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. MarkedMan says:

    Okay, I realize I am five hours ahead of US East Coast time, but it still seems late to have no posts at all. So I’ll start it off with a question I’ve been wondering about: what is the age of the readers of this blog (or, I guess, the comments section? Being an OG blog it skews old but do we have any younger readers at all?

    I’m 62

  2. Jax says:

    Almost 48.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    very early in my 8th decade.

    I suspect that the regular commentariat, skews far older than regular readers. When I was working, I’d read the posts, often in the evening, and scan the comments, but seldom commented. Though the regular reader may not be exactly young, more likely middle aged.

    Like Facebook being for the elderly, surviving blogs maintain their appeal to the demographic that followed them at the inception.

  4. Just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: Yeah. You count as younger to me. 71 in July.

  5. Just nutha says:

    @Jax: A mere child.

  6. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Jax: whippersnapper. You not me

  7. Beth says:

    I tell everyone that every year I magically turn 27. I hate to acknowledge that I’m schmorty-schmive.

  8. Jen says:

    I’m 53. Or, as a friend used to say, later this year I’ll be celebrating the 24th anniversary of turning 30.

  9. daryl and his brother darryl says:


  10. Mu Yixiao says:


    But… my parents had me late (Mom’s 91, and Dad would have been 101 this year), so I grew up a little different than my contemporaries who had boomer/hippy parents.

  11. Tony W says:

    Checking in at age 57. I’m in my fifth year of retirement though, so I feel older.

  12. Moosebreath says:

    58. It seems like blog commenting skews older.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I turn 65 in July.

  14. Mister Bluster says:

    DOB January 3, 1948

  15. Kathy says:


    I really don’t keep track. For the vaccine forms two years ago, I put down a number, and realized it was off by two years only when I was filling out the form for the second shot.

    People get upset when they ask my age and I say I don’t know, or give an approximation. So I took a page from the Book of Worf and reply “old enough.”

  16. Beth says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I imagine that was wild. I’m sisters and I are roughly 7 years apart and we had radically different childhoods because of that. I was the first and get a lot of blame for it.

  17. CSK says:

    Over twenty-one.

  18. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I had a friend kind of like that in high school. It was his parents’ second marriage, rather late in life. So he had nieces and nephews older than himself.

  19. Beth says:


    I like that idea. I legitimately forgot how old I was the other day. I couldn’t remember the exact calculation. Then my jerk children gleefully reminded me.

  20. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Beth: Yeah. I have a brother that’s old enough to be my father (20 year difference). The closest sibling is 7 years older than me. I was definitely an “oops”. 😀

  21. Stormy Dragon says:

    46 and not handling it well…

  22. Mu Yixiao says:


    heh. I usually have to do the math to figure out how old I am. And the only reason I remember my birthdate* is because I need to give it every time I interact with doctors (name and birthdate are used by Epic medical software as the unique identifier).

    * I remember in my 20s, I had to show my ID to cash a check and the cashier said “Happy birthday”. I looked at her confused for a moment and replied “Oh. Is that today?”

  23. JohnSF says:

    Saw me in half and count the rings.

  24. CSK says:

    Not to change the subject, but restrictive abortion bills failed to pass in Nebraska and So. Carolina, both of which have Republican-controlled legislatures.

  25. Joe says:

    63 in July.

    A few years ago, I thought of starting a spread sheet to keep track of personal attributes of contributors when mentioned in their posts – where they lived, occupation, age, kids, etc. – and decided that would be creepy and also what Google already does for free.

  26. Mikey says:

    I’m just a few days shy of 57.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: So I took a page from the Book of Worf and reply “old enough.”

    I used to say “Old enough to know better, young enough not to care.”

    Now I just say, “Too old to do anything about it.”

  28. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    9 times out of ten, I know it’s my birthday because someone calls or sends a message wishing me a happy birthday. The tenth time I just forget.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: My mother had my little bro at the almost ancient age of 42. When leaving the hospital she rode down the elevator with an 18 yo new mother who was a couple months younger than my oldest sis. All she could think was, “You really screwed up this time Mary.”

