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. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    A Friday that felt like a bad Boston Legal (or Boston Blackie) script* has Luddite sitting on the back patio with a drink at 0100 hrs, finally getting around to reading yesterday’s conversations. Once again, intelligent and differing viewpoints, with just enough wingnuts for seasoning. My complements to our hosts and participants.

    * Who knew epiphanies could be quite that painful? And that you shouldn’t operate machinery while having one?

  2. MarkedMan says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    And that you shouldn’t operate machinery while having one?

    You can’t leave us in suspense!

  3. Kathy says:

    The hits just keep on coming for the 737 MAX, and not in a good way.

    Depressurization usually isn’t a big issue, with some notable exceptions*. But when a window blows out, r, as in this case, a whole goddamned exit door, it is really dangerous. Luckily this happened on the climb out, with everyone at their seats and strapped in. Had it happened at cruising altitude, with passengers and crew moving around and many unstrapped at their seats, one of more people might have been sucked out of the plane.

    We don’t know how or why this happened, but it’s still a terrible look for Boeing after so much else has gone wrong with the MAX.

    *Such as flying over mountainous terrain, where getting down to 10,000 feet might not be possible right away.

  4. gVOR10 says:

    Last week Ohio Governor Mike DeWine got a lot of good press for vetoing a bill banning gender affirming care for minors including puberty blockers and hormone therapy. This week, via Atrios, NBC News reports he has issued a narrower executive order banning gender transformation surgery on minors. Per the story, it’s unclear that there have been any such in OH. Pointing to possibly imaginary “fly-by-night” clinics DeWine has imposed new state rules on transgender care for adults as well as minors.

    I don’t know if he couldn’t stand doing something decent, bowed to pressure, or just thinks this exec order will stay below the horizon.

  5. SenyorDave says:

    @gVOR10: I wonder whether he figures that he gave some raw meat to the right in the hopes the legislature won’t override his veto of the sweeping legislation.

  6. SenyorDave says:

    So Bill Ackman’s wife gets accused of plagiarism, apologizes for it, and his response is to say it is an attack on his family and he will conduct a review of all MIT professors to check for plagiarism. If you look up “entitled rich white guys” in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Bill Ackman.

  7. Stormy Dragon says:


    The executive order is actually more expansive than the bill he vetoed, and is inline with a new Republican tactic of not banning gender affirming care outright, but adding so many ridiculous conditions to obtaining it that it becomes effectively impossible to actually get, particularly if you’re not wealthy.

    Ohio has now become another state I can’t safely travel to, because my HRT prescriptions aren’t valid there now (I was diagnosed by a psychologist instead of a psychiatrist, my treatment is being overseen by an ob/gyn instead of an endocrinologist, and I’ve never been seen by a bioethicist because obviously you can’t diagnosed without dozens of appointments with three separate specialists) and I’d be eligible for arrest just for having my medications with me in the state.

  8. gVOR10 says:

    @SenyorDave: You don’t get rich by being reasonable and thoughtful.

  9. Stormy Dragon says:


    pointing to possibly imaginary “fly-by-night” clinics

    Admittedly my “christofascist to English” isn’t the best, but I suspect this is an attack on informed consent laws. In most states, adults don’t need to legally fit any particular diagnostic criteria to be prescribed HRT (or any other prescription drug), you just need a doctor to explain what it’s going to do to you, examine you to make sure it’s not going to hurt you, and then monitor you periodically to make sure you’re no experiencing any unexpected side effects.

    Like in my case, I’d been in weekly therapy for eight months when I went to get my prescription, but the gender clinic I’m a patient at really only wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting myself in to and that I was healthy and didn’t gatekeep on the basis of how I decided to come ask for it.

    The goal here is again to leave gender affirming care technically legal, but impossible to access, by making it so (unlike any other medical condition) you need some sort of state approval to access gender affirming care.

