Sunday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open 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

Comments

  1. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Wa! 3:50 PDT and I just finished replying to a late comment from Dr. Joyner to one of my comments yesterday. I guess I shouldn’t have taken a nap after I got back from having coffee and a croissant (pistachio, not chocolate) yesterday morning. Fortunately, Luddite and I are going out to breakfast after the sun comes up, and I’ll be able to take another nap after church to make sure my circadian rhythm stays out of whack.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:
  3. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Donald Trump’s cheatin’ heart–this time involving taxes–threatens to continue to make him weep.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump may face an IRS bill in excess of $100 million after a government audit indicates he double-dipped on tax losses tied to a Chicago skyscraper, according to a report by The New York Times and ProPublica that drew on a yearslong audit and public filings.

    The report’s findings could put renewed focus on Trump’s business career as the presumptive Republican nominee tries to regain the White House after losing in 2020.

    It’s so sad. He just can’t get a break at all. 🙁

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  4. Kathy says:

    In reply to @DrDaveT

    You might also remind them that “there is no repeat business from customers who get cheated.”

    While I didn’t tell them that, it was my first thought. I did need some other things from the store that time, and I was so mad I drove elsewhere instead.

    But I have an entirely transactional relationship with most forms of commerce. There are a few things at Walmart not sold in other supermarkets, and some things they sell much more cheaply. And it’s not as a huge conglomerate will ever notice the loss of one customer who doesn’t shop there often anyway.

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  5. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Thomas said that it is one of the reasons he and his wife enjoy traveling in their recreational vehicle.

    They left out the part about the vehicle having been purchased by a third party who sometimes has business with the place he works. Maybe the problem isn’t DC.

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  6. Scott says:

    Our corrupt, lying, adulterating, Christian Nationalist, Attorney General says what?

    Ken Paxton Mistakes Catholic Teachings for “Bohemian Commandments”

    It’s Ken Paxton versus Catholics, round two. Back in February, the Texas attorney general targeted the migrant shelter Annunciation House, in El Paso, on his stated suspicions of “alien harboring” and “operating a stash house.”

    Instead of waiting for a final ruling on the document request, the attorney general filed for an injunction Wednesday, asking that Annunciation House be forced to cease operations. In the filing, Paxton disputes the organization’s religious-freedom claim because, among other reasons, the organization hasn’t offered mass as frequently as he believes it should (Annunciation House offers mass only when a priest is available) and because staff members and volunteers make no efforts to “evangelize or convert its guests to Catholicism.”
    ….

    Paxton’s injunction filing is riddled with misinterpretations—oblivious or intentional, who’s to say?—of the stated religious beliefs and practices of a quarter of Texans, including the governor. Take, for example, the attorney general’s further attempt to debunk Annunciation House’s free exercise claim: “Annunciation House’s members appear to subscribe to a more Bohemian set of ‘seven commandments,’ including commandments to ‘visit’ people when ‘incarcerated’ and ‘care [for them] when they’re sick.’ ”

    I wonder what Jesus would say?

    Paxton’s injunction, then, takes issue with the commands of Jesus and Pope Francis, notorious hippies. Chapter 25 of Matthew offers Jesus’s answer to how believers will be judged at the second coming—a passage with which the Southern Baptist attorney general may be familiar. It reads that the inheritors of the kingdom will be those who exhibited these behaviors: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”

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  7. Senyordave says:

    Trump at his rally:
    No Silence of the Lambs. Has anyone ever seen The Silence of the Lambs?” Trump said. “The late, great Hannibal Lecter is a wonderful man. He often times would have a friend for dinner. Remember the last scene? ‘Excuse me. I’m about to have a friend for dinner,’ as this poor doctor walked by. ‘I’m about to have a friend for dinner.’ But Hannibal Lecter. Congratulations. The late, great Hannibal Lecter,” he said, apparently rooting for the villain played by Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 film.

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    Trump used the Hannibal Lecter riff to compare undocumented immigrants to cannibals, saying “they’re destroying our country.”

    Later on, Trump did his usual schtick about windmills “killing all the birds,” while also doubling down on a previous false claim that offshore ones are killing whales.
    Well, I can certainly see why someone attending the rally would hear this and think “here’s a guy I want as president of the United States.”

