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. Bill Jempty says:

    I’m home from another sleep study again. Now I’ll get some sleep.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: More than 40 winks worth, I pray.

  3. Mister Bluster says:

    @Bill Jempty:..sleep

    Maybe you will have Roadrunner dreams.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Texas: Republican-controlled school board votes against climate textbooks

    Because they were mean and unfair to the oil and gas industry. Keeping children ignorant is what “parent’s rights” is all about.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    An interesting bit of mystery: That’s not a potato: mystery of Egyptian treasures found buried in grounds of Scottish school

    In 1952, a schoolboy was digging up potatoes, assisting a gardener in the grounds of his school in Fife as part of a punishment. He stumbled across a bulbous shape that he initially mistook for a potato, only to discover later that he had found an Egyptian masterpiece made some 4,000 years ago.

    The idea of finding ancient treasures buried in the Scottish countryside, rather than beneath the sands of Cairo, is somewhat unlikely. Yet this was to be the first of 18 Egyptian antiquities unearthed on three separate occasions by schoolboys over some 30 years in the most unexpected of places – Melville House, a historic building near the small parish of Monimail in Fife

  6. just nutha says:

    @Bill Jempty: As long as they got the data they need. Good luck!

  7. Mimai says:

    Why do/don’t people re-read books? Or perhaps the question is: Who does/not re-read books.

    I appreciate that this isn’t a strict binary, but my sense is that there are roughly two camps.

    Does this same sorting apply to audiobooks? That is, does one’s predilection for physical books also hold for audiobooks?

    I have a strong preference for physical books. For reasons. I also affiliate more with the “read once and move on” camp.

    I listen to a few podcasts but am not a major consumer. Only a few times have I re-listened to a podcast. My sense is that this is the case for most people — listen once and move on.

    I consume a lot of music — recorded and live. I used to set a wider aperture so as to receive a larger volume of new material. In the past few years, I’ve noticed a revealed preference for “the known” stuff. That is, I’ve been much more inclined to re-listen… to recorded music.

    For live music, it’s been the opposite. I’ve been seeing a lot more “new to me” live music than in the past.

    I also play music. And my recent tendency aligns with my live music consumption — learn new stuff as opposed to refine old stuff that I’m already proficient at.

    Finally, I’ve found myself becoming increasing less tolerant of repeat discussion topics. The exception is when the discussion actually progresses. When new info and perspectives are introduced.

  8. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    to sleep, perchance to dream …

    Warner Bros. Discovery shelved John Cena’s “Coyote vs. Acme” film, which completed filming last year.

    ETA h/t Axios

  9. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    My morning feed reported that Friday’s heat index in Rio de Janeiro approached 139°. Ugh

  10. Mister Bluster says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:..Acme…

    I did see that item and meant to get back to it but I got distracted by a cat chasing a bird. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


    Why do/don’t people re-read books? Or perhaps the question is: Who does/not re-read books.

    So many books, so little time.

    The same can be said about movies, the number of films that I’ve seen multiple times can be counted on one hand. Music is different, that I’ll listen to an album many, many times, but I do have albums that I’ve only listened to once in 40 years.
    Right now a playlist headed by Doc Watson is on with the next track being the a long ago Mpls trio, Rio Nido, after that I believe Francois Hardy.

  12. Franklin says:

    @Mimai: I prefer reading physical books. Audiobooks are difficult due to my significant hearing loss (more hereditary than from exposure). For that same reason, I don’t go to as much live music as I’d probably like. It’s easier to appreciate music at my desired volume level without either mufflingbor damaging my hearing further (and yes I have “musician’s earplugs” because I also play music – guitar, piano, singing, sometimes in public like open mics).

    I do mix up listening to new music with playing my old favorites over and over. I recently went to a talk by Jeff Tweedy, a discussion of his new book. He told a funny anecdote about his own father, that when he liked a song he would put it on repeat for 40-50 plays in a row. As Jeff said, his dad was monogamous with a song.

    Back to reading: I almost never re-read a book, unless there’s some specific thing I’m looking for, usually in a self-help book. I also try to push my way through even if it’s boring. I also usually read prefaces and introductions, even though 90% of them are God awful and useless. Because why did they put it in if they didn’t want me to read it?

  13. Kathy says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    @Mister Bluster:

    I saw a brief item the other day that WB un-shelved it, and will shop it around to streaming services.

    I’ll believe it when I see the movie.

