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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Many surprise medical bills are now illegal

    Effective today, federal law bans many types of out-of-network medical bills and puts the onus on doctors and health insurance companies to resolve their payment disputes.

    Why it matters: Consumers can breathe a sigh of relief because, in many scenarios, they should no longer face unexpected charges from doctors who are not in their insurance networks.

    How it works: Patients still have to pay in-network copays, deductibles and other cost-sharing, which have been rising, but any additional out-of-network bills are now prohibited for the following services:

    Emergency care in a hospital ER, a freestanding ER or urgent care center.

    Elective care at an in-network hospital or surgery center, but where doctors — notably anesthesiologists, pathologists, radiologists and assistant surgeons — may be out-of-network. This is also known as “drive-by doctoring.”

    Air ambulances.

    Have a happy.

  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    Just Don’t Call it Cancel Culture

    Digby has a list of TFG cancellations.

  3. Mikey says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Of course they whine about “cancel culture” while openly engaging in it. When it comes to Trump and his worshipers, every accusation is a confession.

  4. Kathy says:

    After the Pan Am book, I hit a lecture series on the American economy on the 20th century. Interestingly, it was produced in the late 90s, as that as far as data gets cited and comparisons get made. More interesting, some issues of the late 90s are still relevant today. In particular income inequality and large concentrations of capital (though the players were different), and of course long term budget deficits.

    Now I’m on a short series by Dr. Steven novella called The Skeptic’s Guide to Alternative Medicine.

    Following that, I expect I’ll switch tracks back to some ancient history.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Retrieved after decades: the painting supposedly ‘bought’ by the Nazis

    Fresh proof that the Nazis set up fake auctions and phoney paperwork to disguise their looting of art and valuable possessions has been uncovered by an amateur sleuth researching her own family mystery.

    French writer Pauline Baer de Perignon’s investigation has revealed the fate of a missing collection of art that included work by Monet, Renoir and Degas and also exposed the reluctance of Europe’s leading museums to accept evidence of the deceit.

    Baer was prompted to look into the past when she bumped into an English cousin who told her he believed the family had been “robbed”.

    “The whole thing has changed my life,” said Baer this weekend. “I have had to look back at a long-forgotten family story as well as at the hidden secrets of the Gestapo. And then I had to confront the truth about paintings held by galleries such as the Louvre and the state museum in Dresden. I was so naive when I started.”

    Baer’s three years of research have led not just to a better understanding of the way in which significant works of art were systematically stolen after Germany invaded France, but will culminate later this month in the high-profile sale of a recovered painting at Sotheby’s in New York.

    I’m looking forward to the book.

  6. Kathy says:

    I’m currently streaming Stargirl on HBO Max.

    The first season felt a bit like it was dragging on, then suddenly got very complicated and busy in a hurry. That aside, it has some interesting developments.

    One is the reluctant sidekick. Usually the sidekick can’t wait to get into action, but this time Pat, aka S.T.R.I.P.E., tries really hard to get the hero, his step daughter Courtney, from getting heroic. Partly because she’s a teenager, no doubt.

    The other thing was the odd cast of supervillains. Not that they are second-tier (or lower) comic book characters few have ever heard of (I hadn’t), as that is true of the superheroes as well (Hour Man?). No, what’s odd is most of them have families and are invested in a small town in Nebraska.

    This reminded me of the last exhibit hall of the Mob Museum* in Vegas. It showed lots and lots of family portraits and photos of various mobsters with their spouses, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, cousins, etc.

    It is odd to see a person be protective of their children, then sent a hit man to kill a teenager and her parents. Or to see him relive the tender memories of his wife’s last days, then go and kill the son of a reluctant colleague.

    You can imagine a mafia don doing the same things.

    Then there’s the whole plan of the villain cabal, but that’s a spoiler.

    Overall, I give it a C+, mostly on the sloooow buildup which did not include proper preparation or planning by the heroes, not to mention the quick turnaround by Courtney’s mom.

