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. Teve says:
  2. Scott says:

    I have a question for wiser people than me. Why are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer taking a two week break so as to allow Republican grandstanders to junket to the border, spend lots of time on TV, and allow things to fester when they want to accomplish things.

    This is time to be assholes if you ask me.

    After the Georgia voting BS yesterday, it seems to me passing voting rights is number one right now. And the best reason to jettison the filibuster.

  3. Teve says:

    Odd fact I just read in Vanity Fair: Allison Brie trained so hard for Glow that she can now do 14 pull-ups and deadlift 200 lbs.

  4. Teve says:

    Side effects of 1st Moderna shot, next day: Shoulder is mildly sore. No worse than the day after Arm Day at the gym. That’s it.

  5. sam says:
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: It’s always been #1 and if the filibuster is allowed to stop it, we don’t deserve a democracy.

  7. Teve says:

    @sam: Matthew Macy seems like a piece of work.

  8. Jon says:


    Several FreeBSD community members would only speak off the record. In essence, most seem to agree, you either have a commit bit (enabling you to commit code to FreeBSD’s repositories) or you don’t. It’s hard to find code reviews, and there generally isn’t a fixed process ensuring that vitally important code gets reviewed prior to inclusion. This system thus relies heavily on the ability and collegiality of individual code creators.

    Wow that makes me sad.

  9. sam says:

    Doesn’t he. I was surprised at BSD’s slackness re their kernel.

  10. Teve says:
  11. Teve says:


    I don’t think they realize what they’ve just done. Republicans in Georgia have just angered & awakened a sleeping growing giant. That giant which usually sleeps through midterms is now wide awake. They’ve handed progressives the energizing & mobilizing midterm issue they needed!

  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    No Country Thrives on Instability Like Iran
    The Islamic Republic needs America as an enemy. The U.S. needs a strategy to win a cold war.

    Iran’s physical size (75 times larger than Israel, four times larger than Germany), geostrategic location, enormous natural resources, ideological zeal, and cultivation of foreign militias have afforded it a major role in a wide range of global-security and humanitarian challenges, including Islamist radicalism, energy security, cyberwarfare, nuclear proliferation, and wars in Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. Although Henry Kissinger once observed that “there are few nations in the world with which the United States has less reason to quarrel and more compatible interests than Iran,” Tehran’s leaders have continually prioritized opposition to the United States ahead of the welfare and security of its people. This was evident most recently when the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, banned American-made COVID-19 vaccines, despite Iran being among the countries worst hit by the virus.

    Throughout the Former Guy’s presidency, there was the lingering fear that he would attack Iran. Certainly, people like Pompeo egged him on, but he resisted, despite the apple polishing w/in the WH and likely coaxing from the likes of Bibi and MBS. Ever the egoist, if the FG believed that an invasion of Iran would have boosted his standing, he would have done it. That he didn’t, is evidence that be didn’t believe the risk was worth it.

    The Cold War lasted about 40 years, from when the US faced up to the reality that it needed to confront the seemingly intractable problem that was the Soviet Union. With Iran, we are past 40 years of being unable to deal with the problem and no end is in sight.

  13. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Although Henry Kissinger once observed that “there are few nations in the world with which the United States has less reason to quarrel and more compatible interests than Iran

    This I’ve been saying for years. We refuse to see Iran for what it is, a large country, with a sophisticated, educated middle class. That we are in a constant state of conflict with it demonstrates the power of the radical right wing Christians that run our country.

    I remember after 9/11, Iran offered to help. But Bush just slapped their hand away and put them in the Axis of Evil. We then plopped an army of both their borders in Iraq and Afghanistan and wondered why they were so hostile. Of course, the right wing Iranian religious fanatics are in a devil’s bargain with our right wing religious fanatics.

    Obama understood this and tried to balance the approach. The far right (Cruz, Cotton, Pompeo, etc) in this country reacted with fury and worked to undermine it all.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:


    Agreed and that was one of the few Kissinger statements that I’d heartedly endorse. The challenge, as the article points out, is that the mullahs need the US as a foil to place blame and divert attention from their own failings. Add to that, Iran is a bad actor in that part of the world and is something that can’t be ignored. Propping up Assad simply perpetuates a huge humanitarian crisis, while arming and supporting Hezbollah prevents Lebanon with dealing with its internal ethnic, religious and political divisions.

  15. reid says:

    @Teve: I got mine yesterday, too, and same here. I’m afraid the second shot after-effects won’t be so mild, but we’ll see in a month.

