A Forum for Sunday

Another week begins.

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:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    NYT: Medical Expert Who Corrects Trump Is Now a Target of the Far Right

    At a White House briefing on the coronavirus on March 20, President Trump called the State Department the “Deep State Department.” Behind him, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, dropped his head and rubbed his forehead.

    Some thought Dr. Fauci was slighting the president, leading to a vitriolic online reaction. On Twitter and Facebook, a post that falsely claimed he was part of a secret cabal who opposed Mr. Trump was soon shared thousands of times, reaching roughly 1.5 million people.

    A week later, Dr. Fauci — the administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak — has become the target of an online conspiracy theory that he is mobilizing to undermine the president.

    That fanciful claim has spread across social media, fanned by a right-wing chorus of Mr. Trump’s supporters, even as Dr. Fauci has won a public following for his willingness to contradict the president and correct falsehoods and overly rosy pronouncements about containing the virus.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Now why would this paragraph make me think of trump?

    “Even with moderate gassiness, it’s likely that Uranus will be able to hold on to most of its atmosphere for the remainder of the solar system’s life,” said Paul Byrne, a planetary geologist at North Carolina State University who was not involved in the research. “Uranus just has that much gas.”

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US awol from world stage as China tries on global leadership for size

    When the UN security council and the G7 group sought to agree a global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts stumbled on the US insistence on describing the threat as distinctively Chinese. There are other reasons for the lack of collaboration in the face of a global crisis, but the focus on labelling the virus Chinese and blaming China pursued by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, helped ensure there would be no meaningful collective response from the world’s most powerful nations. For some US allies, the fixation on words at a time when the international order was arguably facing its greatest challenge since the second world war encapsulated the glaring absence of US leadership.

    And that absence was illustrated just as vividly by news coverage of planes full of medical supplies from China arriving in Italy, at a time when the US was quietly flying in half a million Italian-made diagnostic swabs for use in its own under-equipped health system and Donald Trump was on the phone to the South Korean president pressing him to send test kits.

    “To me what is so striking is the complete absence of the US from public debates. The US is basically off the map, and China very much is on the map,” Nathalie Tocci, the director of the Italian Institute for International Affairs and a former EU policy adviser, said.


    Tocci argued that the extent to which China succeeds in exploiting the crisis to pursue global primacy would be dependent on whether Beijing can be successfully challenged, for example from a change to a more outward leadership in Washington, or a Europe that can transcend its divisions.

    “It basically depends on how everyone else reacts more than how China itself acts,” Tocci said.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    The other day I said that Trump was deliberately hoarding equipment and supplies, and 95South accused me of paranoia. Take a look at this, and remember that Trump is telling the states to get their own supplies.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Disunited states of America: responses to coronavirus shaped by hyper-partisan politics

    It was a tale of two beaches. On Florida’s Atlantic coast, at the height of spring break season, the sand was deserted in the cities of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale, where Democratic mayors had imposed closures to fight the spread of coronavirus.

    Across the narrow neck of the state, the Gulf coast beaches in Clearwater were a world apart. There the Republican mayor had declined to impose a closure, and photos that would circle the world captured the result: thousands of carefree sunbathers lining the sand and mingling in the water.

    Hold my beer! Watch this!

    The partisan divide over the pandemic probably stems in part from personal experience, with the worst-hit states so far, including New York, California and Washington, being coastal with large cities and a lot of Democrats. As of Thursday, counties that voted for Trump in 2016 accounted for 45% of the US population but just 19% of all US coronavirus deaths, according to analysis by Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.

    Aha! The Covid virus has a liberal bias! (as in a bias for liberals)(much tastier)

    Either that or this is just proof that liberals are a bunch of soft weaklings bereft of the necessary fortitude to fight Covid off!

    “I think it’s impossible to talk about a Covid epidemic in the United States,” said Gostin. “We’d have to say it’s Covid epidemics. Because the epidemics will vary state by state, and the response will vary state by state.”

    It is “crucially urgent” for the Trump administration to coordinate aid for the states and for the president to use his bully pulpit to focus the national attention, said Gostin.

    “That should have been happening several weeks ago,” he said. “The longer we wait without having a properly coordinated national approach the worse the disaster will unfold in the United States.”


