Tuesday’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. Gustopher says:

    Gah! A new forum for a new day! The old day isn’t even over for me yet!

    Goodnight all, and good morning to the east coast early risers.

  2. steve says:

    I think someone here also does drones. Being a bit tired of the jerks who like to buzz my drone just to irritate me i have decided to prepare to fight back.



  3. MarkedMan says:

    Any bets on what the surprise Jan 6th hearing is about today?

  4. CSK says:

    As far as I know, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, will be testifying. And there may be something concerning the Alex Holder documentary.

  5. PoliticalBiker says:

    This, although I don’t know that I have the energy to hope for a bombshell, or even that a bombshell would have the desired effect.

  6. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Ideas that spread ultimately win the day.

    I think ultimately the SCOTUS did the Democrats a favor by putting the onus back in the Legislative job jar. For years, legislators have been allowed to outsource accountability to Governors, State Courts, POTUS, and SCOTUS. Guess what? Now the mob is looking you.

    More broadly, Democrats have now seen the their 20th Century political strategy age out in spectacular fashion. More and more Liberals like MR and EddieInCA are recognizing the need for new messaging…AND just as important, messaging in mediums consumed by the people you want to talk to. Why did Dems abandon Radio and Billboards outside of cities? Republicans didn’t. The minute they got the Fairness Doctrine out of the way they built and organic propaganda machine that turned Democrats into Demon Pedophiles. They don’t need Fox News. Fox is the choir not the Pulpit. Republicans amplify the most rank of Fundie preachers on their Christian Broadcasting mediums. Preachers that read the Bible? They preacher to the 30 people and the lights. Most of Red America is uncontested space for Republican messaging. I’m driving from Northwest Florida (Desantistan) to Central Florida and Pass about 20 billboards with MAGA messaging. If I listened to radio like the people that live and work here…its be all MAGA politics and all MAGA preaching on the stations Id get. Those are the ideas speading in these R +30 areas.

    Ideas that spread…win.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: The select committee at the hearing also showed testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who said House Republicans Louie Gohmert, Scott Perry, Andy Biggs and Matt Gaetz also expressed interest in pardons.

    Hutchinson recalled that House Republican Jim Jordan did not directly ask for a pardon but did ask whether Trump was going to give them to members of Congress, and that House Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed interest to the White House counsel’s office.

    The testimony by Hutchinson and McEntee and other top White House aides showed that at the very least, Republican members of Congress were concerned about potential legal exposure over their roles in Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

    And the accounts, delivered under oath to the select committee, showed the extraordinary and brazen inquiries by some of Trump’s top allies on Capitol Hill to use the power of presidential pardons for their own political and personal ends.
    The Republican members of Congress accused of seeking preemptive pardons near-universally rejected the allegations.

    If it is Ms. Hutchinson testifying, my guess would be they found a smoking email or 17.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Police arrest New York man accused of slapping Rudy Giuliani on back

    A 38-year-old Staten Island store employee was arrested for allegedly hitting Rudy Giuliani on the back, an attack that the former New York City mayor says felt as if he had been “shot”.

    A surveillance video showed Giuliani standing inside a ShopRite store with a group of people he later identified as his supporters. As he was standing, 38-year-old Daniel Gill walked up from behind Giuliani, slapped his back and continued to walk, the video showed.

    The video, obtained and published by the New York Post, also showed Gill saying something to Giuliani as Gill walked past the group standing with the 78-year-old, who has also previously served as a lawyer to Donald Trump.

    Gill asked Giuliani, “What’s up, scumbag?”, according to a statement from the New York police department. As the group of onlookers watched, the woman next to Giuliani immediately began patting his back as if to soothe him.

    From what I saw on the video, Gill didn’t hit Giuliani any harder than the soothing woman.

  9. Jax says:

    @steve: Hahahaha….I guess it only had to be a matter of time before somebody figured out how to attach a flamethrower to a drone. 😛 😛

    I’ve often wondered how difficult it would be to fly in more populated areas where it’s likely there might be more than one drone in the sky at a time.

  10. CSK says:

    Gill’s charges have been downgraded. Rudy is, of course, claiming extreme pain and suffering.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Good. It is more than a bit ridiculous he is facing any charges at all.

  12. CSK says:

    Well, the gang at Lucianne.com is now maintaining that Jan. 6 was engineered and orchestrated by Nancy Pelosi and the FBI.

  13. steve says:

    Jax- Most people are actually pretty courteous. I tend to stay away from populated area but at the shore there will often be several of us. I am not a spectacular flyer like the guys you see on TV so when they buzz my drone I mostly just stop and hold in place. The sad part is I probably dont fly well enough to catch anyone but you know what they say. Armed drones are polite drones. /s


  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: They’re innocent! INNOCENT I tell you!

  15. CSK says:

    I do like the way the rioters have gone from being brave MAGA patriots to Antifa/BLM thugs to goons under the command of Pelosi and the FBI.

