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. charontwo says:

    I am laughing so goddamn hard at this video of Trump inexplicably putting his water bottle on the floor, and Pence immediately doing the same for no reason whatsoever.

  2. Kathy says:


    Oh, there’s no mystery at all. Monkey see, monkey do.

  3. Joe says:

    Or he’ll say some bullshit about how his attorneys want him to save it for the trial.

    CSK wins the Trump’s reasons for withholding his report sweepstakes.

  4. charontwo says:



    But even more important was the fact that Trump’s legal defense team clearly saw this as a terrible idea. ABC News reported yesterday, for example, that the former president’s attorneys had privately advised him that holding a press conference to promote “dubious claims of voter fraud” would only “complicate his legal problems.”

    Their concerns were well grounded. This isn’t exactly complicated: Holding a press conference to promote election lies, in the immediate aftermath of being criminally charged for interfering in an election, is the sort of idea that makes defense attorneys panic and prosecutors salivate in anticipation. The fact that Trump has a habit of blurting out damaging information about himself only added to the potential jeopardy.

    Stepping back, what we’re seeing is a subtle power shift: Trump’s media strategy was at odds with his legal defense strategy. Traditionally, that wasn’t much of a fight, since the former president has demonstrated a willingness to ignore his attorneys’ good advice in pursuit of public-relations goals.

    After four criminal indictments, however, the Republican is apparently listening to his lawyers a bit more intently.

    Indeed, not only did Trump cancel Monday’s press conference on the advice of counsel, his statement last night also added a brief rhetorical caveat: “Rather than releasing the Report on the Rigged & Stolen Georgia 2020 Presidential Election on Monday, my lawyers would prefer putting this, I believe, Irrefutable & Overwhelming evidence of Election Fraud & Irregularities in formal Legal Filings….”

    The addition of “I believe” is new — and it’s suddenly more common in Trump’s messaging.

  5. charontwo says:

    Barr: During this time, he was being told by lawyers in the white house if he kept doing this, he would spend the rest of his life tangling with the criminal justice process. That’s exactly what has happened. He shouldn’t be surprised and no one else should be surprised.

  6. Beth says:

    I had to pay a visit to the urologist this morning. On of the wildest things, post bottom surgery, has been re-learning how to pee. It’s been a trip and I’m having some issues.

    Well dear friends, after some 40 odd years of increasingly bizarre trick shots, today I was asked to pee in a cup. Friends, I used to be able to write my name in the snow with perfect penmanship. This morning, I was reduced to contemplating physics and engineering in order to fill that cup. It was an ordeal.

    But I am brave and I survived. I’m sure my cackling was unsettling to anyone outside the bathroom.

  7. CSK says:


    Well, Trump could hardly sazy that he was wrong, or worse, that this report doesn’t actually exist, could he? 😀

    By the way, a report of some sort does apparently exist. It was written by Liz Harrington.

  8. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Beth, perseverance and grace (and a really snarky attitude) are what I’ve come to expect from you. In the meantime this was what I was hearing in my head…

    (ETA on a 3 minute loop)

  9. Beth says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    That’s pretty close

  10. Daryl says:

    I long for Jack Smith to demand Trump’s Irrefutable Report as part of discovery, or by some other mechanism. Perhaps the Judge should schedule a hearing for the filing to be made.

  11. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    I tend to cycle between Witch Hazel’s & Vincent Price’s maniacal cackling. Wish I’d been there to see the staff reactions.

  12. CSK says:


    I do wonder what excuse they’ll come up with for not presenting this at trial, don’t you?

  13. charontwo says:

    THREAD: Will Mark Meadows (or anyone) successfully remove the RICO case to federal court? I don’t think so, and here’s why:

    Meadows argues that the actions he’s being charged for actions he took as a federal official acting “under color” of his office. 1/

    The DoJ refused to step in for Brooks, saying overthrowing the government can’t be part of your job in the government. They went on to say EVEN IF the court decides his remarks were protected by the 1st amendment, he was CAMPAIGNING – which isn’t part of his job. 3/

    I think a similar argument can be made agains Meadows’ bid to move his case to federal court.

    It’s of note that the judge ruled that the remarks made by Brooks, Rudy and trump that day were protected by the First Amendment. 4/

    That’s probably why Jack Smith didn’t charge insurrection. That judge’s ruling (Amit Mehta) mooted the need to resolve whether Mo Brooks was acting under color of his office, but DOJ made the argument that the speech wasn’t part of his job, and I imagine the DA will, too. 5/

  14. MarkedMan says:


    Jack Smith to demand Trump’s Irrefutable Report as part of discovery

    Interesting. Now that you mention it, that does seem obvious. And I bet his lawyers have a copy.

  15. Kathy says:

    If Benito has irrefutable proof of crimes like fixing elections, shouldn’t he present it to, I don’t know, the FBI, the DOJ, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, or some competent authority who can investigate his evidence and charge those responsible?

