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:

    From ‘Really abnormal’ storms and tornadoes tear through Great Plains and midwest

    “To have this number of damaging wind storms at one time would be unusual any time of year,” said Brian Barjenbruch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley, Nebraska. “But to have this happen in December is really abnormal.”
    “I think we also need to stop asking the question of whether or not this event was caused by climate change. All events nowadays are augmented by climate change,” said Northern Illinois University meteorology professor Victor Gensini.

    “We need to be asking, ‘to what extent did climate change play a role and how likely was this event to occur in the absence of climate change?”’

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    An Obit for the ages. I should dream of being so remembered.

    Renay Mandel Corren
    El Paso, TX—A plus-sized Jewish lady redneck died in El Paso on Saturday.

    Of itself hardly news, or good news if you’re the type that subscribes to the notion that anybody not named you dying in El Paso, Texas is good news. In which case have I got news for you: the bawdy, fertile, redheaded matriarch of a sprawling Jewish-Mexican-Redneck American family has kicked it. This was not good news to Renay Mandel Corren’s many surviving children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, many of whom she even knew and, in her own way, loved. There will be much mourning in the many glamorous locales she went bankrupt in: McKeesport, PA, Renay’s birthplace and where she first fell in love with ham, and atheism; Fayetteville and Kill Devil Hills, NC, where Renay’s dreams, credit rating and marriage are all buried; and of course Miami, FL, where Renay’s parents, uncles, aunts, and eternal hopes of all Miami Dolphins fans everywhere, are all buried pretty deep. Renay was preceded in death by Don Shula.

    Because she was my mother, the death of zaftig good-time gal Renay Corren at the impossible old age of 84 is newsworthy to me, and I treat it with the same respect and reverence she had for, well, nothing. A more disrespectful, trash-reading, talking and watching woman in NC, FL or TX was not to be found. Hers was an itinerant, much-lived life, a Yankee Florida liberal Jewish Tough Gal who bowled ’em in Japan, rolled ’em in North Carolina and was a singularly unique parent. Often frustrated by the stifling, conservative culture of the South, Renay turned her voracious mind to the home front, becoming a model stay at home parent, a supermom, really, just the perfect PTA lady, volunteer, amateur baker and-AHHAHAA HA! HA! HA! Just kidding, y’all! Renay – Rosie to her friends, and this was a broad who never met a stranger – worked double shifts with Doreen, ate a ton of carbs with Bernie, and could occasionally be stirred to stew some stuffed cabbage for the kids. She played cards like a shark, bowled and played cribbage like a pro, and laughed with the boys until the wee hours, long after the last pin dropped. At one point in the 1980’s, Renay was the 11th or 12th-ranked woman in cribbage in America, and while that could be a lie, it sounds great in print. She also told us she came up with the name for Sunoco, and I choose to believe this, too. Yes, Renay lied a lot. But on the plus side, Renay didn’t cook, she didn’t clean, and she was lousy with money, too. Here’s what Renay was great at: dyeing her red roots, weekly manicures, dirty jokes, pier fishing, rolling joints and buying dirty magazines. She said she read them for the articles, but filthy free speech was really Renay’s thing. Hers was a bawdy, rowdy life lived large, broke and loud. We thought Renay could not be killed. God knows, people tried. A lot. Renay has been toying with death for a decades, but always beating it and running off in her silver Chevy Nova. Covid couldn’t kill Renay. Neither could pneumonia twice, infections, blood clots, bad feet, breast cancer twice, two mastectomies, two recessions, multiple bankruptcies, marriage to a philandering Sergeant Major, divorce in the 70’s, six kids, one cesarean, a few abortions from the Quietly Famous Abortionist of Spring Lake, NC or an affair with Larry King in the 60’s. Renay was preceded in death by her ex-boyfriend, Larry King. Renay was also sadly preceded in death by her beloved daughter, Cathy Sue Corren Lester Trammel Webster, of Kill Devil Hills, NC, who herself was preceded in death by two marriages, a fudge shop and one eyeball lost in a near-fatal Pepsi bottle incident that will absolutely be explored in future obituaries. Losing her 1-eyed badass b**** of a daughter in 2007 devastated Renay, but it also made her quite homeless, since Cathy pretty much picked up the tab. A talented and gregarious grifter, Renay M. Corren eked out her final years of luxury (she literally retired at 62) under the care, compassion, checking accounts and, evidently, unlimited patience of her favorite son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Lourdes Corren, of world-famous cow sanctuary El Paso, TX. Renay is also survived by her son Jeffrey Corren and his endlessly tolerant wife Shirley, of Powell’s Point, NC; Scott Corren, and what’s left of his colon, of Hampton, VA; Marc and Laura Corren, the loveliest dirt farmers of Vernon, TX (seriously, where is that); and her favorite son, the gay one who writes catty obituaries in his spare time, Andy Corren, of – obviously – New York City. Plus two beloved granddogs, Mia and Hudson. Renay was particularly close to and grateful for the lavish attentions of her grandaughter Perla and her great-grandchildren Elijah and Leroy, as well as her constant cruise companions Sam Trammell of Greenville, NC, and Adam Corren of El Paso, TX. Renay took tremendous pride in making 1 gay son and 2 gay grandchildren, Sam Trammell and Adam Corren.

