Saturday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rising temperatures around the world as a result of the climate crisis are having a devastating effect on foetuses, babies and children, multiple studies have found.

    Scientists have determined the climate emergency is causing – among other adverse outcomes – an increased risk of premature birth and hospitalisation of young children as well as weight gain in babies. Research shows pollution can stunt children’s lung growth, cause asthma and affect blood pressure, cognitive abilities and mental health.

    “Climate change is no longer tomorrow’s problem, it’s today’s,” Kingdon said. “Healthcare professionals across the UK are already seeing its impact first-hand.”

    In the UK, air pollution was the largest environmental risk to public health, she added. “Children breathe faster, so they inhale more airborne toxins in proportion to their weight than adults exposed to the same amount of air pollution. As such, they are especially vulnerable to air pollution, which can lead to asthma in childhood, and lifelong health issues.”

    The damage inflicted on children by the climate crisis was not limited to physical ill health, Kingdon said. “The mental health effects of climate change on children are significant and may be long lasting.

    “Children exhibit high levels of concern over climate change and the mental health consequences, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, phobias, sleep disorders, attachment disorders and substance abuse, can lead to problems with learning, behaviour, and academic performance.”

    Kingdon said as a result of glaring health inequalities in the UK, some children were suffering the ill-effects more than most. “Climate change poses an existential risk to the health and wellbeing of all children. However, the current impacts of climate change are not experienced equally.”

    Those Chinese don’t miss a trick. When they pull a hoax, they cover all the bases.

  2. de stijl says:

    I work puzzles everyday. Mostly word puzzles. Crosswords, anacrostics, fill-ins, word searches – that type of thing. I have a major family medical history of dementia that I saw up close twice and I’m doing my best to combat that. Exercise the body, exercisee the brain.

    Yesterday I was doing a word search puzzle (the one were you need to find and circle a word in a sea of seemingly random letters). Up, down, left, right, vertical. Find it.

    The theme for this puzzle was words that rhymes with the word “call”.

    I eyeballed the grid trying to get the easy to notice ones. A lot of it is pattern recognition. Consonant and vowel combinations that usually make up English words.

    Was working the puzzle then realized that some of the words did not rhyme with “call” at all. Control, role, and hole do not rhyme with call.

    I looked at the list of words to be circled to complete and it was nonsense. The words floor and ignore in no way rhyme with the word call.

    This was a word search puzzle created by someone or something that did not understand English at all or human language systems or practices.

    How do you rhyme call and ignore? Entirely different phonemes. It was baffling. Beyond baffling – straight up bizarre.

    Wacky, idiosyncratic AIs are taking over the word search puzzle industry.


    I was so weirded out I looked up the publishing company of the word search book I bought. Purportedly an American based company, but it could be a front owned and secretly controlled by our alien overlords.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Homicides in the U.S. dropped significantly in 2022 and have plummeted even faster this year, putting the country on track for one of the biggest declines in killing ever recorded, crime statistics show. If that comes as a surprise, you’re not alone.
    The FBI’s annual report on the nation’s crime statistics showed a 6% decline in homicides in 2022. The drop exceeded what most crime experts expected, said Jeff Asher, a crime data analyst and consultant whose AH Datalytics’ site is a widely cited source of information.

    The FBI data, which the bureau compiled from reports filed by 18,888 local police departments, lags nearly a year behind reality. Asher, who puts together data from departments that cover a large majority of the nation’s population, says that so far this year, homicides nationwide have declined 11% to 12%. Cities tend to report first and have larger drops than more-rural areas, Asher noted, so he’s projecting the final, nationwide 2023 numbers will show a smaller drop — somewhere between 7% and 10%.

    “A 10% decline would be the largest ever recorded,” he said.

    The decline goes beyond homicides: Violent crime overall ticked down in 2022 across the country, the FBI numbers showed, returning the U.S. pretty much to the level of 2019, before the COVID-19-era increase. That’s consistent with the pattern of the last dozen years. Despite some fluctuations, violent crime nationwide has stayed largely at the same level since 2011, when it hit a plateau after 20 years of steady declines.

