The Festivus Forum

Time to get the pole out from the crawl space.

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:

    An Iowa police chief faces fraud charges for allegedly buying and selling machine guns for personal profit, despite stating the purchases were related to department business.

    Bradley Wendt, 46 and the police chief of Adair, Iowa, bought more than 90 machine guns between 2018 to 2022, claiming the weapons would be used for “the official duties and responsibilities of the Adair police department”, the justice department said.

    On 14 December, Wendt and an associate, Robert Williams, also 46, were charged with conspiracy to make false statements and defrauding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Wendt was also charged with illegal possession of a machine gun.

    Wendt is alleged to have falsely stated to ATF officials that the guns would be used to demonstrate potential for a future buy on behalf of the department or generally for department use.
    Adair, Iowa, known for water towers featuring smiley faces, is a town of around 800 people. Its police department has never had more than three full-time officers, the Washington Post reported.

    In addition to the gun problem, we have an even bigger gun nut problem in this country

  2. Kylopod says:

    It’s occurred to me that Tucker Carlson is kind of like a normie translator for Stormfront. The other day he had a segment where the chyron was titled:

    “Zelensky has declared war against Christianity”

    Why do I get the feeling Zelensky’s name originally had triple parentheses around it?

  3. JohnSF says:

    Just seen a BBC news report on the weather being forecast for the the US.
    Pretty nasty stuff. Stay safe and warm, all of you.

  4. Barry says:

    Southeastern Michigan: 10 degrees, very strong and gusty winds. We have received 1-2 inches.

  5. CSK says:

    Thanks. I have to ravel today, down the eastern seaboard.

    Snow, I assume. Rain here in eastern New England.

  6. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    We’re warm, safe, and dry at Casa Luddite. Pdx has done it’s usual response to ice and/or snow. Even when it’s less than cake icing…

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: -6 or -7 now with wind gust up to 30 mph and higher, supposed to get all the way up to 5 today with the same winds. I foresee a lot of baking in my near future.

    Just went out to check our crooked and steep roads for the wife: No go. No plows been down our road yet and the snow is hard packed on it. Even if I have a 4wd, I also have a hard and fast rule: Don’t drive in these conditions. Period.

    Something to do with having rolled my van at 55 mph on an ice covered I-44 after I insisted on going to work in the face of an approaching storm. Never again.

  8. Jen says:

    Strong winds and rain is driving down sideways. It’s nasty! Power has been out for a few hours.

    CSK, safe travels.

  9. BugManDan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I am in your neck of the woods this Christmas (Columbia and heading to Hermann then on to SW MO).

    The only thing good about this -6 F (-21C for the non-Americans) is the snow hasn’t stuck to the roads much. But my god, it makes my MIL seem warm.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @BugManDan: Wave you go by. I was in New Haven just a couple weeks ago to buy Xmas ornaments from Astral Glass (a small glass blowing studio) for gifts to our children and grandchildren. I love their stuff, beautiful art at a price even I can afford. I would tell you to stop in but they are closed for a month after Xmas. Well worth a visit if you ever get the chance.

    MILs can be… Difficult, yeah that’s the word. FILs too for that matter.

  11. Franklin says:

    @Barry: Greetings from SE Michigan 🙂

  12. Gromitt Gunn says:

    South/Central Texas. Temps dropped yesterday afternoon from 51 to 20s, bringing strong winds with them making it feel like the teens. Down to 14 now, feeling like 5.

    Luckily for us, there is no precipitation in the forecast. So some power outages from winds, but without any icy roads to contend with.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    We are hunkered down here in L.A. It’s supposed to be 71 F (21 C) and sunny. 81 on Christmas Day, but with clouds moving in so we really get that wintry feel. And next week? Oy, rain! I will not even be able to put the top down on the convertible. Fukkin brutal.

  14. Kathy says:

    Shouldn’t someone be airing grievances*?

    Coincidentally, I found Seinfeld on Netflix. I like it. I can put it on for background noise while I’m doing something else.

    *For the GQP, it’s Festivus year-round.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    A balmy 49F (10C) here at la maison près de la plage, but blustery and we’re between the regular spasms of heavy rain. Temps will fall into the mid teens this evening.

