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. Kathy says:

    The seismic alert went off a little past 11 pm las night, and I slept through it.

    It was a light 6-6.5 quake. It didn’t even wake me up.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    At least 1,000 birds died from colliding with one Chicago building in one day

    “It’s the tip of an iceberg but it’s it’s a huge, huge amount of birds we found both dead and injured,” said Annette Prince, director of Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, adding that this was the highest number of bird strikes that the group recorded from the grounds of one building in a single day.

    From late Wednesday, 4 October, through early Thursday, 5 October, a peak estimate of 1.5 million birds were in the air over Cook county, home to the Chicago metropolitan area. Carcasses of Tennessee warblers, hermit thrush, American woodcocks and other varieties of songbirds were recovered.
    Birds dying in large numbers in a small geographic area tends to occur during peak migration periods in spring and fall. Weather conditions like opposing wind, rain and fog can make it difficult for birds to orientate themselves, in addition to light pollution from cities that can draw them in and trap them among deadly structures.

    “Anywhere you’ve got glass, you’re gonna have birds hitting the windows,” said Bryan Lenz at the American Bird Conservancy. Annually, up to a billion birds die due to collisions, and in the case of Chicago, the dead and injured birds were most likely flying from Canada en route to South and Central America.

    The Law of Unintended Consequences asserts itself.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Robert F Kennedy Jr announced as speaker at hard-right CPAC event

    I suppose this calamitous clown car cavalcade could be entertaining to some people, but I’ll take a hard pass.

  5. ptfe says:

    @Kathy: Always depends how far away and what your plate looks like.

    Growing up, we would sometimes wake up to all the furniture having been displaced by a small amount because of a 4-6 that none of us felt. In spite of living 18 years in a well-known earthquake zone (Sweet Home Juan de Fuca), only 2 rumblers have left an imprint: a 6.2-ish that hit pretty close by that distinctly created a wave through our office (built on fill, not great in a quake), and the one out here on the East coast 10-ish years ago where I immediately went under the desk while everyone else was just massively confused.

    Earthquakes are weird.

  6. Kathy says:

    Isn’t this the kind of thing one would expect Israel’s vaunted intelligence services to see coming?

    I guess gutting the legal system and protecting Bibi at all costs took too much effort.

  7. charontwo says:

    Hamas just launched a massive attack from Gaza into Israel, gunning down civilians, taking hostages etc. Massive Israeli intelligence failure, caught by surprise.

    Expect massive retaliation into Gaza by the IDF, already underway.

  8. steve says:

    Went to a nice concert last night with my nails painted in 4 mismatched, very bright colors done by my 4 year old adopted grandkids. Gave them singing cat birthday cards for the birthday which they love and their dad hates. Did the same last year. He is getting revenge. Every time I come over he reminds the girls, 4 year old twins, to paint my nails. How can you say no? They look so intense when they do it. Made me think how much the world has changed. I wouldn’t have dared to go out in public wearing nail polish 50 years ago.


  9. CSK says:


    My father wore a woven bracelet his grandson made for him.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @steve: Job well done Grandpa.

  11. charontwo says:

    This story focuses on Illinois, but there is a map included of which states are heavily gerrymandered, almost all of the heavily gerrymandered states are Republican controlled.

  12. Daryl says:

    This is a very serious problem which Architects actually spend a bunch of time thinking about and trying to prevent.
    I do know Donnie is very concerned about windmills killing birds.
    List of bird-killers.
    Cats – 2.4B
    Buildings – 600M
    Vehicles – 215M
    Land-based Wind Turbines – 234K
    Offshore Wind Turbines – N.A.
    As someone who suffers from cat allergies – I say do away with the cats!!!

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl: Yeah I know, that’s why I posted it up. We have bird feeders and 2 or 3 times every winter one will hit a window, no fatalities yet, as far as I could tell.

    We had an indoor cat who was one hell of a mouser. Fortunately, she was not at all fond of being outdoors. On the few occasions where curiosity led her thru an open door or out a window, she would start howling as soon as she realized she could not get back in.

  14. Jen says:


    I say do away with the cats

    The mass extermination of cats in the Middle Ages because they were supposedly witches’ familiars was an indirect cause of the plague!

