Thursday’s Forum

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


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It all began with the bodyguards, and the balled-up pieces of paper. So many pieces of balled-up paper. The bodyguards pressed them into the hands of teenage athletes and aspiring singers and girls on their way home from prom. They kept slipping them into warm, young hands even after their boss, the R&B artist R Kelly, had been indicted for producing child abuse images in 2002, and acquitted in 2008.

    On the paper was R Kelly’s phone number. The underage teenage girls would contact Kelly in the hope he would help them in their careers, or because they liked his music, or even just out of youthful curiosity: would he text back? None had any clue of the horror that would unfold. Kelly raped and sexually abused dozens of them. He forced them to live according to degrading restrictions, inflicted physical violence upon them, and even, if reports are to be believed, forced them to eat faeces if they displeased him.
    In the end it was the notes that helped to convince the investigative journalist Jim DeRogatis of Kelly’s crimes. “When you hear over decades and from different ends of the country,” says DeRogatis, “from women who’ve never spoken to one another, that creepy story of the phone number written on a little piece of paper pressed into the palm of a hand, you think: ‘You couldn’t make up little details like that.’” The Chicago Sun-Times music critic began investigating Kelly in November 2000, after receiving an anonymous fax telling him that: “Robert’s problem – and it’s a thing that goes back many years – is young girls.”

    Quite the story.

  2. Jen says:

    Did not expect this headline, but it makes sense.

    Men rush to get vasectomies after Roe ruling

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Bexar county sheriff Javier Salazar wrote of his “two beautiful and intelligent” daughters, who he said had a right to choose what to do with their own bodies.

    “As their Dad, I have no control over their adult bodies. As their sheriff, it is absolutely none of my business. I will not persecute Texas women or anyone else pursuing those same rights,” Salazar stated.

    He added: “Shame on the supreme court and the bureaucrats in Washington DC and Austin who are attempting to impose their own supposed morals on others. They will not use my badge or the color of my office to do so. My job is chasing predators, rapists, and human traffickers, not someone exercising a right.”

    “If it’s religion those career politicians would like to enforce, then they should remember that there are many other commandments in scripture that they themselves have very publicly chosen to ignore.”
    Salazar had one final message for the state’s “career politicians” in a state that has also borne witness to a terrible recent school shooting. “If it’s truly about protecting children, how about starting with the ones in our schools?”

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Mirroring the sudden increase in demand for tubal ligations among women.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:


    An additional front in the culture wars, vasectomies. And why not if you are going to try and ban contraception?

  6. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I mentioned the other day that we’d need a case from the male bodily autonomy perspective to challenge the Dobbs ruling. Gaming this out, this could be an interesting one.

    States take Justice Thomas’s lead and ban contraception.
    Vasectomies are a form of contraception.
    Challenge this in court.
    Force the Supreme Court to make a determination that men do not have bodily autonomy.

    It’s not that far-fetched to use this as a path to a potential challenge.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:


    On a related topic, the Times this AM has a couple of stories up that are interesting.

    After the reversal of Roe v. Wade, some women are reconsidering their plans, including where they live, and wondering how best to channel their anger.

    It would be nice to see a brain drain from the anti abortion states.

    When Brazil Banned Abortion Pills, Women Turned to Drug Traffickers

    Of course, after all there is a thriving market for all sorts of drugs, particularly in rural states and they have no idea how to control it.

    Plus an article on 1st Amendment issues as anti abortion states attempt to squelch the dissemination of abortion information.

  8. Tony W says:

    Part of the argument against abortion/health care rights is the idiotic “white replacement theory” fear running rampant across racist communities all over the country.

    Well, guess who is getting vasectomies? Devout Catholic Mexican-American immigrants? Think again.

    The downstream ramifications of this ruling are as easy to predict as those of electing a moron like a failed real estate guy from New York.

    1. A violent crime wave starting in about 15 years due to kids being raised by neglectful parents.

    2. Fewer “white” babies born starting next year and every subsequent year.

    3. More brown-colored people being born in the United States.

    4. A crackdown on policing and crime – maybe even revisiting the failed ‘three-strikes’ idea, because all of these “minorities” are committing all these crimes.

  9. KM says:

    Smarter men has figured out dissolving Roe is extremely bad for men too.

