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:

    An investigation is under way after a Yellowstone employee spotted part of a foot, in a shoe, floating in a hot spring in the national park.

    The discovery was made on Tuesday at Abyss Pool, in the southern part of Yellowstone, and led to the temporary closure of the West Thumb Geyser Basin and its parking lot. The area has since reopened.

    Park officials are now investigating the discovery but did not have any additional information about what happened, said park spokesperson Morgan Warthin on Thursday.

    My first thought was, “Ooooff…” My second thought was, “It’s a prank.” Time will tell. Or not.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A curious young seal has been returned to the sea after breaking into a New Zealand home, harassing the resident cat, hanging about in the hallway for a couple of hours while the children slept upstairs, and miraculously ruining nothing.

    The Ross family of Mt Maunganui were more than a little surprised to find the New Zealand fur seal in their home, which is about 150m from the shore, on Wednesday morning.

    Phil Ross, who happens to be a marine biologist, said it was unfortunate he was the only one not home at the time.

    “The big joke is that this is really the only family emergency where it would be useful to have a marine biologist in the house,” he said. “I really missed my time to shine.”

    There’s never a cop marine biologist around when you need one.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Missouri pastor posted a mea culpa to social media after blasting his congregation as “poor, broke, busted and disgusted”, for not buying him a luxury watch.

    Pastor Carlton Funderburke, of the non-denominational Church of the Well in Kansas City, also called his followers “cheap” in a 7 August sermon during which he pointed out that the Movado watch he said he wanted could be purchased at the warehouse store Sam’s Club.

    “Y’all know I asked for one last year. Here it is all the way in August and I still ain’t got it,” he said in a minute-long clip of his remarks that went viral on TikTok.

    “This is how I know you’re still poor, broke, busted and disgusted, because of how you been honoring me. I’m not worth your McDonald’s money? I’m not worth your Red Lobster money? I ain’t worth y’all Louis Vuitton? I ain’t worth your Prada? I’m not worth your Gucci?

    “Y’all ain’t said nothing. Let me kick down the door and talk to my cheap sons and daughters.”

    But he is in service to god.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Lawyers of a Black Texas man and civil rights activists are calling for justice after he was allegedly grabbed and slammed on to concrete ground by police officers at a jail in Beaumont, Texas, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

    On Wednesday, lawyers of 41-year-old Christopher Shaw hosted a press conference that called for justice for Shaw, who was severely injured while in custody in June 2021.

    According to a lawsuit filed last month, Shaw was arrested on 12 June 2021 over misdemeanor public intoxication charges after Beaumont police officer James Gillen found him standing in the middle of a roadway, “in need of medical assistance”. Shaw was then taken to a hospital to be evaluated before being transported to Jefferson county correctional facility in Beaumont where he was restrained for “noncompliance”.

    “Before entering the facility, Mr Shaw slightly turned his body. Defendant Gillen responded by attempting to slam Mr Shaw to the concrete platform at the rear entrance of the facility,” the lawsuit said.

    He landed on his head and fractured his spine in multiple places, the lawsuit alleges. Shaw asked for help from jail staff and employees of the jail’s medical contractor CorrHealth but they refused to help him, according to the lawsuit. When Shaw asked one nurse for assistance, she allegedly told him, “I won’t help you until you help yourself.”

    The lawsuit added that Shaw was left alone in his jail cell for approximately 20 hours before someone attended to him medically. While he was left alone in his cell, he “defecated and urinated on himself multiple times due to his inability to control his bowels and kidney function”, the lawsuit said. Only later was an ambulance called for him and he was taken to the hospital again where he underwent various emergency surgeries.

    All for the heinous crime of misdemeanor public intoxication.

    Beaumont police chief, James Singletary, said that although he felt “very badly about the gentleman that got injured”, Gillen was “just doing his job”.

    The job of needlessly slamming people to the ground.

    The incident was captured on video which Shaw’s attorneys have seen, but according to Beaumont officials, public release of the video is currently prohibited as it may jeopardize jail security.


  5. Kathy says:

    This is weird. Both pilots fell asleep and missed their approach and landing.

