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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In a lengthy statement, the former mayor said: “I’m learning from a leak to the New York Times that I’m being fired by John Catsimatidis and WABC because I refused to comply with their overly broad directive stating, word-for-word, that I’m ‘prohibited from engaging in conversations relating to the 2020 presidential election’.”

    A copy of a letter from Catsimatidis to Giuliani, dated 9 May and obtained by the Guardian, said Giuliani was “prohibited from engaging in conversations relating to the 2020 presidential election on your programs broadcast on WABC … and otherwise in your capacity as an agent of the station.

    “These specific topics include, but are not limited to, the legitimacy of the election results, allegations of fraud effectuated by election workers, and your personal lawsuits relating to those allegations.”

    Claiming “a clear violation of free speech”, Giuliani said he would address the situation further on social media on Friday night.

    Yeah, his “free speech” that he charges WABC for, not to mention what it might cost them in court. What a f’n snowflake.

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  2. Kathy says:

    I’m really sore at Walmart right now.

    I got a coffeemaker the other day, to replace one at the office. It was early in the morning on the way to work. I mistakenly took off the shelf the wrong model. It was the same brand, same colors on the box, and the one that was under the display model I wanted. I didn’t realize the error until I got to the office.

    I tried to return it, only to be told there are no refunds or exchanges on clearance items. Now, I did notice the price was reduced, but nowhere did it say “clearance,” nor was I informed there were no refunds or exchanges. Not when I paid for it, not on the receipt, not on the shelves.

    I pointed this out, and was told “there are no refunds or exchanges on clearance items.”

    That’s terrible customer service. No apology for not making the terms of purchase clear, or even for the fact they won’t let me return it.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Queen of the Con’ found in Maine ordered to be extradited to Northern Ireland

    A US-born woman who disguised herself as an heiress to a $30m fortune while scamming nearly $100,000 from a television producer – who later sent her to prison and documented her misdeeds on a hit podcast – has been ordered extradited to Northern Ireland on a separate set of fraud charges.

    Marianne “Mair” Smyth’s extradition to the UK was authorized by John Nivision, a US federal magistrate judge, on Thursday, more than two months after she was arrested at a short-term rental home in Bingham, Maine, court records show.

    Smyth was staying there after an early release from a prison sentence for defrauding podcaster Johnathan Walton, whose Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress chronicled his experience with her; how she allegedly ripped off others, including in Belfast, Northern Ireland; and prompted the decisive tip about her whereabouts in Bingham before her 23 February recapture there.
    ……………………………..
    “It’s been said the pen is mightier than the sword, but let me tell you, the podcast is mightier still,” Walton said in a statement to the Guardian about Smyth’s extradition order. Alluding to how Queen of the Con helped authorities in the UK build a case against Smyth, Walton added: “My only desire now is for justice at long last for the victims in Northern Ireland.”

    It is quite the story, a made for TV miniseries.

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  4. Bill Jempty says:

    The Sports headline of the day- Sierra Leone jockey fined for touching during Kentucky Derby

    What’s not noted in the ESPN article, but is here, is the long lag between the horses crossing the finish line and the race being declared official. The 2024 Kentucky Derby was a photo finish but at the time of the race I did find the gap curious. When young I saw plenty of horse racing and technology was nowhere near as good and it could take considerable time for a winner to be declared in the case of a photo finish. 11 minutes seemed odd in this day and age. An inquiry was taking place but it wasn’t announced.

    The 2019 Kentucky Derby had a clear cut case of interference but the stewards didn’t do an inquiry into the results until they were forced to do so after a jockey made an objection.

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  5. steve says:

    Nice detailed article on how disinformation (lies) were spread about Zelensky’s wife spending millions on a watch and fancy clothes. There is a whole network but it looks like Xitter and a couple of right wing sites are key in spreading the stories. (From the Economist.)

    https://archive.ph/3RsSc

    Steve

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  6. charontwo says:

    Read about how EV’s are doing:

    Link

    I Went To China And Drove A Dozen Electric Cars. Western Automakers Are Cooked

    A trip to the Beijing Auto Show reveals just how advanced China’s EVs are. So what are the so-called “foreign” automakers doing about it?

    And, BTW, Biden just announced he will quadruple tariffs on Chinese EV’s.

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  7. becca says:

    Forgot about the northern light show due to solar storms were happening last night and went to bed at 8:30. Woke up with amazing pictures my daughter sent me taken from their backyard at 9:00. Dagnabbit!
    Good news is there’s a repeat performance tonight, just not as spectacular.

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  8. CSK says:
  9. @OzarkHillbilly:

    Yeah, his “free speech” that he charges WABC for, not to mention what it might cost them in court. What a f’n snowflake.

