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. Sleeping Dog says:


    Conclusion jumping Alex should be embarrassed this morning for his 60 odd tweet rant of yesterday.

    Investigators looking into the Christmas morning explosion in Nashville now believe the blast was likely the result of a suicide bombing, according to two law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the investigation.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Kate Bennett

    A gentle reminder that magazine cover features require an interview component. @FLOTUS
    has not given an interview to a national publication during her term as first lady.

    Heh. I guess she never wanted the spotlight and fairly succeeded in that.

  3. sam says:
  4. CSK says:

    What would Melania have to say to an interviewer? She’s a witless cipher.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The year of Karen: how a meme changed the way Americans talked about racism

    There was no direct connection between the “Central Park Karen” incident in New York City and the police killing of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, beyond the coincidence of timing. Time in the pandemic has been elastic and confusing, and reports of the separate incidents did not emerge immediately, but the two events occurred on Monday 25 May, Memorial Day. The video footage of the two incidents loomed over the strange, violent summer of coronavirus and civil unrest as a kind of digital diptych representing the state of racism – and whiteness – in America in 2020.

    On one side we had Floyd being slowly and mercilessly suffocated to death beneath the knee of the white male police officer Derek Chauvin, a brutal portrait of the implacable indifference to Black life that defines American policing. On the other side was the 40-year-old white investment manager and scofflaw dog-owner Amy Cooper, an avatar for the respectable white civilian who demands that violence be brought to bear on her behalf because a Black man has dared to expect her to abide by the rules governing public space.

    The specter of Karen persisted as Black Lives Matter protests and civil unrest spread around the country following Floyd’s murder and reckonings with racism began to roil institutions, toppling careers as well as statues. More than just an amusing meme, Karen allowed for a new kind of discourse about racism to gain credence in the US.

    “We as a culture have adopted this stance that white women are more virtuous and not complicit in upholding racism in particular,” said Apryl Williams, a professor of communication and media at the University of Michigan. “They just sort of go along with it, but they’re not conscious actors. The Karen meme says, no, they are conscious actors. These are deliberate actions. They are complicit. And I think that’s why it strikes a nerve with people.”
    It would be silly to chalk up the entire racial reckoning of 2020 to the power of Karen memes, but it would also be silly to dismiss their influence. Williams compares it to that of the Black press. Events that would otherwise be ignored – a white woman in San Francisco calling the cops on a man chalking “Black Lives Matter” on his building, say – became fodder national news once they fit within the memetic frame of Karen.

    “Becky and Karen memes provide a vital social function,” Williams writes. “They restore agency to Black communities by allowing them to exert a form of justice on perpetrators. In a subversion and reversal of power dynamics, Black meme creators police White supremacy and explicitly call for consequences.”

    Of course, any attempt by Black people to assert power against white supremacy is instantly met by a backlash, and the backlash against Karen memes was practically foreordained. Complaints about Karen being sexist were noteworthy mostly for how neatly they re-enacted the Karen dynamic. Confronted with evidence of their own agency and complicity, some white women responded by reasserting their victimhood.
    Williams recalled similar conversations with white friends, and offered three simple rules to avoid being a Karen. One: recognize the privilege and history of being a white woman in this society. Two: avoid calling the police on people of color unless someone is in imminent danger of harm. And three: “Understand that it’s just not always about you, period. People are not out to get you for the most part, people are not trying to hurt you or harm your property or make you uncomfortable,” she said. “You’re not that special, Karen. You’re not that special.”

    All of this applies equally to the proliferation of concealed carry, even if it is mostly white men who arm themselves. It is also a reaction to the threat of racial equality.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: “I really don’t care. Do U?”

  7. CSK says:

    If she made that her motto, it’s certainly appropriate. By the way, I never understood how that constituted a clever rejoinder to the press, as her husband belatedly insisted that it did.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It’s just about the most narcissistic statement a person can make.

  9. sam says:

    Archaeologists uncover ancient street food shop in Pompeii

    These were quite common throughout Roman Italy. They were frequented mostly by folks on the lower rungs of the social ladder. Mary Beard, in one of her tv series, said that in ancient Rome, poor people ate out, and rich people ate in.

  10. Mikey says:


    What would Melania have to say to an interviewer? She’s a witless cipher.

    Has there been a less accomplished First Lady in modern history?

  11. Kathy says:

    About yesterday’s thread on unbundling, I was reminded of a joke on MAD Magazine by Dave Berg. Two people are shopping, and one complains about the higher prices for non-fat milk and decaffeinated coffee. The other says “I guess if you want to do without, you have to pay for it.”

    Unbundling has become popular also in commercial aviation. That’s what the airlines call collecting fees for checked bags, meals, seat selection, and, mostly in European ultra-low cost carriers, printing a boarding pass at the airport or carry on bags*.

    Does this make air fares more expensive, taking all extras into account?

    Its hard to say. Air fares are flexibly priced according to demand. They are also sensitive to fuel prices, though more going up than coming down. What I do know is the average fare for most airlines did not fall after unbundled tickets were introduced.

    So if you want to only pay for what you need, it’s going to cost you.

    *Some ultra-low costs in the US charge a fee for buying a ticket online.

  12. Teve says:

    Eric Ortner

    At the supermarket a fellow shopper advised me that the wire nose clip on my mask was the antenna for the 5G microchips in the vaccine. And that bill gates created COVID to implant us all w/ his vaccine

  13. Teve says:

    The microchip thing is so stupid. The chip they put in your pet is the size of a grain of rice. It’s 1/16th of an inch in diameter and half an inch long. It requires a 12-gauge needle to administer. They’re not microscopic, Cletus.