    This is unusual on a short flight (under two hours), but note the times. the plane departed at 3:30 AM. Without knowing what prior flights the crew operated, it’s hard to say something intelligent about it. Still, odds are they brought in the plane to Khartoum before flying it back to Ethiopia. So maybe it was the end of a long day.

  6. BugManDan says:

    The next anti-vaxxer target.


  7. BugManDan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My kids would have definitely begged to keep it “at least until Dad gets home”. They probably would have made it a bed, and fed it dinner too!

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @BugManDan: Pretty sure my sons would have done the same.

  9. CSK says:

    @BugManDan: @OzarkHillbilly:
    KIds: “Oooh, it’s so cute. Mom and Dad, can we keep it?”
    Mom and Dad: “Where? In the bathtub?”

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Sounds like the first episode of a bad sitcom.

  11. Lost in Quebec says:


    This is weird. Both pilots fell asleep and missed their approach and landing.

    Pilots of an aircraft falling asleep was one of the possible theories for this aviation happening.

  12. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    GQP Deplorably Deplorable, Vol. 356, Ch. 59.

    HOUSE GOP CANDIDATE CARL PALADINO SAID MERRICK GARLAND ‘PROBABLY SHOULD BE EXECUTED’ Republican House candidate Carl Paladino suggested on a radio show that Attorney General Merrick Garland “probably should be executed” following the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the third-ranking member in GOP House leadership, has endorsed his campaign.

    Paladino has a history of making controversial and fringe comments. Earlier this year, he praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s ability to rouse “the crowds” and declared Hitler “the kind of leader we need today.” He later said that he does not actually support Hitler.

    In 2016, Paladino said that he would like to see then-President Barack Obama die from mad cow disease and first lady Michelle Obama “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”

    BTW, he blew off the comment about Garland by reminding everyone that he was just being factitious.

    Make America great, my ass.

    H/t HuffPost

  13. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    I guess Eric Trump was correct about there being no more Republican Party but a Party of Trump. Just be a violent, ignorant churl, and you’re in!

  14. Beth says:

    And after they get done banning and burning books, they’ll move on to actual people.

  15. Stormy Dragon says:


    And by “special classrooms”, I’m sure she means state-enforced conversion therapy =(

  16. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I hate to think that, but you’re probably right. 🙁

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: Somebody is in need of remedial edumacatin’.

  18. Christine says:

    I don’t like all that tattoo garbage on her arms…why can’t all those people that present themselves in that way be put into special segregated sections of town?


  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Great example of a point James makes in his partisan identification post this morning.

    Still, as commenters here frequently note in frustration, relatively moderate Democrats are held responsible for “Latinx” and “Defund the Police” while Republicans seem to pay no price for the Proud Boys and other extremists associated with their coalition.

    This goes down as, “Oh that Paladino, what a card.” But if a city council candidate in Minneapolis says “defund the police” it’s charged against the whole Democratic Party.

    Locally, Val Demings’ ads for senate consist largely of reminders she was a chief of police and denunciations of “defund the police”. I hate to hear that, as there’s a lot of truth buried in the sentiment, but for her it’s necessary. I hope it works. I commented a few days ago that politicians should be made to wear sashes naming their major sponsors. Marco Rubio’s would feature the Koch Bro and sugar growers.

  20. JohnSF says:

    Replying here to a query yesterday from MarkedMan:

    what is the “Smoking Kills!” reference?

    In re a Ukrainian defence ministry statement:

    “Smoking kills!”

    It’s Ukrainian trolling.
    Russian reports of suspicious fires at depots in Russia repeatedly explained as “accidents caused by careless smoking”.
    IIRC something similar was initially said about the “accidental sinking” of the Moskva.

    At any rate, it’s become a running joke among Ukrainians, who tend to have a rather mordant sense of humour.
    And the double meaning of the statement is plain if you think about it.
    For instance a a picture of a burning Russian target captioned “Smoking kills; and here is a smoking kill.”
    Or “We hit the target: it was just a Lucky Strike!”
    Or photoshopped HIMARS launchers with the missile pods replaced by cigarette packages.
    etc etc etc

  21. CSK says:

    Donald Trump is very upset because Dr. Oz is going to lose, which of course makes Trump look bad. He endorsed…a loser!

