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. just nutha says:

    Wa! I’m on vacation in a foreign country and still the first comment? Slow weekend?
    On my Google feed this morning, there was a story about California deciding to bankrupt chain restaurant franchisees. Anyone know anything about that? The source of complaint was a group called the National Owners Association, so color me suspicious.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: They are probably cracking down on child labor abuses. Either that or insisting they pay at least minimum wage. Or maybe the state OSHA has been giving snap inspections. Or health inspections. Or damn, just insisting they follow the laws.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Russell Brand has vehemently denied “very serious criminal allegations” about his personal life, in a video where he does not specify what the claims are but insists his relationships have always been consensual.

    In a clip posted on YouTube and to his social media platforms, the actor and comedian said he had received communications from a “mainstream media TV company” and a newspaper “listing a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks” that he “absolutely refutes”.
    Brand continued: “Now during that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual. I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well.

    “To see that transparency metastasised into something criminal, that I absolutely deny, makes me question is there another agenda at play.”

    Being so transparent he refuses to say what the allegations are, who is making them, and who is trying to corroborate the stories.

    For now, I’ll hold off on speculating as to whether they are true or not and just say that nothing would surprise me.

  4. Bill Jempty says:
  5. Bill Jempty says:
  6. clarkontheweekend says:

    I’ve been reading about the gag order on tfg and talk about potential violence by his supporters. I’m at the point where I say, bring it on. Make him shut up and if not, throw him in jail (never happen, I don’t think, at this point). And then his nutjob supporters go nuts, commit acts of violence – and we know they will, since they already have. And that cements and reinforces the obvious narrative of what an actual threat to democracy this POS really is and continues to be. Will it ever make a difference though.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis turns on ‘malignant narcissist’ ex-president

    Jenna Ellis – the Donald Trump lawyer who like the former president faces criminal charges regarding attempted election subversion in his defeat by Joe Biden in 2020 – says she will not vote for him in the future because he is a “malignant narcissist” who cannot admit mistakes.

    “I simply can’t support him for elected office again,” Ellis said. “Why I have chosen to distance is because of that frankly malignant narcissistic tendency to simply say that he’s never done anything wrong.”

    Rats, ships… A woman scorned… But,

    Deace said: “Before that man [Trump] needs to be president again … [to] escape the quote-unquote, ‘witch-hunts’, that man needs Jesus again because … his ambitions would be fueled by showing some self-awareness. And he won’t do it because he can’t admit, ‘I’m not God.’”

    Ellis said Deace had “perfectly articulated exactly how I as a voter feel”. She knew Trump well “as a friend, as a former boss”, she said, adding: “I have great love and respect for him personally. But everything that you just said resonates with me as exactly why I simply can’t support him for elected office again. Why I have chosen to distance is because of that, frankly, malignant narcissistic tendency to simply say that he’s never done anything wrong. And the total idolatry that I’m seeing from some of the supporters that are unwilling to put the constitution and the country and the conservative principles above their love for a star is really troubling. And I think that we do need to, as Americans and as conservatives and particularly as Christians, take this very seriously and understand where are we putting our vote.”

    Hooboy. These people ain’t right in the head. I wonder how long it will take her to realize her only chance at salvation is a good flip, and the sooner the better.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Things are getting interesting down in Coffee County. It would seem some folks aren’t too happy with “the digital information obtained is now in an unknown number of hands.” I wonder why that would upset people?

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The rightwing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is continuing to live the high life while refusing to pay a cent of the $1.5bn damages he owes families of victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting he called a hoax.

    Court documents show that the disgraced host of the far-right conspiracy theory and hoax news website Infowars is spending tens of thousands of dollars a month on “expenses” including high-end restaurants and groceries, while payments to the families are frozen following his declaration of bankruptcy last year.

    Lawyers representing the families say they may seek a court order against Jones, 49, to rein in his spending and compel the commencement of payments to their clients.

    According to court papers dated 29 August, reported by CNN, Jones spent $93,180 in July, excluding legal fees, but including more than $15,000 to the first of his two ex-wives, $7,900 for “housekeeping”, $6,338 on entertainment and meals, and $3,388 on groceries.

    In the previous two months, the amounts were $85,114 and $63,925.

    Somehow or other, I am not surprised.

  10. CSK says:
  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: That would do it.

  12. CSK says:


    Meanwhile, after Trump gave a speech to Concerned Women of America yesterday, the CEO of the organization asked him if they could pray that he and his family be surrounded by “angel armies.”

    Trump graciously gave his permission that they could do so.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: They would do well to spend a little more time with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and less with rightwing blowhards.

  14. CSK says:


    I’m contrasting the sentiments of the CWA CEO with those of Jenna Ellis and shaking my head.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I hate to traffic in stereotypes but Ellis seems like a typical Conservative: she was unable to understand the harm from Trump until it affected her personally

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: She still has the Stockholm Syndrome pretty bad. I wonder what if anything will wake yer up.