  14. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    I’ve had an image of the Acme catalog in my mind since about 1959. I’m sure the movie’s not “princess bride,” but I was really looking forward to seeing it.


    Oh, be still my beating heart. Hope springs eternal…

  15. Kathy says:


    I used to re-read lots of books, because my supply of new books was limited. The situation improved when I began to read audiobooks and listen to podcasts, but not enough until later.

    Later is when Audible began to have two books for one credit sales, the plus catalog of free with any subscription, and then when I got Scribd (now Everand for some reason) with unlimited audiobooks and ebooks from their catalog.

    But, I’ve re-read audiobooks. Notably Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. And I re-listened to Mike Duncan’s The History of Rome podcast start to finish.

    That’s less likely now, as @Sleeping Dog says, too many books. Specifically new books.

    I prefer audiobooks and ebooks because I can read the former while driving and cooking, and the latter while on short breaks here and there without having to carry around an actual book. Between the two this year, according to my tracker at Goodreads, I’ve read 51 books so far this year.

  16. CSK says:


    I almost always re-read a book I enjoyed to see if there’s anything I missed the first time around.
    I never listen to audio books.
    I listen to favorite pieces of music over and over.
    I’ll watch movies I’ve already seen if I’ve forgotten a lot of them.

  17. Kathy says:

    I think I spotted a mass sale even scam today. I can’t say for sure, because largely I’m going from memory. But it did feel that way.

    To begin, it’s The Good Weekend, a manufactured mass sales event that mimics Black Friday in the US. My regular supermarket, Comercial Mexicana (aka La Comer), offered a rebate of 30 pesos for every 100 spent on kitchen appliances, among many other offers. This is not a 30% discount, mind you. If you buy something worth 1,999 pesos, you get 570 in the rebate, not 600. But it’s close.

    That’s not the scam.

    I’d been looking at air fryers for a while, though I’ve decided to wait for the Xmas bonus and post-holiday sales (when discounts are more real as inventory has to be cleared out), and get the combo instant por and air fryer. Still, I thought with the rebates, I could buy one I’ve been eyeing.

    This is where memory comes in. I recall it costs around 1,350 pesos, meaning a rebate of 390., and a total spend of 960. Helpfully they added tags stating the retail price, and the price minus rebate. The one I wanted was listed at 1,300 after rebate.

    I may recall the wrong price, but I really don’t think so. I will also add I’ve been suspicious of the discounts, rebates, and other gimmicks used in these kinds of mass promotions, and that may bias me in this regard.

  18. Paine says:

    It’s very rare for me to re-read a book. One exception is Orwell’s 1984, which I pull off the shelf every couple of years to read again. It really is that good and still quite relevant.

    I don’t do the audiobook thing, or the e-book thing. I like sitting down with an actual book in my hand and proudly adding it to my bookshelf when I’m done.

  19. Scott says:

    In my youth, I re-read books a lot. Specifically, large world building books like Lord of the Rings and Dune that had appendices to pore over and immerse oneself in. Yes, I was a total geek. Otherwise, the only book I pull out every couple of years is Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. It is not very long but so well written, I find myself admiring the writing and discovering a little joke or pun that I hadn’t run across before.

  20. Kurtz says:


    I also play music

    Triangle? Saw? Glockenspiel? Throat singing?

    I’ve noticed a revealed preference for “the known” stuff.

    Back in 2012, I had mostly stopped consuming new artists. Our longtime friend group had splintered the previous year. One dude got married to a woman no one else cared for and moved away. My SO and I had broken off our engagement and within a few months, she started dating one of the other core members of our crew. Of the three fellas left, I was the one who shrugged it off. As traumatic as the breakup was for a bit, I coped with the help of The Beatles, The Roots masterpiece Undun, and “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” and was fine with it. They took ‘the code’ more seriously, I guess.

    Anyway, my roomate had gone back home to visit his Mom for Christmas. The remaining member of our trio had been bugging us for two months to check out this new album from some West Coast kid. He came over, we rolled up a fat Dutch, and he was no longer willing to take no for an answer.

    As we played Halo 4 – – puffing, passing, firing digital rifles – – the first couple tracks played. I just kept inhaling and unloading clips into barely pubescent rivals wearing futuristic space suits.

    Then . . .

    “Martin had a dream
    Martin had a dream
    Kendrick have a DREAAAM”

    I dropped my controller. Frozen.

