Labor Day 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:

    No sleep for the weary. Or is it the wicked? Either way, it’s me.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Benton Park bike race today, if the rains hold off I would guess.

    My son always grills a meat and there is a pot luck table to graze on. When in doubt, I bake. I made 2 Apple Praline loaves, one with pecans, one without for my nut allergic granddaughter. Also made some Ka’ak Bil Simsim, a Palestinian bread I really like.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rising 1L Tom

    No please, go on, tell me all about how terrible it is to use the military as a backdrop to a speech

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In his brilliant new book, Dana Milbank, a Post columnist, does not offer any of the squishy-soft judgements to which most of his Washington colleagues have become sadly addicted.

    He comes straight to the point that eluded the authors of that Times story and that Post editorial: “Republicans have become an authoritarian faction fighting democracy. There’s a perfectly logical, if deeply cynical reason for this. Democracy is working against Republicans” who have only carried the popular vote once in eight presidential elections since 1988.

    As America “approaches majority-minority status”, Milbank writes, “… white grievance and white fear” have driven “Republican identity more than any other factor – and drive the tribalism and dysfunction in the US political system”.

    Working as a political columnist for the last 16 years, Milbank has had “a front-row seat for the worst show on earth: the crack-up of the Republican party, and the resulting crack-up of American democracy”.

    I’ve never been a WaPo reader so I know Milbank in only the most tangential way. I might pick this one up.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Heatwave in North America threatens to break global September temperature record

    Those Chinese have gone way overboard with this global warming hoax.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:
  7. MarkedMan says:

    Interesting perspective on a recent play that represented Joan of Arc as non-binary.

    Many British feminists immediately objected that, yet again, well-meaning revisionists had deemed a historical figure too compelling to be a woman. “One of the consequences of the recent insistence that gender identity is more significant than biological sex has been the recasting of those who fail to meet the stereotypical standards of cis womanhood as trans or non-binary,” wrote Victoria Smith in The Critic, pointing to the author George Eliot, the Civil War soldier Jennie Hodgers, and the ancient Egyptian queen Hatshepsut, as well as Little Women’s Jo and The Famous Five’s George. “Whenever you find an interesting woman—or even just a woman called George—you should always consider the possibility she’s a man.”

  8. CSK says:
  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    @MarkedMan: And this in an example of the problems that arise when a person decides that someone – in this case Joan of Arc – is what an observer says they are, rather than what they describe themselves as.

    There is, in fact, a quite interesting and long record of XX’s who presented themselves as men and lived as men. Joan was not one of them, as far as I know.

    In the history of humanity is has been rare to find a woman who has both the inclination and opportunity to do something like Joan. It does exist though, and it doesn’t mean Joan or the others are “men”.

    Meanwhile, humans appear to have quite a strong urge to look at figures from afar and declare them members of “our team”.

  10. CSK says:

    Donald Trump once tried to pay a 2 million dollar legal fee with the offer of a…horse.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer:I’ve always found the history of Joan of Arc to be fascinating. It is so improbable, yet at the same time gives incredible insight into her times and into all times. Religion, war, politics, class, it’s all there, exposed because Joan comes up directly and totally against the norms in each case.

    One aspect that doesn’t get enough attention is that of class. She was a peasant. A child. Uneducated. She ended up leading a large army to victories. This attacked the very foundations of the social structure. Armies must be led by men of noble birth, highly trained in the martial arts. Prior to Joan, the idea that a peasant could not only fight heroically but lead an entire army was as ridiculous as a pig leading a university. Not that the action was prohibited by the social structure, but that the social structure was as it was because it was ordained by human nature. It’s why every peasant champion was “found” to be a long lost nephew of this or that royal family. I’ve long wondered if the almost immediate effort to elevate her to sainthood was because the Church misjudged the situation. They put to death one of the “troublesome women” they dealt with from time to time, religious zealots who did not accept the Church hierarchy without question. But the nobles saw a much different threat: a peasant who could do what they did, only better, and a woman to boot. And because she was a woman, they couldn’t “find” that she was the lost male heir of a family of noble blood. Making her a Saint made her a miraculous instrument of God. A peasant, a woman could never lead an army, unless God himself intervened and guided her hand and tongue. And God could use any tool he wished. If it was his will, the pig could wear scholars robes and spout wisdom.

