Friday’s Forum

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


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Republican senator faces serious allegations that he illegally loaned his campaign millions of dollars from his company. But the senator in question—Republican Mike Braun of Indiana—says he can’t fully answer the government’s questions because one of his key staffers “vanished.”

    The Daily Beast found him within minutes.

    On Wednesday morning, the Federal Election Commission released its audit of Braun’s campaign committee, alleging a litany of serious financial reporting errors, as well as millions of dollars in allegedly improper loans Braun used to finance his 2018 bid—including $1.5 million routed from the candidate’s former company.

    Just how corrupt was Braun’s campaign?

    Going by the audit’s findings, Kabrick appears to have good reason to keep a low profile. But his absence alone would not seem to cover all of the allegations, which include allegedly illegal loans from Braun’s former company.

    The auditors found that Braun’s reports show more than $8.5 million in “apparent prohibited loans” to his 2018 campaign. That includes $7 million in direct loans and lines of credit—with no collateral—“that did not appear to be made in the ordinary course of business.” The FEC also “identified two checks from one corporation totaling $1,500,000 that were reported as loans.”

    Those checks came from Meyer Distributing, which Braun founded, and where he served as CEO. The auditors say that fact makes them corporate contributions, which are illegal. The campaign reported them three different ways: first as “compensation” to Braun, then as redeemed stock, and finally as loans.

    But that’s just the beginning. The report cites an array of violations, including millions of dollars in misreported contributions and disbursements, as well as reporting errors for another nearly $2 million in donations. The audit also flagged hundreds of thousands of dollars that the campaign paid back to Braun, claiming those repayments exceeded the legal limit—another misstep that would appear difficult to pin on Kabrick.

    And it goes on, and on, and on, and on…

    Safe to say, if Joe Blow on the street engaged in such a sustained pattern of criminal behavior, involving just a few thousands of dollars, he’d be on the hook for a decade or more of hard time. But these being mere campaign finance violations, something that lies at the heart of our democracy, it will only cost money. And Braun has plenty of that as well as any number of wealthy benefactors willing to help defray the cost of furthering our oligarchy.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘They tell you what you want to hear’: people buying fake vaccine cards get scammed themselves

    Home Boy, who is based in Cameroon, sells cards for $170 and claims he delivers within 48 hours. He said he had worked with more than 250 people in the past three months. When asked about rumors about rampant scams on the platform, he shares “proof” of vaccine cards he has made. “If we have to work together we have to start by building trust,” he said.

    For $149, a user called “Admin 24/24”, based in Australia, said they could provide a digital vaccine pass “for every country”.

    Another scammer going by the name of “Stella Bright” promised to send QR codes provided by doctors who “work with the government but are ready to save the world”. When asked if this was a scam, she said: “We are part of those fighting fraudsters on Telegram and doing the right job. In a period of hardship like this one, we need heroes out there who can protect humans again since our government has failed us all.”

    Getting the vaccine is free, straightforward and safe but some people have instead chosen to spend weeks trying to illegally obtain fake vaccine cards only to get scammed, by other criminals, for hundreds of dollars.

    A sucker born every minute. And speaking of suckers…

    It took Maggie two tries and $450 before she realized she wasn’t going to get the fake vaccine cards she was looking to buy. The first seller that Maggie identified turned out to be a fraud. “The second time I was less trusting but still wanted to believe there was a way,” she said. “I fell for it again. I was so mad.”

    The second seller sent her a strange message after receiving her initial payment. “I’ll need a little more payment to complete your registration,” they said. “We need to pay for a certain situation.” Maggie told the seller she had no more money. A single mother, she had borrowed $350 to make the initial payment. Thinking that she might be getting scammed again, she pulled the plug.

    “I don’t trust any of them anymore. I haven’t come across even one other person [trying to buy a fake vaccine card] who has found someone legit,” Maggie told the Guardian. “The people who say they have – are usually in cahoots with the scammer or it’s a scammer’s alternate account.”

    Looking for somebody who will legitimately help her in her scam. Honey? There is no honor among thieves.

    While Maggie herself is fully vaccinated, something she says was “bullied” into, she has been looking for the card for her teenage daughter, who is an actor. Her daughter, she said, has been “treated like she has leprosy” in Hollywood because she doesn’t have the vaccine, and is losing jobs and access to her acting classes and agents.

