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. JohnMcC says:

    Thanks to my BING opening screen this morning…. Happy birthday to Tucker Carlson!

  2. Mu Yixiao says:
  3. Ronald Reagan once said that he didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left him. Millions of Reagan Democrats felt the same way in 1980. Now the same thing seems to be happening for at least some members of the Trump Cult formerly known as the Republican Party.

  4. Teve says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Bill Gate’s UN troops will be arriving at your house shortly.

  5. The effort to get back the full deduction of state and local taxes isn’t going well.

  6. Mimai says:

    Morgan Meis, in the preface to his book The Drunken Silenus:

    “I started writing this book while living in Antwerp. I was there because my wife, the indefatigable Shuffy, was making a short film ostensibly centering on Abraham Orelius, the great cartographer and man-about-Antwerp circa the mid to late sixteenth century. We were also rapidly spending a not insignificant chunk of change I’d managed to wheedle from the Andy Warhol Foundation for my writings on art and what-not. Problem was, I had no particular project to be doing in Antwerp, other than cooking for Shuffy and tending to her needs, a not unpleasant commission but, then again, it is said that idle hands are the devil’s workshop and there is, indeed, some wisdom in the saying. Suddenly, or so it seems to me now, I remembered that Antwerp was among other things Peter Paul Rubens’ town. This thought annoyed me, as I had no interest in Rubens. I didn’t even care about him enough to dislike him. My next thought was, “I’ll write a book about him.”

  7. A mosque was vandalized in New York City with anti-Palistinian graffiti.

    The membership of the mosque is overwhelmingly Pakistani.

    It happened during the post-Ramadan festival of Eld all-Ftar, the celebration of the end of Ramadan.

    Clearly this as much an anti-Muslim hate crime as it was an anti-Palestinian one.

  8. CSK says:

    The headline says it all, but by all means do read the article:

    ETA: If you can. It seems to have vanished behind a paywall. There’s a similar piece at

  9. About 150 civilians, including about two dozen children, have died in Israeli strikes on Gaza.

    There have also been civilian deaths from Hamas’s rocket attacks.

    There are no clean hands here and there is no moral justification for either sides violence against civilians.

  10. Teve says:


    If you’re fully vaccinated, you can now go mask-less in most settings.

    But remember: it’s going to take time for everyone who wants to get vaccinated to get their shots, and some vaccinated people prefer masks. So please, if you see someone with a mask, treat them with kindness.

    Evil radical leftist.

  11. CSK says:

    My Republican governor says otherwise: Masks even for the vaccinated are still required indoors.

  12. Stormy Dragon says:

    A Trump appointee who currently sits on the West Point Board of Visitors published a article in American Greatness calling for a military coup:

    Trump’s nominee for Ambassador to Germany writes in favor of a military coup in France, suggests we may need one in America too— Christian Vanderbrouk (@UrbanAchievr) May 16, 2021

  13. Teve says:

    Airline passengers fined $20,000 as US agency cracks down on unruly fliers

    One man ignored orders to wear a mask and is being fined $10,500 while another faces a $9,000 charge for shouting profanities

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced fines totaling $20,000 against two airline passengers who interfered with crews. The civil penalties come as as part of a zero-tolerance policy designed to combat a surge of similar cases in recent months.

    The agency said it will seek a $10,500 fine against a passenger who repeatedly ignored orders to wear a mask, which is required by federal regulation, then coughed and blew his nose into a blanket during a JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Los Angeles in December.

    A second man, who slammed overhead bins and shouted profanities at flight attendants and the captain after boarding a JetBlue flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, in March before he was escorted off the plane, faces a $9,000 fine, according to the agency.

    United Airlines received billions in Covid aid. Now thousands of workers could lose their jobs
    Read more
    The pair of cases comes three days after the FAA announced potential fines against four other passengers. More than 12 passengers have been hit with fines, some of over $30,000, in recent weeks. The passengers have the right to dispute the fines. They have not been identified.

    The zero-tolerance crackdown began in January after supporters of Donald Trump created disturbances on several flights to and from Washington DC.

    The new policy no longer requires airlines to warn or counsels unruly passengers and instead goes straight to enforcement. While the FAA has power to impose civil penalties it remains up to law enforcement to decide on criminal charges.

    The policy was initially set to stay in effect until late March, but was extended to September after the TSA extended its mask requirement.

    The agency has said it has received 1,300 complaints from airlines about disruptive passengers this year, a figure that matches the number of enforcement actions over the past decade. Separately, US airlines have temporarily banned at least 3,000 people for refusing to cover their faces.

  14. Teve says:
  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Pakistani. Palestinian. Both begin with a “P.” Easy for the types of knotheads that deface other people’s property to get confused.

  16. Teve says:

    In Which The Kid From ‘Silver Spoons’ Berates A Costco Employee Over A Mask

    If you abuse retail employees you are a piece of shit.

