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:

    Bloomberg: Employees Are Quitting Instead of Giving Up Working From Home

    While companies from Google to Ford Motor Co. and Citigroup Inc. have promised greater flexibility, many chief executives have publicly extolled the importance of being in offices. Some have lamented the perils of remote work, saying it diminishes collaboration and company culture. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon said at a recent conference that it doesn’t work “for those who want to hustle.”

    But legions of employees aren’t so sure. If anything, the past year has proved that lots of work can be done from anywhere, sans lengthy commutes on crowded trains or highways. Some people have moved. Others have lingering worries about the virus and vaccine-hesitant colleagues.
    It’s still early to say how the post-pandemic work environment will look. Only about 28% of U.S. office workers are back at their buildings, according to an index of 10 metro areas compiled by security company Kastle Systems. Many employers are still being lenient with policies as the virus lingers, vaccinations continue to roll out and childcare situations remain erratic.

    But as office returns accelerate, some employees may want different options. A May survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that 39% would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. The generational difference is clear: Among millennials and Gen Z, that figure was 49%, according to the poll by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News.

    “High-five to them,” said Sara Sutton, the CEO of FlexJobs, a job-service platform focused on flexible employment. “Remote work and hybrid are here to stay.”

    The lack of commutes and cost savings are the top benefits of remote work, according to a FlexJobs survey of 2,100 people released in April. More than a third of the respondents said they save at least $5,000 per year by working remotely.

    Waiting to hear how this also is the fault of increased unemployment payments.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    delthia ricks

    Dr. Robert Garry is on #TWiV podcast to explain how SARSCoV2’s molecular biology shows it came from Nature and not a lab, including the receptor binding domain, the furin cleavage site, and the 2 lineages circulating in Wuhan wildlife markets

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Two young girls in Utah stole their parents’ car so they could drive to California to go to the beach and “swim with dolphins”, authorities said.

    The girls, sisters aged nine and four, sideswiped a car and then collided with a semi-truck. Nobody was harmed during their joyride. Both children were wearing seatbelts, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

    The pair took the keys to a Chevy Malibu on Wednesday morning and sneaked out of their family home through the basement, ABC4 said.

    The elder sister, with her younger sibling riding as a passenger, drove about 10 miles from West Jordan to West Valley City, including on Utah’s Route 201 expressway.

    The semi-truck driver called authorities after seeing two cars collide, thinking the driver was impaired. He trailed this car, which then collided into his truck. Police said he was surprised to find a child behind the wheel, the Tribune said.

    Danielle LeBlanc, a school bus driver in Salt Lake county, said that her normal route brings her through where the collision took place. “First thing I did was look for the parents,” LeBlanc said. “Then I saw the car and the whole front end was gone and I was like, ‘Oh no!’ And then I looked over again and I saw two little girls in the front seat.

    “I was pretty shocked,” LeBlanc reportedly remarked. “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh – if my kids did that, holy cow, that’s insane.’ I don’t know what I would do or emotions I would go through.”

    I’m right there with you, Danielle.

  4. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Every. Fuckin. Day. I have to listen to “people don’t want to work anymore and Biden’s givin everybody free money blah blah blah”

    I just started a new job on the first of May. The company I now work for has hired three people in a month. Because it’s a good company that pays a good salary and has good management. The only Help Wanted signs I see are at McDonald’s and Taco Bell, and they’re advertising $10/hr.

  5. Teve says:

    Scott Galloway made the point recently that if you’re paying $7.25 an hour you don’t respect work. And America should be a place that respects work.

  6. CSK says:

    There’s a big article in Vanity Fair today by Katherine Eban maintaining the virus was lab-created.

  7. JohnMcC says:

    @CSK: Our frequent co-commenter Cheryl Rofer has a blog post at Balloon-Juice smothering that article with salt. No personal insight to offer but I find Ms Rofer to be dependably insightful and knowledgeable. Certainly could be wrong at this time.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I have yet to read of a single virologist who thinks it was “lab grown”. Maybe she found one.

