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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So Josh Hawley thinks he is going to tell men what it means to be a man. I mean, really? Josh Hawley??? As Popehat said,

    Imagine, if you will, the level of misplaced self-confidence it takes for Josh Hawley to think that calling his book “Manhood” will go well for him

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Taking a 104 mph line drive off the forehead. He was able to walk off 90 seconds later with “mild concussion symptoms and was bruised” but “a CT scan was normal.”

    The ball was hit so hard it caromed to third baseman Joey Wendle, who caught it for the out.

    “I’m just glad we got the out,” Castano said, smiling.

    So that’s scored 1-5, right? Hell, he earned at least that much.

  3. Jen says:

    I think it’s a bit weird that they even do this. Is the work of a Supreme Court justice so light and easy that they can just moonlight at varying jobs around DC for pocket cash?

    Clarence Thomas drops out of teaching a law class after students protested

  4. James Joyner says:

    @Jen: Honestly, I’m glad so many of them do this. The money is nominal, really. I think most of them just love the law and enjoying sharing that with young people studying to join the legal profession. And there’s something to be said for older people with that much power having regular conversations with young people about how they see the world. I think it keeps them grounded.

  5. Jen says:

    @James Joyner: Excellent points, that makes sense. Thanks!

    I guess I’m just thinking of how exhausted I am after working all day. I would not want a demanding side-gig. 😀

  6. steve says:

    BS James. It is a chance to spread ideology. He should not teach law. However, I think political science would be OK.


  7. steve says:
  8. Kathy says:

    @James Joyner:

    It only applies to spherical justices in a vacuum.

  9. Scott says:
  10. gVOR08 says:

    Re yesterday’s discussion of the third party proposed by Andrew Yang and some other people whose names I’ve already forgotten again, Jamelle Bouie has a column today on on how third parties have succeeded. Yes, succeeded.

    His first example is the Free Soil Party.

    And when the Whig Party finally collapsed under the weight of its own contradictions, after General Winfield Scott’s defeat in the 1852 presidential election, the Free Soil Party would become, in 1854, the nucleus of the new Republican Party, which brought an even larger coalition of former Whigs and ex-Democrats together with Free Soil radicals under the umbrella of a sectional, antislavery party.

    He also calls out the PopulistParty,

    The Populist Party failed to win high office after endorsing the Democratic nominee, William Jennings Bryan, for president in 1896, but went on to shape the next two decades of American political life. “In the wake of the defeat of the People’s party, a wave of reform soon swept the country,” the historian Charles Postel writes in “The Populist Vision”

    . And he notes that George Wallace’s run for president failed, but was a proof of concept test for the Southern Strategy that is still screwing up the country.

    The system gravitates to two and only two major parties, but third parties have succeeded in pushing their goals on one or both of the major parties. And they’ve done it not by appealing to some imaginary squishy middle, but by starting with a fringe. And Jamelle Bouie has become, for me, sufficient reason to not cancel FTFNYT.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


    A headline I saw said that Hawley will begin ‘selling his manhood’ today. LoL

    The jokes won’t end soon, watch them paired with his jog.

  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    @James Joyner:

    James sees the teaching as a glass half full, Steve half empty. I suspect that the truth will depend on the justice. When I saw that announcement, my thought was that Thomas is looking to avoid being challenged. Pretty cowardly was my second thought.

  13. Scott says:


    Sen Hawley:

    Spending $40 billion on Ukraine aid – more than three times what all of Europe has spent combined – is not in America’s interests. It neglects priorities at home (the border), allows Europe to freeload, short changes critical interests abroad and comes w/ no meaningful oversight

    Maybe this is Hawley’s idyllic idea of masculinity:

    Horrifying footage appears to show Russian captors castrating a Ukrainian prisoner of war

    A horrific video posted online on Thursday appears to show a Ukrainian prisoner of war being castrated by his Russian captors.

