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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Colombian ‘miracle’ children found alive 40 days after Amazon jungle plane crash

    Malnourished and covered in insect bites, four Indigenous children were rescued alive from the Colombian Amazon on Friday afternoon, 40 days after the plane they were travelling in crashed into the jungle.

    In a remarkable feat of resilience, the children survived heavy storms in one of the most inhospitable parts of the country, home to predatory animals and armed groups.
    The four siblings, aged 13, nine, four plus an 11-month-old baby, were from the Huitoto Indigenous community. Although malnourished, none of the children were in serious condition, even the youngest child, who spent his first birthday in the jungle.

    It is thought they survived by eating food survival kits airdropped into the jungle by the search team but the education they received from their grandmother may also have been vital, said John Moreno, an Indigenous leader from nearby Vaupes.

    “This is a virgin forest, thick and dangerous … and they would have used the knowledge they gained in the community, the ancestral knowledge, in order to survive,” he told local media outlet Cambio.

    A little bit of good news for a Saturday morning.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A million good lucks: California family finds over 1m copper pennies

    John Reyes, a realtor in the Inland Empire area, was helping his wife, Elizabeth, clean out her father’s 1900s-era home last year when they discovered more than 1m copper pennies in a cramped crawlspace in the basement, according to KTLA news. The trove has a face value of at least $10,000, but could be worth more than $1m.
    The family thinks the home belonging to Reyes’s father-in-law, Fritz, was once used as a bed and breakfast. Fritz and his brother, both German immigrants, lived in the home for decades until Fritz died and his brother moved away.

    Since then, the family has been cleaning out the home with plans to restore it for the next generation.

    “They kept everything,” Reyes told KTLA, adding that the home was filled with items of varying levels of importance.

    The family’s renovating adventure found them rummaging through the very back corner of the basement where they discovered loose pennies held together by disintegrating paper rolls, the Los Angeles Times reported. Further inspection turned up dozens of bank bags filled with the copper coins.

    “There are banks [named] on the bags I haven’t even heard of or don’t exist anymore,” Reyes said. Dozens of boxes and a few crates, all filled with pennies, followed.

    Their kids’ college educations could be paid for if they went thru them, but a million pennies? Can’t say as I blame them for trying to sell them all to a single buyer for $25K.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    12m Americans believe violence is justified to restore Trump to power

    Two and a half years after the January 6 attack on the Capitol, an estimated 12 million American adults, or 4.4% of the adult population, believe violence is justified to restore Donald Trump to the White House.

    Though the number of adults who believe this has declined since the insurrection, recent survey data from the University of Chicago reveal alarming and dangerous levels of support for political violence and conspiracy theories across the United States.

    Not that anybody is surprised. Among the subjects queried:

    One in five Americans still believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump
    Belief that use of force is justified to restore Trump to the presidency has declined (to 4.4%)
    Political actions that a minority of Americans believe justify the use of force (restoring abortion rights was #2 on the list)
    10% of Americans believe the government is run by Satan-worshiping pedophiles
    A quarter of Americans believe in the ‘great replacement’ theory
    Most Americans don’t trust politicians, and condemn political violence

    Yeah, America has a surfeit of whack jobs. On the positive side was this:

    Republicans and Democrats in Congress should make a joint statement condemning any political violence in America- 77.5%

    I’ll take that as the glass is 3/4 full.

  5. CSK says:

    Trump said yesterday that the FBI planted documents at Mar-a-Lago. Hasn’t he used that excuse already? What happened to “I declassified those documents with my mind”?

  6. Jax says:

    @CSK: Those pesky FBI agents, sneaking in and piling boxes right on the ballroom stage! 😛 😛

  7. Jax says:

    I saw a little blurb the other day that Mark Meadows was also facing charges relating to moving documents on the last night of Trump’s presidency, but a google search doesn’t find anything recent. Did anybody else see that? What were the charges?

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Damas Gisimba, who sheltered and saved the lives of hundreds of people during the Rwandan genocide, has died. He was 61.

    In 1994, Gisimba and his brother were running an orphanage founded by their parents in Kigali, the Rwandan capital.

    On 6 April, the plane carrying the Rwandan president, Juvénal Habyarimana, was shot down and his death was blamed on Tutsi rebels. Within hours, Kigali was surrounded by roadblocks and the slaughter of Tutsi families by Hutu forces began. The following day, people started arriving at the orphanage seeking shelter.

    Over the next three months, Gisimba, who was of mixed Hutu-Tutsi ethnicity but had a Hutu ID card, and his brother, Jean-Francois, sheltered more than 400 children and adults who hid in the attic, the basement and in locked rooms.

    “Damas is the reason why me and my family are alive today,” said Sonia Mugabo, a 33-year-old fashion designer, who was four when the genocide started. “In the 1994 genocide, we were living next to the orphanage. He welcomed our family – he saved our lives.”