  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Yes, but do you have any evidence?

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You’re being sarcastic but it’s revealing that Trumpers never say, “don’t be ridiculous, he would never do something like that”, but instead immediately say, “you can’t prove it conclusively”. They know he’s morally bankrupt but don’t care. It says a lot about their own character.

  9. CSK says:

    Do they, though? Don’t they just yell “Fake news!” or “You lie!”

  10. DrDaveT says:

    Nancy Pelosi has finally stated bluntly in public that Trump’s failures have killed (and are killing) people.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Which is my point. 95S was never going to admit there was something to what you were saying, no matter how much evidence of malfeasance you put forth or his own inability to provide even the slightest bit of exculpatory evidence.

    The proverbial smoking gun would be DEM hoax.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: With every trump lie, somebody dies.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yeah, I have no illusions about denting their delusions. It was more an observation to the rest of the commentariat, one that brings up the uncomfortable but I think undeniable reality that you shouldn’t trust a Trumper. The fact that they align themselves with such a piece of garbage tells you something about either their character or their intellect.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Por que no los dos?

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: The Nancy Pelosi angle is interesting, but more damning is the fact that Louisiana has not received a single ventilator from the Trump administration. That are within a few days of running out, yet no ventilators and in not even a reply to the requests. The administration says they are shipping ventilators but they have not gone to the biggest hot spots (Seattle, NYC or Louisiana). These supposed shipments are secret, as is the total number of ventilators (or any other equipment or supplies) on hand. There is no non-corrupt reason for this. Trump is deliberately holding equipment back. Worse, based on the report from Michigan he is actively using federal authority to hijack supplies states arranged for themselves. Republicans are complicit in this corruption, which is basically murder once removed.

    Congress needs to investigate NOW, Democratic officials need to call this out, news organizations need to shout this to the world. People are dying right now because of the Trump administration’s corruption and within weeks the number of dead because of Trump and the Republicans will be in the hundreds, if not thousands.

    Trump needs to be impeached again this time removed from office.

  16. Teve says:

    This is fucking hilarious. Somebody is creating memes by taking quotes from ur-capitalist Adam Smith and placing them over pictures of AOC and posting them to libertarian discussion sites, and the libertarians are trashing “her” quotes for being stupid and not understanding anything about how capitalism works.


  17. KM says:

    I just got back from a MASSIVE shopping trip for all my self-quarantined family and neighbors as well as the healthcare workers who can’t. Thank god for connections from my youth working in a grocery store – I was up at 4am but managed to score enough TP for everyone that asked for it as well as beef, eggs, chicken, pasta and other scarcities. Now comes the sorting and packaging so I can drop it off on doorsteps. At least one officially tested positive for COVID-19 so we worked it out where I’ll leave it out in the driveway and text them so they can come out and get it- this way I know they’ve actually got the stuff safely (supposed to rain today) and can see they’re OK while I’m a good 100ft away in my car (with homemade PPE -thanks internet!).

    I’m too tired to yell about Trump right now. He’s an emotional vampire, draining everything good from this nation. Instead, I’m focusing on the people who are doing everything they can to make it through this. I’m not a nurse but I can make sure they have food and toilet paper to come home to after the ninth 15hr shift in a row. I can’t ensure my neighbors or family survive but I can keep them in perishables and paper products to keep their strength up.

    We’re all in this together, folks. Do what you can to help out – take care of yourself and others. That’s what makes America great, not stupid red hats.

  18. Tyrell says:

    I am still puzzled about the toilet paper shortage still going on. But the local membership store had plenty last Friday. I did see a person in line with around fifty bottles of wine !
    This from Stanford U: < All FSI News
    March 25, 2020
    "Is the Coronavirus as Deadly as They Say? "

  19. MarkedMan says:

    Joe Biden could do us all a load of good right now by beating the drum that any government official or employee caught diverting supplies or anyone helping them will go to prison for a long, long time. He should encourage anyone with knowledge to collect and preserve evidence.

  20. Bill says:


    I am still puzzled about the toilet paper shortage still going on. But the local membership store had plenty last Friday.

