Memorial Day Forum

FILED UNDER: Open 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. CSK says:
  2. charon says:

    BJ is back, mostly.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A slow news day to wind up the holiday wkend.

    China’s foreign minister tells Pacific leaders ‘don’t be too anxious’ after they reject regional security pact

    Pacific countries have declined to sign up to a sweeping regional economic and security deal proposed by China, after a crucial meeting of Pacific foreign ministers and their Chinese counterpart on Monday.

    China’s foreign minister Wang Yi is in the middle of a marathon tour of the region, visiting eight countries in 10 days, a trip that security experts have said represents a dramatic “uptick in tempo” of China’s push for influence in the region. On Monday, Wang held a virtual summit in Fiji with foreign ministers from Pacific countries at which the region-wide deal was discussed. Several invited nations want to defer action on the draft communique or have it amended, an official from one Pacific country told Reuters.

    Wang urged the Pacific region not to be “too anxious” about his country’s aims after the meeting was unable to agree on the pact. The deal, which was leaked last week, covers everything from a free trade area with the region to providing humanitarian and Covid relief. It also lays out China’s vision for a much closer relationship with the Pacific, especially on security matters, with China proposing it would be involved in training police, cybersecurity, sensitive marine mapping and gaining greater access to natural resources.

    Gee, such a deal. Who could resist?

    “Don’t be too anxious and don’t be too nervous, because the common development and prosperity of China and all the other developing countries would only mean great harmony, greater justice and greater progress of the whole world,” he (Wang) said.

    Yeah… Don’t worry, be happy! That boa constrictor around your neck would never choke you.

  4. Scott says:

    Now some attention is starting to be paid. Wonder how long it will take (and if it will be too late) for the inevitable radical Christian terrorism to be noticed.

    Christian nationalism on the rise in some GOP campaigns

    Christian nationalism, they say, is often accompanied by a belief that God has destined America, like the biblical Israel, for a special role in history, and that it will receive divine blessing or judgment depending on its obedience.

    That often overlaps with the conservative Christian political agenda, including opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and transgender rights. Researchers say Christian nationalism is often also associated with mistrust of immigrants and Muslims. Many Christian nationalists see former President Donald Trump as a champion despite his crude sexual boasts and lack of public piety.

    Christian nationalism is emerging alongside and in some cases overlapping with other right-wing movements, such as the conspiratorial QAnon, white supremacy, and denialism over COVID-19 and the 2020 election. Christian prayers and symbols featured prominently in and around the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection there.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    An interesting profile in the NYT:

    VATICAN CITY — David Kertzer put down his cappuccino, put on his backpack and went digging for more Vatican secrets. “There’s an aspect of treasure hunting,” said Mr. Kertzer, a 74-year-old historian. Moments later he cut through a crowd lined up to see Pope Francis, showed his credentials to the Swiss Guards and entered the archives of the former headquarters for the Holy Roman Inquisition.

    Over the last few decades, Mr. Kertzer has turned the inquisitive tables on the church. Using the Vatican’s own archives, the soft-spoken Brown University professor and trustee at the American Academy in Rome has become arguably the most effective excavator of the Vatican’s hidden sins, especially those leading up to and during World War II.

    The son of a rabbi who participated in the liberation of Rome as an Army chaplain, Mr. Kertzer grew up in a home that had taken in a foster child whose family was murdered in Auschwitz. That family background, and his activism in college against the Vietnam War, imbued him with a sense of moral outrage — tempered by a scholar’s caution.

    The result are works that have won the Pulitzer Prize, captured the imagination of Steven Spielberg and shined a sometimes harsh light on one of earth’s most shadowy institutions.
    The project (a Spielberg film) stalled, but Mr. Kertzer didn’t. He emerged from the archives to publish “The Pope Against the Jews,” about the church’s role in the rise of modern antisemitism. In 2014, he published “The Pope and Mussolini,” examining Pius XI’s role in the rise of fascism and the antisemitic Racial Laws of 1938. It won the Pulitzer Prize.

    Since then, Vatican archivists recognize and, sometimes, encourage him. “Perhaps even they’re happy that some outsider is able to bring this to light because it’s awkward, perhaps, for some of them to do so,” he said.

  6. Kathy says:

    Well, I’m back at work after a much deserved vacation.

