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. EddieinCA says:

    How is it that I have …..

    Amazon Prime
    Apple TV+

    ….and I can’t find anything to watch at 2am Saturday.


  2. Kathy says:



    1) too many choices, so it’s not easy to pick one, or none seem appealing compared against each other .

    2) Paraphrasing Pink Floyd, you’ve got eleven streaming services of shit on the TV to choose from.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieinCA: How is it I* have none of those but can always find something to watch in the DVD library? 😉

    *emphasis on the personal pronoun there. My wife recently figured out how to stream thru our inadequate satellite service and now has Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. Which if she is picking the show I can watch, But she streams them thru her iPad and an old iPhone, neither of which I am capable of operating because touch screens hate, hate, HATE me, and i am far better off staying as far away from them as I can.

  4. CSK says:

    @EddieinCA: @Kathy: @OzarkHillbilly:
    Well, you can always read.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: If I’m not doing anything else (which with these summertime highs is more often than not), I read in the afternoons. But after the evening meal, I invariably fall asleep on the couch, which is easier to do if I have something mindless to occupy my brain.

  6. Kathy says:


    Mindless on TV is like fish in the ocean.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Funnily enough, when I wake up at 1 or 2 AM (which is every night) and my brain kicks into gear (which thankfully only happens every 3rd or 4th night) and I just can’t turn it off, I will get out of bed, put one of the Planet Earth discs in the DVD player and fall back to sleep on the couch to the sound of David Attenburough’s voice while critters frolic about the plains/ice and snow/jungles/deserts/mountains/seas.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Josh Marshall had something to say the other day:

    A lot of the energy behind the “cynical Dems behind MAGA crazies” storyline is driven by pundits who feel very, very off balance needing to say constantly that the GOP is now a sectarian revanchist party thats a threat to democracy over&over because it remains true. Again & gain.

    2/ This more or less non-story is like a pressure valve for the built up angst of bothsides journos who’ve been desperate for something to work with for months. For those who don’t like it, I respect the opinion. But I’d add these four points. First of all, in some cases …

    3/ where Dems were allegedly boosting MAGAs its not even true. PA Gov is a good example of this. Where this has happened is in a number of House contests, run from out of the DCCC. Second, let’s be clear what this “boosting” or “running ads for” actually means.

    4/ In every case it’s involved the DCCC running ads that say some version of, ‘This person is terrible. They’re totally loyal to Trump and want to overthrow the constitution.’ And that, we’re told, makes them irresistible to GOP voters. That makes it fairly clear where the …

    5/ problem is. They’re not funneling money to GOPs or running sham campaigns to advantage Trumpers. They’re IDing them. Third, have great respect for Peter Meijers vote to impeach President Trump. A very honorable decision. But he is still a vote for Kevin McCarthy to be Speaker.

    6/ He is still a vote for the GOP which is currently the party of the Big Lie and the party of Trump. That is reality. That one decision doesn’t change that. If you oppose the Big Lie and oppose the revanchist authoritarianism of Trumpism right now that means keeping …

    7/ Republicans out of power. That’s not cynical or “pathetic grab for some evanescent political advantage”, as this frivolous bellowing puts it. That is looking closely at what is actually happening.

    8/ The contrary argument wld be, ‘How are pro-democracy Republicans supposed to reclaim the GOP if they can’t get nominated.’ This puts the whole matter in the proper relief. Democrats must not only win every election because the GOP has turned agst democracy itself.

    9/ They’re also responsible for cultivating and protecting the handful of Not Always Trump Republicans who do things like voting to impeach the President when he leads a violent assault on the Capitol to stay in office in defiance of the constitution and American people.

    10/ All of which is to say that Democrats are not only responsible for protecting the republic from Republicans. They’re also responsible for repairing a GOP that doesn’t want to be repaired. Has anyone asked why the NRCC or RNC or any other org wasn’t spending more …

    11/ aggressively to defend Meijer? It simply asks too much. Fourth, the goal of people who run campaigns is to win them. In a handful of House races, Democrats decided they stood a better shot against a Loud Big Lie supporter than a Quieter one. They’re almost certainly right.

    12/ They’re entitled to make that call without worrying what tsk tsking WaPo columnists or Republicans working to put the Trump GOP back in power have to say about it.

    Well said, Josh.

