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. MarkedMan says:

    Is Trump’s new social media business a serious enterprise or yet another one of his ludicrous scam-o-prises? Well, consider who he has just appointed CEO of this supposed $1.25B effort: a soon to be former Congressional Rep, Devin Nunes, who has zero business experience beyond a few years involvement with his family farm logged before he entered a life long career as a non-executive politician. Nunes main qualification seems to be that he engaged in deeply unethical and possibly criminal use of his office to benefit Trump, and he is now available because his seat has been redistricted.

  2. Gustopher says:

    Seen on Twitter: Hispanix.

    A compromise of sorts on the entire LatinX thing.

  3. JohnSF says:

    Or possibly a Spanish buddy of Asterix?

  4. JohnSF says:

    Well, Iberian.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘I thought I was a free man’: the engineer fighting Texas’s ban on boycotting Israel

    For more than two decades, Texan civil engineer Rasmy Hassouna was a contractor for the city of Houston. Hassouna has consulted the city on soil volatility in the nearby Gulf of Mexico – a much needed service to evaluate the structural stability of houses and other buildings.

    He was gearing up to renew his government contract when a particular legal clause caught his eye: a provision that effectively banned him or his company, A&R Engineering and Testing, Inc, from ever protesting the nation of Israel or its products so long as his company was a partner with the city of Houston.

    For Hassouna – a 59-year-old proud Palestinian American – it was a huge shock.

    “I came here and thought I was a free man. It’s not anybody’s business what I do or what I say, as long as I’m not harming anybody,” he told the Guardian. “Were you lying all this time? If I don’t want to buy anything at WalMart, who are you to tell me not to shop at WalMart? Why do I have to pledge allegiance to a foreign country?”

    But Hassouna’s reaction did not stop at anger. He took action, launching a case that is challenging the Texas law and – by example – similar provisions that have spread all over the US that seek to stop government contractors from boycotting Israel and can be found in more than 25 US states. Along with the Arkansas Times newspaper, A&R Engineering and Testing Inc is now one of only two companies fighting this kind of law in the nation.

    Hassouna’s case – which was filed on his behalf by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – will be heard in federal court on Tuesday and is based on the idea that such laws violate free speech. If ruled unconstitutional, the 2019 ban on boycotting Israel will be illegal in the state of Texas.

    Reading his life’s story, one can not help but understand his… dislike of Israel. Yeah, that’s the word.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Matea Gold

    Trump and Meadows hid Trump’s positive test from his inner circle and from top public health officials. By the end of October, more than two dozen people in his orbit would test positive.

    Must-read @AshleyRParker @jdawsey1 deep dive:

    Talk about your toxic bosses…

  7. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher: Also seen on Twitter:

    “People who say Latinx are Pendejox”

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    An American hedge-fund billionaire has surrendered 180 looted and illegally smuggled antiquities valued at $70m and been handed an unprecedented lifetime ban on acquiring other relics as part of an agreement with the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

    Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s largest collectors of ancient art, “displayed a rapacious appetite for plundered artefacts”, the district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr said on Monday.
    Vance said: “For decades, Michael Steinhardt displayed a rapacious appetite for plundered artefacts without concern for the legality of his actions, the legitimacy of the pieces he bought and sold or the grievous cultural damage he wrought across the globe. His pursuit of ‘new’ additions to showcase and sell knew no geographic or moral boundaries, as reflected in the sprawling underworld of antiquities traffickers, crime bosses, money launderers and tomb raiders he relied upon to expand his collection.”

    Such blatant criminality….

    Vance noted that the antiquities would be returned to their rightful owners rather than be held as evidence for the years necessary to complete a grand-jury indictment and trial.

    “This resolution also enables my office to shield the identity of the many witnesses here and abroad whose names would be released at any trial, to protect the integrity of parallel investigations in each of the 11 countries with whom we are conducting joint investigations,” he said.
    In a statement, Steinhardt’s lawyers said: “Mr Steinhardt is pleased that the district attorney’s years-long investigation has concluded without any charges, and that items wrongfully taken by others will be returned to their native countries.”

