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. CSK says:

    After 25 years, William Saletan is leaving Slate to write for The Bulwark.

  2. Scott says:

    How Air Force police get giant moose out of traffic in Alaska

    As the Air Force equivalent of military police, security forces airmen have to be ready to face a range of threats. There could be gate runners, intruders on the flight line, or just the bitter cold and blazing heat that comes with standing on post all day. But in Alaska, airmen face one more danger: enormous, six-foot tall creatures that weigh more than 1,000 pounds sporting massive antlers that can stretch up to six feet wide.

    Forget China and Russia. These creatures are the real threat, and they are known as “moose.”

    “I would certainly not be first in line to stop one of those bio-tanks from going wherever the hell it felt like going,” wrote one commenter on the unofficial Air Force subreddit, where a member of the Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska community posted an image of a moose blocking traffic outside the base on Thursday.

    It’s “bio-tanks” that just made me laugh.

  3. Kathy says:

    By my count, the Rams are the second team to play a Super Bowl at home. The last were the Tampa Bay Bucs, and for that we need to go back in time a full year.

  4. Jax says:

    @Scott: One year we had a “town moose” who frequented the elementary school. It was all fine and dandy until he was having himself a little nap right in front of the doors when school let out. By then he was so used to humans, he didn’t budge an inch no matter how much commotion they made to try and haze him out of the way. The Game Warden was called, he had the bright idea to have someone inside pull the fire alarm so the lights and sirens would turn on. That finally worked, but all the school buses were running late getting to the other schools to pick up the older kids. It made the front page of the newspaper. 😛

  5. Stormy Dragon says:

    I was hoping for 49ers vs Bengals for nostalgic reasons, because it would have been the same line up as the first Superbowl I saw back in 1981

  6. MarkedMan says:

    I gotta admit, this is my mental image of 90% of gun owners in the US. A reckless man-boy who sees himself as Jason Bourne but in the moment is more Barney Fife with, unfortunately, way more than one bullet.

  7. CSK says:

    This video is…bizarre. What induced this guy to start spraying bullets all over the place? And…shooting through the windshield??????

  8. Sleeping Dog says:


    Just another, in a long list of reasons to not visit/live in FLA.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    This morning brings Joe Rogan and Spotify doing damage control.

  10. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Neil Young is no hero. (Not that you implied he was.) Back in the eighties, during the AIDS crisis, he ranted about how he didn’t want “faggot” grocery store employees touching his potatoes.

  11. charon says:

    Excerpts from the Tennessee MAUS replacement

    Click the individual panels. example:

  12. MarkedMan says:

    The other thread (about cocaine smuggling) has gone off the rails and rather than continue to wreak havoc there, I thought it best to bring this random observation here.

    How crazy is it that a big part of the popular music industry in the US used to consist of the singer/songwriter, who used to wear a suit or a dress and go to their office in the Brill Building and write songs for other people and, occasionally but only occasionally, for themselves. People who fall into this category:
    Carol King
    Neil Sedaka
    Paul Simon
    Paul Anka
    Harry Nilsson
    Bobby Darin
    Neal Diamond
    Tony Orlando
    Laura Nyro

  13. Jon says:

    @CSK: He also donated the profits from his song Philadelphia (from the movie of the same name) to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis center and other AIDS-related causes.

    People are complex, and weird.

  14. CSK says:

    Was he shamed into doing so after his rant?

    I agree with your point about people.

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    In a late Sunday evening 10-minute Instagram video post, Mr. Rogan said, “If I pissed you off, I’m sorry,” referring to growing backlash against him and Spotify Technology SA stemming from the folk rocker’s accusations that they spread false information about Covid-19 vaccines through the popular podcast.
    “It’s a strange responsibility to have this many viewers and listeners,” said Mr. Rogan. “It’s nothing that I’ve prepared for. I’m going to do my best to balance things out.”

