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. Sleeping Dog says:

    Saturday, we had a robust discussion regarding homelessness. Low and behold, The NYT’s Sunday Magazine has this long form article focusing on a physician that works with Boston’s homeless.

    As yet, I’ve not had a chance to read it, therefore I’ll refrain from commenting beyond we should learn something.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    There has been some discussion that the non-loony Republican reps will vote no on McCarthy’s secret rule agreements with the Gang of 20. I don’t hold out a lot of hope on that. If these “normal” Republicans had any backbone they wouldn’t be where they are now.

  3. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Missed in the Insurrectionists election to House Speaker on Friday, a six year old in VA shot his teacher in what police said was “…not an accidental shooting.”
    Ladies and gentlemen, your well-regulated militia.

  4. Mu Yixiao says:

    And so it begins

    House Republicans plan to launch a new investigative panel this week that will demand copies of White House emails, memos and other communications with Big Tech companies, top sources tell Axios.

    The new panel, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, is partly a response to revelations from Elon Musk in the internal documents he branded the “Twitter Files.”

    [emphasis added]

  5. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    “…partly a response to revelations from Elon Musk in the internal documents he branded the “Twitter Files.”
    But only partly, because there were no actual revelations in the “twitter files.”

  6. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    When do the House Insurrectionists begin reading the Constitution on the Chamber Floor?
    I want to be watching when they get to Section 3 of Article 14.

  7. Joe says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: My wife is a first grade teacher. She and her colleagues “noticed” this news item.

  8. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    I’m sure they did. I hope they stay safe.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:
  10. Mikey says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Man, they REALLY want to see Hunter Biden’s dick pics.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    a six year old in VA shot his teacher

    I find it fascinating that conservatives are so obsessed with culture yet completely blind to the existence and effect of the gun culture they’ve created.

  12. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    According to Melania it is impressive.

  13. Kathy says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    I suppose they can use a laugh after the unpleasantness over the last week.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    One wonders why they need to spend millions of tax-payer dollars just to get right-wing media talking points. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just make them up?

  15. EddieInCA says:

    Los Angeles has felt like Seattle or Portland the last few weeks. Since Jan. 1, we’ve had 3.5 inches of rain. By the time the next few storms pass in the next week, we will be well over 7 inches of rain for the first three weeks of January. To put that in context, the average rainfall here is about 13 inches. So three weeks of rain will total 50% of the yearly average. Three weeks.

    I. Hate. It.

  16. Mister Bluster says:
  17. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA: Seattle doesn’t get that much rain all at once. We usually get a constant slow drizzle from late October to May. You’re getting East Coast weather.

    (We have been getting more frequent rain storms while I’ve been living here… but traditionally, just unrelenting drizzle. It’s lovely.)

  18. Gustopher says:

    @Mikey: It’s about ethics in non-consensually shared dick pics.

  19. Kathy says:

    I need to read up on potatoes.

    About 4 weeks ago I bought a 2.5 kilo bag of russet potatoes. I had no plans to use them right away, but I figured they’d keep for a while.

    They did, but by yesterday they were sprouting something. I don’t know whether it’s a shoot, root, or what. I noticed a bit of it with the batch I used last week (stuffed potatoes). This time they were more noticeable.

    So I gouged them out and prepped the potatoes (potatoes au gratin; it did not turn out well*). But I wondered what would happen if I spared one and planted it. I assume given favorable soil conditions, a potato bush would grow. What then?

    Alas, living in an apartment and working long hours makes this a difficult experiment. Not to mention I’ve no tools, dirt, pots, or gardening experience.

    So I’ll read about potatoes instead.

    *Bad choices on other ingredients. The potatoes themselves performed as expected.

  20. Slugger says:

    Back to dic-pix. This may reflect my age. Is there a cisgendered woman who likes them? A gay friend had some kind of catalog of dic-pixs in the 1980s that were actual photos; this was before film went extinct. I thought at the time that gay gays share many of the same ideas as us straight guys, but I could not imagine any interest from women. Has this changed?

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Slugger: We need to bring back codpieces. Skip past the dick pics, and go to majestic displays of style and wealth and crotches.

