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. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Werp. Another night waiting for the meds to kick in. Quick perusal of Google, the Guardian, and my email indicates nothing happened in the 2.5 hours I was asleep. Carry on, everyone!

  2. Flat Earth Luddite says:
  3. Bill Jempty says:
  4. Bill Jempty says:
  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jax The other day I saw a meme that made the claim that among ranchers, the term “Proud Boy” is used as a reference to a gelded horse that still believes himself to be fully functional.

    Is this true???

    Oh please let it be true.

  6. Jax says:

    @Sleeping Dog: It’s entirely possible, terms and slang for horse-related stuff varies region to region. I’ve always heard it referred to as being “proud cut”. 😛

  7. Kathy says:

    Well, now, the Nobel Committee has gone full woke, and awarded the Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.

    Well deserved.

    The irritation this may cause MAGAs and their Orange Twit is just a bonus.

  8. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Jax:

    I heard the term proud boy came from a song in the animated movie Aladdin.

  9. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I’d invoke the Jim Carrey Principle, when confronted with a statement of fact that’s no obviously true but which would be very convenient: It has to be.

    On other things, the last two times I bought discounted ground beef, I think I got pink slime instead (it seems to be just a name, as it wasn’t particularly pink). This happened in two different months, August and September, and at different stores.

    I think it comes down to inflation. It’s a common trick in the food industry to downgrade the product rather than raise the price. Usually this means a smaller package, like cereal going from 550 grams to 500. But in bulk products priced by weight, that’s not an option. So pink slime instead of 80/20 beef.

  10. Joe says:

    I am very curious about Trump’s intention to show up to the first day of his fraud trial in NY. There is really no place for a client to speak in the procedure. Is his point to stare down the judge and the prosecutor? How many days of the month or more trial is he going to attend? I really don’t know what he can accomplish other pictures of him looking sullen and defiant.

  11. charontwo says:


    I am not sure they have even seated a jury. Is his point to stare down the judge, the prosecutor and the jury pool?

    There will not be any jury because Trump’s el cheapo lawyers missed the deadline to request a jury trial. This will be a bench trial, the judge will make all the decisions, and he has already sanctioned the lawyers for, basically, wasting his time by unprofessional conduct.

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s a mistake, even in the lunatic context of the MAGA cult. Interesting because Trump’s instincts are usually excellent. Growing fear and advancing senility are diminishing his effectiveness.

  13. DK says:

    Senator Chris Murphy:

    This notion that funding Ukraine isn’t about “America” is drivel. If we abandon Ukraine and Kiev becomes a Russian city, NATO is next, and the invasion of Taiwan not far behind. And then it’s American troops in the fight.

    I’m sleeping a little easier seeing proper Ukraine messaging from Democrats and from Republicans who haven’t been corrupted by Putin.

  14. Kathy says:

    Remember the idea that making a COVID vaccine that can be inhaled would offer better protection than one that’s injected into the muscle tissue of the arm? When mentioned in the news, the impression was that antibodies would be generated at the lungs, which would be more helpful.

    Antibodies are a powerful weapon against pathogens, but they are either used up or decay naturally. They don’t hang around for months, never mind years.

    But part of the ignored immune response* is helper T cells. These do have a role in making antibodies, and it does matter where the vaccine is administered.

    When your cells begin to make spike proteins, this triggers an immune response**. Skipping a lot of it, dendritic cells carry the spike proteins to the lymph nodes and look for matching T cells that can fit the spikes in their receptors. When they find one, said T cells clone themselves in large numbers, and divide into two groups.

    One group heads to the vaccination area and become killer T cells. these instruct the cells making spikes to commit suicide (technically, they induce apoptosis in such cells). The other group become helper T cells and go looking for matching B cells. When they find the right cells, they activate them.

    The B cells undergo mass cloning, and then head to the vaccination area, where they release billions of antibodies for some time. This is the part everyone knows about.

    Eventually no more spikes remain and the mRNA from the shot is used up, so cells quiet down as they no longer feel to be under attack, and the immune response shuts down. Some B cells become memory B cells, and move to the bone marrow to be held in reserve against the return of the nasty spike proteins.

    The helper T cells, meantime, have also gone to the site. Here they do several things, like revitalize tired macrophages so they can continue to hunt down spikes, but eventually they also wind down. Most go on to end their lives through apoptosis, without instruction from killer T cells. A few become memory T cells for the same reason the B cells do.

    And we finally come to the point. Some memory T cells go on to reside in the lymph nodes for years. A few hang around the vaccination area, where we call them tissue memory T cells. they do nothing in particular but hang around.

