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. Kurtz says:

    RIP, Tony Sirico.


    In lieu of pouring one out, empty a can of Aqua Net into the air.

  2. de stijl says:


    Paulie, right? I always kinda liked him.

  3. CSK says:

    @Kurtz: @de stijl:
    Larry Storch has died, too.

  4. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    Yeah. Seriously brilliant character.

    If I didn’t have rock star hair, I would consider rolling with wings for a couple days as a tribute.

    But I can’t bring myself to get much more than a trim.

  5. Kurtz says:


    Damn. I watched that show as a kid.

    At least some sad news can serve as a reminder of things worthy of celebration. Most of the shitty news we discuss is all bad.

  6. de stijl says:

    I no longer have the ability to gauge a person’s age correctly. In adults. I can usually lump them into 5 year groups correctly more often than not. I kinda suck at it.

    When you are 7 you know instinctively what 8, 9, and 10 look like, and present as. One year makes a huge difference. You just know.

    When you are 14 you know bone deep what what 15 and 16 look like.

    You are really good at guessing the age of people just slightly older than you when you are young. A sense, maybe an instinct.

    That hypersensitivity about age and developmental status works until you are roughly 25.

    It stops being pertinent. There is no obvious developmental gap between 27 and 28. That’s a fully formed adult. Hopefully, anyway.

    Nowadays my granularity meter is really soft. If you are 20 or 25, I can no longer peg your age. You are somewhere in that cohort.

    Older cohorts are more difficult to gauge. 25 to 35. 35 to 45. A dice roll would probably pick your age better than my “informed” guess. Roll a D10.

    In that 30 to 45 age range, I have lost the ability to discriminate the differences in age. They all look basically the same age. I kinda don’t care. But I used to be good at this. I was way better at this when I was younger.

    When you are 15 you know what 19 looks like, acts like. And you desperately wish you were 19.

    You note when someone is more developed or less than their age. You instinctively know that 16 year olds are cooler than you are when you are 14. You feel it. You note it. You get it.

    As you get older the granularity expands. I used to be fairly good at guessing a person’s age.

    I suck at it now. And you know what, it does not fucking matter.

  7. de stijl says:


    Larry Storch the goofy guy from F Troop with the dumb ass hat? Dude had to be at least 100. Good on him making it that far. Haven’t seen that show since early 70s.

    Thought he was amusing when I was 8. Even then I knew he was doing broad vaudeville shtick. Late 60s tv comedies almost always had a guy or gal of that type. The good-hearted doofus. Green Acres had a better theme song and Arnold the pig. Petticoat Junction had pretty girls.

  8. de stijl says:


    Paulie had magnificent hair.

    Go for it! Don’t be a big pussy (wink). An homage.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Musk’s withdrawal from Twitter deal sets stage for long court battle

    In conclusion:

    In addition to the fine for the failed deal, Musk could face serious consequences from the SEC for his antics, which have had major impacts on the several public companies he manages as well as Twitter itself.

    Musk is an executive at the artificial intelligence firm Neuralink, the electric car company Tesla, the space travel company SpaceX, and the tunnel construction firm the Boring Company. He has in the past faced lawsuits from investors over his erratic behavior and its effects on the companies’ stocks.
    Fines against Musk, who with a $224bn net worth is now the richest man in the world, have had negligible impacts, said Beck, but the executive could face further action from the SEC – including being removed as CEO from one or more of the companies he helms.

    “The fine will be painful for Musk, but what would be more painful is if the SEC used its power to say ‘you are not fit to run the companies you are running and someone else should be appointed as CEO’,” Beck said.

    Musk’s waffling on the Twitter decision has led many to call for legislation that prevents such market chaos in the future, or enforcement from bodies outside the SEC. Meanwhile, Musk and Twitter could be battling in court for some time, and Musk will face additional class action lawsuits, Beck said.

    “Investors in any company that has been impacted by this can bring forth a lawsuit,” she said. “The question is: do we have fraud? Do we have a billionaire that is doing this purposely to impact the markets? That is legally what needs to be answered.”

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    More than 80% of urine samples drawn from children and adults in a US health study contained a weedkilling chemical linked to cancer, a finding scientists have called “disturbing” and “concerning”.

