Saturday’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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Incendiary Republican ads boasting of ‘hunting’ rivals raise fears of violence

    Ads like Greitens’ in which he says ‘get a Rino hunting permit’ could lead people to rationalize acts of violence, experts warn

    Nobody could have foreseen this. I mean, who’da thunk that members of the Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party would have tasty faces too?

  2. de stijl says:

    Musings on the relativity of temperature by season.

    In winter I keep the temperature at 64F for the whole house, and heat up the one room I spend 90% of my waking time in. I use a space heater to boost it to 68. 70 if I’m feeling indulgent.

    In summer I keep the temp at 78. I open up the windows if the outside goes lower than that. Shut ’em at dawn.

    In winter, 64 feels like Ragnarok – a world doomed to eternal ice. I bundle up to preserve heat.

    In summer, 64 feels like blessed release from the depths of Hell itself. I strip down to my skivvies to shed heat.

    There is a part of my brain that monitors the outside conditions always when I am awake. It knows when it is -10 out there. It knows when it is 102. It knows windchill. It knows dewpoint / “feels like”. (A couple of summers ago we had a “feels like” of 117.)

    This morning is it blessedly cool with a low dewpoint. 61 with a dewpoint of 59. Blessedly cool. Come Monday it will 97 air temp and Freya only knows what hellish dewpoint.

    That part of my brain involuntarily informs the rest of my body. Even inside, my body knows and reacts. It feels cold in the winter. It feels hot in the summer.

    I grew up and lived most of my life further north. Really, -10 is not a big deal if you have the right clothing on. You are perfectly fine. If you are doing physical stuff you even have to take your hat off. Unless it is windy.

    -10 is brisk but tolerable. Way more tolerable than 97 with a dewpoint in the upper 70s. That is hell on earth. Colder than -25 or 30 you need to pay attention, but you can easily cope. Absent wind, that is.

    This morning I had a pretty good walk. Listened to the soundtrack from the movie Arrival. It was blessedly cool. I wore shorts and a t-shirt. Had it been January I would have been in two layers bottom and three layers on top for the same temperature.

    In winter, if it is 64F, I wear a long sleeve undershirt, a shirt, and a sweater or hoodie. I am partial to cardigans or zipped hoodies.

    In summer, if it is 64F, I wear a t-shirt.

    My always unfulfilled fantasy is that the world is always late September. That would be awesome.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:


    As long as they are simply hunting RINO’s, I don’t see the problem.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ahead of the gathering, the acting deputy prime minister said men would speak for women “because we respect them a lot”.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: If they could shoot straight neither would I, but they can’t. That’s why they all need 100 round drum magazines for their ARs.

  6. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Well, first they came for the RINOs and I didn’t do squat because I wasn’t a RINO.

  7. Tony W says:

    @de stijl: This delightful soliloquy is a wonderful explanation of why we chose San Diego as our permanent home.

    Better to live in relative poverty here, with sunshine every day and the beach a few minutes away, than to suffer 11 months of the year, wishing our lives away while dreaming of that perfect September just two years back.

    Life is too short here, and too long elsewhere.

  8. CSK says:

    Greitens seems to have practiced his hunting skills by beating up his wife and young son.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Germany has physically handed over two Benin bronzes and put more than 1,000 other items from its museums’ collections into Nigeria’s ownership, more than a century after they were looted by British soldiers from the once powerful kingdom in west Africa.

    The German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, and the culture minister, Claudia Roth, signed a restitution agreement with their respective Nigerian counterparts, Zubairu Dada and Lai Mohammed, in Berlin on Friday afternoon.

    “Today we have reason to celebrate because we have reached an agreement on the Benin bronzes,” Baerbock, of the German Green party, said at the signing. “It was wrong to take the bronzes and it was wrong to keep them. This is the beginning to right the wrongs.”
    “The return is a milestone in the process of reappraising colonial injustice in the field of museum collections,” said Hermann Parzinger, the head of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, an authority that oversees many of Berlin’s museums. “By completely transferring property of all our Benin artefacts to Nigeria, we are taking a significant step.”

    He said a “representative collection of objects” would remain in the German capital on a long-term loan.

