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. drj says:

    Some light reading on CNN this morning:

    The top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, was so shaken that then-President Donald Trump and his allies might attempt a coup or take other dangerous or illegal measures after the November election that Milley and other top officials informally planned for different ways to stop Trump, according to excerpts of an upcoming book obtained by CNN. […]

    The book recounts how for the first time in modern US history the nation’s top military officer, whose role is to advise the president, was preparing for a showdown with the commander in chief because he feared a coup attempt after Trump lost the November election. […]

    Milley viewed Trump as “the classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose,” the authors write, and he saw parallels between Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric as a victim and savior and Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

    “This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley told aides, according to the book. “The gospel of the Führer.”

    Really, what harm can it do to let Trump blow off some steam after losing the election?

  2. MarkedMan says:

    I’m not normally a Mercedes fan but yesterday I came upon a green 450SL with tan interior and was reminded just how timelessly beautiful it is. Here’s an example in a different color.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    These are the five least vaccinated states in the US right now

    The only reason Misery isn’t on that list is the 2 large metropolises of STL and KC. Not that we would ever allow that to keep us from leading the way.

  4. CSK says:


    Quote from the article:

    “The authors interviewed Trump for more than two hours.”

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mission Avoided: It would seem that nobody told the Delta variant, which is currently ripping through the southwest portion of the state at a rate so alarming that we’re now making national news for our ever-increasing rates of infection and hospitalization, but Missouri is doing a really great job with COVID-19, actually — or at least that’s the way our dumb governor sees it. This past week, Governor Mike Parson spoke out forcefully against the implementation of federal vaccine outreach efforts, saying the state “is not in crisis mode,” even as Missouri has risen to the second-highest number of new cases per capita, according to the New York Times, and some of the lowest rates of vaccination in the entire nation. “I think we’ve took every action we could possibly take in the state of Missouri to prevent this,” Parson told reporters last week, as he attempted to justify his decision to not take further action to prevent it. It’s a continuation of the do-nothing approach to a deadly pandemic that has become Parson’s calling card over the past year and a half, the latest in a series of inactions that includes no statewide mask mandates; a disastrous vaccine rollout that saw Missourians driving across the state to get their shots; a discontinuation of enhanced unemployment benefits meant to keep people from spreading the virus and even the signing of HB 271, limiting the ability of local health departments to implement orders protecting public health during a crisis. In a way, you’ve got to hand it to the guy — not for his COVID response, of course, but for the fact that though he may be utterly useless, he’s at least consistent.

  6. drj says:

    While one should always be sceptical about “leaked” Kremlin documents, there may actually be something to this story in The Guardian:

    Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.

    The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present.

    They agreed a Trump White House would help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them “social turmoil” in the US and a weakening of the American president’s negotiating position. […]

    The Guardian has shown the documents to independent experts who say they appear to be genuine. Incidental details come across as accurate. The overall tone and thrust is said to be consistent with Kremlin security thinking.

    One reason to be suspicious is that the leaked documents appear to describe later events just a bit too well:

    The paper lays out several American weaknesses. These include a “deepening political gulf between left and right”, the US’s “media-information” space, and an anti-establishment mood under President Barack Obama. […]

    There are paragraphs on how Russia might insert “media viruses” into American public life, which could become self-sustaining and self-replicating. These would alter mass consciousness, especially in certain groups, it says. […]

    Moscow would gain most from a Republican victory, the paper states. This could lead to a “social explosion” that would in turn weaken the US president, it says. There were international benefits from a Trump win, it stresses. Putin would be able in clandestine fashion to dominate any US-Russia bilateral talks, to deconstruct the White House’s negotiating position, and to pursue bold foreign policy initiatives on Russia’s behalf, it says.

    Still, Russia undebiably did take active steps to ensure a Trump win:

    A matter of weeks after the security council meeting, GRU hackers raided the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and subsequently released thousands of private emails in an attempt to hurt Clinton’s election campaign.

    So there’s that.

  7. Kathy says:


    “We’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas.”

  8. Nightcrawler says:

    ICYMI, here’s the Find A Grave memorial I built for Doug.

    Feel free to add photos and/or leave a “virtual flower” (it’s free).

    That June 7 death date is an estimate. Unfortunately, he died some time before he was found, so we may never know his exact date of death.

    The memorial is a work in progress. I’ll update it when we receive internment or other information.

    I’ve received comments from people thanking me for this. It’s not a big deal. I built it because Doug deserves to be remembered, and it was the last thing I could do for my friend.

  9. CSK says:

    Where did you find out that Doug had died some time before he was found? That strikes me as terribly, terribly sad.

  10. Nightcrawler says:


    I spoke with a friend who has been talking with the family.

    Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon for people who live alone and keep to themselves, like Doug did. A few years ago, a guy on my street died in his apartment and wasn’t found for weeks. He lived alone, wasn’t dating anyone, worked contract jobs, and had a habit of dropping off-grid.

  11. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    But they did in fact take advantage of the “media-information” space…and they did pump “media viruses” into the public. And Trump in, indeed, mentally unstable. What’s not to believe?

  12. CSK says:

    “…impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex…”

    Sounds accurate to me.

  13. CSK says:


    “…we’ve took every possible action…”

    He speaks so well, too.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: You got it.
    @CSK: English is his 2nd language. And his 3rd, 4th, 5th…

  15. CSK says:

    What’s his first language? Authentic frontier gibberish?

