Wednesday’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:

    In yesterdays open forum, there was a discussion on Ross Douthat’s OpEd on Religious Nones and DrDaveT commented @DrDaveT:

    is there really no communal belief system that both imparts the benefits of shared religion AND doesn’t require belief in an objectively random nonsensical mythology?

    It occurred to me that political parties may be assuming that role for some.

  2. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  3. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  4. Kathy says:


    I don’t think I’d ever known of someone who used ARPAnet. I’ve heard a few people talk of using BITnet, which also came before the internet.

    On 8 track tapes, I recall a few in other people’s homes. There was also a toy shaped like a robot that played trivia games using an 8 track tape. You answered the questions by pressing one of 4 buttons, which corresponded to the tracks on the tape. I think we had one. I know it grew old very quickly.

    Also by then electronic toys were coming on. Things like Speak & Spell, Merlin , various Mattel sports games, etc.

  5. DrDaveT says:


    I don’t think I’d ever known of someone who used ARPAnet.

    They thought the killer app would be file transfers. Originally using raw File Transfer Protocol (FTP), but if your connection got interrupted (which was common for large files) you had to start over from scratch. Some clever person invented Kermit, which was a wrapper around FTP that would remember where you were in an interrupted file transfer and pick up where it had left off. That made lots of people very happy.

    Email was tacked on as an afterthought, to allow people to communicate easily about the files they were transferring…and then it ate the world.

  6. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I wonder if Kathy still thinks it’s a quiet hurricane season? 😉

  7. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’m pretty sure I qualified that statement with “so far.”

    But there have been three hurricanes in the Atlantic so far. Last year there were 8 by October. So there’s some catching up.

    In 2020 there were 14.

  8. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Maybe? 2004 had Charley, Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne all in about six weeks, if my memory holds up. My parents had to evacuate to Gainesville twice and it took a couple of months for them to find a reliable roofer after the season ended.

  9. MarkedMan says:


    I don’t think I’d ever known of someone who used ARPAnet

    Kathy, I’d like to introduce you to MarkedMan. Pleased to meetcha!

  10. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: That’s why I asked. I don’t follow the Canes in either weather or football. 😉

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: By the way, when Al Gore said that he chaired the committee that created the Internet, it’s because that’s exactly what he did. I remember very clearly he being mocked as a geek and a nerd (back when those terms were the ultimate insult) because he talked about commercializing Arpanet and how it would become an “information super highway”. If we hadn’t had someone in the government like him who understood what was going on and had the determination to create a unified standard architecture then the intense lobbying that IBM and other big networking companies were doing would have succeeded and we would have “let the market decide”. We would have ended up with having to pay for multiple subscriptions to proprietary star networks, and ring networks, and a hundred other things, and the scientists and military would be the only ones using Arpanet (with the electronic bigs trying to kill funding for it every year in the hope the government would chose their system instead). It’s gone down the memory hole that when Al Gore was championing the concept of a resilient universal network open to everyone, there were a lot of people and companies against it, and a lot more that thought nothing would ever come of it.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I am not surprised.

  13. Kathy says:

    A glimpse of what Benito lawyers go through, and of what passes for the Cheeto’s mind.

    And there’s this part:

    ..Little relayed to him what she was told herself by two other Trump attorneys: that Trump would “go ballistic” over complying with the subpoena — “that there’s no way he’s going to agree to anything, and that he was going to deny that there were any more boxes at all,”

  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    If You’ve Got a New Car, It’s a Data Privacy Nightmare

    Bad news: your car is a spy. If your vehicle was made in the last few years, you’re probably driving around in a data-harvesting machine that may collect personal information as sensitive as your race, weight, and sexual activity. Volkswagen’s cars reportedly know if you’re fastening your seatbelt and how hard you hit the brakes.

    That’s according to new findings from Mozilla’s *Privacy Not Included project. The nonprofit found that every major car brand fails to adhere to the most basic privacy and security standards in new internet-connected models, and all 25 of the brands Mozilla examined flunked the organization’s test. Mozilla found brands including BMW, Ford, Toyota, Tesla, and Subaru collect data about drivers including race, facial expressions, weight, health information, and where you drive. Some of the cars tested collected data you wouldn’t expect your car to know about, including details about sexual activity, race, and immigration status, according to Mozilla.

    Of course from the politicians, it’s, move along nothing to see hear.

    Comments add some context.

  15. CSK says:


    This boils down to an admission of guilt on Trump’s part.

