Thursday’s Forum

Open thread.

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. Bill says:
  2. Bill says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I found this over at the Bulwark last night: We’re Trying to Send a Refugee to Die to Make a Government Lie Seem True

    Omar Ameen is an Iraqi-American refugee currently housed in a maximum security cell an hour up the road from me in Sacramento. The United States government contends that Ameen is an ISIS commander who infiltrated the refugee stream coming out of the Middle East. He awaits a hearing next week that could result in his extradition back to a certain death in Iraq.

    And yet all of the evidence indicates Ameen is not, in fact, an ISIS commander, but instead an innocent man who fled the sectarian violence and bloodshed that we contributed to in his home country in order to live out what was once considered the American dream with his family here.

    It’s the type of story that every part of you doesn’t want to be true—because if it is true it is so fucking maddening that you can’t even see straight. It’s enough to make part of you hope that you’re missing something; to hope that Ameen might be secret ISIS after-all. Because if he isn’t an ISIS commander who infiltrated the U.S. refugee program, then it means something much worse—that the U.S. government is terrorizing an innocent man on our behalf.

    Even the person who spent months getting to the bottom of this atrocity wished he had it wrong. Last week, New Yorker writer Ben Taub tweeted that he is “closing a story today — one which, at every stage of reporting, I wanted to drop, I wanted to find wasn’t true. But it is, and it’s important, and I hate it.”

    Taub’s story, “The Fight To Save An Innocent Refugee From Almost Certain Death,” lays out in horrific detail how the FBI, DHS, State Department, and DOJ “have been co-opted into a campaign to extradite an innocent man to almost certain death, to make a racist talking point appear to be slightly less of a fiction.” It reads more like a dystopian movie—Enemy of the Racist State—than a real-life story.

    Except that is real. And you must read every word it.

    So I did. I read every enraging detail. As Miller summarizes:

    When you look at the Ameen story you see tales we’ve seen before: The wrong guy being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The broken criminal justice system in desperate need of reform. The cruel government agents who don’t care about the truth. And yes, it’s a story about all of those things.

    But the Ameen story is also about what kind of country we are. The Ameen family story—the first part, before the men with guns swooped in to ruin his life—is one we used to pride ourselves on.

    Refugees fleeing violence and oppression, seeing a beacon of hope shining across the ocean, and sacrificing everything to make it to America. A family does everything by the book, follows all of the rules to get here, then learns our language, helps at religious charities, joins a community, works hundred-hour weeks to support themselves, and comes to love our country for its beauty and opportunity.

    That’s the American story. Or at least it used to be.

    Today the American story is about sticking up for your own kind and taking what you think you deserve. It’s about blocking others from the bounty. It’s about being suspicious of anyone who doesn’t look like you and being willing to put a family through the deepest circle of hell to prove that your prejudices are right. It’s about accepting literally any story from your government, so long as the people suffering are from the other tribe. It’s about being righteously aggrieved at the most minor slight while not blinking an eye at the maximum cruelty being imposed on the other.

    Miller is right. You need to read Ameen’s story too.

    ETA While Taub’s story at the New Yorker defies excerpting, I do want to quote this paragraph from it:

    In fact, the most obvious way in which refugees have not assimilated into American life is their failure to commit violent acts. A study by the Cato Institute found that “the chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year.” The three refugees who brought the historic probability above a flat zero were Cuban; they entered the U.S. before Congress passed the Refugee Act, in 1980, which standardized the vetting process. Since then, more than three million refugees have entered the U.S., and the screening has grown ever more comprehensive.

  4. Kit says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’d vote for a candidate who promised simply to address global warming and thoroughly root out corruption from the past years. For those who deserve it, I want the prisons filled and lives destroyed.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:
  6. Moosebreath says:

    If this video is not shown enough times next fall that most Americans can recite it from memory, the Democrats are guilty of malpractice.

    “Asked if entitlement cuts would ever be on his agenda, Trump responded, “At some point they will be.”
    In the CNBC interview, Trump called tackling entitlement spending “the easiest of all things” and suggested higher economic growth would make it easier to reduce spending on the programs.”

  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Steve Munchkin, who is overseeing the largest deficit increase in a time of non-recession EVER, says Greta Thurnberg should go to Economics School and get back to us.

  8. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: days after he said the tax cuts pay for themselves.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Actually, he said they will pay for themselves, someday.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:
  11. CSK says:

    But the Church of England wouldn’t exist if Henry VIII hadn’t done some extramarital f*cking.

  12. Kathy says:

    Having read Lewis’ “The Big Short,” I’m reminded of the Centauri Regent in Babylon 5 after the Drakh take him and the Centauri Republic over: They told me things I didn’t understand. And things I didn’t want to understand.

    Moving on, I’m reading “A World Without Work” by Daniel Susskind. Just getting started. nevertheless, he lays out an assumption in the introduction which is very important to keep in mind: the replacement of workers with automation is gradual.

    Why is this important?

    Because with gradual changes, people get used to how things slowly become different. There’s no adverse reaction until lots of people run out of options or opportunities. Also the standards of what’s normal get redefined (see what’s going on with regard to politics post-Dennison).

