Steven L. Taylor
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
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
So the evolution of Mastodon is happening at light speed. A journalist stood up a server (no subscription needed) and invited other journalists there as a Twitter alternative. Every member is screened to make sure they are a journalist. The number of people become overwhelming for one person to handle and he enlists eight volunteers. Even with that many, the work of vetting and moderating the site is becoming a drain, so they are now in talks for a non-profit to take over.
If that happens and the site continues to grow in popularity, the Institute will have to deal with how to fund the necessary server and admin costs, and the users will find they have to deal with corporate policy and what the Institute legal team decides about potentially actionable posts.
Right. Sure. I’ll bet. And trump is the 2nd coming of Jesus.
‘Verified’ anti-vax accounts proliferate as Twitter struggles to police content
Yeah, nobody saw that coming. And by nobody, I mean everybody.
Last night I dreamed I was back teaching freshman comp, and Vladimir Putin, Boris Yeltsin, and Kanye Wesi were in my class,
@CSK: What a f’n nightmare. I’ll bet it took you hours to fall back to sleep.
Colorado Springs shooter had allegedly threatened his mother with a bomb. Why could he still get a gun?
Fcking cowards, every last one of them.
Fortunately, it was a small part of a larger epic. But it’s all I can remember.
Was that remedial, freshman comp?
@OzarkHillbilly: Gun fetishism is a putrefying infection in the American body. This sheriff is but one example of someone who, cult-like, mouths simplistic mantras of “good guy with agun”, “guns don’t kill people” and whose brains have numbed and decayed to the point they can’t even see the need to take guns away from people who are proven to be risks. Either that, or threats of murder are so common amongst gun fetishists that the attitude is “if you take away the guns from everyone who lost their cool and threatened to kill someone, there wouldn’t be any guns left.”
I think I was supposed to teach all three to speak and write English. Kanye and Boris sat in the back. Vladimir was right up front, looking at me with that creepy little smile of his.
After I’ve had coffee, I’ll try to figure out the symbolism.
Over the weekend I saw the movie “Minority Report.” In short, the whole plot is one huge temporal paradox that logically couldn’t have happened.
Sure, the movie is 20 years old, but some may not have seen it yet.
Anyway, Anderton is set up by his boss to kill Crowe. The boss set him up because Anderton had seen the murder of Anne Lively, which the boss wanted to keep under wraps.
The problem is Anderton doesn’t see the Lively murder until he’s running from Precrime for a future murder, that he was set up to commit because of stuff he’d seen only after he was set up, which he’d never come across had he not been set up, etc.
This is rare: an infinite progression 😉
Ok. Before he first sees himself killing someone he doesn’t know, Anderton does see a glimpse of the Lively murder, when the federal agent insists on visiting the precogs. But he doesn’t notice anything that would implicate his boss.
But then there’d be no story.
Well, one things for sure, this goldfish wasn’t found in any aquarium.
Turns out there are somethings in the twitter trash bin that not even Elon will touch.
but he has no problem with abusers like trump ripping children out of the arms of their parents.
My word, you’re a positive fount of entertaining news items today, aren’t you?
@CSK: Some days are easier than others.
The Guardian is asking readers to comment on how the media should cover Benito’s 2024 campaign.
A few nights back I had a dream where I used my well earned technical and professional skills to solve a world ending conundrum. I came so close, but failed. I often have dreams that play out like in media res movies.
Then it devolved into a “I need to get home” dream scenario, but every route stymied your effort / desire. A street mishmash of Minneapolis, New York, and Stockholm thwarting me with dream barriers while I desperately wanted to just get home.
You dream about the oddest things, but most often, in my case, about things you are good at and went out of your way to acquire those skills / that knowledge and devoted much time and effort into it. I am invested in that, mentally.
I have dreams about coding or SQL so often they are just routine and not necessarily noteworthy. My brain then invents a scenario around that and makes it dramatic.
