Sunday’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:

    Explosion of life on Earth linked to heavy metal act at planet’s centre

    At the centre of the Earth, a giant sphere of solid iron is slowly swelling. This is the inner core and scientists have recently uncovered intriguing evidence that suggests its birth half a billion years ago may have played a key role in the evolution of life on Earth.

    At that time, our planet’s magnetic field was faltering – and that would have had critical consequences, they argue. Normally this field protects life on the surface by repelling cosmic radiation and charged particles emitted by our sun.

    But 550m years ago, it had dropped to a fraction of its current strength – before it abruptly regained its power. And in the wake of this planetary reboot, Earth witnessed the sudden proliferation of complex multicellular life on its surface. This was the Cambrian explosion, when most major animal groups first appeared in the fossil record. Now scientists have linked it to events at the very centre of the Earth.

  2. Jax says:

    What’s everybody doing for the 4th? Not much here….hometown parade, community BBQ (which I plan on skipping, too many maskless people crowded into one spot), street dance for the younguns, then fireworks. I might drone the fireworks if none of the other dronies have dibs on it yet.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: I’m trying to figure out how to get my wife (and eventually me and my son) to Baltimore’s Federal Hill Park overlooking the Inner Harbor for the BSO and fireworks. Under normal circumstances we would just grab our folding chairs and a picnic basket but she is only a couple of weeks out of a knee replacement, and Federal Hill is most definitely a hill. A lot depends on what streets they block off.

  4. Beth says:


    Today I’m going to see Hot Since 82 and spend the day dancing in the sun. Tomorrow will be watching the kids in the pool while the neighborhood lunatics try to explode the neighborhood.

  5. CSK says:


  6. Mister Bluster says:

    $4.999! $10 gets two full gallons of gas and a whisper!
    Happy Third of July!
    What a country!

  7. Jay L Gischer says:

    We are going on a whale-watching cruise through the San Juan Islands during the day, and watching the fireworks over Bellingham Bay in the evening on the 4th.

    Today we are hunkering down and hanging with some friends online.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    Let’s see. Went for a MC ride this AM, that was very pleasant. A few miles along the ME coast, a nice winding country road and then back to the coast along the Piscataqua, where I got a couple of pictures of a tramp freighter heading out to sea.

    For the rest of the weekend? Lay around the shanty.

  9. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I first read that as you taking a few pictures of a trump freighter.

  10. KMJ says:

    @Mister Bluster: @Mister Bluster: Thanks, Joe Biden! I’ve noticed that the spate of articles complaining about rising gasoline prices have suddenly…..gone silent. Dems in disarray, amirite?

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


    If it were a “trump freighter,” it would have been sinking.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Ah. That would be this one, then…

  13. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    The very one.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    The Republicans on the Supreme Court are little more than enablers of Jim Crow governance, wherein they serve their patrons interest in return for special privileges not available to the masses. Witness their whining letter to law enforcement agencies in VA and MD demanding that they drive away the protesters from the public streets and sidewalks near their houses. It seems that the Feds as well as the governments of VA and MD have laws on their books (passed by their Senators and Reps in order to protect themselves) but the AG’s of all three have long held that such laws are obviously unconstitutional. Why would that be? Well, because the Republicans SC justices have spent decades working to create precedents that Christianists can march anywhere, protest anywhere, that even 25 foot safety zones are too far to provide safe passage from crazed lunatics screaming into someone’s face as they try to get to their car or take out the garbage.

    Only the most foolish would believe that they will be consistent with that when it is they themselves that are the subject of protestors. After all, it is a basic principle of Jim Crow governance that the fundamental duty of the police is to ensure that the the powerful are not inconvenienced, regardless of what any law happens to state.

    (FWIW, I think that reasonable accommodations should apply here, and neither the Supremes nor anyone else should have to endure hate filled mobs just outside their doors, whether that be work or home. It’s just that I think that should apply to everyone, and not just the powerful.)

  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    A tramp freighter

    PALANCA RIO (IMO: 9747998) is a Oil/Chemical Tanker that was built in 2016 (6 years ago) and is sailing under the flag of Marshall Is. It’s carrying capacity is 14882 t DWT and her current draught is reported to be 5.4 meters. Her length overall (LOA) is 133.26 meters and her width is 23 meters.

  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: Here in Longview, WA, we have a super-spreader event that’s been called “Go 4th” since before I moved here. The last time we did it, we had the biggest spike in Covid-19 infections of the year. Yippie! 🙁

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: At $5.49 here, $10 isn’t even worth the trouble of buying gas at all.

  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Sounds fun! Enjoy!

  19. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Last night the cats were huddled next to me under the blankies as a “neighbor” two blocks away recreated the battle for Khe Sanh. After midnight.

    Today cracker was again proven right as we harvested the first four tomatoes off of the plants. Every year I’m convinced I’m not going to have any and most years I am proven wrong. Hale sweet 100s!

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Nothing I wouldn’t do any other day.

  21. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    Hail or hale? Or just hale no???

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..$5.49
    One or two stations here were charging that price recently. Fortunately Kroger topped out at $5.299. With the 3¢ Kroger Plus Card discount I still had to pump $15 to actually see the needle on the gas guage move.

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:..guage


  24. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    or as my bumper said years ago…

    Dyslexic Agnostics Against Dog Untie!

  25. CSK says:

    Trump accused Cassidy Hutchinson of being a…social climber.

  26. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    If I’m understanding this correctly, DeUseless hates children.

    Oh, who am I fooling, he hates everyone who’s not him.

    A Florida state board removed a pediatrician who advocated that children under 5 get the COVID-19 vaccine
    A Florida doctor who advocated for COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 has been booted from a health board.
    Dr. Lisa Gwynn said she received an email stating she made “political statements” that do not align with those of Florida leadership.
    Gov. Ron DeSantis has previously said that vaccinating young children is not “appropriate.”

    Silly doctor, she didn’t understand that she wasn’t there to advocate for children’s health, but for the deification of the Almighty DeSantis.

    Sigh. I’m going to go outside and go back to enjoying my patio. And watch my tomatoes grow.

  27. Jax says:

    Never gonna stop laughing about Adam Kinziger calling Liz Cheney’s Wyoming primary opponents “armpit farter’s”. 😛 😛 😛