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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    (CNN)Oklahoma City hospitals are short of staff and overwhelmed, with no ICU or inpatient beds available as the Omicron variant causes a surge of Covid-19 patients, according to an open letter from leaders of the city’s four major health care systems.

    “Our emergency departments are overflowing. Our caregivers are still strong, but they are exhausted. Even these heroes can’t keep up much longer. The Oklahoma City Health Care System is at a breaking point,” Monday’s letter said. It was signed by the chief medical officers of INTEGRIS Health, Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, Oklahoma University Health hospitals and SSM Health St. Anthony.

    “Soon, you or a loved one may need us for life-saving care, whether for a stroke, emergency appendectomy or trauma from a car accident, and we might not be able to help. This pandemic isn’t just impacting care for Covid patients,” the letter said.

    On Monday morning, 107 patients were waiting for beds in Oklahoma City emergency rooms, according to the letter.

    Stay away from Oklahoma.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    When Neil Crittenden heard that an extreme winter storm was about to hit Oklahoma last winter, he did what officials advised him to do and kept his heat on and water running so that his pipes wouldn’t freeze. The 40-year-old Oklahoma City resident even used hair dryers to keep them thawed.

    What Crittenden didn’t know at the time was that the energy he used was going to cost him significantly. As winter storm Uri swept across the south central US last February, utilities that weren’t prepared scrambled. The storm caused blackouts in several states and resulted in the deaths of at least 223 people. Oklahoma’s gas supply was in dire straits, with demand surging and the cold freezing critical equipment. To keep the heat on, the state’s biggest gas company, Oklahoma Natural Gas, made a last-minute decision: it purchased fuel from the wildly expensive spot market at nearly 600 times the usual price.

    Now, nearly a year later, officials say residents like Crittenden have to foot the entire $1.37bn bill. The state’s utility regulator, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, is expected to approve the plan later this month.

    “Imagine if you went to the gas station and filled up $50 of gas for your car based on the prices the sign says. And then two months later, you get told you actually have to engage in a payment plan to pay off a 1,000 times that price,” Crittenden said.

    Instead of challenging the prices the utility and its customers were charged, Oklahoma is readying a plan to use securitization – which works similar to a credit card – to cover the debt. It will pay off the $1.4bn, plus interest, by charging customers as much as $7.80 a month over the next 25 years.

  3. Jen says:

    Hana Horka: Czech singer dies after catching Covid intentionally

    I’ve heard more people suggest that they should just catch covid to “get it over with.”

    This is a spectacularly bad idea, ESPECIALLY if you are unvaccinated, and even if you’ve had covid before and recovered.

    This was my concern when news that omicron was “less severe” started to circulate. First, there’s a big difference between “it’s mild” and “it’s less severe.” Second, and I cannot stress this enough, there’s no way to know which strain of covid you’re going to catch. While omicron is now circulating, delta is still floating around too.

    People are just not thinking straight.

  4. Kathy says:


    Well, she’s really over it, and all else, now.

    If the idea that you need to catch COVID in order to be safe from COVID was nuts, I don’t know what to call the idea that you need to die of COVID in order to be safe from COVID.

    More seriously, this illustrates my point that not all antivaxxers are deranged GQP covidiots trying to own the libtards, nor is even all resistance to vaccination political.

  5. Kathy says:


    I wonder how much higher will hospital bills be when factoring in the added utility costs.

  6. KM says:

    Nobody wants to think they’ll be in the unfortunate percentage that dies. Somebody’s always gonna roll snake-eyes. It reminds me of gamers who complain they miss a shot that’s 99% accurate because they think it’s a guaranteed hit. Nope – you’re one of the unlucky 1% because that’s how numbers work.

    COVID has an extremely high fatality rate for a modern disease (anything in the single digits is still huge when you realize it should be a fraction of a percent) but folks still go “”I’ll take my chances”. Genetics plays a role here as well as general health and behavior – if you’re biologically prone to getting the worse outcome, your “chances” skyrocket and you’ll never know. The idea that you’re “young and healthy” courting a “mild” strain means nothing if your biology means you’re taking a 50% chance of death compared to an elderly diabetic who’s fatality rate is running about 20%. The idea of intentionally catching something that’s killing at an alarming rate only makes sense if you (a) stupidly think it won’t happen to you and (b) you don’t know how numbers work.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: We have sufficient cases of people who are young and in good health who catch Covid and then are dead a few weeks later to get an idea on the statistics: namely, you’re taking your life in your own hands with behaviour that can be considered stupid.

