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:

    To start the day, a catalogue of Trump’s latest lies:

    I guess we’re supposed to take him seriously, not literally.

  2. Scott says:

    THC (delta-9) is illegal but because legislation was written so specifically Delta-8 is legal and sold just about anywhere.

    As Texas pushes to ban delta-8, it’s squaring off with the drug’s biggest proponents: the VFW

    Texas veterans have pledged to come out in force at the Capitol in the coming months to vouch for delta-8, the hemp derivative that provides a soothing effect similar to marijuana, as state officials argue it’s illegal in court and lawmakers consider banning it.

    “If eating a delta-8 gummy helps you manage your life, helps you function, helps you avoid a pharmaceutical fog, helps keep you gainfully employed, what is the harm in that?” said Mitch Fuller, national and state legislative chairman for the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars, adding that addictive opioids are often much more detrimental.

    Delta-8 has become so sought-after by veterans that the products are now readily available in vending machines at six VFW posts across the state, through a partnership formed a couple years ago with Austin-based hemp company Hometown Hero CBD.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    Here’s an article that represents what happens when lazy journalism meets outrage journalism. The headline is “Alabama girls’ basketball team denied championship after being forced to play in boys’ league, then winning it”, and that is most certainly true, and yet completely misleading.

    It appears the “journalists” made no real effort to get the league’s POV on what happened, and so left out some crucial context:
    – The girls team in question wasn’t originally or primarily a rec team. For the past three years they played in a competitive league (which, by context, I assume to be what we in the Northeast refer to as a travel league).
    – The gym they normally use for practice is used for the rec league during its season, and practice time is reserved for those rec teams
    – As other (boys) competitive teams have done in the past, in order to preserve their practice time, the girls team registered as a rec team
    – The rec league has a policy for that. Since competitive teams playing against purely rec teams would trounce them and inevitably win the tournament, they make any competitive team registered in the rec league play up two levels. Further, they are told at the beginning that they can either sit out the tournament or if they play they would not be eligible for the trophy. They agreed to this ahead of time.
    – In the case of this fifth grade girls team, they should have played in the 7th grade girls rec league but there wasn’t one, so the officials and the girls team agreed that playing against a 5th grade boys team was equivalent
    – In the past, competitive teams playing two grades up had never won the tournament, but the girls did win the boys fifth grade tournament and so the rule against awarding them the trophy came into play for the first time
    – Deadspin “jounalists” decided outrage was more important than fact checking and brought down the wrath of the internet on some poor souls trying to organize a fun rec league and disparaged the entire State of Alabama in the process.

  4. KM says:


    officials and the girls team agreed that playing against a 5th grade boys team was equivalent

    Here’s where my problem is: if officials signed off on them playing 5th graders the same as 7th to allow the game to go forward, that’s official sanction. While the girls agreed not to receive the trophy as per standing rule, they did win fairly based on agreed upon conditions. They should have gotten something and been acknowledged the winners. The losing team went into that match knowing that trophy was theirs, one way or the other.

    Additionally it’s a bad look to have a team win and give the trophy to the losers, rules or not. They’re kids, they played and won but get to see the prize given away because of adults’ dumb rules. It’s gonna make for some bad feelings, no matter what. There should have been an alternate award or something available to give to the girls even if they weren’t eligible for the cup proper – how hard is it to have a small alternate medal made when you knew this match was gonna happen? This way, if non-rec another team plays and wins again, they’ve got an alt prize that can be achieved.

  5. @MarkedMan: FWIW, we call it a “travel league” as well (at least in soccer and baseball). Or, more likely, “travel ball.”

  6. CSK says:


    A United Airlines jet clipped the tail of another jet at Logan International (Boston).

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: Oh, I think it could be handled better. This is what happens when theoretical policies are finally implemented and shown to be problematic. I suspect that the volunteer parent coaches and the Parks and Rec official (if there is one) will change the policy going forward. But any changes are going to be heavily influenced by the public shit storm they have been receiving. I’m sure everyone involved has had their name put out there and have been subjected to a whole tornado of rabid internet outrage shitstorm. If I was a volunteer parent involved with such a rec league I would think long and hard about signing up again.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: !!!! What the hell is going on?

  9. CSK says:


    I wonder, too. This is happening with unsettling frequency.

  10. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: @CSK: I’m pretty sure it is Pete Buttigieg’s fault.

  11. Stormy Dragon says:


    Corporations know they’re unaccountable for causing disasters and thus can keep cutting corners to shovel more money to the shareholders

  12. CSK says:


    Gee, I just saw someone write that it was the Deep State’s fault.

  13. Mikey says:

    Another horrendous Russian war crime.

    Russian soldiers execute Ukrainian PoW after he says “Glory to Ukraine”

    The footage shows a Ukrainian soldier, who had been taken into Russian captivity, saying: “Glory to Ukraine”. After that, the Russian invaders executed the prisoner of war, shouting: “You’re a b**ch. Die, b**ch”.

    There’s a linked Tweet with an embedded video. Don’t make the same mistake I did by watching it. The description above tells you all you need to know.

  14. Kathy says:


    This is the aviation equivalent of a fender bender in the parking lot. It does happen more often than it makes the news. I’d say if not for the recent spate of near-misses, this one would have been relegated to the aviation blogs.

