Friday’s Forum

Better late than never.

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:

    CSK and I were just bad mouthing you and James in the Blogging Break thread. 🙂 Now we’ll just badmouth James.

  2. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..Now we’ll just badmouth James.

    Doesn’t he get enough of that already?

  3. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Ooooh, from beyond the blue line…he shoots, he scores!

  4. Scott says:

    Copied over from “Blogging Break”.

    I’ve been engaged in digging into family history. Right now, I’ve been exploring my family in post Civil War small town Ohio. Our public library has online access to Newspaper Archive which has scanned newspapers from all the country. It’s been invaluable in finding little details about ancestors. Small town newspapers were incredibly gossipy so even little things like one sister traveling to see her sister in another town is documented along with death notices and funerals.

    To make this story short, on a page that mentioned a great-great Aunt, there was this piece of gossip that made me laugh.

    From the Wellington Enterprise, July 3, 1879:

    Gloriously Drunk

    After a period of many months of tolerable soberness and good conduct, “Homer”, on Tuesday evening , let his love of drink get the mastery, and got gloriously drunk; and getting hold of a revolver, he threatened to send someone to the happy land by a short cut. Marshal Crane was sent for, and requested the loan of that little gun, but Homer said no!, whereupon he took the courage out of him with his persuader, got possession of the pistol and marched him to the cooler where he was allowed to rest and recover.

    It would seem as though some means could be used to prevent his procuring the means to get intoxicated. The man who sells or buys for him, ought to keep him company in the lockup, and pay heavily for the privilege.

    There is a lot of insight into small town life in a different century that could be made in this short little piece.

  5. Kathy says:

    His Majesty Manuel Andres 0 finally managed to unload the erstwhile presidential plane, for the munificent sum of 49% of what was paid to obtain it.

    That’s not terrible, but also not good. IMO, the value of operating the plane for its intended use would be higher than the sale price. But His Majesty has to make a show of austerity, even as he wastes billions in white elephant airport projects.

  6. @OzarkHillbilly: Luckily I remembered at least my minimal responsibilities.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: I doubt it.

    @Steven L. Taylor: And we thank you for it.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: I love it.

  9. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I have never badmouthed James.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Yesterday, Betty Cracker posted a bit about an NYT article on the hell the forensic investigators at Sandy Hook school went thru. It is a long and very difficult read, got quite dusty in here on multiple occasions. I can’t imagine doing that job, I doubt very much I’d be strong enough.

    Anyway, for those interested in reading it, Betty supplied a gift link in her post. Well worth the investment of time to read it.

  11. Scott says:

    Politico has a long magazine piece entitled: The Threat of Civil Breakdown is Real: National security officials are still not prepared for a far-right revolt.

    We and others have written of the prospect of a new civil war in the United States, which seemed a real, if still remote, possibility immediately after Jan. 6. Now it is starting to look less plausible, given the strength shown by the political center in the 2022 midterms and President Joe Biden’s largely effective tenure in the White House.

    Yet full-scale civil war is not the only danger. Far-right Americans are highly unlikely to coalesce into a cohesive force that could wage war, but an army is not required to wreak sustained havoc and destabilize the country. In a deeply polarized environment, smaller pockets of armed unrest could easily ignite and spread disorder. The hyperbolic reactions of far-right Republican political figures and media commentators to the Trump indictment signal that they certainly do not believe the MAGA fever among their constituents and consumers has broken.

    As the 2024 election approaches, the threat of political violence and civil breakdown is only going to increase. And despite all that U.S. national security and law enforcement officials have learned since Jan. 6, the country is still not prepared for a far-right revolt.

    The authors go on about the dangers but by the end of the article, they talk themselves out of it.

    Given recent trends, it is reasonable to hope that moderates and independents will have had enough in November 2024. A clear rejection of Trumpism might then deflate the MAGA movement for the time being. But if the Republican nominee loses narrowly, declares himself the winner and rallies dispersed local groups prone to violent local resistance rather than an easily repulsed assault on the Capitol, it might be too late for orderly de-escalation.

    I found the article frustrating, particularly due to the fact that not once did they mention a huge source of far right violence: Christian nationalism. I still believe that mainstream politicians and media are still cowed and afraid of confronting this historic and continual danger to the country.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Scott: The MSM have for years avoided talking about Dominionism and Catholic Integralism. There’s a longstanding norm that religious views should be treated as a private matter (except for JFK’s Catholicism). That’s normally fine, but when a politician’s policy preferences are driven by their religion, I would think that should be discussed.

  13. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Do you still read the Gmail account listed for you on the contact page? I tried emailing there and never got a response

  14. Kathy says:

    I’m not entirely surprised a Russian plane dropped a Russian bomb on a Russian city.