    A better approach is to require spaying and neutering and encouraging people to keep their cats indoors, or wear bells.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: My eldest sister had a white cat, deaf as a post. An Aces Ace at killing birds. Ma put a bell on it. Still killed birds. Had it declawed. Still killed birds. Put it on a tether. Still killed birds.

    She threw up her hands in disgust. “If a belled all white cat on a tether with no claws or hearing, is able to get a bird, that is one stupid bird.”

  16. Grumpy Realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: We had a 20 lb dark grey cat who would sit under the bird-feeder in plain sight and just wait. Birds such as cardinals, blue jays, and crows would never get caught. Other birds….? Well, let’s say that there are a lot of stupid birds out there.

    (Cats seem to differ in as to what they like hunting. Our second cat was a great hunter of anything on four legs. Mice, rats, voles, shrews, rabbits-bigger-than-she-was—nothing fazed her. But she absolutely refused to catch birds (aside from the ones dive-bombing her))

  17. charontwo says:

    Hakeem Jeffries wants to do things bipartisan:

    Gift link:


    The details would be subject to negotiation, though the principles are no secret: The House should be restructured to promote governance by consensus and facilitate up-or-down votes on bills that have strong bipartisan support. Under the current procedural landscape, a small handful of extreme members on the Rules Committee or in the House Republican conference can prevent common-sense legislation from ever seeing the light of day. That must change — perhaps in a manner consistent with bipartisan recommendations from the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

    In short, the rules of the House should reflect the inescapable reality that Republicans are reliant on Democratic support to do the basic work of governing. A small band of extremists should not be capable of obstructing that cooperation.

    The need to change course is urgent. Congress is in the midst of a Republican civil war that undermines our ability to make life more affordable for American taxpayers, to keep communities safe and to strengthen democracy. Traditional Republicans need to break with the MAGA extremism that has poisoned the House of Representatives since the violent insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, and its aftermath — when the overwhelming majority of House Republicans continued to promote the “big lie” and voted not to certify the presidential election.

    House Democrats remain committed to a bipartisan path forward, as we have repeatedly demonstrated throughout this Congress by providing a majority of the votes to prevent a government shutdown this month and avoid a catastrophic default on America’s debt in June.

    At this point, we simply need Republican partners willing to break with MAGA extremism, reform the highly partisan House rules that were adopted at the beginning of this Congress and join us in finding common ground for the people.

  18. gVOR10 says:

    @Bill Jempty: That story had the inevitable beginning, “A Florida man”.

  19. DK says:

    @charontwo: Something something Democrats won’t negotiate with Republicans something something bothsides.

  20. gVOR10 says:

    @Grumpy Realist: Years ago there were a pair of books, What Do Dogs Want followed by What Do Cats Want The gist of the dog book was that they were pack animals who wanted to find other dogs, sniff their butts, and decide where they stood in the pecking order. What do cats want? Mice. End of story. The gist was that cats were such well evolved hunters they could feed themselves in an hour or so a day and spend the rest of their time sleeping.

  21. charontwo says:


    Something something Democrats won’t negotiate with Republicans something something bothsides.

    What is that a paraphrase of? I do not see the connection to what Jeffries says. (or to anything I posted).

  22. gVOR10 says:

    @DK: I keep wondering if the supposedly liberal MSM are ever going to figure out that Republicans are OK with the current state of affairs. Beclowning themselves may have some minor electoral consequences, but as long as they have gerrymandering, the filibuster, and the Court, they’re OK with that. The Gaetzes and MTGs are happy with doing nothing as long as they aren’t primaried on the right. At the other extreme the Kochs, DeVoses, Uihleins, etc. want congress to do nothing. If congress did anything there’s always the chance it would cost the Billionaire Boys Club money or regulate their corporations. I see the Club for Growth (sic) has said they won’t support any Speaker candidate that wants to change the current motion to vacate rule. They like it like this. And NYT, WAPO, etc. can’t figure out this isn’t their fathers’ Republican Party.

  23. charontwo says:


    Cats are obligate carnivores. Dogs are omnivorous.

