Tuesday’s Forum

The words so sweet.

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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Hoarse Whisperer

    NYPD accused Shake Shack of poisoning police officers’ milk shakes. Walks it back 12 hours later.

    Inspiring confidence every day, these guys.

    Chief Rodney Harrison
    · 3h
    After a thorough investigation by the NYPD’s Manhattan South investigators, it has been determined that there was no criminality by shake shack’s employees.
    Show this thread

  2. MarkedMan says:

    So the police in New Mexico have been wink-winking at the insane gun nuts showing up at protest rallies dressed like storm trooper wannabees. What could go wrong? Yesterday a racist piece of trash, albeit civilian garbed, maybe affiliated with the clownish macho men, maybe just a like minded individual, got in the face of a protester and started screaming at some skateboarder dude. The dude refused to back down and the civilian got right up in his grill and the dude swung his skate board at him. One thing led to another and four or five protesters started chasing after Mr. Righteous Anger Man and so of course he pulled out a concealed handgun and started firing wildly into the crowd, whereupon the militia man-boys surrounded him so as to protect him. Can you imagine what they would have done with their assault weapons if it had been a black man that produced a weapon? I’m guessing 50 dead protestors.

    This is the mentality of gun nuts. Having spent years lying awake nights fantasizing about bursting in a room and killing all the bad guys, they work themselves up into a rage to the point they convince their defective brains that skateboard dudes are the antifa terrorists of their dreams and they have to get right in their faces and show them how tough they are. But when someone fights back they panic like a b*tch and pull out their handgun and start firing into the crowd.

    And their second amendment rights somehow trump the rights of the rest of us not to be killed by some mentally defective delayed adolescent?

  3. Scott says:


    Another incident. Not deadly but had the potential

    Bethel police investigating 10 incidents after counter-protesters descended on BLM march

    Clashes erupted between groups during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Bethel on Sunday afternoon when counter-protesters rushed the demonstrators on Sunday afternoon.

    Multiple people captured the events in videos that were later posted to Facebook.

    Village officials say motorcycle gangs, back the blue organizations, and Second Amendment advocates tried disrupting the Black Lives Matter protest.

    “Bethel was founded with abolitionist groups,” she told The Enquirer. “We were a stop on the Underground Railroad. Our first mayor was Ulysses S. Grant’s father. And clearly we have moved away from those groups. I just felt like it was time that we get back to them and demonstrate that we aren’t filled with white supremacy and hate.”

    She sure about that?

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Slava Malamud@SlavaMalamud
    As someone who has suffered from race-based anti-semitism, it bothers the shit out of me when people refer to Ivanka Trump as Jewish just because her kids had a bar-mitzvah.
    Ivanka is the most goyishe person in history. She is what happens when you add a vagina to a Nazi poster.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    John O’Connell@jdpoc
    You want a statue ? Here’s a statue !!

    This in #Växjö, #Sweden commemorates the day of 13 April 85 when local housewife Danuta Danielsson whopped Neo Nazi Seppo Seluska with her handbag. She became a local hero.

    Danuta’s mother was a survivor in #Auschwitz.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Julia Ioffe

    “I fought for your freedom!” says man calling the cops on two people exercising their first amendment right to freedom of speech and assembly.

    Taylor Lorenz
    · Jun 8
    What’s the name for a male Karen

    I’m gonna go with Richard.

  7. CSK says:

    The BBC is reporting that British researchers have found that dexamethasone, an inexpensive and globally available low dose steroid, is a very effective treatment against Covid-19. It cut the death rate of people on ventilators or oxygen substantially.

  8. Kathy says:

    The latest by Patrick Wyman on legitimacy.

    He comes up with stuff I hadn’t considered. Long story short: both sides believe the government, or parts of it, are illegitimate.

    This looks a lot like the 1860s to me.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    It should be acknowledged that the death rate, while going up in a number of states, is not spiking as fast as the case rate in most of them. And the overall US death rate continues to decline. It’s hard to say why. Yes, the most severe spikes in cases have only been going on for the past couple of weeks, but some states have had rising cases for more than a month, without an equally severe rise in case rates.

