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. Jen says:

    This seems to fly in the face of good governance, transparency, and it feels ripe for a challenge:

    Arizona Republicans exempt lawmakers from the state’s open-records law

    Arizona Republicans shielded legislators from the state’s open-records law this week — a move that comes months after the release of thousands of documents detailing extensive efforts to undermine Joe Biden’s victory here in the 2020 presidential election.

    Documents that have surfaced over the past two years include correspondence describing the inner workings of a partisan review of the 2020 election by the Cyber Ninjas, as well as emails by Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, urging lawmakers to overturn President Donald Trump’s narrow defeat in the state.

    The new rules will greatly limit the public release of lawmakers’ communications. State senators will not have to disclose any text messages sent on personal devices, even when dealing with state business. For lawmakers in both the Senate and the House, emails and other documents will be destroyed after 90 days — in many cases, well before members of the public know to ask for them.

    What @ssholes.

  2. Rick DeMent says:

    This seems like something that should be a bigger story in the media. In 2016, Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, who later that year had to resign and was indicted in 2017, was a former employee of Deripaska, and owed money to him. And McGonigal who was charged with investigating the Trump campaign’s Russian connections and found “no link” between Trump and Russia then went to work for that very same Deripaska. Not fishy at all…

    Former Special Agent In Charge Of The New York FBI Counterintelligence Division Charged With Violating U.S. Sanctions On Russia.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: The GOP does not believe in good governance, that’s why they are always trying to tear it down. They don’t believe in transparency either, much easier to rig things for the rich in secret.

  4. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    In 2016, Trump’s campaign manager (Manafort) was a former employee of a Russian oligarch (Deripaska), and owed money to that same Russian oligarch. And the FBI special agent (McGonigal) who was charged with investigating the Trump campaign’s Russian connections then went to work (according to the indictment) for that very same Russian oligarch (Deripaska). This is obviously very bad for Trump personally. But it is also very bad for FBI New York, for the FBI generally, and for the United States of America.

  5. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Yesterday, Just another ex-Republican asked me

    but where do you go to determine if you’re in the top x % or whatever?

    I response, I will note that I don’t go anywhere to determine such information. It’s possible that I get messages about certain types of “events” or “challenges” that Kindle seems to be using to gin up more activity for its product because I signed up for “Goodreads” when I adopted Kindle. I promptly forgot my user name and password, so I’ve never actually visited the Goodreads site, but I get various email messages from Goodreads periodically. I mostly discard them unopened, but it’s possible that in the process of discarding an email that I had just read and didn’t need to keep that something from either Kindle or Goodreads was the next message that opened on my screen. The idea that I had been identified as one of Kindle’s “top users” tickled my fancy as I am not a particularly voracious reader and never have been.

    Like both Dr. Taylor and wr, I bought an e-reader because I, too, like to use Kindle as a reading to go to sleep device and also have limited desire to own anymore physical copies of books that I will only read once (as is my life-long habit going back to when I owned books). Additionally, on my first tourist trip to Korea, I bought my kindle so that I wouldn’t have to pack several books to read on the plane, during quiet times on trains or buses and what not. I’ve also found that Kindle Unlimited is valuable enough to me that I kept my membership after the trial I started sometime last year (which is to say that I read more than $10, retail, worth of books in any given month). It may be through Kindle Unlimited that I got the stats for my status as a reader/user of Kindle. I dunno.

  6. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    McDonald’s president who made $7.4 million last year says proposal to pay fast-food workers $22 an hour is ‘costly and job-destroying’
    Cracker Translate rendered the translation of “costly and job-destroying” as “the money looks better in my wallet than in any of your skanky po’ folk wallets.” The sad thing is that he may be able to garner some credibility for his position given that he’s not even the highest paid CEO Mickey D’s has had. The shame and embarrassment of that status can only be compounded by the fact that it’s entirely possible that his salary has been ravaged by the push to pay his employees enough to either feed themselves or cover rent (but certainly not both, capitalism can’t work miracles, you know) out of only one salary.

  7. JohnMc says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:I was mentally composing a comment connecting Dr Snyder’s twitter thread as did, so thanks.

    Would also link to the NYT story about AG Barr and Mr Durham’s “investigation”.