  17. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan: @OzarkHillbilly:

    Yes; Ellis still seems to be trying to justify her personal allegiance to Trump. I would say this is out of embarrassment from having previously slobbered over him, but I don’t know.

  18. CSK says:

    “He’s probably guilty, but it doesn’t matter.” — A Trump fan

    Notice the spelling of “your” on the sign and the missing “s” from “congratulation.”

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: What will wake her up?

    On August 14, 2023, Ellis and 18 other people were indicted by a Fulton County, Georgia grand jury in the prosecution related to the 2020 United States presidential election in Georgia for allegedly participating in a criminal enterprise in furtherance of Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election.[71][72] Ellis turned herself in at the Fulton County jail on August 23, 2023.

    I’m sure Trump had made vague promises about paying her legal bills if anything happened, and she has realized what the word of a trump is worth.

  20. Scott says:

    Just read this excerpt from Inverse Cowboy by Alicia Roth Weigel published in Politico Magazine. Another reminder that human beings are far more genetically and developmentally complex than many want to pretend.

    I Came Out as Intersex in Front of the Texas Legislature

  21. Scott says:

    Today’s is the day the Texas Senate votes to convict or exonerate AG Ken Paxton of his various offenses. There are 16 Articles of impeachment and is accused of misusing his office to help a friend and political donor.

    Supposedly it starts at 1110 CDT. You can view it here:

    I am always prepared to be disappointed when it comes to Texas politics.

  22. Slugger says:

    Here’s some fun things I googled up. I have been reading that Deion Sanders is a self promoter that is unlike the pure sportsmanship that old line coaches promoted. Now, we all know that contemporary big program coaches make millions of dollars annually, but what about the good old days? Knute Rockne had an income of $75,000 in 1931 when median household income was about $2,000. Compared to today’s median household income Mr. Rockne was making close to $3,000,000 per year. The typical new car was $600 then; a Cadillac was $2,800.
    I am not saying that the monetization of college sports is not insane; it’s just not purely a recent phenomenon.

  23. EddieInCA says:


    In most states, the highest paid public employee is a college head coach at the state public unversity.

    Some tidbits from the link above:
    — 31 of the 50 Highest-Paid State Employees are College Football Coaches.
    — 80% of the Highest-Earning Public Employees are College Head Coaches.
    –Top Ten Highest-Earning State Employees All College Coaches Earning Average of $9.8 Million.
    –States’ Highest-Paid Employees Earn Over $5.5 Million More if They are College Head Coaches.
    — Just 2 of the States’ Highest-Paid State Employees are Female.
    –Top Ten Highest-Earning State Employees All College Coaches Earning Average of $9.8 Million

  24. JohnMc says:

    @Slugger: Won’t trouble my lazy self to look it all up, but Teddy Roosevelt was called on to clean up college sports.

  25. CSK says:


    The salaries paid coaches are ridiculous, but most of the money comes from ticket sales, merchandise, etc., not from the state. Nick Saban’s base salary is $245,000. Still about 10 times what junior faculty make.

  26. Mr. Prosser says:

    Jenna Ellis’s career has Colorado roots. She was a deputy district attorney in Weld County, one of the most conservative counties in the state and home to Congressman Ken Buck. She was fired because basically she was not competent. She became a faculty member at Colorado Christian University and then worked for the James Dobson Family Institute in Colorado Springs.

    “In 2017, Ellis became a writer for the Washington Examiner, where she falsely claimed to have a history of being a “professor of constitutional law”.[4] Colorado Christian University does not have a law school.[3][4]”

    Ellis self-published a book, The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution: A Guide for Christians to Understand America’s Constitutional Crisis, in 2015.[4] She argued that the Constitution of the United States must only be interpreted according to the Bible.[4] Her view of the Supreme Court of the United States legalizing same-sex marriage, in Obergefell v. Hodges, was that it would lead to polygamy and pedophilia becoming accepted.[3] In 2016, Ellis described homosexuals as “sinners” whose “conduct is vile and abominable”.[4] Robert Cochran Jr., an expert in Christian law, described Ellis’ views as “further to the right” than most conservative Christian legal scholars.[3]

    Meant to italicize beginning with “In 2017

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Acquitted on the first 8 articles.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: I got a nice chuckle out of this:

    The test told my parents that I’d be fine and that I had XY chromosomes, so they prepared for the arrival of a baby boy. They painted the nursery walls blue and decided on the name Charles, after my father and both my grandfathers.

    Needless to say, when I came out of the womb with a vagina, everyone was pretty confused. My parents were now experiencing a gender fender bender (shout-out to the activist and artist Mari Wrobi for coining that term). They hadn’t picked any “girl” names, but once my father recovered from nearly fainting after my birth — he doesn’t do well with blood — he voiced an idea: “We could name her Alicia. I’ve always liked the name since that hurricane hit when we lived in Houston.” Thus, a force of nature was born.