    The report by a unit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that out of 2,310 urine samples, taken from a group of Americans intended to be representative of the US population, 1,885 were laced with detectable traces of glyphosate. This is the active ingredient in herbicides sold around the world, including the widely used Roundup brand. Almost a third of the participants were children ranging from six to 18.

    Academics and private researchers have been noting high levels of the herbicide glyphosate in analyses of human urine samples for years. But the CDC has only recently started examining the extent of human exposure to glyphosate in the US, and its work comes at a time of mounting concerns and controversy over how pesticides in food and water impact human and environmental health.
    More than 200 million pounds of glyphosate are used annually by US farmers on their fields. The weedkiller is sprayed directly over genetically engineered crops such as corn and soybeans, and also over non-genetically engineered crops such as wheat and oats as a desiccant to dry crops out prior to harvest. Many farmers also use it on fields before the growing season, including spinach growers and almond producers. It is considered the most widely used herbicide in history.

    Residues of glyphosate have been documented in an array of popular foods made with crops sprayed with glyphosate, including baby food. The primary route of exposure for children is through the diet.

    My main complaint about GMOs has never been that whole “we are creating plants that nature on it’s own never would have.” It has always been the fact that plants are being genetically modified to be resistant to pesticides and herbicides making their use even more profitable. This at a time when the harmful environmental impacts are becoming ever more obvious.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Aaron Rupar

    LMAO the Fox News “employment crisis” is that there are too many jobs

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A good profile:

    If I’d not got help, I’d probably be dead’: Jason Kander on PTSD, politics and advice from Obama

    This cracked me up:

    When someone suggested that he lower his sights and run for mayor of Kansas City instead, Kander grabbed the chance to ease the pressure. He was comfortably ahead in the polls and in fundraising when, on 1 October 2018, he walked into the Kansas City Veterans Affairs medical center and acknowledged suicidal thoughts going back 10 years.

    He was duly put in a windowless cell with pale-green walls and dressed in dark-green scrubs that were about five sizes too big. “So this was suicide watch,” he writes.

    Most of the staff instantly recognised him but a young resident psychiatrist did not. For half an hour, Kander bared his soul about the night terrors and his consuming fear of someone hurting himself and his family. Then the psychiatrist asked: “Do you have a particularly stressful job or something?”

    Kander said he was in politics and explained: “I almost ran for president, but then decided to run for mayor instead, and tomorrow I’m planning on calling that off.”

    Confused, the psychiatrist said: “You were going to run for president? Of what?”

    Kander told him: “Of the United States.”

    The psychiatrist asked: “Who told you that you could run for president?”

    Now irritated, Kander said: “I don’t know what to tell you, man. I mean, I spent an hour and a half talking it over one on one with Obama in his office, and he seemed to think it was a pretty good idea.”

    The psychiatrist sat back in his chair and remarked: “Barack Obama told you that you could run for president? So how often would you say you hear voices?”

  13. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    Yep. Corporal Agarn.

  14. Mister Bluster says:

    Petticoat Junction had Hooterville!

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:
  16. charon says:


    The supposed “link to cancer” of Roundup is pretty bogus, derived mainly from some goofy decision by a California jury.

  17. charon says:


    Various herbicides and pesticides are no longer sold because of carcinogenic concerns, so ask why Roundup is still being used?

  18. Beth says:


    PTSD sucks ass.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charon: Europeans disagree.

    @charon: Really? You have to ask? This is America where the answer is always the same: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: I am grateful it’s not a problem for me and at this late date I can’t envision a scenario where it would be.

  21. Slugger says:

    @charon: Here is a review of glyphosate carcinogenicity:
    This seems pretty credible to me.

  22. Beth says:


    Humans are way more fragile than we give ourselves credit for. I had no idea that I had PTSD until I was almost 40. I thought that’s just how people exist.

    Lol, I also didn’t know how bad my childhood abuse was until I started therapy and saw the effects my childhood was having on my son.

  23. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I adore Jason Kander. I truly hope he runs for something again. And that story is both amusing and a little depressing, as it means that the psychiatrist probably didn’t vote for US Senate.

  24. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    For most of my adult life my default name for the next little town we will roll through on a road trip to nowhere is “Hooterville”. I had no clue I’d picked that up from Petticoat Junction when I was a kid.

    Petticoat Junction had a pretty bad-ass theme song, too. Clearly not as great as Green Acres, but pretty fucking good all things considered.

