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. Rick DeMent says:

    Morning hive mind.

    I was reading some things on the ouster of Kevin McCarthy and I came across an article that made the claim that the threshold for vacating the speaker has always been one. This is not how I understood it. I thought that the one vote threshold was due to the deal McCarthy made with the MAGA faction. I can’t find the article but my recollection is the claim was something to the effect of:
    Never in our over two hundred year history has a speaker been vacated and the number of members required to bring that motion has always been one.

    Is this right?

  2. MarkedMan says:

    The MAGA Fear Machine has been going on and on about the epidemic of shoplifting. FWIW, Kevin Drum has a quick piece about the actual rate of “shrinkage”, which includes shoplifting. Turns out that it is up modestly in the past 5-6 years, but not dramatically. It went from 0.49% to 0.56% in that time. I have to admit that my reaction upon looking at that chart was, “Wasn’t 2017 about the time that self checkout started taking over?”

    Another thing to consider: shoplifting is only about 1/3 of the total amount of shrinkage. Another large contributor is products that are damaged and have to be taken off the shelves. Could the ever lower staffing levels also be contributing?

  3. Jon says:

    @Rick DeMent: My understanding is that yes, that is indeed correct. I think it was changed to require a larger threshold under … Boehner maybe? Some time in the last 20 years or so.

  4. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: I seem to remember the other 1/3 of shrinkage is internal employee theft.

  5. Jen says:


    Employee theft is an ongoing concern, and it’s been around for ages. I worked at a fairly high-end retail outlet (Restoration Hardware) back in the early 2000’s, and learned a lot about what stores are concerned about. In our case, it was physically smaller/very expensive items, like high thread count sheet sets and packaged draperies, which were very easy to steal and then resell online.

    MOS (mark out of stock–how we coded for damage) was tracked separately and everything that was MOSed was reviewed by a manager. Whenever possible, things that were only slightly damaged were sold at a deep discount at “nick and dent” tables. I still own the (very pricey at original cost) Simple Human garbage can I bought for less than half price due to the dent it has in the side.

    It was quite an eye-opener to find out how much was attributable to employee theft–depressing, really.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: A few years back I was reading an article about employee theft at museum gift shops, where the employees are almost all volunteers. It was off the charts. Employees figured since they were working for free, they were entitled to take some stuff.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Minnesota horticultural teacher set a new world record for growing the heaviest pumpkin – a gargantuan jack-o’-lantern gourd weighing 2,749lb.

    Travis Gienger set the record at the 50th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, California. The plump pumpkin beat the previous record, set in 2021 by Stefano Cutrupi of Italy, by 47lb.

    “This pumpkin is called Michael Jordan because it’s the year [20]23… and he’s the greatest basketball player of all time,” Gienger told KSTP-TV in Minnesota. (Jordan’s jersey number was 23.) It “started out basketball round, and I said this is going to be a perfectly round basketball-shaped pumpkin”, Gienger said.

    Michael Jordan grew into an enormous, lumpy, orange pumpkin, equivalent to about 2,110 basketballs, or about 275 jack-o’-lantern gourds. For comparison, Michael Jordan, the basketball player, weighed 216lb during his NBA career.

    Gienger spent about $15,000 to feed and care for Michael Jordan as the pumpkin ballooned in his backyard, and he carefully drove it to California from Minnesota last weekend, according to SFGate.

    His prize money was $30,000 so he made the $15K back, tho I do wonder what his travel expenses were.

  8. steve says:

    Drum wrote on this a while back. The other 2/3 is largely internal theft by employees and theft during transportation of goods. Think the internal theft was a larger percentage but dont quote me on that.

    “Republicans considered using the motion to vacate against their own leader, Speaker Newt Gingrich, in 1997 but decided against it.

    The next case came in July 2015, when then-Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who went on to serve as President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, attempted to oust Speaker John Boehner.

    While Meadows filed a motion to vacate, he said he hoped it would never come to a vote, and it never did. Boehner resigned as speaker a few months later.

