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:

    Snow and record rain fuel flooding threat in US Pacific north-west

    Dozens of watches and warnings were in effect in Washington and Oregon, including a flood warning for the northern Oregon coast following huge rainfall. The National Weather Service said Hoquiam, Washington, received a record 5.78in of rain Thursday. Other areas saw nearly half of the rain they would expect to see for January in one day.

    ‘We can’t ignore reality’: Colorado fires highlight urgency of US climate legislation

    Joe Biden ended his tour of neighborhoods devastated by Colorado’s most destructive blaze by emphasizing the link between America’s escalating wildfires and the global climate crisis, saying that the US can “no longer ignore the reality” of weather conditions that have “supercharged” blazes.

    Biden’s trip to Boulder county on Friday marked his sixth climate disaster tour since taking office a year ago, underscoring the growing threat of global heating in the US and the need for radical action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    Last week’s prairie grass fire destroyed almost 1,100 homes and some businesses after hurricane-force winds drove flames through two densely populated Denver suburbs, forcing 35,000 people to flee.

    The cumulative effect of unusually wet conditions last spring followed by extremely dry and warm conditions through December – weather patterns linked to global heating – enabled the rare winter fire to scorch over 6,000 acres, engulfing residential neighborhoods and commercial districts alike.

    Yeah Joe, we can’t bury our heads on this one.. Unfortunately, Republicans can.

  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    Hear in Cow Hampshire, I’ve had a couple of R friends comment that they believe that the current R majorities in the legislature are batsh!t crazy.

    CACR 32, relating to independence. Providing that the state peaceably declares independence from the United States and proceeds as a sovereign nation. [if you didn’t already think some NH legislators are out of control, maybe this bill will change your mind.]

    It won’t go anywhere, but still…

  3. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I just finished reading “A Libertarian Walks into a Bear,” and that independence crap is a BIG focus of the Free State crowd.

    I’m glad that bill (probably) isn’t going anywhere, but after reading that book…I’m not really resting easy. It’s unnerving how quickly Grafton unraveled after just a few of these folks got into positions on the select board.

  4. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    The Supreme Court and the national Republican Party controlled by representation from most of the Midwest, South, and rural West seem determined to make the country ungovernable at the federal level. I expect that there will be an increasing amount of “Can we go our own way?” sorts of talk.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:


    As the author mentions early in the book, Grafton was a mess before the free staters showed up. Though they have made it worse without ever achieving the holy grail of nearly no taxes.

    In some ways, the libertarians in the R party have been a drag on the third of the party that wants to use the state to enforce their moral code. The best example of that was the attempt to repeal marriage equality in the 2012 session. Even though in the House, Rs had a better than 2/3rds majority, the religious right couldn’t manage to scrape up a bare majority. As I recall the legislation failed ~42% to 58%.

    @Michael Cain:

    They should read the US from the Articles of Confederation period. Stupid me, of course they don’t read and would only consider it fake news.

    I’m coming to the belief that blue state senators and congress critters should sponsor legislation that turns programs into block grants run by the states, except the amount of the block grant isn’t determined by population, but by how much excess revenue a states citizens send to Washington. If your state is donor state you get a pot of money, if your state is a taker state, tough, no donut. SSI and Medicare excepted, as they have a dedicated funding source.

    It’ll never happen, but I expect states like TX and FLA would sign on as it would be to their benefit.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: This is my biggest gripe against libertarians. Every place they have managed to get even a modest amount of power has turned to sh*t, but they never want to talk about that or learn any lessons. They just continue on and on with supreme confidence, blathering endlessly about their theories as if those theories had never been tested and found wanting.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Houston mother has been charged after allegedly placing her 13-year-old son in the trunk of her car in an attempt to isolate him after he tested positive for Covid-19, then took him to a drive-thru testing site.

    In a statement reported by KPRC, an NBC-affiliate, the Cyprus-Fairbanks school district said police were “alerted that a child was in the trunk of a car at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing site earlier this week.

    “Law enforcement conducted a full investigation, resulting in a warrant for arrest.”

    Sarah Beam, 41, was charged with endangering a child.

    “Thankfully, the child was not harmed,” the school district said.

    Mother of the year, this one.

  8. CSK says:

    So…this woman (who works for the school system) put her son in the car trunk because she was afraid the kid would infect her while she was en route to be tested? Do I have that right?

    What does she do with the boy at home? Lock him in a closet?

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Stuffs him in the gun safe.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The high Arctic saw a dramatic rise in lightning in 2021 in what could be one of the most spectacular manifestations of the climate crisis.

    In a region where sightings were once rare, the Earth’s northernmost region saw 7,278 lightning strikes in 2021 – nearly double as many as the previous nine years combined.

    Arctic air typically lacks the convective heat required to create lightning so the latest findings, published in the Finnish firm Vaisala’s annual lightning report, have scientists like Vaisala’s meteorologist and lightning applications manager, Chris Vagasky, worried.

    “Over the last 10 years, overall lightning counts north of the Arctic Circle have been fairly consistent,” Vagasky said. “But at the highest latitudes of the planet – north of 80° – the increase has been drastic. Such a significant shift certainly causes you to raise your eyebrows.”

    Boy, when those Chinese do a hoax, they do it right. They thought of everything!

  11. Michael Cain says:


    What does she do with the boy at home? Lock him in a closet?

    Duct-tape school of babysitting…

  12. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Michael Cain:
    Well, she’s on administrative leave from her job, so I guess they spend a lot of days and nights together.

  13. CSK says:
  14. JKB says:

    Several Supreme Court justices reveal they are completely clueless about the the virus, vaccines, masks, hospitals, etc. Apparently, they get their opinions from the fake news and lack the ability of skepticism.

  15. @JKB: You are correct. The right-wing of the Court is off the rails on this topic.

    Glad to see you’ve come around.

  16. CSK says:

    I think you need to clarify who is off the rails and about what.

  17. Monala says:

    For some reason I recently thought about a research study on tone deafness that I participated in years ago. I had always assumed I was tone deaf because I can’t carry a tune and 7 years of piano lessons didn’t stick.

    The study consisted of first completing a 10-question survey, then donning a pair of headphones to listen to music. It started simply; you’d hear a single note, followed by a series of five single notes, one of which matched the first note you heard. The goal was to correctly identify the matching note. It became more complex as you did this with two-note patterns, then three-note patterns, on up to whole passages of music.

    Your results were scored on a scale from 0 (complete tone deafness) to 100 (perfect ear). I scored a 73. I was stunned. “How can this be?” I asked the researchers. “I always thought I was tone deaf.”

    “We knew you weren’t tone deaf before you started listening to the music,” they told me. When I asked how, they told me it was based on my survey answers. The survey questions included things like: can you dance to a rhythm? Can you clap your hands in time to a beat? Can you recognize the instrumental version of familiar songs?

    I had answered “yes” to almost all the questions on the survey. “If you were truly tone deaf,” the researchers told me, “you wouldn’t be able to do any of those things.” (In fact, I think their goal was to predict how well someone would do in the listening test based on their survey answers).

  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: No. That won’t work. Then, he’ll have to admit that most of his posts are complete nonsense. This way he has the cover of subverting the truth in the service of the lie.

  19. CSK says:

    That’s fascinating.
    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I find these cute little non-specific drive-by posts irritating.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    If it is a small comfort, the R senate caucus will likely be less crazy by one, John Thune is running for reelection.

    Given that there is no chance that a Dem could win SD, an R that isn’t batsh!t crazy is progress.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Monala: I remember reading a paper years ago about music education that note that Carl Seashore’s testing of hearing and musical ability found only about 3% of the population cannot discriminate pitch and other qualities associated with tone deafness. After 3 different attempts to learn to play the piano covering a fairly large amount of time (including several academic terms in both undergrad and graduate level music education) I still can’t play the piano with both hands at the same time. But that doesn’t surprise me particularly; I can’t touch type particularly well either (particularly now as the tremor that I’ve had in both my hands and legs most of my life increases its grip). Playing piano is as much motor control as it is pitch recognition. Maybe more so.

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: “I find these cute little non-specific drive-by posts irritating.”

    That’s how he knows they’re working. (Or is it MINE that you’re talking about? In which case, thanks, I was wondering if they trigger any reaction.)

  23. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    No, I was speaking of JKB’s post. I shouldn’t react to them at all–and usually I don’t–since clearly what he wants is to get a rise out of people, but this time I did.

  24. Monala says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: it’s kind of cool that music ability is something most humans have. I wonder how it developed and what evolutionary purpose it served? Perhaps as a way to bond members of a tribe together, the way oxytocin bonds parent and child?

  25. CSK says:

    It was communal; something that people could share, like storytelling.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Resisting the urge to point out that the emperor (in JKB’s tiny mind he is a towering intellect) has no clothes (but in fact has the IQ of a sack of hammers) can be difficult at times.

  27. Moosebreath says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    “Then, he’ll have to admit that most of his posts are complete nonsense.”

    No, JKB doesn’t say enough in each post for them to be complete nonsense. Rather, they are incomplete nonsense.

  28. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Re finding posts irritating. You might try my technique: if a post is by a trumper or I see an “@trumper” in a reply, I just skip over it. I find that I lose nothing at all by following this practice religiously.

  29. CSK says:

    I’m banned for lifetime from commenting at, but I’d enjoy, every so often, telling them what gullible morons they are.
    Mostly that’s what I do.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Moosebreath: Okay, okay! Point taken. 😉

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  32. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, that’s uplifting news.

  33. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Being a total dick himself–I suppose a massive dose of Viagra would swell and paralyze Tucket’s entire body.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jim Brown 32: A worthwhile experiment.