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:

    Post-menopausal killer whales defend their sons from aggressors, study finds

    Previous studies have revealed evolutionary benefits, with post-menopause killer whale mothers boosting the lifespans of their offspring and grand-offspring by sharing the fish they catch and leading their pods to the richest fishing grounds. The latest work suggest experienced female mothers also help their sons navigate social relationships.
    The images, combined with population-tracking data, showed that males who have their post-menopausal mothers present show fewer signs of aggressive encounters. The shielding effect did not extend to daughters and only occurred once mothers had stopped breeding.

    It is unclear exactly how mothers protect their sons, although the scientists said that conflicts tended to involve rivalry over mates.

    “It might be that they use their enhanced knowledge of other social groups to help their sons navigate risky interactions. They might be signalling to their sons to avoid the conflict,” said Grimes. “Or it might be that they involve themselves in a conflict directly.”
    It makes sense, from an evolutionary point of view, for whale mothers to focus efforts on their sons, the scientists said.

    “Males can breed with multiple females, so they have more potential to pass on their mother’s genes,” said Grimes. “Also, males breed with females outside their social group – so the burden of raising the calf falls on another pod.”

    In killer whales, adult offspring remain in a social group with their mothers and mating occurs during sporadic interactions with other pods. This means that adult sons and daughters typically live with their mothers until the mother dies.

    “You see adult males in their 40s and 50s swimming side-by-side with their mums, and the mums catching fish and feeding them,” said Croft. “They’re mummy’s boys through and through.”

    I want a gal just like dear old Mom.

  2. Stormy Dragon says:


    “Post-menopausal Killer Whales” would be a good name for a band

  3. charontwo says:

    Apparently there are only 3 mammal species that experience menopause:



    Short-finned pilot whales.

    It clearly is an evolved trait.

    (The claim elephants do menopause has been debunked).

  4. JohnMc says:

    Now if orcas could only have squatted around a campfire and told stories, or smashed stones into bones for marrow until they realized they were chipping tools… well, whatever equivalent one might imagine… OK you creative types — ‘Planet of the Orcas’ anyone?

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Supreme Court of Misery slapped the AG down in his attempts to lie about the proposed abortion amendment.

    Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s efforts to inflate the cost of an abortion-rights initiative petition were unanimously rejected by the state Supreme Court Thursday, just two days after judges heard arguments in the case.

    The quick verdict, which was written by Judge Paul Wilson, was scathing in its opinion of Bailey’s refusal to sign off on the work of Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick, concluding that nothing in state law “gives the attorney general authority to question the auditor’s assessment of the fiscal impact of a proposed petition.”

    The ruling upheld Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem’s ruling last month ordering Bailey to sign off on Fitzpatrick’s fiscal summary within 24 hours.

    A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said Bailey disagrees with the court’s decision, “as we believe Missourians deserve to know how much this amendment would cost the state, but we will respect the court’s order.”

    Yeah, because he had accomplished what he wanted:

    Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling acknowledged how Bailey’s unlawful refusal to sign off on the fiscal note has derailed the initiative petition process.

    “The attorney general was to have performed that task within 10 days of receiving the fiscal notes and summaries from the auditor, a period that expired more than three months ago,” Wilson wrote in his ruling, later adding: “Because of this logjam, the (secretary of state) could not — and, to this day, cannot — complete his duty by certifying the official ballot titles for the proposed petitions.”

    If the attorney general had “complied with his duty to approve the Auditor’s fiscal note summaries,” Wilson wrote, the official ballot summary would have been finalized “nearly 100 days ago.”

    I can’t say what I want to say, so I’ll just STFU.

    eta: to clarify, the GOP state auditor concluded that the Amendment would have NO fiscal impact on the state, Bailey wanted to say it would cost the state billions of $.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Damn, you are right. You’d better trademark it before I do.

  7. Kathy says:

    It looks like racketeering charges for Benito in Georgia.