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As if St Louis didn’t have enough problems already: Sharks in the Mississippi? Researches Say It’s Possible Near St. Louis

    All sorts of surprises lie beneath the the surface of the Mississippi River. Refrigerators, cars, even the occasional body have been found lurking in the depths of The Big Muddy. Now, two researchers suspect there may be something even wilder — bull sharks.

    Dr. Ryan Shell, a research associate at the Cincinnati Museum Center, and Nicholas Gardner, a WVU Potomac State College librarian, affirmed the legitimacy of two St. Louis-area bull shark sightings in the 20th century in “Movement of the bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) in the upper Mississippi River Basin, North America,” published in the July issue of the journal, Marine and Fishery Sciences.

    Bull sharks are aggressive and many experts consider them to be the most dangerous shark species, according to National Geographic.

    The first sighting happened in Alton, Illinois, in 1937, when two fishermen caught a five-foot long shark, the study says. This is the farthest inland a bull shark has been sighted up the Mississippi, according to a press release.
    The second sighting occurred in 1995 just south of St. Louis near the Rush Island Power Station in Festus. This time, a shark was found stuck in a grate.

    Bull sharks are well-known for their ability to move between freshwater and saltwater ecosystems, the study says. The researchers found that temperatures in the Mississippi are tolerable for the sharks as far north as Alton for most of the year.

  17. Kathy says:


    It makes sense for Putin’s Russia to try to help the Ass get elected. Whom would you rather have running a rival (or enemy?) country? A competent executive with foreign policy experience who doesn’t like you, or an bumbling, inexperienced ignoramus more intent on pursuing domestic enemies, and who rather likes you?

    The last, I think, is important. Were trump anti-Russian, you’d think Putin wouldn’t want him holding the nuclear launch codes.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It’s also English, you just might not recognize it as such.

  19. drj says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    What’s not to believe?

    A couple of points:

    * Who leaked these documents and why? Why these documents?
    * It’s really quite remarkable how accurately a document from early 2016 predicts the following few years.

    Russia is pretty adept at information warfare. Maybe they produced a credible document with a couple of proveably false elements to discredit the claim that Russia assisted the GOP.

    Or perhaps they leaked an exaggarated version of what happened to demonstrate their power in the info warfare domain.

    Or perhaps the document is genuine.

    Who know, really?


    Possibly. Or perhaps the Russians simply documented some crooked business deal.

  20. Kathy says:


    Possibly. Or perhaps the Russians simply documented some crooked business deal.

    I truly wonder what sordid revelation could possibly hurt the Ass with his base, and to a slightly lesser extent with the GOP.

    We know extramarital affairs, hush-money payments, financial swindles of various kinds, sexual assault, attacks on democracy, and support of hostile foreign leaders, among other things, won’t do it.

    About the only things I can think of are:

    1) The Ass acting decently towards a minority group in a non-token fashion.

    2) (eye bleach recommended) Trump prancing around in a French maid outfit playing a BDSM scene with a man he calls “master”.

  21. CSK says:

    I’ve often wondered why Donald Trump so eagerly sits for interviews with authors even he has to know are going to do a justifiable hatchet job on him. I assumed it was because he’s so desperately needy for attention he doesn’t care what form the attention takes.

    The Politico article linked in the Raw Story piece goes into this in much greater depth.

  22. CSK says:

    Nothing could hurt Trump with his base, not even the things you listed. They’d just label it FAKE NEWS, even if a thousand notaries swore it was Trump in the French maid’s get-up.

  23. drj says:


    I truly wonder what sordid revelation could possibly hurt the Ass with his base, and to a slightly lesser extent with the GOP.

    He has a lot of non-US assets. A criminal prosecution abroad could be quite painful – regardless of whether the GOP has his back.

    Or perhaps the pee tape (or something similar) does exist. But that’s pretty much unknowable at this point.

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    Through all the waxing and waning of the Trump/Putin story I’ve maintained that Trump was not just a useful idiot, but completely compromised and acting, in effect as a Russian asset. There was never a better explanation for his groveling to Putin. Nothing else made sense.

    If we’re looking for a leaker for these documents the US intel agencies, followed by allied intel agencies are the obvious suspects. The new government of Israel, for example, looking to break the Trump-Netanyahu connection?

    But there is of course another possible source: the Russians themselves. Putin is as much an egomaniac as Trump and I’ve long suspected that having pulled off the intelligence coup of the century, Putin would have to find a way to brag about it.

  25. a country lawyer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: No doubt Trump is a fully compromised Russian asset, but I doubt it’s because of any “pee tape”. That’s the type of thing which wouldn’t bother Trump or his followers at all. With Trump it’s all about money and how can he benefit personally.
    All Putin had to do was promise a Trump hotel in Moscow or on the Black Sea and the deal’s done.

  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    @a country lawyer:
    The ‘pee tape’ may not bother the full-blown cult, but roll it back five years and that level of subservience was not yet baked in. He’d have easily been manipulated if such a tape exists. Which is not to say money wasn’t also a likely element. But I never believe in a singular motive, it’s always motives plural.

  27. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Through all the waxing and waning of the Trump/Putin story I’ve maintained that Trump was not just a useful idiot, but completely compromised and acting, in effect as a Russian asset.

    Such a charitable, rosy view of trump is odd. Me, I think he’s as stupid and depraved as he appears to be.