    There will be a very disrespectful and totally non-denominational memorial on May 10, 2022, most likely at a bowling alley in Fayetteville, NC. The family requests absolutely zero privacy or propriety, none what so ever, and in fact encourages you to spend some government money today on a 1-armed bandit, at the blackjack table or on a cheap cruise to find our inheritance. She spent it all, folks. She left me nothing but these lousy memories. Which I, and my family of 5 brothers and my sister-in-laws, nephews, friends, nieces, neighbors, ex-boyfriends, Larry King’s children, who I guess I might be one of, the total strangers who all, to a person, loved and will cherish her. Forever. Please think of the brightly-frocked, frivolous, funny and smart Jewish redhead who is about to grift you, tell you a filthy joke, and for Larry King’s sake: LAUGH. Bye, Mommy. We loved you to bits.

    RIP RENAY MANDEL CORREN 10 MAY 1937 – 11 DEC 2021

  3. Scott says:

    This is going to be an odd day. Heading into the office for the last time to turn in my laptop, badges,etc as I “retire”. More likely it is just “quitting working for money”. Just sent a note to the Division saying bye to everyone who I haven’t seen in person since March 2020. Not sure where the pandemic is heading but the wife told me yesterday three teachers she works with went home after testing positive. Great! Just went to a holiday party with one of them. As an aside, there are no substitutes to be had so today is going to be a rough day. Better stock up on the wine. Went to Walgreens to stock up on couple of test kits since we’re planning to head to Houston on Wednesday to spend Christmas with my son and family which include a 3 year old and 6 month old. Probably will test right before we leave.

    All you can to is hope for the best and take everything in stride. And be grateful that we have the resources to do so.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Omicron rears it’s ugly head.

    Looks like it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Somebody has a bridge to sell.

    AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Akron police have investigated the theft of all kinds of valuables over the years, but for the first time in anyone’s memory, detectives are trying to find out who stole a bridge.

    At one time, the pedestrian bridge was along the Little Cuyahoga River in Middlebury Run Park, which sits in the shadow of Goodyear World Headquarters on Akron’s East End.
    Detectives say the theft of the bridge was actually done in phases, beginning on Nov. 3, when the thieves cleared the brush around the span and then removed all of the deck boards from the structure.

  6. JohnMcC says:

    The election news from Great Britain probably ought to be gnawed on in forums like this. A district (?borough — probably archaic) in the area near the Welch border and a long-time Tory preserve just voted overwhelmingly for a young woman of the Lib-Dems. Apparently quite stunning.

    I don’t have any dog in that fight but there is a strange convergence between politics over here and over there. All that business of Reagan and Thatcher occupying the same temporal space.

    I guess I’m grasping at straws, eh?

  7. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That was a glorious read. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:


    Congratulations Scott! And welcome to the next life, may it be long and comfortable.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The first true millipede: new species with more than 1,000 legs discovered in Western Australia

    The first ever millipede with more than 1,000 legs been discovered in Western Australia. The species, which is the first “true” millipede, has 1,306 legs and was found up to 60 metres underground in a mining area in the Eastern Goldfields region of WA. Researchers have named the new species Eumillipes persephone, in reference to the Greek goddess of the underworld, Persephone.