    After all, for every new mother there’s a new father that’s now got financial, physical nd ethical responsibilities for nearly two decades. Roe was decided in the pre-DNA testing years where the identity of the father couldn’t be conclusive proven in minutes, a time before computer tracking to locate you if you bailed. Its still possible of course but becoming increasingly harder and harder to do in the Internet age. Men are figuring out that even if they do everything right (use condom, she’s on BC, be “careful”), bad luck could still result in a unexpected and unwanted burden they can’t escape and chain them to a person they may not want to spend next week with,

    I’ve seen talk on FB about women using sites like Ancestory to prove connections to deadbeat dads. Doesn’t wanna do a paternity test? Oh well, as long as someone vaguely related you put their DNA out into the ‘verse, that connection can still be found and rule you in/out. And all that data tracking women worry about from period apps? Well guys, hate to tell you this but app tracking info is going to start being used against men too. The state ain’t gonna pay for all these new kids! If OK suddenly has 50,000 new residents it needs to budget for, deadbeat dads paying up is gonna go up in priority.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve been using “trump states” to embrace the poorly run, pro-Trump states, but I never liked that it inflated the importance of that seditious moron. Perhaps I’ll switch to “Gilead states”…

  11. Jax says:

    The wheels of “justice” move very slowly in child support cases. There’s no real federal system for tracking down deadbeat dads, it’s all handled on the state level, and each state has their own rules and methods of enforcement. It took over a year for the court to determine our child support case, then they decided to transfer it to Utah, since that’s where he lives. Now it’s double hard to get him to pay with it having to go thru the child support enforcement offices in two states. She’s 13 years old and I bet he’s only paid child support for two years, in total. Nobody knows where he’s at unless he ends up in jail.

    I’m not very optimistic about the idea that men will ever really be held accountable for child support unless they CHOOSE to be. All they have to do is move to a new state and start a new job, and it’s 6 months to a year before enforcement catches up with them again.

  12. Mimai says:

    Lots of discussion about people leaving certain states in the wake of Dobbs. “I hope people leave in droves” and “People should leave” etc. This is completely understandable.

    The opportunities and means to leave one state for another are not evenly distributed. This option might be available only for the priv#$&%@*. And that says nothing of familial and cultural considerations that make moving a non-starter for many folks.

    Perspective taking is hard. Especially when emotions are raw.

    The pros of moving to a more “hospitable” state are obvious. They hardly need repeating. As I consider them in my mind, I’m struck by the fact that most of these are at the individual level. “I get access to healthcare that is important to me.” “I get to live around people who share my most important values.” etc

    What about the cons of moving? Much less consideration (or at least, discussion) of these. As I noodle this, it seems to me that many of the cons are not individual, but rather societal. And even the ones that are individual often fall, not on the individual who has moved, but rather on the individual who cannot move.

    What are socially conscious people to do? How ought they rank order their priorities when deliberating whether to move (and calling/hoping for other people to move)?

    Values-based living in a pluralistic society is hard.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    The whole interaction of DOJ with the J6 committee is odd. Asking for “all interviews” seems ridiculously broad. More, importantly, not having a specific list of interviews they want to review makes it seem like they haven’t done anything so far. And while the little commentary I’ve seen assumes the reason the J6 is reluctant to do a blanket handover is to protect the independence of the legislative branch, I have to wonder if they are worried about leakers in the DOJ. There must be a fair amount of trump trash left behind.

  14. KM says:


    There’s no real federal system for tracking down deadbeat dads

    Yet. If I were Dems, that would be a big push right now.

    Sell it as a moral and financial necessity – after all, someone has to support those poor, sweet innocent bebbies and you don’t want it to be with your hard earned tax dollars now do you? If those deadbeat dads aren’t tracked down, the states on the hook for that bill and conservatives clearly want to increase benefits to those $&^*% or poor people. It’s also steals from their rhetoric – personal responsibility, bootstrap pulling, not being takers and supporting families! Red states – what happens when some dude gets all your women pregnant then skips off to CA to enjoy the commie sunshine and not pay his bills? You gonna take that or do you want to outsource the expensive operation to the feds so you can tell your angry male voters it’s not you persecuting them for sowing their seed? Damn Feds and all that!

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jay L Gischer:..There is only a religious basis-the belief that a 5-week-old blastocyst has a soul.

    There is only a religious basis-the belief that a born human has a soul.

  16. Jen says:

    @Mimai: I too, understand the emotion behind it but realistically, it’s going to be tough.

    Let’s take, for example, Northern New England. Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire–abortion is legal and likely to remain so. However, in all three states, there is a severe housing shortage, which in conjunction with rising interest rates has made buying a home here VERY expensive. In NH, you have to contend with high property tax rates too. On the other hand, jobs are plentiful here–we currently have the lowest unemployment rate in the region and one of the lowest rates in the country, so if you have a lead on a house, family in the area you can move in with, or wish to buy land and put up a yurt, NH might be an option.

    There’s also the question of whether this further intensifies the electoral lock Republicans have, given the “land over people” way our system is set up.

  17. PoliticalBiker says:

    And here last week I had joked (or I thought it was a joke at the time) that I’m glad I got a vasectomy before they make it illegal.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Mimai: I’m not sure what you are getting at here. I think what you are referring to as values based living just doesn’t enter into it. People leave places where they don’t feel welcome or, if they have ambition, places they feel few opportunities for their dreams or talent. Of course, this exodus of creative or ambitious or talented or just ‘different’ people from the trump states results in a remaining population that is even more resentful against those who left, which makes the next generation even more anxious to leave. However unfortunate this cycle may be, it is not more moral for people to stay in a place that doesn’t welcome or value them, and in some cases actively criminalize them.

