Monday’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. MarkedMan says:

    For the past twenty years or so, the Super Bowl is the only football game I watch, but I’ve seen almost all of them dating from the Joe Namath era. This may have been the best actual game of them all.

  2. SC_Birdflyte says:

    I read yet another online article today about the law enforcement non-response to the Uvalde massacre, while one incredibly courageous was using a cellphone to beg for help. This arouses my inherently savage streak, making me wonder if the Roman punishment of decimation for military units that displayed cowardice in battle isn’t appropriate for this situation.

  3. Lounsbury says:

    Perhaps the OTB bloggers can have some intrest in the political structure and institutional side of this opinion piece in the NYT in re the greening economy endeavour of the Biden administration.

    While the opinion writer’s observations in respect to the risks of incoherency in the initiative are well-founded from investor PoV, the political process infrastructure seems rather wishful thinking
    (the observation

    In other countries, industrial policy has entailed creating an agile, entrepreneurial agency that can get money to the right companies in the right ways — as a loan, as equity, as a purchase guarantee.

    seems rather fanciful, suspecting that the writer has an abstract sense of perhaps EIB…)

  4. Kathy says:


    I found it sad the Eagles dominated the scoreboard most of the game, and managed to let their lead slip in the final minutes.

  5. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Congratulations to George Santos for leading the Chiefs, from Kansas City, Kansas, to a SB victory and becoming the MVP of the league.

  6. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Actually the Eagles lost the game on two plays; the fumble run back for a TD, and the record breaking Punt Return.

  7. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:
    I can’t stop laughing. Thanks.

  8. Mister Bluster says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:..veteran NFL Quarterback George Santos post game interview:…

    “This was a cakewalk. Overcoming a 28-3 Atlanta Falcons lead in the 3rd quarter to take the New England Patriots to an OT victory in Super Bowl LI was my best game!”

  9. CSK says:

    Trump has been calling DeSantis “Meatball Ron” and “Shutdown Ron.”

  10. Kathy says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    Kathy’s First Law clearly states: When a team loses a game on one or two plays, they really lost the game by many more plays.

    While the Eagles had the lead most of the game, the Chiefs often tied it (then either both or none have the lead). There was also Kansas’ last series, with 5:15 on the clock, where the Eagles failed to stop them and allowed them to eat up almost all that time.

    But that just feeds my bias that a strong defense is better than a strong offense.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    One of the things that is confusing me about the various UFO’s we’ve been shooting down is the way they are being discussed in the press. As near as I can tell, for the two objects that were definitely balloons, they talk about the size of the payload. So the payload of the first one was the size of three busses but, as shown in pictures, the balloon itself was much, much bigger. And there was a “car sized” UFO that was described as being similar to, but smaller than the original one. So I presume the ‘car sized” referred to the payload and it too had a much larger balloon. But a third device was described as the size of a car and not a balloon. Not sure what is up with that.

  12. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Right – but the last drive, IIRC, was aided by a bogus interference call.
    Which is part of the game. There are always going to be bad calls – they are made by humans.
    Had they never given up the fumble for 6, or the long punt return that led to another score, then that call might not have mattered.
    In the end – one of the better SB games in memory.

  13. EddieInCA says:

    That was a Super Bowl game worthy ot the title.

    Jalen Hurts was f*cking Superman. And he’s only 24. He’s going to get better.

    Patrick Mahones might be the guttiest football player I’ve ever seen. A high angle sprain is one of the worst injuries you can get because the normal recovery time to be able to just walk without a limp is 4-6 weeks.. Mahomes played two games in three weeks with a high ankle sprain and won the MVP again.

    Andy Reid showed again, he’s the best offensive coach in the game. The adjustments he made at halftime were spot-on. The Chiefs scored on every possession in the 2nd half, and the drives featured wide open receivers most of the time. The offensive scheme in the 2nd half was absolutely brilliant.

    The Eagles will be back, and soon. They have the best roster in the NFL from top to bottom, but they’re going to lose some players because QB Hurts is in line to get paid. This was the last season of his rookie deal, and he’s probably going to get 40-50 million per season on his new deal. Yes. It’s obscene. But the young man played himself into a very large contract.

    All in all a great game.

    But what the hell was up with the commercials. Most of them sucked. And no Clydesdales? WTF?

