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. CSK says:

    Here’s another unmasking/masking piece to add to what I posted last night. It seems this decision will result in just more confusion. And I’m assuming that private businesses will continue to make their own rules.

    The indoor mask mandate in Massachusetts remains in place.

  2. CSK says:
  3. CSK says:
  4. sam says:
  5. sam says:

    Can I get sprung from moderation stir?

  6. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Perhaps that’s why Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene haven’t scheduled any further dates for their America First rallies.

  7. Brits need to drink 124 pints to help out the UK’s pubs

  8. Jen says:

    @CSK: Heh. That would indicate a deeper understanding of culpability (and planning) than I think either has the capacity for–but wonders never cease.

  9. CSK says:

    Well, I do find it odd that for all G&G have been touting these rallies, they seem not to have scheduled any.

    And speaking of rallies…Trump will be holding two in June and one “around July 3.” No locations or definite dates given. Or reason, for that matter.

  10. KM says:

    Texas Passes Bill That Would Create Anti-Abortion Vigilantes

    I know conservatives are desperate to get something before the SC to strike down Roe but how in the world do they think giving everyone standing to sue over a medical issue is the one? Honestly, on the face of it allowing anyone Joe Schmoe to sue you for something covered by multiple privacy laws and confidentiality laws is nuts, let alone the lack of evidence needed to kickstart this – you don’t even have to prove an abortion happened to be able to sue, just suspect or believe one has. The harassment potential for this is the point as you can use it to anyone – the woman, the doctor and staff, people who gave rides or may have paid, people who “pressured” them to abort, etc. Any court that lets this law stand is insane.

    This is the ultimate stalker and vendetta law, letting someone strike out at complete strangers with no basis or reason other than they *think* they might have helped in an abortion with no proof required and keeping them tied up in court for months. I sincerely hope some bitter libs with time and money decide to sue Texas GOP folks for this under the theory that their poor policies and government actions have caused women to resort to abortions. After all, they now have standing under the law and in theory are responsible for thousands or more a year. Let it be the first one on the docket!

  11. Mu Yixiao says:

    A moment of silence in remembrance of Spencer Silver–Inventor of the Post-it Note.

  12. If you are fully vaccinated then you can ditch the mask per new CDC guidelines. If you aren’t fully vaccine you need to comiue making when you’re in public and also continuing to socially distance
    There’s no good excuse other than a medical condition to not get vaccinated.

    If you don’t get vaccinated by choice then you should wear a mask to protect yourself and others.

    If you don’t get vaccinated and don’t wear a mask when out in public, then you’re basically an asshole.

  13. CSK says:

    I found it interesting that this Texas bill seems to except the woman who had the abortion from being sued.

  14. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    If you’re fully vaccinated in Massachusetts, you still have to wear the mask in all the places you did before the CDC lifted the mandate.

  15. Jen says:

    This new CDC guidance is annoying. It’s great–no sarcasm–that the fully vaccinated can ditch the masks.

    The PITA for those of us who have to set policies for municipal functions (I’m on the library board) is that we have no idea who has been vaccinated and we can’t ask. So staff will get yelled at either way. We ditch the mask mandate indoors at the local library and I guarantee that the staff will get hollered at for relaxing too soon, because not everyone is vaccinated. If we keep the mask mandate indoors, I can guarantee the staff will get yelled at for being overly cautious.

    You know how people keep b#tching that there are no retail employees available? MANY OF THEM ARE TIRED OF GETTING YELLED AT.

  16. KM says:

    It makes perfect sense in that it’s designed to harass everyone else involved to make it so no one wants to run a clinic or assist women in the process. It’s intended to isolate and cut off support networks, to eliminate resources and allies. Classic abusive behavior – turn away potential help from your victim and make them feel like there’s nowhere to go from the trapped situation they are in. Change “abortion” to “drug abuse” or “domestic violence” and it very quickly becomes apparent the intent is to drive away anyone who might get someone out of a bad situation they need help leaving against the abuser’s wishes.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:


    There were a couple of news articles yesterday ruminating over what will occur if/when TFG is indicted by NY. Under Fla law DeSantis has the power to protect him from extradition, but if he leaves the state, all bets are off. Mar-a-Lago could become a gilded prison. 🙂

  18. CSK says:

    Oh, I know.

