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. HelloWorld! says:

    I’m wondering if I am cognitively challenged. How can I not understand what the words in section 3 of the 14th amendment mean? It’s so clear to me that it absolutely does refer to the president, but even liberal justices are making double speak arguments that it does not. It seems completely clear to me that the supreme’s should throw this issue to congress based on the last sentance of section 3 of the 14th amendment: Can someone trained in legal-speak tell me what I am missing????

  2. Kathy says:


    Who dares to execute the king’s political life?

  3. Sleeping Dog says:
  4. Bill Jempty says:

    My almost next door neighbor* headline of the day- ‘No effort to obscure himself’: Boynton man arrested for indecent exposure

    *- Spigner lives in Building 12, Dear Wife and I in building 11 of our 14 building community.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    Pure Kathy-bait. You got yer space, you got yer plane, all in one.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Republicans are redefining the word ‘equal’ in an Iowa anti-trans bill

    On Tuesday afternoon, the Iowa house education committee met to debate House Study Bill 649, a bill proposed by the Republican governor, Kim Reynolds. The bill, as drafted, would end legal recognition for transgender people anywhere “male” and “female” appear in Iowa code and would require special gender markers for transgender people on birth certificates, measures that were compared to “pink triangles” once used to identify LGBTQ+ people by Nazis in the 1940s. Perhaps the most ambitious attempt to discriminate against transgender people in the proposed legislation, however, is through redefining the word “equal” in the bill.

    The bill states that when it comes to transgender people, “The term ‘equal’ does not mean ‘same’ or ‘identical’,” which raises the question: what does “equal” even mean? The bill does not define the word, only declares that “equal” no longer means “same” or “identical” within the state of Iowa for transgender people. When the sponsor was asked directly what the word “equal” means in this bill, the representative Heather Hora answered: “Equal would mean … um … I would assume that equal would mean … I don’t know exactly in this context.”

    If the bill’s own sponsor cannot define the word “equal” due to eliminating the word’s actual definition, how can she claim to have created the perfect definition for “man” or “woman” in Iowa law? In attempting to write transgender people out of all legal protections in Iowa through definitions, the state legislature seems poised to undermine the very concept of equality itself. That should be enough to shake all Iowans, regardless of their political stance on transgender issues.

    Boy, that pretty much sums up the intellectual heft of today’s GOP..

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: The denizens of STL come thru again.

  9. Mister Bluster says:

    Japan’s Seiji Ozawa, one of world’s best-known conductors, dead at 88

  10. Kathy says:


    No, they are the latest incarnation of the Know-nothings.

    IT’s clear the intent is to make transgender people second class citizens at best, and they claim they don’t know what they intend to do.

  11. Kathy says:


    Frankly I’d be more excited if they’d developed a reusable launch system along with their baby shuttle. What really matters now is lowering launch costs. XpaceX has a huge head start in this.

    It does remind me of a European Space Agency 80s project. It was a similar donwsized shuttle type, also carried atop a two stage rocket. I think it proved too expensive to keep developing.

  12. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Ozawa was music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 29 years. RIP indeed.

  13. Kathy says:

    So, I’ve a bunch of reimbursements pending, and accounting tells me I need to enter some expense reports on advances first.

    Ok. I checked my records, and the BLUESCREEN I program where we upload expense reports, and 4/5ths of what they say I haven’t reported were in the system, some before the advance was requested.

    They say they can’t find them. I sent them images of the BLUESCREEN records. they should get back to me today, I hope.

    On BLUESCREEN ][, there are a bunch of expense reports going back to 2020 that are only partially applied to advances. Meantime I’ve like $2,000 pending to reimburse there.

    They’re a mess down there, and they keep saying it’s my problem.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    An Alabama radio station has been forced to temporarily shut down after thieves stole a 200ft radio tower.

    WJLX, a station in Jasper, Alabama, was ordered to go off air by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after thieves took the station’s AM tower last week, the Guardian first learned.

    “In all my years of being in the business, around the business, everything like that, I have never seen anything like this,” WJLX’s general manager, Brett Elmore, told the Guardian.

