Friday’s Forum

Riddle me not at the end of the week.

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. steve says:

    Sweden is sill being cited by some people as a better model. They have accepted more deaths as the cost of maintaining their economy. It is looking instead like they will have the same economic impact as everyone else AND have more deaths.

  2. Bill says:

    Hip Hip Hoorah

    I was finally able to enter my bank information in order for me and the wife to get our stimulus checks.

    And I went for a walk this morning. My first in over a month. I feel fine. The rest of today I’m staying in the apartment.

  3. drj says:

    Democrats should start making the case that Republican governance gets people killed.

    Of course, this has been the case for quite a while now. Think opposition to ACA, upwards redistribution of wealth, Katrina, etc., etc.

    However, this time it’s no longer abstract, but concrete and specific.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    I’m excited by our presidents astoundingly brilliant medical advice and want to take it one step farther. He recommends injecting yourself with bleach because it is known to kill the virus very quickly. But what kills the virus even more quickly? Heat! I propose bringing fire inside your body! And here is a demonstration from that medical documentary, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: And I went for a walk this morning.

    Nice. Getting outside is good for the soul. I’m lucky I have 12.5 acres I can wander on and several conservation areas and National Forest nearby too. I went mushroom hunting yesterday afternoon for about 3 hours and saw not a soul.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @drj: The Iraq war was rather concrete and specific. Jus’ sayin’… 🙂

  7. MarkedMan says:

    In all seriousness it is beyond irresponsible to keep airing this lunatic’s meanderings live. Sure, reporters try to question him but they still maintain that respectful tone. This is exactly the equivalent of setting up microphones and cameras around the crazy person in the bus station and letting him ramble on. Occasionally a reporter jumps in and asks, “But sir, is there any evidence that tin foil protects you from the aliens that are trying to microwave your brain?” To put it as a question just lends it credence. And his reply is just going to be, “I’m the president of the United States and you’re a fake reporter, an alien! You’re one of the greys out to get me!”

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Via Betty Cracker @ Balloon Juice,

    “Fresh entry for my new favorite genre: people reenacting snippets of Trump’s incoherent drivel:”

    Rob Szczerba

    I can’t stop laughing over this … @sarahcpr is hilarious. Face with tears of joy, (and Trump is an idiot)

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    and via Immanentize,

    I still think the Trump drunk talk in the club is better….

    You know, Problems

  10. CSK says:

    As I said on the other thread, this is going to be tough for Cult45 to rationalize. But Breitbart gave it the old college try. Trump didn’t actually say people should inject themselves with disinfectant. No, “left-wing hacks” took him out of context. Deliberately.

  11. Bill says:

    The Florida headline of the day-

    Feds confiscate 1 million masks meant for Miami-Dade firefighters, rescue official say

    Why, so Jarred Kushner can sell them on Ebay? As he say they are ‘ours’.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Coronavirus: medical experts denounce Trump’s latest ‘dangerous’ treatment suggestion

    Experts questioned why the homeland security report had been promoted at the briefing. Dr Irwin Redlener, the director of the Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told the MSNBC network: “Everything that this scientist talked about from homeland security was basically incoherent, nonsensical, not really supported by evidence and really quite contrary to a lot of things that we do know about some of the things he was saying.

    First of all, people do get Covid, have been getting Covid in warm climates, including New Orleans but also other countries that have a warm climate right now. Second of all, this issue with UV light is hypothetical but also UV light can be very harmful and we did not hear anything resembling a balanced discussion of what the evidence is for and against UV light, but it’s certainly not ready for prime time.”

    He added: “The very fact that the president actually asked somebody about what sounded like injecting disinfectants or isopropyl alcohol into the human body was kind of jaw-dropping.”

  13. Liberal Capitalist says:

    So, it’s not just disinfectant and heat. It’s also really bright light. All over the body AND inside.

    Maybe he saw a re-run of “Blade” between viewing Fox?