  30. CSK says:


    Some friends of mine went back to Nebraska for their 20th high school reunion and were startled to fin that a number of their classmates were grandparents. At age 38.

  31. Kathy says:

    About the thread on streaming the other day, I realized it’s too late to go back to the mid-2000s and have the major TV networks lead the streaming charge.

    I tried to cast my mind back to that time, and consider the following:

    Now in addition to watching over the air or on cable, you can stream any show currently broadcast, at any time, pause it, resume it, etc., but in the same way you usually do. That is, there’d be ads, network promos, etc.

    I imagined all this happening for free or at no extra cost. You’d get NBC, CBS, etc. free, as their streaming programming would be ad supported. For cable networks like HBO, streaming would be part of the paid subscription.

    There are plenty of reasons why this didn’t happen, but stated like this it seems like how the TV business should naturally have evolved. The main reason, I suppose, is that no one in a position to do so either had the idea or took the suggestion seriously.

    So not only did we get Netflix* instead, but also the model Netflix came up with.

    What kind of programming would have come off such a model is hard to determine. The usual progression is for minimal change. I suppose 20+ ep series with eps dropping weekly, perhaps more episodic in nature given the easier access to all eps at any time.

    *I’ve come upon an epiphany about Netflix’s original business, DVD rentals, but that’s a topic for another day.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I dated a gal off and on for a few years who became a grandmother at the ripe old age of 36.

  33. Kylopod says:

    I’m 46, born in Washington, DC the day of Jimmy Carter’s inauguration.

  34. EddieInCA says:

    My physical body is 62, but feels like 50.
    My brain is about 62, but feels like 80.
    My intellect is 62, but feels like 45.

  35. Slugger says:

    I’m 77; old enough to be allowed on social media according to the other thread on this site today. When I was 65, I thought that aging was overrated as a downer; I could still do almost everything I could at 40. Since about 73, I do notice definite decline. Opening jars, a steep flight of stairs, and names of actors are more and more challenging. I will probably exit the way I entered; sans hair, sans teeth, not walking. So it goes.*
    *The “so it goes” expression comes from a writer popular 50 years ago, Kurt Vonnegut. You youngsters might not be familiar with him.

  36. jEddieInCA says:


    I have a cousin, in NYC who was a proud grandma at 28. My large Latino family celebrated the birth of a daughter to my unmarried 15 year old cousin (whose own mother had her when she was 13) but completely ignored a female cousin getting a full scholarship to the Sarbonne in Paris.

    Guess which cousin is doing better in “life”?

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Stephen Miller Is Taking Legal Action Against the M&M Company

    Tucker Carlson may be gone from Fox, but MAGA world is going after his greatest nemesis: the green M&M.

    America First Legal, the legal activist group founded by former Trump advisor Stephen Miller, filed a complaint on Wednesday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Mars Inc, the maker of M&Ms. The pro-Trump nonprofit alleges Mars’ efforts to increase diversity and representation of minorities within its workforce constitutes discrimination and a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    The move comes just days after Fox News fired its former primetime host and sexy M&M devotee, Tucker Carlson. Carlson famously feuded with Mars after it swapped out the green M&M’s go-go boots for professional attire it called “current” and “representative of our consumer.” In a televised rant, the former Fox host moaned that “No longer wearing sexy boots, now she’s wearing sensible sneakers” and lamented that “when you’re totally turned off, we’ve achieved equity, they’ve won.”

    Miller did not respond to questions about whether the complaint was related to Carlson’s ouster.

    The war on woke candy continues.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Slugger: When I was 65, I thought that aging was overrated as a downer;

    I had to stop working at 55, when I found I couldn’t even grip the steering wheel at the end of a day. 35 years of framing and hanging did a lot of damage.

  39. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m 73.

