Boxing Day 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. CSK says:

    When I was a really little kid, I thought Boxing Day was when people put on padded gloves, climbed into a ring, and started pummeling each other.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Are you telling me it isn’t?

  3. JohnMcC says:

    The LA Times seems to have filled a slow day with a story about the ‘jetpack man’. Dated from Dec 21, a video has emerged from 3000′ above Palos Verde of the apparition not acting like a drone or a helium balloon at all but exceeding known limits on jetpack performance.

    Pretty cool.

  4. CSK says:

    ‘Fraid so.

    In other news, Donald J. Trump is very, very angry that Melania never got so much as one lousy cover on a glossy magazine during his tenure in office, whereas Michelle Obama got 12 covers. Such rank injustice.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Damn. (puts gloves back on shelf)

  6. sam says:
  7. CSK says:

    According to the NYTimes, Trump has told the WH staff to ignore a memo about packing up his goods and chattels preparatory to leaving the WH on January 20. Is he planning on squatting there?

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: He’s planning on making Joe and Kamala clean up all the messes he’s going to leave behind.

  9. sam says:

    In my post upthread I was riffing on a popular misquote from the film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. I’d wager that not many people know that the book the film was based on was originally published in Germany, Der Schatz der Sierra Madre, written by someone called B. Traven. Traven wrote a number of books, all written in German. Just who B. Traven was is unknown. I recall reading an article in The New York Review of Books in late 60s-early 70s that argued he was the son of Kaiser Wilhelm. That’s just one theory. A nice precis of the mystery of his identity is this: The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre author’s greatest mystery was his true identity.

  10. CSK says:

    Very interesting. I’d heard of Traven, but I didn’t know the back story.

  11. CSK says:

    They better call in one of those outfits that cleans up after crime scenes.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I was thinking more along the lines of disaster recovery specialists. The ones you call after fires, hurricanes, tornadoes…

  13. Teve says:


    Our $740 defense bill is a gift to China, Russia & Big Tech. It fails to terminate the internationally dangerous Section 230, won’t allow us to bring our troops back home (where they belong), renames & destroys our forts & National Monuments, & makes 5G almost impossible!

  14. CSK says:

    Perhaps they could engage one of those firms that does both.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:


    That’s Kristy Noem and her flamethrower. Some of us are stuck with lowly snowblowers.

  16. Monala says:

    After being homeless for a month after our apartment building was firebombed just before Thanksgiving, we were able to move into a new place in time for Christmas. My daughter and I planned a quiet day at home, except we spent a couple of hours driving around to drop off gifts to friends.

    Although we didn’t enter anyone’s home, we could see inside from the doors. Every place we stopped had crowds of people gathered, no one in masks.

    I feel like screaming. We just spent a month where we had no choice but to be exposed to numerous people, and all these people who did have choices are putting themselves at risk! Didn’t they listen to the news about what happened after Thanksgiving gatherings?!

  17. Sleeping Dog says:


    Congrats on getting settled.

    Denial, is a powerful drug.

  18. Teve says:

    Question for the PoliSci people:

    I keep seeing people say China is Communist. But that’s not right. There are 400 billionaires in China. That’s not a feature of Communist systems. What’s the most accurate description of China’s Politico-economic situation?

  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Teve: Deng Xioping (sort of my favorite Chinese Leader) called it “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” He was the main architect of how they do it.

    Because he was a very clever guy as a politician.

  20. sam says:

    Here in the Southwest, as some of you may know, Covid has been particularly cruel to the Navajo. The people of Ireland have donated now over $2 million to the relief of the Navajo. Why the people of Ireland? In 1847, the Choctaw tribe sent $170 to Ireland in response to the suffering of the Irish during the Great Famine. The Choctaw themselves had just endured the Trail of Tears and felt a kindred spirit to the people of Ireland as they suffered. In County Cork, the Irish have erected a monument to the Native Americans who, although mired in their own travails, made what contribution they could to the Irish in their time of need. The sculpture is called Kindred Spirits.

  21. @Teve: I am not sure there is an easy answer to the question, but they have as much a system of state-run capitalism as they do communism.

    @Jay L Gischer: Indeed. Pretty much a hodge-podge of whatever they wanted to use.

