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. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I’m out on a motorcycle tour and haven’t seen the news.
    How’d reinstatement go?
    Smoothly, I hope?

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Grappling with an unprecedented flood of COVID-19 patients, Louisiana’s hospitals are struggling to provide the public with the most basic levels of care — and are quickly approaching catastrophe.

    “We are rapidly getting to the point where we could have a major failure of our health care delivery system,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a press briefing Friday. “There’s some people out there whose care is being delayed to the point where, for them, it’s already failed.”

    If the latest and worst COVID surge doesn’t turn a corner within the next few weeks, Louisiana’s hospitals could reach a point where care is rationed and patients are triaged. What that means is that those with the lowest likelihood of survival would be turned away and sent to hospice care.

    It’s an unimaginably grim scenario, but entirely possible given the pandemic’s current trajectory, said Dr. Joe Kanter, the state’s top public health official.

    “This is not something that’s happened before. We’ve never been to a place where not one hospital, but almost every hospital in the state, is at a point where they simply can’t meet the demand that comes in,” Kanter said. “Hospitals are going to do the best that they can to save the most lives, do the most amount of good for the most people.”
    Last weekend, a patient suffering from an acute heart attack had to take a two-hour ambulance ride, passing six different hospitals, before they could find a facility with an open bed and a specialist on hand to offer care. Every minute that care is delayed “is literally heart muscle that dies,” Kanter said. “These are the type of scenarios that are happening all across the state,” Kanter said. “If you think this does not impact you, you’re absolutely wrong because these types of medical emergencies happen to everyone.”

  3. Kathy says:

    About yesterday’s discussion on the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, I think a reminder that America is not the only country in the world is in order. Nothing in principle prevents France, the UK, Canada, China, Russia, or any coalition of these or any other countries, from putting together a force they can send to Afghanistan to deal with the Taliban.

    I’m not saying it’s not America’s doing that things developed this way, nor that they are now right in abandoning the country. But there is not one and only one nation that can do something about it now.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Patrick Chovanec

    Florida changed how it reports COVID statistics. The result? The pandemic appears to look less…
    With a change in how Florida reports its COVID information to the federal storehouse, the state no longer provides a real-time picture of the virus’ impact. And in the case of deaths related to…

    And suddenly the death rate plummets. How’d dey do dat???

  5. charon says:
  6. charon says:


    Can still get hospitalization usage from an alternate source:

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A rural Mississippi community is overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, two weeks after hosting the Neshoba County Fair that drew thousands who lived in cabins, attended shoulder-to-shoulder outdoor concerts and listened to stump speeches — including one by the Republican governor, who decried federal masking guidance as “foolish.”

    Frustrated by rising COVID-19 infections, the chief executive officer of the 25-bed Neshoba General Hospital posted a message on social media this week challenging Gov. Tate Reeves to step up and show leadership.

    “@tatereeves hospitals and healthcare workers need you to help us. Where are you?” Lee McCall wroteTuesday on Twitter. “We are overwhelmed with the surge of Covid and understaffed to safely care for our patients. Our incredible staff are holding it together but we are all at our breaking point.”

    This week alone, Mississippi has broken its single-day record of new COVID-19 cases three times, with more than 3,000 cases reported Tuesday, more than 4,000 Thursday and more than 5,000 Friday. The state on Thursday broke records for patients hospitalized and patients in ICUs with COVID-19; those numbers increased again Friday. The previous records were in January, before vaccinations were widely available.

    Reeves postedWednesday on Twitter: “In spite of the angry rhetoric coming from so many, our emergency management team is doing what it does – we are calmly dealing with an ever-changing environment to meet the needs of Mississippi.”

