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. Mu Yixiao says:

    Local radio host this morning made a gaff and said that “former president Biden” would be heading somewhere for something. That woke me up. 🙂

    Happy Election Eve.

  2. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    On a more positive note.

    Valerie Bertinelli had fans applauding as she changed her name on Twitter to “Elon Musk” in a subtle protest against his new subscription-based verification on the platform. In what some called a “master class in trolling,” the famous sitcom actress, 62, slammed the $8 pay-for-a-blue-check plan and began retweeting support for Democratic candidates ahead of next week’s midterms… all while impersonating the billionaire on Twitter. Elon, who purchased the app in October, said earlier this year that he would be voting Republican for the first time, per Independent.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Looks like Bertinelli isn’t the only one who had that idea. Just as funny is Musk hastily changing the rules so he can ban people who make fun of him.

  4. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    And an additional take on what “charging for” blue checks may turn out to mean from the former Mrs. Van Halen.

    The “One Day at a Time” alum, whose Twitter handle “Wolfiesmom” is a nod to her son Wolfie Van Halen, whom she shared with the late guitarist Eddie Van Han Halen, tweeted on Friday, Oct. 5, “The blue checkmark simply meant your identity was verified. Scammers would have a harder time impersonating you. That no longer applies. Good luck out there!” When a follower asked how “it no longer applies,” she answered, “You can buy a blue check mark for $7.99 a month without verifying who you are.”

  5. Kathy says:

    I’m stunned you don’t seem to get the brilliance of St. Elon’s blue check mark plan.

    See, instead of just mining user data, now users get to pay for the privilege of having their data mined. It’s better than a win-win. it’s a win-lose. St. Elon wins, we lose. What could possibly be better than that?

  6. Scott says:

    Yesterday, right on time the dogs came wagging their tails and looking at me demanding their dinner. Only it was one hour too early. I don’t understand why they don’t know about the clocks changing. Can’t they read a clock?

  7. Jen says:

    Kathy Griffin has had her account permanently suspended for doing that.

    Yes, Mr. Free Speech is suspending accounts that make fun of him.

  8. Scott says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: My one brush with celebrity. Mid-80s, I was in Park City skiing. One evening, my friend and I went to a basement bar called Pop Jenks. It was early and we grabbed a table that seated 6 and ordered a couple of beers. Another couple came by and asked if they could share the table. She happened to be the editor of the local newspaper and her friend was a ski instructor named David.

    A little time passed and who walked in and stopped at our table? Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli. Turned out that David was Valerie’s brother. They stayed and chatted. Perfectly nice people. And that is my one brush with actual celebrities.

  9. CSK says:


    What did he expect would happen?

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: In fairness, he is suspending people who pretend to be someone they are not, unless clearly marked as parody.

    What’s funny is that it just didn’t occur to him that this would happen. If all you have to do to get a blue check Twitter handle is to pay $8/month for it what did he imagine would happen? And, yes, he knows that who is posing as Elon Musk but how will Twitter enforce this rule against anyone else?

  11. Scott says:

    Couldn’t resist sharing this.

    US Air Force Says Penis-Shaped Flight Path Pointed at Russian Base Is a Coincidence

    The Air Force said Friday that a KC-135 Stratotanker’s peculiar flight path, which aviation enthusiasts said resembled the shape of a penis while flying close to a Russian base in Syria, was not intentional.

    Twitter accounts monitoring Flightradar24, a website that tracks planes, quickly pointed out Wednesday that the phallic-shaped flight path consisting of two circles and one large oval was suspect, and pointed directly at Russian forces. The Italian newspaper la Repubblica even wrote an article about the incident, stating “the shape in fact is unequivocally that of a penis,” according to an English translation.

  12. Kathy says:

    Notice for the latest Lunar eclipse.

    These happen at very inconvenient times. In this case totality is around 5:15 to 6:40 AM EST. If I beat the alarms, I may watch the end of it. If it’s not cloudy, and if the Moon is not obstructed by surrounding buildings.

  13. Michael Cain says:

    @Scott: I have always been impressed by the precision of dog stomachs as a timing mechanism.

  14. Kathy says:


    Do they complain when the daylight savings change happens and they get dinner an hour earlier? I should think they’d take it as a pleasant surprise.

