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. Kathy says:

    Yesterday in Lima a LATAM A320neo impacted a fire truck on the runway. Two people died on the truck and one was severely injured. All passengers and crew made it out alive, but 4 have been reported with severe injuries and 36 with minor ones.

    The plane’s crew attempted to reject (abort) takeoff at high speed (very nearly at takeoff speed), but couldn’t stop nor avoid the truck on the runway.

    I’m awaiting for latter reports, as we know earlier ones tend to be wrong, mistaken, or incomplete. Controllers in the airport’s tower do manage ground vehicles as well. Even in an emergency, fire and rescue vehicles need clearance to enter or cross a runway, precisely to avoid accidents like this one.

    It’s also common in emergencies to stop all aircraft movements. I find it odd a plane got clearance to take off if there was an active emergency at the airport. So, I await the results of the investigation.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Musk wrote on Twitter late on Thursday that he was not worried about resignations as “the best people are staying”.

    Where “best” is defined as “those who have no other choices.”

  3. Kathy says:


    Those who knuckle under and kiss the Martian ass.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Taylor Swift:

    “And to those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs. Thank you for wanting to be there. You have no idea how much that means.”

    Uh, actually we do know how much it means to you. According to the google it’s worth

    The Eras Tour Tickets 2022 will range from $49 up to $449, VIP packages beginning at $199 and going up to $899 will also be available for purchase.

    With profits have traditionally been split 85% to artists and 15% to promoters, according to the video, but “artists have raised concert ticket price and now take a higher percentage of the profit.” I’d be more than a little surprised if Ms. Swift wasn’t getting at least 90%.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    China has contested claims it was operating unauthorized “police stations” on US soil, calling the sites volunteer-run, after the FBI director said he was “very concerned” about unauthorized stations that have been linked to Beijing’s influence operations.

    Safeguard Defenders, a Europe-based human rights organization, published a report in September revealing the presence of dozens of Chinese police “service stations” in large cities around the world, including New York.

    The FBI director, Christopher Wray, told a Senate hearing on Thursday that it was “outrageous” that the Chinese government would attempt to set up a police presence in the United States, saying it “violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes”.

    China’s embassy in Washington acknowledged the existence of volunteer-run sites in the United States, but said they were not “police stations” or “police service centers”.

    “They assist overseas Chinese nationals who need help in accessing the online service platform to get their driving licenses renewed and receive physical check-ups for that purpose,” an embassy spokesman, Liu Pengyu, said in an email to Reuters on Friday.

    “They are not police personnel from China. The US side should stop the groundless hyping of this issue,” Liu said.

    Yeah. Sure. Volunteers, freely giving of their time to help Chinese nationals renew their driver’s licenses. Which they will definitely need after being kidnapped and involuntarily repatriated back to China.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From The grotesque inequality embodied by Musk, Bezos and Zuckerberg is a threat to democracy in addition to the usual diatribes against the uber wealthy and a system that ensures their existence, comes this:

    Something’s gone very wrong when basic infrastructure maintenance seems wildly utopian, while the hare-brained schemes of man-child oligarchs become increasingly routine.

    In part, we can blame a media too often prone to slobber over the intersection of wealth and technology.

    The disgraced crypto-tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried succeeded in parting so many investors from their money partly because of the fawning coverage he so regularly received. As Vox put it, the press portrayed SBF “as an unassuming, nerdy savant, frequently noting his down-to-earthness, his messy mop of hair, his penchant for wearing T-shirts and shorts, his Toyota Corolla.” Investors were enamoured of the fact that he wasn’t a buttoned-up entrepreneur; he played computer games during pitch meetings, and like other modern-day founders, his eccentricities were taken as proof of his distinct genius.

    In the famous Hans Christian Andersen fable, those who ignored the king’s nakedness revealed their craven servility. With its reportage of the man it dubbed the “crypto emperor”, the New York Times went one step further: its headline explicitly lauded SBF’s sans pants wardrobe as central to his scruffy mystique.

    In reality, as the analyst Mike Burgersburg pointed out, long before his company collapsed, Bankman-Fried’s flaws had always been obvious – at least, to those who cared to look. “[H]e never came off as being that bright,” Burgersburg said, “Like, either he’s admitting that he’s committing fraud, or saying shit that just doesn’t make sense.”