  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    Again, let’s not get hung up in binaries, either/or. Any time you’re asking, ‘was it the carrot or the stick?’ the answer will generally be, ‘both.’ If you want to manipulate someone you use both – the stick for threat, the carrot to give your victim a face-saving rationale for submission. The stick makes them obey, the carrot compromises them, makes them complicit in their own blackmailing.

    Of course he’s stupid and depraved, but stupid and depraved does not explain licking Putin’s taint very publicly. Stupid, depraved people are the exact kind of people who can be blackmailed.

  29. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The thing to understand about the culties is that they, like their leader, are extremely weak and insecure individuals. So I disagree that the pee tape wouldn’t bother them. It wouldn’t cause them to abandon Trump, but they’d still hate every moment of it.

  30. Kylopod says:

    I don’t know how many people here caught the story from several weeks ago about former child star Ricky Schroeder making a scene at a Costco’s over his refusal to wear a mask. He argued that the store had lifted the mask requirement. The store people calmly explained to him that California had not yet lifted its statewide mask mandate, and that took precedence over the store’s policy.

    A short time later, Schroeder put out a public statement semi-apologizing for his behavior. He said he stood by his views on the mask mandate, but he apologized for hurting the store people’s feelings.

    I found this response deeply weird. First of all, I watched the video and there wasn’t the slightest indication he hurt anyone’s feelings. Maybe the store people were irritated, maybe scared, hell maybe they enjoyed the attention as much as Schroeder did–who knows? The fact is that there’s no way to know what they were feeling because they remained completely cool and professional. But what in the name of fried tomatoes did hurt feelings have to do with the incident? He didn’t personally insult them. What he did do was behave like a screeching moron in front of a camera.

    Even when MAGA-heads pretend to apologize for something, they still have to make it sound like they’re owning the libs. They’re incapable of anything else, because their insecurity runs so deep they have to constantly tell themselves the people they oppose have egos as fragile as their own. Their psyche can’t deal with any other possibility.

  31. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I’d agree, but remember that the “grab ’em by the pussy” revelation didn’t hurt Trump at all. I’d have thought it would have finished him off. Mike Pence nearly quit the ticket. But Trump’s followers weren’t in the least bothered. Some of them probably took it as evidence of Trump’s manliness.

  32. Chip Daniels says:

    @drj: Re: The Pee Tape;

    Its amusing to me that after 6 years of nonstop skin-crawlingly awful behavior peformed nightly on video, people assume that somehow a tape of a weird sex fetish thing would somehow move the needle on what we think of Trump.

    If such a tape were to be played, within a week white evangelical preachers would discover examples of it in the Bible and explain how it is in full keeping with the Gospel message, and Scott Alexander would crow that this was a public relations triumph showing the libs to be blue nosed prudes and Magats across the country would be conducting Pee-ins in the streets.

  33. CSK says:

    Schroeder may be just too inarticulate (another defining trait of MAGAs) to express his regrets in any other way.

  34. reid says:

    @CSK: That was my thought, too. We assume people, perhaps especially famous people, are relatively intelligent and would speak and act as such, but maybe he’s just not that sharp. (No idea one way or the other, though.)

  35. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: @reid: But even an inarticulate apology can be revealing. “I’m sorry if you were offended” is pretty much the standard for public figures. They do it because they feel pressure or are trying to appease people, but don’t feel any genuine regret.

    I must confess that when I first heard about this incident I barely knew who Ricky Schroeder is; the name sorta rang a bell but that was it. I certainly have never seen his show.

    I do know there are genuinely talented actors who happen to be MAGA-heads–Jon Voight is one of the prime examples.

    I tend to think that being a good actor requires some level of empathy, but on the other hand they’re often reputed to be somewhat narcissistic individuals.

  36. Kathy says:


    If we spoke in allusions, like the aliens in the much-loved TNG episode, we’d say something like “Charlie Brown, when Lucy moved the football.”

    I’ve described the Ass as not being capable of learning, nor interested. I stand by it.

    Could he be expecting better treatment after so many occasions when the opposite happened? he might. I’ve a feeling he spend most of such interviews praising himself. And if asked “did you really say good things about hitler?” he tries to justify doing so before denying he did (he’s done that about lots of other scandals in public before). Meantime there are multiple sources saying this happened.

    I’ll be curious to see the books from those on the side of the Ass. Some are out but have caused no waves, as they seem to be panegyrics directed at the ashhole market (not news). I don’t expect negative books from Mrs. Bowling Green Masacre, but an exhaustive, honest account might be revealing (not that I expect one).

  37. CSK says:

    Well, Schroder’s “apology” certainly revealed his inarticulacy. I never argued it didn’t reveal anything about him.

    According to IMDb, he hasn’t done anything since 2016. His heyday seems to have been in the eighties and nineties.

  38. Jon says:

    @CSK: Silver Spoons was great.

  39. Mu Yixiao says:


    I found this response deeply weird. First of all, I watched the video and there wasn’t the slightest indication he hurt anyone’s feelings

    You’re looking too deeply into it. It’s just a stock PR apology.

  40. CSK says:

    Well, if you read the Politico piece that’s linked in the Raw Story item, it explains this whole business from Trump’s point of view. He thinks that if he can get even a bit of his own version of reality on the record, it’s better than having no say at all.

    I totally agree with you that Lardass is neither capable of nor interested in learning anything.

    As for books from Trump’s side of the aisle, he’s said by Politico to be dreading Kushner’s. He’s also jealous that Kushner got a big advance, and no publisher will give Trump 2 cents for his own memoirs.