  22. Teve says:


    The elitist snobs in the fashion press have kept the most elegant First Lady in American history off the covers of their magazines for 4 consecutive years.

    The comments are…not going well for them.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    testing testing…

  24. CSK says:

    It’s been known for a while that Charlie Baker (a Massachusetts Republican) is the most popular governor in the country. But according to Chris Cillizza, he also has an 89% approval rating among Massachusetts Democrats. That is unheard-of.

    I’m not a political scientist, but I always thought China managed to combine the worst aspects of capitalism with the worst aspects of communism.

  25. Kathy says:


    Well, I don’t see how Jacqueline Kennedy would have been relevant in the past four years.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: She has all the class of a streetwalker.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:


    This is the second or third attempt by the RW press to use alleged snubs of Melania to get a rise out of the soon (thankfully) to be ex prez. At times it is difficult to see who is manipulating whom.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    FBI: White supremacists plotted attack on US power grid

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — White supremacists plotted to attack power stations in the southeastern U.S., and an Ohio teenager who allegedly shared the plan said he wanted the group to be “operational” on a fast-tracked timeline if President Donald Trump were to lose his re-election bid, the FBI alleges in an affidavit that was mistakenly unsealed.

    The teen was in a text group with more than a dozen people in the fall of 2019 when he introduced the idea of saving money to buy a ranch where they could participate in militant training, according to the affidavit, which was filed under seal along with a search warrant application in Wisconsin’s Eastern U.S. District Court in March. The documents were inadvertently unsealed last week before the mistake was discovered and they were quickly sealed again.


  29. Mr. Prosser says:

    @CSK: Charlie Peirce says the Commonwealth (God save it) elects republican governors to keep the democrats in the legislature from stealing everything.

  30. Teve says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    Why do you always invite two Southern Baptists fishing?

    So one won’t drink all your beer.

  31. CSK says:

    @Mr. Prosser:
    Well, it is interesting that the bluest state in the union keeps happily electing Republican governors. There have only been three Democrats (King, Dukakis, and Patrick) in that office since 1965. And King became a Republican in 1985.

  32. CSK says:

    I have oft wondered how the Trumpkins manage to overlook Melania’s past history of nude modeling and posing for a lesbian soft-core b&d portfolio.

  33. Teve says:

    @CSK: nothing shows commitment to the group like believing obvious lies.

    Donald Trump is a Christian!
    Melania is elegant!
    Biden is a Communist!

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A brother’s grief, a father’s joy and learning to live with both at Christmas

    The other night, I carried our crying baby boy down the stairs to the living room and settled into a chair across from the Christmas tree. It was 3 a.m. Luke couldn’t sleep, and so neither could I. As we sat there and rocked, the crying got softer and then stopped. Luke’s big, blue eyes stared at the tree, mesmerized by all of the bright lights dancing in the darkness.

    It’s difficult to draw firm conclusions about a newborn, but there’s one thing we already know about Luke: He loves the Christmas tree.

    His first real car ride was to a tree farm outside of Pittsburgh. Luke was only three weeks old at the time, but the trip couldn’t wait for another day. This was a family tradition, and even (or maybe especially) in 2020, tradition matters.

    Most years, the Christmas season begins for my family the day after Thanksgiving, when we pile into a couple of cars at my parents’ place in Michigan and go get a tree. This farm is just off the freeway, past open fields and a small cemetery. We walk the rows of firs and spruces, each of us fighting for our favorite, and then gather around the chosen tree for a family picture. That night, we decorate the tree, darken the rest of the house and sing carols.

    All of these years, no one loved that tradition more than my little sister, Bethany. As the youngest of nine kids, she adored the holidays — the time when her siblings came home and the house filled again with family and noise.

    For us, and for so many families around the world, this Christmas is different.

    This is the first Christmas without Bethany, and the first with Luke. Our son was born six days after my little sister died as she slept in her dorm room. She had COVID-19. She was 20.

    It’s a hard read.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Not really and econ guy, have only taken 4 or 5 econ courses over the years, but I would describe China as Mercantilist mostly. If I understand correctly (IIUC?), most of the billionaires have strong connections to the ruling elites over the time since Deng (IIRC) figured out that market economics didn’t automatically force a country to have democracy, too. Discovering the ability to be both authoritarian pseudo-collectivists and capitalist greedheads was a HUGE breakthrough for China.

