Good Friday 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. Bill Jempty says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Texas appeals court has thrown out a five-year prison sentence for Crystal Mason, a Texas woman who was sentenced for trying to cast a provisional ballot in the 2016 presidential election that was rejected.

    Mason, now 49, attempted to vote in Fort Worth in the 2016 even though she was ineligible because she was still on supervised release – which is like probation – for a tax felony. She has always maintained she had no idea she was ineligible and only tried to cast a ballot because her mother urged her to.

    A judge convicted her in a 2018 trial that lasted just a few hours.
    In 2022, Texas’s highest criminal court told a lower appellate court it had to reconsider a ruling upholding Mason’s conviction. On Thursday, that court said there was not sufficient evidence Mason knew she was ineligible to vote.

    Justice Wade Birdwell wrote for the court in its Thursday ruling: “We conclude that the quantum of the evidence presented in this case is insufficient to support the conclusion that Mason actually realized that she voted knowing that she was ineligible to do so and, therefore, insufficient to support her conviction for illegal voting.”
    Despite her acquittal, the case has taken a significant toll on Mason and her family.

    After Mason was arrested in 2017, she lost her job at a bank. She was also sent back to federal prison for several months for being arrested while on probation for a federal crime. During that time, she almost lost her home to foreclosure.

    “Although I’ve cried for seven years straight, seven nights a week … I’ve also prayed for seven years straight, seven nights a week. Prayed that I would remain a free black woman,” she said in a statement. “I am overjoyed to see my faith rewarded today.”

    How many hours did it take to convict Ken Paxton? Oh yeah, they dropped the charges after how many years in exchange for a slap on his wrist (no way do I believe the $300K are coming out of his pocket)

    Meanwhile, in Georgia: Georgia Republican official fined $5,000 for voting illegally nine times

    An official in the Georgia Republican party who has said the 2020 election was stolen was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and will receive a public reprimand for voting illegally nine times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Thursday.

    Brian Pritchard, the first vice-president of the state Republican party, illegally voted in nine elections from 2008 to 2010 while he was still on probation for a 1996 forgery felony conviction in Pennsylvania. Georgia and 14 other states require people to have completed their sentence, including probation, before they can vote. About 163,475 people could not vote in Georgia in 2022 because they were on felony probation, according to an estimate by the Sentencing Project, a criminal justice non-profit.

    Pritchard, told Lisa Boggs, the administrative law judge overseeing the case, he believed his criminal sentence had expired and was not aware the criminal court in Pennsylvania had extended his probation until 2011 for allegedly failing to repay $38,000 in restitution.

    Boggs wrote in her ruling she did not find that credible, noting that he had appeared in court several times while his probation was extended.

    Whadya wanna bet the GOP doesn’t even ask him to resign?

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: I am not surprised.

  4. Mikey says:

    Yesterday we drove up to Baltimore to visit Lexington Market. We’d seen it featured in several food shows and figured it’s not that far, so why not check it out?

    Unbeknownst to us, however, because all the food shows were old, is the market was renovated and reopened in late 2022, being less a central market and more a big food hall. Which is great, too, we love food halls, but it’s not exactly what we expected.

    Also unbeknownst to us was yesterday was the Orioles’ opening day, which meant the place was rather crowded with fans and the line at Faidley’s Seafood was out the door. I know the crab cakes are $25, we still wanted to try them.

    Instead we ended up at Connie’s Chicken and Waffles, which I must say was very good–the waffle was fantastic and the chicken well-seasoned and cooked just right.

    So, lunch achieved successfully, but we still would have liked the more traditional central market.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    @Mikey: Haven’t been to the Market since it reopened, despite being within walking distance, but my wife has. She was a bit disappointed in the ambience and lack of actual market goods (produce, butcher, etc).

    We have a much closer market, Cross Street Market, which is also mostly a food hall, with just one real market type location, a very good butcher. There was a green grocer for a brief time but the owners were not very good business people and opening during COVID didn’t help.

    Baltimore has a bunch of farmers markets during the season, with the largest being under Route 83 just before it ends. The main and original section still has plenty of fresh produce, meats and fish, but the surrounding sections have turned into a giant weekly festival. Music, art, street food, lots of good stuff.

  6. Kingdaddy says:

    A different way of looking at public policy, soil-tending versus seed-planting:

  7. Mister Bluster says:

    Louis Gossett Jr. 87

    J.D.’s Revenge

  8. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I just read this on ABC. Gossett was a terrific actor.

  9. gVOR10 says:

    IIRC there was some discussion of the force involved in the Baltimore bridge collision. NYT (gift link) found someone to do the math. They estimate over 100 million Newtons [>22 million lb-f]. As they note at some length, they don’t have accurate data on how quickly the ship stopped, so the best they can do is estimate a range of force.

    Their experts differ, but one feels a bridge built to current standards could have survived, probably requiring protective structures , not just a stronger bridge.

    I noted the first two comments. The most popular is a vet saying a Navy carrier would be accompanied by tugs. The second compliments NYT for printing a piece with facts and math and excellent explanations. Indeed a breath of fresh air.

  10. Mister Bluster says:

    OK, I’ll be the No Labels presidential candidate.
    My platform is: ‘Vote for Joe Biden.’

    Q: Why did you decide to join the No Labels ticket?

    A: Well, for starters, I admire the party’s strong opposition to labels. I dislike labels, particularly the ones they put on apples at the grocery store. Those are hard to get off and sometimes I accidentally eat them.

