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. Kathy says:

    I’ll try to be brief.

    Our business is selling food to various government agencies. The federal and state governments publish requests for proposals largely as open invitations (ie anyone can participate). How they publish varies by state. The bottom line is I have to look up several websites daily to catch them, and we also subscribe to a service that performs similar searches and notifies us.

    There’s also an inscription period, which also varies a lot. Some require a payment, for instance. The length of the period depends on applicable laws, but the mean is no less than three days.

    Well, Friday the effing state of Puebla published 11 (eleven) invitations for their social programs. We hate these, because we have little chance of winning them and they are a lot of work. This time, though, they published them rather late on Friday, with the inscription period being only that day between 9 am and 4 pm. I found them around 5 pm, so we were out.

    I’m a bit concerned the boss will go on a rant that I don’t look up such things well enough. I did look up the website in the morning, and again around 5. That’s standard when we have no reason to expect a publication. The notification service didn’t catch it either. And the supervisor I reported this to reported to the boss the publication was late in the day.

    Most of all I’m hugely relieved. We have a very heavy workload as is, for projects we have good chances of winning, and don’t need the distraction of low probability of a win with a heavier workload still. And the supervisor felt the same way.

  2. CSK says:

    Donald Trump at CPAC yesterday: “I don’t consider myself a celebrity.”

    This from the person who gifted us with Celebrity Apprentice.

  3. CSK says:


    Don’t worry about it. Unless your boss is a total maniac, she/he should be reasonable about this. As far as I can tell, you do your job well.

    It seems that the problem, if there is one, is at Puebla’s end.

  4. CSK says:

    Today is National Grammar Day. Somebody alert the commenters at

  5. CSK says:

    “If it’s not Trump, I won’t vote,” said an attendee at CPAC yesterday.

    If the Democrats are worried about not winning in 2024, I don’t see why.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    Bad Projection Is Ruining the Movie Theater Experience Multiplexes are failing at their most basic function: delivering a bright, sharp image.

    More evidence that the world is ending.

    I’m watching Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — in which she plays Ant-Man’s girlfriend’s mom, Janet van Dyne, and he plays time-traveling villain Kang the Conqueror — at the AMC Empire 25 near Times Square. Although a ticket to this matinee costs more than a month’s worth of Netflix’s priciest subscription plan, the image onscreen is so dim that it’s hard to make out much of the movie’s action and all of its glamorous stars have been turned dark gray. Next to me is Jack Theakston, a projection specialist who works as a contractor at Dolby Laboratories, who immediately diagnoses the problem: This is a 2-D showing of Ant-Man, but some neglectful employee has forgotten to remove the 3-D filter from the projector.


    Across the street at the Regal E-Walk, there’s a torn masking curtain at Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, an out-of-calibration projector creating oddly colored highlights in Titanic 3D, and a presentation of Magic Mike’s Last Dance that bleeds a few inches off the top of the screen. And don’t get Theakston started on the bleak spectacle of the multiplex’s lobbies, the result of ongoing renovations. “It’s unacceptable to just have bare drywall like this,” he says on our way out. “They had the entire pandemic to redo this place and it still looks awful.”


    For some theaters, this is seemingly too much to ask. Despite their inconsistency, the Empire and E-Walk are among the better multiplexes I’ve been to lately, and they certainly beat most of the ones outside the city. Last year, at a Regal in Hampton Bays, I saw a screening of The Batman that was so dark I had to read the movie’s plot summary on Wikipedia just to find out how it ended. At Don’t Worry Darling in Farmingdale, the picture hung off the right side of the screen by a foot.

    When we lived in StL, there was a 1920’s movie palace that had been sub-divided into 3 viewing rooms and an opulently restored lobby. The stock-in-trade was small independent films that wouldn’t be a consideration for a multiplex. Typically I took in 2-4 films a month. Since leaving StL, we’ve been to a multiplex once. Their was a makeshift, storefront, ~200 seat theater in Newburyport, but I’m not sure that survived Covid, everything else is all Marvel, or similar, on all screens.

    Between streaming and the local library’s cache of DVDs, there is no reason to go.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:


    Alas, they’ll think you mean that they should call their grandmother, which would be a good thing.

  8. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Do you mean The Screening Room on State St. in N’port? It’s still going.

