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. de stijl says:

    I still a bit discombobulated after seeing someone in an actual bathrobe at the grocery store yesterday. A bathrobe. That is full Lebowski.

    I am basically neutral on folks who wear what are essentially pajama bottoms out in public. I barely notice it anymore unless they are super pajama-y. And even then, it’s not my business.

    But the bathrobe thing really caught my attention. That’s a bold statement. I am a defiant person at heart, but that is a step I’d never considered.

    I am so bored and annoyed at the world I’m going shopping in a bathrobe. That is pretty hard-core. Or possibly a sign of mental illness.

    I was intrigued. Had never seen that before.

    When you think it through it should be no big deal. She was wearing a graphic tee, yoga pants, and sandals. Standard stuff. It was the obvious bathrobe on top that threw me. This was brand spanking new public behavior to me. I was interested and paid attention.

    A huge part of me sort of likes her attitude. “I make my own rules!” of which I approve highly. OTOH, it could have been someone in the midst of a crisis although I did not sense that at all. She seemed pretty squared away and calm to me.

    I think it was just some person who decided that going grocery shopping in a bathrobe was a fine choice. And it also none of my damn business so I should stop fretting about it. So I shall.

  2. charontwo says:

    I very much appreciate the rapid response prosecution team. It is unacceptable for Trump to try to influence the trial this way. I would not be surprised if Judge calls a hearing in short order

    These Trump statements also underscore why a trial should happen soon to minimize future threats

  3. charontwo says:

    Excellent footage of the strike on the Russian tanker in the Black Sea, which was originally confused for an attack against the illegal bridge. Obviously, this incident was overshadowed by what happened to another military ship just under 24h earlier, but the effect of both incidents was powerful. There is no reason to believe this is the last Russian vessel that will go down.

  4. Kathy says:

    I had no idea Aeroflot meant “We Stop For No One.”

    TL;DR, Russia’s flagship airline has trouble getting spare parts, so they simply deactivated the brakes of some of their planes, because they lack the parts to repair them.

    Commercial planes make use of three mechanisms to slow down after landing. Brakes on the landing gear, thrust reversers, and aerodynamic brakes (sometimes called speed brakes). To put it simply, I wouldn’t get on a plane without working brakes. The odds of overrunning the runway or sliding off it to the sides are too high.

  5. charontwo says:

    Fox 5 Atlanta reports that Authorities plan to close a number of roads around the Fulton County Courthouse starting this coming Monday. This indicates that Trump is likely to get indicted next week in Georgia.

    Speaking to FOX 5 on Thursday, Fulton County Fani Willis said, “We’re ready.”

    Happy Weekend, everyone

  6. DrDaveT says:

    Quote for the day… This is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, prior to his execution by Hitler in 1945:

    Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed- in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.

    The rest of this open letter is equally perceptive and interesting. For example:

    And so it would seem that stupidity is perhaps less a psychological than a sociological problem. It is a particular form of the impact of historical circumstances on human beings, a psychological concomitant of certain external conditions. Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or of a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity.

  7. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Regarding the Republican advantage in the married couple demographic discussed yesterday: It’s not the married thing that is important. Married couples are more likely to be church goers. Republicans actively appeal to people for whom religion is their primary identification. Democrats, on the other hand do not. Sure, they nominate religion people. But those candidates never express that side of their lives deeply or often enough to establish a rapport with people whom religion is their primary identification.

    Representation matters applies to more than race. People connect with whatever they see their prime identification represented in. Black people are still regular and fervent church goers.. unlike most white church goers however..their skin color is a deep part of their identity.

    As I mentioned before, there is a path for picking off a portion of married church voters but their is no campaign to woo them into voting D.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: Very perceptive. I’ve been pondering something a bit tangential to this: is there a difference between innate and deliberate stupidity? Or perhaps, should we even call it stupid when people don’t have the mental capacity to deal with a situation, or should we reserve that for the willingly stupid, the people who should know better but persist in their destructive beliefs?

  9. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    I think it was just some person who decided that going grocery shopping in a bathrobe was a fine choice. And it also none of my damn business so I should stop fretting about it. So I shall.

    I think you’re totally allowed to dwell on various fashion choices and the attitudes they suggest. She did this in public, after all, effectively on public display.

    Had she shown up in full Grand Wizard regalia, or a “Lets Go Brandon” t-shirt and MAGA hat, you would have your perfectly reasonable feelings, and I don’t see why a bathrobe is any different other than not actually being hateful.

    So, dwell and fret away, at least until you begin finding it tiresome.

    Maybe she is a big fan of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, as was incorporating a little Arthur Dent cosplay into her life.