  8. Mister Bluster says:

    Tony Bennett has died.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Well shit.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster: Truly a multi-generational talent. And unlike a few of his contemporaries, he seemed to draw real love and respect from those around him. Kudos to Lady Gaga for bringing him to a new generation, and then remaining part of his life even into dementia.

  11. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..Well shit.

    He was 96. I know he couldn’t live forever but maybe just one more song…

  12. Scott says:


    The military ordered big steps to stop extremism. Two years later, it shows no results

    More than two years ago, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin launched a sweeping initiative − triggered by the Jan. 6 insurrection − to root out the threat of extremism across the United States armed forces.

    But today, the military has almost nothing to show for its efforts, a USA TODAY investigation has found. Most steps in the process are stalled or inactive, and the reforms experts said were most important haven’t happened.

    The proposed policy changes aimed to confront extremism before, during and after military service by:

    Diverting extremists from the recruiting process with tougher questions and screening for warning signs such as white supremacist tattoos.

    Creating an investigative unit to weed out potentially dangerous extremists in the ranks.

    Building an education initiative to teach veterans about the extremist groups that court them and severing the long-known and often deadly veteran-to-extremist pipeline.

    Instead, today the military offers almost no answers about what has actually happened. Even a crucial internal study on the scope of the military’s extremism problem has never been released, despite being ordered by Austin himself and completed more than a year ago, USA TODAY has confirmed.

  13. Scott says:

    San Antonio Express News weather forecast: “It was hot on Thursday. It will be hot on Friday. And it’s going to be hot on Saturday.”

  14. wr says:

    @Mister Bluster: “Tony Bennett has died.”

    My neighbor!

    (He lived about six floors above my apartment… presumably in a much bigger and nicer one!)

  15. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Remember seeing his Glastonbury performance on TV a few years ago.
    Excellent set, and the crowd loved it.

  16. Scott says:

    I think this is too stupid for even MAGA people to buy:

    Florida’s CFO blames wokeness for insurers leaving the state: ‘I do call them the Bud Light of the insurance industry

    ’As yet another insurance company is pulling back from issuing policies in Florida following a string of natural disasters, the state’s chief financial officer has accused the industry of pulling out not because of losses, but due to wokeness.

    Jimmy Patronis, CFO of the state, lit into Farmers Insurance for its plans to leave the state on CNBC recently, saying “if they would just leave ESG [environmental, social, and corporate governance ] and put it away, and focus on the bottom line, they may not have made this decision to leave the state of Florida with the tail between their legs.”

    “I do say they’re too woke,” he added. “I do call them the Bud Light of the insurance industry. I do feel like they have chaos in their C-suite.”

  17. JohnSF says:

    UK politics news.
    Three by-elections yesterday.
    All supposedly Conservative safe seats; they lost two, rather badly.
    Just held on to Johnson’s former seat, Uxbridge.
    Lost Selby to Labour, Frome to LibDems.
    Turnout down, so probably a lot of Conservatives staying home.
    Main thing: large amount of “anti-Conservative” tactical voting in evidence; as percentage of vote LibDem vote down 5% in both Selby and Uxbridge; Labour vote in Frome down 10%.
    If the tactical voting is anything near in the general, Tories are toast in much of the country.
    How sad 🙁 *snark*

  18. CSK says:


    Is this the Boris Johnson Effect?

  19. Mister Bluster says:

    @wr:..My neighbor!


  20. Mister Bluster says:
  21. Kathy says:

    Buzz is beginning that studios may delay release of completed pictures, because their stars are on strike and can’t take part in promotion.

    It’s hard not to laugh at this. Don’t they have AI chatbots that can take over promotional duties?

  22. Kathy says:

    So, today I woke up at 4 am, and couldn’t fall back asleep. I gave up trying around 4:20 and got some coffee. By 4:45 or so, I decided to try again, even with caffeine merrily metabolizing inside me.

    Next thing I know, it’s 6:15 and the alarm is blaring and vibrating. This would mean I slept through the first alarm, which goes off at 5:50 and runs for over three minutes non stop.

    Speaking of sleep, I had an odd dream a few weeks ago. All I remember is a woman addressing a large audience at an auditorium, saying the company will hire more people, raise wages, and other things along those lines. Someone off stage then says “That’s gonna cost a lot of money!”