  16. Kathy says:


    Too bad it wasn’t the slap of a million exploding suns.

  17. Mike in Arlington says:

    @CSK: As if Pelosi and the democrats were that together and competent.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Given how leaky Washington is, and the fact that no one is talking “bombshell”, I’m more worried about anti-climactic.

  19. CSK says:

    I think part of the secrecy around Hutchinson’s appearance is because she’s had a lot of threats on her life.

    Doubtless they’re coming from all those Antifa/BLM thugs.

  20. Kathy says:

    Last week we were working on three proposals for the F***ng state of Puebla. Two had to leave on Thursday evening, one on Friday. the latter we kept working on through Friday afternoon. A correction required in that one led me to realize I’d made that error in the other two, which were being presented right that minute.

    Nothing left to be done about it, of course, and it was a minor error. Still, I dreaded what would happen Monday.

    We were disqualified on both, but not for my error. They didn’t even notice it, or if they did they decided it didn’t matter.

    The thing is that error was a result of adding info to the sample labels, which the customer didn’t require to begin with. I am against doing that unnecessarily, as the possibility of mistakes is proportional to the square of added information.

  21. DK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Most of Red America is uncontested space for Republican messaging. I’m driving from Northwest Florida (Desantistan) to Central Florida and Pass about 20 billboards with MAGA messaging.

    My family seat is about 250 miles north of there, in rural Georgia. Yes, Democrats should seriously consider diverting resources towards decreasing the GQP’s dominant rural margins.

    Still, money and manpower (theypower? HA!) are limited. It may be that Dem resources are better burned on suburban and urban voters.

    Dems can examine this, as long as our party’s well-meaning, bleeding heart, city slicker liberals manage expectations: some problems run too deep for messaging to fix.

    The places I know best are rural Southeast Georgia into Savannah, urban and exurban Atlanta, urban and suburban Los Angeles, and Berlin. No place is perfect, all have their charms + a darkside. But as JD Vance was preaching before he turned MAGA: there’s a disproportionate amount of stupidity, amorality, and dysfunction in the boonies. Political incorrectness is in, so sorry not sorry for saying so.

    Good messaging is wasted on idiotic assholes. There’s a reason why what happened to Ahmaud Arbery happened where it did (near where my great-grandparents are buried). There’s reasons why the best and brightest who leave and find success are resented. Why immigrants have to be scapegoated for native born personal failures.

    Democratic messaging needs and brain and a heart to receive it.

  22. CSK says:

    This is quite interesting. It seems to be the clearest explanation of Trump I’ve seen so far:


    No, Dodes isn’t a sociopath, Trump is. And Trump isn’t legally insane, either.

  23. CSK says:

    I don’t know what the hell’s the matter with the link. You can find the article, I’m sure. Sorry.

  24. Kathy says:


    The internet is vague and mysterious.

    See if this one works.

  25. CSK says:

    It does! Thank you very much.

  26. Jay L Gischer says:

    @DK: For what it’s worth, I don’t think the lack of billboards in particular is about cost, per se. It’s that both parties are organized around candidates, and there isn’t a Dem candidate who would find it worthwhile to put up these signs.

    There are external organization that do this sort of thing, though, but I would guess that most of the signs observed are paid for with money from some candidate or other, maybe laundered a few times through 501(c)’s or PACs.

    Putting up counter-messaging here would be a very long-term investment, and no candidate is likely to make that investment, and most of the other donors look to donate to things that will swing this election or the next one.

    Mind you, I am on board with the basic idea here. Push that message out. Push it everywhere. Refine it down to simple phrases and ideas. (I’m more of a 5 paragraph writer, and that’s not good enough). I clearly don’t have the bucks or the knowhow to make this happen, but I’d support it.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @steve: Check the ad again. 😉

    Available on backorder


  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DK: “(theypower? HA!)”

    Or you could go with “people power” (like we did back in the day). Then again, you wouldn’t be able to mock people in your own party with whom you have a minor disagreement. I can see why that’s out.

  29. Kathy says:

    How about this change to the filibuster:

    If one party can get all its members to vote for cloture, then only one vote from any other party is required to pass.

  30. Mu Yixiao says:

    FYI: Adding 3/4 Tbs of chipotle to my standard caramel recipe is a resounding success.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “and no candidate is likely to make that investment”

    It’s an investment in “hearts and minds.” And long term. It’s why various “non-alligned” groups do most of it. Next time you see such a sign. Look at who paid for it.

    Disclaimer: Whether this will work for liberals is unknown at this time. Whether Democratic Party favoring groups are willing to put up with the relatively low ROI is also unknown. Conservatives/evangelicals have been doing this for all my life. I’ll be 7o in two weeks. This may well be a lifetime effort that won’t “pay off” until after you’re gone. That may be the difference. Evangelicals are working for eternity, not now. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for them.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    On a completely different topic, I was talking to a guy today who used to work for a company that makes the software used by almost everyone who designs integrated circuits We got to talking about machine learning, which is sometimes referred to as AI or Artificial Intelligence, and he made me realize we are much farther along than I realized.

