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. MarkedMan says:

    Orioles on a eight game win streak for the first time in 17 years. Life is good.

    Someone remarked that these are the best types of seasons to be a fan. No expectations going in, maybe even dread. Mere mediocrity is sweet relief, and any actual bursts of excellence are ecstasy.

  2. SKI says:

    @MarkedMan: Agreed. Call backs to ’89… “Why Not?”

  3. Kathy says:

    On the matter of indicting, prosecuting, trying, and hopefully convicting El Cheeto Benito for the attempted Jan 6 coup, as well as other crimes, we often hear that just one unhinged (aka MAGA) juror would spoil everything.

    I offer this quotation from Babylon 5 in return:

    “I’d rather do something and make a mistake than be frightened into doing nothing. That’s the problem back home. Folks have been conned into thinking they can’t change the world. Have to accept what is. I’ll tell you something, my friends, the world is changing every day. The only question is, who’s doing it?”

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    Another Dr T bait.

    Emmanuel Macron, the French Realignment, and Us

    Wallach breezily compares the US and French electoral systems and wonders if it could happen here.

    He gives a number of reasons why it won’t happen here, but misses the most important one, Federalism, since ballot access is controlled at the state level. Whatever the ballot access process is in France, it is one process for the entire country, not 50 processes.

    But he does set forth two scenarios where it could happen here.

    But the national disruption caused in 2016 and after by a nationalist figure reviled by the country’s political elite suggests that there are ways American politics could still take a French turn. If the Republican Party withholds its presidential nomination from Donald Trump in 2024, he could easily create a splinter party that enjoys the support of a massive contingent of Americans, and that party could prove capable of changing the old lines of political contestation. On the other hand, if Republicans do nominate Trump in 2024 and Democrats in turn rally behind a hard-left agenda, there could be an opening between them for a Macron-style, above-the-fray centrist to mount a campaign against the extremes. Macron’s example suggests that the person best suited for this role would be a rising star—someone who could embody the hopes of a younger generation. Among others, Pete Buttigieg is an attentive student of Macron’s 2017 success.

    A MAGAt withdrawal from the R party is possible, but doubtful and the possibility that the Dems would go all Michael Harrington won’t happen and even if it did, the barriers to creating a viable third party are too large.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I was holding out cautious optimism that perhaps the Justice Department, despite the lack of visible subpoenas and no grand jury, was actually serious about investing the attempted coup. But as this piece by a JD insider makes it plain, Garland is acting like someone hoping that people will just stop asking him to do something.

  6. Kathy says:


    Thanks for the link.

    That’s exactly the point: you may fail if you try, but you’ll surely fail if you don’t even try.

    And there’s the fetish fo precedents, too. Yes, prosecuting a former president, or trump, is unprecedented. But so is staging a coup from the oval office, even if it was unsuccessful and built upon a quicksand foundation, and so is having so many people at the top of the executive branch engage in seditious conspiracy.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    Totally trivial, but this is something that has been low level annoying me about Steve Bannon for some time: What’s up with the two dress shirts thing? Is that actually a fashion, perhaps in some obscure frat boy world?

    I have an ungenerous theory, in that he is a drunk so often and a slob to boot, so he wears two shirts so he has a quick spare when he messes the outside one.

  8. Rick Johnson says:

    @MarkedMan:Seattle Mariners are also on an 8 game winning streak, a perfect set up for a 10 game slump.

  9. CSK says:

    I don’t know exactly the reason, but years ago I read a New Yorker profile of Bannon stating that during his earlier professional life, he was well-groomed and well-dressed. He made a conscious decision to dress like a slob because he believed–I think–that the “little people” would identify with him.

    According to some of his biographers, Bannon hasn’t drunk alcohol in over 20 years. He just looks like a lush.

