Sunday’s Forum

It's all because of you.

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. OzarkHillbilly says:


    During a press briefing, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked why Donald Trump accused Barack Obama of committing a crime this week and asked her to name the crime. After listing issues with people in office while Obama was president, she said it was reporters’ responsibility to ‘answer the question’ of what Obama did that was against the law. She ignored the reporter pointing out it is the White House press secretary’s duty to respond to questions about something the president said

    I just can’t listen to these lying duplicitous cowards anymore (but maybe you have a stronger stomach than I) but this is just such an egregious statement I had to make note of it.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Robinson Meyer

    In Virginia, officials are blending the results of viral tests and antibody tests into one statistic so they can report more favorable numbers to the public.

    It’s one of several ways US coronavirus data remains messy. New, from me and @alexismadrigal

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Telegraph

    A factory in Colombia is making hospital beds that can be turned into a coffin if the patient dies

    These dual-purpose beds are designed for #COVID19 patients

    When life gives you pandemics, make coffin beds??

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Seattle Times:

    Earlier this week, workers at a state health department warehouse in Tumwater, Thurston County, expected to receive a large shipment of 68,000 nasal swabs to help expand coronavirus testing in Washington. Instead, they received a surprise substitution: Dozens of boxes marked “Comforts For Baby Cotton Swabs” packed with what appeared to be thousands of Q-tips.

    Typically unsuitable for medical tests, the Q-tip-style swabs prompted Reed Schuler, a senior adviser to Gov. Jay Inslee, to place a head-scratching call to the White House coronavirus task force.

    “I asked, ‘What exactly is this shipment we’re getting?’ And they said, ‘Oh sorry, ignore the packaging. You were supposed to get a memo explaining that shipment,’ ” Schuler said Friday.

    The task force later sent a memo from U.S. Cotton, LLC, explaining the swabs actually were produced specifically for nasal specimen collection.

    “The packaging used (comforts for baby cotton swabs) for a portion of the initial FEMA production does not accurately reflect the contents,” a memo signed by company president and CEO John B. Nims said. “Be assured that the printed packaging does contain the F.D.A. approved sterilized polyester spun swab for specimen collection of COVID-19.”

    Sure it does. Remember “Trust but verify?” With this admin, it’s always always always, “Don’t trust.”

    But the way the swabs arrived in Washington this week — 22,000 in bulk, packed into the scores of mislabeled boxes — puzzled state health workers, Schuler said. The nasopharyngeal (NP) and nasal swabs widely used for specimen collection typically come individually wrapped in sterile packaging to avoid contamination.

    “Having boxes full of swabs in bulk raises questions about sterility and whether we can use them at all,” Schuler said.

    The state must now conduct quality assurance tests before determining whether and how it can use the swabs to enhance its coronavirus testing, he said. That could involve taking laborious steps to individually package each swab before distribution, what Schuler described as “just another obstacle in a wild saga to expand testing.”

    The surprise shipment marks the latest wrinkle in the Trump administration’s promise for more testing supplies that has fallen far short of the state’s expectations, Inslee’s office has said.

    Much more at the link.

  5. Teve says:

    Obamas 2020 commencement speech

    Choice excerpt:

    Since I’m one of the old guys, I won’t tell you what to do with this power that rests in your hands. But I’ll leave you with three quick pieces of advice.
    First, don’t be afraid. America’s gone through tough times before — slavery and civil war, famine and disease, the Great Depression and 9/11. And each time we came out stronger, usually because a new generation, young people like you, learned from past mistakes and figured out how to make things better.
    Second, do what you think is right. Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy — that’s how little kids think. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way — which is why things are so screwed up. I hope that instead, you decide to ground yourself in values that last, like honesty, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, respect for others. You won’t get it right every time, you’ll make mistakes like we all do. But if you listen to the truth that’s inside yourself, even when it’s hard, even when its inconvenient, people will notice. They’ll gravitate towards you. And you’ll be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

