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:

    New find details deadly chapter in Butch and Sundance’s escape to South America

    The two outlaws spent their nights carousing in the bordellos of a far west mining town where they were holed up, on the run from the law. One night, one of the fugitives got into a brawl at an after-hours restaurant. Lawmen arrived and ordered everyone into the street, but the drunken bandit drew his gun. He fired a single shot; an officer died.

    The 1905 scene did not play out in the US, but in the Chilean port of Antofagasta – a boom town that at the time was as wild as any in the old American west – and it was detailed in a judicial report recently rediscovered in the country’s national archives.

    The protagonists were the notorious US outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and the dog-eared file has revealed a previously unreported incident in their flight to South America, later immortalised in the eponymous 1969 film.

    “It’s an unknown chapter in their life,” said Anne Meadows, who discovered the file with her husband Dan Buck. The couple have spent decades trailing the pair’s escape to South America, a search that has continued even after the 1994 publication of their book Digging Up Butch and Sundance. The couple have returned to South America 15 times, visiting the outlaws’ every known hiding place in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia in search of clues.

    But the newly discovered document – which Meadows and Buck found this June – proves not only that Sundance, whose real name was Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, killed a police officer in Chile but also that he was helped to escape by a US diplomat.

    Dig dig dig for long enough and you just might hit gold.

  2. Jen says:

    From the Elon Musk fReE SPeeCh files:

    Twitter Suspends Accounts of Half a Dozen Journalists

    The social media service, which is owned by Elon Musk, said that it suspends accounts that “violate the Twitter rules” but did not provide details.

  3. Scott says:

    Steven, I don’t know what it is like in Troy but we, in San Antonio, are just thrilled to be in a bowl game and thrilled that we don’t have to go to Austin, College Station, or Lubbock to get our college football fix.

    UTSA vs. Troy: Five storylines to watch in the Cure Bowl

  4. Kylopod says:


    The social media service, which is owned by Elon Musk, said that it suspends accounts that “violate the Twitter rules” but did not provide details.

    It is because those journalists don’t like free speech. You can’t have a free speech platform with a lot of free speech haters around.

  5. Kathy says:

    At long last the Snoozefest is over.

    Yes, I know there are some games to be played for some reason, but those are on the weekend. No TV on while working, nor people shouting “GOL!” for some reason*.

    I wouldn’t mind leaving the TV here for the rest of the NFL season. Truth is, though, if I’m still working by the time monday and thursday games come on, I’m either concentrated on work or hurrying up the work to be able to leave. So I see little of those games.

    * better than half the time they do, the ball is nowhere near the net that allegedly is the point of the game.

  6. EddieInCA says:


    At long last the Snoozefest is over.


  7. Beth says:

    I figured I’d respond to @grumpy realist: over here.

    I’m feeling pretty good. I’m weaker both physically and mentally than I think I am. Meaning, I spend most of my time on the couch playing Stellaris on my Xbox* and I feel great. Then when I get up I rapidly become frail.

    My biggest problems right now are caused by the catheter (may it rot in hell) and the drain I still have. They are both physically limiting, uncomfortable and emotionally a problem.

    The emotional euphoria I feel from not having a penis is so intense. It feels like a massive weight was just taken away. The problem is that between the catheter and drain issue I’m also dealing with the just direct healing that is causing me to freak out. But, as my brother pointed out “it’s healing don’t play with it.” I start my lifetime of dilation today and I’m expecting that to be emotionally fraying.

    Another fun angle has been freaking out while pooping. I had to turn to my partner and have her explain how to wipe. I’m 44 and re-learning how to wipe my own butt.

    My whole crotch is swollen and chopped up from all the grafting worn they did. It’s stating to feel like a Barbie doll crotch. It’s all swollen and hard, but at least it’s flat. I’m also not in a lot of pain so that’s good.