    And failing at it.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Raleigh, N.C. — Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort has posted on Facebook that his wife Viki is very ill with COVID. In a post dated Tuesday and updated Thursday, Kidwell writes that his wife is in Beaufort Hospital.
    On the House floor, Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, relayed a message from Kidwell indicating that Kidwell too was ill: “My fever seems to have gone. Just walking to the bathroom is exhausting. Viki is still not out of the woods.”
    Kidwell is the main sponsor of bills that would limit the governor’s emergency powers, ban the governor from mandating vaccines by executive order and bar state agencies from requiring the shots for licensing purposes.

    In prior Facebook posts, Kidwell has decried “vaccine passports,” employer mandates, mask requirements, and efforts to get more people vaccinated, calling vaccine campaigns “manipulation.” Kidwell has also reposted stories and posts casting doubt on the danger of COVID and calling into question the safety of the vaccines. Rep. Kidwell did not respond to multiple inquiries from WRAL News about whether he is vaccinated.

    Because several lawmakers missed the budget votes Wednesday and Thursday, WRAL News asked House Speaker Tim Moore’s office how many active cases of COVID are in the state House. His staff did not answer the question.

    Karma is a beach.

  9. CSK says:

    Trump’s latest Tweet (via Liz Harrington):

    “BULLIES NEVER FIGHT!” — Aug. 11, 2021

  10. Teve says:

    Sales Of Fossil-Fuel Vehicles Have Already Peaked, Bloomberg Predicts

    The Fiesta I bought new in 2012 has 60k miles and is in great shape. I could easily keep it another 5-10 years. At that point, I doubt whatever I buy next will have a fossil fuel engine.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From NASA’s New Telescope Will Show Us the Infancy of the Universe at the New Yorker:

    The question now was where to point Hubble, and for how long. Thousands of scientists wrote competing proposals, hoping to be awarded even an hour of Hubble’s time. But ten per cent of the time was to be used at the discretion of the director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, which had taken over the operation of Hubble once it was in orbit. The director of the institute was Bob Williams, a quietly decisive figure, who thought that the telescope should spend more than a hundred hours staring at a blank and unremarkable patch of sky. He decided on a dark area near the Big Dipper’s handle, a spot no larger than that occluded by a sesame seed held out at arm’s length.

    Many reasonable people believed this plan to be an absurd waste of a precious resource. “It seemed like every time NASA was on TV it was a disaster,” Williams said. “I remember watching Johnny Carson making jokes about Hubble.” Williams, who is eighty years old, is retired, though he remains active as a lecturer and a consultant. He recalled, “I said that if the inquiry failed to be scientifically useful I would resign. It had to be done.”

    Between December 18 and 28, 1995, Hubble took several hundred shots of the blank patch of sky, with exposure times of up to forty-five minutes, allowing for the very faintest traces of light to show up. The photos revealed some three thousand galaxies. And the galaxies were unusual. Coming from so many light-years away meant that they were from a much earlier moment in the history of the universe. “The galaxies were younger and stranger—more uneven,” Williams said. They gave hints as to how galaxies were formed, and how they have evolved. In 1924, Edwin Hubble had discovered that there was at least one galaxy other than our own; the Hubble telescope revealed that there were billions of them.

    Those photos, known as the Hubble Deep Field images, are among the most important and broadly recognized images in modern astronomy. “Discussions for what the next telescope would do started up,” Williams explained. A larger mirror would be able to capture more distant light. And a telescope that was cold—shielded from light and heat—and that had finer infrared capacity would see and learn more. “I also thought it was essential that the data would be available to everyone,” Williams said. “I’m very proud of having pushed for that.”

    I did not know that one individual was largely responsible for the Deep Field images.

  12. Teve says:

    We know the Democratic Party has its shortcomings, but UK labor makes them look like the Shining Path.

    -Ed Burmilla

  13. CSK says:

    That’s not a compliment, is it? The Shining Path killed 16 people, including two kids, in Peru this past May. (It left pamphlets at the scene telling people not to vote.) The Peruvian government says SP’s devolved into a drug ring.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Hope you’re not in Sturgis…

  15. Teve says:

    @CSK: Shining Path punched above its weight, is I think the comparison he was making. 😀

  16. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Darryl doesn’t seem to have an IQ below 75 so I doubt he’s at Sturgis.