    “You don’t hear of a 200ft tower being stolen,” he added.

    Elmore said the theft was first discovered last week by a landscaping crew that regularly manages the area nearby the tower, WBRC reported.

    “They called me and said the tower was gone. And I said, ‘What do you mean, the tower is gone?’” Elmore said.
    Elmore quickly reported the theft, but said that local police were equally surprised at the brazen robbery.

    “They were just as stunned as I was. It’s unbelievable,” he said.

    It’s hard not to laugh about this, but it is definitely a hardship:

    For the small radio station, the theft has had a significant impact. Elmore said the station’s property was not insured. Replacing the tower could cost the station anywhere between $100,000 to $150,000, which is “more money than we have”, Elmore said.
    “The sad part is that Jasper has always been a radio town. They have always supported their local radio station,” Elmore said.

    “Now we’re silent, but we won’t be silent for long. I’m gonna work tirelessly to get this thing back up and running, one way or the other.”

  15. Kylopod says:

    All people are created equal, but some are more equal than others.

  16. Kathy says:

    Remember the Senate bill to provide assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, with border rules and new spending attached? The one that was killed by the same GQP party that negotiated it?

    Well, today the Senate will vote on a clean bill to provide assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. But now the GQP wants to add amendments to provide for border rules and new spending.

    I swear if I had Doc Brown’s DeLorean, I’d travel to around 1500 BCE, and convince the Greek poets and storytellers of the time that the real deadly sin is chutzpah and not hubris.

  17. Joe says:

    @Kathy: Even before they get to the GQP amendments, can we all remember when Biden first asked for a Ukraine/Israel bill without the border?

  18. Scott says:

    Chutzpah, Texas edition:

    Ken Paxton Argues That Ken Paxton Has Violated Ken Paxton’s Right to a Speedy Trial

    The beleaguered attorney general, who famously has spent eight years delaying his securities fraud trial, is arguing that the delays he achieved make his prosecution unconstitutional.

  19. just nutha says:

    @Sleeping Dog: ROTFLMAO!!! To whoever created that entry: WORLD CLASS!

  20. Paul L. says:

    Time for a victory lap Matt B. Popehat was wrong!
    Michael Mann (the climate scientist, not the director) has finally been vindicated in court:
    So now NRO and CEI are now bankrupted by the 6 figures judgement and Michael Mann now owns them.

  21. Matt Bernius says:

    @Paul L.:
    Thanks for the heads up. I had missed that.

    I expect that the judge will probably reduce that amount. Still it’s a vindication. No victory laps though… that would be gauche.

  22. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: I think it’s noteworthy that McConnell wants a deal, which is why it has a chance of working. I also think that if it comes up for a vote in the House, it will pass.

    I think mostly everyone knows that, and that’s why we are getting the monkeyshines and crazy maneuvering.

    Now, the Speaker has said something like he won’t allow any bill that permits even one illegal entry. Which sounds like great red meat, but doesn’t actually mean anything or commit him to anything at all. No bill contemplated allows illegal entry, that’s nonsensical. He’s a fairly high-powered lawyer, and he knows that. So he has wiggle room, his big problem is to maintain the confidence of the MAGA faction.

    Trump and the Trumpies don’t want the deal because it doesn’t help Trump get elected. So people who do like the deal and are afraid of the Trumpies (McConnell isn’t afraid of Trump by all appearances) are unenthusiastic about speaking up. They have primaries to win, after all.

    In summary, I think some deal is going to eventually pass.

  23. Kathy says:

    When I think about interpreting law, and in particular originalism, I’m reminded of a well-known point about natural selection. It’s one of those things that are so obvious, they tend to get overlooked.

    Traits are selected under present circumstances, not against future need.

    Laws are written under present conditions, to fix present problems.

    Traits selected in the past can lead to problems later on when things change. So can laws which were good under circumstances that no longer exist.

    The analogy is not exact. People can look to the future and take foreseeable adverse consequences into account. the problem comes with unforeseeable consequences, or a context so different to render even a forward-looking law ineffective or harmful.

