Welcome to February Forum

February is the longest month.

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:

    Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.
    Malcolm X

  2. MarkedMan says:

    If we needed any evidence that there is something wrong with gun fetishists and they should not be involved in decisions on gun legislation, there is this. Indiana Representative Jim Lucas was talking to high school school students concerned about gun violence and so of course he took the opportunity to flash his loaded gun at them.

    Any posturing and macho displays by gun nuts are, of course, disturbing. These are armed individuals that seem unable to view their deadly weapon for what it is. But when it is a member of congress, the danger is magnified 100 fold.

    From The Hill: “As the group of students were leaving the Statehouse, Fivecoats said Lucas stopped the group in the elevator to ask them what they were demanding. When they told him they were pushing for gun sense in America, he told them “that’s terrible” and suggested they step out of the elevator with him to discuss it further, Fivecoats said.

    She said the discussion turned “very aggressive, very quickly.”

  3. Beth says:


    Yeah, nothing says “calm, rational, and respectable” like threatening teenagers with a gun because they disagree with you.

  4. Bill Jempty says:

    I had a good checkup with the doctor yesterday.

    Still trying to coax Dear Wife into us making a three-week trip to Australia and Japan in April and May. A good checkup, but more are still needed, might let us do that. DW worries about me doing too much but I’m fine most days if I get a nap.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    Just to amplify what a piece of work Representative Jim Lucas is, it turns out that in May a drunken Lucas got into an accident and tried to get away. Presumably he was wearing his gun at the time. Yet somehow this doofus still thinks it’s a net positive for him to carry a gun at all times.

  6. Kathy says:

    It seems Lardass’s barristers are no better than the shysters he has working for him in America.

    It turns out the claim for damages had been made outside the six-year period of limitations.

    Only the best people.

  7. Kylopod says:

    The 1928 presidential election was the last time a Republican won the popular vote without a Nixon or Bush on the ticket. If Biden wins reelection this year, the streak will have lasted a century.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So. Much. Winning.

    Donald Trump’s data protection claim for damages over allegations in the “Steele dossier” that he took part in “perverted” sex acts and gave bribes to Russian officials has been dismissed by a high court judge in London.

    Judge Steyn agreed with Orbis Business Intelligence, the company founded by the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who compiled the contentious material, that the case should not go to trial.

    The ruling issued on Thursday said the court did not “consider or determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of the memoranda” but found that Trump’s claim for damages had been made outside the six-year period of “limitations”.

    The court ruled that Trump “has no reasonable grounds for bringing a claim for compensation or damages, and no real prospect of successfully obtaining such a remedy”.

    He hires only the best people.

    ETA: I see @Kathy: beat me to it.

  9. Kathy says:


    File before the statute of limitations runs out. Check the “jury trial” box. Don’t piss off the judge. How hard is all that?

  10. Joe says:

    @Bill Jempty: Just so you know, Japan to SE Australia is roughly the same distance as Japan to California. They are not really that close to each other.

  11. EddieInCA says:

    It’s always about the trend… And it’s getting much better for Biden.

    Fox’s Peter Doocy reluctantly admits the trend is changing

    Biden’s approval ticks up among independents, Dem support grows


  12. Kathy says:


    One can get some sense on how remote Australia, and New Zealand, are by looking at some flight times. One of the longest flights from the US is LA to Sydney. One of the longest flights from the Middle East is UAE to Sydney.


    Lots of time between now and November. Things can always get worse.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Joe: Years ago I had to fly to Buenos Aires on business and I discovered that the world is just as long north to south as it is east to west. I think I was 12-13 hours on a flight in the old days of smoking on airplanes. I was in the “no smoking” section, i.e. one row back from the couple of dozen rows full of Argentinian smoking fiends.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: My minor claim to aircraft fame is that I’ve been on the former record holder for longest flight, Newark to Singapore. 18 hours and 45 minutes, although both times it came in about an hour ahead of that.

  15. Kathy says:


    That’s still the longest flight, or it may have been surpassed by Singapore-JFK by an amount smaller than a rounding error.

    Did you fly it when Singapore used an A340 in an all business class configuration?