    On the other hand, I see none of the above, nor any others, beating a path to his door.

  16. CSK says:

    Well, Senator–oops, make that COACH–Tuberville has no plans to cease holding up promotions.

  17. Jen says:

    @Beth: You’ve got this! Plenty of us born with this equipment have peed on our hands when asked to fill a cup. Not easy, logistically speaking.

  18. DrDaveT says:


    They went on to say EVEN IF the court decides his remarks were protected by the 1st amendment, he was CAMPAIGNING – which isn’t part of his job.

    That’s a great point that had eluded me. Your statements can either be part of your official duties, OR they can be protected First Amendment speech — but not both. Pick one.

  19. Bill Jempty says:
  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: If it were me, I’d claim that it’s in the same SCIF facility as the Secret Republican Plan to Improve Obamacare and that the room key is lost.

  21. gVOR10 says:

    @charontwo: Hadn’t thought about that. Wouldn’t Meadows participating in campaigning from his WH office be a violation of the Hatch Act?

    OK, they all do it all the time. Biden’s people do it. No one gets prosecuted. But is Meadows request for removal to Federal court based on an admission of illegal actions?

  22. gVOR10 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: And his tax returns. Or are they still under double secret audit?

  23. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: @gVOR10:

    Then I would advise them to summon a locksmith.

  24. Gustopher says:

    Someone is trying to humanize Ron DeSantis, and make him seem endearing despite being basically evil.

    The latest puff piece is WaPo’s “Awkward Americans see themselves in Ron DeSantis”

    The governor’s anti-charisma — his apparent struggles to make small talk, his propensity for letting a smile fall too quickly from his face — reminded Guy of himself at parties. Or the time he had no idea what to say after a fan of his fashion writing recognized him at a tailoring shop.

    “It was exactly like those DeSantis moments,” he said. “A normal human being would understand how to light up your face, how to engage, how to say the right thing. But DeSantis doesn’t have that. And I definitely don’t have that.”


    “Like Ron DeSantis, I spend every day trying to act like a human,” said Michelle Witherspoon, an environmental consultant in California.


    “It’s extremely relatable to me,” said Audrey Kamena, an incoming freshman to Yale University who said she once called her high school history teacher “Mom” and still thinks “about it every night before bed.”

  25. Joe says:

    @charontwo: Where have I read this concept before? hmm. Oh it was Wednesday and it was me.

    While I understand the bar for removal is low, I wonder whether the reviewing judge will draw a distinction between President Trump and candidate Trump with the same question going to his White House staff and his campaign staff. I don’t know that the federal government has anything to say about how state elections are run or reviewed so Trump or Meadows weighing in seems like purely a campaign function. If Biden had been the one making these calls, this would not have been a question. Strangely, Clarke seems to have the best argument because his role was to try and misrepresent the findings and position of the DOJ.

  26. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jen:..@Beth: You’ve got this!

    La Gorda was startled. She squatted and pulled me down with her by the shawl tied around my waist. She put her hands under her skirt for a moment and then stood up; her hands were clasped and when she snapped her fingers open a volley of sparks flew from them.

    “Piss in your hands,” la Gorda whispered through clenched teeth.

    “Hub?” I said, unable to comprehend what she wanted me to do.

    She whispered her order three or four times with increasing urgency. She must have realized I did not know what she wanted, for she squatted again and showed that she was urinating in her hands. I stared at her dumbfounded as she made her urine fly like reddish sparks.

    My mind went blank. I did not know which was more absorbing, the sight la Gorda was creating with her urine, or the wheezing of the approaching entity. I could not decide on which of the two stimuli to focus my attention; both were enthralling.

    “Quickly! Do it in your hands!” la Gorda grumbled between her teeth.

    I heard her, but my attention was dislocated. With an imploring voice la Gorda added that my sparks would make the approaching creature, whatever it was, retreat. She began to whine and I began to feel desperate. I could not only hear but I could sense with my whole body the approaching entity. I tried to urinate in my hands; my effort was useless. I was too self-conscious and nervous. I became possessed by la Gorda’s agitation and struggled desperately to urinate. I finally did it. I snapped my fingers three or four times, but nothing flew out of them.

    “Do it again,” la Gorda said. “It takes a while to make sparks.”

    I told her that I had used up all the urine I had. There was the most intense look of despair in her eyes.

    At that instant I saw the massive, rectangular shape moving toward us. Somehow it did not seem menacing to me, although la Gorda was about to faint out of fear.

    Suddenly she untied her shawl and leaped onto a small rock that was behind me and hugged me from behind, putting her chin on my head. She had practically climbed on my shoulders. The instant that we adopted that position the shape ceased moving. It kept on wheezing, perhaps twenty feet away from us.
    Carlos Castaneda: The Second Ring of Power

  27. Daryl says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Wow…it’s been a minute since I even thought about Castaneda.
    Read all of those books back in the 80’s.
    Thanks for triggering the flashbacks…

  28. Gustopher says:


    Then I would advise them to summon a locksmith.

