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. DrDaveT says:
  2. ptfe says:

    @DrDaveT: Fingers crossed it comes down this winter…

  3. Scott says:

    My wife is a school counselor in an elementary school. She reports already that parents are coming in screaming and bullying teachers and staff. There are reports of restraining orders at other schools against some parents. Yes, violence is in the air. Positions are not being filled and we are calculating retirement pay whether partial or full and when that can happen. It is going to get worse before it gets better.

    Thousands of South Korean teachers are rallying for new laws to protect them from abusive parents

    Thousands of South Korean school teachers and staff rallied in Seoul on Saturday for more legal protection from bullying by parents, a rising problem in a country known for its brutally competitive school environments.

    The weekend demonstrations in the capital city, were triggered by the death of a teacher who was found dead at her elementary school in July after reportedly expressing emotional distress caused by complaints from allegedly abusive parents.

    The protesting teachers, who have rallied for weeks, say current laws make it difficult to exercise control over their classrooms and leave them at the mercy of overbearing parents, who could easily accuse them of emotionally abusing children.

  4. Stormy Dragon says:


    Your summary leaves out that the rally in question was demanding teachers receive immunity from child abuse laws, which seems a pretty key point.

  5. gVOR10 says:

    @ptfe: It’ll come down this winter, although maybe still at record hot. And next year there probably won’t be an El Niño and it will be cooler than this summer. And all the usual suspects will say, “See, it was just a blip. There’s nothing to worry about.” Rinse and repeat.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    Fat shaming is a real thing, and a bad thing. However, a number of activists in this area consider doctors giving advice about the negative outcomes associated with obesity as fat shaming. This is dangerous and wrong. Obesity has very serious morbidities associated with it, ranging from the limb amputations associated with diabetes, increased cancer rates, stress induced joint problems, and most especially cardiac issues. The WaPo reports on a study (no subscription necessary) that shows obesity related cardiac deaths have tripled in the past two decades. And this isn’t tripling of small numbers, it dwarfs all other causes of death other than cancer and cardiovascular disease itself.

    And just on a personal level, as a medical device design engineer I attended dozens of surgeries. When a surgeon is looking to cut out cancer, their job is much harder when everything is covered with thick layers of yellow fat. They rely much more on imaging to determine cut margins because they have so much difficulty seeing the tissue itself.

  7. Kathy says:

    I’m about ready to jump into the instant pot and air fryer bandwagon, only about a decade or so late.

    I’ve been looking at all-in-one appliances from Instant Pot and Ninja. As well as separate ones. In the end, I’ll probably go with the cheaper option.

    My impression thus far, from written and video reviews, is that the multiple function appliances are adequate, but the stand alone ones are slightly better at their specific function. Now, getting both a Ninja air fryer and a pressure cooker, would be more expensive than the multi function gadget. But going the stand alone route, there are far more options at varying price points.

    The good thing is, I’ve lots of time. Right now my pocket book suffered an insurance premium and an unexpected expense. So it will all have to wait for a few months, likely late Spring 2024.

  8. Neil Hudelson says:


    I accidentally melted my InstantPot when my hip hit a stove knob and turned on a back burner, unbeknownst to me. Went ahead and got the air fryer attachment when we bought a replacement. When it comes to pressure cooking, I notice no difference between the standalone instantpot and the air-fryer-combo.

    Perhaps a standalone air fryer would be spectacular in comparison if I cooked all my meals with my air fryer, but I don’t, so the combo worked very well for me.

  9. Scott says:

    @Kathy: I’ve used the Instant Pot for years now. Great for rice and pasta dishes. Also pulled pork, South Asian and Thai dishes. Haven’t tried it yet but instant pot birria is supposed to be a winner. Also make my own chicken broth from rotisserie chickens. Even though it has ten settings, realistically all you need is the saute and manual settings. I don’t have an air fryer and haven’t seen the need for one yet.

