Monday’s 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:

    Thanks to all who extended their condolences to me yesterday. I truly appreciate it.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Russian man has shot the leader of the local military draft committee in a Siberian town after telling him he would refuse to fight in the war in Ukraine.
    According to a witness, the man shot the military commandant after he had given a “clumsy” pep talk for the men to go and fight in Ukraine. “Nobody is going to go anywhere,” the man said moments before opening fire, a witness told the Baikal People news outlet.

    It is the latest incident tied to Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial mobilisation that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Russian men receiving their call-up papers.

    A half-dozen draft centres have been torched in arson attacks in the last week, and police made hundreds of arrests across the country in order to disperse local protests sparked by the announcement.

    “Things are going just swimmingly, Vlad. Why do you ask?”

  3. Jen says:

    @CSK: I was not online yesterday so missed your news. I am so very sorry–thinking of you and your family.

  4. Scott says:

    @CSK: Just signed on after being off for the weekend and read the news. I am so sorry to hear about your nephew. Will be thinking about you and your family this week.

  5. Kurtz says:


    I didn’t see your post until this morning. My condolences to you and your family.

  6. Kathy says:


    I’m sorry for your loss.

  7. Kathy says:

    Yesterday I made the mocha yogurt jello.

    Not a success. it tastes good, of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate, that worked as I’d hoped. But it turns out yogurt does not mix with gelatin, the thing did not set. it looks like chocolate-colored porridge.

    There’s liquid yogurt one can drink. I’ll try that next time (I’ve used it to make jello before, too).

    I also bought a jar of peanut butter, which I really shouldn’t have. I love it and tend to consume the whole jar within days. It mixes well with lots of things, like oatmeal and yogurt, and I use it on sandwiches and other things. yesterday I tried it with scrambled eggs with chorizo and cheese (pretty good).

    So it got me thinking about making peanut butter jello. It might work. PB melts when heated. I’m thinking 1/4 cup PB added to some packaged jello suitable for use with milk.

  8. Beth says:

    This week is already starting swimmingly. My partner left for a trip to sunny CA to actually go into her office for a couple of days. She hates it.

    The worst part however, is the kids and the pets are treating this as if she just set sail for the Undying Lands, never to return. The kids woke up weeping. Then the four of them (two kids, one dog, one cat) sat at the window forlornly willing her to return and save them from the misery of my parenting. To be clear, I am the fun parent that will let them do whatever they want provided they do their homework and go to bed on time. They are almost certain to whine to their paid grandparents that we are now living out a Dickens novel and that they should be allowed to sleep over for the week.

    Then I get to deal with the CRABBIEST client ever. She’s not angry, just super crabby. On the Daddy Reynolds scale; where 1 is your average “My Little Pony” and 10 is Daddy Reynolds ranting about pronouns, she’s a 42. Her closing was at 10, at 9 she was bitching at me that I had screwed it up. She didn’t have to be there, just send the money. I finished the closing at 9:45. I’m not going to call her until 11:30 just so I have some quiet.

  9. becca says:

    @Kathy: Mix prepared chocolate pudding with peanut butter and a splash of vanilla. Spread in a prepared pie crust. Chill. Very rich and fudgy.

  10. Kathy says:


    Pudding mix is one of those things we can’t get here. there used to be something similar, but I haven’t seen it in decades. Add my aversion to sugar, and it gets complicated.

  11. Kathy says:


    How do you get the cat to do homework, and what do you have it do as homework? 😉

  12. Beth says:


    He’s supposed to kill any of the normal creepy crawlies in the house, he’s terrible at that job. So instead his job is to be filled with ennui and scream. So much ennui, so much screaming.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    DeSantis portrays himself as champion of immigrants’ welfare after backlash

    To hear Ron DeSantis tell it, his splurge of up to $12m of Florida taxpayers’ money to fly migrants between two states he’s not governor of is all Joe Biden’s fault.

    The US president’s border policies, the Republican Florida governor insists, left him no alternative but to step in to the immigration fight, which he did by dumping two planeloads of mostly Venezuelan asylum seekers from Texas in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, last week with no advance notice.

