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. MarkedMan says:

    Before this thing called COVID, wasn’t there some talk of having a meetup in the DC area? Any interest in resurrecting that?

  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    The other day, there was much concern about the Maine school SC decision. The end result might not be what has been feared.

    Let’s start with the Carson case. Anticipating this week’s decision, Maine lawmakers enacted a crucial amendment to the state’s anti-discrimination law last year in order to counteract the expected ruling. The revised law forbids discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, and it applies to every private school that chooses to accept public funds, without regard to religious affiliation.

    The impact was immediate: The two religious schools at issue in the Carson case, Bangor Christian Schools and Temple Academy, said that they would decline state funds if, as Maine’s new law requires, accepting such funds would require them to change how they operate or alter their “admissions standards” to admit L.G.B.T.Q. students.

    The legislative fix crafted by Maine lawmakers offers a model for lawmakers elsewhere who are alarmed by the court’s aggressive swing to the right. Maine’s example shows that those on the losing end of a case can often outmaneuver the court and avoid the consequences of a ruling.

    By enacting its law, Maine was able to assure its taxpayers that they will not be complicit in discriminating against L.G.B.T.Q. students, because private schools that discriminate will be ineligible for public funds. The law will limit church-state entanglement, assuming other religious schools decline funding for the same reasons as the schools in Carson. And although nondiscriminatory private schools can still receive public funds, Maine can eliminate that program at any point — a fact the court conceded. (Whether it should is a closer question that ought to turn on the program’s impact on educational equity.)

    Complete article:

  3. Jen says:

    New Hampshire’s unemployment rate is 2.1%. That is insanely low.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:


    That’s what happens when towns, disallow residential development because of the number of children they fear will flood the school district with the cost falling on the property tax. Housing prices are effen nuts. In 2019 the average home in NH sold for ~$300K today it is closing in $500K and it is nearly 50% higher in Rockingham Cty.

  5. Mu Yixiao says:

    Yesterday at work I felt my pulse raise, and had an odd tingling in my chest. It went on for a little bit, so I did something I’ve never done: Took a nitro pill. I went to the nurse to check my BP–slightly elevated, but well within the safe range.

    I decided to go home and rest. On the way, I took another nitro, and prayed I didn’t have a massive heart attack before I could get into town where there’s cell signal (I was in the middle of nowhere).

    I laid down for a bit, and kept checking my BP (I’ve got one of those automatic cuffs, which has been calibrated at my local clinic). I finally went upstairs to watch some TV and noticed what was wrong. I’d doled out my meds for the day, but I’d forgotten to actually take them. They were still sitting in the shot glass on the bathroom sink. So I took them. A few hours late, but better late than never, right?

    At 6pm, I got up to take my evening pill… and woke up on the bathroom floor 5 minutes later. You see… when you take nitro on top of your regular meds, it makes your BP do the limbo. I put on the cuff to check, and I was at 68/45.

    I semi-passed out again in the kitchen getting ready for bed.

    Note to self: Do not forget meds!

  6. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I think you mentioned this in yesterday’s open forum.

  7. Mu Yixiao says:


    Oh…. Well, to be fair, I was passing out. 🙂

  8. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..I think you mentioned this in yesterday’s open forum.

    I am fortunate that at 74 I need only take one over the counter medication. No scrips. Generic omeprazole for acid reflux. Despite the very large TAKE YOUR MEDICATION sign that is posted on the door for me to see before I leave home in the morning there are times when I don’t do the dose. One pill daily.
    I can easily relate to Mu Yixiao forgetting to medicate. I am grateful that I don’t pass out. Waking up at 2 or 3 am to indigestion is bad enough.
    Then there are the times that I forget that I forgot…

  9. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Okay, now you’ve learned your lesson. 🙂
    @Mister Bluster:
    Acid reflux is…unpleasant. I’d get it occasionally. Then I started taking a probiotic for periodontal reasons. No more acid reflux.