    It amuses me I have called backwater towns Hooterville all my adult life. To the point I would ask my navigator buddy “what’s the name of the next Hooterville? We’ve got a crossroads, dude. Stick on State Road 13, or left on County Road A?” I had entirely forgotten the connection. It is just a thing my brain spat out reflexively. It is nice to reconnect it back to the source.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: I had an extremely abusive nun for a teacher 2 years in a row. It affected me deeply and at the age of 64, I ‘m still pulling the weeds that were planted then. They just keep growing back.

    @Jen: He is a Missouri treasure. (notice I spelled the state correctly this time?)

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Aha. That’s what the “Roundup Lawsuit” emails I’ve been getting are about. Thanks.

  27. de stijl says:


    PTSD does, indeed, suck ass. As does anxiety, avoidance, and agoraphobia. Fuck that shit.

  28. CSK says:

    I’ve had no experience with nuns, but my first grade teacher, Mrs. Flynn, was an incredibly nasty old bitch who blamed me for things I hadn’t done. To this day I have no idea what I did to ignite her ire. My best guess? I was either smarter than she felt kids of six had a right to be, or I indicated in some way that I wasn’t Roman Catholic, which she made sure we all knew she was, even though it was a public school.

  29. CSK says:

    The Gateway Pundit and American Greatness (sic) are predicting that the Democrats’ October surprise will be the arrest of Donald Trump.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I had another nun in the 2nd and 4th grades who was just the sweetest person on earth. The mean one? I had her in the 5th and 6th grades and she was an absolute terror. There were times I felt she had a special hatred for me but I think most of us felt that way. I’m pretty sure we all got beaten more than once (she definitely had a shit list). She got shipped off to Colombia after a particularly egregious incident the year after I was pulled.

    Years later my mother apologized to me. She said that all of us kids tended to be quiet but that I had just shut the fuck up. She said she knew something was wrong but she had no idea what it could be. She’d grown up Southern Baptist. How could she? Maybe the old man could have given her a clue but he was traveling a lot then and she tried not to tell him of problems on the home front.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:


    a href=”″>Nick Bilton
    “No thanks to you, shit face.”

    God, I wish people still did honest zero f**ks to give interviews like this.

    Excerpts from a James Caan Playboy interview, cracking me up.

  32. CSK says:

    Well, I know that Bitch Flynn had it in for me, because she made me and two boys sitting right near me to stand in the corner and then barked: “Now, hang your heads in shame.” And I wondered what the hell I’d done, which was absolutely nothing. I think the other two might have been snickering about something; I have no idea what.

    Just one of many incidents, like when she yelled at me for keing kept home by my mother an extra day because of chicken pox.

  33. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I went to the hospital once for an anxiety attack — chest pain, limbs heavy, covered in cold sweat, feeling of impending doom… not having had anything that severe before, it seemed like a good idea.

    While I was waiting for test results, on a gurney in a hallway, hooked up to monitors, someone right behind me started asking me questions about my mental health. I glanced, but the bed and stuff was in the way, and they were calling me by my first name, so I shrugged, and began answering.

    Have I had attacks like this before, did I hear voices, was I hearing voices now.

    At that point I leaned up enough so I could see the doctor and no one was there. Which was very weird. And a little terrifying.

    Until the doctor in the next room came out and told me to stop answering questions not meant for me.

    And poor, possibly-psychotic my-legal-name-doppelgänger was indeed hearing voices. Voices telling him to say that he wasn’t hearing voices. My voice.

    (My common name doppelgängers are almost always dogs. Gus is a dog name, sometimes a cat. Beto O’Rourke’s family has a turtle named Gus, so I guess there are reptiles too)

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    I think Disney+ is going to run aground. Interested in what others think.

    They have 5 slots: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and Nat Geo. Set aside Nat Geo. Not seeing new content from Disney. What I’m seeing from Pixar looks like a long, slow decline, possibly due to the sidelining of John Lasseter, but maybe the formula is just running out of gas: seen it, done it, loved it past tense.

    I think Marvel and Star Wars are making big mistakes, trying to do too much at once while maintaining some notion of a consistent canon. Too many shows. At least with Marvel you have this huge base in the comics and a vast extended universe populated by hundreds of characters. Star Wars by contrast is paper thin – is there no other family but the Skywalkers? How many times can you go back to that same well? There’s not enough story there, the world-building is too thin, it’s collapsing in on itself as they grab hastily at non-characters like Boba Fett. He was just a costume, FFS, there was no there there. Love Darth Vader, but Jesus Christ, he’s old news.

