Monday’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. James Joyner says:

    The folks at the hosting company “made a few changes in the Apache configuration” yesterday afternoon and all seems well with the site now.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: After the early AM mess, I only had a problem once in the afternoon and it was blessedly brief. Thanx for the update, James, and thanx for everything else.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The kids are alright: Young Montana residents bring climate change case to court for first time ever

    A groundbreaking climate change trial will begin on Monday in a courtroom in Montana’s capital city, involving 16 young residents who allege state officials violated their constitutional rights to a healthy environment.

    Filed in March 2020, the lawsuit, Held v Montana, will mark the first-ever constitutional climate trial in US history.
    The state’s constitution has since 1972 guaranteed that the “state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations”. By propping up fossil fuels, the plaintiffs argue, the state has failed to uphold this responsibility.

    And of course, being the good fossil fuel lackeys that they are, the state pulled some legal shenanigans to get it thrown out:

    Earlier this year, state lawmakers repealed the state energy policy in what attorneys on the case assert was a thinly veiled attempt to avert a trial. But in May, Judge Kathy Seeley of the first judicial district court, who is scheduled to hear the case, rejected the state’s bid to throw out the suit, allowing the trial to proceed.
    Last week, the state’s supreme court rebuffed a last-ditch attempt by the state attorney general to delay the trial, clearing the path for it to open on Monday as planned.

    I’m sure they will try try again. In the meanwhile:

    Held v Montana follows the highly publicized 2015 Juliana v United States in which 21 young people sued the US government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by enacting pro-fossil fuel policies that drove climate change. Last week, a US district court ruled in favor of the youth plaintiffs, allowing that their claims can be decided at trial in open court.

    Both the federal and Montana suits were filed by the non-profit law firm Our Children’s Trust. Litigation based on state constitutional rights, brought by the same firm, is currently pending in four other states. One of those cases, brought by Hawaii youth plaintiffs, is set to go to trial, possibly as soon as this fall.

    In addition to Montana and Hawaii, there are lawsuits pending in Florida, Utah, and Virginia.

  4. Mu Yixiao says:
  5. CSK says:



  6. Mu Yixiao says:
  7. Tony W says:

    How can somebody see this and not be moved to do something about it?

    Six US mass shootings – yesterday alone.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tony W: “Ah got mah guns!!! Come ‘n take ’em, Libtard!!!”

    eta, and this was one of them:

    A serious violent incident in Syracuse, New York, has left 13 people either shot, stabbed or hit by vehicles, police have said.

    Local TV station WSYR-TV said that police responded to emergency calls about a gathering in the street along a block on Davis Street in the city after reports of shots being fired.

    “Upon their arrival, officers found a large gathering in the street. Officers entered the crowd and discovered several victims that were either shot, stabbed, or struck by vehicles fleeing the scene after the shots were fired,” the station reported.

    The shooting victims were three women and a man while five women and one man had been stabbed. In addition, two women and a man had been injured after being hit by vehicles. The ages of all those involved ranged from 17 to 25 years old.

    “The investigation is very active and ongoing,” the police said in a statement.

  9. CSK says:

    Silvio Berlesconi has died.

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Well, at least one idiot strongman who thought he was above the law has died.

  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Hah! Thanks.

  12. Matt Bernius says:

    Somebody can shut down Twitter because it isn’t going to get better than this tweet:

    John Collins

    Lots of people praying for Donald Trump, which is fine, because we know how well that works for school shootings.

    In fact, that’s so good, I needed to make it into a post.

  13. Kathy says:

    Usually the rainy season starts in Mexico City by June, often late in May. It’s the only thing that makes the city bearable between late Spring and early Fall. Between clouds, wind, and rain, the temps go down to low 20s C.

    This year, not so much.

    There were some rainy days mid-May, but then they stopped. So temps are now climbing to the very high 20s C, which don’t go well with the 70% humidity and still air. It’s common to have a few hot days late in the Spring, but not a few hot weeks with Summer formally days away.

  14. CSK says:

    Trump’s arraignment may be delayed because he can’t find a Florida lawyer to represent him. He’ll still be arrested tomorrow, though, and will have to show up in court. 😀

  15. grumpy realist says:

    Here’s another whoopsie ChatGPT has come up with fake legal decisions again.

