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:

    Three years ago Alejandra Juarez fell victim to Donald Trump’s cruelty as the wife of a decorated US Marine Corps veteran and mother of two young US citizen daughters was deported to Mexico under the former president’s zero-tolerance immigration policies.

    On Saturday Juarez will rejoin her family in Florida as one of the first beneficiaries of a humanitarian program set up by Joe Biden’s administration to reunify parents Trump separated from their children.

    But while Juarez’s Mother’s Day weekend reunion with daughters Pamela, 19, Estela, 11, and husband Temo will close a lengthy, painful journey of isolation and depression, she sees it as a door opening for other families torn apart by deportation.
    Juarez self-deported in 2018 after Trump implemented his no-tolerance approach, and before authorities could enforce a removal order issued against her. She rented an apartment in Mexico with Estela while her husband remained in Florida to run his roofing business and allow Pamela to finish high school, but with money running out and two households to run, visits to Mexico became less frequent.

    When the coronavirus pandemic struck, Juarez said, her jobs teaching English slowed up and Estela returned to Florida. The knowledge her daughters were growing up without their mother, she said, caused her depression for which she needed therapy.
    “They need my cooking and they already told me what they want for breakfast on Sunday, so I’ll go grocery shopping like I always did, make breakfast for all of them and go to church like we used to,” she said. “I just want to enjoy my house and my family again.”

  2. CSK says:

    Elise Stefanik is not a darling of the Trumpkins:

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    An Ohio state senator used a virtual background of his home office in an apparent attempt to conceal the fact that he was driving during a Zoom meeting – on the same day a bill to ban distracted driving was introduced.

    Andrew Brenner might have succeeded in fooling the meeting with the state’s controlling board, were it not for the seatbelt strapped across his chest, glimpses of the road behind him and the constant turning of his head as he changed lanes.

    The footage of the meeting, which was streamed live to the public via the state’s broadcaster on Monday, came on the same day Ohio legislators introduced a bill to crack down on dangerous driving, including introducing penalties for texting and livestreaming while behind the wheel.
    “I wasn’t distracted. I was paying attention to the driving and listening to it [the meeting],” he said. “And I’ve actually been on other calls, numerous calls, while driving. Phone calls for the most part, but on video calls, I’m not paying attention to the video. To me, it’s like a phone call.”

    Perfectly safe, yes.

    Brenner’s multitasking joins the growing ranks of professionals who have pushed the boundaries of acceptable Zoom behaviour during the pandemic, ranging from the morally precarious to the downright hilarious.

    Last month, Rebecca Saldaña, a Democratic state senator in Washington, apologised after joining a Zoom hearing while driving, the Seattle Times reported, while in February, a California plastic surgeon came under an ethics investigation after appearing at a virtual traffic court hearing from an operating theatre.

    Meanwhile, the Canadian MP William Amos apologised after appearing stark naked during a virtual parliamentary session last month, covering his private parts with a phone as he stood between the flags of Quebec and Canada after his laptop camera accidentally turned on during the call. And a Texas lawyer went viral in February after he was left unable to undo a Zoom filter during a hearing and had to inform the judge that he was not a cat.


  4. Teve says:
  5. Kathy says:

    The big news today, for me, is my TV decided to retire, or is terminally ill, or dead. The end result is the same: it won’t turn on.

    I don’t know whether to try to get it repaired, or buy a new one.

    It’s the third TV that dies on me in about 25 years. This is getting intolerable.

  6. Teve says:
  7. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: You might want to use a good surge protector. Although most power strips claim some amount of surge protection, the technology used dies a little bit each time it kills a surge, eventually rendering them useless as a surge protector but appearing just fine. Some newer models will stop functioning as outlets once their surge protection is depleted, so you will know they need to be changed.

  8. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I’ve gone through three flat screens in the last twelve years. Meanwhile, I have a giant console tv in storage that still worked when I put it in storage. It took a lot of adapters to make it work with my satellite box, but it did work!!

