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. MarkedMan says:

    Late in yesterday’s open forum Kathy mentioned she got calf cramps while sleeping. If you don’t suffer from these, you can skip this message, but if you do here’s a suggestion that might ameliorate them.

    I used to get calf cramps so bad it seemed to damage or tear the muscles and I would still have pain three or four days later. Then I noticed that if, as soon as the cramp woke me up, I bent my foot upwards, toe straining towards kneecap with all my might, it would stop the cramp within seconds. This works a hundred percent of the time for me, but doesn’t work at all for my wife, so take it for what it’s worth.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The British public do not share the government’s appetite for perpetual conflict with the EU and more people see the bloc as a key future partner than the US, according to a report on post-Brexit foreign policy.

    “The Johnson government seems to need the perennial fights of a permanent Brexit,” the report, by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) thinktank, said, warning that its approach was “eroding the UK’s capacity to cooperate with the EU”.

    At the same time, it said, “the British public do not have any particular animus towards the EU” and while they do “value British sovereignty and independence, they would support a foreign policy that worked cooperatively with the bloc”.

    They don’t think much of the cabal currently running amok:

    More broadly, the UK government’s vision for “Global Britain” aimed “to restore British greatness as a maritime trading nation”, the report said – but the evidence showed it amounted to little more than “a delusion rooted in a misremembered imperial past”.

    But the ideology of “permanent Brexit … cannot suspend the laws of distance and strategy”, they argued. Faced with “increasing geopolitical competition, authoritarian advances and geo-economic coercion, the EU remains Britain’s essential partner”.

    It was “delusional” to believe in “vast untapped commercial opportunities on the far side of the world that can compensate for the loss of the EU single market”, the report said, and “dangerous to turn a blind eye to what Britain could gain in global influence through cooperation with the EU.”

    A close strategic partnership with the EU would allow the UK to “both protect its sovereignty, and become a force in global affairs”, the report said, and could command political support in the UK “despite the daily drumbeat of EU-bashing by the Johnson government”.

    But that does not appear to be what 70% of Tory voters want.

  3. JohnMcC says:

    @MarkedMan: Best thing for leg cramps I’ve found is calcium carbonate (TUMS, etc). Cramps are caused by lactic acid. Neutralize the pH.

  4. JohnSF says:

    A continuation from yesterday’s forum re. virus evolution:


    …if the virus competes against other copies of itself


    Direct reproduction is the process of an organism splitting itself into two identical copies. It doesn’t destroy the host.

    From the POV of the virus as replicator, yes it is competing against other versions of itself.
    Any that have a replication edge will proliferate at the expense of others.
    All other things being equal (which they’re not due to host response: I’m oversimplifying a lot here) replication edge = virulence

    Also from the virus POV the host organism is the environment; the actual host-for-replication is an individual host organism cell.

    When I say the virus is a “near pure replicator” I mean it has very little in “behaviour” other than pure replication by hijacking the host cell mechanism.
    (Though that is itself a remarkable bit of biochemical sneakery)
    It doesn’t even divide itself to reproduce; the host cell builds the copies.
    And (with few exceptions) the host cell is destroyed when the replicated virus copies break out (or “lyse” the cell)

    So the drive is competing replication success, and the immediate environment of the competition is the host organism (or rather the particular organs and cell the specific virus is adapted to attack).

    It’s a matter of shifting perspectives: from our POV we automatically tend to think of people as the units the virus is attacking.
    But from the virus POV the host organism i.e. a person is an entire environment for competitive reproduction/replication.

    Of course, there are limits: the intra-organism replication drive tends to select for virulence (as a side effect from sheer numbers of lysed cells) but if pushed too far this blocks inter-organism transmission and dead-ends (rather literally).

    And in reality it more complicated still, because of the complex interaction with organism immune systems means a lower virulence “strategy” can be selected for.

    Note: all this by me is a non-expert donning my cloak of overconfidence and hopping gleefully into the minefields of biology. Even I know enough to be aware I’m oversimplifying a lot.
    For instance, in practice there are different virus types, and differing interactions due which cells that attack, and the immune responses variations.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Poor folks trying to make it as best we can’: surviving Mississippi’s miserly healthcare system

    In Mississippi, the poorest and blackest state in the US, single adults without children like Muhammad are not eligible for public health insurance, regardless of how little they earn each year. If he lived 30 miles west in Louisiana, across the Mississippi river, he could afford to see a doctor more often.