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That’s so embarrassing. I don’t know which is worse: his outburst or the idea that Sam’s Club sells “luxury” watches.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Kurt Eichenwald

    One of the most revealing quotes I have ever read. @Liz_Cheney
    was fighting for American democracy, for support of the law, and for our Constitution. And as Trump’s spokesman makes clear, those are not the principles of the modern GOP.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “as it may jeopardize jail security.”

    Still, I can see the jail administration’s point. You don’t want the incarcerees learning how to disable the police/corrections personnel by getting the jump on slamming people against the concrete platform.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Safe to say he’s never had breakfast at Tifany’s.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: NO DUCKING ALLOWED!

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: “He later said that he does not actually support Hitler.”

    Makes perfect sense to me. He’s not supporting Hitler; he wants to be Hitler.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: When you see the context, it all makes sense. I’m surprised that anyone remembers Lucky Strike cigarettes anymore, but I see from the innertubes that you can still buy them online and at tobacconists. I haven’t seen the brand anywhere in public for a long as I can remember.

  29. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:…I’m surprised that anyone remembers Lucky Strike cigarettes anymore,..
    My dad smoked Lucky Strikes. The straights in the short pack. No filters. He quit in the early ’50s when I was 6 0r 7 years old. He would have been in his 30s. He did tell me how
    Lucky Strike Green went to war. He had a matchbook collection that included green Lucky Strike matchbook covers but he never saved any green Lucky Cigarette packs.
    My mom never smoked. Between the two of them they might have imbibed a whole 6 pack of beer in a year. I can’t blame my bad habits on them. (drunk every day for 30 years and 3 packs a day by the time I quit)
    Of course the weed, speed and acid I experimented with didn’t have anything to do with them either.

  30. dazedandconfused says:


    It’s a stumper.

  31. Jen says:

    MTG has introduced a bill that makes providing gender-affirming care a felony.

    I honestly didn’t think I could detest her any more than I already did, but here we are…

  32. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Still sold in many countries in Europe; including Ukraine IIRC.
    What their sales are, dunno.
    But it’s a pretty familiar brand.

  33. dazedandconfused says:

    For anyone interested in the reason it took the DOJ so long to get a search warrant for docs purloined by and ex-POTUS, Emptywheel posted a rather hard to get through but deep dive into the issue.

    Seems the legal issues were anything but straight forward and stymied Mueller’s attempts to probe deeply into the executive branch, but the DOJ successfully found a way around those issues. Issues the general press has not done a good job at reporting. Perhaps because it is a very difficult situation to describe.

  34. Kylopod says:

    @Jen: MTG stands no chance of passing the bill in this Congress, or as long as Biden is president. But there’s a real bill banning such care about to go into effect in Florida. This stuff is happening already.

  35. Jen says:

    @Kylopod: I know–it’s all so depressing and I’d be willing to bet she’ll be successful fundraising off of it. Makes me ill.

  36. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Following up on yesterday’s discussion of some really disgusting drinks, here is a list from the daily peanut of suggestions for the official drink of the summer of 2022.

    yesterday’s intro we solicited nominations for 2022’s drink of the summer. Here are some top answers:

    Huckleberry vodka with lemonade
    Dirty Shirley
    Brooklyn sangria: wine + kombucha
    Port & tonic: white port, tonic water, ice, and a slice of orange
    Baja Fog: Corona with a shot of tequila poured gently into the neck of the bottle so it floats on top of the beer + a dash of lime

    Really? Wine and kombucha? White port & tonic? I’m going back to drinking grapefruit slash.

  37. JohnSF says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    All said and done. what the f’s wrong with a pint of bitter?
    Or a nice bottle of Burgundy?
    Or a bloody good malt whisky?
    Or a gin and tonic?

    Why, in short, do some folks feel an unquenchable urge to muck about?
    And get off my lawn! You damn kids…
    *grumble, grump*

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: Ouch. May you spend all of eternity listening to Journey on repeat.

  39. Beth says:


    All said and done. what the f’s wrong with a pint of bitter?
    Hurts my stomach something fierce. I can’t drink beer any more.

    Or a nice bottle of Burgundy?
    Not bad, pretty, pretty, pretty, good

    Or a bloody good malt whisky?
    Tastes like the peat bogs my ancestors died in.

