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. Mikey says:
  2. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey: He was reportedly fully vaccinated. We all knew this could happen on occasion (particularly for someone very old), but the anti-vaxxers are going to have a field day.

  3. CSK says:

    Yes. They’ll be saying that it was the vaccine that killed Powell.

  4. de stijl says:


    I always liked Powell.

    It is weird because he allowed himself to become an actor in the obscene build up to the Iraq War. Presented “evidence” to the UN that was dodgy at best if not just invented as a justification.

    Even after all that I still liked him on some level.

    Bush I laughed about. Cheney put fear into my heart. Rice I disdained – a corrupted careerist.

    Powell in the Bush era I strangely liked and respected even knowing he lied us into to an unnecessary war that killed 100k+ people for no gain whatsoever. (Asterisk here on a possible future comment)

    It’s kind of odd. By all rights, I should have hated him. What is wrong with me? I should hate him, but I don’t.

  5. Mikey says:

    @Kylopod: It’s unfortunate for him, but it can happen and nothing the anti-vaxxers say means anything anyway.

  6. Kurtz says:

    Today in Congress can’t even do good ideas correctly. Well, an almost good idea.

    So, McConnell finally gets hemp descheduled as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. This took him many years and also saw him working with some Dems. Of course, they have to write the legislation around Delta-9-THC, because that’s the evil cannabinoid in reefer that allowed Blacks to corrupt innocent white children with the insolent noise of Jazz.

    But by carving the law around that one particular arrangement of atoms, they inadvertently created an unregulated market for synthetically converting low Delta-9 cannabis (hemp) into isomers.

    And naturally, like that dude named Tuna outside the Citgo who sells dabs he makes with butane and pvc pipe, the stuff being sold is contaminated with industrial solvents that are probably not good to inhale.

  7. Kathy says:


    We know the vaccines don’t work so well with older people. Powell was 84.

  8. de stijl says:


    If only he had been given ivermectin in time. Or had been dosed with HCQ.

    An anti-vaxxer brain gets pulled and stretched in strange ways to accommodate a full pandemic. They still find a way to excuse it all away. I am disgusted.

  9. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: Jesse Jackson was hospitalized with Covid last month despite being fully vaccinated. He’s 77 with Parkinson’s.

  10. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: I suspect the Venn diagram with people who think snowballs disprove global warming is nearly a plain circle.

  11. CSK says:

    Trump issued a statement claiming that he needs $45 (cute allusion to his presidency) from EACH patriot reading it in order to solve the election fraud of 2020.

    Even Byron York, a Trump cheerleader, seems dubious.

  12. Kathy says:
  13. de stijl says:


    Monoclonal antibodies can cure that. It’s true. I read that on the Joe Rogan subreddit from an actual doctor.

  14. de stijl says:

    One thing that just pisses me off and grinds my gears is that to many people a Covid 19 vaccine is scary and sketchy and happened too quickly and might have microchips in it.

    But HCQ, ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies are A fucking OK because reasons.

    I distrust western medicine except for these specific carve outs. Oh, and my diabetes meds, too. And my ginseng tabs.

    Flat earthers are more consistent. Anti-vaxxers are all over the joint. Seriously, just pick one position, please.

    You are killing us by your actions.

  15. CSK says:

    @Mikey: @Kylopod: @Kathy: @de stijl:

    According to multiple news sources, Powell had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2019. This disease makes it much harder for the body to ward off an infection.

  16. de stijl says:


    Louie Gohmert?

    A perfect circle?

    I like that band A Perfect Circle. Puscifer too. Really interesting.

  17. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: The snowball guy was actually Sen. Inhofe of Oklahoma, though I have no doubt Gohmert also finds the argument convincing.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: I should hate him, but I don’t.

    It will be a lot easier if you just pretend he isn’t human.

  19. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Re that possible future comment on Iraq.

    I need to be super careful here. 100k+ people died for this. In no way am I condoning how we invented reasons to invade Iraq or the aftereffects. That was a really bad decision that impacted many people very badly.

    Yet elevating Iran as a counterweight to Saudi Arabia and her client states is a marked outcome to a shitty deal.

    The Iraq War certainly helped Iran immensely in that regional struggle. A pretty strong argument could be made that Iran tricked us into invading / occupying Iraq.

    In the Israel, Arab, Persia geopoloitical thing there, an empowered Persia is a counterbalance.

