Friday’s Forum

Change the world and do it again.

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:

    Goodness, Trump claimed to a group of business leaders on Tuesday that his daughter Ivanka personally created 15 million jobs.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    QuickTake by Bloomberg

    More bodies are being buried in trenches like this in Hart Island off the Bronx as New York’s #coronavirus death toll rises.

    New York reported its deadliest day on Thursday with 824 deaths in one day. More @business
    : #coronavirusoutbreak


  3. Bill says:

    Trump’s New Biden Attack Ad Suggests Former U.S. Governor Is Chinese

    President Trump’s latest ad attacking Joe Biden features the former vice president meeting with Chinese officials, ostensibly to show undue favor toward the Asian superpower. Included in the sequence, however, is a 2013 clip of Biden meeting with Gary Locke, the Asian American former governor of Washington who served as both U.S. ambassador to China and commerce secretary under Barack Obama. Trump has already come under fire in recent weeks for insisting on calling the new coronavirus a “Chinese virus,” despite urging from the W.H.O. and public health officials to the contrary.

    Follow the above link if you want to see the campaign advertisement. Please note the NY Times is also reporting on this.

    Some observations

    1- Locke’s appearance in the video goes by in a flash. If you didn’t know it was there, it is easy to miss. It is almost like a subliminal.
    2- Locke is Chinese American. It ethnic background is played up in profiles about him. So when somebody at the NY Times ‘Mr. Murtaugh did not address the fact that Mr. Locke is not Chinese’ I can barely avoid laughing.
    3- Members of the MSN have had problems differentiating between Chinese Americans and Foreign Chinese. Look at what both MSNBC and the Seattle Times did with Michele Kwan. Around ten years ago there was a sports columnist who lumped Korean-Americans and Korean born golfers together in a ridiculous piece about how the latter was ruining the LPGA Tour.
    4- The trump’s racism I don’t deny and the advertisement is painful to say the least, but the Locke bit is overblown.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: They were looking for videos of Biden meeting foreign looking people and Locke fit the bill. It is even more damning by it’s inclusion tho. It’s all about stoking the racism and xenophobia, facts have nothing to do with it.

  5. Scott says:

    Life does go on even with some modifications:

    In San Antonio, historic basic training graduation now has a coronavirus twist — masks

    In its own way, this will be far more memorable to these new recruits.

  6. Scott says:
  7. Scott says:

    @Bill: I’m anticipating spending Sep-Nov this year avoiding most media. It is going to be ugly. And I don’t have any faith in Americans to turn away in revulsion.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    Trump’s utter lack of grief, empathy is the coronavirus dog that didn’t bark

    This is what people will notice and what they will remember come election day. It is also the reason that other Rethugs, just want him to shut up and get off TV.

    Over the last several days I’ve read about a half dozen articles emanating from what is Tiny strongholds and those interviewed are noting the disconnect between what Tiny is saying and what these people are living. We generally express the belief that Cult45 will never abandon him, but some cracks are appearing and if some begin abandoning him, the other’s will in a large and sudden rush. Anyone who’s ever approached a group of livestock that take off when one gets spooked will recognize this.

  9. Mu Yixiao says:

    Amazing pictures of the sun.

    Note the one that has the Earth as a size comparison. Quite humbling.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    The feds have been seizing PPE and ventilator shipments negotiated by states and hospitals and giving at least half of them to private companies who put them up for auction and keep the profits. (See my numerous citations in yesterday’s thread from a variety of sources.) It just got weirder. FEMA is denying that they are the ones making the seizures. Are they out and out lying? Or is some other governmental authority doing it and, if so, based on what authority?

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Very cool. I am always awed by the realization that this fire has been burning for billions of years and will go billions more. We are truly insignificant in comparison to this very average star in both size and duration.

  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Where? In China?

  13. Bill says:

    The Florida headline of the day-

    Yes, South Floridians are even panic-buying baby chickens

    What is this world coming to?

  14. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    No, here, apparently. Just another outrageous lie. Cult45 has a new excuse for all the bullshit Trump regularly spouts: He’s a New York real estate man, so he blusters a lot.

  15. Scott says:

    I’m waiting for my President Trump tweet wishing me a Happy Good Friday.