    Lipstick on a pig. Funny how money changes the equation. They are quite willing to subject a poor man to years of jail time without a trial, so they can pressure him into accepting a plea bargain regardless of actual innocence or guilt, while they will drop all charges to avoid a years long court battle with a rich man’s lawyers.

    Money talks.

    ETA: I had meant to note this above:

    Under the terms of the agreement, Steinhardt has surrendered The Stag’s Head Rhyton, a spectacular ceremonial vessel in the form of a stag’s head, which dates to 400BCE and appeared without provenance on the market following looting in Milas, Turkey. It is valued at $3.5m.

    Spectacular is a bit of an understatement.

  9. Scott says:

    My school district where my 3 children was educated:

    North East ISD pulls over 400 library books for review, prompted by lawmaker’s inquiry

    One of the largest school districts in Texas is pulling more than 400 books from its shelves for review, after a Republican state lawmaker flagged them as inappropriate.

    The inquiry launched by North East Independent School District in San Antonio is the most far-reaching response yet to a push from the lawmaker and Gov. Greg Abbott to scrutinize school library books dealing with issues of sexuality and systemic racism.

    A Hearst Newspapers review last month found that the majority of the books on Krause’s list pertained to LGBT issues, and a Dallas Morning News report found that many had been written by women, people of color or LGBTQ authors.

    We are a well to do, well funded school district. Have already told the School Board what I think of this cave-in to political bullying.

    If the politicians and parents think their poor darlings are going to be corrupted by actual reading just wait til they see what the kids access on their phones and laptops. Hint: same pornography their parents are accessing.

  10. Not the IT Dept. says:
  11. senyordave says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The next step will be Steinhardt’s attorneys asking that the government compensate him for value of the antiquities. I wouldn’t have been surprised if that had been part of the original deal.
    This does not inspire confidence that Trump, his kids or the Trump Organization will ever face meaningful charges from Vance’s office.

  12. Jen says:

    I might be reaching my limit already today.

    Some nitwit from Politico (Alex Thompson) has written a piece screeching about VP Harris’s refusal to use Bluetooth headsets, preferring wired ones instead due to the security risks involved. The article quotes “former aides” who believe this is “paranoid.”

    In recent weeks, we were also treated to fussing about the VP purchasing a few pieces of expensive (but durable) cookware.

    Bluetooth IS a security risk, and thank god we have a VP who at least recognizes this. I DNGAF what kind of cookware she buys, and neither should anyone else.

    Meanwhile, the former President endangered a huge number of people by wandering around after a positive covid diagnosis and everyone’s like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  13. CSK says:

    Not–far from it–that I’m excusing Trump’s behavior, but it may be that some people are so accustomed to him acting like a malevolent churl that they say, “Oh, well, what can you expect? Of course he’s a one-man superspreader.”

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: Which is exactly the attitude the supposedly liberal MSM had taken toward Republicans generally for the last few decades.

  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    December 7th.
    For me it is a sad reminder that 40 years later, when our nation was once again attacked, Democrats were/are unable to show enough balls to go after the perpetrators.
    If Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, Garland, et al, had been in office on 12/7/41 they would have said, meh, the kamikazes who are dead is punishment enough…no need to go after the Japanese Generals.
    What is wrong with us?

  16. Mikey says:

    @Jen: I’ve worked with and for the federal government for nearly 20 years, and disabling Bluetooth on mobile devices has been a requirement for as long as there has been Bluetooth.


    The Kamala Harris “Bluetooth scandal” is just further evidence that it was never “but her emails,” it was always “but they’re females.”

  17. CSK says:

    Uber-griftress Sidney Powell raised almost $15 million through her “Defending the Republic” non-profit (sic).

  18. Slugger says:

    @MarkedMan: We should start a betting pool on how long Nunes will have this job. People working for Trump don’t seem to last very long. I will put up $100 (to be donated to Doctors without Borders) that Nunes will be out in under a Jeff Sessions period. Any takers on the over?

  19. CSK says:

    Well, given that TruthSocial.com missed its launch date, and given the abject failure of Trump’s other online ventures, I assume Nunes has a back-up plan of some sort. Perhaps he can milk cows rather than investors.

