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:

    A judge dismissed a young woman from the jury hearing the trial of three men in connection with a 2020 plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, after attorneys accused her of flirting with a defendant.

    Judge Thomas Wilson announced on Friday that the woman had been removed from the jury, two days after attorneys raised concerns she was having too much non-verbal communication with the defendant Paul Bellar, the Jackson Citizen Patriot reported.

    “It didn’t just happen on one day – it happened over multiple days,” Wilson said of the juror’s behavior. “I decided it’s safer to err on the side of caution.”

    Wilson said he has never seen such behavior in nearly 35 years of practicing law. The juror took the decision well, he said.
    William Rollstin, prosecuting for the Michigan attorney general, raised concerns about the juror during a meeting in chambers Wednesday.

    “Since the start of the trial … there’s been non-verbal communication between one of the jurors – a female – and Mr Bellar,” Rollstin said. “The communication has been in the form of eye contact [and] smiling at each other.”

    Several others in the courtroom, including Wilson and Bellar’s attorney, Andrew Kirkpatrick, said they had seen interactions between the two.

    Looking at his picture, all I can think is “Really?” No accounting for attraction.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Florida headline that only Florida could pull off as not parody:

    Florida clown murder trial postponed after discovery of ‘clown sighting file’

  3. Sleeping Dog says:


    Are we in for scourge of meatheads committing crimes so they can swipe right on the jury pool?

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, plans to continue flying undocumented migrants to Democratic strongholds, his spokeswoman said on Saturday, a day after released records showed the state paid nearly $1m to arrange two sets of flights to Delaware and Illinois.

    Documents released on Friday showed that the planned flights will transport about 100 migrants. They were scheduled for before 3 October but were halted or postponed. The contractor hired by Florida extended the window for the trips until 1 December, according to memos released by the state transportation department.

    Asked why the (f)lights were postponed, DeSantis’ communications director, Taryn Fenske, said Florida had been busy dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

    “While Florida has had all hands on deck responding to our catastrophic hurricane, the immigration relocation program remains active,“ Fenske said.

    Translation: “Right now we need them to do all the dirty work of cleaning up after the hurricane, but as soon as they are done with that, it’s ‘Sayonara baby!'”

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Quite possibly, tho I suspect they will be disappointed when the selected juries are made up of old men and women.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    My wife is at a film festival in Virginia this weekend and one of the movies she saw was “Good Night Oppy”, a documentary about the 15 year mission of the Mars Rover, Opportunity. She told me she literally teared up in parts. Gotta see that. If I’m lucky they will host it at the Maryland Science Center, just ten minutes walk away and associated with the agencies partly responsible for the Mars rover observations, as well as the Hubble and James Webb telescopes.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So, how’s that mobilization going, Vlad?


    I wonder how long he can keep this up.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:
  9. CSK says:
  10. Kathy says:

    Here’s my last complaint about The Expanse: the gravity is wrong.

    Thrust does produce a gravity-like effect, but it is along the axis of thrust. You can check this easily. When you’re in a car and accelerate, you’re pressed towards the back of the seat. When you’re in an elevator and it goes up, you’re pressed against the floor.

    The way thrust gravity gets portrayed in the show, it would be as though an accelerating car would press your butt to the seat. That is, perpendicular to the axis of thrust.

    Ok, with that out of the way, I really like the show, and can rationalize the many protomolecule inconsistencies.

  11. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: One of my standard Saturday listens, while I am cleaning/etc., is This American Life. Act 2 of the show yesterday was about the “Reverse Freedom Rides,” where white southerners offered Black people one-way tickets to cities in northern cities, based on a pack of lies (jobs, housing, money, and in one case, the family was told that President Kennedy would be there in Boston to meet them).

    It’s appalling how much of the current GOP playbook is based on pro-segregation stuff from the past. Barf.

    I see the NYT covered this on Friday.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The unravelling: the full story of how Liz Truss lost her way – and her authority in the Tory party

    The TL;DR version: She has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, but it’s really quite an entertaining read.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Back when I had a working radio in my truck, I loved listening to This American Life. Ira Glass is just so good. Unfortunately, the only way I have of listening to it these days is via the computer and my brain will not allow me to listen and read/write at the same time. It’s one or the other.

  14. CSK says:
  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I had a copy of Stanyan Street; it was mostly dreck, as I recall. Thanks for the flashback to my youthful crackery. 🙂

  16. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Somebody gave me Stanyan Street. “Dreck” is the word.

  17. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: I haven’t thought of him in years. Thanks?

    Thoughts on Capital Punishment by Rod McKuen

    There ought to be capital punishment for cars
    that run over rabbits and drive into dogs
    and commit the unspeakable, unpardonable crime
    of killing a kitty cat still in his prime.

    Purgatory, at the very least
    should await the driver
    driving over a beast.

    Those hurrying headlights coming out of the dark
    that scatter the scampering squirrels in the park
    should await the best jury that one might compose
    of fatherless chipmunks and husbandless does.

    And then found guilty, after too fair a trial
    should be caged in a cage with a hyena’s smile
    or maybe an elephant with an elephant gun
    should shoot out his eyes when the verdict is done.

    There ought to be something, something that’s fair
    to avenge Mrs. Badger as she waits in her lair
    for her husband who lies with his guts spilling out
    cause he didn’t know what automobiles are about.

    Hell on the highway, at the very least
    should await the driver
    driving over a beast.

    Who kills a man kills a bit of himself
    But a cat too is an extension of God.

    Has anyone ever deserved the death penalty for bad poetry? I kid, mostly.

    Anyway, he somehow parlayed stuff like that into a 30 room mansion? Good on him. Given all the other terrible things people do to get rich, awful poetry is probably one of the least harmful.

  18. Gustopher says:

    @Jen: It’s been ages since I’ve listened to This American Life. I was somehow always in the car when it was on during the 90s, and I remember a lot of the stories to this day.

    It was also an era where they apparently had only licensed o a tiny handful of songs, and so used Bill Frisell’s “Coffaro’s Theme” in nearly every episode.

    Now I’m not sure if I want to listen to this week’s episode, or just listen to that Bill Frisell album. (If this week’s episode is secretly a trap to get me to hear some Rod McKuen poetry, and get it further stuck in my head, I reserve the right to stab you with a fork)

  19. CSK says:


    Where’s the vomiting emoji when you need it?

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: It doesn’t matter where it is. The vomiting emoji isn’t compatible to our commenting format. I’ve tried to paste it in before; it doesn’t copy onto the post.

  21. becca says:

    You been treating me trashy, Babe
    Like I wasn’t your man.
    Putting my heart in a cardboard box
    And kicking it down the street.

    Rod McKuen at his finest.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    God help the poets. For the better part of a century they’ve been so outside the main stream not a single one could support themselves by selling poetry, except for the one guy. But if anyone listens to him and says, “Hey, maybe I kind of like this poetry stuff”, a gang of elites will hasten to tell them it is just garbage poetry…

    Hey, I kid, I kid.


  23. Mimai says:


    I have a similar perspective. Yes, he may have been the Thomas Kinkade of poets. And, no, it’s not the type of poetry that speaks to me (which has nothing to do with the sophistication of my tastes).

    But damn if the guy wasn’t successful. And in a historically thankless profession. I’d be rather proud of myself indeed if my fellow humans showed such appreciation for my work. I tip my hat to him.

    And I tip my glass to him knowing what a horrific childhood he experienced. Damn resilient.

  24. Matt says:


    The way thrust gravity gets portrayed in the show, it would be as though an accelerating car would press your butt to the seat. That is, perpendicular to the axis of thrust.

    I don’t know which ship you’re referring to but all the ships I’ve seen have been arranged vertically in a tower like manner with the engine located at the bottom of the tower. I admit I haven’t watched the last two seasons but the prior ships were all positioned so that thrust would create gravity towards the floor. That’s why when they land on tycho the rear of the ship is facing out relative to the center of the spinning station.

  25. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: It’s the Transformers movies of poetry. No Nobel prizes should be awarded.

    The Transformers movies are technically films — they are moving images captured, sort-of-edited and displayed in chunks that are greater than 70 minutes.

    Some of the Transformers movies even have a vestigial plot, although movies like Koyaanisqatsi show that this is not necessary.

    (The most recent Transformers movie, Bumblebee, was actually pretty ok — a competently executed generic 1980s nostalgia fest, with a plot borrowed from many movies about a girl and a horse, and no racist humor or creepy jokes about the age of consent. If you must sit through one Transformers movie, it’s the one)

  26. Gustopher says:

    @Matt: That’s definitely the intent, but I’m pretty sure some of the sets don’t fit the ship layouts.

    It would probably be a very claustrophobic show if they actually had made the sets match what should fit on a level. No sweeping bridges. No long corridors.

  27. Gustopher says:

    Because I am in a slightly rant mode on housing and the simultaneous crises of not enough housing where people want to live (sky high rent increases in cities, leading to homelessness problems) and not enough reasons to live in places with housing stock…

    I think we need a property tax system that encourages upzoning for residential neighborhoods.

    Seattle* needs more housing near transit and jobs. But the vast majority of the city is zoned for single family houses, with minimum lot sizes and set backs to preserve the neighborhood character. It keeps things from getting dense, and keeps housing unaffordable, and neighborhoods fight and upzoning like mad to protect their property values. And then they complain about tents in parks (homelessness is tied very closely to rents — and then it destroys lives)

    I want population density put into the property tax calculations. Make central neighborhoods like Upper Queen Anne pay for the privilege of looking out their windows and seeing all the pretty craftsman houses (they’re pretty! its very nice). A lot more. Queen Anne can afford it, but Wallingford? Eh, not so much. Rezone and infill more people.

    And add a few more carrots to get people building. (Don’t really care if they are building luxury, middle-class or “affordable”, we have shortages in all segments)

    I live in a neighborhood that is having a lot of single family homes replaced with townhomes, and it’s lovely. The tiny strip of weird failing businesses we had a decade ago now has successful shops, because there is the foot traffic to support them. It’s even expanded to take over a few semi-desolate buildings. And when I go on my walk, there are more dogs to pet.

    (We could use some four-over-ones (or three-over-ones, or even two-over-ones) on my neighborhood’s second arterial… but I’m pleased with the townhomes popping up along there anyway.)

    *: The rest of the country either has similar problems to Seattle, or can fuck off. Ok, most major metro areas have similar problems to some extent, and “give people a reason to live in smaller places” is a harder problem to solve.

    Also, homeless encampments are ugly and I would rather have more townhomes even if they aren’t always great looking. Better looking than tents or people living in vans.

  28. Kathy says:


    The Rocinante is arranged horizontally.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: I would argue against awarding Noble Prizes, too. To both. (But I did like the first two Transformer movies. Thoroughgoingly mindless entertainment of just the sort for which I’m looking when I watch TV.)

  30. Mister Bluster says:
  31. Kurtz says:
  32. Matt says:

    @Kathy: Most of the conventional space ships in the expanse are arranged as a tower. That’s why the stair ways to the various decks of the Rocinante are so steep because they are more ladder than stairs. I haven’t seen how the TV series does the protomolecule ships though.

  33. You’ve really moved me to tears, this is what should be splashed across papers, an insight into how it REALLY is! I don’t know what I can do, I’ve facebooked it so maybe someone along the line closer to you can help more. Is there any family anywhere who can help? The council, with a permanent home?There’s a flat right across from me thats been empty for ages, its such a shame! I can post you some things if it’d help? Anything? It’d not cost you anything, just one single mum helping another. If it comes to it, I’d even let you stay lol If you’re ever in Coventry, I’m more than willing to help anyway that I can. I’ve got a 2-year-old and my priority at the moment is keeping up with bills, rent and replacing anything we use in the week so we’re always stocked up, just in case. Please, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be going out of my mind if I were in the same situation.