    When people show you who they are, Maya Angelou warned, believe them the first time.

    Same as it ever was.

  7. CSK says:

    Gee, do they have their own holding cells, jails, prosecutors, and judges?

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The worst snowfall was expected in Buffalo, where the National Weather Service said up to 4ft might fall in some spots through Sunday, with periods of near-zero visibility.

    That is insane.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I’m sure they have their own holding cells, but prosecutors? Judges? That would imply a judicial system. I’m pretty sure what they have is a “Get out of line and get a serious smack down” system.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:


    Latest is that the Buffalo area is over 5′ with more expected. Good times 🙁

  11. CSK says:


    Like a bullet in the back of the head?

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Nah, bullets cost money. There are cheaper ways to rid oneself of the troublesome.

    @Sleeping Dog: It is insane to live in Buffalo.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Time to roll (to my eldest GD’s wrestling meet), have a good Saturday all.

  14. CSK says:

    Michael Cohen says that Ivanka and Jared are FBI/DOJ moles and that’s why they bailed out of the 2024 campaign.

  15. grumpy realist says:

    Musk has put up a survey asking whether Trump should be let back on to Twitter or not. So far, the Fat Mango has 52% positive.

    Some have thought there’s a link between this and the departure of Twitter’s ad coordinator. (Who left, was brought back again, and now seems to be on the road to departure again.) She probably told Musk that bringing back Donald Trump was an idiotic idea that would cause a lot of potential ad buyers to stay away.

    And the Musk fan-bois are still continually burbling about How Much Of A Genius Musk Is.

    Considering that the World Cup is this weekend and historically has been one of the times when Twitter has been heavily used, I suspect we may see the breakage of the system in a few short days.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Snow melts. I’ll take it over a Hurricane or a flood any day

  17. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Having lived adjacent to the counterintelligence community most of my military career- you would be very surprised how close rats live to foxes.

    This would not at all surprise me…less for their Trump connection but more for their Saudi connection. They would not be “moles” in the movie sense Civilians understand. But they would provide certain types of information or plant some information in passing conversations with targets. They would almost certainly be unwitting if this is were true–meaning the actual “mole” would be talking to them vice them having direct contact with a case officer.

    Sometimes their IS a rabbit hole…and it goes pretty deep. Cohen is probably partially right in that they sing or plant info in exchange for no scrutiny of their business dealings.

    There’s always a game of some sort being played outside of the headlines.

  18. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @MarkedMan: The Hurricane for me. If you’re 25+ miles from the coast and at 30+ feet of elevation in a structure built to code in the last 20 years…you get high winds, drunk, and a 12-48 hour camping trip while they work to get the power restored.

    All while NEVER being cold.

  19. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Very interesting indeed. Doesn’t that position put Jared and Ivanka in a potentially precarious position?

  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Jim Brown 32: There are certain things relating to taste that can’t be argued, and the preference for being hot rather than cold is one of them. I like being outdoors and since I live in the city will pick places I can walk to over ones I have to drive to. I truly can’t imagine why someone would prefer to be in a place that is too hot to walk around in (as is Baltimore in July and August) versus one that requires a hat and coat to go out. Putting on the hat and coat or taking them off: 30 seconds. Cooling down from near heat stroke, changing out of and washing the sweat soaked clothes and then showering and changing into something dry: not worth it. Stay indoors and drive everywhere. Soul dies a little more every day.

  21. CSK says:
  22. Mister Bluster says:

    Had to Laugh!
    Heard an ad on the radio this morning:

    Smalls Meat Market

    Nobody Beats Our Meat

  23. Franklin says:

    @MarkedMan: I’ll be a bit more subtle – I’d rather be a little warm than a little cold. I have pretty severe Raynaud’s and my fingers will turn white even in 55-60 degrees (F) weather, even if I’m being reasonably active like walking. It’s uncomfortable – not numb. So I’d be happier if it was 85-90 degrees; I’ll just drink more water.

    But go another 20+ degrees in either direction, and I’d prefer the cold one. I’ll either find a balance with gloves or my hands will go comfortably numb 🙂

  24. gVOR08 says:

    Who leaked the Dobbs decision? John Roberts says the leak was a terrible breach of the Court’s integritude and he’s by gawd gonna find out who did it.