    First, a little about machine learning. The most common use is to train a system on whether it has made a worse choice or a better one. For example, if you wanted to be able to predict which people were likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease you could select a large pool of people with a positive diagnosis and feed the machine their entire medical history up to 5 years before they were diagnosed, as well as those of a whole bunch of people that didn’t develop the disease. The system could try many, many different combinations of symptoms, complaints, data, etc, weighting one more highly, toning down another, over and over again and developing algorithm after algorithm to select for the Alzheimer patients, discarding the algorithms that faired poorly and bringing the best into the next round. The key thing here is that the algorithm finally developed might now be understandable by a human. It is an evolutionary approach, highly dependent on chance, and if the inputs are complex enough there might be no meaningful pathway back to why that specific algorithm succeeded.

    So, back to the IC guy. He was telling me that when you shrink die size, say from 7nm to 3nm, adapting digital circuits is relatively straightforward, but the analog side is much harder. Traditionally it takes many very skilled engineers many months to understand the physical effects of the narrower runs, go through myriad calculations, and make and remake all the tradeoffs necessary. He told me that increasingly, the machine learning algorithms are cutting a large amount of the human work out of this process. This is just one small area of technology, but it wakes me wonder how many more are in a transition period like this.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    From the Jan 6 hearing via Talking Points Memo:

    DOJ Was Aware Of Plans To ‘Invade’ Capitol Before Jan. 6
    Rep. Cheney just showed fragments of an email sent from the DOJ’s National Security Division to acting Deputy Attorney General Rich Donaghue on Jan. 4.

    The email, Cheney said, discussed “apparent planning” by people planning to travel to Washington on Jan. 6, with specific plans to “occupy federal buildings” and conversations about “invading the Capitol buildings.”

    That’s uncanny.

    Donaghue suggested in a video clip that his perception of the threat was more general: that “thousands of very upset people showing up in Washington D.C.” created the potential for violence.

    Meadows: ‘Things Might Get Real, Real Bad On Jan. 6’
    Hutchinson recounted an exchange she had on the evening of Jan. 2. She recalled walking Rudy Giuliani to his car, when he asked her if she was “excited for the 6th.”

    Hutchinson asked why, and Giuliani replied that “we’re going to the Capitol,” that the day would made Trump “look powerful.”

    Hutchinson said that she brought the exchange up to her boss — Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, asking what it meant that they were “going to the Capitol” on Jan. 6.

    “There’s a lot going on,” Meadows replied. “Things might get real, real bad on the 6th.”

  34. CSK says:

    Hutchinson also testified that Trump knew the rioters had weapons and didn’t care, because “they’re not here to hurt me.”

    The Secret Service told Trump they couldn’t take away the magnetometers. He replied: “Fuck the Secret Service. I’m the president.”

  35. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @DK: @Jay L Gischer: The people that wanted this Change and are happy with the outcome decided 30 years ago to make investments–which are paying off. Remember when Ds were deluding themselves about permanent majorities before 2016. Now we can see–even when they win–they lose. By Design.

    I want to be clear–this isn’t about Democratic branded messages as much as it is anti-propaganda. These people are in a continuous state of “6 minutes until midnight..” EVERY ELECTION cycle with NO counter messaging. The goal here is not for them to vote for Democrats–its for them to not view the current version of the R- party as the only thing standing between them and hordes of Rainbow colored immigrants–a much easier task than “vote Democrats” since they already hate the R-party.

    Ds lament the “End of Democracy” but either they are too uppidy, lazy, or stupid to do the actual things to fight for it. But hey–go on preaching to the choir that works on fact and reason and see how that plays long term against a choir that thrives off emotion and reaction–that thinks its fighting for its life.

  36. CSK says:

    It gets worse. Trump physically attacked a secret service agent and Steven Engel when Engel tried to prevent him from going to the Capitol.

    Please incarcerate this beast.

  37. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: This in a nutshell. They’ve been sowing these seed for a while and now they’re reaping a harvest. The “Academics” are cursing the sunshine, water, and soil–as opposed to planting their own crop.

    P.S. Except for Stacey Abrams–she said eff this sh_t and turned GA Blue. #BlackGirlMagic

  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    Asked whether he believed in the peaceful transition of power in the United States, General Mike Flynn took the Fifth. An American general. Jesus Christ.

  39. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I just saw that. I’m still reeling from the revelation that Trump assaulted an ss agent and his deputy attorney general.

    He tried to jerk the steering wheel in The Beast out of the driver’s hands so he could drive them all to the Capitol.

    Totally out of control.

  40. Michael Reynolds says:

    Told about chants of ‘Hang Mike Pence,’ Trump said, ‘Mike deserves it.’