    It breaks the previous record set by Illacme plenipes, which is found in central California and has up to 750 legs.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    Yesterday there was discussions regarding NFTs, a market that I find even more difficult to understand is sneakers.

    On StockX, for example, a pair of Jordan 1’s were sold on Nov. 28, the day of Mr. Abloh’s death, for $10,500; in the rest of the month, the shoe’s price had not exceeded $7,549. (It was originally priced $190 in retailers in 2017.)

  11. MarkedMan says:

    Here is the MarkedMan Positive News Dose for the week: by my calculations (which I think are comservative) the COVID vaccination campaign saved 13,387 lives last week, 4016 of whom were of working age. It also prevented 174,017 cases of long COVID, and if the age range is the same for long COVID as for the death rate, that is 52,211 working age people still in the work force and able to care for themselves.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: that should read, “the US vaccination campaign”

  13. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    IMO it’s pretty much all the same. Beanie Babies, NFTs, tulips, housing loans, stocks, etc. they’re all trendy “investments” until the bottom falls out of the market when people realize none of these things holds any inherent value.

    * Securitized loans and** stocks are legitimate investments, but also involve people following trends. And some were bad investments to begin with.

    ** How’s that a for a pleonasm?

  14. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: ….bitcoin….

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: note also that Melanie appears to have an infinite number of these “absolutely unique” NFT’s.

  16. CSK says:

    Speaking of investments that the bottom falls out of, did anyone think that Trump’s new social media network was anything but a scam?

  17. CSK says:

    The price of “Melania’s Vision” appears to have dropped to $170.13 since yesterday.

    Why would anyone want a truly heinous “artwork” such as that glowering down from one’s walls?

  18. Kathy says:


    It’s a limited time offer. Good only while supplies last!

  19. Kathy says:


    How dare you? It’s also a crutch to prop up his fragile ego. You can’t put a price on that.

  20. JohnSF says:


    A district ?borough…

    Parliamentary constituencies often don’t correspond to administrative districts (which are a complicated topic in themselves, so going to slide past…)
    The boundaries commission generally tries to fit them within county boundaries, or assign to distinct towns.

    But main thing is, North Shropshire has voted Tory since Moses was in short trousers.
    Returned a Conservative ever since the Great Reform Act of 1832, except for a Liberal 1904-1906.
    c.60% Con vote in 2019
    c.60% Leave vote in the EU referendum.

    It is a prosperous area of agriculture, small towns, light industry, and some long distance commuters to larger towns a bit further away.
    The sort of area the Tories expect to walk home.

    This is gut-punch for Johnson, who has had a lot of political issues lately, generating unhappiness among Con MPs.
    He’s probably lucky Parliament went into recess yesterday to give them chance to calm down.

    Brief summary of causes IMO:
    1 Johnson himself
    2 Agriculture: impact of leaving EU on this sector
    2 Conservatives and the whiff of corruption

    If I get time later I’ll expand on this; including why Johnson was never as triumphant as some hailed him, why this constituency was not as safe, why the Conservatives have serious issues going forward, and why Thatcher/Reagan-Conservatives/Republicans align more in time than in ideology, superficial links notwithstanding.

  21. CSK says:

    Possibly, but if TruthSocial never goes live, how will it prop up Trump’s ego?

  22. gVOR08 says:

    Atrios notes this morning,

    Certainly there are things the Biden administration can do by executive order which would make certain coal loving senators VERY VERY VERY ANGRY.
    That here are things to bargain with is my point.

    Maybe read that Art of the Deal book (joke).

    Sounds good. But on consideration it’s like sanctions against Putin. Easy to hurt Russians, hard to hurt Putin. Biden could easily hurt West Virginians, but Manchin has made it pretty clear he doesn’t give a damn about West Virginians. Hard to hurt Manchin. But perhaps it would be easier to threaten the people who are paying Manchin to do what he’s doing. Maybe reinforced OSHA and EPA scrutiny of Koch Industries. We may not be sure who’s paying Manchin, but the suspects could all stand a deal more scrutiny.