    And the woman calmly replies “That’s ok. We have money.”

    I can’t help but think it was one of the most rational dreams I’ve ever had.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Yeah, I know, not a surprise, and he was suffering from dementia, which is it’s own kind of hell but still the world is a little emptier with him gone.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Toward the end of the GenZ post from yesterday, JKB noted this morning

    I thought Gen Z was all about the diversity. Instead their Democrat option is a pre-Boomer, old white guy who gets handsy with young girls/women. [emphasis added]

    That he can try to make this assertion given his several-years endorsement of Trump simply proves that Tom Lehrer was right when he responded to Kissinger winning the Nobel Peace Prize by saying “Irony is dead.”

  25. Scott says:

    A couple of Texas stories to be ashamed about:

    Tearfully testifying against Texas’ abortion ban, three women describe medical care delayed

    One woman could barely get words out through her tears. Another ran to the restroom as soon as she was done, wordless, wretched sobs wracking her tiny body. A third threw up on the witness stand.

    These are believed to be the first women in the country since 1973 to testify in court about the impacts of a state abortion ban on their pregnancies. They almost certainly won’t be the last.

    Speaking to a packed Travis County courtroom Wednesday, three women detailed devastating pregnancy losses and said medically necessary care was delayed or denied due to their doctors’ confusion over Texas’ abortion laws.

    Confusion and stress abound for 500,000 Texans bumped from Medicaid

    During the pandemic, federal regulations prohibited states from removing people from Medicaid, allowing access to nonstop health insurance coverage for about 3 million Texans who would’ve regularly lost coverage beginning in March 2020. But new federal funding legislation lifted these protections in April, and the state launched the process of removing people it thought would be ineligible.

    Half a million Texans — mainly children, but also disabled adults and women who recently gave birth — have lost coverage since then, leaving them in limbo without access to medical treatment. Some had become ineligible over the pandemic, whether they were children who aged out of the program, mothers who were past the time of prenatal coverage or those who have exceeded Texas’ strict income limit. But many remained eligible and were kicked off as a result of procedural issues, such as not receiving messages from the state, responding to them late or not including the correct documentation in their renewal application.

  26. Mr. Prosser says:

    @MarkedMan: The Bennett/Gaga album was a real eye-opener for me. Bennett picked a partner who has a real voice and knows her music. They even play it now in my local coffee shop.

  27. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    His rendition of “The Shadow of Your Smile” is the best I’ve ever heard.

  28. JohnSF says:


    Is this the Boris Johnson Effect?

    Opinions differ. LOL.
    And in both directions.
    Oh, and a local Labour official is saying its because St. Jeremy is no longer Labour leader. *eyeroll*
    A lot of commentators are putting it down to the extension of the London ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) charges, which is attributed to London’s Labour Party mayor, Sadiq Khan.
    Missing that it was actually related to conditions placed on London Transport subsidy by the government. 🙁
    And now the “anti-Green” element in the Conservatives is trying to big-up this alongside “anti-woke” and “anti-migrant” as key weapons in the next election.
    As somebody once said: “It’s the economy, stupid.”
    Which in turn relates to the economic impact of Brexit, and the failure of the Conservatives to recognise that trying to promise tax cuts is a mirage leading them, and the country, deeper into the desert.

  29. CSK says:


    Makes sense.

  30. JohnSF says:

    Regarding Tony Bennett, aka Anthony Benedetto, just found out some things I never knew, though perhaps other folks here did.
    He was among the US forces that liberated Dachau in 1945.
    He was promoted to corporal, and then demoted to private and assigned to Graves Registration for the crime of associating with a black guy he knew from New York.
    And marched at Selma after being approached by Harry Belafonte to support Rev. King’s campaign there.