  16. Grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: had a lot of computer geek friends using it.

    I remember using telnet to access satellite data from NASA when I was in Japan. ( it got to be a bit of a joke among my friends—wherever I was working in Japan would after a few months suddenly get much better connectivity—mainly because I would bitch so much about how much better they could do…)

  17. MarkedMan says:

    My opinion of Division 1 college sports has always been low, and continues to go lower with each passing year. One aspect that I’ve always found especially repugnant is the hero worship and sycophancy towards the coaches who are essentially making millions off of unpaid teenagers and young adults by having them play a game with a ball. There’s nothing wrong with a ball game, but there is something wrong with turning it into a religion and exalting these often extremely venal coaches as some kind of gods. Another thing I find repugnant is that whole states seem to be in the thrall to these men of at best mediocre morality and intelligence to the point where they elect them to public office.

    Sometimes I stop myself and say, “MarkedMan, why are you being such a grouch? It’s a game, people like it and surely I must be exaggerating the negative effects this has on a society?”

    And then I read the latest from Tommy Tuberville and think, “Nope. Got it just about right.”

  18. Grumpy realist says:

    @Sleeping Dog: ….and you haven’t seen nothin’ yet. You should see what’s coming across my desk.

    The two countries with applicants most aggressive in pushing this stuff happen to be Japan and Korea.

  19. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: There you go. Have I mentioned before what a POS Tommy Tuberville is?

    Tommy Tuberville left recruits at dinner to take Cincinnati job

    Tommy Tuberville was in such a rush to leave Texas Tech that he didn’t even have time to finish his dinner.

    Junior college offensive lineman Devonte Danzey, who was in Lubbock for an official visit last weekend, told the recruiting site that Tuberville stepped away from a dinner with several recruits and assistant coaches Friday night and never returned. Saturday morning, Tuberville surprised many by accepting an offer to become Cincinnati’s coach.

    Think this is bad? It’s nothing compared to Tuberville’s exit from Mississippi in 1998. Less than a week after saying “They’ll have to carry me out of here in a pine box” – meaning he was locked in for life – Tuberville took the job at Auburn.

    Not only a lousy person but a lousy coach.

    Tommy Tuberville completed his three-year coaching tenure at Texas Tech with a 20-17 overall record and 9-17 mark in Big 12 play following the 2012 regular season.

  20. CSK says:


    I’ve commented on this before: the divinity-like status southerners, particularly Gorgians and Alabamians, grant to their college football coaches. (“Nick Saban may not be God, but he’s second!” That’s an actual quote from a Crimson Tide fanatic.) It’s just not something done in the northeast. Outside of a few sports writers, nobody up here could probably tell you the names of the BC, UMass, or Harvard football coaches.

  21. CSK says:


    Coach Tommy is a profoundly stupid, pathetically ill-informed abortion-obsessed jackass.

  22. DrDaveT says:


    It’s just not something done in the northeast.

    I think you’re maybe forgetting just how much Joe Paterno was lionized in Pennsylvania, before he wasn’t.

  23. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    sexual activity.

    Unless you happen to be 16 and have no other place to go, I suggest stop f*cking in cars.

    The rest of the data harvesting is an absolute nightmare though.

  24. Kathy says:


    El Cheeto has a peculiar, entitled misunderstanding of the law. It goes beyond the belief the law doesn’t apply to him. That’s common among the privileged. He sometimes seem to believe the law as applied allows him to do anything he wants.

    Consider when he said Article II of the Constitution lets him do anything. Said article defines and limits the duties, powers, obligations, etc. of the presidency.

    Then there’s the Presidential records Act. I read through it a few months ago, as the grand theft classified documents was playing out in Mar A Lardo. One part of this law is that ultimately the president, or Benito in this case, decides what is a personal record.

    Naturally this would apply to records produced at the White House by those who work directly for the president. this lets Clinton, for example, claim interviews for an oral history are a personal record. This is debatable, but reasonable.

    The way Benito misunderstands this law, is that he can declare anything at all a personal record, and thus he took nothing from the oval office that wasn’t his. So, for example, draft plans to invade Iran, produced by the DoD, which he happened to see for whatever reason, are a personal record, and thus his.

  25. Jay L Gischer says:

    TPM is reporting that CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) is suing the state of Colorado to exclude Trump from the ballot based on the 13th amendment.

    I’m not enthusiastic about this turn of events.

  26. CSK says:


    Quite true, but I think he was something of an anomaly. And I also think–possibly unjustly–that someone like Paterno could’t get away with stuff* that Tuberville and Saban could. I wouldn’t put anything past a guy like Tuberville.