    In the US:

    In Washington, the Smithsonian Institution has announced it will return most of the Benin bronzes in its possession.

    I am curious about the exceptions. Meanwhile, the Brits are saying, “We looted our bronzes fair and square!”

    The British Museum, which holds the world’s largest collection of Benin bronzes, has refused to give up its 900 objects, arguing it is prevented from permanently returning items by the British Museum Act of 1963 and the Heritage Act of 1983.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Don’t forget his mistress.

  11. Michael Cain says:

    Lightning, thunder, and an inch of rain here late last evening as the early monsoon continues.

  12. Jax says:

    @Michael Cain: I wish it would push it’s way a little further north, we need the moisture!

  13. CSK says:

    Ah, yes. He sexually assaulted her and threatened her with revenge porn, didn’t he? What a great guy.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Basically. He’s a real peach of a guy.

  15. de stijl says:

    I have a pet theory that the concept of Ragnarok (universe death by freezing) is an ancestral memory from the last ice age. A remnant preserved in oral history. Passed down and altered over countless generations. Eventually the current version of that day was written down.

    There were humans no different from you and me in intellectual capability living at the edge of the ice sheets 12,000 years ago in Europe. They saw the full extent. They saw the retreat. Told their kids about it.

    A disprovable theory. The best kind.

    Also, the concept of “The Flood” in Gilgamesh and clearly cribbed from that in to the Hebrew Bible most likely descends from an actual event that happened. People saw it and it was passed down and became a prehistoric meme / bad-ass story.

    My pet theory about the The Flood myth is that it comes from actual concurrent accounts of when the Black Sea breached the Bosphorus and joined into the Mediterranean about 7,000 years ago. In the big scope of human existence 7000 years ago is basically yesterday. It would have been an epic disaster unparalleled in history to folks in the area

    Real people saw it. They told their kids. Their kids told their kids. The priests or shamans latched onto it as a story as a narrative with a moral and a message. They co-opted it. Their version became canon over time and generations.

    The story of Noah is basically a Marvel movie from a few thousand years ago. I’m sure the kids loved it and were spellbound.

    That’s my theory. I stand by it, only a little bit because it is disprovable. It fits. It makes sense.

    The big events in relatively recent pre-history got passed into written myth and into documented “history” via oral tradition of the shamans / priests / history keepers.

    BTW, there is pretty strong evidence that the story of Gilgamesh was stolen / cribbed from an earlier myth. Much older source material. It is retold in the Illiad and Odyssey. And in the Old Testament. An ur myth. About a big-ass Flood that happened in great, great, great, great grandpappy’s time. An actual flood.

  16. CSK says:

    Greitens seems to belong to that group of candidates who are trying to out-asshole Donald Trump.

  17. Stormy Dragon says:

    @de stijl:

    A similar mythological link: I’m convinced that the “Lot’s wife” myth in the Bible and the ending of Orpheus and Euridice share a common origin since they both involve a couple escaping some horror with a warning frim a diety not to look back and nearly succeeding only for the female to be lost when the warning is ignored at the last moment.

  18. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    The most obvious has always been male gods having sex with female humans and impregnating them.

  19. Jen says:

    Cases like this one are exactly why abortion NEEDS to be legal and available. Ten. Years. Old.

  20. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I used “disprovable” incorrectly twice. Ouch! That stings to do that in public.

    Should be… indisprovable, undisprovable? I’m going to go with not disprovable.

    I vow to edit and proof better in the future.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: When you are so horrible a person that the Misery GOP* drives you out of office, you just might be the worst person in the world.

    * I suspect the truth is that he got too big for his britches and was acting as tho he was the head of the state GOP and didn’t need any of the long time players and just shit all over them. Ummm, it doesn’t work that way, idgit.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Edit function is borked today. Wanted to add that obviously enough, he didn’t learn his lesson.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:
  24. Kathy says:


    Yes, but there’s an interesting wrinkle in there.

    Julius Caesar, he who did not beware the Ides of March, claimed divine descent from, of all the pantheon, Aphrodite.

    Brave, tough, wannabe king of Rome Caesar claiming descent from the Goddess of Love. It seems really odd. Alexander, a similar figure, claimed descent from Zeus himself.

    So why Aphrodite?

