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:

    Heh: Tory MP plans legislation to strip Harry and Meghan of royal titles

    A Conservative MP has said he is planning to bring forward legislation in an attempt to strip the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of their royal titles. Bob Seely told the PA news agency he could propose the short private member’s bill early next year in an attempt to amend the 1917 Titles Deprivation Act.

    If passed, it would see MPs vote on a resolution that could give the privy council the power to downgrade Harry and Meghan’s royal status.

    “There is a political issue,” he said. “As well as trashing his family and monetising his misery for public consumption, he is also attacking some important institutions in this country.”
    Labour MP Rachael Maskell already has a bill going through parliament that would give the monarch new powers to remove titles or a committee of parliament to determine that a title should be taken away. She previously said that her constituents made it clear to her that they wanted the Duke of York’s title to be removed.

    Meanwhile, the employment minister, Guy Opperman, used an appearance on the BBC’s Question Time to tell everyone to boycott Netflix.

    I think it’s fair to say they’ve got their collective panties in a bunch.

  2. BugManDan says:
  3. Beth says:

    Thank you everyone for your kind words yesterday. It was heartwarming and euphoric to come around last night and read that. Thank you so much.

    As for the surgery, everything went awesome. Lol, the discovered I had a congenital genetic anomaly: a double urethra. It did do anything or go anywhere, but that explains why I’ve had trouble with catheters in the past. It also means that I’m going to be on a catheter for “weeks instead of days”. Joys abound.

    One of the things that was going through my head was the Republican attack lines that I was “mutilating healthy genitals”. It really had me freaked out. It couldn’t be further from the truth. The moment I woke up and realized it was gone a wave of pure happiness washed over me. A lifetime of confusion and anguish was gone in an instant.

    I’m in a decent but tolerable amount of physical pain. The packing mostly makes me feel like I have to pee all the time and if I sit up too much the pressure hurts. I’ll be stuck laying on my back for the next couple of days and I suspect that will get unpleasant.

    So, if you’ve ever had any questions for someone who’s had genital confirmation surgery, feel free to ask me anything. I’m not going anywhere.

    Again, thank you all so much.

  4. Jon says:

    @Beth: Congratulations! So glad to hear it went well.

  5. Scott says:

    Glad everything went well. May your recovery be uneventful.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Beth: Best luck for a speedy recovery!

  7. Scott says:

    I call it legal rationalization to justify one’s own personal beliefs. Sort of what the Supreme Court currently does.

    Critics Call It Theocratic and Authoritarian. Young Conservatives Call It an Exciting New Legal Theory.

    The cornerstone of Vermeule’s theory is the claim that “the central aim of the constitutional order is to promote good rule, not to ‘protect liberty’ as an end in itself” — or, in layman’s terms, that the Constitution empowers the government to pursue conservative political ends, even when those ends conflict with individual rights as most Americans understand them. In practice, Vermeule’s theory lends support to an idiosyncratic but far-reaching set of far-right objectives: outright bans on abortion and same-sex marriage, sweeping limits on freedom of expression and expanded authorities for the government to do everything from protecting the natural environment to prohibiting the sale of porn.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The US justice department is seeking a top federal judge to hold Donald Trump’s political office in contempt of court for not fully complying with a grand jury subpoena issued in May demanding the return of all classified documents in its possession, according to a source familiar with the matter.

    The department in recent weeks asked the chief US district court judge for the District of Columbia, Beryl Howell, to hold Trump’s office in contempt after prosecutors were unable to get the former president’s lawyers to designate a custodian of records to certify all records were returned.

    Howell has not ruled on the matter, which remains under seal. But the move, earlier reported by the Washington Post, significantly raises the stakes for Trump as he stares down a criminal investigation into unauthorized retention of national security information and obstruction of justice.

    The issue is to do with the Trump legal team’s reluctance to designate a custodian of records to certify that Trump is no longer in possession of any documents marked classified and thus in compliance with the subpoena that demanded the return of all such government records, the source said.

    Gee, couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of greedy cowards.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: Happy am I to hear that all went well.

    It also means that I’m going to be on a catheter for “weeks instead of days”. Joys abound.

    Oooofff, after my last shoulder surgery (during which they gave me way too much anesthesia)(which is why) I had to get catheterized. I had the damn thing for about 2 miserable f’n weeks. I feel for you. Remember the golden god named morphine is there to help you sleep.

  10. Beth says:


    It’s amazing that the common good is what they want it be. How lucky for them.

  11. Beth says:


    Thanks. The Attending doc was just in and was very excited that I farted. It was cute.