    There’s a chance here for an experiment. Say a week out from the clock change, start giving them dinner ten minutes earlier or later than usual, moving ten minutes each day until you’ve covered one hour at the end of the week. Maybe then they won’t notice any discrepancy.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    Trivia for the day: why they are called “White Shoe Law Firms” (from Wiki)

    It also appears in a 1958 Fortune article by Spencer Klaw, which describes some firms as having “a predilection for young men who are listed in the Social Register. These firms are called ‘white-shoe outfits,’ a term derived from the buckskin shoes that used to be part of the accepted uniform at certain eastern prep schools and colleges.”[7]

  16. Scott says:

    @Kathy: They never notice if dinner is given early. But if you are late, you are “hounded” until you give in.

  17. CSK says:


    I wonder how many people know that? I did, but my earliest personal experience of actual white shoes is those horrible patent leather things that some men wore with polyester leisure suits. A 1970s abomination.

  18. CSK says:


    They can be quite dogged in their insistence.

  19. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Criminy…I couldn’t even watch the whole thing.

  20. DK says:

    I don’t watch cable news, is Trump trashing “Ron DeSanctimonious” and Mike Pence this weekend getting the wall-to-wall Party in Disarray doomsday coverage that would be happening if Joe Biden, Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton were bashing Gretchen Whitmer, Pete Buttigieg, or Kamala Harris?

    Or is the usual double-standard for Democrats in place?

  21. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    He’s just another thin-skinned rich guy. Real pussy move.
    More inportatnly he endorsed the GOP across the board.
    That’s really quite an in-kind donation to the GOP.

  22. Mikey says:

    @DK: I think you already know the answer.

  23. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    I got about one-quarter of the way through it. Nauseating.

  24. Monala says:


    Elon Musk

    Comedy is now legal on Twitter.


    * people change their Twitter handles to Elon Musk and make funny Tweets

    Elon Musk

    Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying “parody” will be permanently suspended.


    Ben Collins

    Like I always say with content moderation, every social media site owner who is “pro free speech” meets their line eventually.

    For 4chan, it was anime child porn. For Facebook and YouTube, it was white nationalist terror. For Elon, it was people making fun of him.

    Scott Nover

    I once interviewed Elon Musk for a piece in @TheAtlantic and the quote he gave me is, well, spot-on:…

    “Accurate and entertaining satire is vital to a functioning democracy,” Musk told me on a phone call late Saturday night. “Unless it’s about me,” he joked.

  25. Sleeping Dog says:



  26. steve says:

    Scott- Our cats do the same thing. They have been bothering me for the last 45 minutes since they know their 1200 feeding is late. (They actually start circling at about 1145 every day.)


  27. Jay L Gischer says:

    In “the greatest brief ever filed” The Onion details how satire and parody works better if you don’t say up front “this is a joke”. Of course, they demonstrate this in the brief.

    It is a real amicus curiae brief submitted to the SCOTUS.

  28. Mu Yixiao says:


    My cats get their evening gooshy food when I get home from work (usually about 16:30). They consider “Anytime after sun-up that you walk through the door” to be close enough to 16:30 to count. They actually mope when I tell them “No. It is not gooshy time!”

  29. Just nutha says:

    @CSK: When I was in marching band, we wore white shoes. It increases the visibility of the marching action.

  30. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    This is fun.
    I’ve seen rumors of the former guy announcing his 2024 run at a rally for J.D.Vance, to be held later today.

  31. Jen says:
  32. steve says:

    Mu- We also have an automatic feeder set for 6 AM and 5 PM with kibble. They both start circling the feeder about 20-30 minutes before feeding time, occasionally coming over to try to convince me it is running late. Cats are such liars!


  33. Kathy says:

    My dog, Emm, waited for me to eat.

    She would be in the front yard taking in the Sun, even when cloudy, and would follow me to the table. There she’d lay under the table until meat appeared, and then she’d beg. I would bring her dish and try to get her to eat that, but she just sniffed it and kept begging.

    So, I’d cut some pieces of chicken or beef and let her have one or two. The rest I put in her dish, letting her see, and she’d eat them. After the half second or so it took her, she’d then keep eating her food, then retreated under the table until I was done.

  34. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha: the Jackson Browne video for “Lawyers In Love” might have been a little better with white shoes law firms.