    Some of the things that may be in play: we may be seeing more cases simply because we are testing more people (although this isn’t true in many of the fastest rising states), individual actions with respect to masking and social distancing may be fairly effective in preventing spread and the most at risk population is adhering better than the young’uns, states may have a better handle on places like nursing homes, prisons and meat processing plants which accounted for a high percentage of deaths in the early stages.

    In the end, we just don’t know. It could be that the actions we are taking are sufficient and the curve will continue to bend down in most states. Arizona is an outlier, but they have a lot of elderly. But so does Florida and in addition a large elderly population they have a large cohort of, well, Floridians who are going to party till they puke. So Florida is going to be my bell weather. Their case rate has gone up exponentially in the past two weeks. They have a government that is literally firing people for reporting the truth about the outbreak. But if the ICU beds are full they won’t be able to cover that up. If the death rate doesn’t spike there in the next 1-3 weeks, I’m going to have to believe there is a ray of sunshine out there.

  10. Moosebreath says:


    That was a good essay.

  11. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Agree with your points.

    I find it interesting that New York got so hard-hit and Florida doesn’t seem to be packing quite the same punch. Does population density have that much of an impact? It seems to. China and Italy both have densely populated cities. But why would that impact the death rate? Just more people infected = more likely to hit those who aren’t physically able to weather it?

    There’s still so much that we don’t know.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: As reported in TPM, this is a proper study, large numbers of patients and with a careful control group. And the results were dramatic: a drop in the death rate of 35%. If this holds it is really good news.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: Just speculation, but NYC spread before there were any masks or cleaning procedures or tests or anything else in place. It seems likely that had something to do with the logarithmic spread.

  14. CSK says:

    I’ve not looked at TPM yet today, but I did see that this was indeed a proper study, which of course adds to the good news aspect. I hope these results are replicated elsewhere. As you say, this is very encouraging.

  15. CSK says:

    Mary Trump’s forthcoming book about her revolting uncle Donald, Too Much and Never Enough, has a great subtitle: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. It will be published on July 28.

    Michael Kranish in the WaPo has an interesting article about it.

  16. CSK says:

    Population density does seem to have a considerable amount to do with the spread of the coronavirus. Middlesex County in Massachusetts was terribly hard hit. I've read that, in relation to its size, Middlesex is the most densely populated country in the U.S., as it is home to 1.6+ million people packed into a relatively small area.

  17. Kingdaddy says:

    For the people with greater legal knowledge than myself here: What can mayors, governors, and other authorities do about the militia cosplayers?

  18. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: have you heard about the small towns where a bunch of gun nuts march every night, fully armed, in order to “protect” their town from supposed “Antifa invaders”?

  19. EddieInCA says:

    The latest polling out is absolutely brutal for Trump. Here are a few surprising polls:

    Arkansas – Trump +2
    Iowa – Trump +1
    New Mexico – Biden +14
    Michigan – Biden +16

    Time to double down and continue pushing voter registration, voter outreach, and getting people organized for November.

  20. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: @Jen: Jen, you mentioned on another thread about the viral load that people receive. One theory is that the bigger the viral load, the sicker people get. It may be that social distancing and mask-wearing, however imperfectly done, is reducing the viral load that people who get infected are receiving, and so they are getting less sick (and thus, are less likely to die).

    It will definitely be interesting to see what happens in the coming weeks with Trump’s indoor rallies, especially if a lot of people refuse to wear masks.

  21. CSK says:

    IANAL, but I assume that there’s very little any mayor or governor can do about militia cosplayers unless they break a law. As long as you abide by the law, you have a First Amendment right to dress up in battle fatigues and prance around making a fool of yourself pretending to be a soldier in a non-existent civil war. If it’s legal for you to own and carry firearms, you may do so as long as you don’t shoot anyone.

