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:

    Derek Chauvin has been stabbed in prison From CNN

    Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted in the 2020 murder of George Floyd, was stabbed Friday in a federal prison in Arizona, The Associated Press and The New York Times reported.

    A person familiar with the matter told CNN Chauvin was assaulted Friday at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson and was in stable condition.

    “An incarcerated individual” was assaulted at the Tucson prison at approximately 12:30 p.m., the Bureau of Prisons said Friday. Two sources confirmed to CNN the individual was Chauvin.

    “Responding employees initiated life-saving measures for one incarcerated individual,” and that person was transferred to a hospital for treatment, the bureau said in a release. “No employees were injured during the incident,” the release said.


    Chauvin was assaulted at the medium-security prison while serving two concurrent sentences in Floyd’s murder.

    In April 2021, Chauvin was convicted on state charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. Months later, Chauvin pleaded guilty to federal charges of depriving Floyd of his civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

    Chauvin, who is White, knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for more than 9 minutes on May 25, 2020, after officers responded to reports suspecting Floyd used a counterfeit $20 at a Minneapolis corner store.

    There has been a long history of famous killers being killed in prison. Richard Loeb, Albert DeSalvo aka The Boston Strangler, and Jeffrey Dahmer and probably more.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From the Guardian’s bit on Chauvin:

    It is also the second major incident at the Tucson federal prison in a little over a year. In November 2022, an inmate at the facility’s low-security prison camp pulled out a gun and attempted to shoot a visitor in the head. The weapon, which the inmate shouldn’t have had, misfired and no one was hurt.

    Hereby nominated for Obvious Observation of the Year.

  3. Kathy says:


    I had a kind of shocked laugh when I read that.

    Now, The Guardian is a British paper, and has a large international audience. Maybe they feel the need to point out incarcerated people don’t enjoy the full second amendment rights? After all, given how dangerous and violent prisons are, one might think inmates should be allowed to be armed for their own protection.

  4. Tony W says:

    @Bill Jempty: I’m sure Republicans will now clamor for prison reforms including better protections for vulnerable prisoners and strict oversight of prison leadership.

    Just kidding.

  5. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    I commented yesterday evening that:

    Unfortunately for him, the only person more reviled and likely to die in prison than a pedophile is an incarcerated ex-cop.

    But on reflection, the pedos and snitches could survive in prison (albeit in protective custody not gen pop). Ex-cops were always kept in solitary.

    Apparently he was held in solitary until after his appeal was denied.

    I seriously doubt he’ll live out his sentence.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From ‘We will coup whoever we want!’: the unbearable hubris of Musk and the billionaire tech bros, comes this little tidbit:

    But, as chronicled by Peter Turchin in End Times, his book on elite excess and what it portends, today there are far more centimillionaires and billionaires than there were in the gilded age, and they have collectively accumulated a much larger proportion of the world’s wealth. In 1983, there were 66,000 households worth at least $10m in the US. By 2019, that number had increased in terms adjusted for inflation to 693,000. Back in the industrial age, the rate of total elite wealth accumulation was capped by the limits of the material world. They could only build so many railroads, steel mills and oilwells at a time. Virtual commodities such as likes, views, crypto and derivatives can be replicated exponentially.

    That is a scary number.

  7. Michael Reynolds says:


    After all, given how dangerous and violent prisons are, one might think inmates should be allowed to be armed for their own protection.

    Don’t give Republicans any ideas.

  8. Jay L Gischer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Before I remark on that piece, I think I had better restate some things:
    1. I think increasing inequality is a problem. (but not because billionaires can build desert island hideaways.)
    2. I am not interested in defending Musk’s recent behavior.

    Having said that, that exercise was a full-out propaganda blast. So what if Peter Theil wants to build a isolated complex? Or colonies on the Moon? I stopped reading when the article complained about how Bill Gates released a rating of the response to covid giving them letter grades.

    Gates, who regularly dispensed advice on vaccines and public health in television interviews, eventually issued a report in which he graded each country’s pandemic response as if he were a school teacher who knew better than every nation’s department of health (no one got an A).

    Pretty much every single person in America thought they were smarter than the CDC, and still do. This is so normally human, the only part that is unusual is that we’ve heard about it.

    Most evil is done by people who think they are doing good. That’s the problem. When SBF thinks, “I don’t need their stinking rules, I can do more good by ignoring them!” and then ends up losing billions of other people’s money.

