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:

    Green investment boom and electric car sales: six key things about Biden’s climate bill

    Summed up in 2 more key things:

    7: “But but but it harms fossil fuel corporations which will have a negative effect on my stock portfolio!”
    8: “It doesn’t immediately stop all green house gas emissions!”

  2. Kathy says:

    If anything comes off this, we may be in for another bout of wingnut ignoramuses crying blasphemy*.

    Decades ago, a physicist named David Pines predicted a type of electron plasmon arrangement he called a demon. Now a team managed to detect them.

    Various notes on this observation report that “Plasmons have been seen and widely studied in 2D metals, but because they are electrically neutral and don’t couple with light, they are hard to detect. This brings us to strontium ruthenate.” Is it just me, or does that sound a lot like dark matter.

    Of course, such things are found on normal matter, not isolated from it. And neither the Pines Demon nor other plasmons were detected solely though gravity.

    *When the Higgs boson was much in the news a few years ago, there were many references to it as “the God particle.” This set Christian wingnuts in a frenzy of indignation and outrage.

    The backstory is that a book on the Higgs, published long before it was detected, would have been titled “The Goddamned Particle,” due to how hard it had proven to find or disprove. The publisher did not want the word Goddamned in the title, so it was changed to just God for some reason.

    Goddamned particle makes sense, but God particle doesn’t. That’s the only outrage that would be reasonable.

    Demon here is a similarly harmless term. It’s a reference to a thought experiment on thermodynamics by James Maxwell, known as Maxwell’s Demon

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Interesting: Scientists may be on brink of discovering fifth force of nature

    Now researchers have said there could be another, fifth, fundamental force of nature.

    Dr Mitesh Patel, from Imperial College London, said: “We’re talking about a fifth force because we can’t necessarily explain the behaviour [in these experiments] with the four we know about.”

    The data comes from experiments at the Fermilab US particle accelerator facility, which explored how subatomic particles called muons – similar to electrons but about 200 times heavier – move in a magnetic field. Patel says the muons behave a bit like a child’s spinning top, in rotating around the axis of the magnetic field. However, as the muons move, they wobble. The frequency of that wobble can be predicted by the standard model.

    But the experimental results from FermiLab do not appear to match those predictions.
    But Patel, who worked on the LHC experiments, said those results were now less coherent. “They are different experiments, measuring different things, and there may or may not be a connection,” he said.

    Butterworth added that the unexpected frequency of the muons’ wobbles was one of the longest-standing and most significant discrepancies between a measurement and the standard model.

    “The measurement is a great achievement, and very unlikely to be in error now,” he said. “So if the theory predictions get sorted out, this could indeed be the first confirmed evidence for a fifth force – or something else strange and beyond the standard model.”

  4. charontwo says:

    Fox’s powerful long-time legal chief Viet Dinh is another casualty of the company’s lies about the 2020 election that ended up costing them $787.5 million.

    Dinh is being ousted for giving bad legal advice to the Murdochs, insisting early on and throughout the case that they were going to win at trial should take the case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

  5. Stormy Dragon says:


    Same story as reported in science journals:

    Dreams of new physics fade with latest muon magnetism result

    The muon’s magnetism is still strong. Its most precise measurement yet is in line with a series of earlier results — and seals an embarrassing discrepancy with decades of theoretical calculations that had predicted a slightly weaker magnetism for the elementary particle.

    But although the odd behaviour of the muon — a heavier cousin of the electron — was once seen as a possible omen of new physics, results in the past two years suggest that the theory side might not need major amendments after all.

  6. Erik says:

    Following up from yesterday’s open thread since my plans for a slow day when I could keep up and respond to your replies was foiled: thanks everyone for the sharpening advice!

  7. Kathy says:

    Something new I found: Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, performed with glasses.

    It’s certainly different.

    Also, Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy

  8. Michael Cain says:


    Long ago I was part of a lunchtime discussion in a Bell Labs cafeteria about maintaining the UNIX process table. It included processes whose parent had died (“orphans”), processes that were brought back to life (“zombies”) and proper sequencing of actions (“You can’t just kill the orphan, you have to create a zombie parent, then you can kill the orphan and then kill the zombie.”) About the time I was wondering how the conversation would sound to someone with no idea about the subject, a little old white-haired lady at the next table got up and announced, “You people are sick.”

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: That does not surprise me. Every time a “new and groundbreaking” discovery is reported, my first thought is always “probably just gonna tweak what we already know.” which is usually interesting.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Speaking of sciencey stuff, the Perseids peak this wkend. If the skies are clear tonight or tomorrow night, spend a few hours looking up, you won’t be disappointed (in the northern hemisphere anyway).

    The most spectacular meteor shower I’ve ever seen was a Perseids. Of course, it helped that I wan on a high desert mountain during it.

  11. Scott says:

    A few Texas stories:

    Sheriff says U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson cursed at officers, threatened his job in rodeo altercation

    U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Amarillo, threatened to beat up a state trooper and take down the Carson County sheriff in the next election after deputies detained the congressman at a rodeo outside of Amarillo in July, according to a sheriff’s incident report released Friday night.