    Think of the difference between a plant laying off a few workers every year, vs one that suddenly shuts down. The former goes by with little note outside of those affected, the latter makes the news.

    So if you were to replace all worker right now, that would draw tons of attention, government programs, etc. If it happens gradually, well, that’s the market. Look for other jobs.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    On yesterday’s open thread there was some discussion of Uber’s business model. The most cogent explanation I found for why their business is not like Amazon is that it there is relatively little economy of scale. The infrastructure (drivers, customer awareness, agreements with the local airport) they build up in say, Chicago is of no use in Nashville. Every new city needs to have that infrastructure recreated. And I suspect they have already deployed in the most lucrative areas.

  14. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: Amazon did Prime to make people default to Amazon instead of looking elsewhere. Could Uber do Uber Prime? Doubtful.

  15. Teve says:


    If you don’t have an economics degree like Greta, they’ll mock you for not having one.

    If you DO have one, as I do, they’ll claim it’s illegitimate.

    Haters gonna hate & deniers will deny. They will deny logic, science, and environmental consensus in order to protect oligarchy.


    I DO have an economics degree (Ph.D. from Harvard) and I would much rather take economic advice from @GretaThunberg and @AOC than most of the “experts” I see on the news.

  16. Kathy says:


    The company I work for will reimburse for taxis when used for work. The problem is most taxis don’t give out receipts or invoices that can be deducted. Uber does. So they signed up for Uber enterprise, which bills the company directly.

    But that’s a limited market.

  17. Kurtz says:


    I think that is why Uber is going all-in on self-driving cars. Whether keeping the whole fare for the company will make up for the shortfall or not, I don’t know.

  18. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: they’ve made several desperate claims to try to keep the balloon afloat. UberEats, self-driving…

    Self-driving is not getting here fast enough.

  19. Neil Hudelson says:


    I have a friend who works on Google’s self-driving team. His candid assessment is that self-driving cars are going to be like fusion power–we know we can technically do it, and theoretically eventually we will, but it will always be about 10 years away.

    Not only has developing the software proven much more complicated than originally expected (like the example of a car not recognizing a human pushing a bike, because it only knows to recognize humans riding bikes), but they’ve just started to scratch the surface on the plethora state and municipal regulations they will have to deal with.

  20. Kathy says:


    I wonder whether self-driving cars won’t be delayed for years, if not decades, due to the liability involved, due to the overhyped expectations from many autonomous vehicle proponents.

    Specifically the idea that automated cars will be safer than human drivers. This is probably true, within reason, but this doesn’t mean absolutely safe. autonomous cars will have accidents, they will run people over, just at lower rates than human drivers.

    As things are today, a car manufacturer isn’t liable for accidents unless the car was defective in some way. With autonomous cars, the manufacturer will be liable for most, if not all, accidents their cars are involved in. More so in public opinion, because the hype makes ti seem these cars should be safe.

    You can sue any schmoe for running you over while driving recklessly or drunk, but how much money can you recover? Lawyers do ask such questions. consider how much money can be gotten from Toyota, GM, Ford, BMW, Daimler, etc.

  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Why do people keep picking fights with Greta? She’s smarter than they are, quicker and funnier, too.

  22. Paul L. says:

    Love is Love. 2 (or more) people who love each other should be able to marry anyone they want to.

  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Why do people keep picking fights with Greta?

    Especially the stable geniuses in this administration?

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    You all saw this I assume? Prince Charles’ brutal dismissal of the Vice President of the United States of America.

  25. Paul L. says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Especially the stable geniuses in this administration?

    How could they defeat the most brilliant and experienced Democrat legal minds in court?
    Crooked Judge abusing his power like Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in the Ted Stevens’ case?

  26. Joe says:

    For the reasons you identify, Kathy, self-driving cars rely entirely on organizational decisions as to their algorithms and thus are creatures of organizations with identifiable responsibility and deep pockets. This is why the Catholic Church leads the way in the clergy abuse scandal. Catholic priests do not abuse in greater percentage or number than the clergy of other faith communities, but the Catholic Church has an institution above them that is legally (and actually) responsible, which can be held accountable and has deep pockets in a way that individual congregations hiring and quietly firing clergy do not. (I don’t mean this to excuse in any way the Catholic Church – it’s just an observation of where the liability flows.)

  27. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The cut direct!

  28. DrDaveT says:


    Catholic priests do not abuse in greater percentage or number than the clergy of other faith communities

    Do you have a source you can point me to for that claim? It seems improbable, given the unique incentives (on both sides) associated with the celibacy requirement.

  29. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    But Charles could stomach–literally and figuratively–dining with Trump during Trump’s state visit to the U.K.?

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @Bill: Karma, baby.

  31. Kathy says:

    In a show trial, the authority has control over all the evidence, so it shows only that evidence that damns the accused, and excludes all or most of the exculpatory evidence, if any, or any evidence that may elicit sympathy.

    The verdict, of course, is pre-ordained. But the point is to discredit the accused and make them look terrible.

