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. Bill Jempty says:
  2. Bill Jempty says:
  3. Tony W says:

    @Bill Jempty: Trump emboldened a segment of society that has been hiding in shame since the days of Archie Bunker.

    Hard to put that genie back in the bottle.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Seeing as this is Labor Day, I’m going to whine about how much I still miss working. Not all the blood and sweat, not dealing with the assholes, not the bone deep ache of overtaxed muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Just the part of being on a crew building something that will still be around long after we are nothing but dust and ashes.

  5. Kathy says:

    After a very long time, I finally switched my work PC to the laptop.

    The older desktop was excruciatingly slow, even after they replaced the native HD with a solid state one. Over the past few months it got worse. It acquired the habit of freezing an app for several minutes when you asked something too strenuous of it, such as opening an email or writing one formula in Excel.

    The problem now is the inability to not combine taskbar buttons. Some research online suggests this ability is not yet available in the general release, only to the early “insiders.” The latter is a stretch, as anyone can be a Windows insider. I am on my home Win10 machine.

    I could download any of a variety of apps that would fix the problem, including Start11 to even get back the Win10 or Win7 start menu. Some are very reasonably priced, too. The issue is IT doesn’t let us install software. You have to petition IT, get them to tell you it’s not necessary, argue the point for months, and finally after they vet it and decide it’s ok, you probably are at the point of upgrading your PC.

    Other than that, though, it’s like 10,000% better. it’s not lightning fast, no. just normal. That’s a huge improvement.

  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    I understand completely. Very different occupation but restaurant life came with its own cuts, burns, aches and pains. (I still remember the joy when Ibuprofen became over the counter.) I have a muscle in my right shoulder – lifting 20 pound trays then running up and down stairs – that years after I was out of the biz would spasm and cripple me for days. As in reduced to crawling across the bathroom floor with my wife asking if I was having a heart attack.

    OTOH, end of a night where everything went to shit, smoking a joint or doing shooters afterward with the boys and girls, pissing and moaning but also weirdly hyped and flirting* because we did it, we got through it. The cooks who hated us all half an hour earlier and who we hated in return join us in the alley or at the bar as it’s shutting down and we all laugh. . . writing is just not the same kind of labor.

    *This probably not so much part of your work experience.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    New Zealand woman discovers surgical instrument ‘size of a dinner plate’ left in her body after operation

    The commissioner acknowledged that theatre staff involved in the surgery were genuinely concerned and apologetic upon hearing of the woman’s experience, but was scathing in her response to Te Whatu Ora’s claims.

    “Te Whatu Ora pointed to a lack of expert evidence to support the conclusion that [the code] had been breached and referenced known error rates,” McDowell wrote.

    “However, I have little difficulty concluding that the retention of a surgical instrument in a person’s body falls well below the expected standard of care – and I do not consider it necessary to have specific expert advice to assist me in reaching that conclusion.”

    Ummm, yeah. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: *This probably not so much part of your work experience.

    Uhhh NOPE! chuckle

    In my last few years I did work a couple jobs with a woman on the job site (electrician or pipe fitter) and I once took a journeyman upgrade class with a female carpenter but that was the extent of that. I also only worked with one black carpenter over my 35 years. The union is doing better (I see more and more blacks in carpenter whites on job sites in STL) but it is slow work.

    Want to also say that I worked a couple restaurant jobs in my younger days and I fondly remember the end of night bullshit sessions.

  9. Kathy says:


    In America, she would have found out much sooner. Namely when the instrument showed up on her bill, and her insurance refused to cover it.

  10. DrDaveT says:

    Prior to March 24 of this year, average global sea surface temperature between 60 degrees south and 60 degrees north latitude (the “SST World” metric) had never reached 21 degrees Celsius in the 40+ years that it has been measured.

    It has now been above 21 degrees continuously since July 20, at what is normally not the warmest time of year. The difference between the current temperature and the previous record for this date is roughly two standard deviations of the 1981-2011 distribution. The last time the temperature on this date was below the 1981-2011 average was in 1999.

  11. gVOR10 says:

    @DrDaveT: And next year there won’t be an El Niño and all the usual suspects will say see it was just weather it’s over now. Rinse and repeat.