  14. Kylopod says:

    Tonight will mark the 5-week “anniversary” of when I first became ill (or more specifically, first started noticing symptoms). On Wed night and Thu morning my breathing difficulties became very bad and I was finally sent to an urgent-care facility–my first in-person visit with a doctor since this whole thing started. They X-rayed me, took my temperature, checked all my signs. Fortunately, everything looked good. I don’t have a temperature, I don’t have pneumonia, I don’t have a clot, and a lot of my overall “sick” symptoms have declined. They gave me an asthma inhaler for the breathing. I don’t think I’ve figured out how to use it properly yet–I’m not feeling it going down my throat into my lungs (is that what’s supposed to happen?). I asked the doctor if it was common for people to be sick with the virus for this long, and he said yes. I asked him how long I could expect it to go on beyond this–6 weeks? 8 weeks?–and he said basically that he didn’t know, and that this was one of the most frequent questions he got. I asked him how bad my breathing has to get before I call ER. I live alone, it’s not like someone can call it for me if I were to collapse or something. I think I’m going to send for a pulse oximeter, which was recommended to me by several of the doctors I’ve spoken with. None of the medical professionals think I’m in bad shape, even though there are times when it has become highly uncomfortable.

  15. Bill says:


    Nice. Getting outside is good for the soul. I’m lucky I have 12.5 acres I can wander on and several conservation areas and National Forest nearby too. I went mushroom hunting yesterday afternoon for about 3 hours and saw not a soul.

    While Leonita and I were out for approximately 35 minutes, we only saw one other person. A neighbor who also walks early. That’s pretty normal for us walking between 530-6. I used to walk around 7 if I go by myself. Then I’d see 3-10 people. Two neighbors who walk their dogs then, one regular walker, the rest are neighbors up and about or the newspaper delivery person. 5-630 it is very simple to social distance and my wife can walk with me too.

    At home, I’m not even doing laundry (There are three laundry rooms at our building). I basically write, watch television, read, play strat-o-matic baseball, surf the internet, to pass the time*. Some of these activities include me having my indoors only cat sitting in my lap. Misay isn’t practicing social distancing.

    *- I also nap/rest in bed for 60-90 minutes sometime during the day that I’m awake from 5 am to 9 to 930 pm.

  16. Kylopod says:


    Democrats should start making the case that Republican governance gets people killed.

    On another forum, I made the case that Dems should start calling this the “Trump virus.” A lot of people disagreed with me, and it was an interesting discussion.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Linky no worky, goes to a comment on another OTB post.

  18. mattbernius says:

    So glad you are feeling better.

    And ditto for you, @Bill.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Inhale as you press. Get the oximeter, cheap and a more reliable indicator than temp. Or so I think anyway.

  20. Bill says:
  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: I’m doing a lot of gardening, which I would be at this time of year anyway. The only time I go shopping is when I need something for the garden that I can’t send the wife for and then it’s gloves, mask, disinfectant, and social distancing. I know I don’t stand a chance if I get it.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Thanx. I’ve been collecting thse stories for my neighbor who was skeptical when I told her. I don’t blame her. She gets her news from the boobtube (I don’t know which) and I have no idea how much coverage this is getting there.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Last but not least, let’s talk about McConnell’s hypocrisy, which like his stupidity comes on multiple levels.

    At one level, it’s really something to see a man who helped ram through a giant tax cut for corporations — which they mainly used to buy back their own stock — now pretend to be deeply concerned about borrowing money to help states facing a fiscal crisis that isn’t their fault.

    At another level, it’s also really something to see McConnell, whose state is heavily subsidized by the federal government, give lectures on self-reliance to states like New York that pay much more in federal taxes than they get back.

    We’re not talking about small numbers here. According to estimates by the Rockefeller Institute, from 2015 to 2018 Kentucky — which pays relatively little in federal taxes, because it’s fairly poor, but gets major benefits from programs like Medicare and Social Security — received net transfers from Washington averaging more than $33,000 per person. That was 18.6 percent of the state’s G.D.P.