    Or a gin and tonic?
    Never again after my tour of the Cambridge University drainage sewers.

    however, @Flat Earth Luddite: ‘s Huckleberry vodka with lemonade sounds positively delightful.

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: I saw that they are a product of BAT (British and American Tobacco Company) and BAT sells over half of all cigarettes sold in Korea, so I suspect their sales are strong. Not many people bought Luckys in Korea–tho one of my fellow professors did–because the American label meant a premium price (ironically because people thought they were produced outside Korea, but they weren’t).

    I often had people ask if I would buy a carton of cigarettes for them when I visited home. I never understood why. Then again, I only smoke cigars and/or a pipe.

  41. Beth says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    A friend was able to use Acid to stop smoking. Said it worked really well.

  42. Stormy Dragon says:


    A friend was able to use Acid to stop smoking. Said it worked really well.

    Every time they would try to light up, all the cigarettes ran away. 😉

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: A friend was able to use Acid to stop smoking. Said it worked really well.

    Was it Chantix brand? Cause that stuff was dyn-o-mite! The dreams were out of this world.

  44. Mister Bluster says:



  45. JohnSF says:

    Well, smoking cannabis regularly would certainly work to put me off alcohol.
    Whenever I had a puff, anything north of a lemonade shandy tasted absolutely bloody awful.
    Except possibly for cider; but especially bitter. Ecch!

    One reason I was never that keen on weed/hash: I prefer my trad. alcoholalol 🙂

    Also heard it said that MDMA has some success in treating chronic alcoholism.
    But if definitely doesn’t reduce urge to smoke (or so they say…)

  46. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Well, that was a delightful chortle… I needed that.

  47. JohnSF says:

    A pint of carbolic.
    You deffo wont be smoking after that.
    Well, you might; but in a rather different way.

  48. Beth says:


    My sister told me about those once, I never wanted to smoke cigarettes, but the Chantix sounded wonderful.


    I can’t do cannabis. Too much trauma around that. I won’t smoke anything, so that’s out of the question, but I was going to try one of my partner’s edibles until I smelled it. Brought back a whole bunch of bad memories and I noped out. I’d like a cannabis/alcohol level intoxicant that didn’t have a bunch of trauma surrounding it or have hangovers that make me want to jump off a bridge.

    MDMA worked wonders for my PTSD and depression. I mean, so I’ve heard…

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: @JohnSF: I heard from a lot of folks about how freaked out they got over the dreams. Me, I always have to finish my nightmares* just because I want to see how they end, and Chantix turned them all into technicolor Fantasias. Every now and again I will have flashback dreams that are so weird, so out there, that I remember them years later like I just woke up.

    * there was one exception, the Docs were certain my eldest had cystic fibrosis (my cousin died of it, not pretty)(my ex was adopted) they kept sodium chloride testing him and he kept coming back right on the edge. At this time I had a dream where I was carrying him into an operating room. I laid him down onto the table and as I let go all the nurses and doctors had their surgical dress change into cowled monks robes and they began circling the operating table and chanting in Latin (I guess… Do I speak Latin? No.) I grabbed my son back up and holding him close to my chest I said to him, “Don’t worry, they won’t get you. I’ll protect you. I’m ready to wake up now… Anytime now… Wake up wakeupwakeupWAKE THE FCK UP!!!!!”

  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    I mean, so I’ve heard…


  51. Mister Bluster says:
  52. JohnSF says:

    As Sherlock Holmes said:
    “The game’s a foot, Watson”.

    (Sorry; but the angle was perfect)

  53. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Mister Bluster: and remember who wrote that one… Mr. Hee Haw hissownself.

    My first (and only) acid trip was when I was the designated driver in HS, and some football jocks thought it’d be funny to slip me several tabs of blotter acid. Never interested in a repeat performance. But that nightmare… Ugh.

  54. Jax says:

    The only time I’ve ever found the strength to quit abusive substances (or relationships) is on psychedelics. Something about the God factor, I guess. And by “God” I don’t mean the omnipotent being…..psychedelics make you push down into parts of yourself you never thought you had.

    And then….you’re free.