    Alas, it didn’t go as I wanted it. An ongoing heat wave makes it hard to sleep. I pretty much spent two weeks napping, writing a bit, and streaming some Avengers animated shows. I also managed to make a few of my labor intensive recipes, like tomato soup. Every time I make it, I swear next time I’ll just crack and use canned concentrate next time. Then I eat it with white rice, lime, and this time white corn, and it’s so good.

    Last Wednesday dawned promisingly, for about five minutes. Rain the evening before had cooled things down, so I was able to get in a full night’s sleep. then I walked to the kitchen to make coffee, and found a leak of the water filter line had flooded the kitchen, the laundry room, the service hallway outside, and the stairs to the ground floor.

    I spent the day cleaning up, and much of the rest of the week dealing with plumbers, neighbors, and the insurance agent.

    It seems work has finally slowed down. We’ve been going at it nonstop since mid February, which is why I needed a long break from it.

    the very good news is that due to labor laws, I’ve an insanely generous amount of paid vacation. So I get to take another long break in July or August.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    And in some good news

    Woman Gets 15 Months in Prison for Punching Flight Attendant in the Face

    A California woman who repeatedly punched a Southwest Airlines flight attendant last year, bloodying her face and chipping three of her teeth, was sentenced on Friday to 15 months in federal prison, prosecutors said.

    The woman, Vyvianna M. Quinonez, 29, of Sacramento, will also have to pay nearly $26,000 in restitution and a $7,500 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. A video of the attack, which occurred in May 2021, was widely viewed on social media.

    Judge Todd W. Robinson of United States District Court also ordered Ms. Quinonez to be on supervised release for three years after completing her sentence, during which she will be barred from flying on any commercial aircraft.


    According to court documents, Ms. Quinonez sought a sentence of time served while prosecutors had requested four months in custody and six months in home confinement. In imposing the longer sentence, Judge Robinson “strongly considered the need for general deterrence,” Jaclyn Stahl, an assistant U.S. attorney, said in an email.

    Good for the judge.

  8. CSK says:

    A ten-year-old in Cape Coral, Florida was arrested for making threats via text message to shoot up his school.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    Boston Common, Memorial Day installation with the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the background.

  10. Bob@Youngstown says:

    I’d like to hear the pro-gun politicians, who insist that ownership of firearms are Constitutionally protected, explain the National Firearms Protection Act.
    Has the restrictions established by that Act ever been ruled unconstitutional?

    In addition to restrictions on ownership of machine guns The NFPA also restricts short barreled rifles and shotguns, cane guns, and pen guns.

    A restriction on purchase, age of ownership, registration of AR-15 (high velocity weapons) has nothing to do with constitutionality.

  11. CSK says:

    Trump says David Perdue lost the Georgia primary because he was lazy.

  12. sam says:


    the common development and prosperity of China and all the other developing countries would only mean great harmony, greater justice and greater progress

    Folks out there have heard this rap before, I think. See, Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

  13. CSK says:

    Marjorie Taylor Greene seems to believe that bacteria grow in a “peach tree dish.”

  14. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @CSK: Yeah, he was looking in a mirror when he made that comment.

  15. Beth says:


    Some of my favorite cases I had to read in law school were all about “trap guns” and how they were all inherently illegal. I wonder if Heller has implicitly overruled all of those.

    I should let my friend, whom we call “The preeminent sword crime attorney in IL”, know so that he can potentially add another feather to his already ridiculous cap.

  16. CSK says:

    That would be my guess.

  17. Just nutha says:

    @CSK: And I’m confident that laziness played a role. I’m just not sure of the size.

  18. Just nutha says:

    @CSK: Considering her general education level, that’s probably a reasonable mistake for her. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to hear her say that petri dish isn’t a real word.

  19. CSK says:

    @Just nutha:
    I don’t know what the curriculum is for University of Georgia business majors, which is what she was.

    I do believe that the House was aware of precisely what a moron she is when they stripped her of her committee assignments.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    Here’s an article (No subscription needed) about an average guy whose life has been destroyed by the culture of guns he embraced. At 19 he accidentally shot a man while practicing his aim, but he learned nothing from that. He got older and eventually became the owner of a hardware store and continued to embrace gun culture. In 2018, when he learned an anti-gun protest was being held not far from his shop after a massacre that killed 17 people at a high school, he took it upon himself to host a counter pro-gun rally. Just a few months later he noticed a man shoplifting in his store, grabbed his pistol and headed him off at the exit, grabbing the guys arm as he tried to leave. When the man pulled away, he shot and killed him at point blank range. It took nearly four years but he finally has been sentenced to 3 years in prison. His lawyer spoke in his defense at sentencing:

    Mark O’Mara, a lawyer representing Mr. Dunn, said during the hearing that his client’s decision to shoot Mr. Lopez “was not well thought-out, but also is not indicative of anger or animosity.”