    Louisiana is the only deep south state that expanded Medicaid under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which extended healthcare access for people who work but don’t have medical coverage. Most of the 2 million people in the US without expanded coverage live in eight states in the south, where the legacy of slavery continues to shape healthcare policies, efforts to alleviate poverty and the life circumstances of thousands of Black people.
    Medicaid expansion was designed to reduce racial and geographic inequities in health insurance coverage. The expansion also sought to create a national standard; however, that didn’t happen because, as in the past, some states refused to participate.

    They’re just exercising a little fiscal prudence.

    The Medicaid program, which matches federal dollars to state money to provide healthcare to the most vulnerable, is of special benefit to Mississippi. For many states, the match is roughly dollar for dollar. But in Mississippi, for every $1 the state spends on Medicaid, the federal government spends $5.46, more than in any other state.

    My math must be rusty or something. Spend a dollar and get an additional $5.46 to boot? Sounds like a good deal to me.

    “I firmly believe that it is not good public policy to place 300,000 additional Mississippians on government-funded healthcare,”

    said Tate Reeves the Republican governor who no doubt receives “government-funded healthcare.” I wonder why it’s good for him but not good for others. Whatever could the difference be?

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    About 30% of American adults say they do not have a religious affiliation, according to a new study exploring the growing secularization in American society.

    In 2007, only 16% of American adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center identified themselves as religious “nones” – people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity. That figure is now 29%, according to a new Pew research released on Tuesday.

    “The religiously unaffiliated share of the public is six percentage points higher than it was five years ago and 10 points higher than a decade ago,” the center said.

    Despite the growing shift away from religious affiliation, Christianity continues to dominate the American population. Self-identified Christians, including Protestants, Catholics, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Orthodox Christians, constitute 63% of the adult population, outnumbering religious “nones” by a ratio of a little more than two-to-one. In 2007, Christians outnumbered “nones” by nearly five-to-one.

    This country is going to hell in a heretics hand basket. If we’re lucky.

  7. JohnSF says:

    Well, now we have kindly passed on the sadly missed Douglas Carswell to head up the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, I’m they’ll be offering some constructive suggestions.
    “The wonderful market incentivisation value of a painful and lingering demise”, most likely.

  8. Mu Yixiao says:

    So…. we had a weeee bit o’ wind last night.

    Driving the backroads in to work this morning was like a boss-level on Mario Kart.

    twigs, twigs, twigs, twigs, twigs, twigs, twigs, twigs, BRANCH, twigs, twigs, twigs, twigs, BRANCH, twigs, twigs, twigs, twigs, twigs, twigs, TREE, clear, clear, clear BARN!

    In my 20 mile drive, I saw two barns blown down. One was wrapped around a telephone pole, the other was tangled up in the tree line.

  9. Jen says:

    Poe’s Law strikes again. I have no idea if the original tweet was sarcasm or if this person really doesn’t understand how vaccine boosters work.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Five deaths, $10m fraud and 53 charges: meet the writer exposing the Murdaugh crime dynasty

    In case you’ve missed Murdaugh Murder Mystery:

    Real-life villains don’t come more sharply drawn than Alex Murdaugh, a greedy and ghoulish personal injuries lawyer who casts a haunting shadow over the state of South Carolina. For nearly a century, his father and grandfather were the prosecutors for a five-county district while also running a powerful private law firm.

    But it wasn’t until the small hours of 24 February 2019 that the dark veil over the Murdaugh family’s dealings began to slip. That’s when Alex’s son Paul is alleged to have plowed the family’s 17-foot bay boat into a bridge abutting Parris Island, the nation’s largest Marine recruit depot. Among the three people cast overboard was an ebullient 19-year-old former high school soccer player named Mallory Beach. She was found dead in the murky tidewaters near the crash site after a seven-day search.

    Before an investigation could prove whether Paul was at the tiller and boating under the influence or confirm witness testimony that Alex obstructed the crash investigation, Paul, 19, and his 52-year-old mother, Maggie, were found shot to death at the family’s 1,800-acre hunting estate on 7 June.

    Three months later the narrative was further confounded by conflicting reports that Alex had been shot in the back of the head and left for dead on the side of the road. He has since admitted the scene was staged to grease a $10m insurance payout for his other son, Buster – himself rumored to be involved with the unexplained death of a 19-year-old nursing student named Stephen Smith in 2015.

