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. charontwo says:

    It looks like Elon’s big plan is to turn Twitter into Porn Central:


    Balloon Juice

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Missouri woman who was imprisoned for more than 40 years for murder has had her conviction overturned after a judge found “clear and convincing” evidence that she was innocent of the killing in question.

    Sandra “Sandy” Hemme, 63, was convicted of – and sentenced to life imprisonment for – the 1980 slaying of Patricia Jeschke, a library worker in St Joseph, Missouri, after Hemme made statements to the police incriminating herself while she was a psychiatric patient.

    On Friday, Livingston county circuit judge Ryan Horsman ruled that “evidence directly” ties the killing of Jeschke to a local police officer who later went to prison for another crime and has since died.
    Hemme, then 20, was receiving treatment for auditory hallucinations, de-realization and drug use when she was targeted by the police, her attorneys said. She had spent most of her life, beginning from the age of 12, in inpatient psychiatric treatment.

    Over a series of hours-long interviews, Hemme gave conflicting statements about the murder while being treated with antipsychotic drugs, her attorneys said. “At some points, she was so heavily medicated that she was unable to even hold her head up and was restrained and strapped to a chair,” they wrote. Detectives noted that Hemme seemed “mentally confused” and not able to fully comprehend their questions. Steven Fueston, a retired St Joseph police department detective, testified that he stopped one of the interviews because “she didn’t seem totally coherent”.

    Police “exploited her mental illness and coerced her into making false statements while she was sedated and being treated with antipsychotic medication”, Hemme’s lawyers said.

    They alleged that authorities at the time suppressed evidence that implicated Michael Holman, then a 22-year-old police officer who had tried to use the victim’s credit card. Holman’s truck was spotted near the crime scene and a pair of earrings identified by Jeschke’s father were found in Holman’s possession. Holman had been a suspect and was questioned at the time. Many of the details uncovered during the investigation into Holman were never given to Hemme’s attorneys. Holman was investigated for insurance fraud and burglaries and spent time in prison. He died in 2015.

    In his ruling Friday, Horsman wrote that “no evidence whatsoever outside of Ms Hemme’s unreliable statements connects her to the crime”, adding that those statements had been “taken while she was in psychiatric crisis and physical pain”.

    In contrast, “this court finds that the evidence directly ties Holman to this crime and murder scene”, Horsman wrote. He said prosecutors had failed to disclose evidence that would have helped Hemme’s defense and that her trial counsel had fallen “below professional standards”.

    And of course, MO AG andrew bailey “fought to uphold her conviction.”

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charontwo: X, where Xowards go to hide.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rochester Hills is a city in Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2020 census, the city had a total population of 76,300.[4] It is the 14th-largest city in Michigan.[5] It has also ranked as the safest city in Michigan for the past seven years.[6] (Wiki)

    I guess no place is safe these days:

    Nine people, including two children, have been shot and wounded at a city-run water park near Detroit in what appeared to be a random attack, police have said. Two children were among the victims, including an 8-year-old who was shot in the head and is in critical condition, after a shooter opened fire at the Brooklands Plaza Splash Pad park, where families had gathered to escape the summer heat.

    A man got out of a vehicle in front of the park, in Rochester Hills, Michigan, at about 5 pm local time and fired from a 9mm semiautomatic Glock, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. Law enforcement tracked the suspect to a home, where he died by suicide, authorities said.

    Bouchard said the shooting appeared to be random, with the shooter driving up to the park, walking to the splash pad and firing as many as 28 times, stopping multiple times to reload. In the chaos, “People were falling, getting hit, trying to run,” Bouchard said. “Terrible things that unfortunately all of us in our law enforcement business have seen way too much.” The gunman was “apparently in no rush. Just calmly walked back to his car,” the sheriff said.

    Except maybe the homes of Supreme Court Justices who have 24/7 US Marshals protection. Lord knows, the silly 6 sure don’t worry about bump guns.

  5. charontwo says:


    Twitter has its problems, has its issues, but –

    There are still people posting useful stuff there – I am keeping my acct active.

  6. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Wow. I used to live about five minutes from there. I’d joke that I could drop my wallet in the middle of the sidewalk and come back in an hour and it would still be there with all the money in it, unless someone had picked it up and brought it to my house. Detroit gets a lot of shit, but the suburbs are some of the nicest places I’ve been.

    Thanks, Republicans, for ensuring no place in America is truly safe.

  7. Mikey says:

    Trump challenges Biden to a cognitive test but confuses the name of the doctor who tested him

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump on Saturday night suggested President Joe Biden “should have to take a cognitive test,” only to confuse who administered the test to him in the next sentence.

    The former president and presumptive Republican nominee referred to Texas Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson, who was the White House physician for part of his presidency, as “Ronny Johnson.” The moment came as Trump was questioning Biden’s mental acuity, something he often does on the campaign trail and social media.

    “He doesn’t even know what the word ‘inflation’ means. I think he should take a cognitive test like I did,” the former president said of Biden during a speech at a convention of Turning Point Action in Detroit.

    Seconds later, he continued, “Doc Ronny Johnson. Does everyone know Ronny Johnson, congressman from Texas? He was the White House doctor, and he said I was the healthiest president, he feels, in history, so I liked him very much indeed immediately.”

