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. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Hoping everyone has a great Sunday. Balmy 37F in Puddletown. Just finished cigar and scotch, time to go back inside.

  2. Pete S says:

    The randomness of lake effect snow always makes me chuckle. Watched the Bills game last night get stopped because fans wouldn’t stop throwing snowballs. Between my place and Buffalo I saw stories yesterday of a car hitting a bus and a car hitting a train (!) In the weather. But no snow here at all, just 20 miles away, only a pile of leaves I keep putting off dealing with

  3. Jax says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: It was -25 here at dawn, it’s warmed up a dab to -17, now. 😛 It’s rather unfortunate I have to go out in it.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: We’re looking at below zero temps later this week too, fortunately we should not get below -5.

  5. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: @Jax: @OzarkHillbilly:

    A friend of mine in Alabama is complaining because it’s going to be 41 degrees on Christmas Day.

  6. CSK says:

    Speaking of holidays, today is the first day of Hannukah. Chag sameach!

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: NWS doesn’t yet say about Xmas day, but Xmas eve day we’re expecting a high of 16. The Friday before? 8 degrees. Below zero night time temps. I’m looking forward to it, I hate weak assed winters.

    Yes, I am a bit masochistic, why do you ask?

  8. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Looks like the worst of the cold will be on the 22nd for us. Daytime high of -3. Then it warms up over Christmas weekend.

  9. CSK says:


    As long as it’s warm inside, who cares?

  10. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Yes, reason 1,345 why Luddite left the farm all those years ago…too cold walking in from the milking parlor.

    Neuropathy+cold=no thank you very much.

    Here’s hoping you can get back in with a toddy soon.

  11. charon says:

    Things to consider re: Twitter:

    You can be certain that Elon Musk is well aware that the far-right subculture that has developed at Twitter is very much focused on coordinating behind-the-scenes massive attacks on disfavored left-leaning accounts, to include waves of false reports of misconduct to Twitter and sprawling block-lists.

    The current largest such campaign unfolding on Twitter is run by a group of neo-Nazis who are trying to erase the voices of 5,000 Black and Jewish Americans on Twitter, and—to a lesser degree—feminists. The pretext behind this list is that all those on it are somehow associated with “antifa” or communism, when of course virtually none of them are….

    We know that Musk is well aware of this effort because he is regularly corresponding with far-right troll and fake journalist Andy Ngo, who has made it his personal goal to lobby Musk to remove all antifa supporters from Twitter.

    … far-right campaigns of this sort can now become co-conspirators with a new, sinister Twitter algorithm by systematically muting and blocking Twitter Blue–verified accounts that they want disappeared. Just a few hours on a neo-Nazi block list or a mass false-reporting list can lead to a targeted account essentially disappearing from visibility on Twitter forever.


    But can Twitter sustain itself that way? Fox is commercially successful because Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes understood how to reach and hold a mass audience in non-ideological ways. Murdoch had experience running widely read tabloid newspapers on three continents. Ailes had produced The Mike Douglas Show — a popular daytime talk show that wasn’t political — and had helped soften Richard Nixon image in order to sell him to middle-of-the-road voters in 1968. They kept Fox lively and tabloid-y. They understood mass appeal.

    Musk isn’t consulting with anyone like that. He’s consulting with right-wing cult figures like Andy Ngo and Catturd. They’re demimonde-level successful, not mass-market successful.

    On the other hand, if very few left/liberal people are fully banned and very few leave in disgust, Musk might get what he wants.

    But will Musk’s Twitter ever be profitable? Run this way, no. But Musk is at the age when tech billionaires (Bill Gates, for instance) often start thinking about doing Good Works — and he’s also at the age when a somewhat older generation of billionaires began funneling large amounts of money into Republican political campaigns and organizations intended to steer America to the right. We might have to start thinking about Twitter less as a business and more as his version of the Koch network. That kind of political giving doesn’t pay direct dividends. But it does help construct a world much more to the billionaires’ liking, with more politicians in office who cut their taxes and ease their regulatory burden. Maybe that’s the point of Musk’s Twitter. He’s claimed since he first made the offer to buy Twitter that he wants to use it to save civilization. What he means, I think, is that he wants to save civilization from us.

    So- I never tweet, reply, or DM on Twitter but I do do a lot of retweeting. So no more retweeting, no more posting links here to Twitter. I have seen more and more of the people I follow give up and move to or Mastodon.

    (If all I do is read stuff, nothing else, no retweets, I don’t see that helping Skum much).

  12. MarkedMan says:

    The wife and I walked to a local pub this morning to watch the World Cup. OT at the moment, still tied. Amazing game

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Lots of cord wood in the shed, the stand outside is filled and ready to bring in, the wood box is full, and lots and lots of kindling. So when I do get in my outside wanderings, I’ve got a nice toasty fire going in the woodstove to alleviate my ills.

  14. CSK says:


    What more do you need to be cozy-comfy?

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Fuck me: Marion Smith, the World’s Most Prolific Cave Explorer, Dies at 80 Behind the NYT paywall, so I can’t read it.

    I have some small personal memories of the late great Marion O. Smith. I suspect anybody who ever spent much time in TAG does.

    Once ran across him in Ellison’s Cave (2/3 the way up Pigeon Mountain in Walker County, Georgia) where he was repeatedly dropping and climbing the Warm Up Climb (125′). We were doing one of our all balls out 24 hr trips which usually consisted of dropping Fantastic Pit (586′) and then proceeding to get totally lost in hopes of seeing things that folks doing a thru trip never got to. We usually succeeded in that.

    Marion? He was there just for the hell of it and because he had nothing better to do that day. We spent some time talking to him about caves and Ellison’s in particular (he always had time to shoot the shit with fellow cavers) and then we went on in. And he continued to Yo yo the Warm up drop.

    The 2nd time I ran into him was at Never Sink, which is a must see for any caver, possibly the most beautiful pit in all of TAG. At the very least, one of the most photogenic. I didn’t talk to him much that time as I was a bit tense because I had several first timers with and I wanted to make sure they didn’t do anything stupid. It was a treat for them to meet Marion and he didn’t talk down to them at all. They were cavers, that was enough for him.

    On a another trip (that I had to back out of at the last minute due to work) my eldest got to meet him. IIRC it was at Valhalla but I might be wrong about that. (google Valhalla Pit Alabama if you want the particulars) For some reason I no longer remember he got to use Marion’s rappel device.

    RIP Marion, may the pits in the afterlife be too numerous to count, the passages too long to measure, and the glories of the underworld surround you always.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The Never Sink link didn’t take.

  17. Chip Daniels says:

    Couple items that seem connected via Chesterton’s Fence:

    An article in today’s Los Angeles Times about how the unregulated world of child Youtube videos has led to exploitation and abuse;

    Other articles, everywhere, about the fall of crypto and how the unregulated world of alternative finance has led to exploitation and abuse.

    We are learning the lessons from the 1920’s about why exactly banking regulations and child labor regulations were erected in the first plae.

  18. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..Behind the NYT paywall, so I can’t read it.

    Found this.
    Looks like the same character. This notice is dated Dec. 6.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Here it is, no subscription required. BTW, when I write that it’s not some kind of back door workaround. Both the WaPo and NYT gives subscribers ten “gift articles” a month and I’m happy to use mine in a good cause.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Thanx, I’ll have to make a pilgrimage to Laurel Creek Cemetery

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Thanx, Betty Cracker already gifted it to me but it is still much appreciated coming from you.

  22. Kathy says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    The Guardian has a piece today about the Digital Services Act in the EU

  23. JohnSF says:

    @Chip Daniels:
    Interesting that Twitter has now reinstated the suspended journalists accounts.
    It may be coincidental that this followed on by a very clear warning from EU Commissioner Vera Jourova, but I doubt it.
    Worth visiting Jourova’s feed to witness the sheer uncomprehending rage of Muskies, MAGAi and Brexiters and the audacity of such acts. 🙂
    Musk might be inclined to push for the limits; but I doubt his fellow debt-holders will permit him to toss their assets on his funeral pyre.

  24. charon says:


    Skum just needs to be a bit more devious, or perhaps gradual as in frog, pot, hot water etc. And the algorithm tactic from my links would still work.

    I do not plan to delete my account, but I won’t use it for more than reading stuff.

  25. charon says:


    A lot of the feeds I follow do a lot of retweeting of other feeds. There will be less material available for retweeting as more and more people decamp to or Mastodon. So the thing will snowball past a tipping point, my guess is credible sources about politics or Ukraine etc. are gone for good along with Twitter’s usefulness to people who are there for those sorts of interests.

  26. JohnSF says:

    But once again, if the useful journalistic and analytic content is gone, and the alt-right tail wags the dog, traffic and advertising will drop off.
    Musk may be willing to burn his assets to try to Fox-ify Twitter, but his co-investors?
    Maybe not so much.
    And burning his assets means, ultimately, burning Tesla.
    Other Tesla shareholders are likely to revolt if he does so.

    So far none of the UK feeds I frequently visit have dropped out, though a lot are prepping Mastodon (etc) backups.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: In my case, baseboard heat. No fireplace, wood stove, wood box, or kindling in a studio apartment in a building built in 1927. I have no idea how the heated back then but it appears not to even have had electricity back then. All the wiring is conduits and boxes attached to the walls inside.

  28. charon says:
  29. charon says:

    The above link was found via LGM. Because I was on a different Chrome profile than usual, one that had never seen twitter, I had to log in which brought up where I found these:

    Anne Applebaum

    While it’s still possible to say so – I be posting at @an***********@jo****.host on Mastodon and All old articles at and new ones at Other links here

    I’m still sticking around here just to watch what happens and do some posting. But most commentary on things leadership, Ukraine & national security will be Posted elsewhere.

    Ron Filipkowski
    Listen, I’m very careful not to violate the TOS. So whatever they give you as the reason why I got nuked, it ain’t the real reason.

  30. Kathy says:


    I’m interested in the part about releasing details on the algorithms. I’m not sure how that will work or be enforced.

    Musk might be inclined to push for the limits; but I doubt his fellow debt-holders will permit him to toss their assets on his funeral pyre.

    I wonder what they can do. Twitter’s board consists of Elon’s ego. It was really a terrible move by his creditors not to insist on a board they could control. They may squeeze him to pay his debt, as the terms of their contract allows.

  31. JohnSF says:

    You don’t burn Al-Waleed bin Talal Al-Saud and walk away laughing.

  32. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    In 1927, I think it would be radiators.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: Which Mastodon server are they heading to?

  34. JohnSF says:

    Not made a note yet. The split of Mastodon into various servers seems to be a problem for ongoing continuity. The big advantage of Twitter is it’s lack of bounds.
    Having it chopped up may be problematic.
    But I must admit, I’ve not looked hard at Mastodon; perhaps because Twitter is not that important to me, apart from trolling Brexiters from time to time. 😉
    There are a few accounts I’d miss, but only a few. (I don’t actually “follow” anyone; just go direct to the account feed)

  35. Kathy says:

    BTW, Boom announced its plans and partners to develop an engine.

    I don’t know enough about engine manufacturing and design to comment. Just a note that one of the partners GE Additive, appears to be something like an industrial scale 3-D printing company, part of General Electric but separate from the GE division that makes commercial jet engines.

    It wouldn’t hurt to expand the engine market on the supply side, either.

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: That would be my guess, too, but the building shows no evidence of ever having had steam heat. When they removed the radiators, they must have done a spectacular job. That being said, I also see no evidence, in my unit anyway, of where the wiring enters the apartment. Just conduit routing wiring from fixture to fixture–though, since I’m not an electrician, I might not recognize where the entry point is.

  37. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m not at all sure about this, but I think the baseboard hearing system would cover up any trace of the radiators.

  38. Pete S says:

    So what are the odds that everyone who votes “yes” in the Elon Musk poll has their account suspended by this time tomorrow?