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. wr says:
  2. charon says:

    Just how popular are indoor mask mandates? A recent poll from the COVID States Project (conducted end of December-end of January with 22,000+ respondents) found that 69% of Americans approve of indoor mask mandates, with majorities in all 50 states.

    The range:

    52% – ID

    57% – TN

    80% – CA

    80% – NY

  3. Sleeping Dog says:



  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    On yesterday’s post regarding the SF school board recall, Fairfax, VA was brought up as a potential model for moving away from test based admissions criteria. It seems the conservatives don’t like that either.

    Conservatives Open New Front in Elite School Admission Wars

  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Sleeping Dog:


    I understand that conservatism is about resisting change, but… Perhaps the solution is to do away with these merit schools

  6. charon says:

    Rand Paul’s son was arrested for assaulting a flight attendant.

    The 19-year-old son of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was charged with assaulting a flight attendant in addition to the previously reported underage drinking and disorderly conduct charges he faces following an incident on a Jan. 5 flight from Lexington, Ky. to Charlotte.

  7. charon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:


    Rand Paul wants legislation to force airlines to end mask mandates because he is “tired of paying the airlines to be treated like crap .. I want them to bring me a glass of water and peanuts and I don’t want somebody jammering at me to put a mask on.”

    Lots and lots of noisy antisocial garbage in the U.S. – shows up in the U.S.’ awful COVID statistics.

  8. CSK says:

    Like father, like son, I suppose.

  9. Scott says:

    Are there election laws that outline basic requirements to be a candidate? Like being of sound mind and body. There is really no point to arguing with these people. You can only denounce their basic fitness for the job.

    We asked all 143 Texas GOP congressional candidates about Biden’s win. Only 13 call it legitimate.

    The debate had been underway for less than 10 minutes before the top Republican candidates in a MAGA-friendly Houston congressional district reached a consensus: each believed the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.

    “We’ve seen across the board, the Democrats have always cheated,” said Jonathan Hullihan, a former judge advocate general in the Navy and one of 11 Republicans running in the 8th Congressional District. “81 million votes for Joe Biden? I just don’t believe it.”

    Hearst Newspapers sent questions about the election and searched campaign websites and social media pages of all of the 143 Republicans running for Congress in Texas. Of the 86 with discernible stances, at least 42 have said outright that the 2020 election was stolen, called the results illegitimate or said they would have voted not to certify. Another 11 candidates have said there was enough fraud or irregularities to cast doubt on the results of the election.

    Just 13 said the results were legitimate.

  10. Mu Yixiao says:

    Yixiao is not here today. He’s curled up under a blanket in the corner, whimpering and dreaming of the days when he could bike 20 miles, swim for 6 hours, and finish off the day with a half-pound cheeseburger and a bushel of fries.

    {exercise = owie} 😛

  11. HarvardLaw92 says:


    On some level, you can’t help but start to equate it with the toddler throwing a tantrum about not wanting to eat his vegetables …

    “NO! AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME …” (cue kicking and screaming … 🙄 )

  12. charon says:

    The simple truth is that Long Covid is incredibly inconvenient for those in power. #LongCovid profoundly conflicts with the current rush to return things to “normalcy,” for recognizing the risks posed by Long Covid would make the prevailing mass infection policy untenable.

    Long Covid is also yet another symbol of how poorly Western governments have handled the pandemic – alongside death-tolls hitherto unimaginable in the post-1945 era. For gov’ts, accepting the gravity of Long Covid would mean acknowledging the full extent of their failure.

  13. Jen says:

    Just pointing out that Rand Paul’s son did that in 2013. It’s not recent, but still likely to contribute to his disdain for flight attendants, I guess.

  14. charon says:


    Influenza, polio and more have shown that infections can change lives even decades later. Why the complacency over possible long-term effects of COVID-19?


    Why is there so much complacency about #LongCovid?

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    New York girl missing for two years found alive in a hidden staircase room

    On Monday, police said they received a tip about the girl’s whereabouts and obtained a search warrant. They said they went to the girl’s grandfather’s house where they searched for about an hour before locating the child hidden in a makeshift room, under a closed staircase leading to the basement. Upon removing the step boards, the girl and her mother Kimberly were found hiding in the dark and wet enclosure, police said.