    Makes one coherent and depressing story.

  8. JohnMc says:

    @JohnMc: as YOU did…

    and — as Rick DeMint did…


  9. CSK says:

    Another dog shoots someone story:

    I don’t blame the dog at all. His master is, however, an idiot.

  10. daryl and his brother darryl says:
  11. Beth says:
  12. becca says:

    There’s a lot of apprehension here in Memphis today. They are releasing the Tyree Nichols murder video at 6pm. The full video is an hour long and contains body and sky cam. It is reportedly horrific. After-school activities are canceled and lots of businesses are closing early. National media is all over downtown. Ben Crump is on, praising the DA and Police Chief for quick action, which, hopefully, will quell potential violent unrest.

    I learned the involved officers were in a special unit known as the Scorpion Unit. Seems they have been given “whispered impunity ” to be murderous thugs and similar units exist all over the country. If these units need to exist, at least keep them out of minor traffic violations.
    By all accounts, Mr Nichols was a nice guy. He was on his way to his mom’s house, within a block of her address. I have no more words.

  13. Scott says:

    @becca: I heard his mother on NPR this morning praying for everyone to stay peaceful. Let’s hope.

  14. becca says:

    My SIL is closing one of his restaurants downtown, to be on the safe side. Just got a text that “protesters” flipped his brother’s truck downtown. He was on a plumbing job.
    In all honesty, having lived here 20 years, I don’t think the violence will come from locals.

  15. becca says:

    @becca: correction- truck-flipping took place closer to suburban Bartlett northeast of Memphis.

  16. CSK says:

    Trump claims that the Trump Organization can’t be sued by Letitia James because it doesn’t…legally…exist.

  17. Stormy Dragon says:


    This seems like Trump legally cutting off his nose to spite his face, as winning the argument would mean his personal assets are no longer protected by the corporate liability shield…

  18. Gustopher says:

    @becca: Given that they actually charged police officers pretty much immediately, I assume the video is going to be truly awful beyond imagination.

    Calling for calm, positioning the national guard, etc… they do that all the time.

    But holding police immediately accountable? That’s a shock. (The fact that the police are black probably makes that shocking development easier)

  19. Kathy says:

    There’s no hell week like bonus hell week.

    Between Tuesday and today, I must have slept a total of sixteen hours, maybe a bit less. I could go into details, but really the lack of sleep says it all.

  20. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    The Trump Org., Inc. has been has been registered as a copration in NY since 1981. Letitia James isn’t suing it anyway; she’s suing Trump, his three oldest kids, Weisselberg, and the payroll guy, Jeffrey McConney.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    RNC Chair
    The results are in.
    McDaniel 111
    Dhillon 51
    Lindell 4

    Tears on My Pillow
    Little Anthony and the Imperials

  22. becca says:

    @Gustopher: there is rumor that the traffic stop was a ruse for a personal vendetta from one of the officers. If so, that kinda points to intent to harm. Mr Nichols might have been targeted.

  23. CSK says:

    In an awful way, it makes sense that Nichols would have been targeted. This was incredibly, horrifyingly violent, and the five cops have been charged with 2nd degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnaping, 2 charges of official misconduct, and 1 count of official oppression.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: The dog belonged to the driver, not the guy who got shot. The question tho is to whom did the loaded rifle belong to? Whoever owned it and put it into the backseat loaded and cocked is an idiot and if it was the drivers, negligent homicide is on the table. If it was the victim’s… Karma is a beach in Tennessee.

  25. CSK says:

    Oh, I know the dog belonged to the driver. But it was his car, also, so probably he’s responsible for what goes in it. Nobody should have a og pancing around in the back seat when there are loaded firearms there as well.

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I prefer to think that the dog was acting in self-defense or proactively from suffering battered dog syndrome. The idea that these events are just some sorts of tragic accidents has no cathartic value for me.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: WA! Takes me back to times I went to Watermelon Sugar in Daejeon. Not quite as techopop or fast as there, but I assume music has evolved in Korea, too and it’s been 10 years at least.