  10. Kathy says:

    This week in odd dreams…

    Picture a bunch of people, mostly women, writing a constitution on clay tablets. They’d never done this before, but can think of examples of constitutions that become outdated. So they argue for a very long time on how to prevent this.

    Finally one woman says “I know,” and writes at the end, “The workings of this constitution will be evaluated by a convention ten years from today.”

    I woke up thinking ten years is too short a time, but how about 25, 40, 50 years? It might be a good idea to draft a constitution subject to periodic review and evaluation, provided a non-partisan convention of sorts has the power to amend it as necessary.

  11. JohnSF says:

    News from the UK:
    In two by-elections the Conservative Party got thrashed.
    Liberal Democrats took Tiverton
    LibDems took 53% overturning a Conservative majority that was 60% in 2019.
    Swing to LibDems 30%!
    Turnout 52.3% compared to 71.9% at general election
    Constituency voted leave in EU referendum by 58%

    Labour took Wakefield
    Labour took 48%, Conservatives second on 30% down from 47%.
    12.7% swing
    Turnout 39% compared to 64% at general election.
    Constituency voted leave in EU referendum by 62%

    My thoughts: Along with previous local election results, indicates Labour are back with a fighting chance in the areas they lost in 2019.
    While LibDems are competitive in both rural “leaver” areas like Tiverton, and in suburban/commuter “remain” areas like Amersham which they took last year.
    Johnson is now toxic even in Leave voting areas.
    “Red Meat” policies on asylum/courts/NIP/”wokism” not effective enough for Tories.
    The old Vote Leave hits don’t move the crowd any more.
    Cost of living combining with distaste for Johnson = flashing red lights for the general election outcome at Conservative HQ, and a lot of nervous Tory MPs.

    Result indicates a lot of Conservative voters stayed home, but also a fair number switched direct.

    But the critical thing was the Lab/LibDem pattern.
    In Tiverton Labour “lost their deposit” (fell below the 5% threshold required to avoid repaying the £500 fee intended to deter frivolous candidates)
    In Wakefield LibDems lost theirs.
    Meaning both parties voters were switching to whichever local anti-Conservative candidate was best placed. (And looks like Greens switched as well)
    This is ominous for the Tories.
    Even a relatively modest amount of Lib-Lab tactical switching puts a lot of Conservative seats in play.
    From this point on opinion polls can be reasonably assumed to break in marginals as
    1. Lab+LibDem+Green vote share
    2. Tory vote share
    The rest is noise.

    On this basis Labour will be the largest party after the general election, and Sir Keir Starmer in No. 10.

    I shall be having a celebratory drinkie this evening!

    Unclear who are the most upset at this point: Johnson fans or the Corbynites 🙂

  12. CSK says:

    Michael Howard is urging Johnson to quit.

  13. Jen says:

    Happy Loss of Bodily Autonomy Day.

    SC just issued its ruling striking down Roe.

  14. Jen says:

    “BUT HER EMAILS” amiright?

    Unbelievable that this is where we are.

  15. JohnSF says:

    Howard has been an un-fan of Johnson for some time.
    He booted Johnson as shadow arts minister and party vice-chairman back in 2004 after he lied to Howard about extra-marital activity.
    Also tore into Johnson’s proposals to revoke the NIP deal with the EU in 2020.
    Howard is pro-Brexit, and rather on the right of centre of the party, but he does have principles.

  16. Kathy says:


    Things will get violent sooner or later. Maybe a full-fledged civil war. Not on account of the court murdering Roe alone, but its the clearest marker in the pattern of oppressive minority rule.

  17. Monala says:

    Board members of a school district in southeastern Wisconsin rejected the use of “When the Emperor Was Divine,” a novel about Japanese American incarceration during World War II, for a high school class. 

    The Muskego-Norway school district’s curriculum committee had previously endorsed the 2002 novel by author Julie Otsuka for use in a 10th-grade accelerated English class. …

    During a meeting on June 13, three of the seven members of the Muskego-Norway School Board’s Educational Services Committee rejected the book and sent it back to the curriculum committee. 