    Paislee was taken to police headquarters where paramedics examined her, police told the Daily Freeman, the community’s local newspaper. The girl was in good health and released to her legal guardian.

    Police arrested her parents and the girl’s grandfather Kirk Shultis, 57. They face charges of custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    During a speech on Tuesday, Joe Biden jokingly reminisced about putting a dead dog on a Republican woman’s doorstep during his time serving in county government when he was in his 20s.

    He said at one point he fielded a request from a wealthier Republican woman who had a dead dog on her lawn.

    “I got a call one night; the woman said to me – obviously not of the same persuasion as I was politically – called me and said: ‘There’s a dead dog on my lawn,’” said Biden, telling the story.

    “And I said: ‘Yes, ma’am.’ I said: ‘Have you called county?’ She said: ‘Yes, they’re not here.’ And I said: ‘Well, I’ll get them in the morning.’”

    The woman was not satisfied by Biden’s answer, telling Biden that she wanted the dog off her lawn now and that she paid his salary.

    So Biden responded in kind: “So I went over,” said Biden as the conference crowd laughed and applauded. “I picked it up. She said: ‘I want it out of my front yard.’ I put it on her doorstep.

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    Saw that and if you didn’t toot I was gonna toot for you. Congratulations.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    The politics of this is very bad for Democrats. It will alienate Asian voters at a time when their attachment to the Democratic Party is still forming. It used to be the Jews who were seen as doing too well in elite education.

  19. CSK says:

    If Biden really did do this, it was an incredibly stupid move.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    Republicans are discovering what happens when you allow a shark grifter like Trump play in your fund-raising playbox.

    Can’t help but chortle. You let the bear into the house and now you’re complaining of the consequences.

  21. Joe says:

    @CSK: Since it’s not the banner headline at Fox News, I am going to say he didn’t do this.

  22. Kathy says:

    On the billionaire space race front, Sir Dick Branson’s (what?) Virgin Galactic is selling tickets for the short joy ride to the edge of space for the low, low, price of $449.999.99 (just kidding, it’s $450,000e even). I distinctly recall the original price all the way back in 2005 was $250,000. Talk about inflation.

    Elon Musk claims the first test launch of Starship is imminent (I like it better when it was called the Big F*ck*ng Rocket). And once again he touted the launch system as a means of providing point-to-point long haul transport on Earth, claiming nothing’s faster than an ICBM. It’s nice to see he knows how he is proposing to launch people into their vacation to the antipodes, and nicer that he admits it. But from a marketing standpoint it’s a bit of a blunder.

    Jeff Bezos didn’t make the news this week. He’s clearly falling behind.

  23. Sleeping Dog says:
  24. Scott says:

    Hmmm. Didn’t even think this was a possibility. The state run Operation Lone Star has been plagued with pay, equipment, deadly accidents, and basic questions about the mission and leadership.

    Texas Guardsmen on border start unionizing to combat difficult conditions

    In the wake of a Justice Department filing declaring that National Guard troops can form and join unions while serving on state active duty orders, a growing number of Texas troops assigned to the U.S.-Mexico border for Operation Lone Star have organized under an existing public sector union.

    The first meeting of the Texas State Employees Union’s Military Caucus, which consists of troops on state active duty orders assigned to the border, is scheduled for next week, according to a soldier leading organizing efforts. The soldier requested anonymity due to fear of retaliation from Texas Military Department leadership ahead of the meeting.

  25. CSK says:

    It’s still stupid of him to pretend that he did. He makes himself look petty, vindictive, and childish. What is the point of this?

  26. Joe says:

    @CSK: I am questioning whether he even said it since it would seem like an easy sound bite for Fox News and others. When he was 20 he should have been childish, especially in response to the Karen in his story.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: And exactly what I would do. I don’t care who you are, you don’t get to abuse me.

