Sunday’s Forum

The start of another seven days. Have at!

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. Not the IT Dept. says:

    May the Bunny with you!

  2. CSK says:

    Tom Nichols has an excellent article in The Atlantic entitled “With Each Briefing, Trump is Making Us Worse People.”

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Republican senator who floated a conspiracy theory which said the Chinese government created Covid-19 in a weapons lab claimed on Saturday that since he first learned of the outbreak, in mid-January, “common sense has been my guide”.

    More like ego, informed by ignorance, and fueled by hatred.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Priti Patel has refused pleas to accept more unaccompanied children from the notoriously overcrowded refugee camps on the Greek islands amid dire warnings of an impending humanitarian catastrophe.

    The charity Médecins Sans Frontières wrote to the home secretary on 13 March asking her to “significantly increase” the number of child refugees transferred to the UK as well as “facilitate the urgent evacuation” of those with chronic and complex health conditions.

    Patel did not respond. Instead the Foreign Office replied on 31 March, saying the UK would continue to support the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, which for the past four years has aimed to prevent asylum seekers from travelling to Europe.

    How morally bankrupt must one be to abandon children to the fates? Does it infect all of today’s so called “conservatives”?

  5. Bill says:
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Today’s number: 20,494

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: She was just trying to “educate people.”

  8. steve says:

    Been up since 4:00 crafting an email to our ICU and OR staff telling them why they will need to use their current PPE indefinitely. We just aren’t seeing new stuff come in anymore. I really can’t bring myself to watch the briefings anymore, but the truth is that on the front lines support from either the federal or private sector is pretty spotty.


  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    NYT: It’s People People People as Lines Stretch across America:

    And in Milwaukee, Catherine Graham, who has a bad heart and asthma, slapped on a homemade face mask and left her apartment on Tuesday for the first time since early March to spend two hours waiting in line to vote at one of the five polling locations in the city that remained open for the Wisconsin primary election.

    “It was people, people, people,” Ms. Graham, 78, said. “I was afraid.

    One resident of Ms. Graham’s senior-apartment complex has already died of the coronavirus, and Ms. Graham said she nearly turned back when she saw the line. But, determined to vote, she perched on her walker as the line inched ahead and prayed with her daughter, asking God to keep them safe. Every day since, she has been scrutinizing her blood pressure, oxygen levels and other vital signs on a home machine.

    I admire her courage, even more than I despise those responsible for her need to exercise it.

  10. Mikey says:

    The New York Times has some incredible reporting on Trump’s utter failure:

    He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus

    And a lot of background in this tweet stream from reporter Eric Lipton:

    This reporting and the Washington Post’s examination of Trump’s 70 days of dithering, minimizing, and lying, provide a very clear picture of one of the worst failings of Presidential leadership in American history.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


    Mikey, you know what the response will be. Fake News!

    Oh a happier note, last evening I spoke with the eldest of my mother’s surviving sisters. 95 and strong, complaining that she feels like she’s imprisoned at her assisted living, but also feels safe and well cared for. But she misses playing cards.

    She was looking forward celebrating Easter with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren via a video conference. If she can figure out how to use the tablet her son dropped off.

    It was a nice Easter gift for me.

  12. DrDaveT says:

    Woo hoo, the GOP is bailing out Warren Buffett (and many like him). This critique has a bit more force (for me, at least) coming from this particular source, who isn’t any kind of liberal.

  13. DrDaveT says:


    Today’s number: 20,494

    And that’s good news, because three weeks ago the projection without extreme countermeasures was 32,000 by today, and 5000+ per day. It’s working, America — don’t quit now.

  14. CSK says:

    Boris Johnson has been released from the hospital.

  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    Regarding the discussion yesterday on statistics:

    NPR’s On the Media today, during a discussion of COVID19 statistics, noted that the “at home death” rate for New York City (where the paramedics are called to a home where someone is already dead at the time they’re called) is up almost 10 times right now, from a normal rate of 20-25 per day to more than 200 per day.

    Virtually none of those deaths end up being counted as COVID19 deaths because the people involved generally weren’t confirmed to have had COVID19 prior to that contact.

  16. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    There was a new item the other day, that the NY health department intends to adjust the death totals to account for untested deaths. It’s simply not a priority now.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:

    The Germans are noticing.

    Is the world witnessing the collapse of a superpower? Is the U.S. facing a “Suez” moment, as Washington-based political scientist Rush Doshi puts it? In the fall of 1956, Egypt won the conflict over the Suez Canal, thus demonstrating to the world that the days of the British Empire were finally a relic of the past.

    The airlift from Shanghai to New York is a gesture of solidarity, but also a deft PR move. The image of Beijing providing relief to the U.S. the way it would to a developing country is intended to demonstrate the shift in the global balance of power: The American patient is being cared for by the strict, but kind Chinese doctor.


    Some economists fear that the corona crisis could spell the end of American economic dominance. Harvard University’s Kenneth Rogoff argues that, even though we shouldn’t underestimate the U.S.’s ability to creatively overcome adversity, it is unclear if it will succeed this time. He says that the pandemic could “prove to be the greatest threat to U.S. leadership and primacy of the dollar since World War II.”