    I had never heard of Joe Rogan until his name came up at OTB recently and still don’t know why I should pay any attention to him. I can only speculate that Rogan has prepared himself to appeal to the ignorance and fanaticism of his audience.
    Balance things out?
    How is he going to do that? Give his podcast over to Dr. Fauci?

  16. Jon says:

    @CSK: Not to my knowledge; it was something I vaguely recalled reading about in his biography Shakey; I found this article which discusses it a bit and helped flesh out my memory.

    The gist is he never apologized but also hasn’t (publicly) repeated the sentiment, and the donations were done on the down-low.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Ain’t it the truth! And just in case you thought there might still be a sliver of hope for the state, consider that the shooter was not originally arrested, but instead allowed to drive himself home!

    I’m sure a black man would have been treated exactly the same…

  18. Beth says:


    The writing music for other people is still pretty big in EDM music. Lots of producers have other people craft their songs for them either in whole or part and then pass them off as theirs. They call it “Ghost Producing”. It apparently really aggravates a ton of EDM “purists” which is as stupid as it sounds. Personally, I don’t care how the song gets made, only that it makes me happy and want to dance.

  19. Mister Bluster says:

    @Beth:..I don’t care how the song gets made, only that it makes me happy and want to dance.

    Do You Want to Dance 1958
    I sure did. When this song came out I was 10 years old in the 5th grade. ALL the kids in my neighborhood were taking dance lessons. Not me. My mom was ok with it but my father was vehemently opposed.
    “HE WILL NOT!” I still remember hearing those words when my mom was pleading my case.
    I was so repressed about it all that I’m pretty sure I got laid for the first time before I would ever get on a dance floor.

  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Also 1989. SB 23.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:


    The contract song writer is still a big part of the NY, Nashville and LA music scenes. Music publishing companies exist not only to track what songs are recorded, played and collect royalties, but to match song writers with performers.

    What Beth refers to a Ghost Producing, I’ve heard called Song Doctoring. I’ve been told that the late Guy Clark was considered the go to person to clean up and make sale-able music that was attributed to name performers. Today Liz Rose is a name that frequently appears as a co-writer. The song doctor may or may not receive attribution for his/her work.

    Given the expansion of ways music can be distributed compared to how it happened through the 70’s, most song writers also have recording and performing careers with varying levels of popularity.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @charon: I doubt this is really being used to replace Maus, but I could be wrong. And I’m sure it exists. In your first link the Germans trapped in Stalingrad want Bibles and are tearing out and passing around pages. The last panel says, “Why?” but the excerpts don’t answer. I’ve read about cowboys carrying Montgomery Ward catalogs on the trail, for use just off the trail. Bibles, like Montgomery Ward catalogs, have soft pages. It would be blasphemous for me to continue to speculate on “Why?”

  23. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: the 80s was 40 years ago. People grow and change. Sometimes they even learn to shut up, which is almost as good as changing.

    I’m prepared to believe he is awful, but I’ll need something a bit more recent. I know I said a lot of dumb shit in the 80s. It was just a bad time.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    I see that Maus, 30 years after publication, is topping the NYT best seller list.

  25. Michael Cain says:


    The Laurel Canyon period from the mid-60s to early 70s when people who went on to become icons wrote songs for each other more or less continuously. Barry Manilow started out writing commercial jingles. In the category of great rewards for short bits, Merv Griffith wrote (and retained ownership) of the 30-second piece played during Final Jeopardy on the game show. Estimates are that Griffith (and subsequently, his estate) have been paid more then $100M in royalties on it.

  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: What I think was magical about those times was how many of these singer songwriters became superstars on their own. Neil Diamond wrote three songs for the Monkees! Carol King wrote 3! Carol Bayer Sager wrote a half dozen!