    I am not surprised. The GOP has been fear mongering about crime since forever and they always make it sound worse than it is (not to mention the “if it bleeds, it leads” news). Also, I am jaded. I became an adult in the ’70s and well remember the ’80s and ’90s. What we have now just ain’t that.

    eta: LA Times link, not pay walled for me, hopefully it is the same for you guys

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Cruises, golf and private health: how baby boomer spending has kept UK inflation stubbornly high

    Boy, us boomers get blamed for everything.

    (no I haven’t read the article, I just couldn’t help laughing at the headline)

  5. CSK says:

    Last night I dreamed that Queen Elizabeth called me twice to ask me to write something for her.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: That’s not a dream, that’s a nightmare.

  7. al Ameda says:


    Boy, us boomers get blamed for everything.

    You’re not kidding. It begs the question:
    How is it that ‘The Greatest Generation’ failed so miserably at raising their children?

  8. clarkontheweekend says:

    This is a rhetorical (is that the right word) question, but where are the journalistic stories of what a great job Biden has been doing as president. It’s so frustrating. I read headlines in the obvious rag of Politoco that are so ridiculously framed that the guy can’t catch a break. In the past, headlines about economic issues were all couched in how perilous this was for Biden, but when there’s good news, it’s just the news but a corralary of this is good news for Biden is never part of the story. I mean, the media is fucking horrible. People like me and others on this site have been talking about what a shitshow Republicans are, even before this latest house speaker debacle, and I’m like, “Ya, been obvious for decades that they’re total frauds and nihilists,” but where is the news reporting stating this obvious fact, nowhere. It’s ashameful state of affairs. Are the heads of these media organizations so deep int the supposed both sides fairness academic theories of journalism that the obvious is out of their scope of realiy. Who are these people and how are they so obtuse about this?! I mean hey, did you hear that three of the defendants in Tfg guys criminal trial plead guilty. Massive fucking deal, crazy news story. The whole Trump enterprise is a fraud and he’s a rapist to boot. Wouldn’t know it if you read the news.

    Okay, morning rant over. Saturday morning, October 21st, nice day here in Milwaukee. Good morning for some hot coffee, morning EPL, perhaps some antiquing later on. It’s a conundrum, I don’t like to have stuff, kind of a minimalist in that sense, but I love looking at stuff, thinking about having it.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:


    Glad to hear it was to write something about her and not join her on the other side. 😉

  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    @al Ameda:

    Maybe they weren’t so great after all.

  11. de stijl says:


    A couple of weeks ago I woke up in the middle of a bizarre dream and the dreaming process didn’t shut down correctly and part of the process of dreaming carried over into awake reality. I wasn’t hallucinating visual or auditory things, but there was this weird unsettling thing where awake brain was sharing space with dreaming brain while I was awake. It was unpleasant. Second time it happened within a year’s span.

    Part of my brain was trying to dream when I was awake.

    Normally, I wake up fairly groggy, stumble to the kitchen and kick off the electric kettle, stumble to the bathroom to pee and decide if this a tea or coffee morning. Check the news quick to see if the world blew up last night.

    That morning I sat down and contemplated a blank wall for 20 or 30 minutes until the unsettling bifurcation died out. My headspace was not right, correct, proper, and I immediately knew it and I couldn’t consciously shut it down. Itried hard to do so. It was pretty freaky.

    I use hallucinogens, namely psilocybin, two or three times a year. This was not that experience. I know what that feels like. This was new.

    This quasi-dreaming while awake was unsettling. Parts of my brain that are inert while awake were engaged and firing off signals my awake brain was utterly new at processing. It was unpleasant.

  12. de stijl says:


    To a certain mindset, crime is desirable because it increases the general populace’s desire for a big-daddy authoritarian government to combat that.

    Republicans fantasize about disorder and crime because they see it as a political wedge advantage.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: I know why they do it and I know the darkened face they put onto it in order to instill as much fear as possible in their voters. The same is true of the NRA and their fellow travelers.

  14. Barry says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Boy, us boomers get blamed for everything.

    (no I haven’t read the article, I just couldn’t help laughing at the headline)”

    I don’t think that it’s truly generational; the heart of the business press is the same as the rest of the right: our major problem is that the rich are too poor and the rest are too rich.

  15. Bill Jempty says:

    @de stijl:

    Check the news quick to see if the world blew up last night.