  18. Jay L Gischer says:

    @DrDaveT: I dunno. My priority is to bail out workers – espeically in restaurants, hotels, entertainment, retail, and so on. Having done that, I’m ok with a bailout of the airline industry. We need to have an airline industry.

    The choice of making Warren Buffet the villain of that piece seems strange, because most people like Warren Buffet.

  19. DrDaveT says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    We need to have an airline industry.

    Of course. And if every existing carrier goes bankrupt over the next year, we will still have an airline industry. There’s nothing magical about these particular companies, or their management. The airports will still be there, the planes will still be there, the skilled workforce will still be there — under new management. I don’t think that would be a bad thing, either in and of itself or as a lesson to other industries.

  20. DrDaveT says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The choice of making Warren Buffet the villain of that piece seems strange, because most people like Warren Buffet.

    I speculate that this was deliberate, to make the point that even a benevolent multibillionaire is not generally working in the best interests of society as a whole.

  21. Teve says:

    Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya told CNBC that poor-performing billionaires, hedge funds, and massive companies — including airlines — deserved to be “wiped out” during the coronavirus pandemic.

    During the interview, Palihapitiya, who founded venture capital firm Social Capital in 2011, said “zombie” companies run by billionaires that aren’t performing well shouldn’t be propped up during the public-health crisis. They should be exposed to the market forces at play, he added.

    “Are you arguing to let airlines, for example, fail?” CNBC asked Palihapitiya.

    “Yes,” he replied.

    The host, who argues that companies that fail should be bailed out by the American taxpayer, is stunned and has a hard time talking.


  22. Kathy says:


    Veronique de Rugy and Gary Leff make a case for not bailing out the airlines.

  23. Kit says:

    @Teve: I had already seen that, but it’s brilliant:

    We’re talking about a hedge fund that serves a bunch of billionaire family offices. Who cares? Let ‘em get wiped out. Who cares? They don’t get to summer in the Hamptons? Who cares?

  24. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    That’s important in terms of our ability to review the response to the pandemic after the fact, but in terms of what to do right now, it still means the deaths number is just as hostage to testing as the confirmed cases number, contrary to the “you can’t hide deaths” argument you hear a lot.

  25. steve says:

    Anyone else notice that Boris, the Brexit champion, singled out a nurse from New Zealand and a nurse from Portugal?


  26. Teve says:

    The same people will tell you that billionaires deserve all that money because they’re the ones who took the risks and put it all on the line, and then when risks show up they demand that taxpayers bail them out.

  27. An Interested Party says:

    @Teve: This lemon socialism has been going on for awhile now…one wonders how much longer it will go on before people get tired of it and vote for politicians who won’t agree with it anymore…

  28. Mikey says:

    @Teve: Privatize the gains and socialize the losses. It’s the American way!

  29. Kathy says:

    Things are finally slowing down at work. Of three ongoing projects, one needs to be finished tomorrow (and it’s almost finished), the other two are due on the 20th. So maybe we can have some people in our very crowded department not come in at least part of the week. My own part I can accomplish largely at home.

  30. Mu Yixiao says:

    Two weeks ago the factory I worked for reduced to 50% time. Most departments went to a “week-on/week-off” schedule rather than a “constant 50%”. This allows people to claim Unemployment for the “week off”.

    The first week I was “off”, I put in hours at the grocery store I used to work at. They needed the help, I needed the pay (it was more than I would get from Unemployment), and I wasn’t a burden on the taxpayers.

    It’s my “week-off” again, and the grocery store doesn’t need any help. So I’m going to sign up for Unemployment.

    … Only to find out that the unemployment website enrollment is only available during business hours.


    I’m going to pour another Absolute Mandarin, warm up a dish of green bean casserole, and go watch a movie. I’ve hit my stupidity limit for the day.

  31. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Only to find out that the unemployment website enrollment is only available during business hours.

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot indeed. That is so…

    I feel your pain. I’m not much into white liquors, but if you like the brown ones I recommend a cocktail of rye, Liquor 43, and orange bitters. It’s called a “43 North”, and helps me forget stupidity temporarily.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oh and I just gotta say, F.U.C.K. Y.O.U. to the down voter who thought this 78 yr old woman had not leaned on her walker for near long enough while exercising her constitutional rights.

    You are…

    A piece of shit.
    Morally bankrupt.
    Etc. Words defy.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: May I suggest heroin? The pain won’t go away, but you won’t care anymore.

  34. mattbernius says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    … Only to find out that the unemployment website enrollment is only available during business hours.

    I’m sorry that happened to you.

    Unfortunately, that’s a pretty common experience in our current system. The reason is that most sites were set up to put barriers up for receiving unemployment. Friction was usually intentional and often explained away by things like “we only want to receive applications during business hours so we can easily schedule the interview component and not get too backed up.”

    Unfortunately our civic services and technology infrastructure was fundamentally not set up for disasters. And that’s currently hurting a LOT of people. One thing that I hope is that this will be a lesson for people about how much needs to change.

    That said, we went through a depression and, within a century, convinced ourselves we didn’t need a robust social safety net. So I’m trying not to get my hopes too up and working to improve things where I can.