    This was all before Alex’s partners cut ties amid allegations that he had embezzled the family law firm out of millions, allegedly to fund an insatiable opioid addiction. After that bombshell dropped, Alex was charged with stealing millions more from a settlement meant for the children of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died in a 2018 alleged trip-and-fall accident on their property.

    Shockingly, these are just the highlights.

    Whew, I get a little breathless just reading all that.

    Murdaugh she wrote (the Guardian couldn’t resist)

    The boat crash is how Matney landed on the Murdaugh beat. In February 2019, she was working as the breaking news editor for the 16,000-circulation Island Packet, the Lowcountry’s reluctant paper of record, owning the story even as the Packet’s executive editors failed to see the point. “I’ll never forget being in a meeting in March 2019 my boss saying, ‘I’m sick of the boat crash stories,’” she says. “And what was crazy about that was the boat crash stories were bringing in way more page views than anything else.”

    Matney thought that her editors’ lack of interest in pursuing the Murdaugh was largely due to the paper’s business model of chasing low-effort clicks, but in retrospect, it’s hard not to wonder if, at best, the paper was cowed by the powerful family or, at worst, they simply didn’t get it. Now that the story is unavoidable, their coverage has been noticeably sympathetic to the Murdaughs.

    A different journalist might have kept churning out stories about shark sightings (another Matney specialty at the Packet), or bolted for a larger market. But for Kansas City native Matney, who joined the Packet in March 2016, lured by the prospect of working from the beach, local reporting was an opportunity to set down roots. “It wasn’t like she was here for a few years,” says Liz Farrell, a former Packet editor and Day 1 collaborator of Matney’s on the Murdaugh beat. “She embraced the community.”

    But after a summer 2019 demotion to reporter, despite leading the paper in page views with a 200,000 monthly average, Matney was finally forced to consider the unthinkable: giving in to her bosses and leaving the Murdaugh story behind for the sake of her career and sanity.

    Thankfully, she stayed on the case and moved on to a different news org.

  11. CSK says:

    Does he telecommute?

  12. JohnSF says:

    Seen some other polling (early this year IIRC) which indicated though Con voters were still reflexively hostile to the EU, it was not a salient issue. Only about a quarter to a third were real headbangers on the matter.
    And given the amount of anti-EU messaging in Mail/Express/Telegraph and consevosphere social media, that’s not too bad.
    Implies there is room for building a national consensus for a constructive relationship; and hopefully eventual EEA type SM/CA arrangements

    Rejoin being off the menu for the foreseeable: too divisive in UK and, partly for that reason, not going to fly with the EU either.

    Noticeable polling indications that “Labour leavers” who voted Conservative in 2019 are more inclined to a pragmatic view than the Brexity element of long term Conservatives.
    Fits with repeated reports that MPs who won former Lab seats are telling Johnson to drop the theatrics of confrontation Lord Frost is pushing.
    It doesn’t play well with their voters who liked the “We Got Brexit Done” message in 2019; and an actual trade war would hammer industry in their constituencies.

  13. JohnSF says:

    I gather he’s buggered off permanently.
    Our loss, your, umm…
    Oh, well, sorry. Just think of it as our belated revenge for the Battle of New Orleans!

  14. CSK says:

    He seems to have been unable to resist the lure of fried chicken on waffles with maple syrup. Cheap date, as we say in the New World.

  15. Michael Cain says:


    My math must be rusty or something. Spend a dollar and get an additional $5.46 to boot? Sounds like a good deal to me.

    It’s traditional Medicaid, so it’s more accurate to think of it as reimbursement. If Mississippi spends $6.46 on covered health care, they (after some delay) get $5.46 from the federal government. Here in Colorado, if we spend $6.46, we (after some delay) get $3.23 from the feds. Expanded Medicaid was more generous for everyone. It started at spend $6.46, get $6.14 back, and IIRC has now decreased to spend $6.46 and get $5.81 back. From time to time there are delays in reimbursement and

    There are other weird wrinkles. Eg, if you accept expanded Medicaid, you can never make it more difficult to qualify for traditional Medicaid. When I worked for the state legislature here, we were notified that a statutory change that was working its way through the second house would disqualify about 100 people who were currently on traditional Medicaid. We had accepted the expansion, and if we hadn’t killed the bill there would have been savage financial penalties invoked. (The bill was correcting an error originally made back in the 1930s, which remains to this day to avoid the Medicaid penalty.)