    And right now, we’re starting to see the collapse of our hospital system because the people who have been on the front lines for the last two years are exhausted and ready to walk away. That’s why I’m so furious at the unvaccinated–the burden that they have been deliberately placing on the health system due to their carelessness.

  8. Neil Hudelson says:


    It will pay off the $1.4bn, plus interest, by charging customers as much as $7.80 a month over the next 25 years.

    Fortunately there’s no evidence at all that we will be experiencing more extreme weather events over the next 25 years, so I expect this is the last time Oklahomans will have to deal with this.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Oklahoma pastor faces criticism for rubbing spit on parishioner’s face

    A pastor from a megachurch in Tulsa, Oklahoma, faced a wave of criticism online over video of him rubbing spit on a worshipper’s face. During a sermon on Sunday, Michael Todd, a 34-year-old lead pastor at Transformation church, spat into his hand twice.

    “Receiving vision from God might get nasty,” he said, before turning to the man on the stage.

    The incident came about 40 minutes into a two-hour service, when Todd discussed Mark 8:22-25, a Bible passage in which Jesus restores a blind man’s sight in the village of Bethsaida by rubbing spit on to his eyes. The parishioner in Tulsa was identified as Todd’s brother, Brentom Todd. When Todd rubbed his hands on to his brother’s face, the audience let out an audible gasp.

    Todd responded: “How you just reacted is how the people in your life will react when God is doing what it takes for the miracle.”

    The very embodiment of Jesus, he is.

  10. Mimai says:

    Saw this over at Marginal Revolution. Recent polling on various COVID stuff, broken down by demographic and political categories. There’s something for everyone in here. The questions were [emphasis added for ease of scanning]:

    Do you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable impression of Dr. Anthony Fauci?

    Do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose President Biden’s plan to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on the employees of large companies and government agencies?

    Would you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a proposal for federal or state governments to fine Americans who choose not to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

    Would you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a proposal to limit the spread of the coronavirus by having federal or state governments require that citizens remain confined to their homes at all times, except for emergencies, if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

    Would you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a proposal to limit the spread of the coronavirus by having federal or state governments require that citizens temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

    Would you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a proposal for federal or state governments to fine or imprison individuals who publicly question the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications?

    Would you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a proposal for federal or state governments to require unvaccinated citizens to use a smart phone app or wearable device that tracks unvaccinated people to ensure that they are quarantined or socially distancing from others?

    Would you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a proposal to temporarily remove parents’ custody of their children if parents refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

    I didn’t include the specific results – there were too many respondent categories. It also might be interesting for folks to respond to the above items before looking at the polling results.

  11. Jax says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I can’t believe it’s 2022 and nobody’s come up with a standard and widely used “sarcasm” font. 😛

  12. Kathy says:


    On top of all that, given the fact that reinfection takes place means there’s no “catching COVID to get it over with.” How many unvaxxed people have gotten it twice already? How many died on the second go round?

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen: @KM: That, and people who have had COVID can get reinfected. You can think you’ll deliberately contract COVID and be done with it. COVID may think otherwise. If you’re vaxxed you can get a booster when immunity wanes. I’ll cheerfully get a booster every six months or whatever. Was the Czech singer planning to get sick annually to prevent getting sick annually?

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: Good morning @Kathy: I didn’t refresh before commenting. Hadn’t seen your comment. But perhaps the point can bear repeating.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Doctor loses license, must have psych evaluation for COVID falsehoods, board says

    A doctor with decades of experience can’t practice medicine after her license was temporarily suspended over complaints that she shared coronavirus misinformation, according to a Maine licensing board. The board has ordered her to undergo a neuropsychological evaluation, it said.

    Dr. Meryl J. Nass, who got a license to practice medicine in Maine in 1997, had her license “immediately” suspended for 30 days after a board investigation and review of complaints against her on Jan. 12, according to a suspension order from the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine. Nass, who’s an internist in Ellsworth, must “submit” to an evaluation by a “Board-selected psychologist” on Feb. 1, the board’s evaluation order issued Jan. 11 said.

