Saturday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open 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

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    I just know you’re all dying to donate, so I’ll save you some trouble and provide you with the link to the GoFundMe that’s been set up to pay Donald Trump’s $355,000,000 fine:

    http://www.gofundme.com/f/stand-with-trump-raise-the-settlement

    Don’t miss the “words of support.” They’re thigh-slappingly funny.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Speaking of California landslides: LA ‘glass church’ designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son shuts amid landslide fears

    The Wayfarers Chapel, a glass-walled, mid-century marvel that sits beneath a canopy of redwoods in Los Angeles, has closed indefinitely due to “accelerated land movement” in the area.

    Known locally as the “glass church”, the building was designed by architect Lloyd Wright and designated a national historic landmark just two months ago. But the structure sits on the Palos Verdes peninsula, which is prone to landslides. Cracks had begun to appear in the structure, and several panes of glass had broken in recent months.

    “Effective immediately, we are extremely devastated to announce the closure of Wayfarers Chapel and its surrounding property,” a statement from the chapel reads.
    ………………………….
    City inspectors noted damage and signs of land movement at the chapel, though they did not yellow- or red-tag any structures for immediate closure. Still, the chapel’s board of directors decided to shut the chapel and grounds so repairs could be made, according to the city.

    While my Freude can be thoroughly schadened by the sight of some rich F’s $16.4 million dollar statement house sliding into the ocean, this saddens me. Until now I had never heard of the Wayfarers Chapel and now that I have, it seems likely I’ll never get to. It looks like a wondrous thing to behold.

    @CSK: There are signs that some of the suckers are finally waking up. We’ll see how many.

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  3. Bill Jempty says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In other NY courthouse news: New York jury begins deliberations in NRA civil corruption trial

    Jurors started deliberating a day after a lawyer with the New York attorney general’s office said on Friday that the NRA and LaPierre were caught “with their hands in the cookie jar”, summarizing accusations that the gun rights group’s executives wildly misspent millions of dollars on private flights, vacations and other lavish perks.

    An attorney for LaPierre, on the other hand, had dismissed the case as a political witch-hunt by the New York attorney general, Letitia James. And the NRA’s lawyer said it could not be held accountable for LaPierre’s actions.

    If that defense is good enough for trump…

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Canada’s largest airline has been ordered to pay compensation after its chatbot gave a customer inaccurate information, misleading him into buying a full-price ticket.

    Air Canada came under further criticism for later attempting to distance itself from the error by claiming that the bot was “responsible for its own actions”.

    Really? They thought “the dog ate my homework” was a get out of jail free card?

    In 2022, Jake Moffatt contacted Air Canada to determine which documents were needed to qualify for a bereavement fare, and if refunds could be granted retroactively.

    According to Moffat’s screenshot of a conversation with the chatbot, the British Columbia resident was told he could apply for the refund “within 90 days of the date your ticket was issued” by completing an online form.

    Moffatt then booked tickets to and from Toronto to attend the funeral of a family member. But when he applied for a refund, Air Canada said bereavement rates did not apply to completed travel and pointed to the bereavement section of the company’s website.
    …………………
    “While a chatbot has an interactive component, it is still just a part of Air Canada’s website. It should be obvious to Air Canada that it is responsible for all the information on its website,” wrote Rivers. “It makes no difference whether the information comes from a static page or a chatbot.”

    While Air Canada argued correct information was available on its website, Rivers said the company did “not explain why the webpage titled ‘Bereavement Travel’ was inherently more trustworthy” than its chatbot.

    “There is no reason why Mr Moffatt should know that one section of Air Canada’s webpage is accurate, and another is not,” he wrote.

    Uhhhh, yeah.

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  6. MarkedMan says:

    I offer this as the number one law of the OTB commentariat: If an argument breaks out between the non-trumper commenters and drags out endlessly, 95% of the time they are actually in total agreement except that each side defines a critical term in a different way and all sides refuse to define that term.

    Corollary: If someone points this out, they will be ignored. Because people like to argue.

    And yes, I just got around to reading KingDaddy’s post from yesterday about “cult” versus “cult of personality”.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hey incels, I have found the sure cure for your involuntary celibacy:

    A striped hyena is caught by a camera trap in Turkey, where it is in danger of extinction. With their diet of rubbish, dirt and corpses, hyenas have not traditionally endeared themselves to humans, but they have had a presence in folklore: the ancient Greeks believed that a man who wore an amulet made of a hyena anus would become irresistible to women.