    Good day to stay inside.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I will pray for you.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    In my little corner of SW FL we have unseasonable cold, frost warnings overnight, and there’s a windchill alert in Tampa. Forecast high of 50 tomorrow and Christmas. 74 at the moment. When my Minnesota relatives ask why I’d live in hurricane country I tell them to ask me again in January. They’ve congregated in Duluth, high of 4 today. And they’ll see a lot worse.

  18. Kathy says:


    Remember it was cold weather in Florida that killed space shuttle Challenger, by making the badly designed solid rocket booster O-rings brittle and ineffective.

  19. 21F here in Alabama with a windchill of 7.

  20. Tony W says:

    @Michael Reynolds: San Diego is no better – last Wednesday I almost didn’t wear shorts!

  21. Jax says:

    It gets warmer, all my friends to the east! We’ve been snowed in for two days, but we’re back to our “normal” temperatures of -15 to -20, no more wind chill, just still and silent bitter cold. Sunday thru Tuesday it’s gonna be a heat wave, daytime temps above freezing! I’m planning a fruity umbrella drink party and breaking out the bikini. 😛 😛

  22. Sleeping Dog says:


    I have a hard time believing that the wind isn’t blowing in Wyoming, that is something that I’ve never experienced.

  23. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Pensacola LA (Lower Alabama) reporting in with a balmy 33 degrees and sunny skies.

    The pool and the bayou look deceivingly appealing.

    (…really wish we could post pictures.)


    My wonderful neighbors in Colorado cranked up the heat for me in the pump house (small block building where the water meter and small well is located) due to the -20 temps in the front range.

    Two small space heaters on thermocubes just were not keeping up with the freeze

  24. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnSF: Here in Chicago it was -7F this morning, but the “up to a foot of snow” winter storm has shown up with a pipsqueak amount. And it’s sunny out. It’s just ridiculously cold.

  25. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Sidebar comment: Michigan People.

    Being from Michigan, I find Michigan People all over the planet, in the strangest extremes.

    Being degree in sociology, i venture a theory:

    Summer there can be 100+ degrees with 100% humidity… winters can be 25 degrees below zero actual temps. Wind chills down to -50. (Where spit freezes before it hits the ground)

    As a result, Michigan people are prepared for nearly any climate on the planet, and already have clothes for it.

    The question of relocation is neither “why” or “how” but “why not” and “when”.

  26. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Here in west central South Carolina, it’s currently 30 with winds gusting to 25 MPH. Temperature is predicted to drop to 15 tonight.

  27. Beth says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I hate this so much. The only good that could come of it is the Paid Grandparents might freak out and decide that they need to keep my kids safe from the cold so they’ll spend another night there.

    That way I can do battle with my partner over the thermostat. She’s all “bleh! I’m all warm and cozy in my Viking sex robe! Stop turning the heat up.” And I’ll be all “no! I’m dyyyyyyyyyyying it’s so cold” and then I’ll use the Nest app to crank that sucker to like 80.

  28. Jax says:

    @Sleeping Dog: That’s the one good thing about this high altitude valley, we don’t even get a quarter of the wind the rest of the state does. We are generally colder, but it’s not as windy.

  29. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    A battle as old as time. I suspect this isn’t human only, but is known to all sentient species.

    After 38 years, I’ve learned to go into another (cooler/warmer) room for comfort. SWMBO has learned not to follow me there to adjust the temperature for me.*

    *ETA – was this a grievance? Aha! At last! The airing of grievances has begun! And I confess to liking figgy pudding & fruitcake!! So there!

  30. Michael Cain says:

    Here, went from a high of 47 on Wednesday to -16 early this morning, with six inches or so of snow Wednesday night. The Chinook is supposed to start tonight, so we’ll go from that -16 to a high on Sunday of about 50. 63-degree two-day temperature drop followed by a 66-degree two-day temperature increase. I’ve lived here long enough that I don’t even think of this as particularly freaky, it’s just something that happens from time to time.

