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. Bill Jempty says:
  2. Bill Jempty says:

    The Florida headline of the day- Federal judge blocks Florida’s ‘drag queen’ law

  3. charontwo says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Keeping them riled up and fearful is the Fox news business model, also the GOP political strategy.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Prigozhin is not playing with a full deck. A dead man walking.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: Another person who has no business owning a gun, much less walking around with one.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Assuming Russia sends in troops, where will they come from? This is completely just me speculating, but if they come from the Moscow side then it will be troops led by someone Putin doesn’t entirely trust, because I can’t see his paranoia allowing him to do anything but build up trusted troop presence around Moscow right now, and making the Ukraine front a dumping ground for those whose loyalties he can’t depend on.

    From the earliest part of the war, it seemed to me that Prigozhin saw himself as the next Russian dictator. If I had to guess, I think Putin finally stopped protecting him at least a month ago, nominally because of the failure of the winter campaign, but in actuality because Putin felt the need to eliminate him as a threat, so he let the other generals use him and his troops as they would. It seems that use has been to draw Ukrainian fire so as to scout out Ukrainian locations, and shelling Prigozhin’s troops from the rear when they attempt to retreat. At this point Prigozhin has nowhere to go and so he is attempting this pathetic coup attempt.

    Totally and completely pulled that out of my *ss.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Well, he can always pull some of his troops out of Ukraine to deal with this “coup.” I’m not sure how serious I am in making that statement, mostly because I have no way of judging the current state of the Russian military. I know they have to be suffering more than a little stress at this point.

    Whatever else, you are correct: Putin is not going to put himself at risk.

  8. Kathy says:

    Almost every time I attend a funeral and the eulogies begin, I’ve a powerful desire to open the casket* and make sure I’m at the right one.

    *I’ve only attended Jewish funerals within Mexico. the practice does not involve embalming, and the casket is always closed. Actually nailed shut, with a flat lid not set on hinges. The body is supposed to “return to the earth.”

  9. MarkedMan says:

    There’s a lot of commentary about Trump’s latest interview in which he seems to have admitted to crimes, with most of it focussing on his supposed inability to control himself. While that probably enters into it I think it’s just further proof of what I’ve been saying for years: the most important thing to know about Donald Trump is that he’s a moron. And when I say “years”, I don’t mean just since 2015. I think I first realized it when he bought the Eastern Airlines shuttle and tried to turn it into a luxury flying bus service, charging twice as much as the competitors for a 40 minute flight between DC and NYC. The business press correctly assessed that this was a stupid and impractical idea, but there was hesitation there, because perhaps The Donald really was a genius who could see something they missed? But by the mid 90’s he had opened up a second casino to compete with his first (this was with his dad’s money, not his) in a shrinking market, tried to bully the NFL into treating his pathetic startup as an equal partner and, of course, gone bankrupt several times, so it was pretty apparent that Trump was very, very far from a genius.

    For the most part, I think Trump himself is irrelevant. If a town elects a dog as mayor the most interesting thing is not that the dog does a bad job. But there is something interesting about the overall story that talks about how society has shifted in what it values. If you read stuff about past successful (albeit often immoral and terrible people), their admirers described them as powerful, charismatic, dynamic, decisive, ruthless and so on, but intelligence was a secondary or tertiary consideration. Nowadays, though, it’s all about intelligence. This one is a business genius, this one is a musical genius. Musk and Gates and Jobs got to where they are because they have a certain type of genius. Jordon was a basketball genius. In our day we consider it impossible that a moron could end up flying around in private jets and living in marble palaces. And sure, he inherited a fortune from his father, but he lost that decades ago. Everything since has been on him. So what does it say about how how we prioritize intelligence over everything else when a moron like Trump ends up living a life of luxury?

  10. Kathy says:

    Speaking of funerals, these new seats should not be approved by regulators for use in commercial aircraft.

    Past matters of revenue, which get discussion in the linked piece, the point of the extra space on exit rows is to provide enough room for people to evacuate the plane during an emergency. At first glance the automatic flip down of the seat pan seems good enough. But if you think a little, it’s obvious it requires the passengers seating on them to get up.

    How many dead or injured passengers will be able to do this in an emergency?

    Granted use of overwing emergency exits is rare, even in actual survivable accidents. And granted their most prominent use, on the Miracle on the Hudson water landing, happened with plenty of time to evacuate and no fire raging all around. But they do get used and not only on water landings. Otherwise why have them at all?

    So, on one accident where one passenger is dead or incapacitated by injury, surviving passengers would need to move them in order to be able to exit the plane. This delays the evacuation,a nd delay can cost lives.

  11. charontwo says:



    Rich (inherited) guy surrounded by smart people who worked around him.

    Very very obviously stupid rich guy, complete with false claims to be an engineer – NOT.

  12. CSK says:


    The Eastern Airlines shuttle is a perfect example of how Trump could take a very successful enterprise that had been running for 30+ years and destroy it in just two. All anyone who took it wanted was to get from Boston to NY or DC as quickly as possible, or vice versa. But Donald insisted on gold-plated toilets for a flight that took a little over a half an hour. It had to be explained to him that marble in the lavatories would make the jets too heavy to fly.

