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:

    ‘I knew they were hungry’: the stimulus feature that lifts millions of US kids out of poverty

    The devastating shift in 1996 away from cash aid to work-related tax credits was founded upon the view that poverty is a moral deficiency, a form of victim blaming that stems back generations in America. It was signed into law by a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, and received strong backing from Biden, then a US senator from Delaware.

    Biden tried to justify the reform’s tough work requirements by arguing at the time that “too many welfare recipients spend far too long on welfare and do far too little in exchange for their benefits”.

    Today, Biden finds himself at the forefront of a movement that is beginning to undo some of the damage wrought by that legislation he supported 25 years ago. But his about-turn hasn’t come without a shove.

    Until relatively recently, Biden remained agnostic about the idea of addressing child poverty amid the destruction of the pandemic. It took the energetic intervention of a Democratic congresswoman to force the child allowance on to his coronavirus relief package.

    That congresswoman was Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, who has been striving to get subsidies for children on to the statute books for almost two decades. In 2003 she introduced her first “advancement of the child” bill, re-entering it every two years only to see it die repeatedly for lack of political support.

    These were the lonely years in the wilderness when child poverty was considered insignificant. “It wasn’t a question of opposition, it was a question of indifference,” she told the Guardian. “So for a while, yes, I was a lone voice.”

    But she kept her eyes doggedly on the prize, driven by her deep understanding of children in need based on her own personal experiences. When she was nine, her family in New Haven fell on hard times and were evicted from their home. She went to live, like Annie and Howie, with her grandmother. “My family struggled financially for most of my parents’ lives. My own background inspires me to keep pushing,” she said.

    Now all those years of effort have paid dividends. “For the US this is historic,” she said of the new child allowance. “It’s akin to what Franklin Roosevelt did with the New Deal through social security which lifted 90% of seniors out of poverty – President Biden is lifting millions of children out of poverty.”

    I think I’ll send her a “Thankyou” card, and a small contribution.

  2. Teve says:
  3. sam says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Dr. Tom Frieden

    Covid Epi Weekly: An Epidemic of Vaccine Inequity

    As predicted, a US 4th surge appears to be beginning, fueled by variants and reopening. Cases up 7%. Positivity inching up, to 4.7%. Because of vaccination, deaths won’t increase substantially. We must solve vaccine inequity. 1/

  5. Jen says:

    @sam: GOOD. This needs to happen up and down the state. Pull everything of note. Honestly, criminalizing handing out water, what horrid behavior.

    NH’s vaccine distribution process is devolving into a mess as they try and speed things up. My husband was supposed to get his shot yesterday afternoon. The site called and asked if he’d be willing to move his appointment up, he said fine and went.

    While there, he was given a card with his next scheduled vaccination. Ten minutes later, he received an email from the state giving him a completely different date for his second appointment. As he was still there at the vaccination site, he asked which one he should follow. They said “the system’s a mess, just follow the card date.” Fine.

    Last night, he received yet another email saying that since he didn’t show up at his scheduled appointment time for the first shot, his second shot had been cancelled. He now has to spend time trying to sort all of this out.

    What. A. Mess.

  6. Teve says:

    I’m scheduled to get Moderna #2 on 4/20. Which is funny. But since it takes two weeks to finish building the antibodies, that means I’m going to be immune on 5/4–May the Fourth be with me.

  7. Teve says:

    @Jen: my county’s event was held in an enormous field at the fairgrounds and was 50/50 medical personnel and national guard. And dude it ran like freaking clockwork, they were taking a car a minute, everybody was getting stacked into the proper lane, National Guard guys organized the traffic flow, you pulled up to a tent, they stabbed you and gave you instructions about where to go to wait 30 minutes, you got in the queue, a nurse signaled when the next person was timed to leave, it was like a machine.

  8. CSK says:

    @Jen: @Teve:
    Yes; the one at Mass. General Hospital went smoothly as well. You parked (free), went in the main entrance, got directed to a big tent, and were in and out in under a half hour, counting the 15 minute wait afterward.