  31. Michael Reynolds says:


    I’ll use the Nest app to crank that sucker to like 80.

    If there were still any remaining doubt as to your gender. Turning the thermostat to 80 when you want 75 will not get you to 75 any quicker. Set the thermostat to the desired temperature and leave it alone.*

    *If there were still any doubt that I’m a father.

    Also: close the door, I’m not heating the whole neighborhood. And don’t stand there with the refrigerator door open while you search for something to eat. Also, seriously, why is the TV on in a room where no one is watching? Put things back where you found them. . . pick up your toys. . .don’t neglect weather stripping. . .where is the goddam remote?

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    Turn the lights off…

  33. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Michael, that was brilliant. And, um, sooo relatable.

  34. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    To be faaaair, I want the thermostat set at 90. I want to be on the verge of sweating. I also leave all the lights on to every room I’ve been through. I want it warm and bright.

    @Mister Bluster:

  35. Jen says:

    If there were still any remaining doubt as to your gender.

    Ha, this cracks me up because it’s the reverse in this house. It’s hard for it to get too cold for me. When I was in an apartment, I didn’t notice that the pilot light went out on my furnace, apparently for days.

    I’m reluctant to close windows until it drops below freezing. My husband frequently complains about how cold it is in the house.

  36. dazedandconfused says:

    Frozen slush with a 1/4″ topping of frozen rain/clear ice here. Walking is a major challenge. Where I nuts enough to chain up the truck I’d have to chain up my shoes first.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Beth: Wow. My wife and I keep the house at 66 in the winter during the day, 68 in the evening and 63 overnight. We like sweaters, I guess.

  38. grumpy realist says:

    @Beth: I grew up in a house where we kept the thermostat at 60 but had a fire in the kitchen fireplace every night. It was a free-standing chimney built out of brick, so the chimney itself would cheerfully radiate back out into both the kitchen and the dining room. It was a marvellous low-tech 24 hr radiator.

    I have to say I now feel like a wimp keeping my present place at 65….but no fireplace.

  39. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Uh, largely me too. SWMBO likes thermo set at tropic (except in summer, when we want meat locker), and while I like it closer to tepid, but neuropathy means I’m wearing heated socks and thinsulate driving gloves. Except when I’m clutching my mocha nudge (yum).


    Yep, freezing rain covered by 1″ snow. Puddletown is at a standstill. I’m a wimpy stay -@-home.

  40. dazedandconfused says:
  41. Pete S says:

    5C (about 40F) when I went to the office at 630 today. -12C (about 10) when I left at 230, with whiteouts. Just not a nice day. At least we aren’t right on Lake Erie, where it appears most of the shore areas are thoroughly flooded and it appears there could be more lake effect snow than the 7 feet that came last month.

  42. CSK says:


    Thank you! Flying down the east coast was uneventful.

  43. Kathy says:

    I had a pretty good day at work, if I ignore like 98% of it.

    This year we had a coffee mug exchange (for some reason). I drew an individual I’ve problems with. First I thought I’d get him the ugliest mug I could find. I nearly did. It was a ceramic light brown and white thing that resembled a cow, with a ceramic lid and matching useless ceramic teaspoon. But that vanished from the online marketplace.

    So I got him a Lego-like mug. Not made of plastic bricks, but with flat, thick surfaces where lego-like pieces can be attached. It’s completely impractical for drinking, and it’s really a toy, not a mug.

    He thanked me and said he liked it, but not very enthusiastically, not even for a cheap mug. the rest of the department made a fuss about it.

    Next, they held a drawing for the TV they’d chipped in to get to watch the Snoozefest. I didn’t take part because Snoozefest, and I’d just bought a TV last year. But the good thing is the cleaning lady won. I was really glad she did. She deserves it. She works harder than the rest of us (though not longer), cleaning up and washing dishes and she takes really good care of the coffee maker.

  44. DrDaveT says:

    We missed all the fun weather — it rained and rained and rained, then the wind came in and dried up all the rain before the cold air could get here to freeze it. Now it’s 14 F, heading for single digits tonight, then 3 days of “clear and cold” through Boxing Day. And windy. Indoor time.