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. Kylopod says:

    If Democrats were like Republicans, they’d have had AOC do a tearful video about the Hindenburg to argue that Trump was causing helicopter crashes.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Headline at the Guardian this morn: ‘Gorilla hail’ expected in parts of Kansas and Missouri Wednesday night

    Nuttin’ here, barely a few drops of water from the sky, but we are expected to get as much as 4″ of rain today. We’ll see.

    I did once see baseball sized hail, scary looking stuff with spikes all around it. My ’72 Chevy p/u was parked unprotected and when it was over I went out to inspect the damage. I expected at least a busted windshield and a dented up hood and roof but it was absolutely unfazed. All the glass was still there and not a new dent in it. (maybe in the bed but who could tell?)

    Yeah they don’t build them with steel like that anymore. Of course, most vehicles also get better mileage than the 11-12 mpg that beast gave me.

    Also in Misery, Olivia Rodrigo handed out morning-after pills at her concert in STL the other night. I wonder how long it will take for MO AG Andrew Bailey to issue an arrest warrant for attempted murder against her.

    Ever since Ashcroft, our AGs have been getting worse and worse. I don’t understand how one tops one’s predecessor by going even lower but that’s what they’ve been doing here.

  3. Bill Jempty says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This opening line of a sad story cracked me up:

    The grim task of assessing the carnage is under way after the largest wildfire in Texas history turned the Panhandle’s picturesque hillsides into a hellscape of ash and ember.

    Ah yes, the “picturesque” Llano Estacado, a place Coronado described to the king of Spain thusly: “There is not a stone, nor bit of rising ground, nor a tree, nor a shrub, nor anything to go by.”

    Mind you, I find it to have a rather stark and simple beauty but picturesque? Ummmmmm… No.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Paul Alexander, lawyer who lived for decades with an iron lung, dies aged 78

    “After surviving polio as a child, he lived over 70 years inside of an iron lung. In this time, Paul went to college, became a lawyer and a published author. His story travelled wide and far, positively influencing people around the world. Paul was an incredible role model who will continue to be remembered.”
    While Alexander spent much of his time in the mechanical respirator – which used pressure to artificially pump air into his lungs – he was not completely confined to it. He taught himself to breathe by gulping air and forcing it down his throat, allowing him to represent clients in court, travel on a plane and attend disability rights protests. Alexander told the Guardian in 2020 that this breathing technique was like riding a bicycle, but he could only do it while awake. In his last years, however, Alexander had been almost permanently confined to the 300kg machine.
    In his Guardian interviews, Alexander said he had become an activist by chance. “You have to understand, back then, there were no cripples … Wherever I went, I was the only one. Restaurant, movie theatre … I thought: ‘Wow, there’s nobody else out here. I’ll just pave the way,’” he said. “I kind of thought of myself as representing a group. I fought for that reason. ‘What do you mean, I can’t go back there? I want to go back there!’ ‘You can’t do that.’ ‘Oh yes I can!’ I was always fighting.”


  6. DrDaveT says:

    As of yesterday, Chrome has more or less stopped working with OTB. I get this message:
    Bad Request
    Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand.
    Size of a request header field exceeds server limit.

    Apache/2.4.41 (Ubuntu) Server at Port 443

  7. Sleeping Dog says:


    Running chrome and not having a problem.

  8. charontwo says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Same here – no problems.

  9. Kathy says:


    I get that error when I browse the blog back and forth too many times. If that happens, I close Chrome and restart it. Then it goes back to normal.

    If it’s displayed all the time from start up, then it’s a different problem. Maybe having to do with the browser’s cache or cookies.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: A buddy of mine works for the MO Dept of Family Services. He could tell some horror stories (thankfully he keeps the worst to himself). They are way overworked, way understaffed, and way underfunded. Funny how some of the most stringently pro-life states don’t adequately fund the agencies charged with protecting their actual living and breathing children.

