself, praising oneself, accusing – never a moment of calm testimony.
    May 23, 1938 – The aim of education in the Third Reich and of the language of the Third Reich, is to expand the popular stratum in everyone to such an extent that the thinking stratum is suffocated.

  20. Kylopod says:

    @KM: It fits somewhat with stuff I’ve read about the voting habits of Hasidic groups in the US. Typically, the Rebbe (term for a Hasidic leader–sort of like a Pope for each group) announces who they should vote for, and the members follow suit. You might assume these groups are all staunchly Republican, but that’s not necessarily the case; some of these groups have a history of voting Democratic (though I’m not sure how true that remains today). There was even a Bill Clinton scandal a while back having to do with his pardoning several convicts from the New Square movement after its leaders expressed support for Hillary’s Senatorial bid.

  21. JohnSF says:

    I posted a reply to dazedandconfused at the tail end of yesterday’s forum re. the ideology of the Putin regime and its hostility to the “West”.
    Thought I’d re-post an edited version on todays.

    I’m pretty sure it’s our attempt to strip away the Ukraine

    Certainly they hate the loss of Ukraine; the sheer affront of having their dominion challenged.

    Their anti-western, anti-liberal, attitudes are of a piece with their “Russian greatness” ideology.

    And a part that ideology is: the ruled have no right to defy their rulers.

    The rulers have duties, yes; but to the state, not to the people.
    Those dutiful rulers have the right to rule the state; the people have the duty of obedience to the state.
    The Yeltsin government failed in it’s duty to the state; the Putin regime will not; Western prescriptions for Russia and the “successor states” are to be shunned, as malicious either from in intent or from liberal folly.

    The distaste for the West pre-dates the Ukrainian revolt; arguably it pre-dates even the USSR.

    They are nationalists, but in a different sense to most Western versions of nationalism: it is state based, rather then primarily ethnic. The focus is the Russian state, not the Russian people.
    Ethnic Russians (a category that blurs at the edges anyway) are most valued, but largely because they are the most loyal to the state, and most imbued with the orthodox culture the state upholds.

    The regime may, reluctantly, see “ethnic” Ukraine as a lost cause, but that does not mean they regard its independence as legitimate.
    Fundamentally, to Moscow, the Ukrainian people had NO RIGHT to overthrow Yanukovych and reject subservience to Russia.
    Neither did the Balts, or Georgians, or etc, for that matter.
    Ex-Soviet successor states are tolerable only insofar as they defer to Moscow and uphold its values.

    The fundamental view of Moscow is: the right to rule is NOT based on consent.

    Ukraine is not critical to Russian access to the Black Sea, in any case.
    The port of Novorossiysk is the biggest by cargo volume in Russia, four or five times larger than Odessa in throughput. And that is in the Kuban, not Ukraine.

    Also, the linguistic map of Ukraine is not necessarily a guide. Quite a few Russian speakers nonetheless identify as Ukrainian.
    And former Austrian/Polish Galicia is distinguished more by religion (Uniate Greek Catholic) than language. Kiev was never Austrian.
    The primary linguistic divide is more north-south than east-west, with Ukrainian predominant in the north, oddly enough.
    But again language is not that crucial: Odessa is predominantly Russian speaking, but nonetheless pretty solidly pro-Ukraine.
    And a lot of the Russian elite view Ukrainian as merely a Russian dialect in any case.

    If Putin’s a guy who can’t abide decadence why does Trump not offend him?

    I’m pretty confident Putin privately views Trump with profound contempt.
    But Trump could sometimes be useful to Putin’s Russia, wittingly or unwittingly (or nit-wittingly) which is more important.

    It is the combination of ideology and self-interest (the two always congruent, by some amazing coincidence) that explains the Russian elite rejection of economic modernisation in favour of an extractive economy. In every sense.

  22. Kathy says:

    It may be Brazilians are more attached to democracy than Americans.

    I do worry about Brazil a lot. Remember the country was under military rule until 1985. Bolsonaro, the little trump, is a former military officer, and if he wants to execute a coup, he doesn’t seem like the type who’ll simply whine about it to his cabinet and supporters and expect them to carry it out without interrupting his hamberder time.

    But, large segments of the population are pissed about the inept management of both COVID and the vaccine roll out (Dom Jair passed on ordering Pfizer last year), and this includes some right wing media. It seems the political split is not as deep nor as binary as in America.

  23. KM says:


    Especially “believing without understanding”.

    TBH, “believing without understanding” is how America’s been running for several decades, if not from the beginning. We all say we prefer and support democracy, free speech, yadda yadda but when push comes to shove, how many people truly grok what that means? It’s not the Constitution in your head or the ideal one we should have but the actual one of paper right now. Americans parrot concepts like “freedom of association” but get pissy about boycotts or cancel culture. It means Nazis or 3%-ers can march down Main St whether you like it or not but it also means people are free to not put up with their crap when they inevitably start something.

    These last few years have really stripped about the self-conceit that “it can’t happen here” and showed that’s it’s been happening here for a while but kept contained enough for the masquerade to continue. As a culture, we favor belief over fact and have no will to ensure belief carries understanding or contemplation. Blind faith can flourish here because we don’t reward introspection but mindless support of something you just saw on the internet. We don’t require proof of devotion or ask you have to believe something for a set period to ensure your not faking; you can publically vacillate between beliefs as needed and rarely suffer consequences for it.

    We’ve always been like this. The real difference is the people trying to abuse this trait never had the tools of communication and reality manipulation their ancestors did. They can gather and motivate the sheep continent-wide simultaneously and reach down into the most intimate parts of your life to tell you what you want to hear. The tools have improved but the mark’s flaws remain the same.

  24. Kathy says:


    Mike Duncan goes into a great detail regarding late XIX Century and early XX Century Russian history, mostly as regards politics, in his series on the Russian Revolution. One phrase he repeats often is the pillars of the Russian monarchy in that era, “Autocracy, Orthodoxy, and Nationality.”

    So, yeah, it goes back a long way.

    So does the association of Ukraine with Russia, clear to the 800s CE in the Kyivan Rus confederation

  25. JKB says:

    Joe Biden made a point that the CSA had never made an incursion into the US Capitol. But the only thing that stopped them was, ironically, a bit of global warming. After delaying entering DC due to troop exhaustion, that gave enough time for Union forces to reach DC and reinforce the defenses.

    But for the moment, at least, the enormous prize was out of reach. The problem was not a lack of will or courage or even firepower; the problem was something that civilians and historians rarely think of as part of war-simple fatigue. Early’s foot soldiers were just too tired to walk that far.

    During the hottest and driest summer anyone could remember they had marched about 250 miles from Lynchburg in three weeks. They had fought hard at the Monocacy on July 9, then after burying their dead had marched again at dawn, struggling 30 miles in the searing heat to bivouac near Rockville, Maryland. The night of the 10th brought so little relief from the heat that the exhausted men were unable to sleep. On the l lth, with the sun burning more fiercely than ever, they had begun to give out.

    General Early rode along the loosening formations, telling staggering, sweating, dust-begrimed men that he would take them into Washington that day. They tried to raise the old Rebel Yell to show him they were willing, but it came out cracked and thin. The mounted officers reluctantly slowed their pace, but before midday the road behind the army was littered with prostrate men who could go no farther.

