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. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Still trying to avoid auto-moderation. Tried new name and new address and that earned me a “FORBIDDEN”

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Every single time you change your name/email combination your comment is going to automatically go into moderation.

  3. CSK says:


    Well, you seem to have escaped prison successfully.

  4. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @James Joyner:
    Changed name/address went to FORBIDDEN.

    This post is being sent with same name and address I’ve been using for the past 2-3 years. We will see if it works!

  5. Jax says:

    How’s the weather, Northeastern friends? The Weather Channel guys seem quite excited by your impending deluge, got your pontoons out?

  6. CSK says:


    Thanks for asking. In northeastern Mass., the skies are gray. No deluge. In central and western Mass., however, I understand that a fleet of arks might prove helpful.

    It’s the same for all of western and central New England.

  7. Jen says:

    @Jax: NH is thus far faring well, but VT got clobbered. I saw photos of one of the ski areas (Okemo) and roads are completely washed out. (VT has a lot of dirt roads, so probably going to be quite a few areas that need repairs.)

  8. Kathy says:

    I had a though the other day: could we make a universal vaccine?

    The natural question is, “against what?” To which I’d reply, “Against everything.”

    That’s way too big and optimistic even for me. I’d better explain. B cells and T cells work, in large part, by way of antigen receptors on their surfaces. Once something binds to them, then very complex processes get going (which I don’t fully know or understand, so I won’t attempt to explain them).

    For instance, the reason your immune system can generate antibodies for the trump virus’ spike protein, is that some B cells carry receptors for such proteins. This is also why T cells can generate response specific to the spike protein. This is also why we get memory B and T cells, for use against latter infection.

    Ok. We could, I assume, map all the antigen receptors in B and T cells, and synthesize the molecules that correspond to them. Inject a volunteer with them, and see what antibodies and various T cells come about.

    The first thought is we’re talking about a large number of molecules, so maybe to get them all in would mean a shot big enough to tranquilize a dozen blue whales. So naturally it would need to be done over time, perhaps years. The second thought is we don’t usually get that many strange molecules inside at one time, and who knows what the consequences of that would be like.

    But more important is the this thought: this is such a simple idea, I’m sure a great many immunologists and other physicians must have thought up before me. And they would know much better than I what the possible effects and implications are.

  9. CSK says:

    James Lewis, the accused Tylenol killer, has died in Cambridge, Mass., age 76. When he and his wife left Chicago, they moved into a condo right behind my house. It was a bit unsettling.

  10. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Interesting thought. I’d wonder if it would trigger autoimmune diseases, or render them moot, since there’s evidence that prior infection is why some immune systems go haywire and start attacking healthy parts of the body (there’s been a rise in Type 1 diabetes following post-covid infections, for example).

  11. Kathy says:


    That’s one thing that worries me. Another is allergies.

    As I understand, antigen receptors are made through DNA recombination in the relevant glands and tissues that make immune system cells. Therefore they will vary between individuals. Allergies are a type of extreme immune reaction, driven in part by antigen receptors.

  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    From our “Nothing to see here, folks, just keep moving” Department:

    Larry Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor who was convicted of sexually abusing numerous underage female gymnasts, has reportedly been stabbed while serving his prison sentence at United States Penitentiary Coleman in Florida.

    It’s probably interesting that it took him seven years to pis annoy one of his fellow residents this much but not interesting enough for me to speculate about it. Maybe the assailant is taking DeSatinist’s musings about groomers seriously?

  13. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Nassar was housed in the sex offender wing of the prison, so it wasn’t as if the other inmates objected to his, uh, proclivities.

  14. Kathy says:

    On the current social media tech bro showdown, Threads is claiming over 100 million users already. That’s how many people installed the app and registered, I assume.

    Has anyone tried it?

    Me, I’ve a strict policy not to install social media apps on my phones, so I haven’t and won’t. A video I saw over the weekend, makes it appear even more intrusive. It appears to demand permission for financial and health information on the device. I can’t confirm this, and I don’t have a link to the video handy. And since I’ve had no social media apps for the past four years or so, I’m not acquainted with the current raft of permissions demanded.

    On a related note, a few weeks back I got suspended from Pinterest for some reason. I was never told why. I sent two messages asking why, and got no response. Then suddenly Saturday I began to get the usual notification emails from it again.

    I tried it and I could log in and browse, no problem. But still no word on what I did, or what they think I did (or more likely these days what some delusional and badly implemented algorithm imagines I did), to merit a suspension.

    I waste a little time on it on weekends, looking at fashion and airplane photos. I save some for future reference. I’m still browsing it, but I save the photos to my hard drive now, not to Pinterest. I figure if I have no activity, I shouldn’t run afoul of the authorities again.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: A little less ambitious but still a game changer if it succeeds: Clinical trial of mRNA universal influenza vaccine candidate begins

  16. CSK says:


    I think you have to have an Instagram account to access Threads, and I don’t.

  17. Jen says:

    @CSK: Yes, you must have an Instagram account, AND the only way to access Threads is on a smartphone/mobile. It’s not available on desktop, which is a) why I don’t have Threads; and b) why the privacy concerns are not without merit. I deleted Facebook from my phone because it was sucking in everything, from my contacts and more. If I can’t use a social platform on my desktop, I’m not going to use it at all.

    Also, anyone who uses Threads is tethering it to Instagram, as the fine print (apparently–I didn’t read it) says that the only way to delete Threads is to delete Instagram.

  18. CSK says:


    Ah, thanks. If I can’t get it on desktop or laptop, I’m not going to use it, either.

  19. Kathy says:


    I posted yesterday that one can get a peek on a browser. But there’s no website for threads yet.

