Thursday’s Forum

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


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘The Pied Piper leading us off a cliff’: Florida governor condemned as Covid surges

    Florida governor Ron DeSantis earned a new moniker this week as the resurgent coronavirus continued to wreak havoc on his state: the “Pied Piper of Covid-19, leading everybody off a cliff.”

    The stark assessment of the Republican politician from Dan Gelber, the mayor of Miami Beach, came as Florida continued to set records for new cases and hospitalizations, saw worrying surges in both deaths and rates of positivity, and led the nation in pediatric Covid admissions.

    With the highly contagious Delta variant swirling, a state comprising little more than 6% of the US population was accounting for one in five of the country’s new cases, recording 50,997 in the three days to Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Meanwhile, DeSantis, who says the spike is “seasonal” and opposes lockdowns or new restrictions, was following up his signing of an executive order banning children from having to wear masks in schools by dismissing the burgeoning crisis in Florida’s hospitals as “media hysteria”.

    “You try to fearmonger, you try to do this stuff,” DeSantis snapped at a reporter who asked him at a press conference in Miami on Tuesday about the state setting a new high for Covid hospitalizations of 11,863.

    “Our hospitals are open for business. We’re not shutting down. We’re gonna have schools open. We’re protecting every Floridian’s job in this state, we are protecting people’s small businesses. These interventions have failed time and time again throughout this pandemic,” he said, referring to mask mandates.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    I think Biden’s response to the Supreme Court getting politically cute with their Eviction Moratorium decision was justified (basically, “if you Republican justices want to rule the moratorium illegal, then do so. Don’t imply it and then leave it up to the Dems to do the dirty work.”). But a number of people felt it would be right to overturn even a direct and clear ruling because it was for a good cause. I disagree completely. A country that adheres to the rule of law is simply better for its citizens and stronger as a nation for that adherence. A country that puts structures in place to mediate and implement a rule of law, and who can keep those structures strong and depoliticized is a better and safer place to live than any alternative. Simply put, such a nation is more advanced.

    Thousands of years of our history has shown over and over and over that tearing down these structures in the name of doing the “right” thing inevitably leads to a corrupt and weak nation. And while the current attack seems to come from the right, this tendency to righteous shortcuts knows no political boundaries. Hitler and Mao, Mussolini and Castro, Lenin and Pinochet, they are all more fundamentally alike than different and they all took their countries to the same place.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Puts me in mind of, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!”

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Right Wing Cope

    BREAKING: Marjorie Taylor Greene suggests shooting vaccinators while at a private event

    “If you trah to save mah life I will kill you!”

    The crowd cheered when MTG noted that AL is one of the least vaccinated state in the country. Not the brightest bulbs in the box.

  5. Teve says:
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I can’t see how the optics of this reflect favorably on DeSantis, taking money from school districts for the crime of trying to keep the children safe.

    But then, I don’t live in Florida.

  7. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: DeSantis is popular with senile retirees who watch FoxNews 13 hours per day. And a poll a few days ago found his popularity waning.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mexico sues US gunmakers in unprecedented bid to stop weapons crossing border

    The Mexican government has launched legal action against US gunmakers in an unprecedented attempt to halt the flow of guns across the border, where US-made weapons are routinely used in cartel gun-battles, terror attacks on civilians – and increasingly to challenge the state itself.

    The Mexican government is suing six gunmakers in a Massachusetts court, alleging negligence in their failure to control their distributors and that the illegal market in Mexico “has been their economic lifeblood”.

    Announcing the suit on Wednesday, the foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, alleged that units of Smith & Wesson, Barrett Firearms, Colt’s Manufacturing Company, Glock and Ruger have catered to the tastes and needs of Mexican drug cartels and depend on illegal Mexican sales to boost their bottom lines.

    The lawsuit alleges that gun companies openly pandered to Mexican criminals, citing Colt’s special edition .38 pistol, engraved with an image of the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. One such weapon was used in the 2017 murder of the Chihuahua journalist Miroslava Breach, who investigated links between politicians and organized crime and was shot dead while taking her son to school.

    “We’re going to litigate in all seriousness and we’re going to win at trial and we’re going to drastically reduce the illegal weapons trafficking to Mexico, which cannot remain unpunished with respect to those who produce, promote and encourage this trafficking from the United States,” Ebrard said.

    I’ll leave it to the lawyers to discuss the feasibility of this suit.

  9. Teve says:
  10. Mu Yixiao says:

    Get ready for the Great California Bacon Riots.

  11. Teve says:

    Moderna says Covid protection isn’t diminished 6 months after dose two.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: If pig farmers prefer their inhumane pork CAFOs over selling to the US’s largest market, than they deserve to lose it.

  13. charon says:
  14. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Libertarians are drawn to fights that will alienate sensible people with healthy ethics.

  15. Mu Yixiao says:


    It was first reported in other news sources (and pointed out that California would be facing a pork shortage). I just posted from Reason because it popped up again in my feeds.

    See? Newsweek. And USA Today. Such bastions of libertarianism!

  16. Teve says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I saw it in the WaPo days ago. That doesn’t invalidate my sentence. When I was young and naive I was a registered Libertarian. I’ve seen them take boneheaded, alienating stands countless times. I remember when they had a toy gun giveaway for kids in Harlem. Morons.

  17. Teve says:

    Got tired of waiting for the iPhone 13s and drove to Gainesville and bought a lovely dark blue one. It’s the bee’s knees. And no Google or Facebook App will ever stain its internal storage.

