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:

    Joe Biden openly acknowledges his seventh grandchild for the first time

    “Our son Hunter and Navy’s mother, Lunden, are working together to foster a relationship that is in the best interests of their daughter, preserving her privacy as much as possible going forward,” Biden said in a statement that was first reported by People magazine.

    “This is not a political issue, it’s a family matter,” he said. “Jill and I only want what is best for all of our grandchildren, including Navy.”

    But of course…

    The president, who has made a commitment to family central to his public persona, has faced increasing criticism from political rivals and pundits for failing to acknowledge the granddaughter.

    For starters, that head line really gripes me. They should know better. My wife and I went thru a situation where my eldest son and his ex spent a considerable amount of time (2 years or so) in a very contentious court fight over their daughter. I won’t go into details but I will say it was a really tough time. My wife and I were afraid to say or do anything, knowing how fragile the situation was, knowing how easily one can say the wrong thing, upsetting the applecart and putting them back to square one. Or worse.

    Each and every one of those critics need to STFU instead of trying to score points on the back of a little girl.

  2. DK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yup. Most Biden critics don’t seem to have major policy critiques, with Putin on the defensive, illegal border crossings down, and Biden’s infrastructure bill, manufacturing investments, and supply chain fixes having built what is arguably the developed world’s strongest post-pandemic recovery.

    And certainly the right has few serious solutions to our ongoing problems: climate disaster, unaffordable housing, our antiquated transportation system, rampant gun violence, etc.

    So modern American “conservatives” (lol) are naturally focused instead on Hunter Biden’s dic pics, drag queens, woke this and woke that, and a tacky onslaught on the Bidens’ delicate family situations.

    Biden is not above criticism. But reasonable, decent people know President and Dr. Biden had no business commenting publicly about this child while her parents were still engaged in a nasty battle. As to the classless critics, they are not doing their credibility any favors with this kind of attack vs focusing on worthwhile critiques of the Biden administration.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    Yesterday, in open thread conversation not worth linking to as it was tangent to a tangent of another conversation, Kathy said this:

    I was under the impression hats were not worn indoors.

    The immediate cause was my linking to a black and white picture of a bar with all men and all wearing hats.

    While it is true that in hat wearing days men were not supposed to wear hats indoors (I believe it was okay for women because of the more complicated process of fixing on a hat), the point I was trying to make was that the fact that the patrons were wearing their hats was a sign that this was not a very classy bar. No hat check girl, a dirty and wet bar that you wouldn’t want to put your hat on, and you wouldn’t hang it lest it be stolen. But despite going out to a dive bar they still felt obliged to wear a hat in the first place!

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    President Biden@POTUS
    We’re building an extraordinarily qualified court that looks like the country it serves.

    That score card is pretty damned impressive.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: These days, I don’t think wearing a hat in a public place means anything at all, other than the fact that you aren’t in a place where they don’t let you wear a hat and probably wouldn’t be caught dead in one.

  6. CSK says:

    Alina Habba on Trump: “He is the most ethical American I know.” G0d help her if that’s true.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:


    My god. Trump blew through more than $40 MILLION of PAC donations on legal fees and requested a $60 MILLION refund from the Super PAC supporting him as he burned through cash meant to help his campaign.
    Quote Tweet

    Maggie Haberman
    Confirming WaPo on Trump spending more than $40 mill from his pac on legal bills this year, with bonus info – the PAC sought a contribution refund on the $60 mill it gave the Trump super PAC @ShaneGoldmacher me

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Meet John Pierce, attorney to the MAGAs:

    In late August, Pierce failed to show up to court for one of those clients, and prosecutors said they had lost contact with him. The reasons for Pierce’s absence were initially tough to pin down.

    Pierce’s associates said at different points that he was hospitalized with COVID-19 and on a ventilator, that he was in an “accident,” and that he had “dehydration and exhaustion.” The phone at his legal office appeared to be disconnected, and calls to his cellphone went straight to voicemail. The Justice Department said that the confusion had effectively brought all of his cases to a halt.

    Then, on Sept. 7, Pierce reappeared. He said he had been released from a hospital in the Los Angeles area after a 12-day stay but declined to discuss exactly what led to his hospitalization.

    “I will not be elaborating further on my personal medical issues,” he told NPR in an email. (He did say in his statement, “I have not taken any vaccination for COVID-19, nor do I plan to do so.”)
    There were already questions about Pierce — a civil litigator who has never tried a criminal case before.

    Pierce’s career, in his own words, recently “imploded,” leaving him with a large amount of debt and fending off multiple lawsuits. Court records from his divorce show that he has dealt with substance abuse and mental health problems for several years. His ex-wife has previously obtained two domestic violence restraining orders against him. Pierce disclosed in court this summer that he received a “letter of inquiry” from the California State Bar, a step the State Bar takes if it is considering disciplinary charges against an attorney. (Pierce declined to comment on that letter.)

