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:

    I love looking at maps and google earth can be a lot of fun for me. Pick a random location in flyover country and zoom in on it. Today’s find?

    Roaches, IL:

    Roaches is an unincorporated community in Casner Township, Jefferson County, Illinois, United States. Roaches is located along the Evansville Western Railway 2.4 miles west of Woodlawn.

    I’m gonna have to pay them a visit. Better not blink.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Key members of a Ukrainian state orchestra were refused visas to play a series of concerts in the UK this month in a “catastrophe” that the promoter claims cost it more than €100,000 (£88,000).

    The Khmelnitsky Orchestra was due to tour the UK this month with two shows: The Magical Music of Harry Potter, and The Music From the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit andThe Rings of Power.

    The shows had been promoted on the UK government website as an example of British-Ukrainian relations. After the orchestra played the Harry Potter show in Belgium last year, the deputy British ambassador in Brussels, Chloe Louter, hailed it as “an incredible honour to have such an iconic part of British culture being performed by a Ukrainian orchestra”.

    Yah… It’s an example alright. You’ve certainly convinced me.

  3. JohnSF says:

    Sodding Home Office!
    I’ve remarked in the past, I think, on their finely-honed ability to blend malice and incompetence.
    See Afghan refugees, for example.
    Part of the problem is, they often outsource things like visa admin to private/public back office operations, by Crapita and similar.
    The contracts usually include “incentives”; and re. visas its widely suspected they include penalties for any breaches; so the operator is incentivised to turn down as many as it possibly can.

  4. Scott says:

    Certainly not a top story but wow:

    More than 18,000 cattle killed in Texas dairy farm explosion

    A fiery explosion in the Texas Panhandle killed more than 18,000 cattle and critically injured one worker in what is being described as the deadliest barn fire for cattle on record.

    Fire tore through the holding pens of Southfork Dairy Farm in Dimmitt on Monday night, as the cattle were waiting to be milked, authorities told local news outlets.

  5. Scott says:

    I wonder if Gov Abbott is regretting his hasty vow to pardon this guy.

    Daniel Perry, convicted of murder, wrote of wanting to kill protesters, Muslims, Black people, new court docs show

    Daniel Perry, who was recently convicted of murdering a Black Lives Matter protester and is making national headlines in the wake of Gov. Greg Abbott saying he wants to pardon him, sent private messages for years containing racist memes and defending the killing of protesters and Muslims, a newly unsealed set of court documents shows.

    The 76 pages filed by Travis County prosecutors also reveal messages dating back years in which Perry, an Army sergeant, talked about killing people — several times referencing a desire to kill Muslims.

    Makes you wonder how deep the far right extremism has infiltrated our armed forces.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Just a peach of a guy.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I wonder how the long time voters for the Leopards Eating Faces Party are going to react to this?

    The head of the Roman Catholic church in the Holy Land has warned in an interview that Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government has made life worse for Christians in the birthplace of Christianity.

    The Vatican-appointed Latin Patriarch, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, said that the region’s 2,000-year-old Christian community has come under increasing attack, with the most rightwing government in Israel’s history emboldening extremists who have harassed clergy and vandalised religious property at a quickening pace.

    The increase in anti-Christian incidents comes as the Israeli settler movement, galvanised by its allies in government, appears to have seized the moment to expand its enterprise in the contested capital.

    “The frequency of these attacks, the aggressions, has become something new,” Pizzaballa told the AP. “These people feel they are protected … that the cultural and political atmosphere now can justify, or tolerate, actions against Christians.”

    Pizzaballa’s concerns appear to undercut Israel’s stated commitment to freedom of worship, enshrined in the declaration that marked its founding 75 years ago. The Israeli government stressed it prioritises religious freedom and relations with the churches, which have powerful links abroad.

    No doubt they will insist that the leopards would never eat their faces.

  9. Neil Hudelson says:


    Heh, two weeks ago I made the Evansville>St. Louis trip, apparently passing right by Roaches. If only I had know, I could’ve scoped out this bustling metropolis for you, tipped you off to the best night lift spots.

  10. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Now we find out that Thomas not only accepted expensive gifts from Harlan Crow, but Crow bought real estate from Thomas and Thomas did not declare it, as he is required by law to do.
    But nothing will happen to Thomas.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Heh. A month or so ago I was in Shiloh rooting for my DIL in a 5K race. That’s about halfway to Roaches and if I’d known of it I would have definitely driven the few extra miles to see it. I’m sure the RR crossing is the town highlight.