    Now I just have to not break it until the Rhino Shield bumper arrives this weekend.

  18. charon says:


    Need to do some clicking to find the entire comic.

  19. Teve says:

    Maybe it’s because I have a personal intellectual investment in the Hungary story, but I can’t think of anything in ages that has revealed the biases and bigotries of the American Establishment like the reaction to Tucker Carlson’s current visit to Budapest. I hope you’ll forgive me for writing about it again, but liberal and Establishment conservative Twitter is going crazy about it. This is a teaching moment.

    I had dinner with Tucker last night in Budapest. We talked about why American conservatives should be interested in Hungary. We agreed that it is an example of a country where — unlike our own — conservatives have successfully fought against wokeness and other aspects of the liberal globalist agenda. It’s a country that has successfully stood up to the cultural imperialism of the European Union, and reminded them that the EU was not designed to be a political entity in which rich and powerful Western European countries laid down the law, and the poorer Central European members obeyed unquestioningly. Here’s something Tucker broadcast about Hungary in 2019; it gives you an idea of why conservatives like Tucker and me are interested in Hungary:

    Continue reading Rod here! Or save brain cells and feel less compulsion for Everclear! Your choice!

  20. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: I know I’m going a bit Godwin here–and make no mistake, Orban’s Hungary as bad as it is is not remotely Nazi Germany–but these comments remind me heavily of stuff some intellectuals in the ’30s were saying in defense of Hitler, such as the idea that he was a bulwark against communism.

  21. Jen says:

    This is funny:

    $5,800 Whiskey Bottle, a Gift From Japan to Pompeo, Is Missing, U.S. Says

    “Missing.” LOL. Suuuuure it is.

    I do wonder why any government would give an official something like this, when they know that US officials aren’t allowed to accept gifts over $400. Why even bother?

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    There is a joke in here:

    The curse of RMS Titanic has struck again – this time not in the middle of the north Atlantic but at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Tennessee. An ice wall, representing the iceberg that caused the “unsinkable” ship to sink in 1912, collapsed on Monday at the museum in Pigeon Forge.

    In a message posted on social media, the owners of the Titanic attraction said: “Our iceberg wall collapsed and injured three guests, who were taken to the hospital. At this time, we do not know the extent of their injuries, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all who were affected, including the first-responders.”

    The museum was closed for a period but reopened on Tuesday morning, with no iceberg. “The iceberg wall does not currently exist, and the affected area has been blocked off, for the time being. We anticipate it will take at least four weeks for the iceberg to rebuild,” said the owners, Mary Kellogg Joslyn and John Joslyn.

    The ice wall, described as previously being about 15ft by 28ft (4.6 x 8.5 metres), consisted of real ice that visitors could touch. It was grown and regrown using a water filtration system.

    Unlike the owners of the Titanic who didn’t build another after the loss of the first.

  23. CSK says:
  24. senyordave says:

    @Teve: Rod Dreher is either a full-blown fascist or deranged. I’ll go with the first choice since it is the obvious one. At one point in the article he relates the following email he got in response to David Frum saying people in Hungary have to look over their shoulder to see who is listening:
    I have lived in the United States for six years now and I can tell you nothing is more terrifying than having a conversation with a fellow conservative in the state of California. Talk about looking over our shoulders! I distinctly remember sitting in a Santa Monica coffee shop with a friend and talking about our admiration for President Trump’s immigration policies, and immediately having four people walk up to us and shout and screech at us.
    Because fearing for your safety from government thugs is obviously the same as being criticized and possibly harangued by other people.
    If Dreher was around in the 1930’s it seems like he would have been perfectly happy in Germany.

  25. Teve says:


    The Trump team said in a follow-up email, “We’re about to launch our Official Trump Cards, which will be reserved for President Trump’s STRONGEST supporters.”

    “We recently met with the President in his Florida office and showed him four designs,” the email continued. “Originally we were planning on releasing just one design, but when President Trump saw the cards on his desk, he said, ‘These are BEAUTIFUL. We should let the American People decide – they ALWAYS know best!'”

    Every Trump fundraising communique is clearly, obviously written to appeal to Wallet-Carriers of Diminished Capacity.

  26. Sleeping Dog says:


    At the Bulwark, Jonathan Last has a piece on DeSantis making the point that his pro-Covid views won’t hurt him with the base. That maybe true, but he only won election by 10,000 or so votes and his current show needs to be hurting him among independents. Not to forget that a significant number of the FLA dead are R’s

  27. Teve says:



    “I got my Trump card” sounds like slang for hurting yourself shitting or being asked to leave a buffet.


    I’m getting looks in a parking lot because I’m laughing so hard I’m crying.

  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    I guess one is no longer allowed to live free in the Live Free or Die state.

    I did read a great parody of NH’s motto this morning in reference to FLA being the Live Free or Die Choking state.

  29. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: One of the GOP’s greatest assets in Florida is that Dems’ loss of morale. I keep hearing Dems say stuff along the lines of “Why can’t we just admit Florida is a red state?”–a strange thing to say for a state that has so far only been achieving narrow–sometimes razor-thin–Republican victories. The problem is that it’s been happening so often it feels like Dems are trapped in a perpetual Lucy-football cycle where they invest heavily in the state only to have it always fall just out of their reach. That’s what happened in 2016, 2018, and 2020 (and may also reflect lingering PTSD over the 2000 debacle as well). Of course I’m not discounting the effect of voter suppression (the destruction of the 2018 referendum on voting rights for ex-felons is a big deal even before we get into the more recent laws they’ve passed). But when you get down to it, the state hasn’t yet pulled away like, say, Ohio; it’s still very competitive, and it’s foolish to write it off when they aren’t exactly winning landslides.