    OK, a bit facetious, maybe, but surely there are things Biden could do with the gloves off. WWLBJD?

  23. Stormy Dragon says:

    Every year since 1968, the town of Gävle, Sweden has put a giant (13 meters tall) straw goat, the Gävlebocken, in their central square for advent. In those 53 years, the goat has been burned down 38 times, frequently enough that a lot of people now consider burning down the goat to be as much a Christmas tradition as the goat itself.

    Indeed, some people have suggested that 2017-2020, which represented the longest streak of the goat surviving, cursed the following years and is the true source of our recent troubles.

    Good news for 2022 then, because last night the goat was burned:

    Sweden’s ill-fated yule goat burns down a week before Christmas

  24. just nutha says:


    Apparently quite stunning.

    The candidate or the victory? Or maybe, perhaps both? [insert Groucho Marx eyebrow waggle]

  25. MarkedMan says:


    how will it prop up Trump’s ego?

    I don’t think going live is needed here. Trump gets his ego boosted by fleecing suckers, not building things. Trump has been involved in a fair number of real estate schemes that never got built. Basically, Step 1) find star struck investors with a lot of money that think Trump is a business genius, Step 2) convince them that it’s a sure thing because Trump only invests in sure things, 3) imply, but don’t ever put in writing, that Trump is putting his own money in the deal (he absolutely is not), 4) burn through all the investors money paying various Trump companies to manage this or that thing, or to reimburse the cost of Trump flying the investors around in Trump’s private plane (which they thought was just them joining him on a trip he would be taking anyway), 5) Tell them the deal fell through and there is no money left, but by the way here’s a bill for a whole bunch more that is owed to Trump associates.

    We know this from a few lawsuits that were unsealed or were never sealed, but in those cases (and presumably all cases) the contract language was such that they have no recourse and they lost the case. Basically only a sucker would have agreed to it and, well, there you are…

  26. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    At least the sneakers actually exist and can’t be duplicated for free by right clicking on them.

  27. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I don’t think you even get a copy to hang anywhere–unless you print one out yourself. As I understand from reading part of the FAQs, this particular NFT, as is true of most as I understand, exists solely in cyberspace.

  28. CSK says:

    Yes, I was thinking that, too–that the real thrill for him is in fleecing the suckers. He probably does get a large ego boost from running the con.

  29. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Maybe he’ll be able to feed off the seething anger he feels at being thwarted by people who don’t want to admit how great he is?

  30. Stormy Dragon says:


    It should be noted that the TrumpSocial was created as a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company), so technically its stated purpose was not to create a new social network, but rather to buy an already existing one.

  31. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    So basically you give your money to Melania and get nothing in return. Do I have that right?

  32. Stormy Dragon says:

    @just nutha:

    I don’t think you even get a copy to hang anywhere–unless you print one out yourself. As I understand from reading part of the FAQs, this particular NFT, as is true of most as I understand, exists solely in cyberspace.

    It’s even worse than that: blockchains don’t have the ability to store large amounts of data, so the NFT is actually just a URL to a website holding the image. If that website goes out of business, the NFT now just holds a new dead link.

  33. steve says:

    In Covid news, the Trumpies won the local school board election. They are holding an emergency meeting now so that they can ban everyone from wearing masks at school including the teachers. Just as omicron is arriving.


  34. senyordave says:

    On Twitter:
    Jake Tapper
    jaw dropping.
    Trump: “evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews” in the US
    “it used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress”
    “the Jewish people…in the US either don’t like Israel or don’t care about Israel”
    “they’re Jewish people that run the NYT”
    This was from a Trump interview with Barak Ravid, an Israeli journalist.

  35. MarkedMan says:

    So Mitch is suddenly making noises about how the Jan 6 investigation might be a good thing after all. FWIW, I think this is just him brushing back Trump, who has been interfering in all kinds of Senate races and, more specifically, throw his weight behind at least one candidate campaigning on taking away Mitch’s leadership gavel. Trump always backs down to bullies with real power, so he will cave.

  36. just nutha says:

    @CSK: That would appear to be the case. So pretty much like any other Trump Enterprises offering.

  37. Kathy says:


    I think slow suicide in a cult is a new thing.