  12. wr says:

    @Jay L Gischer: “And this in an example of the problems that arise when a person decides that someone – in this case Joan of Arc – is what an observer says they are, rather than what they describe themselves as.”

    Well, no… Because this play is a fictional work reinterpreting the story of Joan of Arc to make its own point. It’s not claiming to be historically factual, it’s not trying to rewrite the way Joan is viewed. It’s no more a “problem” than casting a Black Hamlet or making an alternative version of Huck Finn in which Huck and Jim’s races are switched. The outrage that some activists manage to drum up over the notion that a writer has the gall to take a different approach to a historical character shows how shallow and silly their objections really are.

  13. MarkedMan says:


    The outrage that some activists manage to drum up over the notion that a writer has the gall to take a different approach to a historical character shows how shallow and silly their objections really are.

    Just to be clear, that’s not the case here. This is what she says about the play:

    Making Joan of Arc nonbinary is a legitimate artistic choice; asking questions about that decision is a legitimate critical choice. I am grateful to the Globe for staging this production—which I saw at the start of its preview period, before the production was finalized—and bringing this feminist conversation out from social-media silos and into the open. That’s exactly what a theater should do. All art is subjective: Josephine’s idea of Joan is no less valid than mine.

  14. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: No, sorry, I didn’t specifically mean her. I’m still reeling from reading the comments on the piece in the NYT…

  15. Kathy says:

    In a strange move, Israel has banned four-engine jets from Ben-Gurion airport. Allegedly it’s about noise and air pollution It’s really arguable how much the number of engines contributes to each. there’s speculation they don’t want Emirates to fly any of their A380s in. This would be an effect of the new policy, but I don’t see any reason for that.

    The policy allows for exceptions, such as if Biden or his successors wanted to land Air Force One there for a visit.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @wr: Which NYT piece is that?

  17. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Hahvahd-Law92–Please tell us this wasn’t you.

  18. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Not me! I don’t think it was HL92 either.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    IIRC some time ago in a comment I wondered if GOP pols are still making the pilgrimage to Las Vegas to kiss Sheldon Adelson’s ring now that his widow is wearing it. According to a schadenfreude filled post about GOP fundraising at Balloon Juice, as an Israeli citizen she’s less interested than her late husband in screwing up U. S. politics. Also, too, the stock price on her casino shares has dropped badly, leaving her with an income of only maybe a billion a year.

    The post says other major donors are also being much less generous and small donation suffer both because the rubes are less motivated and Trump is sucking so much of it into his black hole.

    The post quotes tweeter (twitterer?) counterfax,

    Glengarry Glen Ross remake but it’s about Republican candidates trying to raise money. Every review talks about what an inspired gag it is to have the Alec Baldwin role played by Donald Trump

  20. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08: Put the covfefe down!

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    Judge grants Trump’s Special Master request.

  22. CSK says:

    This is funny:

    Some were sufficiently sentient to refuse them.

  23. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I hope the decision can be appealed, and if so it will be taken to someone more in touch with reality.

  24. Scott says:

    Judge orders halt to DOJ review of documents seized from Trump

    A federal judge on Monday ordered a halt to the Justice Department’s review of materials seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, describing a threat to institutions and the risk of media leaks that could cause harm to Trump.

    “Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,” U.S District Court Judge Aileen Cannon wrote in a 24-page ruling issued on Labor Day.

    This bolded sentence is gobbledygook. It is saying, ” I have no idea if there is harm or not and only on unspecified conditions that may or may not happen, but I was appointed by Trump so I’ll go this way until overruled.”

  25. CSK says:

    Liz Truss is going to be the new U.K. prime minister.

    I’m sure JohnSF will be dropping by with his perspective.

  26. CSK says:

    It means he took stuff he shouldn’t have.

  27. Matt Bernius says:

    For folks interested in discussing the decision, my take is now live:

  28. wr says:
  29. Kathy says:


    And Chile failed to approve its new constitution.

    I don’t know enough about it to say for sure whether this was good or bad. But I did read in the paper Sunday that opponents were circulating, among much misinformation, fake copies of the proposed constitution. So I tend to think this is a bad result.

