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. Mister Bluster says:

    It’s 2:39am Wednesday, July 7 in London if the World Clock on my phone is accurate. Are you traveling?

  2. de stijl says:

    Both oddly timed and shuffled down the deck of active threads.

    My bet is somebody misprogrammed the bot that instantiates / creates the daily Open Thread at ~ 3:45 am -6 UTC.

  3. Teve says:

    70% of the people in my county voted for Trump. 30% of the people in my county are vaxxed for Covid. That is no joke. BTW, the hot new thing to fly from the back of your 4×4 truck is a flag saying FUCK BIDEN.

  4. JohnSF says:

    Sounds like the county coroner may soon be hiring…

  5. Teve says:

    @JohnSF: many years ago, around 2009, I had a tutoring student who told me that his mom held him out of school that day, because “that n***** President” gave the kids a speech. These idiots are the worst.

  6. sam says:


    Watching the News Hour the other night. Reporter is in some red state with low, low vax rate. The reporter is interviewing a lady who runs a pharmacy, who tells the reporter that hereabouts some folks are shunning the vaccines…and are, instead, putting some kind of horse medicine on a cracker and eating it. I’m sure she meant this: FDA warning: Ivermectin meant for animals are not for human treatment for COVID-19.

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Our Public Enemy Number 1 over here got arrested. Don’t mess with the Tour de F … 😀

    Also, it’s July now. Phase one of the great national vacation (Le petit vide) has begun, You stand a decent chance of actually finding a parking spot here if you visit now and at least some things are still open. We’re all enjoying the relative quiet and eagerly awaiting the TV coverage of the world’s largest traffic jam in a few weeks.

  8. HarvardLaw92 says:



    At a certain point, we just have to let the stupid / cranky / disaffected be stupid / cranky / disaffected and suffer the consequences of that. Pretty sure that point was about two months ago.

  9. CSK says:

    Haiti’s president Jovenal Moise was assassinated in an attack at his home around one this morning.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    Oh the irony. After months of pooh-poohing Covid, refusing to close business and issue mask mandates, R governors are begging their constituents to get vaccinated. You need to ask them, why, after a year and a half of you indulging the prejudices of those constituents, should they now turn around and get a vaccine to an illness that you’ve coyly denied existing.

    As more R states have infection rates at crisis levels, expect the talking heads at Faux News and similar outlets begin claiming that the illness is a plot against real Americans perpetrated by liberals. The proof being that blue states aren’t in crisis.

    I do wish that this crisis were peaking during the 22 elections.

  11. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Apropos of snake-oil remedies, the latest issue of Bloomberg Business Week has a lengthy article titled “The Church of Bleach,” about entrepreneurs who peddle a “miracle tonic” that has no therapeutic value and can actually kill those who ingest it.

  12. @Mister Bluster: @de stijl: Time is an illusion.

  13. @Teve: I saw one of those in the wild in Charleston, SC last week.

  14. sam says:

    Trump supporters in college forced to date Minnie Fingers. Proof of liberal authoritarianism Brit prof argues.

  15. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    It may be more regional. Mass., New Hampshire, and Vermont all have Republican governors, and also very high vax rates.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    North America endured the hottest June on record last month, according to satellite data that shows temperature peaks lasting longer as well as rising higher.

    The heat dome above western Canada and the north-west United States generated headlines around the world as daily temperature records were shattered across British Columbia, Washington and Portland.

    The new data reveals this was part of a broader trend that built up over several weeks and a far wider area, which is underpinned by human-driven climate disruption.

    The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service also revealed that June temperatures in North America were 1.2C higher than the average from 1991 to 2020, which is more than 2C above pre-industrial levels.

    This is the 12th consecutive year of above-average June temperatures in the region, and the greatest increase recorded until now.

  17. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Blue-state Republican governors are a very different animal. (Actually they aren’t, but they do a good enough imitation of one to fool the Democratic dopes who vote for them, and they’re prevented by the legislatures from indulging their worst instincts.) Mike DeWine is one red-state Republican who has been decent on Covid generally, and it has not led the state to have high vax rates.

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:


    To be fair, I’ve generally been impressed with Larry Hogan. To be further fair, however, I acknowledge that in any traditionally red/purple state, politically speaking he’d probably be viewed as being a Democrat.

  19. CSK says:

    I think that’s also true of those Communists Charlie Baker, Phil Scott, and Chris Sununu.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yes, and those 3 along with a couple of others, DeWine in particular, politely or not so politely in the case of Baker, ignored TFG, i.e., they’re not real R’s.

  21. HarvardLaw92 says:



  22. CSK says:

    It always amuses me the way all one has to do is mention Trump’s name to Baker and he looks as if he wants to throw up.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Hogan is my governor and I have mixed feelings. In general he is competent and reasonable. My wife worked for a number of years at a women’s addiction recovery shelter. It was an administrative position and she worked closely with the State government as well as the County’s. She’s familiar with such arrangements in other states and gave high marks for the way the various Maryland government agencies coordinated with each other and with her shelter and all the other such facilities. The fact that this level of professionalism in a vital but little known area is still extant after 6 years of his administration speaks well of the team he has put together and that he takes the job seriously. This is like an old time Republican of the Ike or Rockefeller variety and not something you see much of nowadays in government officials with an R after their name.

