Monday’s Forum

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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. Michael Reynolds says:

    It is time – past time – to get into geo-engineering.

    As the disastrous effects of climate change mount, Congress has asked federal scientists for a research plan, private money is flowing and rogue start-ups are attempting experiments — all signs that momentum around solar geoengineering is building fast. The most discussed approach involves spraying tiny particles into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight and cool the planet. Other proposals include injecting sea salt into clouds to increase their reflectivity or using giant space parasols to block the sun.


    But already we’ve seen a backlash to these kinds of experiments: Harvard geoengineering researchers planned a dry run of their instruments in Sweden in 2021 only to be shut down after the Indigenous Saami Council and local environmental groups protested the tests. A key concern was how such research could redirect attention and investment from more pressing efforts to reduce emissions, thereby becoming a moral hazard. More recently, Mexico banned geoengineering experiments after discovering an American tech entrepreneur had launched a balloon test without permission. And a startup out of Israel has now raised millions of dollars and is planning experiments with little to no transparency. Some assessments suggest that more experiments, and even larger deployments, are increasingly likely. It would be far better if they happened in the open, as in Sweden, rather than in secret.

    Environmentalists have made a lot of costly mistakes:

    — The early obsession with overpopulation. Turns out we are actually de-populating the planet.
    — The luddite reaction to nuclear power. Nuke power could have been a big contributor to reducing greenhouse gases.
    — Endless predictions of this or that rare commodity running out. Has not happened, is not close to happening. ex: Norway just found enough phosphorous to make every Norwegian a millionaire.
    –Attacks on genetically-modified crops. A hell of a lot of people are going to starve if we don’t figure out how to grow food in a changing climate.
    — The trivialization of big, important issues with ‘snail darters’ and grocery bag obsessions. “Godzilla is coming. . . now, let’s get busy knitting doilies.”

    We are not going to keep a lid on carbon. Will not happen. Demand for electricity is skyrocketing, global politics will continue to disrupt energy import/export. And no one is buying electric cars. Geo-engineering, as insanely difficult – perhaps impossible – as it is, is the only way we’re going to get a grip on climate.

    It is absurd to yell that the sky is falling and yet refuse to do the science on possible solutions. That does not compute. If the whole world is in danger, then act like it. I approve of their goals, but they’re being fools.

  2. drj says:

    Trump is now calling for Liz Cheney to be put in jail.

    This follows, of course, his “bloodbath” remarks.

    And while these remarks are being reported, it’s all pretty much in the vein of “Trump being his usual outrageous self again,” rather than “the failed putschist is once again issuing threats of violence and political persecution to his opponents.”

    He is clearly using intimidation to discourage opposition in order to facilitate the next coup/autogolpe attempt.

    It is so obvious what is happening, and this still gets reported as business as usual.

  3. Stormy Dragon says:


    Queerness, at its heart, is the art of failing so spectacularly badly at one thing that you accidentally succeed at something completely different, and I fucking love that. It is to embrace the broken and fallible and nonsensical and sometimes even the mad, to welcome it as a friend and as part of ourselves.

    I am queer. Obviously. I’m trans, demisexual, sapphic. But beyond that, I am queer—I am failure. Not a failure. Failure. And I embrace it.

  4. Bill Jempty says:
  5. Bill Jempty says:
  6. Joe says:

    @Bill Jempty: Our regional grocery store chain (Schnucks) recently went to limiting self checkout to 10. What they have failed to do in my experience is up their checker staff at common rush hours to handle the increase pushed off to live checkers by this policy. I am happy to use self-checkout and happy to support live checkers, but reducing my access to self checkout without employing more live checkers is just annoying.

  7. Bill Jempty says:


    I am happy to use self-checkout and happy to support live checkers, but reducing my access to self checkout without employing more live checkers is just annoying.


    I agree with you. Target rarely has many cashiers on duty. If they want to limit self checkout, they need to have more employees on hand to check customers out.

    Home Depot has self check out but they also have many cashiers working at the same time. At least that has been my experience.

    After a doctor’s appointment on Thursday, I may stop at Target on the way home to purchase a few thing. Let’s see if anything changes.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    At my local Home Depot there are 4 self check out machines and there is always an employee monitoring those machines if there’s a problem. Additionally one cashier is on duty, plus there is always a cashier on the “pro” desk, that anyone can use.

