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. Bill Jempty says:
  2. charontwo says:

    NYT reports that Elon Musk personally denied Ukraine’s request to turn on Starlink near Crimea, affecting battle strategy. As
    notes: “If a US citizen is using US government-paid-for assets to sabotage US foreign policy – action must be taken, & serious action, & fast.”

  3. charontwo says:

    Trump calls on Hill GOP to block military aid to Ukraine until Biden administration cooperates more with investigations of Hunter Biden. So much for denying the quid pro quo, as he did in 2019. ⁦

  4. charontwo says:

    Fulton County DA says work is done in Trump probe and ‘we’re ready to go’

  5. charontwo says:

    The newest Donald Trump indictment dropped last week, and above all it is ridiculous.

    The spectacle of the two gormless henchmen creeping around the basement pointing flashlights at security cameras and the servers they’d been dispatched by to wipe — all the while being captured by those very same cameras! — is almost too ludicrous to bear. Who knew there could be something more preposterous than that photo of the tacky bathroom with the boxes stacked in the shower?

  6. charontwo says:


    Think July was hot in the desert SW? Aug says hold my beer. A monster heat dome likely by next weekend – the most intense yet this summer. Magenta indicates where all-time record heights are forecast. This on top of PHX so far beating its hottest month on record by almost 4F!! 1/

    So far in July PHX avg temp is 102.9
    Old record 98.9 in 2020. To beat your hottest month’s temp by ~4 degrees is remarkable. Enter August… This next heat dome is forecast to be around 4 sigma. These heat “ridges” measure the column heat by how high the 500mb pressure sfc is 2/

    For me, in AZ, this is personal.

  7. DrDaveT says:


    Think July was hot in the desert SW? Aug says hold my beer.

    I used to teach statistical process control, back in the day. That’s the statistical method used to detect when an underlying process has shifted from steady state, such as a drill bit wearing out or a piston overheating. The math lets you distinguish between ordinary variation and actual change in the underlying distribution. The technical term for departure from the steady state is to say that the process is “out of control”. It looks like this.
    Or like this.

  8. Slugger says:

    It is Monday morning, and I am looking forward to this week. Two weeks ago the House of Representatives gave us nude pictures of Hunter Biden. Last week we heard that UFOs are real. What can they do this week to top those items? I can hardly wait!

  9. Kathy says:

    Replying to @Jax

    I pretty much stopped writing checks around 2014*. I’d have stopped sooner, but there was this credit card that kept bouncing my online payments. So I kept depositing checks to pay in order to leave a paper trail. then I cancelled it.

    The Apple concept phone reminded me of the fax machine in the late 80s to early 90s. Back then, it was revolutionary office technology, even if the core idea was far older. The first one we had at work, had a serial port for some reason. The manual said nothing about it, and the Cannon salesman didn’t know that it was for. As it was placed far from any PC or printer, I never tried to connect anything to it.

    But by the mid-90s, it was already being replaced by the fax-modem. I remember you wrote up a Word document, and then sent it to be printed as “fax”. This dialed up the recipient’s number and sent the document as a fax. No need to print a physical copy here. and then email proved vastly superior.

    * At work we used to get reimbursements via deposit to a dedicated debit card. then they changed this to “payment orders.” Essentially these are checks, as they can only be cashed at a teller window.

  10. EddieInCA says:


    For me, in AZ, this is personal.


    Heat is the one and only reason my sister moved to Twin Falls, Idaho from Phoenix. That was 15 years ago. The heat was bad in 2008, and it’s only gotten worse.

  11. charontwo says:


    If you read the discussion associated with those charts, the startling departure above normal this year is largely caused by abnormally high temperatures at Antarctica and the nearby ocean. Also, the ocean circulation around Antarctica has slowed drastically.

  12. grumpy realist says:

    @charontwo: How bad is the situation going to have to get before people admit that climate change exists and it represents a threat we should be addressing?
    At which point, of course, it will be too late to do anything about it.

