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. Kathy says:

    Friday is the day that allows you to kill terrible weeks.

  2. Mu Yixiao says:

    It’s snowing.

    No further comment.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    On the contrary, I had many, many loud, censorious comments when I saw snow this morning.

  4. Mister Bluster says:
  5. Kathy says:

    I began to watch Foundation yesterday.

    So far, it’s not as bad as I expected it, given the many liberties taken with Asimov’s works.

    What’s odd is the first ep, which ran for over 60 minutes, focuses on what was a late addition to the Foundation saga, written for the printed edition of collected novelas written a decade prior. I don’t think it took me five ,minutes to read that part.

    They also took out the reference to the French Revolution.

    Anyway, on visuals and designs, I was a bit disappointed with Trantor. It never feels like the underground world it is, no matter how many times various characters say “levels.” The grounds at the Imperial palace, though, were nice.

    Last, the space elevator shown on Trantor was a nice touch. SPOILER ALERT FOR THE FIRST EPISODE. Though I think it would not collapse the way it did. From what I recall reading of such speculative engineering, if you took out the top, tension would keep the thing up (and if you severed the base from the ground, it would fall upwards). But I see the need to do a Hollywoodesque, cliche disaster instead of actual physics.

  6. Mu Yixiao says:
  7. becca says:

    Anyone watch Severance? If not, you should.

  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    If you haven’t seen Brian Schatz call out the BS of GOP shit-stain Josh Hawley…you should take 2:20 out of your day to watch it.
    Best part – it’s all factually accurate.
    This is the type of thing that Democrats need to learn to do better. Screw this “when they go low we go high” mentality. Messaging like this is an important part of how we keep the House and Senate in the mid-terms.

  9. Kathy says:


    Ironically work might prevent me from seeing the season finale tonight.

    I also want to discuss some thoughts and even more disturbing ideas I’ve had since watching it. But that will have to wait.

  10. Joe says:

    I don’t know if this fits better in the Ukraine support thread, but this morning, for the second time in as many weeks, I opened the letter to the editor of my small city newspaper to find a random letter from a local resident who trots out the established Moscow talking points for the invasion of Ukraine: including Nazification, violence toward Russian speakers, NATO overreach; and how would the US react if Mexico or Cuba allied with an enemy. (Checks notes: Cuba did and, Bay of Pigs notwithstanding, they are still an independent country.)

    I know the country has its Trump lovers and Q-Anon conspiracists, but I still find it jarring that someone with access to western media can just roll this BS out as if no one has seen another side to this story. It makes me wonder whether the local newspaper actually checks to see if there are local citizens with the author’s name or whether these are just bot letters.

  11. @Kathy: I recently finished it and was glad I watched it. As the first episode suggests, this is hardly a faithful adaptation.

    To be honest, some of my favorite parts are things that are wholly made up for the show. I will be curious to see what you think once your finish.

  12. Scott says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I rather enjoyed Foundation. Since it is about 45 years since I read the book, it is basically an original story for me so any deviations don’t bother me at all.

  13. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I have to say I’m fine with many of the liberties taken, such as making Dornick, Hardin, and Demerzel female (I wonder if Demerzel’s gender was the only thing that changed from the prequel books).

    Dornick’s backstory wasn’t in the books, so go ahead and make it up. the rest does kind of follow Seldon’s predictions in the intro, ditto how he gets sent to Terminus (with the added terrorism cliche).

    So far it’s better than what they did to The Bicentennial Man.

    To be fair, in the books the way out of a crisis is to sit tight and do nothing, or to do the one thing that is possible. This played well in the first part of Foundation and Empire where General Riose pits his living will vs Seldon’s dead hand, until the crisis is resolved Deus ex Machina.

    So, you see, I am open to modifying Asimov’s initial work. More so to the ending of Foundation’s edge and Foundation and Earth, though that’s half a millennium away in series chronology.

  14. Gustopher says:

    @Scott: It hasn’t been that long for me, but I also have enough distance from the original novels to view it as something new rather than getting bogged down on the differences.

    And there are a lot of differences.

    I liked it. It’s pretty, interesting, and there are characters who frequently act as if they have normal human motivations in an odd sci-if world.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:


    Such is the power of group ID.

    The Atlantic has a post up this morning, the transcript of a conversation between David Axelrod and Anne Applebaum that delves into disinformation and its spread. Worth a read.

    There is also one by Obama on disinformation, but that is more about salvaging his reputation as it is now obvious that he was in denial about Russian attempts to tip the 2016 election and that he was in general, wrong about Russia.

  16. Mu Yixiao says:


    I couldn’t get past the 3rd or 4th episode of Foundation. It had nothing to do with it not being faithful to the source material, however.