  11. Kathy says:

    All those stories and mentions of the TikTok ban/sale yesterday, and not a single bad pun about clocks or time ticking away.

    We’re losing it.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A sand dune that cost homeowners on a Massachusetts beach more than half a million dollars to construct has washed away after just three days.

    An affluent group of beachfront property owners in Salisbury, Massachusetts – a coastal town 35 miles north of Boston – are mourning the loss of their investment after a safety measure they took to protect their homes failed.

    The dune, made of 15,000 tons of sand, was meant to keep dangerous tides from encroaching on to the shore and damaging beach houses. The dune had just been completed in February but was gone within 72 hours.

    Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change, the volunteer organization behind the dune project, said on Facebook that even though the expensive protection mechanism was destroyed within days, “the sacrificial dunes did their job”, arguing that much more could have been destroyed were it not for the presence of the dune.

    Puts me in mind of the Monty Python Castle in a swamp skit:

    Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp.

  13. Kathy says:


    ..are mourning the loss of their investment..

    I like that kind of honest reporting.

    Will there be a memorial service for the money?

  14. Joe says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I wonder what engineer suggested to them that a sand dune that did not occur there would stay there. Sand dunes like leaf piles accumulate where the prevailing wind and waves put them. Unless they planted it with something that immediately generated a good root system, just putting a sand dune down would be like taking a pile of leaves away from your fence line and putting it in the middle of the yard and expecting it not to end up back in your fence line.

  15. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And it’s been that way for decades. I spent a few days shadowing at DFS to learn more when I was a Senator’s aide. Many of their employees were so underpaid they qualified for food stamps.

  16. Sleeping Dog says:


    That’s about 7 miles south of me. When I saw it yesterday in the Globe, my immediate thought was, they didn’t think that the sand they brought in was really going to stay? Fools and there money…

    There was a public meeting last night and the entitled ones are demanding the State do something. Ain’t a gonna happen.

    If there is no development on top of or behind a sand dune, a storm will punch through the dune or wash it away, but over a few months the dune will be built back up a bit further back and the cycle continues. Develop the area and the dune has no where to go.

    In the 30’s a seawall was built on the beach at the foot of my road at the behest of real estate interests. Prior to that the area was long, wide, sugar sand beach with 20′ dunes, today the beach is gone, but for small section. Along most of what was the beach, is now covered with rip-rap and 3’x3’x6′ granite blocks to keep the tides from undermining the seawall. It’s an ugly mess that is pretty much unusable at high tide.


  17. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: So I built a third, and it burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp.

    But the FOURTH one STAYED UP!

  18. Jay L Gischer says:

    An incredibly important idea brought to us by Marcy Wheeler: The Waiting For Mueller Mistake[…]

    Marcy relays the thoughts of Simon Rosenberg:

    Among other things, [Rosenberg] talks about how any of six big negatives for Trump could blow the election for him:

    1. He raped E. Jean Carroll in a department store dressing room
    2. He oversaw one of the largest frauds in America history and that he and Rudy Giuliani through all their various misdeeds owe over $700M dollars
    3. He stole American secrets, lied to the FBI about it, and shared these secrets with other people
    4. He led an insurrection against the United States
    5. He and his family have corruptly taken billions from foreign governments
    6. He is singularly responsible for ending Roe and stripping the rights and freedoms away from more than half the population

    She then relays this:

    We have to learn the lesson from waiting for Mueller. Waiting for Mueller was a mistake by the Democratic Party. It prevented us from prosecuting the case against Trump and his illicit relationship with the Russian government that was out there all for us to see. Right? The Russians played a major role in his election in 2016. This is not in dispute in any way. And so I think now what we need to do is not wait for Jack Smith or wait for Merrick Garland. We need to use what’s in front of us and prosecute this in ways that we know is going to do enormous harm.