    Sometimes I think that the human race doesn’t deserve to exist.

  13. Kathy says:

    For once, a plausible but revolutionary scientific claim is not getting hyped all over the media.

    The claim is an alloy of lead, phosphates, and copper, named LK-99, is a superconductor at room temperature and normal pressures.

    Cue the 1980s superconducting ceramics. These are real, but limited in actual and potential uses.

    A superconductor that works at normal temps and pressures, would bring down the costs of transmitting electricity. Essentially no electrical energy is lost when it passes through a superconductor. If the alloy is really superconductive (there has been no replication yet), and can be used instead of copper cables in the electric grids of the world, it would be bigger than huge.

    Me, I’m skeptical. I await for someone to replicate the results. And even if it’s real, ti will be years to decades before we see any benefits. it’s not like you can replace however many, many, many kilometers* of grid cabling overnight.

    We’ll see.

    *I wonder if the total of all the grid cabling in the world comes to hundreds of thousands, or millions of kilometers.

  14. gVOR08 says:


    Also, the ocean circulation around Antarctica has slowed drastically.

    Lending credibility to the fear the Gulf Stream could stop.

  15. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: As a physicist who has worked in both experimental and theoretical superconductivity, I’m REALLY REALLY skeptical. If having a bunch of quantum wells in a bulk material were enough to cause superconductivity at room temperature, why haven’t we seen a smidgen of such behaviour with all our work on quantum wells which has been going on since the 1990s? (I also don’t see where any Cooper pairing comes from. Just yelling “quantum well!” doesn’t do the trick.)

    Methinks the idiots either connected up something wrong and shorted the damn thing out, or are just making stuff up.

  16. DrDaveT says:


    I wonder if the total of all the grid cabling in the world comes to hundreds of thousands, or millions of kilometers.

    The US alone has a billion kilometers of primary and secondary electrical grid distribution lines.

    I want to know how many km there are of wiring of all kinds… quadrillions? Think about what superconducting wire in a dynamo would mean. Or electronics that don’t get hot.

  17. EddieInCA says:

    In today’s episode of “How the f**k can anyone vote for these people”?

    Wisconsin Republicans want to allow 14 year olds to serve alcohol in bars. Seriously. 14.

    What could go wrong.

  18. anjin-san says:

    An issue that is apparently not going away…

    ‘I can’t believe we’re having this conversation’: the states pushing for 14-year-olds to serve alcohol

  19. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I take a quantum-like* approach to scientific discoveries: the wave function collapses when a finding is replicated or an observation is checked out. Until then, we don’t really know if it’s real or not.


    I’m really bad at estimating quantities on a large scale.

    Take tritium. It’s produced on purpose for use and sale, because there are several uses. For one thing, you need it to keep nuclear arsenals functional**. It also gets used for luminescent signs, gun sights, etc. But apparently the total anual worldwide production is like half a kilogram.

    When considering the world’s electrical grid, I first thought it must be millions of kilometers. But that seemed like an exaggeration at once. I know the number is vast, but not how vast.

    *I’m aware that’s a gross misuse of the word “quantum.”

    ** Fission bombs use tritium to boost the reaction at detonation. Fusion bombs may use it in the trigger (a smaller fission bomb), but it’s the primary component of the fusion part. As it decays to helium 3, with contrary properties as far as nukes go, on a 12.5 year half life, it needs to be replenished regularly. Otherwise the nukes would fizzle when used.

  20. Scott says:

    I was on vacation last week but I noticed that there seemed to be astonishingly little mainstream news coverage of the 75th anniversary of the desegregation of the Armed Forces which happened on 26 July. So here’s two articles and a podcast:

    Eyeing the future, DoD leaders reflect on 75 years of desegregation

    Tuskegee Airmen and Montford Point Marines joined Department of Defense leaders and lawmakers at the Pentagon this week to commemorate the 75th anniversary of President Harry S. Truman’s signing of Executive Order 9981.

