Monday’s Forum

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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

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    Texas attorney general requests transgender youths’ patient records from Georgia clinic

    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is requesting medical records of Texas youth who have received gender-affirming care from a Georgia telehealth clinic, marking at least the second time he’s sought such records from providers in another state.

    The clinic said that Paxton asked for private information about Texas residents who were provided with telehealth care in Texas before the ban, and residents provided with care outside of Texas after the ban. The request, they said, nearly mirrors one the attorney general sent to Seattle Children’s Hospital last year.

    In response to that request, known as a civil investigative demand, Seattle Children’s sued the Texas Office of the Attorney General in December.

    OK, it is clear I’m not a lawyer but why is the response of these out of state organizations to sue the [adulterous, indicted but not yet convicted, impeached but not convicted] AG Paxton in return? Why is the response not “go f— yourself” or “go pound sand”.

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  2. Scott says:

    Only the very best.

    White House medical unit handed out pills to ineligible patients

    The White House Medical Unit, a military command responsible for the care of the president and other senior administration officials, has improperly handed out pills and signed off on medical care for ineligible patients for years, according to a Pentagon inspector general report released this month.

    Medical fraud:

    The White House was the only unit found to be flouting regulations and operating without oversight, to include dispensing pills ― including narcotics like oxycodone and morphine ― directly rather than sending patients to a pharmacy.

    Financial fraud:

    Witnesses told the IG that they believed the unit served the entire White House staff, despite regulations clearly stating that only beneficiaries of the military health system are covered.

    Who ran the unit? Oh, yes!:

    …then run by now-retired Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, a current member of the U.S. House of Representatives who at the time had just been floated as a Trump administration nominee for Department of Veterans Affairs secretary.

    A report published in 2021 found that Jackson fostered a toxic command climate and drank while on duty throughout his time assigned to the White House during the Trump, Obama and second Bush administrations.

    Who is to blame?

    Jackson told Military Times in 2021 that the IG complaints were retaliation for his support of President Trump

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: This just adds to the list of circumstantial evidence that Trump is a long term abuser of prescription drugs. There is a belief amongst the general public that circumstantial evidence is inadmissible but a) that’s incorrect and b) this isn’t a courtroom, it’s an election.

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  4. Kathy says:

    For almost three quarters, it seemed the Lions would triumph ver the 49ers.

    IMO, the worst way to lose a points-based contest is to be ahead for most of the game, only to see the opponent first catch up and then take the lead.

    For the Super Bowl, I really don’t care who wins. Sometimes that makes watching the game more enjoyable. When I want both teams to lose, as I did when the Patriots played the Falcons, I don’t really bother watching the game.

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  5. DK says:

    @Scott:

    why is the response of these out of state organizations to sue

    To generate caselaw that tells Future AG Paxtons “Go Fk Yourself.”

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  6. DK says:

    @Kathy:

    When I want both teams to lose, as I did when the Patriots played the Falcons, I don’t really bother watching the game.

    Tom Brady is my lifelong sports hero, and the Falcons are my hometown team. I’ve never been more interested in or satisfied with a Super Bowl.

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  7. Kathy says:

    I’ll have a full report after lunch. But so far I’ve learned I’ve more to learn about slow cookers, or at least the slow cooker function in a multifunction pot.

    On the one hand, after about 6 hours of slow cooking on “high,” the beef came out fall apart tender. That’s good. But despite using less liquid and leaving the steam valve on “release,” the sauce didn’t thicken, which means it didn’t reduce.

    This may be due to the hermetic seal on the multi pot lid. I did some reading later, and found there are glass lids, with an open vent, available for the multi pot. That’s nice, although the thing already had two lids (the air fry lid and the pressure lid; the former being non-detachable from the whole). I shudder at getting it another one. I’ll see if one of the many glass pot and pan lids I already have fits it.

    It also would be nice to see what’s going on inside the pot as it slow cooks.

