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. Kathy says:

    More Boeing issues

    This come from Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates, the largest of the Big Three Gulf airlines:

    Boeing’s board, he said, needed to prioritise production: “Not: ‘What is the return on investment? What is the bottom line? What is the free cashflow? What is the shareholder value? What is the share value? What is my bonus?’ No, that will come if you do it right in the first place.”

    When the rich start accusing the rich of being greedy, well.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    About 7-10 years ago I realized a lot of people were sure that their phones were always listening to them. While that has certainly been true since Siri and Alexa, the leap to “and constantly processing what you say and selling it to advertisers” was quite the leap back then. That is just so much processing power, especially for Alexa, which basically does everything but the initial “Hey Alexa” in the cloud. And the reality of why you mention interest in a new car and an hour later an ad pops up is at least as creepy as your phone listening to you all the time. Gizmodo has an article today about how this seems to have gotten started:

    That article has since been removed from WFLA News Channel 8’s website, but it’s the first instance Gizmodo can find of a major publication reporting this myth. The impact is still felt today, roughly eight years later. The article quotes University of South Florida professor of communications, Kelli Burns. However, Burns never actually said that Facebook was listening to you.

    The article quotes Burns as saying “Facebook is watching” and that “I don’t think that people realize how much Facebook is tracking every move we’re making online.”

    Burns published a blog post weeks after WFLA’s story went viral, noting that she never actually said that Facebook was listening to you. “Watching, not listening,” said Burns in the post. “Never said listening. And by watching I mean tracking.”

    Despite my natural skepticism, I think this is no longer quite as outlandish as it was 7 years ago when the “Reply All” piece linked to above was done. And as I understand it, if you own an Alexa you certainly have given Amazon permission to advertise products to you based on what you say, at least when it is preceded by “Alexa”. But I think it extremely unlikely it is sending up everything you say to the cloud, rather than the phrase or sentence that immediately followed “Alexa” and it just doesn’t have the local processing power and memory to identify advertising links without help from the Amazon servers. But eventually the processing power of your local Alexa bot will be sufficient to comb through everything you say, or available wireless bandwidth will be so extensive that we can send billions of conversations to the cloud to process simultaneously. But I still don’t think we are anywhere close to that.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    The OTB commentariat predicts, and the Darwin Award candidates jump to the task: Tesla Driver Allegedly Arrested for Using Apple Vision Pro While Cruising in Car on Autopilot

  4. DK says:


    When the rich start accusing the rich of being greedy, well.

    How soon till the the bootlickers dismiss Sir Tim as peddling silly anti-capitalist rubbish? Boeing already being one of the most regulated companies, and all. Pfft.

  5. Kathy says:


    That was hardly much of a prediction. More like an inevitability, because a lot of people are idiots.

    My prediction was for a HUGE lawsuit.

    I’ll elaborate here: Darwin candidate attempts to drive a Texla on “self driving” mode while wearing the Apple goggles. They crash or run over someone, causing one or more fatalities and serious injuries. Relatives of the victims, as well as those injured, sue Apple and Texla for marketing unsafe products that led to tragic results.

    The deep pockets claim they should sue the driver. Meantime they buy Leonard Leo and Harlan Crowe futures.

  6. Kathy says:


    I assumed it happened while Sir Tim was saying it.

  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    Medical folk, King Charles has an unidentified cancer that is believed not to be prostate cancer, but was discovered during a procedure having to do with BPE. What kind of cancer might one stumble upon in this scenario?

  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    His mom gets approximately 480 years of uninterrupted good health while on the thrown. He gets 9 months before a case of butt cancer.

    (I have a few close friends who have gone through treatment for stage II and stage IV colorectal cancer. I truly wish him the best; having no ability to control the farts coming out of a tube hole in the side of your torso isn’t a funny scenario for anyone, even the King.

    ETA: sorry, just reread that and I’d like to amend my position. It’s extremely funny to happen to the King. I am actually struggling to think of anything funnier than the King having a fart tube coming out of his tummy.)

  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Ya gotta laugh through the tears. Especially if it’s happening to someone else. Who is also an absurdly rich man who calls himself, ‘king.’

    Do we have reason to believe it’s colorectal?

  10. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I know the palace–as they call it–wants to avoid speculation, but don’t they invite it with this kind of obfuscation?