    The Confederates had managed to take a few prisoners, who freely admitted that their lines were being held by “counter jumpers, hospital rats and stragglers.” But the men just arriving were veterans, perhaps reinforcements from Grant. Jubal Early was bold, but he was not foolhardy; however tempting the prize, he would not commit to battle without knowing what he was facing.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I honestly thought you just overshot the M on the keyboard and hit the K. I do it all too often.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: That was very thought provoking

  28. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: One notable difference between Brazil’s electoral system and our own is that they use a national popular vote for president, with a runoff. Bolsonaro won with 55% of the vote in 2018. This is something worth keeping in mind for supporters of a shift to NPV here in the US–and for the record, I wholeheartedly support this shift, and have for years. But it isn’t an absolute panacea that will inevitably prevent the election of a Trump-like candidate.

    Overall, in my reading about different systems of government (such as parliamentary vs. presidential, or proportional representation vs. FPTP), it’s very clear nobody’s found a system that completely closes off a takeover by authoritarians. It’s happened in just about every system.

  29. JohnSF says:

    Yes; arguably Kiev rather than Moscow was the foundation of Russian culture.
    Whereas the 15th century Muscovite restart after the rule of the Hordes was foundation of the Russian state.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA (Arkansas currently): Don’t need to feel like you’re alone, dude.

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The number of new coronavirus cases is increasing in every state, setting off a growing sense of concern from health officials who are warning that the pandemic in the United States is far from over, even though the national outlook is far better than during previous upticks.

    And roughly two weeks after July 4th Super Spreader events across the country. Who knew? (Who even suspected? Our long national nightmare was supposed to be over.)

  31. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Rochelle Walensky characterizes this as “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

  32. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Gov of NJ Phil Murphy said the same thing the other day.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Vaccination continues to be a good idea.

    I don’t think the point is “vaccination has failed,” rather that vaccination didn’t turn us into indestructible super beings that can go around licking doorknobs. It’s possible that “I’m vaccinated! I shouldn’t have to wear a mask anywhere, ever again” was the wrong approach.-

  34. Mister Bluster says:

    This day in History
    July 16, 1973
    Alexander Butterfield testified to the Senate Watergate Committee on live TV that there was a tape recording system in the Nixon White House.
    On Friday, July 13, 1973 Butterfield had told Senate Watergate Committee staff in a background interview prior to his public testimony: “There is tape in the Oval Office.”

    To this day I still wonder why Nixon did not burn those tapes.

  35. CSK says:

    Donald Trump cheerfully admits he hired “garbage” to work in the White House.

    Well, what else would work for him?

    Also, too: He talked at length to the exact same writers as did the “garbage” he hired.

  36. CSK says:

    I’ve heard and read it over and over. Walensky was just the most recent to say it.

  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s 2021 and you still don’t understand the difference between ‘global warming’ and weather.

    Then again you still haven’t figured out who won the 2020 presidential election, so, let’s start with climate change, shall we? Here’s a children’s book to get you started. After you’ve read that I may be able to suggest a child’s guide to elections.

  38. dazedandconfused says:


    I wouldn’t conflate “Western” and “Liberal” when talking about Russians. The Russians, specifically the Muscovites (who have ruled for centuries) consider themselves Western. This is opposed to Eastern/Islamic in their eyes, as they share borders. They don’t reject liberalism per se, they simply suffered tremendously in the 90s from a complete lack of order.

    The society and economy had been so structured by Stalinism it lacked all the little things which we developed over centuries (and take for granted) like good cops and courts, enforceable business contracts through those organs. We take it for granted but in fact it took a long time for those institutions to be semi-perfected.

    None of that existed in Russia at the end of the USSR. It became a wild west of organized crime. Something close to 2 million extra deaths occurred. The people wanted order when they went for Putin. He remains quite popular to this day for that. They seek to become gradually more and more like western Europe IMO, but it will take time before they are ready.

    Now, why did Clinton feel compelled to fund color revolutions in a part of Russia which they call “the bread basket”? From the Russian perspective it’s entirely viewable as an aggressive act. What makes them wrong?

  39. JohnSF says:

    I don’t know if this has already been linked to round here, but this seems sound analysis to me:
    Jonathan Bernstein – Why Republicans Are Turning Against Vaccines (h/t Paul Krugman on Twitter)

    The “proving purity” aspect seems to parallel the migration of UK Conservatives from reformist EU sceptics via “multi speed Europe” then EFTA/EEA Brexit then “Hard” Brexit ending up rejecting the agreements and protocols they themselves negotiated and voted for lees the a year ago.
    The perils of playing to an self-selecting audience; sooner or later reality steps up with the bill.

    (a.k.a. an overdriven feedback guitar solo in an echo chamber may not turn out as you hoped…)

  40. George says:


    TBH, “believing without understanding” is how America’s been running for several decades,

    Its how the world has run for a very long time, at least since the industrial revolution. Most of us can never have anything close to expertise in 99.999% of the science and technology that our civilization runs on — we have no choice but to believe the experts without understanding. Same for economics, history, psychology, and of course, politics. That is always going to be the case, no one can understand more than a very tiny fraction of what has to be known to maintain our civilization. Try designing a computer chip from the ground up, including the technology needed to build those chips, find an extract the raw resources and so on. Anyone who tried would find they need tens of thousands of experts to do so.

    The problem is many people (mainly conservatives) have decided that experts shouldn’t be listened to, and so are now choosing to believe Internet quacks instead of people who’ve spent a lifetime learning and applying their expertise in their field. There’s simply no way that is going to work out well. Common sense sounds good, but the real world is extremely complex — and in fact doesn’t fit common sense at all (you need only study quantum mechanics to be aware of just how far reality is from common sense).

  41. Kylopod says:

    @JohnSF: Always good to keep in mind Julian Sanchez’s 2010 essay on “epistemic closure”:

    One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!) …. Internal criticism is then especially problematic, because it threatens the hermetic seal. It’s not just that any particular criticism might have to be taken seriously coming from a fellow conservative. Rather, it’s that anything that breaks down the tacit equivalence between “critic of conservatives and “wicked liberal smear artist” undermines the effectiveness of the entire information filter.

  42. sam says:

    Saw this on the web today. During WWII, the Germans — someplace in Germany, I guess — built a fake airfield with wooden vehicles and wooden planes. The Brits were well aware of this attempt at subterfuge and waited until the fake, wooden airfield was completed…then flew over it and dropped a wooden bomb on it.

  43. dazedandconfused says:

    Just got word I have COVID, delta variant. Tested positive. I got tested mainly due to my doctor being a personal friend, and I mentioned I felt like I had something, a very minor sore throat and some chest congestion, which he demanded I get tested for. It’s already passing and barely noticeable today, a week after symptoms started. I’ve been vaxed with the J&J and the doc mentioned there’s data that indicates us J&J folks are somewhat more likely to experience mild symptoms than the Moderna people are, but are well protected from serious disease.

    Doc says not to worry, that to my immune system, in ramping up to fend this off, this was effectively a “booster shot”. However if I had gone into public places without a mask I would have been spreading it all over the place for at least some portion of my infection, probably mainly the part before I had any symptoms at all. He’s not at all happy with all the early dropping of the masks, nosireebob.

  44. CSK says:

    Sorry to learn this, but very gad your symptoms are mild. I, too, got the J&J vax.

  45. George says:


    Sorry to hear that, rest and be well.

  46. JohnSF says:

    There has always been a good deal of ambivalence in Russia regarding whether or not they identify as “European” or “Western”.
    The (loosely) “liberal” tradition has tended to emphasise that identification; vs the (usually, not always) “authoritarian” tendency to emphasise it’s separate Byzantine/Orthodox heritage, apart from both Catholic/Protestant “West” and Islamic “East.

    It is a persistent line of dispute in Russia from Peter the Great via the late Romanovs and the liberal reformers via the USSR to the present day.