    “Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them,” DeSantis’s office claimed in a statement painting him as a champion of the immigrants’ welfare who is “sharing the burden” of border states.

    “They have been provided accommodations, sustenance, clothing and more options to succeed,” the statement added, without noting such aid was provided entirely by authorities on the ground, who moved swiftly to deal with the sudden and unexpected influx.

    Sure thing Ron, you were just trying to help them.

    You want to buy some Florida beach front property from me? I’ll give a real deal on it.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: I have read that female cats are much better hunters than males. I know that our Miss Kitty is a mouser extraordinaire. She even killed a copperhead in our bedroom once. Now, if only I could teach her to dispose of the bodies…

  15. Scott says:

    Until this popped into my email this morning I had completed forgotten about them:

    The Forward Party Wants to Disrupt Traditional Politics. But Can It Win Elections?

    Question: What do you call a political party that disdains both politics and partisanship, boasts of having no platform, and is led by politicians with little in common beyond their lack of recent political success?

    a) A paradox.
    b) A vanity project.
    c) A money-making scheme.
    d) The future of American politics.

    For the thousand or so people who crowded into Houston’s Bayou City Event Center on Saturday to witness the national launch of the Forward party, the answer was decidedly d.

    The Forward party claims to have no ideology. But anyone listening to the speeches on Saturday would have recognized the technocratic worldview of Silicon Valley, the Aspen Institute, and the World Economic Forum.

    As a soulless technocrat myself I’m naturally attracted; however, for now, I’ll wait. Not pass. Just wait.

  16. Kathy says:


    I can’t say Ramona ever caught or killed anything. She never brought corpses inside the house if she did. Of course, she eventually caught the string and toys she pursued relentlessly, but I also eventually let her. Even the elusive red dot. She couldn’t grasp it, but she did catch up with it.

    What I do know is the pigeons that had roosted on our roof were gone a few days after the cat moved in.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: No, no, no. Bringing you the body is the same as when the hit man sends you the hand of the victim. It’s proof of service provided. What you do with the hand/corpse is your own business.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I wouldn’t mind so much if she brought them to me. As is she just leaves them in darkened corners where I am sure to step on them in my bare feet.

  19. JohnSF says:

    That’s always the problem, isn’t it?

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: At one time we had four cats. Three would chase the red dot to exhaustion. The smart one, the black Burmese, would look at the dot, then look up at me like, “Seriously?”

  21. Gustopher says:


    She even killed a copperhead in our bedroom once.

    Why is your bedroom infested with venomous snakes?

  22. charon says:

    A Pennsylvania school district has banned “Girls Who Code” in its purging of books, saying the series encouraging girls to get into STEM is too “activist.”

    I am not seeing all that much difference between conservatism and misogyny.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charon: YIKES!!! But no, there’s no significant difference that I’ve ever noticed between conservatism and misogyny until one is talking about one’s own daughters. My daughters are merely seeking their rightful place; the daughters of others are being uppity.

  24. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: I hate it when bad things happen to good people. May the memory of your nephew bring joy after the sting subsides.

  25. JohnSF says:

    Maybe it keeps the mice away?

  26. Beth says:


    My mom had a cat like that. Hardass female cat. Could probably take down an animal 3-4 times her size. She was pure fury and spite. She once pulled her own teeth out when she was old and they were bothering her.

    My soft boi, Dr. Tinycat* is a lazy idiot. He was the runt of a litter born outside the front of my house. We took all of them and their evil hell beast mom in. Mom was eventually TNR’d. There was no domesticating her. All the other kittens were neutered and then given away. We kept Doc cause we’re softies and I hand fed him for the first week or so of his life. His siblings wouldn’t let him eat from mom. Now all he does is laze around the house and scream. Sometimes he’ll snuggle with me and I’ll put my hand over his face and he just melts.

    * he overcame great adversity and graduated from Cat Medical School. Now he just mooches off his adopted parents, cause who wants to see a screaming cat doctor?