    No superhero will come tell any one of these stories for Democrats. Trump’s opponents have to tell the story of Trump’s corruption. They cannot wait for Mueller. Or Jack Smith.

    With regard to the “Biden crime family” nonsense, we have a powerful story to tell. Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election. This is not in dispute. Trump asked for their help. They gave it. Giuliani went to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden. Russian intelligence gave it to him. Trump’s infamous “phone call” to Zelensky was about manufacturing dirt on Biden. Even after that debacle, Trump’s DOJ found a way (the laptop and the informant) to launder the Russian disinformation and create the crime family narrative.

    This is the important story. Not Merrick Garland this or Jack Smith that.

    It’s kind of not the point of this blog, but we need to be beating the drum about this story. It isn’t in dispute. It just isn’t known. Weirdly, big media isn’t really going for it.

    This is far, far more important than whatever odd phrasing Trump is using today.

  19. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Greetings all.

    So far about 3 feet of new snow here in the Denver foothills (Genesee area, just east of Evergreen), with another continued foot or two likely to add-on today. Snow finally stops Friday morning.

    This is the late winter atmospheric feature they call “upslope” snow. The moisture comes off the great plains, gets pushed up to where I’m at (7600 ft), and dumps down in a wet, heavy, completely blanketing snow.

    The two roads that lead to the outside world (I-70 & I 40) are shut down. So the outside world doesn’t matter much right now.

    50 miles of I-70 going into the mountains is closed, stranding anyone living in those mountain communities, truckers, or unfortunate skiers that thought they could beat the storm home (no, they didn’t, and many have spent the night in their cars).

    Today is the day where I wish we could attach pictures to the comment, as it is just … something.

  20. Beth says:


    How much you wanna bet it was the cheapest option and the engineer threw it out there cause he was fed up and wanted to go home. “I got paid up front, cause, reasons.”

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..Will there be a memorial service for the money?

    Silicon Valley Bank
    Santa Clara CA

  22. gVOR10 says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Over at FOX or Volokh it’s just a given that “Russia, Russia, Russia” was a baseless Clinton driven dirty trick and Trump was totally exonerated. Post-modern politics.

    In under-reported related news, Trump sued Christopher Steele’s company. A UK court threw it out and ordered Trump to pay Steele’s costs.

  23. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    I can’t believe that we got all the way to 9:00 a.m. PDT and I am the first to wish everyone a Happy π Day and ask what kind of pie they’re having to celebrate. At Casa Luddite, I’m opting for mixed berry with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

    Indeed, we’re losing it.

    ETA yes indeedy do, Oregon is still celebrating the biannual resetting of the stones at Stonehenge.

  24. gVOR10 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I am frequently reminded of visiting CA years ago during a high tide and storm. Local TV interviewed a couple of homeowners crying and demanding the state stabilize the beach. Then thy interviewed a geologist standing on the beach pointing down saying, “The beach moves. You think it’s been here for a million years?”

    If the home owners have adequate insurance, it’s the insurers problem. If they couldn’t get, or afford, adequate insurance, maybe that should have told them something.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    Schumer just spoke on the floor of the Senate and declared that Netanyahu was an obstacle for peace and Israel should hold elections to oust him. As I’ve said (probably too often), if Israel (Israel, not Netanyahu) stays on the path they have been on since the assassination of Rabin, we will be no more allied with them in ten years than we are with Saudi Arabia today.

  26. Beth says:


    I agree with you, but I don’t think we have 10 years. Especially if someone like Schumer is saying something like that. The canary is dead and the miners are getting woosy.

  27. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: It is likelier that the Israeli govt will declare pigs to be kosher than that they will hold new elections this year.

  28. Kathy says:

    More Apollo 1 what if scenarios:

    1) What if Apollo 1 doesn’t burn on the launchpad, killing Grissom, White, and Chaffey?

    It might have burned while out in space, doing the shakedown test of the Apollo command and service modules, killing all three astronauts in orbit. Such an incident might have killed the program, and handed the Soviets a massive propaganda coup.