    Because she took a liking to a Trojan man named Anchises and bore his son, Aeneas.

    In one funding myth, Aeneas escaped the final destruction of Troy, and traveled west with his family, until they found Rome. This is told by Virgil in the Aeneid.

    And then there’s the whole affair between Calypso and Odysseus.

  25. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Why have Democrats and Liberals been on defense against being hedonist, Satan-serving Pedos–while National Christianist funniest and their feeder organizations lob grenade after grenade from the shadows?

    Even the Russians figured out that their 25 mile artillery range gave them a strategic advantage on the battlefield against the shorter range Ukrainian artillery pieces. They can destroy, destroy, destroy from the safety of range, cover, and concealment.

    Ultimately, SCOTUS has dipped the GOP into the river Styx by its heel. If the political fight is a state by state slugfest now, let’s see if the GOP is up for what that actually means–should Democrats accept the challenge.

    It would actually mean having to contend with Democratic counter-messaging in their very backyard. Democrats are too blind and insecure to see their message has won wherever they devoted talent and resources at sufficient concentration. For the past 30 years they’ve tried to bed Red America at Motel 6 for a Happy Meal and Lg Shake. While Jim Brown would be tempted by these generous terms…Red America is holding out for more.

    Are the Democrats going to evolve and play? Are they going make being in the Federalist society something that has to be explained? Will Dem Billionaires recruit and amplify Christian preachers that don’t have a Dominionist world-view? Will they unsettle the Evangelical Catholic alliance that made ALL of this possible? Evolve or whither into irrelevance. This can be the Dems Pearl Harbor or their Downtown Baghdad…

  26. Stormy Dragon says:


    One thing to remember is that many of the Greek gods and godesses originated other religions and were syncretically added to the Greek Pantheon. Those older versions often have much more expansive portfolios that only became pared down over time.

    In particular, Aphrodite was a goddess of war to a number of groups, perhaps the most surprising being in Sparta:

  27. de stijl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The Lot’s Wife story always confused me. Why would she turn into a pillar of salt? Why? For glancing back? That makes no sense even if you accept the premise. It is an anomalous story. It does not fit correctly. The daughters? WTF?

    It is preserved ancient folklore about a weird and notable physical geographic feature that the locals made up a story about. A pillar of salt.

    It is a co-opted story. Stolen. Cribbed from another local religion that died when the regional center got burned down and all the priests were killed, but a remnant stub of surviving civilians remained. They needed to be converted.

    The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is notably odd. It is clearly a parable, but it probably, almost assuredly, had a real world precedent. Parable is the wrong word, a New Testament word. S&G and Lot’s Wife is a gangboss threat. Obey, comply, or I will kill you.

    I’m not even going to approach Lot’s daughters. That is some messed up shit. It probably made sense at the time for a particular audience.

    Old Testament God was a bastard. Venal, petty, and cruel.

  28. de stijl says:

    Old Testament women, if mentioned at all, had zero agency and were also vectors of capital l Lust and depravity. That was one fucked up society.

  29. de stijl says:

    @Tony W:

    Part of me likes the variability. Mid-continental weather is extreme. I can deal with cold. Near to deathly heat + humidity annoys me way more. But, this too, I can withstand.

    If you live your whole life in San Diego you do not have the experience to understand how sweet and fleeting the feeling that late September perfect day brings to your soul. Transient absolute beauty gone tomorrow. Loss and longing and hope. Ephemeral beauty on a yearly basis.

    Without winter, autumn would feel unearned.

    If every day is perfect I would freak out.

  30. CSK says:

    Question: Why does Trump think that announcing his bid for 2024 will protect him from indictment/prosecution?

  31. dazedandconfused says:


    In a couple thousand years there may be a tale of an unfortunate Orange Julius Caesar, but his horse (Secretus Servius) balked at the Rubicon.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Just curious, has FG said anything about a bid for 2024 protecting him from prosecution? I don’t follow FG at all, so I turn to our source from the right-wing nutball-o-sphere for the truth.

    (And maybe there’s a lesson for his putative opponents there–get to work on making charges against him credible and ask why da gubmint be’s protecting him. Then again, it might not work. That’s why it’s called gambling.)