  9. charon says:

    .Came across some discussion at Progress Pond re the following links:

    After discussing those links for a bit, Martin Longman goes on to say this:

    (paywalled though, so no linky)

    Now, none of this is particularly surprising, and I’m not ready to ascribe some kind of cultural affinity for Trump within the FBI as the explanation. What’s most notable about the Washington Post piece is that it names names.

    ” … Steven M. D’Antuono, then the head of the FBI Washington field office, which was running the investigation, was adamant the FBI should not do a surprise search, according to the people.

    D’Antuono said he would agree to lead such a raid only if he were ordered to, according to two of the people. The two other people said D’Antuono did not refuse to do the search but argued that it should be a consensual search agreed to by Trump’s legal team. He repeatedly urged that the FBI instead seek to persuade Corcoran to agree to a consensual search of the property, said all four of the people. … “

    I’m trying to put this all in context. As the article notes, many agents in the FBI were suffering from a Crossfire Hurricane “hangover.” The investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia, led by former FBI chief Robert Mueller, hadn’t been good for the career advancement of many of the agents who participated, and it’s understandable that folks were concerned about the fierce political blowback that would inevitably result from a search of an ex-president’s property. There’s a difference between being pro-Trump and being afraid of Trump, although these things are not mutually exclusive.

    The main thing is, I’m wondering why this article is appearing now. Is this story being pushed out by people in the Department of Justice or people in the FBI? And what is their motivation? Who is the target audience?

    I suspect this is a signal that special counsel Jack Smith is nearing the end of his investigation and indictments are coming, including of the disgraced ex-president. This is making people nervous, especially at the FBI, and they’re trying to set the narrative ahead of time. Alternatively, however, there has been criticism that the probe into Trump has taken too long and that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Justice Department has been too cautious. And it’s also perhaps not coincidental that the article appeared on the same day that Garland had to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    The truth is, the information about the rift between the FBI and the DOJ cuts many ways, depending on your perspective. If you think the Mar-a-Lago search warrant was an outrage, now you have reason to focus your rage against the DOJ rather the than the organization that actually executed the warrant. If you think Merrick Garland and the Justice Department dragged their feet too long, you now can blame Steven D’Antuono, who was in charge of the FBI Washington field office in the relevant time period.

    If you want to undermine the legitimacy of the coming indictments, maybe you want to highlight that the decision to go into Mar-a-Lago was far from a slam-dunk decision but rather was highly controversial even within the administration. On the other hand, if you want to protect against the charge that this is a partisan witch-hunt, maybe you want to emphasize that the search was thoroughly debated and far from a rushed job.

    There’s a sense to the article that people have scores to settle with D’Antuono, but he only looks bad to half the population. Sumner, for example, sees this as evidence that “the top law enforcement agency in the nation is coming down on the side of those trying to overthrow the legitimate government.”

    The other half of the country, however, will see D’Antuono as the voice of reason who was overruled by overzealous DOJ prosecutors.

    I can’t really decide how to pick between these options, but I have a strong feeling that this is being hashed out now because people in the know are expecting the shit to soon hit the fan. Some are worried about themselves and their institutions. Others are just trying to prep the field for how the debate over the indictments will begin.

    I don’t see the same cause for alarm that Sumner sees, even if his overall criticism of FBI culture has a lot of merit. I just see the first ripples from the coming tsunami.

  10. Jen says:

    We haven’t been to a movie theater in ages, even pre-covid. The last few times were so annoyingly awful I just don’t see the point. One particularly memorable visit had a man directly behind us who cleared his throat seemingly every minute and a family in front of us who were constantly checking their phones (this is VERY distracting in a dark theater). Adding in the volume and crowds and I’ve pretty much noped my way out of ever going again. Not to mention this new trend of nearly 3 hour movies and I just am not interested.

  11. CSK says:

    When she shows up here, I want to draw BETH‘s attention to this article by Yvonne Abraham in The Boston Globe today, titled “As DeSantis makes Their Child a Target, A Family Decides to Relocate Her to Massachusetts.”

    The Florida family researched the pros and cons and found that Massachusetts was the most trans-friendly state.

    The rest of you will find it interesting, too.

  12. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I read Dr Joyners post yesterday regarding Experts and have several thoughts:

    1. It would be useful to know which experts. “The Experts” is kind of a nameless blob like “The IC” which people assign good or bad behavior to–to drive a narrative. “The experts” as a monolith is exactly who? A helpful rule of thumb is if they are on national mediums, they are not an expert—but are knowledgeable AND can communicate concepts to non-knowlegable people. Many actual experts have a hard time communicating their knowledge with people that don’t have a baseline of understanding.