  41. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I know. The MAGAs claim to refuse to watch this hearing, on the grounds that everyone on the committee (and presumably all the witnesses) have conspired to get Trump. And Pence probably did deserve to hanged for treason.

    But, Jesus, trying to grab a steering wheel in a moving vehicle? Assaulting a Secret Service agent? This is untrammeled psychotic rage.

  42. Kathy says:


    All children throw tantrums and lash out when the adults won’t take them were they really want to go. I remember doing that when I was five.

  43. Sleeping Dog says:


    In retrospect, it is unfortunate that TFG was kept from the rally. Afterall it would have been difficult to declare he had nothing to do with encouraging it, if he were outside, or better inside, cheering the mob on. But he’s too much a coward for that.

  44. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    But he was trying to get to the Capitol after the violence started. That’s why he tried to grab the steering wheel from the agent.

  45. Gustopher says:

    History would have taken a different turn if Trump were able to walk to the Capitol.

    Too much time in golf carts, not enough time walking from hole to hole. What a lard ass.

  46. CSK says:

    Trump says he “hardly knows” who Cassidy Hutchinson is.

  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    Criminals know they’re criminals. Trump knew he was in legal jeopardy, he was desperate, the only way to some kind of safety was to literally overthrow the United States constitution.

  48. Sleeping Dog says:


    Understand that, but he was stopped, which, in retrospect is too bad.

  49. KM says:

    Correction – narcissistic rage, not psychotic . It’s freaking TERRIFYING to behold. It is explosive, violent and utterly unreasoning.

    Back when I was counseling there was a woman with NPD who absolutely lost it in an emergency session. Her face twisted into the most hellish contortion I’ve ever seen – horror movies wish they could CGI something like that up. She ripped the IV out of her arm and tried to stab me with it; when that didn’t work, she shoved the pole out the 5 story window and tried to send me after. Security had a hell of a time getting her under control because she was determined to hurt someone, anyone.


    She’d been told no smoking in the hospital and had her smokes confiscated when attempting to light up anyways.

    I have no problems believing Trump attacked a SS agent and grabbed the wheel of a moving vehicle. Narcissistic rage happens when someone with NPD is challenged and denied in such a way that they cannot dismiss or sublimate. It strikes at the core of their self-esteem, causing an existential challenge that can only be met with violence. Trump thought he was could be King of America, that his people were coming to essentially crown him and keep in power by taking out the existing power system. Engel stood the way of everything he ever wanted in that moment – he’s lucky all Trump did was grab the wheel and not try to do more lasting harm.

  50. Erik says:

    Can’t watch the hearings from work but isn’t it odd to think that he could have grabbed the wheel? Doesn’t the president sit in the back? I would have thought that there was a partition, but maybe not so the front seat can protect him in the back from other passengers. Maybe he crawled over the seat he was so upset? Not that this would surprise me…

  51. Mister Bluster says:

    Election Day Follies
    So when the poll worker walks outside the Polling Place at 6am to say: “The polls are open.”* Like I did in on Courtland Avenue in San Francisco for the California Gubernatorial Election November 5, 1974 does anyone hear them if no one is up yet?
    That was the year Democratic Candidate Jerry Brown beat Republican Houston I. Flournoy to replace Governor Ronald Reagan, who did not run for reelection, and pick up where his daddy, Pat Brown, left off.
    That’s the only time I have ever been a poll worker.
    Fast forward to General Primary Election Day in Illinois, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. I arrived at my Polling Place, Makanda Township Precinct 4 at the Makanda Township Fire Station at 5:55 am and opened my car window. Looked like I was the first one there. Sure enough at 6am the door opened and a poll worker walked out and said: “The polls are open.”
    I heard that.
    When I got inside I was informed that the mahine that accepted the ballots for tabulation was not working but I could still vote. There is a door in the side of the machine to place a completed ballot to be counted later.
    As the poll worker handed me my Democratic Primary Ballot he said that they were short handed (there were 4 people to cover two precincts) and asked me if I wanted to work there today. Tuesday is one of my newspaper delivery days so I declined.
    I marked my ballot including the Write-In vote for Van Ikner, the only Democratic candidate running for Representative in the Illinois General Assembly 118th Representative District.
    I returned my ballot to the tabulating machine and placed it in the side door as instructed. As I walked out the door I heard one of the poll workers say: “They are going to deliver another machine.”
    As I drove to the newspaper office my mind started running wild. I’m sure this is just an innocent mechanical malfunction and those poll workers are well trained and know what they are doing. But what if…
    So a few hours later I called the County Courthouse. I told them that I had voted at Makanda 4 and I wanted to be sure that my vote counted since the machine broke down. They knew all about it and after asking me if I had placed my ballot in the side door of the broke down machine told me that the proceedure was to have two Election Judges, one from the Democratic Party and one from the Republican Party observe those ballots being fed into a working machine.
    Now all that’s left for me to do is wait for the polls to close. I am waiting to see if Write -In Democratic Candidate Van Ikner gets enough votes to be on the November ballot.