  9. CSK says:

    I know; I have no personal insight on this, either. I just point it out for the sake of discussion.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: @JohnMcC: Cheryl’s piece: Rolling The Credulous.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Native American tribe in Maine buys back island taken 160 years ago

    The advert painted an idyllic picture of White’s Island.

    For $449,000 you could buy 143 acres of forests with sweeping views of the rugged shoreline of Big Lake in Maine, on the east coast of the United States. “[It’s] a unique property … steeped in history … with only two owners in the last 95 years,” wrote the real estate agent from

    In fact, Kuwesuwi Monihq, or Pine Island, is its original name, and it technically has just one true “caretaker”; the Passamaquoddy: a small tribe of 3,700 Native Americans who had lived there for at least 10,000 years.

    It’s a spiritually important place for the tribe, filled with graves from devastating smallpox, cholera and measles outbreaks caused by white settlers.
    “The land was stolen from us and it’s been every chief’s goal ever since to return it,” said chief William Nicholas, 51, leader of the tribe’s Indian township reservation for the last 11 years, who spotted the advert on a shop noticeboard on 4 July last year.

    In March, with a grant from conservation charities, the tribe raised $355,000, and finally bought the island back.

    Donald Soctomah, the tribe’s historic preservation officer, added: “Our concept of land ownership is that nobody ‘owns’ land. Instead, we have a sacred duty to protect it. This is like finding a lost relative.”
    For the Passamaquoddy, who lost members to Covid-19, reacquiring Pine Island during a pandemic is significant.

    It was during the “Great Dying”, when 90% died from European diseases between the 1500s-1800s, that the island came to their rescue.

    In an act of self-sacrifice, infected members quarantined on the neighboring island of Muwinuwi Monihk, that was renamed “Gordon’s Island” by the colonialists who took it, but which was returned by a paper company in 2003.

    Corey Hinton, a young Passamaquoddy lawyer who has just welcomed a new baby, told the Guardian: “It made me realise that my people have lived and died on that island since time began. When the pandemic is over, we will return to dance with our ancestors again.”

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    American politics in a nutshell:

    Slava Malamud

    I have lived in America for exactly 30 years, and I have figured out how the political system here works (thread).
    Voter: “Hi, I am a regular white American voter, proudly voting in my home state. I’ll elect a Republican executive because I don’t want any of that socialism here”

    A not very long thread follows.

  13. Mu Yixiao says:


    Headline overstates the issue.

    A May survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that 39% would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work.

  14. Mu Yixiao says:

    Texas raises age for stripping (or any sex-related work) to 21.

    In a performative bid against “human trafficking,” Texas has raised the legal age for working at a strip club from 18 to 21 years old, […] putting clubs that hire them—even inadvertently—in risk of serious legal penalties, including up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The state also updated part of its penal code to define “child” as anyone under age 21.

  15. Kathy says:


    These are not mutually exclusive notions.

    The virus could develop naturally in bats and/or other animals, then obtained by researchers in a wildlife sample, then investigated in the lab, then leaked from the lab.

    While it would be good to know whether this happened, it changes nothing about the spread of the pathogen, nor how it should be handled. You’re just as dead of COVID if it came from the wild as you are if it leaked from a lab. And containment means masks, distancing, hygiene, and vaccines, wherever it came from.

  16. Kathy says:

    Today’s the last day for the second dose for my age group in my municipality. I drove past the line today at 7:20 (it’s in one of my routes to work), and was disheartened to find it a rather short line, perhaps not even 3.5 kilometers long. Yesterday I drove another route and did not see how long the line was.

    Now, the distribution depends on one’s initial of one’s last name. It could be the latter group is simply less numerous. It could also be everyone heard stories of very long lines early in the first day and decided not to bother getting in early (the sites open at 9 am). It may also be the distribution of people who found this site convenient was smaller for the third day, there are tow other vaccination sites in the municipality.