    2. What are the examples of expert Hubris? I ask because it wasn’t clear, and this is a common theme of people here in DeSantistan…how the Libruhls and pointy heads are arrogant SOBs. I understand that this is not an native observation by these people…it is, rather, planted via disinformation campaigns over the years to stoke anger against Government. In my secretary’s mind (she watches Fox incessantly) Faucci = arrogant while Ted Cruz = not arrogant.

    3. There is a pecking order within the Intel Community. It’s not absolute (depends on the subject matter in question.) But it’s fair to say that FBI and DOE would be the runts of the litter for making an assessment that would require well-placed Human and Signals intelligence in Wuhan, China. When is the last time you saw any national coverage of a DOE or FBI intel assessment? Someone in those organizations have connections with Fox and leaked the reports….I doubt it was even anyone in their Intel production centers..

    4. We have to cut Dr Joyner some slack. He’s not a Liberal, Progressive, Democrat, or Technocrat. He’s a lives in Alabama…that’s going to inform alot of his viewpoint–which he is gracious enough to share. It is only my training in mis/disinformation that has kept me from being swallowed up by the RW wurtlizer here.

    5. After reading James commentary over the years I think his conclusions are fair in light of his experiences which is the best place any of us can be as humans learning as we go.

  13. CSK says:
  14. Scott says:

    The Texas Republican Party engages in Soviet-style criticism and purges. This yesterday:

    Texas Republicans censure Rep. Tony Gonzales over votes on guns, same-sex marriage

    The Texas Republican Party’s executive committee voted Saturday to censure U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales of San Antonio over his votes to protect same-sex marriage and strengthen existing gun laws.

    The resolution passed by a vote of 57-5, with Chairman Matt Rinaldi abstaining. The 64-member committee needed a three-fifths majority, or 39 members, to approve the proposal.

    Representative Gonzalez response:

    “Today, like every day, Congressman Tony Gonzales went to work on behalf of the people of TX-23,” a spokesperson for Gonzales’ campaign said, referring to Congressional District 23. “He talked to veterans, visited with Border Patrol agents and met with constituents in a county he flipped from blue to red. The Republican Party of Texas would be wise to follow his lead and do some actual work.”

    I like this. Unfortunately, I’m stuck with Chip Roy (TX district 21) whose main job is to find TV and talk radio shows to go and and get rants for his Facebook page.

    I think Gonzalez should take a shot across McCarthy’s bow and make a motion to vacate McCarthy’s position.

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Very good analysis. To me this is the key observation

    I understand that this is not an native observation by these people…it is, rather, planted via disinformation campaigns over the years to stoke anger against Government.

    The MSM treat this as some sort of naturally occurring populism. The same is true of CRT in grade school and anti-trans. Dominion has given everybody an opportunity to acknowledge that this stuff did not rise organically, bottom up, but is manufactured by FOX. And the MSM is showing no inclination to do so.

  16. Stormy Dragon says:


    Related, new laws under consideration in Florida:

    The state has the right to seize children with transgender parents or siblings, even children living in other states:

    Senator proposes bill giving state “emergency jurisdiction” over custody of kids with trans parents

    Non-custodial parents of transgender children may legally kidnap those children and flee to Florida with them:

  17. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yes, the Screening Room was where I was referring to. Their survival is good to hear, maybe we should get off the couch…

  18. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Here’s the website with coming attractions:

  19. Scott says:

    Wow. I can’t imagine this happening in our country or our Reservists or Guard taking a stand like this. I don’t know enough of Israeli politics to know how to react.

    Elite Israeli Reserve Air Force Pilots Refuse to Serve as Long as Netanyahu’s Constitutional Coup Continues

    The overwhelming majority of reserve pilots in an elite air force unit have notified their commanding officers in the Israeli Air Force on Sunday that they will not be participating in training or reserve duty so long as the government continues its judicial overhaul plans.

    Reserve soldiers, and former members of the security establishment in particular, continue to take an active part in leading the protests. On Friday, hundreds of veterans of the Shin Bet security service and Sayeret Matkal (the fabled commando unit of the Entebbe raid) protested in front of the home of Avi Dichter, a former Shin Bet chief and now agriculture minister in Netanyahu’s government.