    It’s certainly true that the issue was massively envenomed by the stupidity of the policies of “big bang” privatisation encouraged by the US and Western advisors, and pursued by Yeltsin.
    One of the most catastrophic political/economic policy failures of the post-WW2 era.

    They seek to become gradually more and more like western Europe

    The Russian people might like that; the rulers of Russia show little inclination to offer them the choice.
    See the crude repression of Navalny’s attempt at constructing an opposition based on civic nationalism and appeals to the actual laws of Russia.
    And the obvious pursuit of a strategy of extractive industries and oligarchic “rent seeking” rather than investing revenues into modernisation and a legally secured and policed economy.
    Absent that shift, which would threaten the elites sources of power and profit, “Europeanist” convergence is a mirage.

    What makes them wrong?

    The same thing that would make the UK wrong if we insisted that the Republic of Ireland should subordinate its interests to ours.
    Or the US being historically in the wrong when it attempted to impose its will upon its neighbours.

    Moscow has no right to require that the peoples of independent countries be obligated to defer to its will, or that Moscow-friendly autocrats should have the right to unchallenged rule.

    The end-point of the Putinist attitude is: “You are our property!”
    It is not an attitude likely to end well either for those it is forced upon or even (longer term) for those doing the forcing.

  47. JohnSF says:

    Oh dear. Best wishes, hope you get through it soon.
    If it’s any comfort, several family members have had it, in some cases after an Astra jab, but recovered OK.
    Hope it’s the same for you.

  48. Kathy says:


    But it isn’t an absolute panacea that will inevitably prevent the election of a Trump-like candidate.

    I’d settle for never electing candidate who loses the popular vote, especially by millions of votes.

    No system can keep out a tyrant, true. In a democracy, people can vote themselves into tyranny, and have done so in the past.

    Returning to the popular vote, parliamentary systems now and then produce anomalies, such as the one in Israel today, where the prime minister’s party didn’t get more than a small fraction of the votes.

  49. Stormy Dragon says:
  50. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Bill O’Reilly called it “bullsh*t” that ticket sales for his arena show with former President Trump have been slow.

    But a Ticketmaster map of the venue shows otherwise (the unsold seats are in blue).

    Well past their “Sell by” date.

  51. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I’d predict he’s going to flip, but then he’d lose the power and leverage he has now. Basically, he controls the Senate. Why would he give up that?

  52. Kathy says:


    — we have no choice but to believe the experts without understanding.

    This is not true. It’s very easy to gain a basic layman’s understanding of science and technology, especially these days where multiple free sources are available online. enough, say, to understand G5 towers cannot possibly influence the course of a pandemic, or how vaccines work and whether they are safe, and to get a notion of what the clinical trials mean, among many other things.

    Granted I’ve a special interest in this, and perhaps my knowledge is above average, but I got most of the basics in junior high school chemistry, physics, geography, and biology classes. trust me, there’s nothing expert about that level of scientific understanding.

  53. CSK says:

    I’d also question whether Trump’s fans can afford even the cheap seats at 100-300 bucks a pop. Weren’t his previous rallies free?

  54. Kathy says:


    Damn, that sucks. I hope it stays mild and passes quickly.

  55. dazedandconfused says:


    The Russians fear chaos more than we do. There is some reason for that. They aren’t all wrong. Our system is a delicate balance which depends on refined, sophisticated institutions to function. This is why it has been extremely rare in the history human civilization. “Things” have to work for the man on the street or the man on the street will go for what does work. Everybody is but a few missed meals away from revolution.

    An example might be the varying opinions on the Arab Spring. We feel that freedom always results in democracy. The Russians felt that in the Islamic middle east, a lack of authoritarian multi-confessional rule (like Batthists) results in Islamic fundamentalists, being the most energized and organized segment of the population, seizing power from the chaos. They aren’t all wrong about that. The case of the Hashemite banishment to what became Jordan after the Wahabi take-over of what is now Saudi Arabia (Mecca and Medina) after the chaos of WW1. The rise of ISIL after the chaos of Iraq.

    If a liberal democracy had been imposed on the Western people of the Middle Ages, with their attitudes about religion and general illiteracy, would it have worked? Probably not.

    The current regime is downright nasty in stamping down decent, but in the pursuit of liberalism Navalny offers little difference. Google his name with “cockroach”, and see he’s a RW racist himself. Putin is actually more liberal than he is. This says something about how the Russian people feel, not all of Putin’s opposition is from the left.

    I don’t feel my question about Hillary as SOS was addressed. That individuals support something is one thing, but state supported action is another. Why shouldn’t a Russian patriot of any stripe not feel that the US supporting revolution in the Ukraine is not state-sponsored act of aggression?

  56. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: “What about Israel?” seems to be the standard response anytime someone defends parliamentary systems and proportional representation.

  57. KM says:

    THIS. I got into an argument with a friend recently about the responsibility of the condo board and owners in the Surfside disaster. Their contention was that since nobody who lived there was an expert in construction, engineering or assessment they bear zero responsibility for what happened. It was all the experts and government’s fault for failing them or forcing them to act; if the experts didn’t know, how could they? My counter was you don’t have to be a genius to know cracked concrete all over the building, water constantly pouring in the basement garage and most crucially, deliberately putting off expensive but necessarily repairs will not have a good outcome. It’s not cruel to say understanding that one is currently living a building with structural issues you can see with your own eyes and still choosing to stay there was a poor decision but a decision none the less. You don’t need to know a potential collapse is in the cards to understand not fixing a structural problem = trouble. Even a basic understanding of gravity (things fall down if not repaired, heavy things landing on you = ouch) and weather (tall old building on the beach in hurricane land) means understanding that a vote not to fix things was a vote for their own potential doom. I’m not saying they are completely responsible for what happened but neither are they blameless; you cannot say they didn’t know because they weren’t experts since they’ve very clearly knew something was wrong for a long time. They just didn’t know how bad it would end up being.

    It’s a wonderful way to avoid responsibility, isn’t it? To claim since you cannot know everything everything, we must have experts to specialize and it’s their duty to tell us things instead of you going to gain low-level mastery? I’m sorry but in an age when all the knowledge of mankind is more accessible than ever, the obligation of humans to have a basic understanding of their world is more vital than ever. A peasant in 800CE might only need to know about how their local economy works to survive but that won’t cut it in a global world. You don’t need to be able to draft the next international trade agreement but you should be able to (a) know there is one and (b) get the basics on how it will benefit or screw you.

    Belief without understanding is not the same as intellectual laziness. Intellectual laziness is “I don’t have to know because no one is forcing me to”; blind faith is “I don’t have to know because it actively impedes me from believing so I’m following the feelz”

  58. dazedandconfused says:


    No worries, already pretty well past. Very mild and the only reason I was tested at all was he ran out to his car came back with a test and simply would not be denied. No way I would have gone to a doc for the symptoms I felt. Nearly every cold has been worse. Never lost sense of taste or smell.

    I think the main reason I am mentioning it here is it seems an easy deduction that when the masks come fully off there will be unvaxed AND vaxed people like me “spreading it all over the place”. Expect to get it, everybody.

  59. Michael Reynolds says:

    At times like these we must turn to the ancient and mysterious medicine of my people, guaranteed to cure any illness : chicken soup?

  60. Kylopod says:

    @dazedandconfused: I never lost my sense of taste or smell during my 6-week bout with Covid last year. According to what I’ve read, it affects about 80% of Covid patients. And I had some fairly uncommon symptoms as well–most notably, persistent aching in the chest.

