Thursday’s Forum

Hangin' round.

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:

    from the Guardian:

    “It’s painful to understand how badly we’ve messed up the process of developing rapid tests in large numbers,” said Redlener. “We aren’t even close, less than 2% of the population has been tested, we don’t even know the prevalence of the virus.

    “There’s been nothing like the misinformation and incompetence we’ve seen around Covid-19 in American history. Colleagues of mine overseas are in disbelief. I never thought I would long for the days of Richard Nixon, but here we are. It’s frightening,” he added.

  2. Scott says:

    Coronavirus survivors banned from joining the military

    As the Defense Department negotiates its way through the coronavirus pandemic and its fallout, military entrance processing stations are working with new guidance when it comes to bringing COVID-19 survivors into the services.

    A past COVID-19 diagnosis is a no-go for processing, according to a recently released MEPCOM memo circulating on Twitter.

    “During the medical history interview or examination, a history of COVID-19, confirmed by either a laboratory test or a clinician diagnosis, is permanently disqualifying …” the memo reads.

    Apparently, DoD believes that COVID-19 does sufficient damage that even after recovery, there is a disability.

    To me, the implications can be far-reaching. We are at 1.3 million cases now with a lot more on the horizon. The recruiting pool just shrunk a whole lot.

    7K+ active duty have been diagnosed. Will there be cases made for medical discharges?

    I suspect this policy will change in the end but I found it astonishing that it came so soon.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Live and Let Die plays as Donald Trump visits mask factory without a mask – video

    Live and Let Die… I want to shake the hand of the factory worker who put that on.

  4. Bill says:
  5. Scott says:

    Trump Taps Point Man to Remove Pentagon Officials Seen as Disloyal

    In another move aimed at consolidating control over policy and messaging, the Trump administration is sending a White House loyalist to serve in a key Defense Department policy role that officials are worried is aimed at weeding out civilians not loyal to the president, Foreign Policy has learned.

    Also known as Political Commissars, or political officers. Another feature we are bringing in from the old Soviet Union.

    Maybe Trump got the idea from Putin:

    In Soviet echo, Putin gives Russian army a political wing

    Vladimir Putin has created a new directorate inside the Russian army to promote patriotism, evoking memories of a Soviet practice that once saw soldiers taught the precepts of Marxism and Leninism by political commissars.

    The Bolsheviks, wary of the army’s loyalty, introduced political commissars in 1918. In the late Soviet period, political officers, known as zampolity, tried to ensure soldiers knew their communist doctrine and where their loyalties lay.

    So on point for Trump

  6. Kit says:

    @MarkedMan thanks for yesterday’s recommendation of Zero Effect — just what I needed, and I’m sure that I’ll be returning to it again at some point as it certainly merits a second viewing.

    And thanks to everyone for their recommendations! I’ve got more than enough to get me through the next several weeks.

  7. gVOR09 says:

    @Bill: Annnnnd, it’s a Cadillac.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Revealed: Amazon told workers paid sick leave law doesn’t cover warehouses

    Employees also shared emails showing that Amazon has dismissed some paid sick leave requests by claiming a California law intended to provide supplemental sick leave during the pandemic does not apply to the warehouses.

    “I’m afraid to come to work, but I don’t have a choice,” said Eddie, a 48-year-old San Bernardino worker with diabetes, who asked to go by his middle name and works in one of the facilities that had an outbreak. “I shouldn’t be there. We’re risking our safety for the company … The more I think about it, the more stressed I get.”

  9. Teve says:

    Trump Ignores Barr, Asks Supreme Court to Destroy Entire ACA

    And from the White transcript:

    THE PRESIDENT: We’re staying — we’re not doing another thing. In other words, we’re staying with the group — with Texas and the group. But just so you understand, Obamacare is a disaster, but we’ve run it very well. And we’ve made it barely acceptable. It was a disaster under President Obama, and it’s very bad healthcare. What we want to do is terminate it and give great healthcare. And we’ll have great healthcare, including preexisting conditions — 100 percent preexisting conditions.

    Now, we’ve already pretty much killed it because we got rid of the individual mandate. Now, in getting rid of the individual mandate, which was, by far, the most unpopular thing in Obamacare — that’s where, for the privilege of paying a fee, you don’t have to — you don’t have buy health insurance at a ridiculous price for not good health insurance. It was a terrible thing. You mandated to pay something in order not to pay, and we got rid of that. That’s gone. And nobody thinks it’s ever going to come back.

    But what we are doing is we want to terminate healthcare for — under Obamacare, because it’s bad, and we’re replacing it with a great healthcare at far less money, and it includes preexisting conditions. There will never be a time when we don’t have preexisting conditions included.

    Q So —

    THE PRESIDENT: So what I’m saying then, John, is we’re going to replace Obamacare with great healthcare at a lesser price, and preexisting conditions will be included and you won’t have the individual mandate — which was expensive and terrible and very unfair to everybody, and it was very unpopular.

    30 million Americans have lost their jobs and with it millions lost access to their insurance plan, many can only get healthcare through the ACA, If they can even afford to do that,we’re in the middle of a pandemic that killed more Americans last month than Vietnam, and you’re going to go to the supreme court and say hey let’s take insurance away from tens of millions of people right now.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: trump lies and we die. But first we get to go bankrupt.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Matt Rogers
    Studio microphone

    NEW via @YouGov
    : By a 20 point margin (!) Americans say the country was better off four years ago

  12. Kit says:


    By a 20 point margin (!) Americans say the country was better off four years ago

    It’s the 20% unsure that caught my eye. And 11% of postgrads! Who are these people? Is there really someone wondering: well, if Trump can double the number of kids in cages then I’d just have to support him, but if he can’t then perhaps we were better off under Obama after all. Difficult to say.