  14. Kathy says:

    Buzz is Picard season 3, and last, will premiere in Paramount+ this week.

    It feels like season 2 just ended, after taking a long time coming. Still, my question is whether it will stream in Mexico on Paramount+ or in Amazon Prime.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    Offered for your enjoyment:

    Lawyer Timothy Parlatore said on Sunday that former President Trump, whom Parlatore represents, used an empty folder that said “Classified Evening Summary” to block a light in his bedroom at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

    “He has one of those landline telephones next to his bed, and it has a blue light on it, and it keeps him up at night. So he took the manilla folder and put it over so it would keep the light down so he could sleep at night,” Parlatore told CNN.

  16. Sleeping Dog says:


    Given the frequency of the balloon incursions and the fact that except for the first, the others have been at lower altitudes, has me wondering if some of these haven’t been launched by domestic pranksters.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: As I’ve kvetched before, the press are covering this balloon business with their usual technical expertise and attention to detail. WIKI has a High Altitude Balloon page. It notes that flying high altitude balloons is a moderately common hobby. The first one, the SC shoot down, the only one for which we have publicly available photos, looks too big and complex to have been launched except by a government or other well resourced organization. I wonder if the third and fourth, at least, aren’t expending half million dollar missiles to defend against South Korean high school science fair projects. “Cylindrical” or “octagonal” sound like they might be hand made balloon envelopes. Ah well, our pilots have to fly for training, they might as well be plinking at whatever.

  18. CSK says:

    Trump only kept the classified folder to block out the blue light on his bedside phone.

    Does he tell his lawyers to say this crap, or do they just dream it up on their own?

  19. Michael Cain says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    Right – but the last drive, IIRC, was aided by a bogus interference call.

    That particular foul — pulling the jersey of an outside receiver right at the line of scrimmage in direct sight of the sideline official — will be called almost every time. It’s in the NFL’s video rules guidelines as an example of defensive holding that must be called.

    Most of the time that it happens, it’s the right thing for the DB to do. Most of the time, five yards and a first down is better than letting the receiver go for a potential big play downfield. This was an exception to that. Given that the Philadelphia defensive coaches were rather grossly overplaying the middle of the field in the second half, I expect the DB was told to cover the inside route, and reflexes took over.

  20. Jay L Gischer says:

    Well, that interference call (actually defensive holding) is backed up by a screencap showing the defender pulling on the receiver’s jersey. And the defender in question said, “I pulled on his jersey. They called it. I was hoping they would let it ride.”

  21. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: Didn’t watch the game–as is my habit–but there is a local “claim to fame” for a woman who goes to the same church that I do. Her son produced/directed/whatever the Jeep electric vehicles commercial that aired yesterday.

  22. just nutha says:

    @Lounsbury: Can’t speak to the writer’s worldview at all, but I can note that during my lifetime even the term “industrial policy” has smacked too much of socialism and the “government picking [someone who isn’t us as] winners” to have much pull as a plan by which to make investment decisions.

  23. gVOR08 says:

    @just nutha: Someone above noted that not calling a game deciding penalty is just as much the refs deciding the game as calling it. Not having an industrial policy is an industrial policy.

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    So, if Sy Hersh is right, we blew up Nordstream. The amazing thing is that anyone is surprised. I assumed it was us. Qui bono. Always start with qui bono, Latin for ‘follow the money.’ I imagine we’ll take the Israeli line – not sayin’ it was us, and not sayin’ it wasn’t. In any case, good, decisive work by POTUS. Germany’s new government is weak – they might have rolled over if allowed the option.

  25. Kathy says:

    The attempt to toast the raw pumpkin seeds in a pan on the stove was successful. They turned out crunchier, easier to chew, and tastier. I didn’t time it, but it took about 10-15 minutes at low heat. Few burned.

    I used a few drops of olive oil, which were likely unnecessary. I added za’atar, garlic powder, and paprika in the late stages. It may require additional oil with the seasoning in order to get it to stick better, but these are tasty enough.

    At a guess, about 300 grams fitted in my pan. So I’ve a bit over 2/3 of the kilo bag left over, plus around 200 gr. from the office. So almost a whole kilo yet.

    I wonder how they’ll do processed into powder as I do with peanuts. The seasoning would go on after turning them to powder,as that makes more sense.

