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. Jax says:

    I saw a really funny meme on Facebook yesterday. Screenshot of a guy on a medical forum asking if any other men who have survived COVID-19 have also experienced penis and testicular shrinkage, and several other men chiming in that yes, indeed they had.

    I don’t care if it’s true or not, we should repeat it enough times that it penetrates the conservative echo chamber. THAT is how we get “Give me Liberty or Give me a Virus” folks to wear the damn mask. 😉

  2. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, I was in Omaha last week. None of the locals were wearing masks, except for those working in restaurants and the hotel I stayed at. And I don’t mean “very few”, I mean “None”. I was in a plant and saw hundreds of workers. Not a single one was masked. Ironically, one of the things made there were N95 masks.

  3. Jen says:

    Would like to hear thoughts on this piece. I get the feeling that there is some key information that is missing.

    Couple forced to wear ankle monitors to self-isolate after Kentucky woman tests positive for COVID-19

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: How’s your father doing?

  5. DrDaveT says:


    I was in Omaha last week. None of the locals were wearing masks

    That can’t possibly have anything to do with why confirmed cases in Douglas County have doubled since June 1, right?

  6. Michael Cain says:

    @MarkedMan: Crap. I’m going to be in Omaha — well, south suburbs — this week for my mom’s long-delayed funeral. OTOH, my sister who lives there thinks people will wear masks.

  7. Kylopod says:


    THAT is how we get “Give me Liberty or Give me a Virus” folks to wear the damn mask.

    I’d worry about where they put their mask in that scenario. 🙁

  8. grumpy realist says:

    Middle-school, high-school kids aren’t protected from spreading COVID.

    Maybe Idiot Acquaintance will now start being a little more worried about what his child could bring home from school. Oh, but I forgot, he’s gone down the “COVID’s nothing to worry about” rabbit hole.

  9. CSK says:

    Kanye West, whom I could have sworn abandoned his presidential quest a few days ago, will be holding his first campaign event in South Carolina. He wants everyone to sign a petition to put him on the ballot.

    And Donald Trump is holding telephone rallies.

  10. EddieInCA says:

    Being in Utah the last week, I have learned a few things that make clear where/why we have so many problems. In Utah, I was staying at a very, very nice upscale resort one bedroom apartment (paid for by the company), which DOESN’T carry CNN on their TVs – anywhere on the property. Just FOX and CNN. They have Telemundo, and Unvision, but no CNN. Just the two extremes.

    Additionally, I watched Fox News pretty much exclusively. The reality being presented is one detached from facts:
    1. Chris Wallace’s interview with Trump is being virtually ignored on the network, other than two or three snippets.
    2. No mention of Trump and Ivanka’s Goya photos being actually, you know, against Federal Law.
    3. A complete defense of, literally, all things Trump. There is nothing that he does that is criticized.
    4. A complete dismissal of the current polling, and a constant barrage of “silent majority of Trump voters” theories.
    5. Joe Biden has lurched left since he won the Democratic nomination. He’s become Crazy Bernie’s partner in planning to bring down the US economy, especially in the suburbs.

    It’s shocking how far from reality they’ve become. It’s truly shocking.

  11. CSK says:

    “Just Fox and CNN.” Did you mean Fox and MSN?

  12. EddieInCA says:


    Yes. That should teach me to write before coffee.

    Fox and MSNBC. No CNN. In all my travels, and I’ve been to 52 countries and 47 states, I’ve never gone to a hotel that didn’t have CNN if they had cable or satellite television.

  13. KM says:

    Would need to see the paperwork but I’m assuming the catch is thus: if you are going to the ER, it can be assumed you are going in an ambulance. That is, you are not in control of the vehicle and they can be assured you will end up where you say you are going. That would not be in violation as emergency care is a normal exception and the ambulance might report that they’ve picked up a quarantined person. Proper notifications and staying within the system, even if you yourself aren’t doing it.

    However, if you are driving on your own, how can they know you are going to the ER? Which one? You can lie and say you’re “on the way to the doctor’s” if caught going out for ice cream.
    The restriction is because they’ve stated they’re going to MI and are a “flight risk” by not agreeing the terms. The state would be rightly concerned at someone with existing travel plans not agreeing to cancel them; anti-maskers and hoaxers have made the government leery of people doing the right thing. Thus the ankle monitors – this is what happens when people decide in a pandemic to be stupid, you don’t get taken at your word.