    For me, it just made no sense. Characters made decisions that were out of character (for the minimal amount of development they did), and plot points seemed to jump out of nowhere.

  17. becca says:

    @Kathy: The cast is so cool. So many interesting new faces mixed with more familiar ones. Ben Stiller’s direction is remarkable, even to my untrained eye. He really sets the moo.

  18. Kathy says:


    I think it shows I watch too much animation, when I say the only actors I recognized were Patricia Arquette, and the guy who plays Ricken, whose name escapes me. He played the guy(alien?) who gives Agent J the time travel device in MIB III.

  19. becca says:

    @becca: d.

  20. becca says:

    @Kathy: John Turturro and Christopher Walken are unfamiliar?

  21. Beth says:

    Is it just me or does Adam Scott look kinda creepy in Severance?

  22. Kathy says:


    Sorry, I did recognize Walken.

    I’ve heard of Turturro, but I’m not sure I’ve seen any of his work before.

  23. Jen says:

    This thread from the Lincoln Project is amusing.

    I couldn’t get into Foundation, it just seemed to move too slowly for me.

  24. EddieInCA says:

    Moderators –

    Can you please check for a comment i posted a few mins ago in response to Kathy that seems to have gotten eaten up by the system?

  25. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Kathy: If you’re interested in gangster films, John Turturro was in one of my all time favorite films, _Miller’s Crossing_ by the Cohen brothers from 1990. He (along with the rest of the cast) did a fantastic job in that film.

  26. CSK says:

    Mu and Neil have snow. I have a power outage that was supposed to end at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and now 6:30 p.m. I’m here at OTB only because of Dunkin’ Donuts’ internet connection, soon to fade.

  27. Kathy says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    If The Untouchables counts as gangster movie, then it’s the only one I can recall seeing.

    And, IMO, it’s a law enforcement movie.

  28. Kathy says:

    The one Asimov novel I would dearly love to see faithfully* adapted as a movie is The Gods Themselves.

    It would be hard in large part because it’s divided in three parts, and only one character appears in more than one part (some from part 1 are referenced in part 3).

    The other huge obstacle is taking up only one third of the movie explaining and watching the very alien aliens that are the only characters in part 2. Their least unusual aspect is they have three sexes.

    *Well, mostly faithfully. I’d nix the whole genetic engineering/intuitionism thing in part 3, and make Selene an undercover physicist instead (yes, you read that right).

  29. Pete S says:

    @Mu Yixiao: @Neil Hudelson:
    Supposed to snow Sunday here in Southern Ontario. While lazy me appreciates the chance to push back raking the leaves that have been sitting on the lawn since the day before our first big snow in December, I suspect my reaction might be much like Neil’s when this happens.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: The Big Lebowski, Oh Brother where art thou,

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Neil Hudelson: @Mu Yixiao: Snowed here this AM. Had a couple of 5 min white outs on the drive into STL at 5:30. No real accumulation.

  32. becca says:

    @Beth: the whole cast is sorta off-center in the looks department, which just adds to the mood, or moo*, if you will.
    * see above comment

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    2 men are acquitted in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer; hung jury on 2 more
    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Two of four men were acquitted Friday in a conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, motivated by fury at the Democrat’s tough COVID-19 restrictions early in the pandemic.
    The jury’s verdicts against Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were read in the federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the case presided over by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker. Jurors said they couldn’t agree on verdicts again Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. Prosecutors described Fox as a ringleader of an anti-government group.

  34. Kathy says:


    The names are distantly familiar. I’m sure I didn’t see them.

    When I catch Jeopardy! and play along, it’s movie/TV/music trivia answers where I do worse.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Wow. You are a seriously deprived individual. 😉

    Not kidding now, you should watch both those movies. They are both Coen Brothers flicks and Turturro… Well, in the Big Lebowski he plays such a freak, to perfection. In O’Brother he gets a much more central part and he grabs a hold of it and makes it his own.

    He’s a Coen Brothers favorite character actor (@Mike in Arlington: mentioned above Miller’s Crossing ) but directors everywhere love him for his ability to inhabit every role.

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: What’s up with that? They should have been able to get Caserta, given that he has a vowel on the end of his name. Even allowing for him being a Brandon…

    oh, never mind…

  37. Kathy says:


    The way I figure, once I watched Citizen Kane, I’ve done my duty as regards the great movies.

  38. BugManDan says:


    It ate one of mine this morning about Elon Musk breaking rules on stock trading and making a bunch of millions by doing so.

  39. Mikey says:

    My wife and I found “Servant of the People,” the comedy starring Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, is on Netflix.

    It is pretty funny, but a bit surreal given the current situation.