    2) What if it’s another capsule that burns in orbit, en route to the Moon or on the way back home, or, the worst case, in orbit around the Moon while two astronauts get stranded on the surface of the Moon with limited supplies of oxygen?

    IMO much of the same as above. Except on the last scenario, there would have been a push to rescue the stranded crew.

    This would not have been easy. You’d need a whole Apollo stack prepped and ready to fly, and assuming an adequate launch window. It might have launched with a crew of one, then entered a lunar orbit where the two stranded could ascend and rendezvous.

    Not easy, and no doubt a lot of the astronaut corps would volunteer to go. But the big problem is having a Saturn V prepped and ready in time.

  29. Jay L Gischer says:

    @gVOR10: Ok. I’ve thought the Hunter Biden laptop story was baseless since 10 seconds after it came out. So did most liberals.

    And yet they’ve kept flogging it for the last four years.

    We can’t just run off the field and say “they don’t believe it”. That’s giving the game up. The whole Hunter Biden laptop/bribe story was a Russian disinformation operation. We have the goods. We should be pounding that story every day we’re not pounding the “Trump raped E. Jean Carroll” story. Or the “Trump stole secret documents, lied about whether he had them, and showed them to other people” story.

    Do you see the poeple at Volokh (I’m sad about that news, I kind of liked EV once upon a time) saying, “Well, never mind about this, people at OTB don’t believe it?”

  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    Seville doesn’t have quite the monumental scale and grandeur of Paris, but it is much prettier. I like and respect Barcelona, never penetrated Valencia beyond the beach, but this city is my second favorite Spanish city now, after San Sebastian. And Seville is cheaper. The big drawback is that Seville is uninhabitable in the summer. Yes, I know, so is Las Vegas, but Vegas has way, way more air conditioning. No one walks anywhere in Vegas, but Seville is a pedestrian space.

    The not-unexpected reveal on this trip is that Trip Advisor is bullshit. When the waiter asks you to hop on Trip Advisor, as is becoming more common, the system is being gamed.

    The single most annoying thing about waiter service in this or most other European countries, is that it’s damned hard to get a check. Half the time spent is waiting for the check. Why? A non-tipping culture. When you’re living on tips you want to turn tables. If you’re hourly the last thing you want is the work that comes with bussing, re-setting, and dealing with the next customer. Tips make waiters productive, and restaurants more profitable.

  31. Sleeping Dog says:


    There was an article in the NYT’s Mag a few weeks ago on preparation for a manned mission to Mars, that NASA hopes to pull off by the end of the decade or at least 2035. Talk about accidents waiting to happen. I can’t figure what putting people on Mars would accomplish that a rover couldn’t that brought rock samples etc back to capsule that could ferry the material back to earth.

  32. Kathy says:

    Speaking of space, congratulations are in order: Xlon had only half a launch system blow up this time. Huzzah!

    Fairness would compel me to point out the difference between test flights and systems tests, but I don’t think I owe any fairness to Xlon.

  33. Joe says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I assume if you say (B)alencia, you also say Sevi(ya).

    We had the good fortune of being in that area in June 2 years ago a week after the temperature had hit 40 and a week before the temperature went back up to 40, but we were in the mid to high 20s/low 30s.

  34. EddieInCA says:

    What can go wrong?

    Trump’s RNC officially kills the GOP’s mail-in voter effort

    Meanwhile Biden is opening 43 campaign offices in Wisconsin and Michigan.

  35. Jen says:

    @EddieInCA: For someone who needs to win in order to stay out of prison, Trump and his team sure do seem to be doing a lot of things that undermine that goal.

  36. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I’d bet all I have, plus all I can borrow and steal, that NASA doesn’t land anyone in Mars by 2035.