  22. EddieInCA says:


    If it’s legal for you to own and carry firearms, you may do so as long as you don’t shoot anyone.

    Unless you’re black and you’re walking around Walmart with a toy gun you picked up in the store while shopping and talking on the phone. In that case, you get shot dead in the store and the police are not even charged. John Crawford. RIP.

  23. Kingdaddy says:

    @CSK: But if the intent is clearly intimidation…

  24. CSk says:

    Yes. Quite so. But the vast majority–if not all–militia cosplayers are white, are they not? So they don’t have to worry, do they.

  25. CSK says:

    Yeah, I know, but try and prove that. One person’s intimidation is another person’s “Hey, I’m just hangin’ out here, enjoyin’ the day, even if I do look scary to you.” Think how that has been used against black people, particularly black men. That twit in Central Park called the police because she felt she was being “intimidated” by a black man.

  26. MarkedMan says:

    Really useful tool form the Washington Post. It lets you track number of cases vs. number of deaths vs. number of tests vs. number of positive tests for any state. It helps tease some things out. If the lying Trump administration was correct and the case rate was not really going up but rather just an increase in the rate of testing, there should be a plateau or even a downward trend in percent positivity. For most of the states with rising caseloads, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Number of tests are rising quickly, but the percentage positive is also rising.

    Now that I think about it though, that could be a side effect of the games Trump states are playing. In an effort to boost the number of tests they are counting all tests for a given individual. So if a patient is hospitalized with C19 and they do a series of tests, they count every test in their testing totals. But wouldn’t this skew the positivity rate higher? Arrgh. Who knows! Just another reason not to let Trump states manage their own tracking. Incompetent and duplicitous. Never a good combination for trying to ferret out the truth.

  27. Kathy says:

    I got bitten by my percentage point vs percentage argument.

    A customer wanted sardines with 15% +/- 2% protein. Our was, say, 14%. So good, right? That was how I argued.

    I was overruled that this meant between 14.70 and 15.30%, not between 13 and 17%

  28. CSK says:

    FWIW, Kevin Stitt, the governor of Oklahoma, confirms that almost one million people have requested tickets to Trump’s Saturday rally. Stitt says they are looking for a larger outdoor venue, since the BOK facility only holds 19,600 people. Masks will be provided, but are not mandatory.

    It’s only Tuesday, and people are apparently already lining up outside the Bok center for an event that is not scheduled to take place for five more days, counting today. Four nights of sleeping on the sidewalk and relieving yourself…where? Do you starve, or carry a cooler full of food? Tell me this isn’t a cult.

  29. Kathy says:


    I’m sure any Trump enthusiast can swear an oath denying their support constitutes a cult, and they’ll swear by the Trump Father, the Trump Son, and the Trumpy Trump.

  30. CSK says:

    And with their right hands reverently placed upon a copy of The Art of the Deal.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I’ve dealt with testing to specifications my whole career and your interpretation is the only one I’ve ever considered. No pushback ever.

  32. Jen says:

    @CSK: I’ve been thinking a lot about this rally. It’s likely pulling in people from surrounding states. I do also know that there’s a contingent of people on sites like Blue Rev who always sign up for “tickets” thinking that they are somehow driving down the number available, and that Trump will be left with a half-empty venue, but that isn’t how these work, there are no actual tickets issued. It’s always first-come, first-served for the general seating. Any actual tickets are reserved for VIP areas (right in front of the stage, for example).

    My guess is that the “let’s mess with the numbers” folks are probably less than 5% or so. The rest of these people are all-in, which means they are unlikely to “believe” in mask use. If it’s indeed indoors, they’ll need to be filing in well ahead of time. This means potentially HOURS of time standing/sitting cheek to jowl with literally thousands of people.

    I honestly cannot think of anything worse (just in general), but during an epidemic? Oh h3ll no. Nope. Nope. No way.

