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. CSK says:
  2. Scott says:

    @CSK: Same strategy as on the Mueller Report. Same strategy described in Bleak House back in Dickens day.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    George Takei@GeorgeTakei
    Overheard: “It’s a shame Texans can’t heat their homes with gaslighting.”

  4. CSK says:
  5. sam says:

    According this letter to the NEJM, a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine is 93% effective after two weeks. The authors recommend that the second dose be delayed “until all priority group members are offered at least one dose.”

    With such a highly protective first dose, the benefits derived from a scarce supply of vaccine could be maximized by deferring second doses until all priority group members are offered at least one dose. There may be uncertainty about the duration of protection with a single dose, but the administration of a second dose within 1 month after the first, as recommended, provides little added benefit in the short term, while high-risk persons who could have received a first dose with that vaccine supply are left completely unprotected. Given the current vaccine shortage, postponement of the second dose is a matter of national security that, if ignored, will certainly result in thousands of Covid-19–related hospitalizations and deaths this winter in the United States — hospitalizations and deaths that would have been prevented with a first dose of vaccine.

    I’m getting my second shot this afternoon.

  6. Scott says:
  7. Scott says:

    Anyone willing to put this to a vote?

    Perry says Texans willing to suffer blackouts to keep feds out of power market

    Former Texas governor Rick Perry suggests that going days without power is a sacrifice Texans should be willing to make if it means keeping federal regulators out of the state’s power grid.

    “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” Perry is quoted as saying. “Try not to let whatever the crisis of the day is take your eye off of having a resilient grid that keeps America safe personally, economically, and strategically.”

  8. CSK says:

    If he did, it just goes to show that there’s no limit to the stupidity of arrogance.

  9. Teve says:

    @Scott: Being 44, I have to put effort into not using the word Retard these days.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Texas leaders failed to heed warnings that left the state’s power grid vulnerable to winter extremes, experts say

    Millions of Texans have gone days without power or heat in subfreezing temperatures brought on by snow and ice storms. Limited regulations on companies that generate power and a history of isolating Texas from federal oversight help explain the crisis, energy and policy experts told The Texas Tribune.

    While Texas Republicans were quick to pounce on renewable energy and to blame frozen wind turbines, the natural gas, nuclear and coal plants that provide most of the state’s energy also struggled to operate during the storm. Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the energy grid operator for most of the state, said that the state’s power system was simply no match for the deep freeze.

    “Nuclear units, gas units, wind turbines, even solar, in different ways — the very cold weather and snow has impacted every type of generator,” said Dan Woodfin, a senior director at ERCOT.

    Energy and policy experts said Texas’ decision not to require equipment upgrades to better withstand extreme winter temperatures, and choice to operate mostly isolated from other grids in the U.S. left power system unprepared for the winter crisis.

    Policy observers blamed the power system failure on the legislators and state agencies who they say did not properly heed the warnings of previous storms or account for more extreme weather events warned of by climate scientists. Instead, Texas prioritized the free market.

    “Clearly we need to change our regulatory focus to protect the people, not profits,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, a now-retired former director of Public Citizen, an Austin-based consumer advocacy group who advocated for changes after in 2011 when Texas faced a similar energy crisis.

    “Instead of taking any regulatory action, we ended up getting guidelines that were unenforceable and largely ignored in [power companies’] rush for profits,” he said.


    “If you’re going to say you can handle it by yourself, step up and do it,” said Hirs, the UH energy fellow, of the state’s pursuit of an independent grid with a deregulated market. “That’s the incredible failure.”

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Me thinks former gov. Perry and I think a “resilient grid” means 2 entirely different things.

  12. Michael Cain says:


    Anyone willing to put this to a vote?

    Well, four million Texans losing power means 25 million Texans didn’t. And it’s almost two years until the governor’s election. I wouldn’t be quite so quick to declare that Perry’s crazy. Let’s wait and see if either the governor or the legislature does more than slap ERCOT’s wrist — like actually require money be spent on winterizing.