  28. Kylopod says:

    @Joe: @CSK: The fact that it isn’t a banner headline on Fox is to me, a sign it won’t have legs. It doesn’t fit the narrative that the right wants to paint about Biden, since whatever you think about his behavior, it doesn’t make him appear weak. There’s a reason they call him Sleepy Joe rather than, say, Crazy Joe. Republicans respect the crazy.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Joe: For whatever it’s worth, it was first reported in the Daily Mail.

  30. CSK says:

    The woman doesn’t seem to have been that abusive. Arrogant and snotty, sure, but so are most people who call to bitch about things.

    I’ve seen the clip. He did say it.

    I love dogs. That may have something to do with my distaste.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I either get treated with the respect I deserve or the other gets treated with the disrespect they have shown me. Those are the rules I play the game by.

    As far as, “so are most people who call to bitch about things.” No shit. My wife works at a call center. She gets abused by assholes like the… woman… in the story above every damn day. There is no excuse for it, I don’t care how bad one’s day is going, or how frustrated they are with whatever problem they are having. Abusing the person who is there only to help you is not acceptable, and when my wife hangs up on these assholes I cheer for her.

    And for the record, I don’t care how pissed off I am about something, I am never abusive of the person who answers my call.

  32. Kathy says:


    I am rude to telemarketers. I feel entitled to that. They’re interrupting my day to waste my time, after all. These days my standard procedure is to say “Thank you. I’m not interested. Please don’t call again. I’m hanging up and blocking this number.”

  33. grumpy realist says:

    Guess who isn’t eligible to run for governor in Oregon?

    Well, I’m sure no one saw THAT coming….

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Telemarketers are different because yes, they are interrupting my day with their BS. In general tho, I’m not rude to them, I just hang up. There is one guy who’s voice I instantly recognize. He works for a cop org and he always pretends he’s my best friend ever. Which I hate. Him I have given a polite, “Fvck off.” and then hung up a couple times.

  35. de stijl says:


    I saw that article yesterday – no clue it was you.

    Congrats! Very cool.

  36. Jen says:

    @grumpy realist: Dear lord, that chart. He’s routinely sending a dozen or more texts and emails A DAY??!! I get snippy if I get more than one a week for stuff that I’ve actively opted-into.

  37. CSK says:

    Interviewed by Candace Owens, Eric Trump said that he would like to have dinner with Jesus Christ because that would afford him the opportunity to complain about Joe Biden.

  38. Mu Yixiao says:


    The billionaire that went up in the Dragon capsule has paid for 3 more launches (not just his seat, but the entire launch). He’s taking along SpaceX engineers and other experts and using the time to test out various systems. One of the launches will go beyond the magnetosphere to test how things work in higher radiation areas. One will be used to test out EVA procedures (in the hopes of making them easier and more efficient).

    Essentially, he’s subsidizing valuable research and testing–and having fun while doing it.

    If I was a billionaire? I’d be doing the same thing.

  39. Sleeping Dog says:


    I have no problem with telemarketers, I simply don’t answer the land line, though I do look at the caller ID. My friends know to call my cell phone and that a text or email is preferred. Add to that if the caller isn’t in my contacts, I don’t answer.

  40. Sleeping Dog says:


    When you think about it, Eric would have qualified as one of the guys on the other crosses.

  41. Jax says:

    My drone glitched out and flew itself into the very tippy top of one of the trees in our yard a couple days ago. 2 ft to the right or 3 ft higher up and it would’ve cleared it. 😛 I’ve been waiting for a good Wyoming wind to blow it out, but so far the wind has come from the wrong direction. It’s just hanging there in the little branches like a fly in a spiderweb. It’s not on a branch thick enough to shoot, too high up to reach with a tractor bucket or a rope to shake the tree branch….I guess we just wait for the right wind!

  42. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    In fact he would.

  43. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I don’t answer the landline, either. These calls come in my cell phone while I’m at work.

    I can’t not answer calls on my cell, because they may be from other company departments, or from customers, I don’t have on my contacts list. So I can’t screen by caller ID either.

    I do try to short-circuit the call script. These days it begins with “Am I talking to X?” I never reply yes or no, but ask who’s calling and for what. If it’s a bank I’ve a card or account with, which sometimes happens, I ask the purpose of the call. If it’s not to alert me to a charge I may not have made, I tell them I’m not interested and hang up.