    That reminds me of a George Carlin joke from a 1970’s HBO special.

    “Terrorists threaten to blow up the world tonight at 10 p.m. Highlights at 11.”

  16. de stijl says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    I check the news when I wake up always. Since I was a kid. It’s automatic.

    Don’t even think about the why, it’s just part of the routine. I think I see it as a part of good citizenship – I should be well informed and maybe even have an opinion about that thing that happened.

    I can’t do jack diddly squat about it, but I know it happened. I can discuss current events with friends and acquaintances and know the headlines and the basic facts.

    I’m never going to stop doing that. It’s core personality. I’m so dorky I listen to NPR talk radio while showering.

  17. EddieInCA says:


    Good morning for some hot coffee, morning EPL,

    I’m set up already. I have my cup of joe and some buttered toast. I”m comfy on the couch. Wrexham match starts in three minutes, then Manchester United plays at noon. Some days, both of my teams play at once, so I’ll have one set up on the TV and the other on the laptop. It’s my Saturday routine. Good times.

  18. Mr. prosser says:

    @de stijl: Checking the news is a habit I got thanks to “Current Events” being one of the first topics in junior high home room. Three students were called upon randomly and needed to say something about an event in the previous day’s paper. Sports and box scores were not allowed.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mr. prosser: Sports and box scores were not allowed.

    Say WHAT??? Nothing else matters!

  20. Mr. Prosser says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In 1960 I was in 7th Grade. My home room teacher was a dyed-in-the-wool New Deal Democrat and a veteran of the of the Pacific Theater in WWII. All I needed was to report any article, no matter how trivial, on the JFK/Nixon election contest. Piece of cake.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mr. Prosser: He musta been some kinda commie.

  22. Kathy says:

    This week I’m making breaded chicken medallions topped with one layer each of refried beans, cheese, tomato sauce, and browned onions. these follow a soup with lentils, rice, kasha, and pasta, with lots of garlic.

    Provided I don’t need to work too long catching up with pre-Hell Week, which seems to be getting started early this year.

  23. Bill Jempty says:


    Say WHAT??? Nothing else matters!

    The results from yesterday’s horse racing were more important! Teacher may have money wagered with his bookie.

  24. Bill Jempty says:

    @de stijl:

    I check the news when I wake up always. Since I was a kid. It’s automatic.

    There is that thing called the morning newspaper. I had to end my Palm Beach Post subscription when my cancer battle began in 2008 due to being in a financial squeeze. Didn’t resubsucribe after my finances improved due to my ebook business.

    Only two of the 72 condo units where I live get the newspaper delivered to them. There was a 3rd. She’s now in a assisted living facility. Three years ago, Shirley fell in her unit. Nobody knew till I saw her daily newspaper out in front of her door for the 2nd straight day. I notified the HOA President and a board member opened Shirley’s door using a key they had.

    My regret- Not telling the board about 16 hours earlier. I had seen the first newspaper outside the door around 6 pm the day before.

    There was this story where a couple died in their condo and nobody discovered it for months.

  25. Kathy says:

    @Mr. prosser:

    We did something like this in first year history in junior high school. Every Friday we were supposed to bring newspaper clippings of relevant developments. Some would read them, the rest would make comments on them.

    My one objection to this, is we had to glue the clippings on a large notebook made of thick paper. I literally had no time for this among the rest of the homework and study. So I rarely brought any clippings, and the teacher thought I was lazy.

    She was an excellent teacher, but had the same flaw common to all too many teachers: she thought her class was the only one that really mattered.

  26. gVOR10 says:

    – You’re quite right to observe that bad news is tied to Biden while good news is often presented free of political affiliation.
    – NYT et al, with the constant drumbeat of her emails, Benghazi, her foundation did more to elect Donald Trump than Jim Comey.
    – A day or two ago someone here commented on the nearly complete absence of Democrats on the Sunday morning talk shows. A thing people have been noticing for decades.
    – This morning WAPO has a multi-thousand word puff piece on Jim Jordan.
    – WAPO has loaded their editorial page with mediocre conservatives. Ramesh Ponnuru? Who does he speak for?
    – Mitt Romney just released his kiss and tell book snarking about how his GOP colleagues are all assholes, but he couldn’t possibly support a Dem.
    – Romney is just the latest of a long string of similar comments from GOP pols.
    – Aside from one piece about Clarence Thomas’ luxury RV the MSM seems to be leaving it to Pro Publica to dig for SCOTUS dirt.
    – And on and on.