  10. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Boris Johnson has been using the “look like a slob” approach for decades, quite deliberately.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    Per LGM a Louisiana doctor called a prescription for Misoprostal in to his local Walgreens. It’s part of the abortion drug cocktail. They asked if it was for an abortion. No, it was to ease insertion of an IUD, which is apparently common. Eventually he was told Walgreens in LA would no longer provide it for any reason. A small example, but this is going to get ugly.

  12. Kathy says:

    Semi-good news on the Omicron front.

    A coworker who caught it last week (c. July 2nd 2022), is back at work after a week off, a negative antigen test, and what she said were mild* symptoms.

    I was worried because she has three known comorbidities (that I know of). She also has had four shots of AstraZeneca. Two on the first go-round for “full vaccination**” and two more as boosters. I’m guessing the T cell responses is really good and lasts a fair amount of time (her last booster was the same day as mine, early in May).

    *The “mild” symptoms included dry cough and strong headaches, but no fever. I still as soon not get even “mild” COVID.

    **I’ve grown nostalgic for those days when it seemed we could beat back the trump pandemic with vaccines.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: Weismann is no longer an insider and may or may not have any insight into what DOJ is doing, but he’s sure right that there should be signs DOJ is working on a case against Trump and/or his top minions.

    He admits it may be hard to make a case for intent if TFG argues he really believed the election was stolen. Somebody made a nice case a week or two ago based on O. J. Simpson. Simpson got off on murder, but he later went to prison for armed robbery. He believed some sports memorabilia had been stolen from him and went to them with a gun and took it back. He may have sincerely believed the stuff was rightfully his, but that was irrelevant to the fact that he intended to, and did, commit armed robbery, whatever his motivation was. IANAL, but even if Trump believed the election was rightfully his, the crime is the attempted coup. The question should not be did he believe he was justified, but did he intend to commit a coup.

    What I’m saying is, is there not a distinction between motivation and intent? I may be motivated to ignore a handicap parking sign because I’m in a hurry and I think they claim too many spots. That’s irrelevant to my intent to park in a handicap spot.

    He tried to pressure Mike Pence into refusing to count lawful electors. He may claim he thought they were fraudulent, but did he not have clear intent to make Pence illegally not count them?

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Once it became apparent that every sub-variant was turning out to be 2-3 times more contagious than the last, I gave up on vaccines or masking eliminating anything. The best we ca do is reduce the effects. Still, that’s hugely important

  15. CSK says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:
    I agree Johnson’s hairdo is idiotic, but at least he appears clean, and he’s reasonably well-dressed. Bannon looks as if he lives in a dumpster.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    Holy spit. Per a post-Dobbs poll by PRRI, since 2010 support for legal abortion in most or all cases has gone from 53 to 64% among white CATHOLICS. Hispanic Catholics have gone from 51 to 75%. Only white Evangelicals show minority support or a decrease in support, 28 to 25. Return the question to the democratic process my ass.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: That was somewhat of a thing where I grew up when I was in middle school. You wore a dress shirt–we usually wore them open, but whatevs–instead of a light jacket. And look closer–the shirt underneath is a polo, not a dress shirt. (Check the collar and look at where the “undershirt” sticks out at the dress shirt tail.)

  18. Stormy Dragon says:


    The new bivalent vaccines are proving to be way more effective against the current strains than the original ones, so I wouldn’t give up on vaccines. It’s just going to be more like the flu vaccine where you need an updated one every year than the MMR where it’s a once and done (although even that isn’t entirely true, and I’ve read some things suggesting we should start doing MMR boosters now that measles is becoming more common).

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: Kevin Drum has uglier.

    Methotrexate is a cheap, common drug prescribed to millions of Americans…. Many have rheumatic illnesses. Others take it to treat inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis or cancer…. In low doses, it has proved to be one of the safest, least expensive and most effective treatments for roughly a dozen autoimmune conditions, from juvenile idiopathic arthritis to Crohn’s disease.

    It can also cause miscarriage in pregnant women. It’s banned in states where abortion is banned and hard to get elsewhere.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I hate to think how many MMR boosters I have ended up getting shot with because universities kept losing my medical history or because the blood titration showed my immune reaction was low.

