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:
  2. Kylopod says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Canada, eh?

  4. Kathy says:


    I’d love nothing better than to send one of the many cosplay militias, under the command of General Nut Job Owens, to invade Australia.

    They’d be lucky if they don’t all get killed.

  5. Moosebreath says:


    “They’d be lucky if they don’t all get killed.”

    The rest of us, on the other hand…

  6. CSK says:

    I’m almost sorry I read this. I suffer too badly from vicarious embarrassment.

  7. CSK says:

    I just registered for Trump’s new social media site,, as “Samuel Pepys” with a made-up Hotmail address.

    It worked.

  8. Kathy says:


    I wonder if Cheeto Benito is already taken…

  9. Mu Yixiao says:
  10. Mikey says:


    GOP blaming Biden for a slow recovery
    is like John Wilkes Booth
    blaming Lincoln
    for missing the 2nd act of the play.

  11. Kathy says:

    The latest episode of the podcast Bad Blood The Final Chapter, by John Carreyrou following on his book on Theranos with new info and some observations of the Holmes trial, contained an item of much interest.

    Back to Holmes’ odd obsession with minuscule finger prick samples, it was clear the Theranos proprietary machine, called the minilab, could not possibly work in time for the much ballyhooed launch at Walgreen’s. So she proceeded to have her employees hack a Siemens blood analysis machine.

    First they tried to use Theranos’ own reagents (this is very important and will be on the test), but these didn’t work. So they went with Siemens’ reagents. Next they modified the sample cup so the automated systems would pick up the much smaller sample. Then they fed the cup a few drops of blood taken from a finger stick, and diluted this with either saline solution or un-ionized water. Finally they hacked the software to get the whole thing to keep working.

    The results were mixed. The machine was capable of doing analysis with the smaller sample, but the values reported by the analyzer were well off. That is to say, the test results were garbage, of no use for diagnostic purposes.

    Just the same, Theranos used this machine to test patient blood samples.

    One problem is that Holmes and Balwani, her very indicted co-conspirator, claimed over and over that Theranos used only proprietary technology it had developed, not commercially available diagnostic equipment.

    After the company crashed and burned, it was investigated by the SEC. In an interview with the SEC, Holmes claimed the hacked Siemens machine constituted proprietary technology developed by Theranos, using their own chemistry. They even tried to patent the modifications of the Siemens machine as a new device (WTF??)

    Ok, how is it their own chemistry if they are using Siemens’ reagents?

    More important, how is it an innovation to modify a perfectly good automated blood analysis machine to provide inaccurate results?

    truly there are no words.

  12. CSK says:

    Matt Gaetz has had his license to practice law yanked by the state of Florida for failure to pay his fees. Guess he can’t afford them.

  13. CSK says:

    Why don’t you try it? 😀

  14. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: My neighbor is a chemist. I had a (socially distanced!) chat with him the other night. He said they had former Theranos chemists at his job, and they were all traumatized by working at Theranos. In addition to the shenanigans, they felt abused by management.

  15. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    That tracks with what both Carreyrou and Tyler Schultz have written about the company.

  16. Kathy says:


    I’d rather not prolong the existence of this misbegotten venture by one picosecond by giving them one hit.

  17. CSK says:

    Good point. Best of luck to them sending me a confirmation email.

    I think 90% of their registrations will be fakes, though. How much luck has Trump had with any of his previous social media endeavors?

  18. Michael Cain says:

    I went to look only because the Mastodon social media platform people have made a public statement that the site may be in violation of their license. At the present moment, there’s nothing there but boilerplate, most of it legal, including a statement that all software used in generating the content is either developed in-house or appropriately licensed.

    Mastodon is a bit tricky since they use the AGPLv3, which has some added constraints versus the original GPL.

  19. Scott says:

    Just got my Moderna booster. The CDC announced booster authorization last night. People looked eager to get another layer of protection.

    Apparently, IT didn’t get enough notice. Don’t know if the problem was on the Medicare side or the Walgreens side but there wasn’t a connection. Felt sorry for the the Walgreens pharmacy tech. They looked frazzled.

  20. Stormy Dragon says:


    Oh sure, everyone is for invading Australia now, but will they still be for it when the evening news is full of graphic footage of American soldiers getting ripped apart by emus?

    Emu War

    If the Australians want to be free of their avian overlords, they have to free themselves!

