Christmas Eve Forum

Photo by SLT
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. Kathy says:

    Hoping I can get a COVID booster today.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    By the look in it’s eyes I can tell that that cat has mischief on it’s mind.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Owner Steve Cohen’s Mets finished with a tax payroll of $374.7m, according to figures finalized by Major League Baseball on Thursday and obtained by the Associated Press. That topped the previous high of $291.1m by the 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers.

    The Mets’ tax bill came to $100,781,932 after they finished fourth in the NL East at 75-87 in the most expensive flop in baseball history. That more than doubled the prior high of $43.6m by the 2015 Dodgers.

    The Mets saved about $18m for this year with their summer selloff that saw them trade Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Robertson and Mark Canha. Their projected tax payroll on 30 June was $384m, according to MLB, and that additional $9.3m in payroll would have resulted in a tax $8.4m higher.

    The final amount owed by the Mets would have been slightly more, but they benefited from a tax credit of $2,126,471 under a provision in the latest collective bargaining agreement for an payroll overcharge involving three players they traded. New York’s two-year tax total is $131.6m.

    Penny wise and pound foolish. I wonder if they’ve changed their GM yet.

  4. Kathy says:


    I thought one can tell a cat has mischief on their mind because they are a cat.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:


    They did change GM’s, but the decisions on last year’s payroll is all on Cohen.

  6. Kathy says:

    Waiting for the covid booster. There’s not a line, not even many people looking for one (actually the count is 3).

    But it’s a holiday, it’s early, and maybe as I’ve noted enthusiasm for a booster isn’t as high as initial developments indicated.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m gradually coming to the conclusion that in this stats driven era of managing a baseball team, paying for the best of the best leaves you with great individuals who don’t function as a team. I’m not sure why, though. Baseball is nothing if not a series of one on one contests, so I’m not sure why having a cohesive team can outweigh having a bunch of great pitchers and hitters.

  8. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: No, no, no! That cat is entranced in the awe and splendor of its first ever Christmas.

    Away with you, varlet!

  9. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: It’s all conspicuous consumption. Thorstein Veblen would be awestruck at the scale.

  10. CSK says:


    It’s a deceptively sweet-looking kitty, isn’t it?

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I thought they were all sweet looking. And innocent too.

  12. @OzarkHillbilly: 100%

  13. CSK says:


    “Dogs are very mysterious and often do things I don’t understand.” — Robert B. Parker

    Substitute “cats” for “dogs.”

  14. DrDaveT says:


    I’m gradually coming to the conclusion that in this stats driven era of managing a baseball team, paying for the best of the best leaves you with great individuals who don’t function as a team.

    I think the problem is more likely to be that the players you can pay for are not the best of the best, even if you are astute enough to project future performance accurately.

    Under current MLB indentured servitude collective bargaining agreements, teams control players who enter the league for 6 years before they are eligible to be free agents. A player drafted out of college at 22 who then spends 2 years in the minors before breaking in as a 25-year-old rookie will be 31 or 32 before he plays his first game as a newly-signed free agent. This means that nearly every player who become a free agent is already well past their peak, in terms of performance. The exceptions are very hard to forecast.

    Is this a bad thing? I have mixed feelings. I don’t really want the richest team to always win. On the other hand, I would prefer that players (including minor league players) get paid something closer to their market values. ‘Tis a puzzlement.

  15. CSK says:


    Compras de Navidad.

  16. Mister Bluster says:

    The Gift of the Magi
    O. Henry

    One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

  17. Mr. Prosser says:

    I have all the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums set up and ready to play. As far as I’m concerned they’re the best Christmas and holiday albums EVAH.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: Baseball contract and salary rules are pretty arcane, but I don’t think they are necessarily unfair to the players, except for perhaps the most elite. If you think about the average player, they come into the minors at either 18 years old out of high school and spend 3-5 years in the minors before going up (if they make it at all – most don’t), or 2-3 years if they come in through college. And then for most players they go up and down several times before they play consistently enough to be a net positive. And three years after their ML debut their salaries are calculated by arbitration. I suspect the only players whose arbitration value is substantially less than their actual value are the ones who are so famous they can draw in significant number of fans on their own. But in any given year that’s probably less than 1% of all players.

  19. DrDaveT says:


    Baseball contract and salary rules are pretty arcane, but I don’t think they are necessarily unfair to the players, except for perhaps the most elite.

    Also the least elite. Minor league players are treated like crap, and most of them never earn anything in the majors. There are now organizations that will buy a share of any future MLB earnings from minor league players — and I support them in this. The amount they pay looks like actual wealth, compared to what minor league players make, and anyone who genuinely makes it in the majors won’t miss that 10% or whatever it is that they sold.

    …but the bottom line is that we know how much MLB salary rules are unfair to the players by how hard the owners fight to keep them in place. That’s been true since the days of the reserve clause and no free agency at all.

  20. just nutha says:

    @DrDaveT: While we’re wishing for things, I’d add livable wages for workers at large.

  21. JohnSF says:

    Off to spend Christmas with family.
    No internet is the rule!
    Best wishes to all of you!
    Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it.
    A cool Yule and and seasons blessings to all!

  22. Beth says:

    It is 55 and raining in the St. Paul, MN suburbs. This is the coldest winter we will experience in our lives.

  23. JohnSF says:

    Now a pre-Christmas downer: Iranian drone strike on a chemical tanker in the Indian Ocean.
    As this was “a Liberia-flagged, Japanese-owned, and Netherlands-operated chemical tanker“, in seas India regards as of vital interest, I’d venture Iran is really pushing it’s luck.

    Also, UK has announced HMS Trent will be assigned to “joint exercises” with Guyana in January.
    IOW: dear Venezuela, best back off.
    Next step would be deploying a Type 45 &/0r Type 23, and then a Royal Marines battalion.
    Thing is, naval assets are getting a bit stretched, what with Med, Red Sea, Gulf etc.
    Lesson to government: economising on the Royal Navy may seem clever.
    It’s not.

  24. JohnSF says:

    After a coldish spell in England for a while, the temperature today was up to 15C.
    Very mild indeed for this time of the year.
    Though not unknown for a sou’ westerly.
    If the sun had come out here, it’d have been positively warm.
    I had to shed a layer on a walk in the woods this afternoon.
    OTOH, due to airflow difference, Scotland is getting snow.

  25. Barry says:

    Merry Christmas, everybody!

  26. Jack says:

    In other news:

    George Santos is hired as fact checker by The New York Times. Criticizes Trump.

    OTB commenters praise him profusely.

  27. Beth says:



  28. Jax says:

    @Beth: I always just imagine him as a troll living under a bridge that the Infrastructure Bill passed by Pelosi and Biden is about to demolish and upgrade. He can’t help but Troll, even on Christmas Eve. I bet his relatives are dreading tomorrow. 😛

  29. Kathy says:


    Worry if the troll’s ramblings ever seem to make sense.

  30. Beth says:


    I was genuinely confused. I read that and wondered if I took an edible and forgot.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: @Kathy: @Beth: We get some of the most idiotic trolls.