  17. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Quick: which are the Shia and which are the Sunni? And what is the difference?

    (I have a handy saying for the first: Shia la Boeuf is the Ayatollah— it makes no sense, but I remember it. But, as for the difference that has clearly cost many thousands of lives… I don’t know, maybe it’s something like the Oxford comma, but with Allah?)

  18. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Retail employees should be allowed to enforce the mask mandates with mace.

  19. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: there’s a guy at my job who open carries a Glock .40 for reasons I don’t understand. Maybe Ricky should get up in His face. We have Stand Your Ground laws here 😀

  20. Teve says:

    @Teve: he’s a delivery driver. Maybe it’s for evil dogs.

  21. CSK says:

    We can look forward to more of this crap.

  22. Teve says:
  23. Teve says:


    A NC jury just awarded Henry McCollum & Leon Brown $75M. The half-brothers spent 31 years behind bars (Henry on death row) based on false confessions they gave as intellectually disabled teens. One of the biggest judgments in wrongful conviction history.


    Just a reminder that McCollum was once name-checked by Antonin Scalia as the sort of ruthless, cold-blooded killer for whom the death penalty is righteous and appropriate.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: The difference has to do with who you think “Ali” is, but it’s been a long time since I paid any attention, so I don’t remember which is which. Either way, Shi’a are the minority.

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: “You always carry weapons ‘cuz you always carry cash?”

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: The CDC spokesperson lost me today with the whole “the science has evolved” thing. Sounded too much like “we have alternative facts” from a (hopefully, but not optimistically) bygone era.

  27. dazedandconfused says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Shit. The Antivaxxers were right!

    Damn, going to need a lot of tin foil. My hat needs to be much, much larger.

  28. dazedandconfused says:


    Child actors ..why is it always a sad story??

  29. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: on an emergent disease the science can evolve quite rapidly. There’s nothing unusual about that.

  30. dazedandconfused says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Problematic, as science embraces the theory of evolution.

  31. Teve says:

    Fundies on Parler/Gab/etc now saying that the microchip in the vaccine has your Mark of the Beast ID number on it.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Yeah, but I’m the “C” in biology evil young earth creationist guy. I view it from a different perspective–and the statement was contextually different for me, I expect. I didn’t think she was talking about the virus at all.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: WA! I hadn’t even thought of that! Great move!

  34. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Yeah, I would have thought the “Get vaccinated or get infected” campaign could have waited a few more weeks.

    When did we open up vaccination to everyone? I got my shot before that and was fully vaxxed on Cinco de Mayo, so I think there are a lot of people who haven’t had the chance to be fully vaxxed yet.

    If the CDC were to announce: “you have three weeks to get your first shot if you want to be fully vaccinated before we start letting everyone cough on you,” that would have been better.

  35. wr says:

    @Mimai: I have no idea why you quoted that, but I enjoyed reading it.

  36. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: the general consensus I’m seeing among science types is, “correct science, heinously bad messaging.”

  37. JohnSF says:

    Originally a difference in the rightful “inheritance” of the caliphate: sort-of hereditary right vs “elective”; but with the “electorate” circumscribed to the out-of-Arabia tribal elite, so the Shia (the “partisans of Ali”: Shiat Alid IIRC) were able to appeal to the “oppressed”: the lower classes, converts, non-arabs etc
    Then the whole imam thing gets started.
    Plus the wali.
    Plus IIRC division between sayiidi Fatimids and the Hashemites, Ismailis (Twelvers etc.)

    Now, on to the Sunni…

  38. gVOR08 says:

    Came across a couple of overlapping interesting things. One is a post by Paul Campos at LGM about Spanish political scientist Juan Linz, who argued that presidential systems are inherently unstable

    …because they created two institutions that could make competing claims that they each represented the legitimate source of sovereign authority: The legislature and the executive.

    He further observed that the U. S. had (so far) escaped this because the parties were loose coalitions without ideological coherence or discipline. No good thing lasts forever. All of this may sound familiar to readers of Dr. T. Campos adds that,

    …we may be evolving toward a kind of quasi-parliamentary system (in which Congress picks the president), without bothering to first revise our essentially non-revisable Constitution.

    The other was reading Hannah Arendt The Origins of Totalitarianism. (Dyam she’s one of those writers who never use twenty words if a hundred will do.) She notes the relative stability of the UK government compared to the rest of Europe. She attributes it to the British two party system. One party forms the government and the other is in opposition. So compared to a multi-party coalition government, accountability is clear. And the opposition party knows they may well be the government soon so they don’t really want to sabotage everything. Once again, no good thing lasts forever.

    Arendt doesn’t mention the U. S. in this discussion, but our two party system, as noted above by Linz, doesn’t offer clear accountability, and since it doesn’t have it, can hardly trade it back and forth.

  39. wr says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: “The CDC spokesperson lost me today with the whole “the science has evolved” thing. Sounded too much like “we have alternative facts” from a (hopefully, but not optimistically) bygone era.”