    *Properly called the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. Highly recommended.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I’m curious about your reaction to the book on alternative medicine. I have to admit that to me the whole field seems so riddled with nonsense, quackery, and buffoonery it seems a complete waste of time trying to find a few words of wisdom in the ear rending cacophony of crazies and hucksters.

  8. Kathy says:


    Oh, it’s not riddled with nonsense. It is nonsense top to bottom.

    Dr. Novella has been fighting against it, and other pseudosciences, for decades, largely in his blog Neurologica.

    The value of this book is the contrast with real, accurate medical practice and research, which is what much of it will be about. In the first lecture he describes the types of clinical trials succinctly with remarkable precision.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Ah, I see. From the title I thought it was of the “I was a skeptic until shark cartilage supplements shrank my tumors!” variety.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Teens and young adults driving record Covid cases in US, health officials say

    For once I get to unironically say, “Kids these days…”
    And “Back in my day….”

    And oh yeah, “Get off my lawn!!!”

  11. Kathy says:


    I had my pseudoscience phase between 9 and 16 or so.

  12. becca says:

    Well, it’s snowing in Memphis. More precipitation than expected. This after a week of 70+ degrees. The lake is steaming with swirling clouds on the surface, really beautiful. We have a fire going and no where to go. I made big pots of soup and a cherry pie yesterday so I don’t even have to cook.
    These are the moments that make life worthwhile, even in all the chaos.

  13. CSK says:

    Liz Cheney speaking of Donald Trump this morning on Face the Nation: “…I can tell you that the single most important thing, though, is to ensure that Donald Trump is not the Republican nominee and that certainly he is not anywhere near the Oval Office ever again.”

    I can’t say I disagree with that sentiment.

  14. CSK says:

    Homemade soup? Cherry pie? I’ll be right down.

  15. becca says:

    @CSK: C”mon over! I made broccoli cheese, some jambalaya and a spicy root veg with white beans and sausage. Cleaning out the holiday larder.
    There’s some buttermilk praline ice cream to top the pie, too. Once a caterer, always a caterer…

  16. CSK says:

    …white beans and sausage…

    I’m dying up here.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:

    Finland insists on its right to join NATO in defiance of Russia

    We have no idea what Putin’s end game is, but he is encouraging greater resistance on his borders.

    Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email li******* to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at

    Both president Sauli Niinisto and prime minister Sanna Marin used their new year addresses to underscore that Finland retained the option of seeking Nato membership at any time.

    “Let it be stated once again: Finland’s room to manoeuvre and freedom of choice also include the possibility of military alignment and of applying for Nato membership, should we ourselves so decide,” Niinisto said.

    Marin added in her separate speech that every country had the right to decide its own security policy, stressing: “We have shown that we have learnt from the past. We will not let go of our room for manoeuvre.”


    Leading politicians in all three Baltic countries believe that Finnish and Swedish membership of Nato is crucial for improving the security situation on Russia’s western border amid worries not just about Ukraine but also Belarus and its use of migrants to test Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

    Finland and Sweden joining Nato “could make entire northern Europe much more stable and safer,” said Marko Mihkelson, head of Estonia’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee.

  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    It is odd to see a person be protective of their children, then sent a hit man to kill a teenager and her parents. Or to see him relive the tender memories of his wife’s last days, then go and kill the son of a reluctant colleague.

    It’s only odd to the extent that Calvinism (at least that’s what I’ll blame) has given us the idea of certain people being comprehensively evil. If you set that concept aside, you can see that one is family and the other is business. (It also explains why Medellin was a tourist destination in the 90s despite being the home of a significant drug cartel. Nobody wants their children living in a dystopian sh!thole if they can help it–not even drug lords.)

  19. Gustopher says:


    The other thing was the odd cast of supervillains. Not that they are second-tier (or lower) comic book characters few have ever heard of (I hadn’t), as that is true of the superheroes as well (Hour Man?). No, what’s odd is most of them have families and are invested in a small town in Nebraska.

    They’re all the Justice Society heroes, and they’ve been around for many decades. If you have a fondness for comic books, there was a good run by Geoff Johns where he reintroduced them.