    Signed into law on July 26th, 1948, the order, which mandated the desegregation of the U.S. military, stated “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” Another order, which included the full integration of the federal workforce, was also signed that day.

    What 75 years of military desegregation means to us

    Seventy-five years ago, President Harry S. Truman ordered the desegregation of the U.S. military. At long last, a nation founded on the idea that “all men are created equal” decreed “equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country’s defense.”

    Executive Order 9981 sent a clear message that Black service members were equal enough to fight and die alongside their white counterparts in war. As two Black Army veterans who serve, respectively, as Maryland’s Governor and Secretary of Veterans Affairs, we believe state and national leaders should honor Truman’s legacy by creating more opportunities for people to engage in public service hand-in-hand with their fellow Americans.

    Service — and serving on diverse teams — builds stronger citizens, communities, and countries. We know this because we’ve experienced the transformative power of service personally, and we want to encourage more Americans to serve.

    (Podcast) Commemorating 75 years of a desegregated military

  21. anjin-san says:


    Big business lobbies against heat protections for workers as US boils

  22. Kathy says:

    The comment I posted yesterday about solar energy at home, got me thinking about generating electrical energy at small scale.

    My first thought was, “why not add wind turbines to a solar roof installation?” I think that’s an easy one. Wind speeds are lower closer to the ground. There are occasional gusts, and you will have a few windy days. Overall, though, at the height of a two-story house, you’d need effing big masts to mount the turbines on, either on top of the roof or anchored to the ground in the backyard (far more likely, as each would have its own foundation). Then there are issues like maintenance of the turbines, noise, etc. Probably it won’t be worth doing, even if the additional energy would allow the guy in the video to charge his car every day during winter.

    Then I thought, “why no install solar tiles or solar panels in every house?” Naturally due to the cost. Not everyone has tens of thousands of dollars they can invest on such things, nor would it be necessarily a good investment for everyone. As to the latter, suppose you have no AC nor an electric car you charge daily at home. How much power do you ever use? Then there are states, towns, or utilities that may not allow net metering. That might make the investment/expense less attractive.

    This all reminds me a bit of the very misguided Great Leap “Forward” in China shortly after Mao took over. There was a lot of small scale industry, particularly steel making, that resulted in a gigantic waste of existing steel tools and produced close to nothing worthwhile. There’s a reason why steel is produced at industrial scales.

    The difference is that small scale electricity generation seems to work just fine.

    So, what if you install solar roof or solar panels (houses in other parts of the world don’t have tiled roofs, believe it or not), but not batteries to store the excess? A lot of the power produced when you’re at work would simply be fed to the grid. With net metering, you’d get credited for it, and your electric bill would go down or maybe even reach zero at least part of the year.

    And if you did this on every house, how much less electricity would need to be produced at all?

    More later.

  23. anjin-san says:


    When I worked in bars & nightclubs, we always (always!) walked our female co-workers to their cars after night shifts, because the danger to them of getting harassed/assaulted was real (even though I mostly worked in upscale areas).

    The thought process of wanting to put high school girls in this environment is… I’m not even sure how to describe it. Of course, Republicans are not big on the idea of women/girls having sovereignty over their own bodies, so perhaps the viewpoint of the folks who favor this idiocy is that women/girls just need to deal with the danger of being assaulted or raped.

  24. Mister Bluster says:

    Pee Wee Herman has died.

    (Or maybe he went to live in his playhouse.)

  25. Kathy says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    This reminded me of The Bear That Wasn’t.

    I wonder why so much of children’s literature is so surreal and irrational.

  26. Mister Bluster says:

    @anjin-san:..Of course, Republicans are not big on the idea of women/girls having sovereignty over their own bodies, so perhaps the viewpoint of the folks who favor this idiocy is that women/girls just need to deal with the danger of being assaulted or raped.

    I’m sure that the Republicans in Florida will be glad to enslave them at a young age so that they can benefit from the experience.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Matt Ferrell went into this a bit on his Undecided YouTube channel. One of the things that works against it is that efficiency goes up by the square of the rotor diameter, and small rotors don’t generate much power.