    The GOP senators don’t control all the evidence, therefore they cannot exclude that which shows El Cheeto to be guilty, criminal, corrupt, or which makes him look bad. And that’s also why they won’t allow witnesses, nor will they ask or subpoena any more documents. They’d only make Dennison look worse.

    The strategy, then, is to discredit the accusers, the process, etc.

    In a court of law with an impartial judge and jury, this would be suicide. But the GOP senators are not impartial, so they can safely engage in a no-show trial.

  32. Paul L. says:

    In a show trial, the authority has control over all the evidence, so it shows only that evidence that damns the accused, and excludes all or most of the exculpatory evidence, if any, or any evidence that may elicit sympathy.

    The same is true for a Grand Jury or Title IX tribunal/disciplinary panel .
    But being indicted proves guilt

  33. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:
    Dude…you link to a climate website run by a guy that isn’t a climatologist…and doesn’t even have a meteorology degree. Worse…he is funded, in part, by the Heartland Institute…a group that not only denies climate change but also denies the dangers of tobacco. In addition they are heavily funded by Exxon…the subject of the article you linked to. Think they might be biased?
    I mean…if you want to be taken seriously…maybe link to serious sources?
    You aren’t very smart.

  34. sam says:

    Jim Lehrer has passed away.

  35. Paul L. says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Time to light up another of my progressive “strawmen”. WOOOOOOOSHHH!!
    So you are saying the deniers are mistaken/wrong/misleading/lying about “Exxon Mobil Beat New York’s Climate-Change fraud Accounting Case” .
    The case was complete victory for Science and catastrophic anthropogenic climate change acolytes just like the Michael E. Mann v. Steyn, NRO and AEI case.

    You aren’t very smart.

    OTB Policies

    Remember that the people under discussion are human beings. Comments that contain personal attacks about the post author or other commenters will be deleted. Repeated violators will be banned. Challenge the ideas of those with whom you disagree, not their patriotism, decency, or integrity.

    However, Greta Thunberg is a brilliant beautiful climatologist.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    There he had to play host in his official role. Swallow hard and take one for England.

  37. Liberal Capitalist says:

    OK… two things:

    1) Is a daily forum just a bit much? how ’bout scaling back to 3 or 2 per week? It is becoming much a new aggregation fest, and I can RSS on my own.

    2) Re: Self-driving. Yep. The challenge is not the cars that would self-drive, but the other challenges: Human-driven vehicles and humans in general. As a result we will more likely see self-flying happen sooner. Sorry, it’s just easier to manage. Once that will be on the brink, look at mandatory drone registration (or it can’t launch) to prevent stupid humans from doing stupid things.

    3) Finally, F#ck this administration for rolling back the protection on wetlands and rivers. They are totally destroying what was left of Nixon’s legacy.

  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:

    Repeated violators will be banned.

    Thanks for reminding us, but I believe the moderators are trying hard not to ban you despite your creepy rape obsessions, your random outbursts of all-caps screams, your lies and all-around fatuity.

  39. Paul L. says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    This one applies to you and your favorite “Cult45” argument.

    Challenge the ideas of those with whom you disagree, not their patriotism, decency, or integrity.

    your random outbursts of all-caps screams

    You forgot Poor Grammar and Spelling.

  40. Mister Bluster says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:..1) Is a daily forum just a bit much? how ’bout scaling back to 3 or 2 per week? It is becoming much a new aggregation fest,..


  41. Paul L. says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    …totally destroying what was left of Nixon’s legacy.

    Disband the ATF and EPA!

  42. Jax says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I believe the daily Open Forum is a temporary arrangement until Doug comes back. Keeps the natives entertained with minimal investment on the part of our hosts. 😉

  43. reid says:

    @Neil Hudelson: That would be my guess, too. It’s such a huge jump from semi-autonomous features like lane assist and emergency braking to removing the human completely from the loop. (I don’t work in this area but can appreciate the challenges of making a computer work in the real world like this.)

  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:

    Challenge the ideas of those with whom you disagree, not their patriotism, decency, or integrity.

    You don’t have ideas. You have lies and you have cut-and-paste lies and you have your native imbecility. Should you ever have an actual idea, do let us all know.

  45. Kathy says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    1) Is a daily forum just a bit much?

    Not at all. What @Jax said, plus this is a really good place to discuss interesting issues intelligently, and in a rather succinct manner.

  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jax: @Liberal Capitalist:
    I really think it’s time to give Doug more help. He has been extraordinarily productive, so much so that a lot of people take him for granted, but that level of writing, day in and day out, is a back-breaker. We have some OTB center-right guys who could probably contribute and keep to the loosely-defined mission of the blog, if Joyner reached out to them.

  47. Kurtz says:

    @Paul L.:

    The cult45 argument is a criticism of an idea, not a person. It criticizes what is apparent, that Trump supporters respond to any criticism of any of his actions as “orange man bad” and/or TDS. It doesn’t imply anything about patriotism, integrity or decency. It is merely pushing back against blanket dismissal of criticism.

    Dismantling Nixon’s legacy is a pretty good indicator that the Republican party is no longer a center-right party. The members of which misapply labels like fascist and socialist on a daily basis.

