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:

    Television producer Marty Kroft has passed away. He was 86. Among the programming Kroft was involved with were H.R. Pufnstuf and Donnie and Marie. I watched the latter sometimes but don’t remember the first at all. RIP

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US-Canada border explosion may have been a medical or mechanical episode, cops say

    My theory? Having had a few drinks while losing too much money at the roulette table, he got into an argument with his wife and decided to show her who was boss by driving their Bentley at over 100 mph on unfamiliar streets. I’ve seen too may guys do exactly that when their GFs/wives just won’t “STFU.”

  3. gVOR10 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Pure speculation at this point, but it smells like the “unintended acceleration” that Audi famously suffered back in the 80s. When the dust settled that was mostly a driver putting a foot on the throttle thinking it was the brakes. Then when the car doesn’t slow down, pushing harder.

    There isn’t much detail on the Bentley, but a Flying Spur is a beast. They weigh over 5,000 pounds. That’s Chevy Suburban kind of weight. To make up for that, and assuming their buyers are indifferent to fuel cost, they put over 500 horsepower into them. So if you stomp hard, on the wrong pedal, it could get away from an unskilled driver very quickly.

    Also too, they were reportedly going from a casino to a KISS concert so it’s easy to suspect alcohol.

  4. Bill Jempty says:

    Another person passing away is Willie Hernandez he was Major League Baseball’s American League Most Valuable player in 1984. Willie, who also played under the name of Guillermo, was one of baseball’s most unlikely MVPs along with Ken Caminiti, Terry Pendleton, Jim Konstanty, and Zoilo Versalles. RIP

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A good read: ‘I had my chance to die – but I made my choice’: meet the young Ukrainian soldier fighting for amputee visibility

    Melnyk used the last of his strength to crawl off the road through a fence, and into someone’s garden shed. And then, “while I was thinking what to do, the adrenaline wore off and I lost consciousness”.

    He lay there, between life and death, in the sub-zero chill of Ukraine’s bleak winter, for two days. At one point he dragged himself towards a well in the yard and fainted, out there in the cold: he woke up to find a curious alsatian licking him, and managed to manoeuvre himself back under the meagre cover of the shed. He began hallucinating. “I thought I was in hospital surrounded by friends, asking for water,” he says.

    Eventually, Russian soldiers found him. He asked them to shoot him. When they refused, he asked them for water. When they refused this, too, he remembers asking: “What kind of people are you, if you won’t shoot me and you won’t give me water?” They took his equipment – flak jacket, ballistic goggles. Eventually, they did give him water and a mattress, but they left him to take his chances in the cold. “When I asked them why they had started the war, they said: ‘Because you are raping women and eating children.’”

    The next day, he was told a car was coming that would take him to Belarus – if he survived that long, they said. By the evening, Melnyk was in very bad way: as well as having lost a lot of blood, he was feverish, and frostbitten. The Russians offered to give him a big shot of adrenaline: a quick and painless way out, they said.

    Melnyk took the offer seriously. Knowing that a man about to die can usually scrounge a cigarette, he asked for one: a play for time. By the time the cigarette had burned down, he had decided to play his hand, meagre as it seemed. “I thought, ‘I’ve already been through so much: let’s just see how it goes.’”

  6. Kathy says:


    Remember that when Adolph brings up the Rainbow Bridge Bombing in his campaign. It was the worst terrorist attack on America since the Bowling Green Massacre. Manypeoplesaythat.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR10: Everything is speculation at this point. My theory is just the first thing that popped into my head. Like I said, I’ve seen it happen too many times before. He doesn’t even have to have been drunk. A couple of drinks is more than enough to reduce his inhibitions.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:
  9. Kathy says:

    I just finished The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War by Fred Kaplan.

    It’s pretty good. It details what all the presidents since Eisenhower did or try to do regarding nuclear weapons. The numbers to be built and deployed, how they would be used, what to do about proliferation, etc. Pretty much it goes chronologically by administration, with some references now and then to earlier ones.

    It ends with Adolph trump’s so-called administration. Much of what Kaplan says about it was in the news and I recalled it well enough. But there was one thing I either didn’t recall or that didn’t make the news.