  16. Kathy says:


    That works perfectly well for my calf cramps, though they tend to be far less severe.

    The problem is the muscle is pulling the other way. I need to get off the bed, plant my foot on the floor, and use a wall or other vertical surface to help prop the foot pointing upwards. It helps to massage the calf as well.

  17. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Cain:
    Sigh, never an edit link when I actually need it. The last sentence in the first paragraph should be, “From time to time there are delays in reimbursement and the states have to juggle their budgets to avoid running short.

  18. Michael Cain says:


    It helps to massage the calf as well.

    I used to suffer from chronic compartment syndrome in my lower legs, which can cause cramps. My symptoms were somewhat different and had increased slowly over the course of years. The physical therapist my GP sent me to suggested a variety of possible treatments short of surgery. What eventually worked for me was doing my imitation of deep-tissue massage each night after I was ready for bed. That is, digging in with both thumbs as deep as I can, working up and down the calf from different angles. I understand there are powered home care devices that do effectively the same thing. After a few months I was much improved, and haven’t had any symptoms for the past year. Seems really remarkable.

    Chronic compartment syndrome should not be confused with acute compartment syndrome, which is limb threatening and requires immediate surgery. There are gross pictures online.

  19. charon says:


    I used to get charley horses especially at night before I got diagnosed with osteoporosis and started taking calcium supplements. I subsequently learned that muscle spasms can be a calcium deficiency symptom.

  20. charon says:


    I take calcium citrate which will not affect lactic acid. I think it’s the calcium, not the neutralizing carbonate that is working.

  21. charon says:


    Tums would not neutralize acid in muscles anyway because stomach acid would react with the carbonate first.

  22. CSK says:
  23. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: @JohnMcC: I can confirm that both Tums and the foot stretch work to relieve plantar fasciitis in one’s feet as well.

  24. Kathy says:


    Is it just me, or does anyone else regard paying any money for the “original” which is identical to any number of copies is not just insane but also ridiculous?

  25. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: Maybe you know this, but the idea of an NFT is that only a fixed number of copies can ever be created. Because blockchain. It’s like numbered prints or silkscreens, a long-time thing in the art world.

    But no, I’m not a fan of them.

  26. CSK says:

    The kind of pathetic saps who would rush out to buy this crap don’t have the brains to make that distinction.

  27. wr says:

    @Kathy: “Is it just me, or does anyone else regard paying any money for the “original” which is identical to any number of copies is not just insane but also ridiculous?”

    It is simply more proof that taxes are too low, and rich people have far more cash than they know what to do with…

  28. Sleeping Dog says:


    Remember, Mississippi is run by the political party who had ~10 candidates for president saying they wouldn’t take a massive budget reduction if it meant a small tax increase. It isn’t about financial sense it is about punishing the poor.

  29. CSK says:
  30. Jay L Gischer says:

    As regards cramps, try eating a banana every day or two. They can be a result of a potassium deficit, and bananas are loaded with potassium.

    There’s also some acupressure points that help, but it’s a bit difficult to describe except hands-on. The first webpage I found described different acupressure points than the ones that have been used on me (to good effect). I can’t vouch for them, though this technique in general is validated by empirical study. These days, you can find physical therapists using acupressure along with other techniques.

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m seeing encouraging signs here and there.

    Start with this:

    MAYFIELD, Ky. — Cliff Giambrone most certainly didn’t vote for President Biden and, in fact, was outside the U.S. Capitol protesting the election results on Jan. 6. On the trailer hitch on the back of his van, he usually uses two 10-foot poles to fly a flag with a derogatory message aimed at Biden: “Let’s Go Brandon.”

    But when the 67-year-old retired construction worker drove from his home in Hamburg, Pa., to help the recovery effort here, he made a conscious decision to leave that flag at home, bringing an American flag instead. “Believe me, part of me wants to wave that flag and smile when he looks at it,” he said. “But I don’t want to be that guy.”

    Pausing in his search for a lost photo album in the rubble of a home, Giambrone added, “I am political, but there are times you have to set that aside. This is one of those moments. I hope it’s not temporary. I didn’t vote for him, but he’s still my president. I want to support him.”

    The story is full of similar quotes. Interesting.

    “I didn’t vote for the president, and I’m not a fan of his policies,” said Clayton Howe, a 57-year-old lifelong resident who was assessing damage to his downtown building that Biden would walk past an hour later. “But I appreciate him being here. He’s still the president of the United States.”

