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. Teve says:

    ”underwater roombas” help start cleanup of dumped DDT off California coast

    A research vessel launched this week is on an urgent mission to map out damage from a long-overlooked crisis on the ocean floor, and they’re putting robots to work to help.

    In October, people living on Santa Catalina Island, which sits 22 miles (35 kilometers) off the coast of Southern California, were shocked to learn from a Los Angeles Times investigation that a scientist had found leaking barrels of dangerous waste strewn across the ocean floor. Residents had heard rumors that the nation’s largest DDT manufacturer, which was based in Los Angeles until 1982, had disposed of some of its waste product near the island, and a huge Superfund lawsuit in 2000 had confirmed the company had disposed waste into sewers that ran into the ocean. But records unearthed by the Times confirmed that the manufacturer had filled up a ship with barrels of DDT-tainted waste and dumped it off the coast once a month for almost 40 years, something unaddressed in the Superfund lawsuit.

  2. Teve says:
  3. Teve says:


    We could have had a $1400 checks & increased the child tax credit without sending stimulus checks to prisoners & illegal immigrants, spend $86 billion on an unrelated pension bailout & use your tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood & abortions

    Wingnut bingo.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: We could have had a $1400 checks & increased the child tax credit without sending $45,414,000 to Republicans in Congress.

    ETA: what a load of unadulterated horseshit him bringing up the “unrelated pension bailout” is, like Republicans haven’t been helping corporations destroy pensions for decades now.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Once it was like a second White House for the Maga crowd. Now it is in danger of becoming a white elephant.

    Clobbered first by the coronavirus pandemic, then by its owner’s election defeat, the Trump International Hotel in Washington is reeling from a huge loss of income and prestige. For critics of the former US president, it is welcome proof of how quickly the city is moving on without him.

    “It used to be the hub of Trump World but I can’t imagine who goes there now,” said Sally Quinn, a local author and journalist. “We don’t even have tourists yet in Washington. I can’t imagine most people staying there when they come. I don’t know anybody who goes there or has gone there.”
    For four years its opulent lobby thronged with diplomats, lobbyists and Trump family members. It was one of the few places in the US capital where “Make America great again” hats were bountiful. But one recent afternoon it seemed more reminiscent of the haunted hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining.

  6. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: centipedes? In my ….? It’s more common than you think.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Pretty cool: One-take drone video of Minnesota bowling alley goes viral – video

    A couple of Big Lebowski salutes in it too.

  8. Teve says:
  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Yo Yo Ma got his 2nd shot, and spent his 15 min in observation entertaining everyone. (click thru to the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th frames for video)

  10. CSK says:

    I’ve seen him play at Symphony Hall (Boston). I addition to being a great cellist, he’s a great showman. He was the surprise player that night. The audience went insane.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Republicans Push to Punish Eric Swalwell because He Didn’t Sell Out the Country Like They Did
    by emptywheel

    I’d like to tell a story about how six different men responded when law enforcement approached them about possible compromise by foreign spies.

    *Carter Page knowingly shares non-public information with known Russian spies
    *George Papadopoulos refuses to explain the back channel meeting with Putin he tried to schedule
    *Mike Flynn gets a defensive briefing then hides his Turkish clients
    *Rather than cooperating with the FBI about Flynn’s suspect Russian calls, Trump fires them
    *Trump calls Paul Manafort “very brave” for hiding details about his Russian intelligence officer partner

    *Eric Swalwell cooperates with the FBI and cuts off the Chinese intelligence officer trying to recruit him

    According to a recent Axios piece witten without context, when the FBI approach Eric Swalwell and told him a woman volunteering with his campaign was a Chinese spy, he cooperated with the FBI and cut off all contact with her.
    For this, GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and others argue, Swalwell should be kicked off the House Intelligence Committee.
    I can only assume that McCarthy thinks that Swalwell cooperated too much with the FBI and should have lied or fired people instead.