    Pierce’s critics question whether he’s taking on so many cases to raise his own profile and argue his story underscores the potential pitfalls of mixing political rhetoric, culture wars and fundraising on the internet with the unforgiving realities of criminal defense in court.

    And that just the start of it. MUch much more in the article. Then we add this cherry to top it all off:

    Kyle Cheney

    Prosecutors tonight alerted a federal judge to Twitter posts from Jan. 6 defense lawyer John Pierce that they characterized “apparent threats” against DOJ personnel.

    He’s a real winner, just like his hero.

  9. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I have to assume that you’re referring to developments at the district and appellate level. SCOTUS looks more like a “Star Chamber” than it does “the country it serves.”

  10. Slugger says:

    I’m watching a baseball game on TV. The game started with the national anthem, and now we get God Bless America during the seventh inning break. I think I’m fairly patriotic, but isn’t all this over the top and a little ridiculous?

  11. CSK says:


    I think it is.

  12. Gustopher says:

    @Slugger: I think we need to work “America, Fuck Yeah!” in there. Maybe use the minor chord variation if the home team is doing poorly?

    I would put that at the 7th, for the greatest drama, and move “God Bless America” to the 5th. That means we can work in “America The Beautiful” at the 3rd.

    Need to figure out where to put Neil Diamond’s “America”… is it disrespectful to put it at the end, while people are leaving the stadium?

  13. CSK says:

    @Slugger: @Gustopher:

    “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” — Samuel Johnson

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Slugger: I thought everyone sings Take Me Out to the Ball Game at the seventh inning stretch. Did that change?

    @Gustopher: No. Any Neil Diamond song is appropriate for situations where people are leaving. And America is long enough so that people might well all be out of the stadium before it gets to the “My country, tis of thee (TODAY!)” part.

  15. MarkedMan says:


    now we get God Bless America during the seventh inning break

    Maybe. But it’s also become a chance for whoever sang the national anthem to once again show off their pipes with a royalty free song. After all, baseball is a boys game played by men surrounded by a complete weave of inter-inning (or rather half inning) “traditions”.

    (Don’t get me wrong, I love it. On Friday I was at the stadium for a game that was 2 1/2 hours rain delayed and then was scoreless until we won with a walk off homer in the bottom of the ninth. I think it was the best game I’ve been at this season)

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: I would gladly substitute any of those songs if we could junk the mid-seventh inning tradition of John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”

  17. Kathy says:

    I stumbled across a video review of the Tesla solar roof and battery system. Here’s the link.

    Quite comprehensive. I would have liked to see what alternatives the reviewer considered, other than solar tiles vs solar panels, but that would have been a different review. He also tested the system for a whole year, so as to be able to break usage down by season.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Tesla solar tiles are a major disappointment solely because of installed price.

  19. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: Huh. I thought that only happened at summer collegiate baseball in small town red state Murka. How sad for you. ☹️

  20. Kathy says:


    That’s one reason I’d like to see a comparison with other options. The review quotes around $120,000 for the Tesla tiles and batteries, the investment to be recouped in around 9.5 years. Gains to be realized after that,a nd for possibly 15 additional years.

    Well enough, but who has that much money to spend? If you need to borrow it, the numbers don’t work out as well.

  21. CSK says:

    Happy 205th birthday to Emily Bronte.

  22. dazedandconfused says:


    I thought he said $93,000, reduced to that amount by the federal credit.

    It’s also a new roof. His roof didn’t need replacement so he didn’t include it in his calculation, but for most it will be that too. Judging from the pics a new roof for that house would be in the neighborhood of a $25,ooo, and you’ld get no federal credit for just a new roof.

  23. Kathy says:


    My bad.

    It’s still a lot of money.

    Plus, if you need to replace/repair the roof, can you wait 8 months to do so?

  24. Kathy says:

    I just ran across an early Apple idea for a phone, in 1983. It looks like something from a parallel universe

    I wonder what the intent was. The photo seems to show a checkbook. What would happen once the check was written? Would it get printed? There was no electronic banking back then.

    It was just a concept that was never developed, not an actual product.

  25. Jax says:

    @Kathy: Cue 40 years later and I am now depositing all of my checks via my phone, and printing all of my checks from my phone. The entirety of the world’s libraries are at my fingertips (I bet they didn’t expect that!) They weren’t far off as far as what you could do with them…..they just didn’t know what they would look like!

    Nor did they expect social media, and the depravity of the human race.

  26. DrDaveT says:


    Alina Habba on Trump: “He is the most ethical American I know.”

    Where’s Inigo Montoya when you need him?

  27. dazedandconfused says:


    Most of the time yes, temporary patching can put it off for quite some time. However it can be said that if you wait until your roof starts leaking you’ve waited too long. Those with 30 year old shingles have to consider themselves due for a roof job.