    My concerns are based on two things. Because he still dreams of the Presidency, he occasionally feels the need to be as Trumpish as possible on various items. I may be giving him too much credit but so far most of those items seem to have been ones that the Democratic legislature have easily overridden.

    The second concerns the fact that, as a relatively young and term limited governor, he decided not to divest himself of his various businesses and real estate interests. Every day his administration makes decisions that affect the value of those businesses. Given the history of corruption in MD (Spiro Agnew, anyone), it makes me wonder if his legacy will end up overwritten by an orange jumpsuit.

  24. Scott says:

    Didn’t know whether throw this out here or on the religion thread. Regardless, totally preventable.

    COVID outbreak at Houston-area church camp infects more than 125, church says

    In-person services were canceled this week at Clear Creek Community Church after more than 125 kids and adults tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning from a five-day camp, church officials said.

    More than 450 people, including 6th through 12th graders, participated in Camp Creek from June 23 to June 27 in Giddings, about 100 miles west of downtown Houston, according to the Galveston County Health District. The church fears that “hundreds more” were exposed to the virus at the camp and when campers returned home.

    Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County’s local health authority, said the health district has confirmed 42 Galveston County residents who tested positive for the virus after the camp, including at least two who were fully vaccinated. He said he was not aware of any hospitalizations from the outbreak.

  25. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Fair points, and I appreciate the more “on the ground” perspective. I grew up in MD, but I haven’t been a Marylander for a long time now. My impressions of him are unavoidably formed from a distance. Let’s hope he’s not another Agnew. One was more than enough.

  26. Kathy says:


    I don’t get the overwhelming need of many people to resort to useless or unproven remedies, when there are proven, effective remedies available.

    I get it in the case of cancer. Treatments for cancer are horrible, painful, with myriad terrible side effects, not always effective, especially long term.

    But for COVID the best remedy is to preempt the infection with a vaccine. In the US, vaccines literally cannot be given away. It’s ridiculous for anyone not limited by allergies or a medical condition not to take them.

    I wonder, would it help among those on the right to promote the vaccines through military imagery? T cells and B cells as generals and soldiers, and vaccines as boot camp for the immune system, or as weapons for the immune system.

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    We’re spending a week in Paris in October after a week in London – a much reduced, much less ambitious trip than originally planned. It’s my wife’s 65th birthday. We’re hoping for enough normalcy to do Greece and Istanbul in the Spring. God willin’ and the variants don’t rise.

    We’re driving to Palm Springs today, then on to Vegas. It’s times like this it would be fun to put the top down and cruise through Joshua Tree at 90 MPH, but sadly, the heat is positively Venusian. Top up, AC on. I just checked and at 6:30 AM it’s 90 degrees in Vegas. It’s a dry heat, but then so is a pizza oven.

  28. CSK says:

    In Trump news today:

    According to Michael Bender, Trump praised Hitler to John Kelly, who told him not to say things like that.

    According to Michael Wolff, Trump twice raised the possibility of calling off the 2020 election because of Covid-19. He was informed repeatedly that he couldn’t do that.

  29. charon says:


    Two weeks ago, we took a family trip.

    Three-quarters of us had been fully vaccinated since April with the Pfizer shot, with the exception being our 11-year old.

    Being one example, anecdotal, yet still scary – three fully vaccinated adults get infected by their 11 YO.

  30. CSK says:

    But…but…those home remedies don’t implant a Bill Gates microchip, or alter your genetic code.

  31. Michael Cain says:


    It’s ridiculous for anyone not limited by allergies or a medical condition not to take them.

    And at least for the mRNA vaccines, most of the usual allergy considerations don’t apply: no egg proteins, no mercury or aluminum. I forget where I saw it but someone whose research specialty was medical treatment side effects said something like, “We’ve administered 300 million doses of the mRNA vaccines in the US. We’ve never administered 300 million doses of anything and seen so few significant side effects.”

  32. Kathy says:


    And keep in mind he described what’s considered a mild case.

    I keep telling people that vaccine or no vaccine, the moment we let our guard down COVID finds a way to dine on our lungs.

    Thus far the worst mistake by Biden’s administration was to ease masking requirements by those who are vaccinated. Without a vaccine passport or other such controls, they had to know almost everyone would drop their masks, not just those fully vaccinated.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: 2 more reasons to get vaccinated.

  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You’ll be arriving just in time for the city to be getting back to normal. July resembles a cemetery. August is one – even finding a supermarket that isn’t minimally stocked can be a chore. Total ghost town. I keep waiting to see tumbleweeds blowing down the C-E.

    We’re in a weird place right now. Outdoor masking has been rescinded, but indoor is fully in force. We’re waiting to see if everybody migrating to the beach for a month results in an uptick in the number of cases and retrenchment. We head in the other direction (Brittany – crowded beaches and heat aren’t my thing). Hopefully we’ll be back by the time you visit. Give a shout when you’re here.

  35. Kylopod says:


    I don’t get the overwhelming need of many people to resort to useless or unproven remedies, when there are proven, effective remedies available.