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    If such a tape were to be played, within a week white evangelical preachers would discover examples of it in the Bible and explain how it is in full keeping with the Gospel message…

    THAT bothers me more than the pee tape would. FG being outed as a perv? Old news, dude; who didn’t know that?

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: “The most important quality is sincerity; if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

  43. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    You’re looking too deeply into it. It’s just a stock PR apology.

    It’s a right-wing PR apology, and not even a typical one. As I mentioned, public figures of all political and apolitical stripes do some version of “I’m sorry if you were offended” all the time. But I have rarely seen it expressed in terms of hurt feelings. That is a distinctly right-wing shibboleth.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jon: I saw him a few times on NYPD Blue also. I was surprised at how good a actor he seemed. He was good on Silver Spoons, but he was also only playing Ricky Schroder there, so it wasn’t clear whether he was an actor or merely a photogenic kid.

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I’m still wondering why anybody will want to read Kushner’s memoirs. I think the advance is some kind of payoff, but I can’t imagine what for.

  46. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’ll speculate the Russians knew that simply praising him garners all the influence one could wish for, and using aggressive compromising tactics on an unstable person who controls thousands of nukes is unwise, and in this case entirely unnecessary.

    The leak may have been due to the Russians shutting down of that ransomware site. Like us the Russian government recruits cyber talent from the hacker community. Several reports from some old intell people say a Russian hacker which shows exceptional talent is sometimes tapped on the shoulder by the GRU and given a job offer they can’t refuse. It’s a fair assumption some of those guys hacked some information from the Russian government for “just in case” protection.

    It may well be the Russians are de-compromising themselves on the matter, which indicates they have high confidence Trump is done. Once something is out it’s useless for leverage. That or some pissed off hacker, bitter about being shut down.

  47. Jon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I meant that more in the sense of “holy hell did I have a crush on Erin Grey” 😉

  48. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve long been struck by how easily people are gulled by performance. For years the Republicans garnered support from those who saw them as tough and decisive, as people who couldn’t be pushed around. The Dems were too touchy feely and that means they would buckle if someone even spoke meanly to them. The Repubs were just more manly.

    To me it was always just performance. George H.W. might have come off as much less of a man’s man than George W, but it was blatantly obvious who had more steel in their spine. Not to tens of millions of voters though.

    In any case, I have no illusion that the fact that yet again the “tough” Republicans have showed themselves to be piles of jello will have an effect on their supporters. When the country is literally threatened by a murderous mob they were able to make slight handwaving gestures for perhaps a week at the most, and then they either fell silent (except, of course, where they were gossiping behind closed doors) or fell into line.

  49. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, Kushner’s chef d’oeuvreis being published by Broadside Books, the conservative imprint of HarperColins. They must have calculated making some profit. Only thing is, the MAGAs don’t seem terribly fond of Jared, so they won’t buy it. And Trump himself certainly doesn’t seem inclined to promote it.

  50. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Maybe it is fake…what does it matter?
    The fact remains that what it says is in fact what happened.
    Our own Intelligence Community agrees that Putin green-lit the cyber effort to install Trump. We know of their coordination with Wikileaks, which Stone and Manafort in turn coordinated with.
    Do they have Kompromat? I find it hard to believe that Billy Bush could get incriminating tape of Trump and Putin couldn’t? On a guy that cheated on all three of his wives? That slept with porn stars and partied with Jeffrey Epstein? I mean, the guy is an idiot…how hard could it be?
    Does he have an inferiority complex? Gee, ya think?

  51. Kathy says:


    I don’t have much respect for an adult who still goes by a childhood diminutive.

  52. drj says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Well, I agree with you that these leaked documents don’t really change anything.

    We all saw what happened.

  53. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I had to look up childhood diminutive…so clearly there’s no respect due me.
    Plus I go by Jay when my name is Joseph.
    Oh well…

  54. Mu Yixiao says:


    I don’t have much respect for an adult who still goes by a childhood diminutive.

    In day-to-day life, he may not. However, that’s his registered SAG name, so it’s what gets used in publicity.

    Also: Mickey Rourke, Annie Potts, Ricky Gervais, Jimmy Carter…

  55. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I mean…it’s almost like Putin is taking a victory lap.

    “Hey look at what I did!!!”

  56. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao: He actually goes by Rick these days. But I never realized “Ricky” was inherently a childish diminutive.

  57. dazedandconfused says:


    Ruthlessness is frequently confused with toughness.

  58. Kathy says:


    Well, if you read the Politico piece that’s linked in the Raw Story item, it explains this whole business from Trump’s point of view. He thinks that if he can get even a bit of his own version of reality on the record, it’s better than having no say at all.

    I totally agree with you that Lardass is neither capable of nor interested in learning anything.

    I read the piece. Combine what it says with what we know about his inability to learn, and ask why is he still giving interviews for books he should know will be damning.

    If you buy explanations attributed to him, then he clings to a failing policy. Which is the same thing as being unable to learn form experience. Perhaps he believes this time will work, even though it has never worked all the previous times.

  59. Mister Bluster says:

    My given name is Gregory.
    There were only to people who I would answer to when they called me Greggie. My mom and my best friend Joe.
    Concrete Blonde

  60. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Have you not seen my name?

  61. CSK says:

    Perhaps we should also take into account Trump’s endless, bottomless need for publicity. Any publicity. He’s often said that bad publicity is better than no publicity, and nothing seems to have dissuaded him from that notion.