    (To all of you who decide to go back to school later in life, don’t even try arguing that you’ve already had one. You’ll never convince them. I think “shoot student up with MMR booster” is the default setting.)

  21. Stormy Dragon says:

    @grumpy realist:

    because the blood titration showed my immune reaction was low

    This is why some doctors were saying maybe MMR boosters should be a routine thing. A lot of people loses immunity eventually, and while there was enough herd immunity for this not to be a problem, with anti-vax becoming more prevalent, it may be a good idea to give a MMR booster every decade or two like for TDaP

  22. Michael Cain says:

    @grumpy realist:

    To all of you who decide to go back to school later in life, don’t even try arguing that you’ve already had one. You’ll never convince them. I think “shoot student up with MMR booster” is the default setting.

    When I went back to graduate school, the university said that because I was born in 1953, they would waive all the childhood vaccination requirements.

  23. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Regardless of what variant a vaccines is specific for, circulating neutralizing antibodies wane in a few months to the point they can’t prevent infection from taking hold. Add the refusal of morons** to be vaccinated, and we’ll never beat this thing through immunity, be it vaccine or infection based. The best we can hope for now is protection against severe disease and death.

    As to how we’re going to beat the trump virus, I’m stumped. A combination of vaccines, masks, testing and tracing and isolation, might work to end widespread transmisión and sporadic waves, but we’d have better luck devising a solar powered submarine to explore the Marianas trench.

    If anything, things are going to get worse. Right now, I wonder how many people show up to work with symptomatic COVID, because they have no paid leave available to isolate for a week or so. In the near future, I expect even those with paid leave will be urged to work nonetheless, as COVID is really no big, incapacitating deal.

    Measles, now, is far more dangerous for adults than it is for children. As cases grow thanks to antivaxxers, a booster is a good idea. The worst that will happen is the common vaccine side effects, the best is protection against the disease.

    As to polivalent COVID shots, to consolidate in this thread, there’s a difference with flu shots. I’m guessing a little here, but my assumption is that the efficacy of flu shots has been determined in past years. That is, vaccines for H2N9 (making up strains here) are known to be X effective, and the only variable is whether that strain is forecast to be active this season or not. And the same should be so of other variants.

    SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus, and both the mRNA and virus vector vaccines are new. We don’t know how effective an Omicron BA.1 specific shot will be against not only this variant, but the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants currently en vogue. We don’t even know how dominant each variant is. While we know Alpha overtook the original strain, Delta overtook Alpha, and Omicron beat them all. But the older variants are still out there, or may be, and might pop up again in the future.

    mRNA shots take little time to develop, but months to test and to produce. The current Moderna bivalent original strain and Omicron BA.1 booster has already ben surpassed by BA.4 and .5. We’ll lag behind the variants forever. IMO, the bets approach would be to cook up boosters for all variants, and hope they work better than bivalent or single variant shots.

  24. Kathy says:


    I did a search out of curiosity, and got results for local pharmacies. then I looked in two popular chains specifically, and got more results.

    You can get a pack of 50 2.5 mg. Methotrexate pills for about $29, or one with 100 for $58 just about anywhere in Mexico City. though ti seems to require a prescription.

  25. MarkedMan says:


    A combination of vaccines, masks, testing and tracing and isolation, might work to end widespread transmisión and sporadic waves

    This was perhaps barely possible given the original strain and the speed we developed a very effective vaccine. But we would have had to vaccinate and isolate the whole world. And once the new variants came in so much more transmissible than the original, well, harm reduction is the only possibility. And the vaccines and basic masking and isolation were fantastic at harm reduction! I was just talking to a friend who I know is quite Republican (more of a Northeast one, but still a Republican) and whose whole family skews conservative and so I presume were lax or nonexistent in prevention and vaccination. In his extended but still close family he lost 4 people to COVID, one of whom was only 50 years old! In my family and my wife’s we didn’t lose anyone!

