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. Teve says:


    Serious question: who is more American? A brown kid with the last name Rodriguez who got shot in Ramadi and wasn’t a citizen cause his mom snuck over the Rio Grande when he was 5, or @TuckerCarlson? I know where I stand on that issue.

  2. Teve says:

    We’re doing over 4 million vaccinations a day now? That’s extraordinary.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: And yet I, one with several comorbidities, still can’t get one. “We’ll call you.” they say.

  4. SKI says:

    @Teve: yes but not exactly. Those numbers aren’t always day-accurate as they are the daily reported numbers. So a delay in reporting moves numbers from one day to another. Always look at a multi-day rolling average to smooth the numbers and get a sense of the trends.

  5. SKI says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: don’t remember where you are but we’ve seen better availability at cvs’s rather than local or state efforts or health system spots.

  6. Scott says:

    Took a couple of days off and my wife and I drove and hiked through the Hill Country here in Texas.

    Lot of Trump banners and flags still up. Dead enders still out in force.

    But this made me laugh. A large Trump/Pence 2020 banner (about 4′ X 8′) was hanging on a ranch’s fence line. However, there was a large cut out where PENCE used to be. Like I said, it made me laugh.

  7. Scott says:

    The etymology of ‘f*ck’ and the war that popularized it

    And yet, most remain unaware of their favorite word’s origins, or the notion that, for many, the F-word become part of the daily lexicon due in large part to service members in World War II.

    The etymology of the word itself is murky, but the epithet appears to have hit its stride in the 16th century after famed English lexicographer John Florio published “A Worlde of Wordes,” an Italian-English dictionary intended to teach people these languages as they were really “f*cking” spoken.

    In combat, the predilection for using the expletive naturally only grew.

    In “Helmet for My Pillow,” Marine Robert Leckie described the word as a “handle, a hyphen, a hyperbole; verb, noun, modifier; yes, even conjunction. It described food, fatigue, metaphysics. It stood for everything and meant nothing … one heard it from the chaplains and captains, from Pfcs and PhDs…”

    Some, like legendary war correspondent Ernie Pyle, lamented the linguistic crutch.

    “If I hear another f*cking G.I. say ‘f*cking’ once more,” Pyle reportedly remarked, “I’ll cut my f*cking throat.”

  8. Kylopod says:

    @Scott: There’s an entire book on this topic. I haven’t read it.

  9. CSK says:

    @Scott: @Kylopod:
    As far as I know, it’s one of the oldest words in the English language.

  10. Kylopod says:


    As far as I know, it’s one of the oldest words in the English language.

    Well, no–not really. It’s only been traced as far back as Middle English and probably was borrowed from another language at the time, though no one knows for sure, and its taboo nature means it is probably quite a bit older than there is written evidence for it.

  11. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Teve: My county has moved into Stage 1c (everyone over 50 and all pre-K / K-12 teachers and staff).

  12. CSK says:

    So it could well date back to Anglo-Saxon. There are a lot of stories about its origin, the majority ofr which are entertaining, but apocryphal.

  13. DeD says:

    Good morning, OTB fam. As usual, I am late to the party. I am happy to see Doug back on the threads. Hope you are doing well, Doug.

  14. DeD says:

    The fam and I took a day trip to Fredericksburg Saturday. Surprisingly, we saw only one banner up.

  15. Teve says:

    The more I look at Biden’s Cabinet the more impressed I am. Unqualified nitwits like Betsy DeVos getting replaced by competent, experienced people.

  16. Scott says:

    @DeD: We went out SH 16 to Bandera and Hill Country State Natural Area. I think this banner was on SH 46 heading into Boerne.

  17. KM says:

    As much as moral guardians disapprove of it, it really it one of the most versatile and useful words in English. There are few that can compare and even fewer in general circulation (“jawn” from Philly comes to mind). You can construct whole sentences from it that are able to communicate effectively your point and if you are a non-English speaker or someone who can’t remember a word, it’s an adequate all-purpose fill-in. Adds emphasis and flavor where the context of the words is insufficient but only when the speaker chooses it in an almost tonal fashion- “this f*cking thing” and “this F*CKING thing” are two completely thoughts and meanings.

    Yes, the king of the sentence enhancers doesn’t deserve it’s moral disapproval status. After all, it’s only a dirty word when it’s intended to be used as one and that’s less than half the time an average speaker uses it. Think about it, how often do you use it and how often do you really *mean* it as an invective or curse? Odds are the less you swear, the more it’s a “bad word” to you but if it peppers your vocab, it’s just another term.