  12. CSK says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    The restaurants must be especially noteworthy.

  13. Stormy Dragon says:

    Right wing judges continue to expand the “the law doesn’t apply to me because my church says so” exception:

    Arizona Supreme Court Finds the Mormon Church Can Conceal Crimes Against Children Because of Clergy Privilege

  14. Tony W says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Pizzaballa? Wow.

    That sounds like a Bugs Bunny caricature character from the 1960s.

  15. Thomm says:

    @Scott: Are you kidding? Such things give him twitches in his nether regions.

  16. Thomm says:

    @Stormy Dragon: here’s a nasty wrinkle to that. Mormon “bishops” are laypeople. I have met Mormon bishops that were 14 years old when I attended a service with my ex-wife’s family. As a lapsed Catholic, I had to resist laughing when I heard he had that title.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    According to this Washington Post Quiz (no subscription needed) I’m ableist. This is the type of thing where the definition matters. According to their definition I’m ableist, no doubt about it. For example, Scenario 2 posits “A friend’s adult daughter has an intellectual disability and is pregnant. The family is financially stable. What do you say to your friend?” The only acceptable answer is “Congratulate her and and offer support if she needs it”. (I assume “her” and “she” is referring to your friend and not the daughter.) I wouldn’t presume to congratulate my friend. If her daughter had the baby and keeps it, then the parents will be responsible for that grandchild’s well being until their old age. I would only congratulate her if she indicates she is happy about that.

    And scenario 3 reads, “You’re making medical decisions for a friend with life-threatening injuries but no advance directive. How would you advise doctors?” and the only acceptable answer is “Ask for lifesaving measures in all situations except brain death.” But to me it would depend on the friend and how I came to be making those medical decisions. Since a friend is normally not consulted even if no relative is around, I would presume they had left some kind of legal document, and I would further presume we would have discussed it beforehand. I don’t know how I would handle it without any information. It’s a terrible position to be put in. As for me, I have an advanced directive and have discussed it with my wife and family and it boils down to: If I’m going to be a burden on my family don’t use any life saving measures.

  18. Thomm says:

    @MarkedMan: the fifth one is a bit hot garbage as well. I realize there are certain things about my disabilities that would make it difficult for some to have a possibly romantic relationship with me. If they honestly ask themselves if that is a problem, and it is, it is completely understandable and not a knock against them as a person.

  19. Jen says:

    @Scott: Good god that is sad. I can’t go beyond reading the headline. Industrial farming operations are a necessary thing, but the fact that SO MANY animals died such a horrible death is beyond what my heart can take.

  20. Mu Yixiao says:

    I hadn’t realized that things had gotten this bad in India.

    India’s right-wing government removes significant historical and scientific facts from textbooks as it pursues a Hindu supremacist agenda.

    By the 2021-2022 academic year, Darwin’s theory was quietly removed from the examination syllabus for the students of Class 9 and Class 10. By 2022-2023, the topic of evolution was completely purged from school textbooks, teachers and education experts told Al Jazeera.

    Now, millions of school students will not know who Darwin was or what his theory says – unless they opt for biology in Class 11 and Class 12.

  21. Tony W says:

    You may have already seen this video explaining why Democratic tendencies to fight within the system are so weak against Republican tendencies to fight however they can to win.

    But if you haven’t it’s pretty good.

  22. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: I “have an understanding of disability” and therefore I must be a better person than you.

    (I hope my sarcasm is obvious, but if not, here’s the /s)

  23. CSK says:

    Can someone tell me why Trump refers to Letitia James as “Peekaboo” James?

  24. Kathy says:

    The ESA launched its Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer today.

    Expect no further news for 8 years, unless something really bad happens to it.

    BTW, I know why the dry, scientific names for space missions need to be replaced with a nickname or a catchy acronym, but the one for this mission, JUICE, should have been redrafted as many times as necessary.

  25. Kathy says:


    I got the same. I thought it meant I did better at figuring out the quiz’s author’s preferred answers.

    (Sarcasm works best deadpan, IMO).

  26. just nutha says:

    @Scott: I’m not following your reasoning. Why would Gov. Abbott be regretting vowing to pardon a guy committed to killing black protesters and Muslims?

  27. just nutha says:

    @Thomm: @MarkedMan:Wow! You guys are reading a lot into the questions–which I will agree are pretty poorly constructed. I saw these as only one correct answer is available questions. Then again, I spent several years teaching students that it’s more important to recognize which answers are wrong in a multiple choice test than which answer is correct.