    *Well, Paterno didn’t get away with anything in the end, did he?

  27. Thomm says:

    @Scott: Nick Saban should run against him so he can beat him at that too.

  28. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: Re: Paterno. I can vouch for that. I have two otherwise sane friends who are convinced Paterno was railroaded because they “know” he was a great man who would never have turned a blind eye on anything like that. I never, ever bring up football around them.

  29. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Lately such things are running headlong into Kathy’s First Law: there’s a downside to everything.

    What if the process goes through the courts, appeals, secretaries of state, and ultimately the supreme court, and Benito gets disqualified from, say, a few states only. Say Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and all or most of the blue states (NY, California, Washington, etc.)

    The assumption is that then Biden wins those states, and there’s no way El Cheeto can win 270 electoral votes. Given the party duopoly and prior experience, this is a reasonable expectation.

    However, given enough time, the GQP can rustle up an “independent” candidate, and make it known if they win these swing states, the election will be decided by the House. As that is a vote by delegation, the GQP then enthrones Benito.

    I don’t like it when I give myself nightmares.

  30. Gustopher says:



    is there really no communal belief system that both imparts the benefits of shared religion AND doesn’t require belief in an objectively random nonsensical mythology?

    It occurred to me that political parties may be assuming that role for some.

    I don’t think so. Democrats are always infighting, and Republicans have to believe that the election was stolen, and cutting taxes raises revenue.

    Perhaps the Unitarian Universalists? They don’t believe in anything.

  31. CSK says:
  32. steve says:

    “Perhaps the Unitarian Universalists? They don’t believe in anything.”

    How can you tell if a Unitarian is mad at you? They come and burn a question mark on your front lawn. (I know, I’ll keep the day job.)

    Just for general info, there seems to have been a little mini-surge in retrospectives about covid management. It may be my imagination but there are even more claims about death certificates being changed and doctors being told they had to report covid as the cause of death even if they didnt think that the case. Given my admin position in my network and role in managing ICUs I knew that wasn’t true for my network, so just out of curiosity I reached out to a number of other people at hospitals in my geographic area (Philly to New York). It’s not true at their places either.


  33. Kathy says:

    In semi-good news, long story omitted, we got some samples left over. I already called two kilo bag of BIG red lentils (yes, they taste the same as any other lentils), and there are some bags of what’s described as oat flour enriched with amaranth.

    Any ideas what I can do with it?

    Most recipes I see online are for muffins, cookies, and pancakes. the latter, I’m willing to bet, will taste just as pancakes made with any commercial mix out there. I could use it for a roux in making a mushroom gravy I’m planning on this week, which I’m sure would make no difference from using regular wheat flour.

    O’m thinking banana bread. It might not make a difference in the final flavor, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to make for months*. I also wonder if it could make a decent torta caprese type cake, without ground up almonds (I have some pecans I could grind instead).

  34. DrDaveT says:

    Banana bread sounds like a good plan — it’s probably less sensitive to the difference between oat flour and wheat flour than other things would be, and banana-oat is a traditional flavor combo.

    Scones might also work well with oat flour. I have no idea how well the oat/amaranth mixture would work for roux-based sauces or gravies, but I’d be cautious. Try a small experiment first. Amaranth is a traditional thickener, but oat flour is not.

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    Visitors on a tour of Heaven noticed a group of Unitarian Universalists, who were arguing about whether or not they were really there.

  36. Kathy says:


    Again Benito is going about it backwards.

    Capone died after syphilis rotted his brain.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    Just in case anyone thinks that Crypto is anything other than purest bull, here’s a dialog between Sam Bankman-Fried and an investor in a public forum:

    Levine said that the box and its “Box Token” should be worth zero. Bankman-Fried didn’t disagree. But he said, “In the world that we’re in, if you do this, everyone’s gonna be like, ‘Ooh, Box Token. Maybe it’s cool.’”

    Via Kevin Drum

  38. Kathy says:


    Good thing is I have time. I won’t do anything until I look up a large number of recipes. probably by the weekend of the 16th.

    Thanks for the tip about the roux. I’m at the stage where flour is flour. I need to move to the stage where I know better.

  39. JohnSF says:


    is there really no communal belief system that both imparts the benefits of shared religion AND doesn’t require belief in an objectively random nonsensical mythology?

    Missed that.
    My answer would be: monarchies.
    (In some cases, and to some extent)

    Also, come to think of it, nationalism.