    He may also just be insane (in addition to being a loathsome, malevolent churl, of course). Isn’t one of the definitions of insanity doing the same thing over and over again in the hope of getting a different result?

  62. CSK says:

    Are you saying we shouldn’t respect you? 😀

  63. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    These aren’t great sports cars…but they ARE fantastic drivers.

  64. Kathy says:


    More like, see the bargain cheap shot not to be taken seriously.

  65. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    The only question now is if the Pee Tape will be…leaked.
    Don’t forget to tip the waitresses…

  66. Kylopod says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: And I thought the Santorum surge couldn’t be repeated.

  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Do Javanka have enough money to pull a FG, Jr. and simply buy hundreds of thousands of copies to give away as door prizes at the next CPAC event? Will they even be invited to the next CPAC event? (Enquiring minds may want to know; whereas I have only a passing morbid curiosity.)

  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: With adult Rickys going back all the way to Ricky Ricardo, and in all likelihood before that, it doesn’t seem that it’s very much of a childhood diminutive.

  69. Kathy says:


    This sounds like an addict. Getting high will be great, but then there’s coming down. So maybe he’s like an alcoholic raging at the hangover. Could be.

  70. Mu Yixiao says:

    My given name is Marty. Not Martin.

    The number of arguments I’ve gotten into with government bureaucrats….

    Them: Your name?
    Me: Marty
    Them: I need your legal name
    Me: Marty
    Them: I need your full legal name
    Me: Marty
    Them: I need the name on your birth certificate
    Me: That IS the name on my BC. I know what the fuck my own name is!

    Thankfully, enough people have “non-standard” names these days, so people just accept whatever you tell them.

  71. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, given that The Former Guy will probably still be controlling CPAC when the book comes out (2022), and that it may–just possibly–show Trump in a bad light by implying that Trump was Kushner’s puppet, I don’t think any of the major Trumpist organizations, including CPAC, will be interested in bulk-buying it.

    Broadside is touting it as “the definitive account” of the Trump administration. The company must anticipate good sales, but I don’t know why. Publishers of adult fiction and adult non-fiction have made some colossal mistakes over the past 20-30 years.

    Possibly Jared and Ivanka have the money to buy huge lots of the book and boost it onto the bestseller lists. Joe Kennedy did it for his son John.

  72. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I’ve no real evidence and I’ve not seen any punditry to this effect, but it seemed to me Russia backed off in 2020. I kind of wonder if Putin decided he’d made a mistake with Trump and he’d rather deal with Biden. Trump could be manipulated and bribed, but he was nuts and wouldn’t stay manipulated and bribed. Better to deal with someone more hostile but predictable.

  73. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao: My legal middle name is a single letter with no dot. My parents (who were fairly young at the time) did it in honor of Harry S Truman, who it’s said had no dot after his middle initial.

    It turns out that’s sort of an urban legend–legally Harry Truman’s middle initial did have a dot after it. (He was named for two grandfathers with names starting with S.) But he often omitted the dot in his signature, and at times he said it should be written that way, but he was probably kidding. The Harry S. Truman Library has always used the dot.

    You don’t know the amount of times I’ve been forced to explain all this whenever doing any sort of registration for something. It confuses the heck out of people.

  74. gVOR08 says:

    @drj: The provenence of the document seems open to question. But like the ANG memos on W that destroyed Dan Rather, they may be fake, but the outline, if not all the details, are true. It’s really confirmation of stuff we knew or could infer. The “Killian documents” looked pretty good, but had a fatal flaw the creator would have known. It smelled of a deliberate setup by Karl Rove.

  75. JohnSF says:

    re. Trump and Putin: I always reckoned it played with his long standing “wannabe wise guy” persona.
    Any bait from Moscow comes along, he’d be all to his kids and cronies:“Hey, look guys! Whatdiditellya? Now we’re playin’ in the big leagues!”
    Real gangsters just love wannabes.
    Seldom ends well.
    For the Wannabe.

  76. Michael Reynolds says:


    I’ll speculate the Russians knew that simply praising him garners all the influence one could wish for, and using aggressive compromising tactics on an unstable person who controls thousands of nukes is unwise, and in this case entirely unnecessary.

    I think that might be true but for the risks the Russians were willing to run. This is an op that could have been exposed and if exposed early would have locked in sanctions til hell froze over. A smart thug like our friend Vlad wouldn’t bet on carrot alone, he’d want a stick. I would.

    The leak may have been due to the Russians shutting down of that ransomware site.

    That is a very interesting thought, given the timing.

  77. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    But there is of course another possible source: the Russians themselves. Putin is as much an egomaniac as Trump and I’ve long suspected that having pulled off the intelligence coup of the century, Putin would have to find a way to brag about it.

    Or the Russians have made it all up completely. Let’s ignore the truth or falsehood of the information contained in the documents for a moment.

    Putin’s goal has been a weak US, so Russia can act without opposition in its sphere of influence. Does a reveal of this information (true or false) help or harm those interests?

    It will only be believed by the folks on the left (many of whom already believe this, but haven’t been reminded in a while), and will be viewed by folks on the right as “fake news”. It makes the divides in our country greater, and the ability for our country to act collectively weaker.

    I don’t think the Kremlin is all too bothered by this. If genuine and unplanned, the want to hunt down the leaker just because, but the content of leak itself doesn’t hurt.

