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. Sleeping Dog says:

    Fun Sunday challenge.

    Introduce the rest of us to an unknown or obscure performer that has passed unnoticed beyond a cult following. Can be contemporary or from the past. Post the first song/performance that led to you discovery and a favorite.

    Mine, Eva Cassidy

    First heard her recording of Paul Simon’s “Kathy’s Song”
    Favorite, Autumn Leaves

    Cassidy performed mostly in the Baltimore/Washington area in the 80’s and early 90’s. Her life was cut short by cancer in her early 30’s.

  2. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    A screenwriter friend of mine gave me a copy of Cassidy’s CD about ten years ago. Hi favorite song was her rendition of “Danny Boy.”

  3. Bruce Henry says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I don’t know how obscure he was, perhaps I was just uninformed, but there was the stand-up comedian Bill Hicks. I never heard of him until after his death but he was funny and radical.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Many of my friends are artists. I have always been an artist and an activist and sometimes I’d laugh at my artist friends a little bit, thinking they are beautiful, very philosophical but essentially toothless.

    It turns out not to be true. The last time I saw one of them, Andriy, he was wearing high heels and glitter, modelling for this crazy and provocative fashion theatre of freak designer Mikhail Koptev. He went to join the military, but they wouldn’t take him because he has a Russian passport (he’s originally from St Petersburg). So he went to another town close by and was taken on.
    Each and every one of these sacrifices will make us more distant from the Russians. They might close in on us, but mentally, we will move further away, our identity ever more removed.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Nice, thanx for the gift of her voice.

  6. CSK says:

    I just found out that Volodymyr Zelenskyy won the Ukrainian version of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2006. He can totally bust a move.

  7. Joe says:

    Hey Ya cover by Obadiah Parker. Spend some time with it.

  8. Joe says:

    And, while the artist is not so obscure, Peter Gabriel’s cover of The Book of Love is a great piece of music.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: We were big fans of Cassidy’s

    I’ll venture The Good Rats. An A-level band that never made it out of the Northeast and ended up as old men playing biker bars and strip clubs. They could rock. And they could do more.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Kind of a reverse of this is Harry Nilsson. Everyone knows a whole bunch of his songs but not many know the name.

  11. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Joe: @MarkedMan:

    When I was living in Cambridge, we used to go see Ruthie Ristich at Ryle’s in Inman Square all the time. Great voice, but she never made it really big. You can catch her on Youtube.

  12. Sleeping Dog says:


    I remember Ryle’s! But Ruthie, not so much. That must have been after I left the area. When I was in college we’d go to see Spider John Koerner at the Back Room at Idler in Harvard Sq. After moving to Mpls, I got to know John from the neighborhood. Good times.

  13. Jen says:

    Well, this is an interesting catch phrase for this conflict:

  14. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Oh, Lawd, this is taking me back. Ruthie was a regular at Ryle’s for years and years. Didn’t Spider John do shows at The Plough & Stars, too?

  15. CSK says:

    Attention Jen and Sleeping Dog:

    Governor Sununu has ordered all New Hampshire state liquor stores to stop selling Russian booze.

    This is known as “taking a firm stand.”

  16. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yes, John did play at the Plough and Stars, along with several other places. As I recall, he lived in Cambridge during the early 70’s, so he picked up gigs all around the metro. If he could get there by subway…

    Did you ever find your way to the concerts, sponsored by a guy named Peter Johnson at the Odd Fellows Hall on Mass Ave?

  17. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I never did. What did I miss?

  18. Mikey says:

    @CSK: Virginia’s state-run liquor stores are also pulling Russian-produced brands off the shelves.

  19. Stormy Dragon says:

    Reasons to celebrate today:

    Magomed Tushayev, a general responsible for particularly brutal anti-LGBT massacres in Chechnya was killed in Ukraine when his armored regiment was ambushed near Hostomel.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:


    They were generally poorly promoted affairs, so easy to miss. I was told that Peter was an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, had no reason to work and loved folk music. He seemed to know everyone and brought all sorts of obscure folkies to town. I believe that was where I first saw the New Lost City Ramblers, the then local, bluegrass mandolin player, Jack Tottle was a regular. He had Dave Van Ronk in one night, old blues guys that had been brought to NY by the Greenwich Village folkies, Peter would bring them to Cambridge.