    And they didn’t write just for other musicians. Here are some advertising jingles written by Barry Manilow:
    State Farm: “Like a Good Neighbor”
    Band-Aid: “Stuck on Band-Aid”
    Stridex: “Give Your Face Something to Smile About”
    KFC: “Grab a Bucket of Chicken”
    Pepsi: “Feelin’ Free”
    McDonald’s: “You Deserve a Break Today”

  27. Sleeping Dog says:


    I find it impossible to cast judgement on what someone believed or stated 35 years ago, if those beliefs have changed in the face of new information. There are are certainly beliefs and thoughts that I expressed 35 years ago that would be embarrassing today if they were resurrected. Thank goodness I matured in the age before the ever remembering internet and had well developed filters when it finally came along. Young may not be a hero (or a saint), and few people are, but he’s a good musician and has been on what I consider the right side of several challenges we face in life.

    Having spent a few years in a tiny corner of the music business, I’ve been disappointed to find out that someone whose music I’d admired turned out to be an arrogant ass, while another who I believed to be a jerk due to his/her presentation, turned out to be a delightful, modest person when you sat down and talked with them. I’d suspect that you’ve had the same experience in the book world.

  28. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Cain: whoops. Just saw that you beat me to Manilow’s jingles.

    I am of an age and background that I felt obligated to despise Manilow (and his shirts!), only realizing what an incredible musician he was as I got older. His pop stuff was not, and is not, my style.. but he recorded a Jazz album in the eighties where he deliberately set out to write songs in the style of jazz standards, but all new. It showed chutzpah, but he pulled it off. He’s done a lot of jazz-ish music since then and while it isn’t my go to, I recognize the talent.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charon: On the other hand, the cover notes that this tome is only 39 cents a copy. It’s probably the best they can do considering the outlay made on copies of Maus. And they probably got a discount for a bulk buy. And maybe worse than simply eliminating the Holocaust unit.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    You know, the one modern example of the music professional breaking out as a performer I can think of is Jack Antonoff. He has had tremendous success producing and writing songs for Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Lana del Rey, among others. He’s always had his own band, but The Bleachers seem to be breaking out. Saw them in Philly earlier this year, and it was a blast.

  31. Sleeping Dog says:


    There is a Carol King concert video from the mid 90’s on YouTube. Like a lot of performers who cram their greatest hits into a medley, she does one about 2/3rds of the way through. Though unlike it being her hits, it is hits that others have had with her songs. Before going into the chorus of each, she mentions the performer and the song, some were done by heavy metal bands. Pretty neat.

    Yup those commercial jingles pay the bills.

    Ask any songwriter or performer, if a royalty check ever showed up in time to fend off an impending personal financial disaster and you will be regaled in stories. As part of his regular stage patter and intro to the song, Ian Tyson jokes about how the next song he would perform, bought him a ranch and paid a lot alimony. The song Four Strong Winds, some of it to Sylvia.

  32. Beth says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    That’s such a bummer. I did the same thing, but to myself. Because, you know, if people saw me dancing, “THEY’LL KNOW!” So much time and happiness squandered. I hope you were able to get past that. I’m still working on it myself.

    Also, kind of circling back to the rights management stuff that’s been discussed over the last few days, it’s important that some of the older stuff gets recycled back into something new. I’ve noticed that a lot of the 60’s stuff my parents listened to are getting turned into:

    Personally, one of my favorite DJ/Producers mixes in a lot of Dead and Bowie into her sets.

  33. JohnSF says:

    Just had a look at Saturday and Sundays open forums (fori?) ( up to other monkey business over the weekend 🙂 .

    Two questions:

    1) re. Tom Brady, is it unusual for a quarterback to keep going to that sort of age? I can’t think of any rugby player who could keep on rockin in the premier league at that sort of age. Later 30’s at best. Are quarterbacks so little involved in the more physical side of the game?

    2) Who the f@ck is Kid Rock?

  34. Jen says:

    @JohnSF: RE:

    1) No, it is not normal for a 44 y.o. male to continue on in such a physically punishing game. Friends of mine are convinced he’s made a pact with a higher power. Or lower power, depending on which teams you support.