  28. Daryl says:

    Trump attorney Alina Habba on her client;

    “He is the most ethical American I know…”

    I really have nothing to add to that.

  29. CSK says:

    Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) has died, age 70.

  30. Daryl says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    He was only 70.

  31. anjin-san says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Maybe Geatz could run point on that…

  32. EddieInCA says:


    That was my first thought as well. The young, hot, underage Lolita that would love nothing more than serving drinks in a low cut top and short skirt, earning tons of tips while teasing every customer.

    What could go wrong?

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    @Daryl:..He was only 70.

    I saw that. I don’t buy into the notion that “age doesn’t matter”. My bones tell me differently.
    I just try not to ponder about why those younger than me have bit the dust and I’m still here.
    I like to think that it has a lot to do with the DNA that I inherited from mom and dad. Out of my control.

  34. inhumans99 says:

    Mu jumped into this discussion on this very site several months back, and he said that any kids hired to work in a bar would have strict limits on what they could do in their role.

    I forget what he said they could do, but unless the kid is working the books in the back room there will be exposure to possibly highly inebriated patrons.

    Even if the bar has a lot of regulars who look out for the kid (so a bar like Cheers where everyone knows your name and looks out for each other), it just is inevitable that the kid might still be harassed and like most others on this site, good, bad, or in-between working conditions, I am not a fan of exposing a kid to what it is like to run a bar.

    There are other jobs better suited to providing the youngster with some real life experience that will help them when they get older.


  35. steve says:

    There are big changes in maturity levels going from 14 to 16 and then 16 to 18. There just arent that many 14 year olds who are going to be able to deal drunks. Most bars i have been in wont have enough other staff to watch out for them. If they do then they dont need the help (with some small number of exceptions depending upon the bar layout).


  36. Kathy says:


    Thanks. I’ll look it up at home this evening.

  37. CSK says:

    Trump has an editorial in Newsweek:

    He blames the Russiagate “hoax” for causing the war in Ukraine.

  38. anjin-san says:


    Even if the bar has a lot of regulars who look out for the kid

    We used to get customers who were self-appointed protectors of the waitresses from time to time. The staff usually considered them to be a bit creepy and not to be trusted.

    I found Mu’s arguments on that thread to be tepid at best.

  39. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: If anyone is looking for a fun read on this subject, David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth is a solid choice.

    He also appeared on the Chris Hayes’ “Why Is This Happening?” podcast to discuss it.

    (I’ve never been sure of where the stress should be in “Why Is This Happening?” and Hayes never seems to stress anything. Is it desperately asking why, or is it more on the “of all the things that could be happening, why is this horrible thing the one?”)

  40. anjin-san says:

    A 16-year-old died while working at a poultry plant in Mississippi

    In a press release obtained by NPR, Mar-Jac Poultry said that a sanitation employee at the plant suffered a fatal injury when he “became entangled” in one of the machines he was cleaning.

    I think it’s safe to assume that this kid died a very grisly, horrifying, painful death.

    Let’s see, what was I doing when I was 16? Got my driver’s license, saw Bruce Springsteen when he was still playing theaters, went to beach/river parties, listened to records with my buddies, and chased cheerleaders.

    Fast forward to 2023. Make the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Great Again…

  41. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA: what the hell is wrong with people?

    Anyway, the next logical step is a franchise bar like Hooters, but with 14 year olds rather than breasts being the attraction.

    Some days, I think a climate catastrophe can’t come soon enough. The cephalopods and the corvids can’t do worse than us, I hope they survive.

  42. EddieInCA says:


    That was my 2nd thought. Exactly that.

  43. wr says:

    @EddieInCA: “What could go wrong?”

    Well, at least that slut won’t be able to get an abortion after she is “forced” to have sex with one or more customers in the parking lot. Making America great again!

