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:
  2. Teve says:
  3. Teve says:


  4. charon says:
  5. charon says:

    Piece at Post about a gene that affects both the sense of taste and the immune system.

    With 2 copies of the gene, coffee tastes very bitter and you are unlikely to get severely ill with COVID- about 25% of people. With 1 copy, about 50% of people, coffee is sort of bitter and you get COVID but usually mild. The 25% for whom coffee isn’t bitter are the people likely to get hospitalized or die.

  6. charon says:


    People’s perception of taste (coffee tasting very bitter, slightly bitter or not bitter at all, for example) has been known for over a decade to be associated with their immune response to respiratory infections and sinus infections — stronger perception of bitterness reflects stronger immunity. But past studies of this connection have focused on bacterial infections and inflammation, not viruses. Barham wondered whether taste receptors could be connected to the coronavirus.

    From July 1 through Sept. 30, 2020, they followed 1,935 patients and health-care workers who had been exposed to the coronavirus but had neither a previous nor current infection. Each was given the paper-strip taste test, and a subgroup also supplied spit samples

    About half were classified as tasters, a quarter as nontasters, and a quarter as supertasters. During the follow-up period, 266 of the 1,935 people tested positive for the coronavirus. Nontasters, the researchers found in the study published last month, were far more likely to contract the disease and for their symptoms to last longer: an average of 23.5 days — compared to five days for supertasters and 13.5 days for tasters.

    Nontasters were also far more likely to be hospitalized. Of the 55 study participants hospitalized, 47 (85.5 percent) were nontasters. Of the supertasters who tested positive, none needed to be hospitalized. These results indicated the accuracy rate for predicting severity of the disease based on a person’s taster status was 94.2 percent. Barham says the 5.8 percent discrepancy can be explained by the age of some of the participants. The mean age of tasters requiring hospitalization was 74 (the mean age of all participants was 45.5.), and supertasters’ ability to taste diminishes over time.

    As with most scientific research, the implications of this work will require more time and study to be completely understood, as the researchers point out in their conclusion. Experts have varying opinions of what the results mean as pieces of the coronavirus puzzle are assembled.

  7. Kylopod says:

    @charon: Coffee tastes sort of bitter to me. I got Covid and wasn’t hospitalized, but I’m not sure I’d describe what I went through as “mild.”

  8. Teve says:
  9. Teve says:

    Researcher Uncovers ‘Critical Race Theory’ Astroturfing Campaign

    Berman and Company admitted it is the organization behind a campaign protesting against New York City schools curricula.

    By Lorenzo Franceschi

    Rick Berman, an infamous right-wing lobbyist whose organizations have been accused of several astroturfing campaigns—and who is known as “Dr. Evil”—revealed that his firm is behind an organization that claimed to be a grass-roots movement against New York City’s prep schools focus on “diversity education.”

    Last week, the New York Post reported on a “group of parents” that was planning to show billboards showing messages such as “DIVERSITY NOT INDOCTRINATION” and “WOKE SCHOOL? SPEAK OUT.” The Post’s story is centered around and features Prep School Accountability, which describes itself on its official website as “a group of concerned parents.”

    “In recent years, a new orthodoxy has emerged at our schools, dividing our communities based on immutable characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. As a result, the core tenets of high-quality education—uniting all children and families through a love and appreciation for learning and community spirit—have gone by the wayside,” the Prep School Accountability website reads.

    Prep School Accountability is soliciting parents to share their stories “If you or your child have witnessed concerning content or been part of a troubling experience regarding NYC prep school curricula” via a form. The group did not respond to an email sent through that form.

    Nowhere on the site is there any reference to Rick Berman and his right-wing lobbying firm Berman and Co. The site mentions the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR), but specifies that is not affiliated with FAIR. FAIR did not respond to a request for comment.

  10. Teve says:

    Ritzholtz: Cheap is great, but beware of free

    Alternate title: why Teve now pays good money for email, calendar, and VPN.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’m dying here:

    Rex ChapmanHorse racing@RexChapman
    Cats. Are. Jerks…

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Volatile Mermaid

    Why does everything Fox News wants its viewers to be afraid of sound like a cool band? ANTIFA. Reverse Racism. BLM. Caravan of Migrants. Social Justice Warriors. Critical Race Theory. I would absolutely attend this music festival.