    (Saw a photo from Sturgis yesterday of hat merchandise. The Trump hats were mixed in with Nazi SS and swastika hats.)

  17. CSK says:

    Hey, it’s a “freedom thing.” According to one Jenny Alonso, it’s also a way of honoring U.S. soldiers who brought back Nazi memorabilia.

    Suuuuuure it is.

  18. CSK says:

    I can think of better ones.

  19. Stormy Dragon says:


    Last weekend, a patient suffering from an acute heart attack had to take a two-hour ambulance ride, passing six different hospitals, before they could find a facility with an open bed and a specialist on hand to offer care. Every minute that care is delayed “is literally heart muscle that dies,” Kanter said. “These are the type of scenarios that are happening all across the state,” Kanter said. “If you think this does not impact you, you’re absolutely wrong because these types of medical emergencies happen to everyone.”

    One question that needs to be asked here: why are the triage procedures at these hospitals favoring unvaccinated COVID patients over the heart attack patients?

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Keeping in mind that hospitals are legally obligated to treat and stabilize every person who walks thru their door, it would seem to me that it is “First come, first served.”

  21. Stormy Dragon says:


    But they’re not stabilizing every person. So again, when they’re choosing who to refuse admission, why are they choosing to do it this way? And I don’t think reflexively picking “first come, first served” is the best option here.

    It’s the same when I saw that story about the guy who didn’t get vaccinated and ended up having to get a lung transplant and was now “remorsefully” telling everyone else to get vaccinated. All I could think is, “what happened to the person who would have gotten those lungs if the plague rat hadn’t gotten them instead?”

  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    Coverage of TFG’s return to DC

    Crowd Lays Down Path Of MyPillows As Trump Triumphantly Rides Donkey Into D.C.

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—Donald J. Trump was seen riding what appeared to be a donkey in the slow lane of Interstate 95 before taking the 395 North then exiting into downtown Washington, D.C., thus fulfilling the prophecy, “Behold, thy Orange King cometh unto thee, meek, meeker than all others, the meekest maybe, and sitting upon an ass, that he kicketh ass and draineth swamps.”

  23. Jen says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I’ve been thinking a lot about this, especially after viewing the Tik-tok video from the man in NC whose wife, battling breast cancer, was discharged earlier than she really should have been in order to free up the bed for these covidiots who didn’t get vaccinated. I say this as someone whose husband enjoys riding his motorcycle, no matter how many morons he passes who are texting/talking/doing just about anything but driving their damn vehicles. To say I worry about hospitals filling is an understatement. My parents are vaccinated but older, and could end up injured for any number of reasons. I’m TERRIFIED that someone I love, who has done everything right, is going to pay a price because of the stupidity of others.

    My preference would be that every hospital reserve beds for emergency/non-covid patients. You show up unvaccinated and with covid and all of the covid beds are full? Tough luck.

    However, it doesn’t work that way. If a bed is open and someone needs care, they get care.

    It’s frustrating AF for those of us who bothered to get vaccinated.

  24. CSK says:

    Where are your parents located? If they’re in the New England region, their chances of getting a hospital bed if they need one are a lot better.

  25. flat earth luddite says:

    Oh gods yes.
    My SIL wound up in hospital for a broken hip (at 45, it’s his second!). Anyway, the night it happened at work, he was transported to the ONLY hospital in PDX that reported any available bed to the paramedics, a Kaiser facility (which is NOT in his plan). Anyway, 5 days in (2 days of which were directly related to the fact that he was out of plan, as he’s not a KPNW member), he’s home and recovering from the hip replacement. He’s gotten two letters – the first from KPNW advising that he owes them the FULL amount of all treatment, as he shouldn’t have otta come to their hospital because he knew he wasn’t covered, and that they’re gonna hound him to his grave for every dollar, forever amen. The second was from his workers’ comp carrier, advising that because he fell 3 days before his hip broke, they’re going to deny the claim for his hip breaking at work.