  44. Franklin says:

    @grumpy realist: Well as Vonnugut said, “We will go down in history as the first society that wouldn’t save itself because it wasn’t cost-effective”

  45. Daryl says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    I mentioned that as someone getting ready to turn 65.
    Of course the upside is…what if my money only has to last 5 years?!?

  46. just nutha says:

    @EddieInCA: Cue up a “when I was 14” story from Mu.

  47. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: I have a lingering fondness for Newsweek going back to the sixties. They turned against the Vietnam War before Time. It’s sad to see what’s happened to them. A casualty of the internet. On the upside, I followed your link, skimmed the BS, and read comments. The “Best” comments run heavily toward “Russia, Russia, Russia” was real. WIKI has a page, “Links between Trump Associates and Russian officials and spies”. It’s quite long, but conveniently broken down chronologically.

  48. Kathy says:

    This past weekend I cooked a bit experimentally.

    I’ve been watching a Great Courses video series on cooking. There’s more talk of technique than recipes or flavors, though there’s some of that, too. Up to now, I’ve been entirely self taught, going by experience and tips gleaned from online or cooking show recipes.

    With the lime cilantro chicken this time, I decided to cook the chicken through on the pan, rather than finishing it off in the sauce. The result was far more tender chicken (who’d have imagined!). I also reduced the sauce a fair bit more on the pan, and skipped adding corn starch to thicken it. The result was far more flavorful. It’s still the same set of flavors I’d done before, only more so.

    For desert, I tried something different with the Jell-o pudding. I used 1/4 less milk than indicated, and I used the little, low quality whisk/milk frother I got online, rather than whisking by hand. The result was far thicker, though still at best semi-semi-solid, which does blend better with peanut butter when ready to eat.

    The little whisk is adequate, but just barely so. It has three speeds. For milk, low and middle are insufficient. High will foam the milk, but also risk spilling it over the rim of the very tall mug I used for frothing milk. I will hunt down a different one, perhaps of higher quality. It sis manage the pudding on high speed, with a built in limiter: when the pudding thickens enough, the whisk stops rotating against the friction.

  49. just nutha says:

    @Daryl: She knows only one person in America? How strange. ☹️

  50. just nutha says:

    @anjin-san: “Tepid” was too generous. I thought of completely different /-pid/ word.

  51. steve says:

    Kathy- If you have not, consider reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. I thought it was very readable and helpful on technique, or at least helped me understand what I was doing and could do better. Have also found youtube very helpful especially when cooking foreign cuisines. My Hungarian goulash was much better after watching real Hungarians make it. The kofta I make that I learned from a Yemeni site is so good that my wife forgets to be mad at me for a few hours!



  52. anjin-san says:

    @just nutha:

    What was the gist of Mu’s argument?

    Underage drinking? Groping our teenage waitresses? Getting an early start on liver damage/alcoholism?

    Try that in a small town bar!

  53. gVOR08 says:

    Trivia, but I happened to glance at my phone home screen this morning and noticed the little bluebird “Twitter” icon had updated itself to a white Chi on black “X” icon. I later pulled up a tweet(?) and saw a black Chi in the top left corner. But on my iPad it’s still the bird icon and the bird on tweets. Struck me as odd.

  54. just nutha says:

    @anjin-san: To the extent that I got his point, it seemed to be that the issue was a nothing burger and objections were nonsensical. Good opportunity for kids to make money, yada yada yada.

  55. Kathy says:


    Since you mention goulash, I’m actually quite pleased with the two attempts I’ve made from a recipe found online. Next one, I think, will benefit from a bit more sauce and a little less time in the oven.

    It might help to look up other recipes for regional cuisines I haven’t tried. Thanks for the tip.

  56. inhumans99 says:


    Important to note that I am not speaking for Mu, or putting words in his mouth, but I believe he pointed out that at best a teenager would only be allowed to work in the back office/kitchen area of a bar.

    That would make sense that Wisconsinites do not expect to be served alcohol by a 14 year old in a crop top and Daisy Dukes, but I stand by my discomfort that allowing a child to mingle with folks at a bar, even just back of the house staff, for up to 8: hours a day, is anything but a ill-advised idea and a legal headache waiting to lighten the state of Wisconsin’s wallet.