  33. CSK says:

    Oh, I’m sure it’s pulling in people from the surrounding states. Certainly from Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri, and perhaps even from Texas, although that’s a fairly long haul given that Tulsa’s in northeast Oklahoma.

    As for jamming all those idiots into one packed venue for hours on end…why don’t they just call the BOK Center the Tulsa Giant Petri Dish and be done with it?

  34. Kathy says:

    If we were living in a political thriller, shortly after losing the election, Trump would take a farewell (aka good riddance) tour of Europe. Except one day AF1 would vanish off the radar (just turn off the radar transponder) and be presumed lost for some time, until El PITO resurfaced, plane and all, in some military base near Moscow, asking for asylum.

    You know, this sounds far less implausible written down than it did when I thought about it.

  35. CSK says:


    I think Con Air has already been done.

  36. Jax says:

    @Jen: There is no way to legally off his “base” faster than what Trump is about to do with these rallies. They will not listen to common sense or reason, 90% of them actually believe it’s a hoax perpetrated by the Democrats to bring down Trump, like lemmings off a cliff they clamor and scream for their own demise.

    All we can do is hope like hell they don’t kill too many innocents in their stampede to the cliff.

  37. CSK says:

    They return to their communities after this mass infection event, go grocery shopping, go out to banks, restaurants, any open retail stores, and spread the virus far and wide. You think they’re going to self-quarantine for 14 days after this disaster?

  38. Kari Q says:


    As I mentioned in the “Wishful thinking” post, there’s also a poll from Georgia showing Biden leading by 2.

  39. DrDaveT says:


    So Florida is going to be my bell weather.

    Not picking on you particularly, because I’ve seen this several times here recently from various sources…

    The word is “bellwether”. One word, no “a”. From the archaic “wether”, meaning male sheep. (In modern English, wether:ram::ox:bull.) The bellwether was the ram that led the flock around. You put a bell on him so that you could hear how/when the flock was moving. Later metaphorically used for any reliable indicator of impending change.

    The Usage Police: To Correct and Serve

  40. Kathy says:


    Where do you stand on the exception that proves/probes the rule?

  41. DrDaveT says:


    Where do you stand on the exception that proves/probes the rule?

    Is there more than one place to stand? 🙂

    “911 calls are free” implies that other calls are not. Stating the exception implies the existence of a rule, namely “charges may apply”. See for example Dr. Paul Brians on this subject.

    It’s clearer in the original Latin, exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis — “the exception proves the rule in cases not excepted”. Saying “the exception proves the rule” is just shorthand, like saying “So apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln…” without finishing the question.

  42. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: No offense taken. In fact, I’m a bit of a language geek myself and delight in obscure references. I guess I thought it was a backward “weather bell” and that it had something to do with warning near shore fishermen of a coming storm.

    Speaking of the sea and storms, one of my most wonderful discoveries was learning where the expression “There will be the devil to pay” comes from. I think Michael alluded to this on another thread. It has nothing to do with the devil or payment. Instead, it comes from wooden ship sailors and the whole expression is “There’s a storm coming and the devil to pay”. Wooden ships needed to be caulked with tar in between the planks that made up the sides of the ship, and this process was called “paying”. The devil was the top most plank that needed to be caulked just under the deck, an arduous and slow process. During most weather, neglecting it didn’t result in bad consequences because the water never reached that high. But if you let it go and saw a storm coming it was a race to get it done before the waves crashing into the ship filled your vessel with water and sank you.

  43. Kathy says:


    My very limited understanding of Latin suggests “probat” means either “tests” or “proves.” In Spanish “probar”, transitive verb, means both (and also “taste”).

  44. Jax says:

    @CSK: Yep. And nope, they’re not gonna quarantine, cuz it’s a “hoax”. All we can do is hope they don’t kill too many innocent people. Trust me, I don’t like it any more than you do. As for me and mine, we’ll still be properly social distancing, washing our hands, wearing masks, and avoiding the hell out of anyone who’s been anywhere. 🙁

    There’s an outbreak two counties south of us (where the closest WalMart is), so I’m doubling down on the kids staying home, only going to town when necessary, etc.