    I think it’s also designed to show pregnant women that they have no agency at all.

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Maybe initial ROI showed that it isn’t a good scam.

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Isn’t TFG supposed to be going to his NJ club to avoid the FL summer? It’ll be interesting to see if he goes.

  21. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I know; I read some of them. But didn’t Trump’s office state that he’d be flying to Bedminster following a festive Mother’s Day brunch? If that’s true, he’s already there.

    Has NH issued any policy statement in response to what the CDC said yesterday?

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “…then you’re basically an asshole.”

    Which probably cover 5o or 60% of the population regardless of the preceding statement.

  23. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @gVOR08:
    Well, a Trump superpac is hosting a $250,000-per-plate event at Bedminster on May 22, and he’s supposed to show up at that.

  24. Jen says:

    @CSK: Not yet, they were caught off-guard like everyone else. But the governor allowed our statewide mask mandate to expire at the end of April, so the pressure is already on for everyone to follow suit.

    It’s a mess, but then again I can’t think of how it wouldn’t be. I’m just tired of people taking their frustrations out on poorly paid staff, irrespective of position or industry. This is literally a continuing discussion point at meetings: how can we reduce the number of people snapping at our staff?

  25. CSK says:

    Elise Stefanik has been elected House GOP Conference chair, 134-46.

  26. Sleeping Dog says:


    That will be a good time for the NJ state police to sweep in and arrest him…

    I can’t wait for the perp walk video.

  27. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:If we could develop an export market for assholes we just might be able to save or democracy…and payoff the Debt at the same time

  28. CSK says:

    Putting retail workers, library staff, etc. in the position of demanding to see a vaccine passport won’t just get them yelled at–it may endanger their lives.

  29. Kathy says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    How much would you pay other countries per asshole taken?

  30. CSK says:

    You mean they weren’t able to fleece the folks at The Villages?

  31. KM says:

    Texas ‘Constitutional Carry’ bill risks losing sheriff support if amendments stripped

    Well, duh. The law as originally written would have allowed virtually anyone to pack heat without a permit in public legally just because they felt like it, including a lot of criminals and other folks who the police would rather not see armed. So now Texas has to choose which team to please – the Thin Blue Line or the NRA nuts. The licensing part isn’t just to be able to tell you no, conservatives; theoretically it’s supposed to weed out those who shouldn’t be armed like IDK people likely to shoot up the local church. A lot of these folks got denied access because of red flags, not bureaucracy or pointless legal hangups. There was a reason – just not one 2A absolutists like.

    The police are going to feel uncomfortable knowing a whole group of people can now be carrying legally when they weren’t before and when cops get nervous, bad things happen to the public. We don’t need even more paranoid police Texas- what were you thinking??

  32. Jen says:

    @CSK: Yep. Which is one of several reasons why we’ve determined that they cannot ask.

    But if they cannot ask, we’re just supposed to trust people that they are vaccinated? The same people who have been bleating about this being a conspiracy all along? We’re to trust that THEY got vaccinated?

    It’s a mess.

  33. CSK says:

    Whoops. That was intended as a reply to Cracker.

    At the moment, I don’t see any way to resolve this.

  34. JohnSF says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Brits need to drink 124 pints to help out the UK’s pubs

    I volunteer as tribute!

  35. CSK says:

    There’ll be a stampede in Edinburgh.

  36. Scott says:

    @KM: Way back when the debate over cop killer bullets was going on, the NRA won.

  37. Scott says:

    @KM: The same stunt is being pulled in the voting suppression bills. They will allow poll watchers pretty much free reign in the polling stations. And will make poll workers criminally liable. I don’t know what other states do but the poll workers here in Texas are primarily part time workers, mostly retirees. A lot of them would do it for free out of civic duty. Given the shenanigans far right poll watchers have engaged in, I can wait for some incidents. I would get a taser or pepper spray if I worked the polls.

  38. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Sorry all, but I refuse to cut back that far…

  39. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    How about 124 per week?

  40. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    The second photo down looks like one of a primitive face carving.