    “I have no comment about submitting to a neuropsych exam, except that the board ordered me to do so on shaky grounds,” Nass told McClatchy News, adding that she’s had her license for a total of 41 years.
    Other grounds for her suspension include how Nass treated COVID-19 patients with Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, according to the board.

    The board noted that Ivermectin isn’t Food and Drug Administration “authorized or approved” as a treatment for COVID-19 in the suspension order. Ivermectin is used as a parasitic treatment for animals, according to the FDA. “For humans, ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses to treat some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea,” the agency explains online.
    On Dec. 19, a physician notified the board that Nass diagnosed a sick, unvaccinated patient “‘over the phone’” with COVID and prescribed 5 days of Ivermectin,” the board said. This patient had to be hospitalized for COVID-19.

    With another patient, Nass is accused of emailing the board about another COVID-19 patient saying she was “forced” to “provide misinformation” in order to obtain hydroxychloroquine. The board said Nass told them during a Zoom meeting that she “lied and said the patient had Lyme disease and so the pharmacist dispensed the medication only because I lied.”

    On Dec. 31, a Certified Nurse Midwife reported that Nass prescribed one of her pregnant patients who tested COVID-19 positive with hydroxychloroquine earlier in 2021, according to the board.

    The board said she “constitutes an immediate jeopardy to the health and physical safety of the public who might receive her medical services…” Can’t argue with that.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    For your singing and dancing pleasure:

    Dr. Horace Hungryman (Official)

    Being an independent contractor sucks for a lot of reasons, but it also affords you the unique ability to tell people to fuck off in delightful ways.

  17. Jen says:

    @gVOR08: Yep, that’s why I included the “had it and recovered”…I’m shocked at how many people STILL don’t understand this.

    People absolutely do not understand the reinfection risk. It’s astonishing that people think that they’re in the clear after having it once.

    The first recorded omicron death in the US was a Houston man in his 50s, unvaccinated, who had covid earlier and recovered. The media have been reporting cases of reinfection since the early days of the pandemic. It is not news that people can get covid more than once, and yet…people act like it’s chicken pox or something.

  18. Kathy says:


    that’s ok.

    As to your other post, I think antivaxxers need to get sick twice a year in order to avoid being sick once a year. In a twisted way, it makes Orwellian sense.

  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    I think there’s a lot of “I believe this because it makes me feel better somehow” that goes on at the best of times. Empiricism does not come naturally to human beings. And covid puts us all under a lot of psychological pressure.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Prit Buttar

    Let me tell you about the time that I broke Covid rules.

    During the second lockdown, I was working in the vaccination clinics. One afternoon, one of the staff on reception came through and asked if it was OK to book in a woman who had missed her appointment two days before. 1/8

    Of course, I replied, that’s fine.

    She was a woman in her late 60s. She came in and apologised profusely for wasting the appointment, ignoring my reassurances that someone else had probably used the slot, and in the great scheme of things it didn’t amount to much. 2/8

    ‘But I know how much pressure you’re all under,’ she repeated, ‘and I’m sorry.’

    I could tell she wanted to talk, so I abandoned my usual spiel about the vaccine, possible side-effects etc, and just listened. She and her husband had moved to Scotland from England…3/8

    … just over a year before, on the eve of Covid. Her husband was almost immediately diagnosed with cancer, and he had died a week before she came to the vaccination clinic. Her only son lived in England and his wife had just been diagnosed with Covid … 4/8

    … so it was impossible for him to travel up; because she had been so wrapped up in caring for her husband over the past year, she hadn’t had a chance to make friends with local people, something worsened by the first lockdown. 5/8

    So she had dealt with his death and funeral arrangements alone, and had completely forgotten about her vaccination appointment. ‘I’m so sorry,’ she repeated.

    So I decided to break the rules about social distancing. I leaned forward in my chair and put my arms around her. 6/8

    She clung to me and wept, and sobbed into my shoulder, ‘This is the first time anyone’s embraced me since he died.’

