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:

    Thank gawd it’s Friday. Too bad this week won’t end for another 41 days.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Devastating’: Ahmaud Arbery’s family weighs in on almost entirely white jury

    Opening arguments in the trial of the three white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery are set for Friday, as members of Arbery’s family described the decision to impanel an almost entirely white jury as “devastating”.

    Gregory McMichael, 67, his 35-year-old son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, have pled not guilty to murder and other offenses in a case laced with allegations of racism.

    On Wednesday, Judge Timothy Walmsley empanelled a jury of 11 white members and one Black member despite acknowledging the appearance of “intentional discrimination” on behalf of defense lawyers, who struck 11 potential Black jurors from the final jury pool of 48. Jury selection had taken 11 days.
    Prosecutors had urged Walmsley, who is overseeing the trial in south Georgia, to reverse the striking of the eight Black potential jurors, whom they said had been intentionally targeted over race. A landmark 1986 US supreme court decision in Batson v Kentucky ruled it unconstitutional for potential jurors to be struck solely based on race or ethnicity.

    But Walmsley, while acknowledging the apparent “intentional discrimination”, cited limitations spelled out in the supreme court precedent and pointed to defense lawyers’ justifications, which did not mention race or ethnicity.

    A jury of their peers.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:


    It’s well established you can’t use an obvious stand-in for race to evade Batson — you can’t say “I didn’t strike the juror because he’s black, I struck her because she’s from Compton.” This seems awfully close.

    Alex T
    · 21h
    Jury selection in the #AhmaudArbery case involved questioning on experience with racism and “…whether they found an old Georgia flag — featuring the Confederate battle emblem — to be a “racist” symbol.”

    Surprise – only one black juror remains.

    Not to mention that the current Georgia flag has a different confederate battle flag in it.

  4. Scott says:

    While national news is fixated on vaccine deniers, locally there is good news.

    Animal posters, candy, and a therapy dog mark busy first day of vaccinations for young children

    Seven-year-old Ysenia was the first of more than 1,100 kids expected to receive Pfizer’s pint-sized COVID-19 shots Thursday at University Health’s vaccine clinic at the Wonderland of the Americas mall.

    As of Thursday afternoon, the clinic was completely booked for children’s shots through next Friday. The clinic will stay open as long as demand remains high, Allen said.

    Almost 77% of Bexar County residents over age 12 are fully vaccinated, according to data on the city’s COVID dashboard, while just over 92% have had at least one dose. COVID-19 cases continue to drop from the delta surge that began in June and peaked in late August.

  5. Mu Yixiao says:

    Meanwhile in India…

    In India, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has warned that those who celebrate Pakistan’s win over India in a recent T20 World Cup cricket match could be charged with sedition. Police in Uttar Pradesh have already arrested five people, including three college students, for celebrating the win. India’s sedition law bars “words either spoken or written, or by signs or visible representation” that attempt to cause “hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection” toward the government.

  6. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    …bars “words either spoken or written, or by signs or visible representation” that attempt to cause “hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection” toward the government.

    On those grounds Minister Adityanath might consider having himself arrested.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’m only telling this story once as typing is a real pain in the ass:

    I had shoulder surgery on Wed. The surgery apparently went fine, tho the damage was as bad or worse than expected (still a little foggy on this, for reasons) Post op went to hell in a hand basket. It began about 1 pm.

    Before the surgery there was a lot of back and forth between the surgeon, the anesthetist, and me over my blood thinners. Worries about excessive bleeding (too many Docs involved with the management and not enuf communication I think), worries about a nerve block (not sure why, but chose not use one), worries about my past issues with anesthesia (in I’d guess 15-20% of previous surgeries I have not gone all the way out, or out at all).The end result was I was “very agitated” post op and could not come out of it. All I remember is getting yelled at (with some slapping) to breathe. My wife was there and scared half to death (she was yelling too).

    I was wondering what all the excitement was about.

    Eventually this all passed and I came around, around about 7-8 PM. According to my wife, my first words were “Can I get something to eat?”, When I reached my unreserved private room I got some vanilla pudding, crackers, a couple small Sierra sodas and eventually a lukewarm Hamburger and some chips as the kitchen was already all but closed.