    Was it worth it? Gods, no. Did the end result benefit us? Kinda.

  20. Monala says:

    @de stijl: I appreciate Powell for the interview he did when Obama was first running for President, addressing the rumors about Obama being a Muslim. He first told a story about a young Muslim American soldier who gave his life for the US in Afghanistan. Then he said, “The correct answer is, Barack Obama isn’t a Muslim, he’s a Christian. But the really correct answer is, it should make no difference if he were a Muslim. There should be no reason why a Muslim cannot be President of the United States.”

  21. Barry says:

    @de stijl: “It’s kind of odd. By all rights, I should have hated him. What is wrong with me? I should hate him, but I don’t.”

    Propaganda. He was billed as a Wise Honest Man for decades, even after Iraq.

  22. Michael Cain says:

    Another week and still no decision at the Supreme Court about whether they will hear any of the four cases challenging the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases.

  23. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl: Powell created the Powell Doctrine. Per WIKI:

    The Powell Doctrine states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States:
    1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
    2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
    3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
    4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
    5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
    6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
    7. Is the action supported by the American people?
    8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

    But once the drumbeat for invading Iraq started, we never heard much about the Powell Doctrine, even from Powell. But he’s a hard man to hate. And he seems to have been kind of trapped into making his infamous U. N. speech by the administration.

  24. de stijl says:


    I can see that. Though it pains me to admit it. Maybe I got suckered.

    In the days and months after 9/11 I had a gig in Des Moines. I drove there on Sunday afternoons. Drove back to Minneapolis on Friday late afternoons. Steady gig for a year and a half.

    Back then there was a lot of jingoism and performative flag waving.

    I swear to Huginn one car in three on that stretch of road had one of those temporary flag doodads affixed to the front passenger side. Sporting the stars and stripes. Maybe less than I am making it to be but a seriously substantial subset of vehicles had that recently purchased US flag thingie.

    It creeped me out. I am a bit of a patriot. I think the US is pretty cool all things considered. I think that as a people we do pretty good all things considered. We don’t entirely suck.

    But the post 9/11 flag fixation thing was really creepy jingoistic scary time to me.

    Where does this lead? The amount of flag waving by random assholes freaked me out a lot.

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    Sporting the stars and stripes.

    If anyone wants to see my flag they can look for it at the County Courthouse or City Hall or the High School or the local McDonalds…They all fly my flag. The American flag.

  26. Mister Bluster says:


  27. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    The aftermath of the 9/11 attacks was a scary time, but not only in America. Look around, it’s all airlines that have armored doors on the cockpit, kept locked through the flight. This led to the Germanwings crash a few years ago.

    We didn’t know how far Al Qaida’s reach extended, nor what they would do next, nor what other support they might get from states, nor what other rogue states might decide to do. The fear of dirty bombs, among other things, was exaggerated, but very real.

    Saddam might have been bold and reckless enough to stage a terrorist attack, or to provide chemical weapons to terrorists. He wasn’t, but he blustered as though he was.

    Nor was there any reassurance that future attacks would be only directly against America. In a globalized world (pleonasm noted), a major attack that damaged or crippled part of any of America’s large trading partners, like Canada and Mexico for example, might serve as well to damage US interests.

    None of that was likely to happen, as we learned later. The Bush administration had better info, and intelligence agencies, and should have known better.

  28. keef says:


    No. He died of immunological issues related to cancer, as many cancer patients do.

    Don’t make it political you creep.

  29. @keef: I don’t think it is CSK who is making it political.

  30. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    Bush I laughed about. Cheney put fear into my heart. Rice I disdained – a corrupted careerist.

    Steve Earle has a song about Rice that might change your feelings:

    “People say you’re cold but I think you’re hot”

    Objectively, it’s a bad song — juvenile, and a bit tasteless with a light sprinkle of misogyny and a layer of satire. But damn, I love it. The guitar line is just great.

    No one ever asked Colin Powell to skank for them.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @keef: The classic, “no true covid death” argument.

  32. @Gustopher: Indeed.

  33. CSK says:

    Please do tell me what about my comment was “political.” It was factual.

    And thanks for calling me a creep. Coming from you, that’s a huge compliment.

  34. Monala says:

    @Gustopher: apparently Muammar Gaddafi was thought Condi Rice was pretty hot, too. I think he wrote about it in his journals.