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  8. wr says:

    Saddened to read of the death of Roger Corman. Granted, it can hardly be called a tragedy when a man dies at 98 after living a long and spectacularly fulfilling life, with a marriage that lasted more than half a century and a legacy of helping to start the careers of some of the film industry’s most important players. And I’ve heard rumors that there was dementia at the end. But still…

    I only worked for Roger once, writing a sitcom pilot based on “Little Shop of Horrors,” and it was one of my favorite experiences in the biz. He was a complete gentleman, cultured, funny and astonishingly self-aware. He gave me a tour of his little studio in Venice and described the plot of the erotic thriller they were shooting. I said I thought I’d just seen that on Cinemax. “Oh, yes,” he said, “we’ve made that one three or four times now. I expect will make it three more.”

    Later on the same tour he looked around at the incredibly young and energetic crew and remarked “I have this constant fear that someday we’ll run out of film students to exploit. Fortunately they seem to be an inexhaustible resource.”

    Corman had a reputation for being cheap, but that only reflected the budgets he chose to work with. He didn’t pay a lot — I was on a WGA deal, so I was fine — but he paid every penny he agreed to and he always paid on time. There aren’t a lot of companies in the entertainment industry you could say the same about…

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  9. Kylopod says:

    @wr: I am among those who think the original 1960 Little Shop of Horrors, despite its shoestring budget and dated quality, is a funnier comedy than the 1986 version (which is not to say the latter is bad or unfunny by any means)–and I think part of the reason is that it’s darker and more mean-spirited (in a good way).

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  10. Mimai says:

    There’s been a lot of angst around university graduation ceremonies this year.

    I attended mine recently and hooded two new PhD graduates. [super proud mentor emoji]

    The ceremony was long, as per usual, and it was awesome. I don’t get inspired by much — it’s just not my makeup. And hot damn, I was Inspired.

    Graduates beam as they walk, dance, roll/motor across the stage. Some wear doodads (TM) on their caps. All manner of cords and adornments around their necks. Others are low-key.

    Parents, families, and friends celebrate in all the ways. Hoots and hollers to quiet tears. Percussive sounds, including a cow bell (it’s true and it was great) to golf claps to single hand claps. Smartphones united everyone.

    So many graduating faces expressing disbelief, gratitude, hope, and/or optimism. These are not naïve, unsophisticated simpletons. Well, given the numbers, there were certain to be a few. However, on the whole, these are smart, gritty, earnest young people who intend to do good. I think they will.

    We even had a kick-ass speaker who delivered a fantastic message in a style that I found very agreeable. And he was a former graduate of my department.

    If you want a free dose of Inspiration, refilled every year, attend a graduation ceremony.* If not the ceremony itself, take a stroll/roll/motor/sit around a campus during graduation season and observe.

    *Marathon finishing lines can offer similar doses of vitamin I. And can be refilled more frequently.

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  11. JKB says:

    Biden admin issues report to shore up their support among the Hamas-aligned, but wait, even the UN is starting to stop being a Hamas Government Media Office parrot

    Foundation for Defense of Democracies in this Flash Brief:

    The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revised its child fatality figure from the Gaza war sharply downward, reporting more than 14,500 deaths on May 6 but then 7,797 on May 8. OCHA also revised downward its figure for women fatalities from more than 9,500 deaths to 4,959 deaths. The Jerusalem Post first reported the changes on May 11.

    The UN attributed its original, higher figures to the Hamas-controlled Government Media Office (GMO) in Gaza, whose figures OCHA has cited continually for the past two months. The UN gave no source for the lower figures in its May 8 update, but the figures precisely match those in a May 2 report from a different Hamas-controlled organization, the Gaza Ministry of Health.

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  12. becca says:

    Finally not getting bad request page. Ergh

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  13. Kathy says:

    @becca:

    That happens to me here often when I go back and forth a lot, say following comments on many different posts, or when looking for something in past issues. The remedy is to close the browser and restart it.

    If it happens right off the bat, try a VPN. This, too, worked for me a few times. The Opera browser has a free inbuilt VPN. I think Edge does now as well.

