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. CSK says:
  2. CSK says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    My wife and I had to go to STL yesterday. Sat outside a Texas Roadhouse for about a half hour and watched the comings and goings in the jam packed parking lot. Can only conclude that the food there is just to die for.

    I weep for our species, may all other species live long and prosper.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:


    …the food there is just to die for.

    Hmmm, the idea of Texas Roadhouse as a last meal, is unappealing.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘I was fearful for my safety’: St Louis health official speaks out on racist abuse

    A top public health official in a St Louis suburb has spoken out after he was targeted by racist abuse at a council meeting on re-introducing mask mandates to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

    “I’ve been to many council meetings where we’ve had tense conversations. Never has it spilled over into this anger, vitriol and directed abuse to the point where I was fearful for my own safety,” Dr Faisal Khan, acting director of public health for St Louis County, told the Guardian.

    “All we asked was for people to wear a mask indoors as they went about their business, whether they wanted to crowd a hundred people in a church or meeting space.”
    “As I walked into the room, I saw hundreds of people were crammed in. Almost no one was wearing masks,” Khan said. “Some people had children in their laps. So my first thought, as a medical epidemiologist, was, ‘Dear God, this is a superspreader event.’”

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’ve never eaten there but judging from the parking lot they seem to have found the sweet spot between bland and burned that is a perfect fit for the American palate.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Dan Rather@DanRather
    Who’s going to tell her?

    Elise Stefanick

    Today’s anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid reminds us to reflect on the critical role these programs have played to protect the healthcare of millions of families. To safeguard our future, we must reject socialist healthcare schemes.

  8. Teve says:


    Around Independence Day, State Rep. Bill Kidd, from the Kansas City suburbs, revealed that he has been infected by the coronavirus.

    “And no, we didn’t get the vaccine,” he wrote in a post that has since been deleted. “We’re Republicans ”

    State Rep. Brian Seitz, a Republican from Taney County, home to the tourist destination of Branson, commented on the post by falsely claiming that the virus had been developed by top government scientist Anthony Fauci and billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates. They “knew what was coming,” Seitz wrote.

    “The jury is still out on the ‘vaccine’ (who knows what’s in that),” he wrote.

    “And if you look to the left of the boat, you will see a herd of Cletuses in their natural habitat—buying scratchers at the Eagle Stop”

  9. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @OzarkHillbilly:

    Read the article I linked to above from about not getting the vaccine in Missouri.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez@AOC
    When you accidentally let your billionaire funder-talk slip out on TV, you say things like “a healthy ruling class”

    Justin Baragona
    · Jul 29
    JD Vance says that the country is run by “childless cat ladies” who don’t have a “direct stake in it,” specifically naming Pete Buttigieg and AOC.

    “If we want a healthy ruling class, we should support more people who actually have kids.”

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mikel Jollett@Mikel_Jollett
    Told my niece the delta variant was as contagious as chicken pox and she said, “What’s chicken pox?”

    “Well, see, there was a vaccine…”

    Chef’s kiss

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Misery is no longer the “Show-Me state”. It is now the “Show-You” state,

  13. Teve says:


    “As I walked into the room, I saw hundreds of people were crammed in. Almost no one was wearing masks,” Khan said. “Some people had children in their laps. So my first thought, as a medical epidemiologist, was, ‘Dear God, this is a superspreader event.’”

    “My next thought was, are these people actually yelling at me to ‘go back where you came from!’ Holy shit, they are. Why the fuck am I living in Missouri?”

  14. Teve says:
  15. Sleeping Dog says:


    See @James post on Duterte’s comments on the unvaccinated.

  16. de stijl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Sleeping Dog:

    I need to offer a strong defense to joints like Texas Roadhouse.

    They do what they do well enough. They make enough to survive.

    It isn’t great by any means but it always decent enough. They put idiots and newbies on the grill with processes and procedures installed to ensure that most folks are satisfied with the finished product. Corporate has thought this through.

    Many a time I have hit up chain mid-range restaurants. I am promised a fairly decent meal and chances are great that they will actually deliver on that promise.

    There is zero shame about a Texas Roadhouse. It does what it does. Decently enough.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I have seen plenty of Q flags around here but yesterday I saw my first Q bumper sticker. Small, not overly ostentatious, and stuck on the back hatch of a Prius in such a way as to disappear among the car logos.

    Make what you will of that.

  18. CSK says:

    I’m gobsmacked. A Prius sporting a QAnon bumper sticker????

  19. de stijl says:

    I am of the type and personality to obsess about spendy food. I indulge that every now and again.

    I also like Dominoes’ pizza.

    When overseas nobody except Italy can produce a decent pizza. At all. It’s kinda baffling.

    Swedish pizza is fucking terrifyingly bad.