    I also tried air fryer potatoes, doing two batches of slices in two ways. The first one, I brushed oil on the potatoes and sprinkled some seasoning (pepper and garlic powder) before air frying. The second batch I tossed in oil and then seasoned after cooking.

    Both were ok, but not as golden or crispy as I’d hoped. I may need more oil. In any case, next week I’ll attempt twice baked potatoes. For the main dish, it will be chilaquiles with shredded chicken.

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  8. Jen says:

    @Scott:
    @MarkedMan:

    The problem was likely worse in the Trump administration, but this isn’t new news. Anecdotal but relevant: a friend of mine worked in the WH in a prior administration, and noted that for overseas trips, the medical office handed out sleeping aids to anyone who wanted them.

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  9. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott:

    Why is the response not “go f— yourself”

    IANAL, but I assume it’s because failure to comply because “go f— yourself” wouldn’t really hold up in court, but pro-actively seeking to establish the illegality of the order gives one a basis for non-compliance, at least if the judge so agrees while the case is pending or underway.

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  10. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    Jackson served as WH physician for President Obama, didn’t he? The Obamas seem to have liked him.

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  11. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: I guess I’m very ignorant on interstate legal rules. Under what rules is an out of state legal official allowed to demand information of an entity. Why can’t all 50 AGs just willy nilly cause chaos across the nation.

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  12. steve says:

    I didnt care that much about the AFC game, but I found out later that many people were opposing the Chiefs because Travis Kielce supports vaccinations. Now makes me hope they win again against SF. I do wonder if the anti-vaxxer people are going to be able to bring themselves to cheer for the team from the city of the gay people.

    Steve

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  13. Scott says:

    @steve: A lot of anti-vaxxers are brain dead leftists from Marin County. No conflict there.

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  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott:

    Under what rules is an out of state legal official allowed to demand information of an entity

    I’d be interested in a lawyer’s take, but my layman’s reaction is that state lines are not borders with hostile countries. I would think that it is normal for state officials to request response from people and entities outside of the state all the time.

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  15. MarkedMan says:

    There’s an odd battle forming over, of all things, AM radio. Auto manufacturers have been contemplating dropping it from future cars, since their data shows less and less usage every year. An odd coalition has developed to generate push back on this. (The original article is in the WSJ, so I’ve linked to a Jalopnik summary. It’s the 3rd item.) I’ve read a fair number of articles over this and one thing that seems to be missing is the motivation of the broadcasters. After all, if the usage is so low the automakers don’t think dropping it will reflect sales, why aren’t AM radio stations shutting down all over the country? I suspect at least a partial answer is the other uses the stations can make of their allowed bandwidth, as long as they continue to operate as a radio station. While I don’t know anything specific about AM radio, I know someone who is working on this technology for broadcast television stations. According to him, the broadcasters are well aware that they are facing a cliff in terms of viewership and are searching for other ways to make money. They are deploying their bandwidth and antenna network to provide radio connections for everything from meter reading to updating automobile firmware to comply with recalls. There is enough interest in this that my source is on the road all over the country and all over the world, giving overviews of the technology, 3-6 times a month.

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  16. Kathy says:

    @Scott:

    A lot of anti-vaxxers are brain dead

    More like all of them.

    @MarkedMan:

    How often do states that forbid gambling request info from Nevada or its casinos about their residents’ activities?

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  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I would think that if they were investigating them for tax fraud and had reason to suspect that they were falsely claiming gambling losses, they wouldn’t hesitate to request records and subpoena them if necessary.

    But as I said, a lawyer would be able to answer better.

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  18. Kathy says:

    Numbers are out from Nielsen as regards streaming.

    The piece compares the number of eps from older network shows and newer streaming ones, pointing out network shows have like tons of eps in comparison. Then concludes people prefer older shows they’ve seen before.

    I don’t think it’s that simple, but maybe people prefer the older format. Meaning lots of eps.