    When I see it listed like this, I can’t help but think telemarketing is a big problem.

  44. grumpy realist says:

    @Jen: That’s why it’s called “churn and burn”.

    By the time this is all over, I suspect we’re going to see a lot of Republicans absolutely refuse to have anything to do with the party, ever again.

  45. Kathy says:


    It looks like kite-eating trees also like drones.

  46. Mu Yixiao says:


    I don’t get too many spam calls (I only have a cell), but I used to answer the phone in Chinese–which would throw off the robots. They’re expecting “hello”, not “wei, ni hao”, so it doesn’t trigger the script to start. 🙂

    I did get thrown for a loop once, when I answered that way, and the robot started rattling something off in Chinese!

  47. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I haven’t flown this one “in the wild”, so to speak, for a while, because I was afraid something exactly like this would happen and I wouldn’t be able to recover the battery (they’re $150 apiece!) or the memory card. Now I’m still hosed on the recovery of both! It’s been getting about 700 ft away from the controller and glitching out, losing touch with the controller. Then it starts it’s automatic “return to home” command and bam….right into the tree. It doesn’t actually look all that damaged, it’s just caught in all those little branches at the top of the canopy!

  48. Sleeping Dog says:

    It’s nice being over here in the forum, rather than having fruitless arguments about masks.

  49. steve says:

    One of those mini-drones? (Under 250gm) That’s what I am flying now. Still pretty new to it so probably move up to a larger drone eventually. Like it quite a bit. I would think a shotgun would work to take out enough support though it may just fall onto a lower branch. Or get another drone and loop some string.


  50. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Some things in life are bad
    They can really make you mad
    Other things just make you swear and curse
    When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
    Don’t grumble, give a whistle
    And this’ll help things turn out for the best
    Always look on the bright side of life
    Always look on the light side of life

  51. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: We may be entering the “put a dead dog on the doorstep” portion of the Presidency. The only question is whether it is a warning to Manchin or McConnell.

    Also, whether Popcorn was involved. He was a bad dude.

  52. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Got a late start this morning, saw this one when I got to the end of the morning’s emails. Truly good news, this narrows it down to a list of about 40-odd people who think they want to herd cats… er, I mean Oregonians!

  53. de stijl says:


    I have been thinking about getting into drone photography. It’s really cool and appeals to me on a pretty deep level.

    The thing that keeps me away is that if I screw up I’ve essentially flushed big bucks down the toilet.

    I am a fairly hard-core gamer. My motor and reaction skills-kinda on point. I don’t suck. Given everything I know about myself, it is a thing I would be pretty good at.

    But occasionally, I screw up and need to reload the last save and do it better.

    IRL drones scare me because I cannot save-scum like I can do in games.

    The benefit is really cool, but I balk at the cost. I will screw up eventually guaranteed.

    When drones get cheaper – totally doing it.

  54. Mu Yixiao says:

    @de stijl:

    There are some super-cheap toy drones out there that you can get to practice on. I mean like… $25 cheap. They don’t have the performance of a DJI, but it’ll get you familiar with how they work–and probably a bit more responsive to environment, since they don’t have as much stability against wind.

    I used the company drone in China to take video of our projects. It took about an hour to get the hang of it. I wasn’t an expert by any means, but I got the job done and only crashed once–trying to do a “flyby” inside of a structure.

  55. de stijl says:


    A dead dog on the doorstep is better than a severed horse head in your bed.

    I never took Biden as a “Luca Brassi sleeps with the fishes” kind of guy.

    If true, pretty hardcore.

  56. CSK says:

    Shit, I hope we’re not entering the “put a dead dog on the doorstep” phase of the presidency. It’s the kind of thing Trump would have someone do.

  57. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “I did get thrown for a loop once, when I answered that way, and the robot started rattling something off in Chinese!”

    Probably wasn’t because of your response, alas. I used to frequently get Chinese spam calls…

  58. Kathy says:


    The worst I ever did was getting the roomba stuck under a couch. You’d think these high priced gadgets would have sensors and programming to prevent such things.