    I’m sure others could tell similar stories. This is how ordinary people endured the lockdowns and the terrible pain that they sometimes brought. 7/8

    They endured loss and heartbreak and loneliness with stoicism and resignation. After all, we were all in it together, weren’t we?

    And meanwhile, others in the highest positions of government behaved as if the rules didn’t apply to them. 8/8

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ordered to undergo a psych evaluation. Is that something state bar associations could do for like Rudy and Eastman and Sidney Powell?

  22. MarkedMan says:


    COVID has an extremely high fatality rate for a modern disease (anything in the single digits is still huge when you realize it should be a fraction of a percent) but folks still go “”I’ll take my chances”

    Even among the unvaccinated the mortality rate for those who make it to the hospital is almost certainly less than one percent. In the other hand, the anti-vaxxers can’t seem to comprehend that there is a world between “just cold symptoms” and “he died”. Long COVID in particular. 13x more likely than dead and probably worse than that in the unvaxxed

  23. CSK says:

    Moderna just announced that its booster appears to provide protection against Omicron.

    This morning the roof of the Moderna production facility in Norwood, Mass. caught fire. It was extinguished fairly quickly. I’m sure it was an accident, but the coincidence is certainly odd.

  24. Michael Cain says:


    I wonder how much higher will hospital bills be when factoring in the added utility costs.

    I don’t know the details, but it certainly looks like this is being handled as a flat per-customer add-on expense, much like the flat charges for the pipeline network, rather than being based on per-therm gas usage. If that’s the case, the add-on costs will be insignificant for a hospital or other large business.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: I don’t know about psych evals but they can revoke their licenses for infractions of BAR rules and there are numerous examples on their part right now. IANAL and certainly don’t know the procedures for enforcment, but the most relevant question is “Are their dues paid up?”

    It would appear that if the answer is “Yes,” they’re generally good to go.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Cain: So Joe and Jane Working Stiffs will be underwriting Big Corporate Oklahoma’s utilities usage?

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you!

  27. Kathy says:

    Work suddenly got heavy. I wanted to post an idea I had to move Europa to Venus in order to wind up with two habitable worlds.

    Maybe later in the day,

  28. CSK says:

    With respect to this, I think the Georgia Bar Association required Lin Wood to undergo a psych eval. He refused, sued the GBA, lost that suit, and was referred for disbarment..

  29. CSK says:

    I mentioned this in James Joyner’s column about mask distribution, but perhaps I should repeat it here: England is ending its mask and vax passport mandates tomorrow.

  30. Slugger says:

    @Kathy: 800 degree temperature, 90 times the atmospheric pressure, and rains of sulfuric acid do not suggest habitability to me.
    In the whole universe there is one tiny spot that is habitable. We need to take care of it.

  31. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Slugger: I think the point is that orbiting Venus, Europa might become habitable. I find this plausible.

  32. gVOR08 says:

    Readers here, especially Dr. T, might find this entertaining. Over at his Conspiracy, Volokh reran a post from a few years ago deconstructing the “republic, not a democracy” canard. Thorough, deeply researched, and well reasoned. The going on 200 comments not so much.

  33. Kathy says:


    It does need some remodeling.

    It also rotates too slowly. Even with a saner atmosphere, you’d bake or freeze for months at a time.

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Yeah, that too.

  34. JohnSF says:

    Actually the rule change will come into effect next Thursday.

    If Johnson is still PM by then, LOL.

    This is possibly justifiable by the stats – cases peaked, hospitalisations also.
    But given levels of pressure on NHS, given high actual case levels, it would probably be more sensible to remove the meeting restrictions, but to continue to require vax certificates for events, masks in shops and public transport (not much hardship really) and home work where sensible to do so.

    Thing is, Johnson is desperate for bones to throw to his MP’s and Party activists.
    Probably not a fatal haste, but hasty all the same; probably better to wait for case levels under 50k, which would probably only be a few more weeks.
    Mid Feb?

    But that doesn’t help as much right now to deflect from an MP crossing the floor to Labour, and a senior former minister saying in the Commons

    “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go.”

  35. @gVOR08: That’s a good post by Volohk. And yeah, I dipped my toe into the comments, and no thanks! 😉

  36. gVOR08 says:


    In the whole universe there is one tiny spot that is habitable. We need to take care of it.

