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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Strange pale penguin’: rare yellow and white bird discovered among king penguins in Atlantic

    A king penguin is usually black and white, with small tinges of yellow at their neck, giving them their signature tuxedo look. This hint of yellow “extends much further under the black than you can see,” van Grouw wrote.

    Admiring it as a “beautiful creature indeed”, he explained that its “melanin has decreased so much and has become lighter in colour [so] you can see the yellow through it”.

    It is one funky looking penguin, and the white eyes are even a little creepy.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    There is so much wrong with this:

    A pregnant Afghan woman who was severely injured after setting herself on fire in a refugee camp on Lesbos has been forced to give testimony to a prosecutor from her hospital bed as Greek authorities explore potential arson charges against her.

    The 26-year-old woman, who has not been named, had been granted asylum by Greek authorities and had been scheduled to fly to Germany with other recognised refugees last week. But officials said doctors had advised against her making the journey because she was in the final stage of pregnancy.

    “When she was told she couldn’t travel, her distress and disappointment were such she attempted suicide,” the investigating magistrate Nikos Triantafyllos told the Guardian. “She regrets her actions very much. She has suffered burns to her hands, feet and head. She is full of remorse. She is due to give birth to her fourth child next week.”

    But the woman now faces arson charges after her tent was destroyed during her suicide attempt. The prosecutor who will determine whether she should go on trial visited the hospital in Mytilene, the island’s capital, on Thursday to hear the testimony.

    The incident occurred on Sunday in the temporary camp erected on the Aegean isle after a series of devastating blazes gutted Lesbos’ notoriously overcrowded holding centre in Moria. The woman placed her two daughters and son outside the tent before setting fire to the structure.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Atlantic Ocean circulation at weakest in a millennium, say scientists

    The Atlantic Ocean circulation that underpins the Gulf Stream, the weather system that brings warm and mild weather to Europe, is at its weakest in more than a millennium, and climate breakdown is the probable cause, according to new data.

    Further weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) could result in more storms battering the UK, more intense winters and an increase in damaging heatwaves and droughts across Europe.

    Scientists predict that the AMOC will weaken further if global heating continues, and could reduce by about 34% to 45% by the end of this century, which could bring us close to a “tipping point” at which the system could become irrevocably unstable. A weakened Gulf Stream would also raise sea levels on the Atlantic coast of the US, with potentially disastrous consequences.

  4. Teve says:


    John Boehner has been going off script while recording the audio version of his new memoir, using expletives and asides not in the book — such as grumbling, “Oh, and Ted Cruz, go fuck yourself.” w @alaynatreene

  5. Teve says:


    One thing that has always struck me is how liberals are accused of elitist disdain for ordinary Americans, yet conservatives get away with blatant contempt. Consider Dan Patrick, Lt. Gov of TX 1/

    Last year he called on seniors to die for the sake of a better economy 2/

    Texas Lt. Gov: grandparents aren’t afraid to die for economy

    Now he’s telling Texans stuck with $15K electric bills that it’s their own fault for not reading the fine print 3/


    I know it’s a tired line, but imagine the firestorm if, say, a member of the Squad said things like that 4/

  6. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: “Take the way the right has narrowed the meaning of elite, so that it’s more likely to be used to describe ‘liberal’ sectors like the entertainment industry, the media, and the academy than leaders of business or the military. It isn’t surprising that on Fox News, references to the business elite are outnumbered by almost 50-to-1. Yet when you look at British papers, whether the left-wing Guardian or the right-wing Telegraph, those proportions are reversed. British papers refer to the business elite about three times as often as to the media elite, which is pretty much the same thing you saw in American papers in the 1970s and 1980s, before the right’s campaign against the ‘elite liberal media’ went into high gear.” — Geoffrey Nunberg, Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show (2006).

  7. Teve says:

    Wow. About the Manhattan DA getting Trump’s tax records, I’m actually seeing idiots on Facebook saying things like ‘you Democrats don’t realize how bad you screwed up. Now you set the precedent for getting Obamas and Clintons tax records!’

  8. Teve says:

    And the obligatory ‘how is that fair they need to go after Hunter Biden‘s tax records too!’

  9. Teve says:

    They’ve been talked into believing Hunter Biden is some kind of a low level criminal like Frank from it’s always Sunny in Philadelphia, constantly running schemes like he’s got an illegal Vietnamese poker game in the basement etc.

  10. CSK says:

    I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that the Obamas and Clintons had already released their tax records, as has every president for the past half-century.