  16. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: That’s just odd. Who is making these seizures, and where are the supplies going? And why isn’t this a much bigger story?

  17. Kingdaddy says:

    I’ve resisted a lot of the “death cult” language about Trump supporters. At the same time, since the pandemic started, I’ve been worrying about Trump supporters thanking their favorite monster while he openly takes actions that puts their lives at risk. And then I read this today, an editorial from the Denver Post about the regime stopping delivery of 500 ventilators to Colorado (where I live), then using the delivery of 100 ventilators to the state as a political favor. (There’s no other way to spin it, given that Trump called out our Republican senator as the reason why we’re getting a few ventilators, just not the ones we had actually procured.)

    If the connective tissue among citizens wasn’t already damaged enough, this pandemic surely has torn it further. I really don’t know what to say to friends and neighbors who support Trump. You could be the person who needs the ventilator. It could be someone close to you — spouse, child, sibling, parent, cousin, lover, best friend. It could be someone you know, and whose welfare should still be your concern — your doctor, the checker at the grocery store, your mechanic, the waitress at your favorite restaurant, the guy you always see walking his dog late at night, a co-worker, the old couple who live at the end of the block, the vet who cried with you when you had to put down your beloved pet, the parents of your children’s friends.

    I want to say to the Trump supporters, look these people in their faces and tell them how it’s OK with you if they were to die needlessly, terrified as this disease strangles them. Tell their families, too, how you’re OK with that.

    This isn’t mere political disagreement. It’s a fundamental failing of simple humanity. If you went to the emergency room with a loved one, and the hospital staff were playing these deadly games, you’d go ballistic. You wouldn’t be praising them for being disruptive, or optimistic, or combative, or whatever else Trump supporters see in the Carny-In-Chief.

    We’re beyond politics. We’re not disagreeing over policy choices and their outcomes. We’re talking about a spoils system in which we’re denying vital equipment to disease victims and medical staff who are trying to save them, because someone who represents their state said something less than absolute praise for Trump.

    Colorado is a beautiful place. It’s another glorious day outside. I’ll spend some more time out there. At a distance, I’ll wave hello to the people I see, and hope that they all stay safe, regardless of who they are.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: If you read the articles most of those who had there equipment seized don’t want to go on the record as they fear retaliation by Trumps cronies. They recognize that Trump can turn on and off the spigot at will

  19. Kathy says:


    Some hasty web research suggests hens bred to lay eggs manage an average of 0.82 eggs per day. So one egg-ready hen will lay 5 eggs per week at best. A family of four expecting to eat eggs for breakfast twice a week, would then need 2 hens at a minimum. Better get three.

    I’m sure no one has taught ahead about what to do with the hens’ excrement, or with the hen when it stops laying eggs, or the lock down is lifted, or simply there are eggs back in the stores.

    I wonder why all these shortages. Panic buying and slow-to-recover supply chains? Many essential farm and industry workers, including transportation workers, struck with the COVID-19 virus? Or many of them staying home and refusing the risk?

    Last week I posted photos of the very full toilet paper aisle at my local supermarket on facebook. maybe this week I’ll take photos of the egg and milk sections. The only shortages I’ve run across in Mexico have been of hand sanitizer (none to be had at the store), rubbing alcohol (I have managed to obtain only three 200 ml bottles), and hydrogen peroxide (comes and goes; I’ve scored two half-liter bottles). You can’t get surgical masks at the supermarket, but they never carried many to begin with.

    Some non-essentials, like junk food, snacks, cigarettes, and such sometimes don’t get supplied as often as they used to, but they aren’t in short supply either.

  20. Scott says:


    What’s the point of sarcasm anymore?

    HAPPY GOOD FRIDAY TO ALL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2020

  21. MarkedMan says:


    I’m sure no one has taught ahead about what to do … with the hen when it stops laying eggs,

    Oh, I think farmers have long known what to do with layers that stop laying. Sunday dinner.

  22. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    He was criticized for that in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. I read about it in The Guardian’s live blog, and can’t find the link. Trump’s response was to call the paper fake news (naturally*), and to whine it didn’t mention his daily political rallies get great ratings.