    On the left, I’m seeing some reassessment. Defund is defunct and generally admitted to have been stupid. LatinX is done for, a sign that Dems have realized they don’t own the Hispanic vote but need to court it assiduously. People are realizing that demographic shifts won’t save us. I don’t hear calls for open borders anymore. I’m not hearing a lot of calls for socialism.

    There are fewer defenders of cancel culture, more backing and filling and pretending that it was never a thing. There’s a dawning recognition that we have made enemies we didn’t need to make. The squad is revealed as politically impotent, unable to motivate support for parental leave or student debt cancellation, while Nancy Pelosi rules the House like a tsarina.

    At the same time we’re seeing Trump-backed candidates fail in intraparty fights.

    So some of the hard edges in places like Kentucky may be softer than we think. And progressive triumphalism was waned. Interesting. Maybe hopeful.

    The weapon we are leaving on the table is patriotism. Patriotism runs strong in this country, and if the left were smarter they’d try to lean into that. Patriotism and hope would be more effective than self-criticism and hair shirts.

  32. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I eat between 3 and 5 bananas every week. before I did that, I used to get cramps in my thighs, and those really hurt. Nor are they as easily dealt with. Since then, they’ve gone away.

    On other things, I was hoping to take my vacation in Late February or early March, and do a tour of nearby archaeological sites. In particular I thought about the pyramid at Cholula, and the Toltec site at Tula. I’ve been to both, but decades ago.

    I might risk it if 1) I get a booster by then, 2) no new creepy variants show up, and 3) cases are trending way down or are relatively low. Cholula is 2:30 away, so I had thought to stay the night and visit some colonial sites in Puebla on the return trip the next day. I won’t feel at ease staying at a hotel or eating at restaurants with COVID still raging.

    For 2023, I want to do a tour of Maya sites in Yucatan. I’ve never been there before.

  33. inhumans99 says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Straight line winds event (I think that is what they are called)? Or was there reported tornadic activity in the vicinity that you were commuting through? My understanding is that structures like barns can withstand some pretty extreme weather events, but of course a tornado will make short work of such structures.

    Glad you are okay, and it sounds like other than a lot of damaged trees and structures that there was no loss of life. Considering what happened a few days back in KY and neighboring states that is indeed a blessing.

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Oh, it goes way beyond that level of weirdness. The purchasers are depending on the whole infrastructure hastily erected to support these NFT’s still existing 20 years from now. Despite the fact that no one is getting any income from maintaining it.

  35. Mu Yixiao says:


    Straight line winds event (I think that is what they are called)? Or was there reported tornadic activity in the vicinity that you were commuting through?

    Straight wind. Gusts of up to 70 mph were predicted (haven’t checked what we actually got). And both barns were (of course) around open farm land. They were small pre-fab structures (more than a shed, less than a full barn), but still… seeing that tin roof wrapped around a telephone pole with a pile of lumber underneath was… a little startling.

  36. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: Wow, that’s rough. I’m glad the bananas are helping you, though.

    That trip you describe sounds really interesting. I hope you pull it off.

  37. Jay L Gischer says:


    The purchasers are depending on the whole infrastructure hastily erected to support these NFT’s still existing 20 years from now. Despite the fact that no one is getting any income from maintaining it.

    This can be both a blessing and a curse, as I know from all my work with the open-source world.

    The curse is, nobody is incentivized to look at your problem and fix it right now.

    The blessing is that no company can shut down a proprietary technology and ensure that it can’t be picked up and continued, even by people who care a lot. (Betamax, for instance). With open source, if you care enough and have the resources (either technical knowhow or money to pay someone) you can keep it running yourself.

  38. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I think maybe it’s more that white Democrats have realized that they could stand to spend more time listening to Hispanics talk about what they want politically than they spend scolding people. I mean, there’s a time to speak up, for sure.

  39. Mister Bluster says:

    Per WikiP:
    A derecho (/dəˈreɪtʃoʊ/, from Spanish: derecho [deˈɾetʃo], “straight” as in direction) is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a fast-moving group of severe thunderstorms known as a mesoscale convective system.

    Sleepytown. May 8, 2009
    Intersection of South Wall Street and East College Street looking south. The electric power utility poles on the west side of South Wall street were knocked over when the roofs of two apartment buildings three blocks to the west were ripped off by the wind and hit the power lines. The telephone poles on the east side of South Wall Street are still upright in this view.

  40. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:..Correction. The intersection noted above is South Wall Street and East Mill Street. Not East College Street.
    I have lived here for the better part of 53 years. My first abode was a block or two from this intersection. Both of these streets are major thoroughfares. Drove the Yellow Cab for 3 years and covered the local exchange here for the landline telephone company. I drive through this intersection almost every day at least twice. I like to think that I know this town. It just took me at least 20 minutes of reading over my post many times before I caught the error.
    74 is 18 days away.
    The brain rot is just getting worse.

  41. Michael Cain says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Intersection of South Wall Street and East College Street looking south. The electric power utility poles on the west side of South Wall street were knocked over when the roofs of two apartment buildings three blocks to the west were ripped off by the wind and hit the power lines.

    We had the same winds that hit the Midwest — although without the thunderstorms — earlier in the day Wednesday. I live in a city of 170,000 that started burying its aerial power, phone, and cable plant in 1948 and reached 100% buried in 2006. Slipped somewhat in recent years due to annexation. Only power outage in the city yesterday was in a small area recently annexed that gets its power from a non-city utility that doesn’t do buried. 70-80 mph gusts at my house for a few hours and the power never even blinked.

  42. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Mister Bluster:


    That’s the word! I couldn’t remember it.

    ‘Round these parts we just call them a “wind storm” * 🙂

    *They go with the lightning storm, thunder storms, rain storms, snow storms, hail storms, sleet storms, and ice storms. No fire storms, though. 🙂

  43. JohnMcC says:

    @charon: Calcium is of course the particular electrolyte that is most involved with skeletal muscle contraction so you may very well be correct. There is a wonderfully complex business behind all that and the best I can say is I passed that test (some 40 yrs ago).

    It does seem to me that the lactic acid retained in muscle (as would be made worse in compartment syndrome) would be forced out by deep massage or hyperextension. So all kinds of things might work.

    A shortage of calcium would also (if it got really bad) cause twitchiness and involuntary contractions.

  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    There was a time when every third tweet was some mope insisting we, ‘listen, just listen! Won’t you all please listen?’ So of course the people insisting on listening, didn’t. Didn’t listen to Hispanics, didn’t listen to working people, didn’t listen to the bulk of Americans who still love their country.

  45. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: When I have cramps in my calf at night, the cramp is accompanied by such a severe and comprehensive pointing of the toe, that it takes my (considerable) weight on the foot to release it to normal position. After that though, bending the foot upward helps resolve the tension and residual pain.

  46. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Michael I know your a MB guy and are looking for an EV for your next car. This is the intro video to a surprise Benz product launch.

  47. just nutha says:

    @JohnMcC: Interesting (my doctor said that nighttime leg cramps are a sign of potassium insufficiency). When would I take the calcium carbonate and how much is enough?

  48. charon says:


    So all kinds of things might work

    There may be multiple causes operating simultaneously, things like muscle glycogen depletion, dehydration, other electrolyte imbalances.

    I have found that just getting out of bed and walking, causing the legs to bear weight brings relief.

    Also, there seems to be a correlation with getting extra amounts of exercise, especially in hot weather (I live in AZ, so yeah). Which gets back to the calcium, as sweating depletes calcium.

  49. CSK says:

    As someone on Twitter said in response to this, “Holy shit.”

  50. reid says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m a little late here, so in case it hasn’t been mentioned, such cramps might be prevented with mineral supplements like magnesium.

  51. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “My math must be rusty or something. Spend a dollar and get an additional $5.46 to boot? Sounds like a good deal to me.”

    Well it would be a good deal if the money weren’t going to ni
    (Nope. Changed my mind; not gonna say that. Wouldn’t be prudent.)

  52. Mikey says:

    As a long-distance runner who trains in the summer, I sometimes experience excruciatingly painful nighttime cramps brought on by dehydration. Yes, I do my best to hydrate at all times, but sometimes it’s just not possible to stay ahead of the game when running in the heat. I’m sure the muscle fatigue from a long run also plays a role.

    My absolute go-to at these times: pickle juice. It eases the cramps in moments.

  53. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I should say they’ve mostly gone away. Cramps are inevitable now and then.

  54. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I’m holding out for the new D-cell cars.

    My wife got the Volvo Recharge and I have to admit, I don’t hate it. It’s very nice for a golf cart.

