Monday Morning Tabs

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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. Gustopher says:

    Some laziness from FNC: Biden nibbles on frightened young girl during trip to Finland, weirding out Twitter users.

    The girl has seven (really almost eight) fingers left, and will have a story that she will tell for a lifetime. Twitter users are just making a big deal out of nothing.

  2. Gustopher says:

    Via WaPo: Far-right Twitter influencers first on Elon Musk’s monetization scheme. I have to admit, this got me to look into Threads. Musk’s rather obvious infatuation with the far-right, if not the neofascist right, is just beyond disturbing

    I think Facebook, owner of Threads, may have even larger problems.

    Amnesty International states that Facebook’s preferred narrative is false. The platform, Amnesty says, wasn’t merely a passive site with insufficient content moderation. Instead, Meta’s algorithms “proactively amplified and promoted content” on Facebook, which incited violent hatred against the Rohingya beginning as early as 2012.

    Despite years of warnings, Amnesty found, the company not only failed to remove violent hate speech and disinformation against the Rohingya, it actively spread and amplified it until it culminated in the 2017 massacre. The timing coincided with the rising popularity of Facebook in Myanmar, where for many people it served as their only connection to the online world. That effectively made Facebook the internet for a vast number of Myanmar’s population.

    Facebook knew. Facebook could have at least pulled the plug on Myanmar.

    On the other hand, I have a sporadically updated instagram. But part of why it is sporadically updated rather than regularly updated is the Zuckerberg is so incredibly awful.

    If use and Zuckerberg were ever to really do that cage fight, I would like a large, angry grizzly bear to be added as a third contender.

  3. DK says:

    While Ron DeSaster was focused anti-woke hysterics, it seems Florida come to have an inflation rate that’s 2-3x the national average.

    With Florida’s rising cost-of-living, this is maybe not the best time for Florida Republicans to keep bullying private businesses, keep denying climate change, and keep chasing away migrant labor with xenophobia, chasing away tourists with homophobic hate, chasing away education talent with book bans and anti-CRT hysteria, and chasing away doctors with forced birth extremism.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    The Rand Paul thing is pretty weak tea, especially considering the crudest sort of racism exhibited in the newsletters he published. From wiki:

    Many articles in these newsletters contained statements that were criticized as racist or homophobic. These statements include, “Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”[8][9][10][11] An October 1992 article said, “even in my little town of Lake Jackson, Texas, I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense… for the animals are coming.”[12] Another newsletter suggested that black activists who wanted to rename New York City in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. should instead rename it “Welfaria,” “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,” or “Lazyopolis.”[2] An article titled “The Pink House” said “I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”[2][13][14] Another newsletter asserted that HIV-positive homosexuals “enjoy the pity and attention that comes with being sick” and approved of the slogan “Sodomy=Death.”[2]

    A number of the newsletters criticized civil rights movement activist Martin Luther King Jr., calling him a pedophile and “lying socialist satyr”.[2][15] These articles told readers that Paul had voted against the Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal public holiday, saying “Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for that pro-communist philanderer, Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.”[2][16][17] During the 2008 and 2012 presidential election campaigns, Paul and his supporters said that the passages denouncing King were not a reflection of Paul’s own views because he considers King a “hero”.[18][19][20]

    In a January 2008 article in The New Republic, James Kirchick, who studied hundreds of Paul’s newsletters held at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas, and at the Wisconsin Historical Society, wrote that the newsletters “reveal decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays”.

  5. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: Those newsletters were from Rand Paul’s father, Ron Paul, not Rand himself.

    The son, however, has followed in his dad’s footsteps in other ways. When he first ran for Senate in 2010, he made remarks suggesting he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Rachel Maddow brought him on her program asking him to clarify, and he hemmed and hawed for 10 straight minutes without giving a clear answer. Later, his campaign put out a statement that he did actually support the act.

    Ron Paul, on the other hand, unhesitatingly says he believes the CRA was a mistake.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: Rand Paul received income from them. I can’t find references at the moment but I believe he was paid as an editor or publisher of some sort. He later claimed that although he and his father received regular income from them, they had never read them, nor had anyone ever mentioned their content to them.

