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:

    Do you want to live in a really unique house in a picturesque setting? The US govt has just the deal for you: US to give away free lighthouses as GPS makes them unnecessary

    Ten lighthouses that for generations have stood like sentinels along America’s shorelines protecting mariners from peril and guiding them to safety are being given away at no cost or sold at auction by the federal government.

    The aim of the program run by the General Services Administration is to preserve the properties, most of which are more than a century old.
    The GSA has been transferring ownership of lighthouses since Congress passed the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act in 2000. About 150 lighthouses have been transferred, 80 or so given away and another 70 auctioned, raising more than $10m.

    This year, six lighthouses are being offered at no cost to federal, state or local government agencies, non-profits, educational organizations or other entities that are willing to maintain and preserve them and make them publicly available for educational, recreational or cultural purposes.

    I knew there was a catch.

  2. Kathy says:

    China’s first domestically produced narrow body has entered service.

    This is potentially big. Narrow bodies are the staple of aviation. This model won’t break the Airbus Boeing duopoly. Performance figures don’t quite measure up to the Max and A320 families. It will see extensive service with Chinese airlines, to be sure, because the government can make them. Abroad the Chinese government can no doubt aggressively discount it, but that’s of limited use given the higher operating costs.

    It is a beginning, though. The Duopoly should be concerned.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I wouldn’t want to fly in one. Cutting corners and covering up mistakes is very, very common in Chinese national companies

  4. de stijl says:


    I would freaking love to live in an abandoned lighthouse!

    Give me a cot, a space heater, and a kitchenette and I’d be fine. Hell, I’d be cool with an outhouse. I’ve bathed myself out of a bucket many times.

    But taking on the responsibility to maintain and preserve and host guests – no. Hard pass.

    It is a delightful fantasy though. I love abandoned and derelict buildings and got heavily into urban exploration. I still dabble occasionally. It tickled some deeply felt things in me and made me hyper-aware of infrastructure and the transcience of of lived-in and worked-in spaces. Every building has a life span.

    Ozymandias comes to mind.

  5. CSK says:


    I don’t think the lighthouses that are privately owned and used as residences fall into the category of being open to the public.

  6. Tony W says:

    Texas has impeached their A.G. Apparently, there is a low enough bar for the GOP to take action against one of its heroes.

    Edit: Sorry folks, yesterday’s news….

  7. de stijl says:


    I saw that this morning. C119 took its first flight.

    Define narrow body. Does that mean a 3×3 seat configuration with no middle row?

  8. CSK says:

    @Tony W:

    I wonder if the Texas senate will convict him. Paxton’s wife Angela is a state senator.

  9. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I’m going to re-watch The Lighthouse this afternoon with Dafoe and Pattinson. That movie is super-bonkers and I love it.

  10. CSK says:
  11. Kathy says:

    Space Lasers are coming! Space Lasers are coming!

    If you run into a paywall, Artemis 2 will carry lasers rather than radio for communications.

  12. Kathy says:


    As may be, there’s no way this plane ever flies to Europe or North America without being certified by EASA and/or the FAA.

    Granted they failed spectacularly with the MAX.

    @de stijl:

    The common definition is any plane with a single aisle between rows of seats. This includes 3-3, 3-2, and 2-2 in economy.

  13. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yeah, but are they Jewish?

  14. CSK says:

    From Rolling Stone, via Raw Story:

    Unbelievable. The “Jesus, Guns, and Babies” lady thinks the earth is flat. I mean, she really believes the earth is flat.

  15. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: While it’s existed since the 19th century, the Flat Earth movement has been gaining in recent years, I assume due to the influence of social media. It’s essentially an extreme variety of creationism, and it dovetails with a number of popular conspiracy theories, particularly the belief that NASA faked the moon missions. I also have the sense it often has anti-Semitic overtones.

  16. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Thumbs up.

  17. CSK says:


    This piece is very interesting and informative:

  18. de stijl says:

    You have to be a special brand of stupid to buy into flat earth “theories”.

    Scientifically illiterate. Open enough to radical ideas. Unable to discriminate between competing evidence. A willingness to publicly ascribe to a belief system that is justly derided.

    It is baffling. It exists. It is absurdly stupid.

    Is there a barrier around the whole disk? Why haven’t the oceans drained? Stop it! I’m getting sucked in to debunking.

    I’m giving them too much credit. The whole nonsense is beyond stupid. On sheer chutzpah I am impressed. That takes a lot of cojones to be that publicly idiotic. You are declaring loud and proud that you are a gullible moron.

  19. de stijl says:

    If the earth is flat how do the Jews orbit their space lasers?

  20. CSK says:

    @de stijl:

    Maybe they go around the rim of the earth.

  21. Mr. Prosser says:

    @de stijl: See if you can find the plans to the rocket the Flat Earth guy tried to use to prove the Earth is flat then sell them to other Flat Earthers to carry on the struggle.

  22. Sleeping Dog says:


    Must be from a small town, truth is the world must be flat, people leave town and never come back.

  23. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Dr. Kandiss apparently has a Ph.D. in Counseling & Supervision from Regent University.

  24. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Thank you for the article. That was very informative.

    A while back I read an article about the 19th century Flat Earth movement and how Alfred Russel Wallace foolishly tried to convince one of them through evidence (an early version of not heeding “don’t feed the troll”). One quote from the article stuck with me, and I find it remarkably current:

    “One of his many popular lectures on the subject converted William Carpenter, who loved the idea [of flat earth] more for its poke in the eye it gave to the scientific establishment than for reasons of biblical fealty.”