  13. Kylopod says:


    By a 20 point margin (!) Americans say the country was better off four years ago

    It’s incredible that it isn’t higher. The question isn’t quite the same as Reagan’s “Are you better off?”–where a yes answer would be a reasonable response for many individuals. It asks whether the country is better off. That it isn’t is very close to being an objective fact. That’s the power of the Keyes constant in a nutshell.

  14. CSK says:

    According to the Associated Press, there are two reasons Trump won’t wear a mask. The first is that he believes it sends the wrong message. He wants to focus on the economy, not health, and wearing a mask would suggest he’s focusing on health.

    The second reason is vanity. He fears he would look silly. He also fears an image of him masked would appear in negative ads.

    Given how thoroughly unpleasant-looking Trump is–the orange skin, the porcine eyes, the flab, the ludicrously sculpted hair–why worry about a mask?

  15. Teve says:

    @CSK: All is vanity.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kit: Who are these people? Is there really someone wondering: well, if Trump can double the number of kids in cages then I’d just have to support him,

    Asked and answered.

    @Kylopod: As Kit pointed out above, making the right people suffer is all it takes for some.

  17. Kylopod says:


    Given how thoroughly unpleasant-looking Trump is–the orange skin, the porcine eyes, the flab, the ludicrously sculpted hair–why worry about a mask?

    Keep in mind that this is an actual portrait of Trump.

    (In fairness, that portrait is from the ’80s when he did in fact look considerably better than he does now–but it was still, shall we say, a marked improvement on his actual appearance even back then.)

    In a way this is a perfect microcosm of Trump’s delusional self-image. It raises the question of whether he really sees himself this way, or knows he’s ugly but thinks he can simply bullshit his way into making people think otherwise–though that assumption is in itself a profound delusion.

  18. CSK says:

    Trump once said that when he looked in the mirror, he saw a 35-year-old. He should have his sight checked.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A document created by the nation’s top disease investigators with step-by-step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen restaurants and other public places during the still-raging outbreak has been shelved by the Trump administration.

    The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen.

    It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” according to a CDC official. The official was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

    The AP obtained a copy from a second federal official who was not authorized to release it. The guidance was described in AP stories last week, prior to the White House decision to shelve it.

  20. CSK says:

    I can’t decide if he actually believes he’s a handsome young stud or that he can bullshit other people into believing it.

  21. @CSK: The fact that Trump thinks that that hair and the orange skin looks good (and has clearly thought so for years) should have been disqualifying as it shows such ridiculously poor judgment (and I am only semi-joking).

  22. Kingdaddy says:

    @Teve: It’s a purely political move, motivated by (1) continued hatred of anything Obama touched, and (2) the belief that flogging Obamacare will play well with his base. I don’t think it would be hard for Biden to turn around and explain exactly how the ACA is going to keep people alive during this pandemic. How much an impact that will have on Trump’s most dedicated supporters…?

  23. mattbernius says:

    I was thinking the same thing about the major difference in focus between “country” versus “you” in that question. I hope someone does the polling on that.

    I expect the numbers could widely vary between the two questions (even controlling for C19). I believe the Country is worse off (and felt that pre C19). Despite that, personally, I’m lucky enough to be far better off than I was 4 years ago in a number of ways.

  24. Kingdaddy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: As I said the other day, the whole Trump physical package — ridiculous comb-over, baggy suits, bizarre pseudo-tan, inability to tie a tie, duck-like posture, and of course, his diet — is not only the portrait of bad judgment, but of someone who won’t listen to anyone who might try to help him.

  25. Teve says:

    “although it is poor by Western standards, Guatemala is classified by the international monetary fund as a middle-income country, the average person is about 50% wealthier than in next door Honduras. In spite of this, the state has repeatedly proved incapable of meeting the most basic needs of the population. like Jose the teenage Hitman, many of the country’s children are slowly starving. Half of those under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition, the fourth-highest rate in the world. Nowhere in Latin America comes close to this figure. In Haiti which is the region’s closest thing to a failed State, the rate is half as high. The reason the government has failed to fix this and other problems is that it collect pitifully small amounts of tax. Public spending amounts to only about 12% of gross domestic product, the lowest in Latin America, where the average is over 20%. Successive presidents have tried to raise taxes each time having their reforms blocked or diluted by a private sector that seems allergic to paying its fair share. Guatemala has turned into a do-it-yourself economy, in which public services have withered away and been replaced by private contractors. This applies even in public security. A cheerful man with gleaming gold tooth and an even shinier pump-action shotgun guards the hotel where I’m staying, hoisting his weapon up onto his shoulder to open the door for guests as they come and go. Down the road, a teenager brandishes a rifle that looks older than he is, as he stands guard outside of florist shop. Although the crime rate is sky-high, it is rare to see police patrols, even in the capital. What you do see absolutely everywhere are heavily armed private security guards. A few blocks from where I am staying, a gun shop, Armas, advertisers its wares on a billboard featuring a giant glock handgun, which points directly into the next door, a brightly-painted nursery for children aged between 2 and 6. across the country, private security guards outnumber the police by 5 to 1. Anyone with money can buy more than enough firepower to outgun the authorities.”

    -Tom Wainwright

    Very small government, low low taxes, guns everywhere… That place must be a paradise.

  26. @Kingdaddy: An excellent point.

  27. @OzarkHillbilly: In fairness, 17 is a lot of pages.

  28. Kathy says:


    One of his spiritual predecessors said people will sooner believe a big lie than a small one.

  29. CSK says:

    But that would require Trump to admit that he needs help.

  30. Jen says:

    I have people in my Facebook feed, arguing that cloth masks cause a dangerous buildup of CO2, which could lead to people passing out. Which explains, I suppose, all of those doctors who collapse in the middle of surgery.

    This pandemic is depressing.

  31. Kathy says:

    I see a really big problem ahead.

    Epidemics of new diseases are bound to continue, and perhaps become far more common. As we’ve seen, they will affect the whole world. Therefore there should exist an international framework and a task force to deal with future pandemics.