    Mugabo’s lawyer father, Pio, was a member of the opposition Liberal party and on a list of those to be murdered. After the genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 people were murdered, he served as social welfare minister in the transitional national government.

    Gisimba hid the Mugabo family at great personal risk to himself and others in the orphanage. Had the militia found out they would have killed everyone.

    “Gisimba is a hero and someone we’ll always remember,” said Mugabo. “He is someone I’m going to tell my child about.”

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: There’s a rumor going around that Meadows plead guilty to some lesser charges in exchange for limited immunity. I have yet to see anything confirming it, but if true trump’s goose is cooked,

  10. Sleeping Dog says:


    There was a report that Meadows has testified before the grand jury and will testify in one or more upcoming trials. In exchange for his testimony, he’ll plead guilty to two charges and face no jail time. That is likely, why Meadows wasn’t indicted.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


    BTW, has the snow finally melted out there and the temps regularly above freezing?

  12. Jax says:

    @Sleeping Dog: It did finally melt here in the lowlands, but the mountains are still melting off! The rivers and creeks have been under flood stage advisories for about 10 days now, but everybody’s irrigating, so that’s keeping them from doing any real damage.

    It’s been a very pleasant high-60’s for the last couple weeks, and not many below freezing nights. Everything is so GREEN, it’s surreal!

  13. Sleeping Dog says:


    But it is nice to lookout from the porch and see those snow capped mountains. Full creeks and rivers, a good time to fill those stock ponds.

  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    The state of Nevada is made almost entirely of gravel.

    That is all.

  15. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I think of it as the least attractive place I’ve ever been, so far.

  16. Kathy says:

    I just got a cast iron pot, with lid, suitable for both stove top and oven. I want to try braised chicken beef recipes when I take my vacation time the second half of June.

    It was a supermarket promo where they get something outrageously expensive, like a $250 iron pot, and discount it to around $50 with points accumulated from other purchases over time. Since I do all my grocery shopping there anyway, it seems painless.

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    People talk tough about euthanasia. ‘If I start to lose my mind, just put me on an ice floe.’ Or, ‘If I’m in intractable pain, put me down.’ I say the same things, but when you get down to specifics there’s one crippling question: when? When do you know? And when have you left it too late?

    Trump has a similar problem, and one I faced once upon a time: fight or flight? And if flight, when? At what point? When should Trump flee to Riyadh or Moscow? He’s indicted at both the state and federal level. He’ll soon be indicted in Georgia. Should he go through a trial he’s likely to lose? Should he bet on jury nullification? Should he risk conviction, or is conviction the point at which to pull the escape lever and run away?

    It’s all in the timing. It requires an assessment of risk. Is Trump so delusional he really doesn’t think he can be imprisoned? Or is he smart enough to pick a time to cut and run?

    I chose not to risk conviction. ‘Guilty’ would have been followed by handcuffs and a van ride to Vacaville. (In those days that was the screening and sorting prison). A verdict also kills any hope that you can, ‘get away with it.’ You cannot wave a conviction away, it tends to stick, whereas a mere indictment leaves you some room.

    What Trump should have done – advice I’ve offered many times – was to make his run while he was still POTUS. Pardon everyone who might have testified against him, try to pardon himself, resign and GTFO of the US. Too late for that now. So he has a window of time to consider his move. Wait around, likely be convicted and sentenced, or get while the getting is good?

  18. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Last I heard, lawyers for Meadows denied everything.

    That might serve as confirmation.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Jax: Here’s the claim Meadows removed documents from Political Wire. On first seeing this a couple days ago a thousand pages seemed like a lot. But since then we’ve seen the photos from Mar a Lago and a thousand pages is only half a bankers box.

  20. CSK says:

    @Jax: @OzarkHillbilly: @Sleeping Dog:

    According to Newsweek today, the Meadows story hasn’t been verified.

  21. gVOR10 says:


  22. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’ve a firm conviction no one ever wants to die.

    People who sincerely want to die, like terminal patients in a great deal of unremitting, constant pain, are not lying. But deep down, IMO, what they want is life without the pain. They can’t have that, so they choose to die.

    I don’t think I’m expressing this clearly.

    But in the same vein, no one ever wants to go to prison, either. I can conceive people for whom prison is a preferable environment and even quality of life, but as above, they really want a normal life without the complications they have outside of prison.

    In the case of Benito in particular, he has the added deep desire not to look bad. So, even if offered a sweetheart deal that spares him even a second behind bars, he won’t take it. that would make him look bad.

    In his efforts to break all rules and norms, to never admit a mistake, to never back down, to show no weakness (yes, I know, but in his mind he doesn’t), he’ll wind up looking like a bug splattered against a windshield, and likely in some kind of confinement.