    Also, people began remarking on the parallels between the social aspects of organised religion and the social role of the German Social Democrat Party back in the 19th Century.

  40. DrDaveT says:


    Perhaps the Unitarian Universalists? They don’t believe in anything.

    It has been my experience that being a Unitarian does not involve sufficiently strong feelings of anything to “impart the benefits of shared religion”. That also avoids the worst excesses, but it doesn’t solve the problem as posed.

  41. DrDaveT says:


    My answer would be: monarchies.

    I thought about that, but it’s hard to imagine being an avid monarchist without buying into a nonsensical mythology about the superiority of the ruling bloodline. Or were you saying that a purely symbolic monarchy is good enough?

  42. Grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: is the amaranth ground or whole?

  43. Kathy says:

    @Grumpy realist:


    The package is opaque plastic, but it feels like fine powder. Much like wheat flour.

  44. dazedandconfused says:


    Nationalism is largely nonsensical mythology. In effect indistinguishable from religious dogma.

  45. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Both oat flour and amaranth flour are gluten-free, so any baking application has to take that into account. Gluten’s main function in baking is to hold air bubbles until the batter is baked–that’s what gives the baked good loft, or “fluffiness.” (Basically, when liquid hits proteins (aka gluten) in flour, the proteins begin to align and create a web that traps gas, so when yeast or leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda expand, the gluten traps them.) Unless you adjust the recipe to contain something that acts in a similar fashion, you’ll end up with a very dense baked good.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: The rage about oat flour seems to be that it is gluten free (based on a quick Bing search) and higher in fiber than flour from grain with the bran removed. That would seem to indicate that it probably is not what you’re looking for in baking things that are leavened. My guess would be that banana bread would be tasty, but denser than when you use wheat flour.

    ETA: And Jen edged me out with a better explanation. (That’s probably why she’s good enough at her job to be self-employed.)

  47. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: I think monarchies and nationalism gets to the “shared” identity part, but the original OpEd was referring to getting together for a shared purpose, and socializing with people who have the same values, as well as engaging in shared rituals and experiences. For the first two of those, it seems that getting involved with a specific political party may provide some of that. Working on campaigns, going out for drinks afterward, etc.

    I think sports may provide this for more people, both in attending games in person or when fans go out to a specific sports bar. But in general I think there is a big void in many people’s social life when they leave church behind. I look at my wife’s upbringing as part of a small but tight Russian Orthodox community in upstate NY and the church was a big part of their lives. They raised money for and build an beautiful church, providing a real sense of accomplishment. The Church basement had a basement which hosted a coffee klatch after every service. The church ladies used the kitchen to do annual kielbasi and pierogi fundraisers that required weeks of prep and dozens of volunteers. There was something for everyone, from helping clean, to repairing plumbings, to handling the collections, serving on the board, volunteering legal or accounting services, etc. Although I never had that experience myself, I totally get why someone who has lost their faith and moved away from a church would feel there is a big gap.

  48. CSK says:


    It’s possible Trump will, too.

  49. JohnSF says:

    I don’t think anyone in the UK who considers it for long believes seriously in the ineffable transmission of “superiority of the ruling bloodline” from Plantagenet to Tudor to Stuart, via a bit of head lopping to Stuarts, via a bit of Dutch invasion to Orange/Stuart, to Hanoverians, to Saxe-Coburg Gotha to Battenberg (with both of the last getting renamed Windsor with no break, in defiance of all the rules!)
    Least of all some of the old British aristocracy, whose ancestors were Lords of the Realm when the various Germans were hanging out in wooden shacks in Thuringia. 🙂

  50. CSK says:


    Didn’t George V replace Saxe-Coburg-Gotha with Windsor in 1917 to hide the German background of the toyal family?

  51. JohnSF says:


    Nationalism is largely nonsensical mythology. In effect indistinguishable from religious dogma.

    True enough.
    But such nonsenses can be a massive motivator of human beings; hence the intimate connection in European history since the French revolution of liberalism and nationalism.
    And the failure of (arguably) non-liberal and anti-nationalist concepts to provide an effective emotional counterpoise.
    See the collapse of the internationalist pacifism of the socialist parties in Germany, Austria-Hungary and France in 1914.

  52. Kathy says:
  53. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Now, see, this helps in moving from “flour is flour.”

    Baking is closer to chemistry than it is to cooking, regardless of its related origin to the latter.

    Denser banana bread might be a good thing. I also want to add peanut butter. I wonder if it’s necessary, as one can simply spread it on a slice.