    Years in prison and a felony record for the hardware store owner. A life cut short for the petty thief and parents that will never get over the loss of their child.
    This is the horrific banality of gun culture. We notice it most when it leaves a dozen children dead on the bloodied floors of an elementary school. But meanwhile every day there are dozens killed when a depressed gun lover has a few too many drinks and reaches for that easy way out, or loses his temper and fires on a family member or friend. Or perhaps it was a child who found the gun and killed their sibling or best friend while playing with it. (“Not my kids! I had a real serious talk with them about gun safety. They know better!) In this case, however, it was just a guy who did as the gun culture teaches: saw a problem, got a gun. Got angry, got a gun. Saw a guy taking advantage of him and, as he had been taught, immediately drew his pistol and confronted him.

  21. CSK says:

    A man disguised as an elderly woman in a wheel chair hurled a pastry at the Mona Lisa and yelled “Think of the earth.”

    I’m not sure how flinging baked goods around the Louvre furthers that goal.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    In WAPO this morning, a must read guest column.

    I was born in Uvalde, Tex., lived there recently and love its complex history and people. Like most, I’ve been struggling under the weight of grief to understand the violence that left 19 children, two teachers and a young killer dead last week. But I’m not surprised.

    First, you would be challenged to find a more heavily armed place in the United States than Uvalde. It’s a town where the love of guns overwhelms any notion of common-sense regulations, and the minority White ruling class places its right-wing Republican ideology above the safety of its most vulnerable citizens — its impoverished and its children, most of whom are Hispanic.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: If it helps any, the classes I took to fulfill my science requirement were Physics of Sound (roughly acoustics), photography, and Science Fiction (jointly offered and taught by the English and Physics departments).

    And I went to a school that is sometimes considered one of the “evangelical ivies” (yes, evangelicals want in on this whole prestige-schools scam, too).

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha: It wouldn’t surprise me at all to hear her say that petri dish isn’t a real word.

    It’s not, it’s just a word pointy headed intellectual scientists made up for “a small shallow covered bowl.”

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: “…but also is not indicative of anger or animosity.”

    Okay. But just for the record, anger and/or animosity are not factors in whether or not someone commits manslaughter. But I am glad to know that his action was, literally, a “random act of violence.”

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think it’s more of a round tray–flat bottom and perpendicular (another made up word) square corners–but whatever.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: You sound like another one of those pointy headed intellectuals my parents warned me about.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    You sound like another one of those pointy headed intellectuals my parents warned me about.

    In fact, now that you mention it… 😀

    The National Rifle Association’s board of directors re-elected its longtime leader Wayne LaPierre in Houston on Monday, despite the group’s deteriorating finances, claims he misused its funds and a challenge from a prominent Texas Republican. As I noted a couple of days ago, this type of thinking/behavior/practice/whatever may be the reason that the NRA so thoroughly discounts the “well-regulated militia” argument about the 2nd Amendment. Surely, they know themselves better than we do. (Or at least as well.)

    Perhaps “well-regulated militia” and “typical NRA chapter” are contradictions in terms of the same sort that some of our more topical comedians have claimed “military intelligence” is.

  29. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, it doesn’t help unless you were, like Marge, a business admin. major at UGA, which I gather you weren’t.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: How do you say< "I'm the stupid he's with." without saying, "I'm the stupid he's with."

  31. Bob@Youngstown says:

    I’m not sure what “trap”guns are – will look it up shortly.
    But as regards Heller, if the Heller ruling implicitly overturned the NFPA, I would have expected that the gun geeks would be flocking to purchase fully-automatic rifles and machine pistols.

  32. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I think of it more like a very short jar with a peculiar lid.

    I’d like to see what the deranged representative from Q would do to Bunsen burner or Erlenmeyer flask.

  33. CSK says:

    She probably thinks a Bunsen burner is a small Jewish space laser.

  34. Mu Yixiao says:

    You may wonder why I’m sitting in my hotel room drinking ice water and posting here, when I’m supposed to be drinking beer and eating ethnic food in Milwaukee. Well… It’s because MILWAUKEE IS CLOSED!

