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. de stijl says:

    Russia announced a new “phase” in their war in Ukraine.

    Phase 1, 2 and 3 fizzled out. All totalled maybe they got 40% of pre-war objectives.

    If you compare military spending and technological advantage Russia to Ukraine, you would expect Russia to overwhelmingly “win” in 3 days.

    They didn’t. Didn’t even come close.

    This was a massive fuck-up top to bottom. Now they are bogged down and stuck. Russia has the infrastructure to eventually “win” if they stick with it by attrition alone, but have shown themselves to the world community as both barbarian and weak.

    Putin is done. Screwed the pooch.

    Imagine the US attacking an imaginary gone-rogue Puerto Rico. Done and dusted in 3 days to a week. And without a handy land border to boot.

    Russia lost. Putin lost. Even if they eventually “win” by sticking it through, they’ve already lost. Exposed themselves as both barbarous and grossly underprepaired. Woefully so. Markedly so.

    The whole world, specifically Europe, is taking notes on how badly they performed. Noting the how and the why of it. Analyzing it. Rapidly funding anti-tank technology.

    Putin got high on his own supply. Got chesty. A classic fuck-up. Hubris.

  2. de stijl says:

    To wildly gyrate topics…

    Re: yesterday’s thread about Ginni Thomas’ text messages. If we knew for certain Clarence knew about them and ruled corruptly, there really is no easy recourse.

    If we have a totally gone rogue Supreme Court Justice, there really isn’t an administrative option. You basically cannot fire a judge, especially from the Supreme Court. You basically have to wait until they die.

    Technically, there is a constitional path to impeachment, but my golly that path is onerous and given our current level of partisanship extraordinarily contentious. It would evoke madness and chaos.

    The Supreme Court is tasked with policing itself. Nothing good comes from that. A system designed to fail. It is an unequal branch.

  3. CSK says:

    Putin says Russia has been cancelled…just like J. K. Rowling.

  4. de stijl says:


    Makes sense, Putin’s Russia is kinda TERF friendly.

  5. de stijl says:

    I am truly trying to understand TERF on the merits. I know it is a kinda big thing in Britain and much less so elsewhere. The whole Rowling mess.

    Here is my understanding: transwomen are / used to be men. That is immediately disqualifying. You cannot be in our club. You used to be male – essentially you are male so therefore you don’t and cannot know what it is like to be us.

    I am truly trying hard to not be pejorative here.

    Is that a fair assessment? Please correct me. Was I fair?

    Why is this view / this take more prevalent in the UK than elsewhere on the west?

  6. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    I can’t answer your question about the U.K., but this may help:

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States…

    I guess for Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch, adherence to the text of the Constitution is optional if it conflicts with your ideology.

    The Supreme Court rules that Joe Biden is commander-in-chief. Three justices dissent.

    This court is setting itself up to be the actual governing body of the US.

  8. de stijl says:


    Thanks! That was enlightening. A bit disturbing.

    I appreciate it.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    SOLDIER: It’s time to go.

    SOLDIER: Did you hear me? This is an evacuation. You understand? You have to come with me.
    OLD WOMAN: Why?
    SOLDIER: Why? Because they told me, so now I’m telling you. Everyone in this village. Everyone. It’s not safe here. There’s radiation in the air. What’s wrong with you?
    OLD WOMAN: Do you know how old I am?
    SOLDIER: I don’t know. Old.
    OLD WOMAN: I am 82. I have lived here my whole life. Right here. That house. This place. What do I care about safe?
    SOLDIER: I have a job. Don’t cause trouble.
    OLD WOMAN: Trouble. Tschh. You are not the first soldier to stand here with a gun. When I was 12, the revolution came. Czar’s men. Then Bolsheviks. Boys like you marching in lines. They told
    us to leave.
    Then there was Stalin, and his famine. The Holodomor. My parents died. Two of my sisters died. They told the rest of us to leave.
    Then the Great War. German boys. Russian boys. More soldiers. More famine. More bodies. My brothers never came home. But I stayed. And I am still here. After all that I’ve seen. So I should leave now– because of something I cannot see at all?