  22. Jay L Gischer says:

    I want to respond here to a recent post of Kevin Drum’s, whom I know gets referenced here sometimes.

    The post recounts how a black couple was forced to sell property in LA decades ago, and the property was returned to their heirs as reparations. At which point their heirs sold it back to the city, and this has caused controversy in the black community. Kevin says this:

    I have a lot of reasons to be skeptical of the reparations movement, and someday maybe I’ll write about it. But this is one of them: I can’t help wondering if it would cause more discord and factionalism within the Black community than it’s worth.¹

    I do not think that “discord within the Black community” is a reason for me, a white guy, to oppose reparations. I have discovered, in my old age, that Black people have different opinions. I’m told that if one visits a Black barbershop, that if there are three people there, you will hear four opinions. This is healthy, and as things should be. Of course people (of any skin color) are going to have different feelings about this.

    This sort of thing is really new to Black Americans. It hasn’t happened a lot. So yeah, it gets a lot of attention and differing feelings. That’s good, not bad.

  23. Mu Yixiao says:


    But I wondered what would happen if I spared one and planted it. I assume given favorable soil conditions, a potato bush would grow. What then?

    The sprouts are called “eyes”, and they grow into the bush. The potato is actually the root.

    Cut the potato into pieces (to get multiple bushes), each with at least one eye on it. Plant it, water it. Potatoes are pretty hearty, so they don’t need any fancy soil. Once the plant is growing well, it will start creating more roots (potatoes).

    Growing up, we would have several bushels of potatoes each year from the garden. Whatever was left in the spring would provide the ones get cut up and planted.

    There will never be potatoes in my garden. Putting a 1/4″ square-tine garden fork through my foot one time was enough. 😛

    ETA: Do not eat the sprouts. They’re poisonous.

  24. Jax says:

    @Slugger: I don’t know any women personally who enjoys being on the receiving end of dick pics. Particularly unsolicited ones.

    And I don’t know what it is about men, but since the advent of phones with cameras, men are always taking pictures of their junk and sending it as an “introduction”. They all seem pretty proud of their equipment. 😛

  25. Mikey says:

    Why do all the Trumpies and assorted other right-wing imbeciles hate Prince Harry so much?

    As far as I can tell it’s because he married a woman of color and rebelled against the absolutely abominable racist treatment she got from the British tabloids, but maybe its something else?

  26. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    This was a unique and egregious case of racism…and it’s over a hundred years old, not decades.
    Drum, who is an unreliable narrator IMHO, minimizes what actually happened in order to make a point based on his own personal politics.
    The fact is that having the land in Manhattan Bch is meaningless. What are you going to do with it? Get cheated out of it by unscrupulous land developers? $20M can change the lives of this family.

  27. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:
    FYI – Zillow lists a 2,600sf condo a block away at $8.5M

  28. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    ETA: Do not eat the sprouts. They’re poisonous.

    Like a surprisingly large number of vegetables, the potato (solanum tuberosum) is in the nightshade family, because somewhere back in the stone age, there was apparently a group of cavemen that wanted to eat those poisonous berries, and they were not going to take no for an answer.

  29. Joe says:

    @Mister Bluster: I see what you did there. I couldn’t read the first line without hearing the song, but it took me 5 seconds to decode it.

  30. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    They hate everyone…but especially themselves. The GOP is the party of self-loathing.

  31. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    That seems too complicated to do inside an apartment. I do appreciate the information, though.


    It’s odd they’re proud of the miniaturization work their parents did.

  32. Mimai says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    This is a lovely (and heartbreaking) piece — thanks for posting it. Much of it tracks with my experience in my own large metro area. I wanted to highlight a couple things that were briefly noted and that deserve more attention in the public consciousness re homelessness.

    Chronic pain. Oral health. Eye health.

    Not only are these critical matters on their own, but they have expansive and devastating downstream consequences.

    I’ve lost count of the people who’ve identified back/shoulder pain as their #1 priority. As the thing that most gets in the way of their long(er)-term success re care seeking, sobriety, housing, etc.

    Poor oral health (shockingly poor) is another factor that gets less attention than it ought. Primary gateway for heart problems. Not to mention that for many folks, liquids are the only viable option re “nutrition.” As you might imagine, living rough isn’t conducive to calorie/nutrient dense liquid diets.