    There was an argument at the time of Apollo on using probes rather than crewed missions. Fact is, the amount of money spent on probes will never even come close to that spent on human missions, because the public and political support just won’t be there.

    So, you may get more probes to Mars, even a sample return, but not many, and not often.

    Getting people to Mars will be hellishly expensive, as is well known, but relatively easy. We have the technology needed at hand, it’s “only” a matter of developing the ships needed. Except for one detail: there’s no known means for protecting the crew from months of radiation that wouldn’t add a lot more to the cost.

    Getting people back from Mars would be hard and even more expensive.

    Skipping a lot of details, Mars has 1/3 the surface gravity of Earth, and an atmosphere 1% as dense. You’ll need a rather powerful rocket to get to space and decelerate the ship so it can intersect Earth’s orbit.

    If Xlon is serious about colonizing Mars, people will get there on a one-way ticket.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Joe: I would have thought that the periodic stories about areas where the beach is literally washing away would provide cautionary tales, until I realized that those things are happening other places so that this story come under the “never expected the leopards to eat my face” exception.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: The story isn’t in dispute, and the facts are known. But you left out the “~47% of the electorate (along with the GQP caucuses in the House and Senate) DGAF” part. 🙁

    New topic addition: ” Israel should hold elections to oust him.”
    Because that worked so well the last time?

  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    Last time I was in Sevilla was 50 years ago. I was a long-hair with a backpack and I was pretty sure I was gonna die of heat, because you couldn’t drink the water, and if you ordered a bottle it was like six ounces. Now I notice something in common with Vegas: every shop sells bottled water.

  40. gVOR10 says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Do you see the poeple at Volokh (I kind of liked EV once upon a time) saying, “Well, never mind about this, people at OTB don’t believe it?”

    No. What I do see is “Biden crime family”, “X million from China to slow Joe”, etc. as though they never heard of Alexander Smirnov. And given that they depend on FOX and the RW interwebs for news, they probably haven’t. The supposedly liberal MSM did refrain from diving down the Hunter Biden rabbit hole the way they jumped on HER EMAILZZZ!!, but they have covered it. I haven’t seen them putting out any mea culpas for pushing it to the extent they did. I’m certainly not seeing any big exposés on what a crock of RW spit it was. (Speakimg of RW spit, I saw a story this morning that the House is starting an investigation to find out what really happened on Jan 6.)

    On Volokh I should note there’s a sampling issue. They have no up/down vote system, so one can’t tell the extent to which the community embraces or rejects the nuttier comments.

  41. gVOR10 says:


    Skipping a lot of details, Mars has 1/3 the surface gravity of Earth, and an atmosphere 1% as dense.

    The guy who wrote the book The Martian admitted that with Mars’ atmospheric density it can’t really have the sort of storms his plot (and the movie’s) depended on. I’m really impressed by the Mars helicopter. It worked with density equivalent to over 100,000 feet on Earth.

  42. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L.: Porcupine Courtship: A Raucous Affair

    Manatees are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows. There are three accepted living species of Trichechidae, representing three of the four living species in the order Sirenia: the Amazonian manatee, the West Indian manatee, and the West African manatee.

  43. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Paul L.:

    Paul. Buddy. Pal.

    A teen committing suicide is a tragedy. A bullied teen committing suicide is a tragedy compounded exponentially by the combined failures of their community and society in large that ignored the issue until this occurred.

    I commend you for refraining from any comments. Words I never thought I’d say.

    Unfortunately, the remainder of your comment was a fine example of gibberish. But FYI, unlike episodes of L&O and Blue Bloods, it’s usually a bad idea to continue actions and behavior that piss off the judge.

    Frankly, the fact that his team has been told to sit down and STFU didn’t surprise me. The only surprise for me was how long it took for it to happen.

  44. Kathy says:


    I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, so I’ve no idea what kinds of storms those would be.

    Mars does get a lot of wind driven sandstorms, that can engulf the whole planet. What more does anyone need?