  19. CSK says:

    You all will be immensely cheered to learn that Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn believes that a 12-year-old impregnated by her biological father should be compelled to carry the fetus to term, because “every life is valuable.”

  20. Mister Bluster says:

    Biden calls for dropping filibuster rules to put abortion rights into law
    (CNN)President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he would support making an exception to the filibuster — the 60-vote threshold in the Senate needed to pass most legislation — in order to codify abortion rights and the right to privacy through legislation passed by Congress.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn believes that a 12-year-old impregnated by her biological father should be compelled to carry the fetus to term, because “every life is valuable.”

    I think I’m going to puke…

  22. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Yeah, he favored it for voting rights legislation, too. We know how Sinema and Manchin effed that up. I’ve no reason to even suspect they’d act differently this time.

    I’d ask whether Murkowski and Collins can vote on changing Senate rules, but I doubt they’d go along, either, even if they say they favor an abortion rights law.

  23. Mimai says:

    I didn’t say, nor am I suggesting, that it’s more moral to stay put.

    I am speaking (perhaps opaquely) to the fact that values often collide and thus must get prioritized. And in prioritizing, one is then faced with constraints on what to do next. These constraints are practical, familial, cultural, etc. and they, too, often collide and thus must be prioritized. And these constraints, and thus available behavioral options, are not evenly distributed.

    In commenting, I am mostly trying to poke at my own blind spots — the seen vs. not seen. The individual level pros are rather easily seen (at least by me). The non-individual (and/or “not me”) level cons are less easily seen (again, by me).

    And this seen vs. not seen sorting is interesting when juxtaposed with the individual vs. social perspectives that animate so much of our discussions. Or to put it crudely: “get mine” vs. “beneficent” mindset. Or in political terms that might resonate: “Libertarian” vs. “Social Democrat.”

    None of this is in conflict with what you say about people wanting to live where they feel welcome, where they see opportunities, etc. Both enter into it.

  24. Kathy says:


    I don’t know this man, but his belief makes him living proof his opinion is wrong.

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    Supreme Court says Biden can end Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ immigration policy
    The ruling was 5-4. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that “Congress conferred contiguous-territory return authority in expressly discretionary terms.”

  26. CSK says:

    Years ago, I remember hearing some politician from Georgia insist that while rape and incest were bad crimes, it was a far greater crime to compound them with an abortion.

    For guys like this, it’s about controlling women. Period.

  27. MarkedMan says:


    I am speaking (perhaps opaquely) to the fact that values often collide and thus must get prioritized.

    So this makes me think you are simply using “values” differently than I do. I associate it with morality but you seem to be saying that it is more of a cost/benefit analysis. But then here…

    Or to put it crudely: “get mine” vs. “beneficent” mindset.

    … you seem to be back to morality. Or do I misunderstand?

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    The Headline:
    Illinois to pause taxes on gas, groceries, school supplies starting Friday
    The story:
    Groceries: The state’s 1% sales tax will be suspended July 1 through June 30, 2023
    Gas: The state’s normally scheduled increase in the motor fuel tax will be delayed from July 1 to January 2023
    School supplies: Sales taxes for qualified clothing and school-related items will be reduced from 6.25% to 1.25% for a 10-day window from Aug. 5 to 14, Items include qualifying clothing and footwear with a retail selling price of less than $125 per item. Eligible school supplies are not subject to the $125 threshold.

    There wil still be a gas tax. It just is not increasing is the way I read this.
    Me: “As painful as it is, collect the tax and fix the roads.”

  29. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Mister Bluster: I don’t disagree. And hey, that was yesterday!

  30. KM says:

    Antiabortion lawmakers want to block patients from crossing state lines

    “Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society. “It’s not a free abortion card when you drive across the state line.”

    In relying on private citizens to enforce civil litigation, rather than attempting to impose a state-enforced ban on receiving abortions across state lines, such a law is more difficult to challenge in court because abortion rights groups don’t have a clear person to sue.

    F^ckin’ called it. I told y’all they were gonna try for this and got push back about “interstate commerce”. Given the utter sh^t rulings that have come out in the last two weeks seemingly based just on right-wing “thought”, anybody want to revisit those objections? To hell with precedent and what it would do to everyday life, the nuts on the SC insists the states decide, not you decide what state you want to be in if it’s legal there.

  31. Jay L Gischer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That’s my kind of sherriff

  32. Jay L Gischer says:

    @KM: I don’t know how far this Court is willing to go down this road. Already, their decisions seem arbitrary.

    And yet, we have lots of precedent for acts considered illegal in one state and legal in another. All of which says that states don’t get to do that.

