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. CSK says:

    Kari Lake is releasing a single entitled “81 Millions Votes My Ass.”

    This is not a joke.

  2. Kylopod says:

    While this didn’t come as a surprise to anyone who was paying attention, the debt-ceiling bill has now passed both houses and is headed to Biden’s desk.

    Not bad for a senile basement-dweller.

  3. DK says:


    Not bad for a senile basement-dweller.

    I’m actually surprised ‘conservatives’ still can’t come up with a coherent attack on Biden. Republicans complaining they’re getting outsmarted by a hopeless dementia patient does not tell American voters what the right thinks it does.

  4. DK says:


    This is not a joke.

    What’s not a joke? The fact of Kari Lake recording a song parroting Trump’s sore loser election lies, or the content of said song? Lol

  5. CSK says:



  6. Mikey says:

    Elon Musk is personally promoting Matt Walsh’s transphobic hate speech movie “What is a Woman?” after Twitter canceled a deal to stream it.

  7. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey: It’s doubly disgusting when you consider that Musk has an estranged trans daughter. He’s an Alan Keyes-tier bigot.

  8. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 339,000 in May.
    Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
    rose by 11 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $33.44.
    Thanks, Brandon.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    It would be interesting to hear from someone who has known Musk for years what there take on his move to the far right. Has you always harbored these attitudes and hid them or is this something new.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    When Trump gets charged in the documents case, we will quickly hear that these are trivial charges and wouldn’t be brought against anyone else. So it’s important to know that a retired Air Force General was just sentence to 3 years in prison for knowingly taking classified documents and keeping them in insecure locations.

    In 2017, law enforcement officers discovered that Birchum knowingly removed more than 300 classified files or documents, including more than 30 items marked top secret, from authorized locations, prosecutors said. Birchum kept these classified materials in his home, his overseas officer’s quarters and a storage pod in his driveway.

    Prosecutors specifically noted that Birchum possessed two documents on a thumb drive found in his home that contained information relating to the National Security Agency’s capabilities and methods of collection and targets’ vulnerabilities. Their unauthorized release could have caused exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States, officials said.

    There was no indication from investigators that Birchum ever distributed the classified material.

  11. Beth says:


    Edit: oops meant to respond to Sleeping Dog

    From what I’ve seen and personally experienced, trans/homophobic parents we always like that. They may occasionally make noises that they aren’t for show, but the underlying reality is hate.

    My own mother would always talk about how much he hated Trump, that she was an old hippy lefty, but when I came out, first as Bi, later as Trans, it became rapidly clear that I was unacceptable. She even told me that how I came out was wrong.

    I’m pretty sure that Musk, like my mom, thinks his kids are objects not people and that they should all glorify him.

  12. Jax says:
  13. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    A brief review of the numerous lawsuits over race and sex discrimination at Tesla and SpaceX make it obvious he’s always been far right, the mainstream media was just better able to carry water for him before he was broadcasting his internal monologs to the world

  14. sam says:

    USAF Official Says He ‘Misspoke’ About AI Drone Killing Human Operator in Simulated Test

    Put me in mind of HAL’s murderous rampage in 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the movie, it’s never made clear at all why HAL did this, but in the book it’s explained. Here’s a good recap of the reason: What caused HAL 9000 to go mad?

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: If it’s not a joke, why am I laughing my ass off?

  16. CSK says:


    I didn’t say it wasn’t a joke. It IS pretty funny.

    P.S. I listened to about 15 seconds of it on Youtube. It’s appalling.

  17. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Recently we had a discussion on “main character syndrome” or “protagonist syndrome.” It’s not a recognized category in psychiatry or anything, it’s just a term I’ve seen used on the Internet for a while.

    In any case, Musk absolutely has it, in droves. In a recent interview he was asked about controversial tweets he’s made (like calling Soros an evil puppet-master) and whether he worries how it will hurt his businesses. He responded by quoting The Princess Bride. I’m not remotely joking. And what quote did he use? “That word doesn’t mean what you think it means”? “As you wish”? “My name is Inigo Montoya”? Nope. It was Count Rugen offering Inigo money.

    Yep, that was the lesson he took from TPB, and he needed to cite TPB because no other movie in history has ever had a character offering money and the other refusing. You have to hand it to William Goldman’s clever screenplay for that bit of profound wisdom.

    It’s kind of like when Trump claims he’s too rich to be bribed by special interests. You almost have to admire the chutzpah of some of the most prominent symbols of raw materialism and greed not only claiming to be incorruptible, but claiming it’s their wealth that makes them incorruptible. It’s like a guy who goes to a brothel every night claiming he can’t be seduced because he gets so much pussy.

    The man is an emotional child.

  18. CSK says:

    Here’s Trump’s reaction to the “smoking tape”: “I did everything right.”

    I’m surprised he didn’t say the tape is fake, as he did with the pussy tape.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: You’re a braver person than I, Gunga Din.

  20. Stormy Dragon says:


    A combination of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and:


  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    New York village’s cherished swan stolen and eaten by three teens

    Three teenagers in New York state were arrested for allegedly stealing a swan cherished by its local community before killing and eating the bird. The disappearance of the well-known swan, called Faye, and her four cygnet offspring on Saturday caused concern in the village of Manlius, in upstate New York. Local authorities later said Faye was abducted, killed and eaten. Her cygnets survived.

    “The mother swan was consumed,” Paul Whorrall, Manlius’s mayor, told the Associated Press on Wednesday. “Sad to say, but that’s what they did.”

    I am against corporal punishment, but in this case I might make an exception.

  22. CSK says:


    Take my word for it: It’s ghastly. I don’t know if Kari sings. She yells something at the beginning.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    NBC quoted John Amann, the 77-year-old who spent more than $2,000 on Trump Bucks and other merchandise, as saying: “Now I’m questioning whether [Trump] is aware of this.”

    A better question is what was trump’s cut?

  24. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Just to be clear, I’m not saying “main character syndrome” is something that should be part of the mental-health field. “Narcissism” works fine to that end. I think of it more as a cultural criticism–it reflects the influence of the heroic archetype in our culture and how it messes with people’s minds. And even though that archetype has been deconstructed in a lot of popular works in the modern age, it still runs strong.

    In fact, if you think about it, TPB is a mild deconstruction–it’s just at such a surface level that most viewers miss it. It pokes fun at some of the conventions then loses itself in a “happily ever after” ending. Viewers overlook the fact that the main male “heroes” are thieves and scoundrels, that the male lead is kind of an asshole, or that Buttercup’s characterization as vacant and stupid seems more an unreflective acceptance of sexist stereotypes than any real attempt to satirize them.

    And I say this as someone who loves TPB.

    I assume also that Musk’s head is full of a lot of sci-fi heroic stuff like The Matrix (never mind that it was written by two trans women).

  25. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That story is APPALLING. JFC.

  26. CSK says:

    Hallelujah! The “like” but has reappeared.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: I’ve usually heard it expressed as, “He thinks the rest of the world is a movie about him.”

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I was just noticing that. Celebrated by giving you a thumbs up.

  29. Scott says:

    @CSK: Also popped up in previous days posts in case you’re compulsive about such things.

  30. Kathy says:

    I think maybe I shouldn’t have gone with progressive lenses.

    First I’ll take a few weeks to get used to them, then I’l decide whether to change them or not. For now, it’s really weird.

    meantime I still need to figure out what to cook this weekend. The entree will be pan fried chicken medallions with potato breading, with a mushroom, garlic, and onion topping in sherry reduction. I just don’t know what I want for a side.

    I kind of settled on chilaquiles with bean sauce, but I keep picturing white rice. That doesn’t make any sense.

  31. CSK says:


    I never noticed. Maybe it didn’t on Chrome?

  32. Scott says:

    @CSK: I use Chrome. I think they weren’t there yesterday. Whatever happened in the mysterious world of WordPress retroactively added the thumbs up buttons to previous posts.