  35. CSK says:

    Powell also had Parkinson’s disease and had suffered from prostate cancer. Both those would weaken one’s immune system.

  36. Neil J Hudelson says:

    Florida’s gotta Florida.

    In April, a Miami private school made national headlines for barring teachers who got a coronavirus vaccine from interacting with students. Last week, the school made another startling declaration, but this time to the parents: If you vaccinate your child, they’ll have to stay home for 30 days after each shot.

    The school has a history of spreading inaccurate information about the vaccine and penalizing those who choose to get the shots. In April, Centner Academy employees were told they had to notify Leila and David Centner, the married co-founders of the school, if they received a vaccine. Vaccinated school employees were told they would not be allowed any contact with students “until more information is known” about the vaccines.


    About a week later, a math and science teacher told students they should not hug their vaccinated parents for more than five seconds, the New York Times reported, referencing the same falsehoods the school communicated in its email about vaccine components “shedding” onto others. Some parents threatened to pull their children out of the school over the comments.

    Leila Centner has also spread anti-vaccine information during a meeting with parents and staff, and in a WhatsApp group with community members, according to the Times.

  37. Gustopher says:

    @Neil J Hudelson: Why can’t we make a vaccine that is literally a disease? Genetically modify one of the viruses that cause the common cold so it has the same spike protein, and unleash that upon the world.

    Aside from being the set up for a movie about the dangers of scientists playing God, and the irony of creating and unleashing something that kills all of humanity, what could go wrong?

  38. de stijl says:


    Two good “freak your therapist out” songs by AJJ:

    Self Esteem
    Big Bird

    I switched out therapists last year. It wasn’t working. My new person is working way better. She has a genuine laugh when I surprise her. Old one was a total pro, though – handed me off well. It was a pretty seamless transition. Hat tip.

    New one I am clicking with way more. The exchanges are a marked improvement. Way better vibe off her. I am no longer frustrated with my therapist / therapy.

  39. de stijl says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:

    I saw that story yesterday and it freaked me out. What fucking planet are these people living on?

    They fear and quarantine the vaccinated. It is profoundly disturbing. Dudes, you got everything ass-backwards on this. You are the problem, you know that, right?

  40. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The antivaxx attitude has become so Republican, that when it gets attacked Republicans assume you’re attacking them.

  41. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl:

    Where does this lead? The amount of flag waving by random assholes freaked me out a lot.

    You’re probably, like me, a consequentialist. I see a flag, or going back a bit, a “p*** on binLaden” sticker, or a “Free Tibet” sticker and my first question is what is that supposed to accomplish? I live in North Port FL where they’re looking for Petito’s boyfriend. On my way to the post office I passed the memorial for her, a collection of flowers, hand made posters, stuffed animals, etc. in front of city hall. What’s the point? But it made people feel better, I guess, and that’s OK. An expression of belief and emotion. Sort of like blog commenting.

    I have no problem with people displaying the flag. I have a little reaction to the huge variety of defaced flags. And I have a real problem with associating the flag with Trump.

    I may start flying a flag at home. As a matter of consequence, it serves no purpose, but it means something to a lot of people, and we liberals are patriots, we should reclaim the symbols.

  42. Joe says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:

    Some parents threatened to pull their children out of the school over the comments.

    None of the school administration’s behaviors sound like a one off, so I would ask these parents why are your children (still) there to begin with.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: In the phone message that begins ones wait on the call tree at my clinic, Dr. K. recently reflected that of people who have been testing positive since the last uptick in cases, 50% have been people who are fully vaccinated in the clinic’s testing pool.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: They DO have one position: whatever YOU say is wrong.

  45. steve says:

    Politically incorrect. Just so everyone knows, it is now politically incorrect to ask a pt if they are vaccinated. Hurts their feelings. We get lots of complaints if someone asks.


  46. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I’ve said this before…always pick the car guy over the guy covered in fake-tan and wearing elevator shoes.

  47. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Um. Colin Powell doesn’t have a fake tan…

  48. Kathy says:

    I’ve almost decided to favor COVID vaccine booster shots.

    There are two main factors to consider. First the medical and biological facts. The immune response is complex and not limited to antibody levels in the blood. However, a high level of antibodies seems most capable of stopping an infection quickly. This makes sense if you imagine most virus particles meet with hordes of antibodies, which bind their spikes and prevent them from penetrating cells.