  45. DrDaveT says:


    My very limited understanding of Latin suggests “probat” means either “tests” or “proves.” In Spanish “probar”, transitive verb, means both (and also “taste”).

    Sure. English, at least at times, has had the same duality: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” means the test of the pudding’s quality, not some kind of existence proof. “Proof strikes” for coins are test pieces, struck before the actual run. Weapons and munitions are tested at “proving grounds”. Etc. All of those are fossilized usages; nobody coins new phrases that use the verb “to prove” in that sense any more.

    But in the case of “the exception proves the rule”, we have centuries of unbroken usage history to rely on for what it’s supposed to mean. Of course, if enough people mistakenly use it to mean something else, then that’s what it will come to mean — languages are slippery that way.

  46. DrDaveT says:


    The word is “bellwether”. […] Later metaphorically used for any reliable indicator of impending change.

    Also, the title of a very good novel by Connie Willis, inspired by (and paying homage to) the classic Avram Davidson short story “The Sources of the Nile”.

  47. Kathy says:


    IMO, the phrase that makes sense is “probes” the rule, as in tests the rule. When i hear “proves” the rule, it seems to mean it confirms the rule.

    So you can say: in science fiction, all pulp is atrocious; except anything good, in which case it’s not pulp.

  48. DrDaveT says:


    IMO, the phrase that makes sense is “probes” the rule, as in tests the rule.

    As I noted above, you don’t need to change “prove” to “probe” to get that meaning — “prove” can mean “test” in not-quite-contemporary English.

    …which is beside the point, because what makes sense generally has nothing to do with how English works. English is the creolized bastard fusion of Vikingized French vocabulary on already corrupt German grammar that had been worn down by the Danes and infiltrated by Celtic quirks, later subjected to an extreme sound shift that happened just after the spelling had been regularized, the arbitrary proclamations of pedants, and the outright theft of words and phrases from every language imaginable. There is no logic in English; only glorious happenstance.

  49. Teve says:

    I’ve given up entirely on Begs the Question.

  50. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: though I’ve read fewer than 10 science fiction books in my life, that happens to be one. Good book.

  51. Kathy says:


    I read McWhorter’s “Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue.”

    And I know not just what happened to the literal meaning of “literally,” but also that few people understand the word “figuratively.”

    Just the same, I strive, now and then, for clarity and precision. You can guess I find it endlessly frustrating to tell someone the full information clearly, and have them ask something contained in what I just told them. It’s getting so people think my catch-phrase is “what did I just say?”

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: @DrDaveT: In my little town, there is a 4-lane arterial that has 3 or 4 churches situated on it over a course of a mile or two. In that zone, the street is posted Sunday Parking Permitted but there are no signs telling drivers that they can’t park during the rest of the week. Sunday is the exception that proves [in this case, I take it to mean establishes] the rule.

  53. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT: @Teve: @Kathy:

    And while we’re on the subject, when did “who” become a dirty word? By which I mean, why has it been replaced with “that,” as in the locution “people that want to…” “people that like to…” etc. No. It’s “people who…”

    I suspect those who use “that” are uneasy because they’re not sure whether “who” or “whom” is correct in a given sentence, and “that” is an inoffensive substitute.

    There may well be sixteen or seventeen people in the Anglosphere who use this expression correctly.

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: We’ve had roughly 50 new cases in slightly more than 2 weeks, so all of a sudden, gobs and gobs of people who hadn’t been wearing masks for quite some time have them back on now. (BTW, These past two weeks have almost doubled our total number of SARS-CoV 2 patients. 🙁 )

  55. Kylopod says:


    I suspect those who use “that” are uneasy because they’re not sure whether “who” or “whom” is correct in a given sentence, and “that” is an inoffensive substitute.

    Like most usages that a lot of people complain about today, I suspect that “that” for “who/whom” is ancient.

