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:

    Here’s the latest on the LATAM crash in Lima.

    There’s confusion still, but it seems the fire trucks were not cleared to enter or cross the runway. What’s clear now is they were engaged in a drill, not and actual active emergency.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just nine days into his new job at Caterpillar’s foundry in Mapleton, Illinois, Steven Dierkes, a 39-year-old father of three, fell into an 11ft-deep pot of molten iron and was incinerated.

    Now workers at the plant are blaming lack of training, poor safety protections and grueling working conditions for his death and are threatening strike action at the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer.

    Dierkes’ death in June was the subject of a report issued by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha) earlier this month. The report determined that “​​if required safety guards or fall protection had been installed, the 39-year-old employee’s ninth day on the job might not have been their last”.

    Osha said workers at Caterpillar’s foundry were “routinely exposed” to unprotected fall hazards and has proposed a fine of $145,027. The decision does not go far enough for Jessica Sutter, Dierkes’ fiancee.

    “My children are left without their father, I am left without my fiancee, my partner, my best friend, all because they didn’t want to take better safety precautions for that type of work,” Sutter, who had two daughters with Dierkes, said.

    She claimed Caterpillar has not provided any assistance or support to her and her daughters. She is now trying to find additional work to save enough money to find a new place to live with her children because her landlord won’t conduct needed repairs on her home. She said they were already suffering financially because Dierkes had been out of work for two months before starting at Caterpillar.

    Sutter criticized Caterpillar for putting her fiance in a dangerous position without adequate safety protections.

    Details at the link, but I can guarantee there weren’t adequate safety precautions. If there had been, he couldn’t have fallen in.

    A spokesperson for Caterpillar said in an email: “We continue to be deeply saddened by the death of an employee who was involved in a serious incident at our Mapleton, Illinois, facility on June 2. Our thoughts remain with this employee’s family, friends and colleagues. The safety of our employees, contractors and visitors is our top priority at all Caterpillar locations around the world. Regarding the serious safety incident that occurred, we will continue to engage with Osha to seek an appropriate resolution to its review.”

    Ah yes, “an appropriate resolution” is one where the fine is reduced to something less than $5,000. That will save them at least a few million in damages from the impending lawsuit. And no, she won’t get a dime out of Caterpillar before the suit is settled because any remuneration would be an admission of guilt.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Cruise passenger who fell overboard rescued in ‘Thanksgiving miracle’

    In a statement to CNN, Carnival officials said the man was reported missing on Thanksgiving Day after he walked away from his sister at an onboard bar the night before at 11pm – likely to use the bathroom.

    He never returned, prompting his sister to alert staff members the next day. CNN reports that numerous announcements were made throughout the ship for the man to check in with guest service, but to no avail.

    At around 2.30pm on Thursday, the cruise ship alerted the coast guard about the missing passenger.
    “The fact that he was able to keep himself afloat and above the surface of the water for such an extended period of time, it’s just something you can’t take for granted and certainly something that’ll stick with me forever,” Gross said, adding that the water temperature on Thursday night in the gulf was just slightly above 70F (21C).

    Gross added: “The will to live is something you have to account for in every search and rescue case. This is one of the absolutely longest [times in the water] I’ve heard about and one of those Thanksgiving miracles.”

    The will to live, indeed.

  5. DK says:

    Horrific and sad. No words. Very sad, I feel for his widow and children. Oy.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In case you were intrigued by the news of Neanderthal cooking the other day, a recipe:

    Neanderthal patties recipe

    Soak a handful of dried fava beans, alongside similar quantities of puy lentils and wheat berries, plus a smattering of brown lentils, overnight. Rinse in clean water and then pound these ingredients – including their skins – into a rough pulp. Add a generous tablespoon each of pounded unsalted almonds and pistachios (both with their skins on), and yellow mustard seeds. Gradually add enough water to bind these ingredients into a paste that can be shaped into thin patties with your hands (think drop scones, or American pancakes).

    Cook the patties on any flat surface close to a fire for at least 10 minutes. For a more authentic experience, use a hot flat stone in a fire (but take care, as wet stones can explode). A frying pan is an acceptable alternative. The oils from the nuts should prevent the patties from sticking. Bon appétit, Neanderthals!