    2) I so wish I didn’t know. He’s an individual who has managed to make a name for himself by combining elements of country music and rap, and is a Trump supporter who has decided that what limited fortunes that may remain for him rest with them. He is ridiculous.

  35. JohnSF says:

    I have a memory from the 1990’s (even though I was really there) of some people doing sorta-EDM remixes of Hendrix.
    Aha! Found on Youtube: Beautiful People “If 60’s Were 90’s”

    And ambient electronic/DJ types like the Orb recycled loads of late 60’s/early 70’s psych/prog.
    Guy I used to know used Grateful Dead “Infra Red Roses” and “Live Dead” as sizable chunks of some ambient dub style sets he did back then.

  36. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Well put.

    Yes, there are some really, really nice writers…and some perfect a-holes. Seamus Heaney was terrific. And, from the opposite end of the literary spectrum, so was Clive Cussler.

    The less said the better about the a-holes.

  37. CSK says:

    Not makibg any value judgments here, but I was once at a panel discussion at a writers’ conference when someone in the audience asked James Ellroy why he always wrote about the past. He screamed: “Because the present sucks a great big donkey dick.”

  38. Sleeping Dog says:


    Probably the nicest person in the music biz that I met was the folksinger Ed Trickett, whose day job is psychology professor and the one that surprised me the most in being a nice guy, was Tom Paxton. I’ll leave the a’ holes unmentioned as well.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:


    “Because the present sucks a great big donkey dick.”

    I can’t disagree.

  40. Joe says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I remember learning in college that Chaucer was the subject of a rape allegation (at which point I learned the Middle English word for rape), which my professor used to launch a very useful lecture on whether or to what extent to separate the artist from his/her art. It is a lecture I shared with each of my kids as they entered their teens and has otherwise served me well in trying to understand the world. Quality of output in art or pretty much every other field is almost entirely unrelated to quality as a human being. (And, yes, I am looking at you, Bill Clinton.) Although those same people in every field might also be entirely ok people.

  41. CSK says:

    Sure. But you probably wouldn’t yell it to an audience of several hundred just to prove what a tough hombre you were.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:


    probably wouldn’t yell it to an audience of several hundred

    Probably not, but that’s because I’ve never gathered an audience of more than a half dozen. As to why, I’d do it just because I’m an asshole, not to try and prove anything.

  43. CSK says:
  44. CSK says:

    Well, that’s okay, then.

  45. Mister Bluster says:

    @Beth:..get past that.

    I was the guy singing into the beer bottle (1:36). I was so dumb about it that girls would ask me to dance and I would turn them down. When I did get past that there was no turning back!
    Might have had something to do with Jimi Hendrix.

  46. Jay L Gischer says:


    No, it is not normal for a 44 y.o. male to continue on in such a physically punishing game.

    This is true, however, I give you George Blanda

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I long ago learned that caring what other people think is a losing proposition. I just try to be honest.

  48. CSK says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    And Brady was the oldest quarterback to start a title game.

  49. CSK says:

    I think trying to prove that you’re tough is definitely a manifestation of caring what people think.

    Most male writers of books I know don’t bother with this shtick. Male print reporters are, though, often a very different story. I don’t know why this is so. Working with words is working with words.

  50. Monala says:

    @Scott: I remember reading this article sometime ago about how many North American animals would kick ass in a zombie apocalypse. Moose were high on the list.

  51. Jen says:
  52. Beth says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    That’s awesome. Well, awesome you got past it. For me it was the liberating joy of hot pants and pasties. It’s easy to get noticed when you’re 6ft tall and wearing next to nothing in the middle of a festival. For me it was this set:

    at about the 39 min mark. That’s when a whole lot of things came together for me.

    Lol, also, at the 15 min mark or so there’s an appearance by “California Dreamin'”

  53. CSK says:

    I wouldn’t mind a look at the closet that eats up jackets. I have a closet like that.

