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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Meet the World’s Ugliest Dog, Wild Thang.

    I’ve seen uglier, but he is worthy.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Heh, from Caitlin Clark’s name has been used to push bigotry – and she finally pushed back comes this little tidbit from Arwa Mahdawi:

    Sports journalist Jason Whitlock has also chimed in on the matter. “The WNBA for 25-26 years has basically been a traveling lesbian sex cult,” Whitlock told Fox Sports Radio recently. “They’re upset that Caitlin Clark is bringing heterosexual people into their arena.”

    Golly, if I’d known that the WNBA was a “traveling lesbian sex cult”, I would have tried out for the basketball team at university. As it was, I did my best to avoid balls.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Chemicals released during the East Palestine train wreck fires in February 2023 in Ohio were carried across 16 US states, new research of federal precipitation and pollution data shows.

    Analysis of rain and snow samples collected from northern Wisconsin to Maine and North Carolina in the weeks following the crash found the highest levels of pH and some compounds recorded over the last 10 years. That includes chloride, which researchers say was largely released during a controversial controlled burn of highly toxic vinyl chloride carried by the train.

    Researchers expected to find some evidence of the burn 50 miles from the site, and the high levels of contamination in the samples across the vast range that it was spread was “very surprising”, said David Gay, a University of Wisconsin researcher and lead author.

    “We saw the chemical signal from this fire at a lot of sites and far away,” he added. “There was more than we ever would have guessed.”

    For some reason or other, I am not surprised. Elsewhere there is this:

    It’s been a harrowing week of fire and flood in New Mexico. Just days after a pair of fast-moving fires roared across drought-stricken landscapes and into communities, a tropical storm swirled north, unleashing downpours and golf ball-sized hail over scorched slopes that had only just burned.

    As the dueling dangers of two weather extremes converged, charred debris flowed into neighborhoods, crews were temporarily evacuated from the firefight as emergency officials pivoted from fire support to flood rescues, and strong winds swept up dried soils to create one of the largest dust storms the state has ever seen.

    Across the arid south-west, where fire risks typically rise with the temperatures in the spring before they are doused in a summer monsoon, weather patterns like these aren’t unheard of. But the climate crisis has supercharged extreme conditions, setting the stage for new types of catastrophes that are increasing in both intensity and frequency.

    When they overlap, the dangers grow.
    It’s part of a troubling trend. By Rye’s tally, the number of state-declared disasters in New Mexico has quadrupled since 2019. “We are seeing an increase in the impacts to our state in various ways and it has become increasingly challenging over the last couple of years,” she said. “And we are not out of the clear yet.”

    The threats are only going to rise as the world continues to warm.

    I worry about what kind of world my granddaughters will inherit.

  4. Tony W says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’s really frightening to weak men when women are treated as equivalent/equal.

  5. @OzarkHillbilly: I knew Whitlock was an ass, but good grief.

  6. SenyorDave says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ordinarily I would say the fact that Whitlock is employed by a media company is a disgrace. But said company is The Blaze, which is a media company in name only. But make no mistake, Whitlock is not controversial, he’s a garden-variety bigot. He made a name for himself by being “contrarian”, basically he is a black man who seems like he would feel at home with the kkk. Kind of a real-life Clayton Bigsby.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    The Post has an article today about the population shrinkage in rural areas (no subscription needed).

    A whopping 81 percent of rural counties had more deaths than births between 2019 and 2023, according to an analysis by a University of New Hampshire demographer. Experts who study the phenomena say the shrinking baby boomer population and younger residents having smaller families and moving elsewhere for jobs are fueling the trend.

    I guess I think this is inevitable. Since the beginning of human civilization when the opportunities dry up, people leave. And while remote work might offset this in theory, I suspect that the more powerful factor is that areas with high rates of outflow tend to skew more conservative and less welcoming to outsiders who may be different in significant ways.