    Appliances, from refrigerators to TV’s, don’t seem to last as long as they used to.

  9. @Teve:

    Facebook, Amazon, and Google aren’t monopolies.

  10. The Covid-19 situation in India continues to look like a disaster in slow motio

  11. Michael Cain says:


    Appliances, from refrigerators to TV’s, don’t seem to last as long as they used to.

    Blame the rise of the microcontroller. Your refrigerator is a microcontroller with a bunch of software and some specialized peripheral equipment. The microcontroller runs on 5V DC. To get from your relatively noisy household 120V AC to a nice clean 5V DC, there’s a (usually switching) power supply in the refrigerator. Almost invariably built into the same printed circuit board with the microcontroller. Switching power supplies require some large-value filter capacitors. The only affordable capacitors that big are electrolytics. Seven to eight years is a pretty good life for those devices. Manufacturers change their board designs every five years and quit making the old design.

    This leads to the increasingly common situation where a power supply capacitor fails, without power the microcontroller isn’t running, the refrigerator appears “dead”, the repairman comes and tells you that it’s the control board, the manufacturer doesn’t make replacements, the old inventory has been exhausted, so you’re just screwed. If you’re one of the fortunate few whose power supply fails soon enough, there are still boards available. About $300 plus labor. It’s a terrific scam. It’s one of the reasons I’m a big proponent of right-to-repair, including making the manufacturer put the controller schematics, bill of materials, and software in escrow, to go into the public domain the day the manufacturer quits producing the part.

    The last time we visited the rural Kansas inlaws, everyone was staggered to come down one morning to find my deep-red nephew and I agreeing on right-to-repair and how we might force the politicians of both parties to adopt sane policies on it. He was coming at it from diesel farm equipment, but same concept.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @Doug Mataconis: It’s a good point, although at least Amazon has some monopoly power due to sheer size. They need to be subject to regulation for different reasons.

    Facebook hides behind the law that says they are not responsible for what people post, because they are just a “bulletin board” and others create the content. But they actively push specific content towards users, favoring one post over another. This can lead to a spiral of hateful and misleading information filling a persons feed, with no alternative sources allowed. It seems to me that if a company selects content and deliberately puts it in front of people, they can no longer claim they are merely passive and so should be protected.

    Google, and thousands of other companies are tracking and selling deeply personal information about virtually ever web user in the world, and even about people who are only discussed by other web users such as elderly relatives. This should be a regulated area, with crippling fines for the companies who are repeat offenders and prison terms for the executives. After all, if companies are people, those companies should be able to be sent to jail.

    Finally, Amazon promotes products in their web site but does little to ensure they are what they claim to be. You ask for, say, a popular charging station from Belkin, but the actual seller Amazon puts in front of you in response to a search on their website may be a Chinese manufacturer making knockoffs that will damage your phone or someone who is taking used goods and repackaging them. It seems to me Amazon is abetting fraud.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Cain:

    He was coming at it from diesel farm equipment, but same concept

    A farmer or farmer adjacent I presume? If so, yet another data point in the “conservatives become liberals whenever something affects them directly” hypothesis

  14. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Michael Cain: Right to repair is an incredibly delicious idea. I had a Samsung refrigerator that died after 5 years and I was told the control board was no longer in production–so I had to buy a new fridge.

    Yet another rent-seeking scam brought to you courtesy of Corporate America and Congress.

  15. Mimai says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Thanks for posting this. I have good friends who live in Chennai, one of whom is connected to the hospital system. It is indeed bad. Very very bad.

    I’ve looked into various relief efforts and GiveIndia has risen to the top for me. They have different efforts you can donate to (the oxygen one is likely to have the biggest immediate impact wrt lives saved).

