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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Bill Clinton turned down tea with the Queen and dinner at Chequers because he wanted to “be a tourist” and try out an Indian restaurant during his first official visit to the UK with Tony Blair as prime minister, formerly classified documents reveal.

    Can’t say as I blame him.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The stupid, it hurts:

    Randy Hillier@randyhillier

    A vaccine that is needed every year isn’t a vaccine, nor is it immunity. It’s a cash grab of never before seen proportions

    Ever hear of the Flu shot Randy? No? Must be because you’ve got your head up your ass.

    Jason D. Meister @jason_meister

    There will always be another variant more deadly, more infectious, and vaccine resistant because it’s about control.
    They want you to live in perpetual fear.

    Let me get this straight: A shot that allows me to avoid getting a possibly fatal/long term debilitating disease so that I can get on with my life free of that particular concern is “living in perpetual fear”? Jason, I’d like to introduce you to the Jeff/VanderLou neighborhood of 1984. It was a peach.

  3. CSK says:
  4. sam says:


    In the Star Wars universe, he would be known as Dearth Vader.

  5. KM says:

    They probably do think flu shots are cash grabs or wastes of time. These are people who can’t be bothered to take basic precautions in a deadly pandemic- you think they give a damn about other people normally?

  6. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: i have zero respect for the monarchy, and I think he made the right choice.

    Hey, Teve, would you like to spend 3 hours in a stuffy ceremony with a useless family, or grab some Vindaloo and see the sights?

    That’s not Even a choice.

  7. Teve says:


    I watched a few YouTube videos on the Arizona election “audit” and now the algorithm is suddenly feeding me anti-vaccine content next to my usual Breaking Bad clips.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM: I’m sure they do too. But they aren’t an over 60 with pre-existing conditions person for whom the flu could be an end of world experience. You know, somebody who might think a roll of cost free dice on a vaccine that has a 50% or so chance of being effective sounds like, “Why the Hell not?”

    @Teve: Bill, for all his many faults, would always be fun to hang out with. The Queen? An enema would be more enjoyable.

  9. George says:


    The really sick part of this is that the prosecution not only disallowed relevant evidence (ie the main witness was a woman who gained a $12,000 reward for her testimony that she heard him saying he was going to kill someone), but fought everything from DNA evidence on to keep him from being cleared. Because innocence is irrelevant, once you’re in the prosecutor’s win column they’re going to try to keep you there.

  10. Jen says:

    Wow, tough crowd here.

    I’d love to talk to QE II. She was born thinking that all the attention would be focused on her uncle, and had that history upended. I’d really like to hear about her WWII service. Also, corgis and horses.

  11. Kurtz says:


    I didn’t know about Nixon spilling ink all over himself followed by the Cabinet Secretary spilling cream all over his own trousers.

    I wonder if the latter called LBJ’s tailor.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Who Lost Afghanistan?

    In a word, politicians.

    Methinks thou dost presume too much. If you never had it, was never yours to have to begin with, how in Dawg’s name can you lose it?

  13. Kathy says:

    I made the puff pastries filled with my version of shepherd’s pie. I learned a few things. One, if you want to do closed squares, you need to cut bigger pieces of dough. That was ok, though, as I made smallish rolls of dough with filling. Two, puff pastries kept in the fridge go soggy and lose their crispiness, but otherwise taste the same.

    I think I also broke my record for using pre-made ingredients. I bought the pastry dough ready made, I used frozen cooked peas, beef bouillon cubes for cooking the beef, and for the side of arroz con rajas I used frozen poblano pepper strips.

    I also didn’t raise, slaughter, or butcher the cow I used for beef 😉

  14. mattbernius says:


    Because innocence is irrelevant, once you’re in the prosecutor’s win column they’re going to try to keep you there.

    Prosecutors have a HUGE amount of discretionary power. This is why a lot of criminal legal system reform advocates have set their focus on District Attorney/States Attorney/Prosecutor (all the same thing–just depends on your state/municipality) races.

    It’s worth noting that the new prosecutor has declined to retry Dennis Perry. What’s frustrating is that the former Prosecutor, who to you point fought this tooth and nail, will likely not have any sanctions applied against him.

  15. CSK says:

    Ideally, talking to the queen would be like talking to history, and I’d want to do so as well, but I fear the conversation would be limited by protocol to banalities.

    Perhaps we could bond over our mutual affection for dogs and horses. 🙂

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I love Puff Pastry dough. It makes so many different recipes a snap.

  17. CSK says:

    Be fair to yourself. Fresh peas are very hard to come by except briefly in the early spring.