    NYT reports that there was an alleged leak of the Hobby Lobby decision in 2014. A former holy roller activist claims he was told the outcome weeks before it was announced. The leaker? Justice Samuel Alito.

    I’ve long suspected that Sammy Alito leaked Dobbs, and Roberts knows it.

  25. dazedandconfused says:


    Nobody gets cleared for TO or landing with an emergency so it’s more likely it was a fire truck engaged in training, or the practice of running it around for a while so it’s tested and the fluids gotten up to temp, limbered up, if you will. During such ops the trucks are in contact with ground control, not air, so there is a potential for a miscommunication by ATC or the driver just got confused and rolled into an active runway by mistake.

  26. CSK says:


    But why would Alito leak Dobbs? He had to know it would boomerang back on Republicans.

  27. Jen says:


    Speculation at the time was that the leaker was attempting to box in Roberts, who was wavering on overturning Roe completely. He was trying to negotiate a decision that would further restrict abortion, but keep it legal.

  28. CSK says:


    Thanks; that’s interesting.

    In any case, no matter his intent, Alito should have foreseen the consequences.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I dont think it was obvious what the result of the Dibbs decision would be. Politicians who had enacted increasingly stringent anti-abortion laws in state after state viewed it as a political win.

  30. Sleeping Dog says:


    It should also be noted, it appears that the “investigation” has been quietly shelved and that points right at Alito or Thomas.

  31. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: The decision backfired on them, not the leak. There was a lot of discussion at the time that the leak locked in the conservative vote. The theory was that if they backed down from the leaked opinion it would look like they’d bowed to public pressure. There may also have been a theory that tearing the bandaid off slowly with the leak would blunt the reaction to the actual announcement.

  32. Kathy says:


    Reports thus far make no mention of an active emergency, or even a stand-by one. So there’s much we don’t know yet.

    There must have been a mistake somewhere. But whether it was on the part of the controllers, the fire crews, or the LATAM cockpit crew, we don’t know yet.

  33. CSK says:

    That was shortsighted if they thought places like NY, California, and Illinois would rejoice.

    Didn’t work, did it?

  34. Just nutha says:

    @CSK: My experience is that conservatives don’t think in those terms about abortion. Standing for the truth is everything.

  35. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: @Just nutha: As always, failure of a plan is not evidence of absence of a plan. However, I was speculating as to motive, I won’t claim it’s a certainty Alito wanted to tear the Band-Aid off slowly. On the other hand, Alito is a true believer. “and faith is assurance and certainty about thing we do not see.” (A felicitous phrase by Brad DeLong I happened to read fifteen minutes ago and am cheerfully stealing.)

  36. CSK says:


    I’m not a true believer in anything, so that’s why I’m failing to grasp the power of the motive, not the motive itself.

  37. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: A few questions that none of the “reportage” on Taylor Swift has bothered to answer for me:
    1. What % of all seats (across the entire tour) were available for pre-sale to the non-plebes?
    2. Who, exactly, were the non-plebes who were permitted early access?
    3. Who decided the answers to #1 and #2 — Swift, or Ticketmaster, or someone else?

    Anyone know the answers to these?

  38. charon says:

    Just in case anyone here cares about Attorney General in AZ:

    Apache has uploaded 244 ballots and zeroed out the remaining ballot estimate.
    The batch broke 65/35 for the D slate. A slight underperformance for them.

    net 76 and leads
    by 651 votes.

    5,749 est. remaining in Maricopa and we are done.

    If there really are 5,749 left in Maricopa, the (R) guy would need about 55.5% of that number to overtake. However, that number is probably mostly provisional ballots, many of which will never be counted. So, I think, pretty unlikely the (R) guy overtakes.

    Hours before Kari Lake was projected to lose her race for Arizona governor, attorneys for her campaign and for the Republican National Committee spoke by phone Monday to a lawyer for Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and more than half the state’s voters.

    The Lake representatives posed a series of questions about voting problems on Election Day, nearly a week earlier. Then, toward the end of the phone call, an attorney for the RNC stressed the importance of rapid answers, according to the Maricopa attorney, Tom Liddy, a lifelong Republican who heads the county’s office for civil litigation.

    Liddy recalled that the RNC attorney, whom he and others identified as Benjamin Mehr, told him that there were “a lot of irate people out there” and that the campaign “can’t control them.”