  48. Kathy says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    As a result we will more likely see self-flying happen sooner. Sorry, it’s just easier to manage.

    That, and no one set out to build an autonomous airplane all at once. it’s been happening in stages for decades. Autopilots, which kept course and altitude, date from the 30s, I think. Some innovations come from military developments, other from civilian ones. Til the 80s, commercial planes required three pilots, now only two. The cockpit has become quite automated, to the point much flying is done through the Flight Management System. You don’t so much change course or reduce speed, as you tell the system to do so.

    There are also things like fly-by-wire, which was developed for the military and adapted to commercial planes first by Airbus. And TCAS, developed to reduce or prevent mid-air collisions. This one has a nifty feature: it talks to other TCAS units out there. So if two planes are heading towards each other, their TCAS agree which should climb and which descend.

  49. DrDaveT says:

    There are also things like fly-by-wire, which was developed for the military and adapted to commercial planes first by Airbus. And TCAS, developed to reduce or prevent mid-air collisions.

    Also GCAS, the Ground Collision Avoidance System in fighter planes that takes over from the pilot and puts the plane into a leveling climb if it appears to the plane that the pilot is going to fly it into the ground.

  50. Michael Reynolds says:


    Do you have a source you can point me to for that claim?

    I agree. There is simply no way to obtain that data with any degree of reliability. It’s propaganda disguised as a truism. (Not suggesting @Joe is dissembling in any way.) How many child rapists does it take at the lower levels of an organization to breed a hierarchy as devoted to covering up child rape as the GOP is to cover up treason and corruption? The worst corporation wouldn’t stomach it.

    The Roman Catholic church is an organization devoted to child rape as a sort of perk of employment. Join the priesthood, get health insurance, a nice pension plan, a dedicated parking space at your church, and the freedom to rape children.

  51. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Teve: Hardly surprising. I have an ABD in history from Yale, and I regularly get lectured online by know-it-alls who tell me “We’re a republic, not a democracy,” and other such malarkey. Psychological revenge of the less-educated on the better-educated. Not that I look down on the better-educated, as long as they don’t pretend they have some secret knowledge not divulged to the rest of us.

  52. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Why do people keep picking fights with Greta? She’s smarter than they are, quicker and funnier, too.

    Because they are terrible people with shitty values and wealthy terrible people and organizations with shitty values are paying them to.

    A few years ago I said people were being paid to support AGW denial. A Republican friend said no one was paying him. I actually left him flat footed for a moment when I replied, no, he wasn’t getting anything, but people he trusted were being paid to lie to him.

  53. just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Transference/Projection (whichever, I can’t keep them straight anymore) is strong in the conversation today. And have you noticed that it’s always the people who have been warned about their anti-social tendencies that keep quoting the comment guidelines? It always has been, too. Hmmm…

  54. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:

    However, Greta Thunberg is a brilliant beautiful climatologist.

    She doesn’t claim to be.
    She simply asks people to look at the science.
    You are asking people to trust in unqualified people, who claim to know more than qualified scientists, and who are funded by the fossil fuel industry.
    You can’t even form a coherent, logical, argument. Which is a nice way of saying…

  55. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    the Heartland Institute…a group that not only denies climate change but also denies the dangers of tobacco.

    Years ago I played a game until it proved too easy and too predictable. The game was to see how many searches it took to link a prominent AGW denier to oil and coal money. IIRC, seldom even three. The Heartland Institute came up frequently, along with the fact that they came out of the tobacco wars. It turned out a lot of deniers were got their start and their training with tobacco money.

  56. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:
    And that case was about accounting…not the science of climate change.
    As the Judge said…

    this is a securities fraud case, not a climate change case.

    You’re not smart.

  57. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    There’s another video of Pence and Charles joking around with each other a few minutes later, so I think it was really a case of him accidentally overlooking the VP rather than an intentional snub.

  58. Joe says:

    Rather than dig a deeper hole, DrDaveT, I will concede that what sources I had I have not looked at for years and will say only that I found them credible at the time. I am not willing to throw the institution as far under the bus as Michael Reynolds, but there are no excuses for how obscenely the Catholic Church has handled this on an institutional basis for years. So I am just gonna leave it there.

  59. MarkedMan says:

    My brother and I have a running disagreement on whether there will soon be autonomous wheeled vehicles. He says no and I say yes. We actually both have a pretty good understanding of the state of the technology and the technical challenges that remain, but we differ in what we consider a self driving vehicle. Like many here, he feels that the vehicle must be able to do everything a person can do, and even better. On the other hand, I think that the path to autonomous vehicles will be walked hand in hand with municipalities and businesses who will change regulations and physical infrastructure to accommodate.

    When the “horseless carriage” first showed up on our roads I imagine there were people who made the very cogent argument that if someone got rid of their horses and wagons and relied only on these new fangled gadgets, well, they couldn’t depend on them when the rains came down and the roads turned to mud, like you could with horses. And sure, these vehicles are faster than horses, but what good is speed when you come to an intersection you’re moving so fast there is no time to assess who has the right of way? But roads were paved and stop signs and streetlights were developed and installed, and a hundred other problems were solved by altering the roadways. I think that’s what will happen with AVs.