    Marvel starts from a much, much deeper well of story and character, but they’re trying to elevate peripheral characters into starring roles. Fighting a fan base that mostly just wants more Iron Man and Avengers and DGAF about Eternals or Ms. Marvel. At the same time they seem determined to deconstruct their established stars – Loki, Dr. Strange, Thor, Hulk etc… Two huge failures at getting the Fantastic Four in play, then Reed Richards is made a joke of in DS – MOM. When they’re not deconstructing established characters they’re trying this multiverse dodge which is a cute solution, but one that eats the seed corn by obliterating jeopardy. I think they’re lost and wandering.

    Four of their big five slots are assets in decline. They look more and more like a library, less like the next new thing. And no one cares about Nat Geo.

    And that’s before we get into the Disney vs. boy nerds war.

  35. de stijl says:


    When I broke, I broke pretty hard.

    I had been doing 75 to 90 hours a week for almost 18 months. Saturday and Sundays were work days. Every day was a work day. Chritmas Eve, Christmas Day. New Year’s day. I had not had a day off in over a year. Holidays meant vastly reduced bus service so I walked downtown. About 40 minutes.

    Saturdays and Sundays were an actual relief. I could breathe. I could tick off so many action items off my to do list. I would work 12 hours on a Sunday on purpose gladly just to knock down my to-do list.

    My boss who wasn’t actually my boss, my temporary putative boss, would call me 2 or 3 times an hour to either give me new shit to do or a new spin on shit I had already had on my list. Guaran fucking teed that son of a bitch would call me at least twice every fucking hour to fuck up my day. It was his go to move.

    For me 8 to 5 was eat shit hours. If I got lucky, I got actual work done during working hours every now and again. Mostly, eat shit and phone calls and new task items. Lucky fucking me.

    Dude was working banker hours. He showed up around 9 or 10. Left at 4. I was working 90 hours a week. He worked maybe 30 to 35. He made at least 10x my salary.

    To this day when my phone rings, my blood pressure spikes and my heart races. My first impulse is to not pick up.

    A week before we delivered, 17.75 months in, I quit. I was sobbing in the shower every morning. I hated my life. I hated myself. I hit my breaking point at 99% of the way in. I was having random panic attacks. At home, at work, on the bus. The first time I had a panic attack was on the bus. I thought I was dying. I thought it was a heart attack. They called an ambulance and hauled me to HCMC at 2 AM.

    You know what sucks worse than having a panic attack? Coming 98% of the way there and then not. Your brain is fucking overloaded by stress and chemicals and AAGH! and you pull it together at the last second. An actual panic attack gives you catharsis and the illusion of release. A thwarted panic attack means you have to swallow all of that pent up shit and bile and not freak out about it. Pretend not to. Front as if.

    I decided one morning in the shower. I’m done. I’m out. And fuuuck you too very much. You do not have the right to abuse me. FUCK YOU!

    Bastard actually showed up at my going away party. I wanted to deck him. I didn’t. A huge part of me wanted to just clock that fucker. I wanted to. I decided to leave my own going away party. Fuck that prick. I was not going to sit there and take it. Power move at the last, you pathetic fucker.

    Quitting was the best decision I ever made. I slept 18 hours a day for the next week or so. It was spring coming on to summer, so I walked down to the park and watched gorgeous ducklings follow mama duck around the pond. It was so fucking beautiful I cried.

    I’m calmer now. I still dream about that.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    Right before I broke bad I was working up to 90 hours a week. And half of that was graveyard shift which adds its own special crazy sauce. I don’t get depressed, I get angry and contemptuous. I chose to risk external consequences over eating myself up. And I ended up getting at least a large part of the external consequences served up to me. So, this is not a recommendation.

    As for asshole bosses I used to either steal from them (6), quit mid-shift (3) or undercut them til I take their job (3) – then quit a month later because it’s boring. Some of those were two-fers. I was not above embezzling from a place where I’d displaced my erstwhile boss. Gotta maintain a balance in life, you can’t be a victim. It’s not even about them knowing, it’s about you knowing.

  37. Matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Star Wars by contrast is paper thin – is there no other family but the Skywalkers? How many times can you go back to that same well?