  26. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: I suspect it is easy to be opposed to abortion so long as you’re sure it will be available if you need it.

    Sort of the opposite of supporting equal rights so long as you don’t have to do anything, or being in favor of low income housing that’s not near your house.

    Disclosure: I donate to a food bank that does great outreach with the homeless, one neighborhood over from where I live. I hope they encourage the homeless to go over there.

    (Plus, it’s not like people over there don’t need help)

  27. Matt says:

    @MarkedMan: Well I mean what do you expect Garland to do? If he tries to bring charges against Trump all it will take is one cultist to derail the whole thing. I imagine Garland’s thoughts are basically “which is the least worst decision? Try to bring charges on Trump and risk him being set free by a jury and thus confirming the coup was legal? Or just ignore it and hope someone else deals with it?”…

    I imagine he’s hoping someone else will deal with it like say Georgia?

  28. de stijl says:


    Having been a Twins fan my whole life, my best feedback is to just enjoy. It is fun when magic happens.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist: It’s also a default for grandparents. Got MMR and pertussis vaccines 6 months ago.

  30. dazedandconfused says:


    I’ll embellish that by mentioning Garland would be wise to delay criminal prosecution until the concurrent Congressional investigation is wrapped up.

  31. Kathy says:


    I’d argue how it could still work, but the plain fact is we’re never going to do it. It’s @gVOR08’s Fallacy of Perfection all over: we tried to contain the trump virus and it didn’t work; therefore it’s impossible to contain.

    At this rate, the pandemic won’t end any time soon. We’ll accept thousands to hundreds of thousands of excess deaths per year as normal, and we’ll declare final victory when excess deaths fall below the mean COVID excess deaths.

    My best case scenario now is we’ll regard the trump disease as a bad flu with a higher death rate. About 40 to 60% of the population will annual polyvalent shots, reformulated every year for the past year’s dominant variants. the rest will ignore the reminders to get their vaccine this year, plus the idiots who miss out because they couldn’t find time for it.

    And some of us will wear masks for years and years. Good thing they’ve gotten cheaper.

  32. dazedandconfused says:


    A fair bet would be that COVID will only be defeated when it becomes prevalent enough to have the herd’s immune systems so highly primed from constant exposure that it can no longer get a foothold. Probably the way the Spanish flu died out.

  33. Kathy says:


    A federal grand jury requires a simple majority to return an indictment. Benito won’t get off on that, if Garland should for some reason decide to do the right thing and go ahead.

  34. Mister Bluster says:

    Selfie Sacrifice
    U.S. Tourist Falls Into Mount Vesuvius After Taking Selfie On Banned Trail

  35. de stijl says:

    To the dudes in the audience, do not sleep on pore cleansing products.

    The Biore strips kick ass. I did three this morning – nose and both cheekbones.

    They now have a men’s line of products which is exactly the same thing as they have always been when they were pitched at women, but in macho colors now. So, no shame or judgement.

    There are few things in the world more satisfying than peeling one of those suckers off. There is a unique sound, yes, but it is the feel of it – it pulls crap out of your face pores in little fingers-like globs. It feels a bit weird. But it is oh so satisfying.

    Screw your qualms about people judging you at the check-out. No one cares least of all the clerk who is bored out of their mind and is mostly eyeballing the clock and do not give a fuck. They have seen a lot weirder, believe me.

    This might be me, but I feel obligated to look at the results. I find it fascinating, gross, and supercool. That crap was in my facial pores a few seconds ago. And now it’s out. I gawp at it. Whoa! It’s a miniature forest.

    BTW, don’t just do the nose, do the cheekbones too. Peeling off a Biore strip is one of the most viscerally satisfying things you can do. Trust me on this. Try it once.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Everest Today

    Check out this incredible avalanche footage from the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan. Luckily, everyone survived. Account:

    Shit your pants territory.