  30. wr says:

    @CSK: “Gee, I can’t wait to get mine:”

    Finally people will be able to say “I’m a card-carrying asshole” and prove it!

  31. CSK says:


    Well, the American people certainly knew best when they evicted Lardass from office, didn’t they? Can you imagine Trump saying something like that? No, you can’t.

    By the way, one of the cards misspells “official” as “offical,” which makes it plausible Trump had some say in the design.

  32. KM says:

    Ah, the “overheard in the coffee-shop” BS – a conservative staple when playing the victim. Since they’re not supposed to go to coffee-shops as they are liberal hangouts of evil commie latte-drinkers, it sure does come up a lot. It’s right up there with the mysterious girlfriend in Canada…

  33. CSK says:

    It reminds me of the assholes scene in “Spaceballs.”

  34. Barry says:

    @Kylopod: ” Orban’s Hungary as bad as it is is not remotely Nazi Germany–but these comments remind me heavily of stuff some intellectuals in the ’30s were saying in defense of Hitler, such as the idea that he was a bulwark against communism.”

    It’s not even Godwinning. Orban and his crew have converted Hungary to an effective one-party state. That’s really all that they need; a crippled opposition is useful and not a threat.

    And when you read Rod Dreher, he talked about ‘soft authoritarianism’ as defense against his made-up ‘soft totalitarianism’, so he’s already bought the brownshirt, and is just hesitating a bit before buying the insignia.

  35. Barry says:

    @Teve: We’ve seen the equivalent on a monthly basis – buy the Trump card/coin/membership/etc. Trump is personally concerned that you haven’t demonstrated loyalty.

    It only costs X payments of $Y dollars (which they’ll keep charging until you force them to stop), and will APPRECIATE IN VALUE WHEN TRUMP IS REINSTATED!!!!!!1!!!!

  36. Barry says:

    @KM: Note that Dreher’s readers have an amazing set of odd experiences, or that Dreher is simply a stone liar.

    For example, one of the ‘a reader overheard’ fanatasies involve a bunch of gay/bi/trans youths in line for a movie in Texas, dressed in [rod’s fantasy of gay/bi/trans] clothing, and joshing their youngest member, saying that **when he turns 21**, they’ll do all sort of gay/bi/trans stuff to him.

    So apparently in Texas, 20-year old guys are so seriously off limits for sexual hijinks, that not even ‘degenerates’ will dare touch them.

  37. Kylopod says:

    @Barry: After the 2015 SCOTUS decision legalizing gay marriage, Jonathan Chait wrote a piece entitled “Same-Sex Marriage Won Because Its Opponents Never Had an Argument.”

    The thing I’ve long noticed about opposition to LGBT rights of all kinds is its incredible emptiness. I have the sense that at some level the opponents know how tenuous their position is, and are lying to themselves as much as they are to others. At one end they fall into hopeless abstractions (the importance of the family unit and traditional gender roles to society), but this isn’t enough to sustain going after people who are so clearly harming no one. So ultimately at some point they have to start inventing fantasies–armies of gay men prowling the streets in search of others to gayify, male sexual predators dressing in women’s clothing so they can gain entry to the ladies’ room. The reason for making up this bullshit is that it’s the only way they can sleep at night.

  38. Teve says:

    @Barry: “Dear Bi Trans Penthouse….”

  39. Sleeping Dog says:


    From what I can ascertain, the problem for Dems in FLA is the incompetence of the state party, which is a problem the national party can’t resolve. To paraphrase something I said here recently, in a normal world, DeSantis would pay a price, but we’re not in a normal world.

  40. charon says:

    Human-caused warming has led to an “almost complete loss of stability” in the system that drives Atlantic Ocean currents, a new study has found — raising the worrying prospect that this critical aquatic “conveyor belt” could be close to collapse.

    In recent years, scientists have warned about a weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which transports warm, salty water from the tropics to northern Europe and then sends colder water back south along the ocean floor. Researchers who study ancient climate change have also uncovered evidence that the AMOC can turn off abruptly, causing wild temperature swings and other dramatic shifts in global weather systems.

    Scientists haven’t directly observed the AMOC slowing down. But the new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Nature Climate Change, draws on more than a century of ocean temperature and salinity data to show significant changes in eight indirect measures of the circulation’s strength.

  41. Scott says:

    @Teve: @senyordave: @Kylopod: @Barry: You would think that Rod, in his paranoid fear of the globalist totalitarian state, would be afraid that his passport would be revoked by said evil state. But no, he can just continue on his European vacation spouting his gibberish.

  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    I may have missed it, but I don’t recall this coming up here.

    The Madness of Teachers Unions Opposing a Vaccine Mandate

    Also last week, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten slipped a rather ominous comment into an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. “We’re going to keep kids safe, we’re going to keep our members safe, we’re going to try to open up schools,” she said. That “try” was a notable retreat from her concession two months ago that, after more than a year of throwing up impediments to in-person instruction, “we can and we must reopen schools in the fall.”

    The mere possibility that some schools may be forced to haggle once again with their unions to reopen school in the face of incontrovertible evidence of the need to do so is maddening enough. But the cherry on top of this sundae of public dysfunction is the fact that the national teachers unions have refused to support a vaccine mandate for teachers. “Vaccinations must be negotiated between employers and workers, not coerced,” says Weingarten. The National Education Association supports allowing an option for weekly testing for teachers instead of requiring a vaccine. New York’s state United Teachers union likewise opposes a vaccine mandate.