    Since my wife doesn’t want me anywhere near buying groceries, she has that responsibility.

  9. Kathy says:

    I avoid the self checkout on general principle. I also don’t stack items on shelves, clean the floors, or dispense cuts of meats.

  10. Mister Bluster says:

    Check it out!
    Two Kroger stores in the area have made some of their self checkout stations larger to accommodate shoppers with full carts. No limits here. On random Fridays Kroger offers 4x gas points on most grocery purchases. I’ve seen shoppers with carts piled high with goods at the newly expanded self checkouts. I have also seen Kroger employees bagging groceries at the self checkouts for customers when it gets busy to keep things moving.
    There is a Schnucks in the town where I do most of my shopping. It also limits self checkout to ten items. I guess if the only thing that you buy is a dozen eggs you have to wait in line with all the 11 or more items shoppers.
    I check prices all the time. Consistently the sale prices at Schnucks of items that I buy are higher than the regular price of the same items at Kroger. Only crazy people shop at Schnucks.

  11. Franklin says:

    @Mister Bluster: Okay, okay, but I’d just shop at Schnuck’s for the great name

  12. inhumans99 says:


    Yup, if my local Safeway implemented that self checkout policy I would be more than okay with this policy, but I recently went through a self checkout with no joke, about $400 worth of groceries because there were 0 live checkers available.

    This was on a Saturday, late morning with decent weather outside, so folks unable to come to work was not the reason why there were no live checkers.

    Not one person around me complained, if anything they felt bad for me because I had to checkout so much stuff with no help.

    This is a Safeway in the Bay Area, so plenty of folks would love to work as a checker, it was clearly a choice not to pay for enough checkers to keep at least 1-2 cash registers staffed throughout the day.

    It took me at least 45 minutes to complete my purchase.

  13. Mister Bluster says:

    Trump can’t post $464M bond in New York civil case, lawyers say
    New York state Attorney General Letitia James’ office could begin to seize Trump’s assets unless an appellate court agrees to halt the judgment against the former president.Politico

    I think they should confiscate every thing including his pants so he has to go around wearing nothing but a bed sheet.

  14. Bill Jempty says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I think they should confiscate every thing including his pants so he has to go around wearing nothing but a bed sheet.

    The KKK…..

    Something amusing but true about the town of Davie in Broward County Florida. Around 40-50 years ago it was home to both the local KKK and a nudist colony.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster: it should be remembered that the reason for the judgement against him was that he inflated his assets in order to get better terms. He continues to vehemently deny he inflated anything. However one of his “assets” was more than $500M in cash equivalents and he submitted that claim to the prosecution as part of his defense in this trial. Which he is now admitting he doesn’t have.

  16. gVOR10 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I occasionally see an anti-environmentalist argue that years ago all the scientists thought freon would destroy the ozone layer, but the ozone layer is fine, so it’s another example of scientists lying, just like they are now about carbon. The truth is the relevant scientists reached a consensus that freon was damaging the ozone layer. Government bureaucracies (may I say “deep states”?) reacted and pushed their governments to create an international treaty banning CFCs. The ban was effective. And the ozone layer is slowly recovering.

    Why did we react differently to freon? Because there was no big freon lobby.

    Regrettably you’re right. we’re going to have to do geo-engineering. And live with the cost and any consequences. But let’s not lump all DFHs into “environmentalists” and blame them for the situation. Place the blame on the villains: Exxon, James Inhofe, KSA, Chuckles Koch, the Heartland Institute, Joe Manchin, Rosneft, Shell, Peabody Energy, …

  17. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster: @Bill Jempty:

    An adult diaper would do fine.

  18. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The early obsession with overpopulation. Turns out we are actually de-populating the planet.

    Seeing as how the world’s population went from around 4 billion in 1980 to around 8 billion in 2020, how do you figure we’re depopulating the world?

  19. a country lawyer says:

    Trump’s lawyers have just filed notice with the court that their client is unable to secure a bond for the nearly half billion dollar judgement. It appears no company is willing to take the risk. Stay tuned.

  20. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..An adult diaper would do fine.

    First he will have to present evidence that he is an adult.