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: Help out a po’ old ignint cracker whose hearing is going. What was being sampled in that song. Not a complaint, it seemed like a nice dance music song. I just didn’t recognize any samples in it.

  55. charon says:


    I’m joking.

    How is that not obvious? C’mon!

  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Indeed! Pure/unadulterated motives are always best. [thumbs up emoji]

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charon: It’s a Poe’s Law thing. That selection IS entirely in the realm of what that schoolboard might choose to select. In fact, that the publisher was Spire make it a likely choice for some people in the cohort. You can’t parodize these people. It really IS almost impossible.

  58. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    While Blanda have taken a few snaps in the last 5 years of his career, he was a placekicker and the 3rd string QB. Though still having the leg strength to kick reliably is impressive.

  59. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I’ve got nothing but respect for the pros who managed to make a living in the industry over the years, it’s a tough way to make a living.

    A close friend of mine was an aspiring songwriter in the 60’s, writing mostly in the folk and country markets. IIRC, he had half a dozen songs recorded by others. After his death, his son commented on finding an uncashed royalty check (circa 1969) for a song from a then-major label in the Nashville market. Big hit, well known, standard country cover band song to this day. The check was for $1.27. Shortly after that, Bill stopped sending songs in, but his son found about 80 hours of tapes of Bill and Jeanie singing some of the prettiest and hook-iest ballads ever to tear your heart out.

  60. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: “You know, the one modern example of the music professional breaking out as a performer I can think of is Jack Antonoff. ”

    To that I would add Sia, who wrote big hits for other people, like Rihanna’s Diamonds, before recording first with David Guetta (on Titanium) and then on her own.

  61. CSK says:

    I thought you were joking. On the other hand, Cracker makes an excellent point.

  62. Mister Bluster says: pants and pasties.

    My mind is running wild!

  63. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    At the 39 minute mark? It’s a remix of this:

    Which, I’m not sure of what the underlying samples of are. A lot of the time the little snippets that get reworked into dance songs really blows my mind.

    @Mister Bluster:

    My partner just sighs and shakes her head at me. A lot.

  64. Monala says:

    About a month ago, a writer at Vox penned an article about how Obama-era pop culture is now cringe. Among the evidence she cites is the following:

    Perhaps most dramatic of all is the rapid fall of Hamilton and its creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose reputation is now one of embarrassing earnestness.

    When I read that, I thought, “Rapid fall of LMM? Didn’t he make four movies—two of which, Tick, Tick, Boom! and Encanto, are being talked about for multiple Oscar nominations this year? That doesn’t sound like a fall at all to me.”

    In the month since the article was written, it’s statement about LMM has aged very badly. The Encanto soundtrack, of which he wrote all the songs, is the number one album on Billboard, and multiple songs from it are among the top 40 singles, with one of them at number one.

  65. Monala says:

    @Monala: sorry about the screwed up tags.

  66. Jax says:

    Imagine being the poor SOB who had to tape all his documents back together. I know this has come up before around here, but what part of “You LEGALLY have to stop tearing all this stuff up” could he not understand?!

  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: My question was about your first post with a song called “Somebody to Love.” The second link, I visited, but when I found it to be over an hour, I bailed. One of my emerging hearing problems is that I now hear music in shifting tonal centers–it creates the effect of someone playing the piano by pressing the gaps between the keys, so listening to a long piece or a set is mostly outside my abilities anymore.

    Just the other day, I was listening to a song on the radio and if the station hadn’t put an identifying title on the signal, I wouldn’t have recognized it at all. Rush Limbaugh made the same observation about wearing a cochlear implant.

  68. CSK says:

    If anyone told him not to rip up the papers, I’m sure even he could understand that, but since it’s been his lifelong habit to destroy anything that could implicate him in anything, he wasn’t going to start abiding by the rule as president.

    To me, this is just more evidence of his culpability.

  69. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..“Somebody to Love.”