    I also tried parboiling potato slices before getting them in the oven to roast. Definitely they spent less time roasting and came out well. I may try that trick again when I next do au-gratin potatoes.

  26. CSK says:

    I always parboil potatoes before roasting them. After boiling, I let them cool and dry thoroughly. Then I toss them in a tablespoon or so of olive oil.

    I toss them occasionally while roasting at 350 till done.

    The results are great.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I wouldn’t put too much faith in Hersch at this point. He was brilliant in former years but more recently has had at least two “huge” stories that were largely refuted by others. His reporting is largely based on sources he grants anonymity to, but they appear to be of suspect credibility.

    The US angle doesn’t strike me as credible, although I’m no expert. To destroy a Russian asset would be an act of war. And to what end? The pipelines might be the cheapest way to transport gas but it’s not the only way. If the Europeans were going to break and start buying Russian gas again, this wouldn’t have stopped them.

    The only State actor that makes sense to me is Ukraine. They are already at war and these were Russian assets that were currently not benefitting he Europeans, so they were within their rights to attack. And they derive revenue from the current pipelines across their country and now Russia has no pipeline alternative to them. But, alternatively, this was easy enough to do that it could have been a rogue, non-State actor.

  28. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is urging Americans to leave Russia “immediately” due to security risks amid the war in Ukraine.
    The U.S. Embassy in Moscow warned of the “unpredictable consequences” of the war in Ukraine, and said dual U.S.-Russian citizens in particular risked being forcibly conscripted into Russia’s armed forces.
    The embassy also cautioned that Americans in general faced potential harassment or wrongful detention by Russia’s security services.

    I don’t know enough to read these tea leaves…but I suspect these tea leaves are saying something worth reading.

  29. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Cain:

    The thing that bothered me about that play was Greg Olson. I like him as a commentator, but I think he made a mistake breaking that play down.

    Granted, I could spend the rest of my life studying football and I would never catch up to his level of knowledge. But I don’t think Smith-Schuster was running a whip route, because he turned toward the pylon/back corner immediately after making his inside move.

    It looks to me like Mahomes is looking at the two crossers and throws to the spot JuJu was supposed to be. Maybe JuJu had the option to run the whip to the sideline or turn it up field, but looking at where the other receivers are, it seems like the design was to give Mahomes to throw to the EZ or one of the two shorter crossing routes.

    Either way, the foul materially affected the play.

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Glad I scrolled up, I was just about to point out that Bradberry admitted he held on the play.

    Fans can be insufferable generally, but they are rarely worse than when bitching about refs. That job is insanely difficult, and the NFL refuses do some obvious things to make it easier on them. Sometimes, it seems as if the league makes an active effort to make the job more difficult.

  30. Kathy says:


    Do you douse them with cold water after taking them off the pot? That seemed like the thing to do, so I did.

  31. CSK says:

    I’ve never tried that, but it might work great if you were pressed for time. Usually I just drain them into a strainer or colander, set them aside, and let them cool and dry by themselves.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    Mars Wrigley fined after two workers fell into a tank of chocolate
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the confectionery and chewing gum maker $14,500 for the incident, which it described as “serious” in a report.

    Smothers Brothers

  33. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:
    The piece I read said that “religious workers” were particularly vulnerable to false arrest and imprisonment.

  34. Jen says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: Somewhere this morning on Twitter I read that another Russian military person had died by “suicide.” It does feel like something is afoot.

    @CSK: Yes, this is correct. Although it bears noting that religious workers are also some of the last ones out of areas in conflict. Businesses boogie out ASAP–no point in ending up in lawsuits with personnel told to stick around after things get dangerous. Religious workers tend to remain far longer than would perhaps be considered wise given conditions.

  35. Lounsbury says:

    @just nutha: Of course industrial poicy has a fine socialist odour in USA land but at same time in the past you have engaged in such where Commies Competition was involved.

    But the point of political process and structure reflexion is in process potential as it is all well and fine for the writer to draw attention to issues in coherency and coordination, but within the constraints of your actual political potential… another issue.

    Now the observation with respect to the infra financing issue and tenor – that is funding long-term long tenor assets is a real one but given the depth of USA capital markets, one that US could address with investment guarantees for tisk mitigatoin as for example on specialised USA infra funds for pensions placement.