  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    Spanish wine is better than Italian wine. I’ll fight you! Not as good as California wine, and not as exalted as French can be, but Italian wine is way over praised. Except for Amarone, that shit’s good.

  46. Gustopher says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    A teen committing suicide is a tragedy. A bullied teen committing suicide is a tragedy compounded exponentially by the combined failures of their community and society in large that ignored the issue until this occurred.

    There’s a segment of the right wing doing a victory lap on the report that Nex Benedict wasn’t killed from the physical act of having their head smashed into the floor repeatedly, and that they may have killed themselves immediately after (upon realizing that the school and the police weren’t going to protect them in any way?). The bigot kids raised by bigot parents and encouraged by bigots didn’t kill them, the bigots just bullied them to suicide!

    This is the worst segment of the right wing. I hope they die from jock itch.

  47. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    No love for Nebbiolo Langhe? “Super Tuscans”?
    Also, some very good Sicilians about (Aglianico del Vulture Superiore)

    OTOH, good Spanish wine is very good.
    Try a Rioja Gran Reserva some time, if you haven’t already. Beats most Californian wine I’ve encountered. Good Priorat also.

    My personal tip for extremely good value for quality ratio wine: try South African.
    Anything from Kanonkop; also Rustenberg.
    Among others.
    Journey’s End a bit less expensive, but still pretty consistently damn good IMUHO.

  48. JohnSF says:

    Meanwhile, in Britain:
    Giant Redwoods appear to love the British climate.
    A survey estimates there are currently around half a million, some over 150 years old now, and growing as fast as they do in their native habitat.
    This compares to an estimated 80,000 in California.
    Still got quite a bit of growing to do, mind: the tallest in the UK is 180ft, whereas the average for mature trees in California is around 300ft IIRC.

    They can be impressive all the same; there’s a grove in a wood not far from me that must be around 100ft or so, at a guess. Wonderful things. With any luck, they’ll still be around for our descendants to gaze up at a thousand years from now.

  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m going to out myself as an insufferable Boomer cliché, but we lived outside of Firenze for about eight months, literally on the Nipozzano estate. (We brought two kids, two dogs, one cat and a Toyota RAV) I spent my days writing, shuttling back and forth to IKEA, assembling IKEA with many curses, and murdering the fucking bees that lived in our tiles. (And, okay, pollinated the vineyard). Never warmed up to the Italians, and certainly not Nipozzano, which is some watery-assed Chianti Ruffina.

    Biggest issue with Italy? The food. Not the Italian food, but the lack of anything else. Huge Hypercoop, 100 varieties of salami, fantastic seafood, and a spice section two feet wide, four fucking spices. Lemongrass? Nah. Monocultures are not great for foodies. We’re just finishing dinner at the Nobu hotel in Sevilla – Miso soup and nigiri – and it’s the best meal thus far. Finished off with a Lagavulin 16? That’s the stuff.

  50. Kathy says:

    Monday’s a holiday (birthday of Benito Juarez*), so I may attempt three kinds of ice cream. One will be yogurt mocha. The second will be either tangerine coconut or pineapple coconut. It depends what kind of juice I can find at the stores. For the third, I want to try cherry.

    I figure milk, heavy cream, sweetener (not sugar or honey), and pureed cherries (liquefied, really), plus maybe a bit of vanilla.

    *The good dictator.

  51. JohnSF says:

    Meanwhile, in France, President Macron makes the French position on Ukraine clear:

    “If Ukraine falls, our security will be at risk. If Russia continues to escalate, if the situation worsens, we must be ready, and we will be ready. We will be ready to make the decisions that are necessary so that Russia never wins.
    France is a force for peace. But today, in order to have peace in Ukraine, we must not be weak. Therefore, we must look at the situation soberly and say with determination, will and courage that we are ready to invest resources to achieve our goal, which is to prevent Russia from winning,”
    “Today, we are not in a situation where we need to send troops, but we do not rule out this scenario…”

    Perhaps directed as much at Scholz as anyone, and aimed at putting France at the centre of the coalition with Poland/Nordic+Baltic group/Romania,

    Denmark to introduce universal conscription, including women, and increase defence budgets by 50%.

