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:

    Good morning from IAH

    Gawd, I hate a lot of things about Texas.

  2. Kathy says:

    Ah, one mystery solved. According to Herr Professor Navarro, it was all Jared’s fault.

    But the money quote is here:

    On the page, Navarro risks Trump’s ire by criticizing his actions as president, at one point devoting six pages to outlining “why a president who is supposed to be one of the greatest assessors of talent … would make such bad personnel choices across so many White House and cabinet-level positions”.

    Hey, Pete. What does it say that Donnie hired you?

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA: Can you name your top 3?

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I love the first part of that piece:

    In June 2020, less than five months before polling day, Donald Trump agreed to a “coup d’état” to remove his son-in-law Jared Kushner from control of his presidential re-election campaign and replace him with the far-right provocateur Steve Bannon.

    The coup had support from Donald Trump Jr but according to a new book by the former Trump aide Peter Navarro it did not work, after Trump refused to give Kushner the bad news himself. Fearing “family troubles if [he] himself had to deliver the bad news to … the father of his grandchildren”, Trump asked Bernie Marcus, the founder of Home Depot, a major Republican donor and a central player in the coup, “to be the messenger” to Kushner.

    A coward to the end.

  5. CSK says:

    Well, Trump wouldn’t fire people face-to-face, but he certainly seemed to enjoy trashing them on Twitter–and then firing them via Twitter.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Molly Minta

    My water just now in Jackson, MS

    Trigger warning.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Jon Cooper@joncoopertweets

    Bookmark this,

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The funny thing is, the Bible doesn’t seem to really say anything about abortion.

  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    Watched the third ep of Rings of Power.


    All the pictures are beautiful. There’s no story for me to be caught up in. The acting is not great, but in fairness the actors aren’t given much to work with. The writing is shit, incompetent. And Morfydd Clark is insufferable.

    Not a problem: diverse elves, dwarves, etc…
    Problem: Mary Sue Galadriel.

    I have no investment in any story line, or in any character. More than a third of the way through season one and I kind of want the orcs to win.

    My suggestions:

    1) Fire the writers. They don’t have the chops. They are not going to develop the chops.
    2) Shift the entire narrative away from Galadriel, that whole thing is a misfire.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: As far as I know, the only time abortion is mentioned in the Bible is in Numbers, beginning with 5: 11-29:

    11And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 12Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, 13And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; 14And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled: 15Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. 16And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD: 17And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water: 18And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse: 19And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse: 20But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband: 21Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell; 22And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. 23And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water: 24And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter. 25Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar: 26And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water. And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. 28And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. 29This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;

    So, yeah, they get their “life begins at conception” from some place other than the Bible.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Peter Strzok

    Better check Bedminster…

    On May 6, NARA emails Trump to say material is missing and may be at MAL.

    On May 9, Trump gets on a private plane from Palm Beach to Bedminster. On video, several boxes are seen loaded onto the plane.

    More probable obstruction, at the very least.

  13. CSK says:

    Daily Mail linky doesn’t seem to work for me.

  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    The Bible could have really used an editor.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Most definitely. A whole lot of needless repetition.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I went to the tweet and clicked on the link there and it worked. I thought. But all I got was a blank page with a URL mentioning Melania’s polka dot dress.


  17. Mimai says:

    (raises hand)

    Guadalupe Mountains NP.

    Palo Duro Canyon SP.

    Big Bend NP.

    Perhaps I misinterpreted your question……that was not directed at me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mimai: I was asking Eddie for the top 3 things he “hates… about Texas,” but I like your list of things to like. I have yet to get to Big Bend and have spent way too much time in the Guads (if such a thing is possible) and would really like to get back to Palo Duro some day.

  19. CSK says:

    That article is from last year.

    If it’s true that Trump took papers to Bedminster, that’s a major development.

  20. Mimai says:

    An intentional misreading on my part. Sorry?

    Too much time in the Guads? I think not. Unless you get caught out with an insufficient supply of water. Oof! Do you have a hidden gem recommendation for that area?

    Palo Duro is so damn great. My best friend works dairies out that way. Such an interesting and surprising landscape. Under-rated wintertime destination.