    [Edited: I’ve searched a bit more and can’t find references to Rand Paul earning income from the newsletters, but FWIW, I have a distinct recollection when if first started coming out.]

  7. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: I do know that Ron’s explanations/excuses for the newsletters over the year have not been consistent. In the 1990s when a reporter brought them to his attention, he defended one of them, an article stating that black teens running away from police are “unbelievably fleet of foot.” It was only later that he announced the articles had been ghostwritten. As the article you link to mentions, several sources suggest the ghostwriter was Lew Rockwell, a close friend and associate of Paul’s, though Rockwell has denied writing the racist content.

    It should be noted, as a separate matter, that during his 2008 presidential campaign Ron refused to return a donation from Don Black, the founder of Stormfront. When asked about it, he said that accepting Black’s money was not tantamount to endorsing his positions. He also posed with Black in a photo.

  8. de stijl says:


    I would be the over-involved spectator who decided the best course of action would be to toss my folding chair into the ring to see if someone picks it up and decides to use it as a blunt weapon.

    Myself, I am Facebook and Twitter free. I have no dog in the fight. I’d decided years ago that Facebook and Twitter are not not platforms I want to engage with. Using them was unpleasant and not in my long-term interest or benefit so I noted out. With FB, I didn’t nope out I just noped. Not for me. I decline the offer.

    I never touched Facebook at all. I had an active Twitter account for about 3 weeks at which point I entirely ran out out of salient things to say that I wanted other folks to hear. The last two weeks I just posted pics of pangolins because pangolins are fascinating and meme pics of pangolins doing the pec flex pose amuse me greatly. I find them delightful.

    If there were actually a Musk vs. Zuckerberg cage match, my first impulse would be mutual annihilation, but mostly I don’t care. It’s not my business and does not affect my life in any way at all. Personally, I detest Musk as a person more so than Zuckerberg, but I intensely dislike both, so there is no upside to it actually. One is a putz and the other a schmuck. Both exhibit signs of extreme sociopathy and narcissism.

    I prefer real life where Musk lost about 50 billion dollars in real terms by fucking up Twitter so hard out of self-indulgence and personal pique. He is an idiot. A smart, insightful person can also be a total idiot and Elon Musk is a total fucking idiot.

    The monetization of social networks by collecting and selling personal data for profit is just anathema to me.

    I’ve noped on MySpace, Vine, Instagram, TikTok, etc on cost/benefit analysis, but mostly because it does benefit me, I don’t want to be bothered, and I don’t care, and I most assuredly do not want to share personal data to those platforms to be re-sold to advertisers.

  9. Daryl says:

    Biden nibbles on frightened young girl during trip to Finland, weirding out Twitter users.

    The Fox Angertainment Network is an open cesspool.

  10. Daryl says:

    I have to admit, this got me to look into Threads. Musk’s rather obvious infatuation with the far-right, if not the neofascist right, is just beyond disturbing.

    I’ve been on Threads since about day two.
    It’s a little boring, someone called it vapid, but so far the RWNJ’s are staying away.
    I used Twitter as a news aggregation source. So far Threads isn’t as good at that.
    But it’s new and hopefully some of the bugs will be worked out and functionality increased.

  11. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    St. Elon Cisgender Mars God etc. strikes me more as a not-quite-pie-in-the-sky idea person who has no or little clue how to implement their ideas, but often finds and employs the people who do.

    This is not an insignificant talent. However, it’s conducive to Dunning-Kruger traps. Particularly if he’s also a phony who likes to claim credit for other people’s work, achievements, and ideas. We know he makes exaggerated claims of real products all the time (remember the solar roof tiles?)

    It was almost inevitable he’d try to run a company he had no clue how to run, and proceed to run it into the ground.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: On the other hand, I unhesitatingly say that Ron Paul and all his get are a mistake.

  13. de stijl says:


    Have you seen The Glass Onion?

    If not, I strongly recommend, and it directly addresses the Musk question.

  14. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    No, but I recall a Beatles’ song by that name.

  15. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: Glass Onion is the recent sequel to Knives Out, and it features a tech-bro billionaire character who’s an obvious fictionalized version of Elon Musk.