    I don’t suppose chopping down the tree is an option.

  59. Jax says:

    @steve: Unfortunately, it’s a DJI Mavic 2 Pro. I’ve gotten years of usefulness out of it, though, so I feel like I got my money’s worth. I just want the battery and memory card back so I can use them in the other drone (Mavic 2 Zoom). I’ve got my eye on a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced, but the cost makes me choke a little bit. 😛

  60. Jax says:

    @Kathy: It’s actually SUPPOSED to have Object Avoidance, but I guess when it glitched it shut that feature down. I knew it was malfunctioning pretty badly, I just didn’t expect it to fly into a tree!

    We’ve been considering lots of things, but it’s not a climbable tree…and it’s at least 45 ft up, so way too high for the loader on the tractor….no good shot with it being right here in the ranch yard and all these animals, vehicles and buildings around the house, all bullets that go up must come down somewhere!

  61. Jax says:

    @de stijl: They’re a lot of fun to fly. I started with a DJI Phantom 3 SE and crashed it probably 4 or 5 times without any major damage. Then I upgraded to the Mavic 2 series. Object Avoidance became a very attractive feature on the last crash with the phantom that killed it.

  62. de stijl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    My landline is permanently unplugged. (Which reminds me why am I paying for it if I never use it. I’d have to check the bill, but I’m getting charged 15-20 bucks a month for a service I do not use.)

    My trick for cell phone voice-mail is that my “greeting” is 15 seconds of absolute silence.

    Not “Hello this is de stijl’s number. Please leave a message and I will call you back later.”

    Everybody I know knows that my voice-mail greeting is utterly blank – if I want you to call me I tell you that upfront. My voice-mail will be weird, but just bear with it. I will listen.

    Some folks have taken up the same practice.

    The 15 seconds of silence defeats most robocallers. The vast majority just disconnect. The ratio of left messages is highly skewed towards messages from friends rather than telemarketers.

    Highly recommend. It’s a good life hack.

  63. Kathy says:


    Have you considered crowdsourcing? I think it’s likely other people have gotten drones stuck on trees and wound up to high to reach.

  64. CSK says:

    Why not throw a community-wide “Get-the-Drone-Out-of-the-Tree ‘n’ BBQ Blast”?

  65. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: If I recall, you’ve got a few drones. How about a string and a hook on one of those?

  66. Jen says:

    Apparently, a lost dog spent time following Sen. Crapo around the Dirksen building today, and wandered into a committee room.

  67. Kylopod says:

    @Jen: “Heeeeere, Crappy Crappy Crappy!”


  68. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    IF I were a billionaire and 20 years younger.

    Now, I’d probably just set up an X Prize kind of deal for the first sample return mission from Mars by a private company, or something.

    A real prize, though. The X Prize Rutan won for Spaceship One didn’t cover Paul Allen’s expenditures on the project. So either the Prize would cover the costs, or it would specify a maximum amount that can be invested in the project (I like that idea better: first sample return mission from Mars costing less than $10 million total). We want cheap as well as reliable space travel.

  69. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: The branches it’s caught in are so tiny, I’m afraid my hook would get trapped before it could get in far enough to get to the drone itself…and then I’d be hooked in the tree with the other drone! I’m actually really surprised the wind yesterday didn’t blow the tiny branches around enough to drop it, but it appears since the wind was coming from the north, it had no effect at all. Need a good west wind!

    @Kathy: I’ve talked to everybody else in our local drone club. Most of them still have a drone in a tree somewhere around the county. 😛

  70. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Huh? [head exploding emoji]

  71. gVOR08 says:


    Most of them still have a drone in a tree somewhere around the county.

    Sounds like a business opportunity for someone with good drone skills and willing to invest in a large drone.

  72. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    I didn’t invent it. Eric actually said that. He wished to interrogate Jesus as to whether Jesus really wanted Biden to become president, or was this some kind of object lesson in how the Democrats would make us suffer.

  73. just nutha says:

    @Jax: Is this a situation where your other drone can go up and “rescue” the first one? (Brainstorming ideas…)

  74. just nutha says:

    @de stijl: The only robocaller I usually get a message from is the robot that calls me for substitute teaching, but it’s on my caller ID anyway.