  11. Jen says:

    @CSK: This was precisely my reaction. How dumb are these people? (Don’t answer that…)

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: so you claim you “know” stuff. What are you, some sort of elitist?

  13. Teve says:

    @CSK: you are not wrong.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Golden Calf? Trump Statue At CPAC Draws Online Ridicule

    This reminds me of that religious story, something something something Golden Calf, something something graven image, something something false idols.

    But what do I know, I'm not very religious.
    — BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) February 26, 2021

    We always knew these MAGAts and evangelicals were fake Christian heretics. They finally broke out the golden calf.
    — Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) February 26, 2021

  15. Kathy says:


    Tsk-tsk, they could have gone for the realistic fatted golden calf, but instead they chose mere idolatry.

  16. CSK says:

    Anyone who’s reasonably literate, sane, informed, and civilized is now an elitist, according to MAGA standards.

  17. Kylopod says:


    Anyone who’s reasonably literate, sane, informed, and civilized is now an elitist, according to MAGA standards.

    It points to the seemingly paradoxical fact that the more you make, the likelier you are to vote Republican, but the better educated you are, the likelier you are to vote Democrat.

  18. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: in Florida, and I presume elsewhere but I haven’t verified, you can see where the major universities are by looking at a red/blue map.

  19. CSK says:

    That’s mostly true, but there’s an additional factor, which is that ever since Pat Buchanan’s “peasants with pitchforks” speech, the Republican Party has come increasingly to celebrate churlishness, incivility, and lack of erudition as the “true American” virtues. (Of course, this element always has existed kn American culture: for quite a while Hollywood promoted the “country = good” over “city = bad” paradigm.)

    Sarah Palin, with her folksy word salad (“she talks like a real American!”) and yokel persona, furthered the trend. Trump, the very essence of boorish stupidity, was its epitome.

  20. DrDaveT says:


    Trump, the very essence of boorish stupidity, was its epitome.

    A real elitist would have said “quintessence”. 🙂

  21. Bill says:

    Even Democrats know Joe has less than the necessary marbles.

    From Democrat rep Panetta;
    “Vesting a single person with nuclear authority entails real risks. I’m leading a group of my colleagues with
    in calling for reform to our nuclear command-and-control structure. It’s time to install additional checks and balances into this system.”

  22. CSK says:

    Well, no, because I had used the word “essence” earlier in that sentence, and I didn’t wish to be redundant. A true elitist is persnickety about diction.

    How about “quiddity”? Will that do? 😀

  23. Kylopod says:


    ever since Pat Buchanan’s “peasants with pitchforks” speech, the Republican Party has come increasingly to celebrate churlishness, incivility, and lack of erudition as the “true American” virtues.

    I’d trace it further back, to George Wallace and “pointy-headed college professors.” Of course Wallace never joined the Republican Party, but he definitely played a role in helping bring that type of voter over to the GOP.

    The thing is, however far back you trace it, the voting discrepancy this led to happened very gradually, and it didn’t really reach full fruition until the Obama years.

  24. Jax says:

    @Bill: I suspect that has very little to do with Joe, and everything to do with the fact that a malignant narcissist with the self-control of a toddler had control of the nuclear football for four years. Nice try, though.

  25. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Teve: Assuming I live in Texas; read the fine print; and decide I don’t like the terms? WTF other options do I have? Other than 30K for a solar supplemental system.

    For much of my upbringing–people wouldn’t be so blatantly assholey because of the inherent risk of eating a fist.

    I don’t know how we deal with this type of fuckery in this new kindler, gentler, world. These people actually want to piss on your leg–and have YOU tell them its raining.

  26. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kylopod: The Fox News effect is real. I believe it was New Zealand that kept Murdoch out of their country many of their political leaders say their political climate is much better there than elsewhere specifically because of it.

  27. CSK says:

    Certainly. But the Republican base didn’t openly celebrate stupidity and churlishness as American virtues until the advent of Buchanan. I think that’s why the base embraced Sarah Palin with tears of joy. FINALLY they had a candidate who was just like them.

  28. MarkedMan says:

    So, about that new Bill. Traditional troll or actual Trumper? I vote the former…

  29. Kathy says:


    I hope historians are paying attention to how a country, or faction thereof, can deliberately cripple itself.

    So the future may be less Mad Max and more Idiocracy or The Marching Morons.

  30. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kathy: @OzarkHillbilly: The best Bible analogy would be the Story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego–who were thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to fall down and worship the image of King Nebuchadnezzar:

    3:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

    2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
    4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,

    5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:

    6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

    Long story short–that’s how those 3 got into the furnace–the music played and CPAC for idolatrous Kings and they say—“effff that”–so in they went. I suppose Trump firery furnace are released mean statement and unleashing his twitter army on non-worshipers.

  31. CSK says:

    New Bill? Or Classic Bill?
    (For those of you who recall the Coca-Cola brouhaha in the 1980s.)

  32. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: Some of both. Only actual Trumper’s subscribe to the “Slow Joe” fallacy. This one also has natural trolling tendencies.

  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK: @DrDaveT:

    Essence and quintessence. Interesting. Dave is right it’s the more apposite* word, but CSK is a writer, so she hears what editors call the echo effect.

    *I got your elitism right here.

  34. Michael Reynolds says:


    Bill, you’re being laughed at. Do you know why?

    Poor, slow Bill trying to convince his intellectual superiors (everyone) that he’s clever enough to judge another’s intelligence.

  35. Kylopod says:


    New Bill? Or Classic Bill?

    Well it sure ain’t Schoolhouse Rock Bill.

  36. Kylopod says:

    Note to people who haven’t been around these premises for that long, there have been two regulars named Bill here that I can remember. There was lowercase-b bill, a rightie who claimed to have a black girlfriend. Then there was Bill from Florida, a seemingly polite centrist who for reasons that escape me suddenly got angry at the hosts and started spewing venom at them, leading to him being banned. The new Bill could easily be the first guy, except it would mean that after all these years he finally discovered the Shift key.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Even Democrats know Joe has less than the necessary marbles.


  38. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Billshit!

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32: That’s good. You know your Bible far better than I do. Thanx.

  40. CSK says:

    I have the same recollection as you.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Heh.

  42. Gustopher says:


    Traditional troll or actual Trumper? I vote the former…

    Trumpism incorporates troll culture — you can draw a line from GamerGate to Milo and Steve Brannon to Trump, where the goal for most isn’t policy, or getting anything done, it’s just how to own the libtards. Bad faith prevails along this line.

    This line nicely merges with the line from Buchanan to Palin to Trump, which is a different type of combativeness mixed with incoherence. Believing the bullshit prevails along this line.

    Trumpism is believing the bad faith arguments you made two days ago, because they’re settled facts.

    So, the answer to your question is that even if our new friend is the former, give him time and he’ll become the latter.

  43. @Kylopod: It isn’t Bill from Florida of banned fame.

    It may be the older bill, as his e-mail address looks familiar for some reason.

  44. Gustopher says:


    after all these years he finally discovered the Shift key.

    Can caps lock be far behind?

  45. Teve says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I have actually wondered over the past several years how certain politicians avoid being the recipients of physical violence.

  46. Kylopod says:


    Can caps lock be far behind?

    don’t give him any ideas!

  47. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It isn’t Bill from Florida of banned fame.

    Our banned friend might have just gotten a new email. I think the only way to be sure it isn’t him would be to call him “Honey.” (That was so weird)

  48. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: There’s no question the alt-right and Trumpists embraced and appropriated online troll culture, but I also think it coalesced with tendencies that go back earlier. After all, while the term “trolling” is a product of the Internet age, the concept long predates it. (For example, Andy Kaufman was definitely a troll–an awesome one. Trolling isn’t intrinsically a bad thing.) I think a lot can be traced back to Limbaugh and hate radio, with the periodic I-was-just-kidding-can’t-you-take-a-joke-people defenses.

  49. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: It doesn’t sound like Florida Bill–at least not the persona he presented to us.

  50. CSK says:

    I had briefly wondered what would be done with Rush Limbaugh’s remains. The answer is that he was buried Wednesday in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, MO. The interment was carried out under very tight security.

  51. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: I think it’s just the tragedy of the commons. Everyone wants them beaten, but no one wants to suffer the consequences for beating them.

    That and they avoid combining into direct contact with the people they piss off — with the exception of Rand Paul, who lived next door.

    How long would Matt Gaetz or Jim Jordan go without someone punching them in the face if they were acting like that after wandering in alone to a random bar in any liberal area? Loudmouth asshole, deliberately trying to provoke people? Someone would take a swing at them.

  52. Teve says:
  53. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: I’d say it’s Diffusion of Responsibility.

  54. Teve says:

    @CSK: Time to start chugging Gatorade and get in the car.