    I’ve been trying to understand this for years. Part of it seems to be that GOPs are better at pressuring the press. Part of it is a reluctance to criticize the beliefs of large chunk of the population, which manifests as repeated safaris to midwest diners to ask why people vote for Trump, rather than admit to the obvious reasons they vote for Trump. Part of it is J school reluctance to make even the most obvious judgements, which leaves them chasing a median between Rs moving loony tune right and Ds moving a little left.

    But I really think the biggest part of it is just that the owners and managing editors see themselves as part of the elite and there is still a vision of Republicans as the party of the elite. Conservatives talk about democracy just meaning the masses will vote to steal from the makers and shakers. A lot of “elites” do see it that way. (And to an extent it’s true, D’s do want the rich to contribute more. Including raising taxes on media owners and managers who see the world through that same lens.) Dems are still seen as the party of blue collar workers, minorities, and other losers. The owners and managers go to cocktail parties with their fellow elites, who even in NY tend to “socially liberal and fiscally conservative”, i.e. conservative on taxation and regulation, which is all that really matters to them. And of course there’s Bezos.

    Maybe this will change as there is dawning recognition that Ds have become the party of the educated, but it’s slow.

  27. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    How do you rhyme call and ignore?

    Two possibilities:
    1. By being Peter Cook in The Princess Bride
    2. By being a rapper

    My favorite run-in with non-rhotic English was an old British radio game show called “My Word”. I clearly remember being traumatized by the episode where I couldn’t guess the answer because it depended on thinking that “wart” and “what” are homophones.

  28. DrDaveT says:


    where are the journalistic stories of what a great job Biden has been doing as president

    At least one of our hosts feels that such stories, being mere “opinion”, should only appear on the editorial pages. As best I can tell, he feels it is permissible for journalists to catalog facts about what has happened or is happening, but not to draw any conclusions from those facts.

  29. de stijl says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    I used to date a reporter for the local paper. She started just before Gannett bought out every local newspaper in America in the mid aughts. She saw that happen. Since we were dating I was semi-obligated to read the Des Moines Register front to back everyday.

    Her initial beat was city politics. As Gannett-ification took hold and all of the senior people were let go / forced out her beat got bigger and bigger with less and less support. Desks got consolidated like crazy.

    The paper got shittier and shittier. You’d look at the front page and three articles were just complete re-writes of AP articles with no by-line. You open to A2 and it was almost entirely grabs from other Gannett papers.

    One of her colleagues was this old school editor who somehow didn’t get canned. He was a frigging hoot! Borderline functional alcoholic who let you know what was on his mind. Crusty old guy. I was paying attention to pieces on Poynter which was reporting on and editorializing about the state of the print news reporting business, so he could sort of talk shop with me and I sort of got most of it when he dumbed it down. Give that guy three beers and a shot and he could and would rant like the guy from Network.

    Local newspapers are now just a joke. They outsource everything. Anything that is not local is from the amorphous Gannett pond. It’s actually quite sad. I bought a copy of the Register last year on a whim and it was so disheartening. It was 8 or 10 pages. Newspapers used to have sections, ffs! Local reporting is basically dead. Newspapers as a medium outside of a few islands are dead, and those islands are dying.

    She had to move to get a reporting job she could take any value and respect out of and that was with a pay cut in 2008.

    Now she’s working for some IT corporate PR and obviously hates it. Her disdain drips out her pores.

  30. Gustopher says:


    The FBI’s annual report on the nation’s crime statistics showed a 6% decline in homicides in 2022. The drop exceeded what most crime experts expected, said Jeff Asher, a crime data analyst and consultant whose AH Datalytics’ site is a widely cited source of information.

    Americans are getting better at hiding bodies!

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl: A new local paper started here in Baltimore, The Banner, well funded and entirely local in its coverage. I’ve been a subscriber since day one and really appreciate it. I also subscribe to the sun and notice it has caused them to step up the local beat a bit.