  6. Tyrell says:

    NASCAR starts back up today at Darlington Raceway in SC.
    Darlington: “the track too tough to tame”
    Best Darlington drivers: Cale Yarborough (the “Timmonsville Tiger”), David Pearson (the “Silver Fox”, Richard Petty(“King Richard”), Dale Earnhardt, Buck Baker, Junior Johnson, Bill Elliott (“Awesome Bill from Dawsonville”), Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Fred Lorenzon (“Fastback Fred”) among many.
    I went to Darlington often when I was young. The hottest, loudest place on earth. Watch the 1964 and ’65 races: really different compared to now. I was at those races, and attended races there until the 1990s.
    NASCAR and WWE are getting things done while the MLB and NBA are still thinking about it. Some of those California teams could be looking at other states.

  7. Bill says:
  8. CSK says:

    Come on, give poor old Kayleigh a break. Nobody know what Obamagate is, including Trump.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Shorter tyrell: I need to be entertained!!! even if people die.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    McConnell Admits He Was Wrong to Say Obama Left Trump Without Pandemic Plan
    The former administration left behind a 69-page document.

    Ronald Klain

    May 12
    I’ve had people tweet at me in the past 24 hours:

    Did the pandemic playbook really exist?
    Was it really a clearly marked “playbook”?
    Would it have helped?

    Here’s the cover, and the table of contents. You decide.

    Always always always ask the question, is the trump admin (and by extension the GOP) lying to me?

    99 time out of a hundred the answer will be yes, and the few times the answer is no? Know that that truth is in service to a larger lie.

  11. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “NASCAR and WWE are getting things done while the MLB and NBA are still thinking about it.”

    Yes, they are driving around tracks and staging fake fights. Meanwhile 100,000 Americans have died of a disease for which there is no cure and very few tests. Glad you’ve got your priorities straight.

  12. senyorDave says:

    @Tyrell: NASCAR and WWE are getting things done while the MLB and NBA are still thinking about it.
    To lump MLB and NBA with NASCAR and the WWE shows a fundamental lack of understanding as to how the different entities operate. Just from a financial standpoint, consider that MLB and NBA teams are franchises operating as part of a unified league, and each franchise is worth at least $1 billion (Florida Marlins are only $980M) . I suspect the owners are much less likely to put their product at risk than the WWE or NASCAR.
    Why would the NBA even re-open? The season normally ends in the middle of June. It is a close contact sport where a player who has the virus could easily infect every other player on the court. I assume they have written off the playoffs, and will hope to start the 2020-2021 season on time.
    My understanding is the MLB is still consulting medical professionals and working with the unions to determine if and when they can come up with a modified season.
    WWE had their event in Florida. They got special consideration when the governor declared the WWE an essential business, which is not surprising since Linda McMahon is a big GOP donor. I assume its no skin off their nose if the wrestlers get the virus since they are independent contractors and the WWE has shown numerous times that the wrestlers are on their own if they get sick or injured.
    NASCAR has seen a huge drop in popularity the last decade and a half. TV ratings in 2005 were more than twice as high as they were in 2019. NASCAR can’t afford to miss an opportunity to be one of the only major entertainment venues operating. Aside from pit row there really is limited contact, so racing seems like it could be done with relatively low risk.

  13. Pete S says:

    So is it safe to assume that if Trump brought back Roman Empire style gladiator fighting, you would watch it? Death is okay for your entertainment?

  14. Teve says:

    @senyorDave: you really need to start using bold tags, or italics, or quote marks, or blockquoting, or something to separate the text you’re quoting from the text you are writing.

  15. Mikey says:

    Well, apparently if the person Trump shoots in the middle of Fifth Avenue is a senior citizen, it actually would lose him some supporters.

    For some seniors, virus is shifting their views of Trump

    According to a recent Morning Consult poll, Mr. Trump’s approval rating among voters over the age of 65 dropped 20 points between March and the end of April, making seniors more critical of the president’s performance than any other age group aside from 18- to 29-year-olds. Much of that decline seems directly related to the virus, which so far has posed a far more serious health threat to older people.

