It’s a Saturday Forum

Talk amongst yourselves.

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:

    He fingered the microphone and put his lips up close. He shook hands with everyone he could. Donald Trump, who promised you’re going to win so much you’ll get sick of winning, might also just make you sick.

    In the White House rose garden on Friday, the US president defied the advice of medical experts standing behind him and behaved like a one-man coronavirus cannon.

    This may stick around in the historical assessment of Trump “No, I don’t take responsibility at all”

    Remember when “the buck stops here”?

  2. SenyorDave says:

    Is the testing delay the worst single thing Trump has done? We had a delay in testing because Trump thought bad numbers of infected would hurt him politically! Trump is personally responsible for higher number of deaths. In a perfect world he would he would be tried for murder since anyone with a brain knows the repercussions of a delay in responding to an epidemic. And the people who enabled the delay, including doctors? They have blood on their hands. The head of the CDC should lose his medical license, at the very least. Ideally, he would be brought up on charges. The “I take no responsibilty” quote should be featured in an ad with numbers of people who died from the virus along with Dr. Caucus statement that the testing delay was a failure.
    Trump is responsible for a higher number of deaths because of a deliberate decision on his part. As far as I am concerned he is a murderer.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    James Medlock
    Remember that being nice online is good praxis, especially at times like these. A lot of people are cooped up and on edge right now, with online being the bulk of their social interaction. Try to read things charitably and cut people a little extra slack

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘I can’t get above water’: how America’s chicken giant Perdue controls farmers

    In the 1960s, poultry companies experimented with owning and operating chicken farms, but realised it was the least profitable, highest risk part of the supply chain. Instead they moved to the current system, persuading independent contracted farmers to take on this responsibility instead, and the system has reaped rich profits for those at the top. From 1981 to 2018, farm sales of chickens increased from $4.5bn to $31.7bn.

    But contracts typically hand a remarkable amount of control to the parent company. In this case, Perdue maintains ownership of the birds, and the contract stipulates that farmers can only use feed, medication, vaccinations and other supplies provided by or arranged by Perdue. The contract also grants Perdue the authority to determine the breed of chickens produced, the numbers in each flock, the time allowed for processing each flock, and placement for future flocks.

    Howell and his fellow poultry farmers are so far from independent that in March 2018 the small business administration office of the Inspector General issued a report stating that most poultry farmers do not qualify as independent businesses eligible for loans from the agency because integrators exert so much control over them. “This control overcame practically all of a grower’s ability to operate their business independent of integrator mandates,” it concluded.

    “They [Perdue] call themselves a family farm, but they’re a corporate farm. They have control over everything out here,” said Howell.

    Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
    I owe my soul to the company store

  5. Sleeping Dog says:


    My brother-in-law raises piglets under a similar system. He owns the building and equipment, built and operated to the agri-business specification. He farms about 40 acres of corn that is part of the feed he uses, but everything is controlled by the company. He is effectively an employee. Oh one more thing, he owns the risk, all the loans are in his name.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    NYT, an actually not bad column from Bretbug Stephens: Trump Meets Nemesis, Punisher of Hubris

    The word “nemesis” is too often misused. We tend to think of it as meaning a powerful, nefarious, but ultimately conquerable enemy: Vader; Voldemort; the Wicked Witch of the West. But the original Nemesis was not a villain. She was a goddess — an implacable agent of justice who gives the arrogant, insolent and wicked what they deserve.

    As a matter of public health, nobody should ever suggest that the novel coronavirus represents any form of justice, divine or otherwise. It’s a virus that must be stopped.

    As a matter of politics, however, it’s hard to think of a mechanism so uniquely well-suited for exposing the hubris, ignorance, prejudice, mendacity and catastrophic self-regard of the president who is supposed to lead us through this crisis.

    I couldn’t help thinking of a different definition of nemesis tho:

    A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by an ‘orrible cunt… me.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: It’s insane, and Republicans will defend these predatory practices by corporations to somebody else’s death.

  8. Liberal Capitalist says:


    Donald Trump, who promised you’re going to win so much you’ll get sick of winning, might also just make you sick.