  24. DrDaveT says:


    And NYT, WAPO, etc. can’t figure out this isn’t their fathers’ Republican Party.

    That would require analysis, which journalists no longer do. My reading of Dr. Joyner’s recent comments is that he approves of this — he feels that pointing out to America that Republicans and their bankers are content with dysfunction belongs on the dismissible editorial pages, not the actionable information pages.

  25. charontwo says:


    Beclowning themselves may have some minor electoral consequences, but as long as they have gerrymandering, the filibuster, and the Court, they’re OK with that.

    As with the map I linked upthread, there are a couple of states gerrymandered by Democrats but many including FL and TX and GA gerrymandered by Republicans. Without the gerrymandering, the Dems would have easy and clear control of the House.

  26. gVOR10 says:

    @charontwo: Some days ago James did a post contesting that there’s a Republican, or at least bothsides, bias in the MSM. The story you link is a perfect example of the growing Republican bias at WAPO. Rather than belabor details, I’ll refer readers to the first few most liked comments on the story at WAPO, which nicely hit the obvious issues. Except I didn’t see anyone note the absence of any mention of the 2010 REDMAP project.

    This story is also a prime example of what’s getting to be a pet peeve of mine. The MSM no longer write news stories. They write long, long essays about the news. Did I mention that the story is long? Do they really think anybody reads these whole things?

  27. charontwo says:


    I wonder, though, if the bias (headlines, etc.) sugarcoats the stories in a way that gets Republicans to read them.

    Not that it matters, most Republicans are in an echo chamber where they reject information that challenges their priors.

  28. gVOR10 says:

    @charontwo: If you’re suggesting that as a real reason, no? If you’re saying it’s a story the authors and editors tell themselves, maybe.

    And you’re right, it wouldn’t change any minds. You are right to say “echo chamber”. Were you referencing the comment here, a few days ago, that linked to a paper making a distinction between an “epistemic bubble”, which does not include outside information, and an “echo chamber”, that actively excludes outside information.

  29. charontwo says:


    The paper on echo chambers v. epistemic bubbles was my link, so typical GOP base people are echo chambered.

    Here are the links again:

    The aeon piece is a shorter version of what is in the pdf.

  30. CSK says:


    If you’re a true MAGA, you eschew all commie globalist mainstream media and get all your news from truly reliable sources such as The Gateway Pundit, OAN, and The Conservative Tree House.

  31. CSK says:

    The fabulous Simone Biles has captured her 21st title.

  32. charontwo says:

    Some excerpts from the Public Notice Substack:

    Of course, no candidate of that sort emerged. McCarthy is the guy whose ambition prompted him to stick his face in the grungy ceiling fan that is House GOP politics, and to refuse to withdraw it in despite the filth and bludgeoning.

    House Republicans probably can’t be herded by anyone. But a competent speaker is by definition someone who has a good sense of what can be accomplished and what can’t. That means that any competent speaker candidate — like, say, John Boehner — is going to take one look at the current state of play in the House and cease to be a speaker candidate.

    Only a fool would try to govern a caucus of rabid fools. This really is a case where anyone who wants the job is obviously unqualified. A speaker who would willingly put himself in the hands of the current House GOP is a speaker who has demonstrated his own utter inability to do the job.


    The GOP is a recruitment nightmare

    This isn’t just a problem with the House. Trump’s ascent, and the demands of an electorate drunk on conspiracy theories and right-wing media talking points, creates major recruitment problems for Republicans. If you’re a serious conservative candidate who wants to pass conservative policy in Washington, you’d have to think twice, or a lot more than twice, before you’d enter a race just to lose and quite possibly be personally smeared and threatened by some random fascist with a slick smile and a Trump endorsement.

    In 2022, Trump pushing a crop of fatally flawed, untested candidates like the ludicrously incompetent Blake Masters in Arizona and the scandal-ridden Herschel Walker in Georgia played a leading role in costing Republicans the Senate. Candidate quality was a problem in House races as well — as in Alaska, where former governor and VP candidate Sarah Palin just about single-handedly lost the state’s House seat to Democrat Mary Peltola.