  16. Sleeping Dog says:


    The criticism of the Iran nuclear deal is that it didn’t address all the other Iran related issues and in reality it couldn’t. What it did do and what the critics are disingenuous about is that it kept Iran from becoming a nuclear power and that is the only strategic interest that the US has with Iran, the rest is about supporting allies.

    After the nuke deal, a hope was that it would lead to wider discussions addressing the other issues, and perhaps ending up with the normalization of US-Iran relations. None of that happened, even under Obama, due to the intransigence of the mullahs.

  17. Teve says:

    @reid: that’s what I’ve heard. But I have seen CT scans of Covid lungs. So lying in bed for two days with a fever and muscle aches is A-OK!

  18. reid says:

    @Teve: Agreed! I’m prepared to call in sick.

  19. Jax says:

    @reid: I got my 2nd one Tuesday and didn’t get the headache or brain fog like I did the first one, nothing but a sore arm. I was fully expecting to be laid up in bed, but no problems at all.

  20. Scott says:

    @Teve: @reid: It is so individual. I was anticipating the worse after the 2nd Moderna shot and was looking forward to whining and being pampered but no, nothing.

    Same with the Shingrix shot. My wife was laid out for two days. Me? Nothing.

    Reflecting back over many years, I don’t recall any reaction to any vaccine. Even the smallpox vaccine which left scar patches on so many people. I had no reaction. Lucky, I guess.

  21. Teve says:

    @Scott: by the time I went to college my childhood vaccine records had been lost so I had to get literally all of them again, and when I went into the military I got God knows how many vaccines air gunned into me, and I’ve never had a reaction more than a little soreness. Hopefully it’ll be the same this time.

  22. CSK says:

    Yesterday on Fox (Laura Ingraham) Trump said this of the Capitol insurrectionists: “Some of them went in and they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know, they had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out.”

    “Great relationships.” Sure. And by “hugging and kissing” the police, weren’t they potentially infecting them with Covid-19?

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: A bad actor? In the Middle East?? Why I never!!!

    🙂 🙂 (couldn’t resist)

  24. Scott says:


    air gunned into me

    March 1980. That is one vaccine scar I did get. Still visible.

  25. charon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Add to that, Iran is a bad actor in that part of the world and is something that can’t be ignored.

    Is it any worse than Saudi Arabia? We are effectively allied with the Saudis (who contest with Iran for regional influence) because of Israel and our evangelicals

  26. wr says:

    @sam: Do you have a link to an English-language version of that?

  27. Kathy says:

    The Ingenuity helicopter now on Mars carries a small piece of the Wright Flier’s fabric cover tucked under its solar panels. This is not the first time a relic of the first airplane have flown to space, as Apollo 11 carried a piece of fabric as well, and a splinter of structural wood.

    I find these gestures both touching and utterly pointless. Like carrying Gene Roddenberry’s ashes on the Shuttle some years ago.

  28. CSK says:

    Well, in the case of the relic of the first plane, it’s literally a piece of history carried into the present. We preserve the artifacts of our past.

  29. Teve says:
  30. Monala says:

    @Teve: do you mind if I ask how you qualified?

  31. CSK says:

    I’m not Teve, but yesterday Florida lowered the qualifying age to 40. I have a sister who lives there.

  32. Teve says:

    @Monala: i live in Columbia County, Florida. The county announced on Monday that everyone 18+ could pre-register, and then when their age group was eligible they would be in line. I registered minutes after the system went live. I’m 44 and just last week it was only 65+ so I figured it would be April, maybe May. Wednesday night I got an automated call saying I have an appointment for the next day at noon, press this and that to confirm. I honestly have no idea how I got the appointment. Seven out of eight white people in this county voted for Trump so it could be that very few people registered. (Republican men are the most Covid-vaccine-resistant demographic.) It could be that they had batches that were going to go bad so they just took people on a first come first serve basis and I was high on the list. Your guess is as good as mine.

  33. Teve says:

    @CSK: I didn’t know that.

  34. Teve says:

    Looks like it was dropped to 40 on Monday and it’s going to be dropped to 18 the Monday after next.

  35. gVOR08 says:

    Went out to dinner Wed eve. First time since Feb last year. Celebrating the one month anniversary of our second Moderna shots. A nice little French restaurant in Sarasota that has an open patio. On Wed eve just one other occupied table, other side of the patio. We’re loosening up a little, but still masks and no crowds.

    My wife felt fatigued for a day after her first shot. I had a touch of shoulder soreness and stiffness.