  33. dazedandconfused says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: After watching that debate It occurred to me that when the Trump fever breaks, and I believe that inevitable, Liz will be exceptionally well positioned to run for president.

    Don’t be shocked if she wins that primary, btw. Wyoming is not the deep south, there’s a strong libertarian streak in the people and individuals unafraid to buck the system, almost any system, are admired. She’s set herself apart from the herd.

  34. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I don’t know. People are speculating that that is the case, because if he declares his candidacy, he can no longer pocket the money from his sap donors, so it must be something serious that would induce him to lose such a revenue stream.

  35. Jax says:

    @CSK: I’m guessing because he thinks if he’s an official candidate, he figures DOJ will hold back on any charges for fear of making it look “political”. Look at all the stuff he’s gotten away with, so far, all because he was the President and therefore untouchable. He sees it as a winning strategy to get away with it all again.

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Wait. Did Trump just declare?

  37. CSK says:

    Well, that makes sense–or at least, it makes as much sense as anything Trump does, which is very little. But I really don’t know where he got the idea that candidates are immune from indictment and prosecution. Probably he wants to believe it, so that makes it so.

    I hope he suffers a rude awakening.

  38. de stijl says:

    That last perfect day in late September holds everything. Joy, surrender, euphoria, impending death, hope.

    Every September had such a day. Every September will have that one precious day. Next year. A year after. A thousand years ago. A thousand years hence. A perfect early autumn day.

    On The Nature Of Daylight. Max Richter.

  39. CSK says:

    Not as far as I know. But there’s speculation he will either on July 4 or on July 9, when he goes to Alaska to stump for some candidate there.

    I suppose he thinks this is also a good way to undermine DeSantis.

  40. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    Every September had such a day.

    And if you’re lucky, it will fall on the weekend.

  41. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    You seem to think Democrats have a message. We could, maybe, if we’d stop tripping over own feet but mainstream liberal Dems are old and discouraged and largely useless. And if progressive Dems could manage to be just useless rather than destructive*, that would be progress.

    *How about starting with: don’t fucking primary a Democratic incumbent in a district that’s just D+5.

  42. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    If everyday was perfect I would freak out.

    I resist the idea of eternity. Of the Christian, Abrahamic concept of Heaven. Even if it was everything it claims to be it would get boring and annoying fast. Valhalla has the same fatal flaw.

    The only way it would work is if your brain got reset on a regular basis. Which would be really uncool. I do not consent.

    Eternity is a long fucking time. After a few billion years you are going to get really itchy for new horizons. I don’t much like my live relatives, let alone the dead ones some of which I have a big bone to pick with. Screw that noise.

    I do not want to spend eternity with my family. My family sucked. Fuck that.

    I want no part of that. I dot not consent.

    I think reincarnation is much more interesting. Doesn’t exist, but the concept is pretty fascinating. Do it again. Do better. Like reloading after a save. Reincarnation is way cooler than Heaven.

    The Big Sleep is a misnomer. When you are asleep you are still alive. You have to get up occasionally to pee. A weirdly large portion of your brain is wide awake and monitoring the nearby space for potential threats all the time even when you are “asleep”. You breathe. You snore. You sweat. You get an erection during REM sleep if you are a guy. You dream. Normal, predictable stuff.

    My working assumption is that death is blank. You no longer exist. At all. You are gone. Utterly.

    We stop being.

  43. DK says:


    Well, that makes sense–or at least, it makes as much sense as anything Trump does, which is very little. But I really don’t know where he got the idea that candidates are immune from indictment and prosecution.

    He got the idea from Merrick Garland’s personality, pundit class fecklessness, and general Democratic Party timidity. It makes perfect sense for Trump to figure his official candidacy would freeze a potential DOJ prosecution. The Very Serious Media People would immediately start crapping on the investigation as “political” and endlessly interviewing Trump voters in diners to that effect.

    If I were Trump, I’d announce ASAP. Where is the downside for him? Not great for McQarthy and Moscow Mitch, but why should Trump care?

  44. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Back in my hippie days, I dabbled in the new age crystal shit. There was a series of books I read, some dude channeling a being who called himself Kryon. The basic premise is that yes, souls are reincarnated until they get it right (whatever “it” is), and when they finally succeed, they move onto a different level. Also, there is a “great realignment” happening as we speak, then something about indigo children, yada yada yada.