    When I get home I want a Hawaiian extra sauce.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: My jab is not aimed at TR, it is a business here for the sole reason of making a profit. They do so by catering to the avg American palate and from what I have seen of their parking lots, they do it well.

    My jab is aimed at the avg American Palate, which leans towards McDonalds, Applebees, and Crackerbarrel. And while I have eaten at all 3 and may yet eat at all 3 again, I would not search one of them out in Palma, Mallorca*.

    *true story

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: No shit.

  22. Teve says:

    Q stickers on a Prius is Diversity.

  23. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: AOC replied to Stefanick,

    Totally agree.

    In fact, to further protect Medicare from socialism, let’s strengthen it to include dental, vision, hearing, & mental healthcare and then allow all Americans to enjoy its benefits.

    Trust me, Medicare for All is the #1 thing you can do to own the socialists

  24. de stijl says:

    How did a virus get politicized?

    We are on a bad path.

    I fear for our future.

  25. CSK says:
  26. OzarkHillbilly says:
  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Conservatives don’t like paying for gas but still want to make a profit off of everybody else buying gas?

  28. de stijl says:


    No worries! I was riffing off your comment not criticizing.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: Yeah I saw that. AOC has a black belt in twitter-fu.

  30. Teve says:

    @CSK: so i looked at the actual numbers in the poll and Ted Cruz gets a national average of 4.41% so a small divergence among Prius owners looks like a big % increase, but is a small absolute increase. The poll finding that 86% of electric car owners supported Democrats is a more robust finding.

  31. CSK says:


    I don’t know. It’s strange. I mean, Ted Cruz??? Bernie Sanders? Sure. Hillary Clinton? Fine. But Ted Cruz????

  32. CSK says:


    Ah, okay. That makes sense. Thank you.

  33. Teve says:

    As bad as you think Facebook is, they’re worse than that. I heard this on a podcast last night as I was falling asleep and had to look it up this morning. You’ve heard of Pegasus, the Israeli spyware that oppressive governments were using to spy on dissidents?

  34. Mimai says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @CSK: @Teve:

    Back when I was commuting regularly, I’d frequently see this Prius on my route. It had two (!!) bumper stickers extolling the beauty, necessity, etc. of coal. Coal.

    I don’t think they were being ironic. And the stickers were positioned with care, so I don’t think it was a tagging. It disoriented me the first several times I saw it. People are complex.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mimai: Cognitive dissonance is infectious.

  36. steve says:

    Major GDP growth that didnt seem to get reported widely. Too much emphasis on CRT and the horror of wearing masks. The economy has now grown past pre-pandemic levels. Dare we grant any of that success to the Biden team?

    Wife and I are non-discriminating foodies. While we gravitate towards Asian and Middle eastern cuisines we do love good latin/Hispanic foods. Recently had a Dominican* and a Peruvian place open nearby and have already made friends with the owners. Take my god-daughter to the local Greek restaurant (she loves their food) where the waitresses dance with her. But you cant eat exotic all of the time. Sometimes I just want meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Then meatloaf sandwiches the next day with the leftovers. I think Texas Roadhouse, I go there when I work late at one of our outlying hospitals since it is just next door and the other option is Arby’s, is actually OK. Nothing great, nothing awful.

    The Domincan place only ever has one person who speaks English. She is usually busy. I know what a lot fo the stuff is but a lot I dont yet. Always fun to point at something you arent sure about and give it a try. Usually, not always, a nice surprise.


  37. Teve says:

    @steve: dominican has some great stews.

  38. Jax says:

    @steve: This is purely anecdotal, but I shared the GDP growth article with a conservative friend of mine, and he seems to be back on the pre-Trump “None of those numbers are accurate” line they were using during all of the Obama years. This applies across all economic indicators of the recovery, from what I can tell. And if there is anything positive that can be attributed to Biden, he has the “He didn’t build that, Trump did” mentality.

  39. wr says:

    @de stijl: “Swedish pizza is fucking terrifyingly bad.”

    Not once you’ve tried pizza in Beijing…

    And now that I come to think of it, I’ve had multiple lovely pizza dinners at a restaurant in Visby on Gotland. But it’s owned and run by Italians…

  40. Michael Cain says:

    @CSK: My (admittedly limited) understanding is that QAnon proper has said remarkably little about climate change, but that the change deniers are adopting QAnon positions heavily in order to gain followers.

  41. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    I think you’re right. They seem to have latched onto anti-vaxxing as their latest cause. Qanon in general seems to be now about opposing whatever the “elites” say.

    It’s interesting that Q himself or herself stopped communicating last December.

  42. Teve says:

    I know he’s got disability from that car wreck, but Madison Cawthorn’s handwriting is still disturbing, and the content matches the penmanship.