  13. Neil Hudelson says:

    I had to clean out the fridge last night, and discovered a package of sockeye lox I had bought for the holidays. The “best if used by” suggestion is tomorrow, Feb 19. So I guess I’m eating a pound of lox today. Ah, the sacrifices.

    I might have to open a bottle of red too. I hear you don’t want to let those sit around too long, they might go bad as well.

  14. CSK says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Cream cheese? Bagels?

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I’m glad to see you are doing your part against unnecessary waste. In solidarity I will be enjoying a malted and hopped beverage that really should be consumed fresh.

  16. charon says:


    Fanaticism combined with stupidity, I hope that gets a lot of coverage in the Texas press, alert people to what the GOP obsession with deregulation gets them.

    @Michael Cain:

    Well, four million Texans losing power means 25 million Texans didn’t.

    Four million customers is a few businesses plus mostly homes, that’s a lot more than four million people. A lot of people will remember the closed groceries and other businesses also.

  17. Neil Hudelson says:


    No, and while the snow we got last night wasn’t all that much, my roads have yet to be plowed and it’s not worth the hassle to go get more. But, I do have a nice rye boule I picked up from my favorite bakery yesterday and some ripe avocadoes. Lox Avocado Toast is a very acceptable alternative to bagels.

  18. Slugger says:

    I’m excited about this afternoon’s scheduled NASA landing on Mars. The planned arrival is just so cool! Best wishes to the NASA team that is executing this effort.

  19. CSK says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    I’ll be right over.

  20. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Gleaned from a Trumper relative in Texas posting to FB. The power and water is out and has been for a few days so they are at a breaking point.

    1. The generators didn’t freeze. The equipment is fine but the power was cut off intentionaly to switch speed the change away from oil and gas to renewables. It was also punishment to Texas for [something?]

    2. They never had a problem with their grid for over 100 years–until Biden

    3. Biden should sign an Executive Order to force Texas to cut the power back on.

    4. Responding posters “what the news too much”

    Happy Thursday

  21. Kylopod says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I have long found a delightful irony whenever I hear people who refuse to touch sushi because they’re put off by the idea of eating “raw fish” but who have never had any problem consuming lox.

  22. Joe says:

    @Kylopod: I am the ironic opposite. I like sushi just fine and have no intention of eating raw locks. Those are all for you, Neil Hudelson. Enjoy!

  23. Joe says:

    2. They never had a problem with their grid for over 100 years–until Biden

    @Jim Brown 32: This just shows how much more competent Democrats are at governing. With a 4-year head start, Trump couldn’t figure out how to head off the voter fraud he was so certain of. In just a month, Biden can shut down the Texas power grid. Competence counts!

  24. Kathy says:


    The planned arrival is just so cool!

    Yes it is, but it’s the same method used by the Curiosity rover some years ago. So there’s a good precedent already.

    I’m more excited about the helicopter drone the rover carries. Naturally it will only fly around close to the rover, but it will be the first powered flight on another world.

    I wish to live long enough to see the first people fly to Mars. Realistically that’s the only plausible destination any time soon, other than the Moon. Venus is somewhat easier (cheaper) to reach, but the surface is hot enough to melt lead and the pressure is like being 900 meters underwater. So that ain’t happening ever.

  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    It has been confirmed that Cruz did indeed head off to Cancun.

    The situation in Texas is the inevitable result of Republican policies.
    First – decades of de-regulation have reaped huge profits for corporations who have no reason to upgrade infrastructure or service to their customers.
    Then – ignoring Climate Change leads to extreme weather events caused by Climate Change.
    So now Texas Republicans are left blaming Democrats and flying off to Cancun.

  26. Jay L Gischer says:

    So why do Texans resist federal regulation of their power grid? I assume that’s because it will cost more, due to expenditures to meet standards for reserves and safety. And this will translate to higher rates, so yay for free markets.

    Except, my daughter and her cats are living in a hotel in Houston because the power still isn’t on in her apartment complex. All the food in her refrigerator is lost, too. How many years worth of a 3 percent increase in rates to cover a reserve would that come to, I wonder?

