Steven L. Taylor
Monday, June 6, 2022
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
The seminal event of the twentieth century, I was taught.
My Uncle Walt came ashore at Utah Beach. Don’t know for sure exactly when or where he went from there as my only knowledge of his war comes from a single B&W photo of him sitting in front of a tent with a caption of “Walt at Utah, D-day +3.” My father and all my other uncles* ended up in the Pacific.
*except for Gus who spent the war building barracks here in the US, and Tony who was 4F and spent his war in the Joliet Ammunition plant where he met and eventually married Betty who was almost killed when it blew up.
via Anne Laurie, a couple of covid tweets:
Being an atheist I never paid much attention to the “secretive charismatic Christian group” that ACB belongs to, so I found this article informative. The article basically describes pretty much what one would expect from a charismatic conservative Christian group, and their “ideas” are imo more than a little out there in foul ball territory.
Legal claims shed light on founder of faith group tied to Amy Coney Barrett
The article states that ACB lived with the Ranaghans while going to law school.
@OzarkHillbilly: On the other hand, herd immunity may never have been likely to begin with. Think of our friend, the common cold. Influenza is another example; with vaccination, we keep the count down during a specific season, but that’s not really the same as herd immunity.
From the guardian, comes this little tidbit:
So all that prewar talk from Zelenskyy about how he didn’t think the Russians would actually invade was probably just being hopeful while knowing full well it was only a matter of time.
So, EVERYONE at Disney was coughing. It was like a constant song everywhere. I don’t remember ever getting this far into spring/summer with everywhere sounding like a medical ward.
We had an opportunity to beat Covid and we held a gun to our heads and pulled the trigger instead.
@Beth: I was just discussing with a few other folks that this year seems especially bad for allergies. It has been very rainy around here so I suspect there is a lot of mold in the air.
When it comes to Covid, there is no covid around here. At least that is what all my maskless, not socially distancing, bar hopping, restaurant visiting, Walmart shopping, neighbors tell me. I was reading this morning that the death rate of covid has been dropping, whether that is because of better treatments or less virulence, I don’t know.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: It certainly appears to mutate at a high enough rate that like the flu, we will always have a new variant to deal with.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Here’s the thing:
There was no way to roll out 15 billion doses worldwide, administer all by mid-January 2021, and have everyone take it except for those with valid medical exceptions. That would have made for widespread herd immunity long enough to end the pandemic, even if the virus remained with us.
But I still lay the continued duration of the pandemic squarely on those who 1) won’t get vaccinated and 2) have stopped taking precautions.
Spoiler warning for part III of Kenobi.
All that Vader did when meeting Kenobi was spot on in character, so I should have no complaints. Except, I have one.
I refer you to the infamous “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” scene in Revenge of the Sith. This happens when Vader asks for Padme, and Palpatine says “You killed her.”
Now, maybe after the confrontation with Padme, the fight with Obi Wan, and the very painful near death ordeal, his memories of the day are all effed up. But his love for Padme was real and intense, so it would be inhuman of him not to want to ask a relevant question from the only other person present that day.
Therefore before the confrontation, Vader should have asked Kenobi, “How did Padme die?”
Never mind that he knew she was pregnant, so he should also have asked about the children.
Of course, part of the problem with this prequel is that we already know what happens later and who knew what, therefore asking such questions is problematic. and it can all be chalked up to “Vader blindly believes and obeys Palpatine, because as cool as he looks and as cruel as he is, he’s really a second fiddle in the Empire, and will be until he overthrows his master.
Boris Johnson is to face a vote of confidence among Conservative MPs after the threshold of 54 letters requesting a vote was passed.
Vote will take place this evening.
My guess: he’ll win, but not overwhelmingly.
Majority is 180; suspect he’ll end with maybe 240-ish.
Though he’ll try to cling on if he gets a bare majority.
But under a three quarters majority means he is perilously weak; bad by election results in June could then produce a Cabinet revolt and a second challenge.
If I never paid my bills, I’d have much more money than I do now.
