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. CSK says:

    Matthew Perry, 54, has died. No cause yet established.

  2. CSK says:


    NBC reports the cause of death was drowning.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: That’s what I read. I have to admit that before today I had no idea who Matthew Perry was. The picture I saw was a current one and rang no bells. Friends? Never watched it. I stopped watching TV in ’91 or 2.

    Looked at old promo pics, and had a, “Huh, looks kinda familiar…” reaction.

  4. CSK says:


    I never watched Friends, either, but I’d heard of all the principals. Like you, I haven’t watched tv in decades, either. I catch the news on my laptop and some movies on Youtube.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US student, 14, wins award for developing soap to treat skin cancer

    Kids these days…

    This could very well be good news for me. I don’t have skin cancer, yet, but if I ever do develop it, it won’t be a surprise.

  6. Bobinyoungstown says:

    Watching the various news services on the Gaza war, I wondered how “we” know that Hamas is holding some 200+ hostages.
    Are these people just not confirmed casualties? Does Hamas just want us to believe that they actually are holding these folks?

    Is the Gaza hospital really a Hamas command center?

    I remember all too well the insistence that Iraq had all these weapons of mass destruction.

  7. Jax says:

    Our first 0 degree morning, here. I’m not ready. Supposed to warm back up by Wednesday, so we got that going for us.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: We’re hitting 19 Tuesday night. Gonna take a little longer for us to hit 0 and below.

  9. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I just hope we have a better winter than last year. I’m not sure I can take another one of those. I can deal with the snow, or I can deal with the cold, but not both, all the way til April. 😛

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I have said something similar about Misery summers: I can deal with the heat, or I can deal with the humidity, but not both all the way to September.

  11. gVOR10 says:

    @Jax: @OzarkHillbilly: I have to put up with DeUseless, but it was a beautiful evening on the lanai yesterday. And as it turns out, I’d have been no better off politically staying in Ohio.

  12. Tony W says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: San Diego checking in – got down to 59 last night.

    It was so cold I almost didn’t wear shorts today.

  13. Kathy says:

    Some of my current reading has me thinking about eugenics.

    First I want to reiterate it remains a terrible idea. Besides all the deserved negative connotations it has, as a result of how it was talked about, discussed, and attempted to carry out, there’s plenty more wrong about it.

    Seen from a value neutral perspective, one can argue we can select traits in humans the way we select traits in plants and animals. So why not try to “improve” ourselves this way?

    Well, have you looked at some of the things we’ve done to our domesticated plants and animals? A great many could not survive without human assistance. That is, if we did not feed them, provided them with water, fertilizer, etc., they’d just die in great numbers. Others can’t reproduce without human assistance, either. Beyond this, many have chronic health issues or difficulties.

    This didn’t happen on purpose. That is, we didn’t select for plants or animals with issues. The issues came along with the characteristics we selected for. this is because biology and genetics are messy, complex affairs with a lot of interconnections that are not readily apparent.

    If we begin to select humans for desirable traits, it’s very likely we’ll wind up with chronic issues and other problems we can’t as yet even suspect. Especially as humans already lack much genetic diversity.

    Not to mention such selection is the work of many, many decades, probably centuries, given how long humans take to reach sexual maturity, not to mention enough emotional maturity and financial security to start families (when done on purpose). So it’s not even sustainable.

    If we view eugenics now as a largely racist attempt to oppress people seen as different as well as the lower classes, that’s just because it’s exactly what it was.

  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    I walk the dogs around 6:30 to 7:00 ish and here in Vegas (Baby!) it was 46 F and windy AF as I carried my bag of dog shit and tried to stop them eating things out of the gutter. We get wild temperature swings here. In summer it’d be 70 or so when I went out, and 115 that same afternoon.

  15. Kathy says:

    Yesterday I took a leftover chicken medallion and used it for breakfast.

    The medallion is breaded, then layered with refried beans, cheese, and browned onions in tomato sauce. I heated it on a pan along with two slices of turkey and one more slice of cheese, then placed it on top of a slice of toasted bread with mustard.

    It was really good, but not something I can make often. I need leftovers from the week’s cooking to do that.

  16. a country lawyer says:

    @Jax: 74 degrees today, just outside of Nashville.

  17. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy: There’s at least statistical evidence that as soon as we could grind lenses for eyeglasses, we began selecting for near-sightedness.

  18. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Cain:

    There’s at least statistical evidence that as soon as we could grind lenses for eyeglasses, we began selecting for near-sightedness.

    Selecting for, or merely failing to select against (as had always been true previously)?

    Even if there has been positive selection in favor of near-sightedness, I’d suspect that it’s actually selection in favor of some correlated trait (such as bookishness), with myopia coming along for the ride…

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: We’ve had 3 consecutive below freezing overnights in a row. On the positive side (for me at least) that means that there may not be a regional mushroom season so no early winter hay fever/asthma. 🙂

    On the negative side, it means no regional mushroom season for mushroom foragers. 🙁

  20. Kathy says:

    And now for something I haven’t done in a while:

    Music for the weekend, Mozart’s A little Night Music.

