Post-Weekend Tab Clearing

Cleaning the slate for a new week.

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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:

    The NYT article on guns in Japan makes an interesting point. Japan seems to have more than it’s fair share of stressed out and resentful loners and no shortage of people with extremist views. Yet their murder rate is very low.

  2. Argon says:

    About the 20-somethings…

    “We are definitely taking advantage of the fact that most senior-level people in Washington depend on a lot of young associates and subordinates to get anything done,” Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, told Politico last month, claiming that the young people “still have their ethics intact.”

    Working for Senators & Representatives and near lobbyists will remedy that quickly. Now, if you actually work at the agencies (civil servants) that deliver services, you may have a prayer of emerging with your soul intact if not your innocence.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    The NYT article on Japan, certainly destroys the gun lobby argument that a gun murder in Japan, shows gun laws don’t work. If the murderer built a gun out of pipe, electrical tape and what appears to be a toy pistol and cobbled together the ammunition, then Japan’s gun control is working just fine.

    Re: TFG v. Musk: Takes one to know one.

  4. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Well, if adopting similar laws in the US would mean no gun massacres and one possible dead Trump, I fail to see any downsides.

  5. Jen says:

    @Argon: I worked as a Congressional intern, and as a legislative aide for a state senator, and then as a lobbyist. My ethics are intact, thanks.

    This notion that everyone in politics is corrupt irritates me to no end. The money sucks, and you work really hard. As far as lobbying is concerned, unless you are at the top levels of either a corporate gig or working as a trade lobbyist with strong corporate ties, like telecom, pharma, or consumer packaged goods, you aren’t really making big bucks. The money doesn’t really go to paying lobbyists, it goes to paying for pressure campaigns (so, it goes to TV ads, Google ads, and Facebook ads).

    “Lobbying” encompasses a wide range of companies and nonprofits. NARAL has a lobbyist. ACLU has a bunch of lobbyists.

    The majority of people who go into this work do so because they have a strong belief system, and think that they can affect change. That’s something that should be encouraged, not sh!t upon.

  6. CSK says:

    Well said. Very well said.

  7. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Trump’s unhappy because Musk was supposed to give him back his Twitter account.

    The MAGAs don’t know how to react to this. They’ve decided they love Musk, but now Trump has trashed him. What to do, what to do?

  8. gVOR08 says:

    I find the NYT article on Abe’s shooting disturbing. I find it hard to believe anyone thinks one shooting death proves Japan’s gun laws don’t work, although I saw a guy at the NRO Corner doing exactly that a couple days ago. And all the commenters agreed with him. I suppose some of the commenters are ignorant enough to assume Japan is just like us except a big politician got assassinated. One would expect better of a writer for a national publication.

    A 99.9% reduction in gun homicides compared to us is failure? What planet are these people from? It’s an example of what I’ve been calling the Fallacy of Perfection. It allowed one gun homicide, therefore it failed. Perhaps the only, and certainly one of not even a handful in Japan. It’s really an example of the old saw properly rendered as “the exception that proofs the rule”, i.e. that tests, but confirms, the rule. In a modern American sense the guy didn’t even really have a gun, more of a hand-held IED.

    To see Abe’s shooting as a failure of gun laws bespeaks a mode of innumerate, Manichaean thought that I find almost alien.

  9. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jen:..Congressional intern, legislative aide, lobbyist.

    That’s quite a resume of public service. All I’ve ever done is sit on a Grand Jury and hear a trial as a petit juror.
    If you are so inclined we might all benefit from any insights you might share.
    I have never believed that everyone in politics is corrupt. That Senator Paul Simon represented my home state of Illinois and was my neighbor in Makanda Township may have something to do with that. I met him briefly a few times in the local grocery store. One of my regrets in life is that I never asked him to sign my copy of the United States Constitution.

  10. Kathy says:


    It’s an example of what I’ve been calling the Fallacy of Perfection.

    We do need a formal treatment of it. It’s everywhere.

    Masks won’t stop the pandemic. Vaccines won’t stop the pandemic. Testing and tracing won’t stop the pandemic. Distancing won’t stop the pandemic. Hygiene won’t stop the pandemic. Capacity restrictions and lockdown won’t stop the pandemic.

    Taken all together, though, they’ll either stop the pandemic or prevent hundreds of thousands, or millions, of deaths.

    But since not one single measure will 100% achieve all goals, they’re all useless.

  11. MarkedMan says:


    The MAGAs don’t know how to react to this.

    The world would be a very different place if it caused cognitive dissonance in trumpers when they first believed one thing and then believed the exact opposite ten minutes later.