    Even so, I missed number 7–because I read extra information into the question. 🙁

  28. just nutha says:

    @Mikey: In my case, having an understanding of disability offers no clue into my quality as a person whatsoever. It only shows that I know the right thing to say or do, not that I will follow through on that knowledge.

  29. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    Well, yes. It’s like when I go to the 7-11 downstairs and ask whether anyone wants anything. I’m just being polite, not really offering to get anyone anything.

  30. Thomm says:

    @just nutha: While you are right about this so called quiz; this is pretty much a set up to prove everyone is a little bit ableist and obviously done by an overenthusiastic activist. And, since a good chunk of wapo’s readers hate to have any type of -ism ascribed to them, it feels fundamentally dishonest.
    Honestly, the basis behind the question I remarked on rankles me in a special way. There is an odd thing in many different activist circles that people can’t have dating preferences without them being a bad person that needs to reflect on themselves and to, “be better” (whatever the hell that means).

  31. Thomm says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: something I haven’t seen mentioned in the analysis of this is that his mother still lives in said house (that has been mentioned) and could possibly be evicted if Clarence steps out of line (never mentioned that I have seen).

  32. EddieInCA says:


    I’m ableist too. But if that’s the case, fine. I had the exact scenario of one of the questions happen to me last season. We had someone who wanted me to hire a deaf person as a PA. I kicked to HR, which said, “No. They can’t do the job.”.

  33. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: “A friend’s adult daughter has an intellectual disability and is pregnant. The family is financially stable. What do you say to your friend?”

    Perhaps I assumed a greater level of intellectual disability, but I immediately leapt to scenarios of wondering if the daughter was able to consent. “Congratulations, your kid got raped!” does not seem like a great response. The others are marginally worse though (“Hey, have you heard of eugenics? It could come in real handy for this!”, and “oh, just drop the kid off at the pound or something”).

    I scored 5. Apparently I am supposed to not consider whether I have problems with a disabled person before dating and should just make my problems their problems, and I should always put my hypothetical autistic kid in the box of a label.

  34. Gustopher says:

    @Thomm: So, you’re saying that noted Nazi memorabilia collector Harlan Crow is holding a Supreme Court justice’s mother hostage? I can’t actually say that’s wrong…

    (I just looked up Crow’s middle name… It is Rogers, but I have to admit that I was expecting James)

  35. Thomm says:

    @CSK: I think because it sounds like a particular racist term starting with J without explicitly using the racist term.

  36. Thomm says:

    @Gustopher: maybe not in those explicit terms…more like a tenant at the pleasure of the owner.

  37. just nutha says:

    @Thomm: The dating preferences one was difficult for me. But only because I’m the least likely person in the world to use a dating app. I finally decided that if I was going to use a dating app, it would be counter intuitive to exclude candidates who generally seemed to have potential for any reason. People using dating apps should be the most open to “kissing frogs just in case” (if you will allow).

    In the real world, I would probably exclude people who had handicapables of various sorts, but also, in the real world I’m not going out on dates to begin with.

  38. CSK says:


    I didn’t think of that. Chances are you’re right.

  39. just nutha says:

    @EddieInCA: I’m not sure that’s quite the same scenario. I made my answer based on the possibility that refusing to make an accommodation for the interview might be actionable in and of itself. Passing the issue on to HR is not the same, at least in my mind, as being point man in the HR chain–given that I am the one who is conducting the interview.

  40. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    SCOTUS just agreed to take up the Texas Abortion pill ban.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Thomm: There is an odd thing in many different activist circles that people can’t have dating preferences without them being a bad person that needs to reflect on themselves and to, “be better” (whatever the hell that means).

    When my wife and I first started getting serious, well semi serious, I told her straight up, “I don’t do birthdays, Valentines Day, Xmas, anniversaries, or any of that “special day” bullshit. So if those things are important to you, you should just give up on this relationship and move on to someone more suitable to you.” She thought to herself. “Wow, nobody has ever been that honest with me before.”

    19 years later and we are still together with no regrets for either of us.

  42. gVOR08 says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: And has stayed Kacsmaryk’s order in it’s entirety until Wednesday next week.

    I expect the Federalisti would love to uphold Kaz, but are having difficulty constructing any non-laughable argument. They do, of course, have the option of tossing the whole thing on standing. Which is really their only option if they want to pretend to any integrity.

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: So after reading everybody else’s reactions I decided what the hell and took the stupid quiz too. Of course, 5 of them did not have the answer I would have picked.