    However such issues are not for this blog, rather it seemed to me the political process potential is

    @MarkedMan: Indeed I do not consider this credible in the least.

  36. Kurtz says:


    Hurts was really good. He made one layered throw down the left sideline that was fantastic. He has improved as a passer every year since he debuted in college. I’m sure he will continue to get better. It doesn’t hurt to have Brown, Smith, and Goedert to catch your passes.

    Having said that, as great as his layered touch passes are, I’m a little concerned about his arm strength. He floats too many throws. On the other hand, that isn’t as limiting as some coaches/scouts/mediafloatingheads/twitfucks would make it out to be. He may want to get with Brady or Burrow in the off-season, two other guys who had middling arm strength but managed to improve their velocity or find ways work around it.

    One thing to watch out for will be whether Kelce retires. Lane Johnson may be done as well, but replacing a Center can cause major problems because they are typically the ones who make protection adjustments at the line. Only a handful of QBs do it. And that’s in addition to likely

    Philly is likely to lose one, if not both, coordinators. Sirianni has called plays in the past, but he turned the role over to Steichen last year because he felt that it took away from his other responsibilities as HC. (Another excellent play-caller, Daboll made the same choice for the same reason with the Giants this year.)

    They played a below average schedule this year, plus their 17th game was at home. Next year, their extra game is at KC. They go to Seattle, which is difficult in general. They did luck out that their other tough non-divisional games – SF, Buf, Miami – are all at home. In addition to KC, NE and Seattle may be hard away games. And there is the possibility that NYJ finds a QB to go with their loaded talent at the skill positions. LOL, nevermind. Maybe they should get Jeff George on the horn.

    tl;dr I’m wait and see on the sustainability of the Eagles. Even though I agree Hurts is likely to continue improving and they have draft capital to replace some roster losses.

  37. Sleeping Dog says:


    I saw that article earlier. The criticism that the industrial policy is unfocused is in part a result of the sausage making that goes into the American-style of legislating, the fact that one party refuses to participate is finding solutions and the belief that casting a wide net for possible solutions to global warming.

    This foray into industrial policy, along with policies of re-shoring manufacturing are do to externalities that the market isn’t dealing with.

  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan: @Lounsbury:
    I’ll bet a dollar it was us, or if not us then the Brits. Qui bono? Not Russia, not the EU.

    Not that many nations have the technical capability, or ships/boats capable of launching a team in the Baltic Sea. I cannot imagine a world in which the Norwegians or the Lithuanians did it. I can imagine a world in which the Poles did it, but it’d be awfully ballsy for a country bordering Belarus. The French? They can be bold at times but to fuck with Germany?

    The Russians, the Brits and the Americans are the only plausible culprits with the skills and the assets in situ. It has never made sense that the Russians would blow up their own pipeline. It was either us or our little buddies.

  39. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve gotten a fair amount of pushback here when I state that the utility of wide use of masks for the prevention of COVID has not been demonstrated. Anyone that follows what my comments knows that I’m a strong proponent of vaccines and also most measures meant to “flatten the curve”, including masking, social distancing, and minimizing indoor activities. Further, the company I work for has a vested interest in people using masks because of the type of equipment we make, so I have no incentive to naysay.

    A meta-study has just been published that concludes the following:

    The review’s authors found “little to no” evidence that masking at the population level reduced COVID infections, concluding that there is “uncertainty about the effects of face masks.” That result held when the researchers compared surgical masks with N95 masks, and when they compared surgical masks with nothing.

    In a controlled environment such as a hospital we have proven great prevention success with specific protocols that include masking but also hand washing, gowning, isolation, etc. And individuals use of a mask around an infected individual has also shown to be effective during the duration of exposure. But as a public health policy masking has not been shown to be effective at prevention.

    he population-level detail is important: It indicates uncertainty about whether requiring everyone to wear a mask makes a difference in viral spread. This is different from the impact of individual masking, which has been better researched. Doctors, after all, routinely mask when they’re around sick patients and do not seem to be infected more often than anyone else. “We have fairly decent evidence that masks can protect the wearer,” Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Brown University, told me. “Where I think it sort of falls apart is relating that to the population level.”