  13. CSK says:

    Jack Smith has asked Judge Cannon to delay Trump’s documents trial till December.

    Merry Christmas.

  14. just nutha says:

    @CSK: The fix may be set now. Trump will likely be an actual candidate by then. Cue the mourning about our “lost democracy.”

  15. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    I don’t know. Some people say Smith just wants to make sure that Trump’s attorneys all get clearances (a slow process) so there are no grounds for appeal there.

    On the other hand, what’s to prevent Trump from firing his lawyers and retaining new ones, even if they’re lousy? It will drag the process out for years.

  16. Sleeping Dog says:

    @just nutha:

    By asking for the delay till December, and a delay was inevitable, Smith sets a reasonable date for the trial and preempts trump’s attempts to as for a later delay as the initial request. They’ll ask anyway, but will need more justification.

    Regarding trump firing his attorney’s, I believe that the judge has the power to appoint council. We don’t know yet if Aileen will try to put her finger on the scale to trump’s advantage, but even if she’s amenable to that, it’s doubtful she would graciously play the fool in a trump opera.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    @just nutha:

    Trump will likely be an actual candidate by then

    But he’s an actual candidate already. He declared a couple of months ago. Some have speculated that he declared so early in the hopes it would prevent an indictment.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: If I understand it correctly, the Judge has to approve whether or not a plaintiff can change lawyers and can compel the original ones to continue. She doesn’t need to concern herself with whether they get paid.

    Now that I think about it, if you could just fire your attorney and get another delay, nobody would every actually get to trial.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    I try to avoid the whole, “Anti-gays are secretly gay” thing because it seems so lazy and such cheap pop psychology. But sometimes you have to wonder. I went over to Rod Dreher’s twitter feed today to see what the Hungarian contingent was saying about Prigozhin and, well. If I didn’t read the captions I would have assumed it was a feed from someone thrilled to be in the middle of the biggest Pride Month ever. So, so many videos of behaviors that shock and appall him. And once I got that in my head, even his light hearted non-ideology retweets have a certain… promoting-the-stereotype flavor.

  20. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    After having read the motion, I suspect that you are correct, that it is a preemptive action on Smith’s part.
    What is curious, is that Smith’s motion also includes this statement:

    Defense counsel anticipate filing in opposition to this motion…

  21. Bob2@Youngstown says:

    see if name change will avoid moderation

  22. CSK says:




    Perhaps that’s why he got divorced.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: As opposed to his wife just couldn’t stand being in the same room as him?

  24. CSK says:


    Well, that could be the icing on the cake.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:
  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Dreher has… issues. He definitely has issues. I mean beyond just being completely looney tunes.

  27. CSK says:

    Jack Smith has assembled 84 witnesses against Trump.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Some lawyer some where (I think it was Marcy Wheeler) said that more could be called.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    For JKB:

    Renato Mariotti

    I spoke to multiple former federal prosecutors today. The only one who could recall charging the addict-in-possession statute was a prosecutor with decades of experience who remembered a lone case from many years ago.
    Quote Tweet

    Ryan J. Reilly
    Jun 20
    A federal public defender with 30 years of experience who was working an addict-in-possession case in DC a few years back said he’d never seen prosecutors move forward on that charge.

    Not that he will ever admit to just pulling his “people get arrested for it all the time!” out of his ass.

  30. Kathy says:

    The goulash seems to be going well, still has two hours in the oven.

    At that, I didn’t think through what putting a pot in the oven meant. It would have been easier to remove the upper oven tray before warming the oven. Don’t worry, the oven mitts took the heat in my stead. It would also have been nice to see whether the lower tray could hold the pot (it can).

  31. Kathy says:

    I haven’t been looking for new music, and thus I haven’t posted any links recently.

    I found Vivaldi’s Spring performed on an organ to be interesting.

    I think I still prefer the string version, but the lower notes on the organ sound far more ominous than those played on a bass.

    Also, I’m awed by the skill required to play an organ like that. There’s a lot of footwork involved.

  32. Gustopher says:


    I try to avoid the whole, “Anti-gays are secretly gay” thing because it seems so lazy and such cheap pop psychology.

    The ones who claim that children will turn out gay if given any chance to… those ones I think are gay or bi (or pan, or omni) and are speaking from the experience of pushing their attractions down. They made a choice of straight. Or “straight”.

    It’s like when Stephen Crowder said that all men had violent sexual fantasies about 16 year olds. He apparently does, but I don’t think that’s the universal experience he thinks it is. He speaks from authority, but it’s a very personal authority.

  33. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    A brief follow-up to the topic on “Pandemic Closures Crushed Kids,” it wasn’t just in ‘Merika, and it certainly wasn’t just the primary/secondary kids.

    Emily Smith, a final year geography student at Durham University, never imagined her already heavily disrupted university experience could end like this. She won’t be graduating this summer because half her work remains unmarked owing to a national marking boycott by lecturers.
    After paying £36,000 in tuition fees for her degree, Murray is incredulous that the university can allow her to graduate without a grade.

    Well, of course they can allow her to graduate without a grade. After all, they already got her money, didn’t they?