    I guess America’s elderly aren’t so willing to be shoveled into the maw of Trump’s incompetence and Wall Street greed. Too bad they didn’t realize how expendable everyone is to the modern Republican Party until it was their turn in the barrel.

  16. Sleeping Dog says:
  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Whoa. That picture of him scowling in front of Lincoln’s portrait was… Well, if someone challenged me to imagine someone dressed up for the Racist Gun Nuts Club annual awards dinner where he would be honored as “The Racist Most Likely To Start Shooting In A House of Worship“, that would be my mental image.

  18. wr says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “What do you bet he claims free speech?”

    It was sarcasm.

  19. CSK says:

    I attended–if that’s the right word–my first Zoom memorial service yesterday, for an old, old friend who died last October. His daughters had originally intended to hold it in one of his favorite restaurants, but obviously with the pandemic that was impossible. Anyway, it was a wonderful service, with a few tears and a lot of laughter.

  20. CSK says:

    “OBAMAGATE!”–that one single word–is now a pinned tweet at #realdonaldtrump. He also has up a meme of Kayleigh Whosis as Superwoman, and hasn’t yet deleted that ridiculous photoshopped clip that superimposes Trump’s head on Bill Pullman’s body in the scene from Independence Day where Pullman gives his rousing speech.

    Rick Wilson had the best response to the clip: “25th Amendment.”

  21. Teve says:

    @CSK: Yesterday Obama gave an eight minute speech to the class of 2020 and the nation as a whole, that demonstrated values and leadership and temperament.

    On the same day, Trump retweeted a two minute clip of his head photoshopped on Bill Pullman’s body giving a speech from the movie Independence Day.

    Every supporter of Donald Trump owes the nation, and the world, an apology.

  22. CSK says:

    I know. I just pointed out that Trump still has that ghastly photoshopped clip up on his Twitter feed. Couldn’t someone, somewhere prevail on him to take it down? If you suffer from vicarious embarrassment as badly as I do, you’re dying. The man is such a buffoon.

  23. Slugger says:

    @Tyrell: The prices for high-end collectible cars seem to be good:
    Ferraris, Mercedes, and such are not getting cheaper. High end real estate is also strong. There appears to be a big difference between the 2006-2009 downturn and the current one. In the current one the lower end of the economic scale seems to be taken most of the punishment. The less moneyed are facing unemployment or working for $12/hour frontline jobs complete with viral exposure while we richie riches are doing ok. Interesting!

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I do have to admit that WWE is beginning to show some feel for doing the oldtimey studio shows from almost half a century ago again. My guess is that the added rehearsal time because nobody has to travel anywhere other than the Performance Center is showing some dividends.

    The stagey entrances with the wrestlers mugging at crowds that are no longer there are still lame, though.

  25. Michael Cain says:

    @Slugger: My wife and I are looking to move later this year to be closer to the granddaughters, and to have a smaller place. Our neighbor is a real estate broker. She says that along the Front Range urban corridor here in Colorado, listings and sales are both down substantially, but prices haven’t budged.

  26. Liberal Capitalist says:

    The prices for high-end collectible cars seem to be good

    Hopefully, the prices of half-assed collectibles hold as well.

    I am finally getting to the end of a nearly 4 year journey of rebuilding a 1969 Corvette Convertible. Monaco (“Hugger”) orange, white top, black interior, 350/350. My intent was to see what it would feel like to drive a new, off-the-line 1969 corvette. Everything done has been to stay true to the original car and/or model year. (examples: red-wall tires… because in October 1968, white letter tires were still not available. 1969-only factory features: front-fender chrome vents, Chrome side pipes. See those two on any other year vette, it’s not original). You have no idea how hard it is to get a date matching carb, or a mono AM/FM radio that works and doesn’t look as if it is 50 years old. The right steering column with tilt. The only change for safety: the tires are steel belted, not polyglass. So much freakin’ research.