  61. George says:


    I’ve graduate degrees in engineering and physics. I understand the basics of both of those. I could not design or build a G5 tower by myself, let alone the receivers and transmitters (hardware and software running on them) on them. I could not design the equipment needed to test the effects of radio frequency signals on human, let alone build them from scratch. I could assemble the computers needed to analyze the result from pre-build components and run software designed and programmed by others, but could not by myself build from scratch the computers needed to analyze the results, nor write the operating systems and data analysis software required. So I am left trusting that the experts know what they’re talking about in all those areas — I can read and understand the relevant journal articles (well, assuming I had several years with nothing else to do), but I couldn’t run tests confirming that they’d not just making things up as they go along, both in terms of medicine and physics.

    Basically I have to trust that a very long line of experts know what they’re doing, and that their products do what they say they do, because I don’t understand the details enough to replicate either their science or their technology from general principles. Moreover I don’t think anyone else does either. There are so many layers of knowledge between general principles and actually reproducing technology that much has to be taken on faith — repeatedly through many layers.

    In theory when you go through say physics your lab courses allow you to test the theories you’ve learned. In practice you’re using equipment that you don’t fully understand (ie you couldn’t build them yourself) and so you have to believe the equipment does what its manufacturer claims it does. You can test that machinery, but with other very complex equipment that runs you into the same problem.

    There’s too much that has to be known for us to understand everything — the general principles themselves are mainly taken on faith. For instance in chemistry, could you recreate the periodic table (with all the isotypes, electron orbitals etc) without taking on faith a lot of knowledge that others have come up, including the equipment you’d have to use to test it?

  62. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’ve been recommended a peculiar home remedy for mild respiratory illness: an oversize sundae with your favorite toppings.

    It doesn’t cure your cold, but it makes you feel a lot better while you’re suffering.

  63. Kathy says:


    I could not design the equipment needed to test the effects of radio frequency signals on human, let alone build them from scratch.

    Neither could I. But I know what electromagnetic waves are, and what energy they carry, and I’ve a general notion what effect they have on living tissues. For instance, ultraviolet has a quite different effect than some microwaves, and from, say, gamma rays.

    For instance in chemistry, could you recreate the periodic table (with all the isotypes, electron orbitals etc) without taking on faith a lot of knowledge that others have come up, including the equipment you’d have to use to test it?

    No. But I understand the arrangement by atomic number (the number of protons per nucleus), how this tracks with atomic mass, and why the columns are arranged that group elements with similar chemical properties.

    The remarkable thing is Mendeleev worked much of this out before atomic theory.

  64. KM says:

    We have always had to trust our forebears’ knowledge as the foundation of our own. Even cavemen had to trust the elders’ knowledge on fire, migration patterns and crops because you’d never encounter all potential things personally.

    However, your assertion was thus:

    at least since the industrial revolution. Most of us can never have anything close to expertise in 99.999% of the science and technology that our civilization runs on — we have no choice but to believe the experts without understanding.

    implying that (a) one must have a high expertise on how the various parts of civilization are run to be functional (b) people used to have it but now we can’t since it’s too complex. Bull. You’re telling me some random peasant in ancient Egypt had 99.9% of how their civilization ran and the tech it employed? They knew astronomy and could design pyramids, they could grow crops or steer a ship or even write? They did not and yet they functioned because they had low-level mastery of what they needed.

    Since the stone age, mankind learned not to drink salt water regularly. They didn’t exactly know why it could kill you but they got the gist of it. Someone today with high expertise can explain the chemistry behind it and tell you the exact biological details of the damage it can render. Still doesn’t mean an idiot today who failed bio or chem because “information overload” gets a pass for drinking out of the Pacific.

  65. George says:


    But that knowledge you have (like mine and like everyone else’s in the last 200 years) is based on believing what others have discovered is true, building on their foundation in both theory and technology.

    I’m not just arguing for the sake of arguing here, there’s a very serious point — our society and civilization (and the ability to keep almost eight billion humans fed etc) is built on a very wide and finely strung web of cooperation and expertise. The distrust of experts that conservatives are spreading is basically weakening the foundation on which everything is built. If that foundation of expertise collapses the future will not be some romantic Mad Max movie, but an almost complete shut down of everything meaning mass starvation and most likely desperate wars (probably nuclear).

    When Obama said, “You didn’t build that” he was not only correct, but was understanding the problem — he could have said, “You didn’t build that and don’t have the knowledge or skills to build it even if you wanted to.” We are all dependent on the functioning of society to a much greater degree than most recognize.

  66. George says:


    That should be: Obama was understating the problem — an edit function would be a nice addition to our local niche of civilization.

  67. Kathy says:


    If I wanted to trash parliamentary democracy, and did not want to refer to Germany in the early 30s, I’d go with japan and Italy in the 90s. First they both seemed to have a different PM every other month, then one was afflicted by a bad case of Berlusconi.

    Though four elections in one year and 12 years of Netanyahu don’t speak well of Israel’s modern politics.

    The one gripe I have with parliamentary systems, is that a skilled or popular politician can stay in power too long. Even good ones, like Merkel, should know to bow out after 8 to 10 years at most.

  68. flat earth luddite says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I don’t know, folks, but the large capacity HP 952xl cartridge at my local StuporStore is $31.89 for 18ml. Admittedly the batteries on my abacus are low, but I’m coming up with $3.19M for 1.8kg of ink. Hence our standard joke at StuporStore that it’s cheaper to buy crack cocaine.

    Personally, I’d rather not have either package land on my roof.

  69. Kathy says:


    That link leads to an interesting notion.

    We should test it by giving them ideas. Only a true conservative eats ground glass sprinkled with lead and arsenic for breakfast.

  70. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: One small correction: Weimar Germany was not a pure parliamentary system; it was a semi-presidential system like France today, with both a president and a parliament.

    (Israel has an official called president, but it’s almost purely a ceremonial role. The president of France–and Weimar Germany–has/had real powers but shared them with parliament. It’s not always easy to tell from a simple description who really has the power, though, because it’s conventional to describe the president as head of state and the PM as head of government, but as I understand it in today’s France the president is usually the one with more power.)

  71. Kathy says:


    IMO, pre-quantum and pre-relativity physics are rather easy to understand. We also did many experiments in the school lab that proved many of the “laws” we learned in the classroom. For chemistry and biology, too.

    We couldn’t shoot alpha particles at wold foil, nor detect where said particles wound up if we’d have been able to shoot them. neither could we make just one photon go through a double slit to see if it would interfere with itself or not. Hell, all we learned of quantum mechanics in junior high school was that energy comes in packets of a minimum size, quanta.

  72. CSK says:

    George, try refreshing the page after you post. Sometimes the edit function magically appears.

  73. JohnSF says:

    Well, I fear chaos.
    American optimism is not my default setting.

    OTOH “they are not ready for democracy” tends to remind me of the defenders of empire in the 1950’s and 60’s.
    The old Monday Club types line “But they don’t really want democracy!”
    Maybe; should we give them a vote on it? 🙂

    I is possible for multi-ethnic, multi-confessional polities to reach accommodations on (roughly) democratic bases, by allowing for balances and local autonomies.
    See e.g. India; South Africa; also, when not destabilised by outsiders, Lebanon. And others.

    Agreed, Navalny is no saint; but his movement nonetheless was probably the best hope for an engaged, reformist politics within the Russian (formal) legal/constitutional framework.
    Putin as a liberal? Well, it’s true he has never much cultivated the racist headcases.
    But I suspect that’s mainly because Putin’s regime doesn’t give two hoots about your ethnicity, so long as you submit and obey. An equality of subordination to the aristocracy.

    Why shouldn’t a Russian patriot of any stripe not feel that the US supporting revolution in the Ukraine is not state-sponsored act of aggression?