    Water Street Brewery? Shut down.
    Cuban place? Closed.
    Ethiopian place? Closed
    Greek place? Closed
    Irish pub? Closed.

    Hipster vegan places with soy latte IPAs? Open, but… EEEW!

    Rock Bottom Brewery? Open–but only for SRO on the patio (without an awning), and after 14,000 steps today, my arthritic knees need my ass in a chair, and my bald head need out of the sun*, thankyouverymuch.

    Fine. I’ll go back and have a beer and a burger at the hotel restaurant… CLOSED!

    I can’t even waste the afternoon at the Art Museum. Because–you guessed it!–CLOSED!

    * Yes, I slathered it in SPF 1 billion, but this Wisconsin white boy doesn’t do well in the sun.

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    Christian nationalism on the rise…
    Random quotes from The United States Constitution.

    This Constitution,* shall be the supreme Law of the Land;…
    …no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    *Not your Holy Book

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: A side note on that article I mentioned above. The defendant tried to use Florida’s Stand Your Ground law as a defense, but was denied by the court. I’m curious about that. As the law was written, a shooter only has to believe that they were in danger in order to justify a shooting. As I recall it, the law was controversial because it does not state that such a belief has to be reasonable. However, when I read the court document summarizing why the defendants claim was denied, it appears to be solely based on the fact that it was not reasonable for the defendant to be in fear. This is a case of a white store owner killing a dark skinned hispanic man, so racism doesn’t appear to be a reason for the court to rule against the shooter.

    So I’m curious – is this the norm for Stand Your Ground in FL? Despite the way the law is worded the courts and prosecutors have decided to interpret it differently? Or was the reporting about the nature of the law incorrect?

  37. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Kathy: She probably thinks titration is something obscene that pointy-headed liberals do.

  38. gVOR08 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: It should be noted that the “prominent Republican challenger” to LaPierre was Allen West. Black Republican grifter and obvious wack job. Your link says he got one vote from the NRA board. He must not have promised near as much graft as they’re getting now.

  39. Kathy says:


    Hm. How about a Rorschach test using laboratory terms and equipment?

    BTW, work has not slowed down. There’s a project due today, and no one has done a blasted thing about the specs or the price lists. So, guess how gets stuck with it?

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: My point was that I got 15 credits in science (including 10 upper division credits) without taking any science classes (well the physics of sound class might have been a science class if it hadn’t been arranged to be passed by music education and performance majors), so I can understand how it would be possible to get a degree–in anything other than biology, chemistry, physics, etc. thinking that the vessel in which one grows bacteria is a “peach tree dish.” They do sound very similar, and if you don’t know “petri”…

    But yes, she’s amazingly clueless. 🙁

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: And don’t be bad mouthing UGA. It may well be one of those “Southern Ivies” we occasionally hear about.

  42. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I knew what a Petri dish was in high school, and I’m sure you did, too.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: Except that it isn’t the State that is setting the qualification, it’s a group of voters. Or are you saying that only some voters have the right to decide what makes a candidate qualified for office?

    (Understand that I’m in the “better to be ruled by a wise Saracen than a foolish cleric” camp myself.)

  44. Joe says:

    “Petri” is a word Georgia-hating, pointy-headed, communist liberals invented to avoid honoring the native Georgian “Peach Tree.” That’s an etymological fact. Look it up!

  45. Sleeping Dog says:


    Pure speculation, but if the deceased was trying to escape and was w/o a weapon, it’s hard to claim fear. Also it is possible that the store owner told the police that the deceased was trying to get away. Such a statement, of course, could come back to haunt the shooter, since it shows not fear, but the desire to keep someone from escaping.

  46. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Southern ivies? Isn’t that kudzu?

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: That Allen West is “a prominent Texas Republican” only reinforces the disconnect between “typical NRA chapter” and “well-organized militia.”

    And when (and why for that matter) did Allen West move to Texas? MS Edge does note that he’s a former Chair of the Texas Republican Party, so that would account for why he’s considered prominent (and also could explain why the Texas Republican Party should be placed under national-party control, I suppose).

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I make no assumptions about what other people “know” or “should know” relative to my own experiences, but yes, one would think so–and apparently be wrong in this case.