    “All my life I want money and power
    Respect my mind or die from lead showers”

    My controller moved on the floor, vibrating from the sniper round that just took off my space marine’s dome.

    I turned to my dude.

    “Who the FUCK is this guy?”

    “I told you.”

    Coping seemed as hazy a memory as the first day of kindergarten. I was dry even after rising out of the water with wide open eyes and ears tuned to the world again.

  21. Kathy says:

    Well, Swedish dock workers refuse to unload Xlon’x Texlas . This is in support of Texla’s workers in Sweden, because Xlon won’t sign a collective bargaining agreement with its employees.

    The piece mentions about 90% of Sweden’s workforce belong to trade unions. By current GQP “logic,” this means NATO recently admitted a communist country in its ranks. 🙂

  22. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Guessing that once he recovers from his blind rage at being stymied in Sweden, His Holy Muskrat will immediately quadruple down and attempt to do… Tantrum!!!

  23. Bill Jempty says:

    @just nutha:

    As long as they got the data they need. Good luck!

    They get my datadetermine what face mask I will wear at night to treat my sleep apnea and I get two more story ideas. Just what I need so I will add them to the pile of 50 or so I have now.

  24. Bill Jempty says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Maybe you will have Roadrunner dreams.

    The roadrunner and Coyote have appeared in one of my short stories. In it I make fun of a website I used to write stories at. They are having problems with trolls and people are discussing what to do with them. Wile E , Maxwell Smart, the men of F Troop, Batman and Robin and various others all appear to help. Of course you know the Roadrunner will appear and thwarts the Coyote once again.

    Beep! Beep!

  25. Bill Jempty says:


    In my youth, I re-read books a lot.

    I do that too sometimes. Right now I’m reading Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain which I first read 30-35 years ago.

  26. Bill Jempty says:


    Triangle? Saw? Glockenspiel? Throat singing?

    Former former baritone horn player reporting Sir or Ma’am!

  27. Kathy says:

    Something doesn’t add up.

    NASA is saying it will take a number “in the high teens” of Xtarship launches for the Artemis Lunar landing missions.

    So we’re talking anywhere from 16 to 21 launches of two of the biggest rockets ever made (Xtarship and Artemis) to get people to the Moon? Expensive as Apollo was, it took one launch per mission. And is this number for every mission, or just the first one?

    Something just doesn’t add up.

  28. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That’s fascinating!

    @Mimai: I don’t care to re-read books…my shelves are full of books that I thought sounded interesting so I bought them but haven’t read them yet…between the TBR piles and the library, I have a ton of reading material to get through! I prefer physical books by far. Audio books take longer to listen to than I read, and I absolutely detest reading on an e-reader. It takes me longer and I don’t retain as much.

    I re-read favorite books when I was a kid (the Little House books and the entire Black Stallion series, along with A Wrinkle in Time and a few others).

  29. Gustopher says:

    @Mimai: I read on kindle, because I need to be able to adjust font sizes because I am old, and I’m disappointed that a lot of the books I enjoyed in my youth are just not available.

    I think there are a lot of books that you will get different things out of at different phases of life. And it’s fun to revisit old friends. Unless you find out that they are really sexist or something. (Kundera, cough, cough)

    I also “read” on audible, but that’s mostly skimming. I keep that to nonfiction for the most part, so if I miss a chunk it’s no big deal, and then listen a few times and get all of it… it’s like reading a book entirely out of order.

    That reminds me of one of my favorite books when I was young (post college young), Milorad Pavic’s Landscape Painted With Tea that invites you to read it either chronologically, or per character pov. Alas, not on kindle last I checked.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: I’ve traditionally been a non-rereader. The one gift that Reynolds’ magical sky daddy gave me beyond the ability to live comfortably inside my own head was good retention. I normally haven’t reread because when I did start rereading, the information would come back in a flood so that trying to reread became an exercise in frustration and pointless repetition, for me anyway.

    I do watch the same TV shows more than once–but not often–and I listen to recorded music repeatedly–but these behaviors have to do with free-time entertainment. In my world, whatever is convenient at any given time is adequate for the need.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Franklin: I don’t go to live music events because there is so little of it where I live and find concert hall/arena-type events to have prohibitive ticket prices. I find that I lived in the golden age of live music when I was young.