    So the Delta variant supposedly presents a medical threat so dire that it could potentially limit schooling for the third year in a row. But it’s not serious enough to justify a vaccine requirement for teachers.

    Emphasis added.

    Again showing that vaccine resistance is not just among the Trumpistas.

    You need to ask, is this the issue that teachers’ unions are going to draw a line in the sand? If so it will likely cause irreparable harm to the unions.

  43. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    the problem for Dems in FLA is the incompetence of the state party

    Some of you may remember how baffled I was when Larry Sabato predicted that Biden would win Georgia but lose Florida. I was prepared for various possibilities–I thought Biden might lose both states, or that he might win both states. I thought he might win Florida and lose Georgia just like Obama did. But the reverse seemed by far to be the most unlikely scenario, and it certainly wasn’t reflected in the polls, where no matter whether it showed him winning or losing either state, Biden was pretty consistently doing better in Florida than in Georgia. It’s not just that the polls were inaccurate, it’s that they were at different levels of accuracy depending on the state. Georgia turned out to have some of the most accurate polls in the country, whereas Florida was probably the worst among the battleground states.

    I later watched an interview with Sabato, and he said basically what you’re saying now: the FL Democratic Party is just so badly organized and incompetent that he believed Republicans just had to be doing better than the polls were suggesting.

  44. Teve says:
  45. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    And a weekly test is somehow less inconvenient and invasive than a one-and-done or two-and-done vaccine????

    Just get the damn shot already.

  46. Teve says:

    @Scott: good point

  47. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: You know how the Christian right opposes abortion, but also opposes birth control which is one of the most effective ways of reducing abortion? It isn’t inconsistent because both positions stem from the same belief system. I think there’s something similar going on here: they’re not trying to choose one method of combating Covid over another, they’re trying to deny the threat of Covid altogether, which means that all the measures, from vaccines to masks to testing, must be rejected as an infringement on their freedom.

  48. gVOR08 says:

    Re yesterday’s post about Biden’s “illegal” extension of the foreclosure moratorium,WAPO has a story on the process. Biden decided not to extend the moratorium on advice from the Office of Legal Counsel. But at Pelosi’s suggestion Biden asked Ron Klain to talk to Lawrence Tribe about maybe finding a path. Apparently they came up with a legal rationale, although nobody’s talking so the article has nothing to say about what it is. It appears Tribe’s path isn’t a slam dunk, more like enough to provide cover and delay until the Federalist Society Supreme Court rules. But there does appear to be more to it than just saying ignore the law. I don’t believe this would be the first case in history of asking counsel for an opinion saying we can do what we want to do, it’ll be done before the courts rule, and the opinion protects from charges we willfully disobeyed.

  49. CSK says:

    I agree with your thesis in general but this–unless I misunderstood–is the teachers’ union, which pressed very strongly for school closures precisely because of the danger of transmitting the

    They don’t want to get vaxxed, they don’t want to get tested, and they don’t want (afaik) in-person learning. What do they want?

  50. CSK says:

    You may want to read Anne Applebaum’s article on Mike Lindell at, entitled “Mike Lindell’s Plot to Destroy America.”

  51. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I don’t know the answer in this particular case; I haven’t read up on it. (Teachers’ unions aren’t a monolith, they’re a lot of people who are currently under heavy pressure to take certain positions. And the dilemma of educating children during the pandemic has been from the start one of the few Covid-related issues with some complexity to it.) But I have definitely seen a lot of people acting more or less in this way, and while their behavior and demands are far from consistent, it does seem to stem from a larger unwillingness to so much as acknowledge the threat posed by Covid. It’s not rational, it’s a tantrum more or less.

  52. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    AFL_CIO Leader Trumka, dead at 72.

  53. Sleeping Dog says:


    A weekly test that in all likelihood, the test taker will need to pay out of their own pocket. It will get expensive. Not only does this issue have the ability to undermine teacher union support among the general public, it can tear the union apart. If I were a teacher and union member, I wouldn’t want negotiation capital wasted on keeping a subset of union members from having to choose between their jobs and being vaccinated.

    It is nuts.

  54. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Are you a regular Reason reader? I’m curious if they have ever dealt with the Kansas Libertarian fiasco? To date I’ve never even see a Libertarian pundit or theorist even acknowledge it happened.

  55. CSK says:

    Marjorie Taylor Greene says such imbecilic things on such a regular basis that I sometimes wonder if she isn’t some kind of professional hoaxer, and if at some point she won’t leap onto a stage somewhere and scream: “Fooled you! You didn’t think I actually meant any of that utter horseshit I’ve been spouting, did you?”

    Probably not.

  56. Sleeping Dog says:


    A quick search for Kansas at Reason found this;

    TL/DR, they didn’t.

  57. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve:Dreher. The John Reed of our time. Without the talent or the courage.

  58. Kathy says:


    Not on a stage. In a courtroom.

  59. CSK says:

    Well, that would be an amusing defense, to be sure. Sort of like Sidney Powell saying that no reasonable person would take seriously her claims about Dominion conspiring to commit voter fraud.

  60. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Ah. “No True Scotsman.” They don’t call it libertarianism, elide over the massive cuts to schools, hospitals, and other public services that left them in tatters, and basically ignore everything that the Libertarians promised would happen that didn’t when they dramatically cut taxes on businesses* and instead make it about the details of the tax cuts. And of course, while they bemoan the lack of courage in not cutting social services even don’t actually explain how the average Kansan benefits form shuttered hospitals, impoverished public schools and fire departments that let your house burn down if you haven’t paid that months fee.