  49. Mu Yixiao says:

    Finally found food at a “taquilaria” serving “global street food”. Yeah… as interpreted by hipsters from Milwaukee who’ve probably never left state. And the “spicy Korean chicken wings?” Nope. “Wisconsin spicy” at best (how the hell do you make gochujiang bland???)

  50. MarkedMan says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: “titration” Usuallyjusttwotoacustomer.

    [Hangs head in shame and slinks offstage]

  51. CSK says:
  52. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..“better to be ruled by a wise Saracen than a foolish cleric”

    Per James Madison’s Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 for August 20 In Convention, — Mr. PINCKNEY submitted to the House, in order to be referred to the Committee of Detail, the following proposition:
    “No religious test or qualification shall ever be annexed to any oath of office, under the authority of the United States.” among others.
    Maybe you should take up your inquiry with him.

  53. CSK says:
  54. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha: I think I was in my 30s when I discovered than “Don Quixote” and “Don Kayhotay” were the same dude. My quixotic search for information on Mr. Kayhotay had lasted for many years.

    You hear something, and then you never match it to the spelling.

    “Peach Tree Dish” was the most normal and relatable thing to come from her mouth in the clip I saw. You will apparently get electric shocks if you eat a real cheeseburger because Bill Gates is apparently growing meat in a peach tree dish and they want to train you, and the government wants to know about the consistency of your bowel movements.

    Peach Tree Dish is the least insane part of that.

  55. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: titration has an expected value of close to one, but a very high standard deviation. It should probably be titprobabilitydistribution.

  56. Sleeping Dog says:


    And she’ll be reelected to congress.

  57. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    No disrespect to UGA intended. i’m sure it, like all universities, admits the occasional nitwit.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Yet another voice crying in the wilderness.
    Maybe the next generation will be able to address the question, if they ever have the chance to run things.

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: Okay. Ask him which people get to decide what criteria they will use to decide who to vote for. I’d ask, but I’ve lost his address.

  60. CSK says:

    When I was a kid, I read a reference to Don Quixote. I thought it was pronounced “Don Quicks-Oat.”

  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: And in some dialects, it appears to be pronounced “keyshoteh.”

    And even then, the adjective is pronounced “quicksawtick” by most English speakers.

  62. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: Here’s the Florida statute as of last year. Not sure if this is a change from previous iterations, but it does include the word “reasonable” and limits the places one can stand one’s ground to “dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle.”

    Also it would seem chasing someone down or blocking them as they attempt to flee, then killing them, would not be protected actions.

  63. Kathy says:


    At school we read it, or most of it, in archaic Spanish, or whatever the language of centuries ago is called. We read other works from the era, too. It’s worse for English speakers, who get stuck reading Shakespeare.

    Look, literary value aside, the languages have changed enough in the intervening time, they really should be translated into what’s spoken today.

  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’m supposed to be drinking beer and eating ethnic food in Milwaukee. Well… It’s because MILWAUKEE IS CLOSED!

    Sounds to me like you should be buying can’t miss lottery tickets. 😉 s//

  65. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Yeah, that’s not in their constitution. Or at least not the one written by Jesus.

  66. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Pure speculation, but if the deceased was trying to escape and was w/o a weapon, it’s hard to claim fear.

    And yet cops do it all the time. And get away with it.

  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: (how the hell do you make gochujiang bland???)

    By serving it to Americans and hoping you’ll get paid for your trouble.

  68. Joe says:


    I believe your search, Gustopher, was actually Kayhotayotic.

    I, personally, was introduced to this whole etymological mess when my mother pronounced me “quixotic” and when I asked what she meant by that, she sent me to the dictionary. (Common exchange with my parents: “what does that mean? : we bought a dictionary, look it up.”)

  69. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Except Shakespeare’s writing is wonderful, and so much more densely packed than anything modern.

    It does need a really good set of footnotes though, and a lot of patience. I’m a big fan of Arden for the tragedies and histories, and Oxford for the comedies.

    But translate it?

    Romeo, oh, Romeo, why can’t you be some much less problematic boy with much more chill parents?

  70. Beth says:


    Romeo, oh Romeo. WYD?

  71. Kathy says:


    I suppose the translation would eff up the iambic pentameter, too.

  72. Wr says:

    @Gustopher: Translating Chaucer makes sense, since Middle English really is a different language. And Beowulf, since Old English is closer to Old Frisian than to English. But Shakespeare’s English is essentially the same as ours aside from some vocabulary.