  9. Jen says:

    @CSK: I’m not sure exactly why/how, but I am on track to break my personal record for books read this year. A quick glance at the books I’ve read appears to point to a combination of two things, one, I’ve really enjoyed a number of books I’ve picked up this year (that means I read them faster), and two, yeah, there are a few more “easy reads” in there than usual. I love reading.

    @EddieinCA: If you’re at all a Neil Gaiman fan, the new The Sandman series on Netflix seems to be getting some very good reviews. I generally enjoy Gaiman’s work, but haven’t read this graphic novel. I thought the Starz adaptation of American Gods was quite good, Good Omens was an excellent adaptation as well. Brilliant casting in both. So, I’ll likely give Sandman a watch.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Anne Heche is in serious trouble:

    Pictures and video footage obtained by US media outlet TMZ showed Heche driving a blue Mini Cooper, which was later pictured severely damaged at the scene. The vehicle struck a two-storey home and erupted in heavy fire, according to the Los Angeles fire department (LAFD).

    “Fifty-nine firefighters took 65 minutes to access, confine and fully extinguish the stubborn flames within the heavily damaged structure,” an LAFD report stated. “One female adult [was] found within the vehicle, who has been taken to an area hospital by LAFD paramedics in critical condition.”

    The LAFD also confirmed to the PA news agency that the vehicle had driven 30ft into the residence but that the occupant had escaped without injury.

    Assuming it took awhile for them to first realize she was still in the car and who knows how long to get her out, she must have severe burns.

    My cousin was burned over 90% of his body when his tractor trailer was hit head on by a drunk driver. He was hauling asphalt and the tanker ruptured and buried him in the cab. He lived for 20 pain filled days before finally dying. His last words to his fiancee were, “Karen, let me die.”

    I hope Anne doesn’t have to go thru anything like that.

  11. CSK says:

    I know that there are many people who suffered grievously from being locked down/isolated during the pandemic, but it wasn’t terrible for me because I had my books.

    I don’t know how people who don’t like to read manage.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: TV.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Roses brought to honor love on that Valentine’s Day in 2018 lay withered, their dried and cracked petals scattered across classroom floors still smeared with the blood of victims gunned down by a former student more than four years ago.

    Bullet holes pocked walls, and shards of glass from windows shattered by gunfire crunched underfoot at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, where shooter Nikolas Cruz killed 14 students and three staff members.

    Nothing had been changed, except for the removal of the victims’ bodies and some personal items.

    Twelve jurors and 10 alternates who will decide whether Cruz gets the death penalty or life in prison made a rare visit to the massacre scene on Thursday, retracing Cruz’s steps through the three-story freshman building, known as Building 12.

    After they left, a group of journalists was allowed in for a much quicker first public view. The sight was deeply unsettling.

    Yeah, I don’t need to see that.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Twitter Obliterates Elon Musk’s Excuses for Trying to Kill $44 Billion Deal in Blistering Court Filing

    Twitter didn’t pull any punches in the 127-page filing, walking right up to the line of calling Musk an idiotic liar without actually using those words. But they were damn close.

    “The Counterclaims are a made-for-litigation tale that is contradicted by the evidence and common sense,” Twitter said in the new court filing. The company called his complaints “factually inaccurate, legally insufficient, and commercially irrelevant.”

    “Musk invents representations Twitter never made and then tries to wield, selectively, the extensive confidential data Twitter provided him to conjure a breach of those purported representations. Yet Musk simultaneously and incoherently asserts that Twitter breached the merger agreement by stonewalling his information requests,” the social media company continued.

    The legal beatdown continued from there, eviscerating Musk’s claims about the number of bots on Twitter and the number of active users on the platform—the two big issues the billionaire takes with the deal.
    The following screenshots are directly from Twitter’s court filing on Thursday, sometimes including Musk’s original claims along with Twitter’s response. There are also annotations made by Gizmodo to highlight the truly amusing elements, such as the fact that Musk is now complaining about the number of active users on the site, but failed to attend a meeting about that very topic. Or that Musk’s way of calculating bots on the platform identified his Twitter account as a likely bot.

  15. Bob@Youngstown says:

    And yet, there are hundreds of thousands folks who are wishy-washy on gun violence and/or assault weapons that really need to see the horror.