    Something that can be easily, and quickly, mobilized anywhere in the world. Lots of medical supplies at hand, research labs, etc. this in addition to what each country can manage on their own (with aid from richer nations to poorer ones).

    The big problem is that this would be difficult to enact at a time of wide global cooperation, such as existed at the close of the XX century. It will be impossible in today’s environment.

  32. Neil Hudelson says:

    Yesterday my social media feed was absolutely filled with videos of “Plandemic.” If you haven’t heard of it yet, buckle up. This sh!t is just getting started:

  33. Michael Cain says:

    A new poll in Colorado has Hickenlooper leading Gardner 54-36. A recent poll in Arizona had Kelly up by 9 points, and one in Montana had Bullock up by 7. These are strange times to be a Democrat in the Mountain West.

  34. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Woman killed by alligator in SC was doing homeowner’s nails

    Covert saw the alligator while working on the woman’s porch and when Covert finished she started taking pictures of the alligator, the woman told deputies.

    The woman and her husband started screaming for Covert to get away from the alligator because they saw it grab a deer a few days earlier, deputies said.

    Covert said “I don’t look like a deer” and reached to touch the alligator when the animal attacked, according to the report.

    These are the folks that want to open up the economy quickly. She couldn’t wait to open up her salon again.

  35. CSK says:

    Perhaps they have confused surgical masks with plastic bags.

  36. Bill says:

    The headline of the day-

    1 in 5 American workers has filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March

    Those kind of numbers should spell Trump’s doom in November but you never know.

  37. Jen says:

    @CSK: At this point, literally anything is possible.

    At least they are arguing about carbon dioxide. I have also seen discussions of carbon monoxide buildup.

    @Neil Hudelson: yep, seeing more of that than I’d like to.

    Critical thinking, math, and science–all out the window. They’d rather believe a charlatan caught stealing from her employer and falsifying data.

  38. Liberal Capitalist says:

    AP Exclusive: US shelves detailed guide to reopening country

    The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen.

    It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” according to a CDC official. The official was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

    Good news: The document that was not going to be released actually available at the linked page.

  39. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Sometimes, when corruption is SO ingrained to the system, those breaking the law are actually shocked that individuals will not bend to their will.

    Those so used to corruption are even more surprised when reports get out on what they have been able to do far years!

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: the Colorado GOP!

    Colorado GOP Chair Ken Buck pressured local official to submit incorrect election results
    Fellow Republican says congressman tried to bully him into committing a crime

    Colorado Republican Party Chair Ken Buck, a U.S. representative from Windsor, pressured a local party official to submit incorrect election results to set the primary ballot for a state Senate seat, according to an audio recording of a conference call obtained by The Denver Post.

    “You’ve got a sitting congressman, a sitting state party chair, who is trying to bully a volunteer — I’m a volunteer; I don’t get paid for this — into committing a crime,” Eli Bremer, the GOP chairman for state Senate District 10, told The Post on Wednesday, confirming the authenticity of the recording. “To say it’s damning is an understatement.”

    Buck says he was merely asking Bremer to abide by a committee decision.

    See, they just thought it would be better… nothing to see there, right?

    “Eli was being asked, and this is very serious, to attest to something as true when he knew it was false,” Webb said. “There’s a word for that in the legal jargon; it’s called perjury.”

    Whaaaaaaat??? Noooooo…

    At a minimum, Bremer said, Buck owes him an apology.

    “How in the heck is the Republican Party going to go out and say we’re for the rule of law except when it applies to us — we can do whatever we want to?” Bremer said. “That’s not my Republican Party.”

    But… isn’t that EXACTLY what the last three years has shown us via teh actions of teh Republican party?

  40. Kathy says:

    The idea by the House leadership to conduct an investigation on the handling of the pandemic is a good one, if it doesn’t boil down into partisan bickering. But it doesn’t go far enough.

    What we need is a global inquiry, which will look at everything that happened that led to this, including early actions and reports from China.

    Again, the intent must be to learn what went wrong (as something obviously did), why, how, and most important how to prevent it in the future.

    Suppose, for example, China had issued a strong warning, and the rest of the world had suspended travel to and from China (not trade, as trade goods are far less likely to carry disease, and are easier to disinfect), including citizens and permanent residents. We wouldn’t be in this mess if such a policy had been adopted by as late as early February.

    We should also investigate what worked, and how well it worked. Did New Zealand need to effect such a strict lock down for that long, or were there alternatives like massive testing, tracing, and isolation as South Korea did?

  41. KM says:


    Apparently, DoD believes that COVID-19 does sufficient damage that even after recovery, there is a disability.

    To me, the implications can be far-reaching. We are at 1.3 million cases now with a lot more on the horizon. The recruiting pool just shrunk a whole lot.

    Oh, it’s going to get worse when we start seeing what physical damage “asymptotic” individuals have from COVID-19. Remember, right now we are defining “symptoms” almost purely in respiratory illness terms because that’s what it’s visibly manifesting as. You don’t see blood clots or kidney damage, after all. What were going to see in a few years is all those young, “healthy” people who though COVID-19 was NBD because they didn’t end up on a ventilator are going to have or be prone to heart attacks, strokes, PEs , etc.

    An entire generation of draft-eligible youth have been infected with an unknown virus that causes damage we haven’t fully cataloged yet. “Pulmonary or systemic embolization” is a disqualifying medical condition; I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a COVID-19 addendum added as it would be a pre-existing condition that would cause it.

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    Supreme Court overturns ‘Bridgegate’ convictions
    The traffic-snarling political stunt was designed to punish a Democratic mayor who had refused to endorse Christie, a Republican, for re-election as New Jersey governor.

