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. EddieInCA says:

    Random musings after two weeks in Scotland.

    A. The Scottish people as a whole are a rough bunch. No way I should live the life of the people in the Hoghlands, especially those people North of the Isle of Skye.

    B. The Scottish people as a whole are incredibly nice and polite. Not just in face to face interactions but also during times of driving on single lane roads or queuing up in lines and at roundabouts. People are patient, polite and always courteous.

    C. Damn, they make a lot of Scotch, Gin and Whisky in Scotland. Just damn!

    D. I’m glad I’m coming home. Can’t say the same about my wife, who has Scottish DNA.

  2. MarkedMan says:


    I’m glad I’m coming home. Can’t say the same about my wife

    Careful there! That can be interpreted in several ways! 😉

  3. Jen says:

    @EddieInCA: It’s one of my favorite places on Earth. I love Scotland. The Highlands are amazing, and yes, the Outer Hebrides are sparse. We visited Lewis and Harris a number of years ago, and it struck me how very hard life must have been there. Did you get to Orkney? It’s amazing.

    Re: C, yes, and the world is better for it! Seriously, though, it employs people and drives those tourist dollars.

    Re: B, not just polite, but some of the best senses of humor in the world, as far as I can tell. They’re just lovely. We’d live there in a heartbeat if we could figure out how to make it work.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA: Someday maybe…

  5. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Jen: We’ve never been to Scotland, but are going in a couple of months, so I can pay tribute to my ancestors. As a bonus, we’re also going to Wales and Ireland so we cover my wife’s ancestors and another group of mine.

  6. Stormy Dragon says:

    Today is Trans Day of Visibility, so I just wanted to express my gratitude for @Beth who has made all our lives better with her presence

  7. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Happy belated “Indictment Day” to those who celebrate.
    And Happy “Rule of Law Day”, as well.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: My Fruede is thoroughly schadened.

  9. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Here, here. 100% agree.

  10. Mu Yixiao says:

    So the news from Wisconsin this morning is that MicroSoft has presented a $1B deal to build a campus on the site of the FoxConn debacle. The city has approved the deal. It just needs to pass the county board.

    We’ll see if this actually turns into something (MicroSoft is a bit more trustworthy than FoxConn).

  11. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    (MicroSoft is a bit more trustworthy than FoxConn)

    More trustworthy than FoxConn AND Scott Walker AND Wisconsin Republicans AND Trump – the other players in the FoxConn con.

  12. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    Perhaps the lesson is not to trust a company with “con” in it’s name?

  13. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Trans Day of Vengeance has been cancelled because of threats of violence.

  14. Stormy Dragon says:


    Trans Day of Visibility has been celebrated on March 31 since 2009

  15. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Apologies. I had just woken up then.

  16. CSK says:

    I had the best night’s sleep last night that I’ve had in ages. You don’t suppose it had anything to do with Trump being indicted, do you?

  17. Kathy says:

    I’m almost halfway through The Sisterhood, a retelling of sorts of 1984 from Julia’s perspective.

    Like prequels, retellings also suffer from limitations insofar as what will happen is fixed. That said, Julia in this version is a very different person from the Orwell 1984 version. No spoilers, so that’s all I’ll say on this.

    On details, the technology’s been updated without being upgraded 😉 For instance, Julia works at a computer in the Ministry of Republiqan Communications (what?). Said computer has a webcam that allows Big Brother to watch her. You may recall Orwell mentions pop fiction for the masses produced in some kind of machine. Here it’s made by AI bots.

    There’s also far less explicit mention of Newspeak, but more casual use of it.

  18. Kathy says:


    I had the same news about the Cheeto indictment, and only an average sleep.

    But this is a rather limited data set.

  19. just nutha says:

    @Stormy Dragon: My understanding from Wednesday (?) was that the next big Trans holiday was Trans Rise Up In Anger and Burn the F***ing Cities to the Ground Day of Rage, or something. This sounds much more positive.

    And thanks to Beth for helping weird, straight religious freaks like myself learn something.

  20. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: “(What?)”
    Republiqans are the new Stalinists.

    In other conceptual futures, you and the rest of our comentariat should check out a new book The AOC Conspiracy. Un-freaking-believable. 🙁

    ETA: Available to borrow at no charge for Kindle Subscribers and hardly worth spending that much on.