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  14. Kathy says:

    Not exactly music for the weekend, but an answer to the age old question: Can an orchestra play without a conductor?

    Spoiler alert: yes, but not really.

    Disclaimer: the video is made by an orchestra conductor.

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  15. gVOR10 says:

    I need to correct a statement I’ve made here a few times. I’ve said every Republican president since WWII has seen the start of a recession. Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._economic_performance_by_presidential_party?wprov=sfti1# it actually goes back to Benjamin Harrison in the 1890s.

    The economy really has consistently done better under D prezes than under Rs. The prez has little direct effect on the economy, especially short term and I’ve seen economists, including Dr. K note the correlation and express puzzlement at the reasons, correlation/causation and all that. But the pattern has persisted long enough and strong enough to beg coincidence. Economists look for macroeconomic causes. My best guess is: A) GOPs are good for specific businesses, which isn’t the same as good for business. B) there’s a reduced tendency to do bigly stupid non-economic stuff, like start wars or screw up a pandemic response. And C) small ball stuff; support for unions, slightly less influence by business lobbyists, a bit greater support for financial enforcement, and such.

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  16. mattbernius says:

    I’m in Memphis again to start the wrap-up of a community research project I’ve been working on for over a year. Since I’m here for longer than usual, I finally was able to carve out the time to go to the National Civil Rights Museum. It took me about 3 hours to get through and I feel like I could have spent at least another hour.

    One thing that came through was a reminder of how the civil rights movement was seen at the time–especially in light of the protests over Gaza. I know there has been and continues to be a strong “they’re not doing it right” framing. It’s pretty clear that was the same framing applied to Dr King and the broader civil rights movement (which again was greater than that great man).

    For example, there were times that King and his followers protested without permits–and they were arrested for it. If you watch footage of the arrests, they look very similiar to what we saw at times. There were multiple sit-in protests that took over internal spaces (and led to similar arrests).

    Also, contrary to some of the representation of things like the Bus Boycott being legal, the organizers were in fact indicted with multiple crimes for “disrupting commerce.”

    And at the end of King’s life, and immediately following his assassination, the movement had been moving to protests encampments–including ones that had to be cleared by the police that summer from the National Mall in DC.

    There was also fragmentation within civil rights movement about how confrontational people should be. King was seen by many (including in the lead up to the 1964 Democratic National Convention) as being too much of a compromiser.

    This isn’t meant to be a “Gaza Protesters are Right” thread–more a reminder that the patina of history often leads us to miss key details of the past that provide important context for thinking about current events.

    Aside: Also, it’s again a stark reminder that for how bad things can feel right now with resistance from certain states to federal orders, it was a LOT worse in the 50’s and 60’s. I think that’s a good thing… or it just means things could also get a lot worse before they get better.

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  17. Mimai says:

    @Kathy:

    I haven’t watched the video, so I don’t know if she addressed this. To me, the question is less “can they play without a conductor?” and more “what would be lost if they played without a conductor?”

    I attend the symphony quite often (my partner is in the biz). Was just there last night in fact. Our conductor is very charismatic — most are. The crowd loves our conductor. Loves loves loves. Personality + physicality + theatrics that amplify the audience experience. And the music.

    Our concertmaster could certainly execute the necessary components of the role. But the experience wouldn’t be nearly so grand or fun or stimulating. Long live the conductor!

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  18. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    And I have to admit that fried grits, eggs over medium, bacon and biscuits were certainly worth the drive and walk. Thanks for the heads up on our new breaky hole, Cracker!

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  19. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Kylopod: My brother and I saw the original LSoH when we were kids as part of a double feature. It was the second movie and we liked it so much we were laughing about it all the way home on the bus. We thought the name Gravis Mushnik was the funniest name ever and tormented our mother by yelling “Feed me, feeeed meee!”

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  20. dazedandconfused says:

    Does anybody’s bingo card have “Global monkey torture network”?

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  21. Stormy Dragon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I kind of want to boo Target now when they inevitably show up at Pride even after this announcement, but I’m internally conflicted

    On one hand, it’s unfair to the individual queer employees, since they don’t have control over the corporation and the people who are responsible aren’t going to care

    On the other hand, fuck cowardly pink-washing corporations

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  22. Gustopher says:

    @dazedandconfused: “chat groups for monkey torture enthusiasts” is quite the phrase.