  18. Teve says:

    Speaking of language, it’s only a matter of time before ”Imma” becomes standard. Many language changes are annoying but I love that one.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    Stage 1c (everyone over 50 and all pre-K / K-12 teachers and staff)

    I hadn’t realized until I saw this that the 1A/B/C designations vary state by state. Here is Maryland’s:

    Along with all state residents 65 and older, Phase 1C includes workers in food and agriculture production, critical manufacturing, public mass transit, grocery stores, veterinary occupations, the U.S. Postal Service, and clergy and their support staff. Public safety and health care workers who were not eligible in earlier phases are also included.

    all Marylanders who were eligible under Phases 1A and 1B remain eligible, including licensed health care workers, teachers and school support staff, and residents and staff of congregate facilities. All Marylanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities remain eligible, and those who live in group homes and other congregate facilities will continue to receive priority.

  20. mattbernius says:

    It’s also worth mentioning that it’s the few infixes in English and definitely the most commonly used.

  21. CSK says:

    Nice to have you back.

  22. KM says:

    Kentucky’s trying to make it a crime to “insult” a police officer:

    Though Carroll said “insulting an officer is not going to cause anyone to go to jail,” his bill states a person is guilty of disorderly conduct – a Class B misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 90 days imprisonment – if he or she “accosts, insults, taunts, or challenges a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words, or by gestures or other physical contact, that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person.”

    Soooo…. given said “reasonable” person is supposed to be the cop and they’re not supposed to be responding to verbal taunts with aggression anyways, what’s supposed to be the point of this bill? Cops aren’t supposed to react to insults with violence but now if they get the impulse to they can arrest the person upsetting them? This is GOP snowflake logic at its finest- respect the police because they’re big, tough protectors who need to be allowed to arrest you for the violent impulse they get when you call them a MF.

    How is this supposed to pass 1A muster? So-called “fighting words” never even got a pass back in the day to allow arrest and detainment so what legal justification can this possibly have?

  23. Kylopod says:


    As much as moral guardians disapprove of it, it really it one of the most versatile and useful words in English.

    Of course disapproval of the word is much, much less than it was in the past. It’s still censored to some extent on broadcast TV, it still affects a movie’s MPAA rating, it’s still discouraged in a lot of settings, including politics. But it’s nothing compared to how it was viewed in the past. Imagine Lyndon Johnson declaring on live TV that the passage of the Civil Rights Act was a BFD. When Joe Biden used that phrase about Obamacare, it elicited a headline or two but on the scale of Fox’s outrages of the day, it fell well below that of tan suits. This isn’t just a matter of partisan hypocrisy (though there’s a bit of that still), the fact is that the word isn’t even all that shocking in conservative circles anymore, the way it would have been even as late as the 1990s.

    At the same time, slurs connected to race and other identities have taken on far greater importance. Liberals don’t always like the comparison between swear words and racial epithets thinking it trivializes the latter, but the point is that the words we regard as taboo says a lot about our common values at a particular moment. That’s why, for instance, a lot of the curse words connected to religion (hell, damn) were regarded as a lot worse in the 19th century than later on.

  24. CSK says:

    The 253 Farmacy, the self-proclaimed only all-kosher cannabis dispensary on the East Coast, has opened in Turner’s Falls, Massachusetts.

  25. Bill says:

    Joe Biden’s a fascist, see! He could have just kept them in cages, like his old boss did…..meanie.

  26. Sleeping Dog says:


    Your not being able to get a shot is weird, friends mentioned that their 20-ish college student daughter received the vaccine and before her parents who are 50-ish. I believe she’s a student at Truman State.

  27. sam says:


    Kentucky’s trying to make it a crime to “insult” a police officer

    Well that’s fucked up.

  28. just nutha says:

    @Teve: Is that as in “I’ma take a pass on forecasting the evolution of the language” or as in “Imma lumberjack, and I’m okay?”

  29. gVOR08 says:

    There’s an article at WAPO this morning that really pissed me off. Somebody paid Frank Luntz to do a focus group on overcoming Republican vaccine reluctance.

    OK, the people who are paying him are doing a legitimate public service trying to find messaging that will get these people to do the right thing so we as a nation can get to herd immunity. The attitude of the study participants is reported as ‘someone needs to educate us’ to take the vaccine. These are the same people who say ‘don’t trust the MSM, do your own research’. Now they want someone to hold their hands and lead them to doing what they seem to actually know is the right thing. F*cking snowflakes. (Thank you @Scott: for the empowerment.) But we do, unfortunately, have to do it.

    But Frank F*cking Luntz!? The article describes him only as a “longtime Republican pollster”. He’s the Republican messaging guru (“climate change”, “death tax”, “Democrat Party”, etc..) who did more than anyone else to create this herd of mindless Republican sheep that need to be led to water. And at heart the article is another episode in the unending series of MSM appeals for me to understand them with nary ever an appeal for them to put out any effort to understand anything. WIKI has a page on Frank Luntz. His quotes about Orwellian language are gob smacking. He’s in favor of it. (As he should be. It’s made him a rich man.)