    (As the ArsTechnica peanut gallery keeps saying, let’s root for injuries on both sides here.)

  16. Kathy says:


    Who wouldn’t want to represent a manifestly guilty client who will neither shut up nor pay his legal bills?

  17. Beth says:


    I was promised that El Nino would cook us alive starting about now. I had to wear a jacket today and want to cry it’s so cold.

    @grumpy realist:

    I got an email from Thompson Reuters about their chat bot enhanced search feature Westlaw. I laughed for a good 10 minutes. That they sent this after the ABA sent a couple articles talking about potential disbarments because of ChatGPT is absolutely hilarious.

  18. Beth says:


    1. Get paid, in full, up front;
    2. Include in your retainer agreement specifically that you both understand that the lawyer can’t stop the client from running his mouth, that the client has been advised to keep his mouth shut, and waives any issues created by it.
    3. That the attorney will immediately withdraw upon one or the both following: 1. any request to perform anything unethical, 2. failure to immediately pay an additional retainer, up front, earned immediately.

  19. grumpy realist says:

    @Beth: Techdirt has a good article reporting on the earlier idiot-lawyers’-day-before-the-judge (where a lot of the questioning by the judge seems to be trying to determine exactly HOW stupid the two lawyers actually are. I mean–really.)

    I’m just looking forwards to my next round of CLE dealing with AI and ChatGPT. It should be hilarious.

  20. Monala says:

    My daughter graduated this weekend from a large, racially and ethnically diverse public high school. Data set of one, I know, but here goes:

    — Graduates were allowed to adorn their gowns with sashes and their caps with decorations, and about a third of the kids did, with all sorts of adornments including leis, kente cloths, flags of other countries, sparkles and glitter, etc.
    —Cap and gown decorations had to be approved in advance, but they were basically just looking to prevent anything vulgar.
    — My daughter’s cap decorations helped us to spot her in the large crowd, since graduates were allowed to march with their friends rather than in alphabetical order.
    — The audience was instructed to cheer as loudly as they wanted for their student, but to stop soon enough for the next student’s name to be called. Across-the-board, people respected that instruction.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:


    He should be appointed a public defender 🙂

  22. Sleeping Dog says:


    You live in a rare island of sanity.

  23. Kathy says:


    Be mindful of the difference between weather and climate.

    Last Wednesday was hot all day. Around 6-6:30 pm, it got cloudy, and heavy rain and wind followed. If I went to the stairwell or the parking lot, it was rather cool. Going back inside in our floor, it was still hot.

    I keep the heavy blinds almost all the way closed in my room, so little sunlight can come in and further warm the place. It still gets hot.

    No, we don’t have A/C.


    You think you can get 1) benito to sign such a thing or 2) stick to it?

  24. Beth says:


    Be mindful of the difference between weather and climate.

    Lol, I know. I just want it to be hot. It’s supposed to be warm by now.

    You think you can get 1) benito to sign such a thing or 2) stick to it?

    I bet every lawyer he hires from about a year ago until now has had him sign something substantially similar, especially the pay up front part. No lawyer with half a brain is not getting paid upfront. There are however, plenty of morons to chew up. I generally don’t have a problem with lawyers representing him, we’re mercenaries. I do find a special glee in when he manages to screw over one of his attorneys though. There are so many ways to protect yourself from a nutty client, they think they are smarter than him so they don’t.

    As for the stick to it, no one should expect him to stick to any agreement, that’s simply there as an easy out so you don’t get stuck with him. Get paid up front, get out 2 steps before the whole thing goes south. Good attorneys do that.

  25. CSK says:


    You must be a good attorney.

  26. Kathy says:


    I recall reading something a few years ago about how warmer temps mess up winds that contain cold polar air. I forget whether this cold air escapes south from the north pole all the time, or only during winter.

    Last year, though, the rainy season was shorter than average, and we got less rain than expected. Partly that’s related with the number of hurricanes and tropical storms in the Gulf region, as that drives a lot of moisture inland.