  11. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    No evidence per se, just my sound medical reasoning of “the world needs a laugh rn.”

  12. Kathy says:

    On the plus side, they won’t call it the Larger Hadron Collider.

    On the downside, if they do call it the Future Circular Collider, the name will be outdated the day it’s turned on.

    The 20 billion Euro price tag seems way too low, and that’s even before cost overruns, construction difficulties, fights over funding, etc. I guesstimate no less than 50 billion Euros, not accounting for inflation, by the time it’s switched on.

    Oh, and if we still don’t get a quantum black hole that swallows the Earth, is there still a point to spending all that money on it?

  13. just nutha says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Would a BPE exam “stumble” upon testicular cancer?

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Meanwhile…

    The influential rightwing pressure group the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which is funded by large US companies, is behind model legislation to greatly restrict lawsuits under state public nuisance laws which are increasingly widely used to hold big business to account.

    Public nuisance legislation was central to state lawsuits against the tobacco industry over the damage caused to public health by smoking in the 1990s. The laws are also at the heart of some litigation against fossil fuel companies over the climate crisis and emerging lawsuits against companies that failed to adequately protect workers from Covid.

    They have also resulted in drug manufacturers and distributors paying out hundreds of millions of dollars to cities and other authorities for their part in the opioid crisis that has claimed about 800,000 lives. On Friday, the advertising company Publicis Health agreed a $350m settlement with US states that sued the company under public nuisance laws for promoting the high-strength painkiller that kicked off the opioid epidemic, OxyContin, to doctors with false claims about its safety.

    But in an attempt to limit public authorities and others harmed by the actions of big business from seeking redress, corporations are using groups such as Alec and the US chamber of commerce to push state legislatures to pass laws to curb similar legal actions in the future.

    So, yeah. There’s that.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    My BIL died at the age of 36 from colon cancer. Brown bagged it for 3 years and the end was truly horrible. I wouldn’t wish it on Musk. Ok Ok, maybe him, or trump, or Putin, or Netanyahu, or…. Oh hell, a whole hell of a lot of deserving assholes out there.

  16. Joe says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The fact that they have (a) commenced treatment already and (b) suspended his schedule already leads me to believe that they feel the need to be aggressive with whatever it is.

    As to what it is specifically, colorectal makes some sense due to the proximity, but I think any blood screening is going to show some chemistries that would make you go looking if it was advanced, so it could be anywhere.

    For a non-MD, I have been around too much of this and don’t wish it on anyone.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Do we have reason to believe it’s colorectal?

    Well, if you were right about it being discovered by a BPE, which google tells me is a basic periodontal exam, we would only suspect colorectal if the clinician had hella long fingers. But if it was a DPE (digital prostrate exam) then it could be in the rectum, which is about 6″ long.

    But of course, there could be another meaning entirely to “BPE” and I could just be showing my ignorance.

  18. CSK says:


    BPE = Benign prostate enlargement.

  19. Gustopher says:


    On the plus side, they won’t call it the Larger Hadron Collider.

    I question your judgement if you think that is a plus.

  20. steve says:

    A lot of PCPs defer rectal exams to having the GI doc do it with your colonoscopy. I think that is why there would be speculation about a colorectal cancer. However, in the process of working up prostate enlargement you might get a urinalysis which could lead to finding a cancer anywhere in the urinary tract from kidneys to bladder.


  21. Michael Grant says:

    BPE – Benign Prostate Enlargement. Or BPH – Benign Prostate Hyperplasia. A very different orifice is involved.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Yours makes more sense, but mine is funnier.

  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    Ah. Thanks.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @steve: At 76, Charles probably hasn’t had a colonoscopy for 4-6 years. Maybe longer. In the US, patients routinely fall of the recall chart at 72. I would guess that NHS probably has a similar situation/protocol.

  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s usually diagnosed when a man realizes he’s been standing at the urinal for twenty minutes. PPF – Poor Piss Flow. Not to drop more medical jargon on you.

  26. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Sorry for your loss. It’s an ugly disease , no doubt about it.

    It’s been 4,480 days since I woke up with my Stage IV diagnosis (colon, liver, lymphatic). IIRC, 154 rounds of chemo, 7 total surgeries. OTOH, it’s been 3,261 days since my last treatment. Both those numbers are absolutely gobsmacking to my poor addled brain.