    Quite agree with the moral. Some of the tech bros seem to have dreams of restarting humanity on the Moon, or Mars, or in some other solar system. I fear the idea of self-sustaining colonies in a timeframe less than multiples of the timeframe for destroying this planet are day dreams.

    But I do have a quibble. Earth may be the only place habitable by us. Given the scale of the universe it seems impossible there aren’t other planets providing habitation to something, even somebody.

  37. CSK says:

    Ah, okay. It was not clear to me whether the article meant tomorrow or a week from tomorrow.

    I’m wondering about Johnson, too. If he goes, at least I won’t have to look at his bloody stupid hair-do every day.

  38. wr says:

    @Slugger: “800 degree temperature, 90 times the atmospheric pressure, and rains of sulfuric acid do not suggest habitability to me.”

    That brings to mind the last verse of World Party’s “Always On My Mind:”

    If you were passing in a space vehicle,
    And you came close to Planet Earth,
    You wouldn’t stop by for tea
    Cos’ of the screaming that you heard;
    And the lying, and the cheating, and the gnashing of teeth,
    And the straight-ahead mental deformation.
    You’d head on to Venus
    With its welcoming sulphuric acid precipitation.

  39. Kathy says:


    Heinlein points out in “Friday” that many places on Earth require a lot of work to be made habitable. Having visited Las Vegas, I can see how that is so. Or at least habitable and comfortable enough to draw lots of people.

    Related anecdote. One time in an elevator, I think at the old Imperial Palace, a stranger was complaining how dry the Vegas climate is. I told her “It’s as dry as a desert, isn’t it?” Her friend laughed, but the woman answered “it sure feels like it.”

  40. JohnSF says:

    I still think chances are he’ll cling on by his fingertips till after the local elections in May.
    OTOH given my abysmal record as a political forecaster, maybe you should put money on him going tomorrow 🙂

  41. JohnSF says:


    It does need some remodeling.

    Seeing as Europa would end up without any solid surfaces, why not kill two birds with one, err, stone.
    Don’t orbit it, impact it.
    Remodelling in spades.

    Right trajectory might spin it up Venus somewhat, as well as adding lotsa nice H2O.
    Of course, you’d have to wait millenia at least for the tectonics to settle down, but what the hell.

    Now, how to move Europa…

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    Damn this disease.
    The help at Dunkin’ just informed me that starting tomorrow the lobby will be closed again. This leaves the two Mickey D’s in town as places where I can use the free internet connection and not pay an excessive price for a cup of mud. Only one has available electrical outlets for my laptop charger. I have given up on the local Panera. The IHOP has a working internet connection but between the lone cup of coffee and a tip I spend almost $5 to get out of the place. Once or twice a month I’ll get a Senior Special BLT but that’s it.
    Dropping my DSL home Internet service was great idea when I could hang out at Panera all day and spend $10.05/month (tax inc.) for coffee instead of sending $61.98/month to Frontier, the only internet service avaiable at my address. Thank’s to Trump’s virus I can kiss that $50/month savings goodbye.
    I have not been to Buck’s yet this year. They raised the price of a cup of their swill before Christmas. “For the Holidays” I was told. I can’t wait to find out what they charge since the New Year arrived…
    I checked out the local public library several years ago. Since I do not live in the library district the fee for out of district is prohibitive so I guess it’s MickeyD’s senior coffee and me for the duration. (88¢)

  43. JohnSF says:

    I tend to be rather sceptical about the likelihood of people flocking to new cities on Mars, or wherever.
    Look at the vast areas of Siberia, northern Canada, the Sahara, etc etc that are virtually uninhabited.
    And they are orders of magnitude easier to settle and less dangerous than anywhere off-Earth.

    If there ever are non Earth settlements in the Solar System, IMO they’ll be like Pruhoe Bay, or at best Kalgoorie or Norilsk or Kiruna. Not places many are eager to move to for the sake of it.
    Even more likely, like oil rigs or the Antarctic permanent stations. People work there; but they don’t move there to live.

  44. Kathy says:


    I think Europa has a solid surface under the ice and water.

    I don’t think an impact would change the rotation.