    There is also an excellent comic series, Starman, by James Robinson, which tells the story of everyone else who carried the cosmic rod, or the cosmic belt, or the name, as Jack Knight, son of the original Starman, slowly grows into the role, before handing it off. It’s about 100 issues long, and the JSA or their children or other legacy characters pop up from time to time.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @becca: My wife made the annual seafood paella for the fam yesterday and I made couple apple pies. Guess who else is having leftovers?

  21. CSK says:

    I love paella, too. And homemade apple pie.

    Actually, I love everything but Lima beans. They make me gag.

  22. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Well, sure, if you want to take into account the various complexities involved in human character, personality, motivation, and spoil all the fun, why not? 😉

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Zephyr1701 RN

    This jackass

    Reading is fundamental.

  24. Kathy says:


    It’s odd. I like superhero movies and tv, and especially the animated versions, but I can’t stand superhero comic books.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: My wife grew up on the island of Majorca, the daughter of a fisherman and his fishmonger wife. My MiL made the best seafood paella and my wife learned from her. Even if she can’t get ingredients as fresh as her mother could, the finished product is pretty damned close.

  26. CSK says:

    I almost feel sorry for Rubio. The Trumpkims hate his guts.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I’ll never feel anything for that grasping sycophant.

  28. CSK says:

    I said “almost,” didn’t I? 😀

  29. CSK says:

    Well, I’m sure it’s delicious. I’m fortunate to live in an area where obtaining fresh seafood is no problem. Have you ever had cioppino?

  30. Jax says:

    @CSK: Cioppino! That was the best thing about living near the coast in Washington and Oregon. I’ve tried making it at home here, but it’s just not the same.

  31. senyordave says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Here’s rubio about Omicron:
    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Friday decried the public response to the wave of new COVID-19 cases due to omicron variant, writing on Twitter that it was an “irrational hysteria.”
    “Record numbers testing positive for a sore throat isn’t a crisis And people in the hospital for car accidents testing positive isn’t a surge,” Rubio tweeted. “The real crisis is the irrational hysteria which has people with no symptoms waiting hours for a test or missing work for 10 days.”
    Maybe he’ll get a sore throat that puts him in the hospital. Rubio acts like a 11 year old boy, I expect he will have a press conference one day where all he does is go nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah.

  32. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Just curious — do you like non-superhero comic books?

    Is it the medium that doesn’t work for you, or something about superhero stories in the medium? A series of still pictures of a fight is entirely different from a movie, while something like Ghost World or Maus doesn’t hinge upon that.

    (picking two generally beloved comics without action scenes).

  33. Gustopher says:

    @senyordave: Rubio has also not kept up with the CDC guidance, dropping the 10 days to 5 (along with a recommendation to skip waiting 30 minutes before swimming, just finish your meal and don’t bring a sandwich into the pool)

  34. CSK says:

    Oh, it’s the food of the gods, isn’t it?

  35. flat earth luddite says:

    Ok, laughing and giggling over here in Stumptown…

    Bring a Trailer today shows a 1971 Ford LTD wagon sold for $35,000. Yep, $35k, US.

    Nope, this actually makes more sense than Destanistan’s favorite senator. Sorta.

  36. Jax says:

    @CSK: Good enough I still clearly remember the first time I had it! My late husband and I were doing the “hippie van life” thing up the coast and landed in Seattle, we had a friend that worked at a bar in Ballard, and it was the soup of the day. We took it “to go” down to the beach as the sun was going down. One of my best memories of him, honestly, he wasn’t used to fresh seafood. He loved it. 🙂

  37. Jax says:

    @flat earth luddite: I will refrain from mentioning that to my Mom, that was her “Mom wagon” back in the early 80’s. 😛 Red with a wood stripe, AND AN 8 TRACK!!! We used to jam out on the way to town….Duran Duran, Huey Lewis and the News, Heart, Joan Jett, Jefferson Airplane…..

  38. CSK says:

    That’s a nice recollection to have.

  39. Kathy says:


    I can’t say exactly. There was a newstand in the corner of our street growing up, so we had tons of comics in the house. Mostly Archie, Blondie, Nancy, Donald Duck, Little Lulu, and such. When a stray Batman or Superman issue fell into the mix, I tired to read them and found them uninteresting. I just never got into them.