  21. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy: I’m issuing and APB for good old Italian hot sausage. Can’t find the right stuff anymore, not the stuff I used to get just few years or so ago. The labels are still the same but the stuff inside isn’t. There’s a certain zing missing, as if they are packing it with pepper and calling it “Hot” these days. Have to have the real thing to make a proper lasagna.

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    It’s not the guns it’s the kids!
    Get them a mental health evaluation or lock them up!
    How about both!

    2 men accidentally shot by children during Minnesota youth deer hunting season
    Authorities said both children (two girls aged 10 and 12) were participating in the youth deer hunting season when the shootings occurred. The event allows supervised children ages 10 to 17 to hunt with firearms between Oct. 19 and Oct. 22 before the regular deer hunting season opens in November, according to the DNR website.

  23. Mr. Prosser says:

    2837260″>dazedandconfused: Look for a local meat market. The best Italian, German or Scandinavian sausage can be found there depending on the neighborhood.

  24. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Kathy: For me today is various 18th Century cello concertos (Haydn, Stamitz, Boccherini). My favorite classical instrument.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR10: @Tony W: Pbththththththththththth…

    @Michael Reynolds: and 115 that same afternoon.

    Yeah but it’s a dry heat. :-).

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: I’ve never used hot sausage in my lasagna, therefore, under the rule that real Italian food is just (and only) like I ate at home, I will assert that you don’t know anything about what a proper lasagna is. 😉
    (And my Piedmontese grandmother never even made lasagna, so there’s every reason to believe that it isn’t really food to begin with.)

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: it’s very likely we’ll wind up with chronic issues and other problems we can’t as yet even suspect.

    You’re absolutely right, in fact we already have. Cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia to name 2, and those are just accidents of nature.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Cain: There’s at least statistical evidence that as soon as we could grind lenses for eyeglasses, we began selecting for near-sightedness.

    But I’ll bet that also correlates with spreading literacy.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: The event allows supervised children

    I was wondering about that. Whad’ya wanna bet dear old dad was back at the cabin having a little nip?

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: I’m fortunate. Anytime I get a hankering for the real thing I can just head for The Hill up in STL.

  31. Slugger says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I can believe that a hunter/gatherer life would have significant evolutionary pressure in favor of good vision, but do agriculturists need 20/20 vision to plow, plant, and reap? Perhaps, the development of farming eight thousand years ago allowed the prevalence of myopia.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..dear old dad…

    One story is about a father shot by his daughter in the leg.
    The other story doesn’t say anything about the relationship between the two but she did hit him in the ass so who knows.

  33. Kathy says:


    Maybe something along those lines, although sickle cell is a result of an adaptation to malaria. People with sickle cell anemia have two copies of the same gene, which results in misshapen red blood cells. Those with only one copy of the gene, resist malaria infections better than those without a copy of the gene.

    Chalk that one to natural selection.

  34. Beth says:


    He’s another data point for you:

    Very basically HRT changes your DNA by turning certain gene expressions on and off. My guess is there are other drugs/environmental chemicals that have a similar effect. We could be changing or dna as we speak.

    Also, just more evidence that reality is way more complicated than Conservatives want it to be.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: HA! Apparently Karma is not a beach in NC.

    eta: and I’m glad my son never shot me while squirrel hunting.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: It goes (kinda) the same with CF. I can’t remember if they know the benefit of one gene, but 2 is fatal. (I watched a cousin die of it) I am sure there is a similar environmental factor.

  37. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..squirrel hunting…

    I can only guess that you weren’t wearing a Davey Crockett hat that would make it look like a varmint was sitting on your head.

  38. Kathy says:


    In popularizations DNA has gone from blueprint to recipe, and neither is close to accurate. I won’t claim I understand it, but DNA codes for proteins and nothing else.

    How this translates into an organism is not known.

    So, the first lesson in biology is: we’ve learned a lot in the past 150 years, and that’s still a lot less than we need to know to understand what the hell is going on.

    That said, lots of things can alter a cell’s DNA through methylation. Hormones, certainly, but also medication, food, contaminants, infection, the immune system, and much more.

    The best way to understand how many, principally, on the right misunderstand DNA and genetics, is that they misuse DNA the way their forebears misused the term “blood.” It’s the same prejudice with updated language.

  39. dazedandconfused says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The trick is to make it 1/2 sweet and 1/2 hot Italian sausage, brown it on the side but mix it into the sauce for the last hour or two of reduction. The flavor of the sausage spicing is absolutely key the sauce. Anyone who makes lasagna with hamburger should be summarily shot, btw…

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: Count me among the people who should be shot. On the other hand, I’ve not made lasagna in 40 or so years, but the recipe that I got requests for involved cooking ground beef, olives and garlic with plain tomato sauce and layering that with sour cream and green onions topped with mozz and parmesan on the top meat sauce layer. (3 layers of pasta)

  41. Jax says:

    It’s more like the day my Dad died.

  42. James Joyner says:

    @dazedandconfused: @dazedandconfused: I grew up with it being made with ground beef and still use it. I now add in roughly half Italian sausage, and my sauce is pretty meat heavy—4 pounds or so. And I’ve never liked ricotta, so mine is just noodles, sauce, and mozzarella.