  12. Mr. Prosser says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Michael Reynolds: You both describe what I miss. Not the work, the camaraderie with fellow workers whether in the firehouse or later in the teacher’s lounge.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mr. Prosser:
    There’s a theory that PTSD is often less about the trauma of combat and more about the loss of belonging, of being part of a platoon all trying to accomplish the same difficult thing. Then you’re discharged, go into the civilian world and sit in a cubicle talking to a computer screen and you feel lost.

    People who half-ass their jobs are missing something. In the larger scheme of the world your job may not matter much, and you may not like it or think it gives you the status you deserve. “Just’ a builder, ‘just’ a waiter, ‘just’ a taxi driver or cleaner or clerk or whatever. But it is a hell of a lot better for you, as the worker, as a human being, to be great at your job. You can be just a builder/waiter/driver, or you can be the best fucking builder/waiter/driver.

  14. Kathy says:

    The headline reads: Revealed: US pro-birth conference’s links to far-right eugenicists.

    I’ve no doubt of the issues to be discussed. Population collapse being a popular figment of the right. However, it’s this that explains how it gets any backing:

    The Natal conference – whose website warns that “by the end of the century, nearly every country on earth will have a shrinking population, and economic systems dependent on reliable growth will collapse”

    They just want to make sure the children of billionaires will have trillionaire grandchildren. Otherwise, why even have an economy?

  15. inhumans99 says:

    The NYT sent me a notification that Kim Jong will be meeting with Putin about supplying armaments for the Ukraine war.

    I always knew Russias claim of being prepared to fight a thousand years war was a bit of propagandistic BS, but going on a tour to shore up your weapons stash around 2 years deep into a war you started says volumes about how badly Putin miscalculated how the conflict with Ukraine would sort itself out.

    Ukraine is not Syria or certain African Nations, they are fighting back. In Syria Russia could drop a few nasty barrel bombs, torture some POWs, and call it a day, not so much in Ukraine.

    Folks who are more in the know may scoff at my saying the following, but I think that a light sheen of sweat has broken out on Putins forehead, it may be light but he is probably sweating the war a bit.

  16. gVOR10 says:

    @Kathy: I saw some online libertarian say it’s the utilitarian maxim. “The greatest good for the greatest number.” Therefore greater numbers. I somehow don’t thing that’s what Bentham and Mill had in mind.

    One lesson from COVID is that almost no one understands exponential growth. They believe that if our current economy depends on growth, then growth must be maintained forever. “What do you mean that might be problem? It’s worked so far.”

  17. Mister Bluster says:

    @Bill Jempty:..Nazis

    From 1941 to 1945 it was the official policy of the United States Government to kill as many Nazis as we could. Sometimes I wonder why we stopped.

  18. gVOR10 says:


    Folks who are more in the know may scoff at my saying the following, but I think that a light sheen of sweat has broken out in Putins forehead, it may be light but he is probably sweating the war a bit.

    I think he started this thinking it would be a quick walkover. Probably misled by minions who had their own agendas to profit from a takeover and generals who didn’t dare say no. When Zelensky and Kyiv didn’t fall easily he had no plan B and couldn’t find a way out. Pretty much like the start of any other war. And he’s already had one serious coup attempt.

    I’d say more than a light sheen.

  19. gVOR10 says:

    @Mister Bluster: WWII ended 78 years ago. Two generations. Lessons fade.

    Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. – Winston Churchill 1948

  20. Kathy says:


    That’s the kind of misunderstanding an idiot literalist would be ashamed of.

    People, IMO, also misunderstand compound growth. This is astonishing considering we’ve lived with inflation for a very long time.

    @Mister Bluster:

    The nazis surrendered in 1945, and the Geneva Conventions frown upon killing combatants who lay down their arms.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..Geneva Conventions

    Apparently Joliet Jake and Elwood did not pay attention in history class.

  22. CSK says:


    They might want to ensure that the grandchildren are white.

  23. Kathy says:


    Well, of course.

    But for the people who fund such things, I maintain it’s more important that their progeny can keep on increasing their wealth. Unless some overly optimistic fans of life extension and/or the singularity, expect to still be alive by the end of the century.

  24. DK says:


    Population collapse being a popular figment of the right.

    If the right is worried about the consequences of population decline, how does this square with Republican anti-immigrant fearmongering?



  25. DK says:


    Kim Jong will be meeting with Putin about supplying armaments for the Ukraine war.

    When your military is reduced to ordering weapons from Temu, Aliexpress, and, it’s truly past time to pack it in.

  26. dazedandconfused says:

    @Mister Bluster: There’s your answer, we keep them around for comedy they provide.