    She found numerous groups on Telegram, with sellers offering fake cards for, as one puts it, “those who need results but not willing to take the vaccines”.

    “They tell you whatever you want to hear to get your money,” she said.

    Maggie believes almost everyone on the app are fraudsters. “That’s why I decided to make a group warning people,” she added. “I knew if I was in my situation and fell for it, people much more desperate and in worse situations than me were falling for it too.” Maggie’s group is now one of the first someone would see if they were looking for fake cards on the app.

    Maybe I am supposed to feel sympathy for such people being taken for hundreds because of their desperate need to be plague rats, but I feel only the urge to point and laugh.

  3. Scott says:

    Hope all had a decent Veterans’ Day yesterday. I had the day off and totally laid off the computer and social media. Walked the dogs, went to the gym, and thoroughly cleaned the house while the wife went to work as the school counselor.

    It is funny that I am now the fourth generation veteran because I don’t see us as a military family. Great grandfather was a British Army lifer (Gordon Highlander), grandfather served in WWI in the British Army, Dad was Army in WWII, and I did 20 in the AF. My brother was a Vietnam era Marine. Yet other than the great grandfather, none of us were particularly living the military lifestyle meaning living on base, kids going to school on base, socializing almost exclusively with military families.

    On another topic, while cleaning the house, I listened to podcasts. One in particular, was an interview by John Dickerson with Kirsten Powers on her book Saving Grace.

    Gabfest Reads: Kirsten Powers, Saving Grace

    In her book, she describes how she struggled in practicing her Christian faith and humanity while finding herself loathing a lot of people she interviewed and interacted with.

    It is a struggle I have also: finding and acknowledging the humanity in everyone from the homeless person on the street to some despicable political figure.

    Worth a listen.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Hope all had a decent Veterans’ Day yesterday. I had the day off and totally laid off the computer and social media. Walked the dogs, went to the gym, and thoroughly cleaned the house while the wife went to work as the school counselor.

    I got my catheter out. May not sound like much but it’s great to be able to pee like a man again.

  5. Mu Yixiao says:

    New class of drugs reverses paralysis in mice.

    US scientists have developed a new form of drug that promotes the regeneration of cells and reversed paralysis in mice with spinal injuries, allowing them to walk again within four weeks of treatment.

    We live in amazing times.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Now if these drugs would only work on our political system…

  7. JohnMcC says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Well, thank you very much for that link. My sis has been battling MS for >25 yrs. Every bit of hope is wonderful.

  8. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oh goodness, I was wondering how that was going, but didn’t want to pry! How’s your shoulder feeling?

  9. CSK says:

    “Pee like a man…” Wasn’t that a song by The Four Seasons?

    Seriously: I’m glad to hear this.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Re: mouse studies. While this is hopeful news and may point the way towards eventual use in humans, you gotta remember that if humans were mice, by now we would have cured cancer, diabetes, blindness, heart disease, etc a hundred times over. I’m not claiming any expertise whatsoever on how applicable these experiments may be to human physiology, but rather an just going on a lifetime experience of miracles in mice that never translated to human benefit.

  11. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Doubtful. It would be hard to regenerate spinal chord cells in spineless organisms.

    What we need is a drug that will target, hunt down, and destroy the memory B-cells and memory T-cells the body produces in response to vaccination. That would liberate us all from the tyranny of Big Pharma one and for all, and we can get back to taking medication only when we’re sick (that’s a paradox on two levels).

  12. KM says:

    You know what? They really do deserve it. They’re acting like they’re some heroic social force out to resist a great evil, like the Righteous Among Nations. However, unlike the Righteous they refuse to suffer or endure any kind of hardship for their supposedly moral stance. They’re not La Resistance, the Underground Railroad or freedom fighters standing against tyranny no matter what their fantasies tell them. Resistance to evil comes at a cost and you can’t cheap your way into it.

    If you really and truly do not wish to be vaxxed due to your belief, then you are choosing to suffer for your beliefs. That’s just how it goes – you go against the current and you must struggle to swim. These folks are looking for an easy way out to still get all those social goodies and deserve to be fleeced for all they are worth. Lazy entitled bastards are outraged someone’s willing to do them dirty as they look for dirty means to achieve their aims. It’s like someone who accepts a bribe and then gets mad when the amount delivered is far less than agreed upon – who are you gonna complain to, the cops?

  13. CSK says:

    No, there is no bottom to Trump’s depravity.