    But medical treatment is one area that can be very counterintuitive. We’re habituated to think of the effects of medicine as being very noticeable and visible based on personal experience–you take a pill, your headache goes away–when in reality nothing could be further from the truth. When you factor in the placebo effect and confirmation bias, it’s very easy for people to convince themselves a purported treatment works when it does nothing at all for them. The only way to know the effectiveness of medicine is to put one’s trust in experts who have conducted clinical trials. (You might object that personal trial and error is sometimes required for figuring out which medicine works best for a particular person, but I’m speaking broadly: you cannot know the difference between real medicine and quack medicine just from taking it and seeing what happens.) Is it any wonder that people with doubts about evolution or global warming or whatever might question legitimate treatments and be open to Alex Jones’ supplements?

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    When I was a kid in France we were on the reverse side of the July/August evacuations by virtue of living first in Royan, then in Fouras, both beach towns. France was still a poor country in 1962-4, and the people couldn’t afford to jet off to Mykonos or Morocco or wherever it is well-heeled Parisians go nowadays. But they still took off either July or August because, as you obviously know, you don’t mess with a Frenchman’s vacation.

  37. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I remember when Pat Buchanan was quoted calling Hitler an “individual of great courage.” Actually, when I first heard the quote as part of an ADL rap sheet in the ’90s, I was a bit skeptical: it sounded like they were extracting a few out-of-context remarks to construct a hit piece. And indeed, references to that quote have often omitted the part where Buchanan admits Hitler was a genocidal killer. It’s only after you look at Buchanan’s overall outlook over the years that that particular comment, even in its full context, begins to sound sinister.

    There was a similar controversy surrounding Louis Farrakhan’s comment calling Hitler a “great man.” The defense (which he sort of explained later, though it was still pretty cryptic) is that he meant great as in powerful, not great as in admirable.

    There is of course a widespread (but incorrect) belief that various brutal dictators “made the trains run on time,” and I’m sure that will be the spin for those who try to defend Trump’s remarks (assuming they admit he said them). According to the reported quotes from that book, what he praised about Hitler was the economic recovery that took place in Germany following Hitler’s rise. But speaking generally, there’s a definite pattern of people with fascistic tendencies speaking in admiring terms of fascist dictators even if they try to qualify their statements by acknowledging those dictators did bad things. In Trump’s case, it totally fits the way he speaks about heads of government in the present day: he’s spoken with admiration of Kim Jong Un, Duterte, Xi, Erdogan, Putin, MBS, Qaddafi, Saddam. Then he speaks disfavorably of democratic leaders like Merkel, May, Macron, and Trudeau. Furthermore, the reasons he gives for these opinions almost invariably revolve around the idea that the authoritarians are strong and the democrats are weak. If you were to drill him on his statements on Hitler, I bet it’d be hard to get him to express anything close to horror at Hitler’s monstrous actions; he’d probably end up saying Hitler’s greatest fault was that he was a “loser.”

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I love that area though. Poitou-Charentes is a place unto itself / whole different world. Absolutely on point though, summer vacation here is sacrosanct. Don’t screw around with it. There are times that I think that juilletiste or aoûtienne is the closest equivalent we have here to Democrat / Republican in the US. They completely disagree with each other, and one is more traditional while the other is viewed as avant-garde (and not entirely without suspicion) but they’ll band together and kill you if you mess with what they treasure.

    Surprisingly, (at least anecdotally anyway), most of the people I know still suffer through the N10 / A7 nightmare. Some jet away, but I’ve heard that being regarded almost as being sacrilege by many. That’s what you do in Winter. Summer – get in your auto and suffer with the rest of us.

  39. Kathy says:


    We’re habituated to think of the effects of medicine as being very noticeable and visible based on personal experience–you take a pill, your headache goes away–when in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

    Pain signals to the brain are blocked. Whatever’s causing the pain is still there, you just don’t feel it any more. And, yes, sometimes it’s a placebo effect.

    That’s why doctors tell you what effects to expect from medication, and why good doctors do follow up exams later on.

    Back on topic, that’s one thing that has been so vexing about trials for drugs to treat COVID. The death rate is not so high that such effect could be easily seen. Most people, even those in the ICU, will get better with only supportive care. So progress has been slow.

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The climate crisis will create two classes: those who can flee, and those who cannot

    A few years ago, after I gave a talk on water and climate change, I had an Arizona rancher come up and ask me if there would be enough water in the future for their livestock or if they should sell out and move north. This week, I received an email from a retiring doctor, who, acknowledging both their privileged economic situation and the personal nature of the decision, nevertheless asked if it “would it be more advantageous/safe to consider moving to coastal Oregon or Washington, rather than staying in southern California” because of rising seas, extreme heat and the growing threat of wildfires. At an Independence Day party this weekend, a couple asked me if they should move from Colorado to Michigan because of growing drought and water shortages in the western US.

    I get these questions regularly and am both encouraged and dismayed by them. Encouraged because it suggests that the message about climate risks is finally getting out and people are beginning to reflect on the personal implications of those risks. Dismayed by the realization that the climate crisis is going to produce two classes of refugees: those with the freedom and financial resources to try, for a while at least, to flee from growing threats in advance, and those who will be left behind to suffer the consequences in the form of illness, death and destruction.