    *The Bored Space Elves of the planet Ennui have left their star Who Cares and managed to cut a nice little section of the galaxy off for themselves. Early trade deals and massive space stations have largely kept off would-be attackers. Now we see if they have what it takes to be the dominant species in the galaxy. Or not. Whatever.

  8. Jax says:

    @Beth: “Don’t play with it, it’s healing” absolutely made my day! 😛 😛

    Keep taking it easy, my friend! How long til you get the catheter and the drain out?

  9. Beth says:


    He’s good for one zinger a year. He hit it out of the park.

    I’m waiting for the dr right now. Hopefully these come out now. Lol, I’m typing hoping that causes the universe to send the dr now.

  10. @Scott: It is a big deal here as well, and cool to play another conference champion.

    As I type UTSA is up 9-0 and Troy isn’t look all that good.

  11. Kathy says:

    Work is piling up so fast and stupid, I swear I’m considering violence.

    I may have some details tomorrow. Meantime, two oddities:

    1) At work someone put on a movie on the Snoozefest TV during lunch. I was trying to ignore it, when suddenly the sound got louder and seemed disconnected from the movie. I asked “What the hell is that?”

    It was a commercial…

    2) I had a dream I was playing with my late dog, Emm. I’d throw a ball, she’d chase after it, then come running back and drop the ball so I’d throw it again.

    The odd thing is that never happened. She never learned to let go of the ball, and I must admit I did not try too hard to teach her. the one way she’d let go was if I produced another ball and threw it.

    Well, back to the salt mines. The waste paper won’t gather itself.

  12. Beth says:

    Well, catheter and drain out. I was sent home and instructed that I had to pee before 8pm and if I don’t, go to the ER. I feel human again.

    In terms of other things…. Let me tell you. I know the messages that you all get. That being Trans is terrible and we’re mutant freaks at best. That surgery is “experimental” and inevitably leads to bad outcomes. And bullshit, bs bs. Let me tell you, I feel amazing. Sufficient to say, everything works. Everything works amazing. It looks normal and healing. But like a construction site, but healing. I wish I could have done this 20 years ago. My body is amazing.

    I also laughed my ass off during the drs. Speculum inspection and clean out. I couldn’t help myself. I was laughing so damn hard. I thought I was going to vibrate out of my skin. Dr was like “well, this is a first.”

    After all of that I stopped and had a hot dog for lunch.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: I had a chest tube for a week once. I had no idea how much by body hated that damn thing until they pulled it out. Gawd, what a relief when it finally exited my body. I could feel my chest cavity sigh. Here’s hoping you get similar relief in a similar time frame.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: I know the messages that you all get. That being Trans is terrible and we’re mutant freaks at best. That surgery is “experimental” and inevitably leads to bad outcomes.

    Actually, I don’t get those messages, and if I did I wouldn’t read them. I don’t care, your private parts are none of my business. (private… right?) If it makes you happy? How is that a problem for me, or mine?

    I’ll be honest, I don’t understand. I’m 64 years old, a f’n dinosaur with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. For me, understanding is beside the point, acceptance is all that is necessary. Well, that and standing up the trans phobics when I cross their path.

    Let me tell you, I feel amazing.

    And that is all that really matters, isn’t it? I am happy you are now free of this burden you have been carrying with you all your life.

  15. Kathy says:


    IMO, all patients who have a urinary catheter in, should be allowed to dowse it with kerosene and burn it as soon as it’s taken out. Just to make sure it’s gone.

  16. JohnSF says:

    Good news, then.
    Well apart from the ” crotch is swollen and chopped up” which is not so great, I guess.
    Seriously, best wishes.

    Anyway, the important question: Stellaris: worth it? 🙂

  17. JohnSF says:


    “I’m 64 years old, a f’n dinosaur with one foot in the grave…”

    Speak for yerself, youngster.
    This dinosaur intends to keep on rockin’ 🙂
    (Hopefully embarrassing all the younger members of the family on an ongoing basis.)

