Mid-Week Forum

Hump day, dontcha know.

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:
  2. Scott says:

    On the inconsequential side:

    At home the other day we were talking about name popularity (due to new grandchild). Using the Social Security site: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/ I found that my name, Scott, has declined all the way to 520 in popularity (down from 40 in 1954) with 541 births while Khaleesi (of Game of Thrones fame) is ranked 549 with 560 births.

    What greater sociological significance this has, I will leave to better minds.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    Came across this yesterday

    Why the White House May Not Dare Fight on Executive Privilege

    It would be ripe for a court to declare that indeed, Tiny’s actions are a crime and then watch the Retugs acquit.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: I was born in ’58 so I tracked Thomas from ’60 on

    1960 – #9
    1970 – #17
    1980 – #25
    1990 – #26
    2000 – #33
    2010 – #62
    2018 – #49

    I wouldn’t have thought Thomas would have fared so well.

  5. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Biblical names always seem to be popular.

  6. CSK says:

    I was musing today on how Donald Trump, who professes to hire only “the best people,” ends up hiring so many people he later characterizes as losers.


  7. CSK says:

    Particularly since the late sixties, and particularly among male children. This is just my observation, but there seemed to be a sudden upswing starting then in the number of Joshuas, Ebens, Ezekiels, etc.

  8. Moosebreath says:


    “World’s wurst driver: Oscar Mayer Wienermobile gets frank warning from officer ”

    I never sausage a silly story. Hopefully, we can mustard our enthusiasm for a good punning contest.

  9. CSK says:

    I would relish that.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: That’s probably it. I’m such an atheist it never even occurred to me to look at it from that angle.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I didn’t notice that trend until I was naming my sons in the mid 80s.

  12. Scott says:

    @Moosebreath: Just wait until the driver starts hot dogging around.

  13. Kathy says:


    Completely irrelevant, I know the guy who started the Social Security baby names database. He was working as an actuary for the SSA when he did it. He then moved into gaming math, and eventually made out rather well selling his gambling website and forum.

    I met him through an interest in gambling, not names. But I am somewhat interested in names. Some have evolved in odd ways.

    Consider a female Greek name somewhat popular in the mid-Byzantine era, Theophano. It means something like “manifestation/revelation of God.” The male version was Theophanes. The name changed in time, becoming things like Theophanu and Theophania.

    But it eventually evolved a variation in English, which remains to this day. Care to guess what it is? No need. It’s Tiffany.

  14. CSK says:

    My mother worked in a pre-school starting in the early seventies, and she noticed that all the little Davids and James and Williams were being replaced by Joshuas, etc.

  15. DrDaveT says:


    My mother worked in a pre-school starting in the early seventies, and she noticed that all the little Davids and James and Williams were being replaced by Joshuas, etc.

    When my brother was born in 1972, my parents named him for much-loved great uncle, who was the only person they had ever met (or heard of) with that particular name.

    By the late 80s, that name was in the top 10 for boys.

    David, of course, is a perennial. It has fallen from #1 in 1960 all the way down to 22nd in 2018.

  16. Moosebreath says:


    I think the driver was running late, and was trying to ketchup. Now he’s in a pickle.

  17. CSK says:

    Trump Tweeted this morning that John Bolton “begged [him] for a non-senate-approved job.” Really? Isn’t it Trump’s default position that all these “winners” he hires later somehow mysteriously turnout to be losers? And that all of them “begged” to be hired?

  18. CSK says:

    But before that, he was on a roll.

  19. Jax says:

    I will confess to a certain annoyance that a lot of baby names these days have been Y-ified to death. For instance, Praxtyn, Tyffani, Matisyn, etc. Anything that normally has an o or an i gets a y, in the interest of being “different”. But everybody else is doing it, too, so it doesn’t turn out different at all, just a bunch of random y’s that confuse people trying to write it or pronounce it.

    As someone whose first AND last name is spelled and pronounced incorrectly 99% of the time (and how I ended up with the nickname Jax), I will be super happy when traditional spellings come back into style!!

  20. sam says:
  21. Moosebreath says:


    He’s lucky the officer let him off with a warning. Otherwise, he’d have been grilled during interrogation.

  22. CSK says:

    And it would have been best for him to be frank during that grilling.

  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I’m even more convinced today, than I was yesterday, that one or both of the Biden’s should testify; call the Republican’s bluff. It just keeps becoming more apparent that the Biden’s are a car the Senate dogs have no interest in actually catching.
    On the upside it will open the door to all the other witnesses we NEED to hear from. And it will have the added bonus of focusing embarrassment on the Trump children…I mean, if nepotism is corruption then let’s talk about it.
    The only downside is the inevitable Biden gaffe.

  24. Scott says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I agree. Testimony is more than just being questioned. Submitting a long detailed statement provides the opportunity to draw distinct facts out and point out other areas of examination (McConnell and Chao corruption perhaps?).

    By the way, I understand executive privilege could be employed as a block but what about Giuliani. He’s not a government employee so that wouldn’t apply, I think. And my understanding of attorney client privilege only applies to direct legal matters, not being Trump’s errand boy. Unless I’m wrong on that.

  25. Kathy says:


    Dennison won’t be happy until criminal-accomplice privilege is recognized.

  26. Mr. Prosser says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The driver was a brat and deserved to have his wages garnished.

  27. Mr. Prosser says:

    @DrDaveT: Being old I remember many daughters born from the late 60s to early 70s named Michelle. I think mostly because of the Beatles song.

  28. Kit says:

    One more pun and I’m going to ask James to delete the entire site. You’ve been warned.