    At the same time I remember watching the 60s Batman TV show reruns, and Superman cartoons, and the Wonder Woman show with Lynda Carter.

    I think I last bought a comic book in my late teens.

  40. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Recent Russian pronouncements are causing a lot of both concern and anger in central/eastern Europe.
    Essentially, Russia is claiming veto rights over the alliance policies of all the ex-Warsaw Pact nations.
    Alexander Yakovenko

    “We do not demand the dissolution of the alliance [Nato], just the restoration of its military advancement to the East as it was in 1997.”

    Note 1997: so not merely the former Soviet states, including NATO states Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, but also Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria
    The European reply will consist of two words , the second of which is “off!”
    Even Germany won’t accept this (though Berlin being Berlin, they’ll probably try to fudge it.)

    Putin says:

    “In 1991 we split into 12 states…”

    They are independent sovereign countries.
    Putin may resent the loss of the Russian Empire, but Russia has no more right to dictate the decisions of, say, Estonia, than vice versa.

    Russia needs to internalize the reality that, ultra-Orthodox nuttiness to the contrary, it is not the Third Rome with some sort of privilege of imperium over lesser peoples.

  41. JohnSF says:

    Never heard of cioppino before now; just googled and it looks like its sorta bouillabaisse but with more tomato, less fish stock?
    Never been able to get bouillabaisse quite right myself; maybe you have to be French and in Languedoc.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: That’s interesting. I’ve always thought the comics were better with animated features coming in second. In the new century, all of the movies, so far except the first Wonder Woman, have been terrible in my opinion. I have been okay with the DC shows from Berlanti on network TV, but I jumped from Ep. 4 or 5 to the last two episodes in order to get to the payoff when I watched Stargirl and Legends of Tomorrow doesn’t have any actual DC characters in it anymore, nor does Batwoman, which may well be a shining example of what Reynolds has been going on about related to the IP of fiction creators. I was in Korea still when Green Arrow and The Flash started (at least I think so for Flash), so I never connected with them well and lost the plot thread.

  43. JohnSF says:

    I love paella, but my version is less the seafood, more the Valencian/Madrileno version (chicken and chorizo), as taught to me by a Portuguese girl.
    So can’t vouch for authenticity, LOL.
    Always think of it a summertime dish, for some reason.

  44. CSK says:

    Yes, it’s sort of the Italian version of bouillabaisse. There’s an Irish fish stew featuring Dublin Bay prawns and a Normandy fish chowder as well. Both are excellent, but the Normandy version is just outstanding. I had it for lunch once at the St. Botolph Club in Boston and I thought I’d died and gone to culinary heaven.

  45. Sleeping Dog says:


    It does seem that Putin’s bluff is backfiring. The memo out of Moscow following Putin’s conversation with Biden last week, sounded like a nervous bully’s bluster. That doesn’t mean that he won’t invade Ukraine, but when he does, Russia will be tied down in an insurgent war and the rest of the former USSR states will quickly bind themselves to NATO, except Belarus.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: I remember my 72 Ford Pinto (among other cars that I owned early in life–I’ve always been hard on cars) with similar nostalgia. But I don’t feel nostalgic enough to pay $35k to have one again. Nuh huh.

  47. JohnSF says:

    Not had a Normandy fish chowder, but once had seafood bisque at the Lion d’Or in Bayeux.
    My taste-buds pleaded with me to stay there forever.
    My wallet begged to differ, LOL.

  48. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Just tried looking for a Renault 25 V6; I had a 2.2 four-banger, for about five years, till it more or less fell to bits, but always fancied the six cylinder version.
    Looks like none on the market. Likely damn few at all left on the road.

    OTOH googling about just got me to this on a previous car I loved even more: Fiat Strada Abarth 130TC
    On offer at a mere £10,000 to £12,000. Eeek!
    That car could scare a Porsche on a twisty road, I kid you not.