A few years back while reading up on Greek mythology, I got to thinking about prophecy. There’s a lot of prophecy as driver of mythological plots, or playing crucial parts. In the Trojan War story alone there are several: that the son of Tethys would be greater than his father, that Paris would be the torch that burns troy to the ground, that no enemy would ever breach troy’s walls. The first causes Zeus to marry Tethys to a mortal, and then Eris tossed a golden apple at their wedding feast.
So, imagine you can see the future if given a set of circumstances, conditions, and events. Say you set up a dozen bacterial cultures where one is a control and the others each have a different antibiotic. You could then ask an oracle, say Cassandra, how the experiment will trun up. Even better, you could tell her what measurements you’ll make two weeks hence, say, and how you’ll record them, and Cassandra could simply tell you the results. then you don’t need to wait for the experiment to play out.
Even better, you could tell her how you’d set things up, what you’ll try to assay, how you’ll measure and record, etc., and she could tell you the results. Then you don’t even need to prepare the cultures nor obtain or use the antibiotics.
This would be invaluable in medicine. Forget bacterial cultures. Instead devise experiments to run on human subjects, very detailed ones, and with millions of subjects if you want, mixing and matching methods as well. Say you’ll treat some people for lung cancer with drugs, others with surgery, others with antibodies, and mixes of all three as well.
You don’t need to do any of it, nor put anyone at risk. Just design a detailed experiment, protocols, measurements, records, and ask Cassandra to tell you the results.
It could work in other areas. Take the search for Planet 9, if that’s still going on. Just design areas and means of search, then ask you oracle which yields a positive result. Aim your telescope at the right place, and there’s the undiscovered planet, no longer undiscovered. Or you learn the planet’s not there.
This could save you money on particle accelerators, too. You no longer need to build any, just design them.
I tried to post this last night from my cell phone as I have no internet connection for my lap top at home. Sometimes it works but not last night.
Marked Man to Ozark Hillbilly…
Doesn’t there need to be at least one other…(party on a party line)
In Illinois, before the Illinois Commerce Commission mandated that telephone companies eliminate party lines and provide private line service to all customers (late ’70s, early ’80s I think) telephone companies had to offer customers the cheapest service allowed by the tariff. This meant that a customer could be on a party line by themselves if there was no one else who requested party line service in the area served by that party line circuit. I know that when our house in town requested a party line in 1969 because we couldn’t afford the extra dollar or two for a private line (split between 4 college students so 25¢-50¢ extra/month each) we were the only ones on the party line for a time. Then someone moved in down the block and was added to our line. Didn’t matter since when winter hit the gas bill we had to drop the telephone service to afford to heat the house.
Rented there for another 2 1/2 years with no phone.
I knew there was something about this date. It’s the 59th anniversary of the assassination of JFK.
A date I thought that I’d never forget as I was 15 and a sophmore in High School at the time. I remember walking into choir practice class and hearing the news.
Thank you for the reminder.
Now that I think about it, I wonder why Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t use a kitchen knife or a baseball bat or a hammer to assassinate President Kennedy from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository? As we are reminded by those opposed to any firearms regulation a kitchen knife, a baseball bat or a hammer are exactly the same as a rifle.
@Mister Bluster: He had injured his shoulder the night before and could not throw a knife, baseball bat or hammer worth a damn. So, reluctantly he used a rifle instead.
I was a security guard on my campus. It was determined by my scholarship – I *had* to have a campus job no fooling or I would be bounced. A precondition.
A supremely boring job and it screwed up my sleep schedule bad. It’s eight hours of locking up doors, pulling on door handles to make sure they’re locked, wandering around campus bored out of your fucking mind. The nighttime active bunnies were cool (gotta love urban wildlife!) Sometimes escorting kids back to their dorm. I witnessed a crap ton of “walks of shame” and said absolutely nothing – not only was it not my business, it wasn’t my job. My job was to walk you home safe, that’s it. From where and why ain’t my business and goes in the vault.
The campus was in a quite safe space in St. Paul, fairly north on Snelling, normally quiet and calm. As to actual crime, we had a few bike thefts, some minor vandalism. Cool as shit normally, except for Friday and Saturday nights when everything went nuts with drunken kids wandering about causing random mayhem. Hey, I am one of those kids on a different Friday night!