    The threshold for bringing a motion to vacate stayed at just a single member of Congress until 2019 when Democrats took the majority. That year, the House modified the rules to allow a vacancy resolution to be brought only “if offered by direction of a party caucus or conference” — a much higher bar.

    The new rules package, passed Monday night by the House, changes the procedure for a motion to vacate back to how it had existed before, giving any member the power to raise it.”



  9. charontwo says:

    Assuming last night’s Hamas thread is now dead, I want to comment on something here:

    IIRC, it’s a line from the Truman Administration, and I didn’t say “my,” I said “our.” Perhaps the problem was that in misreading what I said, you became angry and lost control of your thoughts.

    The reference was obscure enough for me not to understand what the point was, and I still don’t.

    But I think now it’s best to just drop the matter, there is no point to keep batting it around.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charontwo: When it comes to internet arguments, I never let them bleed into the next day. Life is too short.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Christopher, Esq.

    Apr 12, 2020
    Navarro gets slam dunked during 60 Minutes Overtime.

    He challenged 60 Minutes’ record – “Show me episodes during the Obama and Bush administrations that said the global pandemic was coming, and then you will have some credence in attacking the Trump Administration.”


    Totally pantsed.

  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    Who Runs the Best U.S. Schools? It May Be the Defense Department.

    Link shouldn’t be paywalled.

    On the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federal exam that is considered the gold standard for comparing states and large districts, the Defense Department’s schools outscored every jurisdiction in math and reading last year and managed to avoid widespread pandemic losses.

    Their schools had the highest outcomes in the country for Black and Hispanic students, whose eighth-grade reading scores outpaced national averages for white students.

    Eighth graders whose parents only graduated from high school — suggesting lower family incomes, on average — performed as well in reading as students nationally whose parents were college graduates.

    The DoD schools aren’t perfect, there are still racial and economic disparities, but they’re a heck of a lot better than what passes for education in most of the US. Among the reasons, adequate funding and a stable well implemented curriculum.

    It should also be noted, that these schools are achieving these results despite the fact that there is a high level of mobility of location among the families, a bane that is often sited as a reason low income kids struggle in schools.

  13. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: That’s a bit frightening. I was in some international schools and some DoD schools, including a DoD for the first two years of high school. I moved to the states for the last two years, into a very good school district, and I had a LOT of catching up to do.

    ETA: I’ve read the article, and it seems like this has a lot to do with adequate funding. It also seems like the DoD might have gotten its act together a bit from when I was in school.

  14. Modulo Myself says:


    Yeah, Restoration Hardware can be a shocking experience if you walk in using the word ‘hardware’ as a guide for the prices. See also: Design Within Reach.

    Overall, most of the shoplifting panic seems like clickbait or excuses by CEOs for other problems. The media never follows up on any claims like a mere 300 people are responsible for 100000 acts of shoplifting or whatever by the cops. I live in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn. There are some higher-end stores and lower-end stores. You read these things about shelves being emptied and constant theft and it does not resonate. Then I again I am not the target for these stories.

  15. JKB says:

    @MarkedMan: Turns out that it is up modestly in the past 5-6 years, but not dramatically. It went from 0.49% to 0.56% in that time.

    That is good news. It means closing stores driven to unprofitability by dramatic shoplifting the media covers will be effective in staving off real damage to the company. It is still impacting those living far afiels such as the Lowes and Home Depot in the small town near me have also put their electrical wire in cages. Probably a corporate-wide policy due to losses in higher theft areas.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    The “radical”, “far left” AOC:

    “It should not be hard to shut down hatred and antisemitism where we see it. That is a core tenet of solidarity,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y) and one of six DSA members in Congress, said in a statement late Monday — her first comments on the rally.

    “The bigotry and callousness expressed in Times Square on Sunday were unacceptable and harmful in this devastating moment. It also did not speak for the thousands of New Yorkers who are capable of rejecting both Hamas’ horrifying attacks against innocent civilians as well as the grave injustices and violence Palestinians face under occupation,” she said.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    There are two people that comment on this site that I tune out. When I see a comment from them, or a comment from someone else that is response to them, I just stop reading. I’m curious, does anyone else do this? I kind of miss the old usenet readers that let you make someone invisible.