  27. JohnSF says:

    Thing is, being a Brit with no familiarity with American fauna, but some with US history, “copperhead” always makes me think first of the northern Confederate sympathizers from the Civil War.
    Clever anachronistic murder-kitty!

  28. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Late to comments, but condolences from the Luddite family. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.

  29. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32: @Flat Earth Luddite:
    Thank you both so much.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: We live out in the boonie woods. Encounters with copperheads and rattlers are not uncommon. As is, it only happened once. There is a crawl space underneath the bedroom and I had a hole in one wall to access some plumbing. I closed that up post haste after the invasion of the copperhead.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well, I can tell you that our male cat, rescued from the woods when he was about 1 year old, was a hunter supreme in his prime. There was no chance of making him an indoor only cat, so he has always had fairly free run of the local area. When he was young he would go out for hours and even a day or more at a time, stopping in once or twice a day to take one nibble of his dry food just to make sure it was still there, and then going out to catch his real meals. He ate everything, tip to tail, even most of the feathers as near as I can tell. Except for these tiny little dark green organs which he would deposit on the stepping stones we had leading out to the side gate, one organ per stepping stone, right in the middle.

    Of course, at 14 he’s not so much interested in hunting anymore. Recently he spent all morning watching two chipmunks chase each other until one made a foolish leap, fell out of the tree and landed maybe three feet away from the cat. They stared at each other for a good 5-10 seconds and then the chipmunk ran back up the tree. The cat didn’t even blink.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: Definitely “c”.

  33. grumpy realist says:

    Our cats were all avid hunters which meant every morning we would be confronted with a furry Somme on the doorstep….mice, voles, shrews, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels….there was a certain tone in their voices if they wanted to come in WITH prey which we quickly learned to pay heed to.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Except for these tiny little dark green organs which he would deposit on the stepping stones we had leading out to the side gate, one organ per stepping stone, right in the middle.

    That gave me a good chuckle.

    My sister had an all white* male cat named Sydney**. Deaf as a post. Tore up the furniture so they had his fore paws declawed. My mother loved her birdies but Sydney was a stone cold assassin so she put a tether on him. He still killed the birdies, so she put bells on his collar.

    Guess what?

    Yep, he still killed the birdies.

    Ma said, “Fuck it. If those birds are so stupid as to get killed by a deaf, all white, declawed cat with bells on his collar and connected to a tether, they need to die.”

    *somewhere along the line we heard that all white cats are deaf as a rule. no idea if that is true or not. I suppose I could google it, but I don’t really care

    ** when my sister first acquired him, she couldn’t come up with a name so we just called him “Cat”. when she moved out and got an apt. and 2 college roommates, “Cat” went with her. One of her roomies, Ronnie, was from Australia. One day a phone bill arrived for several hundred dollars (this was the mid to late ’70s) It seemed somebody had been making long distance phone calls to Sydney Australia (amongst other places). When confronted, Ronnie swore she wasn’t making surreptitious calls home. The next month was the same. The issue just about tore them apart when one of them walked into the apartment and caught the cat dialing the push button phone.

    That was how he came to be called Sydney.

  35. Kathy says:

    You all may want to know NASA’s DART probe scored a direct hit on its target asteroid.

  36. al Ameda says:

    Oh no, I just read of your situation.
    All I can do is wish you and your extended family peace and peace of mind.

  37. dazedandconfused says:


    The detached a camera to record the impact. It is recording the ejecta now so it’s not transmitting. Soon we will have pics of the impact.

  38. CSK says:

    @al Ameda:
    That’s so kind of you.

  39. grumpy realist says:

    @dazedandconfused: Here’s the official NASA replay/

    (Hope the YouTube link works)

    The very last frame is spectacular.

  40. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I have a similar attitude towards “poor little birdies” and one of our cats: if a bird can’t understand the danger from a 15 pound dark grey cat sitting right under the bird-feeder in the open with his mouth open, there’s not much you can do to protect them. Stupid birds.