    (*) Remember in trumpish, “fake news” means any negative coverage/editorial opinion on Trump.

  23. CSK says:

    Remember when Trump told Lesley Stahl that he bashed the press to”demean” and “discredit” them so no one would believe the negative stories they wrote about him? “Fake news” is indeed anything bad about Trump.

  24. Sleeping Dog says:


    Kathy, here it is. Though it’s paywalled

  25. Mikey says:


    I want to say to the Trump supporters, look these people in their faces and tell them how it’s OK with you if they were to die needlessly, terrified as this disease strangles them. Tell their families, too, how you’re OK with that.

    I think you’d find a significant number of them wouldn’t give a rat’s ass until it affected them personally. They simply lack the level of empathy necessary to care about anything that doesn’t walk in their front door. It’s another aspect of Trumpism, they can support him because they are as lacking in empathy as he is.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I raise chickens (for both eggs and meat) and a layer is NOT Sunday dinner, for that you want a good roaster. Tough old laying hens become Tuesday soup.

  27. Mu Yixiao says:


    I think you’d find a significant number of them wouldn’t give a rat’s ass until it affected them personally. They simply lack the level of empathy necessary to care about anything that doesn’t walk in their front door.

    I think you’ll find that on both ends of the political spectrum. I’ve seen several “man on the street” interviews where progressives are asked if they support X (and they say “of course!”), only to balk when they’re asked if they’re willing to give half of their income to the government. (Germany is often held up as an example of socialism. Nobody mentions that the middle class pay a 40% income tax rate.

    Under a German system, a Silicon Valley tech wiz making $100k would take home about $56k after federal and state taxes–and that’s without stuff like MFA and UBI. Ask any of those Bernie supporters if they’re willing to pay $44k/year and I’m sure you’ll get a lot of blank stares.

  28. Mikey says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Your counterexample doesn’t really illustrate the both-sides-ism you’re trying to apply. I’m not talking about paying more in taxes, I’m talking about how many Republicans lack the kind of basic human empathy that costs absolutely nothing.

  29. Kari Q says:


    It’s still better than the tweet celebrating the stock market’s increase in the last four days.

    Which, by the way, what the heck is up with that? We still have no idea when social distancing will end and people can go back to work, but the stock market is acting like the problem is solved.

  30. Mikey says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Also, I lived in Germany for seven years and have visited many times since (my wife grew up there) and I’d gladly pay a higher tax rate to enjoy the quality of life they do.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    a Silicon Valley tech wiz making $100k

    I can assure you there is no such thing as a Silicon Valley tech wiz making $100K. A standard issue EE with ten years of experience makes close to twice that, at least in the Valley. Hell, they make significantly more than that even in MD.

  32. Mu Yixiao says:


    I can assure you there is no such thing as a Silicon Valley tech wiz making $100K. A standard issue EE with ten years of experience makes close to twice that, at least in the Valley.

    Okay.. So double the taxes.

    Would a tech wiz in the valley be willing to pay $84K/year in taxes?

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @Mikey: I pay a hell of lot out of pocket for my company healthcare for my wife and I and my adult daughter. Definitely consider that a very significant tax that our European brethren have bundled into their income taxes. But more than that, I would be willing to pay a premium on top of that if we didn’t have to constantly deal with hospitals that are really just a collection of independent contractors any of which could be in plan or out of plan, with sleaze-ball private equity companies deliberately rigging the system to guarantee that at least a few of the hospital big billers are going to be definitely out of plan so they can charge you anything they want. Yeah, it’s probably an additional 10% tax and I’d pay 5% more on top of that to have the healthcare my son in Canada has. Especially during this coronavirus thing. Everyone is covered, 100%. If the poorest person goes into the hospital for two weeks in an ICU, with ventilator and everything else, they don’t have to declare bankruptcy the day after like all too many have to do here. Even the solidly middle class can expect to spend the next ten years arguing and negotiating with insurers hospitals and the like.

    Worst f*g healthcare system in the developed world. By none.

  34. Mu Yixiao says:


    Also, I lived in Germany for seven years and have visited many times since (my wife grew up there) and I’d gladly pay a higher tax rate to enjoy the quality of life they do.

    I used to work with quite a number of Germans who all complained about the level of taxes they had to pay.