    Eye health? No one cares. Except for the people experiencing homelessness. I exaggerate, but not by much. In my experience, this is one of the most woefully neglected areas in homeless outreach and support. We rarely ask about it, and they rarely volunteer info about it. And we all carry along, focused on the “important” things. Except this is one of those things. And it’s low-hanging fruit, relatively speaking.

    I could go on. But I won’t. Thanks again for posting the link — I hope people click and read it. And then act…in whatever way they are able.

  33. Michael Cain says:

    @EddieInCA: About ten years ago we had a freak late season monsoon situation. Several places along the northern part of the Front Range got the equivalent of half their annual rainfall in four days.

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: See: “The Martian”.

  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer: My reaction was in line with yours, but from a different direction. This case, where an entire community and pretty much any decent person who read it, were cheering on the plaintiffs, but the motivation for cheering them on could be different. On the one hand, there used to be this great beach for black people back in a time when white California had its head up its ass. Shouldn’t the descendants get that back and then they could reopen the beach and make a living from that? Wouldn’t that be great!? And, yes it would, but how would that work in practice? Does any of the descendants have experience with running a private beach? Do they have the capital they would need to invest to make it a going concern? Given all the laws and regulations in place today wrt life guards and water purity and liabilities and so forth, is that even practical?

    So what we have in our heads meets reality and the descendants decide their best course of action is to sell to the State and let them deal with all that. I would have done the same thing in their place. And good for them! Nothing can make up for the injustice and the theft of property their ancestors endured, but at least their family eventually got something.

    Will some people grouse and complain? Yes. That will happen no matter what. I mean the commentariat here are, to a person, absolutely wonderful and look how much we complain. (The edit button! AMIRITE!?)

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: I gotta admit, I cannot fathom why a guy would ever want to take a picture of his junk, much less send it to someone. Penises are very odd looking things at the best of times.

    Of course that may be sujective, because while I rarely frighten dogs and small children, I was never better than “not actually bad looking”, and given my age and the sagging/melting/spotting that accompanies it, no one should be subjected to anything more than my face and arms. I’m sure my wife is grateful she is blind as a bat without her glasses. (She, of course, is still beautiful)

  37. CSK says:


    Maybe your wife thinks you’re gorgeous, too.

  38. Beth says:


    I can handle PNW weather for one week, once a decade or so before I look for a building to launch off of.


    Having had one, and being generally attracted to them*, I could not imagine wanting to see a random picture of one. Especially if it’s all by its lonesome. The art book could be interesting, but that’s art, not random dic pics.

    *I have seriously poor taste in men. After going through a bunch of men I’ve chased after romantically and sexually with my therapist and realizing how useless they all were and why, I joked with her that I’m a stereotype with “Daddy issues”.

  39. Kathy says:

    Now Jack Smith has to deal with a squirrel.

    I need more details. What documents did Biden have, did the National Archives ask for them, how did he come to have them, etc. For now, I’ll point out the reaction is completely different. Per the piece:

    “After the discovery, Biden’s lawyers immediately contacted the National Archives and Records Administration, which started looking into the matter, the source said. Biden’s team cooperated with NARA, which later came to view the situation as a mistake due to lack of safeguards for documents, the source said.”

  40. Jax says:

    @Beth: I just recently started testing the waters in the dating game again, and I’ll tell you what….men my age have not aged well in attitude, looks or sense of entitlement. “I have graced you with my dick pic and the obligatory picture of me standing in front of the bathroom sink, coyly holding my underwear band open as if to give you a peek. Yeah, I know you probably had an orgasm just opening such a magical wonder, now where’s mine?!” Yeah, random dude on the internet, I’m totally gonna send you a pic of my flaps. (Then I send them an OnlyFans link to some lucky gal making an honest living of it and block them)

    Soooooo many eyerolls!!!!! 😛 😛 😛

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Joe: At first, I was thinking “Please Come to Boston” but that didn’t make any sense. It took me longer to connect the song, but only because I’ve always hated it. 🙁 [vomit emoji]

  42. Beth says:


    I seriously don’t know how straight men get laid. They are terrible at flirting and even talking. So many men try and hit on me by spinning me around. Like, I’m open to male attention, but I’m not up for vertigo. I’ve only had two guys hit on me that had anything approaching interesting game. One guy just started talking to me like a normal person and I was so shocked I just kept talking and the other guy had a wild confidence about him and we hit it off after I got bratty with him.

