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. EddieInCA says:

    Every day I see another example of the GOP tearing down norms, and people just don’t give a shit.

    I read over the weekend that both McConnell and Graham have said if any SC vacanc opens up in 2023 they won’t give any nominees a hearing.

    I’ve read some of the new “election integrity laws” passed in a few states, and they’re flat out voter suppression.

    I’m so glad I’m 62, and not 22 or 32 because I genuinely don’t know what this country looks like in 2040.

  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    Vlad scored a victory.

    Finland and Sweden set to join Nato as soon as summer

    So much winning.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA: 63 and with my current health issues I figure I’ve got another decade at best. Thank Dawg.

  4. Scott says:

    @EddieInCA: @OzarkHillbilly: Yeah, I’m 68 and I spend an increasing amount of thought on how and what can I do to throw some protection over my wife (who will surely well outlast me) and adult children and grandchildren. I tried not to wallow in despair and remain optimistic but some days….

  5. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Currently en route from Florida to DeSantistan… Slightly glum– but very much enjoying my discovery of the Podcast “The Gist”. Its a very entertaining look at the logic behind media/political persuasion methods and information battles in current events.


  6. CSK says:

    At his Saturday rally, Trump said: “I’ve got to be the cleanest, I think I’m the most honest human being, perhaps, that God ever created.”

    I may weep with laughter.

  7. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    I thought Florida was DeSantistan.

  8. Mimai says:

    I’m quite a bit younger than many (most?) of the commenters around here. I too have indulged (elsewhere) in the occasional “can’t wait for it all to fade to black” wistfulness.

    And I call bullshit on myself. On net, there’s too much real and potential awesome sauce to pine for an early exit. ymmv

  9. Kathy says:

    I pity those who after watching Foundation decide to check out the Asimov novels, because they’ll find very little of the TV show in them.

    Speaking of which, until the 80s sequel “Foundation’s Edge,” robots and computers were not even mentioned in the Foundation saga. There are two reasons for this, a real world one and a fictional universe one.

    Real world: For Asimov back in the 30s and 40s, foundation, robots, and computers were different stories (BTW, there are no computers in the early robot stories), and he didn’t think to mix them up. He explains as much in his memoir, “I, Asimov.”

    Fictional: The use of robots was having a permanent and irreversible deadening effect on human initiative, so robots, following the laws of robotics hardwired in them, contrived to remove themselves from the galaxy.

  10. Scott says:

    Meanwhile, in Texas, on the culture war front.

    Distraught over orders to investigate trans kids’ families, Texas child welfare workers are resigning

    Morgan Davis, a transgender man, joined Texas’ child welfare agency as an investigator to be the advocate he never had growing up.

    Less than a year later, one of the first cases under Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to investigate parents of transgender children landed on his desk.

    His supervisors in the Travis County office of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services offered to reassign the case, but maybe, he thought, he was the right person for the job.

    “If somebody was going to do it, I’m glad it was me,” Davis said.

    He hoped it would be reassuring to the family to see a transgender man at the helm of the investigation. But the family’s lawyer didn’t see it that way.

    “She said, ‘I know your intentions are good. But by walking in that door, as a representative for the state, you are saying in a sense that you condone this, that you agree with it,’” Davis said.

    “It hit me like a thunderbolt. It’s true,” he said. “By me being there, for even a split second, a child could think they’ve done something wrong.”

    Davis resigned shortly after. Since the directive went into effect, each member of his four-person unit has put in their notice as well.

  11. Neil Hudelson says:

    I started to make a margarita last night, saw the bottle of chartreuse sitting there, switched to a Last Word, and then decided to combine the two.

    Here’s my new, untitled cocktail.* Thoughts on how to improve it and title it are appreciated.

    1 oz aged tequila
    1 oz lime juice
    1 oz green chartreuse
    1/2 oz luxardo maraschino liqueur
    1/2 oz grand marnier
    1/2 oz simple syrup

    Shaken, garnished with a luxardo or cocktail cherry.

    Tasting notes:
    Really good for a first try, ad hoc recipe!
    Lime juice (or a combination of lime juice and chartreuse & luxardo) is making it just a smidge too bitter.
    And it’s just a smidge too sweet.

    I think next time I may eliminate the luxardo and up the orange liqueur–it was kind of getting lost in the mix.
    Since upping the orange liqueur will add sweetness to an already too-sweet drink, I’ll back off the simply syrup to a bar spoonful.
    Eliminating the luxardo may solve the bitters issue, or perhaps changing it to half/half lemon and lime juice, or lemon juice with some lime zest added in then strained out.
    And I want to try a funky white rum instead of tequila next time.