  16. Jen says:

    @CSK: I actually struggled to read early on in the pandemic. It was weird, I have always been a voracious reader and all of a sudden I couldn’t focus and nothing really interested me. I ended up reading very light reads–fluffy books, the equivalent of rom-coms in book form, it was all I could manage for about 5 months. Eventually I got back to reading what I typically read (mostly literary fiction ~60%, some genre fiction ~10%, and the rest non-fiction, mostly nature and science stuff, like Entangled Life, Life Between Tides, etc.).

    My husband’s quip was that I moved to the book version of TV…

  17. de stijl says:


    As somebody who deals with agoraphobia both successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully, the COVID lock down and required masking felt like a God sent miracle to my malapadtive brain.

    I was required to stay home except for necessary outings. I was required to mask up if I needed to venture out.

    I cannot express in simple words how liberating the mask order felt to me. It’s fairly rare and most folks thankfully never experience it, but to me, sometimes the thought that others see me and are judging me can be overwhelming and prompts a panic attack or the precursors to that. It sucks.

    It is extremely uncomfortable, especially knowing that is all made up in my head, which makes it worse.

    Being able to mask up and walk around in public was so refreshing. I was bullet-proof. I was invulnerable. I was not freaked out. These were brand new feelings. I felt freer than I had in years.

  18. CSK says:

    Funny, but I too spent a fair amount of time reading lighter things than I usually do. Probably it was a reaction to all the doom-mongering on the news. I needed something light and relatively cheerful.

    @de stijl:
    I’m very sorry to hear this. But I suppose the fact that you can continue masking, and no one will find it odd, is very helpful to you.

  19. de stijl says:


    I recommend Midnight Mass which is either on Hulu or Netfix, iirc.

    Mike Flannigan who did The Haunting Of Hill House and Bly Manor. One of my new favorite directors.

    It’s a short run series self contained. Maybe 8-10 episodes about an hour apiece. Just brilliant in my book. I really enjoyed it.

    I’m not religious and was raised vaguely as a Lutheran, so I might be missing some of the Catholic bits, but it’s pretty great and well worth the time investment.

    If push comes to shove, you can always watch old episodes of Psych or Monk on Peacock. Easy brain candy.

  20. Stormy Dragon says:

    Originalism is astrology for people who feel bullied by the Civil Rights Movement— Barred and Boujee (@AudreLawdAMercy) August 3, 2022

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Yeah, but I suspect more than a few would deny the evidence of their own eyes. The only thing that will change their minds is being personally touched by such an event, either by living thru one or by losing a beloved to one. Until that happens, it just won’t be real to them.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: @CSK: I read a lot of history with fair doses of science and nature, and a smattering of current events. Every now and again tho, I need something lighter and I’ll reach for a Tony Hillerman, Elmore Leonard, George Pelecanos, Richard Russo, etc. I needed a lot more of the lighter fare than usual when I finished Bloodlands.

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    Until that happens, it just won’t be real to them.

    Not even then.
    More than once I have read accounts of children killing other children with loaded guns that legal gun owners have left lying around.
    The claim that the killing is “God’s will” is made to relieve the adults of responsibility.

  24. de stijl says:


    I’m having an on-going debate with my therapist about continuing to wear a mask in public.

    A mask is really miraculous in my head. I feel powerful, untouchable. Almost normal. It’s all made up in my head, but it feels true. I am way more confident and better able to cope. It’s a dodge. A convenient dodge.

    I feel it so strongly that I distrust it. It makes me feel way more confident than I probably should.

    But, it works.

  25. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    I’m no therapist, but if the mask keeps you comfortable and confident, then by all means keep wearing it. It does you considerable good and absolutely zero harm to anyone else.

  26. CSK says:

    I can see why.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: In my book, god has a lot to answer for. S/He may be forgiving but I, not so much.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It was good, Snyder is a hell of a writer, but lord it was depressing. I’m hanging onto it because I feel like I should read it again (it is a lot to wrap one’s head around) but I’m not sure I ever will.

  29. gVOR08 says:

    @Mister Bluster: And almost invariably, the adults who left the guns for children to find aren’t charged because “they’ve been punished enough”.