    Someone should let Mr. Mayor know that he can start a blog, newsletter, or even a podcast more or less for free.

    Maybe he could be Bannon’s sidekick (well, one Bannon serves his prison term).

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  10. Gustopher says:

    @becca: The phone camera captures the light better than the human eye, so the actual experience may not have been as spectacular, especially if there is a lot of light pollution.

    That said, even though the experience was not as spectacular as the photos I took in Seattle, it was still very cool.

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  11. becca says:

    @Gustopher: the pics from my daughter were in the city. We live about 45 minutes due north in the outskirts. Less light pollution, so fingers crossed. Anyway, if the show is a fraction of the images in intensity, it’ll still be something.

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  12. Paul L. says:

    Libs of TikTok is a terrible person using publicly available information to target private people for no other purpose than ginning up hate.
    Just Stop Oil protestors try to break the glass of the Magna Carta

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  13. gVOR10 says:

    Guess who said it:

    “If you read almost any opinion issued by a court in this country, you will see that the text is full of citations to past court decisions,” he said. “Those decisions, which we call precedents, are given great respect. They are not written in stone. Sometimes they must be changed, but they are not to be lightly discarded.”

    None other than Slippery Sammy Alito, author, and probable leaker, of the Dobbs Decision.

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  14. Kathy says:

    I suggest we all give up feeding the trolls for one week.

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  15. @Kathy: Sort of like Lent, but for blogs.

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  16. @Gustopher: My iPhone could pick up the purple in the sky, but my naked eye could not. Although, the sky did look different last night.

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  17. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:
    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I wonder if “analog” (actually chemical) film would better capture such things, especially if using longer exposures.

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  18. @Kathy: I am thinking probably–but can’t say for sure.

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  19. @Kathy: @Steven L. Taylor: Actually, I misread what you wrote (I glossed over “better”). My gut says likely not necessarily better, but again, I don’t know for sure

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  20. Kathy says:

    On further adventures in generative AI, I’ve been trying to use it to identify a dog breed.

    This concerns my late dog, Emm, whom I’ve mentioned here a time or seven million. I was never sure what breed she was. I’ve few photos of her, and all were taken with not the best cell phone camera of the mid-2000s. Add that her hair (not fur) was black all over, and features are hard to discern. So uploading photos to Copilot and Gemini failed miserably.

    I then tried using a description. Copilot suggested several breeds and included links to pictures of most of them. one that came close was the Maltese, except those have uniformly white hair. The description of the breed’s behavior matched better (active, playful, prone to warning about strangers nearby), except for a reluctance to be left alone. Emm did quite well when left alone, even for a few hours*.

    So I kept asking questions of the AI, describing more specific traits and behaviors.

    I still don’t have an answer, but I found a photo of a very similar dog, which the website it was on and two AIs identified as a black Maltese.

    Problem is I’m getting contradictory info. Some sites claim all such black Maltese are a mix of Maltese and other breeds, while others claim they’re an inbred mutation.

    But it’s something.

    *She actually asked to be let out around noon every day, and lay for hours on the stone path in the front yard, taking in the sun but not falling asleep. And one time I found her in the foyer, all alone, sitting calmly on a rug, patiently waiting for someone to come and open the kitchen door.

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  21. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Not that I’ve looked recently, but I suspect finding film might not be so easy these days, let alone a place that will develop and print it. Than there’s the matter of what sensitivity to use. And how long the exposure.

    FWIW, the AI suggests ISO/ASA 800, a wide aperture, and manual focus. But then it said this about exposure time:

    Start with a range of 1-12 seconds and experiment to find the right balance.

    I don’t think it was trying to be funny, but that’s hilarious.

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR10:

    Sometimes they must be changed, but they are not to be lightly discarded.”

    Unlike certain SC justices.

    @Kathy: There is a sort of come back for film. A number of photographers are going back to it.

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  23. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L.:

    Libs of TikTok is a terrible person using publicly available information to target private people for no other purpose than ginning up hate.

    You got it buddy!

    @Kathy: I can resist, but I don’t. He’s like the toy mouse my cat plays with — not actually sentient, incapable of fighting back, but fun to give a passing swat to.

    (Actually, the cat swats around a stuffed baguette, but that just makes the analogy overcomplicated)

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  24. Scott says:

    @CSK: Just coincidentally, I just watched an American Masters episode from 2022 on Brian Wilson. Astonishing talent.

    Had to relisten to Pet Sounds and Smile.

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  25. CSK says:

    @Scott:

    There’s a good tv movie about the Beach Boys titled Summer Dreams.