    (For all those that read this far and reply, “Yes! It’s you, MarkedMan, that I tune out!” Hah! I got you!)

  18. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog: A couple of reasons for the higher scores. Better parents. Parents are held responsible for the behavior of their children. Including in school. Most of these schools are on base and the families are part of a small base community. If the children are out of control, parents and families can lose on base living privileges. Another plus, there are a lot of other parents watching out also.

    On base living is a pretty socialist environment with housing and medical care provided.

    One further comment. No one wants to admit it but the success of a student has little to do with the school but with the student’s home environment.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: There are some I refuse to engage with, but I still read their comments*. Blind pigs/truffles and all that.

    *until a comment devolves into the usual BS.

  20. Jen says:

    @Scott: There are a lot of reasons: free or heavily subsidized housing, no worries about health care, subsidized groceries and clothing at the commissary/PX, and because constant moving isn’t conducive to steady employment, there’s a better than average chance that there’s a SAH parent around. The government was pretty good at finding jobs for on base/on project teens too. I bagged groceries at the commissary and had a summer job on a maintenance crew doing things like sanding and painting metal railings.

    The fact that the school curriculum is standardized *globally* is a pretty big deal. Basically, the system creates a very stable environment for a lot of kids who don’t have a lot of stability as far as where they live.

  21. Neil Hudelson says:


    “It’s actually really good that everyone panicked after last night’s radio drama, that way when the Martians do plan their invasion they will know that we have the guts to take them on.”

    the Lowes and Home Depot in the small town near me have also put their electrical wire in cages.

    Sorry your small town is filled with meth heads stealing copper wire. But, it’s not a new phenomenon.

  22. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @MarkedMan: You’re not the only one. There were more in the past, but it seems like we’re down to two or three.

  23. Kathy says:


    I tend to tune out topics. Mostly baseball and music.

  24. CSK says:


    There’s one person I routinely ignore. There are certain subjects that don’t interest me, and I’ll skip or skim those discussions.

  25. becca says:

    @Scott: My stepfather was an army colonel. We lived in San Antonio’s at Fort Sam Houston. I attended Cole high school on base.
    Fort Sam was beautiful. I have to say the housing quarters were awesome. Two story stuccos with screen porches and butler’s pantries, high ceilings and elegant entries with Spanish chandeliers. Loquat trees grew in the yards, which the two spider monkeys, who lived in a cage in our next door neighbor’s backyard, escaped to a couple of times and threw the neighborhood into an uproar. It’s hard to catch a monkey in a tree, especially one that bears such delicious fruit. I wonder what became of Cedric and Brunella after we left post.

    Cole was very much an international school. Different races and nationalities. Of course, ROTC was big on campus, but, unlike many civilian ROTCs, these guys weren’t gung-ho types. Just kids who wore a uniform a couple of days a week. Of the four junior and senior high schools I attended, Cole was my fave. The civilian schools paled in comparison.

  26. KM says:

    @MarkedMan :
    I worked in grocery store for a while where damaged items like produce and dry goods were recycled back into the cafe section whenever possible. The buffet bars, sandwiches and trays were all made with the less-then-perfect fruits and veggies that weren’t gonna sell but were otherwise just fine. In fact, you were supposed to hit up the damaged bins in the back before taking anything off the shelf and it got tracked separately to check. It was originally called Damaged but quickly got changed to Reclaimed for the reasons below.

    The store quickly noticed that items were being taken from Damaged and then duplicates from the shelves – turns out employees were making themselves lunch or taking it home for dinner even though a small selection was offered in the breakroom for just that reason (“Take Home”). The reasoning seemed to be since it was “bad” they shouldn’t be serving it customers but instead giving it away free. “Bad” might mean a bruised apple, misshapen strawberries or even meat that’s gone a touch grey because it drained too fast (grey meat is NOT necessarily bad BTW, it means it’s older and had time for the blood & red dye to seep away into the packaging). Shrinkage therefore had to reflect employee theft twice – the old school way and stealing from Damaged. A stern PSA video we all had to endure and a name change later, Reclaimed saw less theft but still a surprisingly high amount. Employee theft accounts for much more loss then customer theft overall.