    While Yahoo News cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video, the footage, which was initially posted on a pro-Russian Telegram page before spreading rapidly on social media, showed what appears to be a Russian soldier or mercenary wearing a distinctive black fringed hat, mutilating a man who appears to be a captured Ukrainian soldier.

  14. Kathy says:

    The long, hard courtship is on. JetBlue is buying Spirit.

    Details are scarce, but the main idea is to bring all Spirit assets and employees to JetBlue standards. This means Spirit employees, those who are not laid off, should get a raise. Or it may mean JetBlue employees will be laid off, with those remaining earning less. It also means Spirit’s aircraft will be reconfigured to JetBlue’s configuration (more space between rows, fewer seats overall, seatback screens, WiFi).

    There are tons of other issues, not least the JetBlue/American Airlines northeast alliance. Some Spirit slots will have to be given up. And the government has yet to weigh in.

    The gist seems to be JetBlue wants to grow, and acquiring planes, pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, slots, gates, ground staff, etc. is the easiest way to go about it.

    The breakup fee, should antitrust issues keep the takeover from happening, is $400 million.

    No word on whether St. Elon has offered either party his services as Grand Strategic Advisor.

  15. Scott says:

    Just so you know

    DoD Awards $1.74 Billion Agreement to Moderna, Inc. to Secure Over 65 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine for Fall Vaccinations

    On July 28, 2022, the Department of Defense (DoD), on behalf of and in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded a $1.74 billion agreement to purchase over 65 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for a fall vaccination campaign. The vaccine will target the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariant viruses, as recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    This purchase is in addition to the 105 million COVID-19 vaccine doses the U.S. Government recently purchased from Pfizer for the fall vaccination campaign. Combined, the two agreements provide over 170 million mRNA vaccine booster doses for adults and children this fall, with options to procure up to 600 million doses if needed to meet demand. With FDA authorization of the vaccine and a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS will receive the first deliveries of the vaccine in early fall.

  16. Lost in Quebec says:


    I think it’s a bit weird that they even do this. Is the work of a Supreme Court justice so light and easy that they can just moonlight at varying jobs around DC for pocket cash?

    Taking pot shots at Clarence Thomas is a liberal pastime. Like those taking aim at him for not commenting on Loving v Virginia, which he has, often it is uncalled for. Supreme court justices have taught during the summertime going back the days of Brandeis and Frankfurter at least.

  17. Lost in Quebec says:
  18. Modulo Myself says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with justices teaching law. The problem arises because the right-wing is so black-pilled. Aside from connections, what does a Thomas or an Alito have to offer normal law students who have to function in this world? How to twist the law to incorporate the trauma of pronouns or the invention of birth control? They should go speak at some eighth-rate Christian law school churning out terrible brainwashed lawyers who will become judges in the next Republican administration.

  19. Modulo Myself says:

    Also, remember the lab leak hypothesis, and how last summer all the self-taught internet experts and eugenicists and climate deniers were blathering about the consensus and the media narrative? There have been many nails in its coffin, but two more came out this week pointing to the obvious: that the Wuhan animal market was the source of Covid and not the lab.

    So odd that no one who was screaming about it has reassessed their thinking.

  20. Kathy says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Well, you know how cop shows like, say, Law & Order, portray police as idealist defenders of the people’s rights, who heroically do battle against criminals of all sorts, and go the extra mile to obtain justice and protect life?

    Maybe Thomas et al can teach the idealized version of legal theory and the much idealized version of the SCOTUS role in keeping the other two branches of government in check.

    For some, ti may be what lets them sleep at night.

  21. Jen says:

    @Lost in Quebec: I think you’ve misinterpreted my point, which had zero to do with “taking pot shots at Justice Thomas.”

    I am more surprised that they have the time (and, frankly, the energy) to have what amounts to a fairly hands-on second job. Even if it’s part time, teaching–assuming that they are actually teaching–can be pretty demanding.

    I also feel that Dr. Joyner’s point is well-taken–getting out and being exposed to “the real world” is probably not a bad thing for justices to experience.