    Or maybe she did it to “freak out the normies,” and now you are a normie!

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Heh: On slavery: Gov. DeSantis and his crack education team are all about facts


    Here’s a fact: We white folks treated slaves like family. Shoot, many of them were family!

    Also a fact: Slaves were fortunate in being able to develop, as it says in the new public schools curriculum, “skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

    Take blacksmithing: As the governor remarked, under slavery “some of the folks eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life.” The Department of Education’s African American History Standards Workgroup points to Lewis Latimer, who made an important contribution to our nation putting shoes on horses.

    Speaking of shoes, what about that renowned cobbler James Forten, a slave who learned to make quality footwear, using that talent into a post-slavery career?

    The governor’s scholars want you to know how he, like so many other fortunate souls, benefitted from slavery.

    Of course, the fuss-bunnies out there in Wokeanda say this information isn’t entirely accurate: James Forten was never enslaved and he never made shoes (he was a rich manufacturer in late 18th-century Philadelphia), and he died 22 years before the Emancipation Proclamation, but that’s not the point. He could have been a fabulous shoemaker if he’d wanted to be. That’s the promise of America.

    As for Lewis Latimer, he wasn’t, strictly speaking, a slave, what with him being born free, nor was he exactly a blacksmith. If you want to get picky about it, he was a New York electrical engineer who worked with Alexander Graham Bell.

    But this is picayune stuff, ginned up by the downer media and loser professors who want to reduce the entire slave experience to nothing but the negative: beatings, torture, and rape. What about the upside?

    Closing with:

    What kind of person chirps at a man desperately trying to reset his presidential campaign?

    Anyway, let us not dwell on negativity. Think of Booker T. Washington, the renowned educator who believed in being nice to white people. He said, “Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity,” which does not apply to Ron DeSantis. Not at all.

  11. Jay L Gischer says:

    Apparently Nancy Pelosi called Trump a “scared little puppy”? Wow.

    There are few circumstances I would approve of this in, but after him bellowing on social media, “You come after me, I’ll come after you!” makes this seem like yeah, it’s appropriate.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    New York Times Pitchbot

    How it started. How it’s going.

    Coup Coup Ca-choo. I swear, Doug is mainlining the NYT.

    eta: My bad, Wall street journal

  13. Kathy says:

    Remember the near miss between a JetBlue flight and a business jet in Boston back in February?

    The Aviation Herald has a piece on the NTSB report on the incident. Turns out there was a third person int he JetBlue cockpit, who took video of the landing. There’s a still frame from said video, you can find at the end of the piece. It’s the scariest commercial aviation photo I’ve seen in years.

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I’ve always distinguished what you are thinking of as the difference between being ignorant and being stupid for whatever that is worth.

  15. dazedandconfused says:


    I’m not buying it. Have to see multiple source reports of this. You have to shut down thrust reversers at about 40mph as they will blow surface dirt forward if the intake and pose a terrible risk of multi-million dollar FOD. I can imagine landings with very long runways, but how does one taxi and hold short of runway thresholds for landing traffic? They could conceivably tow these aircraft into position on the runway on take-offs, but the entire V1, V2, Vr operating procedure book goes out the window…no way to determine when a takeoff can be rejected.

    Simply can’t picture any big iron pilot agreeing to fly big iron with no brakes. Can’t do it.

  16. Mikey says:


    I’ve been pondering something a bit tangential to this: is there a difference between innate and deliberate stupidity?

    I am Facebook “friends” with a guy I served with in the USAF. I know he is far from stupid–he’s one of the more intelligent people I’ve known. But when it comes to politics it’s like every part of his brain that knows how to reason just shuts off. I simply can’t understand it. The level of self-deception and doublethink necessary to believe as he does just boggles my mind.

    An innately stupid person, I can forgive, he can’t help it. But a smart guy who CHOOSES to be stupid? I just can’t deal with that, especially in a guy I once looked up to.

  17. Kathy says:


    Good point. I found some other mentions, like this one in Air Live. I also found an older piece from The European Times from 2022, to the effect that Russian air crews were instructed industry-wide to use thrust reversers only when landing, in order to conserve brake pads.

    The second indicates this is a long term problem.

  18. de stijl says:


    How one dresses in public is a very interesting topic.

    Presentation, representation, hiding, revealing – – what a person chooses to front as. That’s a huge, meaty subject.

    And I’m a guy so I’ve totally missed out on female public dressing choice mental shenanigans which from the outside looking in seems way more subtle and nuanced and meaningfully signaling than males do. And I’m het, too. I mostly miss everything.