    I could easily imagine communities with lots of elderly dedicating lanes to small AVs that max out at a relatively safe speed of 35 mph, and adding road cutouts with beacons or other indicators that this is where you should load and unload. Gradually these would be expanded as local businesses complained about being unreachable from these networks.

    And I could easily imagine GM or Tesla getting together with malls and other commercial locations to make self-driving-only parking lots. These could be off-site or in a parking garage with 5 ft high ceilings, parked door handle to door handle and maybe even three or four deep. These parking areas would have beacons and lane guides and other agreed-upon assists to insure the cars could get themselves in and out quickly. If enough businesses had such things I would easily pay $3-5K on my next car so I could drive up in the rain to the covered drop off point 2 minutes before showtime, get out, and let my car go off and worry about parking. And then I could see the use of these beacons and guides spreading to cover more and more areas…

  60. 95 South says:
  61. Michael Cain says:


    …by know-it-alls who tell me “We’re a republic, not a democracy,” and other such malarkey.

    I get to tell them, “I live in a republic AND a democracy.” Initiative state: the people can change statute and even the state constitution w/o the elected representatives or governor being involved at all. The Supreme Court is involved a bit, but only to the extent of ruling whether the title is accurate and whether the initiative meets the single-subject requirement. The most common reason for an initiative making the ballot over the last 20 years has been to deal with topics that the legislature is scared to touch: renewable energy mandate, recreational marijuana, increased minimum wage, redistricting commission, etc.

  62. Paul L. says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    this is a securities fraud case, not a climate change case.

    That is a bad framing. It is why the Judge rejected discovery.
    Massachusetts Sues ExxonMobil For Climate Disinformation, Greenwashing
    Let us quote a Prosecutor in the case

    Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil today over the company’s misinformation campaign to delay action to address climate change.
    …“Exxon has known for decades about the catastrophic climate impacts of burning fossil fuels—its chief product,” said AG Healey. “Yet, to this day, Exxon continues to deceive Massachusetts consumers and investors about the dangerous climate harms caused by its oil and gasoline products and the significant risks of climate change—and efforts to address it—to Exxon’s business.”

  63. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:

    That is a bad framing.

    I’m sorry…I think I’ll listen to the Judge in the case, and not a guy that can barely use the English language.
    You want to be taken seriously? Start being serious.

  64. CSK says:

    @95 South:
    I admit to skimming this article, but I noticed that it does not appear to be a myth that the vast majority–if not all–victims of RC clerical sexual abuse appear to come from low or lower income, less educated population groups. I live in Massachusetts, where some of the most infamous cases occurred. As far as I know, the victims were blue collar and urban. It’s as if the clergy who preyed on those young teen boys knew these boys would be perfect victims, coming as they did from families who not only had no social nor political clout, but who were so in thrall to the church that they would believe the priest’s denial of wrongdoing over the word of their own sons.

  65. Kathy says:


    I see things developing that way, too.

    These could be off-site or in a parking garage with 5 ft high ceilings, parked door handle to door handle and maybe even three or four deep.

    That’s a feedback loop 🙂 You’d need robots to clean the place, and autonomous tow trucks of sorts to be able to get in and remove a malfunctioning or low battery car.

    A car that would drive itself reliably and with safety even a few percentage points better than a human driver, would produce great changes over time.

    For example, instead of flying between two cities, you could let your car do the 8 or 10-hour drive while you sleep (assuming the turns and odd bumps in the road don’t keep you from sleeping). If you have a long commute, you could nap on the way to work, or from work. You could also not care about drinking too much when out with friends (not necessarily a good thing).

    No doubt lots of other things I haven’t though about.

    I don’t expect such a degree of autonomy for years yet, maybe decades.

    I’l confess, too, I’ve never even used cruise control in my car.

  66. franco ollivander says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: “Is a daily forum just a bit much? how ’bout scaling back to 3 or 2 per week?”

    The daily forum might work out better as a fixed URL where old messages scroll out after so many days.

  67. DrDaveT says:

    @95 South: Thanks for the link, 95.

  68. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Yeah, fun while it lasted.

  69. Kathy says:

    Hey, do you realize regime change in Venezuela has been fizzling for a year now?

  70. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I read The Greatest Trade Ever just before I read Lewis’ The Big Short. It was about John Paulson’s part in that mess and the reason he wasn’t included in Lewis’ book beyond a mention here and there. IIRC JP refused to be interviewed by Lewis because he felt Lewis’s book would compete with his own more laudatory book. It would have.

    It is still worth reading as it describes how Paulson went about it, one just has to be able to choke down some over the top hero MOTU language.

  71. Liberal Capitalist says:


    Kathy – while you may never have used cruise control, many millennials can’t see the point of owning a car. For them car sharing via app is already a reality.

    IF cars go autonomous drive, THEN the death of the need for a personal auto is dead. Well… dead at least for the developed world.