  8. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Yes. And, it’s everywhere. A couple of years ago we visited Ireland, on the Dingle Peninsula. We drove through multiple small, rural towns that had huge billboards touting a work from home program to encourage people to live in these more remote communities, which are losing population. But, after chatting with some of the locals, there’s a distinct…attitude about those from “away.” Mind you, these are just *other Irish people* they are complaining about. I can’t imagine the reception for those who are even more outsider-ish.

  9. CSK says:

    Trump says he’s already picked his VP, but won’t reveal the name of that person till the convention.
    So he not only has the latitude to jerk around his followers, but to change his mind. Plus manipulate the contenders.

    A three-fer, for him.

  10. CSK says:


    When I lived in Edinburgh, I met a few Scots who assumed I only wanted to hang out with other Americans. I had to explain that if I wanted that, I’d have stayed home.

    Interestingly, I made very few Scots friends. Plenty of French, English, Irish, Brazilian, Nigerian, Canadian, German, and Finnish, though. I guess we were all expats/outsiders.

  11. Bill Jempty says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I knew Whitlock was an ass, but good grief.

    Whitlock was a member of ESPN’s Sports Reporters show that I used to watch sometimes. I have no opinion about Whitlock good or bad from his days on the show.

    Anyone remember CBS Ben Wright comments about lesbians and the LPGA Tour? I do. There were a good number of lesbians on tour on that day and age. Two* of them were neighbors and friends of my father. Dad said there were more who came to the golf club he played at and where his house was. Those supposedly got lessons from club pro Bob Toski.

    *- Becky Pearson and Joan Joyce. Thanks to Becky, I twice got passes to watch the LPGA play when they were in Southern California and I was stationed in San Diego. Don’t know where Becky is these days. Joan, who was more famous as a softball pitcher, died just a few years back after being Florida Atlantic University’s long-time softball coach. RIP Joan.

  12. Jay L Gischer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: All I can say is that Nancy Lieberman could have been humping like a rabbit in the locker room every night before the game, after the game and during halftime, and would have made no difference at all to the quality of my life.

    I always watched the UW womens team play before the mens games. I went down early to make sure I saw the whole thing. I liked how they played. I don’t give a buffalo chip about what they do off the court as long as they aren’t, oh, stealing sensitive government documents, or trying to steal an election, or paying hush money to a porn star to influence another election.

  13. Kathy says:


    Trump (sic) says he’s already picked his VP, but won’t reveal the name of that person till the convention.

    All we can deduce from this is:

    a) he has not picked a VP
    b) he will not reveal the name at the convention.

    Carry on.

  14. DrDaveT says:


    I suspect that the more powerful factor is that areas with high rates of outflow tend to skew more conservative and less welcoming to outsiders who may be different in significant ways.

    Perhaps, but I suspect the more powerful driver is “…skew more conservative, and thus have shitty emergency services, healthcare, infrastructure, and other tax-funded public goods.” Much of my work could be done from anywhere — why would I choose to do it from a place where I can’t get good healthcare or roads?

  15. Sleeping Dog says:


    Much like retirees, I suspect the work-from-home population gravitates to communities, that while technically rural or at least small townish, that have amenities, so they end up in resort communities and places where colleges are located.

  16. Gustopher says:

    The first season of the Disney era of Doctor Who ended, with the returning showrunner creating a finale that is exactly like his other finales — same strengths, same weaknesses. Nothing that would surprise anyone who had watched the first revival.

    YouTube is filled with hate mongers saying it is the worst thing ever, that it is woke, etc, and this has been going on all season. Nothing like the Star Wars hate mongers, but a shitload. A Metric Shitload, since Doctor Who is British, as opposed to the Bigly Shitload for Star Wars.

    And if you watch one review from a decent person, your feed is filled with hate mongers, and you have to go through, marking “never show me this channel again” on all the hate mongers, and more pop up, and you need to go through about 10 rounds of recommendation trimming before you get back to the normal level of a sporadic lunatic but not a parade of hate.

    I get that conflict drives engagement, but is there really so much money to support that many different people saying that the new (Black) Doctor was a DEI hire?

    Also, I can guarantee that YouTube’s algorithms can detect the hate mongers. They analyze content. They can distinguish between categories of “Doctor Who (normal)” and “Doctor Who (maga incel)”.