  22. Kathy says:


    I’m far less excited about vaccines than I used to be.

    They’re still essential. Compare how Biden fared vs El Cheeto*. The former got to stay home for a week of light work, the other had to be rushed to a hospital to keep him from being one of the “diers” (however the f**k that non-word is spelled).

    But it’s become abundantly clear that herd immunity is far more complicated, especially when a large minority of the population refuses to even take it.

    Until last year I thought I was safe from things like measles, because I’d been vaccinated against it during childhood (I had all the shots then in use). Now I’m not so sure. Measles is dangerous in childhood, and deadly dangerous in adulthood.

    So, when the opportunity comes to take the new Omicron specific boosters, I will take them. I just won’t feel safe against the trump virus. Protected from its worst effects and risks, yes, but not safe.

    *I wonder whether Benito gets angry that he looked weaker vs his virus than Biden did. I really hope so.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner: If it was anything other than law school, I would agree with you, but law school teaches students bad enough values as it is without having the bad values compounded by showing students the possibilities of raw personal power.

    The fact that the decision by Thomas was essentially a hissy fit over his discovery that he won’t be held in awe by students for the very act of coming down from his exaltedness to mingle with the common folk only shows how ill-suited he was to the task.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    No edit button for me. 🙁

    And there’s something to be said for older people with that much power having regular conversations with young people about how they see the world. I think it keeps them grounded.

    And at the risk of being pedantic, I’m going to draw attention to the pronoun referent fault in the last sentence and ask which “them” is being kept grounded? If it’s the “older people,” I seriously doubt that the statement applies to Justice Thomas. In any way whatsoever.

    And it’s easy to construct a defense that young people, singled out for elite specialized training that guarantees elevated stature in society (or at least used to), are the ones who need the grounding–it’s part of what the push to teach legal ethics (oxymoron that it is) back in the 90s was about.

    ETA: And grounding students with Justice Thomas’ values is dubious at best. All around net gain from having him turn tail and Hawley on outta there.

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    “We’ve seen partisanship and games within Congress for years,” Butler said. “But what is shocking is that so many senators would literally be willing to play with veterans’ lives so openly like this.”

    Hmm… That’s the part that surprises me least of all. As tactics go, it’s a strong “get back with the program, Mitch” message, and veterans are only pawns in the foreign policy game to begin with. Making them pawns in political games to, though offensive, makes perfect sense.

    ETA: Oh sure, NOW I get an edit button.

  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I have a theory about the edit function. I think it only works when some other comment has been made. Say I make a comment at 12:01, then want to edit. Nope. But a separate comment by me, or by anyone, on the same thread, or a different thread at 12:02, triggers the edit button.

    Probably not true, but it’s what I’ve got. The other explanation is a malicious god.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’m intrigued by the metaphor. Would you expand on it? You don’t need to elaborate on how our good hosts exemplify the model your proposing, I’m just interested in the model itself. (Partially because I’m not sure I would agree to begin with, but I can connect my own dots and don’t care about how you connected them particularly. I’m just not particularly seeing the dot pattern to begin with.)

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Never mind. [Emily Litella clip goes here] I zoned on who “steve” was. I get it now. (But I still am cautious about the model itself.)

  29. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: @Michael Reynolds:
    If I post a comment and then refresh the page, about 75% of the time I get the edit function. YMMV.

    ETA: It just worked.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Modulo Myself: “Aside from connections, what does a Thomas or an Alito have to offer normal law students who have to function in this world?”

    “They should go speak at some eighth-rate Christian law school churning out terrible brainwashed lawyers who will become judges in the next Republican administration.”

    And no, they shouldn’t. Those lawyers should have to make their way solely on their own ignorance and blind bigotry. I don’t want them having the advantage of being able to parrot the ideas of known/potentially better thinkers. (And guys like Thomas and Alito aren’t going to do that anyway. They get that the low-ranking law schools are part of the grift.)