  10. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @MarkedMan: Counterpoint – I’ve had many difficulties over the years getting adequate treatment for health issues when the providers sees my weight and immediately assume it is the cause, rather than either a symptom or unrelated to the issue at hand.

    Probably the single most egregious was the PCP who tried repeatedly to get me to take diet pills that are basically legal meth even after I explained repeatedly that I was in recovery. He outright refused to believe my self-reporting that I followed Weight Watchers, walked 5000 – 7000 steps six days per week and lifted weights 3x per week, because I’m 6’1″ and weigh 285 lbs. And – again, I’m in recovery – I’m unwilling to engage in extreme dieting or other short term behaviors that I know would be likely to trigger the addictive parts of my brain that are dormant but never gone.

    Needless to say, I fired him when he brought the diet pills up for the third time.

  11. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    One other thing to note: “air fryer” is just a marketing term for convection cooking. If you have a convection oven, you already have an air fryer.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Sorry about your difficulties, and your PCP seems like a piece of work. I don’t know if I’d describe your experience as a counterpoint though. Physicians who don’t want to do the work are going to do that for all kinds of things, not just obesity. And, FWIW, it can be difficult to judge a patient’s truthfulness because it’s a real thing that patients lie about their behaviors, even to themselves. I’m not excusing your doc, but I’ve had clinicians doubt my self reporting about certain things (back pain in particular) and while it pisses me off, I understand that it is a learned reaction.

  13. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Kathy: If I had to do it over again I would consider the combo. I use my Instant Pot at least twice a week and as Scott says it’s very handy for so many dishes and cooking rice.. I also bought an air fryer which I hardly use primarily because it’s noisy. It also takes up too much space.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Above all, I want to cook bean soup my way. I can do it in a plain pot, but it takes hours. Beans cook best under pressure. that’s not all, I wouldn’t buy an appliance to cook one thing (else I’d have a rice cooker), but it’s way up there on the list.

    Now, I have a dumb iron pressure cooker. I’ve never used it. Those things are scary. They lack sensors, and there’s no way to look inside. And it’s huge, like it can fit a turkey with room to spare. The modern gadgets seem far safer. I’ve used the high pressure espresso maker literally thousands of times, after all.

    Another thing I want to try is to cook a chicken under pressure, then crisp the skin with air fryer. Several videos show it works rather well.

    Last, I want to reduce the gas bill without exploding the electric bill. Electrical cooking appliances use up a lot of power, but these two also make for reduced cooking times. Plus I cook only once a week.

    @Stormy Dragon:

    From my copious video watching, it’s more like a mini convection oven. This counts, as the dynamics of air in a smaller volume are different than those in a larger volume.

    My large gas oven does have a convection function. It’s not performed that well when I’ve used it. Certainly not like what I’ve seen in air fryer videos.

  15. Mimai says:

    Re fat shaming, it is indeed a real thing. And it pollutes healthcare.

    And excess body weight is a known risk factor for all kinds of bad outcomes. And excess body weight is also a consequence of other conditions, as well as many treatments.

    It frustrates me that these things are set in opposition to one another (note, I am not implying that you did this).

    But back to the fat shaming… I cringe when I see people applying this to certain politicians. It’s not that I want people to “lay off” those politicians.

    Rather, making fun of them because of their body size normalizes this behavior and reinforces the notion that this is something to be made fun of — to be ashamed about. In this case, the target of the shaming isn’t impacted, but other people are.

    I have similar feelings when I see people make fun of certain politicians’ last names. Again, I don’t share these politicians’ values or policies either. Making fun of their exotic sounding last names does nothing to them. It does however do collateral damage.

  16. Kathy says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    Ask any transwoman, and I suppose transmen too, how many times they’ve been told their symptoms are due to hormone therapy.

  17. Beth says:


    It’s one of the reasons why I’m very cautious about the drs. I see. I have zero patience for that sort of thing. Hell, I just had a good friend get in a battle with an ER doc because he told her that her concussion symptoms were actually her lying about her pregnancy. He wouldn’t take no for answer and didn’t back down when she told him she doesn’t have a uterus.