  41. Mister Bluster says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:..Time is an illusion.
    That wasn’t the only thing I learned on my journeys with LSD and other mind bending chemicals but it sure was an interesting observation.

    I’ve been loved and put aside
    I’ve been crushed by the tumbling tide
    And my soul has been psychedelicized

    Time Has Come Today
    Chambers Brothers

  42. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: You’ve reminded me of a similar tussle that has been going on in Japan for years. Obon (the festival of the dead) traditionally is mid-August, and traditionally companies in Japan shut down for a week around that time (or go on a skeleton crew) so everybody gets a chance to go back to their home villages that they haven’t actually ever lived in (don’t ask…). The Japanese government for whatever reason (probably wanting to keep the economic engines humming and spread out the travel) decided that mid- July would be the best time for Tokyo (and surrounding cities) to shut down. So at the moment it’s a catch-all as to when a company will have its workers take their Obon vacation….

  43. Kathy says:


    There is of course a widespread (but incorrect) belief that various brutal dictators “made the trains run on time,”

    I think that phrase started with Mussolini.

    The thing is that a dictator can improve things quickly if they are powerful and ruthless enough, and don’t care much for the price the overall population pays. For instance, when Stalin directed the cultivation of cash crops for export, in order to obtain capital quickly to fund industrialization. this worked well for his ends, at the cost of massive famine and malnutrition due to the lack of staple crops for continued consumption.

    But that same thing means when a dictator embarks on the wrong track, they’re almost impossible to deter or pull back, even when the full measure of the disastrous consequences are plain to see. Examples of this far outnumber the successes, like for instance WWII, Mao’s Great Leap Forward (that name ought to have killed irony for good), hitler’s detour to Greece on the way to Moscow, the Battle of Britain, Sulla’s proscriptions, Mussolini’s misadventures in Greece*, Napoleon’s disasters in Russia, and many, many more.

    *I’ve a notion that Mussolini’s alliance with hitler was the best thing that happened to the Allies.

  44. CSK says:

    All of what you write here is absolutely correct.

    I would add only–and it’s a side note–that Trump’s adulation of Putin seems to have begun after Putin complimented Trump on his intelligence. This flattery demonstrated early on how easy it is to manipulate Trump–and how well Putin knew this.

    Another side note: Wasn’t Trump supposed to have a copy of Hitler’s speeches on his night table? That could be an apocryphal tale, since I don’t think Trump reads anything, except maybe his ghost-written hagiographies.

  45. Kylopod says:


    Another side note: Wasn’t Trump supposed to have a copy of Hitler’s speeches on his night table? That could be an apocryphal tale, since I don’t think Trump reads anything, except maybe his ghost-written hagiographies.

    It was a claim by one of his ex-wives.

  46. Kathy says:

    So, “an Ass sues tech companies” is now news?

    The relevant parts of the piece are the last two paragraphs:

    Between the lines: Trump has often sued people in the course of his career, but rarely actually followed through in terms of winning a judgment or even taking cases to trial.

    What to watch: Lawsuits and actions targeting Big Tech platforms serve as ammunition for Trump’s conservative base. Down-ballot Republican candidates have latched onto messages around censorship as part of their campaigns and messaging tactics.

    On the other hand, maybe the 60 or so losses in court last year weren’t enough for a loser like trump, and he craves more.

  47. charon says:


    He was given the book, a gift. He obviously has a reading disability so who knows?

  48. CSK says:

    Yep, it was Benito who was alleged to have made the trains runs on time.

  49. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    probably wanting to keep the economic engines humming and spread out the travel

    That makes sense to me. How do the residents react to the disparity?

    Here, it’s such a thing that the government literally changed the vaccination rules. Before, you generally had to get both injections in the same place. Now, you can get the second one anywhere that is offering it (i.e. at the beach, while on vacation).

    We had a lot of folks who’d received one, but not yet the second, and that former rule put their summer vacations at risk. Faced with the possibility of a second French Revolution (only slightly joking there), they backed down and changed the rules at lightning speed. It’s the third rail of France.

  50. CSK says:

    Ivana, Wfie #1, I believe.
    Be interesting to know who gave it to him, and why.

  51. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    My reading suggests the mRNA vaccines contain said mRNA encased in lipid nano-particles, saline solution, and nothing else. No adjuvant and no preservatives. So it seems safe as allergies go.

    Overall, they’re proving to be awesome as far as COVID goes. I reserve judgment on what else they can be used for, until we see another use for them. But when boosters and/or variant-specific shots prove necessary, I’d go for mRNA shots.

  52. CSK says:

    I read somewhere that during the terrible heat wave of 2003 (35,000 died in France) a lot of French vacationers refused to return home to bury their dead. The funerals and burials had to wait until the vacays were over. The morgues must have gotten a tad overcrowded.

  53. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I wasn’t here then, but it honestly doesn’t sound that far off of the mark to me. These people are serious about their summer vacation. Even the hospitals are basically on a skeleton crew during August.

  54. Joe says:

    Obon (the festival of the dead) traditionally is mid-August, and traditionally companies in Japan shut down for a week around that time (or go on a skeleton crew)

    Please tell me, grumpy realist, that the pun was intended.

  55. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: It’s worthwhile remembering that Trump’s father was once arrested at a Ku Klux Klan meeting. And the Trump rental unit business marked applications with a “C” for “Colored” so they could avoid renting to dark skinned people.