    I’m not going to follow the links to see what conversation this is part of, and just assume it relates to Beth’s urination.

    I’m hoping locksmiths aren’t necessary, but if that’s what it takes, I wholeheartedly support Beth in her time of urination.

  29. Mister Bluster says:


    I read some. Looking back at the titles I still can’t remember which ones. There are images of the desert that I recall but that could have been several titles.
    Sometimes memories of things that I have read get conflated with actual life events. Like my travels with my disabled friend Joe when we camped out in his van in the desert near Thousand Palms, California on our four week west coast trip in ’74.

  30. CSK says:


    Your assumption would be quite wrong. As for Beth, she seems to have handled the matter ably without assistance from anyone, locksmiths included.

  31. Kathy says:


    When I read The Last of the President’s Men by Bob Woodward, the way Butterfield describes Nixon, made me see him as an introvert.

    That got me to sympathize with him, for about two seconds.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR10: Oh yeah! The tax returns, too. I’d forgotten about them. 😉

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Clearly, you have no understanding of how hard it is to find a locksmith with the necessary security clearances. Nope! You’ll just have to wait until the key is found.

  34. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It’s not at all hard to find a locksmith with security clearances. There are several near me. 😀

  35. Kathy says:

    I finally got around to resurrecting my laptop. I haven’t used it much since 2018, as I’ve not traveled much since then. And with the trump pandemic, I used it even less.

    I’d forgotten I’d installed Start8 back when the poor thing suffered under the Win8 (may it rot in Hell). Since then I’d upgraded to Win10. So I removed Start8. Now it’s been updating Win10 for the past 90 minutes or so.

    The only problem is the battery isn’t charging. I’ll have to get it looked at soon.

  36. Beth says:

    Sorry I dropped off today, I did a couple of things my depression told me not to do and it took revengance.

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    So I am terrified of drs for personal and cultural reasons. This generally manifests in me going to full brat mode. The humor gets real weird real fast. Drs tend not to like it. Or they do cause they’re as weird as lawyers are, they just hide it better.


    OMG, I want this to happen so freaking bad.


    My partner laughed me when I told her about it. Peeing has been one of the absolute wildest parts of this. Like, the closest conceptual framework I can think of is, before it felt like peeing started at a point outside my body, and now it starts from a point inside. Like, that’s an oversimplification, but kinda accurate. Also, just to be clear, I’m not like my cis gay male friend who was (maybe still is) convinced that women pee from their cervix.


    I’m not going to follow the links to see what conversation this is part of, and just assume it relates to Beth’s urination.

    I posted this as an unattributed, out of context quote on a Trans discord I’m part of. They gave me my own channel there and I generally use it as a more unhinged version of my writing. I’ve had several other girls say to me “Oh, your Beth! you’re weird, but your channel really helped me.” I also communicate partly in gifs there.


    I did my best. Lol. I’ll figure this out someday.

  37. Kathy says:

    I said I’d wait for the new Mexicana to actually fly before forming an opinion on it, but this piece by Brett Snyder at Cranky Flier captures my thoughts so far.

  38. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I always liked Classic Start for those Win8 laptops. It upgrades all the damn time, but it made it a classic Win7 interface.

    I’ve been setting up some new computers lately, and I really kinda like Win11, right out of the box. No need for Classic Start. It’s intuitive, and you can get to every setting pretty quick, without having to search too hard for the damn ACTUAL Control Panel.

  39. Kathy says:


    I remember Classic Start. I looked at a lot of apps to fix Win8 (may its code be crushed). I settled on Start 8

    In the end, I got a Win7 desktop PC, one of the last ones made with it. I forget when exactly, but it couldn’t have been in 2013 (I still have it. In fact I’m posting on it). I got the laptop in 2014, with Windows 8, because I’d tried Start 8 in a partition in my old laptop. Eventually I upgraded both to Win10, which works well as a desktop system. For some reason I didn’t remove Start 8 afterwards.

    I am trying Win11 in my work laptop. It should replace my desktop laptop next week when I get back to work.

  40. Michael Reynolds says:


    You’ve got this! Plenty of us born with this equipment have peed on our hands when asked to fill a cup. Not easy, logistically speaking.

    Well, you see, this is why men run the world. Our ability to pee standing up has led to the close-up study of nature, especially trees, and a depth of musical awareness borne of judging tonal differences between center pee and edge pee. Little known fact? Sonar was inspired by a man peeing at night and realizing he could target blind using only variations in sound depending on depth. And I hope I don’t need to remind anyone of our superiority in the area of emergency jellyfish sting treatment.