    Shortly after being briefed on the matter, Adolph wanted to know why he couldn’t have the 30+ thousand nukes that Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and others had. The situation was explained to him, including commitments under arms reduction and control treaties, plus the uses of the types of weapons (many of the weapons cut were low-yield tactical battlefield nukes that were of limited use).

    Apparently Adolph understood this. But later he would ask again why he couldn’t have over 30 thousand nukes. Again things were explained, and again he seemed to understand. And you can guess that again he’d complain about having so few nukes compared to Kennedy.

    Kaplan claims Tillerson’s one famous quotation came in the first such meeting. I can see how it would move Rex to call Adolph “a f*****ng moron.”

    Alas, the book is about politics and policies. It never touches on the technical aspects of nukes beyond occasional figures on yield, and the number of warheads per missile. So there’s no mention of the stable genius idea of nuking hurricanes.

  10. Bill Jempty says:


    Alas, the book is about politics and policies. It never touches on the technical aspects of nukes beyond occasional figures on yield, and the number of warheads per missile.

    And if I was their reader, I’d appreciate that. Around 20 years ago I read Henry Kissinger’s three-volume White House memoirs and the chapters on arms control were both too often incomprehensible plus sleep inducing.

  11. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Around 20 years ago I read Henry Kissinger’s three-volume White House memoirs

    Your stomach is much stronger than mine, sir. Much stronger.

  12. Mister Bluster says:

    American girl, 4, freed as Hamas hands over more Israeli, Thai hostages
    JERUSALEM, Nov 26 (Reuters) – A four-year-old American girl held by Hamas in Gaza was released on Sunday, President Joe Biden said, as the militant group said it had handed over 13 Israeli hostages, three Thais and one with Russian citizenship on the third day of a truce with Israel.

  13. Bill Jempty says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Your stomach is much stronger than mine, sir. Much stronger.

    I have also read books by Schultz, Brezinski, Baker, and Haig on their time at the WH or at the State Department. Schultz’s book I read recently, the other three 30-40 years ago. I have also recently read biographies of George Kennan and Dean Acheson.

    I have Madeline Albright’s book on my kindle, just haven’t read it yet.

  14. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Recommend Ms Albright ‘s book. Read some of the others, but ages ago.

  15. Thomm says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: isn’t that also the set up (kinda) for Adam Sandler’s The Longest Yard?

  16. Thomm says:

    @gVOR10: Really, with Bentleys and others in their class, it is more the wallop of torque 660 lb/ft) and the inherent smoothness of the engine that can catch you out. For comparison the 6.2 l engine in a Escalade has 460 lb/ft. I have driven a Mercedes sl65 with about 730 lb/ft and it feels like the hand of God scooping you up and moving you down the road.

  17. JohnSF says:

    @Bill Jempty:
    Ever read The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made ?
    IMO one of the most interesting books re. post-WW2.

    Also Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World by James Chase, and Acheson own autobiography Present at the Creation

    Next on my to purchase list is O’Brien’s The Second Most Powerful Man in the World: The Life of Admiral William D. Leahy

  18. JohnSF says:

    I’ve been in a Bentley Mulsanne driven by a guy who knew how to drive (former semi-pro touring cars) and myself driven a Range Rover Sport, which is in a similar mass/power category.
    The essential thing is that you really need to be aware of the physical limits of tyre adhesion.
    “If in rain, or in doubt, slow in, fast out.”
    Also: never be still on the brakes when you go into the turn.
    Also: four wheel drive may dive greater traction; it does little regarding adhesion.
    Lost count of the how many of RWD BMW’s/Mercs/Jags and of big 4×4 I’ve seen investigating the ditch or the hedge on snowy mornings on a slightly deceptive curve on my route to work.

    Hence my enduring preference for smaller, lighter-weight cars; albeit with somewhat high power-to weight. 🙂

  19. Matt says:

    @Thomm: Torque is what you feel in your butt when you stomp the go pedal. 😛

  20. Beth says:


    In the 90’s, my ostentatious butthole father ended up getting two used Mercedes S 500s*. This would have been about 1996-98, I was roughly 18. We** used to take that beast of a car down to Archer Ave. and race smaller, lighter sports cars. It was hilarious every time. Both drivers would stomp on the gas and the other car would take off. That Mercedes would just sit there for a good 5 or so seconds. Then you’d get the Star Wars hyperspace effect. We’d blow past the sports car about 2 blocks later going 90. We’d laugh at the dumb look on the other driver’s face as that tank just blew their doors off.