    A rough parallel: If Canadians were in revolt against a autocracy subservient to Washington, and Europeans supported that revolt, Americans might feel aggrieved.
    Would such grievance be justified?
    Similarly if such a case were to occur with Britain re. Ireland; Japan re. Korea; France re. Algeria; Germany re. Austria.
    Frustrated post-imperial amour propre may be a factor in diplomatic calculations, but to accord it some sort of quasi-legal standing is another matter.

    “Russian patriots” need to consider the possibility that Ukrainians rejecting autocracy is not a matter in which Russians have any legitimate claim to a veto.

  74. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Well, it might be a backstab, or it might be evangelism. You don’t convert people by preaching to the choir, after all.

    And if he’s saying to donors, like was reported earlier, that they really, really need to take rule of law and voting regulations seriously, that’s good.

    At this point, I don’t give a flying fig what someone’s affiliation is, if they aren’t backing rule of law and depoliticized election administration, they are on my bad list, and if they are, my hat is off to them.

    We can’t have a country without elections that are administered fairly and impartially. We can’t have people thinking they can call up a county official and have them “find 10,000 more votes”.

  75. dazedandconfused says:
  76. gVOR08 says:


    It doesn’t cure your cold, but it makes you feel a lot better while you’re suffering.

    Bourbon has the same medicinal effect.

  77. JohnSF says:

    The “revolving door” PM’s usually IMHO indicate a paradoxically stable polity in a parliamentary system.
    When Italy, France (pre 5th Rep.), Japan etc changed cabinets, they were mostly due to faction fights within the ruling party, which was so dominant it could afford them.
    You’d often see a displaced PM in a successors cabinet as a minister.
    Germany OTOH has rather long lasting prime ministers aka Chancellors, only eight since 1949, perhaps because the parties were more evenly balanced.

  78. CSK says:

    My go-to remedy is a vodka martini on the rocks. Olives. (Green vegetables are important. Yes, yes, I know it’s a fruit.)

  79. JohnSF says:

    If anyone wants cheering up, here is a the tale of the troubles of the recently founded would-be British equivalent of Fox News.
    Would take a heart of stone not to RAOTFLMFAO

  80. dazedandconfused says:


    So if the Russians had clandestinely helped support a revolution in Quebec the Canadian government would have no reason to believe Russia committed an act of aggression?

    This is my point: We messed with them in the Ukraine, yet we call their retaliation unquestionable evidence that Russia “hates democracy”.

    Occums Razor: The Russian’s actions can be attributed to simple national interest. They don’t want neocons like the Kagans running around fomenting revolutions within their economic sphere, and that’s what Hillary did to them, and after supposedly burying the hatchet with that “reset” stuff.

  81. Kathy says:


    Without any of the saturated fats and only a fraction of the calories, though.

  82. Kathy says:

    The problem with a 31 year old telescope in orbit, is that it has a 31 year old computer at the controls.

    Apropos, Voyager 2 will complete 44 years on the move next month.

  83. JohnSF says:

    Quebec is a state within Canada.
    Ukraine is not a state within Russia.
    The difference is fundamental.

    I am not saying that the rulers of Russia do not have good reason, from their point of view, for regarding the “West” as hostile.
    That is a quite reasonable deduction.
    But I do think it is directly linked to their attitudes to the “liberal order” generally, and democracy as a part of that.
    For such an elite, democracy is a nice piece of decoration; they do not regard as the foundation of their political legitimacy.
    No more than was for the aristocracies of Old Europe, or numberless other cases of entrenched oligarchies.

    Insofar as the “West” is “democratic” it is inevitably systemically antagonistic to oligarchy.

    It is indeed national interest, albeit the national interest of a regime fixated on it’s own power: Moscow believes it is in it’s national interest to dominate its neighbours.
    It’s neighbours beg to differ.

    The basis of global order is that sovereign states exist on a plane of rough-and-ready legal equality.
    There does not exist a separate category of “countries who are not really independent because it upsets Vladimir.”

  84. CSK says:

    Jazz Shaw left a three part tweet about Doug. It’s very sad. Cause of death still pending. Apparently a fund raiser will be established this evening to cover “a lot of debt” (Shaw’s words) Doug left.


  85. Jax says:

    I bought an Epson Ecotank printer 18 months ago and even with the kids homeschooling last year and printing out mass papers on the daily, my tanks are still half full on the ink sent with the printer. Free yourselves from the prison of expensive ink cartridges!! 😛

  86. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I had to go back to JKB’s comment to see what you were railing on about. All I had seen was an interesting anecdote about a failed assault because of an unseasonably hot summer. Turned out I hadn’t paid any attention to the global warming comment partially because I know that JKB knows less about climate science than I do (and that’s saying something–no one knows less about most science issues than I do) and partly because it had no real bearing on the anecdote at large.

    Then again, I’m neither so aggressively partisan in my politics that I feel the need to call out a political enemy every time he speaks, nor am I so insecure that I need to buck up my own self-esteem at the expense of another. Hmmm…

  87. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Weren’t his previous rallies free?

    Never paid enough attention to know. I had not heard anything at all about these but had assumed the were pay to attend, because… trump. And looking at that seating chart, “Past their sell by date.” seemed the obvious dig.

  88. Kylopod says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I was wavering on whether to compliment him for actually posting something valuable and informative for a change, and I thought that itself might defuse the snarky undertones of his comment which he was trying to frame as a smackdown of something Joe Biden supposedly said. But I just didn’t bother. I don’t grade the righties on a curve.

  89. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: Also glad that you are recovering well. Because I’m a bomb thrower at heart, I’m also glad that one of our pseudo community has new experience with how breakout infections work. Maybe we can move back more towards Covid-19 just still being a problem and away from notions that it’s a problem for “those people” but not for “us.”

  90. Kathy says:


    A more apt comparison would be the USSR’s meddling with Cuba in the late 50s and Nicaragua in the late 70s. As I recall, America did not take it well. There were embargoes, one missile crisis, Iran-Contra, etc.

    The difference is the USSR could afford to do such things back then, but Russia can’t strike back as effectively now, say by destabilizing Colombia or Mexico. So they turn to asymmetrical warfare of sorts. Misinformation, cyber attacks, ransomware attacks, etc.

  91. wr says:

    @KM: “Their contention was that since nobody who lived there was an expert in construction, engineering or assessment they bear zero responsibility for what happened.”

    Of course if they’re on the board, it’s not their responsibility to know all this — it’s their responsibility to hire people who do to do inspections.

  92. George says:


    IMO, pre-quantum and pre-relativity physics are rather easy to understand. We also did many experiments in the school lab that proved many of the “laws” we learned in the classroom. For chemistry and biology, too.

    Actually I doubt you covered much of pre-quantum and pre-relativity physics in high school, since that involves things like Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics (which require partial differential equations and tensor analysis), statistical physics and thermodynamics (advanced algebras), and electromagnetism (a great deal of differential and integral equations). If you covered them and found them easy to understand than you’re a very rare exception, since they’re considered to be notoriously hard senior undergraduate and graduate student level courses, and tend to be counter-intuitive and subtle in their implications. Not as crazy as quantum mechanics, but sometimes just as surprising (chaos theory for instance primarily belongs to them, as does fluid mechanics with its great unsolved problem of turbulence).

    I suspect we have very different concepts of what it means to understand something. Most physicists will tell you we still only superficially understand the implications of even Newtonian mechanics, especially wrt many body problems. Newtonian mechanics is largely concerned (once you get past the very simple introductory courses) with complex and very non-linear systems, and most of us find it anything but easy to understand. Most climate models for instance are based on Newtonian mechanics (the Navier-Stokes equations) which look simple in theory but turn out to be so complex that they can only be solved by computer models (and even then only by parameterizing much of the physics).