    By the time you get to our age, I reckon you haven’t got much excuse left for not learning that poking yer snoot into how others choose to live is a really damn stupid attitude.
    And that it’s being human that matters, not what labels you pin on people.

  18. Beth says:


    About the messaging, it’s just something that seeps throughout the culture. It messes up everything it touches. It even got to me. The fact that you are at acceptance is beautiful and more than we can ask for. One of the reasons I’m so vocal about it is so that I can, hopefully, get some people to acceptance and some to understanding. Lol, though understanding might be a long way off cause I don’t get it half the time.


    You have amazing and wonderful ideas. That thing was a curse.


    I really like it, for the most part. The beginning bit can be really relaxing as you just explore the galaxy and do the early game stuff. The mid game is fun as you try to build your empire up and not flame out or get eaten. The problem is the late game can get kinda boring if you don’t want to try and annihilate every other empire. Like, there’s no non war ending that I can see. It also gets boring when your post scarcity. I tend to wander away during the late game and start over.

  19. JohnSF says:

    The real games are yet to come!
    And the Six Nations start in February
    “Damage. It’s the game. It’s the only game.”

    Rupert Giles (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” 1997):

    I just think it’s rather odd that a nation that prides itself on its virility should feel compelled to strap on forty pounds of protective gear just in order to play rugby.

  20. JohnSF says:

    A bit like some Civs then; late game can get really dragsome.
    Still, it’s on my Steam list and offer, so might download and give it go over Christmas hols.
    “Uncle John, why are you drunk and cursing aliens again?”
    “Don’t worry kiddo, I’m not turning into a Brexiter.”

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: Speak for yerself, youngster.

    To quote the immortal Indiana Jones (who no doubt stole it) “It ain’t the years, it’s the mileage.” I had my MRI today. They asked if I wanted the pictures. I thought, “Why the f not?” and said, “Sure.” Of course, looking at them I had no idea what was a vein and what was a tear, but I didn’t expect to. I just wanted to see what an MRI looks like. It’s…. different, and interesting. I can pick out most of the various parts of my shoulder, I just can’t begin to tell what should and what shouldn’t be there. (is that a tear? or is it a vein/artery?) I knew better than to think I could actually read it. Monday, the Doc will tell the tale.

    @Beth: The fact that you are at acceptance is beautiful and more than we can ask for.

    TBH, it isn’t that much. I was at acceptance back in the ’70s hitch hiking to and from my GF’s house when I would get picked up by gay men. (some uncomfortable moments but I never felt threatened) and over the years I have had a number of gay and lesbian friends. On some level, I can get that. It makes sense to me that one person is attracted to another person even if I never would be. Happens all the time.

    But wanting to be fundamentally something other than I am???

    On one level I kind of get it. I never fit in. I “hid” what I was. (not who, who is what you wrestled with) But what. I grew up with severe eczema, peel the skin off my feet eczema, and off my wrists, the insides of my elbows or anyplace else sweat would gather (and yes, that included my crotch) I hid it from everybody, didn’t dare let them see what a freak I was. Puberty was when it was it’s worst, which made that hard time even harder.

    But with the passing of puberty, my eczema relented. Mind you it would be another 10 or so years before I could control it (it still rears it’s ugly head from time to time) but I know how to deal with it.

    But all that is nothing compared to what you have dealt with all your life. It just gives me the ability to say, I hope you have finally turned the corner, whatever corner it may be.

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..I just wanted to see what an MRI looks like

    The last time I saw images of my innards was when I got the written report of my colonoscopy complete with pictures of intestinal polyps. WikiP has pics that I will not link to.

  23. Kathy says:


    That’s ok. No one’s ever tried to get me interested in rugby, whatever that is.

  24. Kathy says:


    I tend to get rather aggressive and destructive with things that make me suffer. Not always seriously. I think a lot of medical waste is incinerated anyway.