    I saw The Gay Agenda open for Jewish Space Laser back in the 80’s.

    Alpha Women’s “Unable To Love” tour was amazing.

  13. charon says:
  14. charon says:


    I am retired, live alone and don’t really socialize either, and I have dodged the bug so far. I guess coffee tastes sort of bitter to me so there’s that.

    I postponed getting the shot for reasons, still two weeks away from the second shot.

  15. Mikey says:


    Researcher Uncovers ‘Critical Race Theory’ Astroturfing Campaign

    Possibly the least surprising news of the month so far.

    And this

    immutable characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

    is demonstrably false. “Race” as these people define it isn’t even a thing, let alone an “immutable characteristic.”

  16. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And here’s a most wonderful reply to that tweet (I wish we could insert images inline with comments, but the best I can do is a link).

  17. steve says:

    Had some time and interest so went back to see how long it took to find the animal origins of various viral illness. HIV first hit the US in 1981. We didnt find the animal origin until 1999. For SARS which started in 2002 it wasn’t until 2017 that we found all of the components on the virus in a single species. Still haven’t found the complete virus to the best fo my knowledge. Ebola had its first outbreak in 1976. We still dont know the origin.

    So while lamb leak was always a possibility the idea that not finding anything in only 2 years constitutes proof does not hold with prior experience.


  18. Teve says:

    @Mikey: plus, that kinda says gay/trans is immutable? Not sure their OAN Treehouse Lucianne Gateway Qbuddies would agree with That!

  19. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Using immigration as a weapon, when life is cheap.

    Bad state with authoritarian leader (Belarus) sponsors planeloads of immigrants that are then dumped on the bordering country (Lithuania) that was critical of authoritarian country.

  20. Teve says:

    LOL TheFederalist now says that restaurants are having to “Bribe” their employees with more money to keep them.

  21. Teve says:

    Remind me, when Adam Neumann was CEO of WeWork and he borrowed millions from the corporation and personally bought expensive office buildings which he then leased back to WeWork at a profit, was The Federalist complaining about the ethics? But have to pay a line cook $2 more bucks an hour and you’re the victim of Organized Crime?

  22. Mikey says:


    LOL TheFederalist now says that restaurants are having to “Bribe” their employees with more money to keep them.

    Also known as “the free market,” which is apparently only a good thing when it benefits the 1%.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Justin Hart

    One of my graduate students is interviewing for a history job at a public institution in Texas and asked me how to respond to a potential question about whether they teach “critical race theory.” Here is what I said, in case it might be useful to others.


  24. Jax says:

    @Teve: Ha! I loved that blog. She’s hilarious! The first book had me in tears I was laughing so hard. I haven’t checked to see if the second one ever came out, thanks for reminding me!

  25. Mimai says:


    Thanks for posting this. I want to highlight one part of the advice, as I think this is so very important……to the particular issue at hand and more broadly to our discourse.

    I think the key is to (gently!) take issue with the premise of the question and avoid answering directly unless they can clarify what they mean by CRT. Start by saying that you’re not entirely sure what they have in mind when they bring up CRT.

    If only this was a common approach! Show genuine curiosity. Ask honest questions. Clarify the key terms. This sets the stage for a productive discussion. In sports language, it’s the warm-up. Of course, this assumes one wants to have a productive discussion.

    My only nitpicks (because I can’t help myself): Do not “take issue” with the premise – rather, seek to understand the basis for the question. You are not “avoid[ing]” anything – rather, you are seeking clarity before engaging (in order to engage) productively. Do not “start by saying you’re not entirely sure what they have in mind” – rather, invite them to “help me understand what you mean by XYZ.”

    These are subtle tweaks. And yet they are powerful (to both members of the dyad). This comes up in a related tweet in the thread.

    Right now, CRT (as many have said) is an empty signifier for “any topic about race that conservatives do not want to discuss.” So insist that they clarify what, exactly, they want you to say you do/don’t teach before you answer the question. Likely, they will be unable to do so.

    Again, the spirit of this is very good. The tone could use some work. in particular, the sentence “So insist that they clarify…” is too combative (again, assuming the intent to productively engage).