  52. Michael Reynolds says:


    Denmark to introduce universal conscription, including women, and increase defence budgets by 50%.

    Viking women in uniform. In view of current mores, I have no opinion on that, and have certainly not formed any mental images.

  53. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    It’s true that provincial Italy seems a bit conservative about food, in my rather limited experience. Even re. different parts of Italy: seems difficult to find say, Sicilian recipes in Trentino.
    Maybe different in, say, Milan?
    My little theory: Italians are less affected than many other European countries by the culinary impact of imperialism.
    OTOH Italian food IS Italian food.
    A generally returned from holidays there a few pounds heavier.
    Bistecca fiorentina, baby.

    Some Chianti does tend often to to be rather more acidic and lighter bodied than people expect.
    But that fits quite well with rich tomato based sauces.
    Barolo and barbaresco similarly; rather like Burgundy, if you expect a full-bodied, up-front sort of wine, you may be disappointed. For that matter, Rioja crianza is often much sharper than a reserva, albeit bigger than a standard Chianti etc.

    Lagavullin is v. good if you go for Island types; personally I tend to prefer Highland/Speyside. Balvennie Doublewood. Yum!

  54. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    On my rather limited experience of encountering Danish women: do not attempt to out-drink them.
    You will regret it.
    I certainly did.

  55. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L.:

    Pre-vetting questions is not due process.

    Paul, you rapist enthusiast, what questions were Trump’s attorneys prohibited from asking?

    Specifically, please.

    Rejecting questions during pre-vetting is also an appealable action that can be reversed by a higher court before the trial begins. It is entirely protected by due process, and typically only applied to defendants who are deemed to be a high risk of violating rape shield laws.

    You are just unhappy that rapists do not have unfettered access to further abuse their victims on the witness stand.

  56. Beth says:

    @Paul L.:

    Heartily. Go fuck yourself.

  57. Gustopher says:

    @JohnSF: I could see an argument that the redwoods are non-native species that shouldn’t be introduced, but I’m in favor of invasive species when they are really cool, and giant redwoods are really cool.

  58. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    …Nipozzano estate

    Boomer cliche? We haz it!
    IIRC, that’s not far from where I had a holiday, albeit only for a fortnight, at Montespertoli.
    I liked Tuscany; had a little cottage on the grounds of an estate, glow worms glowing at night, a hoopoe walking through the woods, the pool terrace up at the main house that had a beautiful view of the Appenine mountains in the east.
    And Florence, of course.
    OTOH, Lake Garda is even more lovely.

  59. JohnSF says:

    Well, as one arboriculturalist said to me: “seeing as Britain was steamrolled flat during the last ice age, all the species we have now are invasive.”
    Fossil sequoiadendron from before the ice ages have been found in Britain.
    So, yay the return of the redwoods, sez I.

  60. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: Thank you. I was trying to find the right words, but just couldn’t get there.

  61. JohnSF says:


    If Xlon is serious about colonizing Mars, people will get there on a one-way ticket.

    Please colonize Mars soon, Mr Musk.
    It’s a dream I have.

  62. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Paul L.:

    A biased judge (especially a pro-state prosecutorial lapdog) deserves to be called out on it.

    Remember, judges are agents of the state. The state’s goal generally to put the square peg into the assigned hole. In each case, the viewer’s bias reflects whether this is justice.

    Pre-vetting questions is not due process.

    Courts rely on rules of behavior (in my neck of the woods, they’re referred to as LRCP (local rules of civil procedure). Everyone has to follow them. Litigants who don’t usually get the judicial equivalent of a rolled-up newspaper on the muzzle. Trust me, Mr. Trump and his team aren’t getting singled out, except as their behavior in this case deserves.