    $33,000 per person. I knew it was a bunch, but I’d never seen it phrased so starkly.

  24. Michael Cain says:

    @Kylopod: My wife was having problems with the inhaler they prescribed for her back in January. When she complained, they provided a “spacer” that made the inhaler much easier to use properly.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It has come to my attention that the $33K # may be for a 4 year period. If so Krugman should make note of it and I suspect he will. $8K per person per year is still a hefty subsidy.

  26. Kathy says:

    Would anyone be interested in a GoFundMe campaign to buy El PITO a lifetime supply of bleach and some syringes?

  27. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: he did make note of it.

    We’re not talking about small numbers here. According to estimates by the Rockefeller Institute, from 2015 to 2018

  28. Michael Cain says:

    I’ve used the tax-donor vs tax-recipient stuff before, and it’s always tricky. I tend to discount Social Security and Medicare, since the people that draw those will draw the same amount no matter where they live. Military and military-related can skew things: New Mexico receives a “subsidy” of about $2,000 per person per year just for Los Alamos and White Sands. I’m sure that, eg, Massachusetts is happy to pay to keep those out of Massachusetts. Alaska and Wyoming have the complication that federal “payments in leiu of taxes” count as federal spending rather than indirect collection of state property and severance taxes.

    Krugman’s qualitative point is valid. Actual dollar amounts are tricky.

  29. Scott says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Or stumbled upon an episode of Dr Who regenerating and thought “Well, he’s the Doctor”

  30. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I think a lifetime supply is just one syringe and a tiny amount of bleach.

  31. Michael Cain says:

    @Gustopher: I’m childishly vindictive today: if it’s one syringe and a bottle of bleach, just give me the check. No need to do any complicated tab-splitting.

  32. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    There’s the matter of getting me to Washington in the middle of a pandemic, and without a valid passport (my US visa is still good for another year).

    If someone local to DC wants to present the treatment, though, that’s fine by me.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: Oh, very good. Very dark, but very good.

  34. Bill says:


    If someone local to DC wants to present the treatment, though, that’s fine by me.

    Where’s Dr. Kevorkian when you need him?

    Oh six feet under.

  35. Bill says:
  36. Kathy says:

    Good news, the department boss finally decided we can stagger work and not come in every day. As I understand, I’ll come in once a week. But I can be required to come more often if necessary.

    Bad news, new confirmed cases in Mexico rose by over one thousand yesterday alone. granted there may be a lag of as much as two weeks, but ti seems there have been more cases since the partial, laxly enforced lock-down began early in April.

    On other things, how do you deal with a boss who is genuinely nice but also a gigantic jerk?

  37. CSK says:

    Give them enough time, and Cult45 will find a way to rationalize or dismiss Trump’s most lunatic statements. Over at, they’ve gone from
    1. Pretending this was never said
    2. Claiming he was throwing out ideas, like any good businessman
    3. Claiming Trump was joking
    4. Back to denying that he said this

  38. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: I don’t see a problem. Calling it the Trump virus is just a way of distinguishing it from other viruses by noting when it occurred. We do the same thing with the Reagan recession, the 1st Bush Recession, the 2nd Bush Recession, the 3rd Bush Recession, and now the Trump Recession. Wait, is there a pattern there?

  39. Kingdaddy says:

    Meanwhile, Rich Lowry at The National Review continues to bloviate through both ends of the gastrointestinal tract. His latest musing: social distancing is not a religion.We should be making distinctions, based on relative risks. In the comments section, like-minded chuckleheads nod approvingly and despair of the Cult of Science.

    The Death Star-sized fact he is unable or unwilling to see: we have to use a blanket approach like social distancing and shelter in place because we still lack the widespread testing that we should have started months ago. We can’t make distinctions if we lack the means to distinguish infected people from non-infected ones. Plus, we still don’t know about immunity. But it’s better to rail against imagined liberal enemies than the people who are really failing you.