    Big Bend – Go! If you can. I suspect it will hit all the right frequencies for you. Go! If you can.

  21. CSK says:


    The link to the Daily Mail in Peter Sztrok’s tweet works.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks. I should have been more precise and said the Bible doesn’t say anything against abortion. I forgot about that bit where it says under certain circumstances you SHALL attempt abortion, and gives instructions.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mimai: I did a lot of caving there. That was the main draw. Everything else was pure bonus.

  24. Jax says:

    Hahahahaha……ehrmagerd, you guys gotta see this….

    I’ll show myself out. 😛 😛 😛

  25. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’s the writing style of parts of the Bible (and how it differs radically from other parts) that Julian Jaynes uses as a piece of evidence in his book on the origins of consciousness.

  26. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I see where you’re coming from, I don’t totally agree. I don’t know how much of your criticism is rooted in being a writer and how much my appreciation is my huge ability to just accept BS.


    Morfydd Clark is insufferable.

    I wonder how much of this is her doing a good job of playing an insufferable, wild eyed fanatic. I see a character who’s PTSD has blinded her to just about everything. Like, the fact that we see she’s kinda right about some stuff grates cause she has taken everything and jammed it into one particular belief. She’s allowed PTSD to turn herself into a fundamentalist fanatic almost as bad as anything Sauron is.

    Also, I would gladly watch a plotless Arondir glowers and flexes show. I just want him to roll his eyes at me.

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    A lot of it has to do with being a writer. I’m seeing what looks to me like characters in search of a story. (I know the signs, having wandered around lost like that myself.) And when I hear shit like, ‘ a stone sinks because it looks down,’ I mean, FFS. Lightweights straining for profundity. It’s cringe. I’d cut my own throat before I’d write a bullshit line like that.

    As for Ms. Clark, I don’t know if it’s the direction or her acting choices that make her come off as petulant and seething 24/7. It’s just so one-note and charmless. She has none of the physicality of, say, Charlize Theron, and none of the gravity of Cate Blanchett. Or look at how Miranda Otto played Eowyn in the LOTR movies – she was frustrated, she was determined, she was a woman overlooked because she was a woman. And she pulled it off. Or Jodie Comer in Killing Eve. Or any number of women in GOT. Or Ripley in Aliens. Or Sarah Conner in Terminator.

    Clark reads to me like a woman really pissed that her latte only has one shot of hazelnut. I believe Theron can fight. I believe Miranda Otto can stab a guy. I believe Comer will slit a throat. When Ripley says, ‘Get away from her, you bitch,’ I’m thinking alien mama needs to walk away. But I don’t believe this waif for a minute.

    But it’s the writers who wrote the ludicrous snow troll scene where her own platoon of highly-trained (male) elves fall all over themselves like tenpins while Galadriel does it all herself. And it’s the writers who have her jump into the ocean to swim for a few hundred miles. Are they secretly trying to tell us Galadriel is an idiot?

    I’ve written ‘strong female characters’ in sci fi, in fantasy, in alt history, even in adult thrillers, and I never had to make men look like clowns to make my female characters their equals. How is it strong to be better than absolute buffoons? It’s condescending, and it is internalized sexism. It’s lazy, clueless writing, and honestly I’m amazed that women aren’t offended. There are women flying fighter jets off aircraft carriers who don’t seem to need all the men to fly into a cliff in order to look capable themselves.

    Five seasons of this elven Mary Sue? Not a chance.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @Michael Reynolds:..The Bible could have really used an editor.

    May I suggest Asimov’s Guide to the Bible.

    Spoiler Alert!
    Let’s jump to the last page to see how it ends if you don’t want to read the whole thing.

    Revelation 20:7. . . . Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
    Revelation 20:8. And shall go out to deceive the nations . . .
    Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle . . .

    This is an echo of Ezekiel’s apocalyptic vision of the last battle:

    Ezekiel 38:2. Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of
    Magog . . .

    The forces of evil are again defeated and destroyed and now, finally,
    all is over, even the Sabbath millennium, and the day of judgment is
    come at last:

    Revelation 20:12. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand
    before God; . . . and the dead were judged . . .