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: As I’ve noted before, my rate is ~25%, maybe a little less. The thing that makes this most recent edit unique though, is that it appeared spontaneously after I had reloaded to get an edit on a comment almost 1o minutes earlier. (And I added to that comment, too, as it had suddenly gotten an edit button with the other one.)

  32. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    That happens to me, too. Strange. Maybe it depends on the device or browser.

  33. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Who is it that is always linking to zero hedge? Is that JKB? I guess this makes him a Russian asset.

  34. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    No, it was someone else, who got booted. I can’t recall the name.

  35. dazedandconfused says:

    Thomas and Alito’s doctrines are likely the majority opinion of the USSC for many years to come, perhaps for a generation or more. Students need to study it in order to craft arguments against it. Hopefully it will help get the justices crawl out of their bubble as well, but that’s something difficult to be optimistic about.

    I recall Alito’s reply to Robert’s objections in the Roe decision, in which he opined that Robert’s recommended moderations would prolong the controversy, which implies Alito thought there would be little to no blowback, no string of cases and necessary decisions to come of it. The depth of Alito’s disconnection from the real world is obvious.

  36. Jen says:

    @CSK: Guanari (spelling?) and/or Drew, I believe.

  37. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..Well, you know how cop shows like, say, Law & Order, portray police as idealist defenders of the people’s rights, who heroically do battle against criminals of all sorts, and go the extra mile to obtain justice and protect life?

    One of my unfullfilled fantasies is to play a stiff on the original Law and Order. Never got to New York City during the show’s first run and while Gotham is still on my bucket list I don’t know if I’m going to make it anytime soon.
    I guess that I am just going to have to live with a dream I had last week. I was a NYPD Detective partnered with Detective Ed Green. For some reason we had to go to a Public High School and pick up some pudgy white kid with curly orange hair. We found him and as we started to escort him out of the building he said something like “What do you want me for?”…
    That’s it. That’s all I remember.
    I suspect that’s as close as I’ll ever get to being a part of that show.

  38. CSK says:

    Yep, that’s it. Guarneri or Guaneri/Drew. Thanks.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Thomas and Alito’s doctrines are likely the majority opinion of the USSC for many years to come, perhaps for a generation or more. Students need to study it in order to craft arguments against it.

    Okay. I can see THAT NEED as a legitimate concern for having those bloviators infecting the system. Still doesn’t justify granting them the legitimacy and authority that would redound from the status of being “famous guest lecturers” though. And certainly not as “co-teachers.”

    Is there a way to use them as bad examples of how politicizing the courts damages the country?

  40. Michael Reynolds says:

    Has anyone seen @De Stijl lately?

  41. Kathy says:

    So as not to spam the other thread with light bulb jokes:

    Q: How many Earthers does it take to screw-in a light bulb
    A: Ten. One to screw it in, and nine to report it to the Night Watch.

    Q: How many Vorlons does it take to screw-in a light bulb?
    A: The light bulb has always been screwed.

    Q: How many Minbari does it take to screw-in a light bulb?
    A: Just one. The ritual to do it takes six hours.

    Q: How many Centauri does it take to screw-in a light bulb? (not what you think)
    A. None. They like it in the Shadows.

    Q: How many Klingons does it take to screw-in a light bulb?
    A: One. But they must first defeat another Klingon in a fight to the death to earn the privilege. So I guess technically it takes two.

    Q: How many Borg does it take to screw-in a light bulb?
    A. Duh, all of them.

    Q: How many Vulcans does it take to screw-in a light bulb?
    A: Any number other than one would be illogical.

    Q: How many US Senators does it take to screw-in a light bulb?
    A: Sixty.

  42. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    No, but he often goes off for a few days and then pops back.

  43. Stormy Dragon says:

    On a side note:

    The Department of Education is currently accepting public comment on a proposed rule on how to extend Title IX to protect gender identity (whilc Title IX is most frequently referenced with respect to sports, it actually covers educational access for the entire educational experience, both in and out of class):

  44. Stormy Dragon says:


    Q: How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Only one, but the light bulb must sincerely want to change

  45. Mister Bluster says:

    Q: How many flies does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    A: Just two. But nobody knows how they get in there.

