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:

    The family of a Black high school student in Texas who was suspended over his dreadlocks filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Saturday against the state’s governor and attorney general, alleging they failed to enforce a new law outlawing discrimination based on hairstyles.

    Darryl George, 17, a junior at Barbers Hill high school in Mont Belvieu, has been serving an in-school suspension since 31 August. Officials with the Houston-area school say his dreadlocks fall below his eyebrows and ear lobes and violate the district’s dress code.

    George’s mother, Darresha George, and the family’s attorney deny that the teenager’s hairstyle violates the dress code, saying his hair is neatly tied in twisted dreadlocks on top of his head.

    Darryl George’s supporters allege the ongoing suspension by the Barbers Hill independent school district violates the state’s Crown Act, short for Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, which took effect 1 September.
    Greg Poole, the Barbers Hill superintendent, has said he believes the dress code is legal and teaches students to conform as a sacrifice benefiting everyone.

    What a load of horseshit. Conform to what? His standards? Texas’ standards? As far as I can tell from who is sitting in the Texas AG office, they have no standards.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The vast majority of NFTs are now worthless, new report shows

    Consider my Freude to be thoroughly schadened.

  3. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    And moving from the outrageous to the outrageous and gobsmacking:

    Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) denounced attacks on her character after she was kicked out of a theater last week as a “distraction” from government funding efforts.

    “This whole week has been a total distraction,” Boebert said in a Fox News interview Friday. “We are on the verge of a government shutdown.”

    “We have muscle memory in Washington, D.C. — bipartisan muscle memory — of those who want to do business as normal,” she added. “That’s why we are $33 trillion in debt.”

    The story continues:

    Video from the incident showed the congresswoman later arguing with theater security and flipping them off before leaving.

    Boebert called the incident “heartbreaking,” and difficult for her family.

    “It’s something that is taxing on my whole family,” she said on Friday. “To have this broadcast to the whole world — something that was in the dark — is certainly heartbreaking to watch,

    (Degree to which heartbreak may occur could vary from constituent to constituent.) And finally:

    Boebert is part of a group of conservative Republicans who have voted against efforts to pass funding measures put up by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

    Boebert said the group, which includes Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and others, “are doing the real work to avoid a government shutdown.” [emphasis added]

    OOOOH kay. [grimacing, grated teeth emoji]
    But the Huff Post article following does show that she has learned from the experience:

    Extremist Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) said she has “peacefully parted” ways with her date who was booted with her from a performance of “Beetlejuice” following disruptive behavior at a Denver theater.

    “All future date nights have been canceled and I learned to check party affiliations before you go on a date,” Boebert told TMZ in a video that the outlet shared online, referencing reports that her date is a Democrat.

    Boebert said her date’s political affiliation didn’t influence the split, calling him a “wonderful man.”

    “Nothing to do with anything anybody reported,” she explained. “But honestly, he’s a private citizen and, you know, we have peacefully parted at this time. Great man, great friend, and I wish him all the best.”

    Boebert on Sunday said her “overtly animated personality” was to blame for the incident.

    “I was a little too eccentric,” she told One America News Network’s Dan Ball.

    Hmmm… I thought that the word that describes her actions started with “h,” but maybe “eccentric” is a synonym in this case. (I also wonder after the “he is a private citizen, and, you know…” statement who is blowing off whom, but I should probably seek to take the higher road here.)

  4. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That “the vast majority of NFT are now worthless” isn’t all that surprising. Collectibles–especially virtual ones–have always been a spotty investment. I’m wondering whether to try to sell my dad’s Churchill Commemorative Medalion collection on the market or whether they will be more valuable sold a scrap silver. The same goes for my mom’s bag of highly tarnished silver pre-decimalized coins she hoarded collected on her last trip to N Ireland before decimalized currency came in.

  5. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    In other news of freudes being thoroughly schadened:

    Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson in her new memoir said that onetime chief of staff Mark Meadows burned so many documents in the waning days of the administration that his wife complained to her about the dry-cleaning bills to remove the burning smell from his clothes, according to The New York Times.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: No it’s not, they were worthless when these gullible marks were buying them up. Even still my Fruede remains thoroughly schadened because now they have to look at themselves in the mirror and wonder wtf they were thinking.

    Tho I’ll bet you donuts to dollars at least half of them are saying, “Just you wait. It’ll turn around and then you’ll all see what a genius move it was for me.”

  7. Jen says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Well that deserves some attention. I don’t think that destroying government property on the way out the door is legal.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I was just reading how she was forced to leave DC because of the threats she was facing after her testimpny. Not that I get any enjoyment out of her troubles but I couldn’t help thinking, what was she expecting from the Face Eating Leopards Party?

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: I think that’s called “obstruction of justice”.

  10. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: On the other hand, she put the thought you had aside and testified all the same.

    More courage than either her boss or his.

  11. Tony W says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: NFTs were the new Beanie Babies.

    And still are.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: My hat is definitely off to her, it couldn’t have been easy. And I do hope she can someday live a normal life again.