    Luntz goes on in the article about how Trump should be thanked for the vaccines. How about instead of thanking Trump for warming the chair we condemn Frank Luntz for doing so much over decades to put Trump’s fat *** in the chair?

  30. Sleeping Dog says:


    And in the Times this AM, there was an article on recruiting and training clergy to encourage the parishioners to receive the vaccine as a gift from god. Whatever it takes to get as many people vaccinated as possible. That mission will create strange bedfellows.

  31. gVOR08 says:

    @KM: Passing a law making it a crime to verbally incite a cop is consistent with GOP standard operating procedure. Governor DeUseless is pushing a law in FL basically criminalizing demonstrations. GOPs all over the country are passing bathroom laws and creating genitalia inspectors. And the biggie is GOPs all over the country passing laws against non-existent vote fraud.

    GOPs electioneer by finding some nothingburger, get their Manichaean minded base to see it as an existential threat, and solve it by passing a law against it. It’s not like they have an actual platform or policy to work on.

  32. DeD says:

    I don’t doubt it. We live in Boerne and see the odd Trump flag. Go through Fair Oaks, though, and they’re partying like it’s 2020 with Trump flags still up.

  33. DeD says:

    “Speaking of language, it’s only a matter of time before ”Imma” becomes standard. Many language changes are annoying but I love that one.”

    The ultimate in “economy of words.”

  34. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: @just nutha: @DeD: John McWhorter has speculated (maybe tongue-in-cheek, maybe serious) that the phrase “I’m all” would eventually evolve into a new verb with its own complex conjugation rules that change depending on the subject:

    I maw hello (from “I’m all ‘hello'”)
    You raw hello (from “You’re all ‘hello'”)
    He zaw hello (from “He’s all ‘hello'”)

    The point of this thought exercise is simply to illustrate that the formal conjugation rules we have today did in fact evolve from these kinds of informal speech patterns that developed organically in the past.

  35. Kathy says:

    I’m more than a bit upset with my insurer right now.

    Surgeon’s fees aside, I’ve paid more for my care than the insurance did. Part of the problem is they refused to cover the PET CT, as well as the hematologist bills and one blood analysis. So instead of having used up about 4/5ths of the deductible pre-surgery, I only used up about 1/4th, as far as the insurer is concerned.

    I still have to submit some extra expenses for the COVID test and the chest X rays, plus the antibiotic and pain medication (surprisingly, Tylenol). We’ll see how that goes.

    I’m seeing the surgeon Thursday for a follow up, and we’ll see about his fee then. If I understood the insurance authorization for the surgery, I shouldn’t own him anything.

  36. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @MarkedMan: It is possible that my County is further apace (or further behind) than others, as well. Texas is allowing areas to proceed further down the list as they move through their Stage populations.

  37. gVOR08 says:

    @DeD: I saw a guy yesterday trolling a big Trump flag on his pickup. But it’s the first one I’ve seen in a couple weeks. For the first weeks after the election I’d see one or more pretty much any time I went out.

  38. Mister Bluster says:
  39. CSK says:

    One of the two arrested was wearing a sweatshirt bearing the logo of the sandwich shop he owns.

  40. MarkedMan says:

    Interesting perspective from Josh Marshall of TPM:

    A key feature of the Trump presidency was that Trump didn’t really build anything. His attempts at policy-making tended to be feckless and half-hearted. His most consequential actions – like packing the federal judiciary – were things he subcontracted to others to guarantee their support. He didn’t build anything. But as long as he had his bullhorn and power he kind of didn’t need to. He had everything he wanted: power, praise, the power to dominate and command attention.

    What a number of observers have noted is that without the bully pulpit or the cudgel of power what Trump needs to do now is build up a political apparatus to entrench his power, position himself for 2022 and potentially 2024. But he doesn’t seem to have the patience for any of that.

    He seems in a word bereft.

    In January he got punched in the face and he hasn’t come back from it. And while it’s still very early I’m less certain that he will.

  41. Monala says:

    @KM: it’s like the sign that appeared at many BLM protests that read, “We live in a world where trained cops can panic & act on impulse but untrained civilians must remain calm w/ a gun in their face.”

  42. CSK says:

    And yet the Trumpkins will tell you Trump is the greatest president we’ve ever had.

  43. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Mayhaps it’s just all my time with the banjo, and old folk music, but Imma seems to be going in the wrong direction.

    “I done reckon I gunna do my taxes” has a flow that “Imma do my taxes” doesn’t.

  44. Monala says:

    @Kathy: Wishing you luck with all that.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Warren Blake : Have you ever noticed the number of things dad is capable of expressing just with the word “fuck”?

