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. Richard Gardner says:

    Sunday I’ll be going to a celebration of life of Alice Stuart. First time I saw her, a friend said you need to go to this show (I know the pastor who will be doing the service). The woman knew everyone in the 1960s. She screwed Zappa and he dissed her for being bad at playing Louie Louie (*cough, Seattle friends of hers, Zappa was way off)

  2. Bill Jempty says:

    I just submitted my latest ebook to Amazon. It should be live aka ready for purchase no later than this afternoon.

    My latest writing effort may be last as an independent publisher. Shortly after I sold the film rights to one book* of mine, I got a literary agent. That agent has found me a traditional publisher.

    Why I haven’t made the switch? I get paid for any sales ninety days after they occur, I receive a higher percentage of my book sales in royalties, I don’t have anyone breathing down my neck to get working on my next ebook, and other reasons.

    Independent publishing isn’t easy. My S corp publishing company is basically a one-man operation though my wife and sister-in-law are listed as company officers. DW is my fashion consultant but rarely has any other involvement with the company other than checking and emptying its PO Box.

    I’m writer, Accountant, Marketing Director, Agent for the company, etc etc. At the moment I don’t even have help of a proofreader**.

    Going traditional publishing route would allow me to concentrate on my writing. It would also make matters easier for my wife should I pass away. I’m still battling cancer and in addition now I’m having cardiac issues. You don’t know how many people I’ve known to beat cancer only to have their hearts go out on them.

    It will be 10 years next April that I published my first book. By my next anniversary there are likely going to be changes in how I operate. If I’m still alive.

    *- Just last August I sold the rights to a second.
    **- I had two proofreaders. One of them can’t work for me any longer due to her father’s deteriorating health. The other has disappeared. I just hope they are well.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: Good luck with all your endeavors. Hopefully your life becomes much simpler.

  4. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    I know this one well. The drug/radiation/surgery side effects are brutal, and many of them start showing up years after treatment ends. Nerve damage, cardiomyopathy, brittle teeth/bones. PTSD, depression, and survivor’s guilt.

    My cancer journey was a struggle, but the epilogue has been a war all its own. Cherish the good in your life, and good fortune to you and yours.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: This tangentially relates to a controversy about ten years ago. As mammography improves we are able to detect smaller and smaller tumors, so a woman is more likely to be told she has cancer. The thing is, there is some evidence that these tumors could exist for decades without growing or even get absorbed by the body. But once a woman knows she has cancer, it’s not surprising that she wants it out. (This isn’t a woman-only phenomenon – an almost exact corollary is prostrate cancer in men.) After rigorous, long term and large studies, a panel of scientists made the recommendation against yearly mammograms for most women. The backlash was swift and intense, with personal attacks against the scientists and physicians on the panel. It was viewed by critics as a cost saving measure. After all, if some cancers are treated that wouldn’t have metastasized what’s the harm? The scientists had to fight with one hand tied behind their back. They were vague about explaining that harm (following surgery if a woman keeps their breast chemo and sometimes radiation treatment is recommended) for two reasons. The first is that they didn’t want to paint a grim picture of the side effects of treatment as they knew it would scare off women who needed that treatment. The second was that they didn’t have good, specific data on those side effects because the necessary experiments to get that data are unethical. In order to find the long term effects of treating women who didn’t need it you would need to randomly select women who don’t have cancer and subject them to surgery, chemo and radiation.

    As I said, prostrate cancer in men is an almost exact match for this issue, and that’s been known for a few years longer, primarily because concern over unnecessary treatment is more immediate, since, unlike breast cancer surgery, the surgical part of prostrate cancer treatment frequently has immediate and devastating side effects (chronic pain, incontinence and impotence). I learned all this nearly fifteen years ago when my company was considering buying another company who made equipment that was primarily used for prostate surgery. Because of what I learned about prostrate surgery as part of the due-diligence team I haven’t had a prostrate exam since and have never regretted that decision.

  6. CSK says:

    Why are people , including news outlets, so obsessed with Taylor Swift and her doings?

  7. Kathy says:

    Do you ever get the notion the Head Xitter formerly known as the God Emperor Mars etc., kind of gets the Idea to Save Humanity, develops it, succeeds (or not), gets bored with it, and comes up with the Idea to Save Humanity over and over again?

    This would explain how he jumps from SpaceX to Tesla to Xitter to We’ll See What Tickles His Fancy Three to Five Years From Now.

  8. Kathy says:


    She’s blonde, pretty, talented, has a good fashion sense, and has come out in support of Democratic candidates.

    She should start dating climate scientists, and attending Biden’s speeches and campaign events.

    There are many famous people one can reasonably resent. Swift doesn’t strike me as one of them.

  9. CSK says:


    I don’t resent her in the least. Why would you think that? There are lots of pretty, blonde, talented, etc. celebs. Why especially her?

  10. Kathy says:


    I was just talking about her, not implying whom you resent.

    If I knew what combinations of factors get her so much money and attention, I’d be out recruiting a rival.

  11. Jen says:

    Why especially her?

    Speaking only for myself, it’s the combination of talent, looks, gumption, and resilience.

    I’ve become more enamored with her over the years. I remember when her single “Tim McGraw” came out, and she was clearly extraordinarily talented at a young age. She writes all of her own stuff.

    But she’s also grown up in the limelight, which is the undoing of a LOT of those who became famous young. Swift, however, seems more grounded as time goes on, not less so. She was assaulted and then sued by her assaulter–and decided to fight back and won. I also love that she’s using her platform for good (the video for “You Need to Calm Down” for example), and her decision to throw her considerable fame behind Marsha Blackburn’s opponent. It didn’t change the outcome, but it was important. And might yet matter in the long run.