    TV is a daily activity. You want something to watch every day. An older show, whether you’ve seen it before or not, provides daily viewing of 1-2 eps for weeks. newer shows at best may manage a week and a half, if you don’t binge or if you catch the eps as they get released weekly.

    I’d say I’m pretty sure we’ll see non-arc shows go to longer seasons soon, but there are many variables to that simple formula. For one thing, it’s more expensive to shoot a new 20-25 ep show, than it is to license several seasons of an older one. On the other hand, some older show have aged rather poorly.

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  19. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    That would be far different than asking about every resident who went to Vegas to gamble.

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  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    I talked about this a few days ago. TV execs have forgotten what TV is supposed to be. A movie is a date. A TV series is a relationship. One is bound by formal rules of behavior – quiet, don’t look at your phone, sit til the end. The other is informal, up to the audience/consumer to decide how and when to watch. One comes in a neat three act structure, the other is horizontal, not driven by the need to get to a sky beam at the 90 minute mark.

    But they continue to take concepts that should be movies and stretch them into eight eps in order to feed their money-losing streamers. Or take eight episode limited series and, if they see ratings, extend them despite there being nothing left to extend. And then there are the ideas that would never work in any format but get greenlit anyway.

    And, as always, the problem of not enough good writers. 500 scripted shows is – accounting for Taylor Sheridan and writers who may do more than one show in a season – we’re talking what, a minimum of 2500 to 3000 writers? There are not 3000 good writers. There may be 300, but even that is probably too generous. And in order to replicate something like the old 22 eps per season you’d need not just good writers, but good writers with extraordinary creative stamina. Those people can’t just be ordered from Amazon.

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  21. wr says:

    @Kathy: “I don’t think it’s that simple, but maybe people prefer the older format. Meaning lots of eps.”

    Streaming ratings are measuring minutes watched. Wednesday was a really big hit for Netflix, but there were only eight or ten episodes. Reruns of Suits were also big on the streamer, but there are 134 episodes. Guess which one gets more minutes viewed?

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  22. charontwo says:

    @Kathy:

    Again, we need to factor in the size of the catalogues at play here. There are only 34 episodes of Ted Lasso, compared to 443 episodes of NCIS. But still, this shows that people are much happier to soak in the comfort of something they’ve already watched on actual TV than they are trying something new. This could be a sign that the days of peak TV are over, and that the future of streaming might just be an endless loop of the sort of old network shows that you often see running on mute in the background of dentist waiting rooms.

    Assumed fact not in evidence. Maybe they didn’t watch the show back when it originally aired.

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  23. Grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: the officials of the other state can demand as much as they want, but unless there’s some sort of agreement between the states, the officials of the state they’re requesting info from can tell them to pound sand.

    (Witness: every single time California tries to tax “foreign corporations” on ex-California activity.)

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  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Believe me, I’m not trying to justify Texas’ ghoulish behavior. I’m just responding to Scott’s question, “Under what rules is an out of state legal official allowed to demand information of an entity?”

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  25. MarkedMan says:

    @Grumpy realist:

    every single time California tries to tax “foreign corporations” on ex-California activity

    That went over my head. Can “foreign corporations” mean US based but not California? And what does “ex-California” mean?

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  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Grumpy realist:

    the officials of the state they’re requesting info from can tell them to pound sand

    So, state officials can use the “f*ck off” defense. Can private entities?

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  27. Jen says:

    @CSK: Yes, he did. My friend worked in an earlier WH, though. It’s worth bearing in mind that people who work in the WH don’t have much of a normal schedule, and they work insane hours. Popping out to go to doctor’s appointments, dealing with pharmacy hours, etc. all get a bit harder to manage when you work 12 hour days, travel extensively, and so on.