    (Getting out is the other challenge.)

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @Mister Bluster: The other place flies show up is in the cover over fluorescent light bulbs. Damifino how they get in there.

    (I also had a passel of flies show up in my apartment which made absolutely no sense. I finally theorised that something had died near or in the ventilation shaft from the bathroom, attracting flies, and some of them had managed to crawl down it into my apartment. Flypaper is your friend! I couldn’t get them to land on strips hanging from the ceiling, so I noticed where they mainly congregated (on the window sills), carefully laid out some of the flypaper sticky-side up, and exit problem.)

  47. dazedandconfused says:

    On the topic of silly…Alex Jones cheese slides completely off his cracker.

  48. Gavin says:


    Cruz asserted the money within the bill was newly “switched to mandatory” spending.

    * Announcer Voice * It was always mandatory spending. The text was not changed from the bill Ted Cruz supported in June.

    James, in all seriousness, if this doesn’t get active-duty troops to switch to voting for either Democrats or not voting at all.. I don’t know what more would need to happen. Contents of this bill are entirely covering the proven health issues of soldiers ordered to the burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq – and nothing else.
    Republicans have not yet met a war they will not support – or a veteran they will not screw over.

  49. Richard Gardner says:

    Are US Postal Service staffing woes impacting elections? I live in WA, a total vote by mail state (with some insignificant disabled exceptions) and I haven’t seen a (real) problem until now since the 2004 voting rolls were cleaned up (ditto with the secured ballot drop boxes except when they moved one and I had to find another – sorry, dropping off mail other than at the main Post Office is not secure here due to mail thieves). There are reports of getting mail only once or twice a week.

    Unanswered calls to USPS, undelivered mail and ballots concern WA residents
    Residents in Northwest Washington are missing mail, including primary ballots, medications and important documents. The Bellingham Herald has received multiple tips and pleas from the Ferndale area and social media sites have been flooded with questions about missing mail….
    The reports have flooded the offices of DelBene and Rep. Rick Larsen, according the press release. The representatives said they are pushing for improvements. When the lawmakers asked the Postal Service why the delays were occurring, a far-too-familiar answer was given: staff shortages.

    I will note the 2 Congress Members asking for answers are both Democrats

    This isn’t election fraud by any means, just awful staffing in a non-urban area and it can impact elections (your outgoing mail isn’t getting picked up for days). Lots of the mail deliveries are by “casuals” and “temps.” A friend in the area retired from USPS a couple of years back largely due to the increase of packages (last mile) from Amazon and Chewy (why carry those heavy bags of dog food when you can have it delivered?) and he got a letter asking to come back and work last Christmas at about 2/3 his former wage (Answer: nope).

    I see this as a worker shortage problem that could have election impacts. Or maybe not.

  50. Jax says:

    @Richard Gardner: We don’t have “last mile” delivery from USPS like everybody else does, we have one tiny post office next to the bank that’s often overflowing with UPS and Fedex packages. Welcome to my world. They can’t keep post office employees just to deal with the USPS mail, let alone that “last mile” that ends up in a building the size of a closet.

  51. Jax says:

    @Richard Gardner: Putting DeJoy in charge was MEANT to impact the 2020 election, but now we’re still dealing with that shit.

  52. Richard Gardner says:


    Sorry, I was hearing about the USPS issues well before DeJoy. The fully funded pension system mess from 2006 ($72B) is a big part of it.

    Meanwhile some states and NGOs/PVOs are upset the USPS isn’t throwing even more dollars they don’t have into EVs (OK for urban routes, stupid for rural routes). Just like meat comes from styrofoam, electricity comes from free stuff, oh, math and engineering is hard (I’ve run steam power plants and folks that are clueless on Carnot Thermal Efficiency are a common annoying occurrence). Electricity = MAGIC! All the problems go away (not).