    The report said that Jackson screamed profanities at deputies who were trying to clear the area for emergency medical workers to attend to a teenager who was having a seizure. Deputies asked the former White House physician to step back four times before they put Jackson in handcuffs, according to their reports.

    After the congressman was released, he demanded Carson County Sheriff Tam Terry call him and investigate the incident. During that call, Terry, a Republican, said that Jackson warned him that he would “bury me in the next election.”

    Child dies while en route to Chicago as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s migrant busing program

    A child traveling to Chicago as part of the state’s migrant busing program died, according to a Friday afternoon statement from the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

    The Chicago Tribune reported that the 3-year-old child died on Thursday when the bus was entering Chicago. The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed to the newspaper that the state agency is investigating the death.

    TDEM said that after the child’s health began deteriorating, the bus pulled over and an ambulance was called. The child was taken to a local hospital, where they died.

    A prison guard says she was forced to stay at her post during labor pains. Texas is fighting compensation for her stillbirth.

    The seven-months-pregnant officer reported contraction-like pains at work, but said she wasn’t allowed to leave for hours. The anti-abortion state is fighting her lawsuit, in part by saying her fetus didn’t clearly have rights.

  12. Kathy says:


    Christian values.

  13. becca says:

    @Scott: that last part about the pregnant prison guard is a real doozy. Exposes the Abbott administration as the lying, sadistic authoritarians they really are. It’s so painful to believe that so many Texans can overlook this obvious cruelty and deceit. How does this evil get justified there?

  14. Kathy says:


    Nine time out of ten, I’ll ignore sensational headlines about a new discovery, unless it comes from a source I trust*. I figure if there’s something to it, there will be a myriad other pieces on it later, perhaps with more nuance and detail.

    *These tend not to sensationalize their headlines.

  15. CSK says:


    Let me get this straight: The anti-abortion crowd is arguing that a 7 month fetus has no right to medical care that might save it, but the same fetus has every right NOT to be aborted. Is that what they’re saying?

  16. CSK says:

    Speaking of cuckoo medical-legal issues, an Ohio doctor, Sherri Tenpenny, has lost her license to practice medicine for
    A) Claiming the Covid vaccine magnetizes people
    B) Claiming that cities are liquefying human corpses and pouring them into the water supply.

  17. charontwo says:

    In his signature move, Trump loudly proclaims for the cameras that he is buying food for everyone, then walks away.

    Senile dementia, maybe?

  18. charontwo says:

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Arkansas government will no longer pay for students to take the AP test in African American Studies. But the state will continue to pay for the test in European History.

    They are not exactly subtle whose votes they want, and why.

  19. charontwo says:

    If you see a Republican complaining that Weiss was appointed from outside the government, here’s how to reply:

    WRONG! Weiss was appointed under 28 U.S.C. §§ 509, 510, 515, and 533. The rule that requires he be outside the government (600.3) doesn’t apply. Just like Durham.

  20. charontwo says:


    House Republicans have been demanding Attorney General Merrick Garland appoint a Special Counsel in the Hunter Biden probe. Now that Garland has done just that, they’re quickly changing their tune.

    Following the appointment of Trump-appointed attorney David Weiss as Special Counsel in the Hunter Biden probe on Friday, House Republicans immediately issued statements blasting the decision.

    A spokesperson for Rep. Jim Jordan said they “don’t believe [Weiss] can be trusted.”

    Rep. James Comer falsely stated this was an attempt of a “Biden family coverup.”

    Then screenshots of various letters.

    MARSHA GONNA MARSHA: Our friends
    point out
    “was one of 33 Republicans in Sept 2022 who SIGNED A LETTER demanding David Weiss be named Special Counsel in the Hunter Biden investigation”—but now complains when it happened

  21. charontwo says:

    Today, at Iowa State Fair:

    Question: Do you plan to comply with judge’s order…

    Trump: We’ll have to take a look at the order


  22. just nutha says:

    @CSK: AYUP! Nothing to be proud of in that, but ayup just the same. ☹️

  23. charontwo says:


    A new poll for found that almost half of Republicans in Iowa … say [Donald Trump] should continue in the race even if he is imprisoned for federal crimes.

    Some 48 percent said he should press on compared with 39 percent who said he should drop out….

    He is due to appear at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, as candidates try to woo the grassroots.

    On Thursday, the idea that he might go to prison seemed a distant prospect for some attendees.

    Jake Hansell, 78, said: ‘He’s not going to get put behind bars. He’s too smart for that.’

    But if Trump loses his legal battles? ‘Sure, sure,’ said the real estate agent from Des Moines. ‘He should keep campaigning.’

    Dr, Frankenstein’s creation, just doing its thing.

  24. SenyorDave says:

    @charontwo: A new poll for found that almost half of Republicans in Iowa … say [Donald Trump] should continue in the race even if he is imprisoned for federal crimes.
    Like he said, he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and it would not matte a bit to his supporters. I would modify it to say he could shoot a member of their family and his supporters would continue to back him. Now they would just claim it was Hunter Biden wearing a Trump mask.