    I might revise it thusly: “Invite them to clarify XYZ so that you understand their expectations regarding topics that they consider appropriate and not appropriate to discuss in class.”

    Also, and more generally, it can be very effective to give people’s words back to them – that is, to use the exact words in the exact phrases when inviting your discussant to clarify. Think of it as holding up the verbal mirror. Very effective.

    I appreciate that this may seem silly to some. To them I say that language (words, tone, etc.) is powerful. Exhibit A: the post and comments from yesterday. Exhibit B: 75% of the posts and comments on OTB.

  26. Jax says:

    Hahahahaha……Yep, Allie’s just as funny as she used to be! Thanks for the link earlier, Teve, this preview from the second book was the best laugh I’ve had in a while! 😛

  27. Teve says:

    @Jax: poor Richard 😀

  28. Jay L Gischer says:

    I want to double underline what @Mimai said here.

    And maybe add an exclamation point. I would think of this, just as a sort of metaphorical guide to how it should feel, as they try to pick a fight, you refuse the fight, but instead of turning away, you take a step closer, and say something like “tell me your concerns”.

    Cultivating the ability to do this takes work, though. You have to be able to relax and lean in even when you’ve heard something that you find irritating. Taking your time to reply can help.

    Also, double-plus good for “using their words”. It’s good stuff, and why, even though I endorse the concepts of the left very strongly, I often don’t like the rhetoric or policed terminology. In a way, vocabulary is used to signal what team you are on. That can be useful at times, for sure. But I, for one, am interested in pushing certain concepts beyond the confines of my own team.

  29. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Too wordy. The student wouldn’t get hired if CRT was a thing with the interview panel. If they asked me–I’d tell them I teach history and go on about how the media distorts everything (they’d agree) so for a regular joe like me—I have no idea what CRT even is and means. I teach history–the glorious and dark parts.

    Im sure younger generations would disagree but a job interview is no place for virtue signaling about the culture wars. You either need the money or you need the access (in this case to the students) to make a difference

  30. senyordave says:

    @Teve: TheFederalist now says that restaurants are having to “Bribe” their employees with more money to keep them.
    For The federalist that position makes total sense. If you start out with the position that the “job creators” are some type of god-like class, and the rest of the population are a bunch of leeches, obviously any increases in pay are as a result of some nefarious process. You need to remember that the free market only works one way.

  31. senyordave says:

    Lara Trump, former President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, on Saturday night urged Americans living at the southern border to “arm up” and “get guns” as she railed against President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.
    Is there a contest among the Trumps to see who is the most evil one? I think that Lara Trump might just be the current leader

  32. CSK says:

    What, exactly, is Lara’s area of expertise? (I understand that she’s a former tv producer–Inside Edition–and fitness coach.) I ask only because she recently decided she should be one of the two senators from North Carolina, though that plan appears to have been temporarily shelved.

  33. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Just got caught up on the Founding Fathers thread. The irony of Reynolds telling people that we are telling people they are wrong–the wrong way–was especially tasty. But–he was right.

    A winning strategy is not going to consider what Fox News says about anything. I would work that angle with some oppo research hits on their personalities, producers, and the Murdochs to discredit them. This is about DIRECT R VOTER engagement. The weatherman can say its raining all he wants–but if you come outside your house and the sun is shining–you know the weatherman is full of shit.

    I work and live around Republican voters– a substantial percentage are persuadable about Democrats not being an evil cult bent on destroying America. They don’t live off Fox News but work and socialize with people that do nothing but drink up Conservative media. There are layers to this onion. Democrats are trying to sell policy to a group of people that have been conditioned to thinks they want to destroy the Country. Would you hire a plumber that you thought wanted to destroy your home?

    Republicans are completely exposed on the conservative and technocratic side of governance. Once I get in the mood for some fun I craft my arguments against republicans from this angle–9/10 the Rs and Trumpers are also saying Amen. Trump himself ran against Republicans from the Right and from a competence angle. I find the argument that “no what we do Republicans will say X” to be indicative that the speaker doesn’t really understand the problem. Which is–Fox News is essentially the sole media voice in these R 40 areas. Mass media is not the only way to get a message out. State D parties have responsibility to mobilize their base and craft narratives that can resonate enough to get these R 40 places down to R 30 and R 25.