  37. Kathy says:

    Well, how about that? The judge presiding over Bannon’s trial for contempt of Congress has denied a request to delay the proceedings, even though the world’s most notorious slob has agreed to appear before the Jan 6 committee.

    Light begins to dawn, perhaps. I mean, it’s one possibility Bannon agreed to testify before the committee as a delaying tactic in his upcoming trial. I’ve no evidence for this, so I offer it only as speculation.

  38. Kathy says:


    I wonder if Huxley’s idea of sleep indoctrination via simple phrases might work. In this case “Flee, don’t film” repeated 60,000 times per night for ten years.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Radley Balko

    SWAT team raids house for a robbery suspect. Flashbangs ignite the house, which is then engulfed in flames. After the fire, police find the body of a 14-year-old boy. He was not the suspect. Nor was the family who live in the house.

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Avalanches are fast. Like moving at 200mph. A person can not outrun an avalanche. One is either in a safe location, or lucky. If neither of those, dead.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: My eldest got caught in an avalanche while backpacking in Colorado. IIRC, by the time it got to his crew it had lost a lot of steam and was basically knee deep. Even so it was moving at a pretty good pace and knocked a couple people down.

  42. Kathy says:


    Not outrun, but can a person move out of the way of one?

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: To where? It’s possible one might be in a location that offers some opportunities for slightly better protection (such as the guy who recorded this one) and if so, one is lucky. If not…

    Go to this link and get his full first hand account.

    9 Brits and 1 American on a guided tour of the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan. We’d just reached the highest point in the trek and I separated from the group to take pictures on top of a hill/cliff edge. While I was taking pictures I heard the sound of deep ice cracking behind me. This is where the video starts. I’d been there for a few minutes already so I knew there was a spot for shelter right next to me. I was on a cliff edge, so I could only run away from the shelter (hence why I don’t move). Yes I left it to the last second to move, and yes I know it would have been safer moving to the shelter straight away. I’m very aware that I took a big risk. I felt in control, but regardless, when the snow started coming over and it got dark / harder to breath, I was bricking it and thought I might die.

    Avoiding it was not an option. If he had tried, he’d be dead. If it had happened 5 minutes later when they were 5 minutes further on the trail, they’d have all been dead.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Science girl

    This crow snowboarding on the roof of a building using a jar lid

    Crows are so damned smart.

  45. JohnSF says:

    Interesting news from Romania: the Romanian state railways corporation is reopening/reconstructing Soviet-era Russian-gauge rail links between Ukraine rail lines near the border and the Romanian port of Galati.
    Some talk that it may be possible to set up another broad-gauge line running to the even lager Romanain port of Constana.
    Constanta is the largest port by non-oil tonnage on the Black Sea, 100 million tonnes per annum capacity. (Krasnodar in the Russian Kuban is larger by tonnage, but a lot of that is oil)
    Both Constanta and Galati are set up to handle bulk grain shipment; Constanta handles 25m tonnes of grain per annum.
    Can’t find data for Galati grain; but it is considerably smaller than Constanta around 1.5 million tonnes a year.
    By comparison, Odesa handles about 18 m. tonnes dry cargo p.a. and its largest grain terminal has a capacity of 4 m. tonnes p.a.

    So, there are the beginnings of major alternative route for grain exports.

    And it is highly unlikely Russia would be foolish enough to interfere with Romanian flagged cargo traffic out of Constanta or the Danube Mouth, with Romanian and Bulgarian naval escorts and NATO air cover.
    Especially now Snake Island is unavailable for staging “unfortunate accident” interference with the Danube Mouth area

  46. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @MarkedMan: Sounds like Ms Brown’s expectations of Jim Brown’s middle-aged virility. ‍♂️

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rex Chapman

    It will be a long time before Pete Buttigieg is invited back on Fox. Do yourself a favor. Master class…

    He’s good… Damn, he is good.

  48. JohnSF says:

    Also magpies: I remember watching two magpies annoying a pigeon.