  36. CSK says:

    @Teve: @Teve:
    I just saw it yesterday evening. The more people get vaccinated, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

  37. Sleeping Dog says:


    Name an actor in the ME that isn’t a bad actor, the Kurds perhaps.


    There’s not much to choose between Iran and the Saudis, both are the flip side of the same coin. The difference is that SA needs the US to protect it and Iran needs the US, so they have someone to blame for their failures. SA’s need, does grant us leverage over them, if we choose to use it and too often we don’t.

  38. Kathy says:


    I’m all for preserving artifacts of the past.

    But now the Flier is a bit less preserved, having had two swatches of fabric and a splinter of wood (at least) missing. 🙂

    On the topic, someday someone will need to do something to reserve the old US and Soviet landers on the Moon, not to mention the Apollo landing sites (each has a lower stage of the LEM, a flag, some discarded equipment, and there are a few rovers, too). And then there are some Mars landers and orbiters, Huygens in Titan, some Mariners orbiting the Sun, Magellan orbiting Venus, Messenger orbiting Mercury, and surely a few more.

    The Voyagers, Pioneers X and XI, and New Horizons are gone forever. The Venera probes the Soviets put down on Venus are beyond retrieval.

  39. flat earth luddite says:

    I’m sure I’m not the first here to notice, but just in time for Easter, Pepsi™ and Peeps™ have announced a bastard love child…

    Have you ever enjoyed Peeps marshmallows so much that you wish you could drink them? That’s now possible thanks to a collaboration between the iconic brand and Pepsi. The pair just dropped a beverage that combines the refreshing taste of Pepsi with the sweet, cloud-like flavor of Peeps marshmallows.

    Available for a limited time, the marshmallow-flavored drink comes in a three-pack of mini 7.5-ounce Pepsi cans that boast a Peeps-inspired design. The cans feature little chicks and come in yellow, pink, and blue that are so cute you won’t want to toss them when your beverage is all gone.

    The good news is that it’s not going to be available in stores. The bad news… that it’s not just another acid flashback from my misspent youth.

  40. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Well, that would gag a skunk.

  41. Teve says:


    On Newsmax today they were literally playing a doctored video of @POTUS sayjng nothing but “ok, I’m, er, ok, listen, ok, wait, umm, ok, er….” went on for several minutes! Do they seriously think we didn’t watch it live?!!!

    You’re not their audience, Jackie. Their audience is people who find Fox News too intellectual.

  42. Teve says:

    @CSK: we’re giving 2.5 million vaccinations per day right now (7-day moving average). And vaccine production is increasing. Deaths have fallen to a little over 1,000/day. I’m feeling optimistic.

  43. charon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    My guess is that American soft power (Hollywood/fashion/games etc.) has more influence in Iran which has a large number of young/urban/educated people, also a significant number of people with relatives in the U.S. SA is basically a giant slave labor camp that relies on foreign guest workers to operate the economy.

  44. CSK says:

    The auguries are good. I don’t want to get overly optimistic, though. Cases are rising somewhat in Mass.

  45. DrDaveT says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    The pair just dropped a beverage that combines the refreshing taste of Pepsi with the sweet, cloud-like flavor of Peeps marshmallows.

    Damn, what a letdown. I was all set for you to tell me that there would be a special limited run of Pepsi-flavored Peeps, which would be awesome. Instead, they got it backwards. Blreah.

  46. Sleeping Dog says:


    That’s about right. To my understanding, the populous generally has a positive view of the US, but that is also fragile. US policy makers and citizenry too frequently underestimates the patriotism of the citizens of countries that we have a poor relationship. They somehow equate, oh they like us, with they’ll roll over and do want and support our trying to crush their economy. A good example are nuclear weapons and nuclear power in general, there is a great deal of support among Iranians for getting the bomb, as they see it as being important to the defense of the country.

    Yeah SA is close to a feudal state. Native Saudis seem to be the Islamic equivalent of the Haredim or at least aspire to be. Nice cushy state supported jobs, someone else to do the taxing work. Of course the SA rulers are beginning to panic as they have thousands of unproductive princes and a native population used to a subsidized life style, while they can see the end of oil. At least, demand dropping so much that the Saudi welfare state is unsupportable.

  47. Sleeping Dog says:
  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Name an actor in the ME that isn’t a bad actor, the Kurds perhaps.

    Pretty much.

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Damn.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: They could play it right next to an unedited trump news conference but Biden would still sound worlds more coherent.

