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. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Hope you have a great day, everyone! Time for an early AM drink & seegar to wait for sunrise.

  2. DK says:

    This op-ed by Boris Johnson is pretty spectacular.

    Why aren’t we giving Ukraine what it needs?

    Do not believe for one second that these Ukrainian soldiers – or the wider population of Ukraine – could be persuaded somehow to lay down their weapons or do a deal with Putin. They are not fighting at our behest, and will not stop because we say so. They are fighting a war of independence, because they refuse to bow down to terror and because they want their country to be free.

    …they don’t see how they could possibly believe a word Putin says. Yevgeny Prigozhin thought he had done a deal with Putin – and it didn’t exactly work for him.

    There is only one thing they want from us, and that is the weaponry to finish the job – and so I simply do not understand why we keep dragging our feet… How can we look these men in the eye, and explain the delay? Throughout this war we have underestimated the Ukrainians and overestimated Putin, and we are doing the same today.

    All we need is strategic patience, and a far greater sense of urgency about our programme of military assistance. Ukraine’s battlefield needs are changing, and we need to recognise that. A year ago or so we were worried about giving the Ukrainians tanks and armoured cars, on the absurd ground that such support might be ‘provocative’ to Russia. Now the drones have become so lethal that both sides are said to be parking their armour and walking…

    The Russians now occupy barely half the land they held in the weeks after the invasion. They have been routed in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson; and yes, the counter-offensive is going more slowly than some had hoped. But it is proceeding. It is only 20 to 30 kilometres from the Ukrainian positions to Melitopol; and if they can get to that southern city, then their artillery will command the whole land bridge. They will be able to interdict movement between Russia and Crimea – a colossal strategic reversal for Putin…

    The Ukrainians need man-portable air-defence systems (Manpads) to take out the Russian helicopters. They need Patriot-style systems to protect themselves against attack from the air, and they need better long-range artillery to take out the Russian positions. The Himars have been valuable, but the Russians have been effective in their counter-measures. The Ukrainians want and need the ATACMs, the long-range missile systems that are still being withheld by the US, and they need more missile systems such as the UK’s Storm Shadow, which has proved to be extremely valuable.

    From the UK, they are hoping for more help with howitzers, with Stormshadow, with air defences, and they want as much help as we can give on drone technology.

    President Zelensky told me that he needs just 200 more sophisticated ballistic systems such as ATACMs, and the US has thousands in store. Why keep them on ice? What other purpose could they possibly serve that would better guarantee the long-term security of the West, including the United States?

    Some voices in Washington have said that the US should pursue a ‘China First’ strategy, and hold the ATACMs in reserve in case they have to be sent to protect Taiwan. What nonsense. The best way to deter an attack on Taiwan is to make sure that the Ukrainians win, and as fast as possible.

    We are talking about a relatively trivial outlay for such extraordinary potential reward…There are no US boots on the ground, and no possibility of US bodybags coming home – and yet the stakes for the West are enormous. If Putin wins – and all he has to do, to claim a victory, is hang on to at least a chunk of the territory he has taken since 24 February 2022 – the dreadful message will go round the world: that this was the moment when the democracies pledged to stand up to the autocracies, and we flunked it. The story of Ukraine will be of lion-hearted Ukrainian troops finally betrayed by western loss of nerve.

    A quibble here and there, but oh my. This is the Ukraine speech I want Biden to give. I guess Johnson has fully transitioned back to a one-nation Tory?

  3. just nutha says:

    8:30 Friday evening in Seoul and LG is ahead of Daejeon’s Hanwha Eagles 4-3 in the top half of inning 6. Soar Eagles!

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Yesterday was Ig Nobel day.

    Among the winners were,

    the Ig Nobel prize for nutrition, won this year by Homei Miyashita from Meiji University and Hiromi Nakamura of the University of Tokyo for their research on electrified chopsticks and drinking straws.

    “The taste of food can be changed immediately and reversibly by electrical stimulation, and this is something that has been difficult to achieve with conventional ingredients such as seasonings,” said Nakamura. She said her recent research had shown it was possible to enhance the saltiness of foods using electrical stimulation of the tongue.