  78. JohnSF says:

    A twitter thread by Mike Martin on on Helmand and narcotics policy.
    No wonder it all went to sh*t.

    “Then there was several years of American contractors, paid by the hectare of removed poppy.”
    “These guys were total cowboys. I remember meeting one as he stepped off a helicopter in our patrol base – cowboy boots, two Pearl handled revolvers on a pistol belt. Complete disregard for the Helmandis – totally focussed on destroying poppy (read livelihoods). This was ‘08 or so.”
    “They would love to do it near coalition bases because it meant if they got into a fight they could rope the coalition into protecting them.”
    “I remember trying to explain to an elder how it was American contractors destroying their poppy, and that we the brits didn’t necessarily agree with that, but we were obliged to protect them if they got into a fight, because the contractor had insisted on that in their contract. He looked at me like I was nuts.”
    “I often found myself explaining bullshit stuff like this that made sense on a PowerPoint slide in London or Washington but was utter nonsense in Helmand.”

  79. Kathy says:


    I kind of wonder if Putin decided he’d made a mistake with Trump and he’d rather deal with Biden.

    That may be so. Back in 20106, few people thought the Ass would win, and I’m willing to bet Putin was part of the vast majority. He may have been disappointed with the results, and he may prefer to deal with someone more predictable, at a less frantic pace.

  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: For a number of years, I needed to put “J. (i.o.)” as my middle name on various types of government documents because I only had an initial instead of a middle name. When computerization became ubiquitous and the interwebs initially decided they didn’t want “.”s to go anywhere but before “com [etc.]” the problem disappeared. It’s one thing I’m grateful to technology for.

  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: ” I don’t think any of the major Trumpist organizations, including CPAC, will be interested in bulk-buying it.”

    Yes. That’s why I was asking if Javanka have enough money to do it. I assumed that they were going to need to put up their own cash for bulk purchases. (Which brings up another question: do we REALLY know that Ivanka didn’t give the advance to “”–or whatever the imprint’s name is–to either give hubby a probably needed boost or to tweek Pops?)

  82. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    If only Jarvanka had published during the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020.

  83. flat earth luddite says:

    For Cracker and my generation, see Diana Rigg/Emma Peel or Ertha Kitt/Catwoman

  84. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    IMO Putin was simply “anyone but Hillary” in 2016. There seems to have been some interest from the Russians to bolster Bernie’s primary campaign earlier on. The reason being the unleashing of Newland to foment a color revolution in the Ukraine.

    I wouldn’t be at all shocked if Putin ordered this leak himself. Getting everything out in the open helps clean the board for new relations with Biden. He wants those sanctions lifted or modified, and knows Trump has destroyed himself.
    There is nothing being revealed that wasn’t revealed at Helsinki anyway.

  85. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    No, I think Broadside (which is a legit operation) made the deal themselves. (They are, after all, a conservative imprint.) Oddly enough, Simon and Shuster, I think, now has a vanity press operation. They’ll take your money and print and distribute your crap.

    I do think Javanka would like to distance themselves as much as possible from TFG, but I believe the fact that they’ve moved from Manhattan to Florida proves the hopelessness of that endeavor. His stench will surround them forever, making it impossible for them to regain their hard-won place in the lowest echelons of NY society.

  86. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I had to create a Chinese name so I could order from Taobao and XiaoMi. My “damn slavic name” is just too long for Chinese online forms. 😀

    Also… I have to go back and check, but I believe my grandfather only had a middle initial, no period. And I think that was only after he came to the US.

  87. Kathy says:

    remember the mystery person who bid $28 million for a joyride with Jeff bezos? We still don’t know who they are, but they’re not this kid.

    It’s worth noting the New Shepard* rocket/capsule combo does not carry a pilot onboard. It’s all automated. There’s not much need for a pilot on a ballistic suborbital trajectory, if you don’t care about hitting a particular spot (or close enough). Not much can go wrong, other than the rocket blowing up.

    *I’ve never liked that name. Not the “New” part. Alan Shepard wasn’t a piece of hardware in the Mercury program (BTW, he later walked on the Moon on Apollo XIV).

  88. JohnSF says:


    “anyone but Hillary”

    Inclined to agree.
    Indications are Putin and his circle genuinely loathe Hilary Clinton; and Barack Obama for that matter.
    They seem to genuinely view them as embodying “western decadence”.
    Putin is a self-interested, oligarch enabling autocrat; but it’s often a mistake to overlook the need of most people (except authentic gangsters) to believe that they are the good guys.

    Putin and the siloviki are intriguing: they seem to have genuinely transitioned from Party loyalism (albeit cynical) to being true believers in autocracy, orthodoxy, and purity.

  89. Mu Yixiao says:

    Jesus Fucking Christ!

    Juli Mazi, 41, of Napa, California, allegedly sold unproven and potentially dangerous vials of pellets for $243 in some cases that she fraudulently claimed could provide “lifelong immunity” to COVID-19. What the pellets actually are or contain is unclear. One person who spoke with federal investigators said they became ill after taking the pellets. In Mazi’s sales pitches, she said that the pellets contain a “very minute amount of this [COVID-19] disease,” while fraudulently claiming that FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain “toxic ingredients.”

  90. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle….

  91. MarkedMan says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: FWIW, I’m not really a sports car person, but I do respect a car that handles well. Cars I’ve owned that fall into that category: Fiat 131, Honda CRX, Mini Cooper (2003) and Mini Cooper (2015). Ones that fall into the “perfectly fine” category: 90’s VW Passat, Acura T-something, and my current one, Infiniti G25x.