    1) You see a blind woman at a busy intersection with no audible pedestrian signal. What do you do?
    Ask her if she’d like help. Duh.

    2) A friend’s adult daughter has an intellectual disability and is pregnant. The family is financially stable. What do you say to your friend?
    Not a gawd damned thing. Sometimes one should just STFU and listen.

    3) You’re making medical decisions for a friend with life-threatening injuries but no advance directive. How would you advise doctors?
    I wouldn’t.

    4) You see a story on Facebook about a teen, who has cerebral palsy, elected prom king. What is your reaction?
    I feel happy for him and move on. I never went to a prom when I was in HS, can’t say I think they are any more important now.

    5) You see someone on a dating app who is attractive and shares your interests. Then you realize they have a physical disability. What do you do?
    It would f’n depend on what their disability is. Minus a leg? No problem. Cerebral palsy? Sorry, I doubt very much I have what it takes. That’s just me being honest w/ myself about myself.

    6) You’ve found a job candidate with the right experience. Then they tell you they are deaf and request transcription or interpreting services. What would you do?
    F’ that shit, I would never take a job where I had to make those kinds of decisions.

    7) Which of these terms would you use for your child if they had autism and required some support?

    How’s about just accepting what they are and stop trying to shove them into boxes that don’t really fit?

    #2 pushes all my buttons. I have a couple friends, father/son who have disowned each other over political differences. Personally, I think they are both being idiot selfish fucks too prideful to spare a thought for the grandchildren who are the real losers in this stupidity BUT… Neither one has ever broached the subject* with me. If they ever do, I know exactly what I will say and it is not the same thing to both. Until they do tho, I keep my mouth shut.

    *pretty sure they haven’t because they both know I will tell them exactly what I think and they don’t want to admit to themselves what total asses they are being.

  44. dazedandconfused says:


    If they have a hotel report back, but for the love of God, do NOT check in.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: If it was BedBugs, IL I’d agree. Roaches on the other hand… 20 some odd years on the south side of STL taught me how to deal with roaches.

  46. Kathy says:

    I recently finished a book dealing with infectious diseases in general within a historical context (I forget the title and author). There were a couple fo descriptions of pandemics, in particular the Black Death in Europe. They way it progressed was rather similar to what I’ve read about the 1918-1920 flu pandemic, as well as the Plague of Justinian (also bubonic plague).

    The most notable part, IMO, is that no treatment methods were ever developed, precautions to avoid it were few and ineffective, and no vaccines were available at the time, and yet the outbreaks eventually all burned out.

    That’s a hell of a lot like what we’ve been through with COVID, except we’ve developed treatments, vaccines, and we knew what precautions to take (and even took some of them). In some countries, such measures did work for a while. New Zealand’s strict lockdown almost eradicated the trump virus from the country. South Korea’s testing, tracing, and isolation, among some general restrictions, kept the numbers low for over a year. Once they began to open back up and relax restrictions, they got tons of cases. But by then there were vaccines, and more was known about effective treatment.

    So, are we doomed to face the next pandemic no better than Medieval peasants or hubristic know-it-alls who don’t even know what viruses are?

  47. Kathy says:


    A hotel should be ok. A motel, on the other hand, not so much.

    Maybe you were thinking about a Hotel California?

  48. Gustopher says:

    The Clarence Thonas /Harlan Crow scandal missed a very important thing: Clarence Thomas was a right wing shithead before he met Harlan Crow.

    I don’t think there has been any actual peddling of influence because Thomas was always going to rule that like a right wing shithead. And now Crow gets to say that he isn’t racist, because he has a black friend.

    It’s unseemly, it violates disclosure laws, it undermines the integrity of the court, but I don’t think there has been any chance to even a word of a decision (unless Harlan invited Clarance over to watch Space: 1999*)

    *: Clarance Thomas uncharacteristically quoted an appeals court ruling arguing against cruel and unusual punishment. Absent a direct experience with Space: 1999, I do not believe that Thomas would have done so.

    Many things — beating with a rubber truncheon, water torture, electric shock, incessant noise, reruns of Space: 1999 — may cause agony as they occur, yet leave no enduring injury. The state is not free to inflict such pains without cause just so long as it is careful to leave no marks.

    I have no idea if Thomas then offered a retort to the quote, in favor of abuse of prisoners. He did quote this in a dissent from a decision that held that beating prisoners was cruel and unusual punishment.

  49. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Roach Motel was a brand of roach traps. Looks like it still is.