    BTW, Biden, should he win a second term, must not for any reason pardon El Cheeto. He should commute his sentence, if he feels so inclined, only after some time in prison (or the much more likely house arrest), and in exchange for an admission of guilt and a full allocution of everything he did.

    That’s a price Benito would never pay.

    In a related matter, are there any emmes of Cheeto boxes of stolen documents showing up at tourists traps yet?

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: trump being trump, he is so disconnected from reality I doubt very much he can even conceive of being convicted much less going to prison. And how could he? For decades he’s skated unscathed thru a life of crime.

    @CSK: Which is why I called it a rumor. 😉

    @Kathy: I’ve a firm conviction no one ever wants to die.

    I’m gonna have to disagree to some extent. I for one do not want to live for ever. I am in constant pain from a lifetime of abusing my body. It only gets worse from here and a point will come where the “fuck it” urge will overcome the desire for “one more day.”

  24. CSK says:


    The Meadows story broke in The Independent concurrently with the story of Trump’s indictment dropping on Thursday. The latter happened just as predicted, so maybe the former is true, too.

  25. CSK says:

    Trump wrote on Truth Social this morning that “AMERICA WENT TO SLEEP LAST NIGHT WITH TEARS IN ITS EYES.”

    Maybe of laughter.

    You can read the whole thing here:

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    ‘If I’m in intractable pain, put me down.’ I say the same things, but when you get down to specifics there’s one crippling question: when? When do you know? And when have you left it too late?

    End of life directives are thought to be a way to avoid “left it too late.” (And, no, I haven’t updated mine recently either. It’s on my summer list.)

    ETA: And thanks for reminding me. I found a writable PDF just now and have started and saved it.

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    ‘Unabomber’ Ted Kaczynski Dies In Federal Prison At 81
    Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski, the Harvard-educated mathematician who ran a 17-year bombing campaign that killed three people and injured 23 others, died Saturday. He was 81.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    I don’t think I’m expressing this clearly.

    I think I understood you just fine and that you expressed yourself well. I, like Ozark, will disagree with “no one ever wants to die” but will agree that most of us stay in denial about our mortality for as long as we’re doing well so that I see the situation as no one makes plans about how to control/react to their mortality as a conscious decision acknowledging that they will eventually die. (But that’s way too long to fit on a bumper sticker whereas what you said is just about right.)

    I don’t, yet, have issues with chronic pain, like Ozark does, but I am at a point where I have outlived most all of the people to whom I feel any degree of closeness*, don’t celebrate either *the children are coming* or *granddaughter’s* day, as Ozark does, and have a great sense of alienation about the country in which I was born. While I’m in no hurry to die, I have a strong sense of mortality and am at peace with it. But it does currently look like, in the terms of a joke that my allergist told me decades ago, I’m not likely to die in an airplane crash anymore**, so it looks like emphysema will be the winner. I’m not serene to any degree about that, but only because I’m familiar with chronic shortness of breath and don’t like it. 🙁

    *Over and above whatever levels of misanthropy and/or introversion I’ve seemingly always had.
    ** The “joke” went

    Most people with asthma die from emphysema or complications of contracting pneumonia.
    The rest die in airplane crashes.

    (Kind of dark humor, but I liked it, and when Dara was my PCP, she almost dropped my file on the floor laughing when I told it to her.)

  29. Kathy says:


    I downloaded and saved the indictment file for future reference. In order I will recognize it upon seeing it, I named it WHAT A HAPPY DAY.

  30. Pete S says:

    I live in a border town in Southern Ontario, where we have been told that one of the busiest tourist seasons in years is coming. Saw a car from Sonora last night, the first time I have seen that in my 50+ years here. It is just an anecdote, not evidence, but it really seems to support the idea that people are moving around more than since before COVID.

  31. CSK says:

    @Pete S:

    People felt so trapped by Covid for so long that now they really want to cut loose.

  32. Jay L Gischer says:

    I think what Kathy is saying, but let me say it for myself lest I put words in her mouth, is this: Anyone who actually wants to die quickly ends up dead.

    I have read some remarkable stories about folks who appear to have chosen the time and place of their demise to some incurable disease. It isn’t a case of suicide per se, it’s more a case of, “Now I stop fighting”. Maybe they just had a birthday, or saw their child graduate, or get married or something. That’s done, it’s time to move on.

    But that’s no excuse to not have a directive. You need to communicate as clearly as you can to the people faced with an awful decision.

  33. Steve says:

    What we have found with chronic pain care is that people want to be functional. Alleviating pain is often part of that but people are willing to tolerate a fair bit of pain if they can remain functional enough to do the things they want.