    From Wiki:

    1927 arrest

    Ku Klux Klan members being confronted by police in Queens on Memorial Day 1927
    On Memorial Day in 1927, over a thousand Ku Klux Klan members marched in a Queens parade to protest “Native-born Protestant Americans” being “assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City”.[20] The 21-year old Trump and six other men were arrested.[21][22] All seven were referred to as “berobed marchers” in the Long Island Daily Press.[21] Trump, detained “on a charge of refusing to disperse from a parade when ordered to do so”, was dismissed.[20][23] Another of the men, arrested on the same charge, was a bystander who had had his foot run over by a police car. According to the police, the five remaining men were certainly Klan members.[24] Multiple newspaper articles on the incident list Trump’s address (in Jamaica, Queens),[21][23] which he is recorded as sharing with his mother in the 1930 census[20] and a 1936 wedding announcement.[21][c]

    On the Trump Organization’s rental practices.

  56. CSK says:

    I recall Tina Brown’s inadvertently hilarious response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales: “In Paris? No one goes to Paris in August.”

    Or words to that effect.

  57. CSK says:

    The part about “Native-born Protestant Americans” being assaulted by “Roman Catholic policemen” is good, too.

    And Donald Trump claimed on more than one occasion that his father was born in “a very wonderful place in Germany.” Maybe he was embarrassed that his dad hailed from…The Bronx.

  58. Kathy says:


    Faced with the possibility of a second French Revolution

    I think 1830 and 1848 would like a word with you. 😉

  59. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Fair point. I don’t really count them as being in the same league as 1787 (1830 had about three days of actual crankiness. 1848 had, I believe, 4) but on technical points you’re right. Start screwing around with le grand vacance and you’re more likely to end up with 1787. 🙂

  60. HarvardLaw92 says:


    😀 That is hilarious. I’d never heard it before.

  61. KM says:

    Another reason for red state governors to have started pushing vaccines: health care systems are for profit and are starting to buckle under the weight of COVID patients and lost income. When the biggest employer for miles around sees it will be in danger of having to shut down because from hemorrhaging money but still packed full of patients for the foreseeable future, you better believe some lobbyists are bitching in someone’s ear. Blue state hospitals will start to be profitable again but anything in a red state’s looking at a huge red bottom line for the next 2 years at best unless vax rates go up. Not only that but we’re looking at a ton of future patients who likely can’t pay for their newly acquired COVID-related symptoms like diabetes, blood vessel issues such as strokes, brain damage, lingering depression, etc. How many of them followed the GOP ethics of screw Obamacare and we don’t need a mandate (or even insurance) since we’re young and healthy? Well……

    COVID’s going to be a money drain for red state businesses for a LONG time unless they start pressuring the government to deal with it. Businesses are going to see huge spikes in their healthcare costs from non-vaxxed employees and premiums are gonna jump. Hospitals and doctors offices are gonna be swamped and see delays in regular care skyrocket again.

  62. Kathy says:


    Fair point. I don’t really count them as being in the same league as 1787

    Few things are.

    On the other hand, both 1787 and 1848 culminated with a Bonaparte assuming a lot of power, so…

    IMO the nearest analogue to 1787 was the period in Rome encompassing the first and second triumvirates, as regards long-term upheaval and civil war mixed with foreign wars, ending with the installation of an emperor.

    Then they diverge.

  63. Michael Cain says:

    Trump (and an unspecified class) have filed suit against Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. So far as I can tell scanning the opening, the claims are that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is unconstitutional, the defendants have been denying Trump and the class members their First Amendment Rights, and there’s some sort of collusion with elected Democrats. As others online have noted, this probably lasts right up until Facebook’s first discovery request lands.

  64. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    How can and Twitter deny Trump his First Amendment rights? They’re private companies. They’re under no obligation to give him a platform.

    I hope whatever lawyers he got to represent him on this fool’s quest got paid upfront, and waited till the check cleared.

  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Michael Cain:
    It’s absolutely hysterical. On the one hand Trump, borderline bankrupt, a man with astoundingly poor judgment in hiring who notoriously stiffs lawyers, versus three companies with a combined market cap of nearly three trillion dollars. Trump will drop it before it gets close to discovery. This is just for the entertainment of the culties.

  66. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    This is just for the entertainment of the culties.

    Well, maybe. But he’s got a history of this going back since long before he became a cult figure. When he threatened to sue Bill Maher in 2011 for refusing to pay up after Trump provided evidence his mother wasn’t an orangutan, that wasn’t done for his culties–it was done because that’s what Trump always does. He uses the threat of lawsuits as a tool of intimidation, and while it doesn’t work on everyone, it works often enough that he doesn’t see a downside to it.

  67. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Trump once said that he particularly enjoys suing writers, “since it costs me only a few dollars, and bankrupts them.”

    Yes, the cruelty is definitely the point.

  68. Michael Reynolds says:

    Well, good luck to him trying to intimidate Facebook and Google.

  69. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:
    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m claiming the scoop for this thread.

    This lawsuit fits the textbook definition of “politically motivated.”