    During the night I got in trouble for getting out of bed to pee without calling for help. I didn’t fall but I didn’t pee either. The nurse came in at 6 to see I finally needed to pee. I tried. I couldn’t. I needed to. I tried again She told me this was a common side effect of anesthesia and if I couldn’t go I’d get the catheter. @ 6:30. Still no go. So as a going away present, the nurse shoved a king kong sized catheter up my suddenly toddler sized penis. She apologized profusely for it but I know that nurses secretly live for those moments. She also told me that after this temporary catheterization, all would return to normal.

    She lied.

    I peed twice more that AM and they finally kicked me out at noon. By the time we got home an hour and a half later, I had to go again. Dribble dribble.

    An hour later, dribble dribble.

    A half hour later, dribble.

    So, to the local ER we went. “Just give me some Flomax.” I said to the NP. “It worked great when I had kidney stones.”

    “Sounds like a plan.” she lied and walked out the door.

    A cute little nurse comes in.

    “Just give me some Flomax.” I said to the nurse. “It worked great when I had kidney stones.”

    “Sounds like a plan.” she lied and walked out the door.

    When she came back, she had a King Kong sized box in her hands and an evil grin on her face so big that even the mask could not hide it. I knew what was coming and my penis got even smaller than it had that AM.

    So now I am sitting with a sack of piss hanging on the desk drawer as I try to type with one free hand and another strapped to my chest hoping and praying I can get into a urologist today and convince them to remove this monstrosity, this insult to my my manhood from my body, and pee like a normal human again sometime today. Because if I can’t, I’ll be hauling it around all weekend.

    The moral of the story? “Don’t go to England.” Or something like that.

  8. Joe says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I am guessing Yogi is some India cricket team fanboi trying to assuage some butt hurt over the loss. And if you can’t wield the power of high office to make yourself feel better, why bother holding high office.

  9. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I am sorry it all went to hell in a handbasket, but you made me laugh, and I am sending alllllll of my good vibes to you that you can get in to the urologist and get that thing out!! 😛

  10. Kathy says:


    My sympathies. I hate those catheters, and mine went in under general anesthesia. I hope it comes out for good soon.

  11. Neil J Hudelson says:


    Holy shit, that story made my morning. Like, in a complete mirror image of how it ruined yours. You tell a good tale, my friend.

    My thoughts and prayers for you and your penis. Stay strong.

  12. JohnSF says:

    Ouch! Mine own appendage shrinks in sympathy.

  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Great Jobs Report.
    Thank you, Brandon.

  14. Kathy says:


    That’s all very good, but we’re finding out vaccines are not enough, at least not at the rather low rates we’re at now. We still need to keep up with other preventive measures.

    I came up with a kind of analogy. Suppose there’s a country with a small standing army, and a huge reserve army. The reserve is formidable, but it takes time to activate and get into action.

    Now suppose this country is invaded. The enemy is met by the small standing army, while a call goes out to activate the reserves. The standing army gets overrun in short order, and the enemy spreads troops all over the place. Eventually the reserve goes into action and in a brief time obliterates the enemy.

    Well and good, but there is danger of a second invasion, so the reserve is kept operational. As time passes and no invasion comes, some reserve units are taken off line, with more going off line every few weeks (it’s expensive to keep the reserve up).

    Then there’s a second invasion. There are still reserve units active, so they meet the enemy and fight, but not enough to defeat him quickly. Victory has to wait for the deactivated units to be brought back up.

    This second invasion didn’t cause as much damage as the first, and was ended sooner, but it still took place.

    There’s danger of a third invasion (violent world, eh?), so the government keeps the whole reserve up for longer than last time. Still, it’s hard to keep all those soldiers, tanks, planes, weapons, etc. active but idle, so a few are taken off line again, only not as many as before.

    When the third invasion comes, enough reserves are online that they destroy the enemy as soon as he crosses the border. Most citizens don’t even realize they were invaded.

    You can keep this up for a while, but eventually it would be best to keep the enemy from invading at all. And this is where the analogy breaks down, as we cannot negotiate with a virus the way we can with a nation, nor prove to the virus it won’t succeed in a fourth invasion.

  15. JohnSF says:

    More good Covid related medical news:
    A second antiviral
    has passed its testing with flying colours.
    Pfizer reports 89% effectiveness!
    Between this and the Merck pill approved in the UK yesterday, it looks like we could have a game-changer in terms of treatments, and thus massively relieving pressure on hospital critical care.

