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. Bill Jempty says:

    Actor Gary Graham, maybe best remembered for Alien Nation and ST Enterprise, has passed away at age 73. RIP.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:
  3. DK says:

    US growth shatters expectations, boosting Biden’s economic pitch (Politico):

    “The 3.3 percent GDP increase in [the fourth quarter] of 2023 caps off a year of exceptional growth for our economy,” Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) said in a statement shortly after the data release. “With last year’s numbers, average annual GDP growth for the first three years of the Biden administration comes in at 3.4 percent, far outpacing the 2.6 percent during the first three years of the Trump administration.”

    Larry Kudlow Agrees Biden Economy ‘Not as Bad’ as He’s Been Saying (The Daily Beast):

    Former Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow conceded on Thursday that his gloomy forecasts of a looming recession under President Joe Biden were off the mark, admitting that the U.S. economy is “not as bad” as his recent fear-mongering would indicate.

    After the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on Thursday that the nation’s gross domestic product shattered expectations and grew by 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023, Biden touted the economic growth as proof that his policies are working.

    “Today we learned that the U.S. economy grew 3.1 percent over the past year while adding another 2.7 million jobs, and with core inflation moving back down towards the pre-pandemic benchmark,” Biden said in a statement. “As a result, wages, wealth, and employment are higher now than they were before the pandemic. That’s good news for American families and American workers. That is three years in a row of growing the economy from the middle out and the bottom up on my watch.”

    At the end of 2022, some economists were predicting a recession in 2023 with 0.2% growth. Will they ever explain how and why they were so wrong and why they should be taken seriously going forward? Anybody heard from Larry Summers or Jamie Dimon?

  4. Mikey says:


    Anybody heard from Larry Summers or Jamie Dimon?

    They’re busy looking for a new supplier of hopium.

  5. Kathy says:

    Next day reply.


    Kid. New toy. What’s so hard to understand about that? 🙂

    When I developed various bean soup and chili recipes, I got told over and over to use a pressure cooker for the beans. I still find stove top pressure cookers terrifying, so that’s out. The multi function pot has safeguards, and better yet instructions and warnings. So I’ve tried it and it blew my mind. Not just at how fast it cooked four types of beans and one grain (barley), but how well it all turned out.

    I know this is old news to everyone else in the world, but it’s new to me.

    So i started looking for other things to cook under pressure. I know about meat, but I still prefer slow cooking. I may try pressure cooking it someday, because why not. Anyway, I ran across pressure cooking rice. also oatmeal, potatoes, eggs, and other things. These seem to me to be 1) easy, 2) quick, and 3) perfectly fine, to cook on a regular pot. So I was intrigued by people who like their kitchen toy that much.

    I do wonder if any of these things come out “better,” or at least massively different, when using the instant pot. It seems to me they don’t.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DK: admitting that the U.S. economy is “not as bad” as his recent fear-mongering would indicate.

    So Larry, are you a lying sack of sht or just plain stupid?


  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Atlanta Falcons say a big old NO! to Belichik. Going with Raheem Morris instead. Seems like the smart choice to me.

  8. DK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Bill comes with a lot of baggage: he demands a greater degree of autonomy, authority, and personnel control than less seasoned coaches.

    The word on the ESPN beat is Blank really wanted to hire him, but many on the Falcons’ administrative side did not — not wanting to give up their own influence (or jobs).

    There may not be room for Belichick’s style in the modern NFL team structure, unless he’s willing to forgo the kind omnipotence he had under Bob Kraft. Pro teams are not typically built that way anymore. The rise of analytics and moneyball means GMs, scouts and operations people now have more visibility, clout, and imprimatur to dictate to coaching staff.

    I don’t know if Bill Belichick is willing to be second-guessed by some 40-year-old, number-crunching exec with a business degree. I’m not seeing it.

  9. CSK says:

    According to the NYT, Lauren Boebert and five (5) of her competitors running to represent the 4th Congressional district in Colorado have arrest records.

    What a swell bunch.