    Yeah. I was quite loopy with that last night. It was kinda fun but it’s also making me itchy. It’s a good reminder why I don’t like opioids.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: The first time I got morphine was after emergency surgery for a collapsed lung. No anesthetic. It was a godsend, a warm golden wave washing over me that while it didn’t make the pain go away it did make the pain beautiful. I was very careful not to take any except for at night to help me sleep.

    The last time was when I had kidney stones, which is… a horror all it’s own.

    When I get opioids, I horde them. If the pain is at a tolerable level, I won’t take them. I’ll save them for the times I really do need them. I’ve got a bottle in my med cabinet that is 3 yrs old, probably lost some of it’s potency by now. But it’s still enough to take the edge off when I get the truly severe muscle cramping I have been cursed with most of my life.

  13. Kathy says:


    The catheter I had after surgery made me feel like I needed to pee all the time. My mistake was to avoid drinking much of anything, which eased that damned feeling, because then the doctors grew concerned I might be developing kidney issues.

    I told them, but I still got put on a diuretic. That was fine. the problem was the damned thing stayed in longer than it otherwise would have.

    I don’t know what it is about urine that doctors can never see enough of 😉

    Have a speedy recovery and I hope you manage some sleep while lying on your back.

  14. Mu Yixiao says:


    Russian President Vladimir Putin says countries that launch a nuclear attack on Moscow will be “wiped out”, and that Russian weapons could forcefully respond to any attack.

  15. Jax says:

    My Christmas tree has been up for a full 12 hours, and the kittens have hardly noticed it. The weird kitten, Boogie, seems entranced by the lights, but he hasn’t appeared to notice there are dangly things on it.

    I’m shocked, honestly, we even screwed it to the floor and tied it to the ceiling, just in case all 3 of them went into attack mode. 😛

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @Scott: That’s … weird. Catholic Integralism pretending not to be. The linked Politico article talks about Originalism and the Federalist Society. Vermeule looks at them and sees a failure to make us all into devout Catholics and proposes his “public good constitutionalism” as a way to achieve that goal. What seems important, and Politico doesn’t mention, is that the Federalist Society prospered and became influential because it was heavily funded by Chuckles Koch et al. Who’s funding Vermuele’s nonsense?

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @Jax: Then of course one can get owls in the Christmas tree….

  18. Kathy says:


    The gods mewl in mysterious ways.

  19. MarkedMan says:


    The Attending doc was just in and was very excited that I farted.

    I have to admit that when I am alone, and even at my advanced age, I’m still, well, if not excited, a little bit delighted when I fart.

  20. Scott says:

    @gVOR08: It is all of a piece. It is the legal framework for National Conservatism and Christian Nationalism.

  21. CSK says:


    I find it worrisome that you have to lie on your back for a few days. That can be crippling (temporarily, happily). I hope you’re able to move.

    Very glad it went well, otherwise.

  22. Beth says:


    I’m not a fan of opioids. In a hospital they are nice but I refuse to take them at home. For me the downsides outweigh the upsides.


    That’s awesome.


    Lol doctors are weird. I keep trying to get my doctor friend to pierce my ears and she’s all “not in this dirty gay dive bar.”


    My Partner is annoyed with me and my daughter cause we high five each other when we fart. It’s going to be hilarious when she gets old enough to start dating.


    Right now all I can do is wiggle a bit. It’s unpleasant to sit up for long. The docs want everything to start healing before I move. Last thing we want is to have something come undone.

  23. CSK says:
  24. Chip Daniels says:

    Here is a humorous tidbit from the article:

    As the living voice of the law, the administrative state should be given broad deference by Congress and the courts to “specify policy within the bounds … of the overall statutory task.” In concrete terms, this is an argument in favor of a New Deal-style centralized bureaucracy, empowered to pursue a socially conservative agenda and insulated from democratic accountability and judicial oversight.

    Do go on. A New Deal-style centralized bureaucracy, you say?

    And what requires this central bureaucracy to pursue a conservative, as opposed to liberal, agenda?

  25. Mu Yixiao says:

    At 70 minutes, Croatia is holding Brazil to a stand-still. I’m shocked. Very happy, but very very shocked. I was expecting us to get our asses kicked.

  26. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I think the article starts to undermine its own premise by the end. It tries to further the idea that the Never-Trumpers’ criticisms of Trump’s character and temperament are important after all–they aren’t just a question of aesthetics. To some extent this may be true, but then toward the end of the article the author admits it isn’t just about Trump. And he uses the Kanye/Fuentes episode as the prime illustration.