    Jonathan Karl: “They were saying ‘hang Mike Pence.'”

    Donald Trump: “Because it’s common sense, Jon.”

  14. gVOR08 says:


    it’s great to be able to pee like a man again.

    You’ve made Josh Hawley proud. And put the seat back down.

    More seriously, hoping the rest of your recovery goes as well.

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @KM: The thing is, they really believe they’re somehow being brave and saving the world by not getting vaxxed. I blame FOX News and their ilk.

  16. Kathy says:


    I’m thinking these types may explain the prevalence of what Bush the elder called Voodoo Economics*.

    Consider the choices:

    1) Get a free vaccine which might cost a few minutes out of your day (by now, it was different in the beginning), and gives you very good protection against a disease known to be nasty, dangerous, and with potential long-term sequelae.

    2) Pay hundreds for a fake vaccination card which still leaves you at risk for a disease known to be nasty, dangerous, and with potential long-term sequelae.

    And they see the second option as best for them.

    Is it any wonder they think transferring more money to the rich is in their benefit?

    *A comment that constitutes libel against Voodoo.

  17. Kathy says:

    Another thing about vaccination cards and certificates. When boosters become commonplace, and as the pandemic drags on, it may be one will have to prove having received a booster as well. So the covidiots will have to keep paying to maintain their fake vaccinations status for a year or two more.

  18. CSK says:

    My original vax card has a notification on it that I received the booster.

  19. KM says:

    You must really commit to a lie – that’s why the saying is the truth shall set you free. Lies become a tangled web that keeps growing because there’s so many little moving parts that could expose you. Oh, you blew $450 you didn’t have and needed to borrow it like the woman above? Lie about why and now you need to figure out how to repay it. Must remember to not tell this person or anyone that might speak to them that you took their money to use for a criminal act (forgery of legal documents, lying about a legal status to employers or government, etc). Must remember who’s sympathetic and can keep quiet, who’s got a big mouth or might let something slip. Must remember details of the false shot – what happens if someone asks you if you got Moderna or Pfizer or what date the second shot was? Gotta keep the story straight and make sure there’s no detail that could give you away like someone misspelling Moderna. Hope nobody gets caught and squeals or you get exposed if law enforcement goes fishing. Booster means even more complexity, more lies – how long ago was the fake shot? Can you pretend to be against a booster if you’re supposedly fully vaxxed or will that make them suspicious?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if people started getting blackmailed over this. Don’t wanna lose your job or get in trouble? $500 or we send your details to the cops. Hey, you work in a hospital? We need some things on the side, make it happen. Liberate some things for us or we’re telling. You already broke the law so what’s one more?

  20. Gustopher says:


    Maybe I am supposed to feel sympathy for such people being taken for hundreds because of their desperate need to be plague rats, but I feel only the urge to point and laugh.

    I don’t know, I also feel the urge to forward the article to my long-term unemployed and lightly morally challenged friend as a business idea.

    He’s got time on his hands, and he hates the plague rat Republicans, and he’s motivated by spite. He should get in this business.

  21. gVOR08 says:
  22. senyordave says:

    @barbintheboonies: So if a burglar is arrested we should let him or her go because there are a lot of burglars out there who don’t get caught. Is that your logic?

  23. Scott says:

    @CSK: What are the odds that Mike Pence will show any sort of backbone and throw some shade (I won’t even go so far and say denounce) back at Trump.

    I say zero.

    WRT to Trump, I am continually astonished at the weakness and spinelessness of Republicans when it comes to Trump. I don’t get it and never have.

  24. Jen says:

    @barbintheboonies: I don’t think that you appreciate the sheer level of corruption in that case. This isn’t mischaracterizing one item on an FEC report.

    This truly is some next-level corruption.

  25. CSK says:

    The only answer I have to your question is that any Republican running for office is so terrified of alienating the Trumpkins that he or she won’t say anything bad about him. And they probably should be terrified. When Trump won in 2016, I remember one particularly obnoxious supporter exulting that “We’re in the driver’s seat now.” Anything, even the mildest criticism of Trump, can get you labeled a commie traitor and consigned to perdition. Going against Trump is, in effect, committing electoral suicide, except perhaps if you’re one of the New England Republican governors and you don’t plan on running for the Senate or the presidency.