  18. Jen says:

    @CSK: Yeah, honestly given my introversion, I’d probably head straight towards the dogs and stay there… 😀

  19. Kathy says:


    I’m considering trying it on other things.


    I can get fresh snow peas almost anytime. I wonder how they’d do in shepherd’s pie.

    BTW, after browning the ground beef, I add a cup of beef bouillon and some paprika and let it simmer covered for a while, then I add a small amount of tomato sauce, and let that simmer uncovered. Then I add the peas.

    I also used dehydrated potato flakes for the mashed potatoes. To be honest, I’ve made mashed potatoes from scratch*, and the result is pretty much the same, minus the extra boiling and cleaning up afterward. Advantage potato flakes.

    *Well, I didn’t plant, cultivate, and harvest the potatoes.

  20. CSK says:

    I think the queen is down to one corgi now.

  21. Mu Yixiao says:

    Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene

    “These Big Tech companies are doing the bidding of the Biden regime to restrict our voices and prevent the spread of any message that isn’t state-approved,” she said in a statement to the New York Times.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Try this one: The Balloon Juice Diet: Haddock a la Reine I do it with a twist tho. I roll out the pastry dough, cut into squares and insert the squares into a muffin tin. Then fill them with the creamed haddock and fold up the 4 corners and press them together. Kinda pretty, I’m sure somebody more anal than I could make them so pretty they end up on a magazine cover.

    My wife loves it. It’s one of the reasons she still lets me hang around.

  23. Kathy says:

    If you cast back to mid April of this year, you may recall Peru held a presidential election.

    Today, a little over three months later, there are official results.

    The losing candidate (by a very thin margin, Keiko Fujimori, went full trump after the election, and claimed massive fraud without evidence.

  24. becca says:

    It’s summer so the ice cream maker is always ready. I made some buttermilk ice cream to go with a peach crisp. Took the leftover buttermilk ice cream (softened) and lightly blended it with some leftover blackberry filling.

    Short story shorter, a perfect summer treat.

  25. CSK says:

    Brandi Love, a self-described “conservative porn star,” got bounced from the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit 2021 in Tampa after she’d bought a VIP admission ticket to attend it.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: and claimed massive fraud without evidence.

    What are you talking about? She lost. What more evidence do you need?

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Unlike trump, she didn’t lie about how she made her money.

  28. Teve says:

    Woohoo! Just received a new book by my favorite nonfiction author!

    I’m a Liberry junkie, but I’ll buy anything that MFer writes sight unseen.

    If you have an hour to spend with an excellent essay, you can’t beat this:


  29. CSK says:

    Snow peas are peas with edible pods, correct? I love them, but more in stir-fries or as a side on their own. I think they’d be out-of-place mixed into a shepherd’s pie unless you sliced them into pieces, and even then…

  30. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao: And right on time….

    You’ve got to hand it to Erik Finman, baby-faced Bitcoin millionaire: The guy’s great at spotting a lucrative scam opportunity from miles away. Finman (which we must assume is a portmanteau of “financial man”) has surveyed the landscape of contemporary America and spotted the piss-yellow twinkle of gold glimmering from the rumpled khaki pockets of the Fox News weekday afternoon-viewing set. The pickaxe he’s using to excavate this treasure? An overpriced piece of junk called the “Freedom Phone.”

    Advertised with a proudly waving American flag, the Freedom Phone is touted on its website as “Completely. Uncensored.” It calls itself a “free speech and privacy first focused phone” that includes “features like tracking blockers and an uncensorable app store” that will allow you to “read what you like[,] watch what you like [, and] think what you like.” Basically that just means it comes preloaded with Parler, the plague rat-infested, open sewer version of the already shitty Twitter, and has a VPN on at all times.

    It also costs $499.99 and is being advertised with this video, which is a sight to behold.

    After introducing the historical peril of privately owned social media sites belatedly and inefficiently enforcing the bare minimum of checks against hate speech, Finman declares that he’s created the Freedom Phone to fight for our rights to call someone a slur online without facing any consequences. Resplendent in an oversized, popped-collar sweater, with his words just barely audible over stirring orchestral music, the boy inventor discusses the “PatriApp Store.” Finman also touts privacy features pretty similar to those enabled on most browser apps, and warns viewers that if social media operators can “censor a president, they will censor anyone.”

    “Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg censored MLK or Abraham Lincoln,” he says, without a trace of irony. “The course of history would have been altered forever.”