  27. Kathy says:

    On better things, the latest iteration of cilantro lime chicken was particularly good. I think I used more lime than usual. But then I also mixed a whole lot of onions in the sauce (I think one whole white onion, sliced), using the water browning method I posted about yesterday. They didn’t caramelize, and because I added water only after, some burned. But they were better than usual. Lastly, I also minced the garlic more (another tidbit from Lan Lam in her video on knife techniques).

    So, pick one, or a combination of all.

    The combined taskbar buttons are sooooo annoying. In particular, if a program has more than one window opened, clicking on the button doesn’t open the app; it only displays the miniature windows with labels. In addition, all of what I have opened take sup only slightly less than two uncombined buttons would. This leaves a lot of idle taskbar real estate.

    I know. I’m letting you all know what you found out over a decade ago when Win7* came out.

    I’m sticking with it because the peculiarities and outright sloooooooooowness of the old desktop wasn’t sooooo annoying, but rather sooooooooooooooooooooooo infuriating.

    *I came late to Win7. Very late. In fact, my first hands-on experience of Win7 came when I tried Win8 on a laptop partition. I’d gotten stuck with a Vista PC, and I delayed upgrading because I heard so much nice things about Win7, that I figured MS’s next OS would be even better.

    It was, but it was also Win10.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    Springtime for Hitler and Germany…

  29. JohnSF says:


    The nazis surrendered in 1945, and the Geneva Conventions frown upon killing combatants who lay down their arms.

    OTOH, a lot of Britons in retrospect rather regretted that we did not declare war upon Nazi Germany the minute they breached the Versailles Treaty terms.
    And in the end, in 1939, we declared war on them, not vice versa.
    They had not attacked us at that point, after all.

  30. Kathy says:


    That’s one that gets tossed around a lot in alternate history circles. there were many opportunities to declare war due to Versailles breach, long before 1939. There are many reasons why this didn’t happen, other than the onerous terms of Versailles.

    One that doesn’t get much play, though, came earlier: what if the UK had not declared war on Germany when it invaded Belgium in 1914?

    I honestly don’t know the details of the early days of the Western Front well enough to say. But odds are Germany would have done better in France, but nos so well that they could keep the UK from getting involved eventually, say by mid-1915 or so.

    What might have changed more is the war in the Atlantic. Odds are Germany would have declared all British shipping off limits to U-boats, lest they give the UK a reason to join the war.

  31. JohnSF says:

    WW1 timeline is a rather different thing.
    But in 1914, there was a lot of inclination to support France re. Germany; the German violation of Belgian neutrality made it certain.
    There were very few who then thought the UK could stand aside from its commitments re, Belgium.
    The British army had relatively little impact on the land war in 1914.
    But in the long term the British blockade, and the cumulative power of the Empire, doomed Germany.
    IMO the “onerous terms of Versailles” are overstated.
    Effectively Germany was on course to lose a LOT more in post-1945; but the Soviets truculence about the practicalities brought the whole process to a screeching halt.

  32. JohnSF says:

    My attitude to the policies of the inter-war period and the rise of the Nazis is rather lacking in objectivity, I’m afraid.
    Its basis is more emotional: my father (only once did he speak of it, to me) telling me how, at the age of 17, he dug a dead family out of the rubble of a bombed city.
    “They all had red hair. I remember that.”
    The subsequent attitude of a lot of people of that generation was, that we should have stomped the Nazis into oblivion before they could attempt a war that might have destroyed civilization.
    I tend to agree.

  33. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’ve been meaning to ask you. Have you read Your Table Is Ready?

  34. Kathy says:


    IMO, the Royal Navy was the decisive factor in WWI. That’s why what Britain does is important.

    But, like all counterfactuals, it’s hard to 1) get to that point given all of the UK’s commitments, 2) make a solid prediction, and 3) no prediction of what would have happened can possibly be tested.

  35. Matt says:

    @Kathy: So you don’t have an option in taskbar settings for “combine taskbar buttons” with a drop down box option?

    This is what I’m talking about.

    I’m kind of confused if you’re using windows 10 home edition or something else? There’s some differences between home and professional versions of windows 10 and 11.

    Taskbar button options are one of those features that they removed from 11 for no apparent reason. Fortunately it’s finally back in version 23H2. I don’t use windows 11 for several reasons like that but I do have a machine with 11 pro on it so I can keep on top of stuff.