    I like to think that weakening child labor laws in the state of Wisconsin is not worth the potential grief, but what do I know seeing as I am not a resident of the great state of Wisconsin.

  57. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: Supposedly the true traditional goulash involves equal amounts of beef, onions, and potatoes, seasoned with salt, pepper, and Hungarian paprika. Not even any sour cream.

    I tried making it that way once and wasn’t all that impressed. So yes, add in the sour creme/chili sauce/tomato paste/red wine/juniper berries/whatever.

  58. MarkedMan says:


    at best a teenager would only be allowed to work in the back office/kitchen area of a bar.

    The law would specifically allow 14 year olds to serve liquor. I presume they already can work in the back office and kitchen area, if only for limited hours.

  59. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    For mine I use a whole sliced onion, beef, and pepper. The sauce I make with beef broth, a little tomato puree (like 2 tbsp), a dash of Worcestershire, and a lot of paprika. First I sear the beef, after dredging it in flour, and set it aside. Then I saute the onions and add some pepper. Next I pour the broth (one cup), add paprika, tomato puree, and Worcestershire, and mix well. When it begins to form bubble, I add back the beef, mix again, cover the pot and put it in the oven for a few hours (3 thus far, but I’ll try 2-2:15 next time).

    At home growing up, we had it made with beef, onions, and some kind of sauce with paprika, in a pressure cooker. Mine comes out more tender, although the onions kind of melt from their time in the oven. I may try sauteing a second onion in a separate pan, and adding it near the end of the time in the oven. Anyway, the beef in mine is so tender it falls apart, almost like shredded beef.

    I could try it with potatoes one day. I’m also thinking next time I should add a chopped, sauteed tomato instead of tomato puree.

    I’ve never seen it made with sour cream, though it came up in some recipes I looked up.

  60. Gustopher says:

    @inhumans99: I recall an argument along the lines of how they already allow 14 year olds to serve food and take orders — whether that was Mu’s argument or not I do not recall, but it is the most common, least unreasonable on its surface argument, and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that his argument is the least worst.

    One could search on Google for his username and 14 year old and alcohol — presumably there would not be many matches. (If you are very lucky your ads will steer you towards aged whiskey after that… if unlucky… ugh)

    I don’t think 14 year olds should be waiting tables at all, anywhere that serves alcohol.

    If alcohol is less than X% of the sales, I could be open to quibbling, but I’d start from “Is there a liquor license? Than no.” Demonstrate that it’s fine, not that the incremental harm from the status quo is small.

  61. Gustopher says:


    I decided to cook the chicken through on the pan, rather than finishing it off in the sauce. The result was far more tender chicken (who’d have imagined!).

    I’m terrified of salmonella, so when I cook poultry, I either cook the shit out of it (ground turkey in pasta sauce doesn’t get worse when overcooked) or sous vide it and then finish it in the pan.

    Sous vide is an excellent technique to add to your arsenal for tender chicken, if you haven’t done so.

    Plus, there’s the whole sous vide pump, so you get some technology and accoutrements! And tables of how long and at what temperature to cook things at!

  62. Kathy says:


    I’m very curious about sous vide, and the slow cooker/instant pot, and a few other things. But I already pay so much for electricity, I’m loathe to add more electrical appliances with high energy use.

    Last month the boss brought an induction pad and a pan to the office. It’s been used once, exactly, not to very good effect. I thought to suggest a slow cooker, for such days during Hell Week when we stay long hours. We could easily prepare something and let it cook for hours between lunch and dinner.

    I don’t think that would be well received.

  63. steve says:

    Get a good instant thermometer and check temps. You will know stuff is done without overcooking it to be sure.

    For the goulash the key seemed to be adding what I thought was an ungodly amount of paprika, which I use a lot since I do a fair amount of barbecue but the amount still surprised me.