  17. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mu Yixiao:..The state also updated part of its penal code to define “child” as anyone under age 21.

    I can only assume that Texans under 21 can wed. So the Lone Star State will now become a hot bed of child marriages.

  18. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Not to mention the plethora of “child soldiers” on their military bases.

  19. Mister Bluster says:

    I can only hope that the child voters of Texas will turn the state Blue in future elections.

  20. Jen says:

    Texas, where the governor recently signed legislation allowing anyone to carry, with no license or training:

    Mom accidentally shoots her 5-year-old son while trying to target loose dog, Houston police say

    The “dog” is a 6-month old puppy that escaped when the owner opened his screen door–and then promptly went after the dog.

    In a true demonstration of rampant stupidity, the owner of the puppy received a citation for allowing his dog to run unleashed.

    The kid who was shot by his mom is apparently recovering.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Dr. Robert Garry is on #TWiV podcast to explain how SARSCoV2’s molecular biology shows it came from Nature and not a lab,

    He’s not saying there couldn’t have been an inadvertent leak from a lab where it was being studied, he is saying it is naturally grown via evolution.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: My kingdom for an edit tab: The tweet itself is badly written.

  23. Kylopod says:

    Given the recent reports that Trump has expressed in private that he thinks he’s going to be reinstated in August, I’ve been seeing some discussion concerning the old debate over how much Trump believes of his own rhetoric. Is it all conscious lying? All delusion? Some combination of the two?

    In general, I tend to lean toward the idea that most of what he says is lies or some form of Harry Frankfurt’s definition of “bullshit.” (Once again, one of the most insightful articles on Trump I’ve ever read was the 2016 Vox piece, “The question of what Trump ‘really believes’ has no answer.”) But I have also noticed that, whenever his private conversations have been leaked, he often sounds different than he typically does in public. That’s not to say he doesn’t lie in private, but he isn’t necessarily presenting the same face as he does to the public. For example, in his early 2020 conversations with Bob Woodward, he seemed to display more scientific comprehension about the pandemic than he’s ever shown in his public rhetoric. And in his conversation with Bob Raffensperger after the election, I think it provided clues about the way he genuinely sees the world.

    My feeling is that, if Donald Trump were to rob a convenience store and take $300 from the register, he’d perceive that the $300 belongs to him. He’d understand what he did and that it could get him arrested, but he still would think he’s entitled to that money. He’s spent his entire life lying, cheating, and stealing from people yet carries such an extreme sense of personal entitlement that he thinks of it as “legitimate” as long as it benefits himself. The $300 to him is hard earned because he had to do the work to barge into that store and take it–or, more likely, to hire someone else to do all that for him, and then stiff that person when they’re done.

    And I think that’s pretty much his perception of the 2020 election. That’s pretty much what he said in his conversation with Raffensperger–get me the 10,000 votes that I deserve. In that sense I do think he believes that he won–because he finds the idea that he could lose literally inconceivable no matter what the facts of the matter.

  24. grumpy realist says:

    @Kylopod: What peeves me isn’t Trump (although he’s certainly suitable odorous), but the number of people around him who indulge his fantasies.

    If Trump hadn’t been raised as a rich kid who could get out of any mess, his narcissistic tendencies might not have developed so much.

  25. KM says:

    WFH as a norm is not going away; in fact, I’d wager quite a few people who are holdouts on the idea are the ones with kids still at home and schools/ daycare still not 100% reopened. No more kids screaming around and WFH gets a lot more attractive.