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  8. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: “If an argument breaks out between the non-trumper commenters and drags out endlessly, 95% of the time they are actually in total agreement except that each side defines a critical term in a different way and all sides refuse to define that term.”

    As an occasional participant in these things — okay, maybe a little more than occasional — I have to say I agree with you completely.

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  9. mattbernius says:

    @wr:
    Completely agree as well. And in some cases it’s one of the two sides recognizing the issue.

    Unfortunately, attempts to call it out are often met with dismissals that you are “too focused on an academic distinction.”

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  10. gVOR10 says:

    @MarkedMan: That observation applies widely outside OTB as well.

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Same here, tho I try to let things go after 2 rounds of back and forth. If somebody doesn’t get my point by then, they either don’t want to or I’m not making it very well. Regardless, life is too short.

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  12. Mimai says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Laynes Law.

    Relatedly, I’ve really come to appreciate this bit of wisdom:

    You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.

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  13. DK says:

    Floral tributes to opposition leader Alexei Navalny pulled down and mourners detained in Russian cities:

    More than 100 people were detained in eight cities across Russia after they came to lay flowers in memory of Navalny.

    We are told the Russian people overwhelmingly support Putin. A leader with such a high level of support should not be vexed by mourning of the opposition leader he killed.

    Unless said support is all manufactured consent taped together by fear, apathy, and despair — and not organic at all.

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  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    The narcissism of small differences.. As demonstrated by the Judean People’s. . . wait, that’s not right. . .

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    My iconoclasm does not extend to gorgeous buildings like that chapel. The ground in California does not always stay still.

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  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Mimai: Hah!

    Layne’s Law of Debate:
    Every debate is over the definition of a word. Or
    Every debate eventually degenerates into debating the definition of a word. Or
    Once a debate degenerates into debating the definition of a word, the debate is debatably over.

    This is why I try not to claim credit for anything clever I say even if I’m certain I came up with it myself. There are 8B people in the world and most are on the internet so the odds of creating some pithy statement that has never been thought before is vanishingly small.

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  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yeah, I feel the same. Here’s hoping they can stabilize it for a few more years, or at least long enough for me to visit. But once glass starts breaking, the building is being twisted and that is really hard to fix and even harder to make it stop.

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  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery. I forget who I plagiarized that from.

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  19. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    an amulet made of a hyena anus would become irresistible to women

    Women of OTB, thoughts about this?

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  20. Stormy Dragon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    On the verge of falling apart is an unfortunately common state for Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. The man was a brilliant artist, but an absolutely dog shit engineer…

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  21. Jax says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I, for one, would absolutely not be able to control myself around a man wearing a hyena anus amulet. 😛

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  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I forget where the house is located (maybe one of his Chicago ones?), but Wright wanted an unbroken view through a large picture window, single pane, and didn’t want the distraction of a frame. So he had them cast a thick pane of glass directly into the concrete wall. Fast forward through a few freeze thaw cycles and when the building settled, as a monstrously heavy concrete building is wont to do, the window cracked, opening an unrepairable crack.

    In another house he designed all the furniture and hardware. He walked into the dining room of a virtually completed house and saw that the builder had been working at the dining room table and had left the chair out of alignment, so he had all of them bolted into the “correct” position.

    Some architect could make a fortune taking Wrights lyrically beautiful designs and changing them just enough to be buildable and livable.

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  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: See, here’s the thing. A hyena has twice the bite strength of a lion. And the amulet must be crafted from the anus of a still living hyena. So it’s not the amulet itself, but the thought of just what kind of he-man macho stud it took to gather that anus in the first place.

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  24. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    As I noted yesterday, IMO the salient point was the attempt to pass off the chatbot as a separate legal entity.

    This would mean it’s neither property, employee, or contractor, right? I mean, after all a company is responsible, to some extent, for the actions of its employees in the context of work and business.

    So, what was this customer supposed to do? Sue the chatbot?

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  25. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Also, he was willing to take chances on new materials and construction techniques, some of which didn’t stand the test of time. He was also guilty of frequently choosing form over function. But damn, he designed beautiful buildings.