    People get angry at the CDC or the White House for giving up on masking, but the science has shown that it has little to no effect at the population level and causes a lot of public turmoil. So they are right to move away from it, as long as they continue to point out that individuals are less susceptible if they mask, which they do.

  40. CSK says:

    If you don’t have access to the WaPo, try this:

    Locked up for the crime of “participating in a public gathering.”

  41. Lounsbury says:

    @Sleeping Dog: For clarity, the note for this blog is not with respect to forays into industrial policy, but rather political structure process.

    @Michael Reynolds: Russians crippling a stranged inoperable asset makes perfect sense, very much like blowing up their own apartment blocks.

    What makes no sense is for any of the Western powers to even bother doing so, as it is pure risk for an already non-authorised and non-operating asset.

  42. Kathy says:


    It’s in between blanching and parboiling, I guess. I drained them on the colander that fits on the sink rim, then I ran cold water on them for a few seconds. When blanching, usually tomatoes, I toss them in a big bowl with water and lots of ice cubes.

    Then I set them out on a paper towel to dry and finish cooling.

  43. CSK says:

    I think the important thing is that the taters not be waterlogged.

  44. just nutha says:

    @gVOR08: On a metaphysical level yes, but in absolute terms, I would disagree. I also don’t think that doing nothing is either proactive or reactive though, so YMMV.

  45. Jen says:

    Russians crippling a stranged inoperable asset makes perfect sense, very much like blowing up their own apartment blocks.

    This was my guess as well. As noted with the apartment blocks comment, Putin has a track record with this sort of methodology.

  46. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It has never made sense that the Russians would blow up their own pipeline.

    Sure it does.

    Of the two pipelines, one was not transmitting anything, and the second was below capacity. There was, it appears, a “non-delivery penalty clause” in the contract. Every day that no gas came through, not only was Russia losing money from sales, but they were being penalized. And “Act of God”, however, gets them off the hook.

    The US gains nothing. We don’t have the capacity to supply Europe, so there are no extra sales involved. And sanctions were/are doing their job in punishing Russia. With the ramp up of imports from the North Sea/Scandewegia, Germany and other parts of Europe got what the needed–and would never go back to Russian gas. The UK saw domestic prices shoot up, so them blowing it up would have been shooting themselves in the foot–for no benefit.

  47. Gustopher says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: I wonder why this warning was not given after the Britney Griner arrest, as soon as it became clear that she was being used as a pawn.

  48. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: How does something that is very effective at the individual level not scale up to the population level? What’s the offsetting factor?

    Can this finding be replicated in other countries, like Japan, where masking is less of a political issue?

    Is this just that Americans are idiots?

    (We should be stocking up on N95s with confederate flags, in case bird flu makes the jump to people. I think it would help with acceptance and compliance, despite this study. If nothing else, it would make racists easier to spot.)

  49. Lounsbury says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Strictly speaking USA has LNG supply capacity relative to Europe but at time both disoatchubg and réception constraints in terminal terms had already maxed out USA re West Europe and neither of USA nor UK had any national strategic interest in a crisis driven price spike (conta a certain other actor for whom an already non suthorised non operatingasset was and is a near to medium term write off…). Knowing notably the Nord II was and is non authorised…

    Generally speaking as a state action it makes no sense in timing nor overall risk terms for USA nor UK.

    However for an actor with other delivery assets and an interest in acceleration of energy price pressure to crack W Europe, timing and risk calculations were very different

  50. Kathy says:


    Checking back on some dates and emails, I think I did not switch from pleated masks to KN-95 ones until October of 2020. That’s 7 months of cloth and pleated maks, as case numbers were going up, past the June 2020 “peak”.

    Therefore, I can’t atribute successfully avoiding COVID between March and October 2020 to masks alone.

    I did do my best to keep distance, I did not attend gatherings, I did not dine out, went out to the movies, etc., and I used hand sanitizer, and soap and water, liberally throughout.

    I still do all that, plus 4 doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

    I’ve said a number of times there’s no one way or one method to avoid COVID. there is a mix of several things one can do, including masking.

    And I intend to keep doing all that, too.

    Now, did the study say anything about mask effectiveness in protecting against flu or the common cold? I’ve gone as long without them as without COVID.