  27. Beth says:


    Lol, I dunno about that . Thankfully I mostly do transactional real estate work so that tends to limit the scope of the crazy, most of the time. For litigation work I have started insisting on getting substantially paid up front. People want to fight to the death “on principle” tend to find their principles are wayyy to expensive after the 1st invoice. And it weeds out problem people and cases early. I’ll put up with tons of drama and insanity so long as I’m getting paid.

  28. grumpy realist says:

    @Beth: My experience in IP has been a) nobody wants to pay for preliminary work, even if it will save the client a few office actions. B) individual clients don’t understand at all why their “best thing since sliced bread” invention is in fact i) already patented or ii) obvious. Oh, and NOBODY wants to be in charge of prior art searches.

  29. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Whenever such a person dies, I always wonder: what took them so long?

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Monala: Congrats. Job well done. Me? I was just happy they graduated. (one was college material, the other wasn’t) Just happy they managed it.

  31. Kathy says:

    Brief notes on the weekend’s experiments in the kitchen.

    The kasha worked even better than I’d hoped mixed with the meatball stew. I just need to change two things: 1) no butter (it adds little overall), 2) I should try toasting the kasha before cooking it, or find a pre-toasted version. Otherwise it was perfect.

    Next I’ve a question: what is supposed to be the consistency of Jell-O pudding? It’s been literally decades since I’d had any, but I recall it being a bit more solid than liquid. Not as solid as regular jello, but far more solid than Greek yogurt.

    Maybe I need to whisk it more. I did the indicated 2 minutes by hand. At first it felt as liquid as milk, but it got thicker the longer I whisked. Or I could try the electric hand mixer. the other thing is I don’t recall when I added the peanut butter. That is, did I add it right away, or after allowing the pudding to set a while?

    In any case, it was really good.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    People want to fight to the death “on principle” tend to find their principles are wayyy to expensive after the 1st invoice.

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahah! 😀

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Adding an emulsifier, like peanut butter, will make the pudding thinner because even if it doesn’t seem like it should to you, the PB adds fluid content (in this case peanut oil as well as others). Even so, if you’re using instant pudding rather than cook on the stove type, the finished product will be much softer. On the plus side, the PB may keep it from separating longer. (My experience with instant pudding is that it’s a make today eat today product.)

  34. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It seems, like the cat, it’s always the peanut butter. Makes sense. Like the cat, the PB is not quite solid. 🙂

    Long ago, I think the last time was in the mid-90s, at home we sometimes had a dessert made with pudding and vanilla cookies. First a bunch of cookies were soaked in still hot lemon lime jello, and placed at the bottom of a baking dish. On top went a layer of vanilla instant pudding (without PB). Next another layer of cookies soaked in jello. then a layer of chocolate pudding. and on top pulverized vanilla cookies.

    It wasn’t solid like cake or pie, but solid enough you could easily cut a square, and ti would remain a square.

    what I wound up with yesterday would not work in this recipe. I’d wound up with vanilla PB pudding and cookies paste.

    It’s still delicious with the added peanut butter. So, either I’ll learn to eat it like melted ice cream, or figure out something else.

  35. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I use extra pudding/jello mix for my branding salads anytime I add extra ingredients to help them set up, and refrigerate right away.

  36. Beth says:

    Sorry to be a pain, but are there issues with the comments? I went to go add something to a different thread and things were missing? or locked? Or I’m an idiot.

  37. Mister Bluster says:


    I have recently read some commenters stating that it takes longer for pages to load. Tonight (Monday, June 12, 11pm cdt) is the first time I have had to wait for a page to load.
    MacBook Air
    macOS Sierra 10.12.6

    Safari 12.1.2 (12607.3.10)

    I don’t think you are an idiot.

    Now I’m getting messages that the server is not responding.
    I wonder if this comment will post.

  38. Mister Bluster says:


    Second attempt to reply to Beth. First reply wouldn’t post.
    Page loading takes lnger than normal on my Safari.
    On Chrome it times out and doesn’t load at all.

    I wonder if this will post.

    You are not an idiot.

  39. Mister Bluster says:

    Must be some sort of squirrel convention…