  56. CSK says:

    I’ve been noticing it more and more in the past decade. I noticed it hardly at all that I can recall prior to that. And since I was an English professor, it was something I’d notice. In my later career as a text editor, I was forever having to substitute “who” or “whom” for “that.”

  57. Kathy says:


    I suspect those who use “that” are uneasy because they’re not sure whether “who” or “whom” is correct in a given sentence, and “that” is an inoffensive substitute.

    I get that one mixed up, and wind up feeling like Monica in “Friends” telling Ross “Whom. Whom. Sometimes it’s WHO!”

    Overall, I do know “who” applies to people*, and “that” is used for things or animals.

    *The category “people” in this case includes household pets.

  58. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I think they said they’ve had 78 new positives in the last week, total county population is probably around 10,000 (but it’s right on I-80, closest city to Salt Lake, which is also experiencing a spike), and most of the positives have been in the 20-29 age range. Hopefully these young people will adhere to their quarantine orders. I doubt it, but I’m hopeful.

  59. CSK says:

    I don’t think I’ve eve seen you use “who” or “whom” incorrectly. “Whom” is the object form of “who.”

    “Who is speaking?”
    “To whom do you wish to speak?”

  60. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: In The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” they misuse the term “whom” in an example of hypercorrection: “exactly whom I’m supposed to be.”

  61. Kathy says:


    There’s much you haven’t seen me do.

    Anyway, I couldn’t think of any Trump jokes today, so I wonder, if things turn out well, what should we call Nov. 3rd 2020 and Jan. 20th 2021?

    I was thinking Victory Over Hate Day and Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish Day.

    If/when El PITO loses this year, I estimate a good chance he’ll finally alienate his base by blaming them for not coming out to vote in the numbers he felt entitled to.

  62. Jax says:

    Hahahahaha…..ohhhh, man, where’s Guano when we need him….Google has banned ZeroHedge from it’s ad platform! AND issued a warning to the Federalist!

    Boy, if Zuckerberg grows a pair, conservative heads really ARE gonna go full exorcist.

  63. Jax says:

    I accidentally typed a banned name, please release me from moderation, oh mighty Admins! 😉

  64. CSK says:

    That falls on my ear with a giant thud.
    Nah, Trump won’t blame his base. He’ll need them as the core audience for Trump TV.

  65. Teve says:

    My big thing lately has been Gentleman. As in, like, cops will be talking about an accused rapist, and they’ll say, ‘that particular gentleman’. NO. Not a gentleman. An individual, sure, but not a gentleman.

  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Isn’t “gentleman” in this case just a variation on the “gook” acronym. While I didn’t go myself, I remember one of my coworkers explaining once that during his basic training, it was emphasized that the Military didn’t want soldiers calling the indigenous population “Chinks” (“slants” wasn’t a thing at the time, IIRC) and came up with “gentlemen of the other kind,” which became the acronym “gook.”

    Proving once again that any intention or locution can be turned into a slur if we only apply ourselves.

  67. Kylopod says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I remember one of my coworkers explaining once that during his basic training, it was emphasized that the Military didn’t want soldiers calling the indigenous population “Chinks” (“slants” wasn’t a thing at the time, IIRC) and came up with “gentlemen of the other kind,” which became the acronym “gook.”

    As a rule of thumb, stories about word origins based on obscure acronyms should usually be taken with a grain of salt (for unlawful carnal knowledge). Online Etymology Dictionary has this to say:

    gook (n.)
    1899, U.S. military slang for “Filipino” during the insurrection there, probably from a native word, or imitative of the babbling sound of a strange language to American ears (compare barbarian). The term goo-goo eyes “soft, seductive eyes” was in vogue c. 1900 and may have contributed to this somehow. Extended over time to “Nicaraguan” (U.S. intervention there early 20c.), “any Pacific Islander” (World War II), “Korean” (1950s), “Vietnamese” and “any Asian” (1960s).