Friday’s Forum

OTB relies on its readers to support it. Please consider helping by becoming a monthly contributor through Patreon or making a one-time contribution via PayPal. Thanks for your consideration.

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:
  2. Bill Jempty says:
  3. Kylopod says:

    Biden Overall Job Approval Up

    A total of 46% of Americans say they approve of the way Joe Biden is handling his job as president and 50% say they disapprove of the way Biden is handling his job according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    The boy’s mother, 39-year-old Shanae Davis, told authorities that she normally leaves the gun, a Glock 43, inside her glove box.

    Anyone who keeps a gun in a glovebox should have their so-called right to bear arms permanently revoked. And they should be required to have “I AM AN IDIOT WHO CAN’T BE TRUSTED” tattooed to their forehead.

    The mother told police that she’d forgotten to take the gun out of the boy’s lunchbox, the affidavit states. After the gun was found, the daycare called Davis and told her to come to the center immediately.

    And yet she believes carting around a gun makes her safer!

  5. CSK says:


    …she’d forgotten to take the gun OUT OF THE BOY’S LUNCHBOX.

    What the hell was it doing in there in the first place?????

  6. Kathy says:

    I picked up six apple varieties at the store on the way to work. These are Gala, Golden Delicious, Cosmic Crisp (hey, I just list them), Fuji, Pink Lady, and Ambrosia (I seriously doubt it). I’d no idea so many varieties were available at an average supermarket.

    I’ll try each over the weekend and see which one I like better. Of course, how they taste raw should be different from how they’ll taste cooked and incorporated into ice cream. You can’t have everything.

  7. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I like the Pink Lady variety for eating raw, and I use a lot of the Honey Crisp varieties for salads, pies and cobblers.

  8. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: I know that I don’t care for Ambrosias, but they don’t sell well here either, so it’s not a problem.

  9. Neil Hudelson says:


    I remember you mentioning you had picked up an ice cream maker. I have never had any luck incorporating apple into ice cream. It is a very weak flavor that just disappears once in ice cream. The closest I’ve gotten to something with a real apple flavor was to boil down a few gallons of cider into a syrup, incorporate some agar agar to give it body, and swirl that into cinnamon-vanilla ice cream. But, I am excited for you to try and see if you get different results. And if you do get an apple flavor to survive in ice cream, please let me know what I’ve been doing wrong!

  10. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Bill Jempty: That’s a really clickbait headline, which only serves the purpose of getting someone to read the article, which describes the issue being prosecuted more clearly.

    There’s a host of anti-competitive practices that Apple engages in. I don’t know that anyone that reads this would think otherwise. I own multiple Apple products and I think so.

  11. becca says:

    Honey crisp apples and golden delicious for eating raw are my favorites, but Granny Smith apples make my favorite pie. They are tart and don’t go mushy when cooked. Sometimes I peel and slice them up , saute in a little butter and brown sugar and some pie spices until limp and translucent. Keeps in the fridge for quite a while. I love it in yogurt and it’s great on caramel or vanilla ice cream.

  12. Jay L Gischer says:

    My favorite apple to eat is hands-down the Red Delicious. We had a one-off vending machine at my high school and you could buy one for a quarter (that dates me, doesn’t it?).

    Sadly, they don’t keep that well, travel well, or cook well. Thing is, I grew up in Washington State, where they were grown. Which meant I got the best of them. They are still the best eating to my taste.

  13. wr says:

    @Kathy: Cosmic Crisp is my current favorite. Galas are nice but they can get a little mushy.

  14. DK says:


    Cosmic Crisp is my current favorite.

    I’ve been meaning to try these, but they are so expensive at my local Pavilions.

  15. just nutha says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Not so much. When I was in school, the apple machine charged a dime.

  16. Kathy says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I remember you mentioning you had picked up an ice cream maker.

    I think I haven’t shut up about it. Kitchen appliances are my new toys 🙂

    I had thought two or three apples would be enough for a one liter ice cream, but reading what you wrote I’m thinking more like 5 or six. Shredded, cooked, and liquefied. Mixed with cream and milk, it should work.

    If not, I can make applesauce and put on top of the ice cream when serving it.

  17. CSK says:

    There’s a rumor to the effect that Melania may move to an area very close to wherever Barron decides to attend college. Apart from being an extreme example of helicopter parenting, if this is true, does it signal a looming divorce from Donald?

  18. Mister Bluster says:

    Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene files motion to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson

    Way to go Margie!

    Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., a moderate, called the attempt “lunacy.” He called on Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, to pledge that his caucus was “not going to participate in a stunt,” and vote to protect Johnson.