  51. Lousbury says:

    @Jen: oops that should read “stranded asset” … bourgeouis luxury, proof reading…
    (as Nord II was non-authorised by EU and thus already blocked from any operations – not mere German decision – going back to end 2021)

  52. CSK says:

    Excellent. Now what does “disoatchubg” mean?

  53. Lounsbury says:

    @Gustopher: It is rather easy to hypothesize that population level impact of a policy is not extrapolatable from individual impact or impact under specific intensive engagement circumstances (as like medical facilities with a preponderance of trained and comparatively motivated staff) for much the same reasons that it has been demonstrated over and over again that small-scale intensive pilots with highly motivated and engaged sponsors do not scale well to large scale implementation.

    Generally, general population are lazy bunglers.

    As in see prepoderance of masks covering mouth but not nose etc.

    This of course is merely hypothesis, although the wider policy and social sciences obseration about non-scaling of intensive pilots is quite robust. Beni Adam Beni Adam. People are People.

  54. Lounsbury says:

    @CSK:Ahem…. It is a code word for ‘distribution” …

  55. CSK says:

    Indeed. I shall make a note of that.

  56. steve says:

    That Cochrane review is just an update, adding about 10 more studies. A number of the individual studies arent especially good. The way I look at it is that you should start with lab studies. Thise have shown that masks reduce risk. They arent force fields so they do let some stuff through but they reduce risk. Next, I think the the hospital studies are pretty important. I think we have decent evidence that famine spread isn’t so important with respiratory viruses so its mostly about respiratory protection. In a hospital environment you external forces making sure you have good compliance. So we know that when people actually do use masks that they are helpful.

    So what we know from those two sets of studies is that what we are really looking at is compliance and not whether masks work or not. That’s really hard to test. We know that most spread has been among families. If you have a 4 person family where 3 are compliant 100% of the time but one member only 50% you might end up with them all sick due to the less compliant person. Does that mean masks dont work? I think it means they work, meaning they reduce risk and not eliminate it (with some exceptions), but you actually have to use them.


  57. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The US gains nothing.

    We gain everything. We’ve opposed Nordstream from Day One, we profit by cutting the cord between Germany and Russia, and we do long-term damage to Russia’s economy while opening new gas markets for US and friendly producers. What’s not to love?

    However for an actor with other delivery assets and an interest in acceleration of energy price pressure to crack W Europe, timing and risk calculations were very different.

    Who? What other nation has the motive, the capability, the assets and the power to not really GAF if caught? Who’s going to sanction us? Right: no one. Is Germany going to make an issue of it? Nope. Europe is carefully not asking many questions. Sweden suddenly decided it didn’t really care, which would not be the case if they suspected Russia. And no one believes anything the Russians say, so really, what did the US risk if indeed we blew it up?

    Tiny risk, big reward, assets, skills, motive, opportunity, the careful indifference of our allies. . . it was either the USN or the Royal Navy. Although, James Cameron does have a submarine. . .

  58. Lounsbury says:

    @CSK: Or perhaps if I had more panache at the moment, I should have claimed it is an obscure Danish dialectal word… and nothing at all to do with thumbs on a tiny virtual keyboard and an aversion to such petty bourgeouis habits as proof reading

  59. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: It seems non-intuitive but there are corollaries. Take, for example, smoking cigarettes. If an individual gives up cigarettes, it immediately does them a world of good. But the CDC and other health agencies spent decades honing effective messaging and programs. The ones that worked, they kept and amplified, and the ones that didn’t were dropped. The question at the individual level is “does this action help me?” But at the programmatic level it’s a more complicated, “Given how people are going to respond and react, does this particular program reduce the undesirable result across the whole population, is it neutral, or does it actually ricochet into a gain?” Even if the program is a net positive, they have to determine if that is the best use of their limited resources and public good will.

    Another example is alcohol consumption. Our population would be dramatically healthier if no one drank alcohol. The CDC and other health organizations has messaging relating to individual use and alcoholism but have judged a general campaign against alcohol would at best be ineffective and at worst actually backfire.

  60. Lounsbury says:

    @Michael Reynolds: NordstreamII was already a stranded asset that was inoperable, never going to operate period, blocked since before the war, never mind after.

    The other nation mate is Russia.

    Sanctions on USA have fuck all to do with the subject.

  61. just nutha says:

    @CSK: @Lounsbury: So it’s like “covfefe” then? Good to know.

