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. sam says:
  2. CSK says:

    Sarah Palin says she’s going to run for the late Don Young’s seat in Congress.

    She announced this on April Fool’s Day.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: That way, when everybody points and laughs and she gets zero support she can just say, “Can’t you people take a joke?”

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Russia has claimed that Ukraine sent attack helicopters across the border to strike an oil storage facility in what, if confirmed, would be the first raid on Russian soil since it launched its invasion.

    Ukraine denied that it launched the attack, raising questions about whether Russian negligence may be to blame.

    A Russian governor in the border region of Belgorod said that early on Friday two Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopters crossed the border at low altitude before firing rockets at an oil facility 25 miles from the border.

    Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security council, denied responsibility for the attack. “For some reason, they say that we did it, but in fact this does not correspond with reality,” he said on Ukrainian television.

    Earlier on Friday,the Ukrainian presidential aide Oleksiy Arestovych said: “We are holding defensive military operations on our own territory … Everything that happens on Russian territory is the responsibility of the Russian leadership. All questions to them.”

    Truthfully, it was the first thing I thought of when I heard it, Putin has a record of false flag operations. My 2nd thought was that it made perfect sense for the Ukrainians to attack a fuel depot that was no doubt being used to supply the invasion force. I doubt we’ll ever know which it was.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:


    Thought you were linking us to the Palin for congress announcement.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:


    US military sources were among the first to ID the attack, followed by the UK. Both said it was Ukraine that carried out the attack. Denying the action, gives Ukraine a bit of flexibility.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ron Filipkowski

    Well, Desantis said to read the bill and you would see the word “gay” isn’t in there. Looks like FL teachers have read it, and have an interesting take.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The shoe drops:

    Russia says it will end cooperation with western countries over the International Space Station until sanctions are lifted.

    Russia’s space director said on Saturday that the restoration of normal ties between partners at the ISS and other joint space projects would be possible only once western sanctions against Moscow were lifted.

    Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, said in a social media post that the aim of the sanctions was to “kill Russian economy and plunge our people into despair and hunger, to get our country on its knees”. He added that they “won’t succeed in it, but the intentions are clear”.

    “That’s why I believe that the restoration of normal relations between the partners at the International Space Station (ISS) and other projects is possible only with full and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions,” Rogozin said.

  9. charon says:

    Ukraine’s strike of the fuel depot at Belgorod was MUCH more than a bold tactical move.

    While 1.5 M gallons of fuel is certainly a critical target & will be significant in this logistics war…there’s more.

    This is what’s called a “deep strike” in US military parlance. 1/6

    A deep strike is meant to cause physical damage to the enemy, but it’s also designed to cause increased fear, a feeling that no where is safe, & it sends the message ” we will come after you everywhere, especially when you’re not expecting it.” 2/

    The fact that the UKR leaders will not “confirm or deny” they did the strike is also – to me – an exclamation point.

    It says to me “yeah, we did it, and when we get a chance we’ll do it again.”

    That’s panache. Ukraines got it going on. 6/6

    So messing with their heads plus the physical point.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: FWIW, I think this is really a face saving move. Given the success of Space X and other commercial and US government rockets, Russia’s monopoly on space station resupply is over. They don’t have anything new in the queue either. I suspect the bulk of their funding came from the launch fees paid by governments, and also from private companies for satellite launches. Those were rapidly drying up and now are probably completely gone. I suspect their manned space program is dead, perhaps their entire space program. Perhaps China will keep it alive for a while in order to transfer expertise and technology to their own program.

    If so, it’s very sad. The Russians are true pioneers and achieved amazing things. Despite the rush to put Chinese astronauts in every science fiction and super hero movie, the Russians have always been decades ahead of the Chinese. The scientists, engineers and astronauts that achieved such things don’t deserve such a humiliating end to their program.

  11. sam says:


    “The Russians are true pioneers and achieved amazing things.”

    Not many Americans know about this:

    Lunokhod (Russian: Луноход, IPA: [lʊnɐˈxot], “Moonwalker”) was a series of Soviet robotic lunar rovers designed to land on the Moon between 1969 and 1977. Lunokhod 1 was the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on an extraterrestrial body.

    The 1969 Lunokhod 1A (Lunokhod 0, Lunokhod No. 201) was destroyed during launch, the 1970 Lunokhod 1 and the 1973 Lunokhod 2 landed on the Moon, and Lunokhod 3 (Lunokhod No. 205, planned for 1977) was never launched. The successful missions were in operation concurrently with the Zond and Luna series of Moon flyby, orbiter and landing missions.

    The Lunokhods were primarily designed to support the Soviet human Moon missions during the Moon race. Instead, they were used as remote-controlled robots for exploration of the lunar surface and return its pictures after the Apollo human lunar landings and cancellation of the Soviet human Moon programme.

    The Lunokhods were transported to the lunar surface by Luna spacecraft, which were launched by Proton-K rockets. The Moon lander part of the Luna spacecraft for Lunokhods was similar to the one for sample-return missions. The Lunokhods were designed under the leadership of Georgy Babakin at Lavochkin design bureau. The metal chassis themselves were designed by Alexander Kemurdzhian.