  13. Joe says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I saw a picture that was reported as this young man’s hair. I would call his hair braids, not dreadlocks. I suppose they may have been based in small dreads, but they were definitely braided and all above his ears, even though they would have been at least shoulder length if down. It’s important to me because dreads have an entirely different connotation to me than braids. Whatever his hair was, it was very intentionally managed and kept well out of his face and off his collar. If discipline is what you want, his grooming screams discipline.

  14. Bill Jempty says:
  15. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..Conform to what? His standards? Texas’ standards?

    Superintendent Greg Poole’s Texas white man standards?

  16. Scott says:


    Greg Poole, the Barbers Hill superintendent, has said he believes the dress code is legal and teaches students to conform as a sacrifice benefiting everyone.

    Guess what? What a small town school superintendent believes is legal is irrelevant.

  17. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yesterday in a different thread, James Joyner posted this:

    Black Americans are Americans. Their traditional clothing is American traditional clothing.

    I’m going to take a little time out before possibly responding to that.

  18. gVOR10 says:

    @Scott: Well it certainly isn’t racist. I expect the policy bans dreadlocks without regard to race, creed, or color.

    In light of the reaction to David Brooks’ $78 “joke”, I’ll add /s.

  19. gVOR10 says:

    Harking back to James’ post a few days ago about the press, WAPO has a headline today,

    Gen. Mark Milley, polarizing Joint Chiefs chairman, exits center stage

    An early paragraph reads,

    Critics say the general stretched the bounds of what is expected to be a nonpartisan role, wading into hot-button debates again and again, and dragging the military farther into the political fray at a time when the institution’s public backing is already under strain. Some found him overly focused on his own legacy.

    In fairness, most of the article is fairly good, but as I commented at WAPO, Milley wan’t at odds with Trump because Trump was a Republican, but because Trump is, in Rex Tillerson’s word, a moron.

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    If discipline is what you want, his grooming screams discipline.

    Well sure, but you can’t have black children deciding how they will exercise discipline over their own lives. It’s unnatural.

    @Mister Bluster:

    Texas white man standards?

    Well duh! What other standard can their be? (See above)

  21. gVOR10 says:

    And following up my follow up @gVOR10: to James’ post, the adjacent headline at WAPO reads,

    Post-ABC poll: Biden faces criticism on economy, immigration and age

    Another in their series of “in breaking news, Biden is old” stories. I believe James has commented that polls this early serve only as excuses for running stories. Are they ever going to run a story headlined, “Trump faces criticism for being a narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopath who attempted a stupid plot to overturn his election defeat”?

  22. DK says:


    Another in their series of “in breaking news, Biden is old” stories.

    “Red Wave 2022!!!11!!”

  23. Scott says:

    Maybe the Butlerian Jihad is the answer after all.

    AI-generated naked child images shock Spanish town of Almendralejo

    A sleepy town in southern Spain is in shock after it emerged that AI-generated naked images of young local girls had been circulating on social media without their knowledge.

    The pictures were created using photos of the targeted girls fully clothed, many of them taken from their own social media accounts.

    These were then processed by an application that generates an imagined image of the person without clothes on.

    So far more than 20 girls, aged between 11 and 17, have come forward as victims of the app’s use in or near Almendralejo, in the south-western province of Badajoz.

    “One day my daughter came out of school and she said ‘Mum there are photos circulating of me topless’,” says María Blanco Rayo, the mother of a 14-year-old.

  24. Mr. Prosser says:

    @gVOR10: I have a digital subscription to WAPO which I will not renew. It’s repetitive, has more clickbait than Google and is just dull. Anyone have any suggestions to a decent on-line news outlet. I’m thinking Al-Jazeera or the Guardian.

  25. Kathy says:

    One very obvious thing about nuclear that gets kind of overlooked, is how much less fuel mass a reactor requires to “burn” in order to achieve the same power production as a coal or oil fired plant. Maybe it’s because reactors are still huge, and the fuel rods look big as they are often encased in other metal alloys, etc.

    I bring this up because we keep approaching practical fusion (and we have been for fifty years, I know).

    A coal burning plant requires tons of fuel. A fission plant requires hundreds of kilograms. A fusion plant, if we ever build one, requires grams. Seriously. A multi megaton H bomb requires several kilos of plutonium to set off the fusion of 5-10 grams of tritium. This is because we keep going up the energy ladder, and more mass gets turned into energy.

    So what?

    Well, the nuclear age also saw the synthesis of new elements, typically heavier than those fund in nature (but others as well). This is achieved either by splitting heavy nuclei apart, or by getting atoms to absorb neutrons. thus we can make plutonium, for example, by exposing thorium to the neutron flux in a fission reactor. IN fact, a breeder fission reactor can this way make more fuel than it consumes*.

    One aspect of fusion, though, is we can make light and heavy elements by fusing nuclei together. We get visions of large fusion reactors making, for example, helium and lithium.

    This is absolutely possible. In principle, we could fuse progressively heavier nuclei and make any element we want. Gold, for example, or platinum, or palladium, etc.