  30. Mister Bluster says:

    Can’t find the sources I just read minutes ago however apparently this can be appealed. There is some opinion that maybe appeal is not the best idea as it may end up in front of the United States Supreme Court.

  31. charon says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    I have seen it suggested that appealing the ruling is a bad idea.

    What if the 11th circuit overrules on appeal, and that is then appealed to SCOTUS. As Trumpy as SCOTUS is now, it could just take its sweet time to rule, thus stalling things indefinitely.

  32. dazedandconfused says:

    They were more than well aware illiterate peasants could lead armies. There are more historical examples than can be counted. Everybody knew the tribal leaders who took Rome apart never went to any war college and that they were just common folk was a subject of pride. Some of them were known to be women, even. Bodica, that Nubian queen that gave the Romans fits in Nubia, the legend of the Amazons, the Norskies had a couple too. Joan happened to fit the prophecy of the “Maid of Lorrine”, so they were actually primed for something like her to appear.

    How can one strip gender from the story of Joan of Arc? Perhaps a better question is why anyone would want to do so. Are they more interested in Joan or in themselves?

  33. JohnSF says:


    Liz Truss is going to be the new U.K. prime minister.
    I’m sure JohnSF will be dropping by with his perspective.

    Oh, come swiftly sweet meteor of doom!

    Seemed increasingly inevitable, but no less aggravating for that.
    (Not that Sunak would have been much better)
    On the other hand, at least we see the back of Johnson.
    On the gripping hand, Truss combines a willingness to listen to the Party/ERG headbangers with an un-Johnsonian inclination to put the hours in.
    Maybe malignancy is better when tempered with incompetent slothfulness?

    And just as inflation is sabotaging my alcohol budget. 🙁

    More seriously: the big question is how far, and how fast, she bends to the inevitable in re. massive energy markets intervention.

    An recognising she faces a choice: given need for essential public services & energy intervention, either abandon tax cut fantasies, or see the pound hit dollar and euro parity, a bond market revolt, and the Bank of England hiking interest rates to ? 10%.

    That means recession, and perhaps more important for a core vote section for Conservatives, a housing market crash.
    That is electoral “Game Over!”

    Latest poll (from Survation this time):
    Lab 43%; Con 33%; LibDem 11%.
    And when they prompt the respondents with Truss as Con leader, we see their electoral honeymoon:
    Lab 46, Con 29, Lib 13

    That’s before the reality of this winter actually arrives.
    Tories are more toasted than a well-done muffin.

    Latest date possible for next general election is Tuesday 28 January 2025.
    In reality, no sane govt. will force votes to polls in midwinter.
    So it’s next autumn at most.
    And the Westminster rumour mill is a lot (poss. up to 30!) of MP’s are likely to be out before then, forcing by elections, due to health and to investigations into sexual and financial misbehavior.
    An disproportionate number of same rumoured to be Tory.

    Toast, I tells ‘ee.

  34. JohnSF says:

    And on the subject of energy prices:
    Russia states Nordstream1 gas pipeline to Europe will stay shut unless sanctions are lifted.
    Must be gambling they can meet the revenues from increased oil sales?
    And still hoping they can break the European economies.

    Market response: gas spot up a bit, but at around 250 euros/MWh still 100 down on peak a week ago (ie before the announcements of coordinated EU measures and storage at 80%)
    And German gas storage up by another 0.53% between yesterday and today.

    And Germany finally announces the inevitable: the reactors will be kept running into 2023 (at least IMO).
    There lads, didn’t hurt all that much did it?

    And so much for “closure is inevitable for technical and legal reasons!” squawks from the atomkraft, nein danke! crowd.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charon: Or SCOTUS could overrule the Circuit court so that every challenge related to former Presidents must forever go to Special Masters for evaluation.

  36. CSK says:

    Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, and Sens. Mark Kelly, Kyrsten Sinema, Mark Rounds, Rick Scott, and at Toomey have been permanently banned by Russia from entering the country.

  37. Slugger says:

    The only Joan of Arc that I am ever going to accept is Jean Seberg. My emotional growth was arrested in 1957, and that is just the way it is.

  38. al Ameda says:


    Donald Trump once tried to pay a 2 million dollar legal fee with the offer of a…horse.

    I’m surprised he didn’t do it, that is, pay off that fee, “Godfather Style.”