    If spikes, either alone or attached to trump virus, ever show up, they will recognize them and spring back into action. Only now it will be without the delay of the innate part having to look for them, and faster still as they are in the area the virus likes to infect. And that’s why, possibly, an inhaled vaccine would offer better protection.

    And it has nothing directly to do with antibodies.

    *A lot of the immune system, innate and adaptive, got ignored in favor of antibodies in the trump pandemic. But T cells in particular got little attention.

    ** If the vaccine doesn’t trigger a response, then no memory cells, either B or T, will get made, and the vaccine will have been of no use to you. This is why some vaccines require an adjuvant. As it turns out, mRNA and virus vector vaccines don’t need one.

  15. gVOR10 says:

    @Joe: If nothing else, Trump is using his appearance in NY today to delay a deposition in his suit against Michael Cohen.

    Being a highly litigious career criminal can generate a crowded calendar.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Not a disagreement, so much as another possible explanation: Trump is actually finding it hard to get the media to come out for his diatribes. There were a lot of media this morning and they all dutifully covered his bloviations. Mission accomplished.

  17. Joe says:

    Interesting detail about how this site operates. I went back into my original comment before the clock ran out to edit out the reference to the jury (since I came across the reference to the bench trial), but it clearly showed up long enough for charontwo to comment on it.

    Having this as a bench trial in front of the judge who wrote the scathing summary judgment order is complete legal malpractice.

  18. Kathy says:

    Here’s a quick an easy visualization for some large amounts.

    One million seconds equal about 11 and a half days.

    One billion seconds equal 31.7 years.

    One trillion seconds equal 31,700 years.

  19. charontwo says:

    Having this as a bench trial in front of the judge who wrote the scathing summary judgment order is complete legal malpractice.

    How so? This is the assigned judge, that is not affected by the summary judgement. So far the judge has been very explicit on his reasoning with many case citations, he is most likely to be careful not to do things that might be reversed on appeal, something judges generally hate.

    Besides, the case has seven prongs, the summary judgement was just on the first of those.

  20. charontwo says:


    I rather imagine the Watergate dependents were not especially pleased to catch a judge with the nickname “Maximum John” Sirica.

  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    I agree that’s what he thinks he’s doing, but it’s the pix that tell the tale to the great unwashed. Trump is sitting at the table trying to look fierce and yet submitting to the authority of the court. That’s what people see, regardless of what he says. Instead of bestriding this world like a colossus he’s just another defendant being slowly ground down by the machinery of the law.

    The bitch about the law is that it doesn’t go away. This was my big insight when I was fighting the man: it’s not fox and hounds with you as the clever fox, it’s tightrope walker and ground. The law is the ground. It waits and it persists while you try not to slip. Time does not favor the tightrope walker.

  22. Beth says:


    I would occasionally persecute traffic tickets for a small municipality. These were all misdemeanor tickets for light speeding, no insurance, or damage to municipal property. The property damage ones were the most important. Typically if you were found guilty the worst punishment would be like a $25 and like $300 in statutory fees. I had no control over the fees.

    One time I had to do it on a friday and I was standing chatting with the clerk before the call started. The room was about a third full (pre-Pandy). When a couple of defense attorneys strolled up to chat, they asked how things were. I said, “Great! It’s everyone goes to jail Friday!” The clerk suppressed a smirk and the defense attorneys openly laughed. The crowd however snapped to attention like a brigade of Marines and were absolutely silent though the whole call. Everyone who didn’t ask for a trial* got off on a “technicality”.

    *Never ask to go to trial on a traffic ticket. You don’t know the technical details and you are almost always guilty as sin. I would ask for maximum fines after pounding them into dust for wasting my time. Just take your lumps and drive better. Or cut deals, this isn’t Virgina, we’re not looking to put people in jail for blowing a stop sign.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    I don’t understood the massive hue and cry against the Apple store and the fees they charge. Basically, in return for listing your app in their store, you pay 30% of the sales the first year, and 15% every year after that. Smaller developers pay less. You don’t have to sell in the App store, and I’ve got a number of apps on my phone that I get direct (only from vendors I have very good reason to trust, obviously). You also need to have your app scanned and tested for malignant code, which I doubt any legitimate vendor objects too. You also, and this may be a bigger deal, agree to a bunch of things about not scraping user data without disclosure and agreement. It actually sounds very reasonable and normal to me. But listen to Spotify’s lawyer:

    “Imagine that this was a mall and literally half of the UK population is in this mall,” he said, adding that businesses competing directly with Apple were forced to pay commission on in-app sales. “That’s where it becomes anti-competitive.”