  15. Neil Hudelson says:

    Only around 50% of images on twitter are loading correctly right now; it appears it’s not just an issue on my end.

    People trying to click links to tweets receive this message “{“errors”:[{“message”:”Your current API plan does not include access to this endpoint, please see for more information”,”code”:467}]}”

    I’m not a businessman or a tech developer so I guess I’m just a dumb dumb here, but maybe it wasn’t wise to fire 80% of Twitter’s contract employees before understanding what they do.

    Ah well, as sage twitter user and/or my Grandma Ruth used to say “The dildo of consequences rarely comes pre-lubed.” (It was probably a twitter user now that I think about it.)

  16. Kathy says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    (It was probably a twitter user now that I think about it.)

    Not mutually exclusive.

    I got the same error following a twitter link from a news website. Yesterday some embedded twits in an aviation blog refused to load.

    I seem to recall some buzz about modifications to APIs. This may be it.

    I’m not a businessman or a tech developer so I guess I’m just a dumb dumb here, but maybe it wasn’t wise to fire 80% of Twitter’s contract employees before understanding what they do.

    I wonder how shareholder value works for a privately held company.

  17. Beth says:

    Some commentary from my team about Trans Genocide:

    Knowles’s distinction, a common one among anti-trans activists, rests on the idea that there’s a sense in which trans people don’t really exist, despite the obvious fact that trans people are physically present in the real world. This way of thinking rests on the belief that people’s identities are almost infinitely malleable (no surprise that it’s common among propagandists). They think any person can be convinced they are trans by seeing and hearing about trans people, and consequently they can be protected from this happening if trans people are removed from their view. They also believe that trans people can be turned cisgender by taking away their medication and prohibiting them from wearing cross-gender clothes. They claim this can be done without any damage to the trans people involved. Perhaps they’ll even be better off!


    In truth, there is no such thing as transgenderism. There are only transgender people. Many trans people tried as hard as they could to avoid being trans, only to accept in the end that they could not deny themselves and survive. Trans adults have long dreamed that younger trans people might find the path to accepting themselves a little less hard than those who came before, but however difficult trans existence becomes there’s no law that can ever stop new trans people from being born. The eliminationist impulse can made things very hard on trans people, but it is doomed from the start because it is predicated on a false view of the world.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    This article is almost the perfect example of an opinion piece that will change absolutely nobody’s mind, but will make the writer and like-minded individuals feel they have done their part to “educate” the population. In it, she uses her 5 year old physically and intellectually disabled daughter’s experience as a gateway into why it is a good thing to mainstream children with disabilities into regular classrooms. At no point, however, does she address any of the very real concerns that this engenders. For example, the fact that in virtually all districts the budget for one-on-one aides comes from the same pool as everything else, and therefore having another disabled child requiring constant and intensive care often means that another position must be trimmed. An op-ed that confronted this head on and argued for different ways of funding could be useful. In fact, other than one brief mention of cost, you would be hard pressed to see those who disagree with inclusion as anything other than unenlightened cretins, or perhaps actively bigoted. For example, she cites a study that shows that intellectually disabled children have better outcome when mainstreamed. Notably, though, it didn’t look into how the other children in such classrooms fared. She mentioned an instance when her 5 year old daughter “became bored” after 20 minutes of a lesson. How was the boredom conveyed? It could have been just a wandering attention or it could have been like what another teacher described recently, this time about a high school aged boy who had been increasingly banished from the classroom because when bored by things he was not comprehending would often throw a tantrum, screaming and shouting and throwing things on the floor. The author of this op-ed could have done a real service had she been willing to engage in a meaningful dialog about the tradeoffs with the needs and benefits of all the children involved, or perhaps open a dialog as to what behavior issues might preclude a special needs child from the classroom.

    I’m not blaming her for this. She’s in a tough spot and quite naturally is fiercely focused on her child and her needs. But I don’t see what the editors at The Atlantic thought it contributed towards finding a solution for a real and significant problem.

  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    I always know when my daughter wakes up because I start getting a solid stream of horror stories in my texts. I’ve asked her if there’s any way we can improve her personal security – no answers so far. She’s in Oakland which is about as trans friendly as any place, but it remains an issue.

    Spain is now officially, legally, better on trans issues than most of the US and UK. Spain. A country I used to visit when it was Guardia Civil toting submachine guns, trains moving at 5 mph and donkey carts in the streets.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    A discussion on another thread has reminded me of something that I often thought about during the gay rights era and that I think applies equally well to the trans rights era: while it is interesting to understand whether trans people are “made that way” or “making a lifestyle choice”, it shouldn’t matter in the slightest for their place in society. Of course people should be free to be whoever they are but also whoever they want to be, provided it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

  21. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I’m sorry to hear about your daughter. Does she get actual threats?

  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    No, if she’d had threats she’d already have security whether she liked it or not. But I think all trans people and their families are afraid.

  23. senyordave says:

    @KM: Might be a bad look but either you follow the rules or you don’t.

  24. Kathy says:

    From the file of Them Ancients were Awesome:

    The Great Pyramid of Giza built in the 2500s BCE was the tallest structure in the world, and remained the tallest until the Eiffel Tower was erected in 1889.