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. James Joyner says:

    Hey all,

    I should be back in the swing of things tomorrow. A deadline looms for a biggish writing project and it’s been consuming my time and limited mental bandwidth.

  2. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:
    No worries. In any case, I think we’ve shown we can play nicely together. Best wishes for the project.

  3. CSK says:

    Well, it went just as we assumed it would. Trump spent a token moment boosting Loeffler and Perdue and the rest of the time bitching about how The Democrats stole the election from him. Ballots for Biden were apparently “coming out of ceilings (?????) and suitcases.”

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    Another Reason to Wear a Mask: COVID-19 May Cause Erectile Dysfunction

    This information should be promoted loud and often in PSA’a. Perhaps the possibility of a limp willy will get the the 20, 30 & 40 yo’s demanding their freedumb to wear a mask.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:


    Nor’easter was much ado about nothing ici à la plage. Snow barely covering the grass.

  6. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Must depend on where you are located. We have around 8-9″ of snow, and the power’s out here. It snowed all day yesterday where we are!

  7. Sleeping Dog says:


    8-9″, it’ll be gone by xmas and maybe the power will be back by then.

    We had rain till about 10 PM on the coast and after it was mixed rain-snow. For a nor’easter the winds weren’t much of a factor.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: They should have started saying this as soon as trump opened his big yap back in Feb/March.

  9. sam says:

    I watched Mank last night on Netflix. It’s about Herman J. Mankiewicz the great screenwriter who wrote the script for Citizen Kane. Interesting cast, with Brits in the main roles: Gary Oldman as Mankiewicz, Charles Dance as William Randolph Hearst, Tuppence Middleton as Sara, Mank’s wife. Bill Nye, yeah that Bill Nye, plays Upton Sinclair. The movie was shot as if it were a 1930s-40s movie in black and white, with lighting and camera angles from that era. And, in what I thought was nice touch, there are cue marks in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to signal a reel change.

    Highly recommended if you love movies.

  10. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Jen:
    After predictions of up to 10-12 inches, we ended up only having about 2 inches. I never lost my electricity. Worcester County seems to have gotten slugged, as it usually does. As Jen observed, it really is about location, location, location.

  11. de stijl says:


    I always like a Fincher movie. Even Alien3 which got unduly slagged. Zodiac was stunning.

    I look forward to it.

    Fincher has an interesting take on The Joker.

  12. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Glad you folks are cool. Sounds like@Jen got whacked a bit.

    How did the sausages work out?

  13. de stijl says:


    Bill Nye? That’s cool as shit!

  14. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    They were absolutely delicious. I cooked the whole package, so I have leftovers. They improve with age.

  15. Kathy says:


    I’m looking forward to that one, as soon as I get on Netflix again. I’ve seen Citizen Kane several times. I recommend the DVD with commentary by Roger Ebert, it’s illuminating.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:
  17. CSK says:


  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I love watching them.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:
  20. CSK says:

    That was mesmerizing. Thanks.

  21. Joe says:

    We, too, watched Mank, sam. It was visually all you describe, but I found the audio a bit difficult and the story a little hard to follow because it jumped around timewise. I suspect all of that was homage as well, but I will look forward to re-watching it with my film studies graduate son when he comes home for Christmas.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:
  23. CSK says:

    Funny, but in fairness, who hasn’t done something like this? My father who search for his glasses, and I’d say: “Dad? They’re on the top of your head.”

  24. CSK says:

    Would, not who.

  25. CSK says:

    Last night in Georgia, Trump said he’d probably worked harder in the last three weeks than he’d ever worked in his life.

    Doing what, exactly?

    If golfing, rage-tweeting, watching tv, and shoveling hamberders down his gullet is his idea of hard work, then he has an even easier life than I thought.

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: ROFLOL! That’s just too funny. (And I share your reaction, too. Working hard? Doing what?)

  27. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    He said he might take “a nice two-day vacation” to recover from his labors.

    He takes a two-day vacation every weekend to golf.