  25. CSK says:


    Didn’t Trump pull the exact same stunt at the Versailles restaurant in Miami?

  26. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    Well, it just proves that these malevolent hypocrites just want to punish women, not save precious little lives, doesn’t it?

  27. charontwo says:


    In 2016 the GOP delegate allocation rules were heavily tilted to disproportionately high delegates to the plurality leader, or winner take all to anyone with a majority of the votes. In 2024 they will be much more slanted than in 2016, so it’s hard to see Trump not locking up the nomination early on.

    Expect lots of whining from the RNC etc. about “political prosecutions.”

    (By contrast, the DNC mandates all states award strictly proportionally to all who clear a 10% minimum threshold. Most of the RNC states that award proportionally have a 20% threshold).

    (The DNC requires the same rules for every state, while every RNC state sets its own individual rule set).

  28. Joe says:

    – Trump/Lake 2024

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Jake Hansell, 78, said: ‘He’s not going to get put behind bars. He’s too smart for that.’

    He may well not go to jail, but his intelligence or lack thereof is not a factor (though his fanboiz will claim otherwise when the Supremes say, “Nope, can’t do that” in a 6-3 decision).

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Ayup. Then again, when did I ever disagree on that point? When evangelicals decided to go with “yeah, we oughta be runnin’ the place,” that was the end of the movement as a credible vision of Christianity.

    “Love not the world…” (and I’ll let the rest of the Biblical scholars in our community finish the quote).

  31. charontwo says:

    Folks familiar w/ federal practice may be a bit bewildered by the idea that a grand jury could hear from multiple witnesses on Tuesday and return indictments the same day.

    But that’s not unusual in complex cases in GA state court. Indeed, it’s what we expect will happen on Tues.

  32. charontwo says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    When evangelicals decided to go with “yeah, we oughta be runnin’ the place,”

    It follows logically if you are certain you know God’s will.

    If God is the supreme and ultimate authority, God’s will must supersede distractions like voters, laws whatever. Example: they keep pushing extreme antiabortion laws over obvious public opposition.

    (Supporting Trump is logical tranactionally as Trump keeps giving them the judges etc. they want. DeSantis too. They like authoritarians because they believe the authoritarians will stay on their side, which I think a bit naive).

  33. charontwo says:

    Desantis Brutally Heckled Again at Iowa Fair

    Bullying behavior, heckler’s veto. Lots of Trump supporters in Iowa so this behavior.

  34. Kathy says:


    They’re probably heckling DeSatanis for the wrong reason.

    On other things, I just put six chicken thighs, potatoes, and cut up hot dogs in the oven for a slow cook at 150C. I browned the skins well first.

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    The Future is Now in San Francisco
    One day after California green-lighted a massive expansion of driverless robotaxis in San Francisco, the implications became clear.
    At about 11 p.m. Friday, as many as 10 Cruise driverless taxis blocked two narrow streets in the center of the city’s lively North Beach bar and restaurant district. All traffic came to a standstill up Vallejo Street and around two corners on Grant. Human-driven cars sat stuck behind and in between the robotaxis, which might as well have been boulders: no one knew how to move them.
    The cars sat motionless with parking lights flashing for 15 minutes, then woke up and moved on, witnesses said.
    LA Times

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charontwo: I’ll stay with the part of my assertion that I concluded with–“that was the end of the movement as a credible vision of Christianity”–which is the only part I’m interested in. People have been deceiving themselves and others about such questions as long as there have been people. I’m simply staking out a point of separation. (And my inner separatist approves this message.)

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Why ruin the flavor of the chicken thighs with hot dog flavoring? Or are hot dogs in Mexico of a more sophisticated flavor profile than the ones I buy in Kelso, WA? (Not a high bar to jump, by the way.)

  38. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The hot dogs and potatoes go under the chicken, and get flavored by the drippings. Also, that’s how oven roasted chicken was made at home and I got used to it. My favorite part where the hot dogs.

  39. Thomm says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Do they not have Nathan’s or Hebrew national there? Are you limited to Oscar Mayer, Bar S and tasteless trash like that?

  40. Jax says:

    @Thomm: What if I told you no, we have no such things? 😛 😛

    My local grocery store only carries Oscar Meyer with cheese, Bar S, and an off brand. Oh, and a “veggie” brand that aligns with the gluten free bread and crackers. I feel bad for vegetarians who live here, honestly….there are no choices.

  41. Jax says:

    I think we have two amongst the commentariat from Hawai’i, not sure which island….maybe dutchgirl and HelloWorld?

    Are you safe? Can I help you in any way?

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Thomm: I have no particular sense of taste for hot dogs to speak of. In a blind taste test, I’m incapable of distinguishing between Bar-S and Hebrew National or Nathan’s. It’s like fast food hamberders–they all taste the same to me.

  43. anjin-san says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    This was bound to happen, though I did not expect it to be so quickly. The real question in my mind is what happens when hackers get into these things…