  32. de stijl says:


    That is great news! I’m jealous.

    Even our alt-weekly is crap. It’s now a monthly and mostly consists of paid-for content and 80% is ads.

    You get one or two actual pieces, the food dude, the music gal, and the rest is either just straight-up PR puffery, or much, much worse are “articles” titled The Funeral Business Is Changing and consists of quotes from a local funeral provider hawking their wares. It’s a godamned travesty.

    I grew up when alt-weeklies were fiesty, often rude, and very anti-establishment. Now, I see “articles” about the benefits of Lazic surgery bought and paid for by the clinic. It’s a fucking joke. I’m living in a Paul Verhoeven movie.

    It pisses me off how blatantly mercenary it is. It is fucking terrible and grotesque!

    Hey, at least it’s still free!

  33. de stijl says:


    That is great news! I’m jealous.

    Even our alt-weekly is crap. It’s now a monthly and mostly consists of paid-for content and 80% is ads.

    You get one or two actual pieces, the food dude, the music gal, and the rest is either just straight-up PR puffery, or much, much worse are “articles” titled The Funeral Business Is Changing and consists of quotes from a local funeral provider hawking their wares. It’s a godamned travesty.

    I grew up when alt-weeklies were fiesty, often rude, and very anti-establishment. Now, I see “articles” about the benefits of Lazic surgery bought and paid for by the clinic. It’s a fucking joke. I’m living in a Paul Verhoeven movie.

    It pisses me off how blatantly mercenary it is. It is so lame.

    Hey, at least it’s still free!

  34. Bill Jempty says:

    @de stijl:

    One of her colleagues was this old school editor who somehow didn’t get canned. He was a frigging hoot!

    Probably knew where all the bodies were buried.

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    I deliver the local free weekly Carbondale Times. It was started almost 30 years ago as an entertainment rag and has evolved into a decent community paper. In 2017 the married couple that established it in 1995 sold it to the Southern Illinois Local Media Group which owns several regional dailies and weeklies, some free and some with paid circulation. The Southern Illinois Local Media Group is owned by Paddock Publications of the Chicago area. The “mom and pop” publishers who started the Carbondale Times made out like bandits. Good for them!
    Since the sale the three papers (Carbondale Times, Weekend Times and Nightlife) have been consolidated into one issue. In addition to local news and sports reporting and columns by several local scribes the Times covers regional news and news out of the State Capitol in Springfield.
    More than a few times I have heard from Citizens that they get more local news from the Carbondale Times weekly than they read in the local daily the Southern Illinoisan that has been around since 1947. Actually now cut back to three days a week and no more home delivery. Subscriptions arrive in the US Mail. If you buy the Southern Illinoisan at the “news stand” a weekday copy is $2 and the weekend issue is more.
    I would direct readers to the Carbondale Times (dot) com web site but it does not do the print edition justice.
    It is decidedly behind the times.

  36. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:..I grew up when alt-weeklies were fiesty, often rude, and very anti-establishment.

    When I was living in San Francisco in the mid ’70s and I didn’t need the 15¢ for beer money I would pick up a copy of The Berkeley Barb.
    I wish I would have saved them.

  37. DrDaveT says:

    I have begun working my way through The Great Courses(TM) course The Conservative Tradition. The professor is English, and the course is focused on the British and American conservative traditions, mostly since the late 17th century.

    I’m finding it very instructive. For example, I had not really thought carefully about the fact that conservatism doesn’t really have any intrinsic policy preferences. Whether a given policy is conservative or not depends on time and place. Thus, in the UK conservatives are staunchly in favor of nationalized health care and gun control, while in the US conservatives are just as staunchly opposed to both of those things.

    I’m not very far into the course, but it seems to me that conservatism is actually the conjunction of two essential ingredients. There are some basic axioms about the way the world works, and a psychological predilection, and it takes both to make a traditional conservative.

    The psychological predilection is the obvious one — distrust (or perhaps even fear) of change. Conservatives are by definition sufficiently happy with the way things are that they are loth to risk making things worse by changing anything. This can either be because they are among the privileged at present, for whom most any change is likely to be a bad thing, or because they are in the far right tail of the distribution for how asymmetric their personal utility curves are with respect to gains and losses. Even if your life isn’t really great, if you value avoiding loss much more than you value gain, you will fear change. Modern prospect theory backs this up.