    You would think that even the most ardent Trump fan would call this into question, but probably the best they’ll do is ignore that he said it.

  28. Kathy says:


    If you think making up outrageous lies that don’t even pretend to conform to reality is so easy, maybe you ought to try it yourself, and you’ll find out that it is.

  29. CSK says:

    Well, Trump’s had a lifetime’s worth of experience doing it, hasn’t he. I’m sure it’s become reflexive, like breathing.

  30. de stijl says:


    Haven’t watched the video yet, but those pictures are intense. Fascinating. Wow!

    A couple years back I was cutting through Drake on the way to somewhere during Christmas break and there were at least several thousand crows in the large open area. Blanketing the ground, on every tree branch, every window ledge, lined up like sentinels across every roof edge.

    It was a still, gray day and there were no people I could see and several thousand crows. Quorking, strutting, milling around, fluffing their feathers, pooping.

    I stood and looked and watched for most of an hour. It was mesmerizing. It was a peak life experience. Almost overwhelming. I wept.

    I wasn’t looking to have an epiphanic event. It just happened. On my way to Walgreens to buy chips and ginger ale cutting through a dead campus.

  31. Kathy says:

    On a lighter note, yesterday I began to read “How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)” by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut.

    It’s about the famous Soviet/Russian ongoing experiment on domesticating foxes.

  32. CSK says:

    That’s a fascinating story, isn’t it?

  33. de stijl says:


    This spring I went to an outfitters near me to buy a proper mask. I bought some (ungodly expensive) sunglasses too.

    Went outside. Put on my new mask and sunglasses too. My phone rang. I have really good, clear vision from 4 feet out to infinity, but close requires +275 readers to focus. I unthinkingly put my glasses on over top of the sunglasses so I could see who was calling.

    After I got off the call I was looking for my glasses. Patted every pocket eight times. Checked the collar under the neck where I always stash em. Started looking up and down the street too see if I dropped them.

    It took me probably two minutes to realize I was wearing them already over the top of my new sunglasses.

    I am often an idiot.

  34. de stijl says:


    That video is so freaking beautiful. Wow! I am stunned.

    Plus murmuration is my new favorite word.

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    Can’t tell you how many times I have looked for my phone when all along I have been holding it in my hand.
    Tales of the Brain Dead*

    * I am quoting the citizen behind the avatar.

  36. de stijl says:


    PBS on NOVA did a two part documentary titled Dog Tales earlier this year where they did a long segment about the decades long Soviet /
    Russian experiment on fox domestication.

    It’s really interesting.

    The whole two hours is really interesting.

    Free to stream on PBS/NOVA.

    The foxes are so cute.

  37. CSK says:

    For those of you who are fans of Jacques Pepin, as am I. you might want to know that Gloria, his wife of 54 years, died yesterday.

  38. de stijl says:

    Out this last week is a full orchestral arrangement of Sigur Ros Hrafnagaldr Odins (Odin’s Raven Magic) stolen from an old edda.

    It’s been kicking around for decades. The backstory is quite interesting.

    Jonsi is my favorite person of this century.

  39. Paine says:

    There’s a ridiculous article from Andrew McCarthy with the National Review trying to “both sides” the current electoral dispute by pointing out that the Dems were the first ones to advocate that a state’s electors *not* go to the winner of the state’s popular vote via the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, as if pre-election reform proposals are the same as post-election vote flipping by hook or by crook. He then lapses into some lazy EC defending (it prevents states from being ignored!). Read the comments if you want to mainline some Trumpian election grievance display.

  40. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    The fox experiment is about domestication, and also about human-induced speciation.

    I might hunt that book down.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Yep, which makes it all the funnier because we’re not laughing at him, so much as laughing at ourselves.

  42. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    Jonsi is my favorite person of this century.

    My favorite person of this century is José Andrés. I would dearly love to see him nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and I have suggested that to the only person I know who is eligible to nominate.

  43. DrDaveT says:


    He then lapses into some lazy EC defending (it prevents states from being ignored!).