    It’s an odd analogy. If you are selling something in a mall you pay something called “rent”, and in some deals that is actually based on your sales. What Spotify actually objects to is a little more nuanced: since the Apple “rent” is entirely based on sales, any company that offers a free app does not have to pay a dime. Spotify wants to take advantage of this by making their app free but then requiring the users to pay a monthly fee. Apple, correctly in my view, calls this BS. They offer free space to free apps because it benefits their customers with minimal (but not zero) work by them. Spotify pretending to be free is obvious BS. Of course, there is a free, ad based, version of Spotify, but you can subscribe to that via the apple store for free.

  24. Kathy says:


    Well, some of us don’t like Apple at all.

    Past that, could someone set up an app in the Apple App Store called something like “Best Ever App Store,” which would function as an app store for Apple apps? The app would be free, and would charge no fees for apps they carry. I feel I’m getting too meta, and that’s a different tech company.

    I recall installing a few apps to an Android tablet directly, not from the Google Play Store. It was enough of a chore, that I never bothered after a few.

  25. just nutha says:

    @DK: The modern-day domino theory.

    (NOTE: I am not opposed to the US helping Ukraine defend itself. What I am opposed to is transparently ridiculous blather reasserting bogus foreign policy notions from the Cold War era. We need to assist Ukraine because all it requires at the moment is money and materials. We’re not planting a democracy or building a nation; to they’re already there. As foreign policy investments go, this is one looks as sound as any and sounder than most.)

  26. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: How would the competing app “store” acquire Apple app products?

  27. Scott says:

    @just nutha: It’s not cold war domino theory analogy; it is 30s Germany, the Sudetenland, the Anschluss analogy. The idea of not giving in and appeasing aggressors because they can never be appeased.

  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    @just nutha:
    The domino theory was not wrong. The Communists wished to, and intended to, expand from wherever they were to wherever they wanted to be. North Vietnam wanted to extend Communism into South Vietnam. Mission accomplished. They wanted to extend Communism to Laos. Mission accomplished. Cambodia? The Khmer Rouge was not the Khmer Bleu.

    The geography of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia makes them vulnerable to even the Russian military. Putin is on a quest to recreate the USSR, egged on by equally delusional Russian civilians and the Russian Orthodox church. Putin is an unreconstructed Communist – just ask him. And he openly lusts to extend his power and his ideology to the ‘Stans, Poland, Georgia and the Baltic countries. He’s not making a secret of it. The PRC, likewise, makes no bones about wishing to extend Communism to Taiwan.

    The fact is we have two expansionist Communist powers. One has been gutted by Ukraine. The other is being outmaneuvered diplomatically, and has been forced to re-examine its military prospects by the display of western unity and superior technology. Taiwan is safer today because of Ukraine. Georgia is safer today because of Ukraine. Ditto the Baltics. So, in fact, our support for Ukraine has poured cold water on these two aggressive Communist powers – powers who believe in dominoes even if we don’t.

  29. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    They don’t need to. The Apple App Store would still be there, selling apps and gouging developers.

  30. Sleeping Dog says:
  31. Bill Jempty says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Time does not favor the tightrope walker.

    For instance Karl Wallenda.

  32. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Can’t Eastman appeal to Leonard Leo?

  33. MarkedMan says:


    Past that, could someone set up an app in the Apple App Store called something like “Best Ever App Store,” which would function as an app store for Apple apps?

    I think it is pretty difficult to install an iPhone/iPad app outside of the app store, although it is very straightforward to do on a Mac. I’ve never done it, except for test versions of apps my engineers were working on, because of the security risks involved. But I do know that I have several subscription apps like my password manager where I pay for the subscription every year outside the app store. It’s a widely used app and often recommended by Apple itself, so it’s hardly an outlier. I’m not sure what changes they had to make in order to set this up but it is only mildly more inconvenient than renewing through the app store.

  34. MarkedMan says:


    selling apps and gouging developers.

    What do you think is a fair price, a non-gouging price, for using the app store? Bear in mind that the last time I checked Apple’s app store costs developers less than Google’s [Edit: Whoops – it is the same as Apple’s now] . Or is it just that Android phones allow sideloading (downloading any app from any place with no scanning for malware or rules on privacy) while Apple does not? For someone like me, it is a huge plus that Apple doesn’t allow sideloading. God, could you imagine teenagers with iPhones loading every kind of malware ridden app imaginable (“Hey, this one makes your face look like a porcupine!”) and then bringing it into your house?