  11. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Mister Bluster: No Labels, that made my day, thanks.

  12. Kathy says:

    When I read or hear “good Friday,” I feel like I’ve read or heard things like: wet water, cold ice, hot fire, dry desert…

  13. Beth says:


    The only thing that would make this a better friday would be a nice wet heat. Not too wet, not raining wet, just a nice solid wet heat that makes you feel like you’re breathing in water while you walk around mostly naked. Like, New Orleans in August. Ohh, that would be a good Friday indeed.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Those are hard to get off and sometimes I accidentally eat them.

    took the words right out of my mouth.

    @Beth: Yuuuuckkk.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ron Filipkowski

    MAGA ‘Prophet’ Julie Green says God warned her in a previous message that something bad was going to happen with a bridge and a cargo ship, and more things like this are going to start happening before the election.

    So… Guess who just shot to the top of the Suspect list? Yep, the guy who predicted it. Even if he didn’t actually do it he could have stopped it. Right? Right???

  16. Beth says:

    This is happening today:

    Elise was an integral support early in my transition. She was just quietly amazing. This is gonna be hard.

  17. Beth says:

    Moment of levity:

    I just tied myself up in my own bra. One arm stuck over my head, one arm pinned to my side. How’d I do that? No clue.

  18. Mikey says:

    @Beth: I immediately thought of this.

    Now I think that this would make for a fantastic obit—so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.

    –Carrie Fisher

  19. EddieInCA says:

    “Time to go, Genocide Joe”.

    That’s that the idiot protestors were chanting at Biden last night. I hope the audio comes out of Obama slapping them down. I had a few friends in the cheap seats last night and they said that Obama’s response led to a standing ovation.

    Fvcking idiots. Every single one of them. Get rid of the guy actually trying to manage this responsibly while boosting the guy that would give permission for an actual genocide.

    Did I mention idiots?

  20. wr says:

    Been listening to Cowboy Carter and it’s fine… but can anyone explain what makes it “country music”? I mean, sure, she’s wearing a cowboy hat on the cover, but aside from that it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve ever heard that would have been described as country music. Country station programmers were being blasted as racist for not wanting to play this, but I’m finding it kind of hard no to sympathize with them…

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    All credit due to Rex Huppke.

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: The only cut I found on YouTube was Texas Hold ’em. That particular song has qualities that make it sound like contemporary country music–specifically the close harmonies with a descant harmonizing vocal over the top of the lead vocal that sounds to my growing-deafer-by-the-minute ears to parallel the movement of the melody. So yeah, I’d say that song has a country feel to it. Crossover, but country (in the blandest manner possible) just the same.

    For what it’s worth, Queen Bey agrees with you that “it ain’t no country album,” but I cleared the page without linking to the article beyond the headline.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @wr: Before you can say any of that, you have to define what country music is. Let me assure you, nobody has.

    Ftr, I am a long time listener of country music (including) (george jones, willie, waylon, dwight, Loretta, allison, roger, david allen coe, crystal, Bonnie, Johnnie, Dolly, Hank, Merle, Reba, Mel, etc etc etc….) who has not yet listened to this contribution to the genre.

    And let me add, Bill Monroe is not country. Neither is Buck Owens, Flatt & Scruggs, Elvis, Emmylou, Roy Clark….

    Which is just to say that “country” has become a great big envelope that includes artists that play music acceptable to certain folks, whether it’s folk, bluegrass, pop, or whatever the fuck.

    In other words, “country” is meaningless. As is rock & roll I suppose.

  24. Beth says:

    As I was driving to the memorial, I saw a sign on the massive Northside El rebuild. It said “Project funded by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law”. I thought that was very subtle and classy. I’m guessing that was the intended effect.

  25. Gavin says:

    Everyone should watch as many clips as you can of Olay interviewing Eric Adams on The Breakfast Club. She’s a smart, experienced trial lawyer — and I bet Adams did no research before walking in.
    This should be shown in schools as how interviews should be done.
    Sure, the reason that it’s NOT done is because “they want to maintain access” — but if every interview was the same level of focus on objective reality rather than the lies and spin, politicians would have no choice if the politician wants to get a word out.
    An objective person can’t recognize that NYC is in reality a very safe place… and at the same time support adding hundreds of cops to places that don’t need it. Adams can’t pick just one side because he’s cheaply using Crime!! as a way to pump his personal status.
    It’s so refreshing and jaw-dropping because it’s so rare.

  26. Bob says:

    @wr: It’s just a song. A good song, but not really country and definitely not Western. There are basic rules for that.

    David Allen Coe had something to say about writing country/Western songs in singing a song written by Steve Goodman called You Never Even Call Me By My Name.

    David narrates with the band in the background:
    Well, a friend of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song
    And he told me it was the perfect country & western song
    I wrote him back a letter and I told him it was not the perfect country & western song
    Because he hadn’t said anything at all about mama
    Or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting’ drunk
    Well, he sat down and wrote another verse to the song and he sent it to me
    And after reading it I realized that my friend had written the perfect country & western song
    And I felt obliged to include it on this album
    The last verse goes like this here

    (now singing)
    Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison
    And I went to pick her up in the rain
    But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
    She got run over by a damned old train
    And I’ll hang around as long as you will let me
    And I never minded standing’ in the rain, no
    But you don’t have to call me darlin’, darlin’
    You never even called me
    Well, I wonder why you don’t call me
    Why don’t you ever call me by my name


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