    Note: I have zero connection to them, just thought I’d put it out here in case people are so inclined to donate.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: yet another data point in the “conservatives become liberals whenever something affects them directly” hypothesis

    This is not a case of that. Long before the first steam tractor tilled a field, farmers were fixing their own bought and paid for equipment, something they continued to do on a daily basis right up until the advent of computerized controls. At that point the manufacturers put a clause in the sale contracts that if any “unauthorized personnel” worked on the machinery all warranties were null and void, because even if he owned the machine, he was only granted a use license of the software. (sound familiar?)

    Either last year or the year before some legislators in Nebraska put a bill together to end this practice and right up until the week before the vote it looked like it would pass. Then the heavy hitters (John Deere, Kubota, etc) came to town and killed it in the crib.

  17. Netanyahu was unable to form a government so Israel’s President is giving Bibi’s chief opposition thr opportunity to form a government. He will likely fail as well. Meaning that Israel could be headed for a fifth election in less than three years.

  18. Kurtz says:


    This should be a regulated area, with crippling fines for the companies who are repeat offenders and prison terms for the executives. After all, if companies are people, those companies should be able to be sent to jail.

    This has been my saying for quite some time. If you can’t imprison it, it ain’t a person.

  19. Mimai says:

    @Michael Cain: Do you work in the semiconductor field?

  20. Kathy says:


    It’s plugged into a regulated power supply with surge protector. I don’t think that’s the problem.

    And it is still drawing power. The little pilot light on the ON/OFF button is as bright red as ever. It just won’t turn on.

  21. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Teve: This is the Konservative playbook: centralized corporate power and decentralized governmental power. Who do you think has an inherent advantage in that matchup?

    This is also why the Chinese are better positioned to impose their will on America as long as they can execute their plans short of combat. While we are doing (our current version of) Democracy–having conversations and debates (and doing nothing), they can marshal resources and execute their plan on a point of contention far faster than we can. If you study military theory–its sort of the same concept as the OODA loop.

    Corporate America, indeed international business, can outpace governments with ease at the expense of consumers and citizens. They’ve got the capital, capital maneuverability, and the influence. Everything created by men has a dark side, and once created it will, over the long haul, trends towards that dark side.

    The primary advantage of democracy is it can be responsive to those trends and course correct. Monopolies and firms with almost total market share are good things in the short to mid term within emerging industries, they develop a body of knowledge, best practices, and consumer efficiencies that are critical to making new business models profitable. Over the long term, they need to die yield to several smaller firms so more people make more money.

    Ive never understood the government’s advocacy of corporate efficiency and productivity–those were the fatal flaws in communism. We don’t want 1 (or 2) hardware companies in town–we want 6. Thats 6 managers and staffs splitting market share for that town vs 2 which means we have 6 upper middle class families instead of 2. ”

    Efficiency” and productivity only make sense if your goal is to transfer more capital to shareholders and create plutocrats

  22. Sleeping Dog says:


    This is an under appreciated problem for R’s, beyond TFG, the cult has no one who they view as a legitimate political heir. Having TFG’s imprimatur isn’t enough to gain the cult’s love.

  23. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Yup. I was struck by one of the Trumpist quotes in the article. The guy pointed out that Trump likes Stefanik not because of her policies, but because she kissed up to him. If Liz Cheney had said wonderful things about him, Trump wouldn’t care if she advocated communism.

    It should be obvious to more of the Trumpkins that he only likes people who slobber over him. Ideology has zero to do with it. If Ilhan Omar were to start lavishing praise on Trump, he’d be telling us all how great she is.

    And if the NYTImes wrote a favorable piece about Trump (something he’s yearned for all his life), the NYTimes would become, for Trump, the greatest newspaper in the history of the world rather than “the failing NYTimes.”

  24. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’d advice them to take a page from the Roman Republic playbook, and appoint someone dictator for six months. But what are the odds the Knesset would agree on someone?

  25. MarkedMan says:


    Ideology has zero to do with it.

    But ideology has zero to do with why Trumpkins like Trump. I think primarily they are looking for an Alpha Male type* to rally around. They slobber over him themselves, so anyone who doesn’t make with the slobber is an enemy.

    *The fact that they find Trump to be an Alpha Male is… interesting. To me he has always come across as little more than a petulant buffoon. The idea that anyone could look upon him and see anything other than a profoundly stupid, ignorant and morally bankrupt individual who has never succeeded at anything he initiated, well, it just astounds me.

  26. gVOR08 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    This is the Konservative playbook: centralized corporate power and decentralized governmental power. Who do you think has an inherent advantage in that matchup?

    Back in the 50s J. K. Galbraith talked of “countervailing power”, that tension between two or more centers of power produced better outcomes than a single, dominant center of power. And that the only institutions that could oppose big corporations were big unions and big government. Corporations have since pretty well eliminated big unions, and they’re working on big government.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:


    And if the NYTImes wrote a favorable piece about Trump…

    The Times should try a laudatory article on TFG, some year, say on April 1.

  28. CSK says:

    The best I can figure is that they mistake being a loudmouthed oaf with being a tough guy. They claim to love him because “he fights.” And he’s a real American–a boob and a boor.

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I don’t think he’d get the joke.

  29. Kathy says:


    Well, didn’t he fall in love with an actual communist tyrant who flattered him?


    He does act like an alpha male, if we’re talking about monkeys: he makes a lot of noise and throws his own sh*t around.

  30. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Had a Vizio TV (flat screen, semi-smart) that responded the same way. Power light on, but no picture/sound. Accidently left it on for 10-15 minutes, and it bounced back to life. I said WTF?
    Turned out that the TV was downloading and installing new firmware during that 10-15 minute period. However the TV failed to tell me that was what was going on.

  31. CSK says:

    That proves my point, doesn’t it? Back in 2015, Putin said that Trump was “smart” (or words to that effect). Immediately Trump was all over Putin like a bad rash, referring to him as the “highly respected” (one of Trump’s favorite locutions back then) Vladimir Putin.

    Putin knew that all you had to do in order to manipulate Trump was flatter him.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Is your remote broken? I was using a Roku Streaming Stick on my small TV that worked fine until the remote failed for some reason.

    (Replacing the remote turned out NOT to be a solution though. The model number my remote was had fallen out of production and the new remotes were not compatible to the old streaming stick. On the other hand, I replaced a 19 inch TV with a 40 inch for only about $25 or $30 more than the new streaming stick would have been. [shrug…])

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “conservatives become liberals whenever something affects them directly?” Hmmm… an argument that conservatives ARE human after all. Who knew?

    “‘Efficiency’ and productivity only make sense if your goal is to transfer more capital to shareholders and create plutocrats.” Depending on who “your” is, it seems to me that transferring more capital and creating plutocrats IS the goal. Government is simply the agent which facilitates “your” in achieving that goal.

  34. flat earth luddite says:

    Wow, she’s called out as RINO? Let the bloodletting begin!

  35. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Bloodletting indeed. Matt (I Like ‘Em Young! Really Young!) Gaetz and Marjorie (Jewish Space Lasers) Taylor Greene kicked off their “America First” tour at The Villages in Florida today. They’re calling for a purge of all the RINOs, Deep Staters, and Globalists in the Republican Party.

  36. Gustopher says:


    *The fact that they find Trump to be an Alpha Male is… interesting. To me he has always come across as little more than a petulant buffoon. The idea that anyone could look upon him and see anything other than a profoundly stupid, ignorant and morally bankrupt individual who has never succeeded at anything he initiated, well, it just astounds me.

    On the other hand, if you can act like a complete buffoon, and no one can effectively call you out on it… that’s some pretty alpha male dominance right there.

    Once again I am reminded of a quote from Sin City (Movie and comic book);

    Power don’t come from a badge or a gun. Power comes from lying. Lying big, and gettin’ the whole damn world to play along with you. Once you got everybody agreeing with what they know in their hearts ain’t true, you’ve got ’em by the balls.