    BTW, these are items for a social welfare program. They tend to go for nutrient-dense foods rather than trendy ones. about the only trend they’re on right now is low added sugars.

  54. JohnSF says:


    Didn’t George V replace Saxe-Coburg-Gotha with Windsor in 1917 to hide the German background of the toyal family?

    Yep. As George said, “I may be uninspiring, but I’ll be damned if I’m alien.“
    But the really unusual thing is that the current formal title of the dynasty, despite the line shift, is still Windsor, and not the equally English-ish Mountbatten.

    If memory serves this was because they wanted to emphasise continuity, minimise Germanity, and (rumour has it) the Dowager Queens Mary and Elizabeth disliked the (not that closely) related Louis Mountbatten as a pushy little schemer.

  55. JohnSF says:

    The “whole social environment” was a very important aspect of the political sociology of the SPD in Germany.
    And to a lesser extent the Labour movement in the UK. It also, as it became Marxist, an increasingly distinct and encompassing ideological standpoint.
    A lot of commentators see the Nazi policy of generalized party socialisation as based on the SPD model, as way of cultivating a cohesive group identity.
    IIRC the fascists in Italy briefly tried similar schemes, but it was like herding cats.

  56. Grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: I’d use it in the topping for apple/fruit crisp, coating for deep-fried/baked anything, and see how it works mixed with standard bread flour when baking a hearty seed bread.

    (Flour around me always lasts too long and gets invaded by the little buggies. Total opposite to brown rice, which vanishes immediately.)

  57. JohnSF says:


    Baking is closer to chemistry than it is to cooking

    As is brewing.

  58. Kathy says:


    Do you mean Benito can get brain rot form syphilis, or that the pathogen shouldn’t bother because there’s no brain to rot?

    On other things, real good news out of Mexico: The supreme court has decriminalized abortion at the federal level.

    Laws and courts work differently than in the US. So, this doesn’t mean abortion will be legal and available in all states at once. But that’s likely to be the end result soon. At that, 12 states already allow abortion.

    One consequence is that federal healthcare agencies now have to provide abortions, and they’re not subject to local or state restrictions. These agencies cover a lot of people, both in the public and private sectors.

  59. JohnSF says:

    Also, it’s interesting the different types of wheat and different grades of flour used for different purposes. And how the wheat types have varied due to climates and breeding history.
    IIRC during the 19th Century, in NW Europe, only winter wheat (=”hard”) was suitable for bread making; spring wheat was more for cakes, biscuits, wheat porridge, and noodles.
    So a very hard winter could badly effect bread supplies, which were a dietary mainstay.

  60. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT: What are the “benefits of shared religion”?

    I would have gone with community, structure, shared smugness, and a spot to go on a Sunday morning (or other time of the week).

    I think the UU folks have that. Potlucks, opportunities for good works, some music… other than a belief in God, they’ve got it all!

    (“Shared smugness” might sound harsh. There’s an “us vs. them” aspect to religious communities that even the UU folk have, but they don’t really seem to make it worse than smugness)

  61. Gustopher says:


    I already called two kilo bag of BIG red lentils

    So, that’s two lentils?

  62. Kathy says:


    It depends on what you’re brewing.

    If it’s tea or coffee, then it’s alchemy: it transforms a base fluid into gold.

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    …when the various Germans were hanging out in wooden shacks in Thuringia.

    This comment reminds me of the line in the Wheel of Time book saga where the king of some nation in the world notes that at the beginnings of every noble family is a farmer who simply had less to lose than his neighbors and so was more willing to risk the loss.

  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    …low added sugars.

    That may explain the point in one of my search sources that noted that in hydrolyzed oat flour, the hydrolyzation is done to convert carbohydrates to sugars.

    Or it may mean nothing and simply reveal that I don’t understand organic chemistry because I didn’t take any in college.

  65. CSK says:


    Mountbatten was originally Battenberg, wasn’t it? I understand Louis M. being thought a schemer. For one thing, he was plotting to have Charles marry his granddaughter.

  66. CSK says:


    They only brought him Diet Cokes once or twice.

  67. JohnSF says:

    Yes, both lines of the Mountbatten’s were originally Battenberg.
    BUT: Prince Philip, King Charles father was the son of Prince Andrew of Greece, who was of the House Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (so, not very German at all, LOL; actually, nativised Greek for some time)
    So obvs current ruling house should be that.