    Honorable mention to the “Are you Latina?” guy. No sir, I’m a human glow stick thanks to my Anglo-Baltic ancestors.

    Good luck in the dating waters, that seems unfun.

  43. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Potato “plants” are one stage of the incredibly complicated lifecycle of the Xenomorph. Probably best for amateurs to not attempt it.

  44. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Context: Kryten is a “mechanoid” robot on the British sci-fi show Red Dwarf (my favorite comedy, which says more about me than it should). Anyone, he got turned human and had some questions about body functions and dick pics.

  45. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Anyway*, not anyone. Yeesh. And sorry about the quality-this was the early 90’s.

  46. MarkedMan says:


    Maybe your wife thinks you’re gorgeous, too.

    Hah! Well, here’s no accounting for taste…

  47. Michael Cain says:


    I seriously don’t know how straight men get laid. They are terrible at flirting and even talking.

    My wife of 42 years has progressive dementia-associated memory failure. Most of the time she has no real idea who I am, or our children, or grandchildren, or where we’re living. At some point this year she will almost certainly have to go into a care facility that she will never leave. I am sure that my daughter and female friends and acquaintances will start trying to connect me up with other women. I’m absolutely terrified at the prospect.

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    Safety Sam
    Groove Tube

  49. Kathy says:


    Tubers are weird.

    I do wonder what animal consumes the potato fruit. It must be some sort of bird, like those who lack capsaicin receptors and eat hot peppers.

  50. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: Yeesh. Talk about “promoting the stereotype”!

    I’m gonna come across as a prude here, but in all serious I wonder if it isn’t the influence of porn on the extremely gullible? I mean, I’ve actually come across people who thought professional wrestling was real and they were upset because two of their favorites had had a falling out and were saying bad things about each other. I suppose such people could see how people react in porn and think it’s how actual people react?

    In the 80’s I used to go to a documentary film festival every year and came across this one, “Rate It X. Very disturbing in a lot of ways but there was one segment where the documentarians went to a peep show/sex toy shop and interviewed the male customers there as to what they thought turned real women on. They had obviously never been with a real woman, and I hope they never were.

  51. MarkedMan says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: That was much better than I remember that show. Good dialog, good timing, good face-acting. And “the last chicken in the shop”! If I didn’t have a hundred things in my queue I’d give it another chance.

  52. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Cain: I’m so sorry to hear that, and I hope you have no guilt about putting her in care when the time comes. The caretakers in a good facility can give her a more stable and sustaining environment than you can at home. They are used to dealing with many similar patients and have a hundred different ways to calm them in the moment. And as the head of the home that my father eventually went into said, “We only deal in the moment here.” And sometimes they repeat that moment all day long.

  53. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: It would be nice if they found a more aesthetically pleasing way to say that they are a shitty person who is looking for someone who will put up with being treated like shit, but at least they get that message out there pretty quickly.

    People ideally should be upfront about the qualities that are going to be dealbreakers for a lot of people — saves everyone a lot of time and aggravation. (Ideally should, because they may have legitimate safety concerns with certain information, etc.)

    Also, why has no one created a few catfishing accounts and published a “Men and their Dick Pics” site to humiliate them? Obviously you shouldn’t do that with any of your suitors, as there’s probably enough information to identify you and angry men can be dangerous to women, but someone should. People need consequences, otherwise they just go from supporting 1/6 insurrectionists in the US to 1/8 insurrectionists in Brazil.

  54. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Cain: That sounds genuinely horrible. A friend of one of my best friends is heading down the dementia path, and we do a weekly drawing session where I am really there to make it easier for my friend. It’s clearly hard on everyone.

    I wish I could say something as nice as @MarkedMan did. I hope your wife has many nice moments, even if they are the same moment.

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Cain: Just practice saying that you don’t want to meet anybody (provided that’s true). You’ll be fine and eventually your relatives and “friends” will stop pestering you and wait for you to take the lead on the subject.