  10. Bill Jempty says:


    According to the NYT, Lauren Boebert and five (5) of her competitors running to represent the 4th Congressional district in Colorado have arrest records. What a swell bunch.

    For readers, here is a link to the NYT article.

    How good or bad this crowd was, and the Times article is thin on facts except in Boebert and one other candidate’s case, depends on what the arrests were for. Was it embezzlement, wife beating, Shoplifting, public intoxication, or something else? Age at the time of the arrest is also important. How many teens have been arrested for shop-lifting? Let’s throw away the keys if anyone is arrested or make them automatically disqualified for office.

    Boebert is an idiot, so are lots of people. I try not casting my vote for any of them but it isn’t always avoidable.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


    The rise of analytics and moneyball means GMs, scouts and operations people now have more visibility, clout, and imprimatur to dictate to coaching staff.

    A significant criticism of BB in the past few years is that his player eval talents were past there sell-by date. Beyond his organizational style that is gone, he’s a short timer, why would a team turn everything over to him? After he tops Shula for wins and gets to another SB, he’d likely retire.

  12. CSK says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    According to the Denver Post, Lauren’s been arrested 4 times in adulthood. Another candidate, Mike Lynch, was busted for drunken driving and possession of a gun.

  13. Bill Jempty says:


    According to the Denver Post, Lauren’s been arrested 4 times in adulthood. Another candidate, Mike Lynch, was busted for drunken driving and possession of a gun.

    Those are the exact two people mentioned in the NYT article. 6 people running for that seat admitted to being arrested. What about details on the other 4?

  14. Sleeping Dog says:
  15. CSK says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    I don’t know. But why would they admit to being arrested if they hadn’t been? Unless you’ve been busted for participating in a civil rights demo, there’s nothing to be proud of in getting picked up for drunken driving or domestic violence or theft.

    Have you been arrested? I haven’t. Nor have the vast majority of people.

  16. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: LOL. Wow.

    Nothing that exciting was proposed when I worked in the MO Senate as a legislative aide. We did get to hear Sen. Caskey talk about washing day during a filibuster.

    Edited to add: For others just hearing about this nonsense, the “Freedom Caucus” nuts in MO are trying to make it harder to pass citizens’ initiative petitions. You know, because nothing says liberty like taking away existing rights…

  17. CSK says:


    What would a “metaphorical duel” be?

  18. Jen says:

    @CSK: Who knows…these are just clowns looking for headlines. The fact that anyone can, with a straight face say “while the idea of a duel may have been suggested in a metaphorical sense” and still be expected to be taken seriously is beyond me.

  19. Kathy says:


    I think it’s when both cups are poisoned.

  20. CSK says:

    @Kathy: @Kathy:

    Or they can pretend to slap each other.

  21. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Mikey: Maybe not hopium as it was 16 years ago, maybe more like abetting a little ur-fascism to keep what they have. Dimon suggested tRump was “kind of right” last week, Paul Campos at LGM has an interesting post on Doomerism today wherein the supposition is the Elites see future changes as a threat to themselves and fear it as much as do the MAGAts.

  22. Stormy Dragon says:


    They forgot eunuchs.

    This actually is a gender identity. Some (ususally gender non-conforming) trans women or enbies who have had or intend to have orchiectomies but not vaginoplasty identify this way.

  23. Bill Jempty says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I know as recent as 1980’s, being a participant in a duel was disqualifying if the person wanted to be Governor of Kentucky. Don’t know if that law or constitutional requirement has been changed.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    I just passed over an article that was obviously some Republican hit piece on Hunter Biden headlined something like “Hunter Biden Is Trading on His Name” and it just made me realize how disappointed I am that the whole Hunter thing didn’t lead to the next obvious step: an in depth investigation as to just how many Congress Critters and Senior Admin Officials have kids and spouses trading on their connections. 50%? 80%? 99.9%

    But I knew it was unlikely to happen. Modern “journalism” is primarily source journalism. Your future promotions are tied to the quality of your sources. If you start to go after a sources kids, they will cut you off and your career is over. Ergo, everyone is content to let blowhards wax indignant and holier-than-thou, despite the fact that every one of their own relatives is living off their connections.