    The GOP has struggled to find candidates willing to take on Democrats in swing states for 2024. And while they’ve made some progress, it looks like their handpicked moderate may well lose the Montana Senate nomination to Matt Rosendale, who managed to lose the very conservative state to Jon Tester in 2018. Similarly, Keri Lake, who lost the Arizona governor’s race last year because she’s a radical loon, is probably going to win the nomination to run for Senate in 2024.

    Moderates keep losing primaries. When they do get into office, like Mitt Romney, they are vilified by their own and worse. There’s good reason to believe the insurrectionists who broke into the capital on January 6 would have harmed Romney if they had the chance. Romney currently pays $5,000 a day for private security. He intends to retire in 2024 — and who can blame him?

    Radical incompetence

    FiveThirtyEight reported in 2020 that fewer moderate Republican candidates are winning nominations, and fewer feel like they fit in the GOP. The issue isn’t just political ideology though. Trumpified Republicans don’t merely have to embrace conservative policies. They have to believe that the 2020 election was stolen. They have to believe, contrary to all evidence, that Biden was engaged in corrupt business dealings in Ukraine. They have to think that shutting down the government will somehow end the numerous criminal proceedings against Trump.

    In short, to be a successful GOP politician right now, you need to be a fool or a liar, or, preferably, both. And severing yourself from reality is not a great path to effective governance.

    Bottom line: Building a party around a personality cult has problems, more so if the personality is a loon.

  33. dazedandconfused says:


    I am unsure how to interpret this, but my new girlfriend’s cat, a renowned mouser, leaves the rear ends of her prey on the windshield of my car, most typically on the windshield wipers which recess into a well so I didn’t notice there were two there until I turned on the wipers the first time this happened. Nothing like seeing dead mouse/rat body parts being smeared across your field of view, I can report. I’m pretty sure the cat does not hate me, she has played with the string I dangled for her and cuddled up to sleep next to me a time or two.

  34. Grumpy realist says:

    @dazedandconfused: oh, that’s standard. As a kid, one of my jobs was disposing of the furry Somme our cat deposited on the doorstep each morning. The bottom half of mice was her speciality.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Grumpy Realist: Well, you know, feathers caught in the teeth or halfway down the old pipe.


  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: She is saying, “I love you soooooo much I am sharing half of this delectable mouse with you. Can I get belly scritchins now?”

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Donald Trump drops from the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. Here’s what’s changed.

    Awwwwwwwww…. Pobrecito. That annoying squeaky little sound you hear is the world’s tiniest violin. Or maybe it’s the sound of a ketchup bottle hitting the MAL dining room wall.

  38. Bill Jempty says:


    I am unsure how to interpret this, but my new girlfriend’s cat, a renowned mouser, leaves the rear ends of her prey on the windshield of my car,

    The cat was just sharing its prey with you. Feel honored.

    My cat Felix was being dive bombed by Blue Jays but that cat was being acting asleep when in fact it had one eye partially opened and when one bird came down he just barely missed getting it with one of his paws. My Mom or Dad said Felix would get one sooner or later.

    A couple of days later, Felix came home with a bird in its mouth and gave it to my mother.

  39. DK says:

    @charontwo: I was sarcastically paraphrasing claims that Democrats aren’t reaching out to Republicans in an effort to negotiate and compromise. Jeffries’s efforts are yet more evidence to the contrary.

  40. JohnSF says:

    Evolution in action?

  41. Beth says:

    One of my favorite things my idiot baby boy* does is to come flat out racing to whatever room we are in and let out this just absolutely bloodcurdling scream, like Human loud, and then just barf. He then just saunters away like we just inconvenienced him.

    *he was the runt of the litter that was born in our bushes. He was like 6 Oz for the longest time. I had to feed him with a syringe cause his siblings would crowd him out. He was the only one we kept (dumb). Now he does this thing where he lets me grab him by the face and he just melts.

  42. dazedandconfused says:


    Probably true. I was assigned to take care of the cat when she went on a week long business trip. Terrified of what the fallout would be if the cat ran away, I fed her real Bumble Bee tuna and roast chicken every night. She’s just trying to return the favor…