    Right. Because having two freakin’ Senators isn’t enough to ensure that states like Wyoming and Alaska don’t get ignored.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nathan Howard

    Well that’s a statistic.

    Screen grab of WaPo headline:

    Law enforcement took more stuff from people than burglars did last year

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: I wonder how many presidential candidates have actually campaigned in Alaska? Or Hawaii? I can see 1 or 2 stopping off in Jackson Hole WY to raise money tho.

  46. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I will never understand how civil asset forfeiture is constitutional.

  47. de stijl says:


    Everybody disses Guy Fieri, but dude is an awesome person on charity and giving back.

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Neither can I.

  49. de stijl says:


    Good pick.

  50. de stijl says:


    If you do not of him, Radley Balko is an pretty good writer and an excellent thinker on this and on police actions / behavior in general.

  51. Mikey says:


    He then lapses into some lazy EC defending (it prevents states from being ignored!)

    Which is, of course, why 38 states got zero campaign visits by either major-party candidate for President.

    I mean, this isn’t even hard stuff to find out, but we still have all these bullshit post-facto rationalizations for something that has literally never worked as intended.

  52. de stijl says:


    Flocking and schooling behavior is fascinating.

    It looks like a hive mind. The answer is way more prosaic following behavior, but it looks cool as shit.

    I want that clip played at my funeral.

  53. Teve says:


    A physician colleague’s insurance will not cover her anti-nausea medicine (Zofran/ondansetron) for her CHEMO. It is $280.40 cash for 30 pills at Walgreen’s. I logged into a physician/hospital medical supply company and can buy 30 pills for $3.30. That’s an 8500% markup. 1/
    It is easy to be angry at the insurance company bc Zofran is a well-known therapy for chemo-induced nausea and it should absolutely be covered. However, I’m sure Walgreen’s buys in bulk and gets it for even less than $3.30. Add in labor, plastic bottle and charge $25. 2/

    Retail pharmacies make an absolute killing, especially on cash-pay patients. Some pharmacies will offer a cash discount. However, in some states, pharmacists are not allowed to tell patients if the cash price is lower than their insurance co-pay. This is absolutely criminal. 3/
    Medicaid negotiates with drug companies. For example, if you had asthma prior to 2016, Medicaid would cover brand-name Xopenex inhalers but not generic albuterol. So, we would have to write prescriptions for an expensive drug the patient didn’t need so it would be free. 4/
    How are emergency room physicians supposed to remember what drugs are on Medicaid’s formulary, let alone all of private insurance? But how frustrating to be a patient and take in a prescription your doctor thinks you need only to find out it isn’t affordable. 5/
    Emergency physicians are shift workers. Then the pharmacy calls and asks for the doc who wrote the Rx to see if they can substitute something else. But that doc is home sleeping to return in 12 hr and the new doc is busy seeing her own pts, plus she doesn’t want the liability. 6/
    The patient is angry, the doctor is frustrated, and the pharmacist is busy because there’s a line out the door and the doctor is in on a code blue so he’s on hold. All of this could be avoided if prescription drugs were covered equally by all insurance. 7/
    So, realize when you see an ER physician “on the phone,” we jump through a ton of unnecessary hoops trying to do the right thing. There is much wasted time on red tape that cannot be done by the clerk. And we worry you won’t ever get your prescription filled at all. 8/

    Because if you don’t, and your infection gets worse, we know you’ll be back and then we’ve just doubled our work. You’ll probably be sick enough for admission but there aren’t any beds. 9/
    So you’ll wait in the ER and we’ll avoid eye contact the 9 hrs you’re there feeling like we’ve failed you. But you belong to the upstairs team now. And we did everything we could. How could we have known? A $20,000 hospital stay bc your $10 antibiotic was priced at $300. /End
    Also realize that we are not supposed to know what kind of insurance you have or if you even have insurance. And it feels kinda unethical to ask because we treat everyone in the ER. It’s not easily accessible in your chart. However, the most worthless Rx is the one never filled.

  54. Mikey says:

    In what’s probably the least surprising news of the day, Rudy Giuliani has COVID-19.