    Also, politicians have a long track record of advocating for stuff that is well known to be unconstitutional. It’s a way to be hyperbolic, attract attention and never be accountable for bad policy. I’ve seen this pattern play out all my life.

    So which of the above is in force? I don’t really know – I don’t have a crystal ball – and yet I know which way I lean.

  33. wr says:

    @KM: “F^ckin’ called it. I told y’all they were gonna try for this and got push back about “interstate commerce”.”

    Seriously? Someone around here was casting doubt that the Rs would do this? I don’t remember seeing that, and I think I would have noticed because it would have been so naive…

  34. Jen says:

    @KM: My immediate thought was “well, what are they going to do about other elective medical procedures? Plenty of people cross state lines for all kinds of medical issues.” Which is at least recognized by some:

    Not every antiabortion group is on board with the idea.

    Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life, noted that people access medical procedures across state lines all the time.

    “I don’t think you can prevent that,” she said.

    These people are all horrible. All of them.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Serendipity?

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Probably not practical. Powerful men making other men eunuchs to prevent cull children from entering the herd has a long history.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: How many men want vasectomies? (As far as that goes, how many women want hysterectomies/tubal ligations? [Probably way more than men want vasectomies, especially on tubal ligation.])

    I don’t see it resonating with the target audience. Who cares if men are prohibited from/protected in getting vasectomies? Easier to acknowledge that society is terribly and evilly broken.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Whatever is made contraband will make trade opportunities in black market.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tony W: “Well, guess who is getting vasectomies?”

    I would guess that it’s probably mostly men who are not fairly judgement-proof in paternity suits. Or was that too cynical?

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    I’m not very optimistic about the idea that men will ever really be held accountable for child support unless they CHOOSE to be. All they have to do is move to a new state and start a new job, and it’s 6 months to a year before enforcement catches up with them again.

    Ayup. […sigh…]

    And while I’m here, I’m not sure how much rising crime/revisiting 3-strikes laws will effect the situation. When have Republicans ever raised tax rates on the rich because government got more expensive? Those costs will be passed to the people/neighborhoods that create the problems–most likely through neglect rather than action.

  41. Jen says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: It doesn’t really need to resonate with any target audience–it needs to be a test case to establish that people have a right to manage their own bodies.

    It’s the tactic that RBG used when she took on the Moritz v. Commissioner case. Come at Equal Protection from the male angle, rather than the female one.

  42. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I see where you are coming from, but if I were to accept their basic premise (that a zygote is equal to a baby) I would have to agree that there should not be an exception for rape and incest. After all, you wouldn’t propose that it’s okay to kill a one day old baby, would you? To the contrary, I think the fact that so many of these christianists are willing to grant such an exemption simply proves they don’t believe their own nonsense.

  43. Stormy Dragon says:


    vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society

    I just want to point out the irony of something named after Thomas More advocating for the use of the law to punish people for refusing to abide by politicians’ religious demands.

  44. Mimai says:

    Laynes Law strikes again!

    Wrt this topic, I’ve been channeling the following distinction*: morals = what is right and wrong,
    values = what is important to me. Another distinction: societal vs. personal.

    What I’ve been gesturing at is that people have n>1 values. And values (or at least their behavioral manifestation) often conflict with one another. That’s where values clarification/prioritization comes in. This process can then help people make decisions about their life. And that is where cost-benefit analysis comes in.

    Central to the issue of Dobbs and moving to a different state is that the potential options (number and range) are not evenly distributed. Hence, a person with financial means and social capital might choose to leave a certain state. Because they can. And my priors tell me that most of the (seen) benefits of that decision are experienced at the individual level (and by those who move with that individual).

    But what about the costs? These are not so easily seen. My priors tell me that this is because they largely fall outside of that individual.

    And this example doesn’t even consider the family or cultural constraints that, again, are not evenly distributed. And that have major implications to this issue of Dobbs and moving states.

    Also of interest (to me) in this dynamic is that the individual who moves probably has strongly held (or at least, expressed) beliefs about the social compact. Indeed, in other contexts, they might bemoan the selfishness of decisions that benefit the individual and instead call for decisions that are more socially conscious.

    Moreover, when I hear calls/wishes for other people to vote with their feet (ie, move), even if I agree in principle, I try to keep in mind that this option is not (as) available to many people, particularly the poor and minoritized. And these under-optioned** people often feel alienated by this. And the irony is that the people who are (unintentionally) doing the alienating are the very people who pride themselves on being “allies.”

    I’m not calling for perfect consistency on such things. Or for self-sacrifice. Rather I’m noting that these issues are thorny. And I’m trying to think beyond my own perspective (and that of people “like me”) and consider the implications of what I do and what I call/wish others to do.

    *Another way of looking at this is that values are directions that you aim your life toward. Eg, Someone wants to go “west” (value). They never get to “west” rather they can only move (or not move) in that direction. Goals are the destination points along the way. For you, if you want your life to go “west” then you might set a short-term goal to get to “Mt Airy” and then to “Morgantown” and then to “Columbus” etc. Morality is infused throughout this journey (ugh, that word). As you move “west” you act with honesty (eg, you pay for gas despite the high price).