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  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Lisa Rubin
    @lawofruby

    NEW: The ongoing Trump criminal trial is the fourth Trump trial in the last 12 months—and it’s my fourth too. And after watching dozens of witnesses, I’m afraid the more they change, the more things stay the same. 1/

    Lisa Rubin
    @lawofruby
    ·
    May 7
    But I forgot how misogyny and sexual trauma — even after an encounter devoid of physical or verbal threats, as Stormy acknowledged today — can turn radically different women into vessels for similar testimony that reverberates from one courtroom to the next. FIN.

    Follow the link to read the 5 in between.

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  27. Matt says:

    @charontwo: Meanwhile people are dying by the thousands stuck in those death traps called an EV.

    Some of those Chinese EVs look good but that pretty paint and design covers shoddy work, terrible design, and cut rate materials. Stuff you won’t notice in a quick test drive experienced by the author of your article. Especially considering the author is being handed carefully selected vehicles as part of a propaganda tour of the manufacturer. Reading the article it seems to indicate the whole trip was paid for by the manufacturer(s). Not exactly an independent or trustworthy article.

    The most horrifying videos for me are of people burning to death because they can’t even open their doors after an accident since it’s all electrical. I wouldn’t drive one of those cars if it was given to me with free electricity for life..

    Every Chinese EV I’ve seen is basically a caricature of the Chinese stereotype of building something “pretty” that makes a huge profit while being a death trap that won’t last…

    If you’re wondering I find the cybertruck to be an unsafe design that shouldn’t be allowed to be sold in the USA too (EU is ahead of us on that). No crumble zones, questionable construction/design choices, unsafe for pedestrians and for the user (plenty of videos on youtube highlighting the chopchop of doors closing). The sticking accelerator peddle is the clearest example of how stupid the design of the “truck” is.

    EDIT : Suddenly all the posts appear. I deleted the extras and condensed the thought into one post above.

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  28. Gustopher says:

    Watched the first two proper (non-Christmas) episodes of the new season of Doctor Who, and I have no idea what I just watched.

    Not bad, lots of fun, but I have no idea what I watched. It felt like two more Christmas episodes.

    Jinx Monsoon was over the top and campy as the Maestro. Not sure how I feel about drag queen villains (do I need to feel anything? are people drag queens in real life, or it is always just an act?), but they were very, very Disney villain.

    It feels lazy to use gender nonconformity as a shorthand for unpredictability. Insisting on they/them pronouns to keep an old white guy off balance, etc. On the other hand, Rose Noble (a few episodes ago) is just plain vanilla non-showy nonbinary, and is not used that way. Well, a little. At least she isn’t a villain. I don’t know, it feels like it will age poorly.

    I did really like the Beatles song.

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  29. al Ameda says:

    Sure, leave this Dobbs and other Reproductive Healthcare stuff to the States.
    Conservatives aren’t looking to legislate federal restrictions. Nope, nothing to see here.

    Senator Katie Britt, and senate co-sponsors Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) in introducing the More Opportunities for Moms to Succeed (MOMS) Act. As noted in Cramer’s newsletter,

    “This legislation would provide vital support to women during the initial phases of motherhood – prenatal, postpartum, and early childhood development – and bolster access to resources and assistance to help mothers and their children flourish.”

    Also in the newsletter,

    “Additional cosponsors of the MOMS Act include U.S. Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and J.D. Vance (R-OH).”

    Many people are saying that this proposed ‘Britt Bill’ leads us to a Pregnancy Database.
    Who can be surprised?

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  30. CSK says:

    Trump is rallying in Wildwood, NJ as we speak. Supposedly 80,000 saps have shown up to hear him bloviate.

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  31. JohnSF says:

    @becca:
    I stayed up purposing to have a look, and then fell asleep in my armchair, dammit.
    Woke up and it was dawn.
    Must be getting old and snoozy. 🙁

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  32. JohnSF says:

    @Matt:
    I’d happily buy many a European or Japanese or Korean EV, or more likely a hybrid.
    (If I had the money, which I don’t ATM, lol)
    Wouldn’t touch a Chinese one with a barge-pole.
    I know about five people who have, and yes it’s just anecdotage, but all told horror stories of battery failures, electricals gone wrong, motors out of alignment, reciprocal braking glitches, duff bodywork etc.
    Doubtless they’ll improve over time.
    But by that point I suspect US and EU may both be imposing “carbon levy” tariffs on Chinese imports.

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  33. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’d head about vinyl records making a comeback. Lately, too, about DVD purchases of movies and TV shows. Adn in the 90s, I recall having heard about vacuum tubes making a comeback as well.

    I haven’t heard the same about film.

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  34. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Need to recruit more billy goats?