    This was exceptionally traumatic for her since she doesn’t like to disclose her trans status. I would have a field day fucking with some doc that wanted to fight me over that though. But I like fun in weird places.

  18. CSK says:


    That ER doctor sounds like an imbecile.

    To paraphrase Maya Angelou: “If somebody tells you she doesn’t have a uterus, believe her.”

  19. MarkedMan says:


    making fun of them because of their body size normalizes this behavior and reinforces the notion that this is something to be made fun of

    Couldn’t agree more. 10-15 years ago when my daughter was reaching the age where she really wanted to explain to us just how backward our generation was compared to her vastly more enlightened one, I conceded the point but then asked her what a future generation would be lecturing her generation about? When she protested the enlightened perfection of her cohort, I pointed out that the fat kid in most kids movies was usually there to be the but of jokes, whether it was getting caught sneaking food, getting stuck in an escape hatch or just general dumbness. It didn’t register with her whatsoever, and serves as yet another case of my clumsy and failed attempts to teach my kids life lessons, but I think it still stands. For most people, “enlightened” simply means, “we have stopped prejudging and shaming this group of people and have instead given ourselves permission to prejudge and shame this other group.” How can people possibly think they are enlightened about something like fat shaming because they only fat shame people they don’t like?

    I think it is a bit more legitimate to call out Trump, not for his obesity itself but because he contrasts his supposed fitness with that of Biden’s. Trump seems to be in better shape than I would expect given his lifestyle, but he’s obviously in much worse shape than Biden. On the other hand, I can give ten reasons not to like Christie, but his waistline is none of my damn business.

  20. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @MarkedMan: The reason that I consider it be a counterpoint is that most medical providers don’t understand how to bring up weight-related factors without veering straight into using fat shaming language.

    Sit in on enough Weight Watchers meetings over the years, and the stories from folks getting denied equitable healthcare access due to their weight start to feel scripted.

    I want to make sure that I am clear that I don’t think that bringing up these issues with patients is a bad thing when it is relevant to the problem they are there for.

  21. CSK says:


    It’s legitimate to call out Trump because he forced/coerced his personal physician, gastroenterologist Harold Bornstein, to sign a letter saying that Trump would be the healthiest president ever elected to the presidency–a letter that Trump himself wrote.

    The dead giveaway there was when the letter reported that all Trump’s tests were “positive.” Positive for a medical test almost always indicates a bad result. Apparently Trump had not, in 70 years, been made aware of that.

  22. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: To be fair to the ER doctor for an instant, if your friend was pregnant and didn’t have a uterus, she’s probably in grave danger from that terrifying loose fetus running through her body. Might start nibbling on her spleen or something and the internal bleeding is bound to cause confusion and dizziness that might be mistaken for a concussion.

  23. CSK says:

    According to Newsweek, Lauren Boebert might be charged with violating Colorado’s public lewdness law, which means she could be fined and imprisoned for six months.

    And…this 36-year-old grannie could be registered as a sex offender!


  24. Gustopher says:


    The WaPo reports on a study (no subscription necessary) that shows obesity related cardiac deaths have tripled in the past two decades. And this isn’t tripling of small numbers, it dwarfs all other causes of death other than cancer and cardiovascular disease itself.

    There are serious societal forces at play when we have an obesity epidemic on that scale, and it is pretty troubling that we put so much emphasis on the individual to stop it rather than go after the causes of the epidemic, and then blame them for not being able to fight a massive reshaping of society on their own.

    We haven’t bred a particularly slothful subspecies of humanity in the past 70 years (just guessing that the obesity related cardiac deaths are 50-70). We’ve changed the food supply and countless other factors. (Video games are a bit like sedentary crack, but I don’t think those are really old enough to factor into this.)

    I blame high fructose corn syrup. Not because there’s something particularly wrong with it, but because it’s so cheap that it costs next to nothing to add it to everything, making it taste better and have more calories than our bodies are capable of processing.