  49. JohnSF says:


    …could scare a Porsche…

    As long as it had my brother driving it, not me.
    (At that point, I was pretty scared also)

  50. CSK says:

    I just glanced at the menu photos for Le Lion d’Or. Yum.
    Normandy fish chowder has no tomatoes; the base is fish stock and white wine. Out of this world.

    I ate a lot of Portuguese paella when I lived in a Portuguese neighborhood. It was excellent.

  51. JohnSF says:


    …Le Lion d’Or. Yum.

    In my personal top ten places I’ve etted at. 🙂

  52. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I was in Korea still when Green Arrow and The Flash started (at least I think so for Flash), so I never connected with them well and lost the plot thread.

    I see that as a problem. You get too many series, they get interconnected, and pretty soon you’re spending all your free time just catching up.

  53. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    …the rest of the former USSR states will quickly bind themselves to NATO

    Except for the Baltics, which are already in, I suspect not.
    Germans are too timid to poke Ivan, and in any case NATO won’t consider membership for a country with active frontier disputes.
    So Georgia is out; Armenia is rather aligned with Moscow; Azerbaijan is aligned with Turkey, which these days is semi-detached form NATO itself.
    And Central Asia is a logistic impossibility for NATO.
    (IMO so would be Caucasia even absent border warfare absent Turkey being onside; which it ain’t.)
    Sweden and Finland might well jump NATO-wards, though.

    And Moldavia might get interesting, for scary values of “interesting” re. the Transnistrian farcical republic, which everyone tends to forget about.

    Also, I’d like to see the opinion polling details for Hungary; I suspect Russian friskiness is doing Orban no favours.

  54. JohnSF says:

    The edit option appears.
    The editing is done.
    The editing fails to actually show up in the post.
    Boo. Hiss. 🙁

    OTB edit continues to teach us that reality fails to live up to ones naive expectations.
    (It tasks me, it tasks me.)

  55. flat earth luddite says:

    @JohnSF: @JohnSF:
    Well, last year you had three available on BaT.
    1963 Fiat Abarth 850 Derivata – looked pretty rough, didn’t make minimum at $9500
    1963 Fiat-Abarth Monomille GT – pretty, but didn’t make minimum at $95,000
    But you could have gotten the nice looking 1977 Autobianchi A112 Abarth for $21,500 .

    Keep looking, your dream car is there. Just don’t make me try to fit in an MGB again, please!

    But at least Cracker’s Pinto didn’t have the vinyl woodgrain, IIRC.

  56. dazedandconfused says:


    What makes cioppino different isn’t just the tomato-based broth, it’s the West Coast seafood, crab, cod, salmon, clams, mussels, and thereby, fresh baked sourdough bread to dip into the broth. Have to watch out ordering it from restaurants, as many will hand you a seafood plate with marinara sauce dribbled on it and call it cioppino.

    Fisherman’s Wharf near Ballard is a good place to get the real deal, as they have access to fresh caught right next door.

  57. Jax says:

    @dazedandconfused: Seriously, some of the best seafood I’ve ever had in my life at that little dive bar my friend worked at next to the wharf. Forget the burger and a beer, let’s see what the fresh catch of the day was and have a beer! We actually stayed several weeks because of the food. 😛

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: The interconnections of the serieses(?) was never a particular problem for me–those happened once a year in the various “Crisis on Earth…” that were reminiscent of various Justice League of America comics from the late 60s to early 70s. The big disconnect for me was in not being able to watch them consistently in Korea.
    Green Arrow
    was only on for half of one season–the network carrying it didn’t reorder after the winter half of the season ended. Additionally, lots of English language programing didn’t broadcast at regular times (except for CSI which was always on somewhere) and there were very few places to find schedules of what would be on for any given day–which probably had something to do with Koreans not caring what they were watching in English as much as that they were watching something in English.

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: No, John. You’re missing the point, editing exists for those perfectionists among us who don’t want to admit that we make misteaks. 😉

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: You’re right. It was a color called saddle bronze with a tan vinyl interior.

  61. CSK says:

    I understand that cioppino originated with the Italian-American fishermen of San Francisco. Happily, we too on the East Coast have crab, mussels, clams, salmon, and cod available fresh.