  92. JohnSF says:

    At last, opinion polling uncovers vital information!

    Americans’ reasons for not wanting to go to the Moon are similar to Britons’ (% of those who don’t want to go)

    Not interested – 23% 20%
    Not enough to see or do – 11% 8%
    Rather visit other places on Earth – 10% 6%
    No point – 9% 3%

    OTOH, Wallace and Gromit make a decisive case to the contrary!

  93. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao: @Kylopod:
    Ms. Juli sure has her medical lingo down pat, doesn’t she?
    “…disease particles…”
    “…germs of the virus…”

    By the way, how do you pronounce “Juli”? Is it Juli as in Julie, or Juli as in July, the month?

  94. JohnSF says:

    A mix of front and rear wheelers; interesting.
    Ever driven a Fiat Strada Abarth by any chance?

  95. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: What difference does it make what name people go by? There are a million different reason for choosing a name, and sometimes the name is chosen for you.

  96. Kathy says:


    OTOH, Wallace and Gromit make a decisive case to the contrary!

    I saw that one. I thought it was adorable they’d go to the Moon to sample cheese, and that they nearly blasted off without packing some crackers.

  97. JohnSF says:

    “The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true. “

  98. JohnSF says:


    “…they nearly blasted off without packing some crackers.”

    The Orb did a whole album about that, IIRC.
    Never blast off without packing your crackers!

  99. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Obviously you weren’t talking to Southern bureaucrats.

  100. Kathy says:


    I marvel at the level of willful ignorance that motivates someone to pay hundreds of dollars for a bogus cure from a random provider, when vaccines are literally free and readily available.

    For all that, I find it troubling this person was handing out real Moderna lot numbers on the fake vaccination cards, and that there’s no tighter control of vaccine certificates*. Think about it, when people start getting ill with COVID and claim they were vaccinated, time, effort, and money might be wasted investigating why these lots are not working as well as others.

    * The certificate issued by the government here has a QR code, which directs you to a web site that verifies the code is authentic, and suggests two data points on the certificate that can be checked.

  101. CSK says:

    Yes, it’s very disturbing. The people who are blowing hundreds of bucks on this crap must be either genuinely fearful that the free vaccines contain a sinister mind-control or DNA-altering substance or they’re simply determined not to do anything the gubmint thinks they should do. Self-defeating idiots.

    Even the Trump supporters here (not that it’s overrun with them) in New England lined up to get the vax.

  102. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Holy fck: Paralyzed man’s brain waves turned into sentences on computer in medical first

    In a medical first, researchers harnessed the brainwaves of a paralyzed man unable to speak and turned what he intended to say into sentences on a computer screen.

    It will take years of additional research but the study, reported Wednesday, marks an important step toward one day restoring more natural communication for people who can’t talk because of injury or illness.

    “Most of us take for granted how easily we communicate through speech,” said Dr Edward Chang, a neurosurgeon at the University of California, San Francisco, who led the work. “It’s exciting to think we’re at the very beginning of a new chapter, a new field” to ease the devastation of patients who have lost that ability.

    Today, people who can’t speak or write because of paralysis have very limited ways of communicating. For example, the man in the experiment, who was not identified to protect his privacy, uses a pointer attached to a baseball cap that lets him move his head to touch words or letters on a screen. Other devices can pick up patients’ eye movements. But it’s a frustratingly slow and limited substitution for speech.
    Chang’s team built on that work to develop a “speech neuroprosthetic” – a device that decodes the brainwaves that normally control the vocal tract, the tiny muscle movements of the lips, jaw, tongue and larynx that form each consonant and vowel.

    The man who volunteered to test the device was in his late 30s. Fifteen years ago he suffered a brain-stem stroke that caused widespread paralysis and robbed him of speech. The researchers implanted electrodes on the surface of the man’s brain, over the area that controls speech.

    A computer analyzed the patterns when he attempted to say common words such as “water” or “good”, eventually learning to differentiate between 50 words that could generate more than 1,000 sentences.

    Prompted with such questions as “How are you today?” or “Are you thirsty” the device allowed the man to answer “I am very good” or “No I am not thirsty” – not voicing the words but translating them into text, the team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    That’s some SciFi shit right there.

  103. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I was lucky on that front. My given name made a very functional Korean name for National Health, taxes, and other issues. I never figured out how to charge things to my telephone, so I didn’t get into e-commerce until I returned home. (Still prefer brick and mortar.)

  104. JohnSF says:

    The thunderstorms we were having earlier in the week moved to the Continent.
    Looks like we really dodged a bullet.
    Shouts: guys, all this weather that’s not normal but OTOH it’s normal for an arbitrary value of normal is getting pretty worryingly normal, OK?

  105. Mu Yixiao says:


    For example, the man in the experiment, who was not identified to protect his privacy, uses a pointer attached to a baseball cap that lets him move his head to touch words or letters on a screen.

    Back in the day, I was introduced to a woman online. She was the girlfriend of a man who was in an IRC* group I frequented. As IRC is pure text, I never saw a picture of her. She was moderately active in the chats, but was always noticeably lagged in the conversation. As most of us were chatting while at work, I just assumed she was busy (it wasn’t uncommon for people to respond to a comment from 20 or 30 minutes prior).