    **to avoid saying “those people”

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: No. “Every life is valuable,” however heartfelt the sentiment seems, is clearly wrong. For example, in Mississippi right now, there is at least one life that is not valuable at all.

  46. Mu Yixiao says:

    Florida judge blocks ban on abortions, citing FL constitution.

    And this tag from the end of the article:

    Judges in both [sic]* Louisiana, Kentucky and Utah have already blocked trigger laws in those states.

    * I’ve never seen “both” used for more than two of something–except in the midwestern phrase “two, tree, da both of em”.

  47. dazedandconfused says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Agree. “Controlling women” is tangential. The problem is they can not see any meaningful difference between squishing a fertilized batch of cells the size of a pin head and squishing an infant in a crib.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: It seems like long ago, but it really isn’t in scale, but in 1899 Thorstein Veblen in “Theory of the Leisure Class” was still noting that women and children were the chattel property of husbands and fathers and a primary value in having a family was pecuniary. So yeah. It’s still about power, control, and money. Probably always will be until after the economic cataclysm where the new standard of wealth become ownership of the ability to grow your own food.

  49. JohnSF says:

    @Tony W:
    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Three strikes and you’re vasectomised, perhaps?

  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: If you think that morals and economics are separate/discrete disciplines, yes, you are misunderstanding. (Easy misunderstanding to have though. Not that many people can remember that economics was once a division of philosophy rather than business administration.)

  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Aha. So in 4o or so years…

    Not intending sarcasm (well mostly not [eyeroll]). It’s good to see someone taking a long view in the light of earlier discussions recently about how to change the political zeitgeist, if you will.

  52. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “* I’ve never seen “both” used for more than two of something–except in the midwestern phrase “two, tree, da both of em”.”

    My guess is that the original article listed two additional states, and then a third was amended, either because the decision had just come down or they had missed one. So the writer or an editor threw in a third state, but forgot to change the first part of the sentence…

  53. JohnSF says:


    “Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Peter Breen

    Some people really need to be told that A Handmaids Tale is not a bloody policy document.
    What is Mr Breen going to come up with next, a modest proposal he might call the “Fugitive Woman Act”?

  54. JohnSF says:

    And ignore thousands of years of multiple cultures and faiths legal traditions, as well.
    There was good reason that legally, the general rule was “human being” status comes with viability.

    And that no legal system (that I can think of offhand, so plenty of scope for me to be wrong) has ever regarded abortion and murder as identical, even if abortion was illegal!

    See entire history of British law re. abortion pre-1967 for example.

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: “I would have to agree that there should not be an exception for rape and incest.”

    Yes, you would.

    “To the contrary, I think the fact that so many of these christianists are willing to grant such an exemption simply proves they don’t believe their own nonsense.”

    No, they don’t. (Or, more specifically, they don’t think through the ramifications of what they believe and connect it to what they say and how theologically consistent it is. For example, any number of christianists believe in “the agency of human beings”–that human beings have the right to make decisions (even bad and/or evil ones)–but don’t see how that connects to laws against drunkenness, drug use, abortion, people who don’t remember the sabbath not keeping it (the basis for earlier era “blue laws”), and any number of other things not prohibited in the “Law of Moses”–their supposed “guide” for developing laws. They also don’t understand the notion that “a Christian nation” is ridiculous. Nations don’t need (theological) redemption, only people do.)

  56. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Not that many people can remember that economics was once a division of philosophy rather than business administration.

    As a prickly old pedant, it really boils my bile when “conservatives” wibble on about Adam Smith and market autonomy, while totally ignoring that he regarded moral philosophy as the basis of his work, and regulation as essential to markets.

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Some people really need to be told that A Handmaids Tale is not a bloody policy document

    I suspect that many of the people coming up with the stuff have never read the book or watched the TV show. But yeah, some people probably need to realize that. It’s very much the same as when Bud Schulberg discovered that students at Wharton’s were reading What Makes Sammy Run as a how-to manual. “Disheartening” only scratches the surface.

  58. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I heard a trolley problem once that illustrates this perfectly. On one set of tracks just past a switch is an infant, gurgling away. On another set of tracks is a freezer with 1000 fertilized eggs. You stand before a switch that is currently set midway between both tracks and a trolley is hurtling toward it. If you do nothing, the train will jump the tracks and the ensuing wreck will certainly destroy everything near the switch including the baby and the freezer. If you move the switch you can chose to save either one baby or 1000 fertilized ova. What do you do?

  59. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    * I’ve never seen “both” used for more than two of something

    But since it was The Beeb that so used it, it’s now the new standard.