    Because this won’t be the last time this happens.

  27. Kylopod says:


    I am the ironic opposite. I like sushi just fine and have no intention of eating raw locks.

    That’s fine. I was just commenting on how people are affected by cultural preconceptions. I also think there’s a certain amount of ignorance of what sushi actually is. There was a period of time when sushi was gradually becoming more popular in the US, and a lot of Americans seemed to be under the impression that sushi literally meant “raw fish.” (I was recently reading a book from the 1990s and I caught an offhanded reference to this belief in the dialogue. This was pretty widespread as I remember.) Maybe it was aided by the fact that restaurants which offer sushi also sell sashimi, which is indeed a slab of raw fish, even though that isn’t what sushi is. But I think the main reason is simply that a lot of Americans had heard of sushi without actually being exposed to it, and they confused the most memorable ingredient (from their perspective) with its essence. One of the common stereotypes/hangups Americans hold about the Japanese is that they’re always doing weird things that are just a touch extreme, and this played into that belief. Also, I have the sense most Americans have no idea how lox is actually made. Some of them have heard it referred to as “smoked salmon” (though even that isn’t universally true of all lox) and don’t realize this doesn’t actually cook the fish.

  28. Mu Yixiao says:


    Venus is somewhat easier (cheaper) to reach, but the surface is hot enough to melt lead and the pressure is like being 900 meters underwater. So that ain’t happening ever


    There are actually several options for Venus–all of them involving “floating cities”. The density of the Venusian atmosphere–along with it’s composition–would easily allow for human-livable structures to float on a “ocean of air”.

  29. Thomm says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I saw somewhere, can’t find it at the moment, that rates are actually 15% higher than national average.

  30. Mu Yixiao says:


    I eat neither sushi/sashimi nor lox–because they taste yucky.

  31. charon says:

    Spot electricity went from $22/megawatt-hour to $9,000/megawatt-hour. Some people are making money from this. (Will get passed on to the customers of course).

    Utility deregulation always goes south with the system getting gamed.

    The Enron thing helped turn California blue. Just saying.

  32. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    How do you feel about raw oysters? I ask only because my grandfather offered me one when I was nine, and it was love at first slurp.

    I was a weird kid: I hated burgers, hot dogs, and apple pie (oddly, I like them now), but I asked for my own personal jar of jumbo olives one Christmas.

  33. Mu Yixiao says:


    I’ve never had one. And have no inclination to try them.

  34. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I’ve a different idea, but it’s more for the far, far future. It involves moving the Moon and Europa around. Also, I’m not sure whether, and how much, momentum can be transferred from a satellite to a planet (it’s usually the other way around).

    And it’s contingent on there being no life in Europa.

  35. CSK says:

    Bob Dole, 97, has been diagnosed with lung cancer.


    Adam Kinzinger has received yet a second letter from his family excoriating him as one of the devil’s army.

  36. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    They’re delicious.

  37. Joe says:

    I learned about sushi and sashimi when I spent a year living in Japan, long before either of those foods became popular in the US. I agree with your analysis about what most people believe v. actuality in Japan. I also note to those with whom I eat sushi that, in Japan, this is fancy food, not college food the way it’s often treated here. I was actually a little disappointed in my usually excellent restaurant source for sushi/sashimi that when I ordered several pieces of sashimi it came out doctored up half way to sushi.

  38. Kathy says:
  39. charon says:
  40. charon says:

    It’s looking like power plants in Texas unplugged to avoid skyrocketing natural gas spot market rates that went to hundreds of $$ to avoid losses. @ERCOT_ISO has now passed an emergency order allowing them to charge consumers those spot market prices. Capitalism at its finest.

  41. dazedandconfused says:

    Rick deploys the “no true Texan…” fallacy!

  42. Gromitt Gunn says:

    And now we’ve got 7 million people who need to boil their water. Many of whom have and/or had no way to boil water. While Ted Cruz is sitting on a heat rock in Mexico, like a good lizard man should.