  14. CSK says:

    Trump told Chris Wallace that he’d “eventually” be proven right when Covid-19 went away of it’s own accord, whenever that happens.

    Well, of course. Bubonic plague went away “eventually” after it killed 200 million people. The Spanish flu went away “eventually” after it killed 50 million people.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist: You will be shocked, shocked to learn…

    St. Louis County Clamping Down on Youth Sports After Coronavirus Spike

    (County Executive Sam) Page says the county is recording twenty new cases per day among kids ages ten to nineteen.

    “There’s not going to be less tomorrow or next week,” he said at a news conference. “This is going in the wrong direction. We have to do something about it while we can impact that trend.”

    The county has more than 300 contact tracers, and Page says they’ve noticed a “disturbing” trend in recent weeks of new cases tied to youth sports events, affecting athletes, their families and spectators. He gave examples of high school teams now under quarantine. In one case, a player on a team tested positive, forcing all fifteen members to quarantine. In another, an alumnus who practiced with a team was later found to have contracted the virus. All those players have had to go into quarantine, Page says.

    The order comes as the county works with school districts on plans for returning to in-person classes in the fall. Page says that the county will ensure that schools that bring students back will have enough masks for kids and staff along with other support.

  16. Jen says:

    @KM: Thanks–I agree with your assessment. A family member posted that with a “you never know you might be next”-type caption, and all I could think of was that police departments don’t have the capacity to put ankle bracelets on everyone, and surely there’s an exception for ER.

    I refrained from pointing out that now/this issue was an interesting time to finally object to overreach by the police…

  17. Kathy says:


    Maybe he likes SARS-CoV-2 because it helped him build a wall.

  18. Gustopher says:

    @Jen: I’m assuming it’s a one sided story where someone in the family started yelling “I got rights” and the county health workers got fed up with them. And everything else is made up after the fact.

    Maybe the county health workers jumped the gun on declaring them uncooperative, but with America as it is right now, I kind of doubt it.

    Besides, just like the folks who say “why are you worried about privacy if you haven’t got anything to hide?” I’m going to land on “why are you complaining about ankle monitors if you weren’t going to go anywhere?” It’s a fatuous argument, but I’ll stick to it.

    We have a health emergency with civil rights implications, not a civil rights emergency with health implications.

  19. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: He’s doing a little better now that he’s home, thanks for asking. I was completely unprepared, emotionally, for just how injured he was/is. After we got him all settled in, the kids and I came home and ugly-cried together. He’ll be in a wheelchair for two months, minimum, so he’s pretty grumpy, he’s not the type of guy who “sits around”. He’s got some badass bruises, too, horseshoe shaped.

  20. Tyrell says:

    Top summer songs:
    “Under the boardwalk”: (The Drifters) On everyone’s list.
    “Fun Fun Fun” (Beach Boys) American tradition
    “Margaritaville” (Jimmy Buffet) Popular with every age
    “Surf City” (Jan and Dean) July drive-in favorite.
    “Summertime Blues” (Eddie Cochran) Jukebox standard
    “Summer In the City” (Loving Spoonful) Makes me sweat just hearing it!
    “Summer Breeze” (Isley Brothers) That one cools me off
    “Summer Nights” (Marriane Faithful) Prom favorite
    “Sitting On the Dock of the Bay” (Otis Redding) Memories of the beach pier
    “Wipe Out” (Surfaris) You can almost feel the spray!
    These bring back summer memories of listening to Casey Kasem at the drive-in restaurant in my Impala.

    Have a great summer!
    “Diii – ssss missed!” (Colonel Klink, “Hogans Heroes”)

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Tyrell: C’mon man! You need something on your list that comes from this century!

    I vote for “Through & Through & Through” by Joel Plaskett form 2010. Horn section, great beat, and lyrics like “I’m the Berlin Wall, I’m a total mess! You’re a wrecking ball in a summer dress!”

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Home is always better.

    He’ll be in a wheelchair for two months, minimum, so he’s pretty grumpy, he’s not the type of guy who “sits around”.

    If he’s anything like me he’ll be a lousy patient. When I busted up my ankle my wife was always yelling at me. I can’t imagine being stuck in a wheelchair. Good luck to him.