  60. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Mimai: Absolutely. My own situation:

    I am my elderly mother’s sole caregiver. She has mobility and memory issues, among other things, and lives in my guest room in the house that I own (in Texas). The logistics of attempting to find a job in another state before actually moving there, then moving both of us into temporary housing in another state, then prepping the house in Texas to saleable condition, then actually selling it, then finding permanent housing that is either already ADA accessible or easily convertible and is also affordable on the budget of whatever my new job is…

    It is basically insurmountable. I basically have one free hour per day to myself if I am lucky to dedicate to everything that isn’t related to putting out current fires.

    So I know that life for LGBT+ folks is likely going to get a lot worse here in Texas, and likely soon. And I know what happens historically to my people when that happens. And I still feel effectively powerless to get the hell out of Dodge while there’s still time.

    And I actually have the monetary resources to make it happen. I’m not a POC single mom, or a homeless teenage trans kid, etc.

  61. JohnSF says:

    Regarding the Supremes, may I say I much preferred Diana Ross at Glastonbury.
    Because their new release “Let’s Heat Up the Planet, Baby” is really not a patch on their old material.

    In a 6-3 ruling, the court sided with the conservative states and fossil-fuel companies, agreeing that Congress had not “intended to delegate… decision[s] of such economic and political significance”.

  62. Michael Cain says:


    In a 6-3 ruling, the court sided with the conservative states and fossil-fuel companies, agreeing that Congress had not “intended to delegate… decision[s] of such economic and political significance”.

    I admit to being somewhat torn on this one. I am firmly in the camp that believes we have to electrify everything and get carbon out of the power grid, all in a hurry. OTOH, as that requires forcing the transportation industry to change their entire drive-train strategy, massive changes to the power grid, and wholesale changes to how we heat our living spaces in the winter, I am uncomfortable with an executive agency issuing those orders w/o Congress.

    Recall that the last time Congress made significant changes to the Clean Air Act was 30 years ago, and they did that to allow the EPA to write rules for cap-and-trade on SO2. A much smaller change, and that didn’t play out the way anyone expected. No one thought that western low-sulfur coal production would expand incredibly, and the UP and BNFS railroads would transport that coal what were considered ridiculous distances. Plant Scherer in Georgia is the largest coal-fired generator in the US. It operates exclusively on Wyoming coal, carried 2,100 miles from the mines, and the empty coal cars hauled back to Wyoming.

    As our hosts here point out regularly, one of our two major political parties is keeping the primary branch of government from doing its job, and we’re trying to hold things together with spit and bailing wire. It’s going to be ugly when the wheels finally fall off.

  63. Mimai says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Are “christianists” allowed to be politically strategic? Yes, they desire a zero abortion world. And they know that rape/incest are a bridge too far for most people. As such, they might settle (at least for now) for a fewer abortion reality. And thus they may publicly argue/advocate for a policy that includes a rape/incest exception, because that is the policy that is most likely to get through the political process.

    I’m not saying that they are internally consistent in their theology, thinking, behaving, etc. They are, after all, humans. Rather, I am asking if they are allowed the same level of inconsistency and strategery as granted to other humans.

  64. dazedandconfused says:

    Marist poll shows the Ds leading in the midterms for the first time, and by 7…because of the Roe decision.

    In the wake of the decision, Democrats have a 7-point advantage in the national generic congressional trial heat. This is a 10-point swing from April when the GOP had a three-point edge.

    In combination with the 1/6 revelations? Could be a perfect storm.

  65. Mu Yixiao says:


    This is one of those cases where I say it’s the right decision, even though it goes against what I want (at the moment).

    Far too much of American “law” has been handed over to administrative agencies who do not answer to the people. I hate legislation that says “The law is whatever those bureaucrats decide it is”. I don’t want major laws decided by two guys over pizza and beers after hours in the office.

    In this case, it’s about environmental issues. But had the decision gone the other way, the precedent would have been set for agencies such as DHS, ICE, FDA, DEA, FBI, CIA, BTAF, et. al. to decide what “the law” is.

    And I certainly don’t want the President to have that power (I like Biden, but any power he has, Trump v2 would have).

  66. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mimai: Rather, I am asking if they are allowed the same level of inconsistency and strategery as granted to other humans.

    Speaking as an atheist who may well live a more christian life than most of them, no.

  67. Mimai says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:
    I have deep empathy for you and your situation. I wish there was more (ie, better things) to say, but there isn’t.

  68. JohnSF says:

    Some news items from Europe:
    – As the Nato summit ends, President Biden announces a further $ 800 million military aid package to Ukraine, including air defence systems (NASAMS or Patriot, I assume?) and more HIMARS.

    – UK/Norway co-operating to supply more MLRS batteries to Ukraine; also fifty 105mm L119 lightweight howitzers. And Norway re. follow on NASAMS (which is actually made by Norway)

    – Johnson announces UK defence spending will rise to 2.5% of GDP. But caveat: “by end of decade”; Johnson perhaps trying to compromise between the “Old Tory” defence hawks and the ERG tax cut fanatics? With Boris always check the small print and count the spoons.