  29. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I know. Like so much of our politics today, facts and ethics and law don’t matter. Power matters. And Money=Power.

  30. CSK says:


    I enjoyed that, too. Alicia has a good sense of humor.

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    A couple days ago a friend of my wife’s sent her a video. It was a video of my wife talking about one of her books, straight to camera. 1) It was absolutely my wife. 2) I would swear in court it’s her voice. 3) And her French is flawless. Just one problem: my wife does not speak French.

    The AI even moved her lips. The percussives line up. There are tiny computer artifacts, but you really have to look for them, and six months from now, hell a month from now, that will have been fixed. I wish I could share the link, maybe in a day or so, but it is fucking disturbing.

    We are at a point already where video cannot be trusted at all, and the only thing able to reliably tell us whether we are looking at an AI product, is another AI. Yeah. That’s the new epistemology. Anything digital may be an AI lie, and the only way to know, will be by asking another AI. Anyone see a flaw in that system?

    Heads up to @wr and @Eddie that the unions are right to fight AI, but it will be at best a holding action.

  32. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Jesus, that’s frightening.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Thanx for that Scott. I have a new hero.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: F’n cowards, one and all.

  35. Scott says:

    @Scott: Paxton acquitted on all Articles of Impeachment. No surprise. Money talks.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ron Filipkowski

    I refuse to believe someone who gave birth in a pickup truck and had her husband expose himself in a bowling alley would do this.

    Boebert Appeared to Fondle Date’s Penis in Packed Theater as She Put His Hand on Her Breasts

    RF cracks me up.

  37. CSK says:


    If anything, Boobert’s even worse than Marjorie Trailer Queen.

  38. gVOR10 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I see Boebert is being quoted as saying she didn’t live up to her values. Seems to me the incident pretty much epitomized her values.

  39. CSK says:


    Boobert makes Sarah Palin look like Abigail Adams.

  40. DrDaveT says:


    The salaries paid coaches are ridiculous, but most of the money comes from ticket sales, merchandise, etc., not from the state.

    Is that money taxed like ordinary business profits, or sheltered under the University’s public nonprofit status? If the latter, then yes the state is paying for it, at least in large part.

  41. CSK says:
  42. Mister Bluster says:

    Unranked Missouri Tigers just kicked a 61 yard field goal as clock ran out to beat 15 Kansas State in Columbia MO. Apparently 1 yard short of a Tiger record 62 yard FG in the ’80s.

  43. Michael Reynolds says:

    OMG, how have I not heard of The Warning before? Where’s @DeStijl?

  44. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I don’t know why more bands don’t do things like this. One of the best ways I’ve found is I discover new music from djs is to check out YouTube or SoundCloud for their sets. It’s very common for djs to post whole sets from either festivals or clubs. It’s also great when they post something I was at. Sometimes it’s tough to remember exactly what was played. For, uh, reasons.

  45. just nutha says:

    @EddieInCA: Being in Seoul at the moment, you post reminds me of the outrage in Korean society when someone pointed out that the greedy, rapacious chairmen of the three largest chaebol (conglomerates) had grabbed a total among the three of them of $12 million in compensation for the previous year. (Those greedy b@$tards!!)
    And then, I reflect on the likelihood that top-tier college coaches are probably still in the bottom quartile of sports compensation–thus making them arguably under compensated.

  46. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: So I take it that all those formerly outraged Republicans who originally voted for the hearings have fallen back in line after all?

  47. just nutha says:

    @Scott: And Republicans didn’t want to be accused of spiking an investigation into criminal behavior by an elected official. Now they can claim to have looked at the evidence and found it groundless.

  48. dazedandconfused says:

    Just to confirm, Laren Boebert giving hand jobs in a theater was definitely on my bingo card.

  49. CSK says:


    Better there than on your bucket list.

  50. Jax says:

    @dazedandconfused: Since I didn’t have Hunter’s Dick Picks being read into the Congressional record, OR Lauren Bobble Head giving a handjob in a theater while on camera on mine, I’m now adding Crossfit Marge on a trapeze doing something with a ?????…..Because we are in the craziest timeline, and ??? is a wildcard.

  51. DrDaveT says:


    This explains it:

    Well, sort of. If I’m reading it correctly, then public universities do not pay income tax on their tens (hundreds?) of millions of dollars of merchandising and ticket revenues, but they might have to pay an excise tax on coach salaries above $1M. In which case the coach’s salary (including the excise tax payment) is entirely funded by the tax exemption — the public is paying for it by forgoing normal taxation of a for-profit business.

    It seems a little weird to me that a mom and pop day care business operating out of a tax-exempt church has to pay income taxes, but a huge professional sports and merchandising business operating out of a university apparently does not.

  52. Matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Their Youtube channel basically documents their rise as musicians.