    A second creation, a perfect one, now replaces the old imperfect

    Revelation 21:1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:
    for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; . . .

    Revelation 21:2. And 1 John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem,
    coming down from God . . .

    The new Jerusalem is filled with the triumphant symbolism of the
    number twelve both in its old and new meanings:

    Revelation 21:10. . . . the holy Jerusalem . . .

    Revelation 21:12. . . . had a wall great and high, and had twelve
    gates . . . and names written thereon, which ate (sic)* the names of the
    twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

    Revelation 21:14. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations,
    and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

    And when the description of the city in the most glowing possible
    terms is completed, the writer of the book quotes an angel to remind
    the reader emphatically that all that is predicted is rapidly to come
    to pass:

    Revelation 22:6. . . . These sayings are faithful and true: and the
    Lord God . . . sent his angel to shew . . . the things which must
    shortly be done.

    Revelation 22:7. Behold, I come quickly . . .

    And with that assurance— still unfulfilled nearly two thousand years
    later— the New Testament ends.

    *should be are

  29. Mimai says:

    Football and basketball get all the attention, but for my money, women’s volleyball is the best college sport. Incredible athleticism. Fast paced. Spectator proximity to the action. Plus, the costs and logistics of attending make it very approachable. Highly recommended, even if you know little about the sport.

  30. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Wonderful critique. That’s exactly what lousy writers do. Unfortunately, more and more of them are being hired/published.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I was in a faculty discussion group where that sort of question was asked about me by an unfriendly co-teacher. I shrugged and replied “case in point.” Everyone else laughed while co-teacher glowered.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In defense of her neighbors, “safer” is a relative term, but YIKES!

    Seems like the market should be coming up with a solution pretty soon…
    oh, wait, water is a service not a product.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: Yeah, that and “do onto others as you would have them do onto you” pretty much covers it, I think. –

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “A whole lot of needless repetition.”
    When translated into early 17th Century English. Maybe it reads smoother in Hebrew, I dunno and suspect you don’t either. And don’t get me started on how “clear and concise” US government documents are.

    But yeah, I know you’re just being snarky, so I’ll stop now.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: “that’s a major development.”

    Is it like no bacon and no cheese on the nothing burger or more like no grilled onions and no special sauce?

  36. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Trump appears to have taken stuff from MaL to Bedminster to keep it from the FBI. I think that’s a fairly big deal.

    Not that I’m surprised that a lifetime thief wouldn’t do precisely that, you understand.

  37. Kurtz says:


    How do you shorten baseball games by increasing offense?

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: “still unfulfilled nearly two thousand years later”

    Given the billions of years science holds as the age of the cosmos, 2 thousand years is barely a tick of the sweep second hand of the metaphorical celestial clock. It took 4000+ years to get from Eve naming her son Abel (I have got me a man from The Lord–some say in identification of him being the child God promised to redeem humankind) to the birth of Jesus “in the fullness of time.” Maybe you should read Asimov closer.

    Or maybe not.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Yeah. If you can prove that was the reason (as opposed to the motive someone ascribes to the action) and if DOJ ever actually prosecutes him (which I’m still an unbeliever on).

    And don’t leave out jury nullification or hanging because of a MAGAt in the pool.

  40. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Yeah, I know. Rock and a hard place. I’m not sure if I entirely buy Lindsey Graham’s claim that there will be riots in the street if Trump is prosecuted, but it will be hard to keep all the MAGAs off any jury.

  41. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..Maybe you should read Asimov closer.

    I read Azimov’s words:

    And with that assurance— still unfulfilled nearly two thousand years
    later— the New Testament ends.

    What did I miss?

  42. mister bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:..What did I miss?

    The correct spelling of the author’s name.
    Asimov not Azimov.

  43. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kurtz: Reading the full article explains the change, which shaved about 30 minutes out of the average minor league games in trials, so the increase in offense has been quite marginal.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I lived thru an active shooter incident. I also “saved” my eldest son’s life, in quotes because that whole accident took place in less than 5 or 10 seconds and who can say how close it really was? I only know that I saw my son’s head silhouetted against the headlights of the oncoming cars, and that I prayed for death because I knew I couldn’t get to him in time. Either way, I read these accounts and they hit me in the gut.