    That and processed foods. And declining wages. And…

    Except in my case. I’m fat because every day I stroll a quarter of a mile to the coffee shop and get a donut or pastry and that’s my exercise. Except when I take the car.

  25. steve says:

    There are a couple of libertarian sites I read often. One of them covered immigration recently. The topic of open borders was addressed and the response was “if the borders are really open why do people pay the coyotes $5000 or more to smuggle them across the border?” I had never thought of it that way.


  26. Stormy Dragon says:


    Also companies deliberately engineering food that encourages overconsumption so that they can sell more (by tweaking recipes to maximize the cravings they produce while simultaneously minimizing satiation).

  27. Kathy says:

    Is anyone else re-watching season 1 of Loki in anticipation of season 2?

    While I waited, too, I made lentil, rice, buckwheat, and pasta soup. It turned out better than I expected.

    First I took a small bell pepper and cut it into strips, then I sliced half an onion. I sauteed that in a little oil, added some garlic and pepper, and took out about 3/4 of it. Next in went about a half liter of chicken broth. When that began to bubble, I added some tomato puree (I didn’t measure it), the other half of the onion (quartered), one stick of celery cut into 4 parts, 1 bay leaf, and two more cloves of garlic minced in large pieces.

    Then followed more broth and 1/3 cup of lentils. After it all boiled, I reduced heat to a simmer, and added 1/3 cup each of rice and buckwheat (I wanted barley, but couldn’t find any). I seasoned with a bit more pepper, a little cumin, and some crushed fine herbs. Last I added pasta. I didn’t measure it, because I used some large bow tie shapes I had handy, and these are not amenable to form orderly levels inside a measuring cup.

    Once the pasta cooked a bit softer than al dente, I removed the whole thing off the heat. It was quite good served with a little lime juice.

  28. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: I used to work in the same department as some bariatric (obesity and diabetes) researchers. I didn’t work on their projects but I spent a lot of time discussing what was known in their field and what was not. This was 10-15 years ago, so there has been some progress but not much. About the only thing that is known is that you gain weight when you eat more than your body needs to maintain it’s current weight. What isn’t known is why we do that. It appears to have to do with lack of satiety, i.e. that we continue to feel a compulsion to eat when we should feel full. And hunger is perhaps the ultimate motivator. There may be no other compulsion more powerful than hunger. Otherwise sane and mild mannered people have killed and eaten their companions when they got hungry enough. So simply saying, “It’s simple, eat less!” is like saying, “Don’t have enough time? Give up sleep!”

    All my life I’ve had to work hard to keep my weight off except twice, when I spontaneously lost significant weight for a long period of time without making any effort. Both times I moved overseas for an extended period. It’s simple and lazy to say, “oh it’s because our food in the US is so processed, or contains artificial sweeteners, or too much starch or….” but the second time I was living in China, and eating less healthily than I did in the US.

    We don’t know why this satiety mismatch has become more prevalent, but I suspect that when we crack that nut it will turn out to be an obviously fixable problem.

  29. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @MarkedMan: HFCS overrides the satiety chemicals in the brain. So do other combinations of food chemicals.

    Try drinking a real sugar Coke the next time they promo them—it hard to finish a single 12oz without feeling bloated. An HFCS coke? You can drink 3 of those in an hour and still eat a meal. Most people have no idea of the type of biological hacks they are up against when eating any food that comes in a package, bottle, or can—even fewer know and can stand up to it. To a food manufacturer, once you step in the store its like shooting people in a barrel.

  30. DrDaveT says:


    The topic of open borders was addressed and the response was “if the borders are really open why do people pay the coyotes $5000 or more to smuggle them across the border?”

    I am reminded of the discussion of Prohibition in the comments to Dr. Taylor’s post on Colombia. If that much money (and blood) is being spent to successfully circumvent a law at scale, the law probably can’t (and shouldn’t) persist.