    Allow me an aside and a question. My attitude is that by committing a crime, one volunteers to be the example to deter others from committing said crime. I have several times seen statements, usually by libertarians, that libertarians say deterrence doesn’t work. The only source I’ve found is Nozick who said we couldn’t calculate the exact punishment needed for deterrence. That is not an argument that deterrence doesn’t work. Can anybody cite a libertarian source for a claim that deterrence doesn’t work?

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    deleted because in the wrong post

  31. Scott says:

    @EddieinCA: My problem was that I would come across something that I would want to watch but then couldn’t remember it at the 2am time. So I have taken to putting those future shows in my notes on my phone. It usually only takes an episode or two to decide whether I want to continue it.

    Actually, my wife and I abandon more shows than complete them.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: And almost invariably, the adults who left the guns for children to find aren’t charged because “they’ve been punished enough”.

    I remember one case where it was true. A woman shopping at a grocery store put her purse with the handgun in it in the cart seat next to her toddler. The toddler found it and shot her dead with it. I’m not a believer in karmic justice, but that one could almost change my mind. Almost.

  33. MWLib says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I needed a lot more of the lighter fare than usual when I finished Bloodlands.

    That book almost made me stop reading for a while. We humans are an often very sorry lot.

  34. Mimai says:

    Yesterday’s forum had a discussion of memory. Made me think of this recent work.

    Politics ruins everything, including your memory

  35. EddieInCA says:


    Ended up watching the first two episodes of “Hacks” on HBO Max. Really good. Looking forward to catching up on all episodes. Really well produced, acted, and shot.

  36. CSK says:

    If you’d like a laugh:

  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    Hacks is great all the way through both seasons.

    Also recommend:

    As We See It. (About 3 autistic characters played by autistic actors.)
    Girls Five Evah (sp?) (Silly fun.)
    We Are Lady Parts (Muslim women form a punk band.)
    The Expanse (if you haven’t already. Best hard sci fi ever.)
    Would I Lie To You (Brilliantly funny Brit panel show. Avoid first 2 seasons.)
    Star Trek Strange New Worlds. (A throw-back to ST’s combo of philosophy and silliness.)

  38. Mister Bluster says:
  39. Mu Yixiao says:

    What is the verb of carpentry?

    Carpent? “I am going to carpent today”.

  40. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    “Carpenter” is the verb. i.e. “I am carpentering.”

  41. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Now I’ll have that as an earworm for the rest of the day.

  42. Mister Bluster says:


    Maybe this will help…

    Billy Cobham: The Moon Ain’t Made Of Green Cheese
    Total Eclipse was released in 1974.
    I saw Billy Cobham at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco when I lived there in 1974-’75. Might have even heard this tune live.
    But my memory fades.

  43. becca says:

    Binge watching a lot because it’s too hot and muggy to do much else. Bordertown is an interesting Finnish show. Black Spot is weird and fun. I believe it’s French. I’m a sucker for Polish tv. Thriving industry there. Anything by Harlan Coben.
    European and British tv actors are so much more real. People look like, well, people.Not necessarily unattractive, just wardrobe and makeup take a back seat. Not your typical American casting. Refreshing.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MWLib: We humans are an often very sorry lot.


  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: What is the verb of carpentry?

    I’d go with “prostituting.” I sold my body for monetary compensation.

  46. CSK says:

    Well, carpenters do do a lot of…banging.


  47. al Ameda says:


    ….and I can’t find anything to watch at 2am Saturday.

    Have Door Dash deliver some decent Weed, that should do it.
    You know, back when I was a college student, we didn’t have Door Dash.

  48. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Best alternate version, with story.
    Robert Zamora was a (quite good) footballer.
    When playing for Brighton against Fulham, IIRC, he took a penalty, mis-kicked and absolutely skied it into the stands.
    Subsequently, whenever Brighton played Fulham, the Fulham fans sang:

    “When you’ sat in row Z, and the ball ‘it’ your ‘ead, that’s Zamora, that’s Zamora”

  49. JohnSF says:

    Nailed it.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Touche. Well turned, very well turned.

    @JohnSF: And here you come to finish it off.

  51. CSK says:

    Good one, John.

    Carpenters always finish their…work.

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Only finish carpenters finish the job tho.

  53. EddieInCA says:

    @al Ameda:

    Have Door Dash deliver some decent Weed, that should do it.

    Weed is the one thing in my house of which we are never short. Ever.

    I get down to 50 edibles, four cartridges, or 1/4 of flower, I’m at the weed shop. They know me by name there.