    That’s one of the beauties and wonders of the world — what appears to be simple to understand always becomes much richer and more complex when we really try to understand it. Its the joy of science, but it also means even the greatest scientists (as they all say) have only a very limited understanding of even what at first glance seems straightforward.

  93. flat earth luddite says:

    Grandma’s cure for the common cold (and flu, and bubonic plague lol) involved liberal dosages of aquavit. She alternated 1 oz with 4 oz O.J. at 15 minute intervals, until she couldn’t remember which one came next, then continued until she fell asleep. This usually involved more than one bottle of each.

    As a teenager and young adult, I tried this cure several times. Yes, it cures the common cold and influenza. Unfortunately, the hangover is nearly always fatal. Now I rely on smaller quantities of bourbon or rye whiskey, for medicinal purposes only.

  94. Stormy Dragon says:


    Apparently a fund raiser will be established this evening to cover “a lot of debt” (Shaw’s words) Doug left.

    Does Doug have a spouse/children? I was under the impression he was single, in which case, who cares if his debts get paid now?

  95. Jax says:

    No Teve today? @Teve, check in, please!

    I’m sure he’s pounding the pavement on finding a new job, he’s not one to sit around long from what I’ve seen, but it would be nice to hear from him!

  96. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: The pimento or pearl onion in the olive is an important source of Vitamin C (and A, in the case of the pimento).

  97. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @flat earth luddite: Man, 8.5 K of raw cocaine would set me, my children, and my grandchildren up for life. Sheeeeeit, I’d happily sell it at a 50% discount. Of course, all of my old connects are either dead or in prison so I’d have to start from scratch, but I think I could manage it.

  98. Stormy Dragon says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    o/~ If mosquitos bite you in the night, don’t worry your little head
    Just drink a bottle of tequila, before you go to bed
    You’ll be too drunk to notice them for the first half of the night
    And for the second half those mosquitos will be too drunk to bite o/~

  99. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I think he was divorced. No children.I can only tell you what Jazz Shaw said, which was that the family was “struggling” with the debt Doug left.

  100. Mister Bluster says:


    Check the The Problem isn’t Breyer, it is one of Constitutional Design thread today at 16:49.

  101. CSK says:
  102. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: So if the Russians had clandestinely helped support a revolution in Quebec the Canadian government would have no reason to believe Russia committed an act of aggression?

    Help me out here: Quebec is a part of Canada, right?
    Ukraine is not a part of Russia. Right?

    Apples. Oranges.

  103. Mister Bluster says:

    Texas federal judge bars new DACA applicants
    President Barack Obama did not have the legal authority to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers protections from deportation for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

  104. Jax says:

    @Mister Bluster: Ahhhh, thanks, I hadn’t noticed that post was up yet!

    I’ve been calling in the rain by getting all our haying equipment out. So far I’m 2 for 2, got the mower out yesterday and we got a real gullywasher, got the rake out today and we’ve gotten 3 15 minute showers! 😛 We haven’t really seen rain since it snowed last, so I’m pretty impressed with my witchy haying magic so far.

    EDIT: I don’t see that Teve posted anything in that thread, so I’m still hoping Teve is OK!

  105. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I thought Doug was unmarried.

  106. CSK says:

    He was when he died. But I read a post of his from 2003, pre OTB, in which he referred to his “lovely bride,” who made him an Ohio Buckeyes fan.

  107. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I know children can not be held to account for a parent’s debt (they might lose their “inheritance”) and when my BiL died of cancer, my little Sis was hounded by collectors until she contacted a lawyer friend of mine who told her to tell them to “Go fck themselves.” and they did. I don’t know the particulars of her case but in theory at least, a spouse is not responsible either.

    When my oldest Sis unexpectedly died my old man damned near killed himself trying to get all her affairs in order. The stubborn old fck wouldn’t listen to me and insisted on paying off all her debts. I tried telling him that those lenders bet on her living long enough to pay them back. She didn’t. Sucks to be them.

  108. Teve says:

    Teve is fine. And sober, sadly.

  109. JohnSF says:

    I’d think more in terms of the Banana Wars period of US policy in Central America; or the coup in Guatemala in 1954
    Basically whenever United bloody Fruit squeaked “it’s cahmunisumm” half of DC ran around like their pants were on fire.

    Or perhaps the (pre-Nazi) record of Weimar Germany refusing to accept the legitimacy of the new borders in the east. Or some Tory attitudes to the independent status of Ireland.

    If the US were seriously proposing installing a first-strike only nuclear force into Ukraine then I would be inclined to say “er, hold on a sec, guys.”

    In fact, it’s notable how cautious the West has been in the former Soviet/Tsarist sphere. Absent active opposition movements, Belarus was conspicuously left well alone, as indeed was Ukraine until Yanukovich’s own stupidity and the pig-headed refusal of Russia to accept the right of Ukraine to make it’s own trading and civil rights agreements with the EU set the country alight.

    And the studied indifference toward the Chechen Wars for that matter.

    If the Russians wish to overturn post-Cold War convention on regard for sovereignty and extant borders; fine.
    We see your Crimea, and raise you Karelia and East Prussia.
    Alternatively, Russia could consider dropping the whole tiresome “we are so persecuted” routine.

  110. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: That’s what I thought. His family is not responsible for his debts.

  111. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Well shit, we’ve got a fix for that.

  112. Teve says:

    Read the details of that grift. Homeboy was counting on Trumpers to be completely submoronical.

  113. Jax says:

    @Teve: Thanks, I get a little worried when the regulars don’t check in.

    And what Ozark said. 😛 Hope you’re doing ok, beyond the soberness!

  114. CSK says:

    No, I didn’t think they would or should be, either, But Shaw said they were “struggling” with the debt he had left.

    A $20,000 Gofundme has been established to defray funeral expenses.

  115. CSK says:

    Well, that sounds like a total piece of crap.

  116. JohnSF says:

    I’m currently about half-way through a rather nice bottle of Chilean sobriety remedy.
    Just the thing after a hot day.
    (Well, prob. not hot by your standards: peaked about 28C, humidity about 50%)

  117. de stijl says:


    Be well!

    Glad to hear no bad symptoms.

    Do you have a support system that can buy needed stuff and leave it on your doorstep? Depending on how long you need to hole up vs. supplies on hand, it might be necessary.

  118. JohnSF says:

    A fool and his bank account login details are soon parted. 🙂

  119. CSK says:

    I’m having flashbacks to that famous Times headline in the 1970s: “Temperatures in seventies again today; no relief in sight.”

  120. JohnSF says:

    My operating hypothesis is that us Brits are, in fact, lizard people.
    We only function properly within a temperature range of 15 to 25.
    Rather like our close kin the Galapagos iguanas.

  121. CSK says:

    Well, if H.M. The Queen is a lizard person, I suppose you’re in good company.

  122. de stijl says:


    I never realized I had lost taste and smell until it returned. Never noticed it as it happened.

    That return to normal day was a sensuous delight!

    I liken it to getting water in your ear while swimming. A day later it drains and your brain suddenly gets it has only been getting 40-60% of expected signal. “Hey! I can hear again!”

    I am a bit of a super-taster: maybe that applies. Sour and tart is very unpleasant. Random hypothesis.

    Maybe I lost it slowly enough so it did not register properly as “lost”. Creeping new normal.

    When smell came back it was pretty abrupt and marked. Holy crap! I can smell everything!