    A Twitter thread from Finman preemptively bemoans the inability of American manufacturers to make the MAGA-ready device, promises it was not created in “mainland China,” and explains it’s produced by “the free and freedom loving people of Hong Kong.”

    Since its announcement, the Freedom Phone has been revealed to be a slightly reworked Umidigi A9 Pro, which is made by a Chinese manufacturer and typically retails for about $120. Its custom “Freedom OS” Android-based operating system also seems to be very vulnerable to hackers since, as CNET notes, it’s not officially supported and “might not get the latest patches and security updates.” Gizmodo calls it “a potential security (and thus also privacy) nightmare.” And, as testament to how much they believe in the product, Finman and supporter Candace Owens (one of the right-wing promoters who gets $50 per phone sold) were tweeting about the cool new device from their iPhones.

  31. Kathy says:


    I’m all for fusion, like making shepherd’s pie puff pastries, and pairing that with rice with poblano strips, sweet corn, onions, and a little cheese on the side. I trim the stem end of the snow peas before cooking them, but else they remain whole.

    I suppose I’d saute them with the onions, rather than adding them to the cooked beef in the end. Or I’d saute them separately, then add them in at the end. They may add some crunch to the dish. Of course, they don’t taste the same as regular peas, but that’s the whole point of mixing styles or ingredients.

  32. Sleeping Dog says:


    In the spring we threw around the idea of getting together. Still interested?

  33. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Can’t say as I blame him.”

    I can! Sure, it’s a lot more fun to be a tourist than do the whole state dinner thing — I mean, I assume, having never done the latter — but Clinton wasn’t in England on his own dime for fun. He was there in his official capacity of President of the United States and representing his country. This is practically a Trump-level of childishness in the approach to the responsibilities of the position.

    You want to kick back and just be a normal joe? Great, then don’t run for president.

  34. wr says:

    @Kathy: “The losing candidate (by a very thin margin, Keiko Fujimori, went full trump after the election, and claimed massive fraud without evidence.”

    From what I read, she actually managed to go beyond Full Trump, claiming that elections officials had been kidnapped and replaced with evil doubles or some such…

  35. wr says:

    @wr: Which actually not only goes beyond Full Trump, it pretty much takes it to Full Knight Rider.

  36. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I started reading about it when it was first reported. She’s the daughter of Alberto Fujimori, president in the 1990s and an authoritarian cult figure not unlike Trump himself (there is even a separate Wikipedia article on “Fujimorism”). So I guess that makes her the Ivanka.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Here in the states, Trader Joe’s has fresh peas 6-7 months of the year

  38. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yes, I am!

  39. CSK says:


    Me too.

  40. Gustopher says:


    Hey, Teve, would you like to spend 3 hours in a stuffy ceremony with a useless family, or grab some Vindaloo and see the sights?

    The useless family is one of the sights, and the palace, and these are parts few people get to see. Plus, corgis.

    Skip the tea, play fetch with a dozen corgis. You can’t do that every day.

  41. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I’m all up for a meetup next year, if the trump pandemic ever lets up. Only I’m no longer thinking Vegas, as Nevada is acting all trumpy and lagging on vaccinations. Not as bad as real red states, but terrible considering how much income in that state is tied to tourism.

  42. MarkedMan says:

    @wr: I agree, but Clinton was hardly a slouch when it came to State functions. As soon as I read that I thought there must be more to the story.

  43. Kathy says:


    You left out convicted felon. Old Beto Fujimori si still incarcerated, unlike the Ass.


    I hadn’t heard about that. Yes, that’s trump and a half at least.

  44. Kylopod says:

    Apropos of the Freedom Phone, I remembered back to my teens when my parents allowed a salesman to demonstrate his product in our house, some kind of fancy vacuum cleaner. Afterward, my dad asked him how the product was rated in Consumer Reports. The fellow said it gave them the worst rating, but added that the company had published a rebuttal. Later, after the guy left, we checked Consumer Reports and found that it had given a decent though not excellent rating to the product, and also said it was overpriced.

    I found it fascinating that the guy had lied to us by claiming the product had been rated worse than it had. When he made the remark, my internal reaction in my youthful naivete was that he’d been cornered–I was immediately predisposed to think the product was lousy. But apparently his strategy was to claim Consumer Reports panned them so that he could build a narrative that it was an unfair hit piece. Apparently, he thought that was better than admitting they’d been rated merely okay. And considering that my parents didn’t buy the product in the end, and never really were likely to do so, maybe there was some benefit to this strategy. Maybe the company determined the grievance storyline was likelier to resonate with those most prone to purchase it.