    These levels go down after vaccination, because your B cells don’t keep making antibodies when spikes stop showing up. Instead, they file the info on the spike proteins, so tos peak, and can make new antibodies if they show up again. This is also good, along with the rest of the immune response, but takes a bit more time.

    It’s possible this would have been sufficient against the original strain as well as many of the variants, but not against the Delta variant, which seems to be far more infectious.

    And it’s possible it would still be sufficient even against Delta, except for the other factor to consider, which is the social and environmental facts. With 1) a low vaccination rate and 2) relaxed mitigation measures, there are larger amounts of virus in circulation. This provides far more opportunities for infection, and a higher initial viral load to defend against.

    A booster shot reignites the production of antibodies an infection would, but without an infectious agent present. This might be necessary to avoid infection in the age of Delta and the hordes of maskhole covidiots who won’t get a vaccine.

    The problem is antibody levels from the booster will wane in time as well, requiring yet another booster later on.

    We’ve seen infections peak with Delta even in countries with high vaccination rates, mostly when restrictions are relaxed and people let their guard down. This suggests we have still a long way to go with this pandemic, maybe 12 more months, maybe longer. Immunity from infection is similar to vaccine immunity, but it wanes, too. If those who recover from COVID do not get vaccinated even with single dose boosters, we’ll see reinfection numbers increase in time.

    So it won’t be just matter of letting the antivaxxers catch COVID and either recover or die, but rather will take longer than that. Perhaps until the recovered but unvaxxed go through a round or two of reinfection (not all of them, but maybe about 40% over the next 12 to 24 months), and this without counting new infections among the unvaccinated.

    We’re not quite in the position of facing a plague in ancient times, when neither tools to fight it nor the knowledge to prevent it existed. But we’re also not in the position a 21st century world ought to be, when the tools to fight the virus and the knowledge to prevent it both are easy to obtain.

  49. becca says:

    Got the Pfizer booster and a flu shot, one in each arm, yesterday. Two sore arms instead of one. I still count myself as one of the lucky ones, and while I won’t indulge it, I have to admit feeling a bit invincible.

    Also, as far as humans go, you could do a lot worse than General Powell. The scales balance in his favor overall.

  50. JohnMcC says:

    @Neil J Hudelson: Got some amazed texts from family this morning about that Miami private school. “Virus shedding?! Have they heard of ‘science’ at that ‘school’?”

    When you live in Florida, you are automatically the translator of our endemic assholery for your family, I guess.

    Anyhow. Looked up the ‘school’. Centner Academy. They do NOT sound like Trumpkins. They strike me as the original looney-tunes-left. No textbooks, just ‘project plans’. Mindfulness as a study for the kids.

    Check it out. It’s not what you were probably expecting.

  51. Kylopod says:

    @JohnMcC: RFK Jr. who’s one of the leaders of the anti-vax movement is a lefty.

  52. CSK says:

    There’s an interesting article about left-wing anti-vaxxers in by Eoin Higgins, entitled “Not Getting Vaccinated to Own Your Fellow Libs.”

  53. Kathy says:

    On the matter of people who “hesitate” to get vaccinated due to concerns that seem reasonable, I wonder what the hold up is.

    These people don’t go off on wild conspiracies or outright biological impossibilities. Instead they say they have unspecified concerns, which they tend not to name, or they are “waiting to see” how they work.

    What’s there to wait for? Including the phase 2 trials, the vaccines were first administered to people over a year ago. Phase 3 started in June or so of 2020, over 16 months ago. Mass vaccination began around late November, so it’s been going on for over 10 months.

    Point is, if there were any major problems, we’d know about them. In fact, we do know about them. There’s a very small risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) with the mRNA vaccines, and a higher but still very small risk of blood clots with the virus vector shots.

    Billions of doses have been administered. What more is there to wait for?

    I’ve concerns about the actual efficacy against infection of the Chinese vaccines (there are several), and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. And if the Theranos and Sackler criminal enterprises taught us nothing else, they taught us it’s not impossible to fool the oversight agencies. It is impossible to fool actual observations of actual people who have taken the actual vaccines. Regardless of efficacy against infection, all offer good protection against severe disease and death, even the ones I’m concerned about. Certainly a lot better than no vaccine, or bogus remedies like ivermectin.