  40. Tyrell says:

    NFL draft was boring, too long, and too many commercials. Only surprise was Green Bay – selecting a qb? What in the world? There was a seconds long glimpse of Patriots Coach Belichik sitting at a desk somewhere. They traded their pick.
    All the commercials sounded and looked alike. That made for a long night. I turned it off at #23.

  41. Mikey says:


    Dr. Kevorkian

    Ah, Kevorkian. He was from my hometown, you know. I used to walk by the building he lived in all the time. The ground floor was a storefront where he displayed his rather strange and anatomically accurate paintings. After he died they just tore it down.

    He was the inspiration for the name of the Detroit punk band Suicide Machines, originally called Jack Kevorkian and the Suicide Machines. I used to hang out with them sometimes–despite the macabre name, they are really nice guys.

  42. Sleeping Dog says:


    Word is that Belichik is hunkered down at his summer place in Sconset on Nantucket with his GF and dog. No word on whether the dog has more affect than Bill

  43. Kathy says:

    So a certain Donald Trump owes a massive amount of money to The Bank of China.

    BUT HER EMAILS!1!!(*)

    (*) This is how you do sarcasm.

  44. Monala says:

    Apparently Michel Moore made a film, Planet of the Humans, that parrots fossil fuel industry talking points, once more providing evidence for the “horseshoe” theory of politics (that is, some people go so far to the left that they end up back on the right).

  45. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kylopod Let me also endorse the idea of you getting a pulse oximeter. I’m glad you are chugging along still, and maybe even feeling a bit better.

    I had something in February that hit me pretty hard, but I’m doing well now. The first known death in my county (Santa Clara County, CA) is now put at Feb 3. So…the possibility is there that I had it and it just didn’t quite take the expected form. I can’t rule that out. There’s so little we know about this virus and how it works. Maybe you have it, but it takes a slightly different form in you.

    Get the oximeter. It’s a really good guide to what’s happening in your cardiovascular system.

  46. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Will there even be an NFL season this year?

    It’s hard to social distance between players during practice, not to mention during games. Individual players may train and stay in shape, but they won’t be able to practice together.

    And that goes double for tens of thousands of fans inside a stadium.

    I can see the NFL suspending the season, or playing an abbreviated one, perhaps of as few as 8 games.

  47. Tyrell says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Watching game videos of Cam Newton?

  48. Monala says:

    Let’s not only endanger our current armed forces (the USS Roosevelt), let’s endanger our future ones, too!

    WASHINGTON — For President Trump, who adores the pomp and precision of military ceremonies, this was the year he would finally get one of the special perks of being president — delivering the commencement address at West Point, the only service academy where he has not spoken.

    But the graduation was postponed because of the coronavirus, the cadets were sent home and officials at the school were not sure when it would be held or even whether it was a good idea to hold it.

    The Naval Academy, for its part, decided it was too risky to recall its nearly 1,000 graduating midshipmen to Annapolis, Md., for a commencement. Those graduates will have a virtual event. But the Air Force Academy, in contrast to the other schools, sent home its underclassmen, locked down its seniors on campus, moved up graduation, mandated social distancing — and went ahead with plans for Vice President Mike Pence to be its speaker.

    And so last Friday, the day before Mr. Pence was to speak at the Air Force ceremony in Colorado, Mr. Trump, never one to be upstaged, abruptly announced that he would, in fact, be speaking at West Point.

    That was news to everyone, including officials at West Point, according to three people involved with or briefed on the event. The academy had been looking at the option of a delayed presidential commencement in June, but had yet to complete any plans. With Mr. Trump’s pre-emptive statement, they are now summoning 1,000 cadets scattered across the country to return to campus in New York, the state that is the center of the outbreak.

  49. Tim says:

    Wow! Was there some kind of intervention held in the Oval Office this afternoon? It was just his usual meandering statement, read like a 12-year old reading a boring book report, followed by comments from a couple others, and then an abrupt departure without taking questions!