    Given the crappy survival rate (15%+/-) why this simple Luddite, I don’t know.

    My brown bagging days are in their 8th year, and I enjoy not having to worry about how clean the bar’s bathrooms are. But I doubt His Majesty appreciates the concept of brown bagging.

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    @just nutha:
    Only by a very circuitous and unpleasant route.

  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Flat Earth Luddite:
    Occasionally my wife or I will make some connection to a fan. One of hers is a little girl with leukemia whose mother has a different cancer. I met her at a fund-raising event where she had a poster showing the number of procedures she’d endured by age 7. Just staggering. I had no idea. IIRC it was five or six lumbar punctures plus much, much more. And I have no goddam idea how a parent copes with watching their kid do all that.

    I have to nerve myself up for days just to get a flu shot.

  29. Slugger says:

    Some people including theoretical physicist don’t see the need for a new collider.
    My understanding is that this thing will not be a large step, a quantum leap if you will, better than what we got now. A real step up requires a collider the size of the solar system.
    Somewhat impractical.

  30. DK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: lololol I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

  31. Tony W says:

    @MarkedMan: if this was true, I would have all manner of kitchen timers in my Amazon feed. That, plus turning lights on and off is all we use Alexa for.

  32. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    It’s wonderful to see that your sense of humor survived along with you.

  33. Kathy says:


    Some people including theoretical physicist don’t see the need for a new collider.

    There are many valid objections, and many valid points for building it.

    What I want to make clear is no one died and made Sabine Hossenfelder the King of Physics.

  34. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Either are appropriate. I normally use humor to hide and/or diffuse my pain. Some of my loneliest hours were the solo drive to and from my chemo appointments. Otoh, I’m here, nagging many people about this horrible ugly disease, and the importance of annual appointments.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We all do the best we can. However you view your personal deity (or not) I continue to believe we’re not given more than we can handle. YMMV.
    That being said, kids in the chemo chairs broke my heart on a weekly basis. Biggest people I knew were the pediatric oncology teams. Prayers and sainthood are less than they deserve.

    While I acknowledge being a character in a telenovela, I refuse to be the big-headed star of it. Personally , I feel myself as more the narrator than the hero in the saga.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I’m 66. I’ve been getting colonoscopies every 3 years for at least 9 yrs now.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: My BiL only had one surgery (I did not ask how invasive) and when regular chemo had no impact he went into experimental. Funnily enough, he went to a Doc who had a friend of mine as his primary nurse and after he died she explained to me what he went thru*.

    I remember him telling me he was done, was ready to die because he just couldn’t put up with it anymore. I miss him still, always will.

    * It was years later before she and I made the connection.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I have watched my sons die, several times, and yet they still live. When my youngest got run over on the Pontchartrain Bridge, I was told he went into the ambo unresponsive. I spent the next 2 hours certain he was dead until his wife called me telling me he was OK.

    The death of a child is the most horrible thing a parent can suffer. I watched my old man suffer it, and as mentioned above I lived thru the possibility several times.

  38. Kathy says:

    This week in airline incidents, an A320 went offroading during landing, and took some damage. No injuries were reported.

    Later a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco diverted twice due to weather. First to Oakland, where it spent four hours on the ground, before finally taking off for SF again.

    It was not to be. Weather made a landing impossible, so the A350 diverted to LA.

    If I had to wait in a holding pattern after a 12 hour flight, then spend 4 hours unmoving and waiting, then land several hundred kilometers from my destination, I’d go insane.

  39. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Ya gotta laugh through the tears. Especially if it’s happening to someone else.”

    Of course. As Mel Brooks said, tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall in an open manhole and die.

  40. wr says:

    @Kathy: “Later a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco diverted twice due to weather. First to Oakland, where it spent four hours on the ground, before finally taking off for SF again.”

    And if they’d just let the passengers out in Oakland, they all could have grabbed a BART train and been in SF in 30 minutes.

  41. Kathy says:


    There may have been issues in Oakland, such as no operating immigration facility at the time.

    Also, airlines always prefer to disembark passengers where the airline has a station. Cathay has none in Oakland, but does in LA.