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:

    On a fit of what I call “weekend brain,” I’ve been wide awake since a bit before 4 in the morning.

    Meantime, I’ve been wondering what’s happened to classical music (Yes, I know this is not the correct term). The answer is nothing. It’s still around, being composed and played the world over. It’s just not as popular as it once was (if it ever was that popular). A lot of it, too, is composed as the score for films and TV, and sometimes performed by orchestras the world over.

    So, here’s a recent composition, Piano Concerto by Alma Deutscher, whom, BTW, you can see play the piano in her work. Remarkable young lady.

  2. MarkedMan says:


    what’s happened to classical music

    I’ve been attending symphonies since I was 18, and am a regular listener to classical music. FWIW, I think what whatever has happened to classical music is due to the patrons. Years ago (the 90’s) I read that the average age of the pieces performed at the NY Philharmonic has aged one year for every year since the 1920’s. In more recent years it seems that newer pieces are played a bit more often but only ‘difficult’ ones that are not easily accessible by new audiences. And they must never, ever show any hint of influence from popular culture, unlike the pre 1950’s classical music which regularly used melodies and their rhythms from popular or peasant music, back to Beethoven and earlier. And Twice in this century a classical singer has made it big in one of this talent TV shows and the immediate and over whelming reaction from the classical patrons when confronted by enthusiasm from the hoi polloi was “oh you naive ignoramous! They are not really very good”

  3. gVOR08 says:

    I’m seeing more detail from the SpaceX launch. Musk is saying everything is fine. Apparently the self destruct didn’t work right either. I looked at where their Texas launch site is. I see that here in SW Florida I’m squarely down-range. Does not give me a warm fuzzy.

  4. Michael Cain says:


    My expectation is that once SpaceX sees the FAA test requirements for any sort of blast shield before they allow another launch attempt at Boca Chica, there’s going to be a quick shift from Texas to Kennedy Space Center. They have to move at some point anyway, to meet the launch tempo they’ll need for Artemis. Might as well do it now.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Say what one will about Leonard Slatkin, and many did*, during his time at the SLSO he was devoted to introducing audiences to modern classical music. I appreciated it anyway.

    * a neighbor of mine was a violinist in the orchestra. She was not a fan.

  6. CSK says:

    Liz Harrington says that President Trump will win any debate he enters, but that he won’t take part in any Reagan Library debate because it will be rigged against him.

    So what, if he’ll win it anyway?

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What started as a date at a Texas burger joint earlier this month ended with one of the participants going to jail after allegedly murdering someone else over $40 and carrying on with the rest of the date as if nothing happened, according to authorities.

    Erick Aguirre, 29, stepped away from a dinner date he had with a woman to grab a pistol from his car and shoot 46-year-old Elliot Nix dead after Aguirre learned from a restaurant employee that he had been scammed by a parking attendant, investigators have said.

    Aguirre then reportedly returned to the Rodeo Goat, insisting to his date “everything was fine”, the Washington Post reported. Houston police later arrested Aguirre on a count of murder after releasing surveillance photos of him to the local news as they investigated what they are calling only the latest instance in the US of a relatively petty dispute escalating into deadly gun violence.

    The woman who was on the date with Aguirre was “shocked to see a photo of herself on the news and to hear that she was a person of interest” in the investigation, her attorney Rick DeToto told the Washington Post. DeToto said that his client voluntarily spoke to police after she saw the photos, leading to Aguirre’s arrest. She will not be charged in connection with the shooting and was “devastated” to learn of Nix’s death.

    “She was simply having dinner with the defendant and was unaware of the shooting,” DeToto said of the woman, who has not been publicly identified.

    Take a look at that mugshot and tell me you are surprised. It literally screams, “Do not let me anywhere near a gun!”

    And speaking of which,

    Nix’s killing was not the first time Aguirre has been accused of acting violently – he had previously been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2017.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Stupid is as stupid does:

    In Shasta county, a deep red enclave in far northern California, officials are intensifying their push to replace voting machines with a costly and experimental hand-count system that could cost an additional $4m over two years.

    The decision of the far-right majority on the region’s governing body, the Shasta county board of supervisors, to press ahead with the controversial plan comes as half the county’s workforce is preparing to strike over wages. Officials on the board recently said the county did not have enough money to pay requested wage increases for workers.

    The move has deepened divisions in a small county where public spending budgets are tight, with critics denouncing the price tag of an overhaul based on lies about election fraud.