  35. JohnSF says:

    Interesting Twitter thread by based on statements by Pentagon Undersecretary Bill Laplante on the lessons of he war in Ukraine for procurement (goes double for Europe).
    He seems a wee bit peeved 🙂

    “What really matters is production.”
    “We as a country did our best to not do production,
    “We all accepted that just in time was the way to go,”
    “This is why we have a valley of death because we don’t want to do production.”
    “Why can’t we produce Stingers faster? The line was shutdown in 2008.”
    “We all did that,”
    “I challenge all of you to … ask them when it’s entering production, ask them about numbers, ask about APUC, is it going to work well against China?”
    “Don’t tell me its got AI and quantum I don’t care,”
    “NATO standards don’t get to the point of “interchangable,”
    LaPlante says, one of the industry executives told him that they would have to force companies because it makes firms less competitive.
    On rare earths, the Chinese were thinking 30 years ago is something we should’ve been thinking about.
    “I think we’re waking up to a lot of these thing and we’re bringing it back,” LaPlante says.

    At a tangent:
    The Musk twitter purchase albeit in software, reminds me of how incredibly naively respectful of financialisation shenanigans UK govt have been, and how disastrous it has been for UK advanced manufacturing firms.
    The sale of ARM to Softbank, Rover Group to Alchemy, Westinghouse RV to Toshiba, breakup of ICI, Marconi, General Electric, GKN, etc etc etc.
    Bought, loaded up with debt, broken up, sold-off, folded into overseas competitors.
    All earning small fortunes for city bankers, brokers and lawyers at the expense of actual production and development capacity.

  36. Kylopod says:

    Elon is the New Coke of Twitter.

  37. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Interesting doings…
    A Nevada election whisperer, Jon Ralston of the Nevada Independent, has called for Cortez Masto to win the Senate Race in that state. He points to the Democratic edge in early voting in NV.
    But here’s the thing – Dems are outperforming their NV numbers in a bunch of other states including OH, PA, WI, GA, MI, AZ.
    I predict surprises as the votes totals get tallied.

  38. Sleeping Dog says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    Hoping you are right and knowing that it will set off a sh!t storm amongst the election deniers, given that the last 2 weeks has been how Rs will steamroll.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: The sale of ARM to Softbank, Rover Group to Alchemy, Westinghouse RV to Toshiba, breakup of ICI, Marconi, General Electric, GKN, etc etc etc.
    Bought, loaded up with debt, broken up, sold-off, folded into overseas competitors.
    All earning small fortunes for city bankers, brokers and lawyers at the expense of actual production and development capacity.

    “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

    – either Lenin or Stalin

    my google-fu is borked and my search turns up both as the original source, either way, it is all too true

  40. Kathy says:

    It’s almost time, once again, to end my Amazon Prime subscription. I take it only for the streaming, nothing else (I don’t order much online). This time it was meant only for Picard season 2. But then I found The Boys, and then The Expanse. Unless I find something else, I’ll cancel it on Saturday.

    Paramount+ wasn’t supposed to last this long, either. But after Discovery season 4, I got into Prodigy, then Lower Decks. Then Strange New Worlds came long. Then season 3 of Lower Decks. And now the second half of Prodigy’s first season.

    Disney+ also does this with Star War and Marvel series. Moon Knight, She Hulk, Boba Fet, Kenobi, now Andor. Soon Bad Batch season 2. Mandalorian season 3, Loki season 2, Ahsoka (someday)…

    So there’s plenty to watch. And I have to get Netflix again to watch Disenchantment part four.

  41. Jax says:

    I feel like we’re on the eve of a lose-lose situation. Even if R’s don’t take the House or the Senate, shit’s gonna get even crazier with all the election-denying that will happen. So either way, we lose.

    I’ve been distracting myself trying to imagine all the people I could help when I win that 1.9 billion Powerball tomorrow. 😛 😛 The girls and I even made a list of all the locals we’re gonna help by secretly paying off their mortgages, and charities we’d like to donate to that will actually help people and animals. Our local animal rescue is suddenly gonna be floating in money, new facilities, the whole 9 yards!

  42. Kathy says:


    Assuming the Democrats keep control of Congress, things will be both better and worse.

    On the upside, Biden is the commander in chief. On the downside, it’s likely governors in red states won’t cooperate in putting down GQP riots if any break out. It’s also likely red state governors might not want to certify wins by, say Rev. Warnock.

    We mostly will have to wait and see what happens.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: Well maybe not rolling in money to maximize the charitable effect, you’d have to take the money in the 2o or so year payout, so after taxes, you only have about 100 million a year to work with. Still, it’s a better idea than most people end up with. 😉