  33. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08: There’s a reference to it in Stephen King’s The Stand, first published in 1978:

    “To her all of this was some sort of Hollywood scenario, a living disaster movie in which she had the starring part.”

  34. CSK says:


    Prof. JJ just explained what he did in the “Biden the Adult” thread.

  35. Kathy says:


    Expect an exception for religious texts.

    That ought to be followed by a text from The Satanic Temple, containing references to same sex marriage, transgender people, abortion, etc. If so, it will be followed by several court battles.

    I’m still reminded of Sean Connery’s line in The Last Crusade, addressing a nazi officer: maybe goose-stepping morons like you should try reading books instead of burning them.

  36. Kathy says:

    Notable quote for this Friday:

    The invisible hand never picks up the check.

    Attributed to Kim Stanley Robinson.

  37. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:I’ll raise–I’m willing to make an exception to my objections to captial punishment on this one.

  38. Matt says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’m pretty sure it has to do with Grimes leaving him to be with a transwoman (Chelsea Manning). Also Elon straight up blames the loss of his trans daughter to “neo-marxists” “communism” aka lefties. Elon takes no responsibility for his actions or his behaviour towards others. It’s always someone else’s fault to those types. I’ve personally seen people dive hard into right wing religious nuttery after failed marriages because they refuse to take any responsibility for their actions..

  39. SenyorDave says:

    Musk just seems like your basic bad dude, but he has a larger platform than 99.999999% of the people on earth. Plus, he has tens of millions of followers that will excuse anything he says or does. He does look like he’s turning into a fairly run-of-the-mill right wing apologist. I say apologist because he frames some of his nonsense as the Democrats are so bad I have to support Republicans. He does seem to be moving in a stridently anti-LGBTQ+ direction. I would guess that he is the sort of guy who would throw around slurs when he feels safe to do so.

  40. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kylopod: Musk having a trans daughter who he isn’t getting along with explains a whole lot. That on top of his obvious spectrum thing.

  41. MarkedMan says:

    An observation: All decisions are obvious and the deciders idiots… from the point of view of those who have no responsibility for the real world effects of the decision.

  42. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: You’ll probably find that you need some time to accustom yourself to progressive lenses. I’ve known some people who never have really accustomed themselves to them, and I still take off my glasses altogether to read.

  43. Scott says:

    @Kathy: Could the Kama Sutra be considered a religious text?

    The Kamasutra and celebration of sex, eroticism and pleasure is an integral part of the religious milieu in Hinduism and quite prevalent in its temples.

  44. MarkedMan says:

    @just nutha: Here’s the thing I find with my progressive lenses: I do better with “shorter lenses”, i.e. frames that have narrower top to bottom distance. Spreading the progressivity out along a wider vertical change makes for some awkward head tilting when switching distances.

  45. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    I think it would be easier if both eyes had the same flaws.

    BTW, while I haven’t had trouble seeing individual tree leaves, I did discover the Moon is not a grayish silvery blur after all 😉

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I think maybe I shouldn’t have gone with progressive lenses.

    I think every glasses wearing person I know said just that when they first got them, but after a few weeks they had gotten used to them. I’ll bet if you give it time you will too.

    ftr, other than reading glasses, I don’t wear them, so this is all 3rd hand.

  47. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: Indeed! Smaller lenses over all are part of the whole progressive lens phenomenon. My prescribing optician limited both the size and shape of the frames that they would put progressive lenses in last time around. But I no longer have any lens issues that will matter until my ophthalmologist is willing to do cataract surgery (I have many complications 🙁 ).

  48. Kathy says:


    I’ve read about experiments using mirrors mounted on eyeglass frames, that do things like reverse right and left, or show things upside down. Volunteers wear them for days or weeks (or longer?), and get used to processing the new visual input. At least enough to go about their daily lives with little trouble. I’ve no idea if this included driving.

    Progressive lenses sound a bit less challenging.

  49. Gustopher says:


    I think maybe I shouldn’t have gone with progressive lenses.