  27. gVOR10 says:

    @Neil Hudelson: About ten years ago my tennis club had no A/C for a couple weeks because somebody stole the copper condenser coils. That was in Ohio, and my recollection is the state imposed a requirement on scrap dealers that anyone selling copper had to show some provenience on it.

    Yes, not a new problem. And my local Lowes and Home Depot have no cages around their wire.

    And on another subject, I’ve read that bank robbery is small change compared to embezzlement.

  28. DrDaveT says:


    I moved to the states for the last two years, into a very good school district, and I had a LOT of catching up to do.

    My takeaway from this is not that the DoDEA* schools are particularly good, but that most of America is particularly bad. Local control of school funding and curriculum, combined with culture wars and flat our racism, has a predictable outcome.

  29. DrDaveT says:


    No one wants to admit it but the success of a student has little to do with the school but with the student’s home environment.

    This is absolutely true on average, but less so at the extremes of school quality. School quality cannot cause education, but it can certainly prevent it.

  30. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yeah, I do that as well.

  31. steve says:

    MarkedMan- Need to remember this Guardian piece. After the mid terms Fox cuts its coverage fo crime in half. It’s the media coverage that determines the perception of crime which in some ways is more important than the actual incidence, unfortunately.



  32. Bill Jempty says:

    A National Review writer took exception to the UN using the term Trans Lesbian. I don’t know why other than stupidity and lack of fact checking.

    As many of you know, I write LGBT fiction under a pseudonym. My first attempt at it was in 2000 and my work was published at a website that features such scribblings. In 2014 I began selling through Amazon Kindle Publishing these stories of mine and newer work of mine.

    I myself have never used the term trans lesbian or ts lesbian in any story of mine. That said, they have been in many* of my books. The first time in a story** I posted to the internet in 2001. I have known of the TS Lesbian term for at least two decades.

    NR*** folks should get out more often. I can recall one of their writers saying around 15 years ago they hadn’t heard of the term LGBT.

    *- And will be featured in my next ebook which I will be publishing before the week is over. My tale is set in and around Colby College in Maine and there is a brief mention of Colby in this recent news story.
    **- Probably the most wretched thing I have ever written but not because of a TS Lesbian featured in it. Some how I have sold over 200 copies of it at Amazon. Proof that shit sells?
    ***- I have read NR and its liberal counterpart The New Republic for years. One of characters in my next book does also.

  33. gVOR10 says:

    I got a chuckle out of this. I googled “are dod teachers union? The first hit was a WIKI article,

    Bella Dodd (née Visono; 1904 – 29 April 1969 ) was a teacher, lawyer, and labor union activist, member of the Communist Party of America (CPUSA) and New York City Teachers Union (TU) in the 1930s and 1940s

    I guess I’ll have to look into AI search. Any recommendations?

    About ten hits down I found a 2020 Military Times story about the teachers union resisting reopening schools after COVID shut downs. So yes, union. And I assume no vouchers, no home schooling, and thoroughly integrated. But no inner cities, no extreme poverty.

  34. becca says:

    @Jen: Your mention of high thread count sheets reminds me of my time selling bedding and linens at Macy’s. Lots of people think the higher the thread count, the better the sheets, but the fabric is the most important factor in a nice sheet. Pima cotton is fine and doesn’t pill or shed. Smooth against the skin. Upland cotton is cheaper and heavy, more wrinkly. Microfiber is like sandpaper compared to Pima. Pro-tip – measure your mattress depth before buying. Check the specs on the sheet packaging. If you’re getting a new duvet, pay attention to the size in inches. To get the right drop, consider a king size comforter on a queen size bed. Sizes can vary wildly.

  35. Sleeping Dog says:


    One further comment. No one wants to admit it but the success of a student has little to do with the school but with the student’s home environment.