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    Know your political enemies.

    A couple of articles on the taxonomy of the new right.

    How the right’s radical thinkers are coping with the midterms

    Elite Conservatives Have Taken an Awfully Weird Turn

    The articles have different purposes but cover common ground. Not surprisingly part of the new right is mimicking parts of the left by complaining that their candidates lost because they weren’t pure enough.

    Given that the right’s echo chamber is smaller than the left’s, there is a real possibility that the ideas of the radical right will continue to dominate the R party for the foreseeable future. Given the tribal nature of America’s political affiliations, there is a far greater possibility that the ideas of the new right will become government policy than will the ideas of the far left.

    And what of the handful of ‘sane’ R’s? Well, there won’t be a restitution of the relatively mainstream political ideas that were espoused by Reagan, the Bushes and Romney.

    Buckle up!

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Elon Musk says he will back Trump rival Ron DeSantis in 2024 if he runs for president

    Billionaire says he prefers ‘someone sensible and centrist’ but that he had been disappointed by the Democrats so far

    Because, he just soooo centrist. s//

  9. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Post Thanksgiving report:

    I and Sandra are a couple with family far removed. As such, we had a great young turkey for dinner, but that still leaves a lot of turkey to get creative.

    Lunch was so good, I decided to give it a name… Black Friday Panini:

    Larger sourdough bread, mayo on both exterior slices of bread, mayo on one inside slice, ground Horseradish, sliced turkey, pepperjack cheese, Leftover stuffing, more pepperjack cheese. Into the Cuisinart Panini press.

    Then, dinner burritos:

    Fresh flour tortillas (finished in pan and kept warm), shredded mots cheese, shredded turkey (reheated in pan with light amount of taco seasoning and water), prepared tomato salsa (with extra cilantro), green tabasco to taste, leftover stuffing.

    In short: Friday meals were much better than Thursday!

  10. senyordave says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Fortunately the endorsement of Elon Musk would not necessarily be a net positive for a politician these days, although I guess Youngkin wouldn’t mind some of his cash

  11. Jax says:
  12. CSK says:


    That might throw some Trumpkins into a tizzy, since they adore Musk.

  13. Liberal Capitalist says:


    Sandra has really come up with a great Saturday idea: Spicy Thai Turkey Soup!

    Yes, same recipe as Thai Chicken soup, but substituting turkey as the protein with all the other great lemongrass / coconut milk / mushroom / Garlic & Chili sauce goodness!

    Hmmm…what will Sunday bring?

  14. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Wish I could do a poll here:

    * Fresh Cranberry Sauce done with an old family recipe

    ………………………….. vs…………………………………………

    * Canned Cranberry Sauce (expecially good with the can rims still showing).

    Sadly, while I enjoy wonderful ly prepared meals… a tube-shaped cranberry sauce straight out of the can (certified can-to-table) tastes REALLY great.

    Relax: no, it will not find its way into the Thai soup.

  15. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Cranberry sauce/jam/jelly is good on toast for breakfast.

  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Would that be the Romney who upon his return to the Senate said that while he approved of the accomplishments and policies of his administration, Trump was too vulgar to be President? On an effective level, how is that Romney different from Boebert, MGT, Gaetz, and the rest of the band of whackos?

    The reason that “radical right” policies are likely to become policy keeps being revealed to be because that’s who conservatives are. Conservatism in Murka is a whole notha spectrum from the one the rest of the world uses.

  17. Jax says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I always make a cranberry/blueberry sauce topped with a sweetened heavy cream and cream cheese mixture. There’s a little nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon in the berry mixture, cooked down to thick and chunky. My little nieces love it. It’s their second favorite thing, after the dinner rolls. 😛

  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I will also note, in passing, that “indoctrination in the schools” is a boilerplate position going back to when Fundies thought that Evangelicals were part of the “liberalization of the church.” The new tack seems to be toward a political/social direction for the complaint as opposed to the mostly theological Fundy one.

  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    My Elon theory: he needs a scapegoat. His current approach is guaranteed to chase off advertisers, but may attract the attention of regulators and gatekeepers. He doesn’t have the spine to admit he fucked up with Twitter, so he needs the FTC, the EU or Apple to shut him down. That way it’s not his fault, it’s the gubmint or that gay dude at Apple.