    Not gonna lie – if WFH at least once a week isn’t in the cards going forward, I might start hunting around myself. I’m currently sitting on my couch which the TV giving me Mark Rober’s latest Youtube video about Ninja Squirrel Maze 2.0 (FYI if you don’t know who he is, go watch right now!). I’ve been more productive in the last 3 hours than I ever would be in the office. I finished a major proposal and got my laundry going at the same time. Comfortable with my dog at my feet and something interesting to listen to, why would I want to go back to the office? The only time I consider it is when the family wanders by during recorded training sessions or presentations loudly complaining about something but even then the embarrassment isn’t enough to make me want to go back. Go back to spending way too much on work lunches and business clothes every month to fit in corporate culture, go back to a stuffy building with weird lighting, smells and furniture. Office work has it’s place, don’t get me wrong but for the most part, there are several industries that really don’t need to cram a bunch of incompatible people together to babysit them for 8 hours a day. That kind of thinking was dying out anyways in a world of increasing connectivity and proof that flexibility is good for business and productivity; why do I need my butt in a specific seat at a specific time where you can oversee me unless you don’t trust me to do my job right? If that’s the case, why do you want me as an employee in the first place?

  26. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Some of them share in those fantasies.

    Back in 2009, the more unhinged on the right were ardently promoting the birther nonsense, largely as a means of removing Obama from the presidency, and replacing him with a Republican of their choice.

    I don’t think that would be the end result, even if their disproved conspiracy theory had been right. It does point at the kind of fantasy world some people find appealing over the real world.

  27. Kylopod says:


    Back in 2009, the more unhinged on the right were ardently promoting the birther nonsense, largely as a means of removing Obama from the presidency, and replacing him with a Republican of their choice.

    The funny thing is that Trump himself was a bit of a latecomer to birtherism–he didn’t start promoting it until 2011. In 2009 he was actually praising Obama.

  28. dazedandconfused says:


    Trump is a consummate con man. He discovered the great power within being ruthless early in life from his father (according to his niece). A cite from Catch 22 which describes how this power works better than I can:

    “It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.

    …and ruthlessness.

    His clear knowledge of the nature of COVID was revealed in the Woodward interview. “Delusional” lets this s-bag off the hook, IMO.

  29. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: I think Trump made a mistake in saying he’ll be reinstated in August. His supporters display an impressive…., shall we say flexibility of mind, but come Sept. 1, with Biden still in office, some few will feel doubts. The trick is to make out that his eventual restoration is inevitable, but leave the details too vague to be falsifiable.

  30. Kathy says:


    Look at apocalyptic cults. When they predict the rapture or end of the world* and it fails to materialize, they lose some followers but not all. Some who remain double down. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    L’Ass d’Orange has already failed to fulfill the Q prophecy, which he neither invented nor talked about. now he’s about to fail at another. He own’t lose all his followers, but some.

    Of course, some cults prevent their followers form leaving through mass suicide…

    *thus far, no predictions of the end of the world have been correct (citation: look out the window, the world’s still there).

  31. Kathy says:

    The vaccine situation at the our department now stands at:

    3 fully vaccinated with Pfizer (including myself)
    1 fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca (also recovered from COVID)
    1 with a first dose of AstraZeneca

    Out of around 25 people.

    Several should get a first dose of something in the coming weeks.

    One seems reluctant to get a vaccine. She’s not a rabid antivaxxer, but for purposes of protection from spread and contagion it makes no difference. She didn’t say she wouldn’t get vaccinated. She missed her assigned date last Wednesday for a first dose, did not get it yesterday, and took a day off today. She’s also a maskhole.

  32. mattbernius says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The state also updated part of its penal code to define “child” as anyone under age 21.

    I suspect there have to be major carve outs for charging anyone over 18 as an adult.

  33. Mu Yixiao says:


    *thus far, no predictions of the end of the world have been correct (citation: look out the window, the world’s still there).

    Are you sure? It could just be a bad simulation.

  34. Mister Bluster says:

    Mom accidentally shoots her 5-year-old son while trying to target loose dog,..
    The owner can be seen telling the dog to come back in the house.