  25. Bill Jempty says:


    I don’t know. But why would they admit to being arrested if they hadn’t been?

    Truthfully I don’t get that question. Shouldn’t it be why would they not admit it if it was true. Oh because of the political fallout if caught in that lie. So admit it and try to move on.

    Unless you’ve been busted for participating in a civil rights demo, there’s nothing to be proud of in getting picked up for drunken driving or domestic violence or theft.

    Ever read Radley Balko? Heard the stories of ….. when Black? In Florida here a juror was arrested for not coming to court and how about that courtroom full of traffic court defendants all arrested for failing to appear in court when court officers directed them to the wrong courtroom? The 20-30 or so people all put in handcuffs in Aurora Colorado because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time? How about marijuana possession? Lastly, One of our commenters here, Michael Reynolds, admits to a criminal history.

    Get the facts first. Then pass judgment if you want.

    Have you been arrested? I haven’t.


  26. CSK says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Mm-hmm. But you see, Boebert and her fellow clown car passengers actually DID the things for which they were arrested. They weren’t the wrong color or in the wrong place at the wrong time through no fault of their own.

  27. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I say go for it. I would love to see some duels.

    Could Two Texas Politicians Really “Duel”? Texas Law Says Yes.

    On Monday, big-hatted agriculture commissioner Sid Miller posted a furious text he presumably received from state representative Glenn Rogers goading him to engage in a good old-fashioned duel. A duel! Like Alexander Hamilton or Wyatt Earp. His grievance? Miller’s endorsement of Rogers’s primary challenger, as part of Miller’s “RINO hunt” campaign to retaliate against lawmakers who voted to impeach beleaguered attorney general Ken Paxton.

    “You are a bought and paid for, pathetic narcissist. If you had any honor, you would challenge me, or any of my Republican colleagues to a duel instead of strutting around posting pictures with a rifle threatening to shoot RINOS. A RINO is any conservative Republican not bought and paid for by Wilks and Dunn. You are an embarrassment to agriculture and the State of Texas,” the message—which, we should stress, Miller himself shared publicly—read. (Rogers has not publicly commented on the exchange and did not respond to an inquiry on the matter.)

    But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that the far more exciting option—a literal duel—is technically legal in Texas. Swords and pistols are banned, but we’re one of two lucky states (the other being Washington) where consenting adults can choose to settle a dispute by beating the crap out of each other. The Texas Penal Code has a clause devoted to “consent as defense to assaultive conduct”—two caveats being that the fight can’t result in “serious bodily injury” or be part of a street gang initiation.

  28. Kathy says:

    So, Lardass Drumpf stormed out of the courtroom, and his lawyer was sternly warned by the judge.

    I think this is a preview of what we’ll see once the criminal trials get underway.

    If they ever do.

  29. Bill Jempty says:

    @CSK: You don’t know that. What you’re doing is expressing automatic hatred for a group of people without knowing anything. History is full of such examples. Millions came before you Like Southerners for Blacks, Nazis for Jews etc etc

  30. CSK says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Oh, bullshit. Exactly how did I express hatred for large groups of people? What is wrong with you? I expressed contempt for Boebert and her five fellow miscreants, all of whom deserve it. You yourself said Boebert is an idiot.

  31. Paul L. says:

    The FBI are lying scumbag thieves.
    Appeals Court: FBI’s Safe-Deposit Box Seizures Violated Fourth Amendment
    Jack Smith

    I would like to thank the members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who are working on this investigation with my office, as well as the many career prosecutors and law enforcement agents from around the country who have worked on previous January 6 investigations. These women and men are public servants at the very highest order, and it is a privilege to work alongside them. Thank you.

  32. Gustopher says:

    Yesterday, CSK noted:

    Melanie (Melanie Safka), 76, singer of “Brand New Key,” has died.