    Related, the flu or common cold is making the rounds at the office. A few coworkers are complaining about catching it, none of whom wear masks.

    Another coworker is annoyed he hasn’t gotten a booster yet, and worried because he meets a lot of people in a lot of places for work reasons he can’t avoid. he also never wears a mask in these meetings.

    If I were the kind of person who bangs her head against a wall*, the trump pandemic would have given me massive brain damage.

    *I’ve never understood that. How does it help? Yes, I know it’s a fictional device to indicate frustration, perhaps in a comical way.

  38. just nutha says:

    @steve: Where is the emoji when you need it?

  39. just nutha says:

    @just nutha: no edit for me–the word “headdesk” was supposed to appear between “the” and “emoji” but didn’t because I don’t understand HTML syntax. A continuance from not understanding BASIC syntax during the math class I failed in university.

  40. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: Not entirely fictional. I’ve seen kids who bang their heads against the wall (in situations beyond students with autism in SPED classes) and have banged my head against the steering wheel on at least one occasion (it was a pre-padded wheel VW).

    ETA: Yes, I found it cathartic.

  41. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    I was once so angry with frustration, I punched a wall. I felt worse, because now my hand hurt and I looked stupid.

  42. CSK says:

    From MSNBC, via Raw Story:

    The billionaire needs others to pay his bills. Oh, well. So what else is new?

  43. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..How does it help?


  44. Jen says:

    I think the fastest way to contract Covid has to be to make a statement about how ineffective masks are in public.

  45. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: Fortunately, my break with reality happened in a parking lot with no one else in the car, so I had no occasion to realize that I should feel stupid. Still, if the emotions connected to such acts were subject to such social controls, we wouldn’t do them, I don’t think.

  46. just nutha says:

    @CSK: The other feature of the getting nothing aspect is that because the token is non fungible, it can’t be converted into anything tangibly valuable or traded for any other cyber whatevers. If there has ever been a better example of “flushing money down a rat hole” than NFTs, I’d be hard pressed to imagine what it would be. It might well be the ultimate in conspicuous consumption purchases except that others can’t see that you have anything. They have to take you at your word. It is literally buying a nothing.

  47. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    If that website goes out of business, the NFT now just holds a new dead link.

    Oh, then it’s obvious, isn’t it?

    Make an NFT, sell the “original,” shut down the website.

    Marketing slogan: So exclusive even its owners can’t see it.

  48. steve says:

    “I think slow suicide in a cult is a new thing.”

    There were certainly groups like the Shakers that forbade procreation so the cult would have a slow suicide but I dont remember other cults working towards killing its own members slowly. Maybe the right wing effort to protect smoking would count?


  49. CSK says:

    Sounds like a true Trump enterprise: “Give your money, and get absolutely nothing in return.”

  50. just nutha says:


    Marketing slogan: So exclusive even its owners can’t see it.

    Thorstein Veblen would be awestruck.

  51. just nutha says:

    @just nutha: As would Hans Christian Anderson.

  52. Stormy Dragon says:


    You lack vision:

    Wait for NFT company to go bankrupt, buy up their domain, and then sells ad images that get served whenever one of the old NFT URLs are requested.

  53. wr says:

    @JohnSF: What the hell happened in 1904?

  54. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnSF: Thanks for the explanations. I catch several commentators on youtube who are all anti-Johnson, anti-Leave. There are insider references to this or that newpapers (“OMG the Mirror is publishing a story against BREXIT!” — or whatever) which I don’t get at all. But it does seem y’all having lots of fun over there.

    As I said before, if the British are weary of the Tories maybe that’s good news for us. Speaking for myself — we’re NOT having fun.

  55. Mu Yixiao says:

    Two things before I go off to watch “Black Sheep Squadron” and sip scotch:

    1) Got my booster yesterday. Pfizer. Took today off to recover (because my 2nd Moderna knocked me on my ass for a full day). Feeling great, no side effects.

    2) If any’a all y’all are expecting to be in the Madison WI area on January 1st and want to come join in my 24th annual Chili Feast, let me know*.

    Milwaukee-style chili (with global influence), a full spread of home-made appetizers, local beer, a selection of wine, and selected spirits for mixers. Overnight accommodations of various sorts are available (but don’t expect anything fancy).