    The problem is that Trump doesn’t just welcome white nationalists and neo-Nazis into his orbit because they shower him with praise. He does it because he largely agrees with their worldview. And it’s not just him, it’s much of the conservative infrastructure in this country. The years-long conservative love affair with Kanye–which the article acknowledges and links to sources detailing–grew out of their long-time habit of finding token black people (or other minorities) who say the things they want to hear about race and cultural issues, under the (delusional) belief that hearing it from a black person validates their worldview and shields them from charges of racism. If it’s a celebrity, that’s a plus. It’s the same thing they did with Herschel Walker. Trump has heavily employed this strategy, but he’s hardly the first Republican to do so.

    And a lot of what has made many of them finally part ways with Kanye is that he’s been just a bit too explicit about certain ideas. I watched parts of the Alex Jones interview, and one thing that was fairly clear is that Jones agreed with much of Kanye’s beliefs: he also thinks the banks and the entertainment industry are controlled by Jews. He just was turned off by the Hitler apologia, because he still carries the view of most American conservatives of thinking of Nazis as the bad guys whom we defeated in WWII in one of the country’s proudest achievements, a story that’s stitched deeply into the American cultural DNA and which has kept more right-leaning Americans away from explicitly Nazi beliefs for a long time.

    Of course I don’t believe American Jews are in any way in the same vulnerable position Europe’s Jews were during WWII, but the conspiratorial view of Jews is one of the building blocks of a fascist perspective the American right has flirted with for years. While Nazism was never a perfectly coherent ideology, it had several core features, among them the belief that society was being polluted by degeneracy and moral decadence due to a worldwide Jewish conspiracy to destroy the white (or Aryan) race. Not all reactionaries believe in all those things, but American conservatives have been promoting what starts to resemble key elements to that narrative for years. That’s why Kanye finds it so easy to identify as a conservative; it’s not that everyone on the right believes what he believes about Jews or Hitler or whatever, it’s that it slides easily into the overall worldview.

  27. CSK says:

    You make some excellent points, but I don’t quite see how the article undermines its own premise.

  28. just nutha says:

    @Scott: Okay. Assuming I agree to the proposition, I have a different question, who defines “good?”

  29. Chip Daniels says:

    @just nutha:
    This where the wheels come off the train.

    The centerpiece of their thinking is that the rights of minorities are weak compared to the will of the majority.

    But they forget or choose to ignore that they themselves are the minority.

    The case before the SCOTUS right now is a conservative Christian woman pleading for her minority religious rights to be respected by the majority.
    Vermeule’s theory says that her plea should be ignored.

    “Common Good Constitutionalism” won’t work out the way they imagine.

  30. Gustopher says:


    Gee, couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of greedy cowards.

    Would you be willing to sign something under oath that Donald Trump has complied with the law?

    That’s what the custodian of records here would have to do, and that’s why they cant name one — no one who has any understanding of the man would do so.

    They found more classified records in a storage locker a couple of days ago.

  31. Kathy says:

    I’ve come up with a couple of updated definitions based on observations of recent events.

    Red Wave: a pink trickle reminiscent of blood, which comes accompanied by disappointment and frustration.

    Red Mirage: when a Republiqan seems to be standing up to the Cheeto, but in a short time the whole thing is revealed as having been illusory all along.

  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    Croatia over Brazil!!

  33. just nutha says:

    @Chip Daniels: Not only where the wheels come of the train, but also the source point (at least in my mind) of where the argument deconstructs itself–allowing the wheels to come off in the first place. Who decides and why that group gets to is always the rub.

    All the way back to “all animals are created equal” evolving into “some animals are more equal than others” (and some animals aren’t even animals at all, come to think of it).

  34. Mister Bluster says:

    My favorite bumpersticker:

    Save Gas-Fart in a Jar

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: Would you be willing to sign something under oath that Donald Trump has complied with the law?

    That’s what the custodian of records here would have to do, and that’s why they cant name one — no one who has any understanding of the man would do so.

    Like I said, greedy cowards. Unlike any of those greedy gutless weasels, I would tell him personally, “Hell no I won’t put neck on the line for a sociopathic lying piece of shit like you.” and walk out comfortable with the knowledge that living underneath a bridge roasting sparrows on coat hangers would be no where near as debasing as working for him. Of course, that is also why I will never get the chance to say it to him.

    Regardless, any of them could easily go out and get a real job, one that has meaning and would make the world a better place. And yet, they choose not to.

  36. CSK says:

    My word. So far today on the open forum we’ve discussed, or at least raised the topics of, Harry and Meghan, Kyrsten Sinema, the aftermath of genital confirmation surgery, Vermeule’s theory, stolen classified docs and the disposition thereof, and farting, to list just some things.