    That’s why GM is pushing the cruise project. Here is their vehicle prototype

    Low battery – no… already being considered is wireless charging in roadways and garages and parking much like many cell phones now.

    Maintenance – my Bolt only needs it’s first maintenance at 125K miles, but self diagnostics can allow a car to go to a service center. Lift is already creating dedicated service centers ONLY for Lift driven vehicles… so, quick leap to driver-less.

    Cleanliness- there is no privacy assumed, so if someone trashes the vehicle and it needs to be cleaned, they will get billed. Video validates if there are complaints. An infrared scan of the interior can validate if it needs it. And if does, then off to the maintenance facility where the whole thing is just power washed down to keep costs low. Most people won’t care if the outside of the vehicle is mildly dirty… who looks out the windows anyway? And we already tint them so people cant see in. Wi-Fi will provide entertainment and video calls will pass the time. SO much more time for cat videos!

    Parking – just like car dealers fill lots with unsold cars, ANY location can be used for storage. Metropolitan areas will likely ban overnight parking of autonomous vehicles, so the streets will likely get less crowded. AND if there is charging in the pavement, knowledge of available parking spots is immediate AND reserve-able.

    The thing that most people are not ready for is the total disruption of the sales and support model. Dealerships, gas stations, repair shops… all the sort of things that support an ICE vehicle… eliminated over time. What need will there be for a muffler shop if there is no exhausts?

    Sure, old farts will still hold on to certain cars (like my 1969 corvette)… but those born to the ubiquitous autonomous vehicle age will likely not have that same emotional bond.

    People own cars for the freedom of movement that they provide. If you can provide that as a service for $3000 / year, people will immediately sign up.

    Want to be fancy? Show your disposable income and sign up for the $8,000 package and get a German built silver car picking you up that includes concierge service (virtual, of course). Why yes, I am looking at you Mike… why do you ask?

    This could happen very quickly… after all, i never expected that I would see all that Star Trek stuff in my life… but we have universal translators, voice activated computers, handheld communication devices, artificial intelligence … the list goes on-and-on.

    Alexa – I need transport at 5:45 tonight.


  72. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “You don’t have ideas. You have lies and you have cut-and-paste lies and you have your native imbecility. ”

    To be fair, I suspect he also has several gallon jugs of Old Grand-Dad.

  73. Kurtz says:


    Yeah, I see it less now, but several years ago, you would see comments say, “follow the money!” in reference to climate activists.

    It always struck me as obviously dumb, because the amount of money flowing into climate research pales in comparison to the amount of money in the fossil fuels industry.

    How can anybody who says that be taken seriously? It’s the simplest cognitive exercise to think on that one for two seconds to see how little sense it makes. Why would anything more complicated be given more thought by someone like that?

  74. Kathy says:


    Thanks. I might read it. But I expect it will be more about credit default swaps.

    I’d really like to know the other sides of the story. About the banks that made the sub-prime mortgage loans, The investment banks, brokerages, and funds that backed the sub-prime mortgage loan bonds and CDOs, and who sold the credit default swaps. The regulators and ratings agencies who let the whole mess develop under their watch. And not least the people who took out sub prime loans.

    I don’t suppose the first three groups want to brag, but maybe they want to justify or excuse. The last group may feel victimized. Many of the mortgages were not to acquire a house, but a loan at a lower interest to pay off other debts or acquire necessities on credit (or pay off student loans? that would be interesting).

  75. Kurtz says:


    Not to make light of this, but… watch the priest’s response to AJ cursing.

    Not everyone has the benefit of a mob boss father or political/financial connections.

    Not to go down another landmine filled discussion, but this reminds me of something else. I think the Covington kid coming from a family with enough money to hire a PR firm is an under-discussed aspect of thst situation.

    If it had been a poor kid in the center of that controversy, he would have had to start a GoFundMe for an expensive consultancy to fight it. Of course, that “punchable face” is not as often seen in low-income areas.

    H/T to Gustopher for the quote. I thought I was the only one who thought that about the kid. I would really love to see that kid in a cage match with Ted Cruz. I would definitely spring for Pay-Per-View for that one.

  76. OzarkHillbilly says:


    But I expect it will be more about credit default swaps.

    It’s been so long since I read them I don’t remember much beyond I found them both interesting and edifying (ftr: I love everything Lewis writes). You are probably correct in your presumption.

    It would be nice to read how the other side of these trades managed to get pulled in, how badly they fared, what they did in response and what if any adjustments they have made since to insure it doesn’t happen again but no I don’t think they are lining up to tell their story.

  77. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: I’m cosigning this.

  78. OzarkHillbilly says:


    I noticed that it does not appear to be a myth that the vast majority–if not all–victims of RC clerical sexual abuse appear to come from low or lower income, less educated population groups.
    It’s as if the clergy who preyed on those young teen boys knew these boys would be perfect victims, coming as they did from families who not only had no social nor political clout, but who were so in thrall to the church that they would believe the priest’s denial of wrongdoing over the word of their own sons.