  45. Stormy Dragon says:


    I’m all for fusion

    I read an article a while back about how the numerous “steamed pasta dumplings with savory filling” recipes seen in cultures from eastern Europe all the way to east Asia all descend from a common Mongolian ancestor, and it’s basically a fingerprint that the culture in question had extensive contact with the Mongolian empire at its height (either through trade or conquest).

    There was a map showing how it migrated out, and seeing Polish perogi on the far western side of the map and Korean mandu on the far eastern side of the map inspired me to come up with a Polish-Korean fusion meal that turned out well:

    Bulgogi zrazy stuffed with pickled daikon and duck proscuitto and kimchee perogi

  46. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: the architecture and the corgi herd do make a strong case 😛

  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    It is core American belief that monarchies are illegitimate. Power can only be legitimate when it is derived from the will of a free people and no one elected the queen. So, QE2, who I have nothing against personally, is nothing to Americans but a quaint figurehead, a silly affectation. If Bill Clinton wanted a curry and a beer instead of the stiff horror of a dinner with ‘royals’, I’m fine with that.

  48. Sleeping Dog says:


    Rather than try and coordinate it here, you can reach me at jfmunderscoreSTLatYahooDotCom

    If you have suggestions as to where, please suggest. I kind of have an idea where each of you live and we’re not far apart. I did have a thought of a great Mediterranean place in Manch-vegas owned by an acquaintance, but it was a covid victim.

    @Kathy: Of course you would be welcome to join us, but it will be a small group. If there are others who are interested, speak up.

  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    BTW, if the British royals lacked the ability even to speak up against Brexit, what good are they? Yes, before someone ‘informs’ me, I do know that the Queen is meant to stay silent on politics, but that just makes my point. WTF is the point of a ‘head of state’ who can’t even open her mouth to stop the self-harm committed by the ‘head of government.’ The royal family is just a bad reality TV show.

  50. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Americans naturally tend to be weirded out by the whole idea of figureheads–officials with merely ceremonial roles where it’s almost like they’re playing pretend. This would include not only monarchs in countries like the UK, but positions like President of Israel as well.

    And yet, it occurred to me after the Jan. 6 insurrection that we’ve got elements of just this in our system, we just tend not to notice them. Much of the vice president’s role in the Senate is like that, and it informed the rioters’ mistaken belief that Pence had the power to alter the election outcome simply because he led the certification ceremony.

  51. inhumans99 says:

    Thank you for this post. The Queen strikes me as a pretty cool cat, and I would rather meet with her than Boris Johnson, TFG (AKA Trump), the rulers of Saudi Arabia (who might have a guy waiting outside the room we meet in with a bone saw that is still warm from the constant use it gets who is waiting for the signal from the Saudi Rulers after I something that angers them, lol, but not really that funny), Bolsonaro, Putin, and any other folks that would make up the club of people that Trump claims to adore.

    Not to mention how nice Mother Nature has been to her that she is still fairly hale and hearty after all these years.

  52. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    The story I’ve always heard is that the royals are a stupendous tourist attraction and bring in millions (maybe billions) of pounds in revenue to the U.K. every year.

    Also, some Brits–probably a dying breed–love the continuity of a monarchy that goes back over a thousand years. As a London cabbie once said, “You Americans change presidents every four or eight years. Our queen, God bless ‘er, is forever.”

    If JohnSF shows up here, he can probably explain this better.

  53. inhumans99 says:

    @wr: KARR, KITT’s evil twin! Great pop culture reference in your post.

  54. gVOR08 says:

    I still look at TAC now and again. Today Andrew Bacevich, their last connection to reality, went down the TAC rabbit hole of believing all of modern politics is about wokeness and other peoples sex lives. I still like some exposure to reasonable conservative thought, but I’m finding sources hard to find. (That’s how I ended up here lo these many years ago.) Any suggestions?

  55. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08: I refuse to believe a publication co-founded by Pat Buchanan was ever a bastion of reasonable conservatism.

  56. George says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Actually a figure head for head of state, someone who’s the focus of the kind of blind nationalism that was put onto say Reagan or Trump, can be a good thing. Its fairly common in parliamentary systems (not just British and ex-British, the Germans have it as well in their Bundespresident).

    Better that kind of adoration goes to someone without any real power.

  57. gVOR08 says:


    I think the queen is down to one corgi now.

    Her version of a Scandinavian death cleaning? (Said snarkily, but I believe I’ve read that it is, which is kind of sad.)