    Also, UK is now over 8 miliion for Covid booster jabs (aka third vax) and 79.4% double jabbed.

    And record take-up for flu vaccination as well.

  16. CSK says:

    Ooof. My deepest sympathies.

  17. Mu Yixiao says:


    Not exactly what I wanted to hear as I wait for my computer to upgrade so I can read the results of my CT scan of my own shoulder. 😛

    I go in Monday to the specialized specialist (the regular specialist wasn’t good enough) to find out what they’re going to do to me.

    ETA: You don’t, by chance, know a guy by the name “Sailor Jim”, do you? I think you’d get along quite well. 🙂

  18. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Mu Yixiao: I go in for a “routine” endoscopy on Thursday of next week. Normally, I’d be ambivalent (at maximum) about it, but the stories of complications and special specialists have ramped up my anxiety just a touch. I’ll have to shake it off, I guess.

    Still in all, my best wishes are with both of you. May you get the urologists and recoveries you desire.

  19. Sleeping Dog says:

    Aaron Feuerstein, who paid Malden Mills workers after the factory burned down, dies at 95

    The world would be a better place if there were more capitalists like Feuerstein.

  20. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Sorry to learn this. Mr. F. was a hero in these parts. As his son said, he had a wonderful life. RIP.

  21. Kathy says:


    It’s great news about the Pfizer antiviral. It remains to be seen how useful it will be, as those most at risk for dying of COVID are those who reject all prevention measures, vaccines, and are certain ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are sure-fire cures.

    They’re not totally opposed to evidence-based treatments, like monoclonal antibodies. But just yesterday I read a piece (which I don’t want to link to) of people up in arms because they think their loved ones died of COVID because they weren’t given ivermectin at the hospital. Not because they failed to get vaccinated, or rationally because monoclonal antibodies were unavailable, but because they did not receive a sham cure. Many are advising people to avoid hospitals, because they’ll only get FDA approved treatments rather than ivermectin or sugar pills or something.

    It’s absolutely insane.

  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    The vanilla pudding part sounded okay.

  23. Kathy says:

    On other things, the mystery of the Google play store apps that couldn’t be updated remains unsolved, but suddenly they are all updating as if nothing ever happened.

    I may even try the Starbucks app again, see if it now lets me log in.

  24. gVOR08 says:


    It’s absolutely insane.


  25. CSK says:

    There’s a doctor in Florida who’s claiming that the Covid vax causes miscarriages, infertility, strokes, pericarditis, myocarditis, blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, dementia, swollen testicles, and swollen lymph nodes, and that millions will die from it.

  26. Sleeping Dog says:


    The responsible medical authorities need to suspend the licenses of these quacks.

  27. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I don’t think the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will be terribly pleased to learn that this person is citing them as having established that 500,000 people have died from the vaccine.

  28. just nutha says:

    Speaking of the COP26 conference (yeah, I know we weren’t speaking about it) we have another example of the problems facing our society in the aftermath of the election. From an Atlantic news letter from a day or two ago:

    Climate change will ruin individual lives and kill individual people, and it may even drag down rates of improvement in human well-being, but on average, he said, “we’re generally in the climate-change field not talking about futures that are worse than today.”[emphasis added]

    Again it seems, if some people would just STFU, everything would be fine–for us anyway.

  29. Stormy Dragon says:


    Maybe I’m too pessimistic, but I’m sure the approval of antivirals actually effective against COVID19, just means they’re going to be declared part of a global conspiracy to poison patriots all of who will still demand horse dewormer instead, because there’s no grift money to be made from real treatments.

  30. JohnSF says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    But OTOH, meh.

    In re.antivaxxers etc all my f@cks are currently on holiday enjoying the seasonal seaside sunshine.

  31. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It’s almost certain.

    For one thing, these are coming out under Biden. For another, as with vaccines and antibodies, the government will pretty much buy and distribute all the doses for the foreseeable future.

    The idiocy (aka conspiracy theory) just writes itself.

  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    I work for a company that’s 45 years old–with a few of the original crew still in place. It started in a garage (don’t they all?), and now has a large factory at International HQ (which has expanded twice), another facility down the road, and offices and manufacturing in 8 or 9 other countries.

    With over 1500 employees, there’s a wee bit of inertia going on. Making simple changes can be very difficult.