    Traffic Jam
    James Taylor

    Now I almost had a heart attack
    Looking in my rear view mirror
    I saw myself the next car back
    Looking in the rear view mirror
    About to have a heart attack

  43. Scott says:

    One of Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus

    A member of the US Navy who serves as one of President Donald Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus, CNN has learned Thursday, raising concerns about the President’s possible exposure to the virus.

    Excuse me while I go pray for forgiveness for the first thought that went through my head.

  44. Teve says:

    @Jen: carbon dioxide can build up slightly, enough to cause people a headache sometimes. Carbon monoxide is not happening.

  45. Sleeping Dog says:


    Absolution granted, my son. Say 3 Hail Mary’s and go deep on a corner pattern.

    Tiny is so germ phobic that I’d love to hear his private reaction.

  46. Gustopher says:


    You don’t see blood clots or kidney damage, after all. What were going to see in a few years is all those young, “healthy” people who though COVID-19 was NBD because they didn’t end up on a ventilator are going to have or be prone to heart attacks, strokes, PEs , etc.

    Clots dissolve over time. You will either get a PE/stroke or you won’t, relatively quickly. There is nothing that suggests covid causes a permanent increase in clotting.

    There may be other long-term effects of a covid infection, but clots waiting to strike for decades is not one of them.

  47. CSK says:

    Watch this become the basis for another conspiracy theory, possibly involving heavy speculation that the valet was a Deep State plant.

  48. Michael Cain says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: If you go read the transcription of the recording, it is clear that Ken Buck remembers his law school training. He never tells the official to do anything. He only asks if the official is aware of what the state party’s leadership committee has asked, and if the official intends to comply. Repeatedly. Granted a sane person would say, “But he’s a sitting member of the US House; of course he was pressuring the official to act.” The law is often insane, or at least seems so.

  49. Scott says:

    @CSK: Perhaps the Navy valet has ties to the USS Theodore Roosevelt?

  50. Michael Cain says:


    Carbon monoxide is not happening.

    Well, not globally, and not in a persistent form. Front Range Colorado is in trouble — again — for its air quality. This time the biggie is ozone. Carbon monoxide plus sunshine is, IIRC, our largest single source of ozone.

  51. Kathy says:

    Right now, I wish I could close my eyes, curl up in bed under a blanket, go to sleep, and wake up months from now when the pandemic and the Trump regime have passed.

    As that’s not going to happen, what I intend to do Saturday and Sunday is cook something quick and simple, and take the rest of the time to finish writing “Ours.”

    I’ve been putting it off til I have some uninterrupted time, but that just isn’t happening. I hope to survive the pandemic, the odds look very plausible, but I don’t want to go without leaving something behind.

  52. CSK says:

    The Daily Beast reports that Trump was “distraught” to learn this and had himself immediately tested. Negative.

  53. Jen says:

    @Teve: Exactly. A headache. The current argument I’ve managed to enmesh myself in is on a NYPost article reporting that two Chinese boys died in PE class while wearing face masks. Ergo, face masks cause a dangerous deadly buildup of carbon dioxide that can kill.

  54. Kathy says:


    Does carbon monoxide even form in human breath?

    Carbon dioxide surely does, in all animals. As I recall, exhalation contains about 4% CO2. consider this mix is good enough for mouth-to mouth resuscitation. the case with a plastic bag over the head, which really is deadly, is that there is a finite air supply. Though you’d exhale more oxygen and nitrogen than CO2, there would be less oxygen in each breath, until there’s just too little inside the bag to breathe. CO2 and nitrogen are harmless, but no use for breathing.

  55. Jen says:

    @Kathy: To my knowledge and understanding, carbon monoxide is produced through the combustion of carbon fuel (wood, gasoline, etc.). That’s why I’m ignoring people who suggest carbon monoxide buildup.

    Carbon dioxide is exhaled, but a cloth or surgical mask isn’t fitted tightly enough to cause a buildup that would lead to death. A headache, maybe. But not death–which is the argument I’ve managed to find myself in…which I really, really should know better by now than to engage.

  56. senyorDave says:

    I spoke with my brother yesterday. He is a pulmonologist and is employed by a company that has about 750 doctors under their umbrella. This company, along with a few companies of similar size, has a consulting firm that they use to come up with projections of Covid-19 cases so they can understand what to expect in terms of workload for their staffs. He gets briefed whenever new projections are in. The latest projections have gone up significantly, they are getting information that the death toll is expected to exceed 200k by end of summer. They are expecting resurgence in many smaller cities. Most of the increase is due to the re-opening of states, and some is specifically attributed to the increasing movements promoting no wearing of masks and less attention to social distancing. One thing he mentioned that I kind of missed was that when a country like Germany relaxes their guidelines, it means they are now closer to what the US had when we were supposedly in lockdown.

  57. Jen says:

    @Michael Cain: He meant carbon monoxide as buildup in cloth face masks, which I’ve seen argued. I am thinking/hoping that people are just confusing their di- and mon- oxides.

  58. Liberal Capitalist says:

    When David Bowie passed, I was deeply struck by the loss. Now, with the passing of Florian Schneider, we lose another pioneer.

    Kraftwerk Co-Founder Florian Schneider Dead at 73

    Ahead of their time musically, the band was not embraced and often misunderstood by American audiences upon touring the U.S. in the mid-Seventies. However, Kraftwerk’s impact traversed the musical spectrum: Afrika Bambaataa’s groundbreaking 1982 single “Planet Rock” interpolated the group’s “Numbers” and “Trans-Europe Express,” with the latter track also employed by Dr. Dre on the Jay-Z collaboration “Under Pressure.” The group would frequently be sampled by hip-hop acts over the ensuing decades, leading to a landmark trademark lawsuit.

    Techno innovators like Juan Atkins also spoke often how Kraftwerk influenced the dance music emerging out of Detroit at the time. “Affordable synthesizers didn’t really come out until the launch of the Minimoog and the Korg MS-10,” Atkins told Detroit Music Magazine in 2015. “This enabled kids like myself to be able to buy one and experiment. I think along with that it became popular and kind of expanded from there.”

