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. EddieInCA says:


    Woot. Nothing like shooting until 6am Saturday morning as a way to end your week.


  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Thousands of part-time workers at the United Parcel Service (UPS) around the US were recently informed that their hourly wages would be cut, eliminating raises implemented in 2021 at some hubs as a means to attract and retain workers in the tighter labor market.

    Alex Sanchez, a part-time UPS worker in Ontario, California, for one year, said part-time workers at his hub had their base rate increased in 2021 from $15.33 an hour to $18 an hour.

    “We were told that the raise was permanent,” said Sanchez.

    At the end of January, Sanchez said he was informed that his hourly wage and those of every other part-time employee at UPS would revert back to $15.33 an hour. He claimed the wage cut resulted in many workers quitting.

    “Part-time workers are the backbone of the UPS operation. With inflation, $15.33 an hour is tough for workers and their families,” said Sanchez. “I work two jobs in order to make ends meet. I’m a married father of three. The $3 cut really takes a toll on our family’s budget.”

    UPS reported record profits in 2021 as it increased shipping prices; its profits grew nearly tenfold in 2021 to $12.89bn from $1.34bn in 2020. Its stock price hit a record high in February 2022. UPS is projecting more growth in 2022, with the expectation to hit 2023 financial goals a year early. The company approved a $5bn stock buyback program in August 2021.

    For the record:

    “UPS part-time Teamsters-represented employees receive $15 per hour plus benefits including paid time off, a pension and healthcare coverage, as established through the collective bargaining process,” said a UPS spokesperson in an email.

    It’s still a shitty way to treat one’s employees. I also have a feeling UPS is going to be real sorry they did this.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you.

    More Republicans have negative view of Biden than of Putin, poll finds

    They like Putin so much, they should move there.

  4. CSK says:

    Interestingly, the split wasn’t as big as I thought it might be: 81% of Republicans view Putin negatively while 85% of Democrats do.

    Perhaps Trump’s stranglehold is loosening.

  5. Kurtz says:

    A van just drove by me. The hook from “Notorious Thugs” by The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony emanated from the lowered passenger window. The van creeped; a bumper sticker:

    Trump Country 93.7

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: 81% of Republicans view Putin negatively

    I’ll be honest and tell you I couldn’t bring myself to read it. My blood pressure counsels against some things. At this point I always expect the worst so I am happy to be wrong.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:


    dedicating my day to this queen who saw the senator who stripped her of her healthcare and ran him out of starbucks

    My hero.

  8. CSK says:

    If Putin keeps slaughtering Ukrainians, and Trump keeps insisting what a genius Putin is, I wonder what the upshot will be.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Florida jury has acquitted a retired police Swat commander who was charged with murder after shooting a fellow moviegoer during an argument over cellphone use. Deliberations in the trial began on Friday and the six-person jury returned its verdict late that night, news outlets reported.

    Retired Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves, 79, was charged with second-degree murder for killing Chad Oulson during an altercation at a suburban movie theater on 13 January 2014.

    In closing arguments, defense attorney Richard Escobar said Oulson, 43, made Reeves, then 71, reasonably believe his life was in danger by turning, yelling and reaching toward him. He said Reeves made the decision to shoot based on nearly 30 years in law enforcement and hours of training on the justifiable use of deadly force. Reeves didn’t have to wait until he was hit before defending himself, Escobar said. Reeves “had more knowledge, more experience, more study in that area than anyone in this courtroom”, Escobar said. “It’s a dangerous world.”

    Prosecutor Scott Rosenwasser countered that Reeves killed Oulson because Oulson threw popcorn in his face, angering him because it violated his self-image as an “alpha male”.

    “He didn’t fear anything,” Rosenwasser said.

    The world is far more dangerous for some than it is for others. Reeves should just stay at home, barricade his doors and hide.

  10. Stormy Dragon says:

    So I just found out that P&G has discontinued Old Spice classic scent, so now I’m bummed because I’m going to have to choose new bodywash, after shave, deodorant, etc.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A handy little widget from the CDC:

    COVID-19 by County
    Updated Feb. 25, 2022
    Know Your COVID-19 Community Level

  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    Another good reason to avoid going to FLA.

    The way that they have interpreted their ‘stand my ground’ law is empowering crazies.

  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    Extensive voter fraud found. Perpetrated by the usual suspects.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    Jonathan V. Last this morning on Volodymyr Zelensky.

    He declined an offer of evacuation from the United States. Ukrainian forces held Kyiv into Saturday morning and Zelensky emerged onto the streets of the capital, walking with his countrymen. This is a level of personal bravery that we are utterly unaccustomed to seeing from heads of state.2 Zelensky’s conduct over the last few weeks—which has been utterly extraordinary—has substantially buttressed Ukraine’s resolve. He has become more than a man. More than a leader. He has become a symbol.

    What we are witnessing is the emergence of a figure who will become a key part of Ukrainian history for the next century. There will be statues of him all over the country. Ukrainians will name their children after him. This is like watching another country’s Washington or Churchill emerge in real time.

    I hope we all appreciate how special this is. And how rare. Because normally when world-historical figures emerge, it’s because they’re bad guys.

    But at some point he may have to make a judgment about how his life best serves his country. Is it more important that he stay alive to lead? Even if he has to eventually leave Kyiv? Or would sacrificing himself to the Russians make the symbol even more powerful?

    It is hateful to talk this way about a man because it is important to remember that Volodymyr Zelensky is not just a symbol. He’s a real person. He’s 44 years old. He’s married. He has two children, one of whom is not yet 10.

    But from here on in, history has its eye on him. This is a tremendous privilege but also an unimaginable burden.

    May God protect this man and the Ukrainian people.

  15. Kathy says:


    I know the feeling.

    But rather than tell you a story of my own, I’ll relate that of my coworkers just yesterday.

    I left the office on Thursday around 8 pm. Two teams were uploading proposals to two government agencies (literal mountains of gigabytes of scanned documents). I figured they’d be finished by 1 or 2 am, as usual.

    Friday I arrived at the office at 7:30, as usual. One team was still at it. Not uploading per se, but scanning documents and preparing others. I didn’t interrupt with stupid questions like “Have you been here all night?” but did check the deadline. they had until 10 am to finish uploading.

    They were done at 9:43 am (I’ve the record from the website).

    Once they were done, they headed out for breakfast. As they were going out, I said to them “good thing the boss isn’t coming in today.”

  16. CSK says:

    “I need ammunition, not a ride.” — Volodymyr Zelenskyy

    I think this will be come one of those quotes that will stand alongside Churchill’s “blood, soil, sweat, and tears” and Roosevelt’s “day of infamy.”

  17. DK says:

    @Kurtz: Hahahahahahaha. Maybe it was Candace Owens, she loved this year’s Super Bowl halftone show.

    Notorious Thugs is a great song tho. I mean, even antivaxxers and racists cannot deny that backing track.

  18. Mister Bluster says:

    I won’t even put the two remarks in the same comment.

    Compared to this sniveling coward.

    “We’re going to walk down there and I’ll be with you”
    President Donald Trump, Speech (transcribed by The Washington Post), January 6, 2021

  19. Sleeping Dog says:


    Last week there was an OpEd in the Times to the effect that Zelensky was prepared to what he faced. That may have been true, but few politicians are prepared to face an existential crisis. He has certainly risen to the occasion.

  20. DK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Zelensky is a truly great man, truly. An absolute hero. Brave.

    But. After days of stress eating, I am now regularly back in touch with a Ukrainian friend and travel buddy, who had to leave Kyiv yesterday due to Putin’s military assault (cannot leave the country, although he got his mother out).

    Some Ukrainians are upset Zelensky’s goverment downplayed the threat of invasion. Those folks believed him and felt they were not properly prepped for this.

    FWIW, they also feel left alone and betrayed by their allies. It is tragic.

    My friend does not speak for all Ukrainians.
    God save Zekensky and Ukraine.

  21. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Remember when he said he would have run into Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School and disarmed the shooter singlehandedly, selflessly braving all those flying bullets to rescue others?

    Yeah, I thought it was horseshit, too.

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    May God protect this man and the Ukrainian people.
    God save Zekensky and Ukraine.

    I predict that there will be no supernatural intervention or miracles in this crisis.

  23. charon says:
  24. charon says:
  25. charon says:

    And more:

    The emotion.
    Reportedly, this shows Ukrainian troops killing Russian tank convoys near Ivankov, close to the Chernobyl Zone.

    1/I am going to try to explain the irrational Russian Armed Forces behavior towards strategy, common thought, or even the chances repatriated SSO that are now POW try to murder a bunch of men with stars.

    I don’t know how credible, but interesting if true.

  26. Jen says:
  27. CSK says:

    Aaron Brazell added that the info in his tweet will never be confirmed or denied.

  28. Sleeping Dog says:


    That is a fair criticism of Zelensky. The explanation for downplaying the possibility of an invasion was, not to scare the people and not to provide Putin with an excuse to attack. Both were wishful thinking and are part of the argument that he wasn’t up to the challenge.

    As of a couple of weeks ago, Ukraine hadn’t deployed the advanced anti-tank weapons that the US had provided, they hadn’t dug tank traps and trenches to slow the advance. Even some anti-aircraft systems weren’t deployed. Quite likely none of these things would have made a lot of difference it stopping the Russian advance, but they would have added to the pain the Russian’s felt before the brutal urban warfare that is commencing.

    He’s not above criticism, but that pales in comparison to his actions sense the fighting started.

  29. Jen says:

    @CSK: Oh, I know. I don’t need confirmation, I just really hope it’s true.

  30. Jen says:

    Germany confirms it’s sending Stingers and anti-tank missiles:

  31. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    That is an important point. When fighting a stronger opponent in your own territory, the way to get them to leave is to keep hurting them. See the Soviets in Afghanistan, the Americans in Afghanistan, the Americans in Vietnam, the French in Vietnam, etc.

    As to Zelensky, a person can be morally brave and still make bad or mistaken decisions.

  32. Jen says:

    Another fun thread that I hope is accurate:

  33. CSK says:

    If it is true, and I hope it is, it won’t be a secret for long.

  34. CSK says:

    Heartening to read that.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Yep, God doesn’t care.

  36. Mike in Arlington says:

    The Trucker convoy that was poised to crush DC and force Biden to resign has quit.

    I’ll wait for everybody to look and find their “shocked” faces.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: @Jen: I am skeptical, to say the least.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Know your information sources and bullshit checking

    I’m going to state a couple of facts.

    Russian GDP in 2021 on an exchange rate basis was about 1.71 Trillion dollars.
    Russian GDP in 2021 on a Purchasing Power Parity basis was about $2.6 Trillion dollars.
    Depending on how we do our calculations, Russia’s daily GDP is between $4.7 to $7.1 Billion.
    Russia’s 2021 military budget was about $42 billion dollars for the year.

    Let’s keep that in mind when we look at the following viral tweet:

    2/7 Russians didn’t have a tactical plan. The war costs about $20 bln/day. There are rockets for 3-4 days at most, they use them sparingly. They lack weapons, the Tula and 2 Rotenberg plants can’t physically fulfil the orders for weapons. Rifles and ammo are the most they can do.

    Given the previous facts, is $20 billion dollars per day even in the plausible realm of reality? That is 2 to 4 times daily Russian GDP or 50% of the annual defense budget.

    Is that $20 billion per day estimate plausible?

    I don’t think so.

    More at the link. The piece is by David Anderson. He is not a military expert. He is a healthcare analyst. His expertise is in working with numbers. He’s a pretty smart guy, and he has a good bullshit detector.

    At this point in time, 95-99% of everything we read is BS, the fog of war and all that. The person sending it out may well believe it is true and some of it even may well be but…

  39. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I suspected as much when Cindy Otis deleted her tweet (she responded to the original tweet by noting that surrounding oneself with yes men tends to lead to poor decision-making). That said, it’s from a member of European Parliament, which extends some veracity. The fact that it’s making the rounds means that…

    …they are taking a page out of Putin’s playbook. I’m fine with it being spread far and wide. It’s doing the job it’s designed to do. 😉

  40. CSK says:

    ABC is reporting that Zelenskyy says Russia will be bounced from SWIFT.

  41. Jen says:

    Frank Luntz would like someone to sponsor him to go to Ukraine to conduct focus groups:

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: it’s from a member of European Parliament,

    If their politicians are anything like our politicians who do little more than blow smoke up our collective asses…

  43. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In this case though, they are blowing smoke up Putin’s ass. I couldn’t be happier.

  44. CSK says:

    I had never heard of Aaron Brazell, but he claims to be a senior developer with the NBA. Where is he getting his information?

  45. Kathy says:


    It may not be true, but may have been leaked by someone (Ukraine, the US, NATO, any/all) to get the Russians to waste time and resources looking for them.

  46. Jen says:

    @CSK: He’s a tech guy, WordPress and such. I think he’s written a few books on it. It’s entirely possible that he’s just spitballing/guessing, however, I don’t think it’s implausible–the lead-up to this has taken enough time that there certainly could be special forces/intel groups on the ground there. Like everything else at this stage, it should be taken with a grain of salt, but I certainly hope it’s the case.

    And, regardless, having huge waves of this sort of speculation all over Twitter must be absolutely getting under Putin’s skin, especially since YouTube pulled the plug on RT’s monetization. The more stuff out there that makes Putin look disorganized and things chaotic, the better.

  47. Jen says:

    @Kathy: That’s a good thought too.

    Putin has been so adept at social media manipulation that I’m hoping he’s getting a taste of his own tactics.

  48. CSK says:

    @Kathy: @Jen:
    Ah, psy-ops.

    More fuel for the fire: Zelenskyy says that Turkey has agreed to shut down access to the Black Sea for Russian warships, but Erdogan hasn’t confirmed or denied this.

  49. Jen says:

    @CSK: Exactly.

    I think it is highly likely that Putin was counting on Zelenskyy fleeing, and the widespread sharing of his refusal (gawd, what a quote) to do so is as effective a weapon in that department as any. Zelenskyy is now approaching the status of a legend, if not there already. This is not turning out as Vlad had planned. Let the mind games continue.

  50. CSK says:

    I’ve seen a fair amount of speculation that Putin is ill–physically ill, because of his appearance. Maybe he is; maybe he isn’t. But the speculation won’t boost his self-image.

  51. Mu Yixiao says:

    Stepping away from international politics and war:

    Recipes have ceased to exist

    I’m hungry for gyros, but there are no Greek restaurants in town, and I’m guessing the pre-packaged gyro meat at the grocery store is probably not healthy. I’m a cook, I know how to make stuff, I’ll just look up the ingredients for gyro meat, and modify it to use chicken.

    Google doesn’t return a simple list of ingredients. It’s all videos, step-by-step illustrated instructions, and magazine-length blog posts about how the author used to have gyros at Grandma’s house.

    Those of us that actually know how to cook are, apparently, not worth Google’s time.

  52. CSK says:
  53. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The “magazine-length blog post” stuff is to score higher on Google, as one of the algorithms equates post length with authority.

    Here’s a good one I’ve used:

  54. Jax says:

    I buy a lamb from a 4-H gal every year specifically to turn the big roasts into gyro meat. Cook it long and slow in the oven on a rack, baste it with beer (any beer will do). Slice thin, then brown it in a skillet with butter and your choice of “mediterranean” spices. I make the tzatziki sauce with greek yogurt, sour cream, shredded cucumber, lemon juice, dill weed, and a little bit of mint. It’s pretty good.

    There’s a hole in the wall Greek place in Salt Lake City called Chicken Express on State St, they actually roast the meat on a giant spit you can see through a window. This is the closest I’ve been able to come to the meat tasting like theirs without a giant flaming spit. 😛

    I have yet to master the art of pita bread, unfortunately.

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Nothing. “Ukrainia is waaaaaayyyy over there, and I don’t even know any Ukrainianites or whatever they’re called.”

  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Reeves should just stay at home, barricade his doors and hide.”

    Why? He just shot a guy in anger and got off with claiming it was self-defense because “I’m a policeman and know stuff.” Moving out of Florida? That I wouldn’t recommend.

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I’ll refer you to the advice of, I believe, Elke Sommer who claimed the best fragrance for a man was “soap.”

  58. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    You may well be right. Still, I detect some discomfort in my casual survey of the denizens of MAGAWorld. They know they’re supposed to love Trump, and by extension his BFF Putin, but, as patriotic Americans, they’re also supposed to love people (white people, anyway) courageously fighting off a bully. It’s a quandary for them.

    It seems the best they can do is to completely ignore Trump’s comments and concentrate on hating Vlad the Oppressor.

  59. charon says:


    Should be 2B/day rubles, not dollars, Anderson flipping out over what is basically a typo, misstating the money numbers.

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: At 450 calories/serving, I don’t see any particular reason to think that the premade gyros you buy in the store is less healthy. My objection is that, at least where I’m shopping, gyros slices are pretty expensive and probably not particularly good quality. But over the whole, I’m still just as good with a meat loaf sandwich–and I haven’t made any meatloaf in years. I did buy some braunschweiger recently. That was a nice change.

  61. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    If you mean the vertical spit type gyros, they are a bit tricky to make at home.
    I’ve done it, but koftas or just marinated lamb are way easier.

    If you want to, I’ve found the best way is a mix of fairly coarse lamb mince, with a high fat content, and very finely diced lamb.
    Some grated onion (heh, spellcheck just suggested “grated Ionian LOL) and crushed garlic (ratio of about 1 smallish onion and two or three cloves per pound meat).
    Add some spices (I use ground cumin seed, coriander seed, oregano, smoked paprika, Ras al Hanout) pack tightly into a baking tin, bake c. 40 min gas 6, then slice and brown under a gas grill.

    Personally, I generally just go to the local Turkish kebab shop; less trouble and only £5. 🙂

  62. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Mu can’t get gyros where he lives; that’s why he asked for the recipe.

    Thank you for reminding me about braunschweiger. I must buy some. Love it.

  63. Mu Yixiao says:


    Who the hell puts hummus in a gyro?

  64. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Aha, here’s one of the the recipes I based mine on.

    Main difference is my version uses oven baking, so the melted fat permeates the meat.
    Less healthy, but who eats gyros/doner as health food anyways?
    There’s salad with it!
    That’s healthy! 🙂

  65. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Well, proper shawarma sauce (which is a related kinda cousin to doner and gyros) is yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon and tahini. IMO. YMMV.

  66. Mu Yixiao says:


    If you mean the vertical spit type gyros, they are a bit tricky to make at home.

    No. I mean the seasonings that are in gryo meat.

    Or, more specifically: The ingredients (especially seasonings) in dish X so I can modify the recipe to meat my own tastes and dietary restrictions.

    When I type “What spices are used in gyro meat” I don’t want an “authentic” step-by-step. I don’t want a long description. I certainly don’t want a video.

    I just want a list of ingredients.

    Gyro ingredients is just today’s example. The point is that Google has stopped being a search engine (a tool to find what you ask for) and has become a tool to push stuff. It’s Clippy on steroids. It insists on being “helpful”–which, 99.9999999% of the time is exactly the opposite.

  67. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Beats me. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Don’t like the recipe? Don’t use it.

    You asked. I answered.

  68. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    At 450 calories/serving, I don’t see any particular reason to think that the premade gyros you buy in the store is less healthy.

    What’s a serving size? And what’s the sodium content? And the fat/cholesterol? Preservatives? Additives? Allergens?

    I can pretty much guarantee that what I make at home is going to be more healthy than whatever’s in the freezer at the grocery store (I say that as someone who used to stock the freezer at the grocery store). 🙂

  69. Jax says:

    What happens if the entire world decides Putin is a threat to global stability and deals with it? What’s the…cough cough…protocol?

  70. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: In a Twitter thread linked above, Stanimir Dobrev says:

    the prevailing thought in the higher echelons and Putin’s inner circle and the FSB was one highly dismissive of Ukraine highly hyped up by Russian army propaganda reporting. They missed that they were buying their own bullshit… But the inherent bias remained and UA delayed mobilising so it didn’t dissuade them.[Emphasis mine]

    Granted, it’s good to be skeptical, but it could also be that the UA and Ukranian govt was engaging in some “rope-a-dope”.

  71. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Mu Yixiao: First of all, I am a former Google employee. I am not super thrilled with everything they do these days, but full disclosure.

    So I typed “what spices are used in gyro meat” into Google. The first link is not a paid link, it is a recipe for gyro meat. This seems to me like a very good answer, but it seems to upset you, and I’m curious about that. I click through and I very quickly find that the spices used in gyro meat are garlic, oregano, cumin, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, black pepper and salt.

    There are also, on the results page, three images of gyro meat with an ingredients list below them, which includes spices.

    Sometimes, I do get irritated by the results I get from Google, but this would not be one of them. The information I seek is readily available, on the results page. I don’t have to click through, unless I want confirmation.

    I truly do not understand what bothers you about this query. I find it hard to imagine a web page existing that had the spices in gyro meat that wasn’t a recipe. It might exist, I suppose, but it would have very poor page rank, because for most people, they would be looking to make gyro meat, or a recipe would be enough information.

  72. DK says:


    What happens if the entire world decides Putin is a threat to global stability and deals with it? What’s the…cough cough…protocol?

    Does the name Ghadafi ring a bell? NATO can be scary and swift when it wants to be.

    Putin was supposed to have rebuilt the Russian Army into one of the world’s scariest, but I doubt NATO’s military command structure is as worried about that today as it was last week. And someone in the Russian military has been handing over an awful lot of intel to the CIA, so…