    But you can transfer momentum. See, the Earth transfers angular momentum to the Moon, which slows us down and pushes the Moon farther out, or so I understand. It seems to me the reverse would happen if you pushed a sizable mass close to Venus.

    It would have to be very close, like an artificial satellite rather than our Moon. But that’s good, because you can then use Europa’s gravity to draw off some of Venus’ atmosphere.

    This way Venus speeds up, loses excess atmosphere, and gains a rather unnatural satellite. Europa loses ice, and gains an atmosphere. then you terraform the lot.

    The only remaining problem is Venus has no magnetic field to speak of, and neither does Europa. So you’d fry in stronger Solar radiation than that found on Earth.

    You can’t have everything.

  45. de stijl says:


    You still have to be careful as a contractor. Pick and choose which bridges to burn and which to preserve.

    I truly did love the option of bailing.

    Did so a couple of times. When it is toxic you bail. Learned that the hard way. Bad bosses make a toxic environment. Worst is a bad project sponsor – that impacts everything and infects everything.

    When you are junior it is very hard to walk away. This project might make your career if you shine. A lot of times the junior folks are borrowed from permanent staff and are on salary.

    I sort of got into trouble on a gig when I walked around at 6 pm and told people to go home. Blame me if your boss gives you shit tomorrow. I was rabble rousing. I did not care. It was a false deadline.

    Crunch is terrible and soul-sucking.

    Go home. Hug your partner your kids your cat. Get drunk. Get high. Go home. Be away from work and away from work stress for a few blessed hours. Go home.

    Crunch is unhealthy.

    Way back when I wish I’d had a superior tell me to just go home.

    Crunch is trauma.

  46. CSK says:

    I share your pain. I didn’t think Donald Trump would ever be elected either.

  47. Kathy says:

    Out of about 25 people in my department, 4 are out with the trump disease. Given how few wear masks and how many have engaged in leisure activities that bring them in contact with others, this is not as bad as I’d feared.

    Or the rapid antigen tests we used are not that accurate. No way to tell.

    Of those 4, I know 3 are vaccinated. The other one I’m not sure. They’re all still supposed to be isolating.

    Me, I’m still free of all symptoms, mask firmly on, and am hoping to get a booster next week. Rumor has it we’ll get AstraZeneca, with a minuscule chance at Moderna. I’d prefer the latter, but would welcome the former as well.

  48. dazedandconfused says:


    That preacher was calling on Jesus to…

    “He was bald before I spit on him,” he said, “and he’s still bald today. So no miracles here … so next time I’ll rethink and do something differently.”

    …cure baldness. And now I can attest that spitting on a keyboard does it no good atall.

  49. Kathy says:


    In that regard, you are if not in good company, then in abundant one.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: I truly did love the option of bailing.

    As a union carpenter I always had the option of bailing. Walked off a number of jobs. “No, you don’t get to abuse me.”

  51. CSK says:

    That’s some consolation, I suppose. Not much, but some.

  52. Jen says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’m surprised about the library–I would think that you could go in and sit, but wouldn’t be able to check out books, etc. Are they checking residency when you enter? Or, do you need a library card to enter the building?

  53. dazedandconfused says:


    Now, how to move Europa…

    Not a problem. Where Jupiter goes Europa will follow.

  54. de stijl says:


    What was it that made you walk away from a job?

  55. de stijl says:


    What is weird is that I earned and learned skills that made me professionally successful during crunch and from an objectively horrible bad boss and a shitty human.

    A bad pattern that needs to be broken forever.

  56. Kathy says:


    That happens to be so. Europa does not trace an independent path around the Sun, but rather the one her orbit of Jupiter mandates.

    In theory, you could move both Jupiter and Europa independently. That’s where things get interesting. For instance, it would be easier to move Europa if you were ok with losing a lot, maybe most, of it’s water.

    You know when you walk you push the Earth in the opposite direction. This adds or subtracts an infinitesimal amount of momentum, and very likely is cancelled by billions of other people and animals and even wind and water moving and pushing on the planet. But now and then a big earthquake, releasing megatons of energy, does change our planet’s rotation enough it can be measured with delicate instruments.