    Parents who attended the meeting stated that board member Laurie Kontney said the book was selected for being “diverse.” 
    Ann Zielke, a school district resident, recalled asking Kontney why that would be an issue.

    “[Kontney] said it can’t be chosen on that basis and I asked again if she had proof of that,” Zielke noted. “Which they don’t. She said it can’t be all about ‘oppression.’” 

    According to Zielke, school board president Chris Buckmaster and board member Terri Boyer, who serves on the Educational Service Committee, told her that the book would create a problem with “balance,” …

    As Buckmaster explained to Zielke, a more balanced approach would include a discussion of the Rape of Nanjing, the mass killing of Chinese civilians committed by the Japanese in 1937. 

    “So what he’s saying is, what you would need in this class is some sort of historical context of how horrible the Japanese were during World War II to understand the American government’s viewpoint in interning the Japanese,” Zielke said.


  18. CSK says:

    @Jen: @Kathy:
    There’s a post on this now by James Joyner.

  19. Kathy says:

    Yesterday I started a lecture series on constitutional law. Today I switched to Nine Pints, by Rose George, a book about blood.

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: The idea of a modern Constitutional Convention scares the spit out of me. You can probably make it bipartisan or non partisan, but I don’t know how you’d keep money out. We’d end up with a billionaire glibertarian wet dream.

    The current Scientific American has a good article on how the oil and gas industry were able to corrupt Texas’ new school course and textbook standards. It’s a small scale model of how I expect a Constitutional Convention would turn out.

  21. Jen says:

    @Kathy: I thought Nine Pints was a really interesting book.

  22. Kathy says:


    I’ve only gotten through part of the first chapter, but I’ve already found out a blue whale’s heart only beats five times per minute.

  23. Kathy says:


    I could go on a long discussion of how easy or hard to change a constitution should be, and what mechanisms should or shouldn’t be used, but every day I inch closer to money and power as the root cause of most problems.

  24. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: For years I would carry my warfarin in a pants pocket, with an alarm on my phone to take it at 6pm when I was likely to be awake and lucid. If I wasn’t around water, I would transfer the pills to a shirt pocket where I would notice at night before going to bed and take them late.

    A physical process that was designed to not rely upon my shitty memory at all, as nothing requires any memory of more than 15 seconds.

    The anticoagulation clinic has forever been pleased with how consistent my INR (internationally normalized ratio*) is compared to everyone else, but I’m positive it’s just that I’m one of the few who manages to always take my dose as required.

    (Lately I’ve just been taking it at night with my other medicines, and my INR has been a little wobbly)

    *: The most useless acronym ever. Blood clotting speed.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: @CSK: I’ve been dealing with acid reflux for a while now, then one night I woke up with my sinuses and mouth full of blood. That was…. unpleasant. Turned out I had a number of “giant bleeding polyps” (an actual quote from my surgeon’s diagnostic report) in my stomach. He removed them and cauterized the wounds and since then no problems. Apparently the omeprazole and generic lactaid he prescribed got it under control.

    Getting old ain’t for the weak.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Peter Bonilla

    A man was shot in an altercation, and managed to wrestle the gun from the assailant, who fled. Then the victim got charged with unlawful possession. He waited 3+ years for a trial, and refused to take a plea. It took a jury 75 minutes to acquit him.

    Get ready for a whole lot more of this BS.

  27. Beth says:

    In happy news, the race I’m on the board of is doing ok. Feel free to donate:

    A small bright spot was to hang out with the queers and awkwardly finger gun everyone that came to my packet pick up station.

    For the record, no, I do not know how to sit properly.

    And then tomorrow night, Pride weekend with Horse Meat Disco.

  28. Jax says:

    @Beth: Giggling….is Horse Meat Disco a band?

    Enjoy, my friend! Many electronic hugs from Wyoming.

  29. Beth says:


    They’re a gay disco collective from London. It’s such a fantastic name.

    Happy Pride