    Why would Representative Jeffries want to do that?

  19. Pete S says:

    I was always very partial to russet apples, one of the only 2 varieties I ever enjoyed eating plain. The other was a macintosh freshly picked at the orchard so it would be so sour that it would make my teeth hurt.

    At least in Southern Ontario russets are not grown any more and macs are very hard to find. Oh well.

  20. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Why would Representative Jeffries want to do that?

    To pass the aid for Ukraine bill.

    There seem to be enough votes to pass it, if only the soon-to-be-former-speaker would deign to bring it to the floor.

    Still, Jeffries should try to get as much additional stuff as he can.

  21. DK says:

    @Mister Bluster: Lawler hasn’t signed Rep. Jeffries’s border/Ukraine discharge petition. Why should Hakeem listen to him or any of the spineless Republican “moderates”?

    Democrats should only agree to vote with House Republicans to save Mike Johnson *after* he allows a vote on the bipartisan border and Ukraine aid bill. That’s the price, and I’ve already called my Democratic representative’s office. I hope others will do the same.

  22. steve says:

    Did some baked apples for church. HoneyCrisp, Sweet tango and Pink Lady. Thought they all worked well. Just brushed with butter and sprinkled on a little cinnamon.

    Planning my next international themed dinner party. Have already made a practice run with each. It will be Pan-Africa. West Africa peanut soup, Fish with a much paste and homemade Siri-piri sauce (better than Nando’s) and Nigerian Suya beef with Jollof rice. Can find an African based desert i like yet. Took several practice runs with the soup and for some reason it’s much better the second day.


  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, diagnosed with cancer. Breaking.

    I’m sure the British press will be gentle with her.

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    Then, there’s this:

    Several gunmen in combat fatigues burst into a big concert hall in Moscow on Friday and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, killing and injuring an unspecified number of people, Russian media said.

    Russian news reports said that the assailants also used explosives, causing a massive blaze at the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow. Video posted on social media showed huge plumes of black smoke rising over the building.

    Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency reported that at least three people in combat fatigues fired weapons. The state Tass news agency also reported the shooting.

    Russian media reports said that riot police units were sent to the area as people were being evacuated.

  25. Kathy says:

    I finished The Marvels on Tuesday. Wednesday was the latest Bad Batch. it felt like filler, except for this exchange:

    Crosshair. I’m not going to like it, am I?
    Omega: You don’t like anything.
    Crosshair: True.

    And yesterday I began 3 Body Problem (that’s how Netflix writes the title). It seems interesting, but I’ve already tagged it as fantasy, not science fiction. The scene that ends the first ep, no spoilers, involved magic.

    It’s too bad, as there seemed to be a real science mystery developing. I grant that coming up with new physics that sounds plausible is too hard.

  26. Jen says:

    @steve: Re: Dessert–see if your local library has (or can get you through inter library loan) a copy of Marcus Samuelsson’s “The soul of a new cuisine: foods and flavors of Africa.” There are a number of desserts in there that are wonderful. He’s pretty straightforward about noting that Ethiopian cuisine doesn’t really have a history of desserts, but chocolate is a native product to Africa, so there’s a nice cake recipe in there, and the sweet potato-coconut turnovers are pretty easy to assemble.

  27. becca says:

    Back to apples – my grandparents farm in West Virginia had a couple of a golden delicious trees next to the farmhouse. The apple is native to WV, by the way. There was an old iron hand pump for the well in their midst that was always ice cold, even on summer days. I reminisced with my mother, after she had a devastating stroke that took most of her away, about those trees and that well water and the apples and she was her again for a little while. Made us both smile.

  28. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I am partial to the Fuji apple. They keep well in my lunch bag so I use them a lot for work snacks, and they have a crisp flavor and texture that I enjoy.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Pete S: Last I recall, russets are considered an heirloom apple. MacIntosh may well be in that category, too. We used to carry Macs at the warehouse I worked at in the 70s. Even then, they were already a marginal product. Lots would end up being sold to schools for the school lunch program at steep discounts.

  30. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I suppose we should wait to hear more, but this feels sort of like the apartment bombings in 1999. Putin trying to frame someone to bolster his own popularity isn’t exactly a new trick.

  31. DrDaveT says:

    I may need to have a drink and lie down. I just flipped on CSPAN to watch the Senate debate the budget, saw Rand Paul was speaking… and I agreed with what he was saying. WTF is wrong with me?

  32. DrDaveT says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    My favorite apple to eat is hands-down the Red Delicious.

