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 California woman who warned a judge last year about the danger posed by the suspect in the Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooting said on Friday that the deaths could have been prevented if earlier charges against the suspect had not been dismissed. Jeanie Streltzoff – a relative of alleged shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich – urged Colorado judge Robin Chittum in a letter last November to incarcerate the suspect following a 2021 standoff with Swat teams that uncovered a stockpile of more than 100 pounds (45kg) of explosive material, firearms and ammunition. Aldrich should have been in prison at the time of the shooting and prevented from obtaining weapons, she told the Associated Press on Friday.

    “Five people died,” Streltzoff said, hushing the final word. “Someone should have done something.”
    Former deputy district attorney Mark Waller, who ran against Allen in the last election, said prosecutors should have amended charges to obstruction of justice, given that Aldrich was deemed so dangerous a Swat team and bomb squad had to be deployed and surrounding homes evacuated.

    “They have that video of [Aldrich] saying he’s going to blow everything up. They could have easily charged … obstruction of justice,” said Waller. “It could have prevented this whole thing from happening.”

    There is some back and forth on the legal ins and outs and IANAL so I’ll just leave it at this.

    Jonathan Pullen is Streltzoff’s brother and Aldrich’s stepgrandfather. Streltzoff said he was a “gentle soul” who had lived in fear of his grandchild for years.

    In the letter Streltzoff and her older brother, Robert Pullen, wrote to the court in November 2021, they detailed multiple instances of Aldrich menacing their brother, who they said “lived in a virtual prison”. Aldrich punched holes in the walls of the grandparents’ Colorado home and broke windows, and the grandparents “had to sleep in their bedroom with the door locked” and a bat by the bed, they wrote. They also said Pamela Pullen gave Aldrich $30,000, used to buy a 3D printer to make gun parts. Streltzoff said Aldrich was treated with “kid gloves” by their grandmother “no matter what” they did.

    During Aldrich’s teenage years in San Antonio, the letter said Aldrich attacked Jonathan Pullen and sent him to the emergency room with undisclosed injuries. Jonathan Pullen later lied to police out of fear of Aldrich, according to the letter, which also said the suspect could not get along with classmates as a youth so had been homeschooled.

    Just a peach of a guy, exactly the kind of person Scalia had in mind when he wrote the majority opinion in Heller.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rupert Murdoch rarely has to answer for the alternative realities presented by his hugely profitable US cable network, Fox News.

    Its conspiratorial claims of a parade of cover ups from the 2012 Benghazi attack to the climate crisis and Covid-19 have been lapped up by Fox viewers and scorned by much of the rest of America, and then the world moved on. But on Tuesday, the 91-year-old billionaire media mogul will be obliged to answer difficult questions under oath about the inner workings of Fox.
    Over the past few months, Dominion’s lawyers have been working their way up the tree of Fox News producers, executives and presenters with interrogations under oath about the network’s work culture and its weeks of conspiratorial, and at times outlandish, claims about Trump’s defeat. On Monday, lawyers deposed Murdoch’s eldest son, presumed successor and Fox Corp CEO, Lachlan.

    Now, Dominion has reached the top of the tree. Months of accumulated testimony are expected to put Murdoch, the chair of Fox Corp, in the difficult position of either having to deny he has control over what happens at his most influential US news operation or defend its campaign to promote the biggest lie in US electoral history.

    Murdoch is already grappling with the costly legacy of phone hacking by British newspapers the News of the World and the Sun. His UK company has paid more than £1bn ($1.2bn) over the past decade to keep the gruesome details from being heard in open court with no end in sight after a high court judge earlier this year refused to prevent the filing of new claims.

    When Murdoch was called to give evidence to a UK parliamentary hearing in 2011 about News of the World hacking the phones of a murdered schoolgirl as well as hundreds of politicians, celebrities and other public figures, he said that it was the most humble day of his life. He also claimed to have known nothing about the wrongdoing and said that he had been misled.

