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. Kylopod says:

    At the funeral of Diamond the other day, Silk implied her sister was killed by the vaccine—even though her sister supposedly never got the vaccine. Apparently, some antivaxxers believe that the negative effects of the vaccine can spread through close contact with people who have gotten the vaccine. Sort of like secondhand smoke, I guess.

    To those who hold this belief, I propose the following. In order to protect yourself against being infected by vaccinated people, maybe you should wear a face mask in crowded indoor areas. Furthermore, there is a longer term remedy to protect you against vaccinated people. All you need to do is have this remedy injected in your arm, and it will make it less likely that you catch the vaccine from other people, and reduce the harmful effects if you do catch it.

  2. Tony W says:

    @Kylopod: “You can’t reason somebody out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into”

  3. Jen says:

    I don’t usually go back through the weekend’s posts when I miss them (lots on the calendar here), but I’m glad I did–@CSK, I hope you are completely on the mend–I was sorry to see you’d had such a rough go of it with covid!

  4. CSK says:

    Thanks, Jen.

  5. Mu Yixiao says:

    Midwestern Democrats start Heartland Caucus

    Debbie Dingell’s quest for a leadership position within the House Democratic Caucus came with a map.

    The image, shared by Dingell in November as she was vying for the coveted vice chair position, is of the United States, with stars denoting the districts represented by Democratic House and committee leaders.

    The map shows clusters in California, the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions; a smattering of stars in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest; and a total void in the middle of the country.

    The map is quite telling.

  6. Jax says:

    It’s currently -33, “feels like” temp of -44. According to my weather station, we haven’t seen temps above 32 since November 7th, and all of January it’s never gotten above 20.

    I’ve had enough winter now, thanks. 😛

  7. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    I have to ask…where in the f*uck are you, and why?!?

  8. CSK says:

    Trump thinks members of the U.S. intelligence community are “slime”:

  9. EddieinCA says:


    Every single GOP Congressperson should be asked “Do you agree with GOP Presidential Candidate Trump that Putin is more trustworthy than the US Intelligence Services?”

  10. Jax says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: Western Wyoming. At this point, I’d rather be just about anywhere else. 😛 There’s still a solid 2 1/2 ft of snow on the ground, so it’s like living in a freezer.

    Mud season, when it finally gets here, is gonna be lit.

  11. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    I’m not sure if you saw Chuck Todd grilling Gym Jordan yesterday and pushing back on his claims of no Russian connection to Trump’s campaign. Todd did probably as well as Todd is capable of doing, which frankly isn’t that high a bar. Really, he sucks.
    To review, what we found out last week is Charles McGonigal, a crooked FBI agent in the New York office, was connected to Russian Oligarch and Intelligence Official Oleg Deripaska who was also connected to Paul Manafort, Trump’s crooked campaign manager. This same FBI agent MAY have been the one who forced Comey into revealing the bogus investigation into “But Her Emails” although that is unclear at this time. But IT IS CLEAR that he gave the NY Times the reporting before the 2016 election stating that the FBI had found no connection between Trump and Russia.
    This Op-Ed from the Philadelphia Inquirer wraps the entire sordid tale into a nice bow and lays a good deal of guilt at the foot of the NY Times.
    As you read the story keep in mind that it was also the vaunted NY Times that ran Judith Millers reporting, quoting Cheney’s aid Scooter Libby as an anonymous source, that Iraq had WMD. Reporting which Cheney himself then used as a rationale for invading Iraq when many others were saying there were no WMD.
    All of which is to say that the NY Times has a lot crappy journalism to answer for in some of the biggest events in our country’s recent history. Democracy depends on a strong 4th Estate, and our 4th Estate is in shambles.

  12. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Jax: Ah…I rode a motorcycle across Wyoming a few years ago and was as cold as I’ve ever been. Good luck.

  13. Sleeping Dog says:


    A cowboys reflection on Springtime. It will get there eventually

  14. Kathy says:

    In COVID matter, it turns out hybrid immunity, that is vaccination + infection, produces a stronger immune response than either vaccination or infection alone.

    That’s good to know, but as Dr. Novella notes: This does not mean that someone should go out of their way to get exposed to COVID. That defeats the purpose, which is to reduce infection.

    So, the idiots who attended COVID parties back in the summer of 2020 to catch it in order to “get it over with,” are still idiots.

  15. Jax says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yeah. I’ve been going through my drone pictures from the summer, dreaming of green grass. Hell, at this point, I’d be happy to see some plain old dirt! Anything but ice and snow.

  16. Thomm says:

    I know this isn’t as bad as an author not getting her butt kissed at all of her signings, but the conservative war on kid’s books in school and what kids are taught about their neighbors takes a new front.

  17. Mikey says:

    Here’s an interesting piece from yesterday in Foreign Policy online detailing the damage Putin’s idiotic blunder into Ukraine has done to Russia’s energy industry.