    “Kraftwerk were a huge influence on the early hip-hop scene, and they basically invented electro, which has had a huge influence on contemporary R&B and pop,” Moby told the New York Times in 2009. “Kraftwerk are to contemporary electronic music what the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are to contemporary rock music.” In 2019, Kraftwerk was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although the group was not selected as part of the Class of 2020.

    “There is no beginning and no end in music,” Schneider told Rolling Stone of Kraftwerk’s music in 1975. “Some people want it to end. But it goes on.”

    Kraftwork was the soundtrack in my head.

  59. CSK says:

    Todays marks the second anniversary of “Be Best,” an initiative created to celebrate Melania Trump’s disdain for the definite article, I gather.

  60. Teve says:

    Anand Giridharadas (born in Cleveland,
    OH) went on TV the other day and said that one of the problems we’re having right now is a lot of Americans are drunk on the freedom aspect and not considering the responsibility aspect of the equation.

    Holy shit. So he’s now he’s re-tweeting, uncensored and attributed, the emails and tweets and DM’s that he’s getting about how he should take his monkey ass back to India etc. They are a sight to see.

  61. Michael Cain says:

    @Jen: Carbon monoxide is a normal product of certain metabolic processes in humans (so’s formaldehyde). In tiny quantities. There’s been some work on using elevated levels of produced CO as an indicator for certain metabolic disorders. The notion that exhaled CO will build up inside a mask to a level high enough to be a health hazard is silly. Sucking on a lit cigarette will expose you to enormously higher levels of CO, but that’s not what kills you.

  62. KM says:


    There is nothing that suggests covid causes a permanent increase in clotting.

    Nothing yet. We were a couple months in before the clotting issue was noticed and we’re still not sure entirely why it’s happening. While true there’s no current evidence it causes permanent issues, we can only know that with time and follow up studies. Forgive my pessimism but better to err on the side of caution and suspect potential permanent issues since we’re seeing it cause other kinds of permanent damage to vital organs. I hope to be proven wrong but my inner cynic is screaming we’re not going to be that lucky.

    One theory relates back to COVID’s range of severity and your genetics. There was an interesting article noting several possible gene mutations related to SARS susceptibility and increased negative outcomes in the past. If so, it would mean the person has an inherent genetic predisposition and would be vulnerable to any future outbreak of this nature. In other words, should COVID become seasonal or just a permanent fixture in our lives, anyone enlisting should be checked for that. I’m not surprised the military’s already putting out qualifiers based on this simply because it’s their job to assess readiness for combat; if they even suspect it means you won’t be fighting fit, it’s a no-go unless we need all the bodies we can get. Better to just give a blanket “nope” then deal with all the medical fallout in the future.

  63. Teve says:

    @CSK: or possessive pronouns. 😀

  64. Jen says:

    This is the weirdest timeline.

    Axl Rose and Mnuchin engage in not-so-civil pandemic Twitter war

    Did anyone ever envision a time when the Treasury secretary would be arguing with the lead singer of Guns N’ Roses in a public setting?

  65. CSK says:

    I’m not following you. Clarify?

  66. Stormy Dragon says:

    Federal business disaster loans now capped at $150,000 and limited to agriculture

    Starting on May 4, the SBA said it would only accept applications from agricultural businesses that were interested in the so-called EIDL.

    The disaster loan program was one of several lifelines made available to entrepreneurs amid the coronavirus pandemic. Initially, applicants who were accepted into the program were eligible for up to $2 million in loans at an interest rate of 3.75%, plus a $10,000 advance grant.

    And once again, the Red states want to suck money out of the more economically productive Blue states.

  67. Teve says:

    @CSK: it could be “Be your best”. 😀

    In other news:


    The Conservative Hoax Machine tried to smear Dr. Anthony Fauci as a sex criminal. But then the alleged victim recanted, saying that Jacob Wohl had “charmed me into taking money to do this.” @NancyRomm has the goods.

    Jacob Wohl is going to get murdered one day, and I’m going to laugh when it happens.

  68. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Teve: I would think the smart money on Wohl’s death would be on autoerotic asphyxiation.

  69. wr says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I have to admit that no matter how many times I’ve tried, I always find myself liking Kraftwerk more in theory than in practice. But I love so many of the musicians they influenced. Impossible to imagine, for one minor example, Tangerine Dream existing without them…

  70. CSK says:

    I didn’t think of that. Obviously. 😀

  71. Michael Cain says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    And once again, the Red states want to suck money out of the more economically productive Blue states.

    I would have put it as shipping money from the more economically productive urban/suburban areas to rural areas. Lots of money will go to Texas — but not to the Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin or El Paso metro areas where most of the people (and small businesses) are. Probably even more money will go to California, with the largest ag output of any state, but mostly to the Central and Imperial Valleys and their relatively sparse populations. Here in Colorado, money will flow to the eastern plains and western slope ag areas, but not to the Front Range urban corridor where most of the taxes are paid.

    This is not horribly surprising. Pundits have been talking for months about whether the Trump administration has done enough bad things to rural areas — the trade war with China specifically — to cost them a bunch of votes in November.

  72. Sleeping Dog says:

    James Carville Warns Trump: Your ‘Grifter’ Campaign Aides Are Lying To You

    Democratic political consultant James Carville said President Donald Trump is getting fleeced by members of his own campaign who know he’s going to lose reelection but won’t tell him for one simple reason: they’re trying to make money off the campaign.

    My money is that Carville is baiting Tiny, knowing that he’ll learn about Carville’s attack and get paranoid.

  73. CSK says:
  74. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: i agree. And i hope Trump fires the D Team and has to hire the E Team.

  75. Mister Bluster says:

    U.S. Justice Department seeks to drop case against Trump ex-adviser Flynn
    The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday abruptly sought to drop the criminal charges against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, following mounting pressure from Trump’s political allies on the right.