  51. Sleeping Dog says:

    There was a sub thread here the other day on bookstores, at the time I couldn’t remember McMurtry’s, which is a doozy.

    For some 50 years, Mr. McMurtry was also a serious antiquarian bookseller. His bookstore in Archer City, Booked Up, is one of America’s largest. It once occupied six buildings and contained some 400,000 volumes. In 2012 Mr. McMurtry auctioned off two-thirds of those books and planned to consolidate. About leaving the business to his heirs, he said: “One store is manageable. Four stores would be a burden.”

    Went through Archer City once, that bookstore took up nearly the whole downtown.

  52. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @OzarkHillbilly: @Sleeping Dog:
    Before he achieved his well-deserved success, McMurtry joked that he was going to get a t-shirt that read “Minor Regional Novelist,” because that was how the NY critics treated him.

  53. Sleeping Dog says:


    At one point McMurty was probably my favorite author. I guess he had about 20 works of fiction out at that time and I probably read them all. Hell of a story teller.

  54. Kathy says:

    Back from my second follow-up visit to the doctor. The inflammation is much better now. We’re done with antibiotics, and the next appointment is for late April.

    Now to fight with the insurance company…

  55. flat earth luddite says:

    In further news of the happy vacationing hordes in DC on 1/6, I present today’s giggle-fest, courtesy of our friends at Above the Law:

    In today’s episode of “You Tried It,” Capitol Riot defendant Daniel Egtvedt asks the court to let him out of jail pending trial for invading the Capitol and assaulting a police officer, so he can go back to his unblemished “history of being a law-abiding citizen for the last 57 years.” The court should please ignore the fact that the Maryland State Police had to intervene last month to prevent Mr. Egtvedt from physically preventing his brother from taking their elderly mother to get a COVID shot. Just a funny little misunderstanding, your honor!

    This is what I miss most in my semi-retirement – the necessity of keeping a straight face when listening to wackos.

  56. Kathy says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    What came to mind when reading this was “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

  57. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    I should think you’d enjoy the freedom to laugh at them openly.

  58. Kathy says:

    I decided I will cook this week because 1) I need rice for the last of my frozen reserve*, and 2) I really want a big bowl of chilaquiles with shredded chicken. so I’m going with something simple. besides, the doctor said I could go back to all my regular activities, except when it comes to carrying heavy stuff or making much muscular effort (and just to be safe, I’m postponing even thinking about any kind of exercise for at least one more month).

    Partly I miss cooking, partly I mis listening to audio books while cooking. It’s close to a golden age when I can do two things I really enjoy all at once.

    * I made a dish with tomato sauce, and this tends to de-homogenize when thawed. Rice absorbs moisture, even after being cooked, and that makes it necessary. also, I think adding corn starch to the sauce ought to be enough to keep it together next time.

  59. Mimai says:

    @Teve: Columbia County! That rustles up some memories for me. I used to drive through Lake City on the regular.

    I was absolutely befuddled when they got hit with that ransomware attack a few years ago. Paid it in bitcoin. In Lake City of all places?! Strange world.

  60. Teve says:

    @Mimai: for a small town with very little going for it, a shocking number of people around the country know Lake City Florida because Highway 41, I-10, and I-75 all intersect here.

  61. Teve says:

    @Mimai: yeah that was a record scratch moment for me. But this is Trump Central so I assume they did something boneheaded to expose the network.

  62. Mimai says:

    @Teve: I grew up with a guy who became a mid-level trafficker. One of his distribution routes was Hwy 41. Miami to Tampa through Lake City and ultimately landing in Chicago. He actually had a major drop off near Lake City, probably for westward distribution on I-10 and northeast on I-95.

    As you might expect, it didn’t work out well. 20+ year sentence for trafficking and refusing to cooperate (always had an obstinate prick flair to him).

  63. Mimai says:

    @Teve: It’s the coupling of Trump Central + bitcoin ransom that violated my foundational assumptions about reality. It violently updated my priors.

  64. Teve says:

    @Mimai: one of the city IT guys is a distant acquaintance and he’s a hardcore Randroid and I’m sure he was involved in explaining to the city politicians what bitcoin was.

  65. DrDaveT says:


    It violently updated my priors.

    Radical Bayes FTW.

  66. Mimai says:

    Radical Bayes > Milquetoast Bayes

  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: I see your point. Pepsi-flavored Peeps are something I might have tried–although probably not within 30 days of taking an A-1 C test–Peeps have the glycemic index of about a cup of table sugar.