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  28. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I suspect “Friends”, “Suits” and “90102” (or whatever that CA zip code show was called) fill a very different niche, one that streamers haven’t invested in. Admittedly, I never watched them, but I occasionally get into a mode where I watch “The Black List” and “Madame Secretary” and I do so on the treadmill where I don’t want something that captures my attention to much or I’ll start to slow down, or while cooking or maybe folding laundry. When I think of the streaming shows I watch, even when they are nonsense they require attention. “The Witcher”, “Severance”, etc.

    I can watch ten episodes of my treadmill shows for every one of the streamers

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  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @steve: Still, SF is the team that fired that ugly-tempered colored kid who was disrespectful to the flag. That’s gotta count for something. I suppose that fans will do what we all do when confronted with cognitive dissonance–ignore the dissonance and support what we want to.

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  30. Scott says:

    @Jen: The problem was that those WH employees were getting free, taxpayer supported healthcare and pharmaceuticals without any authorization (or appropriation). It’s called misappropriation of funds. Which, I believe, is a felony.

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  31. Kathy says:

    @wr:

    The (plausibly) good news is that ratings will come back in fashion.

    Streamers used to make money by the number of active subscriptions. Now that they are showing ads, they’re making money from that, too. So a show that gets people to sign up or stayed subscribed is good. But one that gets them to watch more minutes, and more ads, is better.

    So, longer shows, probably.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Kathy’s First Law states that in a long TV season, there are bound to be 2 or 3 good eps, regardless of the general crappyness of the show.

    Before streaming, I followed 3 or 4 shows at a time, most of which aired on different days. Si I’d watch a CSI incarnation, Body of Proof, The Big Bang Theory, House, etc. on different days, often catching missed eps off season.

    Even in the early days of streaming, it was like an occasional things when there was nothing else on (aka Saturday), or to see a movie I missed in theaters (meaning most movies).

    These day the channels I used to watch have very little I find appealing.

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  32. Bill Jempty says:

    @charontwo:

    Again, we need to factor in the size of the catalogues at play here. There are only 34 episodes of Ted Lasso, compared to 443 episodes of NCIS. But still, this shows that people are much happier to soak in the comfort of something they’ve already watched on actual TV than they are trying something new. This could be a sign that the days of peak TV are over, and that the future of streaming might just be an endless loop of the sort of old network shows that you often see running on mute in the background of dentist waiting rooms.

    Assumed fact not in evidence. Maybe they didn’t watch the show back when it originally aired.

    NCIS has been on for 20 years and you have all its spin-offs also. How many of these episodes have I watched willingly*?

    Less than five.

    *- When getting chemo, the television I and other patients were sitting in on had on reruns of shows like NCIS, CSI, and X Files.

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  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charontwo: I stream old shows. Usually, they’re shows that I didn’t watch in the first place during their regular runs for various reasons. Beyond that, they’re shows that I probably haven’t watched in 30 or more years. I’m not just some geezer longing for the haze of nostalgia. I’m that, too, 😉 but far more.

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  34. Jen says:

    @Scott: And my only point is that it’s likely been going on for a loooooong time. Probably not to the extent that Trump’s administration did, for sure.

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  35. Kathy says:

    @charontwo:

    There are many, many, many TV shows I never watched on their original run, and still wouldn’t watch if they were now on streaming.

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  36. Scott says:

    @Jen: Got it.

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  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    More of the Donald Trump fashion news you can’t live without!

    According to Page Six, Trump followers observed during his appearance in a Manhattan federal court last week that his hair color seemed to exhibit different shades, skewing more towards light orange.

    Reports say his impatience is to blame for this phenomenon, as he does not give his stylist enough time to work on his hair.

    “The hairdressers get mad at him, but can’t show it, as Trump can’t sit still as he needs to sit still for at least 30 minutes for [his hair color] to take,” a source told the news outlet. “Trump’s hair color can vary wildly from dark blonde to light — to bright orange, depending on how long his hairdresser can get him to sit still and let the color do its job.”