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    China managed to combine the worst aspects of capitalism with the worst aspects of communism.

    Yes, that certainly describes the situation adequately.

  37. Teve says:

    “Santa is the luckiest dude in the world. He knows where all the naughty bitches live.”

    -Miley Cyrus

  38. Teve says:

    I see China’s authoritarianism, and the capitalism, but I haven’t studied China so I don’t know how much Communism/collectivism etc still exists. So I want input from more knowledgeable people than myself,

  39. Sleeping Dog says:


    China still has a huge collectivist economic sector, it exists to placate the masses who could end up losers in a more pure, capitalist system. Its inefficiencies are covered up by the growth of the private sector, but the private sector is also hindered by the remnants of collectivism, since frequently those sectors of the economy are protected and limited to state-owned industries.

    At some point the left over collectivism will become a significant drag on the Chinese economy and a crisis will ensue as to how to proceed.

  40. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Playboy, Hustler, and Lad magazine should all use one of the, ahem, earlier photos of Mrs. Trump (along with strategically placed red circles stating “censored”). And do that for 12 issues. Then send the ex-president a cheerful little message about “now your wife has been on as many covers as First Lady Michelle Obama! We’re expecting a thank-you note from both you and your wife. Unless both of you would like to pose nude for our covers in the future?”

  41. grumpy realist says:

    Why is it called Boxing Day? The moniker comes from the tradition of “Christmas boxes,” gifts of money or goods given to tradespeople and servants on the day after Christmas.

    -U.S. News & World Reports

  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Ewww. You just made me barf my lunch with and image of the soon to be ex prez nude.

  43. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Yeah, that would do it. I do recall that the NYPost gleefully printed various nude shots (with breasts and the part Trump likes to grab tastefully obscured) of Melania as well the b&d portfolio back during the 2016 campaign, which is how I knew about them. I may be wrong, but I don’t think “top supermodels,” as Trump is wont to refer to his wife, have to resort to these sorts of gigs. I also don’t recall ever seeing a shot of Melania modeling actual clothing.

    Ah, well. In her career Madame Trump has doubtless made many, many teenaged boys very, very happy. And very likely some older ones, as well.

  44. CSK says:
  45. Sleeping Dog says:


    D$nm you CSK. And just think, James made me stop calling him Tiny.

    BTW, did you see that the Mass State Inspector General came down hard on the Methuen police chief? Problem in Methuen is that too many refugees from Lawrence are there and as we know, Lawrencian’s love their corrupt public officials.

  46. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I thought you’d enjoy the portrait.

    Yes, I did see the news about the Methuen cops. Could they get any more blatant? Speaking of Lawrence, I had a great-aunt who lived there most of her quite long life. She spoke about Essex St. as if it were the Rue de la Paix. I never understood till I saw very old photos of Lawrence.

  47. dazedandconfused says:


    No suggesting I am more knowledgeable than you, but I think it helps to differentiate Marxism from communism. And from Maoism for that matter. There is a mixture of all that in China, and they have embraced many aspects of capitalism to boot. It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world.

    While on the topic of weird stuff…

  48. Sleeping Dog says:


    I was born in Lawrence and lived their till I was 7. Essex St even up to the time I was in junior high was still a vibrant shopping district, though as memory serves me correctly it began to atrophy at either end. By the mid 70’s the street’s fate was sealed. Kaps, moved to the burbs McCartney’s and Sutherland’s closed. The parents of high school friends owned a record store on the street and they hung till the mid 80’s. By that time there were lots of empty store fronts.

    At least today, those store fronts are filled with businesses that meet the needs of the city’s low income populace.

  49. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Morin’s, that tea room/bakery that was famous for some kind of baked good, hung on for a while, too.

  50. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: For the same reason Maine reelected Susan Collins this year: New England Democrats are dopes.

  51. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: Maine has the highest number of elderly people per capita. Florida is 0.1% behind them.