    He then went on to brag again about how he “passed” the cognitive test, which is a) generally administered only when there are questions about a person’s mental fitness, and b) only difficult for those who are in some stage of dementia.

  8. Scott says:

    @Mikey: This “Ronny Johnson”:

    In July 2022, the Navy demoted Jackson from rear admiral (lower half) to captain for actions “not in keeping with the standards the Navy requires of its leaders”,[32][33] citing “substantiated allegations” in a 2018 investigation by the Defense Department’s inspector general into reports that the physician had drunk alcohol while on duty, acted inappropriately, and routinely yelled at subordinates.[34] Despite the demotion, Jackson continued to represent himself as an admiral on his congressional website through at least March 2024, when the story was first uncovered by The Washington Post.[3][35]

    And this:

    The OIG concluded, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Jackson had “made sexual and denigrating statements about one of his female medical subordinates to another of his subordinates”; that Jackson “drank alcohol with his subordinates in Manila, became intoxicated, and, while in his hotel room, engaged in behavior that witnesses described as screaming and yelling, and behavior that some complained might wake the President”; and that Jackson took Ambien (a sleep medication) during official travel, “raising concerns about his potential incapacity to provide proper medical care during this travel.”[21][55] In addition to findings that Jackson had “engaged in inappropriate conduct involving the use of alcohol” during two presidential trips, the report also found that he “disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated subordinates”; “created a negative WHMU work environment”; and “failed to conduct himself in an exemplary manner and made an unfavorable impact on the overall WHMU command climate.”[21][56] On March 2, 2021, the inspector general briefed members of Congress on its review.

    There’s a lot more. He’s a real piece of work.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Charles Barkley says next year will be his last on TV.

    I’m not a big basketball fan but I’ve always enjoyed watching clips of him analyzing games.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charontwo: I still peruse a selected # of accounts (heavy on lawyers, not sure why, but I also have a # lawyer friends, not sure why that is either). I never post, never like, never share (there) and Elon doesn’t make a penny off of me.

  11. steve says:

    I will also miss Barkley. I am a pretty serious basketball fan. I think he was kind of an ass when he joined the league but has changed mostly for the better. Decent analyst and is willing to laugh at himself. He says what he thinks but isn’t especially obnoxious about it.


  12. CSK says:
  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charontwo: Also a few just for fun. Lost a good 30-45 mins of my life yesterday checking in on Buitengebieden. No, it wasn’t a waste of time, I smiled the rest of the day.

    @steve: Agreed on all counts.

  14. Michael Cain says:


    Detroit gets a lot of shit, but the suburbs are some of the nicest places I’ve been.

    Like many states, sometime during the 1960s or 1970s Michigan passed laws that kept Detroit bottled up, unable to grow past a county line. Shortly after that many of the auto companies moved their professional operations — design, engineering, finance — from Detroit to Oakland County. The city’s population and tax base began to crash, and has never recovered.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Too funny:


    Thank you @TheKiffness

  16. Kingdaddy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I’ll move my comment to Jax’s late-day posts on yesterday’s forum to here and say I’m so glad that having your mom back in your orbit is a source of happiness for you. Best wishes to all y’all!

  18. steve says:

    This piece about the US military running psyops against China by spreading false information about their vaccines really disappointed me. I spent long enough in the military that I understand it has flaws, I think I understand many of them, but ultimately I still hold it in high regard and value the time I spent serving. So I found it pretty disappointing that when Trump told them them all limits were off and they could do whatever they wanted they chose to try to undercut CHina’s vaccines. Mind you, I dont think psyops in general against China are necessarily a bad thing, but in this case going after the vaccine helped to undercut vaccines in general. They had to know that.

    I am guessing/hoping that this just means that particular group was infested with MAGAts and not representative of military leadership in general.


  19. dazedandconfused says:


    A remarkable man. A big at 6-4, but he figured out a way. Legs like tree trunks, he studied Wes Unseld* and made himself the best rebounder in college ball and in the NBA…while being shorter than a lot of guards. Developed the ability to score in the NBA and from there it was off to the races.
    Led the Dream Team in scoring. Always had the courage to speak his mind and the truth as he sees it. A serious individual who never, ever ever ever ever took himself too seriously. Nobody was more ready to laugh at Charles Barkley than Charles Barkley, which is key to his charm.

    *Wes Unseld on rebounding: “Height? Jumping? If you’re doing it right you can walk over and pick the ball up off the floor.”

  20. Mikey says:

    @dazedandconfused: A couple of Barkley’s nicknames that always gave me a chuckle: “Sir Cumference” and “The Round Mound of Rebound.”

  21. CSK says:


    Oh, well. At least he didn’t call them “third world shitholes.”

  22. gVOR10 says:

    @CSK: That seemed to be Reagan’s plan. Send all the jobs overseas, turn the USofA into a third world country, and catch the jobs coming around the backside.

  23. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Thanks, Cracker! I really love having her home again. I was really worried last night that being in her house would send her downhill like it did when she finally got home after Dad died, but so far she’s holding strong. She was so tired from all the traveling the last couple days that this morning she forgot to shut her dialysis machine off, so it started a new cycle….we’re just hoping it works ok tonight.

    Also, it was 72 today and she’s freezing. 🙂

  24. CSK says:


    You never lose your good humor and resilience after all you’ve endured. Brava.