  76. Kathy says:

    Any idea why there’s a resistance to wear masks?

    Granted, they’re uncomfortable, they can even be painful, and the utility against the SARS-CoV2 is limited. Masks helps infected people spread a bit less virus around, which is not without merit, but it’s also not a game changer. It makes sense.

    So what is it? because El PITO won’t wear one? Because those promoting them also contradict Trump when he says something wrong and dangerous and stupid?

    At the office, I’d say most people wear some kind of mask (how effectively is another matter). In my department, everyone comes in to work with one, but most take them off shortly after (I wear mine almost all day long).

  77. DrDaveT says:


    And thanks to everyone for their recommendations! I’ve got more than enough to get me through the next several weeks.

    It’ll take more than that to keep me from making additional recommendations :-).

    Tom Jones, 1963.

  78. Monala says:

    @Teve: Killing the ACA also kills expanded Medicaid. That’s 13.6 million adults who would lose insurance.

  79. Jen says:

    @CSK: Parscale tweeted out an image from Star Wars, referring to the campaign as the Death Star.

    My immediate thought was, “wait, don’t they know what happened to that, in the first film?”

  80. DrDaveT says:

    @Scott: The early version of the story was not quite accurate:

    According to a Pentagon spokesperson, after the update, the restrictions pertain only to potential U.S. military recruits who were hospitalized with the respiratory disease. Those who have tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 but have avoided serious complications remain eligible, while those who did find themselves in a hospital can satisfy the rule by obtaining a service waiver — similar to the process established for other conditions that could medically disqualify a recruit, such as asthma or a recent case of pneumonia.

  81. Monala says:

    @Kingdaddy: speaking of which, several people have noted that Pence – who is himself actually a good-looking man – has started to imitate Trump by wearing baggy suits, long ties, and standing in that weird push-your-chest forward manner.

  82. @Jen: And to the second Death Star in RTOJ, and Starkiller Base in TFA, and so forth.

  83. CSK says:

    Trump has terrible posture. Slumping as he does only enhances his general look as an ill-dressed, grossly overweight sloven. I’ve heard that the reason his suits fit him so badly is that he’s too impatient to stand through fittings. He may also feel that the bagginess hides his extra weight.

  84. senyorDave says:

    The Justice Dept is dropping the criminal case against Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose lies about his contacts with Russia prompted Trump to fire him 3 years ago & special counsel Robert Mueller to flip him to cooperate in the Russia probe.
    As someone on Balloon Juice said, the fact that Mueller has remained silent about this the whole time does not reflect well on him. I don’t understand why my tax dollars go towards paying Barr when he is basically assumed the role of Trump’s personal lawyer.

  85. Kylopod says:

    @Monala: I’ve had a running theory for a while that those rumors about Pence being replaced by Nikki Haley were either started or encouraged by Trump’s people as a way of sending a signal to Pence to stay in line, or else.

  86. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Baghdad Barr has dropped the Flynn case.
    Essentially Barr is doing Trump’s pardons for him.
    Trumpistan, a banana republic that used to be called The United States.

  87. Kingdaddy says:
  88. CSK says:

    Trump has said on more than one occasion that chaos is his favored work environment. He likes to keep people on edge and uncertain. Probably he sees it as ensuring their loyalty to him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were jerking Pence around this way.

  89. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Carville is not too far off.

    From Obscure Web Developer to Trump Campaign Manager: The Inside Story of Brad Parscale’s Unlikely Rise
    Just a taste:

    In fact, Parscale’s accounts of his life and his work for the president comprise a classic Trumpian tale: They’re a combination of hyperbole, half-truths, and the occasional fiction. Indeed, Parscale shares more than one trait with his most important client. He has embraced political beliefs not in evidence before the 2016 campaign. Like Trump, he has adapted to opportunities as they arise. And, like Trump, Parscale is largely unencumbered by the concerns with consistency and accuracy that are the hobgoblins of smaller minds. “When I give a speech, I tell it like a story,” Parscale says when asked about his biographical embellishments and errors. “My story is my story.”

  90. Scott says:

    @DrDaveT: There’s always an update with these people, isn’t there?

  91. SC_Birdflyte says:

    In looking at Facebook posts from avid Trumpidians, I’ve mentally noted that there are two reference works for trying to understand their mindset: Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground and M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie.

  92. Michael Cain says:


    I wouldn’t be surprised if he were jerking Pence around this way.

    If Pence were to ask me for advice about such a situation, I would honestly tell him, “Mike, relax. You’re VP until January 20-something, no matter what Trump does. You’re in the Constitution. He. Can’t. Fire. You. Irritate him with that; smile and tell him, ‘Don, you can’t fire me. Quit annoying me.’ Come that day in January, retire to Indiana on your multiple pensions and guaranteed lifetime healthcare. Write a book. Bicycle. Learn to program Python. Enjoy your grandkids when they start hatching.”

  93. Sleeping Dog says:


    Out of college, I sold men’s suits as a part time gig. There are many men of Tiny’s physique who are in complete denial that they can no longer wear a “Regular” suit and are insulted if you suggest a “Portly”, which is what they need. What ends up happening is that you go up 3 or 4 suit sizes and the thing hangs like a dishrag on them. Supposedly Tiny favors the brand Brioni and I wonder if they even make an off-the-rack portly.

  94. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Trumpistan, a banana republic that used to be called The United States.

    I prefer to call it Dumbfu*kistan.

  95. Kingdaddy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I worked for a software company where the code names for new projects were natural disasters. No one saw a problem with it until 2004, when the name “Tsunami” became more than a little problem.

  96. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    Pence is probably gambling on Trump winning another four years, and then…He’ll be 64 in January 2024. The perfect age to ascend to the presidency.

    He’s doubtless made his peace with having to eat Trump’s fecal matter between now and then.