    I take that to mean “our understanding of the science has evolved,” but it was poorly worded.

  40. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: I first came across Linz’s ideas in an article at Vox or Slate about how we are guaranteed to have a constitutional crisis within the next two decades. I can’t seem to find it though.

  41. Teve says:

    @wr: the science of Covid has changed drastically. Way over 100,000 scientific papers were published on Covid-19 last year, compared to zero in 2018. An enormous increase in knowledge on that subject.

  42. Teve says:

    The Colonial pipeline is an escalation by Russian hackers. We’re in a global experiment to see if Russian hackers kill us before global warming or Fox News.

  43. JohnMcC says:

    Yesterday we chewed over the Marine LtCol who’s been indicted for the 1/6 Capitol riot. This morning we learned that a Space Force LtCol (Matthew Lohmeier) has been relieved of responsibilities in what he feels is a Marxist-dominated military establishment.

  44. Teve says:

    Facebook has now decided that I need lots of ads for Casper and Purple mattresses, because I sell Tempur-pedic and Sealy and Stearns and Fosters. Good job Facebook.

  45. @gVOR08: The Linz article is certainly relevant to current moment (and I think I have mentioned it before).

    I kinda of get what Campos is suggesting about quasi-parliamentarianism, but think he is off the mark (but he also does not explain himself).

    I would note that Arendt was writing at a time when there was more skepticism about multi-party democracy, but also before decades of rather successful mutli-party democracy across the world to use as evidence.

  46. Jax says:

    @Teve: I have to go through my facebook and permanently hide all ads every 10 days or so.

  47. Jax says:

    @Teve: Did you see the article about the gal in Salt Lake who worked at the Purple factory and got pulled into the machinery? Apparently they have a history of safety violations at that plant.

  48. Teve says:

    @Jax: does hiding all ads work? If FB would allow a subscription option I’d definitely take it. But FB is run by psychopaths so they probably won’t.

    I pay ~50/year for non-ad, non-spam email from Protonmail, ~$16/mo for no ad-YouTube. I’d pay the same for non-ad FB. But the site is run by destructive A-holes like Mark Zuckerburp and Sheryl Sandberg, so no option.

  49. Jax says:

    @Teve: It’s a two-step process, first you hide the ad, then if you scroll down on the next pop-up window, there’s an option at the bottom to “Hide all ads from this advertiser”. It works wonderfully for me, but I have to stay on top of it every week or two or suddenly the newsfeed is nothing but ads again.

    I have an edit button!

    I, too, would happily pay for an ad-free Facebook!

  50. Teve says:

    @Jax: I saw something about that incident, and the company denying it, but I’m avoiding that topic because nobody likes pushy salesmen and adverts, and I’m not trying to push mattresses on people.

  51. Teve says:

    @Jax: I’m gonna try this !

  52. Jax says:

    @Teve: It works pretty well if you put the time into it! And then your newsfeed will look like it’s supposed to be, just people you know and what’s going on with them….except for the random crazy uncle Trump posts/memes from people you don’t really want to unfriend. 😉

  53. flat earth luddite says:

    I’ve never served, but I’ve known and worked for a few retired LtCol’s over the years at various law firms. Every one I knew was several fries and a toy short of the full happy meal package. Maybe it was the water out here on the left coast?

  54. flat earth luddite says:


    Retail employees should be allowed to enforce the mask mandates with mace.

    Please? Pretty please? Oh may I? Happy happy joy joy! Oh splendiferous day!!!

    IMO, too hard to hit a moving dog with a handgun at close range, UNLESS you’ve run a couple thousand combat course practice rounds. Shotgun works better, but the bad part is short-barreled smoothbore gets you in trouble with ATF, and long barrel doesn’t come out of the holster clean. Of course, as always, YMMV.

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: Yes, that would have been clearer. In fairness, I only read the headline, so I may have misinterpreted what the spokesperson intended to say. Still, I’m firmly on the side of “government agencies contextualize all statements according to the world vies the current administration wants to promote” anyway, so a better statement might not have made a difference.

  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I think it was the article published in 2000, so it might not be in the archives. 😉

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: Hey now! You can have safe workplaces, or you can have cheap online-order mattresses. I don’t recall ANYONE promising us both.

  58. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: When the Facebook recruiters reach out to me, I remind them that the entire service is crazy right wing bullshit, and that if they are hiring for people to implement a feature to block all politics, I’m interested, otherwise fuck off.

    I’m positive most people would flip a button that says “turn off political shit” and that the crazy uncles would just be sending shit to each other.

    “You’re not shadow banned, your family just doesn’t want to see that shit. Post more pictures of your dog, you moron.”

  59. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: Hahahaha….I wish you had posted that last quote a while back, I’d have happily memed that shit up and posted it every Monday as a reminder to all the crazy uncles out there. 😉