  9. Teve says:


    It would never have occurred to me that 50 years after my parents set foot on this continent in search of democracy, I would be witnessing a mainstream effort to dismantle it.

  10. Jen says:

    @Teve: @CSK:

    The actual administration of his shot was fine, everything at the site was well organized and ran smoothly. It’s the scheduling of the second shot that is, well, shot to h3ll at this point…

  11. CSK says:

    If I were him, I’d go by the date given on the card. What are they going to do when he shows up for his second shot? Say, “Sorry, this is wrong”?

    I think one of the reasons they’re putting the date for the second shot on the card is that they know the email is screwed up, not just in NH but many places.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    Since the Ever Given, stuck in the Suez Canal, is holding up so much progress, somebody in comments at WAPO wants to rename it the McConnell.

  13. Joe says:

    Honestly, criminalizing handing out water, what horrid behavior.

    And we know who needs water, Jen. People who have to stand in line for hours. If Georgia was concerned that partisans would curry favor with food and water, they could simply provide sufficient voting resources to avoid hours-long lines. Nobody who was just walking in to vote and leave would care who offered them water or food.

  14. Teve says:

    Among the Insurrectionists at the Capitol

    I’m halfway through this amazing (and very long) New Yorker article. At that link they just give you a snippet, but there’s an audio player where you can hear the whole thing read. It’s about an hour and a quarter and completely worth it. Amazing detail and context.

  15. Jen says:

    @Joe: Arizona criminalized leaving water in the desert, which people were doing after many people died attempting illegal crossings.

    I do not understand this, at all. I mean, sure, people are breaking the law, but you don’t sentence them to death for it, nor do you criminalize behavior that is simply humane.

    All from people who like to think of themselves as Good Christians. It makes me ill.

  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    50/50 that 24 hours after Moderna 2 you have a somewhat bad day. Not awful, but not great. OTOH, then you’re superman.

  17. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’m expecting to have a bad day or two. And I might not. But that CT scan I saw of lungs that had been obliterated by Covid…I can handle some muscle aches and a fever.

  18. Teve says:

    The Baller thing is that according to Moderna, after the first shot takes effect, you have 80% protection.

  19. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yeah, NH switched away from the CDC’s VANs system, which was unintuitive and poorly laid out to a new one that is undergoing teething problems. Shades of the Obamacare roll out.

  20. CSK says:

    In my experience, people who go to great lengths to assure you what good Christians they are invariably range from the insufferably self-infatuated to the psychotic/evil.

  21. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yes, that was my experience with Moderna-2.

  22. Jax says:

    Pardon the f bomb, but this is absolutely fucking ridiculous.

    Of the nearly 10 million U.S. women who have been raped while intoxicated, according to background in the court opinion, Moller said most become drunk by choice. She pointed to Khalil’s case to argue that some alleged offenders seek to prey on people in that kind of condition.

  23. Teve says:

    @Jax: I would have quoted this

    A Minnesota man can’t be charged with felony rape because the woman chose to drink beforehand, court rules

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: I mean, sure, people are breaking the law, but you don’t sentence them to death for it,

    Most of whom are guilty of nothing more than a misdemeanor.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I met an attractive young lady in a bar once who demonstrated a very strong attraction to me. As the night wore on, she became ever increasingly inebriated, to the point that I actually worried about her ability to get home without killing anybody including herself. In the end, I drove her home in her vehicle.

    I am not going to lie about my hopes for being suitably rewarded for my “heroic acts” on her behalf.

    When we arrived at her apartment it was obvious she was incapable of even climbing into her bed without my help. After putting her fully clothed body into bed, I slept on the couch. In the morning, she showed no interest in helping me return to my vehicle and I ended up calling a friend to come and get me.

    I felt like a complete sucker and yet it never occurred to me to rape her.

    I’m not sure what that says other than I had sisters who would have beat me to death if I had done different.

  26. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Good on you. I’ve been in that situation a couple of times in my (cough cough) wilder stage….with the exception of “that one time”, the situations ended similarly to yours. I was little kinder about at least giving them a ride home, though. 😉 Two of them even became lifelong friends.