  55. Stormy Dragon says:


    This country is going to hell in a heretics hand basket. If we’re lucky.

    Excuse me, I am not a heretic, I’m an apostate!

  56. JohnMcC says:

    @just nutha: OMG! I am not any kind of authority on this cramping business other than a long lifetime of attempting athletic stuff and suffering the usual consequences.

    But! But if your K+ deficit is corrected then try 4 TUMS. Much more and you will be free of cramps but will learn what happens when you ‘take a dose of salts’.

  57. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I think @wr hits the target squarely.

    I must admit I’ve read a bit about NFTs, and the idea truck me as absurd at once. I’ve seen numbered lithographs, silk-screens and such by known artists. Truth to tell, as someone focused on content, an accurate duplicate of any original has, for me, the same aesthetic and historical value as the original.

    I suppose they’ll join the cryptocurrency bubble and eventually burst or become a standard.

  58. wr says:

    @Mister Bluster: I think it’s called a derechX these days.

  59. wr says:

    @Kathy: “Truth to tell, as someone focused on content, an accurate duplicate of any original has, for me, the same aesthetic and historical value as the original.”

    If only Walter Benjamin were still around…

  60. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I would think that in the Deep South, there probably wouldn’t be very much maple in waffle syrup. Then again, I wouldn’t expect that Britisher would be likely to be able to tell the difference either. (When I was visiting my grandparents in Belfast ages ago and was asked if I’d make pancakes for breakfast once, we put Tate & Lyle’s on them. Different, but suitable to a person of my philistine tastes. 😉 )

  61. Jay L Gischer says:

    Well, most NFTs can be bought directly with crypto currency, which probably enhances their popularity, since its a way to diversify holdings without selling the crypto for, you know, dollars.

    Because I suspect that many fear that exchanging for dollars in any volume will crash the price of the crypto currency they are holding.

  62. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’m not much of a Twitter guy, but it seems to me it’s not especially full of people who listen a lot.

    I am quite aware of people who advocate for listening and who DO listen. And then there are the people who want to be on blast all the time, who want to “heighten differences”, etc., etc. Of course, the bit about listening sounds good, so they say it.

  63. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The real fear is that once your crypto currency touches the “real” financial system, there is now a name attached to your ID# in the blockchain, which means the IRS can now see how much undeclared income you’ve been hiding.

  64. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    Carswell was quoted as saying that he discovered they have–down in ole Mississippi–“something known as fried chicken on waffles with maple syrup.”

  65. JohnSF says:

    @just nutha:
    As I understand it, you collect the syrup from the groves of waffle trees, then spread it on your fried maples?

  66. JohnSF says:

    Ah, so he relocated for the health food.

  67. CSK says:

    Apparently so. I like fried chicken, and I like waffles and maple syrup, but the waffles and syrup should be kept well away from the chicken.

  68. Kathy says:


    Well, you’re not going to eat the maple raw, are you?

    What would the oaks think?

  69. JohnSF says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Problem there though, is that if you want to keep your ill-gottens sequestered away from the world of real currency, you might as well hoard monopoly money.
    Oh, sure, you can buy black market gear, or get into shady art dealings (Abraham Wolfgang Küfner says “Hi!”) but for stuff to park serious money securely and preferably to earn a return?
    To make it really usable, you face the old problem that laundering large amounts isn’t easy or secure, if the Revenue stare hard enough.

  70. JohnSF says:

    Well, I can hardly preach, seeing as last Saturday I cooked baked chicken wings with piri-piri sauce (chillis, garlic, lemon and butter) plus chips and coleslaw.
    And a pint of beer. 🙂

  71. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnSF: With a harvest festival annually — some say inspired by this:

  72. CSK says:

    Well, that sounds good, unlike fried chicken anointed with maple syrup. How do you make your cole slaw? Are you a mayonnaise guy or not?

  73. Kathy says:

    If I don’t need to work Saturday, I’m thinking fetuccini and shredded chicken in a creamy mushroom and garlic sauce (sauteed mushrooms with a sherry reduction, garlic, cottage cheese and either sweet cream or yogurt, all liquefied in a blender*), and a side of refried beans with chorizo.

    *Of course, you set aside some un-liquefied sauteed mushrooms as well.

  74. JohnSF says:

    Have to confess to using mayonnaise; and to Hellmann’s, not home made, at that.
    Basically, just sliced up white and red cabbage, carrot, red onion, dijon mustard, mayo, sour cream or creme fraiche or yogurt, white wine vinegar. Optional apple.