    In case anyone is unfamiliar with “Brand New Key”, you may have heard one of her tunes getting used in commercials — Quaker Oats had “Look What They’ve Done To My Oatmeal” and Toyota had “Look What They’ve Done To Toyota.” Both of these were modified from Melanie’s song “Look What They’ve Done To My Song”

    I think there’s a certain genius in licensing a song about a song being mangled to advertisers to mangle it, but given how all of her work was so unflinchingly earnest, I assume she was primarily interest in the money rather than making an slightly indirect statement.

    I was always partial to her song “I’m back in town”, about walking in on her former lover and his new partner, as he never was one to lock the door.

  33. Kathy says:

    Alabama went with the experimental nitrogen execution, and it didn’t go well.

    The description of how Smith reacted, are what one would expect of someone suffocating to death, fully conscious and with no oxygen.

    There was much talk about how people who’ve perished in industrial accidents involving nitrogen, would lose consciousness before suffocating. This happens when nitrogen mixes with and gradually displaces oxygen in the air. Not too different from a slow decompression on an airplane. In both cases, too, some oxygen remains, just not enough to sustain life.

    Details of the execution procedure were kept vague on purpose, but it was clear they intended to let Smith breathe only nitrogen abruptly. That’s not a gradual loss of available oxygen, but a sudden and total one.

    Nitrogen forms a of two atoms with a very strong bond. This makes it seem inert, as it rarely reacts with anything. It can be used to put out fires, for example.

    This is very much like another very stable, very inert molecule: carbon dioxide. Now imagine what you’d feel if you had a mask making a hermetic seal with your face, and CO2 was pumped into it.

  34. Bill Jempty says:

    @CSK: You condemn four people who you don’t know anything about or can even name. Your own words ‘five fellows. For no other reason but they are republicans. That is a group of people What is that but hatred?

    Your need to ask if I ever been arrested up above says a great deal about your character.

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    $83.3 million
    Chump change for a true Chump.

  36. CSK says:

    The jury hath spoken. Trump owes E. Jean Carroll:

    7.3 million for compensatory damages
    11 million to restore her reputation
    65 million in punitive damages

  37. Kathy says:

    Lardass Drumpf owes E. Jean Carroll another $83.5 million.

    It’s ok. the donors will pay.

    Or he’ll declare super-duper bankruptcy.

  38. CSK says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    It’s true. I have a dreadful character. Far, far, far worse than Trump, Hitler, and Mussolini combined. I am the most appalling human being ever to walk the face of the earth. My evil nature knows no bounds.

    I shall forthwith change my screen name from CSK to “The Archfiend Incarnate.”

  39. senyordave says:

    @Kathy: Trump hats are on Amazon for $13.99. Assume Trump makes $8 per hat, that is 9,255,555.56 hats. I’m guessing that he could find that many saps. Of course that doesn’t account for Round 3 when he continues to shoot his mouth off. Maybe the next step is that he has to sign over Trump Tower to Ms. Carroll.

  40. Kathy says:


    Ah, he should go on video to have his meltdown for two or three hours,and sell each frame as an NFT. His suckers would pay through the nose for that.

  41. dazedandconfused says:


    We’ve seen it before and it didn’t work then either.

  42. Jack says:
  43. CSK says:


    Perhaps Mexico will pay for it.

  44. dazedandconfused says:


    Are you suggesting Mexico won’t pay for it??

    I noticed, at least in the hissy-fits shown so far, she and Trump don’t mention the plaintiff’s name this time around. Perhaps some learnins’ been done.

  45. DrDaveT says:


    What would a “metaphorical duel” be?

    Similes at 20 paces, until first blood?

  46. steve says:

    Boebert’s arrests were documented by the NY Post.


  47. Scott says:

    @CSK: Waiting for Trump to open his mouth, defamed Carroll again and watch a new filing for more damages within 24 hours.

  48. CSK says:


    By George, I think you’ve got it.