  25. CSK says:


    You’re quite welcome.

    William Carpenter sounds like a MAGA before its time. I daresay he was “owning the libs” after a fashion.

  26. de stijl says:

    Time is a flat circle.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: No, pretty sure they aren’t, but those are the ones that have to be bought at auction. And upkeep on them can’t be as cheap as my little cabin in the woods.

  28. CSK says:


    I think I phrased my comment poorly. You’re correct, of course.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I understood your comment just fine and am in total agreement with it. I could have said, “yes” meaning you are correct, but said “no” meaning they don’t have to be open to the public. I phrased it badly, incomplete. My bad.

  30. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    In the “what on earth could go wrong” thought for the day:

    Over 450K Waffle Makers Are Being Recalled Due to Potential Injury

    34 reports of incidents involving PowerXL Stuffed Wafflizer Waffle Makers cite burn injuries, three of which required medical attention.

    @CSK: and others:
    While my interwebs moniker is FEL, this is largely a poke at family and acquaintances who, over the years, assumed that because I’m a short, pudgy white dude, I hold common core beliefs with certain GQP-ish folks. OTOH, I largely view those personages to be a tragic waste of communal oxygen.

  31. JohnSF says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    Why don’t they stop waffling, and take decisive action?

  32. Gustopher says:

    Interesting article in WaPo about police shortages. (gift link… I wounded how many people can use it?)

    (Regular link in case that fails: )

    It’s medium level copaganda at points, but also contains gems like this:

    “You hear old-school cops say, ‘It’s not my job to be a social worker,’” Tchida said. “Bro, that is the vast majority of your job. You’re definitely a social worker.”

    And then there is this:

    Near the end of Winslow’s tenure in Springfield, the department lost three officers in six months to Indiana departments, he said. Each cited the SAFE-T Act, a 2021 Illinois law that includes use-of-force changes and accountability measures.
    “They thought the red state would be more police-friendly,” Winslow said, adding that the new law “scared a lot of people and affected recruiting all over Illinois.”

    If the laws are pushing the worst people out of blue states and cities, they’re working. No clear evidence on who is leaving though.

  33. de stijl says:


    A bunch of US cities are trying the model where the first person experiencing a mental health crisis is not a cop with a gun pointed directly at your heart.

    Maybe de-escalate with words rather than immediate armed threat.

    I am extremely interested to see how that goes.

    Pointing a pistol at someone who is freaking out is usually a bad idea, but cops are hammers so the solution is to treat every problem like a nail who needs to immediately comply and utterly acquiesce. Absent utter immediate compliance it is escalation and further shouted commands. At someone who is already freaking out.

    Way too many people get shot dead by cops because cops are the primary actors in too many mental health emergencies. How about a different type of primary actor? A social worker, perhaps?

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s recent comments during his Friday meeting with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in the war-torn country caused outrage and fury in Moscow, with the head of RT Margarita Simonyan calling for his assassination.

    My question is, would we have to treat this as an act of war? Could there be some, you know, wiggle room? Maybe a really strongly worded cable to Moscow?

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    I was in a middle-class part of LA, waiting for my wife and walking the dogs up and down the sidewalk in the restaurant zone as I waited. A woman appeared, elderly, blouse open, breasts exposed, dried blood on the crown of her head. I could not directly engage because my dogs would have lost their shit. I wanted to call someone, but I resisted because all I could think of was LAPD. I gather there are other resources, but in the heat of the moment, 911 is memorable.

  36. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    The thing is, people like Simonyan are, I suspect, probably starting to get rather worried.
    Because poking the US, or UK, or EU is one thing, and they’ve been getting away with this performative BS for years.
    But now there’s a new rocker on the block.
    As someone said:

    “The Russians have never yet ran into a state opponent who will respond in kind, and have not yet internalised what the GUR will do. They should.”

    The Ukrainians are targeting people they see as guilty of abetting war crimes against them. This is a crossover of 1950’s KGB and 1960’s Mossad, and it’s only just beginning.

    If you pay attention, it’s “remarkable” how many people involved in the drone trade, or “black” chips, keep meeting unfortunate and rather messy ends.

  37. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Some cities are trying out response teams with social workers and psych folks to try to de-escalate situations like what you shared.

    A person either very traumatized or in the middle of a freak-out.

    Having six cops show up pointing pistols at her and screaming at her to get on the ground, put your hands up. Simultaneously another cop is shouting to get on your knees. Hands behind your back. Which order takes precedence?

    There is a way greater than zero percent that a person off their meds is gonna get shot by hyperaggressive cops following their training when some non-confrontational words from a not aggressive interlocutor might de-escalate better. With a better resolution for all.

    Cops have a function. They have a protocol. At times we absolutely need them. At times a soft, gentle de-escalation from a nice person in civvies might yield a better outcome for everyone involved.

    Pointing a gun at someone and shouting commands at them is not the only path.

    Last week Australian cops tased a 90 something year old woman in a nursing home because she was belligerent and had a steak knife.

    She could only get around with a walker. Probably with tennis balls on the front legs. She was essentially immobile.

    Just walk away for ten minutes and the situation will have resolved itself. But no. They tased her and restrained her. She died a few days later.

    Every toolbox has a hammer. Sometimes you need a hammer. Sometimes you need a screwdriver. Both flat-head and Phillips in various sizes. Not every job calls for a hammer. That would be a pretty shitty toolbox.