    Red Delicious is the apple from Snow White. It is big and beautiful and shapely and symmetric and shiny… and you really don’t want to eat one. It tastes like finely ground Styrofoam pellets, with a moldy cardboard skin.

    My favorite eat-it-raw apple is still Mutsu (also called Crispin) — it has an amazing honeycomb structure that makes it both crispy and juicy in the mouth, and the flavor is good. Honey Crisp is also good if you pick them early enough — look for green on the skin. If it gets fully ripe, it goes mushy and cloying.

  33. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Jen:

    Forty people killed, 100 injured by three men in combat fatigues firing automatic weapons.

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    ISIS is claiming credit.

    Um. . . I try to keep current on foreign affairs, but I have to admit that I do not know what beef ISIS has with Russia. I wonder if it’s a. . . wait for it. . . false flag attack. Q up the conspiracy theories! (See what I id there?)

    Hoping that @Andy or @JohnSF has a clue.

  35. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Maybe Mad Vlad’s legions in Syria propping up the Assad dictatorship?

    I wouldn’t bet on false flag, because 1) as far as I know no one in Russia is screaming their heads off about Ukraine being responsible, and 2) they’ve already invaded Ukraine, and shell and bomb cities when they can manage it and want to, so they don’t need an incident to justify anything.

    They might do a false flag incident to justify using nukes. But, IMO, that would take a really big attack, like blowing up a stadium full of people. It also sounds a lot like the endgame in Clancy’s Red Storm Rising.

  36. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Radical Islamists have a long-standing grudge against Russia:
    Chechnya and other events in Caucasia, for a start.
    Syria, as one part of the 4 1/2 cornered fight there (Assad govt + Russia + Iran vs Syrians various + Kurds + US vs Turks(sort of) vs ISIS).
    The Sahel, as one of the 4 cornered fight there (Civilian govts + French vs jihadis inc ISIS vs coup miliataries + Russian mercs vs tribal groups)

  37. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Russia has been supporting Syria’s efforts to rid the place of ISIS. IMO, it’s been a wonderful example of economy of force that should be taught at West Point. They accomplished much with just a few people, and they did COIN right. Today ISIS is restricted to Idib province, and they wouldn’t have that without the help of Turkey, who apparently believe the people in there can be used to overthrow Assad, or perhaps feel this keeps ISIS from going after them. Hard to tell. Erdo’s kind of an odd duck.

    Nevertheless, this success caused many to leap to the conclusion that the Russian military was highly competent. Including, it appears, Mad Vlad. It also filled ISIS with a burning hatred of Russia on a par with the hatred they harbor for us Great Satans.

  38. JohnSF says:


    “…she’d forgotten to take the gun out of the boy’s lunchbox…”

    I mean, and I really must emphasize this, WTFF?

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: All I got is maybe she needed to stash the gun in his lunchbox while her car was being searched. But I think that’s kind of a reach.

  40. Michael Reynolds says:

    @dazedandconfused: @JohnSF:

    Thanks to both of you, that tracks. I have to admit I just lost interest in Syria at some point.

    So, they carry out a very high-profile strike at a point where they think the Russians are weak, maybe less capable of retaliation? Or are they jealous of all the attention Hamas is getting? And why after the “election” and not before?

  41. Michael Reynolds says:


    I mean, and I really must emphasize this, WTFF?

    No matter how hard you Brits try, you can’t bring the crazy like we can.

  42. JohnSF says:

    The Russians may have seemed effective; but that’s because the actual operations were largely in the hands of Soleimani and IRG, with Hezbollah auxiliaries at times.
    The Russian role was largely air support, some artillery, and Wagner doing nasty Wagner things and securing key installations.
    When the Russians got crosswise of the Turks, Kurds, or US forces, they got hammered.
    What the Turkish plans are is a mystery to most; including the Turks, I suspect.
    It rather looks like Erdogan isn’t protecting ISIS per se, but rather the remnants of the Ikhwan; they are so mixed, and have a mutual toleration policy, that it’d be difficult to extirpate one without doing in the other.
    In a way similar to Turkey being both a rival to Iran, but also looking away from both Hamas and Hezbollah financial nets centered on Istanbul, and the transit of oil from all sides in Syria into Turkey.

  43. Gavin says:

    If you grew up watching wrestling and have an interest in politics, FD Signifier’s latest is good stuff.
    If you’ve never heard of FD Signifier before, he’s worth adding to your list of creators of long-form content worth having on in the background while doing something else.

  44. JohnSF says:

    Just had a quick look back over the past week or so OTB, having not looked in for a bit.
    Been unusually busy at work, and at home, causes various.