  27. Mimai says:

    A perverse version of the “if a woman wore jeans, it’s impossible that she was raped.” That ruling inspired Denim Day. I hope this ruling is similarly inspirational.

  28. Jax says:

    @Teve: Yeah, probably. The 10 million women who just got told they were raped and there’s nothing the court can do about it in Minnesota kinda took my breath away. And I still haven’t figured out how the link thing works, it always sends my comment to moderation or doesn’t link at all when I click that button. Quote works, but not link. 😉

  29. Teve says:

    The fucked up thing is that according to Minnesota State law, this was the correct ruling. A person is only judged to be mentally incapacitated, according to Minnesota state law, if they have been administered substances by someone else against their will.

  30. CSK says:

    There’s a bipartisan bill to change the law that’s in the works, though it hasn’t advanced to the state senate.

    This is antediluvian thinking: A man has the right to rape an impaired woman. Jesus.

  31. Teve says:

    @CSK: Patriarchy? Sexism? Why do you hate America, commie?

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Heh. Not sure if this fits, but I am reminded of a night at the Mint Bar in Sheridan when a statuesque and full figured women (a powder monkey in the mines) of some stamina got into a discussion about extra circular night time activities with the bartender, who while no shrinking violet and not necessarily diminutive stature, said something along the lines of, “Well, if you can pick me up and carry me out of here, you can have your way with me!”

    She did, and from the sheepish look on his face the next day, she did.

  33. Gustopher says:

    A couple of friends of mine are going to an Indian Reservation to get their Covid shots, facilitated by a friend of theirs who works at the casino, so they can skip ahead a bit in our phase system (he would qualify in a few days, she would not for the next month). One works from home, the other doesn’t work and hasn’t in years.

    I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I hope they get the full whammy of side effects from the vaccine. On the other hand, I hope their car breaks down and they are stuck on the side of the road.

    Meanwhile, there are empty vaccination slots in some of the red counties. I would have no objection to them committing whatever fraud they want to so they can use one of those slots.

  34. Gustopher says:

    I also think the vaccinations should be allocated based on use — weird red area cannot get people to come get vaccinated, they get fewer doses next week…

    Maybe they will get angry about not getting their “fair” share of the allocation, and the residents will start showing up to get vaccinated just to stick it to those libtards trying to take their vaccine supply… that would be great.

  35. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: That’s exactly where we’re at, here. So many Trumpies won’t take the shots, but the shots are still coming.

    I literally DO NOT CARE where you are from, if I can help facilitate a shot in your arm, I’m contributing to the greater good.

    My “I do not give one flying fuck” attitude is exacerbated by Dr. Deborah Birx indicating we could’ve saved 400,000 lives…..if only….

    Fuck her, and the President she rode in on. Let’s get everybody shots.

  36. Teve says:

    Joyner highlighted a round table discussion he held last week with fellow MorningStar Ministries members, an organization he helped create in 1985. Joyner claimed there was unanimous agreement that “our last election was stolen and it was something that we can’t just let go. We have lost our country. We have lost our republic if we lose the integrity of the elections and this was the worst voting fraud in our country’s history.”

    “Trump really won by a huge margin,” Joyner stressed, offering no corroborating evidence of the unfounded claim. “Maybe one of the biggest margins ever. How did it get stolen from us like it did?”

    pastor Rick Joyner urges American Christians to prepare for Civil War

  37. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: I qualify in a couple of days, and am entirely content to wait my turn so long as we don’t have excess capacity going to waste — I work from home and live alone so even though I have several comorbidities, I am more likely to get sick and die from food poisoning in my filthy kitchen than I am to get covid.

    Once I get the vaccine, I should get a housekeeper again. Or I should just clean my kitchen now.

  38. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: They’ll start sorting themselves out soon enough, I expect. Eventually only those who are unvaccinated will be in the hospitals.

    I’m glad you are tee’d up for your shot!

    I’m quite looking forward to fall. I have concert tickets to Tennessee to see a band I love play in a cave. Still not sure whether we’re driving or flying.