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. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Sitting outside with a bourbon and a cigar. Happy mother’s day eve to all y’all.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Chonk the snapping turtle delights locals with Chicago River appearance

    A large snapping turtle dubbed “Chonk” has become a viral favorite of Chicago residents after the enormous reptile has been spotted repeatedly lounging by the once-toxic Chicago River.

    “Look at the size of that thing!” Joey Santore said as he filmed “Chonkosaurus”, or “Chonk”, as the giant creature lay atop of what appears to be an old rusty chain and tree snags.

    I’ve seen a lot of snappers but I’ve never seen one that big. TBH, I didn’t think they could get that big (alligator snappers? yes, but not common snappers) The biggest I ever caught was about 40 pounds.

    Despite Chonk becoming a popular symbol of the rejuvenation of the Chicago River, public health officials in the area still urge residents to avoid activities like swimming since the waterway remains unsafe for recreation due to the presence of a dangerous type of bacteria known as fecal coliform.

    The 156-mile Chicago River became a dumping ground for industrial waste by the early 20th century. Over the years, it was so polluted that it caught fire several times.
    Another culprit for the pollution in the river is Chicago’s combined sewer system which allows stormwater and wastewater to run through the same pipes. During storms, which are increasing in frequency and severity due to the climate crisis, treatment facilities are overburdened, dumping untreated sewage into the river.

    A lot of older cities have that problem. STL does.

  3. clarkontheweekend says:

    I just read this headline on website, “Book at center of Taylor Swift fan theory is actually about BTS.” Now, I keep up with the news almost on the daily, pretty informed generally about what’s going on and the topics of the day. But I read the headline of that news story and thought, I have no idea what that means or what it could be about. As an aside, no interest in reading about either. Point being though, I see more and more actual news headlines where I’m at as loss as to what is even being written about. And I’m like, is it me, is it my age at 52 whereas a 30 something gets it? Am I losing touch, or is society moving in a direction that I’m just not keeping up with? Makes me wonder. Any thoughts? Similar experiences?

  4. Stormy Dragon says:

    Today is the 25th anniversary of me starting my current job. Bleh.

  5. CSK says:


    I was just thinking yesterday that I am deeply sick of seeing (not reading) stories about Taylor Swift.

    P.S. I have no idea what “the book” is, either.

  6. Stormy Dragon says:


    BTS is a super popular K-pop group. Think The Backstreet Boys at the height if their popularity, but from South Korea

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @clarkontheweekend: FTR, BTS is a very popular Korean pop group. Also FTR I have no idea of what their music is like. As for,

    Am I losing touch, or is society moving in a direction that I’m just not keeping up with?

    I am 64 and there are whole worlds of things I don’t know and have no interest in learning about.
    My time here is running short, no sense in wasting it on things I really don’t care about. Other people will be invested in them but I will focus on the things I am interested in.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Manhood review: Josh Hawley, moraliser, neo-Confederate and Tucker Carlson of the US Senate

    I read the review so you don’t have to: What follows are all the things that bear repeating:

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I feel the same way about stories on trump.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:


    Saw that headline and needed to google BTS to figure out what it was. No need to read the article. We New Englanders are about ready to embark on a week of all Taylor, all the time, Ms. Swift will bring her roadshow to Foxborough for several nights.

  11. Kathy says:


    It seems to me you just lack context. Often headlines assume prior knowledge.

  12. CSK says:


    I see your point, but Trump’s didoes affect my life and yours in ways Taylor Swift’s don’t.

  13. Mikey says:

    My God. Objectively pro-murder.

    We must defeat the Soros-Funded DAs, stop the Left’s pro-criminal agenda, and take back the streets for law abiding citizens. We stand with Good Samaritans like Daniel Penny. Let’s show this Marine… America’s got his back.

    I haven’t read the story of the Good Samaritan for a while but I’m still pretty sure he didn’t kill the robbery victim.

    Republicans just want free reign to kill anyone they deem undesirable.

  14. just nutha says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Gotta be 9 a.m. somewhere, right, Dex?

  15. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @just nutha:
    Ayup, better living through chemistry.

  16. Mr. Prosser says:

    @clarkontheweekend: Most of what I don’t understand comes from pop culture and entertainment. Even references on the NPR site about new music or activities for the weekend are of no interest and totally unknown to me. I’m 76 and now just read book reviews and jazz reviews.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:

    Russia Wants to Build a Safe Space for Conservative Americans to Move To

    Here’s hoping that they get an overwhelming response.

  18. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    They can all parade around in their “I’d Rather Be Russian Than a Democrat” t-shirts.

  19. Gustopher says:


    I was just thinking yesterday that I am deeply sick of seeing (not reading) stories about Taylor Swift.

    I’m impressed by her ability to be this level of Star and not be a complete freak. She’s not shooting televisions, she hasn’t bought a monkey, she’s not sharing her bed with a 12 year old… I mean, there’s still time, because she’s very young, but so far so good.

    I don’t find her insufferable or icky, and what I have heard of her music ranges from a little insipid and overdone to shockingly beautiful and subtle.

    folklore is a great album (and the stuff that follows is worth a listen), but somehow doesn’t inspire me to listen to her earlier stuff — I’m not sure someone in their 20s has anything interesting to say (I also think Dylan and Bowie got much better with age).

    I think she has the potential to age into something really special. Give her another 20-30 years.

    Are there any woman musicians that graduated into elder statesmen of music? There are older women who are still active and have the occasional moment with a hit, but there’s a difference between Emmylou Harris and Bob Dylan.

    I want to say Dolly Parton, but I think she’s more of a phenomenon than a musician.

  20. CSK says:


    Joan Baez?

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: Are there any woman musicians that graduated into elder statesmen of music?

    Sure, Tina Turner.

    eta: ARETHA FRANKLIN! Bad hillbilly, bad!

  22. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Too limited. It says about 200 families.

    Make it about 200,000 and I’ll donate generously for the emigration gofundme campaigns.

  23. Sleeping Dog says:


    Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Mother Maybelle Carter. Frankly, I find Mitchell’s song writing more interesting the Dylan’s.

  24. dazedandconfused says:


    There’s a Mitch McConnell joke in that somewhere…

  25. CSK says:

    Trump canceled his outdoor Iowa rally tonight, citing possible severe weather.

    DeSantis is going ahead with his Iowa appearance.

  26. Joe says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Ron DeSantis and the developers for The Villages are beating them to it.

  27. JohnSF says:

    Nina Simone?
    Joni Mitchell?
    Cleo Laine?

  28. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Her guitar playing is unflashily brilliant.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: any woman musicians that graduated into elder statesmen of music

    And tbh, I detect a hint of misogyny in the question. Can women be elder statesMEN of music? Not picking on you, it took me several hours to pick up on it. I am just as guilty as other men. We are where we come from. The best we can do is try to be better. And admit when we aren’t.

  30. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: As this is a relatively new idea, it’s probably clearer to keep the familiar, though sexist, language we currently use.

  31. Kathy says:

    So, a Canadian made a prank call to one Alex Jones, pretending to be Tucker Carlson, and now the crybaby is throwing a tantrum.