  41. Mu Yixiao says:
  42. gVOR08 says:

    A couple days ago I speculated ALEC was behind all these red state anti-voting laws, I see that it was wrong of me to suspect that rather than being a spontaneous local reaction it might be a coordinated effort by ALEC. It’s Heritage Action.

  43. Pete S says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    So the pubs should have recovered their pandemic losses by Monday, you think?

  44. CSK says:

    @Pete S:
    In Scotland, by 11 p.m. Saturday.

  45. Bob@Youngstown says:

    CDC establishes guidelines, not mandates.
    Governors and Mayors establish mandates that apply to their jurisdictions.
    Business operators establish conduct requirements in their establishments.
    Let everyone stay in their lane.

  46. Pete S says:

    @CSK: My dad is from Scotland. I am afraid to tell him about this because even though he moved here with his parents 75 years ago and has never been back, he will think it is his duty to help out…..

  47. CSK says:

    Yeah, I know. I should not have used the word as loosely as I did.

    @Pete S:
    Scots wha hae…

  48. Mikey says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    A moment of silence in remembrance of Spencer Silver–Inventor of the Post-it Note

    Huh. And all this time I thought it was these two.

    (in case you don’t know the reference)

  49. Elsie Steganik gets her reward for condoning and believing the Big Lie about the 2020 election and pandering to the Trump Cult.

  50. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jen: So the Governor of NH ended the mask mandate (or allowed it to lapse), and I presume that your city or town has no mandate.

    That (seems) to leave the Library Board in the position of establishing policy regarding mask-wearing in the library facilities – right????

    Has the Board established a policy???

    If so the answer to : “how can we reduce the number of people snapping at our staff?” Appears to be simply have staff explain (or post) that the policy is set by the Library Board, and questions/comments should be directed to the Board. Might even be a nice gesture to list a contact number or the schedule of Board meeting dates.

    Isn’t that why the Board is paid the ‘big bucks’ , to deal with assholery ? /s/

  51. Mikey says:

    Start at the top and scroll down…

    President Biden promised a US response to DarkSide yesterday and right now something very bad appears to be happening to DarkSide, which hacked the Colonial Pipeline.

  52. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey: The funny thing is, I saw that movie all those years ago and didn’t think much of it–yet I remembered the reference immediately as soon I saw the story.

    In the movie, one character mentions the real inventor of Post-Its. Apparently (and I just checked), the name mentioned in the film isn’t Spencer Silver, but Arthur Fry. The truth is that the sticky substance was invented by Silver, but it was Fry who came up with the idea of using it for the little notes. The character played by Janeane Garafolo knows this fact because she studied it in business school–so I suppose she was more focused on the guy who found a marketable use for the invention.

  53. CSK says:

    This could be the plot of a movie.

  54. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mikey:..Start at the top

    Can’t make your link work however I found this:
    DarkSide Ransomware Gang Quits After Servers, Bitcoin Stash Seized

    I can not vouch for the credibility of this as I haven’t read enough about Krebs on Security to know how reliable their information is.
    I suspect there are posters here that are on top of all this.

  55. Mister Bluster says:…

    Now your link is working.

  56. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Mister Bluster: I suspect either we (or a partner) had the necessary access to burn their infrastructure and drain the crypto—which begs other questions of attribution, due process, and asset seizure by Gov’t that people that care about that kind of stuff will want to debate.

    Either way–the quick flash to bang for response is refreshing. When is anyone going to do a cost benefit of bitcoin? Seems to me its main purpose is to enable untraceable payment for illegal activity.

  57. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Krebs is reliable. Aside from the waves of schadenfreude, which doesn’t require an explanation to be enjoyed, I’m left wondering who seized the servers and their bitcoins. I really hope it was us.

  58. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    which begs other questions of attribution, due process, and asset seizure by Gov’t that people that care about that kind of stuff will want to debate.

    I don’t disagree that people will want to debate it, but foreign nationals external to the US are not protected by our Constitution. They’re not entitled to due process if they aren’t physically located in the country. Their government, of course, is free to seek redress through diplomatic channels if it wishes to do so (but I wouldn’t be holding my breath on that one happening).