  20. Neil J Hudelson says:


    Just making sure I have these outrages correct:
    -Buying $300 cookware: what an out of touch, elitist POS.
    -Not buying $300 earpods: what an out of touch, elitist POS.

  21. JohnSF says:

    Some interesting things from Europe re. EU stepping up political trade retaliatory capacity.
    Indications are that, ironically, this was originally set in motion by Trump’s threats of transatlantic trade war, but is now primarily directed towards China.
    Finbarr Bermingham on twitter:

    The EU’s anti-coercion instrument will be unveiled this week: it could result in China & other countries accused of economic bullying being shut out of lucrative parts of EU market

    Also his recent Twitter thread v. interesting; looks like Beijing is now doing some high-speed backpedalling on it’s petty minded trade war with Lithuania.
    Similar story here and at CNN:

    The EU is finally putting its money where its mouth is on China

    And perhaps not unrelated:
    EU Court of Justice Advocate General determines that

    “…the actions brought by Hungary and Poland against the regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union budget in the event of breaches of the principles of the rule of law should be dismissed.”

    This opens the way for EU authorities to cut EU funds to Poland and Hungary if they continue to defy rulings on their political interference with the courts.
    A technical thing that most news will overlook, but potentially very significant indeed.
    Orbanism depends on leeching off EU funding.

  22. JohnSF says:

    Isn’t the official metric the Scaramucci?

  23. gVOR08 says:

    A few days ago James had a post disagreeing with a Jack Shafer column in Politico. Shafer said media should pay less attention to cable news because even Fox’s audience is so small. James noted that their influence is, however, significant. Today Kevin Drum has a post arguing that their audience is really larger than Shafer said. Shafer pointed to only 4.2 million viewers during prime time.

    But the Nielsen numbers for Hannity or Carlson are just snapshots in time. The number of different viewers who watch Fox News at some point during the day is probably upwards of 10-20 million or so. And the number who watch Fox News at some during the average week is (Rep/Lean Rep total ~= 100 million, 62% of which watch FOX per Gallup) That’s 62 million conservatives. That’s a lot.

    Beyond this, there’s the fact that Fox viewers tend to be those most interested in politics. They talk to their friends about “things they’ve heard” and fill your Facebook feed with conservative memes. Their impact goes beyond that 62 million number.

    This is another episode of Drum’s ongoing argument that the root cause of our polarization is FOX “News”. More than anyone else, Rupert Moloch is destroying democracy.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Holy f*ck:

    Rex Chapman

    Life is a game of inches…

  25. just nutha says:

    @Slugger: @CSK: Since it’s not as public a position as AG, I have no guess on the over/under but will speculate that his termination will be connected to the venture going banko.

  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Bannon trial set to go forward. In JULY!!! A year-and-a-half after Jan. 6th.
    Democrats have completely fuqed up these investigations.
    I don’t see myself ever voting for one of them again.
    Complete and utter failures.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:


    It has been pointed out that China, lacks friends among other nations. With friends defined as a country’s default response is to accept, at face value, another country’s is trust worthy. Certainly the Chinese have little credibility and no friends among the nations that constitute its near abroad. Hell, even Putin has a couple of vassal states that provide him with close to unconditional support.

    But China? Myanmar perhaps, a country of no world consequence. NK is a wild card. Under Duterte, the Philippines, have been a bit of supplicant, but the reality is that Duterte has really been using China to create space from the US. Pretty much every over government in the region is cold to hostile. Now China’s default behavior may cause it to be locked out markets. Who would have guessed that a country could be more ham handed than the US in executing its foreign policy.

  28. Kathy says:

    This is going to far. now the Commie Socialist democrats are turning the GOP’s manual woke.

  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    I am very unhappy that none of my/our books made the list. There are few things better than having a book banned from the right. If I could get some yahoos to burn my books I’d contribute the books in exchange for video.

  30. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The really weird thing about China is that 6-8 years ago (before Xi cemented his power), China was on the path to becoming “friend to the third world”. Beijing negotiated significant trade deals with countries in South America and Africa, they gave out huge amounts of foreign aid in the form of infrastructure (ports, rail, roads, etc.)–all without string attached–and was welcoming foreign investment.