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: For some reason the Donald Jr. clip reminded me of stuff I used to see on The 700 Club while my mom was still alive with Pat Robertson babbling away almost completely incoherent and Terry Meeuwsen sitting off to the side (and slightly out of mic range) agreeing and going along with the schtick. Ewww… (for both images 🙁 )

  53. Teve says:

    36 hours since The Nashville bombing. Trump hasn’t said one word About it. In that 36 hours, he has tweeted about Melania not getting magazine covers, how awful section 230 is, and approximately a dozen tweets about how Joe Biden is an illegitimate president, he stole the election, and the Supreme Court won’t look at the evidence.

  54. CSK says:

    Hey, the man has his priorities.

  55. Teve says:


    The 2 most common conspiracy theories floating around Parler right now are that the FBI set up the explosion in Nashville and/or that it was a drone strike.

    Excerpt from a history textbook published in 2047 A.D.:

    Ironically, America was the birthplace of the early-2000’s Social Media technologies which would completely obliterate the nation a mere 2 decades later. As a result, two of the countries which emerged from the disintegration, Greater California and New New England, prohibit any technologies more Social than group email. Little is known about the interior landmass, except what can be learned through chemical analysis of the ubiquitous smoke pollution. Rumors of the latest Christian Warlords to take power can seldom be verified.

  56. Teve says:

    @CSK: A common comment on Twitter right now is that he is not going to say anything about the Nashville bomber until he finds out if it’s one of his supporters or not.

  57. JohnSF says:

    Oligarchic police state with meritocratic aspects re. access to executive positions, potentially heritable (non-land based neo-aristocracy) with nationalist “success” and economic development as pseudo-popular validation.

    Closest parallels (and they’re not that close) Japan in the later 19th century, Germany after 1870, France under Napoleon III.

  58. CSK says:

    Apparently he did issue a very short statement yesterday, to the effect that he had been briefed on the incident and was grateful for the first responders. He is also said to be praying for the injured. Yeah, sure.

    Nothing since then that I know of.

  59. Teve says:

    @CSK: ah, didn’t see that. I just scanned the last 2 days of his Tweets.

  60. Teve says:

    Prager “University” video explaining that statues of Robert E Lee shouldn’t be taken down because he was an American hero who put down John Brown’s slave revolt at Harpers ferry.

    That was from four days ago. In a more recent post they explain that the reason the South switched to voting Republican is that they left racism behind.

  61. Teve says:


    Lin Wood now explicitly urging Republicans to boycott the Georgia runoff election

    “Fraud will be so obvious, SCOTUS can then invalidate the Presidential election. Real conservative senators can then be appointed after Kemp, Perdue, and Loeffler’s arrest”

  62. CSK says:

    The thought of Trump praying makes me queasy.

  63. CSK says:

    Wood appears to be fucking certifiable.

  64. Sleeping Dog says:


    Morin’s hung on for a long time into the 2000’s, took my mother there to get some bake goods. Another place that hung on forever and is maybe still there, the Cedar Crest on Broadway.

    It’s been years since I was poking around Lawrence, so I can’t remember what was still around. A friend from MN is an archaeologist, and he’s interested in visiting the old mill cities and the mill districts when he gets out here again. I’ll accompany him.

  65. Gustopher says:


    Prager “University” video explaining that statues of Robert E Lee shouldn’t be taken down because he was an American hero who put down John Brown’s slave revolt at Harpers ferry

    That’s supposed to make Robert E. Lee a hero? To whom?

  66. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    The Cedar Crest (Jackie O. went there when she was visiting her son at P.A.) closed its Lawrence location in 2009 and reopened on Chickering Road in No. Andover in 2010. The chicken liver pate was amazing.

  67. JohnSF says:

    If the Chinese ever invade, if they pick the right general, a large part of the South might be ambivalent when they hear: “General Lee takes Washington…”

  68. Teve says:



    Sure. That makes sense.


    Someone saw a Tomahawk (are you still allowed to way Tomahawk?) cruise missile go down the street and turn a corner before exploding in the Dominion Network Server Center!

    Google tells me Tomahawks fly at 550 mph. So yeah, an urban 90-degree turn is perfectly reasonable.

  69. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: to the kind of person who gets his book-larnins from Prager “University”.

  70. Teve says:
  71. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: It’s getting a lot of attention because, at least according to what I’ve been hearing, it’s extreme even by PragerU’s usual (very low) standards.