    The axioms are a little more slippery, and not necessarily the ones I would have guessed.
    1. Human nature is what it is; there’s no hope of changing it. Any system or policy that depends on people becoming more intelligent, less selfish, less belligerent, or more cooperative than they are now is doomed to failure.
    2. Class stratification is natural, and perhaps even desirable. Some social mobility might be a good thing, since it provides an incentive to try harder (at both ends), but egalitarianism is a disastrous idea.
    3. The world is complicated, and unintended consequences dominate. Tinkering with the present system is safer both because it involves smaller steps and because we understand the details and failure modes of the present system well, by experience. Implementing a theoretical scheme will never work the way we expect, and it will have unintended consequences that we can’t predict precisely because we have no experience of it to learn from.

    I’ll stop there, to allow the more knowledgeable on this subject to gently correct me. 🙂 I’ll note in passing, though, that Libertarianism is (on this analysis) extremely non-conservative, given the way it violates all three axioms — unless you take it to apply only at the margin, telling which direction society’s baby steps should take. That might explain some of the talking-past-each-other that has happened in past comment threads…

  38. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    There were two alt-weeklies where I grew up: City Pages and Twin Cities Reader. Both were free. Had kiosks and stands all around town.

    The Reader closed up shop in 1997. City Pages made it to 2020 when Covid killed that. Those types of papers are entirely dependent on advertising and a lot of that is indie restaurants and local bars.

    2020 killed a lot of those outright let alone their advertising budget.

    Our local free monthly is called Cityview and it fucking sucks. There are zero staff writers. It has “editorial contributers” some of which write a monthly piece and some of those are quite decent. I think they are paid in “exposure”.

    It is 80% ads and some of the editorial is obviously bought and paid for.

    New Traditions In Weddings “article” was paid for by a local provider. It’s very sad.

    It’s so blatant and obvious: this is advertorial paid content.

    I simultaneously want to laugh at it and want to vomit. It is a perversion.

  39. Beth says:

    @de stijl:

    I’ve noticed that since I’ve started taking psychedelics that I’ve been able to access parts of my mind and body in new and wild ways. As long as you roughly understand where reality is you can get a good look at some of the weird processes going on in your brain.

    The whole experience has been wonderful at mitigating a lot of my PTSD.

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Would you happen to be the father of the kid I had in auto shop a couple of years ago who said “I don’t understand why they have us doing all this lame ass book work and math when what we really should be in the shop fixin’ cars?” 😉

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: I was watching the British quiz show Impossible the other night and heard the host pronounce the name of pro wrestler cum “B” movie star John Cena as John Senner.

    And yes, that’s how you get a place where call and ignore rhyme. “Co”/”ignoe”? Yep, rhyme!

  42. Gustopher says:

    For those still excited about the Gaza Hospital, we have this from BBC Channel 4 (At 4:40)

    The missile came from the East, which is being taken by some as meaning it came from Israel. I see no reason to conclude that a misfired missile is going in the expected direction.

    (I think the odds that anyone was deliberately targeting the hospital courtyard is low, and that lots of people get killed in war in unexpected ways, so it ultimately shouldn’t matter from which side the misfired rocket came from. Except that this missile is going to shape the narrative on the war, has derailed half of Biden’s trip to the Middle East, etc. And, barring a new disaster that pushed this out of mind, will likely be the cause of arguments at Thanksgiving tables across the country.)

    Meanwhile, the tape the Israelis have released of two Hamas operators discussing the missile misfire may well be fake, and is at least heavily edited and from two different sources.

    Given the joys of war and propaganda, I would assume that there would be a lot of pressure to release evidence, and that if the Israeli government doesn’t want to reveal how much intelligence they are currently gathering while they gear up for a ground invasion, they might release fake evidence of a real thing.

    So, I would just discount that tape entirely, rather than claim that the problems with it are an admission of Israeli guilt.

    Anyway, jet fuel cannot cause steel girders to melt, so 9/11 was an inside job or something.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: For point 3, I would have thought that not tinkering with the present system would be even safer, but my inner Manichaean was buoyed by number one (a belief he holds unreservedly).