    If they’d kept on that path, they really would have been some significant competition for the US not only in terms of trade, but in terms of building strong, ongoing relationships with countries that the US couldn’t care less about. Developing countries that could become the “New China”–places that China could use for resources and cheap labor, while building them up to where they could be a market for their own products.

    Instead? Bloviating and power plays blew that all to hell.

    Side note: China will never be friends with Japan or Korea. Way too much bad blood over the centuries.

  31. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    China will never be friends with Japan or Korea. Way too much bad blood over the centuries.

    Well, see Europe.
    You want blood? We got it.

    You don’t have to love everyone, but cordiality beats combat for a lazy weekend.

    Also, yes, Xi has to be world class historical example of how to throw away a potential winning hand.

  32. JohnSF says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Consider yourself lucky.
    You get a trial in July.
    Chances of our lot of crooks ever being in the dock are p*ss-poor.

    And thinking about it, might not trials at that point be better re. impact on Autumn elections?

  33. Gustopher says:

    Two years ago today, on a day that will live in infamy, I adopted my cat.

    (She is not, however, the first cat I adopted on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor — I’ve been using this lame joke for almost two decades)

  34. Matt says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Yeah I’ve been wondering what the hell happened. Those actions were leading China to a future of vastly increased power on multiple fronts. Then they just kind of stopped? Is it really just as simple as Xi stopping it?

  35. Stormy Dragon says:


    I think the real news is that Steinhardt apparently broke into the Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse and stole the Ark of the Covenant:

    D.A. Vance: Michael Steinhardt Surrenders 180 Stolen Antiquities Valued at $70 Million

  36. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I’ve come across speculations that it’s a cultural legacy of not having a state system with prolonged experience in dealing with peer states.
    Personally, I think it may have more to do with insecurity bred by a virtually continuous series of political catastrophes since 1839 (arguably since the collapse of the Ming Dynasty, if you count the Qing as Manchu interlopers)

  37. Mu Yixiao says:


    Yeah I’ve been wondering what the hell happened. Those actions were leading China to a future of vastly increased power on multiple fronts. Then they just kind of stopped? Is it really just as simple as Xi stopping it?

    Yes and no.

    I’m not an expert, and this is me speculating as an outsider, but…

    Economic progress leads to people with more options. Which leads to people who want more choices. Which leads to a population that isn’t easy to control.

    The CCP is terrified that prosperity will mean loss of power–and Xi is all about power.

  38. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I agree with your main point and about Japan and SK, and I’d add Vietnam to that list. The one thing that I’d point out about China’s pre-Xi foreign policy, is that it wasn’t viewed by the countries that China assisted as benign. There were complaints about the financial terms and who the projects really benefited, but it was recognized that China was no further out of line than the US or present day Europe.

    Under Xi, China has not only become a bully, but it seemingly is trying to recreate 18th century mercantilist economic arrangements, and that isn’t setting well in nations that spent a century or two as colonies of European countries. Also China seems oblivious or in denial, to the damage its image has received due to its treatment of the Uyghurs and Tibet, but particularly the Uyghurs.

  39. Kathy says:


    I want to say it’s not the first time China’s done this, based on the expeditions of Zheng He, and their termination.

  40. Sleeping Dog says:


    I would tend to lend more credence to the insecurity argument. Many of today’s nations lacked a history of state systems and still manage exist in a cool peace. Granted just about all went through a period of reconciling themselves to nationhood in the 19th and 20th centuries, and it wasn’t exactly pretty. But China had ~30 years of being cloistered from the world under Mao, yet considered a regional power. Then for the next 30 years grew into an economic power.

    You’d think that they’d move beyond that insecurity. Which has be believing that @Mu Yixiao: is accurate in pointing to fear of the CCP losing control.

  41. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The one thing that I’d point out about China’s pre-Xi foreign policy, is that it wasn’t viewed by the countries that China assisted as benign.

    Correct. But that’s also a matter of timing. At the time of initially negotiating the deals, they were very welcomed–especially by South America, which is getting tired of the US. It was after the Chinese companies came in that stuff started going sideways. The business model for China is “how much can I steal without you noticing?” The other countries were expecting fair deals, not “business with Chinese characteristics”.