  23. JohnMcC says:

    @Gustopher: I’ll try again with this linking:

    (edit: wow seems to work!)

  24. CSK says:

    YouTube takes forever to load on this craptop I’m using. I’m guessing this is the Lincoln Project ad. A wall of coffins? Am I right?

  25. Gustopher says:


    He’s got some badass bruises, too, horseshoe shaped.

    Was he attacked by a horse? Did a game of horseshoes get out of hand?

    For the life of me I can’t remember what was up with your father, and I’m really hoping I am conflating someone else with you otherwise your mother had cancer recently (but good news, now cancer free?), and your daughter’s boyfriend was killed in a car accident, and with your father being in some accident… that’s more than one family needs right now.

    I’m glad your father is home. Wheelchairs suck. I have a friend who was in a terrible car accident and spent a few months in a wheelchair and it was hard. He does not know how to ask people for help. Single, has always lived alone, very independent. It was hard.

  26. JohnMcC says:

    @MarkedMan: Well, that got me to thinking. Not so much about 21st century summertime songs but about how curious that all of Tyrrell’s songs were (without doing a close exam) from the 1960s to 80s. When, I wondered, did “summertime songs” become a sort of genre?

    Mr Google led me to a list from the ‘Time-Out’ magazine and you know what? That was also the time frame for their 50 choices. There were two exceptions: “Summer Time” from Porgy and Bess (which probably doesn’t fit the genre IMO) and “Summertime Blues” (from ’58) which doesn’t seem to make summer seem joyful.

    I have no idea what that means really. But I’d say that the huge demographic of Boomers revolutionized the idea of Summertime and the entertainment industry figured it out pretty quick.

    Which is an example of the way I amuse myself while quarantined and waiting the results of my nasal swab.

  27. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: He got bucked off his horse, then the horse stomped on him pretty good. Broke his pelvis in two places and a couple ribs.

    Yeah, it’s been pretty hard on him, everybody all up in his personal business all the time, stuck in that damn chair. And this is only like….Day 12 since the injury, he’s got a long, hard road ahead of him.

  28. JohnMcC says:

    Oh jeez, what I really came back here for was to remark on a NYT story that appeared this afternoon describing conference calls that R-party pro’s and big shots have been conducting without involving Mr Trump. Sometimes they include Mr Pence who apparently has a softer shoulder for their stressed little heads. Other times they seem to just chat amongst themselves. But the overriding theme of the talks are leading some of them to actually contradict the President. Gov Hutchison (AR) apparently found the spine to require masks if a Trump rally were held in his state just to cite one detail.

    This comes on top of yesterday’s story in both NYT and WaPo in which Senate R-s leaked the Administration’s attempt to block funds for states to test, for the CDC and for the DoD and State Dep’t.

    The only possible source for these articles is Republican office holders and campaign pro’s. The lid is getting loser as time goes by. No wonder the betting line on re-election is running around 25% against.

  29. Gustopher says:

    @Tyrell: Here’s my quick list:
    – “Summer In The City”, The Lovin’ Spoonful
    – “Highway Star”, Deep Purple — surely no one has anthems to cars that take place in the winter. The summer is clearly implied.
    – “Nice Weather For Ducks”, Lemon Jelly
    – “Perfect Day”, Lou Reed
    – “Another Sunny Day”, Belle & Sebastian
    – “The Other Side Of Summer”, Elvis Costello — sour man writes sour song about summer
    – “In Spite Of These Times”, Close Lobsters — happy, joyful music despite these times. Seems to fit this summer at least
    – “How We Met, The Long Version”, Jens Lekman — somewhere in here summer is probably mentioned. I think they are outside somewhere when he asks for a bass.
    – “Reno Dakota”, Magnetic Fields — nothing with a banjo can be anything other than a summer song. “Marchin’ Through Georgia” is a summer song by that definition, and I’m ok with that.
    – “Bonaparte’s Retreat”, Olla Belle Reed — one of the most lovely lesbian love songs performed by a very Christian woman who wouldn’t change the words por a song because then it wouldn’t be the truth…
    – “Summer Of The Drugs”, Victoria Williams
    – “Outside Of A Close Circle Of Friends”, Phil Ochs — the murder it describes was definitely in the summer. People allegedly closed their windows so they wouldn’t hear the screaming. Turns out, lots of people called the cops, they just didn’t show up.
    – “Pablo Picasso”, David Bowie — lots of people have performed this song over the years, this is my favorite version.
    – “Girls In Their Summer Clothes”, Bruce Springsteen — a late career composition, trite and ephemeral, like a glass of lemonade.