  12. CSK says:
  13. Loviatar says:

    Sarah Everard

    – Believe women

    – Believe the LGBTQ community

    – Believe religious/ethnic/racial minorities

    Your opinions are not equal to their lived experiences. You do not deserve an answer to your questions, educate yourself and ask your questions in a respectful way and you may get an answer. Political Correctness and Cancel Culture are not real, we are asking for courtesy, respect, kindness and accountability, we are asking for the golden rule; treat us as you would like to be treated.

    Will some asshole take advantage of your belief? yes

    Believe the next person anyway
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one
    And the next one

    I could go on, because the odds of you finding someone from those communities lying to you about their lived experiences is less than one percent.

    Believe us.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    There is a very active ret-conning effort going on to claim that Trump’s administration did have a vaccine rollout plan and that Biden should be grateful he inherited it. This is based on the rather (to me) absurd idea that “we will drop the vaccines off at the airport and states and locals come up with their own plans without any help, financial or logistical, from us”, qualifies as a plan. If you accept that, then sure. For my part, I think this is equivalent of the FEMA response to a hurricane being to drop off sheet rock and nails at the airports and walk away patting themselves on the back.

    Talking Points Memo had a really well researched article that chronicles the Trumper failures.I think it is included in their outside-the-firewall pandemic coverage. Today Josh Marshall has an opinion piece speculating about why the Trump administration only made one small foray into shots-in-the-arm delivery, the poorly run effort to have CVS and Walgreens personnel go to nursing homes and vaccinate those at risk. (It should be noted that on the administration’s part this “effort” merely consisted of awarding a contract and expecting the pharmacies to handle everything else.) The TL:DR – Trump recognized that shots-in-the-arm was difficult and had a lot of failure points, so he wanted nothing to do with it. He said over and over that he was not responsible and hoped the gullible public would shift the blame to the states.

    This is Trump’s modus operandi for his whole career and the reason every tangible business he has started ended in bankruptcy and finger pointing. He doesn’t do the hard parts, instead leaving that to others while taking the credit.

  15. MarkedMan says:


    You do not deserve an answer to your questions


  16. Loviatar says:



  17. Northerner says:


    The rate of lying on sexual assaults is about the same as the rate of lying on all other crimes. Most people claiming to be a victim of a crime are believed, so the same should be true for people claiming to be a victim of sexual assault.

    Courts of course have a higher standard for obvious reasons (its pretty easy to see what would happen if every accusation of any crime automatically results in a conviction), but that’s not what’s under discussion.

    If someone says they’re a victim of a crime (any crime), believe them but verify. Its funny how easy this is for conservatives to do for most crimes, but how hard for sexual assault.

    In terms of deserving answers, no one is owed an answer to any question on an Internet forum. Its always just a courtesy. It is funny though when people demand courtesy from others but don’t give it out themselves — and very common, people being people.

  18. Loviatar says:


    The rate of lying on sexual assaults is about the same as the rate of lying on all other crimes.

    When you add in the unreported assaults, no the rate of lying is not equal.
    Sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes. Every woman has a story. Every woman. And as many of them feel they won’t be believed anyway, they won’t report the assault, why do so and bring unwanted drama and attention to oneself. Grit your teeth and move on is one of the most persistent mantras within the above mentioned communities.


    Surprisingly or not, quite a few men have also been subjected to sexual assaults, but it is even more under reported among men (not macho).

  19. Bill says:

    Despite the hype, Fla plows on…..and why didn’t this thing destroy the homeless crowd?

  20. Teve says:

    I briefly hoped that when all the predictions expired, the QAnoners would come to their senses, but then I remembered the Millerites, and how they’re still around 190 years later.

  21. Teve says:

    @Bill: they’re like textbook cases of Social Distancing. You’re welcome.

  22. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: people are really bad at understanding statistical data.

    (This example is entirely made up as an illustration, I don’t know any bad thing about Methodists)

    Person 1: “huh, turns out methodists are 12% more likely to be serial killers.”
    Person 2 “that’s not true, my cousin Timmy is a methodist and he’s not a serial killer.”

    We’re wired to survive, we’re not necessarily wired to be smart. There’s a correlation, but not a certainty.