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I falsely registered with Facebook 3 or 4 times while I was in Korea. My favorite nym was Hae Jang-gook–which translates to “hangover soup.” As I recall, I’d made a connection each time that asked me to sign up to continue, so I did. Eventually, I decided that nothing on Facebook was worth the trouble. No, I never maintained any of those accounts beyond moment I used them.

  22. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Don’t forget the drop bears!

    Let’s drop Owens in the outback with and AR-15 and see how long she lasts against the native wildlife.

  23. Scott says:
  24. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Clearly this platform comes not a moment too soon, as there is now PROOF of the tyrannical tech companies promotion of right-wing nuttery.

    Outrageous! It’s nowhere near enough!

  25. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy: I knew there was a reason I don’t use Twitter :^)

  26. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Across the length and breadth of human history…the Emu war is one of my absolute favorite incidents 🙂

  27. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    My favorite obscure conflict is the Pig and Potato War

  28. mattbernius says:

    Some personal news–I am proud to announce that my organization, Code for America, just became the first Civic Tech organization to voluntarily recognize a union. I never expected to become involved in labor organizing, but there apparently is a first time for everything! Today we passed the card check with 75% of eligible employees signing union cards.

    While we are currently a small org (about 140 people, not counting temporary workers), we hope that this will start a trend in the Civic Tech space (maybe even the general tech space).

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: You actually read that???? You poor thang, take 17 oxys and call me in a week.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Nothing but sadness in that.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: That’s about the only thing a lawyer can do to lose his license. s// but not by much

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: Congrats, union brother.

  33. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I think it’s pretty easy to fake a registration on Facebook, isn’t it?
    There was only the registration page to read. I was so hoping to get in and see all the other obvious fakes.
    Perhaps Gaetz think that annual Bar Assn fees are an infringement on his personal liberty.

  34. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In the article I found there’s speculation he’s dropping his license because he doesn’t want the Bar Association or the state, whoever does that in FL, looking into his conduct.

  35. Mike in Arlington says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Stealing client funds will get the Bar Association’s attention super quick.

  36. CSK says:

    @gVOR08: @Mike in Arlington:
    Gaetz’s office says he’s concentrating on representing his constituents and no longer really practicing law.

    The fee is a budget-busting $265.

  37. Monala says:

    @mattbernius: congratulations!

  38. Kathy says:


    And if he wasn’t in the GQP, he’d be making law.

  39. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    My favorite obscure conflict is the Pig and Potato War

    Unless they were actually fighting pigs and potatoes, and the pigs and potatoes won, it has nothing on the Emu War.

    Wikipedia informs me that the Pigs and Potatoes were mostly collateral damage, and not major participants, let alone victors.

    Wikipedia also informs me that the Emu War is also known as the Great Emu War, which seems a little foreboding, as the Great War was WW I, and it was overshadowed by WW II. I fear Emu War II.

    Shades of the Woolly Rebellion from Doctor Who — “The Woolly Rebellion was a violent rebellion in 2211 that led to a renegotiation of the sheep-human relationship.”

    Also, there is a new(?) version of Wikipedia that is meant for lower reading levels?

    Is this for red states? Do we need to see if the article on the Civil War is called “The War of Northern Aggression”?

  40. CSK says:

    Given that Trump trashed Colin Powell earlier this week, and today called Meghan McCain a bully and a lowlife (as well as further insulted her father while claiming that he personally gave John McCain THE LONGEST FUNERAL EVER), I’m astonished that he hasn’t taken the opportunity to say something appalling about Alec Baldwin.

  41. Gustopher says:


    The fee is a budget-busting $265.

    I believe Gaetz has other priorities for $265 dollars. “Tuition money” according to his venmo.

    (Remember when Biden’s venmo was found shortly after the Gaetz story broke, and the Republicans were trying to bothsides that as if the venmo itself were the scandal… Biden was sending money to his grandchildren.)

  42. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: There is literally no way he will be able to resist.

    Oh wait. Baldwin (tragically and accidentally) killed someone. Trump pretty obviously fantasizes about killing people or having them killed. Maybe he didn’t comment because he’s jealous?