    Belle Blake : Trying to say dad is illiterate?

    Warren Blake : No, I mean he’s a good old boy, so you know he talks to be understood, not just to sound good. So from him a “fuck” would mean “holy shit, what did I just get myself into,” or “great pasta,” or “I’m gonna get that guy for that.” So, why do a guy like that need to stay up all night writing? He could already express the entire range of human emotions, with a single word.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Welcome to Misery.

  47. Monala says:

    @Gustopher: to me, the former gives the impression of, “when I get around to it.” The latter has an immediacy to it.

  48. Loviatar says:

    The word I’d most like to see added to the American lexicon.


  49. Sleeping Dog says:


    There was an article at Politico or The Hill yesterday making a similar point, that the post presidency Former Guy, has been more a paper tiger than a ferocious one and it is evident that R pols are simply ignoring him as much as they can, which is turning out to be quite a lot. Unless he actually launches a campaign for president, he’ll fade after the mid-terms and maybe at the mid-term primary season if his candidates don’t advance.

  50. Sleeping Dog says:


    Having escaped Misery once, I don’t plan to move back. Visit friends, yes, take up residence, HELL NO!

  51. Kurtz says:
  52. Bill says:

    Wow, it’s like going from “8 minute abs” to “4 minute abs”.
    Watch for falling credibility….

  53. Kathy says:


    I suppose we can all come up with a funny story involving the word f**k. Here’s mine:

    One time in Vegas a promoter of some kind, there are many on the Strip, was snubbed by a small group of young women. Now, ignoring promoters for clubs, pool parties, dat clubs, not to mention tons of others on the Strip pushing something, or street artists, etc. is like what every tourist learns to do on day one.

    Nevertheless, this one felt slighted, so he yelled after them, “F**k you! Did we leave our manners home with our good clothes?”

    I thought that was clever and funny, but not as funny as the irony.

  54. DrDaveT says:


    The point of this thought exercise is simply to illustrate that the formal conjugation rules we have today did in fact evolve from these kinds of informal speech patterns that developed organically in the past.

    Yep. If it weren’t for high literacy rates, this would be changing much faster. “Gonna” and “hafta” would already have replaced “going to” and “have to” and nobody would remember where they came from, except that we keep printing books that spell “gonna” and “hafta” non-phonetically.

    More concretely, the only future tense and normative verbs left in English are based on colloquial constructions involving verbs meaning “to desire” and “to owe”. Any time you say I will or I would or I should or I shall or I ought, it derives from one of those. (“Could” and “may” and “might” all derive from verbs meaning “to be able to”.)

  55. Gustopher says:

    @Bill: You’re very dumb.

    Part of credibility is adjusting your statements as new data comes in.

    Also, note that this is for schools, not in general — there is data that children, contrary to their reputation as little disease vectors, do not spread covid as readily.

    Given the harm that distance learning has caused, if we think we can get more kids in classrooms safely, we should try it and monitor closely.

    Not sure why high schools would be included in this, as last I heard, it was younger kids that didn’t spread it as easily, but if this is where the data is leading… try it and measure the results.

    Anyway, this is how things are supposed to work. Novel virus and all that means that we aren’t going to be right on day one. This new guidance might not be right either. We might infect a shitload of kids and their families because we have to act with partial data. It’s all very exciting and uncertain.

    And you know this, and are dumbly trying for a “gotcha”, but you got nothing since you come in bad faith.

    Why do you choose to behave like an idiot?

  56. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: A high school teacher of mine, a man from Boston who used the silent R, told a story of asking a waitress for a fork.

    It was a big hit with the 16 year old crowd.

    “Ma’am, can I have a fork?”

  57. DrDaveT says:


    A high school teacher of mine, a man from Boston who used the silent R, told a story of asking a waitress for a fork.

    On the flip side, a college classmate of mine was telling me about a pair of “garbardine” pants he owned.


    “Yeah… what’s wrong?”

    “It’s gabardine.”

    “No shit? I’m from Boston; I assumed there was an R in there.”

  58. Kathy says:


    There’s a joke of a WWII veteran pilot, who gives a talk about his experiences at a local high school.

    Describing a dog fight over Germany, he says “I took my Mustang away from the bombers, to shoot down the fokkers coming in at 10 o’clock,” and this makes the students titter. He then describes “how I got one of the fokkers to follow me so my wingman could take him.” The students giggle a bit louder.

    This keeps going, until there are outbursts of laughter here and there, so the principal interrupts to say, “Students, the Fokkers the captain is talking about are an aircraft model, built by a man named Fokker. Isn’t that right, sir?”

    “I think there’s such a plane,” the pilot replies. “But these fokkers, they were flying Messerschmitts.”

  59. Jax says: