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:

    Recently we were debating the popularity of Obamacare and just like magic Kevin Drum posts a chart of its rising popularity. It has risen steadily from 35% in 2014 (Death Panels!!!) to 60% today.

  2. just nutha says:

    Greetings! I decided to postpone going to bed until my first usual wake up time. I’ll let you know if it made s difference when I awaken. (My guess is that it won’t.)

  3. Kathy says:

    When I see an airline launch with an unconventional business plan, I do immediately wonder: scam or white elephant?

    When parts of the plan are preposterous, I tend to favor scam. But if assets are acquired, I begin to consider things like naivete, or a really bad case of Dunning-Kruger.

    I wonder which is Global Airlines.

    I’m thinking a bad Dunning-Kruger. The founder does run a successful business, or one that seems to be successful (it is active), but also is known for being “the youngest man to visit every country in the world.”

    This suggests he has flown a lot. In Dunning-Kruger fashion, he might think that flying a great deal makes him an expert on all aspects of air travel. Imagine someone unfortunate enough to have undergone many medical procedures, who thinks they are an expert in all aspects of medicine.

    I guess we’ll see. Seeing how the A380 fizzled in every business model except for Emirates’, it does not seem like a good omen.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Key document may be fake in LGBTQ+ rights case before US supreme court

    Say WHAT????? I am shocked, shocked I tell you!!!

    The suit centers on Lorie Smith, a website designer who does not want to provide her services for gay weddings because of her religious objections.

    In 2016, she says, a gay man named Stewart requested her services for help with his upcoming wedding. “We are getting married early next year and would love some design work done for our invites, placenames etc. We might also stretch to a website,” reads a message he apparently sent her through her website. In court filings, her lawyers produced a copy of the inquiry.

    But Stewart, who requested his last name be withheld for privacy, said in an interview with the Guardian that he never sent the message, even though it correctly lists his email address and telephone number. He has also been happily married to a woman for the last 15 years, he said. The news was first reported by the New Republic. In fact, until he received a call this week from a reporter from the magazine, Stewart said he had no idea he was somehow tied up in a case that had made it to the supreme court.

    “I can confirm I did not contact 303 Creative about a website,” he said. “It’s fraudulent insomuch as someone is pretending to be me and looking to marry someone called Mike. That’s not me.

    “What’s most concerning to me is that this is kind of like the one main piece of evidence that’s been part of this case for the last six-plus years and it’s false,” he added. “Nobody’s checked it. Anybody can pick up the phone, write an email, send a text, to verify whether that was correct information.”

    Stewart said he had no idea how his name wound up in the request. He said he is a designer with a fairly sizable following online. The inquiry to Smith sent in 2016 lists his personal website, where he used to have his email and telephone number displayed, so it’s possible a stranger could have collected those to impersonate him.

    The existence of an actual request to create service is significant in the case because it helps establish that Smith has suffered some kind of harm and has standing to bring the suit. Last year, lawyers for Colorado urged the justices not to take the case because Smith had not received a request to make a website for a gay couple.

    Lawrence Pacheco, a spokesman for Colorado’s attorney general, Philip Weiser, declined to comment on the possibility that the query might be falsified. He pointed out that the attorney general’s office had raised questions about the query in its brief to the supreme court.

    “The Company did not respond to that online form. Nor did the Company take any steps to verify that a genuine prospective customer submitted the form,” lawyers wrote.
    The inquiry from Stewart seems to have appeared at a suspicious point in the litigation, the New Republic noted.

    The query was sent on 21 September 2016, a day after the Alliance Defending Freedom filed the lawsuit on Smith’s behalf. In the fall of 2016, Smith’s attorneys originally said that she did not need an actual request for services to challenge the law. But months later, in February of 2017, it referenced the request. Smith signed an affidavit saying she received the message.

    Hoocudanode that this fine Christian woman with her fine Christian lawyers would be party to a lie?

    The revelation of a falsified request may not matter much in a strictly legal sense, said Jenny Pizer, the chief legal officer at Lambda Legal, a group that protects LGBTQ+ rights. The court has signaled recently that potential liability is enough to support a legal challenge, she said.

    I rather suspect that if a non-christian filed a similar lawsuit for similar reasons they’d have to show actual real life consequences to establish standing.

  5. Jen says:

    The court has signaled recently that potential liability is enough to support a legal challenge, she said.

    Wait, what? I thought a key factor in a tort was actual harm. How does a party have standing based on *potential* liability?

    Would love to hear from any of the lawyers on the board.

    And no, it does not surprise me in the least that some person purporting to be a victimized Christian lied and falsified a document.

  6. Michael Cain says:


    Wait, what? I thought a key factor in a tort was actual harm. How does a party have standing based on *potential* liability?

    Not a lawyer, but while I was pleased with the outcome of Massachusetts v. EPA back in 2006, I did wonder about the long-term consequences on standing rules. The (then) four liberal justices plus Kennedy granted standing based on potential harms that would occur many years in the future. If there are at least five justices who want to issue an opinion on a case’s merits, they’ll grant standing.

    That was another example for our hosts’ list of cases where the Court is trying to do a job Congress should.

  7. steve says:

    The law is whatever the majority of SCOTUS says it is. It may or may not have much relation to any written laws and it doesnt need to honor historical norms. They have unlimited authority. It’s why it’s worth bribing them so much and why they try so hard to hide it.


  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    They confused ‘perspective’ and ‘prospective,’ in re their routes.

  9. KM says:

    Wait, doesn’t that count as perjury, submitting a false document to the court?

    Can Stewart sue as dragging someone into a SC case with a false document claiming harm seems like a pretty clear case of defamation and possibly identity theft?

  10. KM says:

    Well, they ruled for the liar. Guess submitting fake docs to court doesn’t matter anymore. Hopefully Stewart sues the daylights of out of Smith for this

  11. CSK says:

    Alan Arkin, 89, has died. RIP.

  12. Mikey says:

    With the affirmative action decision and today’s decisions on religious accommodations, same sex couples being served by public businesses, and the striking down of student loan forgiveness, the message from SCOTUS couldn’t be any clearer: if you aren’t white, Christian, heterosexual, and well-off, you are a lesser-than American.

  13. just nutha says:

    @just nutha: Well that didn’t work. Still woke up at 4:30, 7, and now.

  14. wr says:

    @Mikey: “the message from SCOTUS couldn’t be any clearer: if you aren’t white, Christian, heterosexual, and well-off, you are a lesser-than American.”

    Unless you can afford to give them gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then it doesn’t matter who you are.

  15. gVOR10 says:

    @CSK: I happened to catch The In-Laws” a couple days ago. Not the entirely forgettable remake, the original with Arkin and Falk. Damn they were good. Hopefully someone will run Catch 22.

  16. Bill Jempty says:


    Alan Arkin, 89, has died. RIP.

    I loved The Russians are coming, The Russians are Coming, which was Arkin’s first Oscar nomination. He followed it up “Wait Until Dark’ with Audrey Hepburn. A movie that has been much imitated but Arkin was very good in it. Arkin once said(?) you don’t get oscar nominations for being mean to Audrey Hepburn. I like WUD and Arkin’s 2nd Oscar nomination, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

    I love black comedies (Theatre of Blood is a favorite of mine. The Trouble with Harry and Brewster McCloud while having their flaws I enjoyed) but Catch-22 I think is a terrible film. The rest of Arkin’s work for decades wasn’t that memorable (Freebie and Bean, Fire Sale, Chu Chu and the Philly Flash the less said the better) with a few exceptions like the In-laws. I never watched Little Miss Sunshine or most of Arkin’s later work (post 2000) with the exception of Argo. RIP.

  17. KM says:

    For now.

    There will come a point when even money can’t buy acceptance. Plenty of out-groups have assumed their cash and connections will save them when the tide starts turning, only to prove tragically wrong. I mean, what’s to stop them from taking your money and ruling against you anyways? The days of bought folks staying bought seems to be ending, now they’ll accept the bribe as their due and rule on their personal ideology. It just so happens the bribers and the bought are usually in alignment but I can see some of the more crooked ones taking the money “to think about it” and then turning.