    Once, though, I filed some rather tedious, long, and mind-numbing waste paper file in a folder named “F****g Pointless Waste of Time,” and my boss got very upset. I changed it to “Pointless Waste of Time,” but somehow that didn’t make things better.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Heh, I’ve seen pics of my bowels too. Not for the faint of heart. s//

    It was interesting tho. I could pick out the bones (easily), more than a few of the muscles, none of the tendons. I saw several things that looked like tears in the soft tissue but more than a few could have been veins or arteries. I really have no idea how they know what they are looking at… Much to the surprise of nobody who has been thru med-school.

    Anyway, I’m glad I said yes. Or at least I will be until they charge me $1,000 for them.

  26. Mister Bluster says:

    Well beam me up Scotty!
    I thought I was getting a deal earlier today when I used my 30¢/gal. discount at Kroger and paid $2.799/gal. for Regular no lead. Stopped in at MickeyD’s for mud and Wifi on the way home and damn if the same gas is selling for $2.699/gal with no discount just next door!
    Don’t think the senior coffee at McDonalds is going back down to the 88¢ it was just before Thanksgiving.

    Alert the Transporter Room!
    Just looked out the window and the fuel that was $2.699/gal. minutes ago is now back up to $3.o99/gal!
    Maybe I’m in some sort of fossil fuel time warp!

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: I paid $2.89 this AM. Grifters gotta grift.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I saw shots from my last colonscopy and from an endoscopy (hepatologists need to see the whole track for some reason). What’s the big deal? Boring pictures of uninteresting pink soft tissue.

  29. JohnSF says:


    No one’s ever tried to get me interested in rugby, whatever that is.

    I’d try, but then again, why? 🙂
    Name derives from the place where it originated: Rugby School, Warwickshire.
    Sometimes called “rugger” after a parallel joke etymology with “soccer” (which derives from Association Football) at Oxford Uni in the 1890’s.
    Has two main rules variants: Rugby Union and Rugby League
    (Also related: Gaelic Football and Aussie Rules)
    Think American football turned up to 11 and on heavy duty stimulants. 🙂
    Either you love it or you don’t.

  30. Mister Bluster says:

    @Beth: @Beth:.. Another fun angle has been freaking out while pooping. I had to turn to my partner and have her explain how to wipe. I’m 44 and re-learning how to wipe my own butt.

    When I worked as a personal attendant for my disabled friend Joe I had to wipe his ass every day since he could not do that for himself. When we moved to San Francisco he qualified for a free two week physical therapy program at he UCSF Medical School. Among other things they built a tool that he could use to reach between his legs and wipe his own butt. Finally. At the age of 25. It was one of the most liberating experiences he realized.
    Another milestone in his life was when he got a job and the State of California paid for a wheelchair van for him that he could drive. I will never forget how proud he was the first time that I saw him drive when he picked up me and my girlfriend up at the old Trans Bay Terminal in San Francisco when we vacationed there. It was the first time he got to drive me around instead of me ferrying him.

  31. Mister Bluster says:

    Well damn.
    Just after hit the Post Comment key for my 20:26 post above, a screen appeared. White background with black script and a timer. It openened and closed so fast all I saw was a circular timer and something about 30 seconds and it was checking for bots. Before I could read it all it vanished and my comment posted normally.
    I do not like the looks of this.
    Let’s see what happens when I post this.

    Got the edit key.
    Nothing unusual happened this time.
    I still don’t like what I saw. Whatever it was.

  32. Kathy says:


    I’d try, but then again, why?

    So you’d have someone smart and glamorous to talk about it? 😉

    I have seen Australian Rules Football, as I think it was or is called, some decades ago. It seemed too unstructured and violent. I’m one of the few who sees NFL football as a tactical game, not one where the object is to hit the ball carrier hard. I’d like it more if it were less violent, and the players would last longer nad have healthier lives post-retirement.

    But maybe it wouldn’t sell then.