    Seldom more than 30-40 people there and after the show was over it turned into a party.

  21. Jen says:

    @CSK: I laughed out loud last night when I logged onto Facebook and saw the huge “ALERT” from the state liquor stores announcing that. For some reason, it struck me as hilarious.

    My husband asked what was so funny and I told him, and then said that if this was to become a standard response I hope to gawd that we never get on the wrong side of Scotland. 😀

  22. CSK says:

    The movement is growing!
    I laughed when I saw it, too.
    @Sleeping Dog:
    Johnson works as a counselor now at Right Turn in Boston.

  23. Kathy says:


    Is there any of the trump vodka still around?

  24. CSK says:

    Apparently there’s a place in California where you can buy it for only $999.97 for a savings of $500.02.

  25. Kathy says:


    Imagine the savings if it were to be poured down the drain.

  26. senyordave says:

    Former Democratic House Representative and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard on Friday night said she finally found where she belonged—at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference.
    Well, she must have struggled for years as a Democrat when the whole time she was really a right wing conservative. or maybe she just has figured out the way to maximize her grift. As bad as some of the lunatic fringe is, people like her are worse.

  27. CSK says:

    I’m relishing the savings of not buying it at all.

  28. Mikey says:


    Former Democratic House Representative and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard

    Hillary was right about her, too.

  29. Sleeping Dog says:


    You’re a fount of information.

  30. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Well, as a character in one of Robert B. Parker’s novels observed of Spenser, “You know more shit that don’t make you any money than anybody.”

    Story of my life.

  31. Sleeping Dog says:

    Kosovo wants into NATO and would like to be our 51st state,

    PRISTINA, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Kosovo has asked the United States to establish a permanent military base in the country and speed up its integration into NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kosovo’s Defence Minister Armend Mehaj said on Sunday.

    Somehow I doubt they qualify.

  32. Mikey says:

    Dee Snider of Twisted Sister:

    People are asking me why I endorsed the use of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” for the Ukrainian people and did not for the anti-maskers. Well, one use is for a righteous battle against oppression; the other is a infantile feet stomping against an inconvenience.

  33. Jen says:

    Rep. Clay Higgins (R-The Moon, maybe) just got ratioed all to heck by the Dictionary:

  34. CSK says:

    Well, I have absolutely no idea WTF Higgins is talking about,either, but I think he’s trying to be witty. And trying to own the libs.

    If so, epic fail.

  35. de stijl says:


    I love that version. I love the original. (I prefer Andre 3000.) It is an incredibly infectuous and catchy song in this weird time beat. And Benjamin is so compelling in it.

    The original Hey, Ya was once my favorite song of the century so far. I still love it tons and top three or so, but I’ve come to The Best Of You by Foo Fighters as my #1.

    That song also has a lot of off the wall interpretations / covers you can chase down the rabbit hole.

    Anyway, that Obidiah Parker cover is righteous. It is a reinterpretation.

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Just seen on my Yahoo headlines: The reasonable real conservatives who attend CPAC just voted FG as the number one GQP banner carrier for 2024 with 59% of the vote in their straw poll. Ron DeSantis is second choice at 28%. What a great time to be Republican and conservative! A golden age if ever there was one!

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mikey: And he thinks anti-maskers are going to be able to figure out which is which? Really?

  38. de stijl says:

    I am getting the feeling that Putin is way out in front of the Russian oligarchs on Ukraine.

    “We’re on board for tough sounding rhetoric for internal consumption, but if my western Europe assets are gonna get seized and you are going to relegate Russia to an isolated nation, we have a problem.”

    It would not surprise me at all if Putin had a sudden health failure in the near future.

    Most oligarchs prefer money and power over slightly expanded Russian boundaries.

    Putin essentially is the figurehead of the oligarchs. That is the basis of the current Russian state.

    I think Putin is walking a very narrow branch that might suddenly snap.

    Some very influential and rich Russian people are going to lose billions very quickly. Going to lose their Italian villas, their London townhouses, their French chateaux, their access to Western banking systems, their yachts. Their $10,000 a night purchased flesh.

    The loss of Europe as a playground for the oligarchs is going to weigh heavy. The loss of a substantial chunk of their worth and their earnings is going to weigh heavy.

    If I were Putin, I would be very paranoid of every meal served to me. He is killing the Golden Goose for folly.