  30. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: Oof, that’s hard. I was expecting the horseshoe shapes were coincidence. I hope your dad recovers fully.

    Tell the horse he’s a good horse, even if it isn’t true. “Good bad horse” or something.

  31. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: I can forgive the bucking, you’ll have that with those younger horses if they get a saddle pinch or something….stomping on him, though, that was intentional and uncalled for. Not sure what fate has in store for ol Slim Shady now, you can’t even hardly get your money’s worth out of a horse with a body on his record.

  32. JohnSF says:

    Things I’m playing more than usual this Summer;
    One Dimensional – The Belltower
    Bonzo Goes to Bitburg – Ramones
    In A Silent Way (the whole damn album!) – Miles Davis
    Smokestack Lightnin’ – Howlin’ Wolf
    High Hopes – Pink Floyd
    Moonage Daydream – David Bowie
    Jewel – Cranes
    Cirrus Minor – Pink Floyd
    Dagger – Slowdive
    Now The Fuses Have Been Lit – Pop Will Eat Itself
    Cortez the Killer – Neil Young
    Mansion on the Hill – Neil Young
    Lost in the Translation – Axiom Ambient (Var Arts; all of it!)
    Forever Changes – Love (all of it!)
    Tool – Lateralus (all of it!)
    John the Gun – Fairport Convention
    Sloth – Fairport Convention
    Meet On the Ledge – Fairport Convention
    Calvary Cross – Richard and Linda Thompson
    Master of the Universe – Hawkwind
    Psychedelic Warlords – Hawkwind
    Knights of Cydonia – Muse
    Sad Eyed lady of the Lowlands – Bob Dylan
    Galaxy of Emptiness – Beth Orton
    Nine Cats – Porcupine Tree
    Rabbit Heart – Florence and the Machine

  33. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: I think this is where I need to remind myself that horses are not just really big cats or dogs that you get to ride…

    I do hope your father recovers fully.

  34. flat earth luddite says:

    Please release my last comment, or some portion of it, from the corner chair. I’ll be good, I promise.

  35. Tyrell says:

    @MarkedMan: Thanks for that, and I had figured someone would bring up the age factor. Too many nights at the local drive-in theater.

  36. flat earth luddite says:

    In response to this bit of news, I’ve got nuthin!

    “Reverend Plumbar, Holy Fight Ministries and its congregation hold the sincere religious belief” that cockfighting is “a necessary symbolic physical manifestation” of “the struggle between good and evil, a struggle for life or death for the Salvation of the soul, and thus cockfighting is an integral and essential part of their religious faith.”

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: And good luck to you too.

  38. grumpy realist says:

    @flat earth luddite: Would be amusing to see SCOTUS’s opinion if that one ever got in front of them. As it is, it won’t. Will get knocked out at the DC level.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Thanx, that was…. cute.

    My top summer time songs:

    Night time:
    Barred Owls
    Screech Owls

    and for the mornings:
    Summer Tanagers
    Carolina Wrens

    For the afternoons:
    A good old frog chocking thunderstorm.

    Really tho, I don’t listen to music much any more. I’m not certain why but sometimes the cacophony just presses in too much and more often than not I just want “peace and quiet.”

  40. Teve says:

    After a bad injury last week (nothing serious or to worry about, just painful.) I have decided that tonight‘s dinner is going to be three flavors of bluebell ice cream, chocolate, vanilla, and blackberry cheesecake. I just had the first course, and it was splendid. 😀

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @flat earth luddite: @grumpy realist: Yeah, I have often wondered how far “Beating the F out of Christians is the core of my religious beliefs” would get me.

    And just in case it isn’t obvious to someone somewhere: ///sarcasm

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: TIME FOR SECONDS!!!!

  43. An Interested Party says:

    And now for today’s history lesson, from a complete idiot…

  44. Teve says:

    Holy shit, I just read the MoCA, The single-page cognitive exam that Trump is bragging he passed.