    Still, at least they acknowledge it happened. But like most libertarians they don’t appear to have any interest in questioning their premises or using it as a real world test of libertarianism.

    *Businesses would flock to the state and local entrepreneurs would open up new businesses in record number. Instead Kansas continued to do worse economically than the surrounding states.

  61. KM says:

    Yes – people and groups opposed to mandatory vaccinations are almost inevitability against any other protocol needed to combat the virus under the umbrella of “don’t tell me what to do” and that included believing in COVID or its threat level. If they were willing, they’d already be doing it after all. Every year nurses refuse to get the flu shot and then refuse to wear the masks as an alternative because it bothers them….. but then bitch when they get fired for non-compliance despite the accommodation. “I don’t wanna do ANYTHING” is not a reasonable or viable option in terms of safety precautions and yet if you negotiate, there will always be people who’s final answer is “none of the above but pay me anyways”

    The unions are claiming it needs to be “negotiable” because conceding it’s a safety issue means that there has to be some mandatory level of prevention required in all cases. They need to be able to accommodate the asshats who want to do absolutely nothing and claim it’s a hoax but realistically, you can’t do that unless you admit they are not interested in negotiating or taking any precautions. They *will* be violating any agreements so the union’s trying to make it as a soft a landing as possible when they get tossed out the door.

    It’s only “coercion” because they’re being called out on their bluff and hate someone pointing out non-compliance was the planned response – they’d be vaxxed or masked already if they wanted it so there’d be no issue!

  62. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Kylopod: @CSK: I don’t know what is happening across the nation because education is such a local issue, including teachers unions. However, in Texas, classes start 16 Aug, administration has already started working full time, and with all the meddling by state legislatures on curriculum and COVID, there is great dread that the schools won’t be ready. There are vacancies across the board in classrooms, special ed, administration, counseling, etc. There have not been any mandates because Abbott (like DeSantis) has threatened funding. There is no virtual option because there is no funding. Test scores are in the tank because of the last year. Our county COVID risk level went from Green to Severe in just three weeks. Everybody is in an uproar and lashing out in all directions.

    It’s a total mess.

  63. KM says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    If I were a teacher and union member, I wouldn’t want negotiation capital wasted on keeping a subset of union members from having to choose between their jobs and being vaccinated.

    Worse than that, people you know are planning on being non-compliant with any deal you do manage to reach. They’re not going to wear masks, social distance or do any of the other precautionary measures either. All that work and good will wasted when it inevitably comes out the teachers who refused to vax (and everyone will know who they are by the end of the first week) keep pushing the boundaries or just flat out refuse to comply.

  64. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    They sound remarkably like apologists for communism explaining why it failed everywhere it was implemented. the libertarians just have fewer examples to defend.

    Let’s try to boil it down to two reasons:

    1) If a little is good, it doesn’t follow that a lot is better. Lowering taxes from a too-high rate to a reasonable one might produce greater economic output. This does not imply lowering rates from reasonable to too-low will have the same effect.

    2) Utopian constructs that depend on idealized human responses to imposed systems, eventually crash when faced with real, unpredictable, un-ideal, actual humans, many of whom will first and foremost figure out how to game the system.

  65. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:
  66. MarkedMan says:

    @charon: FWIW All of Britain if farther north than the continental US, and France is centered somewhere around Maine. The loss of the heat conveyor could be deadly serious. It is one of the reasons postulated for the Little Ice Age.

  67. Scott says:

    I forgot about this:

    The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Is Coming Back Despite The Ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Crowds of bikers are rumbling their way towards South Dakota’s Black Hills this week, raising fears that COVID-19 infections will be unleashed among the 700,000 people expected to show up at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

    The rally, which starts Friday, has become a haven for those eager to escape coronavirus precautions. Last year, the rally hardly slowed down, with roughly 460,000 people attending. Masks were mostly ditched as bikers crowded into bars, tattoo parlors and rock shows, offering a lesson in how massive gatherings could spread waves of the virus across the country.

    Just remember rural and sparely populated South Dakota had the 3rd highest COVID cases/1M. pop in the country. About 30th in vaccination rate.

    Good times to come!

  68. Sleeping Dog says:


    Months ago, I began stating that with vax available schools should open and teachers would have the choice of getting vaxxed and if they were unable to or at risk despite vaccination, the districts should make accommodations. Those who refuse vax should find different careers.


    Here in Cow Hampshire, all is quiet. Schools are expected to open on schedule and I’ve not heard a word on mask mandates. While R’s have a governing trifecta, Sununu is moderate (for an R), who is keeping his options open for a Senate run and is avoiding any DeSantis like grandstanding, while the legislative R leadership is bound and determined not to embarrass him.

    It also helps that the citizenry is majority vaxxed, though Delta has pushed the infection rate up to levels of concern in a few counties, including my own.

  69. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    There are some entertaining comments on this upthread, particularly wr’s on card-carrying assholes.

    It’s the “offical” card!

  70. Mu Yixiao says:


    Are you a regular Reason reader? I’m curious if they have ever dealt with the Kansas Libertarian fiasco? To date I’ve never even see a Libertarian pundit or theorist even acknowledge it happened.

    Reason is on my daily reading list (though I disagree with them about as often as I agree–if not more).

    I’ve heard you mention Kansas several times, but I have no clue what you’re talking about. I’ve never seen it discussed anywhere (expect mentions by you).