    – OTOH Boris, for all his faults, can troll like a boss: Moscow summons UK envoy over Johnson’s Putin remarks ROFLMAO 🙂

    – Meanwhile Russia evacuates Snake Island: Russian announcement:

    “…as a move of goodwill, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, having completed their mission on Zmeiny Island, withdrew the garrison stationed there.”

    Dear me. Cope better, lads.

    – Russian industrial statistics indicate May industrial production -1.7% y/y, -0.2% m/m
    manufacturing, -3.2 y/y, mining -0.8%; some sectors far worse:
    cars -96.7% !
    consumer electronics -49.7%
    AC motors -49.9%
    fiber optic cables -80.8%
    fridges -58.1%
    washing machines -59.2%
    trucks -39.3%
    diesel locomotives -63.2%
    rail freight cars -51.8%

    – Russian government reported as requesting a law change to allow increased mobilization, state direction of industry to war production, opening emergency stockpiles etc. Looks like “guns AND butter” may be running out of road.

    – And John Bolton chips in with a contribution:

    “Russia is winning, if you define winning as gaining more ground than you’re losing, and achieving your objectives.

    To which my eminently reasonable, and historically informed, reply is:
    “F*ck off, walrus face. You wouldn’t recognise strategic reality if it hit on you in a bar. “

  69. Mu Yixiao says:

    Just saw this on one of my YouTube subscriptions (Legal Eagle):

    Tab for Cause

    As I understand it, view an ad and it donates money to orgs who support pro-choice initiatives.

  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: My understanding of Trolley Car problems is that the choice involves known unfortunate consequences that create a dilemma. Who’s going to see a dilemma between an actual person and a freezer full of stuff that’s probably never going to be used.

    I think it’s called a false dichotomy. (On the other hand it may be a useful diagnostic to identify some kind of specific mental illness, but I’m not a clinician, so I may be wrong on that.)

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: As what Marked Man would identify as “a christianist” myself, my first answer is no, they are not allowed (under the tenets of our religion) to be strategic at all in that our calling is “to create disciples in all nations, teaching them as I have told you” to the end of leaving all this behind for what we claim to believe is a better life in eternity.

    My second answer is that I must respect their agency (as that idea is a tenet that I hold, and use to explain my world view as well) but don’t have to excuse or accept it. (With 2 conflicting addenda–“Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” and “no, I say forgive them 70 times 7 times.”)

    My third answer is that as an American, I sigh shake my head a lot. (And it really is true that the only thing you get for banging your head against a wall is a soft bloody spot near your hairline–especially at my apartment, which features concrete rebar construction with textured gunite cove ceilings [and very good-looking ones at that].) Hope that clears things up.

  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “who may well live a more christian life than most of them…”

    Still in all, not a high bar to jump in the current circumstances. 🙁

  73. KM says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I think it’s called a false dichotomy.

    Not if you are insisting on the definition of a person extends to embryos. If your position is life begins at conception, where said life is located shouldn’t matter – test tube or womb. Therefore, if your contention is that test tubes full of fertilized cells that if implanted would be murder to terminate, it’s murder to allow them to be destroyed otherwise. Remember, the contention isn’t fetus in womb = life, it’s conception onwards. Never being used shouldn’t matter to the logic either since a large percentage of pregnancy will naturally fail; you can’t assume their failure to gestate is any more significant than am unnoticed miscarriage.

    The simple truth is they don’t believe their own BS. It’s the same reason red state governments don’t allow you to claim unborn children for exemptions or benefits despite their rhetoric. Th most conservative place will call you a fraud and take action. Birth is, was and likely always will be the legal and moral line drawn as anything else is unrealistic.

  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Not if you are insisting on the definition of a person extends to embryos. If your position is life begins at conception, where said life is located shouldn’t matter – test tube or womb. Therefore, if your contention is that test tubes full of fertilized cells that if implanted would be murder to terminate, it’s murder to allow them to be destroyed otherwise.

    My past experience with right to life dogma (and I was at the Bellevue, WA premiere of the film adaptation of Francis Schaffer’s and Koop’s book Whatever Happened to the Human Race, so I will claim some small expertise) is that, at least back at the time, right to lifers rejected artificial insemination not only because of the “playing God” angle that they routinely applied to reproductive technology but also because the process is claimed to require implanting several eggs and aborting all but the one “keeper.” A compound disaster, if you will.

    But yeah. Some of the schtick is bs that they don’t believe, and another part is stuff that they simply know is untrue and are deluding themselves/lying about. Which would have been part 4 of my answer to Mimai above but was peripheral to my thinking so I omitted it.