  75. JohnSF says:

    They must get that harvest in by the end of summer, or it’ll be pasta it’s best.

  76. CSK says:

    No need to be abashed; I grew up on mayo cole slaw. My sister put giant currants or raisins in hers. I imagine apples would be nice. When I was a kid, I thought it was “cold slaw.”

    The chicken dish sounds toothsome.

  77. Mu Yixiao says:


    I make “Badger Alfredo”*

    In appropriate amounts:

    * Shredded/grated hard Italian cheese (parmesan, romano, grana padano, etc.)
    * Half & half
    * Butter
    * Sour cream
    * Booze (I tend to use whiskey, but brandy would be more “badger”).
    * Fresh-ground black pepper

    *Wisconsin is the “Badger State”, and known for its dairy products… and it’s drinking.

  78. Mu Yixiao says:

    A word I think Americans need to steal from the Brits:


    It means “I rather like this. When I eat it I want to eat more of it.”

  79. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Like I said: “I wonder why it’s good for him but not good for others. Whatever could the difference be?”

  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @inhumans99: @Mu Yixiao: Also known as a Derecho storm.

  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: You beat me to the Derecho first.

  82. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Then it would be an apostate’s ‘and basket.

  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: You need to go to the actual website and look at what seems to be what you’re buying. Hideous and pathetic are what come to mind except that it seems so unfair to things that really ARE hideous and pathetic because the NFT is sooooooo much worse.

    (And in the picture, she doesn’t even have “cobalt blue” eyes; they’re washed-out gray with a greenish overtint. Ewwwww.)

  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: Rich people are not going to buy this; trust me. First of all because most probably DGAF about what happens to foster children, but even if they do, there are better vehicles for helping them than a FG associated charity.

    But I will concede your assertion that rich people don’t pay enough taxes on its own merits.

  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: The remaining question is how much of a portion will be donating? One one billionth of a percent is a portion. (And I apologize for my previous comment implying that you hadn’t looked at the item. I should have known better. 🙁 )

  86. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: What was that really? An SNL parody?

  87. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Quite all right. That was my question, too: What minuscule fraction of the proceeds will be donated?

    And, yes. The picture is heinous. Are those supposed to be tear droplets on her lower lids?

  88. Kathy says:

    I’m just about ready to hazard a guess on Omicron.

    As we still have no adequate vaccination coverage, and no apetite for effective mitigation and preventive measures, we’ll see cases go way up. Most among the unvaccinated, but also higher among those vaccinated and boosted (I wouldn’t be surprised at a recommendation for a second booster six months after the first*). We’ll also see higher numbers of reinfection.

    We probably won’t see deaths rise as much as infections because 1) new oral antiviral drugs should be available soon, 2) hospital treatments have improved, 3) and there are signs Omicron might make for a milder disease overall (though it’s too early to say).

    I stand ready to be proven wrong.

    * Or perhaps not. The third dose seems to work better than expected.

    But this is precisely the thing we’d know if the trump disease were not in pandemic mode, and there was time to conduct a longer vaccine trial. The need to rush the vaccines in astronomical amounts as fast as possible, made this through study unfeasible.

    Bonus vaccine guess: rather than variant specific vaccines, we may see something like polyvalent vaccines that can tackle several known and likely spike protein mutations. The mRNA tech is a game changer in more ways than fast development.

  89. Jax says:

    FFS. Half the school district is down with something that is “definitely not Covid”, now we’ve got the school district itself sending out emails like this.

    Dear Families,

    We have become aware of a troubling post that has been shared on the social media platform TikTok. The post refers to a threat to school safety “for every school in the USA, even elementary,” on Friday, December 17. To be clear, the post appears to be part of a national TikTok trend and did not originate in our school district or any others in Wyoming. While we do not believe there is a credible threat, we have been in contact with the Sheriff’s Department for precautionary purposes.

    This situation serves as a good example of why it is important to avoid sharing posts online that refer to school safety threats. Even if they are not credible threats, they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for our students, families, and staff. We ask our families to monitor their children’s social media activity and speak with them about proper behavior online.

    As always, thank you for your help as we work to ensure a safe, secure, and positive learning environment for our students.

    It’s like they just WANT us to say fuck it and keep the kids home til January voluntarily. But there’s always that goddamn attendance policy. (eyeroll)