  21. CSK says:

    The Bulwark is packed with goodies today by Charlie Sykes, Paul Rosenzweig, and Kimberly Wehle. Just go directly to the homepage for all:

  22. CSK says:

    Oh, by the way: In a foaming-at-the-mouth rant on TruthSocial, Trump claims that he was “indicated,” not “indicted,” by the NY grand jury.

    So happy he cleared that up.

  23. Mu Yixiao says:


    I saw that and just shook my head.

    If I had the energy, I’d make up a batch of “Indictment Bingo” cards. Squares would include all of the buzzwords (“witch hunt”, “weaponized”, etc.) and items such as “mispronounces legal term”.

    Although… given how often these things will happen, I think they’d have to be oingo-boingo cards so there are enough squares.

  24. just nutha says:

    Can’t link this for anybody but Take it back, I can! Chris Cillizza has an interesting idea in a Substack called Donald Trump is the perfect pro wrestling heel. The money quote:

    We learned that the most important thing is entertaining people — basically the most important thing is pushing people’s buttons. And also learning that you can be a heel and be successful — you can be somebody who is hated and you can profit off that hatred.

    This is more than merely “grifters gonna grift.” It suggests that the opprobrium sane people hurl at Trump and the MAGAts actually strengthens his appeal.

    ETA: H/T to Luddite!

  25. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    As the Trump sycophants rally to his support, and call this indictment a pathetic charge, remember that Michael Cohen has already done time on apparently this very same pathetic charge. That case was supervised by Trump appointees at DOJ…Rosenstein and Wray.
    Upon Cohens release from jail USAG Barr violated Cohens civil rights in an attempt to stop him from writing about the entire episode.
    So yeah….tell me about how suddenly the Justice System is being weaponized against Trump.

  26. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    Thanks, but I’ll pass.

  27. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    I know. And the MAGAs have lambasted Cohen for years for being a liar, a crook, and total traitor to Trump–for doing Trump’s bidding. Trump, on the other hand, is a cruelly persecuted savior.

  28. wr says:

    @Kathy: “Perhaps the lesson is not to trust a company with “con” in it’s name?”

    Or Fox.

    Now I will scroll down and see how many people beat me to this.

  29. Mister Bluster says:

    I nominate this tune to commemorate the occasion.

    “Now things are dreary, baby
    And it’s windy and cold
    And I stand alone in the rain
    Callin’ your name”

  30. Kathy says:


    I totally missed that double whammy

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Pure projection:

    Keith Boykin

    Trump commenting on Hillary Clinton in 2016: “If she were to win, it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis. She is likely to be under investigation for a long time, concluding, probably, in a criminal trial.”

  32. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Today is Trans Day of Visibility, so I just wanted to express my gratitude for @Beth who has made all our lives better with her presence

    Beth is really doing a lot of the painful and hard work of being visible, popping up and explaining the difficulties and struggles that she and other trans folks face on a regular basis, and just being there snd humanizing trans people.

    As are a number of folks with trans kids who post here regularly, who I shall not name as I am bound to miss one or two (and I am periodically surprised when someone I wasn’t expecting mentions a trans kid*), just as Mr. Dragon has missed at least one of our common commenters.**

    As a middle aged queer who grew up during the AIDS crisis and a backlash against queer folks, looking back it’s clear that it was the the visible folks doing that work that changed things. It matters.

    Be as visible as you can safely be, with safe interpreted broadly — sometimes you need to just not deal with extra shit.

    *: is it the same person over and over and I just cannot commit it to memory, or are there just a lot of people here with trans kids. I have no idea, my brain is mush.

    **: unless I am wrong or confused, and that would be embarrassing. Again, brain is mush.

  33. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Kathy: Perhaps we should start a rumor that Soros is providing financial backing for the deal.

  34. dazedandconfused says:

    Mt Baker has had epic powder this year. The dreaded inverted tree-well scenario.

  35. CSK says:

    According to NBC, Trump will fly to NY tomorrow, spend the night at Trump Tower, turn himself in to the D.A., and be arraigned on Tuesday.