Haven’t seen it but the prequels always gave me the sense that the twins were a secondary thought at best in Anakin’s obsession with Padme. He was so singularly focused on her – loving her, saving her, holding her up as his perfect Soulmate – that the fact she was pregnant was more “oh my WIFE is doing something amazing!”, not “OMG I’m gonna be a dad!”. Anakin’s a classic case of BPD wherein love can be a black/white, change on a dime, to the exclusion of all else focus. The kids would have been seen as secondary to their union or to Padme herself, a part of her to care about but not as high a priority.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Anakin simply assumed they died just because *she* died. After all, why would child outlive it’s mother when the mother was the center of his world? He lost
herthem all, end of story – if he bothered to check, it would have been with someone who parroted the official in-universe line and confirmed no survivors. Obi-wan would have been a good source to confirm but it would also mean pulling up that trauma and assuming he wouldn’t lie just to hurt Anakin, another common BPD assumption.
Talking out of both sides of one’s mouth never makes any sense.
All that makes sense.
Therefore Vader would find it useful to know he did not, in fact, kill her.
As for the children, I can handwave that with Vader’s position as second fiddle in the empire. We know the emperor knows the Skywalker offspring are deadly dangerous to him. So said Obi Wan in episode VI. Vader maybe doesn’t see it.
@OzarkHillbilly: I was once that guy. It was a long time ago. I can imagine myself, in those days, making that decision, and saying those kinds of things.
I can appreciate that much harm has been done to gay folks under this banner, but I’m guessing not by guys like Adam, but who can tell really. Though it isn’t Jesus who is commanding this. Jesus had nothing to say about gay or trans people. That’s other parts of the Bible.
@OzarkHillbilly: I’ve always thought this blanket “Religion is off limits” thing is misguided when it comes to elected and appointed office. The specific beliefs and actions of the religion matters.
I just don’t see it. Yes, we had an opportunity to greatly reduce the number of deaths from COVID. The majority of Americans seized that opportunity but unfortunately a significant minority did not and so we have a million dead that didn’t have to die. But given what we know now about COVID and the ever more transmissible variants that keep on coming, we were never going to “beat” COVID. It’s endemic and it was always going to be endemic.
Indeed. With Dominionism and Catholic Integralism having become very real things, as Ozark noted about the Coney Barrett woman, it would seem highly relevant to ask about religious views. However, if asked, the candidates in question don’t seem to take very seriously the thing about not bearing false witness. In every school board election I fear I may accidentally vote for some closeted Creationist.
Once upon a time, in Camelot, JFK had to pledge he wouldn’t let his Catholic beliefs dictate his actions on public policy. Now Biden and Pelosi are being attacked, and Pelosi denied communion, for not letting the Pope dictate their actions in their public capacity.
I don’t know whether it was here or elsewhere that I commented that Musk’s tweet about cutting 10% of employees had the distinct “things we say while doing cocaine” vibe and that I would be astounded if the actual execs at his companies took him seriously. And… here’s his “clarification”
@CSK: Proof that a lack of money isn’t necessarily the cause for someone being a deadbeat.
In the entire history of Congress, there’s only been one member who was openly an atheist: Pete Stark from California. At present, only Kyrsten Sinema identifies as “unaffiliated.”
It’s interesting how we demand that our leaders profess some religion when 26% of Americans aren’t religious. A friend of mine from Texas says that people in the south view religious observance as a sign of good character. Just like Roy Moore, for example. Great character. Just ask all the teen girls he molested.
This is interesting:
I’m pretty sure the number of religiously indifferent legislators is substantial. They have to claim to be faithful just in order to get elected.
I was thinking: Why doesn’t Trump get the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers to provide security? I’m sure they’d do it for free, plus provide their own ammo and transportation.
@Jay L Gischer: Pardon me, I misspoke. The only thing Jesus had to say about gay and trans people was this: “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
Elon is on track to join Howard Hughes.
I wonder if he has drafted a will already.
@Kathy: More and more Musk’s public comments strike me as drug fueled.
@CSK: That kind of charge isn’t one that he has to pay. It’s a charge that the event has to pay? How can he be blamed for the fact that the event doesn’t have any money?
You people are so unfair. It’s perverse!
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
All right all ready. I’m a pervert. I admit it.
@CSK: I’m not sure that it’s a “we demand” situation as it is a “they dissemble” because of a desire not to potentially alienate the other 74%. It’s a variation on “I smoked but didn’t enhale.”
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
It probably depends on what part of the country from which one hails. The religious issue is clearly important to a lot of southerners and midwesterners. In the northeast, not so much. And nowadays, even less so here than fifty years ago.