    Kim Kardashian made white women want full lips and big asses so don’t tell me its not possible. It takes work and commitment–something Republicans did about 40 years ago that is now paying off for them.

  34. Mister Bluster says:

    @charon:..I postponed getting the shot for reasons…

    Me too. I was always concerned about side effects so I figured the one shot was what I wanted. I vaguely recall hearing or reading that older populations were more likely to suffer after the injection than younger people. Or maybe it was the other way around. Then about 5 weeks ago the gal that cuts my hair who is easily 40 years younger than me said she got the one shot and was extremely dibilitated for three days. That did not encourage me to run out and get poked. Finally three weeks ago yesterday I went to the temporary vaccine distribution site that was closest to home on the last day before they shut down.
    I’ve never had any aversion to shots so the injection was no problem. After the obligatory 15 minute detainment I drove home and waited. A minor sour taste in my mouth that I think lingered into the next day. That was it.
    Healthy me. I guess.

  35. DrDaveT says:


    LOL TheFederalist now says that restaurants are having to “Bribe” their employees with more money to keep them.

    The infection is spreading to other industries. Why, my very own employer now has to bribe me with money and benefits to get me to work for them! Where will it end!?

  36. Mimai says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    a job interview is no place for virtue signaling about the culture wars

    No doubt true! A job interview is a good place to determine values alignment between candidate and employer. Of course, where one sets the parameters for this alignment (job specific or more generally) is individually determined.

  37. charon says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Mostly worried about missing doctor appointments because of a reaction. With a broken bone, I was especially not wanting to need to reschedule any orthopedic appointments.

  38. Gustopher says:


    Experts have varying opinions of what the results mean as pieces of the coronavirus puzzle are assembled.

    I think it means that covid was genetically engineered in a lab by sentient coffee beans who were angry about their brethren being boiled alive.

    Odd that they released it in China, where people drink more tea than coffee though.

  39. Kathy says:

    Bibi is toast.

    Hopefully his pal Trump will follow him to prison.

  40. Kathy says:


    Preposterous. A sentient seed is the equivalent of a baby. No way they could manage to plan something like this.

    Sentient coffee shrubs tired of seeing their offspring picked, dried, roasted , and boiled, though, are a distinct possibility.

    Odd that they released it in China, where people drink more tea than coffee though.

    That’s just clever. in China, suspicion would fall on tea plants.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Im sure younger generations would disagree but a job interview is no place for virtue signaling about the culture wars. You either need the money or you need the access (in this case to the students) to make a difference

    Depends on how much you need that particular job. Dealing with right-wing assholes is miserable. If you’re not desperate, why not filter them out?

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  43. Teve says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Im sure younger generations would disagree but a job interview is no place for virtue signaling about the culture wars.

    I agree. It would be improper for that interviewer to virtue signal by asking such a question.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: 🙂 😀 😛

  45. Kurtz says:


    I appreciate that this may seem silly to some. To them I say that language (words, tone, etc.) is powerful. Exhibit A: the post and comments from yesterday. Exhibit B: 75% of the posts and comments on OTB.

    For some of us, this is difficult. Of course if one finds it difficult, the reward is sweeter if it works toward a productive discussion. And if it doesn’t, we’ll the other party isn’t interested in productive discussion at that moment. Hopefully you’ve planted something the other half of the dyad may grasp later.

  46. Kurtz says:


    They better bring in the keg before this gets out of hand!

  47. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: if ultraconservatives want to take over a religious denomination, I’m fine with that. Be as mean and intolerant and hateful as possible. Let the hate flow through you.

  48. Teve says:


    You can be opposed to Trump’s reinstatement this August (I am), and still think it’s important for Biden to attend Trump’s reinstatement ceremony.

  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: “Use The Farce, Puke. Use The Farce.”

  50. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Apparently Southern Baptists don’t know that pirates drank prodigiously (horrors!), cursed (double horrors!), and ravished women (unspeakable!).

  51. flat earth luddite says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    Oh, I’ve been known to employers. Not as a virtue signaler, but as a complete asshole. A standing joke in Portland was that there were 65 pages of lawyers in the phonebook, and if you played the three degrees of separation game with my name, half were convinced that I walked on water. The other half were convinced that I lived across the street from Satan, and was his golfing buddy. Both statements were true.