    I can’t wait to see the insider information leaked from the White House about what went on today that convinced him to stop (at least for today). I can’t believe he’ll have the discipline to keep holding back. It’s just not in him to relinquish the limelight, especially when the networks give it to him for free.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Unlike SOME people, if he makes a mistake or phrases things inartfully, he has never (to my knowledge) been afraid to man up and correct himself. Glad to know my faith in him has not been misplaced.

  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kingdaddy: Did anyone point out to him that religion is not science?

  52. 95 South says:

    @Kingdaddy: I just read the comments section. Two people tut-tutted the Cult of Science.

  53. Kathy says:


    Outrageous. The man has no conscience.

  54. Teve says:

    I know we’re living in a horror show where each outrage overshadows the last, but it’s amazing the terrible things that are 100 terrible things back and we’ve forgotten them. Remember when Trump wanted to have a military parade with like tanks and missiles?

  55. de stijl says:

    I saw and purchased toilet paper today.

    And generic brand paper towels were stocked, too.

    Paltry supply. 50 feet of shelving. 8 feet used.

    Both were limited to one 4 pack package per.

    It was post pandemic single ply manufacture. Prison grade. I will take it in a heartbeat.

    It felt as if civilization was returning.

    There was so little meat, it really freaked me out.

  56. inhumans99 says:

    I am starting to wonder what the endgame for the GOP is? First our President recommends that people drink bleach and the next moment he wants to destroy the USPS. It is like the GOP sees the writing on the wall regarding the election this year and have just decided to burn down the house instead of letting anyone else live there.

    The USPS is beloved by many conservatives because they generate jobs for folks in the middle of nowhere and oh yeah, they deliver to folks in the middle of nowhere on a daily basis. Not to mention in screwing Amazon even without the Covid job losses President Trump would end up with a whole lot of unemployed folks (many conservative and in deep Red states) on his watch, and a company that would let huge warehouses and factories go idle. That is a recipe for disaster that I thought a “long term” thinker politician like McConnell would try to avoid this but after his comments regarding states and bankruptcies I no longer have any faith that he has a clue.

    I say again, what is the point…to show that the GOP enjoys nihilism for nihilisms’ sake?

    If I were a conservative I would start to be a little bit concerned right about now. How is letting the people most likely to vote for you die off (the elderly) and causing the rest of your voting base to lose their jobs keep you (the GOP) in power?

    The GOP is such an odd critter nowadays.

  57. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Have to give it up for my local grocery store.

    They do not try to cover up their lack of TP or paper towels.

    Leave the shelves bare. No covering it up.

    No Potemkin shelving with school supplies or paper plates.

    “We are out.”

    It is a low key critique of the failure of the supply chain and the JIT philosophy of inventory management.

    Industries optimized to function well during good times fail spectacularly when confronted with bad times.

  58. de stijl says:


    Rural, exurban, and enough of the suburban votes have carried them for decades.

    Population density absolutely informs voting behavior.

    If they lose the suburbs, they are fucked.

  59. de stijl says:


    Walking is good soul medicine.

    Looking is really good, too.

    Walking around looking at natural ephemeral beauty and solid architecture is therapy. Light. Shadows. Form.

    I live in an objectively uninteresting place now, but there is still so much beauty. I firmly believe the mind creates beauty because it is needed.

  60. de stijl says:

    There is a reason that Trump went down that Hydroxychloroquine tip. Why? It was not happenstance..

    The immediate why is obvious – the silver bullet that absolves all responsibility.

    The literal magical bullet: Hydroxychloroquine, Clorox, UV internalized.

    He is _never_ responsible.

    Trump’s operating understanding of the world is “I nailed it” and others around me failed to nail. It is a profound misunderstanding of the world evident daily.

    The dysfunction is profoundly disturbing.

    An electorally privileged minority elected this idiot. Any 8 year old knows not to ingest bleach.

    I am ashamed. To be American. This ignorance is horrific, historic.