  62. CSK says:

    Danish, you say? Linguistically it seems more akin to Wampanoag.

  63. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I’m afraid Hersh’s account is full of holes.
    Somebody, whether Hersh, his source(s), or both, has gone to the trouble of adding all sorts of techno-thriller details for a nice atmosphere of verity.
    But they fall apart as soon as you look at them.

    Norway deploys a P-8 Neptune ASW patrol plane, able to operate openly under cover of the Baltops exercise, to drop a sonobouy to trigger the explosive charges!
    Except Norway the P-8’s are still being worked up and won’t enter active service till this spring., and none were involved in Baltops 22.

    Norway deploys an Alta-class minsweeper to support the US Navy Experimental Diving Unit divers,able to operate openly under cover of Baltops!
    Except no Alta class ships were involved. There was an Oksøy-class mine hunter.
    Which are not set up to support line supplied diving ops. Scuba diving would be possible, but would take about a hour on station due to depth compression adjustment for divers.
    And the ship’s movements simply don’t allow for that.

    There’s lots of other bedeviled details, including not noticing that the two Nord1 and single Nord2 explosion sites are in fact 50 miles apart.
    But my favourite is flagging NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg as having worked closely with US intelligence since the Vietnam War.
    Such an early starter, that lad: Stoltenberg only barely 16 at the fall of Saigon. 🙂

    All the details aside, the entire op as described makes no sense: it involves too many people.
    Why involve the Norwegians at all? Then he mentions briefing the Danes and Swedes.
    And why trigger charges with a sodding sonobouy? And why not take out all four pipes?

    And that’s not to mention the utter pointlessness of the whole exercise. The Nordpipes were shut down, and never going to re-open

    @Mu Yixiao:

    US gains nothing. We don’t have the capacity to supply Europe, so there are no extra sales involved.

    Actually US has increased LPG supply to Europe markedly. Currently running at around 4billion cubic metres per month, up from less than 0.5 in 2021.
    And likely to rise more as additional import terminals come on line in the EU, and US export terminals.
    The hundreds of billions invested in EU terminals, re-gasification plants etc are a big reason why even if peace were declared tomorrow, Russian gas isn’t going to make a big comeback.
    No politician is doing to casually chuck that sort of investment in the dustbin
    And once you’ve spent a fortune, and much time, effort, and hardship, getting your balls out of a vice, you’ll think twice about jamming them back in it.

  64. just nutha says:

    @Lounsbury: Then it’s exactly like “covfefe.” Got it!

  65. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Danish/Wanpanoag. Potayto/potahto. But you did just remind me of the short bit on Northern Exposure where Marilyn tells Dr. Fleishman that “schmeigel” is a Tlingit word that Yiddish people from Russia adopted after visiting Alaska.

  66. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Not that many nations have the technical capability, or ships/boats capable of launching a team in the Baltic Sea.

    Modern commercial fishing vessels, particularly trawlers, which are common in the Baltic, get very detailed pictures of the bottom from their depth-scanning sonars. This is so they don’t drag their expensive nets over sharp rocks. Finding the thing would be simple, it’s location is marked on charts. All that would be needed is one commercial fishing vessel, more than capable of dropping large timed explosive charges close enough, if not right on top of the line. Because water transmits the power of explosions much better than air, close is plenty good enough.

    IOW, it would take very little “team”, and one that could be assembled by just a few clever guys with access to high explosives and one of perhaps a hundred fishing vessels equipped for bottom fishing common in the area.

  67. Kurtz says:


    FWIW, here are the authors’ conclusions from the abstract:

    The high risk of bias in the trials, variation in outcome measurement, and relatively low adherence with the interventions during the studies hampers drawing firm conclusions. There were additional RCTs during the pandemic related to physical interventions but a relative paucity given the importance of the question of masking and its relative effectiveness and the concomitant measures of mask adherence which would be highly relevant to the measurement of effectiveness, especially in the elderly and in young children.

    There is uncertainty about the effects of face masks. The low to moderate certainty of evidence means our confidence in the effect estimate is limited, and that the true effect may be different from the observed estimate of the effect. The pooled results of RCTs did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks. There were no clear differences between the use of medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2 respirators in healthcare workers when used in routine care to reduce respiratory viral infection. Hand hygiene is likely to modestly reduce the burden of respiratory illness, and although this effect was also present when ILI and laboratory‐confirmed influenza were analysed separately, it was not found to be a significant difference for the latter two outcomes. Harms associated with physical interventions were under‐investigated.