    And that’s the rest of the story. Good day? (Apologies to the late Paul Harvey)

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  38. Kathy says:

    Well, the very thin sauce is a mejor letdown. I need a deeper dive into slow cookers. Maybe they can do with even less liquid. Ah, the joys of modern cooking…

    The texture and flavor of the beef, though, was much better than anything I’ve done before, be it on the stove or the oven.

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  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: Unless I misunderstand, they were getting drugs without a prescription. If correct, that’s a hell of a thing.

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  40. Joe says:

    very thin sauce is a mejor letdown

    @Kathy: I think your Spanish autocorrect got you.

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  41. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: I don’t think it’s that cut and dried. There’s a physician on staff, who can write prescriptions. The issue is that that doctor wouldn’t have the full medical records of all staff members, so is (potentially) writing prescriptions without full case history, which can be quite dangerous.

    Edit to add: the surgery aspect is interesting to me, more so than the pills.

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  42. Kathy says:

    @Joe:

    It does that more often than I let it.

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  43. Kathy says:

    Back to streaming, I wonder which old(er) shows would you all find of interest today.

    As best I can recall, I’ve seen two that qualify, and one just barely. That would be The Expanse, which finished production not too long before I began streaming it. The other is Farscape.

    There are plenty of shows I saw in their original run which I wouldn’t want to rewatch, at least not in their entirety. Like all the Trek shows. There are some eps worth watching again, but not that many.

    Or Babylon 5. I saw it on first run. I rewatched the whole thing on DVD some years ago, and then again when it was briefly available on HBO Max. Each time was good, but I think I’ve had enough of it.

    Way back in 2007, pre-streaming, we had no cable or satellite where we moved, and over the air reception sucked. I got by renting full seasons on DVD from Blockbuster (really). One I enjoyed were two or three seasons of the original Mission: Impossible series.

    Eventually we got cable.

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  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @steve: I found out later that many people were opposing the Chiefs because Travis Kielce supports vaccinations.

    AND is dating Taylor Swift who is Delilah to his Samson. It’s always misogyny.

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  45. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It’s actually a Deep State plot to get Biden re-elected.

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  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: On the issue of drugs and the White House, I have been trying to get into a pain management clinic for 3 or 4 years now, maybe more. I don’t want much, I just want to take the edge off of it. After 35 years of construction I think I’ve earned that much. A few weeks ago I finally had one call me for info (after my 3rd or 4th referral from my regular NP). TBH I had no idea what he was talking about. He asked if I was open to the idea of “Injection therapy”. I said “WTF is that?” He told me it was injections into my spine.

    I didn’t even ask, “Injections of what?” Just replied “No.” because w/o thorough explanations of what and where and the howtos, that just weren’t happening. Never heard back from him.

    I am beginning to think that “Pain Management Clinic” is nothing more than “Voo Doo.”

    So, I will continue to horde my vicodins from my last shoulder surgery* 2 years ago, using them only when I am truly desperate while knowing that if I was on the WH press team I could get damned near anything I wanted by simply asking for it.

    *which I think I am going to have a 4th soon. sucks to be me.

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  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Yep. Dawg I am tired of the fragile white males among us.

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  48. Kathy says:
  49. dazedandconfused says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I would not call myself a misogynist, but I must suspect that somehow the coverage got into some corner of my brain and affected it badly, although for now I’m blaming the pizza which was loaded with pepperoni.

    Ate a bit too much if it yesterday and had a terrible dream. I dreamt KC won the super bowl and Kelce was awarded the MVP. On the podium he knelt with the trophy and proposed to Swift, who yelled “HOW DARE YOU PUT ME IN THIS POSITION!!” and kicked him square in the nuts. Then the rest of the KC O-line started beating the crap out of him, with Steven A Smith providing blow by blow commentary.

    I’m not sure what the meaning of this is, but I am pretty sure it’s not good.

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