    *I believe this is a legally mandated declaration but I can’t be sure. Poll worker training in California was 47+ years ago.
    The other duty I remember from that experience was delivering all the results from the voting machine in a locked metal box to the San Francisco City Hall.
    No, there weren’t any Proud Boys trying to chase me down and hang me.

  52. dazedandconfused says:


    His SS detail may have kept a sedagive on hand for this sort of thing. They’ve worked with this guy for 4 years, after all. This would explain the 3 hours of him doing nothing after too…

  53. CSK says:

    Apparently Trump leaned over the seat and lunged at the driver.

  54. Erik says:

    @CSK: yup I can believe that for sure

  55. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Trump knew he was in legal jeopardy, he was desperate, the only way to some kind of safety was to literally overthrow the United States constitution.

    Hmmm. This got me thinking. We’ve all been assuming Trump’s main motivation was his inability to accept loss. What if the main motivation was to prevent an investigation to all the crimes he’s committed? Both the venal (where did all those COVID billions under Jared’s control really go to?) and the traitorous (Putin, MBS, etc).

  56. CSK says:

    Love that scene.

    Trump wasn’t doing nothing. H was watching the riot on tv and cheering on the rioters.

  57. Gustopher says:

    Meanwhile, the auditors at Ernst & Young were caught cheating … on their ethics tests.


    Hundreds of auditors at accounting giant Ernst & Young cheated on ethics tests they were required to take to get or maintain their professional licenses, and the company withheld evidence of the misconduct from federal authorities investigating the matter, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Nothing in the article about what happens to the individual auditors, but I would hope it is a lifetime ban from anything requiring any code of ethics. I expect, however, that it is nothing.

  58. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Gleyber With No Brim (Corey)

    This girl had the whole section rooting for her bottle flip

    Sometimes, life gives you a moment.

  59. Scott says:

    Did Liz Cheney, at the end of the hearing, basically say: We have evidence of witness tampering and perjury. You know who you are. Maybe you should come in and correct the record?

  60. Kathy says:


    Well, he’s too late. I knew he’d say that since she was rumored to testify yesterday.

    @Sleeping Dog:

    If he had shown up and marched in with the rioters and his Secret Service* detail, odds are the Capitol police would not have tried to stop them. Other officers would have tried to get all members of Congress to safety anyway, but they might have lacked the time bought by their colleagues trying to hold back the mob. Didn’t Pence miss his would-be executioners by mere seconds?

    He’s really a piss-poor planner, and his minions aren’t any better.

    *Can I ask everyone to please refrain from using SS and SS agent? America’s not quite there yet.

  61. MarkedMan says:

    I know you all will find this hard to believe, but my natural bent isn’t to go for the dramatic. I’m frequently the voice of reason in my family. But I also feel that a false moderation is the hobgoblin of the those who lack conviction (to mangle a famous saying). Which is why I have been saying for several years now that the Republican Party is a danger to America. Full stop. I don’t know how anyone could have watched that hearing, and thought about just how quickly the Republican Party leaders fell in behind him, and conclude anything else.

  62. KM says:

    Not mutually exclusive. Not being able to accept loss and doing everything possible to avoid criticism or consequences is fundamentally who he is – a part of his base personality that drives everything he does. Being a criminal about to be exposed and violently lashing out upon seeing a potential lifeline? That’s a conscience choice and one he’d make willingly.

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    choir that thrives off emotion and reaction–that thinks its fighting for its life.

    Yeah. This. Lotta people I know in the Evangelical community who quote Matt. 5: 11 & 12 these days.

    11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    When I suggest that if they’re being persecuted (a reach in my mind, but whatevs…) is it because they’re not following the two greatest commandments “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. [Mark 12:30 & 31]?”

    They look as if they’re so confused at what I asked that it wouldn’t be any less clear if I asked them in Mandarin–or Aramaic.

  64. grumpy realist says:

    For those who have been wondering about the Ghislaine-Epstein mess, Ghislaine has just been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    Funny how I don’t feel sorry for her the tiniest bit.

  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: But there’s a tape of him watching the goings on from some tent somewhere. Donnie Jr. and Witchie poo were dancing in the background (to “Gloria” if I recall correctly). Wasn’t the tent nearby?

  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’m not sure. It’s saving you from the stroke you’d have when he’s still not prosecuted for anything.

  67. inhumans99 says:

    I was just checking out a NYT link on my phone, and it looks like Turkey has agreed to let Sweden and Finland to join NATO, which strikes me as a pretty big deal. I will not be surprised if James has a post up on this story soon. The NYT story is from just 27 minutes earlier, so I would imagine this fresh news is still making its way across the internet.