    Which why I’m claiming a small victory today. I boxed up 5 boxes of 3-ring binders (~50 of them) that were donated to a school, and tossed three large garbage cans of them into the trash. They’ve been sitting in a cabinet–unused–for at least 3 years, and probably closer to 10.

    The receptionist’s idea of “Hey, rather than copying thousands of these instruction sheets on our copier, why not slap a QR code sticker on the bags” got shot down* because “the field electricians are older, and might not have a phone with a data plan”. {sigh}

    We’re working on a “transition phase”, hopefully.

    * The assembly team loved the idea, compliance said there’s no problem, marketing loved the idea (and was gearing up to make an interactive webpage instead of a static PDF). Field service said “nope”.

  33. dazedandconfused says:


    All I can offer is that when they start on the PT for the shoulder the exercises will seem incredibly wimpy and for extended periods, but that’s for good and very important reasons. I speak from experiencing an extra year of trouble from pushing it and was deemed lucky as hell for not winding up with permanent issues. This is one where it pays to listen to the experts.

  34. just nutha says:

    @JohnSF: Mine have gone to Costa Rica for the winter. For some reason, f@cks don’t need vaccination cards. It was very convenient.

  35. just nutha says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’m confused, if the binders had been donated to a school district, how did they end up in a cabinet you had control over? I can understand the school not being able to use them part (in our area, school binders are required to be something like four inches across the spine–lots of binders don’t qualify), but I that doesn’t explain why your company had them.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I have an appt with a urologist. Next Thursday.

    Le sigh….

    @dazedandconfused: Yeah, this is my 3rd rodeo with shoulders.

  37. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao: That’s super-frustrating about the QR code idea. Did anyone suggest a “pilot program” allowing those with smartphones to at least TRY this method out?

  38. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    there’s no grift money to be made from real treatments.

    I remain baffled that Hostess is not putting out regular press statements and tweets stating that eating Twinkies has not been demonstrated to be effective at warding off covid in any CDC and FDA approved studies, and that it is no more effective than Ivermectin.

    They are just leaving money on the table. They could absolutely convince the crazy right to eat Twinkies, AND convince the left that they are being responsible corporate citizens for trying to nip this weird bit of disinformation in the bud.

  39. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    When I was a teenager I broke my femur skiing. Put me in traction, in the hospital, for weeks (today they would put a pin in it and send you home). At one point another teenager is put in my room after an appendectomy. Pretty soon the nurses start worrying that the kid hasn’t pee’d. Don’t worry the kid says…I just don’t pee that often. Nurses don’t believe the kid. After all, he’s a kid. Next thing I know they are pulling the curtain closed and putting a catheter up his junk. That poor f’ing kid screamed the Lord’s Prayer the entire time. I mean he f’ing SCREAMED it!!! I thought they were killing the poor bastard.
    Turns out the kid just didn’t have to pee.

  40. Mister Bluster says:

    @just nutha:..Mine have gone to Costa Rica for the winter. For some reason, f@cks don’t need vaccination cards. It was very convenient.

    They might need rubbers. Better watch out!

    Although the treatments used for the disease are commonly used in care facilities Level II and Level III Public Health System in Costa Rica, it has been difficult to eradicate as common sexually transmitted diseases in the country.

  41. Mikey says:

    ELECTION FRAUD!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!11!

    Virginia Gov.-elect Youngkin’s underaged son tried to vote in Tuesday’s election, elections officials said

    The 17-year-old son of Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) tried to cast a ballot in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election twice despite being too young to vote, Fairfax County officials said in a statement released Friday.

    The kid didn’t actually vote, of course, the staff at the polling place basically told him they’d be happy to register him for the next election when he’d actually be, you know, old enough.

    Youngkin’s people put out a statement saying his son “misunderstood” voting law, which is obvious laughable bullshit, but hey, his dad was running so who can blame him for trying?

    I can only imagine the caterwauling from the idiot right if McAuliffe had a kid too young to vote but who tried anyway.

  42. Mikey says:

    I just asked my 17-year-old son if he’d try to vote for me if I were running for governor and he immediately said “no, because I’m not 18.”

  43. Mu Yixiao says:

    @just nutha:

    Sorry… I wasn’t clear.

    There were a bazillion binders in our storage cabinets (and almost 50 of them in one guy’s cubicle! (he retired)).