  58. Kathy says:


    As a London cabbie once said, “You Americans change presidents every four or eight years. Our queen, God bless ‘er, is forever.”

    They’re going to be very disappointed when Elizabeth II proves her mortality by dying. I hear there are contingency plans involving the BBC, government, police, etc. for how to handle the announcement, the funeral, and the throngs of mourners.

    She’s 95 years old, and has been on the throne for 69 years (since 1952). She might check out next week, or hold on another fifteen years, there’s no way to tell.

    A surer bet is that William won’t have to wait as long as Charles for a coronation.

  59. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: Good point. But there are matters of degree. And they used to host Bruce Bartlett. Now I look at their headlines and generally fail to find anything that seems relevant to the real world. When I do read an article it’s usually like reading Ross Douthat, you get to the end and ask, “What was that all about?” Except the TAC guys are way wordier.

  60. CSK says:


    Apparently I was mistaken. Google tells me that the queen now has three dogs: a dorgi and two corgis.

    That’s still down from the six or seven she had in previous years.

  61. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m opposed to monarchies with actual power, but on the other hand, humans seem to have this deep seated need for Brotherhood of Funny Hats style ceremony, and I think there’s an argument that investing that need in an institution with no actual political power is healthier for society than letting it invest in a politician.

    That is, the alternative to QE2 being the UK’s “National Mascot” would likely be Boris Johnson being it, which would not improve things.

  62. CSK says:
  63. Michael Reynolds says:

    The test of the British system has to be outcomes. As badly off-track as we went in 2016, we’ve done a better job of correcting course. We did some self-harm but not as lasting, I think, as what the Tories have done to the UK. They used to be the bridge between the US and the EU. Now they’re fantasizing about a new commonwealth with Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Guess what? Canada doesn’t need them, Quebec doesn’t want them, and Australia’s future survival relies on its alliance to the US. Great Britain has made itself irrelevant. Great job, monarchy.

  64. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    That is, the US needs a Ben Franklin/Emperor Norton/Uncle Sam/Captain America type office who can be the ceremonial head of the country in place of whoever the current President is.

  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I don’t feel a need for a figurehead head of state. Much like when I dismissed God I did not find I needed a substitute.

  66. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I don’t feel a need for a figurehead head of state. Much like when I dismissed God I did not find I needed a substitute.

    And if we were a society composed predominately of Michael Reynoldses, that would be fine, but we’re not.

  67. a country lawyer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: It’s stretch to have any respect for the royal family when the most remarkable thing anyone of them has has done since Henry V at Agincourt is make through a 15 minute speech without stuttering. An event which had so much significance to them that a movie was made about it.

  68. CSK says:

    Trump’s worst nightmare: Being made sport of by Tom Brady while Brady is visiting with…Joe Biden:


    I always thought Trump’s affection for Brady was unrequited. And he wanted Brady to marry Ivanka.

  69. CSK says:


    There’s been a plan for what happens when Elizabeth dies. It’s called Operation London Bridge and it’s been in place for years.

  70. Kathy says:


    I don’t know. According to Wikipedia there’s a whole rigmarole of secure lines and radio and code words to convey the news of the Royal Demise to the PM and government, when these days it’s more likely to leak on social media within nanoseconds.

  71. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    And if we were a society composed predominately of Michael Reynoldses. . .

    . . . I’d be the first one on a boat to somewhere else.

  72. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: The queen as a symbol opens up a whole ‘nother set of problems for a good part of the world. To this first generation Irish American, the symbol of the British Monarchy is about equivalent to the symbol of the Confederacy as seen from the perspective of an African American.

  73. CSK says:

    Indeed. But that won’t alter the plans for her funeral and burial, nor the fact that they’ve been in place for decades. This is interesting:


  74. Mikey says:

    @CSK: I almost wish Trump were still on Twitter so we could see the inevitable tweet calling Brady “overrated…”

  75. mattbernius says:


    I found it fascinating that the guy had lied to us by claiming the product had been rated worse than it had. When he made the remark, my internal reaction in my youthful naivete was that he’d been cornered–I was immediately predisposed to think the product was lousy. But apparently his strategy was to claim Consumer Reports panned them so that he could build a narrative that it was an unfair hit piece.

    You might be giving this guy too much credit. I also think an equally possible scenario is that he never saw the Consumer Report rating and is only repeating what he was either (a) told to say or (b) had heard from other sales folks. Knowing the way that these orgs recruit, this feels like a credible alternative explanation.