    Around 150 Israeli army reservists who serve as cyber specialists announced Friday that they will stop reporting for duty if the judicial overhaul led by Netanyahu’s far-right government is advanced. Among the reserve personnel are officers in the ranks of colonel, lieutenant colonel and major.

  20. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I don’t think this will work out the way the Florida legislator wants it to.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:



  22. CSK says:

    Trump says he won’t drop out of the 2024 race even if he’s indicted by a federal or state investigative body.

    This reminds me of James Michael Curley, who ran for re-election to the mayoralty of Boston from a prison cell–and won.

  23. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I know of two historical examples of presidential candidates who ran while in prison: Eugene Debs in 1920, and Lyndon LaRouche in 1992.

    However, it’s hard for me to imagine someone in prison being able to run a full, modern campaign.

    That said, while it’s possible Trump will be indicted sometime in the next two years, I highly doubt he’ll be in prison by that point (if ever). These cases take years.

  24. Kathy says:


    There’s too little info on the exact circumstances and events. It’s made some aviation blogs by now, entirely due to the fatality.

  25. CSK says:


    Well, it’s hard to do rallies when you’re in the slammer.

    Like you, though, I don’t imagine Trump will ever be incarcerated. Pity.

  26. Beth says:


    The Trans group I’m part of has been working on ways that we can help people and families in that situation. It’s going to get so much worse as the bans take effect. It’s so disheartening.

    As for that FL parent kidnap statute, it’s gonna work great. A ton of parents will be so terrified of their partners that kids will be forcibly detransitioned, more trans kids will kill themselves and the Ruy Texerias of the world will tell us it’s our fault.

  27. Beth says:

    You know what sucks? Giving a 70lb pitbull a bath with a 9 and 6 year old. Pretty sure there is more water on the floor than the dog.

    Adding to the joy, about a week ago I jammed my acrylic nail hard enough to bleed and score a yoga mat. It feels like my whole nail is about to fall out. My finger is throbbing now.

  28. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Well, even before I fled the state 40+ years ago, I knew that Seattle was different. But for those in shopping mode, looking for the perfect gift for your GQP wannabe insurrectionist, may I suggest that a gold-plated WASR-10 (AK-47) complete with gold-plated 30-round magazine? It’s a bargain at just under $5k.

    This Century Arms WASR-10 AK-47 7.62 x 39mm rifle comes plated in 24K yellow gold with a high polish mirror finish. Also included is a 24K gold-plated, 30-round magazine.

    Seriously? A shiny 24k plated AK47? Be still my beating heart. Snicker snicker.

    ETA link:

  29. Kathy says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Ugly and tacky all in one package. The Centauri would call that very efficient.

  30. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Thanks for the B5 reference! That’s pretty much where my head was at looking at that particular abomination. At least the auction (with available buy it now option) doesn’t include plated ammo, right?

    *There were a couple of interviews years ago that stuck in my head. One was an interview with Hero of the Revolution Kalashnikov berating the Americans for forcing him to develop the abomination AK74 (he apparently hated 5.56 equivalent ammo for long guns) and interviews with a former weapons expert at the Smithsonian (Dr. William Smith IIRC) who’d been SF in Vietnam. Both would have made excellent advisors to Ambassador Mollari.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: While I do wonder if it is time to get a gun, now that Republicans are openly calling for the eradication of “transgenderism” (and then whining when they are reported as advocating the eradication of transgender people, which is clearly what they meant), and I know that the rest of the LGBTetc will be next so I have a very real, direct stake in all of this … I think I would want a gun that looks a little less gay. Or a better gay at least.

    That thing looks like a mid-1970s gay porn prop.

    Ok, I know toy guns have to be ridiculous colors to avoid being confused with real guns, but is it legal for real guns to look like toys? Not sure if a rainbow colored rifle would be my thing, but…

    Also, Puget Sound Socialist Rifle Association looks like either a real thing, or some kind of low budget FBI sting operation.

  32. Kylopod says:


    now that Republicans are openly calling for the eradication of “transgenderism” (and then whining when they are reported as advocating the eradication of transgender people, which is clearly what they meant)

    A while back I watched a video where a Nazi guy called up a progressive YouTuber. At one point he commented that he had nothing against Jews personally, and that what he opposed was “international Jewry.”