    In the White House rose garden on Friday, the US president defied the advice of medical experts standing behind him and behaved like a one-man coronavirus cannon.

    Typhoid Mary… Covid Trump.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    If you are into self abuse: Bernie or Bust: the Sanders fans who will never vote for Biden

    Ekene Okonkwo studies political science, advocates for gun control and reproductive rights, and is voting in a presidential election for the first time this year. But only if she can vote for Bernie Sanders.

    The 19-year-old, who studies political science and lives in the Bronx, said the Vermont senator is the only candidate she trusts to deal with the issues she cares most about – on climate change, for instance, she called former vice-president Joe Biden’s plan “unfeasible”. A vote for Biden, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee in November, would only give the party more reason to take her vote for granted, she said.

    That was enough for me. I have to ask tho, is it just me or does anyone else here feel like she is failing in her chosen major?

  10. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I was watching the “BBC in America” news program two days ago. They were discussing COVID infected numbers globally.

    They were able to be very specific, except for the USA. The newscaster stated, almost offhand, that the reason was: “…that the USA did not have a Heath Service, but a Heath Sector.”

    This is our shortcoming. Driven for profit, competitive, disjointed, non-communicative.

    The “best healthcare in the world” is being shown to be the lie it is.

    In typical Trumpian logic, Trump stands with corporate leaders and states how THEY will step up in Covid19 battle… In the same way his real estate ventures were often kicked off.


    “Yeah, I don’t take responsibility at all because we were given a set of circumstances, and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time”

    It would be comedy it it wasn’t tragedy.

  11. DrDaveT says:

    From The Guardian:

    Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said: “The most calming and reassuring presidential voice of the past 24 hours has been Joe Biden. As a Republican, this is hard for me to say but it’s true.”

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    “…that the USA did not have a Heath Service, but a Heath Sector.”

    I’ve said it’s wrong to call what we have a health care “system”.

  13. Mu Yixiao says:

    Wisconsin Governor Orders All k-12 Schools to Close

    Under authority of Wis. Stat. § 252.02(3) and at the direction of Governor Tony Evers, I, Andrea Palm, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, order the closure of all public and private Wisconsin schools for purposes of pupil instruction and extracurricular activities, beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, with an anticipated reopening on April 6, 2020. The date of reopening is subject to change pending further information.

    Based on the assessment of the information available regarding the infectious disease, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”), closure is a reasonable and necessary step to prevent, suppress, and control this disease. To prevent further illness, the schools will be closed until the aforementioned anticipated date of reopening. This order does not prevent a school from providing virtual instruction to pupils.

    Andrea Palm
    State of Wisconsin
    Department of Health Services

  14. Teve says:

    Seen on Twitter: “ I don’t take responsibility at all, said the guy who filed for bankruptcy six times.“

  15. gVOR08 says:


    That was enough for me. I have to ask tho, is it just me or does anyone else here feel like she is failing in her chosen major (Poli Sci?

    I know Pareto’s rule applies to my own field, engineering, only about 20% are actually any good at it. I see every day in the news that Pareto’s rule applies to economists. What say you, Dr. T? James? Is Poli Sci any different? Plus, don’t a high percentage of undergrads go into law or some other post grad non Poli Scy specialty?

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: It just seems to me that certain things are so basic they have to be accepted as gospel. In civil engineering that would be gravity. In polisci it would be that a single wo/man in govt can accomplish nothing by /her/himself.


    But I’m just a dumbass carpenter who thinks the laws of nature are god’s way of saying, “Fuck You.”

  17. Slugger says:

    There has been another rocket attack on American troops in Iraq in the last few hours. The best time to get out of that country was ten years ago; the second best time is now.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Slugger: No, the second best time to get out was 9 years, 364 days ago.

  19. Kari Q says:

    My county went from 1 case of covid-19 to 25 (as of yesterday) in less than a week. It’s a disturbing trend.

  20. Jen says:

    @Kari Q: I think we’re about to see a significant increase in cases. Our latest confirmed case appears to be a DMV employee in one of the busier locations in the state.