    A co-worker called around and found a school district that would take them. Yesterday I boxed up about half of them and we donated them to that school. The remainder were tossed out this morning.

  44. Mu Yixiao says:


    That’s the “transition period” we’re pushing for. Put the QR code on each bag, toss a couple paper copies into each batch of bags sent out, and wait for the old coots to die off. Umm… retire.

    It’s also nonsensical that we’re putting an instruction sheet into every kit, when they’re ordered in batches of 50 or so. They don’t need 50 copies of the instructions.

  45. JohnSF says:

    I’m currently working on that basis of reports that several large glasses of cabernet sauvignon are the sovran’ cure and preventitive of all ills.
    Clinical trials report promising results so far.
    But further research is required…

  46. Kathy says:

    Did Benito the Cheeto not attend Powell’s funeral because he’s an a**hole, or because he wasn’t invited because he’s an a**hole?

  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    An in-depth interview with the camera operator who led the 6 person walk-out on Rust, pretty well kills the notion that Alec Baldwin is to blame:

    Q: Baldwin was also a producer on the film, in addition to being the star. Did he do many things as a producer? Was he mostly focused on acting when he was there?

    A: Baldwin wasn’t even there the first week of the show. And when he was there, he was only there for four to five hours a day, doing his role as an actor. I never saw Baldwin in any kind of producer role.

  48. Mu Yixiao says:


    I’m currently working on that basis of reports that several large glasses of cabernet sauvignon are the sovran’ cure and preventitive of all ills.

    I thought this was established science.

    Disease is caused by germs.
    Alcohol kills germs.
    Ergo, booze cures all ills.

    However! Because we know that science requires reproducible results, additional data, and more granular data… I will self-medicate with scotch and let you know the results.

    So far (in limited trials) it appears to prevent not only COVID*, but also Black Death, ebola, dengue fever,
    malaria, multiple sclerosis, space herpes, and belly-button cancer.

    Tests in this area are ongoing.

    * Whether this applies to people who aren’t vaccinated has yet to be determined. This may possibly be due to the fact that the prevalence of call and top-shelf spirits among non-vaccinated persons is quite low. However: to date… Bud Light, Busch Light, and Old Milwaukee have shown no significant prophylactic qualities. Testing in this area are also ongoing.

  49. Mu Yixiao says:
  50. JohnSF says:

    Earlier this week I and some others made some reference to Franco-British fishing disputes.
    I think I said, being fishing related it will likely be bloody complicated.
    (There are lawyers who specialise in this.)
    Well, one of the best short guides I’ve read; the estimable Prof. Chris Grey: Fishy Arguments!
    (Always worth reading re. things brexity)

  51. CSK says:

    I’m sure Trump wasn’t invited. I’m surprised he hasn’t made some churlish public statement about what a loser Powell was.

    It was apparently a private service, by invitation only. The Bidens, the Bushes, and the Obamas attended, along with Hillary Clinton.

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Turns out the kid just didn’t have to pee.

    I wish it had been so with me. But even after having peed on the way to the hospital, my bladder was holding 50% more urine than normal. (via ultrasound)

  53. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I woke up form the hernia surgery with a catheter. I’ts unpleasant because I felt like there was something in there (which of course there was), and I constantly felt like I needed to pee but couldn’t. Urine collected in the bag by the bed anyway.

    What helped was to drink little water. But then little urine was produced, and the doctors took that as a sign I had trouble peeing, so I got a diuretic. After that I started guzzling down water, which satisfied them my urinary function was ok, and then they finally removed the damn thing (which I maintain was longer than all human urethra millage put together).

  54. Jax says:

    Holy hell, did we actually just get infrastructure week? 😛

    All hail Brandon.

  55. dazedandconfused says:


    Sorry to hear that. I gave up on mine ever becoming fully normal after a couple years, but it was a border collie that saved it. Had to have the ball thrown or it would’ve ate the house. That finished off the PT….about 3 years down the line…for me.

    Another comment about hospitals. Fight the dehumanizing by engaging the nurse and staff in light conversation, learn their first names and greet them warmly when they first show up for their shift. Not saying that changes things much, but it surely helps, if only internally for oneself. So easy to fall into fear and distrust when people are doing that stuff, and IMO they find it a relief from walking into a room and seeing fearful eyes, which they get a lot.