    Jefferson Airplane


  70. Jax says:

    @CSK: Yeah….I’m pretty sure one of our wise sages around here mentioned something a couple weeks ago about “Not doing the crime if you can’t do the time”…..I suppose that only applies to OTHER people, though.

  71. Mu Yixiao says:


    I gotta admit, this is my mental image of 90% of gun owners in the US.

    Then your mental image is wrong.

    There are approximately 100M gun owners in the US*. In 2019, there were 23,500 homicides involving guns. If we make the assumption that every single one of those was committed by a different person, then 0.02% of gun owners killed someone.

    37.5% of gun owners are democrats.
    47% of gun owners live in suburbs or cities.
    Gun deaths in urban areas are more likely to be homicides.
    Gun deaths in rural areas are more likely to be suicides.

    But… All gun owners are crazy hicks, right?

    Gee… I sure am glad to see that left-leaning views on guns are completely based on facts and not irrational prejudice.

    (And you wonder why Dems aren’t making headway in rural swing states.)

    * It should be noted that ownership is certainly under-reported, as it’s based on voluntary polls.

  72. Jax says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Actually, that video shows me that every single person who wants to own and shoot a gun really needs mandatory training, psych eval’s (as requested by the person doing their training….they would be most likely to notice red flags in how someone handles or “talks” about a gun) and requiring liability insurance on their weapon before they can walk out of the store with it. Anybody who’s gonna get so mad they’re gonna go off like that in a road rage incident probably shouldn’t own one in the first place, regardless of whether they are a Democrat or a Republican.

  73. wr says:

    @Monala: It’s really tough to turn 29…

  74. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    That sounds awful. I’m trying to imagine what that sounds like and it just seems deeply unpleasant. I’ve actually started paying attention to my hearing, probably way too late, and have been toting around earplugs. Concerts and raves sound so much better with just a little bit of damping.

    The main sample is “Someone to Love” by Jefferson Airplane. That and “California Dreamin’” have become big EDM festival hits, which I find quite odd.

  75. CSK says:

    I rarely get immediate dramatic visual images from songs, but for decades, whenever I hear the Jeff Airplane’s “Today,” I see Boylston Street in Boston, at night, in the fog, semi-deserted. Haunting. I think it’s the opening chords. I don’t know why.

  76. gVOR08 says:

    @Mu Yixiao: From what I’ve seen, the number of gun owners is closer to 70 million. But let’s use your number “then 0.02% of gun owners killed someone.” You have to be careful comparing quantities, 100 million gun owners, and rates, 23,500 gun homicides PER YEAR.

    How long does a gun owner remain a gun owner? Round number, let’s say 50 years. A .02% chance of a gun owner committing a homicide each year, accumulates to a 1% chance over his life as a gun owner. I don’t find the idea that only one gun owner in a hundred will commit a homicide all that comforting. And that doesn’t include around 25,000 suicides a year. Or non-fatal shootings.

  77. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Relax, it was a joke. I know lots of responsible gun owners. Of course I know a few that, while nice enough guys, are incredibly irresponsible and quite childish in their view of how tough a gun makes them. The world being the way it is, in this and in many other things, you are statistically more likely to hear about guns from the man-boys then the responsible people, if only because they do so love to hear themselves talk.

  78. Bob@Youngstown says:

    What struck me about this video is that it appears that the driver dug his gun out of the center console and then waited for an opportunity to use it.
    It’s the premeditation that is alarming.
    (of course we can’t see what the other driver is doing, but it’s plain to me that the gunman had prepared to unleash.)

  79. Jax says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: And then how he was spraying the bullets everywhere, inside of his own vehicle. People who have no control of their gun or their mental state, as shown in the video, should have no business owning a gun.

  80. Monala says:

    @wr: I saw a comment somewhere recently: “You’re not 14 anymore. You don’t have to dislike something just because your parents like it.”

  81. wr says:

    @Monala: Yup. Although in the case of this absurd Vox article, it’s more like you don’t have to dislike it just because your older sister liked it…