    How is the quality of life better in Germany than the US? (What is it you’re willing to pay for?)

  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Someone making $200K a year in CA is probably already paying close to $60K in taxes, or more, once you factor in all the things that are included in your typical European government. Would they be willing to pay $24K on top of that if it meant they didn’t have any employee contribution to the health plan, no out of pocket expenses, and a plan that survives them if they lose their job (and don’t give me that COBRA BS, $28,000 a year, literally what my COBRA charge would have been a few years back). Or that they could send their kids to excellent colleges for a pittance? Or that those same kids would actually get a stipend to go to medical school? I am roughly in that pay range, in a cheaper cost of living area, and I bet when I look back at the last ten years and factor in two college tuitions, medical coverage, unemployment insurance, social security contribution, medicare, and, well the list goes on and on, and compare that to what I would pay in say, Ireland or the Netherlands, places that have an actual health care system and a real social safety net, and a viable way to climb the social ladder, then I would have come out ahead financially under those jurisdictions.

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I used to work with quite a number of Germans who all complained about the level of taxes they had to pay.

    I would say, almost without reservation, that everyone I know, in every country I know, has complained about the level of taxes they had to pay.

    Americans are unbelievably ignorant of the taxes they actually pay. There are any number of people I met that think the Republicans got them some kind of tax relief when they reduced the income tax. These are people who almost certainly did not pay much at all in the way of federal income tax, but they don’t understand that those deductions for FICA and so forth are not income taxes, that it is by far the most money that is taken out of their paycheck, and no Republican has ever gotten indignant about that sum.

  37. Mu Yixiao says:


    Worst f*g healthcare system in the developed world.

    I might suggest you talk to a few Brits. Here’s an example.

    The US is the “Cadillac” of healthcare. You don’t see rich or powerful people flying to the UK or Iceland when they need top-end care. They come to the US.

    We shouldn’t be trying to emulate the UK. We should be finding a way to keep the US system at the top of its game, while giving everyone access to it. I don’t know how to do the latter, but I know that putting the federal government in charge will destroy the former.

  38. @Mu Yixiao: I am not an advocate for an NHS style system, but to your point about satisfaction, it is my recollection that Brits, on balance, like the NHS.

    Here’s a YouGov survey from 2018: click.

    In it, 54% of Brits were satisfied with the NHS (and only 20% of Americans were satisfied with the US system).

  39. More:

    As a comparison, this puts Britain second of the eight countries surveyed, with similar satisfaction levels to Finland (55%) and Demark (53%), but higher levels of satisfaction than Germany (43%), Norway (38%) and Sweden (29%). The US, which has a mostly privatised system, comes bottom with only one in five (20%) satisfied while fully half of Americans (50%) are dissatisfied.

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Chicken and dumplings! Mmmmmm… (My grandma always thought that a laying hen was too old to fry. 😉 )

    ETA: I see Ozark beat me to it. My grandma used to make chicken and polenta with the layer. I don’t think she liked making soup very much.

  41. Mikey says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Well, MarkedMan beat me to it, but everyone everywhere complains about the level of taxes they have to pay.

    As far as quality of life, a big one (which MarkedMan got to first also) is healthcare. We Americans have a gargantuan worry that hangs over us constantly: if we lose our job, we lose our access to health insurance. Or, for tens of millions, they simply do not have insurance and therefore any illness is potentially financially ruinous. This is a stressor that simply does not exist in Germany (or anywhere else in the developed world).

    Worker protections are far better in Germany than in America. They have mandated time off for vacation and parental leave. Their public infrastructure isn’t crumbling.

    It’s a wealthy country that treats its citizens like it’s a wealthy country.

    And of course, the beer. I don’t agree with Justice Kavanaugh on much, but we both like beer.

  42. gVOR08 says:

    @Mikey: But you apparently like good beer. Do we have evidence Kavanaugh had, or has, any taste in the matter?

  43. Teve says:

    I’m going to have to declare bankruptcy for medical bills from one bad car accident that put me in the ICU for several days. I’m just trying to wait a few more months so hopefully my car depreciates enough that I can keep it, which I need to do considering I live 10 miles from work. Here in Florida you can keep $4,000 worth of assets. My car is currently worth about $5000. But yeah, sure, higher taxes would really be awful.