    I read some time ago that a lot of the victims (most?) came from families with absentee fathers, the definition of absentee including children who had fathers living at home, but not around either because they were working 2 or 3 jobs or worked a lot of overtime or traveled a lot. As one who grew up in such a situation it made sense to me because I always felt that lack. I was not very religious so the idea of looking to a priest to fill that void was not going to happen. However during the 9th grade I did find myself in an uncomfortable situation with a male teacher with whom I had gotten somewhat close to(who looking back was obviously gay) and afterwards had to keep my distance.

  79. Kurtz says:


    It’s good that you followed your intuition on that one. Some don’t have the intuition in the first place. Some have it, but suppress it because what’s missing at home feels more salient. Genuinely happy for you that you were able to have the trust in yourself to avoid a potentially tragic outcome.

  80. gVOR08 says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    People own cars for the freedom of movement that they provide. If you can provide that as a service for $3000 / year, people will immediately sign up.

    I’m a car guy, and I wouldn’t own a street car if I didn’t have to. But I sure don’t see the software as anywhere near ready for any but controlled environments.

    Let me add a few observations on the subject:
    – I like the self-driving parking lot idea. They could easily be programmed to shuffle themselves as needed.
    – Any idea that the car is almost self driving, but the driver has to be at the wheel and paying attention is absurd. (I’m looking at you, Elon.) What’s the point if I can’t be doing something else entirely? And there’s no way to stay alert except to drive myself.
    – Rural interstates are less challenging environments than urban areas. I’d be good with a car I had to drive in urban areas and the first and last several miles if I could hand off and read or take a nap for a few hours in between.
    – Similarly long haul trucks running unmanned between terminals outside urban traffic might make sense.
    – I’ve seen a lot of talk about platooned trucks, a lead driver with half a dozen trucks following him. Seems to make sense.
    – The above could be half way houses to full autonomous.
    – As noted above, airplanes are getting highly automated, but operate in a less challenging environment.
    – All the people proposing flying cars and taxis seem to assume someone is going to create a traffic control environment. Which will have to include delivery drones.
    – One reason the airline environment is less challenging is something I never see addressed, malicious interference. I did see one article saying researchers demonstrated they could run a lane keeping Tesla off the road with a few strips of duct tape on the road. Once self-driving cars appear on the roads there will be people screwing with them; edging over on them, slowing in front of them, tailgating, If I recognize one camping out in the left lane I may screw with it myself. Insurance fraud accidents would seem tempting. And there’s hacking.
    – For the above reason I dither over whether self-drivers should be marked. I want to know a particular car will react differently, but they may become targets.
    – If self-driving vehicles become a luxury and commercial thing, I would be very unhappy about paying for infrastructure improvements just for them.

  81. CSK says:

    The lack of one parent–in this case, the father–would certainly increase the boys’ vulnerability. I did read of a case where the father was present, more or less, and beat his son when the boy tried to tell him of the priest’s abuse.

    I wasn’t raised in any religion, so I have no visceral understanding of the clout of the clergy, but friends of mine who were raised RC tell me that the power the priest wielded over their families was complete. You did not question the priest–ever.

  82. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: He was the “cool teacher”. The one everybody liked and wanted to hang out with. This was ’71/’72, a time when being gay was the kiss of death in any profession, much less one involving children. I never felt like anything was imminent or that there was a threat, there was just this one instance where even if lines didn’t get crossed, he did walk up to them. My gaydar was not yet fully developed but I could sense a trend in the direction things were heading in that I was uncomfortable with. I never even said anything to my parents or the few friends I had then, probably as much because of doubts I had that I was right about him as anything else.

    I only mention this episode because while not quite the text book example of the vulnerable teen to be preyed upon, I was pretty damned close and the incident is illustrative.

    Even now I am uncertain if he had any actual intentions towards me, that maybe things just got a little out of hand that one time. Looking back at the ’70s I can see that I knew a # of men who were struggling with their sexuality, one of whom did in fact join the priesthood, probably in the vain hope that Jesus could help rid him of that temptation.

    The closet is a prison and I pity those who were condemned to it.

  83. OzarkHillbilly says:


    She’s an abused child

    From where do you pull that strawman bullshit?

  84. @Guarneri: That does not sound like proof of abuse.

    Serious question: do you have kids? Because, yes, some 17 year-olds have very defined ideas.

  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Not dead. Car ownership simply moves to the conspicuous consumption category. Expect to see 2 (possibly 3) classes, if you will allow, of self-driving cars, utility models for mass transit uses, and (possibly) some individual drivers and luxury models costing several hundreds of thousands of dollars for the rich. Also, actually driving a car will happen for people who can afford it on special roadways or autoroute courses. The PCH might be reserved for hobby driving by the uber rich for example.

    If we’re both still alive then, people like you will probably still have personal cars. People like me, not so much.

  86. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: So, out of your ass. Got it. Jeebus you are a disgusting piece of shit without any redeeming qualities. You can’t make an argument so instead you invent this fiction that she was abused because in your sick and twisted mind that delegitimizes everything she says regarding climate, so you who can not refute her can ignore her.

    I’m glad to know it is a fiction cooked up in the darkest corners of your sick and twisted little mind, because if it was true? That would mean you were even less of a human being than you are now. Crawl back into whatever fetid hole you emerged from, you are poison to the air.