    *not a sling. To resurrect a very old thread, a cocktail doesn’t have to have bitters in it, but slings–including the original gin sling and the Singapore sling–all do. Now, if it has bitters does it automatically become a sling? Does anyone care? No, I don’t have a life, thank you for asking.

  12. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Snowmageddeon in PDX*.

    In Portland terms, this means there’s 1-2″ on top of the cars, and a mix of wet and occasionally slushy streets. People who grew up in snow country may giggle appropriately.

  13. a country lawyer says:

    @Neil Hudelson: My favorite recipe isn’t quite so complex.
    Take a glass, add a couple of cubes of ice, cover with Scotch (or sometimes bourbon). Yum!

  14. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    I’m giggling. And rolling my eyes.

  15. Neil Hudelson says:

    @a country lawyer:

    “Whiskey, in a glass” is my favorite recipe ever, across all categories–food, drink, main, dessert. But sometimes variety is nice :).

  16. Mu Yixiao says:

    Look out SpaceX, there’s a new rocket in town.

    I give you… Pythom!

    Watch the videos. The embedded one and the one in the comments. But follow proper safety procedures and do not drink anything while viewing.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Schools and businesses in my town are closed/starting late because we have 2 inches of snow on the ground in Longview, WA this morning. WTF? But I have to admit that the Chinese currency traders who created the global warming hoax are certainly bringing their “A” game today.

  18. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I expected “pythom” to be a spelling error, but after reading that article…I’m not entirely sure it wasn’t a spelling error and they just went with it?

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: Don’t sell yourself so short. You’ll live to be 82, no problem.

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: @OzarkHillbilly: I’ll be 70 in July and have come to the conclusion that I don’t smoke and drink enough. I wish my inclination to do both was stronger. Longevity runs in my father’s side of the family.

  21. a country lawyer says:

    @Neil Hudelson: A favorite drink among the naval aviators of my era was the Flaming Hooker. Take a shot glass and fill to the top with 151 rum. Set the drink on fire, it will burn with a nice blue flame. Quickly toss the drink down the throat and slam the glass back on the table. Done right and there will be a blue ring of fire in the glass. Done wrong and you set your face on fire.

  22. wr says:

    @Kathy: Hey Kathy — Was it you who was reading “The Kaiju Protection Society”? If so, I can assure you that this book is not typical of Scalzi’s work. To start with, he usually has a plot and a story, not just a world and a bunch of exposition. (Granted, a plot did kick in about 3/4 of the way through, but that was hardly enough.)

    If there was anything about this book that appealed to you, I’d urge you to try “Red Shirts.” Or, if you like less humor and more complex plotting, The Collapsing Empire.

    Apparently this was his Covid book, and it reads like that. Don’t hold it against him!

  23. Kathy says:


    That wasn’t me.

    I read Redshirts a few year ago. I liked it until the protagonists, plus one other, leave the ship in order to fix things. An explanation requires spoilers.

    I haven’t read any other of Sclazi’s works.

  24. Mister Bluster says:

    While I am not always successful I try to maintain a reasonably positive attitude. I am grateful that I am in decent health for my age, born in 1948 and not dependent on an array of medications . I do take pause when I read of the demise of others who were younger and often far more accomplished than me. Most of these folks are not even acquaintances. Names in the news because of their celebrity or maybe the death notice of a local business owner whose shop I patronized at one time.
    A recent obituary I happened upon hit closer to home. It was for a guy named Sunny who I had spent a lot of time with back in my drug and drinking days of the past. He was my age and the obit said he had died after a brief illness. He and his wife who I also knew well relocated to New Jersey seven years ago to be close to their kids. Due to life I had lost touch with them well before they left town.
    My connections to Sunny began before we met. One day 50 or so years ago as I left my house and started walking to town a black girl in a beat up old Jaguar open top pulled up beside me and asked me if I needed a ride. How could I say no! I had seen the car parked at a small house at the end of the block. Several years later after I knew who Sunny was I was spending some quality time with a girl in the small town where Sunny lived with Patty, the girl with the Jaguar. Patty had just given birth to her and Sunny’s first child. Turns out Patty and my girlfriend Jan were close and Patty and Sunny would have us babysit their infant son on occasion. The boy grew up and attended law school. He is well over 40 by now.
    I always thought that Sunny and Patty, an interracial couple in the ’70s in Southern Illinois, were talking a chance living where they did. It wasn’t too many years earlier that a black family had bought a house there and when the word got out the house burned to the ground.
    Sunny and I were part of a crowd that would hang out on Sundays at a place in the country we called the Bird Farm. Volleyball, bar-b-q, beer, weed and skinny dipping in the pond were the order of the day.
    Sunny was one who did odd jobs to support himself before he finally finished college and started a career. “I retired before I started working.” He once told me. When he finally got a degree he spent 30 years with the county as a social worker serving adults diagnosed with schizophrenia. I remember how interested he was when I told him that my mom was diagnosed with that wretched disease.
    There are a few things that I regret that I learned about him only after he died from his obituary. I knew he was a political activist but it was news to me that he was one of 100,000 anti-war demonstrators who marched on the Pentagon in October of 1967 in an attempt to levitate the building to exorcise its demons.
    There is no contact information for the family in the obituary just a request that sympathy donations be made to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
    I think that I will have to squeeze out a few dollars out of my budget for them.
    James “Sunny” Sundquist