  40. Arnold Stang says:


  41. Michael Cain says:


    …restrictive abortion bills failed to pass in Nebraska…

    A long-time friend who still thinks of herself as a Nebraskan, despite not having lived there for >40 years, follows some of the local politics. She sent me mail this morning that the Omaha Chamber of Commerce has been leaning on the Unicameral quite hard. The city has lost at least a couple of conferences/conventions where the organizers said flat-out it was the far-right legislation. Some of the big employers have started complaining about difficulties hiring and retaining talent for the same reason.

    Possibly worth noting that more than half of the state’s population now lives in the three counties that are Omaha, Lincoln, and their suburbs. Those three also account for all of the state’s net population growth. I’ve said for years that at some point those three will turn blue and politics in the state will change drastically.

  42. Michael Cain says:

    Oh, and I’m 69 for whatever that’s worth.

  43. just nutha says:

    @CSK: A student at Walter Strom Middle School in beautiful Roslyn, Washington once told me that, at 38, I was older than his grandfather. Later that year, a 16-year-old girl signed out of high school to set out on her future. Her boyfriend had just gotten hired at the veneer mill, so she was quitting to work at the bakery until they started their family after getting married in a few weeks.

    I was really sad to read that the mill closed–laying off all staff–a year or two later.

  44. KM says:

    Just hit 40 and still in denial about it.

  45. Jay L Gischer says:

    I am 66 and a grandparent to nothing other than some cats. Which are adorable, mind you.

  46. Jay L Gischer says:

    Carlson famously feuded with Mars after it swapped out the green M&M’s go-go boots for professional attire it called “current” and “representative of our consumer.” In a televised rant, the former Fox host moaned that “No longer wearing sexy boots, now she’s wearing sensible sneakers” and lamented that “when you’re totally turned off, we’ve achieved equity, they’ve won.

    OH My Stars and Garters!!! Women – including cartoon caricatures meant to sell product – do not exist to please men!! This is a terrifying blow! Women will only try to please men when it suits them. How will the species survive!!!

    [shakes head] One of the best things that has ever happened to me is when I noticed that a woman was interested in pleasing and/or attracting me, in particular. I’m cis and hetero, so that’s how it worked, but I think it’s an experience most can relate to. If sex appeal is always on, in all situations, it doesn’t mean anything at all. Which means that the interest it generates, at least for me, lasts about 2 seconds.

  47. just nutha says:

    @jEddieInCA: Before I answer your question, define “better” for me. Sad though it may be, I grew up among people some of whom would assert that the unmarried 15-year-old has the “better” life because she is a mom (after all, how many things are better than being a mom, really).

  48. CSK says:

    Yesterday in New Hampshire Trump announced that he was withdrawing the “Crooked Hillary” nickname and bestowing it on Joe Biden.

    Crooked Joe Biden.

    Isn’t that clever?

  49. steve says:

    68. Had a pt on the labor floor who was 12 having a baby and her mother was there. She was 25. Youngest grandmother i have met.


  50. inhumans99 says:


    I will be 52 years old in September.

  51. CSK says:


    You win.

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @steve: Haysoos Crispo…

    eta: @CSK: Yah, hands down.

  53. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Maturity Level/Emotional peer group: 4 (according to a survey of friends)
    Physical Age: at least 70.
    Actual Age: 52

  54. steve says:

    It must be tiring to be a right winger. Guess they need the anger to maintain the energy level.


  55. Erik says:

    51. Now I understand why I mostly listen instead of commenting here. My grandmother trained me to be silent when my elders are talking. And I do mean trained

  56. CSK says:


    Well, children are meant to be seen and not heard, sonny.

  57. Kathy says:

    I’ve been trying out Wondrium, the subscription service of The Great Courses.

    Previously, my extensive reading of Great Courses had been confined to audio-only lecture series available on Audible. Mostly these were history, with some politics, finance, and mythology thrown in. But also a few on science.

    Wondrium includes video as well as audio. I began a lecture series on quantum mechanics, and quickly ran into two lectures where video was essential (no reading while driving or cooking, then). One showed the trajectories of photons in an interferometer, the other made extensive use of math symbols. The lecturer does describe in words what’s going on, but it’s hard to picture it while driving.

