Friday’s 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. DK says:

    Ron DeFascist and Florida Republicans using goverment power to retaliate against the opinions of Disney employees — with a potential $1 billion middle class tax hike — is a literal, authoritarian 1st Amendment violation.

    I’m sure the New York Times editors will be all over this grave threat to free speech, like they were about private citizens exercising our right to shun, mean tweet, and boycott.

  2. CSK says:

    I wish it had gone differently. But the power of the base to terrify remains:

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DK: Florida is seriously homophobic, absolutely terrified of the gay. Rather fitting for the state that is the penis of America.

  4. KM says:

    It’s also an extremely chilling reminder to business that conservatives can and will attempt to destroy them for even the most milquetoast failure to bend the knee. This really feels like the dog that caught the car but it shows just how fast this nonsense gets out of hand.

    Anyone running a business in a GOP-controlled area – ESPECIALLY with a leader aiming to be Prez – should be scared for their livelihood. Since the GOP will adapt any insanity that the internet and media spews out as actionable fact to please their base, it means suddenly you have to wholehearted play along with the Cray-Cray of the Month or they’ll strip you of legal rights and powers. Disney went along with Don’t Say Gay for the most part, only initially offering the blandest CYA message to it’s employees and look what happened. Disney can fight back – most won’t be able to.

    The GOP is NOT the Part of Business and never was. They will cheerfully destroy you and your hard work to score a cheap, meaningless point with their followers. Chapek isn’t liberal by any means and look what that got him – it doesn’t matter if you’re on their side, espouse their views or give them money on the side. DeSantis needs to make his bones to run for the WH and decided Disney’s corpse was the key.

  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Has everyone heard about the Kevin McCarthy tape and his lying ways?
    Also a reminder that the Margie 3-Names 14th Amendment hearing is being livestreamed on C-Span starting at 9:30am.

  6. Kathy says:

    Over at the Our Fake History Podcast, Sebastian Major has just completed a three part episode on the many myths surrounding the Titanic.

    One thing the myths get right is there weren’t enough lifeboats for the whole crew and passenger complement. Had there been, given hos long it took the ship to sink, the loss of life would have been much smaller.

    He didn’t say it, but this points to one other myth on the part of small government types. here goes:

    Fact: Regulations at the time did not mandate a minimum number of lifeboats sufficient for the whole passenger and crew complement.

    Fact: Titanic nonetheless carried a few more lifeboats than were mandated

    Myth: had there been no regulation at all on the number of lifeboats, Titanic would have carried enough.

    Fact again: nothing prevent anyone from exceeding the minimum requirements mandated by regulations. In fact, the White Star Line did just that, even if not by enough.

    What this myth proves is the regulations were inadequate. Not, as some would have it, that absent regulations every ship would carry enough lifeboats. More likely, they’d have carried less. they cost money and take up space, after all, and ships don’t sink every time you sail them. Better to save money, add revenue opportunities on board, and take the occasional loss of crew and passengers as the lower expense.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: You could argue instead that this proves the Libertarian fallacy, i.e. that companies will do the right thing because it is in their best interests. This is a company that spent the equivalent of 100’s of millions of dollars on this boat, designed every light fixture and door handle down to the nth degree, and merely checked a box when it came to safety.

    As I understand it, there were enough seats in lifeboats but the crew did very little safety training and so chaos ensued when there was a real emergency. Boats pulled away half empty. The company didn’t want to spend the money ensuring the crew would know how to survive. Of course according to Libertarians this is self correcting, as the people who died will switch to another, more safer, cruise line in the future…

  8. Kathy says:


    I forget the exact numbers, but there weren’t enough seats in the lifeboats, even though the voyage was nowhere near sold out. Had the ship been full, even more people would have died.

    The lack of training is so. Many, not all, the boats were lowered half full, apparently because there was some belief they’d capsize if full (then why make them with all that room and seats?)

    After the Titanic disaster, then regulations changed and companies had an incentive to put more lifeboats in.