    The wife went to Costco this morning at shortly after 9 this morning. While there she called me to say they had paper towels and asked if she should buy them. We probably have a two to three month supply of them already(An eight pack and 4 or 5 which are the remnants of a much bigger package bought back in January) , so I said no and the wife listened to me. What are people making runs on now- Vitamin C. Maybe due to this-


    So how am I doing locked up at home? Fine and I’m not bored I do the following

    1 Work on a future ebook
    2 Watch original Hawaii Five-0, the West Wing or Get Smart
    3 Continue reading Henry Kissinger’s memoirs or Tom Clancy’s The Cardinal of the Kremlin
    4 work on one of the full season Strat-0-Matic baseball computer replays I have going
    5 Take a nap during the day

    So far I haven’t lost my mind. How haven’t I lost my mind yet you ask? I lost it a long time ago. That’s a precondition for successful writing living in South Florida full time.

    PS- I really do all those things I listed. I can tell you all about a 1983 Cleveland Indians-Seattle Mariners game I just finished…..

  21. DrDaveT says:


    What are people making runs on now

    Just did a grocery run for my parents. Of the things on their list, the ones that the store was out of and projected stay out of were… yeast and waxed paper. Not the ones I would have predicted.

    (And yes, they were still out of all paper products. Apparently all of my neighbors have mistaken ‘virus’ for ‘blizzard’…)

  22. Bill says:


    Just did a grocery run for my parents. Of the things on their list, the ones that the store was out of and projected stay out of were… yeast and waxed paper. Not the ones I would have predicted.

    (And yes, they were still out of all paper products. Apparently all of my neighbors have mistaken ‘virus’ for ‘blizzard’…)

    When this pandemic is over I expect most of the human race to be dead not to be in need of toilet paper till the next leap day.

    The wife picked up cat food today and that was on the low side too. Explain that please except this planet is going nuts right now.

    Other things I do to pass the time that I forgot to mention

    1- Read and sometimes comment at OTB
    2- Edit Wikipedia

  23. Jen says:

    Oh, hey, I guess having a bunch of students come back to Liberty for “all is normal this is just a hoax” classes isn’t working out too well.

    There are just so many idiots.

  24. @Jen: I just noticed that a few minutes ago myself and have a brief post up.

  25. Tyrell says:

    @KM: “stupid red hats” is it? Don’t knock my red hat!
    See: NC State Wolfpack cap. https://shop.ncsu.edu/
    Go Pack!

  26. Mu Yixiao says:

    One upside to all of this: My (quite active) octogenarian mother is so bored out of her skull she felt compelled to make home-made caramels. Of which I got half.

    I’d share them with y’all, but… social distancing. 🙂

  27. Kathy says:

    Interesting piece from historian Patrick Wyman How Do You Know If You’re Living Through the Death of an Empire?

    Money quote:

    Yet every state and society faces serious challenges. The difference lies in whether the underlying structures are healthy enough to effectively respond to those challenges. Viewed in this light, it’s less the arrival of the massive earthquake than whether the damaged infrastructure is rebuilt; not the crushing battlefield defeat, but whether competent new recruits and materiel can be found to replace what’s lost; not the feckless, no-clothes-having emperor, but whether the political system can either effectively work around him or remove him from power altogether. Successful states and societies are resilient when faced with even serious challenges. Falling empires are not.

  28. DrDaveT says:


    Somebody is creating memes by taking quotes from ur-capitalist Adam Smith and placing them over pictures of AOC and posting them to libertarian discussion sites, and the libertarians are trashing “her” quotes for being stupid and not understanding anything about how capitalism works.

    Yo no Facebook, but that sounds totally awesome.

    I think I mentioned it before on this site, but once upon a time Genuine Communist ™ Steven Brust, having been told to stop criticizing The Wealth of Nations if he hadn’t read it, actually did read it, and posted his reactions online. He was startled at (among other things) (A) how sensible a lot of what Smith said was, and (B) how much it differed from current right-wing dogma. For example, the necessity of regulating trade…

  29. Gustopher says:

    John Prine has Covid-19, and has been intubated.


    Here he is performing “In Spite of Ourselves” with Iris DeMent, and yukking it up a little before playing.