  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Only Eric could be that stupid.

  76. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I was just thinking that the child of as great a man of faith as FG would have come up with a less relentlessly stupid topic to ask Jesus a question about.
    Even something like “is the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man only an allegory or is it based on a true story?” Something like that. But complain about Joe Biden? Why would Jesus care about who Americans elect to be President?

  77. CSK says:

    He’s the Chief Dullard in a family full of them. I will concede that Donald Senior, Ivanka, and perhaps Donald Junior have a certain animal cunning, at least for evading the consequences of their actions, but Eric appears to be lacking even that.

  78. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    I think the pathetic slob was just hoping his Daddy would hear what he said and be impressed. Tough luck, Eric. Daddy will never, ever be impressed by you.

  79. just nutha says:

    @just nutha: (And yes, I know that the heads of at least a million evangelicals would explode if they heard me say that.)

  80. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    There are some super-cheap toy drones out there that you can get to practice on.

    What kind of weapons can they carry?

  81. Kathy says:


    Eric: Dad! Dad! I saved $2 on the way from school by running after the bus instead of taking it!

    Benito (slaps Eric with his tiny hand): Moron! Next time run after a cab and save $50!

  82. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: Why would Jesus care about who Americans elect to be President?

    “God has a plan.”

  83. CSK says:

    I think you’ve just encapsulated the Trump Family dynamic. Perfect.

  84. CSK says:

    God’s Providence is not easily understood.

  85. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Offered without additional comment…

  86. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Results suggest men’s desire to own firearms maybe connected to masculine insecurities.

    It’s always fun when the research confirms the utterly obvious.

  87. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Attack spiders

  88. de stijl says:

    @just nutha:

    If somebody calls me and they are in my contact list, I always pick up (mostly). Not J; he’s an asshole and an agent of chaos.)

    If it is a brand new caller I never answer. Leave a message if you can withstand the mighty power of 15 seconds of silence.

    It is pretty amazing what 15 seconds of silence as your greeting can do to sort out and thwart bad actors.

  89. Jen says:

    Hahahaha, court just ruled that Trump & Kids can be questioned under oath.

  90. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    It’s science….

  91. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    If I go along with the mythos, then Jesús would be an omniscient being. Why ask him something he’d already talked about? I’d ask:

    What’s the nature of dark matter and dark energy? are natural laws immutable or can they change? How about natural constants, like the speed of light? What the hell is gravity and can it be quantized? What happened in the first instants after the Big Bang? What happened before the Big Bang? What are the winning numbers for the next Powerball? Out of the sum total of knowledge possible about the universe, what percentage do we currently know?

  92. Kathy says:


    The best thing is that NY’s legal course of action can go on and on well after January 2023.

  93. CSK says:

    Oh, good. Trump can plead the Fifth, just as he claimed only criminals do. And his son Eric, who did it over 500 times.

    I assume TFG will appeal this.

  94. dazedandconfused says:
  95. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: @Michael Reynolds: “Get your man card punched.”

    Sorry, it didn’t work.

  96. Mu Yixiao says:


    Trained squirrels?

  97. Jen says:

    I take good care of my cars and if you want to guarantee that I’m going to hold on to my regular gas, non-electric vehicle until they no longer have pumping stations, it’s nonsense like BMW charging a subscription for heated seats that will do it.

    I will never be okay with this. As the article points out, the price of installing the heated seats are baked into the base price of the car. Requiring a “subscription” to ACTUALLY USE SOMETHING THAT IS INSTALLED is INSANE.

  98. Kathy says:


    Does the 5th amendment work the same way for civil matters? Also, if he does take it, can he be asked whether he’s ever claimed only criminals take the 5th?

    Regardless, what should worry his lawyers is the Cheeto will lie under oath.

  99. Sleeping Dog says:


    This is a civil case and it is doubtful that he can testify without perjuring himself. Thus a ready made criminal case. Ha!

  100. CSK says:

    Yes, it can, but it works against you in federal civil cases, because of what can be inferred from your refusal to speak.