  59. Jen says:


    That (seems) to leave the Library Board in the position of establishing policy regarding mask-wearing in the library facilities – right????

    Answer: regardless of whether or not the town has a mask mandate, the library can set its own (libraries in NH have considerable autonomy, in thanks partly to the fact that we had the first publicly funded free library in the country).

    Has the Board established a policy???

    Answer: Yes, of course.

    If so the answer to : “how can we reduce the number of people snapping at our staff?” Appears to be simply have staff explain (or post) that the policy is set by the Library Board, and questions/comments should be directed to the Board. Might even be a nice gesture to list a contact number or the schedule of Board meeting dates.

    Answer: LOL. That’s exactly what the staff have been directed to do. Meeting dates are public record, and our contact info is freely available as public officials. It’s MUCH easier to yell at a part time employee though.

    And this is the problem. People are stressed and angry and, frankly, lonely. Some lash out because they are frustrated. Some because they are bored. Some because they don’t know what to do with being told something they don’t want to hear.

    Isn’t that why the Board is paid the ‘big bucks’ , to deal with assholery ? /s/

    I’d gladly handle these folks, but really wish they’d just stop with the ill behavior.

  60. just nutha says:

    @CSK: That’d be my guess. Or that they’re all fleeced out and can’t contribute enough to cover operating costs. Not everyone is stupid enough to think they’ll “make it up on the volume” after all.

  61. just nutha says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Not to worry. You can drink my share, too. 😉

  62. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    So if somebody absconded with their cryptocurrency, are we to believe that someone has figured away to crack the block chain?

  63. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Best I have been able to gather, whoever did this seized their payment server. Ostensibly that somehow gave them privileged access to transfer the bitcoins elsewhere.

  64. Mikey says:


    This could be the plot of a movie.

    In my version, the $5 million ransom payment had a little something…extra.

  65. dazedandconfused says:


    Krebs is reliable. Aside from the waves of schadenfreude, which doesn’t require an explanation to be enjoyed, I’m left wondering who seized the servers and their bitcoins. I really hope it was us.

    My money is on the Russians. Russian intel has no legal limits on surveillance domestically and use their hacker-groups as a sort of farm-system for talent, so they monitor them closely. Every once in a while they give an especially talented hacker an offer join government service which can’t be refused. While the crypto currency is all but untraceable through the system, it’s seems no trick for someone that has total monitoring of the communications of the persons who received and deposited it to grab it.

    They probably didn’t anticipate Colonial would shut down their entire system because their IT had been hacked. Oopsies. Clearly they were aware they had to abide some limits in their business model, it’s what that manifesto was all about. Should have added a few lines about messing with oil supplies, I guess. Tickled the wrong dragon.

  66. Kathy says:


    I wouldn’t be unheard of if some or one in the criminal gang just stole from the rest.

  67. Mister Bluster says:

    @Sleeping Dog:..are we to believe that someone has figured away to crack the block chain?

    In my world bitcoins are the pennys I save in a glass jar on the kitchen counter. They will be worth a little bit if I ever fill the jar.
    I did actually look into buying some of the Bitcoin a while back. Somehow I convinced myself it wasn’t a safe bet.
    My track record with investing pretty much reads that if I buy it the price will drop and if I pass the price will skyrocket like Netflix 47cents/share Oct. 2002 ($493.37/share today) or Apple 99cents/share Nov. 2004 ($127.45/share today).

  68. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Some feelers I’ve put out back in Maryland are saying it was a private contractor working for DIA who moved on its own initiative and wasn’t exactly blessed by the COC, resulting in some folks leaving the building, but there is a great deal that I can’t be told so I don’t know the specifics. I am told though that it was definitely us.

  69. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Both J&J and AstraZeneca use a simian adenovirus as a vector for instructing cells to make spike proteins. Both have reported blood clots.

    the Russian Sputnik V vaccines uses human adenovirus vectors. it’s not in as wide use, outside Russia, as the others, but I’ve heard no reports of blood clots. the Chinese Cansino Biologics shot is also a one dose adenovirus vector, but I’ve not been able to ascertain whether it’s a simian or human virus. I’ve heard no reports of blood clots, not reliable reports on efficacy. It’s not in wide use as J&J or AstraZeneca, or even Sputnik V.