  63. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Mike drop. As is often the case both of you are more lucid and clear-spoken than Luddite.

  64. Kathy says:


    I would bet everything I have, etc. etc. that Xlon will never leave the planet.

    Of all the billionaire boys with a space company, he has the only one, thus far, that can get people into orbit, and to the one place there is to visit, the ISS. He’s also the richest. He could have booked a flight in a Crew Dragon any time, either to the ISS or to just circle the globe.

    Unlike Lex Bezos and Virgin whatsisname, he hasn’t done so.

    But in the first place, he must know what long term health damage radiation exposure can do. At the very least, he will see what happens with the first batch of people who voyage to Mars.

  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: My Tuscano grandfather had a saying: “Roman, Neapolitan, Sicilian, it’s all the same.” So yeah, a touch monocultured.

  66. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Today is the day where I wish we could attach pictures to the comment, as it is just … something.

    I’ll just bet it is.

    While living where I live I’ve never had to deal with 3′ of snow, way back in the 80s I witnessed 18″ and several 1’ers. Those years appear to be in the past but with this crazy weather, who can say? Meanwhile, we have had several week long bouts of below 0F weather, had snow and ice storms that behooved me to stay off our “crooked and steep” roads as long as possible, lost power for over a week more than once, been cut off from all population centers by flooding for at least a week on 2 occasions… And did it all without any great deprivations.

    Long story short, chance favors the prepared person. I watch the weather and when the predictions gets dicey, I take measures.

  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: My wife and I picked up an Apple pie at the local grocery. A little vanilla ice and we are set.

  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR10: A buddy of mine’s family has a place on Isle of Palms in SC. It’s been in the family since the 30s at least. Their house is a concrete block structure on the back creek, well away from the beaches. It has gone under water during several hurricanes over the decades and survived just fine with no more damage than water logged drywall on interior walls.

    IIRC at some point in the ’90s some developer decided to build VERY expensive houses on the beach and to add insult to injury, KNOCKED DOWN THE DUNES, after a long and hard argument from the “old timers” who’d been living there for the past 70-80 years. The next hurricane that came thru wiped out all that “beachfront property” and even impacted my buddy’s concrete block bungalow.

    They replaced the drywall and a few things they’d never had to before and it was back to business as usual. The Beach front mansions not rebuilt afaik, but neither were the dunes.

  69. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Amen.

    Men on Mars is a very expensive PR hype coming at the cost of a whole lot of less risky science. Maybe some day we should go there, but right now we have a whole solar system of targets just begging for far more productive and far less costly robotic missions.

  70. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: Heh. Much better than I was coming up with.

  71. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: What more does anyone need?

    An atmosphere a whole lot denser than 1% of Earths.

  72. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: On the other hand, the lower gravity will make it easier to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

  73. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Paul L.:

    The Courts pretend they are independence not on the Government team. [sidebar question: should word number 6 be “independent” rather than “independence?”]

    Yeah, except that in real life courts being independence (sic) almost never happens. The courts are almost always on the side of the government–which makes sense given that the government decides what the laws actually are.

    I realize that we, misguidedly in my mind, sometimes teach students that the courts are independent with the occasional show decision to “prove” the concept (and for those of you who yearn for the schools to teach more civics to larger cohorts of the student body, be careful what you wish for), but the harsh reality is that there are far more Dred Scott and Plessy v Fergusson decisions than there are Brown v The Board of Education ones. And largely, that is how it should be (Dred Scott and Plessy notwithstanding). The government does write the rules, after all.

    Having noted that point, can you explain to me how the courts further defining (liberalizing???) the rape shield laws is a problem for you given that your initial claim in the thread seemed to center on the notion that Trump was railroaded in the E. Jean Carroll case? It would seem to me that this decision should be good news.