    ETA: She also is a master at reinventing herself, which can be very tricky. She’s done so smartly.

    IMHO, watching a young woman come into, and recognize, her own power is amazing. The film “Miss Americana” was very interesting.

    Anyway, TL;DR: I think she’s f*king amazing!

  12. MarkedMan says:

    I know someone who interacts with Swift on a fairly regular basis as part of a business relationship. I never ask about her and she never volunteers information, but I wonder if this tiny and tangential relationship is the reason for my reaction when the fan world was going crazy over her dating some football player last week: my gut reaction was that this overwhelming fan base may do real psychological harm to Swift. Obsessive fans grow out of it and get on with their life, but she literally can’t get away. This is a woman that hasn’t been able to leave the house without bodyguards since she was a teenager. One whose every new relationship, however minor the interaction, however causal and brief, must be presumed to be fraught and risky. I mean, when I go into a coffee shop and mention that I like the scones neither me nor the barista is likely to remember the interaction a few days later. For someone like Swift it could result in “Scone-gate” or end up with fans deciding to throw scones at her while she is performing. That’s gotta mess with your head. I wouldn’t trade places with a recognizably famous person for all the money in the world.

  13. SenyorDave says:

    @CSK: She’s selling out 80,000 seat stadiums for multiple dates. Her tour is estimate to have gross sales of $2.2 billion. I don’t particularly get it, but she is probably the hottest solo female performer ever in the US. My stepdaughter and granddaughter saw her at Met Life stadium and paid over $500 per ticket to see her in the nosebleed section, and they were in heaven. Stepdaughter said (quote), “it would have been a bargain at $1,000 per ticket”.

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: For the same reasons that there was a show called “Keeping up with the Kardashians?”

    ETA: And, as others have noted already, she famous for something other than being famous.

  15. CSK says:

    @Kathy: @Jen: @MarkedMan: @SenyorDave: @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I was struck by the fact that there’s a news story about her every day on the nets and cable channels.

  16. Michael Reynolds says:


    Stepdaughter said (quote), “it would have been a bargain at $1,000 per ticket”.

    Yes, I’ve heard similar sentiments from my kids. Things are frequently worth a lot of my money. Funny that.

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    I would hate to be famous. If one can manage it, get rich without being famous. Money gets you everything fame gets you with much more freedom and much less hassle. Granted that doesn’t probably work for Ms. Swift, but I’m more jealous of the behind-the-scenes and largely anonymous songwriters who can just cash the big checks and still eat a burger without a dribble of ketchup on their lips becomes an Instagram meme.

  18. Jen says:

    @CSK: Oh, that’s a different issue entirely. There are stories because it’s helpful to THEIR bottom line.

  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I have a cousin who works as a housekeeper. She told me to go see the Foo Fighters, by all means. She said it was well worth the money. At the time, his (by which I mean Dave Grohl) tour tickets were something like $400. But in smaller venues and better seats in those venues.

    That’s an opinion I completely respect.

  20. Mister Bluster says:

    Why were the Beatles a big deal almost 60 years ago?

  21. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    But you are famous. Woody Allen once said the best way to be famous was as a writer, because people knew your name, not your face.

    I could add that one generally, as a writer, has a more genteel class of fan.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The day I realized I never wanted to be famous was sometime in early 1988. I was in the Peace Corps and living in a remote village in West Africa without electricity or running water which only had one lorry a day that made the trip and I needed to get somewhere after that one had left at sunrise. I asked someone if more lorries came to the neighboring, bigger village a couple miles walk away and misunderstood the answer and so found myself over there sitting on the “post office” stoop, reading a book, waiting for a lorry that was never going to come. It was quiet, with all children in school and all adults out at their farms, and I got really interested in that book and lost track of time and my surroundings. After some time I looked up to find I was no longer alone and there were a couple of hundred of students, 5-13 years old, dressed in their neat uniforms and standing a respectful distance away, dead silent, all staring at me. School had let out and they had come pouring out only to turn the corner and unexpectedly see the first white person many had ever seen close up, and surely the first unaccompanied white person any of them had ever seen in their village. I looked at them looking at me and, honest to god, the first thought in my head was, “I never want to be Johnny Carson”.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: But a significant amount of that coverage is because some guy on the Kansas City Chiefs is the next guy that she’s gonna write an I dumpt him song about and her Eras Tour being released on video recently.

    The video was shown here a couple of days ago, but I don’t remember seeing any lines to get in. I live a block away from the theater so I think I’d have noticed. Maybe I live in a Swifty-free zone.

  24. CSK says:

    Speaking of pretty blondes, Suzanne Somers has died. RIP.

  25. JohnSF says:

    On fame and stuff, a village within walking distance was (for a variety of contingent reasons) the residence of a whole bunch of quite well known musicians. And a couple of international rugby players.
    The usual Brit reaction is, let Robert Plant (etc) have a quiet drink, and don’t be a dick.
    Also, Tongan rugby players throw bloody good parties. 🙂
    Dodfest 1998: two girls I knew singing, and former member of Steeleye Span playing the mandolin. Good times.
    I miss the 1990’s.

  26. JohnSF says:

    Anyway, the main news of the day:
    South Africa beat France in an epic match
    France 28-29 South Africa
    So the semi finals are, England vs South Africa; Argentina vs New Zealand.
    Come, love Rugby, as you should know you want to. 😉

  27. Joe says:

    @MarkedMan and Michael Reynolds:
    I have long said, when I was a kid I wanted to be rich and famous. Now I just want to be rich.