    There were interviews that, halfway through, I’d just say that I don’t think we’re a good fit, and try to graciously end things. Of course, there were ones where I couldn’t contain the giggles until I was out the door. Probably why I’m a poor retiree instead of a wealthy one.

  52. flat earth luddite says:

    @Teve: @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    When Cracker sent me this earlier today, I immediately pictured Emperor Palpatine in the Senate chamber from Star Wars ???, speaking to the SBC delegates. Maybe we need to give him an eyepatch, hook, and parrot too?

  53. Jim Brown 32s says:

    @Gustopher: I find that they are only assholes if you talk politics. Its the new religion–best to avoid it. Unless its the rare instance when you can give a couple of thoughts that make people aware of their cognitive biases. I like to read about politics and type small essays about my views–don’t like to discuss it much with people that can only digest it from a surface level (which happens to be about 95% percent of people.)

  54. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Teve: Ha Ha–If I were that History student–I would be plotting my exit as soon as possible to a different gig if they hired me. A panel wasting an interview question about CRT can’t be serious about the finding a professional.

  55. JohnSF says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Kim Kardashian made white women want full lips and big asses

    I’d say more KK made some women with big asses decide that all men should, therefore, appreciate big asses.
    Some men responding, big, maybe.
    Enormous, possibly not.

  56. JohnSF says:

    Especially those who saw the Kardashians and thought “WTFIGOH?”

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: No. It’s that they don’t care when the metaphor meets their needs. They can sanctify piracy in much the same way as they did FG. They usually go back to Genesis where Joseph is explaining to his brothers (regarding the leaving him for dead in a pit incident) that while they intended it for evil, God intended it for good.

    I’m not sure that I understand why the same theory doesn’t apply to the clones of 1987 stem cells, but apparently it doesn’t. Those will forever be tainted as an abomination.

  58. Teve says:

    @Jim Brown 32: exactly.

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: Eh… I had a couple of that type of interview in Korea. My favorite was the one where the first question from the screening committee was “You’re 6o years old; why are you even looking for a job in the first place?” That would have been more humorous if only 1) the person asking it hadn’t been a contemporary of mine (or at least within a year or two) and 2) if two of the requirements for the data you must list on your resume/vita weren’t your date of birth (including birth year) and a head shot no older than within the past 6 months (proof of the date of the photo to be submitted upon request). The interview spiraled slowly to the ground, sort of like a maple (?) seed pod, from there.

  60. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Arr, we’ll, ye see, they ain’t so much rules as guidelines.

  61. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I know; I was joking. But it is truly amazing that they can transform anything into what they want it to be so effortlessly. After all, they made Donald Trump into a God-fearing, patriotic, honest, morally upright family man, faithful to his wife and devoted to his children, didn’t they?

  62. Teve says:
  63. Kurtz says:


    Nor that Trump would drive a Bentley with his adolescent son up front and Melania in the backseat

  64. Jax says:

    @Teve: I couldn’t help but notice he left out the part where Trump had to get UP and IN to that truck….it would really ruin the hero worship, I suspect. 😉

  65. Jax says:

    @Teve: $399 for that print?! I am totally in the wrong business.

  66. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: They have delusions of Trumps ability to drive.

    Hmm. I wonder if he even has a driver’s license. Part of me hopes he cannot vote in 2024 because of new voter id laws.

  67. Gustopher says:


    Apparently Southern Baptists don’t know that pirates drank prodigiously (horrors!), cursed (double horrors!), and ravished women (unspeakable!).

    Well, the women were obviously harlots and whores. So that part is fine.

    “Hate the sin, love the (white, straight, male) Sinner” and all that.

    Of course, were pirates white? That might be a problem.

  68. Gustopher says:

    I’m trying to get my brother into the QAnon Anonymous podcast, since he claims politics is just funny, but keeps veering towards the crazy. Gateway Pundit links are increasing.

    Anyone have any other ideas? Fun, entertaining, and undermining his increasingly solidifying batshit insane belief in reality? Far enough out there that it won’t be seen as a direct threat to where he is now?

  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Legends in their own minds.