  101. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Kathy: They can take the 5th. Eric did over 500 times when he was deposed.

  102. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: This is what Alan Dershowitz calls a “perjury trap,” which he seems to define as forcing someone to testify who has the unfair disadvantage of being a pathological liar.

  103. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Trump lied under oath over thirty times in just one civil case in 2007, when he was suing a writer.

  104. grumpy realist says:

    @Jen: It’s getting worse than that–automatic breathalysers, car shutting down if you haven’t paid your car loan….

    Add that to AI making (dumb) decisions on a lot of this (can you imagine trying to convince an AI that you did in fact pay your bill) and I suspect that at some point people are just going to get fed up and go back to horse-and-buggy. At least to get them moving I only need hay and carrots.

  105. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I don’t think that is correct but regardless, this is not a federal civil case.

  106. CSK says:

    I know it’s not a federal civil case. I mentioned the inference business as an example of when it would backfire.

    What am I wrong about?

  107. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    This is not parody, and I’m guessing the recently departed Dr. Johnny Fever is laughing his ass off in heaven.
    Arthur (Big Guy) Carlson;

    “As God is my witness, I thought *pillows* could fly.”

  108. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I just read this over at Wonkette:

    If they don’t want to give information that might harm their criminal case, they can plead the Fifth Amendment — but a fact finder is entitled to take the negative inference from this failure to testify, at least in the civil context.

    So, maybe in a civil case, but certainly not in a criminal case.

    @CSK: See above, I was wrong about civil but it doesn’t hold for criminal.

  109. CSK says:

    Yes, I meant a civil case. Kathy asked if one could plead the Fifth in a civil case, and I replied that yes, one can.

  110. Michael Cain says:

    Three or four sections of cheap PVC pipe and connectors so you can poke at it?

  111. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I was wrong about being able to take a “negative inference from this failure to testify, at least in the civil context.” I know one can’t in a criminal proceeding and had assumed it was the same in civil, making an ass out of me anyway.

  112. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I know that. I’m just not persuaded that the United States plays a role in it (other than “extra” or “crowd member” that is).

  113. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: Those are good questions, too, I just don’t think of them because I’m not into cosmology.

  114. Kathy says:


    This would be the thin edge of the wedge, too. The progression logically leads to all aspects of a car, or TV, computer, refrigerator, etc., being subscription services on property you own.

    Why not just move to an all-lease business model instead?

  115. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: Doesn’t everybody know that? Wait a minute… I’m an atheist so no, I don’t know that.

  116. Steve says:

    Jax- Yes yours is more expensive. I didn’t really think I would like it but my grandson was obsessed with drones. My only grandchild. So like any grandparent who wants to cause problems I bought two of the DJI Mini SEs. $299 each. Figured I would learn alongside grandson, he is six. Lots of fun. Easy to fly and incredibly stable. I assumed he would destroy his then I would give him mine but we are both still flying. I got a video card and extra batteries. Retiring soon so plan to upgrade then so I can get better range and optics.

    So easy even a caveman could fly it!


  117. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steve: Speaking as an honest to dawg real life caveman, I doubt it.

  118. Gustopher says:

    @grumpy realist: I could get on board with every car having a breathalyzer on the ignition.

  119. Jax says:

    @Steve: I actually bought the Phantom 3 SE for my Dad for Christmas and he wouldn’t even touch it, so he gifted it back to me for my birthday. 😛

    I’m glad you guys have a fun activity together! And I feel your pain on the batteries and accessories. By the time you get comfortable enough flying to enjoy it, then you need more batteries, etc. etc.

    That would be the bad thing about upgrading to the Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced. I’d have to start all over on the batteries and accessories. Looks like the case I customized would probably still work.

    But that thermal camera….I could SEE the cows under the trees!

  120. Kathy says:

    A coworker once brought in a toy drone to the office. it was loud, and tended to rise too fast for use indoors. It also tended to either rise or fall, not hover like a quadcopter should. It had no camera, but it did have a cradle where you could place a cell phone.

    I had a brief fantasy of getting a cheap cell phone, so we could send the drone around quitting time to scout the traffic nearby. But isn’t that what Waze and Maps already do?