    Natural selection simply is. Questions of intent or morality do not apply to it. the law is not a metaphysical fact, but a human construct with a deliberate purpose. Intent and morality not only apply to it, they’re the entire point of the enterprise.

  24. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    The judgment was for $1. Paul is touting 6 figures as a joke because I guess he thinks the fact that the NRO won’t be bankrupted will cause the libs to rend their garments and gnash their teeth. I think. With all things Paul, you never quite know what he means because he’s a very confused individual.

    Still, I also want to thank @Paul L. for bringing this to my attention. I probably would not have known that two conservative authors were proven in court to be lying hacks. Real “conservatives posting their L’s” moment here.

  25. CSK says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    According to the AP, CNN, and other sources, the judgment is for one million, not one dollar.

  26. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    No bill contemplated allows illegal entry

    True, but when does the truth matter to the unhinged wing of the MAGA party?

    For one thing, though the law does not allow illegal entry, plenty of people enter illegally anyway. No law can fix this.

    Second, the law allows asylum claimants to enter and get a hearing on their claim. To the GQP voters, this is the same as allowing illegal entry.

    What Johnson means is he won’t back a bill that results, regardless of its text, in allowing a single person of color to enter the country. At least not while a Democrat is president.

    The bill, with or without immigration amendments, may pass. But it will do so only because, I think, legislation can be brought to the floor in the House over the Speaker’s refusal to schedule a vote.

    On the other hand, giving Johnson’s prowess at counting, he may allow a vote thinking it won’t pass. And he may wind up surprised.

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    From the link above:

    The six-member jury announced its unanimous verdict after a four-week trial in District of Columbia Superior Court and one full day of deliberation. They found both Mr. Simberg and Mr. Steyn guilty of defaming Dr. Mann with multiple false statements and awarded the scientist $1 in compensatory damages from each writer.

    The jury also found the writers had made their statements with “maliciousness, spite, ill will, vengeance or deliberate intent to harm,” and levied punitive damages of $1,000 against Mr. Simberg and $1 million against Mr. Steyn in order to deter others from doing the same.

    (Reading is fundamental)

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Paul L.: I’m not seeing one thing: How is a sub-million dollar judgement ($1,000,000 is seven figures) going to bankrupt either organization? Are NRO and CEI the sorts of organizations in size that make them like the teacher I knew in Korea who had had a small side hustle but called herself a “former CEO?”

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Are you telling me that Paul L. is innumerate on top of being poor at citations? 😐

    ETA: Though he did provide one for that post.

  30. Matt Bernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    The judgment was for $1. Paul is touting 6 figures as a joke because I guess he thinks the fact that the NRO won’t be bankrupted will cause the libs to rend their garments and gnash their teeth.

    I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not. (Unless the joke is going over my head) Paul is right; the jury set the combined amount at 1 million.

    According to the Mann legal team’s statement, the four-week jury trial in the District of Columbia superior court resulted in punitive damages of $1,000 against Simberg and $1,000,000 against Steyn.

    It remains to be seen if the judge will let that stand (I haven’t seen an analysis if it falls within the penalty parameters or if they will be adjusted down.

    Also, I don’t think the NRO is on the hook for this monetarily. My read is that Steyn is on the hook. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    What Johnson means is he won’t back a bill that results, regardless of its text, in allowing a single person of color to enter the country. At least not while a Democrat is president.

    Or until “brown w3tb@ckz are stealin’ the jobs of hard-working ‘Murkans” no longer resonates with the MAGAt portion of the population.

  32. Paul L. says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I remember the Climate Science sites and Salon claiming that NRO and CEI will be bankrupted by the lawsuit and Mann will own them. I am mocking that prediction.
    The 7 figure judgement only applies to Mark Steyn not all parties.
    But Mann’s lawyers claim that their appeal will bring NRO and CEI back into the lawsuit.

  33. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I know when that will happen.

    Three days after the end of the universe.