    For a story, I’d dip into the infinite supply of plot devices and come up with some kind of gravity/reactionless drive, that just needs tons and tons of energy to move Europa over the course of centuries. More rigorous writers, like Niven, attach a massive nuclear reactor and ramscoop to a smaller gas giant planet to move it using its atmosphere as fuel or propellant.

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: In my town, you need a library card to use the computers–and you have to sign in to get one. When I was teaching at Portland (Oregon) CC, the library had wifi, but that’s the only library I recall I’ve used that did. I’m guessing that Blunder is in a similar boat to mine.

  58. Mu Yixiao says:

    If you missed Biden’s press conference just now, go find a copy of it.

    Someone ate their Wheaties this morning!

  59. gVOR08 says:

    I keep seeing stories about airlines and 5g, but not much depth to the stories. The obvious reaction is, “Wouldn’t the FCC and FAA have settled this long ago?” Kevin Drum has a post, with no more information than anyone else. But the earliest commenter, one Rattus Norvegicus, blames it on TFG’s FCC Chair, one Ajit Pai, which the commenter renders as Idjit Pai, supposedly cared only about the carriers. A quick Google really only confirms Pai was FCC Chair, but that he resigned on inauguration day. I also turned up an interview on some S&P newsletter with one question on the subject and what struck me as an evasive answer – the FCC did their own tests and saw no problem, some third agency was supposed to liase, the Europeans are flying with no problems (and as I understand it much bigger buffers around airports).

    Seems both important and urgent. Anybody have any insight?

  60. de stijl says:


    This whole 5G vs. airlines thing is extremely weird.

    These are obvious issues that should have been dealt with and resolved years and years ago.

    Something fishy is going on.

  61. gVOR08 says:


    Even more likely, like oil rigs or the Antarctic permanent stations. People work there; but they don’t move there to live.

    And they’re hardly self sustaining. Which is to say not very good lifeboats for humanity once we blow up Terra.

  62. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: Some foremen/superintendents are screamers. Things go not quite right/ or just plain wrong, they start screaming at whoever is closest. You want to really piss them off? Walk away.

  63. Michael Reynolds says:

    I talked to a producer I know, in the UK. He said, ‘I’ve got a crew of 42. Guess how many are out positive for covid?”

    I guessed 8.

    35. All but seven of his people are down.

  64. Kathy says:


    It’s been buzzing in the aviation blogs. I dismissed it at first, until foreign carriers started cancelling US flights due to concerns about 5G. That lends credibility to the concerns of US airlines. No one wants to cancel flights now, after so many closures, lower traffic, travel bans etc.

  65. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    And they’re thinking about lifting restrictions. It just boggles the mind.

  66. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..Blunder
    I got a laugh out of that!
    However considering how much I forget during the day…read the big sign on the inside of the door that says TAKE YOUR MEDICATION! and then forget to take my medication…leave the water bottle at home…forgot to turn the heat down…didn’t do a pocket check so I don’t have a pen…left the Kroger discount card/phone/cupons/shopping list/my brains…in the car…that I blunder through life is not all that far off. The worst is when I’m climbing the stairs up to the front door and catch my toe on a step “pick up your feet damnit!” So far I have cut and scraped myself but haven’t broken anything…yet.

  67. Kathy says:

    Venus has had its reputation downgraded since science revealed the trumphole beneath the clouds. Prior to that, SF writers imagined lush forests, wetlands, oceans, etc. Even when some of the hellish conditions were determined to exist, some writers moved the action to the poles.

    Now no one dares. Frederick Pohl had to leave some of the action in Venus in his Heechee Gateway novels, but he had to use devices to make bases sound faintly plausible (spoiler alert: not possible).

    So I thought the planet could use a makeover.

    Thinking further about it, perhaps Europa is not the ideal candidate. Perhaps our Moon would be better. Of course, remove old Luna and Old Earth goes haywire. You know, tides, and the moon stabilizes our rotation axis.

    So exchange the Moon for Europa. Send the Moon to Venus, and we get a tropical ocean paradise world a short hop away.

    If it weren’t for the lack of a magnetic field.

    Not to mention the move would need to be gradual, with both natural satellites balancing their gravitational pull for years, at least, so as not to disturb the Earth. That’s the kind of hubris that destroys worlds and kills off humanity.