    So it may be the types of adenovirus, or something else in the vaccine, like adjuvants or preservatives, if any are used.

    On the other hand, with so few cases it’s hard to get good data. A useful starting point would be to compare the numbers of the specific type of blood clots, a condition known as TTS, before the J&J and AZ vaccines were widely circulated, and after. I suppose this has been done and we’re seeing larger numbers now.

  70. Mikey says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’ve been fortunate a couple times.

    I bought SiriusXM way back when it looked like they might go under and I paid 30 cents/share. Now it’s almost $6/share.

    A while back I started playing around with a joke cryptocurrency called Dogecoin. I “mined” a bunch myself and bought some more at a couple thousandths of a penny each. For whatever reason over the last couple months it’s shot up to 55 cents each. My holdings that used to be worth a couple bucks are now worth nearly $15,000.

    Of course it could drop just as quickly, but I could sell it all on the way down and whatever I get is basically all “free” money anyway.

  71. Jen says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Admittedly, I’m two glasses of wine into my Friday…I cannot place the COC acronym. Help?

  72. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster: Don’t forget that Apple has had a 12x worth of stock splits since then.

  73. Jax says:

    @Mikey: I did the same with Ethereum, Maker and a couple others last year. A bunch of the old ladies around here were joining this pyramid scheme where they signed up a certain number of people at various levels to buy Ethereum, and the money kept rolling uphill. I said no to the pyramid scheme (which they’ve all since left, declaring the people who signed them up frauds), but went ahead and invested it on my own in some crypto I thought looked promising. I call it my “fairy” nest egg, cuz it could disappear at any time, but it’s still kinda fun watching it and imagining being a bitcoin billionaire someday from that tiny amount of money I put into it. 🙂

  74. Jay L Gischer says:

    This doesn’t necessarily mean bitcoin has been cracked, but it might. It’s more likely that the wallet which contained the bitcoin was cracked into, using the usual social engineering, or maybe just plain sloppiness – inadequate password protection (you know, things like “passw0rd!”) – or something like that.

    Or there could be an insider that flipped and absconded with the money because this was the perfect moment to blame law enforcement on it.

  75. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarkedMan:..Don’t forget that Apple has had a 12x worth of stock splits since then.

    Yes. Yes they have.
    And every now and then I throw a nickle or a dime in the penny jar. I save the quarters for the laundromat.

  76. Sleeping Dog says:


    Likely, chain of command.

  77. Mimai says:


    Have another on me. Thanks for your advocacy on behalf of public libraries. I’m walking distance to one, and it is a true gem. And this is because of the people. Employees and patrons.

    Love the granny group that meets weekly for poker! Love the tutoring/mentoring that goes on without fanfare. Love the people experiencing homelessness who can seek refuge from the elements, use the computers, etc. and not be harassed for merely existing. Love Melinda who womans the entrance and greets everyone with a toothy smile.

    Magic happens in public libraries. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind that can make assholes disappear or be kinder people.

  78. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Apologies. “Chain of command”.

  79. dazedandconfused says:

    Perhaps, but what makes me think it wasn’t was the part about servers being seized which indicates, but is certainly not necessarily, a physical raid.

  80. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I’m told that seized doesn’t mean physically grabbed custody of so much as it means our side gained control (admin?) access and locked the owners out of their own servers. Seized control of, if you will.

    They pilfered the collected code on the servers (which was their primary objective along with shutting these folks down). The code itself ultimately went to DIA and FBI Cyber. Best I can gather, and I admittedly can’t be told much, gaining access to their Bitcoin (via control of the payments server) was an unexpected but happy accident. They can’t or won’t reveal anything about where that went / what’s being done with it. I’d hope they’d devote at least part of it to making the affected victims whole again, but who knows?

  81. Jax says:

    @HarvardLaw92: They should not make the affected victims whole until Colonial dedicates that 5 million plus towards their cybersecurity. If da gubmint has to bail them out cuz they failed, I’m 100% certain there are others willing to do better.