When it got hard was when it was a friend. It was a small campus, I basically knew or recognized everybody by sight and often by name. I had to square friendship and doing my job correctly. I became a genius at the dialog that basically goes “Yo, man, you need to go home now, and I am going to pretend I didn’t see shit. Scoot! Go home you idiot, I busted you hard and don’t do that again, fool!”
It was mostly stupid drunken / high shenanigans. Acting up while chemically up nonsense, basically benign.
One night, a Saturday, a wild bug got up everybody’s ass and the Soren dorm residents (the all male jock dorm) thought it would be cool to toss all of the common room furniture out the windows and start a bonfire. They did. A massive bonfire. I showed up. I shouted that everyone needed to go home. No one listened. I called it in, I said we we needed fire response and cops. I went into Soren and grabbed a big canister fire extinguisher. Sprayed it on the fire to no effect, and then pointed the nozzle at assholes who objected and were coming at me. It was a huge bonfire.
Thankfully SPPD showed up right quick, and the Fire Department soon after. Normally, I basically hate and distrust cops, but those folks saved my sorry butt that night. When actual cops showed up everybody decided to melt away and go home. The Fire Dept. showed up, squirted water on in and it was out in 20 seconds, but it smoldered until dawn.
I’m a security guard, not riot police, ffs! I’m entirely unequiped to cope with this and I’m a scholarship kid and need this job for tuition. I was basically an indentured servant. I knew the ringleader by sight and name and a few of the people who tried to rush me when I had the fire extinguisher.
I kept my mouth shut. I knew to feign ignorance.
Except Cassandra would know you’re not actually going to run the experiment and would tell you that.
One of Asimov’s Thiotimoline stories takes up that problem. I forget the title or what happens or how. The gist is that the sample dissolved some time before water was added (regular Thiotimoline dissolves in water a few seconds before it’s added to it), then the sample was kept bone dry. I think a hurricane nearly struck before someone poured water on it. so it did happen.
@OzarkHillbilly: To the extent that she is qualified to hold the position, I have no objections to her relationship with the mayor. In the event that she’s not qualified, she’s merely one of thousands (millions?) of people across this fruited plain who got something because of who she knows. But Mayor Adams’ office playing no role in this decision? Yeah, right. (But try to sound more convincing and outraged at the thought.)
Which leaves unanswered why prosecutors, police, and relatives failed to attempt to trigger Colorado’s red flag law.
This fills in the blanks. I can only conclude that Colorado is a collection of blue cities with some deeply fwkt up red areas between them–in other words, just like where I live.
@Sleeping Dog: I taught remedial freshman comp classes (our school called them “developmental”). Kanye and company would be above that level. The bar for 101 is really pretty low most places given that when I went to college, freshman composition WAS the remedial class. (And no, I didn’t leave college as a particularly good writer. The move to everybody taking 1o1 has, undoubtedly, raised the level of student writing ability.)
@CSK: My vivid dream from last night had me roasting a marinated, but frozen, pork shoulder roast in my convection oven against a deadline and for a dinner party to which no one had shown up yet. When I woke up–late for my doctor’s appointment this morning–I was just slicing up the roast to see if it had cooked through with some parts perfectly done and others still too rare in the center.
@OzarkHillbilly: Sure, but those cases have no “My God, that could have been ME” quality to them, so they don’t matter.
@OzarkHillbilly: ROTFLMAO! 😀 😛 😀 😛
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Big bad day for the Former Guy.
The 3 Judges on the 11th Circuit of Appeal eviscerated Trumps lawyer and his arguments and seem poised to get rid of Judge Cannon’s ruling and the Special Master in the Mar-a-Lago Stolen Documents case.
Then the SCOTUS ruled that Congress can have Trump’s taxes. Not sure how that one is going to play out because Republicans can just quash it when they take over the House.
Oh, and I just saw this…
People who had a reality show purely about how rich they are, cheated on their taxes and got fuqed for it.