    An anecdote that reinforces this.
    30 or so years ago a friend was a founder of a charter school in an inner city. It was intended for all kids k-12 that lived in two, racially and economically mixed neighborhoods, but due to the law governing charters they couldn’t deny a student from a different neighborhood. When the school opened it kids reflected the neighborhood, but as time passed the wealthier families moved their kids to other schools and by the third year the school had the highest percentage of kids receiving breakfast and other meals a the districts expense. Funny thing, despite the poor background of the kids, that school had the highest reading and math scores, adjusted for income, in the district. I asked my friend why and he felt there was three reasons, despite the kids at the school having a history of failing at other schools, they came to that school as blank slates as the teachers couldn’t review the kid’s academic record, the parents needed to sign a contract that they would participate in the kid’s education and despite sometimes chaotic home lives including homelessness, the school was the one rock for the kids, since no matter, where in the city they lived they could continue to go there and the school district provided the transportation.

    So yes, parental involvement and home life is a major contributor to student success but it becomes a third rail in the discussion of student performance.

  36. James Joyner says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Jen: @Jen: @DrDaveT: I went to DODS schools for 4th grade (Fort Leonard Wood, MO), and 5th-7th grade (Kaiserslautern AFB, West Germany) and it was quite the the transition back to public schools when we moved to El Paso for 8th grade and then Alabama for 9th-12th. The public schools, especially in Alabama, were soooo much easier.

    Yes, most of it is a function of the home environment. Stable with steady paychecks. And the parent(s) who are in uniform actually get in trouble if their kid(s) skips school or gets into trouble. Also, teacher pay is quite a bit better than in most public schools.

    I will note that most military kids, like me, only go to base schools sporadically. In some cases, even if they live on base housing, they’ll be bussed to local public schools. Whether there is even a base school in a given stateside installation varies–presumably a function of proximity to local schools and their quality/hospitality to military types.

    While DODEA teachers may well be “union,” they’re not union. That is, they have representation but lack the ability to strike under federal law.

  37. Scott says:

    @becca: You may already know this factoid but others may not:

    Shaquille O’Neal was a graduate of Cole HS, class of 89.

  38. Kathy says:

    Speaking of ignoring or filtering out people or topics, These are two of the developments Boeing eagerly awaits in order to finally engage in a new design: the Rise engine, and the Ultrafan engine.

    The Rise engine made a small splash in the 80s, known then as Unducted fan engine. It was tested by Boeing and McDonnell Douglas in 727s and DC9s. Allegedly, the fall of oil prices meant there was no longer any need for a more efficient engine. One wonders how that kept being so when oil prices rose back up.

    I’d take the efficiency gains quoted with some skepticism. Bench tests are well and good, but how will things hold up with actual use? And what kinds of planes will they be used in? You can’t just swap out the engine of a 777 or A350 and put in an Ultrafan.

    About electric planes and alternative fuels like hydrogen, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Both batteries and hydrogen fall far from the energy density of jet fuel. SAF (sustainable aviation fuel) made from biomass is the best we can hope for in the near term, absent some incredible revolutionary development in battery technology.

  39. Beth says:


    Don’t you mean world class DJ, Shaquille “DJ Diesel” O’Neal?


    He’s really good. I’m just not into bass music. Seriously, spend a minute scrolling through that vid if only for a deep sense of WTF!!

    You know what, here’s a lil palate cleanser. Some sexy House for a crappy tuesday:


  40. becca says:

    @Scott: I did not know that. Thanks!

  41. al Ameda says:

    @James Joyner:

    I went to DODS schools for 4th grade (Fort Leonard Wood, MO), and 5th-7th grade (Kaiserslautern AFB, West Germany) and it was quite the the transition back to public schools when we moved to El Paso for 8th grade and then Alabama for 9th-12th. The public schools, especially in Alabama, were soooo much easier.

    I have relatives who attended DoD schools at home (Texas) and abroad (Germany) and their observation(s) mirrors yours – the public schools were much easier, especially in grades 7-12.

    In a related but somewhat different observation. I have high school friends whose parents were posted to overseas assignments in Brasil, Germany and Paris for 2 years. They attended International Schools, and when they returned they were placed a grade ahead (skipped). The curriculum(s) at those schools was more rigorous.