  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    Every advanced economy, as well as China and Russia, is below replacement. Only immigration is keeping the US barely keeping up. As soon as women are able, they stop having babies. Long term good for the environment, shorter term very problematic economically.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: And the population will continue to rise through 2060 and beyond. The rate of growth is projected to be still above zero by then. At the current trend it won’t go negative until somewhere between 2070 and 2080, although it will go steeply negative at that point with so much of population above child bearing age.

  23. Franklin says:

    Well, we’re depopulating animals, in any case.

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    Changing planes at Logan, so quickly: the issue with overpopulation was exhaustion of resources. Never happened. Isn’t going to happen – the high-consumption countries are the ones depopulating fastest. It takes a whole lot of Sudanese to consume what an American or German consumes.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    The interview between Musk and Lemon has come out and it’s a doozy. It’s interesting on so many levels. For instance, it seems to me that Lemon went into the interview intending to blow up his relationship with Musk/X.

  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I get what you are trying to say and feel there is some value there. But I don’t understand on why you want to die on the “rapidly depopulating” hill. You’re wrong about that, and it’s just a distraction from your larger argument. No advanced country is depopulating rapidly, if by that you mean rapidly enough to have a positive effect on climate change. Of the six populated continents, only one, Europe, is expected to show a decline between 2025 and 2050, and that is modest (5%). And given current trends, world population continues to climb through 2075. Even by 2100, it is only 0.1% less than in 2075, a rounding error.

    And on the consumption side, the developing world is improving their standard of living significantly faster than the developed world, so any small reduction in developed world population is much more than offset by orders of magnitude more people from the developing world with every growing standards of living.

  27. Kathy says:


    I’ll just quote from the Book of Straczynski:

    Franklin: “There are three of them with guns against two of us with nothing. They’ll gun us down before we get half across the room.”

    Marcus: “All we need is one of them to leave the room. Then there will be only one man with the gun.”

    Franklin: “Excuse me, where I come from, one man from three leaves two.”

    Marcus: “Where I come from is a far more interesting place.”

  28. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Indeed. I should have said a corpulent person’s diaper.

  29. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I saw your post this morning and didn’t read the article so I didn’t know who it was and found it a different route. I like her writing it’s very thought provoking and useful for processing. Her article on breast implants was amazing.

    For me, her timing with this article couldn’t have been better. I recently blew up at/on the trans group I’m part of. I’m one of the people that has been around the longest and am in leadership. The fundamental disagreement at issue was between a bunch of younger queers who advocate that they and their sensibilities need to be protected at all costs, under all circumstances, and me, who argues that people need to deal with their own triggers. During this whole experience I kept saying “I sound like Daddy Reynolds” to myself and hating it.

    It all finally came to a head when I pointed out that I despise the word “transsexual.” Not that people should stop using it, just that it deeply bothers me. Then I pointed out, as a person who directly experienced the horror of it, I would never accept the use of “it” as a pronoun. This caused my direct interlocutor to call me a transphobe, me to explode with spectacular fury, and for me to nuke the conversation by posting a gif of a woman giving a double bird. I’m super mature. This is all on Discord btw.

    The fallout has been that one of my friendships has been destroyed (I’m fine with that), one has been damaged (I’m unhappy with a lack of support from a friend), and I’m on a somewhat self-imposed hiatus from that group. This is all a long lead up to this:

    And if you look in a host of groups of people, from American atheists who roll around “debating” people in an attempt to convert them to atheism (or de-convert them from evangelical Christianity, if you want to be pedantic) to far-left queers who will turn on their own with the most vicious brutality the moment they don’t live up to morally-perfect ideals. You see it in harsh, demanding orders to do this-or-that of followers, or inversely of people who walk up to people and demand that they change this-or-that to satisfy the speaker’s sense of moral perfectionism.

    It’s all evangelical witnessing. All the way down. All these people have done is swap out one faith for another. It’s the same tactics, social dynamics, and ways of being as the evangelical churches they grew up in, and it re-enacts the same vicious harm those churches enacted on them.

    That was super helpful to me as a framework of understanding what happened. I know I’m looked up to in this group and I’m ok with that. I shouldn’t have exploded, but my weakest weak spot is feeling like I’m not being listened to. There’s no way to have other people protect me over that, I have to do it myself. What I won’t accept is people forcing their be morality on me in the name of protection. Or when Daddy Reynolds does it here when he started yammering that we’re all idiots for having identities.