  76. mattbernius says:


    Today Andrew Bacevich, their last connection to reality, went down the TAC rabbit hole of believing all of modern politics is about wokeness and other peoples sex lives.

    While I was sad for them, I was a bit relieved when they finally fired Larison and the rest of the sane paleo cons so I no longer had to defend that rag as having columnists worth reading.

    Also Andrew Bacevich has been off the deep end for years.

  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: WA! That DOES sound good. The radish might become mushy and kind of bland tasting from being cooked inside the zrazy. I’d eat the radish on the side myself.

  78. CSK says:


    …or “a loser.”

    I’m really enjoying the image of Trump blundering around Bedminster throwing things, raging about Brady’s perfidy.

  79. Kathy says:


    Well, that’s an ancient royal tradition. The monarch’s first order of business is to see their predecessor off (assuming that wasn’t taken care of in the midst of internal fighting about succession), with all the honors, rituals, and publicity they deserve.

    The second is to begin planning their own funeral arrangements. At that, an Egyptian pharaoh might spend decades building their tomb (see the pyramids of Giza). I don’t think that’s the case with modern British royalty.

  80. Kylopod says:


    You might be giving this guy too much credit. I also think an equally possible scenario is that he never saw the Consumer Report rating and is only repeating what he was either (a) told to say or (b) had heard from other sales folks. Knowing the way that these orgs recruit, this feels like a credible alternative explanation.

    Of course! I wasn’t meaning to imply the guy himself had necessarily come up with this story on his own; my point was that somebody in this company at some point decided this was a good strategy for any potential customer who asked about Consumer Reports (though it still strikes me as inherently risky–what if the customer suddenly pulls out a copy at that moment and the hapless salesperson is caught in a lie right there?).

  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @wr: He was there in his official capacity of President of the United States and representing his country.

    Screw that. Having tea with the queen has fck all to do with the Presidency, and if we need somebody to partake in meaningless rituals, wtf do we have a vice president for?

  82. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: I wouldn’t say i’m döstädning, nor am I quite Marie Kondoing, but clutter stresses me out. Yesterday I spent 2 hours and found pants, shirts, and probably 15 sheets, blankets, quilts, etc, that I’m getting rid of tonight. And I’ll be happier.

  83. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The radish might become mushy and kind of bland tasting from being cooked inside the zrazy.

    It actually stayed pretty firm, I’m guessing due to the thickness of the bulgogi sauce and been protected from direct heat by the beef wrapped around it. And the pickling kept it from being too bland.

  84. OzarkHillbilly says:
  85. Skookum says:
  86. Kathy says:

    Another rich entitled white guy took a flight today.

    It’s very likely Weinstein wasn’t as enthusiastic as Bezos, though.

  87. Michael Reynolds says:

    The Holy Grail is never obligatory.

    I tend to prefer British comedy to American. Less self-reference and more cheek.

  88. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Life of Brian > Holy Grail

  89. CSK says:

    A group of alleged doctors has filed suit to stop Covid-19 vaccinations.


    One of their number, Dr. (ahem) Stella Immanuel, maintains that cysts are caused by people having sex with witches and demons.

  90. OzarkHillbilly says:
  91. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kylopod: @mattbernius:..vaccum cleaner

    I suspect you are thinking of the Rainbow Cleaning System that uses water somehow to clean the air as you suck up the cat litter out of the carpet. According to Google you can pay thousands of $$$$ for a top of the line machine.
    There was a guy that I knew here in Sleepytown about 30 years ago that was selling them and wanted to do a demonstration for me and my girlfriend at our home. “No thanks.” we said.
    He had already put on the show for some friends of ours. They told us about the pitch. They never bought one.
    Paul had done the Amway program and was also involved with some pyramid schemes that were totally bogus before he pitched the Rainbow con.
    A few years later I heard that he had moved to Hawaii and started his own religion and appointed himself the head guru.
    To think that I used to sit at the bar and share pitchers of beer with a future god!

  92. Michael Reynolds says:

    I know this has been posted already, but I’ve been thinking about it and it rings true to me. And I missed, or at least undervalued, this part of it because the whole need for community has never meant anything to me. It’s inconceivable that I would ever shape my beliefs just to remain part of a community. It just feels terribly weak.

    Bender’s description of these Trump superfans, who called themselves the “front-row Joes,” is sympathetic but not sentimental. Above all, he captures their pre-Trump loneliness.

    “Many were recently retired and had time on their hands and little to tie them to home,” writes Bender. “A handful never had children. Others were estranged from their families.” Throwing themselves into Trump’s movement, they found a community and a sense of purpose. “Saundra’s life had become bigger with Trump,” he says of a Michigan woman who did odd jobs on the road to fund her obsession.