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: The local monthly in our area is called the Cowlitz County Reader. I don’t read it often anymore because I’m tired of reading the Lewis and Clark journey series that has been running for 13-week intervals for what is now it’s 3th straight year. I suspect that they run it for two reasons–the first is that they need to have some fixed number of pages–36 or so–to get the printing company to print it at all and secondly, because the “publisher” created the journal so that her friends would have a place to publish. Several people that I know who are ‘not from here’ have submitted articles or series suggestions only to be told that the paper is “not accepting submissions from the public at this time.”

  45. CSK says:

    MTG says she gets emotional when she thinks of Trump going to prison.

  46. Beth says:
  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Nope, mine are 35 and 37. Also, they would have asked you why you didn’t have them practicing SRT (singly rope technique).

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: If it will make her feel better, she can go first to ease his transition.

  49. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    For point 3, I would have thought that not tinkering with the present system would be even safer

    Oh, absolutely. I was contrasting with “replacing the current system with a new one”, since preventing any change at all doesn’t seem to be among the available alternatives. People who think that everything is ideal just the way it is are always a minority.

  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    I’m lying in my hammock about two blocks away from the When We Were Young Festival. I think that was Sum 41 that just finished. I’m waiting for The Offspring, Blink-182 and Green Day all coming up. The sound’s shit, too muddied by distance and large buildings, but it’s free. I have beer and a joint and the sun’s going down.

    I like living in Vegas much more than I thought I would. But then I am not part of Vegas, I’ve set myself up as a sort of permanent tourist who just happens to have dogs and his own beds.

  51. Kathy says:


    So do I. I get overcome with joy.

  52. de stijl says:


    I really enjoy my shroom experiences. I loosen up after. I drop a lot of accumulated brain garbage and memories of anxious moments no one else noticed but me and just drop it by the wayside.

    My routine is to drive out to this cool little campground almost no one knows about and set up my tent. Loess Hills. Great vista. You can see the horizon. State campground so no nosy rangers. 80% of the time no one else is camping there and is completely empty, and if there are they are backpackers / hikers and usually super cool.

    No one cares if I shroom up, go down the hill a bit, lay down, and gawk at the stars for several hours. I have my spot.

    After, the next day, the next month or so, I feel so refreshed and clean. I’d let go.

    I inadvertently stumbled onto a therapeutic thing in my early 20’s kind of by accident. Before I, conscious me, knew I had issues with anxiety, my brain knew, and when I stumbled upon psilocybin my brain knew that worked. Alcohol just numbs it, marijuana did not work for me – way too often I felt more stressed out after smoking. I haven’t smoked pot since I was 22. Zero urge, no desire. I don’t want to be more stressed and kinda paranoid. Speed was an immediate no go – yeesh! Coke was awesome for 40 minutes and way, way too expensive for my paltry budget.

    I just sort of stumbled into mushrooms and I’m happy about that. It helps me let go of crap I don’t need to be hauling around.

    It works for me. And my therapist is non-comittedly kind of on board. She doesn’t discourage that. Doesn’t challenge me on that beyond telling me not to get hypothermic.

    Absent that, it is extremely likely I would be a miserable misanthropic alcoholic today – hating everybody and everything and mostly myself.

    It works for me.

  53. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Is anyone really part of Vegas? Maybe if you’re born and bred.

    Disneyland may be the happiest place on earth (I strongly doubt that), but Las Vegas is the most disposable.

    It is really interesting conceptionally. I love the idea of Las Vegas. Whenever I’ve been there it felt odd. I was out of place, out of time. Like I was a ghost. Especially at night.

    Not a gambler – I’m way too thrifty and frugal for that nonsense, and I’m not really a partier. I tend to go home at 8 or 9 before things get crazy. I’m an introvert and need my down time.

    Of that line-up only The Offspring sound at all appealing. They had a few decent songs if I recall correctly. My pop-punk band from that era was Bowling For Soup. Life After Lisa and The Girl All The Bad Guys Want.

    Whenever I was in Las Vegas I just usually stayed in my room and watched TV.


    It literally took me a half hour to figure out the When We Were Young name of that tour. The Killers, duh. Mr. Brightside, etc. I liked those guys. Brandon Flowers was a pretty good songwriter.