    Eh, this was probably all TMI. But, eh, I’m a chaotic chatty Cathy.

  30. Beth says:

    lol, speaking of being a chatty Cathy, I was HORRIFIED to learn that rideshare drivers don’t talk to people in NYC. Out of like 5 rides this weekend only one guy talked to me. He was Jamaican and we put up some rideshare word jazz. He was telling me about how all the Jews controlled the real estate, and now the Chinese do, but the Blacks also controlled the real estate and many people have lots of money. We talked so much he blew past my stop. It was beautiful.

    Then I went to a store and bought myself a short black skirt and a sequin jumpsuit.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: “Adult” is short for “adult-sized” (but we all actually already know that) so there’s no age limit on who can wear them, but most children will have more trouble keeping them on. And yes, Trump would probably need a size for a more corpulent body type. Then again, I probably would, too.

  32. dazedandconfused says:

    @a country lawyer:

    Ideally…it would go down like this.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    It’s the same tactics, social dynamics, and ways of being as the evangelical churches they grew up in, and it re-enacts the same vicious harm those churches enacted on them.

    This! And coming from an evangelical, no less. The issue/problem/phenomenon, as I see it, is that, as one of my ed professors explained one day, we encounter situations where none of our education, training, or current experience provides the inputs we need to address the thing we are confronting. When that happens, we rely on what we (or more often our parents) would do in the case. In rare cases, the past is traumatic enough so that we reject the past and do anything else, but for a lot of us, our experience isn’t transformational enough to move us, so we stay in the patterns of the past.

    Religion (among other things) promises transformation but delivers very little of it. I think it’s because transformation, of all types, is pretty difficult, time and effort consuming, and labor intensive. Really becoming different from what you’ve been is hard.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @a country lawyer:

    It appears no company is willing to take the risk. Stay tuned.

    Who can blame them? Even Trump admits that he sees the goal of a deal as getting something for nothing.

  35. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I think it’s because transformation, of all types, is pretty difficult, time and effort consuming, and labor intensive. Really becoming different from what you’ve been is hard.

    lol, I need to steal this and write it down. Actual, real, transformation is hell. It’s fundamental awful. It’s something that you can’t demand absolute safety for. Especially when you refuse to keep other people safe if they don’t share your idea of moral perfection.

    I think that’s the difference between say, my Former Friend and Daddy Reynolds. My Former Friend is an addict in recovery and has a lot of other issues. I recently invited her to a rave with a large group of people. I went out of my way to make sure she was secure and supported. Then the second I didn’t match her morality I was an apostate. With Daddy Reynolds, he’s gonna bitch and call us idiots when we don’t agree with him (and never stop complaining), but I know his heart is in the right place and he’d put out his cigar out on someone to protect a person. Or at least take some other comically rich person action. He might bitch and complain (that we’re all idiots) but his demands on our moral perfection are much more reasonable.

  36. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    There would be problems but it wouldn’t be problematic. There are good things about a decreasing population. Check out the wonderful results of the Black Plague in Europe. Massive transfer of wealth from the rich to the surviving workers. Serfdom ended in Western Europe, for the most part. Thanos wasn’t entirely wrong,

  37. Stormy Dragon says:

    I’m sorry you’re feeling abandoned by parts of your found family…

    In situations like that, I try (not always successfully) to remember that it’s probably not personal, and that they’re just lashing out because they’re suffering emotional pain. Often just listening and offering a few words of comfort is enough to calm the situation back down again.

    PS – feel free to ping “stormydragon” on Discord sometime =)

  38. SenyorDave says:

    @Bill Jempty: I can tell you from personal experience that being a nudist and a bigot are not mutually exclusive. A few years my department had their annual summer outing at my co-worker’ mother’s nudist B&B (no, that is not a misprint). As we were sitting poolside eating crabs she started in on how the Baltimore was a great city until the col**eds ruined. Fortunately my boss managed to steer the conversation in a different direction, but afterwards we talked about how strange it was that someone running a nudist B&B would be a racist.

  39. Mister Bluster says:

    Lock Him Up!…Tomorrow!

    Navarro’s bid to stave off jail sentence denied at Supreme Court
    Mar 18, 2024
    Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday turned down Navarro’s emergency motion to stave off his imminent jail sentence — set to begin Tuesday at 2 p.m. in a Miami federal prison — for his defiance of a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee two years ago.