  31. Mister Bluster says:

    Fly Me to the Moon
    Tony Bennett

    Apollo 11
    July 16-24, 1969
    54 years ago

  32. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    You two should make sure you get your trademarks quick so you don’t end up like this:

    For those of you who are like, who the hell is that, John Summit is a former accountant turned DJ/Partyboy/brat/dingdong. He’s also an object of lust for me cause he’s hot, makes beautiful music, and I have poor taste in men.

    The other guy, I have no idea. I hadn’t heard of that festival until this happened. I suspect both of them might be SOL per the “Taco Tuesday” litigation, but I’m not a trademark attorney.

  33. JohnSF says:

    In Russia, it seems that the the right-nationalist critics of the conduct of the war are getting the treatment.
    Girkin aka Strelkov arrested. Also Gubarev.

    Implication: the factional alliance supporting Shoigu and Gerasimov is ascendant, favoured by Putin, and telling their opponints to back off or else.

    Also, the army is being purged it seems: Popov, commander of the 58th Army, removed from post. And rumours of some mid-ranks being removed as well.
    Looks like the Kremlin is competing with UAF to delete Russian senior officers.
    IIRC senior commanders killed this month: Generals Goryachev & Tsokov, Colonels Ivanov, Pisarenko,

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: Gawd I’m old. I was thinking “that couldn’t possibly be 54 years ago” when I read it. I was seventeen then and I’m only 71 now.

    (As you can probably guess, I’m also innumerate. 😉 )

  35. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I’m now counting in Seychelles tortoise years.
    It’s so much more comforting to know I’m only just approaching middle age. 😉

  36. steve says:

    Scott- Have talked with colleagues in Texas. The way this is being played is that it is the doctor’s fault, that they are failing to interpret the law correctly. Of course the state made sure all doctors were notified that they could be sued if they broke the law and it is not doctors interpreting the law but their lawyers or the lawyers of the hospital for whom they work. The lawyers think the law is unclear so are counseling caution. The medical societies have asked to clarify the law but Texas has not done so. They seem to like the confusion as it means fewer abortions and if people only “almost” die so far that’s OK with them.


  37. Beth says:


    And it’s only a matter of time before someone does die. Do your colleagues and their attorneys have any idea what to do with the Malpractice suit that will come from that? It’s not going to be a defense to say they complied with the law. Especially since the law is so purposefully vague.

  38. Kathy says:

    The headline says it all: Bankman-Fried planned to buy Nauru and build apocalypse bunker

    I would urge the world to keep this in mind when they hear some other billionaire, or wanna-be billionaire, expound on the virtues of “effective altruism.”

  39. Jen says:

    @Scott: That is ridiculous. Insurers are leaving because it is no longer profitable.

    It’s called a death spiral and Florida’s insurance market is close to being in one.

  40. JohnSF says:

    Considering that Nauru is famous for an economy based on being metres deep in birdshit, it seems somehow appropriate.

  41. steve says:

    Beth- They are aware of that but they are trapped. They just hope their lawyers are correct. Cynically, I would note that if the mother dies they can only be sued by family. If they do an abortion they can be sued by anyone.


  42. grumpy realist says:

    @Scott: considering that “environmental” extends to “how many damn hurricanes we got hit with last year”, I would say that yes indeedy it is true, if Florida’s insurance companies totally stopped taking account of “ESG and put it away” they’d probably have an entirely different opinion…..

    (I suspect the yelling at the insurance companies is simply because deSantis et al. know full well the insurance companies will continue to say “adios” and scamper out of the state. They’re desperately hoping that accusing the insurance companies of being “woke” will fool their ageing Boomer supporters just enough to get one more supporting vote out of them before Grandma and Grandpa keel over (or get fed up with the increased cost of insurance and move out of state.))

  43. Kathy says:


    Was. Now they do money laundering, as I understand.

    Imagine moving from bird droppings to something less unsanitary but far more offensive.

  44. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Even a crucial internal study on the scope of the military’s extremism problem has never been released, despite being ordered by Austin himself and completed more than a year ago, USA TODAY has confirmed.

    Luddite that I am, I suspect the reason the report hasn’t been released is because it reports extremism is alive and well in the military. The cynic in me thinks our military leaders don’t really see this as a problem.