    * Michael Reynolds (or any other rich bastards): If you’re willing to hire a private 2-seater from MSN to 9WN5, I’ll have someone come out and pick you up.

  56. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    You lack vision:

    Oh, definitely. I can’t picture what a 4-dimensional cube looks like, nor understand its 3-D shadow.

    I was thinking if someone, even someone not famous, paid a boatload of money for some NFT and then it were gone the next day, it would be all over the news and social media.

  57. Kathy says:

    On other things, I’m nearly done with the lecture series on Mesoamerica. It’s interesting, but I definitely prefer history over archaeology.

    Next up, an older book (c. mid-1990s) about the end of Pan Am. I hope it explains the peculiarities of this airline. It had many, and I don’t really understand those I know about. I mean, it sounds ridiculous that what amounted to the US’s flag carrier wasn’t allowed to sell domestic flights in the US, but that’s how the acquisition/merger of/with National Airlines is explained.

  58. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Kathy: Pan Am was a beneficiary of U.S. government benevolence, because it and TWA were the two U.S. “flag carriers” who pretty much had a lock on overseas routes. The monopoly started to crack in the late 1960s, then blew up in 1978 with airline deregulation. By that time, the thinking of Pan Am management was ossified. Merging with National (one of the weaker legacy carriers) didn’t do much for them.

  59. Stormy Dragon says:

    US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch issued a joint statement today announcing plans to change the name of the sport in part to distance it from J. K. Rowling’s transphobic positions:

    USQ, MLQ Pursue Name Change for Quidditch

  60. Kathy says:


    I may post more later, as work is picking up again…

    I recall the Merger with National, because we flew from Houston to Orlando on Pan Am while the airlines were integrating. The Pan Am areas had signs all over with “Pan Am goes National!” I remember we actually flew on a narrow body with National livery and branding (cabin crew in Pan Am uniforms).

    Looking back, the slogan in these signs seemed to be saying Pan Am goes nationwide while advertising the merger. At the time, though, I had no idea.

    If I had the time, patience, and resources, I’d love to write a history of post-war commercial aviation in the Western hemisphere.

  61. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I just finished something you might find interesting, The Dawn of Everything. Hard to briefly summarize because the authors admit they don’t reach any simple conclusion. But basically they skim over a lot of anthropology and argue it’s a lot more complicated, and varied, than the usual wandering bands evolving through agriculture to bureaucracy and oppressive government story. There seems to be an unstated strain of libertarianism running through it.

    They rely a lot on cultures discovered late and documented by Europeans. They argue that Europeans, after centuries of feudal and other top down arrangements had no real concept of freedom, that the idea was introduced by contact with North American natives, particularly one “chief/elder/something” (they make a point of having no good word for his role) who spent some time in France. They argue this was a prerequisite for the Enlightenment. They also spend a lot of time on Mesoamerican societies as documented by the Spanish.

    Fairly entertaining read if it’s of any interest.

  62. JohnSF says:

    Sticking my nose back in briefly; busy having a drink with family!
    By-election analysis can wait till tomorrow.

    What the hell happened in 1904?

    That was in the middle of the knock-down, drag-out culmination of the 18th century political battle between Conservatives and Liberals.
    It was actually a by-election, and the Libs took it by a narrow margin.
    Noted for Winston Churchill campaigning for the Liberals, after having left the Tories that year on their move towards protectionism.

    Conservatives retook it in 1906 general election, rather against the trend.
    1906 was the great Liberal triumph of 397 seats to Conservatives 156.
    Set in train the great power struggle of the pre-WW1 period, and the closest the UK came to civil war since the 1680’s.

  63. JohnSF says:

    Trust me, they are probably less anti-Johnson, and anti-Brexit than me.
    Unbiased I am not.
    But I do try for a bit of objectivity in analysis, if not rhetoric
    You can’t really judge how best to do in your opponent unless you assess the situation correctly. 🙂

    One of the key points: a lot of traditional Conservatives really don’t like either Johnson or the Brexi-loons (the two being very distinct).
    Johnson often plays better with the ex-Labour working class Leavers, and with the Conservative Party active members than with a lot of traditional Tory supporters/voters.
    See also the similar Liberal scalping of the Cons in Chesham & Amersham election earlier this year.