    The World Economy No Longer Needs Russia

    For much of the past year, and since his invasion of Ukraine last February, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been riding high on his supposed energy omnipotence, holding the global economy hostage to his whims. Since last summer, Putin has choked off natural gas supplies to Europe, hoping that Europeans, shivering and without heat during the winter, would turn on their leaders and make it politically infeasible to continue support for Ukraine.

    The threat was potent: In 2021, a whopping 83 percent of Russian gas was exported to Europe. Russia’s total global exports of 7 million barrels of oil a day and 200 billion cubic meters (bcm) of piped gas a year accounted for about half of its federal revenue. Even more importantly, Russia’s commodities exports played a crucial role in global supply chains: Europe was reliant on Russia for 46 percent of its total gas supply, with comparable levels of dependence on other Russian products including metals and fertilizer.

    Now, as we approach the one-year anniversary of Putin’s invasion, it is apparent that Russia has permanently forfeited its erstwhile economic might in the global marketplace.

    Thanks to an unseasonably warm winter in Europe, Putin’s moment of maximum leverage has passed uneventfully, and, as we correctly forecast last October, the biggest victim of Putin’s gas gambit was Russia itself. Putin’s natural gas leverage is now nonexistent, as the world—and, most importantly, Europe—no longer needs Russian gas.

    It’s a longish piece with lots of linked sources, really interesting and lays out a compelling case for what’s basically Russian economic suicide.

  18. CSK says:


    Trump says the war would never have happened if he’d been in office, and that he could end it in 24 hours.

  19. Mikey says:

    @CSK: Yeah because he’d have stood by and let Putin do whatever in Ukraine.

  20. Kathy says:


    It’s possible.

    Back in late 2021, instead of pressuring Mad VLad not to invade, he’d have cheered him on and backed all his claims about Ukraine.

    And if this didn’t serve to demoralize Ukraine so badly they surrendered as soon as one Russian soldier set foot inside their borders, he’d have threatened to nuke Kyiv, Odessa, etc. and ended the war quickly.

  21. Jax says:

    Apparently he’s also promising to build a dome over the US to protect it from nukes.

    Given the state of disrepair on his big, beautiful wall, I don’t think we should trust him to build anything.

  22. CSK says:

    Just like the air shield over the planet Druidia in Spaceballs.

  23. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    C’mon…If he builds an “impenetrable dome” anything like that helmet of hair it will be way too dense for any missile to penetrate.

  24. Beth says:


    Quick question. Would it be warm under this dome?

  25. Jax says:

    @Beth: My luck, he’d activate it in the winter and I’d be stuck in the freezer for the rest of my life, like a giant snow globe. 😛

  26. Kathy says:


    Domal warming is a Chinese hoax.

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jax:..Apparently he’s also promising to build a dome over the US to protect it from nukes.

    Buckey Fuller wanted to build a dome over East Saint.

    The Old Man River’s City project was an architectural design created by Buckminster Fuller in 1971. Fuller was asked to design the structure by the city of East St. Louis. Old Man River’s City would have been a truly massive housing project for the city’s 70,000 residents. The total capacity of the building, a circular multi-terraced dome, would be 125,000 occupants. Each family would have approximately 2,500 square feet (230 m2) of living space.

    Another Take

    In late 1971 he and his team revealed the plan and a scale model to a public meeting in East St. Louis. At the end of his presentation a member of the audience spoke up. “We don’t need domes, we need jobs.” Fuller answered him with his sincere, Utopian view of the future. ”Young man, I see a future where you don’t need jobs.”

    I went to one of Fuller’s lectures when I was allegedly attending classes at Southern Illinois University. He might have said something like that. Me and my roomates were all stoned to the tits so it’s hard to know.

  28. Beth says:


    /howls in SAD light…

  29. Mister Bluster says:

    The Golden Jet is skating on the clouds.
    Bobby Hull

  30. Jen says:

    So, the idiots who attended COVID parties back in the summer of 2020 to catch it in order to “get it over with,” are still idiots.

    Indeed. Especially considering the fact that repeated infections show a much higher risk for additional health problems including long covid, autoimmune diseases, and more.

  31. Michael Cain says:

    Most of the Interior West from the Sierras/Cascades through the Rockies are having above-average snow pack this year.

  32. Kathy says:

    I’m reading a book called The Genesis Machine, by Amy Webb and Andrew Hessel . It’s supposed to be about the future of synthetic biology (tha authors’ term for biotechnology and genetic engineering). Mostly it’s a letter to Santa Claus on what they want to be available in the coming decades, with some history of biotech and genetic engineering thrown in for background.

    Not bad, but the expectations of progress, especially rapid progress, by the authors are not realistic.