  16. Jen says:

    This morning, I open my David Lebovitz newsletter to discover he’d tried using AI to write the intro of his newsletter. In just a few short paragraphs, AI: 1) said there was a recipe in the newsletter but didn’t include it; 2) didn’t capitalize a proper noun; and 3) made up a fake restaurant in Paris, saying there was a restaurant review of the place included in the newsletter.

    AI frequently just makes sh!t up and gets things wrong. Depending on it for research is questionable at best. If search is getting crappier (and it is), the solution is to be more discerning about the sites you click on for the results…it is *not* resorting to AI to solve the problem.

  17. Kathy says:

    I wonder how long until Xlon sets up his own country? There are only so many states, and others are bound to upset his fragile ego like Delaware did.

    He probably already has a name for it: Xlon Optimux Maxximux.

  18. Scott says:

    @Kathy: He should buy the Principality of Sealand

  19. Bill Jempty says:

    @Joe: Approximately 10 hours, I know. My wife has a cousin in Sydney and a brother in Japan. I have a 2/3 finished saga* that is set in both places, In and around Yokohama mostly but also has important parts in Alice Springs and Sydney, that I began writing in 2007 and it is about time I finish.

    *- My editor Lee, a published author herself, thinks it is best story she ever read in the subgenre I write in.

  20. Beth says:


    Lots of time between now and November. Things can always get worse.

    I suspect a lot of things are going to get a lot worse. It’s like so many things are on the verge of catastrophic failure. One misstep or bad luck and this summer will be awful. I hope I’m wrong.


    Westlaw keeps pushing AI on me. It terrifies me.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: One could add to your list, “Pay your lawyers on time.” or even just, “Pay your lawyers.”

  22. Kathy says:


    Well, now. Let’s not get carried away.

  23. CSK says:

    I suppose this was inevitable: MAGA is now claiming that Alina Habba was a Deep State plant to represent Trump as badly as possible, thus ensuring his destruction. You see, Alina’s a creature owned and operated by the Communist globalists.

  24. Beth says:


    Yes, please please please yes, pay your lawyers. Everyone. Pay your lawyers.

  25. Grumpy Realist says:

    @CSK: the inability of people to admit that someone failed simply because she is incompetent.

    Of course, this is the same individual who said she would prefer to be pretty than smart, because she could “always fake being smart.” DK effect in action.

  26. MarkedMan says:


    Did you fly it when Singapore used an A340 in an all business class configuration?

    Yes. There was a gap of several years when they retires that aircraft before there was another direct flight from the US East Coast

  27. Kathy says:


    They had to wait for Airbus to come up with the long range version of the A350.

    I think they have business and premium economy now. Maybe also economy. But the flight is still nowhere close the normal A350 capacity. The smaller number of passengers (and associated items like luggage and catering), is what allows the flight to go non-stop.

    The longest flight eventually will be Sydney to London, when Qantas finally is able to launch it. I think it will take over 20 hours. If there was ever a case for suborbital hypersonic flights, this route is it.

  28. DK says:


    One of the longest flights from the US is LA to Sydney.

    Done this route twice. Torturously long. At one point, cabin crew just sat trays of snacks and food on counters near the exits and let passengers have our run of the plane. I’ve considered moving to Sydney or Melbourne, but it’s just too far from everything.

    Things can always get worse.

    Or better, right?


  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Trump spent more than he took in during 2023

    Donald Trump’s political operation spent millions more than it took in over the past year due, in part, to massive legal costs incurred by the former president.

    Two of Donald Trump’s political action committees spent an astonishing $29 million in legal consulting and legal fees in the second half of last year, leaving only $5 million in his leadership PAC’s coffers.

    The expenditures provide a stark illustration of how Trump’s courtroom issues have not just defined his campaign but begun to overwhelm it. In total, the former president spent roughly $50 million in donor funds on legal expenses over the course of 2023.

    All told his web of committees, in aggregate, spent roughly $210 million during the 2023 calendar year while raising a bit shy of $200 million over the same period, a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance filings found. The political operation still entered 2024 with a surplus due to strong fundraising in prior years. But spending at a higher rate than they have been able to take in so far is nonetheless a red flag heading into the general election year.