@daryl and his brother darryl:
One hopes these will be the new days that end in “y.”
“Sorry, Mr. Cheeto. We’re all out of Special Master. Would you like Special Prosecutor instead?”
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Here’s why Aldrich wasn’t charged for threatening his mother and no history exists.
Suspected Colorado shooter is the grandson of this California Republican Assemblyman
It got swept under the rug and now people are dead.
When a soccer game ends in a 0-0 draw, why do soccer fans get upset when I say “So, nothing happened at all.”
Just popping in to say that that terrorist in Colorado did what his Republican supporters hoped to do. He killed a bunch of us and made the rest of us terrified. I’ve been crying for 2 days now and having nightmares of someone attacking the gay bar I call home. It’s a small little dive bar where the music is terrible and too loud, the drinks cheap, and the bartenders know you by name. It’s a wonderful slice of heaven and one day a week it’s overrun by transwomen. And now I’m scared.
Yeah, I saw that the other day and rolled my eyes. Gramps had the nerve to send his thoughts and prayers to the victims.
@CSK: What little I’ve read on dreams seems to indicate that most vivid dreams have anxiety-inducing qualities to them. I suspect that the trend is one of the reasons that vivid dream questions are on both the sleeplessness and depression surveys that my doctors ask me to take periodically.
@Sleeping Dog: This is why I don’t understand Republicans. I would have gone the absolute opposite direction on that one. The grandson who threatened my daughter with a homemade bomb would get the extra-special involuntary commitment rush into a secure facility* so he and she can both be safe.
*Or gr[inflamatory term, deleted] as necessary.
@OzarkHillbilly’s quoted thing:
What a terrifying proverb to have in your culture. Eastern Europe is the best for things like that.
We need this for some PSAs. Like the shooting star “the more you know” PSAs from the 80s.
George Washington’s dentures were made from teeth pulled from living slaves… when he wasn’t trying tooth implants rather than dentures. He kept a transplant specialist on staff because the teeth kept falling out. The less you know, the better you sleep. [insert shooting star]
Or just terrifying facts about animals.
The Tasmanian Devil gives birth to a litter of 20 poorly developed hairless beanlike things, but only has four nipples. The weird, undeveloped babies then must fight to the death. That’s why they have fully developed claws. The less you know, the better you sleep.[lovely shooting star graphic]
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
The daughter had a criminal record for arson.
@Mister Bluster: I forgot that was today, now I want a commemorative playlist or something, but there aren’t a lot of songs about it, are there?
I can think of Lou Reed’s “The Day John Kennedy Died”, and Bob Dylan’s “Murder Most Foul”, but that’s about it.
We might need more assassination songs.
I’m chock full of bad ideas today.
Nazi Punks Fuck Off
@CSK: Still doesn’t mean I pull strings to keep this hushed up. Then again, I’m not a Republican, either.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Apparently the shooter’s name was Nicholas Brink till he changed it at age 15 because he was the victim of a campaign of internet harassment.
I am now officially country (tho never local). I have firearms. I know a lot of redneck mfers. I tell them, “We all know somebody who has no business owning a gun.” About 60% are like, “Yeah, you’re right.” The other 40% are like “Not me!” Then after 5 or 10 minutes about 65% of them come back and say, “Wait a minute… Uncle Earl has no business being anywhere near a gun. He shot his wife’s nose off installing cable in their trailer!*” The last 35% of the 40% look in the mirror and say, “Their tryin’ to take mah guns away!!!!”
* true story: A Miserian was installing cable in his house. He did not want to go get his drill for the cable but he had his sidearm handy so used it to drill a hole in the wall and… Kilt his wife dead.
@Beth: Not that it makes any real difference, but I fear for you too. And all my gay friends.
Yeah, I’d never heard that proverb before but it made perfect sense to me. I’ve seen a few things in my life that, while they now bother me little to none at all, they did give me a few sleepless nights.* Not that they are anything compared to what Ukrainians are going thru.