  42. de stijl says:

    The art and science of quitting.

    What is your best story about quitting a job, a relationship, a friendship. One day, one instant, you decided enough is enough. I’m done. I’m out. Can’t take it anymore and I need to bail.

    I have several dozen.

  43. Kathy says:

    I’m currently on a very long, very hard book called The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia by Orlando Figes. It mixes Soviet/Russian history with recollection, letters, and diaries of the people who lived through it. This is very much like All Hell Let Loose, by Max Hastings, about World War II.

    When he reaches the terror in the late 30s, many of his subjects are committed communists, some even with high positions in the USSR’s hierarchy at the time. A lot among those arrested had an attitude similar to what we call these days “the leopards won’t eat my face.”

    Many were sure it was a misunderstanding that would get cleared up (spoiler alert: famous last words). But a few quite simply meekly went away, and promptly confessed to non-existent crimes, because that was what the party required of them.

    That last reminds me of many of today’s Republiqans.

  44. Jen says:

    @al Ameda: Yes, agreed. I remember the school transition from International school –> U.S. public school as the work being much easier in the U.S., but overseas DoD school–>U.S. public school, I had a lot of catching up to do.

    @becca: The quality of the sheets at RH was outstanding, both the fabric and the thread count led to an incredible feel. Thread counts are not irrelevant, the issue is that when high thread count became a stand-in for quality (as you note it is not that simple), some producers just twisted thinner threads into different weaves so they could claim a higher thread count on an inferior sheet. The fact that those RH sheets lasted YEARS of weekly washes and still felt amazing was a testament to the quality.

    I was so, so sad to lose my (40%) discount, mostly because I loved their sheets and towels.

  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan: @CSK:

    I don’t ignore anyone. Not even the trolls. But I don’t take everyone equally seriously.

  46. Jen says:

    @de stijl: Not really a “quitting” story per se, but boy, when I realized that I’d saved enough that I could walk out of a thankless job and still be okay for a while–THAT was an empowering feeling. I realized that I didn’t need to take crap and I finally felt like I could establish some boundaries.

  47. gVOR10 says:

    @James Joyner:

    While DODEA teachers may well be “union,” they’re not union. That is, they have representation but lack the ability to strike under federal law.

    Thnks. Appreciate the information.

  48. KM says:

    @de stijl:
    Back in the “young me needed 3-4 jobs to stay alive” days, I worked in a group home that was poorly managed. As in, staff was being regularly assaulted and nothing done about it poorly staffed and poorly managed. To make a LONG story short and protect the innocent, I broke up a fight between two residents and had my wrist bone cracked in the conflict. Police were summoned, some residents need to go to the hospital and the only other staff member went with them, leaving me alone with the instigator and others I needed to take care of. My replacement never showed and the other staff member just went home, leaving the residents trapped at the hospital. On call refused to help or come in to spell me, meaning *I* couldn’t get medical attention. I was to (1) drive out and pick up the stranded kids (2) make healthy dinner for everyone and distribute meds (3) write up the incident, including all government forms and (4) not leave the house since we couldn’t leave anyone behind or secure the building. Somehow.

    Instead I ordered pizza for everyone, sent a taxi for my wayward lambs on the company’s dime, we camped out in the office except for the instigator and they helped me wrap my wrist. Instigator was sorry btw but no way in hell was he allowed near the rest of us or me that night.

    When my manager came in the next day, my wrist was swollen and painful AF, everyone was pissy, no paperwork was done and I got bitched out and threatened with a lawsuit for “violating their rights” in various nonsense ways. He also didn’t want to be alone with them so didn’t want me to leave. I said goodbye to the guys, grabbed everything I needed, flipped off the manager right there in the living room and blew out the driveway with the windows down and Pink’s “So What” blaring as loud as I could. I stopped by the local ER, got treated, went to the station to get a copy of the police report (and let them know what happened) then called HR to tell them and get direction. When I was told I was expected to be at work the next day or I was fired, I told them to expect a call from my lawyer instead. We ended up on a nice little settlement that got me to “only needs 2 jobs to live” (stupid student loans).