  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Congratulations are in order for her, but I did notice that, unlike kids at the high school, she didn’t immediately start 20 or 30 more unsuccessful flips trying to do it again.

    Maybe that’s why they were cheering.

  69. Mu Yixiao says:

    This should be interesting. Libertarian candidate hoping to challenge MTG in Georgia (the story is about her campaigning for signatures at a gay-pride event).

  70. Beth says:


    I don’t know why, but that bottle flip stuff makes my partner and I unreasonably angry. Our kids do it all the time and it drives us crazy.


    He’s really a piss-poor planner, and his minions aren’t any better.

    After today’s revelations, I’m dumbfounded that they didn’t succeed (at least more than they already did). Like, what happened to make them stop? Was it just that Trump failed to lead them further/better? Like, what would have happened if they actually got Pence or Pelosi? Did they just stop because they ran out of direction and leadership from the top and got scared or confused as to what to do? I’m guessing that if Trump had actually shown up they would have murdered several more people. That’s a scary though.

  71. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump is a criminal, sub-species: con man.

    In the criminal taxonomy con-men are an interesting type. (I wrote about them.) It requires the ability to lie convincingly, combined with sociopathy and a narcissist’s contempt for his fellow humans. A lack of empathy is required, though an ability to feign empathy would be useful, and is one of the reasons Trump’s appeal is limited. He appeals to greed, which of course is the basis of most cons. And he plays on a sense of victimization in his targets which, again, limits his potential target audience, but includes failed men, White Evangelicals and right-wing Catholics, the disappointed elderly, and fellow sociopaths who essentially join the con, like remora following a shark. I’ve long used the shark metaphor for Trump: soulless and not very intelligent but with excellent predatory instincts.

    The great thing about the confidence game is how safe it is. 99% of murders get reported. Most burglaries get reported, as do hold-ups. But cons most often never get reported because the sucker can’t claim they were taken without looking like a fool. That’s where the MAGAts are right now, they know at some level they’ve been conned, but they’ve decided to treat Trump as a religious figure, requiring faith, and faith by its nature survives facts.

    What is almost sad for MAGAts is that Trump holds them in utter contempt. He has their number. He has correctly identified their demons and exploited them for his own profit. He’s shearing them like a flock of Merinos. He has far more respect for Nancy Pelosi than he does any of his supporters because he fears her.

    Trump is a mediocre conman who fails to convince anyone with a shred of empathy, which thankfully is still most of us. Thank the god I don’t believe in that he’s only mediocre and not very smart. A better conman would have planned much more meticulously.

  72. Gustopher says:

    @grumpy realist: I’m just surprised they were able to convict her and we still don’t have 30 powerful people who paid money to rape children under indictment.

    Sex trafficking of minors to no one apparently. They were just sent to pedophile island and then nothing happened.

    (Mostly I want to see Bill Clinton destroyed, as I just assume he is one of them, but also it would be nice to get some justice… I don’t like Bill Clinton, and haven’t since he interrupted his campaign in 92 to head back to Arkansas to make sure a brain damaged man was executed. The murderer-dude saved the desert from his last meal to “eat later”)

  73. Michael Reynolds says:

    That is huge. Though I suspect it means the Kurds have been abandoned. Again.

    This is the event Putin can’t bullshit away. The Russian people have an unequaled capacity for bad leadership and a willingness to tug their forelocks and at least pretend to believe whatever bullshit they’re fed, but I don’t think this turd can be polished. Everything from St. Petersburg to Murmansk now borders an alliance that is much more capable than anything Putin can field. It will take heroic acts of self-deception on the part of the Russian people not to see that this is a defense nightmare.

  74. Jen says:

    @Erik: I’ve just barely skimmed responses so apologies if this has already been noted, but Trump was apparently in his up-armored SUV, not the limo, for that ride. The layout is different, and he would have been positioned much closer to the front.

  75. JohnSF says:

    Interesting diplomatic news that might easily be overlooked:
    Italian Premier Mario Draghi states that Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ruled out Putin attending the Bali summit.
    (Italy was prior G20 convenor, so they will have been in contact on handover.)

    President Widodo is reported as intending to visit both Kyiv and Moscow this month; possibly talks re. food and fertiliser supplies?
    Whoever is running SE Asia relations should take a bow.

    Also, Chancellor Scholz confirms planned German defence expenditure.
    It is to rise to €70 to €80 billion a year for the foreseeable future.
    Variance for levels of capital spend, so €70bn baseline, €80for programme peaks.
    That buys a lot of metal and men.