    There are many causes for the overlapping dysfunctions that make contemporary American life feel so dystopian, but loneliness is a big one. Even before Covid, Americans were becoming more isolated. And as Damon Linker pointed out recently in The Week, citing Hannah Arendt, lonely people are drawn to totalitarian ideologies. “The chief characteristic of the mass man is not brutality and backwardness, but his isolation and lack of normal social relationships,” Arendt concluded in “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” describing those who gave themselves over to all-encompassing mass movements.

    A socially healthy society would probably never have elected Trump in the first place. As Daniel Cox, a senior fellow in polling and public opinion at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote in FiveThirtyEight shortly after the 2020 election, the “share of Americans who are more socially disconnected from society is on the rise. And these voters disproportionately support Trump.”

    Perceived (and actual) loss of status, particularly for men and whites, plus this strong, even desperate need to belong? To be a part? The one thing that is clear is that this is not normal politics, this is a cult of personality trailing the broken remains of a party.

  93. OzarkHillbilly says:
  94. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Reminiscent of DeadHeads only they were pretty harmless.

  95. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    You’re a writer. Real writers are notorious for being loners. I don’t get this desire to be part of a community, either, particularly if I’m not comfortable with the communal beliefs.

    I agree with Bender, though, that these sad sacks are motivated by a desperate need to belong to something, to count.

  96. Kylopod says:

    @Mister Bluster: Yes, it was indeed the Rainbow vac. And it was being sold in some form of an MLM, which is just the modern rebranded version of Pyramid. It’s the sort of thing where the line between sucker and suckee becomes hopelessly blurred. The guy doing the demonstration was probably as much of a schnook as anyone.

  97. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    plus this strong, even desperate need to belong? To be a part?

    This is why we need a social institution where they can put on funny hats and contribute to society!

  98. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: in fairness, though, it was a hell of a vacuum!

  99. Kathy says:


    They get one thing right: vaccines are biological agents rather than drugs.

    What I’d like to know is what parallel universe they came from, and what they’ve been smoking.

  100. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: And it really did suck.

  101. Beth says:


    Yesterday I spent 2 hours and found pants, shirts, and probably 15 sheets, blankets, quilts, etc, that I’m getting rid of tonight. And I’ll be happier.

    I Kondo’d part of my skull. That sparked much joy.

  102. Jen says:

    @Beth: I’ve been thinking about you–I hope the surgery went well and that you are on the mend!

  103. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: plus this strong, even desperate need to belong?

    Most people have that need, like 95%? I’m not going to say that I never wanted to belong, but I can say that I got used to not belonging. I have been on both sides of that coin.

    I can say that it feels really good showing up on a big jobsite every morning, working with a good crew, knowing that you are part of something that will probably long outlive you. It’s a different kind of satisfaction being on a project from the 1st floor thru the 24th floor. But it was no less satisfying for me when I rebuilt an 1860’s post and beam barn by myself.

  104. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon: You know what? I know you were being facetious, but isn’t what you wrote a pretty fair description of the Masons or the Moose or any number of other now bygone associations?

  105. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That was intentional. “Brotherhood of Funny Hats” is the TV Tropes nickname for groups like that. And I’m not entirely facetious either, I seriously think a lot of people underestimate the importance of pagentry in a healthy society.

    It’s ridiculous, but people need a place they can be ridiculous in!

  106. Beth says:


    Thanks. The surgery went well. The incision is amazing. My forehead and front of my scalp are numb. The staples are wild and freaking me out. I also have two black eyes that swoll shut for a couple of days. The physical pain is dissipating quickly

    The emotional healing is going to be much heavier and more difficult. I don’t see any change. My face looks exactly the same, only more swollen. My partner and other people insist I’m wrong. I’m trying to figure out where to even start.

  107. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I did some quick research. At their height 20% of men were members in at least on secret fraternal order. I assume the 60’s killed them off. But as we see with the Trump cult, single-sex isn’t a necessary component. I wonder if there’s a way to restart that whole thing.

  108. Jax says:

    @Beth: Wait, I missed something, are you ok?! What happened?!

  109. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kylopod:..And it really did suck.
    Nothing sucks like Electrolux

  110. Kylopod says:

    @Mister Bluster: I cribbed the line from the first Wayne’s World film. It’s odd that it sounds like a cringey dad joke now.

  111. CSK says:

    Let the swelling go down and the incisions heal first. I know you’re probably tired of hearing this, but try to relax. I send you my best for a quick recovery.