  87. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Steven, as one who was abused by a nun for 2 years, and still struggles with the repercussions of it 50 years later, I think he has crossed way over the line with this crap, for a # of reasons.

  88. Kurtz says:


    You know, if you actually read the posts here trying to understand them, you would see people on different sides of the fence. You would see people on the Right say the same things about Trump that the rest of us do.

    You would also see people on the same side who disagree with each other.

    But you don’t read. You react. You don’t read for understanding. You read to see what you want to see; or what you have to see in order to maintain your ego.

    You know, you are the one afflicted with TDS–you can’t see the obvious, because you have become deranged by his personality. And you have the nerve to accuse us of groupthink.

    I’ll tell you what, you would get more respect around here, if you made arguments. I don’t mean assertions or claims. I mean arguments. Look through some of my (and a few others) posts, and you will see people willing to entertain ideas. But you don’t even attempt it.

    I happened to see one of your comments on Schuler’s blog about executives that are reasonably smart who know they can do whatever they want. You know how they see you? As a useful idiot who happens to also be a better golfer.

  89. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: 17 is on the rapid upswing to college age, when people often have the most firm ideas about right and wrong and how the world should be.

    I would say that Greta Thunberg’s parents are enabling her, and that most parents would have tried to temper their kid’s passions, but I don’t think her passions are easily tempered. I suspect that their choices were to enable her or to hold her back, and that holding her back would be closer to abuse.

  90. Kathy says:


    I’d love it if it were anything else. The way Lewis explained the subprime bonds and CDOs (collateralized debt obligations), the only way to bet against them was through credit default swaps.

    Simple version, they are insurance against default by subprime borrowers. You pay monthly premiums based on a percentage of the value of the instrument.

    Where it gets weird, bizarre even, is that you don’t have to own the bonds backed by the loans you’re paying insurance for. It would be as if I took out life insurance on someone else I’ve no connection to.

    It seems more like gambling than investment. I suspect it looks that way because it is gambling and not investment.

  91. al Ameda says:


    Sex is for married heterosexual couples only, says Church of England
    Yeah. Sure. That’ll go over big.

    Okay, get ready for SexIt

  92. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “17 is on the rapid upswing to college age, when people often have the most firm ideas about right and wrong and how the world should be.”

    Apparently Drew has never heard (or understood) My Back Pages, in which Dylan puts it perfectly: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now…”

  93. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Ding ding ding. We have a winner. Just like so much else of what is done on Wall Street. The 2nd example that springs to my mind is shorting stocks. If you haven’t read Lewis’s Flash Boys, I highly recommend it. From the Wiki page:

    The book centers on several people, including Sergey Aleynikov, a former programmer for Goldman Sachs, and Bradley Katsuyama, the founder of IEX, the Investors’ Exchange.[2][3][10][11]

    Flash Boys starts out describing a $300 million project from Spread Networks – the construction of an 827-mile (1,331 km) cable that cuts straight through mountains and rivers from Chicago to New Jersey – with the sole goal of reducing the transmission time for data from 17 to 13 milliseconds.[12]

    The book takes a look at how electronic trading replaced the trading floor of screaming brokers, slamming telephones and hysteria-inducing ticker tape, and how that change impacted the market.[13] The speed of data is a major theme in the book; the faster the data travels, the better the price of the trade. Lewis claims access to this fiber optic cable, as well as other technologies, presents an opportunity for the market to be controlled even more by the big Wall Street institutions. To counter this disadvantage to investors, Katsuyama bands together a team that sets out to develop a new exchange, called IEX, to make the playing field for trading fairer.[14]

    A chapter goes into detail about Sergey Aleynikov, the former Goldman Sachs programmer convicted of stealing the bank’s high-frequency trading code and how Goldman actually called the FBI and then educated the FBI on that code.[15][16]

    The book concludes by observing that there is now a conventional (microwave) link between Chicago and New Jersey, which follows an even straighter route than the Spread Networks’ 827-mile cable (as microwaves always follow a direct path, whereas cables, by their very nature, must, at least occasionally, detour around physical barriers). The new route also takes advantage of the faster speed of signal travel that is possible through air (compared to signal travel speed through glass fibers, which slows light down). With these two advantages, this new link shaved 4.5 milliseconds off the Spread Networks speed, thereby rendering it obsolete.

  94. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @al Ameda: HA! Well turned.

  95. Kathy says:


    I think there was something on the subject in one ep of his podcast Against the Rules. Something to the effect that buy/sell orders can be intercepted or something.

    Thanks for the recommendation. I do intend to read most of Lewis’ body of work.

  96. CSK says:

    @al Ameda:
    Love it. Well done.

  97. OzarkHillbilly says:


    I do intend to read most of Lewis’ body of work.

    So do I, but DAMN! is he prolific. I have a long ways to go.

  98. Kathy says:


    I’ve manged to read about 97-99% of Asimov’s fiction (I may be missing a few old stories). I expect I’ll manage Lewis, if I restrict to subjects that interest me.