    The photo of the ringleader with the confederate flag and the Trump flag is kind of expected though. Probably dreams of escalating up to Black folks, because he certainly looks “economically anxious”.

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  23. al Ameda says:

    @Mimai:
    Congratulations!

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  24. Kathy says:

    @Mimai:

    She explains what the conductor does, how it can be done without a conductor, and what the consequences may be.

    At that, smaller ensembles regularly play without a conductor, like a chamber music ensemble.

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  25. Kathy says:

    It seems Capt. Petter Hörnfeldt at Mentour Now has finished his short series (3 videos) on Boeing’s fall from grace.

    It’s a far longer road than just developing the MAX.

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  26. Gustopher says:

    @Mimai: congratulations!

    If you want a free dose of Inspiration, refilled every year, attend a graduation ceremony.*

    Or watch videos of one where every name is horribly butchered in ways you didn’t think were possible!

    https://youtu.be/Cb4G03GVhg8?si=byTJoI6soRxg7osI

    The claim is that the announcer was only given the names spelled phonetically. Possibly in Klingon?

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  27. Mimai says:

    @al Ameda: Thanks, I appreciate it.

    @Gustopher: Thanks to you too. That video is painful. Funny you sent it because the Ass. Dean* who read the names for the ceremony I mentioned is a friend and colleague. She did incredibly well, especially given the circumstances. I texted her after and said that she deserved hardship pay — for being on stage so long, having to speak for so long, and carrying the weight of pronunciation for science graduates.

    *Term of endearment to some, of derision to others.

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  28. Kathy says:

    Speaking of graduations, I’ve found an interesting factoid I was completely ignorant of.

    The music played at many graduation ceremonies is Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance march No. 1. What I didn’t know, is that the piece is also the basis of a coronation ode for King Edward VII, with added choral section, and that this version is a patriotic song in the UK, also known as Land of Hope and Glory.

    I found it odd to watch a performance of what many, myself included, think of as Generic Graduation Theme, to a hall packed with Britons waving the Union Jack.

    To top it off, there’s a version used in Disney’s Fantasia 2000, starring Donald Duck.

    So, a coronation ode, a patriotic song, graduation music, and a schmaltzy story about cartoon ducks.

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  29. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: Over the years, the conductors I’ve played with used Elgar most, but also Fanfare for the Common Man, and a piece called Procession of the Nobles. I think it’s from an opera called Milada, but it’s obscure at best. Nice change though.

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  30. DrDaveT says:

    @Mimai:

    I attended mine recently and hooded two new PhD graduates. [super proud mentor emoji]

    You go you! Bask in it. That is SUCH a great feeling…

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  31. DrDaveT says:

    @mattbernius:

    I know there has been and continues to be a strong “they’re not doing it right” framing.

    If you’re not familiar with it, I highly recommend the protest song “It Isn’t Nice”. I’m most familiar with the Judy Collins version (ah, sweet Judy Blue-Eyes) but I’m sure there are others.

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  32. DrDaveT says:

    @Mimai:

    Our concertmaster could certainly execute the necessary components of the role. But the experience wouldn’t be nearly so grand or fun or stimulating.

    Also, a lot of the conductor’s influence happens before the day of performance. Tempi, dynamics, articulation choices, sometimes even snipping sections of the score… The actual performance is baked in long before the performance, and the conductor is mostly waving his hands as reminders and to keep everyone entering and exiting in sync.

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  33. DrDaveT says:

    @just nutha:

    and a piece called Procession of the Nobles.

    Rimsky-Korsakoff. I believe that was the title theme for the political talking-heads show Agronsky and Company

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  34. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Many of the great composers also conducted orchestras. Bach is said to have tuned most instruments himself.

    Then, too, it’s worth remembering the performance one sees comes after much rehearsal. It’s easy to see how the conductor can craft how the orchestra will play for the public. I mean, it’s not as if the musicians and conductor just show up at a venue and start playing. And this is a rather common state of affairs in endeavours that involve large numbers of people. In team sports, for example, most coaching is done during practice.

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