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: It’s always hilarious when people who have bribed politicians discover that said politicians may not keep their word.

    Wasn’t it Lyndon Johnson who said something like: “son, if you can’t take their cash, drink their booze, frolic with their women–and then turn around and vote against them the next week, you have no right to be in politics.”

  19. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    You don’t buy a politician or a jurist. You rent them. That is, you keep paying them off monthly or whatever, and make it clear the money will stop flowing if they don’t keep showing you their favor.

  20. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Catch-22 I think is a terrible film

    If you want a movie that takes the thematic premise of Catch-22 and executes it much better, check out “Kelly’s Heroes” some time

  21. KM says:

    Lately it’s been like an AirBnb that’s renting out the same house to different groups at the same time. Cool if you’re betting one party won’t show or cause a fuss but if both show up to use the place, someone’s cash ain’t getting what they paid for. Maybe you walk away, swearing you’ll never use them again. Maybe you hedge your bets because they were the best (or only) deal on offer you could swing so you keep paying.

    How often do bribers really withdraw their favor? It means sacrificing the chance at power and influence. The threat’s there but how often does cutting someone off really happen? I mean Disney was contributing to DeSantis when he started the feud and I’m unsure if they stopped.

  22. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    They’ve allegedly spent money on A380s. The stupid begins that high up 😉

  23. dazedandconfused says:


    The thing to watch for is if the 380s leave the scrapyard they are now in. It’s one thing to “ink” a deal, but another to pay for it, and the holder is unlikely to release the planes from the boneyard until the money is transferred.

    That they went to the trouble of painting “Global Airlines” on a white bird still in the lot has the reek of scam or desparate thinking. The image of a mothballed airliner with one’s name on it is obviously not a good look.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM: The bribe is a carrot, but with out a stick in the other hand you’re just another sucker waiting to be taken.

  25. CSK says:

    Trump claims Fani Willis will be dropping all charges in the “stollen” election case.

    German fruit bread?

  26. Mikey says:

    @CSK: Stollen election? I vote for my wife’s, she makes a delicious Stollen every Christmas.

  27. CSK says:


    Yes, my maternal grandmother (of German descent) made a good one, too.

  28. Jax says:

    @Mikey: I have no idea what stollen is, but I heard the word fruit bread and I should vote for your wife’s stollen…..recipe, please? 😛 😛 I’m having a hard time keeping these teenagers fed properly this summer, they can finish anything I make off in a day, particularly anything with fruit in it!

    On the plus side, they’re becoming excellent sammich makers. Made just the way THEY like them!!!

  29. Kathy says:


    If they never own a plane, then it’s likely a scam. Although scam airlines have owned planes. Like Baltia.

    To rise to the status of white elephant, they have to at least fly once with paying passengers.

  30. Kathy says:

    A tiny spot of good news for this gloomy day: Fox “News” settled with Abby Grossberg on a gender discrimination lawsuit.

    I’ve heard it said, mostly on lawyer shows, that a company that settles a lawsuit invites more suits.

    Let’s hope that’s the case.

  31. gVOR10 says:

    I occasionally note that there’s a difference between genuine, grass roots populism like the prairie populists of the late 1800s and Republican “populism”. Moms for Liberty was supposedly founded by three naive, nobody mothers around a kitchen table. (Might as well recycle the Tea Party founding myth.) Kevin Drum has the goods. The three housewives were two Sarasota County school board members and the DeSantis endorsed board chair, the wife of the Florida GOP Chairman. Their growth was funded by a $50,000 donation from Julie Fancelli, the Publix heiress you may remember from funding J6. (Publix has done what they can to make it clear she has nothing to do with the company.)

  32. Bob2@Youngstown says:

    My mouth is watering just thinking about stollen. One of the wonderous treats from Grandma’s kitchen.

  33. Stormy Dragon says:


    I’m having a hard time keeping these teenagers fed properly this summer, they can finish anything I make off in a day, particularly anything with fruit in it!

    Stollen also has kirschwasser in it. A lot of kirschwasser

  34. Jax says:

    @Stormy Dragon: So it’s a night-time dessert, then? 😛