    After I got to know her better (through her boyfriend), I found out that she has severe CP, is confined to an electric wheelchair, needs 24/7 assistance**, and is completely non-verbal. She was “typing” by use of a reflective dot on her forehead and a computer like Stephen Hawking used.

    When I went off to college, my initial intention was to get into cybernetics***. I was (and still am) fascinated by the ways that technology can compensate for handicaps and give people freedom and independence.

    (And the artist in me loves the way that some people are creating amazingly beautiful prosthetics)


    * Internet Relay Chat–social media before there was “social media”.

    ** She was, however “independent”. She worked for the county Social Services dept, helping disabled people find resources including their own cars and ways to purchase their own houses. Amazing woman.

    And… to all those that make assumptions based on the idea that I’m a libertarian: I am more than happy to pay taxes so that people like her have the medical care and resources to be proudly productive members of our society.

    *** And then I hit Calc 101 with a prof who didn’t know how to teach. So… I ended up in theatre.

  106. Michael Cain says:

    @MarkedMan: I spent enough time on motorcycles when I was young and believed I was immortal to be one of those obnoxious people that say no car handles well. They may be adequate, or they may be good for a car, but none of them are good on an absolute scale.

  107. dazedandconfused says:


    Indications are Putin and his circle genuinely loathe Hilary Clinton; and Barack Obama for that matter.
    They seem to genuinely view them as embodying “western decadence”.

    I’m pretty sure it’s our attempt to strip away the Ukraine. If Putin’s a guy who can’t abide decadence why does Trump not offend him?
    The eastern part is considered by Russians to be part and parcel to Russia. They fought wars for it, it’s their access to the Black Sea and the Med. It would be on a par with trying to strip the Alamo away from Texas if the Alamo was actually worth something…like the US’s only access to the Pacific. The Russians fought the Turks, they fought the British, and they fought Hitler for it.

    Why can’t people grasp this, I don’t know. Now the western part, the part that doesn’t speak Russian and was part of the Hapsburg Empire and fought with the Nazi’s in WW2, that they could see losing, but not the part which as been considered part of Russia for 100s of years.

  108. Kathy says:


    If Putin’s a guy who can’t abide decadence why does Trump not offend him?

    It may be a matter that Obama is black and Clinton is a woman, while trump is orange and, well, definitely not a woman.

  109. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: I have not. Worth it?

  110. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Cain: Interesting. I’ve had three periods in my life where my only transportation was a motorcycle. (197? Suzuki 550 4 cylinder, Kawasaki KZ700 (not a typo), Duzuki 100cc dirt back (that was in Africa). I don’t even know how to compare a car and a motorcycle. To me I t would be like comparing an umbrella and a pair of galoshes.

  111. JohnSF says:

    A hoot. Probably all gone to the big rustpile in the sky now, though…
    Just googled, and my guess was right: just three drivable ones left in the UK.
    I only had one for a couple of months before it had serious engine problems (which actually was very unusual; bodyshell rust was always the big problem with them).
    Repair costs were a bit steep, so I traded it for a lower powered version, a 105TC, had that one for about six or seven years before it started to rot.
    Only 1.6L engine against the Abarth’s 2L, but still a good drive.

    Neither the best for long motorway journeys ; hard suspension, and noisy as hell.
    Fun though.

  112. JohnSF says:

    Sure, Putin, and the Russian ruling elites more generally, hate the loss of Ukraine.
    Their anti-western, anti-liberal, attitudes are of a piece with their “Russian greatness” ideology.
    And a part that ideology is: the ruled have no right to defy their rulers.
    The view is: the common people belong to the state, the state belongs to its rulers.
    The rulers have duties, yes; but to the state, not to the people.
    The distaste for the West pre-dates the Ukrainian revolt; arguably it pre-dates even the USSR.

    They are nationalists, but in a different sense to most Western versions of nationalism: it is state based, rather then primarily ethnic. The focus is the Russian state, not the Russian people. Ethnic Russians (a category that blurs at the edges anyway) are most valued, but largely because they are the most loyal to the state, and most imbued with the orthodox culture the state upholds.

    The regime may reluctantly see “ethnic” Ukraine as a lost cause, but that does not mean they regards its independence as legitimate.
    Fundamentally, to Moscow, the Ukrainian people had NO RIGHT to overthrow Yanukovych and reject subservience to Russia.
    Neither did the Balts, or Georgians, or etc, for that matter.
    Ex-Soviet successor states are tolerable only insofar as they defer to Moscow.

    Ukraine is not critical to Russian access to the Black Sea, in any case.
    The port of Novorossiysk is the biggest by cargo volume in Russia, four or five times larger than Odessa in throughput. And that is in the Kuban, not Ukraine.

    Also, the linguistic map of Ukraine is not necessarily a guide. Quite a few Russian speakers in the Donbas nonetheless identify as Ukrainian.
    And former Austrian/Polish Galicia is distinguished more by religion (Uniate Greek Catholic) than language.
    The primary linguistic divide is more north-south than east-west, with Ukrainian predominant in the north, oddly enough.
    But again language is not that crucial: Odessa is Russian speaking, but nonetheless pro-Ukraine.
    And a lot of the Russian elite view Ukrainian as merely a Russian dialect in any case.
    And Russia subscribed to the basis of regard for no non-negotiated alterations in post-war borders in any case.
    If that is set aside, the Finns have at least as sound a claim to Karelia.

    The fundamental view of Moscow is: the right to rule is NOT based on consent.