    What gets overlooked, see three days ago at the top of this comment, is how much less fuel a fusion reactor uses. We’re talking of grams of deuterium and hydrogen to make fewer grams of helium (the rest of the mass becomes energy). We’ll never get to make tons of helium, much less lithium or gold or titanium, because we’ll never fuse tons of hydrogen isotopes to begin with.

    Also, when you get to iron, fusion uses up all the energy produced to synthesize that nucleus. This means elements heavier than iron would require additional energy. So you’d need far, far far more hydrogen isotopes to make energy to make heavier elements.

    So, in theory we can at last, as the old alchemists dreamed, transmuta base elements into gold, or other more valuable materials. But it would be very very expensive to do so. TL;DR, we’ll likely never develop industrial scale transmutation of heavy elements, and possibly not light elements either. We’ll still depend on the free energy from supernovae and colliding neutron stars to get such elements, even though that takes millions of years.

    You can’t have everything.

    *Don’t worry, all conservation laws are observed.

  26. gVOR10 says:

    @Mr. Prosser: Most mornings I read WAPO and NYT, then I read The Guardian to catch up on the news.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Are they ever going to run a story headlined, “Trump faces criticism for being a narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopath who attempted a stupid plot to overturn his election defeat”?

    Well, I know I’m not holding my breath waiting for that story.

  28. Gustopher says:

    @Tony W:

    NFTs were the new Beanie Babies.

    No, Beanie Babies were really cute toys. When the bubble faded, you still have a nice toy, suitable for children or sitting on your desk (the anteater has been helping me debug software for a quarter of a century) or being dragged around by cats (my one cat always stole the anteater — the anteater outlived her)

    An NFT was always nothing. It was a bet against anything on the internet being there forever.

    The underlying value of a Beanie Baby was $6 or whatever. And that’s $6 greater than the NFT.

  29. Gustopher says:


    Darryl George, 17, a junior at Barbers Hill high school in Mont Belvieu, has been serving an in-school suspension since 31 August. Officials with the Houston-area school say his dreadlocks fall below his eyebrows and ear lobes and violate the district’s dress code.

    It’s Barber Hill. Of course they are going to be wanting people to get their hair cut. They’re in the pocket of Big Barber, and they’re not even hiding it — it’s right there, in the name.

  30. DrDaveT says:

    @Tony W:

    NFTs were the new Beanie Babies.

    Nah, Beanie Babies have actual cute value. More like Pet Rocks.

  31. DrDaveT says:


    In principle, we could fuse progressively heavier nuclei and make any element we want. Gold, for example

    As pointed out by a recent xkcd comic, essentially all of the gold in the universe was created via r-process nucleosynthesis when binary neutron stars finally collapse. Even supernovas can’t quite manage it. It’s going to be a looooong time before we can recreate those conditions in a contained environment, much less harness the results.

  32. Bill Jempty says:

    The Florida headline of the day- Miami Dolphins defeat Denver Broncos 70-20 in their first home game of season

    Miami had a chance to break the all-time NFL record for points in a game, 72 by the 1966 Washington Redskins, but opted to fall on the football in the last minute of the game rather than attempt about a 45-yard field goal.

  33. Gustopher says:

    @Mr. Prosser: Do you want to be informed about what is happening in the world, or what the “responsible” wealthy and powerful believe is happening? I’m not sure the Guardian and al Jazeera really do the former, but WaPo is definitely the latter.

    One has far more impact on your life. It is probably not the one you are hoping for.

  34. SenyorDave says:

    @gVOR10: To be fair, I think the term Tillerson used was “fucking moron”

  35. Gustopher says:

    @SenyorDave: It’s hard to believe that the least qualified cabinet member of the initial Trump administration turned out to be the best.

    I think he actually achieved the exalted status known as “borderline mediocre, slightly better than an empty chair.”

  36. SenyorDave says:

    @Gustopher: He was also a legitimately accomplished person who didn’t seem like a suck-up from day one. I guess I have a soft spot in my heart for Tillerson, if nothing else he seemed like a straight shooter.

  37. Mr. Prosser says:

    @gVOR10: @Gustopher: I want to know what’s going on with a bit of honest perspective. I’m tired of paying WAPO to find out how many ways to make goat cheese salad and reading how old Biden is. I think I’ll stick with Kevin Drum and the Guardian.

  38. CSK says:

    @Tony W:

    As long as Melania’s and Donald’s NFTs are worthless.

  39. Kathy says:


    Well, here and there we’ve found ways to do things differently than nature and get similar results. Like using vapor deposition rather than massive pressure to make diamonds (which does require a diamond as a seed). So maybe we can find different ways to make gold, ones not involving neutron stars.

    But if we do, it will be massively expensive.

    It would be gold worth several times its weight in gold 😉

  40. Kathy says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    I’m wondering when I fell into a parallel universe where the Dolphins are the sole undefeated AFC team 3 weeks into the season.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @Mr. Prosser: the salad I ate for dinner really needed goat cheese.

    Arugula and Spinach blend, cucumbers, tomatoes, a dressing of oil, vinegar, Dijon, dill and pepper, and then some smoked salmon on top. A little goat cheese would have been perfect — like cream cheese and lox on a bagel, but goatier.