    Like a well oiled machine. Either that or a 1934 jalopy that leaks oil out every seal on it.

  30. Kathy says:


    If I had to travel that far, I’d pick a route with some kind of stop somewhere.

    Or better, right?

    there are some documented instances. But clearly not enough to proclaim things can always get better.

  31. Just nutha ignint crackerd says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I needed to consult a lawyer recently. I had to bring a $300 cash retainer. (No, lawyers aren’t particularly expensive where I live.)

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: But he only hires the best people. This must have been a really detailed, well planned deep plant. It reminds me of Salt, or the most recent incarnation of La Femme Nikita.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Or better, right?


    “Man plans, God laughs.” Or in a more positive vein “From your lips to God’s ear.”

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    In total, the former president spent roughly $50 million in donor funds on legal expenses over the course of 2023.

    Isn’t this supposed to be against the law unless the donors are contributing specifically toward that defined end?

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint crackerd: I have more experience than I care to admit to with paying lawyers.

    Isn’t this supposed to be against the law unless the donors are contributing specifically toward that defined end?

    It’s only against the law if somebody prosecutes. I think that’s how it works.

  36. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I wonder if Habba was harboring any ambitions of becoming the fourth Mrs.Donald Trump.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I believe the old airplane was fitted with extra fuel tanks, which they could do because the lower weight due to the fewer passengers. I think there was only about 100 passengers. Does the A350 do the same?

  38. Kathy says:


    The last semi-plausible conspiracy theory I heard regrading a plant, was back in 2016. The gist: Lardass Drumpf is a Democratic plant meant to ensure Clinton’s election.

    By semi-plausible I mean it was totally false on its face, but the alleged aim made sense. A Clinton victory in 2016 was what one would expect in a country not gone mad.

  39. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: I love when people somehow believe that they will be immune to the most obvious consequences of their actions.

    An attractive woman of light brown descent working as Trump’s lawyer? Of course she’s going to become part of a conspiracy theory if she loses. And this was clearly a losing case.

    If ever there was a job for a generic white man, it’s defending Trump in a case where he’s going to lose and the only question is how much is he going to lose.

  40. Kathy says:


    It’s a bit complicated.

    The A350-900 has a sub-variant called A350-900ULR, meaning ultra long range. It has additional fuel tanks built-in that the regular A350 lacks. This increases range by 2 or 3 thousand kilometers.

    I’m not sue what the range comparison is with the A350-1000, the larger variant of the plane.

  41. MarkedMan says:

    Talking Points Memo has more on uber-tool Jim Lucas. Here’s an excerpt:

    Let’s start here: Back in May there was a drunk driving incident. But I’m not sure that really quite captures it. I struggled with how to explain the story because most news accounts unfold the details as police found them, slowly unwrapping how on earth this all happened. But it’s helpful to understand precisely what Lucas had been up to before they arrived just to put everything in context.

    Here’s what the police investigation found …

    “Lucas was driving south on State Road 11 when he left the road, traveled down a large hill and hit the guardrail, pushing it into the right lane of I-65 north. Lucas then allegedly kept driving across all three lanes of I-65 north and struck the median guardrail. Then, after doing a U-turn and driving the wrong way on the entrance ramp, Lucas drove almost three miles before parking his truck behind the carpet business.”

    Got that?

    Police got a report that someone was driving a van the wrong way on an on-ramp and went to investigate. When they arrive at the on-ramp they find no car but various wreckage and detritus from Lucas’s sojourn noted in the report. Later they come up a highly damaged but apparently abandoned vehicle, which is actually missing at least two tires. Like it’s just the metal wheel.

    Then they come upon Jim Lucas and ask him, reasonably enough, if this is his van.

    Nope, says Lucas. Just out here for a walk.

    The verbatim dialog is something.

    O: “You’re just out for a walk?”

    J: “Yes”

    O: “You didn’t see a van go by with no tires on it?”

    J: “No van.”

    O: “I mean you’ve been drinking that’s why I am asking you because we have somebody apparently driving around with no tires on a van and then we got you stumbling around out here.”

    J: “I have no van”

    O: “Hang tight Jim.”