  32. Slugger says:

    I like rereading. My perspective has changed, and I have a different view as a sixty year old than as a twenty year old. Thus it is not the same book. I read Huckleberry Finn as a twelve year old and thought it was a great adventure floating down the Mississippi. When I read it at age twenty, I thought it was very funny; Twain’s cynicism about humanity was very amusing. At age 65, I saw it as a grand story of liberation. You have to defy the conventions of your world to be liberated. Lolita is another book I’ve read profitably three times over several decades.
    Life’s lessons have changed me. A great book says something different at different points of my life. Obviously, a lot of books are not worth rereading, but the great ones are.

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    WGN TV is reporting that Rosalynn Carter has died at 96.
    May she rest in peace.

  34. Mimai says:

    First of all, damn, that is a helluva heartbreak and redemption(?) story.

    Second, I appreciate your description of finding KL. Or him finding you? These viewquake moments are important to hang on to. And revisit from time to time.

    Third, I did not expect a PM Dawn reference from you. Or anyone around these parts. Wow does that take me back. When I first heard “I’d Die Without You” I vowed to learn that piano part. And I did. And I can still play it.

    Which brings me to your question. I play guitar and tenor banjo mostly. I can keep tempo on a cajon if need be. In a former life I played a pretty good trombone. I had thought those days were long gone. But I recently learned that the principal trombonist of my city’s symphony lives in my hood. I’ve half a mind to ask him for some lessons.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: I would agree with you about the movie except that I’ve never seen a movie with John Cena in it where the entertainment factor didn’t come from how terrible the movie was. Ultimately, I really didn’t care for Who Killed Roger Rabbit beyond the novelty, and the novelty has worn off.

  36. The Q says:

    ….an NBC News poll released Sunday showed that in a hypothetical matchup between Biden and Trump, the likely Republican nominee, 46% of voters ages 18 to 34 supported Trump, and 42% Biden. The poll found that Biden’s approval rating fell to 31% among voters ages 18 to 34, and 70% of those younger voters disapproved of the president’s handling of the war in the Middle East…..

    I believe there are some who defend the youth vote here against the crotchety old boomers and cite their big turnout in 2020 which belie the myth that younger voters don’t turn out enough.

    After viewing these poll results, let’s hope they stay home like previous elections prior to 2020.

    With “friends” like these, who needs enemies.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: The thing you’re describing is a dishonest practice in my opinion. The other trick involved in the US is to make getting the rebate complicated enough to apply for that you’re discouraged from applying for it after the purchase. Both are legal here. I solve the problem by not buying things that have rebates attached to the purchase unless the transaction takes place in real time–i.e. the rebate is reflected in an immediate price reduction.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill Jempty: My last sleep study resulted in a face mask change for me. It was a really effective change. And the technology of the masks is better than it was 20 years ago, too!

  39. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..rebate

    The only rebates that I have received in the last several years have been for the tires that I have purchased at the same Ford dealer where I bought my new 2013 Fusion. If I recall the rebates have averaged about $80 when I buy four tires. This almost covers the road hazard coverage that I always buy for the rubber. The dealer fills out and submits all the required digital forms and it only takes about a week or ten days and I get a Visa card that is almost always spent on gasoline.

  40. JohnSF says:


    Swedish dock workers refuse to unload Xlon’x Texlas

    This warms the cockles of my Old Labour, trade union loving, heart.
    Scandinavians tend to be stubborn once aggravated enough.
    All the world ain’t America, Elmo.

  41. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:..AARRGH!

    Once again my attempt at proofreading has failed me!
    covers….coverage… in the same sentence!!..only three words apart!!!
    By the time I saw the blooper after multiple reviews there were only 17 seconds left on the fixit clock.
    I still think that the EDIT function should be extended to the end of the day.

  42. JohnSF says:

    I re-read quite a lot. Though it depends on the work.
    Poetry can always be re-read repeatedly.
    Or the plays of Shakespeare, for instance.
    Some fiction, if it has sufficient depth to it.
    And non-fiction can often be returned to profitably.
    Currently re-reading J. S. McClelland’s History of Western Political Thought (which I recommend to everyone).
    OTOH, every re-reading means you are not doing a new reading.
    Swings and roundabouts.
    Just as with music; I can listen to some things over and over (Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Miles Davis, Rachmaninov, Duke Ellington, Dead Can Dance etc) and continue to be enthralled by them.

  43. al Ameda says:


    Triangle? Saw? Glockenspiel? Throat singing?