  34. Bill Jempty says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Also, I don’t think the NRO is on the hook for this monetarily. My read is that Steyn is on the hook. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    Never was a fan of Steyn because he has had a problem with facts. My memory for them has faded, but one blunder of Steyn’s I don’t forget is his saying Florida is the Caribbean which it isn’t.

  35. Beth says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I think it’s noteworthy that McConnell wants a deal, which is why it has a chance of working.

    I’ve been kinda working under the assumption that McConnell was one of the few Republican power centers that haven’t gone fully Trump. John Roberts being the only other one I can think of. Both McConnell and Roberts are basically, but not fully aligned with Trump so they’ll go along with him 90-98% of the time. They both have their own fiefdoms if you will. The only other Republican power center I can thing of were some of the Governors, but Trump destroying Desantis and working to keep him destroyed seems to ensure that they will all fall in line.

    That being said, I’m starting to suspect that McConnell’s power is slipping. I’ve read enough sniping from Senate Republicans over the last couple of days that has shocked me. This would have never happened a few years ago. McConnell’s retaliation would have been swift and harsh. He’s an asshole, but he’s a smart and cagey asshole. I absolutely despise him, but I do respect him. He’s about to be 82 and I don’t think he looks in good health. I really suspect that other Republican senators sense weakness.

    Personally, I don’t want McConnell to drop dead. I want him to become too incapacitated to be a senator, but cognizant of his surroundings for a long time. But I think that if he dies or becomes incapacitated in the next couple of months, the Senate Republicans are going to go up in flames in such a way that makes the House Republican’s look like kids at a picnic.

    That’s a long way of saying, I don’t think this deal is going to fly either and we’re about to wade in to a government shutdown in an election year.

  36. CSK says:

    A movie is being made about Donald Trump in the 1970s and 1980s, entitled The Apprentice.

    Sebastian Stan will play Donald.

  37. charontwo says:

    . Streaming news:


    Several in our work Slack last night suggested that cable probably won’t go away until the Boomers die off, but the announcement yesterday of a new streaming bundle essentially eliminated the need for cable to those who are still hanging on. Fox, Disney/ESPN, and WB (TBS/TNT) are combining their sports offerings into one Hulu-like streaming bundle expected to launch before the fall when the NFL returns. That bundle essentially includes almost every major sporting event, save for CBS’s Sunday NFL games and NBC’s Sunday night games, although those are available for streamers on Paramount+ and Peacock, respectively. The new venture will bring 14 linear networks into the package, which can be purchased along with Max, Hulu, or ESPN+.

    For many, sports is the only thing that has kept customers tethered to cable, and this bundle finally removes that need. The only other reason to subscribe to cable would be Fox News and MSNBC, although the latter will probably move to Peacock soon, as CNN has moved to Max. Lachlan Murdoch, nevertheless, doesn’t think the sports bundle will hurt the Fox News business, which has already seen revenue decline by 20 percent over the last year due to fewer viewers. Lachlan Murdoch is wrong. People will pay $15 a month to watch the Kansas City Chiefs. Even the most hardcore fan, however, will not pay $75 a month to watch Sean Hannity.

  38. Kathy says:


    Sebastian Stan will play Donald.

    I wonder what kind of bet he lost.

  39. Jay L Gischer says:


    we’re about to wade in to a government shutdown in an election year.

    We might be. Apart from all the misery that will cause, I hope they try it, because it will lose for them big time. All the R leadership knows that, and will try to avoid it. They, at least, understand that governing requires negotiation.

    Thing is, I think that Mike Johnson is going to be pretty good at navigating relations within his own caucus, AND understands that a shutdown will be bad for Rs. Not as savvy as McConnell has been. (I can’t say either way if he’s “slipping”, but there was that fall he took last year.)

  40. Jay L Gischer says:

    OTB just showed up in my RSS feed again. Thanks to whomever…

  41. Beth says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Negotiations? In an election year? That’s not happening again. They learned that with the Border deal. The only negotiations the Republicans will accept is “Give me everything, fuck you.”

  42. Kathy says:

    If there are lessons from Gulf War I, one surely is to warn the would-be aggressor his invasion will be reversed, and his country will be ruined (even more).