    If Dr Joyner happens to look in: thanks you for OTB over the years.
    It’s helped me a lot to understand the contexts of US politics; even though I studied it academically, the analysis and commentary of real live, and normal (ish 🙂 ) Americans, of various (mostly sane) views helps.

    Of course, you can’t be expected to burn money on it.
    IMO a slimmed-down site would work fine.
    Substack looks a reasonable option, perhaps.

    Asking for an archive to be set up also sensible; but try to keep the comments 🙂
    Some archiving services for blogs seem to not handle comment sections very well.

  45. DrDaveT says:

    So, I’ve had CSPAN-2 on for the past 4 hours, trying to see what’s happening in the Senate about actually keeping our government running.

    At 6 PM, Rand Paul and Manchin were complaining. Paul actually made sense, which scared me. Manchin did not, unless you believe that climate change is a Chinese disinformation ploy.

    At 6:15, they interrupted emergency resuscitation of the economy to vote on some district court confirmation in Texas. At 9:15, they haven’t yet come back from that, despite all the votes having been cast hours ago. In the meantime, the Free Dumb Caucus has been doing a press conference about how Democrats are driving our economy over a cliff at 95 mph by actually wanting government to do things, and RINOs are enabling them by arguing that it should only be 90 mph. Oh, and the border — even though they all voted against the bill that would have done what they want, because Trump Said So.

    Even the CSPAN caption writers are getting frisky, editorializing in the crawler about how long it’s been since the vote was called and how soon the deadline looms. Sheesh.

    WTF are these people doing? How can you be 2 hours away from a government shutdown and NOT EVEN IN THE ROOM?

  46. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We can only speculate. It is interesting this happened within 24 hours of an ISIS suicide attack against the Taliban in Afghanistan though. I doubt they envy anyone’s press coverage.

    More likely, to my mind, is they fell into the same mindset which I think was behind the reasoning which drove Sinwar’s locally based faction of Hamas to the 10/7 op. Desperation. “Last great act of defiance” stuff. Both were getting ground down, slow but sure.

    But I be guessin’

  47. dazedandconfused says:

    What the western press refuses to acknowledge, because we all feel that Assad is a ruthless dictator and must thereby be hated by everyone, is that a large segment of the Syrian people rallied behind him. To us, it always has to be some outside group behind them winning that war.

    It wasn’t really about him, but the multi-confessional nature of Syria was sure to be replaced by Sunni Islamism, who quickly dominated the rebellion.

  48. JohnSF says:

    He always had the Alawites so 10% right there; but the majority of the Sunni (c 74% in total) were anti. Goes back in some ways to the French policy of relying on the Maronites in Lebabon, the Alawites in Syria.
    The Sunni were not universally Islamist, depending on how you define “Islamist”.
    The Ikhwan aka Muslim Brotherhood are reckoned so by some, but in many cases are at least as different from the ISIS/al Qaeda radicals as Christian Democrats in Europe are from US Christian Dominionists.
    And the Sunni category also included the relatively “secular” (for arbitrary values of “secular”) types: Baathist remnants, “liberals”, socialists etc.
    In the longer term the Alawite/Iranian ascendancy is unlikely to hold.
    They are allies of convenience; the mullahs pretend to accept the Alawi as Shi’a, but in principle despise them as heretics. And vice versa.
    And that goes double for the Sunni, who regard the Alawi as heretical (if religously inclined) or a bunch of self-serving exploitative sectarian arseholes (if secular).
    It would probably have been better to have a Sunni majority government, than end up with an ongoing Alawite sectarian ascendancy supported by, and acting as a bastion for, the Pasdaran/Putin alliance.
    How large the non Alawi /Shia support base for Assad is is rather dubious.
    Rule by fear can be an option. For a time.
    But rule by ascendant elites in the ME is likely just storing up trouble for the future, as well as incurring trouble right now.
    See also: Houthi.
    Sooner or later the West is going to have to reach an accomodation with non-monarchic, non-military, Sunni majority rule in the region.

  49. steve says:

    Jen- Thanks! Daughter claims to know how to get access.


  50. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT: Well, that was actually interesting, in a perverse sort of way. I watched the kabuki to the end, as R after R stood up to posture regarding the budget or the border, and the D’s and sane R’s voted down their amendments, until finally at about 2 in the morning they were able to actually vote on the damn budget. Kudos to the Senator from Washington for pointing out, more than once, that if the R’s actually cared about the border they would have passed the border bill a couple of weeks ago, rather than letting Donald Trump tell them not to.