  10. steve says:

    I was discussing military issues, sort of, with a MAGA type. He cited numbers projected by Republicans that having trans people in the military would cost billions of dollars. The actually amount being spent averaged $3 million per year through 2021.


  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @steve: Making up the numbers is SOP in today’s GOP.

  12. SenyorDave says:

    @steve: millions, billions, what’s the difference? Just one single letter.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “When I went in the water I knew the chances of somebody even knowing I was in the water were pretty slim. I was pretty pessimistic from the outset,” he said. “I just kept staying alive.”

    Fransen was too exhausted to keep swimming, so endured a cold and difficult night in the water, at one point seeing a shark coming close and having “a sniff” before swimming off.

    “I gave up and just treaded water and watched the beautiful sunset overhead,” he said.

    The angler was saved the next day when the three fishers noticed a reflection in the water and went over in their boat to investigate.

    They found the exhausted and desperate man in the waters off Mayor Island, after he attemped to catch their attention by using the reflection of the sun from his watch.

    Hamilton said he was taken back to Whangamatā and treated for hypothermia and exhaustion.

    “It is an absolute miracle the fisherman is still alive after the ordeal. Without the quick actions of the three gentlemen that retrieved him, this certainly would have had a tragic outcome,” Hamilton said. He thanked the fishers for saving the man’s life, and added that authorities were still looking for his boat.
    “The boat may be missing, but the fisherman still has his watch,” Hamilton added.

    Something tells me he’s gonna keep wearing that watch till the day he dies.

  14. Michael Cain says:

    Monday is supposed to be the launch of the new Vulcan rocket by ULA (half owned by Boeing). In keeping with recent experience, I’m betting on a partial failure due to a Boeing software bug.

  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Like in my case, I’d been in weekly therapy for eight months when I went to get my prescription, but the gender clinic I’m a patient at really only wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting myself in to and that I was healthy and didn’t gatekeep on the basis of how I decided to come ask for it.

    And this is especially important given how much poverty there is in the trans community:

    Almost 30 percent of bisexual women, trans people live in poverty, report finds

    I’m lucky enough that I can afford extensive therapy (although even there, in Missouri, for example, my eight months of weekly therapy would haven’t even been half way to what the state wants for an HRT prescription), but trans people shouldn’t have to shell out thousands of dollars just to be able to get an HRT prescription.

  16. Skookum says:

    A new candidate here in Oregon with no party affiliation? Michael has been my counsel for a nonprofit legal matter. I like him. I was surprised when he announced his bid to become a US Congressperson for Oregon. He’s not in my district, but I will be watching closely. Now here’s a different approach to politics.

  17. Stormy Dragon says:

    On another note:

    I continue to be flabbergasted how I get free Netflix and HBO Max streaming with my Xfinity subscription, and both are seamlessly available through the Xfinity interface, yet they want me to pay for Peacock and it’s a pain in the ass to work with, which makes no sense, because it’s the streaming service OWNED BY THE SAME DAMN COMPANY

  18. Gustopher says:

    Since it’s 1/6 remember: if you get tater tots today, they are Coup Day Tots.

    I am endlessly delighted by a stupid pun, and tater tots.

  19. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    In retail, when a big store offers a discount of any sort, or a free item with the purchase of another, it’s the supplier who bears the costs for that. So maybe the company offers free third party streaming because they get it free themselves, or at a very low rate. But will charge you for their proprietary streaming service, because giving it to themselves for free makes no economic sense.

  20. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    It had better not. The ULA may be the old, stodgy company nobody likes, but the first two Vulcan missions will beat Xlon’s company on cool. The debut mission carries a lunar lander, the second will loft the Dream Chaser mini-shuttle (at long, long last).

    Meantime, the FAA has grounded all the Max 9s in the US, but not the Max 8s.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: NOT FAIR!!!!!!!! I have Xfinity WiFi and cellular service but I only got the chintzy “free” Peacock come on/intro offer. But I’m wondering what’s on Peacock that you’re wanting to watch? I never found anything.