    One of my best friends had a pipe burst inside the house yesterday after dark. When he was doing a walkaround outside this morning, he discovered that someone in the past two days had stolen the insulation off of his outdoor pipes.

    Just another Thursday in the Banana Republic of Texas.

    @Michael Cain: 4 million was not the total number of customers (not people) – it was the maximum number that were out at any point in the middle of a series of rolling blackouts.

  43. CSK says:

    @Scott: @charon: @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    According to, Cruz has flown home from Cancun, and has requested assistance from the Houston Police Dept. in getting out of the Houston airport.

    He must be needing protection from the enraged constituents waiting there to tear him limb from limb.

  44. Scott says:

    @CSK: As if HPD has nothing better to do.

  45. CSK says:

    HPD has confirmed that they did provide a “light escort” to get Ted safely out of the airport.

    To repeat: When you’re as arrogant as Cruz, you get stupid.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jay L Gischer: So why do Texans resist federal regulation of their power grid? I assume that’s because it will cost more, due to expenditures to meet standards for reserves and safety. And this will translate to higher rates, so yay for free markets.

    When this is all over, I hope someone tallies up the ttl costs of this power outage to the Texas economy and some DEMs run on those numbers..

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I asked for my own personal jar of jumbo olives one Christmas.

    You and my oldest granddaughter (tho I think hers was B-day).

  48. CSK says:

    That tells me she’s clearly a young woman of extraordinary discernment.

  49. Monala says:

    @charon: There are 10 million households in Texas, so nearly half may be without power.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I’m not so sure, she likes me.

  51. CSK says:

    Well…so do I.

  52. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: That helicopter surprised me when I first saw mention of it. That’s pretty ambitious. Mars has an atmosphere as does the Earth. But it’s sort of like political bothsides. It’s two orders of magnitude less than Earth’s. Which is to say, density at the surface is about 1% of the density of Earth’s atmosphere at the surface. Enough to say it’s an atmosphere, but closer to none than to ours. Put differently, it’s like the density of Earth’s atmosphere at an altitude of 35 km [115,000 ft]. Pretty impressive to make a helicopter work.

    I’ll have to go online and see if I can find how they tested it. I’d guess NASA has vacuum chambers big enough.

    The guy who wrote The Martian admitted the big storm scene was unrealistic. A hundred mph wind would feel like a 10 mph breeze. (For those who care, force is a function of density times velocity squared.)

  53. Jen says:

    Regarding Texas’ decision to not succumb to pesky federal regulations for power…my guess is that they are going to have to rethink this and fast. The Insurance Council of Texas is estimating this storm will be the largest claim event EVER in Texas, surpassing hurricane losses in recent years.

    Insurance companies don’t care for large loss events. Rates are going to have to go up, and I’m willing to bet that those same insurance company lobbyists will be pushing for better, more weather-resilient solutions, including power grid revisions.

  54. Scott says:

    Even more tone deaf? I’m sure this hero of the proletariat was really suffering in his $1.5M River Oaks workingman’s bungalow.

    Ted Cruz cites “wanting to be a good dad” for overnight trip to Cancún during Texas power outages

    “This has been an infuriating week for Texans. The greatest state in the greatest country in the world has been without power,” the senator said in a Thursday afternoon statement. “We have food lines, gas lines, and people sleeping at the neighbors’ houses. Our homes are freezing and our lights are out. Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too.”

    “With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends,” he added. “Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon. My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas. We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm. My team and I will continue using all our resources to keep Texans informed and safe.”

  55. CSK says:

    Oh, bullshit. His return trip was originally booked for Saturday.

  56. Scott says:

    @CSK: Of course.

  57. Jen says:


    “With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends,”

    This raises more questions than it answers. In a pandemic, they’re able to just jet off to Cancun when school is cancelled for the week? Interesting.

    And, I wonder how Mr. Cruz’s change of plans will square with the US travel requirement that he produce a negative covid test after visiting a foreign country?

    “American travelers should remember they will need a negative Covid-19 test result taken 72 hours or less before travel to return to the US. The US Embassy says results for PCR and antigen tests are reliably available within 72 hours in Mexico.”