  71. CSK says:

    Happy to report that 72% of Massachusetts residents have had at least one shot. Vermonters are at 75%.

    @Sleeping Dog:
    For NH, 58.5 are fully vaxxed and 65.04 have received at least one dose.

  72. Teve says:

    This is 4 months old and I’m sure It’s been shared here before, but in case anyone missed it

  73. CSK says:

    I’m pretty sure “owning the libs” is the true rationale for most refusniks, despite what they say about blood clots, infertility, and microchip tracking devices.

  74. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Ah, Kansas.

    Every so often Libertarians get together and decide to take over some state and create Utopia. It usually means a bunch of meatheads buy up a bunch of property out in the middle of nowhere, get into fights with the neighbors, make anyone who comes into contact with them miserable, and gradually either move away or fade into “the crazy guy with the guns and the rusty refrigerators on his front lawn” mode.

    And then there was Kansas. It became a cause celeb for the Billionaire Boys Club brand of libertarians and they spent millions upon millions getting real fire breathing Libertarians elected at every level, culminating in capturing the legislature and the governorship and 2012 passage of a massive set of tax cuts aimed at making Kansas the most attractive place in the world for the “right kind” of entrepreneurs. How did that turn out?

    By 2017, National Public Radio reported state lawmakers were seeking to close a $900 million budget gap,[3][Note 2] following nine previous budget cuts.[44] Earlier efforts to close budget gaps had left Kansas “well below national averages” in a wide range of public services from K-12 education to housing to police and fire protection.[4][17] In education, school districts dealt with cuts by shutting down the school year early,[45] eliminating school programs, cutting maintenance, phasing out teaching positions,[44] enlarging class sizes, increasing fees for kindergarten, and cutting janitorial personnel and librarians.[46] School districts were consolidated and some schools were closed.[3]

    By early 2017, The Wichita Eagle reported that the governor proposed taking nearly $600 million from the highway fund over the next two and a half years to balance the state general budget, after having used US$1.3 billion from the fund since 2011 for the same purpose.[47] This first transfer of funds had already caused the Kansas Department of Transportation to “indefinitely delay” two dozen road expansion projects in April 2016. According to Kansas State Sen. Carolyn McGinn, “…. we’ve had pretty good roads, but now we’re starting to see the deterioration.”[47]

    Millions were also borrowed from the state pension fund.[48] Kansas became the only state without a state-funded arts commission, and closed nine social service offices around the state.[27]

    The tax cuts contributed to credit rating downgrades, which raised borrowing costs and led to more budget cuts in education and infrastructure.[3] Moody’s downgraded the state’s bond rating in 2014.[49] S&P downgraded its credit rating first from AA+ to AA in August 2014, due to a budget that analysts described as structurally unbalanced,[50] and again in February 2017 from AA to AA−.[51]

    You might notice that these massive cuts are only mentioned in that Reason article in a passing mention that legislatures lacked the courage to do the necessary cutting. And then there was the promised job growth as entrepreneurs and manly men flocked to Kansas to open up businesses:

    By 2018 overall growth and job creation in Kansas had underperformed the national economy, neighboring states,[4] and “even Kansas’ own growth in previous years.”[7][Note 3]

    Kansas’s job growth lagged behind neighboring Missouri, Colorado,[33] and Nebraska. In January 2014, following the passing of both tax cuts, to April 2017 the Nebraska labor force grew by a net 35,000 non-farm jobs, compared to only 28,000 for Kansas, which has a larger labor force.[4] [Note 4]

    This is the one true experiment conducted on large scale Libertarianism. The fact that you, a genuinely curious and well read person open to Libertarian ideals and a fairly regular reader of its primary journal, had not heard of this experiment tells you all you need to know about the intellectual integrity of the Libertarian movement. It has been swept under the rug, nothing to see here so no need to learn anything.

  75. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    MarkedMan beat me to it.

    It’s not surprising you haven’t heard of it, because no one on the libertarian side wants to admit that when given EVERY SINGLE THING THEY WANTED, the libertarian model failed miserably. So did they reassess and maybe change their ideology? No. They just deflected and ignored.

    I just edited this comment to add this:

    I don’t mean you, MuYixiao, when I say “no one on the the libertarian side…” I mean the professional libertarians like those at CATO and Reason.

  76. Teve says:

    @Scott: while the short-term mortality rate from covid isn’t huge, Long Covid will probably shorten lifespans years down the road. Who knows how many premature deaths those 700,000 bikers will cause.

  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Did you miss the part (in the main heading under the title no less) saying that the new standard CAN BE MET? Ozark is right. If major pork producers would rather lose a large market, they’re free to do so and deserve to.

  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Tell you what; you can have mine, too–to sell to a collector.

  79. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m glad you mentioned Grafton, NH. It’s my favorite example of Libertarian Paradise. 😀

  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @senyordave: Considering that the social contract involves large groups of people forsaking freedoms that they don’t value for securities that they value more, it’s entirely possible that he would have been comfortable in 1930s Germany. It’s not particularly unusual for people to not be particularly concerned about the life conditions of others when they feel they have not power to change those conditions either. (Sure, that’s unfortunate, but I’m only one person; what can I do about it?)

  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Maybe they got confused and thought it was “live free AND die.”

  82. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    OMG, you’re offering me your “offical” Trump Fan Club card????? What unparalleled generosity.