  12. CSK says:

    Well, most of them are in deep denial as far as Trump is concerned. If they can’t ignore his derelictions, they simply dismiss them as fake news.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I agree with all of that, but I think the most important way we are falling down right now isn’t on your list: we should be forcefully moving to a similar vaccination regime as we have for the annual flu. Essentially, we identify sub variants and modify existing vaccines to work against them. Since they are just modifications we drastically get back the testing requirements and they are ready in months, not years.

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I would guess that, in the long run anyway, they’re gonna have to stay with Musk. He’s the emerging billionaire MOU-perfect-to-be-prez on the horizon. And he seems to have the same shortfall in thinking things through that FG has become so famous for.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Musk was born in So Africa and is a naturalized American citizen. So they can wish all they want.

  16. Jen says:

    @gVOR08: The guy had to *build his own gun* in order to assassinate Abe.

    Anyone that thinks that means Japan’s gun laws don’t work is not connected to reality.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: trump is just jealous that musk’s line of bullshit is far more lucrative than trump’s.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: I give you today’s NRA.

  19. CSK says:

    I think you’ve hit on the reason.

  20. Kathy says:


    There’s that. And there’s the fact that St. Elon seems to favor Florida Man over Cheeto Benito in the 2024 trumpian party race.

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Jen: It’s probably wrong to say this, but I’m a little impressed with the dude. I doubt I could build a gun that fires without blowing my own hand off, let alone manage to assassinate anyone with it.

    Obviously not something we want to encourage, but pretty impressive all the same.

    We don’t really have a word that describes a particularly impressive performance to accomplish a horrible goal.*

    Nor do we have a word for a shockingly poor performance towards a horrible goal, despite having had four years of the Trump administration to try to find one. We just settled for things like “it would have been so much worse if anyone in that administration was competent”

    *: I expect the Germans have a word that means “he made the trains run on time, but they were trains to death camps, also they weren’t as on time as everyone likes to say, just a 15% reduction in unscheduled waiting”

  22. CSK says:

    The ultimate betrayal, as Trump would see it.

  23. Jen says:

    @Gustopher: That’s basically my point. He couldn’t just go out and buy one, he had to have the knowledge and skill to build his own, without killing or maiming himself first. And, he killed one person, not 19, or 8, or 60+…

    I’m not sure I’d categorize what I feel as “impressed,” but it certainly doesn’t scream to me that Japan’s gun laws are ineffective.

  24. Matt says:

    @MarkedMan: Helps being a small island nation with a culture unlike seen in the USA. Practically like being on another world there.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @Matt: Sure, culture matters. But the evidence is irrefutable. Regardless of culture, places where people have easy access to guns have significantly higher murder rates. And places where people routinely carry guns on their person, especially assault style guns, are usually failed states with astronomical gun death rates. Think Afghanistan, tribal Pakistan, and the cartel managed parts of Latin America. And Texas.

  26. Matt says:

    @MarkedMan: Yes the evidence is irrefutable that a small island nation that has overall less violence per capita then the USA has managed to get gun violence under control. Now considering gun violence was never an issue there to begin with. You’re comparing apples to oranges and saying that’s proof that carrots work.


    It’s probably wrong to say this, but I’m a little impressed with the dude. I doubt I could build a gun that fires without blowing my own hand off, let alone manage to assassinate anyone with it

    It’s not really hard as all you need is a pipe and some other pieces from your local hardware store.

  27. Matt says:

    @MarkedMan: Yeah and you know what else Afghanistan and the other countries you’ve mentioned also have? Higher violence in general and corrupt law enforcement (if any at all). You’re so focused on a small section you end up missing the whole picture. Texas has a whole lot of problems other than gun violence including high uninsured rates and poor education.

    Notice Texas is about on par with other large states including blue ones….

    Sweden would like a word with you. Hell a lot of europe would like a word with you as I know people who legally own SAIGAs (AK-103) in those countries legally including the UK.

  28. Jen says:

    A gun being legal to own is NOT the same thing as guns easily accessible.

    Guns are easily accessible here in the US, to practically anyone. Even states that restrict ownership are bordered by states that don’t.

    That’s vastly different than Europe.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Matt: If you truly believe that it is as easy to own and carry around a gun in Sweden as in Texas than you are horribly misinformed and you should check your sources. If you think the murder rate in Sweden (roughly 1/100K per year, a bit on the high side for European countries) is on par with Texas (7.6/100K per year) then you are horribly misinformed and should check your sources. If you believe that overall firearm deaths in Texas (14.2/100K per year) is remotely comparable to Sweden (1.6/100K per year, and that is a country with a very high suicide rate) you are horribly misinformed and should check your sources.

    Perhaps you should then ask yourself why the sources you prefer have left you so misinformed?

  30. JohnSF says:

    It is possible to own an automatic rifle in the UK so long as the person concerned has a firearm permission for that weapon.

    For which you need individual assessment from the police, and a valid reason to own the firearm.