    Maduro seems to be building up forces near the border with Guyana

    It would be good if the US, UK, and at least Brazil, issue a joint warning.

    Yes, invading Venezuela is a stupid, dumb, Drumpf-level idiotic idea. I don’t think sweeping Venezuelan troops out of Guyana would be cheap or easy, either. And alternatives like bombing Venezuela until the withdraw, would be bloody and inhumane.

    Therefore, a very stern warning, backed by some troop and ship movements. Ideally I’d say also with a UN security council resolution, authorizing the use of retaliatory force should Maduro proceed. But these days Mad Vlad is sure to say no to anything that the US or Europe propose.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Paul L.: Thanks for the clarification. I never followed this particular tempest in a teapot, so I wasn’t in on what people were imagining.

    ETA (and new topic):

    But I think that if he dies or becomes incapacitated in the next couple of months, the Senate Republicans are going to go up in flames in such a way that makes the House Republican’s look like kids at a picnic.

    From your lips to God’s ear, Beth. 😉

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: He doesn’t look like Trump at all. And it’ll be hard to tint his skin the shade of orange that Trump tint’s his because Stan is a brunet.

  45. Matt Bernius says:

    @Paul L.:

    But Mann’s lawyers claim that their appeal will bring NRO and CEI back into the lawsuit.

    FWIW, I think that’s just lawyers being lawyers and blustering. While I haven’t seen the evidence, I think it will be very hard for them to pull off what Dominion was able to prove with FoxNews (or prove enough to convince Fox lawyers that they needed to settle). The contract that they had with the writers could make it even tougher.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charontwo: It looks to me as though this package is already available to people who pay ~$73/mo. for all you can eat YouTube, but I may be missing details on what people who spend waaaayyyyyyy too much money to avoid getting ripped off by cable have to buy.

    ETA: Link

  47. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: @Just nutha ignint cracker: In fairness, it’s pretty normal for US presidents to be played by actors who look nothing like them, and to rely on makeup and prosthetics to produce the illusion. (Of course, this is about young Trump anyway.)

  48. CSK says:


    Of course it is. But I think Trump’s looks are hard to replicate. Even when he was younger I found him extremely unattractive. A large part of that was/is his appalling anus mouth.

  49. Kathy says:


    It’s the XXI Century. They’ll motion capture Stan, and overlay a digitized Lardass with the requisite repulsiveness.

    I never did buy Anthony Hopkins as Nixon.


    It is a functional anus, too.

  50. CSK says:


    Well, it certainly spews verbal fecal matter.

  51. JohnMc says:

    @Bill Jempty: Have no dog in this fight and don’t know this Styrn fellow, but Miami is frequently referred to as ‘the capital of the Carribean’ because of its minority communities.

  52. charontwo says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Not the same. I have no idea about the cost of the discussed package, whether it will be affordable or not.

    ETA: Sunday ticket is just NFL, every game, not just the locally broadcast games. This new package is multi-sport, NFL would be only the local games.

  53. Kathy says:


    I thought the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula, and the southernmost tip of Florida were regarded as having a shore in the Caribbean Sea.

  54. Beth says:


    If it’s just local games it’s useless. I just want to watch White Sox and Saints games. Can’t watch Sox games cause no antenna, can only watch a couple of Saints games ever year. I would pay a reasonable amount just to be able to watch those games Streaming, but that doesn’t seem possible.

  55. al Ameda says:

    These are Ground Hog days
    2016 …
    1) McConnell says Garland won’t get a hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court because it’s an election year.
    2) James Comey says, a few weeks before the election, that Hillary is under investigation.

    2024 …
    1) McConnell and House Republicans say that the bipartisan Republican border ‘crisis’ bill will not be taken up because this is an election year.

    2) ‘Independent’ Republican Special Prosecutor Robert Hur exonerates Biden on classified docs situation, but basically says that Biden is suffering from dementia.

  56. MarkedMan says:


    It would be good if the US, UK, and at least Brazil, issue a joint warning.

    I wish there was an international police force, but there isn’t and the US is therefore not it.