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. CSK says:

    Queen Elizabeth has tested positive for Covid.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    One person was killed and five were wounded in a shooting at a park in Portland, authorities said.

    The Portland police bureau said officers responded to a report of shots fired at Normandale Park on Saturday at about 8pm. Officers found one woman dead and two men and three other women were taken to hospital, police said. Their conditions were not immediately known. Police did not immediately name anyone involved in the shooting. Social media flyers showed there was a planned march for Amir Locke, a Black man who was fatally shot by police in Minneapolis, the same time the shooting took place, KOIN-TV reported.

    The Oregon medical examiner was expected to identify the woman killed and determine the cause of death. An investigation was continuing.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    More than 1,000 rodents were found inside a Family Dollar distribution facility in Arkansas, the US Food and Drug Administration said on Friday as the chain issued a voluntary recall on items purchased from hundreds of stores across the US south.

    A consumer complaint had prompted officials to inspect the West Memphis, Arkansas, facility in January, the FDA said. Inspectors had found live rodents, dead rodents in “various states of decay”, rodent feces, dead birds and bird droppings. After fumigating the facility, more than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered, officials said.

    “No one should be subjected to products stored in the kind of unacceptable conditions that we found in this Family Dollar distribution facility,” said Judith McMeekin, associate FDA commissioner for regulatory affairs.

    The FDA said it was working with Family Dollar to begin a voluntary recall of affected products including human food, pet food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, medical devices and over-the-counter medications purchased in January or February from stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri or Tennessee.

    Family Dollar, a chain of stores created for the express purpose of extracting every last nickel it can out of poor folks, has a rat problem. I wonder when they will fumigate the executive suites?

  4. Mister Bluster says:

    Disclaimer: Anecdotes are not evidence.

    There was a Family Dollar store here in Sleepytown a few years back. It set up in the former Hollywood Video building. FD didn’t last long. Today the building is a ZX (Zephyr Xpress) gas station/convenience store.
    In the meantime the Dollar (and two bits) Tree and Dollar General have both opened new locations recently. The newest DG is about 2 miles out of town just a stones throw from my front porch. I only stop there if I forgot something at the Kroger that just can’t wait till tomorrow. Like a bag or two of ice melt when a snowstorm is closing in.

  5. BugManDan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Dollar stores are the vultures that arrive after Walmart has finished with the carcass.

    My parents still live near the small MO town I grew up in. When I saw the gas station and post office had closed, but a Dollar General had arrived, I realized the town was officially dead.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    Suburbanites love nothing better than to tell each other how dangerous cities are. They also want their news media and politicians to tell them the same thing. One of the ways this works in their head is to look at a city as a single entity rather than the dozens of neighborhoods that actually make it up, some of which are in truly bad shape economically and socially. But those neighborhoods don’t represent the whole city by any stretch. Recently a coworker mentioned that his wife has worked in the Locust Point neighborhood here in Baltimore for the past dozen years. There is about 35K people living in that neighborhood, mostly in small row homes or one and two bedroom apartments. She noted that there hasn’t been a murder there since 2018 and she couldn’t remember the last one before that. I picked Owings Mills as a Baltimore suburb with roughly the same population, mostly in single family homes, condos or apartments. Income levels are probably significantly higher but, at a guess, unemployment levels are probably comparable to Locust Point. They had five murders last year and four in 2020.

    Later this afternoon I’ll walk from my tiny little neighborhood to Locust Point for some excercise and to pick up a few things for dinner at one of the supermarkets there. I will feel perfectly safe.

  7. CSK says:

    I’ll take The Dollar Tree over Walmart any day.

  8. Jax says:

    Operation Fish the Drone Out of the Tree was a success. We used a fishing pole to launch a bolt over the branch and to the ground on the other side, then tied baling twine to it and fished it back over, then we yanked the twine on each end to shake it out. Took quite a bit of shaking, but it’s out! Didn’t even take any damage…..until my daughter sat on it when I set it on the couch while I was looking for a battery to see if it still worked. That made a leg crack, but not too terribly badly.

    I think it might still work, no error codes came up when I turned it on for a second! Waiting for it to dry out completely before I try a test flight.

  9. Gustopher says:

    Dubai has a Princess Latifa, and I don’t know how many people are ahead of her in the order of succession, but I now wish for that many deaths.

  10. CSK says:

    But could she ever be Queen Latifa??????

  11. MarkedMan says:

    This is a comment about some specific circumstances for end of life hospice care that I hope no one ever needs but if you do, well, here’s some information I wish we had right from the get go.

    The specific circumstance: we had someone in an end of life situation who was also in great pain. Here is what we found out. First, hospitals and nursing homes have incredibly strict protocols for prescribing and administering powerful pain relief drugs (opioids). This meant two things in practice:

    First, the drugs were administered only on a patients request. Although this sounds fine it was extremely problematic in our case. The nurse would see the patient was awake and ask how she felt. Since she had not moved in some time, she would reply “better”, and so the nurse wouldn’t administer. But then they would start to move her and given her condition (fragile spinal column that was just worn out) it would immediately send her into agony. At this point any hope of getting ahead of the pain with the prescribed meds was gone.

    Second, there are specific doctors who can prescribe the pain meds and they are overworked and very difficult to get a hold of. They start out with mild meds and only very slowly increase. But you have to work through the nursing staff (also difficult to get a hold of the right one) and they in turn have to get through to the doctor, then the scrip needs to be changed and processed, etc, etc. Bottom line, the pain is not managed.