  35. DrDaveT says:


    [@DrDaveT] I may request to pick your brain at some point in the next couple months.

    That’s what it’s there for 🙂

  36. flat earth luddite says:

    Yep. Had a restaurant owner kvetching to me the other day because he couldn’t find enough employees to work at his four fast food outlets.

    “Why, these lazy bums are making up to $20 an hour including their tips!”

    I asked what they make without tips.

    “Oh, minimum wage, but that’s beside the point!”

    He lives in the upscale part of new money Lake Oswego. $1M+ home (he showed me pics). In the meantime, a 650′ older apartment near his restaurants rents (not where he lives) goes for $1400+ a month. Extra $ for parking, pets (and all utilities), etc., etc.

    As Cracker has pointed out repeatedly over the years, the $$$ looks better in his pocket than yours. But Teve, congrats on landing a decent job with decent employers.

  37. Jen says:

    @Mister Bluster: Ha! Yep. That is particularly true for anyone who has ever had a puppy, trust me.

  38. Kingdaddy says:
  39. CSK says:

    And Trump also lavished praise on McCain, whom he endorsed back then: “He’s a good man. He’s a quality man.”

    What a difference a day makes.

  40. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: “Hillary is smart, tough and a very nice person, and so is her husband. Bill Clinton was a great President. They are fine people. Hillary was roughed up by the media, and it was a tough campaign for her, but she’s a great trouper. Her history is far from being over.” – Trump, 2008

  41. CSK says:

    Facebook has suspended Trump’s accounts till January 2023, citing a risk to public safety.

    I guess he better get crackin’ (Kraken) on his new social media platform.

  42. Mu Yixiao says:

    Researchers perform magic tricks for birds, who are not amused

    Can an animal without hands recognize when humans are using sleight-of-hand tricks?

  43. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    My dog loved the magic trick where I made the ball disappear. She turned to look at me smiling expectantly each time.

    But not as much as when I opened the magic box and made food appear. She went wild, wagging her tail, and jumping up and down for that one.

  44. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist:
    I’ve been reading quite a lot of medieval European history lately, and it’s striking, apart from the ones that were genuinely mentally ill, or dumb as rocks, most had a lot firmer grasp on objective reality than Trump seems to, despite being brought up as actual princes.

    They had to; it was not an environment in which fools prospered, generally.

    Even the second-stringers would generally have spread Trump on toast and eat him for breakfast, let alone the heavy hitters like Louis IX, or Ferdinand II/V, or Barbarossa, or….

  45. Christine says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I am one of those that does not want to return full time to the office and I am a ‘on the cusp’ boomer. I save close to $300 each month in commuter costs and 3 hours commute time each day. I also have lost weight over the last year, in part due to the crazy availability of food leftover from ‘product cuttings’ in the office and my lack of self control for free food (I call these food opps second breakfast and second lunch). Going back a few days a month would be okay, but on my schedule; it’s been a blessing this year to work from home and have more work/life balance.

  46. Michael Cain says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Pigeons figure out the statistics for the Monty Hall problem very quickly. Many humans never figure it out. Well, they probably don’t learn any actual statistics, but they do learn to switch doors.

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ABC News

    Jun 3
    First Lady Jill Biden marked her 70th birthday with a quiet bike ride down Gordon’s Pond Trail, which was not closed to the public according to Secret Service, so onlookers who passed the Bidens by wished her well.

    Quite the difference from trump hiding behind 2 (3?) fences and a wall around the White House.

  48. CSK says:

    Trump will be speaking at the North Carolina GOP convention in Greenville tomorrow night at 6 p.m. Apparently his handler are desperate not to have him obsess about “election fraud.”

    Good luck steering him away from obsessing about that. Apparently all the topics he could discuss bore him.

  49. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Mister Bluster: and children voting

  50. Mister Bluster says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:..and children voting

    Yes. See my comment at 9:40 of this thread.