  14. CSK says:

    She’s like her husband. Neither is smart, but both have a certain feral cunning. She disguises hers a bit better.

  15. CSK says:

    In a word: No.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: She’s taken her husband for a bundle.

  17. CSK says:

    I will give her her due as a golddigger. Maybe not the greatest, but reasonably good. Amusing to think that of all the rich men in Manhattan, let alone the world, he was the best she could do.

  18. Sleeping Dog says:


    Has there been a less accomplished First Lady in modern history?

    Appropriate for the least accomplished president in history.

  19. Teve says:

    Fox News’s post-Trump identity crisis, explained by an expert

    We talked to Matt Gertz of Media Matters about Trump’s one-sided feud with Fox, the rise of OAN and Newsmax, and where right-wing cable news is headed.

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Amusing to think that of all the rich men in Manhattan, let alone the world, he was the best she could do.

    If you consider it more closely, it may not be all that strange. Even rich guys looking for arm candy principally, are usually looking for more than just that. And even as arm candy goes, she’s more a roll of Necco Wafers than a Godiva truffle.

    Yes, I know that was mean, but…

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Birds of a feather…

  22. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Yes, I know that was mean, but…

    Very mean. I wonder what Necco Wafers ever did to you.

  23. Jax says:

    Did de Stijl check in last weekend?

  24. grumpy realist says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Hey, I like Necco wafers! She’s more like a “no-sugar no-gluten cookie” which nobody wants to buy and just sits on the shelf and goes stale.

  25. Teve says:

    How Venture Capitalists Are Deforming Capitalism

    Even the worst-run startup can beat competitors if investors prop it up. The V.C. firm Benchmark helped enable WeWork to make one wild mistake after another—hoping that its gamble would pay off before disaster struck.

    New Yorker

  26. Teve says:

    Wonder what would have happened if Nashville had been car bombed in 2016 and Obama spent the next two days golfing and Biden stayed in Vail skiing.

  27. Teve says:

    GMC Hummer Edition 1 electric pickup so popular it might build more

    The Edition 1 trim, the first of the EV trucks to come next year, sold out in 10 minutes.

    1,000 hp, 350 mile range

  28. Teve says:

    The “Justice” Department and the FBI have done nothing about the 2020 Presidential Election Voter Fraud, the biggest SCAM in our nation’s history, despite overwhelming evidence. They should be ashamed. History will remember. Never give up. See everyone in D.C. on January 6th.

  29. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I used to live a few blocks from the Necco Wafers plant!

    That’s a good point about rich men. Yes, indeed, a tycoon’s usually in search of someone who’s gorgeous, but someone who’s capable of carrying on an intelligent conversation at a dinner party–at the very least.

  30. flat earth luddite says:

    I’ve taken to using the alternative spelling for Karen/Kevin, “Quaren/Quevin,” used by First Dog On The Moon, whose editorial cartoons can be followed in The Guardian (Aus ed). This way, I can avoid insulting perfectly innocent bystanders who have the misfortune to share their names with these self-satisfied jerks.

    Raccoons of the Resistance, Resist!

  31. Matt says:

    @Teve: Said chip is completely passive and requires an outside power source to be very close to even work. It’s a useless concept for anything these chippers are claiming. I’ve had to unfriend a couple people because they’ve just gone completely unhinged over the vaccine and microchips. These people don’t understand how technology works. It really is magic to them. Meanwhile they still use their smartphone with GPS and such enabled….

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: I recently bought a gluten-free scone at the coffee shop drive thru. It was really much better than I’d imagined it would be, but it was neither sugar-free nor stale and made from a combination of coconut and almond flour, so it was definitely not fat free, either. But I get your point–good comparison.

    (And I liked Necco Wafers as a child, but in my dotage, as a tribute to metabolic syndrome and the Type-2 diabetes and liver cirrhosis that came with it, I limit my self to chocolate as much as possible for a sugar vice.)

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Matt: Of course you keep the GPS on your phone enabled. How are you going to use Google Maps if the GPS isn’t enabled? That’s just ridiculous!

  34. CSK says:

    DNA testing has confirmed that Anthony Quinn Warner was the Nashville bomber.

  35. Teve says:

    @Matt: if you just simply have no understanding whatsoever of science, “Bill Gate’s can track the microscopic chip in the vaccine with satellites” wouldn’t seem obviously wrong.

    Even the minutiae doesn’t make sense. There’d have to be lots of microscopic microchips in each vial, right? So when 7 people get injections from the same vial, how would they know who got what chip?

  36. Teve says:
  37. Teve says:

    I’m a consultant in infectious diseases. ‘Long Covid’ is anything but a mild illness

    Joanna Herman
    Nine months on from the virus, I am seriously debilitated.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @flat earth luddite: I’m a *white man*, a rather darkly complected white man but definitely Caucasian. Say the worst about us, not only will I not disagree I will probably pile on. If Karens have a problem with Karens maybe they need to stand up.

    *pretty sure I have some Muslim buried deep within.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: So DNA confirmed his finger was on the button?

  40. CSK says:

    What I gather is that they compared the DNA of the remains found at the crime scene with DNA taken from his house.

  41. Teve says:

    What We Get Wrong About America’s Crisis of Democracy

    The interesting question is not what causes authoritarianism but what has ever suspended it.

    Gopnik makes the point that Trump’s authoritarianism isn’t new, authoritarianism is perpetually threatening democracy. Hitler and Lenin and Pinochet are the rule, not the exception.

  42. Kathy says:


    When you suspect whose DNA you have, it can be compared with family members of the suspect. If the comparison indicates a familial relationship, chances are your suspicion is correct.

  43. Teve says:

    Lin Wood is on Parler implying that the RV didn’t cause the explosion.