    Hospice changes all of this, but only if you are doing it in a home based setting and the hospice nurse is the prescriber. The family or paid attendants will administer the medication and the nurse can increase dosage over the phone with just a description of how the patient is responding. My understanding was that if we had put her back into the extended care facility (hospitals don’t do hospice), the institutional clinicians would be handling the pain, with all the process and procedures that would entail, same as at the hospital. So – bottom line, if someone is going into hospice and is in a great deal of pain, keep them at home or get them back there. Enroll them in hospice as quickly as possible and work with the hospice nurse to get the pain managed before it goes too far.

  12. Mr. Prosser says:

    @MarkedMan: Indeed. I have been dealing with recurrent cancer (prostate) for many years through surgery, radiation and now hormone therapy. I know eventually it’s going to get me and dying at my age (75) is not the worst thing I can think of. The frightening thing is the actual transition, No one wants an agonizing death but I’m concerned that despite all my end of life planning I will have that due to the controls imposed.

  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Our Dollar Tree doesn’t have things that I need to buy. Like, ever. In our area, it’s where you go to buy overpriced grocery items that look like a bargain because everyone knows that a dollar is about the same as 88 cents.

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: @CSK: The innertubes tells me her dad is the PM. I think the line is too long unless there is some sort of genocide event among Dubai royals.

  15. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I don’t mean to brag, but the DTs around here are quite well-stocked with useful stuff, and furthermore very clean and well-run. I can’t say the same for Family Dollar or Dollar General.
    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Pity. I’m very taken with the notion of dueling Queen Latifa(h)s.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Maybe Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud can show them how it’s done.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Pain management has gotten a lot worse since the opioid epidemic. I deal with chronic pain every day, all day long. I’ve got all the itises including a few they don’t have names for yet. Someday maybe they’ll name one after me.

    Vicodin is a godsend. Just enough to take the edge off without making me dopey at all. But can I get somebody to write a scrip for some? Short of surgery, no. So every time I get cut on I make sure to score some from the Doc and then horde them, sometimes for years, using them only when the pain gets so bad I am begging my wife to shoot me. Ok ok, sometimes short of that, but not often. The idea of running out is just this side of terrifying.

  18. Mu Yixiao says:


    The “opioid epidemic” is this decade’s “satanic panic”.

    While “improper use of prescription opioids led to many of these [opioid-related] deaths,” the Oklahoma Supreme Court observed, “few deaths occurred when individuals used pharmaceutical opioids as prescribed.

    The article is from Reason, so I’m sure some here will dismiss it out of hand, but the court cases should speak for themselves.

    The justices noted that “opioids are currently a vital treatment option” for chronic pain, “a persistent and costly health condition” that “affects millions of Americans.” They added that the federal Food and Drug Administration “has endorsed properly managed medical use of opioids (taken as prescribed) as safe, effective pain management, and rarely addictive.

    [All emphasis added’]


    I grok.

    My dad died, at home, from cancer that had infested his entire body–eventually making its way into his brain. He went from “manageable” to “dead” in about a week, so full hospice care never happened, but for about a month he was under the care of a hospice nurse*. When Mom said that the opioid patches weren’t working well enough, the response was “Put another one on. He’s going to be dead within a month; we want him comfortable, and we’re not concerned that he’ll become addicted.”

    My mother–while physically very healthy for her age–has decided that she’s going to die soon. She’s essentially giving up. Currently myself and my two sisters are taking care of her–taking her to the store, picking up stuff, taking her to appointments, finding solutions to her rapidly-deteriorating eyesight. But we’re approaching a point where we may need to bring in professionals. Mom has already stated that’s what she wants. In-home care. She’ll die at home just like Dad.

    I do not want to think about the hellfire that would rain down on us if we tried to put her in a nursing home! 😀

    In-home care and hospice are not only better for everyone involved, they’re cheaper than hospitals and nursing homes.

    Kudos and sincere respect for what you’re doing.
    * Mom took care of him (with us kids sitting in once a week when she went to work, and giving her some time off to run errands and such), but she was acting under the supervision of an RN from the local hospice.

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Not extensively read on opioids (partially because they don’t work for me with pain management, so I’ve taken/needed few), but some sources I’ve read imply that the “properly managed medical use of opioids” is frequently difficult to manage. But yeah, having a doctor who will spend the time helping someone manage chronic pain would lead to good results. I wonder how many such doctors there are in a typical area. Probably not as many as would be helpful.

  20. Pete S says:

    I can’t remember if I have asked this before. Today my wife and I were driving through Virginia for the first time in a few years, and I noticed again that at the end of the highway on ramps there is a no left turn sign. Why? Do Virginia drivers need extra coaching? I don’t ever remember seeing it anywhere else.

    I can’t say that the Virginia drivers seemed like they need extra help.

  21. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    One of the few things I agree about with my MAGA-t father is how screwed up pain management has gotten in this country. After multiple back surgeries he was prescribed opiates for pain in the early 90’s. Took them with no problems for 20 years. Then the opioid crisis hit, laws changed, and the c*** he has to regularly go through to get the SAME PRESCRIPTION he’s been on for 3 decades now is insane.

    So now he also hoards them to create a stash for the really bad times, but is thus regularly in an unnecessary amount of pain, and in fact probably violating opioid laws around how much an individual can have, all because every time he moves (never again if he can help it) or has a doctor retire or leave (very very frequently in the VA system) the whole s***show of getting GPs, multiple specialized test appointments, and insanely overworked pain management specialists (since regular doctors CAN’T prescribe them in many places now) to sign off on the same damn prescription starts over.

    I get there is a legitimate concern about overdoses and abuse. But there has GOT to be a better way than THIS to deal with it.