  37. dazedandconfused says:


    That’s why I don’t agree with the people who say Trump is stupid. He’s a gifted con-man. What the Rain Man is with numbers Trump is with BS.

  38. Kathy says:


    I seem to remember a party in Germany or the USSR that had their share of loons and perverts…

  39. Sleeping Dog says:
  40. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Yes, Trump has been effusive in his thanks to the “great patriots” of Windham.

  41. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Isaving up to order my ‘secret Jewish space laser force’ lapel pin. Mazel tough!

    Btw, where do I buy a ticket to AVOID their tour?

  42. Kathy says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Btw, where do I buy a ticket to AVOID their tour?

    Have you tried SpaceX?

  43. Michael Cain says:

    @Mimai: Used to work in an industry that was semiconductor-dependent, doing a variety of forecasting chores about what would be available in the future and what kind of products/services would be enabled. Now just an informed hobbyist’s interest.

  44. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    I’d love to help you, but I can’t seem to find out what their next stop is, nor indeed any of their prospective locations thereafter.

    Perhaps they just plan to show up at places unannounced?

  45. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..Perhaps they just plan to show up at places unannounced?

    Maybe they will follow the lead of
    Jill Stein.
    Green Party POTUS Candidate Jill Stein Flies To Wrong City

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Sometimes, the only thing that makes sense is to root for casualties. 🙁

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    And now for something completely different.Tawny Kitaen 1961-2021 R.I.P.

  48. Teve says:

    Actual, literal words said by a customer at the furniture store today:

    “Yeah we’re going to take the love seat. And I’m gonna pay for it with money I earned, not with a $600 handout or some other Democrat money. They need to stop giving these lazy-asses money and then they’d have to go back to work.”

  49. Kathy says:

    I understand, intellectually, that immunity from a vaccine does not depend even a little on whether or not you experience side effects from the shot. Such side effects are the innate immune system reacting to what it perceives to be a pathogen, and has nothing to do with the antibodies and T cells and memory B cells formed in reaction to the spike proteins by the adaptive immune system.

    And yet, I would like a sign that the vaccine is working. Any sign. Other than “I understand, intellectually, that immunity from a vaccine…”

    Alas, there aren’t any. Ribosomes in your cells make proteins all the time (that’s why they exist to begin with). We’re just taking advantage to get them to make SARS-CoV2 spike proteins. If we noticed the usual protein-making work of the ribosomes, we’d be aware of it 24/7 for life. As it is, it’s not noticeable nor does it make any sound.

  50. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: “Man, those Democrats. Filthy socialists. Listen, if you have any of that filthy Democrat money, just give it to me, I’ll get rid of it for you.”

  51. Sleeping Dog says:


    The proper reply would be to point out that the $600 was from TFG and you didn’t appreciate them not giving him credit.

  52. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: the proper reply, in this case, was to realize a) this was the last day of my first week on the job, and b) at least one of my 3 bosses is a Trumper and possibly one or two more of them, and c) i lucked into a sales job that’s going to pay me more than both the median income in the county and more than I’ve made at my last 5 jobs, so d) just nod and smile and shut it and mentally calculate my commission.


    I made big mistakes when I was younger with jobs and periods of unemployment and depression and arrests and alcoholism and DUIs, and it was like a double bank shot to get this job. I shouldn’t have been able to go to college but I talked my way in. I shouldn’t have been able to get this job but I talked my way in. I am absolutely, positively, not talking my way out of this job.

    If you can sell $4,000 5-piece sectionals and $5,000 Temput-pedic mattresses you can make decent money without a professional degree. But a crucial skill is knowing when to zip it.

    I don’t give a fuck if every mattress I sell is to a Proud Boy with a thin blue line tattoo on his forehead, I’m finally getting out of grinding poverty. I’ll be able to fix some molars and the AC on my car. 😛

    Sorry, it’s been a stressful week.

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    But a crucial skill is knowing when to zip it.