    Not until the 1997 Mars Pathfinder was another remote-controlled vehicle put on an extraterrestrial body. In 2010, nearly forty years after the 1971 loss of signal from Lunokhod 1, the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photographed its tracks and final location, and researchers, using a telescopic pulsed-laser rangefinder, detected the robot’s retroreflector. [Source]

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: @sam: From the mini series Chernobyl, I learned that they used their lunar rovers to clean up the 2 less radioactive of the roofs.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Houston? We have a problem:

    Former USA star goalkeeper Hope Solo arrested on DWI, child abuse charges

    Former US women’s national team star goalkeeper Hope Solo was arrested after she was found passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle in North Carolina with her two-year-old twins inside, police said.

    A police report said Solo was arrested on Thursday in a shopping centre parking lot in Winston-Salem and charged with driving while impaired, resisting a public officer and misdemeanor child abuse. She has been released from jail and has a court date of 28 June, the report indicated.

    According to an arrest warrant, a passerby noticed Solo passed out behind the steering wheel for more than an hour with the vehicle’s engine running and the two children in the backseat.

    A responding officer could smell alcohol, and the warrant said that Solo refused a field sobriety test and her blood was drawn instead.
    She was suspended for 30 days in early 2015 after she and husband Jerramy Stevens were pulled over in a US Soccer-owned van and Stevens was charged with DUI. She was also benched after publicly questioning coach Greg Ryan’s decision to start Briana Scurry against Brazil during the 2007 World Cup, comments many saw as a slight against Scurry.

    Solo was also involved in an altercation with family members in 2014 that resulted in Solo’s arrest, although charges in that case were eventually dropped.

    Sounds a lot like my ex, who ended up doing almost 7 years.

  14. @CSK:

    She announced this on April Fool’s Day.

    Gotta admit that that part slipped passed me when I was writing about it a few minutes ago.

  15. charon says:

    Russia keeps running the same plays over and over, expect ongoing continuation.

  16. @charon: Well, when he gets ousted in the Kremlin, maybe he could make a run as the Jets’ HC?

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In baseball news, Albert Pujols is once again donning the birds on the bat. No idea at all of what to expect from him. Nothing like the first decade of this millennium I’m sure.

    I remember driving home from work and I had the game on the radio. It was a Cards/Cubs game and those were always fun. In the 7th or 8th inning he came up to bat with men on base and the Cubbies ahead by 3 runs (iirc). And I. could. not. believe. it. they pitched to him. Boom, knocked it out of the park.

    OK, that did it. I pulled off the highway at Cuba and went to this bar where I knew they’d have the game on. A couple innings later, game still all tied up (iirc), Pujols comes to the plate again, with a runner on base again. And. they. pitched. to. him. again!!! No doubt from the second it left the bat, that ball was out of there. Game over.

    A couple more such moments would make me very happy.

  18. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    The reply by @OzarkHillbilly: is probably apt here. I’m also suggesting she might be maneuvering for a new reality tv show.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: TBH, that kind of thinking requires more self awareness than she has ever possessed.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:


    At least with the DH, he won’t be staggering around the field like poor Willie Mays did when he returned to NY to play for the Mets. And they plan to use him only as the DH against left handers.

    It’s kind of nice to see him back with the Red Birds for a swan song.

  21. @CSK: This would hardly surprise me.

  22. Michael Cain says:

    The most pressing business would seem to be the regular lifting of the ISS orbit. From memory, so suspect, but I recall that the Russian Progress missions are the only current method to provide sufficient lifting.

  23. dazedandconfused says:

    Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss, and a blown up enemy fuel depot is just a blown up enemy fuel depot. The Ukrainian coyness about it is likely the indulgence of an urge to mock the general Russian habit of shameless lying.

    Panache is precisely the right word for it.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Cain: The plan is to retire the ISS in I do believe 2023/24. So at most Russia’s withdrawal might accelerate that schedule by a few months or a year.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yep, he and his wife still live in STL and maintain a lot of connections there. The “split” in 2011 was not nearly as acrimonious as it was reported. It was just business.

  26. Sleeping Dog says:


    FWIW, I always believed that the Cards and Pujols mad mutually good decisions. The deal the Angles offered had albatross written all over it. The Cards would have hamstrung the club, that has done pretty well without him, if they would have come close to matching that deal. Pujols needed to take the money and run.

    Frankly, I can’t think of pro sports contract that is greater than 7 or 8 years that was a good value. That is why, as a Red Sox fan, as hard as it was to see him go, the team did the right thing in trading Mookie Betts. No way that in makes sense to give him $30M/year for what 12-13 years? The hip injury Betts’ had last year is the type of injury that begins the kind of decline that David Wright and Dustin Pedroia had.

    But I was happy to see Albert back with the Cards.

  27. Michael Cain says:

    The current official NASA plan, released this past January, is to keep the ISS in service through 2030. No more orbit lifting, though. In fact, the plan includes using Russian Progress (and possibly US Cygnus) craft to lower the orbit according to a specific schedule so that the station can be deorbited and crashed in the remote Southern Pacific Ocean in 2031. Main motivation appears to be that there won’t be room on commercial space stations before 2028 at the earliest.

    Myself, I suspect that the “replacement” will turn out to be someone going to SpaceX and saying, “I’ll give you a billion dollars to kit out a couple copies of a Starship variant for use as a space station and orbit them for me.” Assuming SpaceX can build and operate their orbitting fuel dump, and crank out Starship variants, they’re going to make a lot of people look bad.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..It was a Cards/Cubs game and those were always fun.

    Kinda reminds me of “the Sandberg Game” at Wrigley. June 23, 1984…

    In the ninth inning, the Cubs trailed 9–8, and faced the premier relief pitcher of the time, Bruce Sutter. Sutter was at the forefront of the emergence of the closer in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was especially dominant in 1984, saving 45 games. However, in the ninth inning, Sandberg, not yet known for his power, slugged a solo home run to left field against the Cardinals’ ace closer, tying the game. Answering this dramatic act, the Cardinals scored two runs in the top of the tenth. Sandberg came up again in the tenth inning, facing a determined Sutter with a man on base. As Cubs’ radio announcer Harry Caray described it:

    “There’s a drive, way back! Might be outta here! It is! It is! He did it again! He did it again! The game is tied! The game is tied! Holy Cow! Listen to this crowd, everybody’s gone bananas! What would the odds be if I told you that twice Sandberg would hit home runs off Bruce Sutter?”

    The Cubs went on to win in the 11th inning, with the winning run being driven in by a single off the bat of Dave Owen. The Cardinals’ Willie McGee, who hit for the cycle during the game, had already been named NBC’s Player of the Game before Sandberg’s first home run; Sandberg later shared that distinction with McGee. As NBC play-by-play announcer Bob Costas, who called the game with Tony Kubek, said when Sandberg hit the second home run, “Do you believe it?!” The game is known as “The Sandberg Game”.

    Sutter just looked down at the ground as he walked off the field. What else could he do.
    I’ll never forget it.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Cain: Thanx, I must have misread.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Ryne Sandberg was a something else. I have vague recollections of that game, it certainly rings a bell.

    My old man was a Cubs fan (grew up in Joliet) and I’ll always remember him laying in a hammock in the back yard shade, listening to Cubs games. Took me and my brother to Wrigley field once. I’ve been meaning to go back for years. Now that my eldest is a die hard Cards fan, maybe he and I could make the trip. He would certainly appreciate it.

  31. gVOR08 says:

    We’ll, that didn’t take long. Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice has a post on the MAGAts rediscovering America First and starting to come out against Ukraine. Much of the post describes an “Up From Chaos” conference sponsored by The American Conswervative and something called American Moment. J. D. Vance was apparently a “highlight”. They seem to see the enemy not so much as liberals but as Reaganites. Really anyone who doesn’t understand that “woke” is the great threat to western culture and Putin is on the side of right. Laurie includes a couple of apt Dr. Seuss cartoons. It won’t be long before they’re screaming about the need to keep Ukrainian refugees out of the country.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    The last time I saw a game at Wrigley Field was 1995 (?). I was married at the time and my ex and I went to visit my parents who, after my dad had spent at least 15 years commuting from the suburbs to the loop every day, had retired to Chicago. My dad always wanted to live in the big city but he couldn’t afford it as long as three kids were at home. He spent most of the time while living there looking for another place to live. Cheaper, nicer, better terms on the lease. In the 20 years that they lived there I know I helped them move at least 6 times.
    We went to a day game during the week. Neither of them were drinkers but we took them to the Cubby-Bear in Wrigleyville and had some food and a beer or two. My dad was a lifelong Cub fan and watched all the games on TV that he could. My mom could take it or leave it mostly leaving it by sitting in the bedroom of their apartment while the games were on.
    We walked over to the stadium where I bought tickets at the gate and hung out under the grandstand by the concessions waiting for the first pitch.
    All of a sudden I heard my mom’s voice: “Harry Cary! I’ve always wanted to meet you!”
    Huh. What?
    I turned and looked and there he was sitting in a golf cart with some babe who was ready to drive him up to the broadcast booth. My mom ran over and shook his hand. Harry Caray made some pleasantries. The girl driving the golf cart kept saying: “We have to go.”
    I was so stunned by it all I forgot the camera hanging around my neck.
    When I finally took a picture I tried for a second shot. I was out of film!
    You can see my mom in the shot but just the side of Harry’s head. Can’t see his mug at all.
    Any one who has ever seen Harry would know it’s him.

  33. grumpy realist says:

    @sam: My partner in fact had the official report of the Lunokhod mission (in Russian, naturally.) I’ve got several books (in Russian) on the Soviet space program (with autographs of some of the cosmonauts).

    What is crazy is how Russia has lost so much of its science and technology base due to brain drain and outright corruption. (I remember a colleague at a conference back in 1997 saying that there were no more biorhodopsin experts in Russia–they were all working at his laboratory in Italy!) And I don’t think Putin in fact cares. He’s just trying to keep the plates juggling and not have them come down with a crash on his head.