    The ads were weirdly compelling in an overacted sitcom sort of way. I remember being disappointed we didn’t have roaches so we couldn’t get them.

  50. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: The standing argument is pretty absurd. Doctors might see patients who were adversely harmed by the medication and have a sad, so they should be allowed to sue to block the medication.

    Given how many Americans think vaccines cause autism, make you magnetic, and lead to sudden death, there are bound to be at least a few of those idiots who are doctors. There are definitely nurses that think that type of stuff, and they should know better.

    Every medicine could be challenged that way.

  51. Kathy says:


    I’ve only ever seen them in cartoons.

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Maybe you were thinking about a Hotel California?

    Can’t say about the Hotel California but I have been to the Motel California… It is a real motel in California, MO.

    OK Ok, they call it the California Motel, it’s a missed marketing opportunity if you ask me.

  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I don’t think there has been any actual peddling of influence because Thomas was always going to rule that like a right wing shithead.

    Sure, but right wing shitheads can from time to time forget which side their bread is buttered on. In other words, a small reminder can do wonders.

  54. JohnSF says:

    Ah, it’s a real Motel.
    But the question is, is California real in the first place?

    And now, the song:

    Welcome to the RoachMotel California
    Such a sticky place (it’s a sticky place)
    Such a lovely taste…

  55. Barry says:

    @gVOR08: “I expect the Federalisti would love to uphold Kaz, but are having difficulty constructing any non-laughable argument. ”

    A possible problem is that (from my understanding) the standard there would allow literally any group of doctors/nurses/other medical personnel from having equal standing to sue for *any* FDA-authorized medication. And the only evidence they’d need is anonymous comments on a blog.

  56. Kathy says:

    Boyd Gaming has a California Casino and Hotel in Downtown Vegas. It never crossed my mind to call it Hotel California.

    I don’t usually play or eat there. But It’s connected to the Main Street Station casino by a skyway. The latter is one of my favorites for the buffet, the full pay video poker, and the craps tables.

    So, I’ve gone through it many, many times. I’ve never checked in, so I’ve no idea if one can leave after checking out.

  57. gVOR08 says:

    @Barry: That and that ER doctors might be exposed to bleeding.

    Volokh has actually hosted pretty good fisking of the original decision and the appeals court partial stay.

  58. Mister Bluster says:

    There is a blind fellow in town that I have seen for most of the 55 years that I have lived here. Walking everywhere swinging his white cane back and forth. Now and then I have had the opportunity to assist him on his way. Like one time when I was parking in Schnucks lot and saw him heading towards the store. He looked a little unsure of the direction he was going so I yelled out my car window and told him I’d help him out once I got parked. I led him to the entrance and when we got inside I asked him if he knew where he was. “I’ll be ok.” he said. Turns out he is a regular customer of the place and one of the employees came over to assist him shopping.
    Just two days ago as I was delivering the paper I saw him just off the sidewalk headed towards a very busy street not anywhere near a crosswalk. “Where are you headed?” I yelled out the window.
    “I don’t know. Sometimes I get lost.”
    No shit.” I said to myself.
    By this time he was back up on the sidewalk.
    “You are a half a block south of Main Street. Turn to your right and the next curb you hit will be Main Street.”
    “Ok” he said.
    “I like that Cubs cap you’ve got on.”
    “Yeah, the Cardinals suck!” he said as off he went swinging his white cane back an forth.

  59. DrDaveT says:


    Roaches is an unincorporated community in Casner Township, Jefferson County, Illinois,

    I have a boatload of ancestors and relatives from Jefferson County, IL. And I had never, ever heard of Roaches.

  60. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: Having driven the length and breadth of the Ozarks on back roads, I have had the… pleasure of driving thru thousands of “unincorporated communities.” Usually they are just a couple of houses, maybe an abandoned storefront. One of my favorites has always been 3 Brothers, Arkansas. I figure there is a story behind that name, one I’d like to hear.

  61. Barry says:

    @Gustopher: “It’s unseemly, it violates disclosure laws, it undermines the integrity of the court, but I don’t think there has been any chance to even a word of a decision (unless Harlan invited Clarance over to watch Space: 1999*)”

    I covered this before on this blog.

    “Harlan, I like your side, but I can hear the case now, or years from now. How many millions of $/year is this costing you?”

    “Harlan, a narrow ruling will help you a little bit. A broad ruling will help you out a lot. Tomaytoes, tomahtos….”

    Or somebody saying ‘keep on Harlan’s good side; he’s got the ear of a SCOTUS justice’.