  112. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: No reason to go to the Lodge when Steve Allen’s on the tube.

  113. Beth says:


    I’m ok. I had part one of facial surgery last Thursday. Modern medicine is amazing. Part two will probably be in December.


    Ha, I need someone following me around with a loud speaker and a drum shouting that.

  114. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: If it helps any, after my little Sis had a brain tumor removed, I told her she looked like she’d been beaten with a baseball bat. (she did) Eventually, she was just as cute as she’d ever been before.

    Unfortunately, she was an even dizzier blond. Just as sweet and even more of a pain in my ass tho.

  115. CSK says:

    Okay, pretend I’m doing exactly that. 😀

  116. Michael Reynolds says:

    I could see a ‘secret’ order devoted to something charitable, but also to drinking beer and watching Netflix as a group. I wouldn’t do it, but it seems there are a lot of lost people out there who might be better off if they did occasionally go to the lodge. It goes back to my ongoing, nagging sense that Americans need a story, not just deconstruction.

  117. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” — Joan Didion.

  118. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: It would certainly depend on how the radish is pickled. In Korea, mu–radish–is usually made in a “summer” kimchee style and doesn’t keep very long in the “pickled” sense. Japanese pickled radish would certainly come out different.

  119. gVOR08 says:

    Apropos the ongoing discussion of whether Republicans are a cult of personality Digby has a post quoting Dr. K who cites a New Zealand Political Scientist who wrote a paper The Mechanisms of Cult Production which “compares the behavior of political elites across a wide range of dictatorial regimes, from Caligula’s Rome to the Kim family’s North Korea, and finds striking similarities.”

    In the context of dictatorial regimes, signaling typically involves making absurd claims on behalf of the Leader and his agenda, often including “nauseating displays of loyalty.” If the claims are obvious nonsense and destructive in their effects, if making those claims humiliates the person who makes them, these are features, not bugs. I mean, how does the Leader know if you’re truly loyal unless you’re willing to demonstrate your loyalty by inflicting harm both on others and on your own reputation?

    And once this kind of signaling becomes the norm, those trying to prove their loyalty have to go to ever greater extremes to differentiate themselves from the pack. Hence “flattery inflation”: The Leader isn’t just brave and wise, he’s a perfect physical specimen, a brilliant health expert, a Nobel-level economic analyst, and more. The fact that he’s obviously none of these things only enhances the effectiveness of the flattery as a demonstration of loyalty.

    How did lifesaving vaccines become politicized? As Bloomberg’s Jonathan Bernstein suggests, today’s Republicans are always looking for ways to show that they’re more committed to the cause than their colleagues are — and given how far down the rabbit hole the party has already gone, the only way to do that is “nonsense and nihilism,” advocating crazy and destructive policies, like opposing vaccines.

    That is, hostility to vaccines has become a form of loyalty signaling.

    This seems to work for the politicians, most of whom quietly got vaccinated. It seems a bit silly on the part of individual Republicans since Trump will never know of their groveling.

  120. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Skookum: “…the creation of an independent California/Washington/Oregon/Hawaii/Alaska union.”

    Oh yeah; that’d work great. 😐

  121. @Michael Reynolds:

    Great job, monarchy.

    You really can’t blame the monarchy. Blame David Cameron for one of the biggest political own goals of all time.

  122. EddieInCA says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Given what I do for a living, after a day of work, I want nothing more than to sit on the couch, computer in front of me, basketball, football, soccer, Netflix, or news on the telly, and just do nothing, while I enjoy some indica or Willet Pot Still/Weller. I’m fortunate my wife is an introvert, so it works….

  123. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Remember Oregon’s unofficial motto contest winners:

    Oregon – things sure are different here!
    Oregon – xenophobes unite!
    Oregon – if you’ve got the sheet, we’ve got the…

    Nah, I’m not going there. Too many people I know here believe that last one.

  124. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Like the Elks, Moose, Masons, Shriners, Rotary, Kiwanis…?

  125. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: My very favorite one is still “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.”

  126. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    A fond (???) memory of a bygone era. I started adjunct teaching the year this was published. In those days, I still thought being a good teacher would be enough to get on somewhere. Oh well…


    ETA (seemed like a shame to let it go to waste): “…alas my friend, we’re older but no wiser…”

  127. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Pickled in the sense that I julienned them into strips roughly 3 x 1/4 x 1/4 inches and then put them in a mason jar with water, cider vinegar, salt, and sugar for 24 hours