    The sad part is that Star War “legends” is chock full of unused characters and stories. Of course disney decided none of those books/comics/etc are canon now and they’ve done a pretty good job of shitting on those works.

  38. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’d bet on Disney.

    The kids fare seems to be chugging along with good additions, if not massive culture defining great breakthrough successes. Encanto, the red panda thing, something about sea monsters pretending to be people in an Italian town. They’re actually loved by the target audiences. I have no idea what is Disney and what is Pixar at this point though — they’ve kind of merged, or failed to differentiate or something.

    Star Wars is in a bit of a rut. An enjoyable enough rut, but a rut. They’re trying to break out of it with a push to define the high republic era in comics and novels. There’s a lot of legends stuff they could pillage — some of it is bound to be good. (Adapting the Knights of the Old Republic video games into shows or movies would be a good idea, as that was good, but they’re trying a different era…)

    Marvel isn’t fresh, but it churns out competent enough stuff. Ms. Marvel isn’t really aimed at the 40+ crowd. They’re getting more creative here. Keep in mind that basically no one cared about Iron Man and the wave 1 Marvel movie heroes before the movies. No one expected Black Panther to be a touchstone.

    (I don’t think Reed Richards was a joke in Dr. Strange MOM, he was a short-lived moment of a character. Building something around the Fantastic Four as a family doing the more sci-fi stuff could be very Disney. Or they could use the darker “one step away from becoming a supervillain” depiction and just fail)

    Those 3.5 slots seem to be between massive success, but doing the things that might lead to it, and Disney is set up to pounce on that and milk it.

    National Geographic exists.

    I think they are missing a young adult franchise. I assume they are scouring the Earth for one that fits the overall brand — light, optimistic, modern-day, no body horror, no creepy questions like “if a 1200 year old vampire in the body of a 16 year old hooks up with a normal 16 year old, is that statutory rape?” They’re working on a Percy Jackson tv show, so maybe that will be it.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I suffer from anxiety too. Especially when I have to deal with the govt. Even if I don’t need him/her. I learned the hard way to hire a lawyer. The same way I learned the hard way to hire an accountant. Even if I don’t need her/him.

    A long time ago I came to the realization that one is not truly an adult until one knows enough to hire people to deal with the shit we are incapable of.

    Every March, I walk into my accountants office and hand over a passel of papers. They will feed them into a program I know well and truly that I could do well enough on my own. If only I didn’t freeze up at the idea that I would fuck it up. Again.

    And just like with every lawyer I pay to bury every bullshit traffic ticket I get, it is money well spent.

    “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

  40. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Also, Disney should make a Marvel series that is less challenging for the white men.

    Lately, we have had Hawkeye where a white man is in the process of being replaced by a woman, Moon Knight with a Latino lead (I think? Oscar Isaac is Latino, right?), and Ms. Marvel with a young Pakistani Muslim woman. Movies have been pretty diverse too lately.

    First, racists have money. And separating racists from their money means they can’t use it on racist things.

    Second, racists have kids. Keep enough content unchallenging to the racists that they let Disney+ into their home, and then get the kids watching the Queer Adventures of Young Loki, Hulkling and Wiccan, or the awesome reboot of The Punisher where the role is taken by Frank Castle’s Black separatist daughter who loves Malcolm X and eventually learns about the importance of integration.

    Reprogram the kids on the sly.

  41. Michael Reynolds says:

    Disney+ asked us to pitch GONE, which we did. They asked for a follow-up where they asked if it could be made to be positive and hopeful. I laughed. They were very nice, though.

  42. Michael Reynolds says:


    Reprogram the kids on the sly.

    If only they weren’t so clumsy at it.

  43. inhumans99 says:


    My I put no thought into it quick response is that they might be right, lol. I am honestly a bit befuddled as to why Trump has not already been arrested, and is not wearing an ankle monitor while they let him stay at Mar A Lago as he awaits a date in front of a judge.

    The only reason I am not worried about Trump being a flight risk is that no country wants him, and the one country that might take him, well, Trump has just enough of a lick of sense to know that if he accepted Putin’s offer of sanctuary that he will wind up on a leash on all four’s barking like a dog for Putin’s entertainment.

    Trump was only useful to Putin when he let Putin assassinate dissidents around the world and Trump was spreading Putin’s propaganda on Twitter. Now, Trump is as useful a friend to have as having another hole in his head.