* lately a couple about my sons have been coming back to haunt my dreams. It’s not a big deal (yet) because when I dream, I know I am dreaming. There is one however that I hope never comes back.
@Beth: I’m not going to thumbs up your post, simply because I hate that you feel this way. I am sending you the most giant, fluffy hugs that wrap all around you.
And if you ever end up in Colorado Springs area, call me and I will make the effort to come meet you. We will go to the hero’s brewery, Atrevida. I know you’re a fruity drink kinda gal, but it looks like they have a strawberry beer that looks good, and I, personally, am gonna try the one made with spicy crickets. Because YOLO!!!
Love ya, sis.
@Gustopher: I read Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands just before Putin invaded. It’s horrifying what those people who survived went thru. The ones who died? They got off easy.
@CSK: I’m sorry. Been there, done that. It’s hard having a child caught up in the criminal justice system. There are no words to make it alright.
I must be tired. I misread that as, “MY daughter….” Sorry.
Still, as one who’s had a child caught up in the system, I am sympathetic. It is hard, you want to protect your child, but you also want them to learn from their mistakes. Or at least, I did. My ex on the other hand….
and with that, I am done for today.
@Kathy: there was a pretty terrible, short-lived TV series based on Minority Report. It picks up with the lives of the precogs 5 years after the events of the movie. The three have taken different paths. The eldest wants nothing to do with her precog abilities, and lives in isolation on an island. The middle brother is using his gifts to enrich himself. The youngest sibling and protagonist keeps trying and failing to use his gifts to help people, until he connects with a female cop and starts helping her solve her cases.
Despite the mediocre quality, there was one episode I found very interesting, called “Fourteen.” The premise is that in the future, the 14th Amendment has been repealed, and there now exist a number of people, called “Fourteens,” who are essentially stateless because they are the children or grandchildren of undocumented immigrants. Lacking options, the Fourteens often turn to crime, and the cop is currently working on a case involving a gang of Fourteens.
We made this episode interesting is that the cop’s boss (played by Wilmer Valderrama, Fez on That 70s Show), who is himself a 14. Through a series of flashbacks we see that his mom married a violently abusive man in order to give her children citizenship. He knows he can’t reveal this to anyone, and he faces the dilemma of trying to do his work while sympathizing with the plight of the many Fourteens who were not so lucky.
I went in to see the movie when it premiered completely fresh. I knew it was about a system to prevent future crimes, but nothing else. I was almost immediately disappointed they made use of precogs, rather than some kind of sophisticated time machine viewer of some sort.
Anyway, I can’t say I ever heard about the TV series, or recall if I did. I’m sure I never saw it.
The thing about TV, especially the old style 20-25 episode seasons, is that even when done badly, a few good eps will get through production.
I’m not so sure this happens with the short 10 ep seasons. Some series, though, feel like two part eps of old extended to ten parts. Some feel like drawn out movies shown in 45-60 minute increments.
Why We Are SOOOO Hosed, Episode [Damn, I’ve lost count. 🙁 ]
Giving Up on Limiting Warming to 1.5 Degrees Celsius Is a Luxury Only the Rich Can Afford
Alas, the rich can afford it. Good time to be old.
(And for those of you who are about to ask me about Central American and Sub-Saharan African refugees, ask RICH PEOPLE. I don’t speak for them.)
one of my favorite songs.
Way back when I used to wear an armband that was explicitly anti-nazi. The attempted infiltration of local punk scenes by neo-Nazis was a thing that happened. They tried to make it happen, anyway. Bad dudes, bad mojo, I don’t want that energy around me at all.
Our locals rebuffed the attempt easily. Sunlight is a very good disinfectant. Basically the strategy was shunning – if you were of that ilk or associated you were explicitly not invited to parties or to any get-together at all. Specifically not invited. And if you showed up you were briskly, firmly, respectfully shown the door in about 20 seconds.
My take was “Kill by kindness” and that sort of took off within the community. I was basically a community organizer when I was maybe 20 years old and ignorant as the day is long. Utterly unprepared and underprepared. I just winged it. It mostly worked which shocked me.