    What one decides to wear out in public is a statement and a message to the public at large. Clothes say something and everybody else sees and everyone judges you on it either consciously or subconsciously.

    Back when everyone was basically required to wear a suit to work there were variations in color, cut, fit, pattern, material, lapel size, waist, pleats, cuffs both ankle and wrist, etc. And that is not even acknowledging the shirt and the tie choices.

    I was into the Tom Ford style suit profile way before anybody else – just don’t go full Pee-Wee.

    If you were female during the de riguer suit era I am truly sorry. That must’ve sucked.

    I have not owned or worn a pair of blue jeans since I was 17. I decided that was not a thing I would do, or wanted to be associated with, nor put out into the world.

    I have always liked a pegged pant leg profile with a pretty tight cuff, and have always hated a loose, sloppy ankle cuff. It would bug the crap out of me constantly to walk around in floppy-ass bell-bottom clown pants. No. Just no. Eww!

    What we wear in public indicates socio-economic status and tribe affiliation and a crap ton of other stuff. We choose these items we wear if we can afford clothing choice. And a lot of our choices are steered by a subconscious force.

    I dress for the public as a fairly subdued punk guy. Not “in your face” but strongly representative. It’s my preferred option. It makes me feel comfortable and okay.

    Holy crap! I never even brought up hair-styles. Hair is very important in social presentation.

  19. de stijl says:


    I am not a normie!!

  20. Beth says:

    @de stijl:

    Women’s clothing has been a style revolution for me. I no longer have to wear those damnable pants. Truely, one of Satan’s greatest creations. Seriously, having to wear tights all the time in the winter is awful, but still sooo much better than pants.

    And for the times when I choose to wear something pants-like, there’s leggings. Which in reality are glorified pajama bottoms*.

    The other thing I’ve noticed is that men wear terribly fitting or sized clothes. I know I was guilty of that before. So many men would look so much better if the cut and fit of their clothes were better.

    *A trans friend was looking for leggings and I offered a suggestion. The person in question was kind of freaked out by my suggestion and thought I was making fun of her. Until another friend gave me a nice compliment “beth is very loud so take her suggestions with extreme caution”. These were the leggings in question:

    I also really like these too:

  21. JohnSF says:


    “Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity,”

    I rather like that.
    I may have cause to quote that rather often, regrettably.

    “Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice.”

    I’d heard that before. But a reminder never hurts.

    The problem is, how do constrain egotism and stupidity, which are always with us?

    Custom is sometimes a great thing, in social settings, because it sets boundaries that most are unwilling to transgress.
    Which is why violators of such customary limits, like Trump, (or, in far more limited way, Johnson) are so dangerous.
    They give license to the egotists and fools to act out their desires.

    One reason why, in some respects, I can sometimes be a bit of a “small c” conservative: customary limits in politics can be a useful thing.
    And also why it necessary to have a legal system that can come down hard on those who transgress beyond custom into crime.
    That many many Republicans have forgotten this is why they should be drummed out of the “Prudential Conservative Club”.

    Though in society, customary limits can also sometimes be a very damaging thing. Old customary orders were often none to pleasant for those at the bottom of the pile.

    “Balance, Grasshopper.”

  22. de stijl says:

    The study of what people wear when and why and where would be a really interesting academic pursuit.

    It would, by nature, need to be interdisciplinary as it would involve psychology and sociology, history, political science, geography, and economics.

    You walk into any office or store and that is a field study. Just walking around you would be overwhelmed by random datasets.

    I think that is a really worthy field of study. Just trying to do a taxonomy of what the observed subjects are wearing would be wicked fascinating. I would eat that shit up as a layman in a second.

    What would you call such a discipline? Vestimentology might work.

  23. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    I am not a normie!!

    I’m afraid that when it comes to bathrobes in public, you are.

    I think you should sit with that feeling, explore the contours of it, and how it makes you feel about yourself as the knee jerk rejection of the term fades.

    Consider, for a moment, that this is how our more conservative hosts feel all the time.

    Begin to consider the interbeing of yourself, bathrobe lady, the shopkeeper and the other customers. You can’t be a normie without norms, and when you typically present as outside the norms, you need bathrobe lady to help you learn about yourself.

    Ok, I’m about 75% joking here.

  24. charontwo says:

    So apparently Kari Lake was always a mean girl and does Donald know about this tweet?

    (Tweet from 11/9/2016)

  25. de stijl says:


    The problem I have seen with women’s clothing is that there is not enough pockets to carry essential stuff around in.

    Clothing is always form + function, but when push comes to shove, I always favor function. Pockets are essential.