    I still see some of the residents when I’m out and about town. They happily greet me and tell this story to whomever is with them. I guess it’s become their version of an urban legend 🙂

  49. gVOR10 says:

    @Kathy: I suspect you’re right. The way forward for aviation is biomass or other renewable hydrocarbon fuel, coupled with improved efficiency.

    Continuing the theme of topics few readers will care about, the unducted fans remind me of the Russian Bear bomber. Contemporary of the B-52, both at its origin and being still in use. They couldn’t get the power they wanted from pistons nor the range they wanted from jets, so they opted for huge turboprops on which the blade tips went supersonic. Great fuel efficiency. Incredible noise. On the same theories, the U. S. built an experimental turboprop fighter. They converted an F-84 Thunderjet. It quickly acquired the nickname ‘Thunderscreech”. I believe the unducted turbofans are reasonably quiet.

  50. Kathy says:


    Half the time I think of SAF as greenwashing.

    You may have noticed the Rise engine’s rotor tips are angled back. That’s to ease the airflow and make the sonic booms more quiet. No way to keep the air from going supersonic.

    I’m not sure about noise. Back in the 80s, Boeing and GE claimed the engines were quieter than turbojets (but not turbofans). When researching what had happened to those engine designs, a complaint was that they were NOISY.

    There’s a lot dissembling about noise in aviation. The 727 was rather loud, yet Eastern painted the word “whisperjet” on theirs. It might have been less noisy than the 707, DC8, and others of that era, but “whisperjet” was a wild exaggeration.

  51. Scott says:

    @Kathy: I always thought the “Whisperjet” was about the noise reduction in the cabin due to the three engines being in the rear.

  52. de stijl says:


    One day I literally skipped down the street. Didn’t mean to, didn’t try to, it just happened.

    It was my last day on a job and as I walked away I started skipping like I was a toddler.

    I wasn’t at all in control of how my body reacted to my emotional state. The skipping wasn’t planned or willed. It just happened. I skipped.

    My brain was so overwhelmed with happy chemicals it just wanted to skip, apparently. And my body did so for about twenty seconds until executive function kicked in and evaluated the situation and decided that adult me should calm the fuck down and walk like a normal person.

    But for those 20 seconds I was utterly free and buoyant and wanted to skip. That was glorious! I knew then that quitting was the right call. My brain was still contemplating the serious and consequential decision, debating the call, but my body knew it was relief and I should be joyous and celebrate the quitting.

    I danced and skipped down the street like a moron. Everyone saw. It was lovely!

    Correct decision.

  53. Pete S says:

    @becca: A king size comforter on a queen size bed is also self defense against a partner who likes to wrap themselves in a cocoon, there is always some blanket left over.

    @de stijl: Not a dramatic quitting story, but when I left my first “career” job the director I gave my notice to asked me “But what are you going to do?” My answer was a simple “not this”. And when I ran into some former co-workers a couple of days later they told me I seemed like a new man.

  54. just nutha says:

    @de stijl: I quit to go back to school to become a teacher. The reality of never returning to where I’d lived and working as gypsy faculty most of the rest of my life combined with a premature cancer death of a close friend took care of the relationships part of the situation.

  55. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: I was in a meeting where they were discussing a new direction for our team and the boss asked “Gus, what are you thinking?”

    My reply was that I was thinking I should just give notice. This was less a dramatic announcement than a long stream of conscious monologue. To be fair, they also changed our seating, and I don’t like change.

    I was convinced to stay on longer for a bit of transition, and then hung on by my teeth for some stock to vest, and then they started trying to force me out, putting me on “coaching” that would precede a formal Performance Improvement Plan.

    Once you get to the PIP stage, you’re offered a lump sum to just leave and spare everyone the hassle. So, it’s effectively a reward for hanging out and failing the “coaching”.


    I got it in my mind that I would donate the lump sum severance to a local food bank. My boss, however, somehow thought he could turn it around with his amazing coaching, and even thought that I was joking when I said that my plan was to “get fired for charity.” He was a new boss, and this was his first time managing people and he was not prepared for me.