    That’s a plus.

    I’ve had trouble with the app on the Roku TV, finding no means to pause or stop a lecture. It works well enough streaming from the phone through the Chromecast, though.

  58. just nutha says:

    @Erik: Not to worry. One learns way more listening than one does talking.

  59. Slugger says:

    @CSK: The other day Trump tagged Chris Christy as “nasty.” The insults are getting weaker. Soon Trump will be calling people “doodoo head.” The thesaurus of opprobrium must be misplaced.

  60. Matt says:

    43 but in the morning it’s closer to 70something…

  61. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Have you seen Trump greeting and embracing a woman convicted in the J6 insurrection?
    Well THIS is who that woman is.
    No further comment is required.

  62. EddieInCA says:

    @just nutha:

    The one who had a daughter at 15 is living ina one bedroom apartment with her two kids and husband. Both work minimum wage jobs and have never been outside of NY state.

    The other one also has two kids, but is married to a college professor and is the principal of a large private high school, lives in Islip, NY, drives a Lexus, and goes on vacations around the world.

  63. Mikey says:

    In the least surprising news of the day:

    Revealed: Senate investigation into Brett Kavanaugh assault claims contained serious omissions

    So Kavanaugh and his people basically said “no, Brett didn’t expose himself to a woman while at Yale, that was another guy.” Turns out the other guy was nowhere near Yale at the time because he was still in high school. Imagine that.

  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: As @bobhille
    said in response,
    “Perfectly normal. Not a cult.”

  65. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    It was also reported today that Jane Roberts, the wife of Justice Roberts, was paid over $10M in commissions by law firms with business in front of the court. Which kind of explains why Roberts refused to testify before Congress.
    The Supreme Court has serious integrity/ethics/legitimacy issues and I don’t see what can be done about it.

  66. Kathy says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    I reiterate my advice:

    Issue a subpoena so Roberts will fight it, and see what arguments and rulings shake loose. If the supreme court is not subject to oversight by Congress, let it be out in the open.

    Then start to investigate all current justices, as well as those former justices who are still alive, to see whether any of them have taken a bribe, or otherwise made a ruling or wrote an opinion in exchange for something.

  67. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: The Senate Judiciary Committee does not have a functioning majority needed for subpoenas while Feinstein is out.

    And she cannot be replaced on the committee without unanimous consent of the Senate.

    And no one is willing to break the filibuster to change that. Not even talking about it.

    The Judiciary committee can have hearings without subpoenas though. Bring in the reporters breaking the stories.

    If Roberts wants to show up, he can show up. Do we really need Roberts there to say “oh, we would never do anything wrong?” I doubt it.

  68. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Judas Iscariot on roller skates. That poor child. And her newborn.

    No shirt Sherlock. Good Dawg almighty.
    But Cracker and I both knew people who’d think this was a good situation…and outcome. Le sigh.

  69. Erik says:

    @just nutha: 100% true. Especially around here

  70. Stormy Dragon says:


    but completely ignored a female cousin getting a full scholarship to the Sarbonne in Paris.

    I believe the term is “crab potting”

  71. BugManDan says:

    @Kathy: I have to ask my wife my age all the time. Although this year I haven’t. Turned 50 around Thanksgiving.

  72. gVOR08 says:

    I’m 35. I’ve been 35 for going on 42 years.

    @Kathy: Under the rules that applied to the case of VA governor McDonnell a man is assumed innocent of bribery until a quid pro quo is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A quid pro quo meaning an explicit agreement that this bag of money is in exchange for that specific vote. Just doing favors for people who do favors for you doesn’t count. This shows a profound, perhaps deliberate, misunderstanding of how corruption actually works.

    Under this interpretation Roberts is probably correct to argue no one on the Court is corrupt. Who made this interpretation the rule applying to corruption? The Court. The Court that gifted us with Citizens United.

  73. Franklin says:

    @MarkedMan: You happened to ask on my 50th bday, no joke.