    I wonder whether one will ever be made.

  20. Kathy says:


    I’m puzzled. Regular flu vaccines use tiehr attenuated or inactivated flu viruses. these contain the whole stem and head referenced in the link. Given that B cells will make antibodies for anything that fits an antigen receptor, I wonder why the usual vaccines, not to mention those who recover from a flu infection, don’t make antibodies for the stem already.

    BTW, antigen is short for “antibody generator.”

    The immune system really is too complicated.

  21. Kathy says:

    At lunch, a coworker showed off Threads on his iphone. I didn’t ask to let me look at the app permissions (wouldn’t do to be nosy about matters of privacy), but I did ask about which permissions the app demanded.

    He said, paraphrasing, “it wants even the air from your lungs.”

    Good to know.

  22. Sleeping Dog says:


    We camped on lake Champlain last night and had light rain. On the drive today to the 1000 Islands it poured. Dry and clearing on the St Lawrence Seaway.

  23. Sleeping Dog says:


    We camped on lake Champlain last night and had light rain. On the drive today to the 1000 Islands it poured. Dry and clearing on the St Lawrence Seaway.

  24. dazedandconfused says:


    Marge Greene has been disowned by the Freedom Caucus. Being too loony for the loony bin seems an impossible hill to climb, but she managed it.

  25. JohnSF says:

    Yet another case of people involved in war crimes in Ukraine coming to an abrupt and rather messy end.
    Commander involved in strikes on Ukraine shot dead in Russia
    As I’ve said before, Russia is used to carrying out “wetwork” in countries that won’t repay them in kind.
    I wonder if they are beginning to realise that in Ukraine they’ve made an enemy willing and able to use the Mossad/KGB playbook against Russia.

  26. CSK says:


    I think they were mostly offended by the fact that MTG called Lauren Boebert a “little bitch.”

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Based on stories Luddite told me and conversations that I’ve had with some of his associates from that era, sociopaths have pretty rigid moral codes that they expect others to live by. That, and I’m gonna assume that “sexual offenders wing” is a code for some sort of restricted access/protective custody wing. In any event, he certainly pushed somebody too far yesterday.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: This is another of those “sociopaths have rigid moral codes” things I was talking about in the previous post. It may not be amazing at all once one becomes familiarized with the details.

    I wonder what social network one goes to for dissing MTG?

  29. CSK says:

    The Freedom Caucus, having bounced MTG, is now attacking Jim Jordan because he’s a RINO.

  30. Kathy says:

    IMO, the Cisgender Mars God Emperor of Phobos has regressed back to adolescence (assuming he had ever progressed past it).

    He may also get off on humiliation. But that’s just a wild guess.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: Pretty sure she’s too cozy with McCarthy and is viewed as compromising her insanity.

    It reminds me of the “far left” folks who decide that the very worst thing is Democrat Shills and slide to the far-right in a mixture of Trotskyite “everything must burn before the revolution” and a deep love for fascists. Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, etc.

    Perhaps the Horseshoe Theory will start working both ways and we will get the Freedom Caucus trying to install AOC to force Anerica to recoil from “socialism”

    Far more likely that they are just seeking to fill in the empty part of the Horseshoe with a Batshit Insane Coalition.

  32. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: it’s much harder to block ads in an app, and much easier for the company to send notifications.

    These are reasons why my Twitter activity is now almost entirely desktop based. (Chrome on the Mac does better than the iOS content filters for WebKit)

    BlueBlocker makes Twitter just fine. There ain’t no one with Twitter Blue worth seeing.

  33. Gustopher says:

    The state official in charge of Oklahoma’s schools is facing calls for impeachment, after he said teachers should tell students that the Tulsa race massacre was not racially motivated.

    In a public forum on Thursday, Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s state superintendent of public instruction, said teachers could cover the 1921 massacre, in which white Tulsans murdered an estimated 300 Black people, but teachers should not “say that the skin color determined it”.

    Walters is a pro-Trump Republican who was elected to oversee Oklahoma education in November. He has consistently indulged in rightwing talking points including “woke ideology” and has said critical race theory should not be taught in classrooms.

    I’m pretty sure it was because of ekkkonomic insecurity. Walters probably feels a little ekkkonomically anxious himself.

  34. dazedandconfused says:


    Just some tourists who, just maybe, might have gotten a bit out of hand.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It was a bit unsettling.

    Just gotta say, one got used to it in some of the neighborhoods I lived in.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Maybe the assailant is taking DeSatinist’s musings about groomers seriously?

    If he was he’d of knifed a preacher. Those mf’ers are groomed and trained to be groomers.

  37. dazedandconfused says:


    No good deed goes unpunished.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Preachers are probably either not there or in even more restrictive custody than Nasser was. Personally, I’m not sure I’d do protective custody, but that’s why no one wants me on the prison commission.

  39. gVOR10 says:

    Late for today, but too early for the Tuesday forum. You may remember that Rep. Comer (R-Lalaland) had a whistleblower with the goods on Hunter Biden, but the whistleblower was inexplicably missing. We just found out why. He jumped bail in Crete after being charged by SDNY with being an unregistered agent of the Chinese government. Also arms trafficking, violating Iran sanctions, and the usual afterthought, lying to the feds.

    The showrunners are jumping the shark in each new episode. And Comer is so dumb.

    Oh, and the whistleblower allegedly bribed, on behalf of the Chinese, a so far unnamed Trump admin official.

  40. DrDaveT says:


    the Cisgender Mars God Emperor of Phobos

    I think for this particular rhetorical purpose, you’d do better to replace “Phobos” with “the hurtling moons of Barsoom”.