  43. senyordave says:

    “And if you look to the left of the boat, you will see a herd of Cletuses in their natural habitat—buying scratchers at the Eagle Stop”
    Wins the internet for the day! What are a group of Cletuses called? Should be something odd but also take into account the mental faculties (or lack thereof). Already taken are:
    Shrewdness of apes
    Squadron of manta rays
    Sounder of boars
    Bloat of hippopotamuses
    Barren of mules
    Maybe an imbecile of cletuses?

  44. Teve says:

    @senyordave: a Monster Truck Rally of Cletuses?

  45. Mimai says:

    @senyordave: @Teve:

    A Fleet(es) of Cletus(es)

  46. CSK says:

    @senyordave: @Teve:
    Would an ultrasound reveal the presence in the uterus of a…Cletus fetus?

  47. charon says:

    This is a replay of the Ukraine call. All he wants is a public “announcement” which he can then weaponize as information warfare against his opponent. Whether there is any underlying merit to the claim is irrelevant. He wanted to run a PSYOP on the American public

    “ – P: ‘Don’t expect you to do that, just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen.’” (pp. 4-5).

  48. Stormy Dragon says:


    What are a group of Cletuses called?

    An elegy of hillbillies?

  49. Jax says:

    Hey now, you’re disrespecting my friendly raven, Cletus….who regularly does battle with the power line he likes to roost on. 😛 Even poor Cletus has more going for him than some of those guys.

  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: How is it that you ended up parked outside a Texas Roadhouse for half an hour. Traffic really that bad?

  51. Teve says:
  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Looking at the meun, it appears to be what Outback’s and Cracker Barrel’s child would look like if they mated.

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @CSK: Alas, they’re not all sane about everything. I suspect that you’d probably find more that a few anti-vaxxers among Prius drivers, too (especially moms).

  54. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I was wondering the same thing.

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I don’t fear for our future, but I’ve been cynical about it for a couple or 3 decades. At this point, I’m old enough to just ride out whatever happens. At 50-ish, you probably are too. Embrace the entropy. All winds down.

  56. Mikey says:

    I would wager (and fear) this nurse is far from alone.

    Gum and Roses

    I am a nurse, a critical care RN who in her 28 years has done it all. ER, ICU, PICU, NICU and PACU. I have loved being a nurse until today. Today has shoved me over the edge and I don’t think there is any coming back.
    When the pandemic started, I was scared like everyone else but I knew my community needed me. I knew patients would need me. I had faith in God and my institution to keep me safe. So, like every other healthcare provider in the country, I did what we always do.
    I stepped up and stepped forward and joined the countless others in healthcare.

    We worked hard, worked longer and slept less. We isolated from our love ones. We suffered from depression, fatigue and burn out. Some of us got sick. Some of us died.
    But all of us were working for the greater good.

    We educated where we could. Encouraged people to stay home, wash their hands and social distance. All of this in the face of ever changing and often conflicting information from the government.

    A lot of us prayed. We prayed for our patients dying alone. We prayed for their families who couldn’t say goodbye. We prayed for strength to keep going and for the public to listen to doctors, scientists and nurses instead of politicians pushing their own agendas.

    We prayed for a vaccine…. Then we got one. People started getting vaccinated. Numbers started to go down. Things started to open up. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel, or so I thought.

    Then unthinkable happened. People were choosing to not get vaccinated. People decided that they knew better than the medical and scientific community and not only didn’t get vaccinated, they stopped social isolating. Stopped wearing masks. Stopped staying home.

    Well guess what? Our numbers of hospitalized and intubated patients are through the roof. We are at max capacity AGAIN. And now, those who selfishly refused to do the right thing want us to step up and step forward AGAIN. (4/5 deaths are unvaccinated)

    How can those who chose NOT to listen to the medical and scientific community and get a free, easily available, safe and effective vaccine, ask us to sacrifice AGAIN to save them? The mental, emotional and physical toll is immense. I don’t know if I have it in me to do it again

    To those of you who say it is a hoax, not real and a government conspiracy I would like to invite you to our COVID ICU. I’ll take you on a tour & will even let you do it without a mask so you can prove me wrong. I double dog dare you.

  57. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Looking at the Texas Roadhouse menu, I see it features something called “Roadkill.” Sounds mighty enticing.

  58. Teve says:

    @CSK: it’s actually very popular around here. It’s hamburger meat with sautéed onions and mushrooms and monterey jack cheese, a-1 and garlic.

  59. CSK says:

    I know, but couldn’t they have called it something a bit less repellent? Like a Texas Cow Patty?

  60. Teve says:

    @CSK: There are a lot of stupid things about TR. The last time i went there, we were halfway through giving our order when a noise happened and the waitress had to hustle away to do a brief line dance thing. I’m not going back. Stupidity annoys me.

  61. CSK says:

    Seems to me that interrupting the waitress who’s taking an order so she can line-dance would discourage a lot of customers from returning. Or do people who go there anticipate that the floor show (I assume that’s what it is) will slow the delivery of their meals?