  68. Mister Bluster says:

    I think the last time I went to check about wifi at the library they were closed due to covid. Before that (years ago) a library card was required to get a password for internet access. I see by the website that they are open now with masks required so I will have to go check again. There is no mention of wifi access one way or another on the web page.

  69. Mister Bluster says:

    Supreme Court rejects Trump’s bid to shield records from Jan. 6 committee
    The only member of the high court who signaled he would have granted Trump’s request for emergency relief was Justice Clarence Thomas.

  70. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Trump will use that as an excuse to not pay his lawyers.

  71. Jen says:

    I will see if I can track it down, but on the issue of the airlines and 5G, it sounds like the carriers made some substantive changes (vertical towers, at double the power) that other countries don’t use. So, different enough that it’s giving the airlines the willies.

  72. Jen says:

    Found it:


    Key excerpt:

    “We were aware of a 5G issue. Okay. We are aware that everybody is trying to get 5G rolled out after all it’s the super cool future of whatever it may be communication and information flow. We were not aware that the power of the antennas in the United States have been doubled compared to what’s going on elsewhere. We were not aware that the antenna themselves have been put into a vertical position rather than a slight slanting position, which then taken together compromise not only the radio altimeter systems but the flight control systems on the fly by wire aircraft. So on that basis we took that decision late last night to suspend all our services until we had clarity,” he added, telling Richard Quest the airline wouldn’t take any risks.

  73. Jen says:

    @Mister Bluster: I was definitely assuming that the library had open wifi. Our wee little hamlet’s library does, so I assumed too much.

  74. de stijl says:


    What was that statement?

    How was this not addressed before now? It is super obvious stuff big brain types would have foreseen and ameliorate. Externalities – pretty common occurrence.

    Something extremely weird is happening. And I have no idea why.

    This should have been a done and dusted issue dealt with years ago.

    What the fuck is going on here?

  75. de stijl says:


    I was not independent. I worked for / owned a slice of a consortium. (Well, for a year I was independent, but it was for low stakes ad hoc work.)

    We had to present and preserve a consistent professional front. Be reliably great at our jobs. In that space you had to deliver. Or else word would get around.

    Bailing on a contract was a big step. Happened rarely. Project was gonna crash. Toxic environment. A weird thing is that bailing on a doomed project is seen as a savvy move by insiders. It actually got us cred.

    One day I literally skipped halfway down the block after bailing on a doomed toxic project in sheer exuberance and freedom from shit.

  76. Slugger says:

    Moving Europa might be difficult. Changing an existing planet to make it more livable might be more doable. The increasing temperature and acid rain events make me think that the inhabitants of Venus are working to turn this planet into something more to their liking. It is the simplest explanation.

  77. de stijl says:


    World Party

    Put The Message In A Box

    I clearly remember getting home one day and sitting in my car transfixed after I’d parked just to listen to that song until the end. A glorious few minutes mesmerized by pop rock brilliance.

  78. Jen says:

    @de stijl: The statement was from someone at Emirates airline.

    My guess–and it’s only a guess–is that something like this transpired:

    Because 5G is designed to use short hops to maintain speed, there’s a need for WAY more towers. Each tower placement comes with its own set of costs and headaches–leasing the land/building on which they are sited, permit processes in municipalities, etc.

    Someone probably said, well, we can get by with fewer towers if we boost the signal and send it farther. That will save us $XXX. So, that’s what they went with and because it’s not what is in use elsewhere, the airlines said “wait one dag gone minute.” Because when you have hundreds of people on a plane, you tend to be a bit skittish about “hey, let’s see how this works” type of processes.

    I have no idea if this is what is really going on, but when I read the statement from the person at Emirates, it certainly seems plausible.

  79. wr says:

    @de stijl: If you have a chance, it’s worth your time to explore a little more of the World Party catalog. Like, say, Crowded House or Squeeze, their albums (well, actually his albums, since the band is essentially Karl Wallinger) are filled with wonderful melodies and yet just can’t seem to find a foothold in the American musical scene.

  80. wr says:

    @Jen: The whole 5G thing does sound like it would have been worked out by any functioning government. Unfortunately all the planning took place under Trump’s administration, when all the agencies were led by crooks or ideological freakshows like the FCC.

    Let the free market sort it out, baby!