    Never a dull moment.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: Can any of our lawyer types explain why the judge isn’t demanding that Trump personally put up or shut up? Why does he get to try to find a lawyer who would be the fall guy?

  38. Beth says:


    It’s probably an intermediary step. Most defendants would get at least a couple of chances before the hammer drops on them. Trump probably gets a bit of extra deference since he was president. That being said he’s gonna run out of deference real fast if no one will sign for him.

  39. inhumans99 says:


    There is a Scrubs episode called My Full Moon where a patient is told she will not be released if she does not fart. The patient refuses to pass gas, and Turk hangs out just outside of her room, and another lady nurse is checking on the patient when you hear the tell-tale sound of a person who just tooted, and she steps outside to tell Turk the deed is done. Turk says as a guy, I have to ask, what did it smell like and the nurse says 30 years of repression…and hot dogs. I just watched this clip on YouTube.

    Such a wonderful show. Glad to hear you are in the post surgery recovery phase of things, and continue to take it easy and get well.

  40. daryl and his brother darryl says:
  41. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    There was a hearing on this today, but I haven’t seen anything about the result of that hearing, yet.

  42. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    The hearing has concluded, but the outcome is under seal, according to CNN.

  43. CSK says:


    CNBC says Judge Howell rejected the DOJ’s request. ABC confirms this.

  44. JohnSF says:


    “…the outcome is under seal…”

    And when the lamb opened the first seal, and I heard, one of the beasts saying, like thunder, “Come behold”. And I saw, and beheld a white horse. Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
    Apropos of nothing.
    Except maybe Trump should watch on for men on white horses. 🙂

  45. JohnSF says:

    Excellent news.
    Speedy recovery.

  46. JohnSF says:

    Reminds me of my father, who spent a long time in hospital at the tail end of WW2, saying something like “Morphine is a wonderful thing, but perhaps a bit too wonderful, when you just don’t care that your leg is now absent.”
    He was very chary of painkillers from then till his last months.
    I’ve only had codeine a couple of times, and that briefly, but that little experience makes me tend to agree.

    Now, back to the booze!

  47. JohnSF says:


    I think it’s fair to say they’ve got their collective panties in a bunch.

    Not sure about this.
    Not always easy for me to judge, being as though a constitutional monarchist (socialist sub-type 🙂 ) I am extremely meh re. the royals as soap opera.
    But though this is getting a fair bit of attention in the “red-top” tabloids, it’s low down the reporting on news bulletins.
    Maskell’s bill is unrelated.
    But Bob Seely is interesting. He’s not one of the usual headbangers or publicity seekers. Foreign Affairs Committee member. Former Army NCO and officer (which is still a bit unusual in the British Army), topped out as captain. Afghan vet and then Army Intel. Military MBE. Research associate at University of Oxford.
    In short, not a lightweight or a loon.
    And in a very, very safe seat, so doesn’t need publicity.
    And Opperman isn’t either.

    Opperman is a member of the Advisory Board of the High Pay Centre and has co-authored an essay with Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Trades Union Congress General Secretary Frances O’Grady entitled “Better Business: Moral Matters”. In the essay he contrasts community-focussed businesses in his Northumberland seat with the lack of responsibility demonstrated by the banking sector.

    Maybe I should check out what H&M have actually been saying, to cause this sort of fuss beyond the media peanut gallery.
    Then again, maybe not.

  48. Beth says:


    Booze doesn’t seem to work properly for me any more. It’s thought to get a pleasant feeling from it and then it seems like every time I drink I get an awful hand over. Could by one cocktail or half a bottle of wine, the next day is miserable.

  49. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    What a day of football!!!

    Argentina survives on penalties, and Brazil goes down on penalties. Both were great games. Argentina came so close to ending it in extra time several times. Props to the Netherlands goalkeeper for keeping them in the game until penalties.

  50. JohnSF says:

    Avoid mornings.
    Works for me. 😉

    Seriously, maybe it’s age, but morning after debilitation is a big reason I don’t drink much during the week these days.
    Nor is tipsy the same as when a teen.
    Like so much else. *sigh*

    Obvs. need to spend my 60’s investigating interesting potential psychoactive combinations! 😉

  51. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    So now it’s Croatia vs Argentina in one semi.
    England vs France tomorrow!
    And Morocco vs Portugal…

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: How would someone be able to be the custodian of documents for Trump’s situation knowing that there’s no way to know that he’s not lying about how many documents he took possession of? Or that he even remembers how many?

  53. EddieInCA says:


    I’d love to see England v. Argentina in the final. Winner gets the Falklands.