  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Can’t speak for other states, but in Washington, there is a strong right-to-work component among teachers. IIRC, the first legal battle taken on by the Evergreen Freedom Foundation was for teachers to opt out of paying dues. I worked with a guy who opted out when the option became available. Originally he cited his libertarian principles as the motivator but eventually admitted he just didn’t want to pay for representation if he could get it for free.

    On the other hand, maybe getting stuff and passing the bill on to others is a libertarian principle. I don’t know.

  84. DrDaveT says:


    By the way, one of the cards misspells “official” as “offical,” which makes it plausible Trump had some say in the design.

    Spelling it “offecal” would at least be truth in advertising…

  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I was a member of two different NEA bargaining groups. Getting teachers to agree on something and herding cats have a lot in common. You know the joke about asking 5 people and getting 6 opinions? Ask a group of teachers and you’ll get more options than you can process–and then they’ll object to not considering each one. There’s a reason that change (defined as adoption by 51% of a cohort) is said to take 65 years in the field of education.

  86. CSK says:

    Funny you should say so; I was thinking of variations on “offal.”
    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    You have my sympathy.

  87. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Grafton is pretty clear cut. The other Libertarian utopias I’ve learned about seem to have some white supremicist or sovereign citizen nonsense mixed in, giving the Libertarian “mainstream” cover for saying the failures were due to that and not the libertarian side.

  88. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I failed to take your advice and read, well skimmed a lot, the Reason article on Kansas. Basically conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed plus the classic let’s not play the blame game.

  89. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Absolutely! And I would suggest getting the one with the typo. It’ll be the Inverted Jenny collectible for this century.

  90. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    As noted in the article, egg and veal producers already complied with the requirements. If they can do, it’s not clear why the pork producers can’t.

    The pork lobby shouldn’t be rewarded for playing regulatory chicken.

  91. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: “don’t actually explain how the average Kansan benefits form shuttered hospitals, impoverished public schools and fire departments that let your house burn down if you haven’t paid that months fee.”

    It’s freedom. Therefore it’s self-evidently better, and no case need be made.

  92. wr says:

    @KM: ““I don’t wanna do ANYTHING” is not a reasonable or viable option in terms of safety precautions and yet if you negotiate, there will always be people who’s final answer is “none of the above but pay me anyways””

    Apparently Herman Melville understood more about the American character than we ever realized. Although Bartleby is unfailingly polite, so he’s not quite MAGA material.

  93. wr says:

    @CSK: “There are some entertaining comments on this upthread, particularly wr’s on card-carrying assholes.”

    Made it, ma — top of the world!!!

  94. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I wouldn’t dream of accepting any but the “offical” card. As you say, it’s the MAGA Inverted Jenny.

  95. gVOR08 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Somebody yesterday suggested the Florida state motto is now, “Live free and die choking for air”.

  96. CSK says:

    You’re a writer for television. One expects you to be adept at wordplay.

  97. wr says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: “On the other hand, maybe getting stuff and passing the bill on to others is a libertarian principle. I don’t know.”

    Yes, but only if they can justify it by pretending that the bill doesn’t really exist because freedom.

  98. Sleeping Dog says:


    There is also a bit of slight of hand going on in that article. Libertarianism didn’t fail, but supply side economics did. Brownbeck and others’ argument was that lower/no taxes would create a job creators paradise where so many jobs would be created that revenue would not only be maintained but grow. Alas that didn’t happen. So the writer’s fallback is to deny that was a libertarian experiment at all.

  99. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “The pork lobby shouldn’t be rewarded for playing regulatory chicken.”

    Wow, I hope that was intentional. If so, well played!

  100. Gustopher says:


    For example, one of the ‘a reader overheard’ fanatasies involve a bunch of gay/bi/trans youths in line for a movie in Texas, dressed in [rod’s fantasy of gay/bi/trans] clothing, and joshing their youngest member, saying that **when he turns 21**, they’ll do all sort of gay/bi/trans stuff to him.

    So apparently in Texas, 20-year old guys are so seriously off limits for sexual hijinks, that not even ‘degenerates’ will dare touch them.

    I think they’re just planning a birthday party.

  101. dazedandconfused says:
  102. wr says:

    @CSK: “One expects you to be adept at wordplay.”

    It’s my only sport…

  103. Stormy Dragon says:


    My personal feeling is that a significant percentage of the most virulently anti-LGBT+ people are self-hating LGBT+ people themselves and their militancy is a desperate attempt to avoid the reality that they’ve wasted their entirely lives making themselves miserable all for nothing.

  104. MarkedMan says:


    1) If a little is good, it doesn’t follow that a lot is better. Lowering taxes from a too-high rate to a reasonable one might produce greater economic output. This does not imply lowering rates from reasonable to too-low will have the same effect.

    Welcome to The Laffer Curve. Basically, a conservative economist spoke a truism, then drew a curve on a napkin that he imagined might correspond to that truism. Then spoke about the possibility that we were on the wrong side of his imagined curve. And the Republicans moved heaven and earth for decades, destroyed budgets and economic regulations with abandon, based on the assumption that the imagined curve represents reality and that we are, indeed, eternally on the wrong side of it. Hence, the Kansas Experiment.

  105. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Again showing that vaccine resistance is not just among the Trumpistas.

    You’d be surprised how many public school teachers (particularly at suburban and rural school districts) are Trumpistas.

  106. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: God’s honest truth, I thought it was a parody…

  107. MarkedMan says:


    Basically conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed

    Like I said, “No True Scotsman“….

  108. CSK says:

    And I’m sure you’d qualify for the Olympics.