  121. Jax says:

    This one’s pretty cool, too. I like how it has a bigger screen on the controller, longer battery life, and longer range on transmission! The price still makes me choke, though.

  122. steve says:

    I am not a very good photographer but this is fun. The wife is a very good photographer but is skeptical of tech. I am gradually sucking her in by taking some poorly framed pictures and she then has me reposition to take a better one and show me what I did wrong. Gradually getting her to take the controls. She is smarter than I am , knows exactly what I am doing but cant help herself. Besides, she is an avid birder and we have been able to find some good bird sites.


  123. Kathy says:

    To clarify my question on the 5th amendment, the relevant portion reads “nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”

    A civil case is, by definition, not a criminal case. therefore if Benito is on the stand, or at a deposition, and gets asked something the truthful answer to which would prove liability or responsibility for fraud, as an example, but not guilt in a criminal sense, can he take refuge in the 5th amendment?

    My understanding is that in civil matters the defendant cannot be called to testify by the plaintiff*, but if they take the stand they have to answer all questions truthfully, even if it’s to their detriment.

    *I’m not at all sure about this.

  124. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I didn’t see a price anywhere, which leads me to believe that if I have to ask, I can’t afford it.

  125. CSK says:

    Yes, but it doesn’t happen very often. The defendant has to answer all question truthfully during cross-x, which will be a problem for ex-Prez Lardass.

  126. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That particular one is $8,500, and the batteries are $219 apiece. The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced is $6,500, and the batteries are $189 apiece. It appears the main difference is slightly different sensors, longer battery life (and more secure in how they fit inside the drone) and better controls on the autotel. Both have pretty good dual cameras.

    I’m trying to figure out how many of ours and the neighbor’s wayward bulls I have to locate with thermal imaging in the late fall/early winter to make it worth it/pay for it. 😛

  127. grumpy realist says:

    @Jax: I’ve got a bunch of drone applications on my (virtual) desk at present. Rather interesting to see where the technology is going.

  128. Roger says:


    My understanding is that in civil matters the defendant cannot be called to testify by the plaintiff*, but if they take the stand they have to answer all questions truthfully, even if it’s to their detriment.

    I practice in Missouri, not New York, but I suspect the rules on these issues are similar. If so, (1) a plaintiff can, and very frequently does, call a defendant and force him/her to testify; (2) the defendant still can refuse to answer questions based on the 5th amendment if the answer could criminally incriminate him/her; but (3) if the defendant refuses to answer based on his/her fifth amendment privilege the jury is entitled (but not required) to draw an adverse inference and presume that an honest answer would have been incriminating.

    As I explained to my KC sons it works basically like this: Me: Did you eat the last burnt end. Son: I’m not going to answer that. Other son: He definitely ate it.

    All this assumes a civil case, not a criminal case where the rules are very different.

  129. Jax says:

    @grumpy realist: The thermal camera applications can save the lives of both humans and animals. There are some university programs that are testing them to read the tags in an animals ear, I’m definitely down for helping out with that. And the drones that can shoot a dart to doctor a sick cow up where nobody can get to her….I’m down for that, too, if it means she makes it home!

    Often times, if I knew where the cow was, I could send a cowboy to doctor a cow. Cows don’t often sit out in the open when they’re sick, so a thermal drone that enables me to find her would make a lot of difference.

  130. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Not me. I’ve known people who’ve had to have it hooked up. Admittedly, they deserved the DUII, but between the mandatory $100/month fee, plus the $100 penalty and lockout (plus tow) every time you got a false positive*, it really added up.

    * I was in the car with the dude one time, on the freeway doing 65, when the machine *dinged*. He had 10 seconds to stop the car, grab the tube, breath into it an appropriate amount, etc. Failure to do that locks up the car; it’s immobilized until it’s towed to the maintenance center that resets and recalibrates it. I asked him how that worked, and he said it happened at least 2 times a month. Every time when he was driving, never when he was parked and starting the car. Apparently, this is a feature, not a bug.

  131. Rick DeMent says:


    It’s not like he killed the dog. He was just responding directly to her request.