  58. DrDaveT says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    The “best if used by” suggestion is tomorrow, Feb 19.

    If it can go bad, it isn’t real lox. 🙂

  59. Mu Yixiao says:


    The “best if used by” suggestion is tomorrow, Feb 19.

    If it can go bad, it isn’t real lox.

    If you take a look, you’ll notice that your table salt has a “best used by” date–and it’s ground up rocks.

  60. Mike in Arlington says:

    I’ve read that there are a lot of tech companies coming to Texas. Does anybody think that the rolling black outs and general state of their electrical grid might cause those tech companies to relocate since they’re so dependent on electricity?

  61. CSK says:

    Well, if you can eat a 36,000-year-old frozen steppe bison….

    I remember reading about the mammoth when I was a kid.

  62. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Fun fact: Asian elephants are more closely related to mammoths than they are to African elephants.

    This is especially striking considering there’s one confirmed example of an African-Asian hybrid.

  63. Kathy says:

    I came across a phrase “mRNA medicines,” which got me thinking.

    Yes, vaccines can be seen as medicine of sorts, but generally medicines are substances to treat a disease or condition, not substances to prevent them.

    So first I cast back to the 1980s when gene therapy was a hot topic (did anything ever come off it?). there are conditions which involve an inability to absorb or to make a specific protein. So I thought, can regular mRNA shots with directions for the missing protein help? If the problem is absorption, cells would release this protein to the body at large, not just in the digestive system.

    I then wondered if mRNA can be used to instruct cells to make other things, like amino acids, hormones, vitamins, etc.

    lastly, I thought, could mRNA be used to excess calories to useful proteins? After all, anything your body makes (and it’s constantly making stuff) uses up nutrients obtained from food. Of course, the amount of proteins made is small, so this is not a weight loss scheme. Rather it’s to aid in treating malnutrition.

    I’ve probably have this all wrong. Although I can’t shake the idea what Moderna likely has more than vaccines in mind as a business model.

  64. Slugger says:

    Successful landing on Mars!
    I’m thrilled.

  65. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    That’s bureaucratic overreach. In many countries, including Mexico, salt has no expiration date at all.

    Gourmet salt might need one. The flavor comes from impurities in the mix, and some might be organic. Still, it’s hard to imagine anything surviving in high concentrations of sodium chloride.

    Honey doesn’t spoil, either, but it does come with an expiration date. So, go figure.

  66. DrDaveT says:

    @Slugger: Successful touchdown.

    I was intrigued to see that NASA’s dashboard display showed descent speed both in meters per second and as a Mach number. A quick conversion suggests that the speed of sound on Mars is about 450 mph.

  67. CSK says:

    I think that’s to encourage people to dispose of the older product and buy a new one.

    Emphasis on “buy.”

  68. Kylopod says:

    I’m reminded of the Lenny Kravitz song “Fly Away,” which features one of the more nonsensical (or at least astronomically illiterate) lines I’ve run across in a pop song:

    Let’s go and see the stars
    The Milky Way or even Mars

  69. CSK says:

    Well, he was obviously thinking of the candy bars, which are, indeed, two separate entities.

  70. Teve says:

    Scientist friend on FB 30 minutes ago:

    We’re landing an advanced craft on a planet 127 million miles away in 2 minutes. And we can’t heat homes in Texas? We can, we’re just choosing not to.

  71. CSK says:

    According to Politico, Ivanka will NOT challenge Marco Rubio for the senate seat from Florida.

  72. Teve says:


    (and i say that as someone who had Astrophysics 328 back in the day. Very easy class. If you know Trig you can figure out parallax)

  73. Kathy says:


    Expectations have gone way down. it used to be “We can put a man on the Moon, but we can’t power Texas.” Now it’s landing robots on Mars.

    Though three’s Larry Niven’s ironic take on it, too, regarding the evolution, or lack thereof, of the manned space program post-Apollo: We can put a man on the Moon, but we can’t put a man on the Moon.