    Peter Navarro says Trump asserted privilege over testimony during Jan. 6 committee investigation

    Washington Aug 2, 2023 — Former top Trump White House economic adviser Peter Navarro told a federal judge that Donald Trump made it “very clear” that he wanted Navarro to invoke certain privileges and not respond to a congressional subpoena from the now-defunct House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
    Navarro testified Monday that on Feb. 20, 2022 — 11 days after he was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee — he called Trump and spoke with him for three minutes.
    “It was clear during that call that privilege was invoked, very clear,” Navarro said.

    Your boyfriend Donnie can’t help you now.

  40. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    In this instance it’s more about how do you balance the ability to have frank and honest discussions about topics that can be painful for other people with keeping vulnerable, delicate, people as safe as possible. In my group the balance is out of whack. One group has demanded to be kept safe at all costs and they are the sole arbiters of both who needs to be safe and how to do it. I fell outside of their bounds and was treated thusly. I certainly didn’t handle my side as well, but lol, the freak out kinda made my point.

    I also don’t know if I would called it abandonment, more disconnection. Where I’m at I’m trying to understand what it means, if possible, to complete a transition. This group historically has done a very good job of helping people early in their transition, now we have to figure out how to do that for people much farther along.

    As for discord, somewhat unsurprisingly, I go by Beth!

  41. wr says:

    @Beth: They also don’t pitch you their scripts or their startups, as drivers in LA and the Bay Area do. It’s a trade-off I’m willing to live with.

  42. Beth says:


    Chicago drivers usually talk. 9/10 it’s nonsense, but it’s friendly nonsense. My partner hates it. If she had her druthers no one would talk to her ever. Unfortunately for her, she lives with three adhd riddled maniacs that never shut up.

  43. dazedandconfused says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    The time will pass swiftly, Navarro
    For you will certainly not be in general pop
    And you can practice your Green Bay Sweep
    With a broom and with a mop.

  44. Mister Bluster says:


    Navarro is unlikely to serve the four full months of his sentence because of laws that allow for early release for federal inmates. Mangel* said he expects the time served to be about 90 days.

    *Sam Mangel, Navarro’s prison consultant.

  45. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: As far as geoengineering goes, we recently stopped using high sulphur fuel in cargo ships on the pacific, right before the temperatures spiked.

    The high sulphur fuel creates ship tracks — long clouds that track the ship — and we can see that these have reduced. That is pretty clear, factual cause and effect.

    There are mechanisms for cloud cover to affect temperature (they reflect sunlight, and they also trap heat, so mixed bag), and I don’t know if we have anything more than correlation there. At about the same time that El Niño did its flipping thing, too, so I would expect conclusions to be messy and noisy.

    But, we might have been geo-engineering for years, and just stopped.

    I’m pretty sure the high sulphur fuel industry would like us to try again and see what happens.

  46. Gustopher says:


    Then I pointed out, as a person who directly experienced the horror of it, I would never accept the use of “it” as a pronoun. This caused my direct interlocutor to call me a transphobe, me to explode with spectacular fury, and for me to nuke the conversation by posting a gif of a woman giving a double bird. I’m super mature.

    I will never use “it” to describe a human being, even if that is someone’s preferred pronoun. Maybe “it” is in the process of being reclaimed as a pronoun for agender people or whatever, but “it” is also just a slur — an entirely dehumanizing form of address.

    The least offensive use of “it” as a pronoun for a person is: “It puts the lotion on its skin, or it gets the hose.”

    Anyway, people reclaiming terms need to acknowledge that older generations just aren’t going to go along with it at the same speed as the bright, young, bushy-tailed twits who think it’s a great idea. Language of the kids (and these “it” twits have to be kids) moves faster than language of old people.

    Middle fingers seem like a perfectly appropriate and mature response to them accusing you of being transphobic over this. Log back on and tell them that they are being ageist. And ableist. I don’t know how ableist fits in, but it’s a good one to use.

    People a generation older than me wince at the word “queer” being used as a catch all. I wince at kids who say “I used to think I was a demisexual genderfluid aromantic omnisexual, but now I realized that I’m only interested in people who subvert gender norms at about a 3 to 5 on a scale of 1 to 10, so I’m not really omnisexual, so I’ve made up a new term and a new flag!”