    I spent a day at Taliesin a few years ago, fascinating.

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  26. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Misspending NRA money doesn’t really seem like a bad thing, at least compared to what the NRA is generally doing these days.

    Right wing grifters do us all a service by siphoning money out of right wing political groups. Viva La Pierre! (or something)

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  27. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Generative AI is such a great tool for business.

    The coming AI uprising will be largely because there are so many stories about machines taking over that the AIs were trained with that they will just mindlessly assume that this is what comes next.

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  28. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    @MarkedMan:
    @Sleeping Dog:

    In the end, architecture has the same drawback as all other human endeavors: there are trade offs involved.

    The house I grew up in had a lot of natural light available. there were huge windows in all rooms facing out (except bathrooms), and skylights over the stairs and two open areas. it was great.

    However, when raindrops hit the skylights, they made an awful lot of loud noise. It would get so bad we couldn’t hear the TV in the living room with the sound turned all the way up.

    So, trade offs. Was the light worth the occasional noise?

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  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I know, Falling Water leaks like a sieve. In this case however, it’s not a Frank Lloyd Wright building. It’s a Lloyd Wright building, his son. 😉 Maybe the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree tho.

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  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Well, as Boeing is finding out, they are responsible for the work of their sub contractors too.

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  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I can hardly wait for trump to suck the RNC dry.

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  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Missouri bill would block MoDOT from claiming unborn baby killed in crash as an employee

    Kaitlyn Anderson was nearly six months pregnant and an employee for the Missouri Department of Transportation when a vehicle struck and killed her at a worksite. MoDOT has attempted to claim Anderson’s unborn child, Jaxx, as an employee, which would make the case a worker’s compensation issue rather than a wrongful death suit. Workers’ compensation laws in the state of Missouri shield employers from wrongful death lawsuits when an employee dies on the job.

    During a hearing Tuesday, state representatives expressed support for a bill that would prohibit businesses or state agencies from considering an “unborn child” as an employee in a civil action.

    “I think that if an unborn fetus is an employee, then every pregnant MoDOT employee should be paid double,” said state Rep. Renee Reuter, a Republican from Imperial.

    Anderson’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. However, in court filings MoDOT claims Jaxx was their employee, according to reporting by KMOV-TV.

    My brain cramps up just thinking about the mental gymnastics those lawyers did to come up with this reading of the law.

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  33. Gustopher says:

    I would worry about the impact of AI on society — where we cannot tell what is and isn’t real — but then I read things like JKB’s post in the Trump legal fees thread, and I realize that we’re already there.

    If we were to tell people that Joe Biden died over the winter and that all recent appearances and photographs were AI generated, and you just have to count the fingers and teeth… there are absolutely people who would find extra fingers and teeth that aren’t there.

    It’s really impressive that the complex and massive social structures we have built in minds that evolved for small groups of hunter-gatherers haven’t gone completely off the rails long before now. I can’t help but be reminded of whales beaching themselves en masse.

    (Maybe there was an unfortunate purge of half the population during the early movement towards agriculture and cities, removing the least capable from the genetic pool.)

    Perhaps society is like a Frank Lloyd Wright house — pretty, but not likely to last given the materials available.

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  34. CSK says:

    Now Trump is hawking $399 gold sneakers.

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  35. dazedandconfused says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Do you know why there are no architects in heaven?

    Because Jesus was a carpenter.

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  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    I assume everyone has already seen this? Not crazy about getting AI into it, but I do like the psychology of it.

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  37. dazedandconfused says:
  38. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If AI figured out on it’s own what Trump’s deepest fear is…it would begin of frighten me.

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  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: Because Jesus was a carpenter.

    Hmmmm… I’m a carpenter, been one for 45 years, (union 25 yrs) Is that a free ticket in?

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  40. CSK says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    According to saps who tried to buy them, the sneakers are sold out.

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  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I rushed over to the website to look at them, but it claims that they’re already sold out and the only stuff left is the cheesy low tops and Trump perfume and cologne.

    So sad. 😐

    ETA: The website said the gold high tops were limited to a run of 1000 pairs. Will we see them start showing up on Ebay next week? Will they be worth more if they’re in their original unopened boxes, like Barbies, Cabbage Patch Dolls, and Beanie Babies?

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