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: 😀 😀 😀 😀

  23. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    At present I want to watch “The Holdovers”, but more broadly most Universal movies show up on Peacock first

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    From our cooking tips department:
    A couple of days ago, Neil was noting that when he pressure cooks beans they sometimes turn out a little crunchy. While I cannot recommend swirling the contents of a pressurized vessel, I am willing to pass on this suggestion that I came across today:

    True Or False: Adding Baking Soda to a Pot of Beans Can Speed Up the Cooking Process

    “Simply put, baking soda has the effect of increasing the alkalinity (opposite of acidity) in the cooking process. When the alkalinity is increased, and acidity decreased, the tough outer skins of beans break down noticeably quicker than without the baking soda,” says Hayward.

    Although you don’t have to add baking soda, if you have the pantry staple around, even a small amount can help tenderize your beans a little quicker. Just don’t add too much, as this can negatively impact the flavor of your beans, leaving a soapy taste or residue.

    “Most people use about 2 teaspoons per pound of beans, however if you are skeptical about adding baking soda to your pot of beans, try just one teaspoon and see the results for yourself!” he says.

    It might also be worthwhile to check specific texts that deal in pressure cooking to see if adding additional water to compensate for boiloff might be advisable. I haven’t pressure cooked anything but rice for decades, but if the problem is from not stirring the beans while cooking, adding more water so the beans stay submerged may be the answer.

    Happy cooking–pressure and otherwise.

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Ah ha! I only watch movies on airplanes. (I don’t watch many movies.)

  26. Kurtz says:


    Claudine Gay didn’t pick up the phone when Bill Ackman called. (NYT) He has donated enough money that his calls should be picked up on the first ring, no matter what.

    If I was offered billions of dollars but in exchange had to develop a god complex, I would keep my current circumstances. (At least I hope I would.)

  27. dazedandconfused says:


    Bad week for this to happen, the week Boeing asked the FAA for an exemption for their shaky nacelle ring?

    Going to get laughed right out of the room now.

  28. Mimai says:


    My response to that offer: Which god?

    More importantly, how’s recovery going?

  29. Kathy says:


    Between the delays and battery fires and engine issues on the 787, the delay with the 777X, and especially the MCAS deathtrap on the 737 MAX, at some point one might wonder what business Boeing has making airplanes.

    BTW, here’s Sylvia Wrigley’s take on the Haneda collision. There will be some issues to work out concerning evacuations. Some technical, some concerning emergency procedures in place.

  30. Kurtz says:


    Pretty well, thank you. Minimal pain since ~24 hrs post-discharge. Range of motion hasn’t completely returned, but seems to get better daily.

    Biggest complaint: sleep quality. Not that my patterns of slumber are ever great, but it’s been tougher to stay asleep than normal. That seems to be improving a bit as well.

    Positive note: I knew that the stones were causing distress after eating sometimes, but I could never pin down specific triggers. So far, my digestion has improved way more than expected.

  31. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    But I’m wondering what’s on Peacock that you’re wanting to watch? I never found anything.

    Premier League soccer. All games. It was free via Peacock until this year. Now not only do you have to pay for Peacock access, they have shifted quite a few games from cable broadcast to Peacock only.

  32. CSK says:


    Glad to hear it.

  33. dazedandconfused says:


    The more I hear the more I blame the controller. The institution of “hold short” and that phrase being acknowledged by the pilot in all clearances to the threshold of an active runway (stemming from terrible incidents as far back as the Canary Island one) has been in force of a decades. While the pilot is not completely absolved, clearing a plane on a special priority to the threshold without a “hold short” and with phrases like “You’re number one”, just begs for trouble. Pilots are so accustomed to being told to hold short not hearing it could easily lead to this misunderstanding.

    I suspect the controller to be young, his staccato, quick-delivery voice being used for ground ops smacks of a kid trying to hone his craft for future terminal (top slot/pay) selection.