  44. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    “Germany is often held up as an example of socialism.”

    As are the Scandinavian countries, and other European states.


    Germany, like most Western states, has a welfare state based on taxation and state managed universal insurance.
    Defining this as socialism is a category error. Even defining it as “social democratic” is rather misleading.

    Germany is governed by Christian Democrats i.e. conservatives.
    The main opposition are Social Democrats.
    Socialists (Die Linke) get around 9% of the national vote.
    (In fact the party traditionally most welfare-sceptic are the Free Democrats a.k.a. the liberals.)

    The following is superficial, because every European country varies in history/politics, and the UK is even more of an outlier, but anyway…

    Welfare systems in Europe were traditionally introduced and supported by (some) conservatives, social democrats/labour, christian democrats, “social catholics”, “modern” liberals (e.g. Britain post 1890’s, French “left republicans”), and socialists/communists (with caveats).

    State welfare tended to be opposed by “traditionalist” liberals and “reactionary” conservatives.

    A decent modern state welfare system alongside other state activity requires tax levels of c. 30 to 45% GDP; the forms and mixes of tax (income, consumption, VAT, capital, corporate, land etc.) can vary of course.
    And in some areas the state reduces it’s tax requirements by effectively directing nominally non-state activity.

    Such levels can cause American’s to gasp in horror; most other people tend to calculate, as other commentators have noted, that you end up paying one way or another.
    And state provision/regulation can have outcomes re. equity and effectiveness that are an added benefit.

    Interestingly the only major European political party with an influential (but usually covert) anti-welfarist element are British Conservatives.
    Largely IMHO due to the developing trans-Atlantic connections of media/political/ networks and “think tanks”.

  45. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    The US is the “Cadillac” of healthcare
    What, overpriced and under par? 🙂

    The US devotes c.17% of GDP to healthcare, the highest level in the West.

    It’s outcomes do not appear to be commensurate; objective measures are not easy, but most seem to put overall public health outcomes worse than other countries that spend less.

    The obvious conclusion is that the US system is skewed to benefit various producers at the expense of consumers.

    A top flight American clinic might well be the best choice for one to whom money is no object; for others the benefits are uncertain, and the costs onerous.

    While the NHS is far from perfect, it certainly seems preferable to the US systems for a lot of cases.

  46. JohnSF says:

    Admin: just posted a couple of links that I left of my last comment, got snaffled by the spam eater.
    Any change of setting it loose?

  47. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I don’t deny that the top US healthcare is as good (most certainly not better, at leas for the disease states I know well because of the medical devices I worked on and therefore had to understand the reimbursement landscape for) than the best of the European systems. But, and I’m making a supposition here, if you believed that Silicon Valley Engineers made as little as $100K per year, the odds that you, with your health care plan, has access to the best of the best, is unlikely. And if you live in a rural area, extremely unlikely. Do you think your doctor tells you when they think, say, an MRI is recommended but your shitty healthcare wouldn’t cover it? No, they just say “let’s get you an x-ray”.

  48. MarkedMan says:


    I’m going to have to declare bankruptcy for medical bills from one bad car accident that put me in the ICU for several days.

    I am so sad to hear about this. This is a 3rd world level problem and you shouldn’t have to deal with this in a first world country.

  49. JohnSF says:

    What can I say.
    That is just so screwed up.

  50. de stijl says:

    I was watching weird bottom of the barrel ephemera, and NUMB3RS impressed me.

    They used Interpol as the background to set up.

    We may have under appreciated Interpol.

    How are things on the west coast?

  51. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Okay.. So double the taxes. Would a tech wiz in the valley be willing to pay $84K/year in taxes?

    I’m not in the valley, but in my case… absolutely. I am woefully undertaxed — the value to society of what I do with my disposable income is way below the value to society of grabbing more of it and spending it on key shortfalls. I try to make up for that with charitable donations, but it’s hard work to find worthwhile charities that use money effectively.

  52. de stijl says:

    I totally forgot about Interpol until yesterday.

    How are things on the west coast?

  53. de stijl says:

    From that same era and also culturally forgotten – The Distillers