  55. dazedandconfused says:


    That tragedy is a net result of the jet airliner to some degree. Nowadays everybody commutes back to their districts, once upon a time everybody moved into town for the sessions. Most everybody brought their families. There was a degree of unavoidable socialization between everybody.

    Today many sleep in their offices for the two nights a week they must spend in DC during the sessions. They interact nearly entirely with their donors and the constituency in their home districts, and it is mostly the rabid constituents who pesters. For the Jordans and Gohmerts the social repercussions from being a jackass aren’t there anymore. If anything such behavior is rewarded.

  56. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: I was looking at a picture where Gaetz was standing next to somebody and he looked fairly short so I looked it up, Matt Gaetz is 5’7.

  57. @Gustopher: I can confirm that new Bill is lower-case-b bill of old (not Bill from FL)

  58. CSK says:

    I’m sure many, many people are thinking the exact same thing. Does Limbaugh’s widow plan to pay for 24/7 security at the grave site? It’s going to need it.

    I can foresee a clash between Limbaugh’s followers who are making a pilgrimage to the cemetery and his detractors showing up to do their thing.

  59. gVOR08 says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Re the FOX News (sic) effect. Kevin Drum has had a thing about attributing the decline of US politics to FOX. Search for “fox” at his blog (the Mother Jones blog, not his new one) will turn up several posts on the subject including this post showing strong correlation between FOX viewership and loss of faith in government.

    Elsewhere he argues FOX is way more influential than social media. Plus FOX is the mothership, providing the “news” the rest of the RW infrastructure feeds on. I don’t know how to fix our politics without fixing FOX. And given the First Amendment and related concerns, I don’t see how to fix FOX. If Murdoch tries to move into Canada I hope they have the good sense to shoot Rupert and his spawn at the border. He’s screwed up most of the English speaking world.

  60. gVOR08 says:


    They interact nearly entirely with their donors and the constituency in their home districts

    I read an article some years ago talking about H. W. Bush. He’d go to Houston to campaign and pander shamelessly to his conservative constituents, then go back to DC and govern as he thought best. He saw no necessary connection between the two activities. In our modern media environment he’d never get away with it.

  61. Kathy says:
  62. Sleeping Dog says:


    Buried in North County, hmm.

  63. Kathy says:

    First McConnell pretty much states “trump is guilty of everything I vote to acquit him for.”

    And now he seems to think trump deserves a second chance to carry out a successful insurrection.

  64. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Why the “hmmm”? Is there something unusual about that?

  65. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: The answer is that he was buried Wednesday in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, MO.

    Finally I have a place to dump all my used cat litter.

    At a certain level that doesn’t really surprise me. A lot of famous Americans are buried there. Limbaugh’s ego would demand the same.

  66. Sleeping Dog says:


    Over the years, the north county suburbs have become increasingly African American.

  67. OzarkHillbilly says:
  68. CSK says:

    I suppose the cemetery has prepared for a potential onslaught of visitors.

  69. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Calvary, Bellefontaine’s neighboring cemetery to the north, is also filled with many great historical figures. Both are well worth a visit if one wants to play Erik Loomis for a day.

  70. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: They get visitors (history geeks) all the time. There may be an increase in the short term but I wouldn’t think it will last too terribly long.

    As Sleeping Dog noted, the neighborhood is fairly darkly complected. It ain’t a big deal but a lot of white people find being in the minority a little unsettling. I envision a lot of double locked car doors and sweaty palms on handguns in the drive thru N. city in this “no permit needed” state.

  71. senyordave says:

    @CSK: The more pressing question is where is Rush’s soul going. Hell won’t take it, even Satan has standards.

  72. CSK says:

    Yes; I saw that from the link you provided. Ironic that Limbaugh’s been buried in a predominantly Black neighborhood. That fact may also discourage some of his fans from visiting.

    Oh, the Dittoheads are convinced he’s been welcomed into heaven as one of the saints.

  73. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The irony is many evangelicals rationalized their vote for Trump by comparing him to King Neb… yes he destroyed Israel but was merely the instrument though which punishment to the corrupt priesthood and sinful nation was delivered. The sooner wickedness was paid for, the sooner favor would return to the nation.

    Trump to these voters was self-flagellation. He didnt need moral character because who else but a sinner would the Lord their God send to discipline his Chosen people?

    This worldview presents tremendous challenges to counter using common sense appeals to good governance.

  74. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    There’s another group of Trump supporters–I don’t know if they’re evangelicals, but they certainly claim to be devout Christians–who refuse to believe anything bad about the man. To them he’s a faithful husband, a loving father, a brilliant businessman, and the greatest president of all time.