    For me, the toughest parts of this are:
    (a) trying to push warm Jell-O to keep him trying to get w/c to cover this (because it did happen at work, meeting the standard) and
    (b) grinding my teeth at the sheer stupidity of going after a $30k blue collar worker for what’ll be about $500k + in medicals, because when you’re laying on the floor with a broken hip, of course you’re going to refuse transport to a medical facility, right?

  26. Jen says:

    @CSK: Alas, they are in Arizona. I’m the only one out East.

    The thing going for them is the sheer number of hospitals and medical facilities out in AZ.

  27. Jen says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    transported to the ONLY hospital in PDX that reported any available bed to the paramedics, a Kaiser facility (which is NOT in his plan).

    This is another wrinkle that is going to be a massive issue. I hope he protests this all the way up the chain. If there are no available beds in network, how TF is he supposed to stay in network?

    My .02, get his Member of Congress involved. Start screaming now, loud, and often.

  28. Teve says:

    My epidemiologist friend Tara just shared a meme:

    It’s amazing how many parents went from “I don’t understand my 6th grader’s math homework” to “I’m an infectious disease expert” in just six months.

  29. dazedandconfused says:


    My Carl Sagan “billions and billions” total perspective vertex moment came when I was 10.

    Dad had decided we would attend the amateur astronomers. semi-annual gathering atop Table Mountain, not far from Wenatchee. At the time I thought ugh, this will be boring, but it turned out to be quite fun. Amateur astronomers are the ultimate geeks, but boy o boy do they pour money into their toys. There were people there with 30 ft trailers to carry their home-made telescopes, which took them the best part of a day to set properly, and they proudly encourage people to come take a peek. There were dozens of set-ups. Everybody focused on some cool nebula or some-such. All those colors are real.

    Climbed an 8 ft ladder to reach the eyepiece of one. It was focused away from the Milky way and the aiming eye-piece showed just a couple stars. It was a bit of sky about the size of a pea held at arm’s length. In the main eyepiece
    it was all but a wall of dots, best guess was about a thousand. I remarked “There sure are a lot of stars we can’t see.”

    “Only the two bright ones on top and to the left are stars, the rest are galaxies.”

  30. Teve says:
  31. Teve says:


    In one of my kid’s classes, in Florida, the teacher told students she had cancer, recently finished chemotherapy and asked if more of them would wear masks the next day for her sake. About half were wearing masks. The next day, after her plea, still about half were wearing masks.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Years ago, the school at which I did my graduate studies conducted a placement test for incoming first-year students. The intent was to route the students who couldn’t pass the test to remedial English and Math courses.

    The Problem: A considerably larger number of students didn’t pass the test than the school was capable of providing remedial services for (In English, it was on the order of 2 or 300% more, AIR).

    The Solution: Count up from the bottom until the remedial classes are filled and draw a new “meets entrance requirements” line there.

    Glad to see that governments are keeping time-honored traditions from our palaces of higher education alive. 🙁

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Is he saying that because he’s a bully he doesn’t fight?

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: [Dons his rose-colored glasses] I’m going to assume that the plague rat struck it lucky and had no one nearby who needed the lung rather than go toward my usual decrying of the corruption that permeates organ registries.

  35. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Would the Orange Ass ride a regular ass and risk being confused for his mount?

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: But they’re not stabilizing every person.


  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: Way cool.

  38. Stormy Dragon says:


    From your own quote:

    Last weekend, a patient suffering from an acute heart attack had to take a two-hour ambulance ride, passing six different hospitals, before they could find a facility with an open bed and a specialist on hand to offer care.

    Those first six hospitals obviously weren’t stabilizing “everyone who walked through their door”.