    When it gets stupid hot and humid I wear essentially a skirt at home commando style. I call it my summer-weight kilt, but fuck it it is a godamn man skirt. Trying very hard to not to be anatomically gross, my nethers are prone to really annoying fungal infections during steamy weather especially in the natural crease between thigh and groin.

    That area does better overall from exposure to constant airflow. I use less hydrocortisone lotion and less jock-itch aerosol spray if I sport the summer-weight kilt at home.

    I hope I navigate this next bit well… There is just no fucking way I wear my man skirt out in public. That will not happen. That is just for at home airflow accommodation and fungal mitigation. Were I to wear that I outside of my own four walls that would be extraordinarily uncomfortable psychologically. It will never happen for me. I will not, ever.

    But, when I seen men wearing skirts in public it bothers me not at all. They are happy to do so and that is their choice. 1. Good for them. 2. Not my business.

    I would imagine one of the hardest things in transitioning is the shift to gender appropriate clothing. You are just doing and being you but yet you have to do it front of everybody and everybody is going to judge you. That would take enormous willpower to withstand. I am awed at folks who can and do. That takes substantial fortitude. Maybe many nights crying in front of a mirror seemingly hopelessly. Hang on.

  26. de stijl says:


    I totally deserved that.

  27. dazedandconfused says:


    That article is downright silly. I suspect a badly garbled message to conserve brakes, which is most definitely possible to do, but taken to the max does require a trade-off.

    Every jet uses TRs to slow down, every landing, and none use them to “stop”. What it may be is a garbled message to minimize brake usage, which can certainly be done by rolling all the way to the end of available runway instead of using brakes to take an earlier exit taxiway. All that weight on just a few tires creates quite a bit of rolling resistance so planes slow down a lot in that extra roll without brakes, which at some airports can be several thousand feet.

    Refusing a quicker and typically used exit from the runway irritates controllers because they can’t issue a landing clearance to another plane until the runway is clear…but there is nothing they can do to stop it….and rolling all the way to the end like that means a long taxi to the gate or deboarding point in nearly all cases, costing fuel and time. Also, an irrigated controller is likely (strike that) SURE to make your plane stop and wait for any conflicting ground traffic…be it a gas truck…maintenance vehicle…momma duck with chicks…. so there are prices to pay.

  28. Kathy says:


    What can I say? You make good, sensible points, but my biases want me to believe Russian civil aviation is slowly rotting into a gigantic cluster-f*ck.

  29. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    The problem I have seen with women’s clothing is that there is not enough pockets to carry essential stuff around in.

    I find a purse more practical than pockets. You can carry a lot more in one, too.

  30. DrDaveT says:


    I find a purse more practical than pockets.

    “Hands free” counts for a lot, and no bag/clutch/purse/pack I’ve ever tried counts as hands free. Fanny packs can be… but that’s not women’s clothing anymore.

  31. de stijl says:

    You cannot ignore hair when it comes to social presentation. You can basically infer a lot about a person just by eyeballing their haircut.


    About 2007 I stopped going to professionals, bought an electric clipper, and went fully DIY.

    I go pretty basic. Clipper shield .5 on the sides and back. .5 is basically skin head.

    (Speaking of skinhead that is my look about 15% of the year. That look can have really negative connotations of neo-nazism, or it did back in the day. When I look like a skinhead I always wear a baseball cap in public so as to not freak anybody out unnecessarily.)

    I can trim the sides and back easily and do so every Saturday morning, but the top bit defeats me entirely. If I try to trim it back I inevitably fuck up and it looks stupid. I lack the skill.

    So every six months or so I just hack it all off and start over again.

    It works for me.

  32. Jay L Gischer says:


    Also, an irrigated controller is likely (strike that) SURE to make your plane stop and wait for any conflicting ground traffic…be it a gas truck…maintenance vehicle…momma duck with chicks…. so there are prices to pay.

    I’m not quoting this to mock you, but to tell you how amused I was by the concept of an irrigated controller. It kinda sounds like a euphemism.

    It looks like a spell correct gone wild thing. Those AIs. Ya gotta watch em every minute.

  33. Kathy says:


    I carry mine slung over one shoulder. Totally hands free.

  34. dazedandconfused says:


    I’m sure you’ve noticed before how the press royally screws up technical aviation issues. It’s irrigating! It has been said the greatest benefit to Russia in the alliance with Iran is Iran’s decades of experience in dodging sanctions.

    I wonder if Putin rationalizes some of the problems this way: Increased isolation, while painful, benefits domestic Russian industries. Which have been (not unlike our own) great but are rotting on the vine while the Chinese et al clean up.