    What companies risk for profit or just because they can amazes me. You’d think airlines, for example, would not skimp on maintenance because each aircraft is a huge capital asset. Well, yes. but each aircraft is also insured.

    And there’s biases. In my reading of commercial aircraft accidents, one thing that stands out is how many times an accident could have been prevented had the crew decided for a go-around, rather than trying to land RIGHT NOW. Even in cases where a go-around is indicated clearly, such as being below the glide slope without eyes on the runway. I think there’s a very strong preference to land RIGHT NOW if a landing is even remotely possible.

  9. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Yes. The article I linked to from the Boston Globe goes into this. Is mccarthy trying to deny that it’s him on the tape?

  10. gVOR08 says:


    Florida is seriously homophobic, absolutely terrified of the gay.

    As far as I can tell on the ground, no more so other states. (Unaware of any hard data.) What we have is a governor desperate to exploit any opportunity to throw red meat to the GOP base. And to macho posture by attacking anyone he can paint as an enemy.

  11. senyordave says:

    @gVOR08: I’m starting to think of DeSantis as a less likable version of George Wallace. He’s a smart enough guy to know what he’s doing is wrong, but he’s decided that he’ll do anything to get to the top. But I think he comes off as smug, and I don’t see him having much national appeal other than his base.
    I’m in Florida for six months right now, and the Disney thing seems to blowing up in his face. Taxpayer in Osceola and Orange county will be left holding the bag on a $1 billion+ in bonds. If that is the case he may lose some serious votes over this.

  12. @senyordave:

    and I don’t see him having much national appeal other than his base.

    But, as I constantly note, all he needs is his base if it is enough to win the primary for the GOP nomination (as per Trump). Once nominated, our party system will give him the national support needed to possibly win the presidency, especially given the EC advantage the GOP has.

  13. CSK says:

    Key West is the top spot for LGBTQ people in the U.S. And Miami and Fort Lauderdale aren’t far behind.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    Drum has a post up where he gives an example of one of the things the textbooks in Florida were rejected for and, in all honesty, I would reject a math textbook for that reason. (It was a chart correlating increasing prejudice with increasing conservatism. It may be true, but it has no place in a math textbook.) But in reality Drum, and most of the press, is getting rolled because it is likely NOT an example from the textbooks submitted. From the source article, “ the following are examples provided to the department by the public”. From context it is clear they are claiming some kind of non-disclosure prohibits them from releasing the actual examples. Who knows where this is actually from, or if it is even real.

  15. just nutha says:

    @KM:I’ve noted in the past that GOP (and by extention, conservative) economic policy may well be good for capital but are not particularly good for business. It seems logical that Republicans are the party of owners of capital and that conservatism is the political philosophy of aristocracy/oligarchy. What our society needs now is more people realizing that they will never be part of the aristocracy. Conservatism thrives on aspiration.

  16. Mu Yixiao says:

    Yesterday I mentioned that I’ve been working one day a week at our 2nd plant. After my first day there, I completely forgot about the breakroom. I had lunch there yesterday.

    This is the breakroom.

  17. sam says:


    I’m in Florida for six months right now, and the Disney thing seems to blowing up in his face. Taxpayer in Osceola and Orange county will be left holding the bag on a $1 billion+ in bonds. If that is the case he may lose some serious votes over this.

    It takes a special kind of stupid to be a Republican legislator in Florida: Disney World’s Reedy Creek: What happens after the special district is abolished?

  18. just nutha says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Significantly nicer than any breakroom/faculty room/staff dining room I’ve ever experienced. Beware of management realizing how much it costs to keep it looking nice. The best result comes from managers being too busy to eat away from the business. If they start going out to lunch as a habit, expect folding tables and chairs in your future.

  19. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    You should see the faculty dining room at the Harvard Law School. Linens. Fresh flowers on every table, every day.

  20. reid says:

    The GOP has really become the party of “greedy” politics, and I’m using the term to mean “choose to say and do whatever seems beneficial at this second in time without a great deal of thought”. Trump was a master of that because he was incapable of anything more, but so many other Republicans seem to do the same thing.