  74. Sleeping Dog says:


    While I wouldn’t want the princess in the senate, the idea of Lil’ Marco being primaried by her would have been fun. He’s such a tool and would deserve her.

  75. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I’m interested in why she declined the opportunity. If her ghastly father is as popular in Florida as he claims to be, she should have been a relative shoo-in. And you’d think the fact that her sister-in-law Lara is gunning for a senate seat from North Carolina would be an added inducement. This is a competitive bunch, and a mere Trump-by-marriage shouldn’t be entitled to anything a real Trump can’t have.

  76. Sleeping Dog says:

    Texas was “seconds and minutes” away from catastrophic monthslong blackouts, officials say

    Back during the energy crisis of the mid 70’s, I do remember bumper stickers popular in TX to the effect; New England, let them freeze in the dark. I’m more charitable now, but it’s hard not to think karma is a b&tch.

  77. Kathy says:


    As the Laconians once told Philip: If

  78. Sleeping Dog says:


    I don’t know. Maybe all the earlier talk was from R operatives who were trying to coax her into challenging him. I would think he is vulnerable.

  79. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Well, that’s certainly possible. But given that Ivanka’s narcissism is nearly equal to her father’s, I’d think that her desire to play Lady Bountiful, the Princess of the Senate, would be quite strong.

  80. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I remember those bumper stickers.

  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Honey will crystallize after a certain point in time. I’m not sure that has anything to do with it.

  82. MarkedMan says:


    That’s bureaucratic overreach.

    I don’t know if overreach is the right word. I strongly suspect what happens there is what happened with the medical devices I worked on. Consumable or sterilized products (hernia meshes, sterile surgical instruments, for example) are required to have a “guaranteed safe date”. Our purchasers were willing to pay a tiny bit more for products with longer shelf life, but only a tiny bit. On the other hand, even with accelerated testing it could add weeks or months to a product release. At some point marketing would say “anything over 18 months isn’t worth the delay” and so that’s what we would test and label to.

    I know this applies to drugs as well. The US army keeps great stores of drugs and regularly tests them for stability and potency. Most room temperature drugs last far, far longer than their “use by” date. And food is all about the supply chain. “Sell by” on a carton of milk doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it after that. Once opened you can tell if it’s useable you the smell. If it smells fine, it is fine.

  83. Mikey says:


    “Sell by” on a carton of milk doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it after that.

    I used to be super-conscious of expiration dates on things, and my wife would just laugh and say “es sagt ‘mindestens haltbar bis,’ nicht ‘sofort tödlich ab!'” (It says ‘best before,’ not ‘immediately deadly after!’)

  84. CSK says:

    Trump’s been fat for a long time, but he’s really porked up since losing the election. So much so that William Howard Taft is beginning to look svelte in comparison. Business must be booming at the three McDonald’s within hailing distance of Mar-a-Lago.

  85. Mikey says:

    The truth will out, especially if your “friends” hate you as much as Ted and Heidi Cruz’s friends apparently hate them.

    Seriously, this is kind of hilarious. The New York Times reports:

    Text messages sent from Ms. Cruz to friends and Houston neighbors on Wednesday revealed a hastily planned trip. Their house was “FREEZING,” as Ms. Cruz put it — and she proposed a getaway until Sunday. Ms. Cruz invited others to join them at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancún, where they had stayed “many times,” noting the room price this week ($309 per night) and its good security. The text messages were provided to The New York Times and confirmed by a second person on the thread, who declined to be identified because of the private nature of the texts.

    Well, I guess ol’ Ted threw his daughters under the bus for nothing…hahahaha…

    Further down the story:

    When Ms. Cruz wrote to the group text chain of neighbors trying to weather the extreme conditions early Wednesday, she said the family had been staying with friends to keep warm, but quickly pivoted to offering an invitation to get away.

    “Anyone can or want to leave for the week?” she wrote. “We may go to Cancún.” She teased a “direct flight” and “hotels w capacity. Seriously.” Ms. Cruz promptly shared details for a Wednesday afternoon departure, a Sunday return trip and a luxurious stay at the oceanfront Ritz-Carlton in the meantime.