    One interesting thing is that it was written in 2021, published in 2022. as the subject would lead one to expect, they do mention COVID quite a bit. Especially the vaccines, and especially the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNtech* mRNA shots. But they completely ignore the Delta surge of mid-2021, even though they mention the disaster tha Delta caused in India just weeks prior. The Omicron surge might have caught the book after it had gone to press.

    The COVID vaccines are still nearly miraculous in their efficacy and speed of development. But they’ve also shown us the limitations of advanced biotech in the real world.

    *BTW, the narrator pronounces the name as bion-tech. I thought is was bio-enn-tech. this happens a lot with audiobooks and podcasts. In one about accidents involving nuclear materials, Atomic Accident,s the narrador refers to the heavier hydrogen isotope as tree-shum; I thought it was tree-tee-um.

  33. Kathy says:

    The matter of selling stuff to the government invariably involves presenting a proposal in a competitive process. A proposal is a box of papers arranged in three-ring binders, sometimes of ridiculous proportions.

    They’re all assembled according to the law, which varies in the several states and in federal agencies. one thing they all have in common, though is there’s a set time to present proposals. If you’re not there at the appointed time, you won’t be allowed to participate.

    Sometimes it happens that a supplier arrives after the acquisition committee marks the time and indicates no more proposals will be received.

    Sometimes the late supplier will plead, beg, make excuse, explain why they are late, etc., in the hope of being allowed in. 9 times out of ten, they are dismissed. The tenth time, the committee head will ask the suppliers present if they have an objection for the late supplier to be allowed to participate.

    No one wants extra competition. So the answer is always “Yes, we object.” But no one wants to be the first to crush the last shreds of hope of a colleague, whom we can tell has gone through the same overwork, anxiety, etc. we all go through when putting the damned boxes of paper together.

    Self-interest prevails in the end. after a few moments of collective hesitation, one will object.

    And then we all pile on. The first gave license and took the brunt of the blame, we can join in.

    I hope taking the Benito hush money case to a NY grand jury might have that effect on prosecutors across the land.

  34. CSK says:

    Trump is suing Bob Woodward for $49 million. Good look with that one.

  35. Jax says:

    The high today was a blistering -15. I couldn’t get the feed tractor warm enough to start until about 1 pm. I made it down to the cows just in time, all 400 of them were lined up and headed for the house….I’m assuming to file a complaint with the manager. 😛

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I’ve seen vax ads recently sponsored by Pfizer and BIONtech. I assume the narrator got instructions on pronunciation.

  37. Kathy says:


    I don’t suppose Woodward or his publisher would have published the Cheeto tapes without the proper permissions.

    What leads me to believe Benito is in the wrong here, is the claim the tapes were edited or altered to make him look bad. there are two issues here:

    1) He doesn’t need to be made to look bad. Looking bad is his natural state.
    2) How the hell is he going to prove that without recordings of his own?

    In civil matters, the plaintiff has the burden of proof.

    So, I expect some badly read renditions of the recordings, with Rudy making the worst Woodward impression ever 🙂

  38. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    You should hear how I thought Verizon was pronounced.

    In books and podcasts dealing with Egypt, about half the narrators refer to a god Rah and the other to a god Ray. It doesn’t help Egyptians didn’t use vowels in writing, much like Israelis do with written Hebrew today.

  39. Mister Bluster says:

    Cindy Williams

    See her in The Conversation

  40. CSK says:

    Tump concedes that he agreed to let Woodward tape the interviews. He doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: All you need to do is have this remedy injected in your arm, and it will make it less likely that you catch the vaccine from other people, and reduce the harmful effects if you do catch it.

    My remedy would be self induced lead poisoning. S//s

  42. Kathy says:


    I was going to say that wasn’t known by the summer of 2020, which is true, but that only makes the idea that much worse.

    After all, a brand new virus doesn’t come with instructions or a host’s manual. Remember we were told around that time once vaccines were issued, we’d all be fine because coronaviruses don’t mutate much? Even when by late 2020 there was the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma variants. I even recall reading the Pfizer/BioNTech shot was found to protect well against infection by Alpha.

    Point is: don’t get ahead of the evidence.

    And be mindful of the Niven Principle: If you don’t understand it, it’s dangerous.

  43. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I was also going to point out our expectation that Covid was a “one and done” disease at that time.

    But, even if you believe that, and even if you are timing your Covid party for when the hospitals are less full, there’s the implicit assumption that medical treatments wouldn’t improve. I think that might have been before they figured out that they needed to put patients on their stomachs or rotate them or whatever. Let alone vaccines, antivirals, antibodies*, etc.

    Letting someone else be the guinea pigs for new treatments just seems smart.

    (Which is my way of saying that I supported the conservatives who just wanted to get on with their lives or deaths having Covid parties when there was hospital capacity.)

    *: our monoclonal antibody treatments don’t work on Omicron, do they? Why aren’t there new ones? We’re the old ones not as effective as we initially thought?