I recall once reading that Dave Powers, in an effort to rehab JFK’s reputation after all the sordid revelations about the latter’s womanizing came out, earnestly claiming that he and JFK got down on their knees and prayed each night before bed. I burst out laughing.
@Jay L Gischer: When some body says something like,
I can’t respect it, especially when as you note, Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality.
I agree that the specific beliefs and actions matter but the subject does have to be approached cautiously. After all, the constitution says, “but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
I don’t think Trump is aware that there’s a difference between “perverse” and “perverted.”
A big difference.
@Jay L Gischer: Also, if one considers gay people to be lesser, he said, “Whatever you do to the least of these, so you do unto me.”
In those days, my best reconciliation was that engaging in homosexual sex was exactly the same amount of sinful as engaging in premarital or extramarital heterosexual sex.
I’m a bit embarrassed by that now. Sex is something that brings people so much happiness (and also more than a little distress, but we seem to think its worth it), I can’t really countenance banning it outright.
In today’s Atlantic: First Wave at Omaha Beach
@Kathy: Padme’s funeral was open casket, and her dress was stuffed so she looked pregnant, so no one would know the kids survived.
And I assume Vader believed the Emperor’s claim the he killed Padme because he was emotionally devastated at the time, and it fit with the self-pitying “my life is over” thing he was probably going through having lost his limbs, been set on fire, needing a suit to breathe… and once it becomes part of his self pitying tragic backstory, he will never question it.
Had he ever discovered the truth, that she simply lost the Will to live, he would have dismissed it out of hand as being too stupid to be believed.
I don’t really think that was a dress-stuffing. Women don’t automatically go back to having flat bellies after giving birth, particularly not after having twins.
I agree with that completely. However, no requirement for office is not the same as “voters shall not consider the beliefs a candidate holds that they happen to label religious”. That’s not only unenforceable but also undesirable.
@OzarkHillbilly: Having visited the American military cemetery overlooking Omaha twice, I still am astounded by the fact that any GIs were able to get across the beach alive.
I bet that’s a good chunk of that. I have goo spraying out of my eyes from all that. But, even taking that into account, there was an unreasonable amount of coughing and I’m sure more than a few actively positive people based on the amount of people grousing about masks.
@Jay L Gischer:
In my experience, guys like Adam and those other Rays players are the same sort of people who will stand back while their friend’s bash a gay couple’s teeth in for holding hands. I know we are “supposed” to find people like him palatable, but he’s just a big a monster as Liz Cheney.
I can’t say why Palpatine lied to Vader, but the latter would not want to believe it even if he did think the former had told him the truth. I think three eps remain, so he has another chance to ask.
In the movies and TV, though, monsters usually have no agency.
Didn’t we all react that way? 🙂
@Jen: It has been explained in the lore as dress stuffing, prosthetic pregnancy, etc., specifically to help hide the kids.
This may have been explained just for the benefit of men, of course.
@Beth: Maybe he is that guy. I couldn’t say different. However, I can imagine myself, at that age, saying something similar, and I would never have had friends like that in the first place, let alone stand by.
And sometimes people stand by, not because they approve, but because they feel helpless to stop things.
Of course you would consider him a threat, though. That makes sense. I feel I could probably make some progress if I were given the chance to talk to him, though. I’m not particularly threatened by him, and that helps me.
China’s population set to shrink for the first time since the Great Famine.
@Kathy: He knew he force choked her, and that she fell to the ground, and that now she is dead — there was a funeral and everything.
There are also comic books, Greg Pak’s run on Darth Vader where he does investigate to see if she is really dead, or whether the body was one of her handmaiden/decoys. One shouldn’t have to rely on comics to explain the tv show, granted, but it is there.*
If anything, I would expect that Vader has convinced himself the Obi-wan turned Padme against him, and that the whole thing is Obi-wan’s fault.
Also, I assume it was the added trauma of childbirth which caused those injuries to kill her. (And that the medical robot was just a victim shaming asshole…)
*: Some of the comics are quite good. Chris Soule does a storyline about Vader getting back in the Emperor’s good graces after the Death Star fiasco, and the early part of Doctor Aphra is great (she’s a mildly evil Indiana Jones knock-off, who often has a homicidal protocol droid and astromech in tow… just delightful.) Greg Pak is often good, but I lost track of the story due to production delays, so I cannot knowledgeably recommend.