    I am very surprised they admitted it.

  15. Scott says:

    Right wing cannabalism:

    Texas Secessionists Rail Against Censorship. Now One Is Suing a Republican Lawmaker for Calling Her Treasonous.

    Paul Davis began his speech at the Rally Against Censorship in late January with a joke. Surveying the crowd in Conroe, the boyish 41-year-old Frisco lawyer asked if anyone had “not been censored on social media.” When one audience member raised a hand, Davis deployed his punch line. “Are you a fed?” he asked. That set the tone for a fifteen-minute speech that followed in which he discussed his own bans from and censorship on social media for contesting the 2020 election results and saying the COVID-19 vaccine was killing people. Davis made clear that his life’s cause was opposing the suppression of free speech on social media. “If you’re not getting censored on social media,” he said, “you’re not speaking truth.”

    Three months later, Davis is involved in a lawsuit that accuses state representative Jeff Leach of libeling a Texas secessionist by accusing her of treasonous sedition on Twitter. Given Davis’s absolutist stance on free speech, you would think he would be vigorously defending Leach, a conservative Republican from Plano. You’d be wrong. Davis is instead representing a supporter of the Texas Nationalist Movement, a pro-secession group, in the defamation suit. Everything in moderation, apparently, including content moderation. Thus, another chapter in the topsy-turvy national conversation about what is, and is not, free speech.

  16. Scott says:
  17. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I take it upon myself to make up for your generosity of spirit toward Dr. Joyner. It’s the least (literally) that I can do.

  18. Kathy says:

    I’m slogging through book two of Brin’s Uplift series.

    The idea of Uplift is that a sentient species takes a pre-sentient one, and through genetic manipulation and selective breeding, bring them to full sentience and civilization.

    That’s the kind of killer big idea that appeals to me.

    However, while it is an important part of the story, details and consequences are sparse.

    Aside from that, there’s too much description, too much delving into mental states, too many attempts at Haiku, and too little action. On top of the last, what action there is tends to happen without clear motivation or explanation.

    If I were reading a print book rather than an audiobook, I’ve a feeling I’d have stopped reading long ago.

  19. DK says:

    Tigerbeat on the Potomac and the press is noticing Ron DeFascist has a likeability problem: he’s weird, awkward, unlikeable, has negative charisma, and the more people see of him the less they like him.

    The latest in a growing string of anecdotes about DeSantis’ lack of a personal touch during his six years in the House comes via former Rep. David Trott (R-Mich.)…

    “I think he’s an asshole,” Trott added in a phone interview. “I don’t think he cares about people.”

    …Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), who announced Monday night that he would back Trump for the GOP nomination, said he’s had a tough time connecting with his home-state governor…

    Steube recalled that Trump was the first person to call after the lawmaker suffered significant injuries that landed him in the ICU after in a tree-trimming accident earlier this year. “To this day, I have not heard from Gov. DeSantis,” Steube said.

    Freshman Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), too, praised Trump’s personal touch in interfacing with the Florida delegation. In an interview with The New York Times, she recalled receiving a personal note from Trump after her father’s death in January, 2022. Another letter came not from Gov. Ron DeSantis, but from his wife, Casey DeSantis.


    Florida ain’t the USA.

  20. just nutha says:

    @DK: Florida doesn’t need to be the USA for DeSantis to get elected President. DeSantis only needs to be Red State-y enough to command enough EC votes to outperform Joe Biden. I don’t know that he can pull that off, but it’s hardly an impossible bar to clear. Conceivably, he can even attain the GQP nomination even if voters in his own state don’t want to vote for him, but that may be an impossible bar even if theoretically possible.

  21. DK says:

    @just nutha: Well, sure, it’s possible for everyone running to win, including Biden and the GOP afterthoughts not named Donald and Ron. Lots of things in life are “not impossible:” strange things do happen and possibilities are endless. In the 1968 cycle, who could predicted LBJ declining to run again + RFK’s and MLK’s assassination + the Democratic convention riots + Nixon’s resurrection from the political dead after losing both the 1960 presidential race and the 1962 California gubernatorial election? No one can predict the future; lots of crazy s*** could go down between now and November 2024 that could alter history.

    That said, DeFascist is still overrated and unlikeable. And Florida ain’t Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada either.

  22. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    DeSantis loves to say he is the guy that gets things done.
    Attempting to deal with an influx of refugees along the FL Keys…

    “[Florida] signed a $1 million contract for the Ocean Navigator, owned by American Queen Voyages. For $30,000 a day, it would house and feed 100 state workers who would work for 30 days out of Key West.”
    Problem is: nowhere to dock that ship.