    YouTube is making an automated editorial decision to promote this content, even when I am very aggressively marking off “don’t recommend this channel”. And there are people choosing to have YouTube promote stuff like this, even if they are not literally saying “we need more racist incel Doctor Who content specifically”

    It’s Doctor Who. It’s been queer-coded since the 2nd Doctor, and the director of the first episode was a gay, brown man. It’s been inclusive forever. And it has a very queer fandom*. I don’t worry that many Doctor Who fans are going to go down a weird alt-right pipeline, I expect this is mostly introducing Doctor Who to nazi incels.

    It’s everything else in the world that I worry about. YouTube (and Twitter, and Facebook) manufacturing hatred. And skewing our country to the far right by pushing the belief that everything is an assault against you, the white man. And protected from all consequences by an interpretation of Section 230 that comes to the conclusion that an editorial decision that is automated is not an editorial decision. (We regularly have (typically incel) mass murderers who were radicalized on social media — and victims families cannot sue the social media. If social media companies faced even the prospect of that, things would be better)

    Anyway, this is your reminder to make sure you use an ad blocker to starve the beast of revenue. I guess.

    *: and a very white fandom. Like, really, really white. The Yankee Candle Company and LL Bean have nothing on Doctor Who in terms of whiteness of fans. But it’s a friendly, overbearingly-inclusive whiteness that is overjoyed by any hint of brown hues and then swarms to be seen and progressive and welcoming and scares brown folks off, so it could be much worse.

    Apparently I woke up with a rant inside me today. Now that it’s out, I can probably go about my day normally.

  17. al Ameda says:


    Sports journalist Jason Whitlock has also chimed in on the matter. “The WNBA for 25-26 years has basically been a traveling lesbian sex cult,” Whitlock told Fox Sports Radio recently.

    Whitlock has gone all in on evangelical Christianity, MAGA, Trump, and male grievance.

    More Whitlock: ‘Now let’s take a look at the WNBA. Let’s look at the crew of matriarchal, feminist, angry lesbians who are running women’s basketball.

    They’re faced with: ‘Should I do what’s in my best business interest, or should I hold onto my bigotry and hatred of heterosexual White people and Evangelicals? Caitlin Clark may be in my best business interests, but I’m so bigoted, I’m so angry, and I’m so removed from forgiveness and tolerance, that I’ll choose my bigotry over business.’

  18. @Bill Jempty:

    Whitlock was a member of ESPN’s Sports Reporters show that I used to watch sometimes. I have no opinion about Whitlock good or bad from his days on the show.

    My early exposure to Whitlock was when he would sometimes guest host on PTI and other ESPN-related activities. I then recall him going off the deep end, and here we find him still.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    Been binging “Brooklyn 99” while cooking, washing dishes, etc and I think this is my third or fourth time through. Highly recommend anything produced by Michael Schur when you find yourself in a bad place. Speaking of which, his “The Good Place” got me and my wife through the Trump years. Even his unsuccessful forays like “Abby’s” were a pleasure to watch. I didn’t really get into “Parks and Rec” but I did watch an episode on a plane that was one of the best half hours of television I ever saw. It was a bottle episode (I think I have that usage right) towards the end of the series and the character played by Amy Poehler was trapped in an office with the character played by Nick Offerman. Signature Michael Schur. Hire the best writers and trust them. Hire the best actors and trust them. Trust the audience to get it.

  20. Kingdaddy says:

    Trump isn’t Trumpy enough for some in the Arizona delegation to the GOP convention.

  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    Michael Schur is seriously great. He pulled off The Good Place, which was such a balancing act. He’s one of the Hollywood writers I tip my hat to. Very deft.

  22. Ha Nguyen says:


    Really, there’s a lot of racist Doctor Who channels? Seriously, I never saw them. I only watch the WhoCulture You-Tube channel and they love the 15th Doctor. They’re pretty positive about the latest season. The comments I’ve read – not that I’ve read a lot of comments – seem pretty positive as well.