  54. Jax says:

    I just found out one of my cousins was hospitalized for over a month with Covid. Very hush hush. Virulent Trumper, very anti-vaxx, all the typical memes and shitposting. Now that she’s survived, she’s still not gonna take the shot, despite having Covid at the beginning of the pandemic and a re-infection that almost killed her ass. I knew nothing had changed in her mindset when she called it the China Virus. (eyeroll)

  55. de stijl says:


    Mindfulness is a good thing to teach, imo. Wish I’d have gotten that lesson sooner. Having to figure that shit out on my own after being released out into the wild at age 17 would have saved me a lot of time and potentially thwarted some bad decision making.

    As a school decision explicitly quarantining the vaccinated is bleeping bonkers. We “shed” virus particles after being vaccinated? What the actual fuck!?!

    You are an educator. You have been entrusted with young minds – to nurture them and to help them grow. And you throw out that illogical and antifactual crap like that in a memo to parents?

    I hope they get sued by a parent with standing. It is deserved. If that is your policy you are teaching wrong. With potentially terrible outcomes. My God! The sheer audacity!

  56. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: Reinfected? Oh noes. I was assured that natural immunity from infection was the best protection. In fact, that’s why Dennis Prager of Prager “U” (not a university) deliberately went out and got infected — for the protection from Covid that a Covid infection gives.

    Assuming the 73 year old Prager survives his bought with Covid, it would be a shame if he caught Covid again.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the man, I guess.

  57. Gustopher says:

    @Gustopher: oh, lest annoy one think I am ghoulishly gleeful that Prager got covid, or that I am laughing at him…

    I’m just happy for him. He wanted covid, he worked at getting covid, and now all that hard work has paid off. It’s like when someone graduates from college, you’re excited for them.

    Good job, Dennis Prager, well done. Bravo, sir.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    My thoughts and prayers go out to the man, I guess.

    Just reminded by an article I saw somewhere recently that when you make petitions to God, you should follow the prescription in the Lord’s Prayer and ask that God’s will be done rather than what you might want. Hope that helps (although, I can see how it might not in this case).

  59. de stijl says:

    Way back in the day my school system forced a choice on us – shop or home ec. Pick one.

    We were programmed into normative performance by years of training so boys went to shop and girls went to home ec.

    A handful of boys went to home ec. Ballsy dudes, that took serious guts back then.

    I chose shop. I had already figured out how to feed myself years earlier by necessity.

    That year zero girls chose shop. It was XY only.

    I now what a crosscut saw is. I can recognize a wood lathe by sight. I operated a band saw.

    They probably don’t do shop class anymore. The potential liability issues are immense.

    My project was an ten slot eight track tape holder. I flocked the interior. Bad choice – a surfacing material prone to flaking off right next to magnetic tape where you need a clean surface for the head to read. Yes, I was an idiot.

    What can I say? It was the 70s. We were all high on cocaine.

    I still own that stupid misbegotten box. I display it as an “art” piece on a shelf in my media room. The stain has aged quite nicely. Well done 14 year old me! The interior flocking has mostly dropped off, but I can still see it used to dark red.

    An eight track tape holder thingie made of wood! The concept amuses me greatly now. A white elephant I haul around move to move and serves no purpose whatsoever besides to remind me I once bought into that bullshit.

    I am glad I still own it.

    What was the purpose of shop class, exactly?

  60. Jax says:

    @de stijl: My Mom still has a “Hot oven grate grabber” I made in shop class when I was 14. It’s in the shape of a fish, the top fin hooks under the edge of the grate so you can pull it out to check the food. Moderately useful, it still makes me laugh to see it on her kitchen wall.

  61. de stijl says:


    Occasionally I get Prager U and Stephen Crowder ads in Youtube. A few times a month.


    I check Media Matters for America and Right Wing Watch once a week or so to see if they have turned up anything new I need to pay attention to.

    I have clicked on a few vids in the past to see the evidence myself. Which, in retrospect, was a bad decision.

    The algorithm is fundamentally flawed if it does not include or understand context.

    No! I am not interested in Prager U or Louder With Crowder content. Please fuck off with that. You pegged me wrong.

  62. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: Right? I know a whole buttload of people depending on that “natural immunity” from “when they had it before it was a pandemic”. In other words, future /HermanCainAward winners.

  63. de stijl says:


    Your’s at least had a practical purpose.

    I love that your shop project is still on your mom’s wall. Gives me the chills a bit.