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  35. JohnSF says:

    Anyway, here’s the really important news: after a week of warm and sunny weather here (up to 23 yesterday and today) two of my roses opened their first flowers today!
    Climber Iceberg and shrub Lady of Shalott. Quite early in the season.
    Also quite a few bearded iris (those that haven’t been etted by slugs over the last six months of rain) and alliums, and Shasta daisies.
    Was able to do some useful work weeding, pruning, planting and mulching, then sit on the terrace with glass of Australian riesling, and watch some goldfinches being busy in the borders.
    Maybe indicative of climatic shifts, but at least I can enjoy the side effects for today.

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  36. Kathy says:

    Remember to check the full name of the airport before leaving your heart there.

    TL;DR, Metropolitan Oakland International Airport , is now San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport.

    The city of San Francisco has sued (not kidding).

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  37. Scott says:

    @Gustopher: I watched the new Christmas episodes and yes, they were a lot of fun. It was also obvious that Disney money led to a huge increase in production values. I liked the new Doctor. Great energy.

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  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: it’s a bit of a clique. Can’t say as to how large or small, just that they exist. I lost my film cameras (OM-1, 2 bodies and 1/2 a dozen lenses) in divorce during the early ’90s. Did not get back into photography until around about ‘010. Maybe a bit later. Haven’t felt the need to explore old territories as I’m really just a ‘point and shoot’ photographer these days. I take pics of things I see, forget art.

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  39. JohnSF says:

    @steve:
    Similar stuff keeps getting pumped on Xitter (remember to use the Portuguese pronuciation, lol) about “Zelensky buys a mansion in Miami”.
    Which is bollocks.
    Or there was the “Ukrainian elite mansions bought with US money” thing, which was (pretty obviously) graphic mockups of houses.

    There are some thing from before the Russian invasion, and often before Zelensky was elected, of the Zelenskys’s purchasing moderately expensive property.
    Which is hardly surprising: Zelensky was actually fairly wealthy, though not “mega rich”, due to being one of the founder investors/directors in his media production company.
    Net worth around £10 to 20 m, IIRC.
    Which probably equates to between £1 to £5 m realisable assets, and income on assets of between £100k and £500k pa, at a very rough guesstimate.
    So, pretty well off, by any normal-folk standards. But nowhere near “billionaire oligarch”.
    Funnily enough, it was Zelensky’s financial independence that recommended him to a lot of Ukrainian voters back in 2019: not an oligarch, but with enough money not to be dependent on the oligarchs either.

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  40. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..vinyl records…vacuum tubes…

    I have never understood the nostalgia for vinyl records. Back in the ’60s all they ever did was scratch and skip and collect dust. There were all kinds of products available to spend money on to keep them clean including the little brush that attached to the tonearm of the turntable. One friend of mine would routinely wash her albums in the kitchen sink with dish soap and put them in the dish rack to dry. I had at least one turn table that I had to tape a nickel on the tonearm so the damn thing wouldn’t skip when I walked across the living room floor.
    When I was allegedly in college I had roommates that would argue endlessly about which stereo amplifier components, solid state or vacuum tubes would produce a more authentic sound.
    On the other hand we should consider using vacuum tubes instead of chips for the circuitry in cell phones. As large as they would have to be, about the size of a breadbox, it would be impossible to misplace them.
    Let’s not forget the cars. Do we really need electric starters? What a waste of energy! Stick a crank out the front bumper so we can use people power to start the motors.

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  41. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Apparently Kodak, Fujifilm, and Polaroid still make photographic film, as do some other firms. I’m sure I haven’t seen film in stores for a while. I last bought any in 2006.

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  42. Mikey says:

    What the fuck is wrong with him?

    Silence of the Lambs. Has anyone ever seen The Silence of the Lambs? The late, great Hannibal Lecter is a wonderful man. He oftentimes would have a friend for dinner. Remember the last scene? ‘Excuse me. I’m about to have a friend for dinner,’ as this poor doctor walked by. ‘I’m about to have a friend for dinner.’ But Hannibal Lecter. Congrats. The late, great Hannibal Lecter…

    Donald Trump, tonight, at his campaign rally.

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  43. CSK says:

    @Mikey:

    What in hell was the context for this babbling idiocy?

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  44. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    “there are no refunds or exchanges on clearance items.”

    You might also remind them that “there is no repeat business from customers who get cheated.”

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  45. CSK says:

    Roger Corman, 98, has died. RIP.

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  46. Mikey says:

    @CSK: He was blathering some bullshit about Mexico emptying its insane asylums across our southern border and it went into effusive praise for Hannibal Lecter.

    His idiot followers will eat it up, of course, with some fava beans and a cheap Chianti.

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