    No one appeared to bite, but Ms. Cruz did extend a more practical offer. “We have gas stove so at least we can heat water little that there is happy to help anyone we can too,” she wrote.

    “No one appeared to bite…” hahahahaha

    Obligatory “if Schadenfreude were harmful, I’d be in the hospital right now.”

    Ted Cruz’s Cancún Trip: Family Texts Detail His Political Blunder

  86. Kathy says:


    Honey found in ancient Egyptian graves was edible millennia later.


    It might be that, too.

    Food spoils due to bacterial and sometime fungal action. That’s why frozen food lasts much longer (low temps either stop or slow such activity way down).

    Salt is inorganic, mostly sodium chloride. Most brands get iodine and some fluorine compounds added, all inorganic. Aside from that, most bacteria cannot live in very salty environments. Look up the Dead Sea, the saltiest body of water on Earth. It has very little concentrations of bacteria.

    Inorganic compounds can decay naturally as well. Not all are stable. They can react with other elements, like oxygen in the air, or with water. Salt is very inert in a wide range of temperatures. essentially, it doesn’t go bad. It does absorb moisture and clumps.

  87. Mu Yixiao says:


    That’s bureaucratic overreach. In many countries, including Mexico, salt has no expiration date at all.

    It has nothing to do with bureaucracy. It’s the salt companies duping stupid people into throwing out their “old” salt and buying “fresh”. I–hand to God–saw a package of “6,000 year old Himalayan pink salt” with an expiration date of less than 18 months.

    Hell… working in the meat department, we’d take “expired” beef, run it through the grinder to make hamburger and put another 3 days on it. Ground pork and bulk sausage gets 5 days. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just looks unappetizing.

  88. Mikey says:

    @Kathy: There’s also “bog butter,” which has been buried in Ireland’s peat bogs for centuries. In 2009, workers found an exceptionally well preserved Iron Age container filled with butter that was determined to be around 3,000 years old. Apparently it is still edible after all that time. Chef Andrew Zimmern tried this ancient butter on his show “Bizarre Foods,” describing its flavor as “funky.”

  89. Mikey says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I used to work at Wendy’s. Hamburger patties that didn’t get sold were put in the walk-in and when we had enough of them we’d put them all in a big pan, cover them with water, and “reconstitute” them. Then we’d chop them up into bits for use in the chili. It was a good way to avoid wasting meat and it’s completely safe.

  90. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: If your standard for the fairness/justice of our system is going to be measured by when Trump becomes a cast member on a reality TV version of Orange is the New Black, you’re bound to be disappointed and probably depressed. Just sayin’.

  91. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: @CSK: I’m reminded of the old Lone Ranger joke that ends with the punch line “what to you mean by ‘we,’ paleface.”

  92. CSK says:
  93. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Not a raw oysters guy, but I did have Quilcene oysters roasted in the shell once that were fabulous! And I’ve fried Olympia oysters breaded in panko. Also very tasty. I should do that again next time I see a jar of oysters at the store.

  94. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Show me an oyster–raw, baked, fried, roasted, in a stew–and I’ll eat it.

  95. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: She’s probably thinking of her kids. After all, she’s the only one in the family with a real income source and Senator is too big a pay cut.

  96. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I’m reminded of a story that I heard while I was in Korea. If I recall correctly, a king was penned up in a besieged town, and the leader of the invading army sent a letter asking if the town would surrender. The king responded with a poem:

    All the world knows of your feats and conquests
    You are famous for your victories
    Perhaps you should go home.

    From what I understand, the besieging force left that evening.

  97. Jax says:

    @CSK: I made a “seafood bisque” the other day that was quite tasty. Oyster, crab, calamari, octopus, shrimp and mussels, it all came as a kit in my little tiny grocery store.

  98. Mister Bluster says:

    On his radio broadcast today Rush Limbaugh invited Ted Cruz to join him in the Netherworld.
    “Come on down Ted! The pipes never freeze and you won’t have to answer to those pesky constituents.”