    As for Pence, he’s done. Whatever presidential aspirations he might have once had he should abandon. The MAGAs hate his guts for his traitorous refusal to throw the election to Trump.

  26. Scott says:

    @CSK: I agree. He’s done. All the more reason to let the freak flag fly. But he won’t. Because the entire party is one of weakness and corruption. And has been for a long time. Just like its leader.

  27. CSK says:

    @Scott: If I were Pence, I’d be trashing Trump every chance I got. Trump treated him like a used Kleenex while Pence was vice president, and then not only literally abandoned him to the howling mob in the Capitol, but went on Twitter to call him a coward for not overturning the election.

    If Pence is trying to stay on Trump’s good side because he needs Trump’s support in running for the presidency, he should have figured out by now that a) that’s not going to happen and b) he has no chance at the 2024 nomination.

    Maybe he’s being a good Christian and turning the other cheek.

  28. Kathy says:


    Il piccolo duce will eventually be attacked from the right, as that’s the only avenue where he’s vulnerable with the GQP base.

    You’d think it shouldn’t even be hard, as he was so incompetent to beggar belief. But there are two things going for the Cheeto. One is that the base digs his vulgarian, unrefined, uncultured attitude. The second is he projects boundless self-confidence, and keeps hammering that all he does is the first, the best, the greatest, etc. thing anyone has ever done. Come, his base probably does think no one knew healthcare was complicated until Benito made that momentous discovery.

  29. CSK says:

    I can’t see Trump’s most vociferous supporters ever attacking him. (I do think some of his less vocal fans may, at some point, abandon him, particularly if he doesn’t run in 2024.) You have to recall that it’s not just his vulgarity and churlishness that thrills them, nor his confidence; they’ve convinced themselves that he’s the G.O.A.T.

  30. Joe says:


    I’m not claiming any expertise whatsoever on how applicable these experiments may be to human physiology, but rather an just going on a lifetime experience of miracles in mice that never translated to human benefit.

    We also still can’t run mazes, especially not corn mazes.

  31. Mimai says:

    We’ve got a terrible problem of geese in my neck of the woods. They shit everywhere and often harass people. It’s annoying to me because they congregate in places where I like to run and walk my dog.

  32. just nutha says:

    The campaign reported them three different ways: first as “compensation” to Braun, then as redeemed stock, and finally as loans.

    The lesson: Pick ONE story and stick to it.

  33. CSK says:

    BREAKING: Steve Bannon has been indicted on 2 counts of contempt of Congress.

  34. Sleeping Dog says:


    Interestingly, Chris Christie has decided that there is no political future in being a trump toady and has begun to call TFG out, inferring that he’s a loser and that R’s need to look forward and not 2020 that was lost.

    With it all but certain that TFG is running, it makes sense to be the first anti-trump R candidate. The toadies will either need to wait for 28 or settle for being VP and all have witnessed how Pence was/is treated. It is reasonable to assume that most of them would rather have Covid than serve under trump. If/when TFG self destructs before the 24 election, Christie might be the only candidate standing to assume the mantel.

  35. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    Steve Bannon has been indicted

    Damn you, CSK. Beat me again.

  36. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Christie is not afraid of Trump. Remember, Christie convicted Charles Kushner who Trump later pardoned. He would love to shiv Trump, figuratively if not literally. Bad blood all around.

  37. just nutha says:

    @barbintheboonies: “… and that is on both sides.”

    And yet, your question asked specifically “Can you find any Democrat that isn’t corrupt [emphasis added]” and not
    “can you find any legislator on either side of the aisle…” Hmmm. A cynical person would say that you added the “on both sides” part as an a&&-covering afterthought that you don’t really mean. (Good thing there are no cynical crackers around here, eh Barb?)

  38. gVOR08 says:

    @Scott: Also, Christie was in charge of the transition when it was still hypothetical. After he got elected TFG replaced Christie with Pence. Pence is very much a creature of Koch so he brought a lot of people into the admin from the Kochtopus. So Christie has a grievance that he got booted from an influential position. However he also has a fine eye for the main chance, so it’s interesting that, later than Cheney, he sees a lane for a less than complete toady.

  39. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Ya gotta get up pretty early to get the jump on me.
    Maybe Mark Meadows is next.

  40. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I saw that about Christie, but it was always kind of easy to tell that he despised Trump.

    Do you think it’s courage with Christie, or has he just decided that his political future is over, so he’s throwing caution to the winds?