    Angie Maxwell

    Two weeks ago, I had four precious 12-year-old girls, including my daughter, with me at the county fair. They were getting blue Icees and corndogs for the walk to the car and ride home. (1/21)

    They were debating names for the goldfish they won at a carnival game. After a hard 2 years, it was a last breath of summer, full of lights and laughter. (2/21)

    As we headed toward the front gate, 14 shots rang out right next to us followed by complete pandemonium. We knew instantly what it was. I grabbed them all and we ran as fast as we could to the back fence that encircles the fairgrounds. (3/21)
    Even though I’ve cared about this issue, worried about this issue, and fought for common sense gun reforms and safe schools, all I could think of that night and now is how gravely I have underestimated the trauma of the running. (15/21)

    And then I thought about the families in this country who live this trauma day in & day out. I thought about what our kids must feel like as they run through active shooter drills at school. I knew all of this intellectually, but good lord, I was/am so naive emotionally. 16/21)

    Go read the whole of it.

    This is insane.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: How do you shorten baseball games by increasing offense?

    Dunno, methinks that is not the reason for these changes, just the excuse.

  46. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kurtz:..How do you shorten baseball games

    If this is the goal…then…
    >Two strikes and a batter is out.
    >Three balls is a walk and the batter advances from home plate to second base. (Batter gets to grab one of the pitcher’s balls as he walks over the pitchers mound on his way to second base.)
    >Batter is out if he hits a foul ball no matter what the count is.
    >A defensive player may throw the baseball at the baserunner and if the baseball hits the runner the runner is out. (If the baseball hits the base runner in the nuts it counts as two outs and the defensive team is awarded a double play in the stat book.)
    >If the away team hits a home run into the stands and a fan throws the baseball back onto the field the batter is out and the run does not count. (If the ball thrown back on the field is caught by a home team player that’s another out.)
    >And by all means make all the teams use a bullpen cart!

  47. Jax says:

    @Mimai: I really love “little kid” volleyball. The little buggers are so cute, and when they get a real volley going, as clumsy as it may be, the crowd goes WILD!!! Good times. 😛

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I was up at the Sullivan fairgrounds the other day and saw a banner that made me sad:

    It’s a game for children.
    Not the world cup.
    Our coaches are volunteers.
    Our Refs aren’t perfect, neither are you
    Treaty everybody with kindness and respect


    Why is this necessary?

  49. Mimai says:

    @Jax: “little kid” sports > “adult” sports. Always and forever. Chasing butterflies. Mining for boogers. Delightful chaos. And the occasional goal, volley, etc.

    ps, I enjoyed the pics of your greenhouse awhile back. Hope your daughter is still digging it (heh).

    @OzarkHillbilly: You know damn well why it’s necessary. And it’s indeed sad. Adults ruin damn near everything. Ugh…we suck!

  50. Kurtz says:


    Why is this necessary?

    Ah, to control soccer moms whose entire families are members of the mob. I recommend watching long enough to see the cop perform a nice (American Football) tackle.

  51. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    The thing that continues to boil my bile is the presumption of the writers that “We can write a better story than Tolkien” and proceed to completely mangle plot and character for no good reason.

    Want a female elf who wants to do Sauron in?
    Well, go write one; there’d have been plenty with good reason.

    But no.
    Has to be Galadriel; for the name recognition?
    So, they proceed to screw about with Finrod’s death, an important bit of the whole Silmarillion narrative.
    They have one of the elven high lords/ladies unable to order a ship to turn about, because her younger cousin has decided something for whatever reason?
    Miss that in the narrative Galadriel has upped sticks and decamped to Lorien or thereabouts centuries previous.

    And that she had good reason to know that going on-on-one against the Big S would be unlikely to go well for her, seeing as she was best friends (we assume) with one of only two persons to face off with Sauron and win.
    And said Luthien Tinuviel had a bit of an edge, being daughter of a demi-goddess and all.