    Actually, I can tell you what that looks like. When we first moved to China I bought my kids two cheap Chinese Android phones that came with no access to the Google store, and were so full of malware right out of the gate that they were nearly unusable. Or the Windows computer my son assembled from parts, and the version of Windows thrown in for free that seemed to be nothing but malware. We eventually threw the phones away and bought them the cheapest iPhones, and wiped his computer down to the metal and installed a legitimate copy of Windows I bought in the US.

  35. Kathy says:


    What do you think is a fair price, a non-gouging price, for using the app store?

    Actually 30% isn’t gouging. When I worked in the clothes business, the standard discount over retail for the big stores was 40%*.

    It’s when Apple wants further revenue from subscriptions, in-app purchases, etc. that it gets to be gouging. I don’t know if they do. I last had an Apple product in 2013-14 or so, and would gladly forget I ever did. I also paid for no apps during that time**

    *That’s why I assume a similar discount range over list price on planes when airlines or lessors place large orders with Boeing or Airbus. I mean anywhere between 30-60%, which is a wild guess as neither manufacturer ever says what it actually charged any buyer for an airplane.

    **Full disclosure, I did love my old Apple ][e back in the day; before visual interfaces and mice. Also, I’ve paid for very few apps on Android (maybe three), and only one time each. The ones who get my money are Audible (part of Lex Bezos’ Legion of Doom), and Scribd (no idea who owns it).

  36. Jax says:

    Trump’s apparently running out of money to pay his makeup artist, too, his face has a very visible makeup line in the trial pictures from today. Even I can blend better than that, and I am absolutely awful at makeup!

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: North Vietnam wanted to extend Communism into South Vietnam. Mission accomplished. They wanted to extend Communism to Laos. Mission accomplished. Cambodia? The Khmer Rouge was not the Khmer Bleu.

    While I agree with what you say about the Baltic Republics, from what I have read the above is wrong. Most North Vietnamese didn’t give a rat’s ass one way or the other about communism, they just wanted to reunite their country. (how long did it take for capitalism to take root in Vietnam?) From what I recall (I may be wrong) they couldn’t have given a rat’s ass about either Laos or Cambodia, they were just pathways to be used on the way to their goal.

    And we made it easy for them.

    As far as Putin being a communist, No. Just no. He’s a nationalist. Some say he’s an (orthodox) Christian nationalist. I can only say he uses the Orthodox Christianity to further his goals. That, I am certain of.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: and I am absolutely awful at makeup!

    I knew I liked you for a reason. Long before we got married I convinced my wife to eschew the makeup. Mind you, she didn’t take much convincing. I rather suspect that is true of most women.

  39. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Marxist and Soviet orthodoxy held that revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat were historical necessities, inevitable and unavoidable. When this turned out not to be the case, they started exporting revolution themselves. This was not easy, cheap, or quick. But it was the very big driving force of the cold war.

    That is, the Soviets made no secret of their desire to bring the whole world into the Communist fold, one way or another. In Chine, they aided Mao’s fighters against the Japanese, and then against the nationalist government. Same thing in cuba with Fidel and Raul and others. In eastern Europe, they simply installed Communist regimes by force, after clearing the nazis out.

    Some of the countries they supported economically and/or militarily, were pressed to aid in the cause of global communism. Ergo Laos, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Angola, Grenada, etc.

    Communism is a political and economic system. Economically, it was a failure on most things. Politically, the Soviets discovered, implemented, and refined the methods of totalitarian rule. This last is very attractive to actual and potential authoritarian and totalitarian dictators.

    In this last sense, Mad Vlad remains a Soviet down to the bone.

  40. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Putin is an unreconstructed Communist…

    Not exactly; he’s on record as being very critical of communism as a ideology, and of the occasional Soviet policies of a multi-ethnic polity.
    What he respects, and wants to restore, is the status of the USSR as a Superpower, and its autocratic centralised security state. But, this time, with Great Russian imperial chauvinism as its prime ideology.
    He’s more a Russian Imperialist nostalgic than a communist one; his only debt to Leninist ideology IMO is sheer cynicism, and, again, the dominance of a “vanguard elite”.

  41. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It bothers me that so many young girls and women are dependent on their makeup, thinking that’s what men like. There are certain kinds of men who like that, yes, but I’ve discovered they are definitely NOT the type of men you want to share your very short time here with. Choose the guy who thinks you’re lovely in your comfy pants, making biscuits and gravy on a Sunday morning, no makeup.