    And, yeah, the money calculus is so against the Ass of Orange, that would cost him money if he were to see it through (unless the chump America First Policy Institute is bearing the legal expenses).

  70. CSK says:

    @Kylopod: @CSK:

    David Frum has a good piece at on why this suit is idiotic, and why Trump is engaging in it.

  71. CSK says:

    Oops. Meant to cite Michael Reynolds.

  72. charon says:
  73. charon says:
  74. charon says:
  75. charon says:

    I remind you from personal experience that when you sue somebody you have to give a multi-day deposition on anything relevant to the topic…in this case, like your role inspiring the 1/6 Coup

  76. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yeah, back in the days when I worked for giant corporations, and little companies would threaten to sue us (for some reason while having lunch with me, a mere techie), I always suggested they might want to think twice about suing a company where “legal department” was an actual department-sized group of lawyers, often bored and looking for a chance to smack someone around.

  77. Jen says:

    This lawsuit has no chance of advancing, and IMHO Trump is doing this to keep his face in the news and raise money from his minions.

  78. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: ….well…it’s Japan. Which means that all the governmental offices take a nap in July, Tokyo mainly clears out (I actually would be able to get a seat in the subway sometimes!!!), ditto for the larger and more global corporations. The farther away you get geographically from Tokyo and the smaller the company, the more likely that everyone shuts down in for the traditional period. And it all somehow works.

    (Japan is quite cheerfully content with different pockets of Japan adhering to different rules and being under different authorities, to the point that it can drive gaijin nuts. There’s still a 50 Hz/ 60 Hz split between the east and west parts of Honshu when it comes to electricity, and for quite a long time Japanese rockets had their fuel supplies split between different ministries. One was in charge of the liquid hydrogen (and all the systems dealing with that on the rocket), and another was in charge of dealing with the liquid oxygen. I kid you not.)

  79. Kurtz says:


    Scholar writes op-ed. Scholar includes not one link to the numerous studies mentioned.

  80. CSK says:

    Yes, I meant Graham, and stupidly typed Frum, possibly because Graham cites him in the article. Thanks.

  81. CSK says:

    This is the article I meant. Thanks again.

  82. Joe says:

    @grumpy realist: Don’t get me started on the different standard tatami sizes in different parts of the country. Given how traditional rooms are normally measured in tatami size (a 6-mat room, a 10-mat room) that can get to be a real difference.

  83. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    [..]and for quite a long time Japanese rockets had their fuel supplies split between different ministries. One was in charge of the liquid hydrogen (and all the systems dealing with that on the rocket), and another was in charge of dealing with the liquid oxygen. I kid you not.)

    One is propellant and the other oxidizer. They’re vastly different things. 🙂

    On other news, vaccine registration for everyone over 18 has opened. No word yet on when they may get shots, as the 30-40 group has barely begun, and most second doses for the 40-50 group haven’t taken place yet.

    Partly it’s because they’re taking weeks between shots of AstraZeneca, as seems to be best practice now. But it looks as though the mass vaccination program got to a late start, but has been picking up speed.

    Or maybe the Delta variant has the authorities spooked.

  84. Kurtz says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    That wasn’t the only thing I learned on my journeys with LSD and other mind bending chemicals but it sure was an interesting observation.

    Yeah…that effect is real.

  85. Kylopod says:

    @Kurtz: Let me once again quote this excerpt from Dr. Oliver Sacks’ book Hallucinations:

    But on the weekends, I often experimented with drugs. I recall vividly one episode in which a magical color appeared to me. I had been taught, as a child, that there were seven colors in the spectrum, including indigo (Newton had chosen these, somewhat arbitrarily, by analogy with the seven notes of the musical scale). But some cultures recognize only five or six spectral colors, and few people agree as to what indigo is like.

    I had long wanted to see “true” indigo, and thought that drugs might be the way to do this. So one sunny Saturday in 1964, I developed a pharmacologic launchpad consisting of a base of amphetamine (for general arousal), LSD (for hallucinogenic intensity), and a touch of cannabis (for a little added delirium). About twenty minutes after taking this, I faced a white wall and exclaimed, “I want to see indigo now–now!”

    And then, as if thrown by a giant paintbrush, there appeared a huge, trembling, pear-shaped blob of the purest indigo. Luminous, numinous, it filled me with rapture: It was the color of heaven, the color, I thought, which Giotto had spent a lifetime trying to get but never achieved–never achieved, perhaps, because the color of heaven is not to be seen on earth. But it had existed once, I thought–it was the color of the Paleozoic sea, the color the ocean used to be. I leaned toward it in a sort of ecstasy. And then it suddenly disappeared, leaving me with an overwhelming sense of loss and sadness that it had been snatched away. But I consoled myself: Yes, indigo exists, and it can be conjured up in the brain.

    For months afterward, I searched for indigo. I turned over little stones and rocks near my house, looking for it. I examined specimens of azurite in the natural history museum–but even they were infinitely far from the color I had seen. And then, in 1965, when I had moved to New York, I went to a concert in the Egyptology gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the first half, a Monteverdi piece was performed, and I was utterly transported. I had taken no drugs, but I felt a glorious river of music, four hundred years long, flowing from Monteverdi’s mind into my own. In this ecstatic mood, I wandered out during the intermission and looked at the ancient Egyptian objections on display–lapis lazuli amulets, jewelry, and so forth–and I was enchanted to see glints of indigo. I thought: Thank God, it really exists!