    And thus began several months of me getting the “coaching”, looking for ways to fail it, and ignoring my actual tasks as much as possible — the goal being to have a perforce issue rather than an insubordination issue (gotta get that sweet, sweet, PIP).

    To keep myself busy, I fixed long-standing structural problems with some of our services instead and updating our poorly written web server to call services in parallel. There was a lot more like that. I just veered off and fixed whatever struck my fancy that was even tangentially related to my team.

    This confused matters, as no one was quite sure what to do about that. On the one hand, I was somehow not responding to coaching, but on the other I fixed a lot of our latency and scaling problems.

    Eventually my boss’s boss wandered by, asked me why I was still there, and I explained it. He got me my sweet, sweet PIP in about a week (people were on vacation), and I took the payout, and local food banks got close to $30k.

  56. Kathy says:


    I flew in many 727s and DC9s back in the day. Offhand I can’t recall how noisy the cabin was vs planes with wing-mounted engines.

  57. gVOR10 says:

    @Gustopher: @de stijl:

    I was in a meeting where they were discussing a new direction for our team

    Not terribly dramatic, but you remind me of sitting in a management meeting in 1982. The president of our machine tool division allowed as how we hadn’t sold a machine for some time, but Reagan was doing the right things and we’d keep building machines to inventory until the economy came booming back. Fortunately, no one asked my opinion. It was a Friday. I shotgunned out 50 resumes that weekend. (In 1982 that was a lot more work than these days.) Left the company a couple months later. The division closed down a few months after that.

  58. Mikey says:

    George Santos has now been charged with additional crimes, including stealing his donors’ credit card information and using it to rack up thousands in charges that went directly into his bank account.


    “As alleged, Santos is charged with stealing people’s identities and making charges on his own donors’ credit cards without their authorization, lying to the FEC and, by extension, the public about the financial state of his campaign,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.

  59. DrDaveT says:

    @Mikey: Identity theft does seem to be his superpower…

  60. de stijl says:


    When I eventually had “fuck you” money my tolerance for bad project management and just general fuckery reduced to near zero.

    I don’t have the patience to watch a poorly thought through project implode again.

    It’s funny. When you are young you desperately want to get promoted to a salaried position and job title. And then when you get the salary job it’s almost entirely directed at maintaining the status quo, and it’s so boring!

    Where is the new, the exciting?

    When you get skilled and professional and seasoned you realize that the real money is in project work and your desire switches to hourly contract gigs on projects that salaried staff cannot divert time and energy onto and still properly maintain their current portfolio.

    Can’t speak for everyone, but I wanted the new.

  61. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    It’s funny. When you are young you desperately want to get promoted to a salaried position and job title. And then when you get the salary job it’s almost entirely directed at maintaining the status quo, and it’s so boring!

    I’ve spent my entire career in research and analysis. Everywhere I’ve worked, the talented people wanted to avoid promotion and management, because better pay doesn’t make up for boring soul-sucking duties. I remember having a very surreal conversation with my father-in-law, a senior technical manager at a Very Famous Company, and trying to explain without being insulting that most of my peers would have considered him a failure for having had to go the management route.

    …which is hilarious, in hindsight, because he was the author of Putt’s Law and the Successful Technocrat. So I guess he got the last laugh.

  62. de stijl says:


    Hey, I have a lot of respect and admiration for folks good at management, budgets, time frames, people. That skill set is necessary. It’s foundational. Stuff I suck at. Without that bedrock I could not do what I was paid to do.

    I always liked it when the adult in the room held our feet to the fire a little bit. Explain yourself. Why are you necessary? What do you contribute?

    My shtick was building the front end. I got a harsh course correction to not over design a dashboard. We’re not paying you to future-proof it, we’re paying you to produce it. Do that.

    Sort of against my nature, but practical. Left to my own devices, I over-engineer everything. Many times you don’t need to.

  63. Kathy says:

    This ought to make for a good science fiction story. It certainly changes the vie I had on panspermia. The basic notion in this short video is that life might have originated all over the universe very shortly after the Big Bang.

    I’ll be taking a look at the sources later.