    NATO announces that troops at rapid readiness force status is to be increased from 40,000 to 300,000!
    Plans to raise current battlegroups to full reinforced brigade strength (presumably the four in the Baltics and NE Poland)
    Additional plans to deploy more battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, SE Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

    Also a bit of a political tussle underway in UK; Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, and Army Command are pushing hard for additional funding.
    Reported resistance from Treasury (typical) and Johnson, wh0 would like to keep some pre-election tax cuts in his pocket.
    Tough sh!t, Boris.
    The Vickers works in Barrow need to be running 24-7-365.
    (That’s where the MH777 155mm gun barrels and main structures are produced; final assembly and systems work is at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. And the shell production at Washington, Durham. Yes, we still make boomy things.)

  76. Tony W says:

    Apparently, Ken Paxton wants to revisit Lawrence vs Texas and has encouraged Texas law enforcement to arrest somebody for homosexual sodomy.

    Republicans smell blood.

  77. dazedandconfused says:

    I suspect Navarro’s “Green Bay Sweep” narrative is accurate. Trump did not imagine a riot taking place there, he imagined his supporters merely demonstrating, a crowd his PP detail could conduct him through. Had he imagined a riot he would never have wanted to go there.

  78. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Key thing is Erdogan is not daft enough to shoot Turkish strategic relations in the head over a matter that was primarily about domestic PR positioning.

    Turkish nationalism is a thing Erdogan needs to pander to; but Sweden and Finland don’t matter to that audience all that much.
    If Turkey ever really breaches it will be either over Kurdish Syria, or via stepping a bit to far re. Cyprus or the Greek islands (Dodecanese).

    However, if I were Recep, I’d watch out for a Finnish diplomatic shiv in the ribcage sometime down the line.
    Probably in re. the EU.
    Don’t like to say Finns can hold a grudge; but they can really hold a grudge. (Swedes tend to be a bit more inclined to forgive and forget)
    And Erdogan’s performative backstabbery has written a big red entry in their ledger.
    “One bad turn deserves another.”

  79. Michael Cain says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Today is officially primary day in Colorado. We’re a vote by mail state, so chances are >90% of ballots cast were cast before today. My wife and I sent our ballots in a couple of weeks ago and got e-mail back when they had been accepted and processed. Our Democratic primary ballots were very dull: one candidate for each office. Any big stories to come out of it will be about unaffiliated voters, who now outnumber either the Democrats or the Republicans. They can choose which primary ballot to return (but can only return one). The two Republican candidates for governor have been pursuing them heavily. The Democrats have been urging them to vote in the Republican primary, for the crazier guy.

  80. Scott says:

    @Tony W: That would be great if Paxton actually goes there. I can just see the “Ken Paxton wants to police your bedroom” campaign line.

    BTW, this is the Letter to the Editor I got published in the Sunday, May 12th, edition of the San Antonio Express-News.

    The draft Supreme Court opinion went far further than Roe v. Wade. It questioned whether the Constitution provided an inherent right to privacy. If it does not provide a right to privacy, then this attacks many rights freedom-loving Texans take for granted: The right to marriage, the right to family planning, the right of privacy in your own home. Texas needs to enshrine these privacy rights through amending the Texas Constitution. Otherwise, our state politicians will be exercising their freedom to intrude into Texans’ homes and bedrooms.

  81. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Though I suspect it means the Kurds have been abandoned. Again.

    I don’t believe I will live long enough to see anyone carve a country for the Kurds out of Iran, Iraq, and Turkiye, or arm the Kurds sufficiently to let them carve it out themselves. As I understand climate change and the emerging water wars in the region, it’s not clear that the area will remain livable.

  82. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Cain:
    If rainfall pattern follow the last thermal maximum in human experience, the Kurdish highland areas will be among the liveable remnants.
    Whether they will be able to hold them in that situation, given likely population movements from the south…?

  83. Kathy says:


    I see it as B-movie level planning. We’ll get the mob to the capitol with Mangolini in front and somehow overthrow the constitutional order.

    All plans may require last minute adjustments, but consider Benito’s tantrum and assault when his detail told him they were not going to the Capitol.

    1) Can a grown man, never mind one in a position of authority, really be prevented from going wherever he wants to go? Granted the Secret Service agents wouldn’t drive him there, but that’s not the only way to move around (I do it all the time!)

    2) If the plan, such as it was, involved El Cheeto going, he didn’t make much of an effort to get there. I mean, no more than a toddler would when denied a cookie.

  84. DK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    P.S. Except for Stacey Abrams–she said eff this sh_t and turned GA Blue. #BlackGirlMagic

    @Jim Brown 32:

    But hey–go on preaching to the choir that works on fact and reason and see how that plays long term against a choir that thrives off emotion and reaction–that thinks its fighting for its life.

    As a matter of fact, it’s working very well in Georgia. Georgia was made a swing state not by Georgia Democrats pleading with resentful xenophobes, but by cultivating and turning out inconsistent Democrats in Georgia’s cities and suburbs.

    Look up the strategy of the Georgia activist groups who worked for a decade to flip the state (Abrams has become the face of this effort, but it involved players across organizations). That strategy was not primarily about putting resources into ‘Trump country,’ but was about activating Democratic-sympathetic demographics.