    There is no universal experience.

  123. dazedandconfused says:

    Then I modify my example to Russia fomenting a revolution in Canada, even though Canada has never been part of the US, and the US doesn’t have hundreds of years of history in Canada. I liked the example of of the seperatist history of French speaking Canada though, it’s got aspects which more closely resemble the situation within the Ukraine.

    Putin released tapes of Nuland discussing the EU feelings on the matter. Why did he compromise his own intell gathering abilities? IMO he wanted to show the public, the US public, what was being done in our name. Unfortunately the US reaction was a Bevis & Buttheadian “Heheheheh…she said phuque!” There are revolutions and discontented people to be found around the world, why were we messing around there? To pretend the Ukraine is just another sovereign nation is a bit obtuse, is it not? The current configuration is a result of Khrushchev making an administrative simplification of combining two oblasts into one, but in fact the language and history of the eastern and western parts differ greatly, right down to who they fought with during WW2.

    The Russians had promises from the HW Bush years that we would not mess around in the Russian sphere.

  124. JohnSF says:

    Reptile rule, baby.

    Why do you think her shortened name is Liz, eh?
    Another 200 million years of lizardoid dominance begins next Thursday!
    (Assuming equable temperatures, that is. With time off for prolonged torpor after meals.)

  125. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: Many years ago one of my aunts permanently lost her sense of smell after a bout with flu.

    Shortly after my second Moderna shot there was one weird moment where I baked some eggs for myself and I thought they tasted a bit blander than I expected. But that may have simply been because I microwaved them. I’ll never know. I have heard that brief loss of smell/taste sometimes happens from the vaccine.

  126. dazedandconfused says:

    @de stijl:


    Well set up for all that, the worst part is it now means everyone (3) in the house, Tests taken today, just 20min ago. Have to hole up for all negs, if we are to do the right thing, which we intend to do.

  127. de stijl says:


    British “cold” isn’t cold at all but bracing, and British “hot” is what I consider normal.

    Mid-continental weather in the US can be bonkers. A few weeks back we had a high of 104F/40C with a “feels like” of 116F/47C. Last winter we had -17F/-27C. Then throw in wind-chill. That was brisk!

    That winter low was colder than normal for a normal year for here but not off the charts. Remarkable but not shocking.

    I used to live farther north. In summer, more pleasant. Less humidity. But colder in winter. 250 miles makes a difference. Alberta Clippers on the regular. Much more snow.

    Coldest I ever witnessed personally was -51F/-46C. That was pretty intense.

  128. JohnSF says:


    The Russians had promises from the HW Bush years that we would not mess around in the Russian sphere.

    And such promises were highly conditional.
    And assume a Russian right to a “sphere” which the US in turn had no right to concede.

    To pretend the Ukraine is just another sovereign nation is a bit obtuse, is it not?

    So, when Moscow asserts “you are OURS to control” to the Ukrainian people, the rest of the world should meekly say: “…well, yes, you’re just among a secondary category of lesser, not really, truly, countries. Those over which the Russian ruling class asserts hegemony. Sucks to be you, eh?”
    That the USSR rearranged the details of the border of the Ukraine is irrelevant.
    That does not entitle Russia to unilaterally revoke the borders after they became a recognised international demarcation.
    If the people of the Crimea had showed a fixed desire to transfer to Russia, that might have been grounds for negotiation between Kiev and Moscow, and indeed for the West to press concessions from the Ukraine.
    Though such “justified” transfers of territory have a rather dubious reputation in Europe, local opinion notwithstanding: see Austria, Sudetenland, Danzig.
    It is notable, though, that Putin short-circuited such considerations, and suddenly discovered an overwhelming Crimean desire for the embrace of Mother Russia, after over 50 years of “whatever”, just after he had his nose put out of joint by Yanukovich’s ejection from rule in Kiev.
    What a remarkable coincidence, eh?

    the language and history of the eastern and western parts differ greatly

    I repeat; this is a massive oversimplification of Ukrainian history.
    The division is more four part (to oversimplify in turn):
    – a western fringe (old Galicia) that is Ukrainian speaking and Uniate, greatly influenced by Austrian and Polish links, parts acquired by Russia only after the partition of Poland between Nazis and Soviets in 1939
    – the north-central zone, Ukrainian speaking and Orthodox, part of Russia since it’s conquest from the Khanate, and yet arguably the most hostile to Russian rule, see holomodor and WW2
    – the south, acquired by Russia a bit later, and heavily influenced by Cossack settlement, a mix of Ukrainian and Russian dialects, including the cosmopolitan melting pot of Odessa, generally Orthodox, but nonetheless generally Ukrainian by “identification”
    – the Donbas in the east border and Crimea, Russian speaking and Orthodox, largely settled by Russians after conquest or during industrialisation; possibly pro-Russian politically (though a genuine free vote on the matter would be interesting)

    The point remains: Russia has no standing to arbitrarily alter by military force, without negotiation or free voting, acknowledged international frontiers.
    Nor to take upon itself the right to relegate by fiat a whole category of states to subservience to Russia.

  129. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    One reason why the only region of the US I might consider living in voluntarily would be roughly between Bay Area to Seattle.
    Perhaps also maybe Long Island, Rhode Island and Cape Cod?
    Personally I think the ideal climate is SW France and NW Spain, seasonal, but not fanatical about it. 🙂
    (Prob N. New Zealand, SE Australia, around Cape Town, and central Chile, and that’s about it globally, LOL)
    Mostly good wine growing regions, yay!

  130. Thomm says:

    @Teve: come out to Colorado and sling cars and enjoy the lagal cannabis. Ha!

  131. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: $499 is waaaaaaaayyyyyy above my price point and I solve most of my security problems by using my phone as a telephone/texting device mainly. Occasionally, I use my phone to read OTB and Luddite and I go to Bring a Trailer if I go over to his place on the weekend. My phone has an email address, but I haven’t opened that email since I used it to register with Tubi (in… February????). Mostly though, I rely on my small digital footprint to avoid contact with anyone I don’t know.

  132. de stijl says:

    I had a bit of a shocker the other day on a walk.

    I am usually fairly temperature tolerant. My routine is 3-4 miles. Usually dawn or dusk normally.

    Wednesday I went mid-afternoon. It was maybe 90F. No big deal! Dew point was mid 60s. Normalish summer day.

    Just after the turn back to home I started feeling very hot and unwell. Okay, let’s scoot home quickly. I could a hot fast pulse in my skull. I felt pre-nauseous. I felt fainting was on the horizon but not omni-present. Bad, not a disaster.

    Disaster! A block or so into going back home my left shoe’s sole decided to partially detach. From the toe to arch the sole detached from the rest of the shoe’s structure. Oddly enough I was not carrying duct tape.

    My choice was to high-step with the left leg to prevent the floppy sole from catching and tripping me, or to take off my shoes. I chose to high-step.

    I had a small water bottle. Guzzled it.

    One foot in front of the other.

    I thought if I should stop and call a cab. I saw yard hoses outside of houses and yearned to stop and douse myself with cold water for ten minutes or so. I was drenched in sweat and kinda wobbly.

    I walk fast normally. Roughly 3.8 to 4.0 mph not pushing hard at all. Normal pace. That 2 mile walk back took nearly a full hour. I plodded and high-stepped. Thought it would never end.

    When I hit 1/2 mile out I nearly cried. 1/4 mile in I was euphoric. I counted down the blocks. Step, high-step. Repeat. Push. Unlocking the door to my house was the most grateful I’d ever felt.

    I went to the kitchen and ran cold water over the back of my head for minutes. Stop every now and again and swallow some out of my cupped hands.