I love the homicidal protocol droid and astromech pair. Dialog from memory:
“He’s saying ‘I’m on fire, help me, help me’ and then a lot of untranslatable guttural screams.”
“Quite right. They always say the same thing. Not very original. I guess it’s just in their programming.”
Yeah, religion has always been a consideration in voters evaluation of candidates (as noted above, how many out and proud atheists have there been in Congress?), but we weren’t talking about candidates, we were talking about judges and SC Justices. I’m just saying that one has to ask a question of a nominee that gets to the core belief in a non-religious way. How does one do that? Eliphino, I’m not a particularly eloquent person.
@Beth: Oh yeah, denial is not a river in Misery, it’s a crowd of shoppers at the local Walmart.
@Jay L Gischer: I’m glad you were smacked in the side of the head with a brick or something and got a clue. And I hope it was before you ever had something to really regret.
I don’t quite understand the Christians who dig for rules in the Old Testament that can be used to hurt people. They’re missing the big picture — kindness.
I would love for someone to slip things into newer translations like “god judges so you don’t have to. Actually, you’re kind of treading on his territory when you do.” We really should rewrite that thing, hand out countless copies of the rewritten one, and try to get rid of the old ones. Go to churches and swap editions, etc. Maybe make up a fake history.
If we can believe the thousands of lies about American history, surely we can rewrite religious history.
I’ll second that recommendation for the Star Wars comics. Very original and fun, while working within the constraints of Star Wars canon.
There’s a subplot in Babylon 5 where Vir, the assistant to the Centauri ambassador, kills his mad emperor just in time to avert a major disaster. He wasn’t supposed to do it, but he was supposed to be there and help the actual perpetrator, the ambassador, to carry it out.
So this was a planned assassination, which deviated from the plan only insofar as who pulled the (figurative) trigger.
Just the same, a short time later Vir is shown waking up suddenly and saying “I didn’t do it!”
I should think Vader has had similar thoughts.
I agree the whole “lost the will to live” was ridiculous. But that’s the canon and writers coming in later ought to put it to some good use.
Suppose at some point in their encounter in part III, preferably before dragging Obi Wan through a roaring fire, Vader had asked “How did Padme die?” What does Kenobi reply? Does he even reply?
I always assumed medical malfeasance. Either (1) the medics and droids messed up and lied about it or (2) they had no idea what they were doing and assumed loss of life signs was the same as “lost the Will to live” due bad / limited programming.
I guess you could suppose that since Palpatine had access to Nabooian droids & networks while she was pregnant meant he could have left a nasty little surprise to be rid of Padme – a failsafe or punishment for Anakin. He’d need her dead to get his Vader after all. Occam’s Razor suggests though it was poor medical care from the droids and the default error message of “lost Will to live” when they weren’t sure of cause of death. The 404 Not Found of fatalities, if you will….
You seem to have been right on target with that prediction.
Results of Conservative parliamentary party vote of confidence in the Prime Minister:
Confidence: 211 MPs
No confidence: 148 MPs
Did even worse than I predicted (around 240).
Worse than May or Thatcher when they were forced out.
If the “payroll vote” of 173 ministers, ministerial assistants etc (not all actually paid) was solid that would mean only 38 backbench MPs voted for Johnson!
In fact I’d bet a sizable sum that several Cabinet ministers voted no.
Forthcoming Cabinet meetings will be such equable,businesslike and collegial affairs. 🙂
Johnson’s a walking corpse.
Absolutely perfect result for Labour: Johnson mortally wounded, but will cling on.
Probably another attempt on him later this year.
Time to “bed in” a new leader running out.
Conservative factions at daggers drawn; leadership contenders will be focused on their prospects.
Government like a scorpion pit.
Bloody bad for the country, though.
If the charlatan had any honour he’d jack it in now.
If the Cabinet consisted of vertebrates, they’d force him to.
Nonetheless, your call was pretty accurate.
@Kathy: Anakin always seemed more prone to self-pity and blaming others than in denial. “You made me kill her!” is more believable than “how did she really die?”
At least, that’s what I’ve always gotten from the character.