  41. Kathy says:


    He could beg Rick Sanchez for help with that. But time is short.

  42. CSK says:

    Burning question:

    Will Bannon take the fifth? Or bring a fifth?

  43. Kathy says:


    the problem would seem to be stupidity is harder than diamond.

  44. just nutha says:

    @senyordave: Be careful about thinking that such reasoning would be absurd. For 20 years, my mom contended that no one should be convicted of murder until that liberal scum Ted Kennedy “got what he deserved” for drowning that poor girl on Chappaquiddick Island.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I had my first bout of physical therapy this AM and none the worse for wear. Still, it don’t feel too good. Also, not too bad. So… Snafu.

  46. just nutha says:

    @CSK: “… to call him a coward for not overturning the election.”

    Alas, there’s every possibility that Pence himself thinks he’s a coward for not overturning the election. But I do hope that he’s ignoring the invective hurled at him. It will be better for both his psyche and his soul to do so.

  47. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    Maybe he’s doing just that. As I said, turning the other cheek.

  48. CSK says:

    Bannon says he’ll turn himself in on Monday.

    Perhaps someone should confiscate his passport.

  49. JohnSF says:

    @just nutha:
    Bothsidesism is currently really annoying me in Britain.
    You’ve got the blatant misdeeds of the Conservative MP’s Owen Paterson and the attempt of the government to protect him from the Parliamentary Standards enforcement.
    Plus the activities of Geoffrey Cox MP in representing the tax dodgery of the British Virgin Islands and failing to even turn up in Parliament. (Not linking for fear of the link eating demons; google away!)
    Or Johnsons freebie holidays at a villa owned by Conservative Peer Zac Goldsmith.
    etc; browse the Guardian or Bylinetimes for loads more.

    And in UK social media you’ve got whataboutery re. Keir Starmer doing legal work while an MP before 2019; trust me, the comparison is ludicrous.

    I’m smidgeon conservative myself in some respects, and I’d say an unfortunately large percentage of the current crop of Conservatives are either corrupt, stupid, mendacious or a mix of the three.
    (Not all; it seem to be chiefly the old guard from ultra-safe seats, and disproportionately linked to the ERG for some reason)
    But don’t take it from me: ask former Conservative leader and PM John Major.

  50. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Doesn’t that depend on whether there’s a fifth already there? 😉

  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Por que no los todos?

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: He’s a Christian. They are horrible at turning the other cheek. Except of course for when the dominatrix tells them too.

  53. CSK says:

    @just nutha: @OzarkHillbilly:
    Could be to either.

    A few years ago, there was an interesting article in the New Yorker about how Bannon made a deliberate decision to look like a slob and a lush, presumably because that would make him better able to relate to the masses. In his first Hollywood days, he dressed and groomed himself like a human being.

  54. JohnSF says:

    Hmm. The Boris Johnson school of acting.

  55. CSK says:

    Yes, but with Johnson it’s the idiotic hairdo. Unlike Bannon, Johnson doesn’t look as if he slept in a dumpster.

  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Yeah, I read that too. It sounds like him.

  57. JohnSF says:

    Well, Johnson is English (ish) after all.
    No need to take it too far, old boy.

    Different audiences.
    See also, Dominic Cummings.

    Bannon seems to be taking method acting a teensie bit too far.
    And Bannon has never wielded the real power that Johnson does and Cummings did.

  58. Kurtz says:

    A CNBC article appeared in my feed:

    “Want to sound more confident? Avoid these 11 words and phrases that make you look ‘weak,’ say grammar experts”

    I get the thought process behind most of them. But #3 drew a weird facial expression from me.

    “I think this would …”
    What to say instead: “I believe this would …”

    This is a minor distinction, but a valid one: “I think” sounds weaker than “I believe,” and is a little more doubtful, as if you’re saying something might work, but you’re not sure.

    “I believe” puts you in charge of the thought and conveys a calm surety. And even if you’re not so sure at all, no one needs to know that!

    I have a few thoughts about this.

    Perhaps this is how a person as bright as Bill Ackman can be cornered at a congressional hearing, forcing him to issue a mea culpa in the form of:

    You know, clearly, there were things I did not understand about the business. And this was a failure of due diligence on my part, for sure.

    Dude, you have one job, the foundation of which is due diligence.