  31. Jay L Gischer says:

    Here’s the thing. Fat is correlated with all kinds of scary health issues. However, it is NOT correlated with morbidity – with dying. This is known as the “fat paradox”. The likely thing is that when a nasty illness comes along, fat people get thin, and thin people die, because, especially in older people, most serious illness has a wasting effect, as one’s body grabs resources from anywhere it can to fight the big nasty.

    Follow this up with the fact that just about any intervention you can think of – scaring people with stories about bad outcomes, diet pills of all sorts, bariatric surgery, even isolating people in a biodome – in the best case scenario works for about 2 years, then the weight loss flattens and reverses. (The biodome thing is completely scary, people’s body temps dropped a little in order to restore body weight. Because, you see, about 90% of the calories you burn in your body are burned to maintain body temperature.)

    I’ll just leave you with a quote from,eating%20disordered%20in%20thin%20people%E2%80%9D.

    As Dr. Deb Burgard, a psychotherapist and one of the founders of the Health at Every Size® movement has eloquently stated, “ We prescribe for fat people what we diagnose as eating disordered in thin people”.

  32. Scott says:

    @Kathy: Not yet. However, I just did rewatch Foundation before starting the second season (I usually just want the last episode of a season to refresh my memory) and found I really enjoyed it. The first time around it was just meh to me. Maybe it is just declining concentration skills but I find I have to watch serious shows twice to really get them.

  33. Bill Jempty says:
  34. Kathy says:


    I expect I’ll rewatch season 1 of Foundation, but that won’t be for a while. I found so little of interest in Apple+ (or whatever Apple calls its Netflix), that I’m waiting for season 2 of Severance to come on first. And that’s already been delayed due to the strikes.

    As for Loki, it was a long time between seasons. I recall the gist, but not the details. I think season 2 drops early in October. So an ep now and then will let me get caught up by then.

    Meantime Lower Decks season 4 is shaping up rather well. Alas, they won’t do a reverse crossover ep with Strange New Worlds. Not this season. They should do one with Discovery.

    I mean get someone from Discovery to wind up in the past with Mariner and crew. I want to see how Boimler reacts to someone 800 or so years in the future who also served under Captain Pike in the past.

  35. CSK says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    It must have been desperate for sustenance.

  36. CSK says:

    The Lauren Boebert saga just gets funnier and funnier. Having just (she said) discovered that the guy whose penis she was fondling is a Democrat, she’s dumped him.

    I could be wrong, or old-fashioned, but something tells me that by the time a woman gets to the point of masturbating her man in public, she’s already ascertained his political inclinations.

  37. Jax says:

    @CSK: Riiiight… now it’s a “False Flag” operation by “Deep Throat Operatives”? 😛 😛

  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    Just came from a meet and greet with a concierge ($2700 a year) doctor. Sheer luck – new guy in a highly-regarded practice. He freely admits Nevada is 48th in the nation in terms of doctors, that right now if you want to see a doctor for the first time it’ll be in 2024, and that if you’re having serious word done, go to Cedars in LA. And most people have $2700 ready in hand, right?

    He does not accept any insurance. He happened to mention that when his roster is full he’ll have 350 patients. 350 @ 2700 each is just shy of a million dollars. With relatively cheap RE and no state income tax, that’d be equivalent to 1.5, maybe even 2 million in LA.

    This all sounds really fair, right?

  39. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    He happened to mention that when his roster is full he’ll have 350 patients.

    Yeah, what you’re mainly paying for is access — in exchange for concierge bucks, he agrees to not be booked every 15 minutes for the next 4 months.

    I use a pseudo-concierge program that has an out of pocket annual fee but whose actual services are still covered by my ordinary company health insurance. (They finagle that by claiming that the annual fee is the cost of additional preventative diagnostics.) For anyone who can afford it, anytime access to your primary care physician is worth it. Full stop.

  40. DrDaveT says:

    @ptfe: Well, the sea surface temperature has plunged over the past week. It is now merely as high as it had ever been before at any time of year, and a full standard deviation higher than the previous record for this date…