    Focusing on the other end of the digestive system, this year’s Ig Nobel prize for public health was awarded to researchers for the development of a smart toilet that uses various technologies to monitor human waste for signs of disease and an anal-print sensor as part of its system to identify the user.

    Many more at the link.

  5. Jax says:

    and an anal-print sensor

    There you have it. The one thing I never thought I’d hear as a form of identification. 😛 😛

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This is fun:

    Culture Critic

    Dear men, what is preventing you from doing this?

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I wonder what the system would make of my hemorrhoids.

  8. Kathy says:


    Well, it’s not like one needs high tech gizmos to recognize an asshole.

  9. Kathy says:

    No, Benito, you cannot sue your attorneys for malpractice if you refuse to take their advice.

    Ten to one he doesn’t take the stand at all.

  10. JohnSF says:

    To be fair to Johnson (and if only you knew the pain those words cause me 😉 ) he has always be pretty sound on Ukraine. Johnson always has a bit of compartmentalised brain: he can regard some things quite analytically, and based upon decent principles.
    But as soon as personal profit, pleasure, or political advantage, come into the picture, all that is swiftly abandoned.
    The most important question for him is always: “What’s best for Boris?”
    And his lack of self-discipline is ultimately self-destructive.
    A pity in a way; if he had the self-aware self-control of say, Macmillan or Churchill, Disraeli or Palmerston, he could have been a much more significant and successful figure than he ended up being.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: 20 to 1 you are right.

  12. Kathy says:

    After two very long years, Mexico has regained category 1 certification from the FAA.

    It really shouldn’t have been that hard, or taken this long. All that’s needed is adherence to the minimum oversight standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN agency.

    So, things begin to return to normal. Mexican airlines can now set up new routes to the US (existing routes were kept in operation during the Cat 2 downgrade), and set up or resume code shares and other agreements with US-based airlines. Meaning Volaris can begin the code shares with Frontier.

    Given how his majesty Manuel Andres really, really wants his white elephant airport to take off (ha ha), one thinks he would have tried harder to solve this issue, rather than let it fester for two years. Next he may get the brilliant idea to transfer all international flights to his pet airport. Hell, he doesn’t even have to order it. Just close all passport and customs services to MEX, and international flights can no longer arrive to or leave from that airport.

    I don’t think he’s that stupid. The white elephant lacks many amenities, like premium lounges, which would cost airlines and others a fortune to provide. Not to mention that faced with long haul flights, or long medium haul flights (4-6 hours*), one really wants to depart from an airport far far away that adds 1 to 2 hours to the journey.

    *This includes many flights to the US and Canada. MEX-JFK is about 5:30 hours long.

  13. Jay L Gischer says:

    @DK: You know, I read this, and tried to pronounce “ATACM” and came up with “attack ’em”, amusingly enough.

  14. CSK says:

    From Gossip Central, the Daily Mail: Kristi Noem is having a red-hot affair with Corey Lewandowski.

    What do some women see in that repulsive little weasel?

  15. gVOR10 says:

    @CSK: In Noem’s case a role model?

  16. Scott says:

    @CSK: I’m not a woman but my initial reaction was “yuck”

  17. JohnSF says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Amusingly, that’s how the Brit military guys I’ve chatted with always pronounce it, in private.
    American military perhaps a bit less prone to that sort of humour?

  18. CSK says:

    Perhaps it’s that extra long penis Corey bragged about to the unfortunately named Trashelle Odom, wife of a major Republican donor. (She called the cops on him.)


    “Yuck” by a magnitude of ten.

  19. DrDaveT says:


    American military perhaps a bit less prone to that sort of humour?

    I usually hear it pronounced “A Tackems” (where A rhymes with “hay”), but the double entendre in the acronym was deliberate. Acronymy is an art form in the military; the guys who came up with a name for the Army’s vehicular electronics architecture that would acronize to VICTORY probably got bonuses and promotions.

  20. EddieInCA says:

    A couple of days ago, I made the prediction that AZ, GA, NC, and a few other states will go to Biden in 2024 and it won’t be as close as 2020. To that end, here’s an interesting story about the AZ GOP.

    AZ GOP is nearly broke.