  64. flat earth luddite says:



    Oh, hell no, I’m not going to Vietnam! Nope! Not without a tourist visa, and certainly not in cammo!

  65. Kathy says:



    It’s on my radar, actually, though I’ve grown wary of the Big History genre since reading Hariri and Pinker. Still I read one of the authors’ “Bullsh*t Jobs” book, which struck me as largely on the mark (based on my own experience).

    I may give it a try

  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: What make’s chili “Milwaukee Style?” I tried that term on the internet, but only got everything but chili recipes that had Milwaukee in their names. (In other circumstances, I might come but I live in an area where we have been getting a Covid-19 spike every time there’s a holiday, festival, or event that draws any sort of crowd, and with both COPD and asthma active at this time of year, gun shy is a natural thing for me.)

  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: I don’t think you need to worry. LBJ wouldn’t have anything vaguely resembling the clout he had in his own party under the current circumstances and the opposition would move from calling him a “tax and spend” Democrat to a Marxist internationalist subversive bent on handing the country over to Khrushchev Putin, I guess it would be now. Or maybe Xi Jinping because they admire Putin too much to have him be an enemy.

  68. gVOR08 says:

    @flat earth luddite: Yup. LBJ did fall victim to one of the classic blunders — the most famous of which is, “Never get involved in a land war in Asia” — but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never let one Senator hold up your signature legislation when you have the whip hand, and as Prez you’d better have the whip hand!” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  69. Mister Bluster says:

    @gVOR08:..LBJ did fall victim to one of the classic blunders — the most famous of which is, “Never get involved in a land war in Asia”

    “We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” —President Lyndon Johnson in a speech at Akron University on October 21, 1964, two weeks before the presidential election.

    Lyndon Johnson assumed the United States Presidency on Nov. 22, 1963 the day President John Kennedy was assassinated.
That same year 122 American Soldiers were killed in the Vietnam War.
In 1964, 216 American Soldiers were killed.
In 1965, 1928 American Soldiers were killed.
In 1966, 6350 American Solders were killed.
In 1967, 11,363 American Solders were killed.
In 1968, the last full year of Lyndon Johnson’s Presidency,
16,899 American Soldiers were killed. 1400 a month.
    RIP…You too Lyndon…

    “You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.” —Viet Minh leader Ho Chi Minh in a warning to French colonialists in 1946.

  70. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnSF: Thanks again. Bottoms up!

  71. Kathy says:

    I’ve found the spot in the universe most distant from Earth.

    It’s a 7-11 store in the ground floor of the building next door to out offices.

    Proof: Working late today, a coworker decided to donate a bottle of wine he got as a present from supplier, as a means to keep our spirits up (no pun intended*). That was nice of him. Unaccountably, our office lacks a corkscrew with which to open the bottle.

    Of course there’s a very simple solution (to be revealed shortly), which I didn’t bring up. Instead, I suggested he walk down two flight of stairs, then take 20 to 30 steps to the 7-11 next door and buy one.

    Instead, he began asking everyone for a corkscrew, or whether anyone knew how else to open a bottle of wine. He spent several minutes online looking for wine-opening hacks.

    Of course, he would have gone to the convenience store next door, if it wasn’t farther away than the opposite end of the Universe.

    Finally he hit on the simple solution: push the cork in.

    *Wines are not spirits.

  72. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I mean….in a pinch, I guess. 😛 Maybe stranded on a desert island with a volleyball I’ve named Wilson.

  73. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Hey now, Cracker and I discovered that Annie Green Springs in the slurpee machine was… Gawd awful. Ahhh, the memories of working nights at a west Seattle 7/11…

  74. de stijl says:

    Violent Femmes

    Kiss Off

  75. de stijl says:

    There is a version of Kiss Off done by the Chicago School Of Rock by pre-teens and young teens that is pretty radical.

    The 1 to 10 countdown from the original is pretty clearly about dosage and effects.

    How it got by bluenose censors is remarkable. It weirds me out a bit that somebody okayed this. Truly adult stuff.

    I am impressed somebody okayed this. Would not happen today. Violent Femmes for the people!