    During the second half of the concert, I got a bit bored and restless, but I consoled myself, knowing that I could go out and take a “sip” of indigo afterward. It would be there, waiting for me. But when I went out to look at the gallery after the concert was finished, I could see only blue and purple and mauve and puce–no indigo. That was nearly fifty years ago, and I have never seen indigo again.

  86. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM: Another reason for red state governors to have started pushing vaccines: health care systems are for profit and are starting to buckle under the weight of COVID patients and lost income.

    So why do they resist Medicaid expansion? It’s a serious question because rural hospitals are desperate for it and yet Republicans try to kill it at every turn.

  87. charon says:

    How you know this is a unserious lawsuit: Trump is already fundraising off of it

  88. George says:


    I remember when Pat Buchanan was quoted calling Hitler an “individual of great courage.”

    Apparently he was as a soldier in WW1. However great courage in an extremely evil person is not a plus. Many very evil people who’ve done horrible things had great personal courage — that includes thousands of years of terrible tyrants and psychotic murderers. In fact many of the German Nazi’s in WW2 were extremely good and brave soldiers (arguably among the best in the world at the time) — the world would have been a much better place if they hadn’t been. Bravery is overrated, as is intelligence. They can amplify the good a good person does, but they can also amplify the evil an evil person does.

  89. KM says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @OzarkHillbilly:

    Because hospitals aren’t screaming in their ears.

    Medicaid doesn’t pay the same way private insurance does so it’s not really profitable. You’d think some money would be better than no money but that’s not how things in capitalist thought; it’s the same reason you see empty malls rather than malls slashing rent prices to rock bottom to keep renters. They’d rather push insurance companies endlessly and overcharge to compensate than deal with Medicaid if they can. Add in any rules that the government will impose due to accepting the money and it’s more profitable to let your governor say no. It’s a dumb choice but makes sense in terms of greed capitalistic logic.

    However, getting people vaxxed so they don’t waste require their services and cause them to have to lose staff left and right? That’s a push towards an easy win. There’s such a thing as a bad customer, even in medicine. Profitable patients are ones you can charge for quick, easy, minimal care procedures that aren’t resource intensive; people in ICU for weeks on government insurance aren’t making bank for them. They *need* to get those electives up and running because that’s what pays the bills. If they start having to divert resources away like clearing extra floors for COVID patients or cycling in doctors to cover those who’ve burnt out, they’re burning cash. They’re losing good staff in a time when they can’t replace people in a thankless job with no end in sight. It’s an incredibly stupid choice that makes no sense even in terms of greed capitalistic logic – there’s no benefit here, not even political.

  90. Kathy says:

    I had an idea: single serving puff pastries filled with my shepherd’s pie mixture (ground beef with peas and onions covered with mashed potatoes).

  91. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM: Because hospitals aren’t screaming in their ears.

    Bull shit.

  92. charon says:


    I have read that Hitler’s supposed WW1 heroism was just retconned Nazi propaganda.

  93. charon says:

    And, yes, he’s pre-checking the “make this recurring” and “double my donation” boxes to trick more money out of his supporters.

    Don Jr says to donate to his dad’s PAC to help him with the lawsuit. (Telegram)

    I think supporting the Trump family is one of the less harmful things MAGA’s can do with their money, so fine with me.

  94. Michael Cain says:


    So why do they resist Medicaid expansion? It’s a serious question because rural hospitals are desperate for it and yet Republicans try to kill it at every turn.

    The three (R) governors that were getting most of the face time on the Sunday talking heads shows are from states that have expanded Medicaid. The list of states that haven’t is down to 12 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In a surprising number of those 12 the governor favors expansion but the legislatures won’t take the money.

  95. George says:


    I’m sure the Nazi’s exaggerated his bravery, but he was supposedly awarded (when he was still an unknown corporal) a number of medals that were only given out for bravery under fire. In any case, I’d argue that my point stands — the bulk of the German Army (ie Nazi’s) were extremely good and brave soldiers in a very evil cause. It’d have been a lot better if they’d been cowards and incompetent fools like in “Hogan’s Heroes” (or like most neo-Nazis), but they weren’t.

    As were many conquistadors who massacred the Incas when they arrived in the “New World”, as were many brutal kings and generals back in the days when they actually fought in the wars they started. And many psychopaths who were quite willing to risk their own death while murdering others.

    The brave-coward axis is orthogonal to the good-evil axis.

  96. grumpy realist says:

    @Joe: oh, don’t get me started on the tatami….

    @Kathy: Yeah, they’re different. But to the point of having them under two totally separate Japanese MINISTRIES?! (One was being handled by ISAS, which was under Mombusho, the other was NASDA, which was the Science and Technology Agency tucked under MITI.)

  97. PT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Lunchtime doubly so

  98. flat earth luddite says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I’m glad acid worked well for both of you, and many others.

    My first and only experience led me to actively avoid a repeat. Of course, the fact that my first trip involved 3 tabs of blotter acid slipped to me as a joke by the guys on the football team may have had something to do with it. Years later I discovered that some of my chemo drug combos made for similarly “interesting” experiences.