    The glockenspiel …
    Back in 1967 Jimi Hendrix played a glockenspiel for the intro of his recorded song ‘Little Wing.’
    It’s very beautiful poetry and music.
    Jimi had a very interesting style of singing. So expressive.

  44. Gustopher says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    I’m home from another sleep study again. Now I’ll get some sleep.

    Breaking into someone’s home and standing at the foot of their bed all night staring at them in the darkness and listening to their breathing is not what is typically referred to as a “sleep study.”

  45. Mimai says:

    Poetry! You are quite right that this is something to be read and re-read. I failed miserably to mention this in my original comment.

    Indeed, I’m currently re-reading Japanese Death Poems. And, as usual, I’m finding new gems and insights. Or rather, old gems and insights that I am newly receptive to.

  46. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The thing you’re describing is a dishonest practice in my opinion.

    Ergo my use of the word “scam.”

    As to the mechanics of the rebate, it’s deducted from the bill at checkout. That much is honest. This store rund such rebates, or store credit in their rewards card, regularly. Today I also got a little rebate for cereal and hand sanitizer.

  47. Kurtz says:


    The next one is the one that got away. Incidentally, I met her shortly before that. And got her number shortly after.

  48. Mimai says:
  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: “Covers the road hazard coverage” made perfect sense to me because I don’t buy additional road hazard insurance for my tires. At least I don’t recall ever having gotten any bills for $80 related to my tires after purchase.

  50. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..where the rubber meets the road…

    I suspect that you are a more competent driver than me or the streets are in better shape where you travel or maybe both. Since I bought the last set of four tires I have had to replace two as they were damaged beyond repair by potholes. No doubt covered with invisible paint by the Roadrunner because I sure didn’t see them. All that I had to pay was $26/tire to cover road hazard for the new ones instead of $125+ each for two new tires. Not to mention free repair the several times nails and screws caused punctures.

  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: It’s very generous of you to think that I may be a more competent driver. 😉
    ETA: In reality, I just don’t usually buy service contract type things.

  52. Kurtz says:


    I stocked up like it was the Today Sponge.

    But thanks for the tip.

  53. Kathy says:

    I stumbled on this Youtube channel. The gist of most videos is the guy offscreen demonstrates three experiments, and you have to guess which one is fake.

    Usually one will be fake. But now and then it may be none or all.

    It’s not easy. He doesn’t much go for outright impossibilities, and every one is demonstrated on video. Of course, the fake ones are, well, faked. Some with the simple expedient of running the video backward, others by sleight of hand, others with video editing and effects, etc.

    Sometimes it’s hard to say for sure. For instance, burying an egg in salt does X. Well, who knows? Soaking an egg in vinegar does have an effect on the shell, so maybe burying it in slat does as well?

  54. Kathy says:

    I expected better news from Argentina.

    I’m about to say something terrible:

    I hope the little Benito goes in hard and fast with his crazed policies, just so the disaster will be so great people the world over may think twice before going in for far right, billionaire friendly authoritarians.

    Of course, this will be awful for the people of Argentina, which is why it was a terrible thing fro me to say.

  55. DrDaveT says:


    Who does/not re-read books.

    I re-read many books, but not all. I don’t tend to re-read nonfiction. I don’t tend to re-read cathartic, traumatic fiction. I have a stable of “comfort books” that I re-read occasionally, and go back to particular passages of frequently. There are books that I’ve read more than a dozen times.

    I am more likely to re-read books whose appeal is driven in part by the author’s use of language and/or particularly engaging characters. I am less likely to re-read books whose appeal depends on a clever plot twist or shocking reveal. There are exceptions, though — I can think of one book that not only involves a startling plot twist late in the book, but where that made reading the book a second time even more entertaining than the first time, as I spotted all of the foreshadowing that I’d missed the first time. Sort of like a famous movie that I won’t name for fear of spoiling it for the 2 people on earth who haven’t seen it yet. Similarly, there are a couple of SF series that start out looking like fantasy and turn out to be science fiction — I enjoy re-reading those as well.

  56. DrDaveT says:


    Poetry! You are quite right that this is something to be read and re-read. I failed miserably to mention this in my original comment.

    …and I likewise failed to mention it. Yes, I go back to my favorite poets and poems repeatedly, though not frequently.

  57. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Yeah, but like the dancing/bike riding bear, the wonder isn’t in how well he does, but in the fact that he doesn’t fall flat on his snout…

    ETA this is why I watch schlock on free TV.