  9. gVOR10 says:

    @Jay L Gischer: The excesses of the tech bros are entertaining, distasteful, and wasteful, but not the real issue.

    The problem , as laid out by Thomas Piketty and many others, comes when they use their money to change the rules of the game to favor themselves. The clearest example is the decades long, highly successful, effort by the Koch Bro(s) and their accomplices to subvert the federal judiciary. JFK cut the top marginal rate from about 90% to 70. Not coincidentally, that’s the rate that had long been estimated to maximize revenue, long before Arthur Laffer took credit for the concept and lied about the numbers. (And where is it written that the only purpose of a tax is to maximize revenue?) Since then we, “we” meaning Republican office holders, have continued to cut the top rate, and been well paid for doing so. this further feeds a doom loop of concentrated wealth used to further concentrate wealth.

    Piketty points out that the last time concentrated wealth got this bad it was broken up by war, depression, and war. I don’t know what will break it this time, but it’s likely to be ugly,

  10. Gustopher says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    I seriously doubt he’ll live out his sentence.

    I’m curious as to whether our peer nations have prisons that are safer.

    As a rule of thumb, I oppose sentencing people to 3-5 years of prison rape and violence. It’s not my top priority, but as a rule of thumb I am opposed.

  11. dazedandconfused says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Chauvin’s a dumbass, a cop who moonlighted as a bouncer in a bar. You won’t find many cops that stupid. He probably imagined himself big and bad enough to defend himself in general pop and demanded it. The facility is not allowed, by law, to hold people in segregation who have done nothing to merit it and demand general pop.

    They should get that guy into min sec. Not much of a flight risk due to his celebrity status and nearly everybody in min wants to stay there, and where everybody is trying to obey the rules snitches are not feared.

  12. wr says:

    For more than a decade, the current iterations of Doctor Who were one of the great pleasures in my life. Two brilliant showrunners in Russell T. Davies and Stephen Moffat, three great actors in David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi… and the wonderful companions. Not every episode was brilliant, but each one had some kind of magic.

    And then came showrunner Chris Chibnall and his strategy of writing the show as if the audience were entirely made up of six-year-olds. Maybe Jodie Whittaker could have been another great Doctor, but she was never given the chance. I went from looking forward to every new episode to dreading them, and then taking days to finish one. Finally I just gave up.

    But today I took an hour I absolutely couldn’t afford in a tidal wave of work and watched the first of three new Christmas specials written by Davies, starring a returning Tennant and co-starring Catherine Tate. And from the first minute the magic was back. For the whole hour, I might as well have been a six-year-old again, laughing and crying and thrilling to this ridiculous show.

    Sometimes it feels like everything in this world is getting worse, and there’s never going to be a way back. At least here is one thing that has regained what it once was.

  13. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Yeah, I did time with dimbulbs and dumb asses like him. In the late 70s, a Washington prison warden transferred a bus load of hard core lifers into the medium security prison to calm the joint down. They had a “come to Jesus” meeting with the wannabees like Chauvin. Life got a lot quieter then.

    ETA bullies and assholes were responsible for my episodes in solitary. Because the lifers didn’t want me to get 20 tacked onto my sentence for offing someone.

    ETA 2. Nope, murder/manslaughter won’t get minsec in fed system, IIRC. He proved his stupidity by making enough waves to get put into gen pop. I’m surprised that the guards got him up to the infirmary in time. Someone probably whispered in his ear, “we can do this over…and over…and over again. The guys I did time with would.

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    where everybody is trying to obey the rules

    Is it possible that Fmr. Officer Chauvin is not a candidate for min sec because he doesn’t want to fit that profile?

    @Gustopher: You’re a better person than I am. I’ve no problems with whatever priorities society decides on for prisons. I’m aware that the system is unjust and perverse, but if that’s what society wants…

  15. dazedandconfused says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    As Luddite pointed out min is strictly for non-violent offenders, however they might get him into a low-sec…were it not for that classification also requiring less than 10 years left to serve and he was sentenced to 12 1/2.

    IOW, he’s screwed for at least another year or so for sure.

  16. Jay L Gischer says:

    @gVOR10: I agree with every word you wrote.

    It occurs to me that demonization of the enemy is a long-standing political tradition. Not one I like, though.