  29. CSK says:

    According to CNN, Trump has “formally threatened” John Bolton. This seems to mean that Trump’s lawyers have sent Bolton and Simon and Schuster a letter demanding that Bolton’s book be withdrawn.

  30. Scott says:

    @Kit: Doggonit! Don’t punish us. That would be barking mad.

  31. Moosebreath says:


    Are you also going to turn this car around?


    I think we need to wash down all the hot dogs with a growler.

  32. Scott says:


    That would make this forum beerable.

    Please! Make them stop!

  33. Kathy says:


    My name’s not popular at all, and I’m glad that’s so.

    But, consider there are variations on the same name, even when it’s not adding or substituting a “Y” somewhere, as @Jax has complained about.

    So, take my name. There are several variants: Kathryn, Catherine, Katheryn, Cathleen, Kathleen, Katarina, Catarina, Catalina, Katalina, Cathryn, Katerina, etc. even if we don’t account for forms in other languages, like Yekaterina or Ekaterina, or even Katya.

    So added all together the popularity should be higher.

    They all come from the Greek root word “Katharos” which means something like clear or pure.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: People have been pronouncing and spelling my last name wrong all my life. I got used to it. In addition, my grandfather must have gotten here right after a boatload of Armenians showed up because some overly tired immigration flunky tacked an “ian” on the end of our name and every now and again I get solicitations from the Armenian American Society or some such. My family is actually from Slovenia.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Meh, it’s all Greek to me. 😉

  36. Mister Bluster says:

    Biblical names always seem to be popular.
    My dear departed mother was born in South Dakota in 1920. Her first name is Beulah and her middle name is Esther. Biblical times two.
    Didn’t do her any good. Right about 1956 when I was eight years old she was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic.
    One of the manifestations of her tortured mind was that she literally heard God’s voice speak to her and she truly believed that she was the Beulah mentioned in the Bible.
    In the “good old days” of the 1950s very little was known about this vile disease. There were no drugs available then and when she got violent, which was often, my father had to go to court to have her involuntarily committed to the local State Hospital.
    He told me he feared for the lives of me and my younger brother and sister.
    With good reason.
    One time when he was out of the house my mother suddenly became enraged with my brother, grabbed the toaster, held it over his head with both hands and threatened to crush his head in. He was screaming and crying and begging her not to. As fast as her rage came upon her it subsided and he was spared.
    Her treatment consisted of being locked up in a ward with other patients suffering from who knows what, talking to a doctor maybe once a week for a few minutes and the state of the art electro shock therapy.
    Until the drugs were developed that actually did manage her symptoms she spent the better part of 10 or 12 years in these institutions.
    Despite all this my dad stood with her and as long as she took her medication she was able to live at home with him.
    They were married 60 years when he died.

    Several years ago I saw this guy on NightLine.
    A truly remarkable fellow. I did not know that he had died recently.

    A psychologist with over 40 years of experience, consumer advocate, veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, accomplished speaker and so very much more, Frese was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and repeatedly committed to psychiatric facilities involuntarily.
    In just twelve years, he would become the chief psychologist for the very mental hospital system where he received treatment.
    Dr. Frederick J. Frese III
    1940-2018 RIP

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Dr. Frese was a hell of a dude. This made me wonder:

    When I first met Fred at a talk at George Mason Law School, I was awed by his ability to engage an audience. Full of passion, energy and humor, Fred took a classroom full of wide-eyed students through the realities of what it was like to have psychosis, to be hospitalized, and what that experience was like for someone potentially with access to nuclear weapons.

  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    The name Michael was #2 forever. It means, ‘who is like God?’ which I’ve always been able to answer with, “Well, me, obviously.” Now it’s dropped to the mid-teens.

    I blame atheists.

  39. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    You and your family have my admiration. You, your sibs, and your father must have been extraordinary people to have come through that.

  40. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..for someone potentially with access to nuclear weapons.

    I’m sure Mitch and all the responsible Republicans have this on their minds as they consider the fate of Supreme Leader and Chairman of the Republican Sex Workers Party Kim Jong Trump*.

    *I love a parade!

  41. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Scott: The officer who wrote the citation said, “That’s a real bunch of brats.”

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..extraordinary people
    Thank you.
    I have to credit my dad and fluphenazine for the successful outcome of my mother’s diagnosis.
    We were really a very middle class family in post WWII America dealing with abnormal circumstances.
    And as I have come to know, we all have our crosses to bear.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: So you really only have yourself to blame?

  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Have you forgotten. . . Satan?

  45. Sleeping Dog says:

    Hot digity dog, this has been the punniest OTB forum ever.


    In the 80’s there were a couple Mpls sports writers that had a Saturday morning radio show and one of their shticks was to go through the birth announcements and ridicule the spelling of the given name

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Why not? My my wife blames me for everything anyway, you might as well too.

  47. Kathy says:

    Ho long before the wingnuts on the right begin to argue “We’re a Divine Right monarchy, not a republic!”

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Don’t you mean …Lucifer?

  49. Teve says:

    @Kathy: I’ve known several smart conservatives over the last 20 years, and they were very unhappy and angry with the elevation of complete idiots like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, and I remember one of them saying about a Republican whose name I can’t recall, “he’s not even a conservative, he’s a goddam monarchist!”

  50. Kathy says:


    I thought all monarchists fled to Canada in the 1780s…

    Speaking of which, as voter suppression efforts get under way, it would be a fine time for the GOP to remember some ruckus some people once caused when they were denied representation in government. Around the 1770s, if memory serves.