    And @Bluster, thanks for the memory of the Brothers. Loved that song on my transistor AM radio.

  99. Kurtz says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    I’m glad acid worked well for both of you, and many others.

    My first and only experience led me to actively avoid a repeat. Of course, the fact that my first trip involved 3 tabs of blotter acid slipped to me as a joke by the guys on the football team may have had something to do with it.

    3 hits? Not as a choice? Yikes. Not a good way to experience it.

    If my assumption about the era when this occurred is correct, the hits were probably of a real dosage. I can imagine that being terrible.

    The last few times I dosed, it seems likely that what floats around these days is pretty weak. DEA exaggeration of impact aside, I suspect that the Pickard bust had something to do with it.

    Now psilocybin never treated me well. At best, kinda cool for a little while but nothing mind blowing. At worst, awful experiences that I would never want to repeat.

  100. Mister Bluster says:

    @flat earth luddite:..3 tabs of blotter acid slipped to me as a joke by the guys on the football team

    What a bunch of jerks. I’m glad you got through that ok.

    Chambers Brothers
    I’m gonna eat some chitlin’s and some black-eyed peas
    Somebody barbequed ribs and some collard greens

  101. Kathy says:

    Now this is how you file a lawsuit.

  102. Kylopod says:

    @George: I think the bottom line is that it was a weird thing for Buchanan to say. Now, you can argue that saying someone has courage is not necessarily saying they’re a good person–but let’s face it, people rarely use the word in that way. It’s got distinctly positive connotations and is usually treated as inherently a moral virtue. After all, we conventionally think of bullies as being underlyingly cowards, and what was Hitler if not a bully? Willingness to put oneself at risk doesn’t imply courage–at least not in the usual sense of the word–if it involves stepping on the weak and vulnerable. I suppose people at the time might have described Hitler’s behavior as “ballsy” (everyone’s gotta overcompensate), but only in the sense of a madman so consumed by hate and aggression it led him to plow ahead and damn the consequences. His end was not the act of a man of courage.

  103. Joe says:


    You ain’t been blue, no, no, no (or know, know, know)
    You ain’t been that blue till you’ve had that mood indigo

    I feel I have seen the color, but I know I have had the mood.

  104. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Sounds good to me. When will you be sending them out to market test?

  105. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Me being the sole market, probably after next week.

  106. @PT: Exactly!!

  107. George says:


    That could be, I never heard of Buchanan before (and was too lazy to read up on him), so I was commenting on the general idea that bravery is always a good thing. Same for intelligence, it can be good or bad depending on the person’s morals.

  108. Kylopod says:

    @George: Out of curiosity, are you an American? I vaguely remember someone named George here who was Canadian, and I don’t know if you’re the same guy. I would say that Pat Buchanan is a fairly important figure in recent US history, and a key to understanding the rise of Trump.

  109. George says:


    I’m Canadian (and have posted here in the past) — I try to keep up with international news (including American) and this is often an interesting site. I like to think I have at least basic understanding of the politics of major countries, but clearly there’s a fair amount of self-deception in that — your posts are the first I’ve heard of Buchanan, though Googling him now shows why you say he’s an important figure. Though I do think he’s rarely mentioned in Canada, perhaps because he’s never been a presidential nominee or secretary of state or defense.

  110. Kylopod says:

    @George: I remember one time Trevor Noah early in his tenure on The Daily Show, when I was practically looking for reasons to be annoyed by him as an inferior successor to Jon Stewart, brought on Ta-Nehisi Coates who began discussing the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Noah said he’d never heard of him. I was a bit taken aback. (I thought to myself that John Oliver would never seem that ignorant even though he too isn’t American, but then I realized I’ll never know because he rarely conducts live interviews and is protected to some degree by his staff of writers who wouldn’t let something like that slip into the prepared material that makes up the bulk of his show.) Sometimes we Americans forget that people elsewhere in the world, while they may pay some attention to US politics at the national level and have some basic knowledge of US history, don’t necessarily recognize the names of people below the presidential level.

  111. George says:


    America clearly is the most powerful and influential country in the world, and for all its faults I’d still far rather it have that position than China or Russia (though get some gun control dude, your guns keep leaking over the border). Following its politics simply makes sense for most of the world — and especially for Canada given our location and economic ties etc. But like all great powers past and present your internal politics are very complex, and there are a lot of players — have you considered having them wear sports jerseys with their names and numbers on the back for us foreign watchers?

    You’re right of course — its mainly the presidents, secretary of states, longtime leaders of congress like Pelosi (or Tip O’Neil back in the day) and McConnel who get a lot of press outside America. Interestingly enough so do some of your Supreme Court (I suspect more Canadians recognize Ginsburg and Scalia’s names than the names of our own Supreme court members — ours is thankfully not very political). But the next wrung down aren’t known so well.

    Some of your leaders have been very popular up here (Obama for instance could probably sell out a football stadium if he gave a talk, and would win in a landslide if he decided to run for prime minister here for any party — and yes that’d be like a baseball hall of famer going back to play minor league ball), some very unpopular (Trump for obvious reasons), most are somewhere in between. Biden for instance gains points for not being Trump, but otherwise isn’t particularly liked or disliked.