    A few tidbits:

    When Jeff DeWit took the reins of the Arizona Republican Party in January, the party had more than $152,000 in its federal campaign account. Seven months later, the AZGOP has burned through more than 90% of those cash reserves and doesn’t have enough money to pay its bills. The party’s most recent federal campaign finance report shows just how dire the situation is for Republicans heading into a monumentally important 2024 election year, during which the AZGOP will be overseeing efforts to win the presidency, capture a U.S. Senate seat and maintain control of the Legislature.

    At the end of August, the party had just $14,800 left in the bank. During that month, the party spent nearly $89,000 — more than twice the roughly $44,000 in revenues it reported. But the AZGOP only paid about $57,000 of those bills, and took on almost $32,000 in debt.

    The August fundraising figures are dismal for the Arizona Republican Party: It only raised $18,321 in contributions from individuals, and the remaining $26,000 or so in revenues was a transfer from the AZGOP’s state campaign finance account.

    The figures are a sharp drop from poor fundraising in July, when the party raised less than $24,000 from individual donors and ended the month with only $28,000 on hand.

    Baker noted that there were no large donors to the AZGOP in August, and the largest contribution was $500, which came from a construction executive in Wisconsin.

    That the party isn’t even taking in enough money to cover its monthly bills is concerning enough, Baker said, but that’s amplified by the fact that the Arizona Republican Party in June took out a mortgage to purchase an entire floor of a midtown Phoenix office building for its new headquarters.

  21. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve felt that Eric Adams should get the “Mayor Most Likely to be Indicted” award since day 1 of his time in office. I wonder if we are about to see the start of the unraveling. One of his top aids just got arrested for taking bribes. Some quotes from the linked article:

    Ulrich and his co-defendants, five of whom pleaded not guilty, also worked together to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect the mayor. Their efforts afforded some of them remarkable access to Adams and his staff, including face-to-face meetings.

    Though not charged, Adams and his advisers featured throughout the indictments — and an explosive story over the summer reported that the mayor tipped Ulrich off to Bragg’s investigation last year. Ulrich’s relationship with the mayor runs deep, and this case may ultimately provide the most detailed look at how, time and again, Adams finds himself surrounded by people embroiled in scandal or, with increasing frequency, the subject of criminal investigation. Selecting Ulrich, a chronic gambler with friends in organized crime, to lead the Buildings Department — an agency historically dogged by suggestions that it has ties to the mafia — was potentially the most alarming personnel decision the mayor has made, bringing prosecutors and alleged mobsters uncomfortably close to his administration.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @EddieInCA: Arizona is the latest state to witness the implosion of what should be a very viable Republican Party, given the makeup of the state. The tea party hounded the “normies” out of office and ushered in extremists in their place. This drove some moderates out of the party, which gave the extremists more power, which ushered in even loonier extremists, which drove more moderates out, wash, rinse, repeat. This cycle had reached the self destructive feedback zone since at least the tea party, if not earlier.

  23. Jen says:

    @CSK: I feel like this is old news. Wasn’t that the rumor a few years ago?

    Edit: apparently, this is a “years-long” affair, so I must have read some scuttlebutt about it back at its origins.

  24. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: A photocopy of a butt is a key clue in the (generally regarded as awful) movie The Spirit, with out hero asking every doorman in the city if they recognize it.

    An automated system just makes sense for situations like that.

  25. CSK says:


    L’affaire Corey-Kristi seems to have been going on for several years now. I wonder how Alison Lewandowski can stand it, knowing not just that her husband’s a serial philanderer but that his behavior is public knowledge. Unlike Melania, she’s not getting money out of the deal.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Given who their spouses are, maybe they ‘re counting their blessings.

  27. CSK says:


    If I were Alison Lewandowski, I’d just as soon keep a thousand or so miles between me and Corey.

  28. DK says:


    Arizona is the latest state to witness the implosion of what should be a very viable Republican Party, given the makeup of the state.

    Wisconsin Republicans to Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and California Republicans:

    “Hold my cheesehead.”

  29. CSK says:

    Trump hasn’t ceased “threatening” and “harassing” witnesses with “inflammatory statements.”

  30. Mr. Prosser says:

    @DK: Don’t forget Colorado. Our reThugs are so far out there they can see their own backs.