  97. gVOR08 says:


    speaking of which, several people have noted that Pence – who is himself actually a good-looking man – has started to imitate Trump by wearing baggy suits, long ties, and standing in that weird push-your-chest forward manner.

    It’s a commonplace that pets start to look like their masters.

  98. Bill says:

    We got our stimulus money finally. Just going to save it. Finances are ok for now.

    I have a headline of the day for tomorrow and it is a doozy. Covid19 and Florida related too.

  99. gVOR08 says:


    An AI-based analysis concludes, among other things, that Trump is more comfortable when he lies than when he tells the truth.

    Fascinating link. I was initially skeptical on the basis that I don’t think true or not true is something that enters Trump’s mind. But I guess while that’s generally true there are enough times Trump has to know know he’s lying to provide data to the AI.

  100. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I can’t imagine Brioni is particularly happy with Trump modeling their wares. They pride themselves on the perfection (off-the-rack or custom) of the fit of their suits. Trump makes a $5000 coat and pants look like a $49.95 ensemble from Robert Hall.

  101. Teve says:

    Nearly 3.2 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week, bringing the past seven-week total of claims to 33.5 million, according to the Labor Department.

  102. Sleeping Dog says:

    For those who haven’t seen it, go watch the Lincoln Project’s Mourning in America. Found this, equally as brutal, by one of the founders of the Lincoln Project at the Globe and since she’s a fellow Cow Hampshirite, I’m promoting it.

    And while our loved ones are dying alone in quarantined ICU wards, and our grandparents are locked in COVID-contaminated nursing homes, Trump is bragging about “‘Bachelor’ level ratings” for his chaotic and dishonest press briefings and is obsessed with his social media image

    This president is dangerously narcissistic, incompetent, and uninformed. The American people are fearful and despairing, not because there is disease in the world, but because they know their president has put his own ego and political interests above the safety and well-being of their families. They know that this president is directly responsible for increased deaths from the coronavirus. And because they know that more will needlessly die as a result of his incompetence before it is all over.

    That is why there is mourning in America today.

  103. Sleeping Dog says:


    Quit insulting Robert Hall, next you’ll be attacking Men’s Wearhouse 😉

  104. Teve says:


    . I’ve heard that the reason his suits fit him so badly is that he’s too impatient to stand through fittings. He may also feel that the bagginess hides his extra weight.

    I’ve paid significantly more attention to clothing than the average American man, and in my opinion poorly-fitting clothes almost never improve one’s appearance.

  105. CSK says:

    Well, of course ill-fitting clothing doesn’t make anyone look good. But we’re talking about a guy who fancies tangerine facial make-up and sports a dead possum atop his pate.

  106. DrDaveT says:


    I was initially skeptical on the basis that I don’t think true or not true is something that enters Trump’s mind. But I guess while that’s generally true there are enough times Trump has to know know he’s lying to provide data to the AI.

    My only concern is that there is no way to separate the effect of lying from the effect of saying things that will st(r)oke the base. The two are so highly correlated that you can’t distinguish them statistically. It might just be that saying things he thinks will make him more popular with his base is what turns him on, whether they are true or not.

  107. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: @Teve: Isn’t it mean spirited to mock people whose native language isn’t yours when their communication is not perfect, or does that standard only apply to people who are not our political enemies?

    Trump much?

  108. Teve says:


    “The media likes to say we have the most cases, but we do, by far, the most testing. If we did very little testing, we wouldn’t have the most cases. So, in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad.”


  109. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    As Melania herself might say: “I really don’t care; do u?”

  110. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I recall reading an interview with the guy who makes Trump’s suits where he said that Trump and other of his clients decline to come in for second fittings to give the impression that they are too busy/successful to find the time for it. It seems to be part of a “dress [poorly] for success” image.

  111. Mikey says:

    Every day it hurts more and more, watching the country I’ve defended in some capacity for my entire adult life devolving into a banana republic while so many people–including far too many of those with whom I have served–cheer its decline into corruption and cultism.

    Nixon is looking up at Trump from hell and saying “damn, even I couldn’t get away with that kind of shit.”

  112. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    That could well be true. But I think the fact that Trump has the attention span of a flea has a lot to do with it. I read somewhere that when he dyes his hair, he can’t sit still long enough for the product to take full effect.

  113. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: No, I don’t care about the image you present for yourself, now that you mention it. On the other hand, everybody needs a gig and a place to row it. Go in peace. Be best!

  114. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve: From the link:

    He quickly added that the United States has “done more testing than every other country combined”

    It just boggles the mind. And the saddest part is that his faithful will not only believe that, they will continue to believe it when presented with the truth, and will get angry at the truth-tellers for attacking Trump “just for politics”.

    For the record… According to Worldometers the US has in fact tested more than any other single country: 7.8M tests, compared to 4.8M for the next-highest reported total (Russia). However, the US has not done more testing than “every other country combined”, or even than the next three countries combined.

    I was going to criticize the US tests-per-capita, but on review I find that it is much better now than it used to be. Given the disadvantages of being a geographically huge and politically fragmented nation, our per capita testing rate compares favorably with (e.g.) the UK and France, though we still trail Germany by a fair margin. None of the other very populous nations have come close to the US rate of testing.

  115. Kathy says:

    For today’s joke I thought I’d try a bad pun (are there any good ones?):

    Three brothers get their capital together and buy a cattle ranch. they ask their father to name it.

    “Call it ‘Focus’,” the father tells them.
    “Why ‘Focus’?” asks one of the sons.
    “Because that’s where the Sun’s rays meet.”


    “Where the sons raise meat.”

  116. Jen says:



    No one forced him. No one made him. I mean, how weak do you have to be to not be guilty of something and yet plead guilty?