  23. CSK says:

    Apparently the inauguration date for Trump has been moved to March 20, 2021.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Sometimes I am astounded by how many people never developed past, “I did it once, and nothing bad happened. I did it twice , and nothing bad happened. I did it three times, and nothing bad happened. Therefore it is perfectly safe.”

  25. charon says:


    I like this piece better. Talks about shallow breathing affecting the CO2 blood concentration producing knock-on effects.

    When Putrino looked at the data, he saw the same symptoms that Chen saw. To Putrino, they looked like those of patients who suffer from a poorly understood and often misdiagnosed condition, one that he happens to know a lot about because his wife lives with it: dysautonomia, or impairment of the usual functioning of the autonomic nervous system, which controls blood pressure, temperature regulation, and digestion. Dysautonomia is itself an umbrella term for a host of different conditions, many of whose causes have yet to be fully pinned down. In common manifestations of it, a patient’s autonomic nervous system has trouble regulating the heart’s response to exertion, changes in posture, or variations in temperature, sending the body into an inappropriate fight-or-flight response. Some patients’ systems have trouble adjusting blood pressure or constricting blood vessels to send blood to the brain. Blood can pool in the legs and peripheries of the body; the heart might compensate by increasing its rate, while the body releases surges of adrenaline in a fruitless attempt to correct the problem. As a result, patients can experience some blend of fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, and cognitive issues such as brain fog.

    A missing piece of the puzzle, the Mount Sinai teams soon found, was right in front of them: breathing. Everyone knew, of course, about severely sick COVID‑19 patients on ventilators. What the researchers and doctors at Mount Sinai hadn’t realized was that even mild cases might be affecting respiration after the acute phase of the disease. Evidence began to accrue that long-COVID patients were breathing shallowly through their mouths and into their upper chest. By contrast, a proper breath happens in the nose and goes deep into the diaphragm; it stimulates the vagus nerve along the way, helping regulate heart rate and the nervous system. Many of us breathe through our mouths, slightly compromising our respiration, but in patients with post-acute COVID syndrome, lung inflammation or another trigger appeared to have profoundly affected the process. In these cases, patients’ breathing “is just completely off,” McCarthy told me.

  26. Northerner says:


    Most crimes against poor people (including everyday assault and robbery) are unreported because everyone knows the police won’t do anything about it. People are held up at knife point, beaten up in parking lots, have their wallets and phones stolen, and never bother saying anything to the police, because if you’re not at least middle class the police simply won’t care even if they believe you. Unless there’s a corpse they’ve got better things to do if you’re poor.

    Middle class and above people report crimes (except as you say, sexual assault). Poor people only report crimes that can be proven (ie if someone steals your car, or if your attacker was filmed). Its a middle class myth that most crimes are reported.

  27. Northerner says:


    And they also don’t understand that 12% more of a very small number (say 1 in 1,000) is still a very small number. Absolute percentages tend to be much more useful for many things. For instance, if one bolt has a failure rate of .001% and another a failure rate of .002% the second one has double the failure rate, but both are likely to be safe for most applications.

    The tendency of news articles to use relative percentages instead of absolute percentages drives a lot of the fear people have today. Including the fear of vaccines.

  28. Liberal Capitalist says:
  29. EddieInCA says:

    There is no systemic racism…. /snark

    Shortly after four Louisiana State Police troopers allegedly beat a Black man who had surrendered following a high-speed chase, the officers of Troop F sent 14 text messages to brag about the “whoopin’ ” they had given to 29-year-old Antonio Harris, according to court filings.

    “He gonna be sore tomorrow for sure,” trooper Jacob Brown group-texted his colleagues in May, the filings allege.

    “He’s gonna have nightmares for a long time,” trooper Dakota DeMoss allegedly said of what unfolded in Franklin Parish, La.

    “Warms my heart knowing we could educate that young man,” Brown replied.

    The court filings from earlier this month, which were first reported by Sound Off Louisiana, come weeks after four White officers — Brown, DeMoss, George Harper and Randall Dickerson — were arrested on accusations of excessive force, lying about multiple arrests and turning off their body cameras.