  39. CSK says:

    I know how you feel. My brother and his wife are in AZ as well. Fortunately they’re fully vaxxed and they take care of themselves. My best to your folks.

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    passing six different hospitals

    He never walked thru their doors.

    ETA: or maybe I should say, “was wheeled thru their doors.”

  41. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    As always with Trump, who the hell knows what he’s saying. He may have been referring to Andrew Cuomo. I think that particular Tweet was subject to widespread mockery.

  42. Stormy Dragon says:


    You’re right, clearly the heart attack patient should have just fought his way in after they started telling ambulances to go elsewhere.

  43. flat earth luddite says:

    Bed availability/cost/jack-rolling the hapless patient is going to be a HUGE on-going issue. But then again, what else do we expect from a for-profit model? Gotta grind up those peons to properly oil the machinery, donchaknow?

  44. Gustopher says:

    In case you need a break from the slowly rolling and inevitable yet mostly preventable tragedy that is Covid…

    A toddler accidentally shot and killed a Florida woman who was on a Zoom call with her co-workers this week, after the child found an unsecured, loaded handgun, police said.

    A co-worker on the Zoom call told the Altamonte Springs Police Department that they saw a toddler in the background of Lynn’s Orlando-area apartment and heard a noise. Lynn fell backward and never returned to the call, the co-worker told police.

    Kid’s father left his gun out, and the kid found it. Hopefully we will get a follow up where he is charged with manslaughter and child endangerment, but I doubt it because … Florida.

    But before we let the dead woman off the hook, let’s remember that she was living with a guy who kept an unsecured gun around the house. She chose this lifestyle, and she was always the most likely person to get shot with that gun.

    My empathy has been waning of late.

    I hope the kid is too young to ever remember any of this, that they are placed with an entirely unrelated family, and when they do get to the point of asking questions, they are just lied to, and shown newspaper articles about a nice couple killed by a drunk driver.

    Or covid. Covid could be a fine lie.

  45. de stijl says:


    If it less than 5 miles there and back, I walk.

    It got to the point last year that I bought fuel stabilizer and ran the engine for 15-20 minutes every ten days just there would be no long term issues with my vehicle’s engine.

    If I have to tote too much stuff than can be walked home fairly easily, I drive.

    If not, I walk. Sometimes I walk there and taxi back. I enjoy walking.

    Groceries are a quarter mile away. Easy as shit.

    Walking is good for the body and good for the soul. Driving is for when you have to.

  46. de stijl says:


    Sometimes I have to guard against the loss of empathy, myself. It is easy to lose it when people act foolishly.

    It is an easy act / thought process when people act foolishly and to an extent foretell their fate by action or inaction. I have to resist the impulse towards blaming and shaming.

    We are all moments away from personal catastrophe. Sometimes by our doing or not doing, and quite often by random happenstance that afflicts both the righteous and the indolent. Dice roll. Randomness or fate depending on your world-view

    Yes, correctly securing of firearms and securely separating ammo from that around kids is extraordinarily important, but what happened to her was her fault three times removed.

    Be kind. Sometimes our faults kill us. Sometimes it is the roulette wheel of chance.

  47. de stijl says:

    I’m forty minutes into re-watching Zodiac for the first time in 10 or 12 years. I do love me some Fincher.

    My lord! That cast! Down to folks who have maybe 20 lines. It is fucking impressive the casting.

    I do know John Carrol Lynch is coming on and, wow!

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Replacing the “slowly rolling and inevitable yet mostly preventable tragedy that is Covid” with a sudden equally inevitable yet entirely preventable tragedy. Great job Brownie Gus.

  49. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Elias Koteas and Donal Logue as tertiary characters.

    Phillip Baker Hall is a god damned cameo. Fuck me!

    You could make a pretty damn good Terrence Malick movie out of the small role actors of Zodiac.

    The Thin Red Line 2. No Caviezel this time. That man is an idiot.