    There are a bunch of TRs around here. (Northeastern Mass.) Nothing I’ve read here today tempts me to go to any of them.

  62. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: Your link is a good summary of the threat we’re under from the Republican vote law changes. There may be some comfort in thinking they can only steal a prez election if there are states with small D margins and GOP legislatures. But it’s false comfort. The Redmap Project created gerrymandered R legislatures in D states.

  63. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @steve: Always fun to point at something you arent sure about and give it a try. Usually, not always, a nice surprise.

    That was my standard practice back when I traveled a lot in Mexico. Eventually my Spanish got good enough I could tell what 80% or so of what the menu was, but it was so much fun being surprised I continued the practice.

  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Dropping off my granddaughter with her mother. My wife and I take her once a week and our AM and PM commutes intersect at Lindbergh and I-44, so we make the exchange at a stripmall there.

  65. Teve says:


    Someone should introduce a bill mandating that you have to show your vaccination card to vote and watch everyone on the Left’s brain malfunction and explode.

    The amazing this is, Eric’s still the dumber one!

  66. Teve says:


    Detroit News: “A committee inside the Michigan Republican Party plans to consider Saturday a proposal that calls for the resignation of GOP state Sen. Ed McBroom, who led a probe finding no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.”

  67. CSK says:

    I almost–mind I said almost–feel sorry for Junior. When he was born, and his mother wanted to name him Donald J. Trump Jr., his father’s reply was”What if he turns out to be a loser?”

    What a great start in life: Your sire was afraid you’d be the absolute worst thing ever–a loser.

  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: What a great start in life: Your sire was afraid you’d be the absolute worst thing ever–a loser.

    And he was right.

  69. CSK says:

    Well, yes, but I’m sure both Donalds have a different definition of “loser” than do you and I.

    Can you imagine the strain of having to live up to the expectations of a sleazy, crooked, malevolent churl? I read somewhere that Junior refused to speak to his father for a year after Big Donald dumped Ivana. Ivanka, on the other hand, was mostly worried about no longer being a Trump.

  70. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: They are both losers and they both know it. That’s why they both insist their money means otherwise.

  71. CSK says:

    And the money is very likely an illusion, too.

  72. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Case closed.

  73. Teve says:
  74. Mimai says:

    “I am not inclined to ruin myself for the sake of hurting my enemies” -Hermocrates

    Especially poignant these days.

  75. dazedandconfused says:


    I’m gobsmacked. A Prius sporting a QAnon bumper sticker????

    That doesn’t surprise me. Most of the strident Trump supporters are not well-to-do. Something close to half the 1/6 tourists had financial trouble in the recent past according to reports. Next time you pass by a Toyota dealer lot check out the used cars, hell of a lot of Priuses (Priusi?) sitting around. Walk in there and be assaulted with the staff’s eagerness to unload some of them with their best high-pressure sales tactics….and Trump supporters are nothing if not easy marks.

  76. Teve says:


    June 2020: Tennessee Rep David Byrd joins GOP colleagues in excoriating journalists, saying they ‘sensationalized’ COVID.

    July 2021: Byrd returns to Legislature after 8-month bout with COVID that required a liver transplant. “It is very dangerous”

  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Had me right up until the A-1. Hate A-1. And Heinz 57. And Lee and Perrins steak sauce. And Montreal Seasoning. Doesn’t anyone like the taste of just meat anymore?

  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Explains why she’s the favorite. Also reveals a fair amount about what passes for a values system for her. Scary.

  79. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Well, I’m not physically aware of the homeless and not seeing them anymore. Isn’t that the same thing as a solution?

  80. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: there’s actually a food science reason why people like steak sauce. Why is ketchup the perfect condiment? It has all the main flavors:

    Maters: umami
    Salt: salty
    Vinegar: sour
    Sugar: sweet

    What does steak have?

    Glutamate: umami
    Salt: salty
    Fat: fatty*

    What does steak sauce add?

    Corn syrup & raisins: sweet
    Vinegar: sour

    So steak with steak sauce hits all the major flavors.

    *there’s some evidence our tongues can detect fats, but it’s unclear

  81. Jax says:

    Salt Lake is building a “tiny home” community for the chronically homeless. Good on them.

  82. Teve says:

    @Jax: it’s cheaper, more humane, and more productive long term to just get homeless people housing.

  83. Jax says:

    @Teve: But that would be socialism, Teve. Or communism! It’s something bad, I know that, cuz it was a DEMONCRAT suggested it! (I’m not actually certain which definition they subscribe to these days…) These people should pull them up by their bootstraps, got damnit! Nobody gave me a house or helped me in any way at all!

    I am becoming more exhausted each day with their lack of empathy or understanding for just HOW MUCH has been given to them.