    “I feel that people I trusted … I’m not saying who … let me down and I think they behaved disgracefully,” he told parliament. “And it’s time for them to pay.”

    But he can make no such claim about Fox News, where its misrepresentations were on full display. So far, the only people to pay at the network are the ones who got it right.

    Here’s hoping Rupert has a very very bad Tuesday.

  3. Jen says:

    People who prefer the middle seat on planes: To the people who willingly chose the middle seat: We have questions

  4. MarkedMan says:

    Steve and I were commenting yesterday on using CRISPR technology to develop single injection therapies for a specific individual, and the difference in how we look at it is interesting in and of itself. I come from a medical device background, where everything is about “indications for use”. When you release a device you get a specific indication for use which you submitted copious and expensive evidence for. As a company you cannot sell the product outside its indication for use. In any reputable company a sales rep would be immediately fired for promoting another, off-label, use. It is very difficult and arduous to add another indication for use. The same is true for drugs. But Steve is on the clinician side which is basically the Wild West. Any clinician can prescribe or use anything off-label. No doubt Steve would point out that every hospital has review boards to keep the clinicians from running crazy through the halls, but in theory at least, a lone clinician could prescribe a drug or use a device any way they want. So to Steve the CRISPR technology seems pretty straightforward. The hospital review board says, “we can use it in these ways and under these circumstances” and then everything is hunky dory. And that’s what I meant when I said that perhaps the technology could be treated like a surgical device. Clinicians are free to use it for anything. But as the article I linked to pointed out, right now the process focuses on the injection, treating it like a drug. A drug must be approved for something on-label before it can be prescribed off-label. But in this case the use is limited to a very, very small number of people, perhaps only one. So as long as we continue to regulate the results of these technologies as drugs, they are going to be cost prohibitive.

    And the difficulty of regulating the technology itself as a device is, well, for one thing, there is no device. There’s just a bunch of lab equipment already in use all over the world.

  5. Kathy says:


    I hit the paywall hard.

    There is an emerging trend in new designs as regards middle seats: making them wider than the aisle and window seats.

    As far as I know this is so only of the A220 and the C919. The former has a 3-2 seating arrangement, so there are fewer middle seats. The latter is the debut Chinese mainline narrow body jet liner, which will likely be available on chinese airlines for its first few decades (if the figures I’ve seen of empty weight and fuel consumption are accurate. TL;DR, it’s too heavy for its size, ergo it consumes too much fuel for any given range).

    Mind, “wider” is an absolute term. A seat 1.5″ wider is wider, but 1.5″ is not that much, even in connection to a coach seat.

    Me, I’ve never felt constricted by the width of an airline seat. But the middle seat bothers me two ways: 1) no view at all (also applies to the aisle seat), 2) my latent claustrophobia gets less latent and more present when trapped between 2 strangers.

    Maybe claustrophiles and agoraphobes would love middle seats?

    I’d love a universal narrow wide body design* with a 2-2-2 arrangement. No middle seats at all, 4/6th direct aisle access, more overhead bins, and faster boarding and deboarding, Also heavier, with more drag and wind resistance, ergo less fuel efficient. Meaning we’ll never see one. the closest was the 767, with a 2-3-2 seating configuration.

    *Mid-body? Not-too-wide-body? Dreamliner is already taken.

  6. Beth says:

    Well, I’m still here. Yesterday was a peach. I ended up with a pretty severe migraine. I hallucinated I was party of/observer to the violent take over of a Florida orange ranching operation. Not farming, ranching and very disturbing.

    By the time I was able to explain to everyone what was going on I started hallucinating that I was dying. Whatever they gave me rapidly snapped me out of that. Blessedly. I got another dose this morning after hallucinating a meeting with a neurologist. The migraine finally seems to be fading.

    Other than that I’m just uncomfortable. I got a lidocaine patch for my graft incision and that’s helped a lot. I’d really like to get out of bed.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: The migraine finally seems to be fading.

    Here’s hoping it goes all away. I’ve never had a headache of any kind but I’ve watched both my wife and my youngest son suffer thru them, so I know it’s no walk in the park.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: There is a strategy on Southwest flights of choosing a middle seat in an empty row, in the hope that everyone else will pass it by. Or I should say, “Back in the days when flights took off less than completely full, there was a strategy…”

  9. Beth says:


    My partner gets them enough that she has to see a neurologist about them. I get them occasionally and never as bad as she does. These were the worst migraines I’ve ever had. I didn’t know you could hallucinate like that with them.

  10. Kathy says:


    I suppose two people travelling together would pick an aisle and window seat, and have a reasonable expectation the middle would go empty.

  11. CSK says:
  12. Skookum says:

    Elon Musk’s tweet “My pronouns are prosecute/Fauci” is getting a lot of coverage in far-right media, but not so on the news outlets that I follow.

    I switched to Mastodon. It’s different, but in a good way. If you are on Twitter and feeling icky about supporting a platform that’s turned in a megaphone for a egomaniac who doesn’t appear to support democratic norms, come on over to Mastodon. The water’s fine.

  13. Kylopod says:

    @Skookum: Conservative “humor” seems to consist of the same three “jokes” told over and over like they’re being dazzlingly clever. Those jokes are:

    (1) I identify as _______ (insert random inanimate object or animal).

    (2) My pronouns are ____, ____, and ____ (insert random non-pronouns).

    (3) Let’s go Brandon.

    Am I missing anything? In any case, you could pretty much count it on your hands, and that would account for 99% of their “humor.”

    They’re like the 10-year-old boy who hears his first dirty joke and thinks it’s the most epic and brilliant line ever, without realizing it’s lame as fuck. But conservatives will never outgrow their “zingers.”

  14. Sleeping Dog says:


    Get’s me wondering how restless the Tesla fanboys are getting, now that they are realizing that Musk hates them in the same manner that Trump hates his base. Far too many of them believed that he was some sort of global warming savant, who was going to save us from ourselves.

    The reality is that he’s an entrepreneur who recognized a business opportunity because there is/was a large group of well-to-do people who are concerned about global warming and are willing to spend money to contribute to the solution. Batteries, EV’s and solar collection systems will continue to be a big business. He likely doesn’t give two hoots about global warming personally and likely doesn’t care about the environmental and human degradation that goes along with mining rare metals.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: Before we met, my wife got hooked on the barbiturates she took for them. Her daughter saved her from them.

    Neither she nor my son has ever hallucinated because of their migraines that I know of. My wife’s can last for days and she will sometimes take a day off and go fully medicated just to break the cycle. Horrible stuff. I can’t even imagine.

  16. Franklin says:

    @Beth: Ugh, sorry about the migraines! Never had hallucinations myself, just some of the vision things like flashing geometric shapes and a crescent slowly closing in. And nausea. Anyway, I suppose that absolutely forced you to rest, so I hope a good, healthy recovery is in process now.

    Ozark is a rare breed – I didn’t know there were people who never had headaches, but apparently that’s true of somewhere between 4-10% of the population. Lucky bastards.

  17. Beth says:


    Right. That’s a useful superpower.

    I don’t know if it was restful, but I didn’t move much so that’s a good thing.

  18. Modulo Myself says:

    This is a very bad sign of what’s coming:

    A collection of radical right figures including white nationalists and ultranationalist European leaders gathered in Manhattan for the New York Young Republicans Club’s (NYYRC) annual gala Saturday night, where that group’s president declared “total war” on perceived enemies.

    “We want to cross the Rubicon. We want total war. We must be prepared to do battle in every arena. In the media. In the courtroom. At the ballot box. And in the streets,” NYYRC president Gavin Wax declared to a room full of supporters at 538 Park Ave., an event venue on New York’s Upper East side.

    “This is the only language the left understands. The language of pure and unadulterated power,” Wax added.

    At the five-hour event, which Hatewatch reporters attended, white nationalists Peter and Lydia Brimelow of VDARE hobnobbed with Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser and White House official. Donald Trump Jr. was also in attendance.

    Republicans publicly lauded members of an Austrian political party founded by World War II-era German Nazi party members. Racist political operative Jack Posobiec shared jokes across a table with Josh Hammer, the opinion editor of Newsweek. Multiple recently elected GOP congresspeople applauded Marjorie Taylor Greene, who told the NYYRC crowd in the event’s closing remarks that the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol would have succeeded if she had planned it and that the insurrectionists would have been armed.

  19. dazedandconfused says:
  20. senyordave says:

    @Skookum: I’m just waiting for Musk to go all in and have a meal with Nick Fuentes (of course it would be chaperoned by Kanye West). He seems like the sort of guy who would “get” Musk.

  21. senyordave says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Unless he drops dead while testifying he’ll be fine. When you have that much money there really isn’t even a possibility that you’ll be held accountable.

  22. JohnSF says:

    Big news if readily scalable:
    Lawrence Livermore labs report net energy gain in their latest inertial fusion experiments.

    Cheap energy would be welcome right now in the UK.
    It’s currently, to use the scientific term, bloody cold here.
    Daytime temperatures about 1°C to 3
    Night down to -7°C (minus 15°C in parts of Scotland!)
    Current energy use by me about £7 a day.
    And that’s with the thermostat set for 19 max.

    I mean, probably waaay colder in e.g. Duluth, but right now I just don’t care, OK? 🙂

  23. Kathy says:


    I’d love to see what kind of charges can be pressed on Fauci, that won’t end up in a judge throwing them out amid peals of laughter.

    On other news, Boom (the most unfortunate name for an aircraft manufacturer), plans to announce an engine partner next Tuesday. Buzz is it won’t be one of the big four. That is not GE, Rolls Royce, Safran, or Pratt & Whitney.

    I don’t know whom that leaves, unless it’s some Russian or Chinese firm. The former ought to be ruled out by sanctions. The latter, I honestly don’t know there are any (though I suppose there must be, because China makes its own combat aircraft).

  24. Jax says:

    @dazedandconfused: Several years ago we had a family of skunks dig under our house and take up residence. The noises they make are cute, and very recognizable once you know what they sound like.

    Until mating season. Then it’s pure unadulterated terror. There’s no more helpless feeling in the world than hearing that male start screeching and all the females scream back, and all you can do is…..wait for the smell to come wafting up through the floor.

    Essential oils, for anyone wondering, is the only way I could get rid of the smell. Purification from Young Living, to be exact, 3 diffusers.

    I ended up trapping 29 skunks that year.

  25. DrDaveT says:

    @Jen: In the particular case that kicked this off, I can certainly imagine preferring to sit between a man and his girlfriend to having to deal with them either cuddling or talking nonstop during the flight. And, as others noted in the article, middle seat generally gets to claim the armrests, and doesn’t get kicked/sideswiped/harassed by the food cart. (Aisle seats used to allow more freedom of movement, but on short domestic flights that’s not true anymore.)

  26. DrDaveT says:

    @JohnSF: I can’t get past the FT paywall, but I’ve been watching the fusion research scene for decades and I wouldn’t get your hopes up just yet. There is an enormous gulf between “we got more energy out than we put in” and “we can reliably get enough more energy out than we put in, over and over, and capture enough of that excess to do work that can export power dependably.”

    As for NIF… it’s already enormous. There’s no “scaling” to be had, as far as I can tell.

    Every fusion project that begins as a prototype demonstration of practical power generation ends up converting to a science project demonstrating basic principles and hoping just to achieve ignition repeatably. That’s a pretty glaring clue.

  27. Kathy says:

    Found: The repository of all orphaned asterisks *