  28. becca says:

    @CSK: there has been a running dialog between law enforcement authorities and local businesses since this tragedy happened. I think the person that related this is reliable and in a position to know.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: @OzarkHillbilly: Your additions to the story are doing nothing to add to the cathartic qualities I’m trying to find in this story. 🙁

  30. CSK says:

    I believe it’s true. Were they looking for Nichols specifically so they could kill him? Any excuse would do? It seems so.

  31. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Sorry, but there might not be any.

  32. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    In terms of Korean DJs, Sohmi and Peggy Gou are amazing.

    Lol, also, there’s a newish club by me where the three kinds of acts they book are Raves, Metal acts and K-Pop acts. They have a giant main room and a smaller but still big side room. One day there’s going to be a very interesting and exciting booking mixup.

  33. becca says:

    @CSK: the talk is a jealous husband with a badge and his buddies to back him up.

  34. CSK says:

    Oh, swell. Just swell.

  35. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster: ]

    Perhaps “I Think I’m Going Out of My Head” might be more appropriate.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: But he doesn’t know the firearm is loaded and cocked if he didn’t put it there himself. Back in the day when I was hunting, I knew the habits of everybody I hunted with or was in camp with. Believe me there were a few in camp that I would not hunt with. The first rule of hunting camp was always a firearm is unloaded when the hunt is done. Whether in camp or miles from it. And I watched who I was hunting with, regardless because mistakes happen.

    That was a couple decades ago, so I don’t know how hunters set the rules these days. I do know they are a lot more lax. But if the driver put a loaded and cocked firearm in his vehicle with the safety off, that is negligent homicide. (don’t know how they would charge it… Manslaughter something or other) If however his buddy did it….

    Saying you thought he had unloaded it is a viable defense.

    Times have changed. Things that back in the 70s, 80s, and 90s would have been inexcusable aren’t anymore. I blame the NRA (and their financiers, Remington, Winchester, Colt, Ruger, etc etc etc.)

    All hail the corporate arms industry.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: If you want cathartic qualities from this story, you are looking in the wrong place. This is shear stupidity. The only question is on who’s part? The answer is all to likely to be everyone involved.

  38. JohnSF says:

    I am an ignorant Brit, but one rule from my uncle, who shot a bit:
    “Never, ever, EVER put aside a loaded firearm. Unless you are in a combat situation. If not, unload it. And then if you aren’t certain: it’s loaded. So unload it again.”

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: That was the rule in my day but things have changed. A buddy of mine has a hunting camp with his brother nearby. In the evenings there are a whole lot of loaded sidearms in camp because you never know when a rabid ‘possum might wander thru camp. The funny thing is they (even my buddy) all said their handguns were for bears and feral pigs. Yeah. Right. A .380 or 9 mm is gonna stop a 400# black bear or a 900# pig.

    I don’t go there in the evenings anymore.

    I remember being at a festival up in STL with my buddy and his wife and somehow the discussion got to the topic of carrying a firearm locked and loaded all the time. I said, “Dave, I don’t carry and I live out there.” His wife said out the side of her mouth, “Thank you, Tom.”

    It is stupid, the whole gawd damned thing. I have an otherwise reasonable neighbor who every time he is on his tractor is strapped because, “Snakes.” I long ago lost count of how many copperheads and timber rattlers I have captured and relocated from my property.

    I don’t get it. Plain and simply, I just don’t get it.

  40. CSK says:

    Probably it’s a good idea to check all firearms yourself to see if they’re loaded.

    In any case, why not put the guns in the trunk and let the dog have free rein of the backseat?

  41. JohnSF says:

    Have to say, can’t sensibly comment ’cause in Britain you don’t get pigs, possums, bears, snakes (snakess!) and such.
    OK, occasional squirrel in a bad mood. 😉

    All I know is, a whole load of my older relations were extremely familiar with firearms and not much inclined to waltz around with them carelessly.

    I think I’ve said before, my fathers comments on firearms (more or less):

    “Useful in the right circumstances. But after spending several years sat behind them, guns really aren’t of much use in a civilised society.”

    And by accounts of others, father was phenomenally good with firearms. Never spoke much about it himself though.
    Linky to Dad’s former workplace.

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..out of my head
    Sure, why not.

  43. Jax says:

    OMG….Run, little buddy, RUUUUUNNNNNN!!!!