  42. JohnSF says:

    In addition to the possible historical influence I mentioned, I suspect the political environment of the CCP doen’t make for a midset oriented to long term mutual beneficial cooperation between equals, regulated by legal limits.
    But rather to zero-sum, submission/dominance, and shifting maneuverings for a power within an autocratic elite. Power that, if obtained, can be arbitrary and absolute in regard to inferiors.

    Also, both some aspects of Chinese history, and being trained in a Party ideology of a veneer of pseudo-Marxist/Maoist guff over a corrosive aristocratic cynicism, tempered by bouts of nationalist enthusiasm, may genuinely lead the Chinese leadership to a hubrisitic view of the decadence or inferiority of other countries.

    Lesson #1 of comparative imperial history: don’t get high on you own supply 🙂

  43. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    18th century mercantilist economic arrangements

    Yes. And from the 19th century the tempting loans that led various countries (eg Egypt, Venezuela, Argentina, etc) end up being subjected to military enforcement operations.
    Compare recent Chinese “debt diplomacy”

    To be fair to the European imperialists (!) they generally didn’t consciously aim at it being a trap. The general reaction in Whitehall to the Egyptian 1876 debt crisis was “oh, hell, what now?” rather than “hooray!”

  44. dazedandconfused says:

    The real reason they stopped the voyages is they found nothing worth trading for. All the rest of the world had at that time were, as described, “novelties”. Exotic animals and such. For these they had to mount enormously expensive expeditions to trade gold, silks, and fine porcelain for..novelties.

    For China at that time the rest of the world had little else to offer of value. They were miles ahead of the rest of the world.

  45. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    You’d think that they’d move beyond that insecurity. Which has be believing that @Mu Yixiao: is accurate in pointing to fear of the CCP losing control.

    The “fear of losing control” or “fear of losing out” is endemic in the Chinese people–down to the most basic situations, and to such a degree that they shoot themselves in the foot. Two examples from my morning commutes.

    1) I, like hundreds of thousands of others in Kunshan, drove a scooter to work (like a Vespa, but electric). Mine was a “hog”–much bigger, more powerful, and faster than pretty much everyone else on my route. It would take me maybe 50 -100 meters to get out to the head of the pack and have a clear path. If I hit a red light, the people behind me would swerve around and get in front of me. They couldn’t tolerate not being at the very front. And then I’d have to weave my way through them again–as would everyone else, because the slowest people would push ahead of the fast ones while we waited.

    2) There was a 4-way stop near our factory that saw a lot of traffic in the mornings. It had traffic lights*, but everyone would push forward on the yellow–can’t give up those few seconds!–and the others would go as soon as it turned green. They’d frequently end up in a gordian knot of traffic, locked dead for half an hour or more–because absolutely nobody was going to let the other person go first. To “save” 30 seconds, it cost them 30 minutes.

  46. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I’m thinking back to the discussion here a while back on Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem and I rremarked

    I don’t know how far Cixin Liu portrays Chinese society objectively, or if it’s just his personal view, or even the justificatory narrative of the part, but my god, “crab bucket” on steroids!

    If all Chinese society is really that zero sum, they have serious problems ahead.

    It strikes me that if this is representative of Chinese modes of thought, Europeans are more collectivist by a mile.

  47. Mu Yixiao says:


    One of the things that we forget (or don’t realize) is that people my age actually remember the Cultural Revolution. Ones just a decade older remember the Great Leap Forward.

    That just baffles me–and my parents grew up during the Great Depression. My dad served in WWII.

  48. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    They sound a lot like Mexican drivers. Red lights are seen as a suggestion to stop.

    I’ve read the leading cause of death in Mexico City is yielding to traffic even a millimeter*. My estimate is that over a million deaths are averted every hour by creating traffic jams instead.

    *For some reason, Chrome’s spell check doesn’t recognize millimiter.

  49. Mu Yixiao says:


    Can someone with more smarts than I have tell me if this is a real thing or a satire site?

    DARPA creates first real warp bubble.”

  50. JohnSF says:

    The other thing that has been occurring to me lately is that in some ways the geo-strategic economic position of China today is remarkably similar in some ways to that of Japan in the 1920’s (albeit without the blatant aggression of Japan re. Manchuria).

