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:

    I didn’t have this headline on my Bingo card: Peruvian statue’s giant penis thrills tourists but vandals are turned off

  2. Scott says:

    Good. Enough screwing around.

    Unvaccinated airmen lose pay, benefits as Air National Guard yanks orders

    A new year is bringing new consequences for thousands of Air National Guardsmen who aren’t vaccinated against the coronavirus.

    As of Dec. 31, 2,500 unvaccinated airmen and Space Force guardians are ineligible for pay or benefits from the Air National Guard. Those troops are also banned from finishing out jobs, taking on new orders, showing up to drill weekends or participating in training.

    It’s the service’s latest step to punish airmen who refuse the shots required by the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate. The number could grow to about 6,100 ousted Guardsmen if another 3,600 or so are denied religious exemptions — which no one has earned so far.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In reading this, Boston Marathon bomber accused of failing to pay thousands to victims, I learned that

    After sentencing, deposits to Tsarnaev’s account only became more frequent, prosecutors wrote. Among the larger payments was a $1,400 relief benefit that Tsarnaev got on 22 June. Between May 2016 and last June, he also received $11,230 from the Office of Federal Defenders of New York. Meanwhile, he has also attracted an outpouring of financial support from individuals.

    One person in Indianapolis sent him monthly payments for six years, for a total of $2,555. Another from Bloomfield, New Jersey, contributed $1,450 between 2015 and 2017. Another from Frederick, Maryland, deposited $950 over roughly five years, and a broader swath of 32 others have sent a collective $3,486.60.

    In response to the prosecutors’ motion, a US district judge has already authorized the Bureau of Prisons to turn over the funds from Tsarnaev’s account to cover part of his criminal monetary penalties. Near the end of December, Tsarnaev had roughly $3,885.06 in his account.

    Terrorism pays.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:


    It’s the service’s latest step to punish airmen who refuse the shots required by the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate.

    Just want to say that they aren’t being punished. If they were court martialed for failure to follow a lawful order, fined, and/or sentenced to time in the hoosegow, and dishonorably discharged, THAT would be punishment. As far as I can tell these people are just being let go.

  5. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yes, they are being placed in the Individual Ready Reserve. Which is a way of saying, “go sit in the corner until we call you or until you are ready to behave”.

  6. CSK says:

    Tsarnaev also recently sued the federal prison system because he doesn’t like the shower facilities and because he’s not permitted to wear a baseball cap.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Like the mental 2 yr olds they are.
    I take that back, that’s unfair to 2 yr olds.

    @CSK: He’s a piece of work, that one.

  8. CSK says:

    Indeed. Eight-year-old Martin Richard liked to wear baseball caps, too–before Tsarnaev killed him.

    A defense attorney once told me that, given that prison is a very boring place, a lot of prisoners like to amuse themselves by suing. Any frivolous suit will do.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    Via Kevin Drum , John Harris addresses a question I’ve been trying to formulate. People say we’re on the verge of a civil war. But over what? Last time it was about slavery. What big issue is dividing the country now? Harris thinks we’re threatening a Seinfeld civil war, a civil war about nothing. Note that we had a riot a year ago over nothing but transparent lies.

    After elaborating, with data and charts of course, Drum observes,

    The conclusion here is hard to avoid: neither racial animus nor worries about jobs and the economy seem to have recently skyrocketed among large numbers of white Americans. It’s hard to believe that either of these things, on their own, are what’s torn the country apart. There must be something else at work.
    But what?

    Drum’s been making a pretty good case for months that it’s FOX “News”.

    I would elaborate using the new word I learned recently, schismogenisis, “The formation of schisms or divisions.” per Wiktionary. Republicans have taken to heart the commonplace that people vote based on some tribal allegiance. They’ve created a tribe. Once gay marriage quit working they fired up the rubes over immigration. If we built the wall they’d still have vaccines, which are a miracle TFG invented, don’t work, and COVID isn’t real anyway. If COVID fades, they have CRT teed up. If we turn the schools into white supremacist indoctrination camps they’ll find something new.

  10. Kathy says:

    Today the Supreme Court is hearing arguments over vaccine mandates. Justice Sotomayor is participating remotely from her chambers, and several attorneys are doing so by phone. One, who argues against mandates, is attending remotely because they tested positive for COVID.

    The irony is just too much.

  11. CSK says:, Donald Trump’s social media platform, will be released on February 21. Isn’t that about three months behind its original launch date?

  12. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Justice Sotomayor is a type-1 diabetic, making her high risk for severe outcomes. I’m damn glad to hear she’s participating remotely.

  13. Sleeping Dog says:


    Michelle Goldberg explored the civil war meme this morning. The most salient commonality with past civil wars is that civil war is perpetrated by that portion of the citizenry that sees itself as losing influence. Far more likely is that the US slips into an Orban-like autocracy, though along the way we can expect increased numbers of politically inspired murders.

  14. CSK says:

    A few random news items:

    Cyber Ninjas, the Trump-friendly “audit” outfit, has been ordered by an Arizona judge to pay $50,000 per day in fines for records violations.

    Ted Cruz groveled to Tucker Carlson last night over calling Jan. 6, 2021 “a violent terrorist attack.”

  15. grumpy realist says:

    Sidney Poitier just died.

    R.I.P. you wonderful man.

  16. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    James Joyner has put up a post about this. Wonderful actor.

  17. Kathy says:


    Cruz would neither be the first nor only masochist who gets off on public humiliation.

  18. Monala says:

    From NPR:

    BREAKING: Travis and Greg McMichael, who were convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in 2020, were sentenced to life in prison without parole. William “Roddie” Bryan was also sentenced to life, with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Wrong thread

  20. CSK says:

    For what?

  21. CSK says:

    He seems more sadistic to me.