  109. gVOR08 says:

    I haven’t had much contact with teachers since my mother retired many years ago. I suspect there’s a hard core union element who say if management wants something they have to bargain for it, even if it’s something the teachers want. But I suspect more of an issue is that we stereotype the teachers unions as a bunch of leftists, but like any group in modern America there’s going to be a large MAGAt and MAGAt adjacent contingent. I don’t know how many teachers in FL voted for DeUseless, but I’d be surprised if it’s less than 40%. And there’s significant vaccine hesitancy among minorities, who are well represented among teachers.

  110. EddieInCA says:

    This is so brutal to watch, but I suck, because I have absolutely no sympathy for this man.

  111. CSK says:

    The real tragedy is that this video won’t persuade any of the resisters to get vaxxed.

  112. Kathy says:


    So they’ve been trying to run the economy using Bistromath?

  113. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve: Indistinguishable from parody.

  114. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: @DrDaveT:

    Heh. Indeed.

  115. Teve says:

    Cancer surgeries are now being delayed because hospital beds are filling up with unvaxxed dipshits.


    Yesterday, my husband was told he could have a needed cancer surgery next Wednesday. Today, he got a call that it was likely cancelled. Why? Because even though a surgeon and OR is available, the hospital is filled with Covid patients.


    I was set up for surgery for cancer last Friday. I am having to see a new ENT in Utah tomorrow for consult and surgery because my surgeon’s privileges are at UMC and yup – got bumped to October.


    This is true. My surgery should be next week. I have cancer in my lymph nodes; I need the cancer removed. It likely won’t happen because there are no beds for me. They are full from COVID. Surgeries are getting delayed.

    I wish more people had been willing to get vaccinated.

  116. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    My personal feeling is that a significant percentage of the most virulently anti-LGBT+ people are self-hating LGBT+ people themselves and their militancy is a desperate attempt to avoid the reality that they’ve wasted their entirely lives making themselves miserable all for nothing.

    There’s no question this happens and is a real phenomenon. (RationalWiki calls it Haggard’s Law.) But I think some people (not you specifically) take this too far, assuming practically every homophobe (or at least the really “virulent” ones, as you put it) is a closet case themselves. I tend to gravitate toward a broader explanation, which is that people see homosexuality as a threat to traditional notions of masculinity and femininity. Even among people who are relatively tolerant, there’s often an implicit belief that gay men aren’t “real men” and lesbians aren’t real women. The hardcore bigots simply take that bias to extremes, because it upsets their view of the natural order.

    Of course this theory isn’t totally mutually exclusive with the above one, as I’m sure there’s overlap between men who are deeply insecure about their own masculinity and closeted self-loathing gay men. You have to wonder about at least some of those alt-righters screaming “beta male!” I just think the theory I mention gets more toward the root of the pathology, rather than being simply something that often happens.

  117. Michael Cain says:


    And no Google or Facebook App will ever stain its internal storage.

    OTOH, Apple announced today that they will be scanning images on all iPhones and iPads looking for child pornography. I may have to look into a PinePhone where I have somewhat more control over what software runs on it…

  118. Teve says:

    @Michael Cain: all the cloud companies share, and scan for, hashes of known child porn. Is it coming to phones? Maybe, it’s not set in stone. I can live with that, though. A lot easier than I can live with nameless data brokers selling my location data and liquor store purchases to insurance companies, to give one possible example.

  119. Kurtz says:


    Welcome to The Laffer Curve.

    It’s been four hours and no one has made this reference?

    I weep for the future.

  120. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: when that movie came out, Matlock had just premiered.

  121. Kylopod says:

    @Kurtz: Even though “Bueller Bueller” is an iconic moment, many people forget the other elements of that scene, such as the fact that the subject he was boring the class with was supply-side economics (itself a term Stein’s dad is often credited with having coined). Stein reportedly adlibbed the scene; he was just talking about the things he liked to talk about.

  122. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Gotta say, tho, that postponing is probably better than going into a hospital full of Covid patients. If the hospital isn’t going to cancel, I will. 🙁

  123. Teve says:

    In the middle of Mythic Quest S2, it takes a big shift in tone. Wow.

  124. Kurtz says:


    Did you just compare me to Grampa Simpson?

  125. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: I don’t know if you’ve gotten to it yet, and it’s a small bit at that, but “This is your elevator ride” is going to stick in my head for a long time.

  126. Kurtz says:


    Yeah, the ginger kid’s face cracks me up. I made sure to get it in there on the time code.

    His attempt to connect the Hawley-Smoot Tarriff Act of 1930 to Reaganomics is peak poor pique attempt.

  127. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: Ian had sooooooo much frustration when he was gesturing THIS! THIS RIGHT HERE! THIIIIIIIS IS YOUR ELEVATOR RIDE!! 😛

  128. Kylopod says:

    @Kurtz: Some years back I read an article by Ben Stein, where despite boasting about his dad having coined the term, pretty much admitted straight off that supply-sidism is nonsense.

  129. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: it happens to us all.

    I was strolling through the grocery store a few months ago, and the happy little melody in the overhead music was, i slowly realized, Mazzy Star, and I was kinda sad.

  130. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Can’t let people think I’m less generous than Cracker. Here, you can have my card too. Even got it laminated for you…

  131. Teve says:

    In response to some hysterical antivaxxer claiming that their credentials were a “Master’s in motherhood and board certified in American Freedom”, Kevin M. Kruse posted this.

    I’m on a health kick and haven’t had a drink or a smoke in 3 weeks, but seeing that gif…