    China is a Great Power that could only barely feed itself (with considerable hardship) and cannot power itself, without imports of food and fuel that in must pay for in dollars.
    And it’s marginal domestic food balance absolutely requires some 35 million tonnes of nitrogen fertiliser per annum; IIRC at some 44 giga joule per tonne, that’ll be a significant percentage of energy use totals.

    To pay for these imports it must export dollar earning goods; in the inter-war period the Japanese problem (as with much of the rest of the world) was that it was impossible to earn the dollars or other hard currency (sterling or gold, basically) it needed to import essentials.

    China at present can do so.
    But it depends upon US permissive access to dollar financial systems, and to the sea-lanes for both hard currency export markets, and food and fuel imports.

    Unless it can bypass those chokepoints, and effectively overturn the current global trade/finance base, it has no way around dependence, no matter how politely concealed
    (Which likely galls Xi considerably).
    Attacking Taiwan, even if successful, would only serve to trigger economic strangulation.
    (And very high odds of Japan going nuclear to counter the island line breach)

    Land transport by rail via Russia would be far pricier; a possible wartime expedient, but not a sustainable one.

    In it’s current geo-strategic position China cannot realistically hope to “break out”.
    On the other hand neither could Japan; didn’t stop them trying.

  51. Mister Bluster says:

    Mel Brooks Still alive at ninety-five.

    When I did The Producers, I got a thousand letters, mostly from rabbis and Jewish organizations, [saying] “How dare you! It’s the Holocaust!” And they were right and they were wrong, and I would say, “You’re not wrong. You’re absolutely right to take offense at it. But let me tell you this, if we’re going to get even with Hitler, we can’t get on a soapbox because he’s too damn good at that. We got to ridicule them. We’ve got to laugh at him. Then we can get even.” And sometimes I’d get a letter back saying, “Maybe you’re right.”

  52. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Sounds like satire. It might be a crackpot site, too.

    On better news, in Mexico City today boosters rolled out for adults over 60 (teenagers over 60 are out of luck, I guess). Apparently the booster will be whatever vaccine is at hand, meaning mostly AstraZeneca and Pfizer, but also Sputnik V. I’d be ok with either of the first two.

    Judging by past rollouts, I estimate a booster by February. So, unless Omicron proves to be a sure killer, it looks like California will have to keep on doing without me for a few more years. I’m sure they’ll manage.

  53. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Quick scan, if not a spoof seems to relate to the Casimir Effect which is known and measurable, albeit seriously weird, like most things “quantummy”.
    But, as also like most quantummy stuff, totally irrelevant to macro-scale matter (he said with foolish assurance).
    Just as the fact that at the subatomic scale most matter is empty space doesn’t make walking through a brick wall any easier.

  54. JohnSF says:

    An Italian quip on traffic lights:

    In Milan, traffic lights are instructions. In Rome, they are suggestions. In Naples, they are Christmas decorations.

  55. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Looking at the Debrief site a bit more, pretty confident not a spoof, not crackpot, just a tad, umm, enthusiastic and optimistic, shall we say.
    Reminds me a bit of Omni magazine back in the day.

  56. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Also, get off my lawn, you damn kids!

  57. dazedandconfused says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Scotty needs to be consulted.

    This is about folding space-time, travelling anywhere and not actually moving at all. By far the spookiest thing I’ve ever heard is the apparent fact, demonstrated by the proof of quantum linking, that at quantum level space is actually no space at all. The furthest point in space-time is precisely the same distance away as the tip of one’s nose. Our minds are not structured to grasp this, but there it is.

    Btw, at the quantum level your lawn is their lawn…

  58. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Bannon trial set to go forward. In JULY!!! A year-and-a-half after Jan. 6th.
    Democrats have completely fuqed up these investigations.
    I don’t see myself ever voting for one of them again.
    Complete and utter failures.

    Oh NOES… Democrats working within the system and once AGAIN getting fuqed because they haven’t yet said “F*CK IT ALL, KILL ALL THE REPUBLICANS AND LET GOD SORT THEM OUT!!!”

    Really? You want to blame them for the fact that GOPs have rights? For the fact that Americans voted for trump who inserted morally bankrupt jurists into the system? It’s all the DEMs faults?