  75. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I miss spoke when I used “artificial insemination” above (but evangelicals at the time rejected that too, IIRC) when I meant “in-vitro fertilization.” What little conventional evangelical wisdom there was at the time on that subject was that it was “playing God” and therefore, sinful. But, the objection also included objections to fertilizing multiple eggs and destroying “potential lives” when the unused eggs were eventually “thrown away.” (Shades of Doctor Laura’s “sucked into a sink” description of abortion. We’ve always been good at colorful and inflammatory language.) I think there were also objections revolving around implanting multiple eggs and aborting all but “the keeper” but don’t know anything about process so I can’t speak as definitively.

    The evangelical position may have evolved over time. Mine hasn’t (I wouldn’t but also am only deciding for me–not even a spouse–had I one), but it may well be that evangelicals want or need IVF service now–in which case it’s “a gift from God.”

  76. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Mimai: Thanks. My primary reason for sharing it was that after a few days of seeing various folks write variations on “well, everyone has had plenty of advance notice to leave those places,” I really needed to explain that, no, it really isn’t as simple as that.

  77. Mimai says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You, sir, are coherent 😉

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Very clear, thanks. Though now, I’m curious about parts 5 and beyond. Perhaps for another day, lest one see too clearly all at once.

    @Jen: Missed this from you. Thanks, you illustrate several things that are relevant. And these merely (!) deal with the practical/financial constraints.

  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: @Michael Cain: I too am torn, but in the other direction. It seems to me that if government is going to regulate stuff, that means there will be bureaucrats, no matter what else happens. To put direct decision making into the hands of Congress (as the decision seems to at least hint at), translated from Heritagefoundationese, that means the decision will be determined by whichever side can marshal the most persuasive argument for Congress persons–science or industry. Being a corporatist at heart (in the dark night of my soul–which lives in an abyss, remember), I’m not particularly troubled by this–it’s worked (more or less) so far, but it does have the faint hue of the old tale about the sheep and two wolves voting on what to have for dinner. So there’s that problem.

    On the other hand, I got a call today from my American-born friend in Seoul, and he’s rejoicing and relieved that another leftist Latin American government has been elected which he believes will gravitate away from alignment with the US. He has the count at half a dozen or so. Fun times. Good to be old now.

  79. grumpy realist says:

    Everybody, on both left and right, seems to be sneering at birth being a bright line in the matter. But there’s one very obvious bright line that we have in existence: before birth, those on the right are insisting that the woman MUST be used as a blood-and-nutrition donation system, up to the point where she has permanent damage to her body. But after birth, boom–there is nothing in our present system of law that insists a parent donate blood or any other organ to sustain their offspring, even if the child would die of the lack.

    (My view is that we should simply transplant out the contents of the woman’s womb and dump it in a vat of nutrient broth in a uterine replicator to live as it can. We’re not killing the zygote/embryo/fetus. We’re simply relocating it. Anyone who wants to take on the responsibility for it, go ahead and stuff it into your own belly. Hence my great desire for uterine replicator technology, which would elegantly solve the entire problem and which would probably cause all the pro-lifers on the right get into a complete tizzy.)

  80. Jax says:

    @grumpy realist: It’s been really irritating me that so many Trumpies believe that Dems are ok with killing a baby up to 3-5 days after birth. No, Motherfucker, that’s called MURDER, and there are already laws that punish those actions.

  81. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “This is one of those cases where I say it’s the right decision”

    Sure, because if there’s one way to guarantee the government runs smoothly, it’s to have the safety and efficacy of new drugs measured by Clarence Thomas. Or the fatality of a new pesticide judged by Neil Gorsuch.

    Because these six people are now in charge of every regulation in the country. Of course the only way that can work is if there are absolutely no regulations at all. But I guess that’s what “moderates” want these days.

  82. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “But had the decision gone the other way, the precedent would have been set for agencies such as DHS, ICE, FDA, DEA, FBI, CIA, BTAF, et. al. to decide what “the law” is.”

    You mean the government would continue to operate as it has for the last hundred years? The HORROR!!!

  83. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: I rewrote this story (the fire in an IVF clinic version) to personalize it: a religious, anti-abortion grandfather takes his beloved 6-year-old granddaughter to visit her “little brothers and sisters” (i.e., the not-yet implanted fertilized eggs from her parents’ IVF treatment). Granddaughter is disappointed that they don’t look like babies. Grandpa reassures her that they have souls and are just as much living children as she is.

    Before leaving, they stop for the restrooms (which Grandpa is pleased to see still have separate male/female symbols, nothing unisex), when a fire breaks out. Grandpa only has enough time to rescue his beloved granddaughter from the restroom, or run back to the lab and rescue all his embryonic “grandchildren.” Who does he rescue? I assert that Grandpa wouldn’t even think twice about rescuing the living, breathing child.

  84. Monala says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: in many of the famous cases of people having six or more kids via IVF (such as John and Kate plus 8), the couples are evangelicals. It’s the main reason they have such large multiple births: they refuse to terminate any of the implanted embryos.