    @de stijl: Yep.

  10. de stijl says:


    A simple “No” is powerful.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As Covid precautions fall away across US, some experts advise against ‘wishful thinking’

    The Biden administration is facing a delicate balancing act between relaxing US Covid-19 precautions during the current lull in case numbers in the US and conveying the urgency of the possible next surge, experts say. Cases and hospitalizations have fallen sharply in recent weeks. The US is nearing the lowest Covid hospitalization rate of the entire pandemic, and case numbers are now at the lowest they have been in eight months, since July 2021. Precautions such as mask mandates and proof of vaccination requirements have dropped in many of the states and cities that instituted them.

    But thousands of Americans are still dying every week, and the recent spike in Europe has officials watching for a possible surge, either from the new Omicron sublineage BA.2 or another variant. The US has typically followed UK surges by a few weeks. It’s difficult to understand how much of Europe’s wave can be attributed to relaxed precautions, waning immunity or intrinsic properties of BA.2, like its increased transmissibility. But many of these countries have higher vaccination rates, especially higher booster rates in older adults, than the US.

    “We’re playing with infectious disease fire right now,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

    The US has not reached the endemic phase yet, but even endemic viruses need careful management and steady funding, said Gregg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist at Yale School of Public Health. “We spend billions of dollars to keep things modestly in check. We’re not even doing that” with Covid.
    But actions like these could be hampered by lack of funding, which risks undoing the progress the US has made.

    Like the $15 billion just removed from the omnibus bill. Call me hyperbolic but I just don’t see how sticking our collective heads in the ground is a winning strategy.

  12. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    Putin’s trying to save face by claiming that attacking Kyiv was merely a distraction; the Russians are really concentrating on the “complete liberation” of eastern Donbas.

  13. Sleeping Dog says:


    A couple of weeks ago, several military analysts were saying that in the following 10 days to 2 weeks, that Russia would need to pause, regroup and resupply. This is most likely what is happening and one should expect the Russkies to attack Kiev and other UKR cities after several days.

    UKR also needs to regroup, so that will limit their opportunity to attack the Russians. Unfortunately.

  14. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Powerful article… things are breaking apart even on Russian State TV

    Kremlin TV Descends Into Screaming Match Over Putin’s War Failures

    In January, experts on the same show estimated that Russia could overtake the entire neighboring country in a matter of 11 minutes. Their current predictions have shifted from minutes to decades for the Russian armed forces to achieve Putin’s goals in his senseless war against Ukraine.

    Korotchenko surmised, “It’s obvious that the process of denazification of Ukraine will take the minimum of 15-20 years.” He predicted that the Russian troops would have to remain on Ukrainian territory, with the Russian military in charge of the entire country for the foreseeable future: “Whether this will take 15, 20 years or more, time will tell.”

    General Shamanov was even more pessimistic, as he grimly anticipated that it would take the “re-education” of at least two generations of Ukrainians before they would welcome or tolerate Russia’s dominance. He also noted that Russia’s one-million-man armed forces aren’t enough to meet such a challenge, calling for massive increases to the country’s military might. Shamalov concluded: “Today, it can be clearly predicted that we will have to remain in Ukraine for 30-40 years.”

  15. gVOR08 says:

    I think it was Tim Snyder who pointed out that “ethnic cleansing” isn’t necessarily killing. Putin wishes to eliminate the Ukrainian people, leaving only Russians in Ukraine. He can do that with a combination of killing, voluntary emigration, forced emigration, in-migration, and forced reeducation.

  16. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    By which time Putin, like most of us here, will be long dead and buried.

  17. Kathy says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    The arrogance and entitlement seen in that quote is matched only by the incompetence of the Russian armed forces.

  18. CSK says:

    The Brits have a great word to describe the Russian military as they’ve conducted themselves in Ukraine: shambolic.

  19. de stijl says:


    Not bold enough to put a percent on it, but I would not be surprised at all if Putin has a sudden “health emergency” in the near future.

  20. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    I was thinking something quite similar to you in this regard.

  21. CSK says:

    In Trump news: He’s sold the lease on his Washington D.C. hotel to a group of Miami investors that includes baseball player Alex Rodriguez for 375 million bucks.

    It will become a Waldorf-Astoria.

  22. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    I’m told the 9mm type of brain hemorrhage is very hard to treat, and even then the prognosis is not good.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: An acute case of lead poisoning.

  24. Liberal Capitalist says:

    As I am feeling lethargic this morning, I just finished up watching “Joy Division”, a film released in 2007 that documents a slice of time in the late 1970’s.

    Great film, great band. Too bad Ian decided to leave.

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    Moved over from today’s Christian Nationalism and American Democracy thread.

    @de phone has really aggressive autocorrect…
    @Joe:..autocorrect can’t believe…

    Verizon has informed me that they are retiring 3G CDMA network by the end of 2022. Apparently this is an industry wide event. I understand that the AT+T 3G is already kaput.
    Some of the marketing material I get states that I will not need to change my plan. However nothing states that the current cost of that plan ($49.44/month total) will stay the same. My current phone, LG VN 280 has served me well. It’s a tough cookie. I have dropped it many times on hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt, the whole thing comes apart, the battery flies out and when I put it back together it works just fine. (see the LG VN280 Washer Test).
    All I do is text. Make an occasional phone call, take some pictures (very few and they are already saved to my MacBook Air) and infrequenty access OTB.
    One of the offers from Verizon is a “Free” Samsung Galaxy AO3s. Apparently I pay for the phone up front and that cost is returned to me in credits on my bill over 3 years.
    I suspect that not too many OTB scribes are still using Verizon 3G CDMA. However I am open to suggestions.

  26. de stijl says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    If you are interested there is a movie called 24 Hour Party People about Tony Wilson. Basically about the birth of Factory Records, The Hacienda club, and the whole Manchester scene.

    Scripted movie. Not a documentary. Steve Coogan plays Tony Wilson.

    It’s been at 15 years since I watched, but I remember liking it at the time.

    (I love Joy Division, too.)

  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    If you aren’t a heavy data user, investigate a service that has a low base rate for the phone and you pay per GB for the data. Google Fi and Comcast Infinity are a couple, though for Infinity you need to a subscriber to some other Comcast service.

    We had 2 phones on ATT and were forced to replace the phones due to 3G expiration. Her phone had 5GB that we paid for whether we use it or not and mine had 8GB, plus roaming, plus a cost to use it as a hotspot. That was about $85/month. Went to Fi and we’ve had only one bill over $45/month and that was a month where we were traveling and using the phones as WIFI hotspots and that bill was only ~$80. The old phones needed to be replaced anyway, both suffered from worn batteries and hers continually was running out of memory.

  28. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @de stijl:

    24 Hour Party People

    Yeah… got it, watched it… that film really didn’t do it for me.

    On a completely different topic of video:

    Halo S01E01 was surprisingly good.
    Star Trek Picard S02 is actually good as well, so far… much better than the mess that was S01.

  29. dazedandconfused says:
  30. CSK says:


  31. Scott O says:

    @de stijl: @CSK: @CSK: @CSK: @CSK: @CSK: @CSK: @CSK: @Kathy:
    Let us hope that there are people in Russia that would stop Putin if he wanted to threaten WW3. But I don’t think that’s a safe assumption. If Trump had been in power for 20 years wouldn’t everyone near him be pure MAGA? Wouldn’t every general be a Michael Flynn or an Allen West? Wouldn’t everyone on the Supreme Court be a Rudy Giuliani or a Jeanine Pirro! Wouldn’t every member of congress be an MTG or a Madison Cawthorn?

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    @Sleeping Dog:..If you aren’t a heavy data user, investigate a service that has a low base rate for the phone and you pay per GB for the data. Google Fi and Comcast Infinity are a couple, though for Infinity you need to a subscriber to some other Comcast service.

    Comcast is not available where I live. Looks like GoogleFi is. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the info.