  45. Tyrell says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: A long time since I heard whippowills and owls. We are not far from the woods, but the windows are closed because of the ac. When I was a child we had no ac and I would fall asleep listening to the sounds of night and an old SW radio my father gave me. I loved the sounds of a thunderstorm. Nothing like those sounds on a summer night. There’s a lesson there somewhere.

  46. Teve says:
  47. An Interested Party says:
  48. Jax says:

    @Tyrell: We have nighthawks out here, and they are my FAVORITE night-time sound.

  49. JohnMcC says:

    @Teve: Did you know when doing your meal planning that today is National Ice Cream Day?

  50. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: Thanks. He will recover, but I doubt he’ll ride again. He’s 71 years old and been riding “bad horses” for 65 years. I’m 45, and I have never seen my Dad get bucked off. The only time he’s ever come unseated is when his horse stepped in a badger hole when I was 15 and they both rolled 3 times.

    I’m trying to put the seed in my Mom’s head that she needs to watch for signs of depression. He doesn’t want to talk to me very much, he just gives me instructions and then I need to GTFO.

  51. Teve says:

    @JohnMcC: no, purely by accident. I had a bad stomach illness for the last three or four days and have been throwing up everything, and thought I’m gonna try ice cream. If I still have to throw it up at least I’ll enjoy it. Stomach seems 50-50 right now.

  52. Teve says:


    So to review, based on his own accounts, the President has taken multiple cognition tests for dementia during his presidency, finds them “very hard” and says doctors have professed “great surprise” he was able to answer all the questions.

  53. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Were you aware that covid can present that way? Basically, covid can do anything.

  54. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: I know the food and drink combination I had on Thursday was absolutely wrong for my system but I said the hell with it and did it anyway, and I really shouldn’t have.

  55. JohnMcC says:

    @Teve: @Gustopher:

    Well gosh! Never meant to go there but two weeks ago I had remarkable GI distress along with the usual ‘I’m coming down with something’ aches and pains.
    Lasted about 3 days. Now back to 100% but since corona can do that — managed to get a nasal test. Results taking up to 3 weeks in FL so I don’t know what good that does but — whatever you think you ought to do, now you know.

  56. grumpy realist says:

    @Teve: That memory test? Face –velvet — church –daisy –red. Oh, and I quickly looked at that sequence about 5 hours ago.

    (Doctors: Don’t give memory questions to people who have learned Art of Memory tricks. Test me with a 50-count list and it will be a little harder, but I can do it.)

  57. Gustopher says:

    @JohnMcC: I had a similar digestive adventure and my doctor’s office told me to get tested. Came back negative (Seattle has a two-day turnaround once you get tested, and a waiting list that seems to get open spots at random if you refresh the webpage), but apparently the recommended protocol is to quarantine for 14 days after anyway because there are a fair number of false negatives. Still pretty sure it was food poisoning — my kitchen is… not up to health code all the time, and learning to cook means learning food safety, which means mistakes.

    @Teve: You know your system and your usual reactions, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ — odds are you’re more careful than your neighbors. I’m curious as to what the offending meal was.

  58. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Doctors: Don’t give memory questions to people who have learned Art of Memory tricks.

    Similarly, the “count backward from 100 by 7s” thing doesn’t work on quants. By the time I got to 30 the nurse had stopped gaping and was laughing uncontrollably.

  59. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Don’t give memory questions to people who have learned Art of Memory tricks.

    Fun fact: I once shared an office with Art Benjamin, the Mathemagician, back when we were both grad students. My understanding of memory tricks was… greatly expanded that summer.

  60. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist: i’ve always had an absolutely awful memory. I looked at that list of five words, looked away for about five seconds, and then got one of them wrong.

  61. Teve says:

    Ha. Biden was asked what he would do if Trump actually refused to leave office, and he said something like the federal government is perfectly capable of removing trespassers from the White House.

  62. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: @Teve: I ran into Frances Yates’ book on the Art of Memory, grabbed my own copy of Rhetorica ad Herennium, and discovered that all the stuff I was using to memorise Kanji fell into that category.

    Anything that allows you to learn 3000 Kanji in six months ain’t that bad. I would regularly freak out my co-workers because not only did I know how to read the characters, but I could write them as well. I still go through one practice session each year to reinforce the images, and yes, I can still read Japanese.

  63. Tyrell says:

    @Teve: Ginger is good for many stomach ailments.