    Maybe the problem is belief overriding thought. Belief in the idea that stripping innovative companies of their tools of innovation in order to create value for shareholders leads to more future innovations via freed funds to invest in unproven companies with potential for innovation.

    Belief outweighs thought, because the former shapes the latter process. We justifiably protect people’s beliefs. But this gets mistaken for license. Opinions can’t be wrong, so the incentive is to make facts the subject of belief.

  59. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: Speaking as an atheist who thinks beliefs are the root of all evil (even if they quite accidentally produce a good or 2), I saw that piece and knew it was horseshit without reading a word. Which is not to say they aren’t right, just that humans are pretty dawg damned stupid.

  60. Mimai says:

    [caveat 1: I didn’t read the article.]

    Ugh! (and the associated facial expressions)

    I think confidence and strength are conveyed by appropriate caution, caveats, etc. I think “I think” captures this and also demonstrates self-awareness.

    The term “belief” also pings my radar for “conviction that is without and is immune from data,” which is perfectly reasonable (or at least understandable) in some cases, but not in most cases.

    [caveat 2: I ain’t no grammar “expert” – more of a connoisseur.]

  61. JohnSF says:


    “I believe” puts you in charge of the thought and conveys a calm surety.”

    I believe this to be a load of bollocks.
    For one thing, “think” implies to me the existence of the potential for doubt and revision.
    Belief, implies, to me, a dogmatic certainty.

    We justifiably protect people’s beliefs. But this gets mistaken for license. Opinions can’t be wrong

    I dunno.
    On the whole I’m quite prepared to say e.g. Nazis or e.g. Aztec heart ripping priests or e.g. slave traders are flat wrong and there’s an end of it.

    Of course, that’s because their opinions, actualised, impinge on the lives of others.
    But then, a lot of opinions do, one way or another.

    Is that in turn a belief? Maybe, but defensible on the basis that I’m right, so there 🙂

    I think you are on to a key aspect of civilised life here.
    Perhaps: belief is emotional, thought is rational.
    Rational action and reflection is the key to humane systems; though emotional motivations are probably always going to underlie those rationalisations, and drive their implementation.

    But the desire for absolute belief is so dangerous.
    It reminds me of one of the foundations of my attitudes growing up, Dr Jacob Bronowski in BBC series The Ascent of Man … googling … from 1973. Dear me.

    “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken”

  62. CSK says:

    I, too, believe this is horseshit. Cogito, ergo sum.

  63. JohnSF says:

    Also, reading the whole article could be summarised for us English as: “Dear English folks: stop talking in an English manner”.

    Though they do have some good advice:

    What to say instead: Nothing

    If only I could learn that lesson 🙂

  64. Jax says:

    @CSK: Thoroughly enjoying the mental image of the trolls lurking in the darkness and their heads exploding after reading your “liberal double talk”. 😛

    I mean, there were actually multiple thumbs up on the posts. There are multiple trolls lurking under this bridge.

  65. Kurtz says:


    Perhaps: belief is emotional, thought is rational.

    That thought kept tapping me on the shoulder while I was writing my post. I guess it was too polite.

  66. Kurtz says:


    I wonder if they draw straws to decide who has to take the toll each day. Every once in a while, one of them posts multiple days in a row. I imagine them shaking their fist at the sky, cursing their poor luck.

  67. JohnSF says:
  68. Kurtz says:


    Which is not to say they aren’t right, just that humans are pretty dawg damned stupid.

    To be clear, I think they are correct. (To the Petras siblings, if you are reading this, I believe you are correct. Which expression makes you happier? Which word implies that I, your reader, considered your argument?) But the reason they are correct has nothing to do with grammar. Rather, it hinges more on the epistemic processes engaged by most people.

    My 11th grade English Language teacher gave a piece of advice that (I presume) he gave to every one of his classes–say “I think” instead of “I feel” for the reasons expressed by you two and @JohnSF.

    But maybe I put too much faith in a curmudgeonly alopeciac teaching in a public school.

    “I believe” puts you in charge of the thought and conveys a calm surety.

    I didn’t address this in OP, but this seems way off. I’m not sure how belief implies authority on its own–it requires some previously accumulated gravitas.

    But the “calm surety” part, yikes. No way. Nobody advocates stopping and believing before taking action. Belief leads people to shimmy through tiny windows into the Capitol and suffering a GSW for the trouble. Thought leads people away from such action.