  21. Beth says:

    Anyone happen to know off hand whether Osceola and Orange counties lean more Republican or Democrat? I had just assumed they were more D than not and Desantis didn’t care if it stuck it to them or not. It would work like a twofer for him.

  22. Jon says:

    @MarkedMan: Sounds like Kevin did, indeed, fall for it.

  23. Mu Yixiao says:

    @just nutha:

    Never happen. The culture of the company isn’t about making a huge profit. The mission statement of the company is literally “Have fun and make money.”

    Plus… it’s employee owned. The managers are the ones that built things like that breakroom with their own hands.

  24. senyordave says:

    @Beth: Orange county went 61 to 39 for Biden, Osceola went 56 to 43 for Biden. But Orange county is big with 1.4 million people, and Trump got 245k votes. DeSantis only won in 2018 by 33k votes, so he can’t afford to piss off too many voters.

  25. CSK says:

    A Russian Brigadier General says that Russia will invade Moldova in order to create “a land corridor to Crimea.”

  26. charon says:


    I hate links to inaccessible paywalled stuff. WTF is your point?

  27. Beth says:


    That’s kinda what I thought. I didn’t know about the 33k part though. That just makes it more hilarious. Should we take bets on when it gets quietly repealed right before it goes into effect?

  28. Jon says:

    Also when pressed for details, the DeSantis admin had this to say:

    Department spokesperson Cassie Palelis did not identify the books and referred CNN to the agency website showing “a few examples” that were “received from the public.” It’s unclear exactly what the specific concerns were with the four examples.

    So they are saying the examples (two of which were very clearly not math problems) were received from the public, and seem to just be implying they are from the actual books in question.

  29. Neil Hudelson says:


    Desantis won by only 33,000 votes out of 8 million or so (IIRC). Even blue counties have R voters, so this might not be a great move on his part. Voters also have a very, very short memory. And it’s Florida. So who knows.

  30. Mu Yixiao says:


    DeSantis only won in 2018 by 33k votes, so he can’t afford to piss off too many voters.

    And how many of those 33k are now dead because of COVID and refusal to vaccinate? (Google says 73,789)

  31. sam says:


    Dissolving Walt Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District could saddle local taxpayers with about $1 billion in debt and leave local governments scrambling with how to take over vital services for Florida’s top tourist attraction.

    State legislators passed a bill Thursday that dissolves the district The Walt Disney Co. uses to self-govern its Florida theme park properties on June 1, 2023. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been battling with the entertainment giant, was expected to sign it into law.

    What happens next is unclear, but Orange County’s tax collector and other opponents of the bill say ending Reedy Creek could lead to higher taxes for Orange and Osceola residents.

    The Legislature did not conduct an economic study on the ramifications of dissolving the district. Legislators spent only two days examining the bill, unveiled on Tuesday, providing little opportunity for public input.[My emphasis]

    Not even the bill’s sponsors — Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, and Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay — could provide the intricate details of how Reedy Creek would be dissolved, saying the matter will be hammered out in the next year.

    [ Over protests, Florida House votes to abolish Disney World’s district and approve DeSantis’ map ]

    Democrats warn property owners could be hit with higher tax bills if Republicans proceed with their plan. Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Lighthouse Point, estimated it would cost the average family in Orange and Osceola counties $2,200 to pick up the district’s outstanding debt and obligations. No detailed nonpartisan figures have been produced on the potential tax liability of dissolving the district.

    “It’s shoot first and ask questions later. … And maybe if Disney behaves over the next election cycle, we’ll undo it,” Farmer said.

    Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said Thursday that taking over Reedy Creek’s “first response and public safety components” with no new revenue would be “catastrophic” for the county’s budget.

    “It would put an undue burden on the rest of the taxpayers of Orange County to fill that gap,” he said.

  32. JohnSF says:


    …Russia will invade Moldova in order to create “a land corridor to Crimea.”

    “And then we invade the Moon to create a corridor to Mars! More vodka, Sergei?”
    “One dream at a time, Vova. Drink!”