  75. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I can confirm that new Bill is lower-case-b bill of old

    So, what goes around comes around, even if what it went around was the bend?

  76. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Actually the “virtuous country vs. wicked city” trope has been around ever since, well, Cincinnatus went back to his farm? Thomas Beer does a nice filleting of how it was used in popular literature in the 1890s in the first chapter of The Mauve Decade. (One reason why I have a weakness for Horatio Alger stories–he’s one of the very few authors of popular literature who loved city life and saw the mental benefits for people who lived there.)

    I don’t think European cultural literature went down that particular rabbit hole until Rousseau showed up on the scene.

  77. inhumans99 says:


    I just also happened upon that article. I am starting to feel that the problem with the GOP is NOT ex-President Trump at all but rather the GOP itself. I bet Trump would be the first to tell you that absolutely, despite all his threats to primary members of the GOP who do not kiss his ring, folks like McConnell could just do the political version of rolling his eyes at Trump’s threats and just move on to fixing the GOP and putting Trump in the rear view mirror.

    I have to say, I appreciate that Trump is probably laughing his ass-off in private that the GOP is continuing to act like he is still the President and when he says jump they say how high? Trump will be in his mid 70s in 2024, is already out of shape, and mentally a bit more daft in 2024 but McConnell is all give me a T, give me an R, give me a U, give me an M, give me a P…what does that spell, TRUMP, go Trump!!!

    It is like the GOP enjoys Trumps meaty paws gripping a certain area of their body as he leads them around a park like a dog on a leash. Again, I feel that Trump would be the first to agree that the GOP could stop turning to him for marching orders over what to do and say over the next four years, but since they seem so eager to turn to him for advice who is he to deny them what they want?

    He is just giving the GOP what it wants, what it craves and desires, an old cranky and callous white male to embrace as a Daddy figure.

    So weird that no one in the GOP, including Romney, is willing to toss Trump under a bus with gusto after he tried to have them killed. McConnell tearing Trump a new one out of one side of his mouth and enthusiastically declaring he wants to get behind Trump’s candidacy in 2024 out of the other side of his mouth, well…that is quite the perfect example of why folks say that some individuals speak with a forked tongue.

  78. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Yes, I know. But I was speaking specifically of the U.S., which hasn’t been around that long in terms of world history.

  79. Kathy says:


    I’m in a kind of a crude mood, or maybe crudeness reflects the current trump party better. So I will say it’s hard to make out the condemnation amid the ostentatious ass-kissing.

  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: And I don’t particularly care if they “go after” Hunter Biden’s tax returns. And I’m perfectly okay with them prosecuting him if they find irregularities, too. I get audited every year–at least in house, not formally–I make amazing errors on my taxes because they’ve gotten harder to get right recently, but not hard enough for me to pay someone to do them.

  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I might have chosen “zenith,” but I’m not an elite either.

  82. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist:

    (One reason why I have a weakness for Horatio Alger stories–he’s one of the very few authors of popular literature who loved city life and saw the mental benefits for people who lived there.)

    The Germans have a saying, paraphrased, ‘city air makes a man free’.

  83. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Yes, Jim Van Crowlicans…. I know them well.

  84. Mimai says:

    Re the different B/bills, I’m sure there’s a “Friends of Bill” joke in there somewhere, but I don’t have the local history or social capital to make it. Any takers?

  85. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I get audited every year–at least in house, not formally–I make amazing errors on my taxes because they’ve gotten harder to get right recently, but not hard enough for me to pay someone to do them.

    You do pay someone to do them for you — your taxes pay the IRS!

    So long as your taxes aren’t too complicated, you can just do a half-assed job and they will send you a corrected copy to review. Easy-peasy.

  86. de stijl says:

    Got no problem with Bill / bill. The tenure is up to the owners to decide. I vaguely remember old bill.

    Sometimes you need a nay-sayer.

    Would prefer one competent one. Echo chambers are a bad practice.

  87. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    Would prefer one competent one.

    Hear, hear.

    I have greatly appreciated the contributions of Mu Yixiao.

  88. Kurtz says:


    Yeah, I like Mu too.

  89. de stijl says:

    @DrDaveT: @Kurtz:

    Good choice.

    Mu Yixioa pushes back at consensus here.

    Plus they are a local journalist in semi-rural Wisconsin quite close to Madison and knows that dichotomy.