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. Lost in Quebec says:

    Tragedy in Indonesia

    Death Toll Rises After Indonesian Soccer Match

    More than 150 people died Saturday night after a professional soccer match in Malang, Indonesia, when fans rushed the field, prompting the police to fire tear gas into tightly packed crowds, causing many to be trampled, according to local officials.

    After the Arema football club lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya, dozens of fans rushed the field at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Arema’s home.

    The unrest prompted the police to fire tear gas, which caused panic, Inspector General Nico Afinta, the East Java Police chief, said at a news conference. There was confusion about the death toll — the government-backed National Human Rights Commission said 153 people died, while the Arema football club put the number at 182.

    Both figures would make Saturday’s match among the deadliest episodes in the history of soccer. In 1964, at least 300 people died in Peru after an unpopular decision by a referee at a soccer game touched off a riot at the country’s national stadiu.

    Human rights organizations have condemned the use of tear gas, but the police called it necessary in this case, saying that fans were attacking officers. The use of the chemical is prohibited by FIFA, soccer’s global governing body. Eyewitnesses have said that the gas was at times fired indiscriminately into the stands, forcing the overcapacity crowd to rush for the exits.

    In a televised speech to the nation, President Joko Widodo said he had asked the national police chief to do a thorough investigation into what happened. He said he had also ordered the minister of youth and sports, the national police chief and the chairman of Indonesia’s football association to evaluate security at soccer matches.

    “I regret that this tragedy occurred,” Mr. Joko said. “And I hope this is the last football tragedy in the country.”

    Hundreds of people ran to one exit gate in an effort to avoid the tear gas. Some suffocated and others were trampled, killing 34 almost instantly.

    In a statement, Indonesia’s Legal Aid Foundation said “the excessive use of force through the use of tear gas and inappropriate crowd control was the cause of the large number of fatalities.”

    The East Java police chief, Mr. Afinta, defended the use of tear gas, saying it was deployed “because there was anarchy.”

    “They were about to attack the officers and had damaged the cars,” he said.

    Indonesia’s Legal Aid Foundation said the problem was made worse by the overcapacity. Mahfud MD, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said that the local football committee had printed 42,000 tickets, more than the stadium’s 38,000 capacity.

    He said the victims died “because of the stampede.” They were trampled on and suffocated to death, he said. “There were no victims of beatings or mistreatment of the supporters,” he said.

    The medical team carried out rescue efforts in the stadium and then evacuated others to several hospitals, Chief Afinta said at the news conference.

    The soccer league has suspended play for at least a week.

  2. Kathy says:

    Peanut butter did not work as butter or cooking oil for sautéing or frying.

    On the other hand, it does dissolve well in the broth the rice gets cooked in, and the results are very good. The rice will come off clumpy, as the PB is sticky, but it tastes great. Or it did in the stir fry veggie mix I used.

  3. Kathy says:

    This may be the right way to call a nation Evil Empire.

  4. de stijl says:

    Google Ad Services now thinks I live in Chicago or greater Chicagoland. Never lived there and haven’t visited in 8 years or so.

    I have never, not once, been served an ad on YouTube that has actually figured out what city I currently live in. It’s baffling. Every public record points to X. They always choose not X.

    At least, I am no longer subject to unskippable political ads for Minnesota and Minneapolis races I cannot vote in.

    (BTW, abortion is by far the biggest issue in the MN governor’s race for Ds, and crime is the biggest issues for Rs.)

    They’re just fucking with me at this point, I swear.

  5. Gustopher says:

    About a week ago, California passed a law allowing human composting — your loved ones would get back a bag of soil in a few months, composted from your remains. Very natural.

    I was surprised to learn that Washington State already has this option.

    Previously, my plans were that no one should claim my body — let it be a final act of irresponsibility that caps off a life of failing to take care of things.

    Now, though, I have a better plan. I want to be composted, have the soil used to grow soybeans, and have those soybeans used to make tofu which should be fed to vegans, making them into cannibals.

  6. de stijl says:


    I am digging the human compost option, too. It feels right.

    We can’t do a sky burial or a viking funeral in the US, I’ve checked. People get very persnickety about dead human bodies. It’s odd. Elvis has most assuredly left the building. There is no there there anymore. It’s a carcass.

    I get a rotisserie chicken once a month or so and chuck the bones in my trash bin when I’m done.

    Cremains less so, but still a crap ton of rules and regs that make no sense about where and how to disperse ashes. Which many folks rightly ignore.

    I like the option and notion of becoming the organic material that produces a tree. That seems right and correct. I like it.

    The grave and headstone thing, and ungodly expensive coffin and ritual burial really creeps me out. Nope.

  7. Jax says:

    @de stijl: I fully intend to be burned on a funeral pyre on the bluffs above our reservoir. I dare anyone to stop my loved ones from doing it.

  8. de stijl says:


    I feel you. I would prefer a viking funeral.

    Just make sure that the people you leave behind are not on the hook for an actual crime as the state defines it, even if it is utter bullshit.

    Choose an executor who does not give a fuck.

    Now, I’m liking the compost pile / create a tree thing. I’m not religious. I play a bit with the edges of Asatru, but as symbology, not as truth. It is what my ancestors worshipped so I want to give them full respect, but it isn’t truly me.

    I don’t believe in animism, but I believe in having a very high regard for a certain tree and giving it deference. Not worship, but high regard. It isn’t holy. It’s animist bullshit, actually.

    I kind of want to connect with Nordic traditional practices, but I know they are bullshit, too. Old does not equal true.

  9. de stijl says:


    In my eyes a viking funeral is just a DIY cremation that sinks at the end. Cremation is a perfectly valid way of dealing with our bodily remains per cultural standards.

    The powers that be need to catch up. A lot of folks do not want, and are repulsed by, traditional American funerary practices. They want an older tradition. Or a different one.

    I do not want a headstone. I do not want a grave. That would be grotesque. Cremation is acceptable. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Become one with the world. Provide new sustenance.

    And screw the hegemony of casket mongers at 3 grand a pop! When I die the last thing I want is to end up moldering in a hermetically sealed underground box. Gross!

    I kinda like the compost / tree thing a lot. It appeals to me. Become, in part, a new tree.