    (I’m actually not joking here)

  43. CSK says:

    Damn, I forgot about the “tuition money.”
    Well, Trump is certainly capable of jealousy. (There’s an understatement for you.) But his gnawing envy and resentment are what impel him to say the awful things he does. And I agree that this will be very difficult for him to resist. I’m surprised he hasn’t called a press conference yet, since Liz Harrington, his only conduit to Twitter, has only 219K followers. Even she might not have the stomach for a Baldwin tirade.

  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Guiliani associate Lev Parnas was convicted today on 6 counts related to campaign finance violations.

    It’s not nearly enough, but I’ll take whatever small measure of justice I can obtain.

  45. JohnSF says:

    Well, I happened across that Candace Owens hilarity earlier, following a twitter link chain.
    What had me ROFLMAOing were the comments from MAGA types about “damn librul govmint”.
    And wholly failing to realise that in the land of Oz the Liberal Party are conservatives.

  46. Jen says:


    The fee is a budget-busting $265.

    This is literally less than I pay in annual dues to belong to my professional organization (PRSA).

  47. CSK says:

    The Authors Guild is $125 a year, and there are a lot of writers far more impoverished than Gaetz.

  48. JohnSF says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    At least they were sensible enough not to take on the cassowaries!

  49. CSK says:

    The judge said that Parnas isn’t a flight risk.

  50. CSK says:

    Race to the absolute bottom:

    J. D. Vance just Tweeted: “Dear Jack. Let Trump back on. We need Alec Baldwin tweets.”

  51. EddieInCA says:


    Well done, Matt. As you know, I’m a huge, huge fan of unions overall. Not to say that some unions don’t need reorganization or new leadership, but overall, I’m glad you created a union in a new space.

    The Right Wing has forgotten that it was good union jobs in the 50’s and 60’s that created the big middle class we had in this country.

  52. EddieInCA says:


    JD Vance showed us what a “Christian” he is with that tweet.

    It’s sick. It’s depraved. It’s proof that he is willing to sell his soul for a senate job. I’m glad he is getting pushback.

    I know two people who witnesses what happened in New Mexico. They will never be the same. Other than active duty military in combat, no one goes to work expecting to see someone shot in the head. Many people witnessed two people being shot, and one dying from the gunshot. She was dead before they put her in the helicopter, sadly.

    It’s horrible. It’s sad. It’s tragic. But it was an accident created by many, many people screwing up.

  53. CSK says:

    J. D. Vance gives new dimension to the expression “sick fuck.” He may even be more loathsome than Donald Trump. Maybe.

    I can’t imagine but that anyone who witnessed this won’t have nightmares about it for the rest of her or his life.

  54. dazedandconfused says:

    Gaetz has been reinstated.

    A lawyer in good standing in the State of Florida.

  55. CSK says:

    Did he fork over the $265?

  56. Mu Yixiao says:

    I just watched the first 30 minutes of Villeneuve’s Dune.

    I turned it off.

    I have no clue if he captured the story that Herbert intended, because I couldn’t tolerate the acting and direction. Villeneuve needs to be a cinematographer, not a director.

    The acting has no dynamics. If “drama” has a 10 point scale, absolutely everyone is using a single digit of range–and they’re all within 2 or 3 digits. Absolutely everyone is just reading their lines “in zone X”.

    And… Jessica. A Bene Gesserit of high order… acts like a timid farm girl?? She has ZERO strength! It’s actually painful to watch her.

    Gaius Helen Mohiam is a milksop. She inspires exactly zero fear. The test of the Gom Jabbar was… “so… he has his hand in a box… and that’s important…. why?” And the importance that Paul survived as much as he did is completely lost. Say what you will about the 1984 Lynch film, but those actors pushed the story. Siân Phillips in the Gom Jabbar scene cemented the importance of the test and the power of Paul.

    Villeneuve’s Dune has all the power of a AA battery that won’t quite get my DSLR to work anymore.

    The one thing I was impressed with is how Villeneuve took some great actors and turned them into cardboard cutouts. That takes some serious skill.

  57. Jax says:

    In Re: Dogs trapped by lava flow from….recently, I think….
    (I’ve lost track of days, still searching for cattle 😛 ),Drone%20operators%20were%20hoping%20to%20find%20dogs%20that%20needed%20to,was%20signed%20“A%20Team.”

  58. Stormy Dragon says:


    The “simple English” version of Wikipedia is articles written with a simplified word list geared toward people learning English as a second language instead of native speakers.