    Why: My heroes were astronauts, and they drove some bad-assed stingrays.

    What I have learned: Putting money in a basket and setting it on fire would have been more expedient.

    I’m lucky in being part of the UMC/LUC… which seemed so far away when I was a Detroiter, downriver, and listing to Seger sing that aspirational ditty.

    Now, once done, it will be trucked down to Florida, parked, and driven to the beach.

    If the universe continues to love me like it does, a hurricane will hit my southern abode dead on, so I can cash that out, as the car is insured for half the price of the house. 🙂

  27. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Think about it. Five months into a pandemic that has killed over 100K Americans and will kill many, many more, McConnell, with power and responsibilities second only to Trump, is so disconnected from it all that he truly didn’t even know there was a pandemic response plan. Not just didn’t read it or consult it. Didn’t know it existed. He just doesn’t see the pandemic or the governments response to it as anything he should be interested in.

    That one fact tells you everything you need to know about the national Republican Party.

  28. CSK says:

    On Friday Rush Limbaugh told Mike Pence that some of the governors of the blue states are keeping their states closed in order to inflict as much pain on Donald Trump as possible.

  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    One of the better years for collectible C3 vette.

    My intent was to see what it would feel like to drive a new, off-the-line 1969 corvette.

    At the risk of being snarky, oh hell, I’ll be snarky, the build quality of late 60’s Corvettes was so bad your car will likely drive better than it did coming off the assembly line. To match the original’s quality, you’ll need to forget some bolts and not tighten others. 🙂

    Enjoy the car and good luck when you sell it.

  30. Tyrell says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I am not sure of the message there, but I appreciate your reply and comments. The WWE and the Darlington race will not have spectators in seats. At least with the Darlington race, we can watch it for free. I would feel more in danger driving to the race track than getting some disease there. I am looking at the schedule for the next race and I might try that one. Then it is just two hours to the beach from the track. So I could knock out two birds with one stone.
    We have two Covid cases in our county, and those came in March. There have been four traffic fatalities.
    “All roads lead to Darlington”

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Regarding holes that you throw money into but never fill up: classic car/sailboat, potayto/potahto. 😉

  32. JohnMcC says:

    @Slugger: During the ’08 – ’09 Great Recession I did a little personal interest sparked researching locally. The Porsche/Jaguar dealer here in St Pete and the high-end power yacht dealer were both doing great. My recall of that event is that it missed an awful lot of wealthy people. Wasn’t surprised.

  33. Gustopher says:


    There have been four traffic fatalities.
    “All roads lead to Darlington”

    Ok, I’m beginning to see the problem — poor traffic management that results in all cars having to go through the same spot. You should get involved with your local government, and start showing up to some town board meetings and suggest that they get rid some real urban planners involved.

  34. JohnMcC says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: A story I heard in high school which is a VERY long time ago: A fellow in Pennsylvania bought a brand new 1962 Corvette. Drove it home and put it in his garage and proceeded to brick up the vehicle entry of his garage. Neighbor asks what the hell? That, the fellow replies, is my retirement.

    Funny how the memory of ‘in Pennsylvania’ sticks with me. A little tic that probably validates a totally apocryphal legend.

  35. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Regarding holes that you throw money into but never fill up: classic car/sailboat

    Yesterday was my 32nd anniversary of sobriety.

    And, when I got sober, the first things to go was the ski boat… then soon after the Hobie. Well, that was first after a long list of government imposed suggestions.

    Somehow, spending a day on the boat with a bunch of drunks that don’t stick around to clean up the mess… not really fun.

    Funny fact: when I went for my TSA frequent traveler in-person interview, the last question was: Kid, you ever been in jail?

    I said: Of course! I’m from Detroit!

    Still got my TSA okey-dokey precheck approved.