    Good observation. But it does cause me to wonder why the customer who I told had nothing wrong with him that beating him with a longshoring hook and leaving him for dead in the lettuce cooler (and, yes, this is a true story) always asked for me to help him specifically when he came to the warehouse after that day. (And we actually had a pretty good relationship from then on. [shrug emoji here])

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: And congratulations on the new job. 😀

  55. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: a lot of sales is about trust. People will pay out the yin-yang if they trust you. And I’m not talking about some kind of dishonest trust where you schmooze them and then rape their wallets, I mean, if they know you’re being honest with them, they will let you charge them a decent margin. A couple decades ago I knew a guy who had been in the car business who would do a lot of research on what the car cost the dealership and then let the salesman have $1000 extra because he knew that if he gave the salesman a decent profit, the salesman wouldn’t try to lie to him, or rip him off on x, y, and z. It was like a reciprocal respect.

  56. Teve says:

    I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that Ashley sofa is real leather when it’s faux leather. and you’re going to appreciate that when you choose a real leather sofa and pay another $1,000 and in five years it’s not cracking and splitting and you decide to come back and outfit your daughter’s room with me. And we both benefit.

  57. Teve says:

    The very best salesman I ever saw was a big black guy from Jacksonville named Martell. He never lied, and he never bullshitted you, but he never, ever, ever talked price. He talked value. How this would fix your problem and how this would solve the difficulty you were having and how this would improve your life. And he explained to me, people will pay money for value. The most important thing is to show them the value of the product. If people believed in the value, they would pay the money for it.

    The surprising thing you learn in retail after a decade or so is that the old adage is true, you really do get what you pay for. If you pay crap you get crap. If you pay good money you get good stuff.

    *obviously there are exceptions, yada yada.

  58. gVOR08 says:

    I apparently missed a good article at WAPO because the title sounded like another round of “Isn’t Liz Cheney Brave”, but Digby has the highlights. Says GOP polling shows Trump’s killing them, but they’re withholding the data from each other. I commented a few days ago that I hoped Liz Cheney was working under advice from her very competent asshole father that Trump would fade. Don’t know if her heartless (literally) daddy is advising her, but she’s making very calculated moves.

    Of course the GOPs all know the big secret now that WAPO printed it, and they probably all suspected it, but that doesn’t change that individually a word from Trump can cost them a primary.

  59. Kurtz says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    No White Snake video?

  60. Kurtz says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    From your link:

    The selectmen in Windham voted 3-1 last month to pick Mark Lindeman with Verified Voting, rejecting demands from Trump supporters to choose Jovan Hutton Pulitzer.

    Hahahahahahahahaha. Jovan… Oh man. Hah hahahaha. I think I hav-hahahahhahahaha. Okay, okay… I–hehehe.. I–Hehe… I’m good.

  61. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: The more I hear the stories from you and Luddite, the more I think I’d like to corner you up with some free-flowing beer and just hear ALLLLLL the stories. 😛

  62. Gustopher says:


    I don’t give a fuck if every mattress I sell is to a Proud Boy with a thin blue line tattoo on his forehead, I’m finally getting out of grinding poverty. I’ll be able to fix some molars and the AC on my car.

    You shouldn’t be grinding your molars just because you’re in poverty. Congrats on the new gig.

    I hope you steered that Trumper towards something expensive, well-made and trendy. Something that will look out of date in a few years, but will hold up forever so there’s never a need to replace it.

    The finest, sturdiest turquoise leopard skin print sectional ever made.

    Something that will outlast his marriage when the wife wants to replace a “perfectly good sofa” and they argue about money.

  63. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Actually, beer not needed (although I do appreciate a good porter, and Cracker likes ciders). Couple of good cigars and a bottle of decent scotch… Hey, we’re easy, and (relatively) cheap.

  64. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    And @Jax, his hook story is gospel. The guy he threatened tracked me down 20 years later, wanted to know if I could track Cracker down. He wanted Cracker to manage his operation.