    I was literally being startled by flat surfaces “jumping” at me when I first got mine. Actually started triggering panic attacks — which was incredibly helpful, since I was doing CBT for my anxiety, and we hadn’t been able to find a way to reliably trigger the panic attacks so I could learn how to recognize the beginning symptoms, learn to lessen the effects, etc.

    (Some time later, when trying MBSR, the teacher gave us a recording for a body scan meditation that had a tiny, intermittent hiss just at the edge of hearing, which triggered panic attacks in about half the class, including me. This was also good, and is still really helpful, just not in the way it was intended. “Focus your attention on your throat — it’s where we store a lot of tension without even realizing it — hiss — gently be aware — hiss — of the tightness — hiss —“)

    I’ll reiterate my suggestion about not driving with them until you’re used to them. Like, use your best judgment, but really think twice about it.

  50. Mister Bluster says:

    Bears Say Proposed Arlington Heights Stadium Site Not Team’s ‘Singular Focus’

    Maybe they should build the stadium next to the Airport In Lake Michigan.

    (I have to scroll down to see anything in the “Airport…” link. Maybe you will too.)

  51. Gustopher says:


    It’s doubly disgusting when you consider that Musk has an estranged trans daughter.

    There’s probably an inherited component to transness, so this calls into question Musk’s own desires to have ten children (that we know of) to spread his genes*. The guy really does promote eugenics like that (which is better than the “let’s prevent other people from having kids” version of eugenics)

    10% of his kids are trans, which is way higher than statistically likely. He should probably go get a vasectomy right now. According to his hateful beliefs, his trans kid would be defective**, and he may be spreading that defect far and wide.

    *: he would probably do better at creating more people like himself by spreading his wealth — give 100 people a wealth equivalent to an emerald mine, and I bet you end up with at least 80 complete assholes.

    **: Is there anyone who is not defective?

  52. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I think both Tokyo and Hong Kong have airports built on artificial islands.


    I drove home yesterday, and then back to work today. No problems with the glasses either time.

  53. Gustopher says:

    Eugenics gets a bad rap.

    The Jewish communities (Ashkanazi?) that have a high chance of some inheritable illnesses (cystic fibrosis? And some others), and who do genetic testing to avoid marriages with someone else carrying the same recessive gene are clearly practicing eugenics, but in an entirely defensible, and I would even say good way.

  54. Kathy says:


    Tay Sachs disease. It’s a really nasty, terrible thing.

    I wouldn’t call it eugenics. And avoiding a marriage isn’t necessary. It takes two copies of the defective gene, as it is a recessive one. So simply using a sperm donor who doesn’t have the gene is enough. I think embryos produced in vitro can be screened for it prior to implantation. And the same goes for other recessive gene conditions like sickle cell anemia.

  55. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: @Kathy: It’s also due to a bottleneck that’s hypothesized to have occurred in the Late Middle Ages; all Ashkenazim today are descended from just a handful of families about 600-800 years ago.

  56. Kathy says:


    I read in Discover years ago (90s) a notion that some recessive genes persist because they may confer an advantage when only one is present. The examples were sickle cell anemia and Tay Sachs. The first might confer protection against malaria, the second against tuberculosis.

    I don’t know if anything’s developed in the field meantime.

  57. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Are the Ron De-Weiner memes out yet? Anyone? Buehler?

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I don’t think so. Using “ron de-weiner memes” as a search term only got me Oscar Meyer, Bevis and Butthead-esque, and Anthony Weiner jokes.

  59. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: A pity… 2016 Trump would have already destroyed DeSantis with his own…”my name is pronounced Winner” quip.

    Rhonda Weiner skits played by a DeSantis impersonator in Drag would be comedy gold.

  60. Mister Bluster says:

    Same as it ever was.
    Just went back a few days and gave one of my comments a thumbs up.

  61. Kathy says:

    It seems the machines will have to wait a little longer for Skynet

    It is a little bit less absurd than dying to maximize the production of paper clips.