    Tl;dr: for several different reasons, one cannot draw firm conclusions from this meta-analysis. More, better designed studies are needed.

  68. MarkedMan says:


    Now, did the study say anything about mask effectiveness in protecting against flu or the common cold?

    Only that it mentioned a lot of studies had been done for influenza and much fewer specifically for COVID. I would suspect (pure speculation alert) that the longer a disease is transmissible before being symptomatic, the less effective masking is, given human nature. I know that is different among flu varieties.

  69. Lounsbury says:

    @just nutha: Well …. obviously then it’s a Greenlander Danish dialect word of Inuit derivations… meaning natural gas distribution.
    Ignore all prior claims.

  70. MarkedMan says:


    More, better designed studies are needed.

    While you are, of course, correct, I apply my personal rule of thumb: if effects are hard to detect, then 90% of the time if they are present they are small.

  71. Thomm says:

    @Lounsbury: I gotta say…from a fellow acerbic ass…you can be quite funny when you want to.

  72. Jax says:

    My town is currently raffling an AR-15 to pay for….school lunches. 😐 😐 😐

    I want out of this timeline. This is stupid.

  73. Gustopher says:


    Criticisms of the review posit that it might have come to a different conclusion if more and better-quality studies had been available. The paper’s authors acknowledge that the trials they considered were prone to bias and didn’t control for inconsistent adherence to the interventions. “The low to moderate certainty of evidence means our confidence in the effect estimate is limited, and that the true effect may be different from the observed estimate of the effect,” they concluded.

    It doesn’t seem like it is a particularly good report, based on the factors above.

    It’s a compilation of weak studies, because no one has really been doing the studies we would need to make a strong conclusion one way or the other.

    (I would be amused by a study that had masked people hanging out in restaurants, each paired with someone unmasked for eating, making sure they got the same potential exposure)

    If high-quality masks worn properly work well at an individual level, after all, then it stands to reason that high-quality masks worn properly by many people in any situation should indeed provide some level of protection.

    Indeed. Although I can concoct explanations that could explain it, but which would likely leave tell-tale signs in the data, if enough data was collected.

    Kids, of course, being the biggest explanation — getting those little monsters masked effectively is hard, and no one masks at home, so they would be an equalizing force for infection (but, with enough data, those who mask regularly and are unburdened by offspring would have fewer infections)

    So, I’m not willing to completely dismiss a study that shows no effect of mask mandates, I would just want it to be better designed than the studies this was based on. I have low confidence in the results here.

    Fun little aside: for all the people who claim (reasonably, at first glance) that the school closings had a negative effect on learning, there is only a weak significant correlation between days that a school district was closed and the decrease in standardized test scores. There are significant drops everywhere, which suggests that there is more going on. My guesses would be: disruptions to the teaching staff, the results of illness (lost time and perhaps long term cognitive effects), or just plain trauma.

    Online schooling might have affected learning roughly as much as exposing children to covid. Which screwed with mental and physical health more is likely unknown at this point.

    The Washington Post has an article about a just released CDC study that shows that girls are completely fucked up in general, and that boys are also not doing great (they may be doing better at hiding it, since men are supposed to be stoic and manly). But that seems like a longer pattern of mental health trends, rather than just covid. The trends accelerate during covid though.

    Or, more succinctly, “Shit’s on fire, yo”

  74. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: With so many guns in the community, what’s one more?* But funding school lunches… that seems like a good thing.

    Unless this is a “money is fungible” moment and it is really funding a better score board for the football field or something. 😐

    *: If that particular AR-15 gets used in a school shooting, I would like this statement stricken from the record.

  75. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: There was some hubbub a while back on a certain state education official pledging to refuse school lunch money from the Feds because of Title X or something like that….I’m going to have to look into that more in the morning. I can’t remember if it was a guy up for election or the appointee after the other one left for Virginia.

  76. anjin-san says:


    I want out of this timeline. This is stupid.

    I’m thinking about running for office as a Republican on a platform of mandatory carry for toddlers. I think it’s a winner.