    This is not to say Democrats should not be putting resources into rural areas. Ideally, we’d do all of the above. But again, resources are not unlimited. If the Georgia strategy is your preffered model, that’s more about maximizing turnout in areas where Democrats already had a decent foothold.

  85. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: “Ghislaine has just been sentenced to 20 years in prison.”

    Hope her cell has working surveillance cameras.

  86. DK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Then again, you wouldn’t be able to mock people in your own party with whom you have a minor disagreement. I can see why that’s out.

    I’mma be real with you bro, I have no idea what you’re banging on about, but I’m sorry my joke triggered you, or that you feel mocked or something.

  87. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Cain:

    A great barrier to there being a Kurdistan has been they’ve fought each other about as much as they have others. Particularly that struggle in the 90’s screws them now. A lot of bad blood remains within them from that. The intra-Kurd strife probably prevented them from getting a nation when the map was drawn in the late 19th and early 20th century. They have never been united, not really.

  88. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DK: No, I don’t take any of the LBGTQ+ stuff personally. Got no dog in the fight. But some Democrats must have them or else MR and Eddie in LA wouldn’t bang on so incessantly about how Latinx and They/Them is destroying the party.

    I was just struck with the tone deafness from someone who may end up being thrown under the bus in the next “appeal to the moderates” wave.

  89. JohnSF says:

    Also, post-1918, the British were inclined to be unsympathetic to the Kurds due to role of some Kurdish “tribal/clan” factions in the Armenian massacres of the 1890’s, and the 1915-18 genocide.

    There was also the lack of understanding by some British officials/commanders that the Kurds were neither Iranian, nor Arab, nor Turkic; and the Arabist orientation of a lot of the interpretation; not to mention the input of the Arab government in Baghdad, the Turks, Persians and Armenians.

  90. Mister Bluster says:

    @Michael Cain:..Today is officially primary day in Colorado.
    Illinois has vote by mail and early voting for today’s primary began May 19. Years ago when I was working out of town on Election Day I would mail in a request for a ballot that was mailed to me and I returned it by mail. In those days it was called an absentee ballot.
    More recently I have voted early either at the Carbondale City Hall or at the Jackson County Courthouse in Murphysboro. This year I had many opportunities to vote early at the Courthouse as I deliver the Murphysboro Times there every Tuesday.
    I am always ambivalent about primary elections. Often there is only one candidate on the Democratic Primary ballot for a given office. However this year there were four races that had two candidates or more. Also I wanted to Write-In the only Democratic candidate that is running for State Representative to the Illinois General Assembly in my district so he might have a chance to be on the November Ballot and give the Republican some competition.
    I don’t have any TV or an internet connection at home. I may be able to pick up local election results on the radio tonight but most likely I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out if my Write-In effort was worthwhile.

  91. Jax says:

    @Scott: Just because I know Paul’s lurking around here somewhere, I’d like to point out that the right to privacy goes much further than just sex. If we don’t have the right to privacy in our bedrooms and our reproductive lives, why should we not have a National Gun Registry list? I mean, I don’t necessarily want to take them, but purely for Well-Regulated Militia ™ purposes, da gubmint ought to know what kind of firepower and how much ammo each citizen can provide in the event of (Scare Quotes) THE CARAVAN ever making it over the border, or Canada invading.

  92. Erik says:

    @Jen: thanks Jen. Finally getting home after a much longer day than expected and I’m finding that I don’t have the energy to watch the hearings tonight. That bit of info makes the pieces of the story fit much more cleanly. I appreciate your taking the time to respond

  93. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I no longer think Trump can win the nomination in 2024. I agree that this helps DeSantis, but I can’t believe Trump won’t go after him.

    Probably true. But Erdogan’s priority may be more to look tough against the Kurds to support his upcoming election more than actually being tough. So I’m not sure from what I’ve seen whether the Finns and Swedes are going to do anything serious or if it’s more Kabuki.

  94. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I was just struck with the tone deafness from someone who may end up being thrown under the bus in the next “appeal to the moderates” wave.

    I’m pretty sure “them power” was a misfired attempt at humor. At least, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt when they’re not repeatedly going out of their way to be an asshole, as pretending it was meant in jest is easier than dealing with an asshole.

    The whole “90% ally is close enough” thing.

    I do, however, keep a ledger, and figure I get to say the n-word once “in jest” for each time I do so. At this point in life, I think I can do it for about three hours straight, as it’s a short word.

  95. DK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Ah, still confused, but it seems your first mistake is taking seriously Boomer screeching and squawking on LatinX and pronouns.

    Your second is taking seriously a throaway joke in an internet comment.

  96. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DK: @Gustopher: Okay. If you guyz say it’s funny, I’ll take your word on it. But also advise you both not to go into standup.

    Gustopher, you’re way more generous of spirit than I am. I should try to be best (but I probably won’t).