    Got into a cool to cold shower. Bliss.

    After, I got severe sudden muscle cramps in my calves, thighs, feet. Had that happened a half-hour earlier I would have been so fucked.

    Muscle cramps hurt like crazy. Foot cramps are just disturbing. Toes are stuck locked pointing up or down and you cannot do shit about it until the cramp releases.

    It was extraordinarily unpleasant. And quite painful.

    I did sleep like a babe that night though. I was sore as hell and weak as a kitten next morning.

  133. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: 1 thing about that phone is, it’s a $120 model from a drop ship company in SE Asia, that’s popular in North Korea because it’s buggy and so easy for the government to hack.

  134. Jax says:

    @de stijl: I about died laughing at “Oddly enough, I was not carrying duct tape” 😛 😛

    Glad you’re ok now! Do you think it was just the heat/dehydration, or something you ate?

  135. de stijl says:


    Not to be alarmist, but if global warming shuts down the North Atlantic Current, y’all are fucked.

    I am not an expert by any means but cold fresh water off newly melted Greenland could kill warm water currents now bathing you in a falsely temperate clime. I lack the expertise to judge it properly, but serious-minded well-trained pros deem it highly plausible.

    At 51 latitude you are banking on the Gulf Stream. Without it, you are looking at Hudson Bay weather.

    Without the Gulf Stream N Europe becomes quite like northern Canada.

  136. EddieInCA says:


    However if I had gone into public places without a mask I would have been spreading it all over the place for at least some portion of my infection, probably mainly the part before I had any symptoms at all. He’s not at all happy with all the early dropping of the masks, nosireebob.

    Here in Hot Springs, I’m one of very few people wearing masks at all. I’m certain masks are less than 1 in 100 people. Seriously. Everywhere. Had some business to do at Oaklawn, but walked right out and blew off the meeting when I saw the casino was open, crowded, smoky, and no one was wearing masks, and people were…. being casino people. My only thought was “in two weeks there are gonna be alot of sick people in Hot Springs, AR”.

  137. Jax says:

    @EddieInCA: Same here. Everybody’s just giddy that people who are vaccinated are still getting COVID, so they were right all along, right?!

    You said something the other day, I’d like to add on to it….

    Internet: You can’t cure stupid.
    COVID-19: I can.
    Me: Not fast enough.

  138. de stijl says:


    Glad you noticed! I was rather proud of that line.

    It came from a real place. I thought repeatedly on the trudge back “If I only had some duct tape on me me right now this would be way less annoying.”

    I walked by people gardening and mowing lawns and ran the scenario through my head. How would that play out? “Excuse me. Ma’am or sir, I will pay you $20 for four feet of duct tape.”

    That doesn’t really work in urban neighborhoods. It always reads as a come-on to some scam. Wariness and distrust.

    Thought about it. Plodded home very slowly.

  139. Jax says:

    @de stijl: It was particularly funny because I VERY grudgingly gave up my almost-new roll of duct tape today, I sacrificed it to the higher power of marking hydraulic hoses so we could put them back together properly. And then I get back on the internet and there you are, missing some duct tape.

    All hail the duct tape. 😛

  140. de stijl says:


    Heat exhaustion. Classic symptoms. Except for that god-damned shoe I would have made it home easy within a range it would have been and would have remained a small problem.

    The shoe sitch made a slight issue into a major mess.

    Usually I am fairly okay with 90 temp 65 dewpoint. That’s pretty normal. Wednesday kicked my ass really hard. I have no idea why.

  141. de stijl says:


    Utterly unrelated story.

    A buddy of mine was working in his shop. There was a a high pressure hydraulic pressure leak. He instinctively reached over and tried to clamp over the leak with his hand. Hydraulic fluid under pressure punctures skin like wet newspaper.

    Bad call. Really bad call. That hose nick injected his hand with ounces of hydraulic fluid before his reflexes kicked in and he pulled it off.

    His hand was black and nonfunctional for weeks. Then gray. At the point he could flex his fingers again we gave him so much crap.

    I can see it. It was pure instinct. How dare you spew ejecta all over I have to clean up? Stop it! Reach. Grab. All in a fraction of a second.

    He is diligent. His shop space is immaculate always by the time he goes home. It is duty and honor to him. I respect that.

    Once the scare wore off that he might lose his hand we gave him a medium dose of good-natured shit though.

  142. DrDaveT says:


    Bolsonaro, the little trump

    I believe the technical term from Tarot is “minor trump”.

  143. DrDaveT says:


    My go-to remedy is a vodka martini on the rocks.

    “Vodka martini” is an oxymoron.

  144. Jax says:

    @de stijl: I actually remember you telling us that story once, I’ve thought about it every time I see a high-pressure hydraulic hose, and I DO NOT grab it!

    I couldn’t grab something that fast, anyways, the heat here in Wyoming has me going through a rheumatoid arthritis flare and my hands are all swollen up. I have a neat carnival trick where I press on the back of my left hand and the divot stays there for 3-5 minutes before it goes back to “puffy”. Right hand is frozen in the knuckles. Yes, I’ve been to the doctor, and no, they haven’t found anything that helps yet. I’m just lucky I have a sidekick who helps me work on equipment. 🙂

  145. Gustopher says:


    Everybody’s just giddy that people who are vaccinated are still getting COVID, so they were right all along, right?!

    I hate people.

    Covid rates are rising in Seattle, a lot. 70% vaccination rate, so I’m guessing 7% of the infected are vaccinated, and the unvaccinated are having a massive, massive outbreak —basically as bad as our winter peak, and getting worse.

    But if the fact that there are some breakthrough infections makes them feel better as they gasp for air, more power to them. They had a choice between the vaccine and the virus, and they chose wrong.

  146. de stijl says:


    Same guy poked his eyeball on a bolt a few years back when he slipped trying to reach a bit too far.

    All the medical pros worked for years to rectify, but to little avail. He has a $40k custom engineered mechanical iris made in Germany (who know what the surgery cost). It did not work.

    We were chatting one day and it dawned on me suddenly that he was not not dark blind in that eye, he is in fact white blind. The concept never occurred to me. Makes total sense. Without an iris that functions, he has no way to automatically regulate incoming light. The retina and optic nerve still work fine. Too much light; no means to regulate.

    He wears an eye-patch nowadays and he looks like a bad-ass Bond villain. Or Snake Plissken.

    It suits him.

  147. de stijl says:


    I, too, have a very problematic reaction to @dazedandconfused‘s arguments about Russia’s “sphere of influence” and the implications of that.

    You did well, there. I would have been much more direct, but you did great. Handled it better than I would have by far.

  148. dazedandconfused says:


    To put this back in the context of my comments: This is about explaining why the Russians felt the US involving ourselves in the Ukraine situation resulted in them taking a strong interest in who we elected POTUS. I argue that it’s not really about the generally accepted reason in the US press, that Russia and Putin are obsessed with ending democracy in the West, the reason is quite explainable as the Russians feeling they are defending themselves from US aggression.

    Russia has not claimed sovereignty over the Ukraine. In fact the only portion they’ve contended for militarily is the Donbass, that was the eastern part I was referring to. We must agree to disagree that the people of Donbass and Crimea are being forced by Russia, unwillingly, to be a separated from the Ukraine and become part of Russia. I’ve followed that civil war and am convinced most of those Russian speakers were deeply offended by the new Ukrainian government’s edict banning the Russian language. There has always been a cultural split between the Donbass, which as always considered it self Russian, and the rest of the Ukraine. The Crimea is populated mainly by Russians too. A lot of their military brass retire there, and Russian is the language of the place, totally.