(Also, ladies, if your man goes off and slaughters the sand people — men, women and children — this is called a “red flag” and may be a sign of a potential domestic abuser. Just because you knew him back when you were a teenager and he was an infatuated 8 year old is no reason to give him a pass on slaughtering men, women and children. I don’t want to blame the victim, but… there were signs that he needed help, and he was never getting that help)
As far as “she lost the will to live” goes… I’m ok with glossing over bits of canon that are just dumb if doing so helps the story. “Darth” was clearly a first name in the original movie, so things get changed.
Maybe it was a common expression for someone dying. Totally ignorable.
Maybe there is a story about Palpatine siphoning off her life force. Or even Vader doing so accidentally. Also fine.
Hard to just say “The Rise of Skywalker” never happened. Or all the sequels (the middle one was the best movie it could be given the first, but they are all at least a little rough), for that matter. But one line that has other reasonable explanations? Story shouldn’t be a complete slave to canon. Respect canon, for the most part, but deviate when needed.
Otherwise you end up with R5-D4 being the most important droid ever, nobly sacrificing his motivator…
Also, Darth Vader at one point has to consider that Han Solo flew onto the Death Star with his (Vader’s) mentor/teacher/best-friend, his son, his former astromech, the protocol droid he built as a child and a Wookiee friend of Yoda’s (did Obi-Wan ever meet Chewbacca before then? Wookiee friend of someone he knew and respected as teacher #3 or so is still close). Given that the daughter was in a cell, it was a big family reunion. Han is the odd one out.
Do we ever learn of Han Solo’s family? I’m calling it now — he’s Obi-Wan’s abandoned child. He can fly through asteroid fields, which requires some pre-cog ability, so untrained force powers.
I just read of the mass shooting in Chattanooga, so now I am checking my email for word of old friends who live there. I’d send them an email or call them but it’s been 10 or 15 years since last I saw them so I’m just gonna have to wait for the old caver grapevine to pass bad news down, or not. I suspect not, but a couple were on the younger side.
Three dead, seventeen wounded. Swell.
@CSK: FTR, I’m not really worried but still… Nobody thinks it will happen until it does. In a few days of not hearing anything I’ll relax.
@Jay L Gischer:
They eventually turn 18 and move out.
Here’s the thing:
We know Kenobi won’t die or even sustain serious injuries, because he looks fine a few years later when he gets Luke involved in a “damned fool, idealistic crusade.” Likewise we know Vader won’t die, because he was just fine by the time he fails to stop Leia’s ship from slinking off with the Death Star plans transmitted by the rebels. And we know Leia will also be ok because see the preceding sentence.
I suppose over the next three eps, old Ben might inflict another serious injury on his wayward padawan and perhaps leave him a few limbs short and in horrible pain.
So what’s left to find out from these three character? That Obi Wan is so depressed he lost his mojo and has to get it back?
Thus far, I’m more interested in the Inquisitors, namely because the one Reva attacked should still be alive years from now when he runs into Kanan and Ezra.
But I guess there was no shortage of formula at Disney…
Well, they’re all Jedi, except Han and Chewbacca. So maybe it was an incipient “meet the (surviving) parent,” but no one quite realized it.
@Kathy: The Inquisitors are great — or at least Reva is. Moses Ingram steals every scene she is in.
(It’s also possible that she can climb along the ceiling of a tunnel to get ahead of a small child that she was following… luckily not letting her cape dangle and brush against the kid as she passed. Or she figured out where the tunnel would lead, left the tunnel, got on a speeder, went in the other end, but that’s less interesting than the Spider-Inquisitor holding her cape up as she sneaks past an 8 year old just to make a dramatic appearance)
As far as what else? There are lots of stories where we know the beginning and the end and it’s all about the journey, and they can be great stories. The entire Clone Wars cartoon was basically that — we know where everyone ends up at the end, with a few exceptions here and there.
I didn’t buy Ewan McGregor’s broken man Obi-Wan, so I’m not terribly invested in his character arc, but that’s less because I know how it will end, and more because it’s not well done (and that redemption arc is basically done by the end of the second episode…)
@JohnSF: “In fact I’d bet a sizable sum that several Cabinet ministers voted no.”
Well, sure. They’re either gunning for his job or aligned with someone else who is and who promised them a better gig.
And it’s not like they’re going to stop going after him just because they lost this one.