    First magpie struts about in front of the pigeon to draw its attention.
    Second magpie quietly pulls back a branch on a shrub near the pigeon, let’s go so branch whacks pigeon in the rear, pigeon takes off, both magpies hop about cackling with evil glee.

    Corvids: smart, and a wicked sense of humour.

  49. Kurtz says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    middle-aged virility

    Sometimes things just work out. I came to post about a frivolity I learned today. And noticed JB’s post just above the comment box…

    TIL: Poison…yes, that Poison…covered SexyBack…yes, that SexyBack…in 2007.

    Middle-aged virility, indeed.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: My little bro had a restaurant for a few years. It’s name? “Corvid’s Cafe”.

    eta: His daughter’s name is Magdelena. Maggie for short. My old man had adopted Ravens as his “spirit” animal.

    Not really, he didn’t believe in such, and yet…

  51. JohnSF says:

    Ooh, shiny!
    The first full-colour picture from the new James Webb Space Telescope has been released!
    Thank you, Americans.

  52. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @JohnSF:
    I heard from an Appachian Mountain Club naturalist that ravens are the smartest–they can untie knots.

  53. CSK says:

    You’re welcome.

  54. Kathy says:


    To where?

    No idea. That’s why I ask.

    An avalanche will move in the path of least resistance, like many natural phenomena tend to do. This is not only not a straight line most of the time, but involves so many factors that it can’t be predicted even when it’s going on. Just the same, it seems reasonable to move in a perpendicular course away from what seems to be the direction the sliding snow (or mud, or rocks and dirt) is moving.

    I got that wrong.

  55. CSK says:

    Make that Appalachian.

  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Not a competition, but Crows recognize faces and what is more remember them for years and who is naughty and who is nice. ALL the corvids are exceptionally smart.

  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Watching the video my “oh shit…” moment comes at the 13 second mark, his comes a full 35 seconds later. There is something about how the avalanche explodes over that low ridge line that to me just says. “I am facing a force of nature from which there is no escape.” but in my head would come out as, “I am soooo fucked…”

  58. Franklin says:

    @de stijl: Oh, I used to do that when my ex-wife bought them. I have decent sized pores, I guess from some teenage acne, and YES, so satisfying! The resulting strip with its little hoodoos was a thing of anti-beauty!

    But … I’m not convinced it does anything for long-term skin aging or looks. If someone has evidence to the contrary, let me know! Otherwise I’ll just keep on slopping lotion after showers.

  59. CSK says:

    Oh, I agree.

  60. dazedandconfused says:


    A piece of the sky the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length…

  61. Matt says:

    @dazedandconfused: Yeah I feel his best move right now is to wait for the congressional investigation to close up and see how the public responds.

    @Kathy: An indictment means nothing. Trump would still have to go to trial.

  62. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: We have a family of ravens that hang around the ranch. Cletus and Claudia are the parents, they always nest in this one tree and we visit them when the babies are growing. Then they bring them down to the ranch yard when they can fly and follow us around everywhere. They’re awesome. Cletus and Claudia stick around all winter, I think, but the babies usually take off when it starts to snow.

  63. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: Nothing to do with intelligence, well, bird intelligence, but a few years ago I watched a Ranger in Rocky Mtn. Natl. Park very gently and diplomatically ask a woman to stop feeding a raven. She said she was sorry, she had no idea she wasn’t supposed to feed the animals. The raven was perched on a “Do not feed the animals” sign.

  64. de stijl says:


    It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.

    That quote runs through my head every morning. I slather up still wet right out of the shower religiously. My skin is wimpy as hell and always has been.

    I am prone to fungal outbreaks especially where torso meets thigh. That groove. Burn through a lot of hydrocortisone every summer. Anti-fungal sprays or lotions knock it back, but never cures it outright.

    It’s pernicious. Every summer. Same two places. It’s dug in deep. There every year this time of year like clockwork.