    And then there’s this:

    A bit later Jim puts up his hands and mentions that he has a firearm and a knife on him, which officers then recover.

    After telling police he doesn’t want to talk he mentions that he’s also got another loaded gun in the center console of his van.

    Anyone, drunk or sober, that keeps a gun in their car or (of course) truck should be locked up. Dead serious here, it should be a criminal offense. Thousands upon thousands of crimes are committed every year with guns stolen from cars. Only a moron would keep a gun in a car.

    And anyone who is stoned or intoxicated and is carrying a gun or has one near their person should be locked up. Wreckless endangement since it seems you can’t just lock someone up for general asshole-ery, no matter how appropriate.

  42. MarkedMan says:

    If anyone doubts just how idiotic it is to keep a gun in a car, bear in mind that only 15 states require guns to be reported stolen (and how many gun-toting he-men are even aware of the rule in those states?), yet this is what an analysis of reported gun thefts revealed in 2020:

    This analysis revealed that in 2020, an estimated 77,000 guns were reported stolen across these cities alone.4 This count is likely a conservative estimate since only 15 states require gun owners to report lost and stolen guns,5 so many missing guns go unreported.6 While guns can be stolen in a variety of ways (e.g., pickpocketing, burglary, robbery), in 2020, over half (52 percent) were stolen from cars.7 In effect, an average of at least one gun is stolen from a car every 15 minutes, amounting to an estimated 40,000 guns stolen from cars in 2020 across these 271 cities.

  43. dazedandconfused says:

    February had always been the longest month for me. It’s the Thursday of months. It’s not the Monday of December, in which there is no hope and one can resign oneself to fate. It’s not the Friday of March with the near hope of spring to buoy the spirit. It’s the null void of the middle of suffering. The novelty of winter has worn off and there is still this full stupid month to get through….

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: On a more pleasant note, here in Kelso, Washington, it’s 58 degrees and sunny. After I finish my turkey on a Jalapeno Cheddar bagel, I think I’ll go out for a walk and count how many more commercial building spaces are vacant since yesterday.

  45. Kathy says:


    The correct names of the weekdays are:

    Second Monday

    So what would the correct names be for the months?

    Other than the year should start in March, thus Sept. Oct. Nov. and Dec. would correspond to the numbers they’re named after.

  46. CSK says:

    New Hampshire wants to secede if the national debt passes the 40 trillion mark. What say you, Jen and Sleeping Dog?

  47. Gustopher says:

    I was going to comment this on the “Billy Joel has a new song, hooray!” thread, but it feels more like Open Thread material in terms of tone…

    I never particularly liked Billy Joel, but when his cover of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” removed all of the menace from the song*, and became the standard that spawned countless other sappy versions, I began to loathe him. He wasn’t content to be sappy and doing his sappy things over there, he had to let his sappiness infect everything else. And it’s a weird sappy without being earnest.

    I wish him no ill will, but I hope this is not the start of a popular second act to his career where he is influential again.

    Anyway, I suppose this is a lovely day for people who like sappy music. By all means, enjoy.

    *: the lyrics are ambiguous as to whether he will make you feel his love through force, and whether “I know you ain’t made your mind up yet” is understanding or being in complete denial with a touch of warning (is there an unstated “despite you being very clear that you’ve made your mind up”? maybe!). The Dylan version maintains the ambiguity in the performance and is absolutely genius the way it threads that line.

    I suppose it’s possible Dylan meant it as a sappy song and just missed. Or it’s only creepy in context with the rest of Time Out Of Mind.

    Or that I am completely delusional in my reading of it.

  48. Kathy says:


    The first I heard of Joel was It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me. that song played everywhere for months. I got sick of it, and of Joel.

    Eventually I listened to some of his better songs. Two I like are Piano Man, and For The Longest Time. I’d add Good Night Saigon, but I don’t think “like” applies to something so bleak and emotionally charged.

  49. Flat Earth Luddite says:
  50. Beth says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Not a whole lotta problems you either can’t solve or make worse with those three things.

    This particular client who isn’t paying me didn’t get to listen to the half hour long fight I had with opposing counsel over the word “utilize” this week. This job is great when people pay me.