    On the other hand, we can all rest easy tonight having found the elusive answer to the eternal question: how does one end up beating on the door of the Michigan Capitol like extras in a zombie movie?

    Sleep well, my friends. You earned it.

  69. CSK says:

    I eschew putting Descartes before the horse.

  70. Mu Yixiao says:


    just going on a lifetime experience of miracles in mice that never translated to human benefit.

    I thought the left was the “party of science”.

    Several months before his thirtieth birthday, Greg Maas discovered a lump in his abdomen that would not go away.1 He went to his doctor for tests, and then to a specialist for a biopsy, and 2 weeks before his birthday he was told that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes that was once invariably fatal. An initial round of chemotherapy controlled the cancer for 3 years, during which time Maas and his wife had their second child. When the cancer reappeared, Maas underwent a more aggressive round of chemotherapy, followed by a bone marrow transplant to repair the damage done to his immune system by the chemotherapy. Today, several years after the treatment, the cancer appears to have been eliminated.

    What does this have to do with mice?

    The drugs used to kill the cancer cells in Greg Maas’s body have been screened and tested over the past several decades in inbred strains of mice susceptible to leukemia.

    Pretty much every new drug, treatment, or diagnostic approach that has been developed in the past 50 years has been first tested on mice. Go back and look at any medical advancements and you’re going to see that they were tested on mice.

    It’s the reverse of the “gateway drug” argument.

    Does everything tested on mice become a cure? No. Have the vast majority of new cures been tested on mice? Yes.


  71. Sleeping Dog says:


    Christie’s political future is dead if he’s another trump toady and as @Scott: points out above, he’s not scared of Trump. Christie won’t be the R candidate and he knows it, but he could go down in history as the R who lead the party counter attack against trump. That and all the money he’ll make from TV appearances and books will comfort him.

  72. Jax says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Christie’s pretty late to the party if he wants to go down in history as the guy who stood up to Trump. Let’s not forget all the ass-licking he did, back when he was in a position to stop Trump.

  73. Kurtz says:


    I should clarify what I meant by “opinions can’t be wrong.” I don’t agree with that sentiment. I don’t know how common it is now or ever was, but it is something that I heard teachers say when explaining assignments. I thought it was a way to assuage anxiety among students or maybe encourage thought.

    But outside education, it’s a cultural belief in the US. It also exists in law to delimit freedom of speech. I suspect that holding this view is, at least in part, an attempt to encourage civility and respect among disagreeing parties.

    I think I had a long post in my early days as an OTB commenter about the pernicious effect this can have on the ability or willingness to reason.
    But it can be added to the giant, flaming pile of barriers to deliberation that exist.

  74. de stijl says:


    From our perspective geese are assholes.

    From the geese perspective we are intruding on their child rearing and being very provocative and intrusive.

    Geese, maybe don’t breed in urban parks, then.

    Goose aggression freaks people out. It is often so out of nowhere. If one aggros at me I run directly at it screaming “AAAH!” flapping my arms wide. Freaks ’em out.

    I understand their POV. We seem to be encroaching on their turf – their babies.

    But, my dudes, consideration works two ways. I just wanna get my walk on, see calming things, feel a cool breeze, inhale deeply. I do not need your shit bringing me down.

    Being a jackhole randomly does you no favor. If you aggress against me I will double it back.

    If a goose attacks you, most people cringe and kick lamely. When a goose attacks me I attack back. Run directly at it and scream and stick my arms out. You don’t scare me. I’m scaring you. Believe it.

    There is a life lesson in there somewhere.

  75. Mimai says:

    @de stijl:

    From our perspective geese are assholes. From the geese perspective we are intruding on their child rearing and being very provocative and intrusive. . .But, my dudes, consideration works two ways. I just wanna get my walk on, see calming things, feel a cool breeze, inhale deeply. I do not need your shit bringing me down.

    Exactly! The problem is that people keep feeding them. So they stick around. And more food produces more shit. It’s simple biology.

    If a goose attacks you, most people cringe and kick lamely. When a goose attacks me I attack back. Run directly at it and scream and stick my arms out. You don’t scare me. I’m scaring you. Believe it.

    Most of the time, the goose is all bluster. Honk honk honk. Hiiiiiisssss. Flap of the wings. Easily dismissed and ignored. And yet, here we are, with fat geese shitting everywhere. Rarely, they will actually attack. In that case, well, you know.