    Hint: indicating you want a military weapon with full automatic capability because you badly want to “pose special-forces stylee with gun at high port, barrel down, with index finger poised against trigger guard in idiotic fingerless gloves while wearing daft camo webbing outside the local seat of government” is liable to get you both refused, and a caring visit from the community mental health services.

    Possibly followed by a rather less caring visit from the CID.

    And should you not have such a licence, don’t even think about buying a weapon.

    Pistols are to all intents and purposes banned, except for the police, military, security services, and some other exceptional cases.
    For all other persons (including e.g. Olympic pistol shooters!) the police refuse “valid reason to own”.
    (Apart from black power muzzle loaders…)

    OTOH if you are a farmer, or agricultural worker, and not a known nutcase, then shotgun permission is pretty easy to obtain.

    Similarly single shot (and IIRC lever action) rifles in deer stalking areas of Scotland, Wales etc.
    And for that matter, if you live in a country area and have a clean background, and don’t strike police as a loony, licenses for .22 rimfire rifles, of the sort I used when younger, are fairly easy to come by.
    If you are a resident of an urban area, and not in a sport shooting club, but known to the local plod as hanging with the bad boys: forget it.

  31. Matt says:

    @Jen: A gun in nearly every house is done so to allow for ease of accessibility. Yet for some reason not only does Sweden not have the gun violence we do they don’t have the violence levels we have in general. Maybe there’s a bit more going on that should also be considered?

    @MarkedMan: You really should read my post again. It’s hard to develop any motivation to engage you when I’m dealing with people who can’t be bothered to actually read anything I post. I made no attempt to compare Texas to any country. I clearly compared Texas to other states in the USA. I don’t see why people care about suicide rates. I mean it’s a great way to pump the “gun violence” numbers so you can what triple the number so you can mislead the public. It’s along the same lines of the “assault weapon” crap.

    So you going to retract your lies about Texas or are you just going to skim on past that and pretend that post never happened?

    @JohnSF: I’m aware of all that and more. Unlike the ones who like to pile on here I actually educate myself on the subject before commenting.

  32. steve says:

    Japan’s population is 125 million. Certainly not small from a population POV. The numbers i have read claimed one gun death in all fo Japan in 2021. Japan does not have a gun homicide problem. Also, they are polite.


  33. Matt says:

    @steve: Have you ever compared violent crime in Japan to the USA? Yeah there’s a world of a difference and that stems from being both an island nation and having a radically different culture/history.

    I cannot comment on the polite aspect as I’m an “outsider” and thus addressed differently then one of their own. Xenophobia/racism is alive and well there.

  34. JohnSF says:


    I’m aware of all that and more.

    As I’m always eager to learn, what more is it that you know?

    Interesting sidelight: some European countries, e.g. Finland, Switzerland, Greece, have very high levels of military rifle access per capita, (though in some cases low levels of handguns) as they actually do have the proverbial “well regulated militia”.
    But god help the sorry individual who decides to take his weapon to a political protest, or “open carry” around a suburban supermarket.

    But doubtless, you are already well of all such things, and more.
    So much more.

  35. JohnSF says:

    edit test dammit

  36. Jen says:


    I don’t see why people care about suicide rates. I mean it’s a great way to pump the “gun violence” numbers so you can what triple the number so you can mislead the public.

    People care about suicide rates with guns, because guns make it a lot easier for people struggling to kill themselves. That’s bad, and if you don’t realize that, you are not an empathetic human being.

    It’s along the same lines of the “assault weapon” crap.

    AGAIN, the “assault weapons ban” categorized semiautomatics as “assault” weapons. If you have an issue with the way that language is being used, feel free to invent a time machine and go back to correct this at the point at which it became a standard part of our lexicon. It will be about as effective as proofreading the internet, but good luck to you.

  37. Argon says:

    @Jen: “Lobbying” encompasses a wide range of companies and nonprofits. NARAL has a lobbyist. ACLU has a bunch of lobbyists.

    Agreed. Not saying all lobbying leads to corruption of all participants but it is adjacent to a lot ‘corrupting influences’. Sadly, the $$, pay-to-play influence for lobbying demonstrates the corruptive problems inherent in the system. Washington DC experienced some one of the least impacts from numerous, recent recessions… For a particular reason. You gotta spend money in Washington DC (and Statehouses) to get the rule you favor and it’s become a big business.

    Youth are recruited to many worker positions in DC because of their energy, drive, desire to build a CV and ability to live for a time on low pay. Perfect conditions for exploitation. That’s not something that people with families, college expenses and more immediate retirement needs can make the sacrifice for.

    So I don’t shit on people trying to make a difference as aides or in advocacy groups. But I do reserve my higher praise for those who toil in the government agencies and wade through all the shit that gets dumped in their laps and deal with the frequent whiplash of policies.