  34. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: AND, there may well be more to come. Every crime charged by GJ happened in Florida. But illegal things very likely also happened in DC and NJ. There clearly is a GJ in DC, and there may well be one in NJ.

  35. EddieInCA says:


    In a related matter, are there any emmes of Cheeto boxes of stolen documents showing up at tourists traps yet?

    Here’s my favorite so far… It’s a video.

  36. JohnSF says:

    I would just like to repeat that Boris Johnson has resigned as an MP.
    I know I referred to it yesterday, but I just really like the words “Boris Johnson has resigned as an MP” for some reason.
    I’ll probably post it again tomorrow. 🙂

    Of course, it does mean we miss the pleasure of his getting voted out by the electoratein Uxbridge, and seeing his gurning mug scowling as the returning officer announces the results.
    But still, Boris Johnson has resigned as an MP.
    (Such a soothing sentence.)

    With a resignation statement that is, true to form, a pack of damned lies.
    He was NOT forced out; resignation was his choice to avoid the humiliation of a likely recall petition forcing him to stand in a by election, and get booted out by the voters.

    By the way, have I mentioned that Boris Johnson has resigned as an MP?

  37. CSK says:


    You might want to say it again, John.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: Great work! Kudos to the crew!

  39. JohnSF says:

    I think I shall, but like a fine wine, one needs to take time to savour each glass of such a delicious vintage.
    And to snigger a bit.

    BTW, though the names probably won’t get so much recognition in the US, Nadine “Mad Nad” Dorries, and Nigel Adams (who I have to admit I don’t know much about myself) have also resigned with immediate effect.
    Rumours that some others might follow; Alok Sharma known to be upset about not getting a peerage.
    Both Dorries and Adams hold “safe” seats; be interesting to see how close Labour can push.
    I think they may be able to win in Uxbridge,
    Where Boris Johnson has resigned as an MP.

  40. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Indeed. I don’t have the numbers in front of me but here in Oregon, IIRC, only a small percentage of those with advanced directives and assisted suicide kits as prescribed by their attending actually use them.

    In my case, when the cancer appeared intractable, my oncologist could not advise me on assisted suicide due to the Catholic nature of the facility. While she never did give me the name of a physician she could transfer my care to, she never blinked twice about refilling my narcotics prescriptions to the point where I had an OD exit plan available if necessary.

    For me, it was about being in control of the process. And yes, I have both a directive and POLST on file with the state and my doctors’ offices

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Directive and durable medical power of attorney are critical, but your appointee must be willing to deal with it. Some years ago I found myself arguing with a physician that my friend in the ER did have a valid DNR on file, and that I was his designee. The physician refused to note this in the chart, and stormed off threatening to call security. After he left the room, the charge nurse calmly apologized, made the appropriate chart notes, and changed my friends wristband to designate the DNR.

  41. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    ETA, my Dawg, he certainly is a whiny do-do head, isn’t he?

  42. JohnSF says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    .. .he certainly is a whiny do-do head, isn’t he?

    Ain’t that the truth.

    See Andrew Rawnsley’s excellent evisceration of the mendacious buffoon in the Guardian.

    ” …entirely uncontrite, utterly graceless and hideously self-pitying confection of nonsense…”
    “There is a man who serially debased the high office that he was never fit to hold. There is a man who turned government into a carnival of clowning, chaos and chicanery.”
    “It is the way of the coward…”

    Preach it, brother Rawnsley!

    BTW: Boris Johnson has resigned as an MP.

  43. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    @Jay L Gischer:

    It’s one of those things that’s perfectly clear to me, but can’t express as clearly and certainly not as concisely as I’d like.

    I’ll begin by saying that “want” is not necessarily rational. As a simplistic analogy, suppose you’re at a kosher or halal restaurant, and want bacon. You’re not going to get any This seems simplistic to the point of flippancy, but such irrational wants are at the heart of much every day conflict, and sometimes large scale problems.

    Consider the passenger who wants to get on a flight that’s fully booked. No amount of kicking and screaming and making a scene will help them, even if it gets posted on video in social media (an all too-common occurrence).

    Or consider the case of a candidate who wants to win an election but loses it, then poisons America’s politics further, and attempts the world’s stupidest coup on January 6th.

    So, when it comes to death, we can accept it, bow to the inevitable, give up on living, and so on. But no one wants to die, even if it’s the preferable alternative, as to long term pain or disability. In a different context, say war or some catastrophe, one may accept a risk of death, even a near-certain or a certain one, in service of a higher value.

    So, what do I think a terminally ill patient in pain or disability wants?

    To resume a life where pain and disability are gone, or are manageable, as @Steve notes, and one can go on about enjoying other aspects of life.

    Of course, that’s not possible. No more than getting in an overbooked flight, or overturning an election without a coup, or any of a number of other impossibilities.

    So, that’s what I mean.

  44. Jax says: