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. James Joyner says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve explained this but, since some people continue to spam the comments section with “edit tests” I’ll post this here:

    For reasons I don’t understand but presumably related to security concerns, WordPress, the platform on which the site is built, does not have an organic comment editing function. OTB’s comment editing feature is dependent on an externally-developed plug-in. Because there are multiple other plug-ins installed to provide other features (including being able to reply to comments, upvote comments, add links, etc.) and because they don’t always load in the same order, the comment editing is incredibly hit-or-miss.

    As best as I’ve been able to determine, the only way to give readers reliable comment editing is to have them sign up for an account. That’s likely more trouble than it’s worth.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Ironically, the edit function is working for the above comment.

  3. Jen says:

    @James Joyner: I’ve found that the edit function seems to operate correctly for the first comment on a post. After that, it’s touch and go.

    Thanks for the update–I think I’ve come to enjoy the random serendipity of the edit function. It’s like finding a four-leaf clover. 🙂

  4. CSK says:

    Rachel Hamm is running for Secretary of State in California because Jesus appeared to her son Ezekiel in a closet and told him she should do so.

  5. CSK says:

    @James Joyner: @Jen:
    Sometimes if you refresh the page a few times the edit function magically appears.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    Except for the first comment on a post, I find that to get the edit function and the Bold, Italic, Link and Quote HTML shortcuts, you need to reload the page. 100% of the time that delivers the shortcuts and the vast majority of the time it delivers the edit function.

    I’d like to vote no, on logging in to comment and using such comment options as Discus.

  7. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    No to logging in and no to Disqus.

  8. Mimai says:

    I recently watched the Oscar nominated short films.

    My favorites were “On My Mind” and “The Dress.”

    Least favorite was “Please Hold” – the premise was great, but the mixed tones didn’t work for me.

    “Take and Run” has a lot of potential, but I think is better served with a feature length treatment.

    And while I can appreciate the craft of “The Long Goodbye” (Riz Ahmed is a gem), I think I’m the wrong audience for it. Which is ironic because the premise hits rather close to home.

    Anyone else see these?

  9. Jen says:

    I’ve heard that academia doesn’t pay very well, but this “job” listing is insane. A friend who is job-hunting posted it…it seems real, but I just cannot fathom that this is legal.

  10. Mister Bluster says:


    And then he goes into the closet – which is where I had been when I was praying –
    Rachel Hamm

    Maybe she will stay in her closet for the entire campaign.

  11. Mimai says:


    Speaking of “On My Mind” (ie, karaoke), I was recently at Freddie’s in the DC area (Crystal City to be precise). First time for me.

    What a fantastic place! The karaoke is on point – I’m a consumer, not a producer. The vibe is perfect – good natured and inviting. And it’s a few doors down from Enjera, a wonderful Eritrean restaurant.

    Where has this been all my life?!

  12. CSK says:

    I was in academe for a long time, and this is a new one on me, too. An unpaid part-time assistant professorship? I can’t think of who would take it other than someone looking for teaching experience at a prestigious school so as to have the credentials to apply for a paid job elsewhere.

    While it’s true that part-time faculty are badly paid (by the course, absolutely no benefits) generally tenured full and associate professors bring down a pretty good buck. It’s also why there are fewer and fewer full-time faculty and more and more adjuncts.

  13. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I once spent an afternoon thumbing through the HTML and JavaScript source for one of the pages. The code that draws the shortcut buttons AND the edit/timer piece is invoked by a “finished loading” event. Comments (other than the first) are pushed to the host and inserted on the page without reloading, so no “finished loading” event fires. Refreshing the page does generate the necessary event. At least in my experience, refreshing always restores the buttons, but the edit/timer part is hit or miss.

    This is unfortunately common in WordPress. Two plugins with an incompatible difference in how they work.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:


    Perhaps it was meant to be released on April 1.

  15. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    It might get crowded in there, though, with Rachel, the kid, Jesus, and whatever other members of the heavenly host decide to pop in for a visit.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    Via Digby Adam Davidson rings in on the Great NYT Cancel Culture Flap of 2022. He offers some insight on the perpetual question of WTF is wrong with FTFNYT. He says it may be more Kid Sulzberger than Dean Baquet. (In which case it’s not going away

    I’ve wondered, my own self, why this NYT editorial promoting the false “cancel culture” panic has upset me so much. I think part of it is this: I have fucking LOVED the NYT. Worked there. When it’s great, nothing comes close. But it has fundamentally misread this moment.

    As the right has become more explicitly an anti-Democratic ethnonationalist movement, the NYT (unlike, say, WaPo) has seen its fundamental duty to be a paper for “both sides.” It sees its fundamental flaw in 2016 as not grokking the Trump fan.

    Its coverage of the Trump WH was too often a version of “that naked Emperor show has a beautiful suit. ” In short, the NYT went deep into its instincts: both-sidism; respect for authority; a view that Trump-is-normal; that their job is not to call strikes as strikes.

    I saw this as, mostly, a Dean Baquet problem. And I was hopeful (though wary) that his replacement will right the ship. But this editorial–approved, I have to assume, by AG Suzlberger, the publisher–suggests the problem is deep in the org.

    I personally really like AG. He’s a lovely guy and smart. But I think he is running a paper adrift and in crisis. And this editorial was like them screaming out: Yeah, mother fuckers, we’re quadrupling down on our both-sidist views.

    It breaks my heart. There is so much great work there. Right now, heroic NYT journalists are on the frontlines in Ukraine. But cover America like you cover Ukraine! It’s OK. It’s good to report the truth.

    Emphasis mine. Every now and again I waste a few minutes emailing NYT that I’m not asking them to take a side and be pro-Dem. I’m asking them to support objective reality. If that works out supporting Dems, so be it.

    I sometimes think Sulzberger is trying to pump the books getting ready to sell the place. But if they really feel like not understanding Trumpers was a definitive failing I think they need to look inside for two problems. They can’t bring themselves to acknowledge the racism and as self appointed organ of the elites, they can’t see that our elites have, in fact, screwed over the MAGAts. And the rest of us.

  17. James Joyner says:

    @Jen: @CSK: There’s quite a bit of speculation online as to what’s going on here. Presumably, both the US and California’s minimum wage laws would apply here so either 1) they’re counting on someone with external grant funding or this is some sort of ploy to allow opening this up to foreigners on H1 visas.

  18. Kathy says:


    Odd. I’d expect Jesus to come out of the closet and tell her so himself.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: How many Hamms can dance in one closet? As many as God wishes. Where do Republicans find these people?

  20. DAllenABQ says:

    @Mimai: My wife and I bought our first house in that neighborhood in 1999, about a mile away on Arlington Ridge Road. Freddie’s was great back then; it was favored haunt of cross-dressing DC bureaucrats. Some were much better than others.

  21. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:
    Yes, it occurred to me that external funding from a grant might subsidize this. Is there some technical reason why UCLA can’t say so?

    Years ago, when I was teaching at Tufts, a friend of mine in the Chemical Engineering dept. told me that Dupont paid professors to remain teaching C.E. so the supply of young chemical engineers would keep coming. The professors themselves could have doubled their academic salaries (already good) by working in industry, so Dupont found the practice a worthwhile investment.

  22. CSK says:

    Well, the kid seems to be the designated intermediary between the household and the divine.

    Beats me, but Henry Cabot Lodge must be turning over in his grave like a cement mixer.

  23. Kathy says:


    Does anyone else see a problem with a grown dead man drawing a boy into a closet?

  24. Kathy says:

    Toluca airport (TLC), continuing from yesterday, is a kind of small rough and ready airport. There are no jet bridges at all, and you either walked to the plane or took a bus to get to it. There is one advantage in this. Mobile stairs are cheap and easy to move around. So usually two were provided for each flight, one in the front and one in the back. boarding and deplaning went much faster.

    Alas, as I’ve mentioned, it went from boom to bust in under 7 years. To be fair, no one expected Mexicana to suddenly croak (Interjet had been troubled for its last five years, or perhaps earlier when they began to operate the Sukhoi regional jet). And both Interjet and Volaris made much about the importance of Toluca for their low cost model, as it charged lower landing and parking fees.

    The problem is their market was Mexico City, not Toluca. Now, some City suburbs (politically not part of Mexico City proper) were well located for this. Take me. My apartment is a few miles from a highway that connects to the Mexico City-Toluca highway. I could get there quickly. In fact, the linear distance from my place to TLC is about the same than that to MEX (actual driving distances are a bit farther apart), but without traffic I could reach TLC faster, for the simple reason there were no stop signs along the way (just two quick stops at the toll booth). I did this drive numerous times for business trips.

    However, if you didn’t live nearby, a cab to TLC cost around $50-70, compared to $10-20 for one to MEX, and it didn’t include tolls. Interjet offered a van service to the airport at just $7 per person one way, but you had to take a cab to one of the four places these departed from. For a family of four living in the southern part of Mex City, this meant $56 in van fees plus $30-40 in cab fare round trip costs. In some cases this negated the lower airfares, and there was the added travel time to consider.

    That’s how come Volaris and Interjet abandoned Toluca for Mexico City as fast as slots became available.

  25. Neil Hudelson says:

    The edit button disappears in direct proportion to how stupid my comment was.

  26. CSK says:

    Yes, but apparently his mommy is okay with it.

  27. Mr. Prosser says:

    I know the closet thread here is pretty funny but to understand what the woman was talking about you need to know something of evangelicals in general and Nazarenes in particular. Prayer closets are like mini home chapels, small but often decorated with lights, symbols or whatever attracts the devotee. They stem from from Jesus’s statement about praying in private.

  28. Kathy says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    As I understand, Jesus advised not making a show out of one’s piety.

    Letting everyone know you have a prayer closet and making grandiose claims about what goes on in there, kind of misses the whole point.

    Not that I can claim to be surprised.

  29. CSK says:

    @Mr. Prosser:
    Thank you for clarifying that. Since most people don’t know this, however, she could have referred to it as a prayer closet or even a home chapel.

    Talking about the kid going into the closet to speak to Jesus makes it sound as if the poor tyke’s thrashing through a rack of clothing and stumbling over shoes in the dark.

  30. CSK says:

    Yes. It’s like those who identify themselves first and foremost as “Christians.” What are they talking about? Don’t Christians have denominations, like Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian…?

    What’s a “Christian,” other than a really smug, self-righteous, self-infatuated twerp?

  31. Sleeping Dog says:

    Mostly-Black Town In Tennessee Loses Financial Control Just As Millions of Dollars Roll In

    Just as CRT would predict.

    Ford should do the right thing and tell the county they are moving on to their second choice for siting the plant.

  32. JohnSF says:

    “Christian,” other than a really smug, self-righteous, self-infatuated twerp?

    Well, it’s possible to be Christian, and not necessarily a smug, self-righteous, self-infatuated twerp.
    Just as it’s possible to be a smug, self-righteous, self-infatuated twerp without being Christian.

    Evidence: me 🙂

  33. Gustopher says:

    @JohnSF: there’s a big difference between Christian and “Christian”.

  34. CSK says:

    Okay, but my question really is: What denomination are these self-described “Christians”? I wasn’t raised in any religion, not even nominally, so I’m really in the dark about this.

    I have a truly annoying niece-in-law (happily the only one in the entire family on both sides) who likes to describe herself as “a Christian, wife, and mother.” “Christian” comes first, you’ll note. And I always want to ask, “Well, that’s charming, dear, but to which denomination do you adhere?”

    I mean, what, exactly, is a generic Christian?

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matthew 4:7 (NIV)

    I don’t think people should be claiming that God told them to run for political office. What is the world to make of it if (when?) she (in this particular case) loses? What if she wins? What, for the worst case scenario, if she wins only to find that she’s incapable of doing the job well? Too problematical for throwing onto God’s shoulders.

    (And if tradition is any guide, if God had really spoken to her son in a closet, the message would have been that he should run. I don’t recall any examples of God coming to someone in a vision with a message to go tell someone else to do something–unless you count Moses and Pharoah in Exodus.)

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: You may want to rethink that. At sites where I need to log in using Disqus, I don’t make comments because I can’t keep all the usernames and passwords straight so it’s easier just to lurk.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: IANAL, but I don’t see any reason that this would be illegal. Essentially, the school is seeking a volunteer para-pro (except an actual-pro in this case). Are jobs in Chemistry so hard to come by that someone will take an unfunded teaching job in order to get a foot in the door (pfft, like that works 🙁 )? And how is such a person smart enough to get a PhD in the first place?

  38. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I think Hamm said that Jesus handed her son a scroll telling him she should run. Yeah, yeah, I know, where’s the scroll? Don’t ask me.

    And if Hamm loses, which she will, that will be by God’s design, I guess.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: An econ professor friend of mine at a place where I used to adjunct teach once offered the theory that one of the reasons that schools are going more and more to non-tenured, part-time instructors is because it expands the potential class count far beyond what the school’s budget would permit otherwise because the teachers are receiving only a small fraction (I would guess about 10% max) of the tuition that the students pay for the class. The adjunct workforce serves as a sort of cash cow for the administration.

    At the school he and I worked at together, the adjunct-fueled additional enrollment added over 100% to the total FTEs supported by state. More than doubling the “capacity” of the school. Serious money.

    ETA: Ironically, he also noted that a side effect of the practice is that it depressed permanent faculty salaries (which in some state colleges are at least partially set by the legislature_), but he was a Marxist, so he was probably making that part up. [eyeroll]

    EETA: One other point and then I’ll quit. My state provides funding (required by law) for funding benefits for part-time faculty working a 50% or higher workload. Our school got funding for 2 such positions with a student population at the time of nearly 20,000 students (IIRC) representing 12,000 FTEs (of which the state funded for roughly half).

  40. Kathy says:


    “This scroll will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Hamm!”

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Good point about the not displaying one’s piety thing! 🙂

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: “What’s a “Christian,” other than a really smug, self-righteous, self-infatuated twerp?”

    Many are, some aren’t. And that factor is not limited to non-denominationals–or even Christians.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: No. If she loses, it will be because of Satanic intervention thwarting the will of the Omnipotent God.

    Yeah, I know… 🙁

  44. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, all I can tell you is that all of the self-proclaimed “Christians”–as opposed to people who may be Christian but don’t talk about it incessantly–I’ve known ranged from the annoying (my niece-in-law) to the evil/psychotic (a high school acquaintance).

    Again, I’m not talking about Christians, I’m talking about CHRISTIANS. People like Rachel Hamm.

  45. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    But isn’t that Manichaeism?

  46. Andy says:

    @James Joyner:

    As best as I’ve been able to determine, the only way to give readers reliable comment editing is to have them sign up for an account. That’s likely more trouble than it’s worth.

    I work with a highly-customized WordPress-based website daily and conflicts between plugins and other things are a constant headache.

    While the intermittent editing feature is annoying, I doubt it’s worth the cost and effort to fix – at least until the next website update/refresh.

  47. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    There are probably a couple of dozen website that I once commented on but no longer do, because they went to Disqus. Disqus is the FaceBook of credential management, they force you to turn on 3rd party cookies to use the service and then follow you everywhere. Frankly, I seldom login anywhere, including sites that I pay a subscription for.

  48. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The question I would have, given the demand by business and industry for M.S. and Ph.D level STEM professionals, why would you work for nothing or even work as an adjunct? Now if they were advertising for a history or English Lit Ph.D, they maybe drowning in applicants.

  49. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: @Sleeping Dog:
    The consensus seems to be that the school is giving them an email address, an office, a lab to work in, and some classes to teach, in return for which they’re subsidized by an outside grant.

  50. Sleeping Dog says:


    But still?

  51. Gromitt Gunn says:

    My guess on the faculty position is that there’s a retired prof who wants to keep teaching part time, but who doesn’t want to get paid for some personal reason, probably tied to a personal finance issue. Then when Chemistry ran it past HR, they were told that they couldn’t have the person as an Instructor of Record without them being an employee of the University. And all job postings have to be made public, so it had to end up on the website.

    The wording makes it pretty clear to me that they are actively trying to discourage the general public from applying to this specific posting.

  52. Gromitt Gunn says:

    After looking at the postings at for the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department, I’m going to double down on my hypothesis.

    There are currently six open postings. Four of them are the general adjunct pools for General Chem, BioChem, Organic Chem, and Inorganic. One of them an adjunct posting for a specific funding source targeting at recent Ph.Ds. The one that Jen linked is the sixth one.

  53. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I’m not sure I understand your question. The salary of the person would be paid by a grant from an outside agency. See here @CSK: , where I talk about chem engineering profs being subsidized by Tufts. It’s not quite the same thing, but these people don’t work for free.

    As you point out, English and history profs might as well work for free. My Ph.D. is in English. 😀

  54. dazedandconfused says:

    Religion is great when it leads to reflection and humility, terrible when it leads to granting a thunder-bolt to one’s own views.

    I’ve long suspected the warning about not using the Lord’s name in vain was a warning against the latter. Instead it somehow became a commandment to not use the Lord’s name as a cuss word. I don’t know why, but suspect somebody didn’t like the literal interpretation of vanity in the matter. It gets in the way of having a holy cause.

  55. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I don’t think people should be claiming that God told them to run for political office. What is the world to make of it if (when?) she (in this particular case) loses?

    That God loves her and wants her to learn some humility, lest He be “forced” to condemn her to burn in hell for all eternity.

    Depending on your views on God, you can remove the scare quotes. But a loving God involved in tough love is a better interpretation of God than that presented in the Book of Job, where he tortures poor Job for funsies.

  56. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Also, God is telling her she isn’t Governor material.

    Somewhere, someone is receiving the word of God that they should run for Assistant DA, and is thinking “oof, why not DA? Why, God, why?”

  57. JohnSF says:

    France 25 England 13
    Boo! Hisss!

    Deserved win actually. Les Bleus are back.
    They take the Six Nations Championship at 25 points.
    Ireland second on 21.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: The Manichaeism isn’t the part I object to (I’m Calvinist by early training in my faith and am quite comfortable with “total depravity”). It’s the cognitive dissonance connected with the idea that she worships an omnipotent entity whose will can be thwarted by a clearly not omnipotent underling. But evangelicals have never been bothered by the cognitive dissonances of their beliefs, as I have noted before.

    But to directly answer your question, yes, that would be Manichean, very much so. (See last statement above.)

  59. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    They’re cognitively dissonant, all right.

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I wonder about that question, too. The only answer I’ve ever been able to come up with is that some people love teaching so much that they can’t imagine a world in which they don’t do it. Alongside of that desire is the reality–a college at which I served on the negotiating team decided to finally agree with the union that we needed to restructure our salary ladder. The reason? The number of applicants for a tenure-track position teaching introductory chemistry courses had gone down from over 360 applicants at the last hiring offer (the year before) to under 290 and the administration concluded it was because the starting salary wasn’t high enough. The competition seems to be just as high as in the liberal arts.

    Still, I will concur with CSK as to the logic of the offering. How a person gets a grant without a school to work at may be another question.

  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Your theory makes sense to me, too. It wouldn’t be the first time a school has written a job description to match a set of qualifications they already know about in a specific person. I don’t know why a retiring tenured professor would need to do this as opposed to just using emeritus status to teach what he wanted to, but…

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Good point on God wanting to teach her humility. That hadn’t occurred to me.

  63. Michael Cain says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I don’t know why a retiring tenured professor would need to do this as opposed to just using emeritus status to teach what he wanted to, but…

    He may not want to just teach. Does emeritus status come with access to the lab, or for some STEM fields, the exotic equipment? Can they schedule time on the linear accelerator, or the supercomputer?

  64. Michael Cain says:


    I work with a highly-customized WordPress-based website daily and conflicts between plugins and other things are a constant headache.

    Andy, you have my sympathy. I do some of the maintenance for a multi-author WordPress blog. The good news is that the editors-in-chief are mostly happy with the theme and a fixed set of plugins. Most of my work is maintaining a set of fairly complex pages, which don’t interact with the theme and plugins much. The rest is largely fine-tuning appearance (and a bit of behavior), ranging from a one-line patch to the WordPress core code to a bunch of overriding the theme’s CSS.

    The editors-in-chief have let things get rather out of date. Before too much longer I expect they’ll have to upgrade PHP, WordPress, the theme, and the plugins. Life will be miserable again.

  65. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m … quite comfortable with “total depravity”

    I’m Anglican (by background, not observance), and very comfortable with total depravity.
    Especially after 9:00 PM on a Saturday evening. 🙂

    As to Manicheanism, the Cathars were pretty Manichean-ish, and self-described as Christian.
    Who am I to disagree?

    Let’s get back to the good old days of the iconoclastic controversy!

    Or Arianism. And whatever happened to the Nestorians?