    The dummy didn’t arrange a place to dock the damn boat!!!
    Rudy became famous for being the guy who said in every speech, a noun a verb and 9/11.
    DeSantis has become the guy who says a noun a verb and “woke.”

  23. just nutha says:

    @Scott: To some degree, your observation goes with Tony W’s from yesterday when he asked [regarding Clarence Thomas]

    [Do law schools teach] The idea that crimes are only crimes (or civil transgressions are only civil transgressions) if the person committing the act is [un] willing to accept the consequences and feels that the consequences will apply to them?

    “The law only applies to the extent that the society (or the prosecutor or SCOTUS) agrees” on what “application of the law” means does strike me as part of Critical Legal Theory or Deconstruction Theory or postmodernism or any combination of them. As do “Given recent trends, it is reasonable to hope that moderates and independents will have had enough in November 2024. A clear rejection of Trumpism might then deflate…” and Thomas’ “I’ve always preferred the simple things” BS.

    Reality will become whatever we tell it to be in much the same way that I used to tell my students that the novel or poem would when we were using Reader Response Theory to do our interpretations. Politico hasn’t dropped the ball or talked themselves out of recognizing the dangers and/or blaming Christian Nationalism as they have decided “what we are looking at is only part of the story.” After November 2024 and January 2025, they’ll reconstruct “reality” again. And “reality” will agree to be whatever whoever wants it to be. “Reality” is very agreeable that way.

  24. Stormy Dragon says:

    @just nutha:

    The law only applies to the extent that the society (or the prosecutor or SCOTUS) agrees” on what “application of the law” means does strike me as part of Critical Legal Theory or Deconstruction Theory or postmodernism or any combination of them.

    If I remember back to my Philosophy of Law course, the view described here is Legal Realism, not Critical Legal Studies

  25. just nutha says:

    @DK: I don’t disagree with your assertions to any particular degree. I just wonder how relevant they are. Reality will still agree with you. And with me. It’s the miracle of the age in which we live. We can both be completely right and completely wrong (or irrelevant)–or both at the same time even.

  26. just nutha says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I no longer know. My connection to these ideas is founded in materials that I read ascribing (loosely at best) the basic ideas to critical legal theory even before I understood what one of my grad school teachers meant when she wrote that one of my essays was very innovative in my approach to Deconstructive Theory and how I addressed the topic.

    TL/DR: You’re probably right. (To the extent that it matters. For me, it’s all a blur now,)

  27. dazedandconfused says:


    License to Kill

    Man thinks ’cause he rules the earth he can do with it as he please
    And if things don’t change soon, he will
    Oh, man has invented his doom
    First step was touching the moon

    Now, there’s a woman on my block
    She just sit there as the night grows still
    She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

    Now, they take him and they teach him and they groom him for life
    And they set him on a path where he’s bound to get ill
    Then they bury him with stars
    Sell his body like they do used cars

    Now, there’s a woman on my block
    She just sit there facin’ the hill
    She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

    Now, he’s hell-bent for destruction, he’s afraid and confused
    And his brain has been mismanaged with great skill
    All he believes are his eyes
    And his eyes, they just tell him lies

    But there’s a woman on my block
    Sitting there in a cold chill
    She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

    Ya may be a noisemaker, spirit maker
    Heartbreaker, backbreaker
    Leave no stone unturned
    May be an actor in a plot
    That might be all that you got
    ’Til your error you clearly learn

    Now he worships at an altar of a stagnant pool
    And when he sees his reflection, he’s fulfilled
    Oh, man is opposed to fair play
    He wants it all and he wants it his way

    Now, there’s a woman on my block
    She just sit there as the night grows still
    She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    Supreme Court maintains FDA approval of abortion pill, preserving access for now
    Washington — The Supreme Court on Friday granted a request from the Justice Department to leave in place the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a widely used abortion pill, preserving access to the drug and reinstating a number of steps by the agency that made it easier to obtain while legal proceedings continue.
    The decision from the conservative court came in the most significant case involving abortion since it overturned Roe v. Wade less than one year ago, a ruling that threw the legal landscape into chaos and led to near-total bans on abortion in more than 12 states. In addition to granting the Justice Department’s request for emergency relief, the Supreme Court also approved a similar request from Danco Laboratories, the maker of the abortion drug mifepristone.
    Justice Clarence Thomas said he would have denied the emergency applications, and Justice Samuel Alito dissented from the decision, writing that neither the Justice Department nor Danco have shown they are likely to suffer irreparable harm while the appeals process plays out. Alito authored the majority opinion reversing Roe.
    CBS News

  29. Beth says:

    Friday night dance party:

    Melodic techno brought to you by the Turkish tourism board.