    Liddy said in an interview Friday that he considered those words a threat.


    Tim La Sota, an attorney for the Lake campaign who was present for the call, did not dispute Liddy’s characterization of the conversation but said he did not interpret Mehr’s comments as a threat. An RNC spokesman called Liddy’s account of the call “false” and issued a statement attacking Maricopa County officials as “completely inept.”

    The tense exchange, between two Republican lawyers, lays bare the internal GOP war over the administration of elections. Nowhere is that feud more ferocious than in Maricopa County, the second-largest voting jurisdiction in the country, which became a focal point of former president Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 loss. Vote-counting is still proceeding in the county, and the race for state attorney general, which could shape enforcement of election law, hangs in the balance.

  39. JohnMc says:

    @gVOR08: Actually that phrase is usually attributed to St Paul. Letter to the Hebrews chapter 11.

    Its the persistent inability to get a majority to ban abortion that convinced my sisters to quit believing in democracy. It’s a way for two wolves and one sheep to decide what’s for dinner, don’t ya know, by voting.

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    On the other hand, Alito is a true believer. “and faith is assurance and certainty about thing we do not see.” (A felicitous phrase by Brad DeLong I happened to read fifteen minutes ago and am cheerfully stealing.)

    And additionally, faith is what you act on without regard for the consequences. Given that lots of conservatives are pegged, right or wrong, as evangelical Christians, it’s fully reasonable for conservatives to believe 1) that “the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice what they want” and 2) that worrying about mere political consequences is somewhat beneath them (especially in the Dobbs issue, where Alito finally pushes “the ol’ pill across the goal line”).

    I’ll take this opportunity to remind us all of a passage from the annals of the imaginary sky daddy that doesn’t get considered often among my people, but shows up occasionally and may well be at the back of the leaker’s mind when mulling actions and consequences [emphasis added].

    15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

    16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

    What is political consequence when you’re doing God’s work?

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Well, hurricanes bring floods up here,and while snow melts, does it melt fast enough for my wife to get out of the drive?

    I can guarantee you, 4′ of snow would bring us to a halt for a long time. Apparently it does the same in NY.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charon: “Tim La Sota, an attorney for the Lake campaign who was present for the call, did not dispute Liddy’s characterization of the conversation but said he did not interpret Mehr’s comments as a threat.”

    Well duh! Of course her attorney did not interpret the statement as a threat. Acknowledging it as a threat might make it actionable. “LA LA LA. I’M NOT LISTENING. NOOOOT LISTENING. I DON’T HEAR ANYTHING WRONG AT ALL. LA LA LA.”

    For the record, IANAL and don’t know whether Mehr’s statement is a threat or should even be construed as one. I would have asked, for the sake of clarifying exactly what Mehr thought he was saying. But I don’t mind being seen as confrontational, either. Been there, done that. (Let me show you the souvenir beer cozy.)

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: Speaking as one who has not bought a concert ticket in 40 years, I’ll be honest: I have no idea what you are talking about.

  44. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Not if they are unwitting. They’d never know the person they were talking to was an informant on the back end. And if the persons role was compromised, it’d just appear they were taken and lied to. You can never arouse the suspicion of an unwitting person which limits the type of information you try to get from them or their plant with them.

  45. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnMc: Good pickup. Indeed close. But I’ll give DeLong credit for a paraphrase, intended or not, that captures the problem with faith, not a quote. He was talking about Hayekian faith in markets, not religion, although they’re very much the same.

  46. DK says:


    On the other hand, Alito is a true believer. “and faith is assurance and certainty about thing we do not see.” (A felicitous phrase by Brad DeLong I happened to read fifteen minutes ago and am cheerfully stealing.)

    “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things unseen” is the actual Bible verse. One of Momma’s favorites.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Interesting problem.

    A Republican strategist is weighing in with his take on the declining leadership dynamic among House Republican lawmakers.

    In a new analysis, The Guardian’s David Smith suggested that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) may ultimately end up with more power and influence in the chamber.

    Longtime Republican strategist Rick Wilson, the co-founder of the anti-Trump organization the Lincoln Project, also raised similar concerns about the far-right, conspiracy theorist lawmaker.