    In a tense meeting that saw one county supervisor served with recall paperwork, the board’s ultra conservative majority renewed their support for a system that will cost three times more than the voting machines the county previously used.

    “We’re going to have free and fair elections in Shasta county,” said Patrick Jones, the chair of the board of supervisors, at a meeting on Tuesday. “Apparently money seems to be more important than making sure our elections are fair.”

    I guess they’ve got their heads so far up Fucker’s ass they can’t see the 787.5 million reasons to not do what they are doing flee the FOX News Corp coffers.

  9. Joe says:

    @Kathy: I got to watch my 30-year-old son receive his PhD in music composition this week. He was raised on an omnivorous musical diet. Two weeks ago, I got to hear a choral work he wrote about 4 years ago for which I had – at his request – provided the text, being sung by a 40-person chorale. We’ll see what time brings.

  10. CSK says:


    Congrats to your son.

  11. Stormy Dragon says:


    That’s “Dr. your son”! 😉

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Brothers in arms, a long way from home’: the first Australians to fight fascism overseas

    A short bit about an all but forgotten part of history.

    The official count of Australians who fought in the Spanish Civil Was is 66 (this article says 70) and only one fought on the side of the Fascists. As with so many of their compatriots they were dismissed as communists and unionists.

  13. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    In that case, you may address me as “Dr. CSK.”

  14. Stormy Dragon says:


    Dr. CSK would be a cool super villain name =) Although I guess I should ask if you intend it to be C. S. K. or “Sisk”, the way I’ve been saying it in my head.

  15. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I remember playing a piece that Slatkin had composed back when I was in my musician phase. It was pretty good as I recall.

  16. Kathy says:


    I’ve attended exactly one classical concert, and that was in the 80s (Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons performed by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra). I do like the music, but lack the focus to sit through a whole performance. I’d rather take breaks on longer pieces (it can take me six hours to listen to Beethoven’s entire 9th), or put in on background while I do something else.

    So, I’m not quite in touch with what goes on in the live performance of classical music these days.



  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Joe: congrats to both you and your son!

  18. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Betcha they think of themselves as fiscally responsible.


  19. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I wouldn’t mind being a supervillain, but it’s “C.S.K.”

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Americans who served in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade or otherwise supported the Republicans were also viewed with suspicion if they managed to survive and come home, then largely forgotten. It’s described as “prematurely anti-fascist”.

  21. Slugger says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I understand. In 2020 the presidential votes in their county were Trump 60,789 and Biden 30,000. This marked discrepancy with the statewide outcome certainly suggests monkey business on the part of Trump’s forces.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    Following up yesterday’s discussion of money and SCOTUS, NYT today has a deep dive into the relationship between the Antonin Scalia Law School at GMU and the Supremes. (Should be paywall free.)

    Chuckles Koch, Leonard Leo’s 1.6 billion dollar guardian angel Barre Seid, and the rest of the Billionaire Boys Club have put a ton of money into cultivating relationships between the school and the justices. All the justices, but mostly the Federalists. The justices sometimes teach classes for the school. Two week classes for which they’re paid the max allowed, about 30K. The article details Gorsuch doing such a class, in Padua, his choice from a menu of cities. The school set him up in an “”aristocratic” antique-filled apartment in the heart of the old town.”

    A draft handbook for the trip, emailed to Justice Gorsuch, made clear that his teaching responsibilities would be limited to the mornings, leaving plenty of time for excursions, including planned visits to Bologna and Florence.

    “Fantastico!” the justice responded.

    Tough life.

    Is all this legal? Arguably, per the rules established by the justices. Is this nonetheless buying the Court to support a particular class of people and a particular ideology? Why yes, it is.

  23. Joe says:

    @Slugger: I suspect that the vote totals in the counties adjacent to Shasta were similar to Shasta’s The statewide percentages reflect the LAs and SanFrans of the state.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: Yep. Recently read a story about a guy who was highly regarded by Phil Donilon (sorry for get his name) who went into the danger zone not just during the SCW but after Germany invaded Poland, multiple times and was still hounded by McCarthy and his ilk.

    It’s a sickening tale and I hear the echos in today’s “antifa’s” cries.

    Full disclosure: my wife’s grandfather was among the disappeared* and her mother was born in a Spanish prison during a bombing raid. My wife’s family survived Franco’s Spain as best they could. It is the sort of stuff people who haven’t been there, just can’t imagine, much less understand.

    *from what my wife says, it was no great loss. He was an asshole.