  36. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Thank you both for your kind words. TDOV this year is very difficult. It’s easy for me to be visible. I’m tall and loud so I don’t have much choice.* That being said, the community is super freaked out this year. More so than the past couple of years. I’m very lucky. I have a supportive wife, healthy & happy kids, and I continue to get regular work. Transitioning has been one of the most positive things that has ever happened to me. I wish Cis people could get to know a Trans person and see the joy just explode out of them as they get to be who they were meant to be. Anyway, here’s my contribution:

    @just nutha:

    See, this year, and I can’t believe they did this, but the Trans Central Committee scheduled TRUIABFCGDoR the day after our sacred holiday, Catgirl Day. I told them that everyone would be tired after the orgies, but did they listen to me? Nooo. I’m “too loud” and “pushy”. How are the cities supposed to burn if everyone is sleeping?

    Oh, also, @Stormy Dragon: (and anyone else), feel free to message me through Insta if you use it. Just mention OTB so that I know your not a random pervert. I mean no offense to random perverts, but could they please use a little style. some panache?

    *Passing is a sucker assimilationist game that is unwinnable any Trans person and I refuse to play.

  37. dazedandconfused says:


    Any word on when the death & destruction starts?

  38. Stormy Dragon says:


    Oh, also, @Stormy Dragon: (and anyone else), feel free to message me through Insta if you use it. Just mention OTB so that I know your not a random pervert. I mean no offense to random perverts, but could they please use a little style. some panache?

    Unfortunately, I do not =(

  39. CSK says:


    No, and it’s been 8 days since Trump predicted it could happen.

    I assume he meant that his loyal followers might rain death and destruction on those who oppose Trump. Guess not.

  40. JohnSF says:

    Your perspective is generally worth attention. 🙂
    Trans issues first came really to my notice when a work colleague transitioned back in the ‘oughts. It was noticeable how most were accepting, but the minority who were not, were exactly the people you’d expect.
    And how much happier she now appears to be.
    (I say appears: we are still English. Emotional openness except to our closest is not the English default mode.)

  41. Kathy says:


    I think his many loyal followers were given pause by the hundreds of loyal followers imprisoned for their actions on Jan 6th.

    BTW, I would love to print lots of copies of the indictment, and try to give them to Benito supporters, especially evangelical Christians, by asking “Would you like to hear the Good News?”

  42. CSK says:


    We love you just the way you are.

  43. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    well, farts, it was an thought.


    I say appears: we are still English. Emotional openness except to our closest is not the English default mode.

    I have an English dad, somewhere. After observing him and his sisters, I don’t know about the “except to closest” part. I kid. But England is a really scary place right now for Trans people. I’m dying to come back and visit. I’ve got a lot of good memories from the time I got stuck in a storm sewer in Cambridge.


    Thanks. I appreciate that.

    In other news, I just took off my acrylics. One of my favorite things post transition is having acrylic talons. My last ones were pink with glitter in them. They were great. I’m seriously bummed, but I’ll get new one’s next week. I do have one left one. I had to get that one replaced when I jammed it against a yoga mat so hard my finger bled. The only thing holding my nail together right now is this acrylic and like 3 mm of nail.

  44. CSK says:

    Trump is now ranting that he’s “the most honest and honorable man in the world.”


  45. Stormy Dragon says:


    Yeah, unfortunately my social media footprint is pretty much non-existent, which is why I’d hoping Dr. Taylor would help facilitate the contact.

  46. Kathy says:


    Well, we know he hasn’t been scared shitless yet. If he had, he’d look much shorter now.

  47. Michael Reynolds says:


    But England is a really scary place right now for Trans people. I’m dying to come back and visit.

    It’s off our list of places we might live some day. I can’t live in a place where my daughter can’t feel safe. But hey, Spanish weather is better, and so’s the food.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Given that he’s always been, essentially, a real estate agent, how does he expect anyone to believe THAT?

  49. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @just nutha:

    Republiqans are the new Stalinists? If I were a Stalinist, I’d be f’ing insulted at the idea.

    The AOC Conspiracy? No thanks, as I noted earlier today, I’d rather re-read The Turner Diaries (gag!). But this looks like something they’d have to pay me to read. And it’d better be biggy $$$. Fortunately, I’m not an ARC reader for that particular author.