    It’s amazing that no one ever died or got any tickets.


    I want another MINI Cooper so bad. I think that was my favorite car I ever owned.

    *I think they were both S 500s. Or at least something similar. Big, heavy black sedans with German ass punishment seats.

    ** me and two friends who didn’t understand I’m suicidal and cars are probably my, ahem, implement of choice.

  21. JohnSF says:

    Like a Mulsanne, a Merc AMG 500 or such is hilarious, so long as (and this is the crucial bit) you are going in a straight line on a dry surface.
    Once that ceases to be the case, a Mini Cooper S, or better yet a JC Works version is going to win.
    Or a 911 (or similar), if driven by someone who knows what they are doing.
    Lower mass, baby. Lower mass. Plus power.

    The case is often that powerful RWD and AWD cars are actually driven mostly by “executives” who somehow believe that being a senior regional marketing manager automatically makes them a superb driver, or that being a solicitor-partner requires the laws of physics to defer to ones ego.
    Works until it doesn’t.

  22. MarkedMan says:


    four wheel drive may dive greater traction; it does little regarding adhesion

    When I moved out of the snowbelt farther south, I saw a lot of SUVs, many more than I saw in the snowbelt at that time, anyway. Every once in a while, we get snow and people drove like freaking idiots. I realized that they all thought that the four-wheel-drive gave them better snow handling, but of course that’s only true at low speed or from a dead stop. I used to try to explain to people that every car has always had four wheel braking so four-wheel-drive makes zero difference during braking. On top of that they would put these big huge tires on that maximize surface area, and therefore minimize adhesion.

  23. JohnSF says:

    It’s bit of a UK car trade inside joke, about how Saab and Volvo stuck with FWD, not 4×4, until the Brit market demanded 4wD in the 1990’s (because Audi…).
    Obvs. British winters were so much more severe than those in Scandiland *eyeroll*
    FWD and winter tyres win over 4×4 every time.
    Also, not driving like a berk.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Back when I lived near Woodinville, WA, (at the top of what was called, IIRC, Finn Hill), it was always entertaining to go out the day after the snowstorm to inventory all the SUVs and 4WD pickups that were still waiting for the tow trucks to arrive to pull them out of the culverts. Good times.

  25. Beth says:


    I’ve lost a lot of details to the vagaries of my brain, but I don’t think they were the AMG versions. Weren’t those like the fancy fancy versions? These were like standard stock 500s. My dad made a lot of money in the 90’s and he spent every last dime and then some. He had stupid leases on both of them. Who needs two of them? Hell, we only have one car now. A boring ass fleet Camry.

    Archer Ave. is a mostly straight street in Chicago. It’s one of the few diagonals in the city. We’re told those follow important Native American trails. Who knows. However, I did take the northern part of the Lake Shore drive S curve at 80mph. No idea how we didn’t turn the tank into a submarine. Somehow it managed to make two almost right turns instantly. It was equal parts stupid and hilarious. That curve is just littered with scrapes, broken barriers and car parts.

  26. Beth says:


    So, doing a little bit of digging about these Mercedes my dad had it looks like the MSRP was approximately 90k new. These cars were LUXURY, but I don’t remember being blown away by the tech. I don’t remember if they even had cd players.

    While I was doing that a commercial came on for new EV Porsches. MSRP 90k.

    Thought that was both timely and wild.

  27. Kathy says:

    My first car was a 79 Chevy Malibu with an effing big 8 cylinder engine. I don’t know the stats, torque, etc., but it accelerated quickly and could go really fast.

    Being young and stupid and convinced nothing bad would ever happen to me (but I repeat myself), I drove it fast even when I shouldn’t have. One time, without meaning to, I got it to 150 kph on a very straight, very flat street.

  28. Scott O says:

    @JohnSF: “ The essential thing is that you really need to be aware of the physical limits of tyre adhesion”

    Oh ye of little faith.

  29. Franklin says:

    @Bill Jempty: As a 12yo Tigers fan in 1984, I remember. He had an amazing season, of course helping them to the World Series championship.