  33. CSK says:

    Well, when everyone on the planets hates you for one reason or another, you have no recourse but outer space.

  34. Gustopher says:


    Rather fitting for the state that is the penis of America.

    The flaccid penis, at that.

  35. Jen says:


    And maybe if Disney behaves over the next election cycle, we’ll undo it,” Farmer said.

    This…seems like a pretty clear case of government trying to regulate speech.

    And coercion, with a whiff of blackmail.

  36. Jen says:

    DeSantis has signed the Disney bill.

    I’m still a bit shell-shocked that this is the route he’s decided to take.

  37. CSK says:

    Actually, the line is borrowed from Dylan Thomas, but I’d drop dead of shock if MTG knew that.

  38. charon says:



  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: OK, correction: Far too many of your elected representatives are seriously homophobic, absolutely terrified of the gay and re-elected all too often. Rather fitting for the state that is the penis of America.

  40. inhumans99 says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Nice, my brother recently put up some pics for me to view the work/break room areas of the Venice, CA Google Office he went to when he went down to my parents house in the San Fernando Valley to help my Dad get to/from his hospital visits, stuff like that, and the pics were so warm and pleasant to look at. The perks of his having a job that offers a 6 digit salary, stock options, free lunches and other perks (including the use of communal surfboards that the Venice office offers for those early morning/mid-day surf runs, and of course they would offer surf boards as a perk given the office is in Venice).

    It really is cool that the Venice, CA Google office has a good old-fashioned library break room with a whole wall lined with books you can actually enjoy reading. I am jelly, but it is all good…my brother has worked long and hard to get to the point where he can enjoy the benefits that come from having a nice position at Google, I am genuinely happy for him and his family.

  41. Kathy says:


    The line from Thomas is “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

    So, I concur the wicked witch got it from Independence Day.

    Not sure where the whole Gazpacho police came from.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Well, Farmer is a DEM so I suspect he’s just saying the quiet parts out loud.

  43. JohnSF says:

    Ukrainian joke:
    “You want the good news or the bad news, Aleks’?”
    “Give me the bad news.”
    “The Muscovites have landed on the Moon!”
    “Eh. And the good news?”
    All of them!”

  44. CSK says:

    Yes, I know the exact line. The ID screenwriter borrowed it and made a few changes. I wonder, now, how many people he thought would recognize it.

    I also wonder if Marge thought she was bring clever.

  45. CSK says:

    Probably the way everyone feels now.

  46. just nutha says:

    @CSK: The faculty dining room at Luther University in Yong-in had a vase (pronounced as if rhyming with “mace” rather than “vah-ze”) with an artificial flower in it. That’s close, at least.

  47. Mister Bluster says:
  48. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: Gazpacho police comes from MTG being a blithering idiot.

  49. Kathy says:


    She probably thought she was being “profound.”

    @just nutha:

    Yes, that’s self-evident. But where did she come across the term “gazpacho”?

  50. CSK says:

    Possibly at her local Taco Bell.

  51. DK says:


    Key West is the top spot for LGBTQ people in the U.S.

    West Hollywood, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Provincetown, Manhattan and Fire Island would like a word.

    Source: I’m a boy who likes boys.

  52. dazedandconfused says:


    I suspect postponing the switch to more than a year away indicates a knowledge this causes a lot of problems and time is needed so it can be reversed. Likely time baked in for either Disney to restore their normal political campaign contributing pattern after passions ease or to be rescinded after primaries are over.

  53. Beth says:


    I know it’s not a scene for me, but Fire Island always seemed like fun. At least whenever I came across something about it.

  54. CSK says:

    Well, I defer to your superior expertise, but the bit about Key West I just read today. Of course, it could have been bragging on their part. 😀

  55. Jax says:

    I wonder how many Republican “elites” are secretly hoping that Margie Two Names is kicked off the ballot?

  56. CSK says:

    Probably all of them.

  57. Jax says:

    I know I’m not inclined to fly at all without a mask mandate, and I have these tickets we had to delay because we all got Covid. Maybe I’ll just try for a refund.