    It’s all mumbo jumbo crap, the guy charges people to come listen to him channel Kryon, but I will admit to having spent a considerable amount of time over the years pondering what “it” is, and wondering if this time around is the time I’ll finally figure it out? Or am I gonna have to do this shit all over again? Because I really, REALLY don’t want to go thru puberty again. 😛

    Christians have made it so awful here on Earth, I sure as hell don’t want to spend eternity with them in Heaven, so Hell it is for me. It’s good company, I hear.

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: With 30 days left before the primary election, the Washington State voter’s pamphlet has arrived in my mailbox. The pamphlet lists 17 candidates (including incumbent Patty Murray–age 72 btw) for Senate, 6 of whom are Democrats running against 5 Republicans (including one preferring the JFK Republican Party and one from the Trump Republican Party), one Socialist Worker candidate, and myriad independents and no party selecteds, but no Libertarians (hmmm…). The House seat has 10 candidates, featuring a hotly contested race pitting the Republican incumbent against 5 Republican opponents, one of whom is on the executive council of AFL-CIO Local 3922. I guess we can scratch “union people always vote Democratic” of the list of political truisms. Fortunately for the Democratic Party, the candidate who lost the previous 2 house contests has decided to step back from politics to return to corrupting the minds of college students (count that as a tie, Michael, she’s gone from virtue signaling–which was a struggle, she was as corrupt as Huey Long–on the hustings but keeping the flame alive on campus), and we have 2 new Democratic candidates, both of whom are small business owners in Stevenson Washington, intestringly enough.

    Fun times ahead. 🙁

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Oh, I forgot to mention that one of the GQP candidates for House is a successful author of evangelical kid lit.

  47. gVOR08 says:

    @Jax: IIRC DoJ has a policy of avoiding any political investigations or disclosures within six months of an affected election. However, DoJ and FBI kept it quiet that they were investigating “Russia, Russia, Russia”. But they were OK with letting it be known they were looking at HER EMAILS!! and took the occasion of finding Weiner’s laptop to remind everybody a week or two before the election. Then Mueller seems to have been very cautious about investigating Trump* and Barr eagerly buried what Mueller did get. I don’t know if they’re afraid of the GOPs in congress or if it’s underlying authoritarian sympathies, but these policies seem to be somewhat asymmetrically applied. So Trump may have good reason for thinking they’ll back off if he announces.

    * Mueller had some gobbledygook about since he couldn’t charge Trump, Trump couldn’t defend himself , so better to not go there. Why does everybody think like a damned lawyer? If there’s reason to suspect the President has been improperly influenced by Russians, is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt the appropriate standard?

  48. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Well, to put it in perspective, I have 3 “quiver full” nieces, aged 13, 9 and 8 who are “evangelical kidlit authors”, and that shit they wrote is SCARY, so I’d just cross that one out. The 13 year old wrote a whole series of them, I did the good Auntie thing and read them, and holy shit… brother has messed up her brain.

  49. Jax says:

    @gVOR08: I’d love to see him “announce” and then get properly perp walked off the stage. 😛

    I mean, like, I would actually pay for a pay per view of that. It’ll be the best perp walk ever.

  50. Kathy says:

    So, Babylon 5 turned up on HBO Max last week. I watched “Day of the Dead” then. It was good, but not as good as I remembered it*. Today I saw “Babylon Squared,” and am following it up with both parts of “War Without End.”

    I have the DVDs, but it’s easier to stream than to sort through several disks looking for the right episode.

    *Penn and Teller were as good as I remembered them.

  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl:

    My working assumption is that death is blank. You no longer exist. At all. You are gone. Utterly. […] We stop being.

    Seems like a waste to have all this awareness and cognition and be gone in a few decades. I wish evolution had worked out something more logical.

    And I wish I’d been a more brutal selfish person if this is all there is. Perhaps “the one with the most toys when he dies” is the winner. 🙁

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: Here’s her website. It turns out that she’s sort of a cottage industry. Not just books, but motivational speaking and skin care products in addition to the political activism.