  55. de stijl says:


    That was a cri de coeur from a doc who is pissed off and at her wit’s end.

    Can we get a serious national health care system soon? In my lifetime? Before 2050? Please!

  56. Sleeping Dog says:


    McCarthy is a tool and can be safely ignored, but like a blind squirrel finding a nut, he is right about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. It is fools gold, as it will be struck down as unconstitutional by the current court and I’d expect that the liberals would concur, but with separate reasoning. If it isn’t repealed at a state level, after an election where state winner isn’t the nat’l pop vote winner.

    Short of the impossibility of amending the Constitution, the best way to effect EC change is to admit PR and DC as states, and the double the size of the HoR. That would lower the small state EC advantage and re-balance toward the large states. Both these things can be done legislatively.

  57. Monala says:

    @Teve: So much screw up in our country. At some point, I wouldn’t be surprised if medical professionals had a general strike.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: No, we can’t. We already have the best healthcare system in the world for those who can afford it. Giving that level of care to everyone will only mess things up.

    And no, it doesn’t matter that the experience of the rest of the world proves the preceding statement wrong. Anyone looking at NHS in Britain in the 70s can see that socialized medicine is always wrong and a bad idea.

  59. Monala says:

    Thought about Mike Reynolds when I read this article in Washington Monthly: How Do You DeRadicalize the Republican Party?

    The author, David Atkins, argues that traditional political or class analyses of the current Republican party fail because, “many social scientists and psychologists have accurately described the Republican Party as more resembling a self-organizing cult than a traditional party. Most cult experts tend to agree.”

  60. Monala says:

    Atkins wrote another article about the media in the upcoming Biden administration, warning,

    But with Biden ascending to the presidency, journalists in the Big Mainstream will feel an implicit responsibility to take an adversarial approach to the Biden Administration as well. Every little molehill of possible impropriety will be treated with the same concern as the mountains of Trump corruption. Worse, even, because the avalanche of Trumpian malfeasance led to a desensitization to scandal, while the comparative rarity of Obama scandals turned even wearing a tan suit into a week-long news story. So will it be with the Biden administration.

    That issue has already begun, with some media folks criticizing Biden for “lacking transparency” regarding his fractured ankle, because he somehow didn’t let them know what was wrong before he himself knew what was wrong. Or because he recently left the press pool behind to go to church.

  61. Kathy says:


    “I’m the best at spreading the coronavirus. Lots of people say that. Doctors are surprised at what I know about spreading it.” Anonymous.

  62. flat earth luddite says:

    A couple of reactions to stuff in the upper left corner news feeds. Especially telling for those of you who think everyone on the left coast is a bleeding heart bleeder.

    The Seattle Times reports:

    A newly hired correctional officer was fired by the state Department of Corrections after wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt to work in response to several other officers wearing “Police Lives Matter” shirts, according to a federal lawsuit.


    Next, raising “ick” to a completely new level (at least for me):

    The University of Washington has fired a professor and former director of its young scholars program, after finding last year that he exploited his position to have “inappropriate sexual contact” with a 17 year old participant.

    1. He’s been with the University since 1991.
    2. The “young scholars” program is designed around those under 18 entering the University while, for the most part, being high school age minors.
    3. He’s been on home assignment for the past year, banned from contact with the students in his program.
    Ugh. I need a box of brain floss. Costco size, please.

  63. Jay L Gischer says:

    @flat earth luddite: Wow, at a guess the WA DOC is cooked. They are gonna have real trouble defending this. Eastern Washington is not at all like Western WA.

  64. Teve says:


    Kelly Loeffler’s debate performance was such a disaster she should have gotten advance warning to sell her stock before

  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Eastern Washington won’t have a problem with what DOC did, only the “overreaction” to it. My guess is that Pugetropolis is the only part of the state where the story resonates at all.

  66. de stijl says:

    Warnock looks so much like JB Smoove.

    I love JB Smoove. That dude is awesome.

  67. de stijl says:


    Loeffler is apparently an extra from The Stepford Wives.