  25. Gustopher says:

    @wr: It was me. The book was meh. Competent fluff with just a hint of plot and almost no characterization other than snarky detached.

    The best part was the action scene involving someone with they/them pronouns, and I’m not sure I would have cared if someone didn’t go off on how it is impossible a bunch of times.

    Wil Wheaton was absolutely the right person to do the audiobook.

  26. Jim Brown 32 says:


    Not along I-4 and South Florida!

  27. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Except the books written later did have robots, and were set before and after the original books. So… robots were there all along, just unnoticed!

    I liked the adaptation/barely-connected-tv-show. I think if they had tried to be more faithful it wouldn’t have worked at all. Given how much time should pass, they’ve got to bend over backwards to add some characters who can stick around.

    Or embrace an anthology show tied together by Hologram Hari suddenly appearing at the end of each storyline to offer a solution, Deus ex machina. But I don’t think that would be compelling TV.

  28. Kathy says:


    That was when Asimov decided to tie together the robot novels with the empire/foundation novels.

    To the real world explanation, I find it interesting Asimov, and by implication his editors at the time and perhaps many of his readers, regarded computers as a plot device, rather than a tool for everyday use in the future. They did not regard spaceships the same way.

    Or embrace an anthology show tied together by Hologram Hari suddenly appearing at the end of each storyline to offer a solution, Deus ex machina. But I don’t think that would be compelling TV.

    On the show Seldon appears to doubt his plan will work, which is more true to life (or feels so). In the novels, this was not in doubt. I recall a scene where a Terminus scientist, Ebling Mis if memory serves, admonishes the tyrannical Mayor of Terminus “The Foundation will pull through because it has to. You may not.”

    Which just made one scene very effective. This is when the hologram appears in the midst of a crisis, and Seldon’s words are not related at all to reality.

  29. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    You write a nice tribute. You’re a great storyteller.

  30. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    If you can, tell me more about this. It’s interesting.

  31. Mister Bluster says:


    Thank you.
    Sunny was a truly decent human being. I won’t say that I was shocked when I found out that he died and I’m not going to play the “why am I still here, we’re the same age” game with myself as that is a futile exercise.
    His death does raise awareness of my mortality for a spell.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: and do not drink anything while viewing.

    Now you tell me…

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Longevity runs in my father’s side of the family.

    Same here. Unfortunately, so does Alzheimers.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Thanx for that.

    ETA: I too have known a number folks who didn’t fit in no matter where they went (looks in mirror). To find a fellow misfit not only broadened my horizons, they gave me heart.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My grandfather and both my father and my uncle.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Having watched my grandfather, my father, and my cousin… I can only hope my COPD, bloodclots, and high blood pressure short circuit my inevitable demise.

  37. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..To find a fellow misfit not only broadened my horizons, they gave me heart.

    Not something I say very often.

  38. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Perhaps coincidentally, Mad Vlad might be trying to use chemical weapons on Ukraine. There are unconfirmed reports of a toxic substance dropped from a drone over Mariupol. If true, I can’t see Finland and Sweden joining NATO fast enough.

  39. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: The Counties in Florida around I-4 which runs from Daytona Beach to St Petersburg through Orlando & Tampa along with Broward and Dade County (Ft Lauderdale & Miami) are essentially the Democratic strongholds in this State. What people see on TV as Florida is Central and South Florida. The Panhandle, where our Dear friend Teve (MHRIP) resided is Greater South Alabama/Georgia. These GOP strongholds are heavy Red to the tune of R+40…except for Tallahassee which is 2 University and a butt ton of State jobs.

    Jacksonville has been historically Red but went for Biden last election so it will be interesting to see if that was an anomaly or real demographic shift.

    Democrats lose this State because of 30pt losses across the Panhandle and in the drive through counties in middle of the State between the the Atlantic and Gulf.

    Thats DeSantistan….

  40. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    Thank you. I appreciate the explanation.