  54. Mu Yixiao says:


    “Carpenter” is the verb. i.e. “I am carpentering.”

    Wow. There is so much wrong with that reply. The English teacher in me is cringing so hard I think I may have sprained something.


    I’d go with “prostituting.” I sold my body for monetary compensation.

    That only applies if you’re doing it for someone else (been there, done that–for a few decades). I’m working on the house and making stuff to sell.

  55. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I have a Ph.D. in English. I’ve taught English at Tufts and Harvard. But you can look up “carpenter” if you care to verify it.

  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I did it for someone else for 35+ years. The only times I did it for me was when I was working on my own houses. I hope to start making stuff to sell this winter (assuming my shop expansion gets completed once the summer’s high temps relent) but that just means I am prostituting my body with piece work. I really don’t know for how long I will be able to do it. I have osteo arthritis to varying degrees in my hands, shoulders, neck, lower back, hips, and knees. At this point in time, pain is just a thing I have to live with. The only question is, how much can I take.

    The only thing I care about now, is shaving a couple years off my wife’s retirement age.

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieinCA: One thing that I find is that too many choices can inhibit my decision-making mechanisms and processes. There’s something about large numbers of choices that seems daunting to me, kind of a mirror image of FOMO–fear of making “the WRONG choice.”

  58. JohnSF says:

    That is one remarkable difference in Britain.
    You can still get seriously arrested for possession of cannabis.
    Maximum sentence, 5 years for simple possession.

    And markedly more likely if you are of a non-white persuasion.
    IIRC c. 25% arrests are categorised other than white, who are 13% of the population.
    It’s stupid, and almost everyone knows it, including the police.

    The only major groups that don’t are the pensioner base of the Conservative party, and the Tory/tabloid press, who are in a symbiotic relationship with that base.
    The Tory tabloids are to the UK what Fox News is to the US.

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Touch screens hate me, too. And as the tremor worsens, keyboards are starting to also. 🙁

  60. JohnSF says:

    Anyway, never mind the carpenters. What about the walrus?

  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: According to the article I read yesterday, the structure that caught was the second one she struck. Earlier, she had rammed a parking structure (IIRC) at an apartment building before driving off to hit the second structure. The report that I read also indicated that her injuries were serious enough so that they were unable to obtain samples for BAC. (Don’t know how that works, but I assume that it probably has to do with not increasing the trauma of an already critical-condition patient.)

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t think you should blame God for other people blaming him for the horrible stuff that the people who are blaming God in the first place are doing. But you can if you wish to.

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Just going by the picture, it seems to be a reasonable enough mistake, though.

  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Wow. There is so much wrong with that reply. The English teacher in me is cringing so hard I think I may have sprained something.

    Take the word of the Internet. It knows everything and never lies. 🙂
    @CSK: I don’t have a PhD in English, so I had to look it up. Seeing it made sense though. There are a significant number of /er/ or /or/ names of practitioners where the title is also the verb (“doctor” and “to doctor” comes to mind). It makes sense.

  65. inhumans99 says:


    No interest in watching Prey on Hulu? It’s actually quite entertaining. Amber Midthunder should be offered a lot more roles, and will have the time to step into another role now that Roswell New Mexico on the CW is ending.

  66. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: And a handful more:

    Blackbird — true story of a convicted drug dealer going undercover in prison to get a confession from a serial killer. Brilliant performances by Taron Egerton (man, I’d forgotten how charismatic he can be) and the guy who played Richard Jewell in the movie. Written by Dennis Lehane.

    Rehearsals — Israeli comedy-drama about a writer/director couple who break up both professionally and personally… and then land their play at a big theater.

    Paper Girls — The Hollywood Reporter complained because it was too much about the lives and emotions of its tween girl protagonists and not enough about the world-ending sci-fi plot. Kind of tells you all you need to know about both the show and the Hollywood Reporter critics…

  67. wr says:

    @becca: “Anything by Harlan Coben.”

    Those Coben shows make me nuts. When he started writing big standalone thrillers (as opposed to his series books) he would come up with a huge hook, and then follow it to a stunning and believable conclusion. As years have gone by, he seems to have decided that the hook alone is enough, and so his stories get dumber and dumber in their desperate need to find explanations for all the cool questions he’s come up with.