  36. CSK says:

    Eric Trump, who along with his older brother is vying for the coveted Dullard of the Year Award, told Jeanine Pirro that the Democrats are inventing coronavirus shutdowns to prevent his father from holding rallies.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    SEATTLE — An innovative coronavirus testing program in the Seattle area — promoted by billionaire Bill Gates and local public health officials as a way of conducting wider surveillance on the invisible spread of the virus — has been ordered by the federal government to stop its work pending additional reviews. And I, for one, am absolutely positive that there’s no connection whatsoever between this decision and criticism of the administration’s coronavirus response by Melissa Gates earlier this past week. Nuh huh, none whatsoever.

    (And just for the record, on my craziness, there’s no may be about it. 😉 )

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Honesty is most often the best policy. As I have frequently noted, when the truth don’t make you free, it’s probably because you ain’t got no freedom comin’.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Democrats are inventing coronavirus shutdowns to prevent his father from holding rallies.

    Because soooooooooo many of them have been held in blue states and were sooooooooooooo popular. Somehow dullard doesn’t seem fair. Lots of dullards would never even try that claim as too ridiculous.

  40. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Yeah; I don’t notice Trump holding rallies in Yankee Stadium or Dodger Stadium or Wrigley Field.

  41. Teve says:

    “Eric Trump is the reason Don Junior believes himself to be smart.”

    -john fugelsang

  42. CSK says:

    Okay, that made me laugh out loud. Very clever. And very astute of Fugelsang.

  43. CSK says:

    The video incorporated in this article is very good. Painful to watch, because Trump comes off as such a monumental horse’s ass in comparison to other world leaders, but good:

    I’m still finding it hard to believe this malevolent buffoon ever became president, or that so many of my fellow countrymen and women think he’s the greatest president of their lifetimes.

  44. sam says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Regarding holes that you throw money into but never fill up: classic car/sailboat.

    “Two happiest days of my life: The day I bought my boat and the day I sold it.”

  45. CSK says:

    Sounds what the mother of a friend of mine said about having her adult children visit: “Always glad to see you come; always glad to see you go.”

  46. sam says:

    And speaking of Corvettes

  47. Gustopher says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Funny fact: when I went for my TSA frequent traveler in-person interview, the last question was: Kid, you ever been in jail?

    I said: Of course! I’m from Detroit!

    If was for littering, wasn’t it? Officer Obie up to his old tricks again…

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    This episode, Miri, of Star Trek (1966) is on H+I TV at 7pm CDT tonight (Sun).

    The Enterprise receives an old style SOS signal and finds on arrival a planet that is virtually identical to Earth. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Yeoman Rand beam down to the planet only to find that it is inhabited solely by children. Kirk befriends one of the older children, Miri, but they soon learn that experiments to prolong life killed all of the adults and that the children will also die when they reach puberty. They also learn that the children are in fact, very old. Soon, the landing party contracts the virus and has seven days to find a cure.

    Apparently the children of Gene Roddenberry, William Shatner and Grace Lee Whitney are cast in the production.

  49. @Mister Bluster: We used to call that one the “creeping crud” episode when we were kids.

    And the “bonk bonk on the head” stuff is downright cringey.

  50. Bill says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    This episode, Miri, of Star Trek (1966) is on H+I TV at 7pm CDT tonight (Sun).

    A couple of notes on the episode-

    1 Kim Darby (True Grit) and Michael J Pollard (Bonnie and Clyde) guest star in the episode and both are way too old to be play pre-pubsecent children. They were 18 and 27 respectively at the time

    2 The image for the planet in the episode when it was originally broadcast* was Earth.

    *- Around 10-15 years ago, original ST episodes were remastered and the images of planets and special effects were altered.

  51. Bill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And the “bonk bonk on the head” stuff is downright cringey.

    Yet it is so memorable, I might use it for a Amazon quote. When reviewing movies or television shows, I always find a quote to go along with it.

  52. @Bill: Definitely memorable!

  53. Teve says:

    Mother of God. I guess Ben Sasse saw Obama‘s speech and thought he could do that too.

    This might be the worst attempted speech I’ve ever seen.