    So it wasn’t enough to beat this guy. They had to brag about it to each other. This is 2021, not 1955. Yet here we are…

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Yeah, I saw that yesterday. He’s like the Marianas Trench of sleaze. It’s probably why he and Vince McMahon got along so well during the “Attitude Era” of WWE.

  31. Northerner says:


    Definitely systematic racism. Also systematic police violence against any poor person — here’s one of them killing a poor white man crawling down a hallway begging for his life. Funny how the police never seem to kill any rich people. You’d think statistically at least a few guys worth a 100 million or more would have been killed by police by now.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Northerner: Yes, but it is a 100% higher failure rate. I used to tell my students that they could shape the way that the audience reacts to the data. IIRC, in rare events, percentage differences were usually stronger unless the order of magnitude was pretty large 10 or 20 times, say. A rare event happening twice as often is heard as “2 times not likely is still not likely,” but a 100% increase seems significant.

  33. gVOR08 says:


    Most crimes against poor people (including everyday assault and robbery) are unreported because everyone knows the police won’t do anything about it.

    Also, white collar crime is under reported. I forget which President decades ago formed a commission to study crime. In the intro to their report they said they were charged with studying crime in America and had failed because as best they could estimate the bulk of crime is white collar crime which is almost never reported.

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I’m sure she will be portrayed as a victim on Fox News, but it’s all very cynical. Jim Crow governance is about keeping the poors in their place, and she is tool of the regime and can safely be criminalized once her use is fulfilled. Fox News and the Republican Crazy train winds her up and sends her out where she acts out in what she has been taught is a heroic way. It serves their purposes that she made a scene and was arrested, because what they really need is the threat of disorder to make the populace anxious and seeking a firm hand.

  35. Kurtz says:


    Sometimes I am astounded by how many people never developed past, “I did it once, and nothing bad happened. I did it twice , and nothing bad happened. I did it three times, and nothing bad happened. Therefore it is perfectly safe.”

    Driving drunk fits this bill.

  36. Kathy says:


    Do we have a date for the Kraken yet?

  37. Kurtz says:

    Caitlin Flanagan on private schools.

    One of the many funny moments:

    But my very first year, I came into the crosshairs of a mother who still flashes through my nightmares. Her kid was a strong student—a solid, thorough student—but he was also aggressive and mean. Furthermore, I felt that his concerns did not lie with the muses and poets.

    One day I gave him an A– on a creative-writing assignment. Soon after, the mom called, and she was pissed. I explained that this grade wouldn’t lower his average, but she didn’t care. She wanted to come to the school with her husband and meet with me. I assumed that I wouldn’t have to agree to such a preposterous request but it turned out that I did. For 45 horrible minutes I sat in a borrowed office with the father (clearly mortified) and the mother (rageful) discussing the merits of this 10th grader’s poem, each of us locked into the same kind of intractable positions (they wanted me to change the grade; I wanted them to drop dead) that led to the fall of Saigon. They were coming in with force, and I wouldn’t budge.

    Unfortunately for her, this was not Flanagan’s last interaction with these people.

  38. CSK says:

    Sidney Powell dropped her Georgia lawsuit on Jan. 19, 2021, so the Kraken appears to have swum back to its undersea fastness.

  39. Kurtz says:

    I walked to a little store near me. Some dude in a baseball cap and sunglasses just walked by me carrying a giant wooden cross over his shoulder.

  40. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz: I have no other comment than to say I love anecdotes like these. Little morsels from “a day in the life”….to be savored.

  41. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: Reminded me of this song. It’s pretty old.

    It’s people that are evil.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz: These types of conversations happen with public school children, too. I had an administrator who was amazed at how well I could mollify angry parents in conferences. No, it didn’t stop him from terminating me at the end of the year.

  43. Gustopher says:


    Person 1: “huh, turns out methodists are 12% more likely to be serial killers.”
    Person 2 “that’s not true, my cousin Timmy is a methodist and he’s not a serial killer.”

    That just means Timmy hasn’t been caught yet.

  44. Kurtz says:


    Haha Rehab! A buddy of mine really likes them.
    I know their hometown well.

  45. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: They’ve been a top favorite of mine for 20 years or so.