    Given what the Republican Party has become, this analysis isn’t that surprising, though I suspect that MTG is being used as an example. I’m not sure that she has followers/disciples/fanbruhs or whatever in the House. Or even allies.

  48. Mister Bluster says:


  49. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I don’t think that Cohen was implying they were unwitting, but rather that they were cooperating with the DOJ/FBI.

  50. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Fake News. I don’t see them burning the Trump Empire down. They have too many bodies buried and, frankly, could never reproduce their current lifestyles legitimately.

  51. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I defer to your expertise in these matters, but…Jared makes $25 million a year and a share of the profits from the 2 billion the Saudis invested with his firm. And Ivanka makes a pile from her various enterprises. So they have plenty of dough.

    And is it possible the DOJ made a deal with them? They rat out Donald in exchange for their freedom?

  52. CSK says:

    Trump has been reinstated to Twitter.

  53. Kathy says:


    Time for all Twitter user with a conscience to cancel their accounts.

  54. Gustopher says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Some have thought there’s a link between this and the departure of Twitter’s ad coordinator. (Who left, was brought back again, and now seems to be on the road to departure again.) She probably told Musk that bringing back Donald Trump was an idiotic idea that would cause a lot of potential ad buyers to stay away.

    It also removes the point of Truth Social existing, and the finances there could lead that to get shut down quickly. Twitter might hang on long enough to kill Truth Social before Twitter collapses.

    Could Mr. Muskrat end up killing two social networks within 6 months?

  55. Jax says:

    @Kathy: It would be more fun for every single person still on Twitter to start reporting his tweets for hate speech, millions at once. If he’s fired that many back end people, it’ll crash something.

  56. Jen says:

    Christ. What a conundrum.

    I need to be on Twitter for clients, but I desperately want to cancel my account.

    JFC, I am mad at Elon.

  57. charon says:


    Reminder: they want you to feel defeated. They want you to leave Twitter. It’s too effective of a platform for us to fight their bullshit.

    I’m not going anywhere — I’ll be here fact checking the nonsense until the wheels fall off of this hellsite

    Me agree – quitting twitter surpassingly stupid idea that totally sucks.

  58. CSK says:

    @Kathy: @Jen: @charon:

    Trump maintains he won’t return to Twitter. We shall see.

  59. charon says:

    Trump was asked today about Elon Musk’s poll to reinstate him: “He’s a character. I tend to like characters. But I have something called Truth Social. It’s doing phenomenally well. Engagement is much better. I’ll be staying there. I don’t see it. I don’t see any reason for it.”

  60. charon says:

    Trump is reportedly making a list of people he endorsed who aren’t coming out to quickly support him after his announcement. Boebert was asked about that: “I am a huge supporter of (Trump). But with that, I love Desantis. He is America’s governor, and he has the same policies.”

    Keep talking Lauren, you are an asset.

  61. Kathy says:


    Anyone who believes a word Benito says deserves all that they get.

  62. Kathy says:


    I disagree. And when Fakebook allows El Cheeto back, following Twitter’s “precedent,” I will cancel that one too.

  63. Just nutha says:

    @Jim Brown 32: If they’re expecting to inherit anything from dear ol Dad, they’re not going to sustain their current lifestyle anyway. I suspect Trump Industries is leveraged to the hilt.

  64. charon says:

    Kari Lake and Trump at Mar-a-Lago last night: “You cannot stop the Founding Fathers and the blood we have inside of us, and so I will fight what happened on Tuesday. Our elections are a circus run by clowns.”


    I disagree. And when Fakebook allows El Cheeto back, following Twitter’s “precedent,” I will cancel that one too.

    LOL you crack me up.

  65. Just nutha says:

    @CSK: yet another venue from which for me to pay no attention whatsoever to him.

  66. Jim Brown 33 says:

    @CSK: Jared and Ivanka make that sort of Money because of their proximity and access to Trump/Trump Inc. If he goes(and more importantly the money laundering operation goes), seriously, what incentive does anyone have to do business with them?

    I simply don’t see it. Michael Cohen is doing podcasts and interviews with an occasional ghost written book for a living now. Major financial and prestige hit being out of the Trump inner circle. It’s a far steeper fall for then than it was for him

  67. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Jim Brown 33: Dammit Jim! That last tequila sour turned you into Jim Brown 33. Aye Carumba