  21. Kathy says:

    Aviation news are getting depressing. Airlines are reducing capacity, which is sensible, but there are more extreme measures. Kuwait closed its airport to commercial aviation. LOT Polish Airlines has suspended operations for two weeks.

    It’s hard to make predictions, but more than a few European airlines won’t come out of this crisis, especially those who had difficulties before the COVID pandemic, like Norwegian and Alitalia (by all rights, the latter should have gone out of business a long time ago).

    In Mexico, I fear for Interjet.

    Some airlines in Asia will see troubles, too. One, Starlux, began operations just a few weeks ago. It’s a luxury, full service airline based in Taiwan. they started small, with only a few flights per day on two Airbus A321 narrow bodies. They’re down to one flight per day now due to the epidemic.

  22. Kit says:

    OTB sparks and Kit listens. I missed my chance to contribute to the list of happy songs in yesterday’s forum, but bowing to popular incessant prurient demand, I’m posting my list here:
    – You Make My Dreams — Hall & Oates
    – Don’t Stop Me Now — Queen
    – I’ve Just Seen a Face — The Beatles
    – Hang Fire — The Rolling Stones
    – Build Me Up Buttercup — The Foundations
    – Pain Killer — Sarkodie

  23. Gustopher says:

    Spotify was shuffling yesterday while I was working, and I heard Ben Folds Five’s “Uncle Walter” for the first time in I don’t know how long.

    Your Uncle Walter’s going on and on
    Bout everything he’s seen and done
    The voice of 50 years experience
    Drunk, watching the television
    You know he’s been around the world
    Last night he flew to Baghdad
    In his magical armchair
    Cigarettes and a six pack, he just got back
    Now the spit’s flying everywhere

    But how could you leave me here so long
    With Uncle Walter

    Your Uncle Walter told me
    Everything he’d do if he was president
    Oh what a perfect world
    This world would be
    If he were President now
    But he’s not

    Oh, god, but he is, isn’t he?

  24. An Interested Party says:

    NBA players should not have to shame NBA owners to do the right thing by their employees…yet another example of callous billionaires not giving a damn about anyone else…

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:
  26. Liberal Capitalist says:

    As an FYI, my employer (a BIG one) cancelled all travel unless VP and security-response-team approved.

    I was approved… and the customer just cancelled today. That makes my internal process (go/no go) simpler. I don’t have to sweat the choice.

    Having flown and stayed in a hotel in this past week (picked up a used RV), the near impossibility of avoiding contact was evident.

    My prediction: Just a short hop to a national mandatory “no-travel at all” status. I expect that in a week’s time.

    Today, I explained to my wife the complexity of a box of Mac & Cheese: farmers, processing, chemistry, packaging, sales, shipping, local distribution, stocking on shelves… it’s a modern miracle for 50 cents.

    So fragile.

  27. Monala says:

    How does Covid19 end? If we are successful in stopping the spread due to lockdowns and social distancing, what happens when life gets back to normal? If there isn’t yet a vaccine, will there still be a bunch of non-immune people out there, susceptible to another outbreak?

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: It was nice knowing you. 🙂

  29. DrDaveT says:


    How does Covid19 end? If we are successful in stopping the spread due to lockdowns and social distancing, what happens when life gets back to normal?

    The ideal is that all active infections will have run their course before too much of the population gets infected. Even if we can manage that, there is ongoing threat of reintroduction of live virus from the rest of the world.

    Unfortunately, successfully “flattening the curve” to avoid overwhelming the health care system also delays the date when nobody is contagious any more. Given the incubation period and contagious window, I’m really not seeing how the US could afford to lock down for long enough to really restrict eventual spread.

  30. Jax says:

    With all of that said, I would appreciate it if y’all could let us know if you’re sick. I dislike it when people go missing (looking at you, Doug), and we don’t know what happened. I have instructed my daughter to let you guys and others know, should I die, and given her the appropriate passwords, written down. She has done the same for me.

  31. CSK says:

    @Kari Q: @Jen:

    On Wednesday March. 11 cases in Mass.went from 22 to 92. The 70 were all from a biotech company meeting in Boston.