  49. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I’m no fan of thee death penalty but have been trained in working with liquid nitrogen in enclosed spaces and heard a first hand account of what it feels like when all the air is replaced by nitrogen: like nothing. You just lose consciousness. Similar to astronaut training when they ask them to write their names over and over and then gradually reduce the oxygen level. They are never aware of the degradation.

    Carbon monoxide poisoning is a different thing. We have body mechanisms that detect that

  50. CSK says:


    He won’t be able to resist doing that, will he?

  51. dazedandconfused says:


    A battle of wits can be safely ruled out.

  52. Scott says:

    OMG, Girl Scouts at the door with cookies. There goes the post holiday restraints.

  53. Kathy says:


    If you don’t get enough oxygen for whatever reason, you will lose consciousness before you die. It makes no difference how you don’t get enough, but it makes a world of difference how much oxygen remains.

    Liquid nitrogen is heavier than air, and boils at well below zero temps. I think nitrogen vapor, the cold stuff that boils off liquid nitrogen, is also heavier than air. So, in a room with large amounts of liquid nitrogen, most of the oxygen, as well as the gaseous nitrogen, would get pushed upward, to be replaced by nitrogen vapor. But not all the oxygen. Only enough to render you unconscious and kill you.

    Astronauts don’t train on nitrogen exposure, but on high altitude. As you get away from sea level, air thins out. the proportions of gases in the mix is the same, but there’s less of it. Ergo, not enough oxygen. This affects travelers to high altitude locations, like Mexico City, albeit to a lesser degree. You may feel there’s not enough air, and may breathe faster and/or deeper, until you acclimate (that is, until your bone marrow makes extra red blood cells so your body can make do with the lower oxygen amount).

    None of these situations are like switching from a mix of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% mostly water vapor, to 100% nitrogen in the course of a second.

    Were the execution protocol to gradually reduce oxygen in the mix, as happens in industrial accidents, substituting it fro nitrogen, that might be closer to humane (if we overlook the barbarity inherent in an execution).

    Lastly, I said carbon dioxide, CO2. As far as breathing goes, it’s inert and harmless, and makes up around 0.04% of ambient air (and around 4% of exhaled breath).

    Carbon monoxide, CO, is poisonous. It binds with hemoglobin, and messes up the transfer of oxygen to cells. It’s what kills people who commit suicide by exposing themselves to car exhaust in a closed, non-ventilated room.

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DK: Also, how good is he without a Tom Brady?

    eta: and there is only one tom brady. Love him, hate him, there is nobody who measures up. Yet. And I love Maholmes, and Alexander, and Hurts…

  55. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: FWIW, I also know that when testing SpO2 monitors, which is done by increasing the amount of nitrogen and decreasing the amount of oxygen, the subjects don’t feel any ill effect down to a 30% reduction of oxygen, but they are unconscious or nearly so by that time.

  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: That was in all snark, as you were obviously aware of. The things i learn here. I am not surprised.

  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: can even name.

    C’mon bill, it’s a matter of public record. Do I remember the name of every sleazeball mf’er I ever lived next door to? Fck no, but I remember their f’n faces and they were every one of them nothing more than wet farts.

  58. MarkedMan says:

    @Paul L.: Paul, I was wondering why you came storming in here white with rage spouting off about who knows what, and just realized in retrospect it might have been triggered by the Carroll verdict. Was that it? The idea that a rapist might have to pay a cost sent you raving over the edge?

  59. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: Kathy, I see that you had previously pointed out that it might make a difference if the oxygen were gradually decreased, which is the case in SpO2 tests

  60. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jack: Something tells me, could it be you? that you are a complete f’n idiot. Why do I say that? Because Kennedy is a complete f’n idiot. If he is your shining light of illumination, you are one dim bulb.

    I don’t even have to click on your link.

  61. Paul L. says:

    Nope just pointing out the FBI are dishonest scumbags but they have nothing to do with E.Jean/Christine Blasey Ford.
    “Credibly Accused” legal standard convicts all. Maybe North Carolina will pass an Adult Survivors Act (ASA) law.