  59. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Given the coverage it’s received, I’d lean toward real. Also, there’s a link to the published paper in the European Physics Journal.

  60. Kathy says:


    It’s looking as though space rather than being a fundamental property of the universe, is really an emergent property of quantum systems.

    The other day I had a weird dream about meeting someone from a parallel universe. I recall almost nothing, except when this person explained why we couldn’t visit his universe: there’s no matter or energy there.

    I’ve been wasting some time trying to picture such a thing.

  61. Mikey says:


    In Milan, traffic lights are instructions. In Rome, they are suggestions. In Naples, they are Christmas decorations.

    Having driven a car in both Rome and Naples, I can confirm this is 100% accurate.

  62. Mu Yixiao says:

    For those of you who don’t listen to All Things Considered on NPR, there was a very interesting segment on today’s show.

    A pharmaceutical company in Canada–Medicago*–has developed a COVID vaccine that is derived from plants.

    If this gains FDA approval in the US, I’ll be really curious to see what contortions the “religious objectors” go through to justify not taking it.

    * They need a better PR/Marketing staff. That company name does not roll off the tongue.

  63. Mu Yixiao says:


    10-year-old me (who takes control on occasion) is just really trying not to jump around screaming OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!

  64. Mu Yixiao says:


    In Milan, traffic lights are instructions. In Rome, they are suggestions. In Naples, they are Christmas decorations.

    Quite a few of us in China (mostly expats) referred to traffic lights as “Christmas decorations”.

    There were a couple times when power went out to the traffic lights, and I noticed a fundamental difference in how the Chinese react to the situation vs. Americans:

    American: Treat it like a stop sign (or at least a yield).
    Chinese: It’s not red, so I can keep going–full speed.

  65. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    So, the Canadian Democrat Commie Socialists want to turn people into plants.

    Re, marketing. the name sounds very close to 1st person singular conjugation of defecate in Spanish.

  66. dazedandconfused says:


    Same thing happens to me when I try to imagine the perspective of an electron or photon. At the speed of light time doesn’t exist, so in a journey across the universe over hundreds of billions of years, it’s everywhere along it’s journey at the same time. What would that be like?

    If time does not exist in a black hole, and one formed at the Big Bang, for the black hole the Big Bang is a current event…

  67. Mu Yixiao says:

    One last post before I go watch a little TV* and slip into bed.

    I’ve talked about the fact that I publish a small online newspaper for the 5 municipalities that make up our community (mostly defined by the school district). September marked two years of publishing.

    At the start, all the municipalities were eager to send along information for publication. Lately, I have to prod them for anything, and mostly get no response.

    I work a full time job. I don’t have the energy to sit through (and I’m not exaggerating) approximately 40 hours of city/village/town/school board** meetings every month. That doesn’t even take into account that several of the meetings take place simultaneously.

    I work a full time job. I’m not privy to all the things going on in the community that get talked about at the coffee bar, or at the farmers’ table at the diner.

    I don’t have the time or energy to work sales and bring in advertising money, and I made a promise that the news would always be free to read (I believe in that very strongly).

    Last week I put out a semi-ultimatum: If there aren’t 20 people (out of 8 to 10 thousand) who are willing to step up and feed me news tips (or really step up and report on government meetings or school events), I will be closing my doors on Dec 31st.

    On the one hand: It will be a huge weight off my shoulders.
    On the other hand: The community will lose the only engaged and responsive news it has.
    On the gripping hand: I sincerely believe that “an informed electorate is essential for a free democracy” and I want to do what I can in that vein, but… I can’t get to the important issues without help.
    On the…. Ummm… I’ve run out of hands: We have elections in April which include the mayor and a referendum for more school funding (more taxes).

    So… Without any additional information…

    Gut reactions: Do I push to get more people involved (I can’t pay them), or do I say 27 months is a good time served and close down?

    * Is it still “TV” if it’s downloaded videos watched on a computer?

    ** School Board meetings run

  68. Mu Yixiao says:


    I give you the atom.

    Them trons are righteous.

  69. Kathy says:


    What would that be like?


  70. Stormy Dragon says: