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. de stijl says:

    I bought a sixer of beer yesterday that was brand new to me. Local. Craft.

    Purportedly a Pils. I was expecting a German / Czech style pilsener. I got American pilsner akin to Coors. Maybe Coors Light. Miller Light has more flavor than what I bought at premium price!

    I paid $10.99USD on a sixer for perhaps the blandest craft beer I have ever tasted. Offensively inoffensive. Aggressively unaggressive. It barely tasted like beer!

    And from a local brewer I generally like.

    This was beyond disappointment. It was outright betrayal! Holy crap, that purchase was incredibly disappointing!

    It barely, vaguely tasted like beer.

    I like a lot of beers this brewery puts out, but Exile Tursi Pils is blah crapola. It barely tastes like beer. Do not buy!

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: Sex on a beach.

    Seeing as you like most of their other beers, you should send them a written complaint. You would probably get a free 6 pack out of it.

  3. Kathy says:

    This has to be one of the worst ever flights to nowhere.

    The flight was Auckland, NZ to NYC. After close to 8 hours on the way, its intended terminal at JFK, terminal one, closed due to power issues apparently caused by a fire.

    At the second link, you can see other diversions, including a Korean Air flight that also returned to its origin, but after only five hours en route.

    This illustrates the limitation of diversions when something fails at the intended destination. For the passengers in the NZ flight, a diversion to Newark would have made the most sense. Boston or other nearby cities wouldn’t have been terrible for some. Even Houston might have worked.

    The first link lists reasons to justify the 16 hour flight to nowhere. I’m not entirely convinced, but it’s a complex issue. Making things right for the passengers on this flight would have affected passengers on latter flights.

    I’m reminded of the one time I nearly got a diversion. I was flying MEX to Monterrey on the late Interjet, when the pilot informed us Monterrey was experiencing heavy fog and we couldn’t land.

    I assumed a diversion would get us to the nearest domestic airport. In this case it would be Saltillo, which is about a 60-90 minute drive or bus ride from Monterrey. But no, the diversion would have been to Guadalajara, hundreds of kilometers west. That would also have ruined my trip.

    Fortunately a few minutes after changing course, conditions had improved at MTY and the crew decided to un-divert and try to land. We landed safely only about half an hour late.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    What did you expect living in the land of extra-mild salsa?


    “Sex on the beach” or perhaps Making love in a canoe.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Florida couple unable to get abortion will see baby die after delivery

    Potter syndrome is a rare condition related to a fetus’s development in the uterus. The syndrome is a result of abnormal kidney growth and function, which affects how much amniotic fluid surrounds the fetus during pregnancy.

    It has been deemed a “doubly lethal diagnosis” because babies with malfunctioning kidneys can’t remove deadly toxins from their bodies and can in turn experience renal failure. Additionally, the absence of amniotic fluid in a womb causes a baby to be born without the ability to breathe.

    According to Florida’s Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality law, which was implemented last July, abortions are prohibited after 15 weeks of gestation, with a few exceptions, including one that would allow for a later abortion “if two physicians certify in writing that the fetus has a fatal fetal abnormality and has not reached viability”.
    Then, after the specialist consulted with health system administrators regarding the new law, the couple was told that they would have to wait to terminate the pregnancy until the 37th week of gestation – or near full term.

    According to a text message Deborah Dorbert received from the coordinator at a maternal fetal medicine office that she visits often, the specialist made his determination after having legal administrators “look at the new law and the way it’s written”, the Washington Post reported.

    “It’s horribly written,” the message added.

    Despite the specialist telling the couple that other states had fewer restrictions on abortion access, the Dorberts told the Post that they were overwhelmed by travel costs and had only left their state a few times.

    The couple, who have not learned the baby’s sex because its legs were crossed or the umbilical cord was in the way during each scan, eventually opted to provide palliative care to their child after the baby is born.

    “That’s been very important to us, understanding that we do have that control back at least in some of these decisions,” Lee Dorbert told the Washington Post.

    Yes, thank dawg they get to at least choose how they will suffer the pain.

  6. Franklin says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Seriously. Wtf. Why would it be okay to terminate at 37 weeks instead of earlier, when it would avoid some of the pain? And why does this have to be decided by “legal administrators”?

    Score one for the angry old men who want to make sure you’re punished for even considering an abortion.

  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    Repeating from late yesterday:

    Texas considering new law to ban all transgender health care, regardless of age:

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Franklin: Taliban bans contraception calling use a ‘western conspiracy’

    I have read of some Republicans wanting to do the same for “different” reasons

  9. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The upper Midwest puts out a lot of good quality beer. Exile is second tier, yes, but good quality generally. This was an ill-conceived product. A blah American pilsner at 11 bucks a pop.

    And my go-to salsa is local and is definitely not extra-mild. That wasn’t even passive aggressive. That was an active slur.

    Where I live is perfectly capable of producing well crafted goods. We have good choice in local consumer goods even in Iowa. Don’t be an asshole!

    I know you were going for cheeky fun, but kindly fuck off with the explicit patronization.


  10. Stormy Dragon says:

    @de stijl:

    At least it isn’t yet another IPA

  11. Kathy says:


    The GQP can’t lose out to other theocrats, can they?

    On other things, my latest area of interest is synthetic biology. It came up as the main subject in a book I recently read, The Genesis Machine. But this one was more about what might be possible soon(ish), with little notion of what’s possible or in effect right now. Next, I found a short Great Courses lecture series on it. I expect more factual info and less speculation.

    That will come after I’m done with The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman. No, it’s not about Afghanistan. It’s a mid-70s military SF novel. The gist being the protagonist, William Mandela, moves forward in time thanks to special relativity, as he fights a handful of battles in a long war.

    There was an issue casually brought up many times. Soldiers in this war spend most of their time, from Earth’s frame of reference, traveling to a base or battle or coming home. They get paid in Earth time, though. So while in the first battle they spend, say, three years training and fighting, they are paid for 22 years of Earth-time active duty.

    Now I’m wondering at the economics of such things.

  12. de stijl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    True that.

    What is it with IPAs? Everybody gotta do that now? 12 varieties?

    There are a lot of good IPAs, but crikey Moses, they are a dime a dozen. They sell well, I guess.

    My go-to is a local espresso / chocolate stout. It delivers on its label promise. It’s a proper stout. It isn’t Fuller’s Chocolate Stout, but damn close and fresher.

  13. CSK says:


    Are men still permitted access to condoms?

  14. de stijl says:

    The Replacement’s Beer For Breakfast is a damn good song to start you day.

  15. Scott says:

    @de stijl: I’m not a big IPA fan. But that’s my personal taste. However, I get the same feeling about IPAs that I do about peppers. People bragging about how hot they like their salsas or sauce or talking about Scoville levels. As if it is a competition to reach a level of inability to consume.

  16. Scott says:

    @Kathy: I haven’t read The Forever War since the 70s but I do remember liking it a lot as well as other works by Joe Haldeman. Sounds like it held up over time.

    Right now, I’m reading the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. My son got me into it. About a future where the solar system is settled and terraformed and humans are stratified through pre and post birth genetic and body manipulation into specialized classes (soldiers, workers, administrators) where everyone but the top class are basically slaves. And, of course, the top classes have all kinds of problems where they are constantly fighting for power and position. Part Hunger Games, a little bit of Dune, a dash of Ender’s Game. A good read, not too serious. I’m enjoying it so far.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    That pilsner really set you off. 🙂

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I suspect not as the only reason for sex is procreation.

  19. de stijl says:


    That’s a really valid comparison: peppers and IPAs.

    Both are a mania – let’s push it too far. Too hot, too tart. Go harder!

    Neither are a bad thing: outliers can help define the edge, but outliers are not terribly popular or even good. Tarter or hotter is not necessarily better.

    I was expecting an approximation of a clean, crisp, clear Budvar and I unexpectedly got a Bud Light. Two different things.

  20. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Umm, you kinda were being a jerk. You dissed my geography on purpose. Probably cheeky fun on your part, but it did not travel well, for me. Saw it as patronizing.

    No offense, of course. I would hate to offend.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    For two weeks, an owl that escaped the Central Park Zoo has eluded capture as legions of fans worry about its ability to survive in New York City.

    Would Flaco, a majestic Eurasian eagle-owl, go hungry because he had not developed an ability to hunt while in captivity? The answer was a resounding no: Flaco is feeding on park rats.

    Zoo officials said they were suspending recovery operations but would keep a close eye on the owl. “We are going to continue monitoring Flaco and his activities and to be prepared to resume recovery efforts if he shows any sign of difficulty or distress,” officials said.

  22. steve says:

    Just so people understand with Potters syndrome the fetus does not develop lungs. Not enough lung and what they do doesnt work well. Back when I did a lot more work in the ICU one of the respiratory therapists sought me out to talk. She was pregnant and her scan just showed the baby had no kidneys so the baby would have little or no lung tissue. Given her occupation she had taken care fo lots of people with severe asthma and COPD. She asked me if I thought her baby would essentially have the worst asthma attack possible for the minutes, maybe an hour or two, until it died. I told her that wasn’t a terribly bad analogy. Without lungs the child would not be able to get rid of CO2 and wouldn’t oxygenate. So the baby would be trying to breathe but couldn’t while the CO2 increased. Like holding your breath forever. She decided she couldn’t stand to put a child through that so she terminated the pregnancy.

    However, there is another side to this that most people dont know. There is a group of anti-abortion people who actively seek to convince others not to abort these kids. That it is rewarding to hold your baby alive for a brief time and that surely the baby will feel the love. It is this latter group that is ascendant now in places like Florida. They have decided that because it makes them feel good for a few minutes it is OK to torture a child to death.


  23. de stijl says:

    Hot sauces that are stupid hot are pointless.

    A sauce should not overpower, but complement and enhance. That’s the purpose.

    A beer should not be so tart as to overwhelm every other taste sensation.

    Being solely hard-core is counterproductive and kills all nuance.

  24. Stormy Dragon says:

    @de stijl:

    That’s a really valid comparison: peppers and IPAs.

    Both are a mania – let’s push it too far. Too hot, too tart. Go harder!

    Both are for the same ultimate reason: with both super-hot hot sauce and super-hoppy IPA’s, the tastebuds are so overwhelmed they quickly become desensitized and make it impossible to taste any flaws in the underlying flavor, saving the manufacturer the difficulty of coming up with a good recipe.

  25. Michael Cain says:

    One of our local craft brewery that made the big time — now owned by Kirin and distributed nationally — reformulated its flagship brew in an attempt to reverse declining sales. The new version is lighter and a whole different color. That’s okay with me. It wasn’t even the best locally-brewed beer in its category, so I’d already switched to the competition. The brewer did make the proper choice of creating a whole new brand name for its line of IPAs, so you won’t get one by accident, which was considerate of them.

  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I think the idea of an IPA as an exercise in hoppy bitterness is no longer true, or at least relegated to a very small subset of the beers available. I don’t know that there is any standard definition of “IPA” but my rule of thumb is that it is a beer that explores the effect of hop varieties on an ale, and there is an incredibly wide variety of hop combinations used. Another subset is hazy IPAs, which tend to focus as much on the yeast as the hops.

  27. Kathy says:


    I just stumbled into it. I read some offhand reference while browsing, and got intrigued.

    On the plus side, I didn’t have to wait 20 years for the sequel 🙂

  28. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: Star dates on Star Trek always bothered me. “It’s Star Date 41153.7.” You’ve been zipping around the Alpha Quadrant at warp speed for several seasons. But it’s Star Date 41153.7 wherever and whenever you happen to have ended up? Shouldn’t the family back home you meet occasionally have aged a bit since you left?

  29. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08: Relativistic time dilation doesn’t apply inside the warp bubble. In fact, those inside aren’t even under acceleration–they are stationary relative to everything inside the bubble.

  30. Kathy says:


    What @Mikey said.

    Also, I favor ignoring time dilation unless it’s relevant to the plot.

  31. CSK says:

    Trump claims he will never, no. never, call Ron DeSantis “Meatball Ron,” although he just did.

  32. Stormy Dragon says:


    Is “Meatball Ron” even an insult? It makes him sound like that guy from the neighborhood everyone loved

  33. wr says:

    @Scott: I can’t remember how I stumbled across the Red Rising books, but tore through them once I did…

  34. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I think it’s supposed to be an insult. Trump’s nicknames always are.

  35. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Texas considering new law to ban all transgender health care, regardless of age:

    I guess I’m feeling a bit feisty, because my reaction to that is “bring it! Take your best shot!” Because I don’t think there’s any way this will stand up in court, even with the current SCOTUS. They will have to prove harm, and while they can tell stories about harm, it’s not the same as going up against the medical establishment.

    Mind you, I’m not one of the people threatened by this, but man, I think this could be great for trans rights – put all the pro-trans arguments on the front page. Put parents trying to do right by their child on the front page.

    Hence, I am extremely skeptical that it will go anywhere. I’m pretty sure Abbot knows how shaky this ground is, for instance. He and DeSantis will content themselves with doing stuff that’s “scary” but only nibbles at the edges, even while this gets them honored as “fighters” by their supporters.

  36. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: It really captures the man’s small greasiness, and is a slur against his Italian heritage. Trump is good at the nickname game.

  37. de stijl says:


    Cloudy with a chance of DeSantis.

  38. Mister Bluster says:

    Today’s Quiz: Use Meatball in a song.

    I’ll start.

  39. de stijl says:

    If DeSantis wins the nomination his running mate will get called “Spaghetti” guaranteed.

  40. MarkedMan says:

    We were discussing Seymour Hersch’s reliability the other day. Josh Marshall has an interesting perspective

    Over the years I’ve spoken to various of Hersh’s editors and what I heard was pretty consistent: an ingenious reporter totally reliant on having good and strict editing. Basically half or more than half of what he’d come up with wasn’t remotely reliable. But if you could winnow out that crazy stuff and single source claims that didn’t pan out there was some really great stuff there. In other words, they described Hersh as the kind of reporter who is desperately in need of a good and demanding editor.

    Now he’s publishing his material on his own Substack. Presumably with little or no editing.

  41. Mister Bluster says:

    If DeSantis insists on pushing his anti trans campaign someone should send him a Bucket of Balls.

  42. CSK says:

    Marjorie Taylor Greene announced this on Twitter today:

    We are $34 TRILLION in debt, borders invaded daily by the thousands, and Americans have been poisoned in East Palestine.

  43. de stijl says:

    I need to tell this story carefully.

    I do not like the name DeSantis. In my senior year of high school I dated a girl. A very nice young woman. We went out for six months. Late summer until February.

    We broke up. Well, I broke up with her. Another young woman was extreme flirting with me and she was marginally hotter. I was 17. I was not in love. I was not bonded. I went with for the hotter girl.

    Man, looking back, we were all such idiots. Ignorantly flailing around at dating, protoromance, and fumbling physical intimacy. The first time I bought condoms I nearly passed out at the register I was so anxious. GAH!

    Come spring and prom I want with M and my ex, C, went with a guy last name DeSantis. A fairly good dude, not too smart, but a decent enough guy. Had a prosthetic leg on the right side mid thigh down.

    After Prom dude was very drunk and plowed into an oncoming car at speed. Dude was fine beyond a very bruised chest. C was really fucked up. C suffered major brain damage and has resided in the same care facility from when she was 18 until now.

    An ambulance drove her off one night in 1981 and she never went home after. She went from Prom to ambulance to ER to ICU to hospital bed to long term care facility and never got home once. She was 18. She is 60 now.

    I heard about it next day.

    M broke it off mid summer. I was off to university soon and she was going to be a senior. Had big plans. Later, gator. It didn’t hurt much beyond pride. Neither of us was very attached. And I basically deserved it. Had made the tactical choice myself, earlier.

    When I was probably 20 or 21 I got a letter from C when I was at school. The handwriting looked as if was written by a kindergartner. In the letter she declared her undying love as best she could with the words she had. I still know precisely where I was when I read her letter. I could walk you to the address, the room, the exact fucking fucking fucking spot.

    I never responded. Man, that really fucked me up hard. Getting it, seeing it, reading it. Thinking it all through. Fuck!

    I really dislike people named DeSantis just because from residual spite. She didn’t deserve that and I, in some way, put her in that state. Bear some responsibility.

    I hope she has forgotten me entirely.

  44. Mister Bluster says:

    Richard Belzer

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I’ve known half a dozen or so home brewers. Every one of them declared to me that the reason that they got into craft brewing was “I wanted to figure out ways to make the alcohol by volume value as large as possible.”

    As always, YMMV.

  46. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    I didn’t know that Henry Winkler was Belzer’s cousin. RIP.

  47. Mikey says:


    Marjorie Taylor Greene

    In my entire life I have only ever hated one person, but damn if this bitch isn’t working her hardest to make it two.

  48. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster: @CSK:

    Before Belzer was TV famous he was stand-up comedy semi-famous. His shtick was being super sardonic. A very, extremely pale comparison would be to Chandler Bing on Friends. That style but with way more biting jokes.

    He was a comedian’s comedian noted for his braininess.

  49. Mister Bluster says:


    I did not know that either.
    My mom had 6 siblings.
    I can’t keep track of my cousins and their offspring.
    My sister keeps in touch with some of them so I do hear about deaths in the family.

  50. CSK says:

    Indeed. You know, of course, that she really, really wants to be Trump’s running mate in 2024. God help us.

  51. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: I really enjoyed his HBO specials with his (likely modified for the audience) stand up act. It was always weird to see him as an actor, as it just didn’t seem right.

  52. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Stand-up comedy is damn hard work.

    I used to share an apartment with someone trying to kick in the doors and it is a tough road.

    He would riff. Write. Riff. Re-write. Flip the joke on it’s head and radically re-write. Practice. Practice. In front of a mirror. On vhs camera. Stance, posture, body language, words, different words, different stance, clothes, haircut. Workshop it amongst buddies. Get feedback. Re-write. Practice. Between bit patter is pre-planned and practiced – it is rarely spontaneous.

    When you go to a club and see a stand-up do a 15 minute set, that is so incredibly crafted down to the second and has been practiced hundreds, perhaps thousands of times. Re-written dozens of times.

    It took that person a year to pull that off. Easily.

    Comedy is damn hard!

    One thing you learn about rooming with a stand-up comedian is a good set of headphones is required. The repetition can drive you bonkers.

    Bob was good. Really good. And he worked his ass off for years. He peaked out at regional touring at second rate clubs in the midwest. Spent years and topped out at the equivalent of A or sometimes AA minor leagues.

    The folks at the tippety top of the stand-up circuit pyramid are ungodly gifted like Tom Brady Aaron Rodgers good at their job. They are genetic freaks who have also spent years crafting their bits.

    World’s best wingman, though. My dating life in my twenties and early thirties was improved considerably by hanging out with Bob.

    He eventually bailed on it.

    He now owns and operates a string of family casual restaurants in suburban Phoenix. He is very stressed, but pretends he isn’t. His kids are older than we were when we roomed together.

  53. Franklin says:

    @Mister Bluster: Ooh, interesting. Well of course that piece points at another such piece. But that’s too easy. As is the common children’s song involving sneezing on spaghetti. Hmm, I’m not aware of any others!

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @steve: I had a little brother who suffered this fate. I don’t know if it was Patter’s syndrome or something else.

    What I do know is that my eldest son had difficulties in his early years, that the Docs thought it might be Cystic Fibrosis (my cousin died of it so we knew it ran in my family)(my ex was adopted so who knew?) and when I asked my mother to give me access to my brother’s medical files (as requested by the docs) she said,


    I could not move her off that position.

    She just insisted that that pregnancy was not right from the beginning and it had nothing to do with CF.

    At the time I thought she was being selfish, afraid that she had passed on that gene to one of her children who passed it on to his son, but years later I realize she was scarred by that experience, in a way I can not know.

    ETA: ftr it was not CF.

  55. Mister Bluster says:


    This may be a variation of your spaghetti song. I had a 45 RPM copy of Dick Biondi singing this.

  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey: Shit. Enter my world.

  57. dazedandconfused says:
  58. de stijl says:


    When my grandmother died it came out that my uncle, while still my uncle, had a different father than everyone assumed. It was super big drama. I didn’t care.

    He was a good dude and I always liked him. Why would I care? I’ve met these people a handful of times. Good on grandma for gettin’ some lovin.

    Can it be a scandal if no one cares?

  59. steve says:

    OzarkHillbilly- CF has come a long way. Wife worked in the research lab at Children’s Hosp of Philadelphia. When people our age were young CF was very difficult to treat and few if any survived past their teens. They were so difficult to treat and so demanding upon families that the divorce rate was close to 100% among families who had a child with CF. Life expectancy now is in the 50s.


  60. Joe says:

    Trump claims he will never, no. never, call Ron DeSantis “Meatball Ron,” although he just did.

    Is “Meatball Ron” even an insult? It makes him sound like that guy from the neighborhood everyone loved

    While I know this element of the thread continued, I think Stormy Dragon’s answer solves CSK’s question.

  61. Mister Bluster says:

    Reminds me of when I was in college and would order a grilled cheese sandwich at the local diner. I’d put A-1 sauce on it so I’d think that I was eating meat.

  62. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I have an unhealthy attraction to A-1 sauce.

    I put it on pork. I put it on a sunny side up egg then poke the yolk and let it goosh all over everything.

    A-1 does not fuck around. Brings it a tiny hot. Big *HUGE* umami. Top notes citrus. Orange, I think, and then raisins or dried plums as bass notes.

    No fooling. A-1 is perhaps my favorite store-bought sauce. Works on beef, obviously, but also so well on pork especially if paired with cumin, and seriously kicks ass drizzled on a fried egg. It is tang + umami. Best sauce. I use it daily on every meat except chicken.

  63. Gustopher says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    They will have to prove harm, and while they can tell stories about harm, it’s not the same as going up against the medical establishment.

    I regret to inform you that the entire medical establishment is distrusted by half of America (see covid), and that the hurt feelings of Good Christian Parents whose kids were seduced by groomers teaching drag and literacy, and are now being transgender at them (AT THEM! Just doing it to hurt their loving parents!) are held on equal footing in many circles. They may not have transgendered themselves until they were in their 50s, but the seeds were lain with the permissive youth. Think of the children. And the grandchildren that will never be.

    Also, if the courts decide along equal protection lines, I more than half expect a series of bills along the lines of “no boob jobs for anyone, bigger or smaller, regardless of assigned gender at birth.”