  117. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: FWIW, I’d rather have Haley in there than Pence. Nothing to do with their politics. If Trump is re-elected whoever is VP will be plotting a (political) coop. If Pence we’re capable he would have done it by now. Haley might have a shot.

  118. Monala says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: This isn’t some random comment she made, in which her grammatical error could be attributed to speaking a language that is not her primary one. And you’re right, that shouldn’t be mocked, especially by Americans who often only speak one language.

    In contrast, “Be Best” is supposed to be a major initiative she rolled out with the help of White House staff, most of whom probably do have a good grasp of English grammar. Someone should have corrected it before it was made public. The fact that they didn’t means either: 1) they didn’t care; 2) they tried, but Melania didn’t care (like her jacket said); or 3) they’re too afraid of Trump or Melania to say anything. And yeah, that’s mock-worthy.

    ETA: it turns out number 2 is correct, if this entry in Wikipedia is accurate:

    Mrs. Trump’s senior adviser, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, called the slogan “illiterate” and pushed for an alternative slogan, “Children First”, which the First Lady rejected due to the similarities with her husband’s “America First” branding.[22]

  119. Monala says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: This image of the logo shows she didn’t really care much about that, either.

  120. Teve says:

    @Monala: oh my god. That’s amazing.

  121. Jax says:

    Random observations from my weekly trip to town and actually having to talk to people…..

    Facebook and YouTube’s “take fake news down” isn’t working. 90% of the people think that BECAUSE it was taken down, it must be the truth. All fact-checker’s are part of the Deep State.

    Smile and wave, people, smile and wave. Once I get my branding over this weekend, I am not going to town for weeks. I suspect Wyoming will open restaurants and bars the 15th, so I’ll double down on the “watching to see what happens”.

  122. Teve says:

    @Jen: He plead guilty twice, even.

    Like that person said last year, the Trumps do things in public, that if somebody else did them in private, and it came out, it would be a scandal. But, as long as he keeps his white trash supporters happy, he’s still President for 258 days.

  123. KM says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Come on, it’s not like she just learned English yesterday. In fact, she’s been speaking English just fine for over 2 decades now – we have recordings to prove it! That kind of mistake is understandable for an ESL newbie but someone who’s been speaking a language daily for over 2 decades rarely does that. Goes double for a gold digger or nouveau riche wannabe who’s meal ticket is also trying desperately to fit in to high society. She doesn’t drop articles when she speaks or leaves out “ly” on adverbs – common ESL issues. Also, weren’t they bragging for a while on how she was a polyglot and really, really good with words?

    It was a purely (stupid) stylistic choice that people tried to backtrack on; they lucked out with her not being a native-speaker as an excuse. As others have noted, even *if* it was a mistake on her part, it was a mistake that should have been corrected and she let it go out like that. ESL difficulties shouldn’t be mocked but being too damn lazy or ignorant to care to grammar check your brand name two decades later is fair game.

  124. mattbernius says:

    I love seeing the number of people who have no issues with extrajudicial killings of black joggers (and are just waiting to find a way to damn the victim) but cried out to high heaven about the injustices that were visited upon someone who pled guilty twice (not to mention was fired for lying to the Vice President) because they think he’s on their side.

  125. mattbernius says:

    Barr says the fascist part out loud:

    CBS Reporter: “How will history look back on your decision to drop charges against Flynn?”

    BILL BARR: “Well, history is written by the winners. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history.”

  126. CSK says:

    Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael have been arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault.

  127. Teve says:

    Sarah Kendzior breaks down Trump’s strategy of scandal and incompetence.

    “He covers up his crimes with scandal, and his malice with incompetence.”

  128. How sad is it to be repeatedly disinvited from the discussion at a minor web site and yet feel the need to constantly attempt to crash the party?

    It is a an odd thing.

  129. @mattbernius: A stunning statement.

    And I think we have a pretty good idea how history will view Barr and this administration.

  130. Jax says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: And not only that, he doesn’t even realize how messed up it is that he’s crowing about brazen corruption in the highest levels of government. He actually thinks he’s won something…..

  131. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: It’s incredible that Barr has the gall to reference,

    Treason doth never prosper. What’s the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

  132. de stijl says:


    Trump found an AG craven and corrupt enough in Barr.

    At the start of the journey in 2017 I was worried about a lot of things, but the State Department seemed most stressed immediately. That was misplaced.

    Of course it would be DOJ. Corrupt man wants toadies there. That was poor foresight on me. The biggest corrupting stress was going to be on Justice Dept.

    77,000 dead and dude is fretting about a guy who got flat busted and plead guilty.

    It is obscene. Barr is an historical disgrace.

    That Flynn got promoted above 1st Lt. was grossly negligent unless his addled brained jackassery is a recent character development

    This is banana republic bullshit.

    We need competent, professional leaders dedicated to something greater than saving your boss’s bacon.

    I am righteously pissed.

  133. de stijl says:

    This seems shallow, but I cannot let it go.

    Trump is obviously tanning. He has tanning goggle eyes that even make-up can’t hide.

    There is lot to get worked up over about Trump especially lately, but seeing his reverse racoon eyes makes me intensely berserking angry.

  134. Teve says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’m sure he’ll change pseudonyms soon and pretend to be new.

  135. @Teve: He was banned for being a rude jerk, and he persists in reinforcing that it was the right decision.

  136. mattbernius says:


    Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael have been arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault.

    I saw.

    I’m also going to wait to see if the trial happens and what the outcome is.

    I’m also curious if they plan on charging their friend who recorded the entire incident and helped run him down will also be charged with Felony Murder under Georgia’s accessory laws (the same ones that have been used to convict getaway drivers in robberies gone wrong, for example, with Felony Murder).

  137. CSK says:

    Yes, that person is going to be investigated. G.B.I. director Vic Reynolds said. The guy’s name is William “Roddie” Bryan.

    @Steven L. Taylor: @Teve:
    Who are you discussing? As if I couldn’t guess.