  20. al Ameda says:


    Elon Musk says he will back Trump rival Ron DeSantis in 2024 if he runs for president

    Billionaire says he prefers ‘someone sensible and centrist’ but that he had been disappointed by the Democrats so far

    No surprise there.
    Viktor Orban or Jair Bolsonaro could run as a ‘centrist ticket’ and Musk would support it.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    We all will say neither, but if push came to shove, who would you rather be President, Romney or Trump/DeSantis.

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I’m a fresh cranberries guy myself but probably only because I worked in a situation where they were easy to get. Luddite’s wife gets the call on cranberry sauce and doesn’t like seeds because of her dentures, so jellied it is.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I honestly don’t think it makes a difference. A well-fitting attractive burlap suit is still burlap.

  24. Kathy says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Use or eat the one you like best and enjoy most.

  25. becca says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I always do fresh. It keeps well and is good on ham or sausage biscuit with some mustard ( Dijon is good). Mix in yogurt, make cranberry bread, etc. I grew up on the canned stuff and always loved it. Haven’t had it in years, tho. I got into scratch cooking in the 70’s, in my Back to the Country days.

  26. Beth says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    DeSantis. I’d rather they have the conviction and strength to look me in the eye when they tell me I’m a pervert that deserves to suffer and die.

    Mitt Romney is an empty shirt coward that has neither strength nor conviction. He deserves nothing but scorn and ridicule.

  27. becca says:

    “ If God had any respect for money, He would have given it to a better class of people.” Heard that on an old Maverick episode. Of course, Trump’s and Elmo immediately came to mind.

  28. CSK says:

    I don’t think Romney wants you to suffer and die. He, like other northeast Republicans, seems to believe in “live and let live.”

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Being a Mormon, he probably thinks Beth will burn in Hell for all of eternity.

  30. CSK says:

    I don’t know. Romney as governor ordered the town clerks in Massachusetts NOT to delay issuing marriage licenses to gay couples after gay marriage was made legal here.

  31. DK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Given how badly Elon’s midterm endorsements flopped, him joining Team DeFascist is great news for Trump. And Democrats. And liberty and equality.

  32. CSK says:

    How is it great news for Trump?

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I’m just guessing, but it might be good news for Trump because ElMu* is even worse at picking winners than Trump is.

    *I refuse to besmirch the reputations of Elmo from Sesame Street, Elmo from the Turkey River Band, and Elmo Lincoln by using their names to refer to that new Twitter guy. A stupid, senseless guy deserves a stupid, senseless nickname–like Beniffer or Brangelina.

  34. dazedandconfused says:


    Reminded me of the time when I was learning and earning a few bucks on the side at the school by fueling planes and assorted chores there. Boeing Field is two parallel runways running north/south with small plane parking on both the east and west sides of them, and it have become a habit for the small planes on the west side to call us for fuel. It had become so routine that when we called Ground for clearance to drive over Ground simply said “cleared” without mentioning the route of driving all the way around the runways.

    That ended the day we had a new driver who simply took the direct route straight across. No accident happened, but the visit from the FAA afterwards was memorable. I was thankful as hell I was not the guy who signed him off as qualified to drive fuel trucks…it did not go well for him.

  35. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m not sure if that’s what DK means. It seems like a stretch.

    “ElMu” is terrific.

  36. Jax says:
  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    Have you seen the ElonGoatToken. Seriously, do yourself a favor and click through.

  38. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That’s the stuff of nightmares.

  39. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Baaa! Humbug.
    Goats who stare at men.
    Or something like that.
    “I will not turn into a snake. It never helps”

  40. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Buckle up, indeed. And for those with a strong stomach, ProPublica presents the following*>

    *Well, it certainly pulled MY trigger. Disgusting! OTOH, some of our occasional visitors probably view this as normal behavior by wandering tourists.

  41. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Yes, but the leftovers (combined with some bagged cranberries, cooked just until they burst), made a delightful compote smeared over leftover toasted soda bread.

  42. Jax says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: There’s something that really pleases me about cooking fresh cranberries. That little pop sound when they burst is the best! 😛