    BUT: Philip dropped the Schlewig etc (probably because people lost interest before he stopped telling them what his name was) and took up Mountbatten, from his mother, Alice of Battenberg (aka Mountbatten), who was screwy Louis’s younger sis.

    As Philip was IIRC a 3rd cousin to Princess Elizabeth as was, and Louis’ granddaughter would have been a second cousin to Charles (re grandma Alice), you can see why the Dowagers, in the interests of descendants with the normal quota of appendages and brain-cells, thought it a match best avoided.
    In addition to Louis being annoying.

  68. JohnSF says:


    It depends on what you’re brewing.

    I was thinking, as is my wont, of beer. 🙂

    it’s alchemy: it transforms a base fluid into gold.

    I recall years ago reading something on the lines that the alchemists greatest contribution to mankind was their accidental discovery of distilled liquor.
    *pours a glass of armagnac*
    Which is, thinking about it, a very sensible conclusion.

  69. JohnSF says:

    “Two lentil, or not two lentil, that is the question”

  70. Kathy says:


    I was thinking, as is my wont, of beer.

    Oh, that’s reverse alchemy.

    I recall years ago reading something on the lines that the alchemists greatest contribution to mankind was their accidental discovery of distilled liquor.

    Uh, yeah, “accidental.” That’s the ticket!

  71. JohnSF says:

    that’s reverse alchemy.

    “And malt does more than Milton can/ To justify God’s ways to man.”

    I have another vague (and now armagnac addled) memory about a achaeologists arguing the Sumerians developed a early form of brewing as a means of preserving surplus bread.

    And recent proposals that the large amounts of wasted bread from modern food supply chains could usefully be made into beer rather than discarded.
    Beer for the people!

  72. Grumpy realist says:

    @JohnSF: plus the waste gas off the brewing can be used to run a co-gen system, thus saving energy.

    (I went on a field trip to an Asahi brewery in Chiba where they had done this. After we were shown over all the technology we sat in the main cafeteria and got pretty plastered on their main product. Best trip ever.(

  73. dazedandconfused says:


    Seems everybody got an idea along the lines of “If we just eliminate religion there will be no more wars!” Followed, after a couple nasty nationalist wars, with some folks thinking “If we just eliminate nationalism there will be no more wars!” Might as well give it up. People will find something to rally around when they want to fight. Most anything will serve. The problem isn’t our systems it’s our nature.

    Our fate was sealed when a batch of monkeys figured out, if they hung together, they had their pick on the best fruit trees.

  74. Kathy says:


    Not entirely unrelated. In The Third Chimpanzee, Jared Diamond lists several attacks by a small group of chimps one one lone chimp from a different tribe. They typically hit, punch, and sometimes bite. The lone chimp is hurt, and sometimes never seen again by the human observers that recorded these attacks; meaning sometimes they die of their injuries.

    One thing no one’s ever seen is a chimp strangle another, even though their hands are perfectly capable of doing this.

    So either the intent isn’t to kill, or they haven’t figured out the importance of breathing, or the idea simply hasn’t occurred to any of them.

    Many predators, whether they know it or not, kill prey by suffocation. big cats, in particular, bite down on the prey’s throat and hold on until it stops moving. Hunting and killing behaviors, though, might be innate. I never saw my cat kill any prey. I did see my dogs try to kill some of their chew toys. Not by suffocation, but by holding the back of the neck and shaking the “prey.” This would snap the neck of a real, small animal. We certainly didn’t teach her to do that, she came to it all on her own.

  75. MarkedMan says:


    If we just eliminate religion there will be no more wars!

    All due respect to Michael, but people ascribe way too much agency to religion. Religion doesn’t cause wars or make people mindless drones or gullible pricks. It’s just one of a hundred different rationales people use to justify what they would do anyway.

  76. DrDaveT says:


    What are the “benefits of shared religion”?

    I only meant whatever it was that Douthit was claiming as the benefit. I don’t have a claim of my own here.

  77. gVOR10 says:

    This whole thing with Bacon’s very thoughtful column on leaving his church and Douthat’s response puts me in mind of an episode in Charles Darwin’s life. His beloved ten year old daughter died. Darwin was stricken with grief. His local pastor suggested he would be greatly comforted by the